Monday, July 22, 2013

Cake Experiment Summary


I have made a summary of the cakes with links to the recipe, pictures and summary.

Definitely Make Again


2. Carrot Ginger Layer Cake with Orange CreamCheese Frosting

Monday, July 8, 2013

Montclair Martha's Red Velvet Cake

Montclair Martha's Red Velvet Cake

Cupcake Ranking: 3 Cupcakes

Red Velvet cake is always a curiosity for me.  It isn't chocolate and it isn't vanilla and it is red.  People either love it or are indifferent.   I am in the indifferent category.  This cake was good.  It was moist, spongey and had a great texture.  If I was to do it again, I would double the icing recipe (but I am an icing fan).  The cake had simple ingredients and was very basic.  Shrug.  Nothing spectacular but easy to make.

3/4 C unsalted Butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
2 1/2 C Cake flour (not self-rising), sifted, plus more for pans

3 Tbs unsweetened Cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp Baking powder
2 C Sugar 
3 large Eggs
1 tsp pure Vanilla extract 
1/4 tsp Salt
2 one-ounce bottles liquid Red food coloring 
3 Tbs lukewarm Water
1 C Buttermilk 
1 tsp Baking soda
1 Tbs White vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 8-by-2-inch round cake pans (I used one 8 inch spring form pan). Line with parchment paper, and butter again. Dust with flour, and tap out the excess; set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together cake flour, cocoa, and baking powder; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar, and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 15 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla, salt, food coloring, and water; beat, scraping down the sides of the bowl, until well combined. Add reserved dry ingredients in additions, alternating with the buttermilk; beat on low speed until well combined.

In a small bowl, stir together baking soda and vinegar; add to batter. Beat on medium speed for 10 seconds. Be sure not to overbeat. Divide batter between prepared pans, and bake until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove pans from oven, and transfer to a wire rack to cool, about 15 minutes. Turn cakes out onto rack; let stand until completely cool.

Cream Cheese Frosting
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 (8-ounce) bar cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
 (The original recipe called for Walnuts.  I omitted these).

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

Using a serrated knife, trim tops of cakes so surfaces are level. Place a layer on a cake stand or cardboard round, and spread about 1/3 of the frosting over top. Place the second layer on top, and spread with the remaining frosting over the tops and sides of assembled cake. Transfer to refrigerator, and chill until ready to serve.

Rach's Review: Like I said above, this cake was good.  Nothing too exciting, but okay.  The cake had a perfect texture.  The icing was very mild.   If you prefer a sweeter cream cheese frosting, see the Orange Cream cheese frosting recipe or the cream cheese frosting with the Carrot cake recipe.

Monday, July 1, 2013

One Bowl Chocolate Cake

One Bowl Chocolate Cake
Cupcake Ranking:  4 Cupcakes

This cake was so simple I was hoping it was going to be good.  And, it absolutely was delicious.  It just goes along with my theory that simple ingredients make the best food.  The cake was moist, spongey and chocolatey.  It was great.  The frosting was interesting.  It was more of a mousse than an icing.  I would use it again to put in between layers but not necessarily for an "all-over" icing.  I think a chocolate buttercream would be heavenly!

Unsalted butter, softened, for pans
3/4 C unsweetened Dutch Cocoa powder, plus more for pans
1 1/2 C All-purpose flour
1 1/2 C Sugar
1 1/2 tsp Baking soda
3/4 tsp Baking powder
3/4 tsp Salt
2 large Eggs
3/4 C low-fat Buttermilk
3/4 c Warm water
3 Tbs Safflower oil
1 tsp pure Vanilla extract
Chocolate Icing
2 1/4 C Confectioners' sugar
1/4 C unsweetened Cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
6 oz Cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 sticks unsalted Butter, softened
9 oz Bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
3/4 C Sour cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 8-inch round cake pans (2 inches deep) (I used an 8 inch springform pan); dust with cocoa. Sift cocoa, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of a mixer. Beat on low speed until just combined. Raise speed to medium, and add eggs, buttermilk, water, oil, and vanilla. Beat until smooth, about 3 minutes.
Divide batter between pans. Bake until set and a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes. Turn out from pans. Transfer, faceup, to wire racks. Let cool completely.
Icing Directions: Sift together sugar, cocoa, and salt.  Beat cream cheese and butter with a mixer on medium-high speed until smooth. Reduce speed to medium-low; gradually add sugar-cocoa mixture, and beat until combined. Pour in chocolate in a slow, steady stream. Add creme fraiche; beat until combined.
Spread 2 cups chocolate frosting onto top of 1 cooled layer. Top with remaining layer; frost top and sides with remaining 2 cups frosting.
Rach's Review: This cake was yummy.  It was chocolatey and spongey and EASY.  Perfect!  I will definetley use a buttercream next time.  It was DELICIOUS!!

Orange Almond Cake

Orange Almond Cake
Cupcake Ranking: 2 Cupcakes
I had high hopes for this cake.  It sounded delicious.  It ended up mediocre.  At best.  The taste of the cake was fine but it was kinda bland and very dry.  I put an orange cream cheese frosting on it, but I think all in all this cake would be a better breakfast cake with a streusal on top. Like I said, it was ok, but nothing fantastic. I actually preferred the orange icing on top over the cake.
1 C (2 sticks) unsalted Butter, melted and cooled, plus more for pans
1 1/2 C sifted Cake flour (not self-rising), plus more for pans
1 C plus 3 Tbs Sugar
6 large Eggs, separated
Grated zest of 2 Oranges
2/3 C strained, freshly squeezed Orange juice
1/2 tsp pure Almond extract
1 1/2 C finely ground Blanched almonds
Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 8-inch round cake pans and line with parchment paper. Butter parchment and flour cake pans; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat together 1 cup of sugar and egg yolks until light and fluffy. Add orange zest, juice, and almond extract; mix until well combined. Turn mixer off. Remove the whisk and add the paddle attachment. With the mixer on medium, slowly add ground almonds, followed by flour; mix cake batter until well combined.

In a large bowl, whisk egg whites until soft peaks form. Add salt and remaining 3 tablespoons sugar; beat until stiff but not dry. Set aside.

Fold melted butter into cake batter, a little at a time. Gently fold in egg white mixture, taking care not to deflate whites. Divide batter evenly between prepared cake pans. (I would add streusal at this point).Transfer to oven and bake until a cake tester inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Transfer cake layers to a wire rack to cool completely.

Invert cakes to remove from pan and remove parchment paper; reinvert cakes. Using a serrated knife, trim tops of cakes to make level. Add frosting if that is what you choose.

Rach's Review: Again, this cake was okay.  Nothing fantastic with not a lot of taste.  The texture reminded me of coffee cake, which is why I think streusal would be great on top.  Overall Meh.