November 22, 2012

Layered Truffle Cake

I first saw a picture of this recipe a few months ago on this website. The dessert looked so amazing, as if it had come right out of a pastry shop (which I tend to frequent too frequently). I was a bit hesitant to try it, never having made a sponge cake before but amazingly it turned out great! The cake was very moist, due to the Sponge Syrup and the frosting really is made from the same ingredients as the inside of a chocolate truffle. This recipe tastes great and looks great and yields 6 servings. Enjoy!

1. There are some steps that need to be done at least the day before serving, plus it needs to refrigerate for 24 hours so make sure to read through the steps carefully so you don't end up behind.
2. I didn't want to have to mess with a pastry bag so I just used a ziplog bag and cut a small tip in one of the corners.
3. To garnish the dessert with words, simply melt white dipping chocolate in the microwave, place in a ziploc bag with a small tip cut from the corner, then write out the words. Cursive works best as the word stays together.

7 oz bittersweet dark chocolate chips
2.5 cups heavy cream

Sponge Cake
6 egg yolks
5 egg whites
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp.  cream of tartar
3 Tbs hot water
2 Tbs cocoa powder
5 Tbs cake flour
2 Tbs cornstarch

Sponge Syrup
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar

Dark Chocolate Glaze
1 tsp gelatin
1/4 cup heavy cream
5 Tbs sugar
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1. In a saucepan, let the cream come to a boil.
2. Pour the cream over the chopped chocolate. Let stand for 1-2 minutes.

3. Mix with whisk, until mixture is thoroughly combined, forming a smooth ganache.

4. Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until cold, preferably overnight.
5. When cold, whip to stiff peaks in a bowl of an electric mixer, starting from the lower setting and working up to the fastest as the cream stiffens. Once whipped, transfer to fridge until ready to use.

Sponge Cake
1. Heat oven to 375 F.
2. Line jelly-roll pan with foil and spray with nonstick spray. Set aside.

3. Sieve together cake flour and corn starch. Set aside.

4. In a bowl of a mixer, whip the egg yolks and sugar until doubled in size and pale in color.

5. In a small cup mix the cocoa and hot water.
6. With the mixer still running, add the cocoa mixture into the egg yolk mixture and whip for another 20 seconds, to combine.

7. Transfer the egg yolk mixture into a large bowl and thoroughly clean the mixer bowl.
8. In the bowl of a mixer, whip the egg whites with the cream of tartar until soft peaks.

9. In 3 additions, add the flour mixture into the egg yolk mixture, folding the flour in, being careful not to deflate the batter.

10. In 3 additions, add the the egg whites, also being careful not to deflate the batter.

11. Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan.

12. Bake for 8-9 minutes.
13. Remove the foil with the cake and let cool.
14. Line the pan with foil and spray with non stick spray. Pour the other half of the batter and bake for another 8-9 minutes. Also let cool.
15. Separate the cake from the foil and cut halfway horizontally and vertically. Repeat with the second cake layer.

Sponge Syrup
1. In a small saucepan mix together the water and sugar.
2. Let come to a boil without stirring, then let cool.

1. Put a dab of frosting in the middle of the cake board or serving tray.
2. Place the first cake layer on top.

3. Cut out 4 strips of foil/parchment paper and place them under the edges of the cake so that they cover the rim of the cake board or the serving tray (makes for easy clean up when you’re done decorating).
4. Using a brush, soak the cake layer with the syrup.

5. Frost the cake with a thin layer of frosting.

6. Repeat with the rest of the cake layers, covering the last layer with frosting as well and reserving 1 cup of frosting for decorating.

7. Remove the foil/parchment paper strips from under the cake.
8. Place in the fridge until the glaze is ready to be poured over the cake top.

Dark Chocolate Glaze
1. Mix gelatin with water and let stand for 5 minutes, allowing the gelatin to bloom.
2. Combine the cream, sugar and cocoa in a saucepan and let come to a boil over medium heat.

3. Cook for 3 minutes past the boiling point, mixing with the spoon to prevent scorching.
4. Take off the heat, mix in the gelatin and mix thoroughly.
5. Let cool, until the glaze covers the back of the spoon.

6. Pour over the cake top right away, evening it out with a spatula.

7. Refrigerate the cake for 24 hours before cutting.

Final Assembly
1. Using a serrated knife, cut the edges of the cake making them even, wiping the knife after each cut and putting it in hot water before starting on the next cut.

2. Cut the cake in squares using the above mentioned method.

3. Place the reserved frosting in a pastry bag fitted with a simple round tip (1/3-1/2 wide).
4. Pipe a ‘drop’ of frosting in the corner of each cake square.

5. Garnish with white chocolate shapes or lettering if desired.

October 27, 2012

Cinnamon Rose Bread

Our local church congregation had a fall activity this weekend and one of the activities was a competition for best chili, bread, salsa and jello. Not having a lot of time, I searched the web for a unique looking bread since bread is my major weakness in the kitchen. I came across this recipe for Rose Bread and was so impressed with the presentation that I thought for sure I'd never be able to make it. But, after looking at the instructions, the intimidation factor decreased and I thought I would give it a try. As amazing as this bread looks, what is more amazing is that it is super easy (as evidenced by the fact that I pulled it off). The steps don't take long at all - the time is all in the dough rising and baking. The recipe below yields 6-8 servings.

1. Though I used the cinnamon butter filling, there are so many variations online that use other ingredients like Pesto or Nutella or fruit filling.
2. I added the glaze, wanting to give it a nicer shine. It is optional.

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg
2 1/4 tsp dry active yeast
2 1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup canola oil + 1 Tbs
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 1/4 cup warm water

4 Tbs butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup water
1 cup sugar

1. Grease bottom and sides of 10" spring form cake pan
2. Place flour, egg, yeast, sugar, salt and 1/4 cup oil in a bowl and mix until well combined

3. Add vinegar to warm water, stir, then add to the other ingredients

4. Knead until elastic and not sticky
5. Place 1 Tbs oil in a bowl, then place dough in the bowl and ensure it is well coated

6. Cover for one hour or until nearly doubled

7. On a lightly floured surface, carefully roll dough into a large rectangle, about 12" x 24"

8. Brush butter over entire surface

1. Combine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl
2. Sprinkle evenly over the butter on the rolled out dough

1. Starting with the longest side, gently roll the dough into a long roll

2. Ensure that the seam is tight and on the bottom

3. With a sharp knife, cut the roll lengthwise into 2 halves

4. Gently turn the halves so that the layers are facing up

5. Lay one half on top of the other in an X shape

6. Carefully cross one half repeatedly until it forms a rope, then pinch the ends together

7. Repeat with the other half

8. Roll the long braid together sideways into a circle

9. Tuck the end of the rope under the wreath
10. Place carefully on the bottom of your spring form pan and cover with a towel for 30 minutes

11. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400F
12. Bake for 10 minutes then lower to 350F and cook for an additional 30 minutes
13. Remove wreath to a wire rack to cool

1. In small saucepan, mix together water and sugar and bring to a boil over high heat for one minute
2. Remove from heat and brush over cooling wreath