Splatter Paint Cake

I kind of lost my love for baking these past few months. It was a stressful and emotional winter, and the kitchen was not its usual place of relaxation.

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However, I’m happy to report that I’m back in action! I baked a multitude of treats for my friend’s birthday last week and enjoyed every single second of it.

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This cake is inspired by one of my favorite bloggers, Molly Yeh, and is basically one big art project. When I texted my dad a picture, he said it was too pretty to eat, but my friends had no problem digging in. They even devoured every last drop of ‘paint’ on the parchment:)

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Combine a perfectly chocolaty cake x3 with creamy marscapone icing, plus a pretty top coat of springy colors, and you’re sure to have a winner!

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Chocolate Cake

adapted from Molly Yeh’s Basil Marscapone Buttercream Frosted Cake

2 1/2 cups + 2 T granulated sugar
2 1/2 cups + 2 T all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups cocoa powder
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
2 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
2 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 eggs
3/4 cup canola oil
1 1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 T vanilla
1 cup + 2 T boiling water

Vanilla Marscapone Buttercream

3 sticks butter, softened
8 oz. marscapone, softened
5 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt

Splatter Paint

for each color:
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon milk
food coloring

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Preheat oven to 350F. Grease three 8 inch round cake plans and line with circles of parchment paper. In your stand mixer bowl, beat eggs and sugar. Add vanilla. Add cocoa and oil and mix until combined. Add baking soda, baking powder, salt, and flour, alternating with the buttermilk. Stir in the boiling water very slowly, as the batter will be quite thin at this point.

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Distribute the batter evenly between the three cake pans and bake until the center of the cakes bounce back after a gentle poke. Begin checking them around 28 minutes.

Let the cakes cool in the pans for about 10 minutes. Flip onto cooling racks to cool completely.

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To make the icing, beat together the butter and marscapone until smooth. Add the vanilla and salt. Add the powdered sugar incrementally until the desired texture and taste are achieved.

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Once your cakes are totally cooled, level the tops with a knife to make them as flat as possible. Spread a thick layer of frosting on the bottom cake, place the middle layer on, spread more frosting, and place the top layer on. Cover the entire cake in a crumb coat and refrigerate for about 15 minutes to set.

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Frost the cake smoothly and generously. Refrigerate for about 20 minutes to firm up. Use a fork or spoon to drizzle your paint all over the cake!

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Cashew butter + goji berry trail mix cookies (gf)

These healthy “cookies” are my absolute favorite version of the¬†Almond Butter Trail Mix cookies. I’ve made a multitude of variations of those guys, while experimenting with different gluten free flours, nut butters, nuts, and dried fruit. My gluten free pal assured me that these ones with cashews and goji berries are the winner. And I couldn’t agree more.

They’re¬†delicious on top of yogurt, with your morning smoothie, or as a snack on the go. I like them best warm out of the oven, with the crunchy edges and melted pieces of dark chocolate:)

 

Cashew butter + goji trail mix cookies
recipe inspired by OhLadycakes

1/2 cup cashew butter
2 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted
4 Tablespoons agave (can sub honey or maple syrup)
1/3 cup almond milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 C buckwheat flour
1/2 C quinoa flour
1/4 cup brown rice flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup oats
2 Tablespoons cacao nibs
1/2 cup cashews, chopped
1/4 cup goji berries
1/4 cup chopped dark chocolate

In a large bowl, whisk together the cashew butter, coconut oil, agave, and almond milk. Once combined, add the flours, baking soda, and salt until a thick dough forms. Now, add in your extras – oats, cocoa nibs, cashews, gojis, and chopped dark chocolate – and mix until evenly distributed. Wrap the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate your dough for at least an hour.

Drop the dough onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 325F for 15-18 minutes. I usually yield about 12 big cookies. Once they are lightly browned but still a little soft on the inside, remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool. Store cookies in an airtight container. They keep even longer in the fridge!

Spring Strawberry Cake

This cake was my birthday icing decoration project.

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It is an adapted amalgamation of recipes from two of my favorite food blogs – Smitten Kitchen and My Name is Yeh!

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I doubled¬†the amounts for Deb’s cake so I could make a second layer but only placed the strawberries in the bottom cake so that they’d serve as a sort of filling. I combined this cake with Molly’s icing (because she has mad, gorgeous skills), and the results were magical.

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It received the seal of approval from aunts, uncles, cousins, parents, and my brother. And they’ll be straight with you if it’s nothing special… we’ve eaten our fair share of desserts. They kept asking if there was some secret ingredient to make it so moist and have the perfect texture and sweetness. This is just one of those cases where simple flavors are amazingly delicious:)

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Strawberry Vanilla Cake

adapted from Smitten Kitchen

12 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar + 2 Tablespoons (for sprinkling the strawberries at the end)
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
1 pound strawberries, hulled and halved

Preheat oven to 350¬įF. Prepare two 9 inch cake pans by lining with parchment paper and then buttering.

In electric mixer, beat butter and granulated sugar until pale and fluffy. Add in egg and beat again. Mix in milk and vanilla. Add flour, baking powder, and salt and mix until just combined and smooth.

Distribute batter amongst two pans, placing slightly less in the one of them. In this pan with slightly less batter, arrange strawberries, cut side down, as closely as possible in a single later. Sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons sugar over berries.

Bake cakes for 10 minutes then reduce oven temperature to 325F and bake cake until golden brown and a tester comes out free of wet batter, about 50 minutes to 60 minutes. Let cool in pan on a rack.

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Vanilla cream cheese buttercream frosting

from My Name is Yeh!

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
4 2/3 cups powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Cream all ingredients together.

To assemble the cake, place the strawberry layer on the plate. Spread a thin layer of the icing and place the other cake layer on top. Spread on a thin crumb coat and then refrigerate for about an hour until it firms up. Fill a large piping bag fitted with a petal decorating tip. Starting at the bottom and working your way up, pipe around the outside of the cake with the wider end of tip up against the cake. Do the same thing on the top of the cake, and voila!

Cowboy Cookies

These cookies have a little bit of everything… kind of like a chocolate chip cookie on steroids.

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Their name is a mystery, but they are certainly chock full of everything you want… all packed into one amazing cookie! They have crunch from the corn flakes, chewiness from the oats, sweetness from the dried fruit, and obviously plenty of chocolate.

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My dad originally saw this recipe¬†on our local PBS station cooking show with Chris Fennimore. ¬†His methodology for these cookies was to use ingredients based on what you have on hand that day.¬† So¬†we added in our favorites and the results were delicious! Feel free to¬†substitute any other¬†dried fruit or cereals you have laying around the kitchen. You can’t go wrong with these cowboy cookies.

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Cowboy Cookies

2 sticks of butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons brandy
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups oats
3 cups corn flakes
4 oz (1/2 cup) dates, chopped
1 cup raisins
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350F. Cream butter with both sugars until smooth and creamy.

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Add eggs, vanilla, and brandy and mix till smooth.

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Add flour, baking powder, and baking soda and mix. It is going to get thick, so you will want to stir in the oatmeal, corn flakes, dates, raisins and chocolate chips.

Form into 1 1/2 inch balls and bake on a cookie sheet for 10 minutes at 350F.

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Almond Butter Trail Mix Cookies (Gluten free)

After a few adaptations and some serious taste testing with friends, I’m pretty sure this is the perfect healthy, gluten free cookie.

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Oat flour is such a wonderful substitute for wheat flour, so you won’t miss it at all. These guys have received the seal of approval from gluten and non-gluten eaters alike.

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I’ve made them 3 times in the past two weeks for one of my dearest friends who happens to be gluten intolerant. As soon as we’ve demolished every single cookie, it’s only right that I go back to the kitchen and whip up another batch. They’re really that good.Sarahs almond butter trail 0006

Wonderful at any time of the day, you can crumble some onto yogurt or into almond milk for breakfast or enjoy as a little snack or dessert.

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They are busting open with hearty oats, healthy fats from nuts, and a little bit of chocolate to keep us all happy. I hope you enjoy:)

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Almond butter trail mix cookies
recipe inspired by OhLadycakes

1/2 cup almond butter
2 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted
6 Tablespoons honey (agave or maple syrup would also work)
1/3 cup almond milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups oat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup oats
2 Tablespoons cacao nibs
1/2 cup nuts (pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, etc.)
1/4 cup dried cranberries/cherries
1/4 cup chopped dark chocolate

In a large bowl, whisk together the almond butter, coconut oil, honey, and almond milk. Once combined, add the oat flour, baking soda, and salt until a thick dough forms. Now, add in your extras – oats, cocoa nibs, nuts, dried fruit, and chopped dark chocolate – and mix until evenly distributed. Wrap the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate your dough for at least an hour.

Drop the dough onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 325F for 15-18 minutes. I usually yield about 12 cookies. Once they are lightly browned but still a little soft on the inside, remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool. Store cookies in an airtight container. They keep even longer in the fridge!