Monday, May 11, 2015

Cotton Candy Oreo Cupcakes

Have you tried the Cotton Candy flavored Oreo cookies yet? They are a new limited edition flavor available exclusively at Target. I had some for the first time a few weeks ago and fell for them right away. I don’t eat the golden Oreos that often because I always gravitate to the original… but these had me going back for more.

So when Target asked me to create a recipe using the cookies for their blog, A Bullseye View, I was so excited to play with them. I thought showcasing the pink and blue creme centers would be fun for decoration because the colorful insides definitely made them more fun to eat.

Head on over to A Bullseye View for the recipe and links to a few of the other projects I’ve made for them.

 

Do you have a favorite limited edition Oreo cookie flavor you enjoy? Red Velvet, Green Apple, Gingerbread, Watermelon, Cookie Dough? I’m curious.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Cocoa-Cola Snack Cake with Back in the Day Bakery

Cocoa-Cola Cake

I think I forgot how much I love snack cakes. Easy, single layer cakes that take all the fuss out of cake decorating and throw in all the fun of snacking on sweets. This yummy one is a Cocoa-Cola Cake with Chocolate Icing that I just made from Back in the Day Bakery’s brand new book, Made with Love.

I wanted to try one of their recipes out because this Wednesday, I’m going to be chatting it up with none other than Cheryl and Griff Day… the delightful duo of Back in the Day Bakery. If you are in the Atlanta area, stop by Little Shop of Stories on Wednesday, May 6th at 7 p.m. for the Q&A and book signing. It’s going to be good times. (More info here.)

Back in the Day Bakery Made with Love

Okay, let’s make a cake.

Snack Cake Ingredients

This one calls for easy ingredients including Coca-Cola. Awesome.

Snack Cake Batter

Mix everything up and spread the batter in a baking pan lined with parchment paper.

Mini Marshmallows

Oh yeah, we’ll me marshmallowing this baby up, too.

Yum marshmallows

Right after the cake finishes baking, sprinkle mini marshmallows on top and place back in the oven for a couple of minutes to get all melty. Yum!

Cocoa-Cola Frosting

Then whip up the chocolate frosting.

Chopped Pecans

And mix in chopped pecans. This just keeps getting better. Cocoa-Cola Cake Yumminess

Oh my oh my. Place large spoonfuls of frosting all over the top of the cake to make it easier to spread without messing with the marshmallows underneath too much.

Frosting

Spread evenly on top.

Cola Cake

Reserve some of the chopped pecans to sprinkle on top of the cake, too if you like.

Cocoa-Cola Snack Cake

If I had the patience to let this cake cool all the way before I made the first cut, I think it would look a prettier. But, I COULD NOT wait to dive in. Actually, I took a spoon to the corner of the pan before I even cut into it. Highly recommended deliciousness.

P.S. Now I want a whole book on snack cakes.

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Cocoa-Cola Snack Cake with Chocolate Icing

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda*
1 cup Coca-Cola, room temperature
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature

1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup Coca-Cola
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
one 16-ounce box confectioner’s sugar
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Grease 9 X 13 inch baking pan and line with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides.

Sift flour, cocoa and baking soda together and set aside. In a small bowl, mix together the cola, buttermilk and vanilla. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the sugar and butter on medium high speed for 4-5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula if necessary.

Turn the mixer to low and add the flour mixture in thirds, alternating with the cola mixture and beginning and ending with the flour. Remove the bowl from the mixer and scrape the bottom with a rubber spatula to make sure everything it incorporated. Spread evenly into prepared pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.

Scatter marshmallows over the top of the hot cake and return to the oven for two more minutes to get melty. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack.

Make the chocolate icing: In a medium bowl, combine the melted butter, cocoa, Coca-Cola and vanilla. Mix with a spoon until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the confectioner’s sugar, mixing until the icing is completely smooth. Fold in the pecans. Spread frosting over the warm cake. It will firm up as the cake cools. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Note: I added an extra tablespoon of melted butter to my frosting to make creamier. I also reserved some of the chopped pecans to sprinkle on top of the cake.

Hope you enjoy snacking on this cake as much as I did.

Recipe from Back in the Day Bakery Made with Love, © 2015

* NOTE: This recipe is now updated. I had a typo originally in the ingredient list. It should be 1 teaspoon baking soda for the cake.

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And here’s a little peek at some of the other deliciousness you’ll find inside the book Made with Love. So much yum!

Back in the Day Bakery Made with Love Cookbook

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Monday, April 27, 2015

It’s a Spring Bake Giveaway!

YAY for Spring! I’m so happy to finally break away from all the cold weather and enjoy the warm outdoors. Wouldn’t it be nice if it could stay this way all year long. Minus the pollen.

Well, to celebrate the season, I’m having a super Spring Bake Giveaway for a KitchenAid Stand Mixer in one of the lovely colors shown below.  The winner gets to pick their favorite! Awesome.

Which color would you want to see on your kitchen counter? Aqua Sky? Ice? Pink? Majestic Yellow?

Enter the Spring Bake Giveaway for a chance to win a KitchenAid 5-quart Artisan Series Stand Mixer:

  • To enter, just leave a comment on this post answering the following question.
  • What’s your favorite outdoor activity? Oh and pick your favorite pastel mixer color, too.
  • Deadline to enter is Thursday, April 30th at 8:00 p.m. ET. Sorry. Time’s Up. Winner announced below.
  • One winner will be chosen at random and announced sometime Thursday evening on this post.

Here’s to Happy Baking! Good luck!

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 The winner of the Spring Bake Mixer picked Pistachio as their favorite color.

And that winner is Kara, Commenter 4286. Congratulations! Oh what fun you’ll have with this beauty in your kitchen with newly painted cabinets. ENJOY!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Ben & Jerry’s: Ice Cream Social

Ben & Jerry's

A couple of weeks ago I had the super fun opportunity to travel to Vermont to visit Ben & Jerry’s Headquarters.

Here’s a peek at my adventures in ice cream through photos.

Ben & Jerry's

So let’s start by stating the obvious. Ice cream = amazing. I felt like I was in wonderland. By the way, their offices pretty much look like the packaging exploded all over the walls. Such a fun environment. From the indoor slide that greets you in the lobby, to the Cookie Dough Conference Room to an actual on-site ice cream shop in the middle of the building. It was undeniably Ben & Jerry’s at every turn.

Ben & Jerry's

Did you know employees can take home three pints of ice cream? EVERY. DAY. Repeat. EVERY. day.

I would be in such big trouble if I worked here.

Ben & Jerry's

Oh hey Cakespy. I forgot to mention the ultra adorable Jessie was there. My sweet friend from the days when I first started blogging. It was such a surprise seeing her that we almost fell down from hugging.

And by the way, you can totally stop reading my post right here and visit her blog for the best recap EVER. She basically illustrated all of our adventures in watercolor ice cream characters.

Vermont trip

I’m not kidding. It’s awesome.

Okay, back to my less colorful account.

Ben & Jerry's

Before the trip, I would have to say that my favorite flavor was Chocolate Fudge Brownie. But that’s because it’s the only one I would repeatedly buy. It was like a dream to be able to try out so many different flavors while I was there.

But I still didn’t get anywhere near tasting them all of them so which ones are your favorites at home? I have a few new ones. New York Super Chunk, Cotton Candy, and Chocolate Therapy really got me.

Ben & Jerry's

During the event, we learned about the company’s values.

Their Product Mission, Economic Mission and Social Mission, which stood out to me the most because of how focused everyone at the company is to make things better. At first all I wanted to do was eat ice cream, but it was inspiring to learn about all of their initiatives outside of making great flavors.

Ben & Jerry's

Later in the day, we teamed up with the Ben & Jerry’s Flavor Gurus (real title) to make our own custom ice cream flavors. This photo pretty much sums up how much fun we had working with Peter.

Ben & Jerry's

Ben & Jerry's

With all the ingredients to choose from, it was hard to decide which way to go at first.

Ben & Jerry's

But we started with a really cute name that Jessie came up with and we went with it.

Our team (Me, Jessie and Nick of On Second Scoop) made a peanut butter ice cream with blondies, caramel and pecans.

It was pretty delicious and our flavor gurus loved it, too. Score!

Want to know our flavor name?

Ben & Jerry's

Gentlemen Prefer Blondies! After working out our flavor, we collaborated with one of the designers to create our own poster.

Ben & Jerry's

 

We also got a sneak peek at their brand new BRRR-ito that’s available in scoop shops starting TODAY!

 

That’s right… your two favorite flavors, topped with a fudge drizzle, cookie crumbs and wrapped up in a soft and chewy waffle wrap.

Ben & Jerry's

The next morning, we visited a dairy farm and learned more about how their Caring Dairy Program.

Ben & Jerry's

Here’s Stacie from One Hungry Mama making a new friend.

Ben & Jerry's

I made a couple, too.

 

Ben & Jerry's

In the afternoon, we went on a factory tour. Eeek!

Ben & Jerry's

Owen! Our truly awesome tour guide made it memorable.

Ben & Jerry's

Ben & Jerry's

They were making Coffee Toffee at the factory that day and we were able to enjoy it straight from the production line. Soooo good.

Ben & Jerry'sOh hi Jimmy! You taste great too. : )

Ben & Jerry's

Here’s the whole ice cream loving group.

Amanda Topper, Deanna from Domestic Chicky, Sandra Perez, Colin Pinkham from Jezebel, Gwen Paja of the LA Girl, Kristin Hunt from Thrillist, Owen!, Stacie from One Hungry Mama, Jessie from Cakespy, Nicole from Popsugar, Natalie from NJinLA, Me, Nick from On Second Scoop and Katie from Good Life Eats.

Ben & Jerry's

After the tour we tried samples of this Vanilla Brownie Caramel flavor. It’s not sold in pints, but it totally should be.

Then in the afternoon, we went snowshoeing around the factory, through the woods and down to the flavor graveyard where people can pay tribute to the “dearly depinted.”

Ben & Jerry's

Ben & Jerry's

Ben & Jerry's

Ben & Jerry's

So much fun.

So much ice cream …

Ben & Jerry's

Oh and in the end, I even got to meet Ben!

It was a pretty sweet couple of days.

Disclosure: Travel and accommodations provided by Ben & Jerry’s to attend this media event.

 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Doodles and Daydreams Cake

Doodle and Daydreams Cake

I had the most fun making this layer cake inspired by my blogging friend Sweetapolita’s new book.

Have you seen it yet? It’s full of all kinds of fun and yum. Page after page of recipes for luscious layer cakes and other gorgeous and adorable creations that make me want to get in the kitchen and play.

The Sweetapolita Bakebook

Here it is. The Sweetapolita Bakebook. When I saw the cover for the first time, I fell instantly in love. This cake spoke to me right away with it’s whimsical, playful design and I knew it would have to be one of the first things I tried.

Edible Ink Writing Pens

It also didn’t hurt that I already had more than my share of edible ink writing pens on hand so I basically had to make it.

Fondant

This is a big 8-inch triple layer chocolate cake filled with swiss meringue buttercream and covered in a layer of white fondant.

Basically, a big blank canvas for your creativity.

Doodling

Once the cake is covered in fondant and the exterior has dried out a bit, you can start doodling. Outline or draw illustrations using the black edible ink pen first and let the ink completely dry before coloring in the shapes to help prevent the colors from mixing together.

It also helps to work in one area at a time instead of all over the place to help avoid smearing the black ink. For instance, if you accidentally rest your hand on the surface of the cake. Whoops. Yeah. That’s me. I’m a hand rester when I draw and I quickly realized that drawing at a 90-degree angle and trying not to rest my hand on the surface of the cake was a little harder than I had imagined. That’s ok though because I think some of my slightly wonky drawings add to the wonder and whimsy of this cake.

Edible Ink Pens

I drew simple sweets and things using pastel colors, but I could also easily see this transformed into a comic strip cake with words like POW and KABOOM and WHAM, etc. … all drawn in primary colors. It would be too much fun!

Coloring

Once the black ink has dried, you can start coloring in the drawings. This was the fun part … to see it all come alive from black and white to bold and bright.

YAY Cake

YAY. YAY. YAY. The super cutest cake. I love it. Thanks Rosie. And now, all I can think about is making another one. A fake styrofoam cake that I can cover in fondant to keep on display and look at every single day.

Simple and Splendid Chocolate Cake

P.S. This cake is totally delicious. The project in the book calls for a black velvet cake recipe, but I switched it up a bit so I could try out Rosie’s Simple & Splendid Chocolate Cake and OMG………

Boom Clap

Boom Clap! So. Soooooooo goooood!

Simple and Splendid Chocolate Cake

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 cups superfine sugar
1 cup dutch process dark cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 cup hot coffee
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Grease the bottoms of three 8 X 2-inch round cake pans and line them with parchment paper.
  • Sift flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt into the bowl of an electric stand mixer.
  • In a large spouted measuring glass, whisk together buttermilk, coffee, oil followed by the eggs, and vanilla.
  • With the mixer on low, gradually add the milk mixture and beat until smooth, about a minute. Use a rubber spatular to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Divide batter evenly among prepared pans.
  • Bake the first two layers in the center of the oven for about 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out with a few crumbs. Repeat with final layer.
  • Let cakes cool in their pans on a wire rack for ten minutes. Using a knife, loosen the sides of the cakes. Place a large piece of plastic wrap over on top of the cake pan and then place a wire rack on top. Invert holding the cake board and wire rack together and place on the counter. Lift the pan and then peel off parchment paper from the cake. Wrap the cake layer with the plastic wrap and repeat with other two layers. Place layers in the freezer for about 15 minutes or fridge for 30 minutes while you make the frosting.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

7 large egg whites
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into cubes
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt

  • Add egg whites and sugar to the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Make sure it is wiped completely clean and dry first. Place bowl over a pot of simmering water. Cook, whisking gently and continuously until the temperature reaches 130 degrees fahrenheit.
  • Return the bowl to the mixer and fit it with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium high speed until it reaches the stiff peak stage (thick and glossy) about 2-3 minutes. Decrease the speed to medium and beat until the bottom of the bowl is cool, about 10 minutes.
  • Switch to the paddle attachment and with the mixer running on low speed, add the butter one piece at a time. Beat until the mixture is silky smooth, about a minute. Add the vanilla and salt, and beat on low speed for three more minutes.
  • Tint frosting if desired.

To assemble and decorate:

  • Remove cake layers from the freezer or fridge and level each layer by trimming the tops of the cakes flat with a long serrated knife. Snack on trimmings while you finish the cake. : )
  • Place a dollop of frosting in the center of a cake board and place the first layer with the cut side down, on the cake board. The frosting will help keep it from sliding around. Place the cake board on a turntable for decorating. Spread frosting on top and then add the second cake layer, cut side down. Spread on more frosting and top with third layer, cut side down.
  • Apply more frosting on the top layer and down the sides for a crumb coat. The crumb coat is intended to catch any loose crumbs and to keep them from getting in your final layer of frosting. Once covered, you can use a bench scraper to easily smooth the sides.
  • Place the cake in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes for the frosting to firm up some. Then remove and apply a final coat of fluffy frosting on the top and sides. Make sure the surface is as smooth as possible. When frosted and smooth, return to the refrigerator at least one hour to set up before covering in fondant.
  • Roll out fondant to almost 1/4 inch thick with a diameter that equals at least the width of the top of the cake plus the height of the sides. In my case the cake was 5 inches tall X 2 plus 8 inches wide. So I rolled the fondant out until it was over 18 inches in total diameter.
  • Lift the fondant using your rolling pin and carefully unroll it on top of the cake. Smooth the fondant on top of the cake and down the sides with a fondant smoother and trim off the excess around the base.
  • NOTE: I’d recommend Rosie’s book to get all her tips on working with frosting and fondant to help you out. She has lots of tips and goes into much more detail than I have here.
  • Place the fondant covered cake back in the fridge for 1-2 hours to dry out before drawing. When firm and the fondant is dry, doodle little drawings with a black edible ink writing pen. Return to the fridge for another 1-2 hours to allow the black ink to dry. Remove and fill in the drawings with the colored edible ink pens of your choosing.
  • The cake will keep at room temperature for 24 hours and up to 3 days in the refrigerator.

Recipes and project adapted from The Sweetapolita Bakebook by Rosie Alyea, © 2015.

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Enjoy!!!

Here’s a peek at some of the other amazingness inside The Sweetapolita Bakebook.
I think you’ll love it.

The Sweetapolita Bakebook

* This post contains affiliate links to Amazon.

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