Pumpkin Spice Layer Cake Recipe

I’ve been experimenting with pumpkin cake recipes for a while now, and really wanted to create my own, using my vanilla layer cake recipe as a starting point. After quite a bit of experimenting with different amounts of pumpkin, buttermilk, and egg whites, I finally found the perfect balance.

This recipe is wonderful because it’s moist and so flavorful, but it also has great structure! It can be carved and sculpted if the layers are chilled, and it stacks wonderfully. One batch of batter can be used to make 4 seven-inch cake layers, or 4 thinner 8-inch cake layers.

trimming pumpkin cake layers

Pumpkin Spice Layer Cake Recipe:

  • 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 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp (pinch) cloves
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (226 grams) – 2 sticks
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract (9 grams)
  • 1/2 cup egg whites (or about 3 egg whites) (122 grams)
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, room temperature (360 grams)
  • 1/8 cup vegetable oil (28 grams)

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, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves) 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 pumpkin puree, 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. If you want to color your cake batter, add gel food coloring at the end, and mix on low until the batter is the shade you’re after.

  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 30 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 🙂

 

This cake recipe pairs wonderfully with my cream cheese buttercream.

I used this cake recipe to make this pumpkin-pie filled cake, which is frosted with my American buttercream, and filled with a pumpkin pie filling! It tasted just as good as it looks!!

sliced pumpkin cake

Strawberry Pop-Tart Cake

I contribute footage of a few cakes each month to the Food Network, to share across their social channels. This strawberry Pop-Tart-inspired cake was definitely my favorite one this month, and it was so fun I wanted to share the recipe.

The best part of this cake? The adorable mini strawberry Pop-Tarts used to decorate the base of the cake. The good news is that they’re just as simple to make as they are cute.

They’re made using store bought pie crusts, strawberry jam, an egg wash, and some colorful buttercream and sprinkles. If you wanted to fully make them from scratch, you totally can! But since cakes are already such a labor of love, I like to not get too crazy with the decorations.

poptart supplies

This cake is made with my tried and true layer cake and buttercream recipe, plus some strawberry jam and pink gel food coloring, for good measure. The recipes used include:

  • 1 batch of my layer cake recipe (used to bake 4, 7-inch cake layers) + pink gel food coloring to create swirled layers
  • 1.5 batches of my american buttercream
  • 1 jar of your favorite strawberry jam (for both the mini Pop-Tarts filling and cake filling)
  • 1 package of ready-made pie crust + 1 egg (to create mini Pop-Tarts)

Begin by making the cake layers and buttercream, as directed in the above recipes. The layers will take a bit of time to bake and cool, so I recommend making them first (or even a day in advance).

Next, begin to prepare the mini Pop-Tarts. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Roll out one of the pie crusts. use a ruler and knife to score the dough to create rectangles that are 1 inch by 1.25 inches.

adding lines to pastry dough

Put about 1/2 a cup of strawberry jam into a piping bag, and cut a small opening (less than 1 cm). Carefully pipe a thin line of filling into the center of each rectangle.

While you may be tempted to add a ton of filling to each little Pop-Tart, do be warned that it will make the crimping process much more challenging, and that the extra filling will likely ooze out the sides of the Pop-Tarts as they bake. A few of mine were overfilled, and they definitely weren’t a pretty picture coming out of the oven (don’t say I didn’t warn you :P)

piping on filling

Next, unroll the second pie crust, and place on top of the jam lined pie crust. Carefully use your ruler to remark the rectangles (you can see the jam through the pie crust, and use it as a guide). Use a pastry cutter and ruler to cut out the rectangles.

cutting mini poptarts

Carefully lift each Pop-Tart (the pieces will slide a bit due to the filling), and crimp the sides using a fork. Also poke a few holes on top of each one, to help them rise and allow air to escape as they bake.

I had a mini fork on hand (long story, but it’s from making little mermaid cupcakes ages ago…), which worked perfectly for this! if you don’t have one, use the smallest fork you have.

crimped all poptarts

Transfer the Pop-Tarts onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

Beat together one egg and 1 tbsp of milk, and use a pastry brush to paint a thin layer of egg wash onto each Pop-Tart. Bake in the oven for 15-17 minutes, or until golden brown.

I was convinced these would bake up much fast, but it took some time for them to become golden brown, and baked through. Slide the parchment paper onto a cooling rack, and allow the Pop-Tarts to cool (at least 30 minutes).

baked poptarts

Once they fully cooled, pipe buttercream onto each Pop-Tart, and top with sprinkles of your choice.

I colored a tiny but of my buttercream light and hot pink, and piped the different colors onto my Pop-Tarts. I also chose to use hot pink sanding sugar as my sprinkles.

poptart frosting

Once the Pop-tarts are ready, it’s time to assemble the cake. Smooth a thin layer of buttercream on top of each layer. Pipe a ring of vanilla buttercream around the edge of the layer to create a frosting dam, then spread a layer of strawberry jam inside the vanilla frosting.

adding jam between cake layers

Repeat this process with all remaining cake layers. Cover the cake in a thin layer of vanilla frosting (crumb coat) to trap any run-away crumbs. Chill the cake in the freezer or fridge for about 5 minutes, until the buttercream is firm to the touch.

Next, add a thicker, second layer of vanilla buttercream. Use a bench scraper to smooth the sides of the cake. You can see a full tutorial on how to frost a cake with smooth sides here. Use a small offset spatula to smooth the top of the cake.

Pipe a bit of buttercream onto the back of each Pop-tart, then gently press it against the base of the cake. Repeat this process, alternating the colored Pop-Tarts, until the entire base is covered.

adding poptarts to base of cake

Color the remaining buttercream pink using gel food coloring, and pipe a boarder around the top of the cake using your favorite frosting tip (I used a Wilton 1M).

piping on boarded

If desired, add a pink sprinkle blend to the top of the cake, around the boarder. I love using Neon Yolk sprinkle blends! They make the cutest blends, and use them on my cakes whenever I can.

finished cake from the top

Then it’s time to cut into the cake and try it! I am a sucker for anything with strawberry jam, so I loved this cake. I also could not stop eating the leftover Pop-Tarts! They were addicting.

finished cake v4

This cake feeds between 16-20 people, so be sure you have lots of family or friends over (or in my case, coworkers!) to help eat it 🙂

sliced cake v2 copy

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!

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.