Mint Chocolate Chip Layer Cake

Each month I pull together a list of cake ideas and flavors, and then pick out my favorites to make! I’m always asking you guys what cake I should make next, and I love your suggestions. A recurring suggestion I’ve received is for a mint chocolate cake.

When I think of mint and chocolate, all I think of is mint chocolate chip ice cream. I’m not sure if that’s where everyone else’s mind goes, but it is the inspiration for this cake! As I came up with the concept, I knew I wanted to include mini chocolate chips, and definitely some chopped up chocolate in the decoration!

I went back and forth quite a bit trying to decided whether the cake should be made with chocolate  or mint cake layers. I decided to pick mint cake layers, so that the mini chocolate chips I added to the batter would be visible. Since I went with mint cake layers, it made sense to fill this cake a milk chocolate ganache.

Despite filling the cake with ganache, I really wanted to cake to be green on the outside. That’s where the mint chocolate chip buttercream came into play. And boy was I happy it did. When I took a step from the finished cake, it was exactly how I hoped it would turn out. Minty, chocolaty, and chippy 😛

This cake is made using the below recipes:

  • 1 batch of my layer cake recipe + 2 tsp mint extract + 2 drops of green gel food coloring+ 3/4 cup of mini chocolate chips
  • 1.5 batches of my milk chocolate ganache
  • 1 batch of my american buttercream + 2 tsp mint extract, and 2 drops of green gel food coloring + 1/2 cup of finely chopped chocolate
  • 1 cup chopped up chocolate, for decoration

Begin by making the ganache filling. It needs a few hours to set, so I highly recommend making it first, or even the day before!

To make it, place both the milk chocolate (1125 grams – about 3 bags of chocolate chips) and heavy cream (375 grams) in a heat proof bowl, and heat for 30 second increments (stirring between).

Usually after about 2 minutes of heat, all the chocolate is melted. Once the mixture is fully incorporated, place plastic wrap over the top of the ganache, and let it sit overnight (or at least a few hours). Before adding the room temperature ganache to a cake, give it a slow stir with a spatula to ensure it’s nice and smooth, and the right consistency.

chocolate ganache

Next, prepare the the cake layers and buttercream, as directed in the above recipes, and adding  the mint extract, green gel food coloring, and chocolate at the end of the process. Make 4, 8-inch cake layers.

I also trimmed away the caramelization once they layers had fully cooled, using a serrated knife! This is totally optional, but I feel like it helps the pastel green shade of the cake really stand out!

Once the layers are fully cooled, begin to stack them, spreading an even layer of ganache over each layer.

spreading ganache onto layers

Use some of  the left over ganache to cover the cake in a thin crumb coat. Place the remaining ganache into a piping bag, fitted with your favorite french tip (I used an Ateco 869, which is a HUGE french tip). Smooth using a bench scraper, and chill in the fridge for about 10 minutes (or until the ganache is firm to the touch)

ganache crumb coat

Next, cover the cake in a thick layer of the mint chip buttercream. It’s important that you use enough buttercream, so that the chocolate ganache doesn’t show through the frosting.

Smooth using an offset spatula and bench scraper. Be very careful as you smooth, as the chocolate bits in the buttercream can drag and ruin your perfectly smooth sides!

As you smooth, try to hold the bench scrapper at a more parallel than perpendicular angle to the cake, to allow the chocolate pieces to be gently pressed into the frosting, rather than dragged along the sides. You can see a full tutorial on how to frost a cake with smooth sides here.

mint chocolate chip frosting smoothing

Pipe a ganache boarder around the top of the cake, using the remaining ganache. Once piped, add the chopped chocolate bits onto the top of the cake. Use the back of a spoon to gently press then onto the frosting, to help them stay in place.

piping on ganache boarder

If desired, you can also add mini chocolate chips to the base of the cake! Use a small offset spatula to gently press them in to the frosting.

overhead of mint chocolate chip cake

Then you just need a color-coordinated knife to cut into this cake!! 😛 Totally kidding, but I really do love when one of my knives matches the color theme of a cake. I’ve been really into this iridescent knife, and figured it was perfect for this cake.

I was so happy with how mint-centric (is that a thing??) this cake turned out, and loved the way it tasted 🙂

best sliced chocolate mint cake

Variety Sheet Cake

Sometimes you just can’t decide what flavor of cake to make!

A few months ago, I saw this viral video made by So Yummy  and was obsessed! I loved the concept, and decided to test it out with some of my favorite flavors.

I had the hardest time narrowing down my flavors, but ended making the sections chocolate covered cherry, funfetti cookie dough, PB&J, Nutella, and rose water! The Nutella section ended up being my favorite.

To create these flavors/fillings, I used the below items from my pantry! Most of these ingredients I already had, but you can alter your flavors for whatever you have on hand (my pantry is literally all baking supplies and sweets). The beauty of this idea is that you can customize it to whatever flavors you want!

Fillings / toppings:

  • Cherries
  • Cherry preserves
  • Chocolate chips
  • Chocolate spinkles
  • Edible cookie dough balls
  • Rainbow spinkles
  • Strawberry Jam
  • Creamy Peanut Butter
  • Strawberries
  • Nutella
  • Chopped hazelnuts
  • Ferrero Rocher
  • Rose water

I also used a variety of tools, including:

  • 1 inch circle cutter
  • 1 cm punch cutter or chopstick
  • biodegradable or reusable straw
  • heart circle cutter
  • piping bags
  • wilton 1M tip
  • flower nail
  • Wilton 104 tip
  • Wilton 352 leaf tip
  • small offset spatula

I used a half batch of my vanilla layer cake recipe to make a 9×13 inch sheet cake, and 1 batch of my American buttercream to make this cake. All of the different frostings  on this cake are made using my american buttercream as a base.

First, measure the sheet cake with a ruler,  and lightly score it with a knife, to  divide it into 5 equal section.

Begin by making the chocolate cherry section. Use a small punch cutter to cut out small holes in the top section of the cake. Fill with cherry preserves. Place 3/4 of a cup of buttercream into a bowl, and mix with 1/4 cup of cherry preserves. Spoon onto the top section, and smooth using a small offset spatula place 6 chocolate covered cherries on top of the frosting, and add a generous sprinkle of chocolate jimmies

Next, make the funfetti cookie dough section! Use a 1.5 inch circle cutter to remove 4 circles of cake. Fill with edible cookie dough balls. Place 3/4 of a cup of buttercream into a bowl, and mix with 1/2 cup of non-pariel sprinkles.

Spoon onto the top section, and smooth using a small offset spatula to create horizontal lines. Top with small bits of edible cookie dough and more rainbow sprinkles.

To make the PB&J section of this layer cake, use a biodegradable straw (or a chopstick) to poke holes throughout the third section of the cake. Heat about 1/3 of cup of strawberry jam in the microwave for about 15 seconds, then spread across this section of the cake. Allow the jam to run into the holes, to have the same effect as a poke cake!

Place 3/4 of a cup of buttercream into a bowl, and mix with 1/2 cup of peanut butter (or to taste). Place into a piping bag fitted with a Wilton 1M tip, and pipe ruffles horizontally across this section. Top with 3 fanned strawberries.

For the Nutella-inspired 4th section, use a 1 inch cutter of your choice (I used a heart shaped cutter, since I LOVE Nutella :P) to cut 4 equally spaced holes across this section. Fill with Nutella.

Place 3/4 of a cup of buttercream into a bowl, and mix with 1/3 cup of Nutella (or to taste). Spoon onto the top section, and smooth using a small offset spatula. Tap the tip of the offset spatula around the frosting, to create a textured pattern . Top with halved Ferrero Rocher, and a sprinkle of toasted hazelnuts.

In the final section, cut out four holes using a 1 inch cutter. Mix about 3/4 of a cup of buttercream with a teaspoon of rose water, and drop of pink gel food coloring. Place pink rosewater buttercream into a piing bag fitted with a wilton 104 tip (or whatever petal tip you have on hand).  Fill each cut out with this buttercream.

Top with plain vanilla buttercream, and smooth flat. Pipe 5 buttercream roses using a flower nail, and place across the bottom section using a pair of small scissors. If desired, color 1/3 of a cup of frosting green and pipe some leaves around the roses using a Wilton 352 tip.

Slice each section into equal sized pieces, and see which flavor your party likes best! I brought this cake into my office, and despite me loving the Nutella section, the fan favorite was the PB&J section.

Small Batch Vanilla Layer Cake Recipe

This recipe is a half batch of my vanilla layer cake recipe! It's perfect for making smaller cakes, and I usually use it to make 3, 6-inch cake layers.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword 6 inch cake recipe, small layer cake recipe, vanilla layer cake recipe
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 1 six inch layer cake

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups flour (208 grams)
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (300 grams)
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder (7 grams)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (3 grams)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (113 grams)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (5 grams)
  • 1/2 cup egg whites (122 grams)
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk, room temp (180 grams)
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil (13 grams)

Instructions

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line three 6 inch pans (for taller layers) or 8 inch round pans with parchment rounds, and grease with non-stick cooking spray.

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

  3. 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.

  4. 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 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 speed for about 30 seconds.

  5. Divide batter evenly between the prepared cake pans. I like to use a digital kitchen scale to weigh my pans, and ensure they all have the same amount of batter. This guarantees your layers will bake to be the same height.

  6. Bake for 35-37 minutes if using 8 inch pans, or 37-38 minutes for 7 inch cake pans (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 into the freezer for 45 minutes, to accelerate the cooling process.

Recipe Notes

If baking a sheet cake using this recipe (one batch makes two 9x13 layers of sheet cake), be sure to place one of two flower nails upside down toward the center of the plan, to help the layer bake more quickly and evenly. Layer cakes take 38-40 minutes to bake, but can vary based on the size of sheet pan you're using.

Vanilla American Buttercream Recipe

Keyword americal buttercream, vanilla buttercream, Vanilla frosting
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 1 seven inch layer cake

Ingredients

  • 2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature (434 grams)
  • 8 cups powdered sugar (907 grams)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (3 grams)
  • 2 Tbsp heavy cream (or whipping cream) (30 grams)
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract (12 grams)
  • gel food coloring, if desired

Instructions

  1. Beat the butter on a medium speed 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.

  2. Once fully mixed, add in the vanilla and salt, and beat on low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached. 


  3. If the frosting is too thick, add in additional cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).

  4. If you plan to color the buttercream, add in the gel food coloring once the frosting is fully made, and beat on low until it reach the desired colored

Recipe Notes

If you are 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!

Chocolate Avocado Cake

When my initial avocado frosting recipe was a success, I naturally progress to adding avocados to my cake recipe. I couldn’t quite picture vanilla avocado cake layers, so I ended up incorporating them into my go-to chocolate layer cake recipe.

I decided to use the same strategy as before, swapping the butter for avocado, using a 1:1 ratio. The chocolate cake batter ended up having a similar consistency, and baked up very nicely!

I leveled the fully cooled layers, and then tackled my next challenge. While I loved the way the avocado frosting tasted, I wanted it to be a bit stiffer, so that it would be easier to frost with.

I decided to use some of my American buttercream to act as a dam, to ensure all the wonderful avocado frosting stayed in place.

Even with the normal buttercream, each bite of cake still had a faint (and refreshing taste) of avocado.

base layer

Begin by baking 4, 7-inch chocolate avocado cake layers, and preparing the avocado frosting and american buttercream.

Once the layers are fully cooled, stack and frosting the cake layers. Spread an even layer of vanilla buttercream on the cake layer, and chill the cake in the freezer for a couple minutes.

Once it has started to firm up, Pipe a second layer of avocado frosting on top of the first layer of frosting, leaving a 1 inch boarder.piping avo bc onto cake layer

If desired, pipe a ring of vanilla buttercream around the avocado buttercream, to ensure it does seem out the sides of the cake.

Repeat this process with the remaining cake layers, until they are all stacked. piping around avo bc

Cover the cake in a thin crumb coat of vanilla buttercream. Chill in the freezer for about 5 minutes, until the frosting is firm to the touch.

crumb coat staged 3

Next I went a little rouge, and decided to just cover the whole cake in avocado buttercream! To really get the avocado point across, I decided to place an avocado rose on top!

Before this avocado-inspired baking streak, I’d never purchased an avocado, let alone made an avocado rose!! But YouTube is a beautiful thing, and after watching a quick tutorial, I tried my hand at making my first avocado rose. avocado thinly sliced

The most important things to keep in mind as you make an avocado rose? Try to cut the avocado as thinly and uniformly as possible. I don’t really cook, so my knife skills are far from perfect (please see the destroyed avocado I tried to quickly cut on the left side of the cutting board).

But if you take your time, you’d be surprised at what you’re capable of 🙂sliced avocado

I think my avocado may have been slightly overripe, but it still came together pretty well! I was very gentle as I shaped my avocado slices into a tall  U shape, and then rolled the whole thing into itself, to create a swirl.beginning curl of avo rose

Once it was fully shaped, I fanned out the edges of the avocado rose to give it a bit more life, and sprinkled some lemon juice over it to prevent it from browning.avo rose staged 2

And that was it! Nothing to crazy on this cake! Just a lot of avocado, and a bit of chocolate 🙂

Avocado Chocolate Layer Cake Recipe

This is a play on my go-to chocolate cake recipe, but I've swapped the butter for avocado! The result is an indulgent, moist chocolate cake with subtle hints of avocado.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword avocado cake, avocado chocolate cake, chelsweets, easy avocado cake
Servings 1 seven-inch layer cake

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2.5 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 4 eggs room temp
  • 1 cup unsalted butter room temp (2 sticks)
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 cup buttermilk room temp
  • 1 cup black cocoa

Instructions

Instructions

  1. Begin by preheating the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line four 7 inch or 8 inch pans with parchment rounds, and spray with non-stick spray.
  2. Add the sugar and butter into the bowl of a stand mixer, and whisk on high for 1 minute. The mixture should become light in color.
  3. Add in the eggs, one at a time. Then add baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix on high for another minute.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the cup of hot water, and cup of buttermilk. Pour in the cup of black cocoa, and whisk until no clumps remain.
  5. Next, add 1 cup of flour into the butter /egg mixture. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula, to ensure the flour is fully incorporated.
  6. Pour in half of the buttermilk / cocoa mixture, and gently pulse the mixture to incorporate the liquid (if you don't, you'll end up splattering the cocoa mixture all over you kitchen!
  7. Mix in the 2nd cup of flour, at a medium speed. Pour in the remaining buttermilk / cocoa mixture, and again gently pulse, then mix on low until fully combined.
  8. Add in the last cup of flour, and mix on low until the flour is incorporated. Mix on high for 30 additional seconds, to incorporate a bit more air into the batter.
  9. Evenly divide between the four prepared pans. I like to use a kitchen scale to ensure each pan has exactly the same amount of batter.
  10. Bake according to the size of pan. For 7 inch layers, bake for 35-37 minutes. For 8 inch layers, bake for 32-33 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
  11. Allow layers to cool in the pans for about 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around the edge of the pans to help separate the layers from the pans.
  12. Place the pans in the freezer for about 45 minutes, to accelerate the cooling process. Once the layers are fully cooled, carefully flip the pans and remove the layers.
  13. Use a serrate knife to level the tops of the layers, and then frost as desired.

Avocado Frosting Recipe

This recipe only uses 3 ingredients, and is VEGAN! It also is delicious, and perfect for anyone who loves avocados!

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword avocado buttercream, avocado frosting, chelsweets, easy avocado frosting, vegan frosting
Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings 1 six-inch cake

Ingredients

  • 1 cup ripe avocado meat, about 2 small avocados (8 oz)
  • 4 cups powdered sugar (450 grams)
  • 1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

Instructions

Instructions

  1. Slice and remove pit from avocados. Place into mixing bowl, and beat on a low speed using the whisk attachment until relatively smooth.

  2. Mix in lemon juice. This will prevent the avocados from browning.

  3. Gradually mix in the powdered sugar, one cup at a time. Scrap down the sides of the bowl after each addition, to ensure the ingredients are fully incorporated.

  4. This frosting can be made in advance, and stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Small Batch Vanilla Buttercream Recipe

This is a smaller batch of my favorite vanilla buttercream! It's great for a batch of cupcakes, or a smaller cake (6 inches or less).

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword american buttercream recipe, small batch frosting, vanilla frosting recipe
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 1 6 inch cake

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (217 grams)
  • 4 cups powdered sugat (454 grams)
  • 1 pinch salt (2 grams)
  • 1 Tbsp heavy cream (or whipping cream) (15 grams)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract (8 grams)

Instructions

Instructions

  1. Beat the butter on a medium speed 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.

  2. Once fully mixed, add in the vanilla and salt, and beat on low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached. 

  3. If the frosting is too thick, add in additional cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).

Recipe Notes

If you are 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!

How To Make Avocado Frosting

Avocados seem to be EVERY where in Manhattan lately. They’re on toast, in smoothies, and you can add them to pretty much any restaurant dish (for a $2 up-charge).

Everyone seems to love them!! I get that they have health benefits (healthy fat, tons of fiber, etc.), but I just can’t seem to get on board. Avocados don’t really taste like much to me, and I’d so much rather have mayo or cheese on a sandwich than avocado.

But seeing them every where sparked something in my mind. Why not bake with them?? They’re so high in fat, they can literally replace butter in recipes. This lead me down the road to throwing them into my cake batter, and eventually, making a frosting with them!

I really didn’t know if the recipe would work, or what it would taste like. But half the fun of experimenting in the kitchen is just that! Trying something new, and crossing your fingers.

I was slightly disgusted as I added powdered sugar to the mashed up avocado, but when I finally did muster up the courage to taste the frosting, I was so pleasantly surprised.

avo rose staged 2

It was delicious! It had a smooth, almost elastic texture. Oddly enough,  the sweetness of the powdered sugar was perfectly offset by the tang of the lemon juice, and the richness of the avocado. I know if sounds wild, but it really is amazing.

At first, I thought I may be biased, and decided to bring it into my office to get my coworkers opinions. Sure enough, they raved about!

Another plus to this recipe? IT’S VEGAN! Some vegan frosting recipes out there can be pretty complicated, so this is a simple and easy frosting recipe for all my vegan bakers out there 🙂

The consistency of this frosting is much less sturdy than my standard buttercream. I used this to fill a cake, but you could also cover a cake in it. Just keep in mind that it’s not thick enough to add more than a thin layer around a cake.

piping avo bc onto cake layer

If you want to cover your cake in a thick layer of frosting, I recommend mixing this recipe with my american buttercream, using a 1:1 ratio. This will subdue the avocado flavor a bit, but will make it so much easier to frost with.

Avocado Frosting Recipe

This recipe only uses 3 ingredients, and is VEGAN! It also is delicious, and perfect for anyone who loves avocados!

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword avocado buttercream, avocado frosting, chelsweets, easy avocado frosting, vegan frosting
Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings 1 six-inch cake

Ingredients

  • 1 cup ripe avocado meat, about 2 small avocados (8 oz)
  • 4 cups powdered sugar (450 grams)
  • 1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

Instructions

Instructions

  1. Slice and remove pit from avocados. Place into mixing bowl, and beat on a low speed using the whisk attachment until relatively smooth.

  2. Mix in lemon juice. This will prevent the avocados from browning.

  3. Gradually mix in the powdered sugar, one cup at a time. Scrap down the sides of the bowl after each addition, to ensure the ingredients are fully incorporated.

  4. This frosting can be made in advance, and stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Bagel and Lox-Inspired Cake

Back when I used to take cake orders (over 2 years ago), I received a pretty unique request. Someone wanted a cake for a bagel and lox enthusiast. At first, I was stumped. I thought about it for a while, and then the concept finally came together in my mind. Fluffy buttermilk cake layers, cream cheese frosting, and mini donut “bagels”on top!!
 
To me, a bagel and lox sandwich isn’t complete without tomatoes, onions, and capers. With that in mind, this cake ended up having a lot of different components!
 
From fondant lox to a sweet everything bagel seasoning (sanding sugar, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, and a bit of sea salt), I went a bit over the top with this one.

I have no regrets, and really do feel like it captures the best parts of a delicious bagel and lox sandwich, in cake form.

I loved the original cake so much, I remade it to record footage for the Food Network’s social channels. The recipe, and step by step instruction can be found below.

In addition to the cake layers, baked donuts, and cream cheese frosting, you will need white and red fondant, and orange, muted green, and purple gel food coloring. 

Begin by baking 4, 7-inch cake layers, and making the cream cheese frosting. If desired, use a serrated knife to trim away the caramelization once they are fully cooled.

Next, use the cupcake recipe listed below to bake 6 regular-sized donuts, and about 25 mini donuts. Prepare the cupcake batter as instructed, then place it into a piping bag. VERY generously grease donut pans, then carefully pipe the batter evenly into donut pans, filling them about 2/3 of the way up.

Bake the mini donuts at 350 degrees for 12-14 minutes, and bake the standard sized donuts for about 20 minutes, until the edges just begin to brown.  Allow the donuts to cool for about 10 minutes, then carefully pop them out of the pans using a small offset spatula.

Drizzle a generous ring of honey on top of each donut, then dunk each bagel donut into the sweet everything bagel seasoning. Set aside.

Stack and frost the cake layers, filling the cake with cream cheese frosting. Once stacked, cover the cake in a thin crumb coat. Chill the cake in the freezer for about 5 minutes, until the frosting is firm to the touch. Cover the cake in a second, thicker layer of frosting. Use a bench scaper to smooth. You can see an in-depth tutorial on how to get perfectly smooth sides on a cake here.

Place the cake in the fridge to chill while you prepare the bagel sandwich filling. Cover your hands with rubber gloves, and add a few drops of orange or salmon colored gel food coloring to 3/4 of a cup of white fondant. Using the same process, color about 1/4 of a cup of fondant a muted shade of green. I had red fondant on hand, but if you don’t, color 3/4 of a cup of fondant red.

Roll out the salmon colored fondant, and place thin lines of white fondant horizontally across the cake. Gently roll them in the fondant, and then cut the fondant into 3 strips. take one strip, and carefully place it onto the “unseasonsed” side of the donut bagel, wrapping it in a circular motion.

Next, make the tomatoes! Roll out the red fondant, keeping it somewhat thick. Use a 1.5 inch circle cutter to cut out the t6 tomato slices. Roll out the remaining fondant to be very thin, and use a slightly smaller circle cutter to cut out 6 additional circles. Slice each thin circle into six equal sections, and place on top of the thick circles the be the tomato segments.

To make the purple onion slices, use the same 1.5 inch circle cutter to cut out about 12 very thin crescent shaped pieces of white fondant. Paint one side of these a light shade of purple using a bit of purple gel food coloring mixed with vodka. Set aside to dry.

To finish assembling the bagels for the top of the cake, place the tomatoes, onions, and a few capers on top of the salmon lox. Use a bit of frosting to help secure the toppings to one another. Top with an additional bagel, repeat with two remaining bagels.

To decorate the cake, place the mini bagels around the base of the cake. Pipe a bit of frosting onto the back of each mini bagel, to help it stick to the cake.

Next, place the bagel sandwiches on top of the cake. Add some of the extra capers and onions to the open space between the bagels, and sprinkle some of the “everything seasoning” on top of the cake.

Then it’s time to cut in and enjoy! While the donut bagels are 100% edible, I’m not really a fan of fondant, and chose to eat the leftover bagel donuts with cream cheese frosting 😛

Vanilla Layer Cake Recipe

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword vanilla layer cake recipe
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 36 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 1 seven inch layer cake

Ingredients

  • 3 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (416 grams)
  • 3 cups granulated sugar (600 grams)
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder (13 grams)
  • 1 tsp salt (5 grams)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (226 grams) - 2 sticks
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract (9 grams)
  • 1 cup egg whites (or about 7 egg whites) (244 grams)
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, room temperature (360 grams)
  • 1/8 cup vegetable oil (28 grams)
  • gel food coloring (if desired)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line four 7 inch pans (for taller layers) or 8 inch round pans with parchment rounds, and grease with non-stick cooking spray.

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

  3. 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.

  4. 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 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 speed for about 30 seconds. 

  5. If desired, add in gel food coloring. Mix the batter on a low speed, scrapping the sides and bottom of the bowl part way through. Mix until the batter is evenly colored.

  6. Divide batter evenly between the prepared cake pans. I like to use a digital kitchen scale to weigh my pans, and ensure they all have the same amount of batter. This guarantees your layers will bake to be the same height.

  7. Bake for 35-37 minutes if using 8 inch pans, or 37-38 minutes for 7 inch cake pans (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 into the freezer for 45 minutes, to accelerate the cooling process.

Recipe Notes

Once the layers have fully cooled, I sometimes like to trim the caramelized bits from the sides of the layers using a serrated knife. While these layers bake pretty flat, sometimes I’ll also trim the top of the layers too if I’m working a super special partnership 🙂

The Best Cream Cheese Frosting

A lot of cream cheese frosting recipes taste great, but don’t hold their shape.This can be super frustrating when you’re trying to get super smooth sides on a cake, or pipe some fun designs onto a cupcake!!

That’s what makes this frosting recipe so fantastic; it has the tang of a cream cheese frosting, but is sturdy like my classic american buttercream. It’s great for piping on cupcakes, and smoothing on cakes.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword chelsweets, cream cheese buttercream, cream cheese frosting, easy cream cheese frosting
Servings 1 7-inch layer cake

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups unsalted butter, room temp (325 grams)
  • 4 oz cream cheese, room tmp (115 grams)
  • 8 cups powdered sugar (900 grams)
  • 0.5 tsp. table salt (3 grams)
  • 1 Tbsp heavy cream (15 grams)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (4 grams)

Instructions

Instructions

  1. Beat the butter and cream cheese on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth.

  2. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with small splashes of cream.

  3. Once fully mixed, add in the vanilla and salt, and beat on low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached.

  4. 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).

Recipe Notes

NOTE: If you are 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!

Baked Donut Recipe

My one-bowl vanilla cupcakes recipe can also be used to make baked donuts! they're just as delicious as my vanilla cupcakes!

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword baked donut recipe, baked mini donut recipe, chelsweets, one bowl vanilla cupcake recipe
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 27 minutes

Ingredients

Donut Batter

  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (162g)
  • 1 cup sugar (212g)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (120 ml)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil (60 ml)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, room temp
  • 1/2 cup water (120 ml)

Sweet Everything Seasoning

  • 0.25 cup sesame seeds
  • 0.25 cup poppy seeds
  • 0.25 cup granulated or sanding sugar
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Instructions

Instructions

  1. Begin by preheating oven to 350°F (175°C) and heavily greasing donut pan (normal donut pan and a mini donut pan).

  2. Add the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt to a large mixer bowl and gently mix. Add the buttermilk, and gently stir until just combined.

  3. Add in the water, vanilla, and vegetable oil, and mix until the batter comes together.

  4. Next, mix in the egg until well combined.

  5. Place batter into a piping bag, and cut a small opening (less than 1 cm). Fill pans to make 6 normal sized donuts, and about 20 mini donuts.

  6. Carefully pipe the batter in a circle to fill each donut mold. Fill about 1/2 full. If you overfill the pans, they will bake out of the mold and lose their perfect circular shape.

  7. Bake regular sized donuts for 17-19 minutes, and mini donuts 12-13 minutes (or until a toothpick comes out clean).

  8. Allow the donuts to cool before drizzle them with honey.

  9. Combine the poppy seeds, sesame seeds, sugar, and salt into a bowl, and stir until combined. Dunk the donuts into the seasoning, until the tops are coated.

Recipe Notes

I had a bit of leftover batter, and ended up making some extra donut bagels for fun! You can also use the extra batter to bake cupcakes.

Frosting Checkerboard Cake

I’ve made checkerboard cakes in the past, by cutting out rings of colorful cake layers and reassembling them to create a pattern. And it was fun, I loved trying the technique with different colors, and even different cake recipes.

However, this time around I wanted to try something new.

Since I am a huge fan of frosting, I had a crazy idea pop into my mind…what if I made a checkerboard pattern by alternating cake layers and frosting??

I kid you not, just as I was falling asleep one night, and the idea popped into my mind (luckily, it was a Friday night). The next morning, I set to work!!

Does this mean that half of this cake is frosting?? Yes, yes it does 🙂

sliced checkerboard cake at angle-2

It’s made with two layers (a half batch) of my go-to chocolate layer cake recipe, and 2 batches of my american buttercream recipe.

I began by using circle cutters to cut each cake layer into 4 pieces. I make my cake layers in advance, and freeze them overnight. I let them thaw for about 20 minutes, and then use the circle cutters while the layers are still slightly chilled and firm. if you aren’t freezing your layers, be sure they are completed cooled before you cut into them.

Be sure to wipe off the circle cutter after each layer, to ensure a clean cut on the next layer.

checkerboard blog post 1-2

Once my layers were cut, I placed my frosting into large piping bags, cut to have a 1-inch opening. I place the largest and 2nd smallest cake pieces onto my great proof cake board, and filled in the openings full with buttercream. It should resemble a bulls eye. checkerboard cake filling center with frosting-2

Use the remaining bits of cake layer, and place on top of the areas filled with frosting. By alternating cake layers and frosting, you are creating the checkerboard pattern. Repeat with the second cake layer, until all the cake rings have been used.

I found the second layer was a bit harder to create, since the outer ring is pure frosting! Smooth the sides of the cake using a bench scrapper.

Chill the cake in the freezer for about 5 minutes after you’ve added the second cake/frosting layer, to help it keep it’s shape. It’s really important that your buttercream is relatively stiff, so that it isn’t seeping over the sides as you pipe it.

Use a bench scraper to smooth the sides of the cake, and create an edge at the top of the cake. Place the cake back into freezer for a few minutes, to allow the frosting to firm up.

frosted checkerboard cake-2

Once the frosting is firm to the touch, cover the cake with a second layer of frosting.

Add a bit of cocoa powder and a splash of heavy cream to my remaining frosting, to create some contrast between the outside of the cake, and all the frosting hidden on the inside.

Once the cake is covered, use a large offset spatula to create horizontal lines around the cake. Begin at the base, and slowly moved the spatula up the cake while spinning your cake stand. Follow the lined pattern that is being created, until you reached the top of the cake.

piping boarder around top of checkerboard cake-2

Pipe some additional dollops of frosting in a ring around the top of the cake, and garnish with mini and regular chocolate chips.

moody photo of uncut checkerboard cake-2

Then cut into this frosting filled cake and reveal the amazing checkerboard pattern!!! I recommend using a very large, sharp knife, and heating it up by running it under warm water (and drying with a towel). This will help you get nice, clean slices, even if the cake is slightly chilled still.

I won’t lie,  I was so nervous to cut into this cake!! I really did think the concept would work, but I’ve never made a cake quite like this before! I literally squealed with excitement as I pulled out the first slice.

sneak peak at inside of cut checkerboard cake-2

It turned out exactly how I hoped it would!! Big blocks of vanilla buttercream, perfectly separated by chocolate cake squares.

sliced checkerboard cake 5-2

Like always, I cut a massive first slice, to make it easier to cut the remaining slices, and so that I get a great view of the inside of the cake. I was beaming with excited when I started photographing the sliced cake.

me way too excited about checkerboard cke-2

My chocolate layer cake recipe and double batch buttercream recipe can be found below.

Small Batch Chocolate Layer Cake Recipe

This is a half batch of my go-to chocolate layer cake recipe! It's perfect for make two 7 or 8-inch cake layers, or three 6-inch cake layers.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword chelsweets chococlate cake recipe, chocolate layer cake recipe, small batch chocolate cake recipe
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 1 6-inch cake

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1.25 cups granulated sugar
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 0.75 tsp baking powder
  • 0.5 tsp baking soda
  • 2 large eggs room temp
  • 0.5 cups unsalted butter room temp (1 stick)
  • 0.5 cups hot water
  • 0.5 cups buttermilk room temp
  • 0.5 cups baking cocoa (I like to use black cocoa)

Instructions

Instructions

  1. Begin by preheating the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line four 7 inch or 8 inch pans with parchment rounds, and spray with non-stick spray.

  2. Add the sugar and butter into the bowl of a stand mixer, and whisk on high for 1 minute. The mixture should become light in color.

  3. Add in the eggs, one at a time. Then add baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix on high for another minute.

  4. In a separate bowl, combine the cup of hot water, and cup of buttermilk. Pour in the cup of black cocoa, and whisk until no clumps remain.

  5. Next, add 1/2 cup of flour into the butter /egg mixture. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula, to ensure the flour is fully incorporated.

  6. Pour in half of the buttermilk / cocoa mixture, and gently pulse the mixture to incorporate the liquid (if you don't, you'll end up splattering the cocoa mixture all over you kitchen!

  7. Mix in another 1/2 cup of flour, at a medium speed. Pour in the remaining buttermilk / cocoa mixture, and again gently pulse, then mix on low until fully combined.

  8. Add in the last 1/2 cup of flour, and mix on low until the flour is incorporated. Mix on high for 30 additional seconds, to incorporate a bit more air into the batter.

  9. Evenly divide between the four prepared pans. I like to use a kitchen scale to ensure each pan has exactly the same amount of batter.

  10. Bake according to the size of pan. For 7 inch layers, bake for 35-37 minutes. For 8 inch layers, bake for 32-33 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.

  11. Allow layers to cool in the pans for about 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around the edge of the pans to help separate the layers from the pans.

  12. Place the pans in the freezer for about 45 minutes, to accelerate the cooling process. Once the layers are fully cooled, carefully flip the pans and remove the layers.

  13. Use a serrate knife to level the tops of the layers, and then frost as desired.

Recipe Notes

I chose to use black cocoa (I love the taste and color it creates), but if you don't have any on hand, you can use regular baking cocoa.

Double Batch Vanilla Buttercream Recipe

This is a double batch of my favorite vanilla buttercream! It's great for larger cakes, small 2-tiered cakes, or cakes with a lot of frosting decorations (buttercream rosettes, buttercream ruffles, etc.)

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword chelsweets, chelsweets frosting recipe, double batch frosting recipe, large batch frosting recipe
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 1 tiered cake (8 inch and 6 inch tiers)

Ingredients

  • 4 cups unsalted butter, room temperature (868 grams)
  • 16 cups powdered sugar (1,814 grams)
  • 1 tsp salt (6 grams)
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream (or whipping cream) (60 grams)
  • 2 Tbsp vanilla extract (24 grams)

Instructions

Instructions

  1. Beat the butter on a medium speed 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.

  2. Once fully mixed, add in the vanilla and salt, and beat on low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached. 

  3. If the frosting is too thick, add in additional cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).

Recipe Notes

If you are 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!