Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Cake Slice Bakers - September, 2011: Brown Sugar Pound Cake

Ok, so I lied last month; the Hungarian Coffee Cake was not the last cake the Cake Slice Bakers was going to bake out of Cake Keeper Cakes. Katie from Apple and Spice decided to surprise us by letting us choose the real final cake to make from this book.

Based off of what I’ve read, many bloggers chose the Nutella Swirl Pound cake. I have to admit, the thought of making that pound cake crossed my mind a few times, but that is not the cake I chose to bake this month. The cake I decided to make is also a pound cake, but it is a brown sugar pound cake.

This particular pound cake isn’t really like a pound cake, at least I don’t think it is. The cake turned out super moist and tender, and before you go assuming that I’m complaining, I’m not. I just associate pound cakes to be very thick and dense were as this cake was so soft. You can really taste the brown sugar in it because that is the only type of sugar that is used in the recipe (unless you count the cinnamon sugar topping). Oh yeah, did I mention there is a cinnamon sugar topping? Yeah, there’s a little sprinkling of cinnamon sugar on top before the cake bakes and it made my whole house smell of cinnamon sugar for a good three hours after the cake was out of the oven. And there may be a bit of cinnamon sugar residue on the top, but that quickly melts away as it cools and the cinnamon sugar leaves a nice crunch on the top.

I only had the pleasure of eating the cake cold because I forgot to warm it up in the microwave, even though I told myself I would do that. Funny how quickly I forget things, even if I was just thinking of it just moments before. Even though the cake was cold, it was fabulous. My dad had a slice when it was still warm and he said that a little scoop of vanilla ice cream would be the perfect accompaniment, and I do imagine he is right.

By the way, there are a few openings available if you want to join in on the monthly cake baking of the Cake Slice Bakers. If you are interested in joining the Cake Slice Bakers, please email Katie at appleandspice[AT]hotmail[DOT]co[DOT]uk. Don’t forget to mention your: name, blog name, blog URL, and the email you use in order to access your blog. Remember, since there is a limited amount of space, it is first come first serve to join.

Check back next month to see what cake we are baking from our new cookbook we will be using for the next twelve months.

Brown Sugar Pound Cake
from Cake Keeper Cakes

½ cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter, soft
¾ cup brown sugar
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 9 inch loaf pan and dust with flour.
  2. Combine the buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla extract in a glass measuring cup and beat gently until the egg yolks have broken up. Set that aside. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set that aside as well.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and brown sugar for about 3 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Scrap down the sides of the bowl every once in a while if necessary.
  4. Set the speed to medium-low and slowly drizzle in the egg and buttermilk mixture. The result will be a very lumpy mess; don’t worry, because once the flour mixture is added, all those weird clumps will disappear.
  5. Turn the mixer to low speed and slowly add in the flour mixture about a half a cup at a time. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl after each addition. After the last flour installment, beat the batter on medium speed for about 30 seconds. The recipe called for 1 cup of raisins, but I omitted that, so if you would like to have raisins added to your cake, by all means, fold them in now.
  6. Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and ground cinnamon until thoroughly mixed and sprinkle as much as you want on the top. Place on the middle rack of the preheated oven and bake until the top is golden brown. The directions said this would take about 55 minutes, but mine was done after 45 minutes, but I left it in the oven two extra minutes for good measure.
  7. Let the cake cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes. Invert the cake and turn right side up onto a cooling rack to cool for the remainder of the cooling process. Slice and serve any which way you want. Store the cake in a cake keeper or wrapped in plastic wrap for up to three days.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Snow White Birthday Cake

The past couple of days has been filled with cake My sister had a surprise birthday party last Saturday, and instead of cake, we made our own cupcakes. There were 24 cupcakes to share between the 8 of us.
Let me tell you, that is a lot of cupcakes to pile high with frosting and then consume.

Anyways, my sister’s actual birthday (along with like a million other people I’m close to) was on the 14th. About a month before I had decided that I would end up making my sister’s birthday cake, but I would keep it a secret from her. You see, for our birthdays, we usually get that store-bought stuff. It’s actually pretty good, but I thought it would be more special (and fun) to make it for her myself.

I planned that once we got to school, I would make up some excuse to go back home (no, I didn’t ditch, because of this weird schedule my school has I wouldn’t have class until 10am). Once home I would bake the cake and make the frosting and then go back to school, only to finish the cake once we were back home. Surprisingly, everything went according to plan, which totally made me relieved because I had a mini panic attack that I would be late to school.

So Emily’s favorite flavor for everything is vanilla, so of course I made her a vanilla cake with vanilla butter cream frosting. This snow-white cake is just that, a snow-white cake. It has no color to it, but it is filled with flavor. It was very vanilla-y with just a hint of almond thrown in. It was pretty tasty. The cake’s texture was okish. Emily likes to eat cake cold, so we ate the cake after it had been in the fridge for like four hours. I’m not sure if that’s how cake is supposed to be eaten, but that’s how we did it. The cake seemed a little on the dry side, but I think it was the temperature that did that. After the cake sat out and came to room temperature, I poked the inside and it had become soft and sponge-like. The frosting, in my opinion for once, was actually pretty decent. I don’t usually like homemade butter cream frosting because of the amount of powdered sugar added makes it waaaay too sweet. This frosting was only mildly sweet and I didn’t start getting a sugar rush until the last couple of bites.

To make the cake extra special, I tented the frosting with a little bit of Sky Blue food dye and sprinkled the top with edible glitter hearts. I think the whole cake kind of reminds me of Tiffany & Co..

Snow White Cake
adapted from Sweetapolita

½ stick of unsalted butter, soft
1 cup sugar
1 ¾ cup unbleached all purpose flour
½ tsp salt
1 ½ tsp baking powder
¾ cup ice water
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp almond extract
2 egg whites, beaten stiff


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and line a 9 inch round cake pan with parchment paper.
  2. Cream the butter and the sugar together for about 3-5 minutes. Don’t worry if the mixture doesn’t become light and fluffy like most creaming methods, I just don’t think that is part of this batter making process.
  3. Sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder. While beating on a medium speed, slowly add about a third of the flour mixture into the batter and immediately follow with about a third of the ice water. Keep doing this until both are used up. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl after each addition of the flour and water. The batter will look really watery at first, but all of the water will incorporate into the batter. Add in the vanilla and almond extracts.
  4. Gently fold the beaten egg whites into the batter.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Place on the middle rack of the oven and bake for about 25-30 minutes. The cake came out perfect at 26 minutes for me when I baked on a convection setting.
  6. Once the cake has finished baking, let the cake cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. Invert the cake onto a cooling rack to cool complete. Make sure the cake has cooled thoroughly before covering it in frosting.

Ultimate Vanilla Buttercream Frosting 
slightly adapted from my recipes

1 stick of unsalted butter, soft
2 ½ tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
1 (16 oz.) package powdered sugar
3-5 tbsp milk


  1. Beat the butter on medium speed until it has become creamy and soft.
  2. Turn the speed down and gently add in the powdered sugar. I didn't use all of the powdered sugar, just to save me some of the sweetness, I personally should have omitted about 2 oz. worth. Add in the milk, 1 tbsp at a time, alternately with the powdered sugar. Add as much of the milk as you need for the desired consistency, I found that 4-4 ½ tbsp was enough. Add in the vanilla extract and beat until creamy.
  3. Now is the time, if you want, to add a bit of color to the frosting. Just remember that food coloring is very potent and that the tiniest bit can be too much.
  4. Frost the cake with as much frosting as you please!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Candy Maker I Am Not

Sometimes I get ideas. Those ideas can go one of two ways: crummy or marvelous.

After I get those ideas implanted into my head, the ideas never go away. All I can think about is that idea and how it will turn out. Then, I imagine it turning out perfect, with no little hiccups along the way.

Sometimes, though, those ideas don’t go according to plan.

Last week, I got to notion in my head to make candy. Not just any sort of candy, no, honeycomb candy. The first time I had a honeycomb candy was when I was in Australia visiting family and I had a Violet Crumble. Violet Crumbles are melt-in-your-mouth honeycomb candy bars that are dipped in chocolate. They are absolutely delicious.

I don’t know what reminded me of them, but I suddenly wanted to make my own honeycomb candy. I am not a candy maker-yet. I have made it once in my life, and yet, I somehow thought that this honeycomb candy would turn out perfect.

Candy maker extraordinar I am not. The honeycomb candy did not turn out perfect. In fact, I burnt it before it reached the 300 degree mark. The house smelled still smells of burnt sugar.

Oh well, I’m not too disappointed though. The experience made me laugh at myself, and that’s ok by me.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Happy Birthday Blog

I can’t believe it has already been a year since I started this blog. To be honest, I couldn’t remember the date (I’ve never been great at remembering dates) and I had to go back and look it up. I knew it was in the beginning of September, but I didn’t know it was so soon. Does time fly by, or what?

I first started this blog after reading several food blogs and just fell in love with the concept. I didn’t know how hard it was going to be to keep it updated and (hopefully) fun to read. Another confession: I wanted all of the recipes to be a success, and I think I would put just about anything up here in order to have something to blog about. Now, I have actually gotten more into baking and I’m trying new things, and I’m always looking for new blogs to read and follow. It’s kind of funny how many blogs I have favorited so I have the opportunity to look at some of the things they bake or create.

So, for my bloggiversary, I have not created anything spectacular. Actually, I have not created anything at all. Instead, I am going to spotlight ten of the top recipes I made from the preceding year, so I hope you enjoy this little stroll down memory lane.

First up on the list is the Grape Jelly Roly-Poly Pastry. This was my first jelly roll type thing (technical term) that I have ever made. It comes from a cookbook geared toward baking with kids. The cookbook is filled will really cute and delicious looking baked goods. It was hard to pick which one I would bake first, and this happened to be the winner. It was sweet and buttery, perfect for an afternoon snack.

What goes great with grape jelly? Peanut butter of course! These are the softest peanut butter cookies I have ever eaten. Even after a few days, the cookie is still soft and the peanut butter flavor gets even more peanut-buttery!

These Honey Muffins are great as a snack or a bread roll during dinner. For the past two years I have made them for Thanksgiving, and there are never any left. They have a lightly sweet flavor, but they are dang addictive.

Next on the list is this lovely little Flourless Chocolate Cake. Don’t worry when the cake starts to cave in; all flourless chocolate cakes do that. Despite it’s little falling flaw, this cake was very tasty and changed my mind about these sorts of cakes. The key is to use good quality chocolate.

*sings* For the fifth recipe, that Becca shared with me, a choco-late chip coo-kie! Haha, I couldn’t resist, sorry (not really). These little gems were very tasty. I found myself eating three at a time. If you are into the softer chocolate chip cookies, these might be just right for you.

You might be more familiar with this recipe. It’s from a a post that I did not too long ago. It’s the Butterscotch Chocolate Chip Cookie Bark. Let me tell you, this stuff did not last long in my household. However, the little pieces that did get left over, I think were the tastier bits because the flavors commingled with each other, balancing each other out.

These lusciously moist cupcakes were made not only by me, but by many a member of the Cake Slice Bakers. The cake was phenomenal, and I could not get enough of that streusel that topped the cake. Instead of Heath Bars, I used the crispy Twix bar.

In honor of the final installment of the last Harry Potter movie ever, I dedicated the entire month of July to recipes inspired by the wildly popular books. These little bread/cake biscuits are inspired by Hagrid’s rock cakes that are supposed to be as solid as a rock. Thankfully, these Rock Cakes turned out so tender and soft, not to mention addictive.

These Peppermint Biscotti were inspired after a trip to Starbucks one evening. Most people dip these twice baked cookies in tea or coffee, but since I like neither, I dunked mine in some hot chocolate. After a few dips, my hot chocolate started to taste like peppermint hot chocolate, so there is no need to go to Starbucks again after making these babies.

Last, but not least, I give you Maple Muffins. I have made these on several occasions, and they are always gone within several hours. I actually have to hide or label them saying they are mine, and “Do NOT Eat!” 
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