Italian Cream Cake | @thefauxmartha

I’ve written this post before in different words. Around the very same subject—cake. Making cake is a religious experience for me. Why, I’m not exactly sure. But it takes me to a place in my mind that dinner can never touch. It reminds me that we’re more alike than we think. Which is really important when things feel mostly polarized. Read more

Hummingbird Cake | @thefauxmartha

Pineapple. A tropical fruit with a juicy yellow flesh and a thorny green skin. A DIY halloween costume. A stencil design at my grandma’s house. An upside down cake. An emoji🍍. A symbol of hospitality. The emblem Chuck Williams imprinted on his store in 1956, a store you and I know well. Williams-Sonoma. Today, October 2, is Chuck’s 100th birthday! It only seemed fitting to put a little pineapple in his cake. Read more

Baby's first birthday cake sweetened with maple syrup, low sugar from The Fauxmartha

Monday’s are much too frequent these days. Somehow 52 of them have passed, and I have a 1 year old. During bath times I always say to Hal, “Remember your first bath when you were teeny tiny, and this towel nearly swallowed you whole?” She looks at me with a smirk—that I know when she’s 10 will be accompanied with rolled eyes—like, “Mom, stop it. I’m a big girl.” Where did this 8 tooth, food loving, sassy lady come from? Read more

Big Fat Sugar Cookies | The Fauxmartha

Some weeks when your baby is teething and you should be packing for a big move or finishing 800 deadlines since you’ll be without your computer for awhile and you’re feeling a little blue because of the aforementioned, you need big fat sugar cookies (and a good run-on sentence). These are the kind that’ll make you happy, leave you regretful, and eventually convince you to come back for another. You know the kind. And sometimes those kind are just as necessary as the healthy nourishing kind.  Read more

I had planned on doing an easter post today. But my idea flopped. Many tireless hours went into, and it flopped. Yes, I do want some cheese with this wine. I wasn’t going to tell you what I was making incase I decided to give it another try. But, I’m not. I’m no good at these things. And by “things” I mean cake balls. I’ve tried a couple times, and they’re just not my forte. I have these conflicting thoughts of “Don’t give up!” and “Just stick with what you’re good at.” Well, I’ve decided to stick with what I’m good at, leaving the cake balls to Bakerella. Don’t get me wrong, I’m up for a good challenge. And, I don’t mind if I fail from time to time. But I’ve learned I’m much better at baking than I am at decorating (case in point—cake ball fail). I’m much better at perfecting the classics (scones, cakes, cookies, macarons) than coming up with something new. I’m much better at sticking to my purist ways, than bending the rules and using the not so pure stuff. My take-away from all of this is—stick with what you’re good at, and get really good at it.

Shawoof (wiping sweat off brow). That was cathartic.

Now on to the good stuff. Red Velvet Cake! Remember the Sailboat Cupcakes from the last post? I told you I’d be back with the recipe. As promised, here it is. But first, I have to do another plug for my favorite baker—Warren Brown from Cake Love. His recipes make the best cakes ever (no lie). He is a purist as well. He believes in baking cakes from scratch. None of that artificial stuff. However, he does make a Red Velvet Cake because of it’overwhelming request at his bakery. It’s the only thing he uses food coloring in. You can leave the food coloring out and call it Brown Velvet. Or you can use the India Tree products (this is what I use), which are made from vegetables pigments.

Red Velvet Cake
recipe from Warren Brown, United Cakes of America
makes 24 cupcakes

DRY INGREDIENTS
2 1/4 c. Cake Flour (I used unbleached AP Flour)
2 tbsp. Cocoa Powder
1 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Baking soda

WET INGREDIENTS
1 c. Buttermilk
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 tsp. Apple Cider Vinegar

CREAMING INGREDIENTS
2 sticks of Unsalted Butter (room temp)
1 1/2 c. Superfine Sugar (You can pop regular sugar in a food processor to achieve this)
2 large eggs
1 oz. Red Food Dye (Opt out and make it Brown Velvet)

1. Preheat oven to 335° and place the rack in the middle position. Line 2 cupcake pans. (Read the last post for a cupcake liner tip.)
2. Measure the dry ingredients and wet ingredients into 2 separate bowls. Whisk each to combine.
3. Measure the the butter and sugar into the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream together on low speed for about 5 minutes.
4. Add eggs one at a time into the well creamed butter. Beat in the dye.
5. Alternately add the dry and wet ingredients about a quarter at a time. (This should only take a minute.) Scrape sides. Beat on medium-high speed for 1 minute.
6.  Pour the batter into the liners and bake the cupcakes for 20 to 24 minutes, or until a wooden skewer comes out clean.
7. Cool the cupcakes for 5 minutes before inverting them on to a flat surface. Allow them to come to room temperature before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting
recipe by yours truly 

2 sticks of Unsalted Butter (room temp)
16 oz. Cream Cheese (room temp)
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
Dash of Sea Salt
3-4 c. Powdered Sugar

1. Cream together butter and cream cheese.
2. Add vanilla extract and salt. Mix.
3. Add powdered sugar one cup at a time. Mix well between each addition. After 3 cups, taste to see if additional powdered sugar is necessary.
4. Ice your cupcakes. Looking for tips? Check out the last post.

If you missed it, click here for the sailboat decorations. For matching invitations, click here.

P.S.—These lovely little sailboats made their debut on the very talented Shauna Younge’s blog! Thanks Shauna!

Whoopie Pies are the new cupcake. Okay, maybe that’s not true but it might be after you try one. Upon eating, it’ll leave you exclaiming, “Whoopee!” Literally.

Whoopie Pies stepped onto the scene through the Amish tradition. As the story goes, Amish wives used their extra cake batter to bake mini cakes. Thou shalt let nothing go to waste. They’d plop some icing in between two small cakes and pack it into their husband’s lunch box. After biting into these little gems, a common response from the male would be “Whoopee!” And there you have it—the Whoopie Pie was born.

Since the previous post tells you how to make homemade pumpkin puree, let’s go ahead and make Pumpkin Whoopie Pies! ‘Tis the season.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
Makes 12; Recipe adapted from Matt Lewis of Baked bakery via Martha Stewart
Visual learner? Watch this video.

FOR THE PIES
3 cups all-purpose flour (I used half AP flour, half whole wheat flour)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger (original recipe calls for 1 tbsp)
1 teaspoon ground cloves (original recipe calls for 1 tbsp)
a dash of nutmeg
2 cups firmly packed dark-brown sugar
1 cup canola oil
3 cups pumpkin puree, chilled
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

FOR THE FILLING
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Make the pies: Preheat oven to 350°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat; set aside.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves; set aside. In another large bowl, whisk together brown sugar and oil until well combined. Add pumpkin puree and whisk until combined. Add eggs and vanilla and whisk until well combined. Sprinkle flour mixture over pumpkin mixture and whisk until fully incorporated.
3. Using a small ice cream scoop with a release mechanism, drop heaping tablespoons of dough onto prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch apart. Transfer to oven and bake until pies are just starting to crack on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of each pie comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Let cool completely on pan.
4. Make the filling: Sift confectioner’ sugar into a medium bowl; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until smooth. Add cream cheese and beat until well combined. Add confectioners’ sugar and vanilla, beat just until smooth. (I only used about 2 1/2 cups of confectioners sugar.)
5. Assemble the whoopie pies: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Transfer filling to a disposable pastry bag and snip the end. When pies have cooled completely, pipe a large dollop of filling on the flat side of half of the pie. Sandwich with remaining pie, pressing down slightly so that the filling spreads to the edge of the cookies. Transfer to prepared baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate pies at least 30 minutes before serving and up to 3 days.

TIPS:
• Runny batter is not your friend. If you find yourself in this situation, you may need to add a little more flour to help a batter out.
• Make sure to bake an even amount of pies.
• Mini Whoopie Pies make for a good portion size! And they’re cute.

 
 
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