Mar 30, 2008

Perfect party cake-daring bakers

UPDATE!! I finally put my picture up!!

I'm sorry I have no pictures to post! I took pictures of my party cake last week, but I was too busy to download them on my computer. Now my camera is broken, and I can't get my pictures transferred to my computer! Since I can't show you what I made, I will have to describe to you what I made and post a picture at a later time.

I made this cake for my boyfriend's birthday party. I decided to make a chocolate cake with a coconut filling. The cake didn't turn out as well as I wanted. I didn't get much rise out of the cake. I wasn't able to split each of the cake in halves. So I ended up with only two layers. I'm not really sure what I did wrong, because it seems like other db'ers had much success with the cake. Maybe I should have made a white cake instead of a chocolate cake.

To turn the original recipe into a chocolate cake. I replaced 1/4 of the cake flour with cocoa powder. That didn't work very well. Although the cake was brown in color, it didn't have much of a chocolate flavor. The filling I used was delicious. I ended up using the Haupia recipe I used for the Sweet potato haupia squares. Because the cake was lacking in chocolate flavor... I made a chocolate ganache for my frosting. The ganache was delicious. Here's the recipe with my changes:

Perfect party cake
from Dorie Greenspan's Baking from my home to yours

for the cake:
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups whole milk
4 large egg whites
1 ½ cups sugar
1 stick (8 tablespoons or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature

To Make the Cake
1. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.

2. Whisk together the milk and egg whites in a medium bowl.

3. Put the sugar and lemon zest in a mixer bowl or another large bowl and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant.

4. Mix the sugar and the butter together. working with the paddle or whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat at medium speed for a full 3 minutes, until the butter and sugar are very light.

5. Beat one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed.

6. Beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated.

7. Add the rest of the milk and eggs beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients.

8. Finally, give the batter a good 2- minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and well aerated.

9. Divide the batter between the two pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cakes are well risen and springy to the touch – a thin knife inserted into the centers should come out clean

10. Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unfold them and peel off the paper liners. Invert and cool to room temperature, right side up (the cooled cake layers can be wrapped airtight and stored at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to two months).

Haupia filling

½ cup sugar
6 Tbsp. cornstarch
¾ cup water
1-13.5 oz. can coconut milk
1 cup whipping cream

Combine sugar, cornstarch and water. In a saucepan, bring coconut milk to a slow simmer. Stir in cornstarch/sugar mixture. Simmer over low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat and cool. Beat the haupia with an electric mixer until smooth. Whip the cream separately until stiff (you can use the mixer again – no need to clean off the beaters) and fold into whipped haupia.

Chocolate ganache
from Martha stewart online

1/2 lb of semi sweet chocolate
1 1/4 cup of heavy cream

1. Chop chocolate finely using a serrated knife; place in a large heat-proof bowl.

2. Bring cream to a boil over medium-high heat; pour directly over chopped chocolate. Allow to sit 10 minutes. Use a rubber spatula to gently stir chocolate and cream until well combined and smooth. Let sit at room temperature until cooled and just thickened, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes, but up to an hour depending on the temperature of the room.

Mar 19, 2008

Mint Chocolate Brownies

One of my friend is in town from California. She loves the mint and chocolate combination. When I first saw this recipe for a mint chocolate brownie from Jenn's cookbook, I wanted to make some to send to her. But being the procrastinator that I am, I didn't get a chance to make them until now. These are probably one of my favorite brownies, it's really rich and fudgy. The only thing that's a little bit scary is how the peppermint patty seems to stay in one piece even after 40 minutes in a hot oven!! hm...wonder what's in it?!!

Mint Chocolate Brownies
Jenn’s cookbook

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for pan
8 oz semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup sugar
3/4 tsp salt
3 large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
16 small (1 1/2 inch) peppermint patties

1. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil, leaving overhang on all sides. Butter foil and set aside. You can also use a foil baking pan sprayed with cooking spray.
Place chocolate and butter in a medium heatproof bowl set over (not in) a saucepan of gently simmering water, or use a double boiler. Stir occasionally until just melted, about 5 minutes.

3. Remove from heat. Whisk in sugar and salt until smooth, then whisk in eggs. Gently whisk in flour and cocoa powder just until smooth (do not overmix).
Spread 1/3 of batter in prepared pan. Arrange peppermint patties on batter in a single layer (see below). Top with remaining batter and smooth surface.

4. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 35 to 40 minutes.

5. Cool completely in pan (about 2 hours). Use foil to lift from pan, peel off foil and discard. Cut into 16 squares (4 rows by 4 rows).

  • The original recipe calls for 25 patties, but I was only able to fit 16 in my 8x8 pan.
  • The original recipe says to bake the brownies for 40 to 45 minutes. Mine was finished by 35 minutes.

Mar 2, 2008

Cream cheese lemon hearts

I found this recipe at Martha Stewart. Martha and I have a love-hate relationship. I have finally figured it out...I love Martha's staff, but I don't really care for Martha herself. I am sure the success of this recipe is due to her staff, and not her personally. heehee =P Anyway, enough about her. These are really good cookies!! They're similar to the Spritz cookies I made earlier, but they have a slight tangy taste from the cream cheese and the lemon. It's a really nice combination. Here's the recipe:

Cream cheese lemon hearts
adapted from Martha stewart

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 ounces cream cheese , room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons lemon zest, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
Confectioners' sugar , for sprinkling

1. Put butter and cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until creamy. Mix in granulated sugar. Add egg, and lemon zest and juice; mix well. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl; mix into butter mixture on low speed.

2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place a small amount of the dough in a pastry bag fitted with a large French tip (such as Ateco #865). Holding tip very close to the surface, pipe 3 1/2-inch bows onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper; space 1 inch apart. Refill pastry bag as needed with remaining dough. Bake cookies until golden brown on bottom, about 12 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks, and sprinkle with confectioners' sugar. Cookies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature up to 3 days.

  • I baked the cookies for 6 minutes, turned the pan around and baked for another 6 minutes.
  • The original recipe uses 1 cup of sugar, I felt 3/4 cup was enough.
  • In the original recipe, she piped bows...but I felt girly, and wanted to make hearts!

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