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.

 

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

Blue Baby Shower Cake!

Hello!

We’ve been making up for lost baking time at Sweet Little Brownies! This week, I have for you, a beautiful baby shower cake! The highlight of this cake is pretty much the frosting technique, which is stunning. The mom-to-be is expecting a baby boy, and so the theme of the cake was baby blue.

1

Making this cake was a bit of a process, in that I made the fondant decorations the day before, and then spent the next day baking and decorating. To make the fondant toppers, I used homemade marshmallow fondant, for which the recipe can be found here: http://whatscookingamerica.net/PegW/Fondant.htm. It is super easy, and actually tastes good, compared to traditional fondant. S came up with the idea of making baby blocks to put on top of the cake. I simply cut out cubes of fondant, and decorated them with buttercream. To make the elephant, I used a shape that I printed out, as a stencil to cut the fondant. Don’t be intimidated by fondant – it will be worth the effort!

2

I made a funfetti vanilla cake with blue sprinkles to go with the theme of the cake. I used a new recipe from I am Baker (it is listed below), and I thought it was quite good, but not as fluffy as I would have liked. The White Velvet cake posted in the Happy Diwali post is still my go-to white cake recipe!

I wanted to incorporate both the Petal frosting technique and an ombre effect, so I decided to make a diagonal blue pattern with the dots. I loved the look of the frosting so much! There’s a photo tutorial on this website: http://www.mycakeschool.com/blog/pretty-petal-effect/.

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I first put a crumb coat of my favourite buttercream (https://sweetlittlebrownies.wordpress.com/2012/10/29/me-love-coookies/) on the cooled cake, I separated the remaining frosting into three bowls. Two of the bowls were tinted different shades of blue using Wilton Royal Blue gel colour. The remaining frosting was left white. I filled three plastic pastry bags with the frosting, and piped dots onto the cake (I did not use a tip). Then, using my icing spatula streaked the frosting dots to the right. It is MUCH easier than it looks, but does take some time to finish. Just put on some Maroon 5, and you wont notice the time go by!

The cake was yummy and beautiful! I hope you try it out! All of the high quality photos are taken and edited by V – thank you!

5

Thanks for coming by,

-G

The Perfect White Cake
From: I am Baker

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 cup milk at room temperature
  • 6 large egg whites at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened but still cool

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two 8-inch cake pans.
  2. Make sure milk and eggs are room temperature.
  3. Pour milk (I used skim) , egg whites, and extracts into medium bowl and mix with fork until blended.
  4. Mix cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of electric mixer at slow speed. Add butter, cut into cubes and continue beating on low for about 1-2 minutes.
  5. Add all but 1/2 cup of milk mixture to flour mixture and beat at medium speed for 1 1/2 minutes. Add remaining 1/2 cup of milk mixture and beat for about 1 minute.
  6. Pour batter evenly between two prepared cake pans.
  7. Bake until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 27 to 30 minutes.
  8. Allow cake to cool to room temperature.
  9. Frost cakes with favorite frosting.
  10. Just barely adapted from epicurious, taken from Cooks Illustrated.

Red Velvet Cake with White Chocolate Buttercream

1

I bake for the people I care about, because I want to show them how much they mean to me. This time I baked for M’s birthday celebration- M is my lab colleague/friend/partner in crime. Because she is the epitome of sweetness, I thought a Red Velvet Cake frosted with White Chocolate Buttercream would be perfect!

2a

I know that Red Velvet Cake is a controversial topic-you either love it or you hate it, and I used to be a hater, but no longer! My Dad said this cake was “awesome”, and I had to agree, this is the most flavourful cake I’ve ever made. It was sweet, and scrumptious, and the colour was just stunning.

3

The white chocolate buttercream is a true buttercream, as it is essentially a combination of icing sugar, butter, and cream, with some melted white chocolate drizzled in. To get the perfect pink, I used Wilton Rose gel colour, and for the purple, I mixed the rose gel with Wilton Royal Blue gel colour.

4a

Recently, I found this super cool and simple new frosting technique, in which you layer different colours to make a water colour-type effect. Here’s the link to the video: http://sweetapolita.com/2012/06/pastel-swirl-cake-video-tutorial/. The look is freeform and rustic; ie. it’s hard to mess up. I then piped a border of blossoms on the top of the cake with a 4B tip.

You all know how I feel about sparkles, so used a cookie cutter to make a heart out of pink sanding sugar.

5a

If you are going to try one recipe from this entire blog, I think this should be it! You will be ecstatic with the result!

6a

Thanks to V for the beautiful pics!

Thanks for coming by, and see you soon!

-G

Red Velvet Cake

Cake recipe by Divas Can Cook.

Ingredients for the cake layers:

2 c. plain flour
1 tsp. of baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 tbsps. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 c. sugar
1 c. vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 c. buttermilk
2 tsps. vanilla extract
1-2 oz. red food colouring (I used 2 1/4 tsp. of gel food colouring)
1 tsp. distilled white vinegar
1/2 c. of prepared plain hot coffee (don’t skip this ingredient)

Method:

Pre-heat the oven to 325° F/ 170° C.

Grease and flour two 9″ cake pans. I lined the pans with baking paper. Since it is a moist cake, it sticks a bit so prepare the pans well.

In a mixing bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder and salt.

Mix the sugar and vegetable oil in another bowl. If using gel food colouring, add it in at this stage. You might want to temper the colour (mine’s too red, I think). Add in the eggs, buttermilk, vanilla and food colouring. Stir before adding the coffee and vinegar. Blend everything together.

Use a large mixing bowl to combine all the ingredients together. Put about a quarter of the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl. Add the wet ingredients gradually, alternating with the dry ingredients, mixing after each addition just until combined. The batter will quite liquid.

Divide the mixture equally between the two prepared pans.

Bake for 30-40 minutes or when a cake tester comes out clean. Do not over bake.

Invert on cooling racks. When the pans are just warm, run a knife around the edges to loosen the cakes. Invert onto the cooling racks, peel the lining paper off and leave to cool completely.

Whipped White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Adapted from: http://comfortablydomestic.com

Frosts 9” 2 layer cake

1 C. unsalted butter, softened

3-3 ½ C. powdered sugar (or more, depending on desired consistency)

Pinch of salt

6 oz. good quality white chocolate, chopped (NOT white chocolate chips or candy melts!)

1/2 C. heavy whipping cream

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

  1. Put the chopped white chocolate into a small bowl. Heat the chocolate in 30 second increments in the microwave set to 60% power. Stir after each increment, and continue to heat 30 seconds at a time, until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Set aside and allow to completely cool.
  2. Once white chocolate has cooled, sift the salt and powdered sugar over the butter, in a large bowl. Cream the butter and sugar mixture together until light and fluffy, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
  3. Measure the whipping cream into a cup, and stir in the vanilla extract.
  4. With the mixer running on low speed, gradually pour the cream mixture the bowl.
  5. Once the cream mixture has been incorporated into the frosting, fold on the melted (but cooled) white chocolate until incorporated.
  6. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high, and beat frosting for an additional 3 minutes.
  7. Makes enough to generously frost a 9’’ two layer cake.