Tag Archives: cake

S’mores Cake with Toasted Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting

Forbidden Rice Blog | S'mores Cake with Toasted Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting

When I first met Silas, he was a not-quite-two-year-old, making a mad-dash away from his dad (my now husband) at the park beside my old apartment. Seeing this rambunctious, active, very spirited, near-two-year-old grow up into the still rambunctious, very spirited, ten year old he is now has been quite the journey. He is more than willing to try your patience… again and again and again, within a matter of minutes. But he’s just as quick to care about people, offer sincere compassion for folks he both knows and doesn’t know. His heart is gold (even on the days I would quickly describe him as pure hellion).

Forbidden Rice Blog | S'mores Cake with Toasted Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting

For his tenth birthday, Si requested a s’mores cake. The last couple years he’s requested cakes that are more ambitiously themed or colored, so I was pretty quick to OK a s’mores cake. Even though I buy marshmallows only, perhaps, once every couple years. Hah. As I scoured the inter-webs for ideas, I pulled tips and recipe attempts from various places. This is probably the largest (as in tallest) cake I’ve ever baked, but it was fun to make! And even more fun to eat!

Forbidden Rice Blog | S'mores Cake with Toasted Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting

Forbidden Rice Blog | S'mores Cake with Toasted Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting

S’mores Cake with Toasted Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting

Makes one 3-layer, 8-inch round cake OR one 2-layer cake and 6 cupcakes


For the cake:
2 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
14 tablespoons butter, softened
3 eggs
1 3/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1 cup boiling water

For the filling:
12 large marshmallows
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
one 7 1/2-ounce jar marshmallow fluff
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
1 graham cracker, finely crumbled

For the topping:
one 3.5 ounce bar of dark chocolate, broken into pieces
12-16 large marshmallows
1 graham cracker, coarsely crumbled
2 tablespoons mini chocolate chips

Forbidden Rice Blog | S'mores Cake with Toasted Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting


Prepare the cake: (This step can be done 24 hours in advance; just let the cake layers cool completely, then individually wrap each layer in plastic wrap and leave at room temperature until needed.)

Preheat your oven to 350° F. Lightly grease three 8-inch round cake pans then dust lightly with flour.

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs to the creamed butter mixture, one at a time, making sure each is fully incorporated before adding the next. Beat on high speed until the mixture is light and fluffy. Mix in the vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.

Alternate adding the flour mixture and the sour cream to your butter mixture. Mix on low speed until well combined. The batter will appear semi-thick at this point. Stir the boiling water into the batter.

Pour the batter into your prepared pans, filling each to about 2/3-full. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick poked into the center of the cake comes out clean or with minimal crumbs attached. Cool completely.

Forbidden Rice Blog | S'mores Cake with Toasted Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting

Prepare the toasted marshmallow buttercream: Turn your oven on to broiling. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then brush lightly with olive oil. Arrange 12 marshmallows on the prepared pan, spacing them at least 1 1/2-inches apart. Place the marshmallows under the broiler and watch carefully. As soon as the marshmallows have reached a toasty-brown color, flip them over. Lightly brown that side as well. Make sure to keep a close eye on these. They go from light brown to burnt quickly! Remove from the oven.

Beat the butter and powdered sugar over low speed until blended together (1-2 minutes). Add the vanilla extract and increase the speed to medium-high. Beat for 3-4 minutes. Add the marshmallow fluff and toasted marshmallows, and mix on the lowest speed for about 1 minute, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Assemble the cake: Place your first layer of cake face-up on a cake plate or stand, then cover with half of the toasted marshmallow buttercream. Sprinkle on half of the finely crumbled graham cracker and half of the mini chocolate chips. Place another cake layer on, face-up and cover with the remaining buttercream, followed by the remaining finely crumbled graham cracker and mini chocolate chips.

Prepare the top cake layer: Turn your oven on to broiling. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the remaining cake layer on the pan. Arrange the 12-16 marshmallows on the cake, standing them upright. Gently place the cake in the oven and again, keeping a close eye on them, toast until lightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and gently smoosh down each marshmallow.

Melt the dark chocolate in either a double broiler or microwave.

Place the top cake layer on top the the assembled cake, then sprinkle on the coarse graham crackers, remaining mini chocolate chips, and drizzle the melted dark chocolate over the entire cake.

The cake is best served the same day it is made, but leftovers can be stored at room temperature, wrapped or covered, for up to 3 days.

Forbidden Rice Blog | S'mores Cake with Toasted Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting

Forbidden Rice Blog | S'mores Cake with Toasted Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting

Forbidden Rice Blog | S'mores Cake with Toasted Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting

Forbidden Rice Blog | S'mores Cake with Toasted Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting

Forbidden Rice Blog | S'mores Cake with Toasted Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting

Rich Frosted Chocolate Sheet Cake

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Every year as my husband’s birthday approaches, I start to think about what his celebratory dinner and cake will consist of. By “approaches” I mean my crazy-brain begins thinking around early October, for his late November birthday. Usually I wait until the second week of November or so, before the craziness of Thanksgiving begins to creep in (which happens to typically fall within the same weekend of Craig’s birthday), to ask him what he’d like.

Often the request isn’t too crazy. Likely something involving dark chocolate, possibly peanut butter, and most always a “warm chocolatey sauce” to be served with the cake. As someone who isn’t a huge dessert fiend, sometimes the amount of chocolate involved can begin to feel a little overwhelming. But I guess birthday cakes are made to be an overindulgent once-a-year debacle.

This year’s request was the simplest yet. “A plain chocolate cake with hot fudge sauce. Please.” We discussed options — a layer cake? Some other flavored filling in a layered cake? A one-pan sheet cake thing? “Yes! A sheet cake! I don’t like a layered cake anyway because there’s always too much frosting…” This chocolate sheet cake is fluffy, moist, not overwhelmingly sweet (the frosting adds a nice balance of sweetness to the not overly sweet cake). The frosting on the top of the cake slightly hardens as it cools, making this cake a breeze to cut when serving. It isn’t overly thick or overwhelming.


Rich Frosted Chocolate Sheet Cake

Makes one 9×13-inch cake

For the cake
1 cup water
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
1/2 cup good quality unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon baking soda

For the frosting
1/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons whole milk
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups powdered (confectioner’s) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

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Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan, then lightly dust with flour, dumping out any excess.

In a large pot, combine the water and butter, cooking over medium-high heat until the butter completely melts. Stir in the half-cup of unsweetened cocoa powder. Continue stirring until completely combined and the cocoa powder has dissolved. Stir in the flour, sugar, and salt into the butter mixture and bring up to boiling for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat.

In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the eggs, sour cream, and baking soda. Stir this mixture into the chocolate/flour mixture until everything is well combined. Pour the batter into your prepared pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, or with just minimal crumbs on it.

In the last 15 minutes while the cake is baking, prepare the frosting. Combine the 1/4-cup of butter, milk, cocoa powder and powdered sugar in a small sauce pan. Bring up to just under boiling. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.

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Once the cake has finished baking, let the whole pan sit on a wire cooling rack for about 5 minutes, then pour the chocolate frosting mixture over the still-warm cake. Let the cake cool for about 20 minutes. If you want to sprinkle the mini chocolate chips on top for added decoration/texture/CHOCOLATE! you can do so. Serve while warm or at room temperature.

Keep the cake covered for up to 3 days, although for best quality eat the day it’s made.

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photo 2

Cinnamon Apple Coffee Cake


Fall is officially here and it’s time for baking things, filling our home with warmth and scents of this season: soups galore, slow roasted vegetables and fruits, the delirious smell of slow-cooked beans and overnight oats.  Perhaps Autumn means finding excuses to bake cinnamony-apple laden cakes for dessert, for breakfast… And it means without effort, all I want to do is cook homey, filling, comfort foods, hide under the covers, drink warm boozy cocktails, and watch the leaves change colors from the cozy indoors.

That’s not entirely true. I love the crisp air that fall brings after a warm, often overly hot summer around here. I enjoy the way the colors change and the hills surrounding this little valley radiate golden-hued as the sun sets. I especially love the flavors that this time of year brings around Oregon – artichokes, apples, brussels sprouts, plums, chiles, eggplant, leeks, winter squash, to name a few. I suppose I love all seasonal flavors, but especially the way these ingredients transform dishes month-by-month. I’ll guarantee you that in the middle of July I would not look forward to turning on our oven for any reason. Even to bake a cake.

However, here we are, into October and my hesitancies for baking are few. This cake is not overly sweet, which I like. It’s tender, moist, and easily fits the role of dessert or breakfast – whichever better suits your mood. I enjoy coffee cakes because they tend not to be too heavy. There’s no frosting involved. True, some are quite crumbly with sugar coatings, although this one isn’t. The apple offers a delicacy to the final cake, keeping the inside light and soft while the top crisps just enough to offer a subtle difference in texture bite-by-bite.


Cinnamon Apple Coffee Cake

Makes one 9-inch cake


1½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
¾ cup granulated sugar
1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
2 eggs
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup buttermilk, room temperature
1 large fuji, gala or granny smith apple cored, peeled, sliced into 1/8-inch thick rounds



Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly butter or oil a 9×9-inch square pan.

Mix half of the sugar with the cinnamon. Set aside. Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt, then set aside as well.

Beat together the butter and remaining sugar until completely incorporated. Beat in the eggs, one at a time until the mixture is light and fluffy in consistency. Add in the vanilla, mixing until fully incorporated.

Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, alternating with adding the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour (flour, milk, flour).

Pour half of the batter into your prepared baking dish. Spread evenly. Arrange the apple slices over the batter, keeping them as even as possible (a little overlap is okay). Sprinkle half of the cinnamon sugar mixture over the apples, followed by the remaining batter. Spread the batter as evenly as possible. Sprinkle the top of the cake with the remaining cinnamon-sugar mixture.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Eat while warm.


Toasted Coconut Cake with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting


Some days require cake just because the day requires cake. There doesn’t have to be a special occasion involved. No birthday, no holiday, no celebrating. Just cake. I don’t believe in justifying reasons for dessert (even though I do it anyway now and then). You can eat dessert just because you feel like it.  Still… can I tell you that really, I don’t even particularly like cake. I’m into pies. And tarts. And cheesecakes, which are an animal all of their own kind.

However, one day not so long ago, it was a coconut cake kind of evening. One of my favorite kitchen cookware items is the small, 7-inch round springform pan I was gifted in a set of multiple springforms. It allows me to bake a two layer cake, rather than cupcakes, but not so huge in size that I don’t want to bother.

This cake is moist and flavorful. I used medium sized coconut flakes, which don’t add too much texture to the cake, as would larger coconut flakes. The cake itself isn’t overly sweet, which I like – the buttercream adds enough sweetness to balance everything out.  We ate this cake with fresh strawberry ice cream, which is highly suggested. :)



Toasted Coconut Cake with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Makes one small 2-layer, 7-inch cake.

1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
1 vanilla bean, scraped
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup unrefined cane sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
½ tsp. vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk

2 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
5 tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
¼ tsp. vanilla extract
2-5 tbsp. whole milk



Preheat your oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 7-inch springform pan. Set aside until needed.

Spread the coconut flakes on a baking sheet in a single layer. Place in the oven, stirring occasionally until the coconut starts to turn lightly golden brown (3-4 minutes). Once the coconut begins to brown, stir frequently, paying close attention. The coconut will go from golden brown to burnt quickly. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool completely.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, scraped vanilla bean, and one third of the toasted coconut flakes until well combined. Set aside.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until creamy and light in consistency (3-4 minutes). Add the eggs one at a time, making sure each is well incorporated before adding the next. Add the vanilla extract, mixing to combine.

Alternate adding the dry ingredients and buttermilk, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Pour the batter into your prepared pan, tapping it against the counter to release any air bubbles that may be trapped in the batter. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Let the cake cool, in the pan, on a cooling rack for 10-15 minutes before undoing the springform pan and letting the cake cool completely on the rack. Once cool, use a sharp knife to slice the cake horizontally, into two even, round layers. If you prefer a one layer cake, simply refrain from cutting it into two layers.

While the cake cools, prepare your frosting. Beat the powdered sugar and softened butter together over medium-low speed, until the mixture comes together, well combined. Turn the mixer to low, streaming the milk and vanilla into the butter/sugar mixture. Once the milk has been incorporated, increase the mixer’s speed to high, beating the frosting until it’s light and fluffy (3-5 minutes). The longer you beat the frosting, the fluffier and lighter it will get. Keeping that in mind, beat the frosting to your preferred consistency.

Place one cake layer on a cake stand or serving plate, cut-side down. Spread one-third of the frosting evenly on top of the cake. Top with the second cake layer, cut-side down (on top of the frosting). Frost the top and sides (if you want) with the remaining frosting. Sprinkle the remaining toasted coconut all over the top of the cake and the sides as well, if you’ve frosted them. Serve at room temperature for best flavor. Leftovers can be tightly wrapped and refrigerated for 2-3 days.


Gingerbread Coffee Cake


It’s not often, but sometimes we wind up with leftovers that easily take care of dinner plans. I usually don’t mind at all. Especially for dishes like soups, stews, lasagna… Things that taste better the next day, anyway. On the nights we don’t have kids in the house, my husband and I will opt for whatever’s easy for dinner. The other night, my husband had a music rehearsal scheduled for right around dinner time. We had nearly a dozen leftover enchiladas, homemade beans, and rice leftover from the night before. Since neither of the kids were here (not that either of them would object to enchiladas; it’s a staple around this house), Craig said he’d just heat up a plate of last night’s dinner, before practice.

So that left Julie not having to think about dinner for anyone else for the night. I started editing photos while drinking a beer. I wasn’t really hungry for dinner yet and after a second beer, nothing savory sounded very good. The only thing that really sounded delicious was gingerbread. I scoped out recipe after recipe, trying to find something to make to satisfy my craving. I saw a lot of cookie recipes, but remembered that I really don’t care for hard, crunchy gingerbread – especially when most recipes required the dough to sit in my refrigerator for at least two hours before baking. The only gingerbread cookies I ever genuinely couldn’t get enough of are my grandmother’s and at the moment, I don’t have her recipe, either.

Then I came across this recipe from Julie at Willow Bird Baking for a make-ahead coffee cake that’s topped with a cranberry pecan streusel. Of course I hadn’t started this two days previous, so I did a little modifying. I didn’t have cranberries that had soaked for two days. I didn’t have any pecans laying around. So, I opted for chopped walnuts and no cranberries. The result was a deliciously moist, not overwhelming spicy gingerbread cake. I totally misread the original recipe and didn’t bake the cake at all before adding the streusel topping. Everything still seemed to work out just fine.




Gingerbread Coffee Cake

Makes one 9 x 9-inch cake


For the cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1½ tsp. ground cinnamon
1½ tsp. ground ginger
¼ tsp. fresh ground nutmeg
¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
½ cup light brown sugar, packed
2 eggs, room temperature
½ cup unsulphured molasses
½ cup sour cream
½ cup whole milk

For the topping:
¾ cup all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
¾ cup light brown sugar, packed
6 tbsp. very cold butter
1 cup chopped walnuts and/or pecans



Preheat your oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9×9-inch pan, then line with parchment paper, so that the paper hangs slightly over the pan’s sides. Lightly grease the parchment paper and dust with a little flour.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, and fresh ground nutmeg. Set aside.

In the bowl of your stand mixer (or in a large bowl), beat the butter until light. Add the brown sugar and cream together until the mixture is light colored and slightly fluffy (40 seconds-1 minute).

Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Once the eggs have been fully incorporated, beat in the molasses, sour cream, and milk, just until all the ingredients are combined.

Add the dry ingredients to your wet ingredients, mixing until just incorporated. Pour the batter into your prepared baking dish, then rap the pan on your countertop a couple times, to release some of the air in the batter.

In a small bowl, prepare the topping by mixing together the flour, cinnamon, brown sugar, and chopped nuts. Once the ingredients are well mixed together, add the butter. Use your fingers to break the butter into small chunks, evenly distributed through the flour/sugar mixture. Evenly pour the topping all over your cake batter.

Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of your cake comes out clean (or with a minimal amount of crumbs attached). Allow the cake to rest 5 minutes outside of the oven, before lifting the whole thing out of your baking pan (easily accomplished thanks to the parchment paper overhang!) to a cooling rack. Serve while warm for best flavor. Wrap leftovers with plastic wrap and the cake can sit out for 3-4 days. Wrap and store in the fridge for up to a week.