Thursday, November 20, 2014

Caramel Apple Coffee Cake

Welcome to a new book year of The Cake Slice Bakers on my blog!  Once a year we vote on and select a cake cookbook that we bake a recipe from of each month.  For the next year we will be baking from The Southern Cake Book Paperback by The Editors of Southern Living Magazine.  We are all excited to be baking from this new cake book choice.

This month we had our choice of which cake to bake.  We got to pick from: 
Rum-Glazed Sweet Potato Cakes
Caramel Apple Coffee Cake
Cranberry Apple Pumpkin Bundt
Orange Pecan Spice Pound Cake

I haven't done a coffee cake in a while so decided to give that one a go... apples and caramel, yum!




The first thing we needed to do is make the caramel sauce and set it aside.  Then onto the apples for the middle layer of the coffee cake.  The recipe calls for the apples to be peeled, cored and sliced then sauteed in a bit of butter.  You want to let the sauteed apples to sit and cool while you work on the rest of the recipe. 

I found in the end product that the apples were mushy and I would most likely skip this step if I make this coffee cake again.



Onto the streusel topping made up of sugars, pecans, cinnamon, flour and butter.  Simply stir it together and set to the side.  



Time to mix the cake portion of the recipe.  One thing that I hate in the morning is the see the phrase 'softened butter'.  I have barely finished my first cup of coffee and you want me to have had enough brain power to have taken out butter to soften a half hour before?  Yeah, no. 

A good workaround is to cut up your butter in thin pieces, spread them out in your bowl and the butter will be ready for creaming in about 10 minutes.... enough time to brew another cup of coffee.... ahhh.



Mixing together your cake is pretty basic.  Cream the butter and sugar, beat in the eggs and then mix in the dry alternating with the mix.  Spoon the batter into a greased spingform pan.  Time to add the apples to the top of the batter.  I found that distributing them by hand was the easiest.



Crumble to streusel all of the top of the apples, then drizzle about 1/2 a cup of the caramel sauce over the streusel.  Time to go in the oven.



This coffeecake takes over an hour to bake and comes out nicely browned.  Time for it to sit and cool.



After it cools for a bit it is time for it to be unmolded.  The pan is so full the the topping has baked over the edge and this makes getting the ring off quite difficult along with messy.



The cake also stuck quite firmly to the ring.  

It would be best to use a 10" pan instead of a 9" like the recipe called for and line the ring with parchment.  Be sure to adjust your baking time if you do change your pan size.



After it cools for an hour it is time to serve the coffee cake.  Unfortunately this coffee cake does not cut and serve cleanly due to the topping being solid and hard to cut through.



Yield: Makes 8 to 10 servings

Ingredients

2 tablespoons butter
3 cups peeled and sliced Granny Smith apples (about 3 large)

Streusel Topping*

Caramel Suace*

1/2 cup butter, softened 
1 cup sugar 
2 large eggs 
2 cups all-purpose flour 
2 teaspoons baking powder 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
2/3 cup milk 
2 teaspoons vanilla extract 

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Melt 2 Tbsp. butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add apples; sauté 5 minutes or until softened. Remove from heat; cool completely (about 30 minutes).

2. Meanwhile, prepare Streusel Topping and Caramel Sauce. Reserve 1/2 cup Caramel Sauce for another use.

3. Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add sugar, beating well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition.

4. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; add to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed until blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla. Pour batter into a greased and floured shiny 9-inch springform pan; top with apples. Drizzle with 1/2 cup Caramel Sauce; sprinkle with Streusel Topping.

5. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes. Cover loosely with aluminum foil to prevent excessive browning; bake 25 to 30 minutes or until center is set. (A wooden pick will not come out clean.) Cool in pan on a wire rack 30 minutes; remove sides of pan. Cool completely on wire rack (about 1 1/2 hours). Drizzle with 1/2 cup Caramel Sauce.


*Caramel Suace - makes about 1 1/2 cups
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar 
1/2 cup butter 
1/4 cup whipping cream 
1/4 cup honey 
Bring brown sugar, butter, whipping cream, and honey to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring constantly; boil, stirring constantly, 2 minutes. Remove from heat, and cool 15 minutes before serving. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 1 week. To reheat, microwave at HIGH 10 to 15 seconds or just until warm; stir until smooth.


*Streusel Topping
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
1 cup chopped pecans 
1/2 cup butter, melted 
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar 
1/4 cup granulated sugar 
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 
1/4 teaspoon salt 

Stir together flour, pecans, melted butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and salt until blended. Let stand 30 minutes or until firm enough to crumble into small pieces.



The Caramel Apple Coffee Cake was voted quite tasty and the whole family enjoyed a piece of the cake.  But none of us felt that extra caramel sauce was needed and that the apples were too mushy.  
I felt that it was good but not worth the four hours it took to get to eat it.  I think with some adjustments it would be a great coffee cake.

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Happy Baking!
:)

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Chewy Chocolate Nut Cake


Cake Slice Baker time!  

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 but I am so looking forward to baking from the new book.  ;)
If you would like to join our group please head over to http://thecakesliceblogroll.blogspot.com/ and drop a note to one of our awesome staffers and they will get you started.

This month we had the choice of Banana Nut Cake, Sesame Almond Swirl, Chewy Chocolate Nut Cake and Blueberry crumb squares.  The Chewy Chocolate Nut cake sounded a bit different so that was our choice this month.



We start off by making the chewy chocolate nut mixture.
All I had on hand was pecan halves, not pieces.  It was a bit sad to chop them up so.



Once the pecans, cocoa, sugars, salt, butter and corn syrup were all mixed up, half of it was pressed into the bottom of a springform pan.  The other half set aside to be added as a layer later.



The key to a good cake batter is getting the butter sugar mixture super creamy and light.


Half of the batter is spooned over the crust layer.  Then you add the chocolate in a crumble all over and top with the second half of batter.


I spooned the batter over the crumble layer but left about two tablespoons in the bowl.  That way once it was smoothed out I could add more batter to that area to cover nicely.



I baked this cake for an extra 10 minutes before the tester came out clean.  The cake came out very puffed up but slowly sank as it cooled down.



The instructions tell you to invert the cake onto your serving platter.  That covered up the sunken top.



Upside down looked good but It didn't cut nicely.  And this was at room temperature.  I don't think it would fair well if chilled at all.


The cake served up ok.  The cake part was light and had good flavor.  The chocolate part was good also and the nuts gave the cake a much needed texture boost.

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:)
Enjoy!





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 http://thecakesliceblogroll.blogspot.com/ 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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Enjoy!

:)

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.

video

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!

Check out all of The Cake Slice Bakers @ the blogroll, the links below & like us on Facebook.









Enjoy!

:)

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Absolutely the Best Yellow Cake...?

cake
noun
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...


CAKE!

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.