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Posts Tagged ‘Cake’

The weekend that Nate and I went up to beautiful Mohonk Mountain to rock scramble, we also attempted to pick some apples.

Unfortunately neither of us realized that apple season is September til early October and that the apples are pretty much gone by late October (at least in NY). Although it wasn’t quite as fun, they had barrels of apples for purchase. Since I already had my heart set on making some tasty apple treats, we grabbed a huge bag that probably had 2-3 dozen apples.

We also grabbed some hot cider and cider donuts while we were there, so it wasn’t a total bust.

Anyway, I’m not exactly sure what I thought I’d be making with all those apples, but this recipe is one that I made last year and it was so good I knew I wanted to make it again.

The cake is super moist and not too sweet. It could seriously be one of my favorite desserts. So if you still have some apples left from your apple picking, or you just want to make this since it’s so good, head on over to Smitten Kitchen’s website where I got the recipe.

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For those of you who don’t know, later in this week is Rosh Hashannah, the Jewish New Year.

The traditional food that one eats at Rosh Hashannah is honey, for a “sweet” New Year. So in honor of the holiday, I made this honey cake that my mom recommended.

Honey cakes are very often  made on Rosh Hashannah so there are a lot of recipes going around out there, but most of them are pretty average. I have to say that all the spices in this one made it really flavorful.

I can’t write too much more because this has been a long day…I got engaged!!!! What a sweet way to start off the new year!

So this short post will have to do. I hope you enjoy this, while I go admire my ring 🙂

Levana Kirschenbaum’s Honey Cake

Taken from Levana

Print this recipe!

Makes one 10-inch tube/bundt pan

Ingredients:

2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons cinnamon
4 eggs
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 cup honey (see note)
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup very strong warm tea (2 tea bags steeped in 1 cup hot water)
1/2 cup ground almonds, optional
3 tablespoons sliced almonds (add only if using the ground almonds)

In a bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cardamom, ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon an set aside.

In a food processor, process the eggs with the sugar, honey, and oil, just until combined. Beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, add the flour mixture in thirds, alternating with the tea. Pulse 2 to 3 times after each addition, just to incorporate. Add the ground almonds, if desired.

Pour the batter into a greased 10-inch springform pan or tube pan. Top with the sliced almonds, if using. Bake for 1 hour or until a knife inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Invert the cake onto a rack to cool. Turn right side up to serve.

Note: If you measure the oil for the recipe first, then use the same measuring cup to measure the honey, the honey will slide out easily.

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As you may have figured out, the challenge this month was all about candy! How very exciting.

The August 2011 Daring Bakers’ Challenge was hosted by Lisa of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drive and Mandy of What the Fruitcake?!. These two sugar mavens challenged us to make sinfully delicious candies! This was a special challenge for the Daring Bakers because the good folks athttp://www.chocoley.com offered an amazing prize for the winner of the most creative and delicious candy!

Candy is one of those things I’ve always wanted to try making but have been too scared. Having a reason to make it was the perfect motivator to give it the old college try.

And you know what? It wasn’t all that hard.

I did have a couple issues with the recipes. First, while I followed the recipe to a T, I think the Honeycomb candy had a bit too much baking soda (or maybe I didn’t mix it well enough?). In certain pieces of the finished product, it had a baking soda aftertaste that was not pleasant.

My main issue, however, was with melting the chocolate to the appropriate dipping consistency. I didn’t temper it, but tried the microwave method that many people had recommended. I think maybe I overcooked it? All I know is that it was more gloppy than silky smooth. This didn’t in any way affect the taste (they were amazing!), but it did make the process a whole lot messier and more frustrating.

By the time I finished, there was chocolate smeared on the refrigerator door handles, the microwave, all over the counter, on my face where I wiped my brow in frustration, and dripped all over the floor. I think I may have even seen a few drops on LC the cat. It’ll be a nice surprise for her the next time she decides to groom herself 😉

Filled Chocolates (made with molds)

Makes about 25 small chocolates

Ingredients:

Dark or milk chocolate melted, preferably tempered, about 14 oz
Powdered food coloring (lustre dust mixed with extract) for decoration (optional)

Other Equipment:
A small brush
Chocolate molds
A Ladle
Bench or plastic scraper
OR
A small brush or spoon

Preparation:

1. When coating the molds with the tempered chocolate, I like to do it how the chocolate pro’s do it (much faster and a lot less tedious). While holding mold over bowl of tempered chocolate, take a nice ladle of the chocolate and pour over the mold, making sure it cover and fills every well. Knock the mold a few times against a flat surface to get rid of air bubbles, then turn the mold upside down over the bowl of chocolate, and knock out the excess chocolate. Turn right side up and drag a bench or plastic scraper across so all the chocolate in between the wells is scraped off cleanly, leaving you with only chocolate filled wells. Put in the fridge to set, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Alternatively, if you’d like (or if your chocolate wasn’t tempered correctly and didin’t allow for pouring!) you could take a small brush and paint the tempered chocolate into each mold, or spoon it in if you’d like.

3. Remove from refrigerator and fill each well with the filling of your choice. With the mint filling I used, I rolled each into a small ball, put it in the chocolate filled mold, and flattened it.

4. Again take a ladle of chocolate and pour it on top of the filled chocolate wells, knocking against a flat surface to settle it in. Scrape excess chocolate off the mold with the bench scraper then refrigerate until set.

4. When set, pop your beautiful filled chocolates out of each well.

5. If decorating with lustre dust, put a small amount in a little bowl mixed with a drop or two of extract of choice. Mix well and paint in desired pattern on top of chocolates!

Sponge Candy (also called Honeycomb or Sea Foam candy)

Adapted from Christine Cushing’s Sponge Toffee Recipe

Full photo tutorial Here

Ingredients:

2½ cups (20oz/560gm) Granulated White Sugar
2/3 cup (160 ml) Light corn syrup
6 tablespoons (90 ml) Water
1 tablespoon (0.5 oz/ 15g) Baking Soda
2 teaspoons (10 ml) Vanilla extract
Vegetable oil for greasing pan

Preparation:

1. Liberally grease a 10-inch round spring form cake pan with vegetable oil. Trace the bottom of the pan on a piece of parchment paper. Line the bottom of the pan with the parchment paper circle. Line the sides of the pan with a parchment paper so that the parchment paper creates a collar that sits 1 to 2-inches above the pan. Liberally grease the parchment paper.
2. In a deep medium saucepan add sugar, corn syrup, water, and vanilla. Over medium-high heat bring the mixture to a boil (without stirring) and cook until hard crack stage, i.e. until temperature reads 285°F / 140°C on a candy thermometer (if using light corn syrup, it will be light amber, if using dark corn syrup it will be the color of maple syrup). This should take about 10 minutes. If sugar crystals form on the sides of the pan during the cooking process, brush the sides of the pan with a clean pastry brush dipped in water.
3. Remove from heat. Working quickly, add the baking soda and quickly blend to incorporate the soda into the sugar mixture, about 5 seconds. The mixture will bubble up when you add the baking soda. Be very careful not to touch the hot mixture.
4. Immediately pour the hot toffee into the prepared pan. Let set completely before touching. Cut into pieces. It makes a huge mess. But the messy little crumbs can be saved to top ice cream. Leave candy as is and enjoy, or dip pieces in tempered chocolate and let set.


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Thank goodness the weather has been in the 80s lately instead of 90s. Unfortunately, I’m pretty tired of sweating within 5 minutes of stepping foot outdoors. I hate to say it, but I’m so ready for sweater weather.

Both Nate and my favorite season is fall. We love the crisp air, beautiful leaves, earthy smells and cooler temperatures! Plus, I love wearing sweaters.

So it would only seem appropriate that to celebrate our 1 year dating anniversary on Friday, we had a Cider Cake.

This actually came about because we had this bottle of TJ’s Cranberry Cider laying around for a while, and with the cold weather long gone, Nate had no desire to drink it. He also said that he had had it before and didn’t love it.

I hate wasting things or throwing them out, so I figured the cider would have to get used in some other form that we’d both enjoy. I scoured the internet for recipes that use cider and found quite a few, but I wanted our anniversary dessert to be something special.

So when I came across a recipe for a 3 layer cake with cider cake, cider filling and cider frosting, I knew that had to be it. Luckily, altogether it used 3+ cups of cider, but unfortunately that still leaves me with over half the bottle.

Next up I’m thinking of cider roasted pears, and maybe a cider vinaigrette.

This cake is part of the #cakelove bloghop!

you can see it here.


October Cider Cake
Taken from Oxmoor House

Print this recipe!

Makes one 3-layer cake 

3/4 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
3 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup apple cider
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Cider Filling (recipe below)
Creamy Cider Frosting (recipe below)
Chopped pecans (optional)

Cream shortening; gradually add sugar, beating well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Combine flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves; add to creamed mixture alternately with cider, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Stir in lemon juice.

Pour batter into 3 greased and floured 8-inch round cake pans. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes; remove layers from pans, and cool completely in fridge.

Put a thin band of icing along the perimeter of each later, and then pool the Cider Filling inside. Put back in fridge to let it set completely or the filling will ooze out from the weight of the cake (trust me).

Spread top and sides with Creamy Cider Frosting. Garnish top of cake with pecans, if desired.


Cider Filling

1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup apple cider
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter or margarine

Combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a heavy saucepan; gradually stir in cider. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened.

Remove from heat. Stir in lemon juice and butter; cool in fridge.


Creamy Cider Frosting

1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon apple cider
1/4 teaspoon salt
About 4 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Combine first 3 ingredients in a heavy saucepan. Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat; cool. Gradually add sugar until spreading consistency; beat until smooth.

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As you all know (or maybe not if you’ve only recently joined me), but I am a member of the Daring Bakers. Each month they host a challenge composed of a very complicated dessert that you must bake and post on the 27th of the month.

Unfortunately, last month I was in the midst of packing up my kitchen, so I wasn’t able to complete it. It’s too bad because the challenge was something I’ve always wanted to make, baklava.

But I’m back in the game this month with my brand new, much larger kitchen! It’s so nice to be cooking on the huge counters. I don’t even know what to do with all the space. You should see the mess I made in the process of cooking this. I used 4 bowls and two pots…just because I could!

Jana of Cherry Tea Cakes was our July Daring Bakers’ host and she challenges us to make Fresh Frasiers inspired by recipes written by Elisabeth M. Prueitt and Chad Robertson in the beautiful cookbook Tartine.

This recipe was randomly requested from someone at work who happens to be French, but I put off making it because I knew it would take a lot of time. Well who would have thought it would be the recipe for my Daring Bakers Challenge! At least it gave me a reason to dive in and conquer this many stepped recipe.

Me and Frenchie

Honestly, it wasn’t as bad as I thought, and even kind of fun. I got real satisfaction seeing the finished product and knowing that I made that.

I brought it into work and it got compliments. Personally, I thought it was good but probably not worth all the effort I put into it. Maybe it’s because I’m not a fan of cream-based desserts. But if you are, and you have a spare weekend to bake/whip/assemble, then by all means give this a shot! 😉

These recipes have been adapted from the cook book Tartine by Elisabeth M Prueitt and Chad Robertson, the chefs and owners of Tartine, a beloved San Francisco bakery.

Basic Chiffon Cake:

Ingredients:

1 cup + 2 tablespoons (270 ml) (5½ oz/155 gm) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (4 gm) baking powder
3/4 cups (180 ml) (6 oz /170 gm) sugar
1/2 teaspoon (2½ ml) (1½ gm) salt, preferably kosher
1/4 cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) vegetable oil
3 large egg yolks
⅓ cup + 1 tablespoon (3.17 fl oz/95 ml) water
1 teaspoon (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon (3¾ ml) (3 gm) lemon zest, grated
5 large egg whites
¼ teaspoon (1¼ ml) (1 gm) cream of tartar

Preheat the oven to moderate 325°F (160°C/gas mark 3).

Line the bottom of an 8-inch (20 cm) spring form pan with parchment paper. Do not grease the sides of the pan.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour and baking powder. Add in all but 3 tablespoons (45 ml.) of sugar, and all of the salt. Stir to combine.In a small bowl combine the oil, egg yolks, water, vanilla and lemon zest. Whisk thoroughly.

Combine with the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly for about one minute, or until very smooth.

Put the egg whites into a stand mixer, and beat on medium speed using a whisk attachment on a medium speed, until frothy. Add cream of tartar and beat on a medium speed until the whites hold soft peaks. Slowly add the remaining sugar and beat on a medium-high speed until the whites hold firm and form shiny peaks.

Using a grease free rubber spatula, scoop about ⅓ of the whites into the yolk mixture and fold in gently. Gently fold in the remaining whites just until combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Removed the cake from the oven and allow to cool in the pan on a wire rack.

To unmold, run a knife around the sides to loosen the cake from the pan and remove the spring form sides. Invert the cake and peel off the parchment paper. Refrigerate for up to four days.

Simple Syrup

I chose to flavor by stirring in 1-2 teaspoons of almond extract.

Ingredients:
1/3 cup (2⅔ fl oz/80 ml) (2⅔ oz/75 gm) of sugar, flavored or white
1/3 cup (2⅔ fl oz/80 ml) of water
1-2 tsp flavored extract (optional)

Combine the water,sugar, and extract in a medium saucepan.

Bring the mixture to a boil and let the sugar dissolve. Stirring is not necessary, but will not harm the syrup.

Remove the syrup from the heat and cool slightly.

Transfer syrup to a lidded container or jar that can be stored in the refrigerator. Simple syrup can be stored for up to one month.

Fraisier Assembly

Components:

1 baked 8 inch (20 cm) chiffon cake
1 recipe pastry cream filling
⅓ cup (80 ml) simple syrup or flavored syrup
2 lbs (900 g) strawberries
confectioners’ sugar for dusting
½ cup (120 ml) (5 oz/140 gm) almond paste

Line the sides of a 8-inch (20 cm) spring form pan with plastic wrap. Do not line the bottom of the pan.

Cut the cake in half horizontally to form two layers.

Fit the bottom layer into the prepared spring form pan. Moisten the layer evenly with the simple syrup. When the cake has absorbed enough syrup to resemble a squishy sponge, you have enough.

Hull and slice in half enough strawberries to arrange around the sides of the cake pan. Place the cut side of the strawberry against the sides of the pan, point side up forming a ring.

Pipe cream in-between strawberries and a thin layer across the top of the cake. DO NOT USE UP PASTRY CREAM HERE.

Hull and quarter your remaining strawberries and place them in the middle of the cake. Cover the strawberries and entirely with the all but 1 tbsp. (15 ml) of the pastry cream.

Place the second cake layer on top and moisten with the simple syrup.

If desired, knead food gel into the almond paste to get desired color. Lightly dust a work surface with confectioners’ sugar and roll out the almond paste to an 8-inch round 1/16 inch (1.5 mm) thick. Spread the remaining 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of pastry cream on the top of the cake and cover with the round of almond paste.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

To serve release the sides of the spring form pan and peel away the plastic wrap.

Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

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One of my dearest friends, Erica (and the one I’ve known the longest!), celebrated a special bday this past weekend- the big 3-0. Because I wasn’t able to make it to her bowling bday bash, I did what I always do and baked her a cake 🙂

It’s so nice to love cooking and baking, because it makes giving presents so easy, enjoyable and special (I also sometimes paint/draw/crochet my gifts). I mean who doesn’t love some homemade treats? Plus, it’s so nice to put some thought and effort into a present and give it that handmade touch rather than just picking up a random gift from the store because you’re “supposed to” give presents on bdays.

And I have to say, I think my gifts tend to be much more appreciated! So when it came time to get thinking about what type of cake Erica wanted, I went straight to the source. I like to be creative, but Erica wanted the basics: yellow cake with chocolate frosting. I suppose that IS the traditional bday cake combo.

Of course, I had to add my touch and make it a little different and more gourmet- adding white chocolate chips to the batter and making a sour cream chocolate frosting. But I also have been so busy  that I took a few shortcuts- using a boxed cake mix that I jazzed up.

Yes, Erica is wearing scrubs in those pics. She works in tv and is currently filming a show and is in the hospital all day long. I wish I could wear such comfy clothes to work!

Anyways, the cake result was nothing short of amazing…a birthday tradition from now on, to be sure.

Happy 30th Birthday, Erica!!!

I’m so happy to have you as my friend and I can’t wait to celebrate many more birthdays with you 🙂


Yellow Birthday Cake with White Chocolate Chips and Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting

Cake recipe by me, Frosting recipe taken from Smitten Kitchen adapted from The Dessert Bible

Print this recipe!

# of Servings-who cares, it’s your birthday! (Makes one 2 layer bday cake)

Cake:

1 box Classic Yellow Cake mix
1 cup water
1/3 cup oil
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
1/2-1 cup white chocolate chips
1 recipe Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting, recipe below

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Butter two 9-inch round cake pans (or two 8-inch, depending on how high you want the cake to be) and line with circles of parchment paper, then butter parchment.

Place cake mix, water, oil, eggs, and vanilla in a bowl. Beat well. Add eggs and beat to incorporate, 2 min. Stir in 1/2-1 cup of white chocolate chips, depending on how much you like.

Spread batter evenly in cake pan, then rap pan on counter several times to eliminate air bubbles. Bake until golden and a wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 30 min. Cool in pan on a rack 15 minutes. Invert onto rack and discard parchment, then cool completely, about 1 hour (put in fridge if you want them to cool faster. Sometimes they’re easier to frost when cold). Do not frost until cakes are completely cool.

Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting

15 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/4 teaspoons instant espresso (optional, but can be used to pick up the flavor of average chocolate)
2 1/4 cups sour cream, at room temperature
1/4 to 1/2 cup light corn syrup
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine the chocolate and espresso powder, if using, in the top of a double-boiler or in a heatproof bowl over simmering water. Stir until the chocolate is melted. (Alternately, you can melt the chocolate in a microwave for 30 seconds, stirring well, and then heating in 15 second increments, stirring between each, until the chocolate is melted.) Remove from heat and let chocolate cool until tepid.

Whisk together the sour cream, 1/4 cup of the corn syrup and vanilla extract until combined. Add the tepid chocolate slowly and stir quickly until the mixture is uniform. Taste for sweetness, and if needed, add additional corn syrup in one tablespoon increments until desired level of sweetness is achieved.

Let cool in the refrigerator until the frosting is a spreadable consistency. This should not take more than 30 minutes. Should the frosting become too thick or stiff, just leave it out until it softens again.

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A lot of people dread the week-long holiday of Passover because of its slightly restrictive dietary rules. In all honesty, it’s really not all that bad. Sure, if you eat a lot of matzo all week long, you may end up being so bloated you resemble a matzo ball. But in reality there are many foods that you’re still able to eat during the holiday, not involving the dreaded matzo.

The key is to find recipes that you make during the year that happen to involve all ingredients allowed on Passover. The fewer Passover substitutions, the better. For example, potatoes are fine, as are eggs, meat, fruits and veggies..or your favorite flourless chocolate cake recipe 😉 If you have a recipe that involves a scant amount of flour, replacing it with matzo flour (see below for description) or potato starch is fine. Obviously trying to bake a regular cake wouldn’t work, as flour is a primary ingredient. Catch my drift?

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the holiday, Passover commemorates the story of the Exodus, in which the ancient Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt.  When Pharaoh freed the Israelites, it is said that they left in such a hurry that they could not wait for bread to rise. In commemoration, for the duration of Passover no leavened bread is eaten. Matzo (flat unleavened bread) is the primary symbol of the holiday.

Thus, many passover foods revolve around this dry (and not very tasty) cracker. Although you can’t use flour during the holiday, the way of getting around this is to use something called Matzo Flour/Matzo Meal which is simply ground-up matzo in a powdered/coarsely ground form. Again, this is only recommended in recipes in which there is not a HUGE amount of flour, but for the most part, it should work.

Which brings me to one of my favorite recipes ever: Apricot Chocolate Torte. This recipe actually calls for regular flour and is not a passover recipe at all, but when the simple matzo flour substitution is made, it tastes identical to real thing. This is one of my all time favorite desserts and I often find myself making it at Thanksgiving as well. My mom has been making this for years and I had no idea where it came from (and I’m not sure if she did either) but when I googled the title, it turns out she must have found it on the back of the apricot box 🙂


Apricot Chocolate Torte

Recipe adapted from the back of the apricot box!

Print this recipe!

Ingredients:

Filling

11 oz. dried apricots, chopped
1-1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup water
3 Tablespoons matzo CAKE meal-not matzo meal (or regular flour)*
Juice from ½ fresh lemon

Crust
3 oz. Unsweetened chocolate
2 cups whole walnuts
1.5 cups matzo CAKE meal (or regular flour)
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted margarine, chilled, cut into pieces **
2 tablespoons cold water
2 teaspoon vanilla
1 oz. shaved semi-sweet chocolate for garnish

Directions:

Filling
Combine all ingredients in heavy saucepan. Bring slowly to a boil over low heat. Reduce heat & simmer, stirring frequently and mashing any large pieces of apricot, until mixture resembles thick jam – about 25 minutes.

Crust
Preheat oven 350°F

Place chocolate in bowl of processor and chop roughly. Add nut and chop coarsely. Add flour, sugar & salt then blend. (Bits of chocolate and walnut should be clearly visible). Add butter & process to blend. Add water and vanilla then mix, pulsing the on/off button of your food process until mixture is crumbly.

In an 8 or 9 inch Springform pan, pat 2/3 of dough into the bottom and 1 inch up the sides. Add filling. Crumble additional dough over the top to cover. Bake 40 minutes. Let cool.

Decorate top with shaved chocolate if desired.

*Feel free to use regular flour in place of the matzo flour and use this recipe all year long!
**Use butter in place of margarine when not making for Passover.

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