S’mores Cake

Happy Belated Birthday to Paul!

As usual, he challenged me to make something new for him. Lately, he has been migrating away from the chocolate peanut butter classic combination he loves so much, and has been delving into the world of s’mores. I’m okay with it – it’s just as good, and classic, a combo!

Last week, I did a lot of talking about why I was missing from the blogosphere for a while. This week, I just want to get to the cake. If you like s’mores, and if you like cake, you will love this cake!

I found the original recipe here, and didn’t really change a thing. This is the perfect cake to welcome in summer!

Ingredients

Yield: 1 6-inch cake

For the cake:

1¼ c. flour
¾ c. graham cracker crumbs
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. allspice
1 c. softened butter
½ c. sugar
½ c. light brown sugar
3 eggs
1 egg white
½ c. buttermilk
½ c. sour cream
1 tbsp. vanilla

For the crumble:

4 graham crackers, roughly crumbled
4 tbsp. melted butter
½ tsp. cinnamon
1 pinch salt
¼ tsp. allspice

For the chocolate buttercream:

1½ c. softened butter
1½ pounds (3-4 c.) icing sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 c. dark or semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled

For the marshmallow fluff:

1 c. sugar
½ c. light corn syrup
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
¼ tsp. salt

To make the cake, preheat oven to 350°F. Brush 3 6-inch cake pans with Miracle Cake Release and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, vanilla, and sour cream.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and add the sugars. Mix until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs and the egg white one at a time, mixing after each addition.
Add in the flour mixture and the buttermilk mixture in alternating batches, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Mix until just combined.
Pour batter into the prepared pans and bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Remove from oven, cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pans and cool completely before assembling the cake.
To make the buttercream frosting, beat the butter in the bowl of a stand mixture fitted with a whisk attachment until light and fluffy. Add in the icing sugar, a bit at a time, and beat until incorporated. Add in 1-2 tsp. milk if needed for consistency.

Drizzle in melted chocolate, and mix until well combined. Add more milk or sugar to adjust consistency as needed. Set aside.

To make the marshmallow fluff, add 2/3 c. sugar and the corn syrup to a small saucepot and head on medium high. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pot. The sugar mixture must reach 240°F, and not more!

In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, make sure there is NO grease. Wipe down with vinegar to be sure. Start beating the egg whites on low, and gradually increase speed to medium-high. Add in 1/3 c. of the sugar while the egg whites are stiffening.

Once the egg whites hit the soft peak stage, slowly drizzle in the 240°F sugar syrup, and beat on medium-high to high for about 10 minutes, to allow the fluff to cool and thicken.

For the crumble, preheat oven to 350°F. Mix the melted butter and graham cracker crumbs together well. Spread mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake for about 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow to cool, then crumble the mixture, allowing some larger pieces to remain.

To assemble the cake, place one layer of cake on a cake stand. Pipe a ring of the chocolate buttercream on the layer of cake, and fill with marshmallow fluff. Sprinkle a small amount of the graham cracker crumble, and top with the next layer of cake.

Repeat the ring of chocolate buttercream, marshmallow fluff, and graham cracker crumble, then top with the last layer of cake. Spread a small amount of the frosting around the outside of the cake as a crumb coat. (I don’t usually do this, but I did here, and I’m glad. It helped everything stick together a little better. Maybe I’ve been converted!) Put in the refrigerator for 20 minutes to set up.

Take out the cake, and spread the remaining chocolate buttercream around the sides and top of the cake. Smooth with an offset spatula, and press the graham cracker crumble around the bottom third of the cake.

Pipe the marshmallow fluff on top of the cake, and torch. Slice, and serve!

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Vanilla Cupcakes

I’m back! I was gone for about a week because I went up to Edmonton to mark English diplomas. I ended up working for about 12 days straight, and wanted to just take a little break.

After I got back, I wanted to make something, and I asked Paul if he was craving anything. His answer was just a simple vanilla cupcake. Hence, this recipe.

This recipe was also extremely easy. It uses simple, pantry ingredients and can be whipped up in about 10 minutes. It also uses only a few dishes, so you can have cupcakes in less than an hour!

This is going to be a short post, mostly because I’m still extremely tired, but these are a simple treat that yield a high reward.

Ingredients

Yield: 2 dozen cupcakes

For the cupcakes:

2½ c. flour
2 c. sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 c. milk
½ c. vegetable oil
1 tbsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1 c. water

For the frosting:

½ c. butter, room temperature
½ c. shortening, room temperature
4 c. icing sugar
1½ tsp. vanilla
2-3 tbsp. milk

To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350°F and line two cupcake tins with paper liners.

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

In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, vegetable oil, vanilla, and eggs. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk until combined.

Slowly add the water to the batter, and whisk gently until combined. The batter will be thin.

Fill the cupcake liners halfway, then bake for 15-17 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out with a few moist crumbs.

Cool the cupcakes in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

To make the frosting, combine the shortening and butter in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat until combined and fluffy.

Add two cups of sugar, and beat on low until sugar is combined. Add in the vanilla and 1 tbsp. of milk and whisk again.

Add the remaining icing sugar, and beat on low until well combined. Add more of the milk until the desired consistency is reached.

Fill a piping bag with a large star tip and ice the cooled cupcakes. Serve immediately.

Creme Brulee Cookies

Holy moly these cookies are good!

You have a classic sugar cookie base, some cream cheese icing, then dip in sugar and torch it. Yes please. These sound like a lot of work, but they aren’t. They take up a little more of your time than a conventional cookie, but these babies are so worth it.

The only thing I did differently from the original recipe was double the cookie dough. That meant I wasn’t as generous with the cream cheese frosting, but I felt that the frosting amount I put on was perfect. Any more and I felt it would become tooth-achingly sweet, and even I have my sugar limits. (GASP, I know.)

Either way, these cookies, as I said before, take a little bit of extra work, but the result at the end is incredible. The sugar caramelizes and gets deliciously crusty and golden brown. Then you get the snap of the sugar breaking – almost as satisfying as having a REAL creme brulee.

I have a kitchen torch, so I used that to brulee, but you can use your broiler – you just have to keep a VERY close eye on your cookies so they don’t burn.

Either way, go make these! You deserve it!

Ingredients

Yield: About 2 dozen cookies

For the cookies:

¾ c. butter, softened
½ c. brown sugar, lightly packed
½ c. sugar
1 egg
1 tbsp. vanilla
2 c. flour
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt

For the frosting:

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1¼ c. icing sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
¼ c. sugar (for finishing)

To make the cookies, preheat the oven to 350°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat liners. Set aside.

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugars until well combined and fluffy. Add in the egg and vanilla, and whip again until evenly combined.

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

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and mix on low speed until evenly combined.

Scoop out by the tablespoonful onto the lined baking sheets. Flatten dough balls slightly (not too much). Bake in the preheated oven for 7-8 minutes, or until the edges are just starting to brown. Remove from oven and let cool on pan for 1-2 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the cream cheese frosting, combine the cream cheese, icing sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, and beat on low until icing sugar is combined and smooth.

When cookies are cool, spread with the cream cheese frosting. Fill a small bowl with the sugar, then dip the cookies, icing side down, into the sugar. If you have a kitchen torch, torch the cookies to caramelize the sugar. If you don’t have a kitchen torch, set your oven to broil and broil the cookies until the sugar begins to caramelize, about 1-2 minutes. If you broil, you MUST watch your cookies carefully, or they will burn completely!

Wait until the torched sugar cools a bit, then enjoy!

Chocolate Bundt Cake with Chocolate Glaze

This cake has it all. It is rich, it is light, it’s fluffy, moist, chocolatey, and most of all, it hits the spot like nothing else. So good!

The other night, I was really craving a dessert, but I didn’t want to spend hours in the kitchen. I looked up easy desserts, and this cake came up. I actually used two different recipes to create this recipe together. The cake I got from here, and the glaze from this website. Together, it worked perfectly to create a moist, fluffy bundt cake with a luscious chocolate glaze.

It’s also a win-win because the cake whips up in one bowl, just like the glaze! Such an easy recipe. You can’t go wrong at all! It seriously only takes about 10 minutes to put together, not including baking time. Go make this cake!

Paul even said that this is the cake he imagines Bruce Bogtrotter from Matilda eating. I tend to agree. This is a beautiful cake that will satisfy any and all chocolate cravings you might have, and it’s so simple, you have no excuse that you can’t have cake in an hour!!

Ingredients

Yield: 1 10-inch Bundt cake

For the cake:

2 c. sugar
1¾ c. flour
¾ c. cocoa
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
1 c. strong brewed coffee
1 c. buttermilk
½ c. canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla

For the glaze:

2 tbsp. melted butter
3 tbsp. cocoa powder
1¼ c. icing sugar
2-3 tbsp. warm water
1 tsp. vanilla

To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a Bundt pan or tube pan. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add in the eggs, coffee, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla, and whisk well to combine.

Pour into the prepared Bundt pan and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire rack to cool completely before glazing and serving.

To make the glaze, in a medium bowl, combine the butter, cocoa powder, icing sugar, and vanilla. Whisk into a thick paste. Add the water, a half tablespoon at a time, whisking until it reaches the consistency that you want: a thick, yet pourable, glaze.

Transfer the cooled cake to a serving plate, then slowly drizzle the glaze over the top of the cake, letting it drizzle down the sides.

Slice, and serve!

Basic Vanilla Buttermilk Cake

It feels like it’s been a really long time since I’ve made cake. In reality, it’s only been since September, because I made myself a birthday cake, but it still feels like it’s been a while.

I was rooting through the fridge today and noticed that we didn’t drink our milk in time, and we were left with about a third of a container starting to go bad. Now, I know that you can bake with sour milk and it makes absolutely no difference whatsoever. So, what I did was look up a few buttermilk recipes. I mean, if you don’t have buttermilk, you add in lemon juice or vinegar anyways to curdle the milk. You are essentially making sour milk when you use buttermilk or a substitute.

So that’s what I did! I used our sour milk (and added a little bit more lemon juice to make sure it really had that buttermilk quality) in this buttermilk cake batter. I love vanilla. It smells absolutely heavenly, and it is just a beautiful, classic flavour.

This is in no way a sponsored post, but my parents used to sell Watkins growing up. My mom always baked with the Watkins spices and extracts, and they have such amazing flavours! In particular, she ALWAYS had some of their clear vanilla AND their dark vanilla on hand, just in case she needed either. Now, as an adult, I still have a soft spot for Watkins spices and extracts, and I try to have a bottle of clear vanilla at all times as well. (P.S. Watkins – if you’re reading this, big fan! I’m always open to talk sponsorships! 😉 Hah!) I even have some of their current, off-the-wall extracts like bubblegum, pistachio, pumpkin spice, and root beer. Highly recommend for their extracts!

Either way, I thought that my Watkins vanilla would be perfect for this buttermilk vanilla cake, because it is supposed to be beautiful, pure white inside. Let’s just say the smell emanating from my oven was PHENOMENAL, and I was a happy camper when these cakes emerged!

With the fact that it’s another easy recipe (again, 15-minutes-or-less batter assembly time), it can use sour milk, and it gives me an excuse to whip out my fancy clear vanilla, I loved this!

If you need a little bit of simple vanilla cake, this is for you!

Ingredients

Yield: 1 8-inch cake

For the cake:

½ c. butter, softened
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2 c. flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1¼ c. buttermilk

For the frosting:

1½ c. butter, softened
5-6 c. icing sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. buttermilk

To make the cake, preheat oven to 375°F, and grease 2 8-inch cake pans.

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar. Add in the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture in to the egg and butter mixture, beating after each addition and alternating adding with the buttermilk.

Divide batter between greased cake pans. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until edges are light golden brown. Remove from oven and cool in pans for 10 minutes, before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting, whip the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment for 1 minute. Add in the icing sugar 1 cup at a time. Mix and incorporate between each sugar addition.

Add in the vanilla and buttermilk, and beat again, for 4-5 minutes, until frosting is light and creamy.

Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before frosting cake, and whip once more before frosting.

To frost the cake, put one cake layer on a platter, and trim tops if necessary for a flat top. Spread about half of the frosting on the first layer. Top with second cake layer, and frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting.

Slice, serve, and enjoy!