April ‘The Cake Slice’ Challenge

Stay tuned, this cake is a keeper!

This month our group chose to bake Lemon and Almond Streamliner Cake from Julie Richardson’s beautiful cookbook, Vintage Cakes. It’s a beautiful, single-layer, light Almond Cake covered with a heavenly Lemon Custard.

Perfectly tart. Lightly sweet. Love.

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There as been some question about our permissions to post actual recipes in our blogs each month. Thankfully, the Lemon and Almond Streamliner Cake recipe can easily be found on the internet, so I can hook you up with a link! I encourage you to buy Vintage Cakes and try some of Julie’s amazing cakes! http://amzn.com/1607741024

Let’s bake!

This is a 2 to 3 part recipe (depending on whether you decide to make the almond paste needed for the cake or purchase it).  I made it because it’s very easy to make and much cheaper than buying it.

Part 1: Almond Paste I found this very simple recipe at http://www.food.com/recipe/almond-paste-15869 and pulled this together in about 5 minutes. I refrigerated it overnight before using it in my cake recipe.

almond paste

On to the Lemon & Almond Streamliner Cake!

Part 2: Lemon Custard (HEAVENLY)

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Custard:

  • Grated zest of 2 lemons
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice (from approximately 3 lemons)
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

To make the lemon custard, combine the lemon zest, milk, and 1/4 cup of the sugar in a medium saucepan and heat over medium-low heat until just hot.DSCN5862

Meanwhile, in a bowl, thoroughly whisk together the egg yolks, the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar, and the salt until well combined, then whisk in the cornstarch, then the lemon juice. Slowly whisk a third of the hot liquid into the yolk mixture. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan with the hot milk and cook over medium-low heat, whisking steadily, until the custard begins to thicken and bubble for 1 minute (you will need to stop whisking for a moment to check if it is bubbling). Strain the custard through a fine mesh sieve into a clean bowl and whisk in the butter until it has melted. DSCN5865

DSCN5866Place a piece of plastic wrap directly upon the surface of the custard and place in the refrigerator to cool for about 2 hours. The custard is easiest to work with once it has set.

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Part 3: The cake

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  • 1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) sifted cake flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 3/4 cup (6 ounces) almond paste, ‘ ‘at room temperature
  • 10 Tbsp. (5 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup (4 2/3 ounces) sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk, at room temperature

Center an oven rack and preheat the oven to 350°F; grease a 9- x 2-inch round cake pan and line the bottom with a parchment paper circle. **I used a springform pan**

To make the cake, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl, then whisk the mixture to ensure that the ingredients are well mixed.

Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the almond paste, butter, sugar, canola oil, and vanilla on low speed until blended; gradually increase the speed to high and cream until very light and fluffy, 5 to 7 minutes, stopping the mixer frequently to scrape the paddle and the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Blend in the eggs one at a time, adding the next one as soon as the previous one has disappeared into the batter. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the buttermilk in two parts, beginning and ending with the flour. After each addition, mix until just barely blended and stop and scrape the bowl. Stop the mixer before the last of the flour has been incorporated and complete the blending by hand with a rubber spatula to ensure you do not overbeat the batter.

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Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly. Rap the pan firmly on the counter to release any air bubbles. Place the pan in the center of the oven and bake until the cake is a deep golden color and a wooden skewer poked in the middle comes out just barely clean, 42 to 45 minutes. The cake might crack on the surface as it bakes; don’t worry, this simply provides a way for the cake to soak up more of the lemon custard. Cool the cake in its pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Gently invert the cake onto the rack, leaving on the parchment paper until you assemble the cake. Flip the cake right side up and continue to cool the cake on the rack until it reaches room temperature.

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To finish the cake, remove the parchment paper and place the cake right side up on a flat plate. Using a metal spatula, spread a thin layer of the lemon custard on the sides of the cake to seal the cake and give it a light shine. Put the rest of the lemon custard on top of the cake, spreading it just barely out to the edge. Use your spatula to make a swirly design in the custard on the top of the cake. Allow the assembled cake (or really, the lemon custard) to set in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

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Visit The Cake Slice Blogroll to see what others in my group thought of this recipe: http://thecakesliceblogroll.blogspot.com/

Here’s recipe as posted at http://www.oprah.com/food/Lemon-and-Almond-Streamliner-Cake-Recipe :

Custard:

  • Grated zest of 2 lemons
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice (from approximately 3 lemons)
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

Cake:

  • 1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) sifted cake flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 3/4 cup (6 ounces) almond paste, ‘ ‘at room temperature
  • 10 Tbsp. (5 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup (4 2/3 ounces) sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk, at room temperature

Directions

To make the lemon custard, combine the lemon zest, milk, and 1/4 cup of the sugar in a medium saucepan and heat over medium-low heat until just hot. Meanwhile, in a bowl, thoroughly whisk together the egg yolks, the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar, and the salt until well combined, then whisk in the cornstarch, then the lemon juice. Slowly whisk a third of the hot liquid into the yolk mixture. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan with the hot milk and cook over medium-low heat, whisking steadily, until the custard begins to thicken and bubble for 1 minute (you will need to stop whisking for a moment to check if it is bubbling). Strain the custard through a fine mesh sieve into a clean bowl and whisk in the butter until it has melted. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly upon the surface of the custard and place in the refrigerator to cool for about 2 hours. The custard is easiest to work with once it has set.

Center an oven rack and preheat the oven to 350°F; grease a 9- x 2-inch round cake pan and line the bottom with a parchment paper circle.

To make the cake, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl, then whisk the mixture to ensure that the ingredients are well mixed.

Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the almond paste, butter, sugar, canola oil, and vanilla on low speed until blended; gradually increase the speed to high and cream until very light and fluffy, 5 to 7 minutes, stopping the mixer frequently to scrape the paddle and the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Blend in the eggs one at a time, adding the next one as soon as the previous one has disappeared into the batter. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the buttermilk in two parts, beginning and ending with the flour. After each addition, mix until just barely blended and stop and scrape the bowl. Stop the mixer before the last of the flour has been incorporated and complete the blending by hand with a rubber spatula to ensure you do not overbeat the batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly. Rap the pan firmly on the counter to release any air bubbles. Place the pan in the center of the oven and bake until the cake is a deep golden color and a wooden skewer poked in the middle comes out just barely clean, 42 to 45 minutes. The cake might crack on the surface as it bakes; don’t worry, this simply provides a way for the cake to soak up more of the lemon custard. Cool the cake in its pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Gently invert the cake onto the rack, leaving on the parchment paper until you assemble the cake. Flip the cake right side up and continue to cool the cake on the rack until it reaches room temperature.

To finish the cake, remove the parchment paper and place the cake right side up on a flat plate. Using a metal spatula, spread a thin layer of the lemon custard on the sides of the cake to seal the cake and give it a light shine. Put the rest of the lemon custard on top of the cake, spreading it just barely out to the edge. Use your spatula to make a swirly design in the custard on the top of the cake. Allow the assembled cake (or really, the lemon custard) to set in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Bring the cake to room temperature before serving (this will take about an hour). Any leftover cake keeps in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Reprinted with permission from Vintage Cakes: Timeless Recipes for Cupcakes, Flips, Rolls, Layer, Angel, Bundt, Chiffon, and Icebox Cakes for Today’s Sweet Tooth by Julie Richardson, copyright © 2012. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group.

March ‘The Cake Slice’ Challenge

It’s the first day of  Spring! Here in Virginia we’re still watching the last patches of SNOW melt and hearing reports of the possibility of another snow storm on the way.  Aw, well, I’ll just BAKE something sunshiny!

This month our Cake Slice Bakers challenge is called Honey Bee Cake. Julie Richardson, the author of  Vintage Cakes, tell us this recipe dates back to 1954. The recipe calls for almonds, but she encourages us to try any variety of nuts. I decided to stick to the recipe since I’m making this for the first time.

Let’s bake!

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Honey Bee Cake

Cake
2 1/4 cups  all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup  honey
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 egg yolk, at room temperature
3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature

Glaze
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter
Heaping 1/2 cup natural sliced almonds, toasted

Center an oven rack and preheat the oven to 350°F.

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In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt, then whisk the ingredients by hand to ensure they are well mixed.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, sugar, honey, and vanilla on low speed until blended; increase the speed to high and cream until very light and fluffy, 5 to 7 minutes. As you make the batter, stop the mixer frequently and scrape the paddle and the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Blend in the eggs and egg yolk one at a time, adding the next one as soon as the previous one has disappeared into the batter. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the buttermilk in two parts, beginning and ending with the flour. After each addition, mix until just barely blended and stop and scrape the bowl. Stop the mixer before the last of the flour has been incorporated and complete the blending by hand with a rubber spatula to ensure you do not overbeat the batter.

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Spread the thick batter evenly into the prepared pan. Rap the pan firmly on the counter to release any air bubbles. Place the pan in the center of the oven and bake for 45 minutes. The cake will turn a deep golden color and be firm on top, and a wooden skewer inserted in the middle will have moist crumbs attached. The cake might crack on the surface as it bakes; don’t worry, this simply provides a way for the cake to soak up more honey glaze.

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While the cake is in the oven, make the glaze in a small saucepan by stirring the honey, sugar, and butter over medium heat until combined. Bring the mixture just barely to a simmer. Turn off the heat but leave the saucepan on the burner to keep warm.

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Remove the cake from the oven and poke holes all over the top of the cake with a wooden skewer. Pour half of the glaze over the cake, evenly sprinkle the cake with the almonds, and then pour the rest of the glaze over the almonds.

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Place the pan back in the center of the oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes.

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Cool the cake on a wire rack for about an hour. To remove the cake from the pan, turn the cake upside down onto a plate (not your serving plate), remove the pan and the parchment paper, then place your serving plate on the bottom of the cake and flip it back over. (If you use a springform pan, remove the sides of the pan before flipping the cake and removing the parchment paper.) Serve just barely warm.

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The honey in this cake makes it a good keeper (5 days) when well wrapped and stored at room temperature.

Taste tested: This cake is delicious! It’s not too sweet and perfect with a cup of coffee, much like a coffee cake. Best eaten warm. I will make this one again! PS- Don’t skip out on toasting the almonds!

See what the other Cake Slice Bakers thought of this recipe: http://thecakesliceblogroll.blogspot.com/

I’m a Daring Baker!

I’m so excited to tell you that I’ve had so much fun with The Cake Slice Bakers that I’ve joined another baking group, The Daring Kitchen, as a Daring Baker (naturally)!  My Daring Baker challenges will be revealed the 27th of each month.

In the Daring Kitchen, a host is chosen each month to present the challenge recipe! Members from all around the world. I think some of these recipes are really going to be a challenge and I’m looking forward to it!

Without further ado, Francijn of Koken in de Brouwerij was our January 2013 Daring Bakers’ Hostess and she challenged us to make the traditional Dutch pastry, Gevulde Speculaas from scratch! That includes making our own spice mix, almond paste and dough! Delicious!

First things first, I have never heard of Gevulde Speculaas, let alone have a clue how to pronounce it. I found some help:

http://www.forvo.com/word/speculaas/#nl

http://www.forvo.com/word/gevulde_speculaas/#nl

Okay, then I had to find a connection to what I was going to make… Windmill Cookies! Spicy windmill cookies are Speculaas. :) Gevulde means filled. With this knowledge, I got more and more excited!

PART ONE:

Make Speculaas Spices

Mandatory:
cinnamon 40 to 60 % of the total amount
ground cloves 1 or 2 parts
mace ½ or 1 part
ginger ½ or 1 part

Optional:
white pepper ½ or 1 part
cardamom ½ or 1 part
coriander ½ or 1 part
anise ½ or 1 part
nutmeg 1 or 2 parts

A convenient way to mix the spices is as follows:

Take at least 1 or 2 teaspoons of ground cloves, ½ or 1 teaspoon of mace and ½ or 1 teaspoon of ginger.

Add to taste ½ or 1 teaspoon of white pepper, ½ or 1 teaspoon of cardamom, ½ or 1 teaspoon of coriander, ½ or 1 teaspoon of anise, and 1 or 2 teaspoons of nutmeg.
Measure or weigh the amount of spices you have now, and add an equal amount of cinnamon.

You don’t have to use all of the spices listed above… but, I did! The smell is divine and I couldn’t wait to use this mix… my excitement builds!

PART TWO:

Make speculaas dough.

Ingredients:
1¾ cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¾ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
a pinch salt
2 tablespoons speculaas spices
3/4 cup  unsalted butter

Directions:
Put flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and spices in a bowl.
Cut the butter in dices and add.
Knead until smooth.
Feel free to add a little milk if the dough is too dry.
Wrap in plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator for two hours.

You can choose to make the dough a few days in advance, just like the almond paste, that will benefit the flavor. Freezing is no problem. *I let mine chill in the fridge for a week.*

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PART THREE:

Make almond paste.

Ingredients:
7/8 cup (4½ oz) blanched almonds (or 1-1/3 cups ground almonds)
5/8 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon lemon zest

Grind the almonds for one or two minutes in a food processor, until you see nothing but very small pieces. (skip this step if you use ground almonds.)
Add the sugar, and grind for another one or two minutes. It must be very fine after this step.
Add the egg and let the food processor combine it – if it is powerful enough. Otherwise you will have to combine it with your fingers.

Store the almond paste in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Although the flavor gets better as days pass by, it is not wise to store the paste for too long, as it contains a raw egg. For the same reason you should not eat the paste unbaked. The paste can also be kept in the freezer.

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PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

Ingredients:
speculaas dough
almond paste
whole blanched almonds  for decoration
1 large egg

shallow baking pan, 8×10 inch (20×26 cm) or, round with of diameter 10 inch (26 cm)

Directions:
1. Grease the pan.
2. Preheat the oven to moderate 350°F
3. Divide the dough into two portions.
4. Roll out both portions on a lightly floured surface, until they are exactly as big as the baking pan. 5. Put one of the layers in the pan and press it lightly to fill the bottom.
6. Lightly beat the egg with a teaspoon cold water.
7. Smear 1/3 of the egg over the dough in the pan.
8. Roll out the almond paste between two sheets of plastic wrap, until it is exactly as big as the pan, and put it on the dough in the pan. (If you chose to make the paste soft, you can smear the paste instead of rolling it.)
9. Press the paste lightly down to fit in the pan, and smear the next 1/3 of the egg over it.
10. Now put the second layer of dough on top of the paste, press it lightly, and make as smooth as possible.
11. Smear the last 1/3 of the egg over the dough.
12. Decorate the pastry with the almonds. 13. Bake for 40 minutes in the preheated oven.
14. Let cool completely in the pan, then cut it in portions as you like.

As you will see, I thought it would be cute to make my Gevulde Speculaas in mini tart pans. Little did I know, until I posted my finished product on our secret forum that what I made, is “gevulde speculaas” that looks like “gevulde koek”.

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Although there are several steps, these are not all that difficult to make and THEY. ARE. DELICIOUS! The smell while they’re baking is wooooow!

Take some time to see what other Daring Bakers has to say. There were some really beautiful, creative gevulde speculaas made in our group. I’m honored to be a Daring Baker! http://thedaringkitchen.com/blogroll/bakers

January ‘The Cake Slice’ Challenge

Hello and Happy New Year!

This month there was a tie in our voting process so we were able to choose between two recipes: The Classic or Banana Cake with Coffee Walnut Buttercream.

Guess which one I voted for? (Hint: it contains coffee)

Guess which one I made? (Hint: not the one I voted for)

I made The Classic with Fudge Frosting (as suggested in the recipe) because I had everything I needed AND because it’s described as the all-American birthday cake… tomorrow is my birthday :)

I’ll apologize ahead of time that I didn’t get great pics this time. I made this cake on a whim late one night. Let’s get started!

The Classic aka Yellow Cake

Vintage Cakes, by Julie Richardson

Ingredients:
1 1/3 cups sifted cake flour
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1  1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon vanilla
4 eggs yolks, at room temperature
3 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1/2 cup heavy cream, cold

Directions:
Center an oven rack and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 8 inch cake pans, and line bottoms with parchment paper.

Sift together the flours, baking powder, and salt, then whisk together to ensure that they are well mixed. Set aside. In mixer bowl, cream the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl frequently. Turn mixer to low speed. Drizzle the oil and vanilla into the mixture until well combined. Blend in the eggs and yolks, one at a time, adding the next one as soon as the previous one has disappeared into the batter. Keeping the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the buttermilk in 2 parts, beginning and ending with the flour. After each addition, mix just until barely combined to avoid over-beating. Scrape sides of bowl frequently.

In a separate chilled bowl, whip the heavy cream to soft peaks (the author says to do this with a hand whisk. I used an electric mixer). Gently fold the whipped cream into the cake batter. Divide batter equally between the two cake pans.Tap pans lightly on counter to remove air bubbles.

Bake until centers spring back when lightly touched, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Flip the cakes out of the pans, and let them continue to cool, top side up, until they reach room temperature.

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While my cake baked I prepared the Fudge Frosting (and completely forgot to take pictures).

Fudge Frosting

Vintage Cakes, by Julie Richardson
1 lb.  semisweet chocolate, chopped or chips
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 firmly packed dark brown sugar
Put the chopped chocolate or chips into a heat resistant bowl. Combine the cream and brown sugar in a medium saucepan set over medium heat, stirring occasionally. When the cream begins to simmer, remove from heat and pour over the chocolate. Place a lid or plastic wrap over the bowl and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Remove the lid or plastic wrap and slowly whisk the mixture starting in the center, until you have a glossy smooth frosting.

Place the frosting in the refrigerator and gently stir with a spatula every 10 minutes, or until it stiffens up to a spreadable consistency; this will take about 45 minutes.

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The batter for this cake is beautifully thick and creamy. The cooked cake has great texture. The Fudge Frosting is delicious.  Alone,  I think these are great recipes, but I didn’t care for the Fudge Frosting with the Yellow Cake. I think the rich frosting completely overwhelmed the light flavor of the cake. I would like to try the cake with a light, fluffy topping of some sort and if I’m going to make a decadent Fudge Frosting then I’m going to go all out and make a chocaholic cake!

All-in-all no cake was wasted! Try it… let me know what you think! Check out what other bloggers though at: http://thecakesliceblogroll.blogspot.com/

 

 

December ‘The Cake Slice’ Challenge

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Coffee.

Chocolate.

Toasted Pecans.

Homemade Marshmallow Frosting.

Let’s just say, you won’t have to twist my arm to inhale a few of these DELICIOUS Mississippi Mud Cupcakes with Marshmallow Frosting! I’m so excited about this month’s challenge.  Deep, rich chocolate cake with toasted pecans and mini chocolate chips, topped with homemade marshmallow frosting. In light of Vintage Cakes here’s some music to put you in the mood: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WHb2Ew4jAJ8

Let’s get started. These cupcakes are super easy. Mix dry. Mix wet. Mix together. :)

Mississippi Mud Cupcakes

Vintage Cakes by Julie Richardson
Makes 24 cupcakes

1 cup hot coffee

3/4 cup Dutch cocoa

2 cups flour

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup toasted, chopped pecans

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 eggs, at room temperature

1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature

1/2 cup oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Center oven rack and preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, whisk the hot coffee into the cocoa. Set aside to cool

Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl. Whisk the mixure together by hand to ensure that the ingredients are well mixed then stir pecan and chocolate chips.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, oil, vanilla, and cooled cocoa mixture. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir batter together with a rubber spatula until just combined (too much mixing will cause the tops of the cupcakes to be unevenly domed).
Pour batter evenly among prepared cupcake tins, filling each well about 3/4 full. Place cupcake tins in middle rack of oven. Bake until cupcakes have domed nicely and bounce back when lightly pressed, about 20 minutes.Cool the cupcakes in their pan on a wire rack. Once they have cooled, remove them from the pan and pipe a mound of marshmallow frosting on each.
These cupcakes will keep for 3 days in an airtight container at room temperature.

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The frosting was a bit tricky, but not hard. I got caught up in the timing of everything and forgot to take pics… oops!

Marshmallow Frosting

1 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/2 water

4 egg whites

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla

Combine the sugar, cream of tartar, and water in a small saucepan that has a tight-fitting lid. Place the pan, uncovered, over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, the cover and cook for 2 minutes. Uncover the saucepan and continue to boil until the sugar syrup reaches the soft-ball stage, 242 degrees on a candy thermometer.

While the syrup is heating to the desired temperature, combine the egg whites with the salt in the clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat beginning at low speed and gradually increasing to medium-high speed. Beat the whites just until soft peaks form. Timing is crucial at this point in the game; if the syrup is close to reaching 242 degrees, continue whipping the whites to firm peaks. If the syrup is not this warm yet, let the whites wait at the soft-peak stage before whipping them into firm peaks as the syrup approaches the desired temperature.

Once the sugar syrup has reached 242 degrees and the egg whites are whipped to firm peaks, run the mixer at medium-high speed and begin slowly pouring the syrup down inside the bowl. Continue whipping until the frosting becomes thick and holds stiff peaks, about 5 minutes. Add the vanilla and whip to combine.

This frosting should be used immediately.

These cupcakes are really, really good. Rich, moist, chocolatey with light, fluffy marshmallow. YUM! This recipe is a keeper!

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Give them a try… I’d love to hear what you think of them!

Check out what my friends at The Cake Slice bakers had to say: http://thecakesliceblogroll.blogspot.com/

November ‘The Cake Slice’ Challenge

The time has come for me to bake my first cake with The Cake Slice! I joined this group in October. They (we), as a group, vote on one new cookbook every year to bake out of. This part of the process was already done before I joined. Our new cookbook is called Vintage Cakes, by Julie Richardson. A pretty cookbook! Its charming collection of remastered classics may send you on a trip down memory lane.

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In October the group was presented with four recipes from our new cookbook to vote from. The winner would become our November challenge. Our options were: Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting, Shoo-Fly Cake, Not-For-Children Gingerbread Bundt Cake, or Coffee Crunch Spiral. All of these sounded pretty good to me, but it probably won’t take you many guesses to figure out what I voted for…. yes, coffee. I just love it!

Alas, everyone voted, and the winner is: Shoo-Fly Cake

This simple molasses spice cake takes its lead from the Old Pennsylvania Dutch favorite, Shoo-Fly Pie. I’ve heard of Shoo-Fly Pie, but I’ve never had it. Have you?

Let’s get started…

Taking pictures while I’m baking is a new concept for me. I’m not very good at it! I did get a few. I’ll work on this.

First I made the crumb topping (oops, no pictures):

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

3/4 cup flour

1/4 cup butter, cut into small cubes

Mix brown sugar and flour. Cut in butter (I used a mini food processor). Place in the freezer while making the cake.

The cake:

In a large mixing bowl whisk together

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup melted butter

3/4 cup unsulfured blackstrap molassas

2 tsp pure vanilla

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Add 2 eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

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In a small bowl, measure out dry ingredients:

2 1/2 cups flour

2 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

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Stir flour mixture into batter in three additions, alternating with 1 cup warm coffee in 2 additions. Beginning and ending with the flour mixture.

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Pour batter into a 9 by 2-inch round cake pan (greased).

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Sprinkle with chilled crumb topping.

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Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until the top is firm. I baked it on a cookie sheet and it’s a good thing I did! It spilled over the sides.

Cool the cake on a wire rack for about 30 minutes before serving warm from the pan.

See the cake cooling back there while Miss Silly takes over the camera.

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TaDa! I think it needs a dollop of whipped cream, but I was out :/ It’s moist and tasty! I think it tastes a little like gingerbread cake… it does have 2 tsp ginger in it, afterall. My hubby says it tastes just like Shoo Fly Pie. Success? Yes! I think so. :)

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Newest Member

I’m officially a member of The Cake Slice! Stay tuned in November as the cookbook we will be baking through is revealed and also the result of my first recipe challenge!

The Cake Slice

Do you think this sounds like something you’d like to do too? Now is the time to join! The group is just finishing a cookbook and a new one has been selected.. this is the only time when the group is open to new members! Join me? We’ll figure all of this out together :)   A note from the group’s moderator: “As this was our last cake from our current cake book, we are now opening up group to fellow cake baking enthusiasts who wish to bake with us for the upcoming year. Places are limited and you will need to buy a copy of the new cake book to participate, so dedicated bakers only please. Anyone wishing to join us can email Paloma at (love.for.coffee@gmail.com) along with their name, blog name, blog URL and email address for details. Please put ‘New Cake Slice Member’ in the subject box.”

Hello world!

I love to bake. I love to try new recipes. I love to search high and low for the ultimate recipe and challenge myself to make it amazing. I’ve been nudged recently by a few people on Facebook to start a blog.  Ohh, have you seen beautiful food blogs?!  Iiiii don’t think I can do that. Then an email came from an internet baking friend inviting me to join a baking group. Members buy the same cookbook and vote on recipes to try together, then everyone bakes away and blogs about the recipe and results once a month. Welllll, I do love a baking challenge. Once a month… that’s do-able. I’m going to give it a shot! Here I am! Hello blogging world! Setting up a blog was step one. The next step is to be chosen as a member (not until October, I believe). Between now and then I’ll try to figure out how to add a picture (yikes).  I’ll keep you posted…