Sunday, August 28, 2011

Bon Voyage! Cake

Happy Sunday!

This week’s cake was for going away party for a friend’s sister who is joining the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic for the next two years.  The original design was just going to be the Peace Corps logo on a sheet cake…

My friend and I thought that was b-o-r-i-n-g!   We were hoping for something a little more elaborate, so I suggested a topographical style map of the Dominican Republic with the Peace Corps logo on top of that.

I started by cutting out the basic shape of the Dominican Republic.  I know, it doesn’t look like much of anything at this point, but be patient, I still have to work my magic :)

I started by painting layers of ivory, light green, and dark green to differentiate the varying elevations of the country.   I’ll add some rivers and cities later on.

I baked a chocolate sheet cake, then frosted it with vanilla buttercream tinted a light sea blue.  I also swirled the icing a little bit to resemble waves in the ocean, instead of spreading it on completely smooth.

Once the cake was frosted, I laid the fondant “map” on top, then added the Peace Corps logo on top of that. 

The inscription on the cake is Spanish for “We’ll Miss You, Emily”.  I don’t speak Spanish, so I hope that’s what it said! 

 Emily made it safely to the Dominican Republic and is enjoying things so far!   

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Recipe of the Month: Eggless Chocolate Cake

Happy Sunday!  It is just a beautiful summer day today!

It’s time for another “recipe of the month”.  This week I’m sharing my adaptation for an eggless chocolate cake.  I had a request several weeks ago for an eggless groom’s cake.  Given the stacked design of the cake, I had to make sure the cake was sturdy enough to hold up, but I didn’t want it to be dry either.

A quick Google search for eggless cake revealed a few options but most of them just appeared to leave out the egg, without replacing it with anything.  My food science background told me that eggs are used in baked goods as an emulsifier to bind things together.  I figured just leaving them out would produce a crumblier cake. They also all seemed to be cupcake recipes which made me even more wary of whether they would hold together in a larger cake. 

I finally decided to try my own thing.  I always receive rave reviews of my chocolate cake, so I figured starting with a successful product was better than starting with an unknown.  I remembered a friend telling me how she used Greek yogurt to replace eggs in raw cookie dough, so I thought why not try it in a baked cake?

One egg is generally considered to equal about ¼ cup, so I replaced each egg in the recipe with 1/4 cup of Greek yogurt and kept the rest of the recipe the same.  The food science background again…only have one variable. J

The result was surprisingly good!  Very moist and chocolaty and it seemed to hold together very well through removing it from the pans and assembling the cake.  I decided to use it for a party and test it on my unsuspecting friend! J   Most everyone commented on how moist it was.  Taste – check.  I noticed that once the finished cake had set out at the party for a little while, it definitely started to collapse a bit.  So, back to the drawing board on texture.

The original recipe calls for 1 cup of boiling water.  I wondered if the yogurt had a higher water content than an egg and perhaps there was too much moisture in the cake.  So, for round two, I made the cake with the same amount of Greek yogurt, but reduced that water by ¼ cup to ¾ cup.  Success!  The cake still retained its delicious chocolate taste, held up beautifully, and remained moist for several days.

Happy Baking!

Eggless Chocolate Cake

2 c. sugar
½ cup Greek yogurt (not fat free)
1 c. buttermilk
1 c. vegetable oil
1 ½ tsp. vanilla
2 c. flour
¾ c. cocoa
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
¾ c. boiling water

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
2. Grease two 9” round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray.
3. With an electric mixer, combine sugar, yogurt, buttermilk, vegetable oil, and vanilla.
4. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.
5. Gradually add dry ingredients to the mixer.
6. Carefully, pour in boiling water and mix until well blended and smooth.
7. Pour into greased pan.
8. Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until a toothpick interested in the middle comes out with just a few moist crumbs.
9. Cool in pans for 10 minutes, then place on a wire rack to cool completely.

This recipe can be halved or doubled succesfully too.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Pursuing My Dream

Happy Sunday everyone!

I’m especially excited about today’s blog.  Instead of my usual cake feature, I’d like to share a friend’s blog.  Stefanie started “A Dreamer’s Wife” to share her and her husband’s journey of following God’s will and following their dream. 

This week she started a series called “Dreamers in the Spotlight” and I am honored to be her first featured dreamer! 

Her writing has definitely been a source of encouragement for me as I try to follow my dream as well.  I feel like God has given me a gift for creating beautiful and delicious food and I love using my talents to make other’s special occasions even more special. 

Building my own business has its challenged though, and during those times, having a community of dreamers to encourage each other is such a blessing. 

So please hop over to “A Dreamer’s Wife” and check out Stefanie’s work.  She’ll be featuring others in the upcoming months so if you are pursuing God’s calling for your life or know somebody who is following their dreams, please email her at  I am looking forward to seeing how God is working in others lives too!

Next week, I'll be sharing my recipe of the month...Eggless Chocolate Cake!  It was so delicious, I've actually had a few people ask if I could make the eggless version instead of the traditional one!

Have a wonderful week everyone!