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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