How To Make A Drip S’mores Cake

While I may have created a cake in time for National S’mores Day, I sadly didn’t share it in time!

I am a firm believer of the saying “better late than never,” so I’m sharing it anyways.

I originally made this cake back in 2016, but remade it this summer to create video footage of this cake for the Food Network.

It’s funny how differently a cake can turn out the second time you make it. I see quite a few differences! The left is my first, the right is my second version. I decided not to make a s’mores tower this time, to make it easier to cut into.

 

That’s one of the things I love about cakes, each one is unique and beautiful in it’s own way. No two are ever truly identical (or at least none of mine :P).

This cake is made with my go-to chocolate layer cake recipe, frosted with  marshmallow fluff and chocolate buttercream, and filled with toasted mini marshmallows, crushed graham crackers, and chocolate ganache.

Did I mention it’s topped with S’MORES?? That’s prob my favorite part of this cake. While it did feel a bit strange to make s’mores alone in my kitchen, it sure was fun to stack them on top of this cake.

For this cake, I chose to use 4, 8-inch chocolate cake layers. Since there are lots of add in’s between the layers, AND we’re piling s’mores on top, this cake ends up being pretty tall. With that in mind, 7 inch layers would’ve made it even taller!! So 8 inch cake layers really are ideal for this design.

Once all the cake components are prepared, frost each layer of cake with an even layer of marshmallow buttercream, using a large offset spatula.

adding toasted marshmallows

Next, sprinkle a generous layer of crushed graham crackers on top of the frosting. Carefully add the mini toasted marshmallows.

smores cake assembly overhead

Add a generous drizzle of warm chocolate ganache. Repeat with two more chocolate cake layers.

smores cake assembly

Flip the fourth cake layer upside down, and gently press on top of the stacked layers.

Applying a bit of pressure with your hands pushes out any air that might be stuck between your layers, and will help them settle before you being to frost the cake. This  will prevent the frosting from bulging between the layers, or cracking later in the process.

Once the layers are filled and stacked, crumb-coat the cake by cover the cake in a thin layer of frosting. This makes the overall frosting process so much easier, and ensures that no crumbs get into your final layer of frosting.

smores cake crumb coat

Place the cake in the freezer for 5-10 minutes, until the crumb coat is firm to the touch. To add the second, thicker layer of frosting to the cake, use piping bags to pipe horizontal lines of chocolate and marshmallow frosting.

adding frosting stripes

Alternate lines of chocolate and marshmallow frosting.  Smooth using a bench scrapper. Make long, slow strokes around the cake, removing excess frosting and scraping it into a separate bowl.

smoothing smores stripesIf you want to see a full tutorial showing how to get smooth sides on a cake, click here.

Place the cake in the freezer, to allow the second layer of frosting to firm up. While the cake chills, make the s’mores. Toast marshmallows using either a kitchen torch or a broiler.

Create a sandwich using graham crackers, a chocolate bar, and a toasted marshmallow. Use a bit of chocolate frosting to help keep the s’more together.

smores

Once the cake is chilled, add the chocolate ganache drips.

I prefer to use a bottle, since it makes the process so much easier, but I also like the way drips look when they’re added to a cake using the spoon method.

smores drips

Two factors are critical to getting a perfect drizzle! The first is that your cake is properly chilled. Once frosted, you should allow it sit it your fridge for at least 20 minutes, or in your freezer for 10 minutes, so that the frosting is cold and firm to the touch.

The second important aspect of a drip cake is the temperature of the ganache!! It should be slightly warmer than room temperature, but not so hot that it melts your buttercream as you drizzle it!

The best way to ensure your ganache is the right temperature is do a test drip. You can’t tell, but the first drip on my cake above was a test drip. Once I knew i had my ganache at the right temperature, I continued adding my drips.

MAKING A TEST DRIP IS SUCH A CRUCIAL STEP!!! Make one drip on the side of your cake, and let it flow. Allow it to sit for a couple minutes.

See what it looks like, if it’s the length and look you’re after. If not, adjust as needed. Either pop the ganache into the fridge for a couple minutes to allow it to cool off a bit more, or pop the bottle (or bowl) in the microwave and heat for 5-10 seconds.

Next, pipe some buttercream on top of the cake using your favorite piping tip, to help the s’mores stay in place (I used a Wilton 1M). The last step is to cover the top of the cake with the s’mores!!

me placing smores on cake

The s’mores do make it a bit interesting to cut, but I just cut sliced around each s’more. When I cut slices for a crowd, I usually cut a generous slice, then cut it in half! This give each person two layers of cake and filling.

sliced smores cake v2

The full tutorial of this cake, and the recipes can be found below:

 

In addition to the below components, you will also need graham crackers, marshmallows, and some chocolate bars for both the filling of the cake and to create the s’mores!

Chocolate Layer Cake Recipe

This recipe makes soft, tender, chocolaty cake layers that can handle a splash of simple syrup, yet still hold up while being frosted. I'm obsessed with this recipe, and hope you all will be too!

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword best chocolate cake layer recipe, best chocolate cake recipe, chelsweets, go to chocolate cake recipe
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 1 seven or eight inch cake

Ingredients

Chocolate Cake Ingredients

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

Instructions

Instructions

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

Recipe Notes

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

Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting Recipe

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword easy marshmallow frosting, marshmallow buttercream, marshmallow frosting
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 1 7 inch cake

Ingredients

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

Instructions

Instructions

  1. Beat the butter and marshmallow fluff on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with small splashes of cream.

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

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

Recipe Notes

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

Chocolate Ganache Drip Recipe

The beauty of this recipe is its simplicity. You only need two ingredients, it’s so easy!!! You also can use your favorite chocolate, whether it’s dark, semi-sweet, or milk chocolate. It takes less than 5 minutes to make.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword chocolate drip recipe, chocolate ganache drips
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 1 layer cake

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup heavy cream 77 grams.
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips 88 grams

Instructions

  1. Heat heavy cream in a heat-proof bowl in the microwave for 45 seconds to 1 minute, until gently bubbling.
  2. If you don’t have a microwave or prefer to use the stove top, you can heat the cream over a medium heat in a pan until it begins to simmer. Remove from heat and pour into a heat-proof bowl.
  3. Gently pour chocolate chips into the heavy cream, making sure they are covered with cream. Allow mixture to sit for 2 minutes.
  4. Stir slowly until the cream and chocolate are fully combined, and ganache is silky smooth. Pour into a plastic squirt bottles for easy application. If you don’t have any plastic bottles on hand, you can also use a spoon to drizzle it over cakes.
  5. Set aside to cool for about 20 minutes (or place in fridge for about 10 minutes). You can also make this in advance, and store it in the fridge until you're ready to use it. Heat the ganache in 3 15 second increments, or until it reaches the right viscosity. It should be slightly warmer than room temp, but to hot enough to melt your the buttercream on your chilled cake.
  6. If it seems to thin or thick, you can add a touch more chocolate or heavy cream! The type of cream and chocolate that you use can affect the consistency, so feel free to adjust as needed.

Recipe Notes

Note: if you can’t find heavy cream at your grocery store, heavy whipping cream will work too!

Rainier Cherry Layer Cake

I grew up in Washington, and every summer the farmers markets were packed with beautiful cherries! Sadly, I was a super picky-eater as a kid, and I didn’t like cherries. Can you believe it?? I think the pits just weirded me out.

me with cherry cake

But once I hit my 20’s, I really grew fond of them! Now I have a hard time resisting them at the grocery store, and love to bake with them. If you also have a thing for cherries, I highly recommend checking out the epic Black Forest cake I made last year!!

I was in Whole Foods last week (my go-to spot for butter), and saw the most stunning Rainier cherries!! AND THEY WERE FROM WASHINGTON!!

Even though I know they’re shipped across the country, and definitely not as fresh as the cherries in Seattle, something about seeing fruit from home gets me every time. I couldn’t resist getting a bag…or three.

I don’t know what it is, but the vibrant hues of yellow and red had me feeling some kind of way. I knew I wanted to make a cake inspired by these cherries, and the streaks of color inspired me to paint some red and yellow brush strokes up the side of my cake.

cherry blog post 11 clsoe up

This cake is made with my go-to layer cake recipe, and is filled with a cherry buttercream! To keep things simple, I used my favorite cherry preserve to flavor it.

The cherry buttercream is thinner than my classic american buttercream, so it’s important to pipe a dam of frosting around each cake layer, to ensure it stays in place, and doesn’t seep out into the out layer of frosting!

Carefully smooth the cherry buttercream to the edge of the vanilla buttercream ring, using a a small offset spatula. Once the layers were filled and stacked, crumb-coat each tier of the cake. This makes the frosting process so much easier, and ensures that no crumbs get into your final layer of frosting.

Place the cake in the freezer for 5-10 minutes, until the crumb coat is firm to the touch. Add a second, thicker layer of frosting, and smooth using a bench scrapper. If you want to see a full tutorial showing how to get smooth sides on a cake, click here.

Once the second layer of frosting on both tiers is smooth, add four supports into the bottom tier, using either bubble tea straws or wooden dowels. I prefer bubble tea straws, because they’re so much easier to cut! I bough a pack of them on amazon, and have been loving using them in my tiered cakes. However, wooden dowels make great supports too!

Chill both tiers of the cake in the fridge. Combine yellow gel food coloring with a bit of vodka in as mall container (I like to use  egg containers). In a separate container, repeat this process with red gel food coloring. Use a large sterile paint brush to make brush strokes along the sides of each tier. Start with the yellow mixture, the go over these streaks with the red coloring.

Use two large offset spatulas to carefully lift your small tier on top of your large tier. Be sure the layers are thoroughly chilled before doing this, to make the process easier. Adjust the top tier as needed to ensure it’s centered.

Pipe a thin line of buttercream around the base of the top tier, and smooth using a small offset spatula to make a seamless transition between the two layers.

Pipe small dabs of frosting around the base of each tier as you add each cherry, to secure them. Add a few cherries to the top of the cake, to complete it!

The full tutorial and recipe can be found below:

Cherry Layer Cake

This cherry cake is the perfect summer cake! It's filled with a delicious cherry buttercream, and decorated with loads of fresh cherries.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword Cherry Cake, Cherry layer cake
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 35 minutes
Servings 30

Ingredients

Vanilla Layer Cake Recipe

  • 4.75 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4.5 cups granulated sugar
  • 3.75 tsp baking powder
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1.5 cups unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1.5 cups egg whites, room temp (about 11 egg whites)
  • 2.25 cups buttermilk, room temp
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 0.25 cups vegetable oil

American Buttercream Recipe

  • 3 cups unsalted butter, room temp (6 sticks)
  • 12 cups powdered sugar
  • 0.33 cups heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 0.5 cups cherry preserves (to be added to only 1/5 of the frosting)

Additional Ingredients

  • 3 drops red gel food coloring
  • 3 drops yellow gel food coloring
  • 1 Tbsp vodka
  • 1.5 lbs cherries

Instructions

Begin by making the vanilla cake layers.

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line three 8-inch, and 3 six inch round pans with parchment rounds, and grease with non-stick cooking spray.

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

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

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

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

  6. Bake the 6 inch cake layers of 30-32 minutes, and the 8 inch layers for 35-37 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.

While the layers bake and cool, make the frosting.

  1. Beat the butter on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with small splashes of cream.

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

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

  4. Place 2 cups of frosting into a separate bowl, and mix in the cherry preserves. 

  5. Fill one large piping bag (18 inch) with some of the remaining white buttercream. This will be used to pipe a dam around the cherry frosting.

Once the layers are fully cooled, assemble the cake.

  1. Begin by building the bottom, 8-inch tier. Secure one 8 inch cake layer to a 10 inch, grease proof cake board using a dab of buttercream.

  2. Pipe a dam of vanilla buttercream around the edge of the 8 inch cake layer, and add a large scoop of cherry buttercream inside this. Smooth the cherry frosting to the edge of the vanilla buttercream.

  3. Repeat with the next 8-inch cake layer, then top with the last 8 inch cake layer. Flip the layer upside down to make it easier to frost.

  4. Cover in a thin crumb coat, then chill in the freezer for 5 minutes, until the frosting is firm to the touch.

  5. Repeat this process with the 6-inch cake layers, building the tier on a 6 inch cake board.

  6. Add a second, thicker layer of frosting to both tiers, and smooth using a bench scrapper.

  7. Insert 4 supports into the bottom tier (I use thick bubble tea straws)

  8. Chill layers in the fridge for 20 minutes.

  9. In two separate, small containers, mix together the gel food coloring with a splash of vodka. If you don't want to use alcohol, you can also use lemon extract or water! The alcohol just helps the paint dry faster.

  10. Once the frosting is thoroughly chilled, paint red and yellow streaks on the side of the cake. Start at the base, and gently pull up, to create fading brush strokes.

  11. Carefully stack the tiers, then add cherries around the base of both tiers, and a few to the very top of the cake.

Recipe Notes

If you don't want to make a tiered cake, you can definitely half the recipe, and make three 7 or 8 inch cake layers.

If you want to, you can cook down fresh cherries with a bit of sugar, but it’s quite a bit of work to pit them all, and cook them down enough to be able to add them to the buttercream! If you try to add fresh cherries or cherry juice, the excess liquid from the fruit can cause the buttercream to break.

You could also add halved cherries between the layers, on top of the buttercream, but it can make it more difficult to slice though! I avoided doing this for that reason, and was really pleased with how my slices turned out 🙂

 

Lemon Meringue Cake

One cake flavor I’ve been dying to make is lemon meringue! Since it’s finally starting to feel like summer, I figured it was time to test it out. To make this cake reminiscent of a lemon meringue pie, I filled it with lemon curd, frosted it with a lemon buttercream, and topped it with toasted meringue. The decorations on this cake is really easy and simple, making it the perfect cake to whip together for a summer get together.

This cake is much smaller compared to my normal cakes! It is made using a half batch of my go-to layer cake recipe, and feed around 12 people.

Lemon Cake Batter:

  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1/2 cup egg whites (about 4 egg whites)
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • zest of 1 large lemon
  • juice 1/2 large lemon
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Lemon Buttercream Frosting: 

  • 4 sticks or 2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 8 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp  salt
  • 1 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • zest of 1 large lemon
  • juice 1/2 large lemon

Yellow Ganache Drips:

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

Lemon Curd (sourced from the Food Network):

  • 4 large egg yolks (reserve the egg whites for the meringue)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 lemons, zest and juice
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 stick), room temperature

Meringue (sourced from the Food Network):

  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line three 7” round pans 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 lemon juice, lemon zest, and oil, and mix at a low speed until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds.

Divide evenly between the prepared cake pans. Bake for 35-37 minutes. 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, trim the caramelized bits from the sides of the layers using a serrated knife.

As the cake layers bake, prepare the lemon curd. With a hand mixer, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in each egg one at a time, allowing them to mix completely before beating in another egg. Beat in the lemon juice and zest, until incorporated. Over medium heat, in a double boiler, stir the mixture. Stir mixture frequently, until the mixture begins to thicken (about 15 minutes). Pour into bowl and let cool in fridge. If you have any left overs, place them in an air tight container, and use within a week.

Next, make the lemon buttercream 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 the cream and lemon juice. Once fully mixed, add in the vanilla, lemon zest, 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).

Make the yellow ganache drips next, to allow the mixture to cool before adding to the cake.  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.

The last component is the meringue. Whisk the egg whites and sugar in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water (do not let the bowl touch the water) until the mixture is warm and the sugar dissolves, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the bowl from the pan; add the cream of tartar and vanilla and beat with a mixer on medium-high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form, 6 to 8 minutes.

Stack and frost layers on a 10 inch, grease-proof, cardboard cake round. Frost a ring of lemon buttercream around the perimeter of the layer, and add a generous scoop of lemon curd into the center of the layer. Spread evenly over the cake layer, then repeat with remaining layers, being sure it stays within the frosting boarder.

lemon merinuge adding lemon curd

Cover the cake in a thin crumb coat with remaining lemon frosting, 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.

smoothing lemon cake

Once the frosting is chilled, add on the yellow colored white chocolate ganache drips.  Always be sure to do a test drip, to ensure that your ganache is at the right temperature. Scoop meringue onto the top of the cake, shaping into a swirling mound using a small offset spatula.

toasting the merginue lemon cake

Brown the meringue using a kitchen torch, then enjoy!

me with lemon cake

Pink Lemonade Cake

IMG_9651 (2)

I felt compelled to make a pink lemonade cake before summer comes to an end! I’ve always wanted to make a strawberry cake, but really struggled getting a strong strawberry flavor in my cake layers! Most strawberry cake recipes use strawberry jello, and while I was extremely hesitant to try it, it truly is the best way to incorporate a bright, vibrant strawberry flavor into cake. You have to try it to believe it!!

I made this cake using two strawberry cake layers, and two lemon cake layers. I frosted it with a lemon buttercream, and used dehydrated lemons and fresh berries to decorate this cake.

Strawberry Cake Batter:

  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup strawberry jello mix (1/2 package)
  • 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)
  • 1/4 cup strawberry puree (I blended frozen strawberries)
  • 1/2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 tsp. vegetable oil

Lemon 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. lemon extract
  • 1/2 cup egg whites (about 3 large egg whites)
  • 3/4 cups buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 tsp. vegetable oil
  • zest of one lemon
  • 2 drops yellow gel food coloring

Lemon Buttercream:

  • 6 sticks (3 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 12 cups powdered sugar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • pink and yellow gel food coloring
  • 2 tsp lemon extract
  • zest of 1 large lemon

Decorations:

  • dehydrated lemon slices
  • fresh strawberries
  • fresh raspberries
  • pink sprinkles

Instructions:

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

First, make the lemon cake better. Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt) in a stand mixer with a paddle until fully combined. Mix chunks of butter slowly into the dry mix on a low speed. Continue to mix until no 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 lemon extract, lemon zest, 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.

Next, make the lemon cake better. Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, strawberry jello mix, baking powder, sugar, and salt) in a stand mixer with a paddle until fully combined. Mix chunks of butter slowly into the dry mix on a low speed. Continue to mix until no 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 strawberry puree 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 batter evenly between the prepared cake pans, pouring half of each batter into a pan. Bake for 35-38 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, 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 cream, adding 1 tablespoon at a time. Once fully mixed, add in the lemon extract, lemon zest, 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, place 3/4 in one bowl, and 1/4 in another. Color the bowl with 3/4 yellow using a few drops of yellow gel food coloring, and color the other bowl with pink gel food coloring.

To assemble the cake, frost each cake layer with buttercream. You can also add some of the fresh berries between each layer. Alternate yellow and pink layers, then apply a crumb coat.

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Freeze cake for 5 minutes to allow the crumb coat to set, then use remaining frosting to add a second layer of frosting using piping bags. I cut my bags to have an opening of about 1.5 cm.

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Smooth with a bench scrapper. Add fresh berries, citrus accents, and sprinkles in a semicircle around the top of the cake.

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Arnold Palmer Cake

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In homage to one of my favorite summer drinks, I made an Arnold Palmer cake! It’s made with tea flavored cake layers, and a fresh lemon buttercream. I used my go-to vanilla layer cake recipe, and incorporated some iced tea powder into the cake base. For the frosting, I added some fresh lemon zest and juice to my favorite american buttercream. The full recipe can be found below:

Iced Tea Cake:

  • 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)
  • 2 Tbsp Lipton lemon iced tea powder
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1/8 cup vegetable oil

Fresh Lemon Buttercream:

  • 6 sticks (3 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 12 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • zest of 1 large lemon
  • juice of 1 large lemon

Sugar Ice Cubes:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • dash of cream of tartar

Instructions:

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

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 iced tea powder into the buttermilk, and add 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 35-40 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 sugar ice cubes! Mix water, corn syrup, white sugar, and cream of tartar in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Use a candy thermometer and boil until temperature reaches 300 degrees (hard ball), being sure to stir constantly. The mixture will thicken as water evaporates. When sugar reaches 300 degrees, quickly pour into silicone ice cube trays. Cool until completely hardened.

Next, prepare the 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 lemon zest, lemon 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).

NOTE: When 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!

Divide the frosting evenly between three bowls coloring once bright yellow, one pale yellow, and leaving one uncolored. Place frosting into piping bags.

Once layers are fully cooled, begin to assemble the cake. Pipe rings of frosting in a repeating color pattern. Stack layers and continue to pipe until all 4 layers are stacked. Place cake in the freezer for about 10 minutes, until the layers and buttercream are firm.

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Using a serrated knife, trim the layers in a tapered shape, to resemble a cup.

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Once trimmed, color remaining white buttercream with some brown food coloring. Cover the bottom third of the cake with this brown buttercream. Pipe pale yellow buttercream into the middle third of the cake, and bright yellow buttercream onto the top third of the cake. Blend together the different color gradients using an offset spatula in a zigzag motion.MVI_9055_Moment (2)

Once partially combined, smooth using a bench scraper. Place an additional cake round onto the top of the cake, and gently flip the cake over, so that the smaller side of the cake is the base of the cake. Gently removed the original cake round, and smooth additional buttercream onto the top of the cake.

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Add the hardened sugar ice cubes to the top of the cake, and add a straw if desired. I added some blue fondant around a dowel, and gently inserted it into the cake.

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Easy Pineapple Cake

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

Vanilla Cake Ingredients:

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

Pineapple Frosting:

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

Additional items:

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

Instructions:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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