Saturday, February 18, 2012

Cake for Aaron

(Excuse the terrible picture, the lighting was bad and the chocolate glaze wasn't cool enough so it ran everywhere. I also sprinkled the cake with some powdered sugar and will never make that mistake again.)My co-worker let me brag about my cake baking skills and said that he would buy a cake from me every week so that I could practice my recipes and decorating because he thinks I'm good at it and would like to see me with my own cake shop someday. (Why, thank you!) I don't have the time to bake a cake once a week at this point in my life so I figured I would make one he requested to start out with. I used the same strawberry cake recipe as the 4 year anniversary cake. Added a strawberry glaze between the layers and frosted with strawberry buttercream. I drizzled a chocolate glaze over top and topped with chocolate covered strawberries. He obviously fell in love with my Chocolate Covered Strawberry cake but I wanted to make it better! This cake recipe is taken directly from this foodie bride's website.

Fresh Strawberry Cake
24 oz strawberries, stems removed. = 3/4 cup strawberry puree
1-2 tsp sugar
1/4 cup milk
4 large eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cup cake flour, sifted
1 3/4 cup sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
12 tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp.

Combine strawberries and 2 tsp sugar in blender to make puree. Reserve 3/4 cup. Refrigerate remaining puree.

In small bowl, combine puree, milk, egg, vanilla and mix with fork until well blended. In bowl of stand mixer, add sifted flour, sugar, baking powder and salt and mix to combine. Continue beating at slow speed and add butter. Mix until combined and resembling moist crumbs. (Very important to use the butter softened, it affects the texture).

Add liquids and beat at medium speed for about 1 minute or until full and evenly combined. Stop mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl and hand beat for 30 more seconds.

Divide into 2, 8" rounds, greased and floured and with cut parchment. Bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees, rotating after 20 minutes. Cool in pans on wire rack 20 minutes then invert and continue to cool to room temp before moving racks into fridge to chill.

Strawberry Buttercream
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temp
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/4 cup mashed/pureed strawberries

Strawberry Glaze
16 oz fresh strawberries, stems removed
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tbsp cornstarch

Whisk together water and cornstarch in small bowl. Combine remaining ingredients in a pot and bring to boil. Simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add water/cornstarch mixture, bring to high heat and whisk 3-5 minutes or until thickens. Cool. Refrigerate leftover.

Chocolate Glaze
4 oz semi-sweet chocolate baking bars
1/3 cup butter, softened, cubed

Simmer over double boiler until melted.

I dipped the strawberries in this and set on waxed paper over a chilled wire cooling rack so the chocolate would set faster. Then refrigerated them while I frosted the cake.





Our 4 Year Anniversary


I wanted to make a fun cake for our 4 year anniversary and came up with this: Fresh Strawberry cake with Tres Leches soak; Strawberry Glaze filling, and Whipped Cream frosting. I found "traditional" recipes for strawberry cake that used 1 box of strawberry gelatin mixed into the cake batter. I am, however, opposed to horse hooves in my cake and wanted to make it completely fresh and from scratch. I saw this recipe from FOODIEBRIDE and just fell in love. I baked per recipe but these are the ingredients I used.

Fresh Strawberry Cake
24 oz strawberries, stems removed. = 3/4 cup strawberry puree
1-2 tsp sugar
1/4 cup milk
4 large eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cup cake flour, sifted
1 3/4 cup sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
12 tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp.

Combine strawberries and 2 tsp sugar in blender to make puree. Reserve 3/4 cup. Refrigerate remaining puree.

In small bowl, combine puree, milk, egg, vanilla and mix with fork until well blended. In bowl ofstand mixer, add sifted flour, sugar, baking powder and salt and mix to combine. Continue beating at slow speed and add butter. Mix until combined and resembling moist crumbs. (Very important to use the butter softened, it affects the texture).

Add liquids and beat at medium speed for about 1 minute or until full and evenly combined. Stop mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl and hand beat for 30 more seconds.

Divide into 2, 8" rounds, greased and floured and with cut parchment. Bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees, rotating after 20 minutes. Cool in pans on wire rack 20 minutes then invert and continue to cool to room temp before moving racks into fridge to chill.

The strawberries on top were simply cut into thin slices and sprinkled with white sugar to bring out the sweetness and left to sit on a plate while I worked on the cake.

Tres Leches Soak
12 oz evaporated milk
14 oz sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tbsp Bacardi rum

Combine all ingredients. Once cakes have cooled, level off the dome and pour into cakes.


Strawberry Glaze
16 oz fresh strawberries, stems removed
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tbsp cornstarch

Whisk together water and cornstarch in small bowl. Combine remaining ingredients in a pot and bring to boil. Simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add water/cornstarch mixture, bring to high heat and whisk 3-5 minutes or until thickens. Strain. Cool. Refrigerate leftover.

The glaze about halfway done cooking. The strawberries break down to almost nothing.

Whipped Cream Frosting
3 cups heavy whipping cream
5 tbsp powdered sugar
1 tsp Wilton color flow mix (to stiffen)
2 tbsp Bacardi Rum

Whisk heavy whipping cream and powdered sugar on medium speed until stiff peaks form. Add remaining ingredients and whisk until combined.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Allie's 20th Birthday

I asked my sister what kind of cake she wanted and she said, "Chocolate!". Next was what type of frosting, buttercream or whipped cream? Chocolate buttercream it was. AND she wanted Snickers on top. She is pregnant, you know. I thought of making the cake Snickers flavored but she didn't want to have peanuts on the cake. So I made the chocolate cake, caramel buttercream filling and chocolate buttercream frosting from scratch and added the Snickers on top. This cake traveled 2 hours with no melting after an overnight stay in the fridge. Happy 20th Birthday, sis!

Chocolate Cake
1 1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter, room temp
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
2 cups cake flour, sifted
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk
6 oz semi sweet chocolate baking bars, melted and cooled

In mixing bowl combine sugar, butter and vanilla. Add eggs and beat for 1 minute. Add melted chocolate. Add flour, baking soda and salt. Gradually add milk. In 2, 8" round baking pans, spray with oil, coat sides with cocoa powder and line with parchment paper. Divide batter between pans and bake for 30-35 minutes at 350 degrees. I rotate my pans after 20 minutes to ensure even baking. Cool to room temp on wire rack then move to fridge to chill before frosting.


Caramel Buttercream Filling
1/3 cup solid vegetable shortening
1/3 cup butter, room temp
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted

Use paddle attachment combine butter and shortening. Add caramel and vanilla extract. Slowly add powdered sugar. Scrape down sides . If too dry, a milk 1 tbsp at a time.




Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
3/4 cup butter
1/4 cup solid vegetable shortening
2 oz semi-sweet chocolate baking bars, melted and cooled
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt
2-3 tbsp milk
2 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Combine all ingredients except milk and powdered sugar. Alternate adding powdered sugar and milk until fluffy.