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Entries in cakes (63)

Sunday
Jul292012

Sweet Cake Alabama: Lane Cake Recipe

Lane Cake: now there's a tall southern belle of a layer cake. It's filled with coconut, chopped fruit and nuts, and a generous serving of whiskey or brandy, and topped off with a snowy range of fluffy frosting. Cutting into this cake is particularly enjoyable: the white frosting gives way to a creamy-colored cake, with a slightly more yellow-toned custard that's flecked with a confetti of nuts and fruits.

Credit for the cake goes to Emma Rylander Lane of Clayton, Alabama, who published the original recipe under the name "Prize Cake" in a self-published cookbook around the turn of the century. It had been titled "Prize Cake" because she had entered it, and won, in a baking contest in Georgia. As time went on and the cake's popularity was spread, Lane's name was attached to the cake.

Modern cookbooks will point out that the original recipe is "imprecise," but over the years (and with the advent of the standardization of ingredient measurements), it has evolved into one of Alabama's famous culinary feats. The cake has been reinvented time and time again, with different types of fruit and nuts in the filling, some with grape juice for teetotaler or child-friendly affairs. This version is fairly classic, with a light cake, dense filling, and a fluffy boiled frosting.

And you, too, can take pride in making this cake. While not necessarily difficult, it is a somewhat laborious cake. However, the end result is a lovely cake that is well-suited for celebrating: delicious, sophisticated and ladylike, but with a little kick from the alcohol that lets you know it means business.

For the full entry and recipe, visit Serious Eats!

Monday
Jul162012

Sweet: More Hungarian Cakes to Love

 

Who doesn't love a delicious European cake?

Don't answer that, because it's rhetorical. Everyone loves a delicious European cake. And recently, I received a message from a CakeSpy reader in Hungary who approved of the fact that I had already mentioned several Hungarian cakes on the site over the years, and was eager to introduce me to some more. I was happy to make the acquaintance, and I'd like to introduce you to the cakes, too.

Here's the message I received: Love your long list of famous cakes,especially,because you have named 3 of my favourite hungarian desserts (Dobos torta, Zsrebó and Gundel palacsinta). As I'm Hungarian, myself I feel well proud of our culinary cake culture. If you want to extend your list,here is a couple of more famous cakes:

 

Eszterházy szelet (Esterhazy slice)-named after a wealthy hungarian family which was a big supporter of art and gastronomy. Layers of walnut pastry filled with cream,and covered with a fondant layer with feather motives.Yum!

 

Somlói galuska (Sholmoy Dumpling)--initially knoked up by Karoly Gollerits- the head waiter from Gundel Restaurant-as he  was in an urgent need for a dessert,and only found:vanilla sponge,nuts,choclate sauce and cream-his quick fix since then become a staple desserts for everey hungarian patisserie.

For more sweetness, check out Gyopar's website: www.sweetpassion.vpweb.co.uk

Monday
Jul092012

Refreshingly Sweet: Watermelon Cake Recipe

I love the look of a slice of watermelon: a prettily preppy green-and-pink color combination which is rather pleasing to the eye. But as pleasing as watermelon is as a palate cleanser or side dish, when it comes to dessert, I want something a little more substantial. So to get a pretty look but more of a sugary dessert wallop, I've created my own idealized version of watermelon, in cake form.

Watermelon cake

Made with sour cream and boasting an achingly delicate crumb, the cake is tinted pink and then studded with mini chocolate chips for "seeds". The finished cake is frosted with pink and green icing to bring home the watermelon effect. It's a decorating idea I've adapted from the Betty Crocker website.

Easy to make and extremely pleasurable to eat, this whimsical cake is bound to make people smile.

For the full entry and recipe, visit Serious Eats!

Monday
Jun252012

Grill It: Grilled Pound Cake Recipe for Serious Eats

Riddle me this: why should burgers and hot dogs have all the fun on your grill this summer?

They shouldn't, and here's the dessert to prove it: Grilled Pound Cake.

Simply butter slices of pound cake before putting them on either an outdoor or indoor stovetop grill, and let them get a little char. The nice part about this dessert is that it uses already-baked pound cake, so you can't under-bake it. The grilled toastiness of the cake makes it the perfect canvas for any number of toppings: I really enjoy ice cream and a seasonal fruit compote. Just be sure to prepare this before grilling meats, because you don't want to impart a burger flavor to your dessert!

For the full entry and recipe, visit Serious Eats!

Tuesday
May012012

Tunnel of Penuche Cake Recipe for Serious Eats

Perhaps you've heard of Tunnel of Fudge Cake. In spite of its titter-worthy name, this rich, nutty fudge cake with a gooey center and chocolate glaze is a modern classic. It was entered into the 1966 Pillsbury Bake-Off, and it's largely accepted as the recipe that made bundt pans a must-have item, and a predecessor of the chocolate lava cake trend.

But for those of you who aren't into the chocolate overload of the famous Tunnel of Fudge Cake, I have configured a sweet counterpart: the Tunnel of Penuche Cake.

If fudge is the inspiration for the original, penuche (a "blonde" fudge made with brown sugar, butter, milk, and vanilla) is the muse for this honey-hued variation. The dense cake is somewhat blondie-like, redolent of brown sugar and butter and studded with bits of pecan. Although the gooey center effect is far more subtle in this version than the original— it's more like a slightly softer and richer cake in the center, giving way to a lightly crispy edge— it's still extremely pleasant to eat. Ungarnished, this would make a fantastic breakfast cake; when topped with a generous coating of butterscotch sauce or dulce de leche, it is suitable for eating any time of day.

For the full entry and recipe, visit Serious Eats!

Wednesday
Apr252012

Sweet Schooling: Wellesley Fudge Cake Recipe

Wellesley Fudge Cake

Wellesley Fudge cake--a deeply decadent chocolate cake topped with a slab of fudge frosting--seems an unlikely sweet to associate with the prim-and-proper ladies of Wellesley (the college featured in the classic feat of cinema Mona Lisa Smile). 

Clearly by the popularity of this recipe, it seems that those young ladies had as voracious an appetite for the sweet stuff as they did for knowledge. But to really look at the origins of this cake, we’ve got to rewind a little bit, to the invention of fudge itself.

Wellesley Fudge Cake


Fudge, that semi-soft candy made from butter, sugar, and various flavorings (very commonly chocolate) is an american-ized version of french bonbons and creams, and it became popular in the US in the early 1900s. The Oxford English Dictionary suggests that the name is perhaps derived from the word “fadge”, which is an old-timey term for “to fit pieces together”. Of course, not to confuse you, but an Irish dish called “Fadge” does exist, but it is actually an apple potato cake, traditionally served at Halloween.

As an interesting side note, the word “fudge” referring to a cheat or hoax dates to the 1830s, before the candy was popular--but this may explain how the name was assigned to the candy, too.

You see, those young college ladies would use the sweet stuff as their excuse to stay up late: candy-making was an acceptable activity, and they would use it as an excuse to stay up late, ostensibly to talk about boys and other forbidden subjects. “Nearly every night at college,” said the Vassar girl, “some girl may be found somewhere who is making ‘fudges’ or giving a fudge party.” The timing seems to work out: the word “fudge” for a confection showed up as early as the 1890s, and by 1908 the term was commonly used in association with women’s colleges.

 

IMAG0570

A 1909 cookbook produced by Walter Baker & Co. (producer of Baker’s chocolates) includes three different recipes for fudge, each just slightly different and named, respectively, after Vassar, Smith, and Wellesley colleges.

In fact, there is a letter in the Vassar archives which says,

“Fudge, as I first knew it, was first made in Baltimore by a cousin of a schoolmate of mine. It was sold in 1886 in a grocery store...I secured a recipe and in my first year at Vassar, I made it there--and in 1888 I made 30 pounds for the Senior auction, its real introduction to the college, I think.”

So why would it proliferate, and be adapted to an even richer and more over the top treat, the decadent Wellesley Fudge Cake, at this particular school? Perhaps because it was such a forbidden pleasure there. An 1876 circular to parents states that the college refuses to accept students who are broken down in health, maintaining that a proper diet is key for proper learning, and that “we have therefore decided not to receive any one who will not come with the resolution to obey cheerfully all our rules in this respect, and pledged in honor neither to buy nor receive in any manner whatsoever any confectionery or eatables of any kind not provided for them by the College.” Further, the founder of Wellesley College held that, “pies, lies, and doughnuts should never have a place in Wellesley College”. Well, naturally it would take off here: it tasted positively sacre-licious!

By 1913, fudge and fudge cakes were was common on the tea-room menus surrounding the college.I will help

Every few decades the cake enjoys a renaissance; a little fussy to make in that it requires a bit of candy-making prowess, it is astoundingly easy to eat. The confection was bound for success too: soon, it was even featured prominently as

Some versions call for an unfrosted cake; others, which I favor, feature a double dose of chocolate, the base of which is brownie-like, coated with a more fudge-like frosting.IMAG0574

Note: Traditional recipes called for “thick sour milk”; I'm not quite sure what that even is, so this recipe employs buttermilk. After testing another traditional recipe with some help by Java Cupcake, I find this a superior cake. 

The recipe that finally ended up tasting best? This one, lightly adapted from the geniuses at Cook's Country Magazine. Their original version appears in the book Cook's Country Blue Ribbon Desserts.

Wellesley Fudge Cake
Adapted from Cook's Country Blue Ribbon Desserts

Cake

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 t. baking soda
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 3/4 c. hot water
  • 1/2 c/ Dutch-processed cocoa powder (I used Hershey's Special Dark which also works fine)
  • 16 T. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces and softened
  • 2 c. granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 c. buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 t. vanilla extract

Frosting

  • 1 1/2 c. packed light brown sugar
  • 1 c. evaporated milk
  • 8 T. (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces and softened
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • 3 c. confectioners’ sugar, sifted

To make the cake:

  1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 8-inch square baking pans, then line the bottoms with parchment paper. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk the hot water and cocoa together until smooth and set aside. In a large bowl, beat the butter and granulated sugar together with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3-6 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Mix in one-third of the flour mixture, followed by 1/2 cup of the buttermilk. Repeat with half of the remaining flour mixture and the remaining 1/2 cup buttermilk. Add the remaining flour mixture and mix until combined. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add the cocoa mixture until incorporated.
  3. Give the batter a final stir with a rubber spatula to make sure it is thoroughly combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared pans, smooth the tops, and gently tap the pans on the work surface to settle the batter. Bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs attached, 25-30 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 15 minutes. Run a small knife around the edges of the cakes, then flip them out onto a wire rack. Peel off the parchment paper, flip the cakes right side up, and let cool completely before frosting, about 2 hours. (The cakes can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 2 days.)
  4. To make the frosting: Stir together the brown sugar, 1/2 cup of the evaporated milk, 4 tablespoons of the butter, and salt in a large saucepan and cook over medium heat until small bubbles appear around the edge of the pan, 4-8 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until large bubbles form and the mixture has thickened and turned deep golden brown, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup evaporated milk and remaining 4 tablespoons butter until the mixture has cooled slightly. Add the chocolate and vanilla and stir until smooth. Whisk in the confectioners’ sugar until incorporated. Let the frosting cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour.
  5. Line the edges of a cake platter with strips of parchment paper to keep the platter clean while you assemble the cake. Place one of the cake layers on the platter. Spread 1 cup of the frosting over the cake, right to the edges. Place the second cake layer on top, press lightly to adhere, and spread the remaining frosting evenly over the top and sides of the cake. Refrigerate the cake until the frosting is set, about 1 hour. Remove the parchment strips from the platter before serving.

 

Tuesday
Apr242012

Cinco de Mayo Sweet: Tortilla Torte Recipe for Serious Eats

Have you ever found yourself wondering why, in the field of desserts inspired by Mexican food, the choco taco must always reign supreme? I mean, there is so much possibility in the genre. I know that personally, I'd be mega-thrilled about a chocolate-peanut butter quesadilla or some Cadbury Creme huevos rancheros.

But for a sweet south of the border-inspired treat that really takes the cake, why not try out a Tortilla Torte? This recipe is lightly adapted from a family cookbook recipe shared with me by Kerry Haygood of cake pop bakery Lollicakes.

Composed of tortillas stacked over chocolate cream filling and topped with a billow of fluffy white frosting, this torte visually resembles fancy stacked sponge cakes, but ultimately makes for a very different dessert experience. The tortillas take a bit of getting used to—they will remain lightly chewy even when the chocolate has had a chance to set— but the taste sensation is unlike any other dessert I've ever tried. The floury taste of the tortillas mixes quite pleasantly with the rich chocolate-sour cream filling (which is also great by the spoonful) and the complementary tangy sweetness of the sour cream frosting.

That's to say: it's nacho typical dessert.

For the full entry and recipe, visit Serious Eats!

Monday
Jan092012

What a Mug: Microwave Cake in a Mug Recipe for Serious Eats

There's a certain sector of the sweet world that I think of as "Desperation Desserts." Generally dreamed up when the cookie jar is empty and there's no ice cream in the freezer, these typically single-serving concoctions are made up of whatever happens to be on hand in the kitchen.

But happily, here's a quick-fix dessert that doesn't taste like desperation: chocolate cake prepared in a mug, in the microwave. With a consistency something like a steamed pudding, this chocolate cake might not rival a French chocolate cake in sophistication, but nonetheless holds its own as an easy convenience dessert. And should you find some ice cream or whipped cream to top it with, well, all the better.

For the full entry and recipe, visit Serious Eats!

Thursday
Jan052012

Chocolate Delirium Recipe from Rosie's Bakery

Chocolate Delirium

CakeSpy Note: This is a guest post from Judy Rosenberg, owner of Rosie's Bakery in Massachusetts and author of the newly-released Rosie's All-Butter Fresh Cream Sugar-Packed Baking Book (love the title!!). Here goes:

In the old days before we became aware of all the allergies that people have towards gluten, we still baked a host of cakes that did not contain wheat flour and therefore can today be considered “gluten free”. Flourless chocolate cake has been a staple of many a great baker. Its origins are found in fancy European baking, especially that of France.

Most of today’s “gluten free” pastries involve substituting all kinds of alternative choices for wheat flour; this can require changes in the other ingredients due to the fact that the gluten in wheat flour has bonding qualities, and when it is not present, the texture of the cake can be greatly affected.

What is beautiful about the classic “flourless” cake is that no substitutions are required because there is no flour involved to begin with! The incorporation of beaten egg whites and/or whipped cream helps the cake to rise somewhat while baking. The outcome is a marvelously fudgy cake that really accentuates the flavor of the chocolate and the texture that is created when you blend chocolate, butter and sugar together.

I am always thrilled to be able to introduce my gluten free customers to cakes that have been enjoyed for the past 35 years by Rosie’s customers and that I know have stood the test of time!

Here’s a melt-in-your mouth, not-too-sweet, flourless chocolate cake from Rosie's All-Butter Fresh Cream Sugar-Packed Baking Book that makes a welcome dessert for all chocolate lovers, including those who are gluten intolerant. I like to serve this cake with whipped cream or coffee ice cream, and occasionally I will throw some toasted chopped almonds or walnuts on top. If you don’t want to bother with the Chocolate Ganache, just dust the cake with cocoa powder and you still have a winner. After the guests have gone, I have been known to crawl into bed with a small piece that I have heated in the microwave and topped off with a little more ice cream.

Rosie's-Bakery-All-Butter,-Cream-Filled,-Sugar-Packed-Baking-Book-2D

Chocolate Delirium
makes 12 to 16 servings

 

  • Butter for greasing the pan
  • 1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup strong brewed coffee or espresso
  • 1 pound bittersweet chocolate (or a combination of 8 ounces unsweetened chocolate and 8 ounces semisweet), chopped into small pieces
  • 6 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy (whipping) cream
  • chilled Chocolate Ganache (there's a recipe in the book, or use this one)
  • Whipped Cream (page 119) or ice cream of your choice, for serving

Procedure

  1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325°F. Lightly grease a 10-inch springform pan with butter. Line the bottom of the pan with a parchment circle or pan insert.
  2. Melt the butter with the sugar and coffee in a large saucepan over medium-low heat.
  3. Add the chopped chocolate to the butter mixture and stir. Turn the heat off, cover, and let sit until the chocolate has melted, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and stir with a whisk until smooth. Set aside.  
  4. Whisk together the whole eggs and egg yolks in a small mixing bowl. Pour this mixture in a stream into the chocolate mixture while stirring vigorously with the whisk until blended.
  5. Whip the cream in a small mixing bowl with an electric mixer until firm peaks form, about 40 seconds. Stir the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture until fully incorporated.  
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the center is set but still slightly spongy in texture and a tester inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs, about 1 ½ hours.  
  7. Cool the cake in the pan on a rack for several hours.  
  8. Remove the side of the pan and flip the cake onto the rack. Remove the pan bottom and the paper. Place a second rack over a large piece of aluminum foil. Flip the cake right side up onto the rack.
  9. Pour the Chocolate Ganache over the top of the cake and use a frosting spatula to spread it evenly over the top so that it drips down the sides. Then use the spatula to lightly spread it around the sides of the cake. When the glaze sets, carefully lift the cake off the rack with a metal spatula and place it on a cake plate.
  10. Serve with Whipped Cream or the ice cream of your choice.

 

Monday
Jan022012

La Dulce Vita: Almost Flourless Chocolate Cake with Dulce de Leche Recipe for Serious Eats

Around this time of year, an unnerving amount of people make declarations that they are going to avoid dessert, all under the alarming title of "New Year's Resolution".

Personally, I'd rather resolve to eat more deliciously. And if you resolve similarly, you'll undoubtedly get a lot of pleasure from Almost Flourless Chocolate Cake with Dulce de Leche.

This recipe is largely based on Evelyn Sharpe's 1969 recipe for "French Chocolate Cake", as discovered on Amanda Hesser's now-defunct Recipe Redux column, but is made even better with the addition of dulce de leche and ice cream or whipped cream on top.

For the full entry and recipe, visit Serious Eats!

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