Velvety White Chocolate Cake

Despite all the baking going on in the house this summer I’ve actually lost 10 pounds and several inches since Bradley left for boot camp last month. The patriotic cupcakes shared earlier this week were delivered to the local police department so that they didn’t stay in the house after Audley, Madeline and my niece ate a couple.  But, when you whip up something like this cake we carried to South Carolina as we visited two of our kiddos over the weekend, it’s really hard to say “no” to sweets!

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Making a cake from scratch is not that difficult. A little more time consuming maybe, but really not as hard as people would have you think. My problem with taking the time to bake is there are actually people out there who will complain about the dense layers of homemade flavor, and say they prefer a box mix!

Really?!

You have got to be kidding me!

Nonetheless, I will continue to scratch bake when time allows, and if someone doesn’t like it, it’s their loss. They should probably have their taste buds checked and shop the outer rims of the grocery stores for real food more often!

Velvety White Chocolate Cake

For my white chocolate cake you need a good quality cake flour (I love King Arthur’s brand), sugar, baking powder & salt for your dry ingredients. For your wet ingredients you will need egg whites ( separate your own, don’t use prepackaged liquid eggs), vanilla; grass-fed, fat-filled, real butter, and whole milk. You will also need 8 ounces of quality white chocolate …. I prefer Ghirardelli brand.

Scratch Cake Ingredients

The better quality products you use, the better tasting your cake will be!

You also want to have a flour sifter on hand to use when measuring your flour. You will be able to tell a difference in the density of your cake if you do (or don’t) sift the flour.

If you’ve never used one, it’s not difficult; promise! You just place flour into the gadget and shake or sift into a measuring bowl the amount your recipe calls for.

You’ll also need two bowls (one for wet ingredients; one for dry), measuring spoons and of course a mixer. You will need a bowl to melt your white chocolate in as well.

Prepare to 8-inch cake pans by spraying with Bakers Joy or another cake release product and preheat your oven to 350°.

White Velvet cake

After you have baked your layers, allow them to cool on a cooling rack,  The edges may be crispy (my favorite part to eat), but carefully level each layer with a cake leveler.  You can find a good one at Hobby Lobby for under $10.  Its worth keeping on hand if you like to bake.

The cream cheese icing recipe I shared earlier this week would be perfect to frost this cake, but since this cake was traveling I used a decorators buttercream that would hold.  Click here for the full and printable Velvety White Chocolate Cake recipe and here for the Cream Cheese Icing recipe.

 

White Chocolate Cake with Sprinkles

An easy way to decorate your cake would be to add a colorful holiday sprinkle mix over the top.  Fresh summer berries would also be a delightful addition!  Strawberries especially compliment the flavor of a white chocolate cake!

Sliced White Chocolate Cake

 So tell me, which do you prefer… A box cake or a fresh baked scratch cake?

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Cheesy Pound Cake for the Fourth

Some of my favorite recipes are the ones that are written down.

You know the ones I am talking about; those that you found in a magazine in the days before blogs and Pinterest; copied in your very own handwriting and saved in a 3-ring binder.   I have some amazing recipes from back in the day when I was building my recipe collection.

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One of my very favorites was one that I found in Southern Living magazine just over 20 years ago while Audley and I were dating.  I couldn’t wait to make this fabulous Cheesy Pound Cake for him {you  know the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach}, and it was truly a treasured recipe for the first 16 years of our marriage.  Then, I put away those handwritten recipes as it was easier to open a browser on my phone and our eating habits changed just a little a lot.  But, for the Fourth this year I thought it would be fun to pull out my little 3-ring binder and make our cherished pound cake as a treat.

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And because it is so good I wanted to share it with you, too!

Besides we all deserve a “cheat” every now and again.

Cheesy Pound Cake

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups butter, softened

1 (8 oz) package softened cream cheese

3 Cups Sugar 

6 Large eggs

3 cups cake flour

dash of salt

2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, finely shredded (do this yourself, don’t buy it in a bag)

1 TBSP vanilla

Cheesy Pound Cake Ingredients

For the best results, use the freshest and best ingredients.

Assembling your Cake:

1.  Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed for two minutes or until creamy.  Gradually add sugar, beating 5-7 minutes.  Add eggs one at a time, beating just until yellow disappears.

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2.  Combine flour and salt; gradually add to butter mixture.  Beat at low speed just until blended after each mixture addition.  Stir in cheddar cheese and vanilla.

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3.  Pour into greased and floured 10-inch bundt pan.  Bake a 375 for an hour and fifteen minutes or until a wooden pick comes out clean.

Cool in the pan 15 minutes and then remove to a cooling rack to continue cooling.

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The addition of cheese to this recipe makes the pound cake so rich and flavorful. Adding mixed berries completely compliments the flavors, plus gives it a little patriotic look for the Fourth.

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I also whipped up a batch of homemade whipping cream to complete our perfectly delicious dessert.

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And there you have my easy-peasy, old-fashioned pound cake for our nations birthday this Fourth of July.

Wishing you and your family a wonderful and safe holiday weekend.

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White Velvet

I am always on the look-out for new flavors to use in my cake-baking hobby.  Believe it or not, there is only so much chocolate that I can handle in a months time.  Recently, I read about a white velvet cake on another bakery’s page, and it absolutely fascinated me with images of soft and feathery cake; prompting me to make one for myself.
(Was that a run-on sentence?  Sorry, I do have a tendency to ramble sometime!)
When I bake a cake from scratch, I often end up with a heavy and dry cake.  Not this one.  After playing with two or three recipes that I found on the web, I combined ingredients for my own version of White Velvet cake and I promise, it lives up to its name!
I used the recipe when making miniature cupcakes for an event I catered last weekend.

 

Earl Gray and Peach iced White Velvet cupcakes ….. 2-tiered stand from HomeGoods
 White Velvet Cake
4 ounces egg whites
1 cup milk
2 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla (I used Neilson-Massey vanilla)
3 cups cake flour (I used Downs)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. baking powder (I used Clabber Girl)
1/4 tsp. salt
12 Tbsp. unsalted butter (softened)
In a mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.  In a separate small bowl, combine the egg whites, 1/4 cup of the milk and the vanilla, and blend for just a minute to mix the ingredients.

In your large mixing bowl of dry ingredients, add the butter and the remain 3/4 cup of milk and mix on a lower speed until well moistened.  Increase to medium speed and beat for a minute.  Be sure to scrape down your sides.  Gradually add the egg mixture in multiple batches, beating after each addition to combine well in the batter.

You should have about 4 cups of batter, maybe just a touch more.

When mixed, pour batter into prepared pans (or cupcake wraps) and bake on 350 until the center is set (abt. 25 minutes for a cake).

 

 

I wanted a unique icing to set off this cupcake, so I found this great Earl Gray icing.  It was a buttercream, so I turned it into a cream cheese recipe and topped my cupcakes.
To make the icing, all you need is 12 ounces softened cream cheese, 12 ounces softened butter, 1 Tablespoon Vanilla extract, 6 cups confectioners sugar, and 2 Earl Gray tea bags.
Cut open your tea bag, and pour the loose tea into a container and crush into a powder.  I used a mortar and pestle to accomplish this.  Sift the tea in with the confectioners sugar.
Beat the butter, cream cheese and vanilla with a mixer until smooth and combined well.  Beat in the sugar/tea mixture a little at a time, mixing well after each addition.  When it is all in, beat another couple of minutes on medium speed.  It shouldn’t be an issue, but if the mixture is too thick for spreading or mixing well, add just a splash of milk to moisten.

 

Smooth the icing on whichever way you have chosen to prepare the White Velvet cake mix.  Just a couple of minutes in the refrigerator firms up the icing enough to swirl using an icing bag and tip (I used a Kaiser 11 mm tip).
Making miniature cupcakes was a wonderful way to use this recipe as it is a memorable bite to take.
{FYI…. This icing is really good on chocolate cupcakes as well!!}
See I just can’t get the chocolate off of my mind!
I am taking part in Foodie Friday this week.  Stop over at Design’s By Gollum for more tasty treats!

Fourteen

Fourteen years ago today, after 23 1/2 hours of labor a beautiful, loud, non-sleeping child was born to Audley and me.  I look back on these fourteen years and realize that MacKenzie Grace is still beautiful, still loud and never sleeps, but I still adore her so much.
Birthday cake in the face, courtesy of the sisters.

 

Life with MacKenzie is anything but boring, so a spontaneous evening by the grandparents pool, grilling burgers and cooling off with a bestie and her sisters was the perfect evening for her.
This child will never be a poker player …. her face reveals all!

 

Instead of baking a cake in all of my spare time (insert sarcasm here), while we were in Birmingham over the weekend I picked up a lovely, and fabulously delicious cake from our favorite bakery: Edgar’s.  There were absolutely no complaints for this treat!
With summer here, bringing with it 100 degree temps already, I see a lot more pool parties in our future, which means wonderfully delicious food!
With these girls of mine I know it’ll be an amazing and fun summer!