Chocolate Chip Cake

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 BM #105: Week 2, Day 2
Theme : One country, One category

A chocolate cake with a good dose of chocolate chips in it and topped with a chocolate glaze – That could be the definition for dessert! The one here is even more sweeter than the rest, because my son baked it for our friend’s anniversary. He insisted on baking and I decided that’s a great thing. The problem with him baking is that he looses interest half way through and then it would be up to me to take care of the rest. That’s the reason why I chose a simple cake, one with not much of decorations. That way he can do most of the work and truly claim to his work of art :-).

I am a big fan of Hershey’s baking books. I have never had a dud from any of their books. What I like about most of their recipes is the simplicity. This cake was easy to put together and it is from Hershey’s Recipe Collection.

Read on for the recipe.

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 Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (2sticks, ~220 gms)melted butter
  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 2/3 cups cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

For the glaze:

  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • Melted white chocolate for decoration

 

 Heat oven to 350F/180C. Grease and line a 9″ cake pan. In a mixing bowl, combine 1 cup melted butter, 1.5 cups sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat well. Now add 3 egg yolks, one at a time and beat after each addition.

 

 Add 2/3 cups cocoa powder, 1/2 cup plain flour and 3 tablespoons of water. Beat well. Stir in 1 cup chocolate chips.

In another clean mixing bowl, Beat 3 egg whites with 1/8 teaspoon of cream of tartar and 1/8 teaspoon salt until stiff peaks form. Fold this carefully into the chocolate mixture.

Pour this into the prepared pan. Bake for about 45 minutes or until the top begins to crack slightly. Take off the oven and let it Cool for an hour. Carefully take it out of the pan and cover with cling wrap and return to pan until you are ready to serve.

For the glaze, combine 1 cup chocolate chips(semisweet or dark) and 1/4 cup milk in a small saucepan. Cook over very low heat, stirring continuously until the mixture is smooth. It shouldn’t boil. Remove from heat, let it cool until it thickens a bit – 10 to 15 minutes or so. Pour this glaze on top of the cake and spread with a spatula. You can cover the sides as well. Decorate as you wish, here its a few lines with melted white chocolate.

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Nutella cake with Nutella frosting

BM #105: Week 2, Day 1
Theme : One country, One category

For this week’s theme, I have chosen three dessert recipes from USA. I am beginning the series with a Nutella cake. The recipe is from the book Erin Bakes Cake, which I borrowed from the library. It’s one of the best baking books I have come across. The book gives base recipes for cakes, but with numerous options to try different flavors. The recipe I am sharing is a base recipe for any “butter” cake (Nut based butter). The version here is for Nutella, but say if you want a peanut butter cake, make the substitution. You will also need to increase the sugar by one more cup as Nutella has sugar and peanut butter doesn’t.

I had made this cake last summer for a friend’s birthday. Between the cake and the frosting, there is some serious amount of Nutella here :-). The flavor was amazing and I decided to go for a very simple decoration with a chocolate drip and some cherries on top.

Read on for the recipe.

Recipe source: Erin Bakes Cake

Makes two 8″x3″ cakes

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups butter (~340 gms) , at room temp
  • 1.5 cups Nutella
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 9 eggs
  • 1.5 cups flour

Method:

  1. Pre Heat oven to 350F/ 180C. Grease and line two 8″ x 3″ pans.
  2. Beat the butter, Nutella, sugar, vanilla, baking powder and salt using a stand mixer or hand mixer. Beat until it’s a smooth and fluffy mixture. Scrape the sides of the bowl in between to make sure everything mixes well.
  3. Add eggs one at a time and beat it in.
  4. Stop the mixer and add the flour in. Fold the flour in, using a rubber spatula. This prevents the flour from going all over the place.
  5. Divide the batter between the two greased pans. Bake for about 40-45 minutes, the cake is done when a skewer inserted to the middle comes free of crumbs.
  6. Take off the oven, let it rest in the pan for ten minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack.
  7. Once the cake is completely cooled down, prepare the frosting and decorate the cake as you wish.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this Week

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‚Äôs 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

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