Friday, June 29, 2012

Cosmic Brownies

I made brownies! My beau's favorite dessert, next time I should bribe him to put up this Ikea rack that has been laying against the wall for months in return for some cosmic brownies. How could anyone resist that offer? I love cosmic brownies, I remember having the Little Debbie cake snacks in my lunch during my school days. Since I can't find them here in Australia, I did one better by making my very own.

They tasted better than I could of imagined, I would even dare to say they were much better than the packaged treats. I would love to try a milk chocolate ganache on top of the brownies next time, I know it would be insanely sweet, but I must try it! I was unlucky that I only had half of the amount of bittersweet chocolate needed, so I did use milk chocolate to make up for the rest of the amount. I will definitely be using this recipe again and again.

I forgot to update you guys on my tapestry I ordered from Urban Outfitters. It looks great in the room, it really adds some color to the otherwise bland walls. I still haven't done anything to the wall facing my computer yet. We also added a television in the wardrobe, but the PS3 broke last night.

Cosmic Brownies
(recipe via Elle's New England Kitchen)
Yield:13x9 rectangle pan

1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) butter, melted
2 tablespoons water
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon instant coffee (optional)
1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup heavy cream
7 oz bittersweet chocolate
pinch of salt

M&M's Original (mini ones would be better, but I couldn't find them)

Preheat your oven to 350F. Line a 13 x 9 pan with aluminum foil, spray lightly with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine the two sugars, butter, and water with a whisk. Stir in the eggs, vanilla extract, and instant coffee.
In a medium size bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Stir the dry mixture into the the wet mixture, continue to stir to combine. Spread the batter into the prepared pan with a spatula. Bake for 18 minutes.

side-view of the madness

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Vertical Layer Cake

I'm sure most of you guys have seen this sort of cake on Pinterest but more perfect and incredible by the amazing i am baker. The tutorial looks a bit intimidating when it comes to carving through the cake.

So I went out to Wheel+Barrow, which is currently my favorite shop for baking equipment here in Australia. I purchased an 8'' cake pan just to make this particular cake. I really should of bought two pans, so it wouldn't of been so time consuming. I had to use the same pan four times, which is kind of ridiculous, but it got done!

I made two coconut cakes and two devil's food cakes.

The coconut was a breeze to cut through, no problems at all. I wanted more coconut flavor, but everyone could easily definitely distinguish the flavor easily. It wasn't my favorite of two cakes, but if you anyone wants the recipe it's here.

It was quite hard cutting through the devil's food cake because it was so moist and has such a tender crumb. Despite that, this will definitely be my go to chocolate cake recipe if I'm in need of one. It tasted fantastic, and was everything I was looking for in my cake. Next time I wont leave the cake out on the counter while I'm working on the carving the other one.

Stacked the two coconut cakes on top of each other. Toothpicks were really helpful in keeping my circle template from moving during carving through both cakes. You are suppose to keep your knife at a 90 degree angle, keeping the knife straight and going up and down.

After I was done carving the surface looked like this. I worked on carving the chocolate cake next. I definitely suggest making two duplicate templates, so it is as accurate as possible. I didn't, which is maybe why it was pretty off.

Next you slice from the outside of the cake to the center circle. Separate the cut layers gently into individual layers. Alternate each individual layer with the opposite flavor of cake. So if you have a chocolate center, you will use the next size coconut layer and...etc

The chocolate cake was much higher than the coconut so I had to give it a trim so the top would be nice and flat. Since some of the layers were different sizes we had to kind of squish it together, so it fit snugly. My beau put a Easter egg between the awkward space, which was fun as a surprise treat. He ended up getting it of course! I filled in the other gap, towards the outside, with my Swiss Buttercream recipe (doubled). It worked great, its fun when you have to get a bit inventive during blunders.

So this is the finish product. I toasted shredded coconut in the oven for color and flavor around the outside, it was a great addition. I piped a pink shell border on the outside and kept it relatively simple since there is so much going on inside.

Devil's Food Cake
(recipe via Cafe Fernando)
Yield: one 8", two layer cake

2/3 cup (150 grams) unsalted butter
2/3 cup (50 grams) cocoa powder
2/3 cup boiling water
1/3 cup whole milk, scalded
1.5 cups (210 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1.5 cup (300 grams) granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F/175°C. Butter two 8-by 2-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Butter the parchment paper, dust with cocoa powder, tap out the excess cocoa powder.

Sift coco powder (50 grams) into a medium bowl, add the boiling water and whisk until the cocoa dissolves completely. Add milk and whisk to combine. Set aside and let cool.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl. In the bowl of an electric mixer or hand-mixer, cream butter on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and bet on medium speed for 5 additional minutes. Be sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, as needed.

Add the eggs, one at a time making sure each one is fully incorporated before adding next. Beat in vanilla extract.

With the mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in batches, alternating with the cocoa mixture. Divide batter evenly among the prepared pans. Smooth the tops.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, rotate pans halfway through baking. Allow to cool in pans for a few minutes, and then remove from pans and let cool on a wire rack.