Tag-Archive for ◊ frosting ◊

29 Sep 2016 Pumpkin-Chocolate Cake

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This is the BEST cake to serve at this time of year (or any other time of the year, actually)!  It’s a good chocolate cake – a very, very good chocolate cake; it’s moist, and nicely chocolate-y, and made richer with some pumpkin puree added.  The cake doesn’t taste of pumpkin, it just tastes well-rounded and delicious and the frosting tastes like Fall! There is a touch of cinnamon in the frosting, then the ganache topping is smoothed over the top and dripped down the sides which sends this cake into the realm of ‘One of the Best Cakes EVER’! My daughter, Abby, has been making this cake since she was in high school.  Her friends would ask for it for their birthdays (even for Summer birthdays)!

It goes without saying that this cake takes a bit of time to make and decorate, but if you are thinking of making this cake then you are thinking of making it for a special occasion, right?  The time and effort are worth it and there’s nothing complex or confusing about making this cake, it’s pretty straightforward. And you won’t be serving up a box mix and a can of chemicals to your friends and family, either 🙂

Now, your cake is going to look a bit different than the one above, since this cake was decorated for my witch themed Halloween party. Abby used candy, cupcake toppers, and Pinterest inspiration [to decorate the cake in the picture below] for my Halloween party last year.  Isn’t it cute?

Witches 2013 dessert abby's witch cake

The original recipe came from a Good Housekeeping magazine about, oh, 20 years ago?  I still see pictures from that recipe dancing around.  Don’t believe them!  For some reason in the picture the frosting under the ganache is orange.  I tried to do that and there is no way that I know of to turn a cocoa powder frosting bright orange.  I tried. Many times. It. Can’t.Be.Done. Sigh…

Not all recipes in magazines, cookbooks, newspapers and the Internet will work.  Mine will.  I only post recipes that I’ve tested and have been verified “Delicious!” by a multitude of family members and friends.  Many of my treasured recipes, like this Pumpkin-Chocolate Cake, I have made time and time again. You can do it, too! Make it once for Halloween, and I KNOW you’ll want to make it again for your Thanksgiving potlucks!

PUMPKIN-CHOCOLATE CAKE

For Cake

1 1/2 c. flour
2/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder (Hershey’s Special Dark is good)
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin
1/2 c. buttermilk
2 tsp. vanilla
3/4 c. butter, softened
1 c. dark brown sugar
1 c. sugar
3 eggs plus one egg yolk
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Line the bottoms of 2 9-inch cake pans with parchment paper and lightly butter (or spray with Pam for Baking).
  • Sift flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt together.
  • In another bowl stir together the pumpkin, buttermilk, and vanilla.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer beat together the butter and the sugars until light and fluffy.
  • Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, and then the egg yolk.
  • Reduce speed to low and beat in 1/3 flour mixture, and then 1/3 pumpkin mixture.
  • Repeat until all ingredients are used.
  • Pour batter into prepared pans.
  • Bake until cake passes the toothpick test, about 35 minutes.
  • Cool, frost and glaze as directed below.

For Frosting

6 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
6 tablespoons butter (3/4 stick), softened
1 (16-oz.) box powdered sugar
3 T. cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
2 – 3 T. cream (or milk)
  • Beat cream cheese and butter together until well blended.
  • Stir in powdered sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and enough cream to make a stiff spreading consistency.
  • Spread 1 cup frosting between the two layers, and use the remaining frosting for the tops and sides.
  • Chill cake for a minimum of 30 minutes before glazing.

For Chocolate Glaze

4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 T. butter
3 T. corn syrup
1/2 c. heavy cream
  • Place chopped chocolate, butter, and corn syrup in a small bowl.
  • Heat heavy cream until boiling.
  • Pour hot cream over chocolate mixture in bowl.
  • Let sit for 3 minutes then blend with whisk until smooth.
  • Let glaze sit for  FOR AT LEAST 5 minutes to thicken slightly (it might be 15-20 minutes–better the glaze be on the thick side rather than the thin side)
  • Pour the glaze on top of the chilled and frosted cake. Smooth out glaze to edges, and then let drip down the sides.
  • Refrigerate to set glaze.
02 Mar 2014 Black Forest Torte (Black Forest Cake)

BookThief-torte

Once a year I host a book club meeting at my house.  My night was last night.  The book was “The Book Thief” so the theme was German food.  Thanks to input from the Internet, I decided to make a “Black Forest Torte” for dessert.  I found a recipe posted on Food.com by a “real German lady”, and decided to make it, with no advance practice session (I know, living on the edge!).

The cake was a delicious show-stopper.  Just look at that picture! I haven’t made too many show-stopper cakes before so I was quite thrilled with the way this one turned out.  PHEW! And I’d like to extend a big, grateful ‘danke’ to the “real German lady” 🙂

I made a few changes to the recipe, of course:  I used pitted sour cherries from a jar, rather than fresh cherries (they’re not in season right now), and I used butter, rather than shortening, in the cake batter. I also made two 9.5 inch cake layers instead of the three 9-inch layers specified in the original recipe (I really dislike 3 layer cakes).  I modified the mixing method for the cake. I used espresso powder, rather than cold brewed espresso, in the filling and adjusted the amount of Kirsch in the filling as well. I upped the whipped cream frosting by 50%.

Now, if you make this cake, you’ll need to start three days in advance and, please, DO make this cake!

  • Day 1: Drain the cherries and soak in Kirsh.
  • Day 2: Make the chocolate layer cakes, soak the cakes in the Kirsch drained from the (now boozy) cherries.  Make the filling and assemble the layers one on top of the other.  Refrigerate overnight.
  • Day 3: Make the chocolate curls and the whipped cream frosting. An hour or two before serving, decorate the cake with the whipped cream, reserved cherries, and chocolate curls. Serve!
  • Day 4: The leftovers are yummy! I called four friends over for tea, and they all accepted, enjoyed the cake, and took slices home for their husbands!  (So far, I have cut sixteen slices from this cake, and there is one slice left in the refrigerator for my 23 year old twins to fight over.

 Black Forest Torte

Cake

  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour (8 oz)
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder (I had Hershey’s on hand, so that’s what I used)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk

Mocha Buttercream Filling

  • 1/2 cup kirsch
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  •  1 1/2 teaspoons instant  espresso powder
  • 2 jars of pitted sour cherries, drained (I got mine at Trader Joes-1 1/2 lbs each, most supermarkets have  1 lb. cans of cherries in the canned fruit section) OR 1 1/2 lbs fresh black cherries, pitted

Whipped Cream Frosting

  • 3 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2-3 tablespoons  kirsch
  • 2 tablespoons dry milk powder (optional, but helps with stability of whipped cream icing)
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar

Chocolate Garnish

  • One large, 3.5-4 oz. dark chocolate bar, grated or curled

DIRECTIONS

  1.  Drain the cherries then soak them in 1/2 cup Kirsch overnight. Discard the cherry juice UNLESS you want to make a non-alcoholic cake.  If you want a non-alcoholic cake (like, if children will be eating it) use the cherry juice  from the cherries instead of the Kirsch and proceed as outlined below.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F
  3. Drain the cherries from the Kirsh.  RESERVE the liquid!  Most of the liquid will be poured over the hot cakes. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the liquid for the filling.
  4. Line the bottom of two 9 inch round cake pans with parchment. Spray the sides with “Pam for Baking”, or grease with a bit of butter or oil.
  5. Sift the dry cake ingredients together and set aside.
  6. With an electric mixer beat the shortening to soften, then add the sugar.  Beat for six minutes or until the shortening-sugar mixture is light and fluffy.
  7. Add the eggs, one at a time and mix well.  Stir in the vanilla.
  8. Add one-third of the dry ingredients to the sugar mixture and beat to combine. Add half of the buttermilk. Beat to combine. Add another one-third of the dry ingredients and beat to combine.  Add remaining buttermilk.  Beat to combine.  Finally, add the last of the dry ingredients and beat well. alternately with the buttermilk and mix well.
  9. Pour batter into the prepared cake pans.
  10. Bake in preheated 350 oven for approx. 25 minutes or until a cake springs back when touched.
  11. Remove the cakes from the oven.  Leave the cakes in the pans and immediately and slowly, pour some of the reserved Kirsch-cherry juice mixture over both cakes. Let the Kirsch soak in, then repeat until all but 2 tablespoons of the Kirsch-cherry liquid has been used. (The remaining 2 tablespoons liquid will be used in the filling)
  12. Let the cakes cool in their pans.
  13. Make the filling. With an electric mixer  beat the butter until light and creamy. Add the powdered sugar, salt, espresso powder, and 2 tablespoons Kirsch-Cherry juice and beat well for 3 or 4 minutes. If the filling is too thick add some extra Kirsch, cherry juice, or cream (add only an extra 1/2 tsp. at a time). The filling should be spreadable, but firm.
  14. Place the base layer on cake plate.  Spread filling over top, then cover with drained cherries (save some good, firm, pretty cherries to go on top of the cake as decoration). I took the time to place each cherry in concentric layers, which I think helped with the stability of the cake. Add the second cake on top of the filling and cherries on the first layer.  Push down a bit to secure a firm fit between the layers.
  15. Cover the cake  and let sit in refrigerator overnight for the flavors to meld.
  16. A few hours before serving place the whipping cream, powdered sugar, Kirsch, vanilla, and optional dry milk powder in the bowl of an electric mixer. Whip the cream until it forms stiff peaks.
  17. Spread the whipped cream frosting over all of the cake. Decorate the sides first, then the top.  If you want to be fancy, put some of the whipping cream in a Ziploc or a piping bag and pipe rosettes or swirls around top and bottom of cake.
  18. Pat the reserved cherries dry, and then place in a pretty design on top of the cake.
  19. Grate the chocolate bar or use a vegetable peeler to make chocolate curls. Gently, and decoratively  press handfuls of the grated chocolate onto the sides of the cake.
  20. Store cake in refrigerator until an hour or so before serving.  Serve and enjoy.  (You should get about 16 generous slices from this cake.)

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today, and I hope there is a Special Occasion coming up soon so you can make this cake.  It’s a keeper!

Just in case you are wondering, and in case you are reading this because you’ll also be hosting a book club meeting based upon “The Book Thief”, I also made Kipferls. Kipferls, which are significant in the book, were left by the window for people to take home (just like in the book).  I’ll posted that recipe, too, since they were soooooo good (but soooooo expensive to make, more about that later). My book club does snacks and dessert. For snacks I had a bowl of apples, German bread with cheese and liverwurst, and soft pretzels with a beer-mustard-cheese dip (no picture of the pretzels and dip) and Stollen! To drink, we had champagne, of course.  Those of you who read the book know why.

BookThief-snacks

06 Mar 2013 White Mint Dark Chocolate Layer Cake

chocmintcake

I know, I know, this is a horrible picture.  Don’t let that put you off though.  This is a delicious cake, one of my best!  The reason this picture is so bad, well, aside from me not being a talented photographer, is that everyone ate the cake!  This is the one piece  that was left, and it was left out all night.  It looks like it, too, doesn’t it? Poor cake.  I really should bake this cake again just to get a better picture of it.  Problem with that is, folks are hollering for the recipe! I served the cake at my Dining For Women meeting and had several requests for the recipe.  I told everyone it was on my website, but this morning  I was shocked to find I hadn’t posted it.  Ever. Oops. What have I been doing with my time?

So here is the recipe, finally!  I found the original  recipe on epicurious.com the year that my twins graduated from high school, in 2009, I believe.  I made it for their high school graduation.  See how good this cake is?  I know exactly when I first tasted it! (I was pretty impressed with myself!)

The only thing I changed was making two layers instead of three (I think three layer cakes are pretentious–and who has three matching layer cake pans anyway?).  Don’t change anything else!  Use peppermint extract, not mint.  AND, one more warning:  stick to the Lindt Mint Chocolate bar, or something very similar. My daughter made this cake one year with Ghirardelli Mint Squares (the ones with the liquid-y centers).  Not a good idea. She made the cake for my birthday cake.  The top layer kept sliding off the bottom layer.  Yes, more than once. The cook took it very hard.  I think there were tears.

There shouldn’t be tears served with this cake.

This cake can be dressed up a bit for Christmas.  Andes has Candy Cane mints now.  Those and a few candy canes or peppermints can adorn the sides/top of the cake or the cake platter. Hershey’s Candy Cane Kisses can be melted for the top of each layer, if you want, but they don’t taste nearly as good as the melted Lindt Mint chocolate bar…, and they don’t have the delightful thin crunch that comes from the melted Lindt bar.

Chocolate Mint Layer Cake

For Cake and Chocolate Mint Topping

1 ¾ c. flour
¾ c. unsweetened cocoa powder (use Hershey’s Special Dark)
1 ¼ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. salt
2 c. sugar
¾ c. butter, at room temperature (1 ½ sticks)
3 eggs
4 tsp. vanilla
1 ½ c. buttermilk
1 large Lindt Mint Chocolate Bar, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour three 9-inch diameter cake pans. Line bottom of pans with parchment paper. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl beat sugar and butter together until light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in vanilla. Beat for another 5 minutes. Add dry ingredients alternately with buttermilk in 3 additions each, beating just until blended. Divide batter equally between the three cake pans (a generous 2 cups of batter in each pan). Bake in preheated oven for about 25 minutes, or until cake springs back to touch. Remove cake and sprinkle chopped Lindt Mint Chocolate over tops of each layer. When chocolate melts, spread gently evenly across tops. Let cool in pans for 15 minutes then remove to racks to cool completely. Remove parchment paper.

For Creamy Minty Frosting

1 ½ 1-lb. boxes powdered sugar
½ c. butter, at room temperature
2 tsp. peppermint extract (not mint extract, peppermint extract)
¼ c. milk or cream, approximately
1 box Andes Mints, unwrapped and chopped

Combine powdered sugar, butter, extract, and milk/cream in a mixing bowl. Beat until light and fluffy, adding more milk or cream, 1 tsp. at a time, if needed to bring mixture to spreading consistency. Place approximately 1/5th of frosting on top of each layer cake. Carefully smooth frosting on top of mint chocolate covered cake layers. Place frosted layers on top of each other on a serving plate. Use remaining 2/5ths of frosting to carefully frost sides of cake. Sprinkle chopped mints on tops and sides of cake. Let sit for an hour or two before serving.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today!  If you like what you read, sign up.  You’ll get a three line email letting you know when I post another recipe.  I won’t use your email address for anything else, ever, I promise!

 

21 Aug 2011 Lemon Layer Cake

I haven’t been doing too much cooking lately.  It’s been too hectic.  My beloved “empty nest” imploded.  My two youngest moved back home for the summer, and brought with them all their stuff, most of it unwashed and unsorted. One of them brought a living and breathing human house guest for the summer, and had other friends stay with us for upwards of a week, too.  The other one had frequent overnight guests, four or five a week.  Then my elder daughter, her son and boyfriend moved in for a week, out for a week, then back for three weeks, then finally they moved into the house seven houses down.  They drop in at least twice a day, dropping off and picking up my grandson.  Borrowing my mixer.  Picking up some boxes they left in the garage.  Checking out the contents of the refrigerator. Then our house guest left. Then my younger daughter left, too.  She went to Ghana.  Yes, Ghana, Africa.  Not all her stuff fit into the two suitcases she was allowed to take.  She packed 93.7 lbs of stuff into those two suitcases.  She left her other ton of belongings here, unwashed and unsorted. Tomorrow my son moves out and into an apartment with three other boys, four hours from here.  He was going to go today, but not all his laundry is done.  All of his laundry may never be done.  He’s taking most of his stuff with him.  And a lot of my stuff, too.  Plus I’ve been trying to teach him how to cook before he goes. I can’t have him starving to death or trying to survive on convenience foods…

So, cooking for me has been down low on my list, but cookbook club sent out an e-vite.  It was time for a “Signature Cake” meeting.  I had to start cooking, and it had to be good, and it was probably going to have to be a little bit complicated.  A “Signature Cake”,  as I see it, is show-y cake,  one that we might become known for (remembered for?!), a special cake our family and friends might look forward to–even ask for–on birthdays and occasions; a from scratch layer cake, with a filling, and a frosting.  I had seen the recipe for “Lemon Layer Cake” in several America’s Test Kitchen magazines (YES, several!  Did you know ATK cycles their recipes through various publications?  I didn’t either, but I have this recipe in two magazines, and neither one of them is a “Best of…”!  I was a little surprised-and yes,  disappointed- to discover this little secret.)

Anyway, after being soooo busy and not cooking, I suddenly had to jump into creating a “Signature Cake” and the one I chose really was a bit of a project.  But it’s worth it!  It looks spectacular.  Look!

The white cake is delicious, very tender, not overly sweet, and sturdy enough to support the lemon filling without compressing. The lemon filling has a perfect texture, with a spot-on, bright and tangy lemon flavor.  The frosting is a “seven minute” or boiled frosting, which I had never made before, but I fell in love with it’s marshmallow-y creaminess which was a wonderful foil to the tangy lemon filling.  (I also loved the fact that the frosting had no butter and no powdered sugar.) I will definately be making this cake again. But I’d have a plan.  I’d do it in three parts.  Day one, make the lemon filling.  Day two, bake the cakes.  Day of party, make the frosting and assemble the cake.

A few other hints:

First thing, before you get everything else ready, cut 1 cube of butter into 1/2 inch pieces, and put in the freezer.  You will need to use these frozen butter cubes in the lemon filling.

I was tempted to grate the rind of a few lemons to add to the lemon filling.  I am so glad I didn’t.  The lemon filling was tangy enough as it was.  I think adding lemon rind would have ruined it.

Don’t be afraid of the frosting. You’ll need an instant read thermometer, a double boiler, and an electric mixer…but it’s really pretty easy to make (and it’s fat free and yummy!)

I frosted this cake the night before it was to be served, I don’t think that was a good idea.  The frosting seemed to loose a bit of it’s volume.  I think you could layer the cake with the lemon filling the night before, cover with plastic wrap (or a cake dome) and refrigerate, but I think the frosting needs to be made, and applied to the cake, just a few hours before the cake is to be served.

Lemon Layer Cake

America‘s Test Kitchen

For the filling:

1 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 6 lemons) (you’ll need an additional 1T. of lemon juice for the frosting)

1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin (less than one package, so measure out a teaspoonful)

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1/8 teaspoon table salt

4 large eggs

6 large egg yolks (reserve all of the egg whites for the cake)

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and frozen

For the cake:

2 1/4 cups cake flour, plus more for dusting the pans

1 cup whole milk, at room temperature

6 large egg whites, at room temperature (leftover from making the filling from the six egg yolks)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 3/4 cups granulated sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, softened but still cool

Fluffy White Icing

2 large egg whites

1 cup granulated sugar (7 ounces)

1/4 cup water

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (from 1/2 lemon)

1 tablespoon corn syrup

Begin by Preparing the Filling: Measure 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice into a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over the top to soften.

Heat the rest of the lemon juice, the sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is hot but not bubbling. In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk the whole eggs and egg yolks until blended. Slowly whisk the lemon syrup into the eggs, then return the mixture to the saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches 170 degrees on an instant read thermometer  Stir in the softened gelatin until completely dissolved.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the frozen butter until the butter has melted and the mixture is smooth. If desired/necessary, pour mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a non-reactive bowl (I skipped this step). Cover the surface with plastic wrap and chill until firm, at least four hours or up to two days. Stir mixture to loosen before spreading on cake layers.

To Make the Cake: Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.

In a large measuring cup, whisk together the milk, egg whites and vanilla. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt at low speed. With the mixer running on low speed, add the butter pieces one at a time until the mixture resembles fine, even crumbs. Stop the mixer and add all but about 1/2 cup of the wet ingredients. Beat the batter at medium speed until it is pale and fluffy, about 1 1/2 minutes. With the mixer running on low, slowly pour in the rest of the wet ingredients, then crank the speed back up to medium and beat for 30 seconds more. Scrape down the bowl and beat for 30 more seconds.

Divide the batter equally among the two cake pans and smooth the tops. Bake for 23 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean–do not overbake. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then remove the cakes from the pans, peel off the parchment and cool completely, right side up.

When the filling has chilled and the cake layers are cool, begin assembling the cake. Slice the cake layers in half horizontally. Place one layer golden side down on a serving platter, and tuck a few strips of parchment paper under the edges of the cake to protect the platter. Spread a third of the lemon filling on the cake layer, leaving a 1/2 inch border around the edge of the cake. Repeat twice more with cake layers and filling. Place the top layer of the cake golden side up.

To Make the Icing: Combine all ingredients in bowl of standing mixer or large heatproof bowl and set over medium saucepan filled with 1 inch of barely simmering water (do not let bowl touch water). Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture registers 160 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove bowl from heat and transfer mixture to standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Beat on medium speed until soft peaks form, about 5 minutes. Increase speed to medium-high and continue to beat until mixture has cooled to room temperature and stiff peaks form, 5 minutes longer. Using icing spatula, spread frosting on cake. Serve.

Notes From ATK… Leftovers can be stored covered in the refrigerator, with the cut side of the cake covered tightly with plastic wrap, for up to 3 days.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today. I am glad I was home and cooking.  I hope you make this cake for an upcoming special occasion. It’s worth the effort…and you may become “famous” for it!

Polly

17 Jun 2011 Yellow Cake with Milk Chocolate Frosting

I made a cake last night.  No special reason.  The stars just aligned.

  • My daughter took my car, so I was stuck at home, alone, all night.
  • There was nothing on TV (is there ever?).
  • There was a “Cook’s” magazine under the TV remote.
  • There was a recipe for a yellow cake with chocolate frosting (one of my favorites), in the “Cook’s” magazine.
  • I have to make a  “Signature Cakes”, for the August Cookbook Club meeting.  (A “Signature Cake” is a showcase cake, appropriate for any celebration, that is so good people might start asking for it on their birthdays and such. )
  • A little “Signature Cake” practice wouldn’t hurt, and was probably needed.
  • I had just bought fancy-schmancy 9-inch layer cake pans at a hoity-toity gourmet store for 70% off.  Time to put them to the test!
  • I had all the ingredients on hand.

Who doesn’t like yellow cake with chocolate frosting?  It’s a classic!  The little editorial near the recipe on page 51 of the Spring 2011 edition of “Cook’s” said everything I want to say about Cake Mixes…chemical emulsifiers and leavening agents…monoglycerides and diglycerides….hydrogenated fats….artificial food coloring.  How about a good yellow cake without all that? This recipe delivers, and it’s moist and fluffy, too.  The taste? It HAS taste!  In my experience, cake mixes turn out cakes high on texture and color  with little taste other than that of sweet, overly-sweet.

The frosting spreads like a dream, and is rich, smooth, and will knock the socks off anyone who likes chocolate (who doesn’t like chocolate?).  The frosting is made with only 1 cup of powdered sugar (as opposed to the usual four cups), and is made with a food processor, not a mixer (a first for me).  Just a note though, this recipe results in a soft, creamy frosting (kind of like the canned stuff–but again, with TASTE…and none of that thick oily texture); so, if you are wanting a harder, fudge-type frosting, this is not the right recipe.

I am not sure this cake is fancy enough for my Cookbook Club….but it’s fancy enough for every other occasion.  I just may have found a “go-to” cake for many occasions.  It’s relatively easy to pull together, calls for no ultra-fancy ingredients, each layer is high and moist, and then there’s that creamy real milk chocolate frosting…

Yellow Cake

  • 2 1/2 cups (10 oz.) cake flour (I did use cake flour, and not all-purpose)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 3/4 cup (12 1/4 oz.) sugar (divided use)
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter (I used salted, it’s all I had), melted and slightly cooled
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature (if you bought a whole carton, freeze the leftovers until you are ready to make another cake)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 6 large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 3 large egg whites (make a Pavlova or meringue cookies with the leftover egg whites), at room temperature
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Prepare 2 9-inch cake pans with 2 inch sides.  Spray with Pam for Baking, or butter and flour.  Line with parchment paper.
  3. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, 1 1/2 cups sugar.  Set aside.
  4. In another bowl combine melted butter, buttermilk, oil, vanilla and egg yolks. Set aside.
  5. Place room temperature egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Beat eggs until foamy, about 30 seconds. With the mixer running, gradually sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup sugar over over egg whites.  Continue to beat until stiff peaks form but beaten egg whites still look moist, about 60 seconds.
  6. Remove the egg whites from the mixer bowl to another bowl and set aside.
  7. In the now empty mixer bowl fitted with the whisk attachment pour in the flour mixture.  Turn mixer on low.  Gradually pour in the liquid ingredients and mix on low for about 15 seconds.  Stop and scrape bowl.  Mix again for another 15-30 seconds or until cake mixture is smooth and creamy.  Remove bowl f rom mixer.
  8. With a rubber spatula fold in 1/3 of the egg whites.  When those egg whites have been incorporated add remaining egg whites.  Gently fold in egg whites until no white streaks remain.
  9. Divide batter between the two prepared cake pans.  Now , one at a time, life the pan off the counter, and gently let it drop back down–to remove air bubbles from the batter.  Five light taps for each pan will do the trick.
  10. Bake cakes in preheated 350 degree oven for 22 – 30 minutes or until cake starts to pull away from sides of pan, and a toothpick inserted near the center of the cake comes out clean.
  11. Cool cakes in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes.  Invert cakes onto wire rack and cool for an additional hour or hour and a half before frosting.
  12. Unfrosted cake layers can be wrapped in plastic and stored in refrigerator for two days, or can be frozen for up to one month.  Thaw layers completely before frosting.

Milk Chocolate Frosting

  • 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (20 tablespoons), soft, but not runny (again, I used salted, it’s all I had on hand)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 8 oz. good quality milk chocolate (I used Hershey Symphony Bars), melted and cooled slightly
  1. In a food processor, process butter, sugar, cocoa and salt until smooth, about 30 seconds, stopping once or twice to scrape down sides of bowl.
  2. Add corn syrup and vanilla to the mixture in the food processor and process until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Scrape the sides of the bowl and pulse until smooth and creamy, another 10 – 15 seconds.
  3. Frosting can be made up to 3 hours in advance.  For longer storage, cover and refrigerate then let sit at room temperature for 1 hour before using.
  4. For other cakes, this frosting can be made with dark or semi-sweet  or bittersweet chocolate.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today. I hope you find an reason to make this cake.  Once you make it, I think you’ll make it again and again and again.  For other recipes, click on the “In The Kitchen With Polly” logo on the top left hand side of this webpage.  Let me know what appeals to you and what you make. I love reading your comments.

Polly

 

23 Feb 2011 Champagne Cupcakes

My daughter recently catered a birthday dinner for a very bubbly, champagne loving girl.  She knew Champagne Cupcakes had to be on the menu!  The good news is that these are great cupcakes not only for a birthday dinner, but for an Oscar party, too! Aren’t we all going to an Oscar party on Sunday?? They’re also good for many other champagne worthy events:  Birthday Party, Engagement Party, Shower, Wedding, New Year’s Eve, Promotion, Retirement, Bon Voyage, Welcome Home, Mortgage Burning, Mortgage Acquisition,  Crowning of Miss America… 🙂

This recipe makes a very light and not-so-sweet cupcake.  The champagne flavor really comes through if you brush champagne on the cakes before adding the frosting. This was my daughter Hannah’s idea, it’s not in the original recipe.  She also added more champagne to the frosting (tut-tut-tut, says Mom…)!  The original recipe called for coloring, but not being a food coloring fan, Hannah omitted it.  “In retrospect”, she said, “it would have been nice to have a slightly pink colored frosting.  After all, I did use pink champagne!”

Champagne Cupcakes

For Cupcakes:

  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup pink champagne, plus extra (approx ½ cup) for brushing onto baked cupcakes (I used Chandon Rose)
  • 6 egg whites
  • 4-5 drops red food coloring (optional)

For Frosting

  • 1 1lb box powdered sugar
  • 1 stick butter
  • ¼ cup pink champagne
  • 3-4 drops red food coloring (optional)
  • candy pearls (I found these in the cake decorating section of the grocery store)

To Make Cupcakes

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two muffin tins with cupcake liners. Set aside.
  2. With an electric mixer, beat eggs whites with the whisk attachment until stiff peaks form. Set aside. (If you have only one bowl for your electric mixer, you will have to remove the egg whites to another bowl).
  3. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer,  cream the 2/3 cup butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  5. Slowly mix in 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter-sugar mixture and beat until combined.  Add in ½ of the champagne, beat until combined. Add another 1/3 of the flour mixture, mixing until fully incorporated, then add the remaining ½ cup of champagne, beating until combined. Beat in the remaining flour mixture and the food coloring, mixing until combined.
  6. Gently fold in 1/3 of the whipped egg whites into the cake batter and mix until fully incorporated. Fold in remaining egg white mixture until combined.
  7. Divide the batter between the muffin tins, filling each cupcake liner 1/2 to 2/3 full of batter. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  8. Let cupcakes cool in pan for 5 minutes, then remove and let cool completely on wire rack.
  9. Once cupcakes have cooled, poke 8-10 holes in each cupcake using a toothpick. Using a pastry brush, coat each cupcake with champagne.

To Make Frosting

  1. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and champagne.
  2. Slowly add the powdered sugar and food coloring, mixing well until the frosting is smooth. (If too stiff add more champagne, if too runny add more powdered sugar.)
  3. Transfer frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a decorating tip (or a Ziploc bag with the corner cut off), and decorate cupcakes.
  4. Top with candy pearls.

Makes: 24 cupcakes.  Keeps well for a day or two.

Thank you for stopping by my kitchen today!  And thank you to my daughter, Hannah, for testing this recipe and sharing the cupcakes with me.  Guess what I am taking to my Oscar Night Party?  Yep!  If you’d like to take these to a special event, but don’t have time to make them, contact  Hannah, she is a fledgling caterer, you know!