Buttermilk Birthday Cake with Malted Chocolate Frosting 0Hello, 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 :). 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. 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.) 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. 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! 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:
- Preheat the oven to 350° F. Spray the bottoms of three 8-inch round cake pans and line with parchment rounds. Set aside.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- 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:
- Put a dollop of frosting on an 8-inch thin cake board (or cake plate) or 10-inch scalloped cake board.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 :).
- Rosie Alyea
Dark & Dreamy Chocolate Fudge Layer Cake 0Happy 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! I 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." 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! 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! 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. And 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). 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:
- 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.
- In a large mixing bowl, sift flour, sugar, black cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
- In a medium bowl or measuring cup, combine the buttermilk, coffee, oil, and vanilla, and then mix in eggs.
- 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.
- 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:
- In a bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, or with a handheld mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 6 minutes. Sift together the confectioners' sugar and cocoa powder. Reduce to speed to low, and add the confectioners' sugar, cocoa powder, water, sour cream, vanilla, and salt and beat until incorporated, about 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 more minutes.
- Add the melted chocolate and beat on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute.
Assembly of the Dark & Dreamy Chocolate Fudge Layer Cake:
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Rosie Alyea
Holiday $150 Sprinkle Gift Card Giveaway + Brand New Shop! 0'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. 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. 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!). 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)! 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 :). 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! 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. 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. 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. 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: 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! 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. 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: 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 8th, XpressPost Shipping DECEMBER 14th (note: this is a more costly option). ★ CANADA: STANDARD Shipping DECEMBER 10th, XpressPost Shipping DECEMBER 19th (note: this is a more costly option). ★ INTERNATIONAL: STANDARD Shipping (parcels under 2kg) DECEMBER 1st, XPRESSPOST (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
Galaxy Layer Cake 0Hello, 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. 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. 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. 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. 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). Love those twinkles! And purples and blues together give me goosebumps--truly stunning, right? 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. 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: 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. 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[/caption] [caption id="attachment_12610" align="aligncenter" width="581"] Cotton Candy Sprinkle Medley[/caption] [caption id="attachment_12611" align="aligncenter" width="581"] 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:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease the bottom of three 8 x 2-inch round cake pans and line with parchment.
- In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt. Set aside.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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:
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- Rosie Alyea
Twinkle Sprinkle Collection + $150 Sprinkle Giveaway! 0Hello, 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 . . . 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. 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!" 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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? 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 :) Those gold stars and bits are everything, and the pink on pink (on pink) is so much prettiness in one place. Princess party anyone? 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. 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. 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. 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
Breville Scraper Mixer Pro Giveaway + Review! 0[caption id="attachment_12477" align="aligncenter" width="600"] 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
- 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).
- 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.
- 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).
- Rosie Alyea