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The Cake Slice Bakers: Chocolate Cream Pound Cake Trifle

It seems like this month’s challenge came around so fast.  I wasn’t too excited about the winning cake as I am not a huge fan of chocolate desserts.  Unless of course it’s a warm molten cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream! I decided early on that I was going to use the cake to make a trifle since I thought it would be too boring on its own.  This ended up being quite a good idea as the cake itself was not too pretty looking.  It formed this crust on top and kind of sank.  Although I am not complaining about the crust because it tasted sooo good.  Sort of reminded me of a chocolate lady finger if the existed.  Wait, do they exist?  If so I have never seen them! LOL

I tried a tiny piece of the cake before assembling the trifle and it was quite good.  I used regular cocoa powder instead of the Dutch process cocoa powder the recipe calls for.  I also added 1/2 tsp of pure orange extract thinking it would add a nice touch which luckily it did…orange and chocolate always seems to be a combo.  The other components of the trifle are a sauce of blueberries, raspberries and marionberries and regular cool whip.  I added orange juice to the berry sauce and orange extract to the cool whip to keep that background flavor throughout the dessert.  I did not try the finished dessert because I am taking it to my Bible study group tomorrow.  I hope the ladies enjoy it!

Check out my fellow bakers’ cake here.

Recipe from Cake Keeper Cakes by Lauren Chattman

Ingredients:

  • 6 tbsp unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Method:

Heat the oven to 325F.  Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan and dust with flour.  Sift the cocoa powder into a heatproof bowl.  Place the cream in a microwavable bowl and heat for 30-60 seconds until just boiling.  Pour the hot cream over the cocoa and stir and mash with a spoon to make a thick paste.  Set aside to cool.

Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a medium mixing bowl.  Combine the butter and sugar in a large bowl and cream with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Scape down the sides of the bowl once or twice as necessary.  Beat in the cocoa powder paste until smooth.  With the mixer on medium-low speed add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition.  Stir in the vanilla extract.  Turn the mixer to low speed and add the flour mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, scraping down the sides after each addition.  After the last addition mix for 30 seconds on medium speed.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula.  Bake the cake until it is firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1hr and 10 min.  Let the cake cool in the pan for 5 minutes.  Invert it onto a wire rack and then turn it right side up to cool completely.  Store uneaten cake in a cake keeper or wrap and store at room temperature for up to 3 days.

 

 

 
8 Comments

Posted by on March 20, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Daring Bakers: Panna Cotta and Florentine Cookies

The February 2011 Daring Baker’s challenge was hosted by Mallory from A Sofa in the Kitchen.  She chose to challenge everyone to make Panna Cotta from a Giada De Laurentis’ recipe and Nestle Florentine Cookies.  I was especially excited about making the panna cotta as I had heard of it so many times but never ventured out to make it myself.  I love to desserts (obviously) but when it comes to making them I usually play it safe with a cake of sorts.  This is why I am so happy to be a part of Daring Bakers as it challenges me to put fear aside and make things I probably would have never considered attempting.

Alright, on to this month’s challenge which I made for my Bible study group on Valentine’s day.  The panna cotta was ridiculously easy to make.  I topped it with some frozen mixed berries that I cooked down with some sugar.  The florentines were also easy to make it was just a bit time consuming.  I didn’t try either of the desserts but the ladies assured me they were both delicious.  Only one of them had ever heard of or tried panna cotta so it was fun to share something new with them.

Check out my fellow bakers here to see their creamy dreamy crunchy sweet desserts.  Thanks Mallory for such a fun challenge this month!

 
12 Comments

Posted by on February 27, 2011 in Cookies

 

The Cake Slice Bakers: Heath Bar Crunch Cake

I was happy to see that I had everything on hand for this month’s cake with the exception of the instant espresso powder.  I am not a coffee drinker so it is simply not something I keep at home.  I was off to the grocery store to get the espresso powder and found that the smallest jar was $3.  Yes, it’s not much money but since I would not be using it again and other bakers said it was too intense with the coffee I made an executive decision and decided to leave it out.  I ended up swapping it out for 1 tbsp of cocoa powder.  I made some other minor changes which included adding some sliced almonds to the streusel to make up for not quite 1 cup of heath pieces.  The last of my changes were adding a handful or so of semi-sweet chocolate chips and some more almonds to the batter.

I made the cake for one of my co-worker’s to celebrate his birthday this past Friday.  I did not try the cake myself but got some great reviews from the birthday boy along with my other co-workers.  I hope my fellow bakers enjoyed it as much as my co-workers did.  Check them out here to find out what their thoughts were.

For the cake:

  • 1  1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp instant espresso powder
  • 1  1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1  1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk

For the streusel:

  • 1 cup chopped heath bars
  • 2 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter, softened

Method-Streusel

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 9″ springform pan.  Combine heath bar pieces, sugar, flour and butter in a medium mixing bowl. Work mixture with your fingers until it resembles large crumbs.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

Method-Cake

Combine flour, baking powder, salt and espresso powder in a medium mixing bowl.  Combine butter and sugar in a mixing bowl of a stand mixer and cream at medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes.  With the mixer on low-speed add egg, egg yolk and vanilla extract.

With the mixer on low-speed add 1/3 of the flour mixture and 1/2 the milk, scraping down the bowl after each addition.  Repeat, alternating the flour and milk, ending with the flour.  Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, leveling it with a spatula.  Scatter the streusel evenly over the cake and bake for 55-60 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool cake in pan on wire rack for 5 minutes.  Release the sides of the pan and use a spatula to slide cake off the pan bottom onto wire rack to finish cooling.  Store cake in a cake keeper or wrapped in plastic wrap at room temperature for up to 3 days.

 

 
9 Comments

Posted by on February 20, 2011 in Cakes

 

Daring Bakers: Biscuit Joconde Imprime/Entremet

The January 2011 Daring Baker’s challenge was hosted by Astheroshe of the blog Acro.  She chose to challenge everyone to make a Biscuit Joconde Imprime to wrap around an Entremets dessert.

My initial reaction to this month’s challenge was one of shock but then the creative juices started flowing.  I was thinking of doing a layer of lemon curd, raspberry mousse and lemon mousse.  I was pretty much set on the flavors until I bought the almond flour needed for the joconde imprime.  The almond flour was $10 and it was just going to be too costly with the ingredients needed for the mousse and curd.

So, it was time to move to plan “B.”  I was making this month’s dessert for a special dinner for my friend and I since both our birthdays are in January.  It just happen to be that Haagen Dazs was on sale and we both love ice cream cake and so plan “B” was born.  I decided on dulce de leche, vanilla and mango ice cream with crushed coconut cookies in between each layer.  I would have preferred to make my own fillings but this was simply a better option due to cost and time.

I wish I could say this challenge was a success for me like last month’s fantastic stollen.  I think pretty much everything that could have gone wrong did.  Let’s start with the fact that my joconde imprime stuck to the silicone liner.  I thought nothing was supposed to stick to those darn things!

Needless to say I was extremely frustrated after peeling the joconde imprime from the liner.  I worked so hard at piping my design that I about cried.  After calming down I decided to do my best and just make it work.  After softening the dulce de leche ice cream I spread it in my springform pan (w/o the bottom) and layered the crushed cookies on top.  I popped it in the freezer to harden before adding the next layer of ice cream.  Well, it seems that the baking sheet I had the pan resting on was slanted and some of the ice cream leaked out all over the freezer.  Fast forward to my birthday dinner with my friend and cutting into our ice cream cake.  We were anxiously awaiting beautiful layers of creamy caramel colored dulce de leche, vanilla and golden mango ice cream.  Instead I cut into what ended up being a tan-colored cake!  I have no idea what happened but there was no distinction between the different layers.

Yes, it tasted good but how could anyone go wrong with Haagen Dazs ice cream?  I might as well have scooped the ice cream into a nice bowl and added the cookies.  The most upsetting part of the entire experience was that my joconde imprime…..I have no idea what went wrong.  If you want to see hundreds of successful and GORGEOUS finished desserts then head on to check out all my fellow daring bakers right here.

 
14 Comments

Posted by on January 27, 2011 in Cakes

 

The Cake Slice Bakers: Graham Cracker Chocolate Chip Cake

When I first joined the group and noticed we post on the 20th I thought it was kind of cool since I would eventually be posting on my birthday.  Well, the day has come…..today I am 29 yrs old!  Thanking the Lord for another year of life and looking forward to His plans for my life in 2011.  Now on to the task at hand…posting about this month’s cake.

I was very excited to try this cake as it instantly reminded me of this s’mores bar I had while participating at a taste test panel.  I still have yet to try an actual s’mores but that bar was amazing and I guess that is what I was hoping for.  I baked the cake for my new Bible study this Monday and the ladies loved it which was great.  The ladies kept on describing it like a delicious giant cookie which is exactly what it tasted like.  I had a small piece once I got home and to me it was like a chocolate chip cookie with an almost buttercream frosting (not as sweet).

When I made the frosting I actually added more marshmallow fluff hoping it would make the flavor stand out but nope.  Maybe I should have just lathered on the fluff by itself?!?  Overall this was a yummy recipe just not what I was expecting.  I will make it again but in a round baking pan and just call it a chocolate chip cookie cake!

Check out the other bakers here.

For the cake

  • 8 whole graham crackers, finely ground (1 cup)
  • 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

For the frosting

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup marshmallow fluff

Method-cake

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease an 8″ square baking pan and dust it lightly with flour, knocking out any extra.  Combine the cracker crumbs, flour, baking powder and salt in a medium mixing bowl.  Combine the  butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and cream (w/ paddle attachment) on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.  With the mixer on low-speed add the whole egg, egg yolk and vanilla.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then beat until smooth.

With the mixer on low-speed add a third of the flour mixture and half of the milk, stirring until combined.  Repeat with the remaining flour and milk, ending with the flour.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula.  Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes (mine was done @ 30 min).  Let the cake cool in the pan for about 10 minutes.  Invert it onto a wire rack and then turn it right side up to cool completely.

Method-frosting

Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat (w/ paddle attachment) until creamy.  With the mixer on low-speed, slowly add the sugar, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.  Stir in the vanilla and the marshmallow fluff and beat until smooth.  Use immediately or cover the bowl with plastic wrap and keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.

* I doubled the recipe with no problem and baked it in a 9×13 baking pan.

 

 
9 Comments

Posted by on January 20, 2011 in Cakes

 

Doughnut challenge revisited

Just two months ago I made donuts for the first time thanks to Daring Bakers.  For October’s challenge I went with the bomboloni recipe and really enjoyed the end result and so did my co-workers.  I would say that at least twice a month I share my baking efforts with my co-workers. Out of everything I have brought the last 5 months there is nothing my friend Stacey enjoyed more than the doughnuts.  I figured it was obvious there was no better way to say “Happy Birthday” to her today than with some homemade doughnuts.

Even though Kate Neumann’s bomboloni recipe was such a success I decided I wanted to give Alton Brown’s recipe a try.  Armed with the doughnut cutter at I bought at Sur la table last week I was ready to go.  I made the dough last night and left it in the fridge overnight for the first rise.  Thanks to tips from many of my fellow talented Daring Bakers I knew to expect working with a wet dough.  I figured this morning it would be easier to work with after it rising in the fridge.  Well, this was so  not the case….it was seriously a sticky mess!  I was liberal with the flour when rolling out the dough but it still stuck to my counter when trying to cut out the doughnuts.  After I vented out my frustration a bit I scraped off the dough and rolled it out again this time being more generous with the flour.  It was much better the second time around although not as easy as I would have liked.

I let the doughnuts go for a second rise for about 1hr and then it was frying time!  The first doughnuts I had cut out were very hard to get off my floured baking sheet and completely lost their shape.  The rest I was able to get off without a problem and fried up to perfectly shaped doughnuts.  I rolled the doughnut holes and crazy shaped doughnuts in cinnamon sugar.  The rest I did half traditional glaze and chocolate glaze sprinkled with heath pieces.  I ended up with 20 glazed doughnuts and way to many doughnut holes and crazy shapes.  These were so incredibly light and airy with the right amount of sweetness.  I was sure there was going to leftovers being that many people were out on vacation but they were all gone before lunch time!  Best of all Stacey was totally surprised and really enjoyed her birthday gift.

Yeast Doughnuts adapted from Alton Brown

Ingredients

  • 1  1/2 cups of milk
  • 2  1/2 ounces of unsalted butter
  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup warm water (95 to 105 degrees F)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1  1/2 tsp salt
  • 23 ounces all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting surface
  • canola oil for frying

Place the milk in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat just until warm enough to melt the butter.  Place the butter in a bowl and pour warmed milk over.  Set aside.

In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and let dissolve for 5 minutes.  After 5 minutes pour the yeast mixture into the large bowl of a stand mixer and add the milk/butter mixture (make sure lukewarm).  Add the eggs, sugar, salt and half of the flour mixture. Using the paddle attachment, combine the ingredients on low-speed until flour is incorporated and then turn the speed up to medium and beat until well combined.  Add the remaining flour, combining on low-speed at first and then increase to medium and beat well.  Change to the dough hook attachment and beat on medium speed until the dough pulls away from the bowl and becomes smooth, approximately 3 to 4 minutes.  Transfer to a well-oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in the refrigerator overnight.

Let the dough rest for 30 minutes to take the chill off (I did it for less and think that could have been my problem).  Punch down the dough and then roll it out to 3/8 inch thick on a well-floured surface.  Cut out dough using a 2  1/2 inch doughnut cutter or pastry ring and using a 7/8 inch ring for the center hole.  Set on floured baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap, let rise for 1hr.

Preheat the oil in Dutch oven to 365 degrees F.  Gently place the doughnuts into the oil, 3-4 at a time, and cook for about 45 seconds per side.  Transfer to a cooling rack lined with parchment paper underneath.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes prior to glazing, if desired.

Chocolate doughnut glaze adapted from Alton Brown

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp (1oz) milk
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tbsp marshmallow creme (fluff)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted

Combine butter, milk, marshmallow creme and vanilla in medium saucepan over medium heat until butter is melted.  Reduce to low heat and add chocolate, whisk until melted.  Turn off heat and add sugar, whisk until smooth.  Dip doughnuts and let glaze set for 30 min.

*recipe called for light corn syrup but I didn’t have any and when I googled possible substitutions it mentioned marshmallow creme

Glaze recipe from allrecipes.com

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1  1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 4 tbsp hot water

Melt butter over medium heat.  Stir in sugar and vanilla and whisk until smooth.  Remove from heat and whisk in the hot water 1 tbsp at a time.  The icing should be somewhat thin but not watery.  Dip doughnuts and let glaze set for 20 minutes.

 
5 Comments

Posted by on December 30, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

Daring Bakers: Christmas Stollen

The 2010 December Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Penny of Sweet Sadie’s Baking.  She chose to challenge daring bakers to make stollen.  She adapted a friend’s family recipe and combined it with information from friends, techniques from Peter Reinhart’s book and Martha Stewart’s demonstration.

When I read about this month’s challenge I was sure I was not going to like it because it instantly reminded me of panettone which I am not a fan of.  Well, much to my surprise this was absolutely fantastic!  The stollen was massive…the above picture does not do it any justice when it comes to size.  I took a good size piece to work and then pretty much ate the rest all by myself for breakfast and the occasional snack over the course of a week.  My stollen was studded with toasted almonds, coconut, dried pineapple and rum soaked raisins.  Next time I will be more generous with the almonds and coconut so the flavors can be more pronounced.

You can go here to checkout how the other daring bakers handled this month’s challenge.  Click here for a printable version of Penny’s wonderful stollen!

 
21 Comments

Posted by on December 27, 2010 in Bread