Funfetti First Birthday Cake

If there is one thing I didn’t have enough of during my childhood it was funfetti cake. Cookie and ice cream cakes dominated 90’s parties. That’s why for my nieces first birthday I made her a funfetti cake that she’ll never forget. But really probably won’t ever remember. Oh well.

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Recipe from Food52

CAKE

  • 1cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2cups sugar
  • 4large egg whites
  • 2tablespoons clear imitation vanilla (I use McCormick’s –see headnote)
  • 6tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 1/2cups cake flour (see headnote)
  • 2 1/4teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4teaspoon salt
  • 1cup whole milk
  • 2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sprinkles (see headnote)

FROSTING

  • 2cups (or 4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3cups powdered sugar, or to taste
  • 2teaspoons clear imitation vanilla
  • 1pinch salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease two 8-inch cake pans. Cut out circles of parchment paper and line the bottom of the pans. Lightly spray the parchment.
  2. With an electric mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the egg whites, one at a time, mixing well after each one. Mix in the vanilla and oil.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. With your mixer running on low, add this to the butter mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk. Once you have a smooth batter, fold in the 2/3 cup of sprinkles.
  4. Divide the batter evenly between the pans. Sprinkle the remaining tablespoon of sprinkles over the top and bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Begin checking for doneness at around 25 minutes.
  5. Let the cakes cool for a few minutes in the pans and then flip them onto a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.
  6. To make the colorful bunting, knead food coloring (liquid or gel) into marzipan, cut out triangles, and stick them onto the cake.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Overload

Something was brewing in me. I’d been getting the urge to bake and nothing inspires me more than STRESS. And launching a website for your client will do that to you. Here is the after math:

Chocolate Malted Cookies

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Recipe c/o A Cozy Kitchen

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup milk powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoons fine-grain sea salt
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups light or dark brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolates
1 cup rice krispies

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, malt powder, baking soda and salt.

3. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the first egg and beat until combined; add the second egg and beat one more time until incorporated. In two batches, add the flour mixture, mixing just until there are no specks of flour. Fold in the chocolate chips and then fold in the puffed rice.

4. Using a 2-inch cookie dough scooper, drop rounds of cookie dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing the cookies about 2-inches apart. Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes, until the cookies’ edges are lightly golden brown and the centers are very soft. Warning: they’ll be very fragile so be sure to let them cool on the baking sheet. Carefully transfer the cookies to a cooling rack until room temperature. As they cool they’ll have more structure, chewiness and less fragility.

For the dark chocolate chip cookies I used a Tollhouse cookie recipe which I don’t think is right for dark chocolate. Still searching for my favorite Dark Chocolate cookie recipe (other than Jaques Torres version).

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 2/3 cups (10-oz. pkg.) Dark Chocolate Chips

PREHEAT oven to 375° F.
COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.
BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Triple-Chocolate Mousse Cake

Thanksgiving is for show stoppers. Generally the show stopper is the big bird on the table but this year I wanted to put a lot of effort into crafting my dessert. When I came across this elegant number on America’s Test Kitchen I knew it was the one.

The layers effortlessly build on each other to create a fantastical chocolate splendor.

Triple-Chocolate Mousse Cake

Triple-Chocolate Mousse Cake

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3 slices for me

Look at those layers

Bottom Layer

  • 6tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces, plus extra for greasing pan
  • 7ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine (see note)
  • 3/4teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • 1 1/2teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4large eggs, separated
  • pinch table salt
  • 1/3cup packed (about 2 1/2 ounces) light brown sugar, crumbled with fingers to remove lumps

Middle Layer

  • 2tablespoons cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-processed
  • 5tablespoons hot water
  • 7ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine (see note)
  • 1 1/2cups cold heavy cream
  • 1tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/8teaspoon table salt

Top Layer

  • 3/4teaspoon powdered gelatin
  • 1tablespoon water
  • 6ounces white chocolate chips (see note)
  • 1 1/2cups cold heavy cream
  • Shaved chocolate or cocoa powder for serving, optional (see note)

1. FOR THE BOTTOM LAYER: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Butter bottom and sides of 91/2-inch springform pan. Melt butter, chocolate, and espresso powder in large heatproof bowl set over saucepan filled with 1 inch of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from heat and cool mixture slightly, about 5 minutes. Whisk in vanilla and egg yolks; set aside.

2. In stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat egg whites and salt at medium speed until frothy, about 30 seconds. Add half of brown sugar and beat until combined, about 15 seconds. Add remaining brown sugar and beat at high speed until soft peaks form when whisk is lifted, about 1 minute longer, scraping down sides halfway through. Using whisk, fold one-third of beaten egg whites into chocolate mixture to lighten. Using rubber spatula, fold in remaining egg whites until no white streaks remain. Carefully transfer batter to prepared springform pan, gently smoothing top with offset spatula.

3. Bake until cake has risen, is firm around edges, and center has just set but is still soft (center of cake will spring back after pressing gently with finger), 13 to 18 minutes. Transfer cake to wire rack to cool completely, about 1 hour. (Cake will collapse as it cools.) Do not remove cake from pan.

4. FOR THE MIDDLE LAYER: Combine cocoa powder and hot water in small bowl; set aside. Melt chocolate in large heatproof bowl set over saucepan filled with 1 inch of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from heat and cool slightly, 2 to 5 minutes.

5. In clean bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whip cream, granulated sugar, and salt at medium speed until mixture begins to thicken, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to high and whip until soft peaks form when whisk is lifted, 15 to 60 seconds.

6. Whisk cocoa powder mixture into melted chocolate until smooth. Using whisk, fold one-third of whipped cream into chocolate mixture to lighten. Using rubber spatula, fold in remaining whipped cream until no white streaks remain. Spoon mousse into springform pan over cooled cake and gently tap pan on counter 3 times to remove any large air bubbles; gently smooth top with offset spatula. Wipe inside edge of pan with damp cloth to remove any drips. Refrigerate cake at least 15 minutes while preparing top layer.

7. FOR THE TOP LAYER: In small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over water; let stand at least 5 minutes. Place white chocolate in medium bowl. Bring ½ cup cream to simmer in small saucepan over medium-high heat. Remove from heat; add gelatin mixture and stir until fully dissolved. Pour cream mixture over white chocolate and whisk until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth, about 30 seconds. Cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally, 5 to 8 minutes (mixture will thicken slightly).

8. In clean bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whip remaining cup cream at medium speed until it begins to thicken, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to high and whip until soft peaks form when whisk is lifted, 15 to 60 seconds. Using whisk, fold one-third of whipped cream into white chocolate mixture to lighten. Using rubber spatula, fold remaining whipped cream into white chocolate mixture until no white streaks remain. Spoon white chocolate mousse into pan over middle layer. Smooth top with offset spatula. Return cake to refrigerator and chill until set, at least 2½ hours.

9. TO SERVE: If using, garnish top of cake with chocolate curls or dust with cocoa. Run thin knife between cake and side of springform pan; remove side of pan. Run cleaned knife along outside of cake to smooth sides. Cut into slices and serve.

 

Focaccia with Roasted Squash

Thanksgiving is always a conflict for me on the food front. I want to keep things traditional but yet I want to try new recipes and start new traditions. Last year I was dead set on lamb roast instead of turkey which was a good call. This year my bro-in-law suggested capon to replace the turkey. Capon is just a glorified chicken so yeah, it tasted like a great roast chicken. Appetizers is kind of an area that’s free range on Thanksgiving so I decided to make Foccacia with Roasted Squash inspired by the feature in Food and Wine magazine last month. However when it comes to baking bread I often visit America’s Test Kitchen for a bit more education therefore the recipe below is a hodgepodge of the two.

The process of making focaccia is a bit more arduous then I remember but oh boy does it deliver. Light and airy with tons of flavor and moisture. You could put just about anything on top of focaccia and it would be great.

Stay tuned for my dessert masterpiece.

Focaccia with Roasted Squash

Focaccia with Roasted Squash

Sliced up ready to eat!

Sliced up ready to eat!

Biga

  • 1/2cup (2 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/3cup (2 2/3 ounces) warm water (100-110 degrees F)
  • 1/4teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast

Dough

Topping

  • Butternut squash
  • Olive oil
  • Thyme
  • Salt

1. FOR THE BIGA: Combine flour, water, and yeast in large bowl and stir with wooden spoon until uniform mass forms and no dry flour remains, about 1 minute. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature (about 70 degrees) overnight (at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours.) Use immediately or store in refrigerator for up to 3 days (allow to stand at room temperature 30 minutes before proceeding with recipe.)

2. FOR THE DOUGH: Stir flour, water, and yeast into biga with wooden spoon until uniform mass forms and no dry flour remains, about 1 minute. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for 15 minutes.

3. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons salt over dough; stir into dough until thoroughly incorporated, about 1 minute. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature 30 minutes. Spray rubber spatula or bowl scraper with nonstick cooking spray; fold partially risen dough over itself by gently lifting and folding edge of dough toward middle. Turn bowl 90 degrees; fold again. Turn bowl and fold dough 6 more times (total of 8 turns). Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes. Repeat folding, turning, and rising 2 more times, for total of three 30-minute rises. Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to upper-middle position, place baking stone on rack, and heat oven to 500 degrees at least 30 minutes before baking.

4. Gently transfer dough to lightly floured counter. Lightly dust top of dough with flour and divide in half. Shape each piece of dough into 5-inch round by gently tucking under edges. Coat two 9-inch round cake pans with 2 tablespoons olive oil each. Sprinkle each pan with ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Place round of dough in pan, top side down; slide dough around pan to coat bottom and sides, then flip over. Repeat with second piece of dough. Cover pans with plastic wrap and let rest for 5 minutes.

5. Using fingertips, press dough out toward edges of pan. (If dough resists stretching, let it relax for 5 to 10 minutes before trying again.) Using dinner fork, poke surface of dough 25 to 30 times, popping any large bubbles. Spread squash evenly over top and push into dough.Let dough rest until slightly bubbly, 5 to 10 minutes.

6. PREPARE THE TOPPING Preheat the oven to 400°. In a large bowl, toss the squash with the 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread the slices in a single layer on 2 large rimmed baking sheets and roast for about 15 minutes, until tender; let cool completely. Increase the oven temperature to 450°.

7. Gently curl the cooled squash slices and press them into the dough. Brush the focaccia with olive oil and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until risen and browned on top. Transfer to a rack and let cool for 5 minutes.

Buttermilk Apple Cake

This was a splendid recipe that came out very moist (thank you buttermilk) and was a great compliment to a morning coffee. It’s got a nice presentation too.

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Buttermilk Apple Cake


12 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

1 1/2 cup sugar, plus 4 tablespoons for topping

2 egg, room temperature

2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 cups all-purpose flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, plus more for topping

1 cup buttermilk

grated zest of 2 large lemons

grated zest of 1 large orange

2 large gala apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch thick slices

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Liberally grease or spray two 9-inch cake pans.

Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or hand held beaters, beat the butter on medium speed until light and airy. Add sugar, and continue beating until everything is pale and fluffy. Stop mixer as needed to scrape down the sides. Switch mixer back on, and add the egg, followed by the vanilla.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sea salt, and nutmeg.

Switch mixer to low and add half the flour mixture, followed by all of the buttermilk and then the second half of the flour mixture. Add the zest and mix on low just until combined.

Spoon batter into prepared pan. Arrange the apple slices in a circle along the outer edge of the pan, so that the slices are set straight down onto the batter. Create a star pattern inside the circle, and add one final slice at the very center. Sprinkle the top with 2 tablespoons sugar and several grates of nutmeg.

Bake for 50 – 60 minutes, or until the top is a light golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs attached.

Set cake aside to cool for a few minutes, then remove from the cake pan. Allow to cool completely.

Set cake aside to cool for a few minutes, then remove the springform side and allow to cool completely.

 

Your pound cake just got turned up a notch

I had the rare occasion of having buttermilk on hand, thanks to this cookie recipe here, so I thought I’d run with a few more recipes that utilized the decadent dairy product. In the spirit of using everything I could from my cupboard I also considered this sophisticated dutch-processed cocoa powder my mom sent me.

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I went with a Marble Buttermilk Pound Cake with Chocolate Sauce which was a life saver when it came to the 6pm meeting I had that day.

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Makes one 9 x 5 loaf

Ingredients
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for the pan
1 cup sugar
1 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2/3 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup cocoa powder

For the chocolate frosting:
2/3 cup of heavy cream
6 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon corn syrup

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Grease and flour the loaf pan. Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light lemon-colored and fluffy, about 5 minutes. While the butter and sugar are creaming, measure out the flour, baking powder, and salt into a small bowl and whisk lightly to combine. Crack the eggs into a bowl and add the vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well in between each addition and scraping the bowl as needed. Add 1/3 of the flour to the batter and beat on low speed just until incorporated. Then add 1/2 of the buttermilk and beat.  Add another 1/3 of the flour, and beat, and then the last of the buttermilk and beat.  Finally, beat in the last 1/3 of the flour. Transfer roughly 1/2 of the batter to a separate bowl. In a small bowl or ramekin, mix the cocoa powder with 2 tablespoons of hot tap water until smooth. Add this chocolate mixture to the remaining batter.  Beat to incorporate.

Beginning with the vanilla mixture, place four spoonfuls of batter into the pan, spacing them far enough apart so that you can create a checkerboard when you add the chocolate batter.  Add the chocolate batter into the empty spaces to fill the bottom of the pan in a checkerboard pattern.

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Repeat with the second layer, alternating the vanilla and chocolate batter. (See notes, above) Using the handle of a wooden spoon, swirl the batter to create a marbled effect. (See notes, above.)Place in the oven and bake for about 40 minutes, rotating the pan half way through.  The cake is done when it has browned slightly and a cake tester comes our clean when inserted into the middle.  Cool on a rack for 10 minutes and then unmold and let cool completely.

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Bring the cream to a simmer in a small saucepan.  Remove from heat, and add chopped chocolate and corn syrup.  Let sit until chocolate is melted and then stir gently to combine.  Let cool slightly until ganache has thickened to a pourable consistency.Place the cake on a serving platter.  Pour the ganache over the cake and spread lightly as needed.  Allow it to drip down the sides here and there.

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“Top 5 Cookie”: Red Velvet Black & White

“Top 5” he said. My husband, the “cookie connoisseur” said these Red Velvet Black & White cookies were in the all time Top 5 that I’ve made for him. I’d really have to agree. They are soft and moist like red velvet cake and are accompanied by a decadent chocolate topping and a rich cream cheese frosting. They were also described as a “muffin top with icing” that sounded pretty accurate to me.

I brought a dozen to my office to prevent us from eating the full batch ourselves, and my co-workers were raving. I’m still getting high fives after the fact.

The blogger I tweaked this recipe from, Joy The Baker, brought these to a cookie swap with INA GARTEN HERSELF! So you know she was bringing her A-game.

Find recipe in my recipe box here.

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