Soft sugar cookies with vanilla watercolor buttercream frosting for Valentine's Day.Read More
Cranberry-studded citrus cake with orange and white chocolate buttercream!
Hi all! Who else finished their Christmas shopping today? Just me? Whether you've been done for months or haven't even started, I hope you have been enjoying the season so far. I was waiting to write something a bit more profound than this, but I've been busy and just couldn't wait to share this cake any longer. I've had the photos uploaded for weeks, but couldn't think of anything to really say... You could call it writer's block, but I've actually been writing the most I've ever written since my first cookbook. You see, my manuscript is due in February, so in between Christmas activities with Everett, I've been frantically typing recipes.
The good thing is, this cake doesn't need much on an introduction. I bet $20 that you just drool over the pics and don't even read this. Hehe, just kidding. But isn't this the cutest cake?!?!?! I think it's adorable, festive, and totally what we all need right now - whether you are deep into manuscript writing or just trying to survive the holidays. In a season full of gingerbread and spice, make this bright and citrusy Sparkling Cranberry Orange Cake!
Find the full recipe and instructions on The Cake Blog!
Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal-infused cake with crunchy praline buttercream for a Christmas brunch!
I had the honour of chatting with our British nanny the other day about traditional English Christmas desserts. She asked if I'd ever made Fruit Cake before, and I nearly laughed. I'm not sure when fruit cake turned into bricks of the most undesirable treat at the dessert table or why they have such a bad reputation, but traditional English Fruit Cake is likely very different than the inedible stuff I saw stacked up at the grocery store last week.
Emily, our lovely nanny straight from London, explained to me how she used to start a batch of fruit cake months before Christmas day. Every few days you poke holes in the top of a dried fruit-filled loaf, feed it sherry, and then flip it over until the sherry completely soaks into the cake. This cycle repeats itself for a month or two until it's ready to become a dense doorstop, I mean, dessert. Just kidding guys! I am sure it's lovely. I wouldn't really know, but I am definitely intrigued and think maybe I should give it a shot next October...
And then there's Christmas pudding, which seems pretty far from any custard that I've ever had. Much unlike any sort of pudding that comes from a box, this is a steamed cake loaded (again) with dried fruit and tons of booze. Emily told me how she would make pudding with her grandmother, each one of the grandkids getting a chance to stir the batter and make a wish. A coin was then hidden in the in the batter to bring luck to whomever found it about three months later. Yes, 3 months!! Again with the booze and the soaking, Emily told me her grandmother would store her Christmas puddings in the cupboard months in advance.
Cake for breakfast, anyone? This cake is basically the opposite of those traditional English desserts that Emily described. It takes minutes, in comparison, to bake and comes together even faster with the use of one of my favorite store-bough cereals: Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Oh yes, you read that correctly. I've turned a tasty breakfast cereal into a brunch-time treat! The cake is baked with Cinnamon Toast Crunch infused milk that makes it taste just like the cereal. For the frosting, I wanted more than just added cinnamon and cereal topping, so I create a Cinnamon Toast Crunch praline buttercream. Mind-blowing, I tell you.
Using a standard praline base of sugar, water, and cream of tartar, I cooked it all up until golden before quickly stirring in the cereal and spreading it to cool. On its own, the Cinnamon Toast Crunch praline is pretty delicious and could be used as a garnish on your cake. But to turn it into a buttercream, the praline needs to be ground down in a food processor until it is nearly a powder. The caramelized sugar can be quite hard, so you will need to make sure to grind, grind, grind to keep your guests' teeth from chipping. Who knew a boxed cereal could be transformed into something to really celebrate with?!?
Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cake Recipe
Makes one, four-layer 8-inch round cake; Serves 12 to 16
For the cinnamon cake:
1 3/4 cups milk
1 heaping cup Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal
3 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cup cereal milk
In a large pitcher of bowl, combine the milk and cereal. Carefully weight the cereal down by fitting a bowl or plate on the surface the milk. Let steep for 20 to 30 minutes. When done, strain out the infused milk using a mesh sieve. Gently press down on the cereal with a rubber spatula to release any excess milk. Measure out 1 1/2 cups of milk and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two, 8-inch cake pans and set aside.
Sift together the dry ingredients and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a large bowl using a hand mixer), mix the butter on medium until smooth. Add in the sugar and continue to mix until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. With the mixer on low, add in the vanilla and the eggs, one at a time. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
With the mixer on low, carefully add in half of the dry ingredients. Stream in the milk and mix until combined. Carefully add in the remaining dry ingredients and mix on medium for no more than 30 seconds after the last streaks of flour are combined.
Evenly distribute the batter between the two pans. Bake in the preheated oven for 3o to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Let the cakes cool on a wire rack for 10 to 20 minutes before removing the cakes from their pans.
For the Cinnamon Toast Crunch Praline:
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup water
pinch cream of tartar
2 cups Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Like a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone baking mat and set aside.
Place the sugar, water, and cream of tartar in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil and continue to cook, without stirring, until the mixture turns a medium amber color. Remove the saucepan from the heat and quickly stir in the cereal and cinnamon. Tip the mixture onto the prepared pan and quickly spread it into a thin layer with a greased spatula. Allow the praline to completely cool then break into pieces.
For the Cinnamon Toast Crunch Praline Buttercream:
1 1/2 cups finely crushed praline
1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, or to taste
double batch Swiss meringue buttercream
Break the cooled praline in small enough pieces to fit in the bowl of a food processor. Grind the praline into a powder and set aside.
Mix the buttercream until silky smooth. Remove about 2 1/2 cups of buttercream and set aside.
Stir 1 cup praline and cinnamon into the remaining buttercream.
Assemble the cake:
Once the cakes are cool, carefully cut them in half horizontally with a long, serrated knife to create four, even layers. Place one layer of cake on a cake board or serving dish. Spread on 1 cup of praline buttercream. Top with the next layer of cake and repeat. Crumb coat the cake with the buttercream and chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, use a mesh sieve to sift any large bits out of the remaining praline. Stir the praline powder into the reserved buttercream. This buttercream will be smoother for frosting the outer layer of the cake.
Smoothly frost the chilled cake with the buttercream. Fill a piping bag fitted with a start tip with any remaining buttercream and pipe swirls around the top of the cake.
This post was sponsored by Life Made Delicious. Thoughts and words are all my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Style Sweet CA possible.
Tender Pear Cake filled and frosted with a caramel-like Dulce de Leche Buttercream and bits of oat crumble.
Canadian Thanksgiving was over a month ago, but that can't seem to keep my overwhelming feelings of thanks and gratitude away. As the holidays approach, the days grow darker, and the rainy weather keeps us huddled together inside, I can't help but reflect on lucky I am to be surrounded by love, family, and lots of baked goods. So when our family friend and editor-in-cheif of Risen Magazine asked if I'd share my story, I didn't hesitate to agree.
In the "Expressions" section of the latest issue, you will find my full creative journey. From ballet lessons to baby bottles, I discuss my motivations for starting my own cake business to trying to do it all as a working mom to ultimately leaning on a bit of faith that these big, life-changing decisions I've made along the way were the right ones for our little family. Cake design has been my major creative outlet over the past decade, my way of expressing my fears, doubts, joys, and triumphs. Worry blocks creativity, so I've been trying my best to be more patient, a little less controlling, and to embrace the imperfections in life.
This Pear Cake is slightly adapted from my book Layered. The shredded pears nearly melt into the cake and keep it incredibly soft and tender. Adding Dulce de Leche to homemade buttercream is so luxurious. Similar to caramel, the dulce de leche adds a deeper, not-as-sweet creaminess to the frosting. Making dulce de leche from a can of sweetened condensed milk is super simple, but you may also try a store-bought variety.
For an additional layer of texture, I added an Oat Crumble in the middle. The cake is so moist and the buttercream so silky, I really feel like this cake benefits from a bit of crunch. The oat crumble recipe will certainly make more than you need, so sprinkle leftovers over yogurt or roasted fruit!
Pear Dulce de Leche Cake Recipe
For the cake:
2 ½ cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cardamom (optional)
3 medium pears, such as Bartlett
½ cup vegetable or canola oil
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs
½ cup buttermilk
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 8-inch cake pans and set aside.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and cardamom (if using) and set aside. Peal the pears and shred the pears (a box grater works great here) and place in a mesh sieve (or a few paper towels) over a bowl to drain. If they are extra juicy, press down gently with a rubber spatula to release some of the excess liquid (or gently bundle them up and squeeze the paper towels). Set aside.
Using an eclectic mixer, beat together the oil and sugar until combined. Add in the vanilla and then the eggs, one at a time. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
Add in half of the flour mixture and mix on low until combined. Slowly stream in the buttermilk until incorporated. Add in the remaining flour and mix until mostly combined. Stop the mixer and fold in the drained shredded pears
Evenly divide the batter between the two pans and bake in the pre-heated oven for 25 to 28 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for about 20 minutes before removing the cakes from their pans. Allow cakes to cool completely before frosting.
For the buttercream:
2/3 cup prepared or store-bought Dulce de Leche (recipe to follow)
Small batch Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Mix the buttercream until silky smooth. Add in the Dulce de Leche and mix until fully combined.
For the oat crumble (optional):
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon cinnamon
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced and softened
½ cup rolled oats
Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.
Place all of the ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Stir together with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until the mixture forms small clumps of what looks like “wet sand.” Dump the contents on a lined baking sheet and spread out. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes (stirring halfway) until the crumble starts to crisp and turn slightly golden brown. Cool on a wire rack then break up into small pieces (if the pieces are left large, then the cake will be difficult to slice).
For the Dulce de Leche:
1 can sweetened condensed milk
Place an unopened can of sweetened condensed milk in a slow-cooker. Fill with enough water to full submerge the can. Turn the slow-cooker to “low” and cook for 8 hours. Very carefully remove the can from the hot water and let it cool at room temperature. Open the can and store the Dulce de Leche in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.
Place a cooled cake on a cake board or serving dish. Spread on about 1 cup of buttercream with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Sprinkle on a generous amount of oat crumble and top with the second layer of cake. Frost the cake with the buttercream and decorate as desired.
For the boarder, fill a piping bag fitted with a petal tip (Wilton #104), and pipe interlocking "V's" around the top and bottom edges of the cake. Keep the narrow end of the tip facing up as you pipe.
Although I am extremely grateful to be able to sit down to a home-cooked meal nearly every night of the week, sometimes it seems like it takes me ten-times as long to cook for my little family of three as it does to actually eat dinner. By the time I finally coerce the toddler into consuming something other than blueberries and sit down to eat, Brett is already up clearing plates and washing dishes. Come Thanksgiving we multiply this song and dance by what feels like 100. With a few days spent poring over recipes, prepping ingredients, and finally cooking. Then, the meal itself is over in nearly an instant, especially with said toddler.
The idea of a Thanksgiving potluck is a total game-changer. I mean, it seems almost criminal to assign just a couple cooks to serve up an entire smorgasbord of food, right? Sure some traditions are here to stay for good, but why not host a “Friends-giving” feast? Unlike Thanksgiving where family members might be staying in the same home (i.e. fighting for oven space in the same kitchen), a Friends-giving potluck allows everyone to prepare their dishes from the comfort of their own respective kitchens before coming together and sharing. Okay, I know this concept isn’t totally innovative or anything, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less genius. Plus, friends and good food – can’t ever go wrong with that!
I teamed up with Steph from I Am a Food Blog to showcase our best "Friends-giving" dishes. Take a look:
One thing I particularly enjoy about this concept is that it allows each cook to really concentrate on his/her own signature dish (Like me with my cake and Steph with her Turkey Pot Pie). I mean, how can I put all my love and energy into an epic cake (and you know I’ll be bringing cake) when I have to worry about cranberries and mashed potatoes too? I actually make incredible cranberries, but that’s beside my point. If you are like me, then you’ll let someone else agonize over basting the turkey every 30 minutes or whatever, and then be the hero at the end of the evening that swoops in with a show-stopping dessert, re-awakening everyone’s taste buds from their inevitable tryptophan slumbers. However, this task comes with its own challenge: creating a mouth-watering, homerun of a dessert that will win over an over-stuffed and over-tired crowd (However, if are on Team Savory, be sure to check out Steph's delicious Turkey Pot Pie).
Enter this chai-spiced Pumpkin Bundt® Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Glaze and Pumpkin Seed Praline. Nobody can turn down that drippy frosting, and the glistening crown of praline shards is just too intriguing to ignore. Everyone knows that any good pumpkin cake recipe is going to be moist, tender and full of delectable, warming spices. This Pumpkin Bundt® Cake is no exception.
Using a combination of both Land O Lakes® European Style Unsalted Butter and a splash of grapeseed oil not only keeps this cake extra moist until after Thanksgiving dinner is cleared, you can even make it the day ahead and it will still be fresh. Most pumpkin-type cake recipes (pumpkin, apple, carrot, etc.) are usually made with just oil, but you can’t deny the inimitable flavor of high quality butter. Not only does the butter add extra flavor, but by creaming it together with the sugar, it makes for a lighter batter and more tender crumb, too.
Notice how a lot of Bundt® or pound cakes can seem rather dense and heavy? Not this one! Unlike a cake that requires just stirring in oil and the other wet ingredients, this recipe calls for whipping the butter and sugar together – resulting in the sugar crystals cutting into the butter and trapping little, tiny air bubbles in the mixture that helps lighten the batter.
And we aren’t stopping just there – it’s a special occasion, remember!?! I love how the tangy cream cheese glaze pairs with the spiced pumpkin cake. I used spices familiarly found in chai tea – cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, clove, and a touch of black pepper – but feel free to use any combination you’d like.
And the praline!! Pumpkin Seed Praline sounds fancy, but it is actually super easy to make– easier than brittle, in my opinion. The difference is in the ratio of sugar to seed/nut. Praline consists of only a handful of ingredients and comes together in just about 10 minutes. I don’t know what’s more fun – eating it or shattering the glass-like pieces?!
Nervous about unmolding your Bundt® cake for the big occasion? Don’t be! Super soft butter is king when it comes to greasing cake pans. Trust me. I used to think oil reigned supreme since it seems “slippery-er” but butter coats the pans better without pooling the bottom and gives something for the flour to cling onto for that perfect release every time. I like to smoosh in the softened butter into every nook and cranny with a pastry brush before sprinkling in the flour. Just be sure to flip out your cake while it’s still warm!
Pumpkin Bundt® Cake with Cream Cheese Glaze
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon cardamom
1 teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon clove
pinch black pepper
¾ cup Land O Lakes® European Style Unsalted Butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
¼ cup flavorless oil, like grapeseed or canola
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup buttermilk
14 ounces pumpkin puree
Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Generously brush the inside of a Bundt® pan with very soft butter, sprinkle with flour, and tap out the excess. Set aside.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium-low speed with the paddle attachment until smooth. Add in both sugars and mix on medium until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the oil and vanilla. Mix until combined.
With the mixer on low, add in the eggs, one at a time. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
With the mixer on low, add in half of the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Add in the buttermilk and mix until combined. Add in the remaining half of the flour mixture and mix until just incorporated and few streaks of flour remain visible. Add in the pumpkin puree and mix until smooth. The batter will be thick.
Spoon the cake batter into the prepared pan. Tap the bottom of the filled pan on a hard work surface to release any air bubbles. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a long wooden skewer or thin paring knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for about 15 minutes, or until the cake can safely be handled. Gently loosen the edges of the cake with a flexible rubber spatula (but resist the urge to run a knife around the edges or it may cut into the cake). Place a wire rack or cutting board on top of the cake. Holding on to the edges of the pan and rack, carefully invert everything. The cake pan will still be warm, so use oven mitts as needed. Remove the cake pan and continue to completely cool the cake before adding the glaze.
Cream Cheese Glaze
4 ounce cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon Land O Lakes® European Style Unsalted Butter, softened
1 ½ cups confectioner’s sugar
2 tablespoons milk
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
In a mixing bowl, stir together the cream cheese and butter with a wooden spoon until well combined.
Gradually stir in the confectioner’s sugar and mix until incorporated.
Add in the vanilla and milk. Stir until smooth. Glaze should be rather thick but still able to drip slowly off of a spoon. Add more milk as needed.
Once the cake had completely cooled, drip the glaze over the top of the cake and garnish with praline pieces.
Pumpkin Seed Praline
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup water
pinch cream of tartar
1 cup pumpkin seeds
flakey sea salt for sprinkling
Like a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone baking mat and set aside.
Place the sugar, water, and cream of tartar in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil and continue to cook, without stirring, until the mixture turns a medium amber color. Remove the saucepan from the heat and quickly stir in the pumpkin seeds. Tip the mixture onto the prepared pan and quickly spread it into a thin layer with a greased spatula. Sprinkle with salt and allow the praline to completely cool. Once cool, break the praline into pieces. Serve as a garnish to the pumpkin cake.
The cake may be made a day in advanced. Wrap the cake well in plastic and store at room temperature overnight. If traveling with the cake, consider adding the glaze and garnish at your final destination.
Big thanks to Land-O-Lakes for their participation in the post. Words and opinions are my own.