Sugar Crush: Linda Lomelino of Call Me Cupcake

cherry cake call me cupcake

I loved doing this interview with my sweet online cake friend Linda Lomelino of the excruciatingly brilliant food blog Call Me Cupcake. You know when a photograph of a cake makes you catch your breath, then cry in buttercream beauty-pain? No? Yes? Yes – that’s what Linda’s artful, dramatic, achingly solitary and downright salivation-inducing photos do to me, every single time.

chocolate cake with berries call me cupcake

Linda and I have been online cake pals since around 2009, when we first started blogging across the world from each other but found each other via Flickr – but this interview is the first time where I realized that perhaps we are more than just cake-loving twins – her response to her FAVOURITE MOVIES just about murdered me with cuteness. The girl loves comedy. We are both goths who make cakes and like corny jokes, living a world away! I was truly touched by the genuine, honest and open answers Linda responded with. I feel a little closer to ya, lady! So here you go: a very special interview with the one and only Linda Lomelino!

chocolate cake with meringues call me cupcake

Where were you born, Linda? Please describe where you live for us! 

Born and raised in Halmstad, a small city on the Swedish west coast (but still, Sweden’s 20th biggest city with almost 60 000 inhabitants, wohoo!). I still live here today actually. I think I both love and hate living here for some reason. It would be fun to live in a bigger city, but I still like living in a small town. My dream is to have a house here so I can live here during the summer because I LOVE the Swedish summer (when it’s not raining) and an apartment somewhere else during the rest of the year.

As a child, what did you want to do as a career when you grew up? 

Well, in the 90s I wanted to be an FBI-agent (I watched waaay too much X-files) or a fire fighter, hehee. Then I wanted to be an actress. Then I wanted to work in fashion. Now I realize that those careers probably wouldn’t suit me at all. So I’m sticking to my cakes and my camera.

ice cream bombe call me cupcake

What did you do before you began baking? How did you start baking – considering you only baked twice a year previously, what happened!?

I worked in a clothing store for years trying to figure out what I wanted to do. I tried many things like painting, having a fashion blog, sewing clothes but nothing really stuck. I studied photography in highschool but I never really tried food photography. Then in 2009, cupcakes caught my attention somehow so I tried making them and I was hooked. Of course I wanted to show off my pretty cupcakes so I took some photos and realized pretty quickly that I thought it was so much fun. About two weeks later I had a baking blog. I always LOVED eating baked goods but never ever wanted to join my mom in the kitchen.

linda lomelino

I love that in the intro of your book, you describe how you get to combine your two loves – baking and photography. What’s your process for photographing a cake? Did you take up photography to document your baking or were you always a photographer? 

Yes, it’s totally the best combination ever!! The process is really different for every cake I make and I’m probably way too impulsive when it comes to both baking and photography. I never really plan what I’m going to make, and it’s the same when I decorate my cakes. I can’t always see how I should decorate it before the cake itself is done (haha, do you understand what I mean here?). I want to use the word “whim” but I’m not really sure how. Hehe. But really, it’s complete chaos both in my home and in my head when I’m feeling creative. I can usually picture the styling in my head when the cake is done, sometimes it comes out just the way I imagined it and sometimes it doesn’t. As I mentioned before I took up photography in high school but I never really found my thing back then even though I thought it was so much fun. It was pretty old school, shooting b/w film, developing film and so on, but I’m so thankful I had the chance to do that and I took so many photos of my younger brothers which they will be thankful for when they are older. Then after high school, some years passed before my mom gave me a camera (I think it was on my 23rd birthday or something), then I took up photography again.

the best berry pie call me cupcake

Your style has evolved to be so artful, lively, almost painterly-like when it comes to colour and composition. How do you approach baking and its subsequent photography/styling? 

Aww, thank you! I think I answered some of this in the previous question, and as I said I rarely have a plan when it comes to baking. I like styling more “artful” I guess, with lots of things happening in the picture – flowers and sometimes unexpected things like polaroids, vintage cameras, mini eiffel towers and toy cars. Surprisingly enough (I mean I wear all black clothes and our home is decorated in black, white and grey) I love lots of color in my photos.

black forest cake call me cupcake

Your photographs truly evoke certain moods and seasons, from romantic to darkly emotional (yes, even for a photo of a cake!). I love how much you incorporate flowers and nature in your styling – as well, you have a beautiful eye for using vintage props. How would you yourself define your cake aesthetic? How about your photography style? 

I think you describe it very well! To me, “nordic melancholy” describes my photos pretty well. Maybe it sounds awful but I kind of like it. There is something bright and happy but still dark and moody in my photos. I think that is the contrast in the Nordic countries (and many other places too of course) both in the weather and how people act. The summer is just so bright and happy and colorful and people are outside and they are much more open. In the winter it’s really dark, only a few hours of light and people are mostly at home. I don’t know where I’m going with this really.. haha. I do love bringing in elements of nature in my photos, and that also reflects the seasons. In autumn and winter I would style with rose hip branches, spruce twigs and spruce cones for example and in spring and sum me with green elements and fresh flowers. As for my cake style, I don’t know. I like using natural styling like flowers and plants, chocolate and caramel sauce which actually makes the cakes look more difficult than they are. They’re so much more basic than you’d think! I love pouring chocolate sauce or caramel sauce on top of my cakes, makes everything look (and taste) so much better!

neapolitan cake call me cupcake

What are your favourite lenses? Favourite editing tools? I mostly use my 50mm/1.4 (and I have for four years now) but I recently bought a canon 24-70mm/2.8 which is amazing. I also use a 100 mm/2.8 macro lens for some close ups. I also have a wide angle lens but I rarely use that. I edit all my photos in camera raw and photoshop!

pink buttercream cake - linda lomelino

I know you also play music , and both you and your brother play in bands – where did your love of music come from? how does music and art inform your life? 

Yes, that’s correct although I’m not so active at the moment. We’re mostly recording new stuff. I come from a family of musicians. My father plays the piano, guitar, he sings and records his own material. He and my mom used to be in a band together when I was a kid. My mom told me that when I was ver small I sometimes sat in her lap while she was on stage singing. I guess i must have liked it because I was apparently always quiet. So from an early age me and my brother would come along on their gigs. My dad has always been a night owl and I remember that he was always awake during the nights playing keyboard (with head phones of course) and I would find the sound of his fingers running over the keys very soothing. My brother started playing the guitar at an early age and at one point we were in a band together, he kind of forced me to join even if I couldn’t play, hehe. Now he has his own project called Summer Heart. He will actually do his first tour in America next year! And my fiancé is also a musician so you could say that all the people that are closest to me are musicians, haha! Our “office” at home is half music stuff (his side) and crap (my side). No just kidding, hehe. My side is mostly wooden boards and old cake pans and stuff. Well, crap to some people!

strawberry cheesecake call me cupcake

Who are some of your favourite bands, and films? 

Oh my, that is one difficult question! I like Chromeo (Canada yaay!), iambear, Haim, Tycho, Summer Heart, Kavinsky, Bonobo, Paul Simon, Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald – all depending on my mood! And as for films I like 80′s movies such as Fletch (the soundtrack is awesome!) and Back To The Future. And I love The Intouchables. I also have to mention Home alone 1 & 2 and Elf as well. Elf is like my favorite movie of all time. Hehe. You can hear that I studied film, right?;-)

no bake berry cheesecake - linda lomelino

Which artists and photographers inspire you and why? (doesn’t have to be food or cake related!)

You’ve been an inspiration since the beginning Lyndsay! And Line Thit Klein is one of my favorite photographers, and she seems so incredibly nice as well! Actually, I find most of my inspiration on Instagram these days. My biggest inspirations on Instagram right now:

Hilde Morke: @hildemork78

Dagmar’s Kitchen: @dagmarskitchen

Ariel Alasko: @arielealasko

Little Upside Down Cake: @littleupsidedowncake

Elin Lannsjo: @elinlannsjo

The Artful Desperado: @artfuldesperado

Eva Kosmas Flores @evakosmasflores

And so many more…

Your book Lomelino’s Cakes has just come out in North America. Are you ready for worldwide domination?

Haha, worldwide domination doesn’t sound like my style but I’m so incredibly happy and thankful that it has finally come out in English. I’ve always felt that English is the language of my heart in a way. Maybe it sounds stupid, but I used to think in English when I was younger, haha!

sweet food and photography book

What will people learn from your latest book, Sweet Food & Photography? I can’t wait until this one comes out in English! I considered buying the Swedish one for the photos alone.

This book is so very “me” if you know what I mean, in the recipes, styling and photography. It’s 47 of my very best recipes (if I counted correctly), everything from cheesecakes to layer cakes, cupcakes, donuts, cookies – everything! In this book I also share the knowledge that I have gained throughout these years of baking, photographing and styling. There are three smaller chapters about how to pipe buttercream roses on your cupcakes, how to frost the perfect cake, how to dye your fabric with blackberries, how to find props and how to photograph and style your creations for example. So it’s perfect for anyone who is looking for some advice on food photography and styling, but also for those who enjoy baking and looking at photos, because there are tons of photos in this one! And bokus.com actually ships to Canada, not to the US though!

strawberry cake - linda lomelino

What would be your last meal, from start to finish?

Oh, man! I don’t know if I’m able to answer that. But i’m gonna go with homemade pizza (but I would force a super skilled pizza baker to make it for me of course!) and Crème Brûlée for dessert. That combination makes no sense at all, but who cares? It’s my last meal, hehe.

eton mess

One last question: What tips or advice would you give to bakers, stylists or photographers?

For photography I would start by exploring the light in your home. Try taking photos near different windows at different times during the day, it’s incredible how much the light can change from hour to hour (or sometimes even minute to minute!). I use some very basic tricks to manipulate the light in my photos, for example when I shoot “dark pictures” it goes a little something like this: I have three windows in my living room, two small and one big next to each other. To really focus the light on the motif I pull down the blinds in the big window and one of the small ones. This way I can manipulate where the light falls. A very easy trick! And when it’s very sunny out I use a white thin curtain in front of the window to soften the light. As for styling I would suggest getting a few backgrounds and props that you really love. I love dark backgrounds and vintage props. I have lots of stuff but I tend to use the same things over and over, and about 90% or more of my things are vintage/second hand. Just getting a new background can be really inspiring! Other than that my best advice is to have fun with it, experiment as often as you can. I always say that if you want to use a busy flowery fabric as a background with say striped plates, why not? As long as you think it looks good and you are confident with your choice, no one will question you!

Consider me totally sugar crushed!! Thanks so much Linda for taking part! Find Linda online at Call Me Cupcake and follow her incredible Instagram feed. See you all soon, cake pals! xo Lyndsay 

Lean In For A Smooch: How To Make Meringue Kisses Recipe

how to make meringue kisses

Addictive much? These crisp, sweet meringues crush into sugary cotton candy air on the tongue. I couldn’t get enough of popping them into my mouth! Ahhhhh I was so relieved to finally learn how to make meringue kisses. Honest to Gad, this was my fifth attempt. Each time I sucked worse than the last – instead of dense, thick clouds of meringue, mine would swoosh and bubble like tepid soup. Instead of piping perfect blobettes, mine would slump down like a teensy snowman in the sun. ARGH!

how to make meringue kisses

So wuh happened? What happened was this: I ended up making swiss meringue buttercream for this raspberry brownie cake and a little Chinese lightbulb went off in my head. Right before you add the butter, the meringue looks just as you would hope a meringue kiss would look: perfectly pipe-able, durable, thick, sticky and glossy. So I rolled with it.

how to make meringue kisses

It’s not the conventional or popular method to make meringue kisses but it worked for me so well! Anyone else had some meringue fails out there!?

how to make meringue kisses

how to make meringue kisses

how to make meringue kisses

Meringue kisses just add such a power blast of FUN. I used them in my recent peanut butter chocolate cake recipe birthday post as whimsical, brightly coloured cake toppers. You can serve them in cute vintage dishes at a party or wrap them up as wedding favours! Crushed, they add beautiful texture to an ice cream sundae.

how to make meringue kisses  how to make meringue kisses

Note: you will need three piping bags with piping tips. I used a plain open circle tip for the hot pink blobette look (classic “kiss” look), a small multi-pronged open star tip for the blue kisses and a jumbo open star tip for the pale pink. Another hot tip: if you hate separating eggs or are fearful of getting yolk in your egg white, you can purchase egg whites at the grocery store if you’re feeling lazy! So here you go: my how to make meringue kisses recipe! 

Meringue Kisses

100 meringue kisses

For The Meringues

  • 4 large egg whites
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar

Make The Meringue

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Line three baking sheets with parchment paper.

  1. Pour the egg whites and sugar into a heatproof bowl. Place it on top of a double boiler over a pot of simmering water. Whisk continually until the mixture reaches 150 degrees Farenheit or the sugar crystals have dissolved.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer beat the mixture on high speed until it is a white and fluffy meringue, stiff, glossy and durable – about 3 minutes.
  3. Divide meringue into three separate bowls.
  4. Gently fold in a small amount of gel food colouring until you get the desired results!
  5. Fill piping bags with the coloured meringue and pipe kisses on parchment paper covered baking sheets.
  6. Bake for 1 hour in the oven; turn off oven and let them dry out for another hour.

Store meringues in an airtight container for one week.

how to make meringue kisses

how to make meringue kisses

Get meringue-y elsewhere:

Those gorgeous Meringue Girls doing their thing!

These adorable baked alaska meringues by the Baked boys, via Design Sponge!

I could live in these photos of this rosewater raspberry and white chocolate meringue cake!

Just let me face plant into a plate of these donut macarons by The House That Lars Built! CUTENESS OVERLOAD!

Ooooh orange blossom meringues with dark chocolate swirl – gimme gimme meringue after midnight!!

Happy meringue-making, everyone! xo Lyndsay

Cooking Books: Julia, Child and Chocolate Almond Cupcakes Recipe

chocolate almond cupcakes recipe

As a child I was a total bookworm. I remember the excitement of being a kid and piling up 20 books from the library and lugging them home with my mom. We were surrounded by books as children and my favourites were always the ones with beautiful drawings of cakes or pastries or elaborate meals, or pictures of bears dispensing ice cream-like honey, or Cookie Monster ravaging a plate piled high of pink cookies. Later, when picture books morphed into junior novels then regular old booky books, it was always the pages-long descriptions of what was laid on the table at supper, from starched tablecloth to the shine of silverware to the clinking of crystal to the glugging of glasses being filled to sloshing. Now, as a mother myself, I see what a cool move that was of my mom to get us into reading! It’s that love of books that I see thusfar in my two year old son. Reading time mellows him right down as he immediately gets engrossed, points to things, practices his words, asks questions and laughs.

Julia, Child children's book chocolate almond cupcakes recipe

This book! Julia, Child by Kiyo Maclear and illustrations by Vancouver artist Julie Morstad – it’s all the things I remember loving about reading, all rolled into one beautifully illustrated book about friendship, the magic of childhood, trying, failing and trying again – and cooking, of course! Teddy loves the book too – especially the page of cooking disasters – a flopping over tiered cake, an escaping octopus, a deflated omelette! Then, a magical baking experiment – chocolate almond cupcakes with delicious chocolate centers. Those cupcakes inspired me to make some of my own! I came up with a chocolate almond cupcakes recipe thanks to both Julia Child herself and that devilishly sensuous Nigella.

chocolate almond cupcakes recipe

My sweet memories of children’s books likely explains my love for my friend Danielle’s blog - This Picture Book Life! Her blog is so sweet, clever and fun – a blog that “explores picture books—their art, their makers, the stuff they illuminate, and all the exuberant wonderfulness they contain.” In a blogosphere stuffed with craft/DIY/food blogs (ha – all my faves) – her blog is refreshingly genuine and heartfelt. I’ve found lots of great new authors through it, and today she’s posting about Julia, Child too! Sweet!

chocolate almond cupcakes recipe

I admit my kitchen looked very similar to Julia and Simca’s kitchen while I was making these cupcakes. Pots and pans flying everywhere, chopped chocolate, egg shells strewn on the counter, piles of bowls, and drips of batter on the floor. It was childlike chaos, and I laughed at the similarities. In the end however, out of the oven came these delicate, totally sunken in chocolate almond cupcakes, with a rich chocolate gooey texture. I filled the centers with chocolate pastry cream, sprinkled them with toasted almonds and dug right in, like a delighted child. The recipe is gluten-free, using almond flour (ground almonds). The cupcakes are very fragile, and best served with a spoon on a fancy plate.

Illustrations from Julia, Child by Kiyo Maclear and Julie Morstad

Chocolate Almond Cupcakes With Chocolate Pastry Cream

2 dozen cupcakes

For The Cupcakes

  • ⅔ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup of dutch process cocoa powder
  • ¾ cup boiling water
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups almond meal
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs

For The Chocolate Pastry Cream

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • ¾ tablespoon flour
  • ¾ tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¾ cup chopped dark chocolate

For The Almonds

  • ¼ cup toasted almonds, chopped

Make The Cupcakes

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Gently oil the top of the cupcake pans and line cupcake pans with cupcake liners. 

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk cocoa powder with the boiling water until you have a smooth, thick and creamy chocolate paste. Whisk in the vanilla extract.
  2. In another small bowl, combine the almond meal with the baking soda and salt.
  3. Place the sugar, oil and eggs into the bowl of stand mixer with the paddle attachment and beat on high until thick and creamy, about three minutes.
  4. With the mixer on low, add the chocolate mixture until combined.
  5. Add the almond flour mixture until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl, about one minute.
  6. Using a medium sized ice cream scoop, dole out the cake mixture and fill the cupcake liners just over half full.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes – cupcakes will rise, and fall again.
  8. Let them cool in the pans.

 

Make The Chocolate Pastry Cream

  1. In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, flour and cornstarch.
  2. In a saucepan, bring the milk and cream to a low boil.
  3. Whisk half of the milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture, then add the egg/milk mixture back into the saucepan with the rest of the milk.
  4. Cook the pastry cream over medium heat, whisking constantly until thick – about 3-4 minutes.
  5. Remove the pastry cream from the heat and add the chopped chocolate. The chocolate will melt into the hot pastry cream. Whisk to combine.
  6. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and power-chill in the freezer for 30 minutes, or let cool in the fridge for 2 hours to set.
  7. Dollop two tablespoons of chocolate pastry cream into the sunken chocolate almond cupcakes.
  8. Sprinkle with toasted almonds and finish with a fresh berry.

Toast The Almonds

  1. Place almonds on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for ten minutes (watch they don’t burn!) Let cool until crispy, then chop.

chocolate almond cupcakes recipe

Do you have a favourite children’s book from your childhood, or one your child loves now? I’d love to hear! Happy baking, everyone! xo Lyndsay 

Image from Julia, Child by Kyo Maclear. Text copyright © 2014 by Kyo Maclear, Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Julie Morstad. Reprinted by permission of Tundra Books, a division of Random House of Canada, a Penguin Random House company. All rights reserved.

Hey Sungy – It’s Your Birthday! Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake Recipe

peanut butter chocolate cake recipe by coco cake land

38 years of Chinese sweet crazy lady livin’ on this planet, guys. I turned 38 over the weekend and destiny called: the universe told me I had to make the most epic peanut butter chocolate cake recipe I could possibly muster. How could I say no!? Peanut butter and chocolate is my deadly kryptonite, sparkling green-bright, cartoon pain crystals on another planet waiting to take me down. I wanted creamy salty sweet peanut butter frosting, rich dark chocolate cake layers and I wanted to STUFF this muthah with peanut butter cups. Then, I looked to my fave cake sistah from another mistah, Katherine Sabbath, for design inspiration – drips, shards and sweet little brightly coloured meringue kisses!

peanut butter chocolate cake recipe by coco cake land

peanut butter chocolate cake recipe by coco cake land

For the chocolate cake, I wanted to try something different from my usual recipe. Years ago my mother-in-law gave me The Barefoot Contessa At Home. How LOVEABLE is Ina Garten! Like a warm hug on a cold day, I used to cozy up to her show, dreaming of having a big gorgeous house with a bright and fancy kitchen. I found it so soothing and relaxing to watch. Ina and Jeffrey = dream team! I like to imagine them cuddling the shit out of each other on a perfectly comfy taupe couch while dining on crisp roast capon. I’d forgotten about Ina’s Beatty’s Chocolate Cake Recipe until I came across it again on The Vanilla Bean Blog while searching for recipes. It did not fail me. The texture was so tender and springy I wanted to punch the air in CAKE VICTORY. The layers were deeply chocolate with a hint of coffee flavour.

chocolate peanut butter cake recipe by coco cake land

Another year older – another year cram jammed full of life. So here it is: the motherload of cakes, the cake my husband told me “I think this might be the best cake you’ve ever made” … a little something for you all. Let’s celebrate!!! With this peanut butter chocolate cake recipe and a lifetime hashtag of #muffintop4evah.

peanut butter chocolate cake recipe by coco cake land

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake

12 slices

For The Chocolate Cake

Adapted slightly from The Barefoot Contessa
  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup of Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee (I used two shots of espresso topped up with hot water equal to 1 cup)
 

For The Peanut Butter Frosting

  • 1 ½ cups unsalted butter
  • 1 cup of supermarket peanut butter (I used Kraft smooth peanut butter)
  • 2 cups of icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • dash of milk
  • 2 packages of Reese's peanut butter cups, chopped

For The Chocolate Glaze

  • ½ cup good quality dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, diced into small pieces

Make The Cake

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter three 7-inch x 2-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper circles.

  1. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined.
  2. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla.
  3. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.
  5. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

Make The Frosting

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and peanut butter on high speed for 1 minute.
  2. Scraping down the sides of the bowl, add the icing sugar, vanilla and dash of milk, beating until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  3. Remove the first cake layer from the cake pan and place on a cake plate or pedestal. Frost generously with peanut butter frosting. Read here for how to frost a cake. 
  4. Add one half of the chopped peanut butter cups on top of the frosting, pressing down into the frosting.
  5. Add the second layer, frost, fill with peanut butter cups.
  6. Add the final layer of cake, frosting the top and sides to a crumb coat.
  7. Chill in freezer for ten minutes to set crumb coat.
  8. Frost a final coat of peanut butter frosting and set aside.

Make The Glaze

  1. Using a bain-marie or heatproof bowl set on top of boiling water, melt together the butter and chocolate.
  2. Mix together slowly with a wooden spoon.
  3. Set aside to cool for 20 minutes; it will thicken slightly. Pour on top of peanut butter frosting covered cake, using an offset spatula to gently ice the glaze to the edges of the cake for maximum dripping.
  4. Top the cake with chopped Reese’s peanut butter cups, meringue kisses, chocolate shards or sprinkles.

chocolate peanut butter cake recipe by coco cake land

Chop those Reese’s peanut butter cups! I ate quite a few of these chopped pieces. Sheesh.

chocolate peanut butter cake recipe by coco cake land

Frost the first layer and stud the whole thing with peanut butter cup pieces.

chocolate peanut butter cake recipe by coco cake land

Place the next layer on top and continue your cake journey.

chocolate peanut butter cake recipe by coco cake land

Cram it full of cups!

chocolate peanut butter cake recipe by coco cake land

Put a lid on it.

chocolate peanut butter cake recipe by coco cake land

Get ready to frost the whole thing!

chocolate peanut butter cake recipe by coco cake land

The crumb of this cake is a bit on the tender side so the crumb coat will get “crumby.” Don’t worry though. Chill the cake in the freezer for ten minutes to set the crumb coat.

chocolate peanut butter cake recipe by coco cake land

Remove the chilled cake and cover with a final layer of peanut butter frosting.

chocolate peanut butter cake recipe by coco cake land

Hakuna matata, am I right! Cake looks great!

chocolate peanut butter cake recipe by coco cake land

Oh drippy glaze. You kill me with your beautiful drips every time. Use an offset spatula to gently spread it out to the edges.

peanut butter chocolate cake recipe by coco cake land

Let it be, drips! Let it BE!

peanut butter chocolate cake recipe by coco cake land

Then top with the cutest stuff ever, such as meringue kisses in bright and smurfy colours, and dark chocolate shards covered in sprinkles. Don’t worry, I have a meringue kisses tutorial coming up real soon on Coco Cake Land!

peanut butter chocolate cake recipe by coco cake land

coco cake land's birthday party with three cakes

Ahhhh … all the hard cake making work was worth it … especially when my SISTER showed up with her own aqua ombré cake she made based on my own tutorials… CUTE! And my husband surprised me with my favourite cake – Dairy Queen ice cream cake with Garfield. Ha! Oh man I was spoiled. It was a very happy moment for me.

chocolate peanut butter cake slice - coco cake land

And … finally … a slice of this dark and delicious beauty of a beast. I had a pretty fantastic birthday. I’ll miss being 37, but I’ve gotta accept 38 because it’s here – just like I have to accept every year I turn another year older. Every year I think I do get both a little wiser and a little stupider. Some memories slip away while newer ones are being made. Another year of experiences or hardships or sweet moments – I store them all in my head like a teen diary. I try to laugh every day, eat something I like, and get as many hugs as I can out of my two year old son. I try to connect with friends, make sure my family knows I love them and learn just a little something new. That’s all I’ve got for you, at 38, guys! That, and I guess this crazy good peanut butter chocolate cake recipe too. xo Lyndsay

Party Like It’s 1994 – Pink Rosette Cake + A High School Reunion

pink rosette cake slices - coco cake land

Cakes with roses remind me of high school. Sheet cakes with electric blue borders and custard filling, Safeway cakes with hastily piped roses, cheesy flowers like the carnations and baby’s breath I had delivered to the ex-boyfriend who crushed my heart after I heard he broke his leg during a football game.

pink rosette cake - coco cake land

Memory one: using my sister’s expired passport to get into Starship Nighclub on Kingsway in Vancouver. I wore sheer black Betsey Johnson pants with a large pink floral print, giant hoop earrings and a half top. We bought orange juice at Safeway for mix and chugged it in the car while my girlfriends smoked cigarettes. Why are teens in such a terrible urge to grow up? If I could tell my teenage self to cool it, I would’ve. It was always such a push and pull between childhood and adulthood for me.

pink rosette cake slices - coco cake land

Memory two: the taste of my after school snack. Every day we’d get off the bus and stop at 7-11 and I’d get a bag of salty Sun Chips, a pink lemonade (some weird Canadian brand) and either a sleeve of white powdered mini donuts or a package of Hostess cupcakes, the chocolate one with “creme” filling and the white swirl on top. My metabolism was on fire in those days.

a wedge of pink rosette cake - coco cake land

Memory three: Being voraciously hungry/thirsty after basketball practice and coming home from school and pouring the largest glass of milk possible. Chugging it and ruining my appetite for my mom’s ground beef spaghetti and iceberg lettuce with watery-sweet Catalina dressing.

pink rosette cake decorated buttercream cake

So yeah … I survived my 20 year high school reunion over the weekend. It was the most surreal experience. I was nervous going – clammy hands, even. Would the bitches still be bitches? Would my old crushes look like shit? Would people hate ME for some reason?? I was throttled with high school-y like thoughts and obsessions. I had skipped the 10 year reunion because at the time it hadn’t been long enough since high school ended. I was a “different person”, I’d discovered feminism and critical theory – basically I thought I had moved on and was too cool. But 20 years later, as I approach my 38th birthday, with a husband of 8 years and a 2 year old son and 20 years of life-living between me and high school, this time I was drawn to it and I wasn’t sure why.

pink rosette cake slices - coco cake land

It turned out to be soooo hilariously fun, deeply surreal, like stepping into a time warp. Seeing some of my old friends, it felt like yesterday. I sweated through my chambray shirt ripping it up HARD on the dancefloor to some brutal 90s tunes. I hugged and took pictures with everyone. I drove home happy and finished the banh mi that was waiting for me in the fridge. I was fraught with feelings afterward – like, why did that affect me so much? Why did seeing all my old boyfriends bring back giddy emotions, from disgust to giggly fondness?

pink rosette cake slices - coco cake land

For the days after the reunion my brain was fritzing with memory after memory, washing back up onto shore like long lost message bottles. So I processed the shit out of my feelings and came up with this: As a teen, you’re a disgusting cocktail of hormones, explosive emotions, anxiety and insecurity. Every feeling and emotion dug me out with a spoon so deeply, whether they were happy or sad -as a teenager (basically a child), you have no perspective. Everything is SO IMPORTANT. So my memories have scarred me. But now I can finally wear those scars happily and I can look back fondly. My high school experience is like a Safeway sheet cake – oily, sweet, with prettiness and surprises inside, bad for you, nostalgic and addictive. Pass me a plastic fork and I’ll dig right in.

Lomelino’s Cakes: Raspberry Brownie Cake Recipe

chocolate drippy raspberry brownie cake - coco cake land

chocolate drippy raspberry brownie cake - coco cake land

Hazy, pretty, pink – like looking through clouds – this is what one bite of this raspberry brownie cake, frosted in smooth, lightly sweet and airy raspberry meringue buttercream topped with a shiny chocolate glaze will do to your vision. I’ve known Linda of Call Me Cupcake as an online cake friend for many years now – I’ve seen her go from tiny Flickr account to discovering and honing her style to massive internet overtaking thanks to her INSANE talent. She has the ability to create achingly beautiful, cry-worthy-they’re-so-good photographs of perfectly styled cakes, desserts, bread, anything. A picture of her HAND touching a cup of coffee is spectacular. She’s just that brilliant. (I have an interview with her coming up for my series Sugar Crush, too!)

chocolate drippy raspberry brownie cake - coco cake land

She just released her THIRD book in Sweden – this woman is a creative typhoon – and her first book, Lomelino’s Cakes, has been translated to English and released in North America – now us English-speaking hillbillies can get in the kitchen and bake up some of her beautiful recipes.

chocolate drippy raspberry brownie cake - coco cake land

Flipping through the pages of her book, the raspberry brownie cake recipe caught my eye. While making it, I found the process wonderfully methodical and meditative. There are several steps, which forced me to slow it down (I’m so used to slamming together my own anciently-memorized cakes) and read ingredients, follow steps and put it all together.

chocolate drippy raspberry brownie cake - coco cake land

I realized this is the sheer beauty of cookbooks, and this book in particular. Creating individual components and having little victories – like my meringue whipping properly, or bringing my buttercream back to life after it broke (there are tips in the book to fix such things!) or my chocolate glaze coming together shinily and smoothly. Then, bringing all the components together in a perfectly realized cake: deep brownie layers studded with tart raspberries, light buttery raspberry frosting and that thick creamy chocolate glaze dripping happily down the sides. If baking could be mindful meditation, I’d call the recipes in Lomelino’s Cakes ”cake yoga.” So set aside an afternoon for yourself, crank up a podcast, choose an occasion or just bake for the hell of it – then dive in to this raspberry brownie cake.

Raspberry Brownie Cake

12 slices

For The Cake

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 7 ounces dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
  • 1¼ cups light brown sugar
  • ⅔ cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 ¾ cups + 2 tablespoons flour
  • 6 tablespoons cocoa powder (I used Dutch process)
  • 1 teaspoon baking bowder
  • 3½ ounces raspberries, I used fresh but frozen can be substituted

For the Meringue Buttercream

  • 4 large egg whites
  • ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2¼ sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3½ ounces raspberries
  • small amount of pink gel food colouring

For The Chocolate Glaze

  • 3½ ounces dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
  • ½ stick unsalted butter

Make The Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. Butter and flour three 7-inch cake pans. Line with parchment paper circles.
  3. Cut the butter into cubes, and coarsely chop the chocolate. Melt the butter and chocolate together at low heat in a large saucepan. Let cool.
  4. Beat the light brown sugar, granulated sugar and eggs until light and airy, about 3 minutes.
  5. Mix the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder in a separate bowl.
  6. Pour the chocolate and butter mixture into the sugar and egg mixture, and beat to a smooth batter. Sift in the dry ingredients, and mix until the batter is smooth. Divide the batter evenly among the cake pans, and level the surface with an offset spatula. Press a portion of the raspberries into each cake layer; set aside the remainder for decoration.
  7. Bake the layers for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs.

Make The Meringue Buttercream

  1. Pour the egg whites and sugar into a heatproof bowl. Place it on top of a double boiler over a pot of simmering water. Whisk continually until the mixture reaches 150 degrees Farenheit or the sugar crystals have dissolved. Remove the bowl from heat.
  2. Continue to beat the mixture with an electric beater or hand mixer until it is as white and fluffy as a meringue. Beat until the mixture is cool, up to 10 minutes.
  3. Add the butter a little at a time. After all the butter has been incorporated, beat for another 3-5 minutes.
  4. Purée the raspberries in a blender. Press the purée through a fine mesh to remove the seeds.
  5. Mix the purée with the buttercream, beating until smooth. Add a tiny amount of gel colour to make it more pink.

Make The Glaze

  1. Break the chocolate into pieces and dice the butter.
  2. Carefully melt the butter with the chocolate in a saucepan over low heat, and let it cool. The glaze will thicken somewhat but still be fluid.
  3. Once you’ve frosted and filled the cake, add the glaze on top and garnish with the remaining raspberries.

chocolate drippy raspberry brownie cake - coco cake land

Are you dying of dreamy cake-ness yet? Well you’re in luck… To celebrate Linda’s sweet North American book release, I’m giving one lucky reader a hot ‘n fresh copy of Lomelino’s Cakes! Simply leave a comment below telling me what your dream cake flavour is, and what city and country you live in. GIVEAWAY open worldwide and the contest closes November 18th 2014 – Contest is now closed. The winner is: EFI from Athens, Greece (winner drawn at random!) Please email me at lyndsay (at) cococake (dot) com to claim your prize!

chocolate drippy raspberry brownie cake - coco cake land

Many congratulations, sweet Linda, on the release of your book in North America! xo Lyndsay

Raspberry brownie cake recipe from Lomelino’s Cakes by Linda Lomelino, © 2014 by Linda Lomelino. Reprinted by arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications Inc., Boston, MA.

Look Who’s Talking Four: Pineapple Cake

pineapple cake face - coco cake land

Look who’s back… back again! Look who’s back … tell a friend! Pineapple cake, pineapple cake, pineapple cake.

pineapple cake face - coco cake land

These pineapple eyes are smillin’… Sunglasses or not, dude’s a total fruity party animal.

pineapple cake face - coco cake land

Where the pineapple goes, the party goes. CONFETTTTTTTI!!! Flowers, paper bits, whatever ya got!

pineapple cake face - coco cake land

Happy 2nd birthday sweet little Flora! You are an adorable doll! Thanks to mama Elizabeth for the order. Elizabeth is co-creator of a sweet event planning biz here in Vancouver – Double Fantasy. It’s run by artists so you know “u can’t touch this.” Check out their blog to feel the brutally cool vibe. 

Things I’m lovin’ on:

This is a painting. My brain and stomach are so confused!

I just discovered Love, Cake and I’m in …. love!?

These little dudes made me laugh – probably because my 2 year old is weirdly obsessed with touching cacti.

Captivated with this chilling podcast. Are you listening to Serial yet? (PS can I say how much I hate the word podcast? It reminds me of alien body snatchers.)

I love how some people can look at a giant cardboard box and turn it into this cuteness.

Happy pineapple cake face almost-weekend, everyone! xo Lyndsay 

Pretty Palette: Rainbow Petal Cake

rainbow petal cake - coco cake land

rainbow petal cake - coco cake land

I made this cutie-pie tri-coloured petal cake and cute little matching mini cupcakes for Alice to celebrate the upcoming birth of her second babe. I have some thoughts about the petal cake which I will relay here: Man alive, it takes a while to pipe and pull, switch colours, pipe and pull, switch colours and keep on keepin’ on ’til the whole cake is done. I kept singing Patience by Guns N Roses, with memories of my friend Ann’s grade 7 graduation party, slow-dancing in the basement with a boy crush, my hair all crunchy from my hairsprayed poodle perm and just FEELING those lyrics. And I was feeling those lyrics big time once again while piping this cake:

“All we need is just a little patience

(patience)

Mm, yeah…”

Yes, it takes a while to make this petal cake. But I thought it was totally worth it – and imagine all of the colours you can make it! Colour palette ideas galore! In fact, you can even use the petal technique and make it into a fish cake, like I did, hehe!

mini raspberry cupcakes - coco cake land

Alice’s baby shower colours were mint green, lavender, gold and white so I rolled with that colour theme. Loved the colour theme. Totally sweet.

rainbow petal cake - coco cake land

I love finishing any cake with a single berry, or candy, or flag – the cake itself was earl grey and the cupcakes vanilla raspberry – but I just had to get all matchy-matchy on the cake so I added the raspberry. Pretty, simple and now the cake and cupcakes were a family with their raspberry badges.

mini raspberry cupcakes - coco cake land

Have you tried the petal cake technique? All you need is a piping bag fitted with an open circle tip (or three piping bags fitted with three open circle tips, in my case!) and a small offset spatula. Visit this tutorial from The Cake Blog, or there’s also this great video of an ombré cake version from the Boy Who Bakes which really lays it down pat! Thanks again Alice for the fun order – and all the best with baby #2! xo Lyndsay