In the spirit of the Top Chef Just Desserts episode a couple weeks ago, I have also flambeed my dessert. The competitors had to make a dessert inspired by the Lucient Dossier experience, it’s basically like cirque de soleil with fire.
This is the first time that I have ever flambeed something and I was very excited. I was imagining something like they do in Top Chef with big flames, so I tried to prepare accordingly. In the end it was not as dramatic, though when I saw what they did on Top Chef Just Desserts, I realized that perhaps flambeing food as opposed to pastry might be very different, or perhaps wine flames more than liquor.
We took this dessert to our friends A. and E. (our Star Trek buddies). I was given a request to make something chocolatey, as A. is not so into fruit desserts, or peanut butter for that matter. I looked through Dorie’s cookbook for something interesting and I came across this cake. It is supposed to be made with Armangnac, but I haven’t the faintest idea what that is, so I used rum because rum goes well with the prune flavor.
I thought that adding prunes instead raisins was different and I agree with what Dorie said about prunes getting a bad rep. Everyone always associates prunes with old people and babies (yet another similarity between the two groups, hmmm) and they are really delicious even by themselves. People just need to give them a chance.
I made the flambeed prunes earlier in the day and then made the rest of the cake later (you have to wait for the prunes to cool anyway).
The cake came out nice and chocolatey-dense with a delicious chocolate glaze. I let the glaze cool a bit before spreading it on the cake so it came out more like icing. The prunes added something different to the cake that made it different from any other chocolate cake, something memorable.
The final pictures were taken by E. as I was unable to take pictures of the finished product before we ate it – she enjoyed it too!
Recipe (adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: from My Home to Yours):
2/3 cup finely ground pecans or walnuts
1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp. salt
12 moist prunes, pitted and cut into bits
1/4 cup plus 3 tbsp. water
1/4 cup rum
7 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 stick (8 tbsp.) unsalted butter or margarine, cut into 4 pieces
3 large eggs, separated
2/3 cup sugar
3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3 tbsp. confectioners’ sugar
3 tbsp. unsalted butter or margarine, at room temperature
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter an 8 inch springform pan, fit the bottom with a round of parchment paper and butter the paper. Put the pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.
Cake: Whisk together the nuts, flour and salt.
Put the prunes and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook, being careful not to scorch the fruit, until the water almost evaporates. Pull the pan from the heat and pour in the rum. Stand back and set it aflame with a match. When the flames die out, transfer the fruit and any remaining liquid to a bowl and let cool.
Combine the chocolate, butter and remaining 3 tbsp. of water in a heatproof bowl. Heat in a microwave on medium strength in 30 second bursts until the chocolate and butter are melted.
In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until they are thick and pale, about 2 minutes. Switch to a rubber spatula and, one by one, stir in the chocolate mixture, the nut mixture and the prunes with any leftover liquid.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until they hold firm and glossy peaks. Stir about 1/4 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten the batter, then gently fold in the remaining whites. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake the cake for 25-32 minutes, or until it is puffed and a thin knife inserted into the center comes out streaky. Let cool on a rack for about 10 minutes, then remove the cake from the pan, and continue to cool until the cake has cooled completely. Place a piece of foil or parchment paper under the rack to catch drips.
Once cool, if the cake has crowned, take a serrated knife and gently even the top, using a sawing motion. Turn the cake over on the cooling rack. The flat bottom will become the top of the cake.
Glaze: Melt the chocolate in a microwave on medium heat. Slowly stir in the sugar and then the butter or margarine. Stir until you have a smooth glaze.
With a long icing spatula, pour the glaze over the top of the cake, allowing the excess to run down the sides of the cake. Use the spatula to smooth the top of the cake if necessary. Let the glaze set at room temperature.
If you would like the icing to be more like a frosting, let it cool a bit before spreading it over the cake. Make decorative swirls in the icing once it is on the cake.
Due to Rosh Hashana and all the holiday-ing that ensued, I was a bit behind on this week’s recipe. I had bought peaches last week in anticipation (see, I am planning ahead!) but I did not have a chance to make the cake until Sunday night, which come to think of it is not that last minute.
I was really happy to see that Dorie provided the peach option for this cake as there is no way in heaven that I was going to be able to get my hands on fresh or frozen cranberries. It’s just not a fruit that exists here in Israel (may have something to do with the climate, hmmm). The most I can get are dried cranberries, or canned cranberry sauce imported from America. Besides, it’s still peach season here, so why not take advantage?
This week’s recipe was hosted by Sabrina of Superfluous. She just got married in August (actually on the same day as my brother!) so congratulations to her and her new husband and may they find only happiness together.
Sabrina picked the Cranberry Upside-Downer and I was really excited to make this. I haven’t made an upside-down cake in a long time, in fact, I think I’ve only made one other upside-down cake ever. (When I brought the cake into work on Monday, my coworker asked, “Why did you need to flip it over?” I didn’t really have a good reason for that except that that’s what the recipe said.) This cake turned out so easily and nothing got messed up when I flipped it over!
I almost didn’t make this until Monday night because I was so tired. Sunday was a fast day (almost like practice for the 25 hour long fast of Yom Kippur), and unfortunately, our air conditioning decided not to work on Saturday night, and on top of that, the Little Rocker decided to get up about four times during the night. So we woke up on Sunday morning tired, already dehydrated and not ready for a fast day. By the end of the day I was just so wiped that I almost went to sleep right after putting the Little Rocker to bed, but then I remembered this week’s recipe, and I sucked it up and made the cake.
So glad I did.
The hardest part of the cake was pitting and slicing the peaches – just goes to show how hard it was, and in about 20 minutes, I had the cake in the oven, smelling up the house.
Dorie recommends to eat the cake warm – no problem there, and when I tried the cake after it was done I was surprised. I am used to apple cakes, and the peaches just added something special to the cake and made it just a little bit different.
In order to further our dieting goals, I decided to bring the cake to work so that we wouldn’t eat it all. As I packed it up in the morning, Rocker Dude protested. I asked if he wanted to try the cake (his excuse the night before was that he had already brushed his teeth, humph). He said that he had planned on eating a slice for breakfast. I offered to cut him a slice, but he declined. I am not blaming him, he is under a crazy amount of stress, poor guy. He just started a new job teaching high school English, and on top of that he has to defend his masters’ thesis on Monday – he’s a bit stressed – you can do it baby!
And when he passes (because I know he will) champagne and cheesecake for everyone!
Right, back to this week’s recipe – everyone, go get some peaches and make this cake! But only if you want to eat something totally delicious.
Check out the recipe on Sabrina’s blog here and see what other TWD bakers did here.
We are back home and I can get back to blogging again! I did not get a chance to bake a lot while I was in he states as most of our days were taken up by wedding-related activities. We also got a point where we were sick of eating rich fancy foods and all we wanted (or at least I wanted) regular home food. Not just homestyle, but the food that I normally make. Vacation is great, but eating out too much can really get annoying. So now we are home and I get to make dinner every night again!
We had a lot of fun in Rochester, NY (the location of the wedding). It is a really suburban college town with a nice feel. Everyone in the supermarket are super nice (being from a hick town in NJ I feel totally at home). Rocker Dude (spending most of his formative years around abrasive Israelis) was a little freaked out – he thought Edison, NJ was too polite! We stayed at a really awesome family’s house for the weekend before we moved into the hotel the night before the wedding (let me tell you, for nine adults and three children, the amount of luggage we brought made it seem like we really were moving). They were so welcoming, and the husband had a sports and comics collectibles collection. He and Rocker Dude really hit it off and started debating all sorts of esoteric aspects of Rocker Dude’s comic book characters.
The Little Rocker charmed everyone and looked so cute in her dress, here is a picture:
And here is the happy couple:
Anyhoo, we got back to Israel on Wednesday morning and I went back to work already on Thursday. As the Little Rocker’s body clock was stuck somewhere over the Atlantic, Rocker Dude and I were both very exhausted and did not have energy to make anything fancy this weekend. On Friday morning I got some delicious mangoes at the farmer’s market and while flipping through Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home To Yours and I found this recipe for mango bread, well, it’s more like a cake. I have never had mango bread or cake before, and it was super easy to make – did not even require a mixer!
After dicing up the mangoes, you mix the eggs and oil in a bowl and add the dry ingredients – by hand.
And then the fruit:
Then you bake it in a loaf pan, don’t try to rush it out of the oven (I was really pressed for time, and I practically sat outside the oven until it was done), let it cool and enjoy! The recipe says that it tastes better the second day and that is so true. So if you can plan ahead – make this a day before you need it so that it can get super-moist!
Recipe (From Baking: From My Home to Yours):
3 large eggs
3/4 flavorless oil (like canola or safflower)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup (packed) brown sugar
2 cups diced mango
3/4 cup golden raisins
grated zest of 1/2 lime
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×5 loaf pan and put it on one insulated baking sheet or two regular baking sheets.
Whisk the eggs and oil together. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt. Add in the brown sugar. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry (I did the opposite), and with a spatula, mix everything together. The batter will be really thick – more like dough than batter. Stir in the mango, raisins and zest. Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula.
Bake the bread for 1 1/2 hours or until it is golden brown and a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean. If the bread looks like it is getting too brown as it bakes, cover it loosely with a foil tent. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack for five minutes before loosening the cake from the pan and unmolding it. Cool on a rack to room temperature.
The July 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Sunita of Sunita’s world – life and food. Sunita challenged everyone to make an ice-cream filled Swiss roll that’s then used to make a bombe with hot fudge. Her recipe is based on an ice cream cake recipe from Taste of Home.
I was really excited about making this recipe. It is July in Israel and perfect ice cream weather. Hot and sunny and humid everyday. I also recently learned how to make ice cream myself so I love opportunities to make more ice cream. When I saw the challenge I had in mind to make it earlier on in the month because we are flying today to America and I didn’t want it lying around the house while we are gone. Of course it came to the 15th and I realized that I completely forgot to make the cake – ahhhh!
I knew that this recipe would be a bit time-consuming and if I tried to make it bit by bit at nights, then I would need a few days to put it together. Then I had an idea. On August 20th, we had a fast day (Tisha B’Av – mourning the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem – about 3,500 years ago). I was taking off from work because the Little Rocker’s daycare was closed as well. Here, I would have an entire day that I could devote to making this recipe. Granted I would be fasting so I couldn’t try any of it, but I find that I fast better when I am busy and can’t think about eating. I also had to make a quiche for the Little Rocker’s graduation party at the end of the week, as well as food to break the fast on and a blintz souffle for my friend S. (or E., depending what you call her)’s bridal shower the next day. Rocker Dude was not happy. He fasts best in bed, asleep or watching TV and not thinking or smelling food. Oh well. Poor him.
I decided that I should make the ice creams first and then make the cake itself. The ice creams were different from what I was used to, no custard, and the vanilla ice cream I didn’t even heat at all. The chocolate ice cream used cornstarch as a thickener. I wasn’t sure how that was going to turn out, but it turned out okay. When Rocker Dude asked what kind of ice creams I would be making I said, “Vanilla and chocolate.” His response, “Oh, so finally you will be making something normal and plain and not burnt monkey ice cream with weird whatever swirl.” You can see how he likes my experimentation.
Because the vanilla ice cream did not have to be heated, it froze relatively quickly. Not so the chocolate which was heated. The cakes came out perfectly the first time and rolled nicely with no cracking – Yay!!! Of course the Little Rocker was awfully curious about what I was doing and while the two cakes were rolled in the towels to cool, she decided that she had to see what was inside and she started to unroll the cakes. I sort of freaked out, not proud about it, but what can you do? I told her that she couldn’t touch the cakes, they were mine. So her compromise was she would pat them softly and say, “Nice, nice” and then when I wasn’t looking she would try to open them again. Curiosity is a challenge. Actually this is her solution to everything these days. Every time I tell her not to touch something she just pats is softly and says, “Nice, nice”. Okay baby, the point is that you don’t touch (keep in mind she does this when I am drinking coffee, except then she adds, “Hot, nice nice.” Oy!
I wanted to be able to serve this for dessert after breaking the fast. I realize that this was rather ambitious considering that in the end I only had about two hours to get the whole thing set up. Either way, I sliced up the cake rolls and lined the bowl, then I put in the vanilla ice cream which had softened up just a bit, and put the whole thing back in the freezer.
I forgot to make the fudge sauce so when I did remember to make it, it didn’t have a chance to cool completely before putting it on the vanilla (okay, I get it, I should have been more patient and then it would have cooled, but in my defense, I was hungry!) The fudge sauce kind of mixed in with the vanilla – not too much, but a bit, but it also leaked between the cake rolls, so my cake was not as beautiful as it could have been. I froze that and added the chocolate layer as well.
As you can imagine, it was not really ready to be eaten that night. So I decided to take it to my friend’s shower. There would be plenty of girls there who would appreciate it.
I brought it over and when I took it out, there were many ooohhhs and ahhhhs. And then I got comments like, “Only give me half a piece, I need to fit into my wedding dress.” or “That things just looks too darn good to be low-calorie.” And yet, everyone who took half a piece, took another. And soon there was not much left! Success.
Oh yeah, and the best part – I didn’t take it back home so I didn’t eat the leftovers – so I could fit into the dress I have to wear at my brother’s wedding next week!!
Remember when Rocker Dude said that he was excited that I was finally making normal ice cream flavors – he never actually got to taste it – he won’t let me live that down.
P.S. I showed my Swiss friend M. the cake and she says that they just call the cakes roulades in Switzerland – not Swiss rolls. I guess that makes sense, I mean do the French call them French fries?
The Swiss rolls-
6 medium sized eggs
1 C / 225 gms caster sugar /8 oz+ extra for rolling
6 tblsp / 45gms/ a pinch over 1.5 oz of all purpose (plain) flour + 5 tblsp/40gm /a pinch under 1.5 oz of natural unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted together
2 tblsp /30ml / 1 fl oz of boiling water
a little oil for brushing the pans
For the filling-
2C / 500 mls/ 16 fl oz of whipping cream
1 vanilla pod, cut into small pieces of about ½ cm (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
5 tblsp / 70gms/2.5oz of caster sugar
Pre heat the oven at 200 deg C /400 deg F approximately. Brush the baking pans ( 11 inches by 9 inches ) with a little oil and line with greaseproof baking paper. If you have just one pan, bake one cake and then let the pan cool completely before using it for the next cake.
In a large mixing bowl, add the eggs and sugar and beat till very thick; when the beaters are lifted, it should leave a trail on the surface for at least 10 seconds.
Add the flour mixture, in three batches and fold in gently with a spatula. Fold in the water.
Divide the mixture among the two baking pans and spread it out evenly, into the corners of the pans.
Place a pan in the centre of the pre heated oven and bake for about 10-12 minutes or till the centre is springy to the touch.
Spread a kitchen towel on the counter and sprinkle a little caster sugar over it.
Turn the cake on to the towel and peel away the baking paper. Trim any crisp edges.
Starting from one of the shorter sides, start to make a roll with the towel going inside. Cool the wrapped roll on a rack, seam side down.
Repeat the same for the next cake as well.
Grind together the vanilla pieces and sugar in a food processer till nicely mixed together. If you are using vanilla extract, just grind the sugar on its own and then add the sugar and extract to the cream.
In a large bowl, add the cream and vanilla-sugar mixture and beat till very thick.
Divide the cream mixture between the completely cooled cakes.
Open the rolls and spread the cream mixture, making sure it does not go right to the edges (a border of ½ an inch should be fine).
Roll the cakes up again, this time without the towel. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge till needed, seam side down.
The vanilla ice cream-
2 and ½ C / 625 ml / 20 fl oz of whipping cream
1 vanilla bean, minced or 1 tsp/ 5 ml/ .15 fl oz vanilla extract
½ C / 115gms/ 4 oz of granulated sugar
Grind together the sugar and vanilla in a food processor.In a mixing bowl, add the cream and vanilla –sugar mixture and whisk lightly till everything is mixed together. If you are using the vanilla extract, grind the sugar on its own and then and the sugar along with the vanilla extract to the cream.
Pour into a freezer friendly container and freeze till firm around the edges. Remove from the freezer, beat till smooth and return to the freezer. Do this 3-4 times and then set completely.
The Hot fudge sauce-
1 C / 230gms/ 8 oz of caster sugar
3 tblsp / 24gms/1.5 oz of natural unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tblsp /15gms/ 1 oz of cornflour/cornstarch
1 and ½ C /355ml /12 fl oz of water
1 tblsp /14gms/ 1 oz butter
1 tsp/5 ml / .15 fl oz vanilla extract
In a small saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder, cornflour and water.
Place the pan over heat, and stir constantly, till it begins to thicken and is smooth (for about 2 minutes).
Remove from heat and mix in the butter and vanilla. Keep aside to cool .
The chocolate ice cream-
2C/ 500 ml whipping cream
1 C/230gms/8 oz caster sugar
3 tblsp/ 24 gms/1.5 oz of natural unsweetened cocoa powder
Grind together the sugar and the cocoa powder in a food processor .
In a saucepan, add all the ingredients and whisk lightly.
Place the pan over heat and keep stirring till it begins to bubble around the edges.
Remove from heat and cool completely before transferring to a freezer friendly container till firm around the edges. If you are using an ice cream maker, churn the ice cream according to the manufacturer’s instruction, after the mixture has cooled completely.
5. Remove from the freezer, beat till smooth and return to the freezer. Do this 3-4 times and then set completely.
1. Cut the Swiss rolls into 20 equal slices ( approximately 2 cms each ).
2. Cover the bottom and sides of the bowl in which you are going to set the dessert with cling film/plastic wrap.
3. Arrange two slices at the bottom of the pan, with their seam sides facing each other. Arrange the Swiss roll slices up the bowl, with the seam sides facing away from the bottom, to cover the sides of the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and freeze till the slices are firm (at least 30 minutes).
4. Soften the vanilla ice cream. Take the bowl out of the freezer, remove the cling film cover and add the ice cream on top of the cake slices. Spread it out to cover the bottom and sides of the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and freeze till firm ( at least 1 hour)
5. Add the fudge sauce over the vanilla ice cream, cover and freeze till firm . ( at least an hour)
6. Soften the chocolate ice cream and spread it over the fudge sauce. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 4-5 hours till completely set .
7. Remove the plastic cover, and place the serving plate on top of the bowl. Turn it upside down and remove the bowl and the plastic lining. If the bowl does not come away easily, wipe the outsides of the bowl with a kitchen towel dampened with hot water. The bowl will come away easily.
I had mixed opinions about this cake. Rocker Dude asked why it had to be banana, and couldn’t I do another flavor. I told him that it was called “Lots of Ways Banana cake” – not “Any flavor cake you can make lots of ways.” He used to like banana cake more, like when I first started making it for the Little Rocker, but I guess it has overstayed its welcome. But he is very supportive of everything I make (cause he knows what’s good for him) and he supports me baking along with everyone because it gets me to try new things – so Banana Cake, here we come!
A few weeks ago I had bought bananas expecting to eat them, but somehow, while my back was turned, they ripened and were all of a sudden to ripe to eat plain. Luckily I knew that this recipe was coming up so I peeled them and put them in the freezer.
I hoped to make these in time for our weekly Star Trek date with A. and E. on Wednesday night. Of course, I didn’t start making the cake until after the Little Rocker went to sleep, but as the cake was only supposed to bake for about 40 minutes I hoped it would be done already. I should have known better. Things always take longer in my oven. I also made the cake in a loaf pan so that it would be like banana bread, so that also made it take longer. Basically it ended up being done baking just as we were finishing our last episode of the night. I quickly brushed the syrup on it and we all had a piece, hot from the oven.
Although it was so hot that each piece fell apart, it added so much to the flavor. Rocker Dude even said that it tasted like the perfect breakfast food, almost like french toast. He should know better than to underestimate the awesomeness of my baking.
Sorry this post is so short, but I have been really busy at work (when I usually write these things up) training my replacement. Rocker Dude, the Little Rocker and I are all flying next week to New Jersey for my brother D.’s wedding! We will be there for about three weeks, and apparently my office can’t survive without me (when they realize how much they need me I should get a raise!)
I also have another recipe to post – Ginger Cookies – and that will have to wait until I have a few free minutes too. When Rocker Dude went shopping this week he bought blueberry pie filling – hint hint – I then responded that he forgot to get the cheese so how was I supposed to make cheesecake?
This is a cake that has been long in coming. Whenever I ask Rocker Dude what he wants me to bake, he always says to just make what is on the cover of the Dorie Greenspan cookbook Baking: From My Home to Yours. It is basically a three layer chocolate cake with white marshmallow frosting and cake crumbs around the edges. I have been putting it off because I have not had the time necessary to spend on it. Sorry that there aren’t more pictures of the process, but I was also doing a ton of other things at the same time.
So for Rocker Dude’s birthday, I promised him this cake. I knew that I would not be able to make it all in one day, and anyway, you are supposed to let a cake cool completely before icing it, so I made the cake Thursday night while I made the rest of the Sabbath food. Then Friday morning, after coming back from the beach(!), I made the frosting and put the cake together.
I will say that the frosting did not come out as stiff as I would have hoped, but that might have to do with the humidity and heat we have been having. Either way, it came out well, just some of it got squished between the layers and came out the side. Rocker Dude says that next time I should try it with regular buttercream – or not in the summer.
The cake itself was really easy to make. It had three kinds of chocolate in it, melted chocolate, cocoa powder and chocolate chips. It made for a heavenly and moist cake. I baked the cake in two pans and then divided them each into two layers.
For the frosting, I made the simple syrup, it was really easy, and then started beating the egg whites. I carefully poured the sugar syrup in, and the directions said to mix it until it cools to room temperature, about five minutes. Well, five minutes came and went and I was worried about over whipping the egg whites. I tried to put frozen bags of vegetable on the side of the mixing bowl to try to cool it down, but it didn’t work enough. In the end, I just stuck the whole bowl in the fridge for a few minutes.
When I got ready to frost the layers, the frosting was light and stiff and not too sweet (this is why I prefer it over buttercream icing which can really be over the top). I carefully put the cake together. As I said, some of the icing squished out the sides, but on the whole, it came together nicely. I crumbled up the fourth layer of cake and put cake crumbs all around the side and some of the top of the cake. Of course, I had to share those cake crumbs with the Little Rocker who kept coming to me for more.
I put the whole assembled cake in the fridge to protect it from the heat. When I took it out for dessert, people were very impressed. And it tasted good too. Best of all, Rocker Dude loved it too.
Definitely will make it again!
Here is what we were up to before putting the cake together:
Recipe (From Baking: From my Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan):
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/4 sticks of unsalted butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1/2 cup buttermilk (or soymilk with a tiny bit of vinegar in it)
1/2 cup boiling water
4 oz. semisweet or milk chocolate finely chopped, or 2/3 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup egg whites (about 4 large)
1 cup sugar
3/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1 cup water
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 8 inch round cake pans.
Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
In a stand mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add the sugars and continue to beat for an additional 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add in the melted chocolate. When it is fully incorporated, add the dry ingredients in 3 additions and the buttermilk in 2 (begin and end with the dry ingredients). Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed and mix only until the ingredients disappear into the batter. Still working on low speed, add the boiling water. This will thin the batter considerably. Scrape down the bowl and add the chopped chocolate. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, rotating the pans at the midway point. When fully baked, the cakes will be springy to the touch, and a knife inserted into the center will come out clean. transfer the cakes to a cooling rack and let cool for about 5 minutes. Then unmold the cakes and let the cakes cool completely.
When you are ready to fill the cakes, inspect them carefully. If the cakes have crowned, use a long, serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion to even them. Slice each cake horizontally in half.
To make the frosting: Put the egg whites in a clean, dry mixer. Put the sugar, cream of tartar and water in a small saucepan and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, cover the pan and boil for 3 minutes. Uncover and allow the syrup to boil until it reaches 242 degrees F on a candy thermometer. While the syrup is cooking, start beating the egg whites.
When the syrup is at 235 degrees F, begin beating the egg whites on medium speed. If the whites form firm, shiny peaks before the syrup reaches temperature, reduce the mixer speed low and keep mixing the whites until the syrup catches up. With the mixer on medium speed, carefully pour in the hot syrup, pouring between the beaters and the side of the bowl. Splatters are inevitable, don’t try to scrape them into the whites. Add the vanilla extract and keep beating the whites at medium speed until they reach room temperature, about 5 minutes. You should have a smooth, shiny, marshmallowy frosting. It is best to use the frosting right away.
Put a bottom layer of cake, cut side up, on a cardboard cake round or on a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment paper. Using a long metal icing spatula, cover the layer generously with frosting. Top with a second layer, cut side up, and frost it. Finish with a third layer, cut side down, and frost the top and sides of the cake. Don’t worry about smoothing the frosting, it should be swirly. Crumble up the last layer of cake and gently press the crumbs into the frosting with your fingers.
Refrigerate the cake for an hour before serving. Or you can cover the cake and chill it for 8 hours or more.
A loaf cake, how exciting! And with layers too! And no buttercream to worry about separating in the heat – the best! This week’s recipe was hosted by Amy of AmyRuthBakes and she chose a very unique chocolate cake. I’m not usually a chocolate cake fan, but I knew that others would also appreciate it.
I also made this as a celebration cake. Rocker Dude’s mom, R., just underwent surgery to remove a herniated disc in her spine. Thank God, the surgery was a success and she can sit and walk and everything again without the pain that has been bothering her for a year now. We can’t wait ’till you are back to normal Mom! So we all went over to Rocker Dude’s parents’ house for the weekend, and I decided to bring a celebration cake. This cake is perfect because it doesn’t have creamy layers or require constant refrigeration – it travels really well! And it bakes really quickly too!
Thursday night we had a company BBQ, so I only had a few hours after coming home from work before we left to the BBQ. During this time I had to obviously, spend time with the Little Rocker, get her dinnered, bathed and bedded before the babysitter came. As I was in the middle of all this, I remembered that I wanted to make this cake and as we were leaving early on Friday to the in-laws, I wouldnt’ have time to bake it then. So I quickly whipped it up. Let me tell you, this cake mixes up in about five minutes. I put it in the oven and let it cook while I took care of the Little Rocker. It made the house smell so good. I actually felt bad because the babysitter would come in and expect yummy snacks and I had nothing to give her. Oh well, next time.
I let it cool, and when we got home at about 12:30 am, I wrapped it up for the night. In the morning I split the layers. it cut very nicely, though made a lot of crumbs. I used strawberry jam between the layers after reading people’s comments that without it, the cake was too monotone. The jam really sank into the cake and made the layers really moist without adding a distinctively strawberry flavor. It was light and emphasized the chocolate of the cake. I reassembled the cake and wrapped it tightly in foil for transportation.
When we got to the in-laws’, I made a simple chocolate ganache – equal parts cream and chocolate and poured it over the top of the cake. It looked delicious.
I let that sit in the refrigerator for a couple of hours to let it set and then I sliced it in order to take a picture (The eating that went with it was just because it was already sliced, I mean, if I wasn’t going to eat it then it would dry out probably. It was my duty to not waste food and make sure it tasted good before serving it to everyone else.)
When Rocker Dude’s dad, S., asked me what I made, I explained what went into all the parts of the cake. I could tell that when I got to the strawberry jam part he cringed on the inside (he’s waaaay pickier than Rocker Dude even). But I knew that it would be okay in the end.
When we did finally get to the cake after a great dinner, courtesy of S. and Rocker Dude’s aunt, G., everyone enjoyed their piece. The plates were cleaned and even G., who is a real health freak, had an extra half of a slice :). Definitely a success.
The one change I would make would be to try it with a white chocolate ganache instead of a dark chocolate one. I bet the flavors would go really well together.
For the recipe visit Amy’s blog here, and see what other TWD bakers did here.
This past weekend we were invited by our friends’ M. and L. to their new house in Modi’in. M. has been best friends with Rocker Dude since the womb (not really, they’ve been friends since 9th grade). M. moved to America after he married L., and three months ago they finally moved back to Israel. This was our first opportunity to spend the weekend together and we were very excited. We were also excited because they have a little girl about nine months younger than the Little Rocker so she would have someone to play with.
L. asked me to make a side dish and dessert. No problem. I had seen this recipe on The Food Librarian‘s blog last week and I knew that I had to make it. As most of us grew up in America (besides M.) with the ubiquitous peanut butter and jelly sandwich, I thought that we would all appreciated this.
Originally we had also planned a picnic with a mutual friend and his family, but their son came down with a fever so they were unable to join us. But this cake would have been perfect. It is sweet, while not being too sweet, and it is sort of healthy (all that peanut butter) and travels well.
This cake was a cinch to make – if you ever have a picnic or need to bring a kid-friendly cake that adults will enjoy too, here is your cake.
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter (one stick), at room temperature
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup chunky-style peanut butter
2 tsp. vanilla
3 large eggs
1 cup dairy sour cream
1/2 cup Welch’s Grape Jelly (I used strawberry jelly)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place baking rack in bottom third of oven.
2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside. In large bowl, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add peanut butter and vanilla, beating until well combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated. Beat in sour cream. Reduce mixer to lowest speed and gradually add flour mixture, mixing until just blended. Spoon half of the batter (about 3 cups) into greased 12 cup bundt pan. Dollop 3 Ts of the jelly over batter avoiding edges of pan.
3. Partially stir jelly into batter using a skewer or thin bladed knife. Spoon remaining batter into pan and dollop and swirl remaining jelly into batter. Bake for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean. Let cake cool in pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
This week’s TWD recipe was chosen by Nancy of The Dogs Eat the Crumbs. This cake is special for me because my husband spent a large part of his childhood in Sweden. His grandparents are Swedish, so every summer he would stay at their house in the Swedish countryside near Goteborg. When I showed him the picture in the book, he recognized the cake immediately and said that this cake is served everywhere in Sweden. When I asked if he liked it, he looked at me and said, “it has almonds on top.” By which I was to infer that he would never try the cake because of the nuts. To pacify him I told him that I would make the cake without the slivered almonds on top.
The cake is called a visiting cake because, and this Dorie relates in the introduction to the recipe, if you start the cake when you see guests coming up the walk to visit, it will be done by the time they sit down. It’s true. This cake was really simple to make, did not even require a kitchen-aid and it cooked really quickly. I didn’t even need the whole 25 minutes that the recipe called for.
Everyone loved the cake. it was dense and moist and as I added almond extract it had a strong almond flavor, almost like marzipan. We had a number of friends over on Friday night and everyone asked for seconds. But when I looked at Rocker Dude’s plate, he had only eaten half of his piece.
Out of the whole cake, there were only two small pieces left for Saturday. Just enough for the Little Rocker and me to each have one. When she woke up from her nap and I asked her what she wanted to eat for lunch, the first thing she said was “Cake” (it sounded more like “kek”, but hey). She’s my little girl!
The sugar sprinkled on top gave it a nice crisp crust that only added to the texture -yum! Definitely going to make this one again.
For the recipe check out Nancy’s site here and see what other TWD bakers did here.
After a long two week break, we are back and baking up a storm. Passover is over and we have restocked the kitchen with flour and other baking necessities. For those who want to see what my house looked like over Passover, see below:
Okay well that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but the house was clean and all the cabinets were closed off, etc. I actually did manage to do a bit of Passover baking, I made thumbprint cookies. It occurred to me afterward that I could have made Dorie’s Thumbprints for us Big Guys (see post here) because it was almond based and I could substitute matzo meal for the little flour that it has. Oh well, next year.
The other cake that I baked was Rocker Dude’s most favorite cake in the whole world. This is a little embarrassing for me, and it shows how much he does not appreciate what I bake. His favorite cake ever is the Manishewitz Passover Marble Cake MIX. A mix!!! And not just any mix, a Passover mix!!!! This is what it looks like
Apparently you can get it online on Amazon, who knew?
I have to admit that as cake mixes go, and Passover cakes in general, it is not bad. It is moist and tastes pretty good. But it’s a mix!! Oh the horror! And this is what he begs for me to make him – ahhhh! So I made it because I love him, and my parents have already bought him another couple boxes (you can only get it in America, so we always have them on the lookout) so that he shouldn’t be deprived for too long. Oy.
On Friday, I made my own marble cake, a cardamom and coffee cake. It never occurred to me that instead of making a traditional chocolate and vanilla marble cake, I could marble to other flavors. I was flipping through Dorie Greenspan’s book because I didn’t think that one cake would be enough for both Sabbath meals (Friday night and Saturday) as we were having guests at each meal. More about the other cake later.
I was looking for something easy and fast as I was short on time, and I stumbled across the basic marble cake in the pound cake section. One of the variations was a cardamom and coffee marble cake. I love using cardamom and this sounded really interesting.
The cake was really easy to make, basically mix up the ingredients, then separate the batter into two and mix coffee into one half and cardamom into the other half. Then marbleize them together. The cake came out a tad dry, but I think it was meant to be on the drier side. A pound cake should be eaten warm with butter maybe. I think next time i will try making a syrup to moisten it a bit. It went very well with a cup of coffee. Definitely make it again, though maybe I will try one of the other variations that Dorie included.
2 cups plus 2 tbsp. all purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 sticks of butter (or margarine)
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract1/2 cup whole milk
1 tsp. ground cardamom
2 1/2 tsp. instant coffee dissolved in 1 tbsp. boiling water
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Butter and flour a loaf pan.
Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together. In a mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Then add the sugar and beat for another 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and alternately add the flour mixture in three additions and the milk in two additions. Mix only until each addition is incorporated.
Divide the batter, add the cardamom to one half and the coffee to the other. Mix each half well. Then marble the batters together in the pan. Bake the cake for 20-30 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean.