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Buttermilk Birthday Cake with Malted Chocolate Frosting

Buttermilk Birthday Cake with Malted Chocolate Frosting by Sweetapolita Hello, hello, from the land of cake! Rosie, Rosie, Rosie . . . more chocolate frosting? And how many birthday cakes does a baker need? I know, but it's amazing how many different cakes we can create with "vanilla" and "chocolate" cake layers and frostings, right? Now that I take a step back and really look at my recipes over time, I think this is something that intrigues me even more than creating crazy cakes. And while I do love cake-craziness and new-technique challenges, etc. I think that it's really important to bring new life to classic recipes--that really is the best way to stir up childhood memories and make people happy, it seems. I know for me, the cakes I can't resist are the ones that teleport me straight back to the 70s and 80s, when I was a cakelet. You know? It's also a little baker's game I play, where I try creating delightful cakes with the ingredients I always have on hand--things like dark chocolate, vanilla bean, cake flour, butter, malted milk powder, etc.--and this Buttermilk Birthday Cake with Malted Chocolate Frosting is a classic example! I promise this is an infinite epicuriosity on my part, and not blogger's laziness :). Buttermilk Birthday Cake with Malted Chocolate Frosting by Sweetapolita So this cake is a very close version of my favourite Best-Ever Buttermilk Cake recipe from my book, but of course I couldn't resist tweaking it yet again. Nothing major, just a small change with the fats (I substituted a small amount of the butter for vegetable oil to see what would happen). Turns out it seems to add a dose of moisture that I didn't know the cake wanted, haha. But it's very subtle--I have just been experimenting with oil because of course it's not solid at room temp, and sometimes cake can super soft out of the oven can dense-up as it sits. Buttermilk Cake via Sweetapolita I feel as though the oil definitely adds a touch of moisture but of course the primary taste is the buttery, buttermilky vanilla-ness that makes this cake as comforting and tender on its own as it is smothered in big fat swirls of frosting. You know I cannot resist, which is why you've never seen a "naked" cake around these parts ;). (Oh, and now might be a good time to point out that, if it seems like I have many versions of the "same" base recipe here on my blog, I always play around and change little things in an effort to make it even better--even if it doesn't need it. So, the good news is that I am pleased with all of the recipes I share, and if I'm ever not for any reason, I either don't share it, or I modify it with a little explanation, etc. I know it can get confusing when there are so many versions floating around, so I wanted to point that out.) Buttermilk Birthday Cake with Malted Chocolate Frosting by Sweetapolita So yes, where were we? Oh yes--big fat swirls of frosting. This oversized-border look is one of the quickest and most-pleasing decorating techniques (did I mention speedy?). The white nonpareils are clean, pretty and kinda charming (if I do say so, haha). I used this Ateco #887 decorating tip, which is really big and creates a beautiful swirl in seconds. A simple piped full circle and fluid pull to the right, release and repeat is all it takes. For added billowiness, we repeat the whole border directly on top, which creates a swirl that makes people have to consciously remind themselves to not stick their finger straight in it. And isn't that what cake decorating is? Much like cake photography, my goal is always to make a dessert in a way that puts a spell on people, making them feel as though they will die, or at least cry, if they don't taste it immediately. It's all about the consistency, the texture, the swirls, the sprinkling and of course the love and care that goes into it all. Malted Chocolate Frosting via Sweetapolita This frosting is a variation of my ever-loved Chocolate Cloud Frosting, which I might admit has many a variation, but that's kind of what makes it so incredible. You really can't do it wrong--if you add less butter and more chocolate, it's (obviously) more chocolatey and sweeter from the confectioners' sugar, and often firms up at room temp, much like a ganache. If you add less confectioners' sugar, less chocolate, a generous heap of Ovaltine (a hit of sweet malted flavour just gives the whole cake a bump) and scoop of sour cream, you get this dreamy, creamy and super-soft delight that is perfect for piping. The sour cream only balances out the sweetness, so anytime you have a super-sweet frosting, give it a try--it works like a dream. Consistency-wise, I would liken this frosting to a canned frosting (you know, the ones we used to eat straight from the tub . . .), but of course when you use the best ingredients, the flavour and texture are like no other. I love the gloss, and that oh-so-70s shade of chocolate. Oh, and the ease of throwing everything into the food processor and hitting pulse a few times doesn't hurt either. Sadly, it might be all I need in life right now. Eeeee! sliceocake581 I love this super-fine crumb with its vanilla specks and buttery texture. And dare I say this cake gets better by day 2 (today)! Everything kind of melds together, and the classic vanilla bean flavour seems to blossom. The frosting isn't killer sweet, and I can't resist the creaminess of it all--especially those big old swirls! Okay, let's make this cake . . .

Buttermilk Birthday Cake with Malted Chocolate Frosting

Tender, moist layers of vanilla bean buttermilk cake filled and frosted with a gloriously smooth malted chocolate frosting and topped with a flurry of white nonpareils.

For the Best-Ever Buttermilk Cake layers:

  • 3 cups 345 g cake flour
  • 2 cups 410 g superfine sugar
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (200 g cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces)
  • 2 tablespoons 30 ml vegetable oil
  • 1 1/4 cups 300 ml buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract
  • 5 large eggs (room temperature)

For the Malted Chocolate Frosting:

  • 2 1/4 cups 510 g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups 500 g confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup Ovaltine or malted milk powder
  • 1/3 cup 80 ml whipping cream
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup 60 ml sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
  • 9 ounces 265 g premium dark chocolate, chopped or callets
  • White nonpareils for decorating (optional)

You will also need:

  • Large pastry bag
  • Decorating tip Ateco #887

For the Best-Ever Buttermilk Cake layers:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Spray the bottoms of three 8-inch round cake pans and line with parchment rounds. Set aside.
  2. In a large measuring cup with a spout, lightly whisk the eggs, 1/4 cup of the buttermilk and the vanilla bean paste. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. With the mixer set to low speed, add the cold butter one piece at a time, about 10 seconds apart. Add the vegetable oil and continue mixing on low speed until all of the butter and oil have been blended and there are no clumps. Mixture should have a fine crumbly, cornmeal-like texture.
  4. Add the remaining buttermilk to these dry ingredients, and mix on medium speed for 4 minutes. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure all of the ingredients are well incorporated. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the egg mixture; once the mixture has been added, increase speed to medium and beat for 1 minute. Gently fold batter once or twice (but no more) to ensure the egg mixture has all been incorporated.
  5. Divide batter evenly among the 3 prepared pans (use a kitchen scale to ensure 3 even layers--each layer should weight about 475g). Place two of the cake pans on the middle rack and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few crumbs but no batter, about 23 minutes. Repeat with the final layer. Let the layers cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then loosen sides with thin metal spatula or knife, and carefully turn out onto wire racks, peel of the paper liners, and let cool completely.

For the Malted Chocolate Cloud Frosting:

  1. Put all of the ingredients, except the melted chocolate, in a food processor, and pulse until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the melted chocolate and pulse again until glossy and smooth. If the frosting is too soft, you can refrigerate the frosting until it thickens slightly, about 15 minutes, but it should be ideal spreading consistency after pulsing.

Assembly of the Buttermilk Birthday Cake:

  1. Put a dollop of frosting on an 8-inch thin cake board (or cake plate) or 10-inch scalloped cake board.
  2. Put your first layer top-up on the cake board or plate, and spread about 1 cup of frosting evenly across layer. Put the second cake layer on top and repeat with another layer of frosting. Put the final cake layer top-down. Cover the cake with a thin layer of frosting to seal in the crumbs (crumb coat) and then refrigerate the cake until the frosting has firmed up slightly, about 30 minutes Repeat with a thicker layer of frosting, this time working to achieve a smooth finish.

To pipe the large swirl border:

  1. Fit a large pastry bag with a large closed star tip, such as Ateco #887, and fill about 2/3 full with frosting. Hold the pastry bag tip directly above the cake (I like to stand on a stool when I do this, so I can better see the top of the cake). Begin anywhere on the perimeter and gently apply enough even pressure to the pastry bag to keep the frosting flowing easily but slowly--as soon as the frosting begins to touch the cake, pipe one full tight circle, creating a rosette-style pattern, and drag the frosting to the right in one fluid motion and release pressure. Lift tip away from cake. Beginning just overtop of where you left off, repeat. Do this around the entire perimeter of the cake. Repeat this technique over your existing border for an extra swirly finish.
  2. Top the border and sides of cake with a some white nonpareils (for the sides, I "toss" small pinches of the nonpareils at the bottom of the cake and they bounce up). The cake will keep refrigerated for up to 3 days--best served at room temperature.
Sweetapolita's Notes: 
  • For the cake flour, I used Bob's Red Mill Super-Fine Cake Flour, but you can use any cake flour. If you don't have cake flour, you can read about substitutions (and a whole lotta other info about flour!) here.
  • For the vanilla bean paste, I used Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Bean Paste.
  • For the frosting, I used dark chocolate Callebaut callets (chips) 54.5% cocoa solids. Just a reminder that I increased the frosting recipe by about 25% because the big swirls require a lot of it--if you aren't going to do the swirls, you can decrease the frosting recipe by this amount.
  • I added Ovaltine to the frosting for a nostalgic malt flavour (just be sure to use original and not chocolate flavoured).
  • To decorate the top swirl I used Ateco #887. You can use Wilton 1M, which is more commonly owned it seems, but your swirls just won't be as, well, swirly, and a smidge smaller. It will still be gorgeous!
  • For the white nonpareils, you can find them in my shop--you won't see a listing for just white, but you can purchase the rainbow nonpareils and leave a note at checkout that you want/need all white :).
See you soon with more cakey-ness! P.S. Thank you all for your kind, thoughtful and heart-warming notes about what I shared in my last post. It made me cry! In a good way :). xo
Rosie Alyea
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fcakesprinks581

Dark & Dreamy Chocolate Fudge Layer Cake

Dark & Dreamy Chocolate Fudge Layer Cake by Sweetapolita Happy New Year, friends! Did you bake yourself into oblivion during the holidays? Are you pepperminted out? I can never be, although I ate my weight in peppermint bark several times. While I know we all likely exceeded our chocolate quota for 2015 (or maybe just me), it's a new year, and a fresh start! This week I made this Dark & Dreamy Chocolate Fudge Layer Cake because, while I love all cake-making, my heart belongs to layer cakes, and often the classic and classic-ish variety--I thrive on working and re-working recipes until I can find the magic of the ultimate texture and taste, you know? That might explain why I have so many versions of chocolate cakes and frostings and vanilla cake and frostings! A lot of it is based on my own personal taste, I'm sure--not liking things too dense, too this or too that, etc., but it's also just a love and need for baking. I know you can all relate! Dark & Dreamy Chocolate Fudge Layer Cake by SweetapolitaI recently bought a big tub of Guittard Noir Cocoa Powder, and oh my gosh--incredible. You might remember that I have used black cocoa powder before when I made this Midnight Cookies & Cream Cake, and I had a feeling it would be a game-changer. When you want that extra depth of flavour and colour, there's nothing like it. This time I opted to use it in a more classic way in the same Midnight Chocolate Cake layers, but paired it with a frosting that is super dark and decadent, but still shiny, creamy and workable for several hours. It will then firm up just enough to be semi-solid and "fudgey." Dark & Dreamy Chocolate Fudge Layer Cake by Sweetapolita I also wanted to use the black cocoa powder in the frosting, so I re-worked this Glossy Fudge Frosting recipe I created in the past. While the recipe is similar, you'll notice that the use of black cocoa powder along with melted dark chocolate creates a stunning colour and taste. A generous dose of sour cream brings a wonderful richness (but no "sour cream" taste, simply a tang that balances out the dark chocolate in a way that is glorious and beyond), and we only use a handful of confectioners' sugar to add a bit of sweetness. It's not as dark as this Glossy Dark Chocolate Frosting I used in the Midnight Pumpkin Layer Cake, but it has a much more "fudge-like" quality with the use of premium melted chocolate, and the preparation is much simpler (and just like the cake layers, it's one-bowl wonder). Chocolate party! Dark & Dreamy Chocolate Fudge Layer Cake by Sweetapolita One of the things I love most about this frosting is its workability and shine--it just makes the whole caking process so much more fun and offers an ease to the whole frosting-the-cake situation. I find that if frosting the cake is causing stress, it's because the consistency is off, you know? Most frostings (aside from meringue/marshmallow style) can stand a few seconds in the microwaves so that they are soft and spreadable. It's key! Dark & Dreamy Chocolate Fudge Layer Cake by Sweetapolita Like a dream. And I love to make those poofs on the cake when the frosting is so glossy and gorgeous! Simple but sweet and so, so easy--like a little cake party for 1. Dark & Dreamy Chocolate Fudge Layer Cake by SweetapolitaAnd it wouldn't be a party without a few sprinkles, right? I mixed a few from my shop, and I felt like less is more with this cake--a little punch of party and away we go. Just remember to "throw" the sprinkles on (just place a cookie sheet underneath for the sprinkle-tossing), rather than press them in, or you will ruin your combed effect (also, the frosting will be much too soft, and it could create a messy situation for you). Dark & Dreamy Chocolate Layer Cake by Sweetapolita Dark & Dreamy Chocolate Fudge Layer Cake by Sweetapolita Dark & Dreamy Chocolate Fudge Layer Cake by Sweetapolita Deep, dark, moist, chocolatey, creamy, fudgey-but-not-dense, rich, and--oh!--crunchy . . . must of been a sprinkle ;). Before I go, guys, can we talk? I want to tell you that, even though I haven't been able to post as often as I wish I could, I am always here (literally--you can find me on Instagram, Facebook, etc.), and I try my best to bring you as many recipes as I can. I love blogging, I really do. As you know, over the last few years I have embarked upon a few exciting adventures (writing the book, starting the sprinkle shop, etc.), and I am trying to find my groove in terms of balancing it all. It hasn't been an easy task, but I work on this daily. At this point, I am still a one-woman show with 2 small cakelets and a marriage separation to adjust to, so even though I would give anything to blog, blog and blog some more, I haven't found the magic wand that will let me do it all (I am still determined to do so!). That all said, I think it's time to expand the Sweetapolita team, so I am confident 2016 will bring many an adventure and recipe for us all :). It's always meant a lot to me to have you guys here and to share these things with you, so thank you for understanding! xo Recipe update 02/01/16: I have sweetened up the recipe for the frosting, by increasing the confectioners' sugar.

Dark & Dreamy Chocolate Fudge Layer Cake

3 layers of moist, dark-as-night chocolate "midnight "cake layers filled and frosted with a glossy, creamy and super-dark fudge frosting.

For the Midnight Cake Layers:

  • 2 1/4 cups 285 g all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 cups 450 g superfine sugar (regular granulated sugar will work as well)
  • 1 cup 120 g "black" unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Guittard Noir)
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups 360 ml buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 cup 240 ml hot coffee
  • 3/4 cup 180 ml vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (I used Nielsen-Massey)
  • 3 eggs (room temperature)

For the Dark Fudge Frosting:

  • 2 1/4 cups 510 g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups 180 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
  • 10 ounces 290 g premium dark (but not extra dark) chocolate, chopped or chips, melted (I used Callebaut Callets)
  • Handful of your favourite sprinkles (I used a mix of these sequins, these nonpareils and these edible silver stars)
  • You will also need:
  • 6 " pastry comb (I used this one)
  • 1 large pastry bag (disposable or reusable)
  • Large plain round pastry tip (I use Ateco #809)

For the Midnight Cake Layers:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F (180°C). Spray the bottom of three 8-inch round cake pans with cooking spray and line bottoms with parchment rounds. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, sift flour, sugar, black cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a medium bowl or measuring cup, combine the buttermilk, coffee, oil, and vanilla, and then mix in eggs.
  4. Add liquid mixture to dry ingredients and whisk until smooth, about 1 minute. Divide batter equally among the three cake pans or weigh for accuracy--each pan should weigh about 630 grams.
  5. Bake the first two layers until a wooden pick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out with a only a few crumbs, about 23 minutes. Try not to over-bake. Let cakes cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes, and then turn onto rack to cool completely. Repeat with the final cake layer. When ready to assemble the cake, wrap the layers in plastic wrap and chill for about 30 minutes.

For the Dark 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.

Assembly of the Dark & Dreamy Chocolate Fudge Layer Cake:

  1. Put your first layer top-up on the cake board or plate, and spread about 1 cup of frosting evenly across layer. Put the second cake layer on top and repeat with another layer of frosting. Put the final cake layer top-down. Cover the cake with plastic wrap and wiggle the layers into place, if necessary. Refrigerate the cake until firm, about 20 minutes.
  2. Remove the cake from the refrigerator and place on a turntable, if using. Frost entire outside of cake with a thin layer of frosting to seal in the crumbs. Chill until the frosting begins to firm-up, about 15 minutes. 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. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large plain round tip with the remaining frosting and pipe some buttercream "poofs" around the top perimeter of the cake by holding the bag, tip-down, directly above the spot you want the poof, squeeze the bag gently for about 2 seconds and then release and lift up and away. Repeat all of the way around the top of the cake.
  4. Adorn the bottom perimeter of the cake with your favourite sprinkles, if desired (but it's always desired, no?). I find it easiest to literally toss the sprinkles onto the cake, and they will stick. The cake will keep at room temperature for up to 2 days, refrigerated for up to 3 days. Best enjoyed at room temperature.
Sweetapolita's Notes:
  • As I mentioned above, for the black cocoa powder, I used 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 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.
  • 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). 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 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 totally pleased (who us?) with your poofs, you can simply remove it and do it again.
See you soon with more cake, my friends!
Rosie Alyea
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MY SPRINKLE SHOP!

Holiday $150 Sprinkle Gift Card Giveaway + Brand New Shop!

rockthecasbahside581 'Tis the season to be sprinkling, my friends . . . and let the flurry of holiday baking and gifting begin! With the recent success and excitement of my etsy sprinkle shop, I decided to launch an official Sweetapolita's Sprinkle Shop website! The shop site offers perks like FREE SHIPPING on orders over $100, Sprinkle Reward Points to earn purchase discounts, and more. You can access the shop right here on my website my clicking the above category tab "Sprinkle Shop," or directly by going to sweetapolitashop.com (where you will also be able to get here to blog with a click of a button). I ship worldwide with love & care from Canada. newshopblog And to celebrate the launch of my brand new website, I am giving away a $150 Gift Card to Sweetapolita's Sprinkle Shop, which you can use for any of the new holiday sprinkles, or for anything your heart desires! That's a lot of sprinkles. But yet somehow never enough. holidaypack The shop offers everything from my Classic Sprinkles, Sprinkle Medleys and Twinkle Sprinkle Medleys, including 8oz, 16oz and 2lb bags of each sprinkle, as well as the very giftable variety packs that consist of six 4oz bottles (which are also great when you can't decide which ones you want to try!), such as the new Holiday Dreams Variety Pack above. One of the neat perks is that you an now browse categories, such as Vegan Sprinkles, Gluten-Free Sprinkles, Boy-Friendly Sprinkles, etc. It makes the whole sprinkle-shopping experience a little less overwhelming, as I frequently add new items (can't stop!). giftcardfinal Oh, and you can now also purchase digital gift cards for instant use for some very lucky recipients! Perfect when you can't decide what to give, or for that last-minute-yet-super-awesome gift. :) And guys, please note for those who hope to receive their sprinkle orders by December 24th, please see my holiday order cut-off dates below--this is super important to avoid any let-downs. Let's take a look at some of the new holiday sprinkles you will find in the shop (and it the Holiday Dreams Variety Pack I mentioned above)! festivesparkleduo Festive Sparkle Twinkle Sprinkle Medley: This one is just that--festive and sparkly! With a fresh twist on the classic red, green and white, this red, turquoise and white combo with piles of multi-sized gold dragées and tiny gold stars is stylish and magical, if you ask me :). whovilleduo Whoville Christmas Sprinkle Medley: My 6-year-old cakelet, Neve, is a Grinch fanatic and it wouldn't be the holidays without a nod to Whoville (and any reason to toss pink into Christmas works for me!). This is one of the most popular medleys to date! frostedduo Frosted Twinkle Sprinkle Medley: Sophisticated yet simple and kind of glorious! Heaps of gold and white-upon-white shout winter, weddings and any given Wednesday. merrymerryduo Merry Merry Sprinkle Medley: My childhood Christmas, really--good ole' classic holiday colours that give us all the warm and fuzzies, and sometimes traditional is best. winterwonderlandduo Winter Wonderland Twinkle Sprinkle Medley: This medley is full on twinkly and magical with its icy colours. Imagine a chilly winter walk followed by white hot chocolate & sugar cookies sparkling with these fancy sprinkles. It's pretty much what I live for. jinglesduo Jingles of Joy Sprinkle Medley: This one has my heart! Essentially it is the Whoville Christmas Sprinkle Medley, but with heaps of turquoise added, which gives it this instant pop of style and uniqueness. Can't get enough of this one! And here are few of my current favourites in the shop: sleighrideside581 Sleigh Ride Twinkle Sprinkle Medley: I love the bold contrast of blues and white, and this is the only medley in the shop (so far) that consists of both silver and gold. To me it has a bit of a celestial vibe as well, making it so diverse. New Year's Eve, Hanukkah, Baby Shower, Christmas--it doesn't matter. This medley is stunning and festive! blacktieside581 Black Tie Twinkle Sprinkle Medley: It's all in the name--there's no getting around the fact that this one is full on fancy and black-tie worthy. From weddings and proms to New Year's Eve and sweet 16s, this one is a fanciful celebration in sprinkle form. rockthecasbahside581 Lastly, Rock the Casbah Twinkle Sprinkle Medley: Simply put, this one, well, rocks! The vibrant colours, the little-bit-of-everything and the craziness of it makes this a show-stopper. Holy sprinklage! Now let's talk about some important holiday shop details: rosie-parcels-pink581 HERE IS THE HOLIDAY SPRINKLE 411! Here are Sweetapolita's Sprinkle Shop HOLIDAY ORDERING CUT-OFF DATES (to receive your parcel by December 24th). Please read carefully, my friends, to avoid any disappointment! ★ USA: STANDARD Shipping DECEMBER 8thXpressPost Shipping DECEMBER 14th (note: this is a more costly option). ★ CANADA: STANDARD Shipping DECEMBER 10thXpressPost Shipping DECEMBER 19th (note: this is a more costly option). ★ INTERNATIONALSTANDARD Shipping (parcels under 2kg) DECEMBER 1stXPRESSPOST (all parcels over 2kg), DECEMBER 8th. I can't stress enough how important this is! It would break my heart for anyone to be disappointed by late delivery. xo Now, let's get you entered to win a $150 Gift Card to Sweetapolita's Sprinkle Shop:
Rosie Alyea
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fullgalaxycake581

Galaxy Layer Cake

Galaxy Cake by Sweetapolita Hello, hello from a land far, far away! I bring cake . . . So lately I've been a tad sprinkle-obsessed, and I can honestly say that when I close my eyes I see sprinkles. It's been an exciting 3 months since launching my sprinkle shop, but with all of the excitement and packaging it's been a lot less cakey around here, which is a bit ironic, no? So I decided to have some fun with cake, colour and, well, sprinkles! Inspired by one of my favourite sprinkle medleys in the shop, the Galaxy Twinkle Sprinkle Medley, this Galaxy Cake is enchanting, it's twinkly, and it makes me happy, happy. Galaxy Cake by Sweetapolita So what is the Galaxy Cake, aside from a cake boasting a whole lotta Galaxy sprinkles? Well to start, it's three super-moist layers of Black Velvet Cake, which is a variation of my Red Velvet Cake from The Sweetapolita Bakebook (I absolutely adore this recipe, and it bakes up like a charm every time). Essentially this black version is red velvet but with the addition of some super black gel color (not a ton, since it's so concentrated). There's something about black cake that just wows me, particularly when it's paired with vibrant colors. I filled the layers with the Fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting, also from my book, topped with a bunch of fresh blackberries, and then the entire cake frosted in a violet-hued Vanilla Bean Bakery Frosting (again, from the book) and topped with the sparkly sprinkles and ever-appealing buttercream poofs. Galaxy Cake by Sweetapolita I went for the cream cheese frosting in between the layers because we all know that velvet anything needs even a bit of cream cheese something or other, and I am really proud of the cream cheese frosting recipe in my book--it's rich, tangy, super-creamy and fluffy (not dense and none of those pesky butter or cream cheese lumps). It was perfect for this cake both for the visual and the taste and texture. Since I love berries and velvet cake, I knew I had to squeeze some in there, and blackberries were the key, and the plump juicy bursts of deep purple and their not-so-sweet taste worked beautifully. Galaxy Frosting by Sweetapolita And since too much cream cheese frosting can be, well, too much, I went for sweet and fluffy vanilla bean frosting in this ever-awesome purple shade. As I mentioned on Instagram, there's something about purple frosting that is truly magical (and how cute-ilicious is this pink spatula?), and I wanted something pale enough that it would showcase the dark and twinkly sprinkles in the best way possible. Galaxy Twinkle Sprinkle Medley by Sweetapolita So this is the packaged Galaxy Twinkle Sprinkle Medley, and it comes in 3 sizes: medium (8 oz), jumbo (16 oz) and bulk (32 oz), and adds instant wow factor to pretty much anything (as do all sprinkles, but there's something special about this one). Galaxy Twinkle Sprinkle Medley by Sweetapolita Love those twinkles! And purples and blues together give me goosebumps--truly stunning, right? Galaxy Cake by Sweetapolita I did these big buttercream poofs because they look so cute and fluffy sitting all happy atop the cake. To get the best poofs possible, I always make sure the frosting VERY soft before piping them (pop the frosting in the microwave for a few seconds and stir until super soft), and I use an extra large round decorating tip--the Ateco #809 pastry tip, which is 11/16" compared to the smaller Wilton #1A pastry tip, which is closer to 1/2". I also love using this grandé tip for piping cupcakes. Galaxy Cake by Sweetapolita What I love about this style of cake is that it's truly a joy to make--nothing complicated, crazy, or seriously time-consuming. Just good old-fashioned baking. Oh fluffy, moist, creamy, crunchy, punchy Galaxy Cake . . .  I just can't quit you. And if you have a color-love for lavender, you might like these previous purple delights: Purple Velvet Cake by Sweetapolita This Purple Velvet Cake has a seriously purple inside with the help of the obscure yam powder, which gives it a real earthiness that is both unique and decadent. Pastel Swirl Cake by Sweetapolita This Pastel Swirl Cake is still one of my favourites! I love turquoise and purple together, and this buttercream technique is gorgeous yet surprisingly easy to do (and you can find a video tutorial in the blog post!). And if you have a thing for purple sprinkles, you might love these medleys: [caption id="attachment_12555" align="aligncenter" width="581"]Icy Dreams Twinkle Sprinkle Medley by Sweetapolita Icy Dreams Twinkle Sprinkle Medley[/caption] [caption id="attachment_12610" align="aligncenter" width="581"]Cotton Candy Sprinkle Medley by Sweetapolita Cotton Candy Sprinkle Medley[/caption] [caption id="attachment_12611" align="aligncenter" width="581"]Princess Rainbow Twinkle Sprinkle Medley by Sweetapolita Princess Rainbow Twinkle Sprinkle Medley[/caption] Now let's sprinkle our way to this Galaxy Cake! And, Instagram friends! Follow me and tag #sweetapolita when you post my recipes--I'd love to see your creations!

Galaxy Layer Cake

Moist layers of flavourful black velvet cake filled with fluffy cream cheese filling and fresh blackberries, frosted in gloriously purple vanilla bean frosting and finished with Sweetapolita Galaxy Twinkle Sprinkle Medley and buttercream poofs.

For the Black Velvet Cake layers (Red Velvet Cake variation from The Sweetapolita Bakebook:

  • 3 cups 345 g cake flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon Dutch-process dark cocoa powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup 115 g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups 410 g superfine sugar (see Notes)
  • 1/2 cup 120 ml vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons Red Velvet Bakery Emulsion (see Notes)
  • 2 teaspoons AmeriColor Soft Paste Gel Color in Super Black
  • 3 large eggs (room temperature)
  • 1 1/2 cups 360 ml buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar

For the Cream Cheese Filling (Fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting from The Sweetapolita Bakebook):

  • 1/2 cup 115 g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups 190 g confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 8oz/250 g package cream cheese, softened and cut into cubes
  • 2 cups about 1 pint fresh blackberries, washed and dried

For the Vanilla Bean Bakery Frosting (adapted from The Sweetapolita Bakebook):

  • 1 1/2 cups 345 g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • Pinch of salt
  • 615 g confectioners' sugar
  • 3/4 cup 180 ml heavy cream (whipping cream)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste OR pure vanilla extract
  • Few drops of each AmeriColor Soft Gel Paste Color in Electric Purple and Regal Purple
  • 1 8 oz bottle (1 cup [Sweetapolita Galaxy Twinkle Sprinkle Medley OR sprinkles of your choice)

You will also need:

  • 1 large pastry bag (disposable or reusable)
  • Large plain round pastry tip (I use Ateco #809)

For the Black Velvet Cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease the bottom of three 8 x 2-inch round cake pans and line with parchment.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, oil, emulsion and black color on medium speed until very light and fluffy, 5-7 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing for 20 seconds and scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula after each addition. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add one-third of the flour mixture until just combined. Repeat until all of the flour mixture and buttermilk have been added. Gently whisk the mixture until smooth.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the baking soda and vinegar, and quickly whisk it into the batter. Divide the batter even among the prepared pans. (If using a scale, each pan should contain about 450 g of batter).
  5. Bake two pans in the center of the oven until a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out with a few crumbs, 20 to 25 minutes. Repeat with the final layer. Let the cake layers cool in their pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Using a knife, loosen the sides of the cakes and carefully turn them out onto wire racks. Peel off the papers and let cool completely. The cake layers will keep wrapped tightly in plastic wrap at room temperature for up to 2 days.

For the Cream Cheese Filling:

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed for 5 minutes. Add the confectioners' sugar, vanilla, lemon juice and salt; decrease the speed to low and beat for 1 minute.
  2. Increase the speed to medium and beat until fluffy, about 4 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium-low, add the cream cheese and beat until smooth, about 1 minute. (Try not to over-beat at this stage, as the cream cheese will cause the frosting to become very thin.) 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 Vanilla Bean 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, 8 minutes. Reduce the speed to low, and gradually add the confectioners' sugar, heavy cream and vanilla bean paste. 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.

Assembly of the Galaxy Layer Cake:

  1. Put your first cake layer top-up on an 8" round cake board or 10" plate, and spread half of the Cream Cheese filling evenly across the layer. Place one half of the blackberries atop the filling and gently press down to secure. Put the second cake layer (top-up) on top and repeat with another layer of filling and berries. Put 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 purple 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 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. 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 1 day, or chilled for up to 3 days. Serve at room temperature.

1. Superfine sugar is finer granule regular sugar: You can purchase it superfine or you can simply pulse regular granulated sugar in your food processor for a minute. Superfine sugar lends to a finer crumb and tender cake. That said, you can also use regular sugar--the cake will still be wonderful!

2. Red Velvet Bakery Emulsion: This product from Lorann Oils adds a gorgeous deep red hue and subtle citrus flavour that make this cake unique and tasty. But don't worry if you can't get your hands on any--this cake recipe is still dynamite the old-fashioned way: add 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract plus 3 tablespoons red liquid food colouring in place of the emulsion.

Sweetapolita's Notes:
  • I'm excited to say that you can now purchase signed copies of The Sweetapolita Bakebook in my shop!
  • For those who love cake stands and wonder about the purple beauty in this post--it doesn't seem to be available online anymore, but you can find this very similar version made by the same company.
  • Remember that frosting consistency is key! For the buttercream poofs, be sure your frosting is super soft. My trick is warming the frosting in the microwave for a few seconds before piping the poofs so that it is soft enough to achieve those cute little peaks.
  • For those who currently use my sprinkles, please feel free to share your creations on my Facebook page, Instagram and Twitter, so I can see the magic! xo
See you soon, friends!
Rosie Alyea
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twinklepack581

Twinkle Sprinkle Collection + $150 Sprinkle Giveaway!

twinklepack581f Hello, friends! I've been swept up in a sprinkle storm, and it's been really one of the most exciting and enlightening experiences, if you can believe it. I knew sprinkles made people happy, which is main reason I started this sprinkle shop, but I've come to realize that sprinkles really are a global sensation. I've connected with many wonderful sprinkle-loving souls as a result, and it means so much to me. As I chatted about in this recent post, I have been creating sprinkle medleys galore and selling them in my etsy shop, Sweetapolita's Sprinkle Shop, and shipping them worldwide. The response has been amazing, and this encourages and inspires me to keep on a mixin'! In June, I started with a collection of 10 medleys in 2 different sizes, and now I offer almost 30 medleys in everything from 8oz bottles to bulk bags, including a new collection of what I call Twinkle Sprinkle Medleys--medleys filled with golds, silvers, sparkles, rock candy, stars and more, and I add new ones often. It turns out I can't stop sprinkling . . . finalmedleypack581 Last week I added these cute-as-pie 4oz bottle variety packs, which is a great way to try out 6 different sprinkle variations or perfect for gifting, of course. :) You can find them in either all Twinkle Sprinkle Medleys, Sprinkle Medleys (above), a Mixed Batch of both types plus classic Canadian sprinkles, or all Classic Sprinkles. We will all be sprinkling ourselves silly at this rate. sunset16581 Here's a close-up of one of my recent Twinkle Sprinkle Medleys called Sunset. This mix was a literal sprinkle interpretation of a gorgeous summer sunset in my very own backyard--it's incredible how when you start thinking in sprinkles, everything around you starts to call out, "I'd make an amazing sprinkle medley!" sunsetside581 Here's a better look at all of this gold, orange, pink, purple and lavender in its glory. It's filled with jimmies, shimmering candy beads, candy pearls, gold stars, coloured stars, quins, dragées and nonpareils. It's truly a sunset come to sprinkle life, and it's one of my favourites in the entire collection. rockstar16581 This one is called Rockstar, and oh my gosh it's a Whole Lotta Rosie ;) My inner rockstar/popstar wishes came pouring out in sprinkle form with this one. This is for everything from popstar birthday parties to rockstar weddings, and everything in between. I created it as you see with the pink as the feature colour, but I've since added variations to this medley, offering purple, lime green, white, red and yellow, which would each offer such a different (but equally awesome) vibe. rockstarsidef581 Look at those silver rods! Oh my gosh. Help. So this one also has the jimmies, shimmery beads, pearls, dragées, edible stars and nonpareils, but I've tossed in some black rock candy and silver star candy, which literally earns the title Rockstar. I can't wait for you guys to see this one in person--it's even sparklier and more intense! This one is limited, and I will only have it in my shop for a short time, so if you love it, get it while you can. secretadmirer581 This one is called Secret Admirer, and it comes straight from my not-so-secret love for pink & red together. With the sparkly gold and shimmery pink beads in there, it really has such a luxe feel. I can see this adorning so many desserts--red velvet cake/cake pops/cupcakes, cookies and so much more, truly. secretadmirerside581 Be still my heart of hearts. I love those jumbo heart confetti sprinkles so much, and they really make this one special, I think. You can also find mini pink hearts, pink star quins, gold stars, tons of gold dragées and so much more in this one. Lovee love love. galaxy16581 Galaxy! This one was so much fun to create, because I had such a clear picture of it in my head. These colours are so enchanting together--mysterious and dark, yet vibrant and pretty. sidegalaxy581 Galaxy also features black rock candy, but also has tons of silver beads, bits and balls. The shades of blue and purple bring it to life, and the black bits anchor the whole black sky outer space feel, don't you think? gildedpinkbottle581 I call this one Party Dress, for obvious reasons--pink and gold say party party to me in the girliest way. Makes me want to drink girly cocktails and dress up to the nines. You know? Think of it as the sophisticated cousin of the girly Barbies & Bubblegum Sprinkle Medley :) gildedpinkabove581 Those gold stars and bits are everything, and the pink on pink (on pink) is so much prettiness in one place. Princess party anyone? stilettos8581 Stilettos and Sparkles! I think this one has everything from Valentine's Day to holiday sparkle going for it. And likely a lot of festivities in between. Red and gold have to be one of the most luxe color combinations, and gold stars aplenty don't hurt either. stilettossparkleabove581 This would make an incredible New Year's Eve medley too--it just shouts fancy party to me. You wouldn't even need to bake anything particularly over-the-top, but rather take simple treats and sprinklefy them with these for instant glam. That's kind of the best part about sprinkles--they do all the work to bring the magic, which can save so, so much time when needed. icy8581 Finally, Icy Dreams--a medley made for my cakelets and the rest of the Frozen-loving universe, although it's certainly not limited to Frozeny themes. It's super icy and sparkly with its silver bits and cool tones of blue, shimmery white, white rock candy bits and more. icyabove581 What sprinkle dreams are made of, really. :) So, my friends! To properly celebrate my sprinkle journey, I am giving away $150 Gift Card to spend on anything in Sweetapolita's Sprinkle Shop, where you'll find all of these Twinkle Sprinkle Medleys, but also oodles of my colourful Sprinkle Medleys and Classic Sprinkles too! Wishing you so much luck! Giveaway is open WORLDWIDE.
Rosie Alyea
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scrapermixer600

Breville Scraper Mixer Pro Giveaway + Review!

[caption id="attachment_12477" align="aligncenter" width="600"]scrapermixer600 Breville Scraper Mixer Pro[/caption] Hello friends! Today I want to talk about one of the important tools in my world, and any baker's world: the stand mixer. If you and I have been connected for some time, you've probably noticed that for the years I have been baking, I have been a KitchenAid-stand-mixer girl--I have not only referred to my love for them countless times, but I have personally given away several here on the blog. I have always had success with them, but recently my well-cared-for, 3 year-old mixer started doing some crazy, crazy things (clunking, getting stuck on certain speeds, etc). I had never tried any other brand, so when my friends at Breville Canada asked me to try their Scraper Mixer Pro 5-Quart Die-Cast Stand Mixer (BEM800XL), I couldn't resist. Now, I don't do many reviews on this site, but with this product I was genuinely keen--not only to try the mixer, but to share my honest and unbiased thoughts with my fellow bakeaholics. Now, you guys know that I bake . . .  a lot. And it means the world to me, so when reading about this mixer, I was particularly intrigued by these notable features:
  • Planetary Mixing Action covers 360 degree beater-to-bowl, for thoroughly mixed ingredients (such a key feature for cake baking!)
  • Scraper beater continuously fold and scrapes the sides and bottom of the bowl, eliminating the need for hand scraping with a spatula (if I had a cupcake for every time I have scraped down the sides of the bowl with a spatula . . . )
  • 12 Speed Electronic Control
  • 10 Minute Timer with Auto-Off (versus no timer)
  • 550-watt motor (versus my then 325-watt motor) with metal gears and Load Sensing Technology with Motor Protection
fullmixer600And while I didn't intend for this post to be a straight-out comparison between Breville and KitchenAid mixers, it is hard not to compare, since there's no denying that many of us currently use, or have them on baking wish-lists. So while I want to focus on this Scraper Mixer Pro, I will go ahead and point out any relevant comparisons between the two when it might offer some valuable and life-altering mixer insight :). Straight Out of the Box Impression:
  • The mixer was surprisingly lightweight, which I loved (16.8 lbs versus 26 lbs), and comes with all of the same components my other mixer did: wire whip, flat beater, dough hook and pouring shield, as well as a few additional components: their signature scraper beater and a spatula.
  • The silver solid die-cast metal design has a sleek and modern look to it and looks great on my countertop.
  • I was intrigued by the electronic control dial with options organized by baking terms/action (ie. folding/kneading, light mixing, creaming/beating, aerating/whipping), instead of numbered speeds and clunky levers (especially since my other mixer had a lever malfunction, due to which I couldn't even turn the mixer off without unplugging it--ugh).
bowl600This is the scraper beater with its flexible edge that makes it possible to skip the whole scraping-down-the bowl-every-few-moments. Again, a total bonus. It saves time and adds an ease that us bakers need. Now in all fairness, I do have an additional beater that I ordered for my KA mixer, with one side of So, needless to say, the first thing I did after receiving this mixer was--you guessed it--baked a cake! This was quite a moment for me, because it was all so mysterious and exciting to use a new machine. I had no idea what to expect, but I went for it and the first delight I baked was this Perfectly Pink Angel Food Cake, from the post I shared awhile back (would it be weird to tell you that this cake post has been shared with over 1.6 million people on facebook? holy!) Yummiest cake ever, really. Anyway, since this cake is all about the mixer with meringue aplenty, I figured it would be a good place to start, but because that was all about the wire whip, that still didn't give me a chance to test out the scraper beater. [caption id="attachment_12511" align="aligncenter" width="581"]rootbeerfloat581 chocolate root beer float cake from The Sweetapolita Bakebook[/caption] So the next recipe I made was the Chocolate Root Beer Float Cake from my book (above), which I am going to be sharing here very soon, so that I could give the scraper beater a go, as well as test out the creaming/beating setting a good test, since the cake layers are chocolate root beer butter cake, and the ultimate creaming job is key to its decadent but light texture. The Vanilla Bakery Frosting also requires serious fluffing in two parts on a higher speed, for a total of 14 minutes, so this cake was the ideal way to see what a day-in-the-life as my mixer would entail: Here are some of my observations:
  • I loved the ease of the lift assist handle to lift and lock the mixer head in the upright position--no more finger prints all over the mixer head! It's also great to have it lock in place instead of banging down.
  • This mixer is SO quiet! Oh my gosh, this is huge for me. I don't think anyone likes the loud sound of a mixer going for 10 straight minutes, or any minutes at all, but with my open concept kitchen/living room, I use to be constantly told "Mom, we can't hear the tv!" Because my mixer is pretty much always going, this is a super plus for me.
  • The timer (up to 10 mins) with auto-off came in really handy when making everything from the meringue to frosting.
  • The backlit LCD display of the settings and the electronic dial just made the whole experience feel super smooth.
  • The mixer held up well for extending mixing and the scraper beater really did eliminate the need for bowl scraping by hand. I felt the mixtures all looked slightly fluffier than usual but, in all fairness, that's hard to say 100% without placing mixtures by each mixer side by side. Either way those cakes and frostings turned out beautifully, as has everything I have whipped up since.
scrapermixer600 A Few More Tidbits about the Scraper Mixer Pro: 
  • It costs about $300 USD (and for us Canadians, you can actually find it on amazon.ca for about $300 CDN) versus the pricer KitchenAid mixers.
  • While it doesn't come in the wide array of colours, it does come in your choice of Silver (as shown), Cranberry or Black Sesame. (I do admit there is a place in my heart for pastel coloured mixers, but the truth is that the ease of use and performance of my mixer is most important. That, and these really are gorgeous and sleek--kind of a nice change!)
  • As far as additional accessories offered, at this time you can purchase the Second Bowl (3 QT for smaller quantities), the the Freeze and Mix (a nifty thermal bowl and attachment for making ice cream) and the Scraper Whisk (a super duper nifty whisk that boasts the flexible edge scraper beater detail along with a 3 QT bowl).
I am very pleased with this mixer, and I will continue to use it as my go-to (I have to admit I still have my KA mixer in the works, as I often have them both going at the same time). And while these are my genuine thoughts and observations about this mixer, I should note that I can't comment on the long-term endurance or performance of it, since I have only had the mixer for a few weeks. Overall, in my opinion, so far it's a winner! Enter below to win your very own Breville Scraper Mixer Pro 5-Quart Die-Cast Stand Mixer, courtesy of Breville Canada! Winner will be posted on the actual giveaway icon below on September 14th. Good luck!  Canadian residents only this time, but don't worry American and international friends--I have another (sprinkly) giveaway soon-coming, open worldwide! See you soon with some serious cake!
Rosie Alyea
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Sprinkle Medley from Sweetapolita (sweetapolita.etsy.com)

Sweetapolita's Sprinkle Shop!

[caption id="attachment_12464" align="aligncenter" width="581"]Sprinkles from The Sweetapolita Bakebook {image from The Sweetapolita Bakebook}[/caption] Sprinkles, sprinkles, everywhere! Hello, hello, my friends! You may have seen me flooding the Instagram universe with sprinklage over the past few weeks, but if not, I'm excited to tell you that my Etsy Sprinkle Shop is open! There you will find everything from an ever-growing collection of my sprinkle medleys--a term I use for a themed mélange of sprinkles and candies to use for anything from cakes and cookies to ice cream sandwiches and chocolate bark. I make a lot of the jimmies (sugar strands) myself in an array of colours and flavours, and then I incorporate all sorts of specialty sprinkles and bits to make sprinkle magic: sugar beads, sugar pearls, rock crystal candy, silver stars, confetti, quin shapes, and more. Each bottle is one of a kind! I offer the medleys in both medium and jumbo sized bottles, and I also offer jumbo bottles of my favourite classic sprinkles that I have access to and can ship worldwide (and I add new things every few days!). I also LOVE to do custom sprinkle medleys, so please let me know if there's something you'd love to order! You can also access the shop right here on my site, under the tab Sprinkle Shop. Hooray! [caption id="attachment_12438" align="aligncenter" width="581"]Carousel Sprinkle Medley by Sweetapolita on Etsy Carousel Sprinkle Medley[/caption] I officially opened the shop last Sunday (although I technically created the shop sans sprinkles in 2010--I suppose I knew someday I would fill it with products!), and it's been a flurry of sprinkles ever since. Having a little online shop has been a long-time dream of mine, and thanks to the awesomeness that is Etsy, I can now share and ship my favourite sprinkles (and soon to be other sprinkly items) all over the world. So far I've been happily packaging and shipping my sprinkle babies everywhere from to Bermuda to Bahrain, and it excites me to know that my sprinkles are adorning so many cakes and goodies, and eliciting so many smiles, around the globe! [caption id="attachment_12446" align="aligncenter" width="581"]Carousel Sprinkle Medley (sweetapolita.etsy.com) Carousel Sprinkle Medley[/caption] As I mentioned, all of the sprinkles come in two sizes, and they are packaged in my favourite French plastic milk bottles, which are both several times bigger than typical bottles/jars of sprinkles: 8 oz and 16 oz (volume). Because these sprinkle medleys are often used to cover whole cakes (or sides of cakes), or covering batches of candy and bark, etc. I opted to offer them in these larger sizes. Maybe it's just me, but I feel that a teeny, tiny jar of sprinkles is just a teaser, and it limits how we use them in our sweets because you simply never have enough. You know? (And to purchase several bottles of typical sprinkles, ends up costing way too much and it's a major waste of all of that packaging, which of course we pay for.) So, I should mention that, in terms of quantity and pricing, it was important to me to create value in the sizes offered--the medium 8 oz bottle (which is NET WT 5.8 oz/165 g) is about 2-3 times the quantity of a typical bottle of sprinkles, and the jumbo 16 oz bottle (NET WT 11.6 oz/330 g) is 4-6 times the quantity of a typical bottle of sprinkles. And since one typical jar/bottle of sprinkles (even the simple ones) can cost up to 8.00 each, I feel really good about the sprinkle pricing. Rainbows & Sprinkles Cake from The Sweetapolita Bakebook I ended up using that first medley on the Rainbows & Sprinkles Cake in my book, and have been experimenting ever since with medleys galore. It's rather addictive! Here are a few of the medleys in my shop right now: [caption id="attachment_12445" align="aligncenter" width="581"]Mermaid Magic Sprinkle Medley (sweetapolita.etsy.com) Mermaid Magic Sprinkle Medley[/caption] This is one of my favourite medleys with its enchanting, beachy feel. I call it Mermaid Magic, but my cakelets have assured me that this is also very "Frozen," and I have to agree. I think this would make for an amazing addition to a beach wedding cake, Frozen party cake, cupcakes, cookies, party spoons, etc. or pretty much anything you can dream up. [caption id="attachment_12439" align="aligncenter" width="581"]Mermaid Magic Sprinkle Medley (sweetapolita.etsy.com) Mermaid Magic Sprinkle Medley[/caption] The colours and textures in this medley really are magical together, and I love the sparkle and shimmer from the blue crystals, lavender shimmer candy beads, blue shimmer sugar, and so much more. [caption id="attachment_12447" align="aligncenter" width="581"]Happy Unicorn Sprinkle Medley (sweetapolita.etsy.com) Happy Unicorn Sprinkle Medley[/caption] This one makes me way too happy! Happy Unicorn has such a unique colour combo and, tons of homemade sprinkles, star quins, etc. I was really pleased with the way that hit of pink and white brought it all together. [caption id="attachment_12448" align="aligncenter" width="581"]Happy Unicorn Sprinkle Medley (sweetapolita.etsy.com) Happy Unicorn Sprinkle Medley[/caption] Confetti, nonpareils and jimmies . . . oh my! [caption id="attachment_12441" align="aligncenter" width="581"]Barbies & Bubblegum Sprinkle Medley (sweetapolita.etsy.com) Barbies & Bubblegum Sprinkle Medley[/caption] And for us pink enthusiasts, Barbies & Bubblegum Sprinkle Medley! This is the girliest item in the collection (so far), and it literally smells like bubble gum. [caption id="attachment_12444" align="aligncenter" width="581"]Barbies & Bubblegum Sprinkle Medley (sweetapolita.etsy.com) Barbies & Bubblegum Sprinkle Medley[/caption] Pink, pink, pink! Jumbo pink confetti, pink stars, pink candy pearls, pink shimmer beads, pink hearts and more. [caption id="attachment_12451" align="aligncenter" width="581"]Violet Dreams Sprinkle Medley (sweetapolita.etsy.com) Violet Dreams Sprinkle Medley[/caption] There's something so appealing about shades of purple, and I brought all of my favourite purple sprinkles and candy together to make the ultimate violet sprinkle medley. I love this one, and it was inspired by this medley I created for the Purple Velvet Cake awhile back. Who doesn't love purple cake? [caption id="attachment_12452" align="aligncenter" width="581"]Violet Dreams Sprinkle Medley (sweetapolita.etsy.com) Violet Dreams Sprinkle Medley[/caption] I particularly love the lavender shimmer candy beads and jumbo purple confetti sprinkles but, then again, I don't think I've ever met a sprinkle I didn't like. :) [caption id="attachment_12455" align="aligncenter" width="581"]Pastel Confetti Sprinkles (sweetapolita.etsy.com) Pastel Confetti Sprinkles[/caption] And as I mentioned above, I'm also pleased to be able to offer many of my favourite sprinkles in the shop. After reading so many reader comments about how hard it is to get even the simple sprinkles in many parts of the world, I knew I had to offer them! You can even find several varieties of the skinny, slender jimmies sprinkles in my shop--those made here in Canada are unique and apparently in high demand! Yay for Canadian sprinkles! [caption id="attachment_12456" align="aligncenter" width="581"]Pastel Confetti Sprinkles (sweetapolita.etsy.com) Pastel Confetti Sprinkles[/caption] What is your favourite sprinkle? And to welcome you officially to the Sweetapolita Sprinkle Shop, enter this coupon code for 15% off your entire order: SPRINKLEFEVER (valid until July 31st, 2015). See you soon with more frosting and sprinkles!
Rosie Alyea
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watercolorbuttercreamweb

Watercolor Buttercream Party Cake

Watercolor Buttercream Party Cake by Sweetapolita Hello, hello, my cake-loving friends! Since we all love to explore our artistic side, it's been on my mind to create a party cake that plays on the lovely painted/watercolor cake trend, but using all buttercream and not a fondant icing surface. I love fondant, I do (and the way it tastes, although I know it's not for everyone), but the truth-be-told fondant cakes are a bit of an endeavour time-wise, and of course you need just the right supplies, etc. The idea behind this cake is that it is quick and simple to do, but artistic with wow-factor. Active time, this cake is literally a 30 minute job, or less. We use only a quick super-fluffy one-bowl whipped vanilla bean frosting (like vanilla bean clouds, really) and the ever-moist, dark chocolate one-bowl cake layers, and then create a pretty painted effect with the spreading of the frosting, top it with buttercream "poofs" and a little medley of sprinkles. Voilà! I even added a few bits of edible gold leaf for drama, which I highly recommend. You might remember the Pastel Swirl Cake I made awhile back, and that cake stays close to my heart. Aside from the swirls of beachy, ever-pleasing pastel frosting, what I love about is how it's really a simple technique that anyone can do, and each time we make a cake like that it, it becomes a little piece of art. These are the cakes you want to crawl right in and live inside for the rest of eternity . . . or maybe that's just me. :) Watercolour Buttercream Party Cake by Sweetapolita The inspiration for the colours on this cake--the pink and gold--comes from my new CHEERS acrylic cake topper I found from Creative Bag. They have so many adorable cake toppers, baking supplies, packaging and more. (Check out their blog too for endless and inspiring packaging ideas!). Of course you can go with any cake flavour and frosting colour combination you wish, and I can imagine so many lovely options for this style cake. Watercolor Buttercream Party Cake by Sweetapolita So rather than the gorgeous meringue tops I love, I opted to pipe these poofs in the buttercream, for simplicity and yumminess purposes. Plus there are few things as delightful as sprinkle covered mountains of vanilla bean buttercream poofs. You know? I created a little pink and gold sprinkle medley to tie the colours together (stay tuned for more on my soon-coming sprinkle shop on Etsy, where you will find these sprinkle medleys and more!). You can simply mix your favourite sprinkles and such in a little bowl and make a customized medley depending on the colour scheme of your cake. Sprinkles forever! Watercolor Buttercream Party Cake by Sweetapolita The cake topper certainly makes the cake party-ready! It's amazing what a cute topper can add to a cake, and truth-be-told a fun topper on a plain cake works beautifully too. They can add an instant hit of personality to any cake! Watercolor Buttercream Party Cake by Sweetapolita I opted for chocolate cake, as I tend to do with artsy frosted cakes--I think the contrast is stunning, and a moist, dark chocolate cake paired with vanilla bean frosting never disappoints. Vanilla Milk Minis by Sweetapolita And because I couldn't resist, how about some Vanilla Bean Milk Minis? Mini vanilla bean milk bottles adorned with our pink and gold sprinkles-- this is such a sweet and simple way to use up left over frosting and sprinkles, particularly for kids' parties or, well, grown up parties and even a rainy Tuesday. I simply pressed the rims of the bottles into some remaining frosting, and then into my sprinkle medley. Then I stirred some vanilla bean paste (that we used in our frosting) into 2% milk (about 1/2 teaspoon for every 240 ml cup) and poured it in the prepared bottles. So easy! If you have my book, you may have noticed I use similar mini milk bottles for the Birthday Cake Milkshakes. I had to source the ones I used in the book from Asia and have them shipped, but I was so excited to see that my friends at Creative Bag now sell these! My cakelets LOVE these little bottles. Don't forget to check out my friends at Creative bag and their baking-themed promo & giveaway today (you may even win a copy of my book, along with other adorable baking-related goodies), as well as their week-long promo and giveaway party going on until Friday. So let's make this cake, shall we?

Watercolor Buttercream Party Cake

  • 2 1/4 cups 285 g all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 cups 450 g superfine sugar
  • 1 cup 120 g dark unsweetened cocoa powder (see Notes)
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups 360 ml buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 cup 240 ml hot coffee (if you can't use coffee, substitute with very hot water)
  • 3/4 cup 180 ml vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs (room temperature)

For the frosting:

  • 1 cup 227 g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening (see Notes)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 5 cups 620 g confectioners' sugar
  • 2/3 cup 160 ml heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon warm water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste (see Notes)
  • Bright pink food colouring (see Notes)
  • Edible gold leaf (optional (see Notes))
  • Pink sprinkles (optional)

For the cake layers:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F (180°C). Spray the bottom of three 8-inch round cake pans with cooking spray and line bottoms with parchment rounds. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing 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, and vanilla, and then mix in eggs.
  4. Add liquid mixture to dry ingredients and whisk until smooth, about 1 minute. Divide batter equally among the three cake pans or weigh for accuracy--each pan should weigh about 580 grams.
  5. Bake the first two layers until a wooden pick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out with a only a few crumbs, about 23 minutes. Try not to over-bake. Let cakes cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes, and then turn onto rack to cool completely. Repeat with the final cake layer. When ready to assemble the cake, wrap the layers in plastic wrap and chill for about 30 minutes.

For the frosting:

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, shortening, and salt on medium speed until very pale and creamy, 8 minutes.
  2. Reduce the speed to the lowest setting and gradually add the confectioners' sugar, heavy cream, vanilla bean paste and water. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until very light and fluffy, about 6 minutes.
  3. 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. Add a small amount of water, one tablespoon at a time, if the frosting needs more "glide."

Assembly of the Watercolor Buttercream Party Cake:

  1. Transfer about 3 cups of the frosting to another bowl and tint medium pink--this will be for your cake filling and the pink on the outside of the cake. Put a smudge of frosting in the center of an 8-inch round cake board (or cake plate) or 10-inch scalloped cake board.
  2. Put your first cake layer top-up on the cake board or plate, and spread about 1 1/4 cups of the pink frosting evenly across layer. Put the second cake layer on top and repeat with another layer of frosting. Put the final cake layer top-down. Make sure that your layers are straight and lined up with the ones below.
  3. Using a turntable, if possible, frost entire outside of cake with a thin layer of the untinted frosting to seal in the crumbs. Chill until the frosting begins to firm-up, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, tint the remaining pink frosting (there should be about 1/2 cup) a very bright pink.
  4. Remove the cake from the refrigerator and return it to the turntable. Using a medium straight palette knife (metal spatula), spread small patches of the bright pink frosting around the cake (a few inches here and there). Cover the rest of the cake with the untinted frosting as usual. Using your palette knife again, smooth the frosting around the cake, which will blend the bright pink just enough to create a "watercolor" effect. To reveal more pink, gently go over those areas again until you achieve the desired look.
  5. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large plain round tip with the remaining frosting and pipe some buttercream "poofs" on the top. Sprinkle the top of the cake with a handful of pink and gold sprinkles. If adding gold leaf onto the cake, return the cake to the fridge to set, about 30 minutes before gently pressing random patches of the gold onto the cake. Cake will keep covered at room temperature for up to 1 day, or chilled for up to 3 days. Serve at room temperature.
If you'd like a visual of a similar technique, you can watch my How to Make a Pastel Swirl Cake video. For the Watercolor Buttercream Cake you would do this technique but rather than using 3 frosting colours, you would use mostly untinted with random patches of the hot pink.
Sweetapolita's Notes:
  • For the vegetable shortening in the frosting, I use high-ratio shortening (learn why in the Sweetapolita's Notes section here), but you can also use standard Crisco shortening since it is a small amount. Typically I find Crisco-style shortening leaves an unpleasant mouth-feel in a frosting, but due to the generous amount of heavy cream and the touch of warm water added, the result is super fluffy with no lasting film feeling on the tongue and no confectioners' sugar grit. I used this High Ratio Shortening, but there are several brands available.
  • I swear by vanilla bean paste, as you it's so much more convenient and affordable than buying the vanilla pods on their own. There are several quality brands out there, but I like LorAnn Oils Madagascar Vanilla Bean Paste.
  • To achieve a very bright, deep pink frosting, I use a combination of Americolor Soft Pink Gel Paste and a hot pink food coloring powder, such as this Hot Pink Petal Dust or this Hot Pink Petal Dust/Food Coloring.
  • For the gold leaf, I used this 23 Carat Edible Gold Leaf. Of course it's a luxury, but you use just a touch here and there on cakes, cookies, cupcakes, macarons and so much more, and it lasts for quite some time.
  • You can find the adorable CHEERS cake topper in the photo and small milk bottles (and tons of other fun stuff!) on creativebag.com.
See you soon with more cake and sprinkles!
Rosie Alyea
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pinkcakecut5815

Perfectly Pink Angel Food Cake

Perfectly Pink Angel Food Cake by Sweetapolita Hello, hello! Happy Friday! There comes a time when, in a land of layer cakes galore, a classic simple cake can, and should, reign supreme--particularly when that classic simple cake is pink upon pink and adorned with a handful of rainbow sprinkles. You know? A few months ago, my sister and I were helping mom pack up her apartment, and I came across the tattered and beloved Canadian Five Roses Flour Cookbook she used for my entire life, and for many years before that, I'm sure. I can recall the little cookbook cupboard above our rather large, and at that time novel, microwave oven, storing a handful of cookbooks and a red binder stuffed to the brim with handwritten and typed family recipes, clipped newspaper and magazine recipes, and more. But it was the Five Roses Cookbook that mom seemed to have propped up on the counter most days, making everything from savory to sweet (I fondly remember her peanut butter cookies and lemon meringue pie the most--mom was never really into cake-making), and it was the first cookbook I ever read. And I mean read. Every rainy day or weekend little me would ask if I could pleeeease bake something from the book, and despite her hesitation (I was and still am a rather, hmm, messy baker!) she'd always let me. I would usually make something like chocolate coconut macaroons, sugar cookies, or my rather organically shaped gingerbread men (if I only had the patience to chill dough at that age). Funny how we sort of stash these memories away until we get zapped by a certain scent or visual (like when I came across this guy on ebay and my heart skipped a beat! This was the exact gingerbread cutter we had, and I loved him). I just loved baking from this cookbook. Perfectly Pink Angel Food Cake by Sweetapolita So to make a short story long, as I tend to do, I am so excited to have this Five Roses Cookbook in my possession! It really has me in the classic, vintage cake sort of mood. I sat down and went straight to the cake section, and the first thing that jumped out at me was Angel Food Cake--a classic, for certain. A light, fatless, sponge cake that gets its notable height and loftiness from the air we beat into many an egg white, sugar and cream of tartar before gently folding in a mixture of cake flour and sugar. We bake the cake in an ungreased 10" tube pan, or "angel food cake pan," so that the cake can grab onto the sides of the pan and achieve substantial height. The cake is moist as can be and has a definite spongy quality you feel when cut a bite with the side of your fork. But for some reason, as soon as you put that bite into your mouth, it melts away. So I woke up the next day and knew that it was time to bake a pink angel food cake--that's all there was to it. My first round I used the recipe exactly as it was in the book, but I added a few drops of pink food coloring. It had me feeling all authentic and nostalgic as I folded the dry ingredients in by hand and gently transferred the batter to the pan. It baked up beautifully, and it tasted so good--a perfect hit of vanilla and subtle egginess that I love. Perfectly Pink Angel Food Cake by Sweetapolita But then I got all curious about angel food cake in general, and the science of it and what I could do to possibly make the cake even lighter, even taller, and perhaps add just a touch more flavour. As I searched other angel food cake recipes online, I noticed that some of the more recent versions called for confectioners' sugar in the dry mixture, along with the granulated sugar in the meringue portion. So I made 3 more billowy batches using different combinations of ingredients until I felt that the cake was indeed "perfect" in my opinion, or at least perfect for my taste. I ended up using confectioners' sugar in the dry mix, but a bit less than other recipes, and then used superfine sugar (see Sweetapolita's Notes below) for the meringue portion, as it dissolves quickly into the egg whites and lends to a gorgeous meringue. I increased the egg whites and cake flour and added vanilla bean paste and a small bit of almond extract for incredible flavour. Oh, and of course pink! I added just a few drops of the pink gel paste. So my final version of this Perfectly Pink Angel Cake is an adaptation of the Angel Food Cake recipe in my beloved Five Roses Cookbook tweaked with some things I learned from this epicurious version, and those few other changes I made to make the cake "perfect" in my opinion. Like a dream. The confectioners' sugar and cake flour lend to this super-soft texture and fine crumb that almost melts in your mouth. I frosted the cake with pink marshmallow frosting, which is the ultimate in billowy and satiny-ness, and topped it all with a handful of rainbow nonpareils. Perfectly Pink Angel Food Cake by Sweetapolita Sometimes the true gems embrace simplicity, you know? It can be as simple as tinting a classic recipe a fun colour, or baking it in a unique shape, but in a world of over-the-top recipes, I think it's important to cherish some of the vintage recipes we grew up on, and our parents and grandparents grew up on. Oh, and a note for my fellow cake stand junkies who may ask where to get this dreamy turquoise cake stand, I found it at Winners here in Canada, along with 2 other colors--pink and yellow--right before Easter. I went in for nail polish and of course came with 3 cake stands--you know how it goes. The brand is Grace's Teaware, but yet I can't find them (the stands) online at all. (I remember wanting to include them in my recent cake stands post, but having no way of guiding you to the source or a how-to-buy option.) Okay, so onto this pink beauty! I suggest you drop everything (except the carton of eggs) and make this cake! :)

Pink Angel Food Cake

Classic, light as air, moist pink angel food cake topped with billowy swirls of pink marshmallow frosting and rainbow sprinkles.

For the 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)
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
  • Few drops pink soft gel paste food color (see Notes)

For the pink 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
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or pure vanilla extract)
  • Few drops pink soft gel paste food color (see Notes)
  • Rainbow nonpareils (optional)

Make the pink 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, and a few drops of the food colouring, if using.
  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. Gently transfer the batter to an ungreased 10" angel food cake pan and smooth the top with a small offset spatula. 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.
  4. 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.

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 rainbow nonpareils). 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:
  • As I mentioned in the post above, I use "superfine" sugar for most of my cake and meringue recipes (in my book as well) 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), such as this India Tree brand Superfine Caster Baking Sugar. What I do is put my granulated sugar in the food processor and let it go for about a minute and voila! Superfine sugar.
  • For the food colour, I used a few drops of AmeriColor Soft Gel Paste Food Color in Soft Pink for both the cake and the frosting, but you can certainly go all white--that would be gorgeous and classic. You can also use powdered food colouring or your favourite brand of food colour. I like the concentrated soft gel paste because it only takes a few drops.
  • 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 be frosted (typically not a big fan of the brown cake crust).
  • I used LorAnn Oils Madagascar Vanilla Bean Paste, which is wonderful, but I also love Nielsen Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste. You can certainly use pure vanilla extract (I suggest a good quality one), though.
  • You can find rainbow nonpareils in most grocery shops, but if you use them often, larger quantities can be purchased online and at cake decorating shops. Or if you need serious sprinklage in your life, try this Party Decoratifs 3.4 lb! That huge jar just makes me so darn happy.
Rosie Alyea
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singlesliceoreo581

Midnight Cookies & Cream Cake

Midnight Cookies & Cream Cake from Sweetapolita Hi friends! First off, to all of the mamas out there, Happiest Mother's Day to you! You deserve 6-layer cake and so much more. This week I made this rather decadent cake, and let me tell you it's a crowd-pleaser . . . How have I never made an Oreo dessert for the blog before? It was long overdue, I would say. So I went for it--hard. See, I've been craving all things Oreo, and I've been dying to use the black cocoa powder I bought while in Vancouver promoting my book, but I was waiting for the right cake. And then it hit me that it belongs in an Oreo-inspired sky-scraping cake! Midnight Cookies & Cream Cake from Sweetapolita As much as I love an over-the-top chocolate-on-chocolate looking cake, I thought it would be more interesting to add a bright pop of pink sprinkle-laden frosting before pouring some shiny chocolate glaze over top. Instant party cake! The intensely chocolate--midnight chocolate--cake layers are incredibly moist and super-dark with and balance out the sweet-as-sweet but cream and rich cookies and cream filling with vanilla bean and biggish chunks of Oreos throughout. We add a hit of cream cheese to the frosting to create an even creamier, more balanced sweet frosting. Midnight Cookies & Cream Cake from Sweetapolita The pink sprinkle frosting is the from the same batch of filling, but we leave out the Oreos and add rainbow jimmies and a dose of fuschia gel color. A generous pouring of the glaze, more Oreos (now I'm wishing I used Double-Stuffed!), pink frosting dollops and cookie crumbs add the fun finishing touches. It's rather amazing how quickly the addition of chocolate glaze changes the whole personality of a cake, right? Instant drama and beyond. And it doesn't have to be chocolate--a super fun bright candy-coloured glaze is always a good idea as well (remember this 6-Layer Neapolitan Macaron Delight Cake?). Midnight Cookies & Cream Cake from Sweetapolita So let's talk more about the Black Cocoa Powder. I have to admit I've never used it before, mostly because I haven't come across it locally before, and the cocoa powder I use for most of my chocolate desserts is very dark as it is (Cacao Barry Cocoa Powder Extra Brute) lending to a gorgeous super-dark shade of brown. I was rather enchanted with the black as night version and when I came across it while in Vancouver recently (you can read about that trip here), I had to buy it. I've been saving it for the right cake, and this worked out exactly as I hoped it would. The black chocolate cake is reminiscent of that impossibly dark "Oreo chocolate," and the intense chocolate flavour really balances out the sweetness of the frosting (and the black cocoa powder would be ideal for making our own Oreos!). And just when the pink frosting might add a bit too much sweetness for cake with 5 layers of sweet filling, the chocolate glaze adds another hit of intensity to make everything right with the cake-loving world again. Midnight Cookies & Cream Cake from Sweetapolita My family went crazy for this cake, and while you might assume they love most things I bake, the truth is they are all very, um, particular, we'll say? Each and every one of them loved this cake--it's truly a crowd-pleaser for all ages. And, as a side-note, I also want to thank everyone who has purchased The Sweetapolita Bakebook--it means so much to me! If you ever have any questions about the recipes or designs in the book, be sure to reach out and contact me! Now let's make this Midnight Cookies & Cream Cake, shall we?

6-layer Midnight Cookies & Cream Cake

6 layers of deep, dark, midnight black chocolate cake filled with Oreo buttercream, frosted in pink birthday cake frosting and sprinkles, covered with dark chocolate glaze and more Oreos.

For the Midnight Cake Layers:

  • 2 1/4 cups 285 g all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 cups 450 g superfine sugar
  • 1 cup 120 g "black" unsweetened cocoa powder (see Notes)
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups 360 ml buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 cup 240 ml hot coffee
  • 3/4 cup 180 ml vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs (room temperature)

For the Cookies & Cream Filling/Pink Frosting:

  • 2 3/4 cups 625 g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup 130 g high-ratio shortening (see Notes)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 10 cups 1 kg plus 250 g confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1 1/3 cups 320 ml heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract OR vanilla bean paste
  • 2 tablespoons water (plus more if needed)
  • 1/4 cup 60 g cream cheese, room temperature
  • Gel food color in fuschia (see Notes)
  • 16 oreos (semi-crushed for the filling, plus more whole oreos for decorating (at least 8))
  • 1/3 cup 50 g rainbow jimmies

For the Shiny Chocolate Glaze:

  • 5 ounces 150 g semi-sweet best-quality chocolate, chopped or chips
  • 3/4 cup 170 g unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • Pinch of salt

For the Midnight Cake Layers:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F (180°C). Spray the bottom of three 8-inch round cake pans with cooking spray and line bottoms with parchment rounds. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, sift flour, sugar, black cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a medium bowl or measuring cup, combine the buttermilk, coffee, oil, and vanilla, and then mix in eggs.
  4. Add liquid mixture to dry ingredients and whisk until smooth, about 1 minute. Divide batter equally among the three cake pans or weigh for accuracy--each pan should weigh about 630 grams.
  5. Bake the first two layers until a wooden pick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out with a only a few crumbs, about 23 minutes. Try not to over-bake. Let cakes cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes, and then turn onto rack to cool completely. Repeat with the final cake layer. When ready to assemble the cake, wrap the layers in plastic wrap and chill for about 30 minutes.

For the Cookies & Cream Filling/Pink Frosting:

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, shortening, and salt on medium speed until very pale and creamy, 8 minutes.
  2. Reduce the speed to the lowest setting and gradually add the confectioners' sugar, heavy cream, vanilla bean paste and water. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until very light and fluffy, about 6 minutes. Beat in the cream cheese until combined, about 30 seconds.
  3. Transfer about 5 cups of the frosting to a medium bowl and tint it pink using soft gel paste color. Set aside. Add the semi-crushed Oreos (reserve about 1/4 cup of the crumbs to press into the bottom border of cake, if desired) to the remaining frosting and beat on medium speed until incorporated, about 30 seconds.
  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. Add a small amount of water, one tablespoon at a time, if the frosting needs more "glide."

For the Shiny Chocolate Glaze:

  1. In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate, butter, corn syrup and salt in the microwave, about 50 seconds, and stir until smooth. (You can also melt in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water.) Let cool until it thickens slightly, about 15 minutes. Store for up to 1 week in an airtight container in refrigerator, and warm in microwave when ready to use.

Assembly of the Midnight Cookies & Cream Cake:

  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 chocolate cake layer on top. Spread about 1 cup of the cookies and cream frosting on top. Repeat until you come to the final cake layer, which you will place face down. Cover the cake in a thin "coat" of pink frosting, and chill the cake for 30 minutes.
  2. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip (I used #869) about one-third full with the pink frosting and set aside (this is for the top of the cake).
  3. Stir the rainbow jimmies into the remaining pink frosting. Remove the cake from the fridge and cover in another thick, smooth layer of pink sprinkled frosting. Chill the cake for about 15 minutes.
  4. When the chocolate glaze in no longer warm, pour on top of the cake and gently spread with a small offset palette knife, pushing some over the sides. Return the cake to the refrigerator until the glaze sets, about 10 minutes.
  5. Use a sharp knife to cut 8 Oreos in half. Pipe 16 "stars" evenly spaced around the perimeter of the cake top and place an Oreo half on each star. Press remaining cookie crumbs around the bottom of the cake, if desired.
  6. Hooray! You did it!
  7. Cake will keep at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Sweetapolita's Notes:
  • As I mentioned above, for the black cocoa powder, I used Cote D'Azur Black Cocoa Powder that I found while in Vancouver, at the Gourmet Warehouse, but you can also find Black Cocoa Powder on Amazon. I typically use a very dark 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. The black cocoa powder just adds more of a midnight black effect, which I love for this Oreo cake. Definite wow factor.
  • 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.
  • The frosting in this recipe is an adaptation of my Vanilla Bakery Frosting from The Sweetapolita Bakebook, and as I mention in the book and my recent Pastel Vanilla Birthday Cake post, re: the Vanilla Bakery Frosting, you can certainly use all butter, rather than high-ratio shortening, if you prefer. High-ratio shortening is used to add stability and tenderness to white cakes and creaminess and stability to frostings. In a pinch you can also use regular shortening, such as Crisco, but the high-ratio version is designed for frosting and gives a much better mouth-feel. I used this High Ratio Shortening, but there are several brands available.
  • I used Americolor Soft Gel Paste in Fuchsia for the sprinkle frosting on this cake, but you can use any pink that you love.
  • For the rainbow jimmies, I used CK Products Rainbow Jimmies.
  • For the piping on the top of the cake, I used Ateco #869 Large French Star Decorating Tip, but you can use any large star tip.
Rosie Alyea
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Pastel Vanilla Birthday Cake

Pastel Vanilla Birthday Cake from Sweetapolita Hello, hello from the land of vanilla cake and sprinkles! As you probably know by now, I have just released my first cookbook, The Sweetapolita Bakebook: 75 Fanciful Cakes, Cookies & More to Make & Decorate (you can learn more about the book over on the My Book tab of my site), and I have to tell you that this Pastel Vanilla Birthday Cake is one of my favourite recipes from the entire book (and actually in life in general)! In the book's introduction, I chat about my first cake memories which stem back to my very early childhood, and how mom would buy me those supermarket white birthday cakes with pink swirls of frosting every year. I believe that is one of the reasons I am so enchanted by cake, and now the very sight of a vanilla birthday cake with frosting swirls brings me back to my childhood, and to those cherished days. Amazing how powerful vanilla cake can be . . . Pastel Vanilla Birthday Cake from Sweetapolita So needless to say, creating and including the very best vanilla bakery-style birthday cake recipe in my book was extremely important to me, but I also wanted to give it a few little twists. While this cake is classic bakery birthday cake in a way with its fluffy layers and sweet frosting, it has a few little surprises to give it a bit more wow-factor. We fill the moist vanilla cake layers (also known in the Prized Basics section of the book as Super White Cake) with fluffy frosting mixed with sugar cookie dough bits, sprinkles and topped with colourful cupcake pieces before frosting the entire cake in pastel turquoise frosting and finishing it off with party-pink frosting borders. I also used vanilla bean paste in the frosting because it gives such a wonderful and authentic vanilla quality to it (and we love the black vanilla flecks!). I think one of the reasons I love it so, is because it is one of the desserts that most represents Sweetapolita as a whole. You know?  The best homemade white cake around, if you ask me, and I use it as a base for countless cake recipes now! Pastel Vanilla Birthday Cake from Sweetapolita What's kind of funny is that, as I mention in the book, I discovered that rainbow jimmies (those classic long rainbow sprinkles I used in this frosting) are much thinner and longer in Canada than the American version--funny, right? I used the American variety for this cake because I find that when decorating a cake with sprinkles right in the frosting, the more blunt the sprinkle edges are the better, as they sort of glide around with the frosting. The sharper, thinner "Canadian" ones are a bit too sharp for frosting as they tend to leave little lines when dragged through the frosting with the spatula. Just a random sprinkle note! Pastel Vanilla Birthday Cake from Sweetapolita I'm telling you, whether you make the sky-high 4-layer version from the book, or this more classic 3-layer version, this cake recipe is a go-to for any baker. It is a sweet cake and sweet frosting, but the creaminess of the frosting and lightness of it all make it worth it, and it will transport you straight back to childhood. A vanilla birthday cake dream . . .

Pastel Vanilla Birthday Cake

Fluffy, moist, vanilla white cake filled with sprinkle-filled vanilla frosting, sugar cookie dough, and colorful cupcake bits and frosted with sprinkle-laden turquoise frosting and bright pink borders.

For the Super White Cake layers:

  • 3 1/4 cups 375 g cake flour, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/4 cups 450 g superfine sugar
  • 3/4 cup 170 g cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups 360 ml milk, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons Lorann Oil Princess Cake & Cookie Bakery Emulsion or pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 7 large egg whites (room temperature)

For the Vanilla Bakery Frosting:

    For the Super White Cake layers:

      For the Vanilla Bakery Frosting:

        Sweetapolita's Notes:
        • For a more classic version of this cake, omit the Eggless Sugar Cookie Dough and cupcake bits.
        • Note from the book re: the Vanilla Bakery Frosting: You can certainly use all butter, rather than high-ratio shortening, if you prefer. High-ratio shortening is used to add stability and tenderness to white cakes and creaminess and stability to frostings. In a pinch you can also use regular shortening, such as Crisco, but the high-ratio version is designed for frosting and gives a much better mouth-feel. I used this High Ratio Shortening, but there are several brands available.
        • Note from the book re: the Eggless Sugar Cookie Dough: Coming across chunks of cookie dough in a dessert is always a welcomed surprise, but since our intention is to eat it raw, I’ve modified my favorite Vanilla Sugar Cookie Cutouts dough into an eggless version for popping into anything from frosting to ice cream. Simply store it in the freezer and cut off pieces as needed. Cookie dough addicts rejoice!
        • As I also mentioned in the book, for an extra-celebratory hit of sprinkles, turn this vanilla cake into a confetti cake by folding 3/4 cup of confetti quins into the prepared batter.
        • You can find Lorann Oils Princess Cake & Cookie Bakery Emulsion here, as well as from most baking supply shops, as well as the Madagascar Vanilla Bean Paste I used in the frosting.
        • I used CK brand Confetti Pastel Sequins for the filling, and CK Products Mixed Jimmies for the exterior frosting.
        • If you don't have a cake-decorating turntable, I certainly recommend one. I use the Ateco 612 Revolving Cake Stand.
        Good luck & enjoy! And before I go, just a note that I have recently updated my Videos section of the blog--you'll find my latest television segments as well as the How to Cover a Cake in Fondant video! Facebook friends! Enter an exclusive giveaway on the Sweetapolita Facebook Page to win a signed copy of The Sweetapolita Bakebook! See you soon with more, yep, cake!
        Rosie Alyea
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        16989286905_5436f371a8

        Adventures in Bakebook-ing

        toppersweeta1581Hello friends! The past few weeks have been a flurry of adventure in the land of promoting the new book, and I thought it would be fun to share some of the highlights with you, as there have been many! So leading up to the release date, you might recall that some fellow baking bloggers and I hosted The Sweetapolita Bakebook Blog Hop Giveaway--a scavenger hunt of sorts during which these talented bloggers made a recipe from the book and shared it on their own blogs. Sounds silly, but there's something about other people making the recipes from the book and bringing them to life that really hits home. I got teary! Anyway, it was so much fun and you guys were amazing--I loved your enthusiasm! Congratulations again to Domenique J for winning so many fabulous prizes! Here's a list of the blog "hopper" posts, if you'd like to take a peek at their creations and check out some of the recipes from the book. I love how they each put a new spin on each one: I am Baker (Pink Cherry Cake with Fudge Frosting) Sweet Sugar Belle (Watercolor Graffiti Cookies) Cookies & Cups (Confettilicious Cupcakes) Cake Spy (Sweetapolita Dreams) Shauna Sever (Jumbo Frosted Animal Crackers) Coco Cake Land (Jumbo Frosted Animal Crackers) Pizzazzerie (Watercolor Graffiti Cookies) Best Friends For Frosting (Pastel Vanilla Birthday Cake) Bake at 350 (Watercolor Graffiti Cookies) Sprinkle Bakes (Watercolor Graffiti Cake) Skinnytaste (Sprinkle-Dipped Meringues) Thank you to all of these supportive and talented bloggers for sharing in my book release celebration! Before I knew it, it was the morning of the official release (hooray!), April 7th. I started things off with a segment on CTV Canada AM in Toronto, where I chatted about the Doodles & Daydreams Cake and the Watercolor Graffiti Cake from the book. I have to admit I was a bit worried about being on live tv, but once the lights came on I was ready to talk cake! You can watch that clip here:
        Later that day, I got the chance to pop into a nearby Chapters location, and that was a thrill! There was the book looking all official and stuff: chapters Something about seeing your book in the bookshop makes is so much more "real." I had a moment :) And how great is this "Blog Your Kitchen" table at Chapters? bracelet581 Once all of that excitement was over, I headed back home, but not before stopping at the mall and buying this good luck charm bracelet! A must, right? It shouted my name repeatedly, so I was left with no other option. Once I got home, I spent some time with my very-proud cakelets, and then packed up for my trip to Vancouver, BC. And off I went! The next day I got the opportunity to chat Rainbows & Sprinkles on CTV Morning Live Vancouver! rosiectv That was a lot of fun--sprinkles bouncing to and fro and colours galore! You can watch that clip here. [caption id="attachment_12168" align="aligncenter" width="581"]chapterssigning image source: @chaptersgranville on Instagram[/caption]   I popped into some more book shops and signed dozens of books! In Vancouver, you can find signed copies of my book at Chapters GranvilleChapters RobsonThe Gourmet Warehouse, and Barbara-Jo’s Books to Cooks. I’m going to make my way to several shops in Ontario to sign books as well, so Ontario friends, I’ll keep you posted (I will update these lists on the My Book page). bookstocookswindow Later that afternoon at Barbara Jo’s Books to Cooks (check out that window display--now that's what I'm talkin' about! ;), I did a demo for pastry students from the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts, which was a whole new experience for me. I love the focus and interest they exude--tomorrow's finest pastry chefs! [caption id="attachment_12164" align="aligncenter" width="581"]cbcinterview image source: @readcookeat Instagram[/caption] After my time with the students, I was lucky enough to do a radio interview for CBC North by Northwest Cooking Club–this was really neat! I demonstrated the Best-Ever-Buttermilk Cake and Chocolate Cloud Frosting from the book, and we talked about everything from kids to cake flour. You can listen to that broadcast here: I also had the opportunity to visit Global News Noon Hour and celebrate the Pastel Vanilla Birthday Cake! You can watch that segment here:

        That night I attended a lovely reception at my Canadian publisher’s Vancouver office, Appetite by Random House. I had a great time chatting and mingling with local food bloggers Food Bloggers of Canada. As I told them that night, in 4 years of blogging I  have so far only met 2 other bloggers in “real life”–seems kind of silly, doesn’t it? But alas, now I have met 10! [caption id="attachment_12182" align="aligncenter" width="581"]rosieappetite image source: @nancy_gottagetbaked Instagram[/caption] It was a super fun, relaxed evening and they were awesome. They let me decorate a cake and ramble about sprinkles and whatnot, and they were all genuinely lovely people. I also want to say thank you so much for all of your incredibly supportive and enthusiastic emails, instagrams (remember to tag #sweetapolitabakebook so I can see them all!), facebook comments, amazon reviews and more–you guys are amazing! It means so much! And before I go, I'll leave you with the rest of the incredible collection of painting Jessie Moore of Cake Spy created (again, you must check out her post, Sweetapolita Dreams). I literally shed a tear with glee when I first saw these: unicorndreamrosie1581 robotloverosie1581 bunnyrosie1-581 cuppieloves1rosie581 I dare you to not be happy for the rest of the day after seeing those! And remember, if you'd like to see any more book updates in terms of events, where to find signed copies, etc. please check back to the My Book page regularly. Be back soon with more cake!
        Rosie Alyea
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