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Dessert

Birthday Layer Cake

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What kind of cake demands to be eaten, even if it is still frozen after you photograph it….. this one! This has been on my bucket list for over a year now. I bought this book before I started blogging and literally wanted to make all the things. The layer cakes were top of the list, but honestly they were intimidating. It incorporated several recipes, it seemed like a lot for a cake. Whelp, no. It only looks overwhelming. Literally after I got started I was like my gosh this is so easy, why was I ever scared to try this. Also, full disclosure, the sheet pan I used was too big and my cake didn’t get sponge-like and puffy, but it was still amazing. I ended up doubling up on the cake layers and it was absolutely fine. I made this on Saturday, I got started later in the day, and it was done before dinner. I literally could not be more excited to try this again, with different flavors. There are endless possibilities. I had skimmed past a recipe for passion fruit curd, which might need to make an appearance here. Something coconutty…. Ugh I have to stop myself before I go home and make cake for dinner.

Birthday Layer Cake

Birthday Layer Cake

Ingredients

For the birthday cake crumb

For the cake

For the birthday cake soak

For the birthday cake frosting

Instructions

  1. To make the birthday cake crumb, heat your oven to 300 degrees F. Combine the sugars, flour, baking powder, salt and sprinkles in the bow of your standing mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until well combined. Add the oil and vanilla and paddle again to distribute. The wet ingredients will act like glue to help the dry ingredients form small clusters; continue paddling until that happens. Spread the clusters on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes breaking them up occasionally. The crumbs should still be slightly moist to the touch. They wil harden as they cool. Let the crumbs cool completely before using.
  2. To make the cake, heat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine the butter, shortening, and sugars in the bowl of your electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream together on medium-high for 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs, and mix on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes more. Scrape down the sides once more.
  3. On low speed, stream in the buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and paddle for 4-6 minutes, until the mixture is practically white, twice the size of your original fluffy butter and sugar mixture, and completely homogeneous. There should be no streaks of fat or liquid. This did take me a while to achieve.
  4. On very low speed, add the cake flour, baking powder, salt, and 1/4 cup rainbow sprinkles. Mix for 45-60 seconds or just until your batter comes together. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Spray a quarter sheet pan and line wit parchment paper. Using a spatula, spread the cake batter in an even layer in the pan. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tbsp of rainbow sprinkles over the top.
  5. Bake the cake for 30-35 minutes. The cake will rise and pull doubling in size, but will remain slightly buttery and dense. At 30 minutes, gently poke the edge of the cake with your finger. The cake should bounce back slightly and no longer jiggle in the middle. Leave the cake in the oven for 3-5 minutes if it doesn't pass this test.
  6. Take the cake out of the oven and cool on a wire rack. To make the birthday cake soak, whisk together the milk and vanilla.
  7. To make the frosting, combine the butter, shortening and cream cheese in the bowl of your standing mixer, with the paddle attachment. Cream on medium-high, for 2-3 minutes, until the mixture is smooth and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  8. With the mixer on it's lowest setting stream in the corn syrup and vanilla. Crank the mixer up to medium-high and beat until the mixture is silky smooth and a glossy white, about 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  9. Add in the confectioners sugar, salt, baking powder, and citric acid. Mix on low speed until just incorporated. Crank the speed up again, to medium-high and beat for 2-3 minutes, until the frosting is a brilliant start white and beautifully smooth. It should look like it came out of a plastic tub from the grocery store.
  10. To assemble the cake. Place a clean piece of parchment paper, or silpat on a hard work surface. Turn the cake over onto this clean piece of parchment (or silpat). Peel off the parchment or silpat from the now top of the sheet cake. Using your 6 inch cake ring, stamp out two rounds. The remaining scraps will be your bottom layer. Using acetate line the inside of your cake ring. The acetate sheet(s) should reach about 5 inches over the cake ring. Place the remaining scraps of cake into the bottom of the cake ring. Press together using the back of your hand. soak the cake using about 1/2 of the birthday cake soak.
  11. Next layer 1/5 of the frosting. Sprinkle that with 1/3 of the birthday cake crumble and press to stick to the frosting. Top with the 2/5 layer of frosting, Place the next cake round on top of the frosting. Soak with 1/2 of the remaining cake soak. Top with 3/5th of the frosting, sprinkle next 1/3 of the birthday cake crumble and top with the 4/5th of frosting. Place remaining cake layer on top. Use the remaining cake soak, tope with remaining frosting and top with remaining cake crumble.
  12. Freeze for at least 12 hours. Remove from the freezer 3 hours before you want to serve it. When you remove from the freezer, break free of the cake ring and acetate. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge.

Notes

Recipe from momofuku milk bar.

Blood Orange Vanilla Popsicles

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I am on an all things citrus kick lately. Maybe it’s the flu going around or maybe it’s me craving some warm weather but whatever it is, my kitchen smelled like a citrus grove last week and I loved it. I love blood oranges, the vibrant color, the super juicy fruit. Perfection! When I was searching for something different, I found these and immediately moved them to the top of my must try list. I was slightly discouraged when I didn’t have vanilla beans left to make the syrup, but then realized that I had homemade vanilla extract…and simple syrup…so I was going to be just fine. Not only are these packed with vitamin C there are basically no preservatives and zero red 40. Yay! The vanilla syrup balances out the tartness of the juice. A combination that is so refreshing it’s hard to eat one. And honestly, if you went for two, who cares, they’re healthy! I opted for the wooden sticks for this batch. I will say the foil method is magic, once you get it to work. I had a hard time with my sticks staying in place and not floating to the top. So annoying! But third time was the charm. I poked the foil with a sharp knife and then slide the stick in…worked like a charm! If you wanted to get fancy you could add some color to the sticks, or use different shapes.

Blood Orange Vanilla Popsicles

Blood Orange Vanilla Popsicles

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Juice blood oranges to get 2 1/2 cups of juice. If you have a juicer, use it! If not, just do it the good old fashioned way like I did!
  2. Measure out the simple syrup in a liquid measuring cup. Add in 2 tsp. vanilla extract. I would highlly recommend using homemade for this. I have not testing it with any other version.
  3. Pour the simple syrup into the juice and combine. Taste the liquid, if you think it needs more vanilla, add it in here.
  4. Pour the juice into the Popsicle mold. Use the sticks that come with it, or use the foil method I described above.

Notes

Recipe slightly adapted from Everyday Annie.

Salted Caramel Brownies

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I have been elbow deep in citrus since this weekend, but before I share those delish recipes, I needed to share these salted caramel brownies. These brownies are something else. When I think of my favorite dessert, I tend to favor a brownie. So I found these and tried them, and it was love at first bite. I wish I were kidding. I literally had to pull myself away. They are so rich and the combination of sweet and salty is perfect. They are gooey because of the salted caramel mixed in. Also, the extra salt sprinkled on top…. I need these in my life right now. They were a bit high maintenance as homemade brownies go, but it was worth the extra effort. I would highly recommend letting these cool completely before even attempting to cut them. I mean they are literally delicious no matter what, but they were also a bit messy because I dove in too early. No complaints here though!

 

Salted Caramel Brownies

Salted Caramel Brownies

Instructions

  1. To make the caramel sauce, combine the sugar, corn syrup, and water in a small saucepan. Heat over medium high heat. Cook stirring frequently until the mixture becomes deep amber in color and reaches 350 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Remove the pan from the heat and slowly pour in the warm cream, in a steady stream down the side of the pan, whisking constantly to incorporate before adding more. Once all the cream has been incorporated, stir in the fleur de sel and sour cream. Set aside to cool while you prepare the brownie batter.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9x13 inch pan with parchment paper or lightly greased foil. In a small bowl, combine the flour, salt, and cocoa powder. Whisk to blend well. In a large microwave safe bowl, combine the chopped chocolate and butter. Warn in short intervals (about 30 seconds), stirring between until everything is melted and the mixture is smooth. Whisk in the sugars and then the eggs. Whisk in the vanilla. Mix in the dry ingredients, stirring just until combined and no streaks remain.
  3. Spread about half of the brownie batter into the prepared pan and smooth with an offset spatula. Drizzle the caramel over the top in an even layer. Top with the remaining brownie batter, smoothing gently over the caramel completely covering it. Bake for 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking. Remove to a wire rack and let cool. Combine the fleur de sel and coarse sugar. Sprinkle over the top of the brownies. Let cool completely before slicing.

Notes

Recipe from Everyday Annie.

Homemade Royal Velvet Ice Cream

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Happy Valentine’s Day friends! I know, this day is so overdone, but I’m always in for a day that’s going to celebrate love. So go overboard and celebrate it! Do we go crazy here? Certainly not. But I do love a good theme and love is a theme I can get behind. This dessert is indulgent. Like waaaaay indulgent. But it’s also delicious in a way that words cannot describe. I feel like red velvet is something people either love or hate, it’s flavor is interesting. I will admit I am not an uber red velvet lover, but I do love ice cream. Homemade ice cream is a labor of love. There is so much waiting. It’s almost torture. One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is this really should be a two day process. Let your liquid chill overnight. It’s supposed to be cold when you put it into your ice cream maker. I think letting it sit even 4 hours is not quite cold enough. Just let it settle overnight and the result is amazing. The flavors here are different than a red velvet cake. For me there were more hints of chocolate here, with the cream cheese frosting swirled in and the custard like ice cream base, this dessert is one for those special moments. I do think people who are not into red velvet would also really enjoy this. The cream cheese frosting alone is worth trying this out.

 

Homemade Royal Velvet Ice Cream

Homemade Royal Velvet Ice Cream

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the heavy cream, 3/4 cup of sugar, and cocoa powder. Heat over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally, until warmed through and the sugar and cocoa have dissolved into the cream. Meanwhile, in a large measuring cup, combine the egg yolks and remaining 3 tbsp of sugar. Whisk until smooth. Once the cream mixture is warm, slowly pour it into the measuring cup with the egg yolks, whisking constantly to temper the eggs. Return the egg/cream mixture to the saucepan and heat over medium high heat.
  2. Cook the egg mixture, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the mixture through a strainer into a bowl or storage container. Stir in the butter milk, food coloring, and vanilla. Cover and chill in your refrigerator overnight.
  3. Just before you are ready to freeze the ice cream, make the frosting. Combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of your electric mixer. Beat on medium-high speed until it's light and fluffy. Add in the confectioners' sugar and mix on low speed until just incorporated. Blend in the vanilla and heavy cream. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Freeze the ice cream according to the manufacturer's instructions. Transfer to a storage container alternating layers of ice cream and frosting. Transfer to the freezer and freeze until firm.

Notes

Recipe from Everyday Annie.

Caramel Latte Layer Cake

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I have never been lucky with homemade layer cake. I tried to recreate one for our first Anniversary, and it looked like I killed the cake. Raspberry filling everywhere, the layers were sliding off…. it was awful. So, it took about 8 years for me to muster up the the confidence to attempt it again. While this cake is not without some bruises, it was absolutely delightful. So many bloggers, get it right and post the perfect shot, because why not? It’s attractive and quite talented. But, this victory was post worthy. As you can see, the cake stayed intact. I was shocked. I’m not sure what my favorite part of this cake was, the flavor, or the fact that it just stayed together as it should have. This is a caramel latte cake, so it has all the fixin’s of a latte in cake form. I was hesitant at first, but this could not have tasted better. The cake is soft, and somewhat dense but not overdone. The caramel takes this over the edge for sure. The layers of flavored frosting too. My gosh, it’s insane. I will fully admit that I tested so much frosting I was sweating once the cake was complete. But it was all for love. Every time I tasted something new I could not wait for it all to come together. The original recipe used espresso powder, which I did not have. I just brewed a small batch of strong coffee and used 1-2 tablespoons when it called for it. I honestly thought the coffee flavor was perfect just like that.

Caramel Latte Layer Cake

Caramel Latte Layer Cake

Ingredients

For the cake

For the filling and frosting

For the caramel sauce

Instructions

  1. To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 8 in cake pans and line the bottom with parchment paper. In the bowl of your electric mixer, combine the butter and sugars. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add in one egg at a time, blending well after each addition. With the mixer on low speed and the flour in three additions, alternating with the buttermilk. You will begin and end with the flour. Mix each addition only until just incorporated. Add in the coffee.
  2. In a small bowl, dissolve the baking soda and vinegar (a fun littler science experiment!). Add this to the batter and mix just until incorporated. Divide the batter between the prepared pans. Bake the cake just until set and golden brown on top, about 32-35 minutes. Allow the cakes to cool in the pan for at least 20-30 minutes before removing to let cool completely.
  3. To make the frosting, place the butter in the bowl of your electric mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip on medium -high speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the confectioner;s sugar to the bowl and mix on medium-low speed until incorporated. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and drop into the bowl. Add in the salt. Continue to beat on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1-2 minutes. Mix in the heavy cream and vanilla on low speed. Once incorporated increase the speed and whip on high until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  4. To make the caramel sauce, spread the sugar in an even layer over the bottom of a large heavy-bottomed sauce pan. Place over medium-low heat, watching the sugar carefully. When the sugar begins to liquefy around the edges, use a heatproof spatula to gently stir it towards the center. Continue stirring very gently until all the sugar is melted. Take care not to over stir! Measure out the heavy cream in a liquid measuring cup. Add the seeds from the vanilla bean. Set aside. Once the caramel reached a deep amber color, immediately remove the sauce pan from the heat. Carefully whisk in half of the heavy cream mixture. The caramel will steam and bubbly violently. Stir until the cream is well incorporated, then whisk in the remaining cream. Stir in the salt and the vanilla. If any of the sugar hardens, place the saucepan over low heat and whisk until smooth.
  5. Divide the frosting into three separate portions. Two of the portions should be larger (about 2/5, 2/5, 1/5) Leave one of the larger portions plain vanilla. To the second large portion add the espresso mixture and stir until well combined. To the third portion, add 1-2 tbsp of the caramel sauce and stir until well blended.
  6. To assemble the cake, level both cake rounds with a sharp serrated knife. Place one of the rounds on an 8-inch cake round (Note: I did not have cake rounds, so I placed mine directly on the cake stand)Spread a few tbsps of the caramel sauce over the bottom layer, then top with a layer of the coffee buttercream, for the filling. Place the remaining cake layer on top of the filling. Use a small amount of the vanilla buttercream to make a crumb coat. Chill the cake for at least 30 minutes.
  7. Using a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip, make a ring of the coffee buttercream around the bottom third of the cake. Repeat using the caramel buttercream around the middle third of the cake, and again with the vanilla buttercream around the top third of the cake. Cover the top of the cake in the vanilla frosting as well. Use an offset spatula to smooth around the sides of the cake. Chill for 30 minutes. Once chilled, drizzle with a generous layer of caramel sauce.

Notes

Barely adapted from Everyday Annie.