The Baker Upstairs: March 2018

3.16.2018

Chocolate Donut Birthday Cake

Yum
This fun and whimsical chocolate donut birthday cake is so delicious and indulgent!

This fun and whimsical chocolate donut birthday cake is so delicious and indulgent!

Okay, for reals, I think this chocolate donut cake is the most fun cake I've ever made. Just look at it! My sweet little Lizzy turned seven years old this week (which is totally mind-blowing to me!) and asked for a chocolate cake to celebrate. Since she was endlessly jealous of her sister's donut cake from last May, I decided it would be fun to make her cake into a chocolate donut. It turned out so adorable, and the birthday girl's jaw dropped when she saw it. That's a cake win in my book!

This fun and whimsical chocolate donut birthday cake is so delicious and indulgent!

I used my favorite easy chocolate cake recipe (baked in a ten inch ring pan), then filled it with Nutella frosting and drizzled it with chocolate ganache. It was surprisingly easy to make, and turned out even better than I had imagined. I topped it with a fun sprinkle mix I got at Bruce's Candy Kitchen on our last visit to Cannon Beach (the cutest candy store ever!) and it looked so pretty and festive. I'm totally digging this new sprinkle mix trend. I love all the different colors, shapes, and sizes of sprinkles all jumbled up together into a fun mix!

This fun and whimsical chocolate donut birthday cake is so delicious and indulgent!

The cake is so rich and chocolatey, and gets an extra boost of flavor from the luscious ganache on top. The Nutella buttercream filling is the perfect touch! We served our cake with some Tillamook Fireside S'mores ice cream on the side (my favorite and Lizzy's favorite ice cream), and it was chocolate heaven. The birthday girl absolutely loved her cake, and we had fun celebrating our cute girl!

This fun and whimsical chocolate donut birthday cake is so delicious and indulgent!

Chocolate Donut Birthday Cake

for the cake:
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 cup cake flour
1 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (8 ounces) cold butter
5 eggs
1 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla

for the filling:
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup Nutella

for the ganache:
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup heavy cream
pinch of salt
sprinkles (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350. Butter and flour a 10 inch ring pan and set aside. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the sugar, flour, cake flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Grate the butter into the flour mixture, and mix until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the sour cream and vanilla, and mix well. Scoop the batter into the prepared pan and spread to level. Bake 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for a few minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

To make the filling, in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add the powdered sugar and salt, beating until smooth. Add the vanilla and beat until combined. Add Nutella and beat until light and fluffy. Slice the cake in half horizontally and spread the filling over the bottom layer, then replace the top.

To make the ganache, add the chocolate chips to a small mixing bowl. Heat the cream to boiling on the stove or in the microwave, then pour over the chocolate chips. Let sit 1-2 minutes, then whisk until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Stir in the salt. Let the ganache sit until it firms up to a good pouring consistency, then spoon it over the cake. Top with sprinkles if desired.
This fun and whimsical chocolate donut birthday cake is so delicious and indulgent!

3.01.2018

Giant Homemade Nutter Butter Cookies

Yum
These giant homemade nutter butter cookies are better than store-bought, and so easy to make!

These giant homemade nutter butter cookies are better than store-bought, and so easy to make!

When it's Peanut Butter Lovers Day, there's nothing for it but to bake up some peanut buttery goodness! I was never a big fan of peanut butter growing up, and ate it pretty rarely, but that all changed when I married my husband. He is totally OBSESSED with peanut butter and eats it by the spoonful. After years of him buying peanut butter treats on every possible occasion, it has definitely grown on me. It's still not usually my first choice, but I can definitely appreciate a good peanut butter dessert. One of my husband's favorite treats is Nutter Butter cookies, so I thought it would be fun to surprise him with a homemade version after a hard day at work. These giant homemade Nutter Butter cookies turned out so delicious! They're similar to the store-bought version, but infinitely better because they're homemade!

These giant homemade nutter butter cookies are better than store-bought, and so easy to make!

I started with my favorite, never-fail peanut butter cookie recipe, then added a delicious light and fluffy peanut butter frosting in between the cookies to make sandwiches. Shaping the cookies was easier than I thought it would be. I just rolled the cookies into ovals, pinched them in the middle, and then made a criss-cross on the top and bottom with a fork. Be warned that the cookies do spread quite a bit as they bake, so try not to overcrowd them on the baking sheet. (Mine actually ended up a little too close together.)

These giant homemade nutter butter cookies are better than store-bought, and so easy to make!

Everyone in my family totally loved these cookies! My kids had them as an after school snack and pronounced me "the best Mommy ever!" and my husband had all the heart eyes for these cookies when he got home from work. I ended up with 13 giant sandwich cookies, and they were all gone within about 24 hours. The cookies are rich and buttery, crisp on the outside, and chewy on the inside. The frosting in between is so light and fluffy, and adds the perfect sweet touch. These cookies are totally delicious!

These giant homemade nutter butter cookies are better than store-bought, and so easy to make!

Giant Homemade Nutter Butter Cookies

for the cookies:
1/2 cup (4 ounces) butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

for the filling:
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon half and half, more as needed

Preheat the oven to 375. Line two baking sheets with silicone or parchment. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter, sugar, brown sugar, and peanut butter, until smooth. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth. Stir in the flour, baking soda, and salt, to form a thick dough. Scoop the dough into one inch balls and roll each ball into an oval shape, then pinch the middle of each oval to make a peanut shape. Make a criss-cross on top of each half of the cookie with a fork, flattening slightly. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until the bottoms are light golden brown.

To make the filling, beat the butter and peanut butter together until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and beat on medium speed. Pour in the half and half, until the mixture starts to come together. Increase the speed to high and beat until light and fluffy. Spread the frosting between two cookies to make a cookie sandwich.
These giant homemade nutter butter cookies are better than store-bought, and so easy to make!

For more delicious peanut butter recipes, perfect for celebrating Peanut Butter Lover's Day, check out these fantastic posts from my Celebrating Food blogging friends:

27 amazing and delicious peanut butter recipes, perfect for celebration national peanut butter lovers day!

Triple Peanut Butter Cake from Ashlee Marie
Peanut Butter Butterfinger Cookies from Creations by Kara
Reese's Peanut Butter Bars from Pretty Providence
Peanut Butter Pie from Simply Stacie
Creamy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pie from An Italian in my Kitchen
Easy Peanut Butter Fudge from Savory Experiments
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Blondies from 365 Days of Slow Cooking
No Bake Peanut Butter Protein Balls from Heather Likes Food
Easy Peanut Butter Granola from Real Mom Kitchen
Vegan Peanut Butter Cookies from Namely Marly
Peanut Butter Twix Pie from My Mommy Style

and even more fantastic peanut butter recipes from The Baker Upstairs:

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