Growing Muffins into Birthday Cake

I started out with a basic muffin recipe and each week I would experiment with different ingredients, swapping blackberries for blueberries, fresh fruit with dried fruit. Then moving onto experimenting with different flours, whole wheat, red wheat, einkorn, emmer, etc. Next, I focused on the liquid ingredients: swapping in different textured yogurts (strained, Greek yogurt, dairy-free, coconut yogurt), fruit juices (lemon, orange juice), and fats (butters salted, sweet, cultured; and olive oils (generic, fruity, spicy), and sugars (granulated, cane, brown). After months and many, many batches of muffins, I’ve arrived at this recipe for Orange Olive Oil Yogurt Muffins, a favorite for my 2 and 5 year olds.

For my two-year old’s birthday, I wanted to adapt this muffin recipe to make his birthday cake for about 45-50 guests. So after some tweaking and testing, I came up with a double-decker layered (orange olive oil yogurt flavored) cake frosted with lemon vanilla mascarpone cream. My 5 year old who generally refuses birthday cake that is not chocolate cake, devoured this cake and gives it two thumbs up!

Orange Olive Oil Muffin Recipe

Yields 14-15 standard muffins

Equipment: 2 tin muffin trays, paper muffin cups, olive oil spray (or substitute with Pam spray), rubber spatula, ice cream scooper, cooling rack

Ingredients:

1 1/2 C. AP flour (King Arthur)

1/2 C.Whole Wheat flour (Frederick Wheat Soft White Winter Whole Flour)

1/2 t. Salt (coarse Kosher)

3 t. Baking powder

1 C. Cane Sugar

Zest of 1 large orange  and juice (Navel)

2 Eggs (large, well beaten)

1/4 cup plain yogurt (strained, whole milk)

1/ Olive oil (Spicy, fruity olive oil such as a Tuscan or Sicilian variety)

1/2 t. Vanilla extract

Optional: 1 cup blackberries

Methods:

  1. Place oven rack to the middle rung. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees Farenheit.
  2. Spray muffin trays with olive oil, and line with paper muffin cups.
  3. Mix flours and dry ingredients (salt, baking powder, sugar)  into a medium bowl.
  4. Mix orange zest with cane sugar, rubbing the zest into the sugar with your fingers, set aside.
  5. Crack 2 eggs into a small plastic container, add orange juice, yogurt, and vanilla extract. Close container with an airtight lid and shake to “beat” and “mix” the wet ingredients.
  6. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix just until blended. Careful to not over mix.
  7. Use an ice cream scooper to distribute the batter among the muffin cups. Optional, place a blackberry into the center of each muffin.
  8. Bake for 17-20 minutes, or until golden on top.
  9. Remove tray and place on cooling rack.

 

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Double-Decker Orange Olive Oil Birthday Cake
with Mascarpone Cream Frosting

Yields 1 (9.5″ x 13.5″) sheet cake

Equipment: cake pan, olive oil spray (or substitute with Pam spray), rubber spatula, cooling rack; electric stand mixer with paddle attachment.

Cake Ingredients:

2 1/2 C. AP flour (King Arthur)

1 t. Salt (coarse Kosher)

4 t. Baking powder

1 1/2 C. Cane Sugar

Zest of 1 large orange  and juice (Navel)

3 Eggs (large, well beaten)

1/2 C. plain yogurt (strained, whole milk)

3/4 C. Olive oil (Spicy, fruity olive oil such as a Tuscan or Sicilian variety)

1/2 t. Vanilla extract

 

Frosting Ingredients:

2 lbs. mascarpone cream (Vermont Creamery)

4 C. heavy cream (Ronny Brook)

1 1/2 C. confectioners sugar

1 t. salt (coarse Kosher)

1/2 t. Vanilla extract

Zest of 1 lemon

Methods:

  1. Place oven rack to the middle rung. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees Farenheit.
  2. Spray cake pan with olive oil.
  3. Mix flours and dry ingredients (salt, baking powder, sugar)  into a medium bowl.
  4. Mix orange zest with cane sugar, rubbing the zest into the sugar with your fingers, set aside.
  5. Crack 3 eggs into a small plastic container, add orange juice, yogurt, and vanilla extract. Close container with an airtight lid and shake to “beat” and “mix” the wet ingredients.
  6. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix just until blended. Careful to not over mix.
  7. Use an ice cream scooper to distribute the batter among the muffin cups. Optional, place a blackberry into the center of each muffin.
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden on top.
  9. Remove tray and place on cooling rack.

Assembly:

  1. Bake two sheet cakes and let cool completely.
  2. Place mascarpone, heavy cream, and vanilla extract in bowl and mix on slow for 1 minute until blended. Add sugar and lemon zest, and mix on medium/high until peaks form, about 2-3 minutes. Careful to not over beat or else the frosting will get grainy.
  3. If you don’t have a turn table, do what I did, I used the turn table in the microwave as a make-shift turntable!
  4. Using a serrated knife, trim all four sides of each cake to remove over baked edges.
  5. Using an offset spatula apply an even layer of frosting to the top layer of one cake.
  6. Place 2nd layer of cake on, making sure top side facing down.
  7. Apply frosting to top and sides. Place in fridge to allow frosting to set, at least for 30 minutes.
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