Monday, August 15, 2011

Sunday Night Cake

Ahh- Sunday! The last wonderful day of respite before heading into Monday and the start of another work week.
So what could be nicer than enjoying the last moments of the weekend making and eating an easy to make cake that has just enough chocolate (and cake) to satisfy and takes little time to pull together. Simple ingredients - great result.

Following the recipe in Baked Explorations, I ended up being surprised by a cake that has a deceiving frosting that looks heavy and decadent but in my opinion was light, airy, with a delicate chocolatey taste combined with a moist, subtly sweet cake. Good combo!

My cake was maybe more moist than it should be but it was still Delish! and I ate all of my piece, which was pretty much that whole section missing :) .



1 3/4 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3/4 granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup sour cream

Chocolate Frosting
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons dark unsweetened cocoa powder (like Valrhona)
3 ounces good-quality unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 1/2-inch pieces


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9-inch square cake pan with parchment paper and butter the sides and bottom of the parchment paper.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and both sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until just incorporated. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and beat for a few seconds. Turn the mixer to low. Add the flour mixture in theree parts, alternating with the sour cream, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Scrape down the bowl and beat for a few more seconds.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Set the pan on a wire rack to cool for at least 20 minutes, loosen the sides of the cake from the pan then turn the cake out onto the rack. Remove the parchment and flip the cake right side up. Let the cake completely cool.

Chocolate Frosting
In a medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, and cocoa powder. Add the chopped chocolate. Pour 1 cup boiling water into the pan, wait 30 seconds, then whisk until the mixture is combined and the chocolate is melted.

Turn the heat to medium-high and whisk continuously for about 5 minutes, or until the mixture begins to thicken. ( Once pudding begins to thicken, it will come together very quickly).

Remove the pan from the heat and pour the mixture into the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on high until the steam escapes and the mixture is room temperature. Add the butter and mix for an additional 2 to 3 minutes, until the frosting is light and pudding-like. If you prefer a fluffier, more spreadable frosting, continue to mix for a few minutes longer.

Frost the top of the cake, allowing a little of the frosting to drip down the edges. Chill for 5 minutes to set the frosting. Serve immediately.

The cake can be stored, tightly covered, in a refrigerator for up to 3 days. Bring it back to room temperature before serving.


 Source: Baked Explorations

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Chocolate Mint Thumbprints

What a delightful light little cookie that offers nice presentation! I was pleased with the simple and airy chocolate crusted cookie whose little dollop of minty ganache on top gently lures you in. The visual temptation of a sugared crunchy cookie with a soft center is very hard to refuse.

This, our third recipe, in Club Baked was simple and straightforward. I took my time and decided on this day it would get done, when it got done - No rush!

I followed the instructions as much as my attention would allow and had success with the dough. I saw some previous online club discussion related to the cocoa powder. Not being in the mood for big decisions (as I realize the wrong product can make or break a baking recipe) I just used Hershey's unsweetened cocoa powder I had on hand.

I used a tablespoon to measure out my dough balls, rolled in raw sugar, and used the handle end of a wood spoon to make my initial ganache center.

At the ten minute mark, I pulled out of the oven and used the backside of a teaspoon to set the indentation further. I realize the circumference of my center is not as large as the picture displays but I was fine with that...also wasn't concerned with the cracks (as mentioned in the book to avoid) and I actually like the way they look and it didn't interfere with the integrity of the cookie.

I had success (hoorah!) with the simple to make and tasty white chocolate/peppermint ganache which has a balanced flavor (I get skeptical of minty items being overpowering) and it set beautifully as described after holding up in the fridge for 30 minutes.
As I do, I once again pushed my delectable food off on other people so it's not in my house. The response from my co-workers was one of surprise! They hadn't anticipated by the look of the cookie to think it was minty and were quickly hooked by eating the first one. By mid afternoon all the cookies were eaten and by the end of the day at least one person said they were still thinking about the cookie. That is a good result!


Chocolate Mint Thumbprints
2 ounces good-quality chocolate (60 - 72%)
2 ounces mint chocolate (or Andes mint chocolate candies)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder (like Valrhona)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes, at room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup coarse sugar for rolling

White Chocolate Ganache
3 ounces good-quality white chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon pure peppermint extract


Melt the dark chocolate and mint chocolate together in a microwave or over a double boiler. Whisk until smooth, then set aside to cool.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt, set aside.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until creamy. Add the granulated and brown sugars and beat on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolks and vanilla and beat again until combined. Scrape the chocolate into the mixer and beat until just incorporated. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and add the flour mixture all at once. Beat on low speed, scraping the side of the bowl occasionally, until the dough is smooth. Transfer it to a sheet of plastic wrap and pat it into a disk; wrap and refrigerate it until it is chilled and firm, at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Pour the coarse sugar into a shallow bowl.

With clean hands, form tablespoon size dough balls, taking care that they have no lumps or cracks. Roll each ball int he coarse sugar and place it on a prepared baking sheet. Use your thumb or a small dowel to make an indentation in the center of the cookie. Bake for 10 minutes, remove the sheet from the oven, and use your thumb or the dowel to make the indentation more visible. Return the sheets to the oven and bake for another 4 to 5 minutes. (These are the type of cookies that can overbake very quickly-pull them out at the first signs of cracking.) Set the baking sheets on a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes. Use a spatula to transfer the cookies to the rack to cool completely before filling them.

White Chocolate Filling

Place the white chocolate in a glass measuring cup with a pour spout. Put the cream in a microwave-safe bowl or cup and microwave it on high power until it boils, about 30 seconds. Pour the hot cream over the white chocolate and let stand for 30 seconds, then whisk until smooth. Stir in the peppermint extract. Fill the thumbprint cookies with the white chocolate ganache and refrigerate them until set, about 30 minutes.

These cookies taste great at room temperature or cold from the refrigerator. They can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.


Source: Baked Explorations