MY GO-TO YELLOW CAKE + MARSHMALLOW BUTTERCREAM FROSTING

I updated my go-to yellow cake recipe! This cake is m-o-i-s-t, slightly dense but light, buttery, and absolutely delicious. I promise it’s easy and WAY better than boxed. The marshmallow frosting is nice and gooey and not as sweet as you’d think. The flavors go really well together! Scroll down for the recipe, but READ THESE NOTES FIRST:
  1. If you want your cake to taste fresh and delicious, use fresh and delicious ingredients. I know that sounds like common sense- but seriously- use GOOD and real (read: expensive) vanilla extract, use the best butter, eggs, milk, etc. It truly makes a difference.
  2. UNDER BAKE this cake. My rule of thumb is set the timer 5-10 minutes under what the recipe says and keep testing every 2-3 minutes. The cake should be firm with a little JIGGLE when you gently shake the pan. It will KEEP COOKING in the pan!! Put a knife in the middle and it should come out with crumbs on it- NOT clean. Clean means you probably over baked it. But still eat it. Obviously.
  3. IF YOU OVER BAKE IT and the bottom is brown, wait for the cake to cool then take a serrated knife and skim off the brown. Brush the milk soak on it, and it should help the moisture level.
  4. For the reason above, please please please line your pan with parchment paper buttered on both sides! Even I have over baked my cake (who meeeee?) and needed to resort to the cake shaving!
  5. For lazy baking, I use an 11×13″ baking pan you’d normally use for brownies. It’s one layer and easier to store than a layer cake. Still line with parchment and butter in case you need to pop it out.

CAKE RECIPE:

INGREDIENTS:
1 cup unsalted butter, room temp
2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs, room temp
2 3/4 cups bread flour (I just always bake with bread flour, but you can use all purpose!)
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk (to make your own, mix 1 cup of milk + 1 tbsp white vinegar and let it sit for 5 min)
2 tbsp good vanilla extract
Milk soak: 1/4 cup milk + 1 tsp vanilla
parchment paper
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line 2 9″ round pans or 1 9×13 pan with parchment paper (butter pan, place parchment paper down, butter parchment paper).
  3. Sift dry ingredients and set aside.
  4. Beat butter for 3 minutes. Add sugar and beat another 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time and beat thoroughly.
  5. Add flour mixture on lowest speed one cup at a time, alternating with milk. End with the flour mixture.
  6. Add vanilla and mix well.
  7. Pour into prepared cake pans.
  8. Bake about 20 minutes in the 9″ rounds or 30 minutes in the 9×13 pan until a knife inserted in the center comes out with crumbs. DO NOT over bake- the secret to the yummiest cakes (see notes above). The cake should jiggle a tiny bit in the middle like firm jello (not gooey pudding) and be the slightest golden brown.
  9. Cool in pans on wire rack for 5-10 minutes only, then flip out on a wire rack covered with parchment paper and cool completely.
  10. Mix milk soak together and brush over the surface of the cake before frosting.

MARSHMALLOW BUTTERCREAM FROSTING

INGREDIENTS

1 cup salted butter, room temp (or add 1/4 tsp salt to unsalted butter)

14 ounces Marshmallow Fluff

2 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

* If frosting a sheet cake, I like to halve the recipe since you’re not covering as much area. This frosting is rich!

 

  1. Mix butter on medium speed until smooth. Add in the Marshmallow Fluff and mix for an additional minute, or until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  2. Turn the mixer to low and add in the powdered sugar and vanilla, mixing until combined, then turn the mixer up to medium and mix for another minute. Add food coloring if you want.
  3. Scoop a small amount and drop onto the cake. Take an offset spatula or knife and cover the surface of the cake- it’s ok if crumbs get mixed in- this is called the crumb coat! Let that set.
  4. Scoop and drop the rest of the frosting on the cake and spread. Top with sprinkles!

RECIPE: FROSTED SUGAR COOKIES + JOSHIE’S 3RD BIRTHDAY

Joshie turned THREE! We had such fun day at my parents’ house, mainly directed by him since he’s in a SUPER bossy phase. Hilarious when it’s directed towards his brothers… not so much when it’s directed towards Jeffrey and me. My parents’ ordered this big balloon display from STL Balloons and an ice cream truck to come by!! He was shocked, and we all had so much fun. Since it was just the 7 of us, I didn’t really go all out like I usually would. Just a few details and lots of sugar. Joshie loves dinosaurs and the color blue which became the loosly-based-but-also-the-pandemic-so-whatever theme.

 

Since Joshie oddly doesn’t like chocolate, I made him my favorite sugar cookies and frosting but made them into easy bars. Like I said… pandemic whatever I’m not rolling and cutting these into shapes! SO simple and delicious. The cookie part is soft and fluffy and not too sweet. The frosting is from this recipe for swig cookies since I wanted that thicker frosting. SO good. If you’re using this cookie recipe for cut out holiday cookies, you might want a thinner frosting that dries. This recipe pairs really well together, but it’s not great for stacking and packaging. More just for eating.

SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM FOR THE RECIPE!

 

For the party hats, I cut out a spikey shape, scored the edge, folded it, and used double stick tape to secure it to the side of the party hats.


I made Joshiesaurus tattoos- he loved them!! Purchase in my shop HERE.

I got the little dinosaurs (natural plastic, non-toxic) HERE and then just put them in a 3 shape on a grocery store cake.

Social-distanced ice cream truck party with cousins and neighbors!

Georgie being weird and charming.


Momtern and Dadtern!

Now for the cookie recipe that everyone loved!

COOKIE RECIPE:

  • 1 c. butter or margarine (or half and half) room temp
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 egg, room temp
  • 2 tbsp whole milk, room temp
  • 2 tsp real vanilla extract
  • 3 c. flour (I always bake with bread flour but AP is fine)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Sift all dry ingredients and set aside.
  • Mix butter and sugar til fluffy 2-3 min.
  • Add egg and mix well.
  • Add vanilla.
  • Slowly mix in dry ingredients alternating with milk.
  • Mix until just combined.
  • For bar cookies: press dough into a small sheet pan lined with parchment paper, press plastic wrap on top of the dough, and chill for a couple hours or overnight.
  • For cut out cookies, press dough into a disc and wrap with plastic wrap, chill for a couple hours or overnight. Flour the counter and dough really well. Roll out super thin if you want them to keep their shape otherwise they will puff up and be delicious, but not perfectly shaped. Might want to add a little more flour to the dough as you roll it out. Make sure to pop them back into the fridge or freezer once they’re shaped and on parchment lined baking pans before you put them in the oven to bake.
  • Bake 350º for 10-12 minutes until BARELY golden- for real. Don’t over bake these! They will continue cooking in the pan after you take them out of the oven.
  • Once cooled, use the parchment paper to peel the bars out of the pan, ice, and slice. Again, chill if you want cutting to be super easy.

 

COOKIE BAR FROSTING RECIPE:

  • 1/2 cup butter room temperature
  • 2 tablespoon sour cream
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1-2 teaspoons vanilla
  • dash of salt
  • 1 drop red food coloring
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk**

Mix all but food coloring and milk together until fluffy. Add food color if you want. Add milk 1 tbsp at a time if needed to thin out or soften the frosting. Spread onto cookies once cookie has been completely cooled.

Keep in an airtight container room temp for a couple days or frozen to keep perfectly fresh.

 

Here’s what the cookies look like rolled and cut before decorating. A little soft and fluffy, a lot yummy!

ICING FROSTING RECIPE:

9 tbsp butter, room temp

6 cups powdered sugar, SIFTED for real it makes a difference- sorry

3 tsp vanilla

1/4 + 1/8 cup whole milk

Mix all together until fluffy. You may need to add more milk if you want it drippier. Separate into bowls and add in food coloring.

 

xo,

L

MY FAVORITE PASSOVER RECIPES

I weirdly love passover food. I eat matzo year round. I love mixing horseradish with haroset. Like a weirdo. Since I’m a vegetarian, I really only make a few things for Passover and let my parents do the main courses. During this quarantine, my poor husband and kids are stuck with the few things I CAN make. Jazzed up Mazto ball soup, Haroset, matzo bark/crack, chocolate covered macarons, and matzo brie (for breakfast). Turns out with some roasted vegetables and potatoes, it makes for a pretty good meal!

 

HAROSET

I really don’t measure! This is just an approximation. My Grandma says to use 1 apple per person. Make sure there’s enough wine to fully coat all of the mixture. The apples will soak up some of the wine, so you’d rather overdo it a little bit then have it be dry.

 

3-4 large honeycrisp or sweet apples, peeled and finely chopped

1-2 cups sweet red wine (or any red wine + a few TBSP brown sugar)

1 tsp cinnamon

1 cup pecans or walnuts, finely chopped

 

– Mix everything together and let it sit in the fridge while you make the rest of the dinner. Stir several times so that all the apples get coated.  The flavor gets better as it sits and the apples get soaked.

– Serve with matzo

 

 

HOMEMADE MATZO BALL SOUP (VEGETARIAN)

I make mine vegetarian but also roast some chicken, shred it, and add to everyone else’s bowls. Quarantine style… I defrosted chicken breasts, placed them on a foil-lined baking sheet, drizzled with olive oil, salt, pepper, then baked them in the oven for 15 min. Shred and add to the bowls who want chicken!

You can add as many or as little vegetables as you want. It’s mostly about the seasoning and the matzo balls.

I’m NOT a fan of the pre-made soup mix. It’s too salty and not enough flavor for my taste. If that’s all you have, consider at least adding these veggies and seasonings to the broth!
Makes about 6 servings

 

1/2 cup matzo meal

2 eggs

2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp water

1 tsp water

1 large yellow onion, diced

3 carrots, diced

3 stalks celery, diced

1 heaping tbsp minced garlic

lots of dried or fresh seasoning: I added a couple teaspoons of  THIS spice which is absolutely magical, but you could recreate it with salt, freeze-dried shallots, chives, garlic, onion and green peppercorns. I also added about 1 tsp thyme, and a dash of dill. I’m the only one who loves spicy things, so I add crushed red pepper just to my bowl.

2 – 32 oz boxes of vegetable broth

 

Make the matzo balls:

Add eggs and oil to a medium bowl and whip with a fork. Mix in matzo meal, water, and salt until combined. Leave in the fridge for 15 minutes while you make the soup.

Heat olive oil in a large pot on medium.

Add diced vegetables and cook for a few minutes until just softened, maybe about 5 min.

Stir in minced garlic and dried/fresh seasoning and cook a few more minutes.

Add vegetable broth and bring to a boil.

While you wait for the pot to boil, grab the matzo ball dough from the fridge.

Using a cookie/ice cream scoop (anywhere from 1″-2″), scoop up the dough then roll it in your hands to make sure it’s packed together.

Drop in the matzo balls in the soup then cover the pot tightly with a lid.

Simmer for 40-60 minutes.

Top with a little parsley and crushed red pepper if you want… but no one in my family likes either 🙂

 

 

MAZTO BARK / CRACK

CLICK HERE

 

 

CHOCOLATE COVERED MACAROONS

This one is based on Ina Garten’s but a little less sweet. CLICK HERE

 

 

MATZO BRIE

So many good memories growing up eating my Grandma’s crispy matzo brie around passover, and my Grandpa’s more eggy version. Both so good with pure maple syrup!!

For 1 serving:

1 1/2 boards of matzo

1/2 cup milk

2 eggs, beaten

sprinkle of cinnamon

butter for the pan

 

Heat up milk in the microwave about 1 minute- I like to use a large glass pyrex or just a microwave save large bowl.

Break up the matzo in large pieces and put them into the hot milk for about 30 seconds just to soften the matzo.

Drain most of the milk out.

Add in eggs and cinnamon, and mix together.

Heat up butter in a skillet on medium, then pour in the matzo mix. I like to mix it up a bit to make sure all sides are coated and crispy. Or you could make it pancake style if you like a fluffy, eggy consistency better. Done when golden brown and egg is fully cooked. Top with a shake of cinnamon and maple syrup. Yum!

 

HAPPY PASSOVER!!

xo

Leah

RECIPE: NANA’S GINGER MOLASSES COOKIES

Lightly spiced and lightly sweet, these soft ginger molasses cookies are the BEST. They’re super pretty and stack well, so they would be nice holiday gifts for neighbors or teachers! I make these every December just like my nana and mom did. Enjoy!

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup granulated sugar (plus more for topping)

3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temp

1 egg, room temp and beaten

1/4 cup molasses

3 cups flour (I always use bread flour, but use what you have)

3 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cloves

1 tsp ginger

1 tsp cinnamon

 

  1. preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. cream butter and sugar until smooth, about 5 min.
  3. mix in egg and molasses
  4. add dry ingredients gradually until just combined
  5. scoop dough with a cookie scoop or tablespoon, roll into a ball in your hands first, then roll in granulated sugar (I put the sugar in a shallow bowl so it doesn’t get messy)
  6. bake on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet for 8-10 minutes until cracked and golden.
  7. let cool for a few minutes on the tray… then eat warm!

DIY HALLOWEEN COSTUME – BABY HOPPER, STRANGER THINGS

You already know my love for Hopper… and his shirt. If the MUG wasn’t enough, I just HAD to get Joshie a toddler version of the shirt. The problem? No one makes them! What, are we living in the Upside Down? I got Jeffrey the grownup version HERE, but had to paint a shirt for Joshie. It was easier than I thought, and only took maybe 2 hours and that was to let the paint dry.

 

To be honest, Joshie is more of a Dustin (DUSTIN DIY HERE with my middle one Max!) but this had to be done. If you’re more of an Elle, you can make ELEVEN’S EGGO WAFFLE PURSE DIY HERE.

 

 

WHAT YOU NEED:

Fabric paint: pink, green, white (see below for color suggestions)

* Paint brushes – 1 thick for the bigger areas of dark pink and green, 1 thin for the accents in light pink and light green

Black fabric marker or Sharpie

Mustache or face paint

White toddler button down shirt (or would be soooo cute as a collared onesie!)

* Jeans

* Brown belt

 

MIX YOUR PAINT:

START PAINTING:

At first you can unbutton the shirt and lay it flat, but eventually you’ll want to put it on a hanger while it dries. You can add detail on it that way if you’re impatient like I am!

It’s not a perfect match, but it doesn’t need to be. The less precise you are, the better it looks in my opinion. Just be confident in what you’re doing, and it’ll magically just work out. Or at least that’s what works in my brain!

I tried to stick on the hairy mustache, but Joshie was NOT having it. I had to draw it on with face paint instead.

Toddler Hopper to the rescue! Happy Halloween!

xo

-L