My father’s birthday was last Saturday. For me this date had a little more meaning this year than in previous years since it is the day I coincide with the end of the “before times” prior to COVID-19 changing our lives.
So, as a way for me to stay distracted, I offered to bake his birthday cake. He gladly accepted the offer. So, I turned to a book that I have fallen in love with ever since I purchased it last Fall. It is The Magnolia Bakery Handbook: A Complete Guide for the Home Baker. This is a MUST BUY for anyone who enjoys baking, even in a casual sense. The recipes are flawless and so easy to follow. You will honestly feel like you are a master baker every time you try one of these recipes!
This brings me to my next topic…
While baking and eating the cake I made for my father’s birthday, I had a thought. Wouldn’t it be a great idea to cook-through this cookbook? After stewing on the thought over the weekend, I decided that that is just what I’m going to do! So this is officially the first post around the Magnolia Bakery cookbook.
Don’t worry, faithful readers and Barefoot Contessa fans. I will continue to cook each and every recipe published in all 12 of Ina Garten’s cookbooks. The Magnolia Bakery recipes will merely be in addition to Inas. It’ll be fun.
Plus it gives me an excuse to bake more!
So, what did I bake?
My father (as well as me, if we’re being honest) love peanut butter frosting. For my father, it is something he grew up with. I’ve been told that his mother always made peanut butter frosting. So, for his birthday, as in most years, he asked for a chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting. Luckily for us, the Magnolia Bakery Handbook had a recipe for just that!
Using the Super-Rich Chocolate Cake recipe as the cake recipe, I simply whipped up the Peanut Butter Buttercream recipe and combined the two! However, this is an official recipe in the cookbook, so it counts.
The Magnolia Bakery Handbook uses a base recipe and builds upon them for the cakes and cupcakes chapters. Essentially, for many of the cake recipes, the foundational vanilla and chocolate cakes go through different variations. This allows more options from a selling perspective, but for us home bakers, it makes us look like we know so much more! Of course, the cakes chapter has additional cake recipes that are not based on the vanilla or chocolate cakes.
Why Do I Love These Recipes?
There are a few reasons why I love these cake recipes. First, they are so darn tasty! Second, the cake layers are thick…no skimpy cake with a pile of frosting at Magnolia Bakery! Finally, they make me feel like a baker. A self-esteem boost is always welcome, especially in the kitchen.
This was also the first cake I made where I got to play with my new tools! A couple weeks ago, I purchased a Wilton decorating set that came with 18 decorating tips, an offset spatula, and some disposable piping bags. I also bought a cake turn table, which came in handy last weekend!
The cake was by no means perfect, as you can see from the image above. The frosting was uneven and one of the layers sunk a little. But if this blog has taught me one thing: it’s that practice makes perfect. And the best part? I get to practice by making more cake!
I can’t wait to bake more cakes! And luckily for me, that will be soon. In a few Saturdays, my family and I will celebrate an accomplishment of mine. But more on that later!
If you’ve read this far, thanks! Here’s your reward: pictures of the cake!