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Posts tagged ‘layer cake’

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.

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.

 

 

 

 

Apple Cake With Brown Sugar Buttercream Frosting

 

Continuing my homage to the apple, the quintessential harbinger of Autumn I made an apple cake. I have been making this cake for many years and it never fails, I found it years ago while watching an episode of Martha Stewarts show on Food Network.  The cake is moist and rustic in texture, loaded with apples and warm autumn spices. Sometimes I use a cream cheese frosting but this time I made the frosting that is featured in the recipe on Martha Stewarts site. The frosting is gently sweet, buttery and has a lovely caramel flavor that comes from using brown sugar instead of granulated.

I really love this cake, it couldn’t be easier to make, no mixer required. The recipe calls for grated and diced apples but I like to use homemade applesauce, I make it in the oven, peel and quarter 4 apples, add a splash of apple cider, cover and bake for about 30 minutes until the apples are soft. Let them cool and mash with a fork. I prefer using applesauce rather than grating apples, the cake has some small pieces of apples and a balanced apple flavor. I think the buttercream is good but I prefer the cream cheese frosting,  it’s a bit sweeter but the tangy creaminess from the cream cheese goes so well with this cake. Just saying!!

I am bringing the cake to Fiesta Friday #196. This weeks co hosts are Antonia@Zoale.com and Jhuls@The Not So Creative Cook.

Cake

Recipe from Martha Stewart

2 cups flour

2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp powdered ginger

1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter melted

2 large eggs

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 1/2 cup applesauce or 4 apples peeled- 2 grated and 2 diced)

Heat oven to 350 degree’s. Prepare 3 8 inch round baking pans by lining with parchment, butter or grease and dust with flour, set aside.

In medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and salt and set aside. In a large bowl whisk together the melted butter, brown sugar and eggs. Fold in the applesauce or apples. Add the flour mixture and mix with a spatula or wooden spoon just until combined. Divide equally into prepared baking pans and bake for 25-30 minutes until browned and toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, run butter knife or offset spatula around the edges to loosen and turn out onto cooling racks. Let cool completely before frosting.

Brown Sugar Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Recipe from Martha Stewart

4 egg whites from large eggs

1 cup light brown sugar lightly packed

3 sticks or 12 oz of softened unsalted butter

Set pan with about 2 inches of water on low heat, place the egg whites and brown sugar in mixing bowl and set on top of the simmering water (bowl should not touch the water). Whisk until mixture is warm to the touch and sugar is completely melted. Place on stand mixer with whisk attachment and mix on medium speed until fluffy and completely cooled, approximately 15 minutes. Change to paddle attachment and add the soft butter 1 tbs at a time while the mixer is on med low speed. Once butter is incorporated continue to mix on medium speed for another 3-5 minutes. If it curdles it’s ok, keep mixing it will come together. Frost cake immediately.  I piled way too much frosting on top, don’t do like I do and make sure the frosting is evenly spread all over the cake. Thats what happens when you are in a hurry.

London Fog Cake

I have been wanting to make a cake for a while now but lacked inspiration to try something a little different. There is a tendency to stick with the tried and true in both flavors and recipes, not that there is anything wrong with that but sometimes I feel the need to do something different. Since I got the tea from Adagio I have wanted to make another recipe using it that isn’t a cup of hot or iced tea. Yesterday an email appeared in my inbox from Pinterest and I saw this cake and immediately was struck by how utterly delicious it looked but then when I clicked on the link the frosting is flavors with Earl Grey Tea. The cake itself is pretty simple chocolate cake with a earl grey buttercream and then it’s drizzled with caramel. Sounds great right? I thought so too!! I decided to take it a step further and infuse the caramel with tea as well. The recipe is from The Cake Blog and it’s beautifully decorated and photographed. Decorating cakes is not my strong suite nor is photography but irregardless this cake sounds too good not to make. My recommendations are in bold print, I found the earl grey flavor overpowering and would recommend reducing the amount of tea used to infuse the butter. I love earl grey tea but feel that the buttercream needed to be a little more subtle in flavor.

This is my favorite chocolate cake, a recipe from Hershey’s which is on the can of unsweetened cocoa powder, the recipe has also been posted here on the blog many times click here to see it. I’ve made other cake recipes and nothing IMHO even compares. It’s simple, moist and delicious and never fails.

I am going to bring this cake with me to Fiesta Friday #188 and this weeks co hosts are Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook and Nimmi @ Adorable Life

Earl Grey Buttercream

Recipe from Theresa Huff for The Cake Blog

Frosts 2 layer 9 inch cake or 3 layer 8 inch cake

2 cups unsalted butter

1/4 cup loose earl grey tea (Recommend to reduce to 1-2 tbs)

1/2 cup plus 2 tbs egg whites ( 150 grams) the whites from 4-5 large eggs

1 1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste or seeds from half a vanilla bean

Place one cup of the butter in a saucepan with the loose tea. Heat over medium heat until the butter melts, reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let tea steep for another 5 minutes. Strain the butter into a bowl and refrigerate until the butter is the consistency of softened butter approximate 20-30 minutes or longer it took over an hour before my butter hardened.

Place egg whites and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer and hand whisk until foamy and mixed. Place an inch or two of water in a saucepan on medium heat, place the bowl with the egg whites and sugar on top of it being careful not to let the bowl touch the water. Whisk frequently until the sugar melts it should register 155-160 on the candy thermometer or until it’s hot to the touch. Fit the bowl onto your stand mixer.

Fit the mixer with the whisk attachment and beat on high for 8-10 minutes until the mixture holds medium stiff peaks. When done the outside of the bowl should be room temperature and there should be no residual heat, you also should hold your hand over the bowl and you should not feel any heat at all.  Stop the mixer, remove the whisk attachment and replace with a paddle.

With the mixer on low speed add the vanilla, the tea infused butter and the other butter a few tablespoons at a time. Once the butter is incorporated turn the mixer to medium high and beat for another 3-5 minutes. The buttercream will be thick and silky.

Earl Grey caramel sauce

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 tbs light corn syrup

2 tbs strong earl grey tea

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 tbs butter,diced

generous pinch sea salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

Place sugar, corn syrup and water in a deep heavy bottom saucepan, stir to combine. Heat over high heat swirling occasionally for 8-10 minutes. The sugar mixture will start to rapidly boil before slowing down and darkening in color. Remove the saucepan from the heat once it has reached the desired color, I like a deep amber. Note: my caramel got a bit over done, almost burnt. I cooked on high and all of a sudden it started rising almost to the top of the pot after I removed from the heat. I didn’t want to add the cream and butter until it settled but that was a mistake, I should have added it to cool it down and stop the cooking process. So my caramel is a bit bitter. My advise is to remove from the heat right when it turns a light amber and add the butter and cream. Because it was so bitter I threw away half and replaced that half with a chocolate ganache. The pot I used was too small and it almost boiled over hence the over cooking, the caramel continues to cook even after removed from the heat and what stops that is adding the butter and cream. Because my pot was not big enough I had to wait until the bubbles went down a bit. 

Slowly and carefully whisk in the cream being careful to stand back because it will sputter and foam so stand clear.

Add the butter and continue to stir until melted. Now add the salt and vanilla and stir to combine. Pour into a heat proof container and let cool, it will thicken as it cools.

Assembling the cake

Place one of the layers on your cake stand or serving plate. Spread some of the butter cream to cover the layer and continue until all layers are place. Frost top and sides of cake and refrigerate until cooled at least 20 minutes.

Pour the caramel sauce over the top of the cooled cake letting it drip down the sides.

I made this cake yesterday and wasn’t in love with the flavor, today it tastes better maybe the tea flavor has mellowed but I still recommend reducing the amount of tea used in the buttercream. I love the buttercream recipe it is silky and just the perfect consistency and will definitely be using it again.

Chocolate Cake

IMG_6137

This is a recipe from Bon Appetit for Chocolate Cake. What sets this cake apart is the method of preparation. When I read the directions I really wanted to give it a try, I have a simple chocolate cake recipe that I have been using for years and it’s fantastic, it’s a very old recipe from Hershey’s and it’s right on their can of unsweetened cocoa. I love it and have never deviated or tried another recipe, it’s that good.

The method of preparation is the brainchild of the great Rose Levy Beranbaum, she is amazing and I have several of her cookbooks but missed this and it took Claire Saffitz from Bon Appetit to bring it to life. I will let her explain why this method is so genius.

Contrary to the traditional method of creaming the butter and sugar before adding eggs and wet and dry ingredients, reverse creaming does pretty much the opposite. The dry ingredients and sugar are mixed with the fat (oil and butter) plus some of the wet ingredients (eggs + buttermilk + melted chocolate + coffee). The fat coats the dry ingredients and inhibits gluten formation, which would normally result in a tough cake, while the addition of some moisture simultaneously develops just enough gluten to give the cake structure. It’s hard to overmix with this method, giving you a tender crumb. Because there’s less air in the batter due to no creaming, the layers bake evenly and stack up without the need to level or trim. It’s the perfect method for building a layer cake.

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Batter is thick and creamy

Batter is thick and creamy

Cake

Bon Appetit by Claire Saffitz adapted from a recipe by Rose Levy Beranbaum

  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup brewed coffee
  • ⅔ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1¾ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 2½ cups (packed) light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • Preheat oven to 350˚. Butter two 9″-diameter cake pans and line bottoms with parchment paper rounds. Butter parchment and dust with flour, tapping out excess.
  • Heat chocolate, coffee, and ⅔ cup cocoa powder in a medium heatproof bowl set over a medium saucepan of barely simmering water (water should not touch bottom of bowl), stirring until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Let cool, then whisk eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla into chocolate mixture.
  • Using an electric mixer on low speed, mix salt, baking powder, baking soda, and 2 cups flour in a large bowl just to combine. Add brown sugar, oil, ½ cup butter, and ½ cup reserved chocolate mixture and beat on medium speed until flour is evenly distributed and mixture is smooth, about 2 minutes. Add remaining chocolate mixture in 2 additions, scraping down sides and bottom of bowl as needed and beating until smooth after each addition. Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth top.
  • Bake cake until top is firm to the touch and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 30–40 minutes. Transfer cake pan to a wire rack and let cake cool in pan 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Let cool completely.
cake sunk in the middle

cake sunk in the middle

nice rise

nice rise

Tomorrow I will frost and taste the cake but have to to say so far I am not in love with it, it took longer to bake than the directions, now that could be my wonky oven that I had repaired to tide me over until I get my new stove. So that could have been a factor but the cake feels drier than my go to Hershey’s cake, I tend to like layer and cupcakes that use oil rather than butter, I find the crumb is perfect, they are light and moist. This cake feels more like a brownie that is a bit overdone. I also like that the Hershey’s recipe is one bowl, super fast and easy. This was not difficult but had steps that I normally don’t have to do. It is possible I did something wrong or it was my oven so I cannot say with certainty that there is a flaw in the recipe.

The proof will be in the tasting so stay tuned because tomorrow I will frost and try the cake.

Full disclosure: I got distracted and forgot to add the vanilla.