Dark Chocolate Cake; Chantilly Cream; Loquats in Scented Simple Syrup (pictured here with kumquats)
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DARK CHOCOLATE CAKE
Makes 2 (8-inch) cake layers
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare two standard cake pans (8 inches in diameter,
2 inches deep) by lightly spraying the bottoms and sides with cooking spray. Cut out circles of parchment paper to fit on the bottom of each pan. The paper should be flat, not inching up the sides of the pan. Set pans aside.
Mix together the cake flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a bowl with a whisk and set aside.
Combine the chocolate, brown sugar, and milk in a stainless steel bowl and place over simmering water. Stir the ingredients together as they melt. This creates a chocolate base for the cake, which you can transfer to a big mixing bowl.
Put the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and mix at medium speed until the butter is light and soft. Change to the whisk attachment, and slowly add the granulated sugar and continue whipping until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, and beat until each one is incorporated. Add half of the dry ingredients and mix in slowly. Add half of the buttermilk. Repeat this process until all the flour mixture and milk is incorporated. This is your batter. Add the batter to the chocolate base and combine lightly using a large rubber spatula. Stir in the vanilla, then set aside. You now have a chocolate batter.
13/4 cups cake flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup whole or 2% milk
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar 3 large egg yolks 3/4 cup buttermilk 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 3 large egg whites
Thoroughly rinse and dry your mixer bowl and whisk attachment, then mix the egg whites at medium speed for about 3 minutes, or until they hold a medium peak. Gently fold half of the whipped egg whites into the chocolate bat- ter until the mixture is smooth. Repeat with the remaining egg whites, and fold just until all the egg whites are incor- porated. The egg whites should be fully incorporated—no streaks. Pour the completed cake batter into the prepared cake pans equally.
Bake for about 35 minutes, or until the cakes springs lightly in the center when touched, or a toothpick comes out clean with a few crumbs but no batter. Remove the cakes from the oven and cool on a rack until room tem- perature. Remove the cake layers by using a paring knife to gently cut the cake from the sides of the pan. Take a cake circle or sturdy paper plate, and place it over the pan. Invert the cake onto the plate and remove the parchment circle the cake baked on. Repeat this process for the other cake layer. Ice the first layer with the icing of your choice, with about 1/2 inch of icing on top. Place the second layer onto the cake with the bottom side up, which will give you a flat, undomed top. Ice the whole cake thinly (this is a crumb coat to stabilize the cake and hold the crumbs in place), chill it for at least 20 minutes, then apply a final coat of icing.
11/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt 4 cups cold heavy cream
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
Sift together the confectioners’ sugar and salt in small bowl and set aside.
Pour the cream and vanilla into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a wire whisk and whip for about 2 minutes at medium speed, or until the cream is visibly thick and will hold a medium peak.
Makes 6 cups icing
LOQUATS IN SIMPLE SYRUP
(This recipe works with kumquats or stone fruits, too.)
1 cup sugar (granulated white or raw)
2 cups loquats or kumquats, washed and pitted
2 vanilla beans, scraped and seeded (OK to sub in 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract)
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 lemon slices
1 pinch salt
1 Tablespoon brandy (preferably Grand Marnier)
1 Tablespoon coarse sugar for decoration (also known as “sanding sugar”)
Place the sugar and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the loquats, vanilla beans, lemon juice, lemon slices and brandy. Turn down the heat and allow the mixture to cook for 3 minutes. Turn the heat off, season to taste, strain, chill and serve over ice cream or cake. Dust with coarse sugar.
Cocoa Cookie with Sugar Islands Buttercream & Raspberry
chocolate sugar dough (for cocoa cookies or chocolate tart shell)
Makes about 2 pounds dough
11/2 cups sifted cake flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup (11/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon rum
1 tablespoon brewed espresso or coffee
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Sift together the cake flour, cocoa powder, and salt into a medium bowl, and stir with a whisk. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter at low speed for about 2 min- utes, or until it is soft and fluffy. Slowly beat in the sugar. Add the egg and mix on low. Turn off the mixer and slowly add half of the dry ingredients, and continue mixing on low until incorporated. Add the other half, then the rum, coffee, and vanilla and mix until smooth.
Remove the dough and form it into a disk, then cover it with plastic wrap or put it in a sealable plastic bag. Chill it for at least 30 minutes.
With a rolling pin, flatten the dough between two layers of parchment paper. Sprinkle the dough with a little flour if it is sticking to the parchment paper. Roll it into a disk about 1/2 inch thick and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Cream the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment at low speed until it is soft. Switch to the whisk attachment and slowly add the sugar while continuing to beat. Add the egg yolks, cream, vanilla, and salt and mix on low until smooth. Stop the mixer and add half of the flour. Mix on low until smooth, then add the rest of the flour. Mix until smooth. Remove from the mixer bowl, flatten the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for at least 30 minutes until ready to use.
Roll out thin (1/4" - 1/2") and use cookie cutter to cut out desired shapes. Bake about 10-15 minutes at 350.
sugar islands chocolate buttercream
Makes 31/2 cups icing
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attach- ment, whip the egg yolks at medium speed for about a minute to add volume to them.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, stir together the sugar, corn syrup, and water. Remove any sugar crystals from the inner sides of the pan with a wet paper towel. Place the saucepan over medium heat and don’t stir anymore. Allow the mixture to boil for 2 to 3 minutes, until it reaches the soft-ball stage, or 235°F on a digital (or candy) thermometer.
Stop the mixer, take off the wire whip and do the next step by hand. Carefully add a small splash of the hot sugar mixture into the egg yolks and briskly stir with the wire whisk. Once it is fully mixed, pour in a little more hot sugar and repeat . . . slowly . . . until all of the sugar mixture is incorpo- rated into the yolks. Place the whip and the bowl back on the mixer and whip at medium speed for about 5 minutes, or until it becomes light and fluffy. Add pieces of butter, one at a time, while continuing to whip the buttercream. Stop the mixer and add the chocolate, vanilla, rum, cream, and salt. Allow the mixture to whip for another minute and taste your creation. Adjust the flavors, then chill and rewhip a little before using.
6 large egg yolks 3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
11/4 cups (21/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
12 ounces dark chocolate, melted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons dark rum, preferably Meyers’s (optional)
Splash of heavy cream 1 teaspoon kosher salt
Scandinavian Salt & Pepper Cookies Traditional ginger cookies of Scandinavia, Pepparkakor, blend several spices for a mild, crunchy, aromatic crunch. Common in all the Nordic countries as gingerbread people on the holidays, they are lighter than traditional German gingerbreads we know in the states. In this version, pepper is the predominant spice, with ginger and cardamom in the background, and the sweet icing is topped with sea salt. to make and easy to roll & shape, these cookies make a fine project for children (or inner children). Cookie Dough 3 cups all-purpose flour 1 tablespoon baking soda 1 tablespoon pepper 1 1/2 teaspoon ginger 1 teaspoon cardamom 1 teaspoon grated orange zest 1 teaspoon salt 4 ounces butter 1 tablespoon molasses 1/2 cup corn syrup 1/2 cup brown sugar 1/2 cup white sugar 2 eggs Flour (for dusting work surface) Sift the flour, baking soda, pepper, ginger, cardamom, and salt together into a large mixing bowl and set aside. In a medium saucepan, put the butter, mollasses, corn syrup, sugar and eggs and heat over medium flame until all the ingredients are melted and blended. Pour the hot sugar mixture into the flour mixture and stir until smooth. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap (or transfer the dough into a zip-top plastic bag) and allow to rest in the fridge overnight (or at least 2 hours). Once chilled, place the dough on a work surface dusted with flour and roll thin (about 1/4"). Use cookie cutters to punch out shapes, then place each cookie on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 until the cookies are firm (about 7 - 10 minutes)
Icing 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted 1/2 cup cream (of more for thinner consistency) 1 Tablespoon vanilla 2 Tablespoons maple syrup 1 Tablespoon sea salt, such as Maldon Combine all the ingredints and spread over cooled cookies with a spoon or off set spatula.
For the Cake: 1/4 cup cake flour 1/4 cup cocoa powder 1/4 cup almond meal 6 ounces salted butter (preferrable European) 1 cup sugar (separated in 2 4 oz. batches and set aside) 6 egg yolks 6 egg whites
For the Brandy Simple Syrup: 1/2 cup water 1/2 cup sugar 2 Tablespoons Brandy
Place all ingredients in a small saucepan and allow to boil. Remove from heat and allow to cool. For the Apricot Jam: 1/2 cup Apricot Jam (storebought OK; also OK to sub in a different jam such as cherry, raspberry or strawberry for a less-tradional Sacher)
For the Dark Chocolate Glaze:
8 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup (11/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
Melt all the ingredients together in a stainless steel bowl over a saucepan with simmering water or over very low heat in a very heavy pot. Blend until the mixture is smooth and shiny. Pour over the prepared cake while the glaze is still warm. The excess glaze can be frozen and reheated for later use.
Method: Line a 9" cake pan with parchment paper and set aside. Sift the cake flour, cocoa powder and almong meal together and set aside. Cream the butter and the first 4oz. batch of sugar together in an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until very light and fluffy - about 10 minutes at high speed. Reduce the speed to low and add the yolks one by one. Turn off the mixer and, using a large spatula, transfer the batter to a large mixing bowl. Rinse out the electric mixing bowl and whisk attachment, dry them, then return them to the mixer. Put the eggwhites into the bowl and mix on medium. Gradually add the remaining batch of sugar. Allow the whites to whip at medium speed until they reach medium peak - about 3 minutes. Fold 1/2 of the egg whites into the batter and mix by hand until incorporated. Fold in the rest of the egg whites and mix lightly until incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool. Once cool, remove the cake from the pan and put it on a work surface or large cutting board. Using a serrated knife, cut the cake into two layers. Wash each layer with Brandy Simple Syrup, then apply a thin coat of Apricot Jam toone layer. Put the second layer on top of the first. Coat the Sacher cake with a layer of Dark Chocolate Glaze by pouring it over the top of the cake and allowing it to drip over the sides into an even coat and allow it to set. Slice and serve at room temperature.
Sacher Torte in Vienna
BELGIAN PRALINES Because the word "pralines" means different things in different countries in confectionary, this recipe relies on every possible interpretation of the word. In Belgium, you might call these"paraline" because the are produced in molds and filled with a mix of milk chocolate and carmelized nuts (also known as "praline" from the French). With a nod to the favorite New Orleans confection, of course called "praline", I've included brown sugar and pecans, although most any nut will work. You'll need professional polycarbonate mold to do it right, but you can always use an ice cube tray. The technique of lining the mold/tray with chocolate, dumping most of it out, allowing what's left to harden, then putting the filling in, then closing the whole thing up with another layer of tempered chocolate drives some people absolutely crazy and makes others fall madly in love.
For the Tempered Dark Chocolate
3 cups ice in a large bowl 3 cups chopped high-quality dark chocolate
Put the ice in the bowl and set aside. Reserve a handful of the chopped chocolate , and melt the rest gently in a stainless steel bowl set over simmering water until it reaches 115 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Remove the bowl from the heat. Wipe the bottom of the bowl with a dry cloth to prevent water from splashing onto the work surface. Sprinkle the reserved chocolate into the melted chocolate by placing over the bowl of ice for a few seconds at a time, removing it, stirring until smooth, and repeating until the temperature drops to 82 degrees F. Heat the chocolate again by placing the chocolaate bowl back over the simmering water for 30 seconds to 1 minute at a time. Once its temperature rises to 90 degrees F, the chocolate is ready to use. Pour it into the chocolate mold, making sure each cavity is filled. Invert the mold and allow the chocolate to drip back into the bowl. Invert the mold again, and allow the thin coating of chocolate to harden. Try to keep the remaining chocolate at 90 degrees. Prepare the filling, and fill each cavity up not quite to the rim. Then top with the remaining tempered chocolate and allow to set.
For the Praline Filling
2 cups chopped milk chocolate 1/2 cup brown sugar 1/2 cup white sugar. 1 Tablespoon cornsyrup 1 cup pecans, chopped 1/2 cup heavy cream 2 Tablespoons butter 1 teaspoon salt
Place the pecans on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and set aside. Melt the milk chocolate slowly in a medium stainless steel bowl set over simmering water (OK to carefully microwave chocolate for 1 minute to melt.) In a small saucepan or skillet, melt the sugars and corn syrup together, then let them cook (without stirring) until the mixture begins to carmelize, turning light brown at the edges. It will move quickly, so watch for a light honey color, then remove it from the heat. Allow it to cool for a few minutes, then pour it over the pecans and allow it to harden. Then add the ingredients into a food processor (an electric mixer here works almost as well). and puree until smooth with cruncy bits of nut and sugar. Adjust thickness as desired.
Carrot Cake in Switzerland
CARROT CAKE SLICES
This is a rare creation: a fruit-and-vegetable packed cake that appeals to young children and travels like a breeze. Much of the sugar found in other carrot cakes has been replaced by apple juice concentrate, readily available in most grocery stores’ freezer section. In Switzerland, the homeland of this winning single-layer cake, fanciful decorations adorn the top. Marzipan carrots, candied carrot strips and candied cherries as decorations will add a creative accent. With no adornment on top, the cake still has a simple, classic appeal. This cake has many ingredients but is very easy to make.
Yield: 12 cupcakes Difficulty Level: Easy Total Lapse: 1 hour 20 minutes (all active time as the icing is made while the cake bakes)
For the Cake:
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon baking soda
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1 tsp salt
¾ cup vegetable oil
1 cup light brown sugar
½ cup apple juice concentrate, slightly thawed
½ cup wheat germ
1/2 cup oatmeal
2 cups carrots, (peeled & shredded) (about 4 large carrots)
½ cups pineapple, chopped
½ cup shredded coconut (optional)
1 cup raisins
1 ¼ cups walnuts (broken) (optional)
1 Tablespoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 35O0. Grease a 9” rectangle loaf pans. Sift together the flours, cinnamon and salt and set aside. In a separate large bowl, mix the vegetable oil, apple juice concentrate, wheat germ, oatmeal, eggs and carrots until incorporated. Fold in the dry ingredients. Then fold in the pineapple, raisins, walnuts, vanilla and salt just until incorporated. Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake for about 40-45 minutes, until the edges turn golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. While the cake is baking, make the icing. Once the cake has cooled, unmold it from the pan by flipping it out on a plate or cutting board, then flipping it back to your work surface right-side up. Wash and dry the baking loaf pan.
For the Icing:
2 cups cream cheese (2 packages; softened)
1 cup powdered sugar (sifted)
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon vanilla
½ cup apple juice concentrate
1 teaspoon salt
In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the softened cream cheese and the butter. Add the sifted powdered sugar, then the lemon juice, vanilla, apple juice concentrate and salt. Mix until smooth (it’s OK to switch to the whisk attachment at this point to create more volume in the icing.) Continue mixing until smooth and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes). Adjust to taste. Take the bowl off the mixer and put it in the refrigerator until ready for use. Apply to the cooled cake in one thick layer using an offset spatula or large spoon. Chill for at least ½ hour.
For the Road:
Once the cake has chilled with the icing on, slice individual pieces about 1 1/2" thick. With a wet dishtowel or paper towel, wipe both sides of the knife blade between slices. Chill for another 20 minutes if possible. Decorate with candied carrots, caramel walnuts or marzipan carrots. Once all of the slices are cut and decorated, return them to the clean baking loaf pan, with a piece of parchment paper between each slice. Now iced, they should easily fit back into the pan (plus you can always sneak a slice out for the baker). Wrap the pan with cling wrap, and secure a bow under the rim of the baking pan and thus this carrot cake will make a memorable entrance.