Cupcake recipe

BM# 100: Week 4, Day 3
Theme : Pick an alphabet 

Like I mentioned earlier, I have a go to recipe for chocolate cakes. And I have another one for Vanilla cakes. I always use the Hot Milk Cake recipe from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book be it cakes or cupcakes.Its a  very tasty and sturdy cake and it freezes very well too.

I chanced upon a Craftsy (now BluPrint) DVD at the library couple of years back. Craftsy/BluPrint has a lot of online classes for various topics. I found excellent classes for Baking and cake decorating there, so I took the membership. I found their decorating videos to be more useful, its really helped me a lot.

The recipe for cupcakes here is from The Perfect Cupcake by Jennifer Shea . I never knew that there is so much more you can do with the cupcakes, there is a section on adding crusts to your cupcakes which I found very interesting. She suggests serving cupcakes on the day of baking for maximum freshness. Since cupcakes don’t take too much time to bake, I found it to be excellent advice. The recipe can be baked as a cake as well, you will need to adjust the baking time according to the size of the pan used.

This is the last recipe under the alphabet C. Read on for the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup cake flour*
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 cups half and half **
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (227 gms/2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 2 3/4 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs

Method:

  1. Pre heat the oven to 350F/180C. Line two 12 cup muffin pans with cupcake liners. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk flour, cake flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a smaller bowl, mix the mik, half and half, vanilla. Set aside.
  4. Using a stand mixer or a hand mixer, beat the sugar and butter until it becomes light and creamy. Add eggs, one at a time and mix well, scraping the bowl after each addition.
  5. Add the dry ingredients mix in three parts, alternating it with wet ingredients in two parts, keeping the mixer at a low speed. Once everything is added, using a rubber spatula, mix everything well and let it sit aside for 15 minutes. Stir gently before using.
  6. Fill upto 2/3rd of the cupcake liners and bake for about 20 minutes until the tops are firm and a skewer inserted to the center of the cupcakes comes free of crumbs. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack.
  7. Frost once the cupcakes are completely cool.

Notes:

*Substitute all purpose flour for cake flour.

**I use a mix of heavy cream and whole milk or whole milk alone for half and half.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM#100

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Chocolate cake

BM# 100: Week 4, Day 1
Theme : Pick an alphabet

For the third week of blogging for BM #100, I have chosen the alphabet ‘C’ and so you will find three posts, all starting with C. The first one is a chocolate cake. Though I make a lot of cakes, I don’t share the recipes often here in the blog. The reason is that I don’t deviate from my tried and tested recipes for cakes. When it comes to chocolate cakes, I always go with the Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate cake. Its the same recipe that you find in the back of their Cocoa powder box. Almost all other chocolate cake recipes that you find online are variations of this one. I like it a lot and stopped looking for another recipe longtime back. So anytime I make a chocolate cake, its only the outside design that’s different. The recipe is always the same and its already recorded in the blog. That’s the reason why I don’t feature the new cakes here in the blog.

Though the Hershey’s cake gives excellent results, I find it to be very soft. It’s not a problem for a cake with simple decoration, like just frosting with whipped cream or buttercream. But I wanted to make a fondant cake that’s supposed to carry a topper. In fact I had two such cakes to make, one with farm animals theme and another with Safari theme. I went with the Hershey’s cake for Safari theme but decided to try a different recipe for the farm theme cake. I didn’t have any problems with the Hershey’s cake, it held the topper just fine. But I still decided to try another recipe to see if I can find a sturdier cake.

The recipe here is from the book Erin Bakes Cake. Its one of the best baking books I have come across. The book gives a lot of ideas for flavor variations, about tweaking a base recipe to get different flavors. I have the library copy with me, but I think I will be buying my own copy soon. This cake was sturdier than the Hershey’s cake, but it wasn’t dense. You can make three 8″ cakes if you are using 2″ deep pans. The recipe for the buttercream can be found here.

For the animal toppers, I have used a mix of gum paste and fondant. The farm animals are sitting on a 1″ tall cake base. The base itself can be taken out before cutting into the cake. So its a good way to save the toppers. It has a long shelf life and so you can display it in a covered glass cabinet. I looked at YouTube Videos for making the animals and made them a week ahead so that they can dry completely.

Recipe Source: Erin Bakes Cake 

Makes three 8″ cakes in 8″X2″ pans

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks/227 gms), softened
  • 2 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups cocoa powder
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 4 cups flour

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Grease and line three 8″ pans.
  2. Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer, beat the butter for a minute or two. Add both the sugars, baking soda and salt. Beat this mixture until its fluffy and creamy. Stop and scrape the sides down in between so that everything mixes uniformly.
  3. Add the eggs (one at a time) beat it in until its mixed well.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk the cocoa powder with warm water so that there aren’t any dry lumps. Add the milk and whisk to combine everything.
  5. Stop the mixer and add half of the flour to the butter-egg mixture. Mix it lightly with a rubber spatula. Now beat it in low speed so that flour doesn’t fly everywhere.
  6. Once you stop seeing flour streaks, add half of the milk mixture. Beat it in. Alternate between the flour mix and the milk mix once more.
  7. Divide the batter evenly between three pans. Bake in the middle rack for about 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes free of crumbs. Take out of the oven, let the cake cool in the pan itself for at least 10-15 minutes. Remove from the pan, cover with two rounds of cling wrap and return to the pan until its time for filling and frosting.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM#100

Chocolate Cake

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They say necessity is the mother of inventions. But there are times when shortage in the ingredients list also leading to discoveries. I was making my all time favorite chocolate cake from Hershey’s when I realized that I was short on milk. I went ahead and substituted buttermilk and the cake came out wonderfully nice.

Now I wish I could say that it was an Eureka moment, but the thing is this recipe (“Perfectly Chocolate” chocolate cake) has been there forever and every possible alteration has been done to it. The base structure of the cake is same; about 2 cups of flour and sugar each, 3 teaspoons of leavening agents, 2 eggs, 1/2 cup oil and 1 cup of milk. This is followed by a cup of boiling water which thins down the batter considerably. This recipe has been improved by many in many ways. The eggs have been replaced by 1/2 cup of yogurt, milk replaced by buttermilk and boiling water improvised to weak coffee by adding a spoon of instant coffee powder.

The cake takes in all the changes and yet gives good results.

This is my go to recipe for chocolate cakes (with eggs) and I still prefer the original recipe with the addition of coffee. But I have tried the buttermilk version also 3-4 times now with pleasing results.

Read on for the age old recipe that’s been through so many modifications and yet remain the same and popular as ever!

1chocolate cake

Recipe adapted very slightly from Hershey’s Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1.5 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1.5 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk (or milk)
  • 1/2 cup odorless oil like sunflower or canola
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup hot water + 1 teaspoon instant coffee powder (or one cup weak coffee)

Method:

  1. Heat oven to 350F/ 180C. Grease and line two 9″ round pans with parchment paper.
  2. In a big bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Make sure everything is combined well.
  3. Beat the eggs separately. Now add in the eggs, buttermilk (or milk), oil and vanilla extract to the flour mix. Mix well with a whisk or wooden spoon or a hand mixer.
  4. Add the coffee powder to the hot water. Mix it in. Add this (or one cup of weak coffee) to the cake batter. Slowly and carefully mix it in.
  5. Pour into the prepared cake pans and bake for about 35-40 minutes. Check whether the cake is done by inserting a wooden skewer into the middle. If it comes out free of crumbs, the batter is cooked and the cake is done. Take off the oven and let it rest for at least 10-15 minutes in the pan before taking it out.

Note: This cake is very soft, so make sure the pan is lined and the cake is allowed to rest for sometime before trying to take it out of the pan. Else it might just break into pieces.

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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for more recipes from other participants.

This post is also going to Kid’s Delight event for this month’s theme :Chocolate.

Black Forest-y cake

cake

This was a cake, that really took the cake! Reason? My son baked it.

From scratch.

I was the assistant. I was bringing him things, cleaning up after he left, greasing the pans, heating the oven…taking care of all the side jobs while the master chef was sieving, measuring, mixing, and making the cake.

It indeed felt proud to have a kid of 7 showing so much of interest in baking :-).

cake-001

This cake is from Sapana of Cooking with Sapana for her baby shower. It’s based on her version of black forest cake. I realized only half way through that I was short on cherries and other required stuff.

So in a nut shell, this is a chocolate cake with whipped cream frosting and decorated with grated chocolate and cherries and plum. I don’t think that’s too far from the local bakery’s definition of black forest cake :D.

cake-002

Assembling the cake:

  • One chocolate cake (cake of your choice would do)
  • Whipped cream
  • Syrup : 1 cup water + 1 cup sugar boiled until the sugar melts. Use once it’s cooled down OR  1 cup apple juice + 1/4 cup powdered sugar mixed in
  • Chocolate shavings
  • Cherry compote for the filling ( I didn’t make this, but definitely the next time)
  • Cherries / plum for decoration

Method:

  1. Help your kid bake the cake :-). Once the cake is baked, press down dome very softly with a clean kitchen towel. Let it cool in the pan for ten minutes.
  2. After that, take out the cake from the pan and let it cool completely on a wire rack.
  3. Beat the whipped cream until stiff peaks form. Refrigerate until needed.
  4. Once the cake is cooled, transfer it to a cake board or a plate and put it in a turn table.
  5. Carefully cut it into two, first turning the cake and marking with a knife from the sides and then slowly cutting through. Check this video on how to cut a cake using knife.
  6. Place the top layer into a separate plate.Brush away the crumbs on both pieces.
  7. Sprinkle some cooled sugar syrup on the lower cake layer, the one on the cake board. You can use your hands for sprinkling.
  8. Now fill the cake with whipped cream and keep the top layer on top of the filling. If the top layer has a dome, you either trim it off or keep the top layer upside down, so that the dome sits on top of the bottom layer’s filling. You can try this only if the dome is not too big.
  9. Sprinkle the sugar syrup on the top layer as well.
  10. Now, bring the whipped cream from the fridge and frost the sides and top of the cake. It doesn’t have to be perfect since the top and the sides can be covered with chocolate shavings or even crumbled cake pieces. If you had cut the dome, you can crumble it and coat the sides.
  11. Once the cake is covered with fresh cream, pipe designs in the border using whipped cream in a piping bag.
  12. Fill the middle and sides with chocolate shavings or crumbled cake pieces. Decorate with cherries.
  13. Refrigerate the cake until ready to serve.

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