Category Archives: DIY

Funfetti Cookie Dough Ice Cream Cake

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With summer right around the corner, it only seemed appropriate  that I make an ice cream cake!! This recipe simplifies the process, with a super easy no-churn Ice Cream filling! I also added some of my favorite edible cookie dough and sprinkles, just for fun. The recipes are included 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
No-Churn Ice Cream
  • 16 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 16 oz Cool Whip (2 tubs)
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup sprinkles
  • 2 cups edible cookie dough balls

Optional:

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line three 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 40-45 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.

As the cake layers cool, prep the no-churn ice cream. Combine cream cheese, sugar, milk and vanilla together in the bowl of a stand mixer, or with a hand mixer. Mix with a paddle attachment at a medium speed until completely combined. Gently fold in the cool whip, mini chocolate chips, and the cookie dough balls (reserve a handful to decorate the top of the cake).

Next, assemble the cake! Use acetate sheets or parchment paper to create a  tall cylinder inside the same pan you baked the cake layers in. The cylinder should be roughly 12 inches high, as it has to be taller than the cake will be. Use tape to secure acetate sheets/parchment paper to ensure it keeps it’s shape while filling.
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Place a cardboard cake circle in the bottom of the pan (I trimmed a 10 inch cake round to fit in my pan). Put the first cake layer in the bottom of your pan. Smooth 1/3 of the ice cream on top of the cake layer. Repeat with remaining cake layers, finishing the stack with a smoothed layer of ice cream. Allow ice cream cake to freeze completely, preferably overnight (or at least 6 hours.
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When ready to eat, remove cake from freezer and gently peel away lining. I chose to top the cake with chocolate buttercream swirls (made with a Wilton 1M tip), sprinkles, the leftover cookie dough, and a chocolate ganache drizzle! You could also cover the cake in cool whip/whipped cream 🙂
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Easy Microwave Mirror Glaze Recipe

I’ve already shared my Easy Mirror Glaze Recipe (made with only 5 ingredients!!), which helped make the mirror glaze technique much more approachable. However, I wanted to simplify the process even further, and am now sharing a modified mirror glaze recipe that can be prepared using just a microwave!!!

Microwave Mirror Glaze needs to be a thing! I’m not kidding, this take roughly 5 minutes in the microwave to whip up. I’m 99% sure this is the simplest mirror glaze recipe out there! I wanted to make a mermaid-inspired mirror glaze, so I used some light shades of pink, purple, blue, and green. In addition to making microwave mirror glaze a thing, I also want to make mermaid glaze a thing! So many goals, so little time.

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There are a few things you need to know before you begin making your mirror glaze:

  • You must use unflavored gelatin; the sugar in regular jello throws off the recipe
  • I recommend using miniature white chocolate chips if possible, they melt the fastest
  • If you want to color the mirror glaze, be sure to use gel food coloring. It won’t throw off the consistency of the glaze like liquid food coloring
  • Be sure to pour the glaze over a fully frozen, very smooth cake. I prefer to pour this over cakes frosted with buttercream, but you an also pour it over frozen mousse.

The ingredients needed can be found below:

Mirror  Glaze:

  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 cups white chocolate chips (miniature work best, but regular are fine too)
  • 2 Tbsp. unflavored gelatin (2 envelopes), bloomed in 1/4 cup of water

Optional:

  • gel food coloring (in this glaze I used pink blue, green, and purple)
  • edible glitter
  • large offset spatula (for color swipe over the top of the glazed cake)

Equipment:

  • large, heat-proof bowl
  • 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. Combine together the 1 1/2 cups of sugar, 1 cup of water, and 2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk in a heat-proof bowl. Heat for 1 minute at full power, and remove from microwave. Stir, and heat for another minute. Next, add in the gelatin (it will be very firm), breaking it up into smaller pieces. Heat for an additional minute, then add in half of the white chocolate chips (1 cup). Gently stir to ensure all the chips are submerged. Heat for an additional minute, then remove and slowly stir. The white chocolate chips should be mostly melted. Stir in remaining chocolate, and heat for another minute. Remove from microwave, and let the mixture sit for a minute. This will allow the heat from the mixture to continue to melt any remaining bits of white chocolate. Stir slowly, until all the white chocolate has melted. The glaze should be perfectly smooth, and roughly 130 degrees F at this point.

If there are still bits of white chocolate, heat for additional 30 second intervals (stirring between), until all the chocolate is fully incorporated. Divide the glaze evenly between four bowls. Color the bowls pink, purple, blue, and green. Continue to stir occasionally to stop a skin from forming, until the glaze has reached 90 degrees, or is slightly above room temperature. My glaze took about 20 minutes to cool to the right temperature.

Once the glazes have cooled slightly, pour all of the pink into a large bowl with a pouring spout. Then pour drizzle in 2/3 of the purple, blue, and green glazes on top of the pink.

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Remove the smoothed buttercream cake from the freezer (must be fully frozen!! I recommend freezing for at least 2 hours before glazing), and place on a tall, circular object, on top of a large baking sheet. I elevated my cake with a a small cake pan, then slowly poured the glaze on the cake.

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I began pouring the glaze over the edges, then worked my way into the center. Once I had fully covered the cake, I swiped a bit more blue onto the top of the cake with a large offset spatula. I then sprinkled some edible glitter over the top. I let it continue to drip for about 5 minutes, then scraped the excess from the base, and placed the cake in the fridge.

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See? So easy!!! My cake was a three layer cake made with seven inch cake rounds. This glaze recipe easily covered a cake this size, and I had plenty of leftover glaze. It can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container, and reheated to be used in the future. However, the glaze can develop a skin, so be careful!

How to Make Edible Gelatin Bubbles for Cake Decorating

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I had never made gelatin bubbles before, but was asked to make a bubble gum inspired cake! I had always wanted to try the technique, and learned quite a bit making them. I followed Cake Central’s tutorial, and learned a few things along the way!  I wanted to share the tips that I will keep in mind the next time I make these. These are much less difficult to make than I had initially thought, but it’s definitely a messy process! The below portions make enough bubbles to cover the top of an 8 inch cake.

Ingredients and Materials:

  • 6 Tbsp. of unflavored gelatin (I used the Knox brand, can be found at most grocery stores and Target)
  • 12 Tbsp of cold water
  • heatproof bowl
  • small balloons (I ordered these from amazon)
  • gel food coloring or luster dust (optional)
  • cooling rack (to dry bubbles)

I made three different batches of gelatin, because the gelatin cools very quickly!

The first thing I did was blow up my small balloons into varying sizes (1 inch to 3 inches in diameter). I did my best to shape them in perfect circles. I found it helps to tie the knot very high up on the neck of the balloon. I then fully coated the balloons with a thin coat of shortening. Be sure to wipe away any excess shortening (white areas), as the gelatin won’t stick to the balloon if there’s too much.

Begin by adding 4 Tbsp. of cold water to a bowl. Pour in 2 packets of gelatin (ratio should always be 2 parts water, 1 part gelatin). Gently swirl the water in the bowl to fully incorporate the gelatin in the water. Let the mixture sit for couple minutes to bloom (absorb water). Once the mixture gels up, pop the bowl into the microwave for about 20 seconds (can vary based on your microwave). The gelatin should be warm and very fluid, but not too hot! Gently stir in a few drops of gel food coloring, being sure the gelatin is fully dissolved.

Using your fingers, gently roll balloon around in the gelatin, applying a thin and even coat of gelatin around the majority of the balloon. Gently rest balloon (with tie side down) on a cooling rack, and then dip 3 more balloons.  Once the first coat of gelatin is on, test the remaining gelatin for fluidity. I found that at this point my gelatin had generally cooled to a point where it was too thick and goopy. It didn’t evenly coat the balloon at all. After one coat, I needed to reheat my gelatin for about 5 seconds. I then re-dipped the balloons into the gelatin for second coat, using the same technique. I repeated this process and made two more batches of bubbles. Once the balloons had sat for about 30 minutes (I found they were had started to set by this point), I used a fan (on a low speed) to speed up the drying process. Be VERY careful when you do this. If your fan is too strong, it will blow your bubbles right off your counter!! I added some bowls on the sides and behind my cooling rack to ensure the bubbles stays in place.

My bubbles dried after about 4 hours, but without a fan they will need about 12 hours to harden.

NOTE: As the gelatin hardens, it will shrink. This will create loud, crackling sounds. At first I was convinced my bubbles were shattering, but was relieved to realize it just meant they were firming up quickly!

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Once the bubbles have hardened, use scissors to gently puncture the exposed balloon. Once it shrinks, you can easily loosen the balloon from the bubble, and remove it. If your bubbles collapse at all during this process, don’t worry! They are rather sturdy, and any indents can be popped back into place.

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Use scissors to trim away any jagged edges around the base of the bubble. Repeat with all balloons.

These can be made several days ahead of time, as this process is rather time consuming! The bubbles can be stored in a airtight container for several days. Here’s a shot of the cake I decorated with these bubbles! One the bubbles were try, it was very easy to place them on top of my cake.

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DISCLAIMER! I do not recommend actually eating the bubbles. Although they are edible, they don’t taste great (plain gelatin!!). As you make them, the distinct and unpleasant smell will indicate how they would taste. These are much more  of a decorative touch than an edible garnish.

 

The Best (American) Vanilla Buttercream Frosting Recipe

Sometimes simple is best. When it comes to buttercream, that is definitely my approach! While there are tons of delicious variations of buttercream out there (Swiss, German, Italian, French…), I prefer American Buttercream! Why? I don’t like to mess with eggs when it comes to frosting, and I enjoy the way American buttercream tastes. The standard vanilla frosting recipe I use only requires five ingredients. I use this icing as the base of every frosting I make, and then make tweaks to recipe to flavor it (see variations section below)! A full tutorial for this recipe can be seen here.

When using this to frost my favorite vanilla layer cake recipe (which is amazing and bakes flat!!), I usually make 1.5 – 2 batches, depending on how I’m decorating the cake.

American Buttercream Ingredients: 

  • 4 sticks or 2 cups (434 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 8 cups (907 grams) powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp (3 grams) salt
  • 2 Tbsp. (30 grams) heavy cream
  • 3 tsp (12 grams) vanilla

Instructions:

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. 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: 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!

Variations:

This is the perfect frosting base for any flavor! The ideas are limitless. I’ve made the following variations: peanut butter, Oreo, chocolate, strawberry, almond, Nutella, Speculoos, salted caramel, coconut, mint, ube, lemon, cookie dough, bourbon, white chocolate, maple, and cream cheese!

When I make variations and plan to use a different extract, I usually swap out 1 or 2 tsp of vanilla, and replace them with my extract of choice. This is what I do for coconut, lemon, mint, almond, ube, and maple buttercream!

For flavors that require mixing in an addition ingredient, like Nutella or peanut butter, I usually replace 1 or 2 sticks of butter with the ingredient of choice! For example, for Nutella Buttercream, I use two sticks of butter, and one cup of Nutella. I then add a couple extra Tbsp. of heavy cream, since the Nutella makes the frosting thicker than standard buttercream. I use this approach for cream cheese, salted caramel, peanut butter, nutella, and speculoos frosting!

For coloring, I always use Americolor Gel Food coloring, and I mix it into the buttercream once all the ingredients are fully incorporated. This is my favorite brand because of it’s coloring strength!! It’s always true to shade, and is so vibrant!

The possibilities are endless 🙂

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Colored Drips Recipe (White Chocolate Ganache)

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I’ve been asked several times about what the colorful drips are on my cakes, and I figured it’s time for me to post the recipe I use. If you’d like to see my full tutorial, you can see one here.

I always use the same white chocolate ganache base, and then color with gel food coloring! My favorite food coloring is Americolor, but whatever brand you have will work. The recipe can be found below:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (about 4 oz.)
  • 1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips (9 oz.)
  • gel food coloring (optional)

Instructions:

Heat heavy cream in a heat-proof bowl in the microwave for 45 seconds-1 minute, until bubbling. Gently pour white chocolate chips into the heavy cream, making sure they are fully covered with cream. Allow mixture to sit for 2 minutes. Stir slowly until the cream and white chocolate are combined, then heat again for 20 seconds and stir. Repeat as necessary until all the chocolate bits are fully melted and incorporated. Then add gel food coloring if desired. Allow to cool until desired viscosity is reached.

If it seems too thin or thick, you can add a touch more chocolate chips or heavy cream! The type of cream and white chocolate that you use can affect the consistency, so feel free to adjust as needed.

I like to put my ganache into plastic squirt bottles when decorating cakes! But you can also use a spoon to drizzle it over cakes.

Extra ganache can be kept in the fridge for 2 weeks.

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Caramel without a Candy Thermometer!

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I created a tutorial on my YouTube channel to show how you can make caramel sauce without a candy thermometer! It’s the perfect thickness for drizzling. The recipe is included below, and you can watch step by step instructions in my video.

Caramel Recipe:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, room temperature
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Instructions:

Turn stove onto medium heat, and place a  pot over element. Pour in sugar. Using a heat proof stirring utensil (I use an old-fashioned wooden spoon), stir until sugar begins to melt into a clear liquid. Continue to stir, until clumps of sugar begin to form. Slowly the color of the sugar clump will deepen from white to amber. Keep stirring until all the clump of sugar have dissolved, and then turn off the heat. Mix in butter slowly, then stir in cream and salt. Place in fridge to cool for 20 minutes, then pour into desired container. I put mine in a squirt bottle (for drizzling over cakes), but a mason jar or Tupperware container would work great too! The caramel will keep for several weeks in the fridge.

 

 

Grumpy Cat Cake (10 layer funfetti cake)

I received a unique order for a grumpy cat cake, and decided to document the process 🙂

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To make this cake, you will need 8 inch, 6 inch, and 5 inch round cake pans, a mixer, an offset spatula, black gel food coloring, wooden dowels and skewers (to secure the cat ears, and the cat head to the cat body, and a piping bag with grass frosting tip. You also will need about 6 hours to bake and fully assemble.

I used my favorite funfetti cake recipe, listed below:

Funfetti Cake Batter:

  • 1.5 cups (3 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 5 eggs, room temperature
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cups sprinkles
Vanilla Buttercream:
  • 6 sticks butter
  • 12 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • black food coloring (to be added later in the process)
Baking Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350º F. Prepare one 8 inch cake pan, six 6 inch round cake pans, and three 5 inch cake pans with a lining of parchment paper, and nonstick baking spray. If you don’t have that many six inch pans, bake the layers in waves. Cream the butter until light and fluffy with an electric mixer (about a minute). Slowly add sugar one cup at a time, making sure to fully incorporate each cup before adding another. Add room temperature eggs one at a time, making sure to fully incorporate each egg before adding another. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Pour the buttermilk and vanilla into measuring cup and whisk together with a fork. Add to butter and shortening mixture alternately with milk mixture, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Gently stir all ingredients until well combined. Stop mixer and scrape down sides of bowl, making sure that all ingredients have fully mixed. Gently fold in the sprinkles, until they have been evenly distributed throughout the batter. Pour equal amounts of cake batter into each cake pan (about 3/4 inch deep), and place pans into oven.
Bake for 20-30 minutes (20-25 minutes for the 5 and 6 inch pans, 30 minutes for the 8 inch pan), or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove and allow to cool slightly in cake pans for about 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula or knife around the rim of the cake pans to remove the cakes. Place them on a wire rack to cool completely. If you want to speed up the process, you can pop the layers into the freezer for about 30 minutes!
While the cakes bake and cool, prepare the vanilla buttercream frosting. Whip the butter until it is light and fluffy, then slowly add the powdered sugar. Alternate installments of powdered sugar with heavy cream, and continue mixing until the frosting has reached desired consistency. Add salt and vanilla, and continue mixing until fully incorporated.
Assembly Instructions:
Once the cakes are fully cooled, remove the parchment paper and begin the assembly. Place a dab of frosting on the surface you will be building the cake on (I used a 10 inch cardboard cake round), and place the 8 inch cake layer onto it. This secures the cake to the base and prevents shifting as you build/transport the cake. Add a thin layer of frosting evenly using an offset spatula (about 1/2 centimeter – enough to cover the layer and secure the next layer, but not enough to be squished out as you add on the weight of additional cake layers), and toss some sprinkles on top of the frosting. Repeat with three six inch layers, and then add one of the five inch layers. Place in the freezer for 10 minutes.
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Remove from freezer, and shave the top half of the cake from the top 5 inch cake layer to the bottom 8 inch cake layer, so that the cake gradually tapers from top to bottom. This give the cat body a better shape (and allows you to eat cake scraps with frosting :P) Apply a thin crumb coat around the cake.
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Cut two rectangles out of one half of one of the 6 inch cake layers (1 inch x 3 inch, with a 1 cm width), and place them against the front of the cake body, where the cat legs should go.  Cut the remaining cake half, and position these two pieces on the sides of the front legs, where the back legs should sit.cover all the legs with frosting, adding additional frosting as needed to shape the legs, and a little extra for the tail!
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Place the cat body back in the freezer for about 15 minutes, to allow the frosting to firm up. After 15 minutes, remove from the freezer and set aside.
While the cat body firms up in the freezer, build the cat head. On a separate cake round, place one of the 5 inch cake rounds, and apply an even layer of frosting and sprinkles. Next, stack and frost the two remaining 6 inch cake layers on top of the 5 inch cake layer. Place in freezer for 10 minutes. Once the frosting has firmed up to hold the layers together, shave the edges of the cat head to make a sphere. Apply a thin crumb coat, the use four triangle shaped  pieces of cake to make the grumpy cat ears. Position them on top of the cat head, and secure the with wooden skewers. Frost the ears, then add addition white frosting to make the cat muzzle.
Place about 3/4 of a cup of the white frosting into the piping bag fitted with a grass tip, and pipe white fur onto the grumpy cat’s front paws and chest. Place about 1/2 cups worth of frosting in a separate bowl, and add two generous squirts of black gel good coloring to tint the frosting black. Using a clean piping bag and grass tip, pipe this black fur onto the cats ears and eye area.
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Using a small squirt of black food coloring, dye the remaining frosting a dark grey color. Pipe the rest of the cat body and head with this frosting. Save a little bit of frosting for touch ups once you’ve fully assembled the cake. I also made a fondant nose and fondant eyes for my grumpy cat, by tinting small pieces of white fondant pink and blue. Once the head is fully decorated, set aside and get the cat body cake.
Measure three thick wooden dowels, and cut them (using garden sheers or a strong pair of scissors) so that they are about 2 inches longer than the top of the body. Insert in the center of the body in a triangle shape.
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Gently lift the cat head off of it’s board, and apply slight pressure to push it onto the skewers. Note that the photo above is from a different cat cake, but used the same technique. Continue to push until the head is fully secured on the body. During this process, the heat and pressure from my thumbs smudged the fur on the sides of the cat head. Use the remaining frosting to cover any spots like this, and to fill in the fur around the neck gap.
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And six hours later, you have yourself a very grumpy cat cake!
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