Nutella Oreo Birthday Cake

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Few people in the world love Nutella as much as my friend Taryn (@missladyfinger), so I went a little overboard on her birthday cake this year!! This cake contains two full jars of Nutella, and is decorated with Nutella stuffed chocolate chip cookies.  A full tutorial can be seen here, and the recipes and baking instructions are included below:

Once all components are prepared, assemble the cake. Stack and frost cake layers with the nutella buttercream. Cover with crushed Oreos, and drizzle with warm nutella. Repeat with remaining cake layers.

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Apply a thin crumb coat. Chill cake in the freezer for 5 minutes. Once the crumb coat is firm to the touch, apply a thick, second layer of frosting with the Oreo buttercream. Smooth with a bench scraper. Add cookies and Oreos to the base of the cake, then chill cake again for 5 minutes in the freezer. Add warm drizzle of Nutella to sides of cake, then cover the top with a ring of edible cookie dough.

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Top cake with circles of Oreos, Nutella stuffed cookies, and cookie dough. In the center, I made a giant cookie sandwich with large cookies, Nutella, and Oreo buttercream. I also added some sprinkles, since this is a birthday cake!!!

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The most amazing part of this whole cake? Taryn was able get this cake to Chicago! Can you believe she made it through security with this behemoth cake!?

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Easy Pineapple Cake

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For this week’s live stream with the Food Network, I wanted to make something summery! I’ve recently started a food-themed cake series on my YouTube channel, so I thought a pineapple cake would be perfect! The design is inspired by Lyndsay (Coco Cake Land). The recipe used can be seen below:

Vanilla Cake Ingredients:

  • 3 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), room temperature
  • 3 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup egg whites (about 7 large egg whites)
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1/8 cup vegetable oil
  • yellow gel food coloring

Pineapple Frosting:

  • 8 sticks (4 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 16 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup pineapple reduction (pineapple puree, strained and reduced over medium heat to half of volume)
  • yellow gel food coloring

Additional items:

  • green fondant
  • black fondant
  • white fondant
  • tooth picks
  • Wilton 4b decorating tip
  • piping bags

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line four 7” round pans, and one 6″ cake pan.

Begin by making the cake batter. Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt) in a stand mixer with a paddle until fully combined.

Mix chunks of room-temperature butter slowly into the dry mix, on a low speed. Continue to mix until no large chunks of butter remain, and the mixture becomes crumbly.

Pour in egg whites, and mix on low until just incorporated.  Mix in the buttermilk in two installments, on a low speed. Add in vanilla, yellow gel food coloring, and oil, and mix at a low speed until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then beat on medium high for about 30 seconds.

Divide evenly between the prepared cake pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan. Place cake layers on a rack to finish cooling.

While the cake layers bake and cool, make the fondant details for the cake decoration. For the eyes and face for the pineapple, use the white and black fondant. Mix tylose powder into the green fondant (speeds up the drying process). Roll the green fondant to 1/4 inch thickness, and cut into the shape of pineapple leaves. Make 4-5 tall leaves, 8-10 medium sized leaves, and 12-15 smaller leaves. Insert toothpicks in the base of the leaves, and place on parchment paper to firm up.

Next, prepare the frosting. Beat the butter on high for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with small splashes of cream. Once fully mixed, add in the pineapple reduction, vanilla, and salt, and beat on medium low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached. If the frosting is too thick, add in cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time). Color 2/3 of the frosting yellow with gel food coloring.

For the cake assembly, stack and frost cake layers with the pineapple buttercream. Stack the 7 inch cake layers, then top the cake with the 6 inch cake layer. Apply a thin crumb coat, rounding out the top of top of the cake with frosting. Chill cake in the freezer for 5 minutes. Once the crumb coat is firm to the touch, apply a thick, second layer of frosting with the yellow buttercream. Smooth with a bench scraper.

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Using a bit of frosting, secure the fondant eyes and smile onto the cake. Place the remaining yellow frosting into a piping bag with a Wilton 4b tip, and pipe frosting points onto all around the cake.

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Add some extra frosting to the top of the cake, and insert the hardened leaves onto the top of the cake. Begin with the largest leaves at the very top of the cake, then make a circle with the medium sized leaves around them.

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Using the smallest leaves, circle the larger leaves. And just like that, the pineapple cake is complete!

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How to Make A Purple Geode Cake

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I finally hoped on the geode cake band wagon this weekend, and found that it is WAY easier to make a geode cake than I thought! All you need is a frosted cake, some white/clear rock candy, gel food coloring, and a little vodka!

I was inspired by an amazing geode wedding cake made by Intricate Icings Cake Design, and also added a gold boarder with edible gold paint. I modified the design to make it a bit more approachable for all of us home bakers!

I used my favorite vanilla layer cake recipe (bakes perfectly flat), which I colored purple with gel food coloring. I baked 4, 8-inch round cake layers, and frosted the layers with american buttercream (I used 1.5 batches). Once stacked, I applied a thin crumb coat around the cake, and trimmed a triangle from one side of the cake.

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I then covered the exposed area with frosting, and let the cake chill in the freezer for about 5 minutes, until the crumb coat is firm to the touch. Apply a second layer of frosting, and smooth using a bench scrapper. Gently press crushed rock candy into the cut area of the cake. I started with the larger chunks of candy, then filled in with smaller bits of candy.

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Mix together a few drops of vodka and large squeeze of purple gel food coloring. Using a sterile paint brush, gently dab the mixture into the center of the candy area.

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Rinse off and dry your paint brush, and add some additional vodka into the gel food coloring to dilute the mixture. Brush around the dark purple center, gradually spreading the lighter purple liquid out towards the edge of the candy covered area. Leave the rock candy around the edge uncolored. I also painted the edge of the candy area with a boarder of edible gold paint.

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And that’s it! It’s that easy!!! If would also be fun to use a grey buttercream (or even an oreo buttercream), to make the cake look more like a rock.

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Lisa Frank Inspired Rainbow Glaze Cake

I’ve made a few different mirror glaze cakes, but this one is definitely the most colorful! It’s inspired by the colorful designs of Lisa Frank, a brand that all us millennials hold near and dear to our hearts!!  Although the traditional mirror glaze recipe involves more ingredients and additional equipment, this easy, 5 ingredient recipe makes the technique way more approachable. I tweaked the recipe to include a bit more white chocolate, to make more vibrant rainbow colors. A full tutorial showing how to make a mirror glaze cake is also up on my YouTube channel.

I work primarily work with buttercream cakes, and have found that you can pour mirror glaze over a classic buttercream cake, as long as it is fully frozen, and the frosting is extremely smooth.

The recipe I used can be found below, and I’ve also made a tutorial on my YouTube channel!

White Chocolate Glaze:

  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 cups miniature white chocolate chips
  • 2 Tbsp. unflavored gelatin (bloomed in 1/4 cup of additional water)
  • gel food coloring (blue, green, yellow, orange, pink, and red)

Equipment:

  • medium sized pot
  • sieve
  • thermometer

Instructions:

Mix the gelatin in a bowl with 1/4 cup of water, and set aside to let it bloom while you begin the glaze. Over a medium heat, stir together the sugar, cup of water, and sweetened condensed milk. Stir occasionally, until the mixture begins to bubble. At this point, pour in the gelatin, and stir until fully dissolved. Then turn off the heat, and gently pour in the white chocolate chips. Stir slowly, until all the white chocolate has melted. Pour through a sieve into a large bowl, then divide the glaze evenly between six bowls. Color the other bowls pink, purple, blue, green, yellow, and orange. I replaced the color red with pink, to match the Lisa Frank color scheme. Continue to stir the glazes occasionally to stop a skin from forming, until the glaze has reached 85 degrees, or is about room temperature.

I made my cake out of my favorite vanilla layer cake recipe and my vanilla buttercream. I trimmed my cake into the shape of a heart, and made my frosting as smooth as possible. It is important that the cake is made on a cake round the exact same size as the frosted cake, so that the glaze can run off seamlessly. I trimmed a cake round into the shape of a heart, and frosted the cake to the edge of the cardboard base.

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Freeze the cake for a few hours (must be fully frozen for the glaze to stick to the cake), and place on a circular object, on top of a large baking sheet. I placed a 4-inch cake pan underneath my cake, then slowly pour the colored glaze in stripes onto the cake.

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Drizzle thin lines of the excess glaze over the top of the cake, to give it a psychedelic look.

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Let it continue to drip for about 10 minutes, then scrape away the excess drips around the base of the cake and placed it in the fridge.

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See? So easy!!!

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Chocolate S’mores Cake

I’ve made a ton of s’mores cakes, and can’t believe I’ve never shared the recipe!! There are of different ways you can make and decorate this cake, so feel free to get creative and decorate however you prefer! I like to make a chocolate cake based, frost it with both chocolate and marshmallow buttercream, add some ganache drips, and top it off with some toasted meringue! In the past I’ve also topped s’mores cakes with mini s’mores, and stacks of giant s’mores. The recipes I use can be found below:

Chocolate Cake Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), room temperature
  • 3 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup egg whites (about 7 large egg whites)
  • 1 tsp instant espresso, dissolved in 1 Tbsp hot water
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1/8 cup vegetable oil

Buttercream Ingredients:

  • 6 sticks (3 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 12 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 2/3 cup marshmallow fluff

Meringue Topping:

  • 3 egg whites
  • 6 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Optional:

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line four 7” round pans.

Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, cocoa, baking powder, sugar, and salt) in a stand mixer on low (with a paddle), until fully combined.

Mix chunks of room-temperature butter slowly into the dry mix, on a low speed. Continue to mix until no large chunks of butter remain, and the mixture becomes crumbly.

Pour in egg whites, and mix on low until just incorporated.  Mix in the buttermilk in two installments, on a low speed. Add in vanilla, espresso, and oil, and mix at a low speed until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then beat on medium high for about 30 seconds.

Divide evenly between the prepared cake pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan. Place cake layers on a rack to finish cooling.

To accelerate the cooling process, I like to pop my cake layers in the freezer once I’ve removed them from the cake pans.

While the layers bake and cool, prepare the frosting. The same base will be used for both types of frosting. Beat the butter on high for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with small splashes of cream. Once fully mixed, add in the vanilla and salt. Beat on medium low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached. If the frosting is too thick, add in cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time). Put 2/3 of the frosting in one bowl, and 1/3 in a separate bowl. Into the bowl with 2/3, add the cocoa powder. In the other bowl, mix in the marshmallow. Set aside.

Next prepare the meringue. Add egg whites and into a heat proof bowl, and place over a double boiler. Whisk until the sugar is dissolved, being very careful not to cook the egg whites! Once the sugar is dissolved (a few minutes), transfer to a separate mixing bowl and beat at medium speed. Add in vanilla, and mix until stiff peaks form.

For the cake assembly, stack and frost cake layers with the chocolate buttercream. I added crushed graham crackers, mini chocolate chips, and toasted mini marshmallows on top of the buttercream. In the photo below, I used extra vanilla cake batter from a different project, and alternated vanilla and chocolate cake layers.

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Apply a thin crumb coat, and chill cake in the freezer for 5 minutes. Once the crumb coat is firm to the touch, apply a thick, second layer of frosting with the marshmallow buttercream. Smooth with a bench scraper. If you plan to add ganache drips, be sure to chill your cake before adding the warm ganache. Decorate as desired!

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I used a wilton 4b tip to pipe the meringue onto the top of my cake. I then toasted it with a kitchen torch.

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I’ve added a few photos of different types of s’mores cakes that I’ve made in the past. The options for decorating are endless!

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Chocolate Overload Cake

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For this week’s live stream for the Food Network, I decided to make a chocolate overload cake. Why? Because (pretty much) everyone loves chocolate!! Including me. Since I was going to cover this cake with ganache, I wanted to use a great chocolate sponge cake recipe. My chocolate cake recipe is bit dense to be paired with ganache, so I tried out Yolanda Gampp’s chocolate cake recipe, leveled my layers, and soaked them in simple syrup. It tasted AMAZING with the rich ganache. I then added a few chocolate ganache drips, and loaded up the top of the cake a semicircle of chocolate treats. The full tutorial can be seen here. The recipes used can be found below:

Chocolate Cake:

Chocolate Ganache Filling (3:1 ratio):

  • 3/4 cup heavy cream (about 6 oz.)
  • 3 cups milk chocolate chips (18 oz.)

Chocolate Ganache Drips (1:1 ratio):

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (about 4 oz.)
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (4 oz.)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line four 7” round pans. Prepare chocolate cake batter.

 

Divide evenly between the prepared cake pans. Bake for 35 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan. Place cake layers on a rack to finish cooling.

To accelerate the cooling process, I like to pop my cake layers in the freezer once I’ve removed them from the cake pans. Once the layers are fully chilled, remove from freezer and trim off the domes of the cake using a serrated knife. Add a generous amount of simple syrup (1 part sugar, 1 part water, boiled and cooled) evenly across the cakes. I used a sterile, 2.5 inch wide paint brush to ensure even distribution.

While the layers bake and cool, prepare the two different types of ganache. The process is the same for both. Heat the cream until it just begins to bubble over a medium heat, then pour into two heat proof bowls (3/4 cup into one, 1/2 cup into the other). Gently pour the proper amount of chocolate into each bowl (12 oz. into one, 4 oz. into the other). Let this sit for about 90 seconds, then gently stir until the chocolate is fully melted, and no chocolate bits remain.

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Allow the ganache filling to cool to room temperature, and pour the chocolate ganache drip recipe into a plastic squirt bottle.

Once the cake layers are fully cooled, assemble the cake. Stack and evenly cover the layers with chocolate ganache.

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Press down firmly on the top layer with your hand, to make sure there’s no air stuck between the layers. Cover cake with a thick layer of ganache, and smooth with a bench scraper. Place in freezer for 5 minutes to allow the frosting to chill. Add on some chocolate ganache drips, then decorate the top of the cake with anything and everything related to chocolate! I used a bit of frosting I had leftover from a different cake to help secure the toppings onto the cake.

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I used chocolate bars, oreos, malted milk balls, chocolate pocky, chocolate chips, kisses, truffles, and some chocolate covered pretzels!

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You can get creative with this part, and top the cake with your favorite items, or whatever you have on hand. The last step is to cut in and enjoy 🙂

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Oreo Black Forest Cake

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I partnered with Oreo to create this Oreo Black Forest Cake! It’s my flavor creation idea for their latest flavor contest. I made it with my favorite chocolate layer cake recipe, my classic vanilla american buttercream, sweet dark cherries, and crushed Oreos. I replaced the traditional Kirsch with simple syrup, to keep this an alcohol-free recipe. The full recipes can be found below:

Chocolate Cake Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), room temperature
  • 3 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup egg whites (about 7 large egg whites)
  • 1 tsp instant espresso, dissolved in 1 Tbsp hot water
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1/8 cup vegetable oil

American Buttercream Ingredients:

  • 4 sticks (2 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 8 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 3 tsp vanilla

American Buttercream Ingredients:

  • 20 oz. frozen dark cherries
  • 1/2 cup simple syrup
  • 1 bag fresh cherries
  • 2 cups of crushed Oreos

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line four 8” round pans.

Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, cocoa, baking powder, sugar, and salt) in a stand mixer on low (with a paddle), until fully combined.

Mix chunks of room-temperature butter slowly into the dry mix, on a low speed. Continue to mix until no large chunks of butter remain, and the mixture becomes crumbly.

Pour in egg whites, and mix on low until just incorporated.  Mix in the buttermilk in two installments, on a low speed. Add in vanilla, espresso, and oil, and mix at a low speed until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then beat on medium high for about 30 seconds.

Divide evenly between the prepared cake pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan. Place cake layers on a rack to finish cooling.

To accelerate the cooling process, I like to pop my cake layers in the freezer once I’ve removed them from the cake pans.

While the cake layers bake and cool, prepare the frosting. Beat the butter on high for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with small splashes of cream. Once fully mixed, add in the vanilla and salt, and beat on medium low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached. If the frosting is too thick, add in cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).

NOTE: When making frosting for a cake, it is important to mix the buttercream on low at the end of the process for a couple minutes, to get out any extra air that might have be incorporated during the mixing process. This will make it easier to get super smooth sides on your cake!

Soak 20 oz. of dark cherries in 1/2 cup of simple syrup for about 30 minutes. I used frozen cherries from Whole Foods for the filling, and fresh cherries for the garnish!

Once the cake layers are fully cooled, assemble the cake. Stack and frost layers with buttercream, adding 1/3 of the cherry mixture on top of each layer of frosting. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup of crushed Oreos, and repeat with remaining cake layers.

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Apply a thin crumb coat, being sure to trap in all cherry juice and Oreo bits. Chill cake in freezer for 5 minutes. Once the crumb coat is firm to the touch, apply, a second, thicker coat of frosting. Smooth with a bench scrapper. If you want to see a full tutorial for how I get smooth sides on my cakes, you can click here. Gently press crushed Oreos onto the sides of the cake.

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Line top of cake with Oreos, and pipe a large swirl of buttercream on top of each Oreo. Top each swirl with a fresh cherry.

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