Archive for the 'buttercream' Category


Let the wedding season begin!

Simple, elegant baby's breath and white roses = wedding flowers

It’s that time of year when announcements and invitations arrive in your mail box.  Graduations and weddings.  The graduations usually require a card of congratulations and a check in response.  The weddings are more fun.  Oh, sure, you still go out and buy a pretty card and a gift or write a check, but, if you are lucky, you go to a party.  And at that party, you get to eat cake!

I received a call a few months back, requesting an order for a simple wedding cake.  I confess, wedding cake makes me nervous.  It’s such a special occasion and, in my mind, everything must be perfect, lest the bride have a melt down.  In reality, I’m usually the one who has the melt down.  I can be really hard on myself.  

I agreed to make this cake because the bride is familiar with my work and loves my cake.  She did not want a traditional cake with all of the gum paste flowers and fondant, thank God!  I don’t do those. 

So, I kept it simple, yet elegant. 

My version of simple and elegant

This cake has a layer of vanilla bean mascarpone cheesecake sandwiched between layers of chocolate buttermilk cake, two layers each, top and bottom.  Yeah, we’re talkin’ 5 layers total of pure decadence.  Oh, and the frosting is mocha rum buttercream.

A little close up detail work

I was going for a little pearl looking action on the detail work, but they look more like sweet white Kisses.  Quite appropriate for a wedding cake, yes?

I really liked this shot

I even did the floral arrangement myself.   It turned out pretty nice. 

I received a text message from one of the guests later that evening.  She told me the cake was a huge success.  Everyone really loved it, especially that cheesecake center.  I believe the word “decadent” was in there.

So, in closing this post out, I have one final confession.  This is the fourth wedding cake I have made in my entire life.  And I’m ready for the next one.


Root Beer Cake

Root Beer Barrels and A&W Root Beer Jelly Bellies complete this Root Beer Cake

Root Beer Barrels and A&W Root Beer Jelly Bellies complete this Root Beer Cake

My friend Emily had a birthday on October 15th.  It was a pleasure and an honor to make a special cake celebrating her turning a quarter of a century this year.  The fact that I am over  a half a century old and old enough to be her mother doesn’t interfere with us being good friends.  Emily is my grasshopper.  I am her sensei in the food world.  We enjoy getting together often and talking for hours about food and recipe development.

We have an on going joke about how excited people get when they are offered root beer in our home.  I think it is pretty funny, running down the list of beverages in the fridge.  Beer, wine (not in fridge, of course!), water, juice, root beer.  ROOT BEER!  Every time, without fail, someone gets excited about root beer.  One night, Emily and Chuck were over for dinner and I start offering drink options.  Emily pipes up “ROOT BEER”!  From that night on, she’s on a root beer jag.  It seemed only fitting that I should invent a root beer cake for her birthday.


Root Beer Cake

1 cup butter, softened

½ cup canola oil

2 ½ cups granulated sugar

5 eggs, room temperature

3 cups cake flour, sifted

2 tsp baking soda, sifted with flour

2 tsp root beer syrup

¾ cup root beer, room temperature

Grease 2   9” round cake pans and line bottoms with parchment paper 

Using an electric mixer, cream butter, oil and sugar until light and fluffy. 

Add eggs, one at a time and beat well.  Mix in flour mixture, one cup at a time and beat well.  Add syrup and root beer and mix well. 

Pour batter, evenly divided, into prepared cake pans.  Bake in a preheated 325° oven for about 50 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.  Cool on wire rack.  Remove cake from pans when cool, wrap and refrigerate until ready to frost.  Cooling the cakes make it easier to slice into four layers.

I used the buttercream recipe in the “A Fall Themed Birthday Cake” post omitting the melted chocolate and adding about 1/4 cup or more of Torani Classic Root Beer Syrup.  To make a more pronounced root beer flavor, I chucked a bunch of root beer barrel hard candies into the food processor and made root beer sugar, that I sprinkled over the top of each cake layer after I had frosted it with buttercream.  To be honest, it didn’t taste as root beery as I had hoped, but everyone really seemed to like it.  I think next time I will use the frosting recipe from the Elephant Cupcake post and add the root beer syrup to that.  If I like it better, I’ll let you know.



A fall themed birthday cake

A nice all purpose fall themed cake

A nice all purpose fall themed cake

My friend and co-worker, Katie D., ordered another cake for a birthday celebration last Saturday.  The family loves chocolate, so Katie ordered a 10″  square chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream.  I wanted the cake to have an October theme so fall leaves and a couple of candy pumpkins seemed appropriate.

Katie called this morning and reported that everyone loved the cake, especially her cousin Trygve (pronounced trig va – it’s Norwegian).

The chocolate cake recipe can be found on my post, Vampire Gran’s Perfect Chocolate Cake.  Here is the buttercream recipe I used:

  • 2 cups sugar, divided
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 6 large egg whites at room temperature 30 minutes
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 sticks (1 1/2 pounds) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon pieces and softened
  • 12 ounces fine-quality 60%-cacao bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled to lukewarm


  • Equipment: a candy thermometer; a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment


Bring 1 3/4 cups sugar and water to a boil in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved, then wash down any sugar crystals from side of pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water. Boil, without stirring, until it registers 220 to 225°F, 15 to 20 minutes.

At this point, while continuing to boil syrup, beat whites with vanilla, cream of tartar, and salt in mixer at medium speed until they just hold soft peaks. Add remaining 1/4 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating, and beat until whites just hold stiff peaks.

When syrup reaches soft-ball stage (238 to 242°F), immediately pour syrup in a slow stream down side of bowl into whites (avoid beaters) while beating at high speed. Beat until completely cool, 25 to 30 minutes. With mixer at medium speed, add butter 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition (see cooks’ note, below) and until buttercream is smooth. (Mixture may look curdled before all butter is added but will come together at end.) Pour chocolate into mixing bowl and whip until buttercream is smooth. If buttercreams are too soft to spread, chill, stirring occasionally. When chilled enough, whip before spreading.


I used pastry tip # 112 to make the leaves.


Strawberry Buttercream Cake

Hi all!  I just wanted to share a couple of shots of the cake I made two weeks ago for National Receptionist Day.  It is true, it is an actual commemorative day, like Secretary’s Day and Bosses Day.  After all, receptionists deserve recognition too.  This lovely cake was dedicated to Susie, the receptionist at my spouse’s place of employment.  Everyone loved it and the little woman brought home an empty cake carrier.

Strawberry Buttercream Cake with Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

Strawberry Buttercream Cake with Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

Chocolate Buttermilk Cake sandwiched between layers of fluffy white cake cushioned by Strawberry Filling and Strawberry Buttercream

Chocolate Buttermilk Cake sandwiched between layers of fluffy white cake cushioned by Strawberry Filling and Strawberry Buttercream

I really love what I do, can you tell?  I’m looking forward to posting pictures of the cupcake order I have for next week and then a wedding cake the first week in June.  I am so blessed.  Anyone need to order a cake?




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