Articles

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bread and Muffins

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Muffins

Last year I hinted at a future incarnation of my Pumpkin Cinnamon Chip Cheesecake Bread and I am nothing if not a keeper of promises. Though, this is probably not a promise you all remembered from one little post in November 2014, but just in case one of you did remember and has spent the last 12 months anxiously awaiting that new, equally delicious version of that loaf cake I have now kept my promise!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Muffins

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Muffins

That previous pumpkin bread recipe was so perfect that it would’ve been borderline sacrilegious to alter it too much. With a thick, rich pumpkin flavor countered by creamy, tangy cheesecake layer, this bread was an instant favorite for the fall holiday season. And what is the one additional flavor that makes everything better? Yep. Chocolate!

Apple Cinnamon Mini Cupcakes with Salted Caramel and Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Yeah the name of this recipe is a mouthful, which is ironic considering it will take you only two mouthfuls maximum to eat one of these mini cupcakes. I spent a lot of time tonight debating which recipe to share with you, and really nothing felt right. It felt too early to start posting the Halloween or pumpkin recipes; it felt too late to post more cornbread muffin recipes that are perfect for cookouts. I mean, technically it is Fall, but when the month of September is hotter than the month of July you have a hard time believing that the season has changed. Believe it or not, this creates some serious problems for blog post planning.

Apple Cinnamon Mini Cupcakes with Salted Caramel and Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Apple Cinnamon Mini Cupcakes with Salted Caramel and Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Okay, so…how about something apple? Apples are a favorite fall fruit, but they also evoke the last few moments of summer (because you give apples to teachers when school starts). Apples are the perfect solution to my seasonal baking dilemma. Crisis averted–tastebuds happy.

Cookies n’ Cream Mini Cupcakes

Hello, my name is Jenna and I am an over-complicater. (Did you all just answer “Hello Jenna”?) I refuse to use prepackaged baking mixes. I am aghast if my mom suggests I buy candied pecans instead of making my own. I have pulled myself back from the brink of wanting to grind my own flour and grow my own sugar cane! No, but seriously, I thought about it for 15 seconds.

Cookies n' Cream Mini Cupcakes

Cookies n’ Cream Mini Cupcakes

The funny thing is, when many of my friends come to me asking for advice on making cakes, if they have never baked before or are just novices at it, I wholeheartedly suggest they use a cake mix. Whoops. Guess I hold myself to an impossibly high standard in baking as well as in…….hey, I heard you say “everything”. But yes, everything.

Vanilla Cake with Strawberry Banana Filling

Vanilla Cake with Strawberry Banana Filling

Vanilla Cake with Strawberry Banana Filling

When I was a kid, I always loved banana splits. (Hold on Mom, I know I never had banana split, I’m about to clarify.) Or more accurately (see what I did there, Mom?) I loved the idea and the look of banana splits. I’m pretty sure it all had to do with my favorite Curious George book and the massive ice cream sundae that adorable monkey made.

I’ll admit, I still have never had a true banana split. I did finally have banana split flavored ice cream and loved it, so I’m going to assume it’s basically the same thing. It’s the banana split that was the original inspiration for this cake, until I forgot a few of my planned modifications and turned a banana split cake into…Vanilla Cake with Strawberry Banana Filling. Just goes to show you that sometimes mistakes still result in a delicious cake. (And I’m not giving up on my banana split cake, just you wait.)

Vanilla Cake with Strawberry Banana Filling...ON DISPLAY!

Vanilla Cake with Strawberry Banana Filling…ON DISPLAY!

Fun fact about this cake: This was my first cake sold in the US! I baked and sold a few breakfast cakes in my favorite coffee shop in England, but this is the first time I had a cake on display in a coffee shop here in LA. Steampunk Kitchen and Coffee Bar, of the standout afternoon tea fame, became the home of the Vanilla Cake with Strawberry Banana Filling, but only for a short while as it was all sold by 2 pm. Thanks for the encouragement and support Steampunk!

This cake does have a fair number of steps when it comes to assembly, but I promise the baking part is nothing more challenging than my found-tried-and-true vanilla cupcake recipe and vanilla buttercream frosting. I’ve put in step-by-step assembly pics for you!

Here it is: a delightful mistake? A twist on a classic flavor combination? Doesn’t matter, just grab a fork and get ready to smile!

Vanilla Cake with Strawberry Banana Filling

Vanilla Cake with Strawberry Banana Filling

vanilla cake with strawberry banana filling

ingredients

INGREDIENTS FOR CAKE

  • 5 cups (630 grams) cake flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ cups (3 sticks) butter, melted
  • 3 cups (600 grams) ultrafine baking sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • ¾ cup (180 mL) vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 2 ¼ cup (540 mL) milk
  • 6 tsp vanilla extract
  • chopped or sliced strawberries
  • 2 sliced bananas
  • 1 bag mini chocolate chips

INGREDIENTS FOR FROSTING (makes one batch)

  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3-4 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 3-5 tbsp heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
directions

Preheat oven to 350°F. Prep three 8-in round cake pans with shortening spray (nonstick baking spray), parchment paper, and wet cake straps.

Make the cake batter in three batches (trust me). For each batch, whisk 1 2/3 cup (210 grams) cake flour, ½ tsp baking powder, ¼ tsp baking soda, and ½ tsp salt together in a medium mixing bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk together ½ cup (1 stick) melted butter, 1 cup ultrafine baking sugar, 1 egg, ¼ cup yogurt, ¾ cup milk, and 2 tsp vanilla extract. Whisk until well combined. Slowly add the dry ingredients, scraping down the sides as needed, combining until no lumps remain.

Pour 2 ½ cups cake batter into pan. Repeat with remaining 2/3 of the ingredients. You can use the leftover batter to make a few mini cupcakes. Bake for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Then place in the refrigerator to cool fully before frosting.

Make the frosting. Beat the softened butter in the stand mixer for 1 minute, until fluffy. Add 3 cups powdered sugar and beat for an additional minute. Add the heavy cream, vanilla, and salt and beat on high for 2 minutes. Add additional cream to thin out this batch of frosting (to frost the entire cake you’ll need a second, thicker batch).

Assemble the cake. Remove the cakes from the refrigerator, turn out onto cutting surface. Trim the tops of the cakes so they will stack evenly and straight. Place one cake layer on a board. Spread a thick layer of the thinned batch of frosting over the cake, then top with half the strawberries and 1 sliced banana. Repeat with a second layer of cake, frosting, and fruit. Top with final cake layer.

IMG_5717_Fotor_Fotor_CollageUse the remainder of the thinned frosting to crumb coat the cake and fill in any holes. Place assembled cake back into the refrigerator so the crumb coat will harden while you make a second, thicker batch of frosting.

Apply a thick layer of frosting smoothly over the cake. Press mini chocolate chips onto the sides of the cake. Decorate with remaining frosting and fruit as desired!

Oreo Layer Cake with Cookies n’ Cream Frosting

Baking is my go-to stress reliever (shocking, right?). And sometimes simply baking isn’t enough. Sometimes, you just need to bake something unique and time-consuming and multi-stepped and completely of your own recipe ideas. And you need it to work perfectly the first time.

Oreo Layer Cake with Cookies n' Cream Frosting

Oreo Layer Cake with Cookies n’ Cream Frosting

That’s not a tall order, is it?

Strawberry Sconecakes

This has been a disappointing year in the strawberry department for me. I’ve had the raved about Harry’s Berries….once.  See, this is my second strawberry season out of my parents’ house and I weirdly haven’t seen my parents all that much this past month. Typically during strawberry season, visits to parents=raiding the refrigerator for Harry’s Berries. No visits–no strawberries.

Strawberry Sconecakes

Strawberry Sconecakes

Hopefully you are not having a similarly barren strawberry season because some of the best desserts have my favorite fruit! Nothing can’t be improved with a side of strawberries, or with incorporated strawberries, or built around strawberries, or ohmygod I need strawberries. Sorry. Back on topic.

Apple Layer Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Growing up, apple pie was my favorite dessert. Yeah I’d eat cake or cookies or ice cream, but if you put a slice of apple pie in front of me, you’d be my best friend for life–or at least until someone else gave me a slice of pie. My love even went as far as having an apple pie instead of a birthday cake for my 13th birthday party.

Apple Layer Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Apple Layer Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

I should have made this cake that day, since it is the best of both worlds, a hybrid of apple pie and the best cake I’ve ever tasted. And I make a lot of cakes. If only I had come up with this recipe back then! Alas I wasn’t such a crazy baker back in my tween years so I had to wait a decade to develop the perfect apple pie cake.

Sweet Potato Pound Cake with Brown Butter Glaze

I’m feeling this weird stress and anxiety about Thanksgiving, but not for the reasons anyone would expect. It’s not the idea of a full day of cooking everything from scratch (down to the candied pecans for the salad…yeah I’m that girl) or the trying to reach that perfect balance between new exciting recipes and old classic recipes. It’s not even spending a night with my family (and those of you who know me outside of my blog know what I’m talking about!).

Sweet Potato Pound Cake with Brown Butter Glaze

Sweet Potato Pound Cake with Brown Butter Glaze

All my stress and anxiety about Thanksgiving…it’s because I have too many amazing recipes I want to share with you that will no longer be socially appropriate after the 27th. So many recipes, so little time. Hey! It’s a serious problem! And what’s worse is that I just want to keep baking more and more and end up adding four more recipes to my already overflowing queue.

Review: The T Room

It all started when some friends and myself needed food after a round of mini golf and found ourselves driving past a tearoom that wasn’t on my To Review list. So when my best friend and fellow tea aficionado came back from a trip to England, what better way to catch up than over afternoon tea at this little find?

DSC04875

First Impressions and Service

4th of July Scones

Remember how I said that the best part about my funfetti scones is that you can make them for any and all holidays? Get ready!

4th of July Funfetti Scones

4th of July Funfetti Scones

Need something quick to make to for that 4th of July get-together you forgot was today? Swing by the grocery store for red, white, and blue sprinkles and make a batch of 4th of July Funfetti Scones! Just use my funfetti scone recipe and use the patriotic sprinkles.

Don’t they look AMAZING!

4th of July Funfetti Scones

4th of July Funfetti Scones

    %d bloggers like this: