Friday, June 24, 2011

What Happened to Goodbye Book Review

I read and reviewed Sarah Dessen's new book, What Happened to Goodbye for BlogHer Book Club. I've been a fan of Dessen's other books- she's a Young Adult author and often writes about family dynamics and situations. Her newest book is no exception. Although not my favorites of hers, it's definitely worth a read. The complete review is here.

Barefoot Contessa Chocolate Cake

It was my mom's birthday last week and she requested chocolate cake. Instead of using the dense chocolate cake recipe I use for my layered cakes, I decided to pick a different recipe. I found a recipe from Barefoot Contessa called Beatty's Chocolate Cake. It's pretty much "one-bowl," (I used a glass measuring cup for the wet ingredients). The result is a moist, fluffy chocolate cake. With the chocolate buttercream, it's a perfect, easy take on a classic dessert!

Beatty's Chocolate Cake
Copyright 2006, Barefoot Contessa at Home, All Rights Reserved

  • Butter, for greasing the pans
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups good cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
  • Chocolate Buttercream, recipe follows


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 8-inch x 2-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.
Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
Place 1 layer, flat side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake.

Chocolate Frosting:

  • 6 ounces good semisweet chocolate (recommended: Callebaut)
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 extra-large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee powder
Chop the chocolate and place it in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until just melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and continue beating for 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to low, gradually add the confectioners' sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy. Dissolve the coffee powder in 2 teaspoons of the hottest tap water. On low speed, add the chocolate and coffee to the butter mixture and mix until blended. Don't whip! Spread immediately on the cooled cake

Monday, June 20, 2011

CS Bakers- Lime Chiffon Cake

I'm back to Cake Slice Bakers (at least for this month)! I love this group, but the 20th always sneaks up on me and I find I haven't made that month's cake. This month I was proactive and made it over Memorial Day! There were two cakes to choose from this month- Lime Chiffon and Fresh Strawberry Cake with White Chocolate chips. I opted for the lime cake because I had all the ingredients on hand, but I may still make the strawberry one, too, because it sounds so summery!
The Lime Chiffon cake is a light and fluffy, but more dense than an angel food cake since there are eggs yolks in it. The yolks and sugar are whipped, then oil and lime, and the dry ingredients and milk. There are a few more steps than what I would call a "quick, easy cake," but the results are worth it.
The cake is so refreshing- I'm not normally a fan of citrus flavored desserts, but this was just too good. It was a hit with my family- topped with a little whipped cream (or a cream cheese glaze would be great, too), it was a perfect summer dessert!

June’s Cake: Lime Chiffon Cake
Makes one 9 inch angle food pan cake
(Recipe from Cake Keeper Cakes by Lauren Chattman)
1 & 1/3 cups cake flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
7 large eggs – 5 separated and 2 left whole
1½ cups sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1/3 cup water
2 tsp grated lime zest
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 tsp cream of tartar

Preheat the oven to 325F. Have ready a 9 inch ungreased angel food tube pan with a removable bottom.
Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl and whisk thoroughly to break up any lumps. Set aside.
Place the egg yolks and 2 whole eggs in a large mixing bowl and beat on medium high speed until lightened in colour, about 3 minutes. With the mixer running, add 1 cup sugar in a slow steady stream and continue to beat until the mixture is light and increased in volume, about 5 minutes. With the mixer still running, slowly pour in the oil and continue to beat for 1 minute longer.
Combine the lime juice and water in a measuring cup. With the mixer on low speed add 1/3 of the flour, then ½ the lime mixture, another 1/3 flour, the rest of the lime and then the remaining flour. Scrape down the bowl when necessary. Stir in the lime zest and vanilla.
With clean beaters, whip the egg whites on medium speed until frothy. Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat on medium speed until the egg whites begin to turn white. With the mixer still on medium speed, pour in the remaining ½ cup sugar in a slow stream, and whip until the whites hold stiff peaks.
Fold ¼ of the yolk mixture into the whites to lighten. Then fold the remaining whites into the yolk mixture, gently but thoroughly. Pour the batter into the tube pan and smooth the top. Bake the cake until golden brown and the top springs back when touched, about 55minutes to 1hour.
If your pan has feet, invert the pan onto a heatproof surface and allow to cool. If your pan doesn’t have feet, invert 4 heatproof drinking glasses on the counter and rest the inverted pan on top of the glasses to allow air to circulate around the cake while it cools. Let the cake cool completely in the pan, about 2 hours.
To remove the cake from the pan, run a sharp knife around the edge, being careful to leave the golden crust intact. Remove the sides of the pan. Invert the cake onto a serving platter. Run the knife under the removable bottom and lift it off the cake. Slice and serve.
Store uneaten cake wrapped in plastic and kept at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Hello Kitty Cake

Finally! Someone asked me to do a Hello Kitty cake! I grew up loving Hello Kitty- my relatives from Japan always brought me HK stuff and it was AWESOME. My mom always decorated half-sheet cakes for our birthdays and I remember one year she made me a Hello Kitty cake that I adored. I've been dying to make a HK cake, but no one had requested one. 
But finally, my daughter's friend was having a Hello Kitty birthday. The cake was designed to match the party supplies.
The cake was vanilla with strawberry filling. It was so much fun, I want to do another!!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

TWD- Brown Sugar Blueberry Plain Cake

I'll be honest here. I wasn't going to make this week's TWD because it sounded kinda boring. I mean, it says "plain" right in the name! But after reading the handful of rave comments on the P&Q, and remembering that almost EVERY recipe in this book is amazing, I decided to go for it.
This is a very quick cake- it only takes a few minutes to put together. It calls for an 11"x7" pan, which I don't have, so I used a 9"x13". I know that's bigger, but everyone in the P&Q said the blueberries sank, so I thought if the cake was thinner, the blueberries wouldn't sink as much.
This cake is so moist and delicious. The blueberries add the perfect amount of fruity sweetness to it. It tastes like breakfast, but we ate it after dinner. Three-fourths of the pan. It was a hit.
Cindy at Everyday Insanity will have the recipe!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A Discovery of Witches Book Review

In a departure from baking, I joined the BlogHer Book Club and this month's book is A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. In a nutshell, I LOVED this book! Kind of Twilight-y, but much more intelligent and grown-up. My review is here. Check it out. And read this book!!