Monday, May 24, 2010

Deep Dark Chocolate Cake with so-so Chocolate Frosting

My brother's annual crayfish boil was on Saturday, and for this year's party I decided on Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Frosting. Yummmmm. My favorite.

I scoured the listing on RecipeZaar and decided on:
Sue B's Chocolate Cake and
Courtly's Chocolate Frosting.

The Sue B's cake turned out amazing. It was dense, moist and as black as midnight. It had a melt-in-your-mouth texture, and you could really taste the cocoa and rich buttermilk. It was truly scrumptious. Just take a look at that color and extra moist texture...

Now the frosting, well.... That was not such a success.

The frosting had a light, airy consistency that was really appealing. BUT light and airy goes hand-in-hand with soft and unstable. Below are the steps involved in making the frosting. 1) beat together the butter, sugar and cocoa. 2) pour in the cream and whisk. 3) add the melted chocolate (cooled to room temp). 4) whisk until smooth and shiny.

Well the frosting came out smooth and shiny, but it was so soft and runny it kept oozing down the side of the cake. I finally had to place the cake in the refrigerator just to keep the frosting from sliding off.

I also didn't care for the color: I thought it looked a little anemic (especially when placed next to the deep, dark chocolate cake).

So I whipped up a batch of ganache and poured it over the top of the cake. Much better looking, or at least I think so...

But in the end the ganache wasn't enough to hold the soft, airy frosting in place, and a mini catastrophe ensued. The cake was inside the house, but the 76 degree temp was still to much for the frosting to handle. By the time I had slice up half the cake the frosting was oozing off the sides and the top layer of cake kept sliding off (note to self use dowels next time).

So if you want to use this frosting (which really tasted good) only risk it when the temperature is less than 70 degrees.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

TWD: Apple-Apple Bread Pudding

Honestly, bead pudding is one of my least favorite desserts. It is a texture thing with me. Soft, squishy. Not my cup of tea at all. But my mom LOVES bread pudding, so I decided to participate in this week's Tuesdays with Dorie challenge even though I wouldn't be eating any of it.

So here it is, Mom, this one is just for you. Enjoy.

One thing this challenge did teach me is not to fear bread pudding. I always envisioned it being a complex and challenge dish, but actually it was quite easy. Just a few sautéed apples, a little layering of bread ...

Add the egg and cream sauce, and voila bread pudding just waiting to be baked. Oops, I didn't have enough bread so just ignore that uncovered portion in the lower right corner.

And just out of the oven. Oh so warm, creamy and squishy.

So what did Mom think of the Apple-Apple Bread Pudding? Well she proclaimed it delicious. Butttttt, she did say it needed to be thicker, the bread should be in pieces and not whole slices, and it need A LOT more sauce.

This week's TWD selection was made by Elizabeth of Cake or Death?

Elizabeth, my Mom says THANKS for a great selection.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

TWD: Berry Tart

My journey into Tuesdays with Dorie’s Quick Classic Berry Tart started out bad, very, very bad.
  1. I forgot the milk boiling on the stove and it boil over and flowed everywhere. What a MESS!!! I ended up with milk baked onto my electric cook top. What a royal MESS!!!
  2. I “pulsed” the tart dough a little too much in the food processor and ended up with a gooey paste instead of a sandy, shortbread consistency.
  3. The tart shell cooked unevenly and the edges were burnt to a crisp and the center was raw.

I didn’t get a picture of my cook top, but here is the, ummm, tart shell. I removed the foil after 25 minutes of baking and this is what I found...

Doesn’t it look appetizing? Burnt edges and soft, underbaked middle. Yuck.

I started again, and the second time I used my hands to mix the dough instead of the food processor. The shell came out much nicer the second time around. I also decided to use a pie plate instead of the suggested spring-form pan. Here is the second attempt at the tart shell. Much more appealing it think.

In the end (and after much heart ache) the Berry Tart came out quite nice looking. And it tasted pretty damn good to boot.

So many thanks to Cristine of Cooking with Cristine for selecting this week’s TWD challenge. It was well worth the effort.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Chocolate-Almond Coconut Layer Cake

One of my favorite candies in the world is Almond Joy. Yummm. Luscious coconut, crunchy almonds, silky chocolate. What more could a person ask for?

How about cake?

Here is a concoction I threw together last weekend. My version of Almond Joy Cake.

It started out as Shubox Café's Coconut Layer Cake, but the cream cheese icing came out so soft and runny that I decided to cover-up by boo-boo with a crust of sliced almonds.

Almonds and coconut got me thinking about Almond Joy candy bars so I added a layer of melted chocolate and a ring of shredded coconut.

It tasted pretty damn good if I say so myself. Not to sweet, but oh-so rich and satisfying.

Chocolate-Almond Coconut Layer Cake

Cake Ingredients:

2-3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-3/4 cups sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
10 oz (1-1/4 cups) sweetened cream of coconut (such as Coco Lopez)
4 large eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon Cream of Tartar


* Preheat oven to 350 deg F.
* Butter and flour two 9-inch diameter cake pans.
* Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a medium bowl.
* Using an electric mixer beat sugar and butter until fluffy (about 3 minutes).
* Add sweetened cream of coconut to butter/sugar mixture and mix until incorporated. (Important Note: be sure to stir the cream of coconut before measuring. It settles and separates in the can.)
* Beat in eggs yolks (one at a time) and extracts.
* On low speed, mix in 1/3 of dry ingredients and then half of buttermilk. Mix in another 1/3 of flour mixture, and then the other half of buttermilk. Mix in the final 1/3 of flour by hand.
* Using clean, dry beaters, beat egg whites with cream of tarter until stiff but not dry peaks form.
* Fold the beaten egg whites into the batter.
* Divide cake batter between prepared pans.
* Bake cakes until tester inserted into center come out clean. 35-45 minutes.
* Cool cakes in pan for 10 minutes and then turn cakes out onto racks to cool completely.

Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

Frosting Ingredients:

2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar
4 ounces ( 1/2 cup) sweetened cream of coconut (such as Coco Lopez) - you can add less Coco Lopez if you want a stiffer frosting consistency.
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


* Beat cream cheese in medium bowl until fluffy.
* Add butter and beat to blend.
* Add sweetened cream of coconut and vanilla extract and beat.
* Add sugar and beat until well blended.

Chocolate Ganache

Ganache Ingredients:

2 oz milk chocolate morsels
2 oz semi-sweet morsels
3 Tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1-1/2 Tablespoons butter


* Place all ingredients in a medium bowl and microwave at 50% power for 30 seconds.
* Stir and microwave for another 30 seconds at 50% power.
* Allow to cool completely before using.

Cake Assembly:

Shredded Coconut
Almond Slivers

* Place 1 cake layer on cake plate and spread 1 cup of Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting over cake layer.
* Sprinkle 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut over frosting.
* Top with second cake layer.
* Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake.
* Press almond slivers into frosting on sides of cake.
* Pour cooled chocolate ganache over top of cake. Using a spatula spread chocolate to top edge of cake.
* Sprinkle coconut around the top edge of the cake.
* Store in refrigerator until frosting and chocolate are set.
* Let cake stand at room temperature for 2 hours before serving.