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Entries in cakes (60)

Saturday
Feb192011

Dark But Sweet: Bittersweet Chocolate Gateau Recipe from Macrina Bakery, Seattle

Image: Macrina BakeryTopping the list of things that make you go NOM? Howsabout a big slice of Bittersweet Chocolate Gateau? It's the recipe of the month from Seattle's famous Macrina Bakery, and I don't know about you, but I think it would be a perfect cake to enjoy for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or all of the above.

Bittersweet Chocolate Gateau

  • 10 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 9 eggs
  • 12 tablespoons (1-1/2 sticks)
  • unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup dark cocoa powder, sifted
  • 2 cups (1 pint) fresh raspberries
  • Lightly Sweetened Whipped Cream (recipe follows)
  • Powdered sugar

 

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Oil a 9 x 13-inch springform pan. Set aside.
  2. Chop chocolate into small pieces and place in a small stainless steel bowl. Place bowl on top of a saucepan filled with 2 inches of simmering water, making sure that the bottom of the bowl does not come in contact with the water. It’s important that the water be just simmering; if it’s too hot it will scorch the chocolate. Stir chocolate with a rubber spatula until all of the pieces have melted and reached a smooth consistency. Remove the bowl from the heat and set it on the stovetop to keep it slightly warm.
  3. Separate eggs, placing yolks in a small bowl and whites in a medium bowl. Set bowls aside.
  4. Combine butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and using the paddle attachment, mix on low speed for 1 to 2 minutes. Increase speed to medium and mix for about 5 minutes more to cream the butter. The mixture will become smooth and pale in color. Start adding the egg yolks, 2 at a time, taking care to mix each addition fully before adding more yolks. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. After all of the yolks are incorporated, add the sifted cocoa powder and continue mixing until combined.
  5. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and fold in the melted chocolate with a rubber spatula. The batter will thicken. Using a whisk or hand-held mixer, whip egg whites until medium-stiff peaks form. Gently fold the whipped egg whites into the batter, one third at a time. Continue folding the batter until there are no visible white streaks; it is important that the whites be fully incorporated into the batter. The final mixture should have a sponge-like texture. Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan and scatter half of the raspberries over the top. Poke the berries down with your fingers until they are just below the surface.
  6. Place pan on center rack of oven and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the center is set. Let cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Release the sides of the pan and lift, leaving the cake on the pan bottom. Dust the top of the cake with powdered sugar and garnish with the remaining raspberries. Serve with Lightly Sweetened Whipped Cream. It’s best to enjoy this cake the day it’s baked, but it can be stored at room temperature for up to one day. It will become very dense and fudge-like if kept in the refrigerator.
  7. It's also most excellent with freshly whipped cream!
Monday
Jan312011

Whole Hog: Groundhog Day Cake for Serious Eats

My family has an unusual tradition: we celebrate Groundhog Day. In a completely non-ironic way. And to herald the occasion, there is always a cake-homage to the skittish little critter.

Why? Well, my dad is a surfer, and he carefully follows Punxsutawney Phil's yearly emergence. If he does not see his shadow, it means spring is coming, and thus surf season will come sooner. And also because, well, cake is very delicious.

Of course, no matter whether you're in a rush for spring to come, it's a pretty sure thing that this Groundhog-themed cake will brighten your day—and the remaining crumbs will cast minimal shadows.

For the full entry and recipe, visit Serious Eats!

Tuesday
Jan182011

Mix it Up: Funfetti Cakelets in the Toaster Oven

Picture this: you've just filled up a cake tin's worth of cupcakes, and you have a dollop of batter left. What to do?

Now, you may think that the possibilities stop at A) Swipe it with your finger (or a spatula) and eat it...or B) Put it in a cupcake liner and bake it all by its lonesome.

Now, these are respectable options, for sure. But I'd like to present another option: bake it in the toaster oven.

I did this recently, and while I wouldn't call it an amazing success, it was thoroughly eatable, and a great sweet fix in a pinch (or late at night, when these things seem like a great idea). And it sure was fun to do.

Here's how I did it.

Toaster Oven Cakelets

 Ingredients

  • 1 dollop leftover Funfetti batter, prepared per box instructions
  • a piece of aluminum foil to bundle it in

Procedure

  1. Place your dollop of cake batter on the center of the aluminum foil. Bunch the sides up around it, to form walls so that the batter won't seep through.
  2. Place the wad in the toaster oven and toast (you heard me, toast) it on medium heat (350 if you have such settings) until it is browned on top, about 15 minutes. Lightly peel away the foil from the side to see if it is baked through. If so, remove from toaster oven, cool, and top with frosting, a dab of ice cream, etc, and enjoy.

 

Friday
Jan072011

Sweet Excess: The Exquisite Pleasure of Eating the Pumpple from Flying Monkey Patisserie, Philadelphia

Pie? Cake? Why decide, when you can eat two kinds of each, plus a 3-inch slab of buttercream frosting, all at once?

That's right: it's time for me to tell you about the exquisite pleasure that was ordering and eating the Pumpple, by far and away the single most calorie-dense offering at Philadelphia's Flying Monkey Patisserie.

But first, a 411. Per this article on MSNBC:

While the turducken, a chicken stuffed into a duck stuffed into a turkey, once seemed over-the-top, the pumpple cake is even more decadent. One Philadelphia bakery dreamed up this ultimate fall dessert: pumpkin and apple pies baked in chocolate and vanilla cake, fused together and surrounded by buttercream icing.

This oversize creation weighs in at a whopping 15 pounds and measures more than a foot tall. And at 1,800 calories a slice, it's not for the faint of heart.

And when a couple of spies--a buddy and myself--found ourselves wandering around Philadelphia's Reading Terminal Market a week or so ago, you'd better believe we made a beeline to Flying Monkey for a slice of this sweet manna.

Now, this cake is not cheap. It's $8 a slice. But the purchase price is practically worth it for the pomp and circumstance of serving a slice all alone. Here's what you can expect if you decide to make the investment:

The first thing you'll notice as you come up to the bakery case is that this cake is huge. It's over a foot tall--just think about that. This means that if you were standing next to it, it would probably come closer to the height of your knee than the height of your ankle. 

The next thing is that it's heavy. This was clear by the way the employee braced herself to hoist the cake up to the counter to cut and serve. Over 15 pounds--that's a lot of cake, friends.

Once sitting at counter level, a big knife-slash-mini machete will be taken out to cut your slice. First, they will score the cake into marked-out slices.

Since the cake is kept cold (they recommend letting it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before eating), they will run a mini blowtorch over the knife (the kind used for creme brulee) to warm it so that it can cleanly and smoothly cut through the mass of cake.

They will repeat the torching to cut the other side of your wedge, and then they will delicately extract it and place it in a box, if you're taking it to go. This takeaway box is about the size of one that you'd get for an entire Chinese takeaway meal, by the way.

Now, you could wait half an hour to dig in, as they suggest. But when faced with the heady scent of buttercream, our resistance was futile--we grabbed some forks right away for a taste.

Sometimes, when a dessert like this exists, it's more for the shock value, and can disappoint in the taste department. But not this cake.

Every element could have stood on its own--moist, rich, flavorful cakes giving decadent, buttery pies a bear hug, and every last inch of it enveloped in a buttery frosting swaddling. 

After our few initial bites, we hit the road, walking around Philadelphia clutching our takeaway container with the care that one might assign a newborn baby...a newborn baby that you occasionally pause to take bites of, that is.

Furtive forkfuls were eaten at random all around town, and somehow, by the next morning, waking up in our hotel, this is all that was left. Now, this cake was advertised as serving four per slice, so I suppose I'm equal parts ashamed and proud to show you this.

In the morning light, it seemed like it could have been a mistake. But oh, it felt so right the night before.

Want a slice of this pie-and-cake mashup? You can get it at Philadelphia's Flying Monkey Patisserie; find them online here, and check 'em out on Twitter here.

Monday
Dec132010

Season's Sweetings: A 12-Layer Christmas Cake for Serious Eats

Whoever said that size doesn't matter clearly stuck with cakes that were, like, seven layers or fewer.

But here's a treat to power you through the holiday season: a towering 12-layer red and green Christmas cake. Why twelve layers? Why, one for each day of Christmas, of course!

A riff on Maryland's official state cake, the Smith Island Cake, this red-and-green confection is brimming with holiday cheer, and butter. Serve in slender slivers, because a little goes a long way with this sugary splendor.

Note: To avoid confusion, I should say that though it takes cues from both, this cake is neither a Red Velvet cake (it does not contain cocoa) nor truly a traditional Smith Island cake (the cake part is, but the icing is traditionally chocolate). Consider it a holiday mash-up, with liberties taken on both cakes to make for a festive holiday look.

For the full recipe and writeup, visit Serious Eats!

Tuesday
Nov302010

Bang a Gong: Harvey Wallbanger Cake from Booze Cakes by Krystina Castella

The holiday season has begun its assault on our senses. But I know how to dull the sensory overload: indulge in a big slice of boozy cake. Don't judge me.

(Note: curious about that patent? I was too. Learn more here.)

This one comes from Krystina Castella's Booze Cakes: Confections Spiked With Spirits, Wine, and Beer, a fine release from Quirk Books this year. This book is full of fun boozy cake recipes, plenty of which are great for a holiday crowd; I won't lie, I chose the Harvey Wallbanger because of its funny name and interesting recipe lead-up:

All the rage in the 1970s, the Harvey Wallbanger cocktail is a groovy twist on the classic Screwdriver: it adds a splash of the smooth vanilla Italian liqueur Galliano to the vodka and orange juice. In the 70s spirit, this is one drunk Bundt cake that is dead easy to make. It's a light, moist, absolutely booze-drenched crowd pleaser.

And happily, I wasn't let down. Citrusy, festive, and very boozy, this one is party-perfect.

Harvey Wallbanger Cake

From Booze Cakes by Krystina Castella

For the cake

  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1 (3.3 ounce) box vanilla instant pudding
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup vodka
  • 1/4 cup Galliano liqueur
  • 3/4 cup orange juice

Boozy Orange Glaze

  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon vodka
  • 1 tablespoon Galliano liqueur

Finishing: original recipe  suggests orange slices and confectioners' sugar; I garnished with toasted almonds.

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a 10-inch bundt pan.
  2. In a mixing bowl, beat cake mix, pudding powder, vetetable oil, eggs, vodka, Galliano, and OJ for 4 minutes, or until smooth. Pour batter into pan. Bake 45-50 minutes, until golden brown.
  3. Make the glaze. In a bowl, combine all ingredients and mix until smooth and creamy. Drizzle over cake. Give it a few minutes to sink into the cake for extra boozy goodness and moisture. Finish with whatever garnish you'd like.

Warning: Do not share Harvey Wallbanger cake batter with pugs.

Tuesday
Nov092010

In the Kutchen: A German Cake Recipe for CakeSpy's Dad's Birthday

Guess what? Yesterday was CakeSpy's dad's birthday. Happy birthday, SpyDad!

And for this occasion, SpyMom made up something very special: Blitz Kutchen. What's that, you ask? Well, it's a recipe from the The Settlement Cook Book, the "first classic collection of American ethnic recipes"--a book which really reflects the American melting pot, with recipes which take inspiration from several of the "old countries" but often involve ingredients discovered or more readily found on US soil.

But that's not the only reason this crumb cake is special: as SpyMom says of why she chose this recipe to make for the Mr.: "It is his favorite German crumb cake I made the first birthday I was married to him."

Isn't that just so adorable you could die? Here's the recipe.

Further notes from SpyMom: "I use a old round pan, the vanilla option and this was the first time I added the almonds to the crumb topping. They are good though. And I added apple slices before the crumbs went on, love it that way."

Crumb Cake (Blitz Kutchen)

For the cake

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • grated rind of 1 lemon, or 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 eggs, unbeaten
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

Crumb Topping (streusel)

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2-4 tablespoons butter
  • 5-6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • almonds

Procedure

Preheat oven to 350. Cream butter and sugar, add lemon rind or vanilla, add the eggs one at a time (reserving one egg white). Beat well, then add flour and baking powder (mixed). Stir well, pour into a buttered oblong shallow pan, 8x12 inches. Spread with the reserved egg white, cver with streusel, and bake 1/2 hour or until browned.

To prepare the streusel: Mix first 4 ingredients by rubbing well with the finger tips until small crumbs are formed. Add a few chopped or pounded almonds. Sprinkle over the cake before baking.

Wednesday
Sep222010

Pound It: Pound Cake Recipe, Circa 1824

So, here's the deal. Anyone who has ever had the slightest bit of curiousity about why Pound Cake is referred to as such is probably aware that it is derived from the French "Quatre Quarts"--meaning, literally, four quarts--which refers to the equal weight of the four ingredients (eggs, butter, sugar, flour) which went into early versions of the cake. Apparently, this easy ratio was necessary because"  In the days when many people couldn't read, this simple convention made it simple to remember recipes." (What's cooking America".

But what this brief historical lesson does not tell you, however, is how these early versions tasted.

And so, dear friends, I bravely stocked up my reusable grocery tote (I am in Seattle, after all) with a whole lot of eggs, butter, sugar, and flour, and tried it out for you.

Of course, my first inclination was to try this recipe, found on The Food Timeline:

[1817] A Pound cake, plain.
Beat a pound of butter in an earthen pan till it is like a thick cream, then beat in nine whole eggs till it is quite light. Put in a glass of brandy, a little lemon-peel shred fine; then pork in a pound and a quarter of flour. Put it into your hoop or pan, and bake it for one hour."
---The Female Instructor or Young Woman's Guide to Domestic Happiness, [Thomas Kelly:London] 1817 (p. 462)

But as tempting as it was to figure out how to "pork in" a pound and a quarter of flour, something seemed missing from this recipe: namely, sugar. So instead I opted for a variation on the recipe (also from the Food Timeline):

[1824] Pound cake.
Wash the salt from a pound of butter and rub it till it is soft as cream, have ready a pound of flour sifted, one pound of powdered sugar, and twelve eggs well beaten; put alternately into the butter, sugar, flour, and the froth from the eggs; continuing to beat them together till all the ingredients are in, and the cake quite light; add some grated lemon peel, a nutmeg, and a gill of brandy; butter the pans and bake them. This cake makes an excellent pudding if baked in a large mould, and eaten with sugar and wine. It is also excellent when boiled, and served up with melted butter, sugar, and wine."
---The Virginia Housewife, Mary Randolph, with historical notes and commentaries by Karen Hess [University of South Carolina Press:Columbia] 1984 (p. 161)

In this version, the proportions were pretty much a pound each, but in the effort to produce the most pure final product, I did not add the peel, nutmeg, or brandy.

So, here's how it all went down.

 

  • First, creaming the butter til it was "like cream"--basically, I beat it (in my very not 1824-esque Kitchen Aid) until it was softer than butter itself, and became an aromatic, beautiful sort of thing that begged to be slathered on bread.
  • In my second stand mixer (because yes, I have two...jealous?), I separately mixed the eggs. What did "well-beaten" mean? I took it to mean "beat into complete submission", so I let them thoroughly froth up by mixing them on medium for about 5 minutes (but to be 100% honest, I didn't really look at the clock).
  • Then, I started to add the rest of the ingredients, bit by bit, to the extremely creamy, dreamy butter.
  • This makes a pretty significant bit of batter, so I divided among a few pans. I baked each cake in a moderate (350-degree) oven until lightly golden on top--about 30-45 minutes depending on the pan size.  

 

But what of the cake that came out of the oven? Amazingly, this cake was far lighter than I would have expected. The crumb was surprisingly delicate, and the texture almost feathery--and yet, and yet, the indescribeably buttery and rich taste allows you to make no mistake, this is a serious cake through and through.

Would I suggest moving back to our pound cake roots? Probably not, because ultimately (for better or worse) I think I do prefer the hefty, dense, sliced loaves of pound cake that are more common these days. But it did make for a sweet experiment, and an even sweeter taste of history.

Want more? You can find a plethora of historic poundcake recipes (and info) on Food Timeline.

 

Monday
Aug232010

Being Green: Zucchini Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe for Serious Eats

It's not easy being green.

It is, however, exceedingly easy to eat green, especially when we're talking about zucchini cake. Now, you probably already knew that the abundant late summer fruit (yes, it's a fruit) yields a moist, dense, and delicious quick bread. But please, don't let the story end there—because when you take it into cake territory by adding a thick slathering of chocolate cream cheese frosting, you'll have a far sweeter finish.

The frosting prettily contrasts the color of the cake, and the triple-threat of complementary flavors—tangy cream cheese, rich chocolate, earthy zucchini—makes for a final product that leaves zucchini bread absolutely green with envy.

 

 

For the full entry and recipe, check out Serious Eats!

 

Wednesday
Aug112010

Pie + Cake + Shake = Pake Shake

This is a personal note to everyone who came to Monday's Cake Vs. Pie Party. This crust-against-crumb was a star-studded event, and you have my greatest thanks (along with co-hosts Jenise and Edible Seattle) for coming. True, a PIE was declared best in show--but it was a rather fine specimen, so I can live with this.

But today I'm here to talk about the darker side of sampling 10 pies and 10 cakes in one evening: the massive pie-and-cake sugar hangover you're bound to have the next morning. How to deal with this unique sort of sugar shock to the system?

Hair of the dog that bit you, that's how. And my suggested medicine? The Pake Shake.

Equal parts pie, cake, and shake, this beauty is inspired by both the pake and the excess of Monday's indulgent evening of tasting pie and cakes. True, it may not be the most beautiful concoction, but it's good for what ails you, a sort of bloody mary equivalent for a sugar hangover.  Keep this idea on file for the next time you find yourself sampling 10 pies and 10 cakes in one night (it might be sooner than you think).

Pake Shake (Pie-and-Cake Shake)

Ingredients

  • 1 slice pie (I used the "Rhueberry", a lattice-topped rhubarb-blueberry pie made by Wendy Sykes)
  • 1 slice cake (I used a slice of mocha cake with chocolate buttercream made by Nazla Merce)
  • 2 large scoops vanilla ice cream
  • Cream or milk, to taste

Procedure 

  1. Combine all of the above ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth, adding more milk or cream until it has reached your desired consistency.
  2. Pour into a glass, reflect on last night's revelry, and enjoy.

 

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