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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Hot Chocolate Cakes

I hope everyone had a great holiday, and I hope you are preparing for a great New Years! It has been a while since I've updated the blog. We travelled to NY for Christmas where we did lots of family-visiting, holiday celebrating, and wedding stuff, so I didn't get a chance to post! But I did take pictures of the things I baked while I was there. :) I apologize for my bad pictures, they were taken with my phoney!

For Christmas, I made the Hot Chocolate Cake from Fine Cooking, the December 2009/January 2010 issue. The cake came out great. It was a nice and easy recipe to prepare, with delicious results. Very very rich, but very good. It really tasted like hot chocolate. This one was a crowd pleaser. I originally spotted it on The Bitten Word, but it is also available on Fine Cooking's site here. I made quite a few changes to the recipe, so I will post my version below, but be sure to check out the two sites I mentioned above for some great pictures and comments!

I made the same amount of cake batter that the recipe called for, but instead of dividing it into three 9x2 round cake pans, I baked it in FOUR 9x2 round cake pans. Rather than one tall 3 layer cake, I got 2 good sized two layer cakes to bring to two different houses for Christmas dessert. The cakes still came out a very good size. Plus, it is so rich that a less super-tall slice was more than sufficient. Since I was making 2 cakes instead of one, I made a batch and a half of the frosting (which I probably didn't really need to do because I had a significant amount left over, but for frosting lovers, I suggest making the 1.5 batch like I did). I also didn't make my own marshmallows like the recipe stated. I didn't have a candy thermometer where I was, so I just used store bought mini-mallows. Here's what I did!:

Hot Chocolate Cake, adapted from Fine Cooking and The Bitten Word.

For the cake
6 oz. (3/4 cup) unsalted butter + some extra for greasing the pans
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup canola oil
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate chips
2 ounces 70% dark chocolate
3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup half and half
2 Tbs. pure vanilla extract
2-1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. fine sea salt

For the frosting
3 3/4 cups heavy cream
9 Tbs. unsalted butter
2 tsp vanilla
9 oz. bittersweet chocolate chips
3 cups granulated sugar
9 oz. natural unsweetened cocoa powder; more for decorating
3/4 cup corn syrup
1/2 tsp. fine sea salt

In a 4-quart saucepan over low heat, combine the cream, butter, and vanilla extract. Stir until the butter is melted and everything is combined. Stir in the chocolate chips until melted. Whisk in the sugar, cocoa powder, syrup, and salt until smooth...make sure the cocoa powder is fully incorporated. Pour into a 9x13-inch pan and freeze until firm, about 2 hours, or refrigerate overnight. I freezed it for 2 hours and then moved it to the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter four 9x2-inch round cake pans and line the bottom of each with parchment. Butter the parchment. Dust with flour and knock out the extra.

In a 3-quart saucepan, combine butter, oil, chopped chocolate, and 1 cup water. Heat over medium heat until melted.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, and cocoa powder. Pour the hot chocolate mixture into the sugar mixture and whisk until combined.
Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, then whisk in the half-and-half and heavy cream, vanilla, baking soda, and salt. Divide the batter evenly among the four prepared pans.

Set two pans on the middle rack, slightly spaced so they don't touch. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. When finished, repeat with last two cakes. Cool on racks for 10 minutes, using a knife to slide around the cake to release the sides from the pan. Invert the cakes onto the racks, remove the parchment from two of the cakes (leaving parchment on the bottom of two of the cakes) and cool completely.

Remove the frosting from the freezer or refrigerator, let sit for about 10 - 15 minutes. Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes to soften, or use a hand mixer. Change to a whisk attachment and beat at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Use a sharp knife to level out the cakes. Put the cake layer still lined with parchment onto a parchment lined cardboard cake round, this will be your bottom layer. But about 1 1/2 C of frosting on top to be your filling, and spread with an offset spatula. Top with the other layer and frosting with offset spatula. If you are careful, you might not need a crumb coat (we didn't need to do one).

Decorate the cake with mini marshmallows, leaving about a 1 inch border around the edges of the cake. Sprinkle some extra cocoa powder for decoration.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Pumpkin Roll

Last weekend was the Cocoa Village craft fair here in Central Florida. And we rented a booth for our aprons!

It was tremendous fun! The first day was quite rainy (ok, torrential and cold and windy is a more accurate description), but the second day was gorgeous. We had a great time meeting all the people who came to our booth. It was a success! I look forward to doing more of these types of events.

And now to the baking. School is finally over for the semester and now it's the holidays! With a little time off from school, hopefully I can catch up on some baking. But here is a long overdue dessert (I made it for Thanksgiving!)

Pumpkin Toffee Roll Cake, from Paula Deen.
I made some changes to the recipe, and posted them below. But be sure to check out Paula's original recipe HERE, and even watch a video of how she made it HERE.

Ingredients for Cake Roll:
3/4 C cake flour
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
6 large eggs, room temperature. Separated.
1/3 C granulated sugar
1/3 C packed light brown sugar
2/3 C canned pumpkin
1/3 tsp coarse sea salt
Powdered Sugar

Ingredients for Toffee Cream Filling:
1 tsp unflavored gelatin
2 tablespoons grand marnier
1 C heavy cream chilled
1/4 C powdered sugar, sifted
1/3 C Heath bar pieces, and additional 1/2 C for garnishing
Powdered Sugar
Dulce de leche, made from sweetened condensed milk (notes below)
Small amount of store bought caramel sauce

Preheat the oven to 375. Grease a jelly roll pan, line with parchment paper, and lightly grease the parchment.
Sift flour and spices together in a small bowl. In a separate bowl, beat egg YOLKS together with the two sugars until it thickens. Add the 2/3 C pumpkin to this yolk mixture. Beat on low until mixed. Add dry ingredients, and continue to beat on low until mixed. In a separate CLEAN bowl, beat the egg whites with the salt until stiff peaks form. Fold whites into the cake batter.
Use an offset spatula to spread the batter into the prepared jelly roll pan. Drop the pan on the counter a few times to release air bubbles. Bake about 15 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.
Remove from oven and while it is still hot, dust it GENEROUSLY with powdered sugar. Turn the cake out on to a kitchen towel, and fold one edge of the towel over 1 of the long edges of the cake. Immediately roll up and place edge down in the refrigerator for one hour. After one hour it should be cooled completely - Do not leave it in there much longer or it will crack when you attempt to unroll it!

For Filling:
Pour grand marnier into a small saucepan, and add the gelatin. Let it soften for about 5 minutes. Then stir over low heat until the gelatin dissolves. While this is cooling, beat the chilled cream with the powdered sugar until peaks form. Fold in the gelatin and 1/3 C of Heath Bar chunks.

Unroll the jelly roll cake slowly and gently. Sprinkle toffee pieces on the unrolled cake to taste, and then spread the cream-toffee filling over, using an offset spatula to smooth.

Beginning at the long edge of the cake, roll up the cake using the towel to help you. Place the cake onto a platter with the seam down. Cut small pieces off the ends of the cake to make straight edges. Dust generously with powdered sugar. Pour a small amount of the store bought caramel on top of the roll - just enough to make something sticky for additional toffee pieces to stick to. Sprinkle toffee on top to taste.

For Dulce De Leche:
Pour a can of sweetened condensed milk into a baking pan. Sprinkle sea salt on top and cover with tin foil. Place this baking pan within a larger baking pan filled with warm water. Put in a 425 degree oven and bake for about an hour - or until it turns a nice brownish caramel color. Let cool. If small chunks appear in it, add milk as needed, and use electric mixer to beat until smooth. To serve, warm in the microwave and pour over slices of cake. I didn't get any pictures of the cake with the dulce :(

The cake was a hit at Thanksgiving. It is impressive looking and really isn't that difficult to make at all! Would definitely make this again!


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