Monday, May 13, 2013

Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake

Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake

Cupcake Ranking: 1 Cupcake

This cake was DISAPPOINTING with a capital "D."  Maybe it was the fact that there was 11 egg whites in this cake that made me think "this better be good."  The cake was dense and tasteless.  I used a buttercream instead of the fudge frosting the recipe originally called for, and I am so glad.  I wouldn't have been able to lift it if I had used the fudge frosting.  The cake was heavy and dense.  It might, and emphasize might, be good for a strawberry short cake.


1 1/2 C (3 sticks) unsalted Butter, plus more for pans
2 2/3 C Sugar
1 Tbs pure Vanilla extract
4 C Cake flour, (not self-rising), plus more for pans
1 Tbs Baking powder
1 1/3 C Milk
11 large Egg whites
Pinch of salt

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 8-by-3-inch cake pans (I used 9x2). In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, on medium speed, cream together butter, sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Sift together flour and baking powder. With the mixer set on low speed, add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, alternating with milk, starting and ending with flour; scrape down sides twice.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk egg whites with pinch of salt on high speed until stiff peaks form, 3 to 5 minutes. Whisk in a large spoonful of the beaten whites into the batter to lighten the mixture. Fold the lightened batter into the remaining egg whites. Divide the batter equally among the prepared pans. Bake until golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center comes clean, about 1 hour 5 minutes. Remove the pans to a rack to cool for 5 minutes. Invert cakes onto wire rack to cool completely.

If cakes are not level, use a serrated knife to trim tops off. Carefully slice each cake horizontally into three equal layers, about 3/4 inch thick. (You will have six layers.) (I just cut it in half horizontally). To assemble, place one sliced layer on an 8-inch cardboard cake round. Spread with 1/2 cup frosting. Repeat with remaining layers, placing the final layer bottom side up. Cover cake with remaining frosting. Serve immediately.

Rach's Review:

This cake was not my favorite.  Instead of spongey and light the cake was dense and not taste-ful. I can't recommend making this.  It would be cheaper and taste better to make a pound cake or buy one at the store.  Very NOT good.


Wednesday, May 8, 2013


One minute they are playing computer games while I make dinner, the next minute this is what I walk into.

WWF Pit.  Funny thing is that I don't know who won.  The things Nick misses.


I am...tightly wound.  And, Ami has inherited this blessing.  Robbie is not.  He is funny, light hearted, and always good for a laugh.  Joker.

Peep Contest

This year, Amelia's elementary school had a peep contest.  It was a literature theme.  Here was our entry.

James and the Giant Peep

Yeah, I admit it.  I like things "tidy."  I love that Amelia has my number AND is polite about it.
We got an honorable mention.  I personally think ours was the best.  I'm humble too.

Easter (It is only May right?)

I love Virginia.  Even though Easter was in MARCH this year, it was still pretty springy and warmish.  Yeah, it snowed in Idaho.  Last week.  Oh right.  It is the second week of May.  Anywhoo, Easter is always super fun.  Yummy candy, cute clothes, oh and the spiritual rejuvenation.:)

Here are some pictures from our day.  (I didn't take pictures of the kids in their Easter clothes so that will have to be next week.

Do da da dooo!  Very proud
Easter Basket Loot
A little.  Excited.  Go Soccer
We had a great day at church.  Easter music and lessons on resurrection.  I love the reminder of who we are, what we can do and what we can become.  And why we are who we are.  Happy Easter!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Genoise Layer cake with Rum Syrup and Whipped Cream Frosting

Genoise Layer cake with Rum Syrup and Whipped Cream Frosting

Cupcake Ranking: 4 Cupcakes

I have to admit, I was doubtful with this cake.  So many of the other vanilla cakes have been a disappointment, but this was delicious.  The cake was super spongey.  It reminded me almost of an angel food cake texture and smell.  After the cake was cooled, you brush the layers with a rum syrup and then alternate with a vanilla custard and whipping cream.  Super great taste and amazing textures so your mouth doesn't get bored. 


1/4 C (1/2 stick) Unsalted butter, melted, plus more, softened, for pans
9 large Eggs, separated
1 1/2 C Sugar, plus 1 cup for syrup
1 tsp pure Vanilla extract
1 1/2 C Cake flour (not self-rising), sifted
Pinch of Salt
2 Tbs light Rum (I used 1 Tbs of Rum Extract)
3 1/2 C Heavy cream
1/4 C Confectioners' sugar
1/2 tsp pure Vanilla extract
Pastry Cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 9-by-2-inch cake pans. Line bottoms with parchment paper; set aside. Whisk egg yolks and 1 cup sugar in the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer set over a pan of simmering water until sugar has dissolved and mixture is warm, 3 to 4 minutes.

Attach bowl to mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Add vanilla and salt. Beat on medium speed until the mixture is pale and thick, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.

Put egg whites into the clean, dry bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat whites on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 1/2 cup sugar, beating until stiff, glossy peaks form.

Fold 1/3 of the egg white mixture into the yolk mixture. Fold in remaining egg white mixture. Fold in flour, then melted butter, until just combined.

Divide batter between prepared pans. Bake until a cake tester inserted into centers comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Turn out cakes onto racks; remove parchment. Reinvert; let cool completely.

Make the syrup: Bring sugar and 1 cup water to a boil in a saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly, until sugar has dissolved. Stop stirring; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in rum. Let cool completely.

Make the Pastry Cream.

 2 C Whole milk
1/2 C Sugar
1/2 Vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped
Pinch of salt
4 large Egg yolks
4 Tbs Cornstarch
2 Tbs unsalted Butter, cut into pieces

In a medium saucepan, combine milk, 1/4 cup sugar, vanilla-bean scrapings and pod, and salt. Place over medium heat, and bring to a simmer.

In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks, cornstarch, and the remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Using a measuring cup or a ladle, slowly pour about 1/2 cup of the hot milk mixture into the egg-yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Continue adding milk mixture, about 1/2 cup at a time, until it has all been added. Pour mixture back into saucepan, and cook, whisking constantly, until mixture returns to a simmer and thickens, about 2 minutes. Remove and discard the vanilla-bean pod.

Transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add butter, and beat on medium until the butter melts and mixture cools, about 5 minutes. Remove bowl from mixer, and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pastry cream; this will prevent a skin from forming. Transfer to refrigerator until cold, at least 2 hours, and up to 2 days. Just before using, remove from refrigerator and return to mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, and beat until smooth, or whisk by hand until smooth.

 Right before assembling the cake, make the whipped cream: Put cream, sugar, and vanilla into the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium speed until medium peaks form.
Assemble the cake: Put pastry cream into the clean, dry bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium-low speed until smooth. Trim tops of cakes to be flat. Halve each horizontally. Place 1 layer on a 9-inch cake round. Brush top with syrup; spread with half the pastry cream. Top with second cake layer. Brush with syrup; top with a 1/4-inch-thick layer of whipped cream. Top with third cake layer. Brush with syrup; spread with remaining pastry cream. Top with final cake layer, and brush with syrup. Insert a wooden skewer through center to hold layers together. Using kitchen shears, cut skewer flush with top of cake. Spread whipped cream all over cake. Refrigerate 1 to 4 hours. Decorate cake plate with leaves, if desired. Discard skewer after slicing cake.

Rach's Tips: This cake was yummy.  My family thought it had too much of a rum taste, but I thought it was perfect.   The cake was spongey and the pastry cream was a great custard.  It does seem like a lot of whipping cream, but it is all needed.  It really adds to the texture of the cake and the sweetness of the pastry cream.  Just looking at the directions can seem overwhelming. But fear not!  Taken step by step it is a really simple cake.  Give yourself plenty of time.  I will make this again.