Friday, April 9, 2010

All Things Cake

Birthday Cakes...

In my house, if it's your birthday or some sort of special get to pick out what kind of cake you want.  I LOVE cake.  Let me rephrase...I love HOMEMADE cake.  Homemade cakes do NOT come out of a box.  It comes from all of the ingredients put into the kitchen aid mixer, plopped into a cake pan, and baked to perfection.

I remember asking the bakery why their frosting could sit out all day and not go bad.  I was informed that the frosting is made with crisco and powdered sugar.  What?  I was shocked.  I couldn't believe it.  I was disgusted.  I know many bakers LOVE to bake with crisco, lard, and all of those things that sit on a shelf for years, but I am a fan of BUTTER.  So buttercream frosting it is...Swiss Meringue Buttercream being my personal favorite!  Homemade vanilla whipped cream, chocolate ganache, and royal icing are also acceptable. 

And yes, I know I set my standards high.  But this is something I am baking for my family and friends, so I want it to taste good.  I've found with fresh, healthy ingredients I get the outcome that I want...A delicious treat and a smiling face!

Here are some of my families' requests.  They are simple homemade recipes...nothing fancy on this post.  I just wanted to share my love for making people smile with a simple cake or cupcake!

The best recipe EVER, which is the easiest, is the One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes recipe from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook.  There is an adaptation for layer cake and sheet cake.  I love it and always give it to friends trying to make their own cakes for the first time.  Plus, it's CHOCOLATE.  Those who know me, know you can win me over with chocolate.  (I will post the recipe at the end of this post)

Here are some cakes I've made for family over the years.  Nothing fancy, just homemade, delicious cake!

June 2, 2009
My mom's birthday

She loves chocolate as much as I do, so I went with the chocolate layer cake with cream cheese frosting! 

July 13, 2009
Rafael's birthday (my husband)

This was an angel food cupcake with vanilla whipped cream frosting.

Marcus' KIRBY Cake 
October 13, 2009
Double layer cake with Strawberry Meringue Buttercream frosting.  I basically printed out a picture and cut the cake out from the image.

Nicholas wanted a Bakugan Ball cake. 
February 8, 2010

Yet another request for the chocolate cake.  I also made the buttercream frosting and added wilton food coloring for the yellow and red parts. 

Wilton Sports Ball Pan Set
I used a Wilton Sports Ball Pan Set to make this, which I purchased from Michael's with a 40% off coupon! 

Halloween 2009

I always go way overboard and do a crazy scary dinner for the kids.  This is a simple Pumpkin Spice Bundt Cake. 

Nicholas' Mario Party
February 8, 2009

Mario Brother's have to be my kids all time favorite.  When my son Nicholas wanted this theme for his birthday I had purchased a new cupcake stand that I wanted to try out.  I think the mushrooms turned out cute.  All the kids loved them and wore their Mario/Luigi hats I made.  It was fun.

Had to post a pic with the hat and mustache!

July 16, 2008

Angel Food Cake with Fresh Strawberries

Whenever I make desserts for my Grandmother, I take into account she has to watch her sugar intake.  Angel food cake is the best for this!  It is light and delicious and healthy (if cake can be such a thing).

Marcus' Clone Wars Pull-Apart Cake

October 13, 2008

When we lived in FL the pull apart cake was everywhere.  When we got to Indiana nobody had heard of it.  Well we loved the idea since the cake is already cut in kid friendly sizes and they can chose chocolate or vanilla with no problem.  The stars are just sugar cookies that I cut in star shapes and frosted.  Nothing fancy, just delicious!

This whole post came about in my exploration for a Guinness Cake recipe.  I did find it, but I also found an Irish Car Bomb cupcake recipe.  Watch for it.  I will be making it very soon!

One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes
by Martha Stewart
Makes 18 to 24

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

3/4 cup warm water

3/4 cup buttermilk

3 tablespoons safflower oil

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners; set aside. Sift together cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Add eggs, warm water, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla, and mix until smooth, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl to assure batter is well mixed.

Divide batter evenly among muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full. Bake until tops spring back when touched, about 20 minutes, rotating pan once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting
Martha Stewart, Homebaking Handbook
makes 4 cups

4 large egg whites

1 1/4 cups sugar

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, (3 sticks), softened, cut into tablespoons

2 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


Put egg whites and sugar in the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer set over a pan of simmering water. Whisking constantly, cook until sugar has dissolved and mixture is warm (about 160 degrees..

Attach bowl to a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat egg white mixture on high speed until it forms stiff (but not dry) peaks. Continue beating until fluffy and cooled, about 6 minutes.

Switch to the paddle attachment. With mixer on medium-low, add butter several tablespoons at a time, beating well after each addition. (If frosting appears to separate after all butter has been added, beat on medium-high speed until smooth again, 3 to 5 minutes more.) Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low; beat 2 minutes to eliminate air bubbles. Stir with a rubber spatula until smooth.

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