Monday, April 29, 2013

Chocolate Cake with Coconut Pecan Frosting

Chocolate Cake with Coconut Pecan Frosting
Cupcake Ranking: 4 Cupcakes
I wasn't sure about this cake.  I had my doubts; mostly because all of the chocolate cake in this series have been, well, awful.  This cake was delicious!  I am not a huge fan of coconut or nuts in cake (I think because of ptsd from past german chocolate cakes, but that is another story).  The cake was moist, spongey, and chocolatey.  The frosting is carmaley, nutty and sweet.  The combination of the cake and frosting was great.  We inhaled it!

Vegetable-oil cooking spray
2 C Cake flour (not self-rising), plus more for pan
1 tsp Baking soda
3/4 tsp Salt
1 1/2 sticks (12 Tbs) Unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/3 C Sugar
3 large Eggs
1 1/2 tsp pure Vanilla extract
1 C Buttermilk
5 oz Semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1 C Unsweetened shaved or flaked coconut, lightly toasted, for decorating
15 Pecan halves, toasted, for decorating
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Line bottom with parchment paper, and coat with cooking spray. Dust with flour, tapping out excess. Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt.
Beat butter and sugar with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Beat in flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with buttermilk. Beat in chocolate. Pour batter into prepared pan, and smooth top.

Bake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack 30 minutes. Remove cake from pan, peel off parchment, and let cool completely on rack. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate until cold, at least 1 hour (or overnight) to make it easier to slice.
Using a serrated knife, slice cake horizontally into 3 layers.
Coconut-Pecan Frosting
3 Large Egg Yolks
1 Can Evaporated Milk
1 1/4 C Light Brown Sugar
1 1/2 Sticks (12 Tbs) Butter, cut into small pieces
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1/4 tsp Salt
2 2/3 C Flaked Coconut
1 1/2 C Pecans, toasted and chopped (I didn't toast the nuts and it still tasted great)
Combine Egg yolks, evaporated milk, and brown sugar ina saucepan.  Add butter, and cook until medium heat, stirring constantly, until thick, about 10 minutes.  Pour through a fine sieve into a bowl.
Stir in vanilla, salt, coconut, and pecans.  Let cool completely.  Frosting can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 day; bring to room temperature before using.
Spread 1/3 of the frosting over bottom layer. Repeat, layering cake and frosting, finishing with frosting. Mound coconut in center, and arrange pecan halves around edge.
Rach's Tips:
The cake itself was delicious.  Although, next time I would just use 2 nine inch pans instead of the springform pan.  By taking the cake and dividing into into three, the cake is hard to slice because it crumbles.  By using two nine inch pans you would avoid the crumbly-ness.  All in all, the texture of the cake and the carmel-nut taste of the icing was a perfect combination.  For sure make it again.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Orange Fudge Cake

Edward Kostyra's Birthday Cake
i.e. Orange Fudge Cake
Cupcake Ranking: 4 Cupcakes

Do you remember those chocolate oranges that are sold around Christmas time? You smack them on the table and they break into wedges....This cake tastes exactly like that.  If you haven't the foggiest what I am talking about, this cake is a delicate vanilla cake with orange curd in between the layers.  The frosting is a thick fudge.  Very delicious.  The longer the cake sits the better!

For the Frosting
16 oz Semisweet chocolate, very finely chopped
2 2/3 C Heavy cream
1 tsp Light corn syrup

For the Cake
1 C (2 sticks) 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 tsp Salt
1 3/4 C Sugar
4 large Eggs
2 tsp pure Vanilla extract
1 1/4 C Milk

For the Orange Curd
12 large Egg yolks
Zest of 2 oranges
1/4 C plus 2 Tbs freshly squeezed Orange juice
1/2 C plus 1 Tbs freshly squeezed Lemon juice
1 1/2 C Sugar
1/4 tsp coarse Salt
1 C (2 sticks), plus 5 tablespoons unsalted Butter, cold, cut into small pieces
Make the frosting: Place chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, bring cream to a boil and immediately remove from heat. Pour over chocolate and let sit, undisturbed, for 3 minutes. Gently whisk until combined and smooth. (A lot of the cake reviews complained that the frosting was runney.  So, just put the chocolate mixture back in the saucepan over medium heat for about 10 minutes.  You will be able to feel the chocolate thicken.  Be sure to stir the entire time or the chocolate will scorch.) Whisk in the corn syrup.
Let chocolate mixture cool to room temperature, then transfer ganache to refrigerator and chill, stirring frequently (like ever 20 minutes) and scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula, until slightly stiff and cool enough to spread, about 1 hour (More like 2 or until it is frosting texture). If frosting becomes too firm, briefly place bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and stir until desired consistency is reached. Frosting should be smooth and spreadable, but not runny.

Make the cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 8-by-2-inch (I used 9x2 and it was fine) 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, and 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 the batter between the prepared pans and smooth with an offset spatula. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until the cakes are golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the centers 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. Re-invert cakes and let them cool completely, top sides up.
Make the orange curd: Combine yolks, orange zest, orange juice, lemon juice, and sugar in a heavy-bottom saucepan; whisk to combine. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula (be sure to scrape the sides of the pan), until the mixture is thick, about 8 to 10 minutes. Let mixture come to a vigorous simmer and cook, continually scraping sides of pan, for 2 minutes.
Remove saucepan from heat. Add salt and butter, one piece at a time, stirring until smooth. If desired, strain through a fine sieve into a medium bowl.(You are going to want to.  This is a TON OF ZEST.  Just put it in through a sieve and the curd is buttery, citrusey and really delicious). Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the curd to prevent a skin forming. Refrigerate until chilled and very firm, at least 2 hours or up to 1 1/2 weeks.
Assemble cake: Using a serrated knife, trim the tops of the cakes to make level. Split each layer into two, for a total of four. Place bottom layer on a rotating cake stand and with an offset spatula, carefully top with 1/2 cup of orange curd, leaving a 1-inch border. Place the second cake layer on top, spread with another 3/4 cup of the orange curd. Repeat with the third layer; top with the final cake layer. Insert 3 wooden skewers into the top of the cake to secure.(This is a must.  The cake will slide everywhere. The skewers help secure it while the cake chills and stabalizes)
For the crumb coat, spread the entire cake with a thin coat of frosting using an offset spatula.
Spread the entire cake with remaining frosting, swirling to coat in a decorative fashion. Serve immediately, or refrigerate, covered with a cake dome. Let sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes before serving.
Rach's Review: This cake is really yummy.  If you want the curd thicker use a smaller pan (such as the 8x2).  I wouldn't go much smaller than and eight inch cake simply because the recipe makes a large amount of cake.  The fudge frosting combined with the citrus cake is really delicious.  I highly recommend this cake.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Butterscotch Pecan Cake!

Butterscotch-Pecan Cake
Cupcake Ranking: 4+ Cupcakes

Wow.  This cake is delicious!  I have never used Rum Extract before and I couldn't believe the impact of the taste.  It is amazing.  I used my own cream cheese frosting and the result was mouth-watering.



Cooking spray, for pans
3 3/4 C all-purpose Flour
1 1/4 tsp Baking powder
3/4 tsp Baking soda
2 1/2 tsp Coarse salt
10 ounces (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted Butter, softened
2 1/2 C packed Dark-brown sugar
4 large Eggs, room temperature
1 Tbs plus 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 tsp Rum, preferably golden or dark (I used 2 1/2 tsp Rum Extract)
1 1/4 C Buttermilk, room temperature
Butterscotch Sauce
2/3 C packed dark-Brown sugar
3 ounces (6 Tbs) Butter, cut into pieces
1/2 C light Corn syrup
1/4 tsp Coarse salt
1/2 C Heavy cream
2 C Pecan halves, toasted and chopped, plus more halves for garnish
1 lb (16 ounces) Cream cheese, room temperature
2 tsp pure Vanilla extract
1 C (2 sticks) unsalted Butter, cut into pieces, room temperature
2 lb Confectioners' sugar, sifted
Make the cakes: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Coat three 8-by-2-inch (I used two 9 inch pans) round cake pans with cooking spray, line with parchment, and coat parchment. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
Beat butter and brown sugar with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, then add vanilla and rum (or rum extract). Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in 2 additions, alternating with buttermilk. Raise speed to medium-high, and beat for 2 minutes. Divide batter among pans.

  • Bake cakes until golden brown and testers inserted in centers come out clean, about 40 minutes. Transfer pans to wire racks, and let cool slightly. Invert cakes onto racks. Let cool.
  • Make the frosting: Melt 1 stick butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat until dark golden brown, about 10 minutes. After the butter is browned, combine the butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Let cool.

  • Make the butterscotch sauce: Mix sugar, butter, corn syrup, and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat, and cook, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil, and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, and whisk in cream. Return to heat, and cook for 2 minutes. Let cool slightly.
  • To assemble the cake: Trim tops of 2 cake layers and top and bottom of third (this will be the middle) to create flat exposed surfaces.(They really need to be flat.  I found out the hard way when my cake looked like the leaning tower of Pisa). Brush 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons butterscotch sauce on cut sides. Let cool. Spread 1 cup frosting on 1 layer, then place middle layer on top, sauce side down. Spread 1 cup frosting on middle layer, then place third layer on top, sauce side down. Spread 1 cup frosting on top and sides. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
  • Using an offset spatula, spread remaining frosting on top and sides of cake. Press chopped pecans on sides, and garnish top with halves. Transfer cake to a serving plate or cake stand. Refrigerate until firm, at least 4 hours (or up to 2 days, covered).

    Rach's Review: This cake was....I can't even express words.  We served it at a dinner gathering and none of us could stop eating it.  The cake was moist and spongey; the frosting was carmely, and the butterscotch sauce added a geweyness (it is a word now!).  I will for sure make it again.

    Monday, April 8, 2013

    Dolley Madison's Layer Cake

    Dolley Madison's Layer Cake
    Cupcake Ranking: 4 Cupcakes
    I have to admit; I was excited for this cake.  I love American History and this was one of those Historic recipes.  Granted it wasn't a dash of this and a lb of that, but it was translated and it worked out really well.  The frosting was really mapely and the cake was moist and spongey.  I am definetely going to use the frosting on donuts.  Yum.  And the cake will be great for strawberry shortcake.  It was fun!
    1 C (2 sticks) unsalted Butter, plus more for pans
    8 large Egg whites
    2 1/2 C Sugar
    1 C Milk
    3 C all-purpose Flour
    3/4 C Cornstarch
    2 1/2 tsp pure Vanilla extract
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter four 8-by-2-inch (I did two 9 inch) round cake pans, set aside.
    Beat egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until stiff peaks form; set aside.
    In the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar. With the mixer running, slowly add milk; mix until well combined. Sift together flour and cornstarch; slowly add to mixer and beat until well combined. Add vanilla and mix well.
    Gently fold in reserved egg whites and divide evenly between prepared pans. Bake until cake springs back when lightly touched, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool in cake pans on wire racks, about 10 minutes.
    Remove from pans and let cool completely on wire racks.
    Caramel Icing Ingredients
    3 C light-Brown sugar
    1 C light Cream
    2 Tbs unsalted Butter
    1 tsp pure Vanilla extract
    Whisk together sugar, cream, and butter in a medium bowl. Set bowl over (but not touching) simmering water, cook until thickened, about 20 minutes. Remove bowl from heat; stir in vanilla. Let cool. (After 20 minutes, the ingredients were still grainy.  So, I brought the ingredients up to a boil, on the stovetop, and the grainyness went away and the caramel sauce wasn't runny and DELICIOUS).
    Place 4 strips of parchment paper around perimeter of a serving plate or lazy Susan. Place the first layer on the cake plate. Pour over about 1/2 cup icing, spreading evenly to cover. Repeat process with 2 more layers. Repeat process with two more layers. Place the remaining layer on top of the third layer and cover cake completely with remaining icing.
    Rach's Tips: The cake was really yummy.  After I brought the icing up to a boil, I let it boil for about five minutes.  I shouldn't have.  The carmel sauce tasted great but was too thick.  It was like ice cream carmel sauce.  I think if you just bring it up to a boil, the ingredients won't be grainy and the sauce will be like a thick glaze.  This cake was truly delicious and has potential for many variations depending on the time of year (i.e. berries, whipoping cream etc).

    Tuesday, April 2, 2013

    1-2-3-4 Lemon Cake

    1-2-3-4 Lemon Cake
    Cupcake Ranking: 3 Cupcakes
    This cake was yummy and a perfect summer cake.  The curd was tart, the cream was sweet and the strawberries were fruity.  The tastes were a perfect combination.
    1 C (2 sticks) unsalted Butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
    3 C sifted all-purpose Flour, plus more for pans
    1 Tbs Baking powder
    1 tsp Baking soda
    1/2 tsp Salt
    2 C granulated Sugar
    4 large Eggs, lightly beaten
    1 1/4 C Buttermilk
    1 1/2 tsp pure Vanilla extract
    Grated zest of 2 Lemons
    Heat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange two racks in center of oven. Butter two 9-by-2-inch round cake pans; line bottoms with parchment paper. Dust bottoms and sides of pans with flour; tap out any excess.
    In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
    In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter on medium speed until softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Gradually add granulated sugar, beating on medium speed until lightened, 3 to 4 minutes; scrape down sides once or twice. Drizzle in eggs, a little at a time, beating after each addition until batter is no longer slick, about 5 minutes; stop once or twice to scrape down sides.
    On low speed, alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk, a little of each at a time, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat in vanilla and lemon zest.
    Divide batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake 25 minutes, then rotate the pans in the oven for even browning. Continue baking until a cake tester inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean, 10 to 20 minutes more. Transfer pans to wire racks to cool, 15 minutes. Turn out cakes; set on racks, tops up, until completely cool.
    Lemon Curd
    6 large Egg yolks, strained
    Zest of 1 lemon
    1/2 C Lemon juice
    12 Tbs Sugar
    8 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.
    Sweetened Whipped Cream
    2/3 C Heavy cream
    1/2 tsp pure Vanilla extract
    2 Tbs confectioners' Sugar
    Whip the heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on medium speed until soft peaks form, 2 to 4 minutes. Add the vanilla and confectioners' sugar; continue whipping on medium speed until the soft peaks return, 2 to 3 minutes. Use immediately.
    Cake Assembly
    Remove the parchment from bottom of each cake. Using a serrated knife, slice each layer in half horizontally. Set aside the prettiest domed layer for the top of cake. Place another domed layer, dome-side down, on a serving platter. Spread 1 cup lemon curd over surface to within 1/2 inch from edges. Place second cake layer over the first, and spread another 1 cup curd over top. Repeat with third cake layer and remaining cup curd. Transfer partially assembled cake to the refrigerator.
    Just before serving, place reserved dome on top of cake. Spoon sweetened whipped cream over the top. Sprinkle with mixed berries, and dust with confectioners' sugar through a fine sieve.

    Rach's Tips: This cake was pretty good.  The cake was tart and moist.  I really like lemon curd so I think next time I will one and a half the curd recipe.  This isn't my favorite curd recipe.  So if you have a fav, use that one and go for it.  I will also use mixed berries, next time, to give a more balanced taste.  This is a definite for a Fourth of July Picnic cake.

    Monday, April 1, 2013

    Lemon Ruffle Cake

    Lemon Ruffle Cake
    Cupcake Ranking: 3 Cupcakes
    This cake turned out beautiful!  I didn't taste it myself, because I gave it away for a birthday cake. :) Anyway, the recepients said it was delicious.  So there ya go.  The ruffle was super easy and very fun.  It just took a #103 tip and the whole thing was frosted in minutes.  Go team.  I'm excited to experiment with it some more.
    12 Tbs (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted Butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
    2 1/4 C sifted all-purpose Flour
    2 1/4 tsp Baking powder
    1/4 tsp Salt
    1 1/2 C Sugar
    3 large Eggs
    3/4 C Buttermilk
    Zest of 1 lemon
    Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter three 6-by-2-inch (I used two 9x2) round baking pans. Line with parchment; butter; dust with flour.
    Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. With electric mixer, beat butter on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 4 minutes. Add sugar; beat well. Reduce speed to medium; add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Reduce speed to low; alternately add flour and buttermilk, starting and ending with flour. Stir in zest.

    Pour batter into pans; bake, rotating halfway through, until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool in pans on rack 15 minutes. Remove; let cool completely right side up on rack.
    Trim bottom layers; stack on cake round, with 3/4 cup buttercream spread over top of each. Add top layer; spread 1 cup buttercream over entire cake. Refrigerate 40 minutes until firm. Tint half remaining buttercream pink.
    Place cake on rotating stand. Lay flat a 12-inch pastry bag with #103 tip. Fill half of bag from tip to top with pink buttercream, other half with white. Hold bag vertically, slot of tip perpendicular to cake (Wide part of the tip touching the cake); use swift back-and-forth motion 1 inch wide to make ruffle, pulling tip up side.

    Turn cake stand slowly, piping circular ruffle over top.
    Rach's tips: The cake was really easy and turned out beautiful.  I highly recommend it.