Monday, November 30, 2009

Red Velvet

I'm making some special holiday cupcakes for of them being a Red Velvet with peppermint white chocolate cream cheese frosting. This is one of my holiday staples, however my usual red velvet is a jazzed up box mix, so this year I wanted to produce a from scratch cupcake that's as good as the mix.
I looked on the Cake Central Forum and saw a recipe from Rose Levy Beranbaum that members were swearing by - so decided to give it a try. It's an unusual red velvet recipe, as it doesn't have soda and vinegar like most recipes do. I didn't use all of the recommended red food coloring, which apparently I didn't need. Verdict on this cake -- like all of the other Beranbaum recipes I've tried, it's gotta great soft, delicate crumb, nice subtle flavor....but too dry for me. I don't know, some people may love it....but if I'm gonna eat cake, I want it to be moist and flavorful and vibrant. This was not it.

So in a panic, I tried another recipe. It was a toss between Cake Man Raven's recipe, or Martha Stewart's recipe (which also is very similar to Paula Deen's recipe)... Ultimately I decided to do Martha's which is all oil and contains soda and vinegar. Verdict - WOWSA!!!! yummy. yummy all on it's own without frosting. Moist, zingy, flavorful. Yeah. don't need a cake mix anymore. The only thing is that it's not as red. But I used gelpaste (1/4 tsp for half recipe, versus 1 1/2 Tbsp of the McCormick red food coloring in the other recipe) - but whatever, I'm sure I can add the other red food coloring if I have to have it that red.

Martha's cupcake is on the left, Rose's is on the right. I'll post recipes later.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Thomas The Tank.

Whew...last cake of the weekend. Hope it travels well!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Barbie and Flowers...

Working on 3 cakes this weekend...Here are two of them. They are both vanilla with strawberry filling. The Barbie cake is covered in strawberry flavored "Fondariffic" fondant, and the flower cake is buttercream with homemade marshmallow fondant and candy clay decorations.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Cake Slice Bakers Present....Burnt Sugar Cake.

OH, how I love the Cake Slice Bakers...I love making things that I would normally never try....The cake this month was a Burnt Sugar cake. Cooking sugar on my ceramic top makes me nervous, as I've already cracked it once...but I braved it, and I was glad I did. The cake had a very subtle caramel flavor. It has alot of future in my repertoire....I did ditch the frosting....didn't even sound appealing to me, instead I used the burnt sugar syrup and made Swiss Meringue Buttercream (idea from How to eat a cupcake, see link on the side) and that also will be used again.
I do recommend cooking at 325 degrees instead, or cooking with a pan of water in the oven....I think that would help keep these cakes moister. Cooked as below, they were right on the border of being dry.....

Burnt Sugar Cake
(Recipe from Southern Cakes by Nancie McDermott)
For the Cake
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup milk
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1¾ cups sugar
4 eggs
½ cup Burnt Sugar Syrup (below)

For the Burnt Sugar Syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup boiling water

For the Burnt Sugar Frosting
3¾ cups confectioners sugar
½ cup Burnt Sugar Syrup (above)
¼ cup (½ stick) butter
½ tsp vanilla extract
2 – 3 tbsp evaporated milk or normal milk

Method – Burnt Sugar Syrup
Heat the sugar in a cast iron skillet or another heavy bottomed pan with high sides. Heat over a medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar melts into a clear brown caramel syrup. It should be the colour of tea. Gradually add the boiling water, pouring it down the sides of the pan so that if the syrup foams and bubbles up, you should be protected.

Continue cooking, stirring often, until the water combines with the syrup and turns a handsome brown syrup. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Store the cooled syrup in a sealed jar if not using straight away.

Method - Cake
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 9 inch round cake pans.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt and stir with a fork to mix well. Stir the vanilla into the milk.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and the sugar with an electric mixer at high speed for 2 – 3 minutes, until they are well combined. Stop now and then to scrape the bowl down. Add the eggs, one by one, beating well each time. Pour in half a cup of the burnt sugar syrup and beat well. Add a third of the flour mixture and about half of the milk, beating at a low speed, until just incorporated. Mix in another third of the flour and the rest of the milk. Finally, add the remaining flour.

Divide the batter between the cake pans and bake at 350F for 20 to 25 minutes until the cakes are golden brown, spring back when touched gently in the centre and begin to pull away from the sides of the pan. Let the cakes cool in the pans on a wire rack for15 minutes. Turn out the cakes into the wire rack to cool completely.

Method – Burnt Sugar Frosting
In a large bowl, combine the confectioners sugar, the burnt sugar syrup, butter and vanilla. Beat with a mixer at medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl now and then to bring the ingredients together. Add 2 tablespoons of the milk and continue beating until the frosting is thick, soft, smooth and easy to spread. Add a little more sugar if it is thin, and a little more milk if it is too thick.

To Assemble
Place one layer, top side down, on a cake stand or serving plate. Scoop about ¾ cup of the frosting onto the cake. Spread to the edges and place the second cake layer over it, top side down. Frost the sides of the cake, and then the top until it is evenly covered.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

10 dozen cupcakes and a cake....

It's 10:30 am. I'm done. started yesterday with frosting, and this morning starting baking at 4:45 am. have to deliver the cupcakes by 2 pm and the cake by 5 pm....Then I get to stay up all night and work a 12 hour Saturday night in the county Emergency Department....oh, sorry, venting....

All that to say it's been a busy week, will be a busy weekend, and next week is looking 'bout the same....and except for the overnight shifts at work, I'm loving every minute of it.

The cupcakes I made today are for a birthday/housewarming for the local "brown bag" lady (if you don't know what that is, I'm NOT explaining it)...they are Mai Tai, Mudslide, Monkey LaLa and strawberry Mojito.

The cake is for a coworkers daughter who is having a birthday sleepover. I'm not excited about my frost job....I'm going to need to learn to do better. It's a vanilla confetti cake with vanilla buttercream and the decorations are homemade marshmallow fondant.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Mai Tai, Monkey LaLa and Mudslides...

I've been experimenting with Mai Tai's...been through 3 different trials, and I think I like these....They are "rum runner" cupcakes from Warren Brown, topped with a 50-50 mix of Swiss Meringue and American Buttercream thats flavored with an actual Mai Tai drink, topped with a drizzle of grenadine.

The mudslides are a chocolate, coffee, Kahlua and "Green and Blacks" expresso chocolate chunk cupcake, dipped in a Kahlua/Baileys ganache and frosted with a chocolate Bailey's buttercream....OMG, died and gone to chocolate heaven.
The monkey La La's are my usual...some I dipped in the above ganache, some left plain.

If your interested in any recipes, let me know, and I'll post it.