Marble Pound Cake

IMG_5018 Time flies! These past few days have been a whirlwind of work, running, yoga, eating, sleeping. Repeat. It’s finally stopped raining (for now) so I’ve been trying to take advantage of the clear skies on my runs. I’ve also been working on getting a Running page up on this blog! Nothing too exciting, just an easier way for me to organize my thoughts and separate running from food. But like I said before, the recipes will still keep coming so have no fear if you aren’t quite into the running stories!

Let’s talk marble pound cake.

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I’ve actually had this post saved in my drafts for a while now but that doesn’t make me less excited to share it with you! I’ve always loved how beautiful a swirl effect can be in baked goods. This cake takes full advantage of that plus satisfies both white and chocolate cake lovers. I know pound cake isn’t really cake cake, but it’s still cake-like and this recipe especially make a lovely, fluffy pound cake.  Another bonus is that you most likely already have all of the ingredients you need for this recipe (or you can make* certain ingredients) so this is the perfect last-minute recipe!

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*how to make:
– buttermilk: 1 tbsp lemon juice or 1 tbsp white vinegar in a 1-cup measuring cup, fill to top with milk
cake flour: 1 cup all-purpose flour, replace 2 tbsp of flour with 2 tbsp cornstarch and sift

Marble Pound Cake

Yields: 1 9×5 loaf cake

Ingredients:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 3/4 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon Dutch-process cocoa powder
butter or spray for pan

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter or spray a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan; set aside.

Whisk together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until combined after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix in vanilla. Add flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the buttermilk and beginning and ending with the flour.

Scoop 1/3 of the batter into another bowl and set aside. In a separate small bowl, mix the cocoa powder and 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of boiling water until smooth. Add the cocoa mixture to the small bowl of cake batter; and stir it well.

To assemble the cake- start by creating a checkerboard pattern in the bottom of the pan by spooning dollops of each batter on opposite sides of the pan. For the second layer, alternate the pattern, spooning vanilla batter over the chocolate and vice versa. Finish with a final layer of batter- again alternating it from the pattern of the 2nd layer. Use a knife or skewer to swirl all the batters together. Make a couple figure 8s and run it back and forth so it is swirled and pretty.

Bake until a cake tester comes out clean, 40-60 minutes (check at 40 minutes by inserting toothpick and if it does not come out clean, leave in longer as needed). Transfer pan to a rack to cool 10 minutes. Turn out cake from pan and cool completely on the rack. Cake can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.

—SOURCE—
The Baker Chick, from Martha Stewart

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

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I’ve decided that a week (and a half) is a perfectly acceptable length of time to mope around, contemplate buying a plane ticket and running way, and consume an embarassing number of microwavable chocolate mug cakes in order to get over the feeling of having a giant hole in my heart. But now I’m back to reality and back to normal! Thank you so much for your love on my last post. Your sweet comments meant the world to me and I adore you. Which is why I want to share with you this carrot cake with cream cheese frosting!

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I really love carrot cake, especially with cream cheese frosting. It’s one of my favourite flavour combinations, yet for some reason up until now I had never baked one myself! To be honest I think I was a little scared to try out a recipe and be disappointed. More often than not, the carrot cakes I’ve tasted have either been too dry, too dense or lacking in flavour. I was so happy with the way this cake turned out though. The carrot cake itself is plain and simple, yet so moist and fluffy. I love how the grated carrots add a lovely pop of orange colour as well. The cream cheese frosting is perfection and if you’re like me and bake your cake in a bundt pan then you will have leftover frosting to snack on 🙂

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Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

For the cake:
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
2 cups grated carrots

For the frosting:
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, room temperature
1 pound (16 oz) powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract


Directions
:
Preheat oven to 350F.

Mix together the sugar, oil and eggs in a large bowl. In another bowl sift together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon. Add the flour mixture to first mixture and combine. Then add carrots and stir in gently. Pour into a greased and floured pan (bundt, sheet cake, 9 x 13 pyrex) and bake at 350F until cooked through, 25 minutes (sheet cake) to 50 minutes (Bundt pan), depending on the pan you use.  Cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting, in a large bowl, cream togetherbutter and cream cheese. Add sugar and vanilla and blend together very well until creamy. Spread on cooled carrot cake. Enjoy!
—SOURCE—
slightly adapted from The Pioneer Woman

Pumpkin Pecan Cake with Brown Butter Icing

IMG_0245I was cleaning out all of my old USBs and deleting a lot of files when I found pictures of this pumpkin pecan cake with brown butter icing hidden away in a file. I realize that this is more of a cake I should be sharing with you in the fall or  early winter (just like these pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting!) but I couldn’t handle the thought of waiting 8 or 9 months just to share this with you. So here it is in all its glory! This layered cake has a nice, warm pumpkin pecan flavour that is jazzed up with a bit of orange zest. The cake layers are sandwiched with candied pecans and brown butter icing (the icing alone is enough reason to make this cake) and the whole thing is covered with more icing and pecans!  You don’t have to coat the sides of the cake with candied pecans like I did, but I had enough pecans to do so and I didn’t like the way the icing looked plain anyways. This cake was a hit and even if you don’t have plans to bake it now, it’s definitely a cake to bookmark for next fall!
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Pumpkin Pecan Cake with Brown Butter Icing

Ingredients:

For the Cake:
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
1¼ cups packed, light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup fresh or canned pumpkin purée (not pie filling)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1½ cups unbleached cake and pastry flour
½ cup ground toasted pecans
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp each ground ginger, cinnamon and allspice
1 tsp orange zest
½ cup buttermilk

For the Icing:
½ cup unsalted butter
8 oz cream cheese, softened
¼ cup brown sugar
1¼ cup confectioner’s sugar
2 cups (500 mL) chopped candied pecans** (plus more for garnish)


Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).

Grease sides of two 9-inch (1.5-L) round metal cake pans; line bottoms with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat butter with sugar until light and fluffy; beat in eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each. Beat in pumpkin and vanilla until incorporated.
In a separate bowl, whisk fl our, ground pecans, baking soda, baking powder, salt, ginger, cinnamon, allspice and orange zest. Stir into butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, making 3 additions of dry ingredients and 2 of wet. Scrape into pans; smooth. Bake in the centre of oven until a cake tester comes out clean, about 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool in pans on rack for 10 minutes. Turn out onto racks; peel off paper. Invert; let cool.

For icing, in a large heavy skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the butter turns a golden brown, about 4 minutes. Pour into a bowl and let stand until the little bits sink to the bottom, about 5 minutes. Transfer to freezer and chill until firm, about 15 minutes. Scrape the top of the butter from the bits at the bottom; discard bits.

Transfer brown butter to bowl with the cream cheese and brown sugar. With an electric mixer beat until the brown sugar has dissolved, about 2 minutes. Gradually beat in confectioner’s sugar until incorporated and fluff y, 1 to 2 minutes.

To assemble the cake, brush any crumbs from cake layers. Cut each in half horizontally. Place 1 layer, cut-side up on cake plate. Spread with about ¾ cup (175 mL) of the icing. Sprinkle evenly with ½ cup (125 mL) of the candied pecans. Repeat layers twice. Top with remaining layer, cut-side down. Spread entire cake with a scant cup of the icing to mask. Refrigerate until firm, 30 minutes. Spread cake with remaining icing and decorate with remaining pecans.

** to make candied pecans:
Yields: 2 cups of candied pecans

Ingredients:
1 large egg white
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups raw pecan halves

Directions:
Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 300 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk egg white until the whites have foamed into small white bubbles. Add sugar, spices, and salt.  Whisk until thick and opaque. Add pecans and toss to coat. Once thoroughly coated, spoon pecans onto prepared baking sheet. Leave any extra coating in the bowl.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until nuts are fragrant and toasted golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

—SOURCE—
cake from Food&Drink magazine, candied pecans slightly adapted from Joy the Baker

Chocolate Layer Cake with Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream Filling

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I always look forward to birthdays. Sometimes I wonder if I make friends solely for the fact that one day each year, I will have an excuse to bake something more elaborate than breads (posts coming soon!). I absolutely adore baking cakes and cupcakes, and I am a firm believer that everyone deserves a cake on their birthday. Not a cheap, plastic-y cake from the grocery store covered with neon coloured, sugary icing flowers (I actually just shuddered typing out that sentence). A real, homemade cake filled with good things. Like caramel Swiss meringue buttercream.

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When I first saw this recipe, I immediately bookmarked it and patiently waited for a birthday to come along. Caramel Swiss meringue buttercream? Are you kidding me?! Oh man. This cake is amazing.  Swiss meringue buttercream is slightly more complicated and takes a little bit more time to make than a plain buttercream, but the extra steps are so worth it. The resulting Swiss meringue buttercream is so much more buttery and silky. It will make you want to make a pillow out of the buttercream and rub it all over your face. But that’s just weird.

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Be careful when you’re making the caramel! I am slightly notorious for burning caramel, and usually have to make a second batch. As soon as your caramel turns a deep amber colour, take it off the heat. I usually have a second, clean bowl ready on the counter so that as soon as my caramel turns the right colour, I take the pan off of the heat and scrape the caramel into the bowl, to prevent the heat from the pan to further the cooking process.

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Lovely caramel Swiss meringue buttercream sandwiched between layers of heavenly, fluffy chocolate cake. The chocolate cake is made even better with the addition of coffee (to enhance flavour). Make a friend today, so you can bake this cake later :)

Chocolate Layer Cake with Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream Filling

Ingredients:
For the cake:
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
2¼ cups sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark unsweetened cocoa powder
2¼ tsp. baking soda
1½ tsp. baking powder
1½ tsp. salt
6 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 cup plus 2 tbsp. buttermilk
1 cup plus 2 tbsp. brewed coffee
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tbsp. vanilla extract

For the filling:
1 cup sugar, divided
¼ cup water
¼ cup heavy cream
Generous pinch of sea salt, such as fleur de sel
4 large egg whites
1½ cup (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

For the frosting:
12 oz. good quality semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
¼ cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
¼ cup very hot water
1 cup plus 2 tbsp. (18 tbsp.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp. confectioners’ sugar
Pinch of salt

Fleur de sel, for finishing

Directions:
To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Grease and flour the edges of 3 8-inch baking pans, shaking out the excess.  Line the bottoms with rounds of parchment paper.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Mix on low speed to blend.  Add the vegetable oil, buttermilk, coffee, eggs, and vanilla to the bowl and mix on low speed until well blended and completely incorporated.  Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.  Bake 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let the cakes cool in the pans about 15 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely.  Remove the parchment paper.

To make the caramel buttercream filling, place ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons of the sugar in a medium saucepan.  Mix in the water.  Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat.  Stop stirring and let the caramel cook, gently swirling from time to time, until it is a deep amber color (test a drop on a white plate or bowl if necessary), watching it carefully to avoid burning.  Remove the mixture from the heat and slowly whisk in the cream and then the salt.  Set aside and let cool.

Combine the egg whites and the remaining ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water.  Heat, whisking frequently, until the mixture reaches 160° F and the sugar has dissolved.  Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form and the mixture has cooled to room temperature, about 8 minutes.  (The bowl should be cool to the touch.)

Reduce the speed to medium and add the butter, 2 tablespoons at a time, adding more once each addition has been incorporated.  If the frosting looks soupy or curdled, continue to beat on medium-high speed until thick and smooth again, about 3-5 minutes more (or longer – don’t worry, it will come together!)  Blend in the cooled caramel until smooth and completely incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

To make the frosting, place the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water.  Heat, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth.  Set aside and let cool to room temperature.  In a small bowl, combine the cocoa powder and water and stir until smooth.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter, confectioners’ sugar and salt.  Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  With the mixer on low speed, gradually blend in the melted and cooled chocolate until well incorporated.  Blend in the cocoa powder-water mixture until smooth.

To assemble the cake, level the cake layers if necessary.  Place one of the cake layers on a cake board or serving platter.  Top with half of the caramel buttercream and smooth in a thick, even layer.  Place a second cake layer on top and smooth the remaining caramel buttercream over that.  Place the final cake layer on top.  Cover the top and sides of the cake with the chocolate frosting and smooth with an offset spatula.  If desired, use additional frosting to pipe decorative accents on the cake.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.  Before serving, sprinkle with fleur de sel.

—SOURCE—
Annie’s Eats, adapted from Sweetapolita, filling and frosting originally from Martha Stewart

 

Toffee Bar Brownie Torte

Whenever I’m looking for a cake or cupcake recipe to celebrate a friend’s birthday, the first place I always go to is my absolute favourite blog, Annie’s Eats. And to be honest, she never disappoints. In my opinion, trying out a new recipe for a cake/cupcakes that are meant to be for a friend’s birthday can be stressful, which is why I love finding and trying out recipes from Annie’s blog since she’s already tried the recipe out first and often gives helpful tips/advice.

I actually made this ridiculously decadent Toffee Bar Brownie Torte (obviously from Annie’s blog) back in September, for my good friend Tori’s birthday. Last year I made her a Cappucino Fudge Cheesecake, and since I am well aware of her love for all things chocolate (and coffee!), I knew I wanted to stick with something rich and chocolate-y again this time.  This cake was unreal. You can tell just how rich it is by the amount of butter, eggs and chocolate called for in the 3 brownie layers alone, along with the espresso mascarpone filling and espresso whipped cream frosting. And the whole thing is coated in toffee pieces. Yum!

The average person would only be able to consume a sliver of this cake which is why the serving yield might seem high, although I can actually say that one of my friends managed to consume a quarter of the entire cake (!!!!) in one day. But most of us aren’t like that 😛

Toffee Bar Brownie Torte

Yield: about 20 servings

Ingredients:

For the brownies:
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter
16 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 cups sugar
8 large eggs
2 tbsp. vanilla extract
2½ cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp. salt

For the frosting:
3 cups chilled heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. instant espresso powder dissolved in 2 tsp. boiling water, chilled

For the filling:
16 oz. mascarpone cheese
2 tbsp. instant espresso powder dissolved in 2 tsp. boiling water
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1 cup reserved frosting (above)

For garnish:
2 cups chopped toffee bits or finely chopped toffee bars

Directions:
To make the brownie layers, preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Grease and flour the edges of three 9-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.  Combine the butter and chocolate in a large heatproof bowl set over a few inches of simmering water.  Continue heating until the butter and chocolate are melted and smooth, stirring occasionally with a spatula.  Remove the bowl from the heat and set aside.  Transfer the chocolate mixture to a large mixing bowl.  (If your heatproof bowl is very large, transfer to a new bowl is not necessary.)  Whisk in the sugar, eggs and vanilla extract until the mixture is smooth and glossy, about 1 minute.  Stir in the flour and salt, and mix just until the dry ingredients are incorporated.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared baking pans.  Gently smooth the batter in the pans.  Bake 20-25 minutes, until the brownies are just firm to the touch.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in the pans 30 minutes.  Then run a knife around the edge of each pan and invert the brownies onto the rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting, add the chilled heavy cream to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Whip on medium-high speed until medium-soft peaks form.  Blend in the sugar, vanilla and espresso mixture, whipping just until combine.  Continue to whip until stiff peaks form.  Reserve and refrigerate 1 cup of the frosting for use in the filling.  Set aside the rest of the frosting.

To make the filling, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the mascarpone, espresso liquid, sugar, vanilla and salt.  Beat on medium speed until well blended and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Gently fold in the reserved 1 cup of frosting with a spatula.

To assemble the torte, lay 1 of the brownie rounds to a large serving platter.  Spread half of the filling mixture evenly over the top.  Layer with another brownie round, and the remainder of the filling.  Top with the final brownie layer.  Cover the top and sides of the cake with the frosting.  Garnish with the toffee bits to cover the top and sides of the cake.  Use any remaining frosting to pipe decorative swirls around the top edge of the cake, if desired.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Source: Annie’s Eats, from The Pastry Queen by Rebecca Rather

Chocolate Peanut Butter Torte

So I’m very, very excited to share this cake with you!!  I really do hope you’re not allergic to peanuts.

This cake was for my good friend, Evan’s birthday.

I still can’t get over how delicious this cake was. I was worried that we would have problems finishing the leftover because I knew the cake would be extremely rich, but really the cake was gone by the following day.

This cake consists of an Oreo cookie crumb crust, a rich peanut-butter-cream-cheese mousse filling, and chocolate ganache with chopped peanuts to finish it off. I had trouble with my ganache, as it was thinner than I was used too. I was pressed for time so I decided to just leave thin, which is why it started to drip down the sides of the cake, but it wasn’t really a bad thing 🙂

I’m normally not a fan of peanut butter, but I didn’t find the peanut taste overwhelming in the cake. In fact, it was just perfect.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Torte

Ingredients:
For the crust:
32 Oreo cookies, finely processed into crumbs
5 1/3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Small pinch of salt

For the crunch:
1 1/4 cups salted peanuts, finely chopped, divided (for the filling, crunch and topping)
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. espresso powder
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
Dash of ground nutmeg

For the filling:
2 cups heavy cream
1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
12 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter (not natural)
2 tbsp. whole milk

For the topping:
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

Directions:
To make the crust, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter a 9-inch springform pan and place it on a baking sheet.  Combine the Oreo crumbs, melted butter and salt in a small bowl.  Toss with a fork to moisten all of the crumbs.  Press into a thin layer covering the bottom and sides of the springform pan.  Freeze the crust for 10 minutes.  Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before filling.

To make the crunch, in another small bowl combine 1/2 cup of the chopped peanuts, mini chocolate chips, sugar, espresso powder, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Toss with a fork to mix and set aside.

To prepare the filling, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip 2 cups of the cream until it holds medium peaks.  Beat in 1/4 cup of confectioners’ sugar and whip until the cream holds medium-firm peaks.  Scrape the cream into a separate bowl and refrigerate until needed.

Wipe out (do not wash) the mixer bowl, replace the whisk with the paddle attachment, and beat the cream cheese with the remaining 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar on medium speed until the cream cheese is satiny smooth.  Beat in the peanut butter, whole milk, and 1/4 cup of the chopped peanuts until well combined.

Using a large rubber spatula, gently stir in about 1/4 of the whipped cream just to lighten the mousse.  Still working with the spatula, stir in the crunchy peanut mixture, then gingerly fold in the remaining whipped cream.  Scrape the mousse into the crust, mounding and smoothing the top.  Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight; cover with plastic wrap as soon as the mousse firms.

To finish the torte, put the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water.  Leave the bowl over the water just until the chocolate softens and starts to melt, about 3 minutes; remove the bowl from the saucepan.  Bring the 1/2 cup of cream to a full boil.  Pour the cream over the chocolate and, working with a rubber spatula, very gently stir together until the ganache is completely blended and smooth.

Pour the ganache over the torte, smoothing with a metal icing spatula.  Scatter the remaining peanuts over the top and chill to set the topping, at least 20 minutes.  When the ganache is firm, remove the sides of the springform pan.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Source: Annie’s Eats

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with Raspberry Curd Filling

Hello!!  So I know I said earlier this week that I would be sharing a delicious peanut butter torte recipe for the cake I had baked for a friend’s birthday, but I was looking through all of my files and I realized I never shared this cake with you yet.  The photo quality is horrible, partly because of lack of skill and partly because I hastily took a photo under poor lighting conditions in front of everyone so you could see the inside.

All that aside, this cake was delicious but it took a surprisingly long time to make. I don’t think it helped that I chose to do a complicated basket weave design on the cake that took a good chunk of time, but by the end of the day I was actually so tired.

Anyways, this cake was for my beautiful housemate, Kelli’s birthday which was a few weeks ago and we all enjoyed this cake very much 🙂

As a side note, this cake can be made into several mini cakes like Annie did, or you can make it into a 3-layer 8″ round cake like I did.

Lemon Poppy Seed Cakes with Raspberry Curd Filling

Ingredients:
For the cake:
2 1/3 cups cake flour
2 3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tbsp. poppy seeds
5 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tbsp. finely grated lemon zest
12 tsbp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup whole milk

For the raspberry curd:
8 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 pint ripe raspberries or 1 12-oz. package frozen raspberries, thawed
5 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
3/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
2-3 tsp. fresh lemon juice

For the lemon buttercream frosting:
16 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tbsp. finely grated lemon zest
3 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Fresh raspberries, for garnish

Directions:
To make the cake, position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter and flour two 8″ round cake pans.  Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and poppy seeds in a bowl; set aside.   In the clean, dry bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium speed until foamy.  Add the cream of tartar and increase the speed to medium-high.  Beat just until stiff peaks form when the whisk is lifted.  Transfer the egg whites to a separate bowl, clean the mixer bowl and reattach it with the paddle attachment.

Add the butter to the mixer bowl and beat on medium speed until smooth.  Gradually add the sugar and beat until incorporated.  Mix in the lemon zest.  Beat the mixture on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.  Add 1/4 cup of the milk and beat until just blended.  Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture alternately with the remaining milk in three batches, beginning and ending with the flour, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.  Beat until just blended.  Using a rubber spatula, fold one quarter of the egg whites into the batter, being careful not to deflate the mixture.  Once incorporated, add in the rest of the whites and gently fold in until well combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 24-26 minutes.  Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Run a thin knife around the outside of pan and gently turn the cake out.  Allow to cool completely.

To make the raspberry curd, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the raspberries, egg yolks, sugar and salt, and cook, mashing the berries.  Stir frequently at first and then constantly at the end, until thickened, about 10 minutes.  Pour the mixture through a coarse strainer set over a bowl, pressing hard on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible.  Cool to room temperature; the curd will continue to thicken as it cools.  Stir in lemon juice to taste.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Cut both cakes horizontally, so that you have 4 even cake layers. It is up to you whether you choose to make a 3 layer cake like I did (and snack on the last layer!) or make a very high, 4 layer cake. Layer the rounds with the cooled raspberry curd.  Once layered, allow the assembled cakes to cool in the refrigerator to help them set.  In the meantime, make the frosting.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and zest on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Gradually add the sugar and beat until smooth.  Add the lemon juice and beat for one minute longer.

Frost the chilled cakes with the lemon frosting.  Garnish with fresh raspberries as desired.

Source: adapted from Annie’s Eats

 

Cappuccino Fudge Cheesecake

I’m going to tell you about one of my three housemates. Her name is Tori, and she is one of my closest friends here at university. Her birthday was actually a few months ago, but I knew that I wanted to make her a very special cake.

Tori loves all desserts, but the one thing she loves the most is chocolate. I knew that I wanted to make her a very rich cake, and as soon as I saw this recipe I knew that it was the one (for this year, anyways :P). I was a little nervous making it, but it was honestly so amazing that I want to make it again.

This cake is so amazing, I can’t get over it. It starts with a chocolate crumb crust, with a rich fudgey ganache layer, topped with a cappucino cream cheese layer, a sour cream layer, and finally more ganache and chocolate covered coffee beans to decorate (optional of course, but very yummy).

Cappuccino Fudge Cheesecake

 

Ingredients:
For the crust:
32 chocolate sandwich cookies, finely processed into crumbs
5 1/3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Small pinch of salt

For the ganache:
1½ cups heavy cream
20 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
¼ cup coffee flavored liqueur

For the filling:
3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1½ tbsp. all-purpose flour
1½ tbsp. dark rum
2 tbsp. instant espresso powder
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1½ tsp. mild-flavored (light) molasses
3 large eggs

For the topping:
1½ cups sour cream
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:
To make the crust, preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Butter a 9-inch springform pan and place it on a baking sheet.  Combine the chocolate cookie crumbs, melted butter and salt in a small bowl.  Toss with a fork to moisten all of the crumbs.  Press into a thin layer covering the bottom and sides of the springform pan (at least 3 inches up the sides).

Bring the cream to a simmer in a medium saucepan.  Place the chocolate in a medium bowl.  Once the cream reaches a simmer, pour the cream over the chocolate and let stand 1-2 minutes.  Add the coffee flavored liqueur and whisk in small circles until a smooth ganache has formed.  Pour 2 cups of the ganache over the bottom of the crust.  Freeze until the ganache layer is firm, about 30 minutes.  Reserve the remaining ganache; cover and let stand at room temperature for later decorating.

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F and position a rack in the middle of the oven.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium-high speed until well blended.  Beat in the flour.  In a small bowl, combine the rum, espresso powder, vanilla and molasses, stirring until the espresso powder dissolves.  Add to the cream cheese mixture and beat until well incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl between each addition.

Pour the filling over the cold ganache in the crust.  Place the springform pan on a rimmed baking sheet.  Bake until the top is lightly browned, puffed and cracked at the edges, and the center moves only very slightly when the pan is lightly shaken, about 1 hour.  Transfer to a wire cooling rack.  Cool 15 minutes while preparing the topping (maintaining the oven temperature.)

To make the topping, whisk together the sour cream, sugar and vanilla in a small bowl.  Pour the topping over the hot cheesecake, spreading to cover the filling completely.  Bake until the topping is set, about 10-15 minutes.  Return to the cooling rack and let cool at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.  Transfer to the refrigerator and let cool at least 3 hours, until completely chilled and set.

To finish, wrap a warm towel around the outside of the springform pan to help loosen the crust from the sides.  Carefully remove the springform.  Transfer the cake to a serving platter.  Place the reserved ganache in a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip and use to garnish the top of the cake as desired.  Garnish with chocolate-covered espresso beans as desired.  Chill until the ganache is completely firm, at least 6 hours.
Source: Annie’s Eats

Raspberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

My housemate approached me, asking if I would help her bake her boyfriend a special treat. She told me he liked raspberries, so this was one of the first recipes that came to mind. I had bookmarked this particular recipe a while ago, but I never got around to making it, mainly because it does require a little more time and this recipe yields two large coffee cakes, so I figured this would be the perfect excuse to finally make this. The recipe can be halved to make just 1 coffee cake, but my housemate and I had a lot of fun each making our own coffee cake, and the end result was great!

Shaping half of the dough (since this recipe makes 2 cakes) into an 8 x 2 inch log.

Rolling the log into a 1 inch thick, 40 inch long rope.

Twisting the strip of dough into a coil. I probably should have coiled my rope a little bit more, but at this point my housemate and I were very pressed on time, so this was all I could do!

Loosely coiling the rope into a spiral pattern, leaving a 1/4 inch space in between each coil.

Spooning the cheese filling on…

And then the delicious raspberry filling..

I don’t think I took enough pictures.. 😛

The almost-final product!! Just add the glaze on top, and you’re done!!!!

This is easily not the prettiest dessert, but it still tastes superb!

Raspberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

Ingredients:

For the dough:
2¼ tsp. instant yeast
2 tbsp. warm water
1/4 cup sugar (1¾ oz.)
2 large eggs
1 tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour (10 1/8 oz.)
3/4 tsp. salt
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened but still cool, cut into 1-inch pieces

For the berry filling:
1¼ cups fresh or frozen raspberries or blueberries
1½ tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
Pinch of salt
Pinch of ground cinnamon
1¾ tsp. cornstarch dissolved in 1 tbsp. water

For the cream cheese filling:
4 oz. cream cheese, softened but still cool
2 tbsp. sugar
4 tsp. all-purpose flour
Pinch salt
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
½ egg (I just beat it lightly with a fork and add about half)
¼ tsp. vanilla extract

For the streusel topping:
2½ tbsp. brown sugar
1½ tsp. granulated sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
2½ tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces

For the egg wash:
1 large egg
1 tsp. heavy cream or whole milk

For the glaze:
6 tbsp. confectioners’ sugar
1½-2 tsp. milk
¼ tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

To make the dough, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; stir to dissolve.  Add the sugar, eggs, milk and vanilla.  Mix at the lowest speed until well combined.  Add about 1½ cups of the flour and the salt, mixing on low speed until the flour is incorporated, about 1 minute.  Increase the speed to medium-low and add the butter pieces one at a time, beating until incorporated, about 20 seconds after each addition.  Replace the paddle with the dough hook and add the remaining ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons flour; knead at medium-low speed until soft and smooth, about 5 minutes longer.  Increase the speed to medium and knead until the dough tightens up slightly, about 2 minutes longer.

The dough will be too soft to pick up with your hands, so scrape it into a straight-sided lightly oiled plastic container using a dough scraper (I just used a spatula).  Cover the container tightly with plastic wrap and let rise at warm room temperature until doubled in size, 3-4 hours.  Press down the dough, replace the plastic and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 4 or up to 24 hours.  Alternatively for a quick chill, spread the dough onto a lightly oiled baking sheet, about 1-inch thick, and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, about 2 hours.

Meanwhile, to make the berry filling, combine the berries, sugar, lemon juice, salt, cinnamon, cornstarch and water in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.  Continue boiling, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick and shiny, 1½ to 2 minutes.  Scrape the mixture into a small bowl, cover and chill thoroughly before using.

To make the cream cheese filling, beat the cream cheese, sugar, flour and salt in the bowl of a mixer at high speed until smooth, 2-4 minutes.  Add the lemon zest, egg and vanilla extract.  Reduce the speed to medium and continue beating, scraping down the sides of the bowl at least once, until incorporated, about 1 minute.  Scrape the mixture into a small bowl and chill thoroughly before using.

To make the streusel topping, mix the brown and granulated sugars, flour, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl.  Add the butter pieces and toss to coat.  Pinch the butter chunks and dry mixture together between your fingertips until the mixture is crumbly.  Chill thoroughly before using.

When you are ready to shape the coffee cakes, remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface.

Shape the dough into a log about 8 inches long and about 2 inches in diameter.  (For me, there was way too much dough to fit into a 8 x 2-inch log, so I just approximated.)

Roll the log evenly into a 40-inch rope about 1 inch in diameter.

Use your fingers to flatten the log slightly into a 1½-inch wide strip.

Use both hands to twist the strip of dough into a coil.  (I found the length of the rope to make it a bit difficult to coil the whole thing neatly.  The easiest method was to start from the middle, coil one half of the rope, and then coil the other half from the opposite end, keeping the direction of the coils consistent.)

Loosely coil the rope in a spiral pattern, leaving a ¼-inch space between coils.  Tuck the end under and pinch to secure.  Place the coil on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Remember, if you make two cakes, place each on its own baking sheet – trust me!  Cover the shaped cake with plastic wrap and let proof at room temperature until slightly puffed, 1½ to 2 hours.

Brush the cake with egg wash.

Spoon the cheese filling over the center of the top of the cake, leaving a border clear around the edge.

Layer the raspberry filling over the top of the cheese filling.  (Some of the filling may leak over the edges, but it won’t hurt anything.)

Sprinkle the streusel topping over the top of the cake.  Slide the baking sheet onto a second baking sheet to prevent the bottom crust from over-browning.  Bake in an oven heated to 350° F until deep golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of the cake reads 190° F, about 25-30 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack and cool for at least 20 minutes.

To prepare the glaze, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, milk and vanilla extract in a bowl.  Drizzle over the top of the finished cake and let set before serving.

Source: Annie’s Eats <–If you are nervous about trying this recipe out, I highly recommend checking out Annie’s original post, as she has several excellent step-by-step photos that will simplify the whole process 🙂

Lemon Blueberry Poppy Seed Pound Cake

I have a thing for lemon tasting baked goods.

I also have a thing for Justin Bieber, silver nail polish, and the smell of rose water.

Yes, I know. I’m too old for Justin Bieber.

If you like Justin Bieber, or at least for lemon poppy seed, then you’ll probably love this pound cake. The recipe called for wild blueberries, but I only had standard sized blueberries. Next time if I use standard sized blueberries, I will probably up the amount of blueberries by 50%.

Lemon Blueberry Poppy Seed Pound Cake

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/3 cup frozen wild blueberries
Directions:

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Butter a 9-x-5-inch loaf pan.  Put the pan on an insulated backing sheet, or on two regular baking sheets stacked on on top of the other.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and poppy seeds.

Rub the lemon zest into the granulated sugar until sugar is slightly tinted yellow and is fragrant.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fit with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar mixture on high speed until pale and fluffy, a full 5 minutes.  Scrape down the bowl and beater and reduce the mixer speed to medium.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 to 2 minutes after each addition.  As you’re  working, scrape down the bowl and beater often.  Mix in the vanilla extract.  Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour and poppyseeds, mixing only until incorporated.  Take the bowl off the stand mixer, and use a spoon to fold in the frozen blueberries.  Scrape the batter into the buttered pan and smooth the top.

Put the cake in the oven to bake, and check on it after about 45 minutes.  It it’s browning too quickly, cover it loosely with a foil tent.  Bake the cake for about 70 to 75 minutes.  The cake is properly baked when a thin knife inserted deep into the center comes out clean

Remove cake from the oven, transfer the pan to a rack and let it rest for 30 minutes.

Run a blunt knife between the cake and the sides of the pan and turn the cake out, then turn it right side up on the rack and cool to room temperature.

Wrapped well, the cake cake keep for 5-7 days at room temperature.

Source: Joy the Baker


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