Spice Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese and Pumpkin Buttercream

Happy Birthday to me!

If I want a birthday cake, I usually have to make it myself. I mean, I’m not too fussed about that, because then I make what I want. Last time I made myself a birthday cake, I think it was this Peanut Butter and Jelly cake, and I can’t even remember when that was!

I liked that Peanut Butter and Jelly cake, but I really wanted something that I have had my eye on for a while. Cue this delicious monster. I love spice cake. Cream cheese makes cakes and icing so much better. And, as I was born in September, I’m a pumpkin lover. (Don’t worry. I’m not that “basic” or “extra”. I hate the Pumpkin Spice Latte, as I HATE coffee.)

Either way, it seemed like the perfect cake for me to ring in another year. I love Paul to death, but he is a chef. He tells me every year, he can’t bake. And guys, I’ve seen it. I can vouch for that. He is man of few successful baking recipes. It’s one of the reasons we go so well together.

So, this cake. It’s a delicious, warm, fragrant spice cake. In the middle of those beautiful, fluffy layers is a cinnamon cream cheese frosting. Finally, the whole thing is slathered in a buttercream bursting with pumpkin and spices. Amazing!

I wanted to go all out for my birthday cake, and trust me, this does not disappoint!

I had a pretty good day. Here’s a picture of some of my birthday shenanigans.

Ingredients

Yield: 1 9-inch cake

For the cake:

2 c. brown sugar
½ c. butter, at room temperature
½ c. vegetable oil (I used canola)
5 eggs, separated by yolks and whites
2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. nutmeg
¼ tsp. cloves
¼ tsp. allspice
¼ tsp. ginger
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. buttermilk

For the cinnamon cream cheese frosting:

1 c. butter, at room temperature
1 8-oz. package cream cheese, softened
2 tsp. vanilla
5-6 c. icing sugar (as needed)
2 tsp. cinnamon

For the pumpkin buttercream:

½ c. butter, at room temperature
½ c. shortening
½ c. pumpkin puree
1-2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (per your own preference)
5-6 c. icing sugar (as needed)
1-2 tbsp. milk or cream

To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350°F. Brush 2 9-inch cake pans with Miracle Cake Release (1:1:1 ratio of flour, oil, and shortening), or parchment paper, and fasten Bake Even strips (if you have them) around pans. Set aside.

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the brown sugar and butter until will combined. Slowly add in the oil and vanilla, and mix again.

Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating after each addition.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt.

Add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk, beating well after each addition.

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold gently into the batter.

Pour the batter into the two prepared pans and bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the centers of the cakes look set and don’t jiggle. Be careful, as these cakes can fall easily.

Remove from oven and cool in pan for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the cinnamon cream cheese frosting, add the butter to the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes, then add the cream cheese and and vanilla and beat again until well combined and fluffy.

Add in the icing sugar, a cup at a time, until your desired consistency is reached. (I only used about 4 cups of sugar.) Add the cinnamon, and beat again until evenly distributed throughout. Transfer to a smaller bowl and refrigerate until ready to assemble the cake.

To make the pumpkin buttercream, in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, cream together the butter and shortening.

Add the pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice, and whip until combined. Add in the icing sugar, a cup at a time, until your desired consistency is reached. If it is too thick your preference, add in the milk or cream until you reach your desired consistency. If it is too thin, add more sugar.

To assemble the cake, cut cooled cakes in half with a serrated knife or cake leveler. Place 1 half of a cake on your cake stand or platter. Spread about ½ cup of the cream cheese frosting across the cake, leaving a small gap around the edges. Repeat with the rest of the cake layers, and most of the cream cheese frosting, but do not put any frosting on the top cake layer.

Place in the refrigerator for 20 minutes to firm up.

Once the cake is firmer, cover the top and sides of the cake with the pumpkin buttercream. It might be a pretty thick layer, but that’s okay. Spread the buttercream evenly with an offset spatula, and put in the fridge to set.

If you have any remaining cream cheese frosting, transfer it to a piping bag fitted with a star tip. Pipe the frosting around the top of the cake, and around the bottom if you want.

Slice, and serve.

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Kahlua Chocolate Cake

Yes, that’s right, Kahlua Chocolate Cake. I made this months ago for a dinner party that Paul and I hosted, and it did not disappoint, but I completely forgot to post it! It’s been sitting in my Drafts folder for months. I am so sorry to deprive you of this beautiful cake!

That’s the way the blog works, honestly. I make a recipe, if it passes the test, I write it up in a blog post. When I get pictures, I add the pictures and schedule the post. (Not going to lie, it’s WAY easier to do stretches of baking and schedule them, than try and make something at least once a week.) I’m shocked though, because this post was all done (sans edits about how I forgot to post it), pictures and all, just wiling its time away in my Drafts folder. Sad day.

Either way, I am trying to remedy the situation, so, on to cake!

This cake is delicious! I will say, however, it is sweet and rich. Take it slow, with small slices. It is a bit of a beast, but still, coffee and chocolate are a match made in heaven.

I didn’t have enough icing to do the fancy frosted edge, but I did have some Dutch chocolate sprinkles, so those served as a garnish.

The best part is I didn’t use my mixer for the cake, so I was able to use it for the icing! Usually I have to do a huge load of dishes between making cake and icing. Win-win.

I found the original recipe here, and followed it to the letter. I am sorry about my picture quality – I use my cell phone camera, because I don’t have a regular camera for photography, and I wasn’t able to get the cleanest slice, but the cake still tasted great! I’m not a monetized blog, this is all just me, making recipes that I find and love, so I am still fairly “amateur” in the blogging world, and as such, do not have the fancy camera equipment to do amazing food staging. I work with what I have in my kitchen.

Anyways, make this cake, and pour yourself a big glass of milk to go with it. You’ll need it! Still, this cake is a great way to wake up your sweet tastebuds, and to impress your friends!

I’m not going to keep rambling on whilst there is cake to be made!

Ingredients

Yield: 1 8 or 9-inch layer cake

For the cake:

2 c. flour
2 c. sugar
¾ c. cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
3 eggs
¾ c. milk
1 c. vegetable oil
½ c. Kahlua
1 tsp. vanilla
¾ c. coffee

For the frosting:

7 tbsp. Kahlua
2 tbsp. instant espresso powder
1½ c. butter, at room temperature
1¼ c. shortening
10¼ c. icing sugar (as needed for consistency)
Chocolate sprinkles, for garnish

To make the cakes, preheat oven to 300°F. Prepare three cake pans (8 or 9 inch pans work) with Miracle Cake release, or line with parchment paper on the bottom and sides. If you have them, wrap “Bake Even” strips around the pans. (Damp strips of towels pinned around your cake pans work as well. That’s what I use.)

In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt, and whisk to combine.

Add in the eggs, milk, oil, Kahlua, and vanilla, and whisk again, until well-combined.

Add the coffee to the batter, and mix well. The batter will be very thin.

Divide the batter evenly between prepared cake pans, and bake for 32-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs.

Remove cakes from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then remove the cakes from the pans and leave on a cooling rack to finish cooling completely.

To make the frosting, heat the Kahlua in a small saucepan until it just begins to boil, then add the espresso powder. Stir until dissolved.

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, cream the butter and shortening until smooth. Add about half of the icing sugar, and mix again, until smooth.

Add about half of the Kahlua mixture, and mix until smooth, then add the remaining icing sugar, and beat again, until well-combined.

Add as much of the rest of the Kahlua mixture as you need, until frosting is your desired consistency. The more Kahlua mixture you add, the thinner the frosting will get.

To assemble the cake, trim your cake layers so they are flat (if you didn’t use “Bake Even” strips).

Place one of your cake layers on your serving dish, and top with about 1 cup of frosting, spread into an even layer. Repeat with the second and third layers of cake.

Frost the outside of the cake evenly, decorating how you prefer. Press sprinkles into the bottom sides of the cake, and on top (if you prefer).

Slice and serve. Store in an airtight container.

Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake

Rhubarb is a classic summer flavour, and thanks to my parents, I have a pretty much never-ending supply. They have an absolutely massive rhubarb plant that seems to produce twice as much rhubarb than the year before!

I feel like I never know what to do with it all, so I freeze it, so just in case inspiration strikes in the middle of winter, or early spring, I have rhubarb on hand so I’m not left waiting six months to make a recipe.

When I called my parents for a visit, my dad said, slightly menacingly, “Bring a cooler”. Apparently, they have upwards of 10 bags of rhubarb for me. That’s a heck of a lot of rhubarb. I’m going to have rhubarb coming out of my ears for the next few months.

Either way, I knew I was going to be getting a lot more rhubarb soon, so I figured I should try and use up the rest of the rhubarb I currently have. This cake hits the spot exactly.

I made a few changes to this original recipe, but they were small. I used both vanilla and almond extract, and I added some cinnamon to the cake so it had a bit of a spice cake feel, and I also left out the strawberry jam called for, because Paul is allergic. I have reflected these changes in the recipe below, and the cake still turned out beautifully.

If you are a rhubarb fan, and have some rhubarb to spare, make this cake! You won’t regret it.

Ingredients

Yield: 1 9-inch cake

For the rhubarb layer:

3-4 c. fresh or frozen and thawed rhubarb
¼ c. sugar
¼ tsp. cinnamon

For the cake:

1¼ c. flour
½ c. ground almonds (almond meal or almond flour)
1½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
½ c. butter, softened
¾ c. sugar
2 eggs
½ tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. almond extract
¾ c. buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Spray a 9-inch cake pan with cooking spray, and line the bottom with parchment paper. Set aside.

To make the rhubarb layer, in a small bowl, whisk together the sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture over the bottom of the pan, then add the rhubarb, spreading in an even layer.

To make the cake, in a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition. Mix in the vanilla and almond extract, and beat again.

Add the dry ingredients in three additions, alternating with the buttermilk. You should begin and end with the dry ingredients.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan over the rhubarb, spreading the batter smooth on top.

Bake in the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack, in the pan, for 30-40 minutes. Run a knife along the sides of the cake pan while cooling to make sure the cake will pull away from the sides of the pan. Once cooler, invert onto a serving platter or cake stand, lift off the cake pan, and peel off the parchment paper.

Slice, serve, and enjoy!

Fluffy Japanese Cheesecake

Hello lovelies!!

This is a recipe I’ve been wanting to make for a VERY long time, and I’ve finally gotten around to it! (Thank goodness being a teacher in the summertime!)

So, I love cheesecake. And in my downtime, I shamelessly watch a lot of YouTube videos, focusing mostly on Buzzfeed, and more specifically, their Tasty Videos. Now Buzzfeed’s Tasty (from what I can glean from watching their videos) is a bunch of cooks and chefs that pump out videos about FOOD. All the food. They do sweet, savoury, quick, slow, and all the food hacks you might ever need.

One of my favourite videos, and one of the most intriguing, was this fluffy Japanese cheesecake. It looked AMAZING. Tall, fluffy, soft, dark top, light sides…. It just looked great. So when I saw it, I was immediately interested because of Paul. You see, I love cheesecake. Love it. But Paul? Not so much. He is not a huge fan of the texture of cheesecake (but I still love him! Everyone has faults! Ha!), so I began thinking about whether or not he would like this specific cheesecake.

Because it has so much less cream cheese, and so much more meringue and air in it, I knew that the texture would be a whole different ball game. There was a chance I could be successful!

Oh my word, guys. The only thing I changed from the recipe was add about a half-teaspoon of lemon extract, because I wanted the cheesecake to have a little bit of flavour.

**Update: I made a Mocha version of this cheesecake, and it turned out beautifully! I followed the exact same base recipe, except added 2 tbsp. espresso powder in with the milk, cream cheese and butter mixture, and ½ c. of cocoa powder in with the flour and cornstarch. It turned out a luscious, chocolatey, hit-of-coffee confection. I’ve added a picture of this version below. **

Ingredients

Yield: 1 9-inch cheesecake

½ c. milk
4 oz. cream cheese (half a block)
7 tbsp. butter
8 egg yolks
¼ c. flour
¼ c. cornstarch
13 egg whites
2/3 c. sugar
½ tsp. lemon or vanilla extract (depending on flavour preference)
Icing sugar, for garnish.

Preheat oven to 320°F.

Line the bottom and sides of a springform pan or 3 inch tall cake pan with parchment paper. (If the parchment paper is curling badly, I’ll rub a TINY amount of margarine on the side of the paper that will face the pan edges.) Set aside. If you use a springform pan, wrap the bottom in 2-3 layers of aluminum foil to keep out the water.

In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, cream cheese, and butter on medium heat, and whisk until smooth and combined. Take off the heat and let cool.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks until incorporated. Slowly whisk in the cooled cream cheese mixture until incorporated and smooth. Sift in the flour and cornstarch, and whisk again, making sure there are no lumps. If using lemon or vanilla extract, add to the yolk mixture, and whisk again.

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Slowly start adding the sugar, a little bit at a time, and whip on high until stiff peaks form.

Add ¼ of the egg whites to the egg yolk mixture, and fold in gently with a spatula, until you have a cohesive batter. Be gentle, because we want to keep the air we just beat into the batter!

Repeat with the remaining egg whites, until you have a smooth batter with all the egg whites combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Tap once or twice, gently, on the counter to pop any large air bubbles.

Use a baking pan or dish that is larger than the cake pan you are using, and place two paper towels on the bottom. Put the cake pan in the middle of the paper-towel lined pan, and fill with hot water, no more than an inch up the sides.

An easier way to do this is place the baking dish in the oven with the paper towels and your cake pan, then add the hot water into the pan while the oven door is open. This reduces the risk of hot water burns.

Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, then turn down the heat to 280°F, and bake for an additional 55 minutes.

Remove from the oven, and carefully, invert the cake onto your dominant hand to remove it from the pan, and take the paper off, then revert back onto a cooling rack.

If you are using a springform pan, just remove the foil and the sides. Leave the cake to cool before trying to invert and remove the paper from the bottom. (I learned the hard way. I tried the original way, suggested above, and deflated my cake a bit. 😦 Sad day.)

Sprinkle icing sugar on the top of the cheesecake for garnish.

Slice, and enjoy! Many people say to enjoy a slice of this warm or cool, so it’s your choice!

Raspberry Buttercream Frosting

Hello lovely readers!

I have never done just a frosting post, but with this frosting, I couldn’t help it!

Last week, one of my beautiful friends, Emma, got married! It was a small wedding, but a very touching one. Well, I have known this amazing girl for the past 10 years. We met on the first day in the first class of university, and the two of us, along with another phenomenal friend Breanna, have been close ever since. We also got into a little tradition of taking a picture of the three of us at each of our weddings. I know, we are pretty freakin’ adorable.

Anyways, I digress. I was asked to help out with the wedding! I put my Teacher-in-July time to good use, and made paper flowers for the centerpieces, a decorative paper flower bouquet, and I was the exclusive cupcake provider for the wedding!

It was an amazing honour to be able to provide the cupcakes for the wedding, and I couldn’t be happier for this wonderful human I am lucky to call a friend. Cheers to you, Emma!

For dessert, I provided twelve dozen cupcakes. Six dozen were London Fog cupcakes; that is, my Earl Grey Tea cake to which I added a simple vanilla buttercream frosting, and the other six dozen were Chocolate Raspberry. I used my Death by Chocolate cake recipe, and topped it with this beautiful buttercream.

I unfortunately only got a few pictures in passing, and no close ups of the London Fog cupcakes, so I can’t really write a post on that buttercream. The above picture was not even taken by me, but I saved it because it is a beautiful picture of my work (cupcakes and paper flower bouquet), so I am using it as shameless self-promotion. But, I can tell you that I used my cake recipe, and just cut the baking time down to about 25 minutes for the Earl Grey tea cakes.

The Chocolate Raspberry cupcakes were decadent. As I have already done a post on the cake, I figured why not create a post on the Raspberry frosting?

So, here goes! The best thing about this frosting is that you can use fresh or frozen raspberries! I had a huge Costco bag of raspberries, so I used frozen and the frosting turned out gorgeously.

Lastly, don’t worry. I had to times this recipe by five in order to ice all 6 dozen cupcakes. The recipe below is for a single batch of cupcakes, usually between 12 and 16 cupcakes. Remember, icing varies depending on the maker, so if you don’t like a lot of icing on your cupcakes, you will be able to ice more of them.

Ingredients

Yield: 4-5 cups icing (enough for 12-16 cupcakes)

1½ c. raspberries (fresh or frozen)
1 c. butter, softened
3½ – 4½ c. icing sugar
1 tbsp. heavy cream or milk
¼ tsp. salt

Put the raspberries in a food processor or blender, and blend until a puree is formed. Push the puree through a metal sieve into a saucepan to remove the seeds.

In the saucepan, gently boil the raspberry puree while stirring occasionally. Allow to boil for 10-20 minutes, or until it is about ¼ to 1/3 of the original volume. It should be nice and thick, like jam. Transfer to the fridge or the freezer to chill fully. The puree must be cold before adding to the frosting, or the frosting will separate.

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter until fluffy. Turn the mixer off, add 2 cups of icing sugar, and incorporate the sugar on low, then beat in to fully incorporate.

Beat in 2-3 tablespoons of the chilled raspberry puree and the salt. If you want to add more raspberry puree, you can, but it will change the consistency, and you might need to add extra icing sugar to stabilize.

Beat in the remaining icing sugar, a half cup at a time, until your desired sweetness. If the frosting is a little thick, you can add the cream or milk and incorporate until your desired sweetness and consistency is achieved.

Spread onto your desired cake, or pipe onto cupcakes.