Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Melt in your mouth "Chocolate Cake"

I consider myself a chocolate lover. When I think of sweet, dessert, melt in my mouth indulgent I think of chocolate. After trying several cake recipes I came across this one from Ina Garten and it's by far my favorite. And of course, I have to share it with all of you sweet readers.

Before you ask yourself why the pictures of my cake don't look like it is a tiered cake; well, it's because there is only four of us in my household and I didn't wanted to bake a big cake just for us and so I baked half this recipe. It might not have been a big of a deal, because we did ate this cake and ended wanting more. Try it and let me know what your thoughts are!

Chocolate Buttercream Cake

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Pan options: Butter 1 (4 by 3-inch) cake pan, 1 (6 by 3-inch) cake pan and 1 (8 by 3-inch) cake pan. Line the bottoms with parchment paper, and butter and flour the pans.
(This pan sizes are an option you can use the ones you have in hand or the ones that best fits the reason why you are baking this cake for)

Ingredients:

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups good cocoa powder
1 tablespoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
1 1/3 cups light brown sugar, packed
4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups buttermilk, at room temperature
1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1/4 cup brewed coffee
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting, recipe follows

Directions:

Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars on high speed until light, approximately 5 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well. Combine the buttermilk, sour cream, and coffee. On low speed, add the flour mixture and the buttermilk mixture alternately in thirds, beginning with the buttermilk mixture and ending with the flour mixture. Mix the batter only until blended.

Divide the batter between the 3 pans and smooth the tops with a spatula. Bake on the middle rack of the oven as follows: for the 4-inch pan 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean; for the 6-inch pan 70 to 75 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean; and for the 8-inch pan 85 to 90 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool the cakes in the pans for 10 minutes each on a cooling rack, carefully remove from the pans and allow to finish cooling.

Place the 8-inch cake on a serving plate, flat side up. Frost the top of that layer with buttercream. Place the 6-inch cake in the center of the top of the 8-inch cake, flat-side up, and frost the top and sides. Place the 4-inch cake in the center of the top of the 6-inch cake, flat side down. Frost the top and sides of that layer with buttercream. Spread any remaining buttercream over the cake evenly.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:

1 pound bittersweet chocolate
12 ounces semisweet chocolate
3/4 cup egg whites (4 to 5 extra-large eggs), at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 pounds unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 teaspoons instant espresso powder, dissolved in 1 1/2 teaspoons water
3 tablespoons dark rum, optional

Chop the chocolates and place them in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan simmering water. Stir until melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature.
Mix the egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Place the bowl of egg whites over the pan of simmering water and heat the egg whites until they are warm to the touch, about 5 minutes. Return the bowl to the electric mixer and whisk on high speed for 5 minutes, or until the meringue is cool and holds a stiff peak.
Add the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, while beating on medium speed. Scrape down the bowl, add the melted chocolate, vanilla, espresso, and rum, if using, and mix for 1 minute or until the chocolate is completely blended in. If the buttercream seems very soft, allow it to cool, and beat it again.

Enjoy!














Thursday, December 10, 2009

Julie and Julia

Hello everyone, guess who is the proud owner of Julie and Julia's DVD + a bonus gift?....yeap... ME and I also got the book. My sweet husband went to the store on release day December 8th and got me a nice present. I have been talking about it (ok, asking , ok nagging about it) ever since I found out the release date. Yeah, I have been a pain in the behind, very annoying, but I really wanted to own it.

Why? you may ask, well not only it's about Julia Child, and I totally think she was the pioneer women that opened the way for lots of creative people in TV. She did not only followed her passion for food, but she also inspired many and got people that felt incompetent in the kitchen to feel comfortable and to trust themselves. Many can relate to that, I know I can.

My husband watched the movie with me and his expression was, "was someone filming us?", at times it really felt like that. The pep talks both Julia and Julie's husbands gave them, felt like what my husband tells me. Plus the scene when Julie's husband sets up the blog for her was hilarious, my husband designed mine. He is still the one that fixes it when I want something done and I am stuck (lets be honest that happens often). He's always telling me that he is the "Icing on my cupcake", and he truly is. So imagine our reaction when we heard Paul Child refer to himself as "the butter on her bread". It was just spooky. Don't you think so? Crazy, ha!

Family is my priority and if you know me you would also know that. But I also love sweets and not being in the workforce for years now has left me with lots of time in my hands. Something that I felt related to Julia Child, I wanted to do something and wanted to do it right. I do bake with love, with passion for my family and friends. Someday, not far away, I will own my own bakeshop and you will be the first to know about that very expected event. Until that day comes by lets enjoy baking together and have fun along the way.

You did guessed it, I loved the movie and felt related, inspired, pumped up with more energy on keeping up with what I love and live up my dreams to the fullest. If you haven't seen it, please do go and see it asap, it's worth it, trust me! But for now, everyone out there keep on blogging and Bon App├ętit!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Going Nuts for Bananas (Banana Bread)

When ever my husband wanted to eat Banana Bread we would go to the store and buy it. For some reason even if there were lots of ripe bananas laying around the house I never had the courage to make a banana bread on my own. Maybe the reason that my husband loves it so much made me skeptical on trying it out.

Until one day when I got into my hands a recipe that seemed easy enough to make, even for me. If you know me, you know that I changed it a bit and added my touch to it. It's a fantasy way of changing things around. I want to share the recipe with you so you can all make this bread at home. Hey, this can very nicely make a great homemade Christmas gift. Homemade gifts are always in style and the presentation can go miles. Give to those you love a Banana Bread freshly baked by you.

Banana Bread

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine (softened)
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3 to 4 bananas)
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup chopped nuts, optional

Note: I added to this recipe 1/2 tsp nutmeg (it made all the difference in the world, it tasted insanely delicious).

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F
Grease bottoms of 2 loaf pans. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl mix sugar and butter in large bowl. Stir in eggs until well blended. Add bananas, buttermilk, and vanilla; beat until smooth. Stir in the flour mixture just until moistened. Finally add the nuts. Pour into pan and bake for about an hour or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool for about 10 minutes. Loosen sides of pan, remove and place top sided up on wire rack. Cool completely, about 2 hours before slicing (I added a sugar glaze after completely cool and before slicing).

Wrap tightly and store at room temperature up to 4 days or refrigerate for up to 10 days. If it lasts that long, not in my house!

Holiday Note: Mini Banana Breads make great gifts. With this recipe you can easily make 10 miniature loaf pans (4 1/2 x 2 3/4 x 1 1/4 in.). About 1/2 cup each loaf. Bake 30 to 35 minutes.