Saturday, August 23, 2014

Zach's Chocolate Marble Cake

Hello dear readers!  Yep it is that time again - Cake Slice Bakers!  
It should have been the 20th that I posted but well I am just behind.

This month our choices were Zach's Chocolate Marble Cake, Hungarian Poppy Seed Kugelhopf, Golden Peach Cake and the Very Berry Roulade.  I chose to make the marble cake due to the tastes in our house.

The Cake Slice Bakers bake from one cake cookbook each year.  Each month we are offered three or four choices from the book and we vote on which to bake.  The current cookbook is Great Cakes by Carole Walter.  We have recently voted on what book to bake from in the upcoming year and I am not able to reveal it until it the group reveals it at the same time.  I just got my copy and there looks to be some yummy recipes in it.  ;)
If you would like to join our group please head over to and drop a note to one of our awesome staffers and they will get you started.

Let's get marbling!

I chose to make my cake in a simple pan rather than a textured bundt pan.  I sprayed the pan and laid in a piece of parchment in the bottom - flipped so that it is greased on both sides.

This recipe had you make up the chocolate mixture - melted chocolate, shortening, honey, baking soda, and espresso - and set it aside.  The mixture set up.... a bit more than I would have liked because when mixed with the batter it was very grainy and there were bits left unincorporated.

The cake batter went together well and the vanilla batter had a very nice texture.

You layer in your two cake batters.

Once you have layered in your batters, take a knife and kind of smoosh around to create your marbling.  Once done with that into the oven it goes for about an hour.

The cake comes out a lovely golden brown and smells delightful.

Now to just let it cool and decide if I am going to top it with the glaze or not.

My boys decided to forgo the glaze and eat it straight up.  Personally I think they were just getting antsy ha!

My cake didn't have as much "marbling" as I think we expected but really liked the bands of light and dark cake.

This cake has a very nice texture and came together quickly.  I felt that the chocolate flavor wasn't very present - in fact I could taste the honey more than the chocolate.  And I think that the glaze would have given the cake just the right boost to make it a very tasty cake.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Glazed Almond Butter Cake

What time is it?!  It's Cake Slice Bakers time! 
*imagine the lights swooping back and forth and the trumpets sounding off*

Sounding a bit enthusiastic this month, you are thinking huh?
Well I am going to spoil the ending for you now - we really liked this cake!
With that out of the way let's get down to business.

The Cake Slice Bakers bake from one cake cookbook each year.  Each month we are offered three or four choices from the book.  The current cookbook is Great Cakes by Carole Walter.   Our choices this month were Glazed Almond Butter Cake, Burnished Sugar layer cake, Pineapple cheese squares and Black Forest Cherry Torte.  I really wanted to make the BFCT but ran out of time.  I do have the key ingredients and still plan to make it in the future.  But this month's cake choice is the Glazed Almond Butter Cake.

Started off by lining my pan and melting the butter so it has a chance to cool just a bit.
Thought I was being so smart lining the bottom.  Ummm.... yeah.  Getting the slices off later was a pain.  Just spray or butter the bottom if using a springform for this cake.

One thing you need to do when a recipe calls for your eggs to get a good beating is to make sure you beat them enough.  They should be a pale yellow and no longer look soupy.  They should be bright and shiny and look so good you want to run your finger through them and lick you finger - I wouldn't advise that though.  No really, don't.  Just beat them that much.  You need those eggs to hold that air and create a silky texture for your cake.


Ms. Walter really wants us to sprinkle in that sugar a teaspoon at a time and frankly I love the rebellious feeling I get each time I dump in that sugar and turn the mixer to medium to get the same result.... sugar the is thoroughly beaten into the eggs and no longer grainy.

Alrighty then... got the eggs and sugar all silky smooth then put together my dry ingredients.

Drizzled in half of the butter, added half of the dry ingredients, more butter and the rest of the dry.
Got the batter into my -well- lined pan and into the oven it went.

Once the cake was mostly baked it was time to put together the topping.  Butter, brown sugar and almonds are a great combination.

As soon as I mixed it up I questioned if it was enough topping.

Then when I was spreading the topping on the cake I knew it wasn't enough.  I felt that half again as much would have been the perfect amount ~ next time we will know huh?

Back into the oven for another ten minutes to finish it off.

We let the cake cool for a couple of hours then out of the pan and ready to be served.

The cake cut so nicely and the texture was smooth with a velvety crumb.  We had my parents over for dinner that night and everyone enjoyed the cake.

This one will go into the keep folder. Yay!

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Absolutely the Best Yellow Cake...?

a sweet, baked, breadlike food, made with or without shortening, and usually containing flour, sugar, baking powder or soda, eggs, and liquid flavoring.

Or as I would define it...


nounom nom nom nom

I have been on a quest for the basics.  I want recipes in the front of my binder that are my 'go tos'.   A chocolate cake that I know will always be just the right amount of chocolate, a lemon bar that makes you pucker then mmmm as you take another bite, a coconut cream pie that is so good that you don't care if you have a little sumtin' on the edge of your lip because you just shoved a huge bite into your mouth.  And a yellow cake that can be delicate and delightful but at the same time hold its own when filled or topped.

The Cake Slice Bakers have changed things up a bit and now offer three or four choices to us each month from the current cookbook ~ Great Cakes by Carole Walter.   Our choices this month were Absolutely the Best Yellow Cake, Sour Cream Chocolate Cake, Bing Cherry Kuchen and Streusel Lemon Torte.

You would have thought I would jump at the chocolate cake but I spied that yellow cake and thought that I should give it a go.... would this be THE one?

Well the recipe says that it is the best... let's find out.

Cupcakes again?  Yes, dear.
Cupcakes are easy to give away!  
Plus if you eat a whole cake you just ate one item... if you eat several cupcakes then you just stuffed in your face multiple food items and that is baaaaad.  So yes, cupcakes.

Cream your softened butter and sugar together to form that light and fluffy stuff that you should not dip your pinky into on accident and then lick off because the paper towels are just too far down the counter.

Add in your vanilla extract.  Now you want to add your eggs.

I hate to wash extra dishes but this is one of those things you shouldn't shortcut.... do not crack your egg directly into the mixing bowl.  At some point you will drop a shell.  If you are lucky you will see it, dig it out and just waste time.  Bu there will be that time when you find out because someone you love will crunch down on it and blahhhh!
Instead simply crack your eggs into a small bowl, then dump into the mixing bowl from there.  It is worth the extra dish to wash.

Your creaming items are all fluffy and now to do the wet/dry dance.

Add in part of your dry ingredients, followed by part of your wet then mix until just incorporated and repeat until all your stuff is mixed together.

This batter came out rather nicely and was very silky but I could see that it wanted to break a bit if left to sit.

I made half a recipe and was able to (over) fill 12 cupcakes and had I scrapped the bowl could have filled one more.  Into the 350 degree oven they went.

While they were baking I decided that indeed we needed a bit of chocolate with these cupcakes.... yeah, yeah, I know!  So.....
I decided I would dip the tops into ganache. 
Please tell me you know what ganache is!!  Well in case you don't know what it is I will tell you...  ganache is the chocolate be all end all in my book!  You can do so many things with it other than eating it straight out of the bowl.  And the best part is it is so dang simple to make.
I am using 3/4 cup of heavy cream and 8 ounces of (good)chocolate (chips or chopped) for this round of ganache.  Its a little on the thick side but since I am dipping I wanted that.

Place your chocolate into a heat proof bowl.
Heat your cream on the stove top until the stream just starts to rise and you see little bubbles along the edges.  
Pour the cream over the chocolate.

Wiggle the bowl so that all of the chocolate is covered by the cream.

Now walk away.  Just go... for about 5 minutes.

Time to make magic happen.  Whisk it.

Well that isn't looking so pretty.  Just keep going, I promise it will come together... just... like... that!

Oh yeah.

Timer goes off and the cupcakes are done.
I baked them for about 17 minutes, until they reached 205 degrees internally.
But they are flat and the edges stuck to my pan.  I was hoping for a bit of a dome on top for dipping in.

They smell good and they look good, just flat.

I changed ideas and decided to just spread the ganache on top.

"Oh please don't spread chocolate ganache on top of that cupcake" ~ said no one ever!

Was it the best?  Sadly no.  It was quite tasty!  It has a delicate texture... actually the texture was almost too delicate.  I think that may be one of its downfalls.  Also there was no salt in the recipe and it called for unsalted butter plus it tasted just a bit eggy to me.  I think I may just have to give this one a go again to see if we can get it to be the best.  Keep your eyes peeled for a part two of this adventure.

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*I didn't publish the recipe because it comes from a copyrighted cookbook.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Coconut (not a) Layer Cake

It's time! It's time! 
The Cake Slice Bakers voted to bake the Coconut Layer Cake for April! 

 We are baking from Great Cakes by Carole Walter. 

As usual I didn't make it by the book. My layer cake turned into cupcakes because I wanted to serve them with our Easter dinner. I also didn't use the recommended frosting because I had not made a frosting as the book listed and chose to use a tried and true swiss buttercream instead.

This coconut cake was a bit different because it called for the coconut to be steeped in scaled milk for half an hour.  Then you put the milk and coconut into a food processor and blitzed until the coconut was broken down.  

I used coconut milk hoping for a stronger coconut flavor in the cake...*

The cake mixed up in the usual fashion - cream together the butter and sugar, add in the eggs then add in the dry ingredients alternating with the coconut milk.

Scooped the batter into the cupcake liners and into the 350 degree oven they went.  For reference ~ the recipe made 22 cupcakes and they were done in about 13 minutes.

Working in a leveled oven has sure been nice!  Ha!  The cupcakes rose with a nice round dome.

I let the cupcakes cool over night then went to work on them with the buttercream, which I flavored with just a hint of coconut flavoring.

And then topped with toasted coconut.

These cupcakes turn out nicely and we got good reviews of them at Easter dinner.  They have a nice airy texture and baked up well as cupcakes.

*I personally thought they could have used much more coconut flavor.  Since I added the coconut milk I am guessing that a small amount of good coconut flavoring would help boost the flavor.

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*I didn't publish the recipe because it comes from a copyrighted cookbook.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Lemon Velvet Squares

'Tis that time again!  Time for the Cake Slice Bakers to reveal the cake baked for February!  We are baking from Great Cakes by Carole Walter.  The cake for February is the Lemon Velvet Squares.  Mine aren't going to be very square since I elected to bake my cake in a new mini bundt pan.

This cake starts out on the right note...

Fresh citrus zest is usually a good thing and then add in butter - ok yum!

Get your sugar, eggs, liquids and dry ingredients incorporated and you get a silky smooth batter.

Even though my mini bundt pan is new and a non-stick I chose to spray (which I hardly ever do) and sugar the pan.  Put my batter into the pan and had some left over so I sprayed and sugared a nine inch round pan also.

The cakes baked up nicely with a bit of golden brown to the edges.

Let the cakes cool for about ten minutes and then it was time to unmold them.... 


Well that was not part of the plan.
Ok no problem!  The glaze will cover up the "specialness" of these minis.

Time to whip up the glaze.

Well ok, that is not a glaze consistency in my mind.  Glaze should be pour-able.  This is more like a frosting.  Spreadable, which would be fine if I had made the 9"x13" cake the recipe specifies.  But I didn't so...  time to thin it down a bit.

I added about one tablespoon of additional lemon juice and it broke.  As long as you kept stirring the glaze it was fine but as soon as you stopped it started to separate.

The glaze tasted fine and since these were served to my family I just went for it.

Still not glaze thin + not spreadable cake surface  = a quite unattractive dessert.  Well that's a bummer!

This cake and glaze combination was pretty tasty if you like citrus.  The cake crumb texture was light and soft but does need the extra kick of the glaze.
The cake would be best baked in and served from the same pan.  Spread the glaze on while still warm and enjoy!

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*I didn't publish the recipe because it comes from a copyrighted cookbook.