Archive for category Baking

Lemon Curd Filled Cupcakes w/ Marshmallow Meringue Frosting

Who knew lemon could be better than any chocolate out there?  Naysayers, you have to try this lemony combination.  A buttery cupcake with flecks of lemon zest, a tart robust lemon curd studded with vanilla bean and then top it all off with a fluffy marshmallowy meringue. Win!

I made these bad boys as a Mother’s Day surprise. Just one problem when it comes to mom & her sweet tooth… she usually has to shy away from desserts due to a chocolate allergy – bummer!  We couldn’t have all that on her special day, so I grabbed a bag of lemons and a lot of eggs and got to work on this epically delicious concoction.

Y’all know I’ve been in meringue heaven lately with my Robin Egg Meringues and the Tres Leches Cake with Toasted Meringue I made for Jason’s birthday.  I just can’t get enough of the sweet fluffy stuff!  Now I like buttercream just as much as the next gal, but this time I saved the butter for the cake batter and the results were fantastic!

The recipe came together from three different ideas I found out there.  I had been dying to try this lowfat lemon curd recipe and it was the highlight of the cupcake for me with the addition of vanilla beans.  The hardest part is the cramp you get from all that whisking :). I knew I wanted a light flavorful cupcake and any recipe with dairy, be it yogurt, buttermilk or sour cream, immediately gets my vote because all my favs include one of these!  Finally, I wanted an airy sticky texture on my marshmallow meringue, so I found one that didn’t include water and it was just the ticket! Cheers!!

Because these all came from different recipes, I scaled and modified each one to get the right proportion of cake to filling to fluff.  Here’s my recipe as always with my notes and tips in blue:



Organized Cake Decorating Supplies

Keeping all my favorite cake decorating supplies in order is no small feat.  They range from tiny piping tips to a rather big turntable that I used to get an even coat of frosting on my layer cakes.  For the more frequently used supplies (spatulas, fondant tools, piping tips & bags, sprinkles etc.) I adapted the Wilton Ultimate Tool Caddy to fit my needs and make it easy to take on the go.

Wilton Cake Decorating Supplies Organizer

Luckily it is well-designed to fit a lot of the typical baker’s equipment, like this handy food coloring compartment:

Wilton Food Coloring Holder

But… I took it one step beyond Wilton’s vision and added some of my own touches to make it more practical.  I like to know where to find things, so labeling and organizing is an addiction second nature for me.  I’m also a little crafty and like to be unique so I did some personalizing while I was at it!

How I keep my Cake Decorating Supplies at Bay:

  1. Using a Silhouette SD that I borrowed from a friend (seriously the coolest crafting tool on the face of the earth!) I cut my logo out of sticker paper and applied it to bottom compartment.
  2. Bake Caker Logo Cut With Silhouette HD

  3. After putting everything in its place I used a label maker with black ink and clear labels (I don’t recommend the one I have to anyone… but it did the job). Now I don’t have to hunt for any of the supplies and I know where to put them back when I’m done making a mess in the kitchen (or better yet… hubby knows where to put them if he’s helping me with dishes)!Cake Supply Labels
  4. The last thing I did was get my piping tips in order…umm…like… by number. (Ok, maybe this was taking it a step too far but I looove it!)  Since the tip compartment is clear, I created a template that fits underneath, showing the spot where each numbered tip lives. If I have more than one of a type it just gets stacked on top!
  5. Cake Tip OrganizerWilton Piping Tips

I keep my fun BakeCakery stickers in one compartment so I don’t forget to include them with each cake. I soOoOO want to do a cake competition just so I can show off my sweet cake box!

How do you stay organized when it comes to kitchen gadgets?

Robin Egg Meringues Recipe & Tutorial

I had one of those nights where I felt inspired.  Not by a recipe, or an ingredient but just an idea: Create meringues that look like Robin Eggs. You know, those pretty teal blue eggs with brown speckles on them?  Unfortunately, by the time I thought of it, it was much too late to start a baking project and I didn’t think I had all the ingredients.  But I did it anyway…

Robin Egg Meringes

If you’ve never had meringues before, they are a fairly simple treat. Mostly sugar, egg white and a lot of air.  They melt on your tongue like cotton candy and they are one of the daintiest desserts you can make.


Usually they are made in the shape of a rose, a drop or star, but I’ve also come across these realistic-looking meringue mushrooms several times.  These gave me hope that you could make just about anything with meringue, but first I set out on a trek around the interwebs to find any previous attempts at a Robin Egg version.  To my surprise, I learned a lot about Robin Eggs and a lot about meringues, but nada on combining the two!

Finished Robin Egg Meringes


So here it is folks, my late night, super fluffy original Robin Egg Meringue treats!!


I kept a couple and sent the rest of these off to work with Jason.  I’ve decided what I really need are more friends/occasions to bake for here in Atlanta!

Here they are in their final habitat:


Tres Leches Cake Recipe with Toasty Meringue Frosting

One of my favorite birthday traditions growing up was that my mom would always ask us what special meal & cake we wanted and then she’d slave away in the kitchen until it was just perfect. I’ve decided to continue that tradition, so I asked J-Bird for his special request. This year it was Tres Leches!

Tres Leches Cake Recipe with Toasted Meringue Frosting(instagram photo courtesy of Jason)

We were celebrating a BIG birthday – my hubs turned 30!  He was out of town for work on his actual b-day, so we decided to gather up some friends and have a night out at the Japanese Steakhouse (his favorite).  After slathering white sauce over everything and eating about a pound of rice, everyone came back to our place to sing & eat cake!

Torching the Meringue Frosting

His choice of cake actually surprised me because I’ve only made Tres Leches once for a Cinco De Mayo party.  It was kind of fitting for a 30th birthday – I told everyone it was a “Tres Cero” Leches Cake (three zero in Spanish).  Oh the wit.

As far as I’m concerned, any cake you need a torch to make is a winner! The frosting is particularly forgiving because you don’t have to be too exact with your piping skills. You could even make it spiky with a spoon before torching instead. After it was all toasted,  I garnished the top with some strawberry “roses” and blackberries.

Fruit Arranged on Top of Tres Leches Cake

I was so busy baking that I forgot to buy candles, so we got creative with a taper and then had to go a little overkill with lighting it. (Jason REALLY wanted to play with the torch!) Jason Lighting the Candle

Tres Leches is a sticky, buttery cake with most of the sweetness coming from the frosting and berries. The meringue adds that extra touch of caramely flavor that is hard to resist.

Don’t tell, but we ended up sharing leftovers for breakfast with a hot cup of coffee!


Red Velvet Cake with Beets?!

I love an excuse to try a new recipe, really I do… but when my good friend Jenny raved about a red velvet cake with made with beets, I made lots of funny faces – until I realized she was serious. Not to mention that it was her birthday, so I couldn’t possibly say no!

Jenny has been on a quest to get healthier and as her workout partner, I figured I had to oblige her request for a lighter version of this quintessential southern cake (after all she could only save up so many Weight Watchers points!)

The recipe comes from Spotted Salamander Catering in Columbia, SC who introduced Jenny to beet red velvet cupcakes at one of her recent couponing workshops. They kindly shared their recipe, so I set out to recreate it and hopefully not fail at my first encounter with beets.

I had two initial observations. (#1) Fresh beets turn everything fuschia and (#2) they smell remarkably like dirt. No worries, that must mean they are filled with antioxidants and vitamins and stuff, right? Now I know where the phrase “beet red” comes from, just be sure to wear appropriately colored clothing!

As I always do when trying a new recipe, I did some pre-baking research and found lots of details and variations of beet red velvet cake. This post in particular highlighted the effect of pH on the color of the final cake and the chemical engineering nerd in me couldn’t resist an experiment of my own. Beets are naturally red from betalains, compounds whose color is very sensitive to temperature, pH and moisture.

The original recipe from Spotted Salamander really only made enough for one 9″ round cake pan, so I made two layers exactly the same way, but added lemon juice (1/4 c.) to one to see if it resulted in a brighter red cake. (if you stare at the picture below long enough you’ll notice the top layer is darker brown and the bottom layer with lemon juice retained a more reddish tone.. too bad I didn’t have any litmus paper on hand!)

The icing on the cake (heh) is that I reserved some of the beet juice to tint the cream cheese icing on the cake. No Red #40 here!  When I’m piping words I like to print out the size and spacing of the text as a guide and then freehand it. This font is Minya Nouvelle for anyone interested.

Beet Colored Frosting

And of course you need the action shot of the birthday girl blowing out quite a few glowing candles 🙂 The cake was really delicious and thankfully didn’t taste (or smell) like beets at all!

Here’s the full recipe from the Spotted Salamander with my notes added in blue:

Update: If you’d like to know more about the science and history of Red Velvet Cake, check out my guest post on ChEnected.

As it turns out, you can have your cake and eat your beets too!

Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Pound Cake Recipe

Sometimes all it takes to inspire a new recipe is a fun new ingredient to experiment with, a special occasion or a cool new tool you are just dying to try out.  The cake I’m going to share with you today was really a combo of all three, as I set out to use a new fun mini bundt pan set to make a vanilla infused pound cake for two very important occasions!

Let’s start with a sneak peek inside my kitchen when I’m baking. Here is what it looked like after a recon trip to Publix to acquire all necessary ingredients:

Using the iPad in the Kitchen
We got an iPad last year and as you can see, it’s quickly become our most used kitchen tool!  Its so handy when you need a quick recipe idea, want to do a conversion and I’ve even starting saving our weekly meal plan to it for quick perusing.

More on using the iPad in the kitchen in a later post, for now lets get back to the vanilla cream cheesy goodness.

The star ingredient in this cake is Vanilla. I used two delicious forms to get the rich robust flavor I wanted: Nielsen Massey Vanilla bean paste and Khoisan Tea Bourbon Vanilla powder. Both of these were gifts from my super awesome momma, and both were picked up in the TJ Maxx food aisle for a fraction of what you would pay elsewhere.

Nielsen Massey Vanilla Bean Paste & Khoisan Tea Bourbon Vanilla

The bean paste is a thickened vanilla extract flecked with sweet, flavorful vanilla bean innards!

Vanilla Bean Paste Closeup

Also a gift, but this time from Jason’s mommy, I had been dying to try out this fun Nordicware bundt pan (ps… If you ever don’t know what to get me for Christmas… kitchen toys are always a winner!) With bundt cakes its important to spray your pans very well and I use an icecream scoop to distribute the batter evenly.

Nordicware 4 Shape Bundt Pan


You’ll notice a few air bubbles in my final product. I’m so used to trying to keep things light & fluffy that I forgot with bundt cakes you should tap on them to settle out the air prior to baking.  Mini Bundt Cakes

The three round cakes were a surprise for our good friend James’ birthday.  His wife was out of the country and after some prodding she informed me that he loved pound cake with glazey stuff on top. It was the funniest thing when his sister also dropped off a pound cake the same day!


The remaining heart shaped cake (not exactly appropriate to share for a dudes bday when his wife is in another country) stayed home and got a special Valentine’s day treatment for me and J-Bird to enjoy.   I sprinkled these sweet Wilton Hearts under the cake like confetti and drizzled the glaze over the contours of the cake for a dramatic effect.

Heart Shaped Bundt Cake

I also cooked down some frozen strawberries in confectioners sugar and water and served that with the sliced cake. Apparently we were too busy savoring it to take a photo! At any rate, here’s the recipe so you can whip this up in your own kitchen.



Cheesy Souffle & Mixed Green Salad Recipe

I have been mixing things up for dinner lately and trying to incorporate healthy satisfying dishes that are also light. Cheese is my weakness so I’ve been hunting for ways to incorporate it wisely without going too crazy.

My sweet mom gave me a beautiful red Emeril souffle crock for Christmas and I just love that having the right equipment can make a girl confident enough to attempt even the toughest of recipes. Turns out my preconceived worst-case-scenario visions of catastrophically collapsing souffles were unwarranted and this recipe is actually pretty easy!

I served this along a mixed green salad topped with Craisins and drizzled with The. Best. Salad. Dressing. Evar. Period. (see recipe for that below)

Cheesy Souffle Recipe

Cooking Spray
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. light butter
1/2 tsp.table salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
2/3 c. Monterrey Jack cheese
2 large egg yolk(s)
5 large egg white(s), beaten
16 fl. oz.Fat Free Half & Half

Preheat your oven to 375°F. Spray a 2 qt. soufflé pan with cooking spray.

In a saucepot over medium heat melt butter and whisk in flour to make a roux.

Whisk in 1/4 c. of Half & Half until the flour is dissolved.  Add the remaining Half & Half and whisk until smooth and slightly thickened.

Remove from heat adding in the spices,  cheeses and egg yolks.

Beat the egg whites using high speed in a stand mixer until stiff and airy.

Gently fold 1/3 of the eggwhites at a time into the cheese mixture until completely incorporated. This will appear a bit lumpy, but not to worry.

Pour into soufflé pan and bake for 40 minutes

Salad Dressing Recipe

some vinegar (preferably Vincotto Hot Pepper Vinegar)
some Olive Oil (preferably Frantoia)
a little Salt/Garlic/Pepper spice blend

Ok, busted – this really isn’t a recipe. I pour some vinegar into a bowl and whisk while streaming in a similar amount of olive oil.  Once its whipped and thick, I grind some spice blend on top and drizzle it over mixed greens. -Booyah!

For a girl who grew up hating leafy greens & salad dressing,  and whose still not a fan of tartness, this vinaigrette is totally r.o.c.k.i.n. Yes you have to have Frantoia Olive Oil and the Vincotto Hot Pepper Vinegar (which is actually very sweet and not hot in the slightest).  You will never look at salad the same way again!!

Souffle and Salad


Baby Brioche Recipe

Before I attempt anything crazy like croissants, I though it wise to try my hand at a few simpler breads first.

Brioche is one of those breads I’ve seen used to make fancy french toast or bread pudding on TV, but I’ve never come across it in any of my local spots. I’d heard its a sweet, eggy, dense bread with a funny round puff on top that is generally cooked in a big fluted pan.

Three things pushed me over the edge to give it a go at home:

  1. These adorable mini-brioche pans (mama is the traditional one in the back)
  2. Cooking Light December 2010 Issue staring at me with a lightened up recipe for brioche rolls.
  3. This awesome Taylor Digital Measuring Cup Scale that my sis gave me for Christmas (just had to test it out and it worked like a charm!)

The recipe made way more dough than I needed for my 6 cute tins. Not to worry, I just put the extra dough in muffin tins and they actually turned out really similar!

Be forewarned, its not a difficult recipe, but there are several very LONG waiting periods.  I would suggest starting the dough the day before you want to eat it! It’s really an exercise in patience, not baking.

Here’s the recipe:

Baby Brioche Rolls

1 package of dry yeast (2 ¼ tsp.)
1/3 c. warm 1% milk (heated to 100°F)
15.75 oz. flour (3 ½ cups)
1/3 c. sugar
½ tsp. salt
4 eggs, lightly beaten
6 ½ tbsp.  unsalted butter, softened and cubed
Cooking Spray
1 tbsp. water
1 egg

Combine the yeast and warm milk in the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment.  Let the yeast dissolve for 5 min.

Add flour, sugar, salt and eggs to the milk mixture. Beat on low speed until smooth and scrape the bowl as needed.

Switch to the dough hook attachment and use it to knead the dough on low for 5 minutes. (It will look soft and elastic and the dough will begin pulling away from the bowl)

Add half of the butter at a time to the dough. Mix on medium after each addition until incorporated.

Knead the dough in the mixer for an additional 4 minutes until smooth and elastic again. Mine was pretty sticky at this point.

Cover and allow to rise in a warm place for 1 hour. The dough should double in size and two fingers pressed into the dough leave an indention that doesn’t spring back.

Punch the dough down, cover with plastic wrap and then refrigerate for 8 hours or until morning.

Remove the dough from the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature (90 minutes).

Divide it into 4 equal pieces.

Cut the dough portion into 6 equal pieces and roll them into a 1.5 in ball.  Place into sprayed muffin tins and allow to rise another 45 minutes.

Mix water and egg white and gently brush the top of each roll with the mixture. This is what gives you the pretty golden outside!

Bake at 350 in a preheated oven for 14 minutes or until golden. Cool on wire racks. Serve with butter because it tastes amazing that way!

These are totally worth the wait.  I microwaved a little butter and spread it over each one. They were fluffy, sweet, buttery, soft in the middle and chewy on the outside!  The fluff in the center slipped over to one side on several of them, so I will skip that part when I make them again.


1 Dough, 2 Herb & Fruit Cookies

Ok, ok. I know my blog is called ” The BakeCakery” and that there hasn’t been a whole lotta caking going on lately.  I will remedy that sometime soon, but I assure you that there has been plenty of baking.   I want to share 2 amazing cookie recipes with you. They start with the same basic dough, both contain fruit & herbs (stick with me here…) and the end result is two incredibly unique, insanely tasty cookies.  In fact, my sweet cookie-loving husband said these were “better than chocolate chip” – Now that’s love!

Basic Dough

1 stick butter, softened
¾ c. confectioners sugar
½ c. brown sugar
½ tsp. vanilla
1 large egg
2 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder

Cream together the butter and two sugars until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until combined. Sift in the flour and baking powder and mix until just incorporated.  Form a ball from the dough and cut it in half.

Sage, Apricot, Cornmeal Thumbprints

makes 20 cookies

½ basic dough recipe
1/3 c. corn meal
½ tsp. dried sage
½ tsp. lemon zest, chopped fine
¾ c. apricot preserves
20 small sage leaves

Add the corn meal, dried sage and lemon zest to the dough and mix until distributed.  Form cookies into 1 in balls and press flat with your thumb.  Place a sage leave on top of each indention and cover with a tablespoon of apricot preserves.  Bake at 350 for 11-12 minutes or until edges begin to brown.

Cranberry & Rosemary Cookies

makes 20 cookies

1/2 basic dough recipe
1/4 tsp. nutmeg, grated
1/2 c. dried cranberries
1 1/2 tsp. fresh rosemary, chopped fine
2o rosemary sprigs, for garnish

Add nutmeg, cranberries and chopped rosemary to the other 1/2 of the dough.  Mix until distributed.  Form into 1 in. balls and press lightly. Top each cookie with a rosemary sprig. Bake at 350 for 14-15 minutes or until edges begin to brown.

I’m not sure I can really describe the taste of these. They are unlike any cookies I’ve ever had, and I’ve tried a lot of cookies.  The sage one has an extra crunch from the cornmeal, but the caramelized jam also gives it a chewy, sticky quality.  The rosemary ones look like and have the texture of a chocolate chip cookie but they taste like winter!  Here are some photos Jas took as they were coming out of the oven:


Recipe Rework: Move over Martha

Here is the long-awaited reworked version of Martha’s Peanut, Caramel and Chocolate Tart. As I was doing the calorie math on my version – I realized I left off the calories and fat of 1.5 cups of heavy cream in the original.  While my changes didn’t magically turn this into health food, you can now eat two pieces for the price of one. Here’s the side by side comparison:

Martha’s Tart My Version
Calories 1064 633
Fat 81g 34g
Sat. Fat 39g 18g

Unnecessary butter was eliminated in the crust in favor of an egg white to hold it all together.  Heavy cream in the filling was replaced with an instant pudding and whipped topping mousse. The caramel is now easier and much safer (always a plus) and has a richer buttery flavor.  Finally, I left some of the cream out of the ganache which didn’t affect the flavor, but made a big dent in the calories. If you wanted to get really excited, you could use sugar free jello and cool whip and reduced fat peanut butter.

Snicker’s Tart (Amy’s Version)


12 chocolate graham cracker sheets
1 tbsp. granulated sugar
1 egg white
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350º. Pulse graham crackers, granulated sugar, egg white and melted butter in the food processor until crumbs form. Press mixture into bottom and up sides of a 9-in. spring form pan. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until set.

Caramel Sauce

1 c. brown sugar
1 c. heavy cream
3 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. roasted peanuts

Stir together the sugar, cream and honey and slowly bring to a boil. Cook over medium high, stirring occasionally until golden brown and bubbly (temp reaches 230F measured by a candy thermometer). Remove from the heat and stir in the butter, vanilla and peanuts. Let cool for 10 minutes. Carefully pour onto the baked crust and let cool. (Easy, delicious and safe!)

Peanut Butter Mousse

1 (5.1 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
1 cup skim milk
1 (16 ounce) container frozen lite whipped topping, thawed
3/4  c. creamy peanut butter

Beat milk and pudding mix until dissolved. Add in peanut butter and whip until blended. Add the whipped topping and beat until incorporated. Gently spread peanut butter mouse over caramel in an even layer and refrigerate 30 minutes.


1 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 c. heavy cream

Place chocolate and cream in a medium microwave safe bowl. Microwave on half power  for 1 minute increments, stirring between, until the chocolate is melted and cream incorporated. Remove tart from refrigerator, and pour in ganache to cover surface. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or freeze and then thaw slightly before serving.