Posts Tagged 'cake'

Favorite Shots: Obsessed

fudge cake 7

“I am obsessed with this cake.”

A phrase I said several times after instagramming this cake once but nearly instagramming it three times. I restrained myself.

This shot is the closest I have come to an instagrammed look in CS4. Cool.

I seriously love how this cake looked.

Ok. Get over yourself, Lauren. Ok. And get over this cake. No. Ok.


Pipe Dream #137: To Help A Girl Out – Blueberry Boy Bait

Be you single, taken or seeking, if you need to bait you some boys, this recipe suggests itself. And also suggest it. It’s pretty yummy.

May I also suggest this caramel praline bread pudding? How about some white chocolate vanilla bean cheesecake? Or potentially these chocolate chip cookies?

I guarantee their effect.



Just trying to help a girl out,


Blueberry Boy Bait

Adapted from Cook’s Country via smittenkitchen

Serves 12

For the cake:

2 cups plus 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
16 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (no need to defrost)

For the topping:

1/2 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (do not defrost)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine two cups of flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. With electric mixer, beat butter and sugars on medium-high speed until fluffy, about two minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just incorporated and scraping down bowl after each addition. Reduce mixer speed to medium and beat in one-third of flour mixture until incorporated, followed by half of the milk. Beat in half of the remaining flour mixture, then the remaining milk, and then the remaining flour mixture. Toss the blueberries with remaining one teaspoon flour, and gently fold them into the batter. Spread the batter into prepared pan.

For the topping:
Sprinkle the blueberries over top of batter. Combine the sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl and sprinkle that over the batter as well. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then turn out and place on serving platter. Serve warm or at room temperature. The cake will keep for 3 days stored in an airtight container.

Pipe Dream #127: To Survive Recital – Vanilla Mango Cake

I think probably over 50 percent of American kids take music lessons. Completely made up statistic, but when you live with a piano teacher, you get skewed perceptions of the musical world. Anyway, I’ve found that a common experience among kids my age is “The Recital,” a dreaded cacophony of sweaty children who may or may not have been practicing the minimum amount so that they would scrape by with their gold star. That is, I they practiced enough to earn a candy bar every month, but not quite enough to approach The Recital with complete confidence that they wouldn’t freeze halfway through their piece.

As the scheduled start time approaches, the chosen sanctuary/gymnasium/Dunn Bros (yes, I once witnessed a guitar teacher’s 15 kids give a group recital in a crowded coffee shop–not pretty) fills with anxious eyes and Easter Sunday outfits. The crowd is hushed, tense with anticipation. The only sound to be heard is the careful flip, flip, flip of sweat-stained sheet music (unless you’re at my mom’s recital, in which case, you can hear me and my friends giggling and scraping away at some Haydn quartet from the front).

Once the music begins, however, the tension eases somewhat. Cameras start clicking; toddlers start fidgeting; the coffee beans start grinding. Besides the dreadful silence as the kid who completely biffs it all walks off the stage, there is a general feeling of resigned-ness. Like, “Well, at least I wasn’t as bad as that guy,” or “I survived. Until next year then.”

This was the basic idea of this cake. The after-party is always the best part of any recital. People are overly happy because their worst nightmares have been nullified in about 60 minutes. My mum usually gets a cake from a local store, but I thought I could make a cheaper/better one. I used a fabulous vanilla cake recipe topped with a no fail swiss buttercream. What you haven’t seen before is the mango curd I used to fill the cake. I had some random frozen mango puree to use up, so I put it to task. I found the curd itself to be a little runny. Heaven knows why, though. Probably curd is supposed to be that consistency and/or I just messed it up somehow. :] Ah well. It tasted like nectar.

Relishing the discord,


Mango Curd
Adapted from smitten kitchen

Makes 1 to 1.5 cups

1 15-ounce ripe mango, peeled, pitted, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (I used key lime juice, expired)
Pinch of salt
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Puree mango, sugar, lime juice and salt in processor, scraping down sides of work bowl occasionally. Add yolks; puree 15 seconds longer. Strain through sieve set over large metal bowl, pressing on solids with back of spatula to release as much puree as possible. Discard solids in sieve.

Set metal bowl over saucepan of simmering water (do not allow bottom of bowl to touch water); whisk puree until thickened and thermometer registers 170°F., about 10 minutes. Remove from over water. Whisk in butter 1 piece at a time. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

I Got It Right (For Once): Summer Wedding Edition

I figured I should kick off August right. And what better way to seize the day than to post a wedding post? It is summer, after all. I did another cake for a friend’s wedding. And this wedding was pretty over-the-top for a number of reasons.

1) The couple is sweet awesome. (And when I say ‘sweet awesome,’ I mean that they are sweet in both senses of the word and that they love Jesus like whoa.)

2) They had a rad dance party. I mean, it was really something; even the mix was great. After weeks of planning this cake, I really let loose on the dance floor. (And when I say ‘let loose,’ I mean that I may have broken a sweat as I was breakin’ it down. But it was a really hot day too, so.)

3) The cake actually turned out so well. This is not even me bragging. I was astounded, given the number of mishaps I have had in the past. Like the time I flipped a whole box of cupcakes cruising down 94. Or that other time I drove two hours with a tiered and frosted cake. (Why, why did I think that would work?)

This time,  not a single thing went wrong. It was the best cake I have ever made. Ever. It was super moist. The frosting didn’t melt off. The portion sizes were perfect. I drove 50 minutes with all the cakes in a car that essentially has no shocks. (But it does get 50 miles to the gallon on average. Not that it helped me.) I was amazed. And after that, I had a really good time and was glad.

Kicking off August right,


P.S. Big big thank you to the girls who helped me cut the cake and to the staff that served it. You were all darlings.

Pipe Dream #3: To Make The Perfect Caramel, Revisited Again – Caramel Cake

Haha another caramel fail. I bet you were beginning to wonder what a caramel fail looks like. After all, I’ve only posted my successful caramel stories on this blog. Now you will know my true self.

This cake looked and sounded fabulous on smitten kitchen. Even though her caramel didn’t turn out as it was supposed to, either, it at least looked yummy. In my case, the caramel sauce tasted swell, but it looked like chunky puke. Chunky puke that was lovingly spread over a heart-shaped vanilla cake.

I really should have known that I would have problems. I had no heavy cream, so I used half and half instead and threw two tablespoons of butter into the pot, hoping to make the fat content similar to heavy cream. I used brown sugar I had made from scratch. And my candy thermometer was janked so I didn’t know if it was reading right, and I probably didn’t let it boil long enough. I can’t pinpoint the source of my problems, but I’m willing to bet the fail was due to one or all of those factors.

Moral of the story, always keep a gallon of heavy cream in your fridge in case of emergency.

The cake itself is actually quite good. It’s dense and richly flavored. The caramel will probs work out better for you, so don’t let these pictures deter you from what will surely be caramel-laden bliss.

Just fine and dandy,


Caramel Cake

Adapted from smitten kitchen

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature 30 minutes
1 cup well-shaken buttermilk

1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Equipment: a candy thermometer

Make the cake: Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Butter an 8-inch square cake pan and line with a square of parchment paper, then butter parchment. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. At low speed, beat in buttermilk until just combined (mixture may look curdled). Add flour mixture in 3 batches, mixing until each addition is just incorporated.

Spread batter evenly in cake pan, then rap pan on counter several times to eliminate air bubbles. Bake until golden and a wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then run a knife around edge of pan. Invert onto rack and discard parchment, then cool completely, about 1 hour.

Make the glaze: Bring cream, brown sugar, corn syrup, and a pinch of salt to a boil in a 1 1/2-quart heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Boil until glaze registers 210 to 212°F on thermometer, 12 to 14 minutes, then stir in vanilla.

Put rack with cake in a shallow baking pan and pour hot glaze over top of cake, allowing it to run down sides. Cool until glaze is set, about 30 minutes.

Do ahead: Cake (before glazing) can be made 1 day ahead and kept in an airtight container at room temperature.

Pipe Dream #64: Um…Chocolate – Flourless Chocolate Torte

I really didn’t know what to call this post except “Chocolate.” This whole recipe is saturated with chocolate. And ok, let’s be real, my whole life is saturated with chocolate. Or at least, I feel that it should be. Can I get an amen?

Also, I make a lot of ‘I feel’ statements. Like, “I’m feeling like you are in a bad mood,” or “I feel that I think that I possibly want to go on a bike ride.” Just thought I would tell you that. Anyway.

Actually, it was my dad’s birthday, so I felt like I should make something that he would like. It wasn’t a hard decision. In my dad’s eyes, chocolate is always a winner. I mean, he can pretend like he’s all healthy eating green shakes in the morning, but we all know where his true heart lies. And can I just say, there is a lot of chocolate in this recipe. You have to go all in and buy 23 whole ounces of the good stuff. But it is worth it, I promise. :]

There is real dark chocolate in the glaze. Also pictured, butter.

There is chocolate in the batter.

There is chocolate lining the very pan in which the cake is baked.

This recipe also includes fewlding in egg whites, which I don’t actually get. Usually, you fold in egg whites because you want your cake or what-have-you to be especially light. This torte is the opposite of especially light; it is like a fudge cake. So I don’t get why you fold in the egg whites, but whatevs. I did it. It turned out fine.

Bonus, this cake has the easiest frosting in the world. Just heat up the chocolate, and pour it over the cake. Ba-am. The golden apples were a little more time-consuming, but I’ll tell you about that some other time, like maybe later this week if I get the time. Hold your breath.

Suffice it to say that this torte was a cinch and my dad totally loved it. Print it, bake it, love it.

I feel,


Flourless Chocolate Torte

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Dessert, by Abigail Johnson Dodge (Simon & Schuster, 2002)

Serves 12-14…depending on how you slice it.

For the torte:

Unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting
15 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
18 Tbs. (2 1⁄4 sticks) unsalted butter,
cut into small pieces
7 egg yolks
9 Tbs. granulated sugar
1 1⁄2 Tbs. dark rum or brewed espresso (optional)
1 1⁄2 tsp. vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
5 egg whites, at room temperature
3 cups raspberries
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

For the glaze:

1/2 cup butter
8 oz chopped bittersweet chocolate
2 tablespoons light corn syrup


Preheat an oven to 300ºF. Grease a cake pan and dust with cocoa powder.In the top pan of a double boiler or a janky makeshift version of a double boiler. Sometimes I use a regular pan and a glass bowl…gets the job done. Combine the chocolate and butter. Set the top pan over simmering water and melt, then whisk until well blended. Set aside to cool a bit.In a large bowl, using an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat together the egg yolks, 6 tablespoons of the granulated sugar, the rum, vanilla and salt on medium-high speed until pale and very thick, 3 to 5 minutes. Graduallypour in the chocolate mixture and continue beating until well blended.In a deep bowl, using a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Make sure your bowl and beaters are very clean. Gradually add the remaining 3 tablespoons granulated sugar and continue to beat until medium-firm peaks form, about 2 minutes. Scoop half of the egg whites onto the chocolate mixture and fold them in gently. Fold in the remaining whites just until no streaks remain, so your cake doesn’t deflate. I find this hard to do without feeling like I’m overdoing it–you’ll probably be fine, though.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly. Bake until the torte puffs slightly and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out very moist but not liquid, about 40 minutes. This is tricky too, as Abigail warns us not to over-bake. Whatever. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 30 minutes.

Remove the torte from the pan and let it cool completely, then cover and refrigerate until very cold, at least 4 hours or up to overnight.
To glaze the torte, combine butter, cut into 4 pieces, and chocolate in the top of a double boiler. Set over simmering water and melt, then whisk until blended. Remove from the heat and whisk in the corn syrup until smooth and glossy. Set the cold cake on a wire rack over a large plate or baking sheet. Slowly pour the warm glaze over the center of the cake. The glaze should cover the surface evenly, but feel free to help it along to be even. I spent a devil of a time wiping off my cake plate after I glazed it so the excess would look even. No, I’ve never been a perfectionist.

Pipe Dream #30: To Imitate A Fabulous Couple

As I was talking to a friend at the wedding I did a couple of weeks ago, I was struck by this thought: Everyone is so happy about this wedding. There is an infectious joy surrounding it.

It’s like everyone has known that their relationship was so right for so long that it was just complete joy to see their marriage finally come to pass. The Lord is totally present here.

Of all the weddings I’ve ever attended, this one just felt so perfect.  The pastor was funny. He mixed super formal phrases (“Let no one put asunder”) with more informal notes. The bride looked smashing.  The reception dance was off the chain. Plus, the venue looked AWESOME. The bride had such a vision for the space, and the bridal party worked some long hours putting it together.

I actually mingled at this wedding. And danced. Oh ma word, introvert Lauren! You deserve a pat on the back. Here are some comments from other people with which I could not agree more:

“They are best friends. I’m excited to see how the Lord uses them together.”  Amen.

“They are both so, so kind and generous.” And that is so TRUE.

“It has been so neat to see him grow in his relationship with her. I have never seen their relationship affect others in anything less than a positive way.” And that is SO true.

I am totally blessed by the couple’s friendship, kindness and dedication to Jesus. And knowing that made all my stresses about the cupcakes being dry seem unimportant.

That said, I wilt offer thou a couple of little notes to anyone making a wedding cake in the near future that will hopefully save you some stress:

1)   Do not drive 2 hours with a fully assembled wedding cake on the seat next to you. The frosting WILL fall off and you will have to fix it later. Your hyper-extended arm that didn’t even still the cake for the whole ride will be quite sore upon arrival at the venue. You will realize you forgot your clear vanilla at home and the fixer frosting will be ivory instead of white. You will feel like crying about that. Then you will remember that the bride and groom as SO CHILL, and you will feel better.

2)   Incidentally, the cupcakes were a bit dry after making them two days in advance. (The cake was so incredible, though. Recipe here.) They would have been better day of. I am going to experiment with freezing cupcakes in the future. I haf my doubts.

3)   Do not plan two weddings and 14 hours of driving plus 250 cupcakes and a two-tier cake in one weekend. Although rewarding, it is unwise. I can’t take credit for the little bump the cake suffered on its way to the venue (although the groom can). I covered it with that white ranunculus, and I thought it looked all right.

What a joy to be part of such a lovely day. I hope ya’ll like this cake–it was nearly the death of me.



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