Spiced Orange 6-Layer w/ Rosemary Buttercream

Unlike cookies, pies, or ice cream, when I decide to make a cake, it becomes my baby for the following 48 hours. Maybe because the time it takes to complete the entire process is highly underrated, but it’s probably also due to the fact that a really good cake takes a lot of figuring how to go about the smallest details. Some are obvious, such as what flavor of cake you’re really in the mood for, but the very same flow chart that begins with chocolate or vanilla leads to a plethora of other options, leading to decisions, which then leads to the task of executing them.

In any case, there is a specific satisfaction that comes with baking something for fun, no matter what the dessert, as opposed to baking for an event or even for someone in particular. Exhibit A would be taking less than a minute to marvel at your finished product before slicing into it with a knife and a fork.

Check out the video of my cake process here!

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Make the cake

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks softened butter
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 3 cups white sugar
  • Zest and juice of 2 oranges
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 cups room temperature milk
  • 5 egg whites (@ room temperature)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • a pinch of ground ginger

1. Preheat the oven to 350 and butter & flour 3 8-inch cake pans.
2. Cream the butter and shortening together, then add the sugar gradually. Once incorporated, add the egg whites gradually, then add the orange juice and zest.
3. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour + spices + baking powder)
4. Alternate the wet and dry ingredients while mixing into the butter/egg mixture (scrape down the bowl occasionally).
5. Pour into prepared pans and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the cake is golden and a skewer inserted comes out clean.

For the frosting

Ingredients:
2 sticks (1 cup) of softened butter
1 cup shortening
1 bag (2 lb, 3 3/4 cups) powdered sugar
4 tbsp. milk
rosemary syrup (1 cup water + 1/4 cup sugar + 6-8 sprigs of fresh rosemary — simmer together in a small saucepan for 5 minutes then chill and strain)

1. Beat the butter and shortening together, then add sugar 1/2 cup at a time.
2. Beat in syrup and milk and mix until the consistency is light and fluffy.

Enjoy! <3, B

This post is part of the monthly link up party Our Growing Edge. This event aims to connect food bloggers and inspire us to try new things. This month is hosted by Lauren at Sweet and Southern Lifestyle.

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DIY: Making Boxed Cake Mix Taste Homemade

You’ve probably been there before: the mental debate you have with yourself regarding whether or not making a cake from scratch is worth the time and effort, rather than simply following the 3-step instructions found on every box in probably the most artificial section of the grocery store. There’s always an easy way out, giving in to the oil, egg, and water recipe, but it’s lazy. Then, there’s the more complicated and time consuming way, the eggs, sugar, flour, butter, baking powder, vanilla, etc. recipe, but it’s tedious when you don’t have all the time in the world. Don’t settle for the watered down flavor of death, but don’t go to great lengths if the pay off isn’t worth it! Instead, upgrade the boxed cake mix with easy substitutions so there’s a happy medium (or be an overachiever and make a cake from scratch, but no one likes overachievers. How dare you) (But use one of my cake recipes if you decide that’s what you want to do) (no pressure)

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Make the chocolate cupcakes/cake:

Ingredients (depending on the cake mix)

  • an extra egg (I used 4 eggs)
  • 2 tbsp of sour cream (it makes the cake moist)
  • milk instead of water
  • 1/4 cup of coffee (you won’t taste the coffee but it enhances the chocolate)

For the frosting: Beat together 4 oz of softened cream cheese and a can of frosting.

Follow the instructions on the box, but only beat the mix for 30 seconds instead of 2 minutes.

Enjoy! <3, B

White Rose Cake with Pink Vanilla Buttercream

aka The Best Cake I’ve ever made (just in time for Valentine’s Day)!

As of right now, my newest discovery happens to be my favorite ingredient: rose water. Though I’ve only made a couple things with this magical extract, it’s a great addition to simple recipes if you want to change things up a little. It also happens to be the case that roses are a natural aphrodisiac, hence the V-day theme. I derived this recipe from a simple white cake I found on Pinterest, so I do not take credit for the original, but I did switch it up quite a bit.

The cake is three 8-inch layers filled and frosted with a pink vanilla buttercream. If you want to pipe rosettes, my recommendation is to use a wide-star tip and start from the center of each rose, swirling out.

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Make the Cake

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks softened butter
  • ½ cup vegetable shortening
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 5 egg whites, room temperature
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 cups of milk, room temperature
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. rose water
  1. Butter and flour 3 8-inch cake pans. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and shortening. Add the sugar one cup at a time and beat until light and fluffy. Add the egg whites gradually and beat until incorporated. In a small bowl, whisk together the milk and vanilla and rose extracts.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder.
  4. Alternate adding the dry and wet ingredients into the egg mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.
  5. Bake for about 25-30 minutes until the cake is golden and a knife inserted comes out clean.

Pink Vanilla Buttercream: Beat together 2 sticks of softened with 1 lb of powdered sugar. Slowly add room temperature milk, one tablespoon at a time, until the frosting comes together. Beat until fluffy and fold in a drop of pink food dye.

Enjoy! <3, B

Marshmallow Fondant

Fondant is an edible clay used for covering and decorating cakes. It’s used instead of buttercream for a smooth finish, and also for topping cupcakes. Since making a fondant tier cake is always a project, I set aside a day for baking off the layers (lemon sponge), making the frosting (vanilla buttercream), and, of course, rolling out home made fondant. This is seriously marshmallow in its best form.

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Make the fondant:

Ingredients

  • 16 oz mini marshmallows
  • 8 cups powdered sugar
  • 5 tbsp. water
  1. In a large microwave-safe bowl, mix the marshmallows and water.
  2. Microwave the marshmallows for about 1 1/2 minutes, then stir until the marshmallows are almost completely melted. Put them back in for about 30 seconds, then they should be smooth with no chunks.
  3. Add the sugar 1 cup at a time and knead either with your clean hands or a wooden spoon. Once the fondant isn’t sticky, like soft dough, add food coloring if you want and knead until the color is even. For a marble effect, twist in food dye and stop when the fondant is marble-y.

Covering a cake

  1. Dust a counter or cutting board with either corn starch or powdered sugar. Use a rolling pin to roll out the fondant, making sure none of it is sticking (it takes a few times before you can get the fondant all on in one piece.)
  2. Spread a thin crumb coat of frosting over your cake. Sprinkle more powdered sugar over the sheet of fondant and fold it into fourths (this makes it easy to pick it up, I also use this technique for pie crust.)
  3. Place the folded fondant on the cake and unfold so there’s fondant down to the bottom. If it’s wrinkled, use a fondant smoother to even it out. 
  4. Use cookie cutters for fondant shapes and a shot glass for polka dots (and stick on the cake with water and a paint brush)

Enjoy! <3, B

Cookie Cake

Let’s be honest here because I’m no Mrs. Fields, but I love cookie cake. And so I had reached an impasse. With this recipe, I remade the classic “cake” and it turned out not bad✔

Not bad at all.

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Make the Cookie Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup salted butter (1/2 cup softened, 1/2 cup browned)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup of white sugar
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. milk
  • 3/4 bag chocolate chips
  • 2 cups of flour
  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Butter and flour a 9×9 cake pan.
  2. Beat the butter and sugar(s) together, then add the eggs 1 at a time. Beat for about 30 seconds, then mix in the milk and vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl, blend the flour and baking soda. Add the mixture to the butter and sugar a little at a time, stirring well after each addition. Mix in the chocolate chips.
  4. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for about 15-20 minutes or until the middle in moist but not uncooked.

Enjoy! <3, B

Caramel Cake

This cake needs no introduction. It’s all in the title. However, I will say that I was pleasantly surprised with how this turned out; the sponge is moist and came out of the pan crack and crumble free, the frosting was so amazing that I found myself eating the extra right from the bowl, and who doesn’t love a creamy sepia-tone dessert after a long week? I cut the recipe in half and made a 2-layer, but the recipe below is a 4-layer. Enjoy!Image

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Though I didn’t do it this time, you can garnish the cake with some coarse fleur de sel salt, or even a drizzle of ganache or caramel sauce.

Make the cake:

  • 2 sticks of butter (8 oz, softened)
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 3 cups white sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  1. Preheat the oven to 350, butter & flour 4 8-inch cake pans.
  2. In a kitchen-aid, beat the butter for about 1 minute, then add the white & brown sugar and beat until it’s fluffy. (Don’t use the whisk attachment!) Add the eggs 1 at a time, scraping the bowl occasionally. Then add the flour and milk.
  3. In another bowl stir the vinegar and baking soda, then add to the batter. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for about 30 minutes.

Tip: Rotate the pans half-way through the baking time.

Make the fluffy caramel frosting:

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 sticks of butter, divided
  • 2 bars of cream cheese (16 oz, softened)
  • 2/3 heavy cream
  • dash of salt
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  1. In a saucepan, whisk 1 stick butter and sugar on medium heat until combined and boiling. Let the mixture boil for a few seconds, then remove from heat and stir in the cream.
  2. In the kitchen aid, beat the rest of the butter until creamy and beat in the cream cheese. Add the salt, then scrape the bowl.
  3. Turn the mixer on slow and gradually pour in the cooled caramel. Once combined, add the powdered sugar.
  4. Frost the cake when all 4 rounds are cool. Level them by slicing off the rounded tops, and use an off-set spatula to cover each layer’s top before moving onto the next. Enjoy! <3, B

(This cake was inspired by Antique Caramel Cake from Baked Elements)

Easter Lemon Cake

Well this was a fun day. First of all, I’ll say it again, I’m Jewish. Second of all, I’ll say it again, I don’t think it really matters if you have fun celebrating a holiday. So I started the day with a fun brunch for my family. The rest of the day was dedicated to constructed this recipe; a fluffy fragrant lemon cake. The decorations happened to turn out on the sloppy side, but honestly I only really care about the taste.

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Make the cake

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 cups of sugar
  • 2 (8 oz) sticks of butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • A drop of almond extract (optional)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. lemon zest
  • 1 cup of buttermilk (1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice + 1 cup of milk)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 and butter/grease two 9-inch round pans.
  2. In a kitchen aid, beat the butter on high speed, scraping the bowl occasionally. Gradually add the sugar and cream together. Then add the eggs one at a time. Stir in the buttermilk.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk together the zest, flour, and baking soda.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and beat together. 
  5. Pour the batter in the pan and bake until the top is springy and the middle is dry, about 25-30 minutes.

Decorate the Cake

Ingredients:

  • Jordan Almonds
  • Colorful sunflower seeds
  • Sprinkles
  • Peeps
  • Simple frosting (4 cups powdered sugar + a few drops of milk and lemon juice + food dye)

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Enjoy! <3, B

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Probably the richest cake you’ll ever find; it’s smooth and just the right amount of dense. Its elegance might even fool yourself into thinking it was difficult to make.

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You’ll be surprised at how simple it is trust me.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups of sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 sticks of butter (& more for greasing)
  • 8 oz bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (or chocolate chips)

Make the cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Use a spring-form pan, cut out a circle of parchment paper (enough to cover the bottom of the pan) and grease the pan with butter.
  2. Melt the chopped chocolate and butter together in a small-ish bowl over simmering water. Whisk until smooth.
  3. Remove the bowl from the heat and whisk in the sugar. Then add the eggs one by one, whisk well after each addition. If you feel like being an over-achiever, sift the cocoa powder over the batter and whisk until smooth. If you’re lazy like me, just pour the cocoa powder over the batter and whisk until smooth. Ain’t nobody got time fo dat.
  4. Pour the batter into the greased pan and bake for 30-35 minutes until the top is cracked a little, a fork inserted comes out clean, and your kitchen smells like rainbows and happiness.
  5. Lick the bowl.

Enjoy, my lovelies! <3, B

Rainbow Cake

I was trying to think of a creative idea for my cousin’s 5th birthday cake. I definitely wanted to do something colorful and fun for the decorations. She wanted Hello Kitty, so I thought I’d give her Hello Kitty. But for some reason, it didn’t seem like it was enough to buy a cat-shaped cake pan and pipe the familiar face. The decision I made was to make a rainbow cake. I’d seen pictures before, but it seemed like a fun yet difficult experiment I could tackle.

 

 

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Here’s how you make a rainbow cake:

Ingredients:

  • 2 boxes white cake mix
  • Food coloring
  • 2 cans of diet lemon-lime soda

Make the cake:

  1. Butter or grease the cake pan and preheat the oven to the temperature it says on the box.
  2. Pour the cake mix into a large bowl, add the soda, and mix with a spoon until blended. 
  3. Separate the batter into 4 different bowls. Add the different colors to each bowl and mix until the color is even.
  4. Pour the batter into the greased pan, and bake for however long it directs on the box.

<3, B

PS, the photos haven’t been exactly quality lately. My apologies, I was not able to use an actual camera for a while. Hopefully I’ll be uploading some better quality pictures soon. x