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Entries in cakes (63)

Wednesday
Aug202014

Brown Sugar Swirl Birthday Cake With Brown Sugar Frosting

Last week, even though it was a bit early for my August 26th birthday, I made a cake.

You see, I was in New Jersey for a few days with my parents, and I would be leaving before the big day, so I decided we should all have a little party. Any excuse for more cake, right?

I was writing a post for Craftsy about brown sugar buttercream, and I decided to make a cake to go with it (although, for the record, I have nothing against eating it by the spoonful). I hit up my mom's old cookbook collection and found an old treasure: silver white cake, AKA my birthday cake growing up. Birthday cake with brown sugar Birthday cake with brown sugar I doctored it up a bit, making it richer by including the entire eggs and by adding a swirl of brown sugar. The "swirl" came out more like little lumps of brown sugar here and there...but DELICIOUS lumps. Oh, and I also doubled the salt. Because if I've learned anything in my baking years, it is that brown sugar loves salt.

This cake came out tremendously, if I do say so myself. Everyone took seconds, which is always a good sign. Maybe it can add some joy to your non-birthday day, too!

Birthday cake with brown sugar Birthday cake with brown sugar Birthday cake with brown sugar Birthday cake with brown sugar Birthday cake with brown sugar Birthday cake with brown sugar

Brown Sugar Swirl Birthday Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting

For the cake

Makes one 2 layer 8-inch cake

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated (white) sugar
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter

Procedure

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 2 8-inch round cake pans. Set to the side.
  2. Beat the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, butter, milk, and vanilla in a stand mixer on low speed, scraping the bowl occasionally, for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the eggs, and increase the speed to high, scraping the bowl occasionally, for 2 more minutes, or until the mixture is pretty much smooth and lump free. 
  4. In a small bowl combine the brown sugar and melted butter. It should be pretty thick yet smooth. Fold into the cake mixture, trying to incorporate little bits of the mixture throughout the batter.
  5. Pour into the prepared pans. Bake 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden on top and a cake tester comes out mostly clean. Remove the cakes from the oven and immediately run a sharp knife around the perimeter of the pans to loosen the cakes. After a few minutes, invert them on to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. While the cakes cool, make the frosting. When ready to assemble, start by generously frosting the top of one of the cakes; layer the second on top of that, and then frost the whole thing all over. I found this cake did not require a crumb coat.

Brown sugar buttercream

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 4-6 cups confectioner's (powdered) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup of half and half, plus more if needed

Note: This recipe yields a perfect amount of buttercream to ice a two-layer 9-inch cake or a 9x13-inch oblong cake. This recipe can be doubled.

  1. Cream the butter until fluffy. Add the brown sugar and cinnamon; beat until it has become smooth in texture yet whipped.
  2. Add three cups of the confectioners' sugar, and mix on low speed so that you don't have a snowstorm. Stir in the vanilla extract, salt, and cream. Stir until incorporated.
  3. Add the remaining confectioners sugar to your taste. If it becomes too stiff, add a bit more cream. Store unused portions of the buttercream in the refrigerator for up to a week.

What kind of cake will you have for your birthday this year?

Monday
Aug042014

Single Serving Dessert: Microwaveable Chocolate Cake in a Bowl

To some, the idea of a "single serving dessert" seems sad. Like, poor you, you don't have anyone to share dessert with.

I don't find single serving desserts sad at all. I see it as a definite reason not to have to share. It only makes one! So you can see, it's a decision that you can make to treat yourself and no one else. The recipe which follows is for a quirky little single-serving chocolate cake which you can make in the microwave. I stuffed mine with hershey's kisses so it would be a little gooey inside, but you can do whatever you want, from topping it with ice cream or fruit (if you're into health food) or even some buttercream frosting

If you started to feel panicky there, don't: you won't be sharing the toppings either.

If this all sounds quite terrible of me, so be it, but I wasn't planning on sharing dessert with you anyway.

I'm going to try something a touch different today and put all of the photos before the recipe, so that if you want to follow the recipe, you can easily follow it without picture breaks. Which way do you prefer? 

All right, here we go.

Next time you're feeling greedy and want something all for you that nobody else can have, here's how you do it. 

First, you'll mix up a couple of wet ingredients.

Then you'll add some dry ones and mix til it's smooth.

If you want, add a generous handful of (unwrapped!) chocolate candies such as Hershey's Kisses.

Then you'll put the bowl you mixed it in right in the microwave for a few minutes. It will puff up and pull away form the sides of the bowl. Actually, it will kind of look ugly. But...

Go for it. Don't share. What do you think?

Single Serving Chocolate Cake in a Bowl

Makes one

  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • a handful of chocolate candies

Procedure

  1. Mix together the sugar, egg, oil, and vanilla in a bowl. And by "a bowl" I mean the one you indend on microwaving. Use one with decently high walls, so that the cake has room to rise.
  2. Add the flour and cocoa. Mix until incorporated. Add the milk and mix until smooth. You can use a fork, spoon, or mini spatula for this.
  3. Fold in the chocolate candy.
  4. Put the bowl in the microwave and heat on high for 3 minutes (if you know your microwave is a lower powered model, go four minutes. It will puff up, and then deflate once removed from microwave.
  5. What are you waiting for? Top it, if you want to, and eat.

What's your favorite dessert to not share?

Monday
Jul142014

Pugs and Kisses: 10 Awesome Pug Cakes

Photo via Cakesdecor

There are few things that I love more than cake. One of those sacred few things is my little pug, Porkchop. This little love muffin is the darling of my life. Here we are together:

Me and my Porkchop

 

Pugs are definitely on my mind at this moment: I am embarking on a month long trip to New Jersey, NYC, and Puerto Rico and Porkchop will not be coming. I'm going to miss the little dude!

To satisfy my love of all things pug, I've put together a collection of ten awesome pug cakes which will have you cooing, and may either inspire you to bake a cake, go adopt a pug, or (yay!) maybe both.

Here goes:

Two cuddling pugs cake (pictured top)

This cake was inspired by a fawn pug named Boo and a black pug named Onyx. It took the decorator a solid 2.5 days, but it's worth it: she captured the expressions perfectly!

Photo via Baked Cupcakery

Pug-cakes

These cupcakes are cleverly configured with coils of fondant to resemble sweet little pugs. Don't you just want to pinch those faces? And then stuff the cupcakes in your face? Me, too.

Photo via Cakesdecor

Pug face cake

This lovely cake captures the bug-eyes and pink tongue of a pug. The designer has a lot of other great work; check it out at https://www.facebook.com/zoesfancycakes.

Photo via Dailymail.uk

Expressive pug cake

I adore how this cake captures the odd way that pugs sit; when Porkchop sits like this, I say he is "sitting like a real boy". The winsome expression is pure pug, too!

Photo via Betty Crocker

Sprinkle pug cake

The clever use of sprinkles makes this cake party-perfect. Piped chocolate and white chocolate elements make perfect pug eyes, and a peanut butter frosting attains the perfect fawn pug hue.

Photo via Deviantart

Wary pug cake

This pug looks like he knows something's going on. What really made me like this cake is that it vaguely resembles Porkchop, don't you think?

Porkchop

 

Photo via Coco Cake Land

Black pug face cake

Look at the mug on this pug! Coco Cake Land captures the adorableness of a pug in this cake, which is far cuter than you'd ever expect a cake with all-over black fondant to come out!


Photo via Coloured Bubble Cakery

Pug face cupcakes

Seriously. If these fondant-topped cuties with pink tongues hanging out don't make you want to coo, I don't know what will. 

Photo via Pinterest

Wrinkled pug face cake

Pugs have a lot of wrinkles, which makes them seem wise even when they are little baby pugs. This cake accurately and adorably captures the pug wrinkle-fest in edible form.


Photo via The Butter End

Naughty pug cake

To close out the list, an adorable tricksy cake decoration: a pug adhered to the side of a cake which is slightly torn up. The effect of a naughty pug eating cake is whimsical, clever, and inspiring for future cake decorations I'm planning!

Do you have an adorable pug cake to share? Leave a link to it in the comments!

Thursday
Jan092014

It's Not My Birthday: Marvelous Marble Swirl Cake Recipe

Taste of home cake

I understand that sometimes you want a pinkies-out, delicate and beautiful dessert.

And other times...you just wanna stuff your face with cake.

A week or so ago, I was having one of those days. And almost as if it was a sign from the heavens, I opened up Taste of Home Magazine--you know, to gaze at the feature which included my mini pies. Here I am with the spread:

Listen. The cake in the magazine looked like this.

I am not a photographer...but here is mine.

Taste of home cake

The photos in this post prove that. But I hope that my words can convince you that in spite of the "not ultra pinnable" images, this cake is worth giving a try. Because gosh-darn was it good. It is such a rich cake that I am honest, a slice will do it for you. It's almost like the cake part of a crumb cake, swirled with chocolate. So buttery, so creamy.

And then, the frosting. I sort of improvised with it, and decided to try a sort of sour cream frosting. It was a good decision--the slight tang of the frosting worked so beautifully with the rich cake. The overall result was richer than a king's ransom, and far tastier. 

The decorating was fun, too. Swirling chocolate in the frosting was surprisingly easy, and looked pretty. It also gave a wonderful flavor contrast, adding a solid, dark undertone to go with the sweet and buttery stuff.

Please, please tell me you'll try this cake. It's like having your birthday again, no matter what day of the year. 

Taste of home cake

Marvelous Marble Swirl Cake

Adapted from Taste of Home

For the cake

  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 tablespoons, plus 1 1/4 cups butter, softened, divided
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Frosting

  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 6 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • some milk on hand, to thin if needed
  • 2 tablespoons chocolate chips

Procedure

  1. In a metal bowl over barely simmering water, melt the chocolate and 3 tablespoons of butter; stir until smooth. Cool to room temperature.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 F. Line the bottoms of two 8-inch round baking pans with parchment paper; grease the paper, too.
  3. In a bowl, cream the remaining butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. In another bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with the sour cream, beating well after each addition.
  4. Remove 2 cups batter to a small bowl; stir in cooled chocolate mixture. Drop plain and chocolate batters by tablespoonfuls into the prepared pans, dividing the batter between the pans. 
  5. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pans 10 minutes before removing to wire racks. Peel off the parchment, and let cool completely.
  6. When you have a feeling the the cake will be cool soon, begin on the frosting. In a large bowl, cream the sour cream with the confectioners' sugar until nice and smooth but thick. If it gets too thick and stiff, add the milk as needed to thin. 
  7. If the cakes have rounded tops, level them with a serrated knife. 
  8. Place one cake layer on a serving plate; spread with 3/4 cup frosting.
  9. Top with remaining cake layer. Apply a thin crumb coat and let chill for 20 minutes to lightly set. 
  10. Now, put a nice dollop on the top of the cake. Drop the remaining chocolate on top, and spread the frosting in a circle so that it is woven with chocolate, too. Yum.
  11. Ice the sides with the remaining (plain) frosting. 

Enjoy.

Sunday
Nov102013

The Bake-Off is Coming: Blueberry Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake

Blueberry Cinnamon roll cake

CakeSpy Note: OMG! The 46th Annual Pillsbury Bake-Off is coming! Since I so deeply loved attending the 45th Bake-Off, I thought I would get you excited early by sharing some of the finalists' recipes. Do I need to tell you that the winner will receive one million dollars? My posting is on hyperdrive since the event is less than a week a day--check back often, because I will be posting recipes like crazy until the big event! You can follow them by clicking the bakeoff tag below the post to see which ones have been posted so far. Enjoy! 

Marie Sheppard Chicago, Illinois is the one to thank for this tasty morning treat. Hey, I'll bet it would taste good in the PM, too!

Blueberry Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake

Prep Time: 25 Min Total Time: 1 Hr 15 Min Makes: 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 medium lemon
  • 3/4 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/4 cup Smucker's® Blueberry Preserves
  • 2 teaspoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 cans Pillsbury® refrigerated cinnamon rolls with cream cheese icing
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup pecans or cinnamon pecans, coarsely chopped

Procedure

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Spray nonstick 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom with Crisco® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper; place tart pan on cookie sheet.
  2. In medium bowl, grate 1 teaspoon zest from the lemon. In small bowl, squeeze 1 tablespoon juice from the lemon; set aside.
  3. Mix 2 tablespoons of the blueberries with the lemon zest, mashing berries slightly with fork. Stir in preserves, remaining blueberries and butter; set aside.
  4. Separate rolls from both cans; reserve icing. On parchment paper, press rolls, cinnamon side down, into 3- to 4-inch rounds. Spoon about 1 tablespoon blueberry mixture in center of each round. Fold dough over filling, pressing edges to seal. Place filled rolls in pan, seam side up in spoke fashion with 2 in the center.
  5. In small bowl, lightly beat egg with wire whisk; brush over rolls. Bake 22 to 32 minutes or until center is deep golden brown. Remove to cooling rack.
  6. Cool 5 minutes. Remove side of pan; cool 10 minutes longer. Stir reserved icing into lemon juice. Drizzle evenly over rolls. Sprinkle with pecans. Serve warm or cool.

 

Sunday
Nov102013

The Bake-Off is Coming: Mocha Cappuccino Pull Apart Cake

Mocha Cappuccino pull apart cake

CakeSpy Note: OMG! The 46th Annual Pillsbury Bake-Off is coming! Since I so deeply loved attending the 45th Bake-Off, I thought I would get you excited early by sharing some of the finalists' recipes. Do I need to tell you that the winner will receive one million dollars? My posting is on hyperdrive since the event is less than a week a day--check back often, because I will be posting recipes like crazy until the big event! You can follow them by clicking the bakeoff tag below the post to see which ones have been posted so far. Enjoy! 

This recipe allows you to have your coffee and eat your cake, too. And why not incorporporate a little chocolate, while you're at it? I like the way Janet Gill of Canton, Ohio thinks when she creates recipes.

Mocha Cappuccino Pull Apart Cake

Prep Time: 20 Min Total Time: 1 Hr 30 Min Makes: 12 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 container (8 oz) mascarpone cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup Jif Mocha Cappuccino Flavored Hazelnut Spread
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • 2 cans Pillsbury Grands! Flaky Supreme refrigerated cinnamon rolls with icing
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee granules

Procedure

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Generously spray 12-cup fluted tube cake pan with Crisco® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray.
  2. In large bowl, beat mascarpone cheese, sugar, mocha cappuccino hazelnut spread and butter with electric mixer on low speed 45 seconds or until smooth. Stir in pecans.
  3. Separate dough into 16 rolls; reserve icing. Cut each roll into 6 pieces. Place 1/2 of the biscuit pieces into mascarpone mixture, gently folding to coat. Fold in remaining biscuits to coat; spoon mixture in pan.
  4. Bake 40 to 50 minutes or until deep golden brown and biscuits are no longer doughy in center. Cool 15 minutes. Place heatproof serving plate upside down over pan; carefully turn plate and pan over. Remove pan.
  5. Meanwhile, in small bowl, stir 1 teaspoon boiling water and instant coffee granules until granules are dissolved. Stir in 1 container of the icing until well blended; drizzle over warm rolls. Cool 5 minutes. Drizzle with remaining container of icing. Serve warm.

 

Saturday
Jun152013

Sweet Discovery: Mexican Wedding Cake, Mary and Tito's Cafe, Albuquerque

 

Mexican wedding cake

 I'd like to share with you the most interesting dessert I've had in a while.

It's called Mexican Wedding Cake. But this is kind of a funny name, for a few reasons.

First off, when I think "Mexican Wedding Cake", I think of a cookie--a snowball sort of cookie. Not an actual cake.

Second, it doesn't really look like a wedding cake. It actually more resembles a Hummingbird cake, with walnuts and pineapple and cream cheese frosting...but without the banana. It's baked in a bundt type pan.

Third, we're not in Mexico. We're in New Mexico, at an eatery specializing in New Mexican food. It can't be denied that New Mexican cuisine is heavily influenced by that of Mexico, but they're not *quite* the same. Although to this last point, I feel as though at least one of the employees referred to it as "New Mexican Wedding Cake".

But who really cares about the name when a cake tastes this good?  

 

Mexican wedding cake

 As previously mentioned, it's a nice, dense, sort of Hummingbird-esque cake, but without the banana. It is dense with spices, fruit, and buttery cakey goodness. When I say dense, I mean it. It's almost gooey, like the texture of a baked pudding. Upon reflection, it's like having a glimpse at the evolution between fruit cake and fluffy layer cakes, with delicious results. And the frosting, oh, the frosting. Here's a posterior view to give you an idea:Mexican wedding cake

 It's somehow light, almost with the texture of whipped cream, but rich in cream cheese flavor. It's applied thickly, and you'll be so glad it is. This is a very, very special cake, served in an unassuming spot (picture below): 

What a find!

As I learned from the fantastic site NM Gastronome, (owner) Antoinette has been making this cake for better than 30 years (though she doesn’t look much older than 30 herself) and says she’s made it thousands of times.  You won’t find any better in New Mexico.  You won’t find anything close.

As I learned from the same post,

In the February, 2013 edition of Albuquerque The Magazine  celebrated the Duke City’s best desserts. The fabulous Mexican wedding cake was recognized as the “to die for dessert to remember.”  I’m not too sure what that means, but if it means the Mexican wedding cake is unforgettable, the honor is certainly well deserved.  It’s certainly one of the very best desserts in New Mexico. 

You've got to try this one if you find yourself in Albuquerque! 

Mary & Tito's, 2711 4th Street, N.W. Albuquerque, NMMary & Tito’s Facebook Page.

 

Thursday
May232013

10 Layer Peanut Butter Cake for Peanut Butter and Co.

Let me take a brief break from telling you about my book tour (remaining dates here, btw--I'm in the Chicago area tonight, at the Aspen Drive Library, 701 Aspen Drive, Vernon Hills IL, from 7-8 p.m.) to tell you about this amazing cake I crafted for my friends at Peanut Butter and Company.

It's a 10 layer cake, inspired by Smith Island Cake (the recipe for that one is in the new book). 

Regarding the peanut butter cake, here's what I have to say about it:

Want to really show off with your next dessert offering? Well then, you’ll definitely want to make this cake. It looks like a pretty normal cake on the serving plate, but once cut into, the amazing interior is exposed. Composed of 10 thin stacked cakes, each sandwiched with a layer of White Chocolate Wonderful peanut butter frosting, this is “frosting with the cake,” a delightful treat that begs for a glass of milk. It’s a peanut butter-ized version of a famous cake from Maryland (actually, if you want to get technical, it’s the Official State Dessert!) called Smith Island Cake, which is given out as the prize during community events. But no need to sing and dance when you’ve got this recipe–everyone’s a winner!

Find the recipe here.

Wednesday
May082013

My Yoga Teacher's Chocolate Beet Cake Recipe

Choco beet cake

Sometimes, recipes come from the most unexpected places.

For instance: I am at a yoga class. I'm doing yoga. Whatever. Then after class...

the teacher slips me a tupperware package. Inside of it is a piece of CHOCOLATE CAKE. YES! I love exercise!

Choco beet cake

This was indeed a fascinating specimen: a chocolate cake sweetened with beets and maple syrup. Sound virtuous? Don't worry. It's not. The beets add a wonderful earthiness and natural sweetness to the dark richness of the chocolate, and the maple adds an interesting sweetness that works very nicely with the beets and chocolate. 

Choco beet cake

Now, I will confess, it was given to me sans topping. But I found that while the moist and tasty chocolate cake was great sans frosting...it was even better with a healthy dollop of creme fraiche or whipped cream. Yum!

Here's the recipe, with thanks to Blue Moon Hot Yoga for being the ones to introduce me to it. Doing yoga beforehand not necessary.

Chocolate Beet Cake

  • 1 1/2 cup cooked and pureed beets
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 stick butter
  • 3/4 cup or 1 cup grade B Maple syrup (depending on how sweet you want it)
  • 1 3/4 cup flour (can be whole wheat, spelt and rice flour, etc)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  1. Grease and flour a 9x13-inch pan.
  2. Scrub the beets well and slice into 1/4 inch rounds. Steam until tender; puree the cooked beets in a processor.
  3. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Melt the butter over low heat in a sauce pan.
  4. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and maple syrup. Add the eggs and combine thoroughly, then stir in the chocolate, beet puree, buttermilk, and vanilla.
  5. In another bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon. Add this to the liquid ingredients and mix into a smooth batter.
  6. Pour into your prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes or a little longer until a cake tester comes out clean.

 

Monday
May062013

Macrina Bakery's Almond Cake with Raspberries & Chocolate Ganache

You know what I love? Everything Macrina Bakery makes, that's what. And while I no longer live in Seattle, I keep track of them and their delicious recipes by virtue of their monthly newsletter. And I love to pass on what I have learned! So here's the most recent installment: Almond Cake with Raspberries and Chocolate Ganache. Here's what they have to say about it:

This combination of toasted almonds in a buttery cake, accompanied by fresh raspberries and bittersweet chocolate ganache is our best-selling wedding cake. It satisfies everyone's taste with nuts, fruit, and of course, chocolate. This recipe makes individually sized cakes that are baked in a jumbo muffin pan. Once they've cooled, you remove the paper liner, invert the cakes so the tapered side is up, fill with sweetened cream and raspberries, and top with chocolate ganache. 

Almond Cake with Raspberries & Chocolate Ganache

For the batter:
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds (skins on), toasted 
  • 1-1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons low-fat plain yogurt, divided
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
For the whipped cream filling:
  • 1 pint fresh raspberries (about 24 berries)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
For the chocolate ganache:
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

Makes 8 Jumbo Cupcakes

  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400°F. Lightly grease the top of a jumbo muffin pan with canola oil to prevent any stray batter from sticking, and line 8 cups with jumbo cupcake liners.
  2. To make the batter, first grind the toasted almonds in a food processor until they are very fine and powdery. (Alternatively, grind them by hand: chop the nuts as finely as you can with a chef's knife, then use the flat side of the knife to crush the chopped nuts into a powder.) Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl. Add the almonds and toss with your hands to evenly distribute. Set aside. 
  3. Whisk 2 tablespoons of the yogurt, eggs, and almond and vanilla extracts in a small bowl. Set aside. 
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar; start on low speed and increase to medium, stopping to scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed to fully incorporate the ingredients. The mixture will be light, fluffy, and pale. Add the flour mixture and the remaining 1/2 cup yogurt, slowly mixing for 1 minute. Once the flour is incorporated, increase to medium speed and mix for 1 minute more, then scrape down the bowl again. Add the egg mixture in 3 additions, mixing for 20 seconds after each addition, then scraping down the bowl. 
  5. Using a large spoon or #30 ice cream scoop, fill the cupcake liners three-quarters full with batter. Smooth the tops for even baking. Place the pan on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, or until the cupcakes are deep golden brown and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. (Note that these cupcakes will rise only to the top of the muffin pan as they bake.) Cool them in the pan for 45 minutes, then remove them and peel off the cupcake liners. Invert the cakes onto a plate, so the bottoms are up and using a teaspoon, scoop out a 1-1/2 inch ball from the center of each cake and discard (or eat!) the cake.
  6. To make the filling, pick through the raspberries, reserving 8 beauties for garnish. Whisk the heavy cream and sugar in a small bowl, whipping until they form medium-firm peaks, then fold in the raspberries. You want the berries to break up a bit—but don't let them get soupy. Spoon the raspberry whipped cream into the hole in the cakes, piling in as much as you can and leveling the top. 
  7. To make the ganache, pour the heavy cream into a small saucepan. Over medium heat bring the cream to a froth just before it boils. Turn off the heat and add the semisweet and bittersweet chocolate chips. Using a rubber spatula, stir until the chocolate completely melts, then remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool for about 10 minutes. The ganache will thicken as it cools. 
  8. To assemble, top each cake with 1 tablespoon of the ganache; spread it evenly, but leave a little of the golden cake showing around the edges. Garnish with a raspberry. 
  9. These cakes taste best the day they are made. You can prepare them up to the point of making the filling and store, covered, at room temperature for 2 days. 
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