Sunday, December 25, 2016

Coconut Layer Cake and Seven (14) Minute Frosting - American Cake

I always imagined coconut layer cake would taste this good! 
I think this is a new Christmas Classic for my family. I made it for Christmas dinner not really knowing if we had any anti-coconutters or even if I was going to be able to pull it off. With all the holiday running, (Ohio to Michigan to Illinois back to Ohio) I didn't leave myself any spare time or ingredients if this failed. I knew that there would be cookies and candies because it's Christmas and my people bring sweets, so if it did fail we wouldn't be bereft.

But was a success. Not just a little, like that didn't stink, but like, "OH MY GOSH IT LOOKS LIKE A PICTURE!" success. I'm my worst critic but I too was tickled with the way this turned out. 

The cake: This can be anyone's perfect yellow cake. It's soft and has good flavor. It's the cake the box mixes are trying to be, but it is 100% more delicious. 

The icing: I learned after making the frosting it can be tricky. It was tricky. What I would do differently is use a thermometer to check the temperature of the mixture. Having read a few more recipes after the fact I would have saved some anxiety if I knew certainly that I got the mixture up to 160 degrees. 

The cake: 
3-9 inch layer pans prepped. 

1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
5 eggs, separated
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk

325 degree oven
Cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs yolks one at a time. Add the vanilla. 
Sift the soda into the flour. Add the 1/3 the flour, 1/2 the buttermilk, scrape down the sides, a second third of the flour and the last of the buttermilk, ending with the flour, scraping between all the additions. Mix well. 

Beat the eggwhites in a separate bowl. Fold a third of the egg whites into the flour mixture thoroughly. Gently add the remaining eggwhite, blending so well, but as minimally as possible as to not deflate the eggs. Distribute evenly between the pans. Bake 22+ minutes until a tester comes out cleanly. 
Run a knife around the edge of the pan then allow them to cool completely. 

Seven (14 really) Minute Frosting

2 egg whites
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1.5 cups granulated sugar
5 tablespoons water
1.5 teaspoons corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla

Using a double boiler, bring 2 inches of water to a boil. Place the egg whites, cream of tartar, sugar, water and corn syrup in a non reactive bowl that fits for the double boiler. Mix with a handheld mixer on high for 4 minutes. Set over the water and mix for 7 minutes on high speed. See that the eggs get to 160 degrees, don't let the pan touch the water, however. Remove the pan from the water and beat an additional 3 or 4 minutes until it is cool and voluminous. 

Use immediately. 

1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (from a natural or import store, generally). 

Combine the two coconuts. 
Lay out the first layer of cake on a cake plate. Spread enough frosting to cover lightly. Sprinkle coconut. Set the second layer on top the first and repeat. Top with the third layer and frost the top and sides. Sprinkle with the coconut mixture and press coconut into the sides of the cake. 

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Martha Washington's Great Cake - American Cake -

Slices all lined up. 
I had to backtrack in the book to make this one. For lots of reasons I had to skip forward, but here it is.

This cake reminds me of fruit cake but a 100 percent better than what would show up at Christmas time as a kid. It should taste better, it's full of wine soaked currants, lots of spices and baked slowly. There are no nuts or citrus. It's flavors are direct and good.

On a scale of 1 is never again and 10 is I can't wait to make this for the people I love. This falls right around 7. The most notable thing about this cake is that it takes hours. Soaking the currants then baking it low takes a long time.

3 cups currants
.75 cup white wine
1 cup sugar
1 cup butter
4 eggs
2 cup flour
.5 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon each cinnamon, nutmeg and mace
3 ounces of reserved wine from the soak

Soak the currants in the wine for at least an hour. Pour off the wine and reserve it.
Prepare a 10x5x3 inch bread pan. Spray it with oil spray then line the pan with parchment and spray it again.
Preheat oven 275 degrees.
Cream the sugar and the butter together. Add the eggs one at a time. Mix the salt and spices into the flour. Add one third of the flour to the eggs and butter. Mix, add half the reserved wine. Add the second third of the flour then the second half of the wine. End with the flour. Mix thoroughly. Fold in the currents. Pour into a prepared 10x5x3 bread pan.
Bake for 2+ hours or until a tester inserted comes out clean. Cool completely before cutting.

As a side note It looks like I'm not going to make the Hickory Nut cake. The nuts are EXPENSIVE and hard to find. They are $28 a pound on the internet and I genuinely don't want to spend that. And sure, I don't need a whole pound, but I'd have to buy a whole pound and it's just not worth it to me. Sorry Anne Byrn.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Kentucky Jam Cake - American Cake - They all can't be winners.

Well this isn't pretty. 

Well this is a high price experiment which left me thinking I have to make it one more time. But it's expensive and if it doesn't work out a second time I'm going to feel foolish.
The one thing I'll do differently should I make it again is I'll bake it in a 9x13 inch pan. It certainly will not be stunning like a two layer cake. But I think it will work out more nicely. The middle layer just isn't cute with the caramel frosting.

1 cup of pecans, toast and chop by hand
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup blackberry jam
2.25 cup flour
1 each teaspoon cinnamon, allspice, ginger
.5 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup raisins

.5 cup (1 stick) butter
1.5 cup light brown sugar
.33 cup cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt
1.5 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven 350 degrees.
Toss the nuts and raisins with a bit of flour from the ingredient list.
Cream the butter with sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping the bowl between additions. Add the jam. Isn't it pretty? In a second bowl combine the flour, spices and salt. In a measuring cup measure out the buttermilk, into the buttermilk add the baking soda.
Add one third of the flour. Then add one half of the buttermilk. Scrape down the sides. Add the second third of the flour spice mixture. Then the last half of the buttermilk. End with adding the remaining flour. Mix for a minute.
Into the batter add the nuts and raisins. Pour into prepared pan(s).

Bake until a tester in the center come out clean. Cool completely.

Make the frosting:
In a pot on the stove on melt the butter, add the brown sugar, cream, vanilla and pinch of salt. Stir until the mixture boils. Add the powdered the sugar and stir until smooth. Use at once. It thickens as it cools. Pour it controlled over the sides of your cake.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Boston Cream Pie - American Cake - Oh, yes.

Boston Cream Pie Cake! 
What makes a cake a cake and a pie a pie? Apparently back in the day the term was interchangeable. This is decidedly a cake but we call it pie. There are kangaroo rats and rat kangaroos. I didn't name any of these things.

This cake however is a winner. I have never made a Boston Cream Pie before. Little did I know just how popular this cake is until I was sharing this beauty and a few people told me that it was a favorite, or they had a recipe they make regularly. I was genuinely surprised. I thought this was a vaguely obscure cake which just goes to show I don't know how people relate to their cakes. I'm happy to learn.

The filling, it's not a traditional pastry cream thickened only with yolks and flour, but more like pudding with gelatin and cornstarch. It was good. Certainly better than custard you find in filled donuts at the grocery.

The cake was decent. I made mine with all purpose flour. The book calls for cake flour.

The glaze is a simple ganache with corn syrup added. I don't know how close to 1856 this actual recipe is, but it's a keeper. Should I have reason to make this cake again, I'll follow this recipe for sure.

1.25 cup whole milk +.25 cup milk for cornstarch slurry
.33 cup sugar
.5 heaping teaspoon gelatin, or 1 packet
2 large egg yolks
1.5 tablespoons cornstarch
1.5 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

1.5 cup flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
.25 teaspoon salt
.3 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
.75 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
.5 cup milk

Chocolate Glaze
.75 cup semisweet chocolate
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
.5 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the filling put the 1.25 cup milk, sugar and gelatin in a sauce pan, simmer and stir until the sugar is dissolved. In a bowl combine the yolks, cornstarch and .25 cup milk. Stir until there are no lumps. Temper the eggs with some of the hot liquid. Pour it back into the milk and stir gently, scraping the bottom of the pan until thick. Cool with plastic wrap covering.

For the cake preheat the oven 350 degrees. Grease 8 or 9 inch pans, line with parchment. I'm going to cake hell for this but what I did was Cream the butter, vanilla and sugar. Add the eggs. Beat and scrape down the sides. Add the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix gently then add the .5 cup of milk. Beat the cake for 2 minutes in the stand mixer. Scrape the sides and beat again. Pour into prepared pans. Bake 20-25 minutes until they spring back one pressing. They will be thinnish. Cool completely.

For the Glaze: heat the cream and corn syrup in a narrow pan. When hot pour in the chocolate, swirl the pan to hit the chips with the hot cream. Let sit 3-4 minutes. Add vanilla and whisk together.

To assemble the cake: Put a layer top side up. Spread the filling to nearly the edges of the layer. Cool to set the filling. Add the second layer, top side up. Pour the chocolate glaze over, pushing some dribbles over the edge as you spread the glaze. Cool the cake completely.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Cowboy Cake - American Cake - Yeah, no.

Served scooped into a bowl. 
This cake is made in a dutch oven, in theory you can make it in camp fire. I baked this one in a oven, clearly. Well not clearly but if you know me you there is no campfire anywhere around.

This is SWEET, sweet cake. It has a cup of raisins and 2 cups of sugar. It has only 2 cups of flour. A one to one sugar to flour ratio is super sweet. I poured cream over it (not that that's ever bad) to calm that sugar down.

But on the theme of learning new techniques, I've never done this before.

The recipe:
1 cup raisins
3 cup water
1 tablespoon shortening
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
.5 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups flour

reserved cooking liquid
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon shortening

Preheat the oven 350 degree.
Simmer the raisins in water for 15 minutes in a dutch oven. Drain and reserve the liquid. Return 1 cup liquid to the dutch oven. Add 1 tablespoon shortening, stir until melted, cool. Add the baking soda, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and flour. Stir until smooth. Add the plumped raisins.

In a small pan heat the rest of the cooking liquid, 1 cup sugar and the last tablespoon of shortening. Bring to a boil. When it reached 220 degrees gently pour over the raw cake batter.

Cover with a lid and bake 25 to 30 minutes. Test with toothpick, when it comes out clean the cake is done. Serve warm with ice-cream or cold whipping cream.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Lemon & Molasses Marble Cake - (sorry that's not chocolate and vanilla) - American Cake

Surprise! Not chocolate! 
So if I had to guess the author Anne Byrn, bless her heart, didn't bake these cake in consecutive order in which they are published. You know, kind of how I'm almost doing. I say that because I'm about sick to death of cinnamon and I'm on cake nine (10th in the book, I'll swing back for the Great Cake). I like cinnamon, but a girl can only take so much. The one before and the one after this is heavy on the cinnamon. I know, it's the taste of the times. No wonder chocolate, when it found its way, made such an impression.

This cake was moist and stunning, which is a lot when talking about cakes. If I were ever called on creating a lemon/molasses flavored anything I'd make this cake again. I do have a gingersnap cookie that takes lemon oil, so I can't say it I've never put these two together before. But your mind really wants you to think this is chocolate and vanilla. There were sad imaginary trombones going waa-waa when I announced the true flavor of the cake to the teens in the crowd. Hopes were so dashed.

We see cream of tartar, baking soda, and buttermilk coming into play, LEAVENING! which is nice.

You're going to need 3 bowls. One for molasses, one for lemon, one for egg white whipping.

Molasses Layer

6 tablespoons butter, room temp
6 tablespoons light brown sugar
3 egg yolks, reserve the whites
.75 cup molasses
1.66 cups flour
.5 teaspoon baking soda
.5 teaspoon cream of tartar
.5 teaspoon cinnamon
.25 teaspoon mace
.25 teaspoon nutmeg
.25 teaspoon cloves
6 tablespoons buttermilk

Lemon  Layer

6 tablespoons butter, room temp
1 cup sugar
zest from 2 lemons
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1.66 cups flour
.5 teaspoon baking soda
.5 teaspoon cream of tartar
.75 cup buttermilk

3 egg whites
.125 teaspoon salt (1/8)

Spray a tube pan. Set oven to 350 degrees.

Cream the butter and brown sugar. Add the molasses and eggs. In a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredient so the creamed mixture, mix lightly. Lastly add the buttermilk. Let mix for a full minute. Set aside.

For the lemon cake, cream the butter and sugar. Add the zest and juice. Combine the dry ingredients and add to the creamed sugar mixture. Add the buttermilk.

In clean bowl whip the egg whites and salt until stiff. Put about a quarter of the eggs into the lemon batter. Mix vigorously, it will loosen the batter. Fold in the remainder of the egg whites gently, but thoroughly so there are no streaks of white.

I use a scoop to portion the batter, alternating between the two, into the tube pan. Take a knife and swirl the batters together twice-ish. Don't do it too much or you'll get a muddy cake.

Bake until an inserted toothpick comes out cleanly. I'm reluctant to give a time because pans vary too much.

You can glaze the cake with a glaze made of 1.5 cups powdered sugar and 3 tablespoons of lemon juice. Or you can just sprinkle it with powdered sugar.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Fraunces Tavern Carrot Tea Cake - American Cake - Meh

It's pretty enough
I love carrots. 
My kid will tell you I'd cook them all the time if she'd eat them. I do cook them regularly in things let her pick around because you know, it's not a restaurant I'm running here. This recipe comes from a restaurant Washington dined at. 

I saw this recipe and thought, yes! Carrot cake. Then I looked more closely and saw it was going to be dense because this predates chemical leavening. I was pleasantly surprised that it got taller than I expected however, it was still a tighter crumb than what I find pleasant. At two cups of sugar to two cups of flour this is a sweet, solid cake. 

I'm looking forward to the invention of baking soda, to be honest. 

4 medium carrots, peeled, simmered, then grated
.75 cup butter (12 tablespoons)
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg or mace 
.5 teaspoon salt

350 degree oven, 10 inch springform pan, sprayed and lined with parchment. 

Simmer the carrots until tender, drain, cool and grate. 
Cream butter and sugar. Add the eggs and mix until smooth and satiny. Add the dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly about a minute on a stand mixer. Stir in the carrots by hand. Pour into the cake pan and bake 40 minutes until a tester inserted comes out clean.

Serve with whipped cream.