Tag Archives: Cake

They say it’s my birthday!

Today is my birthday! And hopefully it’ll include a little of what my very first birthday involved; this:

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Tips for Making Fluffy Cakes

Hello friends! Don’t miss my post over at Yumm.com today on tips for making fluffy cakes. One time I baked a cake that turned out like a brick. It was embarrassing. Don’t let that happen to you.

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The Late Night Chocolate Cake

The chocolate cake / It ain’t pretty but it sure tasted good.

Here’s a nice story for you. Last Saturday night, The BF and I had ourselves a nice little date night. One might think that a twenty-COUGH-year old and a thirty-COUGH-year old wouldn’t have to plan Saturday nights out, but when your nice squishy couch and a cheap bottle of wine and Mad Men reruns and old sweatpants are calling your name, you really have to push yourself to leave the house. But leave the house we did. We sat at a bar, we had some drinks, we laughed, we spent money neither of us has… but all the while I was distracted. Seriously distracted.

By cake.

I wanted some cake. Guys, when a cake craving takes over my body, I can’t help it. It’s all I think about. It’s all I can talk about. “Should I get some cake?” I said out loud, eying a perfectly frosted white cake on the counter of the bar. But something told me I didn’t want that cake. How old was it? Was it pure white cake in the middle? Would it cost $10 a slice? Would I be disappointed that I wasted the calories (and, more importantly, the craving) on something mediocre?

I turned away. I finished my drink. We went home.

And then I baked my own cake.

Who cares if it was 2AM and I was out of butter? I found a simple recipe for one bowl quick chocolate cake, I whipped that sucker up, cooled it over the AC unit, dumped the still-warm cakes on a plate, poured a cocoa-powder-powdered-sugar-water glaze over the top of the heap, and set it in front of The BF… with two forks. We turned on Mad Men reruns, I changed into old sweats, and it was heaven. Why we ever leave the house, I’ll never know.

On the menu:
One-Bowl Chocolate Cake
Serves 2 (just kidding… serves 12)

Cake:
2 cups white sugar
1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk*
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 9-inch round baking pans.

In a large bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients. Add remaining ingredients and mix with an electric mixer for 2 minutes. Split the batter between the 2 pans and bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Chocolate glaze:
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp milk (you might need more depending on the consistency of the glaze that you like)

Mix together all ingredients in a bowl. Pour over the cake. Eat like it’s going out of style.

*In the interest of full disclosure… I ran out of milk. I mixed together half a cup of heavy cream and half a cup of water and called it milk. Blame the three G&T’s I had before I baked this.

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Rainbow Cake

“I want a cake that looks like a watermelon and is rainbow colors on the inside.” If you’re part of my group of friends, this request doesn’t surprise you. I was happy to hear it and happy to make it. Friends, I give you… the rainbow watermelon cake. Happy Birthday, Becca!

On the menu:
Rainbow watermelon cake
Serves 12 – 14

Cake:
2 cups white sugar
1 cup butter, softened to room temperature
4 eggs, yolks and whites separated
4 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups flour
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup milk
Red, yellow, and blue food coloring

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine sugar and butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer. Add in egg yolks one at a time. Add vanilla.

Sift together flour and baking powder. Mix into the butter/sugar/egg mixture. Add milk until mixture is blended.

In a small bowl, beat together your egg whites until light and fluffy and soft peaks form. Fold egg whites into the cake batter.

You can totally end the recipe here, fill 2 greased 8-in round cake pans, bake for 30 – 40 minutes, and have a beautiful white cake. OR… you can do what I did.

Separate batter, cup by cup, into six small bowls of equal size. Add food coloring as follows: 8 drops of red [red]; 8 drops of blue [blue]; 8 drops of yellow [yellow]; 4 drops of red and 4 drops of blue [violet]; 4 drops of red and 4 drops of yellow [orange]; 4 drops of blue and 4 drops of yellow [green]

Mix together each color with a separate spoon. Into a greased 8-in round baking pan, pour the first color. Tap the baking sheet until the batter has spread to an even height all the way around. Pour the second color on top of that and tap again until the batter spreads (you may have to coax it with a rubber spatula but VERY gently so you don’t mix the colors!). Pour the third color on top of that and tap again. In the second 8-in round baking pan, repeat the pouring steps with your last 3 colors.

Bake for 35 – 40 minutes or until you press the cake and it springs back to shape. Allow the cakes to cool completely on a cooking rack before frosting.

Buttercream frosting:
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 cup butter, softened to room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp milk
2 Tbsp dark chocolate chips

Beat together the sugar and butter until blended. Add vanilla. Add milk bit by bit until you reach the desired consistency.

For watermelon decoration: split the frosting up into 3 bowls. Leave 3/4 cup white. 1/2 cup dyed red. Remaining frosting dyed green. Spread 1/2 of the white frosting on first cake layer and then top with second layer. Once your cakes are stacked, frost the outside with the green. Use your red frosting to make a frosting circle on the top layer, leaving 1/2 inch around the perimeter.

Using a pastry bag, create a green circle on the perimeter of the cake (like a little frosting fence). On the interior of the green, use a separate pastry bag and your remaining white frosting to make a white circle (this is the rind of the watermelon). Use the chocolate chips to make the “seeds.”

Seriously, if anyone just followed all those directions… props to you. Props. To. You. ENJOY!

*Note: this is not your standard fluffy boxed cake. It’s a bit on the dense side, but the flavor is unbeatable. It’s not overly sweet but hits the cake-craving spot, and is the perfect vehicle for super sweet buttercream frosting. Drool…

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Carrot Pineapple Cake with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting

When trying to come up with a dessert for last weekend’s dinner, I kept thinking that by the time the meat was gone I hoped everyone would be full. But I also wanted to cap off the evening with something really special… and frankly, kids, I don’t know how to not do comfort food. So while my guests may or may not have dozed off in their chairs after the meal was over (is there a greater compliment?) and their pants may have been a little tight, I think this cake was the right decision.

On the menu:
Pineapple carrot cake with whipped cream cheese frosting

Cake:
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs. room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 salt
1 pound carrots, grated
3/4 cup fresh pineapple, diced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 8-inch round cake pans.

Beat together sugar, oil, and eggs until the mixture is a light yellow color. Beat in the vanilla. In another bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until incorporated. Fold in the carrots and the pineapple and mix well. Divide the batter up equally into the 2 pans. Bake for 55 – 60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cakes cool in the pans on a wire rack.

Frosting:
1 8-oz. package of cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp corn starch
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup heavy whipping cream

Place a metal bowl and beaters from an electric mixer into the freezer for 30 minutes. In the pre-frozen bowl with pre-frozen beaters, beat the whipping cream until soft peaks form.

In a separate bowl, beat together cream cheese, sugar, corn starch, salt, and vanilla extract. Fold in the whipped cream.

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Brown Butter Blueberry Plum Cake


I won’t bore you with the mundane details of my personal life (of which most of you are probably privy to anyway) but I am in between jobs at the moment. Literally just the moment, but I’m smack in the middle of three days of unemployed bliss. Until I start my new job on Thursday, I’m trying to be slightly more productive than watching television and packing the occasional box for my apartment move in 2 1/2 weeks. Did I mention BIG things are happening in my life?

So today I decided to take a break from TV and napping to bake this gorgeous cake I found on Figs, Bay and Wine. The afternoon seemed like the perfect time to take advantage of the natural light that makes my photos their prettiest.

On the menu:
Blueberry plum cake
Adapted from the wild bramble cake on Figs, Bay and Wine

4 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup whole milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
Zest of one lemon (I realized mid-recipe that I forgot the lemon, so I substituted 1 tsp lemon extract)
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries (feel free to substitute raspberries, blackberries, etc here)
2 small plums, skin on, pitted and sliced to 1/4 inch thick

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-inch springform pan. Shake out any excess flour.

Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat until the butter is completely melted and starts to froth. WATCH THE BUTTER CLOSELY. Once the small white particles start to turn a light brown and the mixture smells nutty, turn off the heat and remove the pan from the stove. Let the butter cool for at least 15 minutes before you continue with the next step in the recipe. I used this time to prep the fruit!

Sift together flour, salt, and baking powder. In a separate bowl, blend together eggs and sugar with an electric mixer for around 3 minutes or until the mixture is thickened a bit and light colored. Add brown butter, olive oil, milk, vanilla, and zest until completely blended.

Fold liquid mixture into flour mixture JUST until moistened and combined. Do not overmix. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes.

Fold in blueberries. Pour into springform pan, spread with a spatula so the batter fills the pan, and top with slices of plum. You may have to press down a bit on the plum slices so they’re not just chillin’ on top of the batter.

Bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean and the top of the cake is browned. Let cool in the springform pan for 10 minutes. Remove the springform and let cool completely.

*Note: I know this is a “cake” and it has “sugar” in it, but how lovely would this be served at a brunch with some freshly whipped cream served alongside baked eggs? Lovely indeed, I think.

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Throwback to a More Glamorous Time


As I’ve mentioned before, I’m never really one to be on top of the newest and most exciting places. I view this blog as more of a way to bring you along on my journey of discovering “new to me” places and hopefully inspiring you to go or stay away from some of the thousands of restaurants in New York. So when the BF told me he had heard about a new bar located in Kaufman Astoria Studios (the film studio where Sesame Street and The Cosby Show film/filmed at), I figured he had stumbled upon an old article. Turns out the place has only been opened for 2 months. So… ahem… you heard it here first.

The Astor Room 34-12 36th St, Astoria, Queens. You enter the restaurant down a marble staircase, surrounding by gold-framed mirrors and peacock wallpaper. Enter to the left and a piano greets you, followed by a dark mahogany bar and a feeling that you’ve stepped back in time. The bar just reopened but in its hey day in the 1930s, it was frequented by silent movie stars that were filming at Kaufman Astoria Studios. The menu is a throwback, too, with dishes like Dover sole, lobster thermidor, and short rib stroganoff.

On the menu:
Crispy fried calamari over roasted tomato paste with green pepper shavings
Spaghetti carbonara
Double cut coca-cola porkchop
Smoked seven layer chocolate cake


Verdict: It’s aces! It’s keen! It’s swell! (I had to Google “1930’s slang”… in the interest of full disclosure, you know). This place is awesome. The food was SO well done; the pork chop was juicy but crisp and sweet, the spaghetti smooth and buttery, and the seven layer cake sprinkled with gold. Yes, gold. Edible gold. Old world luxury and glamour at its finest, gals and pals. I also have to give props to the amazing staff. I read many reviews of The Astor Room that criticized the service, but I could not have been more impressed. Our wine glasses were never empty, an empty plate never sat on the table for more than two minutes, and on our way out the maitre’d asked if we needed umbrellas to battle the rain. We were never smothered, always taken care of. Loooove love love this place.

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