Retro Stars Mixer Giveaway! {Winner Announced}

And the winner of the Retro Stars KitchenAid 5QT Mixer is . . .

#1822 Jody: “I’d love to visit the late 40′s, after the war, when things were prosperous and the fashion and cars were amazing.”

Congratulations, Jody! You will also be notified by email.

I will be back soon with another sweet recipe to share!

. . .

 

KitchenAid Mixer Giveaway via Sweetapolita

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Hello, hello!

So today wasn’t going to be a mixer-giving-away-blog-post kind of day, but yesterday I googled “decals for stand mixers” (this is the type of random thought that hits me in the middle of doing something completely unrelated), and I came across this most awesome photo and Retro Stars decal design on Etsy. And while there are many mixer decal styles out there, this one speaks to me.

I think it’s my connection to the 1960s–a side effect which likely comes from watching countless Betwitched reruns with my 60s-born older sister while I was growing up. It’s not so much the “hippie life,” that appeals to me, but rather the strange fluffy pop culture of the era like, say, Valley of the Dolls and Nancy Sinatra (I’m not certain I should be necessarily be proud of this affinity). Well actually, it’s sort of a cross between the 1950s and the 1960s I’m drawn to–you know, baking a layer cake with an aqua Mixmaster in a pink kitchen listening to this and wearing this. I mean . . . come on.

And as for the 1960s, any era from which the Easy-Bake Oven came, is one I can wrap my heart around.

So in honour of my love for, well, all of that, I’m giving one very lucky reader a KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer (in Aqua Sky or any colour you’d prefer), along with these Retro Stars Decals! The decals take the mixer to a whole new level of cuteness (and can be removed at any time with no trace that they were ever there). So fun.

TO ENTER:

To enter this giveaway, simply answer the following question in the comments section of this post:

If you could live in any era, which one would you choose? Is your heart in the 1960s à la Mad Men and Bewitched? The Roaring 20s? Or perhaps you secretly wish you were living on Little House on the Prairie in the 1800s? I’d love to know!

  • For an extra entry, come over to Facebook and “like” Sweetapolita, and then come back here and leave a comment telling me you did so. That comment will count as your extra entry.
  • For an additional entry share the Sweetapolita Facebook Giveaway post on your own Facebook page, and then come back here and leave a comment telling me you did so. That comment will count as your extra entry.
  • For an additional entry, share this post on Twitter and include @sweetapolita, and then come back here and leave a comment telling me you did so. That comment will count as your extra entry.

THE RULES:

  • One entry per person, plus additional qualified bonus entries (mentioned above). Your comment may take a few moments to appear.
  • Winners will be announced Tuesday, October 8th, 2013.

Best of luck to you!

*This giveaway is sponsored by Sweetapolita & GoodMommyLLC.

I’ll see you very soon with another recipe!

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7 Beautifying Baking Ingredients

As some of you might know, I have a bit of a history with cake and beauty. I’ve always been a total girl’s girl–you know, hooked on dresses, lip gloss, fancy skin cream and the like. I’ve also always been obsessed with baked goods (what gave that away?). So, in light of wanting to make these two passions my career, by the time I was 26, I decided to marry my fascination for cake with my love for all things girly together in one sweet flurry–I created a collection of bath and body products made from high quality “baking” ingredients, blended and whipped together in the same way we would make sweet frostings or batters.

It took about a year researching ingredients and recipes, and of course serious concocting in the kitchen, but finally the initial line of “cakey” lotions, suds and scrubs was born. After a year of studying and working with of the best natural oils and butters on the market, I learned that we can achieve the most gloriously gorgeous skin using just a handful of these chemical-free, all-natural ingredients. And even though I left the company in the hands of my business partner several years later, my love for gorgeous skin and hair lives on–I continue to smother my skin in the very same ingredients we use to bake our beloved cakes and confections–they’re just too good and always in my pantry.

Besides, us baking junkies cannot live on baked goods alone, right? We all love our skin and hair to feel nourished, youthful and glowing (you know, for those days we actually leave the kitchen). So let’s talk beauty, baby:

*As with anything that you’re applying to your skin, you’ll want to do a little patch test, before using all over your face or body, particularly if you have sensitive skin.

HONEY

Aside from its divine taste and texture, honey is said to have countless health benefits and medicinal uses, a lot of which have to do with its anti-bacterial and antioxidant properties, among others. Honey seems to be a heal-all, including working as a treatment for cuts, wounds, sore throats, hangovers, energy-boosting and many more. But honey also boasts several beauty benefits. It is known for its soothing properties and for being a natural humectant (naturally attracts and retains moisture), so needless to say it’s a sweet addition to any beauty routine.

Here are some (of many) ways I like to use honey in my beauty routine:

  • Mixing a squeeze of honey with coconut oil or shea butter for a sweet-as-can-be body moisturizer.
  • Adding a few generous squeezes of honey (about 1/2 to 1 cup) to warm bath water for a luxurious bath (I have to admit, I do feel slightly Cleopatra-esque doing this, but I think we all need to feel that way whenever possible.) It feels incredibly silky and leaves the skin smooth as can be.
  • Squeezing a teaspoon of honey into your palm and mixing with my shampoo in shower for taming my rather processed, tangly, curly hair prior to conditioning.

You can learn more about the benefits of honey here.

7 Beautifying Baking Ingredients via Sweetapolita

SUGAR

So it’s true, sugar isn’t necessarily the most magical ingredient for the inside of our bodies–we know this. (Which is why we all keep our sugar intake to a minimum, right? Right. Ahem.) But, sugar is a fabulous beauty ingredient. It’s also helpful that it’s likely always in your cupboard, ready and waiting to beautify the baker (that’s you).

One of the main benefits of sugar (when used on the skin) is that it contains glycolic acid (Alpha hydroxy acid). Glycolic acid penetrates the skin easily, and is said to reduce wrinkles and remedy hyper-pigmentation (along with many other skin conditions). With its ability to “peel away” dead skin cells, it is a natural exfoliant, revealing the healthy, live cells beneath which gives our skin that vibrancy and glow we all yearn for. The sugar granules themselves are also an exfoliant and are a great way to bind other skin-saving oils (eg. olive oil) to create the ultimate natural skin product. (It’s also handy that sugar acts as a natural preservative, giving our homemade beauty products a longer shelf life.)

You can use any type of sugar in your beauty routine, but just note that the finer the sugar granule, the gentler the exfoliation. You can use it on its own, but I find it’s easier to combine with some olive oil, coconut oil or other beautifying base-oils, such as sweet almond oil or jojoba oil (these are found at health food shops or online).

From finest to most coarse, I use brown sugarcaster sugar (aka superfine sugar), granulated sugar, or raw sugar (aka turbinado sugar). You can, though, use any kind of sugar you may have or come across. Just remember that if you are using on your face, I would stick to brown sugar or caster sugar and apply in small, gentle circles before rinsing thoroughly. For your body, any of the sugars would work well–I use turbinado mixed with some lavender white sugar (and oils) for my body scrubs, and apply 3 times per week (the sugar dissolves down the shower drain). I don’t, however, recommend using a sugar scrub in the tub–the granules tend to sink to the bottom and can aggravate your, um, parts. Let us stick to the sink or shower for our exfoliating adventures.

EGGS

With their protein-richness and nutrients, it’s not a surprise that eggs can make a nourishing and natural beauty ingredient. Both egg whites and egg yolks can be used in at-home beauty care, both for nourishing facial and hair treatments. While I have to admit that I don’t feel particularly comfortable rubbing raw eggs on my face, but I have been known to smother my rather large, frequently coloured and potentially dry hair in whole eggs for a rich boost of moisture and shine.

There are many egg-based hair treatment recipes out there, but I like to keep it simple–break an egg (or in my land of big-hair, 2 eggs) into a bowl and whisk (scrambled eggs, anyone?). Get into the shower and work the mixture into dry hair from root to ends. Leave on for 10 minutes before rinsing with COOL water, not hot water, or you will end up with cooked eggy bits in your mane, and that’s never good. Once completely rinsed, shampoo and condition as usual.

7 Beautifying Baking Ingredients via Sweetapolita

COCONUT OIL

Let’s just call this the sweet-miracle ingredient. I keep a big jar of this stuff in my kitchen and bathroom at all times–it’s readily available at grocery stores, health food stores, online, etc. (try Trader Joe’s Organic Virgin Coconut Oil) and I use it often. At only about 50 cents per ounce (or less if you buy in bulk), it’s hard to find a reason not to. The actual health benefits of coconut oil are seemingly endless: When used in cooking and baking, it has been scientifically linked to such things as weight loss, increased energy and lower blood cholesterol levels, just to name a few.

If that’s not enough of a reason to start buying it by the truckload, let’s talk about how it can make us even more dazzling. Back in my body-lotion-making days, I couldn’t get enough of coconut oil in my formulas–it’s so rich and creamy and leaves the loveliest sheen to the skin. (And no chemicals. Imagine?) You can use coconut oil straight out of the jar as a nourishing and effective makeup removerbody moisturizer (it’s a bit greasy for a face moisturizer though), massage oil, deep hair treatmenthair-styling cream to ease frizz and add sheen, lip balm and more.

Here are just a few of the ways I love to use coconut oil in my beauty routine:

  • Placing a small amount of the oil on a cotton round to remove my eye makeup. I love how easily it takes off even the blackest of mascaras, and moisturizes that sensitive eye area all the while (just don’t get it in your eyes).
  • Adding a scoop to homemade brown sugar body scrub (see below) used every few days in the shower. The coconut oil adds extra richness and leaves a gorgeous sheen (soap, albeit very necessary, is super-drying, so this is a fabulous skin-quench to apply after you use shower suds of any kind).
  • Using directly out of the jar post-shower as a full body moisturizer, rubbing it into nails as well for a cuticle treatment and nourishment (you can also try adding a bit of honey and rubbing together before massaging into skin–sweet decadence!).
  • Using as a once-per-week deep hair treatment by massaging into hair (starting a few inches below roots working through to ends), leaving on for 10 minutes and then applying shampoo, washing and rinsing in the shower (don’t rinse before adding shampoo, or it will remain greasy for days).
  • Applying to lips as a decadent lip balm, nails as a nail and cuticle balm and feet as a foot cream. (I also love using it on my dry hands, but because it does have a light greasiness to it, so you just want to be sure to really work it in.)

Learn more about the health benefits of coconut oil here (there are plenty!).

OLIVE OIL

With large amounts of vitamin A, D, and, as well as vitamin E (a powerful antioxidant–antioxidants kill free radicals which cause our skin to show the signs of aging), olive oil is another miracle oil of sorts–its uses and benefits are seemingly endless, for both health and beauty. Back in the very beginning of my natural-beauty-product-making days, while researching all of the various oils and their properties, I remember being shocked to discover all of the amazing beauty benefits of olive oil–an oil I thought was just for cooking. I immediately started using it as a moisturizer and nail oil for weeks before working it into some of the product “recipes.” I noticed a remarkable transformation in the softness, sheen and texture of my skin. Just remember that olive oil imparts a subtle and distinct “olive oil” scent.

Here are some ways in which you use can olive oil in your beauty routine:

  • Using an olive-oil based sugar scrub in the shower (you can also include the coconut oil mentioned above, among other ingredients in this list.) for a decadent and nourishing skin treatment.
  • Applying all over body for a skin-sheen and hit of moisture.
  • Applying a few drops to a cotton round to removing makeup (and as with commercial makeup remover, you just don’t want to get it in your eyes).
  • Working into hands, feet, heels and elbows (or any other dry patches or areas of skin) for and instant treatment, either on its own or mixed with honey.
  • Filling a small dish with olive oil and soaking nails for a few moments to soften cuticles for a mini at-home manicure (soak for a few minutes and then gently push the cuticles down prior to painting your nails).
  • Adding a few tablespoons of olive oil to warm bath water for moisture and lighter layer of sheen.

Learn more about the many health benefits of olive oil here.

COCOA BUTTER

Dessert for your skin!

Okay, so you may not already have this in your pantry, unless you’re making your own chocolate, but this makes for not only an amazing baking ingredient (try it–it’s awesome), but incredible asset to your natural beauty ingredient arsenal (you can buy it at health food stores or online, such as on amazon: Cocoa Butter). Cocoa butter is high in antioxidants and is extremely nourishing. Much like chocolate, the cocoa butter itself is solid at room temperature but begins to soften and melt with the warmth of your hands, so it makes an ideal massage bar and body butter–it’s creamy, rich, nourishing and velvety. It also has the most delightful-but-subtle chocolaty confection scent to it, naturally–pure decadence for your skin, lips and nails.

My aunt and uncle used to work in a chocolate factory, and I remember when I was a teen, they would bring me home huge chunks of cocoa butter. I loved using it as a body butter then, and I love it now. (However, if I was writing this blog then, I may have to told you that to achieve the ultimate goddess-like tan, you should smother yourself in it and lay on a scorching black roof with your best friend whilst listening to Guns ‘N Roses. That would have been very, very bad advice.)

But, I can tell you that cocoa butter does have some amazing uses for natural beauty and care . . .

Here are some of the ways you can use cocoa butter in your beauty routine:

  • Use a chunk of raw cocoa butter as a massage bar, which in turn becomes an rich and nourishing moisturizer.
  • Apply to lips as a decadent (and yummy-smelling) lip balm.
  • Rub into nails for an effective nail treatment and natural shine.
  • Melt 1 part cocoa butter and 1 part coconut oil over a double boiler until melted, remove from heat and add a squeeze of honey and stir until combined. pour into a glass jar and let cool. Use on dry skin or all over body for a sweet and decadent body butter.

BAKING SODA

So it does seem a little strange to be using the same thing for our beautiful-ness as we do to deodorize our refrigerators and bake our cakes with, but it seems there are countless ways to tie this everyday ingredient into our skin and hair care routines (you’ll just want to keep the box of baking soda in the fridge, in the fridge). And since you likely always have baking soda on hand, it just might be time to give it a few other cheap and cheerful purposes. Think purifying and clean. Super clean.

Here are some nifty ways you can work this clarifying ingredient into your beauty routine:

  • For a quick and super-affordable dry shampoo, use a clean, medium-sized make up brush dipped in baking soda (with excess tapped off) and blot along your oily roots. Leave on for about a minute and then shake hair with your hands to distribute and rid of any excess. The baking soda will absorb all of the grease and leave your hair feeling ready for (yet) another day.
  • Create an effective, natural face cleanser by mixing 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water, and apply to damp skin in a gentle, circular motion. Rinse well with lukewarm water and pat dry. This is gentle enough to use several days per week, particularly in the summer when our skin generates more oil.
  • Sprinkle some baking soda onto the regular amount of toothpaste on your brush, and brush your teeth as usual for a homemade tooth whitener.

So there we have it! There are so many more, but these are the ingredients I use the most in my beauty routine. And if you’re not the type of person who feels comfortable smothering and slathering kitchen cupboard ingredients on themselves, try looking for beauty products that contain one or some of these ingredients–I bet you’ll notice a difference.

And if you’re eager to get buffing, here’s the 5-minute brown sugar body scrub I make and use 3 times per week for a gorgeous, super-healthy glow:

Decadent Brown Sugar Body Scrub

Ingredients

  • 2 cups turbinado (raw) sugar (or 1 1/2 cups turbinado plus 1/2 cup lavender sugar, if you have it)
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Instructions

  1. In a wide-mouthed glass jar, add all of the ingredients and stir to combine. Keep lid on jar between uses.
  2. Apply to body in a circular motion and rinse. Use up to three times per week.

Notes

In a pinch, you can use straight turbinado sugar and olive oil--it will still be a decadent exfoliation and nourishing treatment for your skin!

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*images via shutterstock 

Do you have other ways in which you incorporate baking ingredients into your beauty routine? I’d love to hear about them!

See you soon with a baked good recipe!

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Tuttiest Fruitiest Rocky Road Bars

Tuttiest Fruitiest Rocky Road Bars via Sweetapolita

Hello!

Guys, it’s been awhile since my last post, but I promise you I’m really not asleep over here. And it won’t be like this forever! Pinkie swear. Just a few more months of the crazy book recipe testing schedule, and then there will be a shift. (You might even get too much of me and my blog posts at that point, because I’ve adapted to very long hours of baking and writing, and now I can’t imagine it any other way.) Thank you so much for understanding and not forgetting about me. ♥

So this unusual recipe I made this week has been one pinned to my Pinterest board via Bistro Gerard for months–I forgot about it, but when I saw it there again the other day, I had to make it. For such a simple, no-bake treat, it’s a complete delight. With white chocolate, marshmallows, fruity jelly candy and dried cranberries, it’s definitely on the seriously sweet side of the rocky road, but the macadamia nuts and pistachios add the most addictive crunch (and salt) factor. Although it has a holiday appeal, it seems like an any-time-of-the-year confection to me. (However, if my annual July-birthday-pumpkin-pie-request is any indication, you may not be able to trust me–I’m a little backwards when it comes to seasonal desserts.)

I made only minor changes to the recipe, which was really just about the quantity of each ingredient. It’s one of those recipes, though, that you could really add anything and everything that appeals to you. I could see coconut, almonds and pretty much any dried fruit or nut, making a really summery version. The jelly fruit slices aren’t something I would ever eat on their own (they’re lovely, I just save those calories for bigger desserts), but it made me happy slicing these up for a recipe. They definitely add to the almost Willy Wonka-ness that I feel when I look at these bars. Like something you would eat in a magical land of confection.

I found that by using a good quality white chocolate, it really gives these a rich decadence that a lesser quality white chocolate might not give (think waxy versus creamy). It does take a pound of white chocolate, and along with the pistachios and macadamia nuts, it’s not the most inexpensive treat you can make, but they are special and unique. And I can’t get over how quick, easy and rewarding it is to make rocky road recipes! A welcomed change from the ever-baking-cake-junkie. And it’s always awesome when my little cakelets can help out with a recipe. They loved removing the shells from the pistachios, weighing out the ingredients, choosing the colours of the jelly candies, and helping to stir the concoction once everything was added to the bowl. I think it still mystifies them when we make a dessert that transforms into something wonderful by simply placing it in the fridge. As though we missed a very important bake-it-in-the-magic-oven step.

So now that I’m rapidly gaining what I’ve affectionately called “book-baby weight,” I’m sitting here staring at these, trying to figure out how many *not* to eat. Help!

Tuttiest Fruitiest Rocky Road Bars

Yield: 12 medium-sized bars

Colorful and decadent white chocolate rocky road bars filled with fruity marshmallows, fruity jelly candy, macadamia nuts, dried cranberries and pistachios.

Ingredients

  • 454 grams best-quality white chocolate, chopped (I used Callebaut White Callets )
  • 3 cups (150 g) mini coloured marshmallows
  • 150 g jelly fruit candy (about 10 jelly fruit slices), cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup (70 g) macadamia nuts, roughly chopped
  • Scant 1/2 cup (50 g) dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup (50 g) shelled pistachios, roasted

Instructions

  1. Spray an 8 x 8 square pan with cooking spray, and then line with parchment paper, leaving a few inches overhang on two sides.
  2. In a large bowl, gently toss the 2-1/2 cups of the marshmallows, fruit candy pieces, macadamia nuts, cranberries and pistachios.
  3. In a heatproof bowl, melt the white chocolate in the microwave, in 30-second increments, or over a pot of barely simmering water on the stovetop. Pour the melted chocolate over the marshmallow mixture and mix until everything is coated in chocolate. Pour into the prepared pan and spread evenly using a small offset spatula. Place the remaining marshmallows randomly on top of the bars, pressing each one down gently to secure.
  4. Chill for at least one hour. Remove from pan by lifting excess parchment paper, and place onto a cutting board. Cut into 12 rectangles. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Notes

Slightly adapted from Bistro Gerard

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Sweetapolita’s Notes:

  • Since white chocolate is the “glue” keeping all of this colourful awesomeness together, try to use the best white chocolate you can find. It will give the bars a noticeable decadence and creaminess. I used Callebeaut White Chocolate Callets (I also love that it’s in callet/chip form–so easy to melt).
  • You can use any fruit-flavoured jelly candy you like. I used Pizazz Fruit Jelly Slices (found at Bulk Barn, for my fellow Canadian friends)–they’re just so pretty! They’re very similar to these Fruit Slices, made in the USA.
  • I used an 8 x 8″ cake pan, but of course you can use any size you have. The larger the pan, the thinner the bars will be; the smaller the pan, the thicker the bars will be (you get the idea).
  • If you can’t find certain ingredients or want to use what you have on hand, I could safely bet that any nut and dried fruit combination would work beautifully in this recipe. Have fun and experiment!

Good luck & enjoy!

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A Birthday + Pink Mixer Giveaway! {Winner Announced}

And the winner of the Pink KitchenAid 5 QT Mixer Giveaway is . . .

#3309 Jenny Holiday: “If I were a cake…. The Pink Champagne Cake at the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo, CA!! The pink curls on top remind me of a hairdo I had for my cousin’s wedding! :)”

Congratulations, Jenny! You will also be notified by email.

I will be back soon with another sweet recipe to share!

. . .

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It’s my birthday!

I’m one of those people who love to make a big deal out of birthdays (even my own), so I couldn’t let today happen without celebrating with you in some way. That’s why I’m giving one of you an it’s-my-birthday gift — this super awesome, pink KitchenAid Komen Foundation Artisan Series 5-Quart Mixer! It’s my favourite colour of the KitchenAid collection, and the one I use every day. Needless to say, it brings me infinite joy!

Giveaway is now closed. 

TO ENTER: 

To enter this giveaway, simply answer the following question in the comments section of this post:

If you were a cake, what kind would you be?

Surely there’s a cake that epitomizes your personality: vanilla birthday cake? opera cake? carrot cake? upside down pineapple cake?

  • For an extra entry, come over to Facebook and “like” Sweetapolita, and then come back here and leave a comment telling me you did so. That comment will count as your extra entry.
  • For an additional entry share the Sweetapolita Facebook Giveaway post on your own Facebook page, and then come back here and leave a comment telling me you did so. That comment will count as your extra entry.
  • For an additional entry, share this post on Twitter and include @sweetapolita, and then come back here and leave a comment telling me you did so. That comment will count as your extra entry.

 THE RULES:

  • One entry per person, plus additional qualified bonus entries (mentioned above). Your comment may take a few moments to appear. 
  • Winners will be announced Tuesday, July 30th, 2013.

Best of luck to you and Happy Birthday to me!

*This giveaway is sponsored by Sweetapolita. 

I’ll see you very soon with another recipe!

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Diner Dream Cake

You’re here! Thank you for not forgetting about me completely while I wasn’t able to post for the past few weeks. I promise it won’t be like that forever, but I have to admit while I work on the book it’s been more difficult for me to post often. (It will be worth it!) It could also have something to do with my crazy side, and how many times I make a recipe before I’m happy with it and ready to share. Either way, I’m here now and I’m so pleased you are too. xo

So let’s talk about Diner Dream Cake. (And my need to give include superfluous adjectives in my cake titles?) I call it that because after I made it to satisfy my recent craving for diner-ish flavours — things like chocolate chips, peanut butter, vanilla and whipped cream. After I assembled the cake I realized that it actually did look like something you’d find in a little hidden gem of a diner (I think it was the cherry on top that did it).

It’s a super simple cake to make, which is always a plus, and I love the way these flavours came together: moist chocolate chip buttermilk cake filled with a fluffy peanut butter mousse and then frosted in a quick and easy vanilla bean whipped cream frosting. It was looking rather . . . vanilla, so I crushed up some roasted peanuts and tossed them with turbinado sugar and a bit of pink sanding sugar and coated the cake — it always tastes so good to me when things are super fluffy and then there’s a hit of crunch in there. (Yep, I was the one kid who always ordered those little peanuts on my McDonald’s sundaes.)

I assembled this final cake moments before the sun was out and ready for me to photograph it in the short time I had with the right natural light, so you can see that perfect slices only happen when cake is chilled ahead of time, and that I don’t have cake-cutting super powers unless the cake is set. But isn’t it true that the messiest cakes are the best tasting? Soft, fluffy, fall-apart cakes are the ultimate to eat.

And I don’t know, I haven’t made a lot of chocolate chip cakes yet, but I realized that simply tossing premium chocolate chips into vanilla cake batter really is what makes a cake “chocolate chip cake,” so if you have a favourite vanilla cake recipe, you could always use that and toss in the chips and go from there.

The peanut butter mousse filling is a cream cheese based filling with peanut butter, icing sugar, whipped cream and vanilla — a simple mix, whip, mix and it’s done. When I spotted it on Serious Eats I knew it would be the perfect peanut butter filling — there’s something about cream cheese and peanut butter that is so magical and reminds of peanut butter pie. The vanilla bean whipped cream frosting I did this time is just a simple whip of whipped cream, icing sugar and vanilla bean paste. It takes 2 minutes to make, and if you whip it until firm peaks form (just don’t overdo it until it appears dry and spongy), you can pipe a border and frost the cake with ease.

You definitely don’t have to coat the cake in peanuts and sugar to make it a tasty cake, but who wants to pass up a chance to, literally, through handfuls of sugar and peanuts at your cake? Plus I love that the sugar creates this subtle sparkle on a cake you wouldn’t expect to find sparkle . . .

I hope you’re all having an amazing summer so far. With the sugar storm in my kitchen for the past few months, the time has been going by alarmingly quickly. So much so that it just dawned on me that next Tuesday I’m turning thirty nine. As in years old. As in next year I’m, you know, the number that comes after thirty nine. I’m not one to worry about age, but I have to admit that number frightens me. But hey, a birthday is a birthday, and where there is a birthday there is celebration. And where there is celebration there is confetti. And where there is confetti, you know there’s going to be cake. And around cake is no place to be anything but happy. ♥

Diner Dream Cake

Yield: One 3-layer, 6-inch round cake or one 2-layer, 8-inch round cake

Three layers of moist chocolate chip buttermilk cake filled with peanut butter mousse, smothered in vanilla bean whipped cream frosting and coated with sugar & peanuts. With a cherry on top!

Ingredients

    For the Chocolate Chip Cake:
  • 5 egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 whole egg, at room temperature
  • 1-1/3 (320 ml) cups buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) pure vanilla extract OR Princess Bakery Emulsion
  • 2-3/4 cups (317 g) cake flour, sifted
  • 1-3/4 cups (350 g) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon (18 g) baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon (5 g) salt
  • 10 tablespoons (130 g) unsalted butter, cold and cut into 20 even pieces
  • 3/4 cup (130 g) quality semisweet chocolate chips
  • For the Peanut Butter Mousse:
  • 1 package (250 g brick) cream cheese, cold and cut into cubes
  • 1 cup (125 g) icing sugar (confectioners')
  • 3/4 cup (130 g) smooth peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) whipping cream (35% fat)
  • For the Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream Frosting:
  • 2 cups (480 ml) whipping cream (35% fat)
  • 1/4 cup (30 g) icing sugar (confectioners')
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla bean paste
  • Pinch of salt
  • For the Peanut Sugar Coating:
  • 1/2 cup (75 g) roasted peanuts, chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) turbinado sugar
  • Few tablespoons of pink sanding sugar, optional
  • 1 maraschino cherry

Instructions

    For the Chocolate Chip Cake:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Butter the bottom of three 7-inch round cake pans (or two 8-inch round or 9-inch round pans) and line bottoms with parchment rounds.
  2. In a medium measuring cup with a spout, lightly whisk the egg whites and yolk. In a separate measuring cup, combine the buttermilk and vanilla.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. With the mixer set to low speed, add the cold butter one piece at a time, about 10 seconds apart. (You can keep half in the fridge while you add the first half of butter.) Continue mixing on low speed until all of the butter has been blended and there are no clumps. Mixture should have a fine crumbly, cornmeal-like texture.
  4. Gradually add the buttermilk mixture to these dry ingredients, and mix on medium speed for 4 minutes. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure all of the ingredients are well incorporated. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the egg mixture; once the mixture has been added, increase speed to medium and beat for 1 minute, but no more.
  5. Toss the chocolate chips with a few pinches of cake flour and gently fold into batter.
  6. Divide batter evenly among the 3 prepared pans (use a kitchen scale to ensure 3 even layers--cakes should weight ~450 g each). Place two of the cake pans on a baking sheet and bake until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few crumbs but no batter, about 23 minutes. Repeat with the final layer. Let the layers cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then loosen sides with thin metal spatula or knife, and carefully turn out onto wire racks, peel of the paper liners, and let cool completely.
  7. For the Peanut Butter Mousse:
  8. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix the cream cheese, icing sugar, peanut butter and vanilla on medium speed until smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Transfer mixture to another bowl (unless you're lucky enough to have another mixer bowl). Wash and dry both bowl and whisk attachment and chill in the freezer or refrigerator.
  9. Fit the mixer with the chilled bowl and whisk and whip the cream on medium high speed until firm peaks form (but not clumpy), about 1 minute. Fold whipped cream into peanut butter mixture and cover and chill until ready to use.
  10. For the Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream Frosting:
  11. Chill your mixer bowl and whisk in freezer for 5 minutes, then whip the cream, icing sugar and salt on medium high speed until firm peaks form (but not clumpy). Add vanilla bean paste and mix on low speed until incorporated. Best used right away.
  12. Assembly of the Cake:
  13. I recommend making the filling while the cakes are in the oven, and then chilling until the cakes are cool. Once cakes are cool and you have filled them with the peanut butter filling, make the whipped cream frosting (it only takes a couple of minutes to make).
  14. Trim any dark edges or crust from cake layers with a very sharp serrated knife. Place your first cake layer, face-up, onto a cake stand, plate or cake board. Place half of the peanut butter filling on top of the layer and spread evenly using a small offset spatula.
  15. Repeat until you come to your final cake layer, which you will place face-down. If you find the cake too soft and unstable, put in refrigerator for a few moments to firm it up, then resume. Use your clean offset spatula to carefully smooth the frosting so it's flat against the cake.
  16. an even layer of frosting to the entire cake, to seal in crumbs. Chill again until frosting is firm, about 30 minutes.
  17. Place cake plate/board with cake onto a turntable, if possible. Using an offset spatula, spread the whipped cream frosting on the top of the cake, letting it extend about 1/2" over the edge, then smooth excess onto side of cake. With a medium straight spatula, cover the sides of the cake until you have a smooth even coat of frosting by slowly turning the cake turntable with one hand while holding the spatula steady with the other. Use your small offset spatula to smooth top of cake. Place remaining whipped cream in a pastry bag fitted with a large closed star tip (I used #887) and pipe a border around the top perimeter for the cake. Chill for 30 minutes.
  18. In a medium ziploc bag, combine the peanuts and sugar. Remove cake from fridge put back onto turntable. Place turntable and cake onto a baking sheet (for ease of clean-up), and gently coat the sides of the cake with the sugar mixture. (You may have to "throw" it at the cake!) Top with a maraschino cherry.
  19. Keep cake refrigerated for up to 2 days, but serve at room temperature. Best enjoyed day 1.
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[peanut butter mousse filling adapted from Serious Eats]

Sweetapolita’s Notes:

  • The recipe is for a three layer, 6-inch round cake, but the one in the photo is an 8-inch round. If you want to make a three layer, 8-inch round cake, you can increase the cake recipe by half (rather than doubling the recipe). You can keep the filling and frosting recipes the same.
  • You can make the cake layers up to 1 day ahead, but keep them wrapped tightly and at room temperature. I do, though, recommend making them the morning you need the cake, if possible.
  • You can make the peanut butter filling one day ahead, but keep refrigerated.
  • The whipped cream frosting is best made right before you need it.
  • For the frosting, I used Madagascar Vanilla Bean Paste — a quick and easy way to get that real vanilla bean taste and those awesome little black vanilla flecky things we all love.
  • For all of my cake decorating, I use a cake turntable–it’s definitely a must-have. I have a homemade version, but have recently started using the Ateco Revolving Cake Stand, and I love it.
  • I always use a Small Offset Spatula and Medium Straight Spatula when frosting a cake.
Good luck & enjoy!
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