Monday, December 17, 2012

1/2 Birthdays

I saw on pinterest a cute way to celebrate half birthdays.  We have never celebrated them before but this was fun.  And hey, any excuse for cake!

Robbie is 3 1/2!!

Amelia is 6 1/2!!

Lemon Layer Cake with Blueberries

Lemon Layer Cake with Blueberries

Cupcake Rank: 3 Cupcakes

This cake was sweet, lemony and yummy.  The lemon curd was tart and combined with the blueberries it was a perfect mix.  The blueberries burst in your mouth and brought back memories of summer.  The cake only received a ranking of 3 cupcakes because the texture of the cake with the curd and blueberries was hard to palate.  It was yummy but the texture wasn't my favorite.  Anyway, it was yummy and would be a perfect summer party cake.




Ingredients:

FOR THE CAKE
Vegetable oil, cooking spray
1 1/2 C Cake flour (not self-rising), sifted
1 Tbs Baking powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 C plus 2 Tbs Granulated sugar
1/2 C Skim milk
1/3 C Canola oil
1 1/2 tsp pure Vanilla extract
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon, plus 1 ts[ fresh lemon juice
4 large Egg whites, room temperature
1 Tbs Confectioners' sugar

FOR THE LEMON CURD

4 Large Egg yolks, lightly beaten
Finely grated zest of 1/2 Lemon (I used the whole lemon, and liked it), plus 1/2 Cup fresh Lemon juice
1 1/3 C Granulated sugar
1/3 C Cornstarch
Pinch of salt
1 tsp pure Vanilla extract
1 1/3 C Blueberries, lightly crushed
 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make the cake: Coat two 8-by-1 1/2-inch round cake pans with cooking spray. (I did two 8 inch oval pans and it worked great). Line bottoms with parchment. Spray parchment; set aside.
 
Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl; set aside. Whisk together 1/4 cup sugar, the milk, oil, vanilla, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a large bowl; set aside.

Put egg whites into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium speed until foamy. Raise speed to medium-high. Gradually add remaining 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, beating until stiff peaks form.
 
Add half of the flour mixture to the milk mixture; whisk until smooth. Fold in remaining flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the egg white mixture. Divide batter among prepared pans. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until a cake tester inserted into centers comes out clean, about 18 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Turn out cakes onto rack. Remove parchment; reinvert. Let cool completely.
 
Make the lemon curd: Put egg yolks into a medium heatproof bowl; set aside. Whisk together lemon zest, sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan. Add 1 1/2 cups water and the lemon juice;whisk until sugar and cornstarch have dissolved. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking constantly. Cook 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low; gradually whisk one-third of the lemon
mixture into the reserved egg yolks (This is necessary because if you pour the egg yolks directly into the mixture in the pot it yolks will cook instantly and become stringy and gross). Pour mixture into pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, 2 1/2 minutes.Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla. Pour into a bowl; place plastic wrap directly on surface. Refrigerate until firm and cold, at least 1 hour (up to 1 day).  Fold blueberries into curd; set aside. Trim top and bottom of one cake to be flat. Cut each cake in half horizontally. Set untrimmed bottom layer on a serving plate; spread with 1 cup curd. Repeat with trimmed halves for second and third layers. Top with untrimmed top layer. Dust with confectioners' sugar.

Rach's Tips

This cake was yummy and would be great for a summer party.  The blueberries and the lemon curd was trully delicious. I wouldn't have thought of the combination but it did really work.  It would also be good with raspberries.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

White Layer Cake with Lemon Curd Filling

White Layer Cake with Lemon Curd Filling

Cupcake Ranking: 4 Cupcakes


This cake was yummy.  Definetely a 'go-to' white cake.  The lemon curd filling was crazy lemony and delicious!  I don't know how it managed it, but with the buttercream frosting, the cake was a dead ringer for lemon meringue pie.  Yummy!

Ingredients

3 Cups Cake flour, (not self-rising)
2 tsp Baking powder
1 tsp Salt
1 1/2 C (3 sticks) unsalted Butter, room temperature
2 1/4 C Sugar
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 C Milk
8 large Egg whites
Lemon Curd*
Buttercream frosting or frosting of your choice
 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 9-by-2-inch round cake pans; line bottoms with parchment paper rounds. Butter parchment, and dust with flour, tapping out excess; set aside.
 
Into a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and 2 cups sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in three parts, alternating with milk and beginning and ending with flour; beat until just combined. Transfer mixture to a large bowl; set aside.

In the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites on low speed until foamy. With mixer running, gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar; beat on high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 4 minutes. Do not overbeat. Gently fold a third of the egg-white mixture into the butter-flour mixture until combined. Gently fold in remaining whites.
 
Divide batter evenly between prepared pans, smoothing with an offset spatula. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until cakes are golden brown and a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes (Mine was 28 1/2 minutes). Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool 20 minutes. Invert cakes onto rack; peel off parchment. Reinvert cakes, and let them cool completely, top sides up.
Using a serrated knife, trim tops of cake layers to make level. Place one layer on a serving plate, cut side up.
 
*Lemon Curd
 
6 large Egg yolks
Zest of 2 lemons
1/2 C freshly squeezed Lemon juice (about 4 lemons)
12 Tbs Sugar
1/2 C (1 stick) unsalted Butter, cold, cut into pieces
 
Prepare an ice bath fitted with a medium bowl; set aside.(Put a bowl in another bowl filled with ice) Whisk together yolks, zest, juice, and sugar in a small saucepan. Set over medium heat, and stir constantly with a wooden spoon. Cook until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the wooden spoon, 5 to 7 minutes.
 
Remove pan from heat. Add butter, 1 piece at a time, stirring until incorporated. Pass through a fine mesh sieve into prepared medium bowl. Stirring frequently, let stand until cool.
 
Place a sheet of plastic wrap directly on surface of curd to prevent skin from forming; wrap tightly. Refrigerate until firm and chilled, at least 1 hour. Store refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
 
Using a pastry bag fitted with a coupler, pipe frosting around the perimeter. This dam will prevent the lemon curd filling from seeping out. Fill cake with lemon curd. Place other cake layer on top, cut side down. Spread entire cake with frosting, swirling to cover.
 
 

Rach's Tips

This cake was really great and really tasted like lemon meringue pie!  I don't think I would do anything differently.  One thing I did learn though was about egg whites.  I've been keeping some in the fridge and they have been there....for awhile.  They weren't good.  Ha ha.  Anyway, I read a tip that said to put individual egg whites in an ice cube tray and freeze the individual whites.  They will keep for MONTHS!!  What a fantastic idea.  Use as ya need.

This cake was light, crazy lemony and really delicous.  Enjoy!

Is your mouth ready to water?

Sweet and Salty Chocolate Cake

Cupcake ranking: 4 + Cupcakes

This cake is OFF. THE. CHARTS.  Seriously we had friends over and between them and second helpings (by us) the cake was gone by Monday morning.  Crazy good.  Why you ask?  Chocolate Carmel Ganache, Chocolate Cake, Ganache, carmel sauce, chocolate cake.  Salty, chocolatey, sweet, and gooey.  Do I need to say more.  No I do not.


Ingredients
 
3/4 C Cocoa powder
2/3 C Sour cream
2 2/3 C all-purpose Flour, plus more for pans
2 tsp Baking powder
1 tsp Baking soda
1/2 tsp Salt
3/4 C (1 1/2 sticks) Unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pans
1/2 C Vegetable shortening
1 1/2 C Granulated sugar
1 C Dark brown sugar
3 large Eggs
1 Tbs pure Vanilla
A few pinches of Fleur de sel
 
 
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter three 8-by-2-inch round cake pans. Line each pan with a parchment paper round, butter parchment paper and flour; set aside.
 
In a large bowl, whisk together cocoa, 1 1/4 cups hot water, and sour cream; set aside to cool, about 10 minutes
 
In another large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
 
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and shortening together until smooth and it appears to create strings inside the bowl, about 7 minutes. Add both sugars and continue beating until light and fluffy, about 7 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until well incorporated. Add vanilla, scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, and mix again for 30 seconds. Add flour mixture alternating with cocoa mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
 
Divide batter evenly among the three prepared pans. Bake until cake is just firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 18 to 24 minutes (Apparently this is a mis-print.  Supposedly it takes about 34-38 minutes.  In my oven it took 30.) Let cool completely.
 
*Carmel Sauce
 
1 Cup Sugar
2 Tbs light Corn syrup
1/2 C Heavy cream
1 tsp fleur de sel (or sea salt works great)
1/4 C Sour cream
 
Combine 1/4 cup water, sugar, and corn syrup in a medium saucepan; stir to combine. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until the mixture reaches 350 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 10 minutes (This process took me 4 TIMES.  It takes about 6-9 minutes depending on your sea level and the moisture in the air.  When the sauce does get to 350 degrees it WILL NOT be brown.  Just around the edges will be faintly tan.  Take it off the heat.  Take it off the heat.  Take it off the heat.  It cools for 1 minute.  In that time, the sauce will start to turn brown and then when you add the warm cream it will turn brown.  If you let the sugar mixture go past 350, it will burn and be black and you will have to start over.)
 
Meanwhile, in another small saucepan, mix together cream and salt. Bring cream to a boil and cook until salt has dissolved, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
 
When the caramel mixture has reached 350 degrees, remove from heat and allow to cool for 1 minute. Carefully add the hot cream to the caramel; stir to combine. Whisk in sour cream. Cool, and store in an airtight container, refrigerated, for up to 3 days.  (The sauce is delish.  It would be crazy amazing on icecream.)
 
Using a serrated knife, trim tops of cakes to make level. Place four strips of parchment paper around perimeter of a serving plate or lazy Susan. Place the first layer on the cake plate. Using about 1/4 cup of the caramel, spread a thin layer on the cake, allowing some of the caramel to soak into the cake  (I added a little more.  :)). Follow the caramel layer with a layer of about 1 cup of the ganache icing. Place the second layer on top and repeat process with another layer of caramel followed by a layer of ganache icing. Place the remaining layer on top of the second layer bottom side up. Spread entire cake with remaining ganache icing. Sprinkle with fleur de sel.
 
**Carmel Ganache
 
1 lb Dark chocolate, chopped
1 C Sugar
2 Tbs Light corn syrup
1 1/2 C Heavy cream
1 lb (4 sticks) Butter, cut into tablespoon-sized pieces, softened but still cool
 
Combine 1/4 cup water, sugar, and corn syrup in a medium saucepan; stir to combine. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until the mixture reaches 350 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 6-9 minutes. (See directions above.  Yep you have to do it again).
 
In another small saucepan add cream and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and set aside.
 
When the caramel mixture has reached 350 degrees, remove from heat and allow to rest for 1 minute.
 
Add the hot cream to the caramel; stir to combine. Let cool 5 minutes. Place chocolate in the bowl of an electric mixer and pour caramel sauce over chocolate. Let sit 1 minute before stirring from the center until chocolate is melted.
 
Attach bowl to electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low until the bowl feels cool to the touch. Add butter and increase speed to medium-high until mixture is well combined, thickened, and slightly whipped, about 2 minutes.
 
 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Caramel Cake

Caramel Cake

Cupcake Ranking: 4 Cupcakes

 
 
I read the novel "The Help" sometime last year and was intrigued with the infamous Carmel Cake.  When I was looking at the 44 layer cake recipes and this was one of them, I was sold.  I love carmel and combined with a cake. GOLDEN!  Anyway, being from Idaho the idea of a Carmel cake was foreign.  In fact, a friend from Georgia told me I was mispronoucing it.  It is pronounced Care-uh-mell Cake.  Not Carmel.  So, this weekend I made the Carmel Cake and the frosting was so delicious, if my kids hadn't been in the room, I would have stuck my head in the bowl and licked it clean.  Holy Smoke.  DEEELICIOUS.
 
INGREDIENTS
 
(For some reason I forgot to take a picture of the ingredients.  Sorry.)
 
Carmel Syrup
 
1 C Sugar
1 C Water
 
Heat sugar and 1 cup water in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and comes to a boil. Continue cooking, brushing down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush but without stirring, until mixture becomes golden amber in color. (This took about 15 minutes for me.  BE CAREFUL.  It will go from amber color to black FAST).
 
Immediately remove from heat and add 1/2 cup water. Return to heat and continue stirring until mixture becomes liquid. Transfer to a heatproof container and let cool completely before using.
 
Cake
 
1/2 C (1 stick) unsalted Butter
1 1/4 C Sugar
1/4 C Caramel Syrup, plus more for serving
2 C sifted all-purpose Flour
2 tsp Baking powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1 C Milk
2 large Eggs
 
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray two 8-inch round cake pans with cooking spray (I used 9 inch so the cake was thinner and dense. Set pans aside.
 
Beat butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Gradually add 1 cup sugar and continue to beat until mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in syrup.
 
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix flour mixture into butter mixture, alternating with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
 
Beat eggs until foamy in another bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Add remaining 1/4 cup sugar and continue beating until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir into cake batter until well combined.
 
Divide cake batter evenly between prepared pans. Bake until cakes spring back when gently touched in the center, about 25 minutes (Mine was about 16 minutes). If cakes do not spring back, return to oven and continue cooking about 10 minutes more.
 
Cool cake in pans for 10 minutes. Invert cakes onto a wire rack and remove parchment paper round. Let cakes cool to room temperature before frosting.
 
Frosting
 
12 Tbs (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted Butter
1 package (16 ounces) Confectioners' Sugar
1/2 C heavy Cream, plus more if needed
1 Tbs pure Vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
 
In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat until nut-brown in color, about 8 minutes. Remove pan from heat and pour butter into a bowl, leaving any burned sediment behind; let cool. (Once it browns it will scorch quickly.  The butter will foam, reduce and then brown.  Remove from heat immediately).
 
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add confectioners' sugar, vanilla, salt, and butter (The Salt is a must!  It gives it that delicous carmel taste). With the mixer on low, slowly add cream; beat until smooth. If frosting seems too thick, stir another tablespoon cream into the mixture.


Place the first layer on the cake plate. Spread the top of the first layer with frosting. Top with the remaining layer, bottom-side up. Serve cake drizzled with any remaining caramel syrup.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Rach's Tips
 
The cake was really dense.  I'm not sure if it is because it was thin or made with butter, but it was still yummy.  It tasted like pound cake with a carmel highlight. The combination of the cake and the frosting was awesome.  There were salty, carmely, and maplee tastes in every single bite.  If you have a sweet tooth and need a fix, this is the cure all.  Happy indulgance.   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Pumpkin Carving

We finally carved our pumpkins.  The kids have been really worried that we would forget.  Now everyone can breath a sigh of relief!

Puppy Dog, Ghost, Spiderman, Bear

Ami wouldn't even pick out the guts.  Ha ha ha.
 
Robbie's face says it all.

 
For dinner, we had a pumpkin themed pizza!

Smiley face and Vampire.

Fall Fun

One of the many things I love about Virginia is the fall.  The leaves are such amazing bright colors and the smells are incredible.  This view is right out my back kitchen window!  I love it!
 
 
 
Kitchen Window View

There are SO many leaves.  We did the seasonly perfect activity.  Leaf jumping!  The kids had a blast.


Chocolate Cake-sort of

Chocolate Cake

Cupcake Rating: 1 Cupcake


I was hoping that this cake would be a go to chocolate cake recipe.  It wasn't.  Unfortunately it was more brownie-like than the moist cake I was hoping for.  In fact, I have had more cake like brownies than this cake was.


Ingredients

1 C (2 sticks) unsalted Butter, plus more for pans
2 C all-purpose Flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pans
1/2 C unsweetened Cocoa powder
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Salt
1 1/2 C Sugar
2 large Eggs plus 3 large Egg yolks
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 C low-fat Buttermilk
 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 9-by-2-inch cake pans, tapping out excess flour. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
 
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. With mixer on low, beat in eggs and yolks, one at a time. Beat in vanilla. Alternately beat in flour mixture and buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix just until combined.
 
Divide batter between pans; smooth tops. Bake until cakes pull away from sides of pans, 32 to 35 minutes (Mine took about 20). Let cool in pans 10 minutes. Run a knife around edges of pans and invert cakes onto a wire rack. Let cool completely.
 
Place one cake, bottom side up, on a cake stand. Frost with frosting of choice.  I took the leftover cream cheese frosting from last week and added chocolate.  Woe was it DELICIOUS.  I never thought of chocolate cream cheese frosting, and will never make that mistake AGAIN.  Add a little baking chocolate to your cream cheese frosting and be transported to HEAVEN.
 
Rach's Tips
 
I was disappointed with this cake.  The ingredients and instructions were super simple so I was hoping for a go-to/every day chocolate cake recipe.  Not so much.  It was very dense but not fudgy.  Kinda a 'meh' moment.  The frosting was delicious and I wanted a bowl full! 


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Lemon Meringue Cake

Lemon Meringue Cake

Cupcake Ranking: 3 Cupcakes

I actually made this cake this summer for an Olympic Party.  The cake was moist and citrus-ey.  The cake was truly delicious and would be perfect for a summer night.  It was had a ton of citrus in it and the cake texture reminded me of angle food cake.  The meringue not so much.  The texture of the meringue completely ruins the fluffiness of the cake. 

I can't find the picture my friend sent, but once I find it I'll post.

Ingredients

1 sifted Cup plus 2 tablespoons Cake Flour, (not self-rising)

1 1/2 tsp Baking powder
1/4 tsp Salt
3 large Eggs, separated, room temperature
3/4 C Superfine sugar
1/4 C Vegetable oil
1 tsp grated Orange Zest
1 tsp grated Lemon zest
4 Tbs fresh Orange juice
2 Tbs fresh Lemon juice
Pinch of cream of tartar
*Lemon curd
**Swiss Meringue (Optional: I would recommend whipping cream topped with Lemon zest)
 
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt twice. Set aside.
 
Place egg yolks in the large bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium high until pale and foamy, 3 to 5 minutes. Gradually add 1/2 cup of the sugar, beating until very pale and puffy, 5 to 7 minutes.
 
Add oil in a steady stream. Add zests; beat for 1 minute. Reduce speed to medium low, and add flour mixture alternately with juices, flour in 4 parts and liquid in 3 parts, beginning and ending with the flour. Set aside.
 
In a clean bowl, whip egg whites on low speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar, and increase speed to medium high. Beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining sugar, and beat for 1 1/2 minutes, or until whites are glossy and stiff peaks form.
 
Stir a quarter of the whites into the flour-yolk mixture. Fold in remaining whites carefully, trying not to deflate the batter. Gently pour into an ungreased 7-inch tube pan. Bake until cake is golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean, about 40 minutes.
 
Remove cake from oven, and invert immediately. Cool completely in pan. Run a knife around sides to loosen, and remove outer part of pan. Run a knife along bottom and around tube to loosen and remove tube. Turn upside down onto a cake round slightly smaller than the cake, and slice horizontally into 3 layers using a serrated knife.
 
Spread half the filling on the bottom layer, and cover with the middle layer. Spread remaining filling on middle layer, and cover with top layer. Refrigerate overnight, or until set. Brush off excess crumbs with a dry pastry brush.
 
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare meringue, and spread it all over cake, swirling with an icing spatula as desired. Set cake, still on cake round, on an oiled baking sheet, and place in oven. Bake, watching carefully, until meringue is brown around edges and beginning to brown elsewhere.
 
Transfer to a serving plate and serve as soon as possible. Slice using a knife dipped in hot water and wiped dry.
 
*Lemon Curd
3 large Egg yolks, strained
Zest of 1/2 Lemon
1/4 C Lemon juice
6 Tbs Sugar
4 Tbs unsalted Butter, cold, cut into pieces
 
Combine yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice, and sugar in a small saucepan. Whisk to combine. Set over medium heat, and stir constantly with a wooden spoon, making sure to stir sides and bottom of pan. Cook until mixture is thick enough to coat back of wooden spoon, 5 to 7 minutes.
 
Remove saucepan from heat. Add butter, one piece at a time, stirring with the wooden spoon until consistency is smooth.
 
Transfer mixture to a medium bowl. Lay a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd to avoid a skin from forming; wrap tightly. Let cool; refrigerate until firm and chilled, at least 1 hour.
 
**Swiss Meringue
4 large Egg whites, at room temperature
1 C Sugar
1 pinch Cream of Tartar
1/2 tsp pure Vanilla extract
 
Fill medium saucepan one quarter full with water. Set the saucepan over medium heat, and bring water to a simmer.
 
Combine egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar in the heatproof bowl of electric mixer, and place over saucepan. Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and whites are warm to the touch, 3 to 3 1/2 minutes. Test by rubbing between your fingers.
 
Transfer bowl to electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and whip, starting on low speed, gradually increasing to high until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 10 minutes. Add vanilla, and mix until combined. Use meringue immediately.
 
Rach's Tips
Beside omitting the meringue I just need to send out the warning that the cake is super delicate.  The directions state to "gently pour" the batter into the pan.  Not kidding.  It is super fluffy and will fall.  Once you put it in the pan and gently smooth, don't touch.  Step away and put it in the oven!  This is a perfect summer cake!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Carrot Cake

CARROT CAKE

Cupcake Ranking: 2



I LOVE Carrot Cake.  I'm not sure if it is the cream cheese frosting or the spiciness of the cake.  But it is delicious.  Anyway, this cake was okay but not fabulous.  I have a standard carrot cake that I make and this just didn't measure up.  The taste was pretty cake but it was super dense not thick, dense and fluffy like it is supposed to be!  But I digress.  Anyway, this is fine for a basic carrot cake but not my fav.  The frosting is CRAZY GOOD.  It will definetely be my standard cream cheese frosting from here on out.



Ingredients

2 1/2 C All-purpose Flour, plus more for pans
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking soda
1 tsp Ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp Coarse salt
1/2 tsp Ground Ginger
1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted Butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
1 C packed Brown sugar
1/2 C Granulated Sugar
3 large Eggs
2 tsp pure Vanilla extract
1/2 C Water
1 pound Carrots (8 to 10 medium carrots), peeled and shredded on a box grater or in a food processor (about 2 3/4 cups)
 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans. Line bottoms with parchment paper, and butter parchment. Dust with flour, tapping out excess. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, ginger, and nutmeg.
 
Beat butter and sugars with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat 3 minutes. Add vanilla, water, and carrots. Beat until well combined, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low, and add flour mixture. 
 
Scrape batter into prepared pans, dividing evenly. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean, about 30 minutes (about 20 in my oven). Let cool in pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Run a knife around edges of cakes to loosen, and turn out cakes onto rack. Turn right side up, and let cool completely.
 
Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe
 
1 pound (16 ounces) Cream cheese, room temperature
2 tsp pure Vanilla extract
1 C (2 sticks) unsalted Butter, cut into pieces, room temperature
2 pounds Confectioners' sugar, sifted (about 8 Cups)
 
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and vanilla until light and creamy, about 2 minutes. With mixer on medium speed, gradually add butter, beating until incorporated.
 
Reduce mixer speed to low. Gradually add sugar, beating until incorporated.


Using a serrated knife, trim rounded top of 2 cakes. Place one trimmed cake, cut side up, on a serving platter. Spread 1 cup (ish or just till it looks like you want it to) frosting over cake. Top with second trimmed cake, cut side down.  Spread remaining frosting over top and sides (I had lots extra so just frost as thick as you want the icing to be). Gently press coarsely chopped pecans onto sides of cake (I didn't but definetely an option). Refrigerate 1 hour before serving.

Rach's Tips

As I mentioned above, this cake was decent.  It is a yummy cake but not my favorite carrot cake recipe.  The frosting was a definite keeper.  The recipe is straightforward, but I don't think I'll make it again.

Monday, October 15, 2012

First Lost Tooth!

IT FINALLY HAPPENED.  YES IT IS TRUE.  Amelia has been wiggling this tooth for 9 months and it finally came out.  Super excited.  Isn't she cute (yes, her brother is a dork but at least he is a cute dork).



Red Velvet Chocolate Cake

Red Velvet Chocolate Cake

Cupcake Rating: 3 Cupcakes


When I first started this cake experiment, the cakes were disappointing.  I started to doubt myself.  This cake assured my self consciousness.  The cake was fluffy and dense like cakes should be.  The others were recipe faults.  Whoo!  Anyway, the cake was super yummy and instead of the 7 minute frosting (icky) I used a Paula Deen cream cheese frosting (way delicious).  If you want a dense, chocolatey cake.  This is for you.  Would I make it again?  Maybe.  I'm not a huge red velvet fan, but I know some people are.  If you love Red Velvet, this cake is for you!



Ingredients:

Unsalted butter, for cake pans
2 1/2 C Cake flour, not self-rising
1 tsp Salt
1/4 C Cocoa powder
1 1/2 C Sugar
1 1/2 C Canola oil
2 large Eggs
1/4 C Red food coloring
1 tsp pure Vanilla extract
1 C Buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp Baking soda
2 tsp White Vinegar

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter two 9-by-2-inch round cake pans. Sprinkle with flour, and tap out the excess; set aside. 
 
In a medium bowl, whisk cake flour, salt, and cocoa; set aside. 
 
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the sugar and oil, and beat on medium speed until well combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add food coloring and vanilla, and beat until well combined. Add flour mixture, alternating with buttermilk, scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
 
In a small bowl, mix baking soda and vinegar until combined. Add to batter, and beat for 10 seconds. Evenly divide batter between the prepared pans.
 
Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool in the pans for 5 minutes. Remove from the pans, and return to the rack to cool completely.
 
 Cream Cheese Frosting-Paula Deen
 
1 lb Cream cheese, softened
2 Sticks Butter, softened
1 tsp Vanilla extract
4 C sifted Confectioners' sugar
 
Mix ingredients and frost cake.
 
What is with the spider web design?  Eh, it's Halloween and the kiddos wanted it to be festive.  Why not?
 Rach's Review:

This cake was yummy and lived up to the picture's expectations.  It was dense, chocolatey and fun.  The cream cheese frosting was yummy but not a must.  A buttercream icing would be equally delectable.  The 1/4 C of Red food coloring was a little unsettling.  So, I substituted 1/8 cup of tomato sauce.  There was no tomato taste, the integrity of the red coloring was preserved and maybe added some nutritional goodness?  Enjoy!

 


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Coconut Layer Cake

Coconut Layer Cake
 
 

Rating: 4 Cupcakes:

I was skeptical of this cake.  I am not a huge coconut cake fan.  Don't get me wrong.  I like coconut and I like cake but not usually combined.  However, the homemade coconut pudding in the middle gave it the wabang that sucked me in.  Even the 7 minute frosting that has been dreadful on the other cakes worked great for this one.


Ingredients

3/4 C (1 1/2 sticks) Unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
2 C sifted Cake flour, not self-rising, plus more for pans
1/2 tsp Baking powder
1/2 tsp Baking soda
1/4 tsp Salt
1 C Superfine sugar
4 large Egg yolks, lightly beaten
2/3 Cup Sour cream
1 tsp pure Vanilla extract
Coconut Cream Filling (see below)
11 oz (about 3 3/4 cups) sweetened angel-flake Coconut
Seven-Minute Frosting (see below)
 
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Arrange two racks in the center of the oven. Line the bottom of three 6-by-2-inch buttered round cake pans with parchment paper. (I used two 9x3 pans.  The layers are thin but it still worked.) Dust the bottom and the sides of the cake pans with flour, and tap out any excess. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and set the bowl aside.
 
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter on medium-low speed until fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Gradually add sugar, and keep beating until the mixture is fluffy and light in color, about 3 minutes. Gradually drizzle in egg yolks, beating on medium-low speed between each addition until the batter is no longer slick. Beat until the mixture is fluffy again, about another 3 minutes.
 
Alternate adding flour mixture and sour cream to the batter, a little of each at a time, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Beat in vanilla. Divide the batter between the prepared cake pans. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes, rotating the pans in the oven, if needed, for even browning. Transfer cake pans to wire racks to cool, about 15 minutes. Remove cakes from pans, and let cool completely on racks, tops up.
To assemble, remove parchment paper from the bottoms of cakes. Split each layer in half horizontally with a serrated knife. (If using the larger pans, don't bother splitting because the layers are already thin).
 
Coconut Cream Filling
 
Ingredients:
6 large Egg yolks
3/4 C Sugar
6 Tbs Cornstarch
1/8 tsp Salt
3 C Milk
4 oz (1 1/2 cups) sweetened angel-flake Coconut
1 1/2 tsp pure Vanilla extract
Unsalted butter, for wrap
 
Place egg yolks in a large bowl; whisk to combine; set bowl aside.
 
Combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a saucepan. Gradually whisk in milk. Cook, stirring, over medium heat until mixture thickens and comes to a boil, 10 to 12 minutes (Mine happened quickly, appx 5 minutes). Remove from heat.
 
Whisk 1/2 cup hot milk mixture into the reserved egg yolks to temper. Slowly pour warm yolks into the saucepan, stirring constantly (this is done so the egg yolks don't boil and harden...icky). Cook slowly, stirring, over medium-low heat, until mixture begins to bubble, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in coconut and vanilla.
 
Transfer filling to a medium mixing bowl. Lightly butter a piece of plastic wrap, and lay it directly on top of filling to prevent a skin from forming. Chill until firm, at least 1 hour.
 
Set aside the prettiest dome; it will be used for the final layer. Place another domed layer, dome side down, on the serving platter. Sprinkle 2 to 3 tablespoons of flaked coconut over the cake. Spread a generous 1/2 cup coconut-cream filling over coconut flakes. Repeat sprinkling and spreading process on the remaining layers until all but the reserved domed layer are used. Top cake with the reserved domed layer (When using the larger pans thus thinner layers use your own judgement on how much pudding.  I just put it on until I thought it looked like enough.  I had about 1/2 cup of pudding left over). Transfer cake to the refrigerator to firm for 1 hour. Remove from the refrigerator, and frost the outside of cake with seven-minute frosting. Sprinkle remaining coconut flakes all over cake while frosting is soft; do not refrigerate. Cake can be left out at room temperature for several days.
 
7 Minute Frosting
 
Ingredients:
3/4 C plus 2 Tbs Sugar
1 Tbs light Corn syrup
3 large Egg whites, room temperature
 
In a small, heavy saucepan, combine 3/4 cup sugar, corn syrup, and 2 tablespoons water. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar has dissolved. Rub a bit between your fingers to make sure there is no graininess. Raise heat to bring to a boil. Do not stir anymore. Boil, washing down sides of pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water from time to time to prevent the sugar from crystallizing, until a candy thermometer registers 230 degrees about 5 minutes. (Depending on the humidity, this can take anywhere from 4 to 10 minutes.)
 
Meanwhile, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form, about 2 1/2 minutes. Gradually add remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Remove the syrup from the heat when the temperature reaches 230 degrees (it will keep rising as pan is removed from heat). With the mixer running, pour the syrup in a steady stream down the side of the bowl (to avoid splattering) containing the egg-white mixture. Don't pour the syrup in and then turn the mixer on.  The syrup will pool and harden at the bottom of the bowl. 
 
Beat frosting on medium speed until cool, 5 to 10 minutes. The frosting should be thick and shiny. Use immediately.
 
Rach's Review
 
This cake was really great.  The cake was moist, the pudding provided a nice sweet texture and the icing was light and fluffy.  The cake still obsorbs the icing in a day or two but the 7 minute icing is really yummy with the coconut.  We served this cake to guests and they all enjoyed it.  I will definetely make this again.
 
 


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Boston Cream Pie

Boston Cream Pie
 
 
 
4 Cupcakes:

This cake was DELICIOUS.  I am a sucker for homemade pudding, and combined with this moist cake and chocolate ganache.  Wowsa.



Ingredients

6 Tbs Unsalted Butter, plus more for pan
1 1/2 C All-purpose Flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pan
1 1/2 tsp Baking powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 C Milk
3 large Eggs
1 C Sugar
1/2 recipe cooled Vanilla or Chocolate Pudding
1/4 C Heavy cream
4 ounces Semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 tsp Vanilla extract
 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. Combine milk and butter in a small saucepan; set over very low heat.
 
With an electric mixer, beat eggs and sugar on high speed until thick, lightened in color, and mixture holds a trail for several seconds when beater is lifted, 4 to 5 minutes. Gradually whisk in dry ingredients just until incorporated.
 
Bring milk and butter to a boil. With mixer on low speed, add hot milk mixture to batter; mix just until smooth. Mix in vanilla; transfer batter to prepared pan, and smooth top.
 
Bake until golden and pulling away from sides of pan, 35 to 40 minutes (20 in my oven). Cool cake 10 minutes in pan; remove from pan, and transfer to a rack to cool, right side up.
 
Vanilla Pudding Recipe
 
2/3 C Sugar
1/4 C Cornstarch
1/4 tsp Salt
1/3 C Unsweetened cocoa powder (if making chocolate pudding)
2 1/2 C Milk
4 large Egg yolks
2 Tbs Unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 tsp Vanilla extract
 
Place a fine-mesh sieve over a medium bowl; set aside. In a medium saucepan, off heat, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and salt. If making chocolate pudding, add cocoa powder. Very gradually (a few tablespoons at a time) whisk in milk, taking care to dissolve cornstarch. Whisk in egg yolks.
 
Whisking constantly, cook over medium heat until the first large bubble forms and sputters. Reduce heat to low; still whisking, cook 1 minute. Remove from heat; immediately pour through sieve into bowl. (This is super important or your pudding with be chunky).  Stir butter and vanilla into hot pudding.
 
Place plastic wrap directly on surface of pudding (to prevent skin from forming); chill at least 3 hours and up to 3 days.
 
With a serrated knife, split cooled cake horizontally (leave bottom half on rack). Spread bottom half with half of the Vanilla Pudding recipe to within 1/2 inch of edge; gently place top half of cake on pudding layer (very gently.  The pudding easily squishes everywhere).
 
Make Chocolate Glaze: In a small saucepan, bring heavy cream to a boil. Remove from heat, and add chocolate; stir until smooth.
 
Set aside to cool to room temperature and to thicken slightly, about 10 minutes. When glaze has thickened, pour over filled cake. Using a small metal spatula, spread glaze to edges of cake, allowing it to drip down sides. Let glaze set, 15 to 20 minutes. Leftover cake can be refrigerated, loosely covered, up to 2 days.
 
Rach's Notes
 
This cake was really yummy.  The cake was the perfect consistency and the pudding and ganache added the greatest texture differences.  I really wouldn't have done anything different.  This is the first cake from this series that really lived up to my expectations.  Basic ingredients with and incredible output.
 
 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Chocolate Addicts Unite

Moist Devil's Food Cake
Rating: 4 Cupcakes

Rating:
I've decided to start rating the cake so you can get an idea of how good it is.
1 Cupcake: "Meh. Don't know if I will make it again"
2 Cupcakes: "Pretty Good. I like it but there were a few wierdie things about it."
3 Cupcakes: "Good. I like it and will make it again."
4 Cupcakes: "Crazy, wow, oh my gosh. This is going on my list."

This cake is completely OFF LIMITS for a chocoholics anonymous meeting.  It is dark chocolate cake with a dark chocolate ganache frosting.  Waoe.


Ingredients

1 1/2 Cups (3 sticks) unsalted Butter, plus more for pans
3/4 cup Dutch-process Cocoa powder, plus more for pans
1/2 Cup Boiling water
2 1/4 Cups Sugar
1 Tbs pure Vanilla extract
4 large Eggs, lightly beaten
3 Cups sifted Cake flour (not self-rising)
1 tsp Baking soda
1/2 tsp Salt
1 Cup Milk
Mrs. Millman's Chocolate Frosting
 
Directions

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange two racks in center of oven. Butter two 9-by-3-inch round cake pans; line bottoms with parchment. Dust bottoms and sides of pans with cocoa powder; tap out any excess. Sift cocoa into a medium bowl, and whisk in boiling water. Set aside to cool.
 
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter on low speed until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down sides twice. Beat in vanilla. Drizzle in eggs, a little at a time, beating between each addition until the batter is no longer slick, scraping down the sides twice.
 
In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Whisk milk into reserved cocoa mixture. With mixer on low speed, alternately add flour and cocoa mixtures to the batter, a little of each at a time, starting and ending with flour mixture.
 
Divide batter evenly among the two prepared pans. Bake until a cake tester inserted into center of each layer comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes, (25 in my oven) rotating the pans for even baking. Transfer layers to wire racks; let cool, 15 minutes. Turn out cakes, and return to racks, tops up, until completely cool.
 
Remove parchment from bottoms of cakes. Reserve the prettiest layer for the top. Add frosting to initial layer and add second layer. (Frosting recipe below). Finish frosting the cake.
 
Mrs. Millman's Frosting Recipe
 
24 ounces Nestle semisweet chocolate morsels
4 Cups Whipping cream
1 tsp light Corn syrup
 
Place chocolate morsels and cream in a heavy saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, until combined and thickened, between 20 and 25 minutes. Increase the heat to medium low; cook, stirring, 3 minutes more. Remove pan from heat.
 
Stir in corn syrup. Transfer frosting to a large metal bowl. Chill until cool enough to spread, about 2 hours, checking and stirring every 15 to 20 minutes. Use immediately. (The frosting will scare you because it seems very runny.  After it cooled completely, stir very well and it magically thickens up to normal frosting consistency).
 
 
 
Rach's Tips
 
This cake was DELICIOUS!  Even the day after I frosted it, the cake seemed yummier.  However, there are a few things I would do differently next time.
 
1.  Instead of regular milk I would use buttermilk or yogurt.  I think this would make it more fluffy and not as dense.
2.  The original recipe calls for 3 layers using 8x2 pans.  I used two 9x3.  Next time I will divide the layers so the cake will be a 4 layer cake.  That way the cake/frosting ratio may be a little bit better.
3.  A scoop of vanilla makes this cake rocket into outer space. 
 
 

Friday, September 14, 2012

First Day of School

I have reached the pinnacle of motherhood.  Both kids are in school.  Did I cry.  Nope.  Did I do a hop, skip and a jump after they left.  Maybe.  They were both super excited.

Ahh cute girl!

Does he like to harass his sister.  Yes, yes he does.

Watch out preschool.  Here comes the Puck-meister.

Basic Vanilla Cake with Chocolate Frosting

I have a confession.  On this cake, I didn't stick completely to Martha's recipe, in two ways.  The first way was I wanted to give the cake a little taste boost and used an actual vanilla bean (it was hard to find: Whole Foods) instead of vanilla extract.  It definetely paid off.

The second change was the website recipe called for the egg white frosting (holy smokes.  Again!  Really!  That frosting is foul!)  I made my own go-to chocolate frosting.  And, it also paid off in a big way.  My poor 6 year old (sarcasm).  I said "A" do you want some cake?  No.  I replied, "I put my frosting on it."  She quickly said, "OK then."  It is sad when my sweet tooth kid will turn down cake because of the last few weeks experience with the Martha Frosting.  Whoo!  ANYWAY, the chocolate frosting and the vanilla tasting cake was OUT OF THE PARK.  The cake was gone by Wednesday.


Cake Ingredients

1 Cup (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
2 1/2 Cups all-purpose Flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pans
1/2 tsp Baking powder
1/2 tsp Baking soda
1 tsp Salt
1 1/2 Cups Sugar
2 large Eggs
3 large Egg yolks
2 tsp pure Vanilla extract
1 Cup low-fat Buttermilk
 

 
 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 9-by-2-inch cake pans, tapping out excess flour. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
 
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. With mixer on low, beat in eggs and yolks, one at a time. Beat in vanilla (I just used the amazing vanilla bean). Alternately beat in flour mixture and buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix just until combined.
 
Divide batter between pans; smooth tops. Bake until cakes pull away from sides of pans, 32 to 35 minutes. (Mine took about 18-20 minutes in the volcano oven).  Let cool in pans 10 minutes. Run a knife around edges of pans and invert cakes onto a wire rack. Let cool completely.
 
Place one cake, bottom side up, on a cake stand. Tuck strips of parchment paper underneath. Using an offset-spatula or table knife, spread top with Frosting of choice (recipe below). Top with remaining cake; frost top, then sides.
 
Chocolate Frosting
 
4 Cups Powdered Sugar
1/2 Cup Shortening
5 Tbs Milk
1 tsp Vanilla
1/2 Cup Baking Cocoa
Mix shortening, milk and vanilla together.  Add powdered sugar and baking cocoa until smooth.  You may need to add more milk to get the frosting to the desired thickness.  (This recipe is super great for sugar cookies also).
 
Rach's Tips
 
This cake truly was yummy.  It was straight forward and with a different frosting was perfect.  If you don't have buttermilk, you could use sour cream or yogurt as a substitute.  I don't ever have buttermilk but use regular milk with a little bit of lemon juice in it.  Happy baking!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

"John's Three Layer Apple Cake"

This cake is the sole reason behind my cake quest.  I love spice cakes and was super excited for it.  The cake itself didn't disappoint.  I think because it is an old fashioned cake recipe it is delightfully simple.  Simple ingredients, simple techniques and a glorious baked smell.  For some reason my Great Grandma Gladys was in my heart and on my mind while making this cake.  After I sneaked a taste before frosting it, child hood memories came flooding back to me along with her warm spirit. 



Then I frosted it and my like button turned to dislike and I was frustratingly disappointed.  But I digress, Here's what it took.



Ingredients

For the Frosting
4 Large egg whites
1 Cup Packed light-brown sugar
1/4 tsp Salt
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) Unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into pieces
 
For the Cake
 
1/2 Cup (1 stick) Unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pans
2 Cups all-purpose Flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pans
2 tsp Baking soda
1/2 tsp Baking powder
2 tsp Ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground Ginger
3/4 tsp Salt
2 Cups packed light-Brown sugar
2 Large Eggs
4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, two coarsely grated and two diced
 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter three 8-inch-round cake pans (I only had two pans so I divided the baked cakes into two so I had four layers.  You could also easily just have two layers); line bottoms with parchment paper. Butter, then flour paper and sides (tapping out excess); set aside.
 
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, and salt; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together butter, sugar, and eggs until well combined; fold in grated and diced apples. Add flour mixture; mix just until combined. Divide batter among prepared pans; smooth tops.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool cakes in pans 20 minutes, then invert onto wire racks; peel off parchment. Invert cakes again, and let cool completely on racks.
 
Make buttercream: In a heatproof bowl set over (not in) a pan of simmering water, whisk together egg whites, sugar, and salt until sugar has dissolved; remove from heat. Using an electric mixer on medium, beat mixture until fluffy and cooled, about 15 minutes. Increase to high; beat until stiff peaks form. Reduce to medium-low; gradually add butter, beating until fully incorporated, about 3 to 5 minutes.
 
Assemble cake: Place one layer on a serving plate; spread top with buttercream. Top with another layer; spread top with buttercream. Top with third layer; spread remaining buttercream over top and sides of cake. Refrigerate at least 1 hour (or up to 4 days). To serve, bring cake to room temperature; slice with a serrated knife.
 
 

Rach's Tips

The cake is truly delicious, moist, aromatic, and has an old fashioned taste.  I WOULD NOT use the frosting again.  It tastes like butter.  Nothing else, just butter.  It literally tasted like I frosted the cake with a stick o' butter.  We peeled the frosting off and ate the cake.  A cream cheese frosting or even just a vanilla frosting would be delicious. 

I also wouldn't divide the cake layers again.  The reason they used three cake pans is that because the cake is super moist it falls apart easily.  Two pans would be great, look nice and taste yummy.

Thus far the frostings from the various cakes have been really disappointing.  Unless the frosting recipe looks like it would be lip smacking good, I'm going my own route and making my own frosting recipe.  Whoever compiled this list is obsessed with egg white frosting.  Why?  Who knows.  But, all in the puruit of greatness right??

Monday, August 27, 2012

Cake #4=Lemon Cake

By far, this was and is my favorite in this great endeavor!


Finally there is a cake that is moist, fluffy and has incredible taste!!  The others have either been super dense or have no real taste.  This is a great cake and is a fabulous summer cake.


Ingredients:

1 Cup (2 sticks) unsalted Butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
2 1/2 Cups All-purpose Flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pans
1/2 tsp Baking powder
1/2 tsp Baking soda
1 tsp Salt
1Tbs Lemon zest
2 C Sugar
2 large Eggs plus 3 large egg yolks
1/4 C plus 2 tablespoons fresh Lemon juice
1 C low-fat Buttermilk
1 Lemon, thinly sliced and seeded
 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 8-by-2-inch cake pans, tapping out excess flour. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and lemon zest.
 
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar until light and fluffy. With mixer on low, beat in eggs and yolks, one at a time. Beat in 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Alternately beat in flour mixture and buttermilk beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix just until combined.
 
Divide batter between pans; smooth tops. Bake until cakes pull away from sides of pans, 32 to 35 (my oven was 20) minutes. Let cool in pans 10 minutes. Run a knife around edges of pans and invert cakes onto a wire rack.
 
While cakes are baking, bring remaining 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water to a boil in a saucepan. Add lemon slices and simmer 25 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer lemon slices to a waxed-paper-lined plate. Stir remaining 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice into syrup.
 
Using a toothpick, poke holes in warm cakes on rack. Brush with lemon syrup. Let cool completely.
 
 
Icing Ingredients
 
3 Large Egg whites
3/4 C Sugar
Pinch of salt
1/3 C Water
2 Tbs Lemon Juice
 
In a heatproof bowl set over (not in) a saucepan of simmering water, combine egg whites, sugar, salt, and water. Cook over medium, stirring constantly, until sugar has dissolved, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat on medium-high until glossy, stiff peaks form (do not overbeat), about 3 minutes; reduce speed to low, add lemon juice, and beat just until combined. Use immediately (and it isn't joking.  The cake should be frosted and then served ASAP.  Otherwise the cake obsorbs the icing and becomes non-existent. :) Serve immediately means within the hour of icing).
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Rach's Notes:
 
This cake is truly delicious.  I LOVE lemony things and this is a perfect balance of lemon and moistness.  It was GREAT!  The only thing I would do differently is ice the cake RIGHT BEFORE I served it.  The icing disappears really fast. 
 
The candied lemon peel is a must.  Each piece had some lemon peel on it and it was such a great addition.  This is a must make!