12.29.2012

White Chocolate Cake with White Chocolate Buttercream

One thing I look forward to every year and every Christmas is going to my grandmother's house on Christmas night with all of my dad's side of the family. I love it when we have these family get-togethers. My grandmother's house is always packed with people and food and Christmas decorations and music. It's such a fun time. We all talk about our jobs or classes, recent trips and vacations, and just catch up. 


12.26.2012

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

I've got to be honest. I'm not really a big fan of gingerbread. At least, I wasn't until I made these gingerbread cupcakes. I like the taste and smell of gingerbread and I like gingerbread lattes at Starbucks around the holidays and things like that, but I guess I don't like the usual hard gingerbread cookies. So I thought I'd try them in cupcake form!



I originally wanted to make these cupcakes because gingerbread is such a popular flavor during the Christmas season. But before I could make them, I saw several versions throughout the baking world and Pinterest. I decided I still wanted to do something gingerbread and thought about making whoopie pies. But then I saw some of those on Pinterest, too. So I went back to my original idea and made some cupcakes. 

12.23.2012

Red Velvet Oreo Poke Cake & Cupcakes

I wanted to make this red velvet poke cake for several reasons. First of all, it's a poke cake. Cake with holes all in it and covered in pudding? Um, YES. Second, it's red velvet. My favorite. Third, it's easy to make red velvet cakes look Christmasy. And fourth, I wanted to make something for the very nice ladies my dad works with because they read my blog and leave me comments!


12.21.2012

Peppermint Bark Surprise Cupcakes

I haven't made surprise cupcakes in a while, but I've known for weeks that I was going to make these when Christmas time rolled around. I meant to post this last week when I made them, but I've got a new laptop! So it's taken me a few days to get everything transferred over from my old one.



I love peppermint bark. I mean, it's just chocolate. Like, plain chocolate. With some crushed up candy canes on top. Last year I made cupcakes with pieces of homemade peppermint bark on top, but this year I decided to try something crazy. Peppermint bark inside the cupcakes. I love the little Ghirardelli peppermint bark squares and thought they'd be the perfect size for the "surprise".

12.14.2012

Chocolate Kahlua Cake with White Russian Frosting

Like my last couple of posts, this recipe comes from about a week to two weeks ago. There was a lot of food going on for about four or five days and I'm still not quite sure how I got through all of it without gaining a billion pounds. At least I don't think I gained a billion pounds. If I did, it was totally worth it.



12.07.2012

Newspaper Cake (DIY Edible Newspaper)

My friend Luke is a pretty cool guy. He's really into creative writing, like me, and is partially responsible for my new obsession with food and recipe poems. He's also really into erasures, or black-out poetry. For example, he'll pick up our school newspaper on campus, choose an article, and color over all the words except for a few, and the few remaining words create a new story or poem. Anyway, Luke's really good at it. At his apartment, there's a wall where we all hang up our poems, black-out poems, and other kinds of art work. It's so fun. :)



Unfortunately, this will be Luke's last semester here. He's moving back home and going to a school there. All my friends and I are super bummed he's leaving, and this past weekend we threw him a going away party. We each wrote him a note and put it in a little box for him to keep. Luke's birthday is the week after finals end, and he might be back home at that point, so we also made the going away party a birthday party. So, of course, I had to made him a cake.

I wanted this cake to be really awesome. Not because I wanted everyone else to think the cake was awesome, but because Luke really deserved it. He's such a nice, friendly, and upbeat kind of guy, even though he's been through some tough things. When I asked him what kind of cake he wanted, he said funfetti, which totally fits his personality. But I knew it needed to be more than that.


I really didn't think I was going to be able to pull off this edible newspaper, but it worked! You really only need two things to make it: sugar sheets and edible ink markers. And I got both of them at Michael's.

For the cake, I used Sweetapolita's homemade funfetti cake recipe. I've never made a funfetti cake from scratch and considered using a box mix, but I really wanted this cake to be 100% homemade.

I used the chocolate frosting recipe from my Triple Chocolate Cake post. I used chocolate milk in that frosting, but I used regular milk for this cake.

To make the newspaper, you'll need two packages of sugar sheets. Unfortunately, there's only one sheet per package. I had originally decided to buy two sheets in case I messed one up, which was very likely, but it turned out better than I expected. So I used both sheets so the newspaper would look like it had more pages when I folded it in half.

I only drew on the top half of one sheet because I wasn't sure how long the edible ink markers would last. Each time I finished a column on the "newspaper" I folded the sheet to make sure it was long enough.

Don't fold the sheets all the way, though! The sheets will break along the crease. I wish I had known that before I folded them. I would have rolled up some parchment paper or something to keep it from laying completely flat.


Luke seemed to really enjoy his cake, and I hope he really did. On the left column of thenews paper, I wrote some quotes so he will know how much we'll miss him. For the middle column, I drew a picture of a Christmas tree because the weekend before, all my friends I had pitched in to buy one and we decorated it with all homemade ornaments. And on the right column, I wished him a happy birthday and that I was sad we all weren't going to be celebrating it on his actual birthday with him.


12.04.2012

Triple Chocolate Cake

Happy Tuesday! I originally wrote this post after Thanksgiving, but didn't have my pictures edited yet. Then I had a billion things due last week for school and now, a week later, I'm finally getting to post this! So let's just rewind to the week after Thanksgiving really quick.

After Thanksgiving number one on Thursday, Thanksgiving number two on Friday, and gameday on Saturday (Iron Bowl), plus now another gameday (SEC Championship), I think I'm done with big meals for a while. At least until Christmas.

Like I mentioned, my family has two Thanksgivings. I think most families just have one. I say I think because we've always had two Thanksgivings, so I don't really know how it is for everyone else. But we usually have Thanksgiving with my dad's side of the family on the actual day of Thanksgiving. And it was so good. So much food. On Friday, we had my mom's side of the family over for lunch. It was also my aunt's birthday, so of course, there was cake involved.



For this cake, I was told to make chocolate. That was the only request. But a regular chocolate cake didn't sound like enough. Actually, I'm not sure if the cake I ended up making had enough chocolate. I love the way it turned out, but there's always a little more room for chocolate, right?

I've had this idea of a triple chocolate cake for awhile. When I searched the internet to see what was already out there, I mostly just saw cakes or cupcakes with chocolate cake, chocolate frosting, and ganache. They were triple chocolate cakes because the cake, frosting, and ganache were all chocolate. But I was thinking about three different types of chocolate inside the cake.



Really it turned out to be three different forms of chocolate. In this cake, there's cocoa powder, melted chocolate chips, and chocolate milk. 

TRIPLE CHOCOLATE CAKE

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tablespoon baking soda
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (milk chocolate chips would probably be good too)
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup oil
1egg
1 cup strongly brewed coffee
1 cup chocolate milk
  • Preheat the oven to 350. Spray two 8 inch cake pans with non-stick spray and line with parchment paper.
  • Next, make a strong pot of coffee. Make enough for at least one cup.
  • In a microwave safe bowl, melt the chocolate chips according to the directions on the bag.
    • I used a large glass bowl and continued to add ingredients to it, but you can melt the chocolate in a small bowl and then transfer it to a larger bowl or a stand mixer bowl once it's cool if you want to.
  • In a medium sized bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda. Carefully whisk them together.
  • In the same bowl as the melted chocolate (if it's big enough) or in the medium sized bowl or stand mixer bowl you transferred it to, add sugar, oil, and the egg. Mix well.
  • Add half of the flour mixture, half the cup of coffee, and half of the chocolate milk. Mix until combined.
  • Repeat the last step and add the rest of the flour mixture, coffee, and chocolate milk. Mix until full incorporated.
  • Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans and bake for about 25 minutes, or until you can insert a toothpick into the center of each cake and it comes out clean. After 5-10 minutes, transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
DOUBLE CHOCOLATE FROSTING

1 1/2 cups (three sticks) butter, room temperature
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3-5 tablespoons chocolate milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups confectioner's sugar
  • In a medium sized bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy.
  • Add cocoa powder, 3 tablespoons chocolate milk, and vanilla. Mix well and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • Add confectioner's sugar one cup at a time, mix until completely incorporated, and scrape down the sides of the bowl after each addition. 
  • If the frosting is too thick, add chocolate milk one tablespoon at a time until it reaches the desired consistency. If the frosting isn't thick enough, add confectioner's sugar 1/2 cup at a time until it's thick enough. 
Usually, I'm not very good at frosting cakes in this style. What I mean by that is, I'm not good at making the frosting completely flat and smooth when I spread it on a cake. But I really wanted this cake to look like a classic birthday cake, so I decided to give it another try and I think I'm getting better at it.

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I strongly considered adding ganache or chocolate shavings to this cake. Before I made it, I had a picture in my head of a cake covered in chocolate shavings. Like allll over it, not just sprinkled on the top. But with all of the cooking, pie-making, and house-cleaning, I kind of ran out of time. YOU should give it a try though, and tell me how it works out. :)

11.15.2012

Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

I first made these cupcakes on a whim a few weekends ago for a football game. The game plan is usually for my parents to bring a TON of food to my apartment if they have tickets, and all my friends will come over to eat. If my parents don't have tickets, we'll decide to make something ourselves or do a potluck type deal at my place. And I love it.

Usually, my contribution is dessert. Of course. :)



I don't really know how I feel about pumpkin. Or pumpkin spice. I really want to like the taste of pumpkins, mostly because it's so popular right now, but I don't think I really do. There are so many creative uses of pumpkin floating around food blogs and Pinterest. Pumpkin cupcakes, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin pies, pumpkin donuts. It's everywhere! And I really wanted to contribute.

One day at the grocery store, I almost bought a can of pumpkin puree. Seriously, I stared at it for a good minute or two before I put it back on the shelf. What if I bought it, opened it to bake something, and decided  I didn't like it? A few minutes later, I was walking past the milk and coffee creamers and saw a pumpkin spice creamer. I don't know why I thought that would be a better idea, but I bought it and it turns out it was!



So, because of my uncertain feelings toward the pumpkin/pumpkin spice flavors, I decided that I couldn't go wrong with a chocolate cupcake. Right? Right! Almost everything tastes good in chocolate.

CHOCOLATE PUMPKIN SPICE CUPCAKES
adapted from my Black Magic Cake recipe

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup pumpkin spice coffee creamer
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 cup strong black coffee
  • Make a pot of strong coffee.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder. Carefully whisk them together.
  • In another large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine sugar, eggs, vanilla, oil, and pumpkin spice creamer. Mix well.
  • Measure out one cup of coffee in a heat proof measuring cup and measure out the buttermilk in another measuring cup.
  • Add half the coffee, half the buttermilk, and half of the dry ingredients. Mix until incorporated.
  • Repeat: add the rest of the coffee, buttermilk, and dry ingredients.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degress. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners.
  • Divide batter evenly between the cupcake pans. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until you can insert a toothpick into the center of a cupcake and it comes out clean.

CINNAMON CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

1 eight oz package of cream cheese
1/2 stick butter (1/4 cup), room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk
2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 cups powdered sugar
  • Once the cupcakes are cool, cream the butter and cream cheese in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy. 
  • Add vanilla, milk, and cinnamon. Mix until combined.
  • Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl between each addition.
  • If the frosting is too thin, add more powdered sugar 1/4th cup at a time. If it's too thick, add milk one tablespoon at a time.
  • Then I transferred the frosting to a decorating bag with a tip, but you can frost them however you want. I also added some orange sugar sprinkles.

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Notes: For someone who doesn't really like pumpkin, I really enjoyed these cupcakes. Mainly because they were mostly chocolate, but the pumpkin spice is definitely in there. I personally found that it wasn't too strong, but if you'd like more of a pumpkin spice flavor, you could do 1/2 cup of buttermilk and 1/2 cup of pumpkin spice creamer instead of 3/4 cups and 1/4 cups.

Originally, I wasn't sure about this cupcake + frosting combination, but they work really well together. If you're looking for something that isn't too pumpkiny for Thanksgiving, you should give these a try and let me know how it goes!

Happy early Thanksgiving!


11.06.2012

Homemade Apple Pie

I don't know about you, but Halloween this year was the best Halloween I've had in a while. Partially because I haven't really done anything for Halloween in the past few years, and partially because two of my friends had a combined Halloween birthday party!

Usually, I make birthday cakes for all my friends on their birthdays. I try to take things they like and incorporate them into the cake or include something that fits their personalities. For example, for my friend Josh's birthday last year, I made this pie-in-a-cake thing. I have some really supportive friends, who I honestly don't know what I would do without, and Josh is one of them. Josh always comes up with these crazy things for me to bake, so I made him a crazy cake that was actually one of his ideas.

I didn't know how I was going to top the Pie-ception cake this year. What kind of cake do you make someone who has already had a pie-cake? So I went to talk to him about it, and instead of a cake, he actually requested a homemade apple pie with a lattice crust on top.


Unfortunately the whole thing isn't homemade. Last week happened to also be one of the busiest weeks for me so far this semester, and I didn't want to make something for the first time, screw it up, and not have enough time to make it over. Because secretly that happens to me a lot. And I really wanted this pie to turn out well. And it did!


Also, I didn't want this to be just a regular apple pie. I wanted it to be a birthday apple pie. So I used some little alphabet cookie cutters and cut "Happy 21st Birthday Josh!" in some of the left over pie crust. I thought the letters would kind of "attach" to the other pie crust in the oven, but they didn't. I just had to move the pie carefully so the letters didn't move too much.

And to make it an official birthday pie, it had to have candles.


HOMEMADE APPLE PIE

I made the apple pie filling from scratch, but used a store bought pie crust.
The recipe I used was from Cannella Vita and includes a link to this pie crust from Smitten Kitchen.

I've never made an apple pie before, but this one was pretty much perfect. It's probably even better with the homemade pie crust, which is described as "all butter, really flaky pie dough". So I'll definitely be making that the next time I need to make a crust.

The only thing I would change from Cannella Vita's recipe is the number apples you need to buy. She says to get 8 granny smith apples, which I did, and I had more than enough apple pieces after chopping up 6 apples. And they were really tiny apples too. You can still get 8 if you want though. I'm kind of glad I had some extras because I decided to make bite-sized apple pies!



I guess they're really not 100% homemade, but YOU can make them completely homemade and they'll probably be much better than these. And these were soo good. I personally really like the taste of pie crusts, so to me, these were the perfect combination of cinnamon, brown sugar, apple, and pie crust.

BITE-SIZED APPLE PIES

To make these, I used the same recipe, but made a half recipe of the cinnamon syrup for the filling. Spray a mini cupcake pan with non-stick spray, cut out circles about 2 inches wide, fill them with some chopped up apples, and pour some of the cinnamon mixture on them. You can made the lattice pattern on them if you want, but it took awhile and it didn't even look that good. So you can omit that if you want.

I baked them on 425 for about 5 minutes, and then on 350 for 10-15 minutes. Just bake them until they're slightly golden-brown.



10.16.2012

Black Velvet Donuts

I've been excited about Halloween for awhile. There are so many things I want to bake. There are so many candies and decorations I want to use. Also, two of my friends are having a combined birthday/Halloween party this year and I can't wait! I haven't done anything for Halloween the past couple of years, which made me sad because I thought maybe I had gotten too old for it. But that's completely ridiculous. You are never too old for Halloween. 




Some time last year I bought a mini doughnut maker for around $20 at Target. I don't use it very often and I don't know why. It's pretty easy and the doughnuts are so little and cute!

I was trying to think of something I could make for Halloween that isn't made very often. After Halloween last year, my mom randomly bought me a ton of Halloween sprinkles and things on sale. So I knew I wanted to incorporate sprinkles into it somehow. Also, I feel like sprinkles make everything cuter. I may have gone a little overboard on that part, though. Black and orange needed to be included too, so I decided on black velvet donuts with a cream cheese glaze.


As easy as it is to use the mini doughnut maker, I don't think I've mastered it yet. These black velvet doughnuts turned out pretty well though. Mainly, I love how bright and colorful they are. I even put some tiny spider sprinkles on some of them, and I don't deal with spiders. Even fake sugary ones.

For this recipe, I used a basis doughnut recipe that came in a booklet with my mini doughnut maker and added some things to make it red velvet, or "black velvet".

(BAKED) BLACK VELVET DOUGHNUTS

2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 large egg
1 cup buttermilk
4 tablespoons oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vinegar
2-3 tsp black food coloring

If you're using a mini doughnut maker:
  • Prepare the mini doughnut maker according to the included instructions.
  • Combine all ingredients except for oil in a medium sized bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on medium speed until incorporated. 
  • Add oil and beat for one minute. Add more food coloring if the color isn't as dark as you'd like it.
  • I plugged in my doughnut maker at this point and let it preheat while I transferred the doughnut batter to a decorating bag. When the doughnut maker has preheated, cut the tip off the bag.
  • Pipe the doughnut batter into the doughnut molds and close it. Let the doughnuts bake for a 2-3 minutes, or however long it says on the instructions.
  • When the doughnuts are done, transfer them to a cooling rack.

If you're using a doughnut baking pan:
  • Spray pan with non-stick spray and preheat oven to 350 degress.
  • Prepare doughnut batter as stated above.
  • Use a spoon, or you can still use a decorating bag, to fill the pan. 
  • Bake for 15 minutes and check doughnuts. If they aren't slightly golden-brown, bake for a couple more minutes.

CREAM CHEESE GLAZE

2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons cream cheese, room temperature
1-2 tsp orange food coloring

  • Combine all ingredients in a small or medium bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer. 
  • Mix on medium speed until completely combined.
  • Add more food coloring if it isn't as orange as you'd like it.
  • Make sure the doughnuts are completely cool before you dip them in the glaze. 
  • Hold doughnuts upside down and dip one side into the glaze. If it isn't thick enough, you could add more cream cheese or powdered sugar to the glaze, or wait a minute and dip the doughnut in the glaze again. I did two layers of glaze on mine.
  • I recommend dipping a doughnut in the glaze, letting it sit for a moment, and adding sprinkles after that. I wouldn't dip all the doughnuts in the glaze and then add sprinkles to all of them because the glaze would probably be dry on most of them.
  • Also, I didn't use all of my doughnut batter. This recipe makes a ton of mini doughnuts. I just stopped after I had enough, and even then I didn't dip them all in glaze. I still have some plain doughnuts in my refrigerator. 


I like using my mini doughnut maker because the doughnuts are baked instead of fried. They're cake doughnuts, which I like to think are healthier than fried doughnuts. I mean, they probably are a little bit. But I think I prefer the texture of  fried doughnuts, though. And by that I mean, when I think of doughnuts, I immediately think of Krispy Kreme doughnuts. So I might have to try frying some doughnuts soon, just so I can really compare the two. 

I got some of my friends to eat about half of these last night, but I still have some left. Any takers?


10.09.2012

Chocolate and Strawberry Cake

So where did October come from? I mean, I feel like this semester just started and suddenly Fall Break is over and I'm having to sign up for advising for my final semester. I'm going to need everything to slow down because so many good things are happening and I don't want them to be over yet.

But enough of that.

Like I said, this past weekend was part of Fall Break and it also happened to be my mom's birthday! And I wanted to make a really special cake for her because my mom's pretty awesome.



Let me tell you about my mom.

She works a lot, is stressed out a lot, and worries a lot. But she's also one of the most selfless people I know. She buys a bottle of wine for me every time I visit home so we can drink wine together and catch up. She deals with frustrating people daily and always does the right thing. Everyday, she leaves early for work, comes home late from work, and doesn't really have much time for herself. Sometimes I think she believes that parents aren't cool. When her and my dad come to visit for football games, she always tells me that they'll drop off the tons of food they bring and get out of our way. And every time I tell her that they won't be in the way and that all my friends love them! She rarely does things for herself and is always thinking of others. And I think she worries about me a lot, so I wanted to make a cake to let her know that I appreciate everything she does for me and everything she does in general.


As far as recipes go, there aren't any knew ones here, and I apologize for that. I've got about a million things planned for Halloween, so there will be some new recipes on here soon! I promise!

I tried to make a strawberry-chocolate cake for the cake layers, and by that I mean I wanted to put strawberries in the chocolate cake. But I pureed them and when the cakes came out of the oven, they were basically nonexistent. The flavor wasn't there or anything. It was just chocolate. I think if I had chopped the strawberries into chunks or slices, it would have worked out much better.

CHOCOLATE AND STRAWBERRY CAKE

For the chocolate cake, I used my favorite chocolate cake recipe, Black Magic Cake. I know I've been using this a lot lately, so I'll switch it up next time!

For the frosting, I attempted to make strawberry meringue buttercream, but it failed miserably. I was pressed for time at that point, so I used store bought strawberry frosting instead. I considered using this homemade strawberry frosting recipe, but it isn't really good for piping. It doesn't hold a shape very well.

And I used regular buttercream for the outside of the cake too.
1 cup (2 sticks) of butter, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
2 tablespoons milk
3 cups of powdered sugar

Cut the butter into chunks. I usually cut along the tablespoon lines on the wrapper. Beat butter on medium speed until light and creamy. Add vanilla and milk, mix well. Add one cup of powdered sugar at a time, scraping the bowl and mixing well after each addition. 

To achieve the ruffled look of this cake, I followed a great tutorial by Baker's Royale. It's super easy and uses a 104 Wilton tip. It's basically done by starting at the bottom of the cake, moving your hand upward with a continuous stream of frosting, and slightly moving your hand back and forth. But Baker's Royale has a really good tutorial with pictures, so check it out!


I'm so pleased with how this cake turned out, even though it's a little different than I originally planned. And I really hope my mom had a great birthday. We visited with both sides of our family, went out for dinner, and watched some movies. It was definitely good to go home and spend time with all of them!

9.23.2012

How To Make a Globe Cake

I have been meaning to write this blog post for weeks. Seriously, I made this cake for my friend's birthday at the end of August. It's been awhile.

But I'm really excited about this post because I think this might be my favorite cake that I've made so far. Visually, at least. I was just really pleased with how it turned out!



I usually make all my friends' cakes on their birthdays. It's kind of like my birthday present to each of them. And I always try to make the cakes match my friends' personalities or their interests. So my friend Wes is really into languages and linguistics. Honestly, I had a hard time translating that into a cake. I really wanted to do something with countries and different languages, but still make it seem like a birthday cake.

Finally, I settled on the idea of a cake decorated like the Earth, but I wasn't sure how to do that exactly. I only wanted to make half of the globe, and I seriously considered buying a half-spherical-type-cake-pan, but eventually just decided to use a bundt cake pan instead.

This is kind of a long process, but it was completely worth it in the end. :)

FOR THE CAKE
I used my favorite chocolate cake recipe, Black Magic Cake.

  • The cake will need to be baked in the lower third of the oven, so move the oven rack to a lower position. I put mine on the second space from the bottom. Preheat the oven on 350 degrees.
  • Make a batch of Black Magic Cake as directed in the blog post. Spray a bundt pan (or spherical pan if you have one) with non-stick spray and fill it with the batter.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes and check it. It might take a little longer because of the bundt pan. If it isn't done, bake it for another 5 minutes and check it again.
  • I knew I was going to have to fill in the hole of the bundt cake with something, so I cut the Black Magic Cake recipe in half. I baked it in a 9x13 inch pan, but a square pan would work just fine. You'll need to bake this one for about 20-25 minutes.
  • Let both cakes cool completely before frosting.


BUTTERCREAM FROSTING
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk
3 cups powdered sugar
(Blue and green food coloring)

Cut the butter into chunks. I usually cut along the tablespoon lines on the wrapper. Beat butter on medium speed until light and creamy. Add vanilla and milk and mix well. Add one cup of powdered sugar at a time, scraping the bowl and mixing well after each addition. Add half a tablespoon of blue food coloring and mix. Add more food coloring as needed.

For the green frosting, I halved the buttercream recipe and used green food coloring instead.


ASSEMBLY

To fill the hole in the bundt cake, measure the width of the hole, and cut a circle the same size from the second sheet of cake. Add it to the center of the bundt cake; it will probably be about half full, so measured the hole again (it might be a slightly smaller size this time) and cut another circle. I only added two circles of cake, but if you need to add another one you certainly can.


Then cover the cake with blue frosting, making sure to fill in the ridges if you used a bundt pan. The frosting doesn't have to be perfectly smooth because the ocean isn't really smooth. It adds a little texture. Put the cake in the freezer for a few hours, at least three, or over night.

To make the continents, to Google and find a picture of North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. Print each picture and select the "Fit on Page" option for the image size. (I had to play around with the image sizes, but eventually found pictures that were about the same height and width.) Then cut each continent out. I ended up taping my Europe and Asia together.


Once the cake is good and frozen, you'll be able to lay the paper continents on the cake and they'll stick to the frosting without messing it up. Also, the continents don't have to be perfectly lined up. Mine certainly weren't. The part of North America jutting into the Gulf of Mexico is usually on the left side of South America, but I don't even know if any of my friends noticed at the time.

Outline the continents with a toothpick by gently pressing it into the frosting. Then peel the paper off and fill in the continents with the green frosting. I used a decorating bag and a tiny star tip.


And to incorporate languages into this cake, I typed up Happy Birthday in a bunch of different ones, cut them out, and taped them to toothpicks. Then I put each toothpick flag in the country of the language that was on it.


When it was time to sing and cut the cake, I took out all the toothpicks (so they wouldn't catch on fire!) and put in the candles. After a memorable rendition of Happy Birthday, I cut the cake and put a toothpick flag in each piece. There was a lot of "What country did you get?" "I got Iceland!" "I got the Atlantic Ocean!" It was good times. :)


And there you have it! How to make a Globe cake.

Like I said before, this might be one of my favorite cakes I've made so far. All my friends seemed to be impressed with it, but I couldn't help thinking that it's really not about the cake. Like, I didn't want the cake to be this big impressive thing and take away from the birthday we were actually celebrating. But my friends assured me it didn't come off that way, thank goodness. Really, I just like to make cakes that my friends will enjoy and I was really happy with this one.


8.31.2012

Tailgating Treats (Free Ebook!)

It's football season! Celebrate with fun and easy football-themed treats!

Last week I started my senior year at the University of Alabama, Roll Tide. As much as I'm not looking forward to graduating (I mean, where did the first three years go?), I'm super excited about the football games this year. I live near the stadium, so all my friends usually come over beforehand. If my parents happen to have tickets to a game, they bring TONS of food with them. We'll all pig out and then walk around the quad for a little bit. Maybe get some deep fried Oreos and listen to the Million Dollar Band. I love the atmosphere on gameday. Did you know that as many as 150,000 people come to Tuscaloosa on gameday? Bryant Denny holds over 100,000 people, so that means that about 50,000 show up just to be there. To tailgate, socialize, and be where it all happens. To cheer on the Crimson Tide to victory.

A big part of tailgating is food. Just today, one of my teachers asked the class what they were planning on cooking for the first game tomorrow, even though it isn't a home game. Football and food just go together. Like cake and frosting. Which is why I put together this little ebook!

Tailgating Treats has eleven fun recipes you can make for your next tailgate or game-viewing-get-together! These recipes are easily adaptable for any football team, and include directions for baking from scratch or from boxed cake mixes. 

Did I mention...it's free? Because it is. :)


If you'd like to download Tailgating Treats, here are a few things you should know!

1. This ebook is a pdf, and I used a website called E-Junkie to host it. All you have to do is click the "Add to Cart" button below.
2. It'll take you to "shopping cart" on E-Junkie and will look like you're going to buy the ebook, but the price is set to $0.00, so it's free.
3. Then it will ask you for your name and email address. You will not get annoying emails from E-Junkie. They require an email address because they'll email you a receipt. That's all!
4. After that, it'll take you to a page that says your transaction was completed, or something like that, and there will be a download button. So click away!
5. When you download the pdf and open it, click "View" on the top menu. Then click "Page Display" and then "Two Up". That way two pages will be displayed at a time (which is how I designed it in InDesign not knowing that it wouldn't do that automatically in Adobe reader).

Then you're good to go!

DOWNLOAD TAILGATING TREATS FOR FREE
Add to Cart


If you decided to make any of the recipes in this ebook, I'd love to hear about it! Feel free to email me at thecollegiatebaker@yahoo.com or send me a Tweet at @CollegiateBaker!


And as always,
Roll Tide

8.29.2012

Birthday Cake Popsicles

First of all, I'd like to start this post with some good news. My ebook is almost finished! I just have to add a few things, some last minute decorations, and then I'm going to email it off to be proofread and edited! Yay!

I actually thought I deleted it the other day. Like all one thousand copies of it on my laptop. Actually, I thought I deleted an entire folder of all the things I've ever written ever. Poems, short stories, all the songs I wrote in high school during my songwriting phase. Any idea I've ever had about poems, stories, or songs. I almost cried. But then my roomie came to the rescue and reminded me that there's a recycle bin icon on my desktop. Whew!

So, now on the point of this blog post. Popsicles!




I bought a little popsicle mold from Walmart for a dollar toward the beginning of the summer, and I'm not sure why I haven't used it until now. It's really nice to walk into my apartment, all sweaty from walking across campus, and open the freezer and see popsicles.

Unfortunately, when I attempted to use the popsicle mold, I couldn't get the popsicles out. The mold came with little handle/stick things, but they just kept sliding right out. I tried regular popsicle sticks and they did the same thing. Other blogs said to run warm water over the mold and they would slide out, but that didn't work either. So I made them a second time in paper Dixie cups, which I tore off after they were frozen.


I was trying to think of flavors I haven't seen in popsicle form recently, and landed on Birthday Cake. I've probably mentioned this before, but I love it when desserts or foods cross over into other desserts or foods. Like birthday cake ice cream. Or s'mores brownies. Or chocolate chip cookie pie. I could go on and on.

BIRTHDAY CAKE POPSICLES
Makes about 6 Dixie cup popsicles

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons whipping cream
1 1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup plus 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons yellow cake mix
Popsicle sticks (can be found at Michael's or other craft stores)
Paper Dixie cups
Sprinkles (optional)
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, or a medium sized bowl and a hand mixer, whip whipping cream on medium-high speed for about five minutes, or until fluffy.
  • Next, add milk and mix until incorporated.
  • Add the vanilla and powered sugar, and mix well.
  • Lastly, add the yellow cake mix and whip for about two more minutes.
  • Pour some sprinkles into the bottom of each paper cup. Fill the cups with the popsicle "batter" and transfer them to the freezer.
  • Freeze for an hour and then insert the popsicle sticks. Freeze for three more hours or over night.

These popsicles were super easy to make, so I think anyone living on campus, in a dorm, or an apartment could make them as well. If you have paper cups, then you're good to go! The only thing I might change in the future is the size because they're a little small for popsicles, but that does mean you can eat more than one. ;)

And just a little school update: It's going great so far! I really enjoying my classes, especially my food writing class. It's a creative writing class, but we're focusing on food, how food grows, farms, and farmers. My teacher is planning some awesome field trips to farmers' markets, gardens, and one or two local restaurants. I'm taking a stress management class, which is really about being healthy. So between those two classes and being in charge of bake sales for two different organizations I'm involved with, there's a lot to look forward to this semester!

8.19.2012

Mint Chocolate Chip Marshmallows

It feels like it's been awhile since my last post. I've been a little busy lately, mainly because I finally got a job a couple of weeks ago. And because I'm writing this ebook, which is almost done! Earlier this week I realized I've been baking so much for the ebook that I've been neglecting my blog. So I finally made something I've been dying to make ever since I saw them months and months and months ago.

Marshmallows. And not just any marshmallows. Mint chocolate chip marshmallows.




I thought marshmallows would be difficult to make. For some reason, I've always classified marshmallows as being on an "intermediate" level, or for more experienced bakers. But it went really well for my first time making them! The only real problem I had was that there is a lot of corn syrup involved, and once it's heated in a saucepan with sugar and water, it sticks to everything. Ev-er-y-thing. I had to do some serious scrubbing on my stove top, but it was worth it. 

I also really enjoy the transformation that takes place when marshmallows are being made. First you start out with unflavored gelatin soaking in ice cold water, then you pour in a steaming sugar-syrup mixture, whip it on high for 12 minutes, and you end up with a super fluffy mixture that turns into soft and puffy marshmallows aftersitting in the refridgerator for four hours. It's cool to watch. 

Follow me on Instagram! My user name is elizabethbranch. :)

MINT CHOCOLATE CHIP MARSHMALLOWS
I used Alton Brown's recipe for regular homemade marshmallows. This recipe is as close to perfect as it gets. The directions are easy to follow and it's pretty quick. 

There are three things you need to add to this recipe to make mint chocolate chip marshmallows. So in addition to the ingredients from Alton Brown's recipe, you'll need mint/peppermint extract (instead of vanilla extract), green food coloring, and a 12 oz package of mini chocolate chips. 
  • Follow Alton Brown's recipe up until you're supposed to add the vanilla extract. (Only whip the mixture for 12 minutes. The recipe says 12-15, but I whipped mine for 13 and the mixture was a little stiff).
  • Instead of vanilla extract, add 1/2 tsp peppermint extract and a very small amount of green food coloring, maybe 1/4th of a teaspoon. You can add a little more if you need to after that. 
  • Next, reduce the speed of the mixer to medium-high, and add half of the mini chocolate chips. 
    • When I did this step, I took the bowl off my stand mixer and tried to stir in regular sized chocolate chips because the store I went to didn't have the mini ones. It didn't go very well. I had a hard time stirring the marshmallow mixture and the chocolate chips started melting a little. I'm pretty sure they all ended up in a glob somewhere instead of evenly spread throughout. So I think it would be better to add the mini chocolate chips while the mixer is still on.
  • Then continue on with Alton Brown's recipe.
These marshmallows were incredible on s'mores. There was a little get-together at my friend's (and fellow s'mores addict) apartment last night and we made them. They would also probably be great in hot chocolate or coffee. Actually, I'm not sure why I haven't put them in my coffee yet. 


These marshmallows aren't very pretty. It's because I whipped them for too long and had a hard time spreading them out in the pan. I cut some of them into squares and then realized I have heart shaped cookie cutters. I used one of those to cut out the rest and they were much cuter! If you use cookie cutters, dip them in powdered sugar before you try to use them. It makes in easier to cut into the marshmallows. 

I've been experimenting with my photography a little bit, as you can probably tell. I'm trying to find the best spot to use natural light in my apartment because sometimes my light box works and sometimes it doesn't. I'm not sure what exactly is going on. 

Look out for my ebook coming soon!! Hopefully in the next week. Especially because school starts on Wednesday. 

I'm really looking forward to it, especially because all my friends are back in town. I had some really fun times this summer, but it was kind of boring, too. There are some exciting things happening this semester, but I'm also kind of conflicted about it. This is my last year of college. Where did it all go? I'm not sure, but I'm going to make count!