Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Chocolate and Roses

 There are so many ways to frost a cake. You can spoon it on, schmear it on with a butter knife, you can create swirls and dips with the back of a spoon, you can create an ultra smooth exterior and you can pipe it on. I'm a big fan of super smooth frosting- it's the perfectionist in me that gets all giddy by flawless buttercream :-) I generally only pipe frosting when I'm doing a border on a cake or when decorating cupcakes. But I've wanted to try the piped "rose" look on a cake for awhile and I finally had the opportunity to. It's so easy!

I used a Wilton 2D tip to pipe this. I use this one the most because it makes great flowers and ruffles depending how much pressure you apply. This was my first time trying this so it's not perfect but this technique is good for hiding flaws too. You can go to Bella Cupcakes for a step-by-step on how to do this. 

I made a Devilishly Moist Chocolate Cake recommended by my friend Paloma and covered it in Berry Buttercream. The recipe for the cake is below, but you'll have to get my cookbook if you want the mixed berry buttercream recipe :-) You can use any buttercream recipe you want though to create the swirled roses on this cake or any other cake or cupcakes. Though I have to say, this cake was really good (and stayed moist for several days)!

Devilishly Moist Chocolate Cake 
slightly adapted from The Cake Book by Tish Boyle via

  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup natural cocoa powder (not Dutch processed)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 2/3 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

Position oven rack in the center of the oven; preheat oven to 325°. Grease bottom and sides of a 9x3 inch round cake pan; dust the pan with flour and set aside.

Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the sugar, and using the paddle attachment, mix at low speed until blended.

Add the oil and mix a few seconds, until the dry ingredients are crumbly.

In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs until blended.

Whisk in the milk and vanilla extract until blended.

With the mixer at low speed, add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and mix until blended, scraping down the sides of bowl as needed.

Gradually add the boiling water and mix just until blended and smooth; scraping down sides as needed.
Pour batter into cake pan.

Bake for 45-55 minutes, until a pick comes out clean.

Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes.

Invert cake onto the wire rack and cool completely. Frost as desired.

Makes 1 9-inch round cake

If you missed it, I announced the winner of the Smucker's giveaway HERE

Smucker's Giveaway Winner!

#34 Jennifer Ganyard is the winner of the Smucker's ice cream toppings giveaway!

Congratulations Jennifer! Email me your address please, so Smucker's can send the product out to you.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Black Bottom Cookie Bars

Have you ever had a recipe on your "to-bake bucket list" for so long that when you finally make it, you're kinda disappointed? That's how I felt about these black bottom cookie bars. Don't get me wrong, these bars were quite tasty, but not at all what I was expecting. I bookmarked this recipe from Bake or Break back in 2011 and just now made them. They were very simple to throw together. You melt butter, mix it with other ingredients, then divide the batter in half and add cocoa powder and chocolate chunks to one half, then layer and bake. I appreciate the ease, because I'm sometimes lazy in the kitchen, but I didn't love the heavy texture. 

I was hoping for a soft, chewy sugar cookie consistency, instead they were kind of dense and fudgy. We ate half then they just kind of sat around on the counter for a few days til they got stale and I eventually threw them out. Then I realized there are no leavening agents in this recipe- no baking soda, no baking powder and that probably was the reason they were a little heavy. These had great flavor and I think with a little tinkering of the recipe they could be great. However, if you like dense and fudgy treats, then leave it as is and enjoy!

Black Bottom Cookie Bars from Everyday Food via Bake or Break

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  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted 
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly butter an 8-inch square baking pan. Line with parchment, leaving about a 2-inch overhang on two sides. Lightly butter parchment.

Whisk together butter and both sugars in a large bowl. Whisk in eggs and vanilla. Gradually add flour and salt, mixing just until moistened.

Divide batter in half, and transfer one half to a separate bowl. Stir in cocoa powder and chocolate chips until combined.

Place chocolate batter in baking pan. Spread evenly and smooth top. Spread plain batter on top of chocolate batter. Smooth top.

Bake 25-35 minutes, or until top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (mine took longer to bake). Cool completely in pan on wire rack.

Little Bit was ready for that glass of milk :-)

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Smucker's Ice Cream Toppings (Giveaway)

What better way to beat the heat than with homemade vanilla ice cream churned in an old-fashioned maker with ice and rock salt....and Smucker's ice cream toppings!

Smucker's sent me a care package of some fun summer stuff and 4 awesome new ice cream toppings. In my care package were 2 bottles of microwavable Hot Butterscotch and Hot Milk Chocolate toppings as well as 2 bottles of Magic Shell in Root Beer and Pink Lemonade flavors. We took some freshly churned vanilla ice cream and these toppings to my mom's house to enjoy for dessert after Sunday dinner. Everyone got to mix and match and create their own sundaes- such a fun idea to get everyone involved in the kitchen. I'm offering a giveaway below, but if you want to try them out, they're available in stores now from $2.29- $2.99. Check the FlavorFinder to find your favorite flavor. 

The Magic Shell toppings were the most fun to play with because as soon as you pour them over the cold ice cream it firms up and you can crack into it as you eat the ice cream. Adding colorful sprinkles and chocolate jimmies only made it better. My mom and Hayden liked the Pink Lemonade the best. It was refreshing and bright, but not sour in anyway. It was almost like eating lemon cake along with your ice cream. My brother, loved the Root Beer Magic shell and poured his over an ice cream cone. I'm generally not a big fan of root beer unless it's with ice cream. This tasted just like those hard root beer candies. If you are a root beer fan, you will LOVE this. Michelle from One Ordinary Day...I'm talking to you!

The Hot Butterscotch and Milk Chocolate were my favorites. I could eat these toppings by the spoonful! Their bottles are designed to be heated in the microwave and the new label will read "Hot" when it's heated up. I skipped this step and just poured them straight over my ice cream and topped with chopped almonds. It tasted like the best Butter Pecan Ice Cream ever....except that it was almonds :-)Sticky, gooey, buttery and with a great caramel flavor. Butterscotch has never been a favorite flavor but this topping changed my mind. And of course, there's the Milk Chocolate flavor that my hubby liked. Just like hot fudge, but milk chocolate flavor- a must try. 


Smucker's is spreading the love and giving one reader an ice cream topping kit complete with these four ice cream toppings. The winner will receive 1 bottle of each Smucker's toppings: Hot Butterscotch and Hot Milk Chocolate, Magic Shell Root Beer and Magic Shell Pink Lemonade.

You have FOUR chances to enter and win: 

1. Leave a comment on this blog post telling me which of the four Smucker's ice cream toppings you're most excited to try (mandatory entry).

(Please leave a separate comment for each additional entry.)

3. Share the link to this post on your blog or on your Facebook. Post a separate comment letting me know you've done so. 

4. Follow me at monica_h30 on Instagram

Winner will be selected at random using I will announce the winner by the end of the week. Good luck!

Disclosure: Though I was compensated from Smucker's the opinions here are my own.  

Friday, August 2, 2013

A Special Anniversary- The Cake Slice Turns 5!

My boy turned 23 months today. That's exciting and terrifying all at the same time. One more month to go til his 2nd birthday! But that's not what I'm writing about today. August 1st is the 5th anniversary for The Cake Slice Bakers. I joined the the cake baking group in April of 2009 and have baked dozens of cakes through 5 different cookbooks and with many talented and amazing women. 

My very first cake that I baked with the group was Chai Cake with Honey-Ginger Cream from Sky High Cakes from Alisa Huntsman and Peter Wynne. I'm not a big fan of chai or ginger but I found this group helped me open my eyes and made me try different techniques and flavors that I wouldn't have otherwise tried. And I've made friends with these awesome women- we support and encourage each other, which is far better than cake. 

In celebration of our 5th anniversary, we decided to bake a special cake to help celebrate. I went back to the original and my favorite cake book of all and made a cake I've wanted to try for quite some time- Mocha Cake with Espresso Drizzle from Sky High Cakes. The cake is three delicious layers of dense, fudgey mocha cake, reminiscent of a flourless chocolate torte. In between the layers is a generous amount of a white chocolate, sweetened condensed milk, sticky espresso infused glaze. It was definitely a celebration cake. I'm so glad this baking group is around and I hope to bake along with them for many more years. 

Happy 5th Anniversary Cake Slice Bakers! If you're interested in keeping up with us, follow The Cake Slice Bakers on Facebook for baking tips, recipes and cake!

Mocha Cake with Espresso Drizzle 

Mocha Cake: 
  • 1 cup freshly brewed espresso or double-strength coffee
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 2/3 cups cake flour
  • 2 2/3 cups sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature

Espresso Drizzle: (see note below)
  • 12 ounces good-quality white chocolate
  • 3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 6 tablespoons freshly brewed espresso or double-strength coffee

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottoms and sides of three 8-inch round cake pans or coat with vegetable cooking spray. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment or waxed paper and grease the paper.

To make the cake: In a medium bowl, combine the hot espresso and cocoa powder, stirring to dissolve the cocoa. Let this mocha mixture stand until cooled to body temperature. Meanwhile, in another bowl, beat the eggs lightly.Whisk in the buttermilk and vanilla until well mixed.

Place the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl. With the mixer on low, evenly blend the dry ingredients. Add the butter and the mocha mixture, beating until well blended. Raise the mixer speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, then add the buttermilk-egg mixture in 3 additions, scraping well and blending only to incorporate. Divide the batter among the 3 prepared pans.

Bake the cake layers for 35 to 38 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean but still moist. Let cool in the pans for about 10 minutes, then invert onto wire racks. Carefully peel off the paper liners and let the layers cool completely.

To make the espresso drizzle: (This makes a lot of glaze and could easily be halved- I had quite a bit leftover). Melt the white chocolate in a double boiler or in a medium heatproof bowl over a pan of very hot water.

Whisk in the sweetened condensed milk and espresso and continue whisking until smooth. Use while warm.

NOTE: The white chocolate didn't really want to melt and seemed rather stiff though it was still warm. Once I added the condensed milk and espresso it all came together. I had a few lumps but strained them out before pouring the glaze over the cake. I had a lot of glaze leftover. Next time, I would just make half a recipe.

To assemble the cake: Place one layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or serving plate. Pour 1/2 cup of the Espresso Drizzle onto the center of the layer and spread all the way to the edge, allowing it to drip slightly over the sides. Repeat with the second layer. Set the third layer in place, then pour the remaining drizzle on top and spread to the edges, making sure the glaze drips down the sides, covering all the edges.

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