About Heather Physioc of 52 Cakes HeatherPhysioc

Heather is an advertising professional in Kansas City. She is a vegetarian food-lover who finds joy in cooking, baking and finding new restaurants in new cities. She leads a pack of animals, including her beagle Ford, her shepherd-collie-retriever mix, Otto, and cat, Ahab.

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Here are my most recent posts

Cake 5: Turtle Cheesecake

So if you follow the FiftyTwoCakes Twitter (if you don’t you should), or check this blog regularly, you may have read that I nearly burned my house down last night. At least that’s what my neighbors think. Apparently my oven got some peach juice or something dripped in it from the last cake, because it was smoking non-stop throughout this cake! Terrible! My whole house is still smoky, and I have the door propped open with the fan pointed outward in desperate hopes that I’ll be able to breathe non-noxious air any minute now. Maybe the funds generated in this week’s “Cash for Cake” box should go toward some heavy duty oven cleaner. Ha!

Other than the fire code concerns, I think cake #5 – a rich, creamy, delicious turtle cheesecake – turned out great! Well… taste-wise anyway. I got in a hurry and forgot to grease the pan… and then I got in a hurry and opened the springform pan too soon. I served the damn thing anyway, but it is just further evidence that my biggest downfalls on this cake project so far have been PLANNING and PATIENCE. One of these days I will make a perfect cake. *sigh*


  • 2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs
  • 6 tablespoons melted butter
  • 5 ounces evaporated milk
  • 14 oz. caramel chips or chunks
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • Chocolate glaze or syrup


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan (don’t make the same mistakes I did!). Mix the vanilla wafer crumbs and melted butter together and spread in the bottom of the greased 9-inch round springform pan. Bake this for about 10 minutes while you mix the batter. Melt the caramels with the evaporated milk, and stir constantly until the mixture is smooth. Pour it over the vanilla wafer crust and sprinkle it with the chopped pecans. In a large bowl blend cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until well-blended. Add the eggs, one at a time, and blend well. Blend in the semisweet chocolate chips and mix well. (You can also melt the chocolate chips and blend it in that way and get a delicious dark turtle cheesecake – more traditional – but I didn’t this time. Next time and from here on out I definitely will.) Pour the batter over the pecans. Bake for 40 minutes. This thing is decadent.

Cake 4: Upside Down Peaches ‘n’ Cream Cake

It’s ugly, but tastes good. It may have peaches in it, but don’t let it fool you – it is not healthy in any way. This thing is loaded with sugar and butter frmo top to bottom, and not even the sliced peaches can make up for how deliciously bad for you it is.


  • 2.25 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup real butter at room temperature
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 0.5 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 fresh peaches – peeled, cored, sliced
  • A small handful of brown sugar

Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 cup room temperature butter
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla


Mix all ingredients except the peaches together. Blend well. Grease and flour two round 9-inch pans. Toss the sliced peaches in the brown sugar, get them coated well. It will be very sticky. Line the bottom of each pan with the sugared peaches. Pour the batter on top. Bake at 325 degrees for about 40-45 minutes, or until browned. Once the cake halves have cooled, turn one upside down out of the pan so the peaches are facing up. Ice with the traditional buttercream frosting, then flip the second cake layer onto it. Bam – done.

Strawberry Mountain Princess Cake

This is not one of the weekly cakes for the 52 Cakes project, but instead a commissioned cake!

The heat and my impatience threatened to ruin this cake, but there is a very special little girl out there who is turning 6 who needed a pretty princess cake – so I stayed strong! I call this “Strawberry Mountain.” It’s a traditional pound cake recipe with fresh strawberry halves baked into each layer, with a strawberry puree sauce drizzled over the top of each. I made a delicious pink buttercream frosting with fresh strawberry puree mixed in. On top I have handmade white and red icing “jewels” and three biiiig whole strawberries to serve as the peak of Strawberry Mountain. Then, took it to the lovely family’s house and added a tiara and more jewels to take this cake to the next level for our pretty, pretty princess.

I learned a lot in this cake – like to be patient, wait for things to cool completely, don’t overmix, etc. It tasted great, but I have a lot of things I would do differently on the appearance next time. Regardless, I hope our now-six-year-old had a wonderful birthday party and enjoyed the Strawberry Mountain Princess Cake!

Strawberry Cake Recipe Ingredients

  • 1 package of fresh strawberries
  • 1 cup room-temperature real butter
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Strawberry Sauce Recipe Ingredients

  • About 8-10 pureed strawberries
  • 4 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 tsp lemon juice

Strawberry Buttercream Frosting Recipe Ingredients

  • 1 cup room temperature butter
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 drops red food coloring
  • About 3 fresh strawberries pureed

Cake Decoration

  • White icing
  • Red icing
  • Tiara
  • Fake jewels

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, beat well. Blend in the sour cream. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir it into the creamed mixture and blend well. Spread the batter into greased and floured round pans. Press sliced strawberries into the top of the cake. Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes. In a small saucepan, stir the pureed strawberries, cornstarch and lemon juice to turn it into a sticky sauce. When the cakes have cooked, poke holes in it with a skewer and pour the strawberry sauce over it. For the buttercream frosting, blend the butter, milk, powdered sugar, vanilla together until creamy. Add the 2 drops of red food coloring and pureed strawberries and blend well. For thte icing flowers, I simply squeezed out a dollop of white onto waxed paper, and then squeezed out a small dab of red using a ridged cap and then tossed ’em in the fridge to solidify while the rest of the cake steps got done. Topped it with three whole strawberries, then adorned it with the princess tiara and gems.

Cake Fail: Cake #4 Postponed

So I had a lot going on tonight. I started baking the cake at about 10:15 or so. Turns out I had a British recipe… and my conversions weren’t so good… and I didn’t exactly have all the ingredients… so I tried to be clever and do some substitutions. Not only was the cake a complete and utter failure, but it might even be the worst dish I’ve ever created in my life. In. My. Life. So it’s midnight. Two hours, a huge mess and 12 bucks later… I’ve got this.

It’s ok. You can laugh. I did. It’s almost good enough to go on Cake Wrecks.

Lessons learned? No, 2.5 cups of margarine will not make up for the fact that you don’t have shortening or real butter. Forgetting to toss peaches in brown sugar to ensure they get caramelized is not “okay.” And tossing a crap ton of baking powder into the batter will not make up for the self-rising flour you forgot to buy. (“How bad could it be?” she asks. “Cakes are pretty forgiving,” she says.) This thing is downright gross.

Sorry dudes. Will have to reattempt with a better recipe and all the ingredients this weekend and make it up to you Monday. Peaches ‘n’ cream is still the challenge, and I’m up to it. You WILL have cake.

Update: The cake fail has been declared a state of emergency at the office.

Cake 3: Hot Orange Sauce Cake

Not hot sauce. Hot orange sauce. As in orange sauce that is hot. Get it?

Thanks to my colleague in the Print Design team, Mikey, for making the “Cash for Cake” box and QR code to make the 52 cakes project a little more affordable, and thanks to my colleagues who have tossed their spare change and bills in there so far. You guys rock!

Hot Orange Sauce Cake Recipe


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup butter (room temperature)
  • 3 eggs (separate yolks and whites)
  • 1 cup sour cream (room temperature)
  • 1.75 cups sifted flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • One orange worth of grated orange zest
  • Juice of two whole oranges (about 1 cup)
  • Juice of one whole lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 3/4 cup sugar


Orange Cake: Cream the room temperature butter and sugar. Add egg yolks, room temperature sour cream and the grated orange zest and beat until the batter is light and fluffy. Sift in the flour, baking soda and baking powder and mix thoroughly. Beat the egg whites in a separate container until they are a little stiff, then fold into the batter mixture. Pour your orange cake batter into a well-greased and well-floured round ring bundt pan. I emphasized the well-greased and well-floured because this may help you avoid what I ran into – a broken cake when I flipped the pan. Bake at 325 degrees for about an hour.

Hot Orange Sauce: Squeeze as much juice as possible out of two whole oranges, and combine it with the juice of a fresh-squeezed lemon. In a small saucepan, add the juices, 3/4 cup of sugar and a pinch of salt. Stir the sauce over low heat until the sugar dissolves into the mixture. Then bring the sauce to a boil for 3 to 4 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let stand for about 10 or 15 minutes, then turn it over onto a plate with a rim. Pierce the cake repeatedly and deeply with something like a wooden skewer. Spoon your hot orange sauce over the top of the cake slowly to soak it into the cake. This cake isn’t always beautiful, but it is delicious and tasty.

The cake alone is delicious, but that hot orange sauce moistens it up and takes it to a whole new level. The cake is even better the second day than the first.

Want to help me live the dream? Help support my adventure by funding cake ingredients and supplies with a small donation! 

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