Category Archives: Cakes & Cupcakes

Guest Post from Neighbor Food: S’more Cake Pops

It’s only Tuesday, but T.G.I.C.: Thank goodness it’s Courtney from Neighbor Food!

This girl is a lifesend and a lifesaver, period. It has been nearly one–count it, one–full month since I’ve last had a chance to bake. Cue brief flickers of bloggy unease, followed by a 9.6-magnitude shock of panic, immediately assuaged by the soothing tones of Courtney’s calm, smiling (I imagine) assurance that she could write this guest post for me.

You’ll see why I love her, her blog, her recipes, and just everything about her so much once you read on! Plus, since I haven’t had time to do baking of my own, I had my face plastered to the screen as I attempted to lick the pixels clean off while writing a coherent introduction. The results are disappointing, but that’s why I’m handing this space over to Courtney, who has her stuff together way better than I do today.

So without further ado–here’s Courtney!

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Hey Wallflour friends! I’m so excited to be visiting today from my little cozy Internet home, Neighborfood. The World Wide Web can be a royal World Wide Pain at times, but it’s things like this that make me incredibly thankful for its existence. Thanks to Ala for inviting me to share this virtual space with all of you today!

S'more Cake Pops- An easy bite-sized treat!

Let’s talk about cake pops. Are they out of style? I seem to always be about 8.5 months behind the food trend curve. I’m just now getting into donuts, and I feel like everyone’s already moved on to ice cream sandwiches. Don’t mind me. I’ll just be the one raving about the cronut two years from now, when I’m sure some other bizarre hybrid food (pizztacos? waffleburgers?) will have taken the blogosphere by storm.

Frankly, the reason I never got into cake pops is because I simply didn’t like them. I always thought they were sickly sweet and required way more work than their taste was worth. But sometimes you bake too much cake, and as much as I’m not a fan of cake pops, I’m even less a fan of wasting cake. So there I was with a big ol’ bowl of yellow cake crumbs and nothing to do but craft a cake pop.

s'more-cake-pops-7

Friends, I’m happy to tell you I’ve had a change of heart. These cake pops are different. Easy to make. Not overly sweet, and covered in chocolate. They’ve got a lot going from them.

Let’s start with the cake itself. The typical cake pop is made with a combination of crumbled cake crumbs and canned frosting. Until a few weeks ago, I hadn’t questioned this formula, but since I don’t normally stock canned frosting, I found myself scrambling for another option. They say necessity is the mother of invention, and I’ve found this to be absolutely true in my kitchen endeavors. It’s amazing the creative juices I can work up when it means I can avoid an extra trip to the store.

A little pantry searching led me to a half opened jar of marshmallow creme just begging for its time to shine. I snatched it up and added it to the cake crumbs until they adhered to each other and could be rolled into balls.

S'More Cake Pops

Of course, the moment the marshmallow creme hit the crumbs, these cake pops were destined for smoredom. After being rolled into balls and frozen so they stayed together, the balls got dipped into melted chocolate then rolled into crushed honey grahams. Of course, you can use regular graham crackers as well, but the honey grahams stayed crunchier, which I liked.

Now this is a cake pop I can’t resist. The marshmallow creme and chocolate keep these from becoming overly sweet, and the grahams add a nice unexpected texture I appreciated. These disappeared at my work, and when coworkers requested the recipe I was happy to tell them it was only 5 ingredients and easy peasy.

S'more Cake Pops

If you’ve never made cake pops before, here are my suggestions. Cake pops are made more on feel than precision. What I mean is, don’t get caught up too much in specific amounts, especially when it comes to the crumbs and the marshmallow creme. You can easily adjust this based on the amount of crumbs you have. The important thing is to add just enough creme to get everything to stick together.

My second tip? Always, always freeze the balls before dipping. I usually put the sticks in them then freeze for at least a half an hour. A little shortening in the melted chocolate will help keep it nice and smooth and make it easier to dip.

And finally, I find the easiest way to store these is to punch the sticks through an empty egg carton once they’re dipped. They’ll be able to dry without touching. Recycling is awesome isn’t it?

S'mores on a stick!

I really hope you’ll give these summery treats a try! And if you’re not a cake pop lover, I think a change of heart might be in your future.

S’more Cake Pops
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: 20
Ingredients
  • 4 cups yellow cake crumbs
  • 1/4-1/2 cup marshmallow creme
  • 12 ounces milk or semi sweet chocolate
  • 2 Tablespoons shortening
  • 1 cup honey graham cereal, crushed
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, combine the cake crumbs and marshmallow creme. Add just enough marshmallow creme to get the mixture to stick together. You should be able to roll it into a ball without it falling apart.
  2. Roll the mixture into 1-2 inch sized balls and place on a baking sheet. Place the popsicle sticks three quarters of the way through the balls then freeze for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate and shortening together in the microwave (in 30 second increments) or in a double boiler. Place in a deep bowl for dipping. Place the graham cracker crumbs in another bowl.
  4. When the balls are frozen, dip them into the chocolate, making sure it overlaps the stick slightly. You can use a toothpick to get rid of excess dripping chocolate. Immediately roll the balls in the crushed graham crackers then place right side up in an egg carton or foam core board to dry. Store in a cool, dry place.
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I am 11005% behind Courtney on this one–I’m not usually a cake ball fan either, but with this killer s’mores combo, how could anyone resist? My choco-graham-mallow senses have been set ablaze with the fire of a really big flaming star called da Sun. And luckily, this s’mores-inspired recipe doesn’t require a single flame in this godforsaken hot weather. Win-win? I think so!
Thank you, Court, for guest posting today–ISN’T SHE LOVELY FOLKS?

Loving what you read today? Connect with Courtney!

Blog: http://www.neighborfoodblog.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/NeighborFoodie

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Neighborfoodblog

Instagram: http://instagram.com/neighborfoodie

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/neighborfood/

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Simple Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Abstract: To show how my dad–through his humbly-led life and unwavering, silent support of all we do–has kept my faith in family, dreams, and life alive. This one is for my dad: my biggest, silent fan.

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For the record: I wanted this to be a super elaborate, praise-to-the-heavens post to celebrate Father’s Day, much like I did with my Mother’s Day Post last month. However, my dad (summed up in 3 words) is a real practical man and dislikes reading anything that is longer than a page. So here’s me suppressing all my natural instincts and writing to the point for you, Dad.

Also, sorry in advance for already making this post too long, but you’d better be reading more than just the abstract (which I included anyway for you, just in case you don’t read beyond it).

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When I was 7 or 8, I went to a Father’s Day dance at the local YMCA and danced with my dad to Bob Carlisle’s “Butterfly Kisses.” My dad told me that letting go of his hand instead of holding on tightly was the easiest way to make sure my hand didn’t get all twisted up while he was spinning me around.

When I was 10, I got out of the car for summer camp one day and said I didn’t want to kiss him goodbye because my friends might see.

When I was 13, I told him that I couldn’t wait to grow up and do big people things, like driving a car. He told me to wait.

When I was 15, a close friend was critically hospitalized following an incident at home. I debated whether or not to visit the hospital that night and my dad told me quietly that I should. I did. We attended her memorial a few days later.

When I was 22, my dad introduced me to this song, Cats in the Cradle.

When I was in the cafe writing this post yesterday afternoon, I cried and had to get up to go to the bathroom so my friend wouldn’t see.

Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting 7--061414

My dad–like most human beings–is not a perfect person. He is an amazing man, and he is also wonderfully, delightfully flawed. I love him just the way he is.

He can be grumpy, yes. We joke about his grumpiness all the time, and though he can be even more so now that I’m no longer around, I wouldn’t change him for the world, any more than I would change my mom or my brother or anyone else dear to me.

If I had to be stuck on a desert island with one other person, it would probably be my dad. He’s innovative and fearless–he once fought off a guy in a huge wolf costume who was scaring my brother and me at the Universal Studios House of Horrors….at least, until the worker supervising the area said to him a loud voice, “Sir, PLEASE DON’T TOUCH THE ACTORS.”

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My dad is the world’s most incredible sideline supporter. More importantly, almost nobody knows or appreciates this fact because he doesn’t tell anybody about it. He never complains, even when he has to drive an hour-and-a-half home and back to bring the case of cupcakes I had left behind on my last day of work.

So this is my declaration to the world that thinks my dad is just your average, matter-of-fact, serious, tech industry guy: my dad happens to rock, thank you very much.

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When I told him I had gotten into my English grad school program, all he said was, “Well, good job.” No fanfare, no streamers, nothing that would have made you think he was saying anything more exciting than, “I’ll have the Peking duck.”

But if you know anything about my dad, there’s a little inflection to his tone that makes you feel as warm inside as if he had shouted his felicitations off the roof of the Empire State Building for the city to hear. My dad is proud of us, but he’s not a bragger, and I learned early on in life that that was one quality towards which I would always aspire.

I’ve mostly fallen short–I still like talking a lot about my achievements with friends and family–but there he is, always: unwavering, silent, strong, and a supporter to beat all the rest.

Vanilla Cupcake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

My dad is an extreme pragmatist, but I would also call him a positivist. Even though the two terms don’t always go together, he always emphasizes the importance of living for the moment–as long as you know that your choices won’t leave you or your family without bread on the table at the end of the day. My dad may be in the tech industry, and like all Asian parents he’s a realist when it comes to getting a solid job. Oddly enough, though, I felt comfortable enough pursuing my PhD in English because he never questioned me about my motives–he accepted that I would need to explore on my own (though he entertained his share of private concerns, I’m sure) and simply let me do the things I had always wanted to try.

I am 110% grateful for his ability not to grow hysterical when I am, his knack for listening without saying a word in a way that I would never be patient enough to do, and–probably most of all–his willingness to put everything down at the most trivial phone call from us and drive right over.

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The world deserves to hear everything about him, but I know I can’t write everything–anyway, he wouldn’t want to read it. But this is the man who will wait for 4 hours outside after driving me to meet up with a friend without once complaining; in fact, he’ll joke about being my “personal chauffeur” (our shared, extremely DRY sense of humor is another topic for another time, but we are so related). In many ways, he lives for his family, and I can’t ever, ever thank him enough for teaching us that.

So I’ll end this already beyond-the-limit post by just saying this as I finish up:

Dad, I don’t care if you never share this post with anyone, because you probably won’t. But there’s one thing you should know.

I may not be silent. I may not be patient. And sometimes it may feel like I need your support more than you need mine.

But I am also–and always–your very biggest fan. I love you!

Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting 13--061414

Even though I don’t think he’d go out of his way to eat these cupcakes (he’s not a big sweets fan), they’re not overly sweet–just simple, fluffy vanilla cupcakes with an easy chocolate buttercream frosting. But this unassuming pairing is one of the most amazing things I have made in a long while, and so it’s the perfect treat to be posting for my dad today. Since I was delivering these cupcakes long-distance, I also created these styrofoam cut-out cupcake holders to protect them from jostling against each other–something I thought my innovative dad might find amusing. All you have to do is cut out the bottom of the cup and slip in a cupcake–and push it up from the bottom when you want to eat it. Neat, huh? I hope you guys love this recipe as much as I do!

Happy Father’s Day, Dad, and to all of the fathers out there who are celebrating today!

Love, your baby dragon and Daddy’s girl.

Ala

Simple Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Yield: 1 dozen cupcakes

The perfectly light, fluffy, and classic vanilla cupcake that makes delicious simple. Perfect with a class chocolate buttercream frosting, too! Original cupcake recipe via Sally[http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2013/04/20/very-vanilla-cupcakes/}.

Ingredients

    For the vanilla cupcakes
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 3/4 cup vanilla soy milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • For the chocolate buttercream frosting
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon Kahlua (can substitute with vanilla)
  • 1 tablespoon soy milk or milk, as needed

Instructions

    For the vanilla cupcakes:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 12 muffin tin cups with cupcake liners.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together melted butter and sugar.
  3. Stir in egg whites, yogurt, and soy milk. Add vanilla extract and mix in.
  4. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Fold in very gently until mixture is just incorporated into wet batter.
  5. Divide batter between 12 liners, filling each liner approximately 2/3 of the way up. Bake for 17-19 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out mostly clean with moist crumbs clinging to it. Allow to cool completely before frosting with chocolate buttercream frosting (instructions below).
  6. For the chocolate buttercream frosting:
  7. In a medium bowl, cream together butter, cocoa, and confectioners' sugar. Add vanilla and Kahlua (if using). To thin out your frosting even more, add milk as needed, up to 1-2 tablespoons.
http://www.wallflourgirl.com/2014/06/15/simple-vanilla-cupcakes-chocolate-buttercream-frosting/

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Two-Toned Red Velvet & Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

As I’ve grown older and the weary years have coated my hunched back like a film of unwanted snail slime, I’ve come to the wary conclusion that there are two sides of me: the one that you know, and the one that you wouldn’t want to know for all the holy flying bats in the world–though what you would want to do with a colony of holy flying bats, I haven’t the faintest idea. You tell me.

Two-Toned Red Velvet Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting 5--051614

Of course, unless you’re my mom and have witnessed the stormy tantrums I still throw all the time used to throw as a kid in the Polly Pocket aisle of Toys R Us, I’m pretty much an “As Seen in Stores” kind of girl. Peppy, extroverted, painfully enthusiastic at times, and totally predictable.

But at rare little moments of extreme environmental stress or unceasing irritation, my trigger–like any normal human being’s–will trip. And boy, you don’t want to be the person standing in front of it when it does. If you’re the one who tripped it up, all the bleaker for you. My judging glare is not something you want to experience from the receiving end. Nor is my adult, I-will-smack-you hands-on-hips gesture when I appear, glowering, in your doorway.

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On the latest battlefront, my neighbors have been demons from the darkest depths of Dante’s nine circles of hell. Zac Efron (who, by the way, visited us for the premiere of Neighbors last month) has got nothing on my. Freakin’. Neighbors. Continue reading

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Filed under Brownies & Chocolates, Cakes & Cupcakes

Coffee Cheesecake Stuffed Chocolate Cupcakes with Kahlua Biscoff Frosting

Every once in a while, a truly remarkable event happens that reminds you appreciate in life. The day I met K was one such moment. Coffee Cheesecake-Filled Chocolate Cupcakes with Mocha Biscoff Frosting 2--042914 In reality, the first time we met was at the Edible Book Festival at our school’s library, though I wouldn’t have recognized her face with all the nice folks streaming in and out of the rotunda. We reconnected after K entered my From My Kitchen to Yours care package giveaway–she found my blog through cards I had been giving out at the festival and, by some crazy chance, decided to start reading. Who says that serendipity can only happen to John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale? Coffee Cheesecake-Filled Chocolate Cupcakes with Mocha Biscoff Frosting 7--042914 For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you might have seen the photo and story I posted. I hope you don’t mind if I repeat myself here, but this is definitely a story worth sharing. Continue reading

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Cakes & Cupcakes

Gingerbread Biscoff Coffee Cupcakes

Congrats to Kathlene and Ivy for winning two AWESOME personalized care packages in last week’s giveaway! I can’t wait to create an epic assortment of goodies for you both!

I really dislike chocolate cupcakes.

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Wait, say what?

Gingerbread Biscoff Coffee Cupcakes Gif 3

It’s funny how we all define the good things in life so differently. Back when kids used to bring boxes of assorted cupcakes to celebrate their birthday, I loved to ogle (okay, creepy) and watch each student make the all-important decision of which type of cupcake to take–chocolate with vanilla frosting? Continue reading

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Edible Books Festival 2014 (Part II)–Two Award-Winning Recipes

Last week I shared with you the enormously successful Edible Books Festival that our library hosts every year around the beginning of April.

Well, today I’m sharing two award-winning recipes: Soaked coconut poke cake, and Kahlua rum cake!

(Don’t forget: WG’s personalized care package giveaway ends tomorrow, 4/22–hurry and enter!)

Edible Book Festival 7

(Photograph: Shaking hands with Jonathan Gold, the LA Times restaurant critic, acclaimed Pulitzer Prize winner in criticism, and source of smart writing/eating-as-a-career validation to boot.)

Edible Book Festival 2014 Melting Snowmen Sculptures Coconut Poke Cake 13--041114 I am unapolegetically posting these photos of my Calvin & Hobbes-inspired entries–after spending basically 50 hours planning & executing my interactive cakes/cookies/displays, my hands were so unsteady that I could barely hold my DSLR straight!

Anyway, these four entries–my Doomed Snowman coconut poke cake, 2 sugar cookie jigsaw puzzles featuring Calvin & Hobbes, a large Kahlua rum bundt cake that could be spun on a cake turntable, and a tray of chocolate ‘dirt’ for finding treasure–ended up taking home the cake (hah!) with two awards: Best Tasting and Best Student Entry. Today I’m posting the two recipes that I think were most impressive in the taste category… Continue reading

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Cookie Butter Swirl Cinnamon Pound Cake

There are two types of vacationers in this world:

There are the people who ship themselves off to sunny tropical islands like Hawaii or the Caribbean and return as refreshed as a spring pixie…

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And then there’s me.

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My Air Walk sneakers dragged their dirty, sorry-faced soles across American soil once again at around 9 PM last night, when our plane finally landed after a grueling 11-hour stint from Asia.  If you happen to live in my part of the hemisphere and felt the  earth tremble beneath your slippers 18 hours ago, that was probably just my knees giving way beneath me as I staggered off board, luggage clunking mercilessly into the passengers behind me. Somehow, during my last 48 hours in Taiwan, I had devolved into that zombie girl everyone fears is lurking on their flight home–with a sore throat, throbbing head, and a fever to boot, I was a walking contagion apocalypse waiting to bite someone’s head off and hurl it at the next passing aircraft. Yum. Continue reading

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Buttery Moist Lemony Glazed Strawberry Swirl Pound Cake

These past few months, I have spent a lot (I mean, a lot–like, I-am-sorry-but-I-feel-preternaturally-compelled-to-word-vomit-to-you-guys a lot) of time talking about my upcoming examsSo today, let’s talk friends and the best pound cake you’ve never met instead.

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To begin with my friends: As the weeks wear on and THE date creeps closer, I have noticed an exponential amount of tiptoeing from my friends and family. In my book, there have only ever been four reasons you would have to tiptoe around someone: 

1. The Guilt: You are not supposed to be wherever you are at the moment you are tiptoeing–in which case, #shamingsession.

2. The Terror: You are afraid whomever it is around whom you are tiptoeing is going to explode at the any second. KABLOOIE!

3. The Sympathy: You are at someone’s bedside.

4. The Impending Stardom: You are practicing for your lead role in an upcoming show of “Swan Lake.” Ballerina feet, ladies!

Buttery Moist Lemony Glazed Strawberry Swirl Pound Cake 15--020514 

Now, I know it is not due to the fact that they are  practicing to become world-famous ballerinas, because a) they can’t ALL be leads in Swan Lake, and b) I have not seen so much as a frill of a tutu on any of their persons. Nor can the tiptoeing be attributed to a sympathy-induced bedside manner, because last I checked (granted, this was a few hours ago) I still have a pulse. And finally, I am almost certain that they cannot all be tiptoeing out of guilt, because I have not been lurking around any shady street corners or drug stores lately. Or at least none I’m going to fess up to here.

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So this leaves us with the inevitable truth: I am a ticking time bomb and my friends are afraid of the Big Kablooie. Right?

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Wrong! 

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^ It’s because of that.

My friend and I recently had the following conversation (and yes, I do actually converse like this when I’m really really really tired–and yes, you should all encourage my friend to become the next A.A. Milne):

Ala: I’ll be in and out
but I just thought I’d say hello :)
fellow human being whom I happen to like <3
Friend: i think they’ve actually invented a word for that
they’re called friends :)
That same day, a friend texted me about a spontaneous Disneyland trip that didn’t pan out but made us feel so spontaneous anyway; a second friend told me just how excited he was to get ‘us time’ in again after my exam; and a third friend paid me a surprise visit in the middle of the night with hot, fresh garlic bread to make sure I had some ‘real food,’ and we proceeded to caterwaul the rest of the night away to the Frozen soundtrack. <3

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I thought this post and these quotes would be the perfect place to publicly declare that my friends are Piglets to my Pooh. They are the strawberry to my lemon pound cake and, to be completely honest, you would probably be reading a lot more crazy stuff (Crazy? I love crazy!<–kinda like that) if they weren’t around to keep me grounded. So if you guys are reading this (and I know you are!), stop being sneaky this one time and leave a comment below before you go back to your tiptoeing so I can APPRECIATE YOU RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW <3

Buttery Moist Lemony Glazed Strawberry Swirl Pound Cake 13--020514 

It has taken eight months, a whole series of events, and unexpected happiness from various little corners of my life for the truth to hit me with the full force of the giant meteor that killed the dinosaurs. Bigger. Valentine’s Day comes once a year–an exam like this might come once in a lifetime–but friends really, honestly, and truly are forever. And even as I make out the faint rustle of the tiptoers all around me, taking care lest they disturb me from the latest writing frenzy that has possessed my flying hand, I can hear their silent cheers of ‘Rah! Rah!’ rising up in proud defiance of a world whose limits seem at every moment to close in on me, and find they cannot.

And this finally, finally brings me back to this pound cake I promised I would tell you about.

Buttery Moist Lemony Glazed Strawberry Swirl Pound Cake 5--020514

I made loaves upon loaves of this pound cake to share with my friends and to show them how much I appreciate everything they do, from tiptoeing to caterwauling to cheering to reading my blog. They hands down loved it. This cheery lemon pound cake is everything the title/photos say and more: possibly the creamiest, butteriest, moistest pound cake I have ever made. Everything from the melt-in-your-mouth cream cheese in the batter to the fluffiness of the eggs and sugar, as well as the brightness of the lemon and the tanginess of the strawberry jam, make this the ultimate sweet treat to show someone you love them, whether it’s for Valentine’s Day or Friends Day (which is every day in my book!).

Buttery Moist Lemony Glazed Strawberry Swirl Pound Cake 23--020514

Don’t forget to take a moment this week to appreciate your friends and all the people you love in your life!

Ala

Buttery, Moist Lemony Glazed Strawberry Swirl Pound Cake

Yield: Two 9×5-inch loaves, OR One 10-inch tube pan

Ingredients:

  • 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese (reduced fat or regular), softened
  • 1 1/2 cups butter
  • 3 cups white sugar
  • 6 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest (optional but highly recommended)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/3 cup strawberry (or raspberry) jam, warmed in the microwave

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly grease two 9×5-inch loaf pans. (Note: You may also use one 10-inch tube pan, but you will need to carefully increase your baking time in Step 7.)
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together cream cheese and butter until very smooth.
  3. Beat in sugar until very fluffy and pale–I beat it vigorously for a good five minutes by hand to get that great creamy pound cake crumb!
  4. Mix in eggs, vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon zest.
  5. Carefully mix in flour until just incorporated.
  6. Pour one-fourth of your batter into one of the prepared 9×5-inch loaf pans. Pour 2/3 cup warmed strawberry preserves in an even layer over this batter, then top the preserves with another one-fourth of your pound cake batter. Repeat with second loaf pan.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 40-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean, possibly with little crumbs sticking to it. Small crumbs (not raw batter!) are great! They indicate that your cake is baked through but not overbaked. Always err on the side of a little underbakedness. At this point, remove your cake from the oven and allow it to cool on the stovetop for at least 30 minutes before removing it from the pan to cool completely.
  8. When your pound cake has cooled completely, top with lemon vanilla glaze (recipe below).

Lemon Vanilla Glaze

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1-2 teaspoons vanilla soy milk or regular milk or vanilla/plain substitute milks of any kind
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest, optional

Directions:

  1. Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl until smooth. Pour over cooled pound cake and allow to harden completely before cutting and serving. Enjoy!
© Wallflour Girl. All images and content are copyright protected. Please do not use without prior permission. If you would like to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

Tuesday Talent Show Link Party at Chef in Training! It is held weekly and has some amazing link ups!

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Cakes & Cupcakes

The Best Bananas Foster Toffee Coffee Crunch Cake

The Best Bananas Foster Toffee Cake 2--011514

One of the things I love most about blogging is licking the bowl afterwards having the chance to sit down and tell a story. Food blogging in particular trains us to write good content: it gives you brain fuel (i.e. cake), patience (actually waiting for your cake to cool completely before frosting it), creativity (transforming your 5th over-crumbly cake into gorgeous cake balls), and really good storytelling skills (explaining to your parents the philosophical implications of writing your baking blog when you really should be reading Children’s Literature: A Reader’s History from Aesop to Harry Potter).

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As I slipped into the final books for my Part I Exam children’s literature list, I’ve been thinking more and more about the relationship between text and pictures. A few of my most recent conference proposals deal with the tension nonsense illustrations evoke when read against nonsense language, as well as the stories that text and pictures tell–collaboratively or competitively–when viewed in conjunction. After all, who could forget the full-page spreads of the gigantic yellow-eyed horned monsters we meet alongside Max in Where the Wild Things Are, or that now-famous red-and-white striped hat when the Cat sallies into the rainy-day room?

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In a lovely recent comment that made my heart giggle and feet flutter, a reader wrote that my use of text on photographs was the best she had ever seen (!). I was obviously elated–not only because of the tiny ego boost this prompted, but because I truly believe that the interplay between text and images is a crucial one for storytelling–and I’m glad that it has caught somebody’s eye, both figuratively and literally. Sometimes it can be difficult to hear their murmurs over the incessant buzz of daily life and the roaring internet. In a new year and with new updates around every corner, I hope you continue to find the whispered tales these photo-stories tell worth listening to.

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Like the crosswords where food and writing meet, this bananas foster cake has carried me through a-many difficult days of studying and writing as the exam deadline rushes in like a vortex (exactly one month to go–when did this happen?!). In case you’re wondering how I managed to photograph a whole, intact cake with another slice on the side, I was actually requested to make this cake twice, back-to-back–it was that delicious! Even if you hate bananas as a rule (like I do), you’ll find this cake a refreshing delight: filled with bananas drowned in rum or Kahlua, crunchy toffee pieces, subtle smoky coffee frosting, and plenty of moist banana layers, this cake is a whole story in itself.

So I decided to write one for it. And I hope you’ll love it.

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Until the next story,

Ala

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The Best Bananas Foster Toffee Coffee Crunch CakeYield: 1 awesome 9-inch, 3-layer cakeFor the banana cake: (Slightly adapted from this recipe)
Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups bananas, mashed (I used 3 large bananas or 4 medium bananas)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 2 cups and 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk*

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Lightly grease 3 round 9-inch springform pans (I only have one so I baked the cake layers three separate times in the same pan) and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together bananas and lemon juice. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, cream butter and white sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes of vigorous hand mixing.
  5. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla extract.
  6. In three alternating batches, stir in buttermilk mixture and dry ingredients mix until just combined.
  7. Add and stir in banana mixture.
  8. Spoon 1/3 of your banana cake mixture into each of the prepared springform pans.Coffee
  9. Bake in preheated oven for about 20-30 minutes (cooking times will vary according to your oven temperature). Your cake will be done when it is lightly brown around the edges and golden on top; a toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean.
  10. Allow your cake to cool completely before removing from springform pans and assembling.

Coffee Kahlua Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 1 (8 oz.) block of cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon Kahlua (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon instant ground coffee granules

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, cream together cream cheese and butter until smooth.
  2. Gently mix in powdered sugar until incorporated.
  3. Add vanilla extract (use extra if you are omitting Kahlua).
  4. Pour Kahlua (if using) into a small bowl. Dissolve coffee granules in Kahlua. (If you are omitting Kahlua, you can dissolve the granules in vanilla extract). Stir Kahlua-coffee mixture into the frosting.

Bananas Foster: (adapted from this recipe)

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons rum or Kahlua
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 bananas, sliced into 1/3″ pieces

Directions:

  1. In a large pot over the stove, melt butter.
  2. Add brown sugar, rum or Kahlua, vanilla, and cinnamon.
  3. Bring mixture to a boil. When it begins to bubble, add in bananas and stir until thoroughly soaked.
  4. Allow bananas to steep in boiling mixture for 30 seconds, then turn off heat and allow the mixture to cool to room temperature. You may want to reheat the syrup immediately before serving with cake.

Assembly:

Ingredients:

  • 3 9-inch round layers of banana cake (recipe above)
  • 1 serving coffee Kahlua frosting (recipe above)
  • 1 serving bananas foster (recipe above)
  • 1/2 cup chopped saltine toffee cookies (I used homemade ones)or any  toffee pieces of your choice

Directions:

  1. Place a cooled 9-inch cake layer on a round cake tray. If the top of your cake is not even, use a serrated knife to gently cut across the top (parallel with the base) to create a smooth surface.
  2. Frost with a thin layer of coffee frosting.
  3. Top with second cake layer and frost.
  4. Top with third cake layer.
  5. Frost completely with remaining coffee frosting. You may reserve 1/2 cup frosting for piping if you wish.
  6. Top cake with banana pieces from the bananas foster recipe. Reserve the rest for serving with the cake.
  7. Sprinkle edges with toffee pieces.
  8. Cut into slices and serve!

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Italian Cream Layer Cake {and some THOUGHTS)

There are several reasons for the delay in this post–and I promise, I have been dying to share some of my latest recipe creations with you folks, because they are A+ crowd-approved. But this is going to be a fairly serious post. If you want to skip straight to the photos and recipe at the end because you’re not prepared for a Debbie Downer kind of post, I won’t be offended. Promise. (Plus, I have no way of actually knowing, so take your virtual anonymity and run with it.) And despite the lack of attention it’s going to get here, this Italian Creme cake is actually really, really amazing. Again, more about it in the recipe box below.
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We had two major losses in our lives last week–one member of our family, and one dear, dear friend passed away. So we have been understandably busy attending the memorials and services, not to mention grieving. They will be missed dearly.
As with any major loss–especially a first loss–I have spent a considerable amount of time thinking. About life, but also about a lot of things you wouldn’t think you’d think about when everything’s so crazy you just don’t have time to stop and…think.
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When I started this blog one year ago, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to accomplish. To a certain extent, this is still a question that hangs over my head every once in a while. I love creating great content, I love writing, I love making and sharing my food adventures, and I sure as heck love every single ounce of support I get from all of my friends, family, and–of course–you, readers. But this is also in many ways a self–and therefore selfish–blog, and it offers an outlet for my thoughts in a way that I don’t always get in the “real world,” talking to “real people” for whom I feel held accountable to explain myself. So with that rambling premise, I proceed on my (even more rambling) ramble. About thinking, mostly.
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This has been a very crazy year: I have been through so many changes in my personal life, my living situation, my relationships with others, and my priorities. Most recently, I have been studying for a crazy exam that I have thankfully pushed back to January (hopefully) and that I am still feeling guilty about not studying for at this very moment. I can’t tell you how INSANE it feels when every little moment of your life is filled with this constant, insatiable guilt about not working harder than you already are. Even if you are already doing the inhuman and trying to finish a bajillion and one books and remember them all and you are CONVINCED you are the ONE legitimate person in your program who suffers from Imposter Syndrome. Because there is no way anybody could be less prepared than I am to pass this test. And despite the super supportive “You’ll do great!”‘s and “Dude, you’re going to blow this exam out of the water”‘s (all of which I appreciate, don’t get me wrong), I still don’t believe it. I’m not even trying to be cautiously optimistic. I just can’t believe it at this point. This is my current thought process about my qualifying exams, in a nutshell. And I’m okay with that…sort of.
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So this brings me to thinking. Or not thinking. With the whirlwind that has taken my life by storm recently, I have left zero time to think. Not even close to zero. I mean, zero. This blog post might be the first time I’ve actually stopped to think about anything that has happened since last school year, and every damn time I try to stop and think, I feel as guilty as John Wilkes Booth. I don’t think it’s apathy. I think it’s numbness. Self-willed numbness. When I received news of both passings, I was shocked. I felt floored. Then I wondered whether I would be able to meet my self-imposed deadlines for reading that night, or whether I would be too busy being “distracted” with thinking to get anything done like a real non-failure would do. No, I didn’t think–nor do I currently think–this is reasonable. But it’s just how I feel. And believe it or not, I was able to pick up my book. Sure, I cried. I broke down and cried quite a bit, actually. But I read. And I still find myself counting down those days to the next deadline with a dread and anxiety that feels more real than the grief, which feels almost…unreal. Disembodied. Like somebody else is really feeling those emotions, but that it’s not going to hit me until all of this is over and done with. As I said, there has been no time for thinking, before right now. And there probably will not be much thinking after right now, because I can already feel the end of the night creeping in with pages still unread, knowledge still “unlearned.”
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To my awesome, amazing, dedicated friends who tell me to “take it easy” or “give yourself some you time”: I totally and completely appreciate this. I would not be still relatively sane without all of your support. But I think I’ve gotten to the point where what I really need is just this: “Yes, you’re in a study strait. We know you realize that this isn’t everything, and we know that you realize this will pass and come what may. But you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. So go do it. We’re behind you.” I keep trying to tell myself that every single day, and every single day I come away a little less whole, a little less sure of myself, and a little more scared.
Still, I do make time, and I’m trying my darndest to take it in stride as I work my way through what seems to be superhuman swaths of work. It may seem self-punishing and it may seem unreasonable, but I don’t need to know that it will be OK–I just need now to happen, and I need to know that I have done it with all my heart. I will probably walk away from this post feeling like I just took away half an hour of valuable reading time, and that’s just a fact of things right now. It’s just something I need the people around me to know.
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My on consolation is that I can say the next statement sincerely: My most heartfelt love to the two amazing people in my life who are not lost, but simply a better part of everyone whom their lives touched. My deepest sympathies to the rest of their family and friends who, like us, are grieving. No matter what I am going through right now, and no matter what I say about not having time to stop and think–know that you are always, always in my thoughts. (Thanks for reading.)

Ala

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The Weekend re-Treat #38 FEATURES

Italian Cream Layer Cake
I haven’t gotten a chance to properly vouch for this cake in my post. MAKE. THIS. I am decidedly NOT a cake person–and neither are many of my friends, but I made this for a friend’s dinner and the family went over the moon about it. I left the other half of the cake at home–and it was gone before I knew it! A wonderfully nutty taste of coconut and almonds thrown into one of the richest, most indulgent cakes that you have never tried. Try this to wow your next dinner party guests!
 
Yield: 1 3-layer 9-inch cake
Slightly adapted from Bake at 350 
For the cake:
Ingredients:
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 5 eggs, separated, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature (you can make your own using 1 cup minus 1 tbsp of milk, and then adding 1 tbsp vinegar and letting it sit for 5 minutes. Voila–instant buttermilk!)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease three 9-inch springform baking pans if you have them. (I had only ONE springform pan and this worked out just fine–you will simply need to bake and cool in 3 different batches. If you do not have a springform pan, you may also use a regular 9-inch round baking pan, line it with parchment paper, and lightly grease the paper for easy removal of layers.)
  2. Cream together sugar, butter, and oil until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add in egg YOLKS one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  3. Dissolve baking soda in buttermilk. Stir salt into 2 cups of flour.
  4. In three separate additions, alternate adding flour and buttermilk mixture to batter (make sure to begin and end with the flour).
  5. Fold in coconut flakes and vanilla extract.
  6. In a separate bowl, beat egg WHITES until they form stiff peaks. Note: The best way to beat egg whites is to use a completely dry copper or steel bowl; start your hand mixer on a low speed. After a minute or two, once your whites begin to foam, increase mixer speed to “beat” setting and continue beating until your whites pass the droopy peaks phase (the 2nd stage) and start to hold their shape in stiff peaks (the 3rd stage). Depending on the power of your mixer, this process can take anywhere from 10-15 minutes–be patient, and be sure to KEEP GOING so you can get those voluminous peaks!
  7. In three additions, fold egg whites gently into cake batter.
  8. Pour 1/3 of cake batter into each of the three prepared pans.
  9. Bake for 25 minutes (or until lightly golden) in preheated oven. Allow to cool in pan for at least 15 minutes before attempting to remove. Allow to cool completely before assembling.

For the cream cheese almond frosting:

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped almonds (you may also use pecans for a more traditional feel)
  • 1 (8 oz.) tub marscapone cheese (you may substitute cream cheese for a sweeter frosting), room temperature
  • 1 (8 oz.) block cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes.

Directions:

  1. Place almonds or pecans in a thin layer on a cookie sheet. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes, stirring at the 5-minute mark to prevent burnt nuts. Remove from oven and set aside when nuts are nicely toasted.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together marscapone, cream cheese, and butter until smooth. Beat in 4 cups powdered sugar, salt, and vanilla; it will be easiest to add these ingredients one cup at a time.

To assemble cake:

  1. Place a cooled layer of cake on a round cake base. Spread approximately 1/3 cup of frosting on top; sprinkle with about 1/2 cup toasted almonds; then add another 1/3 cup of frosting on top of almonds. You may need more or less frosting, depending on how thinly you spread it.
  2. Top with second cooled cake layer. Repeat frosting from Step 1. Top with third cooled cake layer.
  3. Use remaining frosting to completely cover sides and top of cake. I reserved about 1/2 cup frosting to decorate the top of the cake by piping a shell border pattern around the edges, and a shell pattern and heart in the middle of the cake.
  4. Sprinkle remaining chopped nuts and coconut flakes around edges and top of cake.

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