Cinnamon rolls are one of the most popular brunch items across this country and for good reason. When done right, they’re light, fluffy, gooey and perfectly full of cinnamon flavor. A couple of months ago, I finally shared my version of a traditional overnight yeasted cinnamon roll, which you can find here.
A great yeasted cinnamon roll is and should be the standard. But, let’s face it. Sometimes we’re just not in the mood to go through the yeast process. It takes a lot of time and a lot of patience. Sometimes we just want to get our fix without the hassle. And sometimes, like more recently, we’re just out of the ingredients required to make traditional cinnamon rolls. That’s where this amazing cake comes in. It’s a light, fluffy and moist cake. That’s first and foremost. We utilize the reverse-creaming method, which yields a wonderfully light and tender cake. Along with it being amazingly moist and fluffy, it’s absolutely delicious. It’s full of cinnamon flavor, the sides get gooey and it’s topped with homemade cream cheese frosting. It actually tastes like a cinnamon roll! It’s pretty trippy actually. For way less work, we’re able to get full-on cinnamon roll flavor. This recipe is definitely a keeper.
Pound cake gets a bad wrap. There are some crazies out there that think it’s bland, dense and not worth the effort. Well crazies, you’re dead wrong. Pound cake is SO worth the effort…when done right. What do I mean by “done right?” Well, it’s pretty simple. We need a tons of fat in the form of butter, sour cream and cream cheese. Why? Because fat is flavor! This fat also provides moisture to our cake. We need great flavor and I can promise you that is what you get here. There’s tanginess from the buttermilk, lemon, cream cheese and sour cream. There’s great warm flavors from the molasses, cinnamon and brown sugar. Lastly, we need great texture. For a pound cake, it should be a bit dense, yet still have some lightness and moisture to the cake. We also get wonderful texture from our streusel topping. Trust me pound cake haters, this pound cake is one you’ll want to try.
We all know the illustrious pineapple upside-down cake. Many love it, but personally, I’m not a pineapple fan. What I am a huge fan of though, is apples. You should know this by now. Apples are definitely on my list of favorite fruits. So, when I want an upside-down, I make this apple upside-down cake. In my opinion, all upside-down cakes should be made with apples. It is truly superior to the pineapple. In my opinion, at least.
Preheat your oven and grease your pan. Cut the apples in half. Then, cut 2 apples into 1/4″ slices and cut the other two apples into 1/2″ slices. Make sure you place the apple slices to the side in a bowl with a little bit of apple juice. About a tablespoon. Mix. This will prevent the apples from turning brown.
Melt the butter in a 12″ skillet with the 1/2″ apple slices over medium-high heat.
Cook the apples for about 4-6 minutes. Add the 1/4″ apple slices, brown sugar and lemon juice and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the apples are coated and the sugar dissolves. Only about a minute with this step.
Take this off the heat and transfer the apple mixture to the prepared pan. Lightly press into an even layer and set aside.
Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside
Whisk together the sugars and eggs until thick and slightly paler in color. Should take about a minute.
Slowly whisk in the butter until combined. Add in the sour cream and vanilla and whisk to combine.
Slowly fold in the dried ingredients until just combined. Don’t overmix.
Pour this mixture over the apple mixture in the pan. Spread until even over the top. Lightly tap the pan on the counter top.
Bake for around 30-40 minutes or until golden brown top and a toothpick comes out with some moist crumbs. Make sure you rotate the pan halfway through baking.
Cool on a wire rack for about 20 minutes. Run a small knife around the outside and place a rack on top to help flip the cake over.
Lift the cake pan off. Make sure you do this over a baking sheet to catch any drippings. Cool for about 20 minutes before slicing and serving.
Enjoy with a side of ice cream or whipped cream! Enjoy slightly warm.
See how I do it:
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 4 Granny Smith, Gala or Fuji apples, peeled & cored
- 2/3 cup light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 cup cake flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temp
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Butter a 8" or 9" cake pan completely and flour it. Shaking out the excess flour. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
Cut two apples in half and then in 1/2" apple slices. Cut the other two in half and into 1/4" slices.
Get started on the topping. Add the butter and 1/2" slices into a 12" skillet. Cook for about 4-6 minutes over medium-high heat. Add the 1/4" apple slices, along with the brown sugar and lemon juice, stirring constantly. Only cook for about a minute more until the sugar dissolves and the apples are coated.
Take the pan off the heat and transfer the mixture into the prepared cake pan. Spread the apple mixture evenly. Press down slightly. Set aside.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Set aside.
Whisk together the eggs and sugars until thicker and slightly paler, about a minute.
Slowly pour in melted butter that's been cooled slightly. Whisk until combined. Add in the sour cream and vanilla and mix until fully combined.
Gently fold in the dry ingredients until just combined. Don't overmix.
Pour this batter on top of the apples in the pan and spread evenly until the apples don't show anymore.
Lightly tap the pan on top of a countertop. Bake for about 30-40 minutes at 350°F or until golden brown and a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs.
Let the pan cool on a wire rack for about 20 minutes.
Run a knife around the sides and use a wire rack to help flip the pan over. Make sure you do this over a baking sheet to catch any drippings.
Once flipped over, lift the pan off slowly. Let it cool for another 20 minutes before slicing and serving.
Make sure your sour cream, eggs and butter are room temperature. Don't overmix or overbake. It will result in a dry cake. Don't actually cook the apples fully in the first few steps, you just want to heat them slightly for a few minutes. We'll cook them fully in the oven. Use a wire rack to help invert the cake pan. You can use any good baking apple. I personally love using Granny Smith, but used Gala for this post. All baking apples will work.
As promised last week, I’m bringing you my ultimate trifle. A trifle is a dessert that consists of layers of cake, creams, sauces, fruit, etc. I love trifles because this is one of those dishes that really is mistake free and allows you to show your creativity. You can mix and match any combination of elements as long as this fit flavor wise.
Here, I’m making my ultimate trifle. It has fruit, sauce, whipped cream, chiffon cakes and a creme anglais. You can make it in an any container and keep it refrigerated for a few days. This trifle is so dang good.
To start out, you’ll need a bowl or container to make your trifle in. I’m just using a regular big bowl. You can really do this in any order, but here’s how I made mine. So, I started by cutting up both cakes and layering the chocolate cake first. I’m using chiffon cakes I had left over in the freezer, but you can use any cake you have on hand. Pound cakes will give you a little more substance. A little more of a bite, than a chiffon, since chiffon’s are so soft. After chopping up the cake, I break it into smaller pieces, breaking them up with my fingers and then gently patting it down.
Next, I put the blueberries and blackberries in the next layer. Just spread them.
Next, I poured my creme anglais over the berries. You can double the recipe to cover the berries a bit more.
Next, I cover that layer with some whipped cream.
Next, I cover that layer with the vanilla cake, breaking it up the same way I did the chocolate.
Then, I place my strawberry sauce and fresh strawberries on top of this layer.
After that, I place the last layer of whipped cream on top and that’s it!
Like I said. Trifles are very easy to make. They are also so delicious! Give it a try and get creative.
See how I do it:
- 1 8" vanilla cake
- 1 8" chocolate cake
- 2 cups creme Anglais
- 1 container blueberries
- 1 container blackberries
- 1 container strawberries
- 1 cup strawberry sauce
- 3 cups heavy cream
Make your creme anglais and strawberry sauce ahead of time
Make your whipped cream and set to the side until ready to use.
In your container or bowl, begin by layering one cake. Cut the cake into cubes and then break them up into smaller pieces into the bowl. Pat it down gently.
Place the blueberries and blackberries on top of that layer evenly.
Pour the creme anglais over the berry layer and spread evenly.
Cover with some whipped cream until covered.
Cut up the other cake and follow the same breaking up into smaller pieces procedure with this one and cover the whipped cream layer with the cake. Pat down gently.
Cover this layer with strawberry sauce and fresh sliced strawberries.
Cover with whipped cream for the final layer.
Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.
Refrigerate covered for about 3-4 days to store.
You can do this is in pretty much any order you'd like. If you want to swap out berries, sauces, cakes, you can! Lasts refrigerated for a few days.
So, I was sitting there on my lunchtime, at work and I noticed that this Wednesday was national sponge cake day. Yes, there is such a thing. In fact, there are many national food “holidays.” Who knew? Not wanting to be a Grinch, I decided to go with it. So to honor the holidays, I thought, I’d share a great chiffon recipe, I received from our C.M.P.C (Certified Master Pastry Chef) at school. Chiffon sponge cakes are known for being less sweet than the butter based cakes. They are also, of course, spongier and lighter. This is due to having a meringue incorporated into the batter. Fruit and whipped cream are the perfect complements for this light and fluffy cake and though it is a little bit of extra work, it’s well worth it. Taste it and you’ll agree.
We will be making a meringue, so it’s important to have room temperature eggs.
Start out with some hot water. Sift in some good cocoa powder. The cocoa is the only thing that will provide the chocolate flavor in this cake, so use good quality cocoa, because you will be able to taste it. Whisk in the cocoa until well combined.
Add in the egg yolks and oil and whisk well. Add in the vanilla and whisk well.
Sift together your dry ingredients, including the sugar. Dump it into the wet ingredients and fold in carefully.
Whisk for a smooth batter.
With your mixer and whip attachment, begin whipping the egg whites and cream of tartar on medium speed until tracks begin to form. Gradually add in the sugar and turn it up to high until stiff, moist peaks form.
Gently fold in the meringue all at once.
Wipe the cake pans with a very damp towel. You should see the water streaks on the pan clearly. Pour in the batter in the pans. Spin the pans to let the air out.
Bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs.
Once out of the oven, flip the pans on a sheet pan and cool upside down until completely cooled.
If you’re making a whipped cream and fruit layer cake, prepare your whipped cream and fruit while the cakes are cooling. Unmold by running a sharp paring knife around the edges and tapping the pan on the counter hard.
Top with whipped cream and fruit or any way you’d like and enjoy!
See how I do it:
- 1/2 cup very hot water
- 10 oz cocoa powder
- 1/3 cup vegetable or salad oil
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 egg yolks
- 4 oz cake flour
- 6 oz granulated sugar
- 10.63 grams baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
- 3/4 cup egg whites
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 2 oz granulate sugar
Preheat your oven to 350°F.
In a large moon bowl, sieve the sifted cocoa into the very hot water.
Add the rest of the wet ingredients from the second set of ingredients.
Whisk until smooth.
Sift together the dry ingredients from the third set of ingredients and add them to the wet ingredients in the bowl. Fold in until mostly absorbed, then switch to whisk for a smooth batter.
Begin whipping the whites and cream of tartar in an 8 quart mixer, ideally, on medium speed. When you see tracks form and the whites are 3/4 whipped, add the granulated sugar gradually.
Finish whipping the whites on high speed until you get firm, moist peaks.
Fold the meringue all at once into the batter until a uniform color is achieved. Take your time and be gentle not to deflate the meringue.
Pour the batter equally into two 8" cake pans that have been wiped out with a very damp cloth. Wet streaks should be visible.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.
Immediately out of the oven, turn the pans upside down on a sheet pan and let them cool completely that way.
Un-mold and enjoy!
Learning anything is difficult. It can be argued, pretty easily, that learning anything baking and pastry related is much more difficult. When you’re new to something, it can be really easy to give up. Some people don’t like challenges. Some people though, like me, live for them. Anybody that knows me, know that. I see challenges as an opportunity to learn. If you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse. One of my goals ultimately is to open a bakery. This bakery will have nothing to do with cakes. Nevertheless, the most realistic way to get a bakery, I believe, is to start at home. I’ve always had a passive interest in cake decorating. I found it interesting, but never really wanted to get into it. I mean, I know how to decorate a basic one tier buttercream cake. Anything more intricate is way out of my league. I’m a rookie or what some may call a noob. I’m soaking in as much information as I can. Watching videos, reading books and forums. Of course, I’m also practicing. I want to learn the basics. I want to be great at piping. In order to do that, I need to practice. So, that’s what I do. Everyday. The way I do it is very easy and very cheap. Butter, heavy cream, vanilla are all expensive. So, I don’t use those things in my practice “icing” recipe. You’ll see just how cheap the icing is and how easy it is to make. It pipes beautifully and keeps well for months. It’s perfect for practicing borders, shells, dots and much more. Just don’t eat it. It is for practice only, not for eating. Keep that in mind. So, if you’re a noob like me, I highly recommend you practice. They say, “practice make perfect” for a reason. I truly believe that. The more you do something, the more second nature it will become. That’s my plan for piping. I invite you to use this “icing” recipe and these tips/techniques so we can both become buttercream piping masters.
Make your icing first. Get all your equipment together and go ahead and practice. You can practice whatever borders you feel necessary. I use the back of a baking sheet, but you can use a wax paper or parchment paper as your canvas. Have fun!
See how I do it:
- 1 cup of shortening
- 3 to 4 cups of powdered sugar, sifted
- Water (Enough to reach a smooth consistency. Add a tablespoon at a time.)
Combine all the ingredients together and mix until smooth and uniform.
Store in the fridge or freezer for a month. Let it thaw out of the fridge and re-mix. DO NOT EAT. Made for practice, not eating.
So, uh, apparently I haven’t received the memo that everyone else has. Cake pops are officially in. They are the latest trend and they don’t seem to be going anywhere. Personally, while they are good, I don’t see much of the hype. Maybe, it’s just the glutton in me, but I’d take a big piece of cake and a cup of milk any day over a measly cake pop. For those of you that do prefer cake pops instead of a big cake, but have never had the courage to make them yourselves, then you’ve come to the right place. I’ll be honest, I don’t make cake pops often. I just don’t have the need for them and like I said I prefer bigger cakes. But, I can still help you get started. When first making cake pops, here are a few essential tips.
First, ensure you use a tasty moist cake. If your cake is dry, then obviously the cake pop will be dry. If the cake doesn’t taste good, then the cake pop won’t either. So, first we want to start with a great moist cake.
Next, I like to make the crumbs course. I think it really provides a better mouthfeel. As if you were eating a big slice of cake. If you used tinier crumbs, the texture would be off.
Next, use a great tasting buttercream. When you use so little ingredients, you want to use the best ingredients.
Use a good chocolate that is made for dipping! Don’t just grab a candy bar from the cashier aisle and think that will work. No. Buy a good brand name chocolate in the baking aisle. Baking chocolate could work, but I recommend melting wafers or candy melts. These have the ideal fat ratio in the chocolates so they will melt perfectly. This way, you won’t have to thin it out later on.
The freezer is your friend. Use the fridge and freezer throughout this process. I use the fridge when I form the balls, freezer when I first insert the dipped sticks the freezer again when I want to begin dipping. I make sure the pops are frozen for at least an hour before I begin dipping. This way, the pop won’t fall off the stick and I won’t get any crumbs. It’s just so much easier.
If you are putting sprinkles on, make sure you put them on while the dip is still wet. If you’re drizzling decorations, make sure it is hardened before you add the drizzle.
Lastly, have fun! The best part about cake pops is that you can really let out your creative juices. There is no right or wrong decoration for cake pops. Once you dip them, you can decorate them as you please! As you get more experienced with cake pops, you can really go crazy and make them as elaborate as you’d like.
To begin, you want to process your cake pieces into course crumbs. Then you want to add the buttercream, a tablespoon at a time. The amount of buttercream really depends on how moist your cake is to begin with. My cake only needed two tablespoons. Give it a thorough mix.
Now, start forming the balls. You can use a mini ice cream scoop if you want to be exact every time. For the balls, by shaping in between the palms of your hands. Once formed, place them in the fridge for 5-10 minutes.
Melt some chocolate in the microwave in 15 second bursts, mixing in between or over a double boiler. Dip the candy stick end into the chocolate and stick it into the ball, making sure not to go all the way through.
Freeze the pops for 30 minutes to an hour. Once out of the freezer, dip and if you’re sprinkling, do it while the dip is still wet. If you’re drizzling, wait for the first coat to dry. Place them on a piece of Styrofoam to dry and enjoy once they’re dry!
So, I have a confession to make. I’m kind of obsessed with donuts. I’m not talking Helga obsessed with Arnold kind of obsessed, but still I love them very much. In fact, a dream of mine is to open a bakery that sells donuts. I mean can you blame me? They are just so good and they put smiles on people’s faces. Seriously, in my 25 years of living, I don’t think I’ve met someone who doesn’t like donuts. While the yeast-risen donut is the most popular among many, the cake donut is very underrated. It’s easy to make and just as tasty. I came across this cake donut recipe and not only is it delicious, it’s so easy to make. So, if you’ve never made donuts before, you’ll want to try out this recipe to get started.
Combine all the dry ingredients including the lemon zest in one bowl. Then pour in the eggs and vanilla into the mixer with a paddle attachment. Gradually, add in the granulated sugar and mix on medium speed for three to four minutes. Then add the butter and milk and mix for another minute. Scrape. Dump in the dry ingredients and mix on low. Scrape. Then mix on medium high for one minute.
Let the batter rest for 5 minutes. If you have a cake donut dispenser, move on to the frying stage. If you don’t, follow the next step.
On a heavily floured surface, turn out the dough and with well floured hands, pat down into a square, about 1/4″ thickness.
Flour your cutters and cut out the shapes.
Re-roll the scraps and cut out more donuts. Let the donuts rest for 10 minutes, while you pre-heat your oil to 375°F.
With a spider, move the donuts to the oil and fry for a 1 1/2 minutes each side or until golden brown. Fry the holes separately for about 2 minutes submerged in the oil. Drain on paper towel lined sheet.
Glaze or top as you please. I’m using confectioner’s sugar to make powdered donuts 🙂