surprise inside cakes is NOW in stores! (and an exclusive invitation)

My book is officially on sale!!!

Surprise Inside Cakes Cover

photo credit susan powers

If you could see me right now… I am shaking my head back and forth in disbelief.  This whole process has been so humbling and scary and yet rewarding.  I am not a “go-getter” by nature,  I tend to just let life happen around me and if it’s good, then all the better.  But this, this I had to work for.

Colin Powell says is best.  ”A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination, and hard work.”

What a labor of love!!  I am so thrilled with the book and hope you are too!

If you have not yet ordered your copy of surprise-inside cakes, now is the time!!

AMAZON

Ordering through Amazon is a great way to save money… as it is only $16.50 versus $30 in stores.

Candle Rose Surprise Inside Cake from iambaker.net

 photo credit Susan Powers

Hint: The CANDLES are part of the surprise… they are cake!!

I do have a couple of signing events coming up!

Magers & Quinn on March 20th at 7:00pm

  • I will be sharing some sweet treats!!

Kitchen in the Market on March 28th at 5:30pm

  • This is an EXCLUSIVE event with limited capacity, so you will want to reserve your spot now!  In addition to drinks, treats and interactive cake decorating, you can also win a KitchenAid Stand Mixer!
  • Click HERE to make sure you get a spot!

I would really, really love the opportunity to meet you and to know what your baking passions are.

As always, thank you all so much for your love and support.  Oh, and if you have your book,  be sure to look for the cake that I dedicated specially to my blog readers!!

green ombre cake

Disclosure: This is a paid post sponsored by McCormick. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Back in 2010 I made a green ombre cake (although I called it a graduated layer cake because I didnt know the word ombre existed and it was before the trend started).  I have always felt like that cake is ugly.  Seriously ugly.

Green Ombre Layer Cake

Wouldn’t you know, it’s one of my post popular posts to this day.  So today I am offering up a new and improved model.  Same general idea, but slightly better photography.

I also switched things up and used McCormick Green Food Coloring.  A 1 ounce bottle was the perfect amount for this cake.

How to Make a Green Ombre Layer Cake!

 

I made one white cake recipe (you can certainly use a box mix here!) and divided it into six bowls.

The first bowl I left plain, the second I used 2-3 drops, the third was 4-5 drops, the fourth was 1/4 teaspoon, the fifth was 1/2 teaspoon, and the sixth was about 1 teaspoon. (I just poured out the rest of the bottle.)  However, McCormick has this amazing Green Tinting Guide that is the perfect way to know exactly what colors you are making!

McCormick Green Tinting Guide

I love this great chart!  You really can’t go wrong when it’s laid out so simply and beautifully.

How to Make a Green Ombre Layer Cake!

 

It should look roughly like this after you have added food coloring and thoroughly mixed the coloring into the cake batter.

I then poured the batter into prepared 6-inch round cake pans.  I only have three, so I baked the cakes three at a time for about 18 minutes at 350 degrees.  Be sure to start checking your cakes at 15 minutes and remove when an inserted toothpick is removed clean.

How to Make a Green Ombre Layer Cake!

 

After the cakes have cooked and cooled, I stack them on my cake stand.  Start with the darkest layer, and cover it in about 1/4 cup of white frosting. (This buttercream recipe works well because it is so white)

Place the next darkest layer on top and add more frosting.  Repeat until you have stacked every layer and be sure to end with the white layer on top.

Cover the cake in a crumb coat of buttercream, chill for about 30 minutes in fridge, and then cover in a final smooth coat of buttercream.

Green Ombre Layer Cake covered in Green Sprinkles

 

For the outside decoration I pressed three different color green sprinkles into the upper edge of the cake.  I tried to get the darkest color at the very edge, then the medium green in the middle, then a lightest green trickling down a bit.

A nod to the ombre interior.

Green Ombre Layer Cake covered in Green Sprinkles

Do you ever want to get really clean cuts when presenting a cake?  Here is my trick.

VERY chilled cake.  VERY hot knife.

I will freeze my cake for at least 2 hours before serving.  I will then place a very sharp knife into a glass of boiling water.  Remove the knife, wipe dry and make your first cut, then dip back into the boiling water to clean and re-heat.

Green Ombre Layer Cake covered in Green Sprinkles

When the cake is kept chilled it also decreases the chances of color bleeding.

Don’t you love fun tips that make our lives easier???

Green Ombre Layer Cake

McCormick also has a great recipe for a Green Ombre Cake that is three layers.  They take it a step further and add extra vanilla for a punch of flavor.  Love that!

This cake is perfect for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.  Wouldn’t it be fun covered in rainbow sprinkles??  And maybe you can add vodka to the frosting?  Like that new Cake flavored vodka?  HOW AMAZING WOULD THAT BE?!?

Sorry.  I will stop yelling now.  I dont’ know what it is about St. Patrick’s Day that makes me want to consume massive amounts of colorful sweets and booze! ;)

 

 

craftsy

I have been looking forward to today for months.

Decorating from the Inside Out

I am so very thrilled to announce that you are now able to see my Craftsy classes!

Back in November I flew to Denver and filmed them and promptly fell into deep a adoration for the whole Craftsy crew.  Every single person I have dealt with is kind, helpful, and nice.  So so nice.  They helped me overcome massive stage fright and coached me when I desperately needed it.

Their professionalism and talent made the whole experience that much more enjoyable.

Birthday Candle Surprise Inside CakeBirthday Candle Surprise Inside Cake

In my classes you will have the opportunity to learn a variety of surprise-inside techniques.  Carving, the twice-baked method, and even cake ‘de’ and “re” construction.  In addition to that, you will learn easy and fun decorating techniques for the outside!

My love for surprise-inside cakes really comes through in these classes, and I adore that I get to be right there with you when you are making them.  If you ever have a question about a step or process, just ask it right in the course and I will answer!  So, let’s be besties mmmkay?

You can click HERE to go to my classes!

www.craftsy.com/ext/Rettke_540_F

Here is the link just in case it’s not working above. Just copy and paste into your browser.  You can also see it on this Facebook post!

Cherry Cheesecake with Oreos and Chocolate Chip Cookie

You may have noticed.

I know I have.

Cherry Cheesecake with Oreos and Chocolate Chip Cookie!

 

My blog has turned into a den of gluttony.  A shameful place to gorge on insane amounts of calories.  A sinful stuff fest.  Can it be stuffed into something?  Then I will do it.

I feel as if I need to share a behind the scenes with you.

I have been baking like CRAZY.  Cake after cake after cake.  Most of these cakes are for jobs or editorial images only so I haven’t been able to share on my blog.

And after a long week of intricate designs and complicated recipes and cake…

Cherry Cheesecake with Oreos and Chocolate Chip Cookie!

 

I just want to indulge.  I want mindless.  I want stuff stuffed into intimate cheesecake crevices.  I want to ignore calories and complicated instructions.

Cheesecake.  Oreo.  Cookie dough.  Can of cherry stuff.

Yum.

Cherry Cheesecake with Oreos and Chocolate Chip Cookie!

 

Cherry Cheesecake with Oreos and Chocolate Chip Cookie

Ingredients

  • 1 6-ounce package of Oreo premade pie crust
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 13-14 Oreos (I used the vanilla and chocolate variety)
  • 1 36-ounce container Nestle cookie dough
  • 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 21-ounce can cherry topping

Instructions

  1. Melt butter and in a medium bowl, combine with Oreo crumbs. Press into a well prepared 7-inch springform pan and create a bottom crust.
  2. Press Oreos into crust, vanilla side down.
  3. Scoop out mini balls of cookie dough and press onto each individual cookie.
  4. Prepare Cheesecake:
  5. Place cream cheese in stand mixer and mix for 30 seconds to a minute on medium-high speed. You want to cream cheese to be creamy in texture.
  6. Add in sugar and then eggs, one at a time. Scrape bowl with spatula and mix for about 30 more seconds on medium, until all ingredients are fully incorporated.
  7. Pour cheesecake mixture into pan with Oreos and bake for 35-45 minutes at 350 degrees. (I baked for 40 minutes at 325 degrees in my convection oven.)
  8. Chill for two hours before serving.
  9. When ready to serve, pour cherries over cheesecake.
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Cherry Cheesecake with Oreo and Chocolate Chip Cookie!

 

As you can see, I opted for easy.  Store bought pre-made ingredients.  I also chose to only put the cookie dough over each cookie, instead of making it a whole layer.  Since we are big cheesecake fans here, it just made more sense.

And don’t look to close at the picture above or you will see it PRE Oreo crust layer.  I went back and removed all the cookies and added that.  Seeing as the cheesecake would seep all the way to the bottom, I needed a delicious place for it to land!

Cherry Cheesecake with Oreo and Chocolate Chip Cookie!

 

This dessert was completely inspired by these Chocolate Chip Oreo Filled Cheesecakes by Lauren’s Latest.

 

 

blueberry banana banana bread cake with brown butter glaze

If you read here you may know this already, but I am a huge fan of banana bread and blueberries.  Like, HUGE.  It would probably be my request for last meal should I ever end up on death row.

Blueberry Banana Banana Cake with Brown Butter Glaze

 

And if that should ever happen, please, someone teach my children that its ok to use shortening in buttercream and still call it buttercream.

And also, if that should ever happen, please take a picture of me because I am sure I will be skinny.  I heard that people who don’t eat a cake everyday weigh less than people who do.

Blueberry Banana Banana Cake with Brown Butter Glaze

 

But anyway.

Since I am still legally allowed to eat a cake a day I will start with this bad boy.

But before I show you the recipe, I need to talk about the star of this show.

Brown Butter Glaze!

Brown. Butter. Glaze.

I um… well… it has left me speechless on more than one occasion but that doesn’t translate well for a blog post for I will try to describe it.

Its yummy.

Blueberry Banana Banana Cake with Brown Butter Glaze

 

I had a hard time not pouring it ever EVERYTHING.  Mostly because I ran out so quickly, but thankfully it is easy to make so yippee!

brown butter glaze

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2-4 tablespoons milk

Instructions

  1. Heat butter in a saucepan over medium heat until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Its best to use an aluminum pan or pan that does not have a black bottom. You will want the butter to smell nutty and be a dark brown color.
  2. In a medium bowl, add sugar, vanilla and 2 tablespoons milk. Stir. Cover the bowl with cheesecloth that has been doubled over.
  3. Carefully pour butter over the sugar mixture. The cheesecloth should catch the very dark and burnt bits.
  4. Stir until smooth. If glaze is too thick, add more milk. Use immediately.
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This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart.

In the small, teeny-tiny, microscopic chance that you want to make this without the glaze, I will not be mad.  ONLY because the cake in itself is quite delicious.

blueberry banana banana bread cake

Ingredients

  • 3 or 4 ripe bananas, smashed
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries

Instructions

  1. Put bananas in a large bowl and shmush with a fork. Melt butter, then pour over bananas and incorporate with fork.
  2. Add in sugar, beaten egg, and vanilla. Mix well.
  3. Pour flour, cinnamon, baking soda and pinch of salt over banana mixture. Add blueberries over flour and stir all ingredients until just combined.
  4. Pour mixture into a prepared 8-inch round pan. Bake for 35-45 minutes. (At the 30 minute mark, I have covered the cake with foil to prevent the edges from burning.)
  5. Can be served immediately.
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Recipe adapted from the always amazing Simply Recipes.

Blueberry Banana Banana Cake with Brown Butter Glaze!

 

If you want, you may simply omit the blueberries.

Just don’t tell me.

homemade yellow cake mix

Did you know I bake lots of cakes?  Like, lots and lots of lots of cakes?  I had a homemade white cake recipe that I love, but have been on the search for a good yellow cake recipe.

Homemade Yellow Cake Mix

 

There are a couple reasons that I finally ended up in this recipe.

#1 Its a one-bowl recipe.

#2 It uses whole eggs, not 8 egg yolks.

Oh, and one more.

Its yummy.

Homemade Yellow Cake Mix

 

homemade yellow cake mix

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1/8 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs

Instructions

  1. Measure flour into quart size mason jar.
  2. Add sugar on top, then baking powder, then salt. Place lid on jar. (My ingredients JUST fit)
  3. When ready to prepare cake batter:
  4. Place softened butter into stand mixer and mix on medium for 1-2 minutes.
  5. Place dry ingredients into stand mixer and combine with butter for 30 seconds.
  6. Add milk, oil, vanilla and eggs and mix on medium-high for one minute.
  7. Pour batter into prepare pans. Bake at 350. For 9-inch pans its 20-25 minutes. For cupcakes start checking around 15 minutes. Cool before frosting.
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Homemade Yellow Cake Mix

 

Making a homemade cake mix is so cheap and easy and the best of all worlds when it happens to be super delicious.

I couldn’t help but pair it with a rich chocolate buttercream, as that is my favorite combination.  (What is your favorite frosting with yellow cake?)

If you want to give this for a gift (I would LOVE this as a gift!) simply print out the ‘wet’ ingredients and the directions and attach to the jar.  Be sure to add some instructions though.  Something like, “After cake is cooled call me and I will be right over.”

Or something like that. :)

 

surprise-inside cakes book trailer!

I dont know about you, but I lovelovelove when a book has a trailer.  I dont care if it’s a cookbook or a thriller or a documentary.  There is just something in me that loves the quick fix and anticipation of more.

That being said, here is mine.

 

I hope you like it.  And if you don’t, do not tell me because I am an insecure mess! ;)

Thanks for watching and be sure to get your copy now!!

Amazon: http://goo.gl/zX1V9k

Apple: http://goo.gl/yxbknv

Barnes and Noble: http://goo.gl/fmylI5

IndieBound: http://goo.gl/vq6CsU

Books-A-Million: http://goo.gl/HrRbnS

Google Play: http://goo.gl/HwbxbL

Kobo: http://goo.gl/3fRK0f

HarperCollins: http://goo.gl/EZE1nH

Surprise Inside Cakes Cover1

gender reveal surprise-inside cake

So I have a little announcement for you that I have known about for a few months now.

Gender Reveal Surprise-Inside Cake!

 

When I first found out I was freaked out.  I mean… this was big news for our family and I didn’t know if I should smile or run into my closet and eat cake.  (In all fairness I eat cake in my closet a couple times a day anyway so that is not a good indicator of stress for me.)

Gender Reveal Surprise-Inside Cake!

 

OK, ok, I will stop teasing.  I am NOT pregnant!  We are done having kids and are totally smitten with the five we are lucky enough to be blessed with.

However, I AM introducing a new partnership in my life.

Gender Reveal Surprise-Inside Cake!

Its with Craftsy!  If you are into crafts or quilting or cake decorating on any level you are probably very familiar with Craftsy.  If you are not please drop everything and go watch some free classes on how to do awesome stuff with cakes.

It’s life changing stuff.

I teamed up with Craftsy to offer some classes on how to make surprise-inside cakes!  My class is called “Decorating From the Inside Out” and it launches March 11th.  The classes are in high-definition and are interactive.  I will be there answering questions and helping you out along the way!  Another fun feature?  Once you purchase my class it will NEVER expire.  You can watch it as many times as you want!

The classes I am teaching are for cakes that have never been taught on my blog! But a couple are in my book, so when you get it and see a cake you want to make just think, “Hey, there is a video of Amanda making this cake on Craftsy and I can go watch it right now!”

How cool is that?

Gender Reveal Surprise-Inside Cake!

 

And now for this sweet cake.

One of the methods I teach in the course is a twice-baked cake, a method that I first started playing around with in 2011.   You can use shapes or letters and make WORDS!  This particular cake is not in the course (It’s just a special treat for my blog readers!) , but the methods I teach will provide you the knowledge to make any design you can think of.

So can you tell what the fictitious expectant mom is having?  A Baby Boy!  How adorable is that little guy in there?

Gender Reveal Surprise-Inside Cake!

 

And it could not be easier to do.

Not only will I teach you how to make a fun surprise-inside cakes, but I will teach you creative and easy buttercream techniques.  Like this very fun and personalized “dot” technique.  I am such a sucker for polka dots and absolutely love incorporating them into everything I do.  When you buy my course you will get to SEE how I make these dots and just how easy it is!

And there is so much more.  Part of me is completely mortified that the sweet folks at Craftsy let me blabber on camera and do weird dances (Yes, I seriously shook my booty, please don’t tell anyone) and the other part of me is so darn excited to share new tips with you that I CAN’T WAIT FOR YOU TO SIGN UP!

Since the class isn’t available for a couple more weeks, I thought it would be fun to give you a chance to win!

To be entered to win simply click on this link:

CRAFTSY COURSE GIVEAWAY

If you already have a Craftsy account then you can use your existing login information to be entered. (If you have trouble seeing the giveaway page, using Google Chrome should help.)

One entry per person, the giveaway is open to everywhere.

This giveaway is open until March 3, 2014.

Official Rules here.

Gender Reveal Surprise-Inside Cake!!

I hope you like my newest original surprise-inside cake and I hope you will love my new course on Craftsy!

Here is a link to the Chocolate Frosting recipe!

rustic blueberry tart with white chocolate

Blueberries are IT for me.  Sitting down and eating a pint is no big deal.  Sharing is a no-no.  And finding new ways to incorporate them into baking is a must.

rustic blueberry tart

 

So this is a very simple and dumbed down version of a classic tart.  I removed it from the constraints of a traditional tart pan.  I added more sugar than necessary to the blueberry sauce and I melted white chocolate on top.

And it was wonderful.

rustic blueberry tart

 

rustic blueberry tart

Ingredients

    Tart
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick plus 1 tablespoon (9 tablespoons; 4 1/2 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 large egg
  • Egg Mixture
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Blueberry Sauce
  • 2 cups blueberries (frozen works fine)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup powder sugar
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 4 ounces white chocolate, roughly chopped

Instructions

  1. Pulse the flour, sugar and salt together in the bowl of a food processor.
  2. Drop in the pieces of butter into the processor and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in. (small pieces)
  3. Gentle mix the yolk then slowly add into the food processor on low.
  4. Once the egg has been added, pulse for 10 second increments until the dough starts to pull together and clumps.
  5. Remove dough from processor and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Using your hands, gently start to press the down down and out. (Not tearing) You are trying to spread the dough over the pan and a rustic oval. Once the dough is mostly flat, take a fork and pierce the dough about every inch or so. (Covering entire tart)
  6. Place dough in 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.
  7. For Blueberry Sauce
  8. Place all ingredients in a sauce pan and stir over medium-low heat. Allow the corn starch to work and thicken the sauce. Once the sauce starts to thicken, remove from heat. (About 10 minutes)
  9. After the tart has baked for 10 minutes at 350 degrees, you will then remove it and generously brush entire tart with egg mixture (one egg and cinnamon in a small bowl beaten until combined).
  10. Pour blueberry sauce over tart and allow it to get right to the edges. Place tart back into oven for 8 minutes. (This is where the indention and groves your fingers made in the dough help, as they are natural divets for the sauce to sink into)
  11. Remove tart and sprinkle white chocolate over the top, then place back in over for about five minutes, or until the chocolate is melted.
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Tart recipe heavily inspired by “the great unshrinkable tart” by smitten kitchen.  Blueberry sauce recipe adapted from this Blueberry Tart from Chow Hound.

rustic blueberry tart

 

I have made this three times in the last two weeks and enjoyed it more every time.  I also played around with the blueberry sauce, adding more of this and less of that.  Less lemon, more sugar.  No sugar, add lemon zest.  You seriously cant go wrong with the sauce, just as long as you have those luscious blueberries in there you will be set.  And feel free to add dark chocolate as well… I am a huge fan of dark chocolate and blueberries!

 

snickers bar cheesecake pie {recipe girl cookbook giveaway}

Have you seen the Recipe Girl blog?   Of course you have, I think most everyone has!  On her blog Lori shares over 2,500 great recipes,  and one of them happens to be this little diddy.

Snickers Bar Cheesecake Pie

A Snickers Bar Cheesecake Pie.  Talk about the most perfect idea EVER.

I found it a little bit by accident.  See, I was having some friends over for dinner and realized at the very last second that I needed a fabulous dessert.  I remembered that I had just gotten Lori’s book so I thumbed through to the dessert section.  There (among some other pretty fabulous options) was this sweet concoction.

Snickers Bar Cheesecake Pie

 

As you can imagine, I was instantly drawn to the decadent flavors.  Snickers is my second favorite candy bar of all time, so you can imagine how excited I got when I saw it was paired with Oreo crust and cheesecake.

Snickers Bar Cheesecake Pie

 

Then topped with whipped cream, caramel sauce, hot fudge and MORE snickers?  I was in HEAVEN.

Truth be told, I made two of these in 48 hours.  And I don’t regret it for one single second.

Snickers Bar Cheesecake Pie

 

The whole fabulous experience begins when you get to cut up 16 snack size snickers bars.  It just so happens that there were 19 bars in the bag, which was the perfect amount for the filling of the cheesecake and then to garnish the top.

This was NOT the perfect amount if you have zero self control and just HAD to snack on one or seven of those sweet little bites as you were slaving away over the cutting board.

Just buy two bags.

Snickers Bar Cheesecake Pie

snickers bar cheesecake pie

Ingredients

  • 2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 16 "fun size" snickers candy bars, chopped (2 cups total)
  • 2 6-ounce Oreo Pie Crust
  • 2 tbsp melted butter

Instructions

  1. Place cream cheese into bowl of stand mixer. Mix on medium-low speed for 30 seconds. Add in sugar and eggs and beat until smooth.
  2. Remove bowl from stand and stir in chopped candy bars.
  3. In a small bowl combine the Oreo pie crusts and the butter gently with a fork.
  4. Prepare a 6-inch spring-form pan and then press the Oreo mixture into the pan and up the sides.
  5. Pour the filling into the pan and bake until set, 35-40 minutes at 325 degrees.
  6. Set the pie on a wire rack and let it cool completely.
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I cheated and bought Oreo’s ready made pie crusts.  I simply cannot be trusted with a bag of Oreo’s in my house and this is by far the easiest option.

You can top your cheesecake with anything you would like.  Lori recommends caramel syrup, chocolate syrup, peanuts and more snickers.  I simply added whipped cream and omitted the peanuts on mine.

Snickers Bar Cheesecake Pie

 

Oh my gosh this is amazing.  Lori mentions in the book that her son, Recipe Boy, has won many a pie contest with this recipe, and I can see why!

And guess what?  I want you to make this.  And read this book.  And have your very own copy!

I would love to give one of you the chance to win one!

For an chance to win a Recipe Girl Cookbook just tell me, “What is your favorite candy bar?”

For FOUR additional entries: (please leave a separate comment for each one)

Share on Facebook!

Just click HERE to share

Tweet:

I want to win a @RecipeGirl cookbook from @iambakertweets ! http://iambaker.net/snickers-bar-cheesecake-pie-recipe-girl-cookbook-giveaway/

You can PIN any image from this post!

Share this post on Google+

This contest is open from Feb. 16th through Feb. 21st.  Official Rules are here.  Residents of the US and Canada are eligible to win.

Of course, if you can’t wait, you can always buy one right now!  The Recipe Girl Cookbook

Snickers Bar Cheesecake Pie

 

Good Luck!