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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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!

Christmas Eve Confection

Happy holidays to all! I love creating a special dessert to bring to my aunt’s annual Christmas Eve feast of the seven fishes. This vanilla and raspberry cake with mascarpone frosting was my contribution to the party this year.

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Last year, I had a so much fun assembling a croquembouche, which was actually our very first post on the blog. (Happy birthday to you Baking Genes!) I’ve made quite a few Christmas Eve Buche de Noels in the past, but I decided to mix it up a little bit this time. The flavors in this cake are simple but blend magically together. I promise it tastes even better than it looks!

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Inspired by the gift of a beautiful antique cake knife, I actually made a version of this cake a few months ago. But other than being shared via Instagram, that beauty pretty much stayed in my apartment, with no opportunity to be devoured by family and friends at a party. When my family saw the photographs, they not so secretly hinted that I should bake it for them in the near future. Looks like their wish came true! I thought the festive colors and sparkle of this cake would be perfect for the holidays:) It may just become a new tradition… I hope you and your loved ones enjoy it, too!

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Vanilla cake with raspberry preserves and mascarpone frosting

(adapted from Molly Yeh’s Pony Cake)

Vanilla cake

2  1/2 + 1/8 cups cake flour*
3/4 teaspoon salt
2  1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
6 Tablespoons butter, softened
1  1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs
1  1/2 Tablespoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup plain yogurt
3/8 cup vegetable oil
1 cup milk

*I didn’t have cake flour, so I substituted the above with 2 1/4 + 1/8 cups all-purpose flour plus 4 Tablespoons of corn starch. Make sure you sift it well!

Frosting

8 oz. mascarpone cheese, softened
18 oz. butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon milk

For assembly

~3/4 cup raspberry preserves
fresh raspberries for garnish
turbinado sugar for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease three 8″ round cake pans with butter. Cut out a circle of parchment paper to line the bottom of the pan and grease again with butter.

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Sift together the cake flour (or your substitute mixture), salt, baking powder, and baking soda into a bowl. In a stand mixer or separate bowl, beat together the butter and sugar for a few minutes. Add in the eggs one at a time; mix until pale and fluffy. Then, add in the vanilla extract, yogurt, and oil. Alternate adding in some of the dry ingredient mixture and pouring in the milk. Beat until smooth.

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Divide the batter evenly between the three pans. Bake the cakes, rotating halfway through for about 18-24 minutes. When done, a toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean or if you lightly press down in the center, it should easily bounce back up. Let the cakes cool in their pans for 5 minutes then allow to cool completely on racks.

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For the frosting, beat the butter, mascarpone, and vanilla in a stand mixer bowl until well combined. Add in the powdered sugar and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy. Add in a little bit of milk until you achieve the desired consistency. I made my frosting on the thicker side so it would be more pliable for decorating the outside of the cake.

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For assembly, place one cake layer on a cake plate. Spread a thick layer of frosting on top and a thin layer of the raspberry preserves on top of that. I spread the frosting to the edge but left a little 1/2 inch margin when I spread the preserves so that the red color wouldn’t leak out the sides. Repeat the same procedure with the second layer cake and then place the third layer on top.

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To frost it, first cover the cake with a very thin layer of frosting to create your crumb coat. Refrigerate it for a few hours to let it set. Then, frost the top and sides with the remaining frosting. Decorate and cover with garnishes as desired.

 

Texas Sheet Cake

I don’t know where my mom acquired this recipe, but it is definitely a family favorite. The sheet cake is not as dense as a brownie but when combined with the decadent chocolate glaze, it delivers a solid chocolate hit. Plus, no mixer or bowls required. All you need is a 3 quart pot and a jelly roll pan to create this fast, simple, and delectable dessert!

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Cake

8 oz (2 sticks) butter
1 cup water
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoons salt
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup sour cream

Preheat your oven to 375F. Combine the butter, water, and cocoa in a 3 quart sauce pan and bring to a boil.

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Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining ingredients.

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Pour the batter into a 11″ x 17″ jelly roll pan.¬† You’ll bake the cake at 375 F for 22 minutes, but start making the glaze when there are about 5-10 minutes left on the timer. We want to pour our icing on a HOT cake:)

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After 22 minutes, the cake should be finished baking. To make sure it’s done, press gently on the surface, and it should easily bounce back.

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Glaze

4 oz (1 stick) cup butter
6 tablespoons milk
1/4 cup cocoa powder
4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Combine the butter, milk, and cocoa in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining ingredients. (I don’t always use nuts because of friends/family nut allergies, but they do add a little crunch to the icing.)

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The cake should now be out of the oven. Pour the glaze on the cake while both the cake and glaze are hot. Spread the glaze quickly and evenly. Let it cool.

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You can cut the Texas sheet cake into bars about 1.5″ by 2.5″. Sometimes I will use a pizza cutter- put a little butter on the wheel and cut away to make swift and smooth cuts. Enjoy!

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Mrs. Perotti’s Apple Pear Pie Cake

I have never met anyone yet who has eaten an apple pear pie cake. This dessert seems confused about its identity, but it is not exactly a cake and in many ways not like a pie!

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I believe this unique recipe originates from my childhood neighbor, Mrs. Perotti, and I’ve been making it ever since! ¬†The¬†apple-pear mixture combined with the layers of soft dough creates so many wonderful flavors.. I hope you’ll give it a try!

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