Mini Toasted Coconut Bundt Cakes

I couldn’t love spring more if I tried. I was the lucky one out of my siblings and I don’t have to worry about wheezing at the sight of the beautiful cherry trees in our front yard or getting itchy red eyes if the windows in my car are left open.  Typically, spring can also be a stressful time of year for me, but I didn’t have to take my end of year jury at MSM and I only have a few days left of school before I start my senior internship. It’s crazy how time flew by after all of my college acceptances!

DSC_2501I know I’ve mentioned it here before, but my mom runs a pretty cool website called The Weiser Kitchen, and now that I have time (???) it’s fun to test out her recipes once in awhile. These bundt cakes were given to me because the first time they didn’t turn out too well, but the addition of coconut oil and some RTTC magic, and presto, some delicious bundt cakes. Enjoy!

Mini Toasted Coconut Bundt Cakes: A TWK/RTTC Original


  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla paste
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
  • 2 cups toasted coconut


  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add the coconut oil and the sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, making sure each is fully incorporated before the next addition. Add the vanilla paste (or vanilla extract).
  2. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder.
  3. Alternate adding the coconut milk and the flour mixture until just combined. Add the toasted coconut and fold in until just combined.
  4. Bake for 14-16 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

We can put off the whole “get fit for summer trend” until next week, right? 🙂



Peach Coffeecake

It’s hard to believe that tomorrow I’ll be starting my senior year of high school. Preparing for it hasn’t left much time for me to do anything else, but I’m trying to squeeze in my last moments of summer before I go off to school tomorrow morning. I’ve already done the summer assignments, gotten new school supplies, and most importantly, spent some time relaxing by the pool and soaking up the sun before I basically go into hibernation before audition season starts.

DSC_0046One of the things I’m most excited for this year is starting up at MSM again. This year, in addition to taking the regular schedule of ear training, theory, a lesson and orchestra, I’ll be in 2 chamber groups, which (if I haven’t mentioned before) is by far my favorite type of playing. I’ve already had a rehearsal with a wonderful piano quintet that I get to be a part of this year, but I can’t wait to be there again and surround myself with so many talented musicians.

DSC_0034In an effort to pretend that my summer is able to go on for longer, I’m sharing is incredible peach coffeecake recipe from the ever-so-trustworthy King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking book (available on Amazon). It’s a quick cake, but especially during my lazy summer mornings, having a home baked good was truly appreciated. We even enjoyed it better the second day, as it became denser and slightly more hearty. Enjoy!

Peach Coffeecake: Makes one 9X13″ cake or two 9-inch round coffeecakes



  • 8 ounces (2 cups) white whole wheat flour
  • 2 1/8 ounces (1/2 cup) all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
  • 7 ounces (1 cup) sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 8 ounces (1 cup) buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 12 ounces (2 cups) peeled, diced fresh peaches


  • 1 ounce  (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 1/2 ounces (1/2 cup) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare two 9-inch cake pans or one 9X13- inch pan.
  2. Whisk together the flours and baking soda in a medium mixing bowl. Cream together the butter and the sugar in a large bowl. Beat in the egg, stopping afterwards to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the vanilla. Add the dry ingredients, one third at a time, alternately with the buttermilk. Stir in the peaches until evenly distributed. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  3. Topping: Combine the butter, sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a small mixing bowl until evenly mixed. Sprinkle this mixture over the batter.
  4. Bake according to the pan size (25-30 minutes for rounds, 30-35 for the 9 by 13) until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, or with a few moist crumbs.

Now, onto senior year!

-Rayna 🙂


Toasted Coconut and Lime Sour Cream Bundt Cake

Happy August, everyone! I can’t believe that my summer has gone by this fast, and that in less than a month, I will officially be a high school senior! I just finished up my 2 weeks at gymnastics, and for the next 2 weeks, I’ll be attending another chamber music program. It’s a program I’ve done for many years now, and I can’t wait to be able to participate in it for another fantastic year!DSC_0095This summer was the first summer that I’ve really tried to dedicate myself to music. In the past, I would always respectfully decline my teacher’s wishes to go to music programs with her because I would need to stay to do gymnastics. Now that I’m really trying to push the music aspect so I could study with a teacher that I would want to in college, I didn’t get to spend as much time at the gym as I normally do.

DSC_0116This summer-y bundt cake from My Baking Addiction is the perfect dessert if you don’t feel like cutting up tons of fruit but still want something that’s a tasty summer treat. The lime flavor is very prominent, which I loved! You can always cut back on the amount of zest, but I personally loved it. For the coconut, you don’t have to toast it, but I would highly recommend it. I brought it over to Deanna’s house for dessert, and it got rave reviews. Enjoy!

Toasted Coconut and Lime Sour Cream Bundt Cake


  • 1 cup unsalted butter , softened
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (11 3/8 oz)
  • Zest of 2 medium limes
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (9 1/4 oz)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup toasted sweetened flaked coconut

Lime Glaze

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 5 tablespoons heavy cream (can vary depending on the thickness desired)
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Zest of 1 medium lime


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and prepare a 10 inch bundt pan, set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, cream the butter until smooth.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the sugar and lime zest mixing together with your fingertips until the sugar is moistened and fragrant. Add the sugar mixture gradually to the butter and beat on medium speed until light fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in vanilla. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. In a medium bow, combine flour, baking powder and baking soda. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with sour cream, beating until well blended after each addition. Fold in coconut. Spoon mixture into prepared pan and smooth the top.
  5. Bake 50 minutes to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. After 10 minutes, flip cake onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
  6. Prepare the glaze: Whisk all ingredients together in a medium bowl and drizzle over cake.

Now make this and enjoy your weekend!





Vanilla Bean Latte Layer Cake

Guess what? Rayna Takes the Cake officially turns 2 years old today! If you want to see some really, um, interesting food photography (these, this, or those) and read more about my life after freshman year in high school you can head on back to the beginnings. It’s crazy to think that I’ve already had RTTC for 2 entire years, because when you are in high school, that’s practically an eternity. I’ve had so much fun baking and taking pictures and sharing recipes with you guys and I can’t wait to continue for many years to come!

_D320276I’m still in Canada and I’m just loving it. The people that I’ve met here are so amazing that I don’t want to even think about leaving! I’ll be back in the states on Sunday though, but I won’t be in the kitchen baking. Instead, I’ll be doing more music programs, but this time in New York City, which should be a blast. Not to mention that one of my great friends is joining me. I think I did a pretty good job planning out my summer, don’t you think?

_D320284In order to celebrate RTTC turning 2 years old, I knew I needed to make something spectacular. While I could have made something more culinar-ily (that is clearly a word) complex, layer cakes just have a special meaning that shouts celebration. I’ve made some layer cakes in the past, and clearly RTTC turning 2 called for another one. After making one of Sweetapolita’s incredible cakes for my brother’s birthday last year, I knew exactly where to go to find a delicious layer cake that would fit the bill for such an amazing occasion.

_D320289 2You start out with a simple vanilla bean cake recipe, and the amazing black dots of true vanilla bean are what bring it all together, and something that vanilla extract can’t exactly replace. Then, I made a latte Swiss meringue buttercream, using espresso powder and some cinnamon. I was especially proud because this was my first SMBC, and now I understand why it’s so popular. I’ll never need copious amounts of powdered sugar again! I filled one layer and the outside with SMBC, but then I took some Justin’s chocolate hazelnut butter (so incredible) and heated it with some soymilk because why not. Finally, I just melted some chocolate (I probably should have made a ganache, though) and spread it on top to literally top it off. While I would recommend making this for a crowd, but I understand if you want it all to yourself. 🙂 Enjoy!

Vanilla Bean Latte Layer Cake


For the Cake:
  • 1-1/2 cups (3 sticks)(341 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2-2/3 cups (540 g) granulated sugar
  • 9 (275 g) egg whites, at room temperature
  • 4-1/2 cups (570 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons (22 g) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon (6 g) salt
  • 2 cups (480 ml) buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) vanilla bean paste or 1 vanilla bean, split & scraped
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
For the Buttercream:
  • 6 large egg whites (180 g)
  • 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups (3 sticks)(340 g) unsalted butter, softened but cool, cut into cubes
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • 1 vanilla bean, split & scraped or 1 tablespoon (15 ml) vanilla bean paste
  • 1 tablespoon (15 g) instant espresso powder (or to taste) dissolved into 1 teaspoon (5 ml) boiling water
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1.5 g) cinnamon (or to taste)
  • Pinch of salt


For the Cake:
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Butter three 8″ x 2″ round cake pans, line with parchment rounds, butter paper and dust with flour, tapping out the excess.
  2. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until lighter in color and slightly increased in volume, about 5 minutes. Lower the speed to medium and add the egg whites gradually, mixing until fully incorporated.
  3. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl. Mix vanilla extract and vanilla paste (or contents of vanilla bean) into buttermilk. Alternate dry ingredients and buttermilk into creamed mixture, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Mix until just incorporated or finish by hand gently.
  4. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. If possible, weigh the batter in each cake pan on a digital kitchen scale to ensure even layers. Smooth with small offset palette knife, and bake for about 30 minutes, rotating once after 20 minutes. Cake is done when toothpick or skewer comes clean. Try not to over-bake.
  5. Let pans cool on wire rack for 10 minutes, then invert cakes onto racks, gently, peeling away parchment rounds. Let cool completely.
For the Buttercream:
  1. Wipe the bowl of an electric mixer with paper towel and lemon juice, to remove any trace of grease. Add egg whites and sugar, and simmer over a pot of water (not boiling), whisking constantly but gently, until temperature reaches 160°F, or if you don’t have a candy thermometer, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot.
  2. With whisk attachment of mixer, begin to whip until the meringue is thick, glossy, and the bottom of the bowl feels neutral to the touch (this can take up to 10 minutes or so). *Don’t begin adding butter until the bottom of the bowl feels neutral, and not warm.
  3. Switch over to paddle attachment and, with mixer on low speed, add butter cubes, one at a time, until incorporated, and mix until it has reached a silky smooth texture (if curdles, keep mixing and it will come back to smooth). *If mixture is too runny, refrigerate for about 15 minutes and continue mixing with paddle attachment until it comes together. Add espresso mixture, vanilla, cinnamon and salt, continuing to beat on low speed until well combined.
Assembly of the Vanilla Bean Latte Layer Cake:
  1. Place cooled cake layer on cake pedestal, or cake board, face-up. Spread 1 cup of buttercream on top using a small offset palette knife, leaving narrow border along outside edge.
  2. Gently place 2nd cake layer on top, and be sure to center it with bottom layer. Apply another 1 cup of buttercream and spread as you did the first layer.
  3. Gently place final cake layer on top, face-down (so the clean bottom side is facing up). Apply a final layer of buttercream.
  4. Fill a pastry bag fitted with decorative tip (I used Ateco #887), and pipe desired designs on cake to trim and decorate. Sprinkle sliced cake servings with cinnamon, and garnish with espresso beans (optional).

A perfect replacement addition to your morning cup of java. 🙂

-Rayna 🙂

Almond Lemon Tea Cake

I would apologize for being gone for so long, but I think that my junior year has to apologize for me. Between all of my classes at school, classes at MSM, gymnastics, AND standardized testing, I haven’t had much time to do anything. I love everything that I’m doing this year though, so it’s more of a way of me figuring out how to balance everything while still getting to bed before midnight. It’s not exactly easy, but I’m making my way through!

While everyone else is baking pumpkin things like crazy, I thought I’d bring you an incredibly delicious and simple Almond-Lemon Tea Cake from Tartine. Unlike most almond baked goods, this one uses no almond extract, but instead gets a deep almond flavor from almond paste, or marzipan. While it does make it a little denser then a “cake” cake, it gets more of a pound cake quality, making it perfect for breakfast, snack, or dessert. So if you’re just not feeling the pumpkin, this beautiful cake will fit the bill perfectly.

Almond Lemon Tea Cake- Makes one 9’x5′ loaf


  • 3 1/4 oz pastry or cake flour, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 7 ounces almond paste, at room temperature
  • 7 ounces sugar
  • 8 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 and prepare a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
  2. Sift together the flour and baking powder twice. In a small bowl, combine the eggs and vanilla and whisk together just to combine. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the almond paste on low speed until it breaks up. This can take up to a minute, depending on how soft and warm it is. Slowly add the sugar in a steady stream, beating until incorporated. If you add the sugar too quickly, the past won’t break up as well.
  3. Cut the butter into 1 tablespoon sized pieces. Continue on low speed while adding the butter, a tablespoon at a time for about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Then turn the mixer onto medium speed and beat until the mixture is light in color and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. With the mixer still on medium speed, add the eggs in a very low, steady stream and mix until incorporated. Stop the mixer again and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Turn on the mixer to medium speed and mix for another 30 seconds. Add the citrus zests and mix with a wooden spoon. Finally, add the flour mixture in 2 batches, stirring after each addition until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl one last time, and then spoon the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface with an offset spatula.
  4. Bake until the top springs back when lightly toughed and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 45-50 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5-7 minutes before removing.

It’s just good. Really, really good.

-Rayna 🙂


Buttery Apple Cake

Happy Thursday everyone! I hope everyone’s week is going well. Mine hasn’t been too eventful, but I’m really starting to get a feel of how this year is going to work out. Most of my classes are in full swing with projects, quizzes, tests, the whole package. Even though it will be a tough year (like most junior years tend to be), I’m really looking forward to learning lots this year without it being too overwhelming.

You can tell fall has really begun once Rosh Hashanah has gone by. Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year, and one of the traditions is to eat apples and honey, to celebrate a sweet new year. Although this cake doesn’t have any honey in it, this delectable delight from Martha Stewart would be a perfect way to end your new year, or just a great way to get into the swing of fall baking. Who doesn’t love that?

Buttery Apple Cake

Makes one 8 inch Cake


  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 pound Granny Smith apples, peeled and shredded on the large holes of a box grater (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Heavy cream, for serving


  1. Make the cake: Preheat oven to 325. Coat an 8-inch springform pan with cooking spray; dust with flour, tapping out excess. Place on a rimmed baking sheet. Spread apples in pan; set aside.
  2. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, milk, oil, and eggs in a medium bowl until smooth. Pour over apples. Bake until set and pale golden brown, about 40 minutes.
  3. Make the topping: Stir together butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla in a small bowl. Remove cake from oven, and pour topping over cake. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Remove sides of pan, and transfer cake to a serving plate. Serve slices drizzled with cream.

A simple cake that’s sure to make your weekday that much better.

-Rayna 🙂

Browned Butter Banana Bundt Cake

Happy Monday everyone! I can’t believe that I only have a few days until I’m officially a junior! I feel like I was walking into my high school for the first time just last week, and now I’m actually an upperclassman! I certainly have my fair share of things to do on my plate this year, but I’m very excited all the same. One of the things I’m really looking forward to is my MSM schedule, which is packed. In addition to the 4 required classes, I’m also taking a class on music of the 20th century, which should be very interesting. I’ve taken classes in music history before, but this will be my first time focusing on the 20th century! Maybe I’m just a nerd, but I’m really excited.

Awhile ago when I made these blondies, I developed a love for browned butter. The nuttiness of it is addicting and I just had to have more. So when Deanna came over, it was only appropriate that we make a cake with browned butter in it. Grab some overripe bananas and you’re all set with a spectacularly moist cake that makes a great breakfast, snack or dessert. Drizzle it with some melted peanut butter to make a pretty presentation, or make a peanut butter and honey sandwich for lunch…oh my the possibilities are endless.I’m looking forward to seeing this in my lunchbox!

Browned Butter Banana Bundt Cake from The Cake Duchess


  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 6 oz. butter (3/4 cup or 1 1/2 sticks)
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 cups banana puree
  • 1 cup buttermilk (or sour cream)


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour your bundt pan (regular 12 cup bundt pan). I personally prefer to use baking spray for bundt pans.In  large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  2. To Brown the Butter: In medium-low heat, melt the butter. Rise the heat to medium and cook until the butter gently boils. Cook until the butter starts to brown and it develops a dark color. Carefully pour the browned butter into a bowl to cool for ten minutes.
  3. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy using the paddle attachment (you could also beat it with a hand mixer). Beat in the eggs one by one, waiting until each has been incorporated to add the next. Beat in vanilla extract and mashed bananas. Add half of the flour mixture to the butter mix and beat on low speed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to incorporate. Add in the sour cream and beat until incorporated followed by the remaining flour mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to incorporate. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  4. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean and the top springs back when lightly pressed. Allow cake to cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then turn cake out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

A perfect way to start off my school year!

-Rayna 🙂

Brown Sugar Walnut Pound Cake

Hello again! As I’m writing this, I’m watching the most exciting sporting event of the year, the Olympics. Clearly I’m most excited about the gymnastics part, but I like watching the other sports too. 🙂 I’m planning this week around the times of the team and all-around finals, and even at the gym we’re stopping practice early on Tuesday so we could watch the team finals live! You could say my coach/gym/everyone is super excited.

This delicious pound cake from Martha Stewart has an interesting story behind it. During the end of the year in my English class, my teacher would have 3-4 students present a poem each week. However, she made it clear that she didn’t want every single student just walking up to the front of the room and reading the poem out loud- she wanted something interesting. Since my poem was titled The Black Walnut Tree, it was only appropriate that I bake a cake with walnuts in it. And let me tell you, this cake was fantastic. It was super moist and the candied walnuts added a nice crunch and a touch of sweetness. My English class loved it, and I think you will too!

Brown Sugar Walnut Pound Cake

Makes 2 9×5″ Cakes


  • 1 pound (3 1/4 cups) all purpose flour
  • 4 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 9 large eggs
  • 2 cups candied walnuts


  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrres and prepare 2 loaf pans.
  2. In an electric mixer, cream together the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add in the eggs one by one until combined. Add in the vanilla extract. Slowly add in the flour until just combined. Fold in the candied walnuts.
  3. Divide the batter into the prepared baking dishes and bake for 65 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out cleanly.

So simple, so delicious.

-Rayna 🙂

(I was experimenting with different angles in these pictures- what do you think?)

Whole Grain Lemon Cake with Lemon Buttercream

This week hasn’t been anything too unusual. I went to gymnastics, I did some yoga, practiced some viola. Nothing too out of the ordinary. The only exception being that I wasn’t the one that did the baking in our house this week! My mom recently entered a recipe contest that involves making 2 desserts with apples. My mom always has tons of ideas, so each recipe had multiple components, which I have been helping her make. I’ve made shortbread doughs, put together some cookies, and of course, being a taste tester. 😉

This cake is something special. Over Memorial Day weekend, my mom had a few of her culinary school friends come up. There was a ton of delicious food, ranging from pork butt wrapped in banana leaves to let cook for a few hours, shrimp skewers that were thrown on the grill in a ginger marinade, and of course, many stages of dessert. A few of the cakes that we made were absolutely spectacular, and this is one of them. Don’t be fooled by the whole grain part of it, this cake from King Arthur’s Flour is not something to overlook. The cake was not too dense and you got enough of the lemon flavor without it being overpowering. I added some delicious jams we had in the house as the fillings between the layers, and it was outstanding with the lemon flavor (I added lingonberry and blackberry jam). This is a great cake for a summer brunch or get together, or to just relax outside on a weekday night. Enjoy!

Whole Grain Lemon Cake with Lemon Buttercream

Makes 1 3 layer 9″ Cake or 1 13″ by 9″ Sheet


  • 7 5/8 ounces whole wheat pastry flour
  • 4 1/4 ounces all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 12 1/4 ounces granulated sugar
  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest, or 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1/4 cup (2 oz) fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup (6 oz) milk
  • 1/4 cup (3 oz) seedless jam of your choice


For the Batter

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and prepare the pan(s) of your choice.
  2. Whisk together the flours, baking soda and baking powder in a medium bowl. In a stand mixer, cream the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg whites one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and the lemon zest. Mix half of the flour mixture in, and then mix in the lemon juice and milk. Add the rest of the flour mixture. Scrape the sides to make sure there are no dry/wet spots.
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Level the top of the batter with an offset spatula or a spoon.
  4. Bake Times- for 8″ cake- 20-22 minutes. 9″ cake- 27-30 minutes. 13″x9″ cake- 35-38 minutes.
  5. The cake is done when it is an even golden brown and it starts to pull back from the edges of the pan. Let cool for 20 minutes before removing the layers from the pan, and wait until completely cooled before frosting.

For the Buttercream- makes 4 1/2 cups


  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 4-5 cups (1- 1 1/4 pounds) confectioners sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4- 1/3 cup milk or cream
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice


  1. Beat the butter until fluffy in a stand mixer. Add half of the sugar and beat until well blended. Add the vanilla,  lemon juice, and half of the milk or cream and beat until fluffy. Mix in the remaining sugar and milk, alternating until they are completely incorporated, and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy. Fold in the lemon zest.

To Assemble the Cake

  1. Place one layer, bottom side up on a plate. Spread with a thin layer of the jam of your choice. Place another layer on top, bottom side up. Spread another layer of jam. Place the final layer, bottom side up. Frost with the Lemon Buttercream above.

I’m drooling just thinking about it!

-Rayna 🙂





Vanilla Bean Pound Cake

I hope everyone is having a good week so far, and staying out of this ridiculously hot and humid weather we are having. This weather makes for not the most pleasant time at gymnastics, but hey, you gotta do what you gotta do. Today we worked a lot on beam dismounts, which is probably my favorite thing about beam. These past 2 years I’ve competed a cartwheel-back tuck dismount off of the beam, but now that I’m working towards being a level 9, I clearly have to upgrade. So today I did a back tuck with a full twist, which was awesome! That is a weak level 9 dismount, but a level 9 dismount all the same. I’ve been working round-offs too, so hopefully I’ll be able to connect the two.

Music-wise, nothing new has been happening around here. My teacher is gone for the summer, although I will be taking lessons with a good family friend of ours. The last lesson I had with my teacher before she left to visit her family was spent fingering the music, but even spending a full hour on the music wasn’t long enough, because I still wasn’t able to get the second and third movements of the Handel viola concerto fingered. Since I’m at home training for gymnastics all summer, it’s really important for me to get ahead because during the school year the time that I have available to practice is very little.

However, this is a post about a vanilla bean pound cake from Smitten Kitchen. I’ve made other pound cakes before, but I thought that I should go back to the basics and make a plain, simple, vanilla bean pound cake. I actually ended up making these into mini-muffins because I wanted them to bake quickly, and they turned out simply adorable. I can tell you that every person in my US History class loved them, and were eating them handfuls at a time. I’ll take that as a compliment! 🙂

Vanilla Bean Pound Cake

Makes 2 9×5 Loafs, or 1 10′ bundt.


  • 1 pound vanilla sugar (recipe link here)
  • 1 pound (4 sticks) butter, at room temperature
  • 1 pound (9 large) eggs
  • 1 pound (4 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and prepare the baking dish of your choosing.
  2. In a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until smooth. Add in the eggs one by one until fully incorporated. Add in the vanilla extract. Add in the flour until just combined. You don’t want rubber cakes!
  3. Bake for and hour and 15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center. Enjoy!

So simple, so delicious. What’s not to love?

-Rayna 🙂

(I forgot to take picture of this one, sorry!)