Yellow Butter Cake with Chocolate Icing

Writers block is no joke guys.

I’ve been sittin’ here on the pictures and crumbs of a delicious cake for weeks now, and I just have nothing to say.
Actually, I always have things to say. But nothing that makes any sort of sense or has anything to do with cake.
Would it be weird if I just started posting pictures of cake? Maybe threw a recipe up there and called it a day?

yellow cake 4

Probably a little weird.

I feel like this writers block accurately describes everything going on in my brain right now. I think it’s called Overwhelm Mode.
You know what I’m talking about. Right?
When you just have so many things going on and your to-do list has become so long that all you can do is sit and maybe stare blankly at a tv?
Yeah, that’s Overwhelm Mode. And it’s here in full force.

yellow cake 3

But sometimes, while staring Sleepless in Seattle for the millionth time, there’s a burst of motivation. And all I wanted to do was bake a cake.
And drink beer.
Bake a cake and drink beer.
Look at that! I accomplished two things!

Yellow cake

I really wanted a thick coating of rich chocolate frosting and a delicious moist yellow cake to put it on. I found this delicious looking  chocolate buttercream, and went to town. It made a little less than I had wanted though, so after filling the cake with the buttercream, I decided to top the cake with a chocolate ganache as well. I only had buttermilk, so I decided to try a buttermilk ganache recipe I found. It was a little grainier then I would have preferred, but all in all still tasted great.
Frosting for everyone!

yellow cake 2

Yellow Butter Cake
Adapted from Annie’s Eats

Ingredients:

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/4 cups buttermilk

Directions:

  • Preheat over to 350 degrees.
  • Prepare two 9-inch round cake pans by lining the bottoms with parchment paper and greasing the sides.
  • In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix well and set aside.
  • In electric mixer bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add eggs to mixer bowl one at a time, followed by vanilla.
  • Keeping the mixer on low, alternate adding the flour mix and buttermilk, beat until just combined after each addition.
  • Divide the cake batter between the two prepared pans.
  • Bake 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean.
  • Let cakes cool about 20 minutes on a wire rack before removing from pans.
  • Let cakes cool completely before frosting.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
Adapted from Love To Be In The Kitchen

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3-4 Tablespoon heavy cream

Directions:

  • In a mixer bowl with whisk attachment, beat butter about 20 seconds, until smooth.
  • Add cocoa powder to the butter and beat until mixture is well combined.
  • Add powdered sugar about one cup at a time until sugar is combined. Add salt.
  • Scrape down bowl, add vanilla, and beat on medium speed until well mixed.
  • Increase speed to medium high and add heavy cream one tablespoon at a time.
  • Mix until light and fluffy.

Chocolate Buttermilk Ganache
Adapted from King Arthur Flour Community Recipes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter, chilled and cut into small pieces

Directions:

  • Heat buttermilk until just starting to boil, stirring occasionally.
  • Add chocolate and stir until fully melted.
  • Add butter and stir slowly.
  • Strain if needed, allow to cool.
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Turkey approves

xo,
Sarah Mae

Flourless Peanut Butter Brownies

We’re two days away from Halloween, which in the retail world means “Oh hey, Christmas is practically tomorrow and the only thing to mention about Thanksgiving is how to prepare for Black Friday without going crazy”.
But since I’m lucky enough to work for a pretty awesome company with some pretty awesome people, our “don’t go crazy” planning is done in the form of pajama parties and potlucks.
Works for me!

Flourless Peanut Butter Brownies : Sweets by Sarah Mae

I had about two hours to whip something up for the potluck after work and brownies had been on my mind.
Let’s be real, brownies are always on my mind.

Flourless Peanut Butter Brownies : Sweets by Sarah Mae
When I came across these fudgey looking bites of awesome, I decided to go for it. The fact that they are flourless was just an added bonus since we have some flour-free peeps attending the meeting.

For the frosting I used some Reese’s chips I had laying around instead of peanut butter, it tasted just like peanut butter though, so either works great.
There really were just awesome all the way around, but how can you go wrong with peanut butter and chocolate?

Flourless Peanut Butter Brownies : Sweets by Sarah Mae

Flourless Peanut Butter Brownies

Adapted from Creme de la Crumb

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Frosting:

  • 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

Directions:

  • Preheat over to 350 degrees.
  • Prepare an 8×8 pan with parchment paper and/or non-stick sppray
  • In a microwave safe bowl melt butter, 2 cups chocolate chips, and 1/2 cup peanut butter. Heat for about 1 minute and stir well. Return to microwave for about 20 seconds at a time until mix is melted and smooth.
  • In a large mixing bowl add eggs, sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, salt, and melted chocolate mixture. Mix until smooth.
  • Pour into prepared pan and bake for 30-40 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out mostly clean.
  • Once brownies have cooled, top with frosting.
  • Cut and enjoy!

Frosting Directions:

  • In a microwave safe bowl melt 1/4 cup chocolate chips and 1/4 cup peanut butter. Heat for about 45 seconds – 1 minute, then stir until smooth.
  • Drizzle or smooth over brownies.

Tay and Beth givin’ the brownies some love!

xo,
Sarah Mae

Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies

There are some things in life that are always good, even when they’re bad.

Pizza
90’s pop
Chocolate chip cookies…

But when they’re good, they’re really good:

Fresh pizza after you’ve been drinking all night
N’SYNC
Chocolate chip pudding cookies…

Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies : Sweets by Sarah Mae

Now, these cookies are no drunk pizza, but they are some sort of wonderful. If you like soft little balls of cookie that feel like they’ve barely had the Salmonella baked out of them.

Then these are the cookies for you!

Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies : Sweets by Sarah Mae

The addition of vanilla pudding to the mix makes these cookies nice and soft with a little extra flavor. I’m sure you could even switch it up with different kinds of pudding mix and have all sorts of options.
The limit does not exist!

Cadie_quote

I left the dough in fridge for more like five hours than one hour, which I think is was contributed to the cookies not really flattening out while baking. I’m sure if you left them in the fridge for less time they would be slightly less round or maybe just smash them down a little bit before baking if that’s a concern.
Also, chocolate chunks are totally the way to go. Always.

Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies : Sweets by Sarah Mae

Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies

Recipe adapted from Life in the Lofthouse

Ingredients:

1 cup butter – softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
1 small package (3.4 ounce) Instant vanilla pudding mix
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 (11 ounce) package chocolate chunks

Directions:

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer cream butter and sugars. Add in pudding mix, eggs, and vanilla.
  2. Combine flour and baking soda in a small bowl and gradually add to the sugar mix until just combined.
  3. Stir in chocolate chunks.
  4. Cover dough and place in refrigerator for about an hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  6. Drop batter on baking sheets in approx 1 inch balls.
  7. Bake for 8-10 minutes. They will still be slightly soft, but thats good. You don’t want to over bake!
  8. Allow to cool and enjoy!!

xo,
Sarah Mae

Wedding Wednesday

All of my friends and family reading this already know, but to those that don’t, I’m getting married!
We’ve been engaged for quite a while now (like a year and a half), but are finally getting around to actually putting together a wedding.
Which, if you didn’t know, is kind of exhausting.
There are just so many things to do and stuff to look at and places to be and cakes to taste. Not that we’ve gotten anywhere near the cake part, but when we do, there will be all the cake tasting taking place. Or cake bakings…I still haven’t decided.
But I figured since my home time is basically split between this blog and wedding planning, I should just combine the two. Enter: Wedding Wednesdays.

engaged

Josh and I right after he proposed

This will be the day that I share stories, tips (if I ever learn any), ask for advice, or maybe just vent for awhile. You know, depending on the week.
The wedding planning is still in the early stages, we’ve booked a venue. Buuuuuut, that’s about it. I’m in the process of trying to find a photographer and get engagement photos and then I’ll move on from there. We’re not having a super fancy wedding or anything; just a casual, outdoor, good time with friends and family.
So here is where I plead to you, help me! Ok, maybe I don’t plead, but I ask very nicely….
With cherries on top.
Do you have tips? Advice? Photographer suggestions? Any sort of wisdom you wish to impart on me to make my life easier? Let’s hear it!

I’ll love you forever. I might even bake you cookies. Maybe.

xo,
Sarah Mae

Vanilla Peach Coffee Cake

I have this super awesome habit of buying all sorts of produce with the intention of eating healthy for long periods of time (read: like four days). But let’s be real here…unless Taco Bell and donuts count as healthy, that’s not really my strong suit.
And unfortunately for me, fresh produce only lasts like a week. Tops.

Vanilla Peach Coffee Cake : Sweets by Sarah Mae

But on the fortunate side this has given me excellent baking-almost-bad food opportunities.
That’s where this coffee cake came in.
After staring at a bag of peaches just chillin’ in my fridge, too mealy to eat but too pretty to just throw away, I knew they needed a second chance. So I got straight to work. Well, I got straight to Pinterest, but what’s the difference really.
See, I’m weird about baked peaches. I don’t like peach pie or anything with large chucks of squishy peaches, it’s a texture thing. But this coffee cake looked like a good exception to this rule. By dicing the peaches and keeping them bite sized, you don’t get that overly mushy feeling. Plus, anytime you cover something in cinnamon and icing its pretty much guaranteed to be good.
And oh man, it was good.

Vanilla Peach Coffee Cake : Sweets by Sarah Mae

Make it. Eat it. Drink coffee with it.
Or don’t…

But then you’ll be sad.

Vanilla Peach Coffee Cake : Sweets by Sarah Mae

Vanilla Peach Coffee Cake

Recipe adapted from Pine Cones and Acorns

Ingredients for Batter:

2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup greek yogurt
3 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Ingredients for Peach Topping:

5 or 6 peaches, diced
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons nutmeg
4 tablespoons flour

Ingredients for Vanilla Icing:

1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2-3 teaspoons half and half

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray 9 inch spring form pan with cooking spray. Set Aside
  3. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Set aside.
  4. Beat eggs in mixer bowl on medium for one minute.
  5. Add melted butter, vanilla, and Greek yogurt to eggs mix until well combined.
  6. Add flour mixture to the wet mix just until evenly mixed.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  8. Top with peach filling.
  9. Bake for 60 – 70 minutes. Or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  10. Drizzle with icing after removing cake from the oven.
  11. Let cool and enjoy!

Peach Filling Directions

  1. Mix all peach filling ingredients in a separate bowl and distribute evenly over batter in spring form pan.

Icing Directions

  1. Whisk together vanilla, powdered sugar, and vanilla in a small bowl. Add heavy cream 1/2 teaspoon at a time until desired consistency.

xo,
Sarah Mae

Mandarin Carrot Bread

You guys, something amazing happened the other day.
I went outside after 10:00am and guess what? It was under 90 degrees! This is major!

Mandarin Carrot Bread: Sweets by Sarah Mae

Generally, Fall is thought of as an imaginary season here in Phoenix, but I’m not so sure now. 86 degrees sounds like Fall to me!
Maybe my concept of the season is a little distorted…
Well, Fall or no Fall, I took my cue from the cooler weather and made something kind of Fall-ish. I think it’s still a little too early for pumpkin, regardless of what the beer aisle at the grocery store is trying to tell me, but it’s never a bad time for carrots. This bread has a little bit of spice to give your house that cooler weather scent, with some oranges keep it light and summery.
I made these cute mini-loafs using this Wilton Perfect Results Mini Loaf Pan which I loved. I think I want to bake everything in mini-loafs! This bread was perfect warmed up for breakfast, with or without a little butter on top.Mandarin Carrot Bread: Sweets by Sarah Mae

Mandarin Carrot Bread

Recipe adapted Raisin-Carrot Bread recipe in Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book

Ingredients:

1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup orange juice
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 egg – beaten
1 cup shredded carrots
2 tablespoons melted butter
11oz. can of mandarin oranges, roughly chopped, save juice.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease pan.

  1. In a small bowl mix raisins and orange juice, set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and allspice – set aside.
  3. In a different bowl mix egg, carrots, butter, 1/4 cup of the juice from mandarin oranges, and 1/2 cup of chopped mandarin oranges. Stir in raisin mixture.
  4. Add raisin mix to flour mix all at once. Stir until just moistened.
  5. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 18-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  6. Cool on wire rack and enjoy!

(If using regular 8in. bread pan, bake for 55-60 minutes)

xo,
Sarah Mae

Homemade Funfetti Cupcakes

Happy first-real-food-blog-post day!

Homemade Funfetti Cupcakes:: Sweets by Sarah MaeI’ve learned something in the last few weeks; Starting a blog comes with a lot of unnecessary, internal stress.

“What am I going to bake?”
 “When am I going to be able to do this?”
 “Will anyone even like it?”

But it never ceases to amaze me how all of that stress disappears the second I start to cream the butter and sugar. This is why I love baking, who has time to stress when you have to make sure your oven is preheated? And I don’t know about you, but who can ever be stressed when there are sprinkles involved?

Since this is the official opening celebration of Sweets by Sarah Mae, it only seemed appropriate to involve sprinkles.
And frosting.
And more sprinkles.
And maybe I threw some cake somewhere in there, just for good measure.

These cupcakes were everything I want a cupcake to be: Fluffy, sugary, and sprinkley.
Don’t judge…it’s a word now.

Homemade Funfetti Cupcakes :: Sweets by Sarah Mae

Homemade Funfetti Cupcakes :: Sweets by Sarah Mae

Homemade Funfetti Cupcakes

Recipe adapted from How Sweet It Is

(makes 12 cupcakes)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter

1 cup sugar

2 whole eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/3 cup milk

1/3 cup assorted brightly colored sprinkles + more for top of frosting

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  1. Combine flour and baking powder in a bowl, set aside.
  2.  Cream butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  3.  Add eggs and vanilla and beat until combined.
  4. Add half of the flour mix to electric mixer, mixing until just combined. Add the milk. Once mixed, add remaining flour mix.
  5. Fold in assorted sprinkles.
  6. Pour into cupcake tins and fill 2/3 of the way full. (I overfilled mine a little and only made 10 cupcakes, but they turned out great just the same.) Bake for 18-20 minutes. Let cool, then frost.

Vanilla Buttercream

Ingredients:

2 sticks of butter, softened

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon of milk, if needed

Directions:

  1. Cream butter in the bowl of an electric mixer until completely smooth.
  2. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add in powdered sugar. Slowly increase mixer speed and add vanilla, beat for 2-3 minutes, scraping down bowl.
  3. If frosting is too thick, add milk 1 teaspoon at a time until desired consistency is reached. If it’s too thin, add more sugar until it thickens.

Frost cupcakes when cool and top with sprinkles. 

xo,
Sarah Mae