Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Coffee Chiffon Cake with Dulce de Leche Whipped Cream, and Meeting Rose!

Hello everyone. Life has been a little busy over here at Evil Cake Lady headquarters, and I am tired. So this post may be a little thin, but don't let that fool you into thinking this cake wasn't delicious, because it was.

Coffee Chiffon Cake with Dulce de Leche Whipped Cream

April 26, 2010
Name of Cake: Coffee and Caramel!
Occasion: HCB
Constituents: Coffee chiffon cake with coffee syrup and dulce de leche whipped cream

This recipe is designed to create a bunch of mini chiffonlets, but as per usual, I didn't want to buy the pan. I was thinking of cupcakes but then Kristina let us all know that it works just fine as a regular-sized chiffon so I happily opted for that.

The chiffon was really easy to put together. I was actually surprised by this--for some reason I thought chiffon cakes were laborious.

Coffee Chiffon Cake with Dulce de Leche Whipped Cream

After cooling, the cake is brushed with a Kahlua-coffee syrup. That sounded so delicious but I didn't have any Kahlua (which I usually do!) so I just substituted more water.

The dulce de leche takes about 90 minutes to make, but those 90 minutes don't require you to do anything at all. I actually made it a couple of weeks ago when I was feeling industrious, and had the oven on. Basically a can of sweetened condensed milk gets poured into a pie plate, which gets placed inside of a cake pan, which gets filled with hot water to make a bain marie. Then you cover the whole contraption with foil and shove it in the oven and wander off until the timer goes off. Easy peasy!

Coffee Chiffon Cake with Dulce de Leche Whipped Cream

This yummy caramelly stuff is then whipped into cream, which makes this amazingly delicious caramel whipped cream basically. I made a double batch, just in case I needed it for the large cake, but mostly because I thought extra dulce de leche whipped cream would be nice to snack on for the rest of the week.

Coffee Chiffon Cake with Dulce de Leche Whipped Cream

I even made coffee, which I never do, just so I could stir in a dollop of dulce de leche cream. I'm looking forward to another cup tomorrow morning!

Speaking of morning, this cake was excellent for breakfast this morning. It really isn't the right way to start one's day, but it was tasty.

Cookie loved this cake a lot. She immediately got up for a second helping last night. In fact, all of us had 2 slices yesterday.

This cake was delicious, but I think I like Sybil's Pecan Coffee Torte better. It has more bite to it, which I enjoy. I will be pairing this dulce de leche cream with Sybil's cake in the future!

me and rose and a couple of cookbooks of the year

And on a side note: I met Rose and Woody last weekend! They were in town for the IACP conference, and as you all probably know by now, won best cookbook of the year. I feel a little bit proud that it happened here in my city, even though Portland was only the host, and not the deciders. Rose and Woody were kind enough to take time out of their busy schedule to let me come to their hotel lobby and meet them, as I couldn't make it to her book signing earlier that day. I dragged along my battered and worn copy of The Cake Bible and Rose's Heavenly Cakes anyway. Rose was so sweet and personable. Woody was a giant ball of energy. Woody, how do you do it? He ran about us, taking photos with our cameras. I wish I had insisted upon somebody else taking a photo of all of us. It was a lovely little meeting, and I offer Rose and Woody my hearty congratulations on an honor well deserved!

And now, off to bed. Goodnight!

rose signed my book!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Cookie's Hamburger Birthday Cake

This year for Cookie's birthday, she decided to break her tradition of a white-white cake and go for something with a little more schtick. She asked for a cake that looked like a hamburger. As I did the first year she asked for a white-white cake, I inwardly rolled my eyes and then ran a google search to find a suitable prototype. Neither of us wanted to use fondant to decorate, so we searched for other alternatives. We kicked around the idea of making sliders out of cupcakes, but ultimately I decided to make a classic burger shape, using a chocolate layer for the beef and two white cakes for the buns. Here's my inspiration photo:

hamburger cake

I'm gonna skip the frosting sesame seeds. And, mine will look a lot more amateurish. But, thanks to The Cake Bible, it should taste ok. Even if I have to use Cookie's Crusty Frosting.

April 18, 2010
Name of Cake: Really?
Occasion: Cookie's 30th Birthday
Constituents: one 8 inch chocolate butter cake sandwiched between two 8 in white cakes, filled with Cookie's Crusty Frosting

This cake is pretty much left unfrosted, so I was worried it would dry out if I baked and assembled it a day ahead. This left me Sunday morning to bust it all out, and since I was in a hurry I didn't run out to the store to buy more cake flour. I figured, if the Heavenly Cakes can be made with either cake flour or bleached all purpose, then the Cake Bible cakes could be made with UBAP too! This sounded great, but in the end all three cakes did sink a bit in the middle, and the white cakes seemed a bit gummy to me. Sorry Cookie. :( Lesson learned.

Cookie's Hamburger Birthday Cake

I was hoping that one of the white cakes would dome enough to look like the top of a bun, but as mentioned, they both sunk instead. So the hamburger "bun" was flat, and I think most everybody at Cookie's party commented to me that if only the top cake was domed it would look more like a burger. I know, people. I know.

Cookie's Hamburger Birthday Cake

Cookie's Crusty Frosting came together without a hitch, and I reserved a couple of tablespoons to turn into ketchup and maybe about 1/4 cup at most to turn into lettuce. It was hard to get the ketchup red enough, I used a little brown as well as red food gel to darken things up. The lettuce green was a little pastel, but the point came across okay. I realised that the person who made the cake in the inspiration photo had a bigger leaf tip than I do so their lettuce looks a little more realistic, but again, the point came across well enough.

Cookie's Hamburger Birthday Cake

Since there were three layers of cake I decided to bake them up as 8 inch layers, and interestingly enough I was able to fit the all the batter for a 9 inch cake into my two 8 inch pans--I guess having 2 inch high cake pans really does make a difference? I've always baked the Cake Bible cakes in 2 inch high pans without a problem so I was surprised all the batter fit fine in the smaller pans. Huh.

Cookie's Hamburger Birthday Cake

Cookie's Hamburger Cake was quickly overshadowed by the Whoopie Pies I brought over the next night. Perhaps next year she'll ask for a giant Whoop?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Two Fat Cats Whoopie Pies

I have had only one whoopie pie in my life, and it was when the stooges ended up at a vegan bakery. I just thought it was a giant Oreo cakester. Who knew the Whoopie pie had such a long and detailed history?

Two Fat Cats Whoopie Pies

April 19, 2010
Name of cakes; Whoop There It Is
Occasion: HCB
Constituents: a marshmallow/buttercream frosting sandwiched between two little chocolate cakes

The little cakes are pretty easy to make, in fact the most complicated part would probably be melting the chocolate. The cakes contain both melted chocolate and cocoa powder, giving the cakes a deep chocolate flavor without being too sweet. Speaking of sweet, my very favorite dark muscovado is used and it perfumes the cakes with molasses. Yum!

The little cakes are scooped out onto baking sheets; six per sheet. I don't have an ice cream scoop, but Rose mentions that the scoop in question is 2 tablespoons, so I just used my tablespoon. However I had enough batter left over to actually add another tablespoon and a half to each cake. Go figure.

The little cakes bake up in ten minutes and thankfully, held their shape very well. They are cooled on a rack and set aside while the filling is made.

Two Fat Cats Whoopie Pies

I guess traditional whoopie pie filling is marshmallow cream, but Rose fancies hers up a bit. The vegan whoop I ate had the classic shortening/powdered sugar filling which further convinced me what I had was a giant oreo cakester.

The cream is made by first making the marshmallow; a stiffly beaten egg white is set aside while a sugar syrup boils. The two are mixed together, creating usually quite a mess, and to finish this marshmallow cream a little bit of butter and vanilla are added. This gets cooled for a few minutes in the refrigerator, while butter and powdered sugar are beaten wildly in the mixer. The marshmallow is added in and ta-da! Marshmallow cream!

Two Fat Cats Whoopie Pies

I would guess that about half of the sugar syrup ended up on the sides of the bowl or stuck to the spatula, so my cream wasn't very sweet. Which was okay, but it also dulled the flavor of the cream in general. But I'm not really complaining.

After hanging out in an airtight container my cakes were very sticky. The biggest cake actually split in two as I was trying to pick it up off the plate. I chose to eat my whoopie pie with a fork since it was so sticky.

Cookie and Cabbage seemed to like them well enough. Cookie especially. She seemed to be very pleased with them. We divided up the six pies so that each of us got two, and I suspect cookie might eat both of hers tonight! I am trying to save my second one for, you guessed it, breakfast.

Two Fat Cats Whoopie Pies

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Banana Refrigerator Cake

  I have never much liked bananas, mostly because the fruit from the supermarket tends to be dry and mealy. Not my preferred fruit experience. In Hawaii, I was introduced to the amazingly delicious apple banana. (Did you know a bunch of bananas is called a hand? That is cool.) When I was in the Philippines, my whole banana world was rocked. I was there for about 10 days, and we had fresh bananas every day, and seemingly never the same variety of banana twice. Who knew so many different bananas existed? Let me tell you, if you can ever get your hands on a freshly picked banana, especially if it isn't the grocery store variety we Americans have become accustomed to, do it. And prepared to be wowed.

Bananas baked into bread or cake is pretty much the only way I eat grocery store bananas, and this cake is a quick and easy way to do it.

Banana Refrigerator Cake

April 10, 2010
Name of cake: Sneaking in the Bananas
Occasion: HCB
Constituents: banana cake, made with oil instead of butter

I know! Oil instead of butter! It does make a very light and moist cake, and to be honest I didn't really miss the butter. (I know! Who am I?)

This cake is a riff on Rose's Sour Cream Banana Cake from the Cake Bible. Some of the changes are the substitution of oil for butter, and creme fraiche for sour cream (although she does give the option to use sour cream). I decided not to use creme fraiche, deliciously creamy as it is, and then decided to sub plain full-fat yogurt for the sour cream. As I was already wandering off the page, so to speak, I also thumbed my nose at my food processor and used the immersion blender to puree the bananas and yogurt. This worked like a charm, and so much easier to clean!

Banana Refrigerator Cake

The banana puree is added to turbinado sugar (another change--the Cake Bible cake is made with superfine sugar) in the mixer and whipped until the sugar dissolves. Other mixing stuff happens, which involve eggs, vanilla, lemon zest, oil, and some dry ingredients, but I can't really remember how it all goes.

My cake took awhile to fully bake, and even after 40 minutes (the maximum time) there was still a gooey spot in the top. You can see it in this photo, where the crack is:

Banana Refrigerator Cake

We decided to skip the frosting (I wasn't too keen on pulling out the food processor) and instead ate the cake about 30 minutes after coming out of the oven with vanilla ice cream. This way, we could enjoy the cake warm and still got a little creamy love on the side. I bet the Dreamy Creamy frosting is incredible, but I couldn't be bothered. Do try it warm, with some ice cream, because it was really good!

Banana Refrigerator Cake

The Sour Cream Banana Cake in the Cake Bible is wonderful, but a bit dense as well. This cake had a nice thin, crisp crust that gave away to insides that were light and almost feathery. It still had the same great banana flavor and wasn't too sweet. I like the caramel notes the turbinado sugar gives to this cake--in fact I think a salted caramel sauce would be a fantastic accompaniment. Super easy, super yummy, and a great source of potassium and fiber! Like last week's Pecan Torte, this Banana Cake was healthy and tasty breakfast. ;)

Monday, April 05, 2010

Sybil's Pecan Torte with Coffee Cream

This is our second gluten free cake in a row, intended for those observing Passover, but delicious any time of the year.

Last week, we got around using gluten by using meringue disks as the layers. This time, we used ground nuts for a flour-like substitute but counted on very well beaten eggs for volume and stability. This resulted in a cake that was at once light like an angel food but satisfying like a butter cake. In my opinion, at least.

Sybil's Pecan Torte with Coffee Cream

April 1, 2010
Name of cake: I'm Calling This One Healthy
Occasion: The Grants are coming!
Constituents: pecan-coffee cake with coffee whipped cream

Joelf's family was heading out to the Oregon coast for the weekend and to break up the drive, stayed overnight at my place on Thursday. I spent most of the week frantically cleaning up (it has been a while) and then I decided to bake this cake a little early. More people to eat it!

Thankfully, this cake was very easy to put together. I was fairly pooped by the time it came around to baking.

First, pecans are toasted and ground with the sugar and instant espresso. Rose instructs you to be careful to stop before the nuts became oily, which left my nuts in bigger pieces than I wanted. In the end it was fine but in the moment, I was annoyed. I wanted a really really fine powder but it was not going to happen. Rose says to move this mixture to a medium bowl, but all that does is dirty another bowl. I say, leave it.

About seven eggs are separated and beaten wildly. I say about seven eggs, because true to the egg yolk conspiracy I needed 7.6 yolks and yet only 5.8 whites. The yolks are beaten with most of the sugar for about 5 minutes until they fall from the beater in a thick ribbon. I love the look of egg yolks falling from the beater in a thick ribbon.

Sybil's Pecan Torte with Coffee Cream

Next the nut mixture is folded into the yolks in three parts. Everything was thick and sticky by the end of this step. Was that because of my oily nuts?

The whites are then beaten into a stiff meringue. I am so glad I bought that extra mixing bowl from Target a few years ago. Otherwise, I would have had to scrape the yolks into another bowl and impeccably washed the mixer.

Sybil's Pecan Torte with Coffee Cream

After the meringue is created, it is folded into the yolk mixture in three parts. I was glad that by the time I was folding in the third part the batter had once again become light and fluffy. Despite how messy my fingers become, I really like using the whisk attachment to fold.

Sybil's Pecan Torte with Coffee Cream

I was a little worried as my batter filled the pan more than halfway. I imagined all sorts of cascading batter disasters but luckily none of it came to fruition. The cake rose nice and high--a little over the rim of the pan, and smelled pretty tasty.

The cake needs to be cooled in the pan upside down on a rack. For some reason I thought this was pretty funny. Luckily, only a little bit stuck to the cooling rack.

Sadly, as I turned the cake out, I discovered that once again, cakes made in this pan have crispy burnt bottoms. It is a dark pan, I guess I should have turned down the oven temperature. Or I should get a new pan! (Yeah--consume!) Happily, I was able to simply slice the burnt crust right off the bottom of the cake before I flipped it over. No problem.

Sybil's Pecan Torte with Coffee Cream

The coffee cream is simply whipped cream with instant espresso powder, sugar, vanilla, and a little gelatin in order to prevent it from watering out. This came together quickly and easily, and frosting the cake was a cinch.

The Grants arrived about midnight and Joelf's parents went to bed soon after. The boys (Joelf and his two brothers) and I stayed up and ate soup, then cake, and talked and laughed. I sure do love that family.

Sybil's Pecan Torte with Coffee Cream

The boys were nice and told me the cake was good. I agreed. It is similar in texture to one of Rose's very moist angel food cakes, yet the coffee flavor gives it a breakfasty taste. I liked the edge of bitterness the coffee brought and thought the toasted pecans were wonderful and rounded out the cake nicely.

You know, this cake (while still being cake) can't be too unhealthy, right? No empty calories from heavily processed flour, a little fiber and Vitamin E from the nuts and protein from both the nuts and eggs. Really, in the cake world, this one is pretty good.

At least, that is what I told myself when I ate the cake for breakfast.

Sybil's Pecan Torte with Coffee Cream