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 


  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. 
  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  

  • 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
  • 3/4 powdered sugar
  • 1/4 c. LAND O' LAKES Butter, softened
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon peel
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  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: