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Individual Tiramisu Cakes

10 May

May 10th, 2015 

Hope everyone is have a great Mother’s Day weekend! We celebrated with our moms yesterday and today I am making up for a late post on these wonderful individual tiramisu cakes I made about two weeks ago. Tiramisu has been on my to-bake list for some time now and I’m glad I got around to them. I don’t order tiramisu for dessert at restaurants or buy them often, but when I do have the opportunity to eat them, I am reminded of how much I actually enjoy them. The combination of the rum-coffee soaked ladyfingers and the light Mascarpone filling makes it a delectable treat. I’m a big fan of coffee flavored desserts, so it also explains why I like tiramisu.

I didn’t look too hard to find lady fingers in the stores. I only checked Trader Joe’s and was told ladyfingers are a seasonal item, around Thanksgiving and Christmas. People did tell me that Whole Foods might have them, but I didn’t bother checking and decided to make them instead. The recipe I used yielded softer ladyfingers, almost like a sponge cake. I found a Mascarpone filling recipe from Pretty.Simple.Sweet blog, which called for cooked egg yolks. Most recipes use raw egg yolks, but I preferred to use a recipe with cooked egg yolks.

Ladyfingers, recipe from The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Pastry Arts book
3 egg whites
75 g powdered sugar
3 egg yolks
¼ tsp vanilla extract
75 g cake flour

Y= Twenty-nine 4-inch ladyfingers; this is enough for four 4-inch round individual tiramisu cakes.

Directions:

  1. In a mixer bowl with a whisk attachment, beat egg whites until slightly foamy.
  2. Add powdered sugar and continue to whisk until meringue reaches stiff peaks.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the egg yolks and vanilla. Carefully fold the egg yolk mixture into the meringue using a spatula.
  4. Add the flour into the mixture in 3 additions, folding after each addition.
  5. Line sheet pans with parchment paper. Lightly coat parchment paper with non-stick spray.
  6. Using a round Ateco 805 tip, pipe 4 inch ladyfingers so that each ladyfinger touches the adjacent ladyfinger. Make 2 strips of batter along the length of the sheet pan.
  7. Optional: lightly dust piped batter with powdered sugar.
  8. Bake at 350F 10-13 minutes, or until ladyfingers spring back from touch.

DSC_0132Piped, unbaked ladyfingers

DSC_0172Baked ladyfingers

Tiramisu Recipe, adapted from Pretty.Simple.Sweet blog

Coffee Rum Syrup
1 C hot water
2 T instant coffee
2 T sugar
2 T dark rum

Y= this is more than enough to soak the ladyfingers. You can reduce the recipe in half.

Directions

  1. Combine the hot water with the instant coffee, sugar and dark rum.
  2. Stir to combine and allow the mixture to cool.

Mascarpone Filling
3 egg yolks
70 g sugar
2 T dark rum
¾ C heavy cream
8 oz Mascarpone cheese, room temperature

Y= enough filling to make four 4-inch round individual tiramisu cakes

Directions

  1. Combine egg yolks, sugar and dark rum in a heat-proof bowl.
  2. Place bowl over a pot of water, simmering on low heat. Cook the mixture while constantly whisking until it becomes thick and foamy.
  3. Remove from heat and allow the egg mixture to cool.
  4. In a mixer bowl, whisk the heavy cream until stiff peaks.
  5. Add the room temperature Mascarpone cheese to the cooled yolk mixture. Gently whisk to combine.
  6. Fold the whipped cream into the yolk-Mascarpone mixture. Continue to fold until mixture is smooth in consistency.

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To Assemble

    1. Line cake rings with acetate strips.
    2. Line the bottom of the cake ring with lady fingers. You will need to trim off any excess to fit the round bottom of the rings.
    3. Since the ladyfingers are soft, I used a pastry brush to soak them with the coffee-rum syrup.
    4. Pipe some of the Mascarpone filling over the ladyfingers. (I prefer to pipe the filling to avoid major air bubbles; otherwise you can spoon the filling in).
    5. Repeat with another layer of ladyfingers, coffee syrup and filling. Smooth out the top layer of the Mascarpone filling.
    6. Allow the tiramisu to set in the refrigerator overnight before unmolding.
    7. Carefully unmold on the next day. Dust with cocoa powder and serve cold.

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Banana Cake

19 Mar

March 19th, 2015

I often buy too many bananas and they ripen quicker than I can finish them and I absolutely hate tossing them out. So what better way to use overly ripe bananas? Use them to make banana cake!

My buttercream of choice was peanut butter flavored since I sometimes eat my bananas with peanut butter. To top that off, I drizzled some Kona chocolate sauce for a full flavor explosion.

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Banana Cake

1 ½ C sugar
4 oz butter
2 eggs
¼ tsp vanilla extract
8 oz sour cream
3 bananas, mashed
2 C AP flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda 

Y= Four 6-in layers

Directions:

  1. Cream together sugar and butter until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the eggs and vanilla.
  3. Add the sour cream. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  4. Add the mashed bananas.
  5. Combine flour, salt and baking soda together.
  6. Add the dries into the wet ingredients in three additions, scraping in between each addition.
  7. Divide batter into prepared cake pans.
  8. Bake at 330F for 40-50 minutes, or until cake is done.

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Peanut Butter Buttercream
3/4 C egg whites (I used carton egg whites)
9 oz sugar
1 lb softened butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
⅛ C – ¼ C creamy peanut butter

Note: this is more than enough buttercream to frost a 4 layer cake. I just saved the extra for future use.

Directions:

  1. Whisk together sugar and egg whites in a mixer bowl.
  2. Place bowl over a pot of simmering hot water.
  3. Using a hand whisk, constantly whisk the sugar-egg mixture until sugar is completely dissolved. The mixture should be warm to touch, but not burning hot on the finger.
  4. Transfer the mixer bowl to the mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whisk on medium speed until mixture is cooled. Continue to whisk until the mixture becomes meringue-like.
  5. Once the meringue is cool enough, add the softened butter, a few pieces at a time. Allow the butter to mix in before adding the next few pieces.
  6. Once the butter is all in, whisk on high speed for a few seconds. Scrape sides down if necessary.
  7. Add peanut butter, a little at a time, until desired flavor is reached.

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To assemble the cake:

  1. Divide cakes, lengthwise, into even layers.
  2. Spread buttercream on the first layer.
  3. Add the second layer and repeat with the buttercream. Repeat with other layers.
  4. Apply a thin crumb coat to the cake. Refrigerate to set the crumb coat.
  5. Apply a final coat to the cake.
  6. Decorate as desired.

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Mini Red Velvet Vanilla Ice Cream Cakes

13 Feb

February 13th, 2015

Valentine’s Day is tomorrow and for those who celebrate this, I hope you have a very romantic day and evening with your special someone. And for those who prefer to make it low-key and will be staying in, may I recommend some red velvet vanilla ice cream cake? I’ve been dying to make homemade ice cream cake for some time now since one of my guilty pleasures is Baskin Robbin’s ice cream cakes. And Valentine’s Day was the perfect opportunity to experiment. I had extra layers of cake left from my previous red velvet cake post and used a similar vanilla ice cream recipe I made for these macaron ice cream sandwiches to put together these mini red velvet ice cream cakes.

To save time, you can definitely break the steps up into multiple days– bake the cake on day one, then the following day make the ice cream base, and on the third day churn the base. On the same day of churning the ice cream base assemble everything together. This dessert can be made a few days in advance and can be kept in the freezer until ready to serve.

I’m looking forward to devouring my Valentine’s Day dessert tomorrow!

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Red Velvet Cake, recipe can be found here

Vanilla Bourbon Ice Cream
1 ½ C heavy cream
1 ½ C milk
⅔ C + ⅛ C sugar
pinch of salt
6 egg yolks
½ tsp vanilla
 
Yield = 1 quart (enough to fill 6- 3×3 inch cake rings)

Directions:

  1. Heat the cream, milk, sugar and salt. Add the vanilla powder remove from the heat, cover and let steep for about 20 minutes.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk the yolks.
  3. Temper the yolks with some of the heated milk mixture. While slowly adding the milk, whisk the mixture constantly. This prevents the yolks from curdling.
  4. Add the yolk-milk mixture back into the pot and heat on medium. Using a spatula, continuously stir and scrape the bottom of the pot.
  5. Heat until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon.
  6. Strain the mixture into a clean bowl. Place bowl over an ice-bath to stop the cooking.
  7. Place a piece of plastic directly on the surface of the base. Allow the ice-cream base to cool in the refrigerator overnight.
  8. Churn ice cream the next day.
  9. Place ice cream in a clean container. Allow it to firm up in the freezer for about 20-30 minutes.

Chocolate Ganache Drizzle
50g dark chocolate, chopped
50g heavy cream

Directions:

  1. Place chopped chocolate in a heat-proof bowl.
  2. Heat the cream to a slight boil. Remove from heat and pour into the chocolate. Stir to combine.

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To Assemble:

  1. Gather cake layers and cut to the diameter of the ring mold.
  2. Line molds with acetate cake collars. These can be found on Amazon in the Home & Kitchen department.
  3. Place molds on a sheet pan that will fit in your freezer.
  4. Place cut cake pieces inside the bottom of the ring. The cake piece will serve as the base for the ice cream.
  5. Once ice cream is firm enough, carefully fill the remainder of the ring with ice cream. Work quickly as ice cream will become soft. Repeat for the rest of the molds.
  6. Carefully cover the tops of the ring with plastic wrap and place the sheet pan containing the molds in the freezer for a few hours or overnight.
  7. To serve: drizzle with chocolate ganache and other desired toppings.
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Valentine’s Day Countdown- Red Velvet Cake

11 Feb

February 11th, 2015

Valentine’s Day is just 3 days away and I have my second round of Valentine’s Day desserts to share. I’m sure red velvet everything is showing up on Pinterest boards as people are most likely trying to plan what to make. I knew the red velvet cake was on my agenda for Valentine’s Day, as this is what I’m bringing to work to share.

It’s a simple cake and you can’t go wrong with a classic red velvet.

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Red Velvet Cake
2 ½ C Flour
1 ½ C Sugar
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Cocoa Powder
1 ½ C Canola Oil
1 C Buttermilk
2 Eggs
1 tsp Vinegar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
red food coloring

Yield = 3 – 6 inch cakes

Directions:

  1. In a mixer bowl combine the oil, buttermilk, eggs, vinegar, and vanilla extract. Using a paddle attachment, mix to combine.
  2. Add the food coloring until desired shade of red is reached.
  3. Add the sugar and mix to combine.
  4. In a separate bowl sift together the flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder.
  5. Add the dries to the wet mixture in three additions, mixing well after each addition.
  6. Divide batter evenly into prepared cake pans, about halfway full.
  7. Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes. Cake should be done when it springs back from touch. Or insert a toothpick in the center and if it comes out clean, then cake is done.
  8. Allow cakes to cool completely before frosting. 2015-02-08 05.12.192015-02-08 05.16.50

Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
5 oz butter, softened
12 oz powdered sugar, sifted
½ tsp vanilla extract
 
Yield= enough to frost a 4 layer 6-inch cake.

Directions:

  1. Paddle the cream cheese in a mixer bowl to soften.
  2. Add softened butter in chunks. Mix thoroughly, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  3. Add sifted powdered sugar in multiple additions, mixing and scraping in between.
  4. Add vanilla extract.

To assemble the cake:

  1. Divide cakes, lengthwise, into even layers. The cake recipe will yield more than 4 layers, so feel free to make the cake taller. (I went with four layers).
  2. Spread cream cheese frosting on the first layer.
  3. Add the second layer and repeat with the frosting. Repeat with other layers.
  4. Apply a thin crumb coat to the cake. Refrigerate to set the crumb coat.
  5. Apply a final coat to the cake.
  6. Decorate as desired.
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7-Layer Vanilla Bourbon Birthday Cake

9 Feb

February 9th, 2015

This weekend we celebrated my Husband’s birthday with a very boozy, 7-layer cake. He’s a big fan of drinking Whiskey (not to mention, our dog is named Whiskey) so I decided to make a vanilla Bourbon cake for his special day. Initially I only intended to flavor the cake part with Bourbon, but the alcohol baked off and only a mild alcohol taste was left. To intensify the booziness, I added more Bourbon to the buttercream. This was definitely a very adult tasting cake! 

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Vanilla Bourbon Cake

1 lb + 2 oz sugar
¾ C oil
3 eggs
1 ½ C heavy cream
1T vanilla extract
1 lb + 6 oz AP flour
2 ¼ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsp salt
1 ½ C buttermilk
optional: 2-3 T Bourbon (I used Basil Hayden)
 
Y= 3- 6 inch rounds 

Directions:

  1. Combine oil and sugar together in a mixer bowl. Use the paddle attachment to mix to combine.
  2. Add eggs, one at a time.
  3. Add heavy cream and vanilla extract.
  4. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  5. Alternate adding the dries and buttermilk, mixing in between. Scrape down sides of the bowl as necessary.
  6. Add Bourbon if using.
  7. Prepare 6-inch round cake pans- coat with non-stick spray and dust with a thin layer of flour.
  8. Divide batter evenly into cake pans.
  9. Bake at 350F for 40-45 minutes. 

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The birthday boy with his cake. 

Bourbon Simple Syrup
1 ½ C water
1 ½ C sugar
1-2 T Bourbon

Y= This recipe yields a lot of simple syrup so set aside the desired amount for soaking the cake and save the rest for future use. 

Directions:

  1. Combine water and sugar in a saucepan. Mix together. Bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat to simmer until sugar is completely dissolved. Simmer for about 15 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  4. Add Bourbon to taste.

Vanilla Bourbon Buttercream:
3/4C egg whites (I used carton egg whites)
9 oz sugar
1lb softened butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 to 5 T Bourbon

Directions:

  1. Whisk together sugar and egg whites in a mixer bowl.
  2. Place bowl over a pot of simmering hot water.
  3. Using a hand whisk, constantly whisk the sugar-egg mixture until sugar is completely dissolved. The mixture should be warm to touch, but not burning hot on the finger.
  4. Transfer the mixer bowl to the mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whisk on medium speed until mixture is cooled. Continue to whisk until the mixture becomes meringue-like.
  5. Once the meringue is cool enough, add the softened butter, a few pieces at a time. Allow the butter to mix in before adding the next few pieces.
  6. Once the butter is all in, whisk on high speed for a few seconds. Scrape sides down if necessary.
  7. Add Bourbon to taste.

White Chocolate Ganache
125g white chocolate, chopped (I used Valrhona)
65mL heavy cream
food coloring (I used a soft gel by AmeriColor)

Directions:

  1. Place chocolate in a heat-proof bowl. Heat the cream until it starts to bubble along the edges.
  2. Pour the heated cream over the chocolate. Let it stand for a few minutes.
  3. Stir to combine.
  4. Add food coloring and mix together.

To assemble the cake: 

  1. Divide cakes, lengthwise, into 7 even layers.
  2. Using a pastry brush, generously soak the first layer with the Bourbon simple syrup.
  3. Spread buttercream on the first layer.
  4. Add the second layer and repeat with the simple syrup and buttercream. Repeat with other layers.
  5. Apply a crumb coat to the cake. Refrigerate to set the crumb coat.
  6. Apply a final coat to the cake.
  7. Decorate with white chocolate ganache.

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Banana Cake Pudding

3 Aug

August 3rd, 2014

During a recent work trip to Chicago, my coworker and I had some time to wander off to the Loop to do some shopping. Fortunately, we stumbled upon Magnolia Bakery, which I’ve only heard of since they have their own baking book, but have never tried anything from them. My coworker was beyond excited and insisted we get their banana pudding. She raved about their banana pudding and immediately stood in line for an order. I thought, “How good can pudding be? I mean, after all, it’s just pudding. I don’t really eat it, and it’s not my dessert of choice.” Nonetheless, I was convinced. Upon first bite, I was beyond surprised. It was light, fluffy and airy, though a bit on the sweeter side. I loved the combination of banana and wafer chunks mixed in the pudding. So I knew I had to try to re-create this upon my return home.

That night when I got back to the hotel room, I did a quick research for Magnolia’s banana pudding recipe. From what I gathered from other bloggers, they use instant vanilla pudding mix, condensed milk and boxed Vanilla Wafers. I didn’t want to resort to boxed items so instead I made vanilla pudding from scratch and opted not to use condensed milk. Instead of vanilla wafers I used vanilla cake, which I saved in the freezer from a previous cake project.

Needless to say, my version of banana cake pudding was heavenly! Not overly sweet, light and fluffy and filled with plenty of banana and cake pieces. Since it was lightened with whipped cream, it wasn’t too rich and I couldn’t help but taste it every step of the way! This is definitely a dessert where you don’t feel guilty having an extra bite! Thank you to my co-worker for introducing me to Magnolia’s banana pudding!

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Vanilla Pudding (Modified from Martha Stewart )
1/2C Sugar
3T Cornstarch
Pinch of Salt
2C Milk
3 Egg Yolks
4tsp Butter, room temperature
1 tsp Vanilla Extract

For assembling the banana cake pudding:
¾ C Heavy Whipping Cream
2 -3 Bananas, cut into pieces
Cake pieces or Vanilla Wafers

Y= 12- 5oz jars

Directions:
1. Whisk sugar, cornstarch, and salt together in a pot.
2. Whisk in milk and yolks.
3. Cook on medium heat until the mixture bubbles and slightly thickens.
4. Strain the mixture into a clean bowl.
5. Stir in vanilla extract and butter.
6. Place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the mixture. Let cool at room temperature for about 20 minutes. Place in refrigerator to chill overnight.
7. The next day, whip the heavy cream to stiff peaks.
8. Fold half of the whipped cream into the vanilla pudding. Continue to fold the rest of the whipped cream into the mixture.
9. Assemble into cup or ramekin of choice by layering banana pieces, cake or wafers, and pudding. Continue to form layers, ending with the pudding layer on top. Chill before serving.

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Green Ombre Birthday Cake

30 Mar

March 30th, 2014

It’s been a long, busy, exciting and eventful past year, yet it seemed to have gone and passed quickly! I have a very good reason why I have been missing since my last blog post…I was busy getting married! It was quite a hectic year of planning my wedding, executing it, then going off to my honeymoon. Not to mention, soon after we got back from our honeymoon, we welcomed home our brand new puppy! Yes, many exciting things, which explains why I didn’t have much time to get my hands dirty in the kitchen. In the beginning, I wanted to be a superhero and do it all- plan the wedding, bake, on top of work, then realized I was driving myself insane. Now that things have settled down, I’m getting back in the kitchen!

This comes a little late, but I made an ombre cake for my Dad’s birthday, which was on Sunday, March 16th. It  was also St. Patrick’s Day weekend, so I went for a green ombre cake. The ombre effect was also inspired by my own wedding cake (I did not make my own wedding cake, though it did cross my mind. I did, however, make our own wedding favors- individual macaron boxes filled with two macarons for each guest). The ombre effect is my current favorite cake thing to do because you can basically get away with the perfect imperfections from the blending of the colors.

I prepped the cake and buttercream on separate days and saved the fun assembling for the day before we had to drive to Sacramento. I used a vanilla cake recipe and filled the layers between the cake with buttercream and fresh sliced strawberries. I added some lemon zest to the buttercream to bring in more flavors. The buttercream held up well for our 2 hour drive- no mishaps what-so-ever.

Vanilla Cake: (also works well for cupcakes)
3/4 C Oil
1 oz (1lb) Sugar
3 Eggs
1 1/2 C Cream
1/4 tsp vanilla powder
11 oz AP Flour
11 oz Cake Flour
2 1/4 tsp Baking Powder
3/4 tsp Baking Soda

1 1/2 tsp Salt1 1/2C Buttermilk

Directions:
1. Mix oil and sugar in a mixer bowl.
2. Add eggs. Mix.
3. Add cream.
4. Sift together all the dries.
5. Alternate adding the dries and buttermilk into the mixture.
6. Divide batter evenly into prepared 6-in cake rounds.

7. Bake at 350 for 15-22 minutes, or until cake springsback.

Buttercream:
9 oz Sugar
3/4 C Egg whites
1 lb butter, softened and cut into pieces.
lemon zest, optional

Directions:
1. Whisk together sugar and egg whites in a mixer bowl.
2. Place bowl over a pot of boiling water.
3. Using a hand whisk, constantly whisk the sugar-egg mixture until sugar is completely dissolved. The mixture should be warm to touch, but not burning hot on the finger.
4. Transfer the mixer bowl to the mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whisk on medium speed until mixture is cooled. Continue to whisk until the mixture becomes meringue-like.
5. Once the meringue is cool enough, add the softened butter, a few pieces at a time. Allow the butter to mix in before adding the next few pieces.
6. When all the butter has been added, whisk on high speed for a few seconds. Scrape down sides if necessary. Optional: add a few drops of vanilla extract, lemon zest, or whatever preferred flavors.
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Lisa_Herman-1395
Inspired by our wedding cake
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