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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Martha Stewart's Cakes

Remember the books that started it all? Martha Stewart's Cookies, Martha Stewart's Cupcakes, and Martha Stewart's Pies & Tarts. Well guess what? There's now Martha Stewart's Cakes, a collection of loaves, bundts and tube cakes, coffee cakes, single layer cakes, cheesecakes, icebox cakes, and layer cakes.

My colleagues at work wanted to celebrate the release of this new book and asked Barb from Two Enjoy Cake and I to bake a little something for the office. So armed with advance copies of the book (swoon!), we did some baking on the weekend.

I ended up choosing the Vanilla Layer Cake (page 283) because I've already tried the One Bowl Chocolate Cake (twice), a variation of the Chiffon Cake, and a variation of the Pineapple Upside-Down Cake. So let's start with the basics!
Vanilla Layer Cake
Recipe from Martha Stewart's Cakes
(Makes a 3-layer six-inch cake, or a 2-layer eight-inch cake)

1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Line your cake plans with parchment paper.
  2. Using a stand mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and sugar until combined, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Add in the eggs and beat until it's well incorporated, it'll look smooth and fluffy.
  4. Add in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat until combined.
  5. Add milk and vanilla extract and mix until smooth.
  6. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. I like to smooth out the top of the batters but create a little well or dip in the middle because the cake will rise higher there.
  7. Bake for 35 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
  8. Cool for 15 minutes and turn cakes out on a wire rack to cool completely.
See the little dome? This is normal! Don't fret, as you can level the tops.
I don't like leveling. But it has to be done! Slice the tops off carefully and trim off any excess to make sure each layer is even. Next, the recipe calls for a creamy vanilla frosting.
Creamy Vanilla Frosting
Recipe from Martha Stewart's Cakes
(Makes about 3 3/4 cups)

1 stick unsalted butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
5 cups confectioner's sugar
1/4 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1. Using a stand mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese on medium-high speed for about a minute until it's creamy.
  2. Reduce the speed and add in the confectioner's sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition.
  3. Slowly add in the milk and vanilla extract. Beat until smooth for about two minutes.
I like to pipe my fillings on to create an even layer, but you can always spoon it on and flatten it with a spatula.
Cover the top and sides with a light coat of frosting. Place the cake in the fridge for 15-30 minutes. This helps seal in all the crumbs. Later, warm up the leftover frosting by giving it a good mix and then plop it on top of the cake. Use a spatula to evenly cover the cake.
This step was extra and isn't in the book, but I couldn't help myself. I love vanilla and chocolate combinations. I mixed up a quick chocolate ganache (semi-sweet chocolate + milk) and glazed it over the cake. This is also known as Sylvia-can't-create-smooth-frosting-sides-and-needs-to-hide-it.
One more shot. There's no such thing as too many chocolate-dripping photos.
You know your office loves cake when there are cake stands available (I didn't have to bring one in). I also made a little bunting out of wooden skewers, string, and printed Avery labels for our friends at Crave. Barb, who makes fabulous treats on Two Enjoy Cake, made Martha Stewart's Double-Chocolate Cake (page 296).
After the obligatory photos (see the behind-the-scene photo here), the team dug into Barb's cake.
Camera phones are a staple for blogging. We had to take photos of the interior!
Here's mine! Those chocolate crispy pearls don't stay still. Next time I'll have to gently nudge them into the ganache.

Thank you for reading all the way to the end here! To reward you, we're giving away three copies of Martha Stewart's Cakes here!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • The giveaway contest is open from Tuesday, September 24, 2013 until Sunday, October 6, 2013. Entries submitted after 12 midnight EST on Sunday, October 6, 2013 will not be considered.
  • To enter, leave a comment below telling me which flavour your prefer: vanilla or chocolate?
  • Three winners will be randomly chosen and announced here on A Baked Creation. 
  • This contest is available to residents of Canada and the U.S.A.
UPDATE: Congratulations to Stephanie, Monica H, and another Steph! You will each be receiving a copy of Martha Stewart's Cakes.

Disclaimer: I was given a copy of Martha Stewart's Cakes by a colleague at work. The three giveaway copies are also sponsored by Random House of Canada Limited.


  1. Chocolate! Everything chocolate!

  2. Your cake turned out so good. I am so excited about this new book from Martha, I am actually going to review it and bake something this week full of calories and yummy.

  3. I love the smell of vanilla, but when it comes to dessert, definitely CHOCOLATE! And, I agree, you can never have enough photos of dripping chocolate! :D

    I'm so excited for this book to come out - I have the rest of the series and have had pretty good success with the recipes so I'm definitely looking forward to this one!

    1. Hi Stephanie,

      Congratulations! Please e-mail info@abakedcreation.com with your mailing address.


  4. I'm a huge chocolate fan! Good chocolate cakes are hard to come by so I definitely appreciate a good recipe when I find one!

  5. This book is on my wishlist as I have all he other books from MS. Your cake looks fabulous, by the way.

    CHOCOLATE all day, everyday!

    1. Hi Monica,

      Congratulations! Please e-mail info@abakedcreation.com with your mailing address.


  6. This book looks amazing! I love layer cakes... they are so much fun to cut into.

    I would love to make a choc and vanilla layered cake, but if I had to choose I would say Vanilla!

    Love the blog :)

  7. That is the most wonderful cake I've ever seen. Thanks for the recipe, I will try to make this love-cake!!

  8. Thanks for the book giveaway, it looks fantastic. I've always preferred chocolate but I bet the vanilla is very tasty too. I'd try both if I had the chance.

  9. I like the vanilla cake. Tried a wonderful lemon cake from her last baking book. Would love to add this book to my collection.

  10. I prefer vanilla. It gives you a wider range of palette for your frosting flavors.

  11. The cakes look stunning (and delicious!). I would love to win a copy of the book, I love to bake cakes and I could use some inspiration! P.S. I'm all about the chocolate cake, but it has to be chocolatey, moist and have killer icing. -Sandy @savvari on Twitter

  12. OMG, those chocolate crispy pearls look obscenely delish! My personal fave is chocolate, but vanilla, when made well, can be amazing.

  13. chocolate

    FINALLY now I know how to not get crumbs mixed into the outer layer of icing on a cake. Who would have known you stick it in the fridge and add another layer after that!! So smart. [clearly im a cake bakin newb - but maybe Martha can teach me some more ;)

    1. Hi Steph,

      Congratulations! Please e-mail info@abakedcreation.com with your mailing address.