Divergent Cake

Divergent Cake

Birthdays are so special. Birthdays are also a reason to bake up a cake. What celebration doesn’t call for that? It was time to finally put an end to the cake drought we’ve been suffering (last one I baked was an Little Black Dress cake for my friend’s party). With a little fondant of course. Fondant’s hard to ignore and it somehow makes it way to every celebration. It just adds the right amount of pizzazz to any cake like a glossy top coat to your nail polish. So fondant it was. Now the challenging part: what theme should the cake be centered around?

Divergent Cake

Well, after many brainstorming and Pinterest sessions to find a cake for my sister’s birthday, we suddenly agreed on a theme. We had just seen Divergent at home and Insurgent the next day at the movies, which really inspired us. In case you haven’t seen either of these, they are based on a bestselling novel by Veronica Roth (she has a role in the first movie so keep an eye out for her!). Her dystopia novel comes to life along with its society-divided factions which are defined by traits. Each child goes to a Choosing Ceremony where they pick the faction they will join for the rest of their lives. An action packed mix of rebellion, deception, and upright honesty where the main character, Tris, leaves her selfless Abnegation faction to join the adventurous, fearless Dauntless faction brings excitement tying the whole story together. The main character is Divergent, meaning that she has 3 or more of the traits these factions have which poses a threat to the government who dislike the rebellious Divergent. The best way I found to integrate the movie into the cake was to focus on the five factions and so that’s what I topped the cake with. I put fire and coals (crushed oreos) to surround the cake, because that was the symbol of the Dauntless faction that Tris chose.

Birthday Cakes Across the Years 

Batman Cake

https://simply-delicious.org/2014/05/11/batman-fondant-cake/

Chinese Takeout Cake

https://simply-delicious.org/2013/05/05/chinese-takeout-anyone/

Rainbow Cake

https://simply-delicious.org/2012/04/24/surprises-abound/

Divergent Themed Cake 

Divergent Cake

I used Sweetapolita’s Fluffy Vanilla Cake which you can find here and paired that with a light, creamy Vanilla Bean frosting. The combination was great, because the icing did not have that generic overly sweet taste and the cake itself was light and fluffy. The secret to this frosting was whipping the butter for 8 minutes until it was as smooth as a ribbon of silk before mixing it with the powdered sugar. I don’t usually eat the fondant part of the cake as it is has a sickly sweet flavor that just throws you off even before you get to the cake and icing inside. It definitely is worth the magical effect that it gives your cake though.

Divergent Cake

Each circle represents one of the five factions. Starting from the top yellow symbol, clockwise, are Dauntless, Abnegation, Amity, Candor, & Erudite.

Dauntless: brave, fearless, take risks

Abnegation: selfless, always help others hence the hands

Amity: kind, optimistic, earth-friendly

Candor: truthful, see everything as black or white

Erudite: curious about the world, intelligent

Divergent (no symbol): three or more of the above, rebellious, immune to control

Factionless (no symbol): the ones who don’t fit in

Divergent Cake

 

What movie-themed cakes have you made?

 

Holiday Themed Fondant Cake

holiday fondant cake

Whenever the holidays start to come around, signups begin for all the holiday potlucks to enjoy at work, school, or even amongst family and friends. Sometimes you get signed up for a dessert at a company you don’t even work at too. Yep, my mom signed me up for her potluck. I didn’t mind, because it was a great stress reliever for finals even though I had two papers to write on the same day. It was also the perfect opportunity too to use these gold edible sprinkles that I have. I ended up making a two-layer chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream icing in between.

The Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Cake recipe can be found here  on a previous blog post of mine.

holiday fondant cake

Previous recipes where I have used this Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate recipe are below:

hershey's twizzler bites

Hershey Twizzler Bites 

mini chocolate bundt cakes

Chocolate Bundt Cakes: Mini and Normal Versions

Hershey's Chocolate Cakeballs

Hershey’s Winter Themed Cakeballs 

Batman Cake

Batman Fondant Cake 

 

 

 

 

Houston Premier Bakeries

Yup. I’ve finally decided to put a list together of my top 4 favorite bakeries in Houston! Of course I’m sure there are manyyyy more than what I’ve listed & I’m always on the lookout for new finds so I’ll find them slowly but surely :)

Something my friends & I loveeee doing is finding new places to eat out at whether it is a restaurant or a bakery. A successful find = a new go-to place to hang out with friends or to grab a quick dessert. Most of the places that I have found have been through word of mouth. Seriously, after hearing about a bakery for so long, there’s no doubt that you’ll be curious as to why it’s so prominent. And of course, there are those that we discover simply by driving by. You’re driving past the normal everyday stores you see, but wait… Something catches your attention! That new bakery on the street or whatever it may be haha. Well enough already, you get the idea. Let’s just get on with these deelish bakeries. By the way, they are in no particular order!

IMG_5466

SAVANNAH BAKERY & CAFE

http://savannahcafeandbakery.com

This bakery is simply amazing. When you walk in, you really are overwhelmed with the amount of choices you can make. Shall it be that Raspberry White Chocolate Cake, Red Velvet Cookie, or even that Apple Praline Pie? I was actually really excited when this bakery opened, because I thought it would be one of those local bread bakeries. Turns out I was wrong lol, but nevertheless I was very happy with this find! Friendly staff, nice atmosphere, and large portions are more than enough to enjoy with friends :)

*Apple Praline Pie pictured above*

IMG_6130

 DOLCE DELIGHTS

http://www.mydolcedelights.com

Macarons (n):  delicate small cookie sandwich with mystery filling; constantly seen everywhere in a variety of colors/flavors; very addictive.

Any bakery serving these should be beyond amazing. Not only does Dolce Delights serve these, but they also have these miniature mousse cakes that are too adorable (not pictured). I actually discovered this place from my one of my friend’s Instagram pictures. After she told me the name of the place, I went literally the next day with my friends and got some macarons. The best one out of them was the salted caramel hands down! The banana cream one though was not as soft as the others, leading me to believe that few people have probably ordered that one haha. The mocha and red velvet were both equal in my opinion after the salted caramel one. Overall, if you are craving macarons or a cute little cake, this is definitely your place.

*Salted Caramel, Mocha, Banana Cream, & Red Velvet Macarons pictured above*

IMG_5666

NOTHING BUNDT CAKES

http://www.nothingbundtcakes.com

If you’ve been following my blog then you probably know too well my obsession with pumpkin desserts! Haha. I was so excited when I got this Pumpkin Bundt Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. It may look small in this picture, but the cake was so dense that it actually feeds two people. Not to mention, it was super moist as well! I got an extra bonus when I got this bundt cake, because the place had just opened so they had mailed out “free bundt cake” flyers in the mail. The variety here was smaller making it easier to choose something. You know what you’re getting: a bundt cake basically. All you have to do is choose a flavor. Simplicity wins here. I can truthfully say that this was simply delicious ;)

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SPRINKLES CUPCAKES

http://www.sprinkles.com

Oh no…. On to the last bakery on my list! Don’t worry, I will most probably have a second post once I find more memorable bakeries. Anwaysss, Sprinkles Cupcakes is well known all over the US. I’m sure every area has a place that could be comparable to this one (Georgetown or Crave Cupcakes for example). These cupcakes are quite pricey and didn’t seem worth the hype that everyone always makes over them, although they are good. But.. If you go on twitter or their fb page, you’ll be sure to find these secret words that get you a free cupcake. And they post these words every day for the first 50/100 ppl to say it, so be sure you are one of those lucky few!

*Red Velvet & Mocha Cupcakes pictured above*

Any favorite bakeries that you have found worth sharing?

Surprises Abound!

Wow, I just love surprises, both giving and getting them. First off, I would love to thank Nina Baydoun from Tabkhet el Yom for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger Award. This is my second award, after the last Sunshine Award I got. If you want some a variety of the best Lebanese food, then be sure to check out her blog!

Here are my nominations:

1- bakingwithbrennan

2- Teenage Girl Cooks

3- Allison Eats

4- A Melbourne Girl at Heart

Speaking of surprises, I’ve been eyeing this multi-layer rainbow cake I found on foodgawker foreverrrrrr! I finally got the excuse to bake it up today for my sister’s party. It was so funny because all the party guests did not know what to expect when I told them there was a surprise for them inside the cake. I mean, it looks like a totally normal cake from outside, with the plain white icing and what not. They probably thought that I put some strange material inside. Surprise!!!!! They had no idea that there would be a rainbow inside after the first slice was cut.

The cake itself was pretty easy to make. I followed a white cake mix recipe that I found here.

Rainbow Cake

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup of sour cream
  • 2 tsp of pure vanilla extract
  • Gel Paste (I used the Wilton Colors: Christmas Red, Orange, Lemon Yellow, Leaf Green, Sky Blue, and Purple)
Tools Needed:
  • Measuring cups: tablespoon, teaspoon, 1/2 teaspoon, 1 cup, 1/2 cup
  • 2 Mixing Bowls (for dry/wet ingredients)
  • Electric Mixer
  • Parchment Paper, Pencil, and Scissors
  • 9″ round cake pans
  • Toothpicks
  • Mini bowls (for separating the egg whites)
  • 6 medium bowls/spoons (for separating the 6 colored layers)
Preheat: 350 F
Directions:
  1. Mix together all the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Set aside.
  2. Cream all the butter with an electric mixer. If you forgot to leave it till it reached room temperature, then microwave it for about 20 seconds before creaming.
  3. Add in the sugar, egg whites, vanilla extract, and sour cream mixing well in between each and every addition.
  4. Alternate adding the flour mixture and milk to the creamed mixture. Mix until well incorporated.
  5. If you have a scale, you can weigh the amount of the total cake mixture and divide it by six to see how much to add to each of the 6 divisions. My lack of a kitchen scale lead me to improvise and use another method. Instead, I used the measuring cups to scoop the mixture into each of the 6 bowls laid out. I started with a 1/2 cup for each and then added another 1/3 cup to each dividing the rest of the mix as equally as I could.
  6. Next, use the toothpicks to add the 6 gel food colorings to each of the 6 bowls. The color you see of the raw cake mixture is how it will turn out after being baked, so add the food colorings according to your own discretions.
  7. Now, trace the cake pan with a pencil on the parchment paper and cut out the circle. Butter the parchment paper after putting it in the cake pans. I used two cake pans at a time in the oven, because I only had two.
  8. Pour the colored batter into the cake pans and bake for about 15 minutes or until well done.

For the icing I wanted to try something different so I did a Swiss Meringue Buttercream from here. I didn’t really like how it turned out though, because it was not consistent enough to ice a cake. I had to add half a can of store bought frosting to it to make it less runny. This was only for the filling though, in between the layers. For the outside frosting, I went with the recipe that I have been using from my previous cupcake post. It hasn’t failed me yet and is the perfect icing for a cake!

More cupcake pictures too! :)

Got Lemons?

I am currently at the library but my laptop is strangely not picking up the wifi which is probably a sign to start on this blog post instead so I’ll just post it up later. Well, it all started when I tried a slice of this heavenly bundt cake that someone gave us in return for giving them a bag of lemons from our lemon tree. The cool part was that they used our lemons in the lemon bundt cake! The cake not surprisingly disappeared in one day. Anyways, I never thought I would get to taste it again and I wondered what the secret recipe was. One random day though, bored out of my mind, I decided to bake something. I get most of my inspirations and ideas from foodgawker which is the most addicting website ever because the format is amazing not to mention all the beautifully photographed food. For me, it’s key to see a good picture of what I am about to cook because I then know what to expect or not expect when baking. Well, I saw a recipe for a lemon bundt cake, which reminded me of that delicious slice I had a while back so I decided I was going to make just that. A benefit of this recipe is that you most likely already have if not all but most of the ingredients. We had tons and tons of lemons so I picked a couple from outside, cleaned them, and put them aside all my other ingredients. I have to admit, one of my favorite parts of this cake aside from how moist and delicious it is, is the lemon icing on top. It took me a couple times to get it right, but after making this cake four times, I think I have the hang of it.

Here is the recipe for the Lemon Bundt Cake and the Lemon Icing:

Lemon Bundt Cake

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks and 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter at room temp
  • 3 eggs and one egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 cup yogurt (I used Greek yogurt but any is fine)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup lime zest (about 6 limes)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • around 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Butter your bundt pan with the 2 tablespoons and coat with breadcrumbs.
  3. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together and set on the side.
  4. Cream the butter and sugar together until smooth consistency.
  5. Add the eggs, one by one.
  6. Mix in the lime juice, lime zest, vanilla, and yogurt.
  7. Add the dry mixture and mix well.
  8. Pour in the pan and bake for about 45 minutes or until well done.
Lemon Icing
Ingredients:
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
Directions:
  1. Mix together the lime juice and confectioner’s sugar (it shouldn’t be too runny)
  2. Put a small spoonful on the cake, if it dries and you cannot see it then you need to add more confectioner’s sugar.
  3. If it is a good consistency then pour in a circular fashion around the whole cake and it will fall naturally through the grooves.

The Chosen Ones

How Your Breaded Bundt Pan Should Look Like!

1st Attempt and FAIL (Lemon Icing Is Too Runny)

2nd Attempt = SUCCESS

Lookin Great!