ina garten’s flourless gluten free chocolate cassis cake, 2.0

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With each iteration, I’ve gotten better at making this cake. Here is the recipe again with my Cake Baker’s Notes for success, from being careful not to overmix the batter to making sure the finished cake doesn’t sink in the center as it cools. I adapted it from Ina Garten’s recipe by using a cassis syrup instead of crème de cassis liqueur. I recommend using cocoa powder instead of flour to dust the pan to not only make it gluten free but also to prevent the white streaks that dusting with flour leaves behind. It may look fussy but it’s not. It’s a very rich chocolate cake with a fudgy interior and a simple ganache on top. How easy is that?

Chocolate Cassis Cake (adapted from Ina Garten)
Prep time: 40 minutes
Baking time: 35-40 minutes

For the Cake:
170g plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter for greasing pan, room temperature
284g unsweetened or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup cocoa powder plus extra for dusting pan
6 tablespoons cassis syrup (can substitute creme de cassis)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 large eggs, room temperature (extra large eggs in original recipe)
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

For the Glaze:
170g unsweetened or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup heavy cream
2-3 tablespoons cassis syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

For the cake, Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F/175 degrees C. Grease a 9-inch round springform pan with 1 tablespoon melted butter. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper then butter it. Dust with cocoa powder. Tap out the excess powder.

Melt the 170g butter and chopped chocolate together in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Set aside to cool for 5 minutes. Whisk in the 1/2 cup cocoa powder, cassis, and 1 teaspoon vanilla and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (you can also use a hand mixer), beat the eggs, sugar, and salt on high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until pale yellow, thickened, and triple in volume. Pour the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and carefully but thoroughly fold them together with a silicone spatula.

Cake Baker’s Note: Be sure to drag the spatula along the bottom of the bowl to blend the heavier chocolate mixture with the lighter egg mixture. Don’t overmix or the egg mixture will deflate.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until just barely set in the center. Place on a wire cooling rack and using a thin blade, ease it around the sides of the cake to release it from the pan sides so it doesn’t sink in the center. Allow to cool in the pan for 30 minutes and then release the sides of the pan. Invert the cake carefully onto a flat serving plate, remove the parchment paper, and cool completely.

Cake Baker’s Note: At 35 minutes, the entire cake didn’t seem set. So I gave it 5 more minutes. The cake was level with the top of the pan when it came out of the oven. After 15 minutes, the volume fell 50% as it cooled. In my experience, this is normal for flourless cakes.

For the glaze, melt the chocolate and cream together in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until smooth. Turn off the heat, then whisk in the cassis and vanilla. Allow to cool for 10 minutes and spread just over the top of the cake, allowing it to drip down the sides. Let the topping set as it cools.

Serving Suggestion

  • Whip 1 cup whipping cream with 2 tablespoons sugar and serve a dollop with a wedge of cake.
  • Add sliced fresh berries on top of the cake. Glaze berries with melted apricot jam.
  • Serve with a strawberry coulis. About 1 cup crushed strawberries with juice, 1/4 cup water, and cornstarch to thicken, will make a divine strawberry coulis. Spoon it on the side and scoop it up with some cake.

 

no measure chocolate cake

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When it comes to baking cakes I am a fanatic. Every ingredient must be measured or weighed. But sometimes you want a quick cake, a cake that requires no fuss and bakes up in a heartbeat, so that you can sit down and enjoy it right away. I was tempted by this recipe on Food 52 and it was quirky; no measuring, just a yogurt container. I had to bite down hard to ignore my OCD to try it. After cooling, problems came up; the cake fell about 25%. However, the texture is moist and dense, quite like a brownie, and not as sweet.

No Measure Chocolate Cake

2 tablespoons butter and 1-1 1/2 tablespoons flour for prepping the pan
7 oz (200g) Greek style yogurt
1 container canola oil (I used rice bran oil)
1 container superfine sugar
2 large eggs
2 containers self-rising flour
1 container unsweetened cocoa powder
1 container coffee or warm water
pinch of salt
powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat oven 350˚F/175˚C. Melt butter and add 1 tablespoon flour. The mixture should be thick but not dry so add a little more up to 1/2 tablespoon more. Brush on the inside and base of a 10″ springform pan. Line with bottom with parchment then brush some more butter mixture on the parchment. Set aside.

Baker’s Note: I used 3 5×3 inch pans filled halfway, and baked the cakes for 30 minutes.

Empty the yogurt container in a large mixing bowl. Using the yogurt container, measure the oil and add it to the yogurt, followed by the sugar. Add 2 eggs. Using the paddle attachment, beat on medium speed until smooth.

Add 2 containers-ful of flour and 1 container cocoa powder. Beat on low speed until no lumps remain. Slowly add the coffee or warm water. Add a pinch of salt. Beat on medium speed until smooth. Turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.

Pour into prepared 10 inch pan and bake 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on wire racks. Unmold and remove the paper. Sprinkle powdered sugar on top when cooled. Serve at room temperature with whipped cream, crème fraîche, or ice cream.

one day before christmas: simple bûche de noël

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I was crazy ambitious to try Bon Appetit’s recipe for Bûche de Noël two days before Christmas. And I should have been warned; anything that can go wrong will go wrong. I accidentally added too much cream to the mascarpone filling and ended up with cream soup instead of cream cheese. I needed a save. So I did a quick search and found Nick Malgieri’s recipe on Food Network for Bûche de Noël that called for a simple coffee buttercream filling. So I married parts of the two recipes together, using the BA recipe for cocoa syrup and sponge cake, and Malgieri’s coffee buttercream frosting. Figuring I was pushing my luck,  I simply cut the log in two rather than try to decorate it.

Bûche de Noël (adapted from Bon Appetit and Food Network)

Make the Cocoa Syrup (makes 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon rum

Cook sugar and ¼ cup water in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat; add cocoa powder and rum and whisk until smooth. Cool, cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before using.

Make the Coffee Buttercream (makes 3-4 cups)
4 (120g) egg whites, room temperature
1 cup superfine sugar
340g unsalted butter, cubed, room temperature
2 tablespoons instant espresso coffee powder
2 tablespoons dark rum

Dissolve the coffee powder in the rum and set aside.

Put 2 inches of water in a large saucepan on the stove and bring it to a simmer. Put the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk in the sugar. Place the bowl on top of the saucepan of simmering water—the water shouldn’t touch the bowl. Continue whisking the eggs whites until foamy and opaque, and the sugar dissolves. The egg white mixture should be warm to the touch and not at all gritty.

Remove the bowl and attach it to the mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whisk the egg white mixture on medium speed until the egg whites have cooled—the bottom of the bowl will be cool to the touch.

Turn off the mixer and switch to the paddle attachment. Add the butter a tablespoon at a time, beating on medium speed until the buttercream is smooth. Slowly pour the coffee mixture into the buttercream while the machine is still beating. The buttercream will curdle but keep beating because it will come together, about 1-2 minutes to completely blend in the coffee mixture.

Can be made a day ahead and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature then beat with paddle attachment on medium high speed until smooth and it comes together again.

Make the Sponge Cake
Melted butter for brushing the pan
1/4 cup all purpose flour
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder plus more for dusting
1/4 cup whole milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into pieces
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, room temperature
3 large egg yolks, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar

Increase oven to 400°. Line a 12x17x1″ rimmed baking sheet parchment and brush melted butter on it. Flip it over and brush butter on the other side of the parchment and the pan sides and corners. Set aside

Whisk flour, cornstarch, and ⅓ cup cocoa powder in a small bowl. Set aside.

Bring milk, butter, oil, vanilla, and salt to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Keep warm over low heat. It should be body temperature.

Cake Baker’s Note: If the milk mixture is too hot it will cook the eggs. I tested a drop on the inside of my wrist.

Meanwhile, using the paddle attachment, beat eggs and egg yolks with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Increase speed to high; beat until doubled in volume. With motor running, gradually add sugar; beat until very light and fluffy and mixture falls back on itself in a slowly dissolving ribbon (it should be at least quadrupled in volume), about 5 minutes.

Reduce speed to medium and gradually stream in milk mixture. Stop the machine and remove the bowl. Sift one-third of dry ingredients over the top of the batter; gently fold in until only a few streaks remain. Working in 2 additions, repeat with remaining dry ingredients, scraping bottom of bowl and using as few strokes as possible to keep eggs from deflating (a few streaks are fine). Scrape batter into prepared baking sheet and gently spread to edges of pan with an offset spatula. Tap sheet lightly on counter to pop any large air bubbles.

Bake cake until surface is puffed and springy to the touch, 10–12 minutes. Let cake cool in pan 2 minutes, then run a knife along edges to loosen. Spread a towel on a large work surface and sift cocoa powder on top. Invert cake on top of cocoa powder and carefully peel away parchment. Dust top of cake with more cocoa powder. Starting at one of the long sides, gently roll up warm cake inside towel. Let cake cool, seam side down, 30-35 minutes. Can be made 1 day ahead and stored tightly wrapped in plastic at room temperature.

Assemble the Bûche de Noël

Unwrap the thoroughly cooled cake and brush off any excess cocoa powder. Dab the cocoa syrup all over with a pastry brush. Spread about half of the coffee buttercream in a 1/2 inch layer, keeping away 1 inch from the longer edge opposite. Roll up the cake using the towel, but keep the towel on the outside. Chill, keep the seam side down, until filling is set, about 30 minutes. Don’t worry if there are any cracks in the cake; the frosting will hide it.

Transfer the cake to a serving plate. Evenly spread the remaining buttercream all over the cake. Using a serrated knife, trim 1/2 inch pieces from each end to create clean edges. Eat the trimmings!

If desired, create branches on the log by cutting off a 4 inch piece from one end. Cut it in half at a 45 degree angle leaving 1 inch at the opposite end. Attach the angled ends to the cake by using the remaining buttercream to attach the pieces and to fill in the spaces. Put one piece on top and the other on the side. Use an off set spatula to create the appearance of tree bark. Leave the cut ends unfrosted.

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Ina Garten’s gluten-free flourless chocolate cassis cake

 

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I’ve wanted to try Ina’s recipe for sometime now, but finding creme de cassis in Bangkok was a challenge. Then I found cassis syrup. Cassis, pronounced ka-CEESE, is made from blackcurrants. While creme de cassis is a liqueur, and thus alcoholic, the syrup is not, thus making it an acceptable substitute.  This recipe is flourless but I’ve also made it gluten-free by using cocoa instead of flour to dust the pan. The cake has a dense fudgy interior, lightly sweet with a delicate taste of blackcurrants.

Chocolate Cassis Cake (adapted from Ina Garten)
Prep time: 40 minutes
Baking time: 35-40 minutes

For the Cake:
170g plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter for greasing pan, room temperature
284g unsweetened or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup cocoa powder plus extra for dusting pan
6 tablespoons cassis syrup (can substitute creme de cassis)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 extra-large eggs, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

For the Glaze:
170g unsweetened or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup heavy cream
2-3 tablespoons cassis syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

For the cake, Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F/175 degrees C. Grease a 9-inch round springform pan with 1 tablespoon melted butter. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper then butter it. Dust with cocoa powder. Tap out the excess powder.

Melt the 170g butter and chopped chocolate together in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Set aside to cool for 5 minutes. Whisk in the 1/2 cup cocoa powder, cassis, and 1 teaspoon vanilla and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (you can also use a hand mixer), beat the eggs, sugar, and salt on high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until pale yellow, thickened,  and triple in volume. Pour the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and carefully but thoroughly fold them together with a silicone spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until just barely set in the center. Allow to cool in the pan for 30 minutes and then release the sides of the pan. Invert the cake carefully onto a flat serving plate, remove the parchment paper, and cool completely.

Cake Baker’s Note: At 35 minutes, the entire cake seemed to be not set yet. So I gave it 5 more minutes. The cake was level with the top of the pan when it came out of the oven. After 15 minutes, the volume fell 50% as it cooled. In my experience, this is normal for flourless cakes.

For the glaze, melt the chocolate and cream together in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until smooth. Turn off the heat, then whisk in the cassis and vanilla. Allow to cool for 10 minutes and spread just over the top of the cake. Let the topping set as it cools.

Serving Suggestion

  • Whip 1 cup whipping cream with 2 tablespoons sugar and serve a dollop with a wedge of cake.
  • Add sliced fresh berries on top of the cake. Glaze berries with melted apricot jam.
  • Serve with a strawberry coulis. About 1 cup crushed strawberries with juice, 1/4 cup water, and cornstarch to thicken, will make a divine strawberry coulis. Spoon it on the side and scoop it up with some cake.

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Tish Boyle’s marble bundt cake

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This recipe is chocolate-y smooth and delicious. It can easily be halved to make a smaller bundt if you decide that a bigger one is too much. But I say you can never have too much cake.

Tish Boyle’s Marble Bundt Cake

Ingredients
• 340g unsalted butter
• 342g cake flour
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon Salt
• 500g caster sugar
• 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 5 large eggs, room temperature
• 120ml (1/2cup) whole milk
• 20g natural cocoa powder (e.g. Hershey’s)
• 90ml water

Method :
1. Preheat oven to 375˚F/ 190˚C. Grease the inside of a 10” bundt pan and dust with flour. If the pan has a dark nonstick finish, reduce heat 25˚ and check the cake to see that it is done 5 minutes before the baking time is up.

Cake Baker’s Note: I melted 2 tablespoons unsalted butter and added a heaping tablespoon flour to it. I brushed this mixture on the inside of the pan. It should stick to the sides, not run off. If it does, add a bit more flour. You want to generously butter the pan so that the cake will release.

2. Sift cake flour, baking powder and salt and set it aside.

3. In a mixing bowl fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter at medium speed for 2 minutes until creamy.

4. Add sugar and continue to cream for 4 minutes at medium to high speed.

5. Add vanilla extract. Add eggs one at a time and mix at medium speed until well mixed.

6. Add sifted flour mixture in 3 additions and alternating it with 2 additions of milk.

7. Mix cocoa powder with water in a small bowl. Add 3 cups of the batter to the cocoa mixture and stir until blended.

8. To make the marble effect, you need to have thin layers alternating plain with chocolate, starting with the plain layer. Spoon 1/3 of plain batter into the prepared bundt pan and smooth it to an even layer. Spoon 1/3 of the chocolate mixture over the plain layer and smooth to even out. Repeat until all batter is used up finishing with the chocolate layer.

9. Bake for 60-75 minutes or until a skewer inserted near the center comes out clean. Or the cake, when pressed lightly, bounces back. Cool 15 minutes in the pan on a wire cooling rack. Then unmold the cake and cool completely. When it is cooled, dust some powdered sugar on top, if desired.

chocolate malt layer cake, version 2.0

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Chocolate Malt Layer Cake (adapted from Jennifer Farley @ Savory Simple)
This Malted Buttercream is lightly sweet but faintly malted. The malt flavor needs to be more intense to compete with the chocolate. Rather than add more malt, I added vanilla and almond extracts to ramp up the flavor. To be different, this time I pressed cappucino wafer rolls around the sides of the cake.

Chocolate Cake
10.5 oz. all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 oz unsweetened cocoa powder (by volume)
1 3/4 cup half and half (or 50% cream and 50% whole milk)
1 1/2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
9 oz unsalted butter, room temperature
21 oz superfine sugar
6 large eggs, room temperature

Malted Buttercream
1 cup superfine sugar
1/4 cup water
5 egg whites
16 oz. unsalted butter, sliced, cubed and at room temperature
1/3 cup malted milk powder dissolved in 2 tablespoons milk, e.g. Horlick’s
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Topping
1/2 cup malted milk balls, chopped, e.g. Whoppers (substitute:  Milo Nuggets)

Make the cake:
1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Place an oven rack in the middle position. Grease  two 9” pans.
2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Sift in the cocoa powder and whisk until the dry ingredients are evenly combined. In a separate small bowl, combine the half and half with the vanilla.
3. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar on low speed 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, allowing each egg to incorporate before adding the next. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. With the mixer still on low speed, alternate between adding the dry ingredients with wet ingredients, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Add one third of the flour mixture followed by half of the vanilla mixture. Continue mixing, adding half the remaining flour mixture then the rest of the milk mixture. Finally, combine the rest of the flour mixture in the batter. Scrape down the sides well, making sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl. Turn the mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds.
4. Distribute the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans, using an offset spatula to even out the tops. Tap the pans lightly on the counter to dislodge any air bubbles.
Cake Baker’s Note: I wrapped the pans with wet MagiCake strips which prevent a dome from forming on top of the cakes
5. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, approximately 30-35 minutes. Allow the cakes to cool completely in the pan on wire racks before removing them from the pans.

Make the buttercream:
1. While making the buttercream, chill the malted milk balls.
2. Place the sugar and water in a saucepan with a tight fitting lid. Turn the heat on high and cover.
3. While the sugar syrup is heating up, place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on high speed until a soft peak forms, then turn down the speed to medium.
4. Once the sugar syrup is simmering, remove the cover from the pan and turn the heat down to medium high. Cook the syrup for 5 minutes or until it reaches a temperature of 235˚F on a candy thermometer. Fit the pouring shield on the mixing bowl and then slowly and carefully pour the syrup down the side of the bowl into the meringue while the machine is still mixing. Add the syrup very slowly to avoid scrambling the egg whites.
5. Once the syrup is added, turn the mixer back up to high and allow the meringue to cool as it whips. This can take up to 20 minutes.
6. Once the meringue has cooled to room temperature, slowly add the butter one piece at a time. The meringue will deflate slightly and it may look curdled, but keep whipping because it will come together.
7. Once all the butter is incorporated slowly drizzle in the malted milk mixture until the frosting is evenly combined. Add the vanilla and almond extracts. Frosts one 9” double layer chocolate cake or one 8” triple layer chocolate cake.

Assemble the cake:
1. Place the first layer of cake on a revolving cake stand and remove the parchment paper. Re-invert.  Placing a cardboard round below the cake is optional but it will make transporting the cake easier after it is assembled. Crush the malted milk balls in a food processor, pulsing to achieve a coarse crumb. Set aside.
2. Spread approximately one cup buttercream on the trimmed cake top and spread it around evenly with an offset spatula. Add more buttercream as needed to reach the desired thickness, about 1/2-3/4 inch. Repeat. Use an offset spatula to apply a thin layer of frosting to the side and top of the cake. Use a bench scraper to remove excess frosting. Discard rather than reuse because of the crumbs in it. Chill in the refrigerator 30 minutes to set this first layer of buttercream. This is called the crumb coat. Then cover the entire cake with a final layer of frosting. Top with crushed malted milk balls.
Cake Baker’s Note: To make a plain border around the malted milk balls, carefully set an 8” spring form pan lightly on top with the bottom removed. This will leave an inch border around the edges if using 9” layer cake pans. Sprinkle the crushed malted milk balls evenly inside the opening of the cake pan. Carefully remove the pan. Et voilà. Malted milk balls in the center surrounded by a plain border.
3. Cake is best when served at room temperature. Refrigerate leftover cake. Let cake come to room temperature again before serving, because eating cold buttercream is like eating just plain butter, only sweetened.

 

the silver wedding anniversary chocolate tier cake

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The Chocolate Tier Cake

When I saw Ina Garten make a chocolate tier cake for her wedding anniversary, I thought, How easy is that?  After careful planning to make sure I had the right size pans, I melded together Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Chocolate Domingo Cake recipe (two recipes) and Ina’s Chocolate Buttercream Frosting (one recipe). I had one cake layer leftover and about three cups of icing. If you’re going to make this icing recipe, halve it or freeze the left overs.

So I made this cake for my sister-in-law’s 25th wedding anniversary. For this cake, I wanted a simple home-made effect so I swirled the frosting and tossed large pinches of silver dragées on top. This is the first time I’ve ever tried a tiered cake. I admit it made me nervous but now that I’ve done it, I think I can do it again. I’m up for the next challenge. How easy is that?

Chocolate Domingo Cake (adapted from The Cake Bible)

Have at room temperature:
42g unsweetened cocoa
160g cup sour cream (I used plain low-fat yogurt)
2 large eggs (3 oz.)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
156g sifted cake flour
200g superfine or caster sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
200g unsalted butter, softened (7 oz.)

1 recipe (or half the recipe) Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
Silver dragées

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease inch springform pan, bottom lined with a waxed paper circle, greased again and then floured.

Cake Baker’s Note: I also made another recipe of this cake and divided the layers between two 7-inch springform pans. One I used to make the top tier, the other I reserved for another use (i.e. snacking!).

In a medium bowl, whisk together the cocoa, sour cream or yogurt, eggs, and vanilla until smooth.

In a large mixing bowl, combine all the remaining dry ingredients and mix on low speed for 30 seconds to blend. Add the butter and 1/2 the cocoa mixture all at once. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Increase to medium speed and beat for 1 1/2 minutes. Scrape down the sides. Gradually add the remaining cocoa mixture in 2 batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition. Scrape down the sides.

Cake Baker’s Note: It’s so easy to overmix this cake.  Stop frequently to scrape down the sides. Don’t count the scraping time in the beating time.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan(s) and smooth the surface with a spatula. The pans will be about half full. Tap the pans lightly on the counter to dislodge any air bubbles. Bake 30-40 minutes or until a tester inserted near the center comes out clean, and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the center.

Cool the cake in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. The cake should start to shrink from the sides of the pan as it cools. Loosen the sides of the cake with a small metal spatula just to be sure the cake is not sticking to the pan sides. The top of the cake will be rounded but will become flat on cooling. Invert onto a greased wire rack and remove the paper liner. Re-invert so that the top is up and cool completely before frosting. The finished height will be 1 1/2 inches.

Frost each cake separately. Place the smaller cake on a cardboard round and carefully place it in the middle of the larger cake. I used a pancake turner to do this. I eye-balled where I wanted to place the cake but you can, to be more precise, use the smaller cake pan to mark the top of the frosting on the larger cake just where you want to place the smaller tier.

To reuse frozen frosting, let it come to room temperature first then whip it. I had this frosting in the freezer since December 22nd and it still tastes good. 🙂

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one-bowl chocolate cake with nutella and icing sugar

DSC_0499.jpgIf you are in a hurry and you must make a dessert, this recipe is very easy. Not only are all the ingredients conveniently  in one bowl, if you have no time to make a frosting, some Nutella from the pantry and some icing sugar will do. This recipe is from Craig Claiborne’s The New York Times Cookbook and it is my go-to recipe whenever a chocolate cake is called for. There were some good recipes in that old book, including Banana Tea Bread, a quick bread recipe that I have tinkered with over the years. That cookbook is a classic; it is over 40 years old!

Out of curiosity, I checked the index of The Essential New York Times Cookbook the latest iteration of the Times cookbook, and I could not find the one-bowl chocolate cake–unless it’s been re-named. The Banana Tea Bread made an encore appearance, however.

This one-bowl recipe makes exactly two cake layers, each about 1 1/2 to 2 inches high. To make it dramatic I would bake 2 more layers but I wouldn’t recommend doubling the recipe to do it. I’m a little hesitant to tinker with this chocolate cake recipe because it’s a cake not a quick bread, and so less forgiving. To make a 4 layer cake I’d just make 2 batches. I’ve updated the recipe, most importantly by converting the measurements to grams so it is more precise. I had to be careful converting the cocoa powder because that 1/2 cup is volume,  not weight.  The end result is this cake has a moist and tender crumb, and it is not cloyingly sweet at all.

One Bowl Chocolate Cake (Adapted from: The New York Times Cookbook)

Have at room temperature:
219g (1 3/4 cups) all purpose flour (2 cups cake flour)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
30g (1/2 cup) plus 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
271g (1 1/2 cups) superfine sugar
113g (1/2 cup) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 cup warm water
2/3 cup milk
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Prepare to bake. Preheat oven to 350˚F/175˚C.

Cake Baker’s Note: If you have a fast oven, reduce heat to 325˚F/170 degrees Celsius. This will allow the sides and the center of the cake layers to cook more evenly. Bake layers 25-30 minutes or until the center of the cake springs back when lightly touched.

Prepare the pan(s). Grease and flour two 9×1 1/2 inch layer cake pans. Line bottoms with baking parchment paper or waxed paper cut 1/8 inch smaller than the bottom of the pan. Grease and flour the top of the parchment/waxed paper. If desired, dust pans with cocoa powder.

Cake Baker’s Note: Melt 2 tablespoons unsalted butter with 1 tablespoon flour. Brush the inside of the pan(s) with this mixture.

Put all ingredients into a LARGE bowl. Sift together all the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients. Blend on low speed until all ingredients are just moistened. Scrape down the sides. Mix on medium speed until just combined.

Bake the cake. Pour batter into pan(s). Fill the pans half way, dividing the batter evenly. Shift pans back and forth on countertop to release air bubbles. Bake 25-30 minutes (20 minutes in convection oven). Cool on a rack 10 minutes. Remove from the pan(s) and cool completely.

Frost/decorate. Place the rounded side down on a serving plate. For the bottom layer, I choose the less attractive one. Frost bottom layer with nutella. Place top layer right side up on top of the nutella and press down lightly. Sprinkle powdered sugar on top layer.

 

chocolate malt layer cake-foodie joanie

An Italian butter cream frosting doesn’t get any better than this! It contains a good pound of butter which makes the butter cream frosting rich and smooth. A well-turned out Italian butter cream is worth the effort. At the French Culinary Institute in 2011 I remember tasting a pistachio butter cream. It was silky in texture, lightly sweet, pale green and nutty. I had never tasted anything so delicious before or since. This malted butter cream is also lightly sweet with a delicate malt flavor that tends to be overwhelmed by the chocolate. A butter cream should hold its own with whatever it is paired with, in this case chocolate.  Nevertheless, I would try this recipe again and experiment with ramping up the flavor of the butter cream.  Some vanilla and almond should bring out the malted flavor deliciously.

Chocolate Malt Layer Cake

Chocolate Cake
10.5 oz. all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 oz. unsweetened cocoa powder (weight or volume? Volume makes more sense.)
1 3/4 cup half and half (or 50% cream and 50% whole milk)
1 1/2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
9 oz. unsalted butter, room temperature
21 oz. superfine sugar
6 large eggs, room temperature

Malted Buttercream Frosting
1 cup superfine sugar
1/4 cup water
5 egg whites, room temperature
16 oz. unsalted butter, cubed and at room temperature
1/3 cup malted milk powder dissolved in 2 tablespoons milk, e.g. Horlick’s

Topping
1/2 cup malted milk balls, chopped, e.g. Whoppers (I used Milo Nuggets)

Make the cake:
1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Place an oven rack in the middle position. Grease three 8-inch cake pans, line bottoms with parchment. Set aside.

Cake Baker’s Notes: I used two 9” pans instead. Let the cake bake in the pans 30 minutes.

2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Sift in the cocoa powder and whisk until the dry ingredients are evenly combined. In a separate small bowl, combine the half and half with the vanilla.
3. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar on low speed 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, allowing each egg to incorporate before adding the next. Turn off the mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl. With the mixer again on low speed, alternate between adding the dry ingredients with wet ingredients, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Add one third of the flour mixture followed by half of the vanilla mixture. Continue mixing, adding half the remaining flour mixture then the rest of the milk mixture. Finally, combine the rest of the flour mixture in the batter. Scrape down the sides well, making sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl. Turn the mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds.
4. Distribute the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans, using an offset spatula to even out the tops. Tap the pans lightly on the counter to dislodge any air bubbles.
5. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, approximately 30-35 minutes. Allow the cakes to cool completely in the pan on wire racks before removing them from the pans.

Make the buttercream:
1. While making the buttercream, chill the malted milk balls. It will be easier to chop them up in the food processor, especially in Bangkok’s heat. Place the sugar and water in a saucepan with a tight fitting lid. Turn the heat on high and cover.
2. While the sugar syrup is heating up, place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on high speed until a soft peak forms, then turn down the speed to medium.
3. Once the sugar syrup is simmering, remove the cover from the pan and turn the heat down to medium high. Cook the syrup for 5 minutes or until it reaches a temperature of 235˚F on a candy thermometer. Fit the pouring shield on the mixing bowl and then slowly and carefully pour the syrup down the side of the bowl into the meringue while the machine is still mixing. Add the syrup very slowly to avoid scrambling the egg whites.
4. Once the syrup is added, turn the mixer back up to high and allow the meringue to cool as it whips. This can take up to 20 minutes.
5. Once the meringue has cooled to room temperature, slowly add the butter one piece at a time. The meringue will deflate slightly and it may look curdled, but keep whipping because it will come together.
6. Once all the butter is incorporated slowly drizzle in the malted milk mixture until the frosting is evenly combined. Frosts one 9” double layer cake or one 8” triple layer cake.

Assemble the cake:

These are the instructions for frosting a 9″ layer cake.
1. Placing a cardboard round below the cake is optional but it will make transporting the cake easier after it is assembled. Crush the malted milk balls in a food processor, pulsing to achieve a coarse crumb. Set aside.
2. Place the first layer of cake on a revolving cake stand and remove the parchment paper. Re-invert. Trim the dome top if necessary to level the cake. Spread approximately one cup buttercream on the trimmed cake top and spread it around evenly with an off set spatula. Add more buttercream as needed to reach the desired thickness, about 1/2-3/4 inch.  Repeat step 2.
3. Use an offset spatula to apply a thin layer of frosting to the side and top of the cake. Use a bench scraper to remove excess frosting. Discard rather than reuse because of the crumbs in it. Chill in the refrigerator 30 minutes to set this first layer of buttercream. This is called the crumb coat, and it makes spreading the frosting easier. Then cover the entire cake with a final layer of frosting. Top with crushed malted milk balls.

Cake Baker’s Note: To make a plain border around the malted milk balls, carefully set an 8” spring form pan lightly on top with the bottom removed. This will leave an inch border around the edges if using 9” layer cake pans. Sprinkle the crushed malted milk balls evenly inside the opening of the cake pan. Carefully remove the pan. Et voilà. There you have it. Crushed malted milk balls in the center surrounded by a plain border on the cake.

4. This cake is best when served at room temperature. Refrigerate leftover cake. Let cake come to room temperature again before serving.

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Chocolate Malt Layer Cake – Savory Simple

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Jennifer Farley of Savory Simple says: “Chocolate Malt Layer Cake is dense, moist and totally decadent. Chopped malted milk balls add flavor and crunch. You need this dessert!”

I recently saw this recipe on Facebook though it was published a year ago. It certainly looks as if it had lived up to Jennifer’s adjectives (“dense, moist, totally decadent”) so I am determined to try it this weekend. However, I noticed some gaps in the instructions; e.g. how to add a perfectly smooth straight border around the crushed Whoppers in the middle of the cake top. I have an idea how she did it. Let you know how this cake turns out in a few days!

Source: Chocolate Malt Layer Cake – Savory Simple