A Birthday Cake for Dad

 

A

Yesterday was my Dad’s birthday, and I made him a four-layer red velvet cake with chocolate mousse and cream cheese icing. I hadn’t baked a cake in ages, so I wanted to go all out and make a pretty epic cake!

B

Inspired by a post I saw on Pinterest (http://www.polkadotbride.com/2012/10/diy-cake-decorating-ruffled-rose-tutorial/), I made a gumpaste flower to sit on top of the cake.

D

I combined gumpaste powder, water, pink gel colour, and kneaded the paste, rolling out a thin sheet. I used four different sized circle cutters and then used scissors to shape the circles into flowers. I pressed the petals of the flowers to make them thinner, and more realistic, and let them dry for a couple of hours. Using frosting, I glued the layers together, and placed some nonpareils on the smallest flower layer.

C

This red velvet cake is one of my favourite recipes, and one you’ve already seen on the blog (https://sweetlittlebrownies.wordpress.com/2013/05/11/red-velvet-cake-with-white-chocolate-buttercream/). I halved the recipe to bake two 6” layers, and sliced the layers in half, to make four. I made chocolate mousse and vanilla cream cheese frostings, for which I’ve included the recipes below. To assemble the cake, use the vanilla cream cheese frosting to outline the perimeter of the bottom cake layer, and fill the middle with chocolate mousse; repeat this for the next 3 layers. Once all four layers are assembled, use cream cheese buttercream to frost the entire cake.

E

For the first time, I used store-bought Wilton frosting to cover the cake. Personally, I think homemade marshmallow fondant is the best option, because it is cheaper and tastes much better. I was so overwhelmed with awe at the fondant flower technique, and I knew I had to try it! Luckily, I found this great YouTube tutorial (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qvk3ek7FQt8&feature=youtu.be).

F

Finally, I painted some edible glitter dust on the ruffles of the roses. All in all, the cake turned out nicely! Happy Birthday, Dad! ❤

G

See you next time,

 

-G

Chocolate Mousse Filling

http://www.sweetandsavorybyshinee.com/supreme-chocolate-cake-with-chocolate-mousse-filling/

(I used half of this recipe)

  1. • ½ cup hot water
  2. • 4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  3. • ½ teaspoon instant espresso coffee
  4. • 1 ½ cup bittersweet chocolate chips
  5. • 2 cups heavy cream, cold
  6. • 2 tablespoons sugar
  7. • 1/3 cup Nutella

 

  • In a small bowl, dissolve cocoa powder and instant espresso powder in a hot water.
  • In a double boiler, melt chocolate chips until nice and smooth. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
  • In a mixing bowl with whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream with the sugar until hard peaks form.
  • Stir in the cocoa mixture and Nutella into the melted chocolate. Add half of the whipped cream and mix everything together with folding motion. Fold in the remaining whipped cream and mix well until no white streaks remain. Refrigerate until the cake is cooled completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/cream-cheese-frosting-recipe.html

Ingredients
4 ounces unsalted butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large bowl, beat together the butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer. With the mixer on low speed, add the powdered sugar a cup at a time until smooth and creamy. Beat in the vanilla extract.

 

Apple Cake

It’s birthday time again in my family and that means time for me to make some cakes. My parents never tell me what kind of cake they want so it usually turns into me baking whatever I want. This year my dads’ birthday was the same day I got home so I had to bake this cake in a hurry. And what’s quicker than apple cake? Ok, there’s probably plenty that’s quicker, but not the point. I thought this came out pretty well. One of those desserts that tastes better the next day. The topping gives it a glorious caramelized appearance and taste 🙂 IMG_4745

Pretty straight forward instructions to follow here…Image (5)

Bake and enjoy!IMG_4754

-S

Recipe adapted from http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Apple-Cake-IV/Detail.aspx?evt19=1&scale=12&ismetric=0

Ingredients

2 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced

1 cup flour

Dash salt

2 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp baking powder

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 tsp vanilla

2/3 cup walnuts (I didn’t have any on hand, but if I did I would definitely add them in)

Topping: 2 tsp sugar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) lightly grease and flour a 9×13 inch pan.
  • Sift together flour, salt, cinnamon and baking powder. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, beat eggs and sugar for 15 minutes on high speed with an electric mixer. Add oil and blend in.
  • Add four mixture and mix well. Add vanilla. Fold in apples and nuts. Pour batter into 9×13 inch pan.
  • In a small bowl, mix 4 teaspoons sugar with 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Sprinkle over cake.
  • Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 50 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean.

THE Vanilla Cake

Hiiii! I know I haven’t posted anything for a few weeks, and I am so sorry! Sooo to compensate, I have for you CAKE! We recently celebrated a big birthday, and thus, a special birthday cake was in order for my brother.

1

Every single year, about a month before his birthday, I ask my brother what kind of cake he wants. I’m always hatching a plan for an extravagant cake, and he always asks for a plain vanilla cake. Just a white cake with white frosting. No fancy decorations or fun flavour combinations. Being a pizzazz-loving person, I cannot accept this, so we usually end up getting him a store-bought vanilla cake.

2

This year, I thought I would finally give in to his demands, and bake the plainest cake of all time. Luckily, it just so happens that I found a new vanilla cake recipe, which claims to be the “best”. I’m constantly on the hunt for a better recipe, and mayhaps this is it. I used this recipe that I had pinned on Pinterest a while back: http://sweetapolita.com/2012/06/how-to-make-a-perfectly-delightful-vanilla-birthday-cake/. It was just perfect! I often find that homemade vanilla cakes never really turn out as fluffy and as moist as store bought vanilla cakes, but this one was just to die for.  I made a 6” two layer round cake by halving the recipe. To make sure it stayed extra moist, I made a simple syrup of equal parts water and sugar, and brushed it on both layers after they cooled.

3

To decorate it, I frosted the outside of the cake with our favourite fluffy buttercream, which is literally THE BEST. Oh, by the way, if you ever make it, and it ends up a teensy bit runnier than you would like it, just throw it in the freezer for 10 minutes, and it will firm up! For the frosting in the middle, I wanted to try this cool effect I saw on Foodgawker. I made a plain jane vanilla buttercream, and a Nutella buttercream (the recipes are below), and I piped concentric circles of alternating frostings. You want it to look like a target, and when you cut it, you will get a cool effect!

4

Now, for the glitz! I was at the baking supply shop, and I found this edible silver dust (http://www.wilton.com/store/site/product.cfm?sku=pg_pearldust)! I made a stencil of a symbol that my brother wanted on his cake, and just dusted the silver dust on the surface of the cake with a metal sieve.

5

It was a special day and a great cake! I hope this cake makes up for my absence, and I’ll see you again as soon as I can!

Enjoy,

G

THE Vanilla Cake

Adapted slightly from: http://sweetapolita.com/2012/06/how-to-make-a-perfectly-delightful-vanilla-birthday-cake/

Yield: One 2-layer, 6-inch round cake

Ingredients

¾ cup milk, at room temperature

3 egg whites, at room temperature

1 whole egg, at room temperature

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 ¾ cup flour + 2 tbsp corn starch, sifted

1 cup + 2 tbsp sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

¾ sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into cubes

3 tablespoons vegetable shortening

 

Simple Syrup

¼ cup water

¼ cup sugar

Combine, and heat in microwave until sugar is dissolved.

           

Instructions

1. Grease, line with parchment and flour two round 6-inch pans. I use Parchment Paper Circles for ease.

2. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease, line with parchment and flour two round 6-inch pans. I use Parchment Paper Circles for ease.

3. In a medium bowl or measuring cup, combine and stir 1/4 cup of the milk, stir the egg whites, whole egg, vanilla. Set aside.

4. Sift flour and cornstarch. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the dry ingredients, including the sugar, together on low-speed (I use the “stir” setting on my mixer) for 30 seconds.

5. Add the butter and shortening, blending on low-speed for about 30 seconds, then add remaining 1/2 cup of milk, and mix on low-speed until just moistened. Increase to medium speed and mix for 1 -1/2 minutes (90 seconds), but no more.

6. Scrape the sides of the bowl and begin to add the egg/milk/extract mixture in 3 separate batches; beat on medium speed for 20 seconds after each addition.

7. Pour 1/2 of your batter into each prepared pan spreading it evenly with a small offset palette knife.

8. Bake cake layers in center of oven and 20-30 minutes or until a cake tester comes clean when inserted into the center. Check cake at 20 minutes, but not before, and once you feel it’s almost ready, set the timer for 2 minute intervals. Let cool on racks for 10 minutes before loosening the sides with a small metal spatula, and invert onto greased wire racks. Gently turn cakes back up, so the tops are up and cool completely.

9. Once cool, brush on simple syrup.

Fluffy Vanilla Buttercream

(Source: Baker’s Royale)

Ices 2 layer 6” Cake

Ingredients:

3 egg whites

¾ cup sugar

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, cubed

tiny pinch of salt

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1) Combine egg whites and sugar in a bowl placed over simmering water. Bring mixture to 150 degrees F while whisking constantly.

2) Transfer mixture to stand mixer bowl, fitted with a whisk attachment and beat on medium speed until mixture cools and doubles in volume.

3) Add butter one piece at a time, mixing to incorporate after each addition. Add salt and vanilla and mix to combine.   The frosting may appear to look separated, keep mixing and it will come together (this commonly happens when making Swiss Meringue Buttercream.

Vanilla Buttercream

¼ cup butter

1 cup icing sugar

1/8 – ¼ tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp milk

Beat all ingredients together using an electric mixer.

Nutella Buttercream

¼ cup butter

1 cup icing sugar

2 tbsp Nutella

1/8 – ¼ tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp milk

Beat all ingredients together using an electric mixer.

Lemon Blueberry Poundcake

IMG_20130624_153639

Do you guys remember watching Arthur, as kids? It was the greatest show of all time! Back in the days, my brother and I used to watch Arthur pretty much every single day, to a point where I can still sing the song. There was an episode where Arthur and D.W. (his little sister, for those of you who spent your childhood under a rock), wanted to bake a birthday cake for Grandma Thora. Of course, the two of them chose the most complicated cake in the recipe book, and they also decided that the middle of the night was the most ideal baking time.

IMG_20130705_155030

As would be expected, they messed up the cake, and also set off the smoke alarm, if I remember correctly. After all of these shenanigans, Mr. Read (their Dad) woke up, and baked a simple pound cake instead. The point of this story is that pound cakes are the easiest type of cake to bake, and require the smallest amount of effort for a very high taste payoff! So, as I was tight for time, I wanted to make a simple yet delicious cake, and chose this Lemon Blueberry Poundcake.

IMG_20130705_155045

As you can probably tell, I took those photos on my phone, and for that I apologize! The real camera’s battery ran out, and these are the consequences of bad planning. Back to the pound cake! The recipe includes two of our favourite things to bake with: blueberries and lemon. The lemon flavour is just fantastic, and the blueberries add a stunning colour to the loaf. I didn’t add the glaze that is included in the original recipe, but it was wonderfully sweet and moist without it. I’ve made it in past with half whole wheat flour and half white, but to be honest, it tastes best with white all purpose flour.

IMG_20130705_155003

The first time I made this, my discerning brother said that this was the greatest thing I had ever baked, so it must be fabulous!

Thanks for coming by and have super duper weekend!

-G

Lemon Blueberry Poundcake

Globe and Mail Newspaper

Makes: 2 Loaves

Loaf

3 cups all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

zest from two lemons

1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature

3 cups white sugar

5 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

4 tablespoons lemon juice

1 cup buttermilk (1 cup milk + 1 tbsp lemon juice)

2 cups blueberries (frozen or fresh)

Glaze

4 tablespoons lemon juice

3 tablespoons buttermilk

2 ¼ to 2 ½ cups icing sugar

Method

Loaf

Preheat the oven to 325F. Grease and flour two 9×5 loaf pans.

Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Stir in the lemon zest. Set aside.

In the bowl of your mixer, cream the butter on medium high, then scrape down the bowl with a spatula. Add the sugar a ½ cup at a time, and cream until fully incorporated. Add the eggs, one by one, making sure that they are fully mixed in before adding the next. Once all the eggs are incorporated, turn up the speed on your mixer and beat until fluffy (about 10 seconds). Return to medium speed and beat in the lemon juice and vanilla extract. Turn the mixer back up for a few seconds to fluff it up again.

With the mixer on low speed, or with a large spoon, stir in ⅓ of the flour mixture, followed by ½ cup of the buttermilk. Then stir in another ⅓ of the flour mixture and the remaining ½ cup of buttermilk. Add the final ⅓ of flour and gently mix until just incorporated. Fold in the blueberries.

Split the batter between two greased loaf pans. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 85 to 95 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes before turning it out on to a wire rack. Drizzle liberally with the glaze while still warm. Let cool before slicing. Makes two 9×5 loaves.

Glaze

Mix the lemon juice and buttermilk together. Gradually whisk in icing sugar until the glaze is sweetened to your liking (it should be a little bit tangy to compliment the sweet cake).

Strawberry Shortcake

 

 

You know those days when you do so much exercise that having a little (or large) treat feels justified? Well, today was not one of those days. I had an unhealthy meal, did no exercise, and then proceeded to eat dessert. But hey, if I acknowledge that it wasn’t the best thing for my body, doesn’t that count for something? No? Well then…

Today I made strawberry shortcake. This is one of those desserts that I’ve never tasted at a restaurant or anything, but the version I made was delicious, so I’ll just assume it was right. The recipe I used was from Laura Vitale on Youtube. I’ve tried this recipe a couple of times, and this is definitely one of those dishes that requires you to use butter (I usually use margarine in its place) to ensure that the dough is perfectly flaky and tasty.

photo

If you want to cut down on the sugar in this recipe just don’t sweeten your strawberries and don’t add too much extra sugar when whipping up the cream. That’ll help…somewhat. There’s nothing too complicated with this recipe, and it comes together really quickly.

Image-6

Hope everyone is having a wonderful week and we’ll talk to you soon.

– S

 

Recipe from http://www.laurainthekitchen.com/all/episode.php?episodenumber=117 

Ingredients
For the shortcakes:

1 ½ Cups of All Purpose Flour

¼ Cup of Sugar

2 tsp of Baking Powder

1 Stick or Half Cup of Cold Butter

¼ tsp of Salt

½ Cup of Heavy Cream
(you can just use milk here)

1 Egg Yolk, beaten

Egg Wash, for the topping ( 1 egg beaten with a bit of water)

Additional Sugar, for sprinkling on top

 

For the Berries and Cream:

Fresh Sliced Strawberries

Zest of One Small Orange

2 Tbsp of Sugar, or more if the strawberries are not very sweet

Juice of Half an Orange

Whipped cream

Process

1) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

2) In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a peddle attachment, combine together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the butter and mix until the butter is dispersed thru and is the size of small peas.

3) Add the cream and egg yolk. Combine together just until a dough forms. Dump on a board and form the dough into about half inch thick. Cut squares or circles and place on your prepared baking sheet.

4) Brush the tops with the egg wash and sprinkle a little sugar over them.

5) Bake for about 20 minutes or until lightly golden, let cool completely.

6) For the strawberries, place them in a bowl along with the sugar, orange zest and orange juice. Let them sit in the fridge for about 20 minutes.

7) When ready to serve, slice the shortcake in half, spoon a little whipped cream on the one of the cut sides and add some marinated strawberries on top, place the top half on and spoon a little more whip cream over the top and fish off with a fresh strawberry.