Bananas Foster Monkey Bread

Bananas Foster Monkey Bread

Travel is the best way to draw inspiration in life. For me traveling means exploring the food of the city I am visiting. I spend hours of research mapping out my food journey to ensure I eat only the best the city has to offer. Oftentimes the result is overindulgence over a short period of hours.

Two weekends ago I found myself in New Orleans. One of my favorite southern cities of all time. I am lucky to have family in Louisiana which gives me more than enough legitimate reasons to explore the land of endless sugar cane fields. If you have never visited, I strongly urge you to add NOLA to your short list of destinations. Wrought with history and culture, the French influenced city has no shortage of things to see and do. Live music in every bar, towering historical buildings, and more voodoo shops that you can stand. I have been many times yet I have never seen the same thing twice.

Louisiana a state that is know for the origin of Cajun cuisine which is heavily influenced by Creole cooking with French technique. Technically, Cajun food did not start in Louisiana, but through immigrants who eventually settled in the state. And yes, there is a large difference in the Cajun and Creole, which I plan on breaching in a later post.

For now I would like to spend a little bit of time focusing on the Creole and French side of the state. The city folk, those in New Orleans, cook Creole food, unlike the country folk who cook Cajun. Since I spent time in the city, everything I ate could be considered Cajun—even the non-Cajun food—and here is why:

If you have ever visited New Orleans it is easy to see that the town is a culmination cultures created through the settlement of immigrants, which is still occurring today. There are more restaurants that a visitor could reasonably conquer, all of which are a different—even if only slightly. Restauranteurs present patrons with their interpretation of local food, adding in their own influences and ideas. This is a practice that has been occurring in NOLA since before my time. The food of our ancestors is not the food of our towns as we now know them.

A world-wide known dessert is the perfect example of the evolution of the food in NOLA. Bananas foster was created in New Orleans at famous New Orleans restaurant Brennan’s by Chef Paul Blange. Today you can still visit Brennan’s and try the food that has been nominated for multiple James Beard Awards. The recipe was created in 1951 and even published by the New York Times in 1957. The concept is simple: smother ripe bananas in butter, sugar, and liquor then set it aflame.

Although widely considered a traditional southern dish, by no means it is so in the literal sense of the word. The recipe was not contemplated until the mid 20th century. When comparing so many dishes that are said to be traditionally southern, bananas fosters is much younger than say hoppin’ john, which can be dated back to the 19th century.

This dish epitomizes both Southern and Louisiana cuisine, ever progressing into new fare that features a nod to the past. So why not draw inspiration from a City and State that has drawn culinary inspiration from it’s inhabitants, landscape, and visitors, and create something totally new from already known and loved recipe (also my husband begged me to make monkey bread, so the idea was streamline).

Many recipes call for canned biscuit dough. I believe that fresh is best, so my recipe makes the dough from scratch.

If you draw any inspiration from this post or recipe, I hope you take the idea of bananas foster and add it into a something to create a brand new dessert…or savory dish. I would love to hear about what you come up with!

The finished loaf turned out from the pan

Bananas Foster Monkey Bread

The baked bread cooling in the pan

Ingredients

  • For the Dough:
  • ⅔ Cup of Warm Whole Milk, no higher than 110°F
  • 1 Tablespoon of Sugar
  • 1 0.25 Ounce Package Dry Yeast
  • 3¼ Cups of Flour, divided
  • ¼ Cup of Butter, melted
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 Teaspoon of Salt
  • For the coating:
  • 1 Cup of Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon of Cinnamon
  • For the Bananas Foster:
  • 4 Very Ripe Bananas, peeled and sliced
  • 4 Tablespoons of Butter
  • 1 Cup of Firmly Packed Light Brown Sugar
  • ½ Cup of Heavy Whipping Cream, room temperature
  • 3 Tablespoons of Bourbon
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 4 ripe bananas, sliced

Instructions

  1. Start by making the dough.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, pour in the milk then sprinkle over the yeast and sugar. Let sit for at least 10 minutes until the yeast is bubbly.
  3. With the dough hook attached, turn the speed to low. Pour in 1 cup of flour, mixing until combine. Next the melted butter, and finish 1 cup of flour.
  4. Mix in the eggs, then finish with the remaining flour and salt.
  5. Once dough is fully combined turn the speed to medium and kneed for 3-5 minutes. A soft dough should form and pull away from the sides of the bowl.
  6. Coat a large bowl with cooking spray. Place the dough in the bowl, coat with spray, and allow to rise, covered, in a draft free place for one hour or until double in size.
  7. In a small bowl, combine the topping sugar and cinnamon. Mix until combined then set aside for later.
  8. Prepare your bananas fosters. In a medium sauce pan, over medium-high heat, add brown sugar and butter. Cook for approximately 3-5 minutes until mixture is an amber color.
  9. Remove from the heat and stir in the cream, salt, and bananas. Stir to fully coat bananas. Set aside and allow to cool.
  10. Prepare a bundt pan by coating it in cooking spray.
  11. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  12. Once dough has doubled, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Gently shape dough into a ball.
  13. Pinch off one inch pieces, roll them into a ball, then dunk them into the cinnamon sugar mixture.
  14. Start assembling by placing a small amount of bananas fosters mix into the bottom of the pan.
  15. Create a layer of dough balls in the bottom of the pan, then coat in your bananas fosters. Continuing layering dough and sauce until the pan is full.
  16. Bake until golden brown, 35-40 minutes.
  17. Let cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes before turning it out.
  18. Eat!
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https://epicuropedia.com/2019/04/19/bananas-foster-monkey-bread/

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My Favorite Cake Pop Shop in Savannah: Sweet Whimsy

My Favorite Cake Pop Shop in Savannah: Sweet Whimsy

HAVE YOU ever had famous cake pops? I have and I am never going back.

Unfortunately for me, I did not discover the professional (and television worthy) cake pops of Sweet Whimsy Shop until this year. I assure you, I have eaten my weight in cake balls to make up for lost time.

As a licensed cottage bakery, Sweet Whimsy Shop has been providing the Savannah area with unique and artful cake pops for some time and eventually made a star studded appearance on The Late Late Show. Impressively, Sweet Whimsy’s TV debut happened only three short years after opening shop doors.

Owner and master creator Becca Aronowitz quit her full time job as a middle school teacher in 2012 to begin her journey as a bakery owner. Her background in art has served her well.

“I’ve always loved creating, in any form, and I think I identify more as an artist or maker, than a baker specifically. I began taking after school art classes as a 7 year old. I have degrees in art education, and I was an art teacher for several years,” she explains.

The result is a bakery that focuses on ensuring each resulting product is a work of art. As far as cake pop art goes, she’s Andy Warhol.

Aronowitz takes the time to hand sculpt each and every cake popsicle before decorating them by hand. The attentive attention to detail is what sets her art on a stick aside from all other cake pop makers around the lowcountry. Each finished contoured, compact cake is worthy of the Louvre.

To create the luscious lollipops, Aronowitz mixes the perfect ratio of tender, moist cake with homemade frosting.

“I’ve always been committed to using scratch-baked cake & frosting for my cake pops. Many cake pop makers use boxed mixes and canned frosting, but I believe my creations should taste as good as they look, and if you’re going to make something as labor-intensive as a cake pop, shouldn’t it be worth consuming?” Aronowitz elaborates.

Using the correct amount of cake and frosting is extremely important. Too little frosting and the cake pop will be dry, crumbly, and difficult to shape; too much frosting and the resulting goodies will be overly sweet and taste only of icing.

Sweet Whimsy Shop has it down to a science. Every single lolli has a tender, slightly moist center that reveals itself upon chomping down on the crunchy outer shell of the treat. The cake itself melts in your mouth, allowing the flavoring of the pop to flood your palate.

After the cake and frosting is mixed, Aronowitz portions out each ball of cake. Then the cake ball is individually hand sculpted before being dipped into a chocolate shell.

I ask Aronowitz how she comes up with each inspired design, and she tells me, “Most of my ideas and designs are created in response to client requests. Sometimes a client will present a photo of a cake pop design she’d like reproduced. If that’s the case, and it’s not one of my designs, I try to customize it to avoid copying and I credit the original creator whenever they can be identified. Sometimes the client has a theme or general vision, and I try to create a cake pop collection that will coordinate with the theme, or realize the vision.”

For my set of cake pops, I asked that she make anything she felt like making. Aronowitz designed and delivered the cutest set of avocado, llama, taco, and cactus cake pops. The avocados are the newest addition to Sweet Whimsey’s portfolio.

Past designs have included anything from a thanksgiving turkey to taxi cab. I even found cake designed to look like a margarita glass on her website.
Inside each of my personal pops were the shop’s signature flavors, Yummy Vanilla Cake and Decadent Chocolate. Aronowitz told me that the vanilla and chocolate are the most popular flavors. The chocolate was my personal favorite.

Customers have the choice for a mix-in of sprinkles or candy into their design. Kiddie Party Mix is a vanilla cake with rainbow sprinkles layered in and the Chocolate Rainbow Explosion features chocolate cake with rainbow sprinkles.

Reese’s peanut butter cups fill the Vanilla Reese’s and the Double Chocolate Peanut Butter includes chocolate with peanut butter and mini chocolate chips. My next order will definitely test out one of the Reese’s inspired creations.

I ask Aronowitz if Sweet Whimsy offers any other special flavors. “I also offer seasonal flavors, like Green Velvet for St. Patrick’s Day. During September, October, and November, I offer Pumpkin Spice. It’s made with real pumpkin and spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, and it’s so good! Cozy Gingerbread was introduced this winter, after a test-taste vote during one of my pop-ups in November. I can also do custom flavors, like the Blonde Velvet I made for a friend’s wedding. It’s a red velvet recipe but made without the dye; I like it better that way!”

Sweet Whimsy Shop is constantly designing and creating, like any true committed artist. The success of the cottage shop has pushed Aronowitz to expand to other mediums.

“Cake pops are still the majority of what I make, but I am slowly expanding to include other small, very cute treats. The focus will always be on edible art that is whimsical, created with precision, and great-tasting. I have figured out how to do that very well with cake pops, but the vision extends further,” she says.
To be expected, just as much detail and finesse into all of her new treats and flavors.

If you take a peek at her instagram, @sweetwhimseyshop, you will find chocolate covered Oreos (with decorations of course), rice crispy pops, and many other brilliantly designed and decorated confections.

Original article is here.

Double Cookie Birthday Cake

Double Cookie Birthday Cake

I am positive after reading that title you are asking, “What the heck is a double cookie birthday cake?” It is a creation from my own head. A vanilla cake stuffed with eggless cookie dough then coated in a cookies and cream icing, i.e. double cookies.

The idea started with last years birthday celebration for my husband. His all-time favorite cookie is a snickerdoodle, so I made him a triple cookie birthday cake. It was literally three different layers of cookie smothered in a salted caramel buttercream icing.

My Triple Cookie Cake recipe can be found here.

For his birthday this year, I wanted to keep the theme going for my husband. So instead of three layers of cookie, I made three layers of classic vanilla cake; the cookie portion would come in with the icing and stuffing (making it only a double cookie cake).

To finish it off? An optional drizzle of creamy rich chocolate ganache and a big ball of cookie dough.

The finished result is a classic vanilla birthday cake that everyone knows and loves jammed with those nostalgic cookie flavors of your childhood.

Double Cookie Birthday Cake

Double Cookie Birthday Cake

Ingredients

  • For the Eggless Cookie Dough:
  • 3/4 Cup of Packed Brown Sugar
  • 1 Stick of Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 1 Cup of Chocolate Chips
  • 1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Cup of All Propose Flour
  • 2 Tablespoons of Whole Milk
  • For the Icing:
  • 2 Sticks of Butter, Softened
  • 4 Cups of Powdered Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup of Heavy Cream
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Sleeve of Oreos, crushed
  • For the Cake:
  • 2 Sticks of Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 2 Cups of Granulated Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon of Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Cups of Cake Flour
  • 1 Cup of Buttermilk
  • 1 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon of Baking Powder

Instructions

  1. Start by making the cake layers. Grease and flour three 8-inch cake pans then set them aside until ready to use.
  2. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. In you stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. This takes approximately 3-4 minutes.
  4. In a small bowl mix together the wet ingredients; the eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla.
  5. In a separate small bowl sift together the dry ingredients; the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  6. Starting with your wet mixture, pour in 1/3 and mix over medium speed until fully combined.
  7. Next add in 1/3 of your dry mixture, mixing until combined.
  8. Continue adding in your wet and dry mixture, alternating, until your finish with the final 1/3 of your dry mixture. Mix on medium speed until the batter is fully combined.
  9. Divide your cake batter evenly between the three cake pans.
  10. Bake the cake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  11. After baking, allow the cakes to cool completely before assembly.
  12. While the cake layers cool, create your eggless cookie dough.
  13. In your stand mixer, on medium speed, beat together the softened butter and the brown sugar until light and fluffy. This should take 3-4 minutes.
  14. Add in the flour, milk, and vanilla beating until combined.
  15. Add the chocolate chips, mixing in by hand.
  16. Set the dough aside until ready to use.
  17. Make your icing by creaming the butter in your stand mixer.
  18. Gently pour in the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time. Mix fully before pouring the next portion.
  19. Once the icing is nice and whipped, pour in the salt, milk, and vanilla. Mix on medium speed until fully mixed.
  20. Finally, pour in the crushed oreos and mix until the oreos are incorporated throughout the icing.
  21. Assemble your cake by spreading a layer of icing between the first two layers, the cookie dough should go in the middle, and another layer of icing over the top layer.
  22. Any leftover cookie dough can be used to decorate the top of the cake.
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https://epicuropedia.com/2019/02/28/double-cookie-birthday-cake/

Chai Milk Cake

Chai Milk Cake

Being able to bake a cake is the cornerstone of becoming a good baker–especially an at-home baker. But if you are anything like me (I have been baking since my teenage years), you may feel as though you have baked every type of cake there is. After enough time you start pulling away from baking the same old cakes, and bake new and exiting things. At least until a new and exciting cake idea comes along.

A few weeks ago I read about the idea of a milk cake and was thrilled – I found a cake I have never made before.

The concept is simple. Much like a tres leches cake, you bake a dense cake then soak it in flavored milk. The result is half custard, half super moist cake. The milk mixture for the soak is similar to that of a tres leches, but you take the time to flavor the cream by heating it up and steeping it.

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Like many of my recipes, you can steep the milk with anything. Any tea, honey, cinnamon, vanilla–the list is endless.

Within the last year I have started to like chai tea. The spicy flavors of chai tea steeped in the milk soak would be the perfect balance to a sweet and sticky cake. I carried the flavor of the chai tea into the topping for the cake.

Again, this cake would pair well with many toppings, whipped cream, caramel, and most fruits. I chose to make a fig, apricot, golden raisin compote to keep with the theme of warm winter flavors.

After testing the recipe out, I served it at a quaint little dinner party last weekend. I normally find fault in my own baked goods but could not find much fault in this cake. The cake did not last through the weekend.

Chai Milk Cake

Milk being poured over the finished cake

Ingredients

  • For the Compote:
  • 2 Cups of Water
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons of Honey
  • 1 Chai Tea Bag
  • 1/2 Cup of Dried Apricots, quartered
  • 1/2 Cup of Dried Figs, quartered
  • 1/2 Cup of Golden Raisins
  • 1/2 Vanilla Bean
  • 2 Tablespoons of Whiskey
  • For the Cake:
  • 2 Sticks of Butter, softened
  • 1 Cup of Sugar
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 1 1/2 Cups of All Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 1/2 of a Vanilla Bean
  • 1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Teaspoons of Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Cup of Whole Milk
  • For the Soak:
  • 1 - 12 Ounce Can of Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1 - 15 Ounce Can of Evaporated Milk
  • 1 Cup of Heavy Cream
  • 1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
  • 5 Chai Tea Bags

Instructions

  1. In a small saucepan, combine the water, honey, and 1 chai tea bag. Bring to a boil over medium heat.
  2. Next stir in the raisins, figs, apricots, whiskey, and the scrapings from the inside of the vanilla bean.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook the mixture for 5 minutes before removing the tea bag.
  4. Cook the mixture for an additional 10 minutes, or until the liquid turns to a light syrup.
  5. Set the mixture aside to cool before serving.
  6. For the cake, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease an 8-inch round cake pan and set aside for later.
  7. In your stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. This takes about 5 minutes.
  8. Slowly add in the eggs, one at a time, until fully combined and the mixture is fluffy.
  9. Combine all of your dry ingredients, then slowly sift in one-half of the dry mixture into the butter mixture. Mix until combined.
  10. Next add in the milk, vanilla extract, and the scraped inside of the vanilla pod. Mix until combined.
  11. Finally, add the remaining one-half of the dry mixture, mixing until fully combined.
  12. Pour the cake batter into your prepared cake pan and bake on the middle rack for 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  13. Once your cake is baked, remove it from the oven and let it cool.
  14. While the cake cools, prepare your chai milk soak mixture.
  15. In a small saucepan, combine all of the ingredients for your milk soak.
  16. Over medium heat, bring the mixture close to a simmer, then turn off the heat. Allow the tea to steep uncovered for 10 minutes.
  17. After they have steeped, remove the tea bags from milk mixture.
  18. Turn out your cake onto its serving tray. Gently pour your milk mixture onto the cake.
  19. The soak will not fully absorb initially, so spoon any extra soak back onto the cake before serving.
  20. Serve the cake with the compote. The cake will last one day.
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https://epicuropedia.com/2019/02/04/chai-milk-cake/

Finsihed soaked cake topped with compote

 

Chocolate Stout Bundt Cake

Chocolate Stout Bundt Cake

Just as fast as they went last year, the holidays are upon us again. Although my waistline hates it, my heart gets excited to bake and cook as much as humanly possible over then next few months.

Which means this week, I have been testing recipes so I can bring the perfect dessert to our Thanksgiving feast. When coming up with recipes I like to take classics and add a slight twist, so a macadamia nut pie, instead of pecan, was on my list to try out. I will post the recipe soon.

This past weekend we had some friends over for a laid back night (but also so I could test out my pie recipe on them). Filet, truffle mashed potatoes, rosemary focaccia, and a few stout beers later, we were almost – almost – too full to eat pie. We still ate it though. And I am happy to report that the pie only needs one or two tweaks.

The next morning, waking up full and happy, I realized I had a bit of my stout beer left over. I do not like to waste food, so it was the perfect opportunity to throw a second dessert contestant into the mix. For some reason I could not get the idea of a stout bundt cake out of my head, so I began baking.

An upclose picture of the salted caramle glaze

I used a Dutch process cocoa powder, which is darker than the normal stuff, because I had it leftover from a previous recipe that I tested. Also, the use of cake flour would be perfect to lighten the dense texture of a chocolate bundt cake.

The only issue was deciding on what to top the cake with. Flavor contenders included espresso, caramel, and more chocolate. My husband does not love chocolate cake, so I landed on caramel to ensure that he would like this cake. The last touch, a little salt in the caramel to cut through the very decedent flavors.

This recipe turned out better than I could have imagined, and I didn’t have to change a single thing in the recipe. This may be one of the best chocolate cakes I have ever baked, and I will definitely proudly take it to our festivities on Thursday.

Confession: As soon as the cake was cooled and I snapped a few pictures, I ate a slice for lunch. That is the reason there are so few pictures in this post.

…I ate a second slice after dinner that night.

A slice of chocolate cake with salted caramel on top

Chocolate Stout Bundt Cake

A fininished chocolate cake sits next to an empty bowl of caramel glaze

Ingredients

  • 2 Sticks of Unsalted Butter
  • 1 Cup of Good Stout Beer
  • 3/4 Cup of Dutch Process Cocoa Powder
  • 2 Cups of All Purpose Flour
  • 2 Cups of Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon of Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 Tablespoon of Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 3/4 Cup of Sour Cream
  • For the Salted Caramel Glaze
  • 5 Tablespoons of Butter
  • 1/2 Cup of Packed Brown Sugar
  • 1/3 Cup of Heavy Cream
  • 2 Tablespoons of Stout Beer
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 1 Cup of Powdered Sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Prepare your bundt cake pan by greasing it then coating it in cocoa powder. Be sure to shake out any excess cocoa powder. Set the pan aside.
  3. In a small saucepan, melt your butter.
  4. Once the butter is melted, remove your butter from the heat and whisky in your stout beer, vanilla extract, and cocoa powder. Set the mixture aside to cool.
  5. In another bowl, sift together your sugar, flour, salt, and baking soda.
  6. Starting with your dry mixture, whisk in 1/3 of the mixture into your cooled butter mixture. Whisk until fully combined.
  7. Next whisk in one egg, followed by the next 1/3 of your dry mixture. Mixing until combined. Whisk in your sour cream, then the last portion of your dry mixture, and finally your last egg. Mix until well combined.
  8. Pour your batter into your prepared cake pan.
  9. Bake the cake on middle rack for approximately 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  10. Let the cake cool on the counter for at least one hour before glazing.
  11. While cake cools, prepare your glaze.
  12. In a small sauce pan, combine your brown sugar, butter, cream, and salt.
  13. Cook mixture over medium heat until it reaches a boil.
  14. Once at a boil cook the mixture for an additional 3 minutes, stirring constantly. You want to make sure all of the brown sugar cooks into the butter, so you do not have a grainy caramel.
  15. Remove the mixture from the heat and let it cool for about 15 minutes.
  16. Once cooled, sift in your powdered sugar then whisk in your stout beer. You want the mixture to be thick yet pourable. You can add more powdered sugar if needed.
  17. Once the cake is completely cooled and removed from the pan, pour your glaze over the top of the cake.
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https://epicuropedia.com/2018/11/19/chocolate-stout-bundt-cake/

Maple & Burnt Cinnamon Cakes

Maple & Burnt Cinnamon Cakes

After reading the title, you may be asking yourself–what the heck is burnt cinnamon? When I first heard of it, I thought the same thing. Of course I was curious to know what it tasted like, so baking time ensued after a short deliberation on how to use it.

I will say this–making burnt cinnamon is one of the easiest things ever. You literally take a cinnamon stick, place it on a sheet pan, and torch it with a brulee torch. Voila! You have burnt cinnamon.

Charring the outside changes the flavor of the cinnamon. It mellows it out and adds roasted chocolatey notes. It only changes the flavor slightly, so you can use it in any recipe that calls for cinnamon.

I am hooked. I will probably forever char my cinnamon before adding it to a recipe.

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After it is charred you can grate it yourself, or steep in it milk to transfer the flavor. For this recipe I did both.

Since the air is so crisp and cool out, completely unlike the low country, I wanted to use a few falls flavors. Do not get me wrong, I love pumpkin but I wanted to stay clear of it as a fall flavor. Maple seemed ideal, and would be easy to impart into any recipe as the sweetener.

I created these tiny cakes by baking them in a maple leaf cake mold. You can bake the batter in any miniature cake mold or bake the entire cake in a bunt cake pan. I recommend a bunt cake pan, if you go big, because the batter results in a denser cake.

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Maple & Burnt Cinnamon Cakes

Maple & Burnt Cinnamon Cakes

Ingredients

  • 1 Stick of Butter, softened
  • 1/2 Cup of Brown Sugar, packed
  • 1/2 Cup of Maple Syrup
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • 1/2 Cup of Milk
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 1/2 Cups of Flour
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Baking Soda
  • 1 Teaspoon of Baking Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 1/2 Cup of Powdered Sugar

Instructions

  1. Burn the outside of your cinnamon stick with a torch. Set aside to cool.
  2. Once cooled grate 1/2 teaspoon from the cinnamon stick and set aside.
  3. In a small saucepan, combine your milk and cinnamon stick. Bring to a low simmer then cover and let steep for approximately 15 minutes. Set milk aside to let cool before using.
  4. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and prepare your cake pan by coating it in butter then flour. Be sure to shake out the excess flour.
  5. In your stand mixer, cream together your butter and brown sugar. Beat on medium for approximately five minutes or until light and fluffy.
  6. While the butter mixes, prepare your dry mix. In a bowl mix together your flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and grated burnt cinnamon. Set aside.
  7. In another bowl, whisk together your eggs, 1/4 cup of milk, vanilla, and maple syrup. Set aside.
  8. With the stand mixer on low, mix in 1/3 of your dry mixture. Next, mix in 1/3 of your wet mixture. Continue alternating between wet and dry, ending on the addition of the final 1/3 of your we mixture. Do not over mix.
  9. Pour your batter into the desired pan and level off. If using mini cake pans, only fill each one until 2/3 full.
  10. Bake your mini cakes for 20 minutes. For a full cake, it should take approximately 45 mintues to bake. To check doneness, insert a toothpick into the center of the cake and if it comes out clean the cake is baked.
  11. Remove the cake(s)from oven and allow to cool completely before glazing.
  12. To create the glaze, combine powdered sugar with 2 tablespoons of cinnamon milk. Whisk together until smooth, add more milk as needed if glaze is too thick. You want the glaze to resemble a thin paste.
  13. Glaze the outside of a large cake by pouring the glaze over the cake. For the small cakes, you can dunk the tops into the glaze.
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https://epicuropedia.com/2018/10/24/maple-burnt-cinnamon-cakes/

Cherry Upside-Down Layer Cake

Cherry Upside-Down Layer Cake

This year was a big year for me—I turned the big 3-0. I know, by no means is thirty old, but it has taken some time for me to get used to the idea. That is the reason why this post is so late. My birthday was several months ago.

Almost every year for my birthday, I make myself a cake. My opinion is who better to do the job than yourself? Personally, I do not like super sweet, sugary cakes. I can count the number of cakes that I have truly enjoyed on one hand. So, the challenge this year was to make a balanced, grown-up cake; something truly representative of my new age.

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One trick to cutting down on the sweetness of a cake is to replace traditional icing with whipped cream. The use of tart fresh cherries would also help to counter balance the sugary cake layers. The overall result was perfect, a light, sophisticated, and beautiful (in taste and look) cake.

This recipe forgoes traditional livening ingredients, baking soda/powder, and replaces them with folded in egg whites. Which means you will need to be a bit more careful with your bake.

I used three eight inch cake pans for my version, which created pretty thin layers. If you like thicker layers, I recommend switching the eight inch pans for three six inch pans.

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Cherry Upside-Down Layer Cake

Cherry Upside-Down Layer Cake

Ingredients

  • 2 Sticks of Butter, softened
  • 1 3/4 Cups plus 1 Tablespoon of Granulated Sugar
  • 6 Eggs, divided into yolks and whites
  • 2 Lemons
  • 1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
  • 1 1/2 Cups of Almond Flour
  • 1 Cup of Cake Flour
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 1 Cup of Fresh or Frozen Cherries, pitted and sliced into halves
  • 2 Cups of Heavy Whipping Cream

Instructions

  1. Prepare your cake pans by buttering and flouring them, then placing a round of parchment paper on the bottom of each pan.
  2. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. In your stand mixer, whip together your butter and 1 cup of granulated sugar. Beat on medium speed for approximately 5 minutes, until light and fluffy.
  4. While your butter whips, in a small bowl combine 1 1/2 cups of sugar, both flours, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Mix until combined, then set aside.
  5. In another small bowl, whip together 6 egg yolks, the juice of one lemon, and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
  6. With the stand mixer on low, add in 1/3 of your wet mixture, followed by 1/3 of your dry mixture. Continue alternating and adding until everything is combined.
  7. In a separate stand mixer bowl, beat together your egg whites and 1 tablespoon of sugar until stiff peaks form.
  8. Working in thirds, gently fold the whipped egg whites into your cake batter. Set aside.
  9. In a small bowl, mix together your cherries, the juice of one lemon, and 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar. Pour the cherries onto the bottom of one cake pan, then spread into one even layer.
  10. Divide and spread the cake batter evenly among your three cake pans.
  11. Place the pans in the oven and bake for approximately 30- 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  12. Once baked, remove cakes from oven and allow to cool, on a wire rack, for at least one hour before layering your cake.
  13. While the cake cools, prepare your whipped cream.
  14. In your stand mixer, combine the heavy whipping cream, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract, and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Beat on medium speed until the mixture forms firm whipped cream.
  15. Build the layer cake by layering each level with whipped cream. The last layer should end with cherries on top.
Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin
https://epicuropedia.com/2018/10/12/cherry-upside-down-layer-cake/

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Piñata Funfetti Cake

Piñata Funfetti Cake

If you ask most cooks or bakers why they love being in the kitchen, many will tell you it is not the actual making of the recipe but the joy of sharing it with others.

For me that joy amplifies with the opportunity to bake a celebration cake for those that I love — especially when it is for one of my nieces or nephews. With my nephew’s third birthday party approaching, my sister asked that I bake him a special cake. He asked that his party be Trolls-themed. So, deciding on the type of cake was easy—funfetti—because it matched the rainbow theme.

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Because my nephew may or may not be my favorite of the group, I wanted to take the simple funfetti cake up a notch by making it piñata style.

A piñata cake is a cake that has the center removed and filled with candy or sprinkles. I choose both. It is an easy method to apply to any layered cake and creates a very dramatic effect for your cake eaters. Once you cut the first slice, the center comes pouring out.

My nephew absolutely loved the effect; you can see his little hands sneaking some candy as I tried to snap a picture.

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To cut the sweetness of the sugary cake and center, I went with a cream cheese frosting. This takes the cake from one note to several, especially for the adult party goers.

As for decorating the outside of the cake, stick with what your are capable of. If you have never used fondant, try your first time with a smaller project. The same goes for any technique you haven’t used much. I knew I could create a semi smooth and level cake, so that is the method I applied to get a show stopping cake.

Really, with my sister hosting the party outside at her cow farm I am sure any cake decorations would have done just fine.

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A few tips for cake decorating:

• Let your cakes cool completely before assembling. The cake will fall if you do not.

• To make your cake level take a perforated knife and slice off the rounded top of each layer.

• After layering the cake with icing, always coat the outside with a crumb layer of icing. This will give the cake a cleaner finish.

• After the crumb layer is on, stick your cake in the fridge to allow the icing to set up. This will help hold the cake together.

• To smooth the final icing coat, use a cake scraper or even a large plaster knife.

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Funfetti Cake

Ingredients:

  • 2 Sticks of Butter, Softened
  • 2 Cups of Granulated Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup of Brown Sugar, packed
  • 1 1/2 Cups of Buttermilk
  • 4 Large Eggs
  • 4 Egg Yolks
  • 4 Cups of Cake Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 2 Tablespoons of Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 1/2 Cup of Sprinkles

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Prepare your four 6-inch cake pans by first rubbing them with Crisco or butter, then coat the lard in flour. Be sure to dump out the excess flour. Set pans aside.
  3. In a large whisk together your flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  4. In a second large bowl whisk together your eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla.
  5. In your stand mixer or with a hand mixer on medium, beat together your butter and sugar. Continue to beat for at least five minutes until butter becomes pale and fluffy.
  6. Start 1/3 of your wet mixture and add it in, mixing until combined.
  7. Add 1/3 of your flour mixture, mix until combined. Continue with 1/3 wet, then 1/3 dry, repeating until all of the ingredients are mixed in. You should end with the last third of your flour mixture.
  8. With a spatula, fold in your sprinkles.
  9. Evenly divide your batter into your prepared cake pans.
  10. Bake on the center rack for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  11. Let you cake cool on a wire rack before assembling.

Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 2 – 8 Ounce Blocks of Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1 Stick of Butter, softened
  • A 1 Pound Box of Powdered Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon of Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Teaspoon of Salt

Directions:

  1. In your stand mixer or with a hand mixer on medium speed, beat together your butter and cream cheese.
  2. Next add your extract and salt, mixing to combine.
  3. Add in the powdered sugar a little at a time, being sure to mix in the last amount before adding more.
  4. Beat frosting until all of the ingredients are combined, then continue to beat for another minute or two until the frosting becomes fluffy.

Piñata Cake

Ingredients:

  1. 6.25 Ounce Container of Sprinkles or Candy
  2. Funfetti Cake (above)
  3. Cream Cheese Icing (above)

Directions:

  1. Level your cake layers by removing the rounded tops with a knife.
  2. Cut a 1 to 1 1/2 inch hole into the center of three of the four layers of cake. A small cookie cutter will work fine.
  3. Using 1/3 of your icing, assemble your cake. First layer the three tiers that have a hole in them by placing frosting in-between each layer of cake, then pour in your sprinkles, last top with the whole and last layer of cake. .
  4. Apply 1/3 of your icing to the outside of your cake, creating a crumb coat.
  5. Let the cake rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  6. Apply the remaining 1/3 of icing to the outside of the cake, smooth with a frosting smoother.
  7. Decorate or top the cake how you desire.

Mulberry & Lemon Pound Cake

Mulberry & Lemon Pound Cake

Pound cake is about as southern as a cake can be. Growing up pound cake was my mom’s go-to cake. Easy to make and always extra moist and buttery.

It was best fresh and warm, straight out of the oven. And even delicious a few days stale with a smear of butter, and toasted in the oven.

You could eat it as dessert or for breakfast (oh us fatty southerners). It was good topped with whipped cream, strawberries, or filled with lemon, chocolate, and so much more.

Funny thing is, when I met my mother-in-law I found out, lemon pound cake was her go-to cake. After moving so far away from my family, this was a comfort to have a little slice of “home” so close.

My husband is a sucker for all things lemon — me not so much. Regardless, lemon is a wonderful pairing for pound cake because it cuts right through the decadent pound of sugar, pound of butter, and a pound of everything else.

The perfect pairing for lemons, at least when it comes to dessert, is blueberry and blackberry. Again, each add a bit of sweetness to counteract the tart citrus. So when I was out watering my garden and discovered a Mulberry tree, mainly because they had fallen off the tree into my garden bed, I immediately thought to pair them with lemon.

If you do not know what a mulberry is (I did not until I discovered them in my garden), it  looks like a tiny blackberry but has the flavor of both a blackberry and muscadine.

…and if you don’t know what a muscadine is then you have clearly never been to the south. It is basically an earthy flavored southern grape. Grows on a vine too!

I had a muscadine vine in my backyard growing up, and always looked forward to picking and eating them. Don’t tell anyone, but my mom and I once made muscadine wine.

So naturally, not only did the mulberries remind me of my mother, but making a pound cake was truly an homage to her.

This one is for my mom and mother-in-law…all the other mothers in my life. Happy Mothers’ Day.

Mulberry & Lemon Pound Cake

Category: Cake

Cuisine: American

Ingredients

  • 2 Sticks of Unsalted Butter, room temperature
  • 3 Cups of All Purpose Flour
  • 3/4 Cups of Heavy Cream
  • Zest from 2 Lemons
  • 1/3 Cup of Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons of Salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Baking Powder
  • 2 Cups of Sugar
  • 5 Large Eggs
  • 2 Cups of Confectioners Sugar
  • 3 Cups of Mulberries (you can substitute blackberries)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter and flour a Bundt cake pan, and set aside.
  2. In your stand mixer or with a beater, cream together your butter and sugar, until fluffy.
  3. Add in your eggs one at a time, mixing until fully combined after each.
  4. Turn mixer to low, add in your salt, baking soda, baking powder, lemon juice, and lemon zest.
  5. Once fully incorporated, alternate mixing in your flour and your heavy cram. Begin and end with the flour. Mix your heavy cream in 1/4 at a time, and your flour 1 cup at a time.
  6. Gently stir in 2 cups of the fresh mulberries.
  7. Pour batter into pan, cook on middle rack for 50-60 minutes or until toothpick in center comes out clean.
  8. Let cake cool completely before glazing.
  9. Once cool, make your glaze.
  10. In a food processor, juice the remaining 1 cup of mulberries. Pass through fine mesh strainer to get remove seeds and flesh.
  11. In a small bowl, combine 1-2 tablespoons of mulberry juice with your powdered sugar.
  12. Pour over the top of the cooled pound cake and let set, about 30 minutes, before serving.
Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin
https://epicuropedia.com/2018/05/12/mulberry-lemon-pound-cake/

An Updated Bunny Classic

An Updated Bunny Classic

This one is dedicated to my mom…and sister…and Aunt Cleo. You see, every family has their special traditions that they follow each holiday. As a child, my mother, sister, and I made one of those easy Easter bunny cakes that you decorate with candy — twizzlers for whiskers, gum drops for eyes, really whatever candy you had handy at the house. Part of the reason I love to bake so much is because of these silly holiday traditions my mom taught me.

The idea behind the cake is to bake two round layers, slice one to create the ears and bow, place them together, ice them, then decorate them with candy. Simple and something any child would enjoy making (and eating).

I do not have kids but as I have grown older, moved out, and married, I have tried to keep those little traditions as active as possible. If anything, I make the same baked goods I grew up with for my plethora of nieces and nephews.

So this Easter I remembered that good ol’ classic and thought that it could use a modern remodel. My niece Sam loves pink (she is adorably girly), so I had no doubt she would love a little gold paint and some pastel flowers!

As homage to the original, I served it on a plain sheet pan; that’s how we always made it.

If you have never worked with fondant before, don’t be afraid. I am not very good at cake decorating but with a little research and effort I can make it work (kind of).

From one generation to the next, I hope you enjoy your own traditions this Easter no matter whether you do the same old thing or give them a facelift!

Vanilla Cake

  • 2 Sticks Of Butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 Cups of Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup of Light Brown Sugar, packed
  • 2 Tablespoons of Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 3 1/2 Cups of Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon of Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Baking Powder
  • 1 Cup of Whole Milk
  • 1/2 Cup of Sour Cream
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Salt

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fairenhiet.
  2. Grease and flour two 9 inch round cake pans and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. In your stand mixer, combine the melted butter and sugars until well mixed.
  5. Add in your vanilla, then eggs one at a time.
  6. Alternating between wet and dry, mix in your milk and flour mixture. You should end on the dry.
  7. Pour even amounts into you cake rounds.
  8. Bake on middle rack for no more than 40 minutes or until toothpick when inserted comes out clean.
  9. Let cool on counter for at least one hour before assembling.

Lemon Cream Cheese Buttercream

  • 8 Ounces of Cream Cheese, room temperature
  • 1 Cup or Two Sticks of Unsalted Butter, room temperature
  • 4 Cups of Powdered Sugar
  • Zest from Two Lemons
  • Juice of One Lemon
  • 1 Tablespoon of Lemon Curd

Directions:

  1. In your stand mixer, cream together your butter and cream cheese.
  2. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, continue to cream together until combined and smooth.
  3. Add in your zest, lemon juice, and curd mixing to combine.
  4. Cover and let rest in the fridge while you prepare you to assemble your cake

Bunny Cake

  • 1 1/2 Pounds of Fondant
  • 1 Cup of Lemon Curd
  • Edible Gold Paint
  • Pink and Purple Gel Icing

Directions

  1. Remove both cake layers from their pans, using a knife level the tops of each layer.
  2. Slice each layer in half, and spoon on 1/2 a cup of curd into each round. Place the tops back on each round.
  3. With only one of the layers, cut an ear from each side of the round. The center after cut should resemble the shape of a bow.
  4. Slice off a small portion of the bottom of each ear so it will rest against the head of the bunny evenly.
  5. Crumb coat each layer and let rest in the fridge for an hour.
  6. After crumb coat is set, fully ice each layer. Make sure you smooth out the icing and the edges are sharp. Let rest in the fridge for an hour.
  7. Place the bow at the bottom of your sheet pan for serving.
  8. Taking 1/2 of your fondant, roll it out to a size that will cover a 9 inch cake. Gently cover your round layer with fondant.
  9. Place the head right up against the bow on the sheet pan.
  10. Next fondant your ears and place them at the top of the head.
  11. Divide the remaining icing into two small bowls. Color one with pink and one with purple. Place in two piping bags with desired tips.
  12. To finish, paint on the ears and face. Pipe bow with desired flowers.