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.

*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.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Old-Fashioned Pound Cake

Happy New Year!  Hope y'all are doing well so far this year.  This year is looking to be one of exciting things for my family.

Time for the Cake Slice Bakers to reveal the cake baked for January!  We are baking from Great Cakes by Carole Walter.  The cake for January is the Old-Fashioned Pound Cake.  There are several variations given in the cookbook and I decided to go the 'Spirited' route with our pound cake.  I also added a butter vanilla glaze to the pound cake.

My sous-chef Nick is joining me on this bake.  I always love to have my boys help out in the kitchen.

The cookbook calls for a parchment lined pan but I seem to be even more old-fashioned... my pound cakes need to have that sugar crust on the outside.  So Nick buttered the pan and then coated with sugar.

I don't usually sift my flour.  One f the main reasons for sifting in the old days was to make sure there were no foreign objects in the flour.  With today's standards we should be pretty safe from finding odd things in our dry goods.  

Since Nick was helping I had him "sift" the dry ingredients.  It's good practice.

Cream together the butter and sugar, beating until the color has lightened.

Since we chose the "Spirited" cake we added half milk and half bourbon.

Added in half our dry ingredients then the milk/bourbon, followed by the rest of the dry.

This batter comes out very velvety smooth.

Into the prepared pan and baked in a low oven for just over an hour.  Out comes a perfectly golden brown cake.

As it sits on the counter and cools can you smell the buttery goodness with a back note of bourbon?

Now prepare the glaze.

Butter Vanilla Glaze ~ melt 1/4 cup salted butter, whisk in 1 cup confectioners' sugar until smooth.  Add in 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1 to 2 tablespoons milk, depending on how thick or thin you want it.  Drizzle over your cake a little while before serving.

We found this cake to be quite tasty but did not feel that it was a pound cake.  It was light and fluffy with a soft crumb, which is nice but that is not what a pound cake is.  I may make this again knowing what it is like but not expecting a pound cake.

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I'll just leave you with this...



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

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Applesuace Spice Cake

It is that time of the month!  Time for the Cake Slice Bakers to reveal the cake baked for November!  This is our first cake from our new cookbook ~ Great Cakes by Carole Walter.  We will be voting on and baking a cake each month - revealed on the 20th - for a year.  This book is filled with wonderful sounding cakes, so I am looking forward to the months ahead.

The cake for November is the Applesauce Spice Cake.  It has a double dose of apple-i-ness calling for applesauce and chopped apple.  The recipe is pretty straight forward... nothing happens during the process of putting it together so I thought I would try to give you some tips this month instead of step by step instructions.

This recipe calls for a fluted pan.  I have two bundt pans that don't see much use anymore for a couple of reasons... I dislike using Pam spray so I would have to hand grease all those nooks and crannies and because I equally dislike having to wash out all those nooks and crannies.  Instead I use a simple tube pan.

While you get all your ingredients ready before you throw your cake together (because I know y'all are good mise-en-placers!) think about how many dishes you can save yourself from washing if you plan out your tools.  Generally I like to use a large chef's knife for chopping nuts.  But I also need to chop an apple and the large knife is a little much so I compromise and use a smaller knife for the nuts and it will work just fine for the apple too.  Same for the cutting board.  Who cares if there are nut bits on the chopped apple - it's all going in the same cake.  ;)

When you peel your apple, or anything else, peel it onto a paper towel.  Paper towels are excepted in most city green bins and in compost piles.  When you are done just wad it up, peel, core and towel and throw the whole thing into your green bin and go.  

Don't bother with an apple corer.  Let's weigh the corer frustration versus the tiny bit you will leave behind if you just cut the sides off....  Seriously!  That bit of apple left behind on the core is so not worth my time or yours.  Cut off the sides nice and close to the core and move on with a happier, less frustrated day.
*Now if we are talking the apple peeler-corer-slicer... oh yeah that thing rocks!  Use it and love it but not for doing just this one apple.

I have a confession ~ I don't own a sifter.  Hey now don't go giving me that stink eye!  I hear ya mumbling over there about a baker that doesn't own a sifter... yea yea yea.  I just use my fine strainer when I need to sift something.  Let some of your tools be multi-taskers (ode to Mr. AB)... they like it, I promise!

Also don't dirty another utensil for stirring the flour/dry ingredients through the strainer, let your measuring spoon get a little more action time.  Yeah they like it too.

When you turn out your cake... your golden brown, still warm, luscious smelling cake... ok I am back.  Oh yeah when you turn out your cake and want a nice smooth top have a second rack handy so that you don't end up with funny lines all over your cake because you took too long to find your other rack that was in the dish washer.

If you just happen to end up with silly rack lines all over your beautiful cake top don't sweat it!  Those little indentations will just be perfect for holding the tasty glaze on top of your cake.

Yes.... Brown.  Sugar.  Glaze.  

You start with brown sugar and butter melting together.  Add in your cream and then whisk in powdered sugar.  This is one place I really do recommend you "sift" your powdered sugar otherwise you will end up having to whisk out a bunch of lumpies and you really just want to get this dang glaze done so you can pour it all over that cake and cover those unsightly lines on the top... 

... and watch it puddle on the edge.  Then tell your people that it is horrible and hide it so that you have it all to yourself later after everyone has gone to bed... Wait did I say that out loud. Ha!  I would never do that!  Always share your wonderful creations!!

This cake is so darned homey and tasty and warm wonderful!  We all loved it... soft and appley inside with that golden crust that is covered in yummy glaze.  
This recipe is going in the keep pile.

A few notes on this recipe...
I did not include he called for allspice.
I chopped my apple fine and used a bit more than called for.
I used walnuts instead of pecans.
Watch your timing on this cake - it baked quicker than the book called for.

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Malted Milk Chocolate Cupcakes

Wow it has been a year already?!  Yes I am talking about the Cake Slice.  We have spent almost a year baking our way through Vintage Cakes by Julie Richardson.  This is our last cake from Vintage Cake - even though I suspect I will revisit the cookbook again in the future. ;)
For our October cake we did not vote for one but rather we all chose what we had been eyeballing to make.  So you really need to check out all the CSBs yummy blogs to see what all the gals made this month.

If you are interested in joining The Cake Slice group please send an email to Paloma at love.for.coffee @ gmail.com for information. It is a great group of gals to bake with!

My pick for October is the Malted Milk Chocolate Cupcakes.  My family and I like malt balls.... ok fine we love malt balls and fight over who gets to eat the last one!  That in mind this was a hands down choice for me to make.

You really need to start off making the frosting because it calls for a two hour refrigeration.  To make the frosting your first step is to make a malted ganache.  After whisking together the cream and malt powder, heat over low heat and make sure to stir and watch it closely.  Even with doing that mine started to burn before the cream was bubbling along the edges.  If this happens to your pot of cream no worries, just don't scrape it out.

Simply pour the heated mixture over your chocolate and allow to sit for a few minutes before whisking until smooth and no more chocolate lumps are present.
Tip - as you can see I put mine into a glass bowl.  This was just fine until I went to transfer it later to the mixing bowl - the set up mixture is very sticky and was difficult to transfer.  If I had known I may have put it in my stand mixer bowl to start with.  Just remember that your bowl needs to be heat proof.

Cover and refrigerate until well chilled and set up. Now time to move onto making the cupcakes.

Start off with mixing together the dry ingredients - including the malt powder.  Mix this together very well to avoid lumps of the malt powder.

Next you melt the butter and chocolate until smooth.  Add in the oil and then add into the dry mixture.  Be sure to scrape down the sides and the bottom a couple of times.  Again to avoid lumps of the malted powder.

Whisk together the milk, eggs and vanilla and slowly incorporate it into the chocolate mixture.  It is a very wet batter.  I usually use a scoop to fill my cupcake pans but that was just becoming a big mess all over the pan.  So I decided to move the batter to a large measuring cup with a pour spout.  Now filling was much easier and cleaner.
*Note - even with all the scraping and mixing there was still lumps stuck to the bowl so I would advise not scraping out the mixing bowl if you transfer like this.

These cupcakes took about 25 minutes to cook and that worried me a bit but baked up just fine.

Once the cupcakes were cooled it was time to finish the frosting.  Transferred the chocolate to the stand mixer bowl and while on low added in pieces of butter.  Once all the butter is added,  turn the mixer up to medium to create a fluffy frosting.

It is interesting - the frosting is quite light at this point through piping it but once it was refrigerated  the frosting darkens up.

Thumbs up from all that ate the cupcakes!
The cake was moist but had that nice little crunch to the top edge.  The frosting was fluffy and tasty.  I liked both components though I am not sure if I liked them together - maybe a little too sweet together.  I might try the frosting on a dark chocolate cupcake next.  

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