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Tag: cake

Valentine Raspberry Chocolate Cake Recipe [Food Friday]

Posted in Food Friday, and Recipe

When I saw Sweetapolita’s Dark Chocolate Raspberry Buttercream Cake, I knew that was what I wanted to make Ryan for Valentine’s Day. I was trying to be ambitious because I have made few cakes from scratch, and no icing. However, I knew I didn’t want to be over-ambitious and set myself up for failure. I thought the Swiss meringue buttercream in the original recipe might be a too challenging for my first frosting, so I found a generic buttercream frosting recipe, knowing I would add fresh raspberries. I also did not follow the original recipe for the cake. When I mentioned to Ryan that I wanted to make him this cake for Valentine’s Day, he balked at the inclusion of coffee, in spite of my assurances that he wouldn’t be able to taste the coffee. I tracked down this coffee-free chocolate cake recipe and decided I liked the idea of making my first two layer cake since the recipe makes two 9-inch cakes.

I followed both the chocolate cake recipe and the buttercream frosting recipes exactly, though I doubled the frosting recipe since it says it will only frost one 9-inch round cake. I found that a single batch would have easily frosted my 2-tier cake, but was able to use the leftover frosting the next day when I made essentially the same cake for a food day at work.

I made the cake first so I would be able to clean everything while the cake was baking, then use the time while the cake was cooling in order to make the icing.

I combined the following dry ingredients and just allowed the stand mixer to run on its lowest setting with the paddle attachment:

2 cups white sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s Special Dark)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt


Next I slowly incorporated all the following wet ingredients while the mixer was running, adding the boiling water last:

2 eggs
1 cup milk (I used whole vitamin D milk)
1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used canola)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water (I just boiled it in the kettle while the dry ingredients were mixing, then poured it straight from the kettle to the mixer)

The batter is very runny, but makes for a very deliciously moist cake.

I had read somewhere (maybe on Sweetapolita?) that one should use parchment paper to line cake pans. I did so, and it was great for clean-up, but the edges of the cake were deformed by the parchment paper. I’m not sure if I could have avoided this if I had folded the edges to fit the pan or not. The cake did not stick to the parchment paper much at all, so I didn’t have any issues with the cake breaking, so that was a relief.

As the recipe suggests, I cooled the cake in the pans for about 10 minutes, then transferred them out of the pans and onto a cooling rack.

Once the cakes were cooling, I began working on the frosting. Making a double batch in my mixer may have been a mistake due to volume. I had to take about half the mixture out, and then slowly reincorporate it. I’m still not sure if I was able to get the texture right, but the flavor was good.

A single batch is 1 pound of softened unsalted butter and 2 pounds of confectioners/powdered sugar, plus a pinch of sea salt, a Tbs of vanilla extract (I did not use the clear vanilla extract the recipe suggests), and about 6 Tbs of milk/cream (I used whole milk).

After the frosting seemed relatively acceptable, I added about 6 oz. fresh raspberries to the double-batch of frosting. In spite of the small amount of fruit, the frosting ended up very pink and flavorful. In spite of thinking that more fruit would be needed, based on my experience, I don’t think you need more unless you want a stronger flavor/different consistency (thicker). I’m also uncertain why a lot of recipes recommend adding pink food coloring as the frosting was already very pink.

Once the frosting was finished, the cake was pretty well-cooled. I was a little generous with the frosting filling since I had made so much frosting… (pictured below is the nearly 1 inch of frosting filling in between the two layers of cake)

The cake didn’t end up quite as lovely as I wanted, probably partially due to my non-expertise and practice at frosting cakes. However, I wanted something a little nicer than a sickly pink cake to give Ryan. Additionally, the thick frosting gave no clue as to what kind of cake was underneath, so I wanted to hint at the chocolate cake within. I decided that a heart made of fresh raspberries and dark chocolate chips would suffice, and was pleased with the result.

Having never made a layer cake myself before (I think I helped my cousin make one once), I was incredibly excited that I was able to clearly see the layers after cutting into the cake.

Overall, I was incredibly pleased with how the cake tasted. The cake itself was very moist, and the frosting wasn’t as sweet as I feared with all those pounds of sugar in it (I think the raspberries helped a lot here). I would definitely like to make improvements in the future on my presentation, and when I made the cake again for work, I used less frosting which I think was a better flavor ratio for me (as I’m not a big frosting fan).

Pineapple “Dump” Cake

Posted in Informative

This week’s food club theme was actually a challenge: make a dish to bring that you can create for under $5. We were given some flexibility: items that you already have on hand count for $0.

I decided to make a super easy cake recipe that we called “dump” cake growing up. The idea is you take all your ingredients, dump them in a baking dish, bake them, and viola, you have a cake!

Basic Ingredients

1 box yellow cake mix (you can make your own, but most of the point of this recipe is that it is quick and easy)
1 stick of butter (unsalted)
1 can of fruit

Preferably, the fruit should be suspended in syrup. Growing up, we would use canned peaches or pie cherries. I decided to experiment a little and try using canned pineapple suspended in juice. Because the pineapple was suspended in juice rather than syrup, I modified my ingredient list slightly:

My Ingredients

1 box yellow cake mix
1 stick of butter
1 can of pineapple slices “in its own juice”
2 Tbsp agave nectar

 While you can literally dump everything into a baking dish and bake it, I try to make my ingredients a little more homogeneous, partially so I don’t end up with big sections of dry powder. The pineapple juice actually helped with this a lot. I also sliced up the butter and distributed it relatively evenly throughout the dish.

You can see that while I’ve tried to evenly distribute the ingredients, I haven’t bothered to actually mix them together. There is still dry powder, it’s just not all in one spot.

Instructions for baking

Follow the instructions from the box of cake mix you used (or from the cake mix recipe you used if you made this from scratch). I think I baked mine at around 375F for 30 minutes.

It isn’t intended to be a pretty cake, but if you’re craving buttery, sugary, cakey goodness, this is a quick way to fulfill that craving!

Note: Adding the agave nectar to thicken the juice seemed to work well. I thought I was going to use only half the juice in the can, but I ended up including all of it. I did crush the pineapple a bit with my blender — I did not include the rings whole. This helped me spread it through the cake mixture a lot more evenly, but I don’t think it was absolutely necessary.

Regarding cost: I already had everything I needed, so in the context of our food challenge, I used “$0.” If you were to buy all these, I still think you could make this cake for under $5. The agave nectar is the most expensive part. Most places I looked are selling bottles like the one I have for a minimum of $5 by itself. You can avoid this expense by substituting sugar (dissolving it in the juice before distributing it), substituting honey (though I’m not sure how much this would affect the flavor/texture since it’s thicker), or by using canned fruit suspended in syrup. Most canned fruit can be found for between $0.50 and $2.00. A box of yellow cake mix can run from about $0.75 to $2.50. Butter I saw ran about $2 a pound, or $0.50 per stick. Especially if you specifically budget the ingredients, you can make this cake very affordably.