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!


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.

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.
(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.
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.
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.