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.
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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.

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.

Triple Layer Cookie Cake with Salted Caramel Butter Cream

Triple Layer Cookie Cake with Salted Caramel Butter Cream

Gooey salty sweet homemade caramel buttercream stuffed between three distinct layers of thick, soft, chewy cookie cake layers: rich chocolate chip, buttery white chocolate blondie, and a classic crumbly snicker doodle. This may be the best birthday cake ever imagined.

With my husband’s birthday sneaking up last week, I knew I had to bake him a cake since I do every year. And this year I wanted to top last year’s Chicken and Waffle Cake.

I am not going to lie; I did not get this one perfect by any means. Just by looking at the pictures you can see how messy the butter cream is in its application, and the slight lean this cake had.

In baking this cake, my day started with three failed attempts at making a caramel (even though I did not stir the sugar), and it continued its path downhill. Between running out of eggs and flour, forgetting to add half of my butter to the snicker doodle layer, under cooking each layer (because I underestimated just how thick each cookie would be), a broken butter cream that had to be re-whipped, and finally, rushing to finish stacking the cake before serving it that night.

Being an experienced baker there are many days you forget just how challenging baking really is, and this cake was a harsh reminder. Luckily, after a practice round I have improved the recipe so it does not have to be as challenging for you.

Due to my failed attempt, you will notice that your layers are not as thick as the ones pictured. I have adapted the recipe to actually make it work, which means slightly thinner layers.

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake Layer

Ingredients:

  • 2 Sticks of Butter, Softened
  • 3/4 Cups of Light Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup of Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Egg Yolk
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Baking Soda
  • 1 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon of Vanilla Extract
  • 2 1/2 Cups of Flour Flour
  • 8 Ounces of Chocolate Chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, then grease and flour and 8 inch cake pan.
  2. In a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar.
  3. Add in vanilla, baking.., salt, and then eggs one at a time
  4. Mix in flour one cup at at time.
  5. Mix in chocolate chips.
  6. Pour batter into pan, bake in over for at least one hour.
  7. If after an hour the cake is not done, cook until toothpick comes clean from center.

Snicker Doodle Cookie Cake Layer

Ingredients:

  • 2 Sticks of Butter, Softened
  • 1 1/3 of Sugar
  • 2Eggs
  • 1/2 TablespoonVanilla Extract
  • 2  3/4Cups of AP Flour
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 1Teaspoon of Baking Soda
  • 3/4Teaspoon of Cinnamon
  • Mixture of 1/4 Cup of Sugar and 1 Tablespoon of Cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Grease and flour and 8 inch cake pan, set aside.
  2. In your stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar.
  3. Add in vanilla, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon.
  4. Mix in eggs and flour, alternating between the two.
  5. Pour into cake pan, top with cinnamon sugar mixture.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for one hour or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center.

White Chocolate Blondie Layer

Ingredients:

  • 2 Sticks of Butter
  • 1 1/2 Cups of Light Brown Sugar, packed
  • 1 Teaspoon of Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons of Vanilla Extract
  • 1 1/2 Cups of AP Flour
  • 8 Ounces of White Chocolate Chips

Directions:

  1. Grease and flour an 8 inch cake pan, set aside.
  2. In your stand mixer, cream together sugar and butter.
  3. Add in salt, eggs, baking powder, and vanilla
  4. Add eggs and flour, alternating between the two.
  5. Mix in white chocolate.
  6. Pour into prepared cake pan, bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for one hour or until toothpick comes out clean.

Salted Caramel Butter Cream

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 Cups of Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Of Water
  • 1/2 Cup of Heavy Cream
  • 9 Egg Whites
  • 6 Sticks of Butter, Softened
  • 1 Tablespoon of Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Teaspoon of Salt

Directions:

  1. In a small saucepan, heat water and 1 and 1/4 cup of sugar over medium heat, do not stir.
  2. Once the mixture is boiling, stir to dissolve sugar. Do not stir again after this.
  3. Bring mixture to a light amber color, remove from heat, add in cream then salt. Be sure to whisk until fully combined. Set aside.
  4. In a double boiler, heat egg whites and remaining sugar. Whisking until sugar is dissolved and the egg whites are warm.
  5. Pour whites into stand mixer and whip on high for 10 minutes or until stiff peaks form.
  6. Add butter, a little at a time, whisking on high until fully incorporated.
  7. Next add in the vanilla, then slowly pour in caramel. Mix until shiny and smooth, for a minute it may look broken.

Assemble the cake, layering the cookie cake layers with buttercream then topping the final layer with buttercream in any decorative manner you like.

Blood Orange Upside-Down Pound Cake

Blood Orange Upside-Down Pound Cake

Tis the season for blood oranges! I popped by Whole Foods the other day to pick up a couple of things, and per usual I ended up loading my cart with a few (and by a few I mean a lot) items that were not on my list. Upon spotting the display of citrus with skin that looks stained with red juice, I could not help but grab they few that were left. Blood oranges are one of the more beautiful fruits, so once a year when I spot them it is impossible to resist.

Due to my distraction in the fruit, I did not think far enough into the future to grab any other special items needed for baking. This recipe would have to be one I made with items I already had in my pantry….eggs, sugar, butter, and milk. Sounds familiar right…so pound cake it is!

What better way to showcase the unique color of these gothic orbs than to make it the top of a cake.

Be warned, blood oranges are more adept for baking instead of juicing. Their juice is much more tart than the naval oranges we are used to.

This cake is made in a loaf pan, resulting in a much smaller portioned cake. The buttermilk poundcake is buttery and rich, and the blood oranges on top add quite a bit of tang.

Blood Orange Top

Ingredients:

  • Two blood oranges
  • 1/2 cup of sugar

Directions:

  1. Zest a blood orange and place the zest in a small mixing bowl. Peel the blood orange, then slice the meat into rounds. Place rounds in the same bowl as the zest and set aside.
  2. With the second orange, zest it into the bowl you are going to mix your cake batter in. After zested, juice the orange and place the juice in a small sauce pan.
  3. Add your sugar into the saucepan with the juice. Cook on medium until slightly reduced.
  4. Pour reduced juice mixture over orange rounds and set aside.

Blood Orange Upside-down Buttermilk Pound Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of softened butter
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of buttermilk
  • 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 cups of flour
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Zest of one blood orange (from above)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a bread loaf pan and set aside.
  2. Add your butter and sugar into the bowl with your zest (from above). Cream together until smooth.
  3. Add your eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated. Mix in baking soda, salt, and lemon zest.
  4. Mix in flour and butter, alternating each until fully combined. Set aside.
  5. Arrange your oranges slices in a single layer on the bottom of your greased pan, then pour the reduced juice over the slices.
  6. Slowly pour your batter into the pan, as to not splatter the reduction.
  7. Bake on middle rack for one hour. Let cool fully before inverting cake from the pan.