Strawberry Rose Cake

Last year I made my dad a birthday cake, a Mother's Day cake for a get-together with my mom's side of the family, and another cake just for my mom...all in one week. This year, for the sake of the shorts I finally made myself get down from the top of my closet, I could not make three cakes in one week. So I just made two. :)

One of the very first baking blogs I started following after I got in into blogging was I am Baker. She makes the most beautifully decorated cakes with surprises inside! And y'all know how I feel about surprises inside my baked goods. She also makes these gorgeous Rose Cakes. I've always loved how they look and have wanted to make one myself! And I recently saw this cake on Pinterest, and it was made to look like a cute bundle of flowers. So I sort of combined the two and made a bundle-of-roses cake. 

(In case you didn't make the connection, the green stripes on the sides of the cake are supposed to be stems. Afterward, I realized there are probably much better ways of piping the frosting to make it look like actual flower stems. I just feel the need to point this out because when my mom first saw the cake, she was all, "Oh, it's gorgeous!" And I was like, "The green parts are supposed to be stems." And then she said, "OH, I get it now!" But everyone reassured me that they do indeed look like stems.)

My mom's side of the family went out for lunch on Saturday for Mother's Day and we had this cake afterward. As you can see in the picture below, the top layer of the cake slid during the car ride to my grandparent's house. Luckily my mom had already seen it and I'd already gotten some pictures of it. Of course, my family still oohed and awed over it. When we cut into the cake it just got worse, though. It was actually pretty funny. We ended up sticking toothpicks in it to keep it from completely falling apart while cutting slices. By the time it was all gone, there was frosting everywhere. But that's not necessarily a bad thing in my opinion.

One of the best things about this cake is that you can go all-store-bought or all-homemade. I chose to use a Strawberry box mix. Or you can make your favorite strawberry cake recipe from scratch. Or any recipe you want, really. I used store-bought strawberry frosting to put between the layers of cake and for the crumb coat. Sometimes I just really hate messing with food coloring, so I bought the lighter shade of green from the store as well. But I did get out my food coloring for the pink and darker green, which are both homemade buttercream frosting.

strawberry rose cake
1 strawberry cake mix (prepared & baked according to directions on the box)
1 can of Betty Crocker's whipped Strawberry Mist Frosting

1. Once cakes are completely cool, frost one layer with the Strawberry Mist Frosting.
2. Place the second layer on the first and cover the whole cake in a thin layer of frosting.
3. Next, place the cake in the freezer for about an hour, or until you can touch the frosting without smudging it.
4. While the cake is in the freezer, you can prepare the frosting.

buttercream frosting
1 cup butter (two sticks), room temperature and cut into tablespoons
2-3 tablespoons milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Food coloring

1. In a medium sized bowl + hand mixer, or in the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy. (About two minutes.)
2. Add vanilla and one tablespoon of milk. Mix well.
3. Add powdered sugar one cup at a time, mixing on low speed until mostly combined. Then mix on medium-high speed until completely incorporated. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.
4. Divide frosting into two bowls, about 1/3 in one for the dark green frosting and 2/3 in the other for the pink frosting. Stir in food coloring a little bit at a time until the desired shades are reached.
5. Take the cake out of the freezer and decorate!

You can pipe or spread the frosting onto the cake however you want. I used a small offset spatula to spread the green frosting onto the sides of the cake and I used a 1M Wilton decorating tip to pipe the roses onto the top. I am Baker also has a really great tutorial on how to pipe roses. You can watch it here!

*this blog will be moving to bethcakes.com at the end of May!*


Dark Magic Cake

This past Wednesday was my dad's birthday, so that meant I had to make a serious cake. All he said was that he wanted a "crazy chocolate cake", so I made a crazy chocolate cake.

I adapted this "crazy chocolate cake" from my Black Magic Cake. I used a mix of cocoa powder and dark cocoa powder, which is where I got the name from. This cake is indeed super chocolaty. It's three layers with lots of frosting and homemade chocolate whipped cream, which I could have eaten by the spoonful. (I may have eaten some of it by the spoonful. :P )

My original plan was to have the layers of cake with this chocolate filling I saw in a Southern Living magazine forever ago. I made this filling twice and it didn't turn out either time. First I made it with regular cocoa powder, but it was a really light brown color and I wanted it to be darker like the picture. So I made it again with dark cocoa powder (since it actually calls for dutch process cocoa powder), and it was a little darker but not much. But both times the filling turned out more like pudding and ended up running down the sides of the cake. It looked pretty cool, but it wasn't what I had envisioned.

from my Instagram: @collegiatebaker

So I laid the layers out and wiped all the filling off. It probably would have been fine with the pudding filling, but I decided to just use frosting. 

Also I had this vision of the sides of the cake being covered in chocolate flakes. Kind of like this cake, but completely covered in them. So I melted some chocolate chips down, poured it onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and put it in the freezer. Then I attempted to make the "flakes", but they were too thick and immediately began melting when I touched them. Sooo, I just chopped them up and put them on top of the cake. This cake didn't turn out how I originally pictured it, but it turned out pretty great anyway!

dark magic cake

chocolate whipped cream:
For the homemade chocolate whipped cream, I used this recipe. It calls for bittersweet chocolate, but I used milk chocolate and it was wonderful. It also calls for the whipped cream to sit in the refrigerator for a few hours, so make sure you read the directions carefully. I made the whipped cream the day before I made the cake and frosting and let it sit in the fridge over night.

dark magic cake:
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup dark cocoa powder
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup strong black coffee
1 cup chocolate milk

1. Make a strong pot of coffee, at least 1 cup. 
2. Preheat the oven to 350. Spray three 8 inch cake pans with nonstick spray and line with parchment paper.
3. In a medium sized bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, both cocoa powders, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Whisk them together carefully.
4. In another medium sized bowl, combine the sugar, eggs, vanilla, and oil. Mix well. 
5. Measure out one cup of chocolate milk, and another cup of the coffee.
6. Add half the dry ingredients, half the chocolate milk, and half the coffee to the sugar/eggs mixture. Mix until incorporated.
7. Add the rest of the dry ingredients, chocolate milk, and coffee, and mix well.
8. Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until you can insert a toothpick and it comes out clean.
9. Let the cakes cool for five minutes in the pan for five minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

dark magic frosting
1 cup butter (two sticks), room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup dark cocoa powder
2-3 tablespoons chocolate milk
2 1/2 - 3 cups powdered sugar

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or medium sized bowl with a hand mixer, cream butter until smooth and creamy. 
2. Add both cocoa powders, the vanilla, and one tablespoon of chocolate milk. Mix on low speed until mostly combined and then mix on medium speed until fully incorporated. 
3. Add powdered sugar one cup at a time, mixing on low speed first, and then on medium-high speed until completely combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
4. At this point, if the frosting is too thick, add chocolate milk one tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached. Or if the frosting is too thin, add powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time until the desired consistency is reached. 
5. Spread or pipe onto cooled cakes. 

While I am very happy with how this cake turned out, I think I do need to warn you about just how chocolaty it is. I consider myself a chocoholic (admitting it is the first step, right?), and I think my dad considers himself a chocolate-lover too, but it's five days later and there is still some of this cake left. It's just really rich and basically over-flowing with chocolate, but if you're okay with that then it should be fine. :)

and the usual reminder:
*this blog will be moving to bethcakes.com at the end of May!*


Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Surprise Cupcakes

My friends told me these were the greatest things I have ever made. True story. And just to prepare you before you really get into this post, there is a lot of cookie dough involved. 

When I worked at Gigi's Cupcakes, one of my favorite cupcakes was the chocolate chip cookie cupcake. It was a chocolate chip cookie flavored cupcake with cookie dough frosting, which was probably the best part. And if you've ever been to a Gigi's or seen some Gigi's cupcakes, you know there is a crap-ton of frosting on those things.

So, for some reason, I was thinking if I could remake that cupcake into a BethCake (or a BethCupcake, if you will) how would it be different? The two most obvious changes were, a) chocolate cake instead of cookie flavored, and b) cookie dough inside the cupcake. That last part had to happen. I mean, it's sort of my thing.

For the chocolate cake, you can use a box mix, or your favorite recipe from scratch. My favorite from-scratch recipe is this Black Magic Cake. I found the recipe in one of my grandmother's recipes books almost a year ago, and I have been using it ever since.

For the chocolate chip cookie dough, you can use store-bought dough, or make your own. My go to cookie dough recipe is the Nestle Tollhouse recipe.

chocolate chip cookie dough surprise cupcakes

cookie dough:
One batch of cookie dough
Or one roll of store-bought cookie dough

Roll chilled cookie dough into 1 inch balls and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Once you've made 24 balls of dough, transfer the baking sheet to the refrigerator. If you have left over dough, you can bake some regular cookies, cut them in half, and add them to the tops of your finished cupcakes.

chocolate cake:
One batch of Black Magic Cake, or your favorite chocolate cake recipe
Or one box of chocolate cake mix

1. Preheat the oven to 350 and line two cupcake trays with paper liners.
2. Prepare cake mix according to directions for whichever recipe you're using.
3. Fill paper liners about 1/2 - 2/3 full of batter.
4. Bake for 5 minutes and then remove the pan from the oven.
5. Remove the tray of cookie dough from the refrigerator and place a ball of cookie dough in each cupcake.  It should immediately sink a little bit, and if you can, spread some of the surrounding cake batter over the top of the ball of cookie dough with a knife. If there isn't enough cake batter for this, don't worry. The cake batter will rise while baking and cover the dough a little bit.
6. Bake for 10-12 more minutes, or until you can lightly touch the tops of the cupcakes and the cake springs back slightly.
7. Let the cupcakes cool for five minutes in the pan before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

cookie dough frosting:
1 cup butter (two sticks), room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1 cup powdered sugar
3-4 tsp milk
Mini chocolate chips (for decoration)

1. Cream butter in medium-sized bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer on medium-high speed until light and creamy.
2. Add vanilla and two tablespoons of milk. Mix well.
3. Add the flour and mix on low speed until mostly combined. Then bump up the speed to medium-high and mix well.
4. At this point, if the frosting is too thick, add two more tablespoons of milk.
5. Add one cup of powdered sugar and mix on low speed until mostly combined. Then mix on medium-high speed until fully incorporated. Mix for one more minute.
6. If the frosting is too thin, add powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time until the desired consistency is reached. But if the frosting is too thick, add milk one table spoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached.
7. Pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes. Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips.

**This blog will move to bethcakes.com at the end of May!**


Peeps S'mores Bars

Today I'm going to take a break from my recent (and life long) obsession with Oreos and share one of my other obsessions with you. S'mores. 

So, unfortunately, I am not the genius behind this recipe. I just decided to finally do something with the three unopened boxes of Peeps that have been sitting in my pantry since Easter. This year, my mom was all, We're not doing a bunch of candy in the Easter basket thing since we're all trying to be healthier. She gave me the most candy I have ever received for Easter in my entire life.

Except I really am trying to eat healthier so a good part of the candy has been sitting in my pantry while I've been trying to come up with different ways to bake with it and give it to my friends to eat. There's still some left actually; some Cookies n' Cream Hershey's eggs, Cadbury eggs, and a giant chocolate bunny. I don't know what's wrong with me.

I originally saw this recipe on Pinterest. Of course. I believe it was originally created by Lovin' From the Oven, but I first saw it on Wit & Whistle. So, I used that recipe, except I used Peeps instead of marshmallow fluff. :)

Below I have listed some of my comments and notes because marshmallows in ovens can be tricky sometimes. I'm not going to tell you how many times I've burned (literally incinerated) marshmallows. I'm just going to tell you I'm speaking from experience. Also, marshmallows sometimes tend to disappear inside baked goods. Last year I attempted to bake a Peep inside a cupcake, and when it was finished baking, the Peep was just gone. No trace. No evidence. I've seen other things like that on Pinterest, like "magic" rolls with a "disappearing marshmallow," inside, and it baffles me. I know it has something to do with how marshmallows are made of mostly sugar and air, but it's frustratingly magical sometimes.

peeps s'mores bars

One batch of this graham cracker dough
4-5 Hershey's chocolate bars OR one 12 oz package milk chocolate chips 
3 boxes of Peeps, two rows in each box (I used the birds, but the bunnies would work better)

1. the dough, bottom layer
After mixing up the dough, I found it a little difficult to press the dough into the greased pan because it wouldn't stay. So instead, lightly coat your working surface with flour. Divide the dough in half and roll out one half with a rolling pin. Lift it carefully and lay it in the pan. Or lift it up in small portions and smooth them together in the pan.

2. the chocolate
I had some Hershey's chocolate bars left over from a camping trip the weekend before, but not enough to cover the layer of graham cracker cookie dough. So I covered the remaining part with milk chocolate chips and it worked just fine.

3. the peeps
The bunny Peeps will probably work the best because they will create a flat surface for the next layer of graham cracker dough. I already had a few boxes of the birds, so I attempted to flatten them. Then I arranged them bottom-side-up (again, so there would be a flat surface for the cookie dough). 

4. the dough, top layer
Roll out the rest of the dough. Pick up the whole layer of dough if you can and lay it on top of the peeps. If not, lift the dough in pieces. After you've laid them out and covered all of the peeps, you can attempt to smooth out the creases with your fingers. It's okay if you can't smooth it out; it's going straight in the oven anyway! Just make sure you cover up all of the peeps.

Bake for about 20 minutes on 350 and enjoy! 

**this blog will be moving to bethcakes.com at the end of May!**