Mini Sponge Cakes

Have you ever been to a Chinese bakery?

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No? Get out. Right now (it’s the end of you and me). No, but really, please take your lovely self to a Chinese bakery as soon as possible. It is – in one word –incredibleamazingdelicious. Got that?

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As soon as you step in the door, your senses will be assaulted by the sweet scent of fresh bread, as your eyes take in rows and rows of puffy, golden, gorgeous pastries: some topped with sesame seeds, others filled with curry chicken, or black sesame paste, or taro, and all so, so, mouthwateringly tasty.

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Without fail, one of the items on offer will be this mini sponge cake…and if the bakery you visit doesn’t make these, run away as fast as you can. Actually, literally translated from Chinese, these cakes are called “Paper-Wrapped Cakes.” But I think the name “mini sponge cake” sounds a bit more appealing, and accurately sums up the product. Continue reading

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Red Velvet Cheesecake Cake

I first came across this cake – although, perhaps monster would be a better description? – at the Cheesecake Factory in Kansas City, Missouri.

Three of my closest girlfriends and I had spent the day driving (okay, I napped) to Kansas City, screaming our lungs out at Schlitterbahn Waterpark, and doing some pre-dinner shopping at the plaza. Basically, we were four really hungry girls on a mission: dessert first. As we started to peruse the cheesecake section of the menu, we came across a picture of this cake. I think I may have screamed.

The Cheesecake Factory’s version of this cake consists of two layers of their original cheesecake on top of two layers of red velvet cake . . . so I guess my cake is short one cheesecake layer. I would say sorry, but I can’t bring myself to apologize for this level of genius. Although, really, the genius belongs to Recipe Girl, who came up with a brilliant recipe for the cake.

I only modified this a tiny bit, substituting greek yogurt for sour cream (still delicious), and unsweetened applesauce for almost half of the oil. Props to my excellent baking buddy Lauren for noticing the monstrous amount of oil, prompting me to run to the fridge for my unsweetened applesauce stockpile.

Oh, also, if you happen to accidentally leave the eggs out of the cheesecake (not that this happened to me)? I have it on pretty good authority that it will still be delicious. But don’t try that at home!

Lauren and I actually made this cake for our friend Allen’s birthday (Happy Birthday, Allen!), and I think it was pretty well received. Not that it really mattered to us. We decided early on that birthdays are just an excuse to bake our favorite cakes, so . . . I didn’t even check if Allen liked red velvet cake. Sorry I’m not sorry.

Speaking of happy occasions, though, my friend Kat – the same one who toured Paris with me, and was on the Kansas City Cheesecake Factory trip – just got engaged yesterday! Congratulations!!!! So I think this cake is pretty much the best luck in the world. And who can say no to that?

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Vote! (for Cake)

Oh hey, guess what today is? That’s right, it’s Cake Day.

Oh right, I think it’s also . . . ELECTION DAY. I promise, you won’t see a politically related post on this blog for oh, about four more years. But today, I am saying this: Go vote! Just do it. There may be a long line, and you may think that your one vote won’t make a difference, but the truth is that with the right to vote, comes the responsibility to vote.

In honor of today, I really wanted to do an election themed dessert. However, since I decided this late last night, I used a cake mix. I know, I know, it’s not a fancy-pants original dessert, but hey, everyone gets short on time. Using cake mix is not a crime.

I did, however, make my own frosting for . . . cake balls! In case you’ve been living under a rock you haven’t heard, cake balls result when a particularly lovely individual mashes up a delicious, freshly-baked cake, combines it with a whole tub of frosting, and shapes them into spheres. They can then be covered in chocolate coating or, if you’re lazy like me, eaten (gasp) without any coating.

So if you want a quick, easy dessert to accompany the chaos of Election Night, are throwing together an impromptu watching party, or are avoiding the coverage and just want to eat some red white and blue cake . . . this one’s for you. But only if you voted. No cake for the rest of you.

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