Mini-Cakes for Jessica’s Virtual Shower

In just a few weeks my super sweet friend Jessica, from My Baking Heart, will be tying the knot with her fiance, Chris. She’s obviously a smart girl, because October is THE best time to get married. 🙂 To honor the beautiful bride-to-be, our friend Nikki, from Pennies on a Platter, organized a virtual bridal shower, and I couldn’t be more excited to participate!


(How ridiculously cute is this couple?! Click the picture to see even more of their unique engagement photo shoot)

Jessica is a Southern Belle and one of the most genuinely sweet ladies out there! One thing I really love about her is that she is just as passionate about cooking and baking as she is about football at her alma mater, TCU (Texas Christian University). When deciding what to make for her shower I wanted to tie together all of my favorite things about her! Something sweet, dainty, and, of course, purple!

The mini-cakes I decided on are like a cross between petit fours and Little Debbie zebra cakes. I decided to coat them with white chocolate ganache instead of poured fondant because…well, it just tastes better (and reminds me of zebra cakes, an old childhood lunch favorite!).  I won’t promise you that the white chocolate was much less work than poured fondant, but the taste was worth it in the end.

Congratulations, Jessica!! I am so happy for you and wish you a lifetime of happiness! To see what other bloggers made for this special occasion check out the round-up on Nikki and Jessica’s blogs!

 

 

Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

This cake is a match made in heaven for me. It’s a rich, almost fudge like, cake topped with a light and creamy peanut butter frosting. I knew from the moment the photo loaded onto my screen that it would become one of my new favorite desserts. And I am pretty sure it has. Bonus, the size (an 8×8 pan) was perfect for us. We had an amazing dessert for a few days and no cake was wasted.

If your still looking for a dessert to bring to Memorial Day parties this weekend, make this! If you ask me, the true patriotic dessert has chocolate and peanut butter, not apples and spice. 🙂



Chocolate Cake with Smooth Peanut Butter Frosting

Ingredients
For the Cake
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup natural cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup water

For the Peanut Butter Frosting
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup egg whites (from about 2 large eggs)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes

1/4 cup chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (about 1 3/4 ounces), for garnish
1/4 cup chopped unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts, for garnish

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray an 8×8 pan with non stick cooking spray. Add the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt to the 8×8 pan, whisk together. Make 3 wells in the dry ingredients, 1 large and 2 small. To the large well, add the vegetable oil. To the 2 smaller wells, add the vinegar and vanilla, separately. Pour the water into the pan and use a rubber spatula to stir together until there are no more streaks of flour. Spread the batter evenly in the pan.

Bake for 23-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean, just a few moist crumbs. Set the pan on a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting, set a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water, making sure the bowl does not actually touch the water. In the glass bowl, whisk together the sugar and egg whites. Continue whisking until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is warm and smooth to the touch. Remove the bowl from the sauce pan and either transfer to a standing mixer (with whisk attachment) or use a hand held mixer to beat on high speed about 5 minutes, or until the mixture is cool and thick. Beat in the vanilla, then the peanut butter. Beating on high until fully incorporated. With the mixer still on high add the butter, a few cubes at time, waiting until each addition is incorporated before adding the next. You should have a soft, smooth, creamy frosting. If it starts to look curdled as you add the butter, don’t worry (!!), just keep beating, it will come back together. Season with a small pinch of salt if needed.

Run a knife around the edges of the cake pan, then flip the cake out onto a serving plate. Spread the frosting over the cake. Garnish with chocolate shavings and peanuts, if desired.

Adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe, originally from Bon Appetit

Cookies and Cream Oreo Cake


I picked up a copy of Family Circle magazine almost 2 years ago because of the picture on the cover. It was of a cake that I knew Jesse would love. I tucked it away, planning on making it for his next birthday. Then our world was flipped and flopped and he spent the next birthday in China. I made it up to him by bringing cupcakes the next month when I flew to San Diego for a visit, but I didn’t forget about this cake. Thankfully (for my cake baking sake) this year he didn’t have to leave for China until after his birthday!


After cracking open the magazine and getting a good look at the recipe, I decided to make a few changes. The magazine recommended a cream cheese frosting filling between the layers and whipped cream to frost the outside. I love cream cheese frosting, but it’s probably Jesse’s least favorite, and honestly it didn’t fit with my cookies and creme vision. So I decided to go with what is quickly becoming my go-to frosting for chocolate cakes, Fluffy Vanilla Frosting. Like I said when I used it for the Cherry Coke Cupcakes, the milk in it gives it a whipped cream like taste but it’s as sturdy as a buttercream. So I decided to use it instead. And it worked perfectly.


Cookies and Creme Oreo Cake

Ingredients
Cake

1 1/4 cups All-purpose Flour
2/3 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder (or Hershey’s Special Dark)
1 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
3/4 cup Unsalted Butter
1 1/2 cups Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
3 large Eggs, room temperature
1 1/4 cups Buttermilk

Frosting
Scant 1/2 cup Flour
1 1/2 cups Milk
2 tsp Vanilla
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) Butter, softened
1 1/2 cups Granulated Sugar
25-30 oreos

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two 8-inch cake pans with butter and flour.

Into a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a standing mixer, or a large bowl using a hand held mixer, beat together the butter, sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy. About 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until incorporated and scraping down sides as needed.

With mixer on low speed, add 1/3 of the dry ingredients, mix until incorporated. Then add 1/2 of the buttermilk, mix until incorporated. Repeat until the last 1/3 of flour has been used. Mix until incorporated and then beat for 1 additional minute.

Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the sides begin to pull away from the edges. Allow to cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Turn the cakes out onto the racks and allow the cakes to cool completely.

While the cakes are baking, prepare the frosting. In a saucepan, whisk together the flour and milk and cook over medium heat until the mixture thickens (I would compare it to mashed potatoes). It is very important to whisk continuously so clumps don’t form. This took me about 4-5 minutes, but it’s best to go by texture.

Set milk mixture aside in an ice bath and allow to cool completely.

In a medium bowl, (or bowl of a standing mixture fitted with a whisk) beat together the butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and beat for 1 minute. Add the cooled milk mixture and beat on high for 3-5 minutes. If it looks separated, keep beating.

Cake Assembly

When the cakes are completely cool, cut each cake in half* horizontally. Use 1/3-1/2 cup of frosting to fill between each layer. When all the layers are stacked, set aside 1/2 cup of frosting then use rest to frost the outside.

Using a ziploc bag and a rolling pin, crush all but 6 of the Oreo cookies. Apply the cookie crumbs to the sides of the cake**.

Use the reserved 1/2 cup of frosting to create 6 swirls on the top of the cake, place a cookie in each swirl.

Serve with a very tall glass of milk.

*If you don’t have cake leveler tool, you can use a knife to score the cake half way up all the way around. Then place a clean piece of fishing wire or floss in the groove and slice away.

**I set my cake plate over a large piece of parchment paper to catch the extra crumbs. It can get a little messy.

Cake adapted from Family Circle Magazine, February 2009. Frosting as I previously posted here, from Tasty Kitchen



I’m a huge fan of cake!! Here are some of my favorites!

Classic Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting
Chocolate Hazelnut and Salted Caramel Chocolate Birthday Cake
Red Velvet Cake
Not-Ice Cream Sundae Cake

Fluffy Vanilla Frosting


I am always on the lookout for a reason to make a fancy cake. I keep bookmarking cool looking cakes and the list of things I want to try with frosting keeps getting longer and longer. Unfortunately, now that I live in San Diego and most of my family/friends are 2,000 miles away, it’s not often that I have a good reason. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to whip up a random batch of brownies, cookies, or simple cupcakes for no reason at all. But the fancy-stuff really needs an occasion (hence the over the top cake I made for my own birthday). So when I realized that there was a birthday for a special 12 year-old the first weekend I was back from China, I was overwhelmed with cake ideas.

This is where the rosy ruffle cake comes in. Ruffle cakes have been popping up all over the blogosphere for a while now and I am jealous of each and every one. Then a few months ago I saw a gorgeous rose covered cake and I wanted to make that too. Since cake making opportunities are few and far between I decided to combine the two. The birthday girl requested teal blue and purple. I still want to try a baby pink ruffle cake but this combo was pretty cute too.

Now on to the frosting. This recipe is weird, flour in frosting? I was skeptical, but, it’s been something I’ve thought about trying for a while. The texture was smooth so it was ideal for the ruffling but maybe too soft for the rose swirls. It also had a light fluffy feel when eating and the taste was sweet but not too sweet. It is officially going into my frosting recipe rotation and I know I will use it time and time again.

Fluffy Vanilla Frosting

(Adapted from Tasty Kitchen)

Ingredients
5 Tbsp Flour
1 cup Milk
1 tsp Vanilla
1 cup Butter, softened
1 cup Granulated Sugar

*I doubled the recipe for this particular cake.

Directions
In a saucepan, whisk together the flour and milk and cook over medium heat until the mixture thickens (I would compare it to mashed potatoes). It is very important to whisk continuously so clumps don’t form. This took me about 4-5 minutes, but it’s best to go by texture.

Set milk mixture aside in an ice bath and allow to cool completely.

In a medium bowl, (or bowl of a standing mixture fitted with a whisk) beat together the butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and beat for 1 minute. Add the cooled milk mixture and beat on high for 3-5 minutes. If it looks separated, keep beating.

At this point you can color as desired with food coloring.

Sorry no tutorial on the ruffles, I have only done it this one time and I am no expert! I did however watch this video to get the general idea. As for the roses, I started a little off center and made a big rose swirl (with Wilton tip 1M) and continued making roses around the cake until it was mostly covered. Then I went back and added stars to fill in gaps.