Hidden Heart Cake: A Sweet Surprise for Your Valentine

Thinking of baking a cake for your Valentine this year? Try making a hidden heart cake! Every slice is baked with a little love, right in the middle.

For this project you will need a small heart-shaped cookie cutter, food coloring, and a recipe for two pound cakes, which will be baked separately in the same 5-by-9-inch loaf pan. Martha Stewart’s Classic Pound Cake works perfectly for this project.


Step 1: Bake the first pound cake, dyed pink.

To start the hidden heart cake you will need to prepare and bake the first pound cake in a 5-by-9-inch loaf pan. You should dye the cake batter the color you will want your hidden heart inside to be (I used neon pink liquid food coloring).

Once the pound cake is baked, cooled, and removed from the pan, transfer it to the freezer for about 20 minutes. (It’s much easier to cut a cold or semi-frozen cake.)



Step 2: Cut out the hidden hearts.

Use a serrated knife to cut the entire pound cake loaf into thick, 3/4-inch to 1-inch slices. Then use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut hearts from the center of each of the slices. Be gentle when handling the hearts, they will need to remain intact for the second cake.

Once all of the hearts have been cut, you will have a lot of leftover cake scraps. There is no need to let them go to waste. Make cake pops or save them for another delicious dessert!



Step 3: Prepare the second cake batter.

Prepare the batter for the second pound cake and set it aside. For the best results, you will want to use the same loaf pan you used for the first pound cake to bake the second. Be sure the pan is very clean and re-greased to prevent any sticking.



Step 4: Stack the hearts inside the loaf pan.

Place a very thin layer of batter on the bottom of the loaf pan. Then carefully stack the hearts upright, inside the pan, in a straight line. Gently press the bottom point of the hearts into the layer of batter on the bottom of the pan.



Step 5: Pour the remaining batter on top of the hearts.

Carefully pour the batter on the sides of the hearts and then on top of the hearts. Make sure they are completely covered with batter. Use a rubber spatula to smooth the top surface, then bake as indicated in the pound-cake instructions.

Be sure to check on the cake while it’s baking. The total bake time will likely be about 10 to 15 minutes less than indicated since the hearts in the center are already baked.

To make sure your cake is fully baked, use the trusty old toothpick trick: insert a toothpick near the center (but in this case, closer to the sides). When the toothpick comes out clean, you are all set.



Step 6: Bake and cool the hidden heart cake before slicing.

Once the hidden heart cake is fully baked, transfer to a wire rack to cool in the pan for 30 minutes. Then remove the cake from the pan, and let it cool completely.

Slice and surprise! The pound cake can be served alone, or with fresh fruit and whipped cream. Either way, it is a lovely treat for such a loving day.





This article was first published on the MarthaStewart.com Network on January 30, 2016.

By: Adrienne Blumthal

Photos: Steven Karl Metzer

Mini Melon Cakes: Quick, Healthy, No-Bake, and Cake-Free

Looking for a quick and healthy dessert? Try making these mini melon cakes! They are the perfect party treat for a hot summer day, but really can be served all year round. These fresh fruit cakes use cantaloupe, watermelon, whipped cream, and a blackberry, and mint leaf as garnish.


Before you start cutting your fruit, make a simple whipped cream and keep it in the fridge until ready to use. Then, cut your cantaloupe into 1/2-inch thick slices. Using a 3 3/4-inch biscuit cutter, cut circles out of the center. Use a smaller biscuit cutter (about 1-1/2 inch) to cut the seeds out.




Using a large knife, carefully cut the watermelon into 1/2-inch slices. Don’t worry if you cut too thick or crooked, it’s easy to slice the cut circles in half to make them a bit thinner.







Using the 3 3/4-inch biscuit cutter, cut circles out of the watermelon. If you cut the watermelon too thick in the previous step, slice the cut circles in half lengthwise to make the layer thinner.





Before you start stacking, use a paper towel to blot the water from the cut fruit — this helps prevent slipping. Start with a watermelon disk as the base. Stack the cantaloupe on top of the watermelon. Transfer your whipped cream into a piping bag or plastic bag with the corner cut off. Fill the inside of the cantaloupe (where you cut the seeds out) with whipped cream.




Repeat the layering process, filling each of the cantaloupe pieces, until you’ve reached your desired height, finishing with the watermelon on top. I used seven layers in my mini melon cakes. Repeat to make as many mini melon cakes as you like!


Cupcake wrappers make a great “plate” for these mini melon cakes. Simply flatten out the cupcake wrapper and you have the perfect sized parchment circle on which to build your mini melon cakes.






Adding a piped border will make your melon stack really look like a tiny, fancy cake. Pipe a simple whipped cream border on the bottom and top.





Spoon a dollop of whipped cream on top of each cake, then garnish with a blackberry and mint leaf. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


Super-Simple Chocolate Pie Crust

It’s as easy as adding sugar and cocoa to your pastry dough, but the result has a major wow factor for both looks and taste.

Using chocolate pie dough adds a colorful, delicious, and unexpected element to your favorite pie. Below is a super-simple recipe for a buttery, flaky chocolate pie dough. Best of all, it functions the same as most butter-based pie doughs and can be par-baked, blind-baked, or fully baked with filling inside.


Give it a try; the chocolate lovers in your life will thank you.



Super-Simple Chocolate Pie Dough


Yield: Makes one 9-inch deep-dish pie shell



– 2 cups all-purpose flour

– 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

– 3 tablespoons granulated sugar

– 6 ounces unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes

– 1/3 cup brewed coffee, cold





Combine flour, cocoa powder, and sugar in a large bowl; whisk to incorporate.



Add the butter, then using your fingertips or a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse meal.



Slowly add the cold coffee in thirds, stirring with a wooden spoon after each addition. Continue stirring until a soft dough has formed.



MARTHA STEWART_PIE_DOUGH 2330Gather with your hands and knead slightly, then mold into a circular disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes (or up to two days).



Remove dough from refrigerator and let rest for 5 minutes. Roll out on a floured surface and transfer to 9-inch deep-dish pie pan. Trim crust overhang, then fold and crimp the edges. Return to refrigerator for 20 minutes before filling and/or baking.


Cook’s note: If baking chocolate dough for longer than 30 minutes, use a crust cover after 30 minutes of baking to prevent burning.


This article was first published on the MarthaStewart.com Network on March 31, 2014.

Bake a Blackberry Balsamic Pie this Weekend

A few years ago we shared a recipe for blackberry balsamic pie with sea salt and walnut crumble on Design Sponge. Due to popular request, we decided to post it again! We are in the thick of blackberry season right now and this pie is definitely worth making. It’s simple, yet sophisticated. The balsamic and lemon zest in the filling enhances the bold flavor of the blackberries, while the walnuts and sea salt in the crumble balance the sweetness. Check out the recipe below. Happy baking!


Blackberry Pie

Blackberry Balsamic Pie with Sea Salt Walnut Crumble


Note: This recipe is for a 9-inch deep-dish pie. If using a smaller pie pan, you may have some filling and crumble left over.


For the Pie Dough

– 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

– 4 oz (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small cubes

– 4 tablespoons ice cold water


For the Filling

– 4 1/2 cups fresh blackberries (about three 6-oz. containers)

– 1/2 cup sugar

– 1/4 cup brown sugar

– 3 tablespoons cornstarch

– 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

– zest of 1 lemon


For the Crumble

– 1 cup old-fashioned oats

– 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

– 1/2 cup brown sugar

– 1 cup chopped walnuts

– 1 teaspoon sea salt

– 4 oz (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small cubes


Pie Dough

Combine flour and butter in a food processor. Pulse 7 to 8 times, until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the cold water, one tablespoon at a time, pulsing after each addition. If dough seems too dry, add additional cold water by the tablespoon. Remove pie dough from food processor and mold into a circular disk. Cover and let refrigerate for at least 25 minutes.



Mix blackberries, sugars, cornstarch, balsamic and lemon zest in a bowl. Turn the mixture with a spoon several times to ensure the blackberries are coated.



Stir together oats, flour, brown sugar, walnuts and sea salt in large bowl. Add butter and rub into the mix with your fingertips (just like you would with pie dough!), pressing the mixture together until clumps form.


Assembly & Baking

Preheat oven to 400°F. Roll out dough on a floured surface and transfer to 9-inch deep-dish pie pan. Trim any crust overhang, fold under and crimp the edges. Spoon the blackberry filling into the dough-lined pan. Sprinkle crumble on top, fully covering the blackberries. Bake pie for 45–55 minutes or until filling is bubbling and topping is brown and crisp. Check pie after 25 minutes of baking and cover with foil if the crust or crumble seems to be browning too quickly. Cool one hour before serving.


The Finishing Touches: Pie Crust Wash

The process of making a pie from scratch is certainly a rewarding one. And as with anything you bake, the preparation and process is so important to the outcome. You’ve spent time and effort putting the pastry together, so don’t sell yourself short by skipping the final step — the wash!


Pies with a top crust or lattice top will typically call for an egg or cream wash to be brushed on to the dough just before baking. The type of wash you use is what will give the baked pie a polished finish (it’s also the perfect “glue” for holding sugar that’s sprinkled on the crust).





An egg wash will give your pie crust a glossy finish, while a cream wash will give your pie crust more of a semi-golden, matte-like finish. Skipping a wash altogether can leave your crust looking stark.


The general rule of thumb for egg wash is 1 well-beaten egg plus 1 to 2 tablespoons of water (note: more water will lighten the golden color, or for a shinier pie, you can substitute the water with cream or milk).





For a cream wash, use heavy cream or half-and-half. No matter which you chose, a wash should always be applied just before the pie goes into the oven.




There are a variety of pie wash combinations that will give your crust a different finish. Whatever look you are going for, do yourself a favor and don’t skip this final preparation step.


From left: egg wash, no wash, and cream wash after baking.


This article was first published on the MarthaStewart.com Network on May 14, 2014.


The Easiest Pie Dough You’ll Ever Make

Looking for a quick and easy pie dough recipe? We’ve got you covered. This is our tried-and-true recipe for perfect pie dough. It’s not the fanciest, but it’s flaky, buttery and works every time. We even captured Adrienne making it on video to prove it!



–  1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

–  4 ounces unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small cubes

–  1/8 teaspoon salt

–  1/4 cups ice cold water



Combine flour, butter and salt in a large bowl. Using your hands or a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse meal. Slowly add the cold water in thirds, stirring with a wooden spoon after each addition. Continue stirring until a soft dough has formed. If dough seems too dry, add additional cold water by the tablespoon. If dough seems to wet, add a bit more flour. Once the dough has formed, gather with your hands and mold into a circular disk. Cover and refrigerate for at least 25 min or overnight.


Remove dough from refrigerator and let rest for 5 minutes. Roll out on a floured surface and transfer to pie pan. Trim any crust overhang, then flute the edges.


Need more dough? This recipe can be doubled, to accommodate a large deep dish pan, double crust or lattice top!

How to make pie dough from PieBox on Vimeo.

How to Make Herb-Infused Whipped Cream

Herb Infusded Whipped Cream


Fresh berries topped with whipped cream is one of our favorite summertime treats. It’s a quick and easy dessert that’s relatively healthy and always a crowd pleaser. And while whipped cream with just a touch of vanilla and sugar never disappoints, it’s remarkably easy to turn this everyday delight into a special treat.


Infusing whipped cream with herbs like basil or mint is wonderful year-round, but especially in warm weather months when herbs are plentiful and picked fresh from the garden. And not only will herb-infused whipped cream smell amazing, it adds a subtle complexity to whatever it’s served with, from a simple bowl of berries to a dollop atop pound cake or, obviously, pie.



Herb Infusded Whipped Cream


How to make whipped cream with herbs


Adding a fresh herb or dried flower to whipped cream requires a simple infusion, which may sound complicated, but it’s just like making tea.

For large, leafy herbs like basil, chop or tear leaves into small pieces. The amount you use will determine the intensity of flavor.


To one cup of cream we recommend add the following:

–   1 1/2 teaspoons dried lavender buds

–   About 1/3 cup fresh herbs (basil, mint)


Herb Infusded Whipped Cream


1. Place heavy cream in a small saucepan and heat until it just starts to simmer.

2. Remove cream from heat and add herbs.

3. Cover and let steep for about 25 to 30 minutes.



Herb Infusded Whipped Cream


Pour the infused cream through a mesh strainer to remove botanicals. Cover and refrigerate 6 to 8 hours or overnight. Whip the cream just before serving!


Berry + herb whipped cream pairings we love (mix and match!)


–   Lavender whipped cream + blueberries

–   Basil whipped cream + strawberries

–   Mint whipped cream + blackberries

This article was first published on the MarthaStewart.com Network on June, 25 2014.

How to Make Rhubarb Candy Garnish

Rhubarb season is in full swing, and the deliciously bitter stalk is a must-have in many of my baked goods. But with its bold colors and slender structure, it’s also a great contender for a garnish. Save a stalk the next time you make rhubarb pie, and you can easily turn it into an unexpected and beautiful tuile-like garnish. One stalk of rhubarb can easily make eight to ten garnishes. First, trim and wash your rhubarb, then use a vegetable peeler to create long and thin strips.





Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Soak the rhubarb strips in simple syrup for about five minutes. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Make sure the rhubarb strips aren’t overlapping each other. Bake until almost all the liquid is evaporated and the rhubarb starts to look crisp, about one hour.

rhubarb_garnish_0515_ (1)



Remove from oven, then carefully shape into spirals, circles, or whatever you fancy. For thin spirals, try wrapping the rhubarb around the handle of a wooden spoon. Or for thicker spirals, I used the tapered end of a rolling pin. The rhubarb will harden and maintain the shape as it cools. It should only take about 10 minutes for it to harden.


If your rhubarb doesn’t seem to keep its shape (you will know, it will flop right over), it simply means it’s not dehydrated enough! Just return to the oven for a few minutes longer or until it’s ready.


rhubarb_garnish_0515_ (2)




The finished rhubarb spirals can be used as garnish on many baked goods.




This article was first published on the MarthaStewart.com Network on June, 11 2015.

Photos: Steven Karl Metzer

Does My Pie Plate Fit?

At PieBox, we want to help you transport your pie or cake to your event in one beautiful piece. Our handcrafted wooden pastry carriers are the answer to this predicament. Regardless of how you plan to get to your gathering – bike, train, bus, car, or simply by walking – PieBox has you covered.


Before you buy, you may be worried about whether your favorite pie plate will fit in our carriers. The PieBox Team understands your concerns. We want you to know we designed PieBox with your plate in mind. In this article, we’ll explain the types of plates that work best with PieBox and how you can ensure that yours will fit perfectly.


Pie plates in PieBox

Standard Pie Plates

A standard pie plate is 9 inches in diameter, though there are larger options available. When you’re shopping for a new plate, you may be unsure of whether to pick ceramic, glass, or heavy aluminum. Not sure which to choose? Check out The Dish Debate.

How Big Is a PieBox?

PieBox is wide enough to snugly and securely fit a variety of different pie plates. You can even switch between your many plates – a ceramic dish will fit just as well as a glass or even a heavy aluminum plate. Any plate, up to 10.75 inches in diameter, will fit beautifully.


Pile on the toppings and curl your meringue as high! PieBox’s dimensions allow for pies up to 3.5 inches.


Not sure how to determine the size of your plate? Grab a tape measure or ruler and measure the diameter – the distance from one side to the direct opposite – of your plate.



PieBox Is the Perfect Fit for Your Plate

With so many choices of pie plates available, you might wonder whether or not your dish will fit. You may have just one pie plate, or a favorite among several. The beauty of PieBox is that it’s more than adequate for the “average” pie plate, but it can also accommodate a wider plate, too. No matter what size you prefer, PieBox was created to fit your needs.


PieBox wants to be there for your next event. Whether you’re gathering with family, attending a party in a friend’s home, or submitting your pastry to a local contest, we want to help transport your work. As a baker, you mix more than ingredients into your creations – your kitchen produces your passion.


Let PieBox protect your passion. It’s the perfect fit. Click here to get yours!


5 Ways to Make Your Cupcakes Stand Out



Cupcakes are fairly straightforward to make, taking a full size cake and making it easy to eat in individual portions. Because of this ease of preparation and ease of eating, they are often a staple of picnics, parties, and more. All of those cupcakes can run together in people’s memories, so you want to make sure that yours stand out and people can remember how epic they were. Here are some ideas to help you do that.

1.Use Fun Parchment Cups

Cupcake parchment cups serve the purpose of keeping your cupcakes from sticking to the pan and making them easy to eat, but they can serve another purpose. They can give your cupcakes a little bit of pizzazz. Rainbows, tiger stripes, polka dots, and more can take an ordinary cupcake and make immediately it more attractive.



2. Color Your Frosting

Why make plain white vanilla frosting for your cupcakes when you can make that same frosting green, blue, or pink with a few drops of food coloring? Color is very appealing and fun, so why not? Consider also coloring your cake batter as well, and think about contrasting colors or working the cupcake, cupcake liner, and frosting into a certain scheme?


Also maybe make your cupcakes into turtles, chicks, watermelons, or anything else. The possibilities are as endless as your imagination. Making your cupcakes into something will really make people sit up and notice.




3. Pipe Frosting

This doesn’t need to be hard or complicated. Using a simple star tip to add your frosting can make your cupcakes look like the work of a professional and can add a bit of fanciness when needed.



4. Add Sprinkles

Think about adding sprinkles to the top of your frosted cupcakes to add a touch of whimsy and flair that makes them really stand out. But also consider adding sprinkles to your unbaked batter. Depending on the type of sprinkles you add, you will end up with a spotted cupcake masterpiece. Adding that touch of unexpectedness can help your cupcakes raise the bar that much more.



5. Add An Unexpected Garnishment

Putting fresh or candied fruit on the top of your cupcakes adds fun and a punch of flavor. Strawberries, blueberries, and more can help with the experience of eating your cupcakes. Additions like lime, orange, or lemon zest can add a punch of flavor and color. If you are feeling especially adventurous, add flowers—fresh or gum paste—to make fancy cupcakes.  The bottom line is that anything beyond the expected will make your cupcakes really stand out.





After all of your hard work in creating your masterpiece, don’t forget to preserve your awesome cupcake decoration with a CakeBox. When you use our CakeBox, your cupcakes are kept safe and sound when you transport them to an event.  It has sliding cupcake inserts that keep your cupcakes snug and secure when you take them to go in your car, on your bike, on a bus, or walking. When you arrive, they will be as epic as they were before your started your journey.

Photos: Steven Karl Metzer