Milk Bar Birthday Cake

If you’ve ever been to Milk Bar in NYC/Brooklyn, then you know what I’m talking about. They are known for their AMAZING cookies, cakes, pies and just sooo many yummy treats and don’t forget about their cereal milk.

I remember pinning this recipe a LONG time ago but reading the recipe kind of scared me. You need a lot of different ingredients you normally don’t use and I had to buy some stuff on Amazon. Some things that might not sound familiar –

CLEAR Vanilla Extract – This will give you that yummy boxed flavor taste (which is a childhood favorite, am i right?!) You’ll need this ingredient in all 4 of the things you need to make.

Glucose/Glycerin – I searched glucose on amazon and it gave me glycerin from Wilton brand. It basically gives your frosting that perfect white color like the frosting that comes right out of the tub.

Citric Acid – This goes in your frosting (just a pinch) and you can just use a tiny squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

Acetate sheets – All of the blogs that I read said you can buy these at any specialty craft or kitchen store. uhhh yeah right! I searched far & wide in utah valley to find these but literally NO ONE had these and all of the employees had NO IDEA what they were! & I didn’t want to spend the $35 on amazon, so I went to Target and bought plastic dividers ($1.79) – cut the folder tab and taped two dividers together. The acetate sheets help you assemble the cake making that perfect 6 inch cake!

So this recipe contains:

  • Birthday Cake
  • Birthday Crumbs
  • Birthday Cake Frosting
  • Milk Soak

I had to buy some equipment off Amazon to make this cake – 6 inch springform pan & 6 inch cake ring. The 6 inch cake ring is key to making perfect circles for your cake.

To make this cake, you really need a kitchen aid and you need patience. You are mixing a lot of fat, oils and sugar together – so all of the ingredients are basically fighting to stay apart. The strength of the kitchen aid helps mix it all together but make sure you pay attention to the minutes you are mixing everything.

I got the full recipe here. It may seem daunting but I made this cake TWICE and both times it took me about total 1 1/2 hours. I made it for my half birthday and one for my good friend Jenn Blosil’s birthday! If you are having any troubles with this cake here is a quick video that I watched for reference to help me get through it!

I also created a new Instagram just for my cakes! Follow me at @lizzies_bakery on Instagram! I’ve been thinking a lot about making cakes and actually selling them to people. I’m definitely going to start out small but if you or you know anyone who needs a cake for a wedding, bridal/baby shower, birthday, etc – let me know!!

XOXO,

Lizzie Lin Johnson

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Sweet Potato (Casserole) CAKE

Hi! So last Saturday I went to my good friend Kenzie Carlston’s bridal shower. At her bridal shower, I tried this AMAZING cake that her sister Courtney made.  Her sister Courtney has a blog on all of her cakes that she makes (go check it out) – here. Kenzie said it was one of her favorite cakes of Courtney’s.  It’s basically a sweet potato casserole in cake form. There’s sweet potatoes in the cake, with crystallized ginger, marshmallow frosting in the middle & a brown sugar buttercream frosting on the outside. I knew i had to try making it because it was SO GOOD.

So after making my almond cake last week, I knew I wanted to get back into baking because I LOVE baking cakes. I told myself that I needed to make one cake a week.  (who knows if that will happen, but I’m going to try!!)

I bought some new things on Amazon that I needed for the recipe – like Crystallized Ginger and a flour sifter (I caved and bought one and totally worth it cuz it makes your cake so much more moist & soft)

As I was making this cake… everything was turning out great.  The cake = perfect, the marshmallow frosting = perfect.. But then I got to the brown sugar buttercream frosting and it was SO RUNNY. I put it in the freezer to get it more stiff, but it was NOT working.  A couple in our ward invited us to dinner and I was like “oh i’ll bring the cake” and the dinner is literally starting in like 2 min as I type so I needed to just frost this cake! It turned out more like a naked cake than a full-frosted buttercream cake.  I still don’t know what I did wrong.. I probably cooked the brown sugar and egg whites too long? IDK.

So this recipe is from Cake by Courtney, you can check it out here. The original recipe that she got it from is right here. Obviously I’m still an amateur at this cake thing, but I love what I’m doing!! & it still tastes yummy. Enjoy! (recipe below)

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LOL on the food photography (google told me to do this!!)

IMG_1308Yield: 8-inch, 4-layer cake

Ingredients

For the Sweet Potato Cake
3 large sweet potatoes (about 900 g)
2 cups (400 g) sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups (315 ml) sunflower oil (or vegetable, safflower, canola oil)
2 cups (230 g) cake flour
1 tablespoon (7 g) ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons (8 g) baking powder
1 teaspoon (7 g) salt
1 teaspoon (3 g) nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon (1.5 g) ground ginger
2 tablespoons (30 ml) brandy or dark rum (optional – I didn’t use it, but you could also use a imitation flavor)
2 teaspoons (10 ml) pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup (120 g) crystallized ginger, chopped

For the Toasted Marshmallow Filling
16 large white marshmallows
1 cup (125 g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 cup (227 g / 2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) pure vanilla extract
1 jar (about 200 g) marshmallow cream/fluff

For the Brown Sugar Frosting
5 large egg whites (150 g)
1 1/4 cups (250 g) light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups (340 g/ 3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes
2 teaspoons (10 ml) pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt
a few pinches of cinnamon, to taste

For the Candied Pecans (I didn’t make these, I just used some Cinnamon Almonds that I had)
2 tablespoons (28 g) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons (24 g) brown sugar
1 cup (100g) pecan pieces

Instructions

For the Sweet Potato Cake
1. Preheat oven 350 degrees F. Grease two 8-inch round cake pans, dust with flour, tap out excess and set aside.
2. Place the sweet potatoes on a microwave safe plate and pierce them with a fork. Microwave until they are tender (about 7-8 minutes each side). Carefully, remove the skin when cool enough to touch and mash the flesh into a coarse puree.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the sugar and eggs together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about five minutes. Add the oil and beat on medium until combined. Add the cooled sweet potato puree and mix until combined.
4. Sift dry ingredients together (cake flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and ground ginger) and then add to sweet potato mixture.
5. Mix in brand/dark rum (if using) and vanilla. Gently stir in crystallized ginger.
6. Evenly distribute batter into the prepared pans (weigh them if possible with digital kitchen scale), smooth with a small offset palette knife and place in the center of the middle rack of the oven, about two inches apart. Bake until a knife or skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes (mine took 45 minutes).
7. Let pans cool on wire rack 10 minutes, invert cakes onto rack and cool them completely.

For the Toasted Marshmallow Filling
1. Place marshmallows on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Place on lower rack of oven, and broil marshmallows until nice and brown on top, about 30-60 seconds. Remove pan from oven and gently turn the marshmallows over, and broil until they are golden brown. (Be sure to keep an eye on them, they burn quickly).
2. In an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine butter and icing sugar on low until blended, about one minute. Add vanilla and mix on medium-high speed for about three minutes.
3. Add marshmallow cream and (cooled) toasted marshmallows, and mix on lowest setting for about one minute.

For the Brown Sugar Frosting
1. Wipe the bowl of an electric mixer with a paper towel and lemon juice, to remove any trace of grease. Add egg whites and sugar, and simmer over a pot of water (not boiling), whisking constantly but gently, until temperature reaches 160 degrees F, or if you don’t have a candy thermometer, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot.
2. With the whisk attachment of mixer, begin to whip until the meringue is thick, glossy, and the bottom of the bowl feels neutral to the touch (this can take up to 10 minutes or so). Don’t begin to add the butter until the bottom of the bowl feels neutral, not warm at all.
3. Switch over to the paddle attachment and, with the mixer on low speed, add butter cubes, one at a time, until incorporated, and mix until it has reached a silky smooth texture (if it curdles, keep mixing and it will come back.) If mixture is too runny, refrigerate for 15-30 minutes and continue mixing with paddle attachment until it comes together. Add vanilla and salt, continuing to beat on low speed until well combined. Add cinnamon to taste and blend.

For the Candied Pecans
1. Melt the butter in small pan. Mix in brown sugar, and add the pecans. Toss to coat.
2. Cook on medium low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Be sure to watch carefully so they don’t burn.
3. Turn out onto parchment paper or aluminum foil and let cool for five minutes, break apart into smaller pieces if using halves.

Assembly
1. Slice both cake layers in half horizontally, so you have four cake layers.
2. Place the first layer on a place, pedestal or cake board cut side up (s0 bottom of the cake layer is touching the plate), and spread about 3/4 cup of the toasted marshmallow filling with a small offset palette knife, leaving 1″ or so around the edge. Sprinkle with a handful of candied pecan pieces.
3. Repeat previous steps until you get to the final cake layer. Place last layer face cake down and chill cake for 30-40 minutes.
4. Frost cake with buttercream and top with a generous handful of candied pecans and crystallized ginger.
5. Finished cake can be kept at room temperature for up to eight hours. Keep refrigerated if longer than 8 hours, but always serve at room temperature (Swiss Buttercream should never be served cold, as it goes back to a cold butter texture).

XOXO,

Lizzie Lin Johnson

My Top 4 HEALTHY Banana Bread Recipes

So these past few weeks I’ve been on a banana bread craze or whatever you call it. So the two things that made this craving happen was 1. Pinterest and 2. a lot of frozen bananas in my freezer! But, obviously I didn’t want to make unhealthy banana bread that takes an hour to bake.  I found all of the healthy banana bread MUFFIN recipes that I could make and here are my top 4.  They are all different kind of healthy recipes… so here you go!

Coconut Flour Banana Bread Muffins

So I bought a huge bag of coconut flour months ago and finally decided to use it. This recipe was less sweet than I thought and it basically asks for my entire egg carton haha. When Steven tried it for the first time he thought it tasted so bland but then the next day he ate all of them! Here is the recipe:

5 Eggs
2 bananas
¼ cup coconut oil or butter (softened)
½ cup coconut flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
small amount of milk to thin (may not need)

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Put all ingredients in medium sized bowl
  3. Using strong whisk or immersion blender (recommend!), mix until smooth and well incorporated. If batter is too thick, add a little milk to thin, but don’t let it get runny at all.
  4. Put into greased muffin tins- i use a ¼ cup measure to make pretty even sized. Batter will be somewhat thick.
  5. Bake for 13-18 minutes until lightly browned and set in middle.

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5 Ingredient Banana Almond Butter Muffins 

This recipe is gluten-free and super easy to make since you can put everything in a blender. These muffins were sweeter than the first ones I made but super grainy because of the almond butter. Also super moist!

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees

Combine:

1 cup almond butter
2 ripe bananas
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda (I updated this from 1/2 tsp. because I found they raise better)
Optional: I like to add 1/2 tsp. of salt

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Maple-Sweetened Banana Muffins 

I baked with whole wheat flour for the first time and these may have been my favorite.  Super moist and sweet (because of the maple syrup)! These also made more than the recipe entailed so we had a ton for the week! I substituted turbinado sugar with coconut sugar that I have from ALOHA.

INGREDIENTS
⅓ cup melted coconut oil or extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup maple syrup or honey
2 eggs, preferably at room temperature
1 cup packed mashed ripe bananas (about 3 bananas)
¼ cup milk of choice (I used almond milk)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon, plus more for sprinkling on top
1¾ cups white whole wheat flour or regular whole wheat flour
⅓ cup old-fashioned oats, plus more for sprinkling on top
1 teaspoon turbinado (raw) sugar or coconut sugar, for sprinkling on top

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (165 degrees Celsius). If necessary, grease 11 cups of your muffin tin with butter or non-stick cooking spray (my pan is non-stick and didn’t require any grease).
2. In a large bowl, beat the coconut oil and maple syrup or honey together with a whisk. Add eggs and beat well. Mix in the mashed bananas and milk, followed by the baking soda, vanilla extract, salt and cinnamon.
3. Add the flour and oats to the bowl and mix with a large spoon, just until combined. If you’d like to add any additional mix-ins, like nuts, chocolate or dried fruit, fold them in now.
4. Divide the batter evenly between the 11 muffin cups, filling each cup about two-thirds full. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with a small amount of oats (about 1 tablespoon), followed by a light sprinkling of sugar (about 1 teaspoon). Bake muffins for 23 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.
5. Place the muffin tin on a cooling rack to cool. You might need to run a butter knife along the outer edge of the muffins to loosen them from the pan. Enjoy muffins as is or with a spread of nut butter or regular butter.

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Photo by: Cookie + Kate

Greek Yogurt Banana Muffins

These muffins were SUPER fluffy! But not really the healthiest because it has all-purpose flour, granulated sugar but the one thing that’s different is that it has 1 cup of Greek yogurt! So lots of protein!! This one was super moist! Try this one if you don’t have coconut flour, almond butter, etc like the other muffins.

2¼ cups flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter, softened
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
3 medium bananas, mashed (about 1 cup)
1 cup plain greek yogurt
2 eggs
1½ teaspoons vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 350. Line muffin tins (regular size, not jumbo, not mini) with baking cups/cupcake wrappers.
2. In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a larger bowl cream together butter and sugars. Add mashed bananas, greek yogurt, eggs, and vanilla, and mix well. Add flour mixture to wet ingredients and mix until combined. Stir in chocolate chips if desired.
3. Pour about ¼ cup of batter into each muffin cup. Bake for 20-15 minutes until tops are lightly golden. Allow to cool for a few minutes in the muffin tins before removing and allowing to cool completely. Serve warm or at room temperature, store in airtight container.

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Let me know if you make any of these muffins!! Follow me on my fitness instagram for more healthy recipes @liz_linsanity!

XOXO,

Lizzie Lin Johnson