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Well guys, I’ve done it. I written the first cake recipe of my 31 before 32 birthday challenge. It was a little labor intensive, mostly because I started with only a vague idea of what I wanted my finished product to look like, but I think things turned out pretty well. Plus, it was pretty delicious if I do say so myself. The recipe looks long, I know, but that is also because I included how I assembled and decorated the cake. You don’t have to take it as far as I did; this cake would still delicious without the fussy presentation. Here we go.
- 2 boxes Pillsbury Purely Simple Chocolate Cake Mix
- 1 stick of butter
- 1 cup of milk
- 3 eggs
- 2 heaping tbsps of chopped lavender buds
- 4 pints of blackberries (minus 10 pretty ones*)
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 3 sticks unsalted butter
- 6-8 cups of powdered sugar
- 2 tbsp powdered lavender*
- pinch of salt
- 2-3 drops of food coloring (optional)
- 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- Either the night or several hours before you bake your cake, combine the ganache ingredients in a microwave dish and cook at 30 second intervals, stirring after each, until the chocolate is completely melted and incorporated into the cream. Set aside uncovered for at least 3 hours to cool.
- Prepare the cake mix according to the directions on the box and fold in the chopped lavender after the batter is combined. Split the batter evenly between 3 9″ pans and bake as directed.
- While the cakes are baking, combine the filling ingredients in a medium sauce pan. Cook over medium heat stirring occasionally until the mixture has thickened sufficiently (A). Allow to cool to room temp before using.
- Put a plate in the freezer for about fifteen minutes before taking it out to test a spoonful of hot filling. Take the filling off the heat while testing. Push your finger through the filling on the plate – you’re looking for it to wrinkle and not flood back in to fill the gap.
- While the filling and the cake cool, beat softened butter (using a hand or stand mixer) adding the powdered sugar a 1/4 cup at a time until the frosting reaches the right consistency.
- Add in the food coloring and powdered lavender and beat for an additional two minutes.
- Carefully, using a serrated knife or leveler, cut the domed top off of each of the cake layers producing three flat even(ish) layers.
- Fill piping bag (or ziplock bag) with 1/3 of your frosting.
- Starting with the bottom layer make a frosting ring around the bottom and middle layers of your cake.
- Split the black berry filling between the two layers carefully spreading across the cake to the frosting ringed edge.
- Stack the middle layer onto the bottom layer and the gently top with the top layer.
- Using the rest of the frosting in your piping bag (and a little from the bowl if you need) quickly cover the entire cake with a thin layer of frosting (crumb coat) and then place into a refrigerator to set for 25 minutes.
- Next, cover the cake in a more generous layer of the frosting, making sure to have a slightly thicker coating on the very top of the cake. Place in the refrigerator for an additional 25 minutes.
- Next spoon the cooled ganache over the top of the cake, creating drips down the side.
- Garnish the top of the cake with the remaining butter cream and the reserved blackberries. I also elected to use tiny chocolate candies.
- I wanted to try my hand at the “naked” frosting look for this cake, so most of the frosting was on the top and the top half of the side. This way there was still the frosting flavor, but the look was sill achieved because the more frosted bits were covered by the ganache.
- Andy took the cake to work with him the day after I made it, and it didn’t even make it to lunch time. Which to me is a pretty good indication that the flavors were all balanced. That being said, despite my fondness for lavender, I didn’t want to over do it so that particular flavor could absolutely be turned up if you are baking for an audience with the same fondness. Be careful though; too much and you end up with a soapy taste.
This recipe came to me courtesy of one of my west coast friends Verhanika. She is entrepreneur, mother, blogger (Issues & Tissues), and all around bad-ass boss bitch. We met freshman year of college and have been friends ever since. In some of our recent phone conversations, she’d mentioned making herself a Chocolate Chai to enjoy while were on the phone or to wind down in the evenings. Finally I broke down and asked for the recipe because it sounded amazing, and it was.
- 1/3 cup of chocolate chips
- 1-1/2 cup of milk
- Heaping tbsp of David Rio Tiger Spice Chai
1. In a small sauce pan over medium heat combine chips and cover with milk. 2. As the chips start melting add your chai mix. 3. Whisk ingredients together until chocolate is fully melted and integrated into the liquid. 4. Carefully, pour into a tall mug, or two smaller mugs, and enjoy!
- The ambiguity on the milk measurement is to allow for people who’d prefer a smaller quantity of beverage or for a more concentrated flavor. Personally, I go for the 1 1/2 cup 😉
- If you can’t get your hands on the chai mix, you can steep 2 chai tea bags in the hot milk and then finish with a tbsp or two of sugar to add additional sweetness.
- This beverage is already pretty amazing on its own, but if you want to take completely over the top, you can garnish the final product with a dollop of whipped cream and dusting of cinnamon.
I felt like doing a bit of baking the other day, but I wasn’t really feeling cakes, cupcakes, or really any of the things I usually make, so I decided to go back to something I play around with a bit last year, donuts. After a bit of Pinterest research I can up with a simple recipe for Vanilla Glazed Baked Donuts. Which seemed pretty straight up and perfect to me.
For the Donuts
- For the Donuts
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup+1 1/2 tablespoon skim milk (full fat milk works too)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used vanilla paste instead since I wanted a stronger punch of vanilla)
For the Glaze:
- 1/2 cup) powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 small pinch salt
- 1 or 2 tablespoons milk
- Optional: food coloring and sprinkles
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Spray a donut pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
In a small bowl, whisk together egg, milk, butter and vanilla extract.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir together until no flour bits remain and all the ingredients are well combined. Try not to over-mix the batter.
Use a large ziplock bag, cut a corner off the bottom of the bag and pipe the batter into each donut cavity, filling 3 ∕ 4 of the way full.
Place the pan in the oven and bake for 8 to 10 minutes.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.
While the donuts cool, make the glaze.
In a medium bowl whisk together the powdered sugar, vanilla extract and salt.
Add 1 tablespoon of milk, and whisk to combine. If the glaze is too thick, add additional milk, 1/2 teaspoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached.
Add food coloring if you wish.
Once the donuts are completely cool, dip them into the vanilla glaze. Return to the wire rack and sprinkle with sprinkles. Allow the glaze to set for about 30 minutes before stacking or serving.
- These donuts were just solidly okay, well, I think they are only okay, Andy ate three and declared he’d eat the rest before letting me throw them away. I had the same issue with them as I had with the other donut recipes, they aren’t anywhere as good as what I can buy somewhere else. It’s a little disheartening. Is there some donut magic rule that I am missing?
- As you can see in the “ingredients”, I substituted vanilla paste for the extract called for. I think the paste has a stronger richer flavor, and I think it added a bit more depth to the overall donut. I will probably use it in my glaze as well next time.
- Be very careful not to over mix. I forgot the butter and had to add it in after the mix had come together and just those few extra stirs made for a noticeably more toothsome product.