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5 Impressive Cake Frosting Techniques + Tutorials

Petal Frosting by La Receta de la Felicidad

These days, happy bakers everywhere are upping the ante with beautiful frosting techniques. Not only do we want to enjoy our slice of cake, we want it to look good too. Not sure how to accomplish that? Here are 5 impressive techniques, including tutorials, to inspire you.

1. Smooth Frosting  Let’s start with the basics. Nothing says modern like the clean lines of this perfectly frosted cake. Check out How to Frost a Cake by Whisk Kid.

2. Textured Frosting  Want a more relaxed and traditional-looking topping? How to Frost a Cake by The Paula Deen Test Kitchen will show you.

3. Ribbon Frosting  This classic design is always impressive. The Sew*er, The Caker, The Copy-Cat Maker shows you the Ribbon Frosting Technique with lots of step-by-step photos.

4. Petal Frosting  This is one of my personal favorites. Such a stunning visual created with such easy steps. Check out My Cake School’s Pretty Petal Effect or Bird on a Cake’s Petal Tutorial. The pink cake shown here is the Ombre Petal Cake by Java Cupcake.

5. Rosette Frosting  A timelessly romantic design.  Girl. Inspired has a great tutorial called Tips for Making a Swirled Rose Cake. I am baker also has a well-done Rose Cake Tutorial, and provides a Rose Cake Video Tutorial as well.

Happy frosting!

 

 


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Make Ahead Meals + List Progress

I’m making progress on my list!

1) On Friday night I got a much-needed massage – it came as part of a Groupon, and also includes 7 drop-in workout classes I hope to start later this week.

2) Last night David and I processed a big batch of garden tomatoes. This is our first year having a stand alone freezer, thanks to David’s parents. We followed these directions on how to freeze tomatoes from your garden. I’m looking forward to using them in mid-winter sauces and soups.

3) We’ve begun cleaning and sanding the craigslist dresser for the hallway (more info about that later).

4) Also, this past week, I found some affordable recipes to make good freezer meals. These are the five I’m starting with:

• Spicy Pork Tinga Enchiladas (shown above)
• Taco Chicken Bowls
• Chicken Chili Verde
• Lentil & Sausage Stew
• Teriyaki Meatball Bowls

(The last four recipes come from a food blog called Budget Bytes, which has appetizing, step-by-step photos and also provides an interesting cost break-down of each ingredient). Around midweek I made a list of all the food I would need, and then Chloe and I went grocery shopping on Wednesday evening after dinner. On one hand it was nice to have a list to stick to – usually I just wander the aisles looking for things I hope my family will eat, not really thinking in terms of “meals.” That leads to lots of impulse buys, I can tell you. But having a list meant that if I forgot something, I had to go all the way to the other end of the store to get it. Luckily this just happened once, since I had organized the list by food type (meat, dairy, canned, dry and fruits & vegetables).

The first recipe I wanted to try was the Spicy Pork Tinga Enchiladas, planned for Thursday. Unfortunately, I didn’t look at the recipe until the afternoon, and then noticed it required 6-8 hours in the crock pot. Bummer. Lucky for us, friends invited us over to dinner that night. On Friday, I forgot again about starting the crockpot, and instead made salmon using the Teriyaki Glaze (yum!) from the Meatball recipe, which I paired with rice and vegetables. On Saturday, I forgot again and at the last minute decided to use this recipe for Parmesean Crusted Chicken. It was super-easy and quick, and will definitely go on my make-again list. The leftover chicken was perfect in today’s lunch of chicken salad sandwiches.

This morning, I finally remembered to prep the ingredients and start the crockpot (good thing I set the alarm on my phone!). Everything is in there simmering as I write, and the smell of slow-cooked pork and chipotle peppers is beginning to waft through the house. It makes a pretty large batch, and I’m thinking there will be enough for dinner, leftovers tomorrow, plus enough to freeze at least one or two meals. I’m pretty excited!

P.S. Can you imagine meal planning an entire month of meals? That is what Erica at Confessions of a Homeschooler does. She’s posted her meal plan for the month of September here. It was really inspiring to see the entire month at a glance, and gave me recipe ideas to add to my list (Tater Tot Casserole anyone?).

 

 

 


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Chocolate Soda (Old Fashioned Egg Cream)

In honor of National Ice Cream day, I thought I’d share these tall, dark beauties that I craved almost incessantly during the last few weeks of my pregnancy. It was cool, chocolaty, and refreshing, just the thing for any hormonal mama. As a matter of fact, it was going to be the follow up to this post, but baby Leo decided to show up a couple weeks early and then I forgot all about it.

Here’s the recipe: Pour chocolate syrup in the bottom of a glass (or chocolate fudge topping thinned with milk). Add two generous scoops of rich chocolate ice cream. Then fill ‘er up slowly with sparkling water, with a little whipped cream on top. Sip slowly and enjoy!


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Rustic Raspberry Butter Cake

It’s that time of year again for these red beauties. The sad thing is that Chloe no longer likes them. Last year was so much fun – she’d pick and eat as many as her little hands could reach. This year she’ll help pick, but that is about it. At least she still likes blueberries.

For a Fourth of July bbq at a neighbor’s house I made what I call a rustic raspberry butter cake. Simple, buttery goodness, and a great way to use up any in season fruit (I’ve used rhubarb and strawberries, too).

Rustic Raspberry Butter Cake

1 stick salted butter, softened
3/4 to 1 cup sugar (depending on fruit) + extra for sprinkling on top
2 eggs
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
sea salt
1 cup raspberries

In a mixer, cream together butter and sugar until fluffy – about 3-5 minutes. Beat the eggs together lightly and add in slowly. Mix the flour and baking powder in a separate bowl and then add it in as well. Pour mixture into a lightly-oiled baking pan and dot with fruit. Finish with a dusting of sugar and just a light sprinkling of sea salt on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until golden.


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Garden Fresh Zucchini Bread Recipe

My husband surprised me with two loaves of perfectly textured and delicious zucchini bread made from our garden bounty last week. Each slice quickly disappeared into our grateful bellies, and he was nice enough to make another batch this weekend. If we had room, I’d make a couple more, just to freeze for later. Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients

2 cups grated zucchini*
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat two 4 1/2-by-8 1/2-inch loaf pans with nonstick spray, line with parchment paper, and spray paper. Combine zucchini, sugars, oil, and eggs in a large bowl and mix until combined. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Fold in nuts and extract. Divide batter between loaf pans. Bake until a tester inserted in the middle of each loaf comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool 10 minutes on wire rack. Invert, and remove parchment paper. Cool completely on rack. Delicious served warm with butter.

*A food processor is ideal for grating the zucchini


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Spam Upside Down Pie Recipe

David is away on a fishing trip, Chloe is sick, neither of us got much sleep last night and I had Spam and eggs for breakfast. Yep, I said Spam. I know a lot of people have a problem with it, including my husband, which is why I rarely eat it. Sure, it is far from healthy and organic, but it brings back some good childhood memories. I actually like its meaty saltiness, in small, rare doses. I’m not even sure why we have a can in the cupboard, except I must have bought it on a whim, for a camping trip maybe? I can’t remember. You’d think that would make it pretty old, but the expiration date isn’t until 2013, which in itself is kind of suspicious. The last time I clearly remember eating Spam was in Hawaii during our Honeymoon in 2004.

Anyway, I was curious to read what wikipedia had to say about it and was tickled by the above Spam advertisement printed on the back cover of Time magazine on May 14, 1945. Is it weird that I’d love to try making a Spam Upside Down Pie? Except no one would eat it with me, which is too bad.

It’s kind of hard to read on the advertisement, but here’s the recipe:

The Original Spam Upside Down Pie

Line and 8-inch mold with Spam slices and fill with baking powder biscuit dough (prepared or home mixed) well laced with tiny cubes of Spam. Bake 40-45 min. at 425F. Turn it out on a platter, fill center with a tart cheese sauce (or one made with tomato or horseradish) and watch the family turn out and fill the table in a hurry!

Tart Cheese Sauce Recipe (from Ladies’ Home Journal, December 1946)

Blend 1/3 c. flour in 1/3 c. melted butter. Slowly stir in 2 1/4 c. milk. Heat and stir until thickened. Add 1/2 lb. grated American cheese, 1 tsp. prepared mustard, 1/8 tsp. Worcestershire, 1/4 tsp. lemon juice, 1/2 tsp salt. Cook in double boiler, stirring to make the mixture smooth, until cheese melts. Serve hot over a Spam Upside Down Pie.


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Gooseberries!

Look what I came home with! Have you seen these before? I hadn’t, and actually, since they weren’t signed, I didn’t even know what they were until I paid for them. Gooseberries! After reading Hungry Monkey (hilarious!) and now The Spice Necklace, I guess I’m feeling a little food adventurous.

So what, exactly is a gooseberry? Well, to me, it looks like a prehistoric grape, with a thicker, veined, and spiney skin (sort of like nettles). It also has a lot more seeds, and a somewhat sour flavor. They can be eaten raw, but most often I think they are cooked into desserts. In the end, I made a simple gooseberry syrup and used it to make a Gooseberry Fool (substituting sour cream for creme fraiche) and enjoyed the rest in a Gooseberry San Pellegrino soda.

Processing gooseberries takes some time. To make the syrup, you trim the top and bottom of each berry, and then slice it in half. Thankfully, they cook and mash down quickly, maybe 5-10 minutes. After straining out the seeds and skin, my pint of gooseberries yielded about one cup of syrup. Here are several gooseberry recipes that also look good:


Gingered Gooseberry Fool


Gooseberry Jam


Gooseberry Meringue Pie


Gooseberry Ginger Ale


Baked Gooseberry and Ginger Nut Cheesecake

Gooseberry streusel cake with elderflower syrup


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Cashew Crusted Halibut

Having the grandparents around to help with the baby frees up a lot more time for cooking. Thanks to a generous trip to Costco, we enjoyed a delicious Easter dinner of cashew-encrusted halibut, organic broccoli sauteed in toasted sesame oil and mashed potatoes. We slightly adapted this recipe and David cooked the fillets to a crunchy golden perfection.

Cashew Crusted Halibut
4-8 oz. Alaskan halibut Fillets (skinless)
2 eggs
1/4 C. water

Breading
1 3/4 C. Japanese “Panko” breadcrumbs
1 C. roasted cashews
1 tbsp. sesame seeds
Salt and pepper to taste
1 C. all-purpose flour

Crush the cashews in a food processor. Combine all breading ingredients in a bowl. Make egg wash with 2 eggs and 1/4 cup of water. Season Halibut with salt and pepper then dust with flour, dip in egg wash, and then in the breading. Sauté in canola oil over medium heat until golden on each side, then drain briefly on paper towels. Finish in a pre-heated 350-degree oven until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees.

A good resource for other ways to cook halibut can be found here.


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Chocolate Chip Cookies :: Aussie-Style

Every once in a while I get a hankering for a spoonful of sweetened-condensed milk straight from the can. My husband thinks its gross, and maybe it is, but I love the creamy sweetness of it. Afterward, I have almost a whole can left, so what to do? Sometimes, it goes in the fridge to be added to coffee, Vietnamese-style, or sometimes I’ll make a dessert with it, like 7-layer bars. But this last time I wondered about adding sweetened condensed milk to chocolate chip cookies. Turns out the Australians beat me to it, and they are delicious (both the Australians and the cookies). 🙂

In this recipe, the sweetened condensed milk acts as a substitute for eggs, and turns out a cookie with a finer crumb, more crispy than crunchy, with good flavor. The original recipe can be found here on Nestle’s site, but I’ve adapted it below the way I made it, with American-style measurements. I used my favorite Trader Joe’s organic sweetened condensed milk.

Australian Chocolate Chip Cookies
(about 36 cookies)

15 Tbs butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
1 1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (basically 4 big handfuls)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line oven trays with parchment paper.

2. Cream butter and sugar together and then then beat in the sweetened condensed milk.

3. Mix the flour, baking powder and salt together in a separate bowl and then mix it into the above mixture until combined.

4. Add in the chocolate chips.

4. Spoon rounded tablespoons of mixture onto prepared trays, allowing room to spread.

5. Bake for 15 minutes until lightly browned around the bottom edges and golden on top.


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Valentine Idea: Day 12 – Wow Factor Desserts

Wow Factor Desserts – Wouldn’t one of these gorgeous desserts make a perfect ending to a well-thought- out Valentine menu? I know I would be impressed!


Frozen Strawberry Souffles


Big Love Butterscotch Cookie


Berry Sweet Bouquet


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The Most Amazing Buttermilk Chocolate Cake *Update*

I made this buttermilk chocolate cake again this past week. A perfectly wet and dreary week called for a little bit of baking to cheer the place up. Although, not wanting too much of a good thing, I decided to halve the recipe this time and used a 9×13 glass pan at 330 degrees instead. Then I sliced it in half and squared the edges for a double-layer cake. The ganache frosting got poured directly over the top with just a little smoothing at the end. Nothing too fussy, just simple, chocolatey goodness.

Here are the two layers after cooling and squaring the edges:

Here are the slices that were removed and ready to nibble:

The final cake, after dripping the chocolate ganache frosting down the sides and smoothing the top:

The very first slice – dark, gorgeous, and utterly delicious!


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Garden Fresh Tomato Basil Soup

Compared to last year, we’re having much better luck with tomatoes in the garden this year. We’ve got one each of Roma, Marzano, and Early Girl, plus a few volunteer cherries, which I believe are Sun Gold. Mostly we eat the tomatoes sliced (except the cherries, which we just pop in our mouths), sometimes with salad dressing, topped with a bit of feta and herbs, or simply a dash of salt and pepper.

David spent a portion of the afternoon working in our barely accessible crawl space putting up insulation, and when he came out he said he couldn’t wait to see what delicious meal I was going to cook up for dinner (hint, hint). So, considering the fact we haven’t gone grocery shopping in a while, there wasn’t much to work with except the garden.

In a big pot, I sauteed a yellow onion in olive oil until somewhat clear, then threw in maybe 4-6 cups of chopped tomatoes, 2 cups of chicken stock and a loose handful of chopped basil. It simmered about 30 minutes or so, before I added salt and pepper and pureed it in a blender.  Then I strained it through a fine mesh sieve to remove any lingering tomato skins. Before serving I added a dollop of heavy cream and a drizzle of balsamic glaze. Paired with just-baked cornbread (packaged Trader Joe’s is my easy favorite), it was good to the last drop.


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Fast food cupcakes by Bakerella

….

Aren’t these hamburger shaped cupcakes fantastic? And check out those sugar cookie french fries! Bakerella has an awesome tutorial complete with download and print packaging templates. If I thought they’d get eaten around here I would definitely give it a try for Father’s Day. Which makes me wonder… does anyone know of a tutorial for fly fishing themed cupcakes?
Via Twig & Thistle


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Green Tomato Recipes


Green Tomato Soup
from epicurious.com and Fried Green Tomatoes from allrecipes.com

We are definitely in the midst of fall. The cloudy, rainy days have come, bringing along the chill wind and damp cold. The grass has greened back up, but many of the other plants and flowers are struggling to take their final breath. Most everything in our vegetable garden is done, except for a few evergreen herbs, some straggler carrots, one last zucchini and our poor tomato plants, heavy with unripened fruit.

In the hopes of using up some of our green tomatoes before the first frost, I’ve been looking for some good recipes. Last night we tried Green Tomato Soup, which was actually delicious despite my initial skepticism. I used bacon instead of ham, and also added a small zucchini. I’ll probably make another batch of it today. (Edit: Actually, instead I made the Green Tomato Spice Cake which turned out also surprisingly good. Moist and tasty. I omitted the raisins, and reduced the sugar by a 1/2 cup because someone in the recipes’ comment section said it was very sweet. For fun, I also made the cream cheese frosting from the other cake recipe. Very good!)

Here are some other green tomato recipes I’ve bookmarked to try:

Fried Green Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil BLTs
Green Tomato Spice Cake
Green Tomato Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Baked Green Tomato Casserole
Broiled Green Tomatoes with Goat Cheese (or Feta)
Best Fried Green Tomatoes
Green Tomato Soup

Does anyone else have any good green tomato recipes to share?


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Almost a month later…


The delicious appetizers table. Love the diaper cake center piece (a link on how to make a
similar one can be found under the Baby Craft Tutorial Roundup tab at the top).

Asparagus Gruyere Tart
recipe from Martha Stewart

One of two yummy cakes, a chocolate and a carrot cake.

It has been almost a month since my last post. Sometimes it is so hard to get back into the swing of things. Lots has happened this past month. The biggest was having an unforgettable baby shower. My friends and family are just so sweet and generous. David’s mom flew in from Colorado to help us start to pull our nursery together. That week was full of painting, sorting through baby clothes, choosing some decorating fabric (Alexander Henry’s Kleo Sage), and trip to Ikea for a much needed bookshelf, dresser, and storage bins. Sandy even made us an awesome crib skirt while she was here, so we could hide boxes in the extra space beneath the crib.  Honestly, with only 8 weeks before baby, I think we are mostly prepared. At least with baby stuff. The emotionally and physically part, I’m still working on.


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Recipes I'm loving… too much


Easy Apple Crisp (see below for recipe)

Okay, truly, this week I vow to try and start eating healthier and to stop gaining so much weight. Although I’m not technically “overweight” (yet often feel that way), I have definitely gained on the higher end of the recommended amount. And I certainly do not want to birth a ginormous baby. You know what I’m saying? I just want to plateau on all this weight from here on out. (Special thanks to everyone who left a comment on this post. I’ve heard that breastfeeding helps to melt off those post-partum pounds, but at this point, I’m nervous about relying on something I’ve never done before 🙂 )

That said, I’ve realized a big part of my problem is an abundance of ripe, luscious summer fruit, particularly berries, apples, and peaches. So of course I was making all kinds of delectable goodies. Just for fun, here are three recipes that we’ve really been loving:

Blueberry Lemon Sour Cream Cake. This was by far the best tasting cake I’ve made all year. I used the Sour Cream Lemon Cake recipe, but added slightly less white sugar and a cup of blueberries. Then I followed the directions for the lemon butter glaze. Every bite was divine, and we were seriously sad when it was all gone.

Homemade Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream. I’ve tried before to make a creamy egg-based vanilla, but it was time consuming, frustrating and didn’t turn out well. Now I mostly just stick to making simple fruit sorbets. This recipe, however, didn’t call for any eggs or cooking, just creams, peppermint extract, chopped or mini-chocolate chips, and a can of sweetened condensed milk (I LOVE this stuff. I can eat it straight out of the can with a spoon). This recipe made more than my cuisinart ice cream maker could handle, so I’ll be halving it next time. And I’m sure there will be a next time.

Easy Fruit Crisp (see below). This is my tried and true recipe for any fruit we happen to have. It is quick, easy, and uncomplicated (no fancy crust to worry about). I’ve had success using both fresh and frozen mixed berries, fresh apples, blueberries, and peaches. With really juicy/wet fruit like peaches, it is a good idea to stir in 2 to 4 tablespoons of flour, so you don’t end up with soup. It also doesn’t matter how much fruit you use, except that the ratio of topping to filling changes. David and I love extra topping, so I usually double that part of the recipe.

Filling:
Up to 5 cups of fresh or frozen fruit
2 to 4 tablespoons sugar

Topping:

1/2 cup regular rolled oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup softened butter
1/4 cup chopped nuts (optional)

1) Thaw fruit, if frozen, and then place in a baking dish. Stir in 2 to 4 tablespoons of sugar to taste (optional).

2) For crisp topping, combine oats, brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in nuts (optional). Sprinkle topping over filling.

3) Bake in a 375 degree oven for 30-35 minutes or until fruit is tender and
topping is golden. Serve warm with ice cream or light cream. Serves 6.


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Fresh fruit and cream meringue pavlova

This is the dessert I made yesterday – a layered meringue with a freshly whipped lemon cream filling topped with vanilla whipped cream and garnished with fresh organic fruit. I made the meringue layers using this recipe, but instead made two 8″ circles. Then, using a pint of heavy whipping cream, I made a batch of freshly whipped cream, which I divided into two bowls. The first bowl was for the filling. I added about a half a jar of lemon curd and about a 1/3 cup of sour cream and mixed it all together. The second bowl was for the topping, to which I added only some Swedish vanilla sugar (from Ikea) and some regular powdered sugar, until it was slightly sweet, enough to balance the tartness of the lemon cream. Then I decorated the top with freshly sliced strawberries and blueberries.

This dessert got rave reviews (and requests for second helpings), but I made a tactical error in assembling it too early. In order to keep the meringue crisp, this dessert should be assembled just before eating. Otherwise the meringues become soft, just like the whipped cream layers. It didn’t alter the taste, but the texture was all creamy, no crunch. I think if I decide to make this dessert again and want to do it ahead of time, I’ll scoop the creams and fruit into individual cups, and then top with a piece of crisp meringue, right before serving.


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Garden Fresh Rhubarb & Meringue

This is our first year harvesting stalks from our three rhubarb plants. We planted them from root stock early last year, and were advised to let them just grow on their own, untouched for the first year. Unknowingly, the rhubarb variety I chose is called Victoria, which produces “medium-sized stalks, excellent in quality and flavor.” What disappointed me at first, though, was that this rhubarb turned out to be green and not red, like I had come to expect from grocery stores and farmer’s markets.

So far I’ve only made strawberry rhubarb crisps with our plants, but yesterday I was feeling a little more creative and decided to make meringues. I’ve always admired these (the crispy kind, not to gooey soft kind) as cookies and in cakes, but have never made them myself. I was surprised at how few ingredients were needed, and how a mere two egg whites could whip up to be more than triple its original size.

My original idea was to pour a strawberry rhubarb dessert mixture into the bottom of individual ramekins and then top them with “lids” of meringue. However, even though I traced the ramekins containers faithfully onto my parchment as a template, the meringue disks ended up spreading out larger than the mouths of the ramekins. Instead we just placed a meringue on a small dessert plate and ladled some of the strawberry rhubarb sauce on top. Sweet, sour, rich, light, crispy and delicious!

I used the meringue section of this recipe and saved myself the work by using our Kitchen Aid mixer with the whip attachment. Although, the process still takes some patience, because it takes over 2 hours from start to finish.


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The most AMAZING buttermilk chocolate cake EVER

buttermilk chocolate cake

Okay, I am not kidding here, but I just made the most AMAZING buttermilk chocolate cake EVER! And truly, it was not hard at all. I originally saw the recipe in Marcy’s copy of February’s Portland Monthly magazine, and thought I should write it down, but I forgot. Then, while David was waiting that extra hour for me to finish with my dentist appointment, he came across it again and thoughtfully asked the receptionist to photocopy it for me. (Such a sweetheart!)

Since we were having a friend over for dinner, I thought I’d use that as an excuse to try out this new recipe. And it was… magic! Moist, rich, chocolaty, not too sweet and with just the right amount of depth and complexity. And did I mention beautiful? Gorgeously dark with a semi-matte, creamy ganache frosting. I’m never going to buy chocolate container frosting ever again. Now I know the secret – and so do you!

Chocolate Buttermilk Layer Cake

Once you pour the hot coffee into the batter, don’t be alarmed by its thinness.
“It’s definitely the thinnest cake batter I’ve ever worked with,” [Portland Baker
Melissa] McKinney says. As for the frosting, there’s no need to use fancy chocolate,
she says. “I just use semi-sweet chocolate chips and it comes out perfect.”

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 tbsp + 1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (sifted)*
1 1/3 cups canola oil
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups freshly brewed, extra-strong hot coffee*
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
24 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 9-inch cake pans with nonstick spray, and line the bottoms with parchment paper.

2. Place flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder in a large mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer, mix on low to combine. Keeping the mixer on low , add oil, buttermilk, then eggs one at a time. Add hot coffee in a thin stream, pouring down the side of the bowl. Add vanilla and mix until batter is smooth. Divide into pans and back until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs, about 30-35 minutes. Let cool in pans for at least 20 minutes.

3. To make the chocolate ganache frosting, create a double boiler by filling a saucepan with 2 inches of water and bringing it to a boil. Place chocolate chips and cream in a stainless steel mixing bowl (I used glass) and set on top of simmering water, Allow mixture to melt–do not stir right away, When chocolate has melted, stir it with a whisk. Allow to cool at room temperature.

4. Remove cakes from pans. Place one layer of cake on a serving plate. Trim the top with a serrated knife to make it even (although I didn’t find this necessary). Place a scoop of ganache in the middle and smooth it out to the edges using a palette knife or spatula. Trim the top off the other layer and place the untrimmed side down on the top of the frosted layer, pressing gently. Spoon more ganache on the top and smooth it around the sides, adding more ganache as needed to cover. If you need to apply a second coat of ganache, put the cake in the refridgerator for no more than 15 minutes to set before adding a second coat (although I found myself with a surplus of frosting). Makes a single 9-inch layer cake.

My notes: For the cocoa powder I used Droste cocoa from Holland, which is like gold around here, but I really wanted to make it extra special. I also didn’t bother to sift it. For the chocolate frosting I used Toll House Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips. And instead of the extra strong coffee, I pulled four extra long shots of espresso, enough to make the full 1 1/2 cups.

Postscript: In response to a comment below, I thought I’d add this paragraph from the article for those interested:

So what gives this recipe such staying power? It’s the oil, says McKinney. “Oil makes a moister cake, and allows it to last a week, whereas a layer cake made with butter becomes dry the next day.”  Plus, the hot coffee elevates the cocoa’s depth and complexity. The cake is versatile as well: The batter can be stored in the fridge for several days; stout can be used in place of coffee, it can even be made vegan (McKinney suggests using egg replacement and vanilla soy milk.) And the layers can be filled with whipped cream and fresh berries instead of ganache.

*Update* See this post on halving the recipe, with updated shape and photos!

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*UPDATE* to AMAZING Buttermilk Chocolate Cake

5 Impressive Cake Frosting Techniques + Tutorials

 

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