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Neapolitan Bundt Cake

Neapolitan Bundt Cake

Why have one flavor of cake when you can have three?! This Neapolitan Bundt Cake has them all: vanilla, chocolate and strawberry.

Neapolitan Bundt Cake

All the flavors start together with a batch of my favorite go-to bundt base. It’s ridiculously easy: just dump everything in a mixer, then mix on low for 30 seconds before turning the speed to medium for 3 minutes. Easy easy easy.

Once the batter is ready, divide it in thirds. Leave one plain (vanilla), stir cocoa powder and melted chocolate into another (chocolate), and flavor the last with pulverized freeze-dried strawberries (strawberry).

Neapolitan Bundt Cake

I tried a few different methods for the cake assembly, including spooning them all in at random, but my favorite is the one you see here. I spooned one flavor at a time into the pan, then spread it around in a circle. It doesn’t matter if they’re all perfectly even—the layers of batter will produce a stripey marble effect. The imperfections are all part of the fun.

Neapolitan Bundt Cake
Neapolitan Bundt Cake

Neapolitan Bundt Cake takes just over an hour to bake and will need to cool completely before glazing…with three glazes! Gotta have one for each flavor, right? These glazes are all quick and easy to whisk together; the only thing you want to watch for is that they all have similar viscosity. Once mixed, drizzle to your heart’s content.

Neapolitan Bundt Cake

With a tight crumb, tender texture, and three flavors and colors, this Neapolitan Bundt will be a winner with everyone! It’s perfect for any occasion, including the first picnic or cookout back together after so many months apart.

Neapolitan Bundt Cake
Neapolitan Bundt Cake
makes one 10-cup capacity bundt

For the Cake:
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 16 pieces
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teasp Kosher or sea salt
1 cup milk (preferably whole), room temperature

For the Strawberry Batter:
1 1.2 ounce package freeze-dried strawberries, pulverized
red food coloring (I used 1 drop red gel), optional

For the Chocolate Batter:
2 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder
2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped

Place an oven rack in the center position. Preheat oven to 325F. Heavily grease a bundt pan with softened butter (or shortening) and dust well with flour. Set aside.

Make the cake. Make the cake. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Use an electric mixer to mix on low for 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium and mix for 3 minutes. Batter will be thick.

Make the Strawberry and Chocolate batters. Divide batter into 3 medium bowls, with about 1 2/3 cups batter going in each. Leave one plain. This is the vanilla batter.

To make the strawberry batter, whisk pulverized freeze-dried strawberries and optional food coloring into one of the bowls of batter.

Make the chocolate batter. 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.

To assemble the cake, spoon half the vanilla batter into the pan and spread around in a circle. Top with half the strawberry batter, and spread around in a circle. Top with chocolate batter, and spread in a circle. Add remaining vanilla, strawberry and chocolate batters one-by-one, spreading in circles before adding the next. It’s okay if this isn’t perfect—it will look great when sliced, I promise!

When all batters are in the prepared pan, smooth the top with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon. Tap full pan on the counter five times to release any large air bubbles. Bake 65-75 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in several places comes out clean.

Let cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Run a thin, flexible knife around all exposed edges. Invert cake onto a cooling rack and let cake cool completely. Cake may be made up to a day in advance; it will keep double-wrapped in plastic wrap until you are ready to glaze.

Vanilla Glaze:
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
pinch of salt
2 teaspoons whole milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Strawberry Glaze:
1 tablespoon pulverized freeze-dried strawberries (from about 1/4 cup pieces)
1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
pinch of salt
2 teaspoons whole milk

Chocolate Glaze:
1 tablespoon natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
pinch of salt
2-3 teaspoons whole milk

Make your glazes. For the vanilla, combine confectioner’s sugar, salt, milk and vanilla in a small bowl. Use a fork to whisk ingredients together until very thick, but pourable. If it’s too thick, add more milk by the 1/2 teaspoon up to 1 teaspoons (1 tablespoon); if it’s too thin, add more confectioners sugar in 1 tablespoon increments.

For the strawberry, combine freeze-dried strawberries, confectioner’s sugar, salt, and milk in a small bowl. Use a fork to whisk ingredients together until very thick, but pourable. If it’s too thick, add more milk by the 1/2 teaspoon up to 1 teaspoons (1 tablespoon); if it’s too thin, add more confectioners sugar in 1 tablespoon increments.

For the chocolate, combine cocoa powder, confectioner’s sugar, salt, and milk in a small bowl. Use a fork to whisk ingredients together until very thick, but pourable. If it’s too thick, add more milk by the 1/2 teaspoon up to 1 teaspoons (1 tablespoon); if it’s too thin, add more confectioners sugar in 1 tablespoon increments.

Pour or drizzle glazes over cake. Let sit for 20 minutes to set. Move cake to a serving plate before slicing and serving.

Leftover cake will keep covered at room temperature for up to two days or in the refrigerator for up to five.

Note:

This recipe may be halved and baked in a parchment-lined 9x5-inch loaf pan. Start checking the cake for doneness at the 55 minute mark.
Neapolitan Bundt Cake
Neapolitan Bundt Cake
Neapolitan Bundt Cake

Brown Butter Strawberry Torte

Brown Butter Strawberry Torte

I firmly believe that you can never, ever have too many everyday cake recipes. Ever. And even if you can, you should add this Brown Butter Strawberry Torte to the list anyway.

Brown Butter Strawberry Torte

This is one hell of a cake, y’all. Rich brown butter batter is topped with tons of quartered fresh strawberries, then baked until golden and studded with little jammy berry pockets. Jammy berry pockets!!!

Brown Butter Strawberry Torte comes together with minimal effort. That’s the appeal of everyday cakes, after all: you can make them without thinking too hard or dirtying too many dishes, and then you have cake on a Tuesday or a Saturday or a Thursday or whatever. They’re great for eating in your pajamas or serving to company—a utility dessert if you will.

The most taxing part of this recipe is browning the butter, which requires five whole minutes of staring at a pan and occasionally swirling it until the butter is dark and nutty and wonderful. After that, it’s just whisking up batter, pressing in sliced strawberries and throwing it in the oven for an hour. In that time, the fruit softens and buckles into the batter, resulting in a rustic craggy little cake. I know I’m biased, but I think it’s really beautiful.

Brown Butter Strawberry Torte

I think this goes without saying, but you can use any fruit you like in this cake with excellent results. I chose strawberries because they’re right on the verge of being in season, but blueberries, blackberries, mango, pineapple or any other fruit that goes with brown butter would all be good variations.

Pro tip: pretty much everything goes with brown butter.

Brown Butter Strawberry Torte
Brown Butter Strawberry Torte
makes one 9-inch torte

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2/3 cup granulated sugar + 1 tablespoon, for sprinkling
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
12 ounces fresh strawberries, hulled & quartered (about 3/4 of a 16 oz box)

For serving (optional):
whipped cream
fresh strawberries, quartered

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan. Line the bottom with parchment and grease again. Set aside.

Brown the butter. Place butter in a light-colored saucepan over medium heat. Let butter melt. Butter will bubble and crackle as the water content evaporates. Swirl the pan frequently for 5-7 minutes, keeping an eye on the color. When the solids are turning brown and the butter is nutty and fragrant, remove the pot from the heat and immediately pour the brown butter into a large mixing bowl and let cool 5 minutes.

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

Returning to the large mixing bowl, whisk granulated and brown sugars into the brown butter. Mix in eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla. Add dry ingredients and whisk until combined.

Transfer batter into the prepared pan, then use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to smooth it to the edges. Scatter strawberries over the top and lightly press them into the batter. Sprinkle the additional tablespoon of granulated sugar over the top. Bake 60-65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs (not batter). 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 whipped cream and/or fresh strawberries, if desired. Leftovers will keep covered in the refrigerator for a few days.
Brown Butter Strawberry Torte
Brown Butter Strawberry Torte
Brown Butter Strawberry Torte

Friday Favorites: Everyday Cakes {Spring Edition}

Friday Favorites: Everyday Cakes {Spring Edition}Everyday Cakes are probably my favorite desserts to make and eat. I’m sure I’ve said that about at least one other category of dessert, but I promise it’s true.

Like their name implies, these are cakes that can be made any ol’ day with limited fuss. Theyre single layer, have short ingredient lists and can almost always be adapted to work with whatever you have on hand. They’re the sort of thing you can bake on the fly when you need to let out some stress after work, or want to make a cake on a Saturday afternoon but don’t want to deal with frosting and layering. Even better, they’re the kind of super-classy-but-still-low-maintenance dinner party dessert that will make you look like Ina Garten (hydrangeas optional, but recommended). Their versatility simply cannot be matched.

It will come as no surprise that I have tons of Everyday Cakes in my archives—too many for one post—so this is my spring Everyday Cake round-up. Five cakes that are far more than the sum of their parts. Try out one or two before summer’s here and it’s too hot to bake!Friday Favorites: Everyday Cakes {Spring Edition}Boterkoek {Dutch Butter Cake}

My friend, David, introduced me to this Dutch dessert a few years ago and it’s quickly become one of my favorite cakes of all time. With plenty of butter, bits of ginger strewn throughout and a signature golden lid, it might just become your favorite too!

Ginger not your thing? Feel free to leave it out, or make my almond variation.Friday Favorites: Everyday Cakes {Spring Edition}Flourless Almond Cake

The nectarines in this picture won’t be in season for a few more months, but don’t let that stop you from making this dreamy Flourless Almond Cake! It’s perfect for eating with your fingers as a mid-afternoon snack, but it can also be dressed up with berries or chocolate or whatever for post-vaccine get-togethers.Friday Favorites: Everyday Cakes {Spring Edition}Blueberry Torte

A torte is just a low maintenance cake by another name. This one is super easy to make, tender and buttery and chockablock with fresh blueberries.Friday Favorites: Everyday Cakes {Spring Edition}Mango Upside-Down Cake

Pineapple is the reigning queen of upside-down cakes, but I’d like to make a petition for this mango number to be a princess or a duchess or something. The combination of brown sugar cake and fresh mango baked in caramel is absolutely divine.Friday Favorites: Everyday Cakes {Spring Edition}Winning Hearts & Minds Cake

Everyone needs a good flourless chocolate cake recipe in their back pocket. This one is the slightest take on Molly Wizenberg-Choi’s gem of a recipe. I’ve made it approximately a thousand times—I’ve got the recipe memorized—and am still not over the crackly top and dense chocolaty middle. Consider my heart and mind won.

Have you made these or any of my other everyday cakes? Let me know in the comments or on social media!

Easter Egg Hunt Cupcakes

Easter Egg Hunt CupcakesHow cute are these Easter Egg Hunt Cupcakes?! They’re a miniature version of the towering surprise-inside Easter Egg Hunt Cake I made a few years back, and truth be told, I think I love them even more than the original. Layer cakes are great and all, but it’s pretty hard to resist cupcakes topped with Easter candy and filled with sprinkles!Easter Egg Hunt CupcakesEaster Egg Hunt Cupcakes start with the same vanilla sour cream cupcake base I used for my Red Velvet Marble Cupcakes last month. Here it’s baked up plain, but that’s the only thing that’s plain about these little cakes. It goes without saying that this recipe is pretty extra.Easter Egg Hunt CupcakesBefore frosting, each cupcake is filled with sprinkles for a surprise effect. To achieve this, a cone-shaped piece of cake is cut out of the top of each cupcake, leaving behind just enough room for a teaspoon of sprinkles. Then the little conical toppers are trimmed into disks so that they fit right back on top of the cupcakes, concealing the surprise inside. Once the cupcakes are frosted, the cut-outs won’t be visible, making it all the more fun when your family and friends bite in and sprinkles come running out!Easter Egg Hunt CupcakesEaster Egg Hunt CupcakesLike the layer cake that inspired them, these cupcakes are frosted with green-tinted vanilla buttercream and decorated with little Easter scenes made of green coconut “grass,” egg-shaped candies and Peeps bunnies.

Pro-tip: slice off the rounded bottom edges of your Peeps bunnies and slick the exposed marshmallow with frosting so that they sit nicely on your cupcakes. You don’t want to spend all of Easter propping up marshmallow bunnies, you know?!Easter Egg Hunt CupcakesI can’t get over how festive these are! I say this about at least one recipe a year, but these might be the cutest things I’ve ever made. And maybe soon they’ll be the cutest things you’ve ever made.Easter Egg Hunt Cupcakes

Easter Egg Hunt Cupcakes
makes 12-14 cupcakes

Cupcakes:
1/2 cup milk, room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Frosting:
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
a few drops of green food coloring
3 tablespoons heavy cream

For assembly:
1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
a few drops of green food coloring
Peeps bunnies (optional)
rainbow sprinkles (jimmies) or seasonal sprinkles
Easter egg candies (I used M&Ms)

Make the cupcakes. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 12-cup standard muffin tin with cupcake liners. Set aside.

Combine milk and sour cream a liquid measuring cup, then use a fork to whisk them together. Set aside.

In a small-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 until light and fluffy. Beat in sugar. Add eggs one at a time, combining completely after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Mix in half the dry ingredients, followed by half the milk/sour cream. Add the remaining dry ingredients followed by the remaining milk/sour cream.

Fill liners 2/3-3/4 full. Tap full pan on the counter five times before baking for 18-19 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely.

Make the frosting. In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy. Add confectioner’s sugar and salt in two installments, combining completely after each addition. Beat in vanilla, food coloring & heavy cream until combined. Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix together coconut and food coloring until combined. If using Peeps bunnies, trim off 1/2-inch of their curved bases so that they are flat.

Fill cupcakes. Working with one cupcake at a time, use a small paring knife to carve out a 1-inch deep hole in the top. The removed piece should be conical; slice off the narrow/pointed end so that you have a little disk of cake. Fill the hole in the cupcake with ~1 teaspoon of sprinkles, then place the disk of cake on top to cover them. Repeat process until all cupcakes have been filled.

Frost and decorate cupcakes. Use an offset icing spatula to frost filled cupcakes, leaving the tops relatively flat. Sprinkle on green coconut (or gently dip cupcakes into a bowl of coconut), then decorate with egg candies and Peeps bunnies. I find it easiest to get the Peeps bunnies to stick by dipping their trimmed flat bottom edges in frosting before adhering to the frosted cupcakes.

Serve. Cupcakes will keep covered at room temperature for up to three days, or in the refrigerator for up to five. Peeps bunnies will get stale over time.

Easter Egg Hunt CupcakesEaster Egg Hunt Cupcakes

White Almond Petit Fours

White Almond Petit FoursI’ve made petit fours for a couple of Easters over the last few years, and I think I might finally be getting the hang of them. These tiny, poured fondant-glazed cakes are a childhood favorite of mine, but past attempts to make them have driven me to dark places. When I tested the carrot cake version I had to take a day off of work to recover! It’s taken me two years to give petit fours another go, and while I expected some agony, these White Almond beauties were surprisingly fun and simple to make.

Don’t get me wrong—these are still a labor of love, but they weren’t backbreaking, day-ruining work this time, and I think I know why. I took my time, y’all. I didn’t rush a thing. Every step in this process was done when I had the time and energy. While you can certainly make these over the course of a single day, the batch pictured was assembled over four days with lots of down time. It was leisurely and practically luxurious as far as petit fours go.White Almond Petit FoursLet me lay it out for you. On Monday, I made the cake—a sprinkle-free, rectangular version of this white bundt recipe—and then refrigerated it. Tuesday is my long day every week, so nothing happened petit four-wise.

On Wednesday, I trimmed the cake, painted on an almond simple syrup, and adhered a thin sheet of marzipan to the top. Then I popped the whole thing back into the fridge.White Almond Petit FoursWhite Almond Petit FoursThe next day (Thursday), I trimmed the edges and cut the cake into 1 1/2-inch squares. Since marzipan is moldable, I scored my squares before slicing—it made the whole process super simple.

Next up, I made the poured fondant coating, which is really just melting a whole bunch of things together. Usually coating is my least favorite part of this process, but these weren’t much trouble. I think using cold, dense-crumbed bundt cake was the secret to my success here—it held together so well that I was able to coat these squares by dipping instead of fiddling with squeeze bottles.White Almond Petit FoursWhite Almond Petit FoursMy process went something like this. I stuck a fork in the bottom of a petit four and dipped it in the warm fondant, quickly moving the bowl around to cover the sides. Then I used another fork to help ease the petit four onto a rack to set before moving onto the next.* I had a few casualties, but the solution was to slightly reheat the fondant and keep going. Make no mistake, this was still a tedious process, but it’s nothing compared to the squeeze bottle nightmares of petit fours past! Are there a few crumbs on these little cakes? Sure! But perfection is the enemy of joy here. Also, toasted almond flowers are quite handy for hiding flaws. Aren’t they pretty? I’m obsessed.

*Here’s a video from another baker whose process is similar to my own.White Almond Petit FoursAs far as flavor goes, White Almond Petit Fours are sweet almond through and through! If you love marzipan, these are for you. The cake is dense and moist, the marzipan somehow both melts and remains distinct, and the fondant is almost too much…but it’s also not enough. I always need a second petit four.White Almond Petit FoursThe petit fours of my childhood were super-sweet so I love the intensity here, but if you need some sharpness to cut through all the almond, you could soak the cake in a lemon syrup, or torte and fill it with a layer of raspberry jam or lemon curd. For me though, it’s all about that moist sweet almond cake, especially when enjoyed cold from the fridge at midnight on Easter Day. Or any day, really. I’m not picky.White Almond Petit Fours

White Almond Petit Fours
makes about 35 1 1/2-inch petit fours

Cake:
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 16 pieces
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
3/4 cup full-fat sour cream, room temperature
1/4 cup whole milk, room temperature

Syrup:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract

Marzipan:
12 ounces prepared marzipan (not almond paste)

Poured Fondant:
2/3 cup hot tap water
1/2 cup light corn syrup
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
12 ounces white chocolate chips
2 pounds (7 1/2 cups) confectioners sugar

Garnish:
sliced almonds
~3 tablespoons poured fondant

This recipe is long and requires many steps and chills. Please read through carefully before beginning.

Place an oven rack in the center position. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9×13-inch pan and line with parchment. Grease again. Set aside.

Make the cake. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, butter, egg whites, vanilla, almond extract, sour cream and milk in a large mixing bowl. Use an electric mixer to mix on low for 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium and mix for 3 minutes. Batter will be thick.

Transfer batter to prepared pan and smooth the top with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon. Tap full pan on the counter five times to release any large air bubbles. Bake 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Allow to cool in the pan for 30 minutes. Use a thin, flexible knife to release cake, and then remove to a rack. Allow to cool completely. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or up to 2 days.

Remove cake from the refrigerator, unwrap and place on a cutting board. Use a serrated knife to trim the top so that it’s even and the crumb is exposed. Discard (eat!) the scraps.

Make the syrup. Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir constantly until sugar dissolves, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and almond extracts. Paint syrup all over the top of the cake. It will seem like too much, but it’s not.

Roll out the marzipan. Dust a surface and rolling pin with flour or confectioner’s sugar. Use your hands to form marzipan into a rectangle shape and place it on the surface. Use the rolling pin to roll marzipan into an 8×12-inch rectangle, lifting and turning it occasionally so it doesn’t stick to your surface.

Lay marzipan over the top of the cake so that the crumb is no longer exposed. Use rolling pin to roll over it lightly a few times to adhere. Wrap assembled cake tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for another 2 hours or up to a day.

Remove cake from the refrigerator to a large cutting board. Use a serrated knife to trim off crispy cake edges (about 1/4-inch on all sides). Slice cake into 1 1/2-inch squares. Freeze for 30 minutes while you prepare the poured fondant.

On a surface, place a cooling rack over a sheet of parchment.

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).

Working quickly, stab a fork into the bottom of on petit four. Gently lower it into the fondant and manipulate the bowl so that the sides get some coverage. Use another fork or an offset icing spatula to remove the petit four off the fork and onto the prepared cooling rack. Re-warm fondant as needed by placing it back over the double boiler for a few minutes. Here is a video for clarity.

This process may also be done by filling a squeeze bottle with fondant and using it to cover the the top and sides of each square. Use an offset icing knife to adjust sides as necessary. This may be done with a spoon as well, although a squeeze bottle is simpler.

Let poured fondant set for about an hour. Reserve any excess fondant for decorating.

To decorate, toast almonds in a 350F oven for 5-7 minutes, until fragrant. Let cool completely. When petit fours have set, warm excess fondant slightly and load into a piping bag. Snip off a small corner and dot about a dime-size blob on top off one petit four, then immediately arrange five almond slices as a flower. Continue with remaining petit fours. Let set for another 20 minutes before serving.

Petit course may be served at room temperature or cold. Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 7-10 days.

White Almond Petit FoursWhite Almond Petit Fours