Lucky Charms Cake

lucky charms cakeI’m pretty sure everyone is already saying this, but how is it already March? I’m definitely not complaining since I absolutely adore warm weather and I’m dying to be able to wear dresses without tights. As spring quickly approaches, the next holiday around the corner would be St. Patrick’s Day. Even closer is National Cereal Day, which is on March 7th. So I figured that I might as well tie up both and make this cake.
DSC_0584I’ve been thinking of something similar to this when I bought a bag full of “Lucky Charms” marshmallows. I say it in quotes because while it tastes very similar to the marshmallows in the cereal, the shapes of these marshmallows are less detailed and smaller. (I’m thinking it’s a copyright issue.) Either way, I wasn’t about to pick out each marshmallow from a box of Lucky Charms cereal, so I used this to decorate the outside of the cake. What is really funny is, that over time, the marshmallows will rehydrate from the frosting giving it a similar flavor and texture to a dehydrated marshmallow that was sitting in a pool of milk. They become darker in color and squishy and so this cake is best eaten the day it is baked.
DSC_0504The inside of the cake is frosted with cereal milk frosting, (like the one I posted in my cereal macaron post) but instead of Frosted Flakes, I used Lucky Charms cereal. The cereal milk turns a pale green and I think it’s perfect for the theme. The cake itself is funfetti since I was going along with the rainbow color scheme.
DSC_0526My absolute favorite part of the cake is the Lucky Charms bark I made from the marshmallows, different colors of candy melts and chock full of every kind of decorative sprinkle. You start off with a melted slab of white candy melt and swirl different colors of melted candy melts using a toothpick and then swipe along the top with an offset spatula. It blends beautifully and makes a watercolored candy bark. Then you pretty much go ham with however you want to top it. I think it’s important to restrain yourself when you do this so that you can still see the colors of the bark.
DSC_0578I had some confetti macaron shells leftover from a baking order, so I stuck some marshmallow pieces on top of it and decorated the cake, but really, I don’t think it’s worth baking a whole batch of macarons for this. If you have it, great and if it not, it still looks beautiful without it. I should warn you that this is a very sweet cake. I suppose it shouldn’t come as a surprise given the funfetti inside and the marshmallows and candy outside. But it’s so stunning, I think it’s worth the sugar overload.

Lucky Charms Cake

Funfetti Buttermilk Cake (recipe below)
Lucky Charms Cereal Milk Frosting (recipe below)
Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream (recipe below)
Lucky Charms Marshmallows
Lucky Charms Bark (recipe below)
Funfetti Macarons (optional, recipe in this post)

Instructions:

  1. Evenly fill and stack each layer of funfetti cake with cereal milk frosting.
  2. Crumb coat the cake with a thin layer of the remaining cereal milk frosting
  3. Place cake in freezer for 5 minutes until the frosting on the outside sets firmly.
  4. Once crumb coat is set, frost the entire cake with swiss meringue buttercream.
  5. Take a handful of marshmallows and slowly cup the outside of the cake, patting it to ensure full coverage.
  6. Let the outside set in freezer for 5 minutes.
  7. Take cake out and top the cake with shards of Lucky Charms bark and macarons if desired.

Funfetti Buttermilk Cake

Ingredients:

2 c. cake flour
1⅓ c. sugar
¾ tbsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
¾ c. buttermilk, divided
6 oz. unsalted butter, room temperature
3 eggs, room temperature
1 ½ egg yolks
1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
¾ c. rainbow sprinkles

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F and line four 6-inch cake pans with parchment paper.
  2. In a bowl of a standing mixer with the paddle attachment, add flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix until combined.
  3. On low speed, add ½ c. buttermilk and butter and mix until combined.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, egg yolks, ¼ c. buttermilk, and vanilla extract until homogeneous.
  5. On low speed, slowly add the egg mixture to the flour mixture.
  6. Increase speed to medium, and mix until combined.
  7. Fold in sprinkles into the batter.
  8. Evenly divide cake batter into the four cake pans.
  9. Bake about 20-25 minutes until cake is done or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  10. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, and then move onto a cooling rack until completely cool.

Lucky Charms Cereal Milk Frosting (for the filling)

Ingredients:

1½ c. cereal milk (recipe below)
1/4 c. flour
½ tsp. kosher salt
8 oz. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ c. sugar
½ tsp. vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. In a small pot over medium heat, whisk milk, salt and flour until combined.
  2. Continuously whisk mixture until thickened to a pudding like consistency.
  3. Once thickened, strain through a mesh strainer into a bowl with a spatula to remove lumps.
  4. Place a piece of plastic wrap on top of the flour mixture (to prevent skin from forming) and put bowl into the fridge until fully cool.
  5. In a mixer bowl fitted with the whisk attachment, mix the sugar and butter on high speed until fluffy and pale about, 5-10 minutes.
  6. Add the chilled flour mixture and continue to whip on high speed until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture is no longer gritty, about 5-10 minutes.
  7. Add the vanilla extract and mix until combined.

Cereal Milk

Ingredients:

3 ½ c. Lucky Charms cereal
4 c. whole milk, cold

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, mix cereal and milk and steep for 30 minutes, until cereal is soggy.
  2. Strain mixture through a fine mesh strainer. (Do not force mixture through mesh strainer. The resulting milk will be starchy and thicker than what you started with.)

Vanilla Meringue Buttercream (for the outside)

Ingredients:

1 c. sugar
4 large egg whites
3 sticks unsalted butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Simmer an inch of water in a medium pot.
  2. In the bowl of a standing mixer, whisk egg whites and sugar together.
  3. Place the bowl over the pot of simmering water and whisk the egg white and sugar mixture continuously until the mixture becomes lighter and no longer grainy.
  4. Remove the bowl from the pot and transfer the bowl into the mixer fitted with a whisk attachment.
  5. Mix on high until mixture becomes white and fluffy, and cool (check for this by seeing if the outside of the bowl is cool to the touch).
  6. Add in vanilla extract and butter one stick at a time until a silky smooth frosting forms.

Lucky Charms Bark

Ingredients:

white candy melts
yellow candy melts
orange candy melts
sky blue candy melts
pink candy melts
purple candy melts
Lucky Charms cereal marshmallows
any type of sprinkles you would like to use

Instructions:

*Note: You want to move fast before the candy melts set. Try to have all of the sprinkles, marshmallows, and candy melts out and on hand before you start this recipe.

  1. Line a sheet pan with wax paper.
  2. Melt white candy melts in a bowl and spread thinly in a rectangular shape onto the wax paper.
  3. On a separate plate, melt about 3-4 disks of each color of the candy melt separately,
  4. Using a toothpick, make swirls of different colors all over the slab of white candy melt.
  5. Using an offset spatula, smooth the top of the bark in one fluid horizontal stroke.
  6. Place the marshmallows and sprinkles before the candy bark sets.
  7. Before the candy bark sets completely, (when it is similar to very soft chocolate) take a sharp knife and score shards of candy bark by making triangular shapes into the candy melt.
  8. When the candy bark sets, break along the lines you made with your knife.

Weekday Update

pink swirl cakeIt’s been a quiet few weeks on the busy spatula. Mostly, I’ve been busy filling cake orders and baking here and there. Not enough photos to write an actual blog about, but just enough for a glimpse of what’s been going on. (If you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw some of these already.)

Pink and Gold Swirl Cake – It’s such a whimsical cake, I couldn’t help taking close up photos of this one. Swirled with pastel pink and white frosting then filled to the brim with pearls, gold stars, and dragees. It was four layers of chocolate cake filled with toffee coffee frosting.

DSC_0487DSC_0428DSC_0475DSC_0477

Baymax Macarons – I wanted to post these for Valentine’s Day, but I never had the time. Place a few red heart sprinkles on each macaron and draw in two circles and connect with a line with a black edible color marker. I filled the inside with some leftover strawberry frosting. So simple and very cute.

baymax macarons baymax macarons

Pink Ombre Ranunculus Cake – The inside of this cake was layered with layers of pink ombre cake. Filled with fresh strawberry frosting and topped with fresh ranunclus, it was so pretty. I originally wanted peonies, but the florist didn’t have any that were in bloom. Did you know that you had to order peonies in advance? I never knew.

pink ombre flower cakeranunculus flowers on cake

Conversation Heart Macarons with Vanilla Elderflower Frosting

Conversation Heart Macarons I learned how stubborn I could be when I went to buy a bag of conversation hearts this past week. I was so convinced that the original conversation hearts were made by Brach’s, I stood in the candy aisle for 5 minutes debating whether Brach’s or Necco made the original conversation hearts with my sister. I guess the average person would’ve pulled out their phone right away and searched Google, but I felt like I was pretty darn sure I was right. Turns out I was wrong. It was originally made by Necco.
valentines day macaronsI was basing my fact on the memory of the boxes of conversation hearts I received during Valentine’s Day in elementary school. Many of my teachers would set up a big box for students to put in Valentine’s Day cards and hand them out on the big day. Some kids would bring a bag full of identical valentines to give out to everyone so no one felt left out. Some kids of course, received more valentines than others, but the usual stash would be a lip or heart shaped lollipop, Hershey’s kisses, and small boxes of conversation hearts. I never really liked the conversation hearts because (if memory serves me right) they tasted like chalk. But if I ever received a box from a crush I would read each heart wishing that it was a heartfelt message from them. SMH Boy crazy from such a young age I tell ya.
macaron batterSo I took a page from my childhood memory and turned them into macarons. I’ll tell you straight off the bat that these macarons are a labor of love. Perhaps it’s because my macarons are made with an Italian meringue or because I just plain stink at it, piping macaron batter into a heart shape is not easy. The batter wants to cling onto your piping tip and ruin the pointed ends that you want to achieve. Also, dividing the batter into 5 colors and changing the piping bag and washing the piping tip 5 times is tedious. And if you only have one spatula? You would have to clean that spatula every time you mix a different color for the batter and you would be dirtying 5 different bowls. This is FIVE times the work required people!

Not-So-Heart-Shaped-Macarons
Not-So-Heart-Shaped-Macarons
The frosting on the other hand is my favorite vanilla frosting flavored with Elderflower concentrate. If you’ve ever been to Ikea, you may have seen the boxed juices that they sell. Elderflower has a mild floral and tart flavor. Why did I add the elderflower concentrate? Because in my mind, flowers = romance = Valentine’s Day.
Conversation Heart Macarons The extra labor aside, these bite size macarons are super cute and would make a very thoughtful gift. Also, I know they’re delicious because the entire batch was gone in one night. 🙂
Conversation Heart Macaron

Conversation Heart Macarons with Vanilla Elderflower Frosting
Makes about 50 small macarons

*Here is a link to the heart template that I used for my macarons:
-Macaron heart template left
-Macaron heart template right

Ingredients:
212 g. almond meal
212 g. powdered sugar
172 g. egg whites, divided to 82 g. and 90 g (aged, if possible)
236 g. sugar
158 g. water
pink gel food coloring
yellow gel food coloring
green gel food coloring
purple gel food coloring
blue gel food coloring
1 batch vanilla elderflower frosting
red food color pen

Instructions:

  1. Line two baking sheets with heart template left and right and parchment paper or silicone mats.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, add the almond meal and powdered sugar and pulse until thoroughly combined.
  3. Sift the mixture over a large mixing bowl, throwing out the lumps as they appear.  Add 82 g. of the egg whites and stir until you get a thick mixture.
  4. Divide the almond mixture into 5 different bowls. Each fifth of the batter should weight 101g.
  5. Color each almond mixture with pink, yellow, green, purple and blue gel food coloring. Set aside.
  6. In a small pot attached with a candy thermometer, combine the sugar and water over medium heat and boil until the syrup reaches 200˚F.
  7. Once the syrup reaches 200˚F, start whipping the remaining 90 g. in the bowl of your stand mixer with the whisk attachment on medium speed until soft peaks are reached.
  8. Once the syrup reaches 248 ˚F, remove the pot off the burner and slowly pour the syrup down the side of the mixing bowl with the egg whites on medium speed.
  9. Once the egg whites are fully incorporated, increase the speed to medium high until egg whites form glossy, stiff peaks.
  10. Place one fifth of the egg mixture into each bowl of the colored almond mixture. Fold the egg white mixture into the almond mixture until the mixture “flows like magma”.  The mixture should be smooth and run thick ribbons off the spatula.
  11. With a pastry bag fitted with a ½ in. plain tip, fill the piping bag with the pink macaron batter.
  12. Pipe one side of the heart, releasing pressure as you get to the pointy tip and repeat with the other side of the heart.
  13. The piped batter may have peaks but should smooth away in a minute or two.
  14. Every time you change the batter color, remember to clean the piping tip and use a new bag.
  15. Let the batter stand until the tops of the macarons are dry to the touch, about 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  16. Preheat the oven to 325-350˚F.  If your oven tends to run hot go for 325˚F, if not then 350˚F.
  17. Lower the heat to from 350˚F to 300˚F. (If starting from 325˚F, lower to 275˚F.)
  18. Bake 8-10 minutes, until the feet are formed and the tops are smooth.  The macaron shell is done when you slightly wiggle it and it starts to come off of the parchment paper / silicone mat.
  19. Remove pan from oven and reheat oven to higher temperature for 10 minutes before baking the next tray, lowering the temperature when you start baking it.
  20. Continue until you bake all of the macaron shells.
  21. Once the macarons have cooled, pair each macaron shell to one of a similar size.
  22. Use the red food coloring pen to write out messages on one side of the macaron.
  23. Let dry and sandwich each macaron with vanilla elderflower frosting.

Vanilla Elderflower Frosting
Ingredients:
1 c. whole milk
¼ c. flour
⅛ tsp. salt
8 oz. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 c. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
4-6 tbsp. elderflower concentrate

Instructions:

  1. In a small pot over medium heat, whisk milk, salt and flour until combined.
  2. Continuously whisk mixture until thickened to a pudding like consistency.
  3. Once thickened, strain through a mesh strainer into a bowl with a spatula to remove lumps.
  4. Place a piece of plastic wrap on top of the flour mixture (to prevent skin from forming) and put bowl into the fridge until fully cool.
  5. In a mixer bowl fitted with the whisk attachment, mix the sugar and butter on high speed until fluffy and pale about, 5-10 minutes.
  6. Add the chilled flour mixture and continue to whip on high speed until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture is no longer gritty, about 5-10 minutes.
  7. Add vanilla extract and 4 tbsp. of elderflower concentrate.
  8. Taste and if you want a stronger flavor, add another 2 tbsp. of elderflower concentrate.

 

Calcifer Meringues

howl's moving castle meringues
“May all your bacon burn.”

If you still haven’t watched Miyazaki’s Howl’s Moving Castle, then I’m pretty sure you are confused (or possibly amused) by today’s post. When I mentioned it to my sister, her reaction was, “That sounds like Lucifer, or a devil.” Actually, a very similar response was echoed by my friend. (They both did not watch the movie.)
Calcifer MeringuesCalcifer is a fire demon and in the English dubbed version of the movie, is voiced by Billy Crystal (aka. Mike Wazawoski from Monsters, Inc., Miracle Max from Princess Bride or Harry from When Harry Met Sally <= my favorite movie of all time!). Incredibly cute and boisterous at times, he is one of the most memorable characters of the movie.making meringuesThe meringue recipe I’m sharing is delicious and can be flavored with different extract or add-ins, but this time I chose to keep it simple by tinting it in different colors and shaping it so it has a flame-like body. Stirring the gel food coloring does deflate the meringue a bit and spooning it onto the parchment paper in layered dollops seems to produce a few cracks in the meringue. This is just a theory because I’ve made this recipe before and it produces very white, no-crack meringues when piped into little shapes.
inside meringue cookieI wanted the meringues to be super vibrant, but this is as bright as I could get them without compromising the structure of the meringue batter. As for the inside of the meringue, the color is much more vibrant on the inside and I am in love with it. Color and small crack issues aside, the meringues are melt-in-your-mouth crisp and has a wonderful marshmallow-y chewy interior. It’s love at
first bite.
calcifer cookies

Calcifer Meringues
Makes 7 Large Meringues

Ingredients
300 g. superfine sugar
150 g. egg whites, room temperature
1 pinch cream of tartar
yellow gel food color
orange gel food color
red gel food color
white candy melts
candy eyes

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400˚F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Spread sugar in an even layer over parchment.
  3. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add the egg whites and the cream of tartar.
  4. Place sugar into the oven and bake until the edges of the sugar begins to melt but not brown, about 5 minutes.
  5. Once the sugar begins to melt, turn the mixer onto high.
  6. Remove baking sheet from the oven and the eggs whites should be foamy.
  7. Turn the mixer to medium high and slowly pour the hot sugar from the parchment paper into egg whites.
  8. Once all the sugar is added, turn the mixer onto high and mix until stiff, shiny peaks form.
  9. Divide batter evenly into three separate bowls, coloring each portion red, yellow and orange.
  10. Reduce oven to lowest setting 140˚F.
  11. Line another baking sheet with parchment paper.
  12. Taking two spoons, place a dollop of the yellow batter and layer it with the orange and then the red. Repeat until all the meringue batter is used.
  13. Bake about 2-3 hours until they are crisp and hollow.
  14. Turn off oven and let it dry out for about 30 minutes to an hour.
  15. When meringues are completely cool and dry, melt two white candy melt wafers and dot behind two eyes and place the eyes onto the bottom third of Calcifer’s face.
  16. Let candy melt set and you are now ready to enjoy your meringue.

Meringue recipe adapted from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook.

 

BB-8 Cake Pops

bb-8 cake popsIf you’ve been a reader of my blog, you would know that I’m kind of a Star Wars fan. If you haven’t, you might want to check out a couple of parties I’ve thrown (here and here). So you can imagine how excited I am for the next installment to the Star Wars Series. (Very.)
bb8 r2d2 cake popI swear I got goosebumps the first time I saw the trailer. But what caught my eye the most was the glimpse of the new droid, BB-8. At first, I thought it was a head rolling on a soccer ball, but it’s not. It’s a droid and a really cute one too. When I saw that they released a BB-8 droid, I was very tempted to buy it. But then what would I do with it? It would probably sit there collecting dust or I could make Bear chase it around. I think I would rather put the money towards a new pair of shoes. But then again, it’s like a functioning mini droid. Ahh… first world problems.

bb-8 cake popshow to make a bb8 cake popSo I built myself a mini droid of my own, a cake pop. A ridiculous, time-consuming but adorable cake pop. Now, if I can only get it to roll around on its own…
how to make a bb-8 cake pop
BB-8 Cake Pops

You will need:
1 batch of vanilla cake (or boxed cake if you prefer)
1 batch of vanilla frosting (or canned frosting if you prefer)
cake pop sticks
white candy melts
gray fondant
blue fondant
orange fondant
black fondant
water, to attach the fondant
thin paintbrush
silver shimmer dust (edible)
vodka
x-acto knife (highly recommended to cut out tiny shapes)

  1. Crumble cake to cake crumbs and add in frosting ¼ c. at a time, until you get a play dough consistency. You want to make sure you work in the frosting completely, and that every crumb is mixed evenly.
  2. With ¾ of the cake dough, roll 1 ½ tablespoon sized balls. With the ¼ of the cake dough, roll 1 tablespoon sized balls. Chill thoroughly.
  3. Remove from fridge and using floss or a sharp knife, cut the 1 tablespoon sized balls in half (this is the head).
  4. On a cake pop stick, insert the half sphere cake ball followed by the round 1½ tablespoon sized cake ball. (As shown in the picture above. Picture 1)
  5. Melt white candy melts and coat the entire cake pop completely.
  6. Set it to the side to dry and set. Continue with other cake pops until all of them are coated. (As shown in the picture above. Picture 2)
  7. From this point forward, use the thin paintbrush and water to glue the fondant pieces onto the cake pop.
  8. Cut out a thin gray stripe of fondant and wrap around the top of the cake pop. (As shown in the picture above. Picture 3)
  9. Round out a pea-sized black fondant and shape it to a hemisphere and attach it slightly below the center of the gray stripe. (As shown in the picture above. Picture 4)
  10. Cut out a very thin orange stripe of fondant and wrap around below the gray fondant stripe stopping at the upper third part of the black fondant. (As shown in the picture above. Picture 5)
  11. Round out a small head of a pin sized black fondant and attach it diagonally from the pea sized black fondant. (As shown in the picture above. Picture 6)
  12. Cut out a very thin gray stripe and wrap around the circumference of the head of BB-8. (As shown in the picture above. Picture 7)
  13. Cut out tiny squares and rectangles from the orange fondant and attach it above the very thin gray stripe, on the outer third of the cake pop. (As shown in the picture above. Picture 8)
  14. Use a small dab of blue fondant and attach it below the pea sized black fondant. (As shown in the picture above. Picture 9)
  15. Cut out ¾ in. circles and cut out an “x” shape in the center. Attach it to the bottom left hand corner of the cake pop. (As shown in the picture above. Picture 10)
  16. Attach another circle to the upper right hand corner of the cake pop, cutting out the top portion. (As shown in the picture above. Picture 11)
  17. Cut out a small orange stripe and attach it to the bottom right hand corner of the cake pop. (As shown in the picture above. Picture 12)
  18. Using the gray fondant, cut out a small pea sized gray circle. Cut into thirds and place inside the center of the orange circle on the left hand corner. (As shown in the picture above. Picture 13)
  19. Cut out two small triangles and place on the opposite ends of the small gray circle. (As shown in the picture above. Picture 14)
  20. Cut out some random stripes of thin gray fondant and place on the center of the orange circle in the upper right hand corner. (As shown in the picture above. Picture 15)
  21. Cut out small gray circle and place in center of orange circle in the lower right hand corner. (As shown in the picture above. Picture 16)
  22. Cut out thin gray fondant stripes, and connect orange circles. (As shown in the picture above. Picture 17)
  23. Using tiny pieces of gray fondant, dot the corners of the gray fondant stripes, making “rivets”. (As shown in the picture above. Picture 18)
  24. Using a very thin strip of gray fondant, outline the smaller black dot on the head. (As shown in the picture above. Picture 19)
  25. Mix few droplets of vodka into the silver shimmer to create edible silver paint.
  26. Using a very thin brush, paint the gray fondant of the cake pop to give it a metallic sheen. You can also give a swipe of paint to the black circles to give it dimension. (As shown in the picture above. Picture 20)

The Ultimate Oreo Ice Cream Cake with Homemade Crunchies

how to make an ice cream cake

I would say that whenever the topic of ice cream cakes come up, about 75% of the people I talk to gush about how much they love crunchies. You know, the crunchy chocolate crumbs that are usually sandwiched between the vanilla and chocolate ice cream layers in a standard store bought ice cream cake. So when D requested a cookies and cream ice cream cake, with an extra thick layer of crunchies, I set out to make the ultimate cookies and cream ice cream cake.
cookies n' cream ice cream cakeOn another note, I’m not sure if it is cookies n’ cream, cookies n’ creme, cookies and creme, cookies and cream or Oreo. Does anyone know what the “right” way to say it is? The grammar Nazi in my brain says “cookies and cream” but the media uses all of them.  So instead of driving myself crazy, I’m going to use them all interchangeably.
cookies and cream ice cream cakeTo be honest, I was a little disappointed when he requested such a standard flavor. My mind was whizzing with all sorts of crazy flavor combinations (something along the lines of toasted marshmallows, drizzly caramel, crushed salted nuts…) and went to a complete stop when he said cookies and cream. But it’s okay because I took cookies and cream to the next level with this cake. (Kind of like that episode in Friends where Phoebe takes cups and ice to the next level.)
oreo browniesIt starts with an Oreo brownie base, layered with homemade crunchies (just two ingredients, and so easy), with a very generous layer of cookies and cream ice cream (two quarts!), layered again with crunchies and brownie base.
oreo barkIt is then covered in whipped topping, topped with a decadent chocolate ganache (Omg. It was my favorite part of the cake), and decorated with scoops of whipped topping that look like scoops of ice cream (plain and Oreo flavored), and topped with shards of Oreo bark, cookie crumbs and whole mini Oreos. Every single component screams cookies and cream and every bite is as amazing as it sounds.
cookies and cream ice cream cake
The Ultimate Oreo Ice Cream Cake with Homemade Crunchies

Ingredients
2 – 8” round Oreo brownie layers (recipe below)
1 batch homemade crunchies (recipe below)
2 quarts of cookies and cream ice cream, softened*
20 oz. cool whip
chocolate ganache (recipe below)
mini Oreos
¼ c. white chocolate or white candy melts

Instructions:

  1. Line two 8-inch cake pans with plastic wrap. In each pan, put in one Oreo brownie layer.
  2. Split the batch of homemade crunchies in half and spread each half on top of each Oreo brownie layer.
  3. Layer a quart of cookies and cream ice cream in each cake pan, smoothing the top.
  4. Top with plastic wrap and freeze until completely frozen, either over night or 8 hours.
  5. Unmold each cake pan carefully and sandwich the two layers, the ice cream layer meeting in the center and brownie layer facing outwards. Refreeze in freezer for 10 minutes.
  6. Frost the outside of the cake with cool whip. Refreeze in freezer until cool whip is firm.
  7. Crush some mini Oreos and mix Oreo crumbs in half of the remaining cool whip. Leaving the other half plain.
  8. Once cool whip has set, smooth ganache over the top of the cake, letting it drip down the sides. Sprinkle some cookie crumbs on top of ganache before it sets. Place cake in freezer until ganache is completely set.
  9. Using a cookie scoop, layer alternating scoops of Oreo and plain cool whip, sprinkling with cookie crumbs as you go. Freeze to set.
  10. While ice cream is freezing, melt white chocolate/candy melts in a microwave safe bowl being careful not to burn the chocolate.
  11. Line a small sheet pan with wax paper and smooth the melted chocolate evenly using an offset spatula. Top with crushed mini Oreos, and whole mini Oreos. Put in freezer to set.
  12. Break chocolate into shards and reserve for cake.
  13. Once the ice cream cake is set, remove cake from freezer, and decorate the top with the white chocolate shards and top with extra mini Oreos for a grand effect.

Oreo Brownies

Ingredients:
1 box brownie mix, plus ingredients needed to make brownies according to mix**
16 Oreos

Instructions:

  1. Prepare two 8-inch cake pans by spraying with nonstick spray and lining the bottom with parchment paper.
  2. Preheat oven to temperature on the package.
  3. Mix brownie batter according to package and divide evenly between two cake pans.
  4. Place 7 Oreos in a circular formation in each pan, and Oreo in the center.
  5. Bake half of the time said on the package.
  6. Let cool and reserve for cake.

Homemade Crunchies

Ingredients:
30 Oreo cookies
1 – 7.25 oz. bottle of Magic Shell ice cream topping

Instructions:

  1. Using a food processor, Crush Oreos into even crumbs.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix cookie crumbs and ice cream topping until each crumb is well coated.
  3. Reserve for cake.

Chocolate Ganache

Ingredients:
8 oz. dark chocolate, chopped
¾ c. heavy whipping cream

Instructions:

  1. In a heatproof bowl, pour heavy cream on top of chocolate and microwave for one minute.
  2. Let stand 3 minutes and stir until combined.

*I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you want to use the premium stuff for ice cream cakes. Because the higher quality ice cream has less air content, it will melt slower. I used Trader Joe’s Joe-Joe’s n’ Cream.
**Yes, I shun cake mixes, but brownie mixes are pretty good in my book. I’m in love with the Ghirardelli brand mixes. Plus, when making a cake with this many components, simplifying any part is worth it.
***Homemade crunchies recipe from Our Best Bites.

Cereal Macarons with Cereal Milk Frosting

Cereal Macarons with Cereal Milk Frosting 3Cereal and I have a love/hate relationship. I love how there are endless flavors and textures, how each cereal turns plain milk into a unique drink, and how you can eat it for pretty much any meal or snack (and even when you run out of milk, you can eat it plain, kind of like teeny tiny cookies).
Cereal Macarons with Cereal Milk Frosting 1 fruit loops macarons cereal milk frosting recipe cereal milk frosting On the other hand, I hate it for two reasons: 1) I pretty much cannot stop eating it once I open it up. It’s rare for me to have the “recommended serving”. I once took out a measuring cup and measured exactly one serving. Dude, it’s the size of my fist and I have small fists. 2) I hate soggy cereal. I think there is nothing worse than fully saturated cereal. It gets all mushy and some even start deteriorating into the milk. Don’t ask me to do something once that milk hits the bowl, because unless it’s a real emergency I’m taking the five minutes to eat it.
Cereal Macarons with Cereal Milk Frosting 2cereal macarons recipecereal macaron recipeThis recipe takes two of the best parts of cereal: the crispy bits and the cereal milk.  No sogginess, and you can customize each macaron flavor to whatever you wish! The cereal milk from this recipe tastes like the cereal milk you would get from Frosted Corn Flakes. (I got the inspiration from Momofuku Milk Bar’s cereal milk soft serve.) I suppose you could try using a different cereal (sans the toasting) and you would technically get the flavor that cereal’s milk.
lucky charms macaron fruit loops macaron frosted cheerios macaroncocoa pebbles macaron trix macaron cinnamon toast crunch macaronIt was really exciting to watch them bake and I loved seeing them in so many different colors and textures. The Lucky Charms batch smelled especially good in the oven. I think it was the marshmallow bits baking and yes, they were magically delicious.

Cereal Macarons with Cereal Milk Frosting

Ingredients:
212 g. almond meal
212 g. powdered sugar
172 g. egg whites, divided to 82 g. and 90 g (aged, if possible)
236 g. sugar
158 g. water
cereal of your choice, crushed (I bought the multipack of mini bags to have a variety.)
cereal milk frosting (recipe below)

Instructions:

  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, add the almond meal and powdered sugar and pulse until thoroughly combined.
  3. Sift the mixture over a large mixing bowl, throwing out the lumps as they appear.  Add 82 g. of the egg whites and stir until you get a thick mixture.
  4. In a small pot attached with a candy thermometer, combine the sugar and water over medium heat and boil until the syrup reaches 200˚F.
  5. Once the syrup reaches 200˚F, start whipping the remaining 90 g. in the bowl of your stand mixer with the whisk attachment on medium speed until soft peaks are reached.
  6. Once the syrup reaches 248 ˚F, remove the pot off the burner and slowly pour the syrup down the side of the mixing bowl with the egg whites on medium speed.
  7. Once the egg whites are fully incorporated, increase the speed to medium high until egg whites form glossy, stiff peaks.
  8. Mix a ⅓ of the egg white mix to the almond mixture and stir together until the batter is slightly lighter and less pasty.  From then on, fold in ⅓ of the egg white mixture at a time until the mixture “flows like magma”.  The mixture should be smooth and run thick ribbons off the spatula.
  9. With a pastry bag fitted with a ½ in. plain tip, pipe 1¼ – 1½ in. rounds.
  10. The piped batter may have peaks but should smooth away in a minute or two.
  11. On half of the macaron shells, sprinkle on desired crushed cereal.
  12. Let the batter stand until the tops of the macarons are dry to the touch, about 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  13. Preheat the oven to 325-350˚F.  If your oven tends to run hot go for 325˚F, if not then 350˚F.
  14. Lower the heat to from 350˚F to 300˚F. (If starting from 325˚F, lower to 275˚F.)
  15. Bake 10-12 minutes, until the feet are formed and the tops are smooth.  The macaron shell is done when you slightly wiggle it and it starts to come off of the parchment paper / silicone mat.
  16. Remove pan from oven and reheat oven to higher temperature for 10 minutes before baking the next tray, lowering the temperature when you start baking it.
  17. Pipe a dollop of cereal milk frosting on the plain macaron shell.
  18. Top it with crushed cereal macaron, flattening it slightly to push the frosting to the outer edge.
  19. *This step is optional but I prefer to age my macarons. To do so, place assembled macarons in an airtight container and refrigerate overnight. The next day, the macaron shells will have softened slightly and in my opinion, more delicious.

Cereal Milk Frosting

1½ c. cereal milk (recipe below)
1/4 c. flour
½ tsp. kosher salt
8 oz. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ c. sugar
½ tsp. vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. In a small pot over medium heat, whisk milk, salt and flour until combined.
  2. Continuously whisk mixture until thickened to a pudding like consistency.
  3. Once thickened, strain through a mesh strainer into a bowl with a spatula to remove lumps.
  4. Place a piece of plastic wrap on top of the flour mixture (to prevent skin from forming) and put bowl into the fridge until fully cool.
  5. In a mixer bowl fitted with the whisk attachment, mix the sugar and butter on high speed until fluffy and pale about, 5-10 minutes.
  6. Add the chilled flour mixture and continue to whip on high speed until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture is no longer gritty, about 5-10 minutes.
  7. Add the vanilla extract and mix until combined.

Cereal Milk

Ingredients:

3 ½ c. Corn Flakes cereal
4 c. whole milk, cold

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300˚F.
  2. On a sheet pan lined with parchment paper, toast cereal for 5-7 minutes, until slightly deeper in color.
  3. Cool toasted cereal.
  4. In a large bowl, mix cereal and milk and steep for 30 minutes, until cereal is soggy.
  5. Strain mixture through a fine mesh strainer. (Do not force mixture through mesh strainer. The resulting milk will be starchy and thicker than what you started with.)

*Macaron recipe adapted from Bouchon Bakery by Thomas Keller, Sebastien Rouxel.
*Cereal milk recipe adapted from Momofuku Milk Bar by Christina Tosi, David Chang.

Tiramisu Crunch Ice Cream Cake

Tiramisu Crunch Ice Cream Cake 1I made this cake for my sister’s birthday last week. As far as sisters go, my sister and I are as different as night and day. We don’t look alike, with the exception that we both share freckles. Growing up, I would be pale from staying in and reading books while she would be as tan as can be from playing outside. She loves the color black while I love white. She is loud and I am quiet. She prefers vegetables, while I prefer steak. She likes things simple and casual while I cannot get enough frills and bows. She favors pants in comparison to my preference to dresses. She is also not partial to desserts whereas I cannot live without them (as evidenced by this blog). I always tell people that whatever she is good at, I lack it and whatever I am good at, she lacks it.
Tiramisu Ice Cream Cake 3I love creating cakes and I look forward to baking one for all of my family members on their special day. But my sister does not like cake. HOW?! As someone whose life (or a good part of their life) revolves around frosting, and sugar and flour, it is hard to understand someone who does not like cake. So every year on her birthday, I resort to an ice cream cake. Because let’s face it, who doesn’t like ice cream?
Tiramisu Crunch Ice Cream Cake 2Tiramisu was one of my least favorite desserts because I used to rarely drink coffee. If anything, I loved it for the mascarpone cream. (Ah, mascarpone cream… everything you touch becomes a magical milky confection.) But ever since I gave up diet coke, I’ve been leaning towards coffee for my caffeine fix and I’ve managed to fall in love with the bitter brew. My sister’s preferred choice of drink has always been coffee, so tiramisu was a no-brainer when it came to a flavor choice.
layoutI have to say, this cake ranks as one of the best cakes to come out of my kitchen. It features layers of coffee ice cream sandwiched between coffee syrup soaked sponge cake, chocolate almond crispies (!!!), and is covered by a blanket of mascarpone whipped cream and adorned with dark chocolate accents and cocoa powder. I know. It sounds like it is too much work and it is true that there are many components to the cake. However, each part is simple to make!
mascarpone cream I always use high quality ice cream when it comes to ice cream cakes. It is important to have the lower air content so that the ice cream stays firmer, longer. I used Haagen-Dazs in mine. The sponge cake is a standard sponge cake that is divided in half. The coffee syrup is nothing more than a mix of sugar and dark brewed coffee. The chocolate almond crispies provide a crunch and a textural contrast to the smooth ice cream and cake. To make it, you simply stir chocolate almond spread with Rice Krispies cereal until it is evenly coated. The mascarpone whipped cream is a mix of vanilla extract, powdered sugar, mascarpone, and cool whip. I am not a fan of cool whip, but when it comes to ice cream cakes, I think it is superior in terms of spreadability and stability. To make the chocolate accents, simply melt some chocolate and using a small offset spatula, drag a dollop of chocolate over parchment paper and repeat until you have as many pieces as you need. They will not all look uniform, but I think that’s what makes it look slightly “rustic”.
Tiramisu Ice Cream Cake 4I understand if you are a little overwhelmed by it. But trust me, it is worth every minute you spend making it. 😉

Tiramisu Crunch Ice Cream Cake

Ingredients:

56 oz. premium coffee ice cream, softened
sponge cake, halved horizontally (recipe below)
coffee simple syrup (recipe below)
chocolate almond crispies (recipe below)
whipped mascarpone cream (recipe below)
dark chocolate, melted (for garnish)
cocoa powder (for garnish)

Instructions:

  1. Line two 8-inch cake pans that are 3 inches deep with a double layer of plastic wrap that overhangs over the cake pan.
  2. In one of the cake pans, place one half of the sponge cake and brush liberally with coffee syrup. (You do not want to soak the cake, but put enough of it that it is moist.)
  3. Layer 28 oz. of coffee ice cream over the cake base, smooth so that the coffee base is as smooth as you can get it.
  4. Place pan in freezer for about 10 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, make the chocolate almond crispies.
  6. Get half of the chocolate almond crispies and layer it over the ice cream, flattening it with an offset spatula to make it as flat, even and smooth as possible.
  7. Wrap the overhanging plastic wrap over the cake pan and place in freezer until completely frozen, preferably overnight.
  8. In the second lined cake pan, smooth 28 oz. of coffee ice cream with offset spatula evenly.
  9. Chill in freezer for 10 minutes.
  10. Layer the remaining chocolate almond crispies over the coffee ice cream.
  11. Place the second half of the sponge cake and brush liberally with coffee simple syrup.
  12. Wrap the overhanging plastic wrap over the cake pan and place in freezer until completely frozen, preferably overnight.
  13. On a cake board you are planning to serve, carefully unmold the first cake pan you put together by lifting the plastic wrap off of the pan and unwrapping it completely.
  14. Take the second cake pan and unmold it, and place on top of the first cake pan layer with the sponge cake layer facing downwards. Apply pressure to fuse the two layers together.
  15. Place in freezer to harden for about 20-30 minutes.
  16. Meanwhile, make the whipped mascarpone cream.
  17. Remove frozen cake from freezer and frost the outside of the cake with ¾ of the whipped mascarpone cream.
  18. Place cake back in the freezer and put the remaining whipped mascarpone cream in a piping bag with a plain large round tip.
  19. Remove cake from freezer and use the piping bag to place decorative dollops of cream over the top of the cake by making even vertical rows of cream.
  20. Using a mesh strainer, liberally dust the top of the cake with cocoa powder. The cocoa powder will dust the surface of the cake board too, carefully use a wet paper towel to clean the cake board off.
  21. Place cake back in the freezer.
  22. While cake is freezing, make decorative chocolate pieces.
  23. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  24. Using a small offset spatula, drag dollops of dark chocolate to create a streak. Use larger dollops for the bottom and smaller dollops for the top. Place in refrigerator to set for 5-10 minutes.
  25. When set, remove the cake from the freezer and decorate the bottom of the cake with the longer chocolate pieces and the top of the cake with the smaller chocolate pieces.
  26. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Vanilla Sponge Cake

Ingredients:

½ c. all-purpose flour
½ c. cornstarch
4 large eggs, separated
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¾ c. sugar, divided
pinch of salt

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F and grease the inside of an 8 inch baking pan with nonstick spray.
  2. In a small bowl, sift together flour and cornstarch.
  3. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg yolks, vanilla extract, and ½ c. sugar on high until thick and pale.
  4. Transfer mixture into a large bowl.
  5. Thoroughly wash and dry mixing bowl and whisk attachment.
  6. In a clean bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites and salt until soft peaks form.
  7. Slowly incorporate the remaining ¼ c. of sugar into the egg whites and mix until whites are stiff and glossy.
  8. Fold egg whites into the egg yolk mixture in three additions.
  9. Fold in flour mixture
  10. Transfer batter into the prepared cake pan.
  11. Bake 30-40 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  12. Cool cake on a wire rack until ready for use.

Coffee Simple Syrup

Ingredients:

½ c. strong, dark coffee
¼ c. sugar

Instructions:

  1. Heat coffee and sugar together until sugar is completely dissolved.
  2. Cool until ready for use.

Chocolate Almond Crispies

Ingredients:

3 c. Rice Krispies Cereal
1 c. chocolate almond spread (I used this one from Trader Joe’s)

Instructions:

  1. Heat chocolate almond spread until easily pourable.
  2. In a large bowl, mix chocolate almond spread and cereal until cereal is evenly coated.
  3. Cool mixture until ready for use.

Whipped Mascarpone Cream

Ingredients:

12 oz. Cool Whip (thawed)
1 lb. mascarpone cheese
3 tbsp. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, whip Cool Whip and half of mascarpone cheese until smooth with an electric hand mixer.
  2. Add the remaining half of the Cool Whip and mix until incorporated. Do not over whip.
  3. Add powdered sugar and vanilla extract and whip until homogeneous.

* Vanilla Sponge Cake recipe from Martha Stewart.

Cookies and Cream Macarons

Cookies and Cream Macarons 1Another year has come and gone, and as predicted a slew of healthy dishes and diet how-tos flooded my newsfeed as soon as the new year started. I’m all for being healthy and starting with a blank slate, but what’s life without a little treat now and then? Personally, I feel like I’ve been indulging a little more than I should since January. Actually, I think I’ve been eating worse than I did during the holidays. Am I the only person who is at their heaviest from January to March? I’ll chalk it up to holiday blues… and not my obvious laziness. Talking about laziness, does anyone else still have their Christmas tree up? I keep putting that particular task off every week. I just know it’s going to stay up till February. Help.
Cookies and Cream Macarons 4You know what didn’t last though? These macarons. I made this ridiculously tall, four layered red velvet chocolate cookies and cream cake for my brother’s birthday and I happened to have a bit of the frosting leftover, and that is what sparked this macaron.  What makes this cookies and cream frosting different from the standard cookies and cream? It is made with cookies and cream cookie butter. I picked up a jar of this cookie butter from Trader Joe’s months ago but I still had more than half the jar left. Stirred into my go-to vanilla frosting and lots of Oreo cookie crumbs, it tastes just like an Oreo.
Cookies and Cream Macarons 2Do my photos look any different? Mr. L gifted me with a gorgeous Nikon D3200, and I’m hoping to get to learn how to shoot photos correctly with this thing. I’m having a tough time getting the right things to focus. Other than that, I’m ecstatic to start the new year with new equipment and fresh ideas. Here’s to a new year. 🙂
Cookies and Cream Macarons 3
Cookies and Cream Macarons

Basic French Macarons

Ingredients:
212 g. almond meal
212 g. powdered sugar
172 g. egg whites, divided to 82 g. and 90 g (aged, if possible)
236 g. sugar
158 g. water
6 Oreos, crushed into crumbs

Instructions:

  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, add the almond meal and powdered sugar and pulse until thoroughly combined.
  3. Sift the mixture over a large mixing bowl, throwing out the lumps as they appear.  Add 82 g. of the egg whites and stir until you get a thick mixture.
  4. In a small pot attached with a candy thermometer, combine the sugar and water over medium heat and boil until the syrup reaches 200˚F.
  5. Once the syrup reaches 200˚F, start whipping the remaining 90 g. in the bowl of your stand mixer with the whisk attachment on medium speed until soft peaks are reached.
  6. Once the syrup reaches 248 ˚F, remove the pot off the burner and slowly pour the syrup down the side of the mixing bowl with the egg whites on medium speed.
  7. Once the egg whites are fully incorporated, increase the speed to medium high until egg whites form glossy, stiff
  8. Mix a ⅓ of the egg white mix to the almond mixture and stir together until the batter is slightly lighter and less pasty.  From then on, fold in ⅓ of the egg white mixture at a time until the mixture “flows like magma”.  The mixture should be smooth and run thick ribbons off the spatula.
  9. With a pastry bag fitted with a ½ in. plain tip, pipe 1¼ – 1½ in. rounds.
  10. The piped batter may have peaks but should smooth away in a minute or two.  Take cookie crumbs and sprinkle onto tops of wet batter.
  11. Let the batter stand until the tops of the macarons are dry to the touch, about 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  12. Preheat the oven to 275-325˚F.  If your oven tends to run hot go for 275˚F, if not then 325˚F.
  13. Bake 10-13 minutes, until the feet are formed and the tops are smooth.  The batter is done when you slightly wiggle it and it starts to come off of the parchment paper / silicone mat.
  14. Let cool and fill.

Cookies and Cream Frosting

Ingredients:
½ c. whole milk
3 tbsp. flour
⅛ tsp. salt
4 oz. (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
½ c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¾  c. cookies and cream cookie butter
12 Oreo cookies, crushed into crumbs

Instructions:

  1. In a small pot over medium heat, whisk milk, salt and flour until combined.
  2. Continuously whisk mixture until thickened to a pudding like consistency.
  3. Once thickened, strain through a mesh strainer into a bowl with a spatula to remove lumps.
  4. Place a piece of plastic wrap on top of the flour mixture (to prevent skin from forming) and put bowl into the fridge until fully cool.
  5. In a mixer bowl fitted with the whisk attachment, mix the sugar and butter on high speed until fluffy and pale about, 5-10 minutes.
  6. Add the chilled flour mixture and continue to whip on high speed until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture is no longer gritty, about 5-10 minutes.
  7. Add the vanilla extract and cookie butter and mix until combined.
  8. Fold in Oreo cookie crumbs.

{Simple Sundays} Snowball Cookies

snowball cookiesHaving lived in New Jersey for most of my life, Christmas is synonymous with cold weather and snow. We don’t get a white Christmas often, but when we do that particular Christmas feels that much more special. Now I’m not saying you need snow to make Christmas special, but these little nuggets will make it seem like Jack Frost hit your house for the night.
Snowball Cookies 1It really couldn’t be easier. You toss in any kind of nut (I used walnuts) into a food processor or you can even crush it with a rolling pin, and process it until it becomes similar to corn meal. Then in a separate bowl you cream butter with sugar and vanilla extract and then you add your flour, ground nut, salt and nutmeg. I suggest grating fresh nutmeg. It really adds that extra special holiday flair. Dose it onto a cookie sheet and you don’t even have to roll them into balls if you don’t want to. Bake until pale brown and toss with powdered sugar when cool.
Snowball Cookies 2It looks like a snow dome or a half formed snowball. Kissed with some nutmeg and powdered sugar, It melts in your mouth but has a substantial bite that is characteristic of all nut cookies.  Enjoy! 🙂
snowball cookies 34
Snowball Cookies

Ingredients:

2 c. all-purpose flour
2 c. walnuts, almonds, or pecans (you can really use any nut you want)
¾ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. nutmeg
8 oz. unsalted butter, at room temp
⅓ c. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 ½ c. powdered sugar

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325˚F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mat.
  2. In a food processor, pulse two cups of nuts until finely ground.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix flour, ground nut, kosher salt and nutmeg together.
  4. In a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
  5. Add the vanilla extract and mix until homogenous.
  6. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture and mix until just combined.
  7. Scoop out tablespoon sized portions of cookie dough and roll into balls.
  8. Bake 15-20 minutes until lightly golden. Let cool.
  9. Once cool, toss each cookie with powdered sugar (the more it is covered, the better) and consume.

Snowball cookie recipe adapted from the brown eyed baker.