rainbow cake

So last week I gave you a little talk about real talk.  Basically, I don’t want to be a confectioners-sugar-dusted-phoney.  That’s why I’ve decided to get crazy with some real-life confessions on here.

Confessions. That’s a scary word.

So here it goes, here’s my first confession.

I like reading Craigslist Personal Ads.

Disclaimer: I would never ever ever in a million years even think about posting an ad on Craigslist (or answer one), but I like to read them.

Yes, some are creepy, some are weird (ex. “I enjoy theatrical-quality tomfoolery”…what), and some are downright fake.  But some are nice.  My favorites are in the “missed connections” forum.

This is where people leave messages hoping to find people they’ve crossed paths with.  There is something less sinister about this forum than the others, no creepy requests, no augmented biographies pleading for a date.  Instead, there’s a sort-of-sad sad sincerity in these posts.

These people couldn’t get a face/aura out of their mind all day, and are now beating themselves up for not saying anything. There is hope and regret intertwined in all of the posts (“I would have talked to you but I was too shy”).  The regret of not seizing the moment, the hope that maybe this little “message in a bottle” (via Craigslist) will miraculously reach that special person.

The sweet, sad thing about this is that 99 times out of 100, these ads are never reciprocated.  That person who was reading Harry Potter 5 on the train is probably back at home, flipping through the pages and eating Lean Cuisine and will never see the post on Craigslist.  But the admirer posts it anyways.

Here’s one I liked:
“I wish I went and sat next to you and said
hello, but obviously I didn’t and here I am posting this note you will
probably never read. Wherever you were going, I hope you got there safe,
and that despite the rain you are having a great day”

I like think about all of the faces I see in a day, and all of the stories, fears, and adventures that lie behind all of those faces. I’m not advocating talking to strangers.  But I guess this should inspire us to seize the
moment and not miss an opportunity to speak to someone.  Yolo?

Anyways, now that I’ve shared something weird about myself with you all, I am going to share this weird cake recipe! It’s super easy, super funky, and will knock all of your friend’s socks off when you serve it.  It looks like an unassuming vanilla cake… and then BAM! Rainbow madness on the inside. Check it out.

With love,
Erica

Rainbow Cake

A beautiful rainbow cake that will surprise everyone with a burst of color upon the first slice. 

Keyword buttercream, cake, dessert, rainbow
Servings 16

Ingredients

  • White cake batter divided (you can use box mix or homemade)
  • Food coloring
  • Your favorite buttercream frosting
  • Rainbow sprinkles!

Instructions

  1. Prepare the cake batter, and then divide into however many colors you would like.
  2. Use food dye to color the batter, use a lot so that the colors turn out really nice and saturated and brilliant.
  3. Drop the batter into a prepared cake pan(s) and bake as normal.
  4. Frost, decorate with sprinkles, and enjoy!

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

tres leches cake!

NOBODY IS LISTENING TO YOU!

And I’m not saying that in a mean way.

When I was in elementary school, my teachers pegged me as “a shy kid.”  Thing is, I was never shy — actually I’ve always been a performer and a little crazypants.  In those elementary school days, I’d often be prancing around the supermarket in a crop top and cat ears proclaiming that I was Josie from Josie and the Pussycats, putting glitter glue on my eyelids (not smart if you ever plan on blinking), or singing Disney princess songs into my mom’s camcorder.  Definitely not a quivering daisy.

I guess this whole predicament started out when one day, I had my head in the clouds and didn’t find it necessary to say stuff.  At the beginning it was fine, I wasn’t lonely or surly.  I was just rolling around the sandbox by myself thinking about things.

But then it got awkward.

People love labeling people.  Oh! You’re the funny kid! Oh, you must be the precocious little genius kid!  Oh hey there, you must be the shy kid.  I learned that once you’re labeled the “shy kid,”  people have all sorts of expectations of you…

People would get this surprised look on their faces whenever I said things, and when people started giving me that look, I stopped saying things.  As you can imaging, this became a vicious cycle.  My teachers didn’t always help.  Teachers seem to like shy kids.  Shy kids don’t break eardrums or break bookcases.  Thus, my teachers would often make an example of me — telling the class to “stop shouting and be more like Erica.”  I would smile, but this was always super awkward.  First, because kids don’t like the kid who they’re told to be like, and second, there was this little girl inside of me who liked to wear purple leopard print and sing “Under the Sea” really loudly in a Jamaican accent who just wasn’t allowed to come out.  Imagine how awkward it would have been if one day I came out of the reading corner singing “Under the Sea” in my Jamaican accent?! I was pretty sure the ceiling would have fallen down. Once people had this expectation of me to be the “quiet” and “behaved” Erica, I stuck to it.

There were times when I thought that I lost that purple leopard print little girl.  I truly believed that I was shy…  and I hated it.  Especially as I got up in elementary school and wanted to be like Sharpay from High School Musical and I wanted boys to like me. In 5th grade, boys don’t like shy girls.  And I believed that I was a shy girl.  I wished I could be like those bubbly girls who crimped their hair and wore glittery nail polish.  Nonetheless, I kept on being the nice little shy girl at school, and then when I got home, I dressed up like a mime and rapped Snoop Dogg while I rode around the house on my Waveboard (did you ever have a Waveboard?).

One day, I was dozing off during assembly.  The assembly was the drama acting out the book Hungry Hungry Caterpillar (who came up with those assemblies?!).  When I came back to my senses, I noticed that the kid who was dressed up as a watermelon slice who just recited his line looked like he was about to puke.  No, he looked worse.  He looked like he was about to get publicly executed.  And you know what I noticed? That I couldn’t have told you what he said if I was offered a million bucks.  That kid was about to poop his pants over something that nobody was listening to at all.

That’s right, I was not paying attention at all, and neither was half of the audience.  It was this realization that helped me “shed my shy kid image.” I realized that every sentence isn’t a matter of life and death, because no one’s really listening anyways.  I realized that the ceiling wouldn’t fall down if I emerged from the reading nook and played dress up.  I realized that no one would care if I pronounced the “g” in “trough” when we read aloud in English class.  I realized that regretting not saying something is much worse than saying something awkward.

Now that I am in high school, I am glad that I had this realization.  Sure, the “shy kid” image is sticky like condensed milk and takes time to wash off, but there have been many opportunities since I witnessed that quivering watermelon that I have spoken up without regrets — and my life has been so much better/less awkward because of it.

Yay for super awkward transitions!  Condensed milk! It’s in Tres Leches cake!  Which is the recipe I’m sharing with you all today!  This cake is super squidgy and moist because you literally pour milk all over it.  I frosted mine with cream cheese frosting for my friend Veda’s birthday because she likes cream cheese frosting.

With love,
Erica

Ingredients
Cake:
2 sticks of butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups buttermilk

Sauce:
1 can condensed milk (1 cup-ish)
1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream

Frosting:
2 8oz. packages of cream cheese
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Sweetened Shredded Coconut

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a 9×13 inch pan with parchment paper and grease it well.  Beat butter and sugar together in a stand mixer until fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, scraping the sides as you go.  Add the vanilla extract.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Add half of the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and mix until just combined.  Add buttermilk and stir slowly.  Add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix until combined.  Pour into prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes.

Take out of the oven, and mix together the three milks.  Cool the cake for five minutes, and then poke holes all over it with a fork.  Pour the milk all over the cake.  Let cool completely in the fridge for at least an hour. 

Beat together the butter and cream cheese in a stand mixer.  Beat in the vanilla.  Slowly add the powdered sugar and beat until smooth.  Frost the cake. 

To make the toasted coconut, add the shredded coconut to a frying pan, and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until lightly browned.  Sprinkle over cake.

Loosely Adapted from Pati’s Mexican Table

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

funfetti cupcakes for two

After making my chocolate cupcakes for two, I was inspired to make another mini batch of cupcakes. This time, I was in the mood for Funfetti cupcakes. I love sprinkles in my birthday cake — they make a boring (but delicious) vanilla cake a million times more fun! Because life is so much more fun in color 🙂
I decided to go all out and topped mine with a fun hodgepodge of sprinkles (hey, this is funfetti right?!) — which included little pink dinosaurs, mini race cars, and a bunch of other loud, sparkly sprinkles. Looks like a party to me!
With love, Erica
Cupcakes
Adapted From Chocolate and Carrots
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon skim milk
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon sprinkles
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Beat the canola oil, egg, milk, vanilla extract, and sugar together.
  3. Add in the flour and baking powder.
  4. Add in the sprinkles. Don’t over stir.
  5. Pour into two prepared muffin liners in a muffin pan.
  6. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.
 Vanilla Buttercream Frosting for Two
Adapted from Sweet Peony
1/4 cup (1/2) stick unsalted butter, softened
1-1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2-3 teaspoons water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 

 
In a medium bowl, beat butter and 1 cup of powdered sugar together using a hand mixer.  When combined and fluffy, add 2 teaspoons water and the vanilla and mix until combined.  If the frosting is too stiff, add more water.  If the frosting is too runny, add more powdered sugar. Frost your cupcakes, and top with fun sprinkles!

chocolate cupcakes for two

Ever find yourself in the mood for a cupcake? A nice, rich, moist, chocolate cupcake? But you don’t have the time/ingredients/need for an entire batch of 12? I found myself in one of those moods, and I wanted a quick, no-mess, recipe that would give me two cupcakes, one for me, and one to share. And here it is! I topped these luscious chocolate-y cupcakes with a chocolate buttercream that had just a hint of coffee — because I believe there are few better flavor combinations than coffee and chocolate.  I love the idea of making cupcakes in batches of two, as extra cupcakes are not the easiest thing to pop in my bag and share with friends (especially with all of that pretty icing!). So relax, and enjoy a batch of cupcakes just for you and someone special, and for once don’t worry about what you’ll do with the extras.
 With love, Erica

Adapted from Manhattan Craft Room

Chocolate Cupcakes for Two
3 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt
2 tablespoons cold water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/16 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk all the dry ingredients together in a small bowl. In a second small bowl or spouted measuring cup, combine the wet ingredients. Add the dry to the wet and stir till combined, whisking well. Add the chocolate chips (who doesn’t love extra chocolate?!). Bake for 18 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Allow to cool before frosting.

Mocha Buttercream Frosting
*you may have a little bit of frosting leftover, as I like my cupcakes with a lot of icing!

  • 1-3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3 tablespoons dry milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large bowl, cream butter until smooth, then gradually beat in sugar, cocoa, and coffee. Blend in vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy. If necessary, adjust consistency with more milk or sugar.