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Cake Recipes


porcupine
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Let's help Demetrius [see carrot cake thread] in his baking adventures. Here's an old favorite of mine: Buttermilk Pound Cake (origin unknown).

Cream 1 c butter with 2 c sugar. Beat in 4 eggs, one at a time. Beat in 1 t each vanilla and grated lemon rind. Add 3 c sifted flour, resifted with 1/2 t each baking soda and baking powder, alternately with 1 c buttermilk. Bake in greased and floured sheet pan (13x9) at 350 for about 40 min.

notes:

if you use unsalted butter, add some salt to the flour mixture

c = cup

t = teaspoon

bake a half-recipe in an 8" square pan for about 30 min

this cake tastes best when eaten one day after it's made

I like it with nothing more than powdered sugar on top, but it's also good with whipped cream and fruit, or a creme anglaise if you want to dress it up, or any other cream type sauce (see next post).

Edited by porcupine
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Favorite cake sauce

An issue of Gourmet a few years back had a recipe for a lemon cream icing, made with homemade lemon curd. I never had any luck with it, as it tended to soften rather quickly no matter what tricks I used, but it makes a fantastic sauce.

The basic recipe: whip one cup heavy cream with 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar until it holds stiff peaks, then fold in 1 cup lemon curd.

Variations: make lemon curd with Meyer lemons or blood oranges. The blood orange curd tastes kinda wierd, but being unwilling to throw it out, I just made the sauce with it, and the sauce tasted great. YMMV. Bet lime would work well, too.

The first time I made this icing, I intended to put it on an angel food cake, and was beside myself with irritation that it wasn't firm enough - especially since my first party guest had already arrived! But she had a great idea: I cut the cake into bite-size pieces and put them in a pretty bowl, and served the failed icing as a dipping sauce. My friends loved it.

In sauce form, it also makes a great dip for strawberries.

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My favorite chocolate cake, from Gourmet , Jan 2001:

Cream 1 c butter with 1 1/4 c dark brown sugar and 3/4 c granulated sugar.

Beat in 4 large eggs, one at a time.

Whisk together 3/4 c cocoa powder (not Dutch process) and 1 c boiling water [do this while cream butter and sugar], then combine with 1/2 c whole milk and 1 t vanilla.

Sift together 2 c all purpose flour, 1 1/4 t baking soda, and 1/2 t salt.

Mix the dry ingredients into the butter-sugar-egg mixture alternately with the liquid ingredients.

Bake in pans buttered, lined with wax paper, buttered again and floured; at 350, for:

3 8" round = 23-24 min

2 9" round = 25-30 min

1 13x9 = 35 min

1/2 c muffin cups about 20 min (makes about 34)

Cool in pans on rack for 20 min before removing from pans.

notes:

flavor improves after a day

this recipe can be tricky - the cake goes from perfect to waaaay overdone in less than 30 sec. Best to remove from oven when it looks slightly underdone.

also, Domino brand dark brown sugar is prone to developing hard lumps that will not dissolve in a cake batter, but will sink to the bottom and ruin your cake. Ask me how I know this. :lol: Crumble the sugar with your impeccably clean fingers [thanks, Julia!] and remove any hard lumps.

Ice with brown sugar buttercream (next post).

Edited by porcupine
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Angel Food Cake

This is for anyone who thinks they don't like angel food (like my MIL). It's a very old recipe, from one of my mother's relatives, but pretty standard. Mom used to insist on beating the egg whites by hand, but my results are just as good in a standing mixer with the whisk attachment. I do finish it by hand, though. I have many memories of Mom wiating for me to come home from school so she could yell "don't slam the door! there's an angel food cooling!" Just about any light textured icing works well on this. It may be tempting to use all those yolks in a French buttercream, but I find that too heavy for this cake. YMMV. It's also good stuffed with lemon or strawberry or chocolate creams (but that'll be another post).

Have 1 1/2 cups egg whites (about 1 doz extra large) at room temp.

Measure 1 c sugar and sift twice; set aside.

Measure 1 1/8 c sifted cake flour and sift three times with 3/4 c sifted sugar; set aside.

Beat egg whites until frothy, then beat in 1 1/2 t cream of tartar and 1/3 t salt. Continue beating til soft peaks form. Gradually sift in the 1 c sugar, always beating, and keep beating until stiff peaks form, but don't overbeat. Fold in 1/4 t almond extract and 1 t vanilla.

Very gently fold in the flour mixture - sift a large spoonful at a time over the eggs whites and fold in with a rubber scraper.

Spoon the batter into a scrupulously clean angel food cake pan (do not grease!) and run the scraper through it just once to kill any large air bubbles.

Bake at 325 for 58 min.

Cool upside down (this is important - I use an old beer bottle to hold the pan) until completely and utterly cold before removing from pan - you may need to run a knife around the edge to loosen it. And in the meantime don't let your kids slam the door.

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It occurs to me that in writing the previous recipes I'm assuming people know the basic American butter cake formula. But just in case you don't, it usually goes like this:

Start with room temp butter, cream very slowly with sugar - add sugar a tablespoon at a time and beat until thoroughly mixed before adding more. The creamed mixture will be very light and fluffy.

Eggs are added next, one at a time - beat thoroughly but don't overbeat.

Next come flavorings - citrus rind, extract - beat just until mixed.

Next the flour (already mixed with other dry ingredients) gets mixed in, at low speed, in three portions; beat each until just combined before adding the next.

If there's liquid (milk, buttermilk, water mixture, whatever), that gets added alternately with the flour. Its always best to go: 1/3 flour, 1/2 liquid, 1/3 flour, 1/2 liquid, 1/3 flour. The idea is to keep the batter reasonably even in texture without overmixing. The more you mix once flour's been added, the more gluten you develop. Gluten is great for bread and pasta but will ruin your cake.

Get the batter into the pans and the pans into the oven fast, because as soon as the dry ingredients hit the wet, the leaveners went to work - you don't want to waste their efforts.

At this point in my life I always butter the pans, line the bottoms with wax paper, butter that, and flour the whole thing, even if the recipe doesn't say to. It just makes getting the cakes out of the pans so much easier. However, if you're going to cool a cake all the way and serve from the same pan (as in a pound or picnic cake), don't use flour! Otherwise you'll have a gummy, gluey flour layer on the bottom of each piece.

Another personal preference: if I'm going to go to all this effort, why would I cheap out and use anything other than a fine quality unsalted butter? Nothing else gives the flavor or texture. This of course does not mean substitute butter in a recipe that's been developed with oil. Rather, if it calls for butter use butter, and not margarine or shortening or any other solid fat.

Life's too good to eat (or make) crappy cake.

I am so hungry right now.

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Coconut Cake, part I - start with a good white cake, ala...

Rich White Cake from Betty Crocker's Picture Cookbook, 1950. [i'm not kidding. Not only is the book a hoot because it's so dated, but the cake recipes are darned good. I learned to bake cakes largely from this book. My copy came from an antique store or yard sale.]

for 2 9" layers:

have the pans greased and floured and the oven heated to 350.

Cream together: 1 c butter and 2 c sugar.

Sift together: 3 c sifted cake flour, 4 t baking powder, and 1 t salt*.

Stir the flour mixture into the creamed mixture alternately with a mix of: 2/3 c whole milk, 2/3 c water, and 2 t vanilla extract.

Fold in 3/4 c (5-6) egg whites that have been beaten to stiff peaks.

Bake for 30-35 min. The cakes will shrink slightly.

* if you use unsalted butter, which I recommend, add more salt. I've forgotten how much, though - does a teaspoon per pound sound right?

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Coconut Cake, part II -

add a gooey egg-white based icing, like this White Mountain Frosting, from the same source as the white cake above:

for a large cake:

Mix thoroughly in a saucepan: 2/3 c sugar, 2 2/3 T water, 1/3 c light corn syrup.

Boil slowly without stirring until syrup reaches 242 [soft-firm ball stage?].

While this is cooking, beat 1/3 c egg whites (about 2) until they just hold stiff peaks.

Slowly pour the hot syrup into the egg whites, beating constantly.

Add 1 1/2 t vanilla. Continue beating until icing holds its shape.

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Coconut Cake, part III

Ice the white cake with the gooey white icing, adding lots of shredded sweetened coconut (I like to use Baker's Angel Flake brand) to both layers.

If you have wiener friends who don't like coconut, like I do <_<;) , you can always make a half-assed coconut cake (coconut on one side only). It'll look silly but still taste good.

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With all due respect, please see my post under coconut cake.  Thank you.  And don't hate me.

It never hurts to have more than one recipe for a dish - one for everyday and one for when you feel like puttin' on the Ritz. If Demetrius jumps from beginning baker to tackling your monster I will be impressed indeed.

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Elizabeth--So, your recipe is basically a white cake recipe, white mountain frosting, and then add toasted coconut to the frosting, yes? It doesn't sound like it would be very coconut-ty. Do you feel like it is? (This is an honest question, I'm really not being snide and I'm putting in this caveat because I know that tone can be lost in written communications and don't feel like using emoticons!).

On a more general note re: coconut cake for Demetrius (if you have the inclination to really pursue this!):

A fairly regular chowhound poster who has alluded many times over the years to her family's recipe for coconut cake (which she says is delicious, but won't give out), posted this comment on chowhound which I thought was intriguing:

http://www.chowhound.com/boards/cooking/messages/62306.html

I am generally happy with the moistness of my cakes, but it had me thinking this might the secret to the cake she raves about (specifically, in my estimation, suggestion #2). Some of these suggestions may be similar to the recipe from the K-Paul Pastry chef--I'm not inclined to read through all of that since I know I don't have the time or inclination to make it.

Joe, fear not, I don't hate you for your post. I found it neither smug nor arrogant, merely hyperbolic, which is what I expect from your postings!

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Elizabeth--So, your recipe is basically a white cake recipe, white mountain frosting, and then add toasted coconut to the frosting, yes?  It doesn't sound like it would be very coconut-ty.  Do you feel like it is?

well, I believe that it's coconut-y enough... for me. <_< And I don't toast the coconut. I just like this recipe - it makes a very moist, soft cake with just enough coconut to be interesting. YMMV.

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Elizabeth--So, your recipe is basically a white cake recipe, white mountain frosting, and then add toasted coconut to the frosting, yes? It doesn't sound like it would be very coconut-ty. Do you feel like it is? (This is an honest question, I'm really not being snide and I'm putting in this caveat because I know that tone can be lost in written communications and don't feel like using emoticons!).

On a more general note re: coconut cake for Demetrius (if you have the inclination to really pursue this!):

A fairly regular chowhound poster who has alluded many times over the years to her family's recipe for coconut cake (which she says is delicious, but won't give out), posted this comment on chowhound which I thought was intriguing:

http://www.chowhound.com/boards/cooking/messages/62306.html

I am generally happy with the moistness of my cakes, but it had me thinking this might the secret to the cake she raves about (specifically, in my estimation, suggestion #2). Some of these suggestions may be similar to the recipe from the K-Paul Pastry chef--I'm not inclined to read through all of that since I know I don't have the time or inclination to make it.

Joe, fear not, I don't hate you for your post. I found it neither smug nor arrogant, merely hyperbolic, which is what I expect from your postings!

I used hyperbole to try to create a sense of something special about it. In truth it is a remarkable recipe that requires a great deal of work and results in a very special cake.

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Going camping this weekend, and we're planning on doing a pineapple upside-down cake in the dutch oven. Here is my question, and it is one that betrays my limited baking experience:

Can we make the cake batter a day or two ahead of time and just keep it in a ziploc bag in the cooler until we're ready to bake the cake? I was planning on using this recipe.

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Keep in mind there is a difference between eating buttercream straight and eating it as part of an assembled cake -- the chestnut buttercream is also a tiny bit chalky when eaten by itself (like that stopped me last night from eating an obscene amount with a spoon :unsure: ), but it is not noticable at all when consumed with a bite of cake.
Yeah, I admit, I was sort of thinking the same thing. That you tolerate (for lack of a better way of putting it) more different textures in the filling of a cake then you would, for say, the icing or off the spoon ;) .

I may try to work this out for my birthday cake (still a few months away). I've got some things I want to order from KA anyway, so the, umm, need for pistachio paste will just give me further excuse. I am thinking a chocolate cake with pistachio buttercream filling between layers and then...hmm, any rec for a frosting on the outside? I might just do a chocolate buttercream (can you tell I like chocolate?) but I don't want the pistachio filling to be shout down. Maybe a chocolate ganache drizzled on top? Could look nice with the pistachio buttercream frosting peaking out the sides. Other thoughts gratefully accepted.

Do you have a favorite chocolate layer cake recipe?

BTW, thanks for the offer to copy the cake recipe for me. I'm ok for now, but you never know, I may come back inquiring about it!

And, to respond to you Capital Icebox, I don't think you can carry around cake batter for a couple of days (even refrigerated) before baking. There are a couple of problems. One is the raw egg in the batter (my assumption is that this will not be refrigerator temp cool 100% of the time--I see bacteria multiplying in front of my eyes). Two, the chemical reaction that gives the cake rise will have come and gone by the time you bake it. Others may feel free to correct--these are just my assumptions!

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I am thinking a chocolate cake with pistachio buttercream filling between layers and then...hmm, any rec for a frosting on the outside? I might just do a chocolate buttercream (can you tell I like chocolate?) but I don't want the pistachio filling to be shout down. Maybe a chocolate ganache drizzled on top? Could look nice with the pistachio buttercream frosting peaking out the sides. Other thoughts gratefully accepted.

Do you have a favorite chocolate layer cake recipe?

A confession: I don't really like chocolate. ;):unsure: But I do like the ganache on top idea. :P

I've yet to find a chocolate cake that makes me happy, but the next recipe I want to try is the one porcupine posted upthread.

The last time I made chocolate cake, I used the recipe in Sherry Yard's "The Secrets of Baking", but was not thrilled with the texture (a little rubbery and coarse). My stand-by is the chocolate sponge in Friberg's "The Professional Pastry Chef", but it is a very European-style cake (it really needs brushing with some sort of simple syrup mixture to be moist enough) and not to everyone's tastes.

And, to respond to you Capital Icebox, I don't think you can carry around cake batter for a couple of days (even refrigerated) before baking. There are a couple of problems. One is the raw egg in the batter (my assumption is that this will not be refrigerator temp cool 100% of the time--I see bacteria multiplying in front of my eyes). Two, the chemical reaction that gives the cake rise will have come and gone by the time you bake it. Others may feel free to correct--these are just my assumptions!
I concur. While that cake recipe contains both baking powder (which is mainly activated by heat) in addition to the baking soda, I still think the texture would suffer. Would it be possible to combine the liquid and dry components (that had been pre-measured at home) at the last minute? I see that the recipe you want to use calls for whipped egg whites, but there are other recipes that do not and that could simplify things. But whatever you end up doing, please let us know how it turned out. B)
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My stand-by is the chocolate sponge in Friberg's "The Professional Pastry Chef", but it is a very European-style cake (it really needs brushing with some sort of simple syrup mixture to be moist enough) and not to everyone's tastes.
I have a biscuit recipe that I've used and I'm quite fond of, so I know the sort of cake you're talking about. I've never made the mods to make a chocolate biscuit, and I'm thinking I want a traditional, American style layer cake (moistness and all!). Part of this is I love that look, part of it is that I'm not sure what kind of simple syrup I would use to enhance the chocolate/pistachio aspect, so I'm stumped there. CI has a cute little layer cake book (for the life of me I can't remember the name) that I bought on somebody's rec, but I don't know that I've ever baked out of it. (The recipes are probably in the Best Recipe as well--they've got like 500 recipes they keep reorganizing/packaging/selling!) Maybe I'll give one of their chocolate layer cake recipes a try as a scrimmage for the full on cake (while I await the arrival of pistachio paste!)
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And, to respond to you Capital Icebox, I don't think you can carry around cake batter for a couple of days (even refrigerated) before baking. There are a couple of problems. One is the raw egg in the batter (my assumption is that this will not be refrigerator temp cool 100% of the time--I see bacteria multiplying in front of my eyes). Two, the chemical reaction that gives the cake rise will have come and gone by the time you bake it. Others may feel free to correct--these are just my assumptions!

Yeah, this won't work. Besides the chemical leaveners likely being shot, the cake has beaten egg whites in it, which will be deflated by the time you get around to baking it.

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In the name of science, I did 5 different dilutions of buttercream:nut paste and the +1 and I had at 'em. Bottom line, it's a great combination, if killer rich. I thought the best combo was either the 50:50 or 60:40. I think +1 preferred the 50:50 or 40:60. However, I felt the texture was a bit too chewy in the 40:60.
Thank you for taking one for the team! :lol: In the process of moving to the new house, I found a can of that pistachio paste in my pantry (amongst other forgotten goodies) and I've been looking to find a use for it. Is your ratio based on weight or volume?
So, now the final (burning!) question. What kind of cake to use? I had planned on a typical American (read here, moist and rich) chocolate later cake. I'm thinking now, however, that it may be too much (too rich) with the pistachio buttercream. This leads me to think that a lighter cake (a biscuit, for example), might be more appropriate? But then, I'm wondering what kind of simple syrup to put over them? I like using the simple syrup to enhance/complement some flavor of the final concoction. But, my biggest complaint with chocolate biscuit in the past has been that it's not chocolate-y enough. So, I'm thinking I want to enhance the chocolate, but not sure how to do it in a simple syrup medium. (Perhaps I should just soak it in hershey's chocolate syrup?!).
What about mixing cocoa powder into some simple syrup? Sounds like more experimentation may be in order... :)
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Although obvious, the cocoa simple syrup thing somehow seemed, I don't know, wrong. Yeah, probably will just need to experiment :) .
What about adding some chocolate-flavored liqueur to the simple syrup? (Warning: I have no personal experience with chocolate liqueurs and have no idea if they are at all palatable or not.)

Another possibility would be to brush the cakes with plain simple syrup, then spread with a thin layer of chocolate ganache and *then* the pistachio buttercream.

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What about adding some chocolate-flavored liqueur to the simple syrup? (Warning: I have no personal experience with chocolate liqueurs and have no idea if they are at all palatable or not.)

Another possibility would be to brush the cakes with plain simple syrup, then spread with a thin layer of chocolate ganache and *then* the pistachio buttercream.

I'm not much of a liquer fan as a broad statement, so the fist option isn't so appealing. The second one, though, might be just the ticket. I'm going to need to do some kind of chocolate ganache like type thing (I'm thinking a chocolate glaze for the top, dripping down the sides, permitting views of yummy pistachio buttercream sandwiched between cake layers) anyway, so a slightly different dilution/permutation would make for a good chocolate enhancer in the center.

Xochitl10, I don't have any experience with cocoa nibs. Thanks for the idea.

I can tell I may need to do quite a bit of experimentation!

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I had a birthday cake to make so I decided to try the Master Recipe for Chocolate Layer Cake (Velvet Devil's Food Layer Cake) from Cooks Illustrated - The Best Recipe. The cake turned out moist, fudgy and dense. It's more fudgy and somewhat brownie-like than the chocolate cake recipe I usually use from one of my Marcel Desaulniers cookbooks. This cake was good, but I prefer the more cake-like texture of the cake using Marcel Desaulniers' recipe.

The recipe says to use two 8 x 1 1/2 inch pans, which I did, but there wasn't much batter, and the cakes didn't rise that high (the recipe calls for 1/2 teas baking soda). They were about an inch tall, which didn't seem tall enough for a respectable cake so I made a second batch so I'd have four layers.

I didn't use the coffee buttercream frosting as recommended in the recipe but instead skipped ahead a few pages to the Chocolate Butter Icing recipe that comes with the Sour Cream Fudge Layer Cake recipe. I doubled the recipe. The icing is melted chocolate and butter mixed with corn syrup, then cooled over ice water til thickened. I also grated dark chocolate over the top of the cake and managed to get grated chocolate everywhere. (Does grated chocolate get static cling because it seemed like it.) The frosting has a thick ganache texture. It's good, but I prefer a fudgy, creamy chocolate frosting. I'll have to try another frosting recipe next time. I've made chocolate buttercream, but it's lighter and fluffier than what I have in mind. Anyway, the birthday cake came out very chocolatey which was the goal. :)

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A confession: I don't really like chocolate. :D:P But I do like the ganache on top idea. :lol:

I've yet to find a chocolate cake that makes me happy, but the next recipe I want to try is the one porcupine posted upthread.

The last time I made chocolate cake, I used the recipe in Sherry Yard's "The Secrets of Baking", but was not thrilled with the texture (a little rubbery and coarse). My stand-by is the chocolate sponge in Friberg's "The Professional Pastry Chef", but it is a very European-style cake (it really needs brushing with some sort of simple syrup mixture to be moist enough) and not to everyone's tastes.

I concur. While that cake recipe contains both baking powder (which is mainly activated by heat) in addition to the baking soda, I still think the texture would suffer. Would it be possible to combine the liquid and dry components (that had been pre-measured at home) at the last minute? I see that the recipe you want to use calls for whipped egg whites, but there are other recipes that do not and that could simplify things. But whatever you end up doing, please let us know how it turned out. :P

My husband has decided to get back into baking with a part bday cake for me, part dessert for our Chanukah party tomorrow. Did you ever try porcupine's recipe? I myself would also like a yellow cake with chocolate fudgey frosting, but my husband says that's too boring to make. (What can I say--boston cream pie, eclairs, and their like are one of my weaknesses) But, since he also hasn't baked in a while, he doesn't want anything too complicated. I could also go for a chocolatey cake, so the recipe noted by cheezepowder from The Best Recipe may be a possibility.

There is limited baking/assembling time, as it is already late in the day today. We have this afternoon to shop, but we will be going out tonite. So, that just leaves tomorrow morning for baking. Nothing like leaving this to the last minute! Any follow-up to these recipes, or other recommendations are appreciate!

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