Category Archives: cakes and cupcakes

Vanilla Bean Cake with Vanilla Bean Meringue Buttercream Frosting

Screen shot 2014-01-02 at 3.31.27 PM My mom loves vanilla cake so I decided to make her a special vanilla bean cake for her birthday.  This cake will turn chocolate cake lovers into vanilla cake lovers.  It is extremely light and bursting with vanilla flavor.  It is very refreshing!

Ingredients:

Cake

  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  •  ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons of vanilla bean paste (5 vanilla beans)

Frosting

  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
  • 4 sticks of butter
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • Vanilla bean paste from 2 vanilla beans

Directions:

Cake

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Prepare 2 or 3 9 inch round cake pans with non-stick spray.  I did two so I could freeze the batter and use it later!
  3. Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Add eggs one at a time.
  5. Mix on medium for about 10 minutes for until very fluffy.
  6. In a separate bowl mix together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  7. Alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk into the egg mixture.  Mixing on low.
  8. Take out the paste from the vanilla beans and add it to the batter.
  9. Add the vanilla extract.
  10. Mix on medium until all is incorporated.
  11.  Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
  12.  Let cool before frosting.

Frosting:

  1. Combine sugar and egg whites with a mixer.
  2. Put egg mixture into a pot and put on medium high heat.
  3. Whisk mixture for about 5 minutes until sugar has dissolved.
  4. Then bring back to stand mixer after the midrange has cooled.
  5. Mix for about 10 minutes until light and fluffy.
  6. Add butter one tablespoon at a time.
  7. Add vanilla and vanilla bean past.
  8. Frost cake and garnish with fresh raspberries.

This cake is extremely light and special.

Enjoy!

Lizzie

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Tiramisu Cake

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I wanted to make a special cake for my mom’s birthday, and ever since her trip to Italy last year, she has been into tiramisu.  I figured making a tiramisu cake would be a nice alternative to the usual chocolate or vanilla birthday cake.

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Ingredients

For the Cake:

  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ¼ sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup buttermilk

For the espresso extract:

  • 2 tablespoons instant espresso power
  • 2 tablespoons boiling water

For the espresso syrup:

  • ½ cup water
  • 1/3 cup sugar

For the filling and frosting:

  • 2 8-ounce containers of mascarpone cheese
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup cold heavy cream
  • 2 ½ ounces of semisweet chocolate finely chopped

Directions

For the Cake:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Butter two 9 inch round cake pans.
  3. Beat butter until creamy.
  4. Add sugar and continue to beat.
  5. Add eggs one by one and then the yolk while mixing.
  6. Add vanilla.
  7. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk, adding the dry ingredients in 3 parts and the buttermilk in 2.
  8. Pour one half of cake batter in each pan and bake for 30 minutes.

For the extract and syrup:

  1. Stir the espresso powder and boiling water together until blended.
  2. Stir the water and sugar together in a saucepan.
  3. Bring sugar water to a boil.
  4. Remove from heat and add extract.
  5. Once the cakes have cooled pour 1/3 of the espresso syrup on top of each layer.

For the filling and frosting:

  1. Mix the mascarpone, sugar, and vanilla together in a bowl until smooth.
  2. In a separate bowl whisk the heavy cream until it forms peaks.
  3. Fold in the heavy cream to the mascarpone mixture.
  4. Frost each layer and add the semisweet chocolate between the layers.
  5. Assemble the cake and frost the outsides.
  6. Dust with coco powder and top with extra chocolate.

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My mom loved this cake.  It was full of flavor and very refreshing!

This recipe was adapted from Smitten Kitchen and can be found here.

Enjoy!

— Lizzie

PS: Follow us on instagram @textbooksandteacakes for lots of yummy food photos!

New York Chocolate Cheesecake

My family went to our family friends house for a father’s day party and I was put on dessert duty.  I have wanted to make chocolate cheesecake for a while and when I mentioned it to my dad his face lit up with joy.  This recipe is taken from Emeril Lagasse who is my favorite food network star.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups of chocolate wafers
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 ½ (8 ounce) packages of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
  2. Grease the bottom of your 9-inch spring form pan.
  3. Crumble chocolate wafers
  4. In a bowl mix wafers, powdered sugar, and melted butter together.
  5. Press crumb mixture into the bottom of the pan, this is your crust.
  6. In a large mixing bowl beat cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract, and vanilla bean seeds until mixture is creamy.
  7. Add flour to mixture
  8. Melt chocolate and once the chocolate has come to room temperature add to the cream cheese mixture.
  9. Add sour cream
  10. Add eggs 1 at a time mixing on low
  11. Bake for 1 hour or until center is almost set.
  12. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.

Everyone at the party could not stop raving about this rich desert.  I will definitely have to make it again!

Enjoy!,

Lizzie

PS: I apologize I forgot to take a picture of the whole cake before half of it was eaten!

Mint Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

My friend’s mom brought cupcakes to one of our lacrosse games this spring.  I saw a cupcake with green frosting and a chocolate cake.  I assumed it was a mint chocolate chip cupcake and I was right.  The cupcake was so good that I knew I needed to try to make them once I got home from boarding school.  Now that it’s summer I gave these a try and they were a hit!  I made chocolate cupcakes from The Hummingbird Bakery cookbook and a mint cream cheese frosting.  I then garnished the cupcakes with semi sweet chocolate chips.

Ingredients:

Chocolate Cupcake:

  • ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 ½ tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

(This recipe makes 12 cupcakes)

Mint Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 8 ounces of cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 2 teaspoons of peppermint extract
  • 4 tablespoons of butter (room temperature)
  • 3 cups powered sugar
  • Green food coloring

Directions:

For the Cupcakes:

  1. Preheat oven to 3250F
  2. Combine flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, salt, and butter in a bowl.
  3. Whisk the milk, egg, and vanilla together in a separate bowl.
  4. Pour half of milk mixture into flour mixture and combine with a mixer on medium.  Once combined, add the second half of the milk mixture and combine.
  5. Spoon batter into cupcake holes until the batter fills 2/3 of the cupcake pan.
  6. Bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until the cake is firm and a tooth pick comes out clean.

Make sure you let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting them.

For the Frosting:

  1. Combine cream cheese, butter, and sugar in a bowl with a mixer on medium.
  2. Once fully combined add the peppermint extract and food coloring until the frosting is the green color you desire.

I love these and I hope you will as well!

Enjoy!,

Lizzie

Healthy Dark Chocolate Brownies (No, really. I’m serious.)

I came across this recipe on Pinterest (one of my newest addictions) and was immediately skeptical. The brownies in the photo looked absolutely delicious, but the vegan recipe (made without butter, oil, or eggs) called for black beans as it’s replacement ingredient. What? This wasn’t possible. You could not make a brownie with a can of black beans and have it taste good.

So I decided to test my theory. As good as the brownies might look, I figured they would taste disgusting. The recipe makes a lot of batter, so I end up spreading it out over two smaller pans and baking thinner brownies, which was fine.

And, here’s the crazy part. They tasted good. Not even decent, as in, “meh, okay, I guess I’ll eat them cause they’re there.” They were yummy and totally moist and delicious! They’re a bit more cake-like than the average brownie, and lighter, but that’s totally fine with me because they taste awesome and are way better for you than regular brownies. I totally recommend trying this recipe out! Believe me, it works.

Dark Chocolate Brownies (adapted from Farmgirl Gourmet)

Ingredients

  • 1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and filled with new water
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour or all purpose
  • 2 1/4 cups raw sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup dark cocoa powder
  • 4 tsp instant coffee powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup nuts or chocolate chips, optional

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Drain a can of black beans and rinse thoroughly until the water runs clear.  Return the black beans back to the can and fill with water.  Purée the beans and water.  Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, cocoa powder, coffee power, salt and baking powder.  Add the black bean puree, vanilla and water to the dry ingredients and stir just until incorporated.  Don’t over mix.
  4. Pour batter into a greased 9×13 pan.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, rotating the pan around halfway through. They should be almost firm in the center.
  5. Let brownies cool completely then cut into 24 squares.

Still don’t believe me? Try them. I dare you.

— Halie

Red Velvet Cheesecake Cake Pops

After all the buzz about cake pops I figured I should try to make them myself, and after searching for recipes I think Red Velvet Cheesecake Cake Pops proved to be a winner.  These cake pops are extremely rich.  I ended up using the whole red velvet cake while the recipe only calls for half so, I made both red velvet cake pops and red velvet cheesecake cake pops.

Ingredients

  • 1 box of red velvet cake mix (1/4-1/2 cup vegetable oil if using box mix)
  • 1 cup of store bought cream cheese frosting
  • 7-inch cheesecake
  • 24 ounces of white chocolate

Feel free to use my earlier post on red velvet cake and cream cheese frosting to substitute into the recipe.

You will also need about 30 lollipop sticks.  I just used barbeque skewers that I cut in half.

Directions

  1. Bake the red velvet cake as instructed but make sure to separate into two pans.
  2. Once the cakes are done cool completely.
  3. Put one layer of the cake in a bowl with ½ cup of the frosting.
  4. Mix until fully combined.
  5. Make mixture into ½ inch balls and place on a baking sheet.
  6. Repeat with the other layer of cake.
  7. Place these baking sheets into the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  8. Place the cheesecake in a bowl and mash up until its consistency is smooth.
  9. Take the cake balls out of the refrigerator and cover with a layer of the cheesecake.
  10. Place the balls back into the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  11. Melt the white chocolate using a double boiler
  12. Put a stick in each cake pop and then use the stick to help cover the cake ball in white chocolate.
  13. Let chocolate outside harden

These cake pops are time-consuming but they are well worth it!  I ended up only having enough cheesecake to cover half of my cake pops.  The other half became just regular red velvet cake pops.  After I had one of these I knew I couldn’t keep them all for my family and myself, so I went out and delivered handfuls to three of my friends and their families.  Since these are so decadent they are perfect to share!

Enjoy!
— Lizzie

Semisweet Chocolate Cake Layered with Vanilla Cream Filling and Covered with Chocolate Ganache

I promised my sister I would make her a cake for her birthday this December.  This cake was extremely delicious!  It is, however, a very time consuming cake it took me almost four hours to make, but don’t let that scare you because the result was fabulous!

Ingredients

Cake:

  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • ¾ cup flour
  • ¾ cup cake flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 ¾ cups dark brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons of unsalted, room temperature butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾ cup buttermilk

Vanilla Cream Filling:

  • 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
  • 1 ½ cups whipping cream
  • ¼ cup powered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Chocolate Ganache:

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 18 ounces of chopped semisweet chocolate

Directions

For the Cake:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 325°F
  2. Grease three 8-inch cake pans
  3. Melt chocolate by placing a metal or glass bowl over a simmering pot of water.  Make sure to keep stirring the chocolate until fully melted and don’t leave the chocolates side it can easily get angry and burn!
  4. In one bowl whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and kosher salt together.
  5. In a second bowl, using a mixer, beat together the sugar, butter, and vanilla.
  6. Add eggs one at a time.
  7. Beat in warm chocolate.
  8. Whisk in dry ingredients and buttermilk alternating ½ dry mixture, ½ buttermilk.
  9. Divide batter among the three pans and bake for about 23 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean!

(Heads up, the batter for these cakes is very light and has a texture of almost whipped cream.  Don’t be alarmed if it doesn’t seem like normal runny cake batter!  See the picture below).

For the Cream Filling:

  1. Put 2 tablespoons of cold water in a small bowl and sprinkle the unflavored gelatin over the water.  Let this stand for 10 minutes.
  2. Bring the ½ cup of cream to a boil in a saucepan.
  3. Add the hot cream to the gelatin and stir until dissolved.
  4. Place the bowl in the refrigerator until cold stirring every 5 minutes.
  5. Place the remaining 1 cup of cold cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer until peaks form.
  6. Place a cake bottom up and use ½ of the mixture for each layer.

Refrigerate the cake for 2 hours before putting the cooled chocolate ganache on it.

For the Chocolate Ganache:

  1. Bring the cream and syrup to a simmer in a small pot.  Remove from heat and whisk in chocolate until cool.
  2. Pour over cake.

Since my sister’s name is Jessica, I decided to decorate the cake with a powdered sugar J.  I cut a J out of wax paper.  I then placed the wax paper over the cake and simply sprinkled powered sugar over the paper.  When I removed the paper it created a very pretty J.  This technique can be used for any shape or letter you please, which is why I think this cake is perfect for special occasions!

My whole family loved this cake.  It’s sort of like an homage to the Oreo.  I encourage you to try this when you have the time!

Enjoy!,

Lizzie

Recipe from epicurious.com.