Tags: baking, cake, chocolate
Hello my loves. How about a little chocolate for Valentine’s Day? Maybe with some peanuts thrown in, too? If that sounds good to you, then this Sunday in Paris Chocolate Cake will be right up your alley. This recipe is in the “Fancy Cakes” section of the book, but it isn’t an intimidating one. The batter is pretty straightforward, with some peanut butter and chopped nuts in the mix. And the decoration is simple, too…ganache with a sprinkling of extra nuts and chocolate. I debated making mini cakes or a larger loaf, as the recipe will work either way. I decided to go for dainty little ones and used a silicon financier mold for baking, but a mini muffin tim would be a fine substitute. Watch the baking time if you do small cakes…they don’t take long in the oven.
This sort of reminds me of a cakey brownie. While I could easily eat one of these on it’s own, a scoop of vanilla ice cream makes it even better. You can fiddle with the topping, too. Last night, I took two plain (no ganache topping) cakes, accompanied by the obligatory scoops of ice cream, and drizzled them with warm salted caramel sauce and then scattered peanuts over top. Super good!
Tags: baking, cake
I nominated Spiced Honey Cake a couple of times, and then when it was chosen, I skipped it! Nice, right? I will admit to feeling guilty about that, but now Rewind Week is here to redeem me. So, here it is…
This might not be what you have in mind when you hear the word “cake.” It’s a take on pain d’epices, and is more like a quick bread than a moist, spongey cake. Dorie flavors it with honey (obvi) and also an orange/spice infusion. She uses lavender, Sichuan peppercorns and fresh ginger as her spices, but when I rooted through the cupboard (a chore, let me assure you), I saw don’t have the lavender or the peppercorns. I do have a really nice chai mix with lots of coarse bits of black pepper, ginger, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and fennel. It doesn’t contain any actually tea leaves, just the spices, so I thought it sounded like a perfect choice to go with the orange and honey flavors, as well as the almonds and dried cherries. Because the cake is purposefully on the dry side, it toasts up really nicely (I will thank my fellow TWDers who made the recipe on-schedule for pointing this out to me!). In fact, it’s better as cake toast than as non-toast. And it’s perfect with tea or coffee, so I’m glad to have gotten around to making it!
Tags: baking, cake
I don’t normally think of granola as a baking ingredient…usually it’s just my breakfast. Dorie likes to incorporate it into all kinds of stuff, though…there were the Granola Grabbers from years ago…now there’s Granola Cake. This actually reminds me of a chewy blondie more than cake– not just because of the add-ins, which include chocolate chunks and coconut in addition to the granola– but also because of the consistency of the batter, which is a lot like stiff cookie dough. Maybe it also reminds me of a blondie because I made just a quarter of the recipe in a loaf pan, so it’s probably thinner than it otherwise would have been. I’m down though. I like it. It’s a great snack cake. The granola contributes to the chew and it’s an interesting use of my normal breakfast cereal.
Tags: baking, cake, fruit
This Custardy Apple Square recipe is one I’ve actually made a few times now…maybe three or four. It was the first recipe I tried out when I got Baking Chez Moi and it’s so simple and tasty that it went right on the “make again” list. Apple slices tossed in a quick batter that’s whisked by hand get layered in a baking dish. It goes into the oven kind of a hodgepodge but comes out a stack of beautifully soft apples with a bit of vanilla (and rum, in my case) custard holding them together. A mandolin makes quick work out of neat, thin apple slices (and of course adds a thrilling element of danger to baking prep–watch your fingers!). This also reminds me quite a bit of something called Bolzano Apple Cake that I posted about many years ago. It’s great with whipped cream, but just fine on it’s own.
P.S.: Thanks so much for all the kind comments on my last Baking With Julia post! xoxo
Tags: baking, cake, dessert
So folks, we’ve come to the end of TWD Baking with Julia. The last recipe…I can hardly believe it. I admit that I have skipped a handful of them, but still, 107 completed recipes from one cookbook isn’t too shabby. The biggest and the toughest has been saved for last– a Glorious Wedding Cake! This is three tall, stacked tiers of dense almond cake sandwiched with jam and a crisp layer of almond dacquoise, topped off with rum-laced buttercream and decorated with marzipan fruit. I mean, Martha Stewart even gets not one, but two episodes devoted to this thing. Unfortunately though, no one asked me to make them a wedding cake in the past few weeks, so I had to go small instead of big on this one. Instead of a three tier show-stopper, I made a single tier cutie. Maybe it’s not so glorious, and I guess it’s basically the top tier that married couples put into the freezer for their first anniversary (R and I eloped…no cake for us, so I’m unclear on these traditions).
You may notice that there isn’t an interior shot of this cake. That’s because I definitely did something wrong with the almond cake layers. What, I am still not sure, but I was too stingy to waste all the almond paste and eggs that went into making it, so I just ploughed ahead with what I had. I’ll tell you though that there was a lot of patchwork involved and I am too embarrassed to show you what was going on in there. It was still delicious, so whatevs. No one paid me to make it for them after all.
Since my cake was tiny, the rest came together with out too much trouble. The dacquoise (almond meringue) layer was wonderful to crunch through and the egg yolk-based buttercream was super luxe. Rather than the marzipan cherries and raspberries Martha made, I did some strawberries and also some flowers and ivy leaves using the wacky hodgepodge of gum paste flower tools I have in my red pastry toolbox.
Tags: baking, cake
If you can handle turning on the oven in the middle of summer, it’s nice to bake with berries. These little golden Cornmeal and Berry Cakes, made with olive oil, are a lovely addition to my standard repertoire. And they’re easy to make, too. The recipe calls for raspberries, but blueberries would be great and blackberries may be even better. I actually used red currants, since I had a pint that I didn’t really have any other plans for. They give a tart little pop to the cakes, so I definitely wanted to add a little powdered sugar and lemon juice glaze to their tops. These can be made as mini loaves or cupcakes…I used a friand tin bought when we lived in Sydney because I like the oval shape.
These don’t make me think of cornbread or corn muffins…they are really cakes. I think actually they’ll make good breakfast treats with coffee, and that’s how we’ll have the ones I’ve wrapped for the freezer.
Tags: cake, chocolate, ice cream
Hi. My name is Stephanie and I’m a chocoholic. I need to be kept away from that lady Betty…she’s such an enabler with her Chocoholic Cake! I don’t stand a chance against three layers of brownie cake sandwiched and frosted with ganache. That’s why I had to alter her original cake and make it an ice cream cake. Actually, that makes no sense whatsoever– don’t stand a chance against ice cream cake either.
We are only two, so I made a scaled back version of the cake…a third of the recipe got me two six-inch layers. It is Dorie who mentions in her recipe intro that the brownie layers would be a good base for an ice cream cake. I followed her fine suggestion and filled my two layers with some coffee ice cream and popped the whole thing in the freezer for a few hours. I made the ganache recipe, but rather than cool it and use it as frosting, I used it warm as a sauce. And then I put peanut butter cereal on top. I’ve lost my chocolate-addicted mind, clearly, but it’s really delicious. The frozen cake should temper a bit before saucing and serving though, because it’s pretty hard to get a fork through it otherwise. Also, when it’s tempered, you get the really good fudgy texture and chocolatey taste of the cake layers.
Next time, I may try this the way Betty had intended. Or else I’ll make a mint chip or raspberry ice cream cake out of it! For the recipe, see Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll.
Tags: baking, cake
Green cakes! Icky or intriguing? They may be the color of Frankenstein, but don’t worry. It’s nothing weird…Japanese matcha tea powder gives these financiers a greenish tinge. I’m used to the slightly grassy taste of matcha tea and I’ve made cake and frostings with it before. I think it’s a nice flavor addition to a traditional almond financier. Thinking back to those Tiger Cakes I liked so much a few months ago, I followed Dorie’s Bonne Idee suggestion and turned about half of my batter into matcha tigers with a generous sprinkling of some Dutch dark chocolate vermicelli. These are really good just warm, I think, and I like the way the edge bits get a little crispy.
Tags: baking, cake
Odile’s Fresh Orange Cake is the second bright and easy citrus cake we’ve made recently…the Fluted Carrot-Tangerine Cake was a hit in my house back in January. This cake is a super-cinch to make and the batter is flavored with orange zest and juice. I made half a recipe in a 6-inch pan. After it’s baked, it’s doused in a simple syrup of OJ and sugar. You can use as much of the syrup as you want….go for broke if you like a wetter texture.
You can take that one step further and poach cross-cut orange slices in the syrup. Then you can decorate the top of the cake with a mosaic of beautiful orange pinwheels. I would have done that, but knew I’d be putting half the cake into the freezer, so I just tossed some segments in the syrup and decorated each slice with a few of them instead. The slices I froze were later spooned over with some candied kumquat slices–so tasty!!
Tags: baking, cake
I know that I’m a week off with this one, but it took some extra time for me to get motivated to make Alice Medrich’s Chocolate Ruffle Cake from Baking with Julia. Maybe I’ll get to that Hot Chocolate Panna Cotta from Baking Chez Moi for a rewind week. I had my hands full with this one, what with making a genoise, a cake filling and all kinds of chocolate deco work. It is impressive, though, with its beautiful ruffly top and sharp chocolate band. This cake could easily be spread out as a weekend project, although once I did get off my duff, I just charged through it.
I was only making this cake for the two of us so I downsized the recipe by half to fit into a 6-inch pan. Since the cake was smaller, I figured I could get away with slicing it into just two layers instead of three. I like when one bit of simplification leads to another, and with only two layers to sandwich, I skipped the chocolate cream filling layer in favor of just plain cream. Oh, and instead of using whipped creme fraiche as my filling and topping, I used whipped cream stabilized with a nice blob of mascarpone (so tasty!). I only did this because wanted it to hold up for a few days…even a 6-inch cake takes us a while to eat up. Also rather than fresh (winter) raspberries in the filling, I used some booze-preserved cherries that I jarred over the summer, and the cherry booze liquid became my soaking syrup for the cake. Sounds like I made a lot of changes, but really, they were pretty minor tweaks. Dorie says in to recipe intro that we can think of this cake as a variable format rather than a precise formula, so I felt free to do so. Anyway, it’s delicious– I basically turned it into a Black Forest cake.
The chocolate work can seem intimidating, and I can hardly describe the process myself, so if the book’s instructions aren’t clear, these videos of the TV episode are really helpful. No tempering is involved, so it’s really not that bad, even if it does take a few practice swipes get get nice ruffles. Mine weren’t perfect– and I’m the “chocolatier” (it is embarrassing for me to say that!) at the restaurant I work for– but they were good enough to make a lovely, swirly-twirly arrangement on top of the cake.
If you’re up for a weekend challenge, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan for the recipe. There are also a couple of videos of Alice and Julia making the cake together. Don’t forget to check out the rest of this week’s TWD Blogroll!