Articles

Review: Sweet Butter Kitchen

It’s only a few days away from Thanksgiving and I’ve already begun my meal prep. No, I’m not crazy (okay yeah I am), but when you have 14 people coming over and you are so obsessive-compulsive that you have to make EVERYTHING from scratch, believe me it is a multi-day process. Thankfully–no pun intended–I have my parents to take on the roles of Sous Chef and Grillmaster. (We are actually smoking one turkey so calling my dad the Grillmaster is completely accurate.)

With all this hustle and bustle of preparation, I can forget to take a rest. What better way to do that than sitting down to a makeshift afternoon tea with my mom? You’re right! Reviewing it for the blog IS better.

So we decided to pick up a selection from Sweet Butter Kitchen and check out how their baked goods stack up.

about sweet butter kitchen

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 Cider Scones

I’m going to Disneyland today! Confession: I go a lot. Like a lot a lot. Like “I am a Disney addict” lot. But today is a special trip because we are heading off to the Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party! It’s a special event made even more special by the sheer amount of cool people watching opportunities and the exclusive fireworks show. But about that people watching…

Apple Cider Scones

Apple Cider Scones

Normally I am not a huge dress up in costume kind of girl, but I love admiring all the guests’ creative costumes! My favorite are the full family costumes like the family I saw last year with the mom as the Queen of Hearts, the dad as the White Rabbit, the son as the Chesire Cat, and the little daughter was Alice. Cue the “awwww” moment. This year my mom and I are actually dressing up (last year I just made us Halloween hats) and I can’t wait to show off Mom’s amazing sewing skills with my dress 😀

Congratulations Kershaw Cupcakes GO BLUE!

Sometimes, I am a walking, talking stereotype. (1) I love Disney (2) I’m in LA pursuing acting (3) I am a proud Dodger fan (4) Clayton Kershaw is my absolute favorite player. Can you blame me? I mean he is only one of the best pitchers to come out of baseball since…ever. And he comes across as such a genuine and humble person and having personally known my fair share of professional baseball players/athletes in general, I appreciate the rarity of someone like that.

IMG_7603_FotorThis past Sunday was the last game of the regular season and my mom and I sat in her car listening to the radio (damn you Time Warner) just to hear Kershaw break 300 strikeouts. 300 STRIKEOUTS! For you non-baseball fans, that’s a pretty incredible accomplishment. Needless to say we were super excited for him. And the Dodgers in general.

And hence we have these Congratulations Kershaw! baseball cupcakes. I really will take any excuse to bake! This post is all about the story behind the cupcakes–which you just read–and showing a fun way to decorate cupcakes. The recipe is just my basic but delicious vanilla cupcake with basic but delicious vanilla frosting. It’s so easy! Just spread a smooth layer of frosting over the cupcakes and pipe red lines to match the laces on a baseball. I used leftover red frosting in a tube with a Wilton 3 tip.

While I made and photographed these on Sunday, all ready to share them with you because no one should have to wait for cupcakes, my camera decided to take a vacation and I had to borrow my friend’s computer to get this picture to you. Just in time for post-season to start tomorrow! Let’s go Dodgers, let’s go!

And a personal note to Kershaw: Thanks for so much entertainment this season and all the rest :)

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.

Review: Funfetti Scones at Buttercelli Bakeshop

Funfetti scones are one of my specialties. I make them for every occasion, every holiday, every goodie basket of baked goods, and I’ll probably put them on every second tea tier until people yells “Stop! We are sick of Funfetti Cake Batter Scones!” Says no one, ever. Who could ever get sick of cake batter?

So when I stopped by Buttercelli Organic Bakeshop and saw Funfetti scones, I knew I had to try one and see how they compared. And come on, I’ll use any excuse to have sprinkles at breakfast. I ordered one gluten-free funfetti scone and a coffee and sat outside to conduct my taste test.

Funfetti Scones from Buttercelli Bakeshop

Funfetti Scones from Buttercelli Bakeshop

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.

    %d bloggers like this: