Four-Layer Funfetti Birthday Cake

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One of my friends ordered a large funfetti cake for a birthday, so I decided to make this massive cake! It’s four layers, packed with colorful sprinkles, and is slathered with a fluffy, almond buttercream 😀

Cake Batter:

  • 1.5 cup (3 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 5 eggs, room temperature
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cups sprinkles
Vanila Buttercream:
  • 4 sticks butter
  • 8 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350Âș F. Prepare four 9-inch round cake pans with a lining of parchment paper, and nonstick baking spray. Beat the butter until light and fluffy with an electric mixer. Slowly add sugar one cup at a time, making sure to fully incorporate each cup before adding another. Add eggs one at a time, making sure to fully incorporate each egg before adding another. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Pour the buttermilk and vanilla into measuring cup and whisk together with a fork. Add to the butter mixture, and alternate with the milk mixture, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Gently stir all ingredients until well combined. Stop mixer and scrape down sides of bowl, making sure that all ingredients have fully mixed. Gently fold in the sprinkles, until they have been evenly distributed throughout the batter. Pour equal amounts of cake batter into each cake pan, and place pans into oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove and allow to cool slightly in cake pans for about 5 minutes, then cool completely on a wire rack.
While the cakes bake and cool, prepare the frosting. Whip the butter until it is light and fluffy, then slowly add the powdered sugar. Alternate installments of powdered sugar with heavy cream, and continue mixing until the frosting has reached desired consistency. Add salt and extracts, and continue mixing until fully incorporated. Frost cake as desired. I decided to swirl the frosting on the top, and fill the swirl with sprinkles 😀
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Crinkled Red Velvet Cookies

The only thing better than big piece of red velvet cake, is a red velvet cookie! These soft, chewy cookies are a fun spin on one of my favorite types of cake. The fact that they’re rolled in powdered sugar before being baked to perfection? Just an added bonus 😀

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature.
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar 
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 1 Tablespoon cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon red food coloring 
  • 1 cup powdered sugar (for rolling)

Bake Time: 10 minutes

Yield: One dozen cookeis

Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.

Using a handheld or stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Switch the mixer to medium speed and beat in the brown sugar and granulated sugar until combined. Beat in the egg, milk, and vanilla extract, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl, as needed. Once mixed, add the food coloring, and beat until combined. Turn the mixer off, and pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Turn the mixer on low and slowly beat until a very soft dough is formed.

Cover the dough tightly with plastic wrap, and chill for at least 1 hour. This step is mandatory!!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Scoop 2 inch dough and mold into a ball. I like to use a cookie scoop to get uniformed scoops. Place the powdered sugar in a small bowl and roll the cookies, completely coating them in powdered sugar. Aim to get a thick coating of sugar, so that it will be still be visible after baking. Place balls onto the lined baking sheet, spacing them about 2 inches apart. Bake each batch for 10 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool for 10 minutes on the baking tray before transferring them to a wire cooling rack. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 7 days.

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Almond Butter Cups

Peanut butter cups….a gift from the heavens above. Unfortunately, some people are allergic to peanuts! One of these poor souls is one of my best friends, Robert. He is able to eat almond butter, so I decided to make him a close substitute, Almond Butter Cups! They taste great, and are actually healthier than traditional PB Cups. They also are insanely easy to make 😀

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, softened
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped and melted

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Set time: 25 minutes

Yield: 12 Almond Cups

Combine the first four ingredients, and mix until fully combined. Press this mixture into the bottom of a mini-cupcake tray, filing each cup 1/2 full. Don’t worry about spraying the tins, the oil from the almond butter will allow the cups to pop out once they are set. Place the trays in the fridge for about 5 minutes, Remove, and pour the melted chocolate over the top of the almond mixture, filling each cup to the top. Sprinkle a bit of sea salt onto the top of each cup, then place back in the freezer for another 20 minutes. Once set, use a sharp knife to pop the cups out of the cupcake tray. Let the cups sit out for about 5 minutes before serving, to allow the chocolate to soften slightly.

 

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Skinny Salted Caramel Banana Pudding (dairy-free)

Banana pudding is such a perfect summer dessert. It doesn’t require any time in oven, it takes minimal prep time, and it isn’t too heavy! Especially this version. I lighted it up by swapping out the heavy cream for lite Cool Whip, and mixed the almond milk with the pudding. I also increased the ratio of bananas to pudding and wafers. These little changes make a big difference, and leave you feeling great!

Pudding Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups almond milk
  • 1 package vanilla pudding (4 oz)
  • 4 large bananas, sliced
  • 1 container cool whip
  • 3 cups Nilla Wafers, crushed

Salted Caramel Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 6 Tbsp Butter
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Combine the chilled almond milk with the pudding, and whisk until fully combined. Let the pudding chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

While the pudding chills, prepare the salted caramel sauce. Pour the sugar into a large, heavy-bottomed pot, and whisk until completely melted. The sugar will clump in the beginning, but don’t worry
it will melt completely with time. Allow the sugar to cook until it turns a beautiful amber color, and has a nutty aroma. I don’t have a candy thermometer, so I go completely by visual cues. At this point, remove the mixture from the heat. Whisk in the butter, then the cream. The mixture will bubble up, so be careful during this stage (I burned my finger!). The last step is to stir in the salt. Let the caramel cool to room temperature.You can store leftover caramel in a mason jar (I had about 3/4 cup left over). It will last in your fridge for about two weeks.

One the caramel is cool and the pudding has set, layer the pudding. I like to use mason jars, but a giant trifle container or stemless wineglass would work great too. Begin with a layer of pudding, followed by crushed wafers, banana slices, caramel sauce, and cool whip. Repeat until the jars are full, or you run out of ingredients 😀

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Patriotic Cupcakes

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With fourth of July just around the corner, I wanted to make some patriotic cupcakes! I used my favorite red/blue velvet cupcake base, filled them with patriotic-colored compotes (blueberry and raspberry), and topped them with a vanilla buttercream, and Fourth of July sprinkles (as I like to call them). I don’t think I could make these cupcakes more patriotic if I tried 😀

Red and Blue 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
  • red and blue gel food coloring
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon instant coffee, dissolved in 1 Tbsp boiling water

Vanilla Buttercream:

  • 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted lightly to remove any lumps
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • dash salt

Bake time: 12-14 minutes

Yield: 24 cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350. Line cupcake tins. 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 just,combined. Divide the batter between two bowls, and add blue gel food coloring to one, and red gel food coloring to the other. Mix until desired color is reached. Remember, a little food coloring goes a long way 😉 Fill each cupcake liner 2/3 full. I decided to mix the colors in some of the cupcakes, by layering the batters on top of each other. I also made some mini cupcakes. Bake for 12-14 minutes (mini cupcakes bake for 6-8 minutes), until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Remove cupcakes from tin, and let cool fully on a wire rack.

Combine the softened butter, 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. Color 1/4 of the frosting red, and 1/4 of the frosting blue.

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I used a star tip, and swirled red, white and blue frosting for some of the cupcakes. To do a colored-swirl frosting, streak the sides of your piping bag with red frosting on one side, and blue frosting on the other. Fill the center of the bag with the white frosting, and pipe swirls onto the top of each cupcake.For the miniature cupcakes I made, I frosted them with a plain vanilla buttercream, and added patriotic sprinkles to the tops!

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