Tag Archives: Cake

Baking backlog

So for my birthday a few months ago Mr. R gave me this AWESOME new stand mixer.  Man.  How did we ever bake anything without it?  Truly a life changer.

So with the various holidays, weddings and babies I’ve celebrated over the spring (did I mention how busy the spring was?), this thing was put to good use!

On Easter (yes, yes I’ve been that slow with updating), I made a cake inspired by the Washington Post’s peep diorama contest.

If you look real closely and use your imagination, you can kind of see it bears a resemblance to peeps engaged in an Easter egg hunt!  Ha.

I honestly don’t remember what cake recipe I used, but obviously any kind will do.

I will, however, say that with my stand mixer I was able to try a REAL buttercream icing — one that is meringue-based, not just butter and sugar — and let me tell you, I will never go back.  This stuff is like heaven.  And I’m not even a huge cake person.

Here is an overview of the various buttercream icings with a tutorial on Italian buttercream.  I made a Swiss buttercream using this recipe.  Pretty simple with fantastic results.

I also had to give this thing a try on royal icing — which was always a huge pain with just a handheld mixer.  AMAZING difference.  The most beautiful royal icing I have ever seen, with hardly any of the effort of before.  Again, life-changing!

It made these Easter-themed sugar cookies a breeze!  Well…..sorta 😉

I also could not resist making a batch of cookies for the baby shower of a dear family member of mine.  I mean…how cute are they?

Here is my post on baking and decorating sugar cookies with royal icing.  The Wilton website is also a great resource, which is where I got the idea for the teddy bears.  Of course, theirs looks much better than mine!

Tonight I’m going to put the mixer to use again in making pizza dough for my favorite pizza with radicchio and onion-balsamic marmalade.  But this time we’ll cook it on the grill!  Yum, can’t wait!




Chocolate-pumpkin bundt cake with ganache drizzle

If you have leftover pumpkin from Thanksgiving, here is a dessert recipe that transitions it right into the winter holiday season.  I made it for a certain-someone’s birthday yesterday, but it would look lovely on your Christmas table as well.

This recipe is adapted from Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Chocolate Desserts.

2 3/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1.5 t cinnamon
1/ t ginger
1/4 t cloves
1/4 t nutmeg
3/4 cup unsweetened dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/2 pound butter
1.5 t vanilla extract
2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
1 lb pumpkin puree
optional:  1.5 cups walnuts

For the ganache:
6 T heavy cream
6 oz semisweet chocolate


Place oven rack one-third up from the bottom and preheat oven to 325

Coat inside of bundt pan with butter (take very-soft-but-not-quite-melted butter and brush on thoroughly).

Dust very fine breadcrumbs (pulse through a food processor as necessary) on inside of buttered pan, shaking out excess.  Set aside

Using a sifter or mesh strainer, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and cocoa.  Set aside.

With an electric mixer, cream the butter, then beat in the sugar and vanilla.  Add the eggs one at a time.

On low speed, add half the dry ingredients.  Then mix in the pumpkin.

When the pumpkin is incorporated add the remaining dry ingredients.

Mix in the walnuts at this point if you would like.  I did not do this myself.

Carefully turn the batter into the bundt pan, smoothing the top.

Let bake for 1.5 hours, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

When it is done, let the cake cool in the pan a good 30+ minutes before carefully turning over onto a cooling rack.  Let cool several more hours before serving.

The original recipe does not call for icing but instead a dusting of confectioner’s sugar.  In my opinion, however, icing is the best part of cake!  So I made a simple ganache to drizzle over the top.

Ganache icing

Melt 6 ounces of semisweet chocolate with 6 tablespoons of heavy cream in a double boiler or a metal bowl placed over a pot of boiling water.

Stir continuously until chocolate is completely melted and incorporated into cream.

At this stage the icing will be very runny.  If you want a very drizzly look you could apply it to the cake now.  Otherwise let cool for about 15-20 minutes.

I just spooned it on top of the cake and sort of eased it over the sides at the indentations.  I left the cake on the cooling rack over a lined baking sheet for easier cleanup.

I wasn’t sure how the combination of chocolate and pumpkin spices would taste, but — it worked!  I also whipped up the remaining heavy cream with some maple syrup to serve on the side.  This cake was delicious and enjoyed by all.