Breville Scraper Mixer Pro Giveaway + Review!

scrapermixer600

Breville Scraper Mixer Pro

Hello friends!

Today I want to talk about one of the important tools in my world, and any baker’s world: the stand mixer. If you and I have been connected for some time, you’ve probably noticed that for the years I have been baking, I have been a KitchenAid-stand-mixer girl–I have not only referred to my love for them countless times, but I have personally given away several here on the blog. I have always had success with them, but recently my well-cared-for, 3 year-old mixer started doing some crazy, crazy things (clunking, getting stuck on certain speeds, etc).

I had never tried any other brand, so when my friends at Breville Canada asked me to try their Scraper Mixer Pro 5-Quart Die-Cast Stand Mixer (BEM800XL), I couldn’t resist. Now, I don’t do many reviews on this site, but with this product I was genuinely keen–not only to try the mixer, but to share my honest and unbiased thoughts with my fellow bakeaholics. Now, you guys know that I bake . . .  a lot. And it means the world to me, so when reading about this mixer, I was particularly intrigued by these notable features:

  • Planetary Mixing Action covers 360 degree beater-to-bowl, for thoroughly mixed ingredients (such a key feature for cake baking!)
  • Scraper beater continuously fold and scrapes the sides and bottom of the bowl, eliminating the need for hand scraping with a spatula (if I had a cupcake for every time I have scraped down the sides of the bowl with a spatula . . . )
  • 12 Speed Electronic Control
  • 10 Minute Timer with Auto-Off (versus no timer)
  • 550-watt motor (versus my then 325-watt motor) with metal gears and Load Sensing Technology with Motor Protection

fullmixer600And while I didn’t intend for this post to be a straight-out comparison between Breville and KitchenAid mixers, it is hard not to compare, since there’s no denying that many of us currently use, or have them on baking wish-lists. So while I want to focus on this Scraper Mixer Pro, I will go ahead and point out any relevant comparisons between the two when it might offer some valuable and life-altering mixer insight :).

Straight Out of the Box Impression:

  • The mixer was surprisingly lightweight, which I loved (16.8 lbs versus 26 lbs), and comes with all of the same components my other mixer did: wire whip, flat beater, dough hook and pouring shield, as well as a few additional components: their signature scraper beater and a spatula.
  • The silver solid die-cast metal design has a sleek and modern look to it and looks great on my countertop.
  • I was intrigued by the electronic control dial with options organized by baking terms/action (ie. folding/kneading, light mixing, creaming/beating, aerating/whipping), instead of numbered speeds and clunky levers (especially since my other mixer had a lever malfunction, due to which I couldn’t even turn the mixer off without unplugging it–ugh).

bowl600This is the scraper beater with its flexible edge that makes it possible to skip the whole scraping-down-the bowl-every-few-moments. Again, a total bonus. It saves time and adds an ease that us bakers need. Now in all fairness, I do have an additional beater that I ordered for my KA mixer, with one side of So, needless to say, the first thing I did after receiving this mixer was–you guessed it–baked a cake!

This was quite a moment for me, because it was all so mysterious and exciting to use a new machine. I had no idea what to expect, but I went for it and the first delight I baked was this Perfectly Pink Angel Food Cake, from the post I shared awhile back (would it be weird to tell you that this cake post has been shared with over 1.6 million people on facebook? holy!) Yummiest cake ever, really. Anyway, since this cake is all about the mixer with meringue aplenty, I figured it would be a good place to start, but because that was all about the wire whip, that still didn’t give me a chance to test out the scraper beater.

rootbeerfloat581

chocolate root beer float cake from The Sweetapolita Bakebook

So the next recipe I made was the Chocolate Root Beer Float Cake from my book (above), which I am going to be sharing here very soon, so that I could give the scraper beater a go, as well as test out the creaming/beating setting a good test, since the cake layers are chocolate root beer butter cake, and the ultimate creaming job is key to its decadent but light texture. The Vanilla Bakery Frosting also requires serious fluffing in two parts on a higher speed, for a total of 14 minutes, so this cake was the ideal way to see what a day-in-the-life as my mixer would entail:

Here are some of my observations:

  • I loved the ease of the lift assist handle to lift and lock the mixer head in the upright position–no more finger prints all over the mixer head! It’s also great to have it lock in place instead of banging down.
  • This mixer is SO quiet! Oh my gosh, this is huge for me. I don’t think anyone likes the loud sound of a mixer going for 10 straight minutes, or any minutes at all, but with my open concept kitchen/living room, I use to be constantly told “Mom, we can’t hear the tv!” Because my mixer is pretty much always going, this is a super plus for me.
  • The timer (up to 10 mins) with auto-off came in really handy when making everything from the meringue to frosting.
  • The backlit LCD display of the settings and the electronic dial just made the whole experience feel super smooth.
  • The mixer held up well for extending mixing and the scraper beater really did eliminate the need for bowl scraping by hand. I felt the mixtures all looked slightly fluffier than usual but, in all fairness, that’s hard to say 100% without placing mixtures by each mixer side by side. Either way those cakes and frostings turned out beautifully, as has everything I have whipped up since.

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A Few More Tidbits about the Scraper Mixer Pro: 

  • It costs about $300 USD (and for us Canadians, you can actually find it on amazon.ca for about $300 CDN) versus the pricer KitchenAid mixers.
  • While it doesn’t come in the wide array of colours, it does come in your choice of Silver (as shown), Cranberry or Black Sesame. (I do admit there is a place in my heart for pastel coloured mixers, but the truth is that the ease of use and performance of my mixer is most important. That, and these really are gorgeous and sleek–kind of a nice change!)
  • As far as additional accessories offered, at this time you can purchase the Second Bowl (3 QT for smaller quantities), the the Freeze and Mix (a nifty thermal bowl and attachment for making ice cream) and the Scraper Whisk (a super duper nifty whisk that boasts the flexible edge scraper beater detail along with a 3 QT bowl).

I am very pleased with this mixer, and I will continue to use it as my go-to (I have to admit I still have my KA mixer in the works, as I often have them both going at the same time). And while these are my genuine thoughts and observations about this mixer, I should note that I can’t comment on the long-term endurance or performance of it, since I have only had the mixer for a few weeks. Overall, in my opinion, so far it’s a winner!

Enter below to win your very own Breville Scraper Mixer Pro 5-Quart Die-Cast Stand Mixer, courtesy of Breville Canada! Winner will be posted on the actual giveaway icon below on September 14th.

Good luck! 

Canadian residents only this time, but don’t worry American and international friends–I have another (sprinkly) giveaway soon-coming, open worldwide!

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See you soon with some serious cake!

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Sweetapolita’s Sprinkle Shop!

Sprinkles from The Sweetapolita Bakebook

{image from The Sweetapolita Bakebook}

Sprinkles, sprinkles, everywhere!

Hello, hello, my friends! You may have seen me flooding the Instagram universe with sprinklage over the past few weeks, but if not, I’m excited to tell you that my Etsy Sprinkle Shop is open!

There you will find everything from an ever-growing collection of my sprinkle medleys–a term I use for a themed mélange of sprinkles and candies to use for anything from cakes and cookies to ice cream sandwiches and chocolate bark. I make a lot of the jimmies (sugar strands) myself in an array of colours and flavours, and then I incorporate all sorts of specialty sprinkles and bits to make sprinkle magic: sugar beads, sugar pearls, rock crystal candy, silver stars, confetti, quin shapes, and more. Each bottle is one of a kind!

I offer the medleys in both medium and jumbo sized bottles, and I also offer jumbo bottles of my favourite classic sprinkles that I have access to and can ship worldwide (and I add new things every few days!). I also LOVE to do custom sprinkle medleys, so please let me know if there’s something you’d love to order!

You can also access the shop right here on my site, under the tab Sprinkle Shop. Hooray!

Carousel Sprinkle Medley by Sweetapolita on Etsy

Carousel Sprinkle Medley

I officially opened the shop last Sunday (although I technically created the shop sans sprinkles in 2010–I suppose I knew someday I would fill it with products!), and it’s been a flurry of sprinkles ever since. Having a little online shop has been a long-time dream of mine, and thanks to the awesomeness that is Etsy, I can now share and ship my favourite sprinkles (and soon to be other sprinkly items) all over the world.

So far I’ve been happily packaging and shipping my sprinkle babies everywhere from to Bermuda to Bahrain, and it excites me to know that my sprinkles are adorning so many cakes and goodies, and eliciting so many smiles, around the globe!

Carousel Sprinkle Medley (sweetapolita.etsy.com)

Carousel Sprinkle Medley

As I mentioned, all of the sprinkles come in two sizes, and they are packaged in my favourite French plastic milk bottles, which are both several times bigger than typical bottles/jars of sprinkles: 8 oz and 16 oz (volume). Because these sprinkle medleys are often used to cover whole cakes (or sides of cakes), or covering batches of candy and bark, etc. I opted to offer them in these larger sizes.

Maybe it’s just me, but I feel that a teeny, tiny jar of sprinkles is just a teaser, and it limits how we use them in our sweets because you simply never have enough. You know? (And to purchase several bottles of typical sprinkles, ends up costing way too much and it’s a major waste of all of that packaging, which of course we pay for.)

So, I should mention that, in terms of quantity and pricing, it was important to me to create value in the sizes offered–the medium 8 oz bottle (which is NET WT 5.8 oz/165 g) is about 2-3 times the quantity of a typical bottle of sprinkles, and the jumbo 16 oz bottle (NET WT 11.6 oz/330 g) is 4-6 times the quantity of a typical bottle of sprinkles. And since one typical jar/bottle of sprinkles (even the simple ones) can cost up to 8.00 each, I feel really good about the sprinkle pricing.

Rainbows & Sprinkles Cake from The Sweetapolita Bakebook

I ended up using that first medley on the Rainbows & Sprinkles Cake in my book, and have been experimenting ever since with medleys galore. It’s rather addictive!

Here are a few of the medleys in my shop right now:

Mermaid Magic Sprinkle Medley (sweetapolita.etsy.com)

Mermaid Magic Sprinkle Medley

This is one of my favourite medleys with its enchanting, beachy feel. I call it Mermaid Magic, but my cakelets have assured me that this is also very “Frozen,” and I have to agree. I think this would make for an amazing addition to a beach wedding cake, Frozen party cake, cupcakes, cookies, party spoons, etc. or pretty much anything you can dream up.

Mermaid Magic Sprinkle Medley (sweetapolita.etsy.com)

Mermaid Magic Sprinkle Medley

The colours and textures in this medley really are magical together, and I love the sparkle and shimmer from the blue crystals, lavender shimmer candy beads, blue shimmer sugar, and so much more.

Happy Unicorn Sprinkle Medley (sweetapolita.etsy.com)

Happy Unicorn Sprinkle Medley

This one makes me way too happy! Happy Unicorn has such a unique colour combo and, tons of homemade sprinkles, star quins, etc. I was really pleased with the way that hit of pink and white brought it all together.

Happy Unicorn Sprinkle Medley (sweetapolita.etsy.com)

Happy Unicorn Sprinkle Medley

Confetti, nonpareils and jimmies . . . oh my!

Barbies & Bubblegum Sprinkle Medley (sweetapolita.etsy.com)

Barbies & Bubblegum Sprinkle Medley

And for us pink enthusiasts, Barbies & Bubblegum Sprinkle Medley! This is the girliest item in the collection (so far), and it literally smells like bubble gum.

Barbies & Bubblegum Sprinkle Medley (sweetapolita.etsy.com)

Barbies & Bubblegum Sprinkle Medley

Pink, pink, pink! Jumbo pink confetti, pink stars, pink candy pearls, pink shimmer beads, pink hearts and more.

Violet Dreams Sprinkle Medley (sweetapolita.etsy.com)

Violet Dreams Sprinkle Medley

There’s something so appealing about shades of purple, and I brought all of my favourite purple sprinkles and candy together to make the ultimate violet sprinkle medley. I love this one, and it was inspired by this medley I created for the Purple Velvet Cake awhile back. Who doesn’t love purple cake?

Violet Dreams Sprinkle Medley (sweetapolita.etsy.com)

Violet Dreams Sprinkle Medley

I particularly love the lavender shimmer candy beads and jumbo purple confetti sprinkles but, then again, I don’t think I’ve ever met a sprinkle I didn’t like. :)

Pastel Confetti Sprinkles (sweetapolita.etsy.com)

Pastel Confetti Sprinkles

And as I mentioned above, I’m also pleased to be able to offer many of my favourite sprinkles in the shop. After reading so many reader comments about how hard it is to get even the simple sprinkles in many parts of the world, I knew I had to offer them! You can even find several varieties of the skinny, slender jimmies sprinkles in my shop–those made here in Canada are unique and apparently in high demand! Yay for Canadian sprinkles!

Pastel Confetti Sprinkles (sweetapolita.etsy.com)

Pastel Confetti Sprinkles

What is your favourite sprinkle?

And to welcome you officially to the Sweetapolita Sprinkle Shop, enter this coupon code for 15% off your entire order: SPRINKLEFEVER (valid until July 31st, 2015).

See you soon with more frosting and sprinkles!

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Watercolor Buttercream Party Cake

Watercolor Buttercream Party Cake by Sweetapolita

Hello, hello, my cake-loving friends!

Since we all love to explore our artistic side, it’s been on my mind to create a party cake that plays on the lovely painted/watercolor cake trend, but using all buttercream and not a fondant icing surface. I love fondant, I do (and the way it tastes, although I know it’s not for everyone), but the truth-be-told fondant cakes are a bit of an endeavour time-wise, and of course you need just the right supplies, etc. The idea behind this cake is that it is quick and simple to do, but artistic with wow-factor. Active time, this cake is literally a 30 minute job, or less.

We use only a quick super-fluffy one-bowl whipped vanilla bean frosting (like vanilla bean clouds, really) and the ever-moist, dark chocolate one-bowl cake layers, and then create a pretty painted effect with the spreading of the frosting, top it with buttercream “poofs” and a little medley of sprinkles. Voilà! I even added a few bits of edible gold leaf for drama, which I highly recommend.

You might remember the Pastel Swirl Cake I made awhile back, and that cake stays close to my heart. Aside from the swirls of beachy, ever-pleasing pastel frosting, what I love about is how it’s really a simple technique that anyone can do, and each time we make a cake like that it, it becomes a little piece of art. These are the cakes you want to crawl right in and live inside for the rest of eternity . . . or maybe that’s just me. :)

Watercolour Buttercream Party Cake by Sweetapolita

The inspiration for the colours on this cake–the pink and gold–comes from my new CHEERS acrylic cake topper I found from Creative Bag. They have so many adorable cake toppers, baking supplies, packaging and more. (Check out their blog too for endless and inspiring packaging ideas!). Of course you can go with any cake flavour and frosting colour combination you wish, and I can imagine so many lovely options for this style cake.

Watercolor Buttercream Party Cake by Sweetapolita

So rather than the gorgeous meringue tops I love, I opted to pipe these poofs in the buttercream, for simplicity and yumminess purposes. Plus there are few things as delightful as sprinkle covered mountains of vanilla bean buttercream poofs. You know? I created a little pink and gold sprinkle medley to tie the colours together (stay tuned for more on my soon-coming sprinkle shop on Etsy, where you will find these sprinkle medleys and more!). You can simply mix your favourite sprinkles and such in a little bowl and make a customized medley depending on the colour scheme of your cake. Sprinkles forever!

Watercolor Buttercream Party Cake by Sweetapolita

The cake topper certainly makes the cake party-ready! It’s amazing what a cute topper can add to a cake, and truth-be-told a fun topper on a plain cake works beautifully too. They can add an instant hit of personality to any cake!

Watercolor Buttercream Party Cake by Sweetapolita

I opted for chocolate cake, as I tend to do with artsy frosted cakes–I think the contrast is stunning, and a moist, dark chocolate cake paired with vanilla bean frosting never disappoints.

Vanilla Milk Minis by Sweetapolita

And because I couldn’t resist, how about some Vanilla Bean Milk Minis? Mini vanilla bean milk bottles adorned with our pink and gold sprinkles– this is such a sweet and simple way to use up left over frosting and sprinkles, particularly for kids’ parties or, well, grown up parties and even a rainy Tuesday. I simply pressed the rims of the bottles into some remaining frosting, and then into my sprinkle medley. Then I stirred some vanilla bean paste (that we used in our frosting) into 2% milk (about 1/2 teaspoon for every 240 ml cup) and poured it in the prepared bottles. So easy!

If you have my book, you may have noticed I use similar mini milk bottles for the Birthday Cake Milkshakes. I had to source the ones I used in the book from Asia and have them shipped, but I was so excited to see that my friends at Creative Bag now sell these! My cakelets LOVE these little bottles.

Don’t forget to check out my friends at Creative bag and their baking-themed promo & giveaway today (you may even win a copy of my book, along with other adorable baking-related goodies), as well as their week-long promo and giveaway party going on until Friday.

So let’s make this cake, shall we?

Watercolor Buttercream Party Cake

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups (285 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 cups (450 g) superfine sugar
  • 1 cup (120 g) dark unsweetened cocoa powder (see Notes)
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (360 ml) buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 cup (240 ml) hot coffee (if you can't use coffee, substitute with very hot water)
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • For the frosting:
  • 1 cup (227 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening (see Notes)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 5 cups (620 g) confectioners' sugar
  • 2/3 cup (160 ml) heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon warm water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste (see Notes)
  • Bright pink food colouring (see Notes)
  • Edible gold leaf, optional (see Notes)
  • Pink sprinkles, optional

Instructions

    For the cake layers:
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F (180°C). Spray the bottom of three 8-inch round cake pans with cooking spray and line bottoms with parchment rounds. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, sift flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a medium bowl or measuring cup, combine the buttermilk, coffee, oil, and vanilla, and then mix in eggs.
  4. Add liquid mixture to dry ingredients and whisk until smooth, about 1 minute. Divide batter equally among the three cake pans or weigh for accuracy--each pan should weigh about 580 grams.
  5. Bake the first two layers until a wooden pick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out with a only a few crumbs, about 23 minutes. Try not to over-bake. Let cakes cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes, and then turn onto rack to cool completely. Repeat with the final cake layer. When ready to assemble the cake, wrap the layers in plastic wrap and chill for about 30 minutes.
  6. For the frosting:
  7. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, shortening, and salt on medium speed until very pale and creamy, 8 minutes.
  8. Reduce the speed to the lowest setting and gradually add the confectioners' sugar, heavy cream, vanilla bean paste and water. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until very light and fluffy, about 6 minutes.
  9. The frosting will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Bring chilled frosting to room temperature and beat on low speed to soften. If necessary, you can warm the frosting in a heatproof container in the microwave in 10-second intervals, stirring after each one, until smooth and spreadable. Add a small amount of water, one tablespoon at a time, if the frosting needs more "glide."
  10. Assembly of the Watercolor Buttercream Party Cake:
  11. Transfer about 3 cups of the frosting to another bowl and tint medium pink--this will be for your cake filling and the pink on the outside of the cake. Put a smudge of frosting in the center of an 8-inch round cake board (or cake plate) or 10-inch scalloped cake board.
  12. Put your first cake layer top-up on the cake board or plate, and spread about 1 1/4 cups of the pink frosting evenly across layer. Put the second cake layer on top and repeat with another layer of frosting. Put the final cake layer top-down. Make sure that your layers are straight and lined up with the ones below.
  13. Using a turntable, if possible, frost entire outside of cake with a thin layer of the untinted frosting to seal in the crumbs. Chill until the frosting begins to firm-up, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, tint the remaining pink frosting (there should be about 1/2 cup) a very bright pink.
  14. Remove the cake from the refrigerator and return it to the turntable. Using a medium straight palette knife (metal spatula), spread small patches of the bright pink frosting around the cake (a few inches here and there). Cover the rest of the cake with the untinted frosting as usual. Using your palette knife again, smooth the frosting around the cake, which will blend the bright pink just enough to create a "watercolor" effect. To reveal more pink, gently go over those areas again until you achieve the desired look.
  15. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large plain round tip with the remaining frosting and pipe some buttercream "poofs" on the top. Sprinkle the top of the cake with a handful of pink and gold sprinkles. If adding gold leaf onto the cake, return the cake to the fridge to set, about 30 minutes before gently pressing random patches of the gold onto the cake. Cake will keep covered at room temperature for up to 1 day, or chilled for up to 3 days. Serve at room temperature.
http://sweetapolita.com/2015/06/watercolor-buttercream-party-cake/

If you’d like a visual of a similar technique, you can watch my How to Make a Pastel Swirl Cake video. For the Watercolor Buttercream Cake you would do this technique but rather than using 3 frosting colours, you would use mostly untinted with random patches of the hot pink.

Sweetapolita’s Notes:

  • For the vegetable shortening in the frosting, I use high-ratio shortening (learn why in the Sweetapolita’s Notes section here), but you can also use standard Crisco shortening since it is a small amount. Typically I find Crisco-style shortening leaves an unpleasant mouth-feel in a frosting, but due to the generous amount of heavy cream and the touch of warm water added, the result is super fluffy with no lasting film feeling on the tongue and no confectioners’ sugar grit. I used this High Ratio Shortening, but there are several brands available.
  • I swear by vanilla bean paste, as you it’s so much more convenient and affordable than buying the vanilla pods on their own. There are several quality brands out there, but I like LorAnn Oils Madagascar Vanilla Bean Paste.
  • To achieve a very bright, deep pink frosting, I use a combination of Americolor Soft Pink Gel Paste and a hot pink food coloring powder, such as this Hot Pink Petal Dust or this Hot Pink Petal Dust/Food Coloring.
  • For the gold leaf, I used this 23 Carat Edible Gold Leaf. Of course it’s a luxury, but you use just a touch here and there on cakes, cookies, cupcakes, macarons and so much more, and it lasts for quite some time.
  • You can find the adorable CHEERS cake topper in the photo and small milk bottles (and tons of other fun stuff!) on creativebag.com.

See you soon with more cake and sprinkles!

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Perfectly Pink Angel Food Cake

Perfectly Pink Angel Food Cake by Sweetapolita

Hello, hello! Happy Friday!

There comes a time when, in a land of layer cakes galore, a classic simple cake can, and should, reign supreme–particularly when that classic simple cake is pink upon pink and adorned with a handful of rainbow sprinkles. You know?

A few months ago, my sister and I were helping mom pack up her apartment, and I came across the tattered and beloved Canadian Five Roses Flour Cookbook she used for my entire life, and for many years before that, I’m sure. I can recall the little cookbook cupboard above our rather large, and at that time novel, microwave oven, storing a handful of cookbooks and a red binder stuffed to the brim with handwritten and typed family recipes, clipped newspaper and magazine recipes, and more. But it was the Five Roses Cookbook that mom seemed to have propped up on the counter most days, making everything from savory to sweet (I fondly remember her peanut butter cookies and lemon meringue pie the most–mom was never really into cake-making), and it was the first cookbook I ever read. And I mean read.

Every rainy day or weekend little me would ask if I could pleeeease bake something from the book, and despite her hesitation (I was and still am a rather, hmm, messy baker!) she’d always let me. I would usually make something like chocolate coconut macaroons, sugar cookies, or my rather organically shaped gingerbread men (if I only had the patience to chill dough at that age). Funny how we sort of stash these memories away until we get zapped by a certain scent or visual (like when I came across this guy on ebay and my heart skipped a beat! This was the exact gingerbread cutter we had, and I loved him). I just loved baking from this cookbook.

Perfectly Pink Angel Food Cake by Sweetapolita

So to make a short story long, as I tend to do, I am so excited to have this Five Roses Cookbook in my possession! It really has me in the classic, vintage cake sort of mood. I sat down and went straight to the cake section, and the first thing that jumped out at me was Angel Food Cake–a classic, for certain. A light, fatless, sponge cake that gets its notable height and loftiness from the air we beat into many an egg white, sugar and cream of tartar before gently folding in a mixture of cake flour and sugar. We bake the cake in an ungreased 10″ tube pan, or “angel food cake pan,” so that the cake can grab onto the sides of the pan and achieve substantial height. The cake is moist as can be and has a definite spongy quality you feel when cut a bite with the side of your fork. But for some reason, as soon as you put that bite into your mouth, it melts away.

So I woke up the next day and knew that it was time to bake a pink angel food cake–that’s all there was to it. My first round I used the recipe exactly as it was in the book, but I added a few drops of pink food coloring. It had me feeling all authentic and nostalgic as I folded the dry ingredients in by hand and gently transferred the batter to the pan. It baked up beautifully, and it tasted so good–a perfect hit of vanilla and subtle egginess that I love.

Perfectly Pink Angel Food Cake by Sweetapolita

But then I got all curious about angel food cake in general, and the science of it and what I could do to possibly make the cake even lighter, even taller, and perhaps add just a touch more flavour. As I searched other angel food cake recipes online, I noticed that some of the more recent versions called for confectioners’ sugar in the dry mixture, along with the granulated sugar in the meringue portion. So I made 3 more billowy batches using different combinations of ingredients until I felt that the cake was indeed “perfect” in my opinion, or at least perfect for my taste.

I ended up using confectioners’ sugar in the dry mix, but a bit less than other recipes, and then used superfine sugar (see Sweetapolita’s Notes below) for the meringue portion, as it dissolves quickly into the egg whites and lends to a gorgeous meringue. I increased the egg whites and cake flour and added vanilla bean paste and a small bit of almond extract for incredible flavour. Oh, and of course pink! I added just a few drops of the pink gel paste. So my final version of this Perfectly Pink Angel Cake is an adaptation of the Angel Food Cake recipe in my beloved Five Roses Cookbook tweaked with some things I learned from this epicurious version, and those few other changes I made to make the cake “perfect” in my opinion.

Like a dream. The confectioners’ sugar and cake flour lend to this super-soft texture and fine crumb that almost melts in your mouth. I frosted the cake with pink marshmallow frosting, which is the ultimate in billowy and satiny-ness, and topped it all with a handful of rainbow nonpareils.

Perfectly Pink Angel Food Cake by Sweetapolita

Sometimes the true gems embrace simplicity, you know? It can be as simple as tinting a classic recipe a fun colour, or baking it in a unique shape, but in a world of over-the-top recipes, I think it’s important to cherish some of the vintage recipes we grew up on, and our parents and grandparents grew up on.

Oh, and a note for my fellow cake stand junkies who may ask where to get this dreamy turquoise cake stand, I found it at Winners here in Canada, along with 2 other colors–pink and yellow–right before Easter. I went in for nail polish and of course came with 3 cake stands–you know how it goes. The brand is Grace’s Teaware, but yet I can’t find them (the stands) online at all. (I remember wanting to include them in my recent cake stands post, but having no way of guiding you to the source or a how-to-buy option.)

Okay, so onto this pink beauty! I suggest you drop everything (except the carton of eggs) and make this cake! :)

Pink Angel Food Cake

Yield: One 10-inch round cake

Classic, light as air, moist pink angel food cake topped with billowy swirls of pink marshmallow frosting and rainbow sprinkles.

Ingredients

    For the cake:
  • 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons (140 g) cake flour
  • 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons (150 g) confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups (13-14 egg whites), room temperature (left out about 1 hour)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (180 g) superfine sugar (see Sweetapolita's Notes)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or pure vanilla extract)
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
  • Few drops pink soft gel paste food color (see Notes)
  • For the pink marshmallow frosting:
  • 6 egg whites (180 g)
  • 1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons (390 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (45 g) light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or pure vanilla extract)
  • Few drops pink soft gel paste food color (see Notes)
  • Rainbow nonpareils, optional

Instructions

    Make the pink angel food cake:
  1. Arrange oven rack to the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Sift the cake flour, confectioners' sugar and salt together 4 times. Set aside.
  2. Wipe the bowl and whisk attachment of an electric mixer with paper towel and lemon juice, to remove any trace of grease. Add the egg whites and beat on the lowest speed until they start to become frothy, about 30 seconds. Stop the mixer and sprinkle the cream of tartar over the egg whites. Beat on medium speed until the egg whites thicken just slightly and you can see swirl lines in the mixture from the whisk (very soft peaks), about 1 minute. Add the superfine sugar 1 tablespoon at a time and beat until the egg whites thicken and reach soft/medium, droopy (not stiff) peaks, 1-2 minutes. Beat in the vanilla and almond extract, and a few drops of the food colouring, if using.
  3. Remove the bowl from the mixer. Sift the dry ingredients 1/4 at a time on top of the meringue and fold gently but thoroughly with a rubber spatula. Gently transfer the batter to an ungreased 10" angel food cake pan and smooth the top with a small offset spatula. Bake on the lower rack of the oven until the top of the cake springs back when touched lightly, and when a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Don't check the cake before 35 minutes, or you could deflate your cake, but also try not to over-bake.
  4. Remove the cake from the oven and invert the whole pan onto a wire rack so it cools upside down. Let cool for one hour and then loosen sides around the center and outside of the cake using a thin metal spatula or knife. Gently coax the cake out of the pan onto the wire rack and let cool completely.
  5. Make the marshmallow frosting:
  6. Wipe the bowl and whisk attachment of an electric mixer with paper towel and lemon juice, to remove any trace of grease. Add egg whites, sugar, corn syrup, cream of tartar and salt and simmer over a pot of water (not boiling), whisking constantly but gently, until temperature reaches 130°F (54°C) on a candy thermometer.
  7. Return the bowl to the stand mixer and beat on low speed for 2 minutes, then increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 more minutes. Increase the speed to high and beat until it is very thick and glossy, about 5 minutes. Add vanilla and food colour, if using, and beat to combine. Best used right away (for best texture to apply frosting to the cake--after that it's best enjoyed up to 1-2 days at room temperature).
  8. Frost the cake:
  9. Place the cake wide end down onto a cake plate, board or pedestal. Pile the frosting on top of the cake and use a metal spatula to spread the frosting from the top down. Create swirls using the back of a spoon and sprinkle with rainbow nonpareils). Slice cake using a serrated knife in a gentle sawing motion. Cake keeps at room temperature for up to 2 days. Best enjoyed day 1 (the cake stays very moist for days, but marshmallow frosting is best enjoyed sooner than later).
http://sweetapolita.com/2015/05/perfectly-pink-angel-food-cake/

Sweetapolita’s Notes:

  • As I mentioned in the post above, I use “superfine” sugar for most of my cake and meringue recipes (in my book as well) as it lends to a lighter cake and dissolves quickly into meringue, etc. This is simply a finer grain of granulated sugar that you can purchase as such (also referred to as caster sugar, baking sugar, and more), such as this India Tree brand Superfine Caster Baking Sugar. What I do is put my granulated sugar in the food processor and let it go for about a minute and voila! Superfine sugar.
  • For the food colour, I used a few drops of AmeriColor Soft Gel Paste Food Color in Soft Pink for both the cake and the frosting, but you can certainly go all white–that would be gorgeous and classic. You can also use powdered food colouring or your favourite brand of food colour. I like the concentrated soft gel paste because it only takes a few drops.
  • I used a classic 10-Inch Angel Food Cake Pan, but I also recommend one with a removable bottom (like this 2-Piece Angel Food Pan if you’re going out to buy a new one, otherwise I did just fine with the classic style), particularly if you might opt to serve the cake without frosting. With coaxing the cake does come out of the classic pan just fine, but it tends to take the very thin brown top “crust” off the cake, which I loved for a cake that will be frosted (typically not a big fan of the brown cake crust).
  • I used LorAnn Oils Madagascar Vanilla Bean Paste, which is wonderful, but I also love Nielsen Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste. You can certainly use pure vanilla extract (I suggest a good quality one), though.
  • You can find rainbow nonpareils in most grocery shops, but if you use them often, larger quantities can be purchased online and at cake decorating shops. Or if you need serious sprinklage in your life, try this Party Decoratifs 3.4 lb! That huge jar just makes me so darn happy.
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Midnight Cookies & Cream Cake

Midnight Cookies & Cream Cake from Sweetapolita

Hi friends!

First off, to all of the mamas out there, Happiest Mother’s Day to you! You deserve 6-layer cake and so much more.

This week I made this rather decadent cake, and let me tell you it’s a crowd-pleaser . . .

How have I never made an Oreo dessert for the blog before? It was long overdue, I would say. So I went for it–hard. See, I’ve been craving all things Oreo, and I’ve been dying to use the black cocoa powder I bought while in Vancouver promoting my book, but I was waiting for the right cake. And then it hit me that it belongs in an Oreo-inspired sky-scraping cake!

Midnight Cookies & Cream Cake from Sweetapolita
As much as I love an over-the-top chocolate-on-chocolate looking cake, I thought it would be more interesting to add a bright pop of pink sprinkle-laden frosting before pouring some shiny chocolate glaze over top. Instant party cake! The intensely chocolate–midnight chocolate–cake layers are incredibly moist and super-dark with and balance out the sweet-as-sweet but cream and rich cookies and cream filling with vanilla bean and biggish chunks of Oreos throughout. We add a hit of cream cheese to the frosting to create an even creamier, more balanced sweet frosting.

Midnight Cookies & Cream Cake from Sweetapolita

The pink sprinkle frosting is the from the same batch of filling, but we leave out the Oreos and add rainbow jimmies and a dose of fuschia gel color. A generous pouring of the glaze, more Oreos (now I’m wishing I used Double-Stuffed!), pink frosting dollops and cookie crumbs add the fun finishing touches. It’s rather amazing how quickly the addition of chocolate glaze changes the whole personality of a cake, right? Instant drama and beyond. And it doesn’t have to be chocolate–a super fun bright candy-coloured glaze is always a good idea as well (remember this 6-Layer Neapolitan Macaron Delight Cake?).

Midnight Cookies & Cream Cake from Sweetapolita

So let’s talk more about the Black Cocoa Powder. I have to admit I’ve never used it before, mostly because I haven’t come across it locally before, and the cocoa powder I use for most of my chocolate desserts is very dark as it is (Cacao Barry Cocoa Powder Extra Brute) lending to a gorgeous super-dark shade of brown. I was rather enchanted with the black as night version and when I came across it while in Vancouver recently (you can read about that trip here), I had to buy it. I’ve been saving it for the right cake, and this worked out exactly as I hoped it would.

The black chocolate cake is reminiscent of that impossibly dark “Oreo chocolate,” and the intense chocolate flavour really balances out the sweetness of the frosting (and the black cocoa powder would be ideal for making our own Oreos!). And just when the pink frosting might add a bit too much sweetness for cake with 5 layers of sweet filling, the chocolate glaze adds another hit of intensity to make everything right with the cake-loving world again.

Midnight Cookies & Cream Cake from Sweetapolita

My family went crazy for this cake, and while you might assume they love most things I bake, the truth is they are all very, um, particular, we’ll say? Each and every one of them loved this cake–it’s truly a crowd-pleaser for all ages.

And, as a side-note, I also want to thank everyone who has purchased The Sweetapolita Bakebook–it means so much to me! If you ever have any questions about the recipes or designs in the book, be sure to reach out and contact me!

Now let’s make this Midnight Cookies & Cream Cake, shall we?

6-layer Midnight Cookies & Cream Cake

Yield: One 6-layer, 8-inch round cake

6 layers of deep, dark, midnight black chocolate cake filled with Oreo buttercream, frosted in pink birthday cake frosting and sprinkles, covered with dark chocolate glaze and more Oreos.

Ingredients

    For the Midnight Cake Layers:
  • 2 1/4 cups (285 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 cups (450 g) superfine sugar
  • 1 cup (120 g) "black" unsweetened cocoa powder (see Notes)
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (360 ml) buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 cup (240 ml) hot coffee
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • For the Cookies & Cream Filling/Pink Frosting:
  • 2 3/4 cups (625 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup (130 g) high-ratio shortening (see Notes)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 10 cups (1 kg plus 250 g) confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1 1/3 cups (320 ml) heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract OR vanilla bean paste
  • 2 tablespoons water, plus more if needed
  • 1/4 cup (60 g) cream cheese, room temperature
  • Gel food color in fuschia (see Notes)
  • 16 oreos, semi-crushed for the filling, plus more whole oreos for decorating (at least 8)
  • 1/3 cup (50 g) rainbow jimmies
  • For the Shiny Chocolate Glaze:
  • 5 ounces (150 g) semi-sweet best-quality chocolate, chopped or chips
  • 3/4 cup (170 g) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions

    For the Midnight Cake Layers:
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F (180°C). Spray the bottom of three 8-inch round cake pans with cooking spray and line bottoms with parchment rounds. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, sift flour, sugar, black cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a medium bowl or measuring cup, combine the buttermilk, coffee, oil, and vanilla, and then mix in eggs.
  4. Add liquid mixture to dry ingredients and whisk until smooth, about 1 minute. Divide batter equally among the three cake pans or weigh for accuracy--each pan should weigh about 630 grams.
  5. Bake the first two layers until a wooden pick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out with a only a few crumbs, about 23 minutes. Try not to over-bake. Let cakes cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes, and then turn onto rack to cool completely. Repeat with the final cake layer. When ready to assemble the cake, wrap the layers in plastic wrap and chill for about 30 minutes.
  6. For the Cookies & Cream Filling/Pink Frosting:
  7. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, shortening, and salt on medium speed until very pale and creamy, 8 minutes.
  8. Reduce the speed to the lowest setting and gradually add the confectioners' sugar, heavy cream, vanilla bean paste and water. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until very light and fluffy, about 6 minutes. Beat in the cream cheese until combined, about 30 seconds.
  9. Transfer about 5 cups of the frosting to a medium bowl and tint it pink using soft gel paste color. Set aside. Add the semi-crushed Oreos (reserve about 1/4 cup of the crumbs to press into the bottom border of cake, if desired) to the remaining frosting and beat on medium speed until incorporated, about 30 seconds.
  10. The frosting will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Bring chilled frosting to room temperature and beat on low speed to soften. If necessary, you can warm the frosting in a heatproof container in the microwave in 10-second intervals, stirring after each one, until smooth and spreadable. Add a small amount of water, one tablespoon at a time, if the frosting needs more "glide."
  11. For the Shiny Chocolate Glaze:
  12. In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate, butter, corn syrup and salt in the microwave, about 50 seconds, and stir until smooth. (You can also melt in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water.) Let cool until it thickens slightly, about 15 minutes. Store for up to 1 week in an airtight container in refrigerator, and warm in microwave when ready to use.
  13. Assembly of the Midnight Cookies & Cream Cake:
  14. Cut each of your 3 cake layers each once horizontally with a long, serrated knife, so you have a total of 6 thin layers. Put a nonslip square on a turntable (if using), followed by a large piece of wax paper, topped with another nonslip square smaller than your cake. Place a thin 8-inch round cake board or larger cake plate on the turntable and place the first chocolate cake layer on top. Spread about 1 cup of the cookies and cream frosting on top. Repeat until you come to the final cake layer, which you will place face down. Cover the cake in a thin "coat" of pink frosting, and chill the cake for 30 minutes.
  15. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip (I used #869) about one-third full with the pink frosting and set aside (this is for the top of the cake).
  16. Stir the rainbow jimmies into the remaining pink frosting. Remove the cake from the fridge and cover in another thick, smooth layer of pink sprinkled frosting. Chill the cake for about 15 minutes.
  17. When the chocolate glaze in no longer warm, pour on top of the cake and gently spread with a small offset palette knife, pushing some over the sides. Return the cake to the refrigerator until the glaze sets, about 10 minutes.
  18. Use a sharp knife to cut 8 Oreos in half. Pipe 16 "stars" evenly spaced around the perimeter of the cake top and place an Oreo half on each star. Press remaining cookie crumbs around the bottom of the cake, if desired.
  19. Hooray! You did it!
  20. Cake will keep at room temperature for up to 3 days.
http://sweetapolita.com/2015/05/midnight-cookies-cream-cake/

Sweetapolita’s Notes:

  • As I mentioned above, for the black cocoa powder, I used Cote D’Azur Black Cocoa Powder that I found while in Vancouver, at the Gourmet Warehouse, but you can also find Black Cocoa Powder on Amazon. I typically use a very dark cocoa powder (Cacao Barry Cocoa Powder Extra Brute) for all of my chocolate baked goods, which also works very well, tastes amazing, and is quite dark. The black cocoa powder just adds more of a midnight black effect, which I love for this Oreo cake. Definite wow factor.
  • I use Fat Daddio’s Anodized Aluminum Round Cake Pans for all of my cake layers, most often the 8-inch x 2-inch round pans.
  • The frosting in this recipe is an adaptation of my Vanilla Bakery Frosting from The Sweetapolita Bakebook, and as I mention in the book and my recent Pastel Vanilla Birthday Cake post, re: the Vanilla Bakery Frosting, you can certainly use all butter, rather than high-ratio shortening, if you prefer. High-ratio shortening is used to add stability and tenderness to white cakes and creaminess and stability to frostings. In a pinch you can also use regular shortening, such as Crisco, but the high-ratio version is designed for frosting and gives a much better mouth-feel. I used this High Ratio Shortening, but there are several brands available.
  • I used Americolor Soft Gel Paste in Fuchsia for the sprinkle frosting on this cake, but you can use any pink that you love.
  • For the rainbow jimmies, I used CK Products Rainbow Jimmies.
  • For the piping on the top of the cake, I used Ateco #869 Large French Star Decorating Tip, but you can use any large star tip.
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Pastel Vanilla Birthday Cake

Pastel Vanilla Birthday Cake from Sweetapolita

Hello, hello from the land of vanilla cake and sprinkles!

As you probably know by now, I have just released my first cookbook, The Sweetapolita Bakebook: 75 Fanciful Cakes, Cookies & More to Make & Decorate (you can learn more about the book over on the My Book tab of my site), and I have to tell you that this Pastel Vanilla Birthday Cake is one of my favourite recipes from the entire book (and actually in life in general)!

In the book’s introduction, I chat about my first cake memories which stem back to my very early childhood, and how mom would buy me those supermarket white birthday cakes with pink swirls of frosting every year. I believe that is one of the reasons I am so enchanted by cake, and now the very sight of a vanilla birthday cake with frosting swirls brings me back to my childhood, and to those cherished days. Amazing how powerful vanilla cake can be . . .

Pastel Vanilla Birthday Cake from Sweetapolita

So needless to say, creating and including the very best vanilla bakery-style birthday cake recipe in my book was extremely important to me, but I also wanted to give it a few little twists. While this cake is classic bakery birthday cake in a way with its fluffy layers and sweet frosting, it has a few little surprises to give it a bit more wow-factor. We fill the moist vanilla cake layers (also known in the Prized Basics section of the book as Super White Cake) with fluffy frosting mixed with sugar cookie dough bits, sprinkles and topped with colourful cupcake pieces before frosting the entire cake in pastel turquoise frosting and finishing it off with party-pink frosting borders. I also used vanilla bean paste in the frosting because it gives such a wonderful and authentic vanilla quality to it (and we love the black vanilla flecks!).

I think one of the reasons I love it so, is because it is one of the desserts that most represents Sweetapolita as a whole. You know?  The best homemade white cake around, if you ask me, and I use it as a base for countless cake recipes now!

Pastel Vanilla Birthday Cake from Sweetapolita

What’s kind of funny is that, as I mention in the book, I discovered that rainbow jimmies (those classic long rainbow sprinkles I used in this frosting) are much thinner and longer in Canada than the American version–funny, right? I used the American variety for this cake because I find that when decorating a cake with sprinkles right in the frosting, the more blunt the sprinkle edges are the better, as they sort of glide around with the frosting. The sharper, thinner “Canadian” ones are a bit too sharp for frosting as they tend to leave little lines when dragged through the frosting with the spatula. Just a random sprinkle note!

Pastel Vanilla Birthday Cake from Sweetapolita

I’m telling you, whether you make the sky-high 4-layer version from the book, or this more classic 3-layer version, this cake recipe is a go-to for any baker. It is a sweet cake and sweet frosting, but the creaminess of the frosting and lightness of it all make it worth it, and it will transport you straight back to childhood. A vanilla birthday cake dream . . .

Pastel Vanilla Birthday Cake

Yield: one 3-layer, 8-inch round cake

Fluffy, moist vanilla cake layers filled with vanilla bakery frosting, sprinkles, sugar cookie dough and colourful cupcakes, and frosted in sprinkle-laden turquoise frosting and finished with party-pink frosting borders. This is the 3-layer version of the 4-layer Pastel Vanilla Birthday Cake in The Sweetapolita Bakebook.

Ingredients

    For the Super White Cake layers:
  • 3 1/4 cups (375 g) cake flour, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/4 cups (450 g) superfine sugar
  • 3/4 cup (170 g) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups (360 ml) milk, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons Princess Cake & Cookie Bakery Emulsion
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 7 large egg whites, room temperature
  • For the Vanilla Bakery Frosting:
  • 2 cups (454 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) high-ratio shortening (see Tip)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 7 1/2 cups (820 g) confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract (or almond bakery emulsion)
  • Few tablespoons water, if needed
  • AmeriColor gel paste food colors in Soft Pink and Turquoise
  • 1/3 cup (50 g) confetti quins
  • 1 cup (150 g) rainbow jimmies
  • For the Eggless Sugar Cookie Dough
  • 1 cup (125 g) all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (115 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup (70 g) superfine sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract or Princess Bakery Emulsion
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • Tools:
  • Nonslip squares
  • Cake-decorating turntable (optional)
  • 8-inch round thin cake board (optional)
  • Offset palette knife
  • Pastry bag
  • Decorating tip #1M

Instructions

    For the Super White Cake layers:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease the bottoms of three 8 x 2-inchround cake pans and line with parchment. Line two oven-safe ramekins with cupcake liners.
  2. Into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the sugar. With the mixer running on low speed, add the cold butter one piece at a time. Beat until all of the butter is incorporated, about 3 minutes. The mixture should have a fine crumbly, cornmeal-like texture.
  3. In a medium measuring cup with a spout, combine half the milk, the emulsion and lemon juice. In a separate measuring cup, gently whisk the egg whites and remaining milk.
  4. Increase the mixer speed to medium-low and gradually add the emulsion mixture and beat for 5 minutes. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the egg white mixture. Beat for 2 minutes, occasionally stopping to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Fold the batter once or twice to ensure everything has been incorporated. Fill each of the prepared ramekins two-thirds full with batter, and tint one bright pink and one bright turquoise. Divide the remaining batter evenly amount the prepared pans.
  5. Baker the first two layers in the center of the oven until a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out with a few crumbs, 20 to 22 minutes. Repeat with the final layer (bake the ramekins along with this layer for 20 minutes). Remove the cupcakes from the pan immediately and let cool on wire rack. Let the cake layers cool in their pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Using a knife, loosen the sides of the cakes and carefully turn them out onto wire racks. Peel off the paper liners and let cool completely.
  6. The cake layers will keep wrapped tightly in plastic wrap at room temperature for up to 2 days.
  7. For the Vanilla Bakery Frosting:
  8. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, shortening, and salt on medium speed until very pale and creamy, 8 minutes. Gradually add the confectioners' sugar, heavy cream, vanilla, and almond extract.
  9. Reduce the speed to the lowest setting and beat for 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until very light and fluffy, about 6 minutes.
  10. The frosting will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Bring chilled frosting to room temperature and beat on low speed to soften. If necessary, you can warm the frosting in a heatproof container in the microwave in 10-second intervals, stirring after each one, until smooth and spreadable. Add a small amount of water, one tablespoon at a time, if the frosting needs more "glide."
  11. For the Eggless Sugar Cookie Dough:
  12. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.
  13. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until it becomes a pale paste, 2 minutes. Add the vanilla and beat well. Add the milk and beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Reduce the mixer speed to the lowest setting, and gradually add the flour mixture, beating until just incorporated. Wrap the dough with plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.
  14. The dough will keep in a plastic zip-top bag in refrigerator for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  15. Assembly of the Pastel Vanilla Birthday Cake:
  16. Using a serrated knife, trim any golden crust off the top or sides of the cake layers. Put a nonslip square on your turntable (if using), followed by a piece of wax paper, and another small nonslip square (smaller than your cake board). Place a cake board or plate on top. Put one of the cake layers, top-up, on the cake board and brush away any stray crumbs using a dry pastry brush.
  17. Transfer 2 cups of bakery frosting to a medium bowl. Fold in ½ cup confetti quins, ½ cup rainbow jimmies, and half of the cookie dough in pieces (freeze the remaining dough and reserve for another use). Using an offset palette knife, spread about 1 cup of the frosting mixture on top of the first layer. Break about one-third of each the pink and turquoise cupcakes into pieces and press into the frosting. Repeat until you come to the final layer, which you will place top-down. Press the top of the cake down gently with your hand to secure the layers.
  18. Frost the entire cake with a thin layer of the untinted frosting. Chill the cake for 15 minutes. Tint about 1½ cups of the frosting bright pink using Soft Pink gel paste color. Tint the remaining frosting pastel turquoise using a few drops of Turquoise gel paste color. Fold in about ¾ cup rainbow jimmies into the turquoise frosting and frost the entire cake. Fill a pastry bag fitted with decorating tip #1M two-thirds full with the pink frosting and pipe a border around the top and bottom perimeter of the cake: hold the pastry bag above the cake at a 45-degree angle to the right, squeeze until you have a shell, drag just to the right, and release (don’t lift the bag). Repeat all the way around. Try counting the same number of seconds with each squeeze for accuracy. Pipe the same border around the bottom of the cake.
  19. The cake will keep at cool room temperature for up to 3 days.
http://sweetapolita.com/2015/05/pastel-vanilla-birthday-cake/

Sweetapolita’s Notes:

  • For a more classic version of this cake, omit the Eggless Sugar Cookie Dough and cupcake bits.
  • Note from the book re: the Vanilla Bakery Frosting: You can certainly use all butter, rather than high-ratio shortening, if you prefer. High-ratio shortening is used to add stability and tenderness to white cakes and creaminess and stability to frostings. In a pinch you can also use regular shortening, such as Crisco, but the high-ratio version is designed for frosting and gives a much better mouth-feel. I used this High Ratio Shortening, but there are several brands available.
  • Note from the book re: the Eggless Sugar Cookie Dough: Coming across chunks of cookie dough in a dessert is always a welcomed surprise, but since our intention is to eat it raw, I’ve modified my favorite Vanilla Sugar Cookie Cutouts dough into an eggless version for popping into anything from frosting to ice cream. Simply store it in the freezer and cut off pieces as needed. Cookie dough addicts rejoice!
  • As I also mentioned in the book, for an extra-celebratory hit of sprinkles, turn this vanilla cake into a confetti cake by folding 3/4 cup of confetti quins into the prepared batter.
  • You can find Lorann Oils Princess Cake & Cookie Bakery Emulsion here, as well as from most baking supply shops, as well as the Madagascar Vanilla Bean Paste I used in the frosting.
  • I used CK brand Confetti Pastel Sequins for the filling, and CK Products Mixed Jimmies for the exterior frosting.
  • If you don’t have a cake-decorating turntable, I certainly recommend one. I use the Ateco 612 Revolving Cake Stand.

Good luck & enjoy! And before I go, just a note that I have recently updated my Videos section of the blog–you’ll find my latest television segments as well as the How to Cover a Cake in Fondant video!

Facebook friends! Enter an exclusive giveaway on the Sweetapolita Facebook Page to win a signed copy of The Sweetapolita Bakebook!

See you soon with more, yep, cake!

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Adventures in Bakebook-ing

toppersweeta1581Hello friends!

The past few weeks have been a flurry of adventure in the land of promoting the new book, and I thought it would be fun to share some of the highlights with you, as there have been many!

So leading up to the release date, you might recall that some fellow baking bloggers and I hosted The Sweetapolita Bakebook Blog Hop Giveaway–a scavenger hunt of sorts during which these talented bloggers made a recipe from the book and shared it on their own blogs. Sounds silly, but there’s something about other people making the recipes from the book and bringing them to life that really hits home. I got teary! Anyway, it was so much fun and you guys were amazing–I loved your enthusiasm! Congratulations again to Domenique J for winning so many fabulous prizes!

Here’s a list of the blog “hopper” posts, if you’d like to take a peek at their creations and check out some of the recipes from the book. I love how they each put a new spin on each one:

I am Baker (Pink Cherry Cake with Fudge Frosting)

Sweet Sugar Belle (Watercolor Graffiti Cookies)

Cookies & Cups (Confettilicious Cupcakes)

Cake Spy (Sweetapolita Dreams)

Shauna Sever (Jumbo Frosted Animal Crackers)

Coco Cake Land (Jumbo Frosted Animal Crackers)

Pizzazzerie (Watercolor Graffiti Cookies)

Best Friends For Frosting (Pastel Vanilla Birthday Cake)

Bake at 350 (Watercolor Graffiti Cookies)

Sprinkle Bakes (Watercolor Graffiti Cake)

Skinnytaste (Sprinkle-Dipped Meringues)

Thank you to all of these supportive and talented bloggers for sharing in my book release celebration!

Before I knew it, it was the morning of the official release (hooray!), April 7th. I started things off with a segment on CTV Canada AM in Toronto, where I chatted about the Doodles & Daydreams Cake and the Watercolor Graffiti Cake from the book. I have to admit I was a bit worried about being on live tv, but once the lights came on I was ready to talk cake! You can watch that clip here:

Later that day, I got the chance to pop into a nearby Chapters location, and that was a thrill! There was the book looking all official and stuff:

chapters

Something about seeing your book in the bookshop makes is so much more “real.” I had a moment :) And how great is this “Blog Your Kitchen” table at Chapters?

bracelet581

Once all of that excitement was over, I headed back home, but not before stopping at the mall and buying this good luck charm bracelet! A must, right? It shouted my name repeatedly, so I was left with no other option. Once I got home, I spent some time with my very-proud cakelets, and then packed up for my trip to Vancouver, BC. And off I went!

The next day I got the opportunity to chat Rainbows & Sprinkles on CTV Morning Live Vancouver!

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That was a lot of fun–sprinkles bouncing to and fro and colours galore! You can watch that clip here.

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image source: @chaptersgranville on Instagram

 

I popped into some more book shops and signed dozens of books! In Vancouver, you can find signed copies of my book at Chapters GranvilleChapters RobsonThe Gourmet Warehouse, and Barbara-Jo’s Books to Cooks. I’m going to make my way to several shops in Ontario to sign books as well, so Ontario friends, I’ll keep you posted (I will update these lists on the My Book page).

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Later that afternoon at Barbara Jo’s Books to Cooks (check out that window display–now that’s what I’m talkin’ about! ;), I did a demo for pastry students from the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts, which was a whole new experience for me. I love the focus and interest they exude–tomorrow’s finest pastry chefs!

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image source: @readcookeat Instagram

After my time with the students, I was lucky enough to do a radio interview for CBC North by Northwest Cooking Club–this was really neat! I demonstrated the Best-Ever-Buttermilk Cake and Chocolate Cloud Frosting from the book, and we talked about everything from kids to cake flour. You can listen to that broadcast here:

I also had the opportunity to visit Global News Noon Hour and celebrate the Pastel Vanilla Birthday Cake! You can watch that segment here:

That night I attended a lovely reception at my Canadian publisher’s Vancouver office, Appetite by Random House. I had a great time chatting and mingling with local food bloggers Food Bloggers of Canada. As I told them that night, in 4 years of blogging I  have so far only met 2 other bloggers in “real life”–seems kind of silly, doesn’t it? But alas, now I have met 10!

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image source: @nancy_gottagetbaked Instagram

It was a super fun, relaxed evening and they were awesome. They let me decorate a cake and ramble about sprinkles and whatnot, and they were all genuinely lovely people.

I also want to say thank you so much for all of your incredibly supportive and enthusiastic emails, instagrams (remember to tag #sweetapolitabakebook so I can see them all!), facebook comments, amazon reviews and more–you guys are amazing! It means so much!

And before I go, I’ll leave you with the rest of the incredible collection of painting Jessie Moore of Cake Spy created (again, you must check out her post, Sweetapolita Dreams). I literally shed a tear with glee when I first saw these:

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I dare you to not be happy for the rest of the day after seeing those! And remember, if you’d like to see any more book updates in terms of events, where to find signed copies, etc. please check back to the My Book page regularly.

Be back soon with more cake!

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The Sweetapolita Bakebook Blog Hop Giveaway!

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Hello, friends!

April 7th is almost here! And to celebrate only 8 more days until my official book release, my talented baker friends and I have a super fun and exciting week planned for all of you filled with recipes from my book (with a few “springy” twists) and amazing prizes, and we’re calling it The Sweetapolita Bakebook Blog Hop :) I promise that you don’t want to miss any of this!

Here’s the skinny:

Each day this week several awesome food bloggers will be sharing their take on different sweet recipes from my book on their blogs (total of 12). I will updating this post several times per day by adding clues (schedule below)–each hint will help you find your way to them all, one by one. Every time you find one, hop back here and enter the giveaway (below) for a chance to win all of these amazing prizes, valued at over $500 and open worldwide! (I will also be sharing links to these mystery posts on the Sweetapolita facebook page and twitter, so you can check there as well!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

More on the goods:

1. Fat Daddio’s Cake Pans: I use these every day! The winner will receive three 8″ x 2″ round cake pans! 2. KitchenAid 5-Qt. Artisan Series in the colour of your choice: Hooray! 3. Teal Sprinkle Flats: Well, because they’re just too darn cute. 4. Blue Silicone Spatulas Set: Anything colourful just makes baking that much better. 5. Bakelicious Nesting Mixing Bowls: Love these! 6. Jessie Steele Gingham Oven Mitt with Bow: Sweet and stylish. 7. 5 LBS Rainbow Sprinkles: Yep. 5 pounds! pinkwhisk

8. Bakelicious Adjustable Rolling Pin: Functional and super cute. What more do we need? 9. Pink Sweetheart Apron: Pretty as heck. 10. Pink Icing Cupcake Pillow: Sweet dreams. 11. Cupcake Frosting Flavored Toothpaste: My cakelets are begging me to stock this in bulk. 12. Fat Daddio’s Fondant: Nothing inspires fancy cake goodness like a tub of pink fondant! 13. Summer House Cake Tin: Lovely cake tins forever. And ever.

(#1 & 12 courtesy of Fat Daddio’s, #2 courtesy of Clarkson Potter and all other prize courtesy of Sweetapolita)

As mentioned above, here is the schedule (EST) listing when I will be posting the clues here on this blog post, so be sure to check back often!

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Update: Friday, April 2nd–Hi guys! Sorry for the confusion, but this recipe hasn’t been posted yet (will be soon!), so you get a free entry :) Here’s the answer: Can You Stay For Dinner. Good luck with the giveaway draw! xo

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Good luck everyone!

And if you haven’t yet entered The Sweetapolita Bakebook Pre-Order Giveaway + Bonus How-To Video, you still have time!

Thank you so very much for all of the support and love, my friends! 

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“Real Sweet” Black-and-White Pancake Cake

"Real Sweet" Black-and-White Pancake Cake from Sweetapolita

Hello, hello! 

Spring has sprung (sort of), and while the slightest hint of birds in the yard or mild breezes uplift me to a much-needed post-winter place, I have to admit that perhaps the most exciting part of spring is the release of incredible and inspiring cookbooks!

The recipe for this towering stack of maple, mascarpone, ganache and chocolate pancake goodness I made above, fittingly named the Black-and-White Pancake Cake, comes from my dear friend, Shauna Sever and her latest book Real Sweet: More Than 80 Crave-Worthy Treats Made with Natural Sugars, just released one week ago! Congratulations, Shauna!

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So, as the title indicates, Real Sweet is filled with glorious treats made from all natural sugars–everything from maple syrup to muscavado, but don’t let the word “natural” confuse you with anything less than awesome. I mean that and I don’t say this lightly, truly. As she explains in the book, this book is not about “diet-y” recipes, but rather full on flavour and satisfaction (I mean, look at the cake I made above!). And, as Shauna says, while sugar is sugar, she believes these less processed sugars and sweeteners have their place in a balanced life, and I agree whole heartedly.

Not only has she created more than 80 incredibly tempting natural-sugar-and-sweetener recipes, but she has managed to give every recipe in the book a modern spin, which as a fellow cookbook author and baker, I can say is no small feat! Of course, just like her blog and other fabulous books, her witty and known-her-your-whole-life energy seals the deal. I adore this book.

She divides the recipes among All-Day Snacks and Lunch Box Treats; Bakes Sales and Edible Gifts; Picnics and Potlucks; Candies and Confections; Dinner Party Fancies; Spoonable Sweets; and Frostings, Fillings, and Accoutrements–yep, she’s got us covered! Some of the recipes I’m most excited to make: Maple Spun Sugar, Honeycomb Candy, Toblerone Tart, Maple Marshmallows, Five-Flavors Party Cake, and more. Dying.

This book has spun me into a baking tizzy. What I’m most excited about, is that I suddenly feel armed with this whole new world of baking, and not just as alternate, more “natural” options, but just across the board–I am inspired.

"Real Sweet" Black-and-White Pancake Cake from Sweetapolita

So pure pancake-y decadence, yep. The fluffy maple and chocolate pancakes paired with the creamy richness and tang of the mascarpone filling, and of course the gloriously oozy and intense dark chocolate ganache. Think of this cake as more of a dinner party dessert, than a (clearly magnificent but likely a little over the top) breakfast meal. Although, come to think of it, what an amazing addition to brunch or any-day-of-the-week dinner. Just saying.

"Real Sweet" Black-and-White Pancake Cake from Sweetapolita

Since I don’t make a ton of pancakes (truth be told, it’s one of my major weaknesses, so I have to avoid whenever possible!) mine weren’t perfection, but this was, honestly, so much fun to make. It was also surprisingly doable! Simply cooking the pancakes and creating the two quick and easy fillings, and then stacking. You can even make the cake a day ahead, which we always love, right?

So here’s the recipe for this stunning stack o’ yum, as written in Real Sweet:

Black-and-White Pancake Cake

Yield: Serves 8 to 10

Talk about a showstopper! A stack of traditional flapjacks with butter and syrup is fabulous enough as it is, but here we're taking that idea into mind-blowing dessert territory. Maple-sweetened chocolate cake batter is cooked up like pancakes into thin layers and then sandwiched with lost of maple cream that beckons for a covert finger swipe. A few hidden slicks of bittersweet chocolate ganache add a major swoon factor to this over-the-top sweet stack.

Ingredients

    Pancake Layers:
  • 1 batch of Maple Chocolate Cake batter:
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 3/4 ounces/192 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 3/4 cup (2 1/2 ounces/72 grams) unsweetened natural cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 cup (11 7/8 ounces/242 grams) 2% Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup (11 7/8 ounces/336 grams) pure maple syrup (dark or very dark preferred)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces/57 grams) grapeseed or canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces/113 grams) water
  • Cream Filling:
  • 1/2 cup (4 1/2 ounces/120 grams) heavy cream, chilled
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces/113 grams) mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons (1 1/8 ounce/32 grams) pure maple syrup (dark or very dark preferred*)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract
  • Ganache Filling:
  • 5 ounces (142 grams) bittersweet chocolate (60% to 70% cacao), chopped
  • 6 tablespoons (3 ounces/85 grams) heavy cream
  • Special Equipment:
  • A cast-iron griddle, about 10 x 17 inches in size **
  • A very thin, flexible, metal spatula, such as a fish spatula

Instructions

  1. Preheat a griddle over low heat for at least 10 minutes. (You want the griddle nice and hot over as low heat as possible to avoid burning the pancakes and to give them ample time to cook through.)
  2. Make the pancakes: Whip up a batch of Maple Chocolate Cake, adding the water to the wet ingredients before whisking the batter until smooth.
  3. Into a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  4. In a large measuring cup or medium bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, yogurt, eggs, oil, and vanilla extract. Add the water and whisk until smooth.
  5. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry. Using a whisk, energetically blend the batter by hand until smooth and thick, about 1 minute.
  6. Spray the griddle generously with nonstick spray. Making 2 pancakes at a time, pour two 1/2-cup scoops of batter onto the griddle. Use the back of a spoon to gently swirl and coax the pancakes into 7-inch circles. Cook the pancakes until the edges appear dry and set and bubbles are no longer popping on the surface, about 4 minutes on the first side. Use a thin, flexible metal spatula to gently flip the pancakes. Cook about 2 minutes more, or until the centers of the pancakes spring back when lightly touched. Remove the layers to wire racks to cool completely. Repeat the batter scooping and cooking process until you have 8 cake layers.
  7. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper and place 4 cake layers in a single layer on each sheet. Chill in the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes.
  8. Make the cream filling: Pour the cream into a a medium bowl. Whip the cream on high speed to stiff peaks. In a separate medium bowl, place the mascarpone, maple syrup, and vanilla bean paste. Beat on low speed, just until the mixture is smooth and begins to thicken, about 30 seconds--don't overbeat, or the mascarpone cheese will seize. Gently fold in the whipped cream until smooth.
  9. Make the ganache filling: Combine the bittersweet chocolate with the cream in a small heatproof bowl. Microwave on high power for 45 to 60 seconds. Whisk the ganache until the chocolate is melted and the ganache is smooth and has the texture of chocolate pudding. Remove about 2 tablespoons of ganache to a small bowl and set aside for garnish.
  10. To assemble the cake, remove the pancake layers from the refrigerator. Inspect the layers; choose the most handsome to be the top layer and set it aside. Place 1 cake layer on a serving platter or cake stand. Dollop on 1/3 cup of the maple mascarpone cream and use a small offset spatula to smooth it out, with a 1/2-inch border all around. Place a second layer on top, and press lightly to help it adhere. Spread about 2 1/2 tablespoons of ganache onto the layer, also with a 1/2-inch border around the cake. Continue the layering process 6 more times, alternating maple mascarpone cream and chocolate ganache with the layers, placing the best-looking cake layer on top.
  11. To the remaining chocolate ganache, add a drizzle of cream, only about 1/2 teaspoon or so, just enough to thin it to a honeylike consistency (warm the ganache in the microwave for about 10 seconds or so to loosen it up first, if necessary). Drizzle the ganache artfully over the cake. Chill the cake for about 30 minutes before serving. The cake can be made up to 1 day in advance (let it soften on the counter for 15 minutes before slicing).
  12. TIP: Be prepared to lower the heat accordingly if the pancakes are threatening to burn--just as with making regular breakfast pancakes, depending on your griddle and your stove, it may take a bit of adjusting to the heat just right. Making a tiny test pancake before cooking the rest of the layers can let you know if you're on the right track.

Notes

*With all the chocolate powder in this recipe, using the darkest maple syrup in the cake and the filling will help the maple flavor come forward a little more. **You can also use a very large heavy-bottomed skillet; you'll just have to cook the pancakes one at a time, and the cooking time may vary.

http://sweetapolita.com/2015/03/real-sweet-black-and-white-pancake-cake/

Sweetapolita’s Notes:

  • As recommended in the recipe, I used Dark Maple Syrup for the Maple Chocolate Cake batter–this is a must to really taste the maple among the intense chocolaty cake. So good.
  • For flipping pancakes, I use this Large Stainless Steel Slotted Turner, which is super thin and easy to use.
  • When filling the mascarpone layers, I used a large Pastry Bag fitted with large star tip #1M Star Tip, just for fun. This creates a lovely swirly effect, but you certainly don’t need to. However, if you don’t already own this decorating tip, I highly recommend it–it makes for a perfectly frosted cupcake, piped cake border and more.

Be back soon with more book excitement (12 more days until release!), and more sugar-filled recipes!

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The Sweetapolita Bakebook Pre-Order Giveaway Winners Announced!

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Winners! Thank you ALL so much for your pre-orders! You guys rock. Here are the 5 winners of The Sweetapolita Bakebook Pre-Order Giveaway (winners will also be notified by email)!

Kiva Swift

Christy Lambert

Cheri Kelly

Heather McCants 

Holly Lewsey

Congratulations! xo

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It’s almost here! April 7th is just around the corner, and, is it just me or has it felt like a hundred years since I announced my cookbook was in the works? And now it’s just about here! I would love your support–it would mean so much to me if you pre-ordered the book. xo

Here’s a sneak peek (for corresponding recipe pages and to learn more about what’s inside, see My Book):

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rainbows & sprinkles cake

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chalk-a-lot cake with edible chalk

watercolor graffiti cookies

watercolor graffiti cookies

The even more exciting news is that it is available for pre-order now, and my publisher, Clarkson Potter, and I have some very special bonus goodies ready to giveaway! There are 2 bits of awesomeness for this pre-order fun: First, for everyone who pre-orders my book (ordering before April 6th), or for those who have already pre-ordered the book, you will get my exclusive video tutorial, How to Cover a Cake in Fondant!

You will also be entered to win 1 of FIVE (not 1, but 5) of The Sweetapolita Bakebook Kits! This “kit” includes all of my favourite items used throughout the book. Let’s take a closer look at these goodies:

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This is like looking into my kitchen on any given day, and I’m so excited that 5 of you will receive all of these goodies! Here’s a little more about each prize:

1. A signed copy of my book! So you’ve pre-ordered one, and now you can either keep the signed copy for yourself and share the other as a gift, or keep ’em both just cause, courtesy of Clarkson Potter. 

2. Fat Daddio’s Cake Pans: These are the pans I’ve been baking with since the get-go, and I love them. I keep 3 of every size so that I can bake them layer-by-layer, which results in the moistest of cakes. The winners will receive three 8″ x 2″ round cake pans, courtesy of Fat Daddio’s!

3. Rainbow Measuring Spoons: You’re gonna need these, trust me. I always have about 3 sets of measuring spoons on the go at all times, and rainbow always wins. (courtesy of Sweetapolita)

4. Pepper Creek Farms Sprinkles: Pretty sprinkles forever! And Pepper Creek Farms knows how to do it right (even the jars themselves are charming). The winners will receive a jar of each Carnival Sprinkles, Pastel Confetti & Sprinkles, Pink Edible Glitter and Amethyst Shimmer Sugar, courtesy of Pepper Creek Farms!

5. Lorann Oils Bakery Emulsions: I use these throughout the book (and on the blog and in my everyday baking), and I love them. These distinct emulsions replace extracts and do no bake out, which means that the flavor stays true and does not bake away in the oven. Each winner will receive a bottle of both Red Velvet and Princess Cake & Cookie Bakery Emulsions, courtesy of Lorann Oils!

6. 3-Piece Turquoise Piping Bag Set: You can never have too many piping bags, and these pretty blue reusable ones come in super handy when we’re frosting all of those layer cakes and cookies, courtesy of Sweetapolita!

7. Tea & Crumpets Apron: This is one of my favourites, and I suspect my desserts turn out just a *smidge* prettier when I wear this apron. The winner will receive their very own, courtesy Sweetapolita!

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8. My signature sprinkle medley! This is the super fun medley of sprinkles I used to create a colourful border around cakes, top cupcakes with or even decorate entire cakes with (see above Rainbows & Sprinkles Cake). I will create a special batch for the winners, package, and ship it your way with love.

9. AmeriColor Soft Gel Paste Food Color 12 Pack Kit: I go through a lot of soft gel paste food colour, and call for it throughout the blog and book–they are simply a must! Each winner will receive a 12-pack starter kit of these soft gel pastes, courtesy of Sweetapolita 

10. Callebaut Belgian Chocolate Callets: each winner will receive a 2.5kg bag of the semi-sweet chocolate callets, perfect for all of the chocolate frostings, glazes, and all kinds of other chocolaty-ness in the book, courtesy of Flour Confections!

11. Cacao Barry Extra Brute Cocoa Powder: each winner will receive a 1kg bag of this dark, gourmet cocoa powder perfect for all of the chocolate cakes and cookies in the book, courtesy of Flour Confections!

12. Escali Arti Glass Digital Kitchen Scale: You’ll notice that throughout the blog and book I give the ingredient measurements in weight as well as volume, and this is because weighing the ingredients ensures consistent results. I literally could not bake without one! Each winner will receive of these gorgeous scales (in the colour of your choice), courtesy of Sweetapolita.

13. Ateco Frosting Spatulas: Since I started baking cakes, I’ve used Ateco frosting spatulas–there’s no better way to frost a cake! Each winner will receive one small offset spatula, one small straight spatula and one medium straight spatula, courtesy of Sweetapolita.

14. Pink 3 Piece Spatulas Scraper Set: This set is just too cute, and I own a bunch. You can never have too many spatulas, and the pastry brush comes in handy for making the candy recipes and sugar syrups in the book, courtesy of Sweetapolita.

15. AmeriColor Gourmet Writer Food Pens: Oh how I love these awesome doodling pens, and my cakelets and I use them on cake, cookies, and more. Each winner will receive their own pack, courtesy of Flour Confections! 

(You’ll notice that several of these prizes come from Flour Confections–they are my awesome, go-to supplier, and ship across North America!)

And, as I mentioned above, as soon you pre-order your copy, you will also get immediate access to my new best-ever How to Cover a Cake in Fondant video!

Thank you so much for all of your support and baking love. It means the world! Good luck with the giveaway! xo

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Spring Picks: Cake Stands!

Well, it’s no secret that I have a thing for cake stands (or when we’re feeling fancy, cake “pedestals”), and when I first got into cakery, I would pick up any that caught my eye, and loved to keep them on display in our kitchen for all to see. Of course, where there is a cake, there should be a cake stand. At that time I had about 8 sweet and special stands in an array of colours and styles. And then every time I did a cake for the blog, I would wish I had yet another, so the collection kept on growing . . .

Aaaand then I wrote a book. Oh my! Just the idea of photographing an entire book of desserts put my cake-stand-collecting into high gear, and I may have gone into a bit of a buying frenzy. I bought up every single one I fell in love with, and now I have nowhere to keep them all, but love them just the same. So it seems I’ve become somewhat of a cake stand junkie, and shop for them anywhere and everywhere. After much online browsing, here are some of the charming finds I’ve got my eye on (and a few I currently own and love):

Sweetapolita Spring Picks Cake Plates

 

1: Loire Glass Blue Square | 2: Petal Pink Scallop | 3: Green Bird & Dome | 4: Mosser Glass White | 5: Rachel Cake Plate with Bow | 6: Whiteware Scalloped | 7: Custom Scalloped Cake Stand | 8: Something Blue | 9: Mosser Glass Buttercream | 10: Hot Pink Melamine | 11: Godinger Amethyst | 12: Teal Soft Rimmed | 13: Blushing Bride

Candy-coloured cake stands for all of us, I say! Some are a splurge (#6, 8, 13), some are a total steal (#1, 5, 11), and the rest fall in between, but I’m yet to regret a cake stand purchase. I even use them around the house for display and nifty storage–in the bathrooms and bedroom to hold nail polish and pretty toiletries, in the living room as a candle holder, and more.

I find a lot of mine at places like Winner’s (Canada’s version of Marshall’s), which are usually very affordable, since they are often from collections that are discontinued, etc. as well as antique stores (or plain old junk shops), but I also have a lot of luck online. Sites like Amazon, Wayfair, Etsy, and Shop BHG are great shopping resources and shipping is usually very reasonable (and often free on Amazon), and the selections are seemingly endless.

In my experience, it’s best to nab the ones you love when you see them because, aside from the classics (like Mosser Glass), the styles come and go so quickly as they’re constantly being replaced with new ones–much like fashion. And while this is exciting in itself, it can mean a lot of “I wish I would have bought that one when I saw it” moments.

So for the love of cake stands, let us shop!

Be back soon with more cake! 

 

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Meringue Dream Cake

Meringue Dream Cake via Sweetapolita

Happy Friday!

Hello from the land of -25°C and random blizzards! But that’s okay. It just makes being inside baking that much more inviting and cozy . . .

And when it doubt, make cake. Especially a pastel wintery wonderland cake. It just makes good sense, right?

Meringue Dream Cake via Sweetapolita

This Meringue Dream Cake is a deep, dark moist chocolate layer cake is filled with a snow white, billowy meringue frosting and colourful crushed baked meringue, and then frosted with more meringue frosting and topped with dark chocolate glaze and more pastel baked meringue and sprinkles.

And while I adore pastel and sprinkles more than one girl should, this cake really just comes from my love for the irresistible combination of the chocolaty-chocolate cake and the fluffiest of marshmallowy meringue frosting. I mean, there’s just nothing like it.

Meringue Dream Cake via Sweetapolita

As you probably know, I have a thing for both cake and meringue, and this cake is a simple celebration of those things. And it’s amazing how you can bring such classic cake elements to life by adding some super fun splashes of colour and texture. I can’t resist the pink, turquoise, snow white and dark chocolate colour combination! Makes the little girl in me giddy.

If you make this cake, I definitely recommend having fun with the shapes, sizes, and colours of the baked meringues, since that really is what makes the visual. My inspiration when it came to creating a more elaborate statement with a meringue medley atop the cake comes from some of the over-the-top colourful cakes I have come across lately by fellow caker, Katherine Sabbath. And this cake was so fun to make! 

Meringue Dream Cake via Sweetapolita

While tempted to tint that beautiful white meringue frosting pastel, it’s not often we get to flaunt pure white frosting, you know? There are a few options for white-as-white frosting including Seven Minute Frosting, Marshmallow Frosting, etc. which are all variations of meringue, but usually have corn syrup and what not. This is just a straight Swiss meringue (like when we make Swiss meringue buttercream, minus the butter), so just a delightful fluffing of egg whites, sugar, and vanilla. Heaven.

Swiss meringue is thick, glossy, and very stable, so it makes for a lovely frosting, but just keep in mind that it’s best to make it right before you frost the cake and best enjoyed on day 1 or 2 (the meringue will become slightly airy and spongy–think meringue on lemon pie). I found that it frosted beautifully, but, again, looks and holds up best on day 1.

Pastel Meringues via Sweetapolita

My heart belongs to pastel meringues. It just does. Crispy, airy, melt-in-your-mouth, chewy . . . and did I mention downright beautiful to look at? I use powder food colouring with meringues because I find it keeps the texture nice and dry, as with gel paste colour sometimes the meringues get a little sticky and shiny. I love the matte finish and stunning colours you can get with the powder variation.

I added some edible glitter to the white meringues before baking, which is hard to capture in the photo, but oh my goodness it looks so twinkly in person! This cake is all about having fun and getting creative. :)

Meringue Dream Cake via Sweetapolita

Super moist, fluffy, crispy, billowy, chocolaty, pastel goodness. (Oh, and for those of you who are incredibly observant, this slice was from the first cake I made before re-doing it with a much thicker top coat of the meringue frosting–it had to be done!).

Pastel Meringues via Sweetapolita

Meringues are way too photogenic! You can see a bit more of the glittery twinkle on the white ones in this photo. So wintery and wonderful.

Meringue Dream Cake via Sweetapolita

Broken up and sprinkled, the meringues make a really delightful addition to the filling, both visually and texturally. Melt-in-your-mouth amazingness.

Pastel Dream Cake via Sweetapolita

So here is the recipe, friends! xo

Meringue Party Cake

Yield: One 4-layer, 8-inch round cake

Deep, dark, moist chocolate cake filled with billowy meringue frosting, crushed baked meringues, and frosted with more meringue frosting and topped with dark chocolate glaze and colourful baked meringues.

Ingredients

    For the Baked Meringues:
  • 3 egg whites, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (150 g) superfine sugar
  • Pinch of cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Powdered food colour (petal dust) in turquoise and pink (or other desired shades)
  • Edible glitter in white, optional
  • For the Chocolate Cake Layers:
  • 2 1/4 cups (285 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 cups (450 g) sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups (160 g) dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (360 ml) buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 cup (240 ml) hot coffee
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (150 ml) vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • For the Swiss Meringue Frosting:
  • 10 egg whites
  • 2 1/2 cups (500 g) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of fine salt
  • For the Chocolate Glaze:
  • 5 ounces (150 g) best-quality dark chocolate, chopped or callets
  • 3/4 cup (90 g) unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • Pinch of salt
  • Sprinkles, for decorating

Instructions

    For the Baked Meringues (French meringue):
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°F (90°C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Wipe a stainless stand mixer bowl and whisk attachment with lemon juice to eliminate any grease. Place the egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl and whisk on low speed for 30 seconds, and increase the speed to medium. Beat until the egg whites have soft peaks, about 1 minute. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and add the sugar 1 spoonful at a time. One all of sugar has been added, increase the speed to high and beat until the meringue is stiff and glossy, about 3 minutes. Turn off the mixer, add the vanilla extract and beat until combined. Divide the meringue into thirds and tint one third turquoise and another pink. Pipe one baking tray of medium-sized meringues and one tray of smaller meringues using different decorating tips of your choice (I used large plain round for smooth meringues, large open star for the textured pink meringues, and a small open star for the small textured white meringues). Sprinkle the white meringues with some white edible glitter, if desired.
  3. Baked both trays at the same time until crisp but not browned or discolored, about 1 hour for the smaller meringues, and 1 1/2 hours for the larger ones. You should be able to gently pull the meringue away from the parchment with no sticking. Store in plastic zip top bags at room temperature for up to 1 week. I made two batches of these meringues to experiment different shapes and sizes, and the leftovers make perfect little treats or gifts.
  4. For the Chocolate Cake Layers:
  5. Preheat oven to 350° F (180°C). Spray four 8-inch round cake pans (or however many you have--you will just have to wash and re-use for the remaining layers) with cooking spray and line bottoms with parchment rounds. Set aside.
  6. In a large mixing bowl, sift flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  7. In a medium bowl or measuring cup, combine the buttermilk, coffee, oil, and vanilla, and then mix in eggs.
  8. Add liquid mixture to dry ingredients and whisk until smooth, about 1 minute. Divide batter equally among the four cake pans or weigh for accuracy--each pan should weigh about 420 grams.
  9. Bake two layers at a time until a wooden pick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out with a only a few crumbs, about 20 minutes. Try not to over-bake. Let cakes cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes, and then turn onto rack to cool completely. When ready to assemble the cake, wrap the layers in plastic wrap and chill for about 30 minutes.
  10. For the Swiss Meringue Frosting:
  11. Wipe the bowl and whisk attachment of an electric mixer with paper towel and lemon juice, to remove any trace of grease. Add egg whites and sugar, and simmer over a pot of water (not boiling), whisking constantly but gently, until temperature reaches about 140°F, or if you don't have a candy thermometer, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot.
  12. Return the bowl to the stand mixer and beat on medium speed until meringue starts to thicken, about 1 minute, and then increase to high speed. Beat until thick, glossy, and cool (or neutral in temperature). Add vanilla and salt and beat to combine. Best used right away.
  13. For the Chocolate Glaze:
  14. In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate, butter, corn syrup and salt in the microwave, about 50 seconds, and stir until smooth. (You can also melt in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water.) Let cool until it thickens slightly, about 15 minutes. Store for up to 1 week in an airtight container in refrigerator, and warm in microwave when ready to use.
  15. Assemble the Meringue Dream Cake:
  16. Put a nonslip square on a turntable (if using), followed by a large piece of wax paper, topped with another nonslip square smaller than your cake. Place a thin 8-inch round cake board or larger cake plate on the turntable and place the first chocolate cake layer on top. Spread about 1 cup of meringue frosting on top and sprinkle with a generous layer of crushed baked meringues (save the prettiest ones for the top of the cake). Repeat until you come to the final cake layer, which you will place face down. Cover the cake in a "coat" of meringue frosting and chill the cake for 30 minutes.
  17. Remove the cake from the fridge and cover in another thick, smooth layer of meringue frosting. Chill the cake for about 15 minutes.
  18. When the chocolate glaze in no longer warm, pour on top of the cake and gently spread with a small offset palette knife, pushing some over the sides. Gently place a variety of the baked meringues on top of the cake, as well as some crushed meringue and sprinkles, if desired.
  19. Cake will keep at room temperature for up to 2 days, but best enjoyed day 1 (due to the meringue frosting).
http://sweetapolita.com/2015/02/meringue-dream-cake/

Sweetapolita’s Notes:

See you soon with another dose of sugar!

 

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Red Velvet Moon Pies

Red Velvet Moon Pies by Sweetapolita

Happy February!

So far 2015 has been off to pretty good start with the excitement of my first book hitting shelves in just over 9 weeks (finally!), as well as spring on the horizon. It hasn’t been the worst winter I’ve ever experienced, but spring is always such an awakening, and it’s hard to not count down the days. You know?

With the book release coming, it will be a really different spring and summer for me–lots of travel and the chance to finally meet a lot of you guys, somehow, someway! I’ve kind of been living in a little baking bubble for the past few years (which I won’t lie, is kind of my thing–I’m an introvert most days), but I guess it’s easy to sort of hide behind and apron and a laptop sometimes. I’m just really excited to mix it up and host some fun book events and more.

This weekend, cakelets and I made these Red Velvet Moon Pies, we’re calling them. While a Moon Pie is an American treat, and I’ve never actually had one, I do know that they are these delightful treats made from two round graham cookies sandwiching marshmallow filling and covered in chocolate (Michelle from Brown Eyed Baker has an awesome homemade version recipe). Canada’s answer to the Moon Pie, Wagon Wheels, is what I grew up snacking on, which are very similar and perfectly tasty.

The thing is, after baking homemade treats for so long, going back and having a packaged treat just isn’t the same (although there is a time and a place for an official Moon Pie and Wagon Wheel). When you make it yourself though, you get to go gangbusters with making each component as gourmet as you want, such as using real butter, vanilla bean, premium chocolate, and more. And we, of course, get to add sprinkles and add some magic. Although, if you’re here visiting my blog, something tells me I don’t need to convince you of this!

Red Velvet Moon Pies by Sweetapolita

So we did a red velvet version, using a chewy and a homemade-chocolate-chip-cookie texture (these cookies are to die for even on their own–add a few white chocolate chips to the scooped cookie dough before baking for the ultimate cookie), a really marshmallowy, gooey, puffy vanilla bean filling, a deep dark chocolate coating, and a handful of colourful rainbow sprinkles.

I figure these would make the perfect any-day treat, but also the ultimate homemade Valentine’s Day delight. Aside from being red, what is it about Red Velvet anything that just shouts Valentine’s Day? While the taste is subtly chocolate and slightly tangy, I guess it’s the intense hue and the mysterious attraction of it? Either way, it just really works.

Red Velvet Moon Pies by Sweetapolita

In a pinch you could use a pre-made marshmallow creme, such as Fluff or Jet Puffed, but honestly, the homemade version is to die for (this is the filling from the same Homemade Moon Pies I mentioned above). Sweet and sticky, and to die for.

Red Velvet Moon Pies by Sweetapolita

I did try these with a milk chocolate coating, but they were too sweet in my opinion, so I went for a deep, dark (53.8% cocoa solids), but not too dark, premium chocolate which counteracts the super-sweet marshmallow filling perfectly. Not to mention the visual of dark chocolate and red velvet is particularly enchanting. Don’t you think?

Red Velvet Moon Pies by Sweetapolita

So voila! A Red Velvet Moon Pie, of sorts. This simple-to-make treat appears to be so much more time-consuming than it is (and I’m not just saying that, pinky swear), and has a has serious wow-factor. Cakelets (big and small) everywhere will rejoice!

Red Velvet Moon Pies

Yield: 12 medium-sized moon pies (24 red velvet cookies)

Chewy red velvet cookies sandwiched with vanilla bean marshmallow filling and topped with dark chocolate and sprinkles.

Ingredients

    For the Red Velvet Cookies:
  • 2 1/2 cups (325 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons dark cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick + 6 tablespoons (210 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup (200 g) sugar
  • 1/2 cup (110 g) light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Red Velvet Bakery Emulsion (see Sweetapolita's Notes)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • For the Vanilla Bean Marshmallow Filling:
  • 2 egg whites, room temperature
  • Pinch of cream of tartar
  • 2/3 cup (215 g) light corn syrup
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup (125 g) confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • For the Chocolate Coating:
  • 12 ounces (340 g) best-quality dark chocolate, chopped or callets
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) vegetable oil
  • For decorating:
  • Rainbow nonpareils

Instructions

    Make the Red Velvet Cookies:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, cornstarch, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugars, and emulsion on medium speed until fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until well-combined, about 30 seconds. Beat in the vinegar.
  4. Decrease the mixer speed to low, and gradually add the dry ingredients until just combined. Do not over-mix. Using two spoons or a 50mm cookie scoop, drop dough onto baking sheets about 2" apart. Bake for 9 minutes (be sure to not over-bake, or cookies will be dry and not soft and moist inside.) Allow to cool on baking sheet on wire rack for 10 minutes, and then gently transfer cookies to rack to cool completely.
  5. Make the Vanilla Bean Marshmallow Filling:
  6. Wipe a stainless mixer bowl and whisk attachment with lemon juice or vinegar to ensure it's grease-free. Place the egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl and begin to whip on low speed. Meanwhile, place the corn syrup in a small saucepan and clip on a candy thermometer. Turn the heat to medium-high and let the syrup bubble. While the syrup cooks, increase the mixer speed to high gradually and continue to beat the egg whites until firm. When the syrup reaches 235°F, keep the mixer to high speed and gradually pour the hot syrup in a steady stream. Continue to beat on high speed until the meringue is thick and glossy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the vanilla bean. Reduce the mixer to low and add the confectioners' sugar. Best used the same day.
  7. Make the Chocolate Coating:
  8. In a double boiler, or in a microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate and oil until smooth.
  9. Assemble the Red Velvet Moon Pies:
  10. Fill a large pastry bag fitted with a large round tip with the filling (or you can simply spread the filling with a spoon), and pipe a generous dollop on the underside of half of the cookies. Top each one with another cookie and gently press down to secure. Place the sandwiched cookies on a wire rack over a piece of wax paper (to catch the excess chocolate) and pour the coating on top of each one. Guide the coating down the sides with a small offset palette knife of spoon.
  11. Top with rainbow nonpareils and let sit at room temperature until firm. You can also place the tray in the refrigerator to speed up the process.
  12. The moon pies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Notes

*Marshmallow filling recipe "barely" adapted from browneyedbaker.com, as well as Chocolate Coating recipe.

http://sweetapolita.com/2015/02/red-velvet-moon-pies/

Sweetapolita’s Notes:

  • For the red velvet cookies, I use LorAnn Oils Red Velvet Emulsion with its concentrated colour/flavour all in one, it’s worth it (to me), but you can substitute the emulsion for 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract plus 1 teaspoon red soft gel paste colour (AmeriColor Super Red works well).
  • I line my baking sheets with Silicone Baking Mats for ease and consistent baking results.
  • I always use a cookie scoop–I use the Norpro Stainless Steel Scoop, 50mm (3-Tablespoon) when making this kind of spooned cookie–especially when making a sandwich-style treat such as this one, because it ensures evenly shaped cookies.
  • For the Vanilla Bean Marshmallow Filling I used Madagascar Vanilla Bean Paste, but you could also use the seeds from half of a vanilla bean or simply pure vanilla extract.
  • To make the Dark Chocolate Coating, I used Callebaut Dark Callets 53.8 %.
  • I topped the moon pies with Rainbow Non-Pareils, but you could use any sprinkles you might love!
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Euro-So-Sweet Cake

Euro-So-Sweet Cake by Sweetapolita

Hello, hello from the land of pink buttercream!

Earlier this month my sister Michele celebrated a birthday, and unlike many other years I was able to see her right afterwards and make her a birthday cake! We live a few hours apart, and while we’ve seen a lot of each other in the past few months, it wasn’t always that way. We both have a love for European-style desserts, much to do with our heritage I’m sure, but she really much prefers the not-so-sweet, rich, custard-like baked goods and desserts over anything typically birthday cake-ish.

So with this in mind, along with the soon-to-be whirlwind that is Valentine’s Day, I wanted to create a layer cake that she would love (which she did!), and that tied together some of my favourite Valentine’s dessert flavours and textures: red velvet cake, tiramisu, chocolate mousse, raspberries, and more.

Euro-So-Sweet Cake by Sweetapolita

So, first I should point out that this isn’t the kind of cake that will slice ever-so-perfectly (not that that should ever count unless of course you’re trying to take lovely food photos!), but I think we all know that these are usually the most irresistible ones. But even still, please forgive what might be a slightly disheveled looking inside. What I can tell you, though, is that this cake will transport you to the sweetest of Euro cafes, and is one of the most decadent and delightful cakes I have ever made!

So here’s what we’ve got going on from the bottom up: moist dark chocolate cake topped with coffee-and-Tia Maria-moistened lady fingers, Tiramisu filling (mascarpone, sugar, eggs, etc.) with a dusting of cocoa powder, super-moist red velvet cake, raspberry preserves, rich and creamy Belgian chocolate mousse, and then another round of the same chocolate/Tiramisu and red velvet layer all frosted in pink Italian meringue buttercream.

Euro-So-Sweet Cake by Sweetapolita

And while these components all look a dream inside the cake, the best part, of course, is that the flavours and textures work so incredibly well together. With every bite there is something slightly different and wonderful going on–subtle hints of coffee and booze nestled in creamy mascarpone, light-as-air chocolate mousse, tender cake, fruity preserves, and rich vanilla buttercream.

If you don’t over-soak the lady fingers, there is just enough moisture to turn them into a vanilla cake layer that never dries out, and the red velvet and chocolate cake layers keep their moisture even with this cake in the refrigerator when not being served (a must for a cake with things like mascarpone, heavy cream fillings, mousse, etc.).

Euro-So-Sweet Cake by Sweetapolita

You’ll notice that for the first time on the blog I’ve used Italian meringue buttercream, as opposed to my beloved Swiss meringue buttercream. The real difference between the two variations is the techniques we use to make them–for Swiss we warm the egg whites and sugar before whipping them into meringue and then beating in softened butter to create our buttercream; for Italian we add a hot sugar syrup made on the stove top to the soft peak meringue, beat until thick and glossy and then beat in the butter.

In terms of the prepared buttercream, the difference is marginal (although some swear that Italian is more stable), but I think if you are a meringue buttercream lover, it’s most definitely worth trying both methods and see what you think. Because with Swiss you need to stand at the stove and gently whisk the egg whites and sugar constantly for quite some time until they are hot and the sugar dissolves, I often prefer the efficient Italian method. Of course no matter what variation you go with, the result is the perfectly fluffy, rich, decadent buttercream.

Euro-So-Sweet Cake by Sweetapolita

I topped the cake with a simple red sugar rose I had in my arsenal of sprinkles and sugar decorations, and then just added a tiny turquoise leaf. The classic border piping is super quick and gives the cake that sweet bakeshop feel we all love.

And don’t be alarmed at the seemingly endless ingredients and steps in the recipe–it really is deceiving. The fillings and cake layers are small batches, and the only really time-consuming step is the chocolate mousse, with about 20 minutes stove-side stirring. But, as you can imagine, it’s worth it.

What better way to profess your love than to say it with cake?

Euro-So-Sweet Cake

Yield: One 4-layer (6 with lady fingers layers), 8-inch round cake

Moist and tender red velvet and chocolate cake layers filled with "Euro" inspired Tiramisu, chocolate mousse, raspberry preserves, and frosted with rich and decadent pink vanilla Italian meringue buttercream.

Ingredients

    For the Chocolate Cake:
  • 2/3 cup (95 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup (135 g) sugar
  • 1/4 cup (30 g) dark cocoa powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) hot coffee
  • 3 tablespoon (45 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • For the Red Velvet Cake:
  • 1 cup (115 g) cake flour, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon dark cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup (35 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (130 g) sugar
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons Red Velvet Emulsion (see Sweetapolita's Notes)
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) buttermilk, room temperature
  • For the Italian Meringue Buttercream:
  • 10 egg whites, room temperature
  • Pinch cream of tartar
  • 2 2/3 cups (525 g) sugar
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) water
  • 3 cups (680 g) unsalted butter, softened but cool, cut into cubes
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • AmeriColor soft gel paste in Soft Pink
  • For the Chocolate Mousse:
  • 2 eggs, separated, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) whole milk
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 ounces (90 g) dark chocolate, chopped or callets
  • 1 tablespoon dark rum or brandy
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup (50 g) sugar
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) heavy cream (35% cream)
  • For the Tiramisu Layers:
  • 1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream (35% cream)
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (80 g) sugar
  • 2 egg yolks (reserve the whites for the Italian meringue buttercream)
  • 1 (275 g) container Mascarpone cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 18-20 Savoiardi lady finger cookies (the firm kind)
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) espresso or coffee
  • 1 tablespoon Tia Maria liqueur, optional
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder, for dusting
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) raspberry preserves
  • 1 sugar rose for decorating, optional

Instructions

    For the Chocolate Cake:
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Prepare an 8-inch round cake pan with nonstick spray and a parchment round.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, sift all dry ingredients, including sugar. Combine egg, buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla in a measuring cup and beat lightly with a fork. Add milk mixture to the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth.
  3. Bake until a toothpick comes out almost clean (a few crumbs), about 22 minutes. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes and then gently invert onto rack until completely cool.
  4. For the Red Velvet Cake:
  5. Preheat oven to 350° F. Prepare an 8-inch round cake pan with nonstick spray and a parchment round.
  6. In a medium mixing bowl or on top of parchment paper, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder, and salt. Set aside.
  7. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, oil and red velvet emulsion on medium-high speed until lighter in color and slightly increased in volume, about 7 minutes. Lower the speed to medium and add the egg, mixing until it is fully incorporated, about 30 seconds.
  8. Alternate dry ingredients and buttermilk into creamed mixture, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Mix until just incorporated and whisk by hand until smooth.
  9. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth with small offset palette knife. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 22 minutes. Try not to over-bake.
  10. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes and then gently invert onto rack until completely cool.
  11. For the Chocolate Mousse:
  12. In a medium saucepan over low heat, combine the egg yolks, milk, and salt ,stirring constantly until the mixture thickens and is close to boiling, about 20 minutes (patience required!). Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the chocolate. Stir until smooth. Stir in the alcohol and extract until combined. Transfer the chocolate mixture to a medium bowl to cool.
  13. Whip the egg whites on the low speed until they become frothy. Increase speed to medium and gradually add 2 tablespoons of sugar. Continue to whip until stiff peaks form, about 1 more minute. Fold the meringue into the cooled chocolate mixture.
  14. Whip the heavy cream and remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar until stiff peaks form, about 40 seconds. Fold the whipped cream into the chocolate/meringue mixture until combined. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour.
  15. For the Tiramisu Layers:
  16. Whip the heavy cream until stiff and chill. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the egg yolks and sugar until pale and slightly thicker, about 2 minutes. Add the mascarpone cheese, the extracts and the salt, and and beat on low speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Fold in the whip cream until combined. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour.
  17. For the Italian Meringue Buttercream:
  18. Wipe the inside of the stainless bowl and whisk attachment of your mixer clean with lemon juice or vinegar, fit onto the mixer and add the egg whites and cream of tartar.
  19. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stir together 2 1/4 cups (450 g) of the sugar and the water. Stop stirring. Brush down the sides of the saucepan with a damp pastry brush. Clip on a candy thermometer and leave the mixture to bubble uninterrupted. When the sugar syrup reaches about 170°F, start to to whip the egg whites and cream of tartar on low speed (let the syrup continue to cook) until frothy, about 30 seconds. Increase mixer speed to medium and gradually add the remaining (75 g) sugar. Increase the mixer speed to high speed and whip eggs whites to soft peaks, about 1 minute. Keep the mixer going, and when the sugar syrup reaches 240°F, promptly remove the saucepan from the heat and pour in a thin, steady stream into the meringue mixture and continue to whip the egg whites until they are stiff and glossy. When the bottom of the bowl is no longer warm, switch to the paddle attachment and, with the mixer on the lowest speed, add the cubes of butter one at a time.
  20. Increase the mixer speed to medium-low and continue to whip until all of the butter is incorporated and the buttercream is thick and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and salt and beat until combined.
  21. Assemble the Euro-So-Sweet Cake:
  22. On an 8-inch round cake board (or larger cake plate), put a small dollop of frosting. Use a long, sharp serrated knife to cut each cake layer in half horizontally. You will now have two thin red velvet layers and two thin chocolate cake layers.
  23. Place your first chocolate cake layer face-up on the board (or plate) on a cake turntable, and cover with a layer of lady fingers smooth-side down, breaking some if necessary to fit over entire layer.
  24. In a small bowl, combine the coffee and Tia Maria liqueur. Use a pastry brush to moisten each lady finger (just the tops) with the coffee mixture. Spread about 1 cup of the Tiramisu filling on top and dust with a layer of cocoa powder. Place one of the red velvet cake layers face-up on top and spread the raspberry preserves over the layer. Spread about 1 cup of chocolate mousse over the preserves.
  25. Place your remaining chocolate cake layer atop the mousse and repeat the Tiramisu layer (lady fingers, coffee brush, filling, cocoa powder). Carefully place the final red velvet cake layer on top, face-down. Gently adjust the cake so that it is straight and lined up properly. *Cake 911: If you find there are any spots where the fillings are oozing, fill those areas with some of the buttercream. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  26. Add a few drops of the pink gel paste to the Italian Meringue Buttercream and stir well to blend colour and remove air bubbles. Frost the entire outside of the cake with the pink buttercream until you have a smooth layer, sealing in all crumbs. Refrigerate until the frosting firms up, about 30 minutes. Repeat with another layer of pink buttercream, working to achieve a smooth finish. Chill cake for at least 15 minutes. To create the piped borders, fit a medium pastry bag with a coupler and icing tip #22 and pipe a shell-style border along the top and bottom of the cake. Add a sugar rose, if desired.
  27. Keep refrigerated (this cake will stay moist) for up to 2 days, but serve at a cool room temperature.

Notes

Chocolate Mousse recipe adapted from wilton.com; Tiramisu filling adapted from GIOIA Savoiardi Lady Finger package.

http://sweetapolita.com/2015/01/euro-so-sweet-cake/

Sweetapolita’s Notes:

  • For the chocolate cake I used Cacao Barry Cocoa Powder (extra brute).
  • For the red velvet cake, I use LorAnn Oils Red Velvet Emulsion with its concentrated colour/flavour all in one, it’s worth it (to me), but you can substitute the emulsion with 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract plus 1 teaspoon red soft gel paste colour (AmeriColor Super Red works well).
  • For the chocolate mousse I use Callebaut Dark Callets 53.8 %, which is a versatile dark (but not intensely dark) chocolate perfect for anything from frosting to bark.
  • For the Italian meringue buttercream I use Americolor Soft Pink–a bright pink that can hold up once frosted.
  • To create the little rose leaf, I simply tinted a small amount of gum paste (you can use fondant) with AmeriColor Turquoise gel paste and cut out a little leaf.
  • For make ahead, you can prepare the Italian meringue buttercream up to a week ahead (keep refrigerated until the night before you need it, and thaw on counter, whipping for a few moments to bring back to smooth consistency), the cake layers up to 2 days ahead (kept wrapped in plastic wrap at room temperature), and the chocolate mousse the night before.

See you soon with another dose of decadence!

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Purple Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Purple Velvet Cake via Sweetapolita

So . . . are you officially pepperminted? Me too. But it was lovely and delicious.

And, wow, the last day of the year? Eek! Maybe. Hooray! I’m not sure. I do know that 2015 will be a much different one for me, and I think it will be bigger and better for all of us. Some years just come bearing more than other years, which seem to come and go with minimal change or impact. But one thing I do know for certain, is that we will still all be baking ourselves happy. It’s just what we do.

And, of course this past month I’ve been baking even more than usual, which may have something to do with recently receiving my copy of Matt Lewis & Renato Poliafito’s latest book, Baked Occasions: Desserts for Leisure Activities, Holidays, and Informal Celebrations. You probably know by now that I am a big fan of the “Baked” boys, and for good reason–they rock. And while I cherish their first three books (Baked: New Frontiers in Baking, Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinventedand Baked Elements: The Importance of Being Baked in 10 Favorite Ingredients), I have to say that this one is my favourite.

First off, I love that the book is organized by occasions and holidays (and not just the predictable ones–think Julia Child’s Birthday, Gay PrideDolly Parton’s Birthday, and more). It’s kind of brilliant. Secondly, I feel as though the boys have kicked the whole game up a notch. Sure, this book is quintessential “Baked” with its decadence and approachability, but I feel the recipes are even more inventive and irresistible. Heavy hits of sprinkles, colour, and creativity don’t hurt either. This book has it all.

Purple Velvet Cake via Sweetapolita

So I decided to dive in and bake their “Gonzo” cake, which is Purple Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting created in honor of Hunter S. Thompson’s Birthday. I can’t help but think of an old high school writer boyfriend who was rather enchanted by the antics of one crazed Hunter S. Thompson and his “Gonzo” style journalism. Who knew that memory would come back upon opening a fabulous baking book? See, you just never know what can be when you bake. ;)

Anyway, when it comes to cake, I’m a sucker for anything “velvet,” and, well, you know how I feel about colour and sprinkles. I decided to celebrate the “purple” with a medley of my favourite purple-and-such sprinkles, which is fun hint of what’s to come when the cake is sliced and served (and in my house where there is purple, there is turquoise–Frozen much? #cakelets #frozenfever).

Purple Velvet Cake via Sweetapolita

And don’t let the purple cake and sprinkles fool you–this cake is so much more than just a dose of dazzling dye. While the purple is enhanced by a few drops of soft gel paste (or you could use regular food colouring), the main source of the rich purple hue is the purple yam powder–a unique ingredient that lends to a moist cake with, as the boys says, a wine-like taste and texture similar to red velvet cake. The dominant flavour of the cake is not “yam-ish” but rather a sweet (but not too sweet) earthy taste that is hard to describe.

The flavour and texture of the purple yam cake and lends beautifully to the classic, tangy cream cheese frosting although, much like red velvet, I think it would also pair well with a classic sweet cake frosting. What I love that is colour and flavour of the cake are so unexpected and distinct, and that after the first bite I wanted to keep tasting more so that I could, aside from eat more cake, solve the mystery that is purple yam powder. Odd and delightful all at once.

Purple Velvet Cake via Sweetapolita

Hooray for purple cake and sprinkles! And for Baked Occasions, of course.

And the awesomeness doesn’t end with the Gonzo Cake. I have a long to-bake list from this book, and I almost don’t know where to start. Some of the recipes calling my name are the Rainbow Icebox Cake with Homemade Chocolate Cookies, Tricolor Cake (Italian Christmas Cookie Cake), Orange Buttermilk Picnic Cake with Chocolate Chips, and I could go on and on . . .

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So before we embark upon those, or all of the other awesomeness in the book, let’s bake the Gonzo Cake!

Purple Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting {Gonzo Cake} from Baked Occasions

Serving Size: One 3-layer, 8-inch round cake

Gonzo Cake from the book Baked Occasions. Moist purple velvet cake filled and frosted with classic cream cheese frosting and topped with a medley of sprinkles.

Ingredients

    For the Purple Velvet Cake:
  • 1 (4-ounce/115 g) package purple yam powder (about 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons; see Note)
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) canola oil or other vegetable oil
  • 2 1/4 cups (285 g) cake flour
  • 3/4 cup (90 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 ounces (1 stick/115 g) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the pans
  • 1/4 cup (50 g) vegetable shortening, at room temperature
  • 2 cups (400 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • Blue and red food dyes or gels
  • 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • 3 cups (340 g) confectioners' sugar
  • 8 ounces (2 sticks/225 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 (8-ounce/226-g) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

    Make the Purple Velvet Cake:
  1. Preheat the oven to 325˚F (165˚C). Butter three 8-inch (20-cm) cake pans, line them with parchment paper, and butter the parchment. Dust with flour and knock out the excess.
  2. In a small saucepan over very low heat, stir together 2 cups (480 ml) of water with the purple yam powder and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is rehydrated, between 5 and 20 minute depending on the heat. Once the mixture looks and feels like mashed potatoes (or mashed yams) remove it from the heat and whisk in the canola oil.
  3. In a large bowl, sift both flours, the baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and shortening on medium speed until cream, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat on medium speed until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to low. Add the flour mixture in three equal parts, alternating with the purple yam mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and then mix on low speed for a few more seconds.
  5. Mix equal drops of red and blue food dyes in a small bowl to make purple, then scrape it into the cake batter and mix until a pale purple color is achieved.
  6. In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites by hand or in your standing mixer until soft peaks form, do not overbeat. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the batter.
  7. Divide the batter equally among all three pans. Use your spatula to spread the batter evenly. Bake the cakes, rotating the pans halfway through baking, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean, 20 to 30 minutes. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and cool for 20 minutes. Invert the cakes onto the rack, remove the pans, and let them cool completely. Remove the parchment.
  8. Make the Cream Cheese Frosting:
  9. Sift the confectioners' sugar into a large bowl and set aside.
  10. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until it is completely smooth. Add the cream cheese and beat until combined.
  11. Add the confectioners' sugar, vanilla, if using, and salt and beat just until smooth; do not overbeat or the frosting will lose structure. Chill the frosting in the refrigerator for about 5 minutes. (The frosting can be made up to 24 hours ahead; cover the bowl tightly, refrigerate, and let the filling soften at room temperature before using.)
  12. Assemble the Gonzo Cake:
  13. Place one cake layer on a serving platter. Trim the top to create a flat surface and even spread about 1 1/4 cups (330 g) of the frosting on top. Add the next layer, trim and frost it, then add the third layer. Trim the top layer. Spread a very thin layer of frosting over the sides and top of the cake (a crumb coat, which helps to keep loose cake crumbs under control when you frost the outside of the cake) and place it in the refrigerator to firm up, about 15 minutes.
  14. Remove the cake from the refrigerator. Frost the sides and top with the remaining frosting. Sprinkle the outer edge of the top of the cake with the sprinkles, if you like. Chill the cake in the refrigerator to set the frosting, about 15 minutes. Slice and serve.
  15. How to Store:
  16. This cake can be covered in a cake saver in a cool room for up to 3 days. If you refrigerate it, make sure to cover it tightly and bring it back to room temperature before serving.
http://sweetapolita.com/2014/12/purple-velvet-cake-with-cream-cheese-frosting/

A Note from the Baked Boys about Substituting Sweet Potatoes for Yam Powder: 

When you swap out just one ingredient–obscure purple yam powder for standard mashed sweet potatoes–something amazing happens. Essentially you get a whole new cake: entirely different, but entirely delicious on its own. The main difference is the texture. While the texture of the Purple Velvet cake is akin to a red velvet, this potato version has more in common with an apple cake.

Here’s how to do it:
1. Swap the yam powder in the recipe for 2 cups (420 g) roasted, peeled, and mashed sweet potatoes. Ideally use fresh sweet potatoes, though canned puree without any other ingredients should be okay.
2. Bake the mashed sweet potato cake layers slightly longer than the yam powder layers, 5 to 7 more minutes.
Omit the purple food dye. The mashed sweet potato cake is a pretty sherbet-orange color, and the purple dye will just ruin it.

Sweetapolita’s Notes:

  • For the yam powder I ordered and used this Powdered Purple Yam.
  • For the purple gel paste, I used Americolor Regal Purple.
  • For the purple sprinkle medley, I used a combination of Purple Sixlets (large candy-coated chocolate “sprinkles), Candy Beads in Lavender, Lavender Jimmies, turquoise jimmies + pastel pink jimmies (these were homemade sprinkles I made, but you could use any in these colours for the same effect), and a few Edible Gold Stars. Add equal parts of all of the sprinkles into a plastic zip-top bag and shake to mix. Simply add the sprinkle medley around the other edge of the cake and voila! Purple sprinkles galore!

Wishing you a safe New Year’s Eve filled with utter love and sparkle, friends! xo 

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Gilded Reindeer and Santa Cookies

Gilded Reindeer & Santa Cookies via Sweetapolita

Merry, Merry, friends!

I’m sorry for posting these cookies so close to Christmas, but I couldn’t resist sharing them with you–better late than never, perhaps? We’ve certainly been cookie-ing more than normal this year, and I really wanted to make some decorated cookies for my cakelets’ teachers, so this is what we came up with: super-cute-and-slightly-sauced-looking-Santa paired with his fancy-but-adorable reindeer. The things Christmas cookie dreams are made of, we think.

Gilded Reindeer & Santa Cookies via Sweetapolita

The reindeer are simple white and gilded and their big pink candy noses are super-cute. I came across a few gilded antler deer cookies on Pinterest and I loved the idea, because the sweetness of the reindeer’s face paired with the elegance of the gold antlers is a perfect holiday cookie, in my opinion. An ideal New Year’s cookie too!

Gilded Reindeer & Santa Cookies via Sweetapolita

We went for a “cute” Santa as well, because I’m convinced that cute cookies are always irresistible and possibly more fun to make than even the fanciest of designs. For Santa I used the design on the cutter box for inspiration, but gave him teeny, tiny eyes and shiny pink nose, which makes us giggle (too many rum & eggnogs, Santa?), and of course a poofy moustache, just ’cause.

We used The Perfect Gingerbread Cookie recipe I posted awhile ago–some with the more mild fancy molasses, and some with the darker cooking molasses–because one thing about classic gingerbread men that my cakelets always point out is they just don’t have enough icing. They LOVE royal icing (I think everyone does, really), and these frosted delights did the trick.

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For our Santa and reindeer shapes, I used my Meri Meri Jingle All The Way Cutters (I’m obsessed), which really inspired me to create these cookies at all. Of course you can use any Santa or deer/reindeer cutters you may have or come across. I think this would work well on many different styles. What holiday cookies did you create this year?

Okay, so let’s make these cookies! The girls and I are actually making another round of these on Christmas Day, to bring to our family gathering a few days later. Can’t wait!

Gilded Reindeer and Santa Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 recipe The Perfect Gingerbread Cookie
  • 2 recipes Royal Icing
  • AmeriColor gel paste colours in Gold, Super Red
  • Food marker in black
  • Luster Dust in gold (see Notes)
  • Sixlets in Pink, for the reindeer noses
  • Candy beads in pink, for Santa's nose
  • Petal Dust in pink or red, for Santa's cheeks
  • White nonpareils, for Santa's pom pom
  • You will also need:
  • Disposable medium-sized pastry bags
  • Couplers
  • Pastry tips #3, 20
  • 2 food-safe small paint brushes

Instructions

  1. Roll out the cookie dough using the santa and reindeer cutters, and bake according to recipe. Let cool completely. Prepare the Royal Icing and keep well-covered with plastic wrap.
  2. Tint about 1 1/2 cups of icing gold using using AmeriColor gold gel paste. Add a few drops of water and stir until the icing flows with a 10-second consistency (a line run through the icing with a knife with disappear in 10-seconds). Fill a pastry bag fitted with a coupler and #3 pastry tip with about 3/4 cup of gold icing and cover the remaining gold icing with plastic wrap. Pipe the antlers on each reindeer.
  3. Use the black food marker to outline the shape of Santa's face on each cookie. Add a drop of red gel paste to the remaining gold icing to create a skin-tone icing. Add the icing to another pastry bag fitted with a coupler and another #3 tip, and outline and fill each Santa face using the black marker outline as your guide.
  4. Fill another two-thirds full with pastry bag fitted with a #3 tip with 10-second consistency white icing and outline and fill the entire reindeer below the antlers. Let dry completely, overnight if possible.
  5. Use the same white icing to outline and fill Santa's beard and rim of his hat. Let dry completely, overnight if possible. Reserve the remaining royal icing and keep covered with plastic wrap.
  6. Once the cookies are dry, tint about 1 cup of 10-second icing red and fill another pastry bag fitted with a #3 tip no more than two-thirds full. Outline and fill Santa's hat and let dry.
  7. Mix a small amount of the gold luster dust with clear extract or vodka, and use a food-safe paint brush to paint the reindeer antlers. Use the black food marker to draw on the reindeer's eyelashes and Santa's eyes.
  8. Use another small food-safe paint brush to dust on a very tiny bit of red or pink petal dust onto Santa's cheeks.
  9. Use the thicker, un-thinned reserved royal icing to "glue" on the pink sixlets for the reindeer's nose. Fill a pastry bag fitted with pastry tip #20 (or similar) with about 1 cup of reserved icing and pipe Santa's moustache. Add a pink candy bead nose by pressing into the top of each moustache. Pipe a dollop of frosting on the top of Santa's hat and sprinkle with white nonpareils.
http://sweetapolita.com/2014/12/gilded-reindeer-and-santa-cookies/

Sweetapolita’s Notes:

I will be back right after Christmas with another sweet recipe, but I sincerely hope you have a magical holiday season, my friends! xo

 

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