Lemon Raspberry Birthday Cake

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This week was wonderful, my sister came to visit me here in New York! It just so happens that her birthday is this week, so of course I wanted to bake her a cake. We grew up LOVING this Raspberry-Lemon-White-Chocolate Cake that our Mom used to buy, and I used this as my inspiration for her birthday cake. I decided to switch out the white chocolate frosting for a lemon cream cheese frosting, since I’m not the biggest white chocolate fan. The end result? Flashbacks to our childhood, and a lot of birthday fun 😀

Lemon Cake Batter:

  • 1.5 cups flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • zest and juice of 3 lemons
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), room temperature
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk

Raspberry Compote

  • 1 bag frozen raspberries (13 oz.)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup butter (1 sticks), softened
  • 1 package cream cheese (8 oz.)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line and grease three six inch cake pans, or two eight inch cake pans. Beat together the butter and sugar. Add the lemon juice and zest, salt, vanilla, and baking powder, and mix until fully incorporated. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add the flour and buttermilk, and mix thoroughly. Divide batter evenly between cake pans (1 1/3 cup of batter into each six inch pan), and bake for about 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. The cake doesn’t brown much, but is done once the top of the cake bakes through and is firm to the touch.

While the cake bakes, make the raspberry compote. Cook down the raspberries, sugar, and lemon juice over a medium low heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat, and allow to cool.

For the frosting, beat together the cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add the salt, and lemon juice and zest, then slowly incorporate the powdered sugar. Add in heavy cream as needed, until desired consistency is reached.

Once the cake layers have cooled, top each layer with a slather of frosting and raspberry compote. Apply a crumb coat, and let this firm up in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Once the crumb coat has set, apply another layer of frosting, and decorate as desired. I decided to swirl my frosting with some of the raspberry compote, and added a lemon wedge as a garnish.

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The raspberries developed a little layer of frost when I place the cake in the freezer to speed set the frosting.  Surprisingly, they tasted great frozen with the cake! It was perfect for a hot, humid day in the city.

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Nutella-Stuffed Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

Happy Friday! What better way to celebrate the end of a long week, than with nutella-stuffed, brown butter, chocolate chip cookies! I know, the name is a mouthful…but there are so many wonderful aspects of this cookie, and each one deserves a spot in the name. These cookies are the brain child of Monique (Ambitious Kitchen), who was kind enough to share her brilliant idea! The nutty flavor of the brown butter compliments the Nutella perfectly, and a finishing sprinkle of sea salt makes this a well-balance, salty/sweet treat. A full tutorial for these cookies can be seen here. The ingredients include:

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
  • 2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1 jar of Nutella, chilled in refrigerator
  • Coarse sea salt for sprinkling

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Begin by browning the butter. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat, until it begins to foam. Make sure you whisk consistently during this process. After a couple of minutes, the butter will begin to brown on the bottom of the saucepan; continue to whisk and remove from heat as soon as the butter begins to brown and give off a nutty aroma. Immediately transfer the butter to a bowl to prevent burning, and let it cool.

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With an electric mixer, mix the butter and sugars. Beat in the egg, yolk, vanilla, and yogurt until combined. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt,  and beat on low-speed just until combined. Gently fold in all of the chocolate chips.

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Chill your dough overnight. This allows the dough to absorb the flavor of the brown butter, and results in a chewier, thicker cookie.

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The following morning, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Form cookie dough balls with about 1 1/2 tablespoons of cookie dough, and flatten the dough in the palm of your hand. Place one teaspoon of chilled Nutella in the middle, and fold the dough back around it, gently into a ball.

Place the cookie dough balls onto a greased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart, and gently flatten the dough with your hand. Bake the cookies for 9-10 minutes, until the edges just begin to brown. Let the cookies cool on a wire wrack, and sprinkle with a flourish of sea salt after a couple minutes.

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Then it’s time to dive in! These are best enjoyed warm. If you can’t eat them fresh out of the oven, you can pop them into the microwave for about 10 seconds to get a similar effect (a gooey Nutella center)!

Red Velvet Birthday Cake

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One of Chelsweet’s biggest supporters LOVES Red Velvet Cake. Well, I’m not sure if it’s really the red velvet she loves, or just the cream cheese frosting…but either way, her team ordered her a Red Velvet Birthday Cake! I wanted to really highlight the frosting, so I made a three layer cake with thin layers, slathered with frosting, to ensure that each bite of cake had by a generous amount of frosting 😀

Red Velvet Cake Batter:

  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 3/4 cups granulated white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 3/4  cups vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons red gel food coloring
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon instant coffee, dissolved in 1 Tbsp boiling water

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:

  • 8 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature (3 sticks)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • dash salt
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Preheat oven to 325. Grease and lay a strip of parchment paper in four nine-inch round cake pans (see pictures). In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, vegetable oil,eggs, buttermilk, vanilla and red food coloring. Stir in the coffee, and white vinegar. Combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients a little at time, mixing after each addition, until justcombined. The batter will be relatively thick. Divide the batter evenly between the four cake pans. Each pan should have about 1 1/2 cups of batter.

Bake in the middle rack for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Keep a close eye on the cakes, you don’t want them to over bake! the layers will continue to cook as they cools. Let the layers cool in the pan for about five minutes, then remove them from the pans onto a wire rack to finish cooling. Slide a knife or offset spatula around the inside of the pans to loosen the cake from the pan.

While the cakes cool, make the frosting. Combine the softened butter, cream cheese, shortening, vanilla, salt, and powdered  sugar in a large bowl. gently mix by hand, then finish combining with a hand mixer. Whip until the frosting is fluffy.

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Frost the cake with cream cheese frosting when the cakes have cooled completely. Lightly frost each layer, and then cover the entire exterior of the cake. Make sure to alternate the layers top up, top down, to help the cake remain level. Let this crumb coat harden over night, and reserve remaining frosting. Finish frosting the following morning, smoothing the exterior, and piping on decorative touches.I decided to decorate this cake with roses 😀

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I love this recipe because it’s not overly sweet, and each ingredient is able to shine. The frosting is subtle, and I love that you get a bit of it in each bite since this cake has so many thin layers.