Circus Animal Cookie Cake

For this week’s Food Network Livestream, I am making a cake inspired by the flavor and decoration or circus animal cookies!! While I remember buying these at the grocery store as a kid, I had the hardest time finding them here in Manhattan! After no luck trying three different grocery stores, I ended up buying a few packs on amazon.

To me, there are three things that make circus animal cookies so great; their color, their coating, and all those colorful sprinkles!! The bright white and pink colors are so iconic and playful, and these were the two colors I wanted to incorporate into the decoration of this cake. The next thing that makes them special is the white chocolate coating!!! It takes the cookies from regular animal crackers to whole new level. I chose to add white chocolate into the cake layers, the frosting, and used it to make a ganache drip. I also used a ton of non-pareil sprinkles while decorating the cake, and added them between the layers. The recipe and tutorial can be found below:

White Chocolate Cake Ingredients:

  • 3 1/4 cup (416 grams) all purpose flour
  • 3 cups (600 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp (13 grams) baking powder
  • 1 tsp (5 grams) salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter or 2 sticks (226 grams), room temperature
  • 2 tsp. (9 grams) vanilla extract
  • 1 cup egg whites (244 grams) – about 7 large egg whites; I use egg whites from the carton to avoid wasting egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups (360 grams) buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1/8 cup (28 grams) vegetable oil
  • 1 cup (6 oz. of white chocolate chips, melted)

White Chocolate Buttercream: 

  • 6 sticks or 3 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 12 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup (6 oz. of white chocolate chips, melted)

Pink, White Chocolate Ganache:

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

Additional Decorations:

  • circus animal cookies
  • Non-pareil sprinkles

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line four 7” with parchment rounds, and grease with non-stick cooking spray.

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

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

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

Weight out half of the batter, in a separate bowl. Use pink gel food coloring to color the batter a vibrant shade of pink.

Divide evenly between the prepared cake pans, to make 2 white layers, and 2 pink layers. Bake for about 37 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 into the freezer for 45 minutes, to accelerate the cooling process.

Once the layers have fully cooled, I 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. Be sure the layers are completely cooled or chilled before trimming. If you try to trim the layers while they’re still warm, they will crumble apart.

While the layers bake, prepare the white chocolate frosting. 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, salt, and melted white chocolate. Beat on low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached. If the frosting is too thick, add in cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).

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

Next, make the pink, white chocolate ganache! 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, and mix until evenly colored. 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.

Stack and frost layers on a cardboard cake round. Frost an even layer of white chocolate buttercream on top of each cake layer, and add a generous drizzle of white chocolate ganache. Sprinkle with non-pareil sprinkles. Repeat with remaining cake layers, alternating the pink and white layers.

circus animal cake layers stacked

Cover the cake in a thin crumb coat, and chill in the freezer or fridge for about 5 minutes. Once the crumb coat is firm to the touch, add a second layer of frosting. Smooth using a bench scraper. You can see a full tutorial on how to frost a cake with smooth sides here.

circus animal cake crumb coat

To add the pink ganache drips, chill the cake for 10 minutes in the freezer (the cake needs to be cold for the drips to stay in place). Always be sure to do a test drip, to ensure that your ganache is at the right temperature. Place the cake back in the freezer for another 10 minutes, to ensure the drips chill to keep them in place.

circus animal cookie pink drips

Then add frosting swirls around the top of the cake using a wilton 4B tip. Place a circus animal cookie on top of each swirl, and add non-pareil sprinkles around the top, and base of the cake.

me adding sprinkles to circus animal cake

Then all that’s left to do is cut into this cake and enjoy it! It’s perfect for anyone who grew up loving circus animal cookies, or  really anyone who loves white chocolate!!

circus animal cake sliced

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Chocolate Blackout Cake

Few things can beat a good chocolate cake. I’d heard of Brooklyn Blackout Cakes before, but I figured it was just a really over the top chocolate cake. I had no clue it involved pudding, cake crumbs, and that the name in no way relates the chocolate in the cake!!

Here’s a brief snippet of history behind the name of this cake! This cake concept was developed by the Ebinger Baking Company during World War II. Civilian black out drills were being practiced in Brooklyn to ensure that light from the city wasn’t reflecting on US ships off the coast, giving away their position. Ebinger got creative with their marketing and named their cake after these drills. Their cake was filled with pudding, covered in a fudge frosting, and coated with cake crumbs!!

To honor the original cake concept, I’ve made this with chocolate sponge cake layers (soaked in chocolate simple syrup), filled with a chocolate pudding, and covered in a milk chocolate ganache.

I used a few of my favorite recipes, along with some new recipes to create this cake. This was my first time making pudding from scratch, and I tried a few recipes before I found one I was happy with. I highly recommend making it yourself, but if you’re short on time, you can always substitute in boxed pudding.

Recipes:

  • 1 batch (4 lbs) of Yolanda Gampp’s chocolate sponge cake recipe (trimmed cake tops crumbed and reserved)
  • 1 cup chocolate simple syrup (1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar dissolved together, + 3 TBSP cocoa)
  • 1 batch chocolate pudding
  • 1 batch milk chocolate ganache (650 grams milk chocolate, melted down with 217 grams heavy cream) – to be made in advance
  • 1 cup chocolate frosting (1 cup American buttercream plus 2 Tbsp cocoa, and 2 additional tsp heavy cream)

Make the milk chocolate ganache first, as it needs at least a few hours to cool and set. To make, simply place both the chocolate and heavy cream in a heat proof bowl, and heat it 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 at room temperature. Before adding the room temperature ganache to a cake, I give it a slow stir with a spatula.

I also recommend making the chocolate simple syrup in advance. It needs time to cool before it can be used, and preparing it ahead of time makes the following day a  bit easier. Place the sugar and water in a pot, and bring to a simmer. Once the sugar has dissolved, mix in the cocoa, and turn  off the heat. Place in a sealed Tupperware container in the fridge overnight.

Bake 4, 7-inch round cake layers using Yo’s chocolate cake recipe and instructions. Allow layers to cool fully before leveling. Place pans into the freezer for 1 hour, to accelerate the cooling process, and lock in the moisture.

While the layers bake, make the chocolate pudding. Combine the sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and salt in medium saucepan; slowly mix in the milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. Bring the mixture to a boil, and continue stirring for 1 minute. Remove the pan from heat, and stir in the butter and vanilla. Pour the pudding into a separate bowl, and press plastic wrap directly onto surface to prevent a skin from forming. Place in the fridge to cool.

After the cake layers are baked and fully cooled, level the cakes by cutting off the tops using a serrated knife. Place cake tops in a large bowl, and crumb using a fork. Set aside. Use a large, sterile paint brush to douse the cake layers with a generous coat of chocolate simple syrup.

Next, it’s time to assemble the cake! Place the ganache into a piping bag, and pipe a ring around the perimeter of the cake layer.

blackout ganache boarded piping

Scoop about 3/4 of a cup of pudding into the center of the cake layer, and use an offset spatula to evenly spread it out to the ganache boarder.

blacout image pudding spread

Repeat this process with the remaining cake layers. Once stacked, cover the cake with a thick layer of chocolate ganache, and smooth with a bench scrapper. Place chocolate cake crumbs around the base of the cake.

blackout crumbs around base

Use a large frosting tip (I used an Ateco 869) to pipe a boarder of chocolate frosting around the top of the cake, then fill the center with additional cake crumbs.

blackout piping frosting on top

Then cut in and enjoy! This cake was DELICIOUS! I brought in the leftovers for my coworkers, and they couldn’t get enough of it 🙂

blackout slice

brooklyn blackout cake uncut

Ultimate Nutella Cake

Nutella… such a wonderful creation. It holds a special place in my heart, and I absolutely love baking with it! I almost feel like I’m cheating every time I add it to a cake, because I know it’s going to be so delicious!! For this cake I tried out Yolanda Gampp’s chocolate cake recipe, which is such an amazing recipe! The layers are so delicious, and easy to work with.  This cake is frosted with a black cocoa buttercream, Nutella buttercream, and vanilla buttercream. I frosted this cake using a textured buttercream look, inspired by the wonderful @KarleesKupcakes! The full tutorial is included below:

Recipes:

Bake 4, 7-inch round cake layers using Yo’s recipe and instructions. Allow layers to cool fully before leveling. Place pans into the freezer for 1 hour, to accelerate the cooling process, and lock in the moisture.

While the layers cool, make the frosting! Once the vanilla frosting is made, place 1/5 of the frosting into a bowl. Add 1/2 cup black cocoa, and 1 extra Tbsp of heavy cream. Mix until fully combined, then cover with saran wrap and set aside (be sure to place the plastic wrap directly on top of the frosting to prevent crusting!). Place 1/5 of the vanilla frosting into another bowl, and also cover and set aside. Add 3/4 of a jar (roughly 1 cup, give or take) of Nutella into the remaining frosting, plus and extra 2 Tbsp heavy cream. Mix until fully incorporated, and cover with plastic wrap.

Once the layers are fully cooled, remove cake layers from pans and level the tops using a serrated knife. Use a thick, sterile brush to douse the cake layers with simple syrup. Stack and frost they layers, using the black cocoa buttercream on the first layer. Spread a generous layer of frosting, then drizzle warm Nutella over the frosting using a spoon. Sprinkle toasted hazelnuts over this. Repeat on the next layer using the Nutella buttercream, and on the third layer with vanilla frosting.

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Cover the cake in a thin layer of 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 Nutella buttercream. Use a bench scraper to smooth the sides of the cake, and a small offset spatula to smooth the top of the cake. You can see a full tutorial on how to frost a cake with smooth sides here.

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To create a textured buttercream look, use a small offset spatula to spread white s buttercream smears around the cake. Thin these out using a bench scrapper, to created rougher edges on each bit of white frosting. Layer the black cocoa frosting onto the cake next, using the same technique. Chill the cake for 5 minutes in the fridge, the add some Nutella buttercream streaks.

 

Swirl together the remaining frosting colors into a piping bag fitted with a Wilton 4B tip. Pipe buttercream swirls onto the top of the cake, leaving about an inch of open space between each swirl. Top each swirl with a chocolate truffle (I used Ferrero Rocher).

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Use a squirt bottle to drizzle the chocolate ganache between the swirls, to make some short drips. To learn my tips and tricks on adding chocolate drips to a cake, you can click here.

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It was so fun to mix up the look of this cake with this textured buttercream look! While perfectly smooth sides on a cake are wonderful, it’s exciting to try different techniques. Using three different frosting types inside the cake made the slices look beautiful!! They almost had an ombre effect 🙂

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This cake was made to test this cake design for my weekly Food Network Livestream. I never have a hard time dreaming up cake ideas, but making sure I’ll be able to live stream them is a different story! I like to make a test cake the weekend before to ensure my livestream will go smoothly. If you want to see a live demo, be sure to tune into the Food Network Facebook Page at 7:45pm EST this Wednesday 🙂

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Easy Buttercream Reindeer Cupcakes

Christmas is a time for snow, reindeer, and PB&J cupcakes?! Yes, that’s right. When I was trying to think of the right flavor for these reindeer cupcakes, peanut butter was the front runner…and whenever I use peanut butter, jam usually follows suit. These cupcakes taste just as delicious as they look, and are sure to be a big hit at whatever holiday party you’re baking them for!! The recipe and tutorial can be found below:

Peanut Butter Cupcake Batter (adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction):

  • 1 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup your favorite peanut butter (chunk or smooth)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temp
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk

Filling: A jar of your favorite jam

Peanut Butter Buttercream:

  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Additional Decorations:

  • 12 tootsie rolls (antlers)
  • 12 pairs of eyes (can be eye sprinkles or homemade from fondant!)
  • brown and red M&Ms
  • brown sprinkles (mouth)
  • leave frosting tip
  • piping bags
  • brown gel food coloring

Yield: 12 cupcakes

Bake Time: 25 minutes

Decorations: 30 minutes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line muffin tin with 12 cupcake holders.

Begin by making the peanut butter cupcake batter. Cream together the peanut butter, butter, and brown sugar at a medium speed until fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then add in vanilla. Mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl. Mix in half the flour mixture, then add in the buttermilk.  Mix in the remaining dry ingredients, until just combined. Be careful not to overmix!! The batter should be pretty thick.

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Use a cookie scoop to divide batter evenly between 12 cupcake tins. Bake for 25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Place the muffin tins into the freezer for 20 minutes, to accelerate the cooling process, and lock in the moisture of the cupcakes.

While the cupcakes cool, make the peanut butter buttercream! Beat the butter and peanut butter on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until combined. 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 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). Place 1/3 of the frosting into a piping bag, and cut a 1.5 cm opening. Add a few drops of brown gel food coloring to the remaining frosting, and place into a piping bag, cutting a 1 inch opening.

Next, prepare the antlers! To make each pair of antlers, heat 2 unwrapped tootsie tolls in the microwave for 10-15 seconds, until they just being to melt. They should be warm to the touch and easy to mold. If they are to hot to handle. Let them cool for 30 seconds – 1 minutes, then try to handle them again. Shape the tootsie rolls into two logs, about 1.5 inches long. use a small knife to cut into the logs, to shape the spikes of the antlers. Set aside on parchment paper to cool.  Be sure the antlers are fully hardened before inserting into the cupcakes.

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Once the cupcakes are full cooled, remove the centers with a knife and fill with your favorite jam. Place the top of each cutout on top of the jam, then pipe a swirl of brown peanut butter frosting onto each cupcake.

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Using the lighter peanut butter frosting, pipe a small circle on one side of the cupcakes to be the reindeer’s snout. Use an offset spatula to smooth the buttercream.

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Place a red or brown M&M on top of the snout, and a brown sprinkle to be the mouth. Add on the eyes just above the snout, and then insert the antlers into the top of the cupcakes.

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Use some of the remaining brown frosting and a leaf tip to pipe small ears. Freeze the ears, then quickly place them on the sides of the antlers. Then the cupcakes are ready to enjoy! While these cupcakes may be cute, they’re even more fun to eat 🙂

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Chocolate Pistachio Cake

I didn’t really eat pistachios as a kid, but grew to love them in college! My fiance is quite severely allergic to them (all tree nuts, for that matter), so I rarely eat them these days. Since we don’t keep any in our apartment, that also means I never bake with them!! I wanted to fix that, and the solution was this chocolate pistachio cake one afternoon while he was out running errands. It’s decadent, salty, and packed with pistachios!

This cake has a lot of different components, so I made the cake layers, chocolate ganachce, and brigadeiros a day advance (froze the cake layers, stored brigadeiros at room temperature in an air tight container, and let the ganache sit on the counter) to break up the time commitment of this cake. The recipes used can be found below:

Begin by baking the cake layers, making 6, 8 inch layers (they will be relatively thin, and should bake flat!). Allow the layers to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before removing. Wrap layers in saran wrap and place into the freeze to cool, and lock in moisture.

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While the cake layers bake, prepare the brigadeiros. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir together the 3 Tbsp cocoa, 1 Tbsp butter and 1 14 oz. can of condensed milk. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens, and begins to pull away from the sides of the pan (about 12 minutes). Remove from heat, and chill until the mixture is cool to the touch (it should be pretty firm to the touch, and will need to be to keep it’s shape!). Form into small balls, and roll in chopped pistachios. Place onto parchment paper and chill in the fridge.

Next, prepare the pistachio buttercream. Make 1 batch of my classic american buttercream. 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. Pour pistachio pudding mix into a bowl, and add 2 Tbsp heavy cream. Stir to begin to dissolve the pudding mixture. Once mixed, add into the frosting, and mix until fully incorporated. Add a couple small drops of gel food coloring to achieve a light green shade of frosting.

Then make the chocolate ganache. If making dark chocolate ganache, use a weight ratio of 2:1 (chocolate to cream). If making milk chocolate ganache, use a ratio of 3:1. For this recipe I used 2 bags of chocolate chips (about 23 oz, or 650 grams). Place both the chocolate and heavy cream in a heat proof bowl, and heat it for 30 second increments (stirring very gently each time, scrapping the edges of the bowl). Usually after about 2 minutes of heat, all the chocolate is melted. Once the mixture is fully incorporated and smooth, I place plastic wrap over the top of the ganache, and let it sit overnight. Before adding the room temperature ganache to a cake, I give it a slow stir with a spatula.

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Then it’s time to assemble the cake! Stack cake layers, alternating chocolate ganache and pistachio frosting, and sprinkling chopped pistachios between each layer.

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Once assembled, cover the cake in chocolate ganache. Sprinkle chopped pistachios around the base of the cake, and top with brigadeiros. I used a large offset spatula to create rings around the side of the cake, and I sprinkled some sea salt over the top of the cake. It tasted just as good as it looks! I brought this into work for my coworkers to help eat, and it was gone in record time 🙂

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Cinnamon Fireball Cupcakes

I had my first taste of fireball when I was 19, and it had a lasting impression. It’s a flavored whiskey liquor that tastes just like a liquid red hot. For some reason I’ve always associated fireball with the Fall, so it seemed like the right time to whip up some fireball-inspired cinnamon cupcakes! There’s fireball in both the cupcake batter, and the buttercream frosting, and the cupcakes are topped with a fireball pipette. The full recipe can be found below:

Fireball Cinnamon Cupcake Batter:

  • 1 1/4 cup (162g) all purpose flour
  • 1 cup (212g) sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup fireball

Fireball Buttercream Frosting:

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp. fireball
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • optional: yellow and orange gel food coloring

Yield: 12-14 regular cupcakes, about 40 mini cupcakes

Prep time: 10 minutes

Bake time: 17 minutes for regular cupcakes, 9-10 minutes for mini cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C) and place cupcake liners in baking pans.

Add the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and salt to a large mixer bowl and gently mix. Add the buttermilk, and gently stir until just combined. Next, add in the fireball, vanilla, and  vegetable oil, and mix until the batter comes together. Next, mix in the egg until well combined.

Fill the cupcake liners about 3/4 way full, and bake for 19 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool for 5 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack to finish cooling. Once cooled, poke holes into each cupcake using a fork, and drizzle fireball (1/2 – 1 tsp per cupcake) over each cupcake.

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While the cupcakes bake and cool, prepare the vanilla frosting. Beat the butter on medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Add the fireball half way through. 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 some additional fireball (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).

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Color 1/2 of the frosting yellow, 1/4 orange, and leave 1/4 of the frosting uncolored. Place into piping bags fitted with a Wilton 1M tip (open star), and pipe swirls of each color onto the cupcakes. I matched the color pattern of  candy corn, but you can pipe them however you want!!

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The last step is to add a pipette of fireball into the side of each cupcake. Then it’s time to enjoy (responsibly!) 😛

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Halloween Cupcake Ideas: Round 2

I had so much making my last batch of Halloween cupcakes, I decided to make another!! This batch features a couple iconic cupcake designs, including an homage to Frankenstein, and the classic shattered glass cupcake (inspired by this recipe). These decorations don’t require fancy tips or difficult techniques, but you will need a bit of gel food coloring, and a candy thermometer! I made them using a super moist spice cupcake recipe, and frosted them using my american buttercream frosting! The recipes used can be found below, along with a quick tutorial:

Spice Cupcake Batter

  • 1 1/4 cup (162g) all purpose flour
  • 1 cup (212g) sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) water
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger

Vanilla American Buttercream Frosting:

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Orange, yellow, black and green gel food coloring

Edible Glass Shards:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • candy thermometer

Additional Supplies:

  • Tootsie Rolls
  • piping bags
  • brown and red sprinkles
  • candy eyes
  • Halloween sprinkle blend
  • strawberry jam
  • red food coloring

Bake time: 17 minutes

Yield: 12-14 cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit. Line two muffin tins with cupcake liners.

Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C) and place cupcake liners in baking pans.

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. Next, add in the water, vanilla, and  vegetable oil, and mix until the batter comes together. Mix in the cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Next, stir in the egg until well combined.

Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full, and bake for 17 minutes. Remove from oven and place on wire racks to cool. To speed up the cooling process, you can also place the cupcakes in the freezer for 15 minutes.

While the cupcakes bake, prepare the buttercream frosting. Beat the butter on medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Add the heavy cream half way through. 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). To watch a full tutorial on how I make my frosting, you can click here.

To make the edible glass shards,  mix 1 cup water, 1/2 cup corn syrup, sugar, and cream of tartar in a large saucepan or pot. Bring mixture to a boil. Use a candy thermometer and boil sugar syrup until temperature reaches 300 degrees, stirring constantly. It’s super important that you get the mixture to exactly 300 degrees, and immediately remove from the heat one it does. If it doesn’t reach this temperature, it won’t fully harden, and you won’t be able to smash it into smaller shards. If it gets hotter than this, or if you don’t stir if constantly, the mixture can begin to caramelize and gain a yellowish hue. When sugar reaches 300 degrees, quickly pour onto a metal baking pan. Cool until completely firm to the touch. Break into “shards” using a hard object (I sterilized a hammer for this, but a meat mallet would work too!).

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For the shattered glass cupcake design, remove the center from each cupcake. I like to use a 1 inch circle cutter. In a medium bowl, mix together strawberry jam with 1 squirt of gel food coloring. Fill each cupcake with strawberry jam, and pipe white frosting over the jam. Stick glass shards into the frosting, and then drizzle some of the remaining red jam between the shards.

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To make the candy corn swirl cupcake, color a portion of the frosting yellow, and orange. Fit three piping bags with a Wilton 1M (open star) tip, and fill bags with the yellow, orange and white buttercream. Pipe the first, largest frosting swirl with the yellow buttercream. Add a second, smaller swirl with the orange frosting, and add a small finishing swirl on top with the white buttercream.

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To create the Frankenstein cupcakes, frost cupcakes with a mound of bright green buttercream. Dunk into chocolate jimmies, and leave one side of the frosting uncovered by sprinkles. Add candy eyes, a red sprinkle stitch, and a brown sprinkle mouth. Cut each tootsie rolls into 8 equal pieces, and shape small neck bolts. Stick into the sides of the frosting.

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To make the gothic halloween swirl cupcakes, pipe a mound of white buttercream onto each cupcake. Dunk into a Halloween sprinkle blend. I love using blends from Neon Yolk Shop.  Pipe a swirl of black frosting on top of the sprinkles, using a wilton 1M tip. Top with some orange sanding sugar.

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And that’s how you make all four designs!! I had a hard time picking my favorite, but I think I like the shattered glass cupcakes the best 🙂

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Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes

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As fun as summer has been, I am so ready for Fall! By time August rolls around, I’m usually over the humidity, heat waves, and constant “glistening” whenever I step outside. Fall brings so many great things, including boots season, beautiful foliage, and yes, PSL! I might be getting a bit ahead of myself, but I couldn’t resist making these Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes. And yes, that is a pumpkin spice caramel drizzle. The full recipe is included below:

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcake Batter:

  • 1⅓ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ⅓ tsp. pumpkin spice
  • ¾ cup canned pumpkin
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp espresso powder, dissolved in 1 tbsp hot water

Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting:

  • 2 sticks or 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 1 tsp  vanilla

Pumpkin Spice Caramel Recipe:

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

Bake time: 17 minutes

Yield: 12-14 cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit. Line two muffin tins with cupcake liners.

Place the flour, sugar, dark brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin spice into a large bowl. Gently stir to combine. Add in the oil and pumpkin, and stir until incorporated. Mix in the eggs, one at a time. Add in the espresso, and stir until the batter in smooth. Another option is to swirl this batter with my favorite vanilla cupcake recipe! I decided to combine the two batters, to give these cupcakes a more exciting look. I alternated scoops of each batter, then used a knife to create a swirled pattern. This doubles the yield of the recipe.

Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full, and bake for 17 minutes. Remove from oven and place on wire racks to cool. To speed up the cooling process, you can also place the cupcakes in the freezer for 15 minutes.

While the cupcakes bake, prepare the pumpkin spice caramel! 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, salt, and pumpkin spice. 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. You can see a full tutorial on how to make this caramel here.

Next, prepare the cream cheese frosting. Beat the butter and cream cheese on a medium speed for 30 seconds, 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). To watch a full tutorial on how I make my frosting, you can click here.

Once the cupcakes are fully cooled, frost them with a Wilton 1M (open star) tip. Drizzle with Pumpkin Spice Caramel. Be sure the caramel is fully cooled, or else it will melt the frosting! Lightly dust the cupcakes with pumpkin spice.

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To take the decoration of these one step further, you can place them into the short cups from Starbucks (I filled the base with pumpkin candies, to make sure the cupcakes were elevated enough, and add a trimmed green straw!

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By swirling the batters together, you get the below look!

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Rice Krispie Burger Cake

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@Mister_Krisp and I made this rice krispie burger cake to celebrate the launch of her book, Treat Yourself! You can order a copy of it here: https://www.amazon.com/Treat-Yourself-Ridiculously-No-Bake-Crispy/dp/0761189807

Treat Yourself! is the perfect answer for any cook, crafty food lover, or creative parent looking to make crowd-pleasing and personalized treats for birthdays, holidays, school events, and virtually every other occasion. With no baking required, these playful, visually dazzling sweets are simple enough for anyone to whip up.

The full recipe can be found below:

Burger Buns:

  • 2 1/2 cups (324g) all purpose flour
  • 2 cups (424g) sugar
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (240ml) buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable oil
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large egg
  • 1 cup (240ml) water

Rice Krispie Burger Patty:

  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 3 cups mini marshmallows
  • 4 cups rice krispies

Vanilla American Buttercream Frosting:

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

Additional Decorations:

  • 8 half circle cutouts of red fondant (tomatoes)
  • 4 large yellow triangles of fondant (cheese)
  • white sesame seeds (optional)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C) and grease and line 2 8 inch round baking pans.

Begin by making the burger buns. 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. Next, add in the water, vanilla, and  vegetable oil, and mix until the batter comes together. Next, mix in the eggs (one at a time) until well combined.

Pour into lined pans, and bake for roughly 30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Let layers cool in pan for 10 minutes, then place in freezer to cool fully.

To make the rice krispie burger patty, melt 2 tbsp butter. Add 3 cups mini marshmallows and stir until coated and 75% melted, add brown food coloring. Turn off burner and add 4 cups Rice Krispies, stir until coated and pour the mixture into greased 7″ cake ring, press to edges.

While the cake and krispie layers cool, prepare the vanilla frosting. Beat the butter on medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Add the heavy cream half way through. 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).

Color 2/3 of the frosting tan using a couple drops of brown and yellow food coloring. Divide the remaining frosting between three bowls , coloring one green (lettuce), one red (ketchup), and one yellow (mustard).

To assemble the cake, first trim one cake layer to make it;s shape resemble a dome. Place the bottom cake but on a cake round, and place the top bun onto a flat surface. Smooth the tan frosting onto the two cake layers using an offset spatula, and an acetate sheet. Sprinkle sesame seeds onto to top, rounded bun.

Place the burger patty onto the bottom bun, then drape the yellow fondant triangles over the sides of the patty. Place green frosting into a piping bag with petal tip (Wilton 402), and pipe ruffles around the perimeter of the patty.

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Place red fondant semicircles on top of the lettuce, and fill the center with the red and yellow buttercream. Gently lift the top burger bun up using a larger offset spatula, and place on top of the cake.

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Then it’s time to slice in and enjoy!! I’m always amazed at how delicious cake and rice krispies are together!!

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The Best Dark Chocolate Cupcake Recipe

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I’m starting a cupcake series on my YouTube channel, and plan to use this recipe as my go-to chocolate cupcake recipe! After testing out several different recipes, it’s by far my favorite! It’s a modified version of the Brown Eyed Baker’s chocolate cupcake recipe. I am a huge fan of one-bowl recipes, and have done my best to make this cupcake recipe as easy as possible!

I replaced the dutch-processed cocoa with black cocoa powder, to really give these a beautiful color, and to intensify the taste! The best comparison is to think of the bittersweet, chocolaty taste of an Oreo cookie!

I only recently discovered black cocoa, and I’m obsessed. Black cocoa has a slightly higher pH than dutch-processed cocoa (8 vs.7), and is much less acidic than natural baking cocoa (5-6). However, this is optional, and you could also use regular cocoa if that’s what you have on hand.

I always frost my cupcakes with a half batch of my American buttercream, and usually use a Wilton 1m tip (open star) or a Wilton 2D tip (closed star).

Chocolate Cupcake Batter:

  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
  • ⅓ cup (28 grams) black  cocoa powder
  • ¾ cup (177 ml) hot water + 1 1/2 tsp instant espresso powder
  • ¾ cup (117 grams) flour
  • ¾ cup (149 grams) granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chocolate American Buttercream Frosting:

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup black cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Optional Filling: Chocolate Ganache

Yield: 14 cupcakes

Prep time: 10 minutes

Bake time: 18 minutes

Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C) and place cupcake liners in baking pans.

Fill measuring cup with very hot water, and add in espresso powder. Stir until combined, then pour into a bowl. Add the chocolate chips and black cocoa powder. Let this sit for 2 minutes to melt the chocolate, then stir until no chunks remain.

Add the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt into a large bowl and gently mix. Pour in chocolate espresso mixture, and stir until just combined, being sure to scrap the sides and bottom of the bowl while mixing. Next, mix in the eggs, one at a time. Then add the oil, vinegar, and vanilla, and mix until the batter is smooth.

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Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full, and back for about 18 minutes. Once a toothpick comes out clean (or with minimal crumbs), remove from oven. Allow cupcakes to cool in pans for 10 minutes, then remove and place in the freezer for 15 minutes (to accelerate the cooling process).

While the cupcakes bake and cool, prepare the chocolate frosting. Beat the butter on medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Add the cocoa powder half way through, along with the heavy cream. Once all the powdered sugar is added, mix in the vanilla and salt, and beat on medium low until the ingredients are fully incorporated. 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).

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Once  the cupcakes are fully cooled, it’s time to fill them! Remove the center of the cupcakes using the wide end of a frosting tip, and add chocolate ganache to the center of each cupcake. Pipe on a large swirl of frosting, using a Wilton 2D tip. If you don’t have any frosting tips, you can always use a zip lock bag and just trim the tip to have a 2 cm opening.

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To make these a bit more fun, I also added drizzle some warmed up ganache over the frosting, and grated some dark chocolate over the top of the cupcake!

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Classic Vanilla Cupcake Recipe

I’m about to start a cupcake series, and plan to use this recipe as the base recipe for all my cupcakes. After testing out several different recipes, it’s my favorite and now my go to! It’s a slightly modified version of Life Love and Sugar’s Vanilla Cupcake Recipe.

I swapped out the regular milk and used buttermilk (my personal preference!), and made it all in one bowl! I hate making extra dishes, and always try to simplify recipes when baking.

I always frost my cupcakes with a half batch of my American buttercream, and usually use a Wilton 1m tip (open star).

Vanilla Cupcakes:

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

Vanilla American Buttercream Frosting:

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

Yield: 12-14 regular cupcakes, about 40 mini cupcakes

Prep time: 10 minutes

Bake time: 17 minutes for regular cupcakes, 9-10 minutes for mini cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C) and place cupcake liners in baking pans.

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. Next, add in the water, vanilla, and  vegetable oil, and mix until the batter comes together. Next, mix in the egg until well combined.

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Fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 way full, and bake for 17 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool for 5 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack to finish cooling.

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While the cupcakes bake and cool, prepare the vanilla frosting. Beat the butter on medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Add the heavy cream half way through. 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).

Once  the cupcakes are fully cooled, add a large swirl of buttercream. I used a Wilton 2D tip, but you can use whatever you prefer! If you don’t have any frosting tips, you can always use a zip lock bag and just trim the tip to have a 2 cm opening.

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I also added a bit of gold leaf to these cupcakes to jazz them up! I gently added the gold leaf using a sterile paint brush and sheets of 23k edible gold leaf. I purchase mine on amazon!

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Beer Mug Cake

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Originally I wanted to share a beer cake for Father’s Day, but I wasn’t able to edit the footage in time! Luckily, beer never goes out of style, and this cake is also perfect for summertime bbqs / cook outs! I replaced some of the buttermilk with beer in my go-to vanilla layer cake recipe, and frosted the cake with a vanilla buttercream. The full recipe and instructions can be found below:

Beer Cake Batter:

  • 2 1/8 cup flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter (1.5 sticks), room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup beer, room temperature (I used Budweiser)
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil

American Buttercream Ingredients:

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

Additional Decorations:

  • white gum paste or fondant with tylose powder
  • toothpicks

Instructions:

Prepare the beer handle the night before using white gum paste or fondant with tylose powder. Mold handle to be roughly 6 inches tall, and insert toothpicks into the tips of the handle. Set onto parchment paper to fully firm overnight.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line six 6” round pans.

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

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

Pour in egg whites, and mix on low until just incorporated.  Mix in the buttermilk on a low speed, and then the beer. Add in oil and vanilla, 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 30 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan. Place cake layers on a rack to finish cooling.

While the cakes bake and cool, prepare the buttercream frosting (click here for tutorial). Whip the butter until it is light and creamy, 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 extract, and continue mixing on medium-low until fully incorporated. Color 2/3 of the frosting the shade of your favorite beer, and leave the remaining 1/3 uncolored. Place the white buttercream in a piping bag.

Stack and frost the cake layers using the beer colored frosting. Once stacked, apply a thin crumb coat. Chill cake in the freezer for 5 minutes.

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Once the crumb coat is firm to the touch, apply a thick, second layer of frosting. Pipe a line of white frosting around the base of the cake, the cover the rest of the cake with the beer colored frosting. Smooth with a bench scraper. Clean the bench scraper, then make vertical lines around the sides of the cake, roughly 1 inch apart.

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Gently insert handle into the side of the cake. Use the remaining white frosting to pipe foam around the top of the cake, and a bit down the sides of the cake.

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Mermaid Tail Cupcakes

Building on the mermaid cake trend, I wanted to make some mermaid cupcakes! They’re the first cupcake of a cupcakes series I’m starting on YouTube, and I wanted to kick things off with something colorful! I used my favorite vanilla cupcake recipe, which is a slightly modified version of Life Love and Sugar’s Vanilla Cupcake Recipe.

I swapped out the regular milk and used buttermilk (my personal preference!), and made it all in one bowl! I hate making extra dishes, and always try to simplify recipes when baking.

I always frost my cupcakes with a half batch of my American buttercream, and usually use a Wilton 1m tip (open star).

Vanilla Cupcakes:

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

Vanilla American Buttercream Frosting:

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

Additional Items:

  • white fondant
  • tylose powder (optional; accelerates the drying of the fondant)
  • rolling pin
  • pastry cutter
  • purple, sky blue, and green food coloring
  • mermaid colored sprinkles (I used these from Neon Yolk Shop!)

Yield: 12-14 cupcakes

Prep time: 10 minutes

Bake time: 17 minutes

Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C) and place cupcake liners in baking pans.

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. Next, add in the water, vanilla, and  vegetable oil, and mix until the batter comes together. Mix in the egg until well combined.

Divide the batter evenly between 3 bowls, and color one a light purple, one a light blue, and one green. Alternate spooning the different colored batters into the cupcake liners, to created a layered look.

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Fill the cupcake liners about 1/2 way full, and bake for 17 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool for 5 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack to finish cooling.

While the cupcakes bake and cool, make the mermaid tails. Color 1/2 cup white fondant light purple, 1/2 cup light blue, and 1/2 cup light green using gel food coloring. Knead the color into the fondant, twisting and pulling until the color is evenly spread throughout the fondant. Add 1/2 tsp of tylose powder to each color, to accelerate the firming process. If the fondant gets sticky, let is rest for a few minutes, then resume kneading. Combine the three colors into one long log, and twist the colors together. Roll this out, the fold one more time repeat to blend the colors together.

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Cut out a 2 inch mermaid tail from cardboard, and use this a template to cut out 12 mermaid tails. Use the wide end of a round frosting tip to make a webbed patter at the end of the tail. Flip the frosting tip over, and use the smaller opening to make the scales on the tail. Use a fondant tool of knife to score the tail. Place on parchment paper and set aside for at least 2 hours to harden.

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Next, prepare the vanilla frosting. Beat the butter on medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Add the heavy cream half way through. 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).

Divide the frosting between 2 bowls, and color one light purple, and the other light blue using a drip of gel food coloring. Place the light purple into a frosting bag with a round opening ( I just cut my piping bag to have a 2 cm opening). Place the light blue frosting a separate bag with an open star tip (Wilton 1M).

Once  the cupcakes are fully cooled, add a swirl of purple buttercream. Pour mermaid sprinkles into a small bowl, and dunk the cupcake into the sprinkles to cover the frosting entirely.

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Pipe a swirl on top of each cupcake, and then gently insert the fondant mermaid tail into the center of the swirl.

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Margarita Trifle

This month for Cosmopolitan I made a Margarita Trifle!! To make this trifle even more festive, I assembled the trifle in a giant cocktail glass. I used my favorite vanilla cake layer recipe, a triple sec and tequila simple syrup, and a lime buttercream. The full video can be seen here. I will also have the full tutorial up on my Youtube channel soon! The recipes used can be found below:

Lime Cake Layers:

  • 3 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), room temperature
  • 1 cup egg whites (about 7 large egg whites)
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1/8 cup vegetable oil
  • zest of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp lime extract
  • lime green gel food coloring (I used Americolor Gel Food Coloring in the Electric green shade)

Lime American Buttercream Ingredients:

  • 4 sticks (2 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 8 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • zest of 2 limes
  • juice of 1/2 a lime

Tequila Triple Sec Simple Syrup

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp tequila
  • 2 Tbsp Triple Sec

Instructions:

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

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

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

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

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

While the cake layers bake and cool, prepare the simple syrup. Place the sugar and water in a heat proof pan, and heat on a medium high heat until boiling. Reduce the heat to allow the mixture to simmer until all the sugar is dissolved (2-3 minutes). Add in the tequila and triple sec, and remove from heat. Allow the mixture to cool.

Next, make the lime buttercream. Beat the butter on high for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with small splashes of cream. Once fully mixed, add in the lime zest, lime juice, 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).

To assemble to cake, begin by adding a sugar rim to your container. Run a lime slice around the perimeter of the container, then dip into sugar.

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Crumb the cake layers into a bowl using a fork.

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Place some cake bits at the base of the container, and gently press down into a flat layer using your palms.

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Drizzle the simple syrup over the cake pieces. Pipe on an even layer of buttercream, and repeat until container is full.

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Top with green sprinkles, a straw and a lime! Then it’s time to dive in. Happy hour just got a whole lot sweeter 😛 It could also be fun to make miniature version of these in individual sized containers for a party!

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Giant Ice Cream Cone Cake

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This month, Cosmopolitan asked me to make a giant ice cream cone cake. I could not have been more excited, especially since ice cream is actually my favorite dessert!! This cake ended up being quite a bit larger than planned, but you could easily half the recipe and make a smaller version of this cake. Another fun idea would be to hollow out the center of the cake, and fill it with softened ice cream. I used my favorite vanilla layer cake (bakes perfectly flat, no need to level the layers!), and a strawberry and chocolate peanut butter buttercream to decorate. I also topped the cake with some chocolate ganache, and sprinkles. The recipes I used can be found below:

Vanilla Cake layers:

  • 4 3/4 cups flour
  • 4 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter (3 sticks), room temperature
  • 3 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup egg whites (about 11 large egg whites – I use carton egg whites to avoid wasting yolks)
  • 2 1/4 cups buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1/8 cup vegetable oil
  • pink gel food coloring

Frosting Recipe:

  • 8 sticks (4 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 16 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup strawberry puree reduction
  • pink gel food coloring

Additional Decorations:

  • chocolate ganache
  • sprinkles
  • a cherry

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line three 8” round pans, and one 7″ round pan. Also grease and line one 8″ dome pan.

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

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

Pour in egg whites, and mix on low until just incorporated.  Mix in the buttermilk in two installments, on a low speed. Add in vanilla 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.

Place 1/3 of batter into a separate bowl, and color a light shade of pink with gel food coloring. Pour pink batter into dome shaped pan. Divide remaining, uncolored batter evenly between the prepared round cake pans. Bake round pans for 35 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Bake the domed pan for 1 hour and 30 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.

Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan. Place cake layers on a rack to finish cooling.

While the layers bake and cool, prepare the buttercream.

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

Place 1/3 of the frosting into a separate bowl. Mix in the strawberry puree, and a drop of pink gel food coloring. Set aside. Mix peanut butter and cocoa powder into remaining frosting, to create a light brown shade of frosting.

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

To assemble the cake, stack and frost the round cake layers with the chocolate peanut butter buttercream. Placing the 7 inch cake layer on top. Using a serrated knife, trim at angle from the top of the cake down to the base, to taper the sides.x

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Once trimmed, apply a thin crumb coat and chill the cake for the fridge or freezer until firm. Apply a second layer of the chocolate peanut butter frosting, and smooth with a bench scraper. Clean bench scraper, and warm blade with dipping it in extremely warm water. Use the warmed edge to score the frosting with diagonal lines, 1 cm apart, in the pattern of a cone.

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Chill cake in fridge until firm, then flip the cake over using an additional cake round. Cover and smooth the new top of the cake with buttercream.

Trim the browned edges from the pink cake dome, then apply a crumb coat with the strawberry buttercream.

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Chill, then apply a second, thicker layer of frosting. Smooth with a piece of acetate sheet or a flexible bowl scraper. Chill again, until frosting is firm. Once the frosting is fully chilled, spread some chocolate ganache on top of the dome, add sprinkles, and top with a cherry.

Once both cake layers are chilled, gently place the pink dome on top of the cone.

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Place additional pink frosting into a piping bag, and pipe a boarder around the the based on the pink dome.

MVI_8445_Moment(3) And that’s it! This cake is very large, and can feed 25-30 people. It would be perfect for a summertime party, or a large birthday party 🙂

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Easy Pineapple Cake

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

Vanilla Cake Ingredients:

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

Pineapple Frosting:

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

Additional items:

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

Instructions:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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How to Make A Purple Geode Cake

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Lisa Frank Inspired Rainbow Glaze Cake

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

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

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

White Chocolate Glaze:

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

Equipment:

  • medium sized pot
  • sieve
  • thermometer

Instructions:

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

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

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

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

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

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See? So easy!!!

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Oreo Red Velvet Cake

A few weeks ago, I made a a very special cake for a good friend’s birthday!! I tried to incorporate all of there favorite things, which included red velvet cake, funfetti sprinkles, and tons of Oreos!! The recipes used can be found below, and a full tutorial of this cake can be seen here.

Red Velvet Oreo Cake:

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

Vanilla Frosting:

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

Chocolate Ganache Drips:

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (about 4 oz.)
  • 1/2 cups chocolate chips (9 oz.)
  • plastic squirt bottle

Additional Decorations:

  • 1 cup crushed oreos
  • 1 cup rainbow sprinkles

Instructions:

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

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

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

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

Divide evenly between prepared cake pans. Bake for 32-35 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan. Place cake layers on a rack to finish cooling.

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

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

Once the frosting is prepare, make the chocolate ganache. Heat heavy cream in a heat-proof bowl in the microwave for 45 seconds-1 minute, until bubbling. Gently pour 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. If it seems too thin or thick, you can add a touch more chocolate chips or heavy cream! The type of cream and chocolate that you use can affect the consistency, so feel free to adjust as needed. Pour into plastic squirt bottles. 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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Once the cake layers are fully cooled, assemble the cake. Stack and frost layers with buttercream. Apply a thin crumb coat, and chill the cake in freezer for 5 minutes. Once the crumb coat is firm to the touch, apply, a second, thicker coat of frosting. Smooth with a bench scrapper. If you want to see a full tutorial for how I get smooth sides on my cakes, you can click here. Gently press crushed oreos and sprinkles onto the sides of the cake. Smooth into frosting using an acetate sheet.

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Place cake in freezer for 15 minutes. Once the cake is fully chilled, use a squirt bottle to add the ganache drips. You can learn all the tips and tricks I use to add drips to a cake here. I also added some birthday cake oreos around the base of the cake, and piped some swirls onto the top using a Wilton 1M tip.

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Easy Taco Cake

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With Cinco de Mayo just around the corner, it only seemed appropriate to make a Taco Cake to celebrate!! This cake is just as fun to decorate as it is to eat 🙂 The recipes can be found below:

Vanilla Cake Batter:

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

Vanilla Buttercream:

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

Additional tools and Ingredients:

  • 1 cup crushed Oreos
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut, colored with yellow and orange food coloring
  • Wilton 103 tip
  • offset spatula
  • 10 1cm cubes of red fondant (tomatoes)
  • yellow, orange, and green food coloring
  • piping bags

Recipe makes two tacos; each taco has roughly 6 servings.

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line one 8″ pan, and one 7″ round pan.

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

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

Pour in egg whites, and mix on low until just incorporated.  Mix in the buttermilk in two installments, on a low speed. Add in vanilla 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.

Bake for 32-35 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan. Place cake layers on a rack to finish cooling.

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

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

Add 1.5 cups of frosting into a separate bowl, and mix in 1/4 cup of cocoa, and 2 tsp of heavy cream to make chocolate buttercream.  To create the “beef” of the taco, add 1/2 cup of this chocolate frosting to 1 cup of crushed Oreos in a different bowl, and set aside. Place another cup of frosting into a bowl, and color a bright shade of green with gel food coloring. Place frosting in a piping bag with a Wilton 103 tip (petal tip). Set aside 1/4 cup of uncolored frosting (to be the sour cream), and color the remaining frosting a bright shade of yellow with gel food coloring.

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To assemble the cake, cut the cake layers in half. Secure one of the halves of the 6″ cake layer in the center of the cake round, vertically. Cover with an even layer of chocolate buttercream. Place two halves of the 7 inch cake round vertically against the frosted layer, and cover with yellow buttercream. These two layers will be the taco shell. Smooth, then add the crushed Oreo/chocolate frosting mixture on top of the 6 inch cake half. Next, pipe on some lettuce with the green buttercream. Gently place some of the shredded coconut on top, then add the fondant diced tomatoes. The last step is to top the cake with a dollop of white buttercream. Repeat these steps with the remaining cake layers.

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I had leftover chocolate cake batter from a different baking project, so I decided to use it for the center layer of this cake. It could also be fun to make this a funfetti cake by adding 1/2 cup of sprinkles to the batter, or even 1/2 cup of crushed Oreos!!

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