Browsing Tag

cake

Pink Ombre Cake

April 16, 2012

First things first. The winner of the Keep It Sweet Desserts giveaway is….

Congrats, Ashley! Please e-mail me (madisonjanemayberry@gmail.com) and I’ll get you in touch with Lauren to claim your prize!

Moving right along…

For a couple of years in college, I dabbled in the wedding cake and cupcake business. It started when I made a cake for my cousin Emily’s wedding before my sophomore year in college and continued with friends and friends of friends – making small cakes and hundreds of cupcakes over the years. I think my largest wedding required somewhere around 500 cupcakes divided among three different flavors.

Let me tell you, I had no idea how much work baking cakes and cupcakes would be. It was not nearly as glamorous as the movies make it seem, and it was hard work for the small amount of money I took home at the end of a job. It didn’t take long for me to realize that decorating cakes or making cupcakes was not in the cards for me as anything more than a hobby.

That said, I still find the process of decorating a cake to be a great creative outlet and super relaxing when you’ve got no objective in mind. No wedding to worry about, no cake delivery fiasco, no bride to please. Pure bliss.

I’ve seen pictures of bright and colorful ombre cakes popping up all around the web. Something about the slight change in color, layer by layer, drew me in. But since the fun was more about the changing color of the layers rather than the cake itself, I did something I don’t usually do… I used a boxed cake mix. And it was awesome.

Instead of taking a full afternoon, making this cake only took a matter of a couple hours. Now that I think about it, this would be a really great way to dress up a boxed cake for a birthday party or to celebrate the birth of a new baby. The cake itself isn’t going to win any awards for outstanding flavor, though I thought it tasted pretty good considering how simple it was to make. But it would stand out in a crowd for the impact it makes presentation-wise.

Pink Ombre Cake
Ingredients
*2 boxes white cake mix, batter prepared according to package instructions
*1 bottle red food coloring
*Double batch of Deb’s Swiss Meringue Buttercream (seriously the best cake-decorating frosting around) OR 3 containers purchased whipped-style frosting
*Edible pink decorating pearls and red sprinkles (optional)

Instructions
*Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line two 8- or 9-inch baking pans with nonstick cooking spray and line the bottoms with a small round of parchment paper. Set aside. 
*Divide the batter between five small bowls. In the first bowl, add 25 drops of food coloring. In the second, 17. In the third, 12. In the fourth, 8. In the fifth, 4. Stir to combine. Adjust colors as desired with additional food coloring.
*Pour two of the batter bowls into the two prepared pans. Bake for 17 to 22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center according to package instructions. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from baking pan and cool on wire rack. Repeat with remaining batter/layers.
*Once all layers are baked and cooled, level of the domed part of the layers slightly with a serrated knife. (this will help with stacking the layers)
*Place the darkest layer of cake on a cake stand. Top with frosting and the next darkest layer. Repeat with remaining layers and frosting. Sprinkle the edges of the top of the cake with the edible pearls and sprinkles. Makes 12 to 14 servings

Happy Baking!
Madison

Emily Dickinson’s Coconut Loaf Cake

October 27, 2011
I have a bit of a thing for old, passed-along recipes that have survived decades and generations. Something about the fact that they are old and cherished just sucks me in every time. So last week, when the recipe for Emily Dickinson’s Coconut Cake started floating around the internet, I couldn’t resist giving the recipe a try. 
Not surprisingly, I really enjoyed the cake because of the one-bowl nature of the whole thing. Very few ingredients were required, all of which I had on hand, and it had only a mild level of sweetness that appealed to me. Beware, the texture of this loaf cake is fairly dense and resembles a pound cake rather than a traditional cake. 
If you’re looking for a cake that will bowl you over with sweetness, this is not your cake. But if you are looking for a cake that is perfect for serving with a pat of butter at breakfast or as an afternoon snack with coffee, this would totally fit the bill. 
Emily Dickinson’s Coconut Loaf Cake
Ingredients
*1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
*2 cups flour
*1 cup sugar
*1/2 cup butter, softened
*1/2 cup milk
*2 large eggs
*1/2 teaspoon baking soda
*1 teaspoon cream of tartar 
Instructions
*Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9×5-inch baking pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Cream together the butter and sugar. Add in the eggs, followed by the remaining ingredients. Pour batter into the pan and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. 
Happy Baking!

Madison

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

September 22, 2011

We might as well christen this pumpkin week over in the Espresso and Cream kitchen. In addition to eating it non-stop in Healthy Pumpkin Butter form, I’ve also been baking with canned pumpkin.

Joey grew up with a mom who frequently had a pan of bars in some shape and form sitting around the house for hungry boys to eat. And every now and again, I like to recreate this in our home, too. Last month it was Banana Sheet Cake and this month’s version is Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Of course, anything with cream cheese frosting is a hit in my book, but these bars are especially tasty and moist thanks to the canned pumpkin. As the days went by, the bars actually started to taste better, similar to the banana bread phenomenon. I would say that if you’re thinking of making them to bring somewhere, a day or two ahead of time would yield fantastic results.

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted slightly from Sweet Pea’s Kitchen

Ingredients
Cake Batter
*4 eggs
*1 2/3 cups sugar
*1 cup vegetable oil
*1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
*1 cup all-purpose flour
*1 cup whole wheat flour
*2 teaspoons baking powder
*2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
*1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
*1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1 teaspoon baking soda

Frosting
*8 ounce cream cheese, softened
*1/2 cup butter, softened
*2 cups sifted powdered sugar
*1 teaspoon vanilla extract
*1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Instructions
*Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan. Set aside.
*In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin puree. Beat on medium heat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
*In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients for the cake batter. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Beat until just combined. Transfer batter to the prepared pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack; cool completely.
*Meanwhile, with an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add in the powdered sugar, vanilla extract and cinnamon. Beat until smooth. Spread atop the bars and cut into squares.

Happy Baking!

Madison

Peach Birthday Cake and a Blogiversary Giveaway!

August 15, 2011

This week, Espresso and Cream turns two! When I started this blog, I had very few expectations of what it would become and was excited when a few others besides my mom started reading my posts. Two years later, more people than I could imagine visit each day. You guys, the amazing readers of Espresso and Cream, knock my socks off with your comments, e-mails, and Twitter conversations.

So to say thank you for making this site what it is, I want to do a special birthday giveaway to one lucky reader! Since I’ve been posting so many ice cream recipes lately, I though it only appropriate to give away a KitchenAid Ice Cream Maker Attachment or a Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker (the winner gets to choose which one they want). To enter, leave a comment below telling me your favorite type of ice cream between now and Tuesday, August 16, at 10 p.m. I will announce the winner on Wednesday morning.

Oh, and I also made you cake. An unbelievably moist, flavorful cake from Melissa Gray’s charming cake cookbook, All Cakes Considered. Melissa, who is a bit of a cake-baking legend at National Public Radio where she works, stumbled upon this recipe for peach cake with cream cheese frosting in a local church cookbook. Yet another reminder of the culinary treasures that are right in front of us.

This little gem is incredibly simple and bursting with flavor, thanks to chopped canned peaches. Although fresh peaches are perfectly acceptable, Melissa notes that the canned variety yielded more favorable results. Since the dishwasher was full, I thought I would make this cake with a whisk and bowl instead of hauling out the mixer. Turns out, you can make this cake the old fashioned way just fine, too.

Joey and I have been gushing over this cake for the past two days. I actually think it might be getting better as the days go by, something that seems to happen with most fruit-based quick breads and cakes. Although I made the cake with three six-inch layer pans, the original recipe calls for a 10-inch tube pan, and I can imagine two 8-inch layers would be a suitable fit, too.

Peach Birthday Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Recipe from All Cakes Considered

Ingredients
For the cake
*3 large eggs, beaten
*1 3/4 cups sugar
*1 cup vegetable oil
*2 cups all-purpose flour
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1 teaspoon baking soda
*1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
*2 cups sliced peaches, preferably canned
*1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

For the frosting
*4 ounces cream cheese, softened
*4 tablespoons butter, softened
*1 teaspoon vanilla extract
*2 cups confectioners’ sugar
*1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Instructions
*Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease three six inch round cake pans and line the bottom with parchment paper. Set aside.
*In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the eggs, sugar and oil. Mix on medium speed until just blended. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt baking soda and cinnamon. Add to the egg mixture and beat until just combined. The batter will be sticky.
*With a spatula and/or wooden spoon, fold in the peaches and nuts.
*Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 50 minutes, or until the cake tests done.
*Let the cake cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then unmold onto a cake rack. Allow to cool completely.

*Meanwhile, make the frosting. With the mixer on medium speed, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla extract until smooth. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar and cinnamon. Beat until smooth. Apply the frosting to the cooled cake.

Happy Baking!

Madison

Project Wedding Cake: Part 1

August 8, 2011
On Friday after work, Joey and I took off and headed four hours north west to spend time with our families and friends for the weekend. It was the first time we had been home since the wedding, and seeing everyone was such a great way to spend the weekend. However, it wasn’t just a weekend of play. I also had a mission: making a small, two-tiered wedding cake for the bride and groom to cut into. The bride is a family friend and I was more than happy to jump in and do my part. 
Although I’ve made wedding cakes before, I had yet to find a basic cake recipe that really worked as hard as I needed it to. A good wedding cake recipe needs to be firm enough to stack multiple layers on top of one another, have a short ingredient list that allows you to churn out batter quickly for all those layers, and, most importantly, it needs to be moist and flavorful. Not an easy task for one recipe. 
After doing a little digging and a bit of research, I found a cake recipe that got great reviews online. And seeing that it had hundreds of positive reviews online, I jumped at the chance to use it for this weekend’s baking.  The cake proved to be super easy to pull together and stacked incredibly well. In fact, I think this was the most structurally stable cake I’ve ever made.

{Nutmeg also jumped into the action, hoping that I would drop a few crumbs along the way. With a face like that, it’s hard to resist.}
I was also incredibly pleased with the buttercream I used. I veered from my usual powdered sugar-based buttercream and used a Swiss meringue buttercream made with egg whites, granulated sugar and butter, but I’ll break that up into a second post.
{Of course my mom decided that snapping a few photos of me blogging was necessary}
Simple White Cake (makes one 9-inch cake)
Recipe Courtesy of AllRecipes.com
Ingredients 
*1 cup sugar
*1/2 cup butter
*2 eggs
*2 teaspoons vanilla extract
*1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
*1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
*1/2 cup milk
Instructions
*Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease baking pans (whatever size you need for your specific cake; increase recipe as needed) and line with parchment paper. Set aside.
*With an electric mixer, cream together the sugar and butter, beating until fluffy. Add in eggs, one at a time, beating until just combined, followed by the vanilla.
*In a small bowl, combine the flour and baking powder. Add the mixture to the butter-sugar mixture and beat until just combined. Add in the milk and beat until just combined. 
*Spoon batter into prepared baking pans and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 
Happy Baking!
Madison