Cake

Teddy Bear Birthday Cake

teddy-bear-birthday-cake

I can tell you right now that one of the greatest joys of my life will be making my boys’ birthday cakes year after year. I love nothing more than homemade chocolate cake, and when I’m making one for such a happy joyous occasion, my heart explodes. I can’t wait to make them in the form of C-3PO or Batman or Sponge Bob of whoever these little guys of mine are obsessed with at the moment. And BTW, they WILL each get their own cake every year. They didn’t this year because they just really have no idea, and I personally am not in a place where I need two birthday cakes kicking around the house. I simply cannot control myself.

I’m not going to say how fast this year went because that’s a given. What has truly surprised me though is the amount of shear joy I get from these two little boys, and the strong bond that we have after only one year of life together. I can’t imagine a world without them in it. I also can’t imagine having only one of them – they are undeniably a perfect pair and my heart grew times a thousand to make room for the true love and obsession I have for these two baby boys.

Onto the cake. Just to put it out there, I am a terrible froster, terrible cake slicer, terrible artist, and I have zero patience for cake decorating. When I make my own birthday cake I literally slap on the frosting and douse it in sprinkles.  So when you consider making this cake, a) you’ll obviously note my less than perfect frosting job – but I’m telling myself that’s part of the baby theme and b) know that if I can make this, you FOR SURE can.  There’s something about my hands that just don’t agree with frosting cakes. So. I would definitely say as far as shaped cakes go, this is easy!

What you’ll need:

  • 2 8 inch round cake pans, buttered, floured, and lined with parchment (bottom)
  • 1 3.5 inch round cookie cutter
  • 1 large marshmallow
  • 2 flat chocolate discs (or something similar, for eyeballs)
  • Black gel icing (in a tube)

Cake Recipe

Frosting

  • 5 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 sticks butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup + 1-2 tablespoons milk, divided
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted and divided
  • 1/3 cup semi- sweet chocolate chips, melted

Make the cake in the two 8 inch round pans, and let cool completely.  One will be for the face, the other will be used for the ears and nose.  Level the cake with a serrated knife if necessary.  Using the cookie cutter, cut out 3 circles from one of the cakes. One will be the snout, the other two will be the ears. Using a knife, cut off little rounded edges on the bottom of the ears so that they can lay flat against the top of the head.

To make the frosting, cream the butter and powdered sugar together. Add the vanilla and 1/4 cup of the milk. Add in just 1 tablespoon of the cocoa.  This will be the light brown frosting for the ears and snout. Remove about 1 cup of this frosting to a separate bowl.  In main bowl, add in remaining 4 tablespoons cocoa powder, melted chocolate chips, and remaining 1 tablespoon of milk (more as needed).  Frost the bear’s face and ears with the dark chocolate frosting. Frost the snout with the light brown, and add little dollops of the light brown for the center of the ears.

For the eye, cut two white eyeballs from the marshmallow by cutting off either end about 1/8 inch thick.  Secure the chocolate disk onto the marshmallow using a little frosting.  Place the frosted snout on the bear’s face, then add the eyes on top.  Paint on a nose and mouth with the black gel.  And that’s it! The snout tasted the best.

chocolate-toffee-texas-sheet-cake

I feel like a fool.  A classic fool.  I have been shunning sheet cake for years. Why would I make a sheet cake? It’s either a boring looking chocolate cake, or a slightly puffier brownie.  Why?

Well, I’ll tell you why.  BECAUSE IT’S AMAZING.  Like, seriously amazing. And seriously easy.  I can’t wait to make this for everyone for every event forever.

I researched multiple recipes online, merged different features and added sour cream, subbed toffee chips for the pecans, and added a pinch of coffee in the frosting.

Recipe 

Cake:

  • 2 cups Flour
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 4 heaping tablespoons Cocoa
  • 2 sticks Butter
  • 1 cup Boiling Water
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sour cream
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla

Topping:

  • 1 stick Butter
  • 4 heaping tablespoons Cocoa
  • 1/4 cup coffee
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • ~16 oz Powdered Sugar
  • 1 bag Heath Toffee Bits

Preheat the oven to 350.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda.  In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Whisk in the cocoa powder, then add the boiling water.  Let the mixture bubble for a minute, then turn off the heat and mix into the flour mixture.  In another bowl, beat the eggs then add the sour cream, milk, and vanilla.  Mix this into the batter, making sure the chocolate is cool enough so it doesn’t cook the eggs. Pour the batter into an ungreased jelly roll pan, and bake for 20 minutes.

While the cake is baking, make the topping.  Melt the butter in a saucepan, and add the cocoa powder. Whisk in the coffee, milk, vanilla, and powdered sugar to make a thick glaze (or a thin frosting).  As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, pour the toffee bits on top of the cake, followed by the frosting.

Triple Chocolate Bundt Cake

triple-chocolate-bundt-cake

I don’t really like the word divine, it reminds me of Cruella De Vil. I’m pretty sure she said that word a lot. But, if there’s a time to use it, this is it. This cake is divine. I love bundt cake for its relative ease of assembly (no layering, no frosting obligation, etc), and this recipe did not disappoint (I love Joy the Baker!). It produced a wonderful chocolate flavor, was better on the second day, and allowed me to get a little heavy handed with the frosting. I did three simple glazes: chocolate, buttermilk, and dark chocolate. No reason for this, unless you’re a crazy chocolate monster like I am. My only complaint about this recipe is that I had to make it twice. The first one broke apart just a bit when coming out of the pan, so MAKE SURE YOU butter AND FLOUR the pan. I didn’t really realize how critical this step was, but it is. Brush the whole pan with melted butter, then dust it with flour. It’s annoying, but do it. It is more annoying to make the cake twice.

Until you realize that while ugly, the first cake it still totally edible in the privacy of your own home. And now you have two chocolate bundt cakes. Cake recipe here.

Chocolate Glaze

6 oz melted bittersweet chocolate
1 stick melted butter
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup sour cream
¼ cup coffee

Buttermilk Glaze

1 cup powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons buttermilk
Dash vanilla

Dark Chocolate Glaze

6 oz melted super dark chocolate (I used 85%)
1 tablespoon corn syrup
2 tablespoons melted butter
~2-3 tablespoons coffee (enough to make into a thin glaze)

Mix desired glaze ingredients together, then pour over the cooled cake one at a time – letting each dry a little before adding the next one.

three-layer-chocolate-cake-with-salted

Sorry, I’ve been missing.  Lots going on. And while every time I cook or think about cooking I have my blog in mind, I can’t find the time or motivation to write about it. I need a ghost writer. Any takers?

Birthday cake.  What’s better than a birthday cake? They’re delicious, they’re celebratory, and you only get to enjoy your own once a year. When my friend Annie was planning her 30th birthday party earlier this month, she asked me to be her cake captain.  Actually I nominated myself, but she selected me. I’m not sure how many others were in the running, but I imagine it was pretty stiff competition.  It was a job I took very seriously and it took a lot of research, brainstorming, and decision-making.  Luckily I just came out of leadership training at work.

I made the executive decision to stick with my go-to chocolate cake, which is Ina’s perfect chocolate cake recipe.  But I doubled the recipe, and made a 3-layer 10 inch cake. By the way, it IS the perfect chocolate cake recipe and I will never try anything different.

When it came to the filling, I decided on salted caramel butter cream.  Why? Well, because 1. It’s salted caramel butter cream, and 2. It’s one of Annie’s favorites and she had it at her wedding.  And I ate most of it so I owed her one.

So, here it is:

Chocolate Cake

Salted Caramel Butter Cream Filling

  • 1 cup of Martha’s salted caramel filling (you can half this recipe)
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 5-6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk or cream
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt

 Chocolate Butter Cream Frosting

  • 4 sticks butter, softened
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 8 oz melted milk chocolate
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup milk or cream

Topping

  • 4-6 smashed Cadbury Caramello bars
  • Coarse sea salt

Prepare the cake as instructed, doubling the recipe if you want to make a triple layer 10-inch cake.  After it has cooled, refrigerate the layers for at least an hour, but preferable overnight (cake tastes better the next day!).   When ready to frost and assemble, prepare the salted caramel filling.  I did NOT use a candy thermometer, I just used her recommended timing and it turned out perfectly.  Use one cup of the filling (and save the rest for ice cream!), and beat together with butter, powdered sugar, milk, and salt.  You’re going to need to lick the bowl here.  To prepare the chocolate butter cream, melt 8 oz of milk or semisweet chocolate (30 second intervals in the microwave).  Beat the powdered sugar and butter, then add in the chocolate and milk.

Take the cakes out of the fridge and level them off to create a flat surface (this is actually quite easy with a serrated knife and a chilled cake).  Place the first layer on a cake stand, and top with plenty of salted caramel filling (as much as you want, really – you will definitely have some filling left over).  Place the next layer on top, and repeat.

Add the final layer, then frost the whole thing with the chocolate butter cream.  Top with caramellos and sea salt.

The only thing I would have done differently with this cake is that I would not have transported it via cab while wearing a mini skirt. Very tricky.  The cake is about 500 lbs so you will need to prepare for some heavy lifting and rock solid planning if you need to take it anywhere.  But, you will be very happy once you do. It goes perfectly with ice cream, wine, and karaoke party buses.

easy-homemade-amazing-funfetti-cake

I’ve spoken before about my fondness for Sally’s Baking Addiction, and this cake couldn’t be a better example. I will make this forever, for the rest of my life, every day.  Actually probably not every day because those sprinkles are very expensive.

Luckily, when we were in NYC last weekend, we got to see John’s cousin AND celebrate her birthday. I love celebrating birthdays! And a birthday without cake is no celebration at all.  So my sister and I spent one baby-holding afternoon baking this cake on the side, and I have never been so pleased with a recipe. It’s very easy, doesn’t require layering, doesn’t have 5 million ingredients, and it’s flavorful and moist beyond belief.   Thanks Vee for turning a year older that day so we could all eat Funfetti cake on your behalf.  You can find the recipe here.

 

Lemon Cake

lemon-cake
Unfortunately, my husband chose lemon cake for his birthday. Call me selfish, but I was really hoping for chocolate. Lemon cake has always confused me a bit, but maybe as I get older and my taste buds mature I will come to appreciate the lighter and fresher taste a lemon cake has to offer.
That being said, this was definitely tasty. I would never choose it for my birthday, but this was good. I imagine making it on a crisp spring day and enjoying it with a hot cup of tea in the garden. I don’t like tea, but I’m sure some day I will.
Recipe
  • 1 Duncan Hines Lemon Cake Mix (18.25 oz)
  • 1 Pkg Instant Lemon Pudding (4 serving)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
Preheat the oven to 350 and grease a bundt pan. Mix all ingredients, pour into the pan, and bake for about 40-45 minutes.  Let cool for about 20 minutes before dumping it out. LESSON LEARNED: Do NOT buy the Betty Crocker cake mix. I did this the first time, and it turned out really small and really dense – it turns out the cake mix is 3 oz smaller and already includes pudding!
Frosting
  • ~1/2 bag powdered sugar
  • Juice from 1 large lemon or 2 small
  • 2-4 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter

For the frosting, mix all ingredients with an electric hand mixer. Add only enough milk to bring it to the right consistency.  Drizzle over the cooled cake, and garnish with lemons.

12