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10 May 2019 Tropical Mango Scones

It takes a lot to get true mango flavor in baked goods.  This scone recipe manages it but it does require mango in three different forms: crushed freeze-dried mango, dried mango, and diced frozen mango. Then throw in a bit of coconut and a bit of lime zest and you have a Tropical Mango Scone. You also have to add an egg. An egg? In a scone? I am usually a scone purist. No eggs! But I’ll make an exception, just this one time, because it works in this recipe.

The original recipe only called for frozen mango, which is interesting in itself. I’d never baked with frozen mango. I didn’t think it would work, but it did! I added the freeze-dried mango (always available at Trader Joe’s, and now starting to show up in main stream grocery stores) and the dried mango (available everywhere) to boost the flavor.

Tropical Mango Scones

  • 2 cups (260g) all-purpose flour
  • approx. 20 grams (less than one ounce) freeze-dried mango crushed to a fine powder
  • ½ cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • ½ cup diced dried mango
  • ½ cup sugar + additional teaspoon sugar (divided use)
  • 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon table salt
  • zest of 2 limes
  • ½ cup butter, frozen
  • ½ cup heavy cream + additional 1-2 Tablespoons (divided use)
  • 1 egg
  • 1  teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup dried mango, diced
  • 1 cup frozen mango, diced into ¼ inch chunks
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Combine flour, crushed freeze-dried mango, flaked coconut, diced dried mango, sugar, lime zest, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Stir well to combine.
  4. In another bowl combine ½ cup heavy cream, egg, and vanilla and whisk until combined.
  5. GRATE the frozen butter into the flour mixture then, using a fork, stir the butter into the flour mixture until well combined.
  6. Drizzle the cream-egg-vanilla mixture over the flour-butter mixture. Using the fork, combine the ingredients into a cohesive ball, this may take awhile. If the mixture is too dry, work a little extra cream into the mixture.
  7. Gently fold in the frozen mango mini-chunks.
  8. Divide the dough in half. If necessary sprinkle with a bit of flour. Shape the dough into a circle about the size of a salad plate.
  9. Place onto one side of prepared baking sheet
  10. Using a sharp knife or a pizza cutter, divide dough into six equal pieces.
  11. Repeat with remaining dough in bowl (SEE NOTE BELOW).
  12. Brush tops of scones with the additional 1-2 heavy cream, then sprinkle with additional 1 teaspoon sugar.
  13. Bake for 18-20 minutes.
  14. Remove from oven and share 🙂

NOTE: The second half of the dough can be placed on a plate and frozen for later baking. No need to defrost before baking. Just place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush with heavy cream and sprinkle with sugar. Might need to bake 2-4 more minutes.

Thank you for stopping by my kitchen today!

04 May 2019 Sweet Chili-Citrus Shrimp with Sugar Snap Peas

Not every published recipe works, and that’s a pet peeve of mine. Recently my Cookbook Club received the galley proofs for a soon-to-be-published cookbook. We cooked 19 recipes from the cookbook. Not one worked as written! Not one! Quantities didn’t fit into the stated pans, the oven temperatures were too low, cooking times were too short, methods were inconsistent, steps were missing, and some recipes simply didn’t work or were just plain weird… Jicama Fries anyone? Cauliflower with red wine?

I think the author had some good ideas, but I don’t think any recipe was tested outside of her kitchen or by anyone other than herself.  Badly written (or just plain wrong) recipes are a pet peeve of mine. I think some people end up thinking they are bad cooks just because they have had a couple of run-ins with bad recipes. Gr-r-r-r. It’s all about the recipe, folks (which was the name of my second “cookbook”, that I had passed out to my friends on my 50th birthday).

That all being said, this recipe, from the cookbook we reviewed, has become a favorite. It’s a sheet pan recipe! A ‘new trend’, which is really an old one rehashed, but whatev! After living six decades I have seen trends come, go, and come back again. Anyway, back to the recipe. I had to make some adjustments to methods and oven temperatures, and add in the rice component and now this recipe is one of the quickest, company-worthy, restaurant quality dinners I have on file. The picture above doesn’t do it justice. The shrimp are much more saucy and colorful. The picture below is a bit better, but I only had half the quantity of snap peas and I really should have removed the tails from the shrimp before cooking them. So, on with the recipe, because it’s a good one.

Note: I have been going back and forth about crediting this recipe to the cookbook author referenced above. After much thought I decided not to because I said so many negative (but truthful) things about her cookbook.

To make this you’ll need TWO large sheet pans, and some cooked rice. Either serve the dish in three different bowls, a bowl of rice, a bowl of peas, and a bowl of shrimp, OR layered in one 9×13 serving dish.

Sweet Chili-Lime Shrimp with Sugar Snap Peas

1/2 cup orange marmalade (heated slightly to make pour-able and mixable)

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (usually 2 limes)

2 teaspoons Thai Chili Garlic Paste (It’s red, and sold in jars in Asian section of most grocery stores)

1 teaspoon ground ginger

2 lbs shrimp, defrosted if necessary, with shells and tails removed (I like the frozen shrimp from Costco)

1 pound sugar snap peas

2 cups hot prepared rice

2 tablespoons olive oil

  1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2.  Combine marmalade, soy sauce, lime juice, chili-garlic paste and ground ginger.
  3.  Place the prepared shrimp into a large bowl or a large Ziploc bag. Pour marmalade mixture over shrimp and toss to coat.
  4. Pour the shrimp and all the marinade onto a sheet pan.
  5. Rinse and dry the sugar snap peas, and then toss with the olive oil.
  6. Pour the sugar snap peas onto another sheet pan.
  7. Place both sheet pans into hot 400 degree oven.
  8. Remove the snap peas after 5-7 minutes. Peas should be shiny and crisp.
  9. Let the shrimp cook for an additional minute or two. Remove from the oven when fully cooked, the shrimp should be totally opaque and curled into a “C” shape.
  10. Either serve the dish in three different bowls, a bowl of rice, a bowl of peas, and a bowl of shrimp, OR, as I do now, in one 9×13 serving dish with rice on the bottom, peas in the next layer, and the shrimp and sauce poured on top. The sauce eventually meets the rice and…, yum-m-m…, heaven!
  11. Serve and share 🙂

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today!

04 May 2019 Apricot-Coconut Bars

Feel like baking this weekend? Try these! They are delicious, one of my favorite bar/tray bake recipes. The bars are buttery, crisp, jammy, and coconut-y all at the same time. The dozen or so diced dried apricots sprinkled on top of the apricot jam boost the apricot flavor appreciably.

I’ve been making these bars for at least a decade. The original recipe was made with raspberry jam (and no diced apricots, obviously), but I think my apricot jam version with the addition of diced dried apricots takes the cake…, the bar…, the tray bake!

Apricot-Coconut Bars

1 ½ cups sweetened flaked coconut, divided use

1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

¾ cup packed light brown sugar

½ teaspoon salt

¾ cup cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1 ½ cups old-fashioned oats

¾ cup apricot jam

10-12 dried apricots finely diced

  1. Prepare a 9×13 pan by lightly greasing bottom and sides or lining with parchment paper.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  3. Toast the coconut in a dry frying pan until golden. Stir constantly and watch carefully OR spread onto a baking sheet and bake in a 375 degree oven for about 8 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  4. In the bowl of a food processor blend flour, brown sugar and salt. With motor running add butter pieces gradually then blend until a dough begins to form.
  5. Add 1 cup of toasted coconut and all of the oatmeal to dough in bowl, mix lightly but thoroughly, approx. 2-4 short bursts.
  6. Reserve ¾ cup of the dough and set aside.
  7. Press remaining dough into bottom of a prepared 9×13 inch baking pan.
  8. Spread jam evenly over dough layer (It might help to heat jam briefly in the microwave to make it easier to spread).
  9. Crumble reserved ¾ cup of dough over jam.
  10. Sprinkle reserved ½ cup coconut over top of bars.
  11. Bake in middle of preheated 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes.
  12. Cool in pan.
  13. Lift entire slab out of pan, transfer to cutting board and cut into bars of desired size and shape.
  14. Bars can be made 3 days in advance and stored in an airtight container at room temperature.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today!

13 Mar 2018 British Pork Pie

Finally!  A Pork Pie recipe that is pretty darn good (and not that hard to produce)! My Dad, a traditional Yorkshire-man, loved pork pies. I really, really wish he were still here to taste my version. To my mind, this Pork Pie favorably rivals the famous Melton Mowbry Pork Pies, but that might just be a braggadocious assertion 🙂

I have modified a recipe by new wave British chef, Richard Bertinet, for my version of Pork Pie. I have used Chef Bertinet’s version of hot-water crust pastry, unchanged (hot-water crust pastry is only used for making savory pies that are eaten cold). I made some substantial changes to his filling recipe though. First, I changed the meats and the ratios.  Then I added onion (which is so not traditional). I upped the spices and added a few different ones. I added eight hard boiled eggs (which are optional) and, to the “jelly”, I added a good shot of bourbon, which has been in no recipe I’ve ever seen, but I did it for my Dad and, in my mind, it will remain the magical addition to this very tasty version of a British Pork Pie.

Pork Pie is a traditional picnic, quick meal, or bar snack in England. It’s a firm solid pie, nothing drips out of a Pork Pie.  Instead of gravy moistening the meat, there’s a jelly-like substance. Don’t be afraid of it! It’s delicious. In my version the “jelly” is broth, bourbon and a little unflavored gelatin (see recipe for notes on making the broth).

This recipe requires a 9″ Springform pan. You will also need a meat grinder or a food processor. Have neither? You can still do this, just chop everything very, very finely. A food syringe would be wonderful to have, too, but not to worry if you don’t have one. Above all, you will also need a plan! The recipe has three components: hot water crust pastry, pork filling, and a broth based “jelly”. Cooking time will be approximately 2 ½ hours. Before baking, the pastry will need approximately 90 minutes to “rest”. The filling can be made while the pastry is resting. Make Pork Pie at least one day before serving. The meat and jelly need at least 8 hours to settle, set, and chill before serving.

The British like to spread condiments on their pork pies, so serve your pork pie with a jar of Branston’s Pickle*, Piccalilli Relish*, Mango Chutney or coarse mustard (*available on Amazon, some Indian markets and some supermarkets with large international sections).

Polly’s English Pork Pie

For the Hot-water Crust Pastry:

  • 175g/ 6 oz lard (or, if you can afford it/find it, use goose or duck fat like Richard Bertinet suggests)
  • 175ml/6 fluid oz. water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 450g/16 oz all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg , lightly beaten with a fork
  1. Put the lard, water, salt and sugar in a pan and bring to a boil, stirring as the lard melts. When it comes to a boil, count to 30 seconds and immediately take the pan off the heat.
  2. While the lard is melting, put the flour into a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour and stir in the beaten egg.
  3. Pour the hot liquid mixture into the flour mixture, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon.
  4. When the mixture forms quite a dough, cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and let rest and cool for 1 hour.
  5. While the dough is resting, make the filling.

For the Three Porks Filling

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 bunch of green onions, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Olive oil, as needed OR use the oil from the can of anchovies
  • 1 small can (2 oz) anchovy fillets, drained and chopped
  1. Heat oil in a medium frying pan. Add in chopped onion, and sauté until soft and translucent.
  2. Add in green onion and sauté for another 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add in garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Do not let garlic darken.
  4. Turn off heat and stir in diced anchovies. Set mixture aside to cool.
  • 1 ¼ lbs pork chops, with some fat (pork shoulder or country style pork ribs can be used, too)
  • 8 oz diced pancetta
  • 8 oz bacon, diced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 whole nutmeg, grated OR approximately 2 teaspoons of ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon mace
  • 8 hard-boiled eggs, shelled (the eggs just need to be softly hard boiled, the eggs will have additional cooking time in the oven) – optional
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  1. Prepare meat for food processor (large chunks) or meat grinder (long strips). Include some fat! Take your time to season each piece of meat with salt and pepper (heavy on the pepper), crumbled sage, mace, and freshly grated nutmeg.
  2. Combine seasoned pork with diced pancetta, diced bacon, and the reserved onion mixture. Make sure everything is well combined.
  3. Grind the three pork and onion mixture with a meat grinder on a coarse setting or briefly process with short burst in food processor (do not over process, you don’t want a paste, you want chopped meat).
  4. Set ground meat aside and turn attention to pastry now.

To Fill Pie

  1. Turn the pastry onto a lightly floured work surface.
  2. Roll pastry into a rectangle. Fold the dough into thirds by taking one side into the center and then bringing the opposite side over the top. Flatten the dough into a rough oblong shape. Cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for 30 minutes (or longer, if needed)
  3. Prepare 9″ springform pan by lightly greasing and flouring bottom and sides.
  4. Preheat oven to 400° Fahrenheit.
  5. Remove pastry from refrigerator.
  6. Cut off ¼ of pastry and set aside for top.
  7. Roll remaining ¾ pastry into a large circle to fit along the bottom and up the sides of the 9″ springform pan. Be careful with the rolling out.  Pastry should be thick, and equally thick throughout, the sheet (this pie needs a thick, firm shell on the bottom, sides, and top).
  8. Gently fold pastry to lift into prepared pan. Place pastry in center of pan and ensure it covers all the way up all the sides of the pan. Patch any holes or tears.
  9. Place 1/3 of filling in bottom of pastry case. (If you choose not to use eggs, place all the filling in the pastry case.)
  10. Place shelled hard-boiled eggs in a ring on top of filling in bottom of pan, optional.
  11. Lightly spoon remaining filling over the ring of eggs. Be sure eggs are completely covered and the top is evenly smoothed.
  12. Roll out remaining pasty into circle to fit on top of filling.
  13. Firmly adhere top to side pastry. Trim excess crust.
  14. If you have any excess pastry, make decorations for top of pie, if desired.
  15. Beat egg lightly, then brush over top of pastry.
  16. Using the handle of a wooden spoon, make several holes into top of pastry (for steam to escape). Be careful where you poke. Don’t pierce a hard-boiled egg!
  17. Place pie in oven. Bake at 400° for 30 minutes.
  18. Reduce heat to 325°, bake for an additional 90 minutes.
  19. Meanwhile, make the “jelly”

For the “jelly”

  • 7 oz really good quality pork or chicken stock (I make my own. If your pork came with bones, boil the bones with a bit of extra meat, even throw in an extra pork chop, if you have one. Add in some diced veggies for taste. I like onions, carrots, celery and a bay leaf, simmer for at least an hour. Taste the broth, it should taste good and rich. If you don’t say “mmmm”, keep simmering until you do. Add salt and pepper if needed. If you have more meat, bones, or veggies, add them too. If you have homemade chicken stock, use that. If you have only canned stock, jazz it up a bit. Pour broth into a pan and add in a piece of chicken or some chicken bones if you have them, and any veggies you have on hand plus a bay leaf. Simmer and taste. Once you get a really good taste, strain, throw out the veggies, bones, etc. retain the broth).
  • 4 oz bourbon
  • 1 pkt unflavored gelatin
  1. About 15 minutes before pie is done, put 2 tablespoons of cold broth or water in a small bowl, sprinkle gelatin on top, and let sit until gelatin is soft.
  2. Meanwhile, heat broth to a light simmer. Remove from heat.
  3. Stir in softened gelatin and 4 oz bourbon.
  4. When cooked, remove pie from oven.
  5. If you have a baking syringe, fill it with the gelatin mixture and inject pie with stock mixture, avoiding eggs, all over the top of the pie. If you don’t have a syringe, with wooden spoon, re-punch holes in pastry and punch 3-5 additional holes (avoiding the eggs, of course). Pour gelatin mixture into all the holes. Let mixture settle, then add more liquid. Keep doing this until all the gelatin has been added.
  6. When pie has cooled, cover and refrigerate, preferably overnight but for at least 8 hours.
  7. Remove from refrigerator 2 hours before serving. Serve in wedges with jars of Branston Pickle, Piccalilli, Mango Chutney, and whole grain mustard on the side.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today!

26 Jan 2018 Potatoes Baked in Cream (Potato Gratin)

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Did the name of the recipe entice you click on this?! Well then, that makes us friends forever!

When my friends from Southern France were staying with us, they offered to make a side dish for dinner.  They didn’t use a recipe. They sliced up a few potatoes, sprinkled them with salt and pepper, poured a carton of cream over the top, and put the whole thing in the oven. Sixty minutes later my family’s love affair with Potatoes Baked in Cream began.

Last year I found an actual written down recipe, one that I can pass on, one with precise quantities and directions.  The recipe is from David Tanis’ cookbook, “Market Cooking”. I made one change to Chef Tanis’ recipe, I cut out an additional four tablespoons of butter! Chef Tanis calls his recipe “Classic Potato Gratin”, but to me and my family it will always be “Potatoes Baked in Cream”.

I think you will be surprised at how delicious this very simple dish is. I certainly was. Sublime. After you taste Potatoes Bake in Cream, that will be your word of the day. Sublime.

An important note:  Leftovers don’t reheat well, so make sure you eat all of the potatoes in one sitting (invite friends over, take the dish to a potluck, serve these potatoes for a holiday meal…). I haven’t tried reheating leftovers in the oven, so that might work (see David Tanis’ *note below). I have tried reheating leftovers in the microwave.  Don’t do it on 100% power!  I had so-so results reheating on 50% power. I wouldn’t serve them to anyone else, but I was able to eat them!  I have also had so-so results from throwing a handful of diced ham into a hot frying pan, dicing up a serving of leftover casserole, and reheating over medium heat. It made for a good breakfast, but nothing-nothing-like the original casserole served hot from the oven.

Another important note: The potatoes need to be sliced thinly and evenly. 1/8th inch or 3/16ths an inch is about right. You can do this with a very sharp knife and by working slowly and carefully, like my French friends did. I use a mandolin to slice the potatoes. If you don’t have one, I’d suggest getting one.  I bought mine on Amazon after looking at all the reviews and selecting the highest rated one. Later I started seeing mandolins at Savers/Goodwill for about $6.  I bought used mandolins for my daughters. Go to Savers.

Potatoes Baked in Cream (Potato Gratin)

  • 3 pounds russet potatoes
  • butter to coat the baking dish (Chef Tanis uses 4 more tablespoons butter to dot top of casserole, I don’t)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2½ cups heavy whipping cream (don’t even think about substituting anything for the cream, such as half and half or whole milk, it just won’t work!)
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375°. Peel the potatoes and put them in cold water (to prevent them from turning brown while you finish the prep work. Slice only one layer of potatoes as a time. Keep the other potatoes in the cold water. The browning happens fast when the potatoes are so thinly cut).
  2. Smear a baking dish thickly with butter. (I use a 9×13 dish but I am looking for a dish that’s the same size and a bit shallower since the quantity of potatoes only come half way up the sides of the 9×13 pan. The waste of space bothers me a bit as I’d like to have a dedicated Potatoes Baked in Cream pan because, after all, this is a dish I will be making over and over! That being said, I’ve been using the same 9×13 pan for a few years now, so it’s really not a problem.)
  3. Drain and dry one peeled potato at a time. Using a mandolin or a very sharp knife, slice one potatoes at a time as thinly as possible. Quickly lay the potato slices in the bottom of the baking dish, overlapping them just slightly to make a “roof tile” style pattern. Sprinkle each layer of potatoes lightly with salt and pepper. Slice more potatoes and make another layer. Continue in this fashion, seasoning each layer, until all the potatoes are used. You should have at least 3, but no more than 4 layers.
  4. Pour the cream over the potatoes and tilt the pan to distribute well. With your hands, push down on the top layer to even out the pile (I don’t do this, but Chef Tanis says to). The cream should just barely cover the potatoes; add a little more if necessary.
  5. Cover the casserole dish tightly with foil and place in oven. Bake for 30 minutes at 375°.
  6. After 30 minutes remove the foil from the casserole, and return to the oven for another 30-35 minutes to finish cooking the potatoes and turn the top of the gratin to a crispy, deep golden brown.
  7. Let the gratin rest for 10 minutes before serving.

*Note from David Tanis: The gratin can also be cooled and left at room temperature for several hours, then reheated in a moderate oven. (I haven’t tested this)

Thank you for stopping by my kitchen today, what is cooking for tomorrow, hmmmm…. Pork and Tomatillo Stew?

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!