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Posts from the ‘Features, Articles and Recipes’ Category

Happy 4th Of July – An Homage to The Royal Wedding Cake

I was intrigued by the cake created for the royal wedding, you know Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, elegant and simple with lovely flavors both delicate and bold. When I read about the cake I knew instantly that I wanted to make it. The recipe was published, sort of, it fed thousands so I couldn’t use that recipe, trimming down such a massive amount of ingredients is impossible. A few years ago I found a great recipe for Genoise and decided to use that recipe adding lemon zest and an elderflower soaking syrup. The buttercream is from Stella Parks on Serious Eats @bravetart. I added some elderflower cordial as a flavoring along with the vanilla. It’s fabulous.

One thing I found very interesting is that the quality of buttercream can vary depending on the type of butter you use. I like Kerrygold unsalted it’s super creamy and seems to have a slightly higher fat content.

This cake is going with me to an outdoor BBQ, don’t worry it won’t sit outside in the heat. The BBQ is at my neighbors and I can leave the cake at home until we are ready to serve, I can run home and bring the cake when it’s time for dessert.

I have not tasted it at least not the sum of all its parts, nor do I have any photos of the cut cake since I won’t be serving until tomorrow. Fingers crossed that everyone likes, I want to wish all who celebrate Independence Day in the USA a wonderful day.

Note: If you don’t have cake flour make your own for 1 cup you remove 4 tbs of the flour and replace with 4 tbs of corn starch.

Lemon Curd 

Recipe from Martha Stewart

1 cup sugar

1 tbs lemon zest

2/3 cup fresh lemon juice

8 egg yolks from large eggs

10 tbs unsalted butter cut into small pieces

1/4 tsp kosher salt

Whisk together the sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, egg yolks and salt in a medium size saucepan off heat. Add the butter and cook over medium low heat whisking constantly until the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spoon.  Remove from heat still whisking (this is important you do not want your eggs to scramble) Pour through sieve into container or bowl, cover with plastic wrap you press onto the surface of the curd and refrigerate until cold preferably overnight.

Elderflower soaking syrup

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup water

1/4 cup St Germaine or elderflower cordial.

Bring to a boil, lower heat and cook until sugar is melted, approximately 15 minutes. Pour into container and allow to cool.

Genoise

From Gourmet Magazine

2/3 cup sugar

1 cup cake flour (sifted first then measured)

1 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

zest of one lemon approximately 1 tbs

5 tbs butter melted and cooled

Heat oven to 350 degree’s

Prepare 2 round 8 inch baking pans, spray with cooking spray and lay a parchment round. Spray or grease the pan and dust with flour. Set aside.

Whip the eggs, sugar, vanilla on medium high until tripled in volume and when paddle is lifted it forms a ribbon.  Melt the butter in a small bowl and set aside. Add the salt to the sifted and measured flour. Sift the flour in 3 installments into the egg mixture gently folding with each addition. Place a scant 1/4 of the batter into the melted butter and mix to combine then add back into the batter folding until incorporated completely. Divide equally into baking pans give a gentle tap on the counter and bake for 25-30 minutes until lightly browned. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes then turn onto cooling racks.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Recipe found on Serious Eats by @bravetart- Stella Parks

6 ounces room temperature egg whites ( 2/3 cup or 5-6 large eggs)

11 ounces (1 2/3 cup sugar)

1/4 tsp cream of tartar

3/4 tsp kosher salt

20 ounces (5 sticks) unsalted room temperature (soft) butter cut into pieces ( I recommend using Kerrygold unsalted butter)

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 tsp elderflower cordial (use more if you like I went for subtle)

Heat about 1 1/2 inches of water in a large saucepan, bring to a simmer. Put the egg whites, sugar and salt into the bowl of your stand mixer and stir with heat proof spatula. Place over the simmering water making sure not to let the bottom of the bowl touch the water. Stir constantly with he spatula until the sugar is COMPLETELY melted and the egg whites are almost hot to the touch. Remove the bowl and attach to your mixer and beat on medium high for about 10 minutes or until the egg whites are thick and glossy and completely cooled. With mixer on add the butter one or two tbs at a time until you have added all of the butter. It’s ok if the buttercream breaks or curdles keep beating it will come together again. Add the vanilla and elderflower cordial and beat a few more minutes. Use immediately but you can make ahead of time and refrigerate. If you do bring to room temperature and beat again before use. For more detailed instructions click here

Putting It all together

Slice off (carefully) the top of the cake very very thinly. Put the bottom layer cut side up on your cake stand and using the pastry brush dab with the elder flower syrup. Pipe some of the butter cream along the edge of the cake and fill the middle in with a thin layer of lemon curd, spread some of the butter cream over the curd. Now add the top layer cut side down (bottom of cake is the top). Spread cake with thin layer of butter cream, a crumb coat. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Frost the rest of the cake. The cake should be brought to room temperature before serving and this is not a good cake to serve outside in the heat, the buttercream is fragile and will melt quite quickly. This buttercream is best served at room temperature not cold so if the cake is refrigerated take it out about an hour before serving.

Elusive Inspiration

I want to start out by apologizing for being so lax in responding to comments and also want to apologize for not visiting your blogs like I used to. I want to do better and I won’t go into detail about what is going on but I want you all to know I will try to do better.

Blogging can be a lot of work, I love it but when I am uninspired I don’t like to just post anything just for the sake of posting something. I have been searching for inspiration and it eludes me, hence you haven’t heard from me in a while. I cook but it’s nothing new or exciting and certainly not blog worthy. It’s also so strange, as when I bake lately I have more fails than I normally do which is discouraging. I took that as a sign that maybe I needed to lay low for a while, re group and then start over.

I finally was inspired to bake something when I watched the royal wedding. Now I am not a big fan of royal weddings, I did watch so I could see her dress and what the guests were wearing but the pomp and circumstance doesn’t really peek my interest. The cake however did! It is simple and beautiful and the flavors sound wonderful. A lemon sponge with lemon curd and elderflower soaking syrup and it’s frosted with a Swiss meringue buttercream gently flavored with elder flower. I grabbed these photo’s from Instagram from the bakers feed. She is an American living in London who has been baking since she was a wee one and has a lovely bakery, Violets Cakes.

I love that this wedding cake is not fussy, simply decorated with fresh flowers, this cake spoke to me. So I plan on making it and will post no matter how it turns out. What could go wrong, well plenty given my penchant for fails lately but this cake inspired me and I have to make it.

On another note, Percy and Jenna Rose are doing well. Percy’s diabetes is much more difficult to deal with than I thought it would be and my poor boy is having a difficult time.  Percy has had a persistent eye infection that has not responded to antibiotics. Hoping the new meds I have now will work.

 

Lemon Cream Tart

I have posted this recipe and several variations multiple times but the lemon cream is so good it’s time to post it again. Recipes get lost in the volumes of pages on the blog and are all but forgotten. This creamy lemon filling has been used in cakes, to stabilize whipped cream and as is the case here in a tart. I love just eating it on its own, it’s that good!! You can use other fruit and fruit juice besides lemon, I’ve made this with blackberry, orange, raspberry. It always turns out delicious.

The recipe is from Tartine Bakery and I saw it years ago on Food52. Its super easy to make and has always turned out perfectly. The only change I made was that I added some lemon zest to make the lemon flavor even more intense. I used my go too pie crust by Julia Child and whipped some heavy cream for the top, it would be equally good with meringue.

Lemon Cream

 Recipe for Tartine Bakery’s Lemon Cream

Makes about 2 1/2 cups (625 ml)

1/2 cup + 2 tbsp (5 oz/155 ml) lemon juice (Meyer or regular)

3 large eggs

1 large egg yolk

3/4 cup (6 oz/170 g) sugar

Pinch of salt

1 cup (8 oz/225 g) unsalted butter

zest of 2 lemons (0ptional)

Pour water to a depth of about 2 inches into a saucepan, place over medium heat, and bring to a simmer.

Combine the lemon juice, lemon zest, whole eggs, yolk, sugar, and salt in a stainless steel bowl that will rest securely in the rim of a saucepan over, not touching, the water. (Never let the egg yolks and sugar sit together for more than a moment without stirring; the sugar will cook the yolks and turn them granular.) Place the bowl over the saucepan and continue to whisk until the mixture becomes very thick and registers 180° F on a thermometer. This will take 10 to 12 minutes. If you don’t have or trust your thermometer, don’t worry. It should thicken to the point that your whisk leaves a trail through the curd. NOTE: I don’t use a thermometer, the lemon mixture will thicken and coat the back of the spoon, draw a line on the back of the spoon with your finger, the line will stay intact. It took about 11 minutes for mine to thicken properly.

Remove the bowl from over the water and let cool to 140° F, stirring from time to time to release the heat.

Meanwhile, cut butter into 1-tablespoon (15-ml) pieces. When the cream is ready, leave it in the bowl if using an immersion blender, or pour it into a countertop blender. With the blender running, add the butter 1 tablespoon at a time, blending after each addition until incorporated before adding the next piece. The cream will be pale yellow and opaque and quite thick.

You can use the cream immediately, or pour it into a storage container with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate for up to 5 days.

 

Cake – A Learning Experience And A Tip

This is a cake recipe that I have been making for years and years, the recipe is tried and true, tested and developed by my Mom many moons ago. Why then did it fail?  I posted this recipe a long time ago on Food52, it has been featured, made over and over again by hundreds and it’s a really good recipe. It all started a few weeks ago when I decided to make a cake, I followed the directions as I always do, did not deviate, everything looked good until I got the cake out of the oven, it looked different, the sides were shrinking, coming away from the sides of the pan, not just a little but dramatically and the texture just didn’t seem right. It was more like an angel food cake than a yellow cake and was mis-shapen and lopsided. I thought I had to have done something wrong, maybe I whipped the egg whites too long, so I threw it away and made it again this time being EXTREMELY careful with my preparation. Guess what, same outcome. I honestly didn’t know what to think, I am not a novice baker, I try to use quality ingredients and follow directions to the letter. It was discouraging to say the least. I systematically started analyzing everything that went into this cake, eggs were the right size and at room temperature, milk also room temperature, my baking powder was not expired, the only change was that I opened a new box of  cake flour so I thought hmmmm maybe it was the flour. I called King Arthur Bakers Catalog, who by the way are a wonderful company and spoke to one of their baking experts, they took down the lot number and other information on all 3 boxes that I had received and asked me to do an experiment, try making my own cake flour, in case you have never done this you remove 4 tbs of flour from 1 cup of all purpose flour and replace with 4 tbs of corn starch, btw, they refunded my money which I didn’t ask them to do but because they are an outstanding company they did it. A few weeks went by before I decided to give it another try.

The bottom layer is the one using the new cake pan, can you see the difference?

THE RESULT

I made the cake using homemade cake flour, it turned out really well except for one thing, one layer I baked in my Chicago Metal cake pan that I have been using for ions, the other layer I baked in a newish cake pan. The layer in my old pan was great, the other layer was good but not as good as the other layer, how could that be? To be fair I have used the new cake pan for other cake and it turned out just fine but for some reason not as much for this yellow cake. Truth be told I’m very picky and OCD about what I make and I notice even minor changes and they bother me. The cake was good, don’t get me wrong but there was a minute difference in that one layer. Going forward I will only bake my yellow cake recipe in the Chicago metal pans and will continue to be loyal to King Arthur flour but from now on I think I will make my own cake flour. Lesson learned.

I’ve posted this recipe before and it’s a favorite, Coconut Pineapple layer cake It’s delicious, the cake was perfect with a tender crumb, great flavor and very moist. I won’t post the recipe again just the story and some photo’s. Links are provided if you would like to give this a go.

single serve mixed nut milk

Nut milk is wonderful and a fantastic alternative to milk (dairy). I make nut milk all the time but sometimes would forget to soak my nuts overnight, the other problem is that nut milk doesn’t last long before it goes bad. I had an idea that ended up working out great, I soak a large quantity of nuts overnight, drain and freeze. That way I have pre soaked nuts ready to make milk and can portion out as much as I want. Don’t throw away the nut meal left from straining the milk, it’s fabulous when added to granola. Another perk is that when you add cold water to the cold nuts you have ice cold nut milk, delicious!!

frozen mixed nuts

I’ll leave you with a few photos of Percy and Jenna Rose who by the way is doing great and adapting to her new life in Brooklyn.

 

 

 

 

Happy Easter, A Chocolate Banana Vegan Tart

Happy Holidays to everyone, Easter, Passover or just celebrate that Spring is finally here.  Honestly, it has not really felt like Spring with blustery cold and snow and unfortunately more in the forecast for this week. I see signs of the change of seasons everywhere, flowers popping up, longer daylight, warmer weather trying to take hold.

I often make pie dough and will line a tart pan and freeze, this tart is delicious, no animal products were used in making it but you can easily adapt using cream for the ganache and whipped cream to top it. The ganache was made with dark chocolate, sweetened condensed coconut milk and coconut milk. The whipped topping is made by simply refrigerating a can of coconut milk, the cream will rise to the top and become solid. All you have to do is scoop it out and whip it with sweetener and flavoring.

Chocolate Tart (Vegan)

Pie crust ( use your favorite recipe or commercially prepared)

4 oz dark chocolate (I used vegan chocolate)

1/4 cup sweetened condensed coconut milk

1/4 cup coconut milk (Note: for non vegan or regular ganache use 1/2 cup heavy cream)

1 banana sliced

coconut or regular whipped cream

Toasted coconut (optional)

Place a can of coconut milk in the refrigerator before you begin or even better the night before. The coconut cream will separate from the liquid and you will use that (saving the liquid for another recipe)

Heat oven to 400 degree’s. Place pie dough in 8 or 9 inch tart pan. You are going to blind bake the pie crust, place a sheet of parchment on top and fill the pan with pie weights or beans or whatever you like to use. Bake for approximately 20 minutes, remove parchment and weights and bake for another 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool. Note: the oven should be quite hot, I baked the first tart shell at 375 and even with pie weights it shrunk down the sides.

Ganache

Heat the coconut milk or heavy cream to scalding. Place the chocolate in a small bowl and pour the hot cream over the chocolate, let sit for 5 minutes and stir until the chocolate is melted and the ganache is smooth and shiny. Pour into the cooled tart shell and refrigerate until set, approximately 1-2 hours or overnight.

To serve

Place sliced banana on top of the chocolate. Scoop the coconut cream from the cold can of coconut milk. Whip with electric mixer adding sugar to taste and flavoring of your choice (vanilla)  or you can add 2 tbs of the sweetened condensed coconut milk that is left from making the ganache. Heat oven to 350 and toast flaked coconut until golden brown, watch it closely it will burn and only takes a few minutes. Spread some of the whipped cream (coconut or other) on top of the banana’s and sprinkle with toasted coconut.

Happy Easter from Percy and Jenna Rose!

Jenna Rose And Some Baking

Well so much has been happening I haven’t posted in a while. My new normal has been much harder than I anticipated with regards to Percy and his health issues. The diabetes has ravaged his little body and he is now almost completely blind and very feeble. I can’t leave him unattended for fear he will fall and hurt himself and besides having to give him insulin every day the new challenges to keep him safe have been daunting. Work has also been very busy and I am having to try to arrange my schedule around caring for Percy and when I have to leave for more than an hour I have to hire a pet sitter, it gives me peace of mind knowing he is safe.

I had mentioned in a previous post that my dear friend had passed away suddenly from complications from diabetes. She was one of the founders of our Instagram pug group and had a little pug named Jenna Rose. When Irene passed her husband could not care for Jenna and Irene’s daughter could not take her either, it broke their hearts but for Jenna’s safety she could not have her in her home, you see she has two big German Shepherds that were not fond of Jenna.  I was honored that Irene’s family asked me if I would adopt her, Jenna lived with Irene and her husband Pete in Bowler Wisconsin on a big property with lots of acreage and a population of 325 people in the town. Jenna’s adventure began last week when my friends, my pug family, selflessly devised a plan to get Jenna to Brooklyn, NY. It was a labor of love that spanned almost 1400 miles. In a nutshell Irene’s daughter’s (Misty) husband and her daughter loaded Jenna in a truck and drove her to Fairfield Ohio where they met Carrie, Jenna was handed to her and she drove her to Verona Pennsylvania where she met Corrine who took her to New Jersey where she met Mary and she drove Jenna to Brooklyn. Quite an ordeal and a big adventure for this little girl. She is 6 years old and the sweetest little pug you will ever meet. You have to understand how amazing this was, selfless people who gave of their time and all for love. You see we all were close friends of Irene and would do anything for her. We just wish we she were still with us!

Jenna Rose arrived on Saturday evening a country girl now living in the big city. It’s an adjustment for her and for Percy but they are both doing great. Things are starting to fall into place and I am beginning to adjust as well to everything. Jenna loves it here, she loves Percy and Percy is really starting to love her as well.

I have been cooking sporadically but nothing to speak of really. I did make brownies the other day, a recipe from the new cookbook Bravetart by Stella Parks, and they are awesome. I cannot post the recipe without permission, I’m sorry but if you are in the market for an amazing cookbook I highly recommend. I also made a cake and tried my hand at decorating, it’s something I have to work on but the cake turned out great and I think with some practice I could get fairly good at it. The problem with practice is who would eat all that cake, I would be as big as a house.

Percy and Jenna cheek to cheek

Brownies

chocolate cake with mascarpone buttercream

Once again I have 2 pugs, black and fawn, well apricot really just like Izzy and Nando. More to come….

Quick Update

Well, just when I felt like I was getting back on track the rug kind of got pulled out from under me.  It has been a bad few weeks, a very dear friend died suddenly which left me in profound sadness and shock. She is someone I never met personally, we met on Instagram. You are probably saying how can you form a close friendship with someone you have never actually met, well let me tell you it can and did happen. You all know that I am an animal lover and I have a particular slightly obsessive love of pugs. Irene was one of the co founders of our pug group on Instagram and for the last almost 2 years there was not a day that went by that we didn’t chat. We planned events and she was the driving force behind all the charity work that we do, raising money to help pet owners who cannot afford Veterinary care for their pets and sending wheelchairs to pups that are unable to walk. She made a difference and the world was a much better place with her in it. I miss her terribly.

Irene Coyer

The one two punch came when I noticed Percy was not doing well, he was drinking excessively and his eyes looked infected. Our wonderful doctor made a house call and Percy has infected eyes and a corneal abrasion but he was also diagnosed with Diabetes and ketoacidosis. Diabetes I have had experience with since Nando was diabetic and I treated him for almost 8 years. The ketoacidosis is new to me and it can be deadly if untreated. We are giving him fluids, antibiotics and now he is on insulin.

Torture for Percy!

Sorry to be a Debby downer but things have not been great. Hoping next week will be better and I will start cooking again. Thank you all for sticking with me through good times and bad. Thank you all!

 

Happy Valentines Day-The Elusive Macaron And Percy’s Gotcha Day

Making a perfect macaron has eluded me for years. My first attempt was a big fail as was my second attempt. The first time I tried the French method where you add a warm sugar syrup to the egg whites with the mixer running is not a good idea for me, I have sugar strings flying everywhere and the macaron didn’t develop feet and were flat and pretty bad. The second time I used a recipe I found on Martha Stewart, there were steps and ingredients missing and I think amounts were off so another fail. Not being one to give up I found a Martha Stewart video with a recipe and I had a feeling this one would work. I followed the instructions to the letter, now there was one very important step (letting the macaron sit for about an hour before baking so they develop a skin) this was omitted, but having done research I knew to add that and by jove they turned out. They are not perfectly sized, some are a bit misshapen it will take some time to really master the piping of the batter but not bad!

Macaron are tricky, and following directions and measuring/weighing is really important. This recipe is very specific, I didn’t deviate at all. These delicious and delicate French cookies have been on my bucket list for a while, after my first fail I became discouraged and decided not to even try it again for a while. I am going to give you step by step instructions and if you follow you too can make macaron.

February 13 was also a very special day, it was the 2 year anniversary of when Percy came to live with me, his gotcha day. He is doing very well and is my best friend and the most amazing dog. Happy gotcha day Mr. P!!  You can view Martha’s recipe and video by clicking here.

French Macaron

Recipe by Martha Stewart

Makes 1 dozen

2 large egg whites at room temperature

1/4 cup granulated sugar

pinch of salt

71 grams finely ground almond flour (NOTE: you can use blanched slivered almonds and make your own flour) approximately 2/3 cup

117 grams powdered sugar – approximately 1 cup

gel food color if desired (start with one drop and add more depending on how deep you want the color)

Place almond flour (if using sliced almonds process first to a fine powder and then add the powdered sugar)  and confectioners sugar in food processor and process until mixed thoroughly and the almond flour is finely ground. Pour through a sieve and if you have more than a tablespoon of the mixture left in the sieve, place that in the processor and give it a good whiz and pour through the sieve again. Set aside. It is very important to remove any larger pieces of almond, it should be very very fine.

Heat oven to 350,  make sure rack is in the bottom third of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Pour the egg whites, granulated sugar and salt in stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Beat on 4 (setting) for 2 minutes, turn up the speed to 6 and beat another 2 minutes, change speed to 8 and beat another 2 minutes. At this time add the food coloring and mix to combine. Remove bowl from the mixer and add all of the flour sugar mixture at once. Using a spatula fold from bottom swiping up 37 times, the batter will loosen. It’s important to do this 37 times according to Martha who got it from an expert.

Folded 37 times and ready to pipe

Fit a pastry bag with a 3/8 inch round tip (Ateco #804) place inside a tall glass (believe me this is important since the opening of the tip is quite large the batter will leak out. Pour the batter into the bag (tip down) and secure.  Carefully pipe a small amount (about 3/4 inch) on the parchment spacing each about 2 inches apart. Tap the pan twice lifting a couple of inches and dropping onto the counter. Leave the macaron to sit for an hour even a little longer is fine. It’s important for them to develop a skin, you can actually see the change the top will become dull and look quite different once the skin develops it traps moisture in while baking making them puff and develop feet.

Bake in the 350 degree oven for 13 minutes. Remove from the oven and let sit on the sheet pan until cooled. Carefully remove the rounds, they are delicate so work gingerly. Turn over every other one as you will pipe some filling on the bottom and sandwich the other on top. The macaron should have developed feet see photo below.

the curly edge is called feet

I had some of the French buttercream and a little ganache leftover from the other cake and thought it would make a nice filling. I put the buttercream into the mixer added 1 ounce melted dark chocolate and 2 tbs of the ganache and whipped it. After you pipe a dollop of the filling onto the cookie place the other cookie on top and VERY gently press down so that the filling reaches the edge of the cookie.

You can fill with ganache, jam or buttercream. Nutella would also be delicious. You can add flavoring or different colors to the macaron shells, to make chocolate all you have to do is remove 1/4 cup of the almond flour and replace with unsweetened cocoa powder. I plan on experimenting with different flavors and colors.

Percy with his monogrammed bandana Happy Gotcha day Buddy!!

Mini Chocolate Sponge Cakes With Buttercream Frosting

This is a simple chocolate sponge cake, the one I have always and will always use because it never fails, NEVER. So easy to make and the cake is tender and soft but still maintains the sponge like quality that, well makes it sponge cake. It’s made on a half sheet pan and is the recipe I used for my Brooklyn Blackout Semifreddo cake that was posted on Food52 and also featured in their cookbook “Ice cream and Friends”. For this little dessert I cut out small ( 3.5 inch) round layers and filled with the super simple French Buttercream that I used in the Dacquoise last year. I layered 3 rounds per mini cake and the sheet cake will give you 4 mini three layer mini cakes and don’t throw out the scraps you can freeze them and make something with them.

Cake

  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 8 large eggs at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees. Place milk and butter in glass measuring cup and microwave for 45 seconds or until butter is melted. Using stand mixer with wire whisk or electric mixer whip the eggs and sugar on med/high for approximately 8 minutes or until the mixture is pale yellow, tripled in volume and thick, with the machine running slowly add the heated milk and butter. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Fold into the egg mixture, there should be no lumps. Fold in the vanilla. Grease a 1/2 sheet pan, lay parchment sheet and grease the parchment, and sprinkle with sugar. Pour batter into the pan, spread so that it is evenly distributed and bake for 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes in the pan run a knife around the edges to loosen then invert onto wire rack, remove parchment and let cool completely.

Buttercream

Recipe (doubled) food52 – Merrill Stubbs

12 oz soft unsalted butter

4 egg yolks

1 1/3 cup confectioners or powdered sugar

2 tbs vanilla extract

Put all the ingredients in the bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat until thick, silky and spreadable. Thats it, so easy!!

Chocolate Caramel Ganache

1/3 cup heavy cream

2.5 oz dark and milk chocolate chopped

2 tbs caramel sauce (I had some homemade caramel sauce in the refrigerator but you can use whatever is your favorite this is optional).

1-2 tbs clear karo syrup

Bring cream to scalding, add chocolate and caramel sauce and let sit for 5 minutes. Stir until smooth and glossy, stir in the karo syrup. Let cool to room temperature before pouring on cake.

 

 

Boston Cream Pie

 

It’s almost Valentines Day and in the days leading up to this day that celebrates love I am going to post a few recipes for desserts.  The first is Boston Cream Pie which is one of my all time favorite desserts, I love it, can’t resist it and I think that if I could pick only one dessert that I couldn’t live without this would be it. As a child this was the cake I always picked for my birthday, there was a bakery in my home town that made one of the best and my Mom after we moved from there developed a cake recipe just so she could make me this cake. I didn’t use the recipe for Tender Yellow Cake for this dessert however, I recently purchased a new cookbook “Bravetart” by Stella Parks and decided to try her recipe for the cake. Before putting the recipe on the blog I checked and it was published on the internet by Food and Wine. I have to say I love this cookbook, Stella has taken so many iconic American treats (it’s like a trip down memory lane) and developed them so that you can make them at home, the goodness of a Hostess Twinkie or cupcake or Little Debbie snack cake without all the additives, love it!

Boston Cream Pie is a cake not a pie and I am not sure why they call it pie not cake but whats in a name anyway, it’s wonderful. The original recipe uses sponge cake, a vanilla pudding or pastry cream filling and it is covered with a wonderful chocolate ganache although there seems to be debate as to whether or not the original actually had the chocolate glaze. Simple and unadorned, nothing intricate about it but the sum of all it’s parts makes an absolutely delicious dessert.

Instead of the pudding in the book I used my favorite pastry cream recipe which always holds up beautifully.  I sometimes have problems with corn starch based fillings, they often are not stiff enough and I didn’t want to take a chance having never used that recipe before. I have a lot of egg whites left over so an angel food cake will be in the works soon.

The cake is moist and a cross between a sponge and yellow cake. Next time I will mix some milk chocolate with the dark for the ganache because I like it just a little sweeter but it is still very good even with only dark.  I kept the cake in the refrigerator overnight so it was cold when I poured the ganache on and the chocolate kind of stopped in its tracks and I had to spread it, I recommend bringing the cake to room temperature before pouring the ganache so you get that smooth mirror like finish.

Boston Cream Pie

The Cake – Recipe by Stella Parks in “Bravetart”

Makes one 2 layer 8 inch cake

2 cups (8 oz) bleached cake flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 1/3 cup sugar

1/4 tsp kosher salt (I used a heaping 1/4 tsp)

1 tbs vanilla extract

3/4 cup egg yolks (from approximately 12 large eggs) It was 11 eggs for me depends on size

4 tbs unsalted butter, melted (I used salted butter)

1 cup milk at room temperature

Oven rack should be in the middle of the oven. Heat to 350 degree’s. Line 2 8″x3″ round cake pans with parchment and grease with cooking spray (like Pam). Sift flour into a medium bowl and whisk in baking powder.

Combine sugar, vanilla and egg yolks in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Mix on low to moisten and then increase the speed to medium high and whip until thick, light and doubled in volume, approximately 6 minutes. Reduce speed to medium low and drizzle in butter followed by the milk. Once added shut off the mixer, detach the bowl and gently incorporate the flour with a balloon whisk Fold the thin batter with a flexible spatula once or twice  from the bottom up. Divide between prepared cake pans.

Bake until cakes are lightly browned and firm approximately 20 minutes. Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes and then gently loosen and invert onto cooling racks. Place the pans over the cakes to trap steam and cool to room temperature. NOTE: my cakes took almost 30 minutes to get a light (golden brown)

Once cakes have cooled slice a little off the tops of each layer (so the pudding will soak into the cake. Place one layer on cake stand and spread a generous amount of the pudding and place the other layer on top. Cover and let sit at least 2 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.

Ganache

1/3 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup (2 1/2 ounces) dark chocolate roughly chopped

Bring cream to a simmer, remove from heat and add the chocolate. Let sit for 5 minutes and then whisk until thick and creamy. Refrigerate for about 25 minutes don’t let it cool completely the ganache must still be a bit warm. Pour over the cake, let set and refrigerate until ready to serve.