Archive for the 'cake' Category

24
Jan
11

I say Hazelnut and you say Filbert…..

I notice that my blog gets a lot of hits using the search word Hazelnut. Hazelnut frosting,

hazelnut paste, hazelnut butter.  Lots of hazelnut.  I have written a few posts that feature

cakes frosted with hazelnut buttercream.  The addition of hazelnut paste to vanilla

buttercream equals hazelnut frosting.  I have divulged my recipe for the aforementioned

vanilla buttercream in previous posts.  But, where does one get hazelnut paste?  Well, truth

be told, I used to get it where I work when I was the pastry chef.  I would order 15 pound

buckets of the stuff from one of our fancy pants purveyors.  And it was pricey, but oh, so

worth it.  So, now that I only make cakes when a few close friends have birthdays or a few

clients who want to give me money for a cake, my need for hazelnut paste has waned.  Until a

couple of weeks ago, when my favorite client, Katie D., wanted a chocolate cake with

hazelnut frosting for her birthday.  I have searched for sources on the Internet, and there

are many, for hazelnut paste. Very pricey and the shipping is ridiculous.   Lots of calls to

specialty shops came up cold.  Then it hit me – “We have a Champion juicer!” I used to make

peanut butter with the Champion, why not make hazelnut butter?  So make hazelnut butter, I

did.

Lovely, creamy, natural Hazelnut butter

I bought 1 and 1/2 pounds of toasted hazelnuts. You can buy raw hazelnuts and toast them

yourself; the already toasted one were available at work and I wanted to save a step.  If

you want to toast them at home, set your oven at 350 degrees, spread the raw nuts out on a

heavy sheet pan and roast for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned and nutty smelling.

I know, they have a dark brown skin on them, so how do you know when they are browned?  Some

of them will start to shed their skin and then you will see it.  Once toasted, dump them

onto a dish towel and rub vigorously to help remove the skin.  Not all of it will release,

but that’s okay.  You’re going to pulverize them anyway so what’s a little skin?

Straight through the juicer and into the jar. Talk about direct deliciousness.

Now, I have no clue how you would do this if you do not have a Champion juicer.  If you use

a blender or food processor I don’t think you will get a creamy nut butter.  More on that in

a sec……

Here is, the bad boy himself, the Champion juicer. Seriously worth every penny spent on it.

So now I’m all proud of myself for making hazelnut butter, but I realize this stuff is not

going to work for frosting.  I’ve made the error in the past by putting natural peanut

butter in buttercream and ending up with oily frosting.  Not good.  I really need hazelnut

paste.   Back to the Internet I go and, lo and behold, I stumble upon a website called

gourmetsleuth.com where I find a recipe for Hazelnut Paste!  And it is so simple!

2 cups toasted hazelnuts
2 large egg whites
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp Hazelnut liqueur

Dump 2 cups of toasted hazelnuts into your food processor

Grind it until it is course, like cornmeal

Add egg whites, Hazelnut liqueur and powdered sugar

You don't have to buy brand name sugar or liqueur to get excellent results

Process until smooth

So pretty, so shiny, so tasty!

Once I figured out that only hazelnut paste was going to work to make the frosting. I was on a roll.  I made the vanilla butter cream and started chucking in the hazelnut paste a scoop at a time and tasting after each addition until it was just right.  Not only was I making a birthday cake for a client, I had a second cake in the wings as well.  We were taking our good friend Robert out to dinner on the same night as I was making Katie’s cake.  We were celebrating Robert’s birthday and I could not show up to celebrate his special day without a cake from Vampire Gran’s Kitchen!  A light bulb went off in my brain like in the cartoons and I created a hazelnut filling to slather between the layers of cake.

This is literally two bites worth of cake. I made a taster piece like they do when you go to try cakes for a wedding, ya know? I had to make sure it all went together. after all....

The filling was fabulous!  I mixed the hazelnut frosting with a bit more hazelnut paste, added some of the hazelnut butter and a bit more of the hazelnut liqueur.  It was a bit thin so I thickened it with more powdered sugar.  It was perfection.

Katie's cake was a nine-inch, four layer job. I know, all of my cakes are starting to look-alike. Guess that's my signature style.

I made some chocolate curls to decorate both cakes.  These were fun to make but time consuming.  You have to soften the chocolate without melting it by zapping it in the microwave for like 6 seconds at a time.  Once it is the right – softness (?) – I used a vegetable peeler to make the curls.  Oh, you must have a chilled plate for them to land on as you’re doing this.  Don’t use the same plate that you use to microwave with.  It will be warm and melt your curls.  Yes, I know this from experience and that is why I am telling you.  Learn from my mistakes.

They look like little rosettes (or pencil shavings?)

So, let’s review.  Hazelnut frosting you need hazelnut paste, not hazelnut butter.   Hazelnut butter you need a Champion juicer or a nut butter machine.  Hazelnut paste is easy to make and you need a food processor.  Chocolate curls – microwave and cold plate and a vegetable peeler.

I hope you enjoyed our lesson for the day.  It just made me want a hazelnut butter and jam sandwich followed by a hunk of cake.

19
Nov
10

Don’t make me go into that kitchen!

Just give me one good reason to bake a cake and I’m all over it.  Actually, it doesn’t even have to be a GOOD reason or even a reason at all.  Or an excuse for that matter.  Ah, hell, just ask me to bake a cake.  Better yet, tell me you have something to celebrate.  I love a good celebration cake.  A couple of weeks ago, my Katie and her workmate, Patty B.,  both had work anniversaries.  These two ladies were both celebrating four years of working for the good Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary.  Being a former Catholic School Girl, this still makes me slightly nervous, but the nuns are cool.  And they do love a good sweet treat!

Heaven on Earth - four layers of banana cake wrapped in a cloud of coconut cream cheese frosting

This here bad boy is a Banana cake with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting.  To really kick up the banana flavor, I put slices of banana between each of the layers (it’s a four layer cake!).  It was insanely heavenly, right up the sisters alley, so to speak.

Here is the recipe:

CORDON ROSE BANANA CAKE

Adapted from the Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum

2 nine inch pans, buttered and parchment lined bottoms

4 large ripe bananas
2 tablespoons sour cream
4 large eggs
3 teaspoons vanilla
4 cups sifted cake flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
20 tablespoons unsalted butter, must be softened

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F

In a food processor process the banana and sour cream until smooth. Add the eggs and vanilla and process briefly just to blend.

In a large mixing bowl of an electric mixer, combine the dry ingredients and mix on low speed for 30 seconds to blend.  Add the butter and 1/2 of the banana mixture.  Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened.Increase to medium speed (high speed if using a hand mixer) and beat for 1 1/2 minutes to aerate and strengthen the cake’s structure.  crape down the sides. Gradually add the remaining banana mixture in two batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and develop the structure.  Scrape down the sides.

Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and smooth the surface with a rubber spatula.  Bake 30 – 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow cake to cool 10 – 15 minutes on a cooling rack before removing from pans.  Allow to cool completely before wrapping.

I like to chill my cakes before I frost them.  Remove the top “dome” with a serrated knife, for a more professional look.  You can make this a two layer cake or a four layer.  My preference is four layers.  It’s best to use a cake decorating stand.  Place cake on stand, and using a long serrated knife, slice the cake into two even layers.

COCONUT CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

1 # unsalted butter, softened
1/2 # cream cheese, softened
0.2 oz salt
0.4oz vanilla
0.2 oz lemon juice
2 oz water
2 cups sweetened shredded coconut

Place butter in bowl of electric mixer.  Cream for 2 – 3 minutes.  Add powdered sugar, salt, vanilla, lemon juice and water.  Mix on low ( I pulse it until incorporated so my kitchen isn’t covered in powdered sugar) for about 1 minute.  Once it is incorporated, gradually increase the speed to the highest.  Stop and scrape the sides a couple of time during this process. Whip until light, fluffy and very white.  Add coconut and mix until incorporated.

So rich, so insanely decadent!

Frost the cake.  I sliced about four bananas for this cake for in between each layer.  You can see them in the pictures.  So good.

I really do love to tease you with these photos!

Dear, sweet Katie brought a piece home to me.  We ate on it for three days!  So, what are we celebrating next?  Anyone?

18
Oct
10

Purple Haze and Birthdays…….

I am not necessarily a tradition based person.  We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving or Christmas with any sort of tradition.  In fact, we haven’t celebrated either of those two holidays for 2 years now.  They are merely two paid holidays from work.  That being said, I seem to have fallen into a tradition in October that used to only be reserved for my Halloween born grandson.

For the past three years I have made a special birthday cake for my friend and grasshopper, Emily.  Her birthday falls on October 15th.  Emily made several delicious home-made pizzas and I made a spice cake with cream cheese frosting for her 24th birthday.  For her 25th birthday last year, we celebrated by going bowling and eating the Root Beer Cake.  As Emily is maturing to the ripe old age of 26th, her birthday cakes are evolving as well.  We decided several months back that this was the year of the Purple Haze cake.

Crazy delicious cake!

I used my Red Velvet cake recipe and substituted Wilton gel violet food coloring for the “traditional” red color.  Although I had hoped the cake would be a more distinct purple color after it was baked, it was still a huge hit.  I’d like to think it was my crazy baking talent that made it so tasty, but perhaps it was the “special” butter used in the frosting  between the  four layers  that made it truly an experience.  As the late Jimi Hendrix would say “Are you experienced?”  After eating the Purple Haze cake, everyone was indeed experienced.

A light, birthday nosh and the Purple Haze cake

Emily wanted salad platters for her birthday meal.  She mentioned seeing salad platters in food magazines and she wanted them for her birthday dinner.  We ate kinda late, as she and Chuck came directly to our house from Breitenbush Hot Springs where they had spent the night and then spent the day soaking in hot springs, being pampered with soothing massage treatments and feasting on amazing vegetarian cuisine.  They were ready to continue eating  healthy fare and then indulge in a wicked treat of a birthday cake.

Emily did all of the food styling on the platters

I roasted potatoes earlier in the day, as well as crisp stirred fresh organic green beans.

We love our grains!

A couple of days before her birthday, Emily and I brainstormed about what we wanted on the platters.  We got all organized and made a list of possibilities.  There were a few more items on that list, but what I managed to throw together, I’d say everyone was more than satisfied with the food of the weekend.

Feta cheese on the outsides of the platter, moving in to the wheat berrie salad and then spicy quinoa  in the center, topped by chili powder sprinkled avocado slices.  So simple.  So good!

Tastes so good and it's so good for you

A little do ahead work and you have a light meal

The potatoes were tossed with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, dried oregano, dried basil, garlic and onion powder and roasted in a 350 degree oven until done.  I sautéed the green beans in peanut oil, fresh chopped garlic, red pepper flakes, kosher salt and cracked pepper.  A splash of some mirin and put the lid on to lightly steam the beans for a minute.  They stayed bright green and very snappy.

We also had a bowl of mixed greens from the garden dressed with a creamy pesto concoction that I whipped up from what I had on hand.

And then came dessert………………………………

I was going for a certain look....

Ok, so when I think Purple Haze, I think hippies, tye dye, trippin’, Jimi Hendrix music (duh).  I envisioned a cake that looked like it was tye dyed.  This cake look more like stained glass window on the top (which was pretty cool) and the tye dye on the sides reminded me of some kinda medallions.  At any rate, it was a fun cake to make and it made an excellent conversation piece.  We kept it center stage on the table and sat around it, almost in worship.   But eventually we had to cut it.

It had to be done

See, it doesn’t really look purple in the picture, but it really had a purple tint to it in real life.  The frosting is my favorite vanilla butter cream.  The frosting between the layers  has coconut and almond extract.  The outer frosting is tinted vanilla.  It was a damn good cake.

Emily kept saying “this is the best birthday ever!”  Coulda’ been her best birthday ever.  Coulda’ been that she was exhausted from a spa day and a long drive.  Coulda’ been a belly full of delicious, nutritious food.  Or it coulda just been the cake talkin’.’

06
Jul
10

Boy, did we have fun!

I decided to try my hand at making a little movie presentation of our Fourth of July gathering.  We had some of our very special friends over to help celebrate the holiday with us.  As always, there was more than enough food.

We played darts, cowboy golf, badminton and of course, pool!  I spent a lot of time in what Katie calls my “natural habitat,” the kitchen, cranking out the goodies.  I even made a new barbeque sauce using rhubarb!  Thank goodness I had my grasshopper, Emily, there to help me.

We had hummus, pita bread, guacamole, bagel chips, grilled corn on the cob, grilled veggie skewers bathed with that rhubarb sauce,  kale and carrot salad, wheatberry salad and quinoa salad.  There were no lack of sweets.  I made peanut butter cookies, oatmeal triple chip cookies and lemon coconut pixies.  Emily baked a raspberry buttermilk cake which was the perfect foil for my homemade strawberry frozen yogurt.  Robert brought a perfect watermelon, beautiful fresh raspberries, red and gold, and blueberries.

I only wish I had taken more pictures.  Especially of us all shooting firecrackers and bottle rockets off!

Enjoy the film presentation.  (Ignore the date on the title page – this really was filmed on the 4th of July)

30
May
10

Let the wedding season begin!

Simple, elegant baby's breath and white roses = wedding flowers

It’s that time of year when announcements and invitations arrive in your mail box.  Graduations and weddings.  The graduations usually require a card of congratulations and a check in response.  The weddings are more fun.  Oh, sure, you still go out and buy a pretty card and a gift or write a check, but, if you are lucky, you go to a party.  And at that party, you get to eat cake!

I received a call a few months back, requesting an order for a simple wedding cake.  I confess, wedding cake makes me nervous.  It’s such a special occasion and, in my mind, everything must be perfect, lest the bride have a melt down.  In reality, I’m usually the one who has the melt down.  I can be really hard on myself.  

I agreed to make this cake because the bride is familiar with my work and loves my cake.  She did not want a traditional cake with all of the gum paste flowers and fondant, thank God!  I don’t do those. 

So, I kept it simple, yet elegant. 

My version of simple and elegant

This cake has a layer of vanilla bean mascarpone cheesecake sandwiched between layers of chocolate buttermilk cake, two layers each, top and bottom.  Yeah, we’re talkin’ 5 layers total of pure decadence.  Oh, and the frosting is mocha rum buttercream.

A little close up detail work

I was going for a little pearl looking action on the detail work, but they look more like sweet white Kisses.  Quite appropriate for a wedding cake, yes?

I really liked this shot

I even did the floral arrangement myself.   It turned out pretty nice. 

I received a text message from one of the guests later that evening.  She told me the cake was a huge success.  Everyone really loved it, especially that cheesecake center.  I believe the word “decadent” was in there.

So, in closing this post out, I have one final confession.  This is the fourth wedding cake I have made in my entire life.  And I’m ready for the next one.

04
May
10

For the Record, This One takes the Cake!

It’s been a year exactly to this date since I posted the Elephant Cupcake entry.  Who knew that post would become, up until the triple evil devil cake, my most viewed entry?  As of today, that post has had 2,008 visits. Amazing!  In 1 week, my triple evil devil cake had 3,410 visits.  Even more amazing!  But, I digress.  Some of you may remember those elephant cupcakes.  They were pretty dang cute.  I’ve linked that post for the rest of you, or those who have already enjoyed it, to refresh your memory.   But that’s not the point of this post. 

I was once again hired to create something fun and different for Celia’s 4th birthday.  Her third birthday party theme was “Zoo Animals,” hence the Elephant Cupcakes.  She’s growing up fast and more sophisticated.  This year I was handed the theme “Dance Party/DJ.”  Albeit the dancing we’re talking about here is the Hokey Pokey and Musical Chairs, I believe I came up with a real winner this time. 

That's right, I have my own record label!

Miss Celia wanted her own chocolate cake for herself and her friends.  The vanilla and red velvet cupcakes were for the grown-ups and babies at the party. 

So, I made a record cake.  Four layers of chocolate buttermilk cake, each with an alternating color of frosting in between to match the frosting on the cupcakes.  The label was made from Wilton’s Pink Candy Melts.  I melted the pieces down over a water bath, then poured it into a stainless steel ring mold and let it set.  Before it hardened all the way, I used a pastry tip to create the center hole.  The ring was placed on a Silpat, so the label had a nice texture to it.  I’m not giving away all of my secrets here, so I’m not telling how I got the printing on the label.  A girl’s gotta have some mystery, ya’ know. 

The whole spread

Katie and I had a lot of fun with this photo shoot.  It’s a good thing we have tons of vinyl in our massive music room and concert quality speakers, to boot! 

Hand made treble clefs visually imply music

I’m sure glad I paid over $19,000 for culinary school.  How ever would I learn to temper chocolate without that training?  But temper chocolate I did and made these treble clefs and a few musical notes to top each of the cupcakes. 

Here's a pretty pink one

When Celia saw the cupcakes, the first words out of her little mouth were “Music!”  What a sweetheart.  The next utterance was, “I want that pink one!” 

I don’t know if you noticed, but all of the cupcake papers are blue, pink and green to co-ordinate with the frosting colors.  I do like to pay attention to all of the details. 

A nice shot of the blue ones

A fun shot of the green ones

I couldn’t help but notice as I’m putting this piece together that the treble clefs on both center cupcakes are dyslexic!  Guess I’m not quite as detail oriented as I fancied myself to be.  Opps! 

I thought I got them all right but, no, there's a dyslexic one in there too. Oh, snap!

One last look, just for fun

This total project was pure joy for me.  Lots of work but totally worth it, even down to the photo shoot.  Katie and I had a blast picking out the different albums to use.  Check and see if you recognise any.  I’m sure you will.  And yeah, the music was blasting the whole time.

26
Apr
10

Oh, No, You Didn’t!

Probably falls under the category of a mortal sin

 

Oh yes, I did!  I combined three of my most popular cakes into one.  If there is indeed a hell, I just know there is a big fat red devil with his pitch fork poised, just waiting for me to drop in with this cake.  It’s definitely a cross between heaven and hell.  Heavenly to behold, sweet, moist and rich in the mouth.  Hella hard to resist.  Oh, I’m sure it’s off the charts in fat grams and calories, but who’s counting?  I totally envision the angel and devil routine, each one  perched on my shoulders and whispering in my ear.  Devil -“Go ahead, eat it!  No one is looking!”  Angel – “Oh, my, all those calories!  All that fat!”  Devil – “Don’t listen to her.  You can eat whatever you want.  You deserve it.”  Angel – “It does look delicious.  Maybe just one eensy, teensy bite.”  Devil – “Screw that!  Eat it all.  Now!”  At this point I shake the Angel off my shoulder, give the Devil a conspiratory wink and devour that one way ticket to diet damnation with no remorse.   

If you can’t tell by the picture, the bottom layer is Chocolate Buttermilk Cake, the center layer is, are you ready?, Vanilla Mascarpone Cheesecake (!)and the top layer is Red Velvet Cake.  If that isn’t sinful enough, I frosted it all with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting.  Yeah, it’s even better than it sounds.   

Wanna see how it’s assembled?  OK, since you asked, here goes:   

I baked a 9 inch Chocolate Buttermilk Cake, a 9 inch crustless Vanilla Mascarpone Cheesecake and a 9″ Red Velvet Cake.  The cheese cake was baked the day before the other two cakes were made so it could get good and set up in the refrigerator.   

Bottom Layer - Chocolate Buttermilk Cake

 

Here is the bottom chocolate layer with a thin layer of the frosting.  Yeah, I do call that thin. 

The center cheesecake layer

 

I unmolded the crustless cheesecake directly on top of the frosted chocolate layer.  The parchment paper is still attached in this photo, that’s why the bottom (or top, here) of the cheesecake looks wrinkly.  Don’t forget to remove the parchment before frosting the cheesecake layer.  The only reason I mention this is I actually started frosting this after I snapped the photo and then stopped myself.  Fortunetly it’s really easy to remove frosting from cheesecake when it has parchment on it!  Yes, sometimes I am a dork.  

Frosted cheesecake layer

 

Ok, so then I spread a layer of frosting on top of the cheesecake layer, after first removing the parchment paper!  This was the first time I had ever frosted a cheesecake and it glided on there smooth as proverbial silk.  

Last but not least, the top layer, Red Velvet

 

I placed the Red Velvet layer on top and then frosted the whole, beautiful creation.  By the way, I leveled both of the cake layers with a serrated knife before frosting, duh.  

Here's the finished product

 

I made the executive decision not to do my usual piping top and bottom borders.  The true attraction of this cake is on the inside.   

Is the devil whispering in your ear yet?

 

I wish the Red Velvet cake crumbs didn’t get drug across the cheesecake layer.  I used a sharp hot knife and cleaned it between cuts, but I still got crumb dregs.  Well, this was just an inspiration I came up with and thought I drive it around the block a few times until I come up the perfect rendition of this cake.  Not bad for a proto type, though, eh? 

So, what do you reckon, am I going to hell, or what? 

ps:   We did not eat this whole cake ourselves.  Katie and I shared the piece that appears in the picture next to the whole cake.  I sent almost half of the cake to work with Katie and I took almost the other half to my job.  The photo at the beginning of this post was kept at our house, for us to enjoy and share with a couple of lucky people who came by that weekend.

09
Feb
10

I left my Heart…………

On top of this cake!

Red Velvet Cake with Pink Tinted Cream Cheese Frosting

Friday, February 5th was National Wear Red for Women’s Heart Health Awareness Day.  Katie and I went to a party that evening dressed head to toe in RED.  The theme of the party was, of course, wear red day.    Almost every person in attendance was decked out in some variation of red.  No one was as red as Katie and I though.  We both wore red dresses.  Katie had white thigh high stockings with red bows on the front (so cute!) and I had red tights.  I even had a chance to wear my sparkly ruby red slippers!  I have little feet and wear a size 4 1/2 in girls size.  I always love it when I see little girls wearing the glittery red shoes.  When I spied a pair in my size at Target one day, I had to buy them.  Finally, a chance to actually wear them! 

And of course, I had to out do myself and bake a Red Velvet Cake for the  occasion.

Everyone oohed and ahhed as I removed the lid of my cake carrier.  “You are so sweet” cooed the party’s hostess.  It’s so pretty and pink!  “Wait until you see the inside” I told them.  A few of them had never had Red Velvet cake so they were curious to try it.

Sweet details up close

Katie and I went downstairs to the party room and remained there for a couple of hours, enjoying party activities.  When our tummies and brains told us it was time to return to the kitchen for some cake and coffee, we ascended the stairs.  We could hear a lot of chatter and laughter in the kitchen.  It appeared that most of the party guests had congregated in the kitchen.  I looked in the direction of where I had left the cake and the spot was vacant.  I announced that we came for cake and coffee.  A room full of people starred at us with a mixed group expression of deer-in head-lights and guilt.  “You didn’t get any cake?”  Nope.  “Ah, there’s none left”  “Sorry”  “It was so good!  Absolutely amazing!  The best cake ever!”

One of the gentlemen sheepishly slunk into the living room and returned with a small sliver of cake.  “I hid it for later, but you can have it”  Katie started to protest but I grabbed for the plate.  “Thank you!”  I said, proceeded to pour us some coffee and settle into that sweet pink and red goodness.  Man, it truly was good cake!

My only regret is that I did not get a photo of a slice of cake to share with you.  It was so pretty.  Guess I’ll just have to bake another one……..”wink!”

19
Oct
09

Root Beer Cake

Root Beer Barrels and A&W Root Beer Jelly Bellies complete this Root Beer Cake

Root Beer Barrels and A&W Root Beer Jelly Bellies complete this Root Beer Cake

My friend Emily had a birthday on October 15th.  It was a pleasure and an honor to make a special cake celebrating her turning a quarter of a century this year.  The fact that I am over  a half a century old and old enough to be her mother doesn’t interfere with us being good friends.  Emily is my grasshopper.  I am her sensei in the food world.  We enjoy getting together often and talking for hours about food and recipe development.

We have an on going joke about how excited people get when they are offered root beer in our home.  I think it is pretty funny, running down the list of beverages in the fridge.  Beer, wine (not in fridge, of course!), water, juice, root beer.  ROOT BEER!  Every time, without fail, someone gets excited about root beer.  One night, Emily and Chuck were over for dinner and I start offering drink options.  Emily pipes up “ROOT BEER”!  From that night on, she’s on a root beer jag.  It seemed only fitting that I should invent a root beer cake for her birthday.

 

Root Beer Cake

1 cup butter, softened

½ cup canola oil

2 ½ cups granulated sugar

5 eggs, room temperature

3 cups cake flour, sifted

2 tsp baking soda, sifted with flour

2 tsp root beer syrup

¾ cup root beer, room temperature

Grease 2   9” round cake pans and line bottoms with parchment paper 

Using an electric mixer, cream butter, oil and sugar until light and fluffy. 

Add eggs, one at a time and beat well.  Mix in flour mixture, one cup at a time and beat well.  Add syrup and root beer and mix well. 

Pour batter, evenly divided, into prepared cake pans.  Bake in a preheated 325° oven for about 50 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.  Cool on wire rack.  Remove cake from pans when cool, wrap and refrigerate until ready to frost.  Cooling the cakes make it easier to slice into four layers.

I used the buttercream recipe in the “A Fall Themed Birthday Cake” post omitting the melted chocolate and adding about 1/4 cup or more of Torani Classic Root Beer Syrup.  To make a more pronounced root beer flavor, I chucked a bunch of root beer barrel hard candies into the food processor and made root beer sugar, that I sprinkled over the top of each cake layer after I had frosted it with buttercream.  To be honest, it didn’t taste as root beery as I had hoped, but everyone really seemed to like it.  I think next time I will use the frosting recipe from the Elephant Cupcake post and add the root beer syrup to that.  If I like it better, I’ll let you know.

 

14
Oct
09

Chocolate Fig Custard Cake

Dont throw away those scraps of cake; create a new one!

Don't throw away those scraps of cake; create a new one!

My Perfect Chocolate Cake recipe rises really high.  When I made the cake for the Fall Themed Birthday Cake post, I had the piece left over from leveling it.  I hate to waste food, so I wrapped it up and saved it for another purpose.  At my current job as well as my previous one, we make a lot of bread pudding from left over breads, croissants and loaf cakes.  Since I can practically make bread pudding in my sleep, I decided to make this moist, not-too-sweet Chocolate Fig Custard cake.

Chocolate Fig Custard Cake

Chocolate cake, cut into 3/4″ chunks, enough to fit into a 9″ round cake pan

5 large fresh figs, each cut into 12 pieces

Spray 9 ” round cake pan with 2″ high sides with non stick spray

Place cake chunks in pan to cover bottom, layer fig chunks on top of cake chunks, then top with remaining cake chunks.  Prepare custard.

Cardamom Custard

1 cup whole milk

1 cup heavy cream

1 cup half n half

1 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp ground cardamom

8 large eggs, room temperature

Place the dairy, sugar, vanilla and cardamom in saucepan.  Heat until warm to the touch.

Beat eggs in medium mixing bowl.  While whisking, add warm milk mixture to the eggs.  Pour through strainer to remove any egg shell pieces and thick egg white.

Gently ladle the custard over the cake pieces in pan.  Do this slowly and allow the cake to soak up the custard.  Press the cake down gently into the custard.  Fill the pan as full as it will hold without spilling over the sides.  Place cake pan on heavy baking sheet and place in the middle of a 350 degree oven.  Bake until done.  Cake is done when a knife stuck in the center comes out clean, about an hour and 10 minutes.  Be sure to check cake after one hour, or before if your oven tends to run very hot.

While the cake is baking, make the fig glaze:

5 large fresh figs, cut in small chunks

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Place chopped figs, water and granulated sugar in small saucepan.  Heat until figs are soft and the water and sugar are syrupy.  Place in food processor and puree.  Add powdered sugar and process until smooth.

While the cake is still hot, brush the fig glaze all over the top.  You will have left over glaze.  It’s really nice on some fig scones!

Cool cake on wire rack until cool enough to refrigerate.  Refrigerate until completely cold.  Run a butter knife along the side of pan, careful not to cut into cake.  Place a dinner plate covered in plastic wrap on top of cake.  Turn over and lift pan.  Cake should slide out.  Place serving plate on bottom of cake and invert.

 

 




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