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living the sweet life

2 Year Blogiversary: Mini Vanilla Cakes with Nutella Frosting

I can’t believe today is already my 2 year blogiversary. It feels like it was only yesterday that I was sitting in Ryan’s kitchen baking my first layer cake to celebrate my 1 year anniversary. Crazy. (Though not as crazy as my phone autocorrecting crazy to ceazt).

Before I get all sentimental and reflective about my blog, I just wanted to update about Sweden. I just got back to Stockholm after a long weekend in Linköping. I got to spend a lot of time with my family and I got to see my good friends too. There were breakfasts with my grandma (mormor), dinners with cousins, fikas with friends, walks filled with ducks to be fed, time spent wandering around the center of town, glancing through old photo albums, and visiting my grandfather’s grave.

Growing up, whenever we went to Sweden we spent about 95% of our time in Linköping so it was fun going around and seeing the playground we played in all the time, the stores I first went shopping in by myself, getting to actually go OUT with cousins and learning that there’s actually a night life in Linköping. Now that I’m back in Stockholm, I have more friends and family to see and spend time with, and what was a long trip is now filling up fast.

Back to the blog. The past year has shown some cool development with the blog. More people are regularly checking out my blog – whoever you are, leave a comment so I can personally thank you! It’s nice to know it’s not just me reading my posts on repeat. I went from 7000 views in the first year to over 27,000 in this second year. I know for some bloggers that’s a daily count, but for me that’s huge!

I did stick to my goal of doubling recipes made. In my first year, I made 22 things. This past year? I’ve made and posted about 72! I’ve also become a lot better at posting regularly, moving up to 4 posts a week. I started a “Let’s Do Lunch” series to both force myself to cook more and get more variety in my diet. The most popular post there has been my Spinach and Artichoke Grilled Cheese. So good!

My most popular post from the past year are the Butter Cookies I made for the 2013 Food Blogger Cookie Swap. I think sending them to Julie of “The Little Kitchen” fame and having her post about them really helped. Plus pinterest. You all also seem to have really liked the Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake I posted about recently and the Brown Butter and Brown Sugar cupcakes.

Because this anniversary is coming in the middle of my trip to Sweden and the baking of these mini cakes came during the crazy week leading up to my departure (filled with tons of baking/cooking and working – and trying to pack), I wanted to keep it simple. I’ve been wanting to try the idea of mini cakes for awhile and decided why not now?

I used the vanilla cake recipe from Ryan’s birthday and it’s honestly one of the best vanilla cakes I’ve ever had. It’s moist, fluffy, and delicious. Instead of round cake tins, I baked it in a 9×13 pan and cut circles out with a biscuit cutter. I also cut the Nutella buttercream recipe in half from these cupcakes and used it to frost the cakes. I tried decorating two ways and have to say the frosting didn’t quite work for crumb coating/frosting the outside (as you can see in the picture below). It was delicious but a pain to decorate. Covering the layers with a layer of frosting and leaving the outside free of frosting was definitely the way to go (like the picture above this paragraph).

We ate these up at my book club and the mini size was perfect to serve the 4-5 of us at our small meeting. Cheers to 2 years of being a Bakeaholic and here’s to the start of another great year here at the blog!

Mini Vanilla Cakes with Nutella Buttercream

makes 4 3″ 3-layer cakes

1 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup sour cream


Nutella Buttercream
7 oz (~3/4 cup) Nutella
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
2-4 tablespoons milk or heavy cream



For the Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a 9×13 pan by buttering the bottom and side. Line bottom with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, sift flour, cornstarch, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together 3 times. Set aside. In another large mixing bowl, beat together butter and sugar for 2-4 minutes, until the butter is light and fluffy. Add in the egg yolks, one a time, mixing well between each addition. Add in vanilla and beat until combined. Add in dry ingredients and sour cream, alternating between each and starting/ending with the dry ingredients (dry, sour cream, dry, sour cream, dry). Mix until just combined.

In a small mixing bowl, beat egg whites on medium/medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Fold egg whites into batter until they’re just incorporated. Pour batter into pan. Bake for 15-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out of the center clean. Let cake cool for 10-20 minutes and then turn out onto a wire cooling rack. Let cool completely.

Using a 3″ biscuit or cookie cutter, cut out 12 circles. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate/freeze until cold. Decorate with frosting.


For the Frosting: In a large mixing bowl, beat together Nutella and butter for 2-3 minutes until smooth and creamy. Add in powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well in between each addition. Add vanilla and mix. Add in milk/heavy cream 1 tablespoon at a time until you have your desired consistency.


To Assemble: Pipe frosting over each cake layer and assemble so they are 3 layers tall. Smooth the top layer and add any sprinkles or decorations.


[source: cake adapted from here, frosting from here]


My iPhone 4 vs. Mini Cakes:

 



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