Meeting the One and Only Skylor

One of the downsides to making friends through social media is common issue with knowing just how you “met”. Did I follow you and you follow me back or the other way around? Did I like something you said that was retweeted or did someone #FollowFriday you or otherwise recommend that I follow you? Someone should make an app that figures this out for us. Tracks the first mention of another user by your handle and treat that as first contact.

SkylorThat’s where I find myself as I think back at Skylor. I feel like we have been following each other on Twitter for years, yet I cannot for the life of me remember how we met. At the time Skylor was living in Washington DC and I was visiting Landon somewhat regularly there but we never met on any of those trips.

After years of talking to each other online, we finally met in person on my last day in Orlando.

Corey and I headed to Hue Restaurant just on the outskirts of Orlando’s downtown area where we anticipated the arrival of Skylor. Upon his arrival our waitress turned on her best awkward turtle. Whether she was standing silently behind Skylor or giving each of us multiple sets of silverware, girlfriend was hilariously awkward. Continue reading

Carrot Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

I’ve got another recipe for you guys. This one I made for the last Cake and a Movie night.

We watched the movie, Hard Candy. Wow. This film was incredibly well done. Razor sharp, absolutely awesome… But not for the weak stomach at times. Definitely not a movie you’d pair with a carrot cake. It might be better paired with a glass of Vodka. Straight up.

We had a great group of people come over, 15 in all, though not all stayed the entire time. The movie got off to a late start as we couldn’t stop talking and socializing… not a bad problem at all!

Here are the tweeps that showed up

@j_tigers @laurenreid @mdanbom @ok2baprincess @madmax69 @turtis @kaleb1983 @aurablush @brooding_soul @savannahbrooke @clettenberg @coreyschmidt

And now for the cake!

This is a really great cake and holds a few firsts for me, mostly an original recipe and my first carrot cake. I was a little nervous about it coming out but it did just fine! A very forgiving formula, light and fluffy yet miraculously dense where it matters. The cake is spicy and moist, the frosting sweet and creamy. Let’s get to it!

Carrot Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
Carrot Cake Base
Makes about 7 1/2 cups

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups oil
  • 6 eggs
  • 5 cups shredded carrots

Start by washing, peeling and grating carrots, the smaller the shreds of carrots the better. Put aside.

In a stand mixer, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger until well blended. Add sugar and oil until well blended, batter will be thick. Add in eggs one at a time, ensures a consistent batter. Scrape the batter from the sides of bowl and add carrots, let this mix until smooth and well blended.

Spray three 9-inch-diameter cake pans with baking oil (I prefer to use the kind with flour). Line bottom of pans with parchment paper. Spray parchment paper as well.

Divide the batter between the prepared pans, about 2 ½ cups per pan, and bake the layers for about 40 minutes each, or until a tester inserted into center comes out clean. Cool cakes in pans 15 minutes before placing in the freezer while you make the frosting.

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 24 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup

All ingredients need to be at room temperature.

Using the stand mixer, whisk all the ingredients on medium until fluffy and smooth. Chill the frosting for 10 to 20 minutes, until it has set up enough to spread smoothly.

Remove cakes from the freezer, frosting from the refrigerator. Remove one cake from the pan, topside down on the cake platter. Peel away parchment paper. (You can choose to level the top of the cake by cutting it or just flip it upside down to save time and have an extra tall cake, doing so might require more frosting)

Frost the flat top of the first layer and add the second, and then the third and finally, frost the sides of the cake.

Place in the refrigerator until ready to cut and serve.

I choose to top the cake with some extra carrots that I shredded with a micro-plane to create these tiny, soft, bright orange carrot topping.

You can see the entire process in this slideshow.

I hope you enjoy this cake! Let me know if you bake it or have any suggestions. I didn’t include nuts in this cake because I’m allergic and no raisins because some of my regulars have voiced their opposition to the raisin haha.

It’s a HUGE cake when all is said and done. So tall that my glass dome wouldn’t sit on top. It’ll end up being about 6-7 inches tall, 9 inches wide. Mine served 15 with two slices to go, and we went with some really thick slices. You could easily serve up to 20 people with a cake like this.

Also, try substituting half the oil for applesauce or yogurt. You can also use fat free cream cheese for the first 16oz (if you do all fat free the frosting won’t have the proper consistency). You can even cut the sugar by using Splenda’s baking sugar substitute. Do all of this and it’s the perfect cake for those looking at their waistline after a few Cake and a Movie nights have hit their belt! It’ll still taste great and be super moist, I promise!


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The Peanut Butter-Chocolate Cake

The full title of this post should be…

Sour Cream-Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter-Cream Cheese Frosting and Chocolate-Peanut Butter Ganache

Michael (@mdanbom) joined me in making this delicious cake for the last Cake and a Movie night (#CaaM) which happened last night.

We had a wonderful crowd come over…

@laurenreid, @aurablush, @taylorjm10, @ok2baprincess, @brooding_soul, @savannahbrooke and @coreyschmidt.

It was suggested that we watch Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist and it was a great film. But I’m a sucker for Michael Cera and Kat Dennings; oh and any movie with a band full of really hot gay guys, especially when the gay characters aren’t so annoying.

Now I guess it’s time to post my Sour Cream-Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter-Cream Cheese Frosting and Chocolate-Peanut Butter Ganache.

This is an original of Sky High: Irresistable Triple-Layer Cakes modified by the SmittenKitchen.com and further adopted by me.

With no further adieu… the

Sour Cream-Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter-Cream Cheese Frosting and Chocolate-Peanut Butter Ganache

Sour Cream-Chocolate Cake Base
Makes about 7 cups

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa w/ 60% cacao
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottoms and sides of three 8-inch round cake pans. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper.

Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Whisk to combine them well. Add the oil and sour cream and whisk to blend. Gradually beat in the water. Blend in the vinegar and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs and beat until well blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and be sure the batter is well mixed. Divide among the 3 prepared cake pans.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Let cool in the pans for about 20 minutes.

Place cakes in freezer for thirty minutes. This will allow these incredibly soft, moist cakes to firm up before frosting. Now is a good time to make the frosting.

Peanut Butter-Cream Cheese FrostingMakes About 5 cups

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 5 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter

In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar 1 cup at a time to prevent lumping. Mix thoroughly after each addition and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula often. Continue to beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the peanut butter and beat until thoroughly blended. Use the spatula to fold frosting to ensure it is smooth and creamy.

Frosting a dark cake with a light frosting can be difficult. Here are some tips to make this as easy as possible.

Measure out just enough frosting to put a thin layer of frosting on the cake using an offset spatular. Microwave frosting for 20-30 seconds to make frosting soft and spreadable. Let this cool on the cold cake, firming up the frosting and preventing any rips in the cake.

Place one layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or large serving plate. Spread about 1/2 cup of the frosting evenly over the top. Repeat with the next layer.

For a smoother frosting, use 1/2-2/3 of the remaining frosting to finish up the top and sides, reserving 1/3-1/2 for later. Place layered cake into the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes. Warm frosting in microwave for 20-30 seconds before smoothing the rest of the frosting on the chilled cake.

Place cake back into the refrigerator while you prepare the ganache.

Chocolate-Peanut Butter GanacheMakes about 1 1/2 cups

  • 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
  • 3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream

In the top of a double boiler, combine the chocolate, peanut butter, and corn syrup, whisking often, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.

Remove from the heat and whisk in the whipping cream, beating until smooth.

Let the ganache sit for a few minutes. It should be warm but not hot when applied to the cake.

Slowly pour the ganache over the top of the cake, and using an offset spatula, spread it evenly over the top just to the edges so that it runs down the sides of the cake in long drips.

Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes to allow the glaze and frosting to set completely.

Use warm, sharp, thin knife to slice the cake, cleaning between each slice with warm water and dry towel. This will make each slice as beautiful as the first.

Let me know how it works for you and if you have any suggestions for modifications or cake suggestion for the next Cake and a Movie night. So far it sounds like a carrot cake is winning out. If you’ve got a great recipe, send it over!