Tag Archives: cake

Double-Chocolate Marble Cake

This post was written by our 15-year-old son, Corran. He has expressed an interest in cooking and baking, and he has actually been a big help to me in the kitchen lately. As he says, this cake was very yummy, but with our large family, it was gone in a few minutes! Fortunately, we had some leftover dinner rolls that Corran made last night for anyone who was still hungry. Corran will probably be posting often as his interests also run to video games, which would be a good addition to our “Geeky” section!

-Lynn

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A couple days ago, I was looking through Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan when I saw a recipe for a marble cake. I like the way marble cakes look, and it didn’t seem too hard, so I tried my hand at it.

This recipe used quite a bit of chocolate. Normally marble cakes are made by swirling together a white cake and a chocolate cake, but this one used white chocolate in the white portion. I thought it was interesting how the cake was formed; you separate the two batters and drop spoonfuls of each into the pan, then zigzag a knife through it a couple times. It wasn’t as swirly as I would have liked, but it still looked cool.

I don’t have any more pictures of it because I didn’t know I’d be writing a post on it.

I’m not sure how often I can make it though, as it uses quite a few ingredients and takes about 2-3 hours, but with how many of us there are it was gone in 15 minutes. If I do make it again, I’d like to add mocha to the chocolate portion and cardamom to the white.

-Corran

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Strawberry Limeade Cake with White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

I have mentioned before that cake, specifically layer cakes, is not my forte. Just because it is not my forte though does not mean that I should not make one once in a while.

For our Easter lunch a few weeks ago, I wanted to make a cake. At first, it was just going to be a lime bundt cake. I had some homemade strawberry jam though in the fridge that I needed to use for something, so then I came up with the bright idea of a lime layer cake with strawberry jam and white chocolate frosting in the middle.

I had been itching to make a lime cake recipe I found on the internet for quite a while, so I was glad to finally have the chance to make it!

Find the recipe for key lime cake here: Key Lime Cake From Scratch

The above link also includes the recipe for a white chocolate buttercream frosting.

Find the recipe for homemade strawberry jam here: Small Batch Strawberry Vanilla Jam

I didn’t get to take any pictures of the actual process of making this cake, but I can talk a little bit about some of my mistakes (which always seem to be many when I am baking a cake!).

Mistake number one: I didn’t use enough lime zest! I think I used the 6 key limes as stated in the recipe, but I don’t think I ended up with enough lime zest.  I probably also should have used a little bit more lime juice. The cake itself definitely needed more oomph to it.

Mistake number two: Sprinkling day-old lime zest on the frosted cake. The lime zest lost its bright green color overnight. I don’t think I need to say what it looked like after sitting in the fridge overnight. I really should have used fresh zest on the cake.

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Mistake number three: I thought the cake layers were flat enough after baking and that I didn’t need to level them. I was wrong. I really should have sliced off  just a little bit. Because the top of the bottom layer wasn’t flat, the strawberry jam in the middle of the cake kept trying to slide out and down the side of the cake.

Mistake number four: Not doing a crumb coat when frosting. I was in a hurry. I guess I really shouldn’t make cakes when I am in a hurry. Or maybe I should just stick to bundt cakes!

Mistake number five: Using white chocolate buttercream frosting. Because the cake needed more lime flavor and thus wasn’t tart enough, the whole cake was too sweet and just didn’t have enough variances in flavor for me. A cream cheese frosting might have worked better in this case.

Mistake number six: Inferior chocolate candy eggs for the decoration. Those candy eggs in the picture were quite literally only for decoration. I bought them in bulk from a nearby grocery store and they just didn’t taste very good! Even Josh didn’t like them and that is saying something right there!

There weren’t any complaints from the kids about the cake itself, and none from Josh, so that is a good thing. I have to admit though; I think the key lime-mint bundt cake I posted about more than a month ago is still my favorite cake I’ve made so far.

Maybe I will try this recipe again when I am making a cake only for my family. And when I can taste more than one slice!

-Lynn

Maple Brown Sugar-Cinnamon Bundt Cake

It is not completely obvious within my blog posts about baking, but a lot of my posts are requests from my kids. Since they eat most of what I bake, I try to make sure it is something they will like. Unless it’s macarons… I don’t really want them to eat all the macarons.

This bundt cake flavor comes courtesy of my son Matthias. I think he was wanting a flavor similar to a maple frosted donut. I certainly did my best to fulfill his request!

I know that bundt cakes LOVE to stick to pans, so I thought I’d also mention my technique for greasing my Nordicware bundt pans. This particular pan is the 10 cup Heritage pan. I also have a smaller 6 cup Heritage pan, but I haven’t used that one yet.

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To grease your bundt cake pan and hopefully end up with a flawless bundt pan flip, here is what you need:

1 Tbsp of very soft butter, but not melted. If your butter is right out of the fridge, you can microwave it for about 15-20 seconds to soften it enough.

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1 pastry brush

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I apologize for my very ugly pastry brush in this pic. It needs to be retired. In fact, we were at a restaurant supply store a few weeks ago and I bought a new nylon pastry brush and a gorgeous stainless steel worktable! By the way, restaurant supply stores are awesome. I could have stayed there all day! I just didn’t have the new brush at this time so had to use the ugly old one. I have tried a silicone brush but it just couldn’t get into all the details of the pan. So I ended up with this.

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Lesson learned: use only a traditional pastry brush or a nylon brush for greasing bundt cake pans.

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Usually, I find greasing pans tedious, but somehow greasing my bundt pans is now fun! I guess it is because I feel like I’m painting. Which is basically what you’re doing! You paint the butter into the pan using the pastry brush, making sure to get into all the little nooks and crannies. I think I may try this method with my plain round cake pans.

Then comes the flouring part. I usually just toss a random amount of flour into the pan. Probably close to a tablespoon or two. Shake the pan at an angle over a sink, turning the pan to get the flour all around the pan and onto the butter.

After tapping tapping tapping,  your pan will look like this.

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I think I might be weird because I don’t like it when my pan looks like this after flouring. So I turn it upside-down over my sink and tap the edge of the pan on the wall of the sink. All the excess flour falls right out into the sink and you end up with a clean finish.

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I know this seems like a lot of trouble to go to for greasing and flouring a bundt pan, but this method hasn’t failed me yet.

Now to the actual cake!

I decided on a cinnamon swirl coffee cake with a mascarpone maple frosting. I modified both recipes quite a bit so I will be posting them at the end. The original recipes are from Allrecipes.com and The Local Palate.

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Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C).

First, we begin as most cakes do, with beating the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.

Then, add the eggs. The texture of the batter might worry you a little at this point. (Why does it look curdled?) But it all smooths out at the end.

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Then, add the flour and raising agents.

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I like the look of this type of cake batter better than the very liquidy type. Maybe I’m just a big fan of pound cake. Spoon half the batter into the bundt pan.

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Sprinkle all the cinnamon mixture over this first layer.

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Spoon the other half of the batter over the cinnamon mixture and swirl a knife through it. I made the mistake of using a spatula. That didn’t work so well. I should have used a knife.

Bake for 8 minutes in the preheated oven. Then, lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and bake for 40 more minutes.

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When a tester comes out clean, your cake is done.

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Now to the moment of truth! But not for another 10 minutes. I leave the pan on my stovetop or a cooling rack for 10 to 15 minutes before tipping out the cake. But… you don’t want to wait too long. It seems that bundt cakes come out better if the pan is still warm.

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This cake came out a little rough around the edges but I think that is because I didn’t spread the batter into the pan as well as I should have. I think it looks a lot like a cruller though this way!

I had a whole container of mascarpone cheese in the fridge so I went for a full mascarpone frosting instead of mixing it with cream cheese. My kids now have a name for this frosting: maple donut frosting. I piped the frosting onto the cake using the star tip  of my Wilton Dessert Decorator. Usually, I can’t use this for decorating because the tips are so huge, but it worked well for this cake.

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Note: Apparently, regular Wilton tips can be used with this decorator. I haven’t tried those yet. Will have to see how they work.

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As you can see, I didn’t have much of a swirl…. probably because of my attempt to use a spatula instead of a knife to swirl the batter. This cake was very, very yummy though and certainly didn’t last long! I think it was completely gone the next morning after breakfast!

I wasn’t completely happy with the frosting. It’s a little too shiny (or maybe the word is oily-looking?) for me, but my kids loved it. At least they were happy with it!

-Lynn

Here is the recipe!

Maple Brown Sugar-Cinnamon Bundt Cake with Maple Mascarpone Frosting

Not everyone will have the maple sugar for the cinnamon mixture, so it can be left out. Also, because of the mascarpone frosting, I would not feel comfortable keeping this cake on the counter for more than a day.

Ingredients

Cake Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp maple extract or flavoring
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Swirl Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp maple sugar (optional)

Maple Mascarpone Frosting Ingredients

  • 10 ounces mascarpone cheese
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1 tsp maple extract or flavoring
  • 9 ounces powdered sugar, about 2 cups

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C). Grease and flour a 10-cup bundt pan. See post above for method if needed.

Using a stand or hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. The mixture will be very pale. Add eggs one at a time, incorporating each one before adding the next. Mix in the vanilla extract and maple extract or flavoring.

Combine the flour, baking soda,and  baking powder in a medium bowl. Mix the flour mixture into the cake batter alternatively with the 1 cup of sour cream. End with the dry ingredients. Spoon half the batter into the prepared bundt pan.

Mix 1/4 cup brown sugar with the 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon and 1 Tablespoon maple sugar. Sprinkle the cinnamon mixture over the batter in the bundt pan. Spoon the remaining half of the cake batter over the cinnamon mixture in the pan. Swirl through the batter once or twice with a knife.

Bake in the 400 degree F (205 degree C) oven for 8 minutes. Then, lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and bake for 40 minutes more, or until a tester comes out clean.

Let the cake cool on a rack for 10 – 15 minutes before tipping cake out of the pan. Allow to cool completely on the rack before frosting.

Mascarpone frosting directions:

Using a stand or hand mixer, combine the 10 ounces mascarpone cheese and 2 ounces butter in a large bowl until blended. Add the 1 teaspoon maple extract or flavoring and beat until combined.

With the mixer speed on low, slowly add the 9 ounces powdered sugar (2 cups) to the mascarpone mixture. Beat until smooth. Store frosting in the fridge until needed.

Decorate the bundt cake with the frosting as desired.

Lego Challenge: Build a Cake

Today’s Lego Challenge from Gather Love Grow was to build a birthday cake.  Again each of our children took a little different course when building the cake.  They all made smallish cakes, but each one look different.

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Our 11 year old made a very small cake decorated with a mini minion.

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Our 8 year old used a Legoland piece, and has fire on his candles. He thinks his cake looks like a castle.

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Our 6 year old made a cake for somebody turning 2. It is lemon, strawberry, blueberry, and chocolate flavored.

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Our 2 year old built the tallest cake. It started small, but he kept taking it away and making it taller.

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Our 2 year old wanted to get involved with this one. She even got some pink into her cake.

 

Thanks again to Isabelle at Gather Love Grow for another fun Lego Challenge.

 

-Joshua

Friday Bakes in 3 Parts – Tiramisu Cake

Last Friday, our washer started acting up again, so I wasn’t able to do laundry. This didn’t make me too sad, because it meant I could bake! I went a little bit crazy with the baking though, which I seem to do a lot, don’t I?

First up, a pretty complicated cake, with a lot of moving parts. Well, not real moving parts, but it really seemed like it because every time I had a free moment, I was making or mixing something for this cake. It was pretty and it was also complicated. I really should not have made this cake, but I needed to use the mascarpone I made a few days ago for something!

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I didn’t have a lot of time to make it as pretty as I would have liked. Since I ended up changing quite a few of the ingredients, I will repost the recipe with my changes. Most of my changes are due to necessity and not because I really wanted to make the changes.

The actual recipe is here.

Tiramisu Cake

Adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

For the two cake layers:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 10 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk

For the espresso extract:

  • 2 packs of Starbucks Italian Roast instant coffee
  • 2 Tbsp boiling water

For the espresso syrup:

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp strong coffee

For the filling and frosting:

  • 8 ounces mascarpone
  • 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
  • 1½ vanilla extract
  • 1 cup cold heavy cream
  • 3.5 ounce dark chocolate bar, finely chopped

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans, dust the insides of the pans with flour, and line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper. Place the pans on a large baking sheet.

To make the cake:

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Set the bowl aside.

In a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add the sugar and beat for another 3 minutes. Add the eggs one by one, and then the yolk, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk. Begin and end with the dry ingredients. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed, and beat only until the ingredients disappear into the batter. Divide the batter evenly between the two cake pans, and smooth their tops with a spatula.

Bake for 28 to 30 minutes. When fully baked, the layers will be springy to the touch and golden in color. Cool the cake pans on a rack for 5 minutes before running a knife around the sides of the cakes and unmolding them. Peel off the parchment paper and allow the cake layers to cool right-side up.

To make the extract:

Stir the 2 packs of instant coffee into the 2 Tbsp of boiling water in a small measuring cup and set aside.

To make the syrup:

Stir the water and sugar together in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Pour the syrup into a heatproof bowl and stir in 1 Tbsp of the coffee extract. Set aside.

To make the filling and frosting:

Whisk together the mascarpone, sugar, vanilla, and 1 Tbsp of the coffee syrup in a large bowl just until smooth.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream until it holds firm peaks. With a rubber spatula, stir 1/4 of the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture. Fold in the rest of the whipped cream.

To assemble the cake:

If there are domes on the cake layers, use a serrated knife to even out the tops. I found that this also helped expose the interior of the cake and allowed more syrup to soak into the layers. Using a pastry brush or a small spoon, soak one layer with about 1/3 of the syrup mixture. Smooth about 1 and 1/4 cups of mascarpone filling over the layer. Press about half of the chopped chocolate into the filling. Then, soak the second cake layer on one side with  1/3 of the syrup and place this second layer upside-down on top of the first layer. Then, soak the top of the second cake layer with the remaining syrup.

For the frosting, whisk 1 Tbsp of the remaining coffee extract into the remaining mascarpone filling. Whisk in more of the coffee extract depending on your taste preference.

With a metal offset spatula, smooth the mascarpone frosting over the top and sides of the cake. Decorate with the remaining chopped chocolate.

Refrigerate the assembled cake for at least 3 hours or overnight before serving.

This cake was a lot of work. I think it was mostly because I was mixing up the components of the cake in between baking two other things. I kept running out of surfaces in my kitchen to put everything!

I don’t think my cake layers turned out right. They tasted good, but I think their crumb wasn’t tight enough. In a way though, this gave the syrup a lot of crevices to soak into. I also did not use all the syrup I made. I thought it would be too much, but it ended up that I should have used all the syrup because the cake was a little dry by the time we ate it for dessert. I didn’t have any cake flour on hand, which is why I had to use all-purpose flour instead. If I make this again, I will try to find a yellow cake recipe that uses all-purpose flour and use that instead of the one in the recipe above.

I will admit that baking cakes is not my forte. I think cake is something I need to learn to do after I learn how to bake a few more breads.

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A slice of the tiramisu cake

I think I should have doubled the amount of filling/frosting. And I need to figure out how to bake a decent cake! Somehow, I don’t think my family will be sad that I plan on practicing cake soon.

The next two parts will be: Stuffed Crust Pizza and Mini Maple Cinnamon Rolls! I almost put all of them together in one post but that would have been too long!

-Lynn

P.S. Since my kids were going to be eating this cake, I did not use any of the coffee liqueur that is usually used to make tiramisu, another reason I had to change a few of the ingredients.

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