Thursday, October 28, 2010

Gabe's Cake: Part 1

Alright, I have been SO darn busy this month that I have not been able to do anything fun in the kitchen. The one thing I did try, cake bites and little baby cakes, turned out pretty ugly so I didn't even post.

Well, the good thing is that my friend's son Gabe is turning one and she asked me to make the cake, so I have good motivation. I made a really cute little order form and met with her the other day to plan it out. This cake has to be a big deal so we have been planning for a while. I have to admit that I feel pretty legit with this little order form. 

I am going out of town this weekend and the cake is for Monday so I have been doing it in installments. Everything is now made so all I have to do on Monday is put it together and decorate. The thing is that every part, singly and separately, tastes SO GOOD that I wanted to blog about it! It's like I'm actually learning something because it just keeps tasting better and better.

First I made the frosting:
I watched this video on YouTube about mixing a batch of buttercream. Pretty boring. Well, it was worth it because this frosting turned out SO good. It did not all fit in my mixer very well, but it was SO SMOOTH and so nice looking.

Here is the link:

Look at how smooth this frosting is!

These are the colors that my friend chose for decorating the cake.  So cute!

Then I made the cakes:
I used this recipe. It says it made about 12 cupcakes. I did 4x the recipe, which was A LOT of cake batter, but it turned out that I really did need it all so that was great. I made 3 9"x 1.5" rounds, 2 6"x2" rounds, and one tiny little cake for the baby.

3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in center. Prepare the batter: Place chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl, and set it over a medium saucepan of barely simmering water; stir chocolate until melted and smooth. Remove bowl from heat, and set aside to cool slightly. (I did this in the microwave.)
2. Meanwhile, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar on medium speed, scraping sides of bowl as needed, until light and fluffy. On low speed, mix in melted chocolate. Increase speed to medium, and add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla, and beat until mixture is creamy and color has lightened slightly, about 1 minute. Mix in sour cream. On low speed, add half of reserved flour mixture, beating until just incorporated. Mix in 1/2 cup water. Add remaining flour mixture, and mix until just incorporated.
4. Line a cupcake pan with paper liners. Fill each liner with enough batter to come 1/8 inch from top, about 1/3 cup. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until tops are firm and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to a wire rack to cool in pan for 10 minutes.

Read more at Hi-Hat Cupcakes - Martha Stewart Recipes

This is what I did with the extra.  Look how thick that batter is!

This is one of the best cakes I have ever tasted. It was super moist, but still stuck together enough to be able to cut layers. It was also very chocolaty due to the melted chocolate as opposed to coco powder. I am very VERY happy with this recipe.

Then I made the filling:
This is a Brazilian recipe that I learned from a wonderful lady name Luzia when I lived in Sao Paulo. She was a master cake maker and taught me a lot of thing. It is thick and creamy, but not as rich as ganache but still chocolate. I have been doing a lot of fruit filled cakes lately so this was a nice change.

2 cans sweetened condensed milk
2 cans whole milk (I just use the sweetened condensed milk can to measure)
1 can table cream (buy this in the hispanic foods section, or use heavy whipping cream)
2 T butter
2 T coco powder

So yeah, this is rich stuff. Melt butter first, add the sweetened condensed milk and all other ingredients in a large sauce pan. Use a pan with a thick base to prevent burning. Get this to a low rolling boil. Don't worry about the coco powder, it will mix in with time and heat. Keep stirring. I usually use a whisk. Now this has to cook for about 20 minutes-ish. As it cooks it will get thicker and as it cools it will get really thick. I usually let it go until the cream boils and the bubbles pop. When it starts popping out and getting messy, it is usually good. Put plastic wrap directly over the cream (until it's touching) after it cools just a little and stick it in the fridge. The plastic wrap will keep it from forming a film on top. Believe me, you don't want to waste this stuff.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Cherry Chocolate Joy

I love love LOVE cherry and chocolate together (and so do a lot of people I know) so this week I decided to make a cake just to eat for the fun of it.  I usually only have time to make cakes for birthdays and other events as gift and things, so it was fun to do a cake just to make me happy.  My mom used to make this chocolate cake with cherry pie filling in the middle and iced with whipped topping so I decided to copy it in my own way.  I tried a new chocolate cake recipe.  I was going for moist-ness, which I defiantly got in this one from

Moist Chocolate Cake

2 c. sugar
2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
Dash salt
1/2 c. cocoa
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1 c. boiling water
2 eggs
1 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix together, putting eggs and milk in last. Cocoa can be dissolved in boiling water before adding. Batter is very runny. Put in one 9 x 13 or two 8 inch pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until done.

This cake batter was very runny and a little hard to get out of the pans and move around, but it tasted so good that I almost didn't mind.  Next time I would flour the pans a little better.


I torted the cake with some frosting to act as a dam and almost a whole can of cherry pie filling.  It is pretty important to pipe some frosting around the edge so the cherry will stay inside and not make the cake look like its bleeding.  
I put the top layer on with the help of a plate and a few spatulas and some slight frustration.  I dirty iced this cake, mostly because it is so moist which means it is SO crumbly.  Now that I have tried the dirty ice thing, it is hard to go back to not doing it.  It is just so much smarter.    
I put this cake in the freezer for quite a while and then iced it all nice and pretty and did some shells around the bottom and a little ring around the top. 
Inside this ring, I put the rest of the cherry filling and arranged the cherries around the top in a little circle.