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A Love for Retro Skirts!

Hello, my sweet and styley friends! So this is my first "STYLE" post, and while I'm not what you would call a fashionista, I do have my own style (as one should) that seems to encapsulate my love for the world of girly, happy and somewhat confection-inspired things, haha. I suppose I am very fortunate to have a "reason" to wear such things, but really--is there more of a reason than simply feeling good in them? I think what makes it, hmm...interesting, is that according to my birth certificate, I'm 21.5 years old x 2. And they do say that you are as a old as you feel, and as cliché as that sounds, I have to agree. When people ask me how old I am (not that they do that often), or if I offer it up, I honestly can't even believe it when I say it. Unreal. Anyway, that's a whole other post! So really, I suppose the moral of that story is that I dress how I want and overall my style is pretty simple, and I don't think it's changed much since I can remember: a love for feminine, simple things with frosting-tones and a touch of the trends. I'm never the first to run out and jump on major trends, but as they linger, I end up adopting a few of them. One thing that doesn't change is my love for vintage styles. Overall I am drawn to vintage anything--rather obsessed with vintage treasures of all kinds (more on that in the upcoming "Vintage Treasures" category of this blog), and so I have become a regular customer at Unique Vintage, which brings me to the topic of this post: retro skirts! While I'm not a UV spokeswoman (yet, hehe), I have been, well, collecting many of their adorable 1950's style skirts--the way they have managed to combine a confection-inspired aesthetic and the cuts of the 50's seems to have captured my heart. Let's take a look at a few:  This was my first ever purchase of what turned into a vintage-skirt fixation. When I did this fun photo shoot for Studio DIY's What's In My Clutch, Sweetapolita edition, I knew I needed something seriously cute to pair with the sprinkly toaster-treat clutch we featured. That's when I stumbled upon Unique Vintage, and it was like stepping back in time (back to the best times, of course)! I found this Red Velvet 1950's-style skirt, and fell in love, (Sadly they don't carry this one anymore, but what they take away they seem to always replace with even more adorable options!) The tee/bodysuit I found from Forever 21, said "Sweet Disaster," which I thought was hilarious. That's me! 100% sweet disaster in many ways. I thought it would be fun to pull the blue from the tee and from the sprinkles on the clutch, and put that on my nails, because I do actually believe you can have too much pink. I think contrast and complimentary colours are everything! Like any cute outfit, I think a tailored denim jacket is a great way to add a bit of an edge to these super-girly skirts. I added the little cherry patch from Meri Meri, and went with "simple" pink yarny ball (technical term????????) earrings. I love the combination of reds, pinks and whites--so appealing to me! Just like a gorgeous red velvet cake with some pink accents...perfection. We did this playful shoot at an ice cream shop in Cobourg, Ontario called Dairy Dream, and with their pink-as-pink, retro setting it all came together the way I hoped! Okay, that brings us to the next vintage-style skirt in my collection, and this one has seem some adventures! Last year, fellow sprinkle squad gals, Gracie and Jen, and I exhibited at Canada's Baking and Sweets Show, and I wanted to find us something playful and on brand but, well, unique--paired with simple white tees it became a uniform of sorts. This was perfect! I think almost all of our booth visitors commented on these beauties, and were even taking photos of us in our skirts, because of the skirts haha. Amazing. So when we recently exhibited down in Miami at the SoFlo Cake & Candy Expo, we thought about switching it up, but again they were our squad uniform and I thought we'd stick with what we loved. Here are a few tiny clips of the skirts in action: [playlist type="video" ids="13774,13775"] So alas, yet another one! This one may be my favourite, just because it was a tad longer and fuller. It's the Micheline Pitt for Unique Vintage "Ballerina Skirt," and it's a gem (and I just noticed while I was linking this, that it is now almost 50% off!). You can even add a crinoline under these for serious volume, but I just went for the skirt this time, but I did order a crinoline with this order, as any self-respecting vintage-skirt-addict should do. I trust there will be a need to debut this soon! This seemed to be the right colour scheme for the events of the day (our trip to Museum of Ice Cream in Miami), which you can ready about here! You can also click here to see this skirt's twirlability (because these things matter). Here are a few more I happen to own and love. I have yet to wear these, but I know the opportunity will cometh soon. If it doesn't, I will make it happen: Red & Multi Gumball Skirt  And this Ice Cream Dress? I'm so excited to wear this! And I love the white belt. I actually ordered it to wear to the Museum of Ice Cream (see more about our experience here), but sadly it didn't arrive in time. But the good news is my life seems to present frequent opportunities to flaunt an ice cream and sprinkles dress, haha. One of the best parts of being in this industry we love so much. Colour makes me happy, happy! See you soon with more ????.
Rosie Alyea
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Internet Boyfriend Cake by Sweetapolita

"Internet Boyfriend" Blueberry Layer Cake

Hello, hello, my baking friends! I'm so happy to be here with you, truly! Okay, so a lot has happened in the past year, and so much thought when into if, when and how I could re-engage with my inner blogger. The truth is, things have evolved so much with my world in sprinkle-land, also known as Sweetapolita Inc., I won't get into too much detail here, because as you may have noticed, all things biz now have their own category. If you look up, you'll also notice that there are several new categories, and this opens up a whole new world for us as friends. It turns out I have way more to say about life! When I was really searching within the cockles of my heart to figure out what I had to put out into the universe in terms of blogging, it took me awhile to really pinpoint what I needed to feel inspired to dive back in. Running the sprinkle business did swallow me whole, and I am very proud of what it's grown into, but I've sincerely missed this aspect of my life. So I thought and thought, and I discovered that one thing I knew for sure was that I strive to evolve; it's so important to me and my approach to blogging is no exception. While I will always love to bring you my favourite cakes and confection recipes/ideas, I feel I have so much more to share with you on this platform and beyond. I have an unnatural heap more to say on the topic, but I will save that for other posts. Now would be a great time to talk cake!     So, I made this cake because I felt inspired by a recent sprinkle medley we created at the shop called...Internet Boyfriend (Speaking of internet boyfriends, I have some things to share in my new Affairs of the Heart category--stay tuned, hehe! We are going to have so much fun together, guys). This colour combination sings to me, and I felt these colours and this cake was an accurate expression of my real cake style: a mix of where I started, but with the modern twist. And honestly, I have actually never made a navy blue cake, and I felt compelled. Funny how something so simple can inspire... That said, when I was photographing this cake, I realized how dark it really became--I think it was darkening by the minute! So it does appear more black than it normally would, but in person it was a beautiful shade. I love the way these sprinkles look against the dark navy! I added a bit more of the tiny silver hexagons against the sides for a lovely glittery touch. Yes, the whole thing does remind me very much of my Glam Rock cake, but that's kind of the best part--you don't always have to reinvent, you can modify and with a few small changes offer a completely new flavour/colour combination, while perfecting your techniques. Those colours! They get me every time. Just so springy and sweet, but styley and sophisticated. I can see them against so many frosting shades: baby blue, yellow, pastel pink, bright pink, white (that would be amazing) and so many more. I think that's just the reason us bakers love them so much--in one sprinkling you can honestly create cake magic, and all within just a few moments. Kind of limitless, really! Okay, so I know the inside looks a little crazy, but we've done crazier, right? And trust me, it's delightful! I made this a blueberry vanilla-bean, buttermilk layer cake and filled it with fluffy cream cheese filling and frosting it with the navy blue fluffy vanilla bakery frosting. All three of these recipes are modified from The Sweetapolita Bakebook, and rejigged to make a 6-inch round, 3-layer cake. The cake layers are simply the Best-Ever Buttermilk Cake, scaled down to fit the 6-inch size, and then I tossed wild blueberries in the mix. I didn't want to weigh down the batter too much, but next time, I might add another 1/2 cup or so. In my opinion, you can never have too many blueberries (aside from potentially risking your cake's stability ????). This buttermilk cake is stable enough for stacking and so flavourful (even without the blueberries). The vanilla bean paste adds such an authentic flavour and the butteriness makes me happy. For the filling, as I mentioned, I did a small batch of my Fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting. I have to say that when I was writing the book, this one I was so determined to get it right (I mean, I was determined to get them all right, haha, but you know...). So many cream cheese frostings are super dense or if they are on the lighter side, they can be problematic when it comes to the cream cheese causing lumps, etc. This one is my go-to because it's so light and fluffy, yet stable enough to hold up as a cake filling. I've modified the recipe to yield exactly enough to fill this three-layer cake, but it would also work to fill up to an 8-inch, three layer cake (just with slightly thinner layers of filling each). For the navy blue frosting, I opted to create a part batch of the Vanilla Bakery Frosting, as it's sweet and fluffy, and simple to make. It does require a ton of whipping to get the fluffy-factor, but always worth it. It smooths so nicely too, making it perfect for the clean frosting process and, of course, the frosting poofs. Alas, the sprinkles! Topped with generous layer on top and around the perimeter, they really are the magic here. You could really use any sprinkles you love, and they would bring a new flair each time. The design is timeless, in my opinion. You'll notice that I've also changed my recipe plugin, so it will look a little different than before, but I think it will be more functional for you! If you have any issues whatsoever, please let me know :). So, let's make the cake!

Internet Boyfriend Layer Cake

Makes one 6-inch, round 3-layer cake. 

Three moist layers of blueberry buttermilk cake, filled with fluffy cream cheese filling and frosted with a rich navy blue bakery frosting all topped with stunning Sweetapolita "Internet Boyfriend" sprinkles! 

For the cake layers:

  • 2 cups (230g) cake flour, plus more for berries
  • 1 1/3 cups (275g) superfine sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup (150 ml) unsalted butter, cold, cut into slices
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
  • 3 whole eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) wild blueberries, fresh or frozen

For the fluffy cream cheese frosting (filling):

  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups (185g) confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 (225g) package cream cheese, softened and cut into cubes

For the navy blue bakery frosting:

  • 1 cup (225g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 Pinch of salt
  • 3 1/4 cups (410g) confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) heavy cream or milk
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 12 drops Royal Blue gel food colouring ((this can vary))
  • 4 drops Regal Purple gel food colouring ((this can vary))
  • 1 drop Black gel food colouring ((this can vary))

For the decorating:

  • 1 cup (200g) your favourite sprinkles (I used Sweetapolita "Internet Boyfriend")

For the blueberry buttermilk cake layers:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350℉ (180℃). Grease the bottoms of three 6 x 2-inch round cake pans using a baking spray or with butter and parchment rounds.

  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. With the mixer running on low speed, add the cold butter once piece at a time. Beat until all of the butter is incorporated, about 3 minutes. The mixture should have a crumbly, cornmeal-like texture. 

  3. In a medium measuring cup with spout, combine half of the buttermilk and the vanilla bean paste. In a separate measuring cup, gently whisk the eggs and remaining buttermilk. 

  4. Increase the mixer speed to medium-low. Gradually add the vanilla mixture and beat for 5 minutes. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the egg mixture in three additions, scraping the sides of the bowl after each addition. Beat until well combined, 2 minutes. 

  5. Toss the blueberries with a little flour and fold them into the batter. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans. 

  6. Bake two pans in the centre of the oven until a wooden pick inserted into the centre comes out with just a few crumbs, 25-30 minutes (this can vary depending on your oven). Repeat with the final layer. Let the cake layers cool in their pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Using a knife, loosen the side of the cakes and carefully turn them out onto wire racks. Peel off the papers (if you used parchment rounds) and let cool completely. 

  7. The cake layers will keep wrapped tightly in plastic wrap at room temperature for up to 2 days. 

For the cream cheese frosting (filling):

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla, lemon juice and salt on medium speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium-low, add the cream cheese, and beat until smooth, about 1 minute. (Be sure not to over-beat at this stage, or it will break down the cream cheese into a very thin consistency). 

  2. The frosting will keep covered at room temperature for up to 6 hours, and then refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Bring chilled frosting to room temperature and beat on low speed to soften. 

For the navy blue bakery frosting:

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and salt on medium speed until very pale and creamy, about 8 minutes. Gradually add the confectioners' sugar, cream, vanilla and almond extract. 

  2. Reduce the speed to the lowest setting and beat for 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until very light and fluffy, about 6 minutes. 

  3. Add the food colouring, and beat on medium speed until well incorporated. The colour will darken as it sits, so let stand for about 10 minutes and assess colour. Add additional drops of each colour, if desired. 

  4. The frosting will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Bring chilled frosting to room temperature and beat on low speed to soften. If necessary, you can warm the frosting in a heatproof container in the microwave in 10-second intervals, stirring after each one, until smooth and spreadable. 

Assembly and decorating:

  1. Put your first cake layer top-up on an 6" round cake board or 8" plate, and spread one-half of the cream cheese frosting on top. Repeat with remaining layers, placing the third cake layer top-down. Make sure that your layers are straight and lined up with the ones below. Wrap the cake in plastic wrap and chill for at least 15 minutes.

  2. Remove the cake from the fridge and, using a turntable, if possible, frost entire outside of cake with a thin layer of the navy blue frosting to seal in the crumbs. Chill until the frosting begins to firm-up, about 30 minutes.

  3. Remove the cake from the fridge and return it to the turntable. Cover the cake with a thick, even and smooth layer of the navy frosting using an offset spatula, reserving about 1 1/4 cups of frosting for the piped top border. Return the cake to the fridge and chill for another 20-30 minutes.

  4. You will want the frosting for the buttercream "poof" border to be very soft, in order to achieve the appealing peaks. If your frosting is more firm at this point, warm frosting in a small heatproof bowl for about 8-10 seconds, and stir, otherwise you will skip the heating step. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large plain round tip with the softened frosting and pipe some buttercream "poofs" around the top perimeter of the cake.

  5. While your cake is still chilled but slightly tacky to the touch, pour your sprinkles into a medium bowl and gently press sprinkles onto the bottom third of the cake, all the way around, letting the excess fall back into the bowl. You can also put the cake on a cookie sheet and let the excess sprinkles fall onto the sheet. Return the cake to the fridge until the buttercream poofs are very firm, about 30 minutes. Pour more sprinkles atop the flat exposed surface of the top of the cake. Cake will keep covered at room temperature for up to 3 days. Serve at room temperature.

Sweetapolita's Notes: 

  • For cake layers, I typically use Fat Daddio’s Anodized Aluminum Round Cake Pans. For this cake I used the 6-inch x 2-inch round cake pans. You can bake this cake in three 7-inch round pans, or two 8-inch round pans, if you prefer.
  • For the vanilla bean paste, I used Nielsen-Massey Pure Vanilla Bean Paste, but you can substitute for a pure vanilla extract. 
  • For the gel colours, I use AmeriColor Royal Blue, Regal Purple and Super Black but there are certainly other combinations that will yield the navy blue colour. 
  • For the cake assembly and frosting, I always use the Ateco 612 Revolving Cake Turntable, as well as an Angled Icing Spatula and Straight Icing Spatula
  • For the poofs on top of the cake, remember that the key is very soft frosting and an extra large round plain tip (I used Ateco #809). And, as always, if you make a mistake or aren’t happy with your poofs, you can simply remove it and do it again (I do this often, hehe). I use this tip with an 18" Piping Bag
  • I always use a Silver Embossed Round Thin Board for my cakes–it’s perfect for moving the cake to and fro while decorating, and of course transporting. For this cake, I used the 6-inch board. 
  • And don't forget the sprinkles, friends! I used 1 cup (so 8oz volume jar) of Sweetapolita Internet Boyfriend sprinkles for this cake, and I really think it makes the cake, but of course it would still look lovely with many other varieties! 
Happy baking, and I will see you very soon, friends!
Rosie Alyea
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Museum of Ice Cream Miami

We Scream! Museum of Ice Cream - Miami

Miami! I adore this place. Maybe it's all the pastel colours, the sun, the architecture, the food, the beach and more. But if I didn't love it enough already, the Miami version of the wildly popular Museum of Ice Cream (also known as MOIC) would win me over. Last month I headed down to Miami with two of my sprinkle squad gals, Gracie and Jen, to exhibit at the SoFlo Cake & Candy Expo (if you follow me on Instagram, you likely noticed the flurry of Miami posts!). The show was incredible (a post on the show itself coming soon), and occupied us for 3 of the 4 full days we were there, so we were all so excited to survive the show, then celebrate on day 4. It happened to be Gracie's birthday that day, so we made a special plan to make the utmost of that sunny day and do all the things we knew would make her happy, happy. We were particularly excited to go to the MOIC, because I have collaborated with them from the beginning of the MOIC adventure, when it started back in New York in 2016. Back when it was just me running the Sweetapolita sprinkle business, I was honoured to create the signature MOIC Sprinkle Medley, which was sold in their original gift shop, and is still offered in all of their locations. It's a perfect marriage! Gracie and I were in Los Angeles last year, and were lucky enough to experience the LA location (our first MOIC experience!). It was something out of my personal dreams and spoke to my soul! Really, though, it did. And what I love about the concept, is that each location is a completely different experience. So that said, we knew since we were going to be in Miami, that we had to go. We were also thrilled to see our happy sprinkles standing so proud in the gift shop. Those moments never get old!  We started the morning out at Sugar Factory restaurant for Grace's birthday breakfast. This was another one of our must-sees because we proudly created a sprinkle medley for the SoFlo Cake & Candy Expo that I mentioned above, and this medley was used for the week of the show on one of the restaurants crazy milkshakes! They called it the SoFlo Cake n' Shake Milkshake, which seems fitting. We knew we had to go and try it out, but we really didn't expect there to be table talkers on every single table with our logo and milkshake feature--honestly a really proud moment for all of us. It was an exciting start to what we knew was going to be an incredible last day in Miami. So, this is birthday girl, Gracie. She was the very first member of the "sprinkle squad," as I affectionately call them. Honestly, besides being incredibly beautiful inside and out, she is seriously talented. Hiring my first person was extremely scary for me, and I probably waited a little too long to do so, but I was convinced no one could ever care about my business the way I did. I was way wrong, and I wouldn't be where I am today if it wasn't for her. This I know.???? You will see a lot of her in the "Sprinkle Squad" category of the blog! And meet Jen! While somewhat newish to the squad, Jen is one in a million. Trust me! Her humour and warmth are infectious, and this girl can coordinate an event like I've never seen, haha. While the details of the show and show booth started as a trio collab, it was wrapped up in full swing by this girl. She almost single-handedly whipped up the logistics and details for us to exhibit there in Miami, and it was a huge job. It was a full circle moment to have her there, experiencing the show and then celebrating our successes on this sunny Miami day. Well, that girl you know. My stress level was definitely much lower that day! I was so exhilarated from our experience at the event, and just so relieved it went so well. I worry about these things. I was more than ready for a day of pink, ice cream, exploring and sun. So there we be. So much love, respect and laughter bounces among us on the daily. This day was the pinnacle! And the sprinkle pool. The one common thread between all MOIC locations, and for good reason! It's definitely a highlight. Made from resin, these sprinkles feel so real and actually kind of amazing between the toes, as questionable as that sounds. [caption id="attachment_13879" align="aligncenter" width="581"] image via Museum of Ice Cream[/caption] This is the sprinkle pool! And because you might not believe the cuteness that is MOIC, I've put together some video snippets for you to take a peek at! [playlist type="video" ids="13725,13877,13734,13737,13738,13780,13782,13786,13875"] I loved this little set up! The MOIC staff gets you to step up on this pedestal and reach for the huge balloon installation above, of course to create the illusion that we are reaching for the sky. I like to think I do this less literally on a daily basis (or most days, anyway), but this was the sweetest visual! Kind of love that shot. Of course the gift shop is always a highlight of any experience for me! But knowing our sprinks were in there had me dying of curiosity, just to know how they looked in their happy Miami home. I loved this idea above, which seems to be a new addition to this location--the gift set. Sprinkles, pink can of whipped cream, gorgeous MOIC ice cream scoop and the waffle textured ice cream glass. Beautifully displayed and such a sweet idea! Then we were thrilled to see our babies there all happy little rows perched atop the glossy pink shelving. Truly adorable. Loved these cute-as-heck tees too. Bought one for me and both of my cakelets :) They were lucky enough to come with us last year to the LA location, and I knew they'd "get it" and why these were so special. Guys, if the chance presents itself, I highly recommend doing whatever you can to see any MOIC! The Miami location is wrapping up, but they are currently open in San Francisco! And it seems they are always working on the next venue. Such an incredible experience! See you soon with many more adventures to share!  
Rosie Alyea
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hotchocnew581

Homemade Hot Chocolate with Pastel Whipped Cream

Homemade Hot Chocolate with Pastel Whipping Cream by Sweetapolita Hi guys! I've been working on a rather delightful cake to share with you, but I thought it would be fun to share this quick and simple treat in the meantime--a treat we indulge in often over here! Between my cakelets, their friends and my sprinkle squad in the shop, we all enjoy these Homemade Hot Chocolates with Pastel Whipped Cream on a possibly too-frequent basis. I think one of the best parts of running a sprinkle business, is that I'm always looking for fun and easy ways to spread sprinkle joy without always having to bake for days. We don't always have time to bake and bake, as much as we love to. Sometimes we just need sweet little treats for rainy days, Sunday mornings and the like. As you know, I love premium cocoa powder with a deep, dark richness (since that's all we use in our chocolatey cakes, right?), and because I always have some on hand (possibly more than one girl needs!), keeping a big jar of homemade hot chocolate mix is just another great way to appreciate and share such chocolately goodness. I typically use Cacao Barry Extra Brute Cocoa Powder because your hot chocolate is only as good as your cocoa powder! You can use any cocoa powder you have discovered and love, though. Add a huge dollop (oxymoron?) of homemade pastel vanilla bean whipped cream and a healthy dose of sprinkles and you have a glorious (yet simple) treat in about 5 short minutes.   Homemade Hot Chocolate with Pastel Whipped Cream by Sweetapolita With Easter just around the corner, and just the overall springy pastel vibe in the air right now, I opted to add a few of my favourite malted Robin's Egg candies--I live for these. You can even "malt" your hot chocolate by using equal parts Ovaltine and hot chocolate mix. Easter in a mug, truly. But even just the pastel cream with glorious flecks of vanilla bean (très robin's egg, non?) is super springy, and then with a handful of chocolatey and pastel Easter-inspired sprinkles, the result is magical. Homemade Hot Chocolate by Sweetapolita Of course you can really theme up a lovely hot chocolate any way you wish--once you have that mix made, you can add any kind of flavouring you love to either the hot drink, the whipped cream or the toppings. Heck, even just the classic homemade version done right is supreme compared to anything store-bought. Either way, we have a warm cup rich, creamy and decadent happiness! Homemade Whipped Cream by Sweetapolita So simple, but look at this bowl of ethereal vanilla bean creaminess! Imagine a dollop on pretty much anything for instant texture and richness (think ice cream; pie; cake or, well, any baked good; pancakes and more). It's whipped up (literally) in seconds, and yet sometimes we don't even think to do this ourselves for the ultimate version, as grabbing a can of "topper" might seem a more convenient way to go. And while I have definitely used the canned, pre-whipped "Real Whipped Cream" at times, there's honestly nothing like the real thing whipped at home. I use the standard carton of "whipping cream," as it's most often called here in Canada, from the dairy case in the grocery store (usually Nielson brand, or the like), which is 35% milk fat, or M.F. as it reads on the carton. In the USA, it seems "heavy cream" is more readily available, which is a slightly thicker cream, with about 36-38% milk fat content. Both work well, but of course the higher the milk fat content, the thicker and richer the final whipped cream will be. In Canada, I suspect most people would say that their most vivid hot chocolate memories are rooted in cold, hockey arenas with their hands wrapped around unthinkably-hot hot "chocolate" out of a Styrofoam cup (gasp!). And while I have a few of those memories myself, my hot-chocolate memories are, well, a little more Viennese . . . . You might remember my saying that I worked at Viennese café in my teens (Café Mozart in Kitchener, Ontario, which is sadly no longer there)--quite possibly the reason I bake today. So anyway, at the café, we had this huge stainless steel commercial cream machine--you pour gallons of liquid cream in, and with one easy push of a lever, mounds of fluffy whipped cream would adorn anything you eagerly held underneath it. There were certain pastries on the menu that were to include a generous swirl (Apple Cake, Strudel and Sachertorte come to mind), but also some decadent hot drinks--I remember making countless Viennese Coffees, which I now realize weren't even authentic--whaa? Our Austrian boss taught us to use regular coffee from the pot, in a clear mug topped with a mountain of whipped cream and chocolate shavings on top (those were my pre-coffee-drinking-days, but today that sounds nothing short of magical). Turns out a traditional Viennese Coffee includes espresso, chocolate, cinnamon and whipped cream. Also magical. Our most popular whipped creamy drink, however, was the richest, Belgian chocolate hot chocolate you have ever tasted, which we also dispensed from a magic machine. Just simple but premium, hot, chocoalety goodness topped with what I remember as a mountain of fresh whipped cream.  I can still hear the distinct "kwwwoooouuuuu" sound that cream machine, that seemed to go nonstop (usually for customers during café hours, but after work, well, let's just say my co-workers and I used to indulge often in our own 3:1 cream to chocolate mugs and in times of urgency just a spoon and few shots of whipped cream in a styrofoam cup did the trick). At 16 years old, this was one of the most decadent things I had ever tasted. Hence, my passion for homemade hot chocolate and whipped cream. It's not fancy, but I think it's something everyone should experience. Did I just write 7 paragraphs on whipped cream? Pretty sure I did. Where's my editor? Hehe. For the sprinkles-on-top, I went for this happy, happy sprinkle mix, Ice Cream Parlour Sprinkle Medley--I love the contrast of chocolate and pastels! (I added a few little pink bunny heads as well because, I think it's safe to say, you can never have too many tiny pink bunny heads.) Okay, guys, here's the quick and easy recipe!

Homemade Hot Cocoa with Pastel Whipped Cream

Rich, chocolatey homemade hot chocolate mix topped with freshly whipped vanilla bean cream and sprinkles!

For the Hot Chocolate Mix:

  • 3 cups 360g premium dark cocoa powder (I use Cacao Barry Extra Brute)
  • 1 cup 200g superfine sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt

For the Whipped Cream (enough for about 6 generously dolloped hot chocolates):

  • 1 cup 240ml whipping/heavy cream (35-40%), cold
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (or confectioners' sugar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or pure vanilla extract)
  • Few drops of food colouring (I used AmeriColor Turquoise)

For the Hot Chocolate Mix:

  1. Sift together the cocoa powder and sugar into a medium bowl or piece of parchment paper. Whisk together until combined, and store in an airtight jar at room temperature.
  2. Will keep for 8-12 months (hooray!).

For the Whipped Cream:

  1. Chill a stainless bowl (for stand-up mixer if using, or just any stainless bowl if using a hand mixer) and the whisk attachment or beaters in the freezer for a few minutes.
  2. Pour the cold 35% heavy cream (in Canada known as "whipping cream"), sugar, vanilla bean paste (or vanilla) and a drop of the colour (if using) into the chilled bowl and beat on medium-high speed until soft peaks form, about 1 minute (when you lift the whisk or beater over the bowl, the cream should form a droopy point, like an eagle's beak.) This happens very quickly!
  3. If you like a slightly thicker whipped cream, or if you would to pipe the cream, beat slightly longer until stiff peaks form (you will see visible swirls in the cream when whipping). *Ensure you don't over-beat, or the cream will end up coarse and grainy.
  4. Best used right away, but will keep covered in fridge for one day.

Make the Hot Chocolate:

  1. In a large mug, stir together 2 tablespoons of the hot chocolate mix with a splash of milk until well combined. Add boiling water and stir until blended. Spoon on a generous dollop of whipped cream and top with sprinkles!
Sweetapolita's Notes:
  • For the hot chocolate mix, I used Cacao Barry Extra Brute Cocoa Powder, which is deep and dark.
  • I always use superfine sugar for hot chocolate mix, as it dissolves nicely and doesn't impart the off-taste that confectioner'/powdered sugar can. To make your own superfine sugar, simply put granulated sugar into a food processor and pulse until fine, about 1 minute.
  • Always use a very cold bowl and beater/whisk attachment and cold cream when making whipped cream.
  • For the pastel turquoise whipped cream, I used Turquoise by Americolor but you can use any colour you like.
  • I used a handful of Ice Cream Parlour Sprinkle Medley on top, as well as malted "Robins' Eggs" candy (again--my weakness!).
See you soon with cake, friends!
Rosie Alyea
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Unicorn Angel Cake by Sweetapolita

Unicorn Angel Cake {and a Heartfelt Hello!}

Unicorn Angel Cake by Sweetapolita Guys . . . where have you been? I've been waiting here for ages and nothing! Jeez. ???? Really though, you've been super patient with me, and that means a lot. Before I get into catching you up on my life, let's talk about cake and happiness, okay? That's what brings us, and has always brought us together, right? So it seemed only right to bring cake to our sweet reunion. This week I felt compelled to make angel food cake--super sweet unicorn style. I think because spring (my favourite season) is kind-of-almost-sort-of in the air,  I have got the Easter pastels on my mind, but my heart wanted to fluff it up a bit. Remember when we made the Perfectly Pink Angel Food Cake awhile back? Well, honestly, that cake is one of the most incredibly dream-like cakes I have ever made, and it felt "perfectly" perfect for this pastel unicorn version. Unicorn Angel Cake by Sweetapolita So what makes an angel food cake a Unicorn Angel Cake? Well, really I only deemed it as such after I sliced it, but the colours, the layers, the sprinkles and, well, the dose of magic I spied when I admired it all together for the first time made it so. And who am I to turn a blind eye upon sprinkly-cake-magic? That said, I know it's a bit more, hmm . . . freestyle looking in its frosting and possibly disheveled appearance, but honestly the texture and taste are nothing short of a dream, and it takes no cake decorating prowess whatsoever--you just generously dollop and swirl. A good old soup spoon does the trick! (And cakelets of all ages LOVE this type of decorating.) The cake is a classic angel food texture with 14 egg whites, superfine sugar and even a generous hit of confectioners' sugar in the mix for the most tender and light as air, spongy texture. After each fluffy, pastel mountain of cake slowly compresses against your plate when you wriggle your fork down to cut a generous bite, it bounces back in front of your eyes (in true angel cake fashion), and it literally melts in your mouth. The swirls of billowy marshmallow frosting are satiny and quite sweet with their nostalgic "meringuey-ness," but then each bite finishes with the pleasant and subtle crunch and candy-like flavour that only sprinkles can bring. Unicorn Angel Cake by Sweetapolita Unlike a "traditional" rainbow cake, we can't bake the layers in separate pans, so all we do is divide the batter (very gently, since angel food batter is extremely delicate--we won't want to deflate it in any way) evenly into 3 and gently fold in the desired colours. Then we simply add the batter "layers" one at a time and spread gently with spatula (just ensure you don't blend with the batter/colour below). Oh, and don't forget that if you are going for a certain order of coloured "layers," that the top will be the bottom. :) You can see in the photo above, that purple did show through the top--I wasn't sure what to expect, and if the colours would look more blended when I cut the cake, but they actually kept their layers quite nicely! The slightly rounded look to those layers is the result of the batter being pulled upwards while rising. Kind of neat, actually. Unicorn Angel Cake by Sweetapolita You'll notice that the baked cake has a thin layer of the golden "crust" all over it. If we were leaving this cake exposed, I would have taken the time to gently remove that when the cake was first removed from the pan, because the only time you can really do this without scraping off actual cake, is when it's super hot, and the crust is soft. I did this on the top turquoise layer of the cake, and you can see in the photo how lovely that is. Honestly, though, when you're smothering the cake in mounds of marshmallow frosting, you don't need to worry about taking the time do that. That said, if we were going to go all white with the cake and frosting, I probably would take that time, so we had a purely angelic white cake + frosting. Sweetapolita Peep Show Sprinkle Medley Sprinkles! Who would have guessed? Hehe. Truth be told, you could add absolutely any sprinkles in the universe to this cake. Or none, for that matter. But I opted for one of my new Easter-inspired sprinkles filled with bunnies, chicks, chocolatey-ness and more, called Peep Show. Seemed like a perfect fit! (I know that sounds like a shameless sprinkle-shop plug, but I just know you sprinkle-lovers would email me and ask me where I got the sprinkles!). Unicorn Angel Cake by Sweetapolita A bit of a beautiful mess, but it does seem that the most luscious cakes are. Don't you agree? Unicorn Angel Cake by Sweetapolita Spongy, sweet, tender, moist, angelic, fluffy, billowy, meringue-y, satiny and--whoop!--crunchy. The ultimate. Unicorn Angel Cake by Sweetapolita Hooray! You can modify this angel food cake and marshmallow frosting in so many ways to boast your favourite colour, combination of colours, flavours and even sprinkles. What's your dream cake? So, here we go, friends! 

Pastel Angel Food Cake

Super-tender, fluffy, spongy pastel layered Angel Food Cake covered in billowy pastel Marshmallow Frosting and sprinkles!

For the tri-colour cake:

  • 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons (140 g cake flour)
  • 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons (150 g confectioners' sugar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups 13-14 egg whites, room temperature (left out about 1 hour)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (180 g superfine sugar (see Sweetapolita's Notes))
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or pure vanilla extract--see Notes)
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract (see Notes)
  • Pink (Purple and Turquoise soft gel paste food color (see Notes))

For the pastel purple marshmallow frosting:

  • 6 egg whites (180 g)
  • 1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons (390 g granulated sugar)
  • 2 tablespoons 45 g light corn syrup (see Notes)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or pure vanilla extract)
  • Purple soft gel paste food color (see Notes)
  • Sprinkles of your choice (I used Sweetapolita "Peep Show Sprinkle Medley")

Make the pastel angel food cake:

  1. Arrange oven rack to the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Sift the cake flour, confectioners' sugar and salt together 4 times. Set aside.
  2. Wipe the bowl and whisk attachment of an electric mixer with paper towel and lemon juice, to remove any trace of grease. Add the egg whites and beat on the lowest speed until they start to become frothy, about 30 seconds. Stop the mixer and sprinkle the cream of tartar over the egg whites. Beat on medium speed until the egg whites thicken just slightly and you can see swirl lines in the mixture from the whisk (very soft peaks), about 1 minute. Add the superfine sugar 1 tablespoon at a time and beat until the egg whites thicken and reach soft/medium, droopy (not stiff) peaks, 1-2 minutes. Beat in the vanilla and almond extract.
  3. Remove the bowl from the mixer. Sift the dry ingredients 1/4 at a time on top of the meringue and fold gently but thoroughly with a rubber spatula.
  4. Divide the batter evenly into 3 bowls and add a few drops of each colour to create each tinted batter layer by folding every so gently until blended: few drops Soft Pink to one bowl; Regal Purple to another; turquoise to the third.
  5. Gently transfer the batter, one layer at a time, to an ungreased 10" angel food cake pan and smoothing each with a small offset spatula or back of a spoon. Bake on the lower rack of the oven until the top of the cake springs back when touched lightly, and when a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Don't check the cake before 35 minutes, or you could deflate your cake, but also try not to over-bake.
  6. Remove the cake from the oven and invert the whole pan onto a wire rack so it cools upside down. Let cool for one hour and then loosen sides around the center and outside of the cake using a thin metal spatula or knife. Gently coax the cake out of the pan onto the wire rack and let cool completely. Take your time with this step--you can even use your fingers to loosed the bottom edges, by reaching down between the cake and the pan, pushing the cake away from the sides. It will bounce right back. Do this all around the bottom before pulling the cake out of the pan.

Make the marshmallow frosting:

  1. Wipe the bowl and whisk attachment of an electric mixer with paper towel and lemon juice, to remove any trace of grease. Add egg whites, sugar, corn syrup, cream of tartar and salt and simmer over a pot of water (not boiling), whisking constantly but gently, until temperature reaches 130°F (54°C) on a candy thermometer.
  2. Return the bowl to the stand mixer and beat on low speed for 2 minutes, then increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 more minutes. Increase the speed to high and beat until it is very thick and glossy, about 5 minutes. Add vanilla and food colour, if using, and beat to combine. Best used right away (for best texture to apply frosting to the cake--after that it's best enjoyed up to 1-2 days at room temperature).

Frost the cake:

  1. Place the cake wide end down onto a cake plate, board or pedestal. Pile the frosting on top of the cake and use a metal spatula to spread the frosting from the top down. Create swirls using the back of a spoon and sprinkle with your favourite sprinkles. Slice cake using a serrated knife in a gentle sawing motion. Cake keeps at room temperature for up to 2 days. Best enjoyed day 1 (the cake stays very moist for days, but marshmallow frosting is best enjoyed sooner than later).
Sweetapolita's Notes:
  • Sugar: I use “superfine” sugar for most of my cake and meringue recipes, as it lends to a lighter cake and dissolves quickly into meringue, etc. This is simply a finer grain of granulated sugar that you can purchase as such (also referred to as caster sugar, baking sugar, and more), but I just buy regular granulated sugar and process it for about 60-90 seconds until it is, well, superfine.  :)
  • Flour: I used Swan's Down Cake Flour this time, but I typically use either Robin Hood or Five Roses brand. And remember--you can make your own cake flour in a snap: for every needed cup of cake flour, measure 1 cup of bleached all-purpose flour and remove 2 tablespoons from that cup (some bakers prefer to replace those 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour with 2 tablespoons cornstarch, but I choose not to), so 1 cup bleached all-purpose flour minus 2 tablespoons = 1 cup of cake flour. Learn more about flour in my past post, Bring Me Flours
  • Light Corn Syrup: You'll often see marshmallow and candy-related recipes calling for Light Corn Syrup. The term "light" means that it is clear, and not golden, not "light" as in less sugar. I, being in Canada, use Lily White brand, and in the US, a popular brand is Karo Light Corn Syrup.
  • Colour: For the food colour in the cake itself, I used a few drops of Turquoise by Americolor, Soft Pink and Regal Purple, and then just the Regal Purple for the frosting, but as I mentioned in the "Perfectly Pink Angel Food Cake" post, you can certainly go all white–that is always so angelic and classic. You can use any colours/brand you prefer, but I do like the concentrated soft gel paste because it only takes a few drops and won't break down any of your batter of frostings.
  • Equipment: I used a classic 10-Inch Angel Food Cake Pan, but I also recommend one with a removable bottom (like this 2-Piece Angel Food Pan if you’re going out to buy a new one, otherwise I did just fine with the classic style), particularly if you might opt to serve the cake without frosting. With coaxing the cake does come out of the classic pan just fine, but it tends to take the very thin brown top “crust” off the cake, which I loved for a cake that will boast frosting (typically not a big fan of the brown cake crust).
  • Flavouring: This time, I used Nielsen Massey Madgascar Bourbon Vanilla Bean Paste for both the cake and the frosting. You can certainly use pure vanilla extract (I suggest a good quality one), though. I also used Nielsen Massey Almond Extract in the cake (a hint of this in almost anything vanilla or chocolate is like magic).
  • Sprinkles: You can find the adorable Peep Show Sprinkles here in my shop, or of course use any sprinkles that make you happy!
  • Make Ahead: You can make the actual cake up to 1 day ahead and keep wrapped in plastic wrap at room temp, but the frosting you should make right before applying to cake. Once paired with the cake, they are best-enjoyed by day 2.
See you SOON with more happiness!
Rosie Alyea
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icecreamtrio

Sugar Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches {with Video!}

Sugar Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches by Sweetapolita Hi guys! I hope you're having an awesome spring-soon-to-be-summer. And where there is spring (and-soon-to-be-summer), there should be old-fashioned sugar cookies, ice cream and sprinklage! Recently, I chatted on Facebook live about working with Coral Tv on YouTube to create some fun how-to videos. We launched the first one, during which I made some simple and oh-so-sweet Sugar Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches! The recipe for the sugar cookies, is my favourite by far--chewy, sweet and melt-in-your-mouth with that distinct nostalgic taste of cream of tartar. I opted to use Princess Bakery Emulsion by Lorann, because I can't get enough of that vanilla-y citrus flavour. So here is the little video!

See, so easy to make, and so much fun to prepare and serve! (You can find the recipe below the actual video.) Sweetapolita's Notes: Don't forget to come hang out with me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, guys! See you soon with another recipe!  
Rosie Alyea
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sweetgiveaway600

Sweet Spring Giveaway: KitchenAid Mixer + $100 in Sprinkles!

KitchenAid Mixer + $100 Sprinkle Giveaway from Sweetapolita.com! Hello, hello! Happy times! I'm thrilled to do another giveaway! I am embarking upon some exciting stuff in the upcoming weeks, and I thought this giveaway would be an awesome way to kick things off! I will be giving you all the sweet details, broadcasting LIVE on Facebook, this Friday April 29th at 1pm EST. All you have to do, is head to my Sweetapolita Facebook page at 1PM, this Friday, where my friend Emma and I will be hanging out, chatting about cake, sprinkles, and more. I will be answering your burning baking questions LIVE, with the BIG ANNOUNCEMENT coming at the end of the broadcast. I’ll be sending you a couple of reminders — but you won’t want to miss this announcement. :) This is all very new to me, this whole Facebook live thing, but how incredibly fun to be connected to you all in real time! While I read all of your emails and blog post questions, I don't always get to reply, so this is an amazing chance to answer all of your questions and, well, just interact with a bunch of pretty darn awesome cake-loving folk (that's you guys). I'm looking forward to many-a-broadcast. So hey, hey, let's talk giveaway! Sweet Spring Giveaway on Sweetapolita.com I may have a slight pastel mixer addiction, but I am in love with this KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer in Lavender Cream! This is the dreamiest mixer I have ever seen. And since I can't possibly justify buying another one for me, I'd rather buy one for you! One lucky winner will receive this KitchenAid 5QT Artisan Stand Mixer in either this ethereal lavender shade, or the colour of your choice. And where there are mixers, there should be sprinkles! Sweetapolita's Sprinkle Shop Gift Card Giveaway on Sweetapolita.com I'm also giving this lucky caker a $100 Gift Card for Sweetapolita's Sprinkle Shop! So don't forget to meet me on Friday, April 29th at 1pm EST on my facebook page! See you then, and good luck with the giveaway! xo
Rosie Alyea
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glamrockfullright581

Glam Rock Layer Cake

Glam Rock Layer Cake by Sweetapolita Oh, hi! I'm here! And I come bearing twinkly black cake--Glam Rock Layer Cake, to be exact. A sweet celebration of contrast and colour! As you probably remember, I spend most of my days now in the shop packing orders and making sprinkle medleys, which means that my day is literally filled with every colour in the universe. This is about as much fun as you would think, but it always has me wondering what baked goods would best bring these colour combinations to life, since that is why we love and collect sprinkles, right? They are pretty charming on their own, all candy-like and pretty, but their lives aren't really complete until they find their spot to shine. And working in a "sprinkle factory," I probably forget this more than anyone! I just think the world is a better place by the mere existence of them ;). Glam Rock Twinkle Sprinkle Medley by Sweetapolita I named these sprinkles Glam Rock (Twinkle Sprinkle Medley) because they really do bring me back to my "glam rock-ish" teenage life (and yep, all of the components are not only edible, but sweet and tasty). As a teen in the late 80s/early 90s, I was as devoted to rainbows, showy rock stars and glam metal bands as one frosty-haired girl should be. And I don't see one good reason why there shouldn't be a sprinkle mix to celebrate it. ;) But no matter what we call it, bright colours = happy, and that's what works. This colour combination could represent so many things, and truth-be-told, I've been dying to make a jet-black frosting cake! So let's talk about the frosting. Tinting frosting black (including fondant, although I prefer to purchase black fondant) can be tricky. Ideally, you are starting with chocolate frosting--when you can start with chocolate frosting (I'm not sure there is really any other way) you're halfway there! True black is likely the most difficult colour to achieve; sure, we could use oodles and oodles of black food colouring, but as anyone who has tried to tint frosting an intense red or black (and sometimes other dark colours), even using a concentrated gel paste, has likely discovered that it is possible but at the cost of a very off-putting after (sometimes not-so-after) taste. Oh, man. Jet Black Frosting via Sweetapolita Colouring black frosting is surprisingly simple, but I think the secret is the black cocoa powder. Remember we used the black cocoa powder a few times in the last few months? Well, first in the Midnight Cookies & Cream Layer Cake layers, and then most recently in the Dark & Dreamy Fudge Layer Cake--both in the cake layers and the frosting. Well that intensity with dark and decadent cocoa is what gives us such a head start. I started with a variation on this super dark and glossy fudge frosting (a slightly sweeter version) from my Dark & Dreamy Double Fudge Cupcakes. I think what makes this frosting so stunning is the gloss--matte black is beautiful too, but I think it's paramount that the frosting on a cake (or any dessert) look truly appealing and luscious. I'd hate to put so much love into something just to have no one actually want to eat it. Eeeek! So to our swirls of glossy dark fudge frosting, we add a small amount of a very concentrated black gel paste--since I only used one (AmeriColor Super Black), I can't really comment on how other brands would do (although, I might avoid Wilton brand colours). Anyway, I started with 1/2 teaspoon of the gel paste, but in the end I think I used a total of about 1 teaspoon. Depending on the chocolate you use in your frosting, and some other mysterious factors, you might need more, which is okay. Just make sure that you don't add too much that your frosting tastes off.  But, wait! Before you keep adding and adding more colour, let what you've started with "process." Seriously, this part is key! The goal here is to use as little as possible so the taste is undetectable (and I'm pretty certain the less colour paste we ingest in life, the better). Now all colours intensify after they sit for a while, so this applies to anytime you are colouring frosting, but since we really want to maximize the small amount of black paste we're adding, I say wait about 15 minutes if you can. I'm pretty sure the frosting on my cake is still getting blacker as we speak (literally). Glam Rock Layer Cake by Sweetapolita Now that all said, this is a very rich frosting to start with, and a pretty large batch, so don't fret if it takes more black paste than you hoped. Particularly if you can't find "black" cocoa powder--this stuff literally is black in colour, which is what we need. Dark cocoa powder is better than nothing, but it will just require more paste. Because the frosting is so, so glossy, I was tempted to leave the top bare (as above), but I opted to cover it in the end, because the sides of the cake were mostly exposed, which gives us a chance to admire the glorious sheen. So, let's talk about sprinkling the sides of a cake! So many of you have reached out to me about your issues getting the sprinkles to adhere to your cakes, so I want to chat about that for a minute too. In my experience, there are 2 main factors at play when we sprinkle the sides of a cake: the frosting consistency/temperature and the frosting texture. In terms of consistency, I find that, typically, as long as your frosting is sticky but not "wet" feeling, the sprinkles should stick just fine. In other words, if your frosting is very soft and spreadable, and you've just applied the frosting to the cake, you will want to chill it for a few moments until that initial gooey-ness has gone away. This can take as little as 5 minutes in the fridge, depending on the frosting. See, if the frosting is too gooey, the sprinkles will stick beautifully, but you will end up with frosting on your hands, ultimately smearing it onto the sprinkles you apply over and over. That all said, the actual frosting you use has a lot to do with the "sprinkle stickability" as well. I have had great success with chocolate frostings of all kinds, meringue buttercreams of all kinds, and some vanilla frostings. Just a note that sprinkles don't like "crusting buttercream." While I don't really use crusting buttercream, I know from some seeing very sugary vanilla frostings that tend to almost crust when cold (that sort of rough, dry finish from all of the confectioners' sugar and often shortening), that sprinkles just won't want to stick. Although, if you were to do the sprinkling immediately after you frosted the cake, I imagine that would work in most cases. Essentially, no matter what the frosting, tacky is the ticket!  Glam Rock Layer Cake by Sweetapolita I find what works best for applying the sprinkles is to, first off, always build your cake on a thin-but-sturdy cake board, so you can hold the cake from the bottom. I hold the cake in my left hand over a tray, and then with my right hand (dominant), I grab sprinkles from a big bowl and then gently press them onto the bottom of the cake, letting the excess fall to the tray. Once I have gone all the way around, I pour the excess sprinkles from the tray back into the bowl/bottle. Once you get the hang of it, you'll want to sprinkle every cake in the universe Glam Rock Layer Cake by Sweetapolita For the top of a cake with a piped border of any kind, you'll want to chill the cake until the border is firm to the touch (about 30 minutes, usually). Since we don't need the top of the cake to be super sticky (thank you gravity), we can just add the sprinkles to the surface--once the cake comes to room temperature for serving, those sprinkles will magically stick. You can also gently press down on them with your hand to ensure they stick before slicing the cake (although the tinker-patter-kaplink of falling sprinkles whilst slicing a layer cake has a charm of its own). Glam Rock Layer Cake by Sweetapolita I should mention that for anything super tiny or light, such as nonpareils and edible stars/squares, etc. You'll want to go in after and "throw" them where you want them. You can also add more of the larger sprinkles where you want them, if there are some empty spots or if you feel the artistic need to really finish the job the way you see fit. It's kind of amazing how much visual power the right sprinkles have--imagine this cake all black, and then minutes later bursting with colour, contrast and texture. It's so simple but so effective. Glam Rock Layer Cake by Sweetapolita And, oh yes! There *is* an inside to the cake :). To carry our "glam rock" theme throughout, these dark chocolate butter cake layers are black as night with no added colour--yay! Thanks again to our new friend, black cocoa powder. I used the a variation on the chocolate butter cake in my book, because it's unthinkably tender and flavourful--particularly with the dark cocoa powder. Intensely chocolate. While the chocolate butter cake recipe can be baked in 3 x 8-inch round pans, I opted to bake them in 4 x 7-inch round pans for added height and a slight smaller diameter. You could definitely go the 3 x 8-inch round pans though, if you don't have the 7s. Galaxy Frosting via Sweetapolita For the inside frosting I just went with a sweet vanilla frosting which I tinted a vibrant purple (much like when we made the Galaxy Layer Cake). I love this purple! You can boost it or go a little easier on the colouring for a more pastel effect (as in the photo above), but I love the tone of it. I use equal parts AmeriColor Regal Purple and Electric Purple, and it creates a really pleasant shade. Glam Rock Layer Cake by Sweetapolita I'd say this cake is all about contrast, and I just love the striking look of the purple stripes against the black cake and of course the black frosting and sprinkles. It's my kind of party. Glam Rock Layer Cake by Sweetapolita Sprinkles! So let's make this Glam Rock Layer Cake! November 8, 2016 NOTE: I have modified the recipe for the black frosting slightly, as some folks were having issues with the frosting being too soft. Happy baking!

Glam Rock Layer Cake

Super dark, moist and buttery chocolate cake layers filled with colourful vanilla frosting and covered in a decadent jet-black glossy fudge frosting. And let's not forget the sprinkles!

For the "Black" Dark Chocolate Butter Cake layers:

  • 2 1/3 cups 315 g all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup plus one tablespoon (100 g best-quality black cocoa powder)
  • 1 1 /2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups 360 ml buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup 120 ml hot coffee OR very hot water
  • 1 cup 227 g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups 560 g packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs (room temperature)
  • 1/4 cup 60 g mayonnaise, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar

For the (purple frosting) Vanilla Frosting:

  • 1 cup 227 g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups 375 g confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 cup 60 ml whipping cream (heavy cream) or milk
  • 2 tablespoons water (plus more if needed)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • Few drops each AmeriColor Soft Gel Paste Color in Electric Purple and Regal Purple

For the Glossy Black Fudge Frosting:

  • 2 cups 454 g unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 cups 500 g confectioners' sugar
  • 3/4 cup 90 g premium dark (preferably black) cocoa powder (I used Guittard Noir)
  • 1/2 cup 120 ml hot water
  • 1/2 cup 120 ml sour cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (I used Nielsen-Massey)
  • Generous pinch of salt
  • 8 ounces 240 g premium dark (but not extra dark) chocolate, chopped or chips, melted (I used Callebaut Callets)
  • Soft gel paste color (in Super Black (or other concentrated black gel color of your choice, but this one is the only I can promise works for black coloring))
  • Sprinkles of your choice (1-2 cups, depending on size of the sprinkles)
  • You will also need:
  • 1 large pastry bag (disposable or reusable)
  • Large plain round pastry tip (I use Ateco #809)
  • Sprinkles of your choice (1-2 cups, depending on size of the sprinkles--see Sweetapolita's Notes)

For the "Black" Dark Chocolate Butter Cake layers:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F (180C). Spray two 7"x2" round cake pans (to be used twice for 4 layers) with baking spray (such as Pam for Baking), or grease the bottoms and add parchment rounds to each.
  2. In a large bowl or atop a large piece of parchment paper, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. In a large measuring glass with a spout, mix together the buttermilk and coffee/water. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using a handheld mixer, beat the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until very light and fluffy, about 8 minutes. Add the vanilla and beat well. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well (about 30 seconds) and scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula after each addition.
  4. Lower the speed to the lowest setting and add one third of the dry mixture until just combined, and add half of the buttermilk mixture. Repeat with the remaining flour and buttermilk mixtures. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer, and whisk in the mayonnaise.
  5. In a small bowl combine the baking soda and vinegar, and quickly add to the batter. Whisk until smooth, about 30 seconds. Divide one-quarter of the batter into each pan (this should weigh about 430 grams if you are using a digital scale).
  6. Bake the first two layers in the center of the oven until a wooden pick comes out with a few crumbs, 24-27 minutes. Let the cake layers cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, and then gently invert onto the wire rack. Wipe the pans clean and repeat with the final layers. Let all of the layers cool completely. The cake layers will keep wrapped tightly in plastic wrap at room temperature for up to 3 days.

For the (purple filling) Vanilla Frosting:

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until very pale and creamy, about 8 minutes. Reduce the speed to low, and gradually add the confectioners' sugar, heavy cream, vanilla and salt. Beat for 1 minute.
  2. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until very light and fluffy, about 6 minutes. Add a few drops of each AmeriColor Regal Purple and Electric Purple until desired shade is achieved. Frosting with keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Bring chilled frosting to room temperature and beat on low speed to soften. If necessary, you can warm the frosting in a heatproof container in the microwave in 10-second intervals, stirring after each one, until smooth and spreadable.

For the Glossy Black Fudge Frosting:

    If you have a food processor:

    1. Add all of the ingredients, except the melted chocolate and black food color, into the food processor, and pulse until everything is incorporated. Add the melted chocolate and pulse until smooth. Add a small amount of the black color (about 1/2 teaspoon). Pulse until combined. Let sit for about 15 minutes (the color will take awhile to process--it's best to let it sit rather than adding more and more right away). Add more color if necessary, until desired black tint is achieved.

    If you are using a stand mixer or handheld mixer:

    1. In a bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, or with a handheld mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 6 minutes. Sift together the confectioners' sugar and cocoa powder. Reduce to speed to low, and add the confectioners' sugar, cocoa powder, water, sour cream, vanilla, and salt and beat until incorporated, about 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 more minutes. Add the melted chocolate and beat on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add a small amount of the black color (about 1 teaspoon). Pulse until combined. Let sit for about 15 minutes (the color will take awhile to process--it's best to let it sit rather than adding more and more right away). Add more color if necessary, until desired black tint is achieved--remember that it continues to darken over time.

    Assembly of the Glam Rock Layer Cake:

    1. Put your first cake layer top-up on an 7" round cake board or 9" plate, and spread one-third of the purple frosting on top. Repeat with all of the layers, placing the final cake layer top-down. Make sure that your layers are straight and lined up with the ones below. Wrap the cake in plastic wrap and chill for at least 15 minutes.
    2. Remove the cake from the fridge and, using a turntable, if possible, frost entire outside of cake with a thin layer of the black frosting to seal in the crumbs. Chill until the frosting begins to firm-up, about 30 minutes.
    3. Remove the cake from the fridge and return it to the turntable. Cover the cake with a thick, even and smooth layer of the black frosting using an offset spatula, reserving about 1 1/2 cups of frosting for the piped top border. Return the cake to the fridge and chill for another 20-30 minutes.
    4. You will want the frosting for the buttercream "poof" border to be very soft, in order to achieve the appealing peaks. Warm frosting in a small heatproof bowl for about 8-10 seconds, and stir. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large plain round tip with the softened frosting and pipe some buttercream "poofs" around the top perimeter of the cake.
    5. Pour your sprinkles into a medium bowl and gently press sprinkles onto the bottom third of the cake, all the way around, letting the excess fall back into the bowl. You can also put the cake on a cookie sheet and let the excess sprinkles fall onto the sheet. Return the cake to the fridge until the buttercream poofs are very firm, about 30 minutes. Pour more sprinkles atop the flat exposed surface of the top of the cake. Cake will keep covered at room temperature for up to 3 days. Serve at room temperature.
    Sweetapolita's Notes:
    • As I mentioned above, for the black cocoa powder used in both the cake layers and the black frosting for this cake, I used Guittard Cocoa Noir (Black) - 5 lbs (a big tub because I go through it quickly), but you can also find Black Cocoa Powder on Amazon. You might recall I usually use a very dark (but not black) cocoa powder (Cacao Barry Cocoa Powder Extra Brute) for all of my chocolate baked goods, which also works very well, tastes amazing, and is quite dark in itself, with a rich red hue. The black cocoa powder just adds more of a midnight black effect, which I love. And, of course, the taste is also incredibly deep, dark and wonderful. Just know that it's very intense! This is a great time to pair things like sugary frostings and candy sprinkles :).
    • For the dark chocolate in the frosting, I use Callebaut Semi-Sweet Dark Chocolate in callet form (fancy word for chips)--they taste incredible and are easy to measure & melt.
    • I use Fat Daddio’s Anodized Aluminum Round Cake Pans for all of my cake layers. For this cake I used the 7-inch x 2-inch round cake pans, because I wanted to cake layers to be a little taller, yielding a taller cake. You can bake this cake in three 8-inch round pans, if you prefer.
    • For the poofs on top of the cake, remember that the key is very soft frosting and an extra large round plain tip (I used Ateco #809). And, as always, if you make a mistake or aren't happy with your poofs, you can simply remove it and do it again. I've been known to do this several times! Haha.
    • I always use a Silver Embossed Round Thin Board for my cakes--it's perfect for moving the cake to and fro while decorating, and of course transporting.
    • I tend to use AmeriColor soft gels paste colours for the most part, and I find their Super Black Americolor Soft Gel Paste does the trick (I also use this in black velvet cake). You can certainly use another brand if you feel it offers a deep black hue with no taste. For the purple frosting, I used equal parts of the Regal Purple and Electric Purple (like we did back with the Galaxy Cake).
    • For the sprinkles, I used Sweetapolita Glam Rock Twinkle Sprinkle Medley, but of course you can use any sprinkles you like! I just love this mix because of the serious colours and metallic bits. Certainly a show-stopper!
    • If you prefer to use your own mix, you can always add just Edible Silver Stars for a dose of magic.
    • The cake stand used in these photos is a Pink Milk Glass Cake Stand by Mosser. I have this in several colours, and I love them!
    Happy caking, friends! See you soon!
    Rosie Alyea
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    finalduofudge581

    Birthday Cake Fudge

    Birthday Cake Fudge via Sweetapolita Hello, hello! As you may already know, a few months ago, my fellow baker and  sprinkle-sister-from-another-mister, Sally, released her second cookbook, entitled Sally's Candy Addiction: Tasty Truffles, Fudges & Treats for Your Sweet-Tooth Fix. If you already follow Sally's blog and/or have her first book, Sally's Baking Addiction (named after her blog), then you know how incredibly decadent and spot on her recipes are; if you don't, oh you must! Sally's warm and approachable voice, easy to follow recipes and stunning photography are only some of the reasons she is such an undeniable success, and I'm proud to call her a friend. When I first got my hands on her new book, I fell in love with the cover! And I knew that the first thing I had to make was whatever that delightfully-sprinkled, layered concoction was :). Turns out it was her Birthday Cake Fudge . . . so off I went to buy condensed milk and marshmallow creme! Sally's Candy Addiction Here's the cover of the book--adorable and beyond. And while an adorable cover laden with sprinkles is often enough to get me to buy a book (guilty), I know from making several of the recipes from her blog (and first book) that this book would be literally packed cover to cover with irresistible and totally doable candy goodness. With everything from those classics we all love to eat but don't always know how to make (some that may even seem a little intimidating), such as Caramel Turtles, Saltwater Taffy and Salted English Toffee all the way to uniquely-Sallyesque yumminess, like Crazy Candy Deep-Dish Cookie Cake and Chocolate Chip Cookie Bark, this book is unreal. Birthday Cake Fudge via Sweeatpolita Needless to say it really was hard for me to decide which recipe to make and share with you! So I went back to my initial enchantment with the Birthday Cake Fudge. After reading the recipe, I loved how simple it was, and that it was something my cakelets could help me make. See, that's not always as easy as it sounds . . . with the cakelets getting bigger (almost 7 and 9--someone please make it stop), I can't just sit them on the counter and let them crack an egg or dump sugar in a bowl; they want to really get in there and partake. This recipe, and so many of Sally's recipes are perfect for cakelet helpers. So what exactly is Birthday Cake Fudge? Well, it's a layer of dark (semi-sweet) chocolate fudge, made with the ooey-gooey-awesomeness of sweetened condensed milk, dark chocolate and marshmallow creme topped with a white chocolate fudge layer made the same way, but with--you guessed it--white chocolate, but this time we get to fold in sprinkles and, well, sprinkle more sprinkles on top before chilling for a few hours. Done. This blows my mind, truly, how quick and simple such decadence can be. I should note that I actually doubled the white chocolate fudge layer recipe (not the chocolate layer, just the white chocolate layer), for an extra thick white layer, but it would be equally as incredible with the recipe as it is listed! Birthday Cake Fudge via Sweetapolita This fudge is incredibly rich, sweet, dense and creamy; and the sprinkles, as always, magically add a major dose of happy. After slicing our batch into lovely squares, the girls and I packed them up to gift to their teachers. I love gifting sweets! It's a great way to bake and make, but to still eat sugar in less-than-insane quantities :). So let's make some fudge! Remember, if you want to make the white chocolate fudge layer thick as they are in my photos, you'll want to double just the white chocolate fudge part the recipe. And good news--more room for sprinklage!

    Birthday Cake Fudge from Sally's Candy Addiction

    Birthday Cake Fudge from the book Sally's Candy Addiction: Tasty Truffles, Fudges & Treats for Your Sweet-Tooth Fix Sally's Notes: What you see here is the fudge version of chocolate birthday cake with vanilla frosting. The creamy chocolate fudge layer is topped off with a vanilla white chocolate marshmallow fudge layer, or "frosting," as I like to call it! I fold sprinkles into the top layer, which transforms the sweet dessert into a party. Make sure you use sprinkles (a.k.a. jimmies) and not nonpareils (the little ball sprinkles). Nonpareils can be used to decorate the top of the fudge, but do not mix them in the white layer, as their color will bleed.

    Chocolate Fudge Layer:

    • 1 1/2 cups 273g semi-sweet chocolate chips
    • 1/2 x 14oz (198g can full-fat sweetened condensed milk)
    • 2 tbsp marshmallow crème

    White Fudge Layer:

    • 1 1/2 cups 273g white chocolate chips
    • 1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp (1/2 x 14oz can; 198g full-fat sweetened condensed milk)
    • 2 tbsp marshmallow creme
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1/3 cup 53g plus 1 tbsp sprinkles, rainbow or any color, divided

    Special Equipment:

    • 8- in square (20cm baking pan)
    1. Line an 8-in (20cm) square baking pan with aluminum foil, leaving enough overhang on the sides to easily remove the fudge once it has set. Set aside.

    Make the Chocolate Fudge Layer:

    1. Combine the semi-sweet chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, and marshmallow crème in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon as the chocolate chips melt. Once the mixture is smooth and the chips have melted, remove pan from the heat. The mixture will be extremely thick. Pour into the prepared pan, smoothing down the top to make 1 even layer. Set aside. You can either wash, dry and reuse the same saucepan for the next layer or use a new, similar-size saucepan.

    Make the White Fudge Layer:

    1. Combine the white chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, marshmallow crème in a medium-size saucepan over medium heat. The mixture will be extremely thick. Stir in the vanilla extract and once fully combined, very gently fold in 1/3 cup (53g) of the sprinkles. Do not stir too much or the color from the sprinkles could bleed. Pour on top of the chocolate layer, smoothing down the top to make 1 even layer. Decorate with remaining 1 tbsp sprinkles while the fudge is still warm and wet.
    2. Cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate for 4 hours or until set. Alternatively, you can let the covered fudge sit at room temperature overnight to set. Once set, remove the fudge from the pan by lifting out the aluminum foil. Invert the fudge onto a cutting board, peel away foil, then turn the fudge back over. Using a large sharp knife, slice the fudge into 1-in (2.5cm) squares. (If the fudge has been in the refrigerator for longer than 4 hours, it might be quite stiff; if so, allow to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before cutting.)
    Sweetapolita's Notes: See you soon!  
    Rosie Alyea
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    bloggytray581

    Dark & Dreamy Double Fudge Cupcakes

    Dark & Dreamy Chocolate Cupcakes via Sweetapolita Hello, hello! Well, it's been a chocolatey weekend, with Valentine's Day and all, and my cakelets and I were just spending it at home with a warm fire (it's was -8°F/-22°C), iPads, music, and all sorts of other around-the-house comforts. It seemed like a good day to make something super-simple and comforting, so I made a batch of these "Dark & Dreamy Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes," which are essentially the darkest of moist, one-bowl chocolate cupcakes and topped with the glossy fudge frosting we all love to the moon and back. Besides the gloriously intense chocolate flavour and and mind-blowing texture these simple cakes have, they are also one of my favourites because they are the perfect way to show off sprinkles. The contrast of those lustrous swirls of midnight chocolate frosting and pastel sprinkles is, quite frankly, what dreams are made of :).  Dark & Dreamy Chocolate Fudge Layer Cake via Sweetapolita You might remember that I recently made this Dark & Dreamy Chocolate Fudge Layer Cake, and these cupcakes are essentially the cupcake version of that cake. While that cake is very quick and simple to make, sometimes cupcakes--for many a reason--are the answer. You know? Dark & Dreamy Chocolate Cupcakes via Sweetapolita And one of those reasons is cakelets! They love cupcakes. They just do. Dessert trends--macarons, cake pops, meringues and more--alway entice, but I'm convinced cakelets around the globe will always love cupcakes--it's just the way life is. To make it a little more interesting, I baked these cupcakes in a jumbo muffin/cupcake pan, which is exactly the size of two standard cupcakes (and, incidentally, what I also refer to as a "cakelet"), so it yields a perfect 6. In other news, cakelet Reese is almost 9! How is that possible? She was 3 1/2 when I started this blog . . . Dark Fudge Frosting via Sweetapolita As always, you can even let your cakelets loose to decorate these on their own, or you can fancy them up for parties and even weddings (think sparkly twinkles on these little towers of glistening yumminess--perfection!). I love this frosting because it is so wonderfully spreadable. While I do enjoy the intensity of a good ganache (that melted madness of pure heavy cream and chocolate), I find it looses its lustre and is just too heavy. Of course it just depends, but the velvety-ness of this frosting with the generous dollop of sour cream in there (as I've said before--you don't taste it specifically, but rather relish in the mysterious glide and creaminess it offers) is like no other. The addition of dark cocoa powder along with melted chocolate gives it a double boost of the good stuff, and together the whole darn situation is magical. Dark & Dreamy Chocolate Cupcakes via Sweetapolita See what I mean? For the true chocolate lover, this as it is could be considered perfection, but of course it's just screaming for sprinkles too. I left one special cupcake unsprinkled for my *gasp* anti-sprinkle cakelet who can't eat anything with sprinkles (but we love her anyway). It's a texture thing, which I totally get (I liken this to my raisin-in-muffins issue). The good news is she also refuses to eat candy of any kind, so I got lucky there. :) I think the key is just adding a few sprinkles--enough to embellish, but not so many that you loose the visual of the notable gloss and splendid swirls. This, I might add, is not my strong suit! Dark & Dreamy Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes via Sweetapolita Come on! Look at the inside of the sucker. And to think that cupcake takes less than 5 minutes to prepare, and 20 to bake. Now that is magic. Dark & Dreamy Chocolate Fudge Cake via Sweetapolita I really do. You guys are amazing, and I want to say thanks again for all of your kind emails and messages about my personal life--that means more than you know! Here's the recipe for these towers of dreaminess:

    Dark & Dreamy Double Fudge Cupcakes

    Super-moist, homemade dark-as--night chocolate cupcakes, frosted with swirls of glossy, creamy and super-dark fudge frosting and topped with pastel sprinkles.

    For the cupcakes:

    • 3/4 cup 95 g all-purpose flour
    • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon (170 g superfine sugar (or regular granulated sugar, see Sweetapolita's Notes))
    • 1/2 cup 60 g extra dark OR dark Dutch-process cocoa powder
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 cup 120 ml buttermilk, room temperature
    • 1/3 cup 80 ml hot coffee OR boiling water
    • 3 tablespoons 45 ml vegetable oil
    • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
    • 1 egg (room temperature)

    For the frosting:

    • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (255 g unsalted butter, softened)
    • 1 cup 125 g confectioners' sugar
    • 1/3 cup 40 g premium dark cocoa powder (I used Guittard Noir)
    • 1/4 cup 60 ml hot water
    • 1/4 cup 60 ml sour cream OR plain Greek Yogurt
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (I used Nielsen-Massey)
    • Generous pinch of salt
    • 5 ounces 150 g premium dark (but not extra dark) chocolate, chopped or chips, melted (I used Callebaut Callets)
    • Your favourite sprinkles (I used the Jersey Shore Sprinkle Medley from my shop)
    • You will also need:
    • 1 large pastry bag (disposable or reusable)
    • Large plain round pastry tip (I use Ateco #809)

    For the cupcakes:

    1. Preheat oven to 360°F (183°C). Line a jumbo muffin tin with the appropriate liners, or a standard cupcake pan with your favourite cupcake liners.
    2. In the large bowl, sift flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
    3. In a medium bowl or measuring cup, combine the buttermilk, coffee, oil, egg and vanilla.
    4. Add liquid mixture to dry ingredients and whisk until smooth, about 1 minute. Divide batter among the liners (about 1/2 full for jumbo and 2/3 full for standard).
    5. Bake until a wooden pick inserted into the centre of the cupcake comes out with a only a few crumbs, about 23 minutes for jumbo and 18-20 minutes for standard size. Try not to over-bake. Let cupcakes cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, and then turn onto rack to cool completely.

    For the frosting:

      If you have a food processor:

      1. Add all of the ingredients, except the melted chocolate, into the food processor, and pulse until everything is incorporated. Add the melted chocolate and pulse until smooth.

      If you are using a stand mixer or handheld mixer:

      1. In a bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, or with a handheld mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 6 minutes. Sift together the confectioners' sugar and cocoa powder. Reduce to speed to low, and add the confectioners' sugar, cocoa powder, water, sour cream, vanilla, and salt and beat until incorporated, about 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 more minutes.
      2. Add the melted chocolate and beat on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute.

      Decorate the cupcakes:

      1. Fit a large (I use 18") pastry bag with a a plain large round tip. Fill the bag with the frosting, push out any excess air, and twist and secure the top of the bag. Do a test dollop of the frosting back into the bowl to check for consistency--if the frosting is too loose, pop the bag into the fridge for a few minutes (not more than a few, or it will firm up too much). Once the frosting has firmed up just slightly, pipe a generous swirl of frosting atop each cupcake and top with your favourite sprinkles.
      2. Keep at room temperature for up to 3 days.
      Sweetapolita's Notes:
      • As I've mentioned before, for the extra dark cocoa powder, I use Guittard Noir Cocoa Powder (I have this big tub because I go through it so fast), but you can also find Black Cocoa Powder on Amazon. You probably remember that I usually use a very dark (but not black) cocoa powder (Cacao Barry Cocoa Powder Extra Brute) for all of my chocolate baked goods, which also works very well, tastes amazing, and is quite dark in itself. The black cocoa powder just adds more of a midnight black effect, which I love. And, of course, the taste is also incredibly deep, dark and wonderful. And really, sometimes change is fun! :)
      • I always use superfine sugar for baking--this just means that it is a finer granule of sugar, which distributes evenly and creates a consistent, small crumb. That all said, regular sugar certainly does the trick! You can purchase it superfine, but I buy regular granulated sugar and process it in the food processor for about 1 minute before putting the sugar in my canister for baking.
      • I use this Jumbo Muffin Pan (again, it takes the equivalent of a 12-standard cupcake recipe batter).
      • For this recipe, I used these Jumbo Brown Cupcake Liners.
      • For the swirls atop of the cupcakes, remember again that the key is very soft frosting and an extra large round plain tip (I used Ateco #809). And, as always, if you make a mistake or aren’t totally pleased (never ;)) with your swirls , you can simply (but carefully) remove and try it again.
      • The sprinkles I used on these cupcake are the Jersey Shore Sprinkle Medley from my shop, but as always--all sprinkles are wonderful!
      • The "I LOVE YOUR MORE THAN SPRINKLES" toppers we made just for fun (my cakelets are obsessed with rolling and cutting fondant) with a simple heart cutter, rolled fondant tinted with a bit of AmeriColor Turquoise and this pretty awesome letter embossing tool. 
      • Oh, and for those who were asking via Instagram, Reese's "Make Today Amazing" sweater in the photo above was from Target, but sadly they don't have it anymore (I think we got that in Watertown back in early fall 2015).
      Happy Baking! See you soon!
      Rosie Alyea
      Read more
      usesprink581

      Marshmallow Sprinkle Sandwiches

      Marshmallow Sprinkle Sandwiches by Sweetapolita Sprinkles! A whole lot of them. And where there are sprinkles there must be something gloriously gooey or spreadable for them to adhere to, so heaps of homemade vanilla bean marshmallow frosting and premium melted chocolate are a good start! :) I made these Marshmallow Sprinkle Sandwiches as a quick-fix delight--they take about 15 minutes to make total. (And if you opted to make my last cake, the Banana-Graham S'mores Cake Supreme, there is a good chance you're still working on it, hehe.) Sometimes fast is fab! I used store-bought chocolate ice cream sandwich cookies, whipped up a batch of vanilla bean marshmallow frosting, piped a huge dollop between two cookies, then another on top (if we're going to make sandwiches with thin cookies, double-decker is a must, right?). I melted some chocolate with oil for a shiny coating--I did a few with milk chocolate and another batch with semisweet (dark 53% cocoa solids) just for fun, dipped in once side of the sandwich, and then covered the chocolate areas with--you guessed it--sprinklage! This is such a great way to showcase your favourite sprinkles, and kids everyone will go nutty for these! Marshmallow Sprinkle Sandwiches by Sweetapolita The main step to this treat is really just the homemade marshmallow frosting, which is essentially meringue (Swiss to be exact, since we are heating the egg whites and sugar before whipping) with a bit of light corn syrup. I always use a premium pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste because it's such a simple frosting that is all about the that meringuey-vanilla taste. The vanilla bean paste boasts those gorgeous little flecks we all love, which looks particularly appealing in this billowy, snow-white frosting. (Now, of course these are "ice cream sandwich" cookies, so a more classic ice cream sandwich would be utterly delightful as well!) Once the frosting is whipped up (literally), we get our cookie wafers, melted chocolate, sprinkles and piping bag ready to go. Of course if you were using homemade cookies or wafers, you would want to ensure they were completely cooled before building your sandwiches. Just a note that since these are ice cream sandwich wafers, they soften up once filled, so if you were to use a crispy cookie of another kind, they would stay more firm. You might remember these Red Velvet Moon Pies I made this time last year, which are very similar but using a homemade cookie--also incredible! Just more time-consuming. And now the (extra) fun part! Marshmallow Sprinkle Sandwiches by Sweetapolita We just lay out 6 of the cookies face up on a wax-paper lined baking sheet, fill the pastry bag with the frosting and simply pipe a big ole' dollop of frosting in the middle of each cookie (for consistency, be sure to count while you pipe each dollop--I counted to three for each one). Top each with another cookie, and then do it again on top to create a double-decker. Since the marshmallow frosting is a serious "glue," you don't need to wait to dip, dunk and sprinkle. We can just get right to it (since we all know this is the best part!). Twinkle Sprinkle Medleys by Sweetapolita The hardest part of this whole operation is going to be choosing your sprinkles--trust me. But it's kind of impossible to go wrong! I opted for some of my fancier medleys and love the way the gold bits looks against the dark chocolate. Classic rainbow sprinkles, Valentine's sprinkles, or any sprinkle in the universe will work. I used a few from my shop collection (see my notes at bottom of post for which ones). Marshmallow Sprinkle Sandwiches by Sweetapolita Talk about a beautiful mess! We dip one end of each cookie into the melted chocolate coating, let the excess drip back into the bowl, place the sandwich back on the wax-paper and start a sprinklin'. For the sides, you'll want to "throw" the sprinkles at them. All of the excess sprinkles can be put back in their bottles for later use, so you can be as heavy-handed as you want with the tossing. I added one of those gorgeous pearlescent 18mm krispie-filled dragées to each one (see Sweetapolita's Notes below for source) because they are everything. That said, you can pretty much stick any sweet you love to the melted chocolate--the more variance in the mix the better, I think. As you can see above, I went sort of crazy. Marshmallow Sprinkle Sandwiches by Sweetapolita As you can imagine, this is such a fun project for cakelets. There's no waiting involved--it's quick and easy, colourful, yummy beyond and messy--what more could a kid ask for? And of course the kid in all of us urgently needs these in his or her life. Marshmallow Sprinkle Sandwiches by Sweetapolita Serve them up with a cup of tea, hot chocolate and marshmallows, cappuccino or just a big dose of happy. :) Here's the recipe:

      Sprinkle Sandwiches

      Gooey, double-decker marshmallow filled sandwiches coated with premium dark or milk chocolate and embellished with heaps of colourful sprinkles.

      For the Vanilla Bean Marshmallow Frosting:

      • 4 egg whites
      • 1 cup 200 g superfine sugar
      • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
      • Pinch of cream of tartar
      • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste

      For the Chocolate Coating:

      • 8 ounces 240 g best-quality dark or milk chocolate, chopped or callets
      • 3 tablespoons 45 ml vegetable oil

      You will also need:

      • 12 Store-bought ice cream sandwich cookies plus a few extra in case of breakage OR homemade cookies of your choice
      • Sprinkles of your choice
      • Large 18" pastry bag
      • Large plain round pastry tip

      Make the Vanilla Bean Marshmallow Frosting:

      1. Wipe the stainless steel bowl and whisk of an electric mixer with a paper towel dampened with lemon juice to eliminate any trace of grease. Put the egg whites, sugar, corn syrup, cream of tartar in the bowl and put it over a saucepan of barely simmering water (be sure the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water). Whisk constantly but gently until the mixture reaches 130°F (54°C), about 7 minutes depending on the temperature your egg whites were to begin with.
      2. Transfer the bowl to the mixer. Beat the mixture on low speed for 2 minutes, then increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 more minutes. Increase the speed to hight and beat until very thick and glossy, about 5 minutes. Add the vanilla bean (or extract) and beat well.
      3. This frosting is best used right away, but it will keep covered at room temperature for up to an hour (once it's piped into the cookies it's fine, but just for ideal spreading/piping consistency).

      Assemble the Marshmallow Sprinkle Sandwiches:

      1. Line a baking sheet with wax paper and lay 6 of the cookies inside-up on the wax paper.
      2. Fill a large pastry bag fitted with a large plain round tip (I use Ateco ) with the prepared Marshmallow Frosting and pipe a big dollop on top. Place another cookie, right side up, on top and repeat with another dollop and cookie.

      Make the Chocolate Coating:

      1. In a double boiler, or in a microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate and oil until smooth, stirring occasionally.
      2. Carefully dip one end of each sandwich in the chocolate coating and lay back down on the wax paper. Sprinkle the chocolate areas with your favourite sprinkles, tossing the sprinkles to cover the sides. Let sit to firm up.
      3. Once the sandwiches are firmed up, you can transfer them to a plate and collect the remaining sprinkles to put back in their bottles.
      4. Best enjoyed right away.
      Sweetapolita's Notes:
      • You can (and totally should) also make these with ice cream--yum! Vanilla, Cotton Candy, Bubble Gum, Cookies & Creme . . .  imagine?
      • If you felt like using a more home-baked "cookie-ish" cookie, you could make these chocolate fudge cookies (or your favourite recipe) and create the ultimate homemade sprinkle sandwich.
      • For the chocolate cookies, I used store-bought ice cream sandwich cookies, which I found at Bulk Barn (Canada) in the cookie aisle in a single sleeve. I tried to find something similar online to show you, but I couldn't find the exact shape/style--you can check out your local bulk food shop, or you can use always use Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafer Cookies found at grocery stores, which are round.
      • For the Marshmallow Filling, I used Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Bean Paste to flavour.
      • For the chocolate dipping, I used Callebaut Milk Chocolate Callets and I also did some with Semisweet Chocolate Callets. White chocolate would also be divine! And truth be told, you can use any chocolate you love--fancy or not. I just tend to use the Callebaut for everything I do because it's my favourite for frosting, brownies, cake, etc. so I keep a lot of it on hand. And I find that once you get used to the good stuff in baking, it's hard to go back!
      • The sprinkles used in this post are all from my online shop: Sugar Fairy, Fairy Tale, Frosted and Pastel Dreams but, needless to say, ANY sprinkle in the universe would look awesome on these.
      • The gorgeous, jumbo shimmery white balls (Crispy Dragee Pearlescent White - 700 g) and pink balls (Crispy Dragee Pearlescent Pink - 700 g) are crunchy krispie and milk chocolate inside (not bubblegum). So gorgeous!
      • For those who love nifty little kitchenwares, I found the ivory ceramic "cupcake liner" ramekins last week at HomeSense (Canada), and the turquoise "Fresh Day, Fresh Start" mug at Indigo online.  Spring is the best time for kitchenware shopping!
      See you soon, my friends!  
      Rosie Alyea
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      bananasmors581

      Banana-Graham S'mores Cake Supreme

      bananasmors581 Cake! Hello, hello from the land of frosting, flour and, well, flippin' deliciousness. ;) This week has been busy, busy with baking, order-packing, and of course it wouldn't be real life if a few personal issues weren't sprinkled in there too, right? Haha, oh my gosh, life is crazy. You know? The sprinkle shop has been awesome, though. It's been a whole other outlet of creativity and, truth be told, I just love running a small business. Blogging and writing are very much suited to my sometimes-introverted personality, but sometimes I feel a little out of sorts, and I realize that perhaps it's a bit much, you know, always being in my own bubble. Having a shop, albeit online, has given me a chance to really interact with customers, in a way that I find really fulfilling. Soon, I will need to hire some staff and that excites me! Okay, so back to cake . . . this weekend I had some fun with one of my favourite cake-components--toasted marshmallow! You might remember this Campfire Delight Cake from quite sometime ago, as well as the new version I created for the book (the Campfire Deluxe Cake), both of which boast some kind of toasted marshmallow concoction. But what I have been (very randomly) craving lately is a combination of the classic flavour of s'mores but paired with banana cake--I had never experienced those flavours together in any way, but I could almost taste them when I sat and thought about it. And if that wasn't reason enough to make it happen, I realized that I have never done any kind of banana cake for the blog before, and was certainly time! buildcake581 So here's what going on inside this tower of banana-grahama goodness: 4 thin layers of moist banana cake (even you have to just make that on its own, it's worth it--pair it with the classic cream cheese frosting or even a malted chocolate or dark chocolate frosting . . . ), 2 layers of dark chocolate cake, sugared graham crumbs, a new version of the toasted marshmallow frosting (made with our homemade take on marshmallow Fluff) and dark chocolate frosting. Then we cover the whole thing in the dark frosting and top it with some graham crumbs, marshmallow poofs and then a few edible gold stars if the urge strikes (which, of course, it did). bananacakecool481 So to make the 6-layer cake, we just bake 3 cake layers and torte them into 6 (this is one of my favourite ways to add extra magic to a layer cake). We do 2 banana layers and one chocolate layer (it's the one-bowl, so quick and easy)--since this cake has a lot of dark chocolate happening, I chose to do more banana than chocolate. Plus I die for banana cake! As I've mentioned before, my mom wasn't much of a cake maker (she was big into pie-making), so she used to buy the boxed "snacking cake" mixes--remember those? One of my favourites was, of course, the banana cake, so I have really fond memories of coming home from school and smelling that smell only a banana cake can create. You know the one? My mother-in-law makes the homemade version, and there's nothing better. finalgrahamcrumbs581 So for the graham crumble that we put inside the layers, I have done it two ways--using actual store-bought crumbs, and the crumbling actual graham cracker squares (you know, those incredibly addicting perforated ones?). I recommend starting with the crackers and breaking them down so they are in small bits, because they keep their crunch (even though we bake both versions up with butter and brown sugar, so they start with some crunch before putting them into the cake). It's kind of like baking a deconstructed cheesecake crust and tossing it in the cake for the authentic s'mores graham flavour. toastedmarsh581b For the Toasted Marshmallow Frosting we start with, well, toasted marshies of course! And, oh my gosh, speaking of incredibly nostalgic and warm and fuzzy smells in the house. This is unreal! Oh, and funny thing--not all marshmallows toast up the same. I have tried brands like Jet-Puffed, that expand like crazy when toasted, and the insides are much gooier than the generic brand I used above. You can also see that even after being toasted on both sides, these guys stayed firm. In the end, it all works out, but I found these ones to be slightly stringier in the process, and then once blended with the rest of the frosting, they worked just fine. Just a note, though. I might recommend you go with Jet-Puffed brand if you have it available to you, or another name brand. marshrad So here is the finished toasted marshmallow frosting and, needless to say, it's heaven on earth. As I mentioned above, instead of using any kind of store-bought marshmallow crème, we make our own batch of billowy marshmallow frosting and fold it in to our buttery, toasted marshmallow base. I won't lie--it is a few extra steps, and goos up a few extra bowls, but it's so wonderfully fluffy. Less sticky, more fluffy, which makes for a more spreadable delight. fudgefrostingbowl581 The frosting I used was the recent Dark Chocolate Fudge Frosting (from the Dark & Dreamy Chocolate Fudge Cake), which I've sweetened up a bit. The frosting was rather, um, intense, and too much intensity with these other hard-earned flavours happening, might be problematic. There is still a definitely chocolate component, to the cake, and you could technically use milk chocolate for a very classic s'mores taste. I just tend to find that milk chocolate frosting ends up being quite sweet, but that's not a bad thing. slicedbanana So there we have it! Our magically messy, gooey, crunchy, billowy Banana-Graham S'mores Cake Supreme (I try not to over-use the word "supreme" in my cake titles, but when there are so many steps, I think I better!). I also want to mention that I initially intended for the top marshmallow poofs to be much gooier looking with charred tops, but my culinary torch was out of butane and I was in the zone and ready to finish the cake. So what I did to improvise was pipe the poofs onto a foil-lined baking sheet, broiled them for a few moments (watching super carefully), and then placed them on the finished cake once they cooled. The result was more of a meringue-looking confectionery, rather than frosted top, so in the instructions I have include the torch version. In person, the little gold edible stars mixed with the graham crumbs is unicorn-magical, especially when the light reflects off of them (would be wonderful with the glow of birthday candles!). Let's make the cake! And, guys, if you're on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, I'd love to see your creations! You can find me or just tag me with @sweetapolita--it always makes my day to see your cakes! xo

      Banana-Graham S’mores Cake Supreme

      Moist layers of banana cake, deep dark chocolate cake, sugared graham crumbs, toasted marshmallow frosting, dark chocolate frosting, more graham crumbs, marshmallow poofs and edible gold stars.

      For the Banana Cake layers (2 layers):

      • 2 cups 270 g all-purpose flour
      • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
      • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
      • 1/2 teaspoon salt
      • 1/2 cup 115 g unsalted butter, softened
      • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
      • 1 cup 200 g superfine sugar (or regular granulated sugar)
      • 1/4 cup 60 g light brown sugar
      • 2 eggs (room temperature)
      • 1 cup 240 ml buttermilk, room temperature
      • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
      • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
      • 2 medium-sized bananas (1 cup, mashed)

      For the Chocolate Cake layer:

      • 3/4 cup 95 g all-purpose flour
      • 3/4 cup 150 g superfine sugar
      • 1/3 cup 40 g dark Dutch-process cocoa powder
      • 1 teaspoon baking soda
      • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
      • 1/2 teaspoon salt
      • 1/2 cup 120 ml buttermilk, room temperature
      • 1/3 cup 80 ml coffee, hot
      • 3 tablespoons 45 ml vegetable oil
      • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
      • 1 egg (room temperature)

      For the Graham Crumble:

      • 1 1/2 cups 150 g/about 20 square crackers graham crackers, crushed
      • 1/4 cup 57 g unsalted butter
      • 1 tablespoon brown sugar

      For the Dark Chocolate Fudge Frosting:

      • 2 1/4 cups 510 g unsalted butter, softened
      • 1 1/2 cups 190 g confectioners' sugar
      • 1/2 cup 60 g premium dark Dutch-process cocoa powder
      • 1/2 cup 120 ml hot water
      • 1/2 cup 120 ml sour cream
      • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (I used Nielsen-Massey)
      • Generous pinch of salt
      • 12 ounces 360 g premium dark (but not extra dark) chocolate, chopped or chips, melted (I used Callebaut Callets)

      For the Toasted Marshmallow Frosting:

      • 30 large (225 g white marshmallows)
      • 3/4 cup 170 g unsalted butter, room temperature
      • 1 1/2 cups 190 g confectioners' sugar
      • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste (I used Neilsen-Massey Vanilla Bean Paste)
      • Pinch of salt
      • 5 egg whites
      • 1 1/4 cups 250 g superfine sugar
      • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup (I use Crown White Lily Light Corn Syrup, or in the USA you can use Karo Light Corn Syrup)
      • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

      For the Marshmallow Frosting (for top of cake):

      • 4 egg whites
      • 1 cup 200 g superfine sugar
      • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup (see Sweetapolita's Notes)
      • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
      • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste (I use Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Bean Paste)

      You will also need:

      • 6 " pastry comb (I used this one)
      • Large disposable piping bag (I use Ateco 18")
      • Culinary torch (such as this one)
      • Graham crumbs for decorating (optional)
      • Edible gold stars (optional, but I use these)

      For the Banana Cake layers:

      1. Preheat oven to 350° F (180°C). Spray two 8-inch round cake pans with cooking spray and line with parchment rounds.
      2. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.
      3. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, oil, sugars and vanilla on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 7 minutes. Lower the speed to medium and add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until each is fully incorporated before adding the next (about 30 seconds). Add the lemon juice and vanilla.
      4. Lower the speed to lowest setting and alternate dry ingredients and the buttermilk into creamed mixture, beginning and ending with dry ingredients (dry, wet, dry, wet, dry). Mix until just incorporated and remove bowl from stand mixer. Using a large stainless steel whisk, stir/whisk the mashed banana into the mixture--you can use use some strength and blend well, ensuring all of the ingredients are well mixed. (If you don't have a large stainless whisk, you can fold the banana mixture in using a rubber spatula until incorporated.)
      5. Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans. If possible, weigh the batter in each cake pan for accuracy. Smooth the batter with small offset palette knife, and bake until a toothpick or skewer comes out clean, about 25 minutes (this can vary depending on oven, but don't over-bake). Let pans cool on wire rack for 20 minutes, then invert cakes onto racks, gently, peeling away parchment rounds. Let cool completely.

      For the Chocolate Cake layer:

      1. Preheat oven to 350° F (180°C). Spray an 8-inch round cake pan with cooking spray and line bottom with a parchment round.
      2. Into a medium bowl, sift flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
      3. In a medium bowl or measuring cup, combine the buttermilk, coffee, oil, egg and vanilla.
      4. Add liquid mixture to dry ingredients and whisk until smooth, about 1 minute. Pour the batter into prepared cake pan.
      5. Bake until a wooden pick inserted into the centre of the cupcake comes out with a only a few crumbs, about 20 minutes. Try not to over-bake. Let cake cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, and then turn onto rack to cool completely. (Cake layers will keep wrapped tightly in plastic wrap at room temperature for up to 2 days.)

      For the Graham Crumble:

      1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
      2. Put the graham crumbs into a medium-sized mixing bowl. In a small microwaveable container, melt the butter and brown sugar. Pour the melted butter mixture into the bowl with the crumbs and stir until all of the crumbs are moistened (think wet sand), and transfer to the prepared baking sheet in an even layer.
      3. Bake the crumb mixture for 8 minutes, stirring/moving them around a bit halfway through. Place the tray on a wire rack to cool completely. (The crumb mixture will keep in an airtight container or resealable zip-top bag for 3 days).

      For the Dark Chocolate Fudge Frosting:

      1. In a bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, or with a handheld mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 6 minutes. Sift together the confectioners' sugar and cocoa powder. Reduce to speed to low, and add the confectioners' sugar, cocoa powder, water, sour cream, vanilla, and salt and beat until incorporated, about 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 more minutes.
      2. Add the melted chocolate and beat on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. (Frosting will keep covered well-sealed with plastic wrap or in an airtight container for up to 2 days or in refrigerator for 5 days.)

      For the Toasted Marshmallow Frosting:

      1. Wipe the stainless steel bowl and whisk of an electric mixer with a paper towel dampened with lemon juice to eliminate any trace of grease. Put the egg whites, sugar, corn syrup, cream of tartar in the bowl and put it over a saucepan of barely simmering water (be sure the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water). Whisk constantly but gently until the mixture reaches 130°F (54°C), 7-9 minutes depending on the temperature your egg whites were to begin with.
      2. Transfer the bowl to the mixer. Beat the mixture on low speed for 2 minutes, then increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 more minutes. Increase the speed to hight and beat until very thick and glossy, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
      3. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray lightly with cooking spray. Arrange the marshmallows on the prepared sheet in a single layer. Broil the marshmallows, watching (very) closely, until they are toasted and sightly charred, about 3 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and, using tongs, carefully turn the marshmallows over. Return the sheet to the oven and broil for 1 to 2 minutes more. Remove the sheet from the oven and let cool.
      4. Spray the inside of your food processor lightly with cooking spray. Transfer the cooled marshmallows into the food processor (you may need a greased rubber spatula--some marshmallow brands become much gooier than others).
      5. In another bowl for your mixer (if you don't have another bowl, you can either use a hand mixer for this step, or transfer your marshmallow frosting to another bowl), beat the butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 6 minutes. Reduce the speed to lowest setting and gradually add the confectioners' sugar, vanilla and salt. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
      6. Transfer the buttercream mixture to the food processor (just put right on top of marshmallows). Pulse a few times until the marshmallows are dispersed but there are still pieces of toasted marshmallow remaining. Transfer the mixture back to the mixer bowl and add the prepared egg whites/marshmallow frosting mixture. Beat on low speed until combined, but don't over-beat, as it will deflate some of the gloriously puffy marshmallow frosting. Frosting will keep covered at room temperature for up to 1 day (for ideal spreading consistency).

      For the Marshmallow Frosting (for top of cake--make this right before you're going to pipe onto the top of the cake):

      1. Wipe the stainless steel bowl and whisk of an electric mixer with a paper towel dampened with lemon juice to eliminate any trace of grease. Put the egg whites, sugar, corn syrup, cream of tartar in the bowl and put it over a saucepan of barely simmering water (be sure the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water). Whisk constantly but gently until the mixture reaches 130°F (54°C), 7-9 minutes depending on the temperature your egg whites were to begin with.
      2. Transfer the bowl to the mixer. Beat the mixture on low speed for 2 minutes, then increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 more minutes. Increase the speed to hight and beat until very thick and glossy, about 5 minutes. Add the vanilla and beat well.
      3. This frosting is best used right away, but it will keep covered at room temperature for up to an hour (once it's on the cake it's fine, but just for ideal spreading/piping consistency).

      Assembly of the Banana-Graham S'mores Cake Supreme:

      1. Cut each of your 3 cake layers each once horizontally with a long, serrated knife, so you have a total of 6 thin layers. Put a nonslip square on a turntable (if using), followed by a large piece of wax paper, topped with another nonslip square smaller than your cake. Place a thin 8-inch round cake board or larger cake plate on the turntable and place the first banana cake layer on top. Spread about 1/2 cup of the fudge frosting on top (just a very thin layer). Sprinkle the layer of frosting with one-fourth of the graham crumble. Spread one-fourth of the toasted marshmallow frosting on top of the crumble. Place a chocolate cake layer on top (cut side up). Spread one-fourth of the toasted marshmallow frosting on top, followed by another fourth of the crumble. Place another banana cake layer on top and spread another thin layer of the fudge frosting, followed by one-fourth of crumble and then another fourth of the toasted marshmallow frosting. Place another banana cake layer on top and spread a thick layer of only the fudge frosting. Place the second chocolate layer on top and spread a thin layer of the fudge frosting on top, followed by the remaining crumble and remaining toasted marshmallow frosting. Place the final banana cake layer on top, face down. If your cake feels stable, you can go ahead and cover the cake in a thin layer of the fudge frosting (crumb coat). If it feels wobbly, cover the cake with plastic wrap and use your hands to press everything into place, then chill until firm, about 30 minutes, and then do the crumb coat (you will then want to chill the cake again until the crumb coat firms up, about another 30 minutes).
      2. Remove the cake from the refrigerator again and cover with a thick, even layer of frosting. With the cake on the turntable, hold a pastry comb against the side of the cake with one hand and rotate the turntable once all the way around, in a fluid motion. (If you aren't pleased with the way it looks, you can apply more frosting and repeat.)
      3. Make your Marshmallow Frosting for the top of the cake.
      4. Cut about 2" off of the tip of a disposable pastry bag (with no pastry tip) and pipe some marshmallow "poofs" on the top of the cake by holding the bag, tip-down, directly above the spot you want the poof, squeeze the bag gently for a few seconds and then release and lift up and away. Repeat all over the top of the cake.
      5. Adorn the bottom perimeter of the cake (and any open areas on the top of the cake) with a few handfuls of graham crumbs, followed by some edible gold stars. The cake will keep at room temperature for up to 2 days, refrigerated for up to 3 days. Best enjoyed at room temperature.
      6. Hooray! We did it! Damn, we're good at this. xo
      Sweetapolita's Notes:
      • I use Fat Daddio’s Anodized Aluminum Round Cake Pans for all of my cake layers, most often the 8-inch x 2-inch round pans. I prefer to bake more shallow layers so that we don't have to over-bake the cake to cook the inside, and these shallow 2" pans work well.
      • You certainly don't need to use a pastry comb to create this cake, but if you do, I recommend the taller version that Wilton offers (here). They offer a few variations so you can experiment with which look you like best. The cakes we make these days always tend to be on the tall side, so it really comes in handy when you want a tidy looking texture on the cake.
      • For a quicker version of this cake, you could always keep it at the 3 layers (instead of torting into 6), omit the top poofs (so not having to make the marshmallow frosting twice), and you could even forget the textured sides and just frost in a simple, yummy way. I know you won't hear any complaints!
      • If you would like to use the edible gold stars, you can find them here in my shop!
      Rosie Alyea
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