Saturday, August 20, 2016

American Chocolate Layer Cake


Layered cakes are among my favorite to make with The Cake Slice Bakers! Whats not to love? Cake layers sandwiched in between creamy frosting! Everyone in my family loves it when I choose a layered cake, my waist might not, but everyone else goes coo coo over them!



We had a very special Birthday this month, Vanessa turned ten! All my kids always look forward to their birthdays. They get to sift through the pile of baking books and choose their Birthday Cake. Vanessa chose this months Cake Slice Bakers layered cake selection, American Chocolate Layer Cake!



The recipe makes a four- 9" layered cake, I made half a recipe and baked the cakes in three-8" pans. The batter is absolutely delicious! I wanted to double dip the mixer paddle just to get to lick the batter off again! 
The cake baked nicely, do watch the baking time, the cake is slightly dry. I always seal my cakes with Press-n-Seal plastic wrap, it keeps the moister in the cakes while they cool. This time it didn't work. It is summer, and temperatures are higher in my kitchen, it could be I over baked the cake. 


I'm going to be honest about the frosting. After reading all the chocolate it called for, it scared me, it had me running the other direction! 
I did make a Chocolate Sour cream frosting, just not Maida's. 
I surfed the web and tweaked one I found appealing. I did keep the two cups of sour cream in the recipe, used bakers chocolate and cocoa powder, butter, confectioners sugar, butter, a pinch of salt. 
If you find yourself brave then by all means go ahead and use Maida's recipe for the frosting. I'm a whimp, I barely got through reading the ingredients! 

American Chocolate Layer Cake

  • 4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk ( I recommend whole milk, the cake turned out slightly dry)
  • Optional: 6 ounces (1 1/2 cups) walnuts, cut or broken into medium-size pieces ( I opted this out). 


Chocolate Sour Cream Icing

  • 16 ounces milk chocolate
  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 pint ( 2 cups) sour cream, at room temperature 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Adjust two racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter four 9-inch round layer-cake pans, line them with parchment paper or wax paper cut to fit, butter the paper, dust the pans all over with fine dry bread crumbs, tilt the pans from side to side to coat them evenly, and then turn them upside down over paper and tap them to shake out loose crumbs . Set the pans aside. 
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and set aside.
  3. In the large bowl of a an electric mixer, beat the butter until soft. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and then the sugars, and beat to mix. Add the eggs one or two at a time, and beat until incorporated after each addition. On low speed, add the sifted dry ingredients in three additions alternating with the milk in two additions.
  4. Remove the bowl from the mixer. You will have a generous 8 cups of batter. Place a generous 2 cups in two of the prepared pans. Stir the optional nuts into the remaining batter and place half of it ( a generous 2 cups) in each of the two remaining pans.
  5. With a back of a spoon, spread the batter to the sides of the pans. To encourage the cakes to rise with flat tops (without domes) spread the batter more thickly around the edges and slightly thinner in the middle of the pans. 
  6. Place two of the pans on each oven rack, staggering them so that the pans on the lower rack are not directly below those above. 
  7. Bake for 25 to 28 minutes. ( I have made this cake many times and have never found it necessary to change the positions of the pans during baking; somehow they always bake evenly, even though that is unusual for my oven.) Bake until the tops just barely spring back when they are gently pressed with a fingertip and the sides of the cakes just barely begin to come away from the sides of the pans. Do not overbake or the cake will be dry.
  8. As soon as the cakes are done, remove them from the oven; cover each one with a rack and turn the pan and rack over. Remove the pan- if the paper lining does not come off by itself leave it on-cover with another rack, and invert again, leaving the cakes right side up to cool.
  9. When they have cooled, cover each one with a rack and turn over briefly to remove paper linings. Then turn right side up again. Brush each cake with a pastry brush to remove loose crumbs on the sides.
  10. Prepare a large flat cake plate by lining it with four strips of wax paper.
  11. Place one cake on the plate, checking to be sure that it touches the papers all around. If you a cake-decorating turntable, place the cake plate on it.
  12. Let stand, and make the icing. Or if you wish, the icing may be made while the cakes are baking. 
ICING DIRECTIONS:
  1. Break up the chocolate and place them in the top of a large double boiler over shallow warm water on low heat. Cover the pot with a folded paper towel ( to absorb the steam) and with the pot cover. Let cook until almost completely melted.
  2. Transfer to the large bowl of an electric mixer. Add the salt, vanilla, and sour cream, and beat on low speed until smooth as satin ( this is spectacular looking).
  3. If the icing is too thin , let stand at room temperature for about an hour or so until slightly thickened.
  4. If you have a cake-decorating turn table and are experienced at using it, you will probably want to smooth the icing on the top and sides; without a turntable, you will probably want to form the icing into swirls. If you plan to smooth it, you will probably also want to form a circle of rosettes around the top rim. If so, remove and reserve about 2/3 cup of the icing.
  5. Whether you plan to smooth the icing or swirl it, do not use too much between the layers or you will not have enough to go around ( in spite of the fact that this looks like enough icing for a dozen cakes).
  6. With a long, narrow metal spatula, spread a scant 1/4-inch layer of icing over the cake, making it a bit thicker at the rim to fill in the space. Place the next layer on ( if you used nuts, alternate the nut layers with the plain ones) right side up, and ice it the same way as you did the first. Place the third layer on, right side up ( align the layers carefully), ice, and then place the fourth layer on, right side up (all four layers are right side up).
  7. Cover the sides of the cake with the icing, and then the top. Make sure it is all straight and even. Then smooth or swirl. Carefully remove the paper the paper strips by slowly pulling each one out toward a narrow end.
  8. If you have smoothed the icing and if you would like to decorate the rim (I do), fit a 12-inch pastry bag with a #7 star-shaped tube. Fold down the sides of the bag toward the outside to make a 2- to 3-inch hem, and twist the top of the bag closed. 
  9. If you are working on a countertop, transfer the cake and the turntable to a table; it is easier to decorate the top of the cake if you are working above it rather than alongside it- especially a cake this high. Form a row of rather large rosettes (about the size of Hershey's Kisses) just touching one another on top of the cake around the rim.
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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Lemon Meltaways: #CreativeCookieExchange


After 15 years of holding on to this recipe, I finally made the cookies. All thanks to the "Creative Cookie Exchange"! 
This months theme is Summer, and what better way for me to whip up these delicious refreshing cookies! 


These cookies are light, yet very flavorful. They deliver a perfect balance of lemon and sweetness. I just loved them.
They didn't last very long on my counter. Even my citrus dessert hater husband had no problem helping himself over, and over again.


LEMON MELTAWAYS from Land O'Lakes  

Cookies:
  • 1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour 
  • 3/4 c. LAND O' LAKES Butter, softened
  • 1/2 c. cornstarch 
  • 1/3 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon peel
Frosting:
  • 3/4 powdered sugar
  • 1/4 c. LAND O' LAKES Butter, softened
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon peel
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Directions:
  1. In a large mixer bowl combine all cookie ingredients. Beat at low speed, scraping bowl often, until well mixed (2 to 3 minutes).
  2. Divide  dough in half. Shape each half into 8x1-inch roll. Wrap in plastic food wrap. Refrigerate until firm (1 to 2 hours).
  3. Heat oven to 350 degrees. With sharp knife, cut each roll into 1/4-inch slices. Place 2 inches apart on cookie sheets. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes or until set. (Cookies will not brown.) Cool completely. 
  4. In a small mixer bowl combine all frosting ingredients. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until fluffy (1 to 2 minutes). Frost cooled cookies.







Summer is almost over, and we have cookies to remember it by! Hint: a lot of these cookies could be made and frozen, to pull out a slice of summer in February! You can also use us as a great resource for cookie recipes. Be sure to check out our Pinterest Board and our monthly posts (you can find all of them here at The Spiced Life). You will be able to find them the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month! Also, if you are looking for inspiration to get in the kitchen and start baking, check out what all of the hosting bloggers have made:

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Blueberry Surprise Cake



This month the Cake Slice Bakers cake choices were Black and White Layer Cake, Sour Cream Coffee Cake, Blueberry Surprise Cake, and Zucchini Loaf from Seattle.
Making a selection this month was easy. I simply went with the selection I had ingredients for, and the fact that sometimes budgets just force you to use up ingredients already on hand, which is a good thing. Dinners sometimes go that way for the week, also helping to rotate your ingredients in the pantry. 


I was up early on Father's day  hoping to get this cake done in time before the hubby was up. It didn't work. The aroma of toasted nuts got him out of bed and snooping around in the kitchen. Ignoring him gets him out of the kitchen pretty fast! 


The batter was turned out lovely, and was divided in two, adding the pecans to the top layer. The filling was really delicious, and was perfectly balanced with the lemon and spices.
The cake was devoured before lunch time even came around, everyone loved it. Eating it warm was almost like pie! 



Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Cream Cheese Kolachky: #CreativeCookieExchange



This month's cookie theme for the Creative Cookie Exchange is "Cheese"! I knew it would be Kolachky for me, or is it Kolache? I've even seen it spelled Kolacky. Whatever the case this cookie is delicious! 


Cream cheese is incorporated into the dough, making these cookies quite tender. A quick chill in the fridge, then rolled out, cut into squares, and filled with a fruit preserve, or in this case cream cheese.


A quick dusting of confectioner's sugar, and these cookies are ready to plate! 



INGREDIENTS (recipe adapted from Epicurious

DOUGH:

8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/4 cup sugar

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Sifted confectioner's sugar for dusting 

FILLING:

8 oz. cream cheese, softened 

1 egg (optional) 

6 tbs. sugar

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

*Mix all filling ingredients and set aside.

INSTRUCTIONS

1. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese, butter, and sugar on medium speed until light, about 2 minutes. On low speed, gradually beat in the flour just until mixed. The dough will be soft and sticky.
2. Divide the dough in half. Pat each half into a thick disk and wrap separately in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm enough to handle, at least 1 hour or up to 1 day. 
3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease or spray cookie sheets. 
4. Dust a pastry cloth or board with flour or confectioner's sugar. Remove 1 dough disk from the refrigerator and place it on the pastry cloth. Keep the remaining dough disk refrigerated. Roll out the dough into a square or rectangle 1/8 inch thick. Cut into 2 1/2 inch squares.
5. Place 1 teaspoon of the filling in the center of each square. Pull 2 opposite corners of the square into the middle, and pinch the edges together to seal. Place the cookies on the prepared cookie sheets, spacing them about 1 1/2 inches apart. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling. 
6. Bake in the center of the oven until golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool on the cookie sheets for 1 to 2 minutes, then transfer to wire racks. dust the tops with sifted confectioner's sugar while still warm, then let cool completely. 



Cheese makes everything better--even cookies! Sweet or savory, you can find them here! You can also use us as a great resource for cookie recipes. Be sure to check out our Pinterest Board and our monthly posts (you can find all of them here at The Spiced Life). You will be able to find them the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month! Also, if you are looking for inspiration to get in the kitchen and start baking, check out what all of the hosting bloggers have made:

Monday, June 20, 2016

Jelly Roll


Back with the Cake Slice Bakers this month baking a delicious Jelly Roll picked from four delicious choices. It was hard to decide from the four choices this month. Their was a Sand Torte, Oreo Cookie Cake, Blueberry Muffins, and this delicious Jelly Roll.


The recipe was pretty simple to follow. The cake roll starts with a simple sponge cake, filled with a tart delicious raspberry filling. The recipe doesn't call for the cake roll to be coated in the filling and rolled in coconut, but since this cake roll is almost identical to the Mexican Pan Dulce I grew up with, I decided to give it that twist.


The Jelly Roll was delicious, not too sweet, and very tart. Next time around I'm going to make sure I adjust the sugar in the filling to cut back the tartness, although good, not my preference. Or, I could go with a strawberry preserve, which would be more like the flavor of the Mexican Pan Dulce I grew up with.



Friday, May 20, 2016

Aunt Leah's Raspberry Squares


The Cake Slice had 4 delicious cake choices this month. I try to choose the option that I'm less familiar with, this way my baking skills increase. This month I chose raspberry squares! I felt it was perfect being spring and all, using raspberry preserves in my baking choice just sounded quite delicious.


The dough for this recipe calls for yeast and 2 sticks of butter! The dough is pretty easy make and requires refrigeration overnight.

  
I was in a huge hurry to get the bars into the oven that I missed a few steps when I was weaving the lattice. The recipe said not to let the bars rise, and being that I'm not an expert at lattice, I was afraid I was taking to long to assemble them. After they bake and are cooled to room temperature, they are dusted with powdered sugar and cut into squares.The bars didn't quite make it to lunch, they were gone in just a few hours! Everyone loved them, and I was very pleased with the results. This is definitely a recipe I will be making over again, the next time around I'm going to add a little cream cheese, I'm sure that won't hurt the recipe! 




Thursday, April 21, 2016

English Madeira Cake


Three bake sales, 6 cheer practices, 8 baseball practices, 6 baseball games, 160 hours at work, laundry, housework, and helping my sister plan her fabulous 40th birthday party, almost kept me from baking this months cake! 
The guilt was setting in this evening as I drove home from driving my kids around to their practices. So as I drove home I quickly tried to remember what ingredients I had on hand that could possibly help me bake this months "Cake Slice" cake.
English Madeira Cake was the selection this month for the "Cake Slice"! I was only missing one ingredient for the recipe, milk! I swapped it out for 1 c. of sour cream. So far no problem with the recipe. The batter was incredibly delicious! The cake also seems to be baking up beautifully, and the aroma is incredible! 
I'm not sure I'm going to be able to stay up long enough to let it cool and taste test the cake, but at least my post is done and I didn't let my awesome friends at the Cake Slice down.
Don't forget to visit our other Cake Slice members to see what they baked up!