Tag Archives: Cake

Woah. Time Flies.

My goodness how time has flown by without a post! But don’t you worry…I have been baking, and I have been taking pictures, so I do have quite a bit to share with you! In the meantime, here’s a little sneak peek to…shall we say…get your mouth-watering?! Get ready, ’cause your mouth is going to water (well, I am perhaps a bit biased, having tasted all of these creations and all!).

YES! I made macarons (first time!)!

 

German Chocolate Cake...need I say more?!

 

Now force that jaw up and keep the mouth-watering to a minimum until I can get back here with the recipes and more details!

Bumbleberry Fool Parfaits

Understandably, you’re probably quite confused by the name of this treat? Yes, it’s called a Bumbleberry Fool Parfait. Any guesses as to what it is? Honestly, I would love to hear (and I promise I won’t make fun of you!). Want a hint? Here ya go:

Mmmm…looks good, huh?! Well, a Bumbleberry Fool is just a fancy way to say what this is….essentially, it’s a berry infused whipped cream, mixed fresh berries, and berry puree layered as a parfait (“fool,” I’m told, is an English term in this context). And guess what that means? For those who are Jewish, this is Passover friendly! And for those of you who aren’t Jewish, this is an equally spring season worthy dessert to make!

Not too sweet, this was a great dessert on its own. After a seder though, the berry infused whipped cream itself was a lovely accompaniment to a slice of flourless chocolate cake….really, this was quite a nice pairing (if you want, try this flourless chocolate cake from this recipe!). Another serving idea would be to top off the parfaits with some shaved chocolate. Yum!

And wanna know the other great feature of this dessert? It’s super simple. But don’t let that deceive you….it’s also pretty darn impressive looking too. Yay…a win-win situation!

Bumbleberry Fool Parfaits

from Anne Thornton’s TV show Dessert First

2 cups mixed berries, plus more for serving

¾ cups sugar (you may add more or less, depending on how sweet you want it; with this amount, it’s not too, too sweet at all)

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

3 cups heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place berries, sugar, and lemon juice in a blender, blending until smooth. Run through a fine-mesh strainer over a large bowl to get rid of the seeds. You’ll probably need a spoon to help push the thick mixture through (not the seeds though!). Set aside about ½ cup of the puree in a small bowl.

Whip the cream and vanilla together in a large bowl until stiff peaks form. Then, gently fold the berry puree into the whipped cream (not the reserved ½ cup though!). Fill a pastry bag – or, as I did – a large plastic bag with an approximately 1 ¼ in hole cut on an angle with the whipped cream. To easily do this, put the bag in a large pitcher/bowl, folding the tops of the bag over the edge. Then, you have both hands free to use a large spatula to fill the bag!

Squeeze a layer of whipped cream out of the pastry bag and into each parfait glass. Top with assorted fresh fruit, and spoon on some of the reserved berry puree. Squeeze another layer of whipped cream on, then put the fresh fruit, and finish with a spoonful of reserved berry puree (you may choose to do more layers if you wish). Enjoy!

Note: While originally this recipe, when doubled what it is now, claimed to serve six, I found that this more than served three! You should safely get at least four healthy (I mean in size, not nutritional value!) servings out of the recipe as is.

Baked: Mississippi Mud Cake (i.e. a treat you MUST make)

Ever since I told you about my latest obsession, Baked, I haven’t been able to get either of the cookbooks off of my mind. Naturally, I’ve already made four recipes, and plan on making two more this weekend alone. And trust me, I really wish I could have documented what I’ve baked so far better, but the items have been just too good to not gobble up before getting a good photo. Luckily for you, I did manage to photograph one treat, and boy is it a good one. Actually, it probably just so happens to be the favorite thing I’ve made from the cookbooks so far…although, really, I truly have adored them all.

And what have I made so far? The very first day I bought the books, I made the Sweet & Salty Brownies (i.e. fudgy brownie, thin drizzle of decadent, scrumptious, heavenly caramel, then more fudgy brownie layered on, with fleur de sel sprinkled on top). Then, I made the Cowboy Cookies, which are a divine play on chocolate chip cookies: chocolate chunks and pieces of pretzels. These were gone. in. a. flash. And the dough? Don’t even get me started. Next, I made a vanilla cake with a white chocolate frosting. It was so airy and moist, and I kid you not: it can convert hard-core chocoholics to being white chocolate fans.

So while I’m going to share this next recipe with you, and I’ll probably share more with you in the future, I really want need you to get at least one of the two cookbooks, although I highly recommend both.

Okay, seriously, these pictures do not do justice to this masterpiece. Let me talk you through it: Oreo cookie crust, then flourless chocolate cake, then homemade chocolate pudding, and finally, a homemade whipped cream layer. Yes, it’s absolute heaven. And while it may seem like it would be a really heavy dessert, it’s actually really light and airy.

A few quick notes about the process:

  • This may seem like a daunting recipe with its many components. Truth be told, it does take a bit of time to prepare. If you want you can split up the work into different days. I did, however, make it in one day (a weekend, mind you). My suggestion for making it in one day: make the crust and while it’s cooling, mix up the cake; while cake is baking, make the pudding; then, refrigerate the baked cake and pudding (separately, not combined yet!) for at least 3 hours; after chilling, put the pudding on top of the cake, and while that’s chilling for 30 minutes, make the whipped cream. After you top it with whipped cream, you can serve it immediately, or chill it (you store the cake in the fridge).
  • If you taste the cake batter, you may find it has a strong coffee flavor. Don’t let this worry you though (if you’re not a coffee fan), because the flavor will mellow out a lot during baking, and as the cake sits in the fridge for a day or so.
  • The cake calls for espresso powder…if you get either of the Baked cookbooks, this is a worthy ingredient to invest in, as it’s used quite often. It may be a bit tricky to find, but trust me, it’s worth it. (Fleur de Sel is another investment ingredient if you buy the books, although it’s not used in this recipe).
  • If you wanted, the flourless chocolate cake and pudding would both be divine on their own. Seriously, I might make them separately sometime too!

And now, for the recipe:

Mississippi Mud Cake

from Baked: Explorations

Chocolate Cookie Crust:

16 ounces chocolate sandwich cookies (about 35-40 Oreos…just enough in one package to leave a few over for munching on!)

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Flourless Chocolate Cake:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

6 ounces good-quality dark chocolate (60-70%), chopped

2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder

¼ cup strong coffee, at room temperature

¼ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

Chocolate Pudding:

¾ cup  sugar

½ cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder (use the good stuff…something like Valrhona!)

¼ cup cornstarch

¼ teaspoon salt

4 large egg yolks

2 ½ cups whole milk

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

3 ounces good-quality dark chocolate (60-70%), chopped

Whipped Cream:

1 ¼ cups heavy cream

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

For the crust:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray at 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Line the bottom with a cut out round piece of parchment paper and spray the parchment paper and sides of pan again (lightly spray, of course!).

Grind the cookies in a food processor. Put the crumbs in a bowl and pour in the melted butter. Mix, and then turn the crumb mixture into the prepared pan, pressing into the bottom and up the sides (leave about ½ inch between the top of the crust and the top of the pan). Make sure the crust is spread out evenly, and then put the pan in the freezer for about 10 minutes.

Bake the crust until it is dry to the touch, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool.

For the cake:

Increase oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Using a double boiler, melt the butter and chocolate together. Set aside to cool.

In a small bowl, whisk together the espresso powder, coffee, salt, and vanilla. Set aside.

In a bowl, beat the egg yolks with ½ cup of the sugar until the mixture is light and has pretty much doubled in volume, about 5 minutes. Add the chocolate mixture and beat until combined. Scrape down the sides, and then beat for 5 seconds. Add the coffee mixture and eat until combined. Scrape down the sides and beat for 5 more seconds.

In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until foamy. Increase the speed to high and add the remaining ½ cup sugar. Beat until soft peaks form.

Scoop 1 cup fo the egg whites into the chocolate mixture, and using a rubber spatula, fold gently in. After about 30 seconds, add the remaining egg white and continue folding until almost completely combined. Do not rush the process, and work gently. You don’t want to overmix.

Pour the batter into the cooled crust and bake for 38-42 minutes, un til the cake is set but jiggles slightly. It might not appear to be completely cooked, but that’s okay.

Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely. The center will deflate, but don’t worry – that’s just the way it works, and in the end, you won’t be able to tell!

Tightly wrap the cake and refrigerate it for at least 3 hours, but possibly overnight.

For the pudding:

In a saucepan, whisk the sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, and salt. Add the egg yolks, whisking until combined. The mixture will appear to be a thick paste. Slowly then pour in the milk, constantly whisking.

Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a boil, constantly whisking. You don’t want any burning on the bottom. Boil for about 30 seconds, and then transfer to a medium bowl. You will think that the mixture isn’t thickening, but then, almost like magic, it will thicken!

Transfer the contents to a medium bowl and add the butter, vanilla, and chocolate. Whisk until combined, and whisk for a few more minutes to cool the mixture slightly. Let the pudding stand for 15 minutes at room temperature, and then press a piece of plastic wrap on the surface to prevent a skin from forming as you chill it for at least 3 hours.

For the whipped cream:

Pour the cream into a chilled metal bowl and beat with chilled beaters  until soft peaks form. Sprinkle sugar on, and beat until stiff peaks form.

To assemble:

Pour the pudding on cake, but don’t let it go over the crust. Spread it evenly on. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes. Spread the whipped cream on, unmold the cake, and enjoy this delicacy!

My final advice: Make this cake! Buy the books (head on over to a Borders, where you can get a discount, or to Amazon, where you can buy both books for a discounted price as well!)

Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Squares

Cheesecake? Yes, please! Dulce de leche? Um, YA! When I saw this recipe on Smitten Kitchen a few months back, I was smitten (aren’t I funny?!)! And I finally got around to making this recipe!

The bonus about these bars? They look gorgeous too!

Notes:

These aren’t too hard to make, but it’s by no means the easiest recipe I’ve featured either. Don’t let that scare you though!

While I definitely enjoyed these, I’m not sure they quite lived up to my expectations. I love cheesecake, and I love the dulce de leche flavor, so this seemed like a match made in heaven. However, the dulce de leche flavor was definitely not as pronounced as I would have liked, and the cheesecake factor didn’t make up for it (it was by no means the best cheesecake flavor I’ve had). If I had gone into making these bars with the knowledge they would be like so, I probably would have enjoyed them more. Nonetheless, they were still absolutely delicious! Madison really liked them, and I’m sure many people will. Why not give them a shot?!

Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Squares
from Smitten Kitchen
3 1/2 oz graham crackers, crumbled (1cup)
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin (from a 1/4-oz envelope, will be just about half an envelope)
1/4 cup whole milk
8 oz cream cheese, softened
2 large eggs
3/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup dulce de leche (one 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk; follow directions in recipe)
3 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), coarsely chopped
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 teaspoons light corn syrup

Make dulce de leche: Pour one can (14 ounce) sweetened condensed milk into top of double-boiler pan; cover. Place over boiling water. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 40 to 50 minutes, or until thick and light caramel-colored. Make sure you watch it carefully! Remove from heat. Whisk until smooth.

Make bars: Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 325°F. Line bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with 2 sheets of foil (crisscrossed), leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides.

Finely grind crackers with sugar and a pinch of salt in a food processor. With motor running, add butter, blending until combined. Press mixture evenly onto bottom of baking pan. Bake 10 minutes, then cool in pan on a rack 5 minutes.

Sprinkle gelatin over milk in a small bowl and let stand 2 minutes to soften. Beat together cream cheese, eggs, salt, and gelatin mixture in a bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until well combined, about 2 minutes, then stir in dulce de leche gently but thoroughly. Pour filling over crust, smoothing top, then bake in a hot water bath (using a 9×13-inch baking pan works well) in oven until center is just set, about 45 minutes. Cool cheesecake completely in pan on rack, about 2 hours. Chill, covered, at least 6 hours (I cheated here…I only did about 3 hours!).

Once chilled, heat all glaze ingredients in a double boiler or a small metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, stirring until smooth, then pour over cheesecake, tilting baking pan to coat top evenly. Chill, uncovered, 30 minutes, or until set.

Lift cheesecake from pan using foil overhang and cut into squares with a thin knife, wiping off knife after each cut. A clean knife is essential for the gorgeous neat squares you’re after! Enjoy!

Chocolate Salted Caramel Cake

As you can tell, I’ve switched my layout! I finally did so because I was hearing it was hard to know how to comment…and that wasn’t good! So, I sincerely hope you’ll start/continue to comment! And please keep in mind that as of now, I’m not totally satisfied with the look…I’ll be revising! On to today’s post…

I told you yesterday that yesterday was my birthday! Today I’m going to share my birthday cake with you! As I said, I didn’t make it, which unfortunately means no details on the process of making it or even a recipe (but, if you google the cake, I’m sure you could find a similar recipe!). Man, this cake was gooood! It was so dense, rich, and moist. As I said yesterday, I’m not a huge fan of frosting, except for cream cheese frosting. This was a cream cheese based frosting!

I had a great birthday yesterday and this cake was the perfect way to end it! A special thanks to Madison for making the cake!