Category Archives: Cakes & Cupcakes

Peanut Butter Marble Cake

Peanut Butter Marble CakeToday is my 34th birthday!Peanut Butter Marble CakePeanut Butter Marble CakePeanut Butter Marble CakePeanut Butter Marble CakeIt’s been a really fun one so far: my little sister is visiting, I made this Sicilian pizza, went to dinner and to see Golden Girls Live! with a bunch of friends, did some vintage shopping, and saw Rocketman last night. Pretty great, right?!Peanut Butter Marble CakePeanut Butter Marble CakeNow it’s time to talk birthday cake. I make many (many many many) throughout the year, but this one is mine: Peanut Butter Marble Cake, y’all!Peanut Butter Marble CakeWe’re talking thick layers made with my favorite peanut butter batter and swirled with dark chocolate a la Marble Bundt Cake. Yesssss.Peanut Butter Marble CakeThe cake is filled and frosted with a silky Chocolate-Peanut Butter Buttercream. This stuff is sweet-salty magic and it swoops like a dream!Peanut Butter Marble CakePeanut Butter Marble CakeAll that, and I didn’t even mention all the chopped peanut butter cups in the middle! There are even more on top 😊 Peanut Butter Marble CakeIt’s a total showstopper—the ultimate chocolate-peanut butter cake, as far as I’m concerned.Peanut Butter Marble CakePeanut Butter Marble CakeI can’t think of a more delicious way to start my 35th trip around the sun 🎉 Peanut Butter Marble Cake

Peanut Butter Marble Cake
makes one 2-layer 9-inch round layer cake

Cake Batter:
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 1/2 cup creamy-style peanut butter*
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
4 ounces dark chocolate

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Buttercream:
1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup creamy-style peanut butter
3 cups confectioners sugar
2/3 cup cocoa powder
pinch of salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup heavy cream

For assembly:
12 miniature peanut butter cups + more for topping

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease 2 9-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment and grease again. Set aside.

Make the cake batter. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter and peanut butter until combined and fluffy. Beat in light brown and granulated sugars. Add eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla. Mix in half the dry ingredients followed by half the buttermilk. Add remaining dry ingredients, followed by remaining buttermilk. Set aside.

Place chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in 30 second increments in the microwave, stirring in between, until melted. This may also be done in a double boiler.

Transfer 1 1/2 cups of batter into the bowl with the melted chocolate. Use a fork and/or silicone spatula to combine the two.

Divide remaining peanut butter batter among prepared pans. Tap full pans on the counter five times to release any large air bubbles. Dollop chocolate batter over the tops and use a thin knife or skewer to lightly marble it in. Bake 40-42 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean.

Let cakes cool in the pans for 15 minutes. Run a thin, flexible knife around the edges. Invert cakes onto a cooling rack and let cool completely.

Make buttercream. In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy (about two minutes). Beat in peanut butter. Add in confectioner’s sugar in two installments, followed by cocoa powder and salt, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Add in vanilla, followed by heavy cream. Beat on high for 1-2 minutes, until very fluffy.

Place 12 miniature peanut butter cups on a cutting board. Use a large, sharp chef’s knife to cut them into small pieces (I like to cut them into eighths).

Use a serrated knife to even out the tops of the cake layers. Place one cut-side-up on a serving plate or cake stand. Top with a thin layer of buttercream, followed by chopped peanut butter cups. Top with the second layer cut-side-down. Frost and decorate cake. Garnish with more peanut butter cups, if desired.

Slice and serve. Leftovers will keep covered at room temperature for up to two days or in the refrigerator for up to five. If storing in the refrigerator, let cake sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving. Cake is best served at room temperature.Peanut Butter Marble CakePeanut Butter Marble CakePeanut Butter Marble Cake

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Blueberry Torte

Blueberry TorteI love an everyday cake, although I guess that’s technically a misnomer here. This blueberry beauty is a torte, which essentially means that it’s a cake made with little (or sometimes no) flour.Blueberry TorteSo…I guess it is a cake? Not all cakes are tortes, but all tortes are cakes. So yes, Blueberry Torte is a cake. Glad we got that sorted.

(Sorry.)Blueberry TorteAnyway…this Blueberry Torte is easy peasy and so good, you’re going to want to make it all summer long. And you absolutely should! It’s got a soft center, slightly chewy edges, and is literally bursting with fresh blueberries—what’s not to love?!Blueberry TorteThis is a spin on one of my favorite holiday desserts, Pear & Cranberry Torte. It’s so super delicious that I wanted to make a spring/summer appropriate version and, well, here we are.Blueberry TorteThe recipe begins with a simple cake batter. You’ll find many of the usual suspects here (softened butter, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, eggs), plus light brown sugar and the tiniest bit of lemon zest.Blueberry TorteBlueberry TorteBlueberry TorteOne ingredient you won’t find? Milk. There’s none in this recipe, so the batter is pretty thick for a cake…er, torte. This lack of liquid is also what gives us the almost cookie-like edges. Yesssss. If you’re worrying about this leading to a dry product, never fear—this torte stays plenty moist thanks to the butter and eggs, small amount of flour, and two full cups (12 ounces!) of blueberries that are pressed into the top before baking. They soften and sink into the batter while the torte bakes and become jammy and fragrant and it is stupid good and why aren’t you actively walking to the kitchen right now???

(Sorry again.)Blueberry TorteBlueberry TorteBlueberry Torte doesn’t require any frosting or other flourishes and can be served up while it’s still warm. If, however, you want to jazz it up for a dinner party or you’re feeling fancy, you can give it a dusting of confectioner’s sugar, a dollop of whipped cream or a smattering of fresh blueberries. If you’re anything like me, you’ll need all three.Blueberry TorteSorry, not sorry.Blueberry Torte

Blueberry Torte
one 9-inch cake, about 8 servings

2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest (about 1 medium lemon)
1/2 cup granulated sugar + 1 tablespoon, for sprinkling
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
12 ounces (about 2 cups) fresh blueberries

For serving (optional):
confectioners sugar
whipped cream
fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan. Set aside.

Combine lemon zest, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, and light brown sugar in a small bowl. Use your fingertips to rub the zest into the sugar to release the oils. Set aside.

In a small-medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to cream butter until very light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Beat in sugar mixture. Mix in eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla. With the mixer on low, mix in dry ingredients. Batter will be thick.

Spread batter into the prepared pan. Scatter blueberries over the top and lightly press them into the batter. Sprinkle the additional tablespoon of granulated sugar over the top. Bake 50-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs. Let cake cool in the pan on a rack for 15 minutes before running a small, thin knife around the edge and releasing the springform.

Serve warm or room temperature with a dusting of confectioner’s sugar, whipped cream and/or fresh blueberries, if desired. Leftovers will keep covered in the refrigerator for a few days.Blueberry TorteBlueberry Torte

Double Funfetti Crumb Cake

Double Funfetti Crumb CakeI’ll admit that my heart sank to my ankles when I was asked to make “something like” the Milk Bar Birthday Cake for a first birthday party a few weeks ago.Double Funfetti Crumb CakeDouble Funfetti Crumb CakeDouble Funfetti Crumb CakeIt’s not that I have anything against Christina Tosi or Milk Bar—I think she’s incredible and I have been known to enjoy a Cereal Milk Latte—but I have very little interest in making someone else’s recipes, especially when they involve things the average American homebaker doesn’t keep around, like acetate strips and large cake rings. Also, Tosi’s layer cake recipes are notoriously intricate; at their most basic, they involve a cake, a soak, buttercream, and a crumb. That’s a lot, even for someone who enjoys stupidly complicated baking projects 🙋🏻‍♀️ Double Funfetti Crumb CakeLong story short, I got it together, spent a lot of time looking at my copy of the Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook, and then did what I wanted. Since I am unlikely to ever post that full recipe, I’ll go ahead and tell you what I did: I used my Funfetti Cake recipe as-is, trimmed the sides by hand, brushed on sweetened condensed milk for the soak, and layered it all with a cream cheese-spiked vanilla buttercream and a simplified version of the Milk Bar Birthday Cake Crumb. And it was effing delicious. Double Funfetti Crumb CakeI have little intention of making it again because who has that kind of time??? But I will make time for one element: the Funfetti crumb. It’s got all the buttery crunch you’d expect in a shortbread or crispy sugar cookie, but it’s as simple as making the crumb topping for a coffee cake. And it’s colorful and happy and just the tiniest bit salty. And, well, connect the (rainbow sprinkle) dots.Double Funfetti Crumb CakeDouble Funfetti Crumb CakeDouble Funfetti Crumb CakeDouble Funfetti Crumb CakeDouble Funfetti Crumb Cake is exactly what it sounds like: tender sour cream Funfetti cake with a layer of Funfetti crumb baked on top. It’s the buttery, rainbow-speckled, no-cinnamon-allowed everyday coffee cake you didn’t know you wanted.Double Funfetti Crumb CakeDouble Funfetti Crumb CakeDouble Funfetti Crumb CakeThe cake is rich and dense, the crumb provides just the right amount of crisp-crunch, and the rainbow sprinkles (jimmies, not nonpareils!) make it as cute as can be! It would be great for a celebratory breakfast or any coffee cake occasion, but I can also see it being a perfect birthday cake for someone who doesn’t like frosting.Double Funfetti Crumb CakeWhat? We all know that person. We may not totally understand their tastes but we respect them, and now we can make extra-fun cake for them to show them how much we love them.Double Funfetti Crumb CakeDouble Funfetti Crumb Cake…this took a weird turn. Happy Friday, dear readers! Make yourself a cake this weekend!Double Funfetti Crumb Cake

Double Funfetti Crumb Cake
makes one 9-inch round cake, about 10 servings

Funfetti Crumb Topping:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons rainbow sprinkles (jimmies, not nonpareils)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

Cake Batter:
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 cup full-fat sour cream, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup whole milk, room temperature
1/3 cup rainbow sprinkles (jimmies, not nonpareils)

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a springform pan. Set aside.

Make the crumb topping. In a small mixing bowl, use a fork to whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Whisk in rainbow sprinkles. Add vanilla and melted butter and stir until dry ingredients are saturated and clumps form. Set aside.

Make the cake batter. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until fluffy. Mix in egg, sour cream and vanilla; mixture may be a bit lumpy. Mix in half the dry ingredients followed by half the milk. Add remaining dry ingredients, followed by remaining milk. Use a silicone spatula (or wooden spoon) to fold in rainbow sprinkles.

Transfer the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly. Use your fingers to evenly distribute crumb over the top. Tap full pan a few times on the countertop to release any large air bubbles. Bake cake for 65-75 minut e, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let cool 20 minutes in the pan on a rack. Run a thin, flexible knife around the edge of the pan before releasing the springform. Cake may be served warm or room temperature. If you’d like, let the cake cool completely, invert it and remove the parchment before placing on a serving platter. Sift confectioner’s sugar over the top. Serve.

Leftover cake will keep well at room temperature for up to two days, or in the refrigerator for up to five.
Double Funfetti Crumb CakeDouble Funfetti Crumb CakeDouble Funfetti Crumb Cake

Neapolitan Cake

Neapolitan CakeI make a lot of cakes—a lot. In any given month, I make at least ten, plus any that are tested and posted on this blog. What can I say? I have friends who like to celebrate and like my cakes. I’m flattered.Neapolitan CakeOf course, this means that making cake—something that once only brought joy—can sometimes be a slog. I don’t necessarily mind when baking feels like work (because it is my work), but I’d be lying if I said I couldn’t wait to come home and bake layers after a long day of blogging and personal cheffing. The joy understandably gets a little lost when I’m making a double batch of vanilla layers at 11pm on a Tuesday.Neapolitan CakeBut when inspiration strikes and I can be creative, it could be 4am and I’d be psyched to be baking. My roommate might not particularly like it, but I’d be in heaven.Neapolitan CakeSuch was the case last month when I made a cake for a friend whose only instruction was that it should have something strawberry involved, at his young daughter’s request. Other than that, I could go wild.Neapolitan CakeAnd so that request for a strawberry element somehow meshed with vanilla and chocolate and became Neapolitan…and I went wild. Wild! And it was so much fun (and so delicious!) that I went and made a second cake for this blog. You’re welcome 😉Neapolitan CakeY’all. Y’ALL. This cake. It is a thing. A real undertaking. A project best done over the course of two days. The most intricate cake work that’s ever been on this blog (aside from the wedding cake, of course).Neapolitan CakeBut I am also completely obsessed with it. I mean, what’s not to love about this checkerboard chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry interior and the ruffled tricolor buttercream exterior? It’s the most fun!Neapolitan CakeThe cake layers are all made from one batter. Once it’s mixed together, it’s divided in thirds. One is left plain—that’s the vanilla layer. Another is spiked with freeze-dried strawberries, and the last with cocoa powder and melted chocolate.Neapolitan CakeThey’re baked, cooled, evened…Neapolitan Cake…and then punched into rings and reassembled.Neapolitan CakeAnd layered in a specific order with thin layers of vanilla buttercream.Neapolitan CakeNeapolitan CakeNeapolitan CakeNeapolitan CakeNeapolitan CakeAnd then decorated in the most fun (and shockingly easy!) ruffle pattern. Or, you know, however you like.Neapolitan CakeWhen all is said and done and sliced and served, all your friends’ minds will be blown at your Neapolitan Cake prowess. As they freaking should be.Neapolitan Cake

Neapolitan Cake
makes one 3-layer 9-inch round cake

Cake Batter:
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
3 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, melted & cooled slightly
5 large eggs, room temperature
4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups whole milk, room temperature
1 cup full-fat sour cream, room temperature

For the Strawberry Layer:
1 1.2 ounce package freeze-dried strawberries, pulverized
2 tablespoons whole milk
red food coloring (I used 6 drops red gel), optional

For the Chocolate Layer:
1/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup whole milk

Special Equipment:
6 inch round cake ring/cookie cutter
3 inch round cake ring/cookie cutter

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease 3 9-inch round cake pans. Line the bottoms with parchment and grease again.

Make the cake batter. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and granulated sugar. Set aside.

Pour melted butter into a medium mixing bowl. Whisk in eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla.

In a large measuring cup, use a fork to stir together whole milk and sour cream.

Whisk half the butter mixture into dry ingredients, followed by half the milk mixture. Add remaining mixture, followed by remaining milk mixture.

Make the flavored layers. Pour 3 1/4 cups of batter into one of the pans. This is the vanilla layer. Set aside.

Pour 3 1/4 cups of batter into each of two small mixing bowls.

To make the strawberry layer, whisk pulverized freeze-dried strawberries, whole milk, and food coloring into one of the bowls of batter. Transfer to another prepared pan. Set aside.

Make the chocolate layer. Whisk cocoa powder into the last bowl of batter.

Put chopped dark chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 15 second increments, stirring in between, until melted and smooth. Whisk into batter, followed by whole milk. Transfer to remaining prepared pan.

Smooth the tops of all the pans-full of batter. Tap each full pan on the counter five times to release any large air bubbles. Bake cakes 32-37 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean. Let cakes cool in pans for fifteen minutes. Run a small thin knife around the edges of the pans and invert the cakes onto cooling racks to cool completely. Layers may be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 days.

Even the layers. Working with one layer at a time, use a serrated knife to trim all layers until they are of even height (mine were each 1 1/4 inch tall).

Assemble the layers. Working with one layer at a time, place layer on a cutting board or other surface. Use the 6-inch ring to cut out the center. Use the 3-inch ring to cut out the center of the 6-inch circle of cake. Wipe rings clean. Repeat with remaining layers.

Separate all circles/rings of cake so that you have 3 3-inch center pieces, 3 6-inch middle rings, and 3 9-inch outer rings. Make layers by pressing pieces together like a puzzle. Layers should be as follows:

• chocolate outer ring, vanilla middle ring, strawberry center
• vanilla outer ring, strawberry middle ring, chocolate center
• strawberry outer ring, chocolate middle ring, vanilla center

For Layering & Assembly of Cake

Simple Syrup:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water

Vanilla Buttercream:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 pound confectioner’s sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
3-5 tablespoons heavy cream

Strawberry Buttercream:
1 1.2-ounce package freeze dried strawberries
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 cups confectioners sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
5-6 tablespoons heavy cream

Chocolate Buttercream:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
6 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons heavy cream

Make the simple syrup. Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir constantly until sugar dissolves, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Make the vanilla buttercream. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Beat in confectioner’s sugar in three installments, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Beat in salt, followed by vanilla. Add in heavy cream until desired consistency is reached.

Make the strawberry buttercream. In a medium-large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. With the mixer on low, beat in confectioner’s sugar, strawberry powder, and salt. Mixture may be alarmingly crumbly—this is normal. Add vanilla and 5 tablespoons of heavy cream. Beat until very fluffy, about 2 minutes. If desired, mix in another tablespoon of heavy cream until the proper consistency is reached.

Make the chocolate buttercream. In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy (about two minutes). Beat in confectioner’s sugar, followed by cocoa powder and salt, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Add in vanilla and heavy cream. Beat on high for 1-2 minutes, until very fluffy.

Place the layer with the chocolate outer ring on a serving plate or cake stand. Brush with simple syrup. Top with a thin layer of vanilla buttercream. Place the layer with the vanilla outer ring on top. Brush with simple syrup. Top with a thin layer of vanilla buttercream. Place the layer with the strawberry outer ring on top. Brush with simple syrup. Frost the entire cake with a very thin layer of vanilla buttercream (a “crumb coat”). Refrigerate for 15 minutes or up to 1 day.

Load remaining vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate buttercreams into piping bags (or ziplocks with smalls corners snipped off). Remove the cake from the refrigerator.

To decorate the cake as pictured, working with one buttercream at a time, pipe a ring of dollops around the entire bottom of the cake. Use the back of an offset spatula to press into each dollop and drag upward to create a “ruffle” effect, wiping clean as needed. Use another buttercream to make a ring of dollops above the first (now-ruffled), and repeat the same pressing/dragging method to create the same pattern. Use the remaining color of buttercream, and continue the method, alternating in a pattern until you have frosted your way up the cake, onto the top, and to the center.

Slice and serve. Leftover cake may be kept covered at room temperature for up to two days or in the refrigerator for up to five.Neapolitan CakeNeapolitan CakeNeapolitan Cake

Carrot Cake Petit Fours

Carrot Cake Petit FoursJust in case you thought I had this baking thing figured out, know that these far-from-picture-perfect Carrot Cake Petit Fours were the fourth test batch and by far the least hideous.Carrot Cake Petit FoursPart of me wants to try again, but it’s not a good part. As a rule, any part of you that can feel utterly demoralized by cake (!) doesn’t deserve too much of your attention. Or maybe it deserves all of your attention? Maybe it should to go to therapy…?

As another rule, you should not take mental health advice from food blogs.Carrot Cake Petit FoursSo, uh, back to Carrot Cake Petit Fours. These sweet little squares are basically miniature layer cakes. They’re super cute and delicious, and just the right amount of cake so that you don’t feel any guilt about going back for seconds. I can eat one in about three bites—four, if I’m being ladylike. <—But why start now?!Carrot Cake Petit FoursTraditional white almond petit fours are my family’s Easter dessert of choice, so I have been trying my hand at these little cakes for the last couple of years in an effort to recapture my youth. Last year, I went for Funfetti. This year, I’m combining my family’s favorite with an Easter classic: Carrot Cake!Carrot Cake Petit FoursNow, I’ve learned a lot of things in these efforts, chief among them that petit fours are a pain in the ass labor of love. There are many steps to making them and one is applying poured fondant. They take a minimum of 2.5 hours to assemble, and that’s after you’ve baked and chilled a sheet cake. There are SO MANY dishes. So many.

I wouldn’t even bother, except that each batch—even batch 3, after which I swore I was giving up until next Easter and was so deflated that I had to leave work early to go home and go to bed—has sent me down Childhood Easter Memory Lane. And so, I trudge on with the hope that I will one day make flawless petit fours.Carrot Cake Petit FoursAlas, today is not that day. But I’ll be the first to tell you that while my poured fondant skills leave something to be desired, my carrot cake game is strong 💪 Flavored with dark brown sugar and warming spices, and studded with the perfect amount of shredded carrots, this cake is seriously phenomenal. And it should be—it’s a streamlined version of my favorite carrot layer cake. Since the batch is 3/4 of the original recipe, I’ve adjusted the volumes of the sugars and slightly reduced the oil. Nothing major; just some tacked-on tablespoons that were bothering me.

You’ll also notice that I left out the raisins and pecans. I usually like those in carrot cake, but figured all the slicing, frosting, and decorating petit fours require would be made easier without any variance in texture.Carrot Cake Petit FoursCarrot Cake Petit FoursAs for assembly, the cake is baked and chilled before being torted (sliced in half equatorially to produce two thin layers) and filled with my favorite fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting. I don’t usually like to say that any of my recipes are the “best ever,” but I make an exception for my Cream Cheese Frosting. It’s the best ever.Carrot Cake Petit FoursCarrot Cake Petit FoursAfter being stacked back together, the cake is trimmed to remove any crispy or uneven edges. Then the remaining cake is sliced into 1 1/2-inch squares. Those are crumb-coated (lightly frosted), and then the real fun starts.Carrot Cake Petit FoursCarrot Cake Petit FoursCarrot Cake Petit FoursCarrot Cake Petit FoursCarrot Cake Petit FoursPetit fours are traditionally coated in poured fondant for a clean finish. Easier said than done! The good news is that poured fondant is mercifully quick and easy to make—just some melting and whisking over a double boiler. The less good news is that I tried three different methods of applying it to the cake and the best is a squeeze bottle. It allows for the most control, with spooning/spreading coming in as the best alternative. Dipping is a big no for these—crumb city. As I said before, this is a pain in the ass labor of love.Carrot Cake Petit FoursBut when all is said and done and decorated with little piped carrots, it’s totally worth it. The moist carrot cake, cream cheese frosting, and even the poured fondant assembly—totally worth it. Because they are just that delicious and that frigging cute, imperfections and all.Carrot Cake Petit Fours

Carrot Cake Petit Fours
makes about 2.5 dozen petit fours

Cake:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 cup neutral-flavored oil (I like canola)
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 1/4 cups coarsely grated carrots

Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 ounces full-fat brick-style cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 pound confectioner’s sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Poured Fondant:
2/3 cup hot tap water
2/3 cup light corn syrup
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups white chocolate chips (a little more than a 12 ounce bag)
2 lbs confectioners sugar

For Decoration:
1/2 cup Cream Cheese Frosting
orange food coloring (or red and yellow)
green food coloring

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9×13-inch cake pan. Line with parchment, leaving overhang on two sides for easy removal. Grease again. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together oil, dark brown sugar, and granulated sugar. Mix in eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla. Whisk in dry ingredients in two installments. Use a silicone spatula to fold in carrots.

Pour batter into prepared pan and spread to edges. Tap full pan on the counter 5 times to release air bubbles. Bake for 33-37 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Use a thin, flexible knife to release cake, and then use overhang to lift it onto a rack. Allow to cool completely. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or up to 2 days.

Make the frosting. In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat cream cheese and butter together until light and fluffy. Add confectioner’s sugar and salt in two installments, until completely combined. Beat in vanilla. Once combined, beat on high for two additional minutes, until light and fluffy. Set 1/2 cup of frosting aside.

When you are ready to assemble, line 2 rimmed sheet pans with parchment. Top each with a cooling rack. Set aside.

Line a cutting board with parchment. Remove cake from refrigerator, unwrap and place on cutting board. Use a serrated knife to even the top of the cake. Torte cake (slice into 2 very thin layers). Remove top thin layer so you can frost the bottom thin layer. Return the top thin layer to cover the frosting. Crumb coat (lightly frost) the top.

Use serrated knife to trim off crispy cake edges (about 1/4-inch on all sides). Slice cake into 1 1/2-inch squares.

Use an offset icing knife to crumb coat squares on all exposed sides. Place on prepared racks/pans.

Make poured fondant. In a liquid measuring cup, stir together hot water, light corn syrup, and vanilla.

Fill a small pot with 1-2 inches of water. Set a heatproof bowl over the top, ensuring that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Remove bowl and bring water to a simmer.

Place white chocolate chips in the heatproof bowl. When water simmers, place bowl back over the water. Whisk until melted. Alternate adding confectioners sugar and liquid ingredients, whisking constantly until smooth. Remove from heat and let cool a few minutes (it works best around 100F).

Use a funnel to fill a squeeze bottle with poured fondant.

Working quickly, use squeeze bottle to cover the the top and sides of each square. Use an offset icing knife to adjust sides as necessary. Re-warm poured fondant as needed (I like 8-10 second bursts in the microwave). This may be done with a spoon as well, although a squeeze bottle is simpler. Let poured fondant set for at least an hour.

Divide reserved frosting into 2 small bowls. Tint one with orange food coloring and the other with green. Pipe carrots (instructional video here), if desired. Serve.

Leftover petit fours will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 7-10 days.Carrot Cake Petit FoursCarrot Cake Petit FoursCarrot Cake Petit Fours