Peanut Butter Smore’s Cake

Well, April has flown by. It’s crazy how fast the month passed. It probably helped a bit that in the middle of the month, I had a week off of school for Easter holidays. The week off was fantastic, mainly because Paul and I spent it in Jamaica! It was our six-month-delayed honeymoon.
Ahh, it was fantastic. Sun, sand, and all the jerk chicken we could eat! Paul even brought jerk spices home so he could try to replicate the Jamaican Jerk flavour. It’s smoky and spicy and absolutely delicious. Either way, the day after we got back was Paul’s birthday! We didn’t do too much the day of, just went to brunch with a friend, but I didn’t get a chance to make Paul a birthday cake last week.

THIS week, however, I had some time, and when I asked Paul earlier in the week what he wanted as a birthday cake (I had been asking him regularly for the last month and a half) he said “I’ve had lots of time to think about it, and I’ve decided I want a Peanut Butter Smore’s Cake.” The matter was settled.

I decided to go straight to Pinterest, because I had quite a few pins on my various dessert boards, and settled on this recipe for a Smore’s cake. I did make a few changes of my own, and it turned out FANTASTICALLY. I added peanut butter into the cake batter, which made it a little thicker, but still worked. I also made homemade peanut butter and chocolate marshmallows to use as garnish (those recipes are coming, I promise!). Paul was so excited about the concept I came up with he refused to even try the marshmallows, which were finished first. He said he didn’t want to ruin the whole cake experience.

So, this cake is a peanut butter graham cracker cake, a whipped chocolate ganache filling, homemade marshmallow fluff frosting, chocolate ganache drizzle, and homemade peanut butter and chocolate marshmallows. Of course, I also toasted the marshmallow frosting and the marshmallows on top, because smore’s. I’ll put everything below except for the marshmallow recipes, because I’ll post those a little later.

Okay, I won’t torment you any more. To cake!

Ingredients

Yield: 1 9-inch triple layer cake

For the cake:

2¼ c. flour
2¼ c. graham cracker crumbs
1½ tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. baking soda
1½ tsp. salt
1 c. peanut butter (creamy or crunchy works, I used half and half)
1½ c. butter, at room temperature
1½ c. brown sugar
¾ c. sugar
6 eggs
1½ c. buttermilk
3 tsp. vanilla

For the ganache filling:

12 oz. milk or semi-sweet chocolate
6 oz. heavy whipping cream

For the marshmallow fluff frosting:

1/3 c. water
¾ c. sugar
¾ c. light corn syrup
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
½ tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. vanilla

For the ganache drizzle:

10 oz. milk or semi-sweet chocolate
5 oz. heavy whipping cream

To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350° F. Line cake pans with parchment paper or Miracle Cake Release.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and peanut butter until combined and fluffy. Add the sugars and beat again. Add in the eggs, one at a time, and vanilla, beating after each addition.

Add the flour mixture and the buttermilk in small increments to the wet ingredients, beating after each addition. Begin and end with flour additions. Beat to combine, but do not overmix. Separate the batter evenly between the prepared pans, and bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Remove from oven and let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing from pan and cooling completely.

To make the whipped ganache filling, chop chocolate and place into a heat-proof bowl. Heat the cream, on the stovetop or in the microwave, until hot, but not boiling or scalded. Pour the cream over the chocolate, let stand for 2-3 minutes, then whisk together into a smooth consistency.

Place the ganache in the refrigerator until cooled and thickened, but still soft. Transfer to a mixer bowl fitted with a whisk attachment, and whip until the ganache gets fluffy and lightens in colour, about 2 minutes.

To make the marshmallow fluff, combine the water, sugar, and corn syrup in a saucepan with a candy thermometer attached. Whisk to combine, and heat over medium-high heat. Do not stir the mixture any more.

In a completely grease-free mixer bowl with the whisk attachment, place the egg whites and cream of tartar. When the sugar syrup reaches 225° F, start whipping the egg whites to soft peaks.

When the sugar syrup reaches 240° F, take it off the heat and slowly start adding it to the egg whites in a thin, steady stream. Once all of the syrup is added to the egg whites, turn the mixer to medium-high and continue whipping.

Continue to whip for 7-8 minutes, or until the mixture looks stiff and glossy. Add the vanilla and whip until the fluff has cooled.

 

To assemble the cake, trim all uneven edges or tops to flat layers.

Place one layer of cake on a cake stand, then top with half of the whipped chocolate ganache. Spread the ganache evenly, then top with the second layer of cake. Cover the second cake layer with the rest of the chocolate ganache, and spread evenly. Top with third layer of cake. Put in the refrigerator for the ganache to firm up.

Once the whipped chocolate ganache is firm, spread the marshmallow fluff over the top and sides of the cake. It is okay if it looks messy, because it will be topped with more chocolate and torched.

After the marshmallow fluff is on the cake, torch the fluff with a brulee torch so it looks toasted.

Drizzle the chocolate ganache sauce over top of the marshmallow fluff, and top with chocolate and peanut butter marshmallows for garnish. Toast the marshmallow garnish if desired.

Red Wine Chocolate Cake

Okay. I haven’t made a cake in a long time, and I did so because two of my beautiful friends celebrated their birthdays and they are both a big fan of red wine!

I’m not the biggest wine fan myself, so I had a little help in choosing the wine to bake with, but if that is deterring anyone who is like me, and not a huge fan of wine, you can still make this cake! I found that the wine did not overpower the cake at all, and it added a nice flavour.


I found the recipe here, and I am quite pleased with it. I made my own vanilla buttercream instead of the icing suggested (because mascarpone is ridiculously expensive), and I’ve included that in the recipe below. It still worked very well together, but if you like mascarpone, go for it!

Enough chatter. On to cake!

Ingredients

Yield: 1 8-inch cake

For the cake:

¾ c. cocoa powder
1¾ c. flour
1 tsp. espresso powder
1 tsp. salt
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
1½ tsp. baking soda
2 eggs
½ c. vegetable oil
1¾ c. sugar
1 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. red wine – I used Yellow Tail Cabernet Sauvignon

For the frosting:

2 c. butter, at room temperature
3¾c. icing sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
pinch of salt

For the red wine reduction:

1 c. sweet red wine
4 tbsp. sugar

For the cake, preheat oven to 350° F. Brush 3 8-inch cake pans with miracle cake release or line with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the cocoa, flour, espresso powder, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.

In the bowl of a mixer, combine eggs and oil. Add in sugar, beating to combine, until mixture turns pale. Reduce speed to low, then add in vanilla and milk.

Add in dry ingredients, mix until just combined, then add in wine and combine until smooth.

Divide batter into pans evenly, then bake in preheated oven 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on wire racks completely before icing.

For the red wine reduction, in a small saucepan combine the wine and sugar. Bring to a boil, then continue to simmer on medium-low heat until wine reduces to about ¼ c. It may take about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature before using on cake.

For the vanilla buttercream frosting, in a mixer bowl fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Reduce mixer speed to low, and add the sugar 1 cup at a time. Add vanilla and salt, and beat until smooth and combined.

To assemble cake, place cooled cake layer on a cake stand or board. Top with a generous layer of icing (doesn’t have to be too thick, but should still be there). Place second cake layer, repeat layer of icing, and finish with top layer of cake.

Ice the top and sides of the cake, getting the sides as smooth as possible. The original recipe had a “naked cake” look (meaning scant icing around the sides), and I decided not to do that. Drizzle the red wine reduction over the top of the cake. Slice and serve.

 

 

Lemon Loaf

Well, this humble lemon loaf serves as two milestones on the blog now. Firstly, this is my first post of 2017! Happy New Year everyone! I hope you were able to ring in the new year with loved ones, and that 2017 has been treating you well so far. I’m back to work now, and I have to say, I missed it. Sure, I loved having two weeks off, but by the end of the two weeks, I was going a little stir-crazy. I guess that’s what happens when you love your job!
Secondly, this lemon loaf post is my 100th post on the blog! How exciting! I’ve brought you 100 recipes so far, shared them with you all. I wanted to make a beautiful Pumpkin Chocolate Ganache cake for the 100th post, but cakes require lots of planning, and this lemon loaf just sort of came to be. These kinds of posts are all over the blog, the “I’ve been meaning to write a post and I just made something really good today, so why don’t I just put it on the blog?!” Either way, I am overdue for a cake recipe, and I am sure the cake I planned on will make an appearance soon. 🙂


This lemon loaf also got some rave reviews, and if you are a Lemon Loaf lover, this recipe is for you! Soft, moist loaf cake with a lemony glaze that is just right. I found the original recipe here, and the original author labelled it as “Better than Starbucks Copycat Lemon Loaf”. Well, I have to say, this lemon loaf is pretty darn good.

This Lemon Loaf is also so easy! It’s a one-bowl recipe, and can be whipped up in no time.

Go make some today! Chances are you have most, if not all, of the ingredients in your pantry!

Ingredients

Yield: 1 loaf

For the loaf:

3 eggs
1 c. sugar
1 c. sour cream or Greek yogurt
½ c. canola or vegetable oil
2 tbsp. lemon zest
1-2 tbsp. lemon extract (I put 2 tbsp.
1½ c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt

For the lemon glaze:

1 c. icing sugar
3 tbsp. lemon juice (or slightly more or less, for consistency)

 

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a loaf pan, or coat with Miracle Cake Release.

In a large mixing bowl, add the eggs, sugar, and sour cream and whisk well until combined. While whisking, drizzle in the oil. Add in the lemon zest and lemon extract (and note that you CAN’T use lemon juice instead of lemon extract in the loaf cake – it will alter the flavour or consistency), and whisk again.

Add in the flour, baking powder and salt, and whisk until just combined. Some lumps in the batter is okay, you just don’t want raw flour that you can see in the batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top.

Bake in the preheated oven for 50-52 minutes, or until top is domed and a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. I started checking the loaf around 45 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow loaf to cool in pan for 30 minutes before turning onto a wire rack.

Place a piece of parchment paper under the cooling rack, and in a small mixing bowl, whisk together the icing sugar and lemon juice. The more juice you add, the thinner the glaze will be, so don’t add it all in at once. I made a thick glaze that I had to help move across the top of the loaf cake and slowly drizzled down the sides.

Slice and serve. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Pear Cake with Chai Caramel Frosting

A friend of mine celebrated a birthday the other day, and I wanted to surprise her with a cake! I decided to take to Pinterest, and found a few different recipes that struck my fancy. I decided to make up my own cake with a few different things, so I decided on a Pear Cake with a Chai Caramel Frosting.

I told her this, and her response was “I mean the pear is a little odd… [but] I like your masterpieces they always turn out delicious!”

The frosting idea I found from this pie recipe, and the flavours sounded so delicious, that I couldn’t resist. I actually found different recipe that I put together, so I’m considering this cake an original recipe! However, I did find the cake recipe here, the base frosting recipe here, and I made a few changes to make it my own.

I have a small jar of Chai spice, and it is AMAZING. All the flavours of Chai in spice form, so I don’t have to brew tea or steep Chai tea bags in parts of my recipes when I want that beautiful Chai flavour.

Holy man this cake turned out so good! The flavour of the pear wasn’t too intense at all, just nice and subtle, but still there, and the Chai and caramel flavours worked so well together. It was such a gorgeous cake and flavour pairing. As I told the lucky birthday girl, “I’m getting cake envy, and I made my own birthday cake!”

Ingredients

Yield: 1 8 inch cake

For the cake:

6 ripe pears, medium sized
¾ c. brown sugar
¾ c. sugar
3 c. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. nutmeg
2 eggs
½ c. vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla

For the frosting:

1 c. butter, at room temperature
2 c. icing sugar
1 c. caramel sauce, homemade or storebought
1-2 tsp. Chai spice* (depending on preference)

To make the cake, peel, slice and core pears, and toss in a medium bowl with sugars. Leave for 1 hour, then puree in a blender.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease two 8 or 9 inch cake pans, or three 6 inch cake pans. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Add in the pear puree, eggs, oil and vanilla, and whisk until just combined.

Pour batter evenly into the prepared cake pans, and bake for 30-33, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Remove from oven and cool in pans about 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely.

To make the frosting, cream the butter until fluffy in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Add in the icing sugar and beat until incorporated and fluffier. Add in the caramel, beat again. Add in the Chai spice*, starting with 1 teaspoon, and adding more if you want the Chai flavour stronger.

Once cakes are completely cool, level them, then layer the cakes with the frosting. Frost inside layers of the cake, then the outside and top. Slice and serve.

*An alternative for the Chai spice could be Chai tea ground very fine.

Gingerbread Cake


Well, it’s midway through November, and temperatures are still really high! It doesn’t feel like November, that’s for sure, but the holidays inevitably rush closer.

Paul and I recently went on a Date Night, which we try to do once a week. We hadn’t had one in about a month (thank you, wedding planning!) so we felt it was high time we did so. We did a bit of research (so very indecisive) about where we wanted to go, and settled on one spot for dinner, and going to a different restaurant later for dessert.

What a dessert it was! A Chocolate Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake and a Gingerbread Cake with roasted apples were the items we chose, and not going to lie, I had to tap out. I got so full on those decadent desserts, I was impressed!

The gingerbread cake, however, left me with a craving to try and replicate it. I took to the internet, and found this recipe. It’s a breeze to whip up, and can be done with pantry staples (if your pantry staples include Fancy Molasses, because mine does!) and some excellent spices. That was the only thing I changed in the recipe. It only calls for ginger, cloves, and cinnamon. I love those spices, but I feel that the ginger-spice flavour is elevated that much more when I also add a tiny bit of nutmeg and cardamom. These changes are reflected in the recipe below.

Keep an eye out though – I’m in the mood to experiment with gingerbread flavours, and this week, I’m planning on trying to execute a Gingerbread Pie as per Paul’s request… we’ll see how it goes!!

Ingredients

Yield: 1 9 inch square cake

½ c. sugar
½ c. butter
1 c. Fancy molasses (not blackstrap)
1 egg
2½ c. flour
1½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. ground cloves
¼ tsp. nutmeg
¼ tsp. cardamom
1 c. hot water

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8 or 9 inch square pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Grease and flour. (I used my miracle cake release.)

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the sugar and butter until smooth. Add in the egg, and beat well. Add the molasses, and beat again to combine.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and all the spices. Whisk together or toss with a fork to combine. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and begin to combine on low speed.

Add in the hot water, and mix until a smooth batter forms. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 50 – 60 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.Start checking the cake around 45 minutes for doneness.

Allow to cool in pan. Slice, and serve alone or with whipped cream sprinkled with cinnamon.