Zebra Cake

It’s one thing when a cake is appealing to the eye on the outside, but, when you cut into a cake and reveal a hidden surprise on the inside your eyes widen in wonder and delight. That’s the excitement behind a Piñata Cake. Who wouldn’t want to cut a slice of cake to only have sprinkles and candy come cascading out? A smile (and squeals from little one’s) is sure to follow. The same can be had when the cake itself reveals a pattern or design. Think of a Checkerboard Cake (Sorry for the pictures in both of those posts – Nighttime baking is not a blogger’s friend when it comes to taking pictures.)

I recently made a cake to celebrate a friend’s daughters (aka my nieces) dance recital performance – it was their first. Since I was making a cake for one of their birthdays the day before I didn’t want to make another chocolate cake for their recital celebration. And since I was making a themed cake for that birthday I also didn’t want to make a cake that I would have to heavily decorate – I was actually able to find doll-sized versions of their dancing shoes to top the cake with so I figured that was perfect enough decoration. So, I figured I should do something special with the inside. After a little thought I decided to make a zebra cake with a Nutella mousse filling since they both like the hazelnut spread.

To make things super easy I went with box cake mix – a yellow cake mix and a chocolate cake mix. I prepared both per the box directions. Whenever I use cake mix I normally use Duncan Hines. One of the reasons, and it will sound silly, is because it has a Wilton approved emblem on it. Truth be told though, Duncan Hines is perfect for making a zebra cake because they do not have pudding in the mix which can make the cake batter thick and not ideal for making this cake.

Once my batters were prepared, I poured a ¼ cup of the yellow cake batter in the center of two 8-inch cake pans that I sprayed with baking spray. Next, I poured a ¼ cup of the chocolate cake batter in the center of the yellow cake batter, and then a ¼ cup of the chocolate cake mix in the center of the previously poured yellow cake mix. I continued in this pattern until the pan was about 2/3 full. You won’t use all of the batters, but, just about.

I gently tapped the pans down and then baked them in a preheated 350 F oven for about 45 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the middle came out clean. I let the cakes cool in the pans for about 15 minutes and then inverted them on cooling racks to cool completely.

One cooled, I torte the cakes to remove the dome that formed on both. The zebra pattern was instantly visible and I was quite excited that it worked.

The pattern was even more visible once the cake was layered and cut into.

You could really customize this cake. Use a white cake mix and tint it colors to show your team spirit, someone’s favorite colors or even a gender reveal cake.

And here’s a pic of the birthday cake I made the same weekend – An Elena of Avalor themed cake.

Chocolate Whoopie Pies with a Dulce De Leche Filling

Remember a few years ago when whoopie pies were all the rage? I remember ripping out quite a few recipes from different magazines. Now, they didn’t go away, people just moved on to another rage. In fact, whoopie pies have been around for quite some time. Traditionally found in the New England area – they are considered the official state treat (who knew that was a thing!?!) of Maine and a Pennsylvania Amish tradition – you can find them in all parts of the country. I am sure depending on the region and season the flavors can vary greatly. Imagine a blueberry version from Maine made with fresh blueberries… YUM!

All this talk about them, let’s get to the bottom of what they are. They can be considered a cake, a cookie or a pie. How awesome is that!?! Traditionally they are made with 2 small round mounds of chocolate cake that are then filled with frosting or a filling made with marshmallow creme or fluff. These I’m sharing with you today are filled with a dulce de leche filling… Double YUM!

The cake part is made with a Devil’s food box cake mix (I used Pillsbury) and the filling is made with canned dulce de leche. I normally find it in the Hispanic food aisle in my supermarket. If you can’t find it by you, or just want to make it yourself, you can simmer a can of sweetened condensed milk. Here’s a great recipe for doing just that. It’s then mixed with cream cheese, butter and some other ingredients to make it the perfect consistency to pipe onto the chocolate cakes.

Chocolate Whoopie Pies with a Dulce De Leche Filling

  • Servings: Makes About 20
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Ingredients:

Whoopie Pies

1 box of Devil’s food cake mix

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

1/2 cup water

3 large eggs

Filling:

1/2 cup dulce de leche

4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Directions:

Combine the cake mix, butter, water and eggs in a large bowl and beat at medium speed until smooth. Let the batter rest for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Using a cookie scoop, drop the batter onto the parchment line baking sheet and bake for 5 to 7 minutes. Until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Cool completely on a wire rack.

In another large bowl beat the cream cheese and unsalted butter on medium speed until creamy. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar and beat until well combined. Add the dulce de leche, vanilla extract and salt and beat until well combined.

Pipe or spread the filling onto half of the cookies, place the second cookie on top.

Recipe adapted from Land O Lakes

Descendants Themed Cake

It’s my Blogiversary! I started this blog 6 years ago and my very first post was an Elmo Cake I created for a friend’s daughter, aka my niece. Since then the cakes have gotten a bit more elaborate and 3 years ago they turned into fondant creations. I normally ask her a month or so in advance of her birthday what theme she’s thinking of. When she told me Descendants for this year I was stumped. I had only heard of Descendants, but had no clue what the deal was behind them. So, it was off to Pinterest to get some ideas. Once I had my idea down it was time to get my supplies and test out a few.

I needed to make sure that the icing was easily pipeable and also to test how thick the piping would be with the tip it came with. I opted to go with a smaller tip.

I also needed to make sure that the flower cut-out I purchased would make nice roses. Thankfully it did.

One more thing, I opted to purchase a dummy cake for the top tier of the cake. I normally do bake the cake, but, it usually doesn’t get eaten because it’s too much cake, so, to avoid waste and a little bit of stress on my part I purchased a dummy cake. In case you are wondering, it’s made out of Styrofoam. No one knew it was a dummy cake once it was covered and decorated.

To prep the dummy cake I covered it in frosting

I then covered it, as well as the actual cake, in fondant.

And after some piping, fondant rolling and cutting the cake came together. I have definitely learned with making these cakes that it’s important to walk away for a few minutes and then come back to truly appreciate the way it looks. So, I take a lot of mini-breaks, if not, I would probably drive myself crazy. One thing I did decide, I am going to avoid covering a cake with black fondant. I find that it tends to dry out fast and inevitably it always breaks. I had a few challenges trying to cover up the imperfections from it.

So, what will my next themed cake be…? Not sure yet. I’ll have to ask my other niece what’s she’s thinking of for her June birthday!

 

Slow Cooker Sunday: Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

For today’s Slow Cooker Sunday post instead of bringing you a meal I am bringing you dessert. I’ve made bread pudding and rice pudding in my slow cooker and I’ve finally made a cake, a Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake.

To begin, I made the cake batter by whisking together flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar, cocoa and salt in a large bowl. I then stirred in 2 beaten eggs, whole milk, canola oil and vanilla extract. Once that was well combined I then stirred in peanut butter chips.

Next, I poured the batter into the insert of my slow cooker which I sprayed generously with cooking spray.

Per the recipe I set the slow cooker to low, but, my cake was ready way before the directed time of 4 hours. It was more like 3 hours, but, truthfully I probably should have turned off the slow cooker around 2.5 hours. While make cake came out of the insert without sticking to the sides or bottom…

It was a bit hard/burnt along the edges so I decided to cut it in a way that I ended up with pieces that were more like a snack cake as opposed to a cake cake. But overall it was delicious and incredibly moist and paired very well with vanilla ice cream, especially if you warm it up for a few seconds in the microwave.

Slow Cooker Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/4 cups sugar

1 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs, beaten

1 cup whole milk

1/3 cup canola oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups peanut butter chips

Directions:

Spray the insert of a slow cooker with cooking spray.

In a large bowl whisk together the dry ingredients. Stir in the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla extract; mixing until all of the ingredients are well combined. Stir in the peanut butter chips.

Pour the batter into the slow cooker, spreading the batter evenly. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours, until the top is set. Since all slow cookers are different begin checking the cake after about 2 hours to ensure it doesn’t burn, check it with a toothpick or cake tester for doneness. The cake may look a little undercooked in the center. Turn off the heat and let the cake cool uncovered for about 20 minutes. The cake will firm up as it cools.

Recipe from Slow Cooker Family Favorites

Happy Blogiversary and a Trolls Inspired Cake

It’s my 5 year Blogiversary and I am celebrating with a Trolls inspired cake. Okay, not really. But, it truly is the 5-year anniversary of Bead Yarn & Spatula. Boy, where does the time go? And I’ll be honest I wish my blog was further along and had more exposure than it currently does but I know I am part to blame for that. I definitely need to be more consistent with the posting. Hopefully this year I’ll be better with that. As for the Trolls inspired cake, I really did create one. But, it was for a friend’s daughter’s Birthday.

This cake was a three day process. And can I say I am always apprehensive to work with fondant because you just don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s not as consistent as buttercream that’s for sure. But, it does make for a beautiful cake and is worth the extra work. On the first day, which only took about a half hour or so I created the rainbow that was going to sit on top of the cake. I made it a few days early to ensure that the fondant would harden and hold the arch shape. I rolled each color of the fondant about the same width and stuck them together by brushing the fondant with a little water, not too much as I didn’t want the colors to run. I used a 2-inch round cookie cutter as my base for the first arch and continued from there with the other colors. Once the rainbow was complete I stuck toothpicks into the bottom of it so I would be able to stick it on to the cake.

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The night before I was to cover the cakes with fondant I baked them. I don’t like baking my cakes too early because I want them to still be fresh when they are cut into. The bottom portion of this two-tier cake was a three-layer chocolate cake with a chocolate mousse filling and chocolate frosting. While the top portion was a yellow cake that I filled and frosted with chocolate frosting. After letting the cakes cool overnight I frosted and filled them the following morning and then placed them in the refrigerator so they could settle.

That afternoon I removed both cakes from the refrigerator and let them come to room temperature. You don’t want to place fondant on a cold cake because fondant is at room temperature and if you place it on a cold cake you will end up with a bunch of air bubbles; that can be quickly remedied with a pin but, why go through that if need not be.

For the bottom tier of the cake I covered it with yellow fondant and then with neon colored fondant I cut out flower designs to adhere to the cake. And to cover up any fondant imperfections along the bottom of the cake I opted for a half circle design around it in pink fondant…

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Which matched the top tier of the cake that I decorated to mimic the headband that the Poppy troll wears in her hair.

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I placed both of the tiers back in the fridge until the following afternoon when I completed the top tier of the cake by placing the rainbow on top of it and used marshmallows to mimic clouds. They stuck together and to the cake with just a few drops of water. That’s also how I stuck all the flowers and such to the cake. Once again though with not too much water so the colors don’t begin to run.

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And this cake wasn’t complete until a few trolls were placed on it. Of course Poppy and Branch, the main characters from the Trolls movie and a few of their friends. And if you haven’t seen the movie I highly suggest you do so. The message behind it is good for all ages to learn or to be reminded of.

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And there you have it… My 5-year anniversary post and an adorable – if I do so say myself – Trolls inspired cake. The Birthday Girl loved it and that’s really all that matters to be honest!

 

Cake, Cake and More Cake!

So, if you follow me on Instagram or if you take a peek at my Instagram feed on the lower right-hand side of this page you’ll notice that I post more of my baking adventures on there than I actually blog about. It’s for various reasons… Sometimes I’ve already blogged and shared the recipe or as this post is about, its pictures of cakes that I have made and decorated and don’t blog about because I am really bad at taking pictures of the step by step of decorating them. So, I decided that since I made a fair share of cakes this summer I would compile them into a post and give a little description of each.

Up first, a Lion Guard themed birthday cake that I made for a friend’s daughters’ 2nd birthday. Whenever I create these themed fondant cakes quite a bit of thought goes into them and a bit of Pinterest surfing. A week before I actually made the cake I did some prep work by cutting out all the leaves, flowers and animals and stored them in my refrigerator.

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And then the following week it was time to bake, frost, roll fondant and assemble. After covering the base cake with yellow fondant I painted it orange to give the effect of a sunset. To do so, I combined orange gel color with vodka. I didn’t completely mix the two so I would get different shades of orange as the gel color diluted into the vodka. Once the color was dry I attached all of the cut-outs I made the week before to the cake and topped it with some Lion Guard figurines I picked up from my local Disney Store.

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For the 4th of July I created this patriotic cake.

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The inside was patriotic as well…

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As a belated birthday gift for a dear friend I made this adorable cake topped with a bright big sunflower and some cute purple flowers that I am not sure the name of. To decorate the sides of the cake I piped ruffles vertically using a 1M tip.

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And finally, this past weekend I made this cake for another dear friend’s birthday. It was truly a death by chocolate cake… A chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and the filling was the mocha cream that I used for the Mocha Chocolate Icebox Cake I blogged about last week. I knew I had to use that delicious cream again for something and what better way than with chocolate cake. I created the dark and white chocolate toppers for this cake by melting Wilton candy melts and then piping them into small drops using a Wilton 6B tip and then placing them in the refrigerator so they could set. The other drops are the mocha cream which I piped using the 6B as well as a 4B tip.

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And there you have it… My summer shown through decorated cakes!

 

 

 

Thanksgiving Desserts

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with delicious food and joyous times with loved ones. This year I spent the day at a friend’s house enjoying said delicious food and joyous times – although I did cook a turkey the following day. At this point though I am kind of turkeyed out! I didn’t go empty handed to the Thanksgiving celebration though; I brought the dessert… three pies, a cheesecake and a chocolate cake. What can I say, I love to bake!

Among the pies was a Pumpkin Pie that I decorated using Fall themed pie cutters. Then there was a Sweet Potato Pie that I decorated with a leaf border. I made this pie because I had never tried sweet potato pie and was curious what the fuss was all about, it was good, but, I am partial to pumpkin. And finally an Apple Pie that I gave a nice twisted pie crust design.

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For the Cheesecake I stuck to a basic recipe that was a hit and topped it with sugared cranberries. The cranberries were so good that I ended up eating the leftovers like they were candy.

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And finally, the Chocolate Cake. The cake had a pumpkin spice mousse filling – it was super simple to make and delish thanks to a box of Jell-O Pumpkin Spice Pudding Mix – and frosted it with chocolate frosting. And to give it a Fall theme I topped it with white chocolate leaves in seasonal colors.

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