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!

Soft Pumpkin Cookies

Well, everyone, brace yourselves. I’m on a pumpkin kick. Last year, I barely did any baking with pumpkin, so I’m going to try and make up for it this year. It started with my birthday cake, and pumpkin buttercream. I mean, the cake tasted like Fall. I was pretty happy.

I had some leftover pumpkin from that buttercream, and I went wild! I began dreaming of all things pumpkin. I realized that I don’t have a pumpkin loaf recipe (as in JUST a pumpkin loaf – the one I have on here already is pumpkin chocolate chip), so I wanted a pumpkin loaf recipe. Spoiler alert! That one’s coming next week.

I also love cookies. They are just the perfect snack or dessert. Single-serve, and having a few doesn’t feel like the biggest crime. Enter these soft pumpkin cookies.

I knew I wanted to make them as soon as I saw the picture. They look amazing! They were also a snap to make, so it’s a win in the preparation department as well.

So, because I love Fall, and pumpkin is both overrated and underrated (figure that one out! Hah!), here are some pumpkin cookies: the inadvertent Part Two in a Recipes Including Pumpkin unofficial series on the blog!

Ingredients:

Yield: Approx. 3 dozen cookies

2½ c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. nutmeg OR use 1½ tsp. pumpkin pie spice instead of cinnamon and nutmeg
1½ c. sugar
½ c. butter, softened
1 c. pumpkin puree
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. icing sugar

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

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar until creamy. Add the pumpkin, egg, and vanilla, stirring to combine after each addition, until smooth.

Add in the dry ingredients in increments, combining after each addition.

Place the dough in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours.

When ready to bake the cookies, preheat oven to 375° F.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, silicone baking sheets, or spray with non-stick spray.

Scoop cookie dough into 1-inch balls, and roll in icing sugar. Place dough balls on prepared baking sheets, and bake for 11-13 minutes, until cookies start to crack on top.

Remove from baking sheet and cool on a wire rack. Enjoy!

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!

Eggnog Bread Pudding

Eggnog Bread Pudding 2

So, I apologize in advance dear readers. I made this last week, and couldn’t find the time to post about it until now. I love eggnog, and I always have. It’s sweet, creamy, and the spices just make me feel warm and cozy – it is always the one element that lets me know that Christmas is coming.

For years, I grew up drinking eggnog and milk, usually about half and half, and my parents would experiment with baking with eggnog. Since I have moved out of the house, I haven’t splurged on eggnog nearly as much as I did when I was younger, but when I do, I always try to bake something with eggnog. Eggnog cheesecake? Been there. I decided to try eggnog bread pudding with the leftover loaf of bread from my last post. Paul and I don’t eat insane amounts of bread, and we had forgotten to freeze the remaining loaf, so it was slightly stale – perfect for bread pudding.

While the original recipe is for a breakfast bread pudding, I made it as a dessert one night and it was still just as fabulous as promised. In my opinion, bread pudding is equally delicious as breakfast or dessert. It is not usually too sweet, so it makes the perfect option after a luxurious meal, or after rolling out of bed.

Eggnog Bread Pudding 3

Ingredients

Yield: 1 9 x 13 pan

1 12oz. loaf cubed bread
3 c. eggnog
2 c. milk (a higher fat content like 2% or whole milk makes a richer custard)
5 large eggs
4 egg yolks
1 c. sugar
Pinch salt
2 tbsp. spiced rum or 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Pile bread into a 9 x 13 inch pan, and spread out evenly. In a large saucepan, heat the eggnog and milk over medium heat until bubbling gently but not boiling.

Combine the eggs, egg yolks, sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl and whisk vigorously until light and frothy. Temper the eggs by whisking one cup of the eggnog mixture into the eggs to warm them. Gradually whisk in the remaining eggnog mixture and the rum or vanilla.

Pour the custard over the bread cubes, and gently mash down with your hands to make sure all of the bread gets saturated. Set aside for at least one hour, or chill overnight if you are making this for breakfast for the next day.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Place the casserole dish inside of a large roasting pan and transfer to the oven. Carefully pour the boiling water into the roasting pan, so that it comes halfway up the sides of the baking dish.

Bake for approximately 45 to 50 minutes, until the custard is set and the top is light golden brown. Remove the roasting pan from the oven, then carefully lift the casserole dish out of the water. Allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Sprinkle with icing sugar and serve with warm maple syrup.

Eggnog Bread Pudding 1