Marble Cake with Apricot Filling and Decadent Mocha Frosting

Baking

A special post-birthday shout-out to my boyfriend Andy who turned 33 this week! While last year we celebrating by exploring the fabulous town of Skaneateles, this year we celebrated by going out to eat at SUMO hibachi and later enjoying his favorite cake – a marble filled with apricot preserves and topped with a rich mocha frosting.

Here’s how to make it:

INGREDIENTS

For the cake:

  • 1 box of marble cake mix (I’ve mentioned before that the men in my family prefer box-cake. Thankfully, it’s a great solution when you are looking to save time and feature your frosting.)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs

For the filling:

  • 1/2 jar of Smucker’s Apricot Preserves, 18 oz

For the frosting:

  • 1 cup salted butter, room temperature (or unsalted, if preferred)
  • 2 tbs instant coffee granules
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup melted semi-sweet chocolate– cooled slightly (you can use chocolate chips for this)

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Painting with #cakebatter. 🥄

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DIRECTIONS

  1. Bake the cake according to the instructions on the box, using two 9-inch rounds.
  2. Let cake cool completely.
  3. Spread the apricot preserves over the first round. Be generous, as the cake will absorb the preserves over time.
  4. To prepare frosting, whip butter and instant coffee granules together until fluffy.with an electric mixer.
  5. Turn mixer to medium/high speed and slowly pour in whipping cream and whip until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  6.  Mix in vanilla extract and melted chocolate while whipping on medium/high speed.
  7. Turn mixer speed down to medium/low and slowly add in your powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time until the frosting has reached your desired thickness.(Tip: If you are using a strong variation of instant coffee, you will want to use the full four cups of sugar to balance the bitterness of the granules.)
  8. Gently place the second round of your cake atop the first.
  9. Generously apply frosting to the top and sides of your cake.
  10. If desired, decorate with chocolate chips and cocoa powder.

cakecloseup.jpg

Original frosting recipe retrieved from http://www.bakeaholicmama.com/2014/01/chocolate-cake-with-whipped-mocha.html. The recipe has been altered from its original format.

 

Perpetually Creating Through Year One

Inspiration

Dear Readers,

Exactly one year ago today I made the decision to start a blog dedicated to the idea of creativity and the power of inspiration. With this blog, I hoped to foster a creative entity that would break through the boundaries that so often segregate art, craft, cooking, writing and the many other ventures sought after by “creative types.” Three hundred and sixty-five days later, I couldn’t be happier with the result.

Thank you to everyone who has read this site during the past year. I’m grateful to every single one of you, the dedicated weekly readers as well as the occasional browsers. I can only hope that within the past year I have entertained and inspired you, whether it has been through my tips on creating hand embroidery patterns, my numerous pop-culture inspired drawings, my various book reviews or my favorite Christmas cookie recipes .

I look forward to commencing this site’s second year, anxious for the projects to come and driven by the mantra perpetually create.

–Emilee J. Smith

 

Chocolate Frosting (Happy Birthday Dad!)

Food

Growing up, my mother would always get annoyed with my father’s birthday cake request: cake made from packaged mix (such as Betty Crocker, Duncan Hines, etc.). Although she always wanted to make a homemade cake, he insisted that he liked pre-packaged mix the best.

Although I was once opposed to boxed cake mix myself, I have come to realize that it doesn’t really matter if your cake is homemade or not. What matters is the frosting. And you most definitely want homemade frosting.


This is convenient, as making homemade frosting is much quicker than making a homemade cake. That being said, below is an easy chocolate frosting recipe that is not only delicious but requires little effort and ingredients:

What You Will Need:

3 cups confectioner’s sugar

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

1 stick butter, softened

3-4 tablespoons heavy cream (or however much you need to achieve desired consistency)

1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

  1. Sift sugar and cocoa together.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine 1 cup of sugar mixture with butter and 1 tablespoon of cream. Beat until smooth.
  3. Keep adding the sugar mixture cup by cup, with each accompanied by another tablespoon of cream.
  4. Continue until all ingredients are combined and frosting is fluffy.
  5. Mix in vanilla.
  6. Frost your cake!

If the requirement for heavy cream isn’t enough indication that this recipe is delicious, take my word for it!

And if you find yourself in a situation that calls for packaged cakes, don’t fret. Simply enhance it with homemade frosting.

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Inspiration is Novel

Food, Inspiration

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I think it is very important for artists and other creative people to identify the roots of his or her inspiration and keep track of it. If you know what inspires you then you will have a much easier and much more enjoyable time creating in the future.

As some of my readers may know, this past weekend was my 22nd birthday. And, lucky as I am, I received the gift of inspiration from two individuals. In both instances, such inspiration came in the form of a book.

The first came from my brother who gave me “The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook .” This book has inspired me in the kitchen, providing me with classic English recipes that I probably would never have thought of or tried otherwise.

the unofficial hp cookbook

Although I do not have much time to cook, I have already tried the recipe for cauldron cakes, or as we may know them, pancakes. Granted pancakes are a simple food, but this recipe was very different from the classic American version or what you might expect from Jiffy mix. The pancakes were much sweeter and took special care when flipping.

To those who want to try this recipe I would advise waiting longer then expected before flipping your pancakes. Though you make think they are done on one side, rest assured they are not. Give them a minute longer than you typically would allow.

cauldron cakes

My second inspiration piece came from Andy who gifted me “The World of Ice and Fire” a very large, very beautiful prequel to the “A Song of Ice and Fire” novels, more commonly known as the “Game of Thrones” series. The book is fantastic, containing not only fabulous narrative to the world that George R.R. Martin has created but also a wide array of artwork.

the world of ice and fire

Glancing through this enormous book I am especially inspired by the artwork. When you are an artist that chooses to focus on fantastical imagery such as myself it is always helpful and inspirational to see how other artists are approaching the fantasy realm. Especially, for me, how they are portraying dragons.

Fantastic illustration from the book

Fantastic illustration from the book

Having always been inspired by books I am lucky to have people in my life who not only care enough to buy me birthday gifts but also know what to give me. As I work my way through both of these books I know I will not only be content and entertained but also inspired.