Livin' in the Kitchen

Archive for the ‘Cake’ Category

Crossing Cake Abuse off Life-Lists

In Cake, Mexican on May 1, 2011 at 4:39 am

Visit every state, square dance in Texas, cliff dive, start singing/jamming to my favorite song in a packed and silent elevator–making already-awkward situations more awkward is my specialty–, learn French,  be proposed to via dessert, drive a pickup truck with a treadmill in the back.
Among my list of must-do’s, I got to cross of one thing today! Make Tres De Leches cake. It’s true. I’ve been afraid to do it forever, I’m not sure why. It was so easy! But after 3 years of Spanish, I now understand 3/3 of the words in the dessert’s name and feel fully qualified to take on the cake. Or should I say pastel? Alright, now I’m showing off.

Tres Leches Cake
Recipe from A Farmgirl’s Dabbles
1 3/4 cake flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 stick butter
5 eggs
1 cup sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven 350F
Mix the dry ingredients together
Cream the butter then slowly add the sugar. Add eggs one at a time on slow, then slowly stir in vanilla, pour into a butter and floured pan– 13X9.
Bake 20-25 minutes, take out of the oven and allow to cool 30 minutes then transfer to another slightly larger pan with sides that will hold the liquid, poke loads of holes in the cake using a toothpick and allow to finish cooling.

Wait… are you kidding me? I get to poke a bunch of holes in a cake that actually came out in one piece? Surely you’re kidding me…

The Topping
12oz can evaporated milk
14oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup half-and-half

Pour all the cans into a bowl and whisk together until just incorporated, pour over your cooled hole-poked cake.
(This should sit over-night in the fridge! If you’re impatient like me, start early in the day and take it out later at night. This gives the cake time to soak in all the creams!)

I used a little container to pour the creams over the cake…

Whipped Cream Topping
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar (I used a few tablespoons more… I like it sweet!)
1 tsp. vanilla (I also added a little more of this)
Cinnamon for top garnish
Maraschino cherries, rinsed off so that it does not stain the white of the cream topping.

Whisk the heavy cream until it’s just about come together, add the powdered sugar, then add vanilla. Don’t over-whip!
Spread the mixture over the refrigerated cake.


My dear, picky, friend Lizzie ate this. Quite frankly, she devoured the most part of it. This is literally one of the most delicious cakes I think I’ve ever had/made. Plus it’s so easy! It’s not one of those cakes that’s going to crumble in your hands, you can throw it around a little. And let’s face it… who doesn’t want to be able to abuse a cake a little? Poke a bunch of holes in it, drown it in creams, smoother it in whipped cream? I can now also cross off something I never even thought of putting on my must-do-life-list… abuse a cake.

A Ten Layer Cake

In Cake on April 1, 2011 at 5:43 am

For the past four days my parents have been in Vegas. Naturally I’ve been jealous. I mean, a plane ride? New restaurants? Different state? A hotel? Uhm, yes please. Nope. I stayed at home and lived the Vegas dream through facebook, thanks mom. What happens in Vegas, stays in vegas… which is why when I saw the cake my mom posted, I knew I had to make a layered cake.

Three different cake batters…




This cake ended up totaling in about a day of work. This happens to be because I doubled or trippled all three flavors and had two pans of the same size to bake them in. There ended up being 14 layers. That’s a whole lot of oven time.

The layers…

Then came the frosting and assembly stages which became particularly hard when the cake began to lean a little. So what do you do with a leaning cake? Hmm…


Ok. So the cake needed more frosting, but I started to feel a little guilty. The amount of butter and number of bags of powdered sugar that went into just this much frosting was ridiculous. That’s why I tried to cover it up with a chocolate decoration and some pipping…

My friend Danielle came over earlier this afternoon and you know what she did when she saw this cake? She laughed, and not because of its stunning beauty either. Poor, ugly cake. Judging by the size of one ‘small’ piece, I’d say it’s safe to bet that I will be eating this cake until I graduate…

Despite the fact that this leaning cake had to turn into a ‘teapot’ to have a fighting chance at redemption and Danielle’s sneers, I will deem this cake a success.  It was ten layers, three taller than the Vegas cake, and still standing. Sweet success.

4 Sweets, 1 Day

In Cake, Cookies, Donuts, Jello on March 30, 2011 at 6:02 am

There are no beaches involved in my Spring Break. No good weather filled with warm sun. No trips to Disney or Mexico. Instead I’ve taken a much shorter trip, approximately three rooms away and about as much fun. My kitchen! Come take a trip through my day…

First on the agenda this morning was definitely jogging. Good thing too, because it dramatically reduced my guilt for what was soon to come… Donuts! Altogether the dough for these donuts took (a minimum) of 9 hours. I’m super impatient, so making the dough right before going to bed last night cut down a lot of waiting time.

Totally worth the wait. You can’t even compare these babies to Dunkin’ or Krispy Kreams because these knock those out of the park. I didn’t include the recipe, I think that Flour by Joanne Chang should be sitting somewhere on everyone’s cookbook shelf.

Next on the agenda was jello! I pre-made the jello with a few of the different colored packages I found yesterday afternoon and made it last night so that this morning I could get right to it.

I just cut all my colors of jello into squares and put them all into one large — preferably see-though since, let’s face it, jello’s pretty!

 Then just combine 1/2 cup cold water and sprinkle two packets of gelatin over it, allow to sit for 1 minute. Add 1 1/2 cups of boiling water, stirl. Finally, stir in sweetened condensed milk and allow to cool before pouring over your piled jello.

Then refridgerate for at least 7 hours (and if you’re like me, do it either overnight or busy yourself making something else!)

Done! This jello gives me a whole new, possitive look on hospitals.  Generally when I think of hospitals I think of two things. 1. White walls, 2.  Jello. Uhm, having a doctor wearing all white telling me I can only eat jello the rest of my stay? No thanks. But this jello is actually pretty cool! Not that I could eat it as a meal. Ever. Anyway, I’m calling this my hospital jello.

Next I made cake! I knew I wanted to do something cool with it, but wasn’t sure what. Fondant was out of the question. That’s something that’s more of an all-day project for me. The base of the cake wasn’t my favorite and I made up the frosting recipe on the spot. I could kick myself for not writing it down because it’s one of my favorites.

To do the hearts all I did was melt semi-sweet chocolate in a double boiler, transfered it right after it was melted- not too hot- to a pastry bag, and made hearts/designs with the chocolate onto parchment paper. They went into the fridge for about ten to tweleve minutes, then pealed off and put around the cake. It’s SUPER easy and so much fun! I’ll be doing this again!

Recipe-to-come. My friend Claire came over and between her and Nicky they got these cookies done and they were delicious!

Finally the day is done, it’s already morning again and I’m just finishing my yesterday-day. But that’s alright! Because it’s Spring Break!!

My day summed up in one picture:

Thank God I was blessed with super generous parents who get me 25 pound bags of sugar and Kinnect Sports. They know me so well.

A Day of Babysitting and Cake

In Cake on March 28, 2011 at 11:34 pm

Well apparently when I babysit, kids have something with cracking eggs. Not really sure why, but they do. This one was on accident… at least that I know of. I can see you’re quite concerned over the egg lying on the floor, girls. 

Then again when you’re babysitting for 8 hours, the kids are going to have to find something to entertain themselves with. Which is why we made rainbow cake. It still tickles me pink how amazed they were. They took some of the pictures, did most all of the baking, and found the recipes. When we were done they kept scrolling through the pictures and pointing to the first picture, I can’t believe we started here!

Simple White Cake
1 cup white sugar
1 stick butter
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350
Cream the sugar and butter, slowly add eggs and vanilla
Stir in the flour and baking powder slowly
Add the milk and stir by hand until just incorporated
(If doing the rainbow cake- divide the batter into as many bowls as you want colors and add colors in each until desired color is reached.)
Pour each color into the pan on top of the next– it will push the batter to the edges on its own
Bake for 25-35 minutes.

Bake it..

We couldn’t find a frosting recipe that used only one stick of butter so we just made one up! It was good and not sickening-kind of sweet which would have been fabulous if the cake was sweeter.

Spilling Rainbows

In Cake, Colorful on March 22, 2011 at 4:59 am

Today. Track. Almost. Killed. Me. Right after I got done with track  I ran to my newspaper room for paste up (the two nights before our magazine goes to print that we stay at school to finish layouts and work).

 My head was throbbing earlier in the day because of my deep passion for uncooperative students that won’t facebook me pictures of them playing their sports. On top of that I’d just done 10, 400’s on the track and wanted to die. Coming home from paste up, I knew I’d have to bake after Pretty Little Liars. Baking this cake was important for three reasons. 

1. I couldn’t help but smile when I saw the colors of this cake. I mean, who could frown at this?

2. It’s my friend Becca’s birthday tomorrow and she’s stuck at paste up for the entire night. Then it’s Christine and Katy’s half birthdays. I brought sugar cookies today but…. Naturally, birthdays mean cake.

3. I now get to practice my spanish vocab (Power to the Spanish 1 class! Or should I say Espanol number uno clase?)… Either way, I’ve got to practice this vocab and it may as well be through cake.






y, Morado!!!

Just smooth the top color over the other colors so that there will be a surprise inside the cake! I’m also planning on frosting the cakes before school tomorrow!

It’s so simple! Just divide your batter (1 box of cake) into six separate bowls, and mix with color until your desired color is reached. Pour the first color (closest to the bottom) in and then pour the next color right on top of it! This will push the bottom color to the sides!

Let me say, I have a lot against cake mixes. I mean a lot. It’s so easy to make your own cake, but there were a bunch of mixes in the back of my cabinet so I got lazy and used one. I’m actually growing quite fond of these perservative-infested boxes of sugar and carbs because they can do this…. (when they spill over the edge of your pan)..

Why yes, that is batter that spilled over the edge. It baked 10X faster on the bottom of my oven, rose, and had the same texture as the later cake. Never, ever fill your pans too high with cake mix. They WILL spill over. But if you’re not afraid of the bottom of your oven or plan on changing that…  try spilling some of your cake mix onto the bottom of your oven and let it bake away! So much faster! (Seriously!… Ok, maybe not. And if you do end up trying this, bake at your own risk ; )

I know it’s time for bed because my Shania Twain cd just ended, I’ve gone through all of my colors in Spanish, and I am absolutely fried… Let’s hope tomorrow’s an easy day.

Happy-five-minutes-away Tuesday!

Saturday Clowns and Cranberry-Maple-Pecan Breakfast Cake

In Cake on March 20, 2011 at 12:32 am

Today was a fabulously laid back Saturday. Track this morning, came home and watched the Rachael Ray biography… Why yes, I am a nerd and feeling nerdier every day. I also made these breakfast cookies (healthy cookies for breakfast? Count me in.) and a Cranberry-Maple-Pecan Breakfast cake. And in between it all I watched these 9 year old clowns:

 All I have to say is, what a waste of an egg.

I guess entertainment comes at a cost. I kind of figure if the cost of testing out their future dream (becoming clowns) is cracking an egg in a plastic container, what the hay?! I’m not too worried about them, though. Because clearly, they’re forgetting that when they join the circus, they will have to wear makeup.

Cranberry-Maple-Pecan Breakfast Cake
Slightly adapted from “Flour” by Joanne Chang

3 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 cup pecan halves, chopped

1 1/3 cups cake flour
3/4 granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons salted butter
1/3 cup nonfat buttermilk (or a little less than 1/3 cup of fat free milk, add vinegar, and allow to sit for 5 mintues)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 maple syrup
1 cup dried cranberries, soaked for 30 minutes in apple juice

1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup


In a pan, over medium heat, stir the pecans and 3 tablespoons of maple syrup together until the pecans have soaked up almost all of the maple syrup.
Pour onto a cutting board and allow to cool.
When cool, chop the mixture that is hard until the pieces are small, but not demolished.

Put your dried cranberries in a bowl and allow them to soak with the apple juice for 30 minutes.
Combine all the dry ingredients and the butter in a standard mixer, fit with the whisk attachment, allow to mix for 3-5 minutes.
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together all your wet ingredients.
On medium speed, add half of your wet ingredients to the dry, allow to mix until incorporated.
Slow the mixer and add the other half of your wet ingredients to the batter until just combined.
With a rubber spatula, slowly fold in the chopped maple-roasted pecans and drained cranberries.
Line a bread pan with parchment paper, so that it’s easier to get the bread out, and pour in your batter.
Bake at 350F for 60-65 minutes.

For the glaze combine the maple syrup and powdered sugar with a handmixer, 20-30 minutes after the bread it out of the oven, pour the glaze over the top of the bread — let it drip down the sides, it looks awesome!

Done and delicious!!



Happy Saturday!

Friendemies and Double Dessert Rolls

In Cake, Cookies, Uncategorized on March 10, 2011 at 2:49 am

Friendemy. It’s such a stupid word. It causes such distress to me that I don’t even know what to do with myself. Which is why when I thought about these cinnamon rolls and the first thing that came to mind was friendemy… I almost ripped my hair out.


You see, these are just so good. But they’re so bad. With every bite I feel every mile I ran at track wither. Wilt. Die. But they’re so good, I can’t stop eating them. Don’t be mistaken. This is clearly a guilt-post. I took one unhealthy thing and made it with another dessert…. two entire batches. I can’t stop eating them either. So, in other words, eat and enjoy!!

These are delicious. However, calling them cinnamon rolls gives the wrong impression. I’d call them dessert rolls. They’re delicious, and I’m particularly fond of  the cake “cinnamon” roll.

Cake Dessert Rolls
Slightly adapted by How Sweet it Is

2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 package dry yeast (or 2 1/4 teaspoons)
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 heaping cup of yellow cake mix
1 stick melted butter

Scald the milk, veggie oil, and sugar. Turn off heat, take off burner, and allow to sit about an hour or until just warm.
Sprinkle the yeast over the milk and let sit for about a minute then stir in 4 cups flour. Cover with wrap and allow to sit for another hour.
Mix in the powders and the remaining 1/2 cup of flour
Flour workspace and roll into a long rectangle, spread the butter over entire surface, spread generously with cinnamon and sugar, sprinkle with the cake mix and sprinkles.
Bake at 400F for about 16-25 minutes.

Cake Batter Glaze
Slightly adapted from How Sweet it is
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup cake mix
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon heavy cream
2 tablespoons milk

Combine all, spread glaze over the top while the cinnamon rolls are still warm, spread sprinkles over the top generously.

(To make cookie-dough style cinnamon rolls, just make your favorite chocolate chip cookie dough and do everything the same. Instead of the cake mix, spread the un-baked dough over the top and roll then cut into desired sized cinnamon rolls. No glaze needed!)

Then bake…

You think these are your friends until you start eating them in place of dinner… and I promise, it’s not the scale that’s broken. Which is why I have no choice but to call them a friendemy.

Carrot Cake and Weird Pairs

In Cake on February 22, 2011 at 1:43 am

There are some things that just don’t seem to make sense….

Like how my little brother chooses to sit in a doggie bed when our dog won’t go anywhere near it.

Or how one day the weather is 55 degrees and the next it’s snowing,


And how it’s possible that carrots and cake can be so great together,

Carrot Cake is one of my favorite kinds of cake ever. Ever. I guess it would make sense. Afterall it was the first kind of cake I had the pleasure of stuffing my face with. You’ve got to love 1st birthdays.

Unlike my family’s original Carrot Cake recipe, this had nuts, pineapple, and coconut in it. It tastes a lot different than what I’ve been used to but it’s actually really good! This cake is super moist and absolutely delicious. The frosting is runnier than I’d thought, but the flavor made up for it!

 Carrot Cake



   Slightly adapted from: A Southern Grace


1 3/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup coconut milk
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
1 (8 oz) can crushed pineapple, undrained
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 cups shredded carrots
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup walnuts, chopped
Preheat oven to 350F
Combine the coconut milk, sugar, and canola oil. Add one egg at a time, stirring in each before adding the next. Stir in the extracts.
In another, smaller bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinammon together.
Combine the dry and wet ingredients together and add the flaked coconut, the walnuts, and the shredded carrots.
 Bake for 40-50 minutes.
1 cup butter
1 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1 teaspoon salt
6 cups powdered sugar
Combine all the ingredients except the powdered sugar.
Slowly add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time. Beat the frosting until all bumps are out.


Carrots + Cake, who would have thought?? But it’s one of the only ways I’ll eat a vegetable. Is that bad?

Off to watch Pretty Little Liars!

Buttermilk Pound Cake and Strawberry Buttercream nails it

In Cake on November 21, 2010 at 5:15 am
The ToolboxI went to hear Rick Tramonto, a very famous chef who’s appeared on The Food Network, currently owns three popular restaurants, and has seven published cook books, speak a few weeks ago. He said a lot of things, but one thing he said that will always stick with me is “It’s about the music, not the lifestyle.” You know those larger than life quotes people give you, where you understand what they’re supposed to mean, but they feel too broad for you to have experienced them? Yeah, that’s about how I felt. This man had so many more struggles to conquer. And here I am in a good home with loving parents, wondering where the heck I‘m going with my life. These questions played in my mind as I made my friend’s dad’s surprise birthday cake.
Friday afternoon rolled around sooner than I’d thought. Luckily I’m an expert in the field of last-minute-dessert-making, probably because I have such great practice from my last-minute-projecting-doing; now who told you school teaches you nothing?
My first mistake was with the cake. I was stubborn. I now realize the cake will always win. When the cake says fluffy in the title, what it really means to say is: don’t try to carve me, I’ll crumble and crush your hopes and dreams. Another genius plan I’d formed so that I could get a few extra hours of sleep was to use long glass tins to bake the cakes in. Only problem? The cake wouldn’t come out and when it did, it came in a hundred cracked pieces. Leave glass tins to brownie making! That left me with two useable pans and no cake recipe. When I found this recipe, I squeezed my eyes shut, crossed my fingers, and prayed that after 70 minutes of baking, it would be good. It was so good that I stayed up to go an extra 2 rounds of baking with my two pans!
Best Buttermilk Cake
3 sticks of butter
3 1/2 cups sifted flour
1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 1/2 graulated sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vailla bean paste or vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk *  recipe below
Sift together flour, salt, and baking soda.
In mixer beat butter and slowly add sugar, beat well.
Add eggs, one at a time
Scrape down sides, add vanilla extract.
Slowly add a third of the flour mixture, mix until combined. Add a third of buttermilk, mix until combined. Continue until all combined.
Grease and flour pan before pouring.
Bake 75 minutes at 300 degrees, or until toothpick comes out clean.
* Buttermilk
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar
Let sit 5-10 minutes
Thoughts: This is a great cake that is delicious alone. If you want to add extra something, add frosting! The cake itself isn’t way too sweet and goes really well with frosting.
  Tips: Make sure to bake until it’s golden on the top or slightly pulling away from the pan. 
The clock was rolling around to two in the morning, my kitchen was a mess, and I realized my biggest mistake yet. When giving my friend and her family the samples of the frostings, I was making up recipes off the top of my head. I didn’t measure anything out or write anything down. Maybe people are most creative at night, or maybe I just knew I couldn’t mess this up, but after trying all different measurements this was the recipe I chose.
Stawberry Buttercream
3 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 sticks butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 tablespoon strawberry imitation
2-4 large strawberries diced and thrown in (leave a little on the end to squeeze into bowl as juice)
Mix butter and powdered sugar until creamy
Put mixer on low, add strawberry imitation
Wash strawberries and dice, leave about 2/4 inch of red on the end and save. Throw in diced straberries and mix on high for 11 seconds.
Squeeze the juices of the tops into the bowl and mix on medium
After rocking out to Nickelback for fourteen hours I hit the hay at 2 a.m. with a carved and dirty iced cake. The next day I ended up covering the cake in fondant and adding details for an additional five hours. I handed my friend a nineteen hour cake and she handed me fifty dollars, minus thirty that went to my mom for ingredients.
 I sat on my stoop, smiling. It might have only been twenty dollars, but somebody was paying me to do what I loved. And when I looked down at that twenty dollars in my hands, bolstering with satisfaction, I knew this is what I wanted to do no matter what I got paid. And that’s when I understood: It’s about the music, not the lifestyle.