My friend the Queen says I need an intervention and I happen to agree. I don’t know why I did it but I decided to make red velvet cake green. I think I did it to be festive but now I just feel ashamed. I mean the Queen is right, who have I insulted more, the Irish or bakers? The only saving grace is that the cake is damn adorable, super tasty, and as green as the Emerald Isle and if I was going for festive, I think I hit it right on the head.

Green Velvet Cake (adapted from Home Baked Comforts)

Makes one-6 inch cake with leftover batter

1 tablespoon cocoa powder

⅓ cup boiling water

1 cup buttermilk

2 ½ cups plus one tablespoon all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¾ cup unsalted butter, softened

1 ½ cups granulated sugar

3 eggs

2 teaspoons green gel food coloring

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

1 ½ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon white vinegar

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Butter, flour and line with parchment two 6-inch cake pans.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk to combine the flour and salt. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the cocoa powder and boiling water. Stir to combine and allow to cool. Add the buttermilk to the cocoa mixture and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar till pale and soft, about three minutes. Add the eggs one at a time beating well and scraping the bowl after each addition. With the mixer on low speed, add the food coloring and vanilla. Beat until the batter is thoroughly mixed and the color is consistent.

With the mixer on low, add one third of the flour and half the buttermilk. Mix about thirty seconds. Add another third of the flour and the remaining buttermilk. Mix another thirty seconds. Add the remaining flour and mix until just combined.

In a small bowl, combine the vinegar and the baking soda. The mixture with bubble vigorously. Quickly add the liquid into the cake batter. Mix on high for about 10 seconds.

Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake for about 40-50 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Cool and ice with the frosting of your choice. Buttercream, Milky White Frosting or Cream Cheese Frostings would all be delicious. Enjoy.

 

Believe it or not, I’ve never made a pineapple upside down cake. It’s not that they don’t sound delicious, I just never found the right occasion…The right occasion, this time, turned out to be a lovely ripe pineapple.

What makes this cake skinny is that it uses whole wheat flour, less fat, less sugar and by favorite tenderizer in cakes, low-fat buttermilk. It also lacks the trademark of a pineapple upside down cake, the maraschino cherry but I found that it wasn’t really necessary, as this cake is delightful just as it is.

Skinny Pineapple Upside-Down Cake (adapted from Everyday Food)

Makes one 9-inch cake

⅓ cup canola oil, plus more to oil the baking pan

1 cup packed brown sugar, divided

1 firm, ripe pineapple, cored and cut into 12 or 16 wedges

1 cup all purpose flour

½ cup whole wheat flour

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoons baking soda

½ teaspoons kosher salt

¾ cup low fat buttermilk

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Rub teaspoon or so canola oil into the baking pan. Line with parchment paper leaving a large overhang.

Sprinkle ¼ cup brown sugar on the bottom of the parchment-lined pan. Arrange pineapple in an artful manner.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk to combine flours, baking powder, soda and salt.

In a large bowl, whisk to combine the remaining ¾ cup brown sugar, buttermilk, eggs and vanilla. Fold in the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Pour batter over pineapple, using an offset spatula to ensure that the batter reaches all four corners of the pan. Tap the pan on the counter to help the batter to settle on the bottom of the pan.

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the pan comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool about 30 minutes and then invert onto a cake plate. Serve warm or at room temperature. Enjoy this skinny delight.

 

Cakes

Spice Cake

I didn’t think I liked spice cake. Really, I didn’t. I just figured, you know, I’m a chocolate cake girl — what do I need with spice cake? Of course I’d had it before (and Mama’s yours tastes great) but it was never a cake I craved. Well, silly me with my silly thoughts: once I tried this spice cake, I was hooked. But, there are a couple little ingredients in this cake that I think make it truly sensational and the first is freshly grated nutmeg. First of all, is nutmeg not just lovely? Plus, it perfums this spice cake batter so subtely and beautifully — it is essential to the success of the cake.

Though freshly grated nutmeg is essential, so two are the other spices in this cake: cloves and cinnamon round out the spice trifecta perfectly.

The second set of ingredients that are essentials in the baking of this cake (and other cakes that also include them) are buttermilk and canola oil. The buttermilk is a wonderful tenderizer in the cake and the oil makes the cake wonderfully soft and moist. And as a PS: this recipe is originally from Kraft Oil cookbooklet that utterly delights me.

Here is the tricky thing about this cake, and before you worry, it’s really not that tricky. First, you make a stiff batter with the dry ingredients, buttermilk and oil; then, you make a light and airy batter of eggs and sugar…then you combine the two. That’s the tricky part, airy batter folded into a stiff one. Fear not though, just fold quickly and boldly till the batter is smooth and your cake will be a raging success. Promise.

I wasn’t the only one that got hooked on this cake. Collin Murray, who also didn’t think he liked spice cake all that much, love love loved it — and he can be hard to please. Give it a try my friends, this spice cake will make you a believer.

Spice Cake (adapted from 20 Wonderful Cakes made by the New Kraft Oil Method Cookbooklet)

3 cups cake flour

1 ½ teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon

½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

¾ cup canola oil

1 ½ cups buttermilk

3 eggs

1 ¼ cups brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Butter and line with parchment two 9-inch cake pans or one 9×13 inch pan and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. Whisk to combine. To the dry ingredients, add the oil and buttermilk and mix together with a spatula. The batter should be very thick but also smooth.

In a separate bowl, beat the eggs together until they are thick and foamy. Slowly add in the sugars and continue beating until the smooth, about two minutes. Carefully and thoroughly fold the two batters together being careful not to over-mix.

Pour into the prepared pan of choice and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Once cool, frost with your choice of frosting, though I prefer the Penuche Frosting. Enoy!

I’ve been struggling with how to write this post. How does one stay classy when writing about a cake that happens to have the word “dump” in the title? But here I go anyway…I went to a puppy shower this past weekend (for a dear friend who had puppies instead of children…Hi Queen! Frank is perfect!) and I brought this cake — this DUMP Cake. All I can say is that I hope my parents are proud; they sent me to pastry school in New York City and I made a Dump Cake.

I am quite sure that this post will make someone mad because I’m positive that this recipe, which I have so lovingly referred to as being a form of Dump Cake, is not actually what is typically known as a Dump Cake in the Southern United States. Far as I know, a true Dump Cake is one where no mixing is required, just the dumping of ingredients into a cake pan; however, while my recipe calls for the dumping of ingredients, it also calls for a wee bit of mixing. Gasp.

Despite my overt sarcasm concerning this Dump Cake, I have to tell you that it was a total hit at the party because frankly, it’s totally delicious. It takes five minutes to dump together and is delightfully satisfying, especially on a warm afternoon surrounded by friends and wet puppy kisses.

Cherry Chocolate Dump Cake (adapted from Mama)

Makes 1-9×13 inch cake

1 box chocolate cake mix

1 540ml (19 ounce) can of cherry pie filling

1 teaspoon almond

2 eggs

2 tablespoons water

Rich Chocolate Glaze, to frost with if desired

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Butter a 9×13 inch cake pan and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and beat with a spatula or wooden spoon for 1 minute or until all dry ingredients have been moistened. Pour into prepared cake pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the car comes out clean.

Frost with Rich Chocolate Glaze or another frosting of your choice. Enjoy!

 

I haven’t shared my love of sprinkles with y’all. I. Love. Sprinkles. So much. Oh dear.

As a child, I loved Funfetti cake. You know, the cake that has sprinkles baked inside…! My mother doesn’t remember my love of Funfetti. I explained to her that, that was obviously because I was a deprived child – seems that would explain my unreasonable love of sprinkles today, no? Anyway, my mama probably doesn’t remember my love of Funfetti cake because she is a delight and didn’t really deprive me of any wish or childhood desire which is probably why she never made me boxed-mix Funfetti cake as a child.

So in the spirit of reliving childhood delights, I thought I would try to make my own Funfetti cake with a vintage-inspired twist: Busy-Day Cake + Jimmies = Funfetti Cake.

Funfetti Cake (inspired by childhood delights, the internet and the Better Homes and Gardens Dessert Cookbook)

Makes one 8-inch cake or six mini-bundt cakes

1 ¾ cup cake flour

¾ cup granulated sugar

2 ½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoons salt

¾ cup milk

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

⅓ cup canola oil

1 egg

⅓ cup multi-colored sprinkles (preferably Jimmies)

Preheat oven to 375˚F. Grease a cake pan and set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Make well in the centre of the flour mixture and add the milk, vanilla, canola oil, and an egg. Using a hand mixer (or some muscle and a wooden spoon), beat the mixture till smooth, about 2 minutes. Quickly, very quickly, fold in the sprinkles into the batter. The quicker you move, the less the sprinkles will melt into the batter — you don’t want tie-dye cake.

Pour the Funfetti batter into the prepared pan, bake for 20-25 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean

 Frost or glaze as desired and enjoy a childhood delight.

As of late, I’ve been a busy girl. Busy, busy, busy girl. So naturally this recipe for Busy Day Cake spoke to me – how I love a quick cake.

Let me perfectly honest my friends – this cake is no show-stopper. It’s not that glam, in fact,  it’s kind of plain Jane but that being said, this plain cake is perfect for snacking, it lends itself to being frosted by any flavor of icing you might desire, and best of all, it’s quick. Really quick.

You know what else is quick? The “frosting” that I chose for this cake. I use the word “frosting” extremely loosely because all it is, is melted chocolate chips. Embarrassingly simple.

A couple minutes after I took the cake out of the oven, I covered it with chocolate chips, waited a few minutes for the heat of the cake to melt them and used my off-set spatula to smooth the “frosting” out. Instant “frosting”.

I must tell you that even though this cake and the “frosting” that I decided to ice it with are easy and busy day quick, it really does make a tasty snack in nearly nearly no time at all. Perfect for any girl (or guy) on the go!

Busy-Day Cake (minimally adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Dessert Cookbook)

(Makes one 8-inch square or 8-inch round cake)

1 ¾ cup cake flour

¾ cup granulated sugar

2 ½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoons salt

¾ cup milk

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

⅓ cup canola oil

1 egg

6 ounces chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 375˚F. Grease an 8-inch pan and set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, ½ cup sugar, baking powder and salt. Make well in the centre of the flour mixture and add the milk, vanilla and canola oil. Using a hand mixer (or some muscle and a wooden spoon), beat the mixture till smooth, about 2 minutes.

In a medium-sized bowl, beat the egg till it is pale and thick. Gradually add remaining ¼ cup of sugar and continue beating for an additional one to two minutes. Gently fold the egg mixture into batter. Pour into the prepared pan, bake for 20-30 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

If desired, sprinkle chocolate chips atop the cake no more than five minutes after it has been removed from the oven. Allow the chips to melt and smooth with the back of a spoon or an off-set spatula. Allow to set at least one hour before enjoying.

A good basic recipe can be hard to come by and yet great basics are essential for any baker to have in their repertoire because a basic recipe can let your creativity run wild.  A delicious chocolate, yellow, or white cake recipe can be hard to find but I promise you that this white cake will not disappoint.

Since a white cake is, well, white, the recipe doesn’t include any egg yolks, only the whites, whipped into a furiously stiff peak. As a note from one baker to another, I was a little hesistant folding the whipped egg whites into the cake batter because the batter is rather stiff. Like me, you may be worried that the egg whites will deflate as you are folding them into the batter but fear not, if you work quickly and without hesistation and your cake should turn out just fine.

The addition of buttermilk to this cake is part of the reason that the end result is so tender. Buttermilk, since it has so much acid in it, is a natural tenderizer in baking and in cooking too. If you don’t have any buttermilk in your fridge, fear not, simply measure out a cup of milk and add one to two tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice to it. Allow the milk to curdle for about two minutes, stir, and measure out the amount of homemade buttermilk you need — simple, right?!

The reason that this cake is such a great basic is because it lends itself to being made into cupcakes, a sheet cake, or into plain old round cakes (just like mine). And it can also can tolerate any flavor of frosting or filling. I frosted this cake with a lemon buttercream, but you could easily use a chocolate, orange, plain buttercream or coconut frosting with great success. Just use your imagination!

Buttermilk White Cake (Adapted from Favorite Recipes of the North Buffalo Sportsman’s Club)

Makes 2 8-inch cake rounds

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

2 cups granulated sugar

3 cups cake flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla

6 egg whites

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line two 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper, then grease with unsalted butter.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. In a medium bowl, whisk together cake flour, baking soda, salt and cream of tartar to remove any lumps. In a liquid measuring cup, combine buttermilk and vanilla. With the mixture on a low speed, alternate adding the flour mixture with the buttermilk. Beat the batter until smooth.

In a clean separate mixing bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Working swiftly, fold the stiff egg whites into the cake bake in three additions. Pour into the buttered cake pans.

Bake for 30-40 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the middle of the cakes comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pans for one hour, remove from pan and allow to cool fully before frosting with the icing of your choice.

I came across this recipe for Chocolate Coca Cola Cake in the Pillsbury’s Best of the Bake-Off cookbook from 1959. The recipe was a Senior Winner and I assure you I know why – this is a mighty tasty cake!

I’ve always had a bit of a weak spot for the sugar-y drink and so naturally this cake caught my attention. The cola in the recipe is said to add “a bit of mystery to the flavor of the chocolate cake” and I have to say that the flavor is quite subtle — the mystery is really trying to find the cola taste at all… 

That being said, the cake quickly came together, was sturdy and dense and didn’t have an over-the-top chocolate taste. The cocoa taste was there and it was pleasant but this isn’t one of those cakes that bowls you with its chocolate-y-ness. Collin Murray, who hates chocolate and Coca Cola because he is a curious individual, loved the cake for it’s “interesting” flavor and great texture.

The frosting, however, was a bit of a pickle. I’m all over a cake with a sticky meringue and the Coca Cola Frosting was no exception in terms of sticky-ness. I didn’t want to deal with the gooey-ness; having a sticky frosting kind of complicates frosting a cake and sometimes it’s ok but sometimes, it just annoys. This was one of those times.

If you like a meringue frosting go crazy, the Cola frosting has a nice subtle flavor of the soda and it’s a pretty contrast to the color and taste of the cake too. However, if you don’t like sticky fingers and haven’t iced a lot of cakes in your day, I might suggest swapping out the frosting for a simple chocolate or vanilla (or Coca Cola) buttercream. The cake would be equally as tasty and omitting the frosting might save you a few grey hairs.

All in all, I have to say that the first recipe I’ve tried from Pillsbury’s Best of the Bake Off Collection was a hit. A simple, quick to mix chocolate cake and a tasty (but just a wee bit trying) frosting. 

Chocolate Coca Cola Cake (adapted from Pillsbury’s Best of the Bake Off Collection)

Cake:

2 cups all purpose flour

1 ⅓ cups sugar

½ cup cocoa

1 ½ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

½ cup unsalted butter, softened

⅔ cup buttermilk

⅔ cup Coca Cola beverage

1 egg, plus 2 egg yolks (save whites for frosting)

Frosting:

1 cup, plus 2 tablespoons sugar

¼ cup, plus 2 tablespoons light corn syrup

3 egg whites

¼ teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons Coca Cola

To prepare the cake:

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease 2-8-inch cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Turn mixer onto the lowest speed and mix to combine. Add the softened butter and beat for one minute at a medium speed. Add the buttermilk and Coca Cola slowly, turning the mixer up as the liquid starts to incorporate. After about one minute, the mixture should be smooth, add the eggs and beat the batter on high for an additional minute, scraping down the bowl as necessary.

Pour batter into prepared pans and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the middle of the cakes comes out clean.

Allow to cool in the pans for an hour. Once cool, remove from pans and allow the cakes to cool completely before attempting to frost.

To prepare the frosting:

In the bowl of a standing mixer, combine all the ingredients and lightly whisk to combine. Place the ingredients over a pot of simmering water, being sure that the water doesn’t touch the pot. Whisk the ingredients constantly until they reach a temperature of 170˚F.

As soon as the mixture reaches 170˚F, remove the bowl from the heat and transfer it to a stand mixer, fitted with a whisk attachment. Whisk on high until the frosting is thick, glossy, and cool to the touch.

Immediately frost cake and enjoy.