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Valentine Chocolate Ganache Cake

In Cakes & Cupcakes, Holidays On February 7, 2014 0 Comments

Frosted with chocolate ganache, this flourless cake is absolutely magnifique for February 14th! First, shop for Valentine’s Day decorations. Then, make the cake and enjoy the romance. Happy Valentine’s Day!

For the Cake:

Butter, flour and parchment paper for 9-inch springform pan

7 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips

1 tablespoon rum

1-1/4 sticks unsalted butter

¾ cup granulated sugar

5 large eggs, separated

Four 3-inch wide strips of aluminum foil (for cake assembly)

1 cup ground, unpeeled almonds

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F oven. Butter a 9-inch springform pan.

2. Place a 9-inch round parchment paper circle at bottom of pan; dust the sides of pan with flour, shaking off excess.

3. Fill a double-boiler pan with about 2 inches of water. Place the double boiler element over the pan and place on stove burner set on high heat.

4. Add the chocolate, rum, butter and sugar to the double boiler. As the mixture heats, stir it with a wooden spoon until it becomes uniform.

5. When chocolate mixture is uniform, remove the pan from heat and allow to cool a little.

6. Meanwhile, in a 2 or 3-quart mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Set egg whites aside.

7. In a separate 1-pint bowl, beat the egg yolks until they are uniform.

8. With a spatula, transfer the chocolate mixture to a 3-quart mixing bowl.

9. Gently stir the beaten egg yolks into the runny chocolate mixture.

10. Stir the ground almonds into the chocolate-egg yolk mixture.

11. Gently fold the stiff egg whites into the chocolate batter, taking care not to mash or deflate the egg whites.

12. When mixture is uniform, transfer it to the prepared spring form pan.

13. Place the spring form pan on a rack positioned in center of oven.

14. Bake the cake for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, check to see if the center of cake has puffed up. If it still looks sunken and wet, bake the cake for an additional 5 minutes.

15. After 5 minutes, if the cake looks puffed up, insert a knife with pointed tip in center of cake. If knife comes out clean, the cake is done.

16. Transfer the cake to a rack or trivet set on a counter; let it cool completely.

17. When cake has cooled completely, remove the sides of spring form pan.

18. Invert the cake over a platter and gently lift off the pan bottom.

19. Peel off the parchment paper and set cake aside.

MAKE SURE THAT THE CAKE IS COMPLETELY COLD, BEFORE YOU PREPARE THE GANACHE:

For the Chocolate Ganache:

8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

1 tablespoon rum

1 cup heavy whipping cream

Directions:

1. Place chocolate and rum in a medium glass or porcelain bowl (it should be heatproof).

2. Place cream in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer.

3. When the cream has just begun to simmer, immediately pour it over the chocolate in bowl and let it stand 2 to 3 minutes.

4. After 2 to 3 minutes, whisk the chocolate-cream mixture until smooth. Let cool slightly before using. Set aside.

Pour Ganache Over Cake:

1.  Pour the runny ganache over cake, start pouring in center of cake and then pour over rim/sides of cake.

2. Let the ganache forms drips over the cake sides.

3.   Set the cake aside so that the ganache will solidify – about 30 minutes.

4. When the ganache has solidified, cover the the cake with aluminum foil and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

5. This cake can be made one day ahead and refrigerated.

Text and Photograph ©2014 Nancy DeLucia Real

 

Irish Whiskey Cake with Avocado Cream Frosting

Irish Whiskey Cake with Avocado Cream Frosting

In Cakes & Cupcakes, Holidays On March 12, 2011 0 Comments

When I first imagined making this scrumptious cake, I thought it should be round. But then I thought, “Naaah, decorated cupcakes are more fun.” I also bought a clover leaf cake pan and delved right into the festive spirit of St. Patrick’s Day.

My version of this springtime cake contains no butter – the “cream” in the frosting comes from fresh avocado with an added tangy surprise. The result is a rich and delicious Irish Whiskey Cake. You and your guests can reach for that second or third piece guilt free – enjoy!

For the Cake:
2 ¾ cups all-purpose, unbleached flour
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
1 ¾ cups granulated sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
5 large eggs
½ cup whiskey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
zest of 1 lemon

1. Preheat oven to 325F˚. Grease and flour either a 9-inch round cake pan or a clover leaf cake pan; set aside. If making cupcakes, line the muffin pans with baking cups and set aside.

2. In a 1-quart bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

3. In either a stand mixer fitted with a bowl or a conventional mixing bowl (using a hand mixer), beat together the sugar, oil, eggs, whiskey, vanilla and lemon zest until smooth.

4. On low speed, stir in the dry ingredients and mix until batter is smooth, about 2 to 3 minutes.

5. Pour the batter into desired cake pan or into the muffin cups.

6. Place cake pan on a rack positioned in center of oven and bake 30 to 35 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.

7. Alternatively, place muffin pans on top and bottom oven racks and bake 20 to 25 minutes or until knife inserted in center of one cupcake comes out clean.

8. Transfer cake pan or muffin pans to counter and set aside to cool.

9. When cake is completely cooled, unmold it and transfer to a serving platter; set aside.

For the Avocado Cream Frosting:
2/3 cup freshly mashed avocado
5½ to 6½ cups powdered sugar
2 to 2½ tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
One clover-leaf shaped cake pan, one 10-inch springform pan or two 12-cup muffin pans
One 4.25-ounce Decorating Green Icing Tube fitted with a straight tip (optional)

1. In a 1-quart mixing bowl, whisk together the mashed avocado (with all lumps broken down) and 5½ cups of the powdered sugar.

2. Mix in the lemon juice and whisk until smooth. If frosting appears to thin, add a little more sugar and whisk until consistency is smooth and creamy but firm enough to hold its shape on top of cake or cupcakes.

3. With a spatula or flat, round-tipped knife, frost the cake or cupcakes.

4. Using the tube fitted with a tip, make decorations over frosting.

The cake or cupcakes can be served the same day or made a day ahead, covered in a foil tent and refrigerated.

To foil tent a cake, place 6 to 8 toothpicks halfway into cake and spaced out throughout cake surface. Create a tent with aluminum foil sheets that are large enough to cover cake and secure around platter edges.

*Note – A 10 or 11-inch square cake pan can be used as well.

Text and Photographs ©2011 Nancy DeLucia Real

Pumpkin Cheese Cake

Pumpkin "Cheese" Cake

In Cakes & Cupcakes, Holidays On November 13, 2010 20 Comments

During the week before Thanksgiving I usually make pumpkin bread. This year, I reinvented this Autumn coffee go-with. I made a traditional pumpkin cake with an added cream cheese filling. Some of the white flour has been substituted with whole wheat flour. And, although I eliminated the oil, this dessert is still moist and scrumptious. Serve this “no fuss” cake for Thanksgiving – and don’t forget the coffee!

Prep time: 20 minutes
Bake time: 40 to 50 minutes
Makes: One 10-inch cake

FOR THE CREAM CHEESE CAKE FILLING:
One 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg

1. In a 2-cup mixing bowl and with a hand mixer, beat together the cream cheese, sugar and egg.

2. Set aside until ready to assemble into the raw cake batter.

FOR THE CAKE:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
One 15-ounce can pumpkin
1 cup nonfat, plain yogurt
4 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup (4 ounces) Dulce de Leche*

1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease and flour an 10-inch round spring form pan and set aside.

2. In a 4-cup mixing bowl, combine the flours, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and allspice; set aside.

3. Meanwhile, in a 2-cup mixing bowl, using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sugar and egg; set aside.

4. In a 3 or 4-quart mixing bowl, mix together the pumpkin, yogurt, eggs, sugar and vanilla on low speed.

5. Gradually add the combined dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and beat at low speed until the batter is uniform, about 1 to 2 minutes.

6. Pour half of the pumpkin batter into the prepared pan, spreading it evenly with a spatula; set aside.

7. Spoon the cream cheese mixture evenly over batter in pan followed by remaining half of pumpkin batter. Make sure the top pumpkin batter layer covers the cream cheese mixture evenly.

8. Place springform pan with batter on a rack positioned in center of oven and bake 40 to 50 minutes.

9. After 40 minutes, check doneness of cake by inserting a pointed knife in its center. If knife has sticky batter around it, bake cake for an additional 5 minutes. Check doneness once more. Knife inserted should come out clean. If not, bake another 5 minutes.

10. Cool cake completely in spring form pan on counter.

11. If making a day ahead, cover pan with aluminum foil and refrigerate. Remove cake from refrigerator 2 hours before serving.

FOR THE CAKE GARNISH:
5-Minute Sweetened Whipped Cream (found in our recipes, under Desserts, Creams & Sauces)

1. When cake is completly cook and at serving time, remove sides of spring form pan and set cake on a platter (do not remove cake from pan bottom). 

2. Serve individual pieces of cake on your guests’ plates, topped with a drizzle of dulce de leche and the whipped cream.

*Dulce de leche is a caramel sauce from Argentina and can be found in Latin American supermarkets. It is usually packaged and sold in a 15-ounce glass or plastic jar.

Text and Photographs ©2010 Nancy DeLucia Real

Pouding Chômeur

Pouding Chômeur (Pudding of the Unemployed)

In Cakes & Cupcakes On August 29, 2010 2 Comments

Pouding Chômeur (sometimes called “le gâteau chômeur”) is literally the poor man’s pudding or cake. Originating in the French province of Quebec, Canada, the cake was created in 1929 by some female factory workers – this was the time of the Great Depression. Traditionally, it was made with flour, brown sugar and other inexpensive ingredients. Then and now, the most common ingredient of this cake, pure maple syrup, hails from an abundance of trees in the forests of Quebec.

This vanilla-infused cake is bathed in a delicate maple cream sauce. In essence, this is what turns the cake into a moist, pudding-like dessert. I have created this version of Pouding Chômeur in honor of Labor Day.

Enjoy le pouding “avec une bonne tasse de café” (with a good cup of coffee).

Prep time: 30 minutes
Bake time: 35 minutes
Makes: One 9 X 18-inch Cake

FOR THE CAKE:
2 cups all-purpose, unbleached flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/3 cups milk
Strawberries (for garnish)
5-Minute Sweetened Whipped Cream (found in our Recipes, under “Desserts, Creams & Sauces”)

1. Preheat oven to 350F˚. Grease and flour a 9 X 13-inch rectangular baking pan and set aside.

2. In a 1-quart mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

3. In a 2-quart mixing bowl, using a hand mixer, beat together the butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla extract.

4. Stir in the dry ingredients alternately with the milk. Pour the cake batter into prepared pan.

5. Place pan on rack positioned in center of oven. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a knife inserted in center of cake comes out clean.

6. Remove cake from oven and set on a counter to cool.

FOR THE SAUCE:
1-1/2 cups pure maple syrup (12 ounces)
1-1/2 cups brown sugar, lightly packed
1 cup heavy whipping cream

1. Combine all ingredients in a 1-quart saucepot and bring to a boil; lower heat to medium.

2. Stir the sauce with a wire whisk until heated through and it turns golden-opaque.

3. Transfer the sauce to a 2-cup glass or porcelain bowl and cool to room temperature.

SERVING THE CAKE & SAUCE:

1. Drizzle a little maple cream sauce onto individual dessert plates.

2. Cut the cake into 3-inch squares and place over sauce on plate.

3. Drizzle a little more sauce over cake.

4. Garnish with strawberries and 5-Minute Sweetened Whipped Cream (found in our Recipes, under “Desserts, Creams & Sauces”).

Note: The cake and maple cream syrup can be made a day ahead. Place cake on counter 4 hours before serving so that it can warm to room temperature.

Text and Photographs ©2010 Nancy DeLucia Real