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A Love for Retro Skirts! 0

Hello, my sweet and styley friends! So this is my first "STYLE" post, and while I'm not what you would call a fashionista, I do have my own style (as one should) that seems to encapsulate my love for the world of girly, happy and somewhat confection-inspired things, haha. I suppose I am very fortunate to have a "reason" to wear such things, but really--is there more of a reason than simply feeling good in them? I think what makes it, hmm...interesting, is that according to my birth certificate, I'm 21.5 years old x 2. And they do say that you are as a old as you feel, and as cliché as that sounds, I have to agree. When people ask me how old I am (not that they do that often), or if I offer it up, I honestly can't even believe it when I say it. Unreal. Anyway, that's a whole other post! So really, I suppose the moral of that story is that I dress how I want and overall my style is pretty simple, and I don't think it's changed much since I can remember: a love for feminine, simple things with frosting-tones and a touch of the trends. I'm never the first to run out and jump on major trends, but as they linger, I end up adopting a few of them. One thing that doesn't change is my love for vintage styles. Overall I am drawn to vintage anything--rather obsessed with vintage treasures of all kinds (more on that in the upcoming "Vintage Treasures" category of this blog), and so I have become a regular customer at Unique Vintage, which brings me to the topic of this post: retro skirts! While I'm not a UV spokeswoman (yet, hehe), I have been, well, collecting many of their adorable 1950's style skirts--the way they have managed to combine a confection-inspired aesthetic and the cuts of the 50's seems to have captured my heart. Let's take a look at a few:  This was my first ever purchase of what turned into a vintage-skirt fixation. When I did this fun photo shoot for Studio DIY's What's In My Clutch, Sweetapolita edition, I knew I needed something seriously cute to pair with the sprinkly toaster-treat clutch we featured. That's when I stumbled upon Unique Vintage, and it was like stepping back in time (back to the best times, of course)! I found this Red Velvet 1950's-style skirt, and fell in love, (Sadly they don't carry this one anymore, but what they take away they seem to always replace with even more adorable options!) The tee/bodysuit I found from Forever 21, said "Sweet Disaster," which I thought was hilarious. That's me! 100% sweet disaster in many ways. I thought it would be fun to pull the blue from the tee and from the sprinkles on the clutch, and put that on my nails, because I do actually believe you can have too much pink. I think contrast and complimentary colours are everything! Like any cute outfit, I think a tailored denim jacket is a great way to add a bit of an edge to these super-girly skirts. I added the little cherry patch from Meri Meri, and went with "simple" pink yarny ball (technical term????????) earrings. I love the combination of reds, pinks and whites--so appealing to me! Just like a gorgeous red velvet cake with some pink accents...perfection. We did this playful shoot at an ice cream shop in Cobourg, Ontario called Dairy Dream, and with their pink-as-pink, retro setting it all came together the way I hoped! Okay, that brings us to the next vintage-style skirt in my collection, and this one has seem some adventures! Last year, fellow sprinkle squad gals, Gracie and Jen, and I exhibited at Canada's Baking and Sweets Show, and I wanted to find us something playful and on brand but, well, unique--paired with simple white tees it became a uniform of sorts. This was perfect! I think almost all of our booth visitors commented on these beauties, and were even taking photos of us in our skirts, because of the skirts haha. Amazing. So when we recently exhibited down in Miami at the SoFlo Cake & Candy Expo, we thought about switching it up, but again they were our squad uniform and I thought we'd stick with what we loved. Here are a few tiny clips of the skirts in action: [playlist type="video" ids="13774,13775"] So alas, yet another one! This one may be my favourite, just because it was a tad longer and fuller. It's the Micheline Pitt for Unique Vintage "Ballerina Skirt," and it's a gem (and I just noticed while I was linking this, that it is now almost 50% off!). You can even add a crinoline under these for serious volume, but I just went for the skirt this time, but I did order a crinoline with this order, as any self-respecting vintage-skirt-addict should do. I trust there will be a need to debut this soon! This seemed to be the right colour scheme for the events of the day (our trip to Museum of Ice Cream in Miami), which you can ready about here! You can also click here to see this skirt's twirlability (because these things matter). Here are a few more I happen to own and love. I have yet to wear these, but I know the opportunity will cometh soon. If it doesn't, I will make it happen: Red & Multi Gumball Skirt  And this Ice Cream Dress? I'm so excited to wear this! And I love the white belt. I actually ordered it to wear to the Museum of Ice Cream (see more about our experience here), but sadly it didn't arrive in time. But the good news is my life seems to present frequent opportunities to flaunt an ice cream and sprinkles dress, haha. One of the best parts of being in this industry we love so much. Colour makes me happy, happy! See you soon with more ????.
  • Rosie Alyea

"Internet Boyfriend" Blueberry Layer Cake 0

Hello, hello, my baking friends! I'm so happy to be here with you, truly! Okay, so a lot has happened in the past year, and so much thought when into if, when and how I could re-engage with my inner blogger. The truth is, things have evolved so much with my world in sprinkle-land, also known as Sweetapolita Inc., I won't get into too much detail here, because as you may have noticed, all things biz now have their own category. If you look up, you'll also notice that there are several new categories, and this opens up a whole new world for us as friends. It turns out I have way more to say about life! When I was really searching within the cockles of my heart to figure out what I had to put out into the universe in terms of blogging, it took me awhile to really pinpoint what I needed to feel inspired to dive back in. Running the sprinkle business did swallow me whole, and I am very proud of what it's grown into, but I've sincerely missed this aspect of my life. So I thought and thought, and I discovered that one thing I knew for sure was that I strive to evolve; it's so important to me and my approach to blogging is no exception. While I will always love to bring you my favourite cakes and confection recipes/ideas, I feel I have so much more to share with you on this platform and beyond. I have an unnatural heap more to say on the topic, but I will save that for other posts. Now would be a great time to talk cake!     So, I made this cake because I felt inspired by a recent sprinkle medley we created at the shop called...Internet Boyfriend (Speaking of internet boyfriends, I have some things to share in my new Affairs of the Heart category--stay tuned, hehe! We are going to have so much fun together, guys). This colour combination sings to me, and I felt these colours and this cake was an accurate expression of my real cake style: a mix of where I started, but with the modern twist. And honestly, I have actually never made a navy blue cake, and I felt compelled. Funny how something so simple can inspire... That said, when I was photographing this cake, I realized how dark it really became--I think it was darkening by the minute! So it does appear more black than it normally would, but in person it was a beautiful shade. I love the way these sprinkles look against the dark navy! I added a bit more of the tiny silver hexagons against the sides for a lovely glittery touch. Yes, the whole thing does remind me very much of my Glam Rock cake, but that's kind of the best part--you don't always have to reinvent, you can modify and with a few small changes offer a completely new flavour/colour combination, while perfecting your techniques. Those colours! They get me every time. Just so springy and sweet, but styley and sophisticated. I can see them against so many frosting shades: baby blue, yellow, pastel pink, bright pink, white (that would be amazing) and so many more. I think that's just the reason us bakers love them so much--in one sprinkling you can honestly create cake magic, and all within just a few moments. Kind of limitless, really! Okay, so I know the inside looks a little crazy, but we've done crazier, right? And trust me, it's delightful! I made this a blueberry vanilla-bean, buttermilk layer cake and filled it with fluffy cream cheese filling and frosting it with the navy blue fluffy vanilla bakery frosting. All three of these recipes are modified from The Sweetapolita Bakebook, and rejigged to make a 6-inch round, 3-layer cake. The cake layers are simply the Best-Ever Buttermilk Cake, scaled down to fit the 6-inch size, and then I tossed wild blueberries in the mix. I didn't want to weigh down the batter too much, but next time, I might add another 1/2 cup or so. In my opinion, you can never have too many blueberries (aside from potentially risking your cake's stability ????). This buttermilk cake is stable enough for stacking and so flavourful (even without the blueberries). The vanilla bean paste adds such an authentic flavour and the butteriness makes me happy. For the filling, as I mentioned, I did a small batch of my Fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting. I have to say that when I was writing the book, this one I was so determined to get it right (I mean, I was determined to get them all right, haha, but you know...). So many cream cheese frostings are super dense or if they are on the lighter side, they can be problematic when it comes to the cream cheese causing lumps, etc. This one is my go-to because it's so light and fluffy, yet stable enough to hold up as a cake filling. I've modified the recipe to yield exactly enough to fill this three-layer cake, but it would also work to fill up to an 8-inch, three layer cake (just with slightly thinner layers of filling each). For the navy blue frosting, I opted to create a part batch of the Vanilla Bakery Frosting, as it's sweet and fluffy, and simple to make. It does require a ton of whipping to get the fluffy-factor, but always worth it. It smooths so nicely too, making it perfect for the clean frosting process and, of course, the frosting poofs. Alas, the sprinkles! Topped with generous layer on top and around the perimeter, they really are the magic here. You could really use any sprinkles you love, and they would bring a new flair each time. The design is timeless, in my opinion. You'll notice that I've also changed my recipe plugin, so it will look a little different than before, but I think it will be more functional for you! If you have any issues whatsoever, please let me know :). So, let's make the cake!

Internet Boyfriend Layer Cake

Makes one 6-inch, round 3-layer cake. 

Three moist layers of blueberry buttermilk cake, filled with fluffy cream cheese filling and frosted with a rich navy blue bakery frosting all topped with stunning Sweetapolita "Internet Boyfriend" sprinkles! 

For the cake layers:

  • 2 cups (230g) cake flour, plus more for berries
  • 1 1/3 cups (275g) superfine sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup (150 ml) unsalted butter, cold, cut into slices
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
  • 3 whole eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) wild blueberries, fresh or frozen

For the fluffy cream cheese frosting (filling):

  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups (185g) confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 (225g) package cream cheese, softened and cut into cubes

For the navy blue bakery frosting:

  • 1 cup (225g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 Pinch of salt
  • 3 1/4 cups (410g) confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) heavy cream or milk
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 12 drops Royal Blue gel food colouring ((this can vary))
  • 4 drops Regal Purple gel food colouring ((this can vary))
  • 1 drop Black gel food colouring ((this can vary))

For the decorating:

  • 1 cup (200g) your favourite sprinkles (I used Sweetapolita "Internet Boyfriend")

For the blueberry buttermilk cake layers:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350℉ (180℃). Grease the bottoms of three 6 x 2-inch round cake pans using a baking spray or with butter and parchment rounds.

  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. With the mixer running on low speed, add the cold butter once piece at a time. Beat until all of the butter is incorporated, about 3 minutes. The mixture should have a crumbly, cornmeal-like texture. 

  3. In a medium measuring cup with spout, combine half of the buttermilk and the vanilla bean paste. In a separate measuring cup, gently whisk the eggs and remaining buttermilk. 

  4. Increase the mixer speed to medium-low. Gradually add the vanilla mixture and beat for 5 minutes. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the egg mixture in three additions, scraping the sides of the bowl after each addition. Beat until well combined, 2 minutes. 

  5. Toss the blueberries with a little flour and fold them into the batter. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans. 

  6. Bake two pans in the centre of the oven until a wooden pick inserted into the centre comes out with just a few crumbs, 25-30 minutes (this can vary depending on your oven). Repeat with the final layer. Let the cake layers cool in their pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Using a knife, loosen the side of the cakes and carefully turn them out onto wire racks. Peel off the papers (if you used parchment rounds) and let cool completely. 

  7. The cake layers will keep wrapped tightly in plastic wrap at room temperature for up to 2 days. 

For the cream cheese frosting (filling):

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla, lemon juice and salt on medium speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium-low, add the cream cheese, and beat until smooth, about 1 minute. (Be sure not to over-beat at this stage, or it will break down the cream cheese into a very thin consistency). 

  2. The frosting will keep covered at room temperature for up to 6 hours, and then refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Bring chilled frosting to room temperature and beat on low speed to soften. 

For the navy blue bakery frosting:

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and salt on medium speed until very pale and creamy, about 8 minutes. Gradually add the confectioners' sugar, cream, vanilla and almond extract. 

  2. Reduce the speed to the lowest setting and beat for 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until very light and fluffy, about 6 minutes. 

  3. Add the food colouring, and beat on medium speed until well incorporated. The colour will darken as it sits, so let stand for about 10 minutes and assess colour. Add additional drops of each colour, if desired. 

  4. The frosting will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Bring chilled frosting to room temperature and beat on low speed to soften. If necessary, you can warm the frosting in a heatproof container in the microwave in 10-second intervals, stirring after each one, until smooth and spreadable. 

Assembly and decorating:

  1. Put your first cake layer top-up on an 6" round cake board or 8" plate, and spread one-half of the cream cheese frosting on top. Repeat with remaining layers, placing the third cake layer top-down. Make sure that your layers are straight and lined up with the ones below. Wrap the cake in plastic wrap and chill for at least 15 minutes.

  2. Remove the cake from the fridge and, using a turntable, if possible, frost entire outside of cake with a thin layer of the navy blue frosting to seal in the crumbs. Chill until the frosting begins to firm-up, about 30 minutes.

  3. Remove the cake from the fridge and return it to the turntable. Cover the cake with a thick, even and smooth layer of the navy frosting using an offset spatula, reserving about 1 1/4 cups of frosting for the piped top border. Return the cake to the fridge and chill for another 20-30 minutes.

  4. You will want the frosting for the buttercream "poof" border to be very soft, in order to achieve the appealing peaks. If your frosting is more firm at this point, warm frosting in a small heatproof bowl for about 8-10 seconds, and stir, otherwise you will skip the heating step. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large plain round tip with the softened frosting and pipe some buttercream "poofs" around the top perimeter of the cake.

  5. While your cake is still chilled but slightly tacky to the touch, pour your sprinkles into a medium bowl and gently press sprinkles onto the bottom third of the cake, all the way around, letting the excess fall back into the bowl. You can also put the cake on a cookie sheet and let the excess sprinkles fall onto the sheet. Return the cake to the fridge until the buttercream poofs are very firm, about 30 minutes. Pour more sprinkles atop the flat exposed surface of the top of the cake. Cake will keep covered at room temperature for up to 3 days. Serve at room temperature.

Sweetapolita's Notes: 

  • For cake layers, I typically use Fat Daddio’s Anodized Aluminum Round Cake Pans. For this cake I used the 6-inch x 2-inch round cake pans. You can bake this cake in three 7-inch round pans, or two 8-inch round pans, if you prefer.
  • For the vanilla bean paste, I used Nielsen-Massey Pure Vanilla Bean Paste, but you can substitute for a pure vanilla extract. 
  • For the gel colours, I use AmeriColor Royal Blue, Regal Purple and Super Black but there are certainly other combinations that will yield the navy blue colour. 
  • For the cake assembly and frosting, I always use the Ateco 612 Revolving Cake Turntable, as well as an Angled Icing Spatula and Straight Icing Spatula
  • For the poofs on top of the cake, remember that the key is very soft frosting and an extra large round plain tip (I used Ateco #809). And, as always, if you make a mistake or aren’t happy with your poofs, you can simply remove it and do it again (I do this often, hehe). I use this tip with an 18" Piping Bag
  • I always use a Silver Embossed Round Thin Board for my cakes–it’s perfect for moving the cake to and fro while decorating, and of course transporting. For this cake, I used the 6-inch board. 
  • And don't forget the sprinkles, friends! I used 1 cup (so 8oz volume jar) of Sweetapolita Internet Boyfriend sprinkles for this cake, and I really think it makes the cake, but of course it would still look lovely with many other varieties! 
Happy baking, and I will see you very soon, friends!
  • Rosie Alyea

We Scream! Museum of Ice Cream - Miami 0

Miami! I adore this place. Maybe it's all the pastel colours, the sun, the architecture, the food, the beach and more. But if I didn't love it enough already, the Miami version of the wildly popular Museum of Ice Cream (also known as MOIC) would win me over. Last month I headed down to Miami with two of my sprinkle squad gals, Gracie and Jen, to exhibit at the SoFlo Cake & Candy Expo (if you follow me on Instagram, you likely noticed the flurry of Miami posts!). The show was incredible (a post on the show itself coming soon), and occupied us for 3 of the 4 full days we were there, so we were all so excited to survive the show, then celebrate on day 4. It happened to be Gracie's birthday that day, so we made a special plan to make the utmost of that sunny day and do all the things we knew would make her happy, happy. We were particularly excited to go to the MOIC, because I have collaborated with them from the beginning of the MOIC adventure, when it started back in New York in 2016. Back when it was just me running the Sweetapolita sprinkle business, I was honoured to create the signature MOIC Sprinkle Medley, which was sold in their original gift shop, and is still offered in all of their locations. It's a perfect marriage! Gracie and I were in Los Angeles last year, and were lucky enough to experience the LA location (our first MOIC experience!). It was something out of my personal dreams and spoke to my soul! Really, though, it did. And what I love about the concept, is that each location is a completely different experience. So that said, we knew since we were going to be in Miami, that we had to go. We were also thrilled to see our happy sprinkles standing so proud in the gift shop. Those moments never get old!  We started the morning out at Sugar Factory restaurant for Grace's birthday breakfast. This was another one of our must-sees because we proudly created a sprinkle medley for the SoFlo Cake & Candy Expo that I mentioned above, and this medley was used for the week of the show on one of the restaurants crazy milkshakes! They called it the SoFlo Cake n' Shake Milkshake, which seems fitting. We knew we had to go and try it out, but we really didn't expect there to be table talkers on every single table with our logo and milkshake feature--honestly a really proud moment for all of us. It was an exciting start to what we knew was going to be an incredible last day in Miami. So, this is birthday girl, Gracie. She was the very first member of the "sprinkle squad," as I affectionately call them. Honestly, besides being incredibly beautiful inside and out, she is seriously talented. Hiring my first person was extremely scary for me, and I probably waited a little too long to do so, but I was convinced no one could ever care about my business the way I did. I was way wrong, and I wouldn't be where I am today if it wasn't for her. This I know.???? You will see a lot of her in the "Sprinkle Squad" category of the blog! And meet Jen! While somewhat newish to the squad, Jen is one in a million. Trust me! Her humour and warmth are infectious, and this girl can coordinate an event like I've never seen, haha. While the details of the show and show booth started as a trio collab, it was wrapped up in full swing by this girl. She almost single-handedly whipped up the logistics and details for us to exhibit there in Miami, and it was a huge job. It was a full circle moment to have her there, experiencing the show and then celebrating our successes on this sunny Miami day. Well, that girl you know. My stress level was definitely much lower that day! I was so exhilarated from our experience at the event, and just so relieved it went so well. I worry about these things. I was more than ready for a day of pink, ice cream, exploring and sun. So there we be. So much love, respect and laughter bounces among us on the daily. This day was the pinnacle! And the sprinkle pool. The one common thread between all MOIC locations, and for good reason! It's definitely a highlight. Made from resin, these sprinkles feel so real and actually kind of amazing between the toes, as questionable as that sounds. [caption id="attachment_13879" align="aligncenter" width="581"] image via Museum of Ice Cream[/caption] This is the sprinkle pool! And because you might not believe the cuteness that is MOIC, I've put together some video snippets for you to take a peek at! [playlist type="video" ids="13725,13877,13734,13737,13738,13780,13782,13786,13875"] I loved this little set up! The MOIC staff gets you to step up on this pedestal and reach for the huge balloon installation above, of course to create the illusion that we are reaching for the sky. I like to think I do this less literally on a daily basis (or most days, anyway), but this was the sweetest visual! Kind of love that shot. Of course the gift shop is always a highlight of any experience for me! But knowing our sprinks were in there had me dying of curiosity, just to know how they looked in their happy Miami home. I loved this idea above, which seems to be a new addition to this location--the gift set. Sprinkles, pink can of whipped cream, gorgeous MOIC ice cream scoop and the waffle textured ice cream glass. Beautifully displayed and such a sweet idea! Then we were thrilled to see our babies there all happy little rows perched atop the glossy pink shelving. Truly adorable. Loved these cute-as-heck tees too. Bought one for me and both of my cakelets :) They were lucky enough to come with us last year to the LA location, and I knew they'd "get it" and why these were so special. Guys, if the chance presents itself, I highly recommend doing whatever you can to see any MOIC! The Miami location is wrapping up, but they are currently open in San Francisco! And it seems they are always working on the next venue. Such an incredible experience! See you soon with many more adventures to share!  
  • Rosie Alyea

Homemade Hot Chocolate with Pastel Whipped Cream 0

Homemade Hot Chocolate with Pastel Whipping Cream by Sweetapolita Hi guys! I've been working on a rather delightful cake to share with you, but I thought it would be fun to share this quick and simple treat in the meantime--a treat we indulge in often over here! Between my cakelets, their friends and my sprinkle squad in the shop, we all enjoy these Homemade Hot Chocolates with Pastel Whipped Cream on a possibly too-frequent basis. I think one of the best parts of running a sprinkle business, is that I'm always looking for fun and easy ways to spread sprinkle joy without always having to bake for days. We don't always have time to bake and bake, as much as we love to. Sometimes we just need sweet little treats for rainy days, Sunday mornings and the like. As you know, I love premium cocoa powder with a deep, dark richness (since that's all we use in our chocolatey cakes, right?), and because I always have some on hand (possibly more than one girl needs!), keeping a big jar of homemade hot chocolate mix is just another great way to appreciate and share such chocolately goodness. I typically use Cacao Barry Extra Brute Cocoa Powder because your hot chocolate is only as good as your cocoa powder! You can use any cocoa powder you have discovered and love, though. Add a huge dollop (oxymoron?) of homemade pastel vanilla bean whipped cream and a healthy dose of sprinkles and you have a glorious (yet simple) treat in about 5 short minutes.   Homemade Hot Chocolate with Pastel Whipped Cream by Sweetapolita With Easter just around the corner, and just the overall springy pastel vibe in the air right now, I opted to add a few of my favourite malted Robin's Egg candies--I live for these. You can even "malt" your hot chocolate by using equal parts Ovaltine and hot chocolate mix. Easter in a mug, truly. But even just the pastel cream with glorious flecks of vanilla bean (très robin's egg, non?) is super springy, and then with a handful of chocolatey and pastel Easter-inspired sprinkles, the result is magical. Homemade Hot Chocolate by Sweetapolita Of course you can really theme up a lovely hot chocolate any way you wish--once you have that mix made, you can add any kind of flavouring you love to either the hot drink, the whipped cream or the toppings. Heck, even just the classic homemade version done right is supreme compared to anything store-bought. Either way, we have a warm cup rich, creamy and decadent happiness! Homemade Whipped Cream by Sweetapolita So simple, but look at this bowl of ethereal vanilla bean creaminess! Imagine a dollop on pretty much anything for instant texture and richness (think ice cream; pie; cake or, well, any baked good; pancakes and more). It's whipped up (literally) in seconds, and yet sometimes we don't even think to do this ourselves for the ultimate version, as grabbing a can of "topper" might seem a more convenient way to go. And while I have definitely used the canned, pre-whipped "Real Whipped Cream" at times, there's honestly nothing like the real thing whipped at home. I use the standard carton of "whipping cream," as it's most often called here in Canada, from the dairy case in the grocery store (usually Nielson brand, or the like), which is 35% milk fat, or M.F. as it reads on the carton. In the USA, it seems "heavy cream" is more readily available, which is a slightly thicker cream, with about 36-38% milk fat content. Both work well, but of course the higher the milk fat content, the thicker and richer the final whipped cream will be. In Canada, I suspect most people would say that their most vivid hot chocolate memories are rooted in cold, hockey arenas with their hands wrapped around unthinkably-hot hot "chocolate" out of a Styrofoam cup (gasp!). And while I have a few of those memories myself, my hot-chocolate memories are, well, a little more Viennese . . . . You might remember my saying that I worked at Viennese café in my teens (Café Mozart in Kitchener, Ontario, which is sadly no longer there)--quite possibly the reason I bake today. So anyway, at the café, we had this huge stainless steel commercial cream machine--you pour gallons of liquid cream in, and with one easy push of a lever, mounds of fluffy whipped cream would adorn anything you eagerly held underneath it. There were certain pastries on the menu that were to include a generous swirl (Apple Cake, Strudel and Sachertorte come to mind), but also some decadent hot drinks--I remember making countless Viennese Coffees, which I now realize weren't even authentic--whaa? Our Austrian boss taught us to use regular coffee from the pot, in a clear mug topped with a mountain of whipped cream and chocolate shavings on top (those were my pre-coffee-drinking-days, but today that sounds nothing short of magical). Turns out a traditional Viennese Coffee includes espresso, chocolate, cinnamon and whipped cream. Also magical. Our most popular whipped creamy drink, however, was the richest, Belgian chocolate hot chocolate you have ever tasted, which we also dispensed from a magic machine. Just simple but premium, hot, chocoalety goodness topped with what I remember as a mountain of fresh whipped cream.  I can still hear the distinct "kwwwoooouuuuu" sound that cream machine, that seemed to go nonstop (usually for customers during café hours, but after work, well, let's just say my co-workers and I used to indulge often in our own 3:1 cream to chocolate mugs and in times of urgency just a spoon and few shots of whipped cream in a styrofoam cup did the trick). At 16 years old, this was one of the most decadent things I had ever tasted. Hence, my passion for homemade hot chocolate and whipped cream. It's not fancy, but I think it's something everyone should experience. Did I just write 7 paragraphs on whipped cream? Pretty sure I did. Where's my editor? Hehe. For the sprinkles-on-top, I went for this happy, happy sprinkle mix, Ice Cream Parlour Sprinkle Medley--I love the contrast of chocolate and pastels! (I added a few little pink bunny heads as well because, I think it's safe to say, you can never have too many tiny pink bunny heads.) Okay, guys, here's the quick and easy recipe!

Homemade Hot Cocoa with Pastel Whipped Cream

Rich, chocolatey homemade hot chocolate mix topped with freshly whipped vanilla bean cream and sprinkles!

For the Hot Chocolate Mix:

  • 3 cups 360g premium dark cocoa powder (I use Cacao Barry Extra Brute)
  • 1 cup 200g superfine sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt

For the Whipped Cream (enough for about 6 generously dolloped hot chocolates):

  • 1 cup 240ml whipping/heavy cream (35-40%), cold
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (or confectioners' sugar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or pure vanilla extract)
  • Few drops of food colouring (I used AmeriColor Turquoise)

For the Hot Chocolate Mix:

  1. Sift together the cocoa powder and sugar into a medium bowl or piece of parchment paper. Whisk together until combined, and store in an airtight jar at room temperature.
  2. Will keep for 8-12 months (hooray!).

For the Whipped Cream:

  1. Chill a stainless bowl (for stand-up mixer if using, or just any stainless bowl if using a hand mixer) and the whisk attachment or beaters in the freezer for a few minutes.
  2. Pour the cold 35% heavy cream (in Canada known as "whipping cream"), sugar, vanilla bean paste (or vanilla) and a drop of the colour (if using) into the chilled bowl and beat on medium-high speed until soft peaks form, about 1 minute (when you lift the whisk or beater over the bowl, the cream should form a droopy point, like an eagle's beak.) This happens very quickly!
  3. If you like a slightly thicker whipped cream, or if you would to pipe the cream, beat slightly longer until stiff peaks form (you will see visible swirls in the cream when whipping). *Ensure you don't over-beat, or the cream will end up coarse and grainy.
  4. Best used right away, but will keep covered in fridge for one day.

Make the Hot Chocolate:

  1. In a large mug, stir together 2 tablespoons of the hot chocolate mix with a splash of milk until well combined. Add boiling water and stir until blended. Spoon on a generous dollop of whipped cream and top with sprinkles!
Sweetapolita's Notes:
  • For the hot chocolate mix, I used Cacao Barry Extra Brute Cocoa Powder, which is deep and dark.
  • I always use superfine sugar for hot chocolate mix, as it dissolves nicely and doesn't impart the off-taste that confectioner'/powdered sugar can. To make your own superfine sugar, simply put granulated sugar into a food processor and pulse until fine, about 1 minute.
  • Always use a very cold bowl and beater/whisk attachment and cold cream when making whipped cream.
  • For the pastel turquoise whipped cream, I used Turquoise by Americolor but you can use any colour you like.
  • I used a handful of Ice Cream Parlour Sprinkle Medley on top, as well as malted "Robins' Eggs" candy (again--my weakness!).
See you soon with cake, friends!
  • Rosie Alyea

Unicorn Angel Cake {and a Heartfelt Hello!} 0

Unicorn Angel Cake by Sweetapolita Guys . . . where have you been? I've been waiting here for ages and nothing! Jeez. ???? Really though, you've been super patient with me, and that means a lot. Before I get into catching you up on my life, let's talk about cake and happiness, okay? That's what brings us, and has always brought us together, right? So it seemed only right to bring cake to our sweet reunion. This week I felt compelled to make angel food cake--super sweet unicorn style. I think because spring (my favourite season) is kind-of-almost-sort-of in the air,  I have got the Easter pastels on my mind, but my heart wanted to fluff it up a bit. Remember when we made the Perfectly Pink Angel Food Cake awhile back? Well, honestly, that cake is one of the most incredibly dream-like cakes I have ever made, and it felt "perfectly" perfect for this pastel unicorn version. Unicorn Angel Cake by Sweetapolita So what makes an angel food cake a Unicorn Angel Cake? Well, really I only deemed it as such after I sliced it, but the colours, the layers, the sprinkles and, well, the dose of magic I spied when I admired it all together for the first time made it so. And who am I to turn a blind eye upon sprinkly-cake-magic? That said, I know it's a bit more, hmm . . . freestyle looking in its frosting and possibly disheveled appearance, but honestly the texture and taste are nothing short of a dream, and it takes no cake decorating prowess whatsoever--you just generously dollop and swirl. A good old soup spoon does the trick! (And cakelets of all ages LOVE this type of decorating.) The cake is a classic angel food texture with 14 egg whites, superfine sugar and even a generous hit of confectioners' sugar in the mix for the most tender and light as air, spongy texture. After each fluffy, pastel mountain of cake slowly compresses against your plate when you wriggle your fork down to cut a generous bite, it bounces back in front of your eyes (in true angel cake fashion), and it literally melts in your mouth. The swirls of billowy marshmallow frosting are satiny and quite sweet with their nostalgic "meringuey-ness," but then each bite finishes with the pleasant and subtle crunch and candy-like flavour that only sprinkles can bring. Unicorn Angel Cake by Sweetapolita Unlike a "traditional" rainbow cake, we can't bake the layers in separate pans, so all we do is divide the batter (very gently, since angel food batter is extremely delicate--we won't want to deflate it in any way) evenly into 3 and gently fold in the desired colours. Then we simply add the batter "layers" one at a time and spread gently with spatula (just ensure you don't blend with the batter/colour below). Oh, and don't forget that if you are going for a certain order of coloured "layers," that the top will be the bottom. :) You can see in the photo above, that purple did show through the top--I wasn't sure what to expect, and if the colours would look more blended when I cut the cake, but they actually kept their layers quite nicely! The slightly rounded look to those layers is the result of the batter being pulled upwards while rising. Kind of neat, actually. Unicorn Angel Cake by Sweetapolita You'll notice that the baked cake has a thin layer of the golden "crust" all over it. If we were leaving this cake exposed, I would have taken the time to gently remove that when the cake was first removed from the pan, because the only time you can really do this without scraping off actual cake, is when it's super hot, and the crust is soft. I did this on the top turquoise layer of the cake, and you can see in the photo how lovely that is. Honestly, though, when you're smothering the cake in mounds of marshmallow frosting, you don't need to worry about taking the time do that. That said, if we were going to go all white with the cake and frosting, I probably would take that time, so we had a purely angelic white cake + frosting. Sweetapolita Peep Show Sprinkle Medley Sprinkles! Who would have guessed? Hehe. Truth be told, you could add absolutely any sprinkles in the universe to this cake. Or none, for that matter. But I opted for one of my new Easter-inspired sprinkles filled with bunnies, chicks, chocolatey-ness and more, called Peep Show. Seemed like a perfect fit! (I know that sounds like a shameless sprinkle-shop plug, but I just know you sprinkle-lovers would email me and ask me where I got the sprinkles!). Unicorn Angel Cake by Sweetapolita A bit of a beautiful mess, but it does seem that the most luscious cakes are. Don't you agree? Unicorn Angel Cake by Sweetapolita Spongy, sweet, tender, moist, angelic, fluffy, billowy, meringue-y, satiny and--whoop!--crunchy. The ultimate. Unicorn Angel Cake by Sweetapolita Hooray! You can modify this angel food cake and marshmallow frosting in so many ways to boast your favourite colour, combination of colours, flavours and even sprinkles. What's your dream cake? So, here we go, friends! 

Pastel Angel Food Cake

Super-tender, fluffy, spongy pastel layered Angel Food Cake covered in billowy pastel Marshmallow Frosting and sprinkles!

For the tri-colour cake:

  • 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons (140 g cake flour)
  • 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons (150 g confectioners' sugar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups 13-14 egg whites, room temperature (left out about 1 hour)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (180 g superfine sugar (see Sweetapolita's Notes))
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or pure vanilla extract--see Notes)
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract (see Notes)
  • Pink (Purple and Turquoise soft gel paste food color (see Notes))

For the pastel purple marshmallow frosting:

  • 6 egg whites (180 g)
  • 1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons (390 g granulated sugar)
  • 2 tablespoons 45 g light corn syrup (see Notes)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or pure vanilla extract)
  • Purple soft gel paste food color (see Notes)
  • Sprinkles of your choice (I used Sweetapolita "Peep Show Sprinkle Medley")

Make the pastel angel food cake:

  1. Arrange oven rack to the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Sift the cake flour, confectioners' sugar and salt together 4 times. Set aside.
  2. Wipe the bowl and whisk attachment of an electric mixer with paper towel and lemon juice, to remove any trace of grease. Add the egg whites and beat on the lowest speed until they start to become frothy, about 30 seconds. Stop the mixer and sprinkle the cream of tartar over the egg whites. Beat on medium speed until the egg whites thicken just slightly and you can see swirl lines in the mixture from the whisk (very soft peaks), about 1 minute. Add the superfine sugar 1 tablespoon at a time and beat until the egg whites thicken and reach soft/medium, droopy (not stiff) peaks, 1-2 minutes. Beat in the vanilla and almond extract.
  3. Remove the bowl from the mixer. Sift the dry ingredients 1/4 at a time on top of the meringue and fold gently but thoroughly with a rubber spatula.
  4. Divide the batter evenly into 3 bowls and add a few drops of each colour to create each tinted batter layer by folding every so gently until blended: few drops Soft Pink to one bowl; Regal Purple to another; turquoise to the third.
  5. Gently transfer the batter, one layer at a time, to an ungreased 10" angel food cake pan and smoothing each with a small offset spatula or back of a spoon. Bake on the lower rack of the oven until the top of the cake springs back when touched lightly, and when a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Don't check the cake before 35 minutes, or you could deflate your cake, but also try not to over-bake.
  6. Remove the cake from the oven and invert the whole pan onto a wire rack so it cools upside down. Let cool for one hour and then loosen sides around the center and outside of the cake using a thin metal spatula or knife. Gently coax the cake out of the pan onto the wire rack and let cool completely. Take your time with this step--you can even use your fingers to loosed the bottom edges, by reaching down between the cake and the pan, pushing the cake away from the sides. It will bounce right back. Do this all around the bottom before pulling the cake out of the pan.

Make the marshmallow frosting:

  1. Wipe the bowl and whisk attachment of an electric mixer with paper towel and lemon juice, to remove any trace of grease. Add egg whites, sugar, corn syrup, cream of tartar and salt and simmer over a pot of water (not boiling), whisking constantly but gently, until temperature reaches 130°F (54°C) on a candy thermometer.
  2. Return the bowl to the stand mixer and beat on low speed for 2 minutes, then increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 more minutes. Increase the speed to high and beat until it is very thick and glossy, about 5 minutes. Add vanilla and food colour, if using, and beat to combine. Best used right away (for best texture to apply frosting to the cake--after that it's best enjoyed up to 1-2 days at room temperature).

Frost the cake:

  1. Place the cake wide end down onto a cake plate, board or pedestal. Pile the frosting on top of the cake and use a metal spatula to spread the frosting from the top down. Create swirls using the back of a spoon and sprinkle with your favourite sprinkles. Slice cake using a serrated knife in a gentle sawing motion. Cake keeps at room temperature for up to 2 days. Best enjoyed day 1 (the cake stays very moist for days, but marshmallow frosting is best enjoyed sooner than later).
Sweetapolita's Notes:
  • Sugar: I use “superfine” sugar for most of my cake and meringue recipes, as it lends to a lighter cake and dissolves quickly into meringue, etc. This is simply a finer grain of granulated sugar that you can purchase as such (also referred to as caster sugar, baking sugar, and more), but I just buy regular granulated sugar and process it for about 60-90 seconds until it is, well, superfine.  :)
  • Flour: I used Swan's Down Cake Flour this time, but I typically use either Robin Hood or Five Roses brand. And remember--you can make your own cake flour in a snap: for every needed cup of cake flour, measure 1 cup of bleached all-purpose flour and remove 2 tablespoons from that cup (some bakers prefer to replace those 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour with 2 tablespoons cornstarch, but I choose not to), so 1 cup bleached all-purpose flour minus 2 tablespoons = 1 cup of cake flour. Learn more about flour in my past post, Bring Me Flours
  • Light Corn Syrup: You'll often see marshmallow and candy-related recipes calling for Light Corn Syrup. The term "light" means that it is clear, and not golden, not "light" as in less sugar. I, being in Canada, use Lily White brand, and in the US, a popular brand is Karo Light Corn Syrup.
  • Colour: For the food colour in the cake itself, I used a few drops of Turquoise by Americolor, Soft Pink and Regal Purple, and then just the Regal Purple for the frosting, but as I mentioned in the "Perfectly Pink Angel Food Cake" post, you can certainly go all white–that is always so angelic and classic. You can use any colours/brand you prefer, but I do like the concentrated soft gel paste because it only takes a few drops and won't break down any of your batter of frostings.
  • Equipment: I used a classic 10-Inch Angel Food Cake Pan, but I also recommend one with a removable bottom (like this 2-Piece Angel Food Pan if you’re going out to buy a new one, otherwise I did just fine with the classic style), particularly if you might opt to serve the cake without frosting. With coaxing the cake does come out of the classic pan just fine, but it tends to take the very thin brown top “crust” off the cake, which I loved for a cake that will boast frosting (typically not a big fan of the brown cake crust).
  • Flavouring: This time, I used Nielsen Massey Madgascar Bourbon Vanilla Bean Paste for both the cake and the frosting. You can certainly use pure vanilla extract (I suggest a good quality one), though. I also used Nielsen Massey Almond Extract in the cake (a hint of this in almost anything vanilla or chocolate is like magic).
  • Sprinkles: You can find the adorable Peep Show Sprinkles here in my shop, or of course use any sprinkles that make you happy!
  • Make Ahead: You can make the actual cake up to 1 day ahead and keep wrapped in plastic wrap at room temp, but the frosting you should make right before applying to cake. Once paired with the cake, they are best-enjoyed by day 2.
See you SOON with more happiness!
  • Rosie Alyea

Sugar Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches {with Video!} 0

Sugar Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches by Sweetapolita Hi guys! I hope you're having an awesome spring-soon-to-be-summer. And where there is spring (and-soon-to-be-summer), there should be old-fashioned sugar cookies, ice cream and sprinklage! Recently, I chatted on Facebook live about working with Coral Tv on YouTube to create some fun how-to videos. We launched the first one, during which I made some simple and oh-so-sweet Sugar Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches! The recipe for the sugar cookies, is my favourite by far--chewy, sweet and melt-in-your-mouth with that distinct nostalgic taste of cream of tartar. I opted to use Princess Bakery Emulsion by Lorann, because I can't get enough of that vanilla-y citrus flavour. So here is the little video!

See, so easy to make, and so much fun to prepare and serve! (You can find the recipe below the actual video.) Sweetapolita's Notes: Don't forget to come hang out with me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, guys! See you soon with another recipe!  
  • Rosie Alyea
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