• Norwegian Gold Cake

    On the heels of a very family-filled weekend, it seems only fitting to share with you a family recipe that has been passed down and sideways since before I was born. Called “Norwegian Gold Cake”, I am actually unsure of where it even got its name, but the recipe comes from the grandmother of my mom’s cousins (what that makes her to me, I couldn’t even begin to guess). The cake is luxuriously rich and golden in color thanks to the 5 eggs in the batter, but is also perfectly offset by the lemon-orange buttercream that tops it. Its got the zest and juice of both fruits and is the freshest, brightest tasting frosting you’ll ever have. When I was little, you knew dessert would be good if you showed up to my grandparents house and this cake was sitting on its cake plate on the dining room table. My grandma even put her own spin on it, preparing the cake with half citrus frosting and half coffee frosting. This may sound like a strange combo, but both frostings pair so well with a dense cake like this one separately, however the real best way to eat it is to have one slice with some coffee frosting and some citrus frosting. Traditionally in this family, this cake is baked in a tube pan, but it could also be done in a 9 x 13″ as a sheet cake instead, although a shorter baking time will probably be required.

    A piece of advice, read this recipe through all the way before starting, since some of the process is different than most cake batters. This recipe uses the reverse creaming method, which involves beating together the flour and butter instead of the sugar and butter. This way, gluten doesn’t start forming until the flour comes into contact with a liquid, and when the flour is coated in butter, it slows down this production. As a result, the cake should be more tender and velvety, as well as bake with less of a domed top. That last bit doesn’t matter so much for this recipe since you aren’t stacking the cake, but when making layer cakes, reverse creaming is a good idea since each cake bakes up flatter and less trimming is required. There’s your baking education for the week!

    This weekend we watched my only brother graduate from Notre Dame and it was so special. We spent Friday in Chicago, where we saw the Shedd Aquarium, the Art Institute, and had some crazy good food to warm us up on a particularly drizzly day (I’m talking chicken and waffles for brunch AND Russian food for dinner), then drove to Indiana for the remainder of the weekend. I am immensely proud of everything my brother has done, it’s been awesome to watch him grow over the past four years and he deserves every good thing coming to him. He’ll be starting a job at Google in August and ooooooh we’re so proud! Go Aidan!


    Before we get started, here are 5 things to be happy about today:
    ONE. Sun showers that produce rainbows.
    TWO. Going out for tea.
    THREE. Putting your hair up.
    FOUR. Having your coffee in the park.
    FIVE. Pinch bowls.

    Norwegian Gold Cake

    This may be the most coveted family recipe that I've got; a moist, rich cake with the most perfect citrus buttercream, this cake is perfect for birthdays, dinner parties, or when you just feel like treating yourself!
    Prep Time45 mins
    Cook Time40 mins
    Total Time1 hr 25 mins
    Course: Dessert
    Keyword: buttercream, cake, citrus

    Ingredients

    Norwegian Gold Cake Ingredients

    • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
    • 1⅓ cups all purpose flour
    • 5 eggs
    • cups sugar
    • 2 tsp baking powder
    • 1 Tbsp vanilla bean paste

    Citrus Buttercream Ingredients

    • 1 lb confectioner's sugar
    • ½ cup butter, at room temperature
    • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
    • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
    • 1 Tbsp fresh orange juice + zest

    Instructions

    Norwegian Gold Cake Steps

    • Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease a tube pan or 9×13" cake pan with butter and flour, then set aside.
    • Cream together the flour and butter on medium speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition.
    • In a separate bowl, combine the sugar and baking powder, then add this to the flour mixture. Mix in the vanilla.
    • Pour the batter into your prepared pan and tap on the counter a few times to pop any air bubbles. Bake the cake for 35-40 minutes, until the top is golden and the cake tester comes out clean. If you're using a 9×13" pan, start checking earlier, between 25 and 30 minutes instead. Allow the cake to cool for 15 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.

    Citrus Buttercream Steps

    • Cream the butter and confectioners sugar together on low speed in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add in the vanilla.
    • Add the lemon juice and zest, plus the orange juice and zest, and mix until incorporated. At this point, you can adjust the proportions by adding more confectioners sugar for a thicker frosting, or more juice for a thinner one.
    • When the cake is completely cooled, frost and decorate however you'd like! If you're feeling ~fancy~, you could even try to candy some fruit peels, instructions found here!

    YUM! xoxoxoxoxoD

  • Wildflower Coconut Cake

    Hello!! How convenient that my birthday falls on the same day of my Sweet D posts. As a result, I bring you my birthday cake 2019, because yes, I do bake my own birthday cakes! It’s great because I can do whatever flavors or designs I want, and no one can tell me not to! This year I chose a crowd pleaser though, who doesn’t love coconut cake?? This particular recipe comes from Queen Ina Garten herself, because I was looking for the classic flavors of the coconut cake from the bakery by my house: vanilla, almond, coconut, and the sweet tang of luscious cream cheese frosting. And, to pull out all the stops, I tried my hand again at some buttercream flowers, and I get better every time!

    Before baking this year’s cake, I took a trip to Michaels and got some supplies, including some cake boards, baking strips, a wire cake trimmer, a flower nail, and some fancy gel food coloring. The cake board goes on your cake stand or plate, and allows for easy transfer from one surface to another. The baking strips are something I should’ve gotten a LONG time ago- you soak them for 5 minutes before baking, and then wrap them around the sides of the cake pans. This keeps the sides of the pan cooler, and results in a cake that bakes more evenly and flat. The cake trimmer lets me take the uneven top off in one motion, because I am notoriously bad at cutting my cakes evenly. The flower nail and gel food colors are for the buttercream flowers and wow does the flower nail make a difference! It lets you get every side of the flower in one motion, and results in much more even flowers.

    I’m excited about what my 24th year on this earth holds, hopefully many more cakes and a pie or two (or seven). Until then, here are 5 things to be happy about today:
    ONE. Zippy limes.
    TWO. Bike baskets.
    THREE. The glow you get from being outdoors.
    FOUR. Pitchers on the porch.
    FIVE. Strawberry Rhubarb jam.

    Let’s bake!!

    MAKE: 1 2-layer cake
    PREP TIME: 2-3 hours (depending on flowers and decorating)
    BAKE TIME: 45-55 minutes.

     

    COCONUT CAKE INGREDIENTS

    ¾ lb. (3 sticks)  unsalted butter, softened
    2 cups sugar
    5 eggs, at room temp
    1½ tsp vanilla bean paste
    1½ tsp almond extract
    3 cups all-purpose flour
    1 tsp baking powder
    ½ tsp baking soda
    ½ tsp kosher salt
    1 cup milk
    4 oz. shredded sweetened coconut

    CREAM CHEESE FROSTING INGREDIENTS

    1 lb. cream cheese, softened
    ½ lb. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
    ¾ tsp vanilla bean paste
    ¼ tsp almond extract
    1 lb. powdered sugar
    Shredded sweetened coconut (for decoration)

    BUTTERCREAM FLOWER INGREDIENTS

    1 stick butter, softened
    1 lb. powdered sugar
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    3-4 Tbsp whole milk

    CAKE STEPS

    ONE. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously grease 2 9-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. If you’re using baking strips on the outside, start soaking them now.

    TWO. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until pale yellow and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape down the bow one or two times during this process to make sure it’s all being evenly mixed. Crack the eggs into a small bowl, then add them one at a time to the butter mixture. Once all the eggs are incorporated, add in the vanilla and almond, and mix to combine.

    THREE. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into another bowl. You’ll be adding the flour mixture and the milk alternately to the butter mixture in 5 parts, starting and ending with the flour. Mix until just combined. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and, using a rubber spatula, fold the shredded coconut into the batter.

    FOUR. Divide the batter evenly into the two pans and bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool the cakes in their pans for 30 minutes before turning them out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

    CREAM CHEESE FROSTING STEPS

    ONE. In the bowl of your stand mixer, mix together the butter, cream cheese, vanilla extract, and almond extract on low speed until combined, but do not whipped.

    TWO. Carefully spoon in the powdered sugar a few at a time until it’s all smooth and incorporated. Repeat for a second batch.


    BUTTERCREAM STEPS

    ONE. In the bowl of your stand mixer, mix together the butter, vanilla, and powdered sugar until combined. Add the milk one tablespoon at a time until you’ve reached the desired consistency, but make sure it’s not too wet because it will be harder for flowers to hold their shape. Repeat as necessary for more flower colors.

    CAKE ASSEMBLY

    ONE. Place one cake flat side down on your cake stand or plate. Add a cup or so of frosting to the top and spread evenly. Place the other cake on top so that the flat bottom of this cake is the top. Crumb coat this cake with a thin layer of cream cheese frosting, and chill for 20-30 minutes.

    TWO. Coat the cake with a second, thicker layer of cream cheese frosting and smooth out. Gently press the shredded coconut around the sides of the cake evenly. Top the cake with the chilled buttercream flowers and fill in any gaps with extra buttercream. Now cut yourself a generous slice and enjoy!!

    *Pro Tip #1: for buttercream flower tips, see here.

    *Pro Tip #2: when storing leftover cake (assuming there is any!), press two pieces of sliced sandwich bread over the cut sides. This will prevent the cake from drying out and keep it nice and soft.

    YAY! XoxoxoxoxD

  • Sweet D’s First Birthday Baby Princess Cakes

    HELLO ALL!! As you can tell from the title of this recipe, I am very excited to say that it’s Sweet D’s first birthday!!! My goodness how time flies when you get to do what you love! I won’t do some long, sappy post here since I did that ~fairly~ recently with my 50th recipe post, but if you’re feeling it, you can read that here. What I will say is thanks for sticking around a whole year, and here’s to many more years ahead!

    Now it’s only fair to have a cake recipe for a birthday, no matter whose it is, and these cakes are so very important. A traditional princess cake is a full-sized cake rather than a set of mini ones, but following this recipe from Molly Yeh, these little babies just bring so much joy. They’re also very customizable, as the jam filling can be anything you feel like, the marzipan can be dyed any color of the rainbow, and your decorations can be as high or low maintenance as you please. Plus they look VERY impressive and almost too pretty to eat- the key word being almost, because not eating these would be a tragedy. Word to the wise, when the directions tell you to put the cakes covered in whipped cream in the freezer to set before covering, actually do it. It makes them soooo much easier and neater to cover with marzipan, and it will save you many a headache and ripped marzipan. Other than that, you’re ready to go!!

    But first, here are five things to be happy about today:
    ONE. Keeping fresh flowers by your bed, fresh herbs in the kitchen
    TWO. The smell of a coffee can opening
    THREE. Comfortable, stretchy clothes
    FOUR. Large colonial fireplaces
    FIVE. The soft splat of snow falling
    Let’s get birthday baking!!

    Makes: 24 Princess Cakes
    Prep/ Decoration Time: 2 hours
    Bake Time: 18-20 minutes

    Almond Cake Ingredients

    1¼ cups all-purpose flour
    ¾ cup almond flour
    ½ tsp kosher salt
    1 tsp baking powder
    ¼ tsp baking soda
    ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
    ¾ cup sugar
    1 egg
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    ¼ tsp almond extract
    ½ cup buttermilk

    Almond Cake Steps

    ONE. Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Line a quarter sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine the all purpose and almond flours, salt, and baking powder + soda.

    TWO. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar for 3-5 minutes until pale and fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla and almond extracts and mix well. Alternating between the two, add a third of the flour mixture, then a third of the buttermilk, until all is just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared sheet pan and spread evenly using an offset spatula. Bake for 18 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let the cake cool fully in the pan, then cut into 20 2-inch circles using a biscuit cutter.

    Assembly Ingredients

    1 cup heavy cream
    ½ cup powdered sugar
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    ¼ tsp almond extract
    1 jar store bought raspberry jam (or whatever jam you feel like!)
    24 oz. marzipan
    Assorted food coloring

    Assembly Steps

    ONE.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the heavy cream, powdered sugar, and extracts until stiff peaks form. Spread each cake circle with a layer of jam, then, using a piping bag, pipe a small, uniform mound of whipped cream on top in a swirl. Once all the cake circles are topped with jam and whipped cream, pop the tray in the freezer to set while you prep the marzipan.

    TWO. Dust a clean surface with powdered sugar, and knead your desired food coloring into the marzipan to change its color. Set aside a small portion to use for decorations, such as rose buds, hearts, or polka dots. Roll the marzipan out into a 1/8″ layer, and cut out circles large enough to cover the cakes entirely without ripping. I ended up using a 3½” cookie cutter here and it worked out perfectly! This may take some trial and error depending on the size of your cakes, but you can always re-roll the marzipan if you make a mistake!

    THREE. Cover each cake with a marzipan circle and trim off any excess from the bottom, re-rolling the scraps. For decoration, create small, flat strips and roll them into rosebuds and add petals, or use mini cookie cutters or the tops of piping tips to cut out hearts and circles to affix to the top.

    Now bask in how cute these look and throw a tea party somewhere!! xoxoxoxoxoD