Monday, January 28, 2013

Gluten Free!!!

Gluten Free Chocolate Cake
Cupcake Ranking: 4+ Cupcakes

I have to admit.  I was skeptical.  WAY skeptical.  I don't eat organic food, I don't do fad diets and I HATE trend eating.  ANYWAY, I have a lot of friends who have Celiac disease and have been really curious about baking without gluten products.  It seemed IMPOSSIBLE.  Turns out it isn't.  In fact, this cake is SO good it is now my go-to chocolate cake.  It is chocolatey, fluffy, moist and crazy delicious.  I did make some changes to the original recipe, and I used chocolate buttercream instead of the nasty 7 minute frosting, but I think if it did anything it made it better.


2 Cups Sugar
1 C Brown Sugar
1 1/2 Cup Brown-rice flour
1 1/2 Cup Almond flour
1 1/2 Cup unsweetened Dutch-process Cocoa powder
1/2 Cup Rice flour
4 tsp Baking soda
2 tsp Baking powder
1 1/2 tsp coarse Salt
4 large Eggs
1 1/2 Cup warm Water
1 1/2 Cup low-fat (1 percent) Buttermilk
2 oz (4 Tbs) unsalted Butter
2 tsp pure Vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat two 9-inch cake pans with cooking spray and flour and line 5 cupcake spots with cupcake liners.
Whisk together dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients, and mix until smooth, about 3 minutes. Divide batter between pans. (The batter is CRAZY runny.  So don't worry.)
Bake cakes until they pull away from sides of pans, about 45 minutes. Let cool in pans on wire racks.
Split each cake layer horizontally.  Assemble the cake: Place a cake layer on a plate. Spread frosting on top. Place cake layer on top and continue until remaining cake layer. Frost top and sides with remaining frosting.
I shaved some white chocolate on top for aesthetic effect.
Rach's Review:
This cake is really yummy and tasted like any cake you would make with gluten products.  I had a few of my friends who are gluten intollerant taste the cake.  One of them took a bite, closed his eyes and sighed.  If that isn't a testament, I don't know what is!  I did double the recipe and make some alterations, but the end product was trully TO DIE FOR.  The entire cake was gone in 2 days.  Happy Baking!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Carrot Ginger Layer Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

Carrot Ginger Layer Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

Cupcake Ranking: 4+ Cupcakes

We love carrot cake and this recipe did not disappoint.  This was so yummy.  The cake was moist and for a twist the frosting has freshly grated ginger and orange zest in it.  It lightened the cream cheese frosting and was a perfect compliment to the spiciness of the cake.

Cake Ingredients

3 C all-purpose Flour, plus more for pans
1 C (3 ounces) Pecan halves (optional)
1 lb large Carrots, peeled
3 large Eggs, room temperature
1/3 C nonfat Buttermilk
1 tsp pure Vanilla extract
2 C Sugar
1 1/2 C Vegetable oil
1 Tbs freshly grated Ginger
2 tsp Baking powder
1 tsp Baking soda
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp ground Cinnamon
Orange Cream Cheese Frosting*
Candied Carrot Strips**, optional

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Butter two 8-by-2-inch round cake pans (I used 8 inch pans and thought the layers were too think.  I would recommend 9x2 pans). Dust pans with flour, and tap out any excess. Set pans aside. Spread pecans in a single layer on an ungreased baking pan, and toast in the oven until lightly golden, about 7 minutes. Remove pan from oven, and let stand until completely cool. Reduce temperature to 300 degrees. Finely chop pecans, and set aside (I didn't put nuts in ours.  Personal preference).

Using the smallest holes (less than 1/4 inch in diameter) of a box grater, grate carrots, yielding 2 1/2 cups. Place carrots, eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, sugar, vegetable oil, and ginger in a large bowl; whisk until well combined.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Using a rubber spatula, fold the flour mixture into the carrot mixture until combined. Fold in the toasted pecans(optional).

Divide batter between the two cake pans, and bake until a cake tester inserted into the middles comes out clean, about 1 hour. Remove pans from oven, and transfer to a wire rack to cool, 15 minutes. Turn cakes out onto rack; let stand until completely cool.

Using a serrated knife, trim tops of the cakes so surfaces are level. Slice each layer in half horizontally. Place a layer on a cake stand or cardboard round, and spread 3/4 cup frosting over top. Place a second cake layer on top, and spread with another 3/4 cup frosting. Repeat with third layer and another 3/4 cup frosting. Place last cake layer on top, and spread the remaining frosting over the top and the sides of the assembled cake. Transfer to refrigerator, and chill 3 to 4 hours (Super important.  It gives time for the cake and frosting to meld).

If using the candied carrot strips, set a wire rack over a baking pan. Using your fingers, lift one candied carrot strip from the sugar syrup, holding it over the container. With the thumb and forefinger of your other hand, gently squeeze the carrot strip and slide your fingers along its length, removing as much excess syrup as possible; lay the carrot strip on the wire rack. Repeat with the remaining carrot strips.
Gently place tapered end of a carrot strip in center of cake, and gently press it down the side of the cake; place a second strip next to it. Continue applying strips around entire cake. Form 2 or 3 strips into a decorative bow, and place on top. The candied carrots gave a nice texture difference to the frosted cake.  I highly recommend having them.  Cut cake, and serve.

*Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

3/4 C (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted Butter, room temperature
3 bars (8 ounces each) Cream cheese, room temperature
3 C Confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 Tbs freshly grated Orange zest
2 Tbs freshly grated Ginger
Pinch of salt

Place butter in bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and beat on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add cream cheese, and beat until well combined and fluffy, about 2 minutes more. Add sugar, orange zest, ginger, and salt, and beat for 5 minutes.

**Candied Carrot Strips

12 large Carrots, peeled (This was WAY too many.  You would have plenty with 4 Carrots)
7 C Sugar 

Using a mandoline, slice carrots lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick strips, and set aside.

In a small stockpot, combine 4 cups sugar and 2 cups water. Place over high heat, and bring to a boil, brushing the sides of the saucepan with cold water to prevent the sugar from crystallizing. Add carrots, and reduce the heat to medium. Cook until carrots are translucent, about 25 minutes.

In another small stockpot, combine the remaining 3 cups sugar with 1 cup water. Place over high heat, and bring to a boil, brushing the sides of the saucepan with cold water to prevent the sugar from crystallizing. When the sugar has completely dissolved, remove from heat.

Use a slotted spoon to transfer candied carrots from the syrup in which they boiled to this new sugar syrup. Let stand until completely cooled; discard the old syrup. Transfer carrots and new sugar syrup to an airtight container, and store, refrigerated, up to 3 days.

 Rach's Review:

This cake was truly delicious.  It is my new carrot cake recipe.  The cake was moist, flavorful and truly delicious.  I think the only change, to the cake, I would make would be to add some cloves and nutmeg.  I like a little spiciness to a carrot cake.  The frosting was superb.  It had freshly grated ginger and orange zest.  They completely lightened and otherwise heavy frosting and it complimented the cake amazingly.  I highly recommend this cake to anyone!


Monday, January 14, 2013

Yellow Butter Cake with Chocolate Frosting

Cupcake Ranking: 2 Cupcakes

This cake is CRAZY DRY.  The reviews warned that it was a dry cake so I compensated by using sour cream instead of milk.  Still dry.  It had the texture of coffee cake.  Dense and flavorful but dry.  It was good but not my ideal texture for cake.  The frosting was pretty good.  It was light, fluffy and super chocolatey. 


2 sticks (1 Cup) Unsalted Butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
1 1/2 C all-purpose Flour, plus more for pans
1 1/2 C Cake flour (not self-rising)
1 Tbs Baking powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1 3/4 C Sugar
4 large Eggs
2 tsp pure Vanilla extract
1 1/4 C Milk (I used Sour Cream)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 9-by-2-inch round cake pans; line the bottoms with parchment paper. Butter parchment, and dust with flour, tapping out excess; set aside. Into a medium bowl, sift together flours, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour; beat until combined after each addition.

Divide batter between the prepared pans, and smooth with an offset spatula. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until cakes are golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool 20 minutes. Invert cakes onto the rack; peel off the parchment. Reinvert cakes and let them cool completely, top sides up.

Chocolate Frosting
24 ounces best-quality Semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 C plus 1 Tbs Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 C plus 1 Tbs Boiling water
3 sticks (1 1/2 C) unsalted Butter, room temperature
1/2 C confectioners' sugar
Pinch of salt

Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over (but not touching) simmering water. Turn off heat; stir occasionally until chocolate has melted completely, about 15 minutes. Set bowl on countertop, and let chocolate cool to room temperature, 25 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, combine cocoa powder and boiling water in a small bowl; stir until cocoa is dissolved.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, confectioners' sugar, and salt on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add melted chocolate; beat on low speed until combined, 1 to 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in cocoa mixture.

Using a serrated knife, trim tops of cakes to make level; brush off crumbs. Place the first layer on the cake plate, and spread top with 3/4 cup of frosting. Place the second layer on top, bottom side up, and spread top with 3/4 cup of frosting; repeat process with the third layer. Place the remaining layer on top of the third layer, bottom-side up; insert a dowel into the center of cakes if necessary. Spread entire cake with remaining frosting. Decorate with sprinkles, if desired.

Rach's Review

The cake was good.  If you like dense cake, this cake would be great.  The frosting is smooth and very rich.  It is so rich, it wouldn't go well with chocolate cake.  I think it would be delicious with a fruity cake.  Anyway, I might try this cake again and try baking it at a lower temperature for longer.  However, this recipe would not be my first choice for a yellow cake. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Dark Chocolate Cake with Ganache Frosting

Cupcake Ranking 3 Cupcakes

I had high hopes for this cake.  Unsweetened chocolate cake with rich chocolate cake ganache.  Yea baby.  Unfortunately, the cake was super dense and dry.  If you like your cake more fudgy then spongey this is the cake for you.  The cake is super rich and the ganache is thick and delicious.  We weren't a huge fan of the cake because it was so dense and dry.  With ice cream it was truly delicious but it definitely needed the ice cream.


1 C (2 sticks) unsalted Butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
1/2 C unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa (spooned and leveled), plus more for pans
2 C all-purpose Flour (spooned and leveled)
1/2 tsp Baking powder
1/2 tsp Baking soda
1/2 tsp Salt
1 1/2 C packed Light-brown sugar
2 large Eggs plus 2 large egg yolks, room temperature
6 oz Bittersweet chocolate, melted
1 tsp pure Vanilla extract
1 C low-fat Buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350. Butter two 8-inch round cake pans (I used 9); dust with cocoa, tapping out excess. Line bottom of each pan with a round of parchment paper; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition; beat in chocolate and vanilla. With mixer on low, alternately add flour mixture in three parts and buttermilk in two, beginning and ending with flour mixture.

Divide batter between prepared pans; smooth tops. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a cake comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes (Mine took 18-20). Cool in pans 15 minutes; run a knife around edge of each pan, and invert cakes onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Set a rimmed baking sheet upside down on a work surface. Place one cake on sheet, and spread top with 1/3 of ganache. Place second cake on top, and spread remaining ganache over top and sides of cake. Using two wide metal spatulas, carefully transfer frosted cake to a serving platter.


2 C heavy Cream
1/2 C Confectioners' sugar
1/8 tsp Salt
1 lb Bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped

In a large saucepan, bring 2 cups heavy cream, 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, and 1/8 teaspoon salt to a boil. Remove from heat; add 1 pound bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped (actually needs to be more finely chopped then 'roughly.'  I did roughly and the ganche ended up being chunky.  If you want smoother ganache chop the chocolate pretty fine), and let stand, without stirring, for 1 minute. Whisk just until combined. Refrigerate, stirring occasionally, until spreadable, about 1 hour.

Rach's Review

As I mentioned above, the cake tastes good.  And with ice cream it is dynamite.  However, the cake itself is dry and dense.  The ganache is creamy, chocolatey and delicious.  I wouldn't make the cake for anyone, but the ganache is a keeper.  

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Four-Layer Appalachian Stack Cake

Cupcake Ranking: 4 Cupcakes

I have to admit.  I was very skeptical.  Apples?  In between layers of a molasses cake?  I dunno.  But, my sister in law came into town and brought a bunch of dried apples (thanks Sam).  Anyway, surprisingly DELICOUS.  I guess this is a traditional cake in Kentucky.  The cake was like a big chewy gingersnap and the apples tasted like really quality apple pie filling.  For some reason, between the gingery chewey goodness of the cake and the tart cinnamon apples, it worked and reminded me of a bread pudding or fruit crisp.  We served with whipped cream and I swear we had it for breakfast the next day.


5 C Dried Apples (about 3/4 pound)
5 C Apple cider
1 2/3 C Granulated sugar
1 C (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, softened, plus more for pans
3 C sifted all-purpose Flour, plus more for pans
1 large Egg
1 C unsulfured Molasses
1 C Buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
Bring apples and cider to a boil in a large pot. Reduce to a simmer; cook, stirring occasionally, until apples begin to soften and liquid has reduced, 40 to 50 minutes (This took me about 35 minutes). Add 1 cup water; cook, mashing apples slightly, until liquid has reduced, about 10 minutes. Add 2/3 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup water; simmer until apples are very soft and coated in syrup, about 15 minutes. Let cool completely.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans. Line bottoms with parchment paper, and butter parchment. Dust with flour; tap out excess. Set aside.
Put butter and the remaining cup sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until creamy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low; mix in egg, molasses, buttermilk, baking soda, flour, spices, and salt.
Divide batter evenly between prepared pans. Bake until a cake tester inserted into centers comes out clean and tops spring back when lightly touched, about 35 minutes (This took me about 21 minutes). Let cool on a wire rack 10 minutes. Run a knife around edges of pans to loosen; invert to unmold. Remove parchment; reinvert onto racks. Let cool.
Using a long serrated knife, cut each cake in half horizontally. Place 1 bottom layer on a serving platter. Top with 1/3 of the apple mixture, spreading to edges. Stack 1 top layer on top of apples, and top with another 1/3 of the apple mixture. Repeat with remaining cake bottom and apples, and top with remaining cake top. Let stand at room temperature at least 1 hour before serving (This step is super important. If you don't let the cake soak up some of the apple-y goodness it will seem a tad dry). Sift confectioners' sugar over top of cake.
Rach's Tips:
As I mentioned before, this cake seems kinda different.  But it is a home-y warm feeling cake.  We really liked it with whipped topping and would be great in the fall or winter.  It tasted very old fashioned and reminded me of Sunday nights with my family when I was growing up.