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 @ 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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Thursday, October 10, 2013

A Treat & Crispy Treats

One of the Cake Slice Bakers ~ Monica of the blog Lick The Bowl Good ~ has a new cookbook!!  It is called "Lick the Bowl Good: Classic Home-Style Desserts with a Twist"... Grab a copy of it!!  I couldn't wait to get it and it just arrived and it is fabulous! She loaded up this cookbook with awesome pictures and yummy recipes.

I had a few minutes this afternoon and DJ has been asking for rice crispy treats.  So I decided to try one of LTBG's recipes...

... yes you are reading that right.  Rice crispy treats elevated to a whole new tasty using browned butter and cozy spices.

These are a snap to make.  Butter your 9" x 13" pan, measure out your ingredients and away you go!
A quicky tip ~ if the spices in the recipe are all going in at the same time, just measure into a small bowl and then when they are called for just dump and keep moving.

That's ooey gooey goodness you seeing going on there... browned butter bits and spices floating in melting marshmallow.

Once all melted mix with the rice crispies.  
Smoosh it down with buttered hands or something like a silicone spatula.

Once cooled cut and nom nom nom!

A winning recipe.  I look forward to making more goodies from this wonderful book.  I raise my whisk to Monica!  Congrats!!

: )

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Butterscotch Cream Roll-Up

It's fall y'all!  Well it is now but not when this cake was due for The Cake Slice baker bloggers. Ha!

Me lately...

The September choice for the Cake Slice Bakers is the Butterscotch Cream Roll-Up from Vintage Cakes.   What is the Cake Slice you ask?  Well we are a group of blogging bakers that bake a cake each month out of a specific cookbook.  This year of baking is being done from  Vintage Cakes by Julie Richardson.  We only have one more cake to bake from this book and then we start on a new book for the next year of baking.  If you are interested in joining The Cake Slice group please send an email to Paloma at @ for information. It is a great group of gals to bake with!  Be sure to check out all of their yummy blogs.

First thing you make for this cake is the butterscotch that will be used for the filling.  When making something like this be sure to have all your ingredients ready to go, don't get squirreled and be very attentive.  If you don't pay attention your sauce will go from delicious to disastrous in just seconds.  When done right the sauce will have a rich dark color and will smell sweet.

I would suggest making the butterscotch first thing in the morning and allow it to chill until cool.

The cake is a pretty standard sponge cake that you bake in a lined, greased and floured sheet pan.
The recipe calls for the cake to cool in the pan.  I did not do that because most of the time if you do let a cake cool in the pan the bottom will get soggy.  So I took the cake out of the pan and let it cool in a rack.  The down side of this is the edges got a bit dry.

As your cake cools take out the butterscotch and allow it to come up to room temperature. one the cake is cool it is time for the filling to be made.  Using the stand mixer on low mix together (most of) the butterscotch and cream until combined then you turn it up and whip them into a fluffy soft peaked cream.

Now for the fun... Cut the cake into four even pieces.  I removed the parchment from the pieces now rather than later.  Spread each piece with a dollop of filling then sprinkle with almond slices.

Now it is time to roll.  This is not the typical way of rolling a cake.  Roll your first piece on the pan/rack then stand it up on your plate.

Next pick up one of the pieces and wrap it around your center piece.  Start your second piece edge where the first piece edge finished off.

Add your third and fourth pieces the same way.  I did not figure out how to get a clean finished edge but I figured the cream covering will hide it.  ;)

And it did quite nicely!

Taste-wise this was probably one of our favorite cakes from this book.  The cake was light but had a good taste and the butterscotch cream was so yummyrific!  I will make this one agin but most likely will do a more traditional roll.  It was rather difficult to cut thinner pieces and didn't plate well... but every plate came back empty!

The Butterscotch Cream Roll-Up recipe can be found in Vintage Cakes by Julie Richardson.  (I have no association with her or her cookbook sales.)

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



Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Maple Pecan Chiffon Cake

Happy August to y'all!

This month has been a busy one that includes my oldest son turning 22 just a few days ago.  Crazy to think that he is that old... that I am that old ha!  You don't want to hear about my oldness - you came to see what cake the Cake Slice bakers whipped up this month so let's get going....

The August choice for the Cake Slice Bakers is the Maple Pecan Chiffon Cake with Brown Butter Icing from Vintage Cakes.   What is the Cake Slice Bakers you ask?  Well we are a group of blogging bakers that are baking a cake each month out of a specific cookbook.  This year of baking is being done from  Vintage Cakes by Julie Richardson.  It is a great group of gals to bake with!  Be sure to check out all of their yummy blogs.  

This cake is supposed to be baked in a tube pan or angel food cake pan.  Since I can't seem to leave well enough alone I choose to bake it in a sheet pan.  I also decided that since it is just the boys and me home right now - Hubster is working extra shifts... well someone has to pay for my extra cooking essentials and Jeep parts!  Oh did that actually get typed?  Oh... where were we?  Since it is just the boys and me home I decided to make a half recipe.  Plus it gave me a good excuse to use my new shiny quarter sheet pans.  ;)

First I made the icing.  BB icing can be tricky sometimes.  One thing I have found that really helps with consistent results is allowing the browned butter to cool before whipping it up with the sugar.

The recipe called for unsalted butter.  I have found that I prefer to use salted butter and forgo the pinch of salt at the end.  I also like to use the browned bits that are sitting in the bottom of the pan.  They give the icing such a nice flavor and homey touch to the icing.  If you refrigerate your icing you will need to let it sit out for about 15 minutes before use.  You will also want to fluff it.

To make the chiffon cake you will want to butter and parchment the bottom only of your cake pan.  With chiffon or egg white cakes you should not grease the sides of your pan.  The cake actually uses the ungreased sides to grab onto and hold for rising while baking.

Don't forget the trick of buttering your pan, lay in your paper then flip your paper over so both sides are coated with butter.

This cake has four components ~ dry, wet, whipped whites and nuts.  If you read your recipe and mise-en-place your cake will come together nicely.

Start with your dry ingredients.  Sift together your flour, salt and baking powder, then whisk in the brown sugar. The recipe calls for light brown sugar but I choose to use dark brown sugar.

In another bowl whisk together the egg yolks, oil, maple syrup, water and vanilla.  A tip for you - the recipe called for the same amount of oil and syrup so I measured the oil first then the syrup.  Since the measure had the oil into it first the syrup slid right out down to the last drop!

Get your egg whites whipping.  First on medium until foamy, add in the cream of tarter.  Then get them to a nice soft peak and slowly add in your sugar.  Crank up the mixer and within just a minute your egg whites will be shiny and luscious looking.   

With as few strokes as possible combine the dry and wet ingredients.  Now it is time to fold the mixture with the egg whites.  Place about half of the whites in with your mixture and fold them together.

Now add the lightened mixture back to the whites and finish folding until just combined and you don't see any large streaks of white.  Now add your toasted nuts and finish combining all together.

I ended up diving the batter between two sheet pans.  Smoothed out the tops and popped them into the oven.

This way of baking the cake took much less time... only about 20 minutes.  Gee can you tell where the nuts are in the cake?  ha!

I didn't want them to sink too far so I inverted them on top of a cooling rack and let them cool completely.

The cakes both fell out of the pans but held up very well.  Time to build my cake.  I decided to cut it into four pieces.  I am not good at the eyeballing thing so out comes the ruler.

Peel the first layer off of the paper and place onto the plate.  

Tip alert - yep I am full of them today.  Place the blade of your off set spatula into a glass of hot water.  When you are ready to frost your cake wipe it off and frost until your frosting starts to stick a bit.  Place it back in the water to reheat, dry and back to frosting.

Continue to stack and frost all of the layers.

Once you have all of it frosted put your cake into the refrigerator for at least half an hour before slicing and serving.

We found the cake to be light and tasty.  I do think that without using the dark brown sugar the flavor may have been a bit too understated.  The BB frosting really helped boost the cake flavor.  I don't think I would make this cake as a full sized cake but as thin layers it worked out.

The Maple Pecan Chiffon Cake with Brown Butter Icing recipe can be found in Vintage Cakes by Julie Richardson.  (I have no association with her or her cookbook sales.)

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