Toasted Smore’s Cake by twocarolines.com
I am dubbing this “the cake of summer” with it’s toasty outsides and chocolate graham crackery insides. It’s such a classic combo and in this cake, the messy, campy, summery dessert we think of as “smores” gets all dressed up and really puts on a show. I made this for my now 3 year old’s first birthday and people went nuts for it, but I wanted the cake itself to have more flavor and I also felt that using a darker more fancy chocolate for the ganache filling would create more of a flavor sensation. I decided to make it for my Summer themed dinner party last weekend and I adjusted accordingly resulting in knockout flavor and jaw dropping beauty in it’s presentation. Original recipe is linked below, but I had a few people who tried both versions and were absolutely blown away by my more flavorful smores cake v2.0.
1 cup (2 sticks) of butter, softened
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup honey graham cracker crumbs food processed into a fine crumb (85 grams or around 7 of the 4 piece sheets)
1 cup speculoos or biscoff cookies processed into a fine crumb (85 grams)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cardamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon table salt
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar
4 large eggs at room temperature
2 cups buttermilk, well shaken (or 1 1/3 cups milk and 2/3 cup sour cream)
1/2 pound dark chocolate chopped small (I love the trader joes 72 percent pound plus)
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 pinches salt
4 large egg whites
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- First make the cake. Preheat oven to 350. Spray or butter two 9 inch round cake pans (this cake is high volume, so if you have 9 1/2 it might work a little better, but 9 inch works, just keep an eye or put them on a cookie sheet to avoid spills). Line your cake pans with circles of parchment paper, with most cakes, you can skip this step, but this is a moist and sticky cake and lining with parchment makes a big difference in how they come out so please do this. Coat parchment and pan with more cooking spray.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cracker and cookie crumbs, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl cream butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, scraping the bowl down after each addition. Add a third of the dry ingredients, then half the buttermilk, a third of the dry ingredients, the remaining buttermilk, and then the remaining dry ingredients, mixing between additions until combined. Scrape down the bowl, and mix again briefly if needed.
- Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans, smoothing tops. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30-35 minutes. Cool in pan on rack, then run a knife between the cake edges and pans before turning out onto a rack to cool. Let cool completely, a process you can speed up in the fridge.
- To make the filling, place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Combine the heavy cream and salt in a small saucepan, and bring to a simmer. Pour over the chocolate, and let sit for 1 minute, then whisk until smooth. Set bowl over another bowl filled with ice water, and stir it until it firms up to a spreadable consistency. You can let it cool down in the fridge, but it works best if you stir it every now and then so it cools evenly.
- To prepare the cake arrange a single layer on a serving platter, cake stand or cake board. For a neat looking cake, use a long serrated knife to level the top gently – they don’t puff up super big as some cakes do so it won’t be a lot, and you will find plenty of people willing to eat your cake scraps. Spread the chocolate thickly over the bottom layer. Place top layer over it and level this one too if you would like.
- To make the frosting place the egg whites, granulated sugar and cream of tartar in the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer. Set over a saucepan of simmering water. Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and whites are warm to the touch – about 3-5 minutes. Transfer the bowl to an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat starting at a low speed, gradually increasing to the high, until stiff, glossy peaks form, 4-7 minutes. Add vanilla and mix until combined. You will want to use this frosting right away, it won’t keep well.
- Spread a thin layer of the frosting over the top and sides of the cake covering all the crumbs. Transfer cake to the fridge for 5-10 minutes to let it set. Next generously coat the top and sides with additional frosting making a pretty pattern. You could even pipe on big pretty peaks, but I just made it look artistic and delicious. Remove any flammable objects and people from the cake area and with a kitchen torch on a low setting, lightly brown the outside of your cake creating a toasted marshmallow effect.
smore’s cake by twocarolines.com
Recipe adapted from S’more layer cake – Smitten Kitchen cookbook by Deb Perelman
orange brown sugar cake with orange whipped cream by twocarolines.com
For me, the beach is not the best thing about living in Southern California, I’m not a beach kid, but nothing beats the taste of my backyard oranges – they are the flavor of sunshine, healing, bright happiness, and sweet citrus bliss – hands down my favorite thing about California. Lately, we’ve been picking a bunch in the morning when they’re cold and juicing them for the family – it’s such a luxury. When I saw this cake, I knew it would be a revelation with my So. Cali citrus and I was right! It’s got such a sunny bright flavor and a very delicate crumb that makes it feel extra special. Plus the glaze makes it have an incredible outside texture and flavor pop then you melt into the fluffy flavorful center and with a dollop of orange flecked whipped cream it’s pretty much winter dessert perfection!
For the Cake:
8 ounces unsalted butter (2 sticks)
3 cups (12 ounces so a scant 3 cups) cake flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
3 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup milk (I used buttermilk which was awesome, but normal milk will still taste great)
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
For the Glaze:
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon orange marmalade
For the Whipped Cream:
1 cup heavy whipping cream chilled
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
- Position a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 350. Spray or butter a 9″ springform pan and I made a parchment circle in the bottom so it would be easier to take the cake off the pan. Also it’s helpful to wrap the bottom with a layer of foil to avoid any leaking.
- In a small bowl whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Use a rasp-style grater to remove 1 tablespoon zest from the oranges. Juice one of your oranges to yield 1/4 cup juice.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, and orange and lemon zests on medium speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until light and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition just to combine. Add the vanilla, and beat briefly to combine.
- In 3 additions and alternating with the milk and orange juice, add the dry ingredients, beating on medium speed after each addition and scraping down the bowl as needed. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, tap the pan on the counter to remove air bubbles and smooth the surface with a spatula.
- Bake until the cake is just set in the center and golden brown, about 45 minutes. A toothpick in the center should just come out with some moist crumbs. If it looks like your cake is browning too much towards the end you can tent it with foil – but I didn’t need to do this. Let your cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then slide a knife around the cake to release the sides and pop open your spring form. I recommend letting your cake cool for at least 30 minutes before moving it off your springform base onto a cake board or cooling rack.
- Poke little holes all over cake with a toothpick in 3/4 inch intervals.
- Make your glaze by combining the juice, sugar, and marmalade in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, lower the heat to low, and whisk often until syrupy, about 10 minutes. Brush the glaze onto the cake, letting some drip down the sides and into your holes.
- For the whipped cream, whip the cream on medium speed until it starts to thicken, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar and zest, raise the speed to medium high and continue to whip until medium soft peaks form, about 2-3 minutes more. Serve the cake with whipped cream.
Recipe adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine Feb/March 2017 “Orange and Brown-sugar-glazed Cake with Orange Flecked Whipped Cream”
Coconut Snowball Cake by twocarolines.com
When I asked my brother in law Bob what cake he would most want for the upcoming California wedding reception of his daughter he said “white cake with pink frosting” to which I immediately responded “BORING!” – but as I thought about it more and how he described this combination reminding him of convenience store treats of his youth, like Grandma’s Cookies, Hostess Zingers and Snowballs I was inspired! I decided to make a white coconut cake, with this coconut frosting I usually put on chocolate cake then just smother it in coconut flakes so it has the effect of a hostess treat, but with homemade goodness. The result was a resounding success, people went nuts for it! And just to make life easy I was able to doctor a cake mix for the cake and it was honestly so perfectly moist, bouncy and delicious I’m glad I didn’t make the cake totally from scratch. I used some pink dye just for Bobby J, but this would be extra pretty keeping all ingredients white as well, do what makes you feel good.
For the Cake:
1 package white cake mix (I used pillsbury, but any should work)
1 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons warm water
3 eggs (room temperature)
1/2 cup coconut oil (melted)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract
For the Frosting:
16 ounces or 1 box powdered sugar
1/4 cup boiling water
1 1/2 sticks or 3/4 cup butter
4 ounces cream cheese cut into pieces
1/4 teaspoon coconut
1 drop red or pink food coloring if using
3 cups shredded coconut (I mix normal sweetened coconut with unsweetened wide flake coconut I buy from Sprouts because I think it’s so pretty)
- Preheat oven to 350 – spray or parchment line two 9 inch baking pans. I spray and parchment line because I’m careful like that, but do what works for you. It’s also a good time to get out your cream cheese and butter for the frosting so they can come to room temperature.
- Mix sour cream, oil, water, extracts and eggs one at a time making sure they are all incorporated, then add cake mix and mix for a few minutes making a consistent batter.
- Pour into your prepared cake pans trying to get them as even as possible (I put them on a scale but that’s because I’m a dessert blogger and want my business to look legit – you could probably eye ball it and get close enough to even). Bake for about 25-28 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean and the cakes are risen and browned nicely. Let cool 5-10 minutes then turn out of pans and let cool completely on a wire rack.
- For the frosting, mix together the cream cheese, butter and boiling water then start to slowly add the powdered sugar making sure to scrape the sides of the bowl, last mix in the coconut extract. Put your frosting in the fridge to get it a little thickened for 20 minutes or so.
- To frost, cut the round top off your bottom layer, then turn, cut side down onto a cake board or plate. Pile a big glop of frosting onto this layer and spread out being sure to only touch your frosting spatula to the frosting and never to cake, just to the ends. Next even out your next layer by cutting the round top then plop that on top of your frosted layer cut side down. Put most of your frosting on top of the cake and spread out slowly – being careful to only touch the frosting and not the cake so you don’t pull up crumbs. If you do, wash off our spatula and get more frosting to cover, there will be some left over. Spread the top so it goes past the border of the cake then take frosting and scoop it on to your spreading spatula as you go along the sides turning your cake so you get a nice even layer all around the sides. Last do a nice back and forth or a circular swirl on top then before it hardens press your coconut into the top and sides of the cake. It’s helpful to have something under it so clean-up is easier. Serve at room temperature – keeps for a good 3 days or more if you keep it covered.
I’ve come to realize that kitchen experimentation is my favorite part of baking and cooking. I love food science and playing mad scientist, hoping it works out. Actually, if I didn’t love that so much, you might see more recipe posts from me on here, cause if I try something and I’m not enthused, I would rather throw it away than let people try it. Both literally and proverbially. But, you guys… I had a MAJOR success recently! I was trying to think of a dessert to make went through a list of favorites, but wanting to try something new. I saw an old classic recipe for chocolate chip bar cookies that I love and that’s super easy, and I thought that they would be good with coconut and things just kept going from there and before you know it, I was pouring caramel and coconut on top and broiling it. It could have been soup or success and I’m happy to report that it was success! I’m so happy with it that I want y’all to try it and tell me what you think!
- 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
- 1 overripe banana
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup coconut
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 cup oatmeal
- 1/2 cup wheat flour
- 1 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
Caramel topping (original recipe from Ree Drummond)
- 1 packed cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup half-and-half
- 4 tablespoons butter
- Pinch salt
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- Coconut for topping (as much as desired, I used about a cup)
Pre-heat oven to 350°. Prepare 11×9 pan with cooking spray and set aside.
Beat butter until soft and creamy. Add sugars and beat until fluffy. Mix in banana, then eggs, vanilla and coconut until well combined. Set aside.
In a separate large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Add dry ingredients and gently combine with the above mixture.
Slowly mix in chocolate chips until thoroughly incorporated.
Bake on middle rack for 25-30 minutes, or until golden.
While cake is baking, make the caramel mixture by mixing the brown sugar, half-and-half, butter, salt and vanilla in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook while whisking gently for 5 to 7 minutes, until it starts to come to a rolling boil. At this point take off heat and wait for cake to come out of the oven. Once the cake is out, turn the oven to broil. Poke small holes all over the cake and pour caramel sauce evenly over the top. Top with as much coconut as you desire (should be evenly distributed all over the cake) and return the cake to the hot oven. Watch while the caramel sizzles and the coconut starts to turn golden brown. One coconut is evenly browned, remove cake from oven and cool at least 20 minutes before serving. Best served warm.
Oatmeal Coconut Pecan Cake by twocarolines
If you haven’t met Oatmeal Coconut Pecan Cake, let me introduce you to one of the great loves of my life. Trust me, this one is for the record books people. I’ve never served it without loud praise, wide applause, and urgent requests for the recipe. My husband, who isn’t really a cake guy, calls this his favorite and it’s the only cake he actually requests on the regular. There is so much that’s right about this cake, the always moist and magical oatmeal texture, the not-to-sweet with brown sugar cinnamon flavor, and the coconut pecan topping just sends it into the prize winning cake hall of fame (that’s a thing, or at least I should make that a thing). It’s one of those rare combinations of show stopping deliciousness that’s embarrassingly easy to make. Try it and see!
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup boiling water
1 1/4 cups rolled oats
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup chopped pecans
- Set oven to 350. Prepare a bundt pan by either spraying with baking spray that has flour or greasing well and tapping in flour to coat.
- In a large bowl combine melted butter, oatmeal, and boiling water. Let sit for 20 minutes.
- Add sugars then eggs, one at a time mixing well after each. Add flour and before mixing just put the baking soda, salt, and cinnamon on top of the flour heap then mix it all together adding vanilla last.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes until set and a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in pan 10 minutes before turning out onto a dish that can go in the oven. If you don’t have one put it on a cookie sheet for the application of the topping then transfer to a plate once it’s completed.
- For the topping put the sugar, cream and butter in a saucepan over medium heat. When sugar is dissolved and mixture starts bubbling on the sides mix in coconut and pecans then remove from the heat. It will stick on the cake a bit better if you let it cool 10-15 minutes before spreading on the cake.
- Once your topping is on put cake under the broiler (I keep it on low) for only a minute or so, just long enough to brown the topping.
- Serve anytime, keeps at room temp for a number of days.
Oatmeal Coconut Pecan Cake by twocarolines
Recipe adapted from A Gathering Of Friends
One of the things I miss the most about living in Berlin is my little group of amazing friends. From that group comes one of my favorite people in the world—we’ll call her Girl Swede. She and I used to bake together a lot and she taught me so many of her Swedish traditions and makes the most amazing Swedish treats. This Sticky Cake was the first thing she ever made for me and I was hooked! Girl Swede correctly explained that it was such an easy and quick treat to make and it is commonly enjoyed during Fika (a Swedish coffee break that is accompanied by delectable pastries). So, if you are wanting a super simple but decadent, chocolatey, chewy, kind of sticky treat–make this. I guess you could also invite others to join you, instead of hoarding this all to yourself but, I’ll let you decide…
Swedish Sticky Cake, a.k.a. Kladdkaka
- 1⁄2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1⁄4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 pinch salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 1⁄3cups white sugar
- 1tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1⁄2cup butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 300ºF. Lightly grease an 9-inch cake pan.
- Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt; set aside. Stir the eggs into the sugar until smooth. Add the flour mixture, and stir until combined. Pour in the vanilla extract and butter; stir until well combined. Pour into prepared cake pan.
- Bake on the lower rack (important!) of the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until the center has slightly set. Allow cake to cool for 1 hour in the pie plate. The cake is equally delicious if served warm or cold, find your sweet spot! Also, this can be good garnished with ice cream or whipped cream or powdered sugar dusted on top—I like how this is like a brownie and I’m a purist, so I served it plain.
Original Swedish recipe found here.
This American version was found from here and very slightly adapted.
Dark chocolate sheet cake with chocolate frosting
If the only thing you want for Christmas is for someone to remember your December birthday, this cake’s for you! Or maybe you know someone who has a birthday competing with Christmas so you need a cake that can stand out. My daughter and I make a different chocolate cake every few weeks, I don’t post all of them, only the ones we decide are really extra delicious and this one was all that plus it was so easy! I find it so fascinating how many ways there are to make a chocolate cake – this is an old school texas sheet cake recipe we modernized and I think the water, oil, AND butter make a combo that is not dense and dry as ‘from scratch’ cakes can often be. The process of making it was really unique and fun. I often make layer cakes, because they are pretty and I love the frosting to cake ratio on a layer cake, but a 9×13 is a birthday staple, and this is only a few more steps than your box cake and tastes so moist and springy. Plus it’s poppin off chocolate flavor like no other – and if you add rainbow sprinkles it will make all your chocolate cake dreams come true!
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips (sprinkled with a little flour)
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup hot cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar
rainbow sprinkles (optional)
- Grease a 9×13 baking pan and preheat oven to 375.
- Whisk sugar, flour, baking soda and salt in a large bowl until well blended.
- In a medium saucepan combine water, vegetable oil, butter, and cocoa stirring constantly. Bring to a boil then pour the hot mixture over the dry ingredients and stir together just until smooth. Let it cool slightly then mix in the eggs, buttermilk and vanilla.
- Scrape batter out of pan and spread evenly into 9×13 baking pan and bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes.
- For the frosting: Melt chocolate and butter either in a pyrex at low heat or in a double boiler. Remove from heat and pour in your hot cream, stir until combined then add the vanilla and sugar beating until spreadable. Pile it all on your cooled cake and spread out as you wish. Sprinkle with rainbow sprinkles too!
Recipe adapted from Joy of Cooking chocolate texas sheet cake and fast chocolate butter icing.