I always felt intimated when asked to bring a cake to family parties, so I always brought cupcakes instead. I worried that the cake layers would be too dry and that I didn’t know how to decorate them very well. So when I was asked to bring the birthday cake to my uncle’s birthday last month, I knew I had to step up my game and learn how to properly frost a cake.
I watched youtube video after video and purchased everything each one used. Then I made my first pretty cake, the Cannoli Cake, and since then have literally gone cake crazy. While the cakes are not perfectly frosted and beautifully decorated yet, I think that I have come a long way, and can’t wait to make more!
I ended up making this chocolate cake with Nutella mousse and Italian meringue buttercream for my uncle’s birthday. Actually I made two, one for him and one for the blog. This cake is hands down THE BEST CAKE I HAVE EVER HAD.
Although Italian Meringue Buttercream takes a bit of time to make and requires a ton of Plugrá butter (the only type I’ll use) it is the best for frosting cakes. The recipe actually makes enough to frost a large 3 tiered cake, unlike many others. Then there is the flavor. Oh the flavor. It tastes like butter and who doesn’t like that? I usually use a bit of salted butter in the frosting which pairs beautifully with the chocolate, coffee infused cake and nutty Nutella mousse. Another thing that is great about this frosting is that it is smooth and hardens well in the fridge.
The cake itself is light and moist. I made the layers 2 days before the party and wrapped them in plastic wrap until I was ready to assemble. The Nutella mousse just takes the cake to a new level. Like the cake, it is light but full on flavor. The nuttiness compliments the cake so well! I think I have found my new favorite birthday cake!
This is a great cake to serve at a party this holiday season. Enjoy!
- Chocolate Cake
- 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 2 cups granulated white sugar
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup oil
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
- Nutella Mousse
- 1 cup Nutella
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream, cold
- Italian Meringue Buttercream
- 1¼ cups sugar, divided into 1 cup and ¼ cup
- 1/3 cup water
- 6 large egg whites, room temperature
- 3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 cup Plugrà European salted butter, very soft cut into pieces
- 1¼ cup Plugrà unsalted butter, very soft, cut into pieces
- Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour three 7-inch round baking pans.
- Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in large bowl.
- Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes.
- Stir in hot coffee. Batter will be runny.
- Pour batter into prepared pans.
- Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
- Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.
- To make the mousse, beat heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks form.
- Fold nutella into whipping cream gently.
- Place in refrigerator until ready to assemble cake.
- To make the Italian Meringue Buttercream combine 1 cup of sugar and water in a small sauce pan.
- Heat sugar and water on medium until boiling (you want large bubbles).
- In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat egg whites and sugar until frothy.
- Increase your mixer speed to high and beat egg whites until hard peaks form.
- Reduce mixer speed to low and slowly and carefully pour into egg whites.
- Slowly increase the mixer speed again and beat until the mixture is no longer hot or warm and is fluffy. (mixture needs to be as close to room temperature as possible before adding butter).
- With the mixer set at medium speed, slowly add butter pieces. Mix until smooth.
- To assemble the cake, place one layer on the cake plate and top with 1/2 of the mousse.
- Top with middle layer and the remaining mousse, and finally top with last layer.
- Set aside 1/2 cup of frosting to make the spider webs. Add a few drops of black food dye to color buttercream.
- With remaining frosting, frost cake.
- Place black frosting in a pipping bag or small sandwich bag and cut off corner. Pipe spider webs on cake. Top with spider.
- Place cake in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Cake can be made 2 days in advance.
Being the mother of two boys, I am almost obliged to create something gory for Halloween because the boys get a total kick out of it! But to be honest, I love creating these kinds of treats during the holiday.
If you follow my blog then you would know that Baby Ben (almost 4, but always a baby) has a thing for apples. The kid seriously can’t get enough. I buy, on average, about 10 pounds of apples a week. Since we buy so many apples, I love trying out new varieties, and let me tell you there are quite a few!
The newest variety that we have tried are JAZZ apples. JAZZ apples originated in New Zealand, and have been available in the US for only about a decade. Because JAZZ apples are grown in both hemispheres, New Zealand and Chile (available May-September) and Washington (available September-May), we can enjoy them all year-long. Thankfully so, because they are delicious!
JAZZ is a natural cross between a Braeburn and Royal Gala apple. It combines the sweetness of the Royal Gala with the tang and texture of the Braeburn, making it not only wonderfully tart-sweet but also extremely crunchy. JAZZ apples hold their crunch in the fruit bowl longer than many, because they have such a firm texture. They also are perfect for baking!
The apples are available at most major grocery stores. We found ours recently at Trader Joe’s. As soon as we got home, Baby Ben insisted we make apple pie (his second favorite food after straight up apples), so we did. I always make a few extra cups of the apple pie filling to serve over oatmeal or yogurt later in the week. This time however, I decided to create a spooktacular dessert for the kiddos when they got home from school.
These Vampire Apple Pie shakes were not only easy to make and delicious, they were creepy and perfect to kick off the weekend full of Halloween festivities!
This season, there is an abundance of smaller-sized JAZZ apples available, making them perfect for snacking, kids’ lunch boxes and any time you just need a few bites of something truly delicious to pick you up!
Vampire Apple Pie Milkshakes
- To make the apple pie filling, melt butter in a medium sized pan on medium high heat.
- Add apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt and sauté while stirring until apples are cooked, about 4-5 minutes.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature or place in a small bowl and refrigerate until cold.
- To make the Candy Coated rimmed glass, place sugar, water, corn syrup, and food coloring in a small sauce pan and stir to combine.
- On medium heat, cook sugar mixture until large bubbles begin to form, about 8 minutes (depending on your stove, so please watch carefully.) Mixture should coat the back of your spoon.
- Once done, remove from heat and cool for 10 minutes.
- Once cooled, carefully dip the rims of your glasses into the sugar coating.
- To make the Apple Pie Milkshake, combine cooled apple pie filling, ice cream, milk, and vanilla in a high powered blender and bend until smooth.
- Pour into glasses and serve immediately, or place in freezer until ready to serve.
- Top with a generous dollop of whipped cream.
This post is sponsored by JAZZ apples. We appreciate your support of all of our sponsors!
Happy Tuesday friends! Today I want to share with you all a new promotion my friends over at Apples4Ed.com are launching, Buy an Apple, Help a Student! This promotion will help schools with building new gardens, improving their libraries, updating their technology, revitalizing playgrounds, and enhancing resources for their teachers! From now until Novermber 15th, 2015, you can help classrooms across the country that are in need of funds to either get started or keep their programs going. The best part is that it is as simple as taking a bite out of your favorite apple! In December, U.S. Apple Association will announce the project with the most votes, which will receive the highest donation. (But every classroom featured on the site will receive funds! ) Here’s what you can do to help:
- Snack: Grab any apple product you like (apple juice, applesauce – or simply an apple!) and/or delicious apple-pairing products made by our “Apple Buddies”: Marzetti, KIND Snacks, Roth Cheese, and Johnsonville Sausage. (Bonus: Combine apples with our partners’ delicious ingredients!)
- Snap: Take a picture of your snack (selfies preferred, not required).
- Tag: Find a school cause at Apples4Ed.com. Tag your photo with the project’s name and hashtag #Apples4Ed.
- Share: Vote for your fave school cause by uploading your photo to Apples4Ed.com or sharing on Instagram.
Vote Often and Enter for a Chance to Win!
You can vote as much as you want – each pic you upload counts as a vote.
When you vote, you automatically enter for a chance to win Apple® gift cards, PLUS have additional funds donated directly to your selected project.
Once you have taken a bite out of all your apples and shared your pictures, you need to make these Baked Apple Crisps. Baked apples have always been one of my favorite fall deserts because they make your house smell amazing while cooking. Now pair it up with another American favorite, Apple Crisp, and you have the most amazing dessert ever!
- 6 apples
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/4 cup oats
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 4 tablespoons butter, chilled and cut into cubes
Bourbon Whipped Cream
- 1 cup cold heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon bourbon (optional)
- Caramel Sauce
- Chopped Pecans
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Cut the tops off of 4 apples and spoon out the flesh. Throw away the seeds and reserve the remaining flesh.
- Peel and core remain 2 apples. Dice the two apples as well as the flesh from the 4 apples.
- In a medium pan, melt butter.
- Add diced apples, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.
- Cook diced apples for 8-10 minutes, or until tender.
- While diced apples are cooking, make the crumble.
- In a bowl, combine flour, oats, brown and white sugar, salt and cinnamon and mix to combine.
- Cut in cold butter using a pastry cutter or two knifes until pea sized clumps form.
- Place hollow apples in a small baking dish.
- Stuff apples with cooked diced apples.
- Top apples with a generous spoonful of crumble.
- Bake apples for 20 minutes or until tops are crispy.
- To make the whipped cream, beat cold heavy whipping cream, sugar, bourbon (optional), and vanilla on high until stiff peaks form.
- Place apples on plates, top with a dollop of bourbon whipped, drizzle with caramel sauce, and sprinkle with pecans. Enjoy!
Can you believe that we are already 12 days into October and this is the first pumpkin recipe that I am sharing?!? This is like 3 months late in the blogging world! At least my first recipe is to die for.
I have been really into making cakes lately. I am pretty sure I have a cake recipe scheduled weekly from now until Christmas. I tend to go into waves with things I like to cook, and this cake wave has made everyone around me very happy.
I did not take the normal amount of time I usually take in decoration, but I did on flavor. To start, I made a few cans of homemade dulce de leche. I use the crockpot method which is so easy and results in the most decadent dulce de leche ever. For the cake, I made a simple pumpkin spice cake. Pumpkin adds such wonderful moisture to cakes and breads, that it has become one of my favorite ingredients. For the frosting, I made a light and airy cream cheese buttercream. I used it in the layers and piped it on the final layer, then sprinkled it with a bit more pumpkin spice. The combination was like fall exploded in your mouth!
Pumpkin Dulce de Leche Cake
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray three 8x8 inch square pans or two 9 inch square pans with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and soda, salt, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice.
- Melt coconut oil, then let it cool to room temperature.
- In the bowl of your mixer, beat oil, sugar, and vanilla until it is fully incorporated.
- Add pumpkin puree and mix to combine.
- Beat in eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition.
- Gradually add flour to the pumpkin mixer, mixing on low and until just combined.
- Evenly distribute batter into pans and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a knife is inserted and comes out clean, depending the your oven and the size of the pans.
- Allow cakes to cool completely before frosting.
- To make the frosting beat together cream cheese, butter, vanilla and salt.
- Slowly add in powdered sugar then increase mixer speed to high and beat for 4-5 minutes.
- To assemble the cake, spread about 1/3 cup of dulce de leche onto first layer, then top with about 1 cup of frosting.
- Add next layer and repeat process.
- For the final layer, spoon remaining frosting into a a pastry bag fitted with a large tip.
- Pipe frosting and sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice.
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SweetenTheSeason #CollectiveBias
Halloween is by far my favorite holiday in the year. I love everything about it. From the costume making, home decorations, to the spooky festive baked goods. Apparently my love for the holiday has been passed down to my 4 year old because as soon as the Halloween items began showing up in the stores, he insisted on decorating…in August. He also insisted that we decorate his room for Halloween as well!
I love making holiday inspired treats and knew my kids would get a kick out of these Brain Cupcakes. When they returned home from school I served them a platter of brains on some fresh greens and they loved it! Not only are they cute and fun, the cupcakes are quite good too. Being quick and budget friendly, these are great cupcakes to take to a school Halloween party or spooky party!
For the cupcakes, I made a white chocolate cake batter. The melted BAKER’S White Chocolate really stood out in the cake! In order to add a little bit of brain blood to the cake, I used the poke cake method and infused the cupcakes with some JELL-O Strawberry Flavor Gelatin. This is my first time making a poke cake and it was quite good!
For the brains, I made a Marshmallow frosting using JET-PUFFED Marshmallow Creme. Normally I use a Swiss or Italian meringue to cover my cakes and cupcakes, but this was so much easier and tasted just as good! I tinted the frosting with some pink food coloring and squirted a bit of extra strawberry gelatin over the top for the “bloody” part of the brain. Kind of gross, but so good, and kids love it!
I easily found all of the ingredients in the Bake Center display at Walmart. Now that I did my creepy dessert, I can’t wait to create some cutesy Halloween treats. Stay tuned for a stellar spider web cake next week!
- To make the cupcakes begin by preheating your oven to 375 degrees (must be reduced to 325 once the cupcakes are in the oven). Line muffin pan with cupcake liners.
- Boil about 2 cups of water in a small pan. Place a heat resistant bowl on top to create a double boiler.
- Place chopped white chocolate in bowl and stir until chocolate is melted and smooth, remove from heat and cool until room temperature.
- In a small bowl, sift together cake flour, baking powder, and salt.
- In the bowl of your mixer, beat butter and sugar to light and fluffy.
- Add eggs, one at a time, thoroughly mixing after each addition.
- Stir in vanilla.
- Reduce mixer speed to low, and slowly incorporate flour mixture and milk in three additions, alternating between flour and milk. Mix until just combined. Do not over mix.
- Full cupcake liners 2/3 of the way full.
- Place in oven and immediately reduce temperature to 325 degrees.
- Bake cupcakes for 17-20 minutes or until a knife is inserted and comes out clean.
- Cool for ten minutes.
- To make the JELL-O, boil 2 cups of water. Once boiling, remove from heat and whisk in powdered gelatin.
- Using a fork, poke holes into the cupcakes.
- Spoon about 1/2 tablespoon of liquid into each cupcake.
- Refrigerate cupcakes for 30 minutes.
- While cupcakes are in the fridge, make the frosting.
- Beat butter, JET-PUFFED Marshmallow Creme, powdered sugar, vanilla, and a couple of drops of red food dye on medium speed until ingredients are incorporated.
- Increase mixer speed to high and beat for about 4 minutes.
- Spoon frosting into a pastry bag fitted with a round tip.
- To frost cupcakes, make a line of frosting down the center. On each side do a squiggly line. Sprinkle each cupcakes with a few drops of remaining JELL-O.
- Serve immediately or place in a air tight container for up to 2 days.