Tag-Archive for ◊ cake ◊

15 Aug 2019 Triple Chocolate Mousse Torte

This is the cake I wanted for my birthday this year and it’s what a friend requested for her birthday a few months ago. It’s a fabulous trifecta of chocolate: semi sweet chocolate in a brownie-like cake on the bottom, a smooth and rich milk chocolate mousse for the middle layer, and a creamy white chocolate mousse for the top layer.  After that description, I’m guessing you’ll want it for your birthday, too! The torte not only tastes fantastic, it looks impressive, it slices well and it holds it’s shape after being cut. Magnifique!

The torte is a bit of effort to make, but each step, each layer, is easy and is relatively quick to accomplish.  Make the bottom layer before going to bed, let it cool on the counter while you sleep.  The next day, make the middle layer, refrigerate it, and wash the dishes. Then make the top layer and refrigerate the cake until serving time. Cake will keep 24 hours in refrigerator, but I always serve it on the day I make the second and third layers.

And look, here’s a link to a how-to video about making the torte!

The original recipe is from Cooks Illustrated. I think it was a cover recipe for one of their magazines. You can access the recipe online at Cooksillustrated.com, but it will cost you (and I hate that about Cooks Illustrated recipes).

So, after watching the video you’ll know this is not a difficult recipe. Just follow the directions. Melt the chocolate slowly. Fold the whipped cream into the chocolate mixtures. Use an electric mixer when specified and hand whisk or a spatula when specified.  If you can read, you can make this cake. “It’s all about the recipe” is my tag line, and I truly believe it!

I use Lindt chocolate bars in each layer. You’ll need two of the large bars for the bottom layer (around 70% cacao), two large milk chocolate bars for the middle layer, and two white chocolate bars for the top layer. Throw in an extra bar of your favorite type to grate on top. That’s about $20 worth of chocolate. In a pinch, you could use chocolate chips, which would be cheaper but wouldn’t taste quite as good and you’d have a harder time melting the chocolate (chocolate chips are not made to melt).

You’ll need a 9-inch springform pan, with sides at least 3 inches high to make this torte. If you’re in town, you can borrow mine. You could also order one off of Amazon, the Fat Daddio’s brand is my favorite. TJ Maxx/HomeGoods has started carrying Fat Daddio’s pans, usually at half the price Amazon sells them for, but it’s hit-or-miss at TJMaxx, isn’t it? Sur la Table and other specialty cooking stores will definitely carry 9-inch springform pans, usually at the same price as Amazon.

Triple Chocolate Mousse Torte

THE BOTTOM LAYER

  •  6 tablespoons (3 oz) unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces (plus extra for greasing pan)
  •  7 ounces semi sweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (I prefer semi-sweet).
  •  ¾ teaspoon instant espresso powder
  •  1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  •  4 eggs (separated)
  • Pinch salt
  •  1/3 cup light brown sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan with sides at least 3 inches high and set aside.
  2. Melt the butter, chocolate and espresso powder in a large heatproof bowl set over a bowl of really hot water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from heat and cool for 5 minutes.
  3. Whisk in the vanilla and egg yolks into the chocolate mixture and set aside.
  4. With a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and salt at medium speed until frothy, about 30 seconds. Add half of the brown sugar and beat until combined, about 15 seconds. Add the remaining brown sugar and beat at high speed until soft peaks form when the whisk is lifted, about 1 minute longer, scraping down the sides halfway through.
  5. With a hand-held whisk, whisk one-third of the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the remaining egg whites until no white streaks remain.
  6. Carefully transfer the batter to the prepared springform pan, gently smoothing the top with an offset spatula.
  7. Bake until the cake has risen, is firm around the edges, and the center has just set but is still soft (the center of cake will spring back after pressing gently with your finger), 13 to 18 minutes.
  8. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely, about 1 hour. (The cake will collapse as it cools).
  9. Do not remove the cake from the pan!

THE MIDDLE LAYER:

  •  2 tablespoons cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-processed, Hershey’s is fine).
  •  5 tablespoons hot water
  •  7 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped
  •  1½ cups cold heavy cream
  •  1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  •  1/8 teaspoon table salt
  1. Whisk together the cocoa powder and hot water in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Melt the chocolate in a bowl set over another bowl filled with very, very hot water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from heat and cool for 5 minutes.
  3. Whisk the cocoa powder mixture into the melted chocolate until smooth.
  4. With an electric mixer whisk the cream, granulated sugar and salt on medium speed until the mixture begins to thicken, about 30 seconds. Increase the speed to high and whip until soft peaks form.
  5. With a handheld wire whisk, stir one-third of the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture to lighten. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the remaining whipped cream until no white streaks remain.
  6. Spoon the mousse into the springform pan over the cooled cake and gently tap the pan on counter 3 times to remove any large air bubbles; smooth the top with an offset spatula. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes while preparing the top layer.

THE TOP LAYER

  •  ¾ teaspoon powdered gelatin
  •  1 tablespoon water
  •  6 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped
  •  1½ cups cold heavy cream (divided use)
  • Additional grated chocolate (milk or dark) or cocoa powder for decoration, optional
  1. In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the water; let stand for at least 5 minutes.
  2. Place the white chocolate in a medium bowl.
  3. Bring ½ cup of the heavy cream to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium-high heat or in the microwave.
  4. Stir the gelatin mixture, into the hot cream, whisking until fully dissolved.
  5. Pour the cream-gelatin mixture over the white chocolate and whisk until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is completely smooth (I usually sit the bowl of chocolate over another bowl of boiling water to help it melt).
  6. Cool mixture to room temperature, stirring occasionally, 5 to 8 minutes. The mixture will thicken slightly.
  7. With an electric mixer whisk the remaining 1 cup heavy cream at medium speed until it begins to thicken, about 30 seconds. Increase the speed to high and whip until soft peaks form when the whisk is lifted.
  8. Whisk one-third of the whipped cream, with a hand held whisk, into the white chocolate mixture to lighten. Using a rubber spatula, fold the remaining whipped cream into the white chocolate mixture until no white streaks remain.
  9. Spoon the white chocolate mousse into the pan over the middle layer. Smooth the top with an offset spatula.
  10. Return the cake to the refrigerator and chill until set, at least 2½ hours.
  11. Garnish the top of cake with grated chocolate or dust with cocoa powder, if desired.
  12. Run a thin knife between the cake and side of the springform pan, then remove the side of pan. Place torte on serving plate.
  13. Cut into slices and share (for clean slices, dip a sharp knife into hot water and wipe dry between cuts).

NOTES: The cake can be made up to 1 day in advance and refrigerated.

25 Jun 2019 Raspberry-Ricotta Snack Cake

This cake is simply delicious, light and moist, unassuming and satisfying. It’s good for breakfast, it’s good for a light dessert, and it’s good for an afternoon tea or snack. It’s good for company, it’s good for a family treat, and it’s good for just honoring the fact that you are alive, it’s Summer, and having something completely homemade with fresh fruit is the right thing to do.

The original recipe is from Epicurious, which called for using frozen berries. I’ve only ever made this with fresh raspberries, so that is reflected in the recipe below. Others have made this cake with blackberries, blueberries, pitted and halved cherries, diced mango, and *gasp* chocolate chips.

Not being a ricotta lover, I wouldn’t have made this cake if weren’t made for me at a Cookbook Club retreat a few years ago. I loved it, the ricotta wasn’t overwhelming and is important to the character of this cake. The ricotta keeps the cake moist and light, and allows it to stay moist for two days or more.

If there are any leftover slices, wrap and freeze for an on-demand treat later on.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (188 grams)

1 cup sugar (198 grams)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

3 large eggs

15 oz carton ricotta

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

1 cup raspberries (6 oz carton) divided use (can substitute blueberries, cherries, blackberries, small chunks of mango, or even, *gasp*, chocolate chips) Ok to add a few extra berries on top of batter.

Zest of 1 small lemon (OK to sub lime or orange zest)

Approx. 1 teaspoon white sugar, vanilla sugar, coarse sugar, or raw sugar, optional

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Line a 9″-diameter cake pan with parchment paper and lightly coat with nonstick spray.
  3. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl and set aside.
  4. With an electric mixer, whisk eggs, ricotta, and vanilla in a medium bowl until smooth.
  5. Stir in dry ingredients, whisk just until blended.
  6. Stir in butter just until combined.
  7. By hand, fold 3/4 cup raspberries (or other fruit), taking care not to crush berries.
  8. Fold in zest.
  9. Pour batter into prepared pan and scatter remaining 1/4 cup raspberries (or other fruit) over top (OK to add more berries to make a pleasing design on top.)
  10. Sprinkle a small amount of sugar, vanilla sugar, or raw sugar on top of cake.
  11. Bake cake until golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 50–60 minutes. Let cool at least 20 minutes before unmolding.
  12. If desired, sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.

Do ahead: Cake can be made 2 days ahead. Store tightly wrapped at room temperature.

31 May 2019 Madelienes

Madeleines. What are they anyway?  Almost a cookie but really a slightly dry cake?  Yes, that’s right! No frosting? Nope, but they are often dusted with powdered sugar… No caramel swirl? Never! No bits of chocolate? Not usually… And what’s with that lump on the back? Gotta have a lump in the back! Sooo…, what’s the big deal? Madeleines are super plain, super dry, and super yummy, I love them! Madeleines are popular tea cakes in cafes around the world. The world loves them!

Madeleines are French tea cakes, but thought of as a cookie, and are instantly recognizable with their scalloped shell shape that is ribbed on one side and smooth, but with a hump, on the other. Direct from the oven these buttery cakes have wonderfully crisp edges, tender crumb and are best eaten right away, although they will keep in a tin on the counter for 3-4 days. A dusting of powdered sugar is all that they really need, although some brush still warm Madeleines with a tangy lemon glaze.  Starbucks dips tips of their Madeleines into chocolate.

Madeleines are quite easy to make, but you’ll need to purchase scalloped Madeleine molds to get started. The molds are available in different sizes and materials, but you’ll probably find non-stick pans to be the easiest to use.

I have tested out many recipes over the years.  This one is from Epicurious, but with changes to cooking times, method, and ingredients (I doubled the lemon zest, upped the vanilla, added in some baking powder, reduced the oven temperature and reduced the baking time).

The recipe below makes 24 Madeleines.

Madeleines

  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (usually from one medium lemon)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (125 grams) all purpose flour
  • 5 oz (10 tablespoons, 1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly (plus extra to brush in molds)
  • Powdered sugar
  • Extra melted butter to brush on pans
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Brush each madeleine mold with melted butter (use the additional butter, not the 5 oz needed for the batter!)
  3. Beat eggs and sugar with electric mixer just to blend
  4. Beat in vanilla, lemon zest, and salt
  5. In another bowl, whisk flour with baking powder and salt and then add gradually to butter-sugar-egg mixture.
  6. Gradually add melted and cooled butter to mixture, beating with electric mixer just to blend
  7. Spoon 1 tablespoon batter into each buttered madeleine mold
  8. Place in preheated oven and bake for 9-10 minutes or until edges are slightly browned and there is a visible hump in the middle of each madeleine.
  9. Remove from oven and let cool in pan for about 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  10. Repeat with remaining batter. Recipe makes 24 standard sized madeleines
  11. When cool, dust with powdered sugar. If necessary dust with powdered sugar again just before serving.

Note: Batter can be made one day ahead. Refrigerate batter and baked on day two.

Variation: replace lemon zest with orange zest and add 1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom to the flour mixture.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today! I hope you find someone wonderful to share these special treats with 🙂

11 Jul 2017 Chocolate Cake, Mocha Filling & Coffee-with-Cream Frosting
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My daughter got married recently. I made the cake.  Three layer cakes (some of them double recipes), all with different fillings and frostings.  One cake was red velvet cake with cheesecake filling and a white chocolate Swiss buttercream frosting–because my grandson likes red velvet cake and the groom likes cheesecake.  Another cake was a wedding white cake with a tangy lemon filling and a lemon kissed Italian meringue frosting–because that’s what the bride wanted. The middle layer was a rich chocolate cake, with a mocha filling and a coffee-with-cream frosting–because that’s my favorite and I was making the cake, and I was the M-O-B, so I got to insist upon it!

I hope to get all the recipes for all the cakes posted, but let me start with this one, my current favorite special occasion cake: 3 layers of cake, 2 layers of mocha filling, and then all that is en robed in a coffee-with-cream frosting.  The recipe for the cake is an Ina Garten recipe from 2007 which was featured in Food and Wine magazine as “Double Chocolate Layer Cake” where I found it.  There is a frosting recipe included with Ina’s recipe, but I use a Ruth Cousineau recipe that ran in Gourmet Magazine in December of 2008 for “Coffee and Mocha Buttercreams”, which is a cooked meringue recipe, which is a whole lot of bother but tastes so much better than an American Buttercream, and makes two amazing variations. Using both variations, with this super rich chocolate cake (buttermilk and hot coffee in the batter) makes this cake a standout.

The cake is huge.  Cut thin slices (which is fine because the slices hold together very well). I had 10 people over for dinner last weekend, everyone had a decent sized piece of cake, and 5 people took a piece home, and I still and one-quarter of the cake leftover!  The picture above is from that one-quarter cake, and had been sitting in the refrigerator for three days before I decided to take a picture of it. Please note, my baked goods are better than my pictures!

Rich Chocolate Cake

  • 1 ¾ cups (8 oz/219g) all purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Hershey’s, it’s all that’s needed)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freshly brewed, strong, hot coffee
  1. Make the coffee! Bring buttermilk and eggs to room temperature.
  2. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  3. Prepare 2 or 3 nine inch pans. (NOTE: original recipe called for two pans, I prefer three pans. It’s up to you.) Spray the pans with Pam for Baking, or spread with softened butter, or line with parchment paper. I line with parchment paper and then either lightly spray or lightly butter the parchment paper.
  4. Mix the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together and set aside.
  5. Mix buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla in another bowl.
  6. With an electric mixer, add the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture, mixing just until all ingredients are blended.
  7. Slowly beat in the hot coffee, beating until all ingredients are fully incorporated.
  8. You will have about 6 cups of batter. Pour an equal amount of batter into each of the prepared pans.
  9. Bake the cakes at 350° F for 25 minutes for 3 layers (35 minutes for 2 layers), but don’t rely on time alone, check the cakes for before taking them out of the oven. The tops of the cakes should spring back when lightly pressed with a finger and the cake should be slightly pulling away from the sides of the pan.
  10. Remove from oven and let cakes cool in pans for about 30 minutes then invert onto cooling racks to cool completely.

Coffee-with-Cream and Mocha Buttercreams

  • 2 cups sugar, divided
  • ¾ cup water
  • 6 large egg whites at room temperature 30 minutes
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon instant-espresso powder
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 6 sticks (1 ½ pounds) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon sized pieces and softened
  • 6 ounces fine-quality 60%-cacao bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled to lukewarm

Special Equipment needed: a candy thermometer; a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment

  1. Bring 1 ¾ cups sugar and water to a boil in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved, then wash down any sugar crystals from side of pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water. Boil, without stirring, until it registers 220° to 225° F, 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. At this point, while continuing to boil syrup, beat whites with espresso powder, vanilla, cream of tartar, and salt in mixer at medium speed until they just hold soft peaks. Add remaining ¼ cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating, and beat until whites just hold stiff peaks.
  3. When syrup reaches soft-ball stage (238 to 242°F), immediately pour syrup in a slow stream down side of bowl into whites (avoid beaters) while beating at high speed. Beat until completely cool, 25 to 30 minutes. With mixer at medium speed, add butter 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition (see cooks’ note, below) and until buttercream is smooth. (Mixture may look curdled before all butter is added but will come together at end.)
  4. Transfer 2 cups buttercream to a small bowl and stir in chocolate. If buttercream is too soft to spread, chill, stirring occasionally.

Notes:

  • If buttercream looks soupy after some butter is added, meringue is too warm: Chill bottom of bowl in an ice bath for a few seconds before continuing to beat in remaining butter.
  • Buttercreams can be made 1 week ahead and chilled or 1 month ahead and frozen. Bring to room temperature (do not use a microwave), about 2 hours, and beat with an electric mixer until spreadable.

Thank you for stopping by my kitchen today. I hope you make this cake and get rave reviews.  I know you will.  This cake is delicious!