a Loblaws cake – without going to Loblaws

Today is Sara’s birthday – the big 2-8 – she’s twenty-eight and feeling GREAT! As a long-time friend of Sara’s – I can appreciate that she likes to celebrate each and ever birthday with a white cake from the grocery store – full of sugar and butter. Well, my goal this year was to make the “loblaws” cake with a homemade version… S-U-C-C-E-S-S!

I found a recipe on Katy’s Sugarlaws blog -she pretty much described exactly what Sara wants in a cake – so I figured it was worth the time and effort to try out the recipe. Followed exactly – no substitutions or additions, this is a classic birthday cake.

Bonne fête my belle Sara!

Sara’s Birthday Sheet Cake
1 1/2 c. white sugar
1/2 c. butter, softened (1 stick)
1/4 tsp vanilla salt
1/4 c. heavy cream
3/4 c. water
3 egg yolks
1 whole egg
1 tbsp b. powder
2 1/4 c. all purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

In a large bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, salt, cream, water, egg yolks and egg until smooth.

Add 1 cup of flour and the b. powder, beat until combined.

Add the remaining 1 1/4 c. of flour, beat until combined.

Pour the batter into a cake pan (a larger pan) and bake for 40 minutes – your toothpick should come out clean.

Allow the cake to cool completely before frosting.

Buttercream Frosting
1 1/2 c. white sugar
3 egg whites
1 1/2 c. butter, softened (3 sticks)
1 tbsp vanilla
food colouring

Heat the egg whites and sugar on a double boiler. Make sure that the water doesn’t boil and touch the glass boil (otherwise your eggs might curdle), keep it at a simmer. Beat them until they triple in volume – about 6 minutes on high speed with your hand mixer.

Remove from heat and beat in the vanilla and butter slowly, one tbsp at a time. Once the butter is fully incorporated, refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

When you remove the frosting from the fridge, beat it again – adding food colouring for your desired colour. I kept most of the frosting white and then mixed a bit of pink and a bit of green for 2 additional colours.

Spread the buttercream over the sides and top of the cake. Use two coats – one light bottom coat and another smooth top coat.

Use a pastry bag to pipe any decorations over the top of the cake.

After using all this butter I think I’m ready to attempt a Barefoot Contessa recipe!

lemon and olives… sigh…

I know I keep going on about the smell and taste of lemons – but really, there is nothing like it… lemons just make things pop! So when I found this recipe on the One Smart Cookie website I just knew that I was going to make it. Based on Julie Van Rosendaal’s recipe (her website after all) I can just say… even the raw batter tastes good (yep, licked the spoon) – and my kitchen smells like lemons and olives. Nothing wrong with that!

Rather than making 1 loaf – I decided to use my mini loaf pans and made 8 mini loaves. I also wanted to add a little twist to this one – so half the loaves are the original recipe and then the other half include chopped black olives -to add extra texture and a punch of flavour.

Lemon Rosemary Olive Oil Loaf (done 2 ways)
4 eggs
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp b. powder
1/4 tsp vanilla salt
2 sprigs of rosemary, leaves stripped off and chopped
handful of black olives, pitted and chopped
4 sprigs of rosemary to decorate the top, each one cut in half

Preheat your oven to 350 F.

In a large bowl – beat the eggs for about a minute, you want them to get frothy. Beat in the sugar and beat for another 3 minutes – you’ll notice that the batter will triple in size and get nice and thick. Beat in the lemon zest, juice and olive oil.

In a smaller bowl, combine the flour, b. powder and salt.

Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ones (with a wooden spoon). Add the rosemary and stir until just combined.

I used my mini loaf pans – it looks like a cupcake pan but has 8 rectangular forms. I sprayed each one with non-stick spray. Pour half the batter into 4 of the mini loaves.

With the remainder of the batter, stir in the black olives. Fill the remaining 4 mini loaves with this batter.

Top each mini loaf with a rosemary half (really just to decorate). Bake for 20 minutes (golden and springy to the touch) in your oven. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pan. Then remove and cool completely on a wire rack.

Note: 1 regular sized loaf – bake for about 45 minutes.

ice cream cake!

The idea behind this was that I was going to use gelato and make a gelato cake… however, I was in a bit of a rush – and ended up just running into Loblaws and grabbing a chocolate ice cream filled with brownie pieces… nothing wrong with that! Paired with my double chocolate chip cookies as a base and some whipped cream – frozen desserts re-created!

I searched my favourite blogs high and low looking for some hints and inspiration… and found it at 101 Cookbooks – Heidi has done it again! Using her Tropical Icebox Cake recipe I was able to adapt it and bring it to Sara’s birthday party (one of two desserts that I made for the birthday girl)…

I hope that this recipe is able to inspire you to make an ice cream cake this summer – an easy way to beat the summer heat (or humidity for those of us in Ottawa).

There are a few steps to this recipe – more time intensive than labour intensive.

Chocolate Ice Cream Cake

1 dozen double chocolate chip cookies (see recipe from June 25)
3 tbsp brown sugar
5 tbsp butter, melted

2 1/2 c. of PC Loads of Chocolate Brownie Chunk ice cream, softened

Whipped topping:
2 c. heavy cream
4 tbsp white sugar

In a food processor, blend the cookies until they become quite crumbly. Add the sugar and butter and pulse until it resembles coarse sand.

Divide the crust in half, and pack a thin layer of the cookie base into the base of a spring form pan. Set the other half aside, you’ll need it in a bit.

Take the softened ice cream and layer it over the cookie base. Place in the freezer and leave it there until the ice cream is hard again.

Once the bottom portion of the cake is ready (frozen hard – I left mine in for 90 minutes) prepare the whipped topping. Beat the heavy cream and sugar together over high speed with your hand mixer. You want the result to be thick but not too stiff.

Now, remove the frozen base from the freezer and top it with the remainder of the cookie crumble. Top that with the whipped cream. Return to the freezer and allow it to freeze as well. The original recipe recommended overnight, I didn’t have that time, so I left mine in the freezer for 4 hours.

When I removed the cake from the freezer I topped with slivered almonds and removed the side from the spring form pan.

An uber rich treat for Sara!!! Happy birthday (weekend) lady!

some ideas for base and filling – gingersnaps with coconut gelato, my margarita cookies with a lemon gelato, a dark chocolate cookie with a vanilla ice cream/ frozen yogurt/ gelato tossing in some brazil nuts, or a peanut butter cookie with a peanut butter gelato… sigh. so many options. thankfully summer has just started ;0)