Posts Tagged ‘Cake’

Cafe Latte’ style Turtle Cake

August 12, 2011

Turtle Cake

There is a restaurant called Cafe Latte’ on Grand Avenue in St. Paul, MN. It’s almost three restaurants in one. They serve up-scale food cafeteria style, they have a pizza/wine bar, and a retail bakery. We’ve enjoyed every single thing we’ve ever tried there, and that’s saying a lot because we’ve been going there for a lot of years. One of the things they’re most known for is their Turtle Cake. It’s absolutely delicious!

This year we celebrated a bunch of spring and summer celebrations at one small family event. I decided I should try to make my own version of Turtle Cake. The recipe for the Cafe Latte’ Turtle Cake can be found on the web, but truth be told I had a little trouble with that recipe and decided to strike out on my own. I melded together some different recipes to come up with an excellent cake of my own.

The cake starts with a really moist, chocolate cake which I ever so slightly adapted from the King Arthur Flour Favorite Fudge Birthday Cake recipe. Next is a smooth fudgy frosting studded with toasted pecans, and then all of that layered with caramel sauce. You could use caramel sauce from a jar. Next time I’ll either do that, or I’ll make caramel sauce from scratch. The recipe you’ll find here is a little too runny.

Here’s how I made the cake.

Cake: (recipe adapted from Favorite Fudge Birthday Cake by King Arthur Flour)
2 cups (14 ounces) sugar
2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) King Arthur  Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 tablespoons (3/8 ounce) cornstarch
3/4 cup (2 1/4 ounces)  Dutch-process cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) water

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease and flour,  then line with parchment, three 9″ round cake pans.

To make the cake: Whisk together the dry ingredients. Add the eggs, oil, and vanilla, beating until smooth. Gradually add the water, beating until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pans dividing equally. (A kitchen scale comes in really handy here.)

Bake the cakes for about 25-30 minutes  or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the cakes in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn them out of the pans to cool completely on a rack.

Caramel Sauce – Warning! This recipe is runny and I recommend using caramel sauce from a jar for a less runny sauce.

One package Werther’s Caramels
2 T. heavy cream

Remove the caramels from their wrappers and place in a small saucepan with the cream. Place the pan over medium low heat and stir occasionally until the caramels melt. Set aside to cool. You will need about 3/4 c. of sauce

Fudge Frosting
1/2 cup milk
1 cup sugar
6 T. butter
2 cups good-quality semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 c. toasted pecans for garnish

Mix sugar and milk in saucepan. Add butter and bring to a boil.
Remove from heat. Add chocolate chips. Using wire whisk, mix until smooth. If
frosting is too thick or grainy, add 1 or 2 teaspoons hot coffee.

To assemble cake: Place one cooled cake layer, top-side down, on cake plate. Spread
with one-third of frosting, pushing it out gently from edges to make a petal effect.
Sprinkle with 1/2 cup pecans, Drizzle with 1/4 cup caramel. Add next layer, again
top-side down. Repeat frosting and sprinkle with 1/2 cup pecans and drizzle with 1/4 cup
caramel. Place final layer top side up. frost with petal effect and finish with remaining
pecans and caramel.

Time to slice and serve!

By the way! The photos have not been altered. The grass in the above photo really was that green!!

Blueberry Buckle

August 10, 2011

Blueberry Buckle

Today, Wednesday August 10, 2011 there will be a guest post by me on Cookie Madness.

For the story and the recipe, click on the link.  And check out the previous post here at Basically Baked for a peach and mixed berry crisp that was one of the contenders for my guest post at Cookie Madness.

Chocolate Cake for Father’s Day

June 21, 2011

Perfectly Moist Chocolate Cake

My husband got to pick whatever he wanted for dessert on Father’s Day. The top two choices were rhubarb pie, and chocolate cake. The rhubarb in our back yard is thriving so I was a little surprised that he chose cake over pie, but I wasn’t disappointed. We haven’t had chocolate cake in a while and it sounded good to me too.

It was just the two of us so I didn’t want a big cake. I wanted to try a new recipe but I wasn’t looking for something over the top. I knew my husband would be happiest with something simple, tasty and homemade. I found the perfect recipe at Cookie Madness. Anna frequently makes small batch desserts and has great lists of favorites so I often turn to her blog to find recipes instead of opening up one of my many cookbooks.

This cake is baked in an eight inch square pan. A really nice size for a small family. It’s made with mayonnaise which makes the cake very moist. The depth of the chocolate was just right, and it’s super easy to make. You can stir it up with a spoon which is a real plus! We chose vanilla frosting for the cake since we can’t remember the last time we had vanilla frosting on chocolate cake. We were both happy with the frosting too. It is super smooth and isn’t too sweet with the cake.

I don’t know if it made a difference in taste or not because I’d have to do a tasting side by side, but for the first time ever I bought Ghiradelli natural cocoa powder to use in the cake. Hershey’s is the natural cocoa you’ll usually find in my cupboard, but the Ghiradelli seems really good. The thing that was particularly noticeable about the Ghiradelli cocoa is how perfectly smooth it is. There wasn’t a lump to be found!

If you’re looking for a quick, easy to make, moist chocolate cake, I highly recommend that you give this recipe a try.

Be sure to check out the original post where Anna talked about the cake, and made a scrumptious looking chocolate sour cream frosting instead of vanilla.

Troy Chocolate Cake (Adapted with permission from Cookie Madness)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup natural cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cups lukewarm water

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Spray an 8×8 inch pan with cooking spray. Use a spoon to combine the first 4 ingredients in a bowl. Sift the dry ingredients together. Add the dry ingredients and the water to the mayonnaise mixture. Beat until well blended. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.
Cool completely before frosting

Easy Vanilla Frosting

5 T softened butter
1 1/4 c. (5 oz.) powdered sugar
pinch of salt
1 T cream
1 t vanilla

Using a hand held mixer, beat the softened butter until very smooth. Add the powdered sugar and mix until moistened with the butter. Beat in the cream and vanilla and continue beating until light and fluffy. Spread on all sides of cooled cake.

Zucchini Cake

September 27, 2010

Zucchini Cake

The leaves are changing here in the upper Midwest, and as much as I don’t want to admit it summer truly is behind us. If you live in a warmer area you might still be harvesting zucchini and if you are, this recipe is for you. If you don’t have zucchini growing in your backyard this cake will be worth their purchase from your local grocery store.

When I made this cake I was very doubtful that I would like it. I was willing to make it, learn from it and toss it. I don’t like throwing out food, but I was willing to this one time just for the sake of learning.  Rest assured none of this cake went to waste, but rather to “waist”. My husband and I both loved this cake.

You might be wondering what about the recipe made me doubt it’s tastiness? The fat in the cake comes from olive oil. I thought for sure I wouldn’t like olive oil in this type of baked good, but I was so wrong.  The original recipe comes from Gina DePalma’s book Dolce Italiano. I don’t own the book, but I’d like to get my hands on it to discover what other gems are waiting between the covers. If this cake is representative of the rest of the book, it may become a must have book, because this cake is genius.

The cake is super moist, and the lemon glaze gets a little crunchy when it sets. The lemon compliments the zucchini and olive oil in such a way that you don’t think of the zucchini and olive oil as individual components. They come together in an interesting and delicious way that I wouldn’t have guessed. I wanted to share this cake with everyone and make believers out everyone that zucchini and olive oil could come together in a cake without being covered up with chocolate. I want everyone to taste it and love it the way my husband and I do. Unfortunately the cake didn’t make it far. A few slices went to the neighbors, and we ate the rest of it over the course of a few days. Seriously! Two of us ate almost the entire cake. It’s that good.

Zucchini Cake with Lemon Glaze (adapted from the web, where is was adapated from Gina DePalma’s Dolce Italiano)

1 c. pecans or walnuts toasted and chopped (I used toasted walnuts)
2c. flour
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. kosher salt
2 t. cinnamon
1 t. ginger
1/2. t. nutmeg
3 eggs, room temperature
1 3/4 c. sugar
1 c. extra-virgin olive oil
2 t. vanilla extract
2 1/2 c. finely grated zucchini

For the glaze:
1/4 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 c. granulated sugar
1 c. powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 10 c. bundt pan with non-stick spray and dust with flour.
Sift together: Flour, leaveners, salt and spices. Set aside.
In the bowl of a mixer beat the eggs, sugar and olive oil for 3 minutes on medium speed until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl and stir in the vanilla.
Mix in the dry ingredients, and beat on medium speed for 30 seconds.
Stir in the chopped nuts and zucchini.
Pour the mixture into the bundt pan and smooth the top. Bake for 45 – 50 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the cake has started to pull away from the sides of the pan.

While the cake is baking stir together the granulated sugar and lemon juice. Stir it well and let it sit while the cake bakes.

Let the cake cool for 10 minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack.

Add the powdered sugar to the lemon and sugar mixture. Use a brush to apply the glaze to the cake while it is still warm/ Let the cake cool completely. A silicone brush works well for this but a pastry brush will also work.

German Chocolate Cake

July 3, 2010

German Chocolate Cake

After the ugly cupcakes last week I thought twice about posting this German Chocolate Cake because it won’t win any photo contests either. Two things changed my mind. First of all it tastes really good. Second without either of us knowing what the other was making both Anna and I made the same cake!

At our house a cake like this is an occasion cake. My husband recently celebrated his birthday and he loves German Chocolate Cake so that was a perfect excuse to make it.

The cake layers baked up unevenly and I worried that the texture would be disappointing but it was very nice. The cake was moist and had a fine crumb. When I make special occasion cakes I almost always use superfine sugar. I think the texture of the cake is better with superfine sugar, but that could be my imagination.

My husband and I both loved the frosting for this cake! I wondered about adding the chocolate to it, but I’m not sorry I did. It tastes wonderful, but the cake is very monochromatic with the addition of the chocolate to the frosting. If appearance isn’t an issue this is definitely a good recipe. It’s a little less sweet than some other recipes. Perhaps a double recipe of the frosting and covering the whole cake would be the answer to hiding some of the appearance problems? The cake would still be monochromatic but super yummy!

It was really difficult to slice this cake and have a photo worthy slice. The pecan and coconut impede the progress of the knife through the layers, and as I mentioned it wasn’t pretty to begin with. Or, maybe I need to improve my slicing skills?

Here’s a direct link to Anna’s cake on the Cookie Madness blog.

German Chocolate Cake

6 oz German’s sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1⁄2 cup water
2 1⁄2 cups cake flour, sifted before measuring
1 teaspoon baking soda
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 lb butter, softened
1 3⁄4 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, separated
1 1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature

Frosting:
4 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1 cup evaporated milk
12 tablespoon butter, cut into small pieces and softened
2 ounces German’s sweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 cup coarsely chopped pecan

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease three 9-inch cake pans, line them with parchment rounds and flour the sides. Set aside (I’ve had good luck with flour-added baking spray plus parchment).

Put the chocolate in a heat proof bowl and slowly pour hot water over it. Let it sit for a couple of minutes, then stir until melted and smooth.

Sift together the cake four, baking soda and salt.

In an electric mixer on medium speed, cream the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, followed by the vanilla. Reduce mixer speed to low and stir in the melted chocolate. By hand or using lowest speed, add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk (beginning and ending with the buttermilk).

Beat the egg whites to almost stiff peaks in a separate bowl. Fold about 1⁄2 cup of the batter into the egg whites to lighten it up, then fold the egg whites into the batter.

Divide the batter among the three cake pans and bake on middle and lower racks for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs. ( I only baked mine for 30 minutes. I suggest you check the cakes as early as 25 minutes.)

Cool the cakes for a few minutes and remove from the pans. Remove the parchment, invert cakes back to upright and cool on racks.

Frosting:
Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar in a 2 quart saucepan until thick, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk, butter, and chocolate. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until it is smooth and thick enough to lightly coat a spoon, about 5 minutes. Keep heat low or egg yolks will scramble.  Remove pan from heat and stir in the vanilla, coconut and pecan.
Let the frosting cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until thickened but not quite solid, stirring it couple of times.

Spoon about a third of the frosting on top of one cake. Spread it out almost to the edge. Place a second cake on top of the frosting, repeat with another third of the frosting. Place the last layer on top and frost just the top of the cake, letting a little drizzle down the sides. The frosting is too fragile and soft to frost the sides.

Ultimate Lemon Filled Cupcakes

June 24, 2010

Instead of writing up a whole new post about these cupcakes I’m going to pretty much cut and paste from an email to my friend Melinda.

It’s been sort of a funny day all due to some cupcakes. It’s a good thing I like to learn things in the kitchen, because it’s been a day full of learning!! LOL!

Last night I got the bright idea to make cupcakes from a recipe I’ve had my eye on for a couple of years. It graced the cover of the Best of America’s Test Kitchen 2008 magazine. It’s called Ultimate Lemon Layer Cake . I thought I’d try it as cupcakes, fill them with the lemon curd, and ice them with the seven minute frosting. That seems reasonable doesn’t it? We’re going to go watch our son ride in his first race at the track tonight and I figured I could have the fun of making them, and in cupcake form they’d be easy to give to his teammates to enjoy and then my husband and I wouldn’t be tempted by all the leftover cake.

So yesterday at about 5 pm I made the cupcakes. They are the ugliest cupcakes I’ve ever seen. They have no dome. That’s not to say they didn’t rise. They did. They just didn’t dome and they oozed ever so slightly onto the muffin pan. Thank goodness I didn’t use the silicone liners or I would have really had a mess!! Of course that little bit that oozed over stuck to the muffin tin, so when I took them out they almost all ended up with torn edges. They tasted great, but they were ugly and I was pretty discouraged. I went to a meeting and got home at about 9:30. At that point I thought, oh heck! I should make the lemon curd and if worse comes to worse I’ll chop up the cupcakes and make the mess into a “trifle”. So I made the lemon curd and put it in the refrigerator and went to bed.

This morning, I thought. Hey! They won’t be that ugly if you fill them and frost them. So I filled them, and I’m here to tell you that isn’t as easy it sounds, but it wasn’t a total disaster. (By the way the lemon curd is fantastic!!!!!) Unfortunately I have twice as much lemon curd as I need because it doesn’t take nearly as much lemon curd to fill cupcakes as it does to fill 4 layers of cake. (In the original recipe you make two 9″ layers, split them and fill them.)

After they’re filled I move on to the seven minute frosting. It seems like everything is coming along just fine but it will not cool off enough to make nice peaks! What the heck!? I decided that my new hand held mixer would be fine for this job. My old one was great for this. The new one has a nice whisk attachment. After an absurd length of time I realize the frosting is never going to cool enough because of the stupid mixer! The heat from the mixer was keeping the frosting at about 80 degrees!! So, I dig out the Kitchen Aid stand mixer, dump the frosting in there and in about 3 minutes I have beautiful frosting. The whole time I was thinking, of my grandma who used to do this with a hand powered rotary beater. Remember those?

The cupcakes are now frosted. The cake part is fine crumbed and moist, the lemon curd filling is fantastic, and even the seven minute frosting is great. They have you put some lemon juice in it and it’s the perfect amount to make it more interesting without being too much.

All that said, I enjoyed the cupcakes and had a ball making them. Now I will be so happy to give them away. This is a good enough recipe to repeat, but definitely in cake form. NOT cupcake form!! And, the frosting didn’t cover all the ugliness. There are some beauties and some toads. Frankly, I got tired of trying to make them pretty and sort of gave up. Those young athletic bikers won’t give a hoot what they look like!

By the way, someone had planned to order a cake from Byerly’s! On the one hand I should have let him, on the other hand I had a lot of fun even though it doesn’t sound like it.

Here’s a photo of the inside of an ugly one.

Last, but not least the recipe. Someone posted it here.

It’s definitely worth making. But! A word from someone one year older, and one recipe wiser. Make the layer cake as indicated in the recipe. It isn’t cupcake friendly.

Lemon Bliss Cake

October 7, 2009
Lemon Bliss Cake

Lemon Bliss Cake

Tomorrow morning bright and early I leave for Houston. I’m looking forward to the trip even though technically it’s work related. While doing laundry and packing I decided I could multi task and use up the lemons in the refrigerator. I turned to the King Arthur Flour website to find a recipe in a hurry and found this recipe for Lemon Bliss Cake. It’s easy and very good. The crumb is very fine and moist and the lemon flavor shines without being too tangy. I had all of the ingredients on hand so it was the perfect recipe to make while doing other things.Lemon Bliss Cake 016

My only deviations from the recipe involved baking time and the glaze. My bundt cake pan is dark and I think the cake baked faster because of that. It was done in 45 minutes. For the glaze I juiced both lemons which gave me about 4 oz. of juice so I added a little more sugar and used all the juice. I used superfine sugar because I thought it might dissolve more completely. There aren’t any crystals, so I guess the superfine sugar did what I had hoped.

September baking

September 30, 2009

Here we are observing the last day of September. It’s been a super busy month for me and I wanted to let you know that I’m still here and have good intentions of getting some baking related things posted to the blog. While I catch my breath I’ll let you know about some of things I’ve recently baked.

Earlier this month I mentioned that my two children both celebrate September birthdays. I managed to get my son’s birthday cake on the blog, but so far haven’t gotten my daughter’s cake on the web. She requested something “chocolatey” with “really good frosting”. I was tempted to make my “go to” chocolate cake from “Applehood and Motherpie”. The recipe came to me years ago via my sister-in-law who is originally from the Rochester, NY area. However, I was in the mood to try something new and different. If you’ve been reading this blog you know I try a lot of recipes from Cookie Madness, King Arthur Flour, Cook’s Illustrated, as well as a few other tried and true sources. The Sour Cream Fudge Layer Cake on page 362 of Baking Illustrated won out, and we were all glad it did. The cake is smooth, rich, and chocolatey. The chocolate butter icing is the perfect compliment to the cake and from someone who doesn’t love frosting or icings that says a lot. Someone posted the recipe here.

Sour Cream Fudge Layer Cake

Sour Cream Fudge Layer Cake

Another thing I made to celebrate birthdays was another chocolate cupcake. This time I used the Favorite Fudge Birthday Cake recipe from King Arthur Flour. I liked these better than the cupcakes I recently wrote about from Food and Wine. The texture was better and I liked the chocolate flavor better. I was so happy to give them to my daughter to share with her bicycle racing friends. I was told that her team likes having a teammate whose Mom likes to bake.

Chocolate Cupcake from KA Flour recipe

Chocolate Cupcake from KA Flour recipe

Split view so you can see how nicely they dome.

Split view so you can see how nicely they dome.

This past weekend I made some of the best homemade pizza I’ve ever made. I ordered the Perfect Pizza Blend from King Arthur Flour and it’s almost like magic. I used the recipe provided on the bag of flour. The dough was so easy to work with and the crust was crispy and flavorful. I will definitely try to keep a supply of this on hand as we like to make our own pizza and their flour mixture truly made a difference in the end result. I don’t have any pictures of the finished product, but don’t hesitate to try it out for yourself.

Homemade bagels were also on the agenda this past weekend. We had guests to help us eat up the pizza and bagels so don’t worry about the two of us looking as round as pizza and bagels! The bagels were interesting. They tasted good, and the crust was thin and slightly crispy, but they seemed too moist. The best bagel I’ve ever had is a Bruegger’s Bagel. I understand that in the eyes of those who know their bagels, they don’t even count as real bagels, but in the upper midwest there aren’t a lot of good bagels to be had. The homemade bagels were very good, but they weren’t quite what I expected. I’ll try them again someday but I’m going to do a lot more research before I dive in again. I got the recipe here. Once again, I have no photos, but I did have happy guests with full tummys who were in awe that I could or would make homemade bagels for them.

Two weekends ago I made these Sticky Buns again to share with twelve friends for brunch one Sunday morning. I can’t recommend this recipe enough. They are so simple, and everyone loves them.

I’m going to be gone a lot in October, but I’ll be home just enough to do some baking so don’t forget to stop by and say hello.

Muffins and Birthday Cake

September 7, 2009

Our son was home for a few days before the fall term starts. It was great to have him here!

While he was here we celebrated his 20th birthday. Hard to believe that we no longer have a teenager! For his birthday celebration I made an angel food cake per his request. The pictures aren’t very good. They were taken at night with poor, funky lighting, but the cake tasted great. The recipe is from Baking Illustrated and I will definitely make it again. This time I used frozen egg whites that we’ve been saving when we have an ice cream recipe that calls for yolks. The frozen egg whites worked fine but next time I’d like to try it with fresh egg whites just to see if there is a difference. You can see the recipe here. The original recipe calls for lemon juice too, but I omitted that. It just doesn’t seem like it belongs in angel food cake. For the icing I used the Fluffy White Icing from the America’s Test Kitchen’s Ultimate Lemon Layer Cake. This is the ultimate fluffy white icing in my opinion. The recipe has already been posted here, and once again I omitted the lemon juice that the original recipe calls for.

You can see that I didn’t beat the icing long enough. The peaks should be a bit firmer, but it tasted good and had a lovely shine.

Angel Food Birthday Cake

Angel Food Birthday Cake

Sliced Angel Food Cake

Sliced Angel Food Cake

I also made some muffins while he was here. Sadly there are no pictures of them, but you can see the recipe here. It’s a good basic muffin recipe. I made them with fresh peaches and a streusel topping. Half of the muffins were plain streusel the other half had pecans in the streusel. I was out of eggs so I subbed some reconstituted dried egg whites and the muffins turned out fine. If you click over to the recipe you’ll see that there are a lot of variations listed. The recipe looks to be exactly the way it is written in the book so it’s worth looking at. With all of the variations listed you’re sure to hit on something you like.

I also made a loaf of honey white bread, our son’s favorite, and sent that with him without taking a picture.

I hope you all had a wonderful labor day weekend!


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