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°F. 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!

Nona’s Chocolate Cake

Birthday cakes are really important to us. They might even be the most important birthday decision, and they are definitely the most delicious present. In our family, my Nona’s chocolate cake is often the birthday treat of choice. Boston Cream Pie or berry trifle sometimes make an appearance, but this cake celebrates birthdays with us at least a couple of times a year. We don’t know exactly where the recipe came from, but my Nona (grandmother) used to make it for me all of the time when I helped out at her house as a kid.

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While it may look like your average chocolate cake, this recipe is truly the ultimate. The cake is incredibly moist, perfectly chocolately, and destined to be paired with delectable cream cheese frosting. We have tired to make it in different types of pans, but the tube pan is the only one that does justice to our favorite chocolate cake. Continue reading Nona’s Chocolate Cake

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Here is a short and sweet, only slightly belated Valentine’s Day post! These red velvet cupcakes were a simple treat to bring into the office and share with co-workers for a holiday potluck. Luckily, red velvet is always a hit, so you can make these any time of the year!

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  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons red food coloring
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Whisk the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in bowl and set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar in a mixer for a few minutes until nice and fluffy.  Add in the eggs one at a time and beat for 30 seconds.  Mix in the sour cream, milk, food coloring and vanilla.  (Yeah, it gets a “little” red.  Don’t worry, the cocoa in the flour mixture will calm it down later.  You can add more food coloring if you like the classic red velvet look or less if you just want a hint of red.)  Now, mix in the flour mixture and beat slowly until just incorporated; don’t over beat the mixture.

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Note: While making this batch, I thought I had sour cream, but alas, I was all out.  So I poured 1 1/2 cups of milk in a glass bowl, added 1 tablespoon of vinegar, and let it set for about 10 minutes.  I used this 1 1/2 cups of sour milk in place of the 1/2 cup milk and 1 cup sour cream.  Still tasted great!

Place paper cupcake inserts into a muffin pan. Fill each cup about 2/3 full with the batter.

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Bake at 350F for about 20 minutes.  Test to see if a tooth pick comes out clean or if the top bounces back. Let the cupcakes cool for about 2 minutes in the pan. Then, remove them from the muffin pan and let them cool on cooling racks.  Make sure you let the cupcakes cool to room temperature before frosting.

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  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioners sugar

Mix the cream cheese, butter, sour cream and vanilla and beat until fluffy – about 3 minutes.  Add in the confectioners sugar and beat another 5 minutes, until it is nice and smooth.

I like to pipe the frosting on the cupcakes to get a nice thick layer, or in this case, in the shape of a heart.  Add some red sprinkles and you’re good to go!

The BEST Carrot Cake

This might be a good time to mention that we are dessert snobs. And I mean that in the nicest way possible. Even though ‘snob’ is commonly used as a derogatory term, in this case, I don’t think it’s a bad thing. We don’t rub our views in others’ faces or anything, but know what we like! We also know how to make a lot of the things that we like. Let’s take this carrot cake, for example. It truly is the best carrot cake we’ve ever tasted. It is the definition of perfection, so we are incredibly exited to share this recipe with you and spread the carrot cake love! We must warn you, however, that after you taste this baby, restaurant or bakery carrot cake will never taste the same again.

carrot cake 0018 IMG_1787At least, that is what happened to us. From time to time, we still sample other carrot cakes, but just about every one is either too dry, too soggy, too much pumpkin pie flavoring, bad tasting icing, etc. Yikes!

Continue reading The BEST Carrot Cake