Lavender and Lemon Cookie Pop

Spring holds so much hope and anticipation; growing up in the UK it always felt like the start of the year, and that feeling has transferred here, despite the fact that it is September. It holds anticipation for ice-cream eating, long walks with my puppy and road trips to Middleton, my favourite beach spot in SA.

South Australia has really brought it for the first few days a spring, if it was a football team people would be saying “This is our year”. Except Spring can’t really fail at being Spring so, yeah.

This cookie is anticipation in a cookie, the Lemon and Lavender are the perfect spring flavour combination. Refreshing like lemonade, and the lavender is in no way overwhelming, but the key is to only use a small amount otherwise things get soapy. And from experience I can tell you that soap is both a taste that is overwhelming, and exceedingly hard to remove from your mouth.The lemon cheese drizzle makes the cookie taste like delicious cheesecake. Its optional but do it, it’s amazing.

Lemon and Lavender Cookie

Ingredients
230gr plain flour
1/2 teaspoon of bicarb soda
85g caster sugar
45gr dark brown sugar
125gr melted butter
1/4 teaspoon of vanilla paste
1 egg
Rind of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon lavender

Method
Sift flour, soda and sugars into a large bowl; dark brown sugar generally has big pieces in it, sift well then add the larger pieces in too. Stir in the butter, vanilla and egg, the lemon and lavender.On a sheet of baking paper, roll the dough into a log shape. Tie the ends and if necessary wrap in glad wrap. Freeze the dough for at least 2 hours. At this point the mixture will last months.

Slice the frozen mixture and insert lollipop sticks. Bake at 200C for ten minutes.

Lemon Cheese Drizzle – adapted from Rah Cha Chow

Ingredients
70gr cream cheese
3 tablespoons lemon juice
184 gr powdered sugar

Method
Combine ingredients in bowl. Spoon a small tablespoon of mixture on to the cooled cookies and spread evenly over the top. Allow to dry.

Advertisements

Blood Orange Love

Guys I don’t mean to alarm you, but it’s blood orange time. And I’ve already made two blood orange dishes; as well as eating it with my daily yoghurt and porridge.
Blood oranges are easily my favourite fruit, the fact they signal the end of winter is purely a bonus. and oh gosh that smell. Like raspberries and oranges got together and made babies. Wait is that weird?

Is anyone else stressed out that I finish university in 3 months? I think my head is stressed; it’s doing that whole, pretend it’s not there and it might go away. Except applying it to the whole university situation. Stationery shopping must be the answer. A new notebook will fix everything.

This is the first of my blood orange uses, blood orange buttercream.
Air light and a perfect contrast for rich chocolate cake.

Blood Orange Curd – from Sel et Sucré 

Ingredients:

  • About 175 ml of blood orange juice (from 4 blood oranges)
  • 1 Tbsp blood orange zest (from 2 blood oranges)
  • 113 gr granulated sugar
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 114 gr butter, sliced into 8 pieces

Method:

In a medium saucepan, whisk together everything except the butter.

Gently heat the mixture over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until it thickens considerably (enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon), about 10 minutes.

Remove from heat, and whisk in the butter.

Strain through a metal sieve, and let cool to room temperature. The curd will thicken slightly as it cools. I strained twice, you will get a smoother texture; which is super important since you are adding it to frosting.

Serve cold or at room temperature. Store in the refrigerator; this curd should stay good for about two weeks.

Sweetapolita Vanilla Frosting

Ingredients

575 grams unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes
600 grams confectioners’ sugar, sifted
4-1/2 tablespoons milk
1-1/2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
pinch or two of salt
few drops pink gel colour

Method

In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip butter for 8 minutes on medium speed. Butter will become very pale & creamy.

Add remaining ingredients and mix on low-speed for 1 minute, then on medium speed for 6 minutes. I added 3 tablespoons of the orange curd at this stage brought up to around room temperature. Do this one tablespoon at a time and fully incorporate before you add the next.

Frosting will be very light, creamy, and fluffy. If you want all of your frosting (for filling and frosting cake) pink, then add a drop of pink gel colour and mix again, adding one drop at a time until desired pink shade is achieved. If you want just the outside of the cake pink, you will fill the cake layers first, and then colour the remaining frosting pink.

Best used right away (for ideal spreading consistency), but keeps well once frosted.I used the chocolate cake recipe from Miettes cookbook which I posted about here.The chocolate is compliments of the Foodie Pen Pal scheme; amazing dark chocolate from the Margaret River in WA, post soon!

Giant Lamington

It is totally amazing the effect the weather can have on your mood, blue skies equals birds singing in the sun and beers on the beach with tanned beautiful people (the first of these days is okay; and then bikini … Continue reading

Smartie Pant Pops

When I was little I lived all over the UK, from Inverness to outer London. I never lived near my grandparents though, so whenever we went to visit them it was a week in kid heaven: dinner at restaurants, sips of wine and lovely baked goods! My favourite childhood treat however had to be by far the most ordinary thing, cookies on a stick. Like a cookie lollipop. The cookie pop reminds me of holidays with my granny, walking to the park (all the way down the longest road ever), warm toast and sitting in her big leather chair.

Last week I received an email from uni about free market they are holding. For some reason my mind immediately went to cookies and cookie pops. What student wouldn’t love a cookie pop?
My ideas for flavours are:
– Smartie Pant Pops (this post – smarties obviously!)
– Salted Pistachio with burnt white chocolate drizzle-pops (Needs a name!)
– Maple glazed bacon and coffee – Morning Pig Pops
– Lavender and honey pops (also needs a name)

Leave your ideas for names below, the best names win a mixed box of 8! (only Australia sorry, the cookies would not last an international post)

These cookies are just a basic brown sugar cookie recipe with as much Smarties as you see fit, I’ve got a 180 g packet in the dough, then I add three extra Smarties midway through backings for a good pop of colour.

Ingredients
345g all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
225g butter
170g  sugar
200g brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
180g Smarties plus more for topping

Recipe

Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
Set the butter aside to soften at least half an hour before starting.
In a large bowl, mix flour, soda and salt with a wire whisk and set aside.
Add the softened butter and both sugars to a mixer and cream until light and fluffy. To this mixture add the eggs and vanilla and mix until thoroughly combined.
Add flour in two additions, scraping down the sides in between. Mix until thoroughly combined.
Stir the Smarties into the mixture and set onto parchment paper to shape into a log.

Cover the cookie log entirely and wrap in glad wrap.  Put this delicious log into the freezer and leave for at least an hour.
Slice and roll into balls, I made my cookies about 20g each however I think 30g would be better. Bake for about 10 minutes. You want them to be just browned on the edges; they will continue to bake after you remove them from the heat.

Makes 5 dozen cookies.

Gooey Dark Brownies with Pistachio Praline

Image

Kitchen disasters always happen at the worst of times, this particular one happened after a week-long baking marathon; my teeth had grown sick of sugar and my hands were well and truly done with being buttered. I shan’t dwell on that though because A.) I love baking and B.) I got to make these AH-may-zing brownies and C.) I ate far too many for my own good.

Now brownies have a special place in my heart. Why I hear you ask?

Well I am the queen of under-baking (note baking – the only time I under cook things are veggie pasta bakes that I am just too hungry to wait until they crisp up; and that is all good!), it most definitely steams from far too many dry birthday cakes as a child – other kids obviously my mum made rocking birthday cakes. Because of this when I bake I just hang out in the kitchen watching the cake and painting my nails. Cakes never hurry up for me, they always take a bazillion times longer than the recommended time. This is where brownies become the saviour of the day, they relish the watch, sometimes it all happens so fast; if you’ve seen Masterchef you will know that you are only minutes away from over cooking.

These were for my pretty awesome boyfriend and they went down a treat! I made these at his house and forget he didn’t have a food processor so the praline was more crunchy bits of caramel than the smooth crunch of praline!

Dark Chocolate Brownies adapted from Joy the Baker
makes 24 brownies
200g unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
12 Tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter a 9×13-inch baking pan.  Line and butter the lining.  This will make brownie removal much easier.

Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.

Place butter and chopped chocolate in a medium-sized heat proof bowl.  Place the bowl over a pot of barely simmering water, being sure that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the boiling water.  Stir until chocolate and butter are completely melted.  Use pot holders to remove the bowl from over the boiling water. Lets mixture sit for a few minutes.Image

Meanwhile, in a medium-sized bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs and vanilla extract.  Whisk until pale and thick.  Pour the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture.  Whisk until completely incorporated.  Add the flour mixture all at once and whisk to incorporate.  Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.ImagePotentially review size of container for overflow, however if you do have overflow you can totally eat it, that’s cool.

Pistachio Praline

165g caster sugar
1/4 cup water
50g shelled pistachios

Combine sugar and water in a saucepan and stir over low heat to dissolve sugar. Increase heat and boil, without stirring, until mixture is a caramel colour. Pour into six 175mL ramekins.
Lightly toast nuts in a hot oven.
Remove caramel from heat once nuts are toasted.
When bubbles subside, carefully stir in nuts. Pour onto a greased baking tray, cool, break into pieces and grind finely in a food processor.
Add some vanilla gelato from Gelatissimo and you have an amazing dessert.
❤ Enjoy!

Strawberry and Gin Birthday Cake

My dad and I have lots of things in common; I think. We live in the same house, we have the same taste in comedy and a penchant for documentaries; although definitely opposing tastes in the type documentaries…seriously how many doco’s on warships can you watch dad? Documentaries like this are way better.

I know for sure though that overly sweet things are not appropriate for either of us. They make my teeth hurt. When I was little I actively avoided birthday cake in search of the jelly and ice cream, I couldn’t stand that nothing sweetness of white buttercream; even worse is shock horror it was encased with fondant. Gosh I hate fondant. My dad is nicer about the situation; mentions it was little sweet for his tastes and moves on. I have not mastered that level of decorum; seriously fondant WHAT are you bringing to the table?

So when it comes around to his birthday it’s a bit of struggle to make a not overly sweet cake; it’s definitely not a struggle to give him fondant.

This is where Swiss meringue buttercream or SMB comes in. I mastered the art of SMB a while back and now it has to be my favourite frosting! It hasn’t got that gritty texture that icing sugar based buttercreams do. And it isn’t excessively sweet, it’s is light and fluffy. SMB is a meringue-based buttercream, you create the meringue then chuck butter in, it’s a slower process but you don’t end up covered in icing sugar.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream may look really hard but this tutorial from Sweetapolita makes it so damn easy. It’s all about temperatures and timing but once you’ve got it it’s hard to mess up. And it freezes and chills well. I made a massive amount and now I’m ready to frost.

Plus its much, much easier to add alcohol to this frosting; and that is what everyone wants in a frosting yeah? I added gin to this; Bombay Sapphire to be specific and four shots for the frosting one shot for me. That combined with the light vanilla sponge and fresh strawberries is like a cocktail in a cake!

I would suggest if this cake isn’t for a birthday that you eat it with the girls, drinking darned nice cocktails and watching ‘Snog, Marry, Avoid’ your life will seem brighter, happier and more worthwhile after doing so.

 Joy the Baker Vanilla Sponge

226g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

393g granulated sugar

4 large eggs

240ml whole milk

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out

343g all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2-teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter and flour two 8-inch round baking pans and set aside.

In a stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed for 3 to 5 minutes or until light and fluffy.  Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to ensure that everything is well mixed.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for one minute after each addition.

In a small bowl whisk together flour baking powder and salt.

In a separate small bowl combine the milk, vanilla extract and vanilla seeds.

With the mixer on low speed, alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk mixture in three batches.  Start and end with the flour mixture.  When the batter is just combined, shut off the mixture and thoroughly incorporate the dough with a rubber spatula.

Divide the batter between the two pans.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a pale golden colour, and a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.  For cupcakes bake 25 to 30 minutes.

Let the cakes cool in the pan for 15 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool.  Frost and berry only when cakes are completely cool.

Are you guys sugar tolerant in cakes or do you need much more of  balance? Let me know!

Strawberry and Balsamic Cupcakes

I’d first like to point out that I got 99 problems, and they are all related to university.
Maybe that won’t rap so well. I’ll work on it, sorry Jay Z.

I made this for mother’s day; but let us be serious for a second, it’s an any time cake! I hope you made your mum something awesome; you should totally share your creations, sharing is caring.

The balsamic really tones down the frosting sweetness; which I love! I added a bit of pepper to the cake batter as well, which gives it a kick. Plus I don’t know whether I mentioned this – but I have a major pepper addiction, pepper and lemon. Pepper and lemon and strawberries! If I were making this again I would roast the strawberries for a while and drizzle them with lemon before straining them. But that’s just me.

I also seem to love strawberry and balsamic, remember the strawberry balsamic flatbread  made; I need to make that again!

Join me on a wonderful journey of strawberries; oh man strawberry journeys sound like the best.

Basic Vanilla Cake+ Pepper

I used a vanilla cake recipe from Bake by Alison Thompson
This produces a very cakey flavour, if that’s not what you’re into my next post will have a super light vanilla cake.

250 gr Unsalted Butter – I like to use B.D. Paris Creek Farms unsalted butter
250 gr Caster Sugar
2 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
5 Eggs – always use free range!
250 gr Self-raising flour (make sure your flour is in date, self-raising has rising agents that can go off – your cake won’t rise!)

Pre-heat the Oven to 160C and set out 24 cupcake papers.

Cream the butter sugar and vanilla together until creamy and pale; about 5 minutes.
Add the eggs one at a time; beating well after each addition. Sift in the flour and mix on low-speed until just combined; now is the time to add any flavourings.

Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve and divide equally between cupcake patty pans. Bake for 20 minutes.

Strawberry and Balsamic Frosting from Raspberri Cupcakes

150 gr (a little over half a punnet) ripe strawberries, hulled
280 gr (2.5 sticks) unsalted butter
500 gr icing sugar (about 4 cups), sifted
Approx. 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, adjust to taste (I used a fantastic caramelised balsamic – a sweeter, thicker balsamic is preferable but any balsamic will do, just adjust to taste)

remove the butter from the fridge 30 mins before starting. Puree strawberries in a food processor or blender (if unavailable you can chop it up and try to mash it through a sieve). Place butter in a large mixing bowl and beat until smooth, fluffy and pale. While beating on medium, gradually add sifted icing sugar and then add the strawberry puree and balsamic vinegar (to taste) and beat on high until smooth and fluffy. You may need to add more puree or more icing sugar to get the right texture, you want it to be spreadable but not runny.

A Delicious Debate

Cookie debate, lavender and white chocolate v. Vanilla bean and white chocolate

I don’t really love macadamias. We tolerate each other. The main issue (with my life) is that white chocolate and macadamias are a pretty exclusive pairing when it comes to cookies, and whilst that is okay; it’s not perfect. Yep that’s the main issue!
Well that and how much glitter is too much?

It’s the big questions in life.

And by starts I mean everything starts with chocolate. The recipe however does not.

This is my search for perfection; after some research – browsing baking blogs and drooling over Martha Stewart- I narrowed it down to two flavour pairings:

  • Lavender and white chocolate
  • Vanilla bean and white chocolate

This base cookie is from my go-to lady when it comes to sugar, Joy the Baker. The base is browned butter which gives it a nuttiness that the crowd was split on. Some loved it, some thought it was overpowering.

Lavender won for me, however the crowds were again split.

The debate/recipe – based on Joy the Baker

113g butter
200g light or dark brown sugar, I used a mix about 75% dark, 25% light
25ml  milk
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
219 g all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8  teaspoon salt
165g white chocolate chunks I used Lindt Lindor White chocolate pieces roughly chopped.
2 Tablespoons of ground lavender OR 1 tablespoon of vanilla paste (equals one vanilla pod)

Place a heavy bottomed pan on a medium heat and chuck in the butter. Stir and swirl until the butter has melted and turned a nutty brown colour. Once browned take off the heat.

Whilst the butter is cooling measure out your dry ingredients. Place the sugar into a large mixing bowl and add the cooled sugar, stir until combined.
Add the egg and stir until just combined.
Add the milk and vanilla extract and stir again.

Scrape down the sides and then incorporate your dry ingredients mixing until just combined. Fold in your chocolate chips and ingredient of your choice. Go with lavender!

No wait vanilla.

I use a small ice cream scoop to get the cookies evenly shaped then press my thumb down to flatten them slightly. If you chill them before they go in the oven then wont spread as much! Bake at 180C for 15 minutes-ish, until golden and still soft in the middle. You want them to be fairly soft when you bring them out as they will continue cooking whilst they cool.

Next week I’m going in search of the chewiest cookie base around. And then adding white chocolate, lavender and vanilla!

Super Simple Sticky Toffee Pudding

This is just the most simple thing you may ever make. I feel like this pudding actually gives back more than you put in, the saint of puddings if you will, it’s there for you when you need it most. With the weather the way it is now though (30 degrees in Adelaide!) this probably isn’t what you are day dreaming about eating, but trust me on this.

This should be on man vs. food, it is ridiculously rich; in a good way. I like to coat mine in custard, but then I’ll pretty much coat anything in custard; I may or may not have eaten the remaining custard on its own the next day. Heated of course.

I am looking into buying a digital SLR camera, if you have any suggestions of brands let me know!

Nigella’s Easy Sticky Toffee Pudding

Ingredients – Pudding

  • 100g dark muscovado sugar
  • 175g self-raising flour
  • 125ml full-fat milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 50g unsalted butter, melted
  • 200g chopped, rolled dates, I would suggest dicing these really finely as they soften more whilst smaller.

Ingredients – Sauce

  • 200g dark muscovado sugar
  • Approx. 25g unsalted butter in little blobs
  • 500ml boiling water

Recipe

Serves: 6-8.
  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C and butter a 11/2-litre capacity pudding dish.
  2. Combine the 100g dark muscovado sugar with the flour in a large bowl. Pour the milk into a measuring jug, beat in the egg, vanilla and melted butter and then pour this mixture over the sugar and flour, stirring – just with a wooden spoon – to combine. Fold in the dates then scrape into the prepared pudding dish. Don’t worry if it doesn’t look very full: it will do by the time it cooks.
  3. Sprinkle over the 200g dark muscovado sugar and dot with the butter. Pour over the boiling water (yes really!) and transfer to the oven. Set the timer for 45 minutes, though you might find the pudding needs 5 or 10 minutes more. The top of the pudding should be springy and spongy when it’s cooked; underneath, the butter, dark muscovado sugar and boiling water will have turned into a rich, sticky sauce. Serve with vanilla ice cream, crème fraîche, double or single cream as you wish.

Apple and Raspberry Crumble

Sorry totally took an unexpected one week breather from life, similar to the breather from the gym that I’ve taken; not sure when that one is ending though. Life is starting again today, that’s happening. I’m sure the unwillingness to do much is stemming from the fact I 100% have to get an injection next week; when I have to get them life seems to get put on hold and I become completely lethargic with refusal to do anything hard. If anyone knows good ways to overcome phobias that would be simply amazing!

I made this last week and it has sat on my laptop pretty much finished apart from the recipe down at the bottom. Pretty darn lazy I think.

Crumble was made for living in the moment, crumble and shots. Can they be combined? I think I’ll have to try. This crumble is delicious and jammy. Mega comfort food that tastes slightly more grown-up than your standard home-grown apple crumble because of the brandy. Have a shot of brandy on the side; live a little. Does anyone do shots of brandy? Is that a nanna thing?

Adapted from Jamie Olivers Great Britain cookbook

Ingredients
6 Medium Apples Peeled, cored and sliced into 10 (use a mix of apples)
100 grams of brown sugar
giant slug of brandy
1 nutmeg for grating
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
100 grams of Raspberries
Juice of one Orange

Crumble Topping
75 grams of Butter, chilled and cut into small cubes
100 grams of Plain Flour
100g of Demera Sugar
Zest of one Orange (perhaps the one you juiced before; zest it first though)

How-to-make-this:
Pre-heat oven to 180C/350F.
Cut each Apple roughly into about 10 pieces; they should be slightly larger than bite-size. Put the pieces into a large heavy bottomed pan over a medium heat. Add the brown sugar and cinnamon, grate over some nutmeg and add a good swig of brandy. Like a lot of brandy, you are making the sauce with this stuff!Cover with lid and stew for 5 minutes, or until fruit has started to soften. Remove lid and cook for another 5 minutes or so, until the sauce has thickened up a bit. When it’s good simply stir in the raspberries (or any soft berries of your liking; Jamie used blackberries) and take off the heat.

In a clean bowl, make your crumble topping by quickly rubbing the butter into the flour and sugar until you have fine crumbs – you can do this in a food processor, but I think it tastes better by hand – clean hand that is. Grate zest over and mix in carefully and set aside.

Pour the stewed fruit into an oven-proof dish and add the orange juice over the top, sprinkle over the crumble topping and put in hot oven for 50 minutes. Or until topping is lovely and golden. The smell that will fill your house is amazing. Serve warm with a good scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.

 

Chocolate and Vanilla Cake

Before we start yes I will be mentioning Valentines day, no it won’t be in a lame way. Although really I don’t get all of the hate for it; I also don’t get the hype, I’m pretty darn neutral. I will however be wearing my new pink lipstick tonight, because you know what, I have a date. Yeah!

This post is mainly about furthering my skills in frosting, which was really my only measurable new years resolution. I like to think I’ve come along way since smearing frosting on with a rubber spatula; seriously what was I thinking?

The above cake was for my mum, her birthday is on valentines day. I would totally hate that, but she gets two lots of presents so I’m sure she doesn’t mind. I would though, because how many year of high school do you go through without getting anything, now imagine that kind of rejection on your birthday! Crazy; can i get away with saying cray cray, I so want to. I’m not American enough. Or you know… at all.

So here are the sites and tools I used:

-I always use a 6″ high sided pan with removable base, I just like smaller cakes and love layers. the high side means you can always get a minimum of three easy layers cut.

-Offset Spatula for frosting, super important.

-Crumb coat – this is just so ridiculous important, otherwise all that time you spent making flawless frosting is lost and your cake looks crumby; literally.

I found Meg Ryan from Miettes tutorial the best.

The best place for frosting recipes is Sweetapolita, this women is a goddess of frosting, her instructions are foolproof and you will not go wrong!

For piping in layers (keeps things clean and even!) I just use a Masterchef macaron piping set, it had the perfect large star nozzle!

Also in my travels I found out that you never put frosting that has touched the bare cake back with the fresh frosting, you’ll get crumbs in it. Scrape it on the edge of the bowl and try to use it in the crumb coat.

And as always, room temperature room temperature, room temperature!

Chocolate and Espresso Cake

Who buys diet books? And what has happened to just healthy eating, everything in moderation?

Diets just don’t work in the long run silly! Plus they always tell you to cut out cake! Whats with that, maybe have just one small slice. I’ll be waiting for the diet book deal penguin!

So on a completely unrelated note, I will talk about cake.I was recently asked to make a cake, for money, like a proper baker, it was for a 60th. Cue pressure. They wanted two cakes shaped like a P and a J, cue extra pressure and reading womens weekly Kids Birthday cake books like a mad lady. I’mstill in two minds about whether selling cakes is something i’d ever want to do, the main part for me is making people happy, and you don’t really get any of thatwhen you just sell them.

I got my planning on and pretty much knew exactly what I would do for every step, I’m so glad I did this otherwise it would have failed big time. Also I really like planning, not lame…shh.

Have any of you ever tried to make a rainbow cake before, i’m going to attempt one for my best friends 5th/20th (she was born on the 29th of February) picnic.

Because I made a shaped cake, I used almost double the mixture, this is the base recipe I used though.

Chocolate Cake

Adapted from Eat Boutique

Serves 12 (makes two 8 or 9 inch layer cakes. Or 24 cupcakes)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pans
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, spooned and leveled, plus more for the pans
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon espresso powder, I used Vittoria Espresso
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups whole milk
  • 1/3 cup chocolate covered cocoa nibs or chocolate chips (optional)

Heat the oven to 350*F. Butter the pans, line the bottoms with parchment, butter again, and dust with cocoa powder, tapping out the excess. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla, then the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

Reduce mixer speed to low.  Add the flour mixture in 3 additions and the milk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix until just combined (do not overmix).

Transfer the batter to the prepared pans and bake until a cookbook inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 30-35 minutes for an 8 inch round, and 25-30 for a 9 inch round (cupcakes will be done around 20-25 minutes). Cool the cakes in the pans for 15 minutes, then turn out onto the racks to cool completely.

Espresso Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 pound confectioners’ sugar (about 3 ½ cups), sifted
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
  • 1 tablespoon hot water

In a small bowl, stir together 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder and 1 tablespoon hot water until the powder is dissolved, and set aside. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter on high until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to low. Gradually add the sugar, then the vanilla, salt and espresso/water mixture. Beat until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

Note: this makes a LOT of frosting. Make sure you add a liberal amount of frosting in between your layers, as you will have plenty. I was stingy here and regretted it later.