Tag Archives: cake

Best Ever Banana Cake

Did you notice anything funny about my picture?

Nothing at all?

How about that I have a slice of cake and I have a whole cake showing?   That’s because I baked three of these beauties.  Two for us, and one for my mom who recently had surgery to repair a badly broken arm.

Well I just wouldn’t be me if I didn’t bring someone a piece of cake when they were on the mend….

Banana Cake is one hundred percent comfort food to me.  So moist and delicious with Cream Cheese Frosting.   That is’ lick the bowl clean’ frosting.  So delicious.   I always add some freshly grated nutmeg to my banana cake recipe.  I think it gives banana cakes and breads just a little kick of flavour.

And, I love making them in 6 inch pans.  I rarely make a cake that’s any larger anymore.  It’s the perfect size for a family treat and to give as a gift.

One of my favourite icing technique’s is “tomboy” style from the Miette Bakery in San Fransisco.  I think its’ very simple.  No icing on the sides, just on the layers and an elegant swirl on the top.

I hope my mom enjoys her treat and that her road to recovery is a piece of cake.

Best Ever Banana Cake

*adapted from Food.com 

Note:  I have recently changed this recipe to include the use of oil or butter.  I find oil produces a much more moist and tender cake.   Either ingredient is an option! The recipe on Food.com recommends immediately putting the cake in the freezer after removing it from the oven.  I did not follow this step.

  • 1 ½ cups bananas , mashed
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • generous pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • ¾ cup oil or unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 2 18; cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 ½ cups buttermilk, room temperature
Preheat oven to 275°.  Grease and flour 3 6 inch cake pans.  You can also make this in a 9 x 13 inch pan.
1.  In a small bowl, mix mashed banana with the lemon juice; set aside.  In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda , nutmeg and salt; set aside.
2.  In a large bowl, mix oil/butter and sugar until well combined.  Beat in eggs, one at a time, then add in 2 tsp vanilla.
3.  On low, add the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk.  Stir in banana mixture.
4.  Pour batter into prepared pans and bake in preheated oven for one hour and 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean (start checking at the hour mark).   Cool for 10 minutes in pans.  Unmold 6″ cakes on to wire racks and cool completely.  If using a 9 x 13 pan, you can cool completely in the pan and ice it directly in the pan for easy clean up!

Cream Cheese Frosting

*this makes just enough for two of the cakes

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 pound cream cheese softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 pound sifted powdered sugar

For the frosting, cream the butter and cream cheese until smooth.  Beat in the vanilla.  Add icing sugar and beat on low-speed until combined.  Slice cooled 6″ cake into two layers.  Place the bottom layer onto a cake board or plate.  Pipe or spread a layer of icing on top.  Place the second cake layer on top.  Pipe or spread another icing layer (I don’t ice the sides).  Sprinkle chopped walnuts over top of the frosting, if desired.

Notes:

  1. This makes enough icing for two of the 6″ cakes.
  2. These cakes freeze extremely well.  Make one 6″ cake for now and freeze the other two for later!
  3. This batter also makes excellent cupcakes.
  4. Oven temp can be easily changed to 350°- just decrease baking time to approx. 40 minutes for the cakes and 20 minutes for cupcakes.

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Deep-Chocolate Brownie Cupcakes and a Special Birthday

See this little angel?

This is my oldest child when she was a year and a half.  Look at those big blue eyes staring so innocently at me.  Time goes by too fast when you’re a parent.  I remember cuddling at bedtime with this little girl and reading her favourite stories over and over and over…..  She turns 13 today and I wanted the day to be special for her.  You only officially become a teenager once!

At lunch I took her out to have her hair done and for a bite to eat.  Just me and her.  It was awesome to spend time with her like that.  When we came home all of her friends and family were waiting to surprise her.

We always write the kids a poem for their birthday.  They moan and groan when it comes out, but you can tell that they love reading the things we have written about them.  We poke fun at some of their idiosyncrasies and tell them how proud we are of some of their accomplishments.  She’s a good girl with a big heart and I’m proud of the lady she is becoming.

She wanted Criminal Minds cupcakes for her birthday because she loves that show.  I had these cute paper toppers made by Angie over at Etsy.  So cute once glued on to popsicle sticks!  Then I made some other toppers out of Marshmallow Fondant.   The cakes are Deep-Chocolate Brownie Cupcakes.  I iced them with Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream and I used Chocolate Ganache as a ripple in the icing.   I also made a few with Dulce de Leche rippled through the icing.

I could quite simply just eat a bowl of icing and not think twice about it.  Amazing.

Sorry about the bad photos, but the light was terrible in that room!

It is very difficult to make crime scene cupcakes look pretty!  Thank goodness the taste makes up for it!

Deep-Chocolate Brownie Cupcakes

*from Food and Drink

  • 4 ounces (120 g) unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup chopped semi-sweet chocolate or chips
  • 1 cup chopped toasted walnuts or pecans

Preheat oven to 350°

  1. Line 18 standard muffin cups with papers . Over low heat, melt chocolate and butter together in a large saucepan, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in sugar, then eggs, 1 at a time, and vanilla.
  2. Mix flour with baking powder and salt. Stir into chocolate mixture along with chocolate and nuts.  Divide among cups. Bake 16 to 18 minutes or just until cupcake centre is raised and feels slightly firm when touched. Do not over-bake. Cool
    completely on rack.

Chocolate Ganache

*this makes enough to frost all of the cupcakes.  I only made 1/2 of this recipe to use as a ripple in the icing.

  • 1 cup chopped-into-bits semi-sweet chocolate or chips, about 175 g (6 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Melt chocolate and whipping cream over very low heat in a small saucepan.  When almost smooth, remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Cool to room temperature and dip or frost cupcakes.  Icing will set in an hour at room temperature.

Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream

5 large egg whites

1 cup + 2 tbsp sugar

3 sticks unsalted butter, very soft

1 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract

pinch of salt

1.  Fill a saucepan (large enough to fit your mixing bowl just a few inches) with a few inches of water.  Bring the water to a boil, then reduce heat to med-low so water continues to simmer.

2.  In your stand mixer bowl, hand whisk the egg whites, sugar and salt just until combined.  Place over simmering pot and whisk for approx 4 mins until the egg whites are hot (about 140 degrees).  The sugar should be dissolved by this time as well.  Place bowl on stand mixer and attach the whisk attachment.  Whisk on medium until whites have increased in volume and the outside of the bowl is just slightly warm to the touch.

3.  Remove whisk attachment and replace with paddle attachment.  Beat on low speed until mixture is completely cooled.  Increase speed to medium and add butter pieces one at a time.  Scrape the bowl and continue to beat until buttercream is glossy, smooth and thick.  It may separate at first, but continue beating and it will emulsify.  Add vanilla flavouring and beat until combined.  Use immediately.

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Apple Spice Cupcakes with Apple Butter Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Well fall is definitely upon us!  I was at the market this morning and was instantly drawn to crates and crates of local apples.  This is one of my favourite seasons to be baking, and apples are by far one of my favourite fruits!

I also bought a huge jar of homemade apple butter and decided to use it to flavour the icing.   Anyone who has been following SweetRevelations knows how much I adore my yummy Swiss Meringue Buttercream icing!

The cakes were really good.  I love any cinnamon/nutmeg/allspice combo.  And the icing was pretty yummy too!  Great apple flavour that screams fall and Thanksgiving dinners.  I thought the cakes were so good that I left some un-iced (the horror!) and packed them in the freezer for lunch treats.

The Pastry Case is where I found this yummy recipe and I have no doubt that the cakes would taste awesome with the Salted Caramel Italian Meringue Buttercream that she has on her site.  Or, you could make the Salted Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream that I made here (delish).

Apple Spice Cupcakes

from The Pastry Case

yield: 30 cupcakes

  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light molasses
  • 6 large eggs
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 cup full fat sour cream
  • 3 tart baking apples, peeled and shredded (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tins with paper liners.

1.  Using a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula then beat in the molasses. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for 30 seconds between each addition.

2.  In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, salt, and ground spices to blend.

3.  Add the flour mixture and sour cream alternately to the batter, starting and ending with the flour mixture. After each addition, beat on low-speed just to combine the ingredients. Stir in the shredded apples and vanilla.

Spoon the batter into the muffin cups. Bake 20-25 minutes until the cupcakes spring back lightly when touched and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Apple Butter Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • 2 cups unsalted butter cubed, at room temperature
  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup of apple butter or more to taste

1.  Fill a saucepan (large enough to fit your mixing bowl just a few inches) with two inches of water.  Bring the water to a boil, then reduce heat to med-low so water continues to simmer.

2.  In your stand mixer bowl, hand whisk the egg whites and the sugar just until combined.  Place over simmering pot and whisk for approx 4 mins until the egg whites are hot (about 150 degrees).  The sugar should be dissolved by this time as well.  Place bowl on stand mixer and attach the whisk attachment.  Whisk on medium until whites have increased in volume and the outside of the bowl is just slightly warm to the touch (this can take up to 10 minutes!).

3.  Remove whisk attachment and replace with paddle attachment.  Beat on low-speed until mixture is completely cooled.  Increase speed to medium and add butter pieces one at a time.  Scrape the bowl and continue to beat until buttercream is glossy, smooth and thick.  It may separate at first, but continue beating and it will emulsify.  Add vanilla flavouring, a pinch of salt and apple butter and beat until combined.  Use immediately.

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Milk Dud Cupcakes

Remember this?

I posted these back in August with the promise of a recipe!  I have received a few e-mails wondering where that recipe might be….sorry I keep forgetting!

Have you ever had a Milk Dud?  Chewy, stick in your teeth caramel covered in milk chocolate.  One of my favourite combinations (one of my dentists favs too I’m sure…)  I’m eating some as I type as a matter of fact.  It’s really the icing (again) that is the star here.  Take some smooth and creamy Swiss Meringue Buttercream, my absolute favourite, and beat in some homemade Salted Caramel Sauce.  Screaming your name yet??

Honestly, I could’ve bathed in this icing it’s that yummy.  Don’t judge me, it really is that good.

I really apologize for the lack of photo’s but these literally went like hotcakes and I didn’t have a chance to take any extra’s.

I was left with one giant box of Milk Duds that I have been hiding in the back of the pantry for a month.  I have a teenager who is more obsessed with chocolate than me (if that’s possible) and often my goodies just “disappear.”

Since the caramel really is the star here, I will be posting the recipe for the icing only.  My advice is to use your best rich chocolate cake recipe.

Salted Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream

*adapted from Sweetapolita

1 3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup heavy cream

pinch of sea salt

2 cups unsalted butter cubed, at room temperature

5 large egg whites

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

pinch of salt

Making Salted Caramel Sauce:

*make this first to set aside to cool while you make the Swiss Meringue Buttercream.

1. Place  1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons of the sugar and the
water in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium heat.  Stop stirring and cook until caramel is amber, gently swirling the pan from time to time. Remove from heat, and slowly add cream, whisking by hand until smooth. It
will be splatter, so be careful. Whisk in sea salt. Let cool.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream:

1.  Fill a saucepan (large enough to fit your mixing bowl just a few inches) with two inches of water.  Bring the water to a boil, then reduce heat to med-low so water continues to simmer.

2.  In your stand mixer bowl, hand whisk the egg whites and the rest of the sugar just until combined.  Place over simmering pot and whisk for approx 4 mins until the egg whites are hot (about 150 degrees).  The sugar should be dissolved by this time as well.  Place bowl on stand mixer and attach the whisk attachment.  Whisk on medium until whites have increased in volume and the outside of the bowl is just slightly warm to the touch (this can take up to 10 minutes!).

3.  Remove whisk attachment and replace with paddle attachment.  Beat on low-speed until mixture is completely cooled.  Increase speed to medium and add butter pieces one at a time.  Scrape the bowl and continue to beat until buttercream is glossy, smooth and thick.  It may separate at first, but continue beating and it will emulsify.  Add vanilla flavouring, a pinch of salt and salted caramel sauce (to taste) and beat until combined.  Use immediately.

Garnish with a Milk Dud

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End of Summer, New School Year

The party is over at our house.  Today is the last day of freedom and tomorrow a new school year begins (for me too!).  No more lazy mornings on the deck with coffee, staying up super late reading a good book or keeping pj’s on allll day long if you feel like it.  I really love summer and my only wish was that it was just a little longer (say… 10 months longer….)

My kids are away today, all doing something fun for their last day of holidays.  I left them a little surprise for their return….

Just a little thank you for being great kids and hanging out with me this summer.  For putting my bait on the hook for me, for going for bike rides with me, for walking the dog with me, for playing endless games of Scrabble and SkipBo with me and for staying up late around a camp fire sharing funny stories and things about your life with me.

It’s a new school year and things will soon become hectic and busy.  Instead of saying “come sit by the pool with me” I’ll be screaming “for the last time get out of bed or we’ll be late!!”

Nothing says summer like ice cream and this is a fun and whimsical dessert.  Would be perfect for a birthday too!  I used my favourite Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream (here) and a new Vanilla Cake recipe (below).  Just colour icing to suit and have fun!  I used a piece of 29″ x 12″ yellow foam board with ribbons glued to the bottom.  This idea is from My Cake School Blog, which is full of fabulous resources.

Pure Vanilla Cupcakes

  • adapted from Form V Artisan
    Makes 18 cupcakes
  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup full fat sour cream
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup buttermilkPreheat oven to 350°F. Line 18 standard muffin cups with paper
    liners.1.  In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, sift together flour,
    baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add sugar and mix on low-speed until well
    blended. Add softened butter and beat on medium-low speed until butter is coated
    with flour and mixture resembles dry crumbs, about 3 minutes. Increase speed to
    medium and beat 30 seconds longer.2.  In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, sour cream and vanilla extract until smooth. Add to the flour mixture and
    mix on medium-low speed until moistened and the batter begins to form webs along
    the sides of the bowl and the beater, about 45 seconds. With mixer on low speed,
    gradually add milk and beat until batter is smooth, about 20 seconds. Scrape
    down the sides of the bowl and mix until batter is light, airy and creamy
    looking, another 15-20 seconds on medium to medium-low speed. Do not over
    mix.

    3.  Divide batter evenly among muffin cups, filling them about
    two-thirds full. Bake until a toothpick or wooden skewer inserted into the
    center of the cakes comes out clean, about 18 minutes. Transfer cakes to wire
    racks to cool completely.

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Pumpkin Pecan Cupcakes with Rum and Brown Sugar Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Phew!  That is a mouthful!  But worth every last syllable I guarantee you.

This is actually a recipe for a bundt cake that I found a few years ago.  And I have made it as a bundt cake with some Rum Syrup brushed on top many times and it is fantastic!  Today we are going to a BBQ so I opted to make these as cupcakes and add my favourite Swiss Meringue Buttercream, using the Rum Syrup as flavouring.

I love fall baking.  I know that it’s still technically summer, but markets are starting to display beautiful little pie pumpkins just shouting my name.  Who doesn’t love a good pumpkin dessert (my mom makes the best pumpkin pie hands down).  I roasted a few pumpkins the other day to use for this recipe and froze the rest for later use.

Pumpkin Pecan Cupcakes

  • 3/4 chopped pecans
  •  1-2/3 cups packed brown sugar
  •  1/4 cup softened butter
  •  3 eggs , room temperature
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  •  2 cups roasted pumpkin purée
  •  2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  •  2 tsp baking powder
  •  1-3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  •  1 tsp baking soda
  •  1 tsp ground ginger
  •  3/4 tsp salt
  •  1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  •  1/4 tsp ground allspice

 

Syrup

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup dark rum

Line 2 muffin tins with liners or grease and flour a  10″ bundt pan.

1.  On baking sheet, toast pecans in 350°F (180°C) oven until fragrant, about 8 minutes; let cool.

2.  In small bowl, stir pecans with 2 tbsp of the brown sugar and sprinkle over the bottom of each cupcake liner (about 1/2 tsp).  Or, if using a bundt pan sprinkle around the bottom of greased and floured 10″ pan.

3.  In large bowl, beat remaining sugar with butter and beat in eggs, 1 at a time. Beat in oil until fluffy. Beat in pumpkin until
smooth.

4.  In separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, ginger, salt, nutmeg and allspice; stir into egg mixture, just until mixed.   Fill liners or pan.

5.  Bake in 350°F oven until cake tester inserted in centre comes out clean, about 24 minutes for cupcakes and 50 minutes for bundt cake.   I removed cupcakes immediately to a rack to cool.  Let bundt cool on rack for 10 minutes then remove from pan and transfer to rack.

Syrup: In small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.   Stir in sugar and 3 tbsp water.  Boil until dissolved and thickened,
about 3 minutes. Stir in rum and boil for 1 minute. Brush over cakes.  * I brushed some syrup on top of the cupcakes as they were cooling and used the rest in my buttercream.

Rum and Brown Sugar Swiss Meringue Buttercream

5 large egg whites

pinch of salt

1 1/4 cups brown sugar

4 sticks unsalted butter, very soft

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup rum syrup (above)

1.  Fill a saucepan (large enough to fit your mixing bowl just a few inches) with a few inches of water.  Bring the water to a boil, then reduce heat to med-low so water continues to simmer.

2.  In your stand mixer bowl, hand whisk the egg whites, sugar and salt just until combined.  Place over simmering pot and whisk for approx 4 mins until the egg whites are hot (about 150 degrees).  The sugar should be dissolved by this time as well.  Place bowl on stand mixer and attach the whisk attachment.  Whisk on medium until whites have increased in volume and the outside of the bowl is just slightly warm to the touch.

3.  Remove whisk attachment and replace with paddle attachment.  Beat on low-speed until mixture is completely cooled.  Increase speed to medium and add butter pieces one at a time.  Scrape the bowl and continue to beat until buttercream is glossy, smooth and thick.  It may separate at first, but continue beating and it will emulsify.  Add vanilla flavouring and rum syrup (to taste) and beat until combined.  Use immediately.

Garnish with toasted pecans.

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Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches and a Birthday (or two!)

Yesterday my boys turned 11.  Hard to believe that 11 years ago they were so tiny (just a little over 4 pounds when we brought them home!) and now I wear their shoes when I need to go outside for a quick second.  They are both very different personalities (one’s neat and tidy and one’s a whirling dervish!) but also so similar in some ways.  Both have a great sense of humour and both are sporty social guys who are really loyal to their friends.  They’re good boys.   I can’t really take credit because I think they were just born that way…perfect to me.

I have to say though, something happened, maybe ‘in utero’ as they say….

I don’t know what I did….

I don’t know how it happened…I question it all the time…..

My boys don’t really like cake.  They don’t really have a sweet tooth which probably in the long-term is fantastic for them, however for me it continues to be a puzzle.

So, for birthday dessert one of my sons requested Homemade Brownie Ice-Cream Sandwiches.  Pretty easy to do, but a little tough to decorate with candles….

I found the recipe in Chatelaine Magazine and have made it many times over the summer.   There are so many options for flavours!  The sandwich part is a brownie baked on a cookie sheet.  Easy easy!  And so rich and yummy.

I did make some cupcakes too (I can’t help myself…) just for blowing out candles.  Some were a yummy Milk Dud flavour and some were Devils Food Chocolate with Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream which I’ll be sure to share in a later post!

Brownie Ice-Cream Sandwiches

  • 84 g  unsweetened chocolate, about 3 squares,  coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 cup  granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp  salt
  • 1/4 tsp  vanilla
  • 2   eggs
  • 1/4 cup  all-purpose flour
  • 2 L  vanilla ice cream or flavour of choice, in rectangular box

Preheat oven to 350°.

1.  Oil a rimmed baking sheet measuring about 11 × 17 in., then line with parchment paper. Place chocolate and butter in a large microwave-safe bowl and microwave on medium until chocolate is almost melted, about 2 min. Stir halfway through.

2.  Stir sugar, salt and vanilla into warm chocolate mixture. Whisk in eggs, one at a time, until blended. Stir in flour just until mixed. Scrape onto prepared sheet. Spread batter over parchment using an offset spatula to create a smooth, even, very thin layer.

3.  Bake in centre of oven until brownie appears shiny and is firm but slightly undercooked, about 8 min. Remove from oven and cool in pan, about 30 min. Run a knife along edges of pan. Cut brownie in half, making two long rectangles. Place pan in the freezer for 5 min. Remove from freezer. Gently lift brownie and, using scissors, cut the parchment, separating the rectangles.

4.  Place 1 brownie top-side down on a cutting board. Peel off parchment. Open box of ice cream. Slice off 5 1-in. slices and arrange on top of brownie on board until it’s completely covered. Peel parchment from bottom of remaining brownie and place on top of ice cream. Pat down firmly. With a sharp knife, score top of brownie into 16 rectangular pieces.

Freeze for at least 3 hours, until very firm. Remove from freezer and, using a serrated knife, cut into 16 sandwiches, using the scored lines as a guide. Individually wrap each sandwich in plastic wrap. Sandwiches will keep well in the freezer up to 1 month.

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Dark Chocolate Ruffle Cake

Happy Friday everyone!

I’ve received many “where are you??” e-mails from my fellow bakers.  No worries, just a little hiatus with the family!  We were camping for the week.  And while we were away a couple of things happened.  First, it was my birthday, and bless everyone who came out to visit me!  These people know me sooo well….everyone who came, brought me some form of dessert or another.  Believe me, when you’re camping a piece of cake or some homemade ice cream is heavenly.

Second, there was a raspberry farm just down the road.  And I obsessed about those darn berries all week long.  I made my poor hubby drive there on the way home (trailer attached!) to get some.   They don’t get any fresher than that!  There is nothing more lovely than Raspberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream on a rich dark chocolate cake.   I could bathe in the icing.  It’s just that good.

I wanted to show off my new cake plate too.  From my friend Tara, who gave me two beautiful cake plates.  Just because.  She is just that kind of person.  Period.  And I love her for it.

Dark Chocolate Cake

*recipe is from Sweetapolita with a few additions of my own

First, grease and flour two 9″ cake pans.   Heat oven to 350°

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups granulated sugar

3/4 cup dark good quality cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 eggs, room temperature

1 cup strong, hot black coffee

1 cup Callebaut Bittersweet Chocolate wafers

1 cup buttermilk, room temperature

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1.  In a small bowl mix cocoa, hot coffee and chocolate wafers until smooth.  Refrigerate while you prepare the other ingredients.  In bowl of electric mixer, sift all remaining dry ingredients. Slowly add the eggs, milk, vanilla, oil and chocolate mixture to the dry ingredients.  With paddle attachment on mixer, mix for 2 minutes on medium speed and pour into prepared pans.

2.  Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until toothpick or skewer comes out with a few crumbs.  Cool on wire racks in pans for 20 minutes then unmold cakes onto racks until completely cool.

Raspberry Meringue Buttercream

Make the Meringue Buttercream that I posted here, but double it.  I added approx 3/4 cup of whole fresh raspberries (very slowly and only a few at a time).  I would add even more next time because the flavour wasn’t as strong as I would have liked.  Don’t worry if your buttercream appears soupy after adding the berries, just whip whip whip and it will come back….I promise!  You could also add some raspberry flavouring if you want a plain white icing.

I used tip #104 for the ruffle but you could use any design you fancy!

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Easy Homemade Fondant

I decided this week-end I would give fondant a go.  Homemade that is.  It’s super easy, although a little messy, and there’s oodles of video’s online, like this one,  about how to make your own.  It basically has 4 ingredients; water, marshmallows, shortening and icing sugar.  I flavoured mine with a bit of almond extract too.  It keeps well at room temperature for a few weeks and tastes way better than store bought.

Amanda at I Am Baker (amazing cakes!) made these cute cupcakes with fondant and fruit.  And it was so cute I totally stole the idea.  So although it makes me look super creative…I’m not…..

I have very few pictures to show you because..well, uh errr…we ate them as we were photographing them.  We voted and we liked the raspberry and chocolate best.  The chocolate cupcakes are absolutely amazing!  Recipe to follow soon….

A delicious surprise inside!  Even if you’re not crazy about fondant (you”ll like this one I promise!), you can still enjoy the berries and cake!

I added some raspberry preserves to the last one before topping with berries.  Yum!

Well we had to eat these anyway…they were all cut up!  We couldn’t let them go to waste!

And finally…playing with gel colours and attempting to decorate a mini cake (it’s actually 2 cupcakes).  My friend is getting married and I was trying to use her wedding colours on it.  Key word here is trying (she’s probably horrified).  It looks like a glorified Hostess Cupcake.  I was just playing!

This belongs on the boo boo plate, which is a plate that I throw all my mistakes on.  The kids hover over the boo boo plate like vultures.  I’ve never had people so eager to watch me make a mistake!  My son (bless him) carried this down to his buddies house and they were going to eat it anyway.  Love that boy!

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Filed under Fondant and Icing

Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fond

My girlfriend moved to England a few years ago.  I cried like a baby when she left.  Although I was so happy for her courage to move far away, I was devastated at what I thought was my loss.  I’ve been to visit and she took me to Paris for my birthday ( SOOO NICE).  She has been home to visit many times since then.  We talk every Sunday on the phone and it’s as though she still lives 10 minutes away.  I do still have times when I really miss the girl time.  The distance makes movie night a little difficult and I sure would love to go have dinner (in Paris again would be awesome!).   Really, not a lot has changed though, we still argue over movies and books and we always seem to talk about food.  She recently sent me a recipe for Genoise Sponge Cake that she made at a dinner party and it looked amazing!   Below is my version, just a simple 2 layer with lemon whipped cream, raspberry preserves and fresh raspberries.   As I make it, I have a little smile on my face, thinking of my good friend.  Enjoy,

Sponge Cake

*adapted from Gourmet Magazine

preheat oven to 350 degrees

6 eggs room temperature

2/3 cup vanilla sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup sifted cake  flour

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/3 cup melted unsalted butter, cooled

Lemon Whipped Cream Frosting (see below)

3/4 cup raspberry preserves for serving

2 pints fresh raspberries for serving

1.  Butter and flour a 10″ round pan.  In stand mixer with whisk attachment combine eggs, vanilla and sugar.  Beat on high speed for 10 minutes (mixture should triple in volume).  In a separate bowl, sift flour and salt together.

2.  Remove bowl from stand mixer and very gently fold flour and salt in with spatula (1/3 at a time).  In a small bowl, mix some of the cake mixture with the melted butter until incorporated.  Add this to the cake mixture, again gently folding.

3.  Pour mixture into cake pan and bake for 30-35 minutes until golden.  Cake will begin to pull away from sides of pan.   Unmold onto wire rack for cooling.

*Sponge cake is easier to work with on the 2nd day, so make the night before if you plan on cutting layers.

4.  Cut cooled cake into 2 layers.  Place bottom layer on a cake platter and spread with raspberry preserves.  Spread a layer of frosting on top of preserves.  Put 2nd layer on top of frosting.  Frost top with remaining frosting and cover top with fresh raspberries.

Lemon Whipped Cream Frosting

*Better Homes and Gardens Recipe

In large chilled bowl beat 2 cups whipping cream, 2 Tbps. powdered sugar, and 1 Tbsp. instant vanilla pudding on medium-high until stiff peaks form. Fold in 1 Tbsp. grated lemon peel.

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Filed under Cake