Cakes by Melissa - Recipe and Giveaway

A chapter entitled "You're Amazing and You Can Do Anything" is how Cakes by Melissa: Life Is What You Bake It: 120+ Recipes for Cakes, Icings, Fillings, and Toppings for Endless Flavor Combinations by Melissa Ben-Ishay opens. Every morning when Melissa's father took her to school, he told her "You're amazing and you can do anything that you set your mind to. Today is going to be the best day."

This story hit me hard. While my struggles with my son over the last year are no secret and have nothing to do with cake - except for the fact that Andrew loves cake more than he loves me - this was a wake up call. No matter how tough things are or how difficult our children can be - they are amazing and should be told daily. So right off the bat, thank you, Melissa, for sharing the great wisdom of your father's words.

Melissa has always loved cake, but cake as a vehicle to earn a living - could that work? When she called her brother to tell him she had been fired from her job in social media, he told her to "go home and bake cupcakes".  (The men in her family are so wise.) The rest is history and is shared in The Baked by Melissa Story chapter.

Cakes by Melissa is vibrant, enjoyable and full of sugary delights that will be sure to please.  Peanut butter cup cupcakes and chocolate peanut butter cake (Andrew wants this cake now!), a Rainbow cookie cake (we love Italian rainbow cookies in our house so this recipe grabbed my attention), Neopolitan cake and a Cereal cake are examples of recipes you will find here. Toppings, icings (pretzel icing anyone?), batters, ultimate flavor combinations (Melissa is the queen of exciting flavors) and more are shared and are guaranteed to make any baker happy. I am gobsmacked by all the possibilities in this title! Melissa has some book tour dates scheduled that we have added to our calendar

Special thanks to the author and William Morrow for sharing the following recipe components for the Berry cake. The publisher is also offering three copies of this book to our members in the US and Canada. Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post to enter.

Berry cake
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Cake: Classic Vanilla Cake
Fillings: Whipped vanilla icing and mixed fresh berries
Icing: Whipped vanilla Icing
Toppings: Mixed fresh berries, fresh mint sprigs, and confectioners' sugar

Ingredients:

  • 1 recipe Classic Vanilla Cake
  • 1 recipe Whipped Vanilla Icing
  • 2 to 3 cups mixed fresh berries (whatever's in season)
  • Fresh mint sprigs, for garnish
  • Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 13 x 18-inch half- sheet pan, then line it with wax paper or parchment and butter the paper.

2. Mix the cake batter according to the recipe directions. Pour into the prepared pan and bake until the middle of the cake feels springy when you gently press your finger against it, 35 to 40 minutes.

3. Set aside to cool completely. Meanwhile, make the whipped vanilla icing and stash it in the freezer until you're ready to frost the cake.

4. Use a 6-inch round cutter to cut three rounds from the cake. Place one cake layer on a turntable and thickly frost the top with about a third of the vanilla icing; spread the icing out just over the edge of the layer. Spoon a few tablespoons of fruit on top. Repeat with the remaining layers, until reaching the final layer.

5. Generously top the cake with the remaining mixed berries. Garnish with the sprigs of mint and lightly dust with confectioners' sugar.

Classic Vanilla Cake
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Ingredients 

  • ½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1¾ cups whole milk (or buttermilk; let the cup overflow a bit)

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter the pan of your choice or line the pan with wax paper or parchment and butter the paper. This will make the edges less crispy.

2. With a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip the butter for 1 minute on high speed, then scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Add the sugar and beat on high speed for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again.

3. Add the vanilla extract. While mixing at medium-low speed, add the eggs one at a time. Scrape down the edges of the bowl midway through.

4. Combine the flour, baking powder, and sea salt in a separate bowl.

5. With the mixer on low speed, add half the flour mixture. When it's mostly incorporated, add half the milk. Add the remainder of the dry and wet ingredients, scraping down the sides of the bowl between additions. Stop mixing as soon as you have a smooth batter.

6. Take the paddle attachment off the mixer and lick the batter-it should be delicious!

7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until the middle of the cake feels springy when you gently press your finger against it. All ovens are different, so it's important to do the fingerprint test to see if the cake is done.

Whipped Vanilla Icing
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Ingredients

  • 2 cups heavy cream, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup confectioners' sugar

Directions

1. If possible, chill the bowl and the whisk attachment of a hand or stand mixer for at least half an hour before using. All of your ingredients should be cold.

2. Pour the cream, vanilla, and sugar into the chilled bowl and whip on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes.

The publisher is offering three copies of this book to EYB Members in the US and Canada. One of the entry options is to answer the following question in the comments section of this blog post.

Which recipe in the index would you try first?

Please note that you must be logged into the Rafflecopter contest before posting or your entry won't be counted. For more information on this process, please see our step-by-step help post. Be sure to check your spam filters to receive our email notifications. Prizes can take up to 6 weeks to arrive from the publishers. If you are not already a Member, you can join at no cost. The contest ends at midnight on November 15th, 2017.

72 Comments

  • Kristjudy  on  10/10/2017 at 9:32 PM

    Love a good coffee cake.

  • jr0717  on  10/10/2017 at 10:01 PM

    The chocolate espresso cake with chocolate cream cheese icing, of course!

  • heyjude  on  10/11/2017 at 3:11 AM

    Cornbread Cake

  • lgroom  on  10/11/2017 at 6:26 AM

    That berry cake would be the first thing I'd do.

  • AGENT99  on  10/11/2017 at 6:32 AM

    Vanilla cake with sugar cookie dough

  • stef  on  10/11/2017 at 7:29 AM

    Funfetti cake would be first on my list

  • laffersk  on  10/11/2017 at 7:46 AM

    Vanilla cake with sugar cookie dough omg so yummy

  • Linda41  on  10/11/2017 at 8:07 AM

    Can't wait to try the Neapolitan Cake!

  • kmn4  on  10/11/2017 at 8:11 AM

    Lemon cake

  • jezpurr  on  10/11/2017 at 9:03 AM

    There are so many yummy sounding recipes:brown sugar, coffee, espresso, almond, I have to see a pic to decide which first!!!^_^

  • smartie101  on  10/11/2017 at 10:43 AM

    Cornbread cake? YES!

  • sipa  on  10/11/2017 at 10:57 AM

    Peanut butter cup cupcakes and chocolate peanut butter cake

  • sarahawker  on  10/11/2017 at 12:20 PM

    Chocolate chip loaf cake

  • Siegal  on  10/11/2017 at 1:16 PM

    Lemon cake is my absolute fav

  • ktwalla  on  10/11/2017 at 1:44 PM

    Dulce de Leche Cake

  • sgump  on  10/11/2017 at 1:56 PM

    I'd try the matcha cake.

  • Larkspur  on  10/11/2017 at 2:58 PM

    Lemon Cake

  • lpatterson412  on  10/11/2017 at 3:22 PM

    I am looking for our families favorite chocolate cake right now, so I would start with her chocolate chip cake, and experiment with her frostings, my husband is very picky on his frosting!

  • trudys_person  on  10/12/2017 at 8:55 AM

    I couldn't get off the first page of listings - the tie-dye cake looks like fun! and the brown sugar cake and cinnamon cake sound delicious!

  • notstarvingyet  on  10/12/2017 at 11:36 AM

    Chocolate chip loaf cake!

  • Littlebirdchoc  on  10/12/2017 at 6:46 PM

    While there are SO MANY to choose from - I'm pretty sure I'd START with the vanilla cake. YUM!!

  • motherofpearl81  on  10/12/2017 at 7:44 PM

    Funfetti cake

  • annieski  on  10/13/2017 at 6:36 AM

    Whipped salted caramel icing

  • annieski  on  10/13/2017 at 6:37 AM

    Whipped salted caramel icing

  • mpdeb98  on  10/13/2017 at 8:18 PM

    Cinnamon cake

  • Kelos  on  10/14/2017 at 12:43 PM

    S'mores cupcakes sound delicious :)

  • Scotsman61  on  10/14/2017 at 11:33 PM

    The chocolate espresso cake with chocolate cream cheese icing

  • cheftina888  on  10/15/2017 at 11:28 AM

    there are so many cake recipes to choose from. For myself I'd love to make the chocolate expresso cake. something for me to do with my daughter, I'd pick the rainbow cake or the smores cupcakes.

  • ladybrooke  on  10/15/2017 at 2:59 PM

    Hot cocoa cupcakes

  • JaneRose  on  10/15/2017 at 8:54 PM

    So many yummy recipes to choose from. But that Strawberry Cake caught my eye!

  • lindaeatsherbooks  on  10/16/2017 at 1:06 AM

    I would love to try the peanut butter cup cupcakes and chocolate peanut butter cake.

  • skipeterson  on  10/16/2017 at 4:15 PM

    S'mores cupcakes

  • LaurenE  on  10/18/2017 at 6:30 AM

    Funfetti cake

  • kitchenclimbers  on  10/18/2017 at 1:40 PM

    chocolate peanut butter

  • BMeyer  on  10/18/2017 at 4:35 PM

    hot cocoa cupcakes and chocolate peanut butter

  • JenJoLa  on  10/20/2017 at 10:18 AM

    Dulce de leche cake

  • Shelley.b  on  10/20/2017 at 3:15 PM

    berry cake

  • linmin  on  10/20/2017 at 3:59 PM

    Neapolitan Cake

  • kennethjohngilmour  on  10/20/2017 at 4:18 PM

    Would stick with the Classic Vanilla Cake found on page 34!

  • RSW  on  10/20/2017 at 6:25 PM

    The tie-dye cake

  • Radiantpurple  on  10/20/2017 at 7:04 PM

    How can I not want to make Slutty Cake?

  • lisambb  on  10/20/2017 at 8:29 PM

    Funfetti cake

  • sequoia55  on  10/20/2017 at 11:59 PM

    Chocolate chip loaf cake

  • mcrimmins  on  10/21/2017 at 8:47 AM

    Hot Chocolate Cake when it is snowing out.

  • tararr  on  10/21/2017 at 2:40 PM

    Dulce de leche cake

  • cookshelf58  on  10/21/2017 at 7:21 PM

    chocolate espresso cake with chocolate cream cheese icing

  • contest718  on  10/22/2017 at 10:01 AM

    That tye dye cake is awfully cute and would be a hit in my household!

  • Jenamarie  on  10/22/2017 at 3:02 PM

    Doughnut cake!!!

  • FireRunner2379  on  10/22/2017 at 4:37 PM

    Cake is my favorite dessert, I'd like to try her recipe for Doughnut cake.

  • AngelaLCooks  on  10/22/2017 at 4:54 PM

    Dulce de leche cake

  • Nancith  on  10/24/2017 at 3:34 PM

    A lot of the frostings & glazes sound great-I would try Salted caramel glaze.

  • lhudson  on  10/24/2017 at 3:45 PM

    The tie-dye cake!!!

  • Julia  on  10/25/2017 at 9:02 PM

    Funfetti cake.

  • Dmartin997  on  10/25/2017 at 9:59 PM

    Berry cake

  • t.t  on  10/25/2017 at 11:25 PM

    Grandma Sylvia's blueberry cake

  • ccolodny  on  10/26/2017 at 9:40 AM

    Chocolate Chip Loaf Cake!

  • rrwrites  on  10/28/2017 at 2:39 PM

    hot cocoa cake

  • echilt5  on  10/28/2017 at 9:43 PM

    The tie-dye cake

  • Uhmandanicole  on  10/30/2017 at 4:26 AM

    Classic birthday cake

  • RickPearson54  on  10/30/2017 at 7:52 AM

    Berry cake

  • bibliophile02  on  10/31/2017 at 12:50 PM

    Chocolate chip loaf cake

  • fiarose  on  10/31/2017 at 9:01 PM

    mmm, mint leaf cake!

  • Katiefayhutson  on  11/4/2017 at 8:17 AM

    Dulce de leche or berry cake.

  • RoseMGenuine  on  11/4/2017 at 1:47 PM

    Lemon cake. That’s all my kids want.

  • nicolthepickle  on  11/6/2017 at 1:51 PM

    The Cinnamon cake sounds amazing!

  • madelainelc  on  11/6/2017 at 10:50 PM

    Okay, all of these look amazing. That said, the sample recipe looks like the perfect thing for my friend's birthday next weekend, so I'll be whipping that up! Literally? Too far?

  • orchidlady01  on  11/10/2017 at 7:05 AM

    Lemon cake and Chocolate chip cake

  • jterry  on  11/11/2017 at 7:39 PM

    Lemon cake.

  • jmay42066  on  11/11/2017 at 7:54 PM

    The peanut butter cup cupcakes sound so good!

  • Amandaspamanda  on  11/11/2017 at 8:19 PM

    I would make the Limona cake, im interested in the idea of mint in a cake!

  • HollyWass  on  11/11/2017 at 11:07 PM

    cookie dough

  • AnnaZed  on  11/13/2017 at 9:52 PM

    Lemon cake

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