The holidays are coming and one of my favorite things to do outside putting up the decorations is baking! However, I must confess, baking was not always my thing. It was my mom who inspired me to bake, well at least , later in my life, the inspiration kicked in. I remember when she came over one Christmas, I had only been married for about two years or maybe three. Being in the kitchen with her and learning how to make her famous sweet potato pie, was such a beautiful bondingooooopoth of us. It was different. I was in my own kitchen cooking for my own family. I didn’t feel like the kid in the way, but her partner, her friend.
I guess what got me into baking was that moment and how much happiness I saw it brought to my husband and son, when they bit into her pies and cakes, that I helped create. It also reminded me of how much happiness my mom brought my dad and us kids during the holidays. I recall one of my very favorite cakes, she would especially make for me on my birthday. It was her famous Coconut Cake topped with gumdrops. She would form the gumdrops as a smiley face on top. I was excited all day, until that cake came out and placed on the dining room table for all to see. I could barely stand it, but I had to wait for the candles to be put on and finally the moment had come. I got to EAT my CAKE. Best cake memory ever! My mom transitioned many years ago and that cake memory is so fresh in my soul, I could almost smell that coconut butter cream.
I suppose, baking brings those wonderful memories of my childhood back to me. I have over the years shared baking cookies and cakes with my kids and now with my grandkids and it’s a therapeutic tradition for myself and a deliciously fun one, as well.
So, of course, I was so excited when asked by Flourish Magazine to offer some of my favorite cake recipes to their audience. I hope you guys will enjoy them as much as my family and friends have over the years. This year is definitely one we need to take time out and gather the ones we love around the table and bake up some beautiful memories together. As always remember to Set the Table with Love.
Vanilla Cake with Raspberry White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
• 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
• ½ cup grapeseed oil
• 1 1/2 cup cane sugar
• 4 eggs room temperature preferred
• 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
• 3 cups all purpose flour
• 1 Tablespoon baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 1/4 cup buttermilk, room temperature preferred
• Preheat oven to 350F and prepare two deep 8″ round cake pans. Line each pan with parchment paper and lightly greasing the sides. Set aside.
• In a large bowl using an electric mixer, cream together the butter, grapesee oil and sugar until creamy and well-combined.
• Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
• Stir in vanilla extract.
White Chocolate Raspberry Frosting
• In a separate, medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
• Using a spatula, gently mix the dry and wet together, alternating between the flour mixture and buttermilk to the butter mixture, starting and ending with flour mixture and mixing until just combined after each addition. The batter should be smooth and completely combined, do not over mix.
• Evenly divide batter into your prepared cake pans, and bake on 350F for 30-35 minutes. When the cake is done, the top of the cake should spring back, once you gently touch it and a toothpick inserted in the center should come out mostly clean with few moist crumbs, not wet.
• Allow cakes to cool in their cake pans for 10-15 minutes before inverting onto cooling rack to cool, completely, before frosting.
• 1 – 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
• 6 squares fine white chocolate, melted
• 1/2 stick butter, softened
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 2 cups powdered sugar
• 1 cup fresh raspberries
In your mixer, cream together butter and cream cheese. Add vanilla.
Add melted chocolate, beat.
Gradually add powdered sugar, beating until creamy and smooth. Add raspberries and gently mix into the frosting. This may take patience, because frosting can usually separate, because the wetness of berries, just take your time gently incorporating the raspberries, they will break apart as you stir them inside the frosting, but that’s okay. If it seems too wet you can add more powdered sugar.
Make sure your cakes are completely cooled, before adding the frosting. Place one cake on the cake stand, add frosting on top and then top the with the other cake, add more frosting of the second layer, then frost the sides.
Organic Chocolate Pecan Ganache Cake with a Chocolate buttercream frosting
2 tsp of unsweetened organic cocoa powder ( for dusting baking pans)
2 cups of organic flour
3/4 cups unsweetened organic cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp sea salt
2 cups organic cane sugar
2 sticks of organic butter, softened ( 1 cup ) and enough to grease baking pans
4 organic eggs
1 cup organic vanilla almond milk
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp of organic sour cream
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease with butter two 9 inch round pans dust pan with 2 teaspoons cocoa powder or as needed.
- Whisk flour, 3/4 cup cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Mix sugar and soften butter in a mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until combined. Beat eggs into sugar and butter, one at a time, blending in the first egg before you add the second one. Slowly mix in the milk, vanilla extract into sugar mixture until smooth and incorporated.
- Reduce mixer speed to low and gently mix flour mixture into wet ingredients. Stir sour cream into batter. Pour into prepared baking pans, evenly.
- Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean about 40 minutes.
Chocolate Butter Cream Cheese Frosting
1 1/2 (8 oz.) packages of cream cheese, softened
4 tbsp. organic almond milk
4 cups organic confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup of organic cocoa powder
pinch of sea saltIn a bowl beat together the cream cheese, 3 tbsp. of almond milk, confectioner’s sugar, butter, vanilla, cocoa powder and sea salt into a spreadable consistency. Add the other tbsp. of milk, if needed. Spread over completely cooled cakes. Remove the first cake onto cake dish, spread frosting on top of the first cake evenly. Add the other cake on top of the frosted cake and spread the rest of the frosting over the entire cakes. Add cooled chocolate ganache and pecans, if desired.
4 oz of chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup organic almond milk
Place chocolate chips or pieces in a large bowl. Heat almond milk on medium high until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat and immediately pour cream over chocolate and stir until completely mixed and glossy. Allow ganache to cool before spreading over the cake. Best result is the allow the cake to set first before adding the ganache. You do not want the frosting to get warm. I allowed my cake to set in the fridge over night and then I added the cooled ganache and pecans.
You will need enough coconut oil for greasing the mini skillet
1 cup of figs, either sliced or cut into halves
1/2 cup organic sugar, plus 1 tsp, to sprinkle over the figs
1 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of sea salt
1/4 tsp cardamom
zest of 1 small lemon
1/2 cup almond milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup walnuts
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 6-inch cast iron skillet or cake pan well with coconut oil. Arrange about 3/4 of the figs on the bottom of the skillet, then sprinkle them with 1 tsp of sugar. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cardamom, and lemon zest. Add the almond milk, apple cider vinegar, walnuts and mix until smooth and a thick batter forms. The batter will look like pancake batter. Pour the batter into the skillet over the figs. Then, arrange the remaining figs on the top of the batter. Bake the cake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean and the sides of the cake have pulled away from the pan. Store leftovers in an airtight container. Must eat within a day, because figs go bad quickly.