Recipe: Coconut Cake with Coconut Buttercream.

DSC_0733

I had a few requests for the recipe of the Coconut Birthday Cake I just made for my mom, using Vita Coco Pure Coconut Water. It may have been the best coconut cake I’ve ever had, and it was certainly the best one I’ve ever made! So, I’d be happy to share it with those who’d like to give it a try! Heck, I’ll even share the recipe for the frosting.

Coconut Cake.

What you’ll need:

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1 egg

1 tbsp canola oil

1 tbsp baking powder

1 cup flour

1/4 cup half and half

1/4 cup Vita Coco Pure Coconut Water

What you’ll do:

Preheat the oven to 350. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, egg, and oil. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. Add the flour mixture, half and half, and Vita Coco to the original bowl, and beat until smooth. Grease one 8″ or 9″ pan (or a heart-shaped pan, like I did), and pour all of the batter in. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

 

Coconut Buttercream.

What you’ll need:

4 oz (1/2 stick) butter (melted)

2 oz shortening

10 oz confectioners sugar

1/4 tsp Madascar Bourbon Vanilla

3/4 oz Vita Coco Pure Coconut Water

What you’ll do:

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, shortening, and confectioners sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and Vita Coco, mix until smooth and shiny.

Don’t forget to cover the sides of your cake with fresh coconut!! 🙂

Cake Sandwich (With Almond Pound Cake and Maple Buttercream).

So I made this cake for my dad for Father’s Day. It was an almond pound cake. I wrote the recipe, and the batter was very good. But I made a mistake when I baked it – I used a loaf pan, and I should have baked it at a lower temp for a longer time. Instead, it started burning around the edges before the insides were even completely cooked. So, after seeing the finished product, I decided it didn’t pass my leaving-the-house test.

not up to snuff.

not quite up to snuff.

I was pretty bummed, because I knew it was a great tasting cake on the inside, and I really didn’t want to throw the whole thing away. So I wrapped it in foil, and stowed it away for the night. The next morning, I awoke with a brilliant idea. The cake is a loaf-shape. What do you do with a loaf? Why, you slice it and make sandwiches, of course! So, I would cut off the burned ends, and make cake sandwiches filled with icing! I quick whipped up a batch of maple buttercream.

sandwich filling.

sandwich filling.

I cut the burned ends off of the loaf, and began slicing the rest into bread-like slices.

the best thing since sliced bread.

the best thing since sliced bread.

I took two slices and spread an ample amount of the maple buttercream on one slice.

not your mama's sandwich.

not your mama’s sandwich.

I then assembled the slices into a complete cake and icing sandwich.

dessert for lunch.

dessert for lunch.

At this point, I realized, this sandwich might be too much for one person to eat in one sitting. So in keeping with the Small Indulgences philosophy, I sliced it in half, into two much more petite, but equally delicious mini-sandwiches.

a small indulgence at it's best.

a small indulgence at it’s best.

At this point, I ate one, you know, just to make sure it was ok…

love at first bite.

love at first bite.

This time, it definitely passed all of my leaving-the-house tests. And it made so many sandwiches, that I decided to wrap them up, and share them!!

sharing is caring.

sharing is caring.

And that’s how you turn what seemed like a bad cake into an awesome dessert to enjoy and share. It’s all about how you look at it. 🙂

Red Cake, Pink Frosting.

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Over the weekend, I made a cake by request for someone – a red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting, covered entirely in rosettes. They needed it to feed about 40 people, so I made it two tier – one 8″ layer, and one 6″ layer.  The baked cake looked pretty rad (or should I say, “red”).

red is the new rad.

red is the new rad.

Due to that rich red color red velvet cake boasts, I decided it best to crumb coat the cake first, to keep the final iced creation free of red specs.

crumb free.

crumb free.

After the initial coating, I refrigerated it for a bit, and made the rest of the cream cheese frosting. I tinted it a very light pink, to make it more rose-like (and because pink is just flat-out pretty).

pretty in pink.

pretty in pink.

A rosette cake uses a lot of icing, thus the finished product was a little on the heavy side. So, be extra careful when picking it up and make sure you pack it in a sturdy box.

heavy petals.

heavy petals.

All in all, this cake was a success – you really can’t go wrong with the red velvet/pink cream cheese frosting combo. It’s also one I really enjoyed making. It just goes to show you – when you do what you love, you love what you do (and other people love it too). I think Dr. Seuss said that. 😉

Two Cookie Cakes, One Recipe.

I’m all about saving time and reducing waste. So last week, when I realized I had to make not one, but two cakes for two entirely separate events, I started thinking of ways I could somehow lessen the work and the waste, while still pleasing both cake recipients. Event #1 was my anniversary; the recipient of this cake being my boyfriend. Now at first I thought maybe I would just make him a batch of cookies – he absolutely adores my chocolate chip cookies. Event #2 was my dad’s birthday; the recipient of this cake being (obviously) my dad. My dad is not a dessert fan, but he does have a few things he enjoys – gingerbread, lady fingers, cookies.. COOKIES! There was the common thread. But I had really wanted to make my dad an actual cake that I could write on….COOKIE CAKES! And so it was written.

My standard chocolate chip cookie recipe made two cookie cakes – one 10″  and one 8″. As they cooled, I started mixing up some colors for the decorating portion of tonight’s show.

the colors of the wind (or icing).

the colors of the wind (or icing).

I decided to use the larger cake for the anniversary, for two reasons: 1. like I said, my dad doesn’t eat too many sweets, and 2. I wanted to eat some too. I went with the blue theme for this one.

i guess that's why they call it the blues.

i guess that’s why they call it the blues.

I went with a complimentary dark purple for accents and writing.

complimentary.

complimentary.

Don’t for a second think that I wasn’t thinking ahead here. For my dad’s cake, I chose light yellow.

they call me mellow yellow.

they call me mellow yellow.

Which also looks great with a dark purple.

purple planning.

purple planning.

Both cakes were a hit! My boyfriend liked his so much, he ate a piece for breakfast.

the breakfast of champions.

the breakfast of champions.

And then asked me to marry him. 🙂

must've been something in the cake...

must’ve been something in the cake…

I guess it’s true what the say about the way to a man’s heart. 😉

 

Cheers to Wine Cake.

wine cake4

I have this friend who I’ve got this little tradition with. For the past two years, at the beginning of the year ,we’ve each gotten the same book – one of those “365 Days of Something or Other” type books, and we’ve each independently read the passage for each day, and then texted each other with our thoughts. It’s a fun little way to stay connected, and we decided to continue it this year. The book of choice for 2014 is called “One Good Deed: 365 Days of Trying to Be Just a Little Bit Better” by Erin McHugh. The book doesn’t actually start on January 1 like the others did, so we just flipped to the first, and started there anyway. Why am I telling you this? Well, about a week ago, one of the daily passages involved a cake. A “Wine Cake,” to be exact. And it even included the recipe. It sounded easy and tasty, so I thought I’d try making it and see for myself.

After making the decision and prepping the kitchen, I realized I was missing one of the ingredients – a box of instant vanilla pudding. I only had chocolate, and a lot of it for some reason. It was snowing, and I wasn’t about to leave my house for one box of pudding….so, you guessed it, I threw in the chocolate instead.

improv baking takes the cake.

improv baking takes the cake.

It looked good – really good. But then another obstacle was thrown in my path – there was no recipe for appropriate frosting included with this cake. I thought that some kind of wine-based buttercream might work out well, so I did what any good baker would do — googled “white wine frosting.” I got nothing. Well, I got SOME things, but nothing that really seemed to be what I envisioned. So, I did the next thing any good baker would do — made up my own White Wine Buttercream recipe.

a little wine with your frosting.

a little wine with your frosting.

I frosted the cake, and decided it needed just a little something – some pizzazz or “flair”, if you will. So I made it sparkle (with sugar crystals).

look at me, i'm sparkling.

look at me, i’m sparkling.

I put it aside, while my boyfriend and I made pizza (again), and after we ate as much pizza as all the kids at an 8-year-old’s birthday party combined, we decided it was cake time. It was so moist – and although you got a soft hint of white wine, it was by no means overpowering. And the chocolate pudding – yeah, that made all the difference (in a good way). So, since I found the recipe in my reading, I’ll share my modified recipe for Wine Cake now with you, and even throw in my made-up frosting recipe. Cheers to that. 🙂

White Wine Cake.

What you’ll need:

1 package yellow cake mix

1 package instant chocolate pudding

1 tsp nutmeg

4 eggs

3 tbsp butter (softened)

½ cup canola oil

1 cup white cooking wine

¼ cup hot water

What you’ll do:

Preheat the oven to 350. In a large bowl, whisk together the cake mix, pudding, and nutmeg. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, and add them to the dry ingredients. Add the butter, oil, wine, and and water, and mix by hand or with a mixer until well blended.  Grease two 8” round pans, and divide the batter evenly among the pans. Bake for 25-30, or until the top springs back and the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan.

 

White Wine Buttercream.

What you’ll need:

8 oz butter

4 oz shortening

1lb 4 oz  confectioner’s sugar

¼ cup white cooking wine

1 tsp nutmeg

What you’ll do:

Cream together the butter and shortening. Add the confectioner’s sugar, wine and nutmeg, and mix until smooth and consistent.

 

Recipe: Almond Butter Cupcakes with Almond Butter Buttercream.

almond butter cupcake

I am a super huge peanut butter fanatic. However, there is one thing better than peanut butter – almond butter. If you have never had almond butter, I suggest you run out right now and get yourself some (unless you’re allergic to nuts – then DO NOT DO THAT). But if you like peanut butter, and you like almonds, then you’ll love almond butter. And what’s the one thing that’s even better than almond butter? Dessert made with almond butter, of course!

I had purchased a jar of it recently, and was sitting around daydreaming about what to bake next, when images of said jar floated into my mind…and I decided to try baking almond butter cupcakes with almond butter buttercream. I started with a recipe for a regular cake made with brown sugar, and carefully adjusted the ingredients based on the addition of the almond butter. The batter looked (and tasted) pretty fab. So far, so good.

almond butter makes batter better.

almond butter makes batter better.

I baked the cupcakes, and while I waited for them to cool, I made almond butter buttercream to top them. If you’re gonna do it, you might as well go all out.

cooling time.

cooling time.

I just did a simple spiral top with a large round tip. They looked like so:

all almond, all the time.

all almond, all the time.

Because it was right before Halloween, I even used orange and black baking cups. I put them in a box, and sent them out into the world to be enjoyed (but kept three for myself and my boyfriend as he LOVES almonds even more than I).

what's in the box?!

what’s in the box?!

People went nuts over them. (See what I did there?). Anyway, here’s the recipe…Enjoy!

Almond Butter Cupcakes.

What you’ll need:

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1 egg

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 cup flour

1/2 cup fat free milk

1/4 cup almond butter

What you’ll do:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, beat the sugar, egg, oil, and almond extract. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder, and add to the first bowl, along with the milk, and beat together until just combined. Add the almond butter, and beat until smooth. Line a muffin tin with paper liners, and fill each about halfway. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Makes about a dozen cupcakes.

Almond Butter Buttercream.

What you’ll need:

1/2 cup butter, softened

2/3 cup almond butter

2 cups confectioners sugar

1 teaspoon almond extract

4 tablespoons heavy cream

What you’ll do:

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and almond butter. Add the almond extract, and the sugar – one cup at a time, beating well between each cup. Add the heavy cream, one tablespoon at a time – you may want to add more or less than 4 tablespoons, depending on your desired consistency. I found 4 to be perfect.

It’s a pink, pink, pink, pink, pink cupcake.

My favorite word is “serendipity.” Mainly because I like the way it rolls off of the tongue, but the meaning of word itself appeals to me as well – “a fortunate accident.” The movie of the same name with John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale also happens to be one of my favorites, but that’s another story.

These cupcakes I recently made are a perfect example of serendipitous-ness.

serendipitous sparkling.

serendipitous sparkling.

As I mentioned in my last post, I had been asked to make cupcakes for my friend’s daughter to bring to school. Well, truth be told, I made the cupcakes twice. The second batch was what my friend received. The first batch, upon first glance, did not meet my standards. First of all, they were rather small. I’m thinking that was due to two factors – 1. the baking cups were not filled enough, and 2. the batter was not whipped enough so there was not enough air in it so they didn’t puff as much as I would have liked. I ate one, and then forced my boyfriend to eat one too (ok, so there was no real “forcing” involved here). We both thought they tasted great. But I just couldn’t get past the look. They were like runts of a cupcake litter. And if my standards are not met, they shall not pass into the hands of others.

the big pink.

the not-so-big pink.

Or so I thought.

Because I refuse to ever throw perfectly good cake away, I packed them up and put them in the fridge, hoping to find a good use for them. I settled on bringing them in to my office as a random surprise treat. I wanted to make a batch of lemon buttercream as I’d been daydreaming about it all week, so this was the perfect excuse. I also felt like making them pretty. So I colored the icing pink, and threw on some sparkles to give them that extra something fabulous.

glitter on the cupcake.

glitter on the cupcake.

As I was decorating them, I started thinking “heck, these ain’t so bad after all.” Sure, they’re small, but maybe that’s just fine. Once they were iced and sprinkled, I figured I’d better eat another one, you know, just to make sure they were ok. And they were. A little more than ok, as a matter of fact.

The funny thing – everyone loved them. Some even went as far commenting on how these were the perfect sized cupcake. I guess maybe I’m on the right track with this “Small Indulgences” thing. It’s really NOT the size that counts, after all.

Recipe: Cinnamon Banana Maple Cupcakes.

“I even picked all of the chocolate chips off of the paper after I finished the cupcake. There may have been a bit of paper stuck to some of them. Oh well!” 

That’s the sign of a good cupcake – if you’re willing to risk eating the paper. And these cupcakes apparently were paper-eating-worthy.

maple cupcake open

worth the risk.

I made them because a friend suggested it – she wanted a banana maple cake, and thought I could make a pretty good one. I was flattered, and of course, accepted the challenge with open arms (and oven).

“The cupcake was piquant, thanks.”  

No, thank YOU for eating. There was other feedback  along these lines, but most with some unsuitable for posting expletives used to stress the deliciousness experienced….

pretty and piquant.

pretty and piquant.

I modified an existing coffee cake recipe of mine, including the addition of maple syrup and a packet of banana flavored oatmeal. I substituted the eggs with white vinegar (my new favorite baking trick) and topped it with a maple buttercream, based on my Signature Buttercream, but, like the cake, with the addition of maple syrup.

“The icing is amazzzzzzzzzing.”

I guess it worked. 🙂

fabulously frosted.

fabulously frosted.

Anyway, because they were such a hit with the masses, I’m going to share the recipe with you now, so you, too, can win friends and influence people with delectable desserts and captivating cupcakes.

“These are really friggin’ good.”

Heck yeah, they are. Now go wash my car and fold my laundry, and maybe you can have another… 😉

two for the road.

two for the road.

Of course I’m kidding. But I’m not kidding about how good they are – see for yourself!

Cinnamon Banana Maple Cupcakes.

What you’ll need:

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 tblsp white vinegar

3 tsp canola oil

1 cup flour

3 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 packet banana oatmeal

1/2 cup half and half

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 cup cinnamon chips

What You’ll Do:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar, white vinegar, and canola oil. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and oatmeal, and add to the sugar/vinegar/oil. Mix until just combined, and add the milk and maple syrup. Mix well. Fold in the cinnamon chips. Line a cupcake tin with paper liners, and fill each about halfway. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Makes about a dozen cupcakes.

 Maple Buttercream Frosting. (*this recipe is measured all in weight,except for the maple syrup)

What you’ll need:

8 oz butter (softened)

4 oz shortening

1 lb 4 oz confectioners sugar

1/4 cup maple syrup

What you’ll do:

Cream together the butter, shortening, and sugar. Add maple syrup. If you’d like a thinner frosting, add water, a very little bit at a time until desired consistency is reached.

Recipe Monday Night: Pumpkin Mousse Cake.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a recipe…mostly because I haven’t been creating any new ones lately. Sure, I’ve been baking my nights away as usual; however I’d been mostly doing things I’ve baked previously, with maybe a slight variation, but nothing I felt was worthy of its own dedicated recipe post on the blog. Until tonight. Over the weekend, I decided to create a pumpkin mousse cake. The blueprint in my mind was a one layer brown sugar-based vanilla cake with cinnamon chips, sliced into three thin layers, with two layers of pumpkin mousse in between, and topped with a very light pumpkin butter cream. And lo and behold, the finished product was exactly that. I had recipes that I created already for the cake and the buttercream to work off of, but I needed a good recipe for the mousse. I found one here that I liked very much, and made some modifications, as you’ll see below. Anyway, the cake was a hit, and would certainly be the perfect topper to any warm meal on a cool fall night.

top that.

Pumpkin Mousse Cake.

What you’ll need for the Mousse:

15 oz  pumpkin puree

1 cup half and half

3/4 cups granulated sugar

3/4 teaspoons cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups chilled heavy cream

What you’ll do for the mousse:

In a medium saucepan, stir together the pumpkin, half and half, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg, over medium heat. The mixture will soon start to “pop” – as soon as it does, start stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes. If you walk away and let it keep “popping,” you will wind up with spots of pumpkin everywhere. Trust me on this. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Let the mix cool for about 20 minutes, then chill for about an hour. Whip the heavy cream to stiff peaks. Fold 1/3 of the chilled pumpkin mix into the cream, mixing until streaky. Fold in the remaining 2/3, until well blended. Refrigerate until ready to use.

chillin’.

What you’ll need for the cake:

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1 egg

1 tablespoon oil

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 cup AP flour

1/2 cup half and half

1/3 cup pumpkin puree

2 cups cinnamon chips

What you’ll do for the cake:

Preheat oven to 350° F.  Mix sugar, egg, oil and pumpkin in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. Add to egg mixture, alternately with the half and half. Fold in the cinnamon chips. Grease an 8″ round, and bake for about 18-22 minutes, or until cake pulls away from sides of pan, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

totally baked.

What you’ll need for the pumpkin buttercream:

8 oz butter (room temperature)

2 tablespoons pumpkin puree

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 cups confectioners sugar

1 tablespoon half and half

What you’ll do for the buttercream:

In a large mixing bowl, mix together the butter, pumpkin, cinnamon and vanilla until light and fluffy. Blend in 1 cup of confectioner’s sugar at a time. Add the milk, mix well.

what lies beneath.

To assemble the cake, slice the cake itself into three thin horizontal layers. Place one on a cake board, top with about 1/2″ layer of pumpkin mousse. Place the second layer of cake on top, and add another 1/2″ layer of pumpkin mousse. Place the third layer on top (make sure this layer has the smoothest top, as it will be the one that gets iced). Fill in any gaps around the side with mousse, smoothing as you go. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes before icing the cake. Ice it with the pumpkin buttercream, and add a border of cinnamon chips. Keep cake refrigerated until ready to serve.

We All Scream for Sour Cream.

I love experimenting with recipes – it may be one of my absolute favorite pastimes. So this weekend, I really wanted to try a new icing – a sour cream-based buttercream. I just needed the perfect cake to test it out on. It was kinda like getting a brand new pair of shoes and planning your outfit around them, rather than getting dressed first and choosing the shoes to match. I had my heart set on this new icing. So I picked up this tub of sour cream, and thought, “well I’m sure not gonna use this whole thing; I hope I can figure out another use before it goes bad.” And like a bolt of lighting to the brain, it hit me  – red velvet cake calls for sour cream in the recipe. Eureka! I’ve found my test cake!

I quickly went to work, and whipped up a batch of red velvet mini cupcakes, then proceeded to use almost all of the remaining sour cream for the icing. The result? One of the most-loved desserts I’ve created, to-date.

what comes is better than what came before.