2-layer Pure Vanilla Cake ~ 1st Blogversary!!!

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Cook By Book in numbers:

– 500+ blog subscribers via email
– 140 on WordPress
– 160+ on Twitter
– 385+ on Instagram
-102 blogposts

My blog officially turns 1 today! Woohoooo!! Last year today I created and set up this blog and published my first blog-post the next day. For about 2 months before starting this space, I used to publish my recipes and pictures on my Facebook page but later I realized I wanted to share more than just a picture and a recipe with you all, in a more customized manner. That’s how this blog was born. It feels just like yesterday but time really flies when you blog. Blogging has taught me so much. Food photography and food styling is what I’ve become totally obsessed with! It is such a great way to connect with like-minded people all around the world and learn about their culture through food. I have made some awesome new friends!

I owe it all to you gorgeous readers! Thank you for making this past year so fulfilling, from having less than 5 to 500+ followers and many more on social media, I’m very grateful for all the support and love so far. Whether it is just a comment, an email or a follow, I want to thank you for all the amazing gestures that has made blogging so so incredible for me!

 

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I’m so so so happy, totally in celebratory mood! Throwing a party kinda mood. When I’m happy, I bake. So I baked a cake for this virtual party. It’s a party essential after all. Also, it is neither healthy nor low-fat. It’s buttery, sugary deliciousness. Pure vanilla goodness completely covered in pink whipped cream frosting. Yes! Today I’m sharing a classic vanilla cake which is sturdy in layer-cakes but moist and tender at the same time. A cake you can always depend upon. Make this your go-to recipe for anytime layer-cake requirements. Birthdays, Anniversaries or Weddings. An all-occasion versatile cake.

 

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I am no professional at frosting/decorating cakes but I’ve tried my best! Also, I did not have time to make frosting from scratch so I used packaged instant whipped cream, flavored it with 1/2 tsp vanilla extract and colored it with a drop of pink food color. It tasted pretty good too. I hope you enjoy this cake as much as I, husband, a friend, neighbors and my house-help enjoyed! Yes, I believe in sharing the goodness. Always! 🙂

2-layer Pure Vanilla Cake

Makes: 2 7-inch layers | Prep time: 20 minutes | Bake time: 30-35 minutes | Total time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • A little less than 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature (about 100 gm)
  • 1 and 1/4 cups white granulated sugar*
  • Seeds scraped from 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 cup milk

*If you like your baked goods on a sweeter side, use 1 and 1/2 cups sugar instead.

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven at 170ºC / 340ºF. Butter and flour two 7-inch (5-inch or 6-inch works too) baking pans and set aside.
  2. In a bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a bowl of your electric mixer, beat butter and sugar together until pale and creamy, about 3-4 minutes. Add vanilla bean seeds, vanilla extract and egg whites and mix until smooth.
  4. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients alternating with milk, beginning and ending with dry ingredients.
  5. Gently stir all ingredients until well combined. Stop mixer and scrape down sides and bottom of the bowl, making sure to have all ingredients mixed well.
  6. Divide batter among baking pans and bake for about 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in a center comes out clean. Remove and let cool slightly in baking pans for about 5 minutes, then invert on a wire rack and let cool completely.
  7. Frost cakes as desired. Use this Vanilla Bean Frosting recipe and instructions on how-to-frost-a-layered-cake. I colored the frosting with a drop of rose pink food color.

Note: If cakes are baked in 6-inch baking pans, you may cut them so that you have four layers altogether and if cakes are baked in 5-inch baking pans, you may cut them so that you have six layers altogether. This way you can make 4-layer or 6-layer cake using the same recipe.

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Red Velvet Cake Donuts ~ Valentine’s Special

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After being on a month long health-kick, I think it is time to introduce a little indulgence. After all, it is last day of January.Valentine’s day is just round the corner so today’s post was definitely called for. I’m giving you a gorgeous sweet something for the occasion.

I have already professed my love for donut pan to you before. Ooh, how much I adore it. I want to bake everything into donut now, yes, obsessed is the word! But come on, how cute are these baked donuts?! You’re definitely going to have hard time deciding, eat them for breakfast or dessert! Or may be have them for both 😉

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These baked donuts are smothered with cream cheese frosting. Purr..fection! They are soft, tender and fluffy. They come together quickly and uses just a bowl. Baking is done in 8 minutes flat! Takes about 20-25 minutes start to finish. Of course, you will need to wait for donuts to cool completely before applying the frosting. I know which is quite difficult! So you may make them a day in advance, frost them and sprinkle sanding sugar just before serving. No more waiting, problem solved!

I made a small batch of 6 which is perfect if you’re still dieting. They are not obnoxiously fattening. I counted calories to be sure and each donut has 210 calories with frosting. Not so bad, right? Perfect for a cheat day with minimal cheating which means, yes, go ahead and have two!

So make them for Valentine’s or make them now. Bake them as donuts or as cupcakes. Just make them! 🙂

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Red Velvet Cake Donuts

Yields: 6 | Prep time: 15 minutes | Bake time: 8 minutes | Total time: About 25 minutes

Ingredients:
For donuts:
  • 2/3 cup + 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 3 Tbsp oil
  • 5 Tbsp yogurt/buttermilk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Red food coloring
  • 1/4 tsp apple cider vinegar
For cream cheese frosting:
  • 3 Tbsp plain cream cheese, at room temperature (I used plain spreadable cream cheese)
  • 3 Tbsp icing sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • Splash of milk, only if needed
  • Red sanding sugar, to decorate

Directions:

  1. For donuts: Preheat oven at 180ºC / 350ºF. Spray the 6-count donut pan with oil. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a another mixing bowl, whisk together egg and sugar till nicely incorporated. Whisk in oil, yogurt/buttermilk and vanilla extract. Slowly mix in dry ingredients to wet ingredients with the help on spoon or rubber spatula. Mix until just combined. Do not over-mix.
  4. Add red food coloring as required stirring minimally. Finish with whisking in vinegar to the batter. Divide the batter equally and fill the mold no more than 3/4th. Bake for 8 minutes. Cool in pan on a cooling rack for 5 minutes. Then carefully turn out doughnuts directly onto rack to cool.
  5. Cream cheese frosting: In a small mixing bowl, whisk together cream cheese, sifted icing sugar and vanilla extract until smooth. If the consistency is too thick, add a dash of milk. Spread the frosting on completely cooled donuts. Sprinkle with red sanding sugar just before serving as the colors will bleed. Doughnuts will keep in an airtight container for 2-3 days stored in a refrigerator.

Baked Chocolate Banana Doughnuts ~ Low-fat & Egg-free!

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I pretty much say this about the every recipe I post here but these are the BEST thing ever ever baked in my kitchen! At least so Mr claimed!

These are so moist, soft and super-pillowy. Banana and chocolate heaven in each bite! These baked doughnuts will truly rock your world I tell ya! People with diet-restrictions, this recipe is a MUST in your repertoire!! Such a result without eggs and whole wheat flour… Amazing!

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And these beauties are then topped with ganache.. A white chocolate ganache.. slurp… It is so gorgeous and I am telling you that this ganache is a MUST for these donuts! I mean who eats a naked donut, right?!!! And then the sprinkles which truly are a NECESSITY! 😀

I shall not endorse it anymore but you gotta try it to believe it! 🙂

Baked Chocolate Banana Doughnuts

Yields: 8 doughnuts

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3 Tbsp Hershey’s unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 cup mashed very ripe bananas (about 2 medium bananas)
  • 4 Tbsp yogurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For Ganache:

  • 2 Tbsp medium-fat cream/milk
  • 4 oz white chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • sprinkles, optional

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven at 180ºC/350ºF. Grease doughnut pan with baking spray. Set aside
  2. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together melted butter and brown sugar. Whisk in mashed banana, yogurt and vanilla extract.
  4. Slowly fold in dry ingredients into wet ingredients. Divide the batter equally and fill the mold no more than 3/4th. Bake for 11-12 minutes. Cool in pan on a cooling rack for 5 minutes. Then carefully turn out doughnuts directly onto rack to cool.
  5. Preparing ganache: In a microwave safe bowl, heat the cream for 40-60 seconds. Fold in chopped white chocolate and mix till it melts completely. Dip cooled doughnuts one by one into bowl of ganache and place back on a cooling rack. Top with sprinkles and serve. Doughnuts will keep in an airtight container for 2-3 days.

*In ganache reccipe, white chocolate may be substituted with dark chocolate.

Skinny Devil’s Food Cake Mix Cookies – Funfetti Friday!

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Hey fellas, I have been ranting singing about my birthday from the beginning of this week but today is the real deal!

Happy 28th Birthday to Me! 🙂

And Happy Funfetti Friday to you all!

I didn’t want to bake a cake for my own birthday so instead I baked these cookies a day before to commemorate the celebration! I was feeling super lazy yet wanted a chocolate cookie and sprinkle on my birthday eve so decided to settle for these!

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I kept them skinny by omitting butter with fat free yogurt. They were not crunchy but instead soft and moist but that is how I like my cookies so no complains! They almost tasted like fudgy brownies so bake them as brownies if you like and adjust the baking time accordingly.

It is a one-bowl treat so less dishes! The dough requires quite a bit of elbow grease to whip up so use sturdy spoon for mixing, preferably wooden spoon. The dough is quite sticky so put it in refrigerator for half an hour if you’re making cookies.

Use ice-cream scoop to form cookie balls and top them with sprinkles or M&Ms or candied cherries.. I used all 3 of them and loved how candied cherry tasted almost sinful with rich chocolate!

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Dough chilled in refrigerator for half an hour & then scooped on to cookie sheet

You must be able to palpate the haste in my writing as you are reading down the post but that is exactly how this was typed. In a hurry!

So let’s not waste more time and get to the recipe!

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Skinny Devil’s food Cake Mix Cookies

Yields: Around 12 large cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 box (500 gm) chocolate cake mix (I used Betty Crocker Devil’s Food Cake Mix)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup fat free vanilla yogurt
  • sprinkles, M&Ms or candies cherries for topping

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F/170 C. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Mix all the ingredients in one large bowl and chill in refrigerator for half an hour.
  3. Using ice-cream scoop, drop cookie balls on parchment paper. Decorate them with the topping of your choice.
  4. Bake for 11-12 minutes or till sides have firmed up. the center will still be gooey but will firm up once cookies cool down. Do not over-bake. Let rest on cookie sheet for 3-4 minutes before transferring on a wire rack to cool completely.

*If using plain yogurt then add 1 tsp vanilla extract to the dough.

Enjoy!!

Funfetti Cookies & Cream Ice-cream

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TGIFF! Thank-God-It’s-Funfetti-Friday! 😉

I’m calling out to all ‘sprinkle-on-everything-makes-everything-taste-better’ followers!

Yup… An ice-cream, inside-out filled with sprinkles, is what you are going to get today!

Truly a treat! For your eyes and your palate! ✿◕‿◕✿

Plus, it has cookies in it! ‘I-never-met-a-cookie-I-didn’t-like’ followers, you too join in!

I have used vanilla pod in this ice-cream, not vanilla extract, but it can be used interchangeably. This was my first time using a pod and I have become a fan! The flavor you get is unmatched! I love the black specks you should be able to admire in the picture below.

Not gonna convince you all much, not that it needs convincing!… Just make this and eat! (I pretty much hogged!) 😀

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Funfetti Cookies & Cream Ice-cream

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh medium fat cream (40%)
  • 2 Tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod or 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup sprinkles (I used a mix of round and non-perils)
  • 8-10 plain vanilla cream sandwich cookies, crushed

Directions:

Take cream, sugar and vanilla beans/extract in a large bowl and whip till you get a creamy, smooth, fluffy, soft peak consistency. Gently fold in sprinkles and cookies and spoon in airtight container. Freeze away for 4-5 hours. Garnish with more sprinkles while serving. Enjoy!

Funfetti Cake Mix Cookies

Funfetti cake mix cookies

My today’s post is dedicated to all the sprinkle lovers out there!

By the love for sprinkles, we unite!

This time I made you a cake mix cookie.

Cake mixes are so handful when you are making cake batter flavored desserts. But of course it is just *not* the same thing as making something from the scratch!

So if you are not a fan of cake mix, make my Sprinkle Sugar Monster Cookie (from scratch!!!) instead of today’s recipe. 😉

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But hey… let me warn you, if you do not try these cake mix cookies, you are seriously missing out on some heavenly stuff! Its not a one bit cakey! In fact, it is so soft that it melts in your mouth.

I loved using cake mix for this recipe because it made my job so much easy. These babies were ready in under 20 minutes. That’s it! Don’t believe me? Okay, go ahead.. Read on… 😀

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Seriously, it will make you think HOW on EARTH something so good (or should I say sprinkly!!!) can start from a box! Oh well,it does! 🙂

The dough comes together easily by hand. No mixing required. No extra clean-up required! Woohooo…. All you need is a bit of elbow grease to mix all the ingredients.

And to give it a ‘healthifying twist’, you can skip the oil from recipe and add low-fat yogurt to it! And voila… you will have a light ‘fudgy’ cookie!

So let’s get you started right away!

Makes 8-9 thick HUGE cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 box (250 gm) vanilla cake mix (I used Pillsbury Moist Supreme Vanilla)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 2 and 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sprinkles (combo of long thin and tiny balls sprinkles)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat. Set aside.

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In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix and baking powder.

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In a smaller bowl, whisk together egg, oil and vanilla by hand.

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Add the wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir to form a dough- stir vigorously until all the pockets of dry cake mix are gone. Gently mix-in the sprinkles- do not overmix or it will dye the cookie dough.

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Using an icecream scoop, scoop cookie dough onto baking sheet, about 1 1/2 inch apart. Bake for 9 minutes.

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Allow to cool on baking sheet for 3-4 minutes.

 

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They will be very soft at first. As they cool, the tops will settle down so you will not have to press them down yourself. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container up to 4 days.

Note:  Wanna bake Funfetti cookies without using cake mix, I have got you a perfect recipe here: http://www.fatgirltrappedinaskinnybody.com/2012/04/funfetti-cookies/