desserts, general information and events

bake my cake 2014 competition entry: the bread pudding cake.

movita beaucoup's bake my cake 2014: the bread pudding cake.

Well, friends, it’s that time of year again: one of my favorite people/bloggers, Rachael (aka Movita Beaucoup) turns another year older, and we all get to celebrate by making ridiculous cakes in her honor. I’ve done two cakes so far for her: this crazy miniaturized bakeshop thing and this cereal-turned-into-donuts one, both of which were incredibly fun to make, even if they didn’t win. And they didn’t win, people: I manage to lose every. single. time.
This year, the theme is crappy cakes: all we had to do to is enter a crappy cake into the competition. As luck would have it, I’m pretty crappy at making a crappy cake, because my need to do everything correctly? let’s just say it doesn’t translate that well into screwing up a cake purposefully. I’m also prone to intense overthinking, and as the translation of “crappy” could mean myriad things, I struggled to interpret what she meant. Crappy like bad? crappy like gross to eat? Crappy to whom and in what way? On and on it went.

movita beaucoup's bake my cake 2014: the bread pudding cake.

So I decided that my crappy cake would need to cut right to the heart of the matter: this cake needed to be crappy in the way that it would freak Movita out with how crappy it was. It needed to be her own worst nightmare of a cake; an insomnia-inducing masterpiece of horror, specifically tailored to her own idea of what terrifyingly bad is.

movita beaucoup's bake my cake 2014: the bread pudding cake.

I have to say, I think I nailed it. If you know Movita, you know she loves food in general, but also has some very specific dislikes. Those dislikes don’t fall so much into the “hey, I’m just not a fan” category as they do the “I will roundhouse kick you if you make me eat that” category, and I made sure to address those with this cake. The components (of horror):

movita beaucoup's bake my cake 2014: the bread pudding cake.

1. Bread Pudding – Yes, my lovlies, that’s bread pudding, stacked up three layers tall. I used this very standard, easy recipe from The Kitchn as my base recipe, baked it in a big 9 x 13 inch pan, and cooled it completely. Then I used my 6-inch cake ring (the one I use for all the Momofuku cakes) and employed the same principles of layer cakes as Momofuku does: two perfect layers and one cobbled together one for the bottom. A quick milk soak for the bottom layer helped seal it all together, and I layered it up with cream cheese frosting.

Why is this horrifying? Well, it isn’t, and if you’re a bread pudding enthusiast, this cake may be your dream come true. But Movita abhors “soaked” baked goods: she cringes at things like bread pudding, tiramisu…basically anything spongy you decided to soak with liquid is enough to make her begin to shudder. So an entire cake (and she loves cake) made out of something she loathes? It’s just cruel, really.

movita beaucoup's bake my cake 2014: the bread pudding cake.

2. Raisins – Have you ever heard her go on a rant about raisins? You’d think they used to beat her up when she was a small child. Dates as well; you could say she’s just not that into them, if by “just not into them” you mean “hates them with the fire of a thousand suns.” Especially when you hide them in baked goods…which is exactly why I did that here. What you see before you, swirled throughout the bread pudding layers, is approximately one boatload of raisins. It’s filled to max capacity, and i doubt there’s a way to eat even a bite of this without getting a few of those little shriveled grape carcasses in there. And all that soaking and baking and hanging out in moisture makes them extra soft and smushy, just the way she likes them.

Why is this horrifying? As I mentioned, if there’s anything Movita hates more than a bunch of innocent raisins hanging about, it’s when they get all up in her baked goods. I would have put dates in here as well, but I really felt the raisins were pretty effective here. Just look at them: it almost looks like one of those kids’ ant farm in there.

movita beaucoup's bake my cake 2014: the bread pudding cake.

Today is the first day of voting: I have zero idea who my competitors are at the time I’m writing this, but I’m understandably apprehensive because I have zero idea how anyone else translated “crappy.” Also because I never win, but you can change that this time by *ahem* voting for me maybe? Scoot on over here to see entries as well as the little note I wrote to Movita explaining why my cake is the crappiest ever.

movita beaucoup's bake my cake 2014: the bread pudding cake.

Pick your favorite cake; it would be great if mine was your favorite, but I’m still going to love you even if you think someone else’s is better. Then vote for your favorite cake; it’s that simple. I guarantee you it’s going to be a friendly competition because we do it for Movita and not really to win. I feel like I won no matter what happens, because I made a layer cake out of bread pudding; have you ever seen that? nope.

If you’d like to make this cake, by the way, it’s super simple. I won’t even type out the recipe as much as i’ll link you to how I went about it. Here’s what you do:

1. Use this recipe from The Kitchn – it’s totally customizable and comes out of the oven beautifully. I used my day-old tsoureki leftovers and one of those King’s Hawaiian rounds you can get at most any grocery store. I wanted to have it semi-uniform, so i used a knife to cut it into 1 1/2 cubes versus tearing it up. I upped the cinnamon a little in it, because upping cinnamon in recipes is basically my calling card. When you prepare it, really press it into the pan – like really use some force there, because you want it as dense as you can so your layers cut cleanly. I baked mine for a while longer (probably due to density), but when it’s a nice burnished color on top and has a good puff to it, take it out. If you’re into raisins, they’re really good in this: I added a decent amount, and sprinkled them in while i was turning the bread into the pan as well as over top after I added the liquid.

2. Use this cream cheese frostingΒ –Β Β it’s delicious with the vanilla-cinnamon flavors of the pudding, and it doesn’t make it overly sweet. In fact, cream cheese works well here specifically because it gives it almost a frosted cinnamon-bun feel. Add a bit of cinnamon into the frosting if you want to.

3. Use a 6-inch cake ring – does it seem foolish to own a cake ring? it isn’t; I’ve used it lots of times for projects like this, and it’s nice to have a petite cake at gatherings versus a hulking 8-inch thing taking up table space. You wouldn’t believe how adorable a 6-inch cake looks in real life, and you really need one to get these layers uniform. And you can forgo the usual acetate strips here that i use for the momofuku cakes; you can actually build this cake sans ring and have it work, but it does work better with the acetate, so use it if you have it. Acetate or no, make sure you use one of those 6-inch cardboard cake boards so you can easily maneuver the cake around. If you want to see how I layer one of these, see this post; lots more components in it, but you’ll get the idea.

4. Decorate the top – you like that? Very time-consuming: take one jar of extra big sprinkles and dump onto a circle of frosting. It’ll stick in a mountainous way, and the frosting circle base will hold the sprinkles on there even when you cut into it. If you’ve got an old-fashioned ballerina hanging around your house, go ahead and stick her headfirst into this cake: she’ll love it, just like Movita would love to dive right into this masterpiece.

And there you have it: My once-yearly foray into random caking. If you’d like to see what everyone else did, head over to Movita’s blog and check them out. Make sure you vote for the one you think is best while you’re over there: it’s always fun for us to battle it out in the stats throughout the day, and you throwing your vote into the pile just makes it that much more interesting.


You Might Also Like


  • Reply mellissa @ ibreatheimhungry April 30, 2014 at 5:37 am

    Since I’m with Movita on the raisins thing, I’d rather shave my legs with a cheese grater while chewing on tinfoil than eat this cake – BUT THAT’S WHAT I LOVE ABOUT IT!!! This cake couldn’t be crappier (to Rachel anyway) if it tried. You totally embraced this crappy challenge and I literally laughed out loud when I read the letter you sent with your entry. Major points for overuse of the word moist. Ewww. It was awesome! The ballerina on top? EPIC. You deserve to win this one FO SHO and I’m going to shout it from the rooftops!

    • Reply shannon May 1, 2014 at 8:49 am

      I threw the moist references in just for the food bloggers; because i KNOW how much we all love it when things are described as “MOIST.” mmm, mmm.

  • Reply Emma April 30, 2014 at 6:04 am

    Can’t you just picture the raisins squelching with each and every bite of this cake? Squelch. Squelch.


    • Reply mellissa @ ibreatheimhungry April 30, 2014 at 10:54 am

      Emma I don’t know why but this made me crack up until tears literally ran down my face. I can barely type, not even kidding. I think it was the long squelllch at the end that got me. Whooo boy – thanks for that! πŸ˜€

    • Reply shannon May 1, 2014 at 8:48 am

      the visual here is really stunning. i can both see and hear the raisins squelching based on your vivid (and accurate) description.

  • Reply Willow @Will Cook For Friends April 30, 2014 at 6:43 am

    Shannon, I think you outdid yourself. The only thing that would make this cake crappier (for Rachael, at least) would be if it had a graham-cracker crust. Still, I think you deserve to win on the upside-down ballerina alone. And the mountain of sprinkles? Pure genius. I think you had the perfect interpretation of “crappy,” and all I can say is, I’m glad I didn’t enter the competition this year (meant to, didn’t) because I’d hate to go up against a cake this good. Err, I mean, crappy. Bravo.

    • Reply shannon May 1, 2014 at 8:47 am

      You know, i really should have pulled out a graham layer in this somehow: it could have even been a graham crust sprinkle between the layers with the frosting. let’s pretend it’s there, and that’ll really make this the most terrifying cake in the universe, at least as far as Rachael is concerned.

      thank you. πŸ™‚

  • Reply elizabeth April 30, 2014 at 7:23 am

    Holy crap (cake)! This cake is literally epic–I’m always amazed how you take some guidelines and just go and blow away every possible boundary that could contain you.

    After seeing this, I definitely want to see you try to take on the wafflegato!

    • Reply shannon May 1, 2014 at 8:46 am

      Thank you very much, Elizabeth: i never actually know if some of these ideas will work, and this one was no exception. I figured there was at least a 50% chance of having soggy remnants of bread pudding all over my kitchen with this one, but happily, it actually worked, and i was pretty thrilled with the result. Rest assured that there are numerous projects which will never see the light of day that have *not* gone according to plan.

      you’ve really thrown down the gauntlet with the wafflegato, and it’s going to officially haunt my dreams until i figure it out. And i’m going to somehow figure it out. I’ve already done some preliminary thinking on it, so we’ll see.

  • Reply movita beaucoup April 30, 2014 at 9:15 am

    I’d like to begin by thanking you for constructing this nightmare for me. I can’t tell you how… stunned I was when I saw it. Also, grateful. Grateful that I didn’t have to eat it.

    Did you know that the word date comes from the Greek word for finger? Have you ever wished for a slice of finger cake? I didn’t think so. And raisins? Well, they’re compost. Here in Nova Scotia we have to compost. It’s law. Thousands of households dragging big carts of food and yard waste to the curb every week. I HAVE NEVER SEEN ANYONE DIVE IN FOR A SNACK. And yet, people continue to snack on shrivelled up grapes – petrified fruit that should have been dumped in the compost bin. It is my belief that in the days of yore, some genius saw a pile of rotting grapes and convinced some other genius to try eating them. (Nowadays, we’d call this a fraternity prank.) The raisin industry was born, and people have been eating garbage ever since. Shouldn’t we be up in arms about this?!

    Anyhoo, thanks for making my birthday extra awesome!

    • Reply shannon May 1, 2014 at 8:43 am

      you are so welcome: thank you for yet another opportunity to completely blow a competition and make you laugh at the same time. also maybe this time i made you sick a little bit? so that’s good, right?

      oh, i had no idea about the the word date, but now? TOTALLY WANT TO EAT ME SOME NICE, PLUMP, MOIST, STICKY DATES. And you’re totally getting a strongly-worded letter from Sunmaid for that raisin slander, i bet. I won’t tell them but they have their ways of getting information. like the raisin KGB, just saying.

      as always, and in all seriousness, you are welcome, and i hope you have the BEST birthday ever this year.

  • Reply sara April 30, 2014 at 10:20 am

    Hahaha, hilarious! Love it!

  • Reply Jennie @themessybakerblog April 30, 2014 at 10:59 am

    A soon as I saw a picture of this raisin-filled cake on Movita’s facebook page, I knew the entry belonged to you. I was cracking up as I was reading Movita’s response to your cake. She was shaking in her ballet slippers, my friend. I even pictured her gnawing on her fingernails. You have this one in the bag (of course you have my vote), Shannon. This cake screams crappy from every angle. Great job!

    • Reply shannon May 1, 2014 at 8:39 am

      Thank you, Jennie. My goal was really to mess with her with as much force and in as many ways as i possibly could manage, and i feel like this cake does just that. It hits where it hurts.

  • Reply Ashley April 30, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    Awesome. Just awesome. You have a wicked genius streak in you, and I suspect you’d be excellent at planning the perfect heist or something…

    And since Movita won’t eat it, I’d be happy to do so for her. I actually love raisins, bread pudding, icing, and sprinkles. πŸ˜‰

    • Reply shannon May 1, 2014 at 8:38 am

      sshhh ashley don’t tell anyone about the heist! πŸ™‚

      I would eat this with you: it really was pretty awesome to eat bread pudding as a cake, because it does really well with the cream cheese frosting component, and it’s fun to see it all stacked up like that. A fun project, and one i’m just happy to have actually work; i had my doubts, but bread pudding really stood up to the challenge here.

  • Reply natalie @ wee eats April 30, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    I. Love. This. Cake. And I love imagining Movita upside down with an angry dismissive look on her face inside of it. That little ballerina is annoyed that you are making her touch that cake. LOOK AT THAT FACE!

    • Reply shannon May 1, 2014 at 8:36 am

      I picked out the ballerina in my collection which MOST resembled the face i imagine Rachael would make were I to make her dive into this cake in full ballerina regalia. I feel this one really personifies her. although she’s not gagging, so…almost.

  • Reply Elizabeth @ Eating Local in the Lou April 30, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    Voted for your crappy cake Shanon- partly because I feel sorry for you never winning but even more because I know anything you bake is a winner- even your CRAP! Good luck to you! (BTW- based on the results that pop up you are currently winning by a lot!)

    • Reply shannon May 1, 2014 at 8:35 am

      hey, i’ll take a “feeling sorry for you” vote any day, Elizabeth, so thank you! It’s the last Bake my Cake competition, too, so i’ll feel really good if i win this one. I tried not to check the results too much yesterday, and i’m going to do the same today. i mean i’ll check a little bit. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Stephbo April 30, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    You are totally crappy at making crappy cakes. This is brilliant!! I love the upside down ballerina. Nice touch! You’ve got my vote!

    • Reply shannon May 1, 2014 at 8:34 am

      i know, right? i can BUST OUT a crappy cake, as it turns out. Thank you for voting!

  • Reply John@Kitchen Riffs April 30, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    This is really really funny and creative. And it sounds like a wonderful cake, to boot! I’m in awe of your skill. πŸ˜‰

    • Reply shannon May 1, 2014 at 8:34 am

      Much appreciated, John! I have fun with it, and so does Movita, so i think it worked out well. And it actually is oddly delicious, so double win there.

  • Reply Matt May 1, 2014 at 5:30 am

    So it began here did it? Bravo! I just popped over to share my appreciation for your masterwork. Unlike theses others, the haters of all things raisin…hating on such a thoughtful and creative thing of beauty. And while some people may find it hard to believe, I would most definitely ( insert Mellissa quote here ) ‘eat the heck out of that’ cake. I would even pair it up with an imperial stout, or maybe a marzen to compliment the heavy, spicey goodness. And you should not wonder why I would like to eat this cake, when so many others would rather light themselves on fire rather than squelch through one milky, cheesey bite. After all, there are people that love country music, broccoli and/or cauliflower, and wear winter hats while in a t-shirt. Heck, there are people that think a red dot on a white background is art worthy of MOMA!

    So, well done Shannon, well done indeed. Long live the raisin.

    But I would scrape off those foul sprinkles.

    • Reply shannon May 1, 2014 at 8:33 am

      it DID begin here: hello, Mr. Hungry! And thank you so much for your kind words. I agree: what’s up with the raisin-hating? I’ve enjoyed them since childhood. Furthermore, how is it that people who hate raisins seemingly take no issue with other dried fruits, like cranberries or apricots? WHAT GIVES?!?

      I think an imperial stout would be lovely with this; nice pairing. And the marzen: i like the way you think, and it really is a robust, spiced number deserving of a equally robust beverage. And you may leave off the sprinkles: that’s for birthday festivities only. you’ll notice there’s a photo in here sans sprinkles, and the finished product is slightly better minus the colorful topping, truly. I stand by my statement that this cake is actually delicious, even though it was made to be someone’s worst nightmare. Viva la raisin. *high fives*
      two bonus points for use of the word “squelch.”

      • Reply Emma May 2, 2014 at 6:33 am

        for me, it’s the taste. it’s just like why i don’t like grape-flavored ____, no matter what it is, it always tastes like cough syrup. raisins, though… they just taste like trash. or something.

  • Reply Deb May 1, 2014 at 9:56 am

    At the risk of being different I will admit to liking bread pudding and raisins! So there! But I understand completely. My mother detested, would not have in the pantry raisins. Begrudgingly she used currants instead. We had Currant and Oatmeal Cookies, Cinnamon Currant Sweet Rolls and currants in her holiday fruit cake. She also does not eat avocados or mushrooms, ever. And only eats cooked vegetables that can be mashed on a slice of buttered toast. I digress, this could be along story….
    Serve me up a slice, I’ll bring some caramel sauce to make sure the cake stays moist!

    • Reply shannon May 8, 2014 at 7:49 am

      Deb, i’m proud of you for saying so: i’m not a hater of either (although i don’t seek them out, which makes me quite possibly the only person for whom this is a grey area), so i admire your bravery in speaking out. πŸ™‚ You know i’ve never had a dried currant? and i see them all the time (they live next to the raisins at the grocery store) so now i need to pick up a box and try them. I never knew there was a huge difference, but i’m going to see for myself.
      ooooh, avocados and mushrooms are a divisive issue as well: especially mushrooms (i love both). I sort of love that your mom will only eat mashed veggies on butter toast: that woman is a genius!

  • Reply Isabelle @ Crumb May 1, 2014 at 9:57 am

    I am speechless, though that’s only because I’m laughing way too hard to say anything coherent.
    Seriously. This cake is so mother-lovin’ genius in its horribleness that I have no choice but to bow down to your awesomeness.
    (Also, Miss Movita is totally right about raisins. They’re probably the worst thing you can inflict on a poor, hapless baked good. Or on a human being, for that matter.)

    • Reply shannon May 8, 2014 at 7:46 am

      Thank you, Isabelle! If you’re laughing that hard, i won already. Because this cake was meant to make EVERYONE laugh so much they couldn’t concentrate. πŸ™‚
      If nothing else, this cake was a good way to pick out (if you will) the raisin-haters from the raisin-lovers. What a hot-button issue with food people! I never knew.

  • Reply Matt May 2, 2014 at 8:08 am

    Way to go Shannon! The mighty raisin has conquered extreme prejudice and has prevailed! The day is yours! And, I too am perplexed at peoples revulsion of raisins in baked goods, yet cranberries and apricots are adored. It is one of life’s great mysteries…like way people eat broccoli.

    As an aside, you can add me to the list of people that think ‘moist’ is a gross word that is commonly used in food writing. I think that word more accurately describes a locker room hamper in the summertime, or an embrace from a sumo wrestler post-match. *dry-heave*


    • Reply shannon May 8, 2014 at 7:44 am

      Thank you, Matt! I daresay your comments helped me win, so thank you for your kind words about raisins, life, and bread pudding.
      Moist IS a completely disgusting word: never should it be used to describe food, and i’m not sure why it’s so prevalent when there are so many other words which would be less repulsive. Moist definitely equals sweat socks post-summer soccer game. AGREE. And now i’m dry-heaving as well…so many moist visuals to pick from.

  • Reply Matt May 2, 2014 at 8:09 am


  • Reply Abbe@This is How I Cook May 2, 2014 at 9:24 am

    Really? There is really a crappy cake? Even if I don’t like the cake I can usually find myself content with the icing? Or the other way around. And man-can’t she pick the raisins out? Plus it has sprinkles and a dead ballerina. This must be a winner!

    • Reply shannon May 8, 2014 at 7:42 am

      Crappy to some, Abbe: evidently the world is largely divided about bread pudding and raisins, and even if she picked the raisins out, there would still be squishy bread pudding, which she really can not abide. So a big win for me; she can’t escape my cake! πŸ™‚

  • Reply Monica May 2, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    I admire your spirit in doing this! I’m thinking that if you ever have writer’s or cooking block again, you only need to ask Movita to come up with a contest. : ) I’m rooting for you but but I’m kinda thinking you might be disqualified because it looks too good! I don’t like bread pudding or raisins but somehow you make it look good. And here’s what I’m wondering…what did you do with this cake? Did you guys eat it?

    • Reply shannon May 8, 2014 at 7:41 am

      Thank you, Monica! Truly, i agree: there’s nothing like a Movita contest to get my creative juices flowing, for sure. Or get my competitive hackles up? Potato, Potahto. πŸ™‚

      We did have a slice, although a very thin slice, because it’s bread pudding with icing, so pretty filling and sweet and rich (although very good). we couldn’t make it through all of it, but we enjoyed it while it was here. I need to post a picture i took (that i forgot to post) with a slice out so you can see the insides.

  • Reply Amy @ Elephant Eats May 2, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    Ok first of all, since i’m late to commenting and I know the results to this competition…CONGRATULATIONS!!! Obviously I had no doubt that you would win with this spectacular (and might I say delicious) concoction. The upside-down ballerina just about did me in…it totally made me smile so much πŸ™‚
    Hahaha, I would agree that you’re crappy at making crappy cakes (you make some of the best cakes I’ve ever seen. I would never ever even attempt a Milk Bar cake and you’ve like mastered them) – so i love your take on the competition. Also, I’d be totally ok with you making this cake for my birthday πŸ˜‰

    • Reply shannon May 8, 2014 at 7:36 am

      hey, stranger! πŸ™‚ thank you! it was fun to compete, and i’m sad that was the last ever bake my cake competition: i love spending tons of time making random cakes, and i don’t know what i’ll do with that time now. and all these ballerinas… πŸ™‚

      oh please, you could do a milk bar cake easy: it’s just a bunch of components and extra equipment WHAT COULD BE MORE FUN!?!?! seriously, though, you know i’ve said it before, but nothing is hard once you do it the first time. this one turned out very Milk Bar-ish just because i’ve really taken to making cakes like that now: just think of all the side-frosting i don’t have to mess up! I would totally make this cake for your birthday, too, but shipping…this cake is maybe 9,938 lbs? It’s like eating a piano, but a delicious one. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Karen @ Karen's Kitchen Stories May 3, 2014 at 8:26 pm

    Congratulations! Hilarious! I am not worthy.

    • Reply shannon May 8, 2014 at 7:33 am

      Thank you so much, Karen! You’re too kind to me and my crappy cake. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Sarah @ The Cook's Life May 6, 2014 at 5:28 pm

    I got behind on my emails and blog reading and missed my chance to vote. So glad you won without me! πŸ™‚ I would totally eat your cake – I love bread pudding and the moister the better. I hate dry bread puddings, except then they soak up any sauce you put on top of them. And raisins just belong in a bread pudding. I admit I used to pick them out when I was a kid, but now they are necessary. I would probably skip the sprinkles. I am so not a fan, sacrilege though that may be. I do love the happiness they give to the top of the cake! They truly make the cake sing visually. I would have to leave mine on the side of the plate, but that would give me room to eat more squishy raisins. πŸ™‚

    • Reply shannon May 8, 2014 at 7:18 am

      totally fine! you are not required to be caught up or to vote for me, and it was fun doing it, either way it went. I’m happy to win too, though: FINALLY. πŸ™‚ and with a crappy cake, no less. the sprinkles definitely added more of a visual/celebratory appeal than flavor/textural appeal, for sure: i’d leave them off too if i were making this cake in normal life. πŸ™‚

  • Reply vernie4527 March 25, 2015 at 10:39 am

    And this is what I call great content. Continue the nice work.

  • Leave a Reply