Ombré Swirl Cake


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Ombré Swirl Cake by Stephanie Quiroz
Story and photos by Cindy Kafie

Stephanie Quiroz, senior elementary education major, has developed a passion for baking and decorating cakes. Her cakes have already been featured at baby showers and other events.

She plans to pursue a master’s degree after having taught for a few years.

She is currently the president of SEAL, Student Educators Association for Dynamic Leadership, and the Education Director of Delta Zeta Sorority.

Her favorite part of attending St. Mary’s is the community and being close to the Marianists. She treasures the long lasting relationships she has built at St. Mary’s.

“I am eager to graduate and see what awaits, but I will miss the friendships I built over the years,” Quiroz says.

After this semester, Quiroz is going to teach at a school as part of her Student Teaching program.

She is excited for what the new semester will bring as well as it being her last semester as an undergraduate student.

Quiroz has Italian and Mexican heritage.

Her mother’s family is Italian and her father’s family is Mexican.

She grew up in a household where food from both cultures was readily available, so both foods are her favorite.

Quiroz has been learning about cake decorating, and baking techniques and tips.

So, she decided to bake a cake for this project because she wanted to put everything she learned into practice.

“Each layer has to be dyed separately to achieve the ombré effect, it is important to use the same color but not the same amount of liquid on each layer,” Quiroz says.

The inspiration for the cake was definitely from Tiffany’s.

“I believe Tiffany’s jewelry makes a statement and wanted to make a cake that would make a statement as well,” Quiroz says.


Basic Vanilla Cake


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pans
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pans
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9-inch-round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper; butter the parchment and dust the pans with flour, tapping out the excess.

Whisk 3 cups flour, the baking powder and salt in a bowl until combined. Beat 2 sticks butter and the sugar in a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to medium; beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla. (The mixture may look separated at this point.)

Mix 1/2 cup water with the cream in a liquid measuring cup or bowl. Beat the flour mixture into the butter mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the cream mixture, beginning and ending with flour, until just smooth.

Divide the batter between the prepared pans. Bake until the cakes are lightly golden on top and the centers spring back when pressed, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to racks and let cool 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edge of the pans and turn the cakes out onto the racks to cool completely. Remove the parchment. Trim the tops of the cakes with a long serrated knife to make them level, if desired.
Makes 15 servings


Decorators Buttercream


  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 cup Crisco shortening
  • 1 TBS clear vanilla extract
  • 1 2lb bag of Domino powdered sugar
  • 4-8 TBS milk


  • Let your butter sit out for a while to soften. Do not put it in the microwave. If you do not have time, cut the butter up in small chunks. Beat the butter until soft and creamy in your mixer. If you don’t have a kitchen mixer you can do this with a hand mixer but it is best to go ahead and left your butter soften. Now, add in shortening, beat again. I like to give mine a few minutes on medium high…beating it a little longer makes it lighter. Add vanilla and mix well. Add in the powdered sugar about a cup at a time. Add in milk 1 TBS at a time until you’ve got your desired consistency.




Vanilla Cake Pops

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Vanilla Cake Pops by Cindy Kafie
Story and Photos by Michelle Kafie

Cindy Kafie, a junior Marketing major at St. Mary’s University, hopes one day to attend culinary school and eventually own a cupcake shop in Honduras, her native country. She has a passion for baking; her mother and grandmother have taught her their secrets and techniques. The kitchen was her playground growing up and it shows in every dish she prepares.

Kafie came to St. Mary’s because she liked the mission and fell in love with the community. She loves to eat seafood, and her favorite is fried calamari. She also enjoys Asian food and, in particular, Thai dishes. She loves cooking and baking. Her favorite dishes to prepare are shrimp fettuccine alfredo and rice casseroles. She loves preparing red velvet cookies, any kind of cupcake, and apple cobbler.

One recipe she likes to make is cake pops because she loves the flavor and knows that everyone enjoys eating them. They are fun to make, even though they take a long time. When making these, she advises going through the steps carefully because the cake pops can easily fall off the stick.

Another tip is to avoid coating the cake pops immediately after removing them from the refrigerator to prevent them from cracking. “Cake pops aren’t the easiest dessert to prepare, but once you take the first bite, it will all be worth it,” Kafie says.

• ½ c. water
• 1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
• 2 tsp. baking powder
• 1/4 tsp. salt
• 1 stick unsalted butter
• 1 c. sugar
• 2 large eggs
• 1/2 c. milk
• 1 tsp. vanilla extract
• 2 bags of chocolate coating melts


Preheat oven to 375F. Grease and line an 8-inch square cake pan. In a large bowl, sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix well. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy. Gradually add sugar and continue to beat until well combined and fluffy. Reduce the mixer speed to medium and slowly add eggs until just blended. With the mixer on low, slowly add half the flour mixture. Add the milk and vanilla extract. Slowly add remaining flour mixture, scraping down sides of the bowl with a spatula, as necessary, until just blended. Bake cake for 18 to 20 minutes. Let cake cool in pan for 15 minutes. Break the cooled cake into a few big trunks by hand until it turns into crumbs. Add frosting gradually into the cake crumbs and blend until the mixture becomes dough. Use a small cookie scoop, roll dough into evenly sized balls and place them on the prepared cookie sheets. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Melt chocolate melts in the oven. Dip one end of a lollipop stick in the chocolate and insert into the cake ball. Repeat with the remaining cake pops. Refrigerate again for an hour. Remove cake pops from the refrigerator. Melt chocolate melts again in the stove. Dip each cake pop in the chocolate and gently tap off excess. Place onto a piece of wax paper.
Makes 20-25 cake pops.