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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.

Cornbread Muffins *Gluten Free!*

There are some common, easy to spot clues that tell you it’s September, that fall is finally here! Kids are going back to school, leaves are just about to start their turning to oranges and reds, pumpkin spice takes over the world…

GF Cornbread Muffins

GF Cornbread Muffins

Yeah, that doesn’t happen in Southern California. The kids have been back in school since mid-August. All of our foliage is a wonderfully uniform shade of brown (thank you severe drought). Pumpkin spice–okay that has already started to take over. It’s unfortunate that we don’t get four seasons (I like to joke that LA has two seasons: Hot and Less Hot), but at the same time it means that we can still have cookouts through til October 😉

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!

White Chocolate Chip Scones

Basic doesn’t always mean plain or boring or bland or simple or unsophisticated or straightforward or adequate or unadorned or spartan or…okaaaayy I need to stop using the thesaurus because half of those synonyms aren’t even making sense anymore. I guess I just want to instill in you that an easy recipe of 6 ingredients with only a few minutes of real work can be amazing.  Because it can be. I only speak the truth 😉

White Chocolate Chip Scones

White Chocolate Chip Scones

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.

I’m Back! And with Nondairy Coconut Cookie Bars

I had a moment earlier yesterday. I was on the phone with Mother Dearest agonizing over the cupcake menu for an office party I’m dessert catering in two weeks, when it occurred to me that I hadn’t posted a recipe in a little while. And, I mean, if a baking blogger is going to bake a bunch of desserts for some outside reason, the only logical thing to do would be double duty them and share the recipes on her blog, right?

Right. Knew we were on the same page.

Nondairy Coconut Cookie Bars

Nondairy Coconut Cookie Bars

Chocolate Dipped Thumbprint Cookies

I seem to be in a “Let’s half dip everything in chocolate!” mood lately. Is there some Freudian explanation for that? Some hidden meaning behind wanting my cookies to all take a dunk in melted cocoa? Is it a sign of something? Like when women get pregnant and they know before the tests confirm it because they have these weird cravings for pickles and ice cream (I am definitely not pregnant by the way, for anyone who just freaked out there for a second). What does this dipping in chocolate obsession mean??

Chocolate Dipped Thumbprint Cookies

Chocolate Dipped Thumbprint Cookies

Oh I know! (1) That I have a borderline pathological need to make recipes more delicious by making them more complicated or adding extra steps (2) Everything looks cuter when half of it is covered in chocolate. Phew! Glad we figured that out.

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