17 and Baking Bad

August 11, 2013 at 12:37 am 80 comments

Breaking Bad Cake - Above

They call it cooking meth, but really, it’s a lot more like baking.

My dad’s a cook. He’s the kind of person who makes Indian food without a recipe, who can guess every ingredient in a sauce from one taste. The kind of person who opens the fridge, laughs a deep belly laugh, and assures you “there’s a meal in there somewhere.”

He approaches food intuitively, which is why he’s never liked baking—it’s too precise. You can’t throw in a pinch of this, a pinch of that, eyeball a teaspoon of baking powder, and leave it in the oven until it looks done.

Walter White would be an incredible baker.

Breaking Bad Cake - Cut

Baking relies on precision. Four ounces of flour is always four ounces of flour. At the right temperature, butter and sugar become light and fluffy perfection in three minutes. I can make a sheet of cookies and recreate them a year later, at a friend’s house, on the other side of the country.

I love that different ratios of the same basic ingredients—butter, flour, sugar, eggs—result in a million different desserts. I think it’s incredible that a touch of salt makes chocolate sing, but a spoonful ruins ganache. Everything from the humidity of a kitchen to the size of the eggs to the style of whisk makes a difference. Who knew the art of pastry was such an exact science?

For some cooks, the exactitude of baking stifles their creativity. I like it. The chemistry excites me, challenges me. I think it’s sort of cool.

Breaking Bad Cake - Unswirled
Breaking Bad Cake - Swirled

Maybe that’s why I look forward to the meth cook montages on Breaking Bad. Walt and Jesse might be making a questionable product, but I can’t help admiring their process. Plus, the visuals are stunning: glittering aluminum strips rain like confetti, gas bubbles through clear hose, yellow smoke puffs out a vent. Even the finished drug is pretty, big and opaque as blue raspberry rock candy.

Actually, it’s exactly like rock candy—that’s literally what they use for meth on the show.

The first time I saw it, I thought to myself, that’d look neat incorporated into a dessert. I pictured a cake, frosted pure white and topped with lots of sparkly blue crystals, marbled navy and white inside. But it wasn’t until now, as the second half of the last season is about to start, that I went for it.

Breaking Bad Cake - Slice

My boyfriend took the first bite. I could hear the rock candy crunching between his teeth as he slowly nodded, eyes widening. He didn’t say anything, just took another bite, and I knew he was hooked.

The finished cake isn’t as chemically sound as Heisenberg’s Blue Sky. Maybe because I mixed it by hand, the white cake got a few air bubbles, and in the summer heat the cream cheese frosting stayed soft. My marbling didn’t come out perfectly, more blotchy than swirled. But the cake’s still beautiful. It grabs your attention. And above all, it’s definitely addictive.

Consider yourself warned.

I decided to make a mini version, so the recipe is for a 6″ cake. I also opted for cream cheese frosting, in an effort to combat the sweetness of the decorations. But since the rock candy is the real star, you can use any white cake/white frosting combo you’d like.

Breaking Bad Cake - Whole

Breaking Bad Cake
Adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours‘s Perfect Party Cake
Makes a 3 layer 6″ cake

2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups whole milk or buttermilk
4 large egg whites
1 slightly rounded cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
Blue gel or powder food coloring
Blue rock candy, for decorating

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and put a rack in the middle or upper third of the oven. Butter three 6″ pans and line with buttered parchment paper.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the egg whites and buttermilk.

Cream the butter and sugar in a mixer on medium speed for a full 3 minutes until very light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla extract, then add 1/3 of the flour mixture, still on medium speed.
Beat in half of the egg-buttermilk mixture, then half of the remaining flour mixture, then the last of the egg-buttermilk mixture, and finally the last of the flour, beating until the batter is smooth. Beat the entire batter on medium high for two minutes until completely smooth and mixed.

Divide the batter in two. Dye one blue, leaving the other white. Dollop alternating colors into the cake pans, then gently swirl a knife through. Tap the pans on a counter to level the batter. Bake 20 minutes, rotating halfway through, or until a thin knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool in the pans five minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack. When cold, frost with white frosting, and top with blue rock candy.

Cream Cheese Frosting
Makes enough to frost and fill a 3 layer 6″ cake
From The Joy of Baking

12 oz cream cheese
7 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 tbsp vanilla extract
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted

Beat the cream cheese, butter, and extract together until combined. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar until the desired consistency is reached.

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Entry filed under: Cake/Cupcakes. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , .

Cocoa Meringues

80 Comments Add your own

  • 1. mydearbakes  |  August 11, 2013 at 12:54 am

    This is great stuff! I simply adore your bakes! =)

    Reply
  • 2. Elissa's Dad  |  August 11, 2013 at 12:58 am

    17 and Breaking Bad? Just what have you been doing spending your parents money while away at “college”. Love you

    Reply
    • 3. Elissa  |  August 11, 2013 at 10:56 am

      It’s 17 and baking bad, Dad! I’m doing you guys right!

    • 4. Elissa's Dad  |  August 12, 2013 at 2:26 pm

      Don’t forget that like Walter, your Dad is also a chemist.

  • 5. ritavegas  |  August 11, 2013 at 2:40 am

    You got me right away just with the name of your cake!!I’m a fan of Breaking Bad..!It looks so great and the colors are vibrant!! Great post!

    Reply
  • 6. roseandlea  |  August 11, 2013 at 4:49 am

    This is the coolest cake I’ve seen in awhile.. it’s original and looks beautiful. Great job! :) Can’t wait for Breaking Bad to start!

    Reply
  • 7. Warm Vanilla Sugar (@wvanillasugar)  |  August 11, 2013 at 8:24 am

    Ha! I never thought of comparing cooking meth to baking, but you’re totally right!! Walter would definitely be an awesome baker!!

    Reply
  • 8. ibakecakesandthings  |  August 11, 2013 at 9:17 am

    I love this! Can’t wait for the new breaking bad :)

    Reply
  • 9. CateyLou  |  August 11, 2013 at 10:43 am

    I love everything about this post! My husband and I love Breaking Bad – I wish I had this cake to eat during the show tonight!!

    Reply
  • 10. Teresa La Maltesa  |  August 11, 2013 at 10:54 am

    Great recipe, great blog. Congratulations.

    Reply
  • 11. Jessica Kahan  |  August 11, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    Yum! I love your blogs and your recipes make my mouth water! Love always, Jessica

    Reply
  • 12. Ellie W.  |  August 11, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    Downsized, your 6 inch cake recipe suits me perfectly.

    Reply
  • 13. thesaintjeffreys  |  August 11, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    Such a great themed idea & a beautiful cake.

    Reply
  • 14. Elissa  |  August 11, 2013 at 4:40 pm

    You’re amazing! This cake looks sooo good!

    Reply
  • 15. larrdarse  |  August 12, 2013 at 6:39 am

    Looks really cool! Love the frosting! how did you get the sponge to be so pale? proper cool effect against the blue. definitely going to give this a try!

    Reply
    • 16. Elissa  |  August 12, 2013 at 3:08 pm

      Glad you like it! A lot of plain cake recipes bake yellow, but this one uses cake flour and egg whites only, so the color stays pure.

    • 17. larrdarse  |  August 13, 2013 at 2:13 pm

      cheers for the tip!

  • 18. Annalise @ Completely Delicious  |  August 12, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    Love this post so much! Wish I had a slice of this cake and some blue rock candy to nibble on during the show last night!

    Reply
  • 19. Melanie @ Just Some Salt and Pepper  |  August 13, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    This looks fabulous! I love Breaking Bad!

    Reply
  • 20. Ashley Bee  |  August 15, 2013 at 11:55 am

    I love all the Breaking Bad foods that keep popping up everywhere :) This one is awesome!

    Reply
  • […] Get the recipe at 17andbaking.com […]

    Reply
  • 22. avigail  |  August 15, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    great post! I’m always having the baking vs. cooking argument. reminds me of geometry vs. algebra. at the end of the day, i just really appreciate the clear logic of baking. cooking, like algebra (for me), was just too abstract and mysterious….

    Reply
  • 23. Anne  |  August 16, 2013 at 11:00 pm

    My husband is watching Breaking Bad *right now.* This might be his birthday cake :-) Awesome post!

    Reply
  • 24. 17 and Baking Bad Cake | The Mocha Pikachu  |  August 17, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    […] 17 and Baking Bad. […]

    Reply
  • 25. Jennifer  |  August 17, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    I’m going to make this cake for the finale of Breaking Bad!

    Reply
  • 26. mymess  |  August 22, 2013 at 9:16 pm

    I like the look of the blue candy on top, looks very fancy!

    Reply
  • 27. Angela Prag  |  August 28, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    This is awesome! I plan on making blue meth cupcakes for the final episode!

    Reply
  • 28. likeaphatkidlovescake  |  September 4, 2013 at 4:33 pm

    Totally making these.

    PS. So glad you are back and blogging again. Thanks for sharing your story – hope you are doing much better now!

    Reply
  • 29. Walter White Would be an Incredible Baker  |  September 8, 2013 at 7:17 pm

    […] over at 17 and baking offers her recipe for her Breaking Bad Cake. Apparently it’s quite […]

    Reply
  • 30. nevver: Breaking Bad Baking  |  September 8, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    […] Breaking Bad Baking […]

    Reply
  • 31. Tony  |  September 8, 2013 at 10:15 pm

    It cannot be any blue rock candy it must be Cotton Candy Rock Candy

    Reply
  • 32. nines  |  September 8, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    Well, darn good job, young lady, but I’m afraid that thing looks like about the least appetizing thing I’ve seen in quite a while.

    Reply
  • 33. Baking Bad | Broadsheet.ie  |  September 9, 2013 at 10:50 am

    […] HOW TO: Breaking Bad Cake (17 And Baking) […]

    Reply
  • 34. This Breaking Bad Cake Will Leave You Craving More  |  September 9, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    […] You can read the full recipe and baking instructions on 17 And Baking. […]

    Reply
  • […] Via 17 And Baking […]

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  • 36. Caking Bad_ | Oddly_Even  |  September 10, 2013 at 10:30 am

    […] (Link) […]

    Reply
  • 37. sweetinsomniac  |  September 12, 2013 at 12:22 am

    I am not a color person at all, but this blue and white one is after my heart!

    Reply
  • 38. Breaking Bad Cake | Edible Crafts | CraftGossip.com  |  September 13, 2013 at 9:10 am

    […] Go get this recipe if you’re intrigued: Baking Bad Cake Recipe. […]

    Reply
  • 39. talya2312  |  September 16, 2013 at 5:00 am

    You are the Danger!!! Now!!!!

    Reply
  • 40. Breaking Bad "Blue Meth" Cupcake Recipe | One Ingredient Chef  |  September 22, 2013 at 8:01 am

    […] goodbye than with “blue meth” (rock candy) cupcakes? When I saw this brilliant cake by 17 and Baking, I couldn’t help myself from trying something similar. If you haven’t seen Breaking Bad […]

    Reply
  • 41. MaggieCooks  |  September 22, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    This cake looks very simple but also very pretty! :) Love this!

    Reply
  • 42. Food of the Week (9/22/2013) | Another Castle  |  September 22, 2013 at 8:46 pm

    […]  Breaking Bad Cake from 17 and Baking […]

    Reply
  • 43. Ginger Chocolate Marble Cake | Sophie's Cambridge Food Blog  |  September 23, 2013 at 7:47 am

    […] didn’t take a picture as I only decided to write this blog half way through eating the cake, but here’s a good […]

    Reply
  • 44. tigerarchivist  |  September 23, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    We’re having a Breaking Bad party next Sunday to celebrate/mourn the ending of the series. Mexican food and this cake. Can’t wait.

    Reply
  • 45. Caitlin  |  September 25, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    Love this idea! How would you change the recipe for cupcakes?

    Reply
  • 46. Breaking Bad Finale | queenhare  |  September 27, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    […] the finale just around the corner, I decided it was about time to try making THIS blue meth inspired Breaking Bad Cake. The gloriously blue sparkle on top is blue rock candy, and while I’m sure I could probably […]

    Reply
  • 47. Breaking Bad Rock Candy | queenhare  |  September 27, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    […] the finale just around the corner, I decided it was about time to try making THIS blue meth inspired Breaking Bad Cake. The gloriously blue sparkle on top is blue rock candy, and while I’m sure I could probably […]

    Reply
  • 48. Tina  |  September 28, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    I realized I had only 9 inch pans….so it is a 2 layer cake with smaller layers. Sad. I wasn’t sure of ingredients to make a larger cake…. But hoping it tastes good anyway ;) for tomorrow’s finale.

    Reply
  • 49. Shoshana  |  September 28, 2013 at 7:17 pm

    You were just featured on Apartment Therapy’s The Kitchn: http://www.thekitchn.com/8-breaking-bad-desserts-cocktails-you-should-make-for-the-finale-195380

    Congrats!

    Reply
  • 50. Logan  |  September 29, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    I love your idea for a Breaking Bad cake!!!!! Gunna make this for the finale tonite!!!

    Reply
  • 51. Jen  |  September 29, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    My best friend and I made this tonight for the Breaking Bad finale and we were so excited because this cake looks so great! Well we made it and it turned out really bad… The cake (3 layers) baked in 6 inch pans were very thin and we almost ran out of mix (we followed the instructions exactly). The marbled effect turned out very nice but the cake was very thin and the frosting tasted really bad, it basically just tasted exactly like sour cream cheese! Why!!!

    Reply
  • […] Breaking Bad Cake par 17 and baking. […]

    Reply
  • 53. momshellalexandra  |  October 1, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    This is so creative! Breaking Bad is one of my favorite shows, as well. My son’s birthday is coming up. He would freak if he had a cake this beautiful (and not made out of the organic, healthy, “boring” ingredients that I cook with on my blog. ;) haha) Of course, I’d have to make mine not meth-themed.

    Very Creative. Two thumbs up.

    Reply
  • 54. James  |  October 24, 2013 at 12:52 pm

    I made this for my workmates, went down an absolute treat. Only problem I really had was that the icing turned out fairly runny. Is there a way to stop this from happening?

    Reply

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Elissa Bernstein



I'm Elissa: a 17 (now 21) year old baker in Seattle Boston juggling creative nonfiction workshops, subway maps, and my passions for writing, baking, and photography. Photo above © Michelle Moore

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