Go ahead, ask me what one of my favorite ice cream flavors is. Answer: pistachio, pistachio, and P I S T A C H I O ! But, not just any ice cream labeled pistachio, the rules of winning an ice cream taste off are: must be green in color, must have actual nuts in the mix, and must taste like pistachio pudding mix!

Back in March of this year, I decided to make a friend a few birthday treats in the form of cake balls. After asking what flavors she favors it was revelaed that she and I both have a neverending love for pistachio, so that is what flavor I  decided to use for some cake balls and some cake!

pistachio cake
pistachio cake
pistachio cake balls and cake!




Preheat oven to 325 degrees f. grease and flour a 13" x 9" cake pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt then set aside.

Using an electric mixer on medium speed with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add in the pistachio pudding mix and combine thoroughly.

Beat in the eggs, one at at tie, making sure each is thoroughly incorporated

Mix in 1/2 c. of the chopped pistachios.

Combine the milk, oil and vanilla extract in a large measuring cup or bowl. 

Starting with he dry ingredients, alternate pouring a third of the wet and dry ingredients into the bowl, incorporating thoroughly after each addition. You will end on the wet ingredients. Mix on medium speed for 2 minutes after the last addition.

Pour the cake batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Invert the cake onto a cooling rack and allow to cool.


Once cake has cooled cut cake in half, cross-wise, (reserve one side to make an optional small cake)  using one side, carefully cut off the outer caramelization of the cake (i clearly forgot to do so, my cake balls wound up with unsightly brown spots). once the cake is free of caramelization crumble it up by hand or use a potato masher. Add 1/4 c. of the butter cream and mix throughout the crumbs; add more buttercream until the mixture starts to stick together and can maintain shape.

Roll mixture into 1" balls and layout on wax paper or a baking sheet. Set into the fridge for 15 minutes to semi harden.

Carefully dip cake balls into melted white chocolate, covering all surface area. Layout on wax paper and top with reserved chopped pistachios and sprinkles.

Allow pistachio cake balls to harden, will remain fresh in an air tight container in the refrigerator for 5 days.

3/4 c. unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 c. white granulated sugar

1 (99g) package of jello pistachio pudding

4 eggs

3/4 c. chopped pistachios, reserve 1/4 C. if making cake balls

1 1/4 c. whole milk

1/3 c. canola oil

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour

3 tbsp. cornstarch

4 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt




melted white chocolate chips

1 c. prepared buttercream frosting. (i prefer swiss meringue buttercream) can be flavored with 3 tablespoons of pistachio pudding mix or keep unflavored.

remaining chopped pistachios

green sprinkles


pistachio cake balls and cake!
pistachio cake balls and cake!
pistachio cake balls and cake!
pistachio cake balls and cake!

optional mini cake with remaining cake layer.

pistachio cake balls and cake!




fresh lemons, made-in-oregon olive oil, and a few pantry items come together to make this dense, slightly sweet cake. 





thinly slice lemons, leaving the peel on. discard the top and bottom with stems.

mix the sugar and water in large heavy pot, stir, and set the liquid to a roaring boil. give the mixture a few stirs to make sure the sugar dissolves. reduce heat to a medium-low bubble.

evenly arrange lemon slices into the pot of sugar water. allow slices to bubble for 15 minutes, and carefully flip to the other side, (a chopstick works best for this). continue for an additional 15 minutes. the water mixture will start to reduce to a syrup stage,  and lemon slices should be translucent, remove pan from the stove and allow to cool.


preheat oven to 375 degrees F. butter a 10" round and 2" deep cake pan or two 6" and 3" deep pans. set a piece of parchment paper, cut to fit, inside, spray parchment and sides with non-stick cooking spray and dust with flour. set aside.

beat eggs in a large bowl with a mixer, using the whisk attachment until frothy. gradually add sugar and beat on high speed until mixture is pale, scrap the sides of the bowl. beat until mixture is pale and leaves a ribbon when the whisk is lifted, 6 to 8 minutes.

whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. 

whisk milk, oil, and lemon zest and juice together in a large measuring cup.

add one-third of dry ingredients, then half of wet ingredients to the egg mixture, beating after each addition until smooth, scrapping the bowl between next addition. continue until all are added and well incorporated.

take cooled candied lemon slices and arrange as you wish into the bottom of the prepared cake pan, add two tablespoons of remaining syrup to the lemons.

pour batter onto arranged lemons and set in oven. bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. about 35 minutes for two 6" pans, 50 minutes for a 10" pan. if using a spring form pan place a sheet of foil on the lowest rack to catch any syrup run-off.

cool cake(s) completely on a wire rack. loosen cake from pan with a knife, is using a spring form be careful when loosening the ring, syrup may drip. turn cake(s) onto serving plate, remove parchment paper.

decorate serving plate with remaining candied lemon wheels and serve with fresh whipped cream.



2 large eggs

1 2/3 C. sugar

2 C. flour

1 tsp. baking powder

3/4 tsp. kosher salt

3/4 C. whole milk

1 C. milk extra-virgin olive oil

1 tsp. lightly packed lemon zest

2 tbsp. lemon juice

fresh whipped cream


two lemons sliced, thinly sliced, discard ends

1 1/2 C. water

1 C. granulated sugar

















Did you even know Oregon was an Olive Oil Mill? upon finding this out  I ran through their website top to bottom and couldn't believe it! It so happens that Oregon Olive Mill is a premier purveyor of estate-milled Extra Virgin Olive Oil and home to the only Olioteca in the Pacific Northwest.

Olive Oil is such a huge part of my daily life, I cook, season, marinade, and dress my meals with olive oil in some form of the mentioned ways, everyday. Baking with olive oil is something I've done in the past, and this dense cake was a reminder that I need to do more olive oil cakes in the future. unlike a fluffy traditional cake, an olive oil cake is sturdy and most excellently paired with macerated fruit and extra sauce or even flavored vinegar's.


Thank you Oregon Olive Oil Mill for sponsoring this post! if you live in the area check out their walking tours, EVOO tasting classes, and of course their vineyard and tasting room!



birthday boy's salted dark chocolate caramel + pretzel cake

Birthday's are my favorite! And by favorite I mean; whom ever's birthday it is, they deserve to be the highlight of the day, I want to make you your own special cake, buy you the best gifts, and take you to your favorite meal.. so when it's my husband's day, that means I'll be baking the best cake ever just for him, and we get to have that cake all week long just for us!

start the birthday morning with grand central bakery treats.

start the birthday morning with grand central bakery treats.

Since my husband has a massive sweet tooth -he once had me make a chocolate box cake for ourselves to have for snacking, we ate its' entirety in a weekend- I did my research and knew it had to be a chocolate-something-cake. I found bon appetit magazine had a dark chocolate caramel cake with sea salt. Immediately sold. 

salted dark chocolate caramel cake

To jazz up the recipe even more, I added pretzels and an additional layer of dulce de leche, just in case there was some questions regarding if this cake was all chocolate and no caramel.

salted dark chocolate caramel cake

This cake has become a favorite, the salted caramel, pretzel crunch, and additional pour of dulce de leche make it a solid recipe to keep in your archives!





Preheat oven to 325 F. Lightly coat three 8-inch diameter cake pans with nonstick spray and line bottoms with parchment paper; spray again. Whisky Flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. 

Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat eggs and sugar until pale and doubled in volume, about 4 minutes.  Add mayonnaise and vanilla and beat until just combined. With mixer on low speed, add dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with 1 1/3 c. lukewarm water in 2 additions, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Scrape batter into pans, dividing evenly. 

Bake Cakes, rotating halfway through, until a tester inserted into the centers comes out clean, 25-30 minutes. Transfer pans to wire racks and let cool 20 minutes before turning out onto racks. Let cool completely. 

Frosting and Assembly

Put chocolate in a medium bowl. Bring sugar, corn syrup, and 1/4 c. water to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Boil, swirling pan occasionally and brushing down sides with a wet pastry brush, until mixture turns a deep amber color, 10-12 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in cream (mixture will bubble vigorously). Return to medium heat ad cook, stirring, until smooth, about 2 minutes. Pour caramel over chocolate and stir until mixture is smooth; let cool, stirring occasionally. 

Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat chocolate mixture, gradually adding butter until frosting is thickened and smooth, about 1 minute. Chill, stirring occasionally, until stiff enough to spread easily, 20-25 minutes. 

Place 1 cake layer on a cake stand and spread 1 cup frosting over to to just beyond edges. Sprinkle with 1/4 tsp. salt and place second cake layer on top, pressing down gently. Repeat process with 1 cup frosting and 1/4 tsp. salt. Place third layer on top, and spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Pour dulce de leche over the top of the cake, sprinkle with crushed pretzels and a pinch of maldon flake salt. 

Serve at room temp. Store covered in a refrigerator. 


non stick vegetable spray

2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour

3/4 c. natural unsweetened cocoa powder

1 3/4 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

3 large eggs

1 1/2 c. sugar

1 1/4 c. mayonnaise ( not low-fat)

1 tbsp. vanilla extract


12 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped

3/4 c. sugar

1 tbsp. light corn syrup

1 c. heavy cream

1 1/2 c. ( 3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

3/4 tsp. flaky sea salt

extra virgin olive oil ( for drizzling: optional)

1/4 c. crushed pretzels *optional

1/2 c. dulce de leche * optional

a pinch of maldon flake salt *optional


Original recipe from Bon Appetit with a slight adaptation 

salted dark chocolate and caramel cake




This is the O N L Y dessert you need this holiday season and I mean it! When you think of the holiday's what comes to mind; pies, heaping plates of cookies, warm cinnamon notes, eggnog to either your taste or displeasure, pecan pie, and tree-shaped sugar cookies? Well, I can't give you all of that but what I have for you is two parts pie, three parts cake, one impressive apple pie cheesecake and lots of cinnamon buttercream layered up into a tripple layered gargantuan tower of decadent holiday dessert, the piecaken!! Say it with me PIE-CAKE-IN! Part pie, part cake, AND all the dessert you will need until NYE!

So how did this behemoth Pie Cake combo come about? Well online, it came to my attention after reading about it online. After a little research, I realized this was a dessert not commonly found nor even available for purchase in my neck of the states so I took all matters into my own hands. After a few sketches (yep this cake had a rough draft) and even talking through timelines I made it happen. 

While the concept of making a Piecaken seemed easy enough it would be deciding what pie flavors to include that proved to be the hardest part. I wrote out what I would like to see in a Piecaken and started to source out recipes. I picked recipes I've tried in the past and used companies and cookbooks that I favor.  For this massive three-layered Piecaken I was going to make three separate pie layers and find a buttercream that would tie them all together without overpowering the flavor of each. That's where my trusty Italian Meringue Buttercream comes in, light and airy and can take any flavoring and make it shine with either a heavy hand or can be a backdrop to a cake with a light addition of flavor.

My end product was a massive three layers, three separate pie flavors, and ultimately had two whole pies baked right in. On top of the pies there herehere was over a pound of buttercream, used over eight separate recipes and took three days to construct (remember Rome wasn’t built in a day). You'll see I didn't do a half-ass attempted Piecaken with store-bought pies. I went high quality using Grand Central Bakery’s pre-made pie crust -as I've had terrible luck with my own crust- and I know how well GCB's works. One more thing you'll notice is I also used GCB's pumpkin and pecan pie recipes too. For the remainder of the recipes I used Yolanda Gampp's Italian Meringue Buttercream, it's magic! For the apple pie layer cake I used Momofuku milk bar apple pie layer cake recipe’s and technique's for the cake, including the liquid cheesecake, apple cider soak, and apple compote.

Don't let this Piecaken scare you, it was not labor intensive at all, the recipes were easy and the ingredients weren't rare. If anything, the the three separate added length to the process but it is all so so worth it! The ingredients are all commonly found in your grocery store and if you live here in foggy Portland you’ve surely visited a Grand Central Bakery a time or two! Just like the chicken and waffles is to the screen door here in Portland,  I hope the piecaken is to my house at Christmas time!

piecaken by maxene's trail of crumbs

Assembling this massive piecaken was a lengthy three day process for me, I doubt anyone would ever take three days to make and assemble a cake. However, I work full time days and have an hour commute on top of my schedule, so my free time on weeks nights runs pretty tight. Since I am a bit of a frantic mess in the kitchen and am just learning the process of cleaning as I go, rather than at the end –hello there you trail of crumbs- I am not the most efficient with my time management.  to lessen my load of this huge piecaken undertaking I decided to strategize out the assembly days in advance. I figured out the order each recipe would need to be completed prior to moving on to the next recipe, and then the next, and so on. I also wrote out a list of all of the questionable ingredients and did some heavy kitchen inventory, so that I was well prepared and not having to run out mid-recipe to purchase missing ingredients.

Here’s the breakdown of how I prepared this gargantuan piecaken (I thought each recipe out very carefully and wrote down a baking timeline a few days in advance). You may follow any schedule, but beware, you can’t make the cake without the pies being completed or you’re not making a piecaken.  I do not recommend preparing any recipe -like the pie fillings- and not baking those the day you prepared them. I have never cooked pie fillings the day after mixing and am not sure how well they will hold up, plus there’s a reason we don’t do that with recipes anyhow. 

my first piecaken #piecaken


DAY 1:

  • Prepare and blind bake dough into 8-inch or 9-inch pie shells. Let cake cool completely.
  • Prepare pumpkin pie filling, bake into crust and let cool completely. Trim excess pie crust.
  • Prepare pecan pie filling, bake and let cool completely. Trim excess pie crust

DAY 2:

  • Prepare cake batter, bake pies into cake batter. Bake third cake layer, this one will be without a pie. Let all three cakes cool completely.
  • Trim and level all cakes so they will stack nicely.
  •  Prepare apple pie fillings; apple compote, apple cider soak, and liquid cheese cake, let all cool completely.

DAY 3:

  • Prepare cinnamon infused italian meringue butter cream.
  • Stack cake layers and ensure they line up well before frosting, trim any access.


DAY 1:

  • Prepare and bake pumpkin and pecan pie

DAY 2:

  • Bake prepared pies into cake batter

DAY 3:

  • Prepare Italian meringue buttercream and assemble the piecaken!
my first piecaken


-lets start stacking and building our colossal piecaken-

  • starting with an even surface and a ruler, level the top of the cake. reserve any scraps as they can be used to  back fill the pie layers.  here's a great video on how to level your cake.
  •  to start stacking; begin with a pie layer, crust side down. if the pie did not come out level fill any gaps with buttercream and or cake scraps. using a piping bag add a generous butter cream boarder to the perimeter of the cake. this is the foundation to hold our next layer. repeat the same process with the next layer.
  • stack both piecaken layers.
  • add the final leveled cake layer. now we have a few more steps before we can do our final frosting coat. 
  •  for the top cake layer; using a pastry evening  brush the apple cider soak to the top of the cake. be generous, half or more of the soak should be used. next, using the butter cream, pipe a boarder around the perimeter of the cake layer.
  • using the back of a spoon, spread liquid cheesecake evenly within the buttercream boarder. use all or almost all of the liquid cheesecake. it doesn't hurt to be generous with this part at all.
  • lastly, add a healthy drained-dose of the apple pie compote to the top of the liquid cheese cake.
  • now add any remaining buttercream frosting to the sides of the stacked piecaken. using the straight edge of a bread knife, or a bench scraper, clean up any excess with a bench scraper
  • use any remaining frosting and frost sides of stacked piecaken, style to your liking. if looking for a cleaner edge like i used, use the back of a bread knife or a bench scraper
  • put into the refrigerator for at least an hour to firm up any loose pieces.
  • bring out 1 hour before serving (an hour at minimum); I had slices left out over night at room temp, since I didn't want to waste any cake i ate them and was absolutely happy how well it tasted the next day! (it was also very cold in my apt) but room temp allows all of the flavors to be released and settle.
  • to store this massive piecaken; I just went ahead and cut individual slices, wrapped them neatly in wax paper and then covered them in foil and stored in the fridge. I was able to hand out cake slices at work and stored a few slices in the freezer, which I am still pulling out!

-helpful to have-

  • candy thermometer that reads up to or above 150
  • turn table/ counter-top lazy susan
  • standing kitchen aid mixer
  • an offset spatula 
  • piping bag(s)
  • three 9-in or 10-in cake pans, pie needs to be able to snuggle into the pan or you’ll be trimming excess crust/ pie (which is that even a real statement, excess pie anything?) if you don’t happen to have three of the same size anything, and don’t want to bake one cake at a time, (like myself, I had two 9” and one 8”  -you can see how some of my cake got more frosting on the outside.

i used recipes that i have used in previous baking adventures so i had a good understanding of what this cake would taste like. feel free to adjust your piecaken as you please, this is just how i 


recipe from Grand Central Bakery, direct link by clicking here.


preheat oven to 325 F

1.  put corn syrup and brown sugar in a heavy saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves. remove from heat and add the butter, bourbon and vanilla. let the mixture cool, then add the eggs and whisk until smooth.

2.  arrange pecans halves on the bottom of the crust, then carefully pour the filling over them. bake on center rack for 45 minutes, until filling is set, rotating the pan halfway through baking time.

3. allow pie to cool before serving



1 grand central bakery u-bake pie shell, blind baked

1 C light corn syrup

¾ C light brown sugar, packed

2 tbsp unsalted butter

¼ C bourbon

1 tsp vanilla

3 eggs, at room temp

1 1/2 C lightly toasted pecan halves.


recipe from Grand Central Bakery, direct link to recipe by clicking here.

pumpkin pie recipe from grand central bakery

1 grand central bakery u-bake pie shell, blind baked

1 15-ounce can pumpkin pie puree

1 ½ C half and half

2 eggs

½ C granulated sugar

¼ C light brown sugar, packed

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp ground clove

Pinch salt

preheat oven to 325 F

whisk all of the ingredients together in a large bowl, stirring until the mixture is homogenous, creamy and smooth.

pour filling into a blind-baked pie shell and carefully place on the center rack of the oven. bake 30 minutes and 325 degrees F, rotate the pie and lower the oven temperature to 300 degrees F. bake for another 30 minutes, or until pumpkin pie filling is set and top of the pie is just beginning to darken.

allow pie to cool before serving.


pre-made from grand central bakery, direct link to recipe by clicking here.

blind bake a pie crust using GCB pre-rolled pie dough, fitted to 8-inch or 9-inch pie pan, folded and edges crimped.

to blind bake:

1.       Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2.       Use a fork to prick the bottom of a slightly thawed grand central bakery pie shell. This allows steam to escape and prevent bubbles from forming on the bottom of the crust.

3.       Cover pie with a piece of baking parchment paper or foil and fill with 2 to 3 cups of dried beans. Bank beans high along the edges; this helps to keep the crust from sagging.  Protect the edges from burning by covering edges with foil.

4.       Bake the crust for about 30 minutes, or until crust edges are dark golden brown.

5.       Remove from oven. Carefully lift out parchment paper with beans. Return the crust to the oven for 5 minutes, or until bottom crust is slightly dry and pale golden brown.

6.       Remove from oven and let cool to room temp before filling


recipe from Milk Bar, direct link to recipe by clicking here or buy the book here.

barely brown butter cake from christina tosi's apple pie layer cake recipe

combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrap down the sides of the bow, add the eggs, and mix on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl once more

stream in the butter milk, oil, and vanilla while the paddle swirls on low speed. Increase the speed to medium,-high and paddle 5 to 6 minutes, until the mixture is practically white, twice the size of your original fluffy butter-and-sugar mixture, and completely homogenous. you’re basically forcing too much liquid into an already fatty mixture that doesn’t want to make room for it, so if it doesn’t look right after 6 minutes, keep mixing. stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.

on very low speed, add the cake flour, baking poweder, and salt. mix for 45 to 60 seconds, just until your batter comes together and any remnants of dry ingredients have been incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. mix on low speed for another 45 seconds to ensure that any little lumps of cake flour are incorporated.

bake 30 to 35 minutes

4 tbsp unsalted butter

1 ¼ C granulated sugar

¼ C light brown sugar, tightly packed

3 eggs

½ C buttermilk

1/3 C grapeseed oil

½ tsp vanilla extract

1 ½ C cake flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp kosher salt

Pam or other non-stick spray


recipe from Milk Bar, direct link by clicking here, or here

apple cider soak from christina tosi's apple pie layer cake recipe

1/4 C apple cider

1 tsp brown sugar, tightly packed

a pinch of cinnamon

whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl until the sugar is dissolved




 recipe from Milk Bar, direct link by clicking here, or here

liquid cheesecake from christina tosi's apple pie layer cake

pre-heat oven to 300 degrees f

put cream cheese in the bowl of stand mixer fitter with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed for 2 minutes. scrape down the side of the bowl with a spatula. add the sugar and mix for 1 to 2 minutes, until the sugar has been completely incorporated. scrape down the sides of the bowl.

whisk together the cornstarch and salt in a medium bowl. whisk in the milk in a slow stead stream, then whisk in the egg until the slurry is homogeneous.

with the mixer on medium-low speed. stream in the egg slurry. paddle for 3 to 4 minutes, until the mixture is smooth and loose. scrape down the sides of the bowl.

line the bottom and sides of a 6 x 6-inch baking pan with plastic wrap. pour the cheesecake batter into the pan, put the pan in the oven, and bake for 15 minutes. gently shake the pan. the cheesecake should be firmer and more set toward the outer boundaries of the baking pan but still jiggly and loose in the dead center. if the cheesecake is jiggly all over, give it 5 minutes more. and 5 minutes more if it needs it, but it’s never taken me more than 25 minutes to under bake one. if the cheesecake rises more than ¼-inch or begins to brown, take it out of the oven immediately.

cool the cheesecake completely, to finish the baking process and allow the cheesecake to set. the final product will resemble a cheesecake but it will be pipe able and pliable enough to easily spread or smear, while still having body and volume.

8 ounces cream cheese

¾ C sugar

½ tsp cornstarch

½ tsp kosher salt

2 tbsp milk

1 egg


makes about 1 1/2 cups

APPLE PIE FILLING, recipe from Milk Bar, direct link by clicking here, or here.

apple pie filling from christina toni's apple pie layer cake

fill a medium bowl halfway with cold tap water. juice the lemon into it. fish out and discard any seeds. you will use this lemon water to keep your apple pieces looking fresh and pert.

peel the apples, then halve and quarter them. put each apple quarter on its side and cut a small slice down the length of the apple to remove the seeds and core. cut each apple quarter lengthwise into thirds and then crosswise into fourths, leaving you with 12 small pieces from every apple quarter. transfer these pieces to the lemon water as you go.

when you’re ready to cook, drain the apples (discard the lemon water) and combine them in a medium pot with the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. slowly bring to a boil over medium heat, using a spoon to gently stir the mixture as it heats up and the apples begin to release liquid. reduce the heat and simmer the apples gently for 3 to 5 minutes. be careful not to cook the apples so much that they turn into applesauce.

transfer to a container and put in the fridge to cool down. once completely cooled, the filling can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 1 week; do not freeze. 

1 lemon

2 medium granny smith apples

1 tsp butter

2/3 C light brown sugar, tightly packed

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp kosher salt


makes about 1 ¾ cups



frosting can be found by clicking here.

cinnamon infused Italian meringue buttercream frosting by yolanda gampp

in a small saucepan over medium heat, bring sugar and ½ c water to a boil.

while your sugar mixture is heating, place egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. when your sugar reaches about 230 degrees on the candy, begin to whip egg whites at medium-high speed until stuff but not dry; do not over beat!

once your sugar reaches 240 degrees, remove it from heat immediately, and with the mixer running, add it to your egg whites in a stream and beat on high speed. be careful, it's very hot!

continue to whip your meringue until no heat remains in the bowl. you can place your hands along the sides of the bowl to check - it should feel like it's at room temperature. 

now, with the mixer still running, add your butter bit by bit, beating until spreadable, 3 to 5 minutes; then, beat in vanilla. If your buttercream appears curdled, keep beating until smooth.  

finally, taste your Italian Meringue Buttercream. to flavor your buttercream. take a small amount of buttercream from the batch, about ½ C and place it in another bowl. add the cinnamon, a little at a time, and stir it into the buttercream. make sure cinnamon is well incorporated before introducing buttercream in your whole batch. stir well until all of your italian meringue buttercream is specked with cinnamon.

1 ¾ C granulated sugar

½ C water

8 large egg whites

1 pound unsalted butter, room temperature

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 tsp ground cinnamon


makes approximately 6 cups

here's a great instructional video made by yolanda.


all recipes used have been cited with a direct link back to their original author. if a link is no longer working, please comment below and i will fix it.

my first piecaken
my first piecaken

here's my first piecaken ever! 

three days of baking and assembly to make this massive heavy ass cake

my first piecaken