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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Easy Banoffee Cups

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These little cups were born out of laziness. I wanted Banoffee Pie. But I didn’t want to make a pie (or be tempted to eat the whole thing, for that matter). Sometimes my lazy brain can be kind of clever, in a “work smarter, not harder” kind of way and I started to think about how I could really simplify things. Enter these cups. All the great flavours of Banoffee, way less effort and ready to eat in no time. I think these little cups would be a perfect dessert for your Valentine. And if your Valentine is yourself then you get to eat both…lucky you!

Easy Banoffee Cups

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • Âź tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp. powdered sugar
  • 8 chocolate sandwich cookies, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large ripe banana, peeled and sliced
  • 4 tbsp. caramel sauce

Instructions:

Put the heavy cream and vanilla extract in a bowl and beat until stiff peaks form. Add the powdered sugar and whip until combined. Set aside.

Layer two of the crumbled cookies into the bottom of a 12 oz. glass. Then layer on Âź of the sliced banana, 1 tbsp. of the caramel sauce and Âź of the whipped cream. Repeat the layers again and garnish the cup with leftover cookie crumbs. Now repeat these steps with the second glass.

Chill the prepared cups until ready to serve and devour!

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Rainbow Cookies

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Last week Tom volunteered me to make the desserts for his work barbecue. I love deciding on the perfect dessert for any given situation and this was no different. After some discussion we agreed on a few tried and true favorites (Magnolia Bakery’s Banana Pudding, “Just Like Boxed” Brownies and Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars to be specific) but I wanted to make one more thing where I could experiment a bit.

I quickly decided on this creation that sort of reminds me of the Chips Ahoy cookies from my childhood. The graham crumbs give the cookie base that familiar, toasty flavor and a little crunch with rainbow sprinkles and white chocolate chunks adding color and richness. The container came home from the barbecue empty which is pretty good evidence that they went over well, I think. I’m glad I ran a few outside that morning for a sunrise photo shoot so I could share the recipe with you!

Rainbow Cookies

Makes about 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup salted butter
  • 1 Âź cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 cup graham crumbs
  • 1 ½ cups white chocolate chunks
  • 1 /2 cup rainbow sprinkles

Directions:

Put the butter in a large mixing bowl and melt in the microwave. Add sugars and stir until smooth and blended. Chill the mixture for a few minutes until cooled to room temperature. Add in the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and stir well. Incorporate flour and baking soda. Stir in the graham crumbs, white chocolate chunks and sprinkles. Form dough balls (about 2 tbsp. each) and place onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. Chill for 30 minutes in the refrigerator. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Bake for 12 minutes or until just set. Cool and then store in an airtight container.

Notes:

Don’t chill the dough without scooping the cookies first unless you have time for it to warm back up. It gets really hard and you’ll have trouble scooping out spoonful’s after it’s cooled.

Don’t flatten the dough balls out before you bake or the cookies may spread too much.

Adapted from my  Caramel Corn Cookies 

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P.S. Is there anything more beautiful than a stack of cookies at sunrise?

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Half-and-Half Cake

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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
  • ž 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.

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

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Coffee & Donuts Milkshake

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Occasionally I make something so magnificent, and at the same time so incredibly trashy that I debate whether or not to tell you about it because it’s so ridiculous that you may never read this blog again. This is one of those recipes.

I blended donuts into ice cream and I’m calling it a recipe. Please don’t leave. It’s SO GOOD, I swear.

It all started when Milky Way had a mini donut sundae as their weekly special. We were busy, and didn’t get there that week and I was sad. The end.

Except it wasn’t the end, because they had it again a month later and I got to try one and it was AWESOME. Mini donuts and ice cream together are a match made in heaven. I told Tom that the next time we found mini donuts I was totally adding them into milkshakes.

We ended up at the fair last weekend and I made him order extra mini donuts and the rest is history. I also added coffee because I love it. And caramel sauce, because it was on the aforementioned sundae and tasted fab. These are lick-the-glass-out-delicious. Tom was skeptical at first but he was legit depressed when he finished his. Moral of the story: buy some donuts and put them in milkshakes. Happy Friday!

Coffee & Donuts Milkshake

Makes 2 small shakes

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. caramel sauce
  • 3 cups vanilla ice cream
  • 1 cup strong brewed coffee, cold
  • 4 cinnamon sugar mini donuts
  • Leftover mini donut crumbs, garnish

Instructions:

Drizzle the inside of two small glasses with caramel sauce and set aside.

Blend the ice cream, coffee and mini donuts together and pour into the glasses. Sprinkle each shake with the leftover crumbs from the mini donut bag (if that isn’t the most ridiculous instruction ever, I don’t know what is). Serve with straws.

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