Shake and Bake…

..some cake! I’ve been having a lot of fun experimenting with baked goods lately. We (Lo-lo and I) had a delightful yellow cake from Alice Waters (1234 cake) that had a layer of snickerdoodles baked into the center.

That was topped with a cinnamon swiss meringue buttercream and a whole lot of love for the birthday girl and boy: Shannon and Alex!

The cookie-inside-cake theme was one we used to do at the greatest place on earth: The ASUCD Coffeehouse.

Any time you have student labor, you will inevitably have mistakes (especially when dealing with hot ovens and hungover employees). So, the brilliant idea was to turn those mistakes into magically delicious pieces of craftsmanship. If a tray of cookies was over/under done but still salvageable, we would crumble the pieces and layer them into cake batter. My favorite was always the snickerdoodle cake; it was the kind of cake you’d write home about.

My version:
Cake: Alice Water’s 1234 cake (absolutely amazing cake, you MUST try it!)
Snickerdoodles: courtesy of Ms. Lauren Woods
Frosting: Martha Stewart’s Swiss Meringue Buttercream, add 2 t cinnamon (I love the texture of this frosting; it’s very light and fluffy, but beware: it has ONE POUND OF BUTTER in it. 4 sticks. 2 cups. However you want to cut it, that’s a LOT of fatty goodness. We used to make it at the CoHo with American Buttercream, which is mostly powdered sugar with enough butter and milk to moisten it. Very delicious)

For the next birthday I decided to go further with this theme, but to mix it up a little. And along came…

No, not a VW Bug. A chocolate cake with a layer of molasses cookies, topped with cream-cheese ginger frosting. It tasted like gingerbread cake and was pretty deeeelicious. Dear Leslie piped the car onto the top for her Dad, who is a major car fanatic. Those little “tires” are actually candied ginger pieces– major noms!
Cake recipe: Cook’s illustrated, Devil’s Food cake
Molasses cookies: courtesy of Bakesale Betty’s
Frosting: Cook’s Illustrated, added 1 t crushed ginger and 1 t powdered ginger

The coup de grace was my most recent endeavor:

A Turtle Cake.

This cake was very fun to craft. I had heard of Turtle Cake before, but decided to go with my own interpretation of one of my Mom’s favorite treats:

chocolate turtles. After some cogitation, I decided on caramel cake and caramel buttercream with a layer of pecans in the middle. The top was then drizzled with chocolate ganache and the leftover caramel sauce I made for the frosting.

Cake recipe: Betty Crocker’s Caramel Cake
Frosting: Martha Stewart’s Caramel buttercream (a bit tricky to make the caramel sauce for this one; might be best to buy some at the store. The sauce must be thick but very pliable and “flowy” at room temperature, or else your buttercream will cause it to harden into a mass of sugary uselessness. Smucker’s brand is a good choice).
Chocolate ganache: The best cupcake blogI’ve ever seen, by Chockylit.

Diabetic noms!

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