The Cake Slice: Triple Chocolate Fudge Cake

September 20, 2009 at 1:32 am | Posted in cakes & tortes, groups, layer cakes, sweet things, the cake slice | 37 Comments

triple chocolate fudge cake

Oh…Triple Chocolate Fudge Cake…the last cake The Cake Slice Bakers are making as a group from Sky High: Irresistible Triple Layer Cakes.  Sad, but just because the group will be moving on to a new book next month, Sky High won’t be gathering dust on the shelf.  After thirteen cakes, it has proven to be one of my favorite books, and I want to make just about every other thing in it!

This cake is like a high-class Ding Dong (although when and where I grew up, they were called “King Dons“).  If you were raised, as I was, in a house where such “crème-filled” delicacies were banned, then it will make you very happy.  A moist and dark devil’s food-like cake (made with mayo…but don’t be put off, because you’d never know!) is filled with a white chocolate mousse and frosted with chocolate sour cream frosting.  A piece of advice…my white chocolate filling seemed a bit too soft to use straight away, so I stashed it, still in its bowl, in the fridge for about half an hour to firm up before using it.

 triple chocolate fudge cake

The cake is so rich and good– I think we’re seeing this book off with a bang!  Here’s a printable link to the recipe.  Better yet, get your hands on a copy of Sky High: Irresistible Triple Layer Cakes by Alicia Huntsman and Peter Wynne…you won’t be sorry.  Cruise through the list of The Cake Slice Bakers to check out all of our sky-high cakes this month, and stay tuned for next month’s new book!

The Cake Slice: Pistachio Petit Four Cake

August 20, 2009 at 1:47 am | Posted in cakes & tortes, groups, layer cakes, sweet things, the cake slice | 26 Comments

pistachio petit four cake

With marzipan roses on top (however garishly colored–oops!), this Pistachio Petit Four Cake from Sky High: Irresistible Triple Layer Cakes may be the ultimate ladies’ treat– something that you’ll want to eat with your pinkie curled in the air. 

It’s not just for the girls though…R was completely happy to have it as his birthday cake this past week (want to see last year’s, or the year before’s?).  And he’d have been crazy not to want it.  Pistachio butter cake stacked with rolled marzipan, apricot jam and chocolate ganache make for a layered affair that is not just beautiful to look at, but tastes beautiful, too.

Sounds like a lot of fuss for a cake, but it’s completely worth it, and it’s not really that hard…at least not compared to stuggling through the petits fours glacés section of a French cooking school curriculum!  Buy the jam, and what the hell, buy the marzipan, too.  Even though there were instructions in the recipe for homemade marzipan, I confess that I just got the stuff in a log (one log worked great for the six-inch cake I made, but if you are doing a full-sized cake, I’d suggest two).

Here’s a printable link to the recipe.  Better yet, get your hands on a copy of Sky High: Irresistible Triple Layer Cakes by Alicia Huntsman and Peter Wynne.  Cruise through the list of The Cake Slice Bakers to check out all of our sky-high cakes this month.

The Cake Slice: Marbled Lemon-Blueberry Butter Cake

July 20, 2009 at 2:41 am | Posted in cakes & tortes, groups, layer cakes, sweet things, the cake slice | 27 Comments

marbled lemon-blueberry butter cake

I really look forward to Cake Slice time every month.  The best part, of course, is getting to eat homemade cake!!  But the second best part is getting in a little decorating practice.  I always keep it simple, mainly because I don’t have the finishing skills to make it fancy, but simple suits me best anyway.  One thing I’ve discovered is that a few easy to crank out gumpaste or fondant flowers can make even a mediocre frosting job look pretty good! 

I was a little on the fence when I saw we’d be making this particular cake, though.  It felt like we’d just done the Triple Lemon Chiffon…although looking at my archives, I now realize that was back in March.  My, how time flies– I guess we are due for another lemon cake!

This one’s a different animal from the chiffon altogether.  You can tell it’s a butter cake, with its nice tight crumb…it is definitely lemony, which I loved (although I do admit to never measuring zest, and may have been heavy-handed).  The frosting is a really rich buttercream…but the kicker is the homemade blueberry jam in the middle (and in the marble).  How perfectly summery!

marbled lemon-blueberry butter cake

Here’s a printable link to the recipe.  Better yet, get your hands on a copy of Sky High: Irresistible Triple Layer Cakes by Alicia Huntsman and Peter Wynne.  Cruise through the list of The Cake Slice Bakers to check out all of our sky-high cakes this month.

The Cake Slice: Piña Colada Cake

June 20, 2009 at 3:16 am | Posted in cakes & tortes, groups, layer cakes, sweet things, the cake slice | 32 Comments

piña colada cake

Anyone who knows me well knows that I like relaxing vacations in tropical places (but really, who doesn’t?).  If I can’t be in paradise, then a frou-frou frozen drink with a paper umbrella and a plastic mermaid can usually put me in high spirits!  But a Piña Colada Cake??  I dunno about that, but if it’s from the book Sky High, I’m willing to give it a shot.

This cake has a couple of standout elements.  The first is the actual cake itself– a brown sugar cake that’s really soft and moist, and it stayed that way over the four nights it took us to eat it (and I only made 1/3 of the recipe!).  The second is the pineapple filling– crushed pineapple cooked down with vanilla bean and lime juice.  It is supremely delicious, and I’m thinking that if I reduced it just to the point of a loose sauce (rather than a jammy cake filling), it would make an awesome topping for vanilla ice cream! 

I have to say, however, that on the first night, I wasn’t so impressed by the total package.  A healthy sprinkling of rum moistens each cake layer.  Normally that would get me pretty excited, but it was just too harshly alcoholoic for me.  And the coconut buttercream tasted overwhelmingly of the coconut extract (which always seems a little fake to me) used to flavor it.  Happily, after a night of refrigerated rest, the flavors nicely mellowed out…just like me under a palm tree with a drink in my hand!

Here’s a printable link to the recipe.  Better yet, get your hands on a copy of Sky High: Irresistible Triple Layer Cakes by Alicia Huntsman and Peter Wynne.  Cruise through the list of The Cake Slice Bakers to check out all of our mile-high cakes this month.

The Cake Slice: Mile-High Devil’s Food Cake with Brown Sugar Buttercream

May 20, 2009 at 4:19 am | Posted in cakes & tortes, groups, layer cakes, sweet things, the cake slice | 34 Comments

mile-high devil's food cake

I liked this.  *sigh*  I liked this very much…but I’ve gone on before about my feelings for devil’s food cake.

Back when I cooked up Southern Coconut Cake, I found that I could bake half of an 8-inch cake recipe in a quarter sheet pan.  Here, I did just a third of the recipe in the same sized pan.  The slightly thinner layers made it more “kilometer-high” than “mile-high,” but trust me, I was quite satisfied with the altitude of this moist cake.  And the brown sugar buttercream?  Well, it is quite a luxury (and one best appreciated at room temperature).  It definitely takes this cake from childhood favorite to grown-up delight.

mile-high devil's food cake

Here’s a printable link to the recipe, courtesy of  Gigi Cakes.  Better yet, get your hands on a copy of Sky High: Irresistible Triple Layer Cakes by Alicia Huntsman and Peter Wynne.  This is now the eighth (actually ninth, but more on that later) cake I’ve made from the book, and I can’t recommend it highly enough!  Cruise through the list of The Cake Slice Bakers to check out all of our mile-high cakes this month.

The Cake Slice: Chai Cake with Honey-Ginger Cream

April 20, 2009 at 2:23 am | Posted in cakes & tortes, groups, layer cakes, sweet things, the cake slice | 32 Comments

chai cake with honey-ginger cream

Oh my gosh– I made this cake weeks ago, but my heart still skips a beat looking at these pictures.  It’s not from sugar shock, either…it’s from love…true love!  Really, this cake will make you (and by “you” I mean me) forget that silly obsession with those achingly sweet iced chai latte thingies from Starbucks.    

I am so glad that The Cake Slice group voted to make this cake.  I’ve had my eye on it since I got my copy of  Sky High: Irresistible Triple Layer Cakes, and the only disappointing thing about it was that I only made half a recipe!  The cake itself is made with chai tea-infused milk.  The flavor is delicate, and reminded me more of a well-balanced spice cake than of tea.

And the frosting…oh, the gloriously thick, honey-sweetened cream cheese frosting, dripping it’s way down the side of the cake.  Does it get much better?   Add a little Bollywood-inspired sparkle on top, and I think not.

chai cake with honey-ginger cream

Look for a printable link to the recipe, courtesy of  Gigi Cakes.  Better yet, get your hands on a copy of Sky High: Irresistible Triple Layer Cakes by Alicia Huntsman and Peter Wynne.  Don’t forget to cruise through the list of The Cake Slice Bakers– I guarantee that I’m not the only one who loved this cake!

The Cake Slice: Triple Lemon Chiffon Cake

March 20, 2009 at 3:12 am | Posted in cakes & tortes, groups, layer cakes, sweet things, the cake slice | 44 Comments

triple lemon chiffon cake

What’s three times as good as a lemon chiffon cake?  A Triple Lemon Chiffon Cake, of course!  The Cake Slice group chose to go for a lemon trifecta this month– three layers of lemon chiffon, filled with rich lemon curd and frosted with lemony whipped cream.

I don’t think that chiffon cake itself has a tremendous amount of flavor, but it has an amazing spongy, moist texture that makes me want to take huge bites!  This one one of the most successful chiffons I’ve made…nice and tall, with no shrinkage.  When making chiffons, the cake pans are often ungreased so the batter can really climb up the sides, and the baked cakes are left to cool completely in the pans.  I’ve learned to (gingerly!) run a thin knife around the edges of the pans about five to ten minutes after the cakes have come out of the oven.  This helps the cakes to not tear away from the sides as they cool, which I think can cause them to lose some oomph.

Lemon curd must be one of the tastiest things of all time.  Even though I made a six-inch cake (half a recipe), I did a full recipe of the curd…intentional leftovers that were then sandwiched between cookies and used as a dip for fresh strawberries.  The frosting is just a simple whipped cream with a portion of the curd folded in.  Jodie rightly notes that almost every recipe we’ve made from this book (Sky High: Irresistible Triple Layer Cakes) has used a whipped cream frosting.  It’s a little tricky to work with, and you can see in my photos that even though I took care not to whip it too much, by the time I had smoothly frosted the cake, it looked overworked.  Oh well, it happens…at least I didn’t turn it to butter!  I realized that while I was freaking out about getting the frosting on as quickly as possible, I had not given a single thought to how I’d decorate this cake, so I just went with a squiggle of curd and some pastel sprinkles.  OK, it wasn’t my finest decorating effort, but let me assure you that the cake really did taste great!

triple lemon chiffon cake

Here’s a printable link to the recipe, courtesy of  Gigi Cakes.  Better yet, get your hands on a copy of Sky High: Irresistible Triple Layer Cakes by Alicia Huntsman and Peter Wynne.  Don’t forget to cruise through the list of The Cake Slice Bakers to check out all of our lemon cakes this month.

The Cake Slice: Southern Coconut Cake

February 20, 2009 at 2:39 am | Posted in cakes & tortes, groups, layer cakes, sweet things, the cake slice | 42 Comments

southern coconut cake

I am a coconut cake fanatic.  I love it in all its forms…filled with pastry cream or lemon curd, iced with cream cheese frosting or buttercream.  Any which way you slice it, I’ll take a piece!  Coconut cupcakes are scrummy too…I made some here awhile back.  So, naturally I was excited when Southern Coconut Cake won The Cake Slice group vote this month (although I know it only came from behind to beat out a chocolate-peanut butter cake because of the current salmonella scare, but so what).

There are no yolks in this cake, so the crumb is snow-white fluff.  I really like that the recipe incorporates coconut milk into the batter.  I punched up the coconut flavor a bit more by using a combination of vanilla and coconut extracts (rather than straight vanilla), and by folding a handful of finely grated unsweetened coconut (the desiccated stuff from the health food store) into the batter at the end.  I made half a recipe, but rather than baking it in three 6-inch pans, like I usually do, I spread the batter into a quarter sheet pan (measuring something like 9″ x 13″).  I then cut it into three strips, which I stacked into a rectangular cake… for some reason, I was obsessed with having a slice that looked like Pepperidge Farm.

The finished cake is not frosted with a traditional cream cheese frosting, but with a super light cream cheese buttercream, made with an Italian meringue.  Wow, is it good…and it’s something that I never would have thought to do.  The book that this recipe comes from, Sky High: Irresistible Triple Layer Cakes, has so many cool ideas– I’m really glad to have it.  I made a two-thirds recipe of buttercream, so I could have leftovers to frost my Valentine’s cupcakes

Not only does this cake taste great, but it’s also soooo pretty.  I want it for my wedding cake.  Oh, darn…I’m already married!  But there’s actually something else I can celebrate with a yummy coconut cake– a whisk and a spoon turns two today!  I can hardly believe it (especially when I go back and look at those early posts–ha!), and if it weren’t for all of you who read and leave such encouraging comments, I may not have kept at it for so long.  Thank you for making blogging so wonderfully fun and fulfilling!!

Here’s a printable link to the recipe.  Better yet, get your hands on a copy of Sky High: Irresistible Triple Layer Cakes by Alicia Huntsman and Peter Wynne.  Cruise through the list of The Cake Slice Bakers to check out all of our coconut cakes this month.

The Cake Slice: Banana Cake with Praline Filling and White Chocolate Ganache

January 20, 2009 at 7:30 am | Posted in cakes & tortes, groups, layer cakes, sweet things, the cake slice | 40 Comments

banana cake with praline filling and white chocolate ganache

Ack–I didn’t realize that this post and the TWD one would fall on the same day!  So in addition to having to crank out two posts on Monday night, I have also been subsisting on an all-cake diet for the past week!

This Banana Cake with Praline Filling and White Chocolate Ganache happens to be the latest installment of The Cake Slice.  I guess the title kinda tells it all, right?  You start with a white cake, softly flavored with banana purée.  The tall layers are stacked with a white chocolate ganache frosting that has sugared pecans folded through.  Then the cake gets frosted with the remainder of the ganache, and decorated with the rest of the pecans.  I halved the original recipe to make a six-inch layer cake.  Normally, I get six servings from a six-incher, but this cake was so toweringly high that I was able to get eight!

I will admit that I did not make the sugared pecans according to the recipe’s directions, which call for deep frying.  I didn’t want to use up half a bottle of oil to fry off a few nuts, so I dry-toasted them in a skillet instead.  Then I added a pat of butter, a couple spoonfuls of brown sugar and a sprinkle of salt, and cooked the nuts until the sugar and butter made a glaze.  I use this technique to make crunchy candied nuts for snacks and salads all the time, and it works really well.

As someone who is not terribly fond of white chocolate, it surprises me to say that I thought the ganache frosting/filling was the star of the show!  The banana cake definitely has the texture of a white cake, rather than something more banana bready, and the flavor is gentle, too.  It goes so well with the frosting, which is made by mixing ganache into softly whipped unsweetend cream.  The whipped cream really mellows out and tones down the tooth-achy sweetness of the white chocolate, and the resulting frosting is soft, light and decadent.  I will definitely be using this recipe again, as it’s super-good and much less rich than a traditional whipped ganache frosting (which I have described here and here). 

 banana cake with praline filling and white chocolate ganache

All-in-all, this was a delicious cake…and one I’m really glad I made!  Here’s a printable link to the recipe (better yet, get your hands on a copy of Sky High: Irresistible Triple Layer Cakes by Alicia Huntsman and Peter Wynne), and cruise through the list of The Cake Slice Bakers to check out all of our banana cakes this month.

The Cake Slice: Chocolate Hazelnut Nutcracker Cake

December 20, 2008 at 1:31 am | Posted in cakes & tortes, groups, layer cakes, sweet things, the cake slice | 26 Comments

chocolate hazelnut nutcracker cake

Gosh–hasn’t December gone by so fast?!?  It’s already time for the third installment of The Cake Slice!  This go-round, the group cooked up a very festive Chocolate Hazelnut Nutcracker Cake from the book Sky High: Irresistible Triple Layer Cakes by Alicia Huntsman and Peter Wynne. 

You’ll need to fish out your nutcracker to make this one– the batter has plenty of  hazelnuts, ground fine.  It also contains an unusual ingredient…graham cracker crumbs.  I’m wondering if these are there for subtle flavor, or if they really just act as an extender for the nut meal.  The cake is filled and frosted with vanilla whipped cream (a.k.a crème chantilly, if you want to get all fancy-like).

chocolate hazelnut nutcracker cake

While this cake was certainly good, R and I both though it was missing something.  The flavor was predominately hazelnut, and I think, for a cake with the word “chocolate” in its name, it needed to taste of chocolate, too (just a very small piece is grated into the batter).  If I get around to making it again, I think I’ll fill the layers with a dark chocolate ganache, and just leave the chantilly for the outside.  The rum soaking syrup, though, is a must!  Visit Gigi and Katie for the recipe (or get your hands on a copy of Sky High: Irresistible Triple Layer Cakes), and cruise through the list of The Cake Slice Bakers to check out all of our nutcracker cakes!

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