Decadent, stunning, and completely delicious, layer cakes are having a serious moment.See More: Layer Cake Recipes
See More: How to Make Layer Cakes

You May Like


29 Award Winning Cake Recipes to Win the Blue Ribbon at the Fair

Growing up in the midwest, I looked forward to the fair all summer long, knowing that it was a great way to kick off the end of summer and the beginning of a new school year.

Much to my surprise here in Texas, the county fair is run a bit differently. There are no carnival rides, but instead, everything focuses on the students who enter county fair events – from show cows to show pigs and chickens, and especially wonderful award winning cake recipes.

As a Family and Consumer Science teacher, which many people still call Home Economics, I am in charge of the recipe area. Some of the categories we have include bread, jams and preserved foods, two categories of cakes (decorative and edible), cookies, and candies.

I figured I would share some award winning cake recipes from each category, breaking this blog post down into a few different posts. Today’s post focuses on Award Winning Cake recipes, both for flavor and decorative purposes.


This 5-ingredient cake tastes like a chocolate peanut butter cup

On my husband's birthday, the only thing he ever requests is a chocolate peanut butter cake that's been in his family for years. And once you taste it, it's easy to see why.

The decadent, double-layer cake oozes rich, fudgy frosting, chocolate chips and tastes like a peanut butter cup. My mother-in-law, Lori, discovered the recipe back in the '80s and has been making it every year since for her kids' birthdays. In 2013, the baking baton was passed to me, and it's a treat I look forward to when February arrives.

One of the best parts of this delectable creation is that it only takes about five minutes to whip up, has five ingredients, plus frosting, and comes out of the oven fluffy yet moist, as if Reese's had a baby with a cloud.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cake

For decades, the recipe has existed on one of the handwritten pages of Wida family favorites (the collection of which includes a plethora of hearty casseroles, salads and meatloaf). I have the photocopied version that's experienced its own life of wear, tear and chocolate stains.

"I found it in some cooking magazine in the '80s, probably something like 'Good Housekeeping,'" said my mother-in-law, who now goes by Gigi to the next generation of cake-loving kids. "The peanut butter was the draw for me. It’s really for peanut lovers."

Related

Food 5 easy ways to make boxed cake mix taste homemade

When I buy ingredients, I'm usually a stickler for organic and, if they're processed, I try to buy the food products with as little ingredients as possible. But for this cake, I put personal preferences aside and skip reading the labels all together. There are other times for a vegan, gluten-free dessert and this is not one of them.

Any chocolate cake mix will do and those with a propensity for vanilla can opt for yellow or white cake mix (I've never tried it since we're all about the chocolate-peanut butter combo in this house). As for the peanut butter, the smooth, salty consistency of Jif or Skippy provide optimal results.

"The key to keeping the cake moist is to not use too much peanut butter. Maybe even use a tad less," my mother-in-law told me when I called to get the skinny on this rich dessert. "I usually like to improvise with recipes and not stick to the exact measurements but for this one, it’s important to follow the instructions carefully."

After putting the cake mix, milk, eggs and peanut butter in my bowl, I use an electric or stand mixer to whisk it for one minute on low, then, after scraping the sides, an additional three minutes on medium-high until looks whipped and silky. Then I stir in the chips.

This was the eighth year I've made the cake and actually the first time I had the pleasure of using an electric mixer. Whisking by hand is definitely doable, but it's definitely a workout and the batter just doesn't quite get as luscious.

Once you've devoted five glorious minutes of your day to this prep work, it's time to evenly distribute the batter into two tin cake rounds.

Pop them in the oven at 350 F and watch them rise. I usually bake it for 40 minutes on the nose, but some ovens may require an extra five minutes to ensure they're baked through. Once the cakes have cooled, use a spatula to loosen the edges and flip the first upside down onto a plate. Ice it with your favorite chocolate frosting or Cool Whip (if you like something creamy and tangy to balance out the bold, sweet flavors). Sandwich the other cake round on top (I prefer top-side down so it has a nice, flat surface) and frost it all over, rotating the plate to cover the sides.

Depending on the occasion — not that you need one — decorate it with sprinkles, a loving message or some candles. And voila — your new favorite cake that's over 35 years in the making is ready to enjoy.

Erica Chayes Wida is an award-winning journalist, food writer and recipe editor who helmed a local newspaper before joining TODAY's freelance team. A mother of two, she loves singing, collecting old vinyl and, of course, cooking. Erica is forever on a worldwide quest to find the best ham and cheese croissant and brainstorms best over a sauce pot of bubbling pasta sauce. Her work has been featured on BBC Travel, Saveur, Martha Stewart Living and PopSugar. Follow along on Instagram.


ROOM TEMPERATURE INGREDIENTS ARE A MUST

Next up, 4 large eggs, at room temperature. I&rsquove said it before and I&rsquoll say it a million times again: room temperature eggs are always the better choice when working with room temperature butter. They incorporate much more easily into your batter.

You&rsquoll add each egg in separately and beat it into the creamed butter/sugar/marmalade.

A hefty dose of vanilla extract and some additional orange zest are added to the party to really amp up the orange creamsicle flavor.

It&rsquos also best to have room temperature orange marmalade as well as milk, and you can prep these by setting them out when you set out your butter to soften.

Lastly, you&rsquore going to add your flour/baking powder/salt mixture and a milk + fresh orange juice combo.

The most important step here is to alternate additions of each. You&rsquoll start by adding about half of the flour mixture then about half of the liquid. Repeat again until everything has been added.


Endangered: The Beloved American Layer Cake

THE layer cake, an American icon, is in dire straits.

Decades of supermarket cake mixes have inflicted some real harm at home, of course. Most bakeries, with their airy cakes frosted in sugared shortening, have simply failed to hold up their end of the bargain. And high-end restaurants, where the layer cake once played such a proud role, have left it for dead, a casualty of the war among today's dueling pastry chefs. Even the wave of heart-warming comfort food that carried mashed potatoes and roast chicken back into the restaurant mainstream rolled right by the layer cake.

The neglect in restaurants, at least, isn't completely irrational. A whole cake, resplendent on its pedestal, concealing the pastry and filling within, radiates potential and drama. But that's not how it's presented in a restaurant.

''I think the whole movement against serving just a slice of cake on a plate started quietly in Europe,'' said Timothy Moriarty, a co-author of ''Grand Finales: The Art of the Plated Dessert'' (John Wiley & Sons, 1996). ''It used to be that desserts were served from a cart, and the presentation was up to the waiter. Pastry chefs wanted more control, and assembling desserts at the last minute allowed them to serve fresher creations that also looked great. Now, individually plated desserts are the norm. It's what people expect.''

The wedge of layer cake -- with its precisely contrasted flavors and textures, its perfect proportion of crumb to buttercream -- is a stellar representative of confectionary harmony. But it's just no dazzler.

Tish Boyle, the author of 'ɽiner Desserts,'' scheduled to be published by Chronicle Books next year, said: ''There's not much you can do with a slice of layer cake. But at the same time, there's no hiding behind fancy garnishes, either -- a slice of cake has to stand on its own.''

At today's prices -- and at the current level of competition in pastry kitchens -- it takes a confident chef to give it a try.

Such people do exist. Some brazen it out, serving a wedge of cake surrounded by more spectacular offerings others disguise it if they feel they have to, or serve it on occasion.

Jennifer McClintick, the pastry chef at Zoe in SoHo, serves a terrific slice of layer cake, her take on Ebinger's famous chocolate blackout cake. But she makes the classic version only for lunch, when a wedge is presented on a plate in all its austere glory, a sublime melding of dark cocoa layers, thick chocolate blackout filling and smooth icing dusted with nubby cake crumbs.

Then she loses her nerve as the day wears on.

Evening customers are served not the iconic slice but rather individual little cakes. The components are the same -- cake, filling, frosting, crumbs -- but the effect of the small round cake is entirely different. Now, it seems to be encased in too much frosting, since more is needed to ice the sides. The crumbs seem too prominent. The dessert tastes sweeter and feels mushier in the mouth than the lunchtime archetype.

''I'm definitely a fan of layer cakes,'' said Martin Howard, who was the pastry chef at the Rainbow Room and is now at the Blackbird Restaurant and Bar, which is due to open in midtown next month. 'ɻut if you serve them, you have to disguise them. At Rainbow, we stood a slice of chocolate layer cake on its end with the point up, then put a chocolate sculpture of 30 Rockefeller Plaza in front and a creme anglaise road going around the plate.''

Claudia Fleming, the pastry chef at Gramercy Tavern, serves layer cakes, but only when she must.

She won't make one, she said, unless someone orders it for a birthday. And then it's barely recognizable. For those parties (there are about eight a month), Ms. Fleming has been making an orange genoise filled with blood-orange curd and covered with swirled meringue frosting, which is torched at the last minute like a baked alaska.

''The cake looks like a giant toasted marshmallow,'' Ms. Fleming said, 'ɺnd that makes it a little more special than the average layer cake.''

And in honor of the occasion, the cake is served whole, which makes for a stunning presentation.

Luckily for layer-cake lovers, there are still some chefs who dare to serve them all the time. Larry Forgione, the chef and owner of An American Place and the 16-32 Coach House in Manhattan, has been offering his grandmother's recipe for chocolate fudge cake since An American Place opened in 1983. 'ɾvery time we've tried to take it off the menu,'' he said, ''our customers threaten to riot.''

The beauty of a layer cake, said Ira Freehof, the owner of the two Comfort Diners in Manhattan, is its simplicity in an age that reveres the complex.

''You don't need blueprints to figure out how to deconstruct our desserts -- you just stick your fork in and eat,'' he said. ''Plus, I talk to my customers, and everyone seems to have stories and memories about layer cakes, which makes it nostalgic. Who's going to have a childhood memory about a chocolate sculpture of New York City on a plate?'' Mr. Freehof sells 500 slices of cake a week.

But the way things are going, if the genuine layer cake is going to survive, a few professional mavericks aren't likely to be its saviors. It's time for the home cook to go back to the first principles -- and start from scratch.

A Short History of an American Icon

NO one knows for certain just how the layer cake originated, but it's easy to trace its rise and its decline.

Layer cakes as we know them first appeared around the latter half of the 1800's in the United States, said Stephen Schmidt, the author of '⟞ssert in America,'' to be published next year by Scribner. But he said that the ''impulse to layer'' could be traced back to as early as the 1820's or even earlier, when cooks made what he said was the original model for the layer cake: the jelly cake. This was fashioned from a poundcake-like batter that was baked on a griddle into very thin layers that were then spread with jelly and stacked.

But what truly spawned the layer cake, later in the century, was the cast-iron stove, which gradually replaced less reliable brick hearths in American kitchens, said the culinary historian Karen Hess.

The availability of baking powder, starting in the mid-1800's, also made cakes easier to tackle, she continued, adding, ''The oven and the use of chemical leaveners went hand and hand.''

Ms. Hess said that some of the earliest recipes for layer cakes were published in 1871 in ''Mrs. Porter's New Southern Cookery Book,'' one of the first cookbooks written for people who had those newfangled iron stoves. One recipe, for White Mountain Cake, filled and frosted with meringue, may offer a clue to the popularity of layer cakes for birthdays. The text accompanying it says that it ''is very nice indeed, particularly for weddings and parties.'' Birthday parties, say.

By the 1890's there were numerous recipes for fancy layer cakes filled with sherry-macerated dried fruits, preserves and whisky- or fruit-flavored curd. In well-off households on special occasions, the entire dining room sideboard would be filled with different layer cakes, their icings tinted pink, green or chocolate brown and festooned with rosettes, swags, nuts and glaceed cherries.

Mr. Schmidt brackets 1900 to the 1930's as the heyday of these kinds of cakes. Cookbooks of this era dedicate dozens of recipes to layer cakes, built six layers high, voluminously frosted and meant to be set on footed cake stands.

He traces the beginning of the end of the layer cake as extravaganza to the 40's. Fifty years ago this year, the first commercial cake mixes were introduced. In ''Paradox of Plenty: A Social History of Eating in Modern America'' (Oxford University Press, 1993), Harvey Levenstein wrote that by 1957 more than half of the cakes baked in America were made from mixes.

At restaurants, said Timothy Moriarty, the author of several dessert books, the decline probably began with the importing of French cuisine in the 60's, when Julia Child appeared on television and a new generation of upscale restaurants offered showy chocolate-and-nut tortes and cream-filled mousses and charlottes. By the 80's, a layer cake was more likely a genoise, cut into three segments, stacked with a filling and frosted. The ubiquitous flourless chocolate cake followed.

The lockout was complete by the 90's, as trends turned away from anything simply sliced and served on a plate. MELISSA CLARK

2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/4 pounds semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled.

1. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter with 1/3 cup water and the cocoa, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat, and let cool.

2. Add confectioners' sugar and vanilla, and stir until smooth. Stir in egg yolks until smooth, and then chocolate. Use immediately.

MERINGUE-TOPPED BLOOD-ORANGE CURD CAKE

Adapted from Claudia Fleming, Gramercy Tavern

Time: 1 1/2 hours, plus chilling

Butter and flour for preparing pans

Finely grated zest of 1 orange

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon cornstarch

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature

Blood-orange curd (see recipe)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring a pot of water to a simmer. Line two 8-inch cake pans with wax or parchment paper. Grease paper and dust with flour.

2. In a stainless-steel bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar and zest. Set bowl over simmering water, and whisk constantly until mixture is warm to the touch.

3. Remove from heat, and beat with an electric mixer until light colored and triple in volume, about 5 minutes.

4. Sift together flour, cornstarch and salt. Resift over the egg mixture in three additions, folding after each addition. Fold in melted butter.

5. Pour mixture into cake pans. Bake about 20 minutes, or until cake springs back to the touch. Remove pans to a wire rack, and let cool slightly. Run a knife around edges of pans, and invert layers onto racks to cool completely.

6. Spread blood-orange curd between layers. Frost cake with meringue. Using a blowtorch, toast meringue until golden brown. (Or preheat broiler or oven to its highest setting, and broil or bake cake until meringue is golden brown. Watch carefully, it happens fast.)

Adapted from Larry Forgione, An American Place

Time: 1 1/2 hours, plus cooling

Butter and flour for preparing pans

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

11 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted

Chocolate frosting (see recipe).

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter 3 9-inch round cake pans, and line the bottoms with wax or parchment paper. Lightly butter the paper. Dust pans with flour, and shake out excess.

2. Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl, combine buttermilk and vanilla.

3. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer set at medium-high speed, cream the butter. Slowly add the sugar, and continue beating until well blended and light colored. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk mixture in 2 or 3 additions, beating well after each addition. Beat in the melted chocolate until well blended. Spoon batter into prepared pans, and smooth tops with a rubber spatula.

4. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center of a cake layer comes out clean. Let cake layers cool in the pans on wire racks for 10 minutes, then invert onto other racks and peel off the paper. Invert again, and let cool completely on the racks. Frost with chocolate frosting.

Time: 20 minutes, plus chilling

3 egg yolks (reserve whites for meringue see recipe)

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon finely grated blood-orange zest

1 stick unsalted butter, softened and cut in bits.

1. Bring a pot of water to a simmer. In a large stainless-steel mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, yolks and sugar. Whisk in orange and lemon juice and orange zest. Place bowl over simmering water, and cook curd, stirring, until it has the consistency of homemade mayonnaise. Remove from heat.

2. Whisk in butter. Strain curd through a fine mesh sieve. Chill at least 2 hours before using. Curd can be made up to 3 days in advance.

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon orange extract.

1. Bring a pot of water to a simmer. In a stainless-steel bowl, whisk together egg whites and both sugars. Place over simmering water, and whisk mixture constantly until hot to the touch. Remove from heat.

2. With an electric mixer set on high speed, whip mixture until stiff and shiny. Add orange extract, and whip an additional few seconds. Smooth over surface of cake.


15 Festive Birthday Desserts That Aren't Cake

Starting your own business can feel isolating without a network of women to bounce off ideas, ask questions, and cheer you on along the way. Enter Selfmade, Brit + Co's 10-week highly-interactive virtual course that brings together top female entrepreneurs to teach you how to build a new business — from business plan to promotion — or grow your existing one.

The best part? Selfmade now provides one-on-one mentoring with successful entrepreneurs who've been where you are right now and who care about making a difference for women in business. They include business owners, founders, VCs, and subject-matter experts in industries such as finance, advertising, marketing, licensing, fashion, and media.

Our summer mentorship program will feature a host of new mentors we're excited to connect you with, including:

Linda Xu, Entrepreneur and E-Commerce Expert

Linda is the co-founder and chief growth officer at Cart.com, a Series-A e-commerce technology platform that partners with brands to help them grow. Linda served as head of growth at Sitari Ventures where she oversaw strategy and operations. She has acquired and advised tech and consumer companies as a private equity investor at global firms including The Riverside Company and Lazard. Additionally, Linda spent a brief stint on the team launching Uber Freight. She loves all things food and plants.

Stephanie Cartin, Social Media Expert + Entrepreneur

An entrepreneur at heart, Stephanie walked away from her corporate career in 2012 to follow her passion to launch Socialfly, a leading social-first digital and influencer marketing agency based in New York City. Socialfly has since blossomed to over 30 full-time employees and has been named to Inc. 5000's fastest growing private companies two years in a row. The agency has worked with over 200 well-known brands including Girl Scouts, WeTV, Conair, Nest Fragrances, 20th Century Fox and Univision. Stephanie is the co-host of the Entreprenista Podcast and co-author of Like, Love, Follow: The Entreprenista's Guide to Using Social Media To Grow Your Business. She is also a recent recipient of the SmartCEO Brava award, which recognizes the top female CEOs in New York and a Stevie Award for Women Run Workplace of the Year.

Kristina Ross, Content Creator + Social Media Whiz

Kristina Makes #Content is a social media ✨funtrepreneur✨, creative strategist, and public speaker for all things Internet related. Four years as a magazine editor and producer/copywriter in the world of advertising (Mercedes, Cancer Research, French Kiss Records), Kristina packed her bags and decided to go remote with social media as she saw a booming industry. Since then, she built @thefabstory from 10k to 1m followers in just 18 months and now specializes in creative strategies behind social media advertising and user acquisition. Her campaigns have levelled apps from the top 50 into #1 in their app store categories overnight. Kristina's work and experiences have been featured in Forbes, Thrive Global and has given several talks at Harvard Business School on the big bad world of #content.

A.V. Perkins, Selfmade Alum and Creator of AVdoeswhat

A.V. is a DIY expert and creator of Avdoeswhat.com. What began as a traditional Do-It-Yourself blog has grown into a lifestyle platform that includes crafts, upcycled furniture and pop culture. As a digital host for HGTV Handmade, along with appearances in Bustle, The Pioneer Woman, and BuzzFeed, A.V. is determined to help thrifty millennials realize "Life is better when you Do-It-Yourself!" A.V. is also the co-creator of University of Dope, an exciting thought-provoking card game that celebrates Hip Hop culture.The first of its kind.

David Mesfin, Creative Director + Brand Expert

David is a multi-disciplinary designer and creative director with award-winning integrated campaign background, including the Super Bowl, FIFA, NFL, and global launch campaign. He has created global partnerships to increase brand awareness through traditional, digital, social, and experimental marketing campaigns, collaborating with C-suite leaders from Genesis, Hyundai, Honda, Sony, Adidas, Oakley, Toyota, Neutrogena, Land more to communicate their company's vision through creative and marketing. He has earned awards from Cannes, One Show, Clio, Webby, EFFIE, Communication Arts, Google Creative Sandbox, OC and LA ADDY, DIGIDAY, TED | Ads Worth Spreading, American Advertising Federation, FWA, The A-List Hollywood Awards, IAB Mixx, and Graphis.

Jasmine Plouffe, Brand Strategist

Jasmin is a brand strategist/graphic designer who helps female entrepreneurs attract their dream customers by sharing their story and taking their branding and graphic design to a whole new level.

Plus, our Selfmade Alum will be there to guide you along the way! Go from feeling alone to feeling deeply connected to a community of like-minded women. Our professional business and career coaches will encourage you to take the next step toward your biz goals via weekly Accountability Pods. Students will have access to a wide community of like-minded entrepreneurs, including experts, founders, future business partners, freelancers, and more.

This summer, Selfmade coaches include Niki Shamdasani, co-founder and CEO of Sani, a South Asian-inspired fashion brand Emily Merrell, founder and chief networking officer of female-focused networking organization Six Degrees Society Dr. Annie Vovan, whose career spans the corporate world, non-profit space, and service-based and e-commerce businesses and Cachet Prescott, a business mindset coach and strategist.

Ready to take your business idea to the next level? Enroll in Selfmade Summer session today!


This 5-ingredient cake tastes like a chocolate peanut butter cup

On my husband's birthday, the only thing he ever requests is a chocolate peanut butter cake that's been in his family for years. And once you taste it, it's easy to see why.

The decadent, double-layer cake oozes rich, fudgy frosting, chocolate chips and tastes like a peanut butter cup. My mother-in-law, Lori, discovered the recipe back in the ྌs and has been making it every year since for her kids' birthdays. In 2013, the baking baton was passed to me, and it's a treat I look forward to when February arrives.

One of the best parts of this delectable creation is that it only takes about five minutes to whip up, has five ingredients, plus frosting, and comes out of the oven fluffy yet moist, as if Reese's had a baby with a cloud.

For decades, the recipe has existed on one of the handwritten pages of Wida family favorites (the collection of which includes a plethora of hearty casseroles, salads and meatloaf). I have the photocopied version that's experienced its own life of wear, tear and chocolate stains.

"I found it in some cooking magazine in the ྌs, probably something like 'Good Housekeeping,'" said my mother-in-law, who now goes by Gigi to the next generation of cake-loving kids. "The peanut butter was the draw for me. It’s really for peanut lovers."

When I buy ingredients, I'm usually a stickler for organic and, if they're processed, I try to buy the food products with as little ingredients as possible. But for this cake, I put personal preferences aside and skip reading the labels all together. There are other times for a vegan, gluten-free dessert and this is not one of them.

Any chocolate cake mix will do and those with a propensity for vanilla can opt for yellow or white cake mix (I've never tried it since we're all about the chocolate-peanut butter combo in this house). As for the peanut butter, the smooth, salty consistency of Jif or Skippy provide optimal results.

"The key to keeping the cake moist is to not use too much peanut butter. Maybe even use a tad less," my mother-in-law told me when I called to get the skinny on this rich dessert. "I usually like to improvise with recipes and not stick to the exact measurements but for this one, it’s important to follow the instructions carefully."

After putting the cake mix, milk, eggs and peanut butter in my bowl, I use an electric or stand mixer to whisk it for one minute on low, then, after scraping the sides, an additional three minutes on medium-high until looks whipped and silky. Then I stir in the chips.

This was the eighth year I've made the cake and actually the first time I had the pleasure of using an electric mixer. Whisking by hand is definitely doable, but it's definitely a workout and the batter just doesn't quite get as luscious.

Once you've devoted five glorious minutes of your day to this prep work, it's time to evenly distribute the batter into two tin cake rounds.

Pop them in the oven at 350 F and watch them rise. I usually bake it for 40 minutes on the nose, but some ovens may require an extra five minutes to ensure they're baked through. Once the cakes have cooled, use a spatula to loosen the edges and flip the first upside down onto a plate. Ice it with your favorite chocolate frosting or Cool Whip (if you like something creamy and tangy to balance out the bold, sweet flavors). Sandwich the other cake round on top (I prefer top-side down so it has a nice, flat surface) and frost it all over, rotating the plate to cover the sides.

Depending on the occasion — not that you need one — decorate it with sprinkles, a loving message or some candles. And voila — your new favorite cake that's over 35 years in the making is ready to enjoy.


22. Cupcake bouquet

Cupcake bouquet anyone? Turn your basic cupcakes into a giant cupcake bouquet instead. A few brightly coloured buttercream roses later and your bouquet is ready to be admired – who needs flowers when you can have cupcakes ones instead?

Get the recipe: Cupcake bouquet


15 Festive Birthday Desserts That Aren't Cake

Starting your own business can feel isolating without a network of women to bounce off ideas, ask questions, and cheer you on along the way. Enter Selfmade, Brit + Co's 10-week highly-interactive virtual course that brings together top female entrepreneurs to teach you how to build a new business — from business plan to promotion — or grow your existing one.

The best part? Selfmade now provides one-on-one mentoring with successful entrepreneurs who've been where you are right now and who care about making a difference for women in business. They include business owners, founders, VCs, and subject-matter experts in industries such as finance, advertising, marketing, licensing, fashion, and media.

Our summer mentorship program will feature a host of new mentors we're excited to connect you with, including:

Linda Xu, Entrepreneur and E-Commerce Expert

Linda is the co-founder and chief growth officer at Cart.com, a Series-A e-commerce technology platform that partners with brands to help them grow. Linda served as head of growth at Sitari Ventures where she oversaw strategy and operations. She has acquired and advised tech and consumer companies as a private equity investor at global firms including The Riverside Company and Lazard. Additionally, Linda spent a brief stint on the team launching Uber Freight. She loves all things food and plants.

Stephanie Cartin, Social Media Expert + Entrepreneur

An entrepreneur at heart, Stephanie walked away from her corporate career in 2012 to follow her passion to launch Socialfly, a leading social-first digital and influencer marketing agency based in New York City. Socialfly has since blossomed to over 30 full-time employees and has been named to Inc. 5000's fastest growing private companies two years in a row. The agency has worked with over 200 well-known brands including Girl Scouts, WeTV, Conair, Nest Fragrances, 20th Century Fox and Univision. Stephanie is the co-host of the Entreprenista Podcast and co-author of Like, Love, Follow: The Entreprenista's Guide to Using Social Media To Grow Your Business. She is also a recent recipient of the SmartCEO Brava award, which recognizes the top female CEOs in New York and a Stevie Award for Women Run Workplace of the Year.

Kristina Ross, Content Creator + Social Media Whiz

Kristina Makes #Content is a social media ✨funtrepreneur✨, creative strategist, and public speaker for all things Internet related. Four years as a magazine editor and producer/copywriter in the world of advertising (Mercedes, Cancer Research, French Kiss Records), Kristina packed her bags and decided to go remote with social media as she saw a booming industry. Since then, she built @thefabstory from 10k to 1m followers in just 18 months and now specializes in creative strategies behind social media advertising and user acquisition. Her campaigns have levelled apps from the top 50 into #1 in their app store categories overnight. Kristina's work and experiences have been featured in Forbes, Thrive Global and has given several talks at Harvard Business School on the big bad world of #content.

A.V. Perkins, Selfmade Alum and Creator of AVdoeswhat

A.V. is a DIY expert and creator of Avdoeswhat.com. What began as a traditional Do-It-Yourself blog has grown into a lifestyle platform that includes crafts, upcycled furniture and pop culture. As a digital host for HGTV Handmade, along with appearances in Bustle, The Pioneer Woman, and BuzzFeed, A.V. is determined to help thrifty millennials realize "Life is better when you Do-It-Yourself!" A.V. is also the co-creator of University of Dope, an exciting thought-provoking card game that celebrates Hip Hop culture.The first of its kind.

David Mesfin, Creative Director + Brand Expert

David is a multi-disciplinary designer and creative director with award-winning integrated campaign background, including the Super Bowl, FIFA, NFL, and global launch campaign. He has created global partnerships to increase brand awareness through traditional, digital, social, and experimental marketing campaigns, collaborating with C-suite leaders from Genesis, Hyundai, Honda, Sony, Adidas, Oakley, Toyota, Neutrogena, Land more to communicate their company's vision through creative and marketing. He has earned awards from Cannes, One Show, Clio, Webby, EFFIE, Communication Arts, Google Creative Sandbox, OC and LA ADDY, DIGIDAY, TED | Ads Worth Spreading, American Advertising Federation, FWA, The A-List Hollywood Awards, IAB Mixx, and Graphis.

Jasmine Plouffe, Brand Strategist

Jasmin is a brand strategist/graphic designer who helps female entrepreneurs attract their dream customers by sharing their story and taking their branding and graphic design to a whole new level.

Plus, our Selfmade Alum will be there to guide you along the way! Go from feeling alone to feeling deeply connected to a community of like-minded women. Our professional business and career coaches will encourage you to take the next step toward your biz goals via weekly Accountability Pods. Students will have access to a wide community of like-minded entrepreneurs, including experts, founders, future business partners, freelancers, and more.

This summer, Selfmade coaches include Niki Shamdasani, co-founder and CEO of Sani, a South Asian-inspired fashion brand Emily Merrell, founder and chief networking officer of female-focused networking organization Six Degrees Society Dr. Annie Vovan, whose career spans the corporate world, non-profit space, and service-based and e-commerce businesses and Cachet Prescott, a business mindset coach and strategist.

Ready to take your business idea to the next level? Enroll in Selfmade Summer session today!


The BEST Gluten-Free Layer Birthday Cake

We took my nut-free cake and made it even more amazing. SO if you’re looking for a nut-free cake recipe, go for the two in my cookbook or this July 4th Classic Cake!

Aside from the health benefits of using gluten-free flours in this cake, the combination of almond and coconut flour is so moist and tender! While you do have to cream the butter and sweetener together, this is a relatively fool proof recipe as there is no concern about the cake being tough from over-beating the batter like there is with a gluten flour containing cake. We also use all natural/homemade food dyes, see here!

I can’t believe Lexi’s Clean Kitchen has been up and running for FIVE whole years. I truly feel so blessed that this is my job and that all of you trust me with the recipes you feed your family and friends, and yourself! Thank you for trusting me, supporting me, continuing to follow along this journey, and for being a part of the LCK family. I truly mean it with all of my heart. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Let’s celebrate!


Baking layer cakes: Helpful tips to avoid some common pitfalls

Have all the cake ingredients at room temperature.

Eggs at room temperature will incorporate more air when whipped, than when cold. Butter should be just softened. It should yield slightly when lightly pressed, but not too soft as to feel oily.

The ideal temperature to have butter at is 19 deg C for optimal creaming. Take your time and be sure to cream till the butter feels light and fluffy on your spatula.

Place the cake pan in the centre of the oven.

If cake pan is placed too far down from the top heat, it will take much longer to brown the layers. The extended grilling may dry out the layers.

The layers are fairly thin, so it’ll only take a matter of a couple of minutes to cook. It’s the browning that takes up the extra time.

Bake each layer to a golden brown.

The darker the toasted tops are, the more vivid the layered pattern will be, and also much more flavourful! Just be careful not to end up burning it.

Avoid spreading the layers too thin.

Too thin and the layers may run the risk of drying out and browning too quickly. You might even risk burning the layers, unless you’re ready to plomp yourself on a stool right in front of your oven door and watch it like a hawk.

Too thick, and you’ll have less layers to your cake, though that’s totally OKAY. I usually try to aim for anywhere between 10 to 13 layers, or about a 5-mm thickness per layer.

Remember to prick each baked layer with a fork.

Prick in just a few places across the layer. This will help minimise, though not necessarily prevent trapped air from ‘ballooning’.

If you see air bubbles forming as the layer bakes in the oven, don’t worry! Just open the oven door, quickly yank out the pan, prick those bubbles with a toothpick, and return it to grill.

Press lightly with a fondant press to get even layers.

This also helps to prevent air pockets from building up as you add on each layer. It also helps create a nice and tight pattern.

But just don’t apply too much pressure, or else the cake will end up compact and dense.

Adjust your oven rack, moving it down a level, if necessary, for the last 2 to 3 layers.

That’s because as the layers build up, the top gets closer to the top heating element and will brown very, very quickly!



Previous Article

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Beef Jerky

Next Article

Visiting a 100-year-old Restaurant in California