chocolate cake

 

for my sister’s and mom’s birthdays, plus fathers day! i just used store-bought icing instead of the recommended whipped frosting. the cake wasn’t the best chocolate cake i’ve ever made/had, but it was pretty good.

as usual, from martha stewart: http://www.marthastewart.com/259394/chocolate-cake?center=276954&gallery=274371&slide=259394

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for pans
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pans
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs plus 3 large egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • Whipped Frosting
  • Shaved dark chocolate

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 8-by-2-inch cake pans, tapping out excess flour. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  2. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. With mixer on low, beat in eggs and yolks, one at a time. Beat in vanilla. Alternately beat in flour mixture and buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix just until combined.
  3. Divide batter between pans; smooth tops. Bake until cakes pull away from sides of pans, 32 to 35 minutes. Let cool in pans 10 minutes. Run a knife around edges of pans and invert cakes onto a wire rack. Let cool completely.
  4. Place one cake, bottom side up, on a cake stand. Tuck strips of parchment paper underneath. Using an offset-spatula or table knife, spread top with Whipped Frosting. Top with remaining cake; frost top, then sides. (Store unfrosted cakes at room temperature up to 1 day. Once frosted, serve within a few hours.)
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memorial day cake

 

adapted from martha stewart’s white cake recipe: http://www.marthastewart.com/341816/white-layer-cake-with-lemon-curd-filling

Ingredients

  • 3 cups cake flour, (not self-rising)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk
  • 8 large egg whites

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 9-by-2-inch round cake pans; line bottoms with parchment paper rounds. Butter parchment, and dust with flour, tapping out excess; set aside.
  2. Into a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and 2 cups sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in three parts, alternating with milk and beginning and ending with flour; beat until just combined. Transfer mixture to a large bowl; set aside.
  3. In the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites on low speed until foamy. With mixer running, gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar; beat on high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 4 minutes. Do not overbeat. Gently fold a third of the egg-white mixture into the butter-flour mixture until combined. Gently fold in remaining whites.
  4. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans, smoothing with an offset spatula. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until cakes are golden brown and a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool 20 minutes. Invert cakes onto rack; peel off parchment. Reinvert cakes, and let them cool completely, top sides up.
  5. Using a serrated knife, trim tops of cake layers to make level. Place one layer on a serving plate, cut side up. Using a pastry bag fitted with a coupler, pipe frosting around the perimeter. This dam will prevent the lemon curd filling from seeping out. Fill cake with lemon curd. Place other cake layer on top, cut side down. Spread entire cake with frosting, swirling to cover.
note: i used store-bought icing instead of martha’s icing/ lemon curd that she suggests. also, i split the batter into 3 bowls and dyed one red, dyed one blue, and left one white. voila.

ambulance cake

used boxed yellow cake for the inside, oreo wheels, store-bought icing, and fondant on the outside! made for an awesome cake for our end-of-year uchicago ems party : )

 

fondant recipe (not bad tasting at all!) : http://candy.about.com/od/fondantcandyrecipes/r/mm_fondant.htm

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces miniature marshmallows (4 cups not packed, or half of a 16-ounce bag)
  • 1 pound powdered sugar (4 cups), plus extra for dusting
  • 2 tbsp water
  • Food coloring or flavored extracts, optional

Preparation:

1. Dust your counter or a large cutting board with powdered sugar. Place the marshmallows and the water in a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 1 minute, until the marshmallows are puffy and expanded.

2. Stir the marshmallows with a rubber spatula until they are melted and smooth. If some unmelted marshmallow pieces remain, return to the microwave for 30-45 seconds, until the marshmallow mixture is entirely smooth and free of lumps. If you want colored or flavored fondant, you can add several drops of food coloring or extracts at this point and stir until incorporated. If you want to create multiple colors or flavors from one batch of fondant, do not add the colors or flavors now. Instead, refer to step 6 below for instructions.

3. Add the powdered sugar and begin to stir with the spatula. Stir until the sugar begins to incorporate and it becomes impossible to stir anymore.

4. Scrape the marshmallow-sugar mixture out onto the prepared work surface. It will be sticky and lumpy, with lots of sugar that has not been incorporated yet–this is normal. Dust your hands with powdered sugar, and begin to knead the fondant mixture like bread dough, working the sugar into the marshmallow with your hands.

5. Continue to knead the fondant until it smoothes out and loses its stickiness. Add more sugar if necessary, but stop adding sugar once it is smooth–too much sugar will make it stiff and difficult to work with. Once the fondant is a smooth ball, it is ready to be used. You can now roll it out, shape it, or wrap it in cling wrap to use later. Well-wrapped fondant can be stored in a cool room or in the refrigerator, and needs to be kneaded until supple before later use.

6. If you want to add coloring or flavoring to your fondant, flatten it into a round disc. You might want to wear gloves to avoid getting food coloring on your hands during this step. Add your desired amount of coloring or flavoring to the center of the disc, and fold the disc over on itself so that the color or flavor is enclosed in the center of the fondant ball.

7. Begin to knead the ball of fondant just like you did before. As you work it, you will begin to see streaks of color coming through from the center. Continue to knead until the streaks are gone and the fondant is a uniform color. Your fondant is now ready to be used or stored as outlined above.

cinnamon coffee cake

adapted from martha stewart: http://www.marthastewart.com/337805/cinnamon-streusel-coffee-cake

made this coffee cake for mothers day, it turned out pretty tasty despite not having the correct pan to bake it in. home for the weekend! which means that i got to see my family, and maybe more importantly, my cats. : P

Ingredients

  • For the streusel topping and center:
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • Coarse salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped toasted pecans
  • For the cake:
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • Coarse salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • For the glaze:
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk

Directions

  1. Make the streusel topping: Mix together flour, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon salt. Cut in butter using a pastry cutter or rub in with your fingers until small to medium clumps form. Mix in 1/2 cup pecans. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. Make the streusel center: Mix together remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1 cup pecans.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make the cake: Butter a 9-inch tube pan with a removable bottom. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon salt into a bowl.
  4. Beat butter and granulated sugar with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, then vanilla. Beat in flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour. Continue to beat until well combined.
  5. Spoon half the batter into pan. Sprinkle streusel center mixture evenly over batter. Top with remaining batter, and spread evenly using an offset spatula. Sprinkle streusel topping mixture evenly over batter.
  6. Bake until cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack, and let cool completely. Remove cake from pan, and transfer to parchment.
  7. Make the glaze: Mix together confectioners’ sugar and milk. Drizzle over cake, and let drip down sides. Let set for 5 minutes before serving.
note:

Coffee cake can be stored at room temperature for up to 5 days.

home for the weekend– got to see this lil nugget!

tiramisu cake

photo taken by emily lo!
photo taken by emily lo!
photo taken by emily lo!

recipe from smitten kitchen: http://smittenkitchen.com/2007/11/tiramisu-cake/

Tiramisu Cake
Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

For the cake layers:
2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk

For the espresso extract:
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
2 tablespoons boiling water

For the espresso syrup:
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon amaretto, Kahlua, or brandy (Deb note: I used brandy)

For the filling and frosting:
1 8-ounce container mascarpone
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon amaretto, Kahlua, or brandy (Deb note: I used brandy)
1 cup cold heavy cream
2 1/2 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped, or about 1/2 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips

Chocolate-covered espresso beans, for decoration (optional)
Cocoa powder, for dusting

Getting ready:
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9×2 inch round cake pans, dust the insides with flour, tap out the excess, and line the bottoms of the pans with parchment or wax paper. Put the pans on a baking sheet.

To make the cake:
Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add the sugar and beat for another 3 minutes. Add the eggs one by one, and then the yolk, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Beat in the vanilla; don’t be concerned if the mixture looks curdled. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk, adding the dry ingredients in 3 additions and the milk 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. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula.

Bake for 28 to 30 minutes, rotating the pans at the midway point. When fully baked, the cakes will be golden and springy to the touch and a thin knife inserted into the centers will come out clean. Transfer the cakes to a rack and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unmold them, and peel off the paper liners. Invert and cool to room temperature right-side up.

To make the extract:
Stir the espresso powder and boiling water together in a small cup until blended. Set aside.

To make the syrup:
Stir the water and sugar together in a small saucepan and bring just to a boil. Pour the syrup into a small heatproof bowl and stir in 1 tablespoon of the espresso extract and the liqueur or brandy; set aside.

To make the filling and frosting:
Put the mascarpone, sugar, vanilla, and liqueur in a large bowl and whisk just until blended and smooth.

Working with the stand mixer with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer, whip the heavy cream until it holds firm peaks. Switch to a rubber spatula and stir about one quarter of the whipped cream into the mascarpone. Fold in the rest of the whipped cream with a light touch.

To assemble the cake:
If the tops of the cake layers have crowned, use a long serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion to even them. Place one layer right-side up on a cardboard round or a cake plate protected with strips of wax or parchment paper. Using a pastry brush or a small spoon, soak the layer with about one third of the espresso syrup. Smooth some of the mascarpone cream over the layer – user about 1 1/4 cups – and gently press the chopped chocolate into the filling. Put the second cake layer on the counter and soak the top of it with half the remaining espresso syrup, then turn the layer over and position it, soaked side down, over the filling. Soak the top of the cake with the remaining syrup.

For the frosting, whisk 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of the remaining espresso extract into the remaining mascarpone filling. Taste the frosting as you go to decide how much extract you want to add. If the frosting looks as if it might be a little too soft to spread over the cake, press a piece of plastic wrap against its surface and refrigerate it for 15 minutes or so. Refrigerate the cake too.

With a long metal icing spatula, smooth the frosting around the sides of the cake and over the top. If you want to decorate the cake with chocolate-covered espresso beans, press them into the filling, making concentric circles of beans or just putting some beans in the center of the cake.

Refrigerate the cake for at least 3 hours (or for up to 1 day) before serving – the elements need time to meld.

Just before serving, dust the top of the cake with cocoa if desired.

rainbow birthday cake

recipe from martha stewart: http://www.marthastewart.com/313355/yellow-buttermilk-cupcakes

i used this delish cupcake recipe and just baked it in cake pans, adding one color to each pan

Ingredients

  • 3 cups cake flour, (not self-rising)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (2 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 5 large whole eggs plus 3 egg yolks, room temperature
  • 2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Sift together both flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to medium. Add whole eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add yolks, and beat until thoroughly combined. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk, and beating until combined after each. Beat in vanilla.
  3. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until cupcakes spring back when lightly touched and a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool 10 minutes; turn out cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely.

yellow cake & chocolate frosting

from smitten kitchen, http://smittenkitchen.com/2009/07/best-birthday-cake/

Best Yellow Layer Cake

Everyone needs a killer yellow cake recipe. This is mine, and dare I say, it should be yours too. It just works. Every time. And if you’ve ever tried a yellow cake mix and wondered why yours didn’t come out that consistently plush (but not freakishly unnatural) at home, dare I say it’s because you hadn’t made this one yet?

Yield: Two 9-inch round, 2-inch tall cake layers, and, in theory, 22 to 24 cupcakes, two 8-inch squares or a 9×13 single-layer cake (I have yet to audition the cupcakes, shame on me)

4 cups plus 2 tablespoons (480 grams) cake flour (not self-rising)
2 teaspoons (10 grams) baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon (5 grams) table salt
2 sticks (1 cup, 1/2 pound or 225 grams) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups (400 grams) sugar
2 teaspoons (10 ml) pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups buttermilk (475 ml), well-shaken

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans and line with circles of parchment paper, then butter parchment. (Alternately, you can use a cooking spray, either with just butter or butter and flour to speed this process up.)

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well and scraping down the bowl after each addition. At low speed, beat in buttermilk until just combined (mixture will look curdled). Add flour mixture in three batches, mixing until each addition is just Incorporated.

Spread batter evenly in cake pan, then rap pan on counter several times to eliminate air bubbles. (I like to drop mine a few times from two inches up, making a great big noisy fuss.) Bake until golden and a wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then run a knife around edge of pan. Invert onto rack and discard parchment, then cool completely, about 1 hour.

FUDGE FROSTING: note- i didn’t really put enough chocolate in!

espresso chiffon cake with fudge frosting

Instant Fudge Frosting
Adapted, barely, from a Sky High recipe.

Makes about 5 cups

6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
4 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar (no need to sift)
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 tablespoons half-and-half or whole milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse to incorporate, then process until the frosting is smooth.

Frosting tip: If your kitchen is as hot and sticky as mine is in the summer, you’ll want to watch a frosting like this carefully to make sure it doesn’t get too melty and soft. If it does, periodically put the bowl of frosting and your partially frosting cake back in the fridge to let it firm up and cool down again, then resume where you left off.

Planning to write on your cake? Whirl all of the frosting ingredients except the melted chocolate in the food processor until smooth. Set aside a half-cup of the white frosting for tinting and writing, then add the chocolate to finish making the frosting.