Category Archives: Cakes

Rhubarb Crumb Cake

I had a mad craving for some New York style crumb cake last week.  I obsessed over the idea for like, five days.  Which is weird since that’s about as much time as I’ve ever actually spent in NYC.  And whilst there I didn’t even have any crumb cake.  Hmmm.

Anyway… so this post is about the crumb cake, but more than that, it’s about this.

Rhubarb.  My most beloved vegetable-that-we-eat-like-a-fruit.  It grows well here in NWPA so we have several plants in our garden.  They come back every year and need very little care (my favorite kind of plant).

Have you ever gone to buy fresh rhubarb in the spring at the grocery store?  I don’t know how much it is where you are but around here it costs $6/pound.  (!!!) And it’s only available once in a while.  I don’t get why everyone doesn’t just grow their own.

Unless you are one of those people who’ve never had it or think you don’t like it.  I’ve come across you folk before.  I know.  It looks like celery.  And yes, the leaves are poisonous.  But it is a thing of beauty, a true sign of spring and all the fresh fruits and vegetables that will follow in it’s wake.  Made into a crisp, a pie, a cobbler, a coffee cake, it is sweet and tart and with a flavor all it’s own.  It goes delightfully with strawberries, raspberries, even apples.  I love it best on it’s own though.  Rhubarb pie is actually my favorite “fruit” pie.

My rhubarb in my garden often doesn’t get red.  Contrary to what you may read, there is nothing wrong with green rhubarb.  It just looks dreadful when baked into a pie with nothing else to redden it up.  Very soon, I’ll be putting up my strawberry rhubarb pie recipe.  But anyway, today, as you can see, I had some beautiful red rhubarb to pull out of my garden so I did.

First, mix up your dry ingredients.  To 140 grams of our gluten free flour blend we’re going to add 1/2 tsp Baking Powder, 1/2 tsp Baking Soda, and 1/4 tsp salt.  Whisk that all up and set it aside.

Next, in your mixer, combine 1/4 cup of oil with 1/2 cup of sugar.  Add an egg…

…1/2 tsp vanilla, and 1/2 cup sour cream.  (Blue nails!  Yikes!)

Turn the mixer down to low and add in the dry ingredients slowly.  Your batter will look like this when you’re done.

Spread the batter into a greased 8″x8″ pan.

Next, we’re going to chop up 2 cups of rhubarb and add a couple teaspoons of cornstarch, 1/4 cup of sugar (you really don’t need more in this case since we’re going to cover the whole thing in sugary crumbs in a second here), and 1/2 tsp ground ginger.  I had no idea until recently how well ginger suits rhubarb!  Cinnamon is wonderful too if you’re averse to ginger.

Toss that around until it’s all nice and coated and sprinkle it over the top of the batter.

Finally, let’s make the crumb topping.  Melt a stick of butter in a bowl and add 1/3 cup brown sugar (this is dark brown but you can use light if that’s what you have on hand), 1/3 cup sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, and a pinch of salt.  Once this is combined, you can start working in 250 grams of flour (whatever kind you use!).

It makes a fairly solid dough.  Now, the fun part.  Grab roughly equal size hunks of your ball of dough and put them all over the top of your beautiful rhubarb.  You can go as big or small as you like with the crumbs.  Your choice!

I left mine kinda big as you can see.  This is straight out of the (325 degree) oven about 45 minutes later.  The house smells AMAZING.

We totally didn’t wait until it was cool to cut into it.  Nom.  Sweet and tart and buttery.  This cake is soft and fragrant – such a wonderful early summer treat.  We ate it for dessert one night and then again for breakfast the next morning.  It’s versatile like that 😀

You know it’s going to come to this.

Enjoy!

Rhubarb Crumb Cake

(cake adapted from Ina Garten, crumb topping adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

For the cake:

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup sugar

1 extra large egg

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 tsp vanilla

140 grams AP GF Flour Mix (or 1 cup of regular wheat flour)

1/2 tsp Baking Soda

1/2 tsp Baking Powder

1/4 tsp salt

For the rhubarb filling:

2 cups sliced rhubarb

1/4 cup sugar

2 tsp cornstarch

1/2 tsp ground ginger

For the crumbs:
1/3 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

a pinch of salt

a stick of butter, melted

250 grams AP GF Flour Mix (or 1 3/4 cups regular wheat flour)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease an 8″x8″ glass baking pan.

For the cake – in a small bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (or a hand mixer or a whisk – whatever you’ve got), mix the oil and sugar on medium speed.  Add the egg, sour cream, and vanilla.

Turn mixer down to low and slowly add in the dry ingredients, scraping down the sides to make sure it’s all incorporated.  Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth.

Combine sliced rhubarb, cornstarch, sugar, and ginger.  Toss to coat and spread in an even layer over the batter.

For the crumbs – combine brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, and salt with melted butter until homogenous.  Mix in flour until you have a fairly solid dough.  Tear off roughly equal size nuggets (you can really go as small or big as you like with the crumbs) to cover the rhubarb.

Bake about 45 minutes, until a tester comes out clean.

Allow to cool before cutting into.

Serves 9-12.

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Banana Coconut Cakelettes with Lime Glaze

Here in NW PA we had the most beautiful March ever.  Weeks of summer-like temperatures following the mildest winter anyone alive can remember.

So this April – with it’s very normal, seasonal weather – it’s been kind of a drag.

My longing for warmer weather lead me to these little beauties.  Combining the flavors of banana, coconut, lime, and good ol’ Caribbean rum, they remind me of our cruises we took so very long ago.

The banana in the cake makes it sturdy enough to pick up and eat like a cupcake.  These little bundt cakes are moist and fragrant and pretty enough to put out for company.

One quick note on the rum – I used a small amount of Malibu Coconut Rum in the glaze.  You don’t have to.  You can use milk if you like.  There is some disagreement in the GF community as to whether or not distilled liquors are truly gluten free.  The general consensus seems to be yes, they’re okay, but many celiacs choose not to consume them to be on the safe side.  This is pretty much what the Malibu FAQ says as well.

I used my mini Bundt pan but if you don’t have one of these you can use a cupcake pan.  It should make about a dozen.

We’re going to start by mixing our wet ingredients.  I put mine in the food processor but you certainly don’t have to.  Mix 1 cup mashed bananas, 2 Tbsp sour cream, 2 Tbsp sugar, and a can of Cream of Coconut.  I didn’t even bother taking a picture before this my bananas were so dark and abused looking.  But they’re perfect for this purpose 🙂  So…moving on…

Zest a lime into the bowl.  Save that lime.  You’re gonna need the juice in a minute.

And crack in two eggs.

Mix it all up (or puree like I did).

Next, in a large bowl (or the bowl of your stand mixer – as apparently I was feeling uber lazy this morning), measure out 200 grams of flour.

See those digits?!?  This was literally every single gram of flour I had ready made.  This made me soooooo happy.  I thought I was going to have to make some more of my GF flour blend but I had just enough.  Of course if you don’t have to worry about gluten then by all means, use regular flour.  200 grams of regular flour is a scant 1 1/2 cups.

To your flour, add 1 tsp EACH baking powder, baking soda, and xanthan gum (only if using GF flour).  Add 1/2 tsp salt.  This is my cool new sliding measuring spoon.  I love it for dry ingredients because I don’t have to dirty every spoon in the drawer.

Whisk that all up or turn your stand mixer on low and let it go for a minute to homogenize and aerate it.

While that’s going, grab a paper towel and wipe down the cavities of your pan with oil.  I’m not a fan of Pam.  It gets all up in the air and settles on everything in the kitchen.  This does just as good of a job and only takes a few seconds longer.  Just make sure you get into all the ridges so your cakes come out cleanly.

Now, to our dry mix we’re going to add 10 Tbsp butter.  The butter must be softened to room temp.  The magic formula I’ve found for my microwave is 35 seconds at 20% power.  That’s for a full stick.  Your microwave is probably a little different.  The makers of mine thought to put a special “melt butter” setting but not one for softening.  Obviously someone who doesn’t bake.  Anyway…turn the mixer on low…

…and drizzle in the banana mixture.  Turn the mixer up to medium speed and run for a minute or so.

…until the mixture is smooth and uniform like this.

Pour batter into the wells of your pan.  If you only have one mini Bundt pan like I do you can either do this in two batches (this recipe makes 9 cakelettes), or you can make cupcakes out of the remainder like I did today.  I filled the empty wells with water.  Supposed to promote more even baking.  Or something.  I’m honestly not sure.

Pop these in the oven at 350 degrees.  Cupcakes take about 22 minutes in my oven.  The cakelettes take more like 32.

Here they are straight out of the oven.  Don’t worry if there’s no hole in the middle anymore.  That will make for a nice glaze catch in a minute here.

Speaking of glaze, let’s do that now.  In a small bowl, mix 1 cup of powdered sugar, 1 Tbsp Coconut Rum and 1 Tbsp lime juice.  Stir that up.  The glaze should be very thick but still pourable.

Remove cakes from the pan, using your fingertips to gently pull the cakes out of their wells.  Place them on a cooling rack and let cool completely.  Slide a sheet of wax paper underneath…

…and drizzle glaze over the tops of the cakes.  Trust me, you don’t have to try to coax it to drip down the sides, it will do that on it’s own.

It’s possible I maybe didn’t wait until the cakes were totally cool.  Maybe.  Which made my glaze drippier than usual.  No matter.   Clean-up’s easy since we put the wax paper under the rack first.

The coconut is a background player on this one.  Subtle, but definitely there.  If you wanted a stronger coconut flavor you could easily toast some sweetened shredded coconut and toss it on top of the still sticky glaze.  That would be very pretty as well.

And there we have it!  Soft, sweet, tender banana cake, complex with the flavors of the coconut and the lime and the rum.  So yummy and so not your standby wintertime baked banana fare.

Because we’re dreaming of warmer days….

Enjoy!

Banana Coconut Cakelettes with Malibu Lime Glaze

1 cup mashed very ripe bananas

2 Tbsp sour cream

1 small can Cream of Coconut (8.75 oz)

zest of 1 lime

2 Tbsp sugar

2 eggs

10 Tbsp butter, softened

200 grams AP GF Flour Mix (or regular flour)

1 tsp Baking Powder

1 tsp Baking Soda

1 tsp Xanthan Gum (only if using GF flour)

1/2 tsp salt

oil for greasing pan

For the glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar

1 Tbsp Malibu Coconut Rum

1 Tbsp fresh lime juice

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Coat a mini-bundt pan with oil, making sure to get it in all the ridges so the cakes won’t stick when you go to get them out.

In a small bowl (or in a food processor) whisk together the mashed bananas, sour cream, cream of coconut, sugar, lime zest, and eggs.

Measure 200 grams flour into the bowl of a stand mixer.  Add the softened butter and turn the mixer on low.  Drizzle in the banana mixture until moistened then turn the mixer up to medium.  Let run for a minute or so until smooth and uniform.

Fill each cavity about 2/3 full.  This recipe makes 9 mini-cakes so if you only have one pan you can either do this in two batches or bake the remainder as cupcakes.

Bake 30-35 minutes.  Remove to a cooling rack and allow to sit 15 minutes.  Use your fingertips to ease the cakes out of the pan.  Allow to cool completely.

Make your glaze.  In a small bowl combine the powdered sugar, coconut rum, and lime juice.  Drizzle over cooled cakes.

Makes 9 cakelettes.

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Funnel Cake with Chocolate Hazelnut Cream Sauce

Soooo… I got a deep fryer for Christmas.  I can admit it.

I can admit it NOW, that is… in February.  It’s been hiding under the bench in my kitchen.  I’ve secretly wanted to get one for years but I didn’t want to be that lady.  The lady that deep fries oreos and wears a mumu.  You know who I’m talking about.

Anyway, my mom (who got me my deep fryer, btw) had one of these when I was a kid.  She only used it once in a long long while.  And to my knowledge she only ever made one thing with it – funnel cake.

Did your eyes just light up thinking about amusement park/county fair funnel cake?  With the powdered sugar and maybe a little chocolate sauce drizzled all over it???

If they didn’t I have to say I doubt your claims of American citizenship.  You know you love it.  And if you’re here because you’re gluten free then breathe a sigh of relief because you can do this too.  As good as doughnuts but so much easier.  And yes, this is a “sometimes food” to be sure…

But folks, let’s do this in honor of Fausnaught Day! (Coincidentally my mom’s favorite holiday as a child.  More on that in some other post…) It’s the German version of Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday/the day before Catholics give up something for lent.  It literally means “doughnut day”.  And it’s this Tuesday so let’s make some funnel cake people!

It would just be wrong not to.

The basis for the funnel cake is a basic pate a choux dough, the same stuff used to make cream puffs, eclairs, profiteroles, gougeres, etc.  It works well gluten free because it mostly consists of eggs, water, and butter and not a whole lot of flour.

Start by pouring one cup of water into a small saucepan.  That picture is from when I made a double batch.  Unless you’re feeding like 25 people just do as I say, not as I did.

Add in a half teaspoon of salt.

…and a stick of butter.  (I know.  Grab your Rosaries now.)

Bring that to a simmer over high heat.

Once simmering, turn the heat down to medium and quickly stir in 4 oz of flour.  Gluten free or regular flour a mi no me importa.

The flour will soak up the water quickly, leaving you with a glistening weirdly elastic dough that pulls away from the sides of the pot when you stir it.  Remove the pot from the heat for a couple minutes.  We want our dough to cool down just a bit before we add our eggs.

This is what happens to your dough after whisking in 4 extra large eggs one at a time.  Actually I used large eggs ’cause that’s what I had.  You use extra large though, okay?  Thanks.

Now for this next part you do NOT need a deep fryer.  If you have one that’s great.  Set it to 350 degrees.  Otherwise, just grab a large, heavy-bottomed pot and fill it with at least 2 inches of oil.  If you have a deep fry/candy thermometer to monitor the temp so much the better.  Canola oil works well here.  Don’t use olive oil (in case you were thinking about making this “healthy”).  It has a low smoke point and cannot be used in this case.

I used a spoon to drizzle my batter in but you could always just pour it from a pyrex with a spout or you could try piping it in.  All fine for this purpose.  The great thing about funnel cake is that it’s supposed to look like a big ol’ mess!  Cook it until it’s golden on all sides (being careful, as always, around hot oil – that means kids out of the kitchen!)

Ooooh!  So excited!

Grab a…what are these called again?  A sieve?  A strainer?  (Is this what happens as you get older?) One of THESE – and dust with powdered sugar.

Now for the extra fun/naughty part.  Grab some cream and that jar of Nutella sitting in your cupboard.  PLEASE tell me you keep a jar of Nutella in the house at all times!  If you just said “no” I beg you to put it on your grocery list immediately.  I promise you won’t regret it.  (Unless you’re allergic to hazelnuts, dairy, or chocolate of course!  Then you can just skip this last section altogether.)

Mix equal parts Nutella and cream.  I think I have about a 1/2 cup of each here.  Microwave for about 15 seconds…

…and mix until it becomes a glorious, warm, chocolatey sauce.

Now you could just drizzle the whole thing in the chocolate hazelnut sauce.  That would be wonderfully messy.  Or you could keep the bowl out and just let everyone dip.  That’s what we did.

If there is a heaven, I have to believe there is a guy there selling funnel cake…for free.

Happy Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday/Fausnaught Day everyone!

And enjoy!

Funnel Cake

1 cup water

1/2 tsp salt

1 stick butter

4 oz (weight) AP GF Flour Mix (or regular flour)

4 extra large eggs

powdered sugar for dusting

canola oil for frying

Instructions:

In a small saucepan heat water, salt, and butter over high heat until simmering.

Turn down the heat to medium and quickly whisk in flour.  Remove pot from the heat and let sit a couple minutes to cool slightly.

Add eggs in one at a time, stirring after each to incorporate before adding the next.

If using a deep fryer, follow the instructions that come with the machine and set at 350 degrees.  If using a large, heavy pot, fill it at least 2 inches deep with canola or peanut oil and heat to 350 degrees.  A deep fry/candy thermometer is a lifesaver here!  Otherwise it’s a guessing game trying to keep your oil at the temp you want it.

Pour/spoon/pipe in batter in swirls and cook until golden, flipping once very carefully.

Dust with powdered sugar

For the Chocolate Hazelnut Sauce:

Mix equal parts Nutella and cream (heavy/light it doesn’t matter).  Microwave on high for 15 seconds and stir to combine.  Serve alongside funnel cake for dipping.

Makes 2-3 good size funnel cakes.

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Double Chocolate Cupcakes with “Fluffy” Whipped Cream

I think I’m on a chocolate kick.

I realize it’s been like a week since I’ve last updated on here.  It’s been a crazy couple weeks of trying to overhaul our entire upstairs.  Getting close to finishing up phase one.  And it’s not that I haven’t been cooking.  Far from it.  I just haven’t been taking pictures at the same time.  I did, however, peruse a Food Photography book at Barnes and Noble for like 15 minutes last night while waiting to get my eight year old from gymnastics.  I flipped through it and got overwhelmed with the vast oceans of photographic/technology knowledge I am lacking and put it back on the shelf.

Baby steps.

Anyway.  So the chocolate… We’ve had a glorious summer of fresh, local fruits and vegetables – and we’ve loved and devoured every second of it.  But, if you know me, you know I always say “If it’s not chocolate – it doesn’t count as dessert.”  It’s like my brain had forgotten and has now finally remembered my most favorite food.  Like an old friend, her high school note to me buried under boxes of junk in a closet that hasn’t been touched in years.  Okay, not the best analogy but it gives you a little snapshot of my week of cleaning/re-organizing/updating/generally trashing our upstairs.

These cupcakes I actually made last weekend and intended to show you guys days ago and just never got around to writing about.  They are nicely balanced Devils Food cupcakes with ganache filling and “Fluffy” Whipped Cream on top.  I’m not a huge fan of buttercream frostings (I know, shocking), so these were just perfect.  The cupcake recipe comes straight out of my old Better Homes and Gardens generic cover-everything cookbook (adapted to be gluten free).  The ganache is basic ganache like we made last week for the Salted Caramel Squares, and the Whipped Cream topping is from Bobby Flay’s Burgers, Fries, and Shakes cookbook I got a couple Christmas’s ago.  It uses Marshmallow Fluff to give the whipped cream a mouse-like consistency.  Yummy.

You can use the Devil’s Food cupcake recipe I’ve given below or you can use your own, or a box mix.  Whatever floats your boat.  I’m gonna give you guys lots of credit and assume you know how to mix up and bake cupcakes.    Or I might just be using that as an excuse for the lack of pictures pre-baked stage.  In any case – here is one of my purdy little cupcakes.  That’s me taking my vegetable peeler and coring them.  You can save the cores if you want.  Maybe make some cake pops later if you’re feeling ambitious.  Or if you’re like me you can just eat them.  All.

Here is my leftover ganache from earlier in the week.  Nom.

Now grab your baby spoon the hospital gave you and fill the holes with ganache.

Here we have our Fluffy Whipped Cream, beaten with the whisk attachment to stiff peaks.

You can cover your cupcakes however you like but I quickly piped the whipped cream on using a #12 round tip.

And then dusted them with cocoa powder.  Beautiful!

I love it when there’s a surprise in the middle!  Uh oh.  Someone heard mommy say chocolate.  I’m pretty sure that food photography book would advise moving the baby bouncy seat before taking the shot.  Oh well.

“Yes baby.  Go ahead.  But don’t tell your brother I let you eat it before dinner.”

It pays to be in the right place at the right time 🙂

Enjoy!

Double Chocolate Cupcakes with Fluffy Whipped Cream

Cupcake (adapted from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook)

300 g All Purpose Gluten Free Flour Blend (if using regular AP wheat flour this works out to 2 1/4 cups)

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 tsp Baking Soda

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 3/4 cups sugar

1 tsp vanilla

3 eggs

1 1/3 cups water

Basic Ganache

4 oz (1/2 cup) Heavy Cream

4 oz Chocolate Chips

Fluffy Whipped Cream (from Bobby Flay’s Burgers, Fries, and Shakes)

2 cups Heavy Cream

2 Tbsp Sugar

1/2 cup Marshmallow Fluff

2 tsp Vanilla Extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 2 muffin/cupcake tins with foil or paper baking cups.   I actually had enough batter to make 27 cupcakes.  I must have erred on the small side.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour (whatever kind you’re using), cocoa, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl (or the bowl of your stand mixer), mix eggs with sugar until light and creamy looking.  Add oil, vanilla, and water.

Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet.  Mix until well combined and smooth.

Pour into baking cup lined cupcake tins.

Bake 20-25 minutes.

Allow to cool.

While cupcakes are cooling make your ganache and whipped cream.

For ganache, put chocolate chips in a bowl and set aside.  Pour a half cup of heavy cream into a microwave-safe vessel (I just use a coffee cup), and nuke until boiling.  Pour hot cream over chocolate and allow to sit five minutes.  Stir until combined.

For whipped cream, in a stand mixer using the whisk attachment, combine cream, sugar, fluff, and vanilla on low speed until combined and still thin.  If you start out on high speed you will have cream flying around your kitchen.  Turn up to high speed and whip until stiff peaks form when the whisk is raised up.  This can also be done with a hand mixer.

To assemble, core a small hole out of the middle of each cooled cupcake.  Fill the hole with ganache.  Top with whipped cream either by spreading or piping.  If you’re a fan of piping, use a #12 round tip.  I haven’t tried but I suspect this whipped cream would not hold the pretty ridges of a star tip.

Dust with cocoa if you’re feeling extra domestic and fancy.

Makes 24 cupcakes.

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Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

 

Hey guys!  Today I am passing along to you a Paula Deen recipe that I have adapted to be gluten free.  If you are a fan of Food Network like I am you know if it’s Paula Deen – it’s GOT to be good.  She does the BEST comfort food.  And this cake is no exception.  It is so yummy, so moist, and so Fall.  Aren’t we all starting to think pumpkin right about now?  I know I am.  Oh, and it was so easy to make gluten free which is a big plus for me and my household.

Paula calls them “Pumpkin Bars”.  I say they are too tall and cakey to count as bars but whatever.  We liked this so much we ate the entire pan in one day.  So I made another the following day.  And then we devoured that by the next day.  No joke.  This stuff is addictive man.

I don’t have a million step-by-step pictures for you but I’ll do ya one better.  Here’s a Food Network video that demonstrates the whole process, start to finish.  My version is gluten free – and just as yummy.  You’ll also notice in the recipe below I made a couple of other changes.  I reduced the sugar and eliminated the cinnamon from Paula’s version because I used Pumpkin Pie Mix instead of straight pumpkin.  For some reason I can’t seem to get regular canned pumpkin at the store right now.  C’est la vie.

So anyway – super super simple.  Go get a can of Pumpkin Pie Mix and make some today.

 

Pumpkin Cake

4 Eggs

1 1/2 cups Sugar

1 cup Vegetable Oil

15 oz (1/2 of a large can) Pumpkin Pie Mix

280 grams/10 oz All Purpose Gluten Free Flour Mix (or 2 cups regular flour)

2 tsp Baking Powder

1 tsp Salt

1 tsp Baking Soda

 

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 8oz package Cream Cheese, softened

1 stick Butter, softened

2 cups Powdered Sugar, sifted

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

 

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a 9″x13″ pan and set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, sugar, oil, and Pumpkin Pie Mix.

In a separate bowl (or just carefully on top of the wet ingredients like I do) whisk together dry ingredients – your flour of choice, Baking Powder, Baking Soda, and Salt.

Combine wet and dry ingredients until totally blended and smooth.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes.

While cake is baking, using an electric mixer/stand mixer/a whisk and some bicep action, whip your softened cream cheese and butter together until lump free and smooth.  Slowly add in powdered sugar, mixing until fully incorporated.  Mix in vanilla.

Allow cake to cool completely before frosting.

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