Aimee’s Pretty Palette: Let Us All Eat Cake

Photos by Marija Vidal

My friend Katie contributed her mama’s “best-ever” recipe for Chocolate Chip Snack Cake to my Traveling Apron Recipe Swap—this crazy project I created nearly 10 years ago to blog about a handmade apron and empty recipe binder I sent on a cross-country trip to collect recipes. 

Katie’s recipe was delightful, but I was more intrigued by the concept of a “snacking cake”—a cake created not for any particular occasion or celebration, but just for the pleasure of eating it. Katie’s mom wins all the accolades, having let her daughter eat cake as an after-school snack, but in my new Small-Batch Snacking Cake Cookbook, I’m also giving readers a prize: 75 ways to celebrate the everyday in a sweet way.

The beauty of my small-batch snacking cake recipes is that they are uncomplicated and unfussy, often mixed in a single bowl, and ready quickly, so your craving for something sweet can be satisfied with minimal effort. And the pans are small: 8- or 9-inch square or round pans or regular-size loaf pans, providing just enough cake to satisfy a craving but not so much that it goes stale.

On the following pages, I’m sharing three of the recipes from my book with inRegister readers. The Glazed Honey Bun Cake turns a classic convenience store treat into a snacking cake; one taste and I’m betting you’ll never eat store-bought again. The Blueberry Skillet Cake makes use of the abundance of fresh berries I pick at a local U-pick farm nearly every year, and the recipe is so versatile you could use just about any fruit you’d like. And the Confetti Birthday Cake—part of a chapter with recipes for special diets from gluten free to vegan to both—is a fun-to-make homemade version of the beloved box mix.

These recipes are big on flavor and mostly make use of ingredients the cake-loving baker already has on hand. Cake for everyone anytime!


Blueberry Skillet Cake

Ingredients:
8 Tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 Tbsp. almond milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups fresh blueberries, divided
¼ cup sliced almonds 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, cream butter and sugar together for 2 to 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, almond milk and vanilla until well combined. Gradually add flour, a little at a time, beating until just combined. Fold in 1½ cups blueberries. Scrape batter into an 8-in. cast-iron skillet. Arrange remaining ½ cup blueberries and sliced almonds on top of cake. Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out mostly clean. Cool for 15 minutes on a wire rack, then cut into 6 to 8 wedges and serve directly from skillet. 
Notes: Whole milk can be used in place of almond milk. Frozen blueberries will work in this recipe, but I recommend smaller wild blueberries; they aren’t as juicy as regular blueberries, so they don’t turn the cake purple. 
Makes 1 (8-in.) round cake; 6-8 servings. 

Confetti Birthday Cake (gluten free)

Ingredients:
Cake:
Butter for pan
1 ½ cups 1:1 gluten-free all-purpose flour
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
½ cup whole milk
½ cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. almond extract
13 cup rainbow sprinkles 
Frosting and topping:
4 Tbsp. (½ stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1-3 tsp. heavy (whipping) cream
½ tsp. vanilla extract
Rainbow sprinkles, for topping 
Make Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat an 8-in. square baking pan with butter and line bottom with a round of parchment paper. 
In a medium bowl, whisk together gluten-free flour, granulated sugar, baking powder and salt. Add milk, oil, eggs, vanilla and almond extract, and mix until combined. Fold in sprinkles. Scrape batter into prepared pan. Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out mostly clean. 
Transfer cake to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes in pan. Remove from pan and set on wire rack to cool completely before frosting. Discard parchment. 
Make Frosting: In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, cream butter for 1 to 2 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar, 1 tsp. cream, and vanilla, and beat until smooth. Add up to 2 additional tsp. cream until frosting reaches desired consistency and is easily spreadable. 
Once cake has cooled completely, use an offset spatula to frost top of cake. Sprinkle with rainbow sprinkles. Cut into 9 slices to serve. 
Note: Use longer rather than shorter sprinkles because they will keep their color and not bleed into the batter as much. 
Makes 1 (8-in.) round cake; 9 servings.

Glazed Honey Bun Cake

Ingredients:
Streusel:
½ cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground nutmeg 
Cake:
Nonstick baking spray (with flour)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
¾ cup granulated sugar
4 Tbsp. (½ stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¼ cup coconut oil
½ cup sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs 
Cinnamon glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp. heavy whipping cream
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. ground cinnamon 
Make Streusel: In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside. 
Make Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mist an 8-in. square baking pan with baking spray and line with a parchment sling. 
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. 
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, cream together granulated sugar, butter and oil for 2 to 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add sour cream and vanilla, and mix for another minute. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until each egg is incorporated. 
Add flour mixture to butter/sugar mixture a little at a time, mixing until just combined. Pour half of batter into prepared pan, then sprinkle streusel mixture on top. Scrape in remaining batter and spread on top of streusel. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out mostly clean. 
Meanwhile, make Cinnamon Glaze: In a medium bowl, whisk powdered sugar, cream, vanilla and cinnamon until smooth. 
After removing cake from oven, transfer pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Remove cake from pan, discard parchment, and cut into 9 squares to serve. While cake is still warm, prick holes into top of cake with a skewer or fork and pour Cinnamon Glaze over top of cake to complete glazed honey bun effect. 
Makes 1 (8-in.) square cake; 9 servings. 

Aimee Broussard is a Southern food blogger and award-winning cookbook author. Seen on QVC, Rachael Ray and more, she is a self-proclaimed accidental entrepreneur with a penchant for porches and sweet hospitality. Find her online at aimeebroussard.com.