Posts Tagged 'cake'

Banana Cake with Chocolate Glaze

There are lots of different things you can make using overripe bananas.  Some of my favorite breakfast recipes using bananas are green smoothies, fruity smoothies, banana cinnamon muffins, and blueberry banana muffins.  Bananas are also great in desserts too – like in this delicious banana cake with chocolate glaze.  The cake itself tastes very similar to banana bread, but the addition of a silky chocolate glaze makes this cake extra rich and delicious.  This cake is extremely moist, and the chocolate complements the banana flavor very well.  Like most desserts I’ve been making lately, this cake is super easy to make.  The batter takes just a few minutes to mix up, and frosting the cake couldn’t be any easier – you just simply pour the warm chocolate glaze over the top of the cake and it will seep to the sides of the pan, thus covering the whole cake.  I recommend serving this yummy cake with a cold glass of milk.  Enjoy!

Banana Cake with Chocolate Glaze

(print recipe)

Banana Cake

Ingredients

  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 overripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup buttermilk

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (160 degrees C). Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the bananas and vanilla extract.
  4. Alternatively add and beat in the flour mixture and buttermilk in 5 additions, starting and ending with the flour. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool completely before frosting.

Yield: One 13 x 9 inch cake

Source: slightly adapted from The Pastry Affair

Semisweet Chocolate Glaze

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp. light corn syrup

Directions

  1. Combine the chocolate, cream, butter and corn syrup in a double boiler or heatproof bowl set over simmering water.
  2. Heat until the chocolate has melted, and then whisk the ingredients together until completely smooth.  Pour the glaze over the top of the chilled cake, allowing it to run to the sides of the pan.

Note: The cake should be stored in the refrigerator.  You can serve it cold, or let it come to room temperature for 30-45 minutes before serving.

Source: Cooking with Karen; Originally adapted from Annie’s Eats

One Year Ago: Amaretto Madeleines

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S’mores Cake

When I saw this cake featured on Annie’s Eats, I just knew I had to make it ASAP so it went straight to the top of my list of recipes to try.  This cake was truly exceptional.  I expected it to be good and all, but it wasn’t just good; it was really really good.  It’s a two-layer graham cracker flavored cake that is super moist, flavorful, and buttery.  It made my house smell amazing as it was baking in the oven.  It’s the kind of aroma that you just want to bottle up and turn into a scented candle so that you can enjoy it all the time.  Marshmallow fluff is sandwiched between the two cake layers and then the entire cake is covered in a silky milk chocolate glaze.  The top of the cake is garnished with even more marshmallow fluff as well as graham crackers and chocolate bars.  This cake is the perfect thing to make to kick off the summer season!  And it really does taste like a giant s’more.  Try it, you will definitely want to eat s’more of it!  (Sorry, I couldn’t resist! :)  )  Enjoy!

S’mores Cake

(print recipe)

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs (to make the crumbs, pulse graham crackers in a food processor until they are finely ground)
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole milk

For the filling:

  • Marshmallow fluff

For the milk chocolate glaze:

  • 8 oz. milk chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp. light corn syrup

For decoration:

  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup marshmallow fluff
  • ¾ cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1-2 tsp. milk
  • Small rectangles of graham cracker and milk chocolate, for garnish

Directions

  1. To make the cake, preheat the oven to 375° F.  Line the bottom of two 9-inch round cake pans with parchment paper.  Grease and flour the sides of the pans; set aside.  In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt; stir together and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until soft peaks form.  Transfer the egg whites to a separate bowl and set aside.  Replace the mixer bowl and fit it with the paddle attachment.  Cream together the butter and sugar and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Mix in the egg yolks until well combined.  Stir in the vanilla extract.
  3. Add in the dry ingredients in three additions, alternately with the milk (in 2 additions) on low speed, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mixing just until incorporated.  Using a rubber spatula, fold in about a third of the egg whites to lighten the batter.  Gently fold in the remaining egg whites until completely incorporated.
  4. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans.  Bake the cakes for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for about 5-10 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack, remove the parchment paper and let cool completely.
  5. Once the cake has cooled completely, transfer one of the cake layers to a foil-covered cardboard cake circle and place on a serving platter.  Carefully spread a layer of marshmallow fluff over the cake.  Top with the remaining cake layer and refrigerate for approximately 1 hour.
  6. To make the milk chocolate glaze, combine the chocolate, cream, butter and corn syrup in a double boiler or heatproof bowl set over simmering water.  Heat until the chocolate has melted, and then whisk the ingredients together until completely smooth.  Pour the glaze over the top of the chilled cake, allowing it to run down the sides of the cake in some places.  Return the cake to the refrigerator to chill until set.
  7. To make the marshmallow frosting for decoration, combine the butter and marshmallow fluff in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Beat on medium speed until smooth.  Beat in the confectioners’ sugar until well combined.  Stir in the milk to smooth the frosting out a bit, adding a tiny bit more liquid if necessary.
  8. Transfer the frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip.  Pipe dollops of frosting around the edges of the chilled cake and decorate with small rectangles of graham cracker and milk chocolate.  Store the cake in the refrigerator until ready to serve, and allow it to sit at room temperature about 20 minutes before slicing and serving.

Source: slightly adapted from Annie’s Eats; Originally adapted from Baking Bites

Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake

If you like chocolate, then you will love this decadent dessert.  The cake is comprised of three distinct layers of chocolate, each one progressively lighter in color and flavor, all topped with a sprinkling of delicate dark chocolate curls.  To elaborate, the bottom layer is a rich, flourless dark chocolate cake.  This is topped with a rich and creamy dark chocolate mousse, and the top layer is a sweet and silky white chocolate mousse.

I first saw this recipe featured on an episode of America’s Test Kitchen, and I was totally smitten with it.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get around to making it until last weekend (about a year after seeing the episode.)  Do not make the same mistake I did and set this recipe aside only to be forgotten – I highly recommend making this cake as soon as possible.  In fact, I’m already planning to make it again very soon!

Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake

(print recipe)

Ingredients:

For the bottom layer:

  • 6 tbsp. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces, plus extra for greasing the pan
  • 7 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • ¾ tsp. instant espresso powder
  • 1½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • Pinch of table salt
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar (2 ½ ounces), crumbled with your fingers to remove lumps

For the middle layer:

  • 2 tbsp. cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-processed
  • 5 tbsp. hot water
  • 7 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1½ cups cold heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon table salt

For the top layer:

  • ¾ tsp. powdered gelatin
  • 1 tbsp. water
  • 6 oz. white chocolate, finely chopped (or white chocolate chips)
  • 1½ cups cold heavy cream

For the garnish: shaved chocolate curls or cocoa powder

Directions:

  1. For the bottom layer: Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Butter the bottom and sides of a 9 ½ -inch springform pan (the sides of the pan should be at least 3 inches high).  Melt the butter, chocolate, and espresso powder in a large heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally until the mixture is smooth.  Remove the mixture from the heat and let cool slightly, about 5 minutes.  Whisk in the vanilla extract and egg yolks; set aside.
  2. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and salt on medium speed until foamy, about 30 seconds.  Add half of the brown sugar into the mixing bowl and beat until combined, about 15 seconds.  Add the remaining brown sugar and continue to beat at high speed until soft peaks form when the whisk is lifted, about 1 minute longer.  Using a whisk, mix one-third of the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it.  Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the remaining egg whites until no white streaks remain.  Carefully pour the batter into the prepared springform pan and gently smooth the top with an offset spatula.
  3. Bake until the cake has risen, is firm around the edges, and the center has just set but is still soft (the center of the cake should spring back after pressing gently with a finger), about 13-18 minutes.  Transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool completely, about 1 hour.  Do not remove the cake from the pan.
  4. For the middle layer:  Combine the cocoa powder and hot water in a small bowl and set aside.  Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan filled with 1 inch of simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth.  Once the chocolate has melted, remove it from the heat and cool slightly, about 2-5 minutes.  (Alternatively you can melt the chocolate in a heatproof glass bowl in the microwave.)
  5. In the clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream, granulated sugar and salt at medium speed until the mixture begins to thicken, about 30 seconds.  Increase the speed to high and whip until soft peaks form when the whisk is lifted, about 15-60 seconds.
  6. Whisk the cocoa powder mixture into the melted chocolate until smooth.  Using a whisk, fold one-third of the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture to lighten it.  With a rubber spatula, fold in the remaining whipped cream until no white streaks remain.  Pour the mousse into the springform pan over the cooled cake and gently tap the pan on the counter 3 times to remove any air bubbles.  Then carefully smooth the top with a spatula and wipe the inside edge of the pan with a damp paper towel to remove any drips.  Refrigerate the cake for at least 15 minutes while you prepare the top layer.
  7. For the top layer:  In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let it stand at least 5 minutes.  Place the white chocolate in a medium bowl.  Bring ½ cup of the cream to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Remove the pan from the heat, add the gelatin mixture, and stir until dissolved.  Pour the cream mixture over the white chocolate and whisk until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth.  Cool the mixture to room temperature, stirring occasionally, about 5-8 minutes.  (The mixture should thicken slightly).
  8. In the clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the remaining one cup of cream at medium speed until it begins to thicken, approximately 30 seconds.  Increase the speed to high and whip until soft peaks form when the whisk is lifted, 15-60 seconds.  Using a whisk, fold one-third of the whipped cream into the white chocolate mixture to lighten it.  With a rubber spatula, gently fold in the remaining whipped cream until no white streaks remain.  Spoon the white chocolate mousse into the pan over the middle layer, and then smooth the top with an offset spatula.  Return the cake to the refrigerator and chill until set, at least 2½ hours.
  9. To serve:  Garnish the top of the cake with chocolate curls or dust the cake with cocoa powder.  Carefully remove the sides of the springform pan from the cake.  Cut the cake into slices and serve.

Serves: 12-16

Note:  I don’t have a 9 ½ inch springform pan.  Instead I used my 7-inch springform pan and halved the above recipe.  This worked perfectly, and yielded a smaller cake that serves 6-8 people.

Source: Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated magazine, November & December 2009 issue

Rich Chocolate Brownie Cake

There are 3 reasons why you should make this brownie cake.  1) It’s easy,  2) It’s yummy, and 3) It’s fun!  The fun part is making a “stencil” and dusting the top of the cake with powdered sugar to reveal the stencil design.  Of course, if that’s not your thing, you can simply just dust the whole cake with powdered sugar and skip the stencil part.  If you do decide to make a stencil design on your cake, it’s really easy.  I just used Microsoft Word and printed out a few star shapes on plain white printer paper.  (You can also just draw your design freehand).  Then I cut them out, placed them on top of the cake, and dusted the cake with powdered sugar.  This cake is a fun alternative to regular brownies.  Enjoy!

Rich Chocolate Brownie Cake

Ingredients

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 ounces good-quality semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, at least 61% cacao, coarsely chopped (I used a Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate baking bar that was 60% cacao)
  • Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Line an 8 or 9-inch round cake pan with a round of parchment paper.  Spray the parchment and sides of the pan with nonstick baking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.  Add the sugar and beat until well blended.  Add the eggs and vanilla and beat again until well blended.  Add the salt and ¼ cup of the flour and beat well.  Add the remaining flour in two batches, beating well after each addition.
  3. Melt the chopped chocolate in the top of a double boiler set over (but not touching) gently simmering water.  Remove from the heat and let cool slightly, 2-3 minutes.  Add it to the cake batter and beat until well blended and creamy.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the surface with a spatula.
  4. Bake until the cake is puffed and a toothpick inserted into its center comes out clean, 20-25 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
  5. Invert the cake onto a cake stand or cake plate and peel off the parchment paper.  (If desired, you can flip the cake back over so it is right-side up). Place a stencil of your choice on top, and then sift the confectioners’ sugar over the stencil to create a pattern.  Carefully lift off the stencil.  (Or just skip the stencil and dust the top of the cake with confectioners’ sugar).
  6. To serve, slice into wedges.

Serves: 8-10

Source: adapted from the Williams Sonoma Holiday Entertaining Cookbook (This cake is featured on the cover of the cookbook!)



Yellow Layer Cake with Rich Chocolate Cream Frosting

Yellow Layer Cake with Rich Chocolate Cream Frosting


Recently I purchased the cookbook Baking Illustrated.  I love Cook’s Illustrated cookbooks because they are chock-full of helpful information, and they are a great resource to have in the kitchen.  There are so many recipes in this book that I can’t wait to try!

The first recipe I made from this book was a Yellow Layer Cake with Rich Chocolate Cream Frosting.  It turned out really well!  The cake was soft, buttery, and delicious.  It tasted similar to pound cake to me.  This frosting was really good too—it was rich, chocolaty, and creamy.  It was very different from my other chocolate frosting recipe—both recipes are great, but this one was much richer and thicker whereas the other one is fluffier and sweeter.

The cake recipe posted below serves 8-10 people and makes a 9-inch two-layer cake.  Because I was just making this cake for Eric and me, I halved the recipe.  Instead of using two 9-inch cake pans, I used two 6.5-inch round cake pans, which worked perfectly.  I purchased these little 6.5 inch cake pans at Sur la Table last week, which was a genius idea if you ask me.  I rarely bake cakes because I end up with way too much leftover cake.  And as much as I like cake, there’s only so much a household of two can eat.  These little cake pans solved that problem- now we can indulge in dessert, but not have too many leftovers (or too many calories).  Enjoy!

Yellow Layer Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 ¾ cups (7 ounces) plain cake flour, sifted, plus more for dusting the pans
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • ½ cup whole milk, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups (10 ½ ounces) sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened but still cool, cut into 16 pieces (Note: Adding the butter pieces to the mixing bowl one at a time prevents the dry ingredients from flying up and out of the bowl).

Directions

  1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Generously grease two 9-inch round cake pans and cover the pan bottoms with rounds of parchment paper.  Then grease the parchment rounds and dust the cake pans with flour, tapping out the excess.
  2. Beat the eggs, milk, and vanilla extract with a fork in a small bowl (a glass pyrex measuring cup worked well for me).  Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of a standing mixer.  Beat the mixture at the lowest speed to blend, about 30 seconds.  With the mixer still running at the lowest speed, add the butter 1 piece at a time; mix until the butter and flour begin to clump together and look sandy and pebble, with pieces about the size of peas, 30-40 seconds after all the butter is added.  Add 1 cup of the egg mixture and mix at the lowest speed until incorporated, 5-10 seconds.  Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.  Then add the remaining egg mixture (about ½ cup) in a slow steady stream, taking about 30 seconds.  Stop the mixer and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.  Beat at medium-high speed until thoroughly combined and the batter looks slightly curdled, about 15 seconds.
  3. Divide the batter equally between the prepared cake pans.  Then spread it to the sides of the pans and smooth with a rubber spatula.  Bake until the cake tops are light gold and a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean, 20-25 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Run a knife around the pan perimeters to loosen.  Invert one cake onto a large plate, peel off the parchment, and then reinvert onto a wire rack.  Repeat with the other cake.
  4. Once the cake has completely cooled, assemble and frost the cake.  Then cut the cake into slices and serve.

Yield: 9-inch, 2 layer cake;  Serves 8-10 (Note: To make a 6.5-inch, 2 layer cake, halve the recipe)

Rich Chocolate Cream Frosting

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped fine
  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl.  Bring the heavy cream to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium-high heat; pour over the chocolate.  Add the corn syrup and let stand 3 minutes.  Whisk gently until smooth; stir in the vanilla.
  2. Refrigerate 1 to 1 ½ hours, stirring every 15 minutes, until the mixture reaches a spreadable consistency.  (Note: This frosting does not keep well, so it should be served within a day).

Yield: About 3 cups (enough to ice one 8 or 9-inch layer cake)

Source: Baking Illustrated Cookbook (Pgs. 347 & 351)

Tip (from Cook’s Illustrated on TV): Slide pieces of parchment paper under the cake before frosting & decorating to keep the cake plate clean. Once you are finished decorating the cake, pull out the parchment paper, and voila! – clean plate and perfectly frosted cake!

White Cake with Raspberry Filling and Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

White Cake with Raspberry Filling and Vanilla Buttercream Frosting


Happy Birthday Eric!  Yesterday was Eric’s birthday, so of course I had to bake him a cake.  I decided to use my white cupcake recipe, but instead of cupcakes I made a two- layer round cake.  Originally I was going to make chocolate frosting, but he requested vanilla, so vanilla it was.  :)   I used this recipe for the vanilla buttercream frosting, but I also added the seeds from one vanilla bean to it, and then only used one teaspoon of vanilla extract instead of two.  I love the way you could see the little black flecks of vanilla bean in the frosting, and they also tasted really good.

Additionally, I added two layers of raspberry preserves as a filling for the cake.  I don’t know why I’ve never thought to do this before with a cake.  It was so easy, and in my opinion this simple step made the cake taste so much better!  (Eric agreed).  I think raspberry and chocolate would also be a great combo.  Enjoy!

Notes:

  • I used a cupcake recipe for this cake, so I had to increase the baking time.  Initially I set the timer for 30 minutes, but when I checked it, the cake still wasn’t ready.  I think it ended up taking about 35 minutes to bake the two 8-inch layers.  You will know it’s done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. 
  • Adding a layer of raspberry preserves (or jam) to a cake is really easy.  Just take each layer, slice it in half, spread a thin layer of raspberry preserves on top, and place the top back on so that the raspberry preserves are sandwiched between the layers.
  • To tint the frosting as I did, first frost the cake with white frosting.  Leave the remaining frosting in the mixer bowl, and after you are done with the white frosting, add a drop of blue food coloring to it.  Then mix it with the mixer until it’s fully incorporated.  I used a pastry bag with a star tip to pipe the detail around the outer edge of the cake, and a small round tip (#5) to write on the cake.


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