S’mores Cake

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On Monday, I turned thirty.

This is a milestone year for me in so many ways. A thirtieth birthday. Our first wedding anniversary. Our first baby. Life feels so full of excitement and possibility and reason to celebrate these days. I am so, so thankful. Last year, life was much different.

Stress. Planning a wedding.

Fear. My mom was so sick.

Grief. We said goodbye to my Grandma.

Most days last year were full of uncertainty and stormy weather and there seemed to be no way to right the ship. These days the load feels lighter. There is breathing room and sunshine feels plentiful. I know challenging times will come and go. I know this wonderful season of life will pass, too. But certainly there has been enough hard to enjoy the wonderful and that’s exactly what I’m going to do. I am so ready for my thirtieth year and all that it has to offer.

But enough mushy stuff. You came for the cake, didn’t you?

I’ve wanted to make Momofuku’s Chocolate Chip Cake forever and really wanted to work that into my birthday creation. They layer theirs with homemade passion fruit curd, chocolate crumbs and coffee buttercream. As much as I’d love to try it, we aren’t exactly swimming in high quality passion fruit around these parts and I didn’t think that my guests would appreciate such a combination anyway. So, s’mores, AKA my favourite.

This cake took me half a day to make and I still have toasted marshmallow crusted INSIDE my stand mixer but I was really happy with how everything turned out. The chocolate chip cake reminded me of a boxed white cake (in a good way) and that buttercream, although incredibly messy, is my new favourite.

I know it looks like a lot of “stuff” but if you have an epic celebration coming up, I highly recommend this baby.

S’mores Cake

Serves 16

Chocolate Chip Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 light brown sugar, tightly packed
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Grease and flour two 9 inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper circles. Set aside.

Combine butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Cream together on medium-high speed for 2 to 3 minutes. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs, and mix on medium-high again for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl once more.

On low speed, stream in buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. Continue mixing for 4 to 6 minutes, until the mixture is practically white, twice the size of your original fluffy butter-and-sugar mixture, and completely homogeneous. Be patient and don’t rush the process! Stop the mixer and use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Once the mixture is completely mixed, continue mixing at low speed and add cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix for 45 to 60 seconds, just until your batter comes together and any remnants of dry ingredients have been incorporated. Do not over mix. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl — if you see any lumps of cake flour in there, mix for another 45 seconds.

Using a rubber spatula, transfer the cake batter to the prepared pans. Give the bottom of your pans a tap on the counter top to even out the layer. Sprinkle the mini chocolate chips evenly over the cake batter layers.

Bake for 25-30 minutes. The cakes will rise and puff, doubling in size, but will remain buttery and dense. At 25 minutes, gently poke the edge of the cake with your finger: the cake should bounce back slightly and the centre should no longer be jiggly. Leave the cakes in the oven for an extra 3 to 5 minutes if it doesn’t pass these tests.

Take the cakes out of the oven and cool on a wire cooling rack.

Toasted Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp. heavy cream
  • 6 cups mini marshmallows

Instructions:

Beat butter in your stand mixer until smooth. Add in powdered sugar slowly and then the cream and continue mixing until smooth.

Turn oven onto broil. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread marshmallows out in an even layer. Place under broiler for about 45 seconds until they are browned and puffed. Watch closely because they will burn very quickly.

Immediately scrape the marshmallows into the butter mixture and beat until smooth and fluffy.

The frosting will be warm due to the marshmallows, so allow it to cool a bit before spreading.

 Milk Chocolate Ganache

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • ½ cup heavy cream

Instructions:

Put chocolate chips in a small bowl. Heat cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once the cream just starts to boil, pour it over the chocolate chips. Let it sit for two minutes and then start whisking slowly from the centre out, whisking continually until totally smooth and blended.  Cool slightly before assembling cake.

Vanilla Milk

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Instructions:

Stir milk and vanilla together and refrigerate if not using right away.

Assembly

Ingredients:

  • ½ prepared graham crust, coarsely crumbled
  • Milk chocolate chips or chunks for garnish

Instructions:

Lay one cooled cake layer down on a plate and brush it with half of the vanilla milk, then spread the cake layer with half of the marshmallow buttercream. Press half of the graham crust crumbles into the buttercream. Drizzle with half of the milk chocolate ganache.

Lay down the second cake layer, brush it with the other half of the vanilla milk and spread it with the other half of the marshmallow buttercream. Drizzle this with the remaining milk chocolate ganache and pile the remaining graham crust crumbles artfully on top. Sprinkle the top of the cake with milk chocolate chips.

Cover cake and freeze overnight. Make sure to thaw the cake fully before serving.

Notes:

I made Momofuku’s graham crust, baked it for 10ish minutes and used half of it in my cake but any recipe will work. I personally found this one high maintenance because it needs powdered milk, which I never have on hand. Feel free to make a half batch if you don’t want extra.

This cake was even better on day two after being thawed. Make ahead if you can for the flavours to really mesh.

The marshmallow buttercream is CRAZY messy. Spray your parchment and stand mixer paddle with non-stick spray if you can.

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Chocolate Chip Cake Recipe

Toasted Marshmallow Buttercream Recipe

Vanilla Milk Recipe

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A Spring Bucket List

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Admittedly, this kind of feels like “Bucket List: Before Baby Comes Edition”. Trying to fit in those last tasks and enjoy our last couple of months before life gets turned upside down, in the best way possible. Here are some things I’m going to be working on:

 

Sew a dress.

This tutorial inspires me.

 

Finish our baby shopping list.

Not too much more to do!

 

Make art for the baby’s room.

We want to make a special piece with our little boy in mind.

 

Give the condo a good deep clean.

I want things to be in good order so I can take everything in this summer.

 

Choose an epic cake recipe for my 30th birthday.

And make it for myself. I have my eye on something from Momofuku.

 

Do a huge donation run.

Making room for onesies and receiving blankets in our drawers.

 

Plan a bunch of freezer meals for when baby comes.

I have always dreamed of doing this, as ridiculous as that sounds.

 

Nap whenever I want, because I hear time is limited.

I have become an excellent napper these last months, if I do say so myself.

 

Make something with rhubarb in it. 

I always crave it this time of year. This recipe piqued my interest.

 

Plan something for our first wedding anniversary.

Or maybe we’ll just have a baby that day?!

 

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Half-and-Half Cake

half and half cake

Yes, I’m serious.

This happened because Tom couldn’t decide what kind of cake he wanted for his birthday. These are his two favourites that I make and since they include the same cake and frosting I decided that morphing the two was what made the most sense.

This was a little challenging and time consuming but the result was well worth it, especially to appease the birthday boy. My go-to fudgy chocolate cake recipe, fluffy cream cheese frosting and two different fillings and garnishes make it a showstopper.

I wasn’t planning on blogging it but it got so many raves that I have a feeling it will need to make a repeat appearance. It’s a fun one!

Half-and-Half Cake

Makes one 9-inch three tier cake

Ingredients:

Cake:

  • 2½ cups + 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup + 1 tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp. baking soda
  • 1½ tsp. baking powder
  • 1½ tsp. salt
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1½ cups buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1½ cups strong black coffee, hot
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • 4½ tsp. vanilla extract

Frosting:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3 tbsp. corn syrup
  • 2 tbsp. clear vanilla extract
  • 2 ½  cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • Pinch of baking powder

Oreo Truffle Filling & Garnish:

  • 1 package Oreos, divided
  • 1 package cream cheese, softened

Samoa Filling & Garnish:

  • 1 package Samoa cookies, divided
  • ½ cup caramel sauce
  • 1 ½ cups toasted coconut

Instructions:

Cake:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 9 inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment. Set aside.

Mix dry ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer. Whisk the wet ingredients together in a separate bowl. Pour the wet ingredients in with the dry and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes or so. Scrape the bowl down and beat for another minute until well blended. Pour batter into prepared cake pans and bake for 30 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking, until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. When done, take cakes out of the oven and cool for about a half hour. Remove from pans and cool on wire rack for another half hour.

At this point I like to wrap each cake in plastic wrap and store them in the freezer until ready to assemble. Keeping the cake cold makes it easier to frost.

Fillings:

Take three Samoa cookies and three Oreo cookies and cut them in half. Set the 12 cookie halves aside for the garnish.

Pulse the remaining Samoa cookies in a food processor until coarsely crushed with a few chunks and set aside.

For the Oreo Truffle filling, put the remaining Oreo’s in the food processor and pulse until very finely crushed. Add the softened cream cheese and blend until a thick, chocolatey dough forms. Lay plastic wrap inside a 9 inch round pan and place the Oreo dough into the pan, flattening it evenly to form a 9 inch round. Wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate or freeze until chilled and set.

Frosting:

Combine the butter, shortening, and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes, until the mixture is smooth and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. With the mixer on its lowest speed, pour in the corn syrup and vanilla. Crank the mixer up to medium-high and beat for 2 to 3 minutes, until the mixture is totally smooth and a glossy white. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the powdered sugar, salt and baking powder and mix on low speed just to incorporate them into the batter. Turn the speed back up to medium-high and beat for 2 to 3 minutes, until you have a smooth, bright white frosting.

Assembly:

Lay one cake layer on a turn table. Cut the chilled Oreo Truffle filling in half and lay one half down on the cake. For the other half, spread a thin layer of frosting, press on half the Samoa crumbs and drizzle on half the caramel sauce. Lay the second cake layer down and repeat these steps. Then add the third cake layer on top. Apply a thin layer of frosting all over the cake, leaving a space where you can see which half is which. Chill for 30 minutes or so until the crumb coat is set.

Put another thin layer of icing on the Samoa half and then press the toasted coconut into the frosting. For the Oreo half, use the rest of the frosting and apply it smoothly, filling in the hole where you can see which half is which. Press the 12 reserved cookie halves on top of the cake and chill until serving.

Notes:

-The Oreo Truffle filling can be made and frozen in advance. I prepped the fillings and baked the cake one night and then assembled it the next day.

-I buy the Samoa knockoff cookies at Superstore.

oreo slice

samoa slice

Cake from Snickers Cake. Frosting from Momofuku’s Birthday Cake.

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Recipe Updates!

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Two recently spruced up recipes on Bag of Flour:

Coconut Cake

I first made this lovely cake two years ago for a friend’s birthday but a few things have always bugged me about that post.

#1. The photos were HORRENDOUS. You could barely tell that I had photographed a slice of cake. My Dad even texted me to inform me on how shoddy the photos were, so I knew they would have to be updated. I’m all for keeping up old posts to see how far I’ve come but I just didn’t feel that those photos gave an accurate representation of the finished product. It took me forever, but you can finally tell how delicious this cake is, just by looking at the photos.

#2. It always annoyed me that the original recipe is called “Italian Cream Cake”. I never used the pecans due to Tom’s allergy so in my mind, this is a coconut cake, plain and simple. I made it recently for my Mom’s birthday and decided to amp up the coconut factor even more by using coconut milk and garnishing it with extra coconut. It was a huge hit.

#3. The original recipe was CRAZY sweet. Now, I know it’s a cake and I love super sweet desserts, but I remember that every person I served it to left half slices on their plates, including me. It was delicious, but cavity inducing. I’ve found that the simplest way to remedy this was by using unsweetened coconut in the cake, frosting and garnish. It balances out everything much better. Tom even ate all of his frosting last time, which never happens. It was a huge improvement.

Check it out to see the updated photos and recipe!

Brown’s Dragon Bowl Copycat

As I’ve mentioned, this is the most viewed recipe on Bag of Flour, and I’ve gotten several reader comments on ways to improve upon it. I’m really excited about the tweaks I’ve made. This recipe was always a great one, but a few little additions, including a surprise ingredient have made it even closer to Brown’s version. You have to try it!

Happy Cooking!

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Peanut Butter Lover’s Brownie Cups

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These and these had a baby.

A really rich and sinful, salty and sweet baby.

I was brainstorming last week on what kind of treat to make my Dad for his birthday.  We’re on the same sweets wavelength, him and I, and with us, chocolate and peanut butter is the combo that reigns supreme. I threw around a lot of different possible creations but we were celebrating at the lake and I knew what I made had to be portable and easy to serve. He had recently gushed about a peanut butter brownie that he had tried and that got me thinking.

I morphed two of my favorites and the result was THESE.

A thick, chewy homemade brownie cup with a layer of salty peanut butter buttercream and crumbles of peanut butter cup on top. I mean, look at these things.

Pass the milk! You’ll need it.

Peanut Butter Lover’s Brownie Cups

Makes 12

Ingredients:

Brownie Cupcakes:

  • ½ cup butter, partially melted
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 ½ cups white sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder

Peanut Butter Buttercream:

  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 ½ – 2 cups of icing sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp. of milk
  • a pinch of salt

Garnish:

  • Chopped Reese’s peanut butter cups (I used 20 regular size)

Instructions:

Brownie Cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a standard muffin tin with liners and set aside.

Mix the butter, oil and sugar together until well mixed. Stir in the eggs and vanilla, and then add in the dry ingredients, mixing until very well combined. Batter will be very thick. Divide batter evenly in the prepared cupcake tin. Bake for about 20-22 minutes, until center of cupcakes is just set. Do not over bake. Let cupcakes cool in the tin for 30 minutes, then turn out of the tin and cool for at least another 30 minutes before icing.

Buttercream:

Cream peanut butter and butter together with electric mixer. Mix icing sugar in on low speed until blended, then add vanilla and milk.  Beat until incorporated. Add more milk or icing sugar if needed depending on desired consistency. Beat until smooth. This frosting is VERY thick and if you are wanting to pipe it, you will probably need more milk.

Assembly:

Ice each cooled cupcake and garnish with chopped peanut butter cups.

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