Cinnamon Dolce Latte Cake

I am one of those people that is annoying to be behind in Starbucks. I may sound like a high maintenance diva when I order my drink but the great thing about Starbucks is that you can order your drink exactly as you like it. And how I like it is “Tall, extra hot, soy, sugar-free cinnamon dolce latte, no foam, no whip”. It started with just getting the skinny cinnamon dolce latte and morphed from there – extra hot means I drink it slower and enjoy it longer, soy just somehow tastes better for most coffee drinks (and for awhile I wasn’t drinking milk), sugar-free to save calories for real sweets, I really hate whipped cream on drinks, and no foam means that you get more of your actual drink in the cup. For those that haven’t had the cinnamon dolce latte before, it is delicious. It is a sweet cinnamon caramel’y type taste. It really is the best drink there!

Look at those layers! Marbled Cinnamon & Latte cake, caramel, latte icing and cinnamon icing on the outside!

I made this cake for a friend’s birthday. He also is a big fan of the Cinnamon Dolce Latte (as is our mutual friend that was organizing the birthday). With the three of us loving the drink, I figured it was safe to try out this cake with them. I started with a basic white cake. Then I removed 1 cup of the batter and mixed in espresso powder dissolved in a little water. To the other half, I added cinnamon extract as well as cinnamon. After putting the cinnamon batter in the pan, I added the espresso batter and swirled them to get a marbled effect. Between the layers of cake I put either homemade caramel or latte buttercream. I covered the whole thing with a cinnamon extract flavoured buttercream. Oh, I almost forgot! Before baking the cake, I put a layer of brown sugar, butter and cinnamon mixture on the bottom of the pan. This kind of gave a bit of a cinnamon bun like texture in the middle of the cake – you know the delicious middle of the bun? I was aiming for that in the centre of the cake. It was delicious. Or at least I thought so. And by the fact that the rest of the cake was gone by the end of the night (there were only 6 of us eating it), I think everyone enjoyed it!

Cinnamon Dulce Latte Cake

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, room temp
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temp
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cinnamon extract
  • 2 tsp espresso powder mixed with as little water as needed to dissolve
  1. The cinnamon bun like base

    Preheat oven to 350°F. Line pans with parchment paper: either 2-8″ round pans or 1-8 or 9″ square pan (as I did).

  2. Mix together brown sugar, butter and first amount of cinnamon. Spread on the bottom of your pan (or pans) evenly.
  3. In a new bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a regular bowl and use your hand mixer!), cream butter and sugar together for about 5 minutes until light and fluffy
  5. Add the eggs one at a time and continue to beat. Beat in the vanilla.
  6. Marbled Batter! Latte batter swirled into cinnamon batter

    Reduce the speed to low and slowly add the flour alternatively with the milk. Beat until just smooth.

  7. Remove 1 cup of the batter and mix the dissolved espresso powder into the batter.
  8. In the remaining batter, add the cinnamon and cinnamon extract.
  9. Pour the cinnamon batter into the prepared pan(s) and spread evenly. Dollop the espresso cake batter on top of the cinnamon batter using fairly large spoonfuls. Swirl with a dinner knife until there is some swirling but not blending of the batters. I like to bang the pans down on the counter to ensure the batter is spread well and there are no air bubbles.
  10. Bake for 30-45 minutes (timing depends on pan, sorry! I used an 8″ square pan and baked it about 40 minutes I think). It is done when a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean and the edges haven’t started to brown much.
  11. Cool in pans about 20-25 minutes. Carefully remove the cake from the pan by placing a plate (with parchment paper on it) over the top of your pan and flipping carefully. I had trouble with the buttery/sugar/cinnamon mixture sticking to the bottom but I just greased the pan, I didn’t use parchment as I am now suggesting to you! Hopefully it will work better for you!
  12. Allow to cool completely

Homemade Caramel (the nectar of the gods!) (without a candy thermometer!)

  • 1 cup + 2 Tb sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup whipping/heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  1. Put sugar and water in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat stirring occasionally until sugar is dissolved and syrup is clear.
  2. Almost there! You want a little bit darker than this

    Stop stirring & cook until the syrup comes to a boil. If needed (if you see sugar crystals on the side of the pan), brush down sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush.

  3. Boil, gently swirling pan occasionally, until the mixture turns a dark amber colour (a tiny bit darker than the picture! I had to take the picture just before it was ready since I was afraid that I would burn it while taking the picture!)
  4. Remove from heat and slowly pour in cream. Be careful – it spatters and

    Careful when you add the cream, it will spatter and boil!

    bubbles! Stir with a wooden spoon continuously until smooth. Stir in salt.

  5. Allow to cool to room temp. Store leftovers in a glass jar in the fridge. If it gets too solid for easy spreading, you can soften it by putting it in the microwave for 10 seconds at a time (or just remove it from the fridge a couple hours before using it).

Latte Buttercream

  • 1/4 cup butter, room temp
  • Finished Caramel

    1/2 Tb espresso powder (make it to how strong you like it!)

  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cups icing sugar
  • 1/2 tsp milk/cream/water to thin consistency icing
  1. Beat the butter until creamy and light (at least 3 minutes). Add in the flavourings.
  2. Add the sugar and milk & beat. Add more liquid as needed.

Cinnamon Buttercream

  • 1.5 cup butter, room temp
  • 1 tsp cinnamon extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 6 cups icing sugar
  • 6-8 tsp milk/cream/water to thin consistency icing
  1. Beat the butter until creamy and light (at least 3 minutes). Add in the flavourings.
  2. Add 4 cups of the sugar 1 cup at a time. Add a bit of liquid. Beat in the rest of the sugar. Add more liquid as needed.

The first caramel layer. Make a dam & fill!

Assembly: here is what I did – adjust based on whether you baked it in 1 square pan or 2 round pans.

  1. Torte cake – that means slice it into two layers.
  2. I used a square pan and then made it into a tall rectangle cake, so I then cut my cake in half so that I would have a total of 4, 4″x8″ layers. Keep the two layers with the cinnamon bun crusty stuff for the centre of the cake.
  3. Place bottom layer of cake on plate. Pipe a dam around the outside of the layer. Pour caramel over the layer to fill the dammed in area.
  4. Next layer - cinnamon bun type filling to the middle

    Cover with layer of cake with the cinnamon bun half facing up. Cover with latte icing and then the other layer of cake that has the cinnamon bun filling facing the latte icing.

  5. Pipe another dam around the edge and fill with caramel. Add the last layer of cake.
  6. Cover the whole thing with cinnamon icing & decorations of choice. Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of the finished cake again!

Layers end up: cake, caramel, cake with crusty cinnamon bun side up, latte icing, cake with crusty cinnamon bun side down, caramel, cake – all covered with cinnamon icing.

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Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with Raspberry Curd and Vanilla Bean Buttercream

Fluffy Cake Batter!

I must start this post with a confession. I completely forgot to take a picture of the completed cake. It may have been partly due to the fact that I iced it when it was way too hot (yes, it was awhile ago that I made this and I keep blogging other things instead of catching up) and it was therefore not very pretty but I should have at least made sure to get a picture of inside the cake so you could see how pretty it looked to have the delicious raspberry curd layered between the fluffy lemon poppy seed cake. And then you could also see the fun flecks of vanilla bean in the buttercream. Instead you will have to picture it in your head! I have the pics of the building the “dam” to hold the curd in, and I have pictures of how I used the 2nd “layer” as a separate cake that I just piled high with raspberry curd & no buttercream but that is it. Oh well. This will have to do!

The important thing is actually how good it tasted anyways! The lemon was perfectly fluffy & lemony without being over powerful and the raspberry complimented it perfectly. And the buttercream had the sweetness to contrast with the sour of both the lemon and the raspberry. And more importantly, my friend’s lemon poppy seed obsession was quelled for a few days! We often have seminars at work that serve muffins and I have many coworkers that are seriously addicted to the lemon poppy seed muffin. Myself, I am quite loyal to the blueberry bran muffins but I understand that the lemon poppy seed ones are amazing. So for my friend’s birthday, I figured I had to make this cake!

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

  • Beaten egg whites!

    2 1/3 cup flour

  • 2 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 5 egg whites
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 Tablepoons of lemon zest
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  1. Grease cake pans: either one 13×9″ or two 8×8″ or two 9×9″ (I did one 9×9″ and one 7″ round and took them to separate parties that did not require big cakes!) Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Whisk together dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt and poppy seeds) in a medium bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue beating until stiff.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together butter, sugar, lemon extract and lemon zest until light and fluffy (4-5 minutes).
  5. With the beaters on low add 1/4 cup of the milk, then half of the dry ingredients, the rest of the milk, and finally the rest of the dry ingredients.
  6. Fold 1/4 of the egg whites carefully. Next, fold in half of the remaining egg whites. And finally the rest.
  7. Bake 24-26 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and allow to cool on rack at least 15 minutes before removing from pan(s) to cooling rack.

Beautiful, delicious raspberries!

Raspberry Curd

Note: As mentioned above, I made this cake for a birthday and took the other “layer” to another party. For the second layer I made raspberry curd in the same way I made strawberry curd previously and it turned out almost as good.  Either one will work well – just depends if you want to use up those 5 yolks you just separated from the 5 egg whites above!

  • Bubblin' Curd! Let it thicken.

    8 Tablespoons of butter

  • 12 oz (1 pkg) raspberries
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  1. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add everything else while stirring.
  2. Mash the berries and continue to cook (stirring frequently) until thick, about 10 minutes.
  3. Strain into a heatproof bowl and allow to cool to room temperature.
  4. Stir in 2-3 tsp of lemon juice.

Straining the raspberry curd

Vanilla Bean Buttercream

  • 1 cup butter, room temp
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 4 cups icing sugar
  • 2-4 tablespoons of cream or milk
  1. In the bowl of a mixer, beat the butter for 5 minutes on medium speed. The butter will become pale and creamy.
  2. Add the sugar, 1/2 cup at a time while the mixer is on low. Add vanilla and then enough cream until desired consistency is reached.

    Prepping for the 2nd layer: build a dam and fill with the curd

  3. Beat on medium for 5 minutes.
Assembly:
  1. Slice cake layer in half.
  2. Pipe a “dam” of buttercream around the edge of the layer. Add the raspberry curd to the centre and spread out evenly.
  3. Cover with next layer of cake. Repeat if you are using two layers for a tall cake.
  4. Cover entire cake with the rest of the buttercream & decorate as desired.

The 2nd cake with just cake and curd! No icing...


Vanilla Bean Strawberry Filled Cake

I made fondant strawberries for the top!

I was paid for my first cake recently! It was very exciting really. A friend from my gym was going to buy her daughter’s cake from the grocery store or something but realized instead she could buy it from me! I think she was almost as excited about the idea as I was! Her only real request was to decorate with strawberries – although not necessarily real. But it didn’t have to be strawberry flavoured. Well to me, it did have to have some strawberry flavour because I couldn’t just put strawberries on the outside and then make a chocolate cake or something! Anyways, I decided on trying one of the vanilla cakes from Sweetapolita that she keeps raving on about, pair it with a strawberry curd filling and cover it with fluffy vanilla buttercream.

My mini cake - and inside to see the layers!

Unfortunately I couldn’t actually take a picture of the inside of the cake so I made a mini one for me! (I needed to taste test it too!) I ran out of vanilla icing so I iced it with chocolate fudge icing that I had left from something else. It is one layer short of the real one but the picture still shows the inside. It was pretty tasty although next time I would make thicker cake layers rather than such thin ones as I did this time. I think this is an excellent vanilla cake but I don’t know if it is THE best as has been posted on Sweetapolita… I think I need to try a few others!

Fluffy Vanilla Cake (adapted from Sweetapolita) with Strawberry Curd and Whipped Vanilla Frosting
makes  one 2-layer, 8 inch round cake

  • 6 large egg whites, room temp
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 vanilla bean scraped (or increase vanilla to 2 1/4tsp)
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tb + 1tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup butter, room temp & cut into cubes
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease & line with parchment paper two 8″ cake pans
  2. In a measuring cup or small bowl, stir together the egg whites, 1/4 cup milk, and the vanilla.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or regular & use a hand mixer), combine the dry ingredients and mix on low speed for about 30 seconds.
  4. Add the butter and remaining 3/4 cup of milk and mix on low speed until moistened. Increase the speed to medium and mix for 90 seconds.
  5. Scrape down the bowl if needed. Add the egg mixture in 3 batches and beat on medium speed for 20 seconds after each.
  6. Divide the batter between the two prepared cake pans. Bake 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  7. Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes and then remove to cooling rack to cool completely.

Straining the Strawberry Curd

Strawberry Curd (this works perfect for Raspberry Curd as well)

  • ~15oz fresh strawberries, stems removed  (or ~12oz raspberries)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 TB lime juice
  • 5 tsp cornstarch
  1. In a small bowl, mix together the lime juice and cornstarch until mostly smooth.
  2. In a food processor or magic bullet, puree the berries with the sugar. Add the cornstarch/lime juice and puree again.
  3. Strain into a medium saucepan through a mesh seive.
  4. Cook over medium until it comes to a boil. Stir constantly and cook for another minute until somewhat thickened.
  5. Strain again into a heatproof contained and allow to cool to room temperature. Chill slightly to make sure it is thick before using in the cake.

Whipped Vanilla Frosting

  • 1 1/2 cup butter, room temp
  • 6 cups icing sugar
  • 2tsp clear vanilla
  • 3-5 Tb cream/milk
  1. In the bowl of a mixer, beat the butter for 8 minutes on medium speed. The butter will become pale and creamy.
  2. Add the sugar, 1/2 cup at a time while the mixer is on low. Add vanilla and cream until desired consistency is reached.
  3. Beat on medium for 6 minutes.

Assembly:

  • I actually made this a 6 layer cake and made 3 9″ layers (I did an extra ‘half’ recipe on top of what is written. I think if I did it again, I would actually double the recipe for 3 thicker 9″ layers) and sliced each of the layers in half. I also used 2 cups of butter & 8 cups of sugar for this size of cake.
  • I layered it as such: cake, vanilla frosting, cake, strawberry curd, cake, vanilla frosting, cake, strawberry curd, cake, vanilla frosting, cake. Cover the entire cake with frosting.
  • When it comes to the layers with the curd, pipe a good “dam” around the outside of the cake prior to adding the curd. This will ensure that the curd doesn’t leak out.

Tea & Coffee Wedding Cake – My first one!

The Finished Cake

I have done it: made my first wedding cake. It went reasonably well too. I mean, I would have liked the fondant to be smoother and I would have liked to have the confidence to make it more exciting but overall, it looked pretty nice. And the taste! Well, that was more important to me than the look and oh did it taste good! The bride told me that her mom is quite picky about desserts and had been trying to get the bride to tell me to “not make it too sweet” and stuff like that (my friend didn’t pass along anything of the sort – she put a lot of trust in me actually!) but the mother-of-the-bride was extremely happy with it and was thrilled there was some left for them to take home!

So here was the process (sorry that this post may be long – it was a long process!):

  1. Make the cakes!I made three tiers with the bottom being mocha flavoured (14″ round) and the top two tiers being chai tea. Now do you get why I called it my Tea & Coffee wedding cake? I had to make a triple batch of the mocha cake for two layers of 14″ rounds and a 2.5 batch of the chai spiced cake for the other two tiers. (Note: the 14″ volume is actually larger than the two smaller layers put together). I made the cakes on the Sunday before the wedding (which was held on Saturday), allowed them to cool, and wrapped them very well (a LOT of Saran Wrap!) and froze them. I knew that I wouldn’t

    A lot of frozen cakes!

    have time to bake them all later in the week. The baking alone took about 7 hours!!

  2. Make fondant roses. This is not something I love doing. In fact, I think I would just buy real roses in the future instead. These took around 8 hours to make! Since the colours were supposed to be red & gold, I made the roses in a couple shades of red. Overall I did like the effect of the cluster of them on the top of the cake but they are too much work and I am not all that great at them.
  3. Make the icing. This was where I became exceedingly grateful for owning a KitchenAid mixer. The cappuccino icing/filling for the mocha cake was easy enough but the Honey Swiss Meringue Buttercream for the Chai cake involved beating the egg whites for an excessively long time!

    Latte icing for the chocolate cake

  4. Ice the cakes. This wasn’t actually as bad as I thought it would be. I thought with a giant cake it might be a little trickier but it was fine. First though I had to make sure that all three tiers would end up the same size. So I carved down the layers that were a little too thick and made sure they were level. Also, each tier goes on a cardboard cake base (basically you then ice to the width of the board and make sure the fondant covers it). I then put a thin layer of honey on the chai cakes and piping gel on the mocha cake to make sure that the fondant stuck.

    The top tier is iced & 'honeyed'

    Honey Buttercream for the Chai Tea cake

  5. Fondant the cakes! I had bought Satin Ice fondant this time instead of the Wilton I had used in the past. It smelled delicious! I had bought the vanilla buttercream flavour and although it still had that weird fondant texture, it did taste better (Wilton is tasteless – just sweet).  This was a little

    The fondant

    frustrating as I wanted it to be perfect and I knew it wouldn’t be. Also, fondant attracts lint and hair like crazy and having two cats makes it incredibly frustrating! I did manage to keep it fur free though (I think/hope). After finishing the fondant, I covered the cakes and refridgerated them overnight (normally fondant cakes don’t need to be kept cool but it was pretty hot here and I didn’t want to take the chance). I had planned on making Royal Icing and doing some designs but I decided I could keep this first one simple and plain.

  6. Insert the dowels. Since the cakes are heavy with all of that cake, icing & fondant, you can’t just pile them on top of each other as the bottom tier will

    The tiers are ready to go! You can see where the dowels are.

    collapse and buckle. Thankfully they make dowels for cakes. You can buy wooden ones but I opted for the ones that are basically like giant, hard straws. You basically insert them into the cake and push them to the bottom. Mark the side where the top of the cake reaches to and then cut them off a little shorter than that. Push them back in. I was a little paranoid so I likely used more than I needed in the bottom tier but it didn’t collapse! After inserting the dowels, the holes are covered with a little buttercream.

  7. Make the “topper”. Since the couple didn’t have a topper, I figured I would use the fondant roses on the top. I took some of the cake that was carved off the top of a layer that was too thick and made a mound of cake/icing. I wrapped this in fondant. Since the roses are made on toothpicks, I used these to hold the roses in place in my ‘mound of cake & icing & fondant’. It worked like a charm. Sadly I realized I needed more roses at the last minute…

    Here's the topper I made with red fondant roses

  8. Stack the tiers. In the afternoon before the evening reception, I went to the reception hall early and set up my cake. There was no way I was going to try to move the cake already stacked! I used a large angled cake spatula to help me out here. It worked well.
  9. Wrap in Ribbon. For the gold, in case you are wondering, I wrapped the tiers in the same ribbon that the couple used on their invitations. I looked around for awhile looking for the perfect ribbon and was suddenly inspired to ask if they had any left over as it was the perfect ribbon for the cake. I measured it out and figured I needed a minimum of 250 cm. Well, the bride has about 270 cm left! It really was the absolute perfect length – I cut the three lengths I needed and had none leftover (but enough to perfectly wrap around)! I think it was meant to be 🙂 The best thing about putting ribbon around the base of the tiers was that it hides all the flaws in the fondant at the bottom! Best idea ever!
  10. Add the topper & other decorations! I put the topper on top and other people brought some rose petals and tealights to decorate the table. Step back so you don’t look at the imperfections so closely. And dim the lights – that helps too!

    It was done... although it looked nicer in the evening when the daylight didn't show the imperfections. Plus the decorations for the table helped!

Ok, so here are the recipes. I am putting the recipe for a normal sized cake rather than the giant ones I did. I ended up doing 2.5 times of each recipe for the amount that I made. (I had to make them in 2 batches as 2.5 didn’t fit in the bowl!)

The chocolate batter: I almost maxed out my mixer!

Rich, moist Mocha Cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cocoa
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • salt
  • 2 tsp espresso powder
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cappuccino flavour (or another tsp of espresso powder)
  • 1 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3 large eggs
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease cake pans and line with parchment paper. This should make a 2 deep or 3 thinner 9″ layers.
  2. Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, espresso powder & salt.

    Whisk together dry ingredients (if the cocoa is lumpy sift it first!)

  3. In a 2-cup measuring cup, mix together buttermilk, cappuccino flavour and vanilla.
  4. In the bowl of a mixer, beat butter and sugar until blended. Beat about 3 minutes on high until creamy.
  5. Reduce speed to low and add eggs one at a time.
  6. Beat in flour mixture alternatively with buttermilk/vanilla mixture. Start and end with the flour mix.
  7. Pour into prepared pans and bake until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean about 25-28 minutes (check it at 20 minutes).
  8. Cool in pans 15-20 minutes before removing to cool on racks.

Latte Icing - I added more espresso powder after the picture.

Latte Icing

  • 1 cup butter, room temp
  • 1 tsp cappuccino flavour
  • 1-2 Tb espresso powder (make it to how strong you like it! The flavour will mellow a bit once it is mixed with the cake so make it a little stronger than you would think)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 cups icing sugar
  • 2-4 tsp milk/cream/water to thin consistency icing
  1. Beat the butter until creamy and light (at least 3 minutes). Add in the flavourings.
  2. Add 2-3 cups of the sugar 1 cup at a time. Add a bit of liquid. Beat in the rest of the sugar. Add more liquid as needed.

Chai Tea Cake (adapted from Sky-High Cakes as posted on this blog)

The chai cake batter - again almost too high in the bowl!

I like it pretty spicy and although I adapted this to make it spicier, I could still use more in my opinion!

  • 1 1/3 cup milk
  • 4 chai tea bags
  • 4 whole eggs
  • 2 egg yolk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp chai flavouring (I bought this at a random tea store in Seattle… it is optional!)
  • 2 3/4 cup flour
  • 2 cup sugar
  • 4 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. cardamom
  • 3/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease pans and line with parchment paper (2 or 3 9″ pans would work great! Of course the 3 pans would make for thin layers while the 2 pans would make for deep layers)
  2. In a saucepan, bring milk to a simmer. Remove from heat and add tea bags. Allow to steep (stir it around some) for about 5 minutes. Remove the tea bags and squeeze out the remaining milk. Allow to cool.
  3. In a small bowl, combine eggs, yolks, vanilla, chai flavour if using, and 1/3 cup of chai milk.
  4. In the bowl of a mixer, whisk together all dry ingredients. Beat in the butter and the remaining milk. Mix on medium until light and fluffy.
  5. Add the egg mixture in three additions.
  6. Divide the batter between the prepared pans. Bake 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Honey swiss meringue buttercream

  • Honey Swiss Meringue Buttercream

    4 egg whites

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  1. In the top of a double boiler over simmering water, heat the sugar and egg whites. Whisk while heating until 140°F. Remove from heat and transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment.
  2. Whip the meringue by beating on low to start, until foamy, and then increasing the speed. Beat until stiff, glossy peaks form and the mixture is cooled completely (test by touching the outside of the metal bowl). This takes about 10 minutes.
  3. Mix in the butter a few tablespoons at a time. Beat between each addition until the butter is fully incorporated.
  4. Don’t worry if it looks kind of curdled during the process, keep beating as it will come together at the end.
  5. Slowly pour in the honey while continuing to beat. Add the vanilla. Beat for another 3-4 minutes.
  6. To finish, switch to the paddle attachment and beat a few extra minutes to reduce air bubbles.
There you have it! A delicious coffee & tea cake (or you could just make one or the other!)

The couple (bad picture quality - sorry)

The cut up pieces! Pure Loveliness!


Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache Filling and Coconut Buttercream

Yum... these were good

Although I am unmarried myself, I do generally enjoy weddings. Some may not believe that as sometimes I complain about them (as they are a great reminder of my own single status) but honestly I do like them. But for me it isn’t about any particular detail or the fancy displays or anything, it is about the couple. I love seeing how they customized their wedding to match their personalities and who they are. And I love seeing the look on the groom’s face when the bride comes in!

I have a friend that is getting married in just over three weeks and what she and her soon-to-be husband decided to go with was an evening wedding followed up with desserts, appies and dancing. Although I do enjoy a good meal, I think this is a great idea for them! Neither of them are into the big fancy wedding and this style will be perfect for them. So since my friend knows how much I love baking and that I was taking decorating classes, she asked if I would be willing to make cupcakes for her wedding. Of course I obliged! What a fun opportunity! Of course I didn’t really think about the fact that I don’t really have a favourite chocolate cupcake recipe or that maybe she would want something that I hadn’t perfected already. This was really just an extra challenge though! So there is the reason behind having made 3 different chocolate cake/cupcake recipes recently!

When I finally got around to asking what she actually wanted a couple months back, she immediately said she wanted chocolate cupcakes with coconut icing. This is what she has apparently asked for as a birthday cake/cupcake since she was very young. And this actually made me really happy as I love coconut things but I know that a lot of people aren’t as thrilled by them as I am so I am always hesitant to make coconut things. My own addition to this was to add a chocolate ganache filling to the cupcake. Just a little boost of extra decadence in my mind!

I think this recipe is the one I am sticking with. When I made these cupcakes, the intention was to do a trial run of the cupcakes for a shower for her but I wasn’t positive the recipe would be the one I would use. Well it will be! Even though I liked the other recipes (the chocolate cake in the Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake or the Chocolate Cake with the Toasted Marshmallow Filling), this one seems richer, smoother and luxurious. I loved it. And I really LOVED the batter… it is so creamy and delicious. Oops, right, that wasn’t the part I was supposed to be inhaling! And then stuff it full of smooth chocolate ganache and top it with creamy white coconut icing… oh so good! Here’s the recipe:

Luxurious Chocolate Cupcakes (or cake!)

Creamy Delicious Batter

(aka Chocolate Buttermilk Cake from Good Housekeeping Best-Loved Desserts )

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cocoa
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • salt
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3 large eggs
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease cake pans or line cupcake pans with paper liners. I did a combo of 12 mini cupcakes, 12 regulars, and 1-9″ cake pan (lined with parchment paper). The idea is to make a 2-layer pan (they would be pretty deep though!)
  2. Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda & salt.
  3. In a 2-cup measuring cup, mix together buttermilk and vanilla.
  4. After baking! It makes a good portion of batter

    In the bowl of a mixer, beat butter and sugar until blended. Beat about 3 minutes on high until creamy.

  5. Reduce speed to low and add eggs one at a time.
  6. Beat in flour mixture alternatively with buttermilk/vanilla mixture. Start and end with the flour mix.
  7. Pour into prepared pans and bake until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. For mini cupcakes it was about 12-15 minutes, cupcakes 17-20 minutes and cake was about 25-28 minutes (I don’t actually remember perfectly! It could have been longer!)
  8. Cool in pans 15-20 minutes before removing to cool on racks.

Chocolate Ganache Filling

  • 4 oz semisweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  1. Heat cream until it is just below boiling then remove and pour over chocolate (either broken up).
  2. After a couple of minutes. Stir well until smooth. Allow to cool. (I actually stirred in toasted coconut but I didn’t find it added anything to the taste.) (Don’t refridgerate).
  3. Inject into the centre of the cupcakes. Or if you don’t have the cupcake injector tip (as I call it), scoop out a  cylindrical chunk each cupcake and fill with ganache.

    Lovely!

Coconut Buttercream Icing

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 4 cup icing sugar
  • 1-2 tsp coconut extract (or as much as needed! mine was a little weak!)
  1. Beat butter for about 2 minutes on its own until smooth and creamy and pretty looking!
  2. Add icing sugar 1/2 cup at a time. Add coconut extract to taste. You may need to add water to get the proper consistency if your coconut extract is potent!
  3. Top your cupcakes with the icing!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake – my 30th birthday cake!

Me and my cake!

Birthdays are pretty special regardless but I think some are more special than others. 16 is a big deal as it brings about the freedom of a drivers licence, in BC (and most of Canada) 19 is important since it signifies what I am going to call “the new responsibilities that go along with being legal drinking age”, and then it is 30. There is no real reason that 30 should be special as nothing actually changes in life at that age but it seems that 30 is the end of the “younger years”. To me it has always been the age where you really start to ‘get’ life. You know who you are. You know what you want (and of course don’t want). You know what is important to you. You have the ability to say no to the things that aren’t. And you just really are ready for real life to “bring it!” That was me this past weekend. And just to be clear: I actually had been looking forward to my 30s for years! It even happened that my 30th birthday was on a Saturday!

So it may have rained... but it was still fun!

The day started early – by my choice. I wanted to run a race. Now I have run enough races that it wasn’t like I wanted to do something new and exciting on my 30th, I just wanted to start the year with something I loved and something that I find important in my life! So a 10km race in the rain! It was a blast. I had 3 friends join for the run and one that came as “support crew”. The beginning was a lot of fun as 3 of us chased each other and traded on the lead. And then it settled in to me following closely behind one friend for the rest of the race while the other two followed not far behind. I was hoping that I would have this burst of speed at the end and pass my friend but apparently he also had some kick for the end so I followed in behind 13 seconds after him at a decent race time of 53min35sec. A good start to the day!

The Chocolate Batter... it is SO delicious!

Anyways, this is a baking blog so I better cut to the chase! Of course I needed to make a cake. I understand that some may think it is taboo to make your own cake but I really wanted to make it! For me it was a special treat! I love making desserts for other people and I love to make perfect desserts for the tastes of the recipient (so mango cake for my mango loving friend, chocolate coconut cupcakes for my friend that has loves that flavour combo,  lemon for the lemon lovers, etc). So for me, it was extra special to make the cake that I would want! Instead of it being a hassle or extra work for me when I should be “enjoying”, it turned into being allowed to make MY perfect cake! What a treat!

The Peanut Butter Batter... also delicious!

My favourite flavour combination of all time isn’t very refined or very mature: it is the classic chocolate and peanut butter. I love it. It is simply the perfect balance! Of course this is what my cake had to be. I had made chocolate cupcakes (I’ll post those later this week) the previous weekend so I made the middle layer of the cake from that and froze it (I’ll add the link for that part of the cake once I write it). The other two layers – top and bottom – had to be peanut butter cake. And between the layers, well that was a mixture of several things. First, on the bottom was chocolate ganache (leftover from the cupcakes as well) and a peanut butter buttercream. Then, between the 2nd & 3rd layers was leftover chocolate marshmallow mousse (or that is what I am calling it). (Apparently I needed to use up some leftovers!) The cake was then covered in more peanut butter buttercream. And then came the home made chocolate fondant. I thought this was a good time to try making my own! That will be a post all on its own! (If you choose to make this recipe, it is not necessary to use the same fillings as I did! But if you want my opinion, I would go with the Chocolate Marshmallow Mousse filling.)

It turned out AMAZING! Although I don’t love the taste of fondant, I love how it seals in the moisture and makes for a more delicious cake! This fondant was also tastier and less gummy than most. We went for dinner at a fantastic restaurant that had prepared a 3 course meal especially for us (with a menu that had my name on it!) including dessert but everyone was still ok with eating a 2nd dessert and most finished it!! Those that didn’t (including myself) took home their leftovers! Although it was quite rich, I only heard rave reviews (unless they were just being nice to me because it was my birthday!)

Fondant'ed cake sans decorations

Now for the shape, I couldn’t just do a regular round or square cake – I wanted a giant Whoopie Pie cake! (Just in case someone missed it – I love making Whoopie Pies and you should check out my Whoopie Pie blog!) So I carved a little here and there, cut the top to a dome shape, carved the chocolate cake to be about an inch smaller in diameter and then shaped the fondant over the top. I also piped more peanut butter buttercream around the outside as the “filling” for the Whoopie Pie! It turned out almost identical to my vision in my head (except for the imperfections in the fondant).

On the top, well I couldn’t write “Happy Birthday Becky!” That seemed a little odd. So I went with a quote from a movie. Although I am not “13 Going on 30”, like I said before, I had been looking forward to 30 as I saw myself being “Flirty, 30 and Thriving”… uh oh, as I write this now I just realized it is supposed to be “30, Flirty and Thriving”. I don’t know why I got ‘flirty’ in my head first. Oh well, too late! The cake was made and eaten as a tribute “to being flirty, 30 and thriving!”

The Finished Cake!! It was SO delicious!

Decadent Buttermilk Chocolate Cake

Ok, so I am not putting the recipe here (this post is crazy long as is!), I am putting it on another post linked here. The recipe made enough for 1-9″ layer, 12 regular sized cupcakes and 12 mini cupcakes. If you want to just use it for this cake, you should likely only make 1/2 the recipe and make an additional 6-8 cupcakes (or make 2 layers and freeze one for use later).

Peanut Butter-cup Cake
(from Best-Loved Desserts by Good Housekeeping – an awesome cookbook!)

  • Mixing up the Peanut Butter-cup Cake

    2 cups flour

  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup soft butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vaninlla
  • 2/3 cup milk
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease 2 9″ cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together flour and baking soda.
  3. With a stand mixer, beat butter and peanut butter a minute or so until creamy. Add both sugars and continue beating for a few more minutes. Add eggs one at a time and then the vanilla.
  4. Alternate between adding the flour and the milk, begin & end with the flour. Beat just until smooth.
  5. Split batter between the two pans and bake about 40-45 minutes.
  6. Cool cake in pan 15-20 min before removing it to cool completely on a rack.

Chocolate Ganache

Scald 1/2 cup of whipping cream but don’t let it boil (it should just start to have bubbles on the top.) Pour over 1/2 cup or 4 oz chopped semi-sweet chocolate. Let sit 2 min then stir until smooth. Allow to cool before using.

Peanut Butter Buttercream

Oops, I should have payed more attention to what I did! I just made this up as I went and didn’t measure a single thing. Basically what it was was 1/2-3/4 cup peanut butter, 1/4 cup cream cheese, 1/4 cup butter, 1 tsp vanilla and about 3-4 cups of icing sugar. Add cream/milk 1 tsp at a time until the icing is a good consistency for icing. Sorry I can’t say for sure what it was! (I actually used some leftover cream cheese icing and added peanut butter and more sugar to it so this is why I really don’t know!)

Chocolate Marshmallow Mousse Filling

See the filling here for the Whoopie Pies I previously made.

Chocolate Fondant

This recipe and process will get its own entire page! But you will have to wait a couple days!

Assembly:

Mmm... that was one good piece of cake!! YUM!!!

Of course you can use whatever filling you want but this is what I did!

  1. Start with a layer of the Peanut Butter Cake.
  2. Spread ganache over the top and then peanut butter buttercream over the cake layer.
  3. Cover with the chocolate cake layer.
  4. Spread the Chocolate Marshmallow Mousse on top of the chocolate cake.
  5. Top with the Peanut Butter Cake.
  6. Cover the whole thing with Peanut Butter Buttercream.
  7. Cover with rolled chocolate Fondant!


Cake from a Box… but done especially for my special family!

The mix

White Chocolate Cake from a Yellow Cake Mix

I almost never use a mix for baking. This time though, for $3 for a gluten-free (so my mom could enjoy it) mix, I figured it was worth it. And I “kicked-it-up” a bit by adding melted white chocolate! This added some delicious richness to what would have otherwise been just a white cake! I highly recommend this if you are looking for a quick baking experience with a little extra! Basically I just followed the recipe but stirred in 6 oz of melted white chocolate at the end. I also chopped up maybe 2 oz more to just be stirred in. It worked out great!

Now the real reason for this cake was actually for my darling niece’s 5th birthday. As is true for most 5 year olds girls, it had to be pink and purple and pretty! So here it is!