Monday, August 27, 2012

Cake #4=Lemon Cake

By far, this was and is my favorite in this great endeavor!

Finally there is a cake that is moist, fluffy and has incredible taste!!  The others have either been super dense or have no real taste.  This is a great cake and is a fabulous summer cake.


1 Cup (2 sticks) unsalted Butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
2 1/2 Cups All-purpose Flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pans
1/2 tsp Baking powder
1/2 tsp Baking soda
1 tsp Salt
1Tbs Lemon zest
2 C Sugar
2 large Eggs plus 3 large egg yolks
1/4 C plus 2 tablespoons fresh Lemon juice
1 C low-fat Buttermilk
1 Lemon, thinly sliced and seeded
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 8-by-2-inch cake pans, tapping out excess flour. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and lemon zest.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar until light and fluffy. With mixer on low, beat in eggs and yolks, one at a time. Beat in 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Alternately beat in flour mixture and buttermilk beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix just until combined.
Divide batter between pans; smooth tops. Bake until cakes pull away from sides of pans, 32 to 35 (my oven was 20) minutes. Let cool in pans 10 minutes. Run a knife around edges of pans and invert cakes onto a wire rack.
While cakes are baking, bring remaining 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water to a boil in a saucepan. Add lemon slices and simmer 25 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer lemon slices to a waxed-paper-lined plate. Stir remaining 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice into syrup.
Using a toothpick, poke holes in warm cakes on rack. Brush with lemon syrup. Let cool completely.
Icing Ingredients
3 Large Egg whites
3/4 C Sugar
Pinch of salt
1/3 C Water
2 Tbs Lemon Juice
In a heatproof bowl set over (not in) a saucepan of simmering water, combine egg whites, sugar, salt, and water. Cook over medium, stirring constantly, until sugar has dissolved, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat on medium-high until glossy, stiff peaks form (do not overbeat), about 3 minutes; reduce speed to low, add lemon juice, and beat just until combined. Use immediately (and it isn't joking.  The cake should be frosted and then served ASAP.  Otherwise the cake obsorbs the icing and becomes non-existent. :) Serve immediately means within the hour of icing).
Rach's Notes:
This cake is truly delicious.  I LOVE lemony things and this is a perfect balance of lemon and moistness.  It was GREAT!  The only thing I would do differently is ice the cake RIGHT BEFORE I served it.  The icing disappears really fast. 
The candied lemon peel is a must.  Each piece had some lemon peel on it and it was such a great addition.  This is a must make!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Cake Number 3=Yellow cake with Raspberry Cream Frosting

This cake was pretty delicious.  I LOVE RASPBERRIES so was excited for this recipe.



1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs plus 2 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
3 cups cake flour (spooned and leveled)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 cups raspberries
3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
2 cups cold heavy cream

Bring cold ingredients to room temperature. Butter should be soft enough to hold a thumbprint but still keep its shape. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar on high until light and fluffy, about 6 minutes.

Beat in 4 eggs plus 2 yolks, one at a time, until combined. Beat in vanilla extract.

In another large bowl, whisk together cake flour (If you don't have cake flour don't stress!  For 1 cup of all purpose flour take out 2 Tbs.  Replace the 2 Tbs with 2 Tbs of cornstarch.  And sift.  Wahlaa!), baking powder, and salt. With mixer on low, add 1/3 the flour mixture to butter mixture, beating to combine.
Beat in 3/4 cup buttermilk, another 1/3 the flour mixture, another 3/4 cup buttermilk, and remaining flour mixture until just combined. Scrape down bowl as needed.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter two 9-inch round cake pans (2 inches deep). Line bottoms with parchment paper; butter parchment. Divide batter between pans, firmly tap on a flat surface to remove air bubbles, and smooth tops.

Bake until cakes are golden and puffed and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, about 30 minutes (my oven took 20), rotating pans halfway through. Let cakes cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Run a knife around edges, then invert; remove parchment. Invert cakes again and let cool completely on racks.

This frosting was ridiculous.  I had to stop myself form sticking my head in the bowl and licking it clean.

 In a medium bowl, gently mash 1 cup raspberries with a fork. Stir in 1 cup whole raspberries. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat cream and confectioners' sugar on high until soft peaks form, 1 minute. With a rubber spatula, gently fold raspberries into whipped cream. Place 1 cake on a cake stand or serving plate. Spread raspberry cream on top, leaving a 1/4-inch border. Top with other cake, press gently, and finish with remaining raspberry cream. Serve immediately.

Finished product!
 Rach's Review

This cake, as a whole, was pretty tasty.  As I mentioned before, the raspberry topping was off the hook.  The cake was disappointing.  I was expecting light and fluffy and it was more of a pound cake texture.  Which is fine, if there was a distinct taste, but
the cake was very bland.  However, combining the cake with the hopping was a nice taste.  The tart raspberries and fluffy cream made a great taste combination and texture diversity with the cake.  Enjoy!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Amelia's Birthday

Ami turned 6!!  She is so amazing!  Smart, talented, funny, and beautiful are adjectives that just begin to describe her.  She is my huge helper and I appreciate her in everything she does.


Ami wanted a Spy Kids cake.  So, here ya go.  Fortunately, she loved it.

Pretty in pink!  This is a lemonade cake.  It has a nice lemony taste and is pinkety pink!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Hangin' in Virginia

We are soo excited to be back in Virginia.  We will miss our families in the west, but the weather, the opportunities and everything else.  Well, let's just say it is good to be home.

We love Virginia, but what can we say?  Boise State.

Sidewalks as far as we can see.  Bring on the big wheel!

4th of July Parade.  Aunt Sam came for a surprise visit!  The weather was nice, but too nice.  Record high.  The thermostat below is recorded proof.

110 Degrees Fahrenheit.  Seriously!!

Olympic party at the Ramptons.  Traci throws epic parties so we were thrilled to get to go.  I even won a silver medal
for my Baklava!

Trains!  We have a big basement full of toys.  Plenty of room for the train set!

Computer time.  Ami's favorite part of the day.

Wait, it's a boy, it's a fish, oh wait, it's Robbie!  Swimming lessons 2012.

Since March...

Wellll.....long story short.  I'm catching up on everything from March to May to now.  Why?  I was working on scrapbooking Robbie's birthday and I asked Nick if he had any pictures of Robbie blowing out the candles (on his phone).  Yea!  He says.  So, I downloaded the pictures and 200 PICTURES LATER.  There ya go. 

My 33rd!  Yea for Banana Cream Pie!

Robbie playing with my present?  Nice.

We took a trip up to Missoula, Montana to meet Becka and her family.  This is at the mall there.


Children's Museum in Missoula.  The kids had a scream with the grocery store, water room, doctors office and play equipment.  Sooo fun!  Here is Robbie as a fireman!

Sleepover with Aunt Sam!

                             Easter 2012 in Iona, Idaho! 

Easter Bunny!


Some teenage twit swung the swing over the top of the railing and tied the chain into a knot.  We couldn't resist but fix it.  So we pulled out the acrobatic act.

Easter morning!  Pretty girl!!

Handsome Fella!

Back in Virginia!!

Museum of Natural History.  Rar.

Ami's first day on the School bus!

Livin' it up while sister is in school!  Chocolate donut.  No more needs to be said.

EU Embassy weekend.  Ami is trying to kick the soccer ball to win a prize.

Soccer star is also trying to win a prize.  SOCCER!

And, Mom wins the prize.  I kicked the goal and won a T-shirt.  Go me.
 Nick's office!  Very exciting.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Cake Experiment Week 2

Week 2 of the Great Cake Adventure was very successful.   Again, this is from the Martha Stewart website and very straightforward.

Devil's Food Cake with Fluffy White Frosting


3 sticks Unsalted Butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
1 Cup Unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for pans
1 Cup Boiling water
1 Cup Sour cream
3 Cups All-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
3/4 tsp Fine Salt
1 tsp Baking powder
1 tsp Baking soda
3 3/4 Cups Sugar, divided
4 large Eggs, plus 5 large egg whites, room temperature, divided
5 tsp pure Vanilla extract, divided
1 Tbs Corn syrup


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 8-inch round cake pans and line with parchment; butter parchment and dust pans with cocoa. (If you don't have parchment paper, cooking spray and flour work just as great). 

Whisk boiling water into cocoa until smooth; whisk in sour cream. Whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. In a large bowl, using a mixer, beat butter and 2 1/4 cups sugar on medium-high until fluffy and pale yellow. Beat in whole eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. With mixer on low, add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with 2 additions cocoa mixture, and beat until combined. Fold in 4 teaspoons vanilla.

Divide batter among pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes, rotating pans halfway through. My oven, for some reasons, goes volcanic and so the cakes only took 35 minutes to bake.  Do not let the cakes over bake because they go dry super fast.  Transfer pans to wire racks and let cool completely. Remove cakes from pans and discard parchment. Trim cakes if desired.

In a heatproof bowl set over (not in) a pan of simmering water, whisk together remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar, egg whites, and corn syrup until sugar is dissolved. Take your pointer finger and thumb and dip it in the egg white mixture and rub your fingers together. If it still feels grainy, it needs to steam a little longer.  Remove from heat; using mixer, beat on high until stiff, fluffy peaks form, about 5 minutes. Fold in remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla. Transfer a cake layer to a serving plate and top with 1 cup frosting. Stack second cake on top and cover top and sides with remaining frosting.

Rach's Review

I have to admit; I was highly skeptical.  The cake part sounded delicious but the icing sounded super close to meringue.  BUT, having the karo syrup mixed into the egg white mixture, the icing turns into a marshmallow-ey taste.  And, the icing combined with the super rich chocolate cake is DELICIOUS.  Definetely a thumbs up.  The cake is very dense, almost a brownie, and the creamy-ness of the marshmallow icing is a perfect combination of rich chocolate and sticky sweetness.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The 44 Week Experiment

As I was looking for a cake recipe, the other day, I stumbled on this website from Martha Stewart.  Here is the link (

It is SO Awesome.  There are the 44 favorite cake recipes.  So, I thought, "Meh.  Why not?" So, for the next 44 weeks I'm going to make a cake a week.  I'll tweek some of them to my family's taste but nonetheless.  It will be a tasty experiment.  So, week 1.

This cake (Martha's version anyway) has meringue on the cake.  We REALLY REALLY REALLY don't like meringue on cake.  So, we opted out and put whipped cream and berries on top. 

Cake with Blackberry Filling


12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pans

1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs, plus 3 large egg yolks (reserving whites for meringue, plus 1 additional white)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup milk
1 Cup ounces frozen Blackberries, thawed and drained
1/4 cup Blackberry preserves


Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with rack in center. Butter two 8-inch round cake pans; line bottoms with parchment paper. Butter paper; dust with flour; tap out excess. In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

Using an electric mixer, in a large bowl, beat butter with 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla; beat until combined.
Alternately add flour mixture and milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture; beat just until combined. Divide batter between prepared pans.

Bake cakes side by side (not touching), rotating pans halfway through, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool in pans 10 minutes. Run a knife around edge of pans. Invert cakes onto a cooling rack; remove parchment. Cool completely, upside down. (Wrap in plastic, and store at room temperature, up to 1 day.)

In a small bowl, combine blackberries and preserves. On an ovenproof serving platter, place one cake layer, bottom side up; spread with raspberry mixture, leaving a 1-inch border. Top with second cake layer, bottom side up.

Baked and unassembled.


Served with Whipped Cream and Berries on top.

Rach's notes and review:

This cake is pretty good.  It is a very basic go-to yellow cake.  Light and fluffy and good taste.  Nuthin' fancy but solid. 

Tip 1: Don't tap the pan before putting it in the oven (I usually tap to get the bubbles out).  This cake needs to be airy.
Tip 2: REFRIGERATE.  I learned this one the hard way.  Fermented berries are not delicious.

6 Months Later and Rob's birthday

The last six months have been INSANE.  We have gone from living with my parents in Idaho Falls with NO job prospects to moving back to Virginia with a job at a law firm and enjoying a Virginia Summer.  How, What, who you ask?  I'll tell you.  On a cold (very cold) February morning, Robbie and I were making cup cakes.  Nick walked in wide eyed.  I looked up and he said, "I just got a job." I supportively replied, "No way.  With who?"  Incredulously, he said, "Stewart and Stewart." And they had given him the details of employment.  I just looked at him.Speechless (and for those of you who know me realize this is a big deal).  Fortunately, Nick had already planned a trip to Virginia to network, so instead he looked for a place to live.  Again, we were beyond blessed.  One of our friends had a townhouse that miraculously opened up in our time frame.  In the middle of April, Nick and his Dad hopped in our car hitched with a trailer and made the trek east.  The kids and I hopped on a plane and flew into Reagan National.  Ami started school 4 days later and we unpacked.  Whoo!  The ward is great and the neighborhood is phenomenal!  The kids can ride on sidewalks as far as they can see and there are oodles of kids to play with.  We feel blessed, lucky and fortunate to have a job in the right field.

Robbie had his birthday and turned 3!!!!  We went to the Baltimore Children's Museum.  Here is his cake.

Green Robot!

SOOO Excited

Tool box!

Here are some of our adventures at the children's museum.

In King Tut's Tomb (kinda)

Workin in the Diner

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