Tag Archives: cake

Recipe: Raspberry Chocolate Cake with Ganache Frosting

22 Sep

This moist, raspberry-scented chocolate cake is a family favorite. It’s also a crowd pleaser, though very few people who ooh and aah over it realize it’s vegan. I love it because it’s easy to make and I can lick the bowl with a clear conscience. But mainly, I love it because it’s a great cake, perfect for anyone who wants a delectable, double dose of dark chocolate.

Note: There are times I have made a non-vegan version of this cake out of necessity; some of the vegan ingredients can be hard to come by here in Italy. So, if you are making this for a non-vegan crowd, it is possible to substitute regular (ideally, whole) milk for the soy milk in the cake and frosting, and to also use butter and (preferably dark/bittersweet) regular chocolate chips in the frosting.

Raspberry Chocolate Cake with Ganache Frosting

Raspberry Chocolate Cake with Ganache Frosting
(very slightly adapted from the recipe for Raspberry Blackout Cake with Ganache-y Frosting in Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz)

Serves 12

Cake

1 ½ c. all-purpose flour
½ c. Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 ½ c. vanilla soy milk
½ c. canola (or vegetable) oil
1 (10-oz.) jar seedless raspberry preserves (reserve ½ c. for batter)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 ¼ c. sugar

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 8-inch round cake pans with cooking spray,* place a round of parchment paper on the bottom of each pan, and spray again.
  2. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Combine the soy milk, oil, ½ c. preserves, vanilla, and sugar in large bowl and mix well. The preserves should be mostly dissolved; small clumps are okay.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet in batches and mix until everything is incorporated.
  5. Divide the batter between the prepared pans and bake 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick or knife comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool in pans.
  6. When cool, remove one cake layer from the pan and place on a cake plate or stand. Spread with a thin layer of the remaining raspberry preserves, then with a thin layer of chocolate ganache on top of the preserves. Place the second cake layer on top and repeat, then ice the sides.

* In lieu of cooking spray, coat lightly with vegetable oil.

Ganache Frosting

¾ c. + 1 tbsp. vanilla soy milk
6 tbsp. non-hydrogenated margarine (such as Earth Balance)
12 oz. vegan chocolate chips

Preparation:

  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, bring soy milk to a low boil. Add margarine and melt, turn off the heat, then add the chocolate chips and stir until smooth. Let cool–then refrigerate the frosting for an hour or so to thicken to a spreadable consistency. Check to make sure the frosting does not become too firm–remove from the refrigerator if necessary.

Recipe: Blueberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

28 Feb

Last night, we ended up with an abundance of blueberries, due to my lack of attention to the contents of our refrigerator. I stopped at the grocery store to pick up some items for dinner and of course bought a number of other things not on my shopping list, including fresh blueberries. I was pleased with this impulse purchase since the blueberries were for my husband, who likes to sprinkle them on top of his yogurt in the morning. I was sure he would be happy to have them, and he was indeed quite happy to have blueberries–the blueberries he himself had bought the day before. Argh. How had I not noticed them? All I can say is, it was the end of a long work week and my powers of observation were obviously not  very powerful. There was only one way out of this dire situation: we would have to make blueberry coffee cake. The best thing was that my husband made the cake, which was so good I may “accidentally” buy extra blueberries more often.

BCCC3

Blueberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake
9  servings

Cake
1/4 c. butter, softened
2/3 c. sugar
1 egg
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. milk

1 c. fresh  blueberries
2 tbsp. flour
3 oz. cream cheese, softened , and cubed

Topping
4 tbsp. all-purpose flour
4 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. cold butter

Preparation
1.Preheat oven to 375°. Grease an 8×8 baking pan.
2. Cake: In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg. In a medium bowl, combine the all-purpose and whole wheat flours, baking powder, and salt. Add half the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture; stir to combine. Add half the milk to the butter/sugar mixture; stir to combine. Repeat with remaining flour mixture and milk.
3. Toss blueberries with the 2 tbsp. flour. Stir the blueberries and cream cheese cubes into the batter (batter will be thick). Pour into the prepared baking dish.
4. Topping: In a small bowl, combine the flour and sugar. Cut in the butter until crumbly. Sprinkle the topping over the batter.
5. Bake the cake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Recipe based on a Taste of Home recipe.

Recipe: White Chocolate Dulce de Leche Cake

8 Feb

In our house, we love dulce de leche (we are not at all averse to eating it by the spoonful), and we really love the pastry cake known as Torta Chilena (delicate, crispy layers of pastry laced with the rich, caramelly spread–see the recipe here). But Torta Chilena is quite labor intensive (a labor of love, but laborious nonetheless). I wanted to make a slightly less time-consuming cake featuring dulce de leche–one that was special in its own right. The result: this White Chocolate Dulce de Leche Cake. It’s a more traditional cake-like cake (if that makes sense), but has lots in it to love. It does require more time than a box mix (though using ready-made dulce de leche will reduce the prep time), but it is so worth it.


White Chocolate Dulce de Leche Cake

–Cake
2 ½ c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 c. white chocolate chips, melted and cooled
1 c. butter
2/3 c. sugar
2 eggs
2 egg whites
1 c. buttermilk (or 1 tbsp. vinegar, plus enough milk to make 1 c.)

–Frosting
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
¼ c. butter, softened
1 c. confectioner’s sugar
1 c. white chocolate chips, melted and cooled

Filling 
1 recipe home-made dulce de leche (see directions below) — or use 1 (13.4-oz. can) prepared dulce de leche

Preparation
1. FILLING: To make dulce del leche, heat oven to 425º. Spray a glass casserole dish with cooking spray, pour both cans of condensed milk into it, cover the dish, and then set it in a bain marie (baño maria), which is a roasting pan filled with enough water to rise slightly above the level of the condensed milk in the casserole dish. Bake for about 2 hours, stirring periodically, until golden brown. Set aside and let cool. (This is the dulce de leche – there will be extra left over). If using prepared (canned) dulce de leche, proceed to making the cake. Note: you may need to vigorously stir (or even slightly heat) canned dulce de leche to make it spreadable.
2. CAKE: Reduce oven temperature to 350º.  In a glass bowl, heat the 1 c. white chocolate chips in a microwave in 30-second bursts, stirring after each, until chocolate is mostly melted. [Note: be careful with the melting process; overcooked white chocolate turns into a hard lump.] Stir the chocolate until it is completely smooth and let cool. Spray 4 cake pans with cooking spray, line with parchment paper, and spray the parchment paper. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until smooth. Gradually beat in the eggs and egg whites, then add the melted white chocolate and incorporate. Add half the flour mixture, mix in, add half of the buttermilk, mix in and repeat. Spread the cake batter evenly into the 4 pans. Bake for about 10-15 minutes, or until knife/toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean. Let cool.
3. FROSTING:  Beat cream cheese, butter, and confectioner’s sugar together in medium bowl until smooth, then stir in 1 c. melted white chocolate chips (see note in #2 about melting white chocolate).
4. ASSEMBLY: Place 1 cake layer on plate/stand. Frost the layer with 1/3 of the dulce de leche, then with 1/6 of the frosting–just enough for a very thin layer; you want to be sure to have enough frosting left for the outside of the cake. Continue stacking layers, and use remaining frosting to frost top and sides of cake. Chill 1 hour before serving.

Recipe: Chocolate Chunk Zucchini Squares

7 Jul

Okay, after my recent post about prolific zucchini plants, it was only a matter of time before some zucchini recipes started showing up on the blog. And seeing as I have a serious sweet tooth, I went straight for something chocolaty, moist, and doubly satisfying (because, after all, these Chocolate Chunk Zucchini Squares not only taste good, they also contain vegetables and nuts, so can almost be regarded as a health food….). Well, I’m planning on regarding them that way. If you use dark chocolate, even better: you’ll be adding some beneficial flavonoids to the mix. I dubbed this recipe “Chocolate Chunk” because I didn’t have any chocolate chips on hand today, but I did have some dark chocolate bars that I was happy to chop up and sacrifice to the greater good.

Chocolate Chunk Zucchini Squares
Servings: 9

4 tbsp. butter, room temperature
2/3 c. dark brown sugar, packed
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. finely grated zucchini, squeezed as dry as possible (try to end up with 1 c. total)
1 c. all-purpose flour (can also use 1/4 c. whole wheat, 3/4 c. all-purpose)
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
1/2 c. chocolate chunks or chocolate chips (about 3 oz. total)

Preparation
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8×8 baking pan with baking spray.
2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together; add egg and vanilla and stir until mixture is light and smooth. Add zucchini and mix in well.
3. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, walnuts, and chocolate chunks/chips.
4. Add dry mixture to wet mixture; stir just to combine. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
5. Let cool before cutting into squares.

Recipe: Triple Lemon Cake

14 Jun

When the kids were little, I used to make them specially decorated cakes: a pick-up truck cake with candy in the back (as if the cake and ice cream weren’t enough), a dinosaur cake, a cake that looked like a pumpkin (two Bundt cakes on top of each other,  covered with orange frosting, with a bit of stem coming out the top), a soccer field cake, etc. As the children got older, the decorations decreased–but not the cake requests.

Of all the cake options available, this Triple Lemon Cake is the most requested (with the Mexican Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Glaze offering stiff competition). It has triple the tang because lemon appears in the batter, syrup, and glaze. If I could find a fourth way to get more lemon into the cake, I would. But it is really nice just the way it is, and is a good cake for spring/summer.

Triple Lemon Cake

Cake
1/2 lb. butter, at room temperature
2 c. sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature
3 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. buttermilk (a good substitute: put 1 tbsp. vinegar in a measuring cup, then add milk to make 1 c.)
2 tbsp. tightly packed grated lemon zest (from about 4 lemons)
3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice (the 4 lemons should provide enough juice for the batter, syrup, and glaze)

Syrup
1 c. confectioners’ sugar
½ c. butter, melted
1/3 c. fresh lemon juice

Glaze
fresh lemon juice
confectioner’s sugar

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 325°.
2. Carefully and very thoroughly grease and flour a Bundt pan.
3. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, blending well each time.
4. Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt together. Add about 1/3 of the flour mixture to the egg mixture, stir to combine, add about 1/2 of the buttermilk, stir, and repeat, ending with last bit of flour mixture and ensuring it is well incorporated. Gently stir in the lemon zest and juice. Note: The batter will be thick.
5. Pour the batter into the prepared Bundt pan, smoothing the top as evenly as possible. Cook for an hour in the middle of the oven, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Sometimes, it may take longer than an hour to cook.
6. Toward the end of the baking time, prepare the syrup: melt the butter and lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium heat, then stir in the confectioner’s sugar. Bring to a quick boil just before using.
7. When the cake is done, remove from oven. Poke holes in the cake with a long skewer, then pour the hot syrup over the cake. Let the cake sit for about 20-30 minutes.
8. Put a large plate (or platter) upside down on top of the cake pan and invert the pan and plate together so the cake drops neatly onto the plate. Actually, I have rarely had the cake drop neatly onto the plate; I just always hope it will. It usually requires a lot of jiggling and careful loosening of the sides. And even then, the cake doesn’t always come out of the pan cleanly. So, grease and flour the Bundt pan heavily beforehand, and use a liberal amount of glaze on the cake afterward, to cover up any less-than-perfect parts (as I did for the cake in the phot0).
9. Glaze the cake: the amount of glaze is entirely up to you; I start off with about 2-3 c. of confectioner’s sugar, then add a few drops of lemon juice at a time until the glaze is a good consistency (and then if it looks like I don’t have enough glaze or if it is too thin, I add more sugar and keep going). Sometimes, I drizzle a thicker glaze on the cake first (also good for filling in rough spots), then add a slightly thinner one for contrast.

Recipe: Mexican Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Glaze

8 Jan

There are some recipes you turn to again and again because they are deeply satisfying. This is one of them — a dark, rich chocolate Bundt cake heightened with hints of coffee and cinnamon. It is a frequently requested birthday cake at our house, made most recently for my son’s 21st birthday this week — with the addition of some Espresso Chip ice cream to complement the flavor.

Mexican Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Glaze

Cake
3 c. all purpose flour
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking soda
4 tsp.  cinnamon
1/2 c. cocoa powder
3 tsp. vanilla extract
2/3 c. canola oil
2 tbsp. white distilled vinegar
2 c. coffee at room temperature  (or warm water mixed with 1-2 tbsp. instant espresso powder)
1-2 c. chocolate chips (preferably dark chocolate, if available)

Glaze
3/4 c. chocolate chips
3 tbsp. non-hydrogenated buttery spread such as Earth Balance/Smart Balance
1 tbsp. light corn syrup
1/4 tsp. vanilla

Preparation

Cake
1. Preheat oven to 350°.  Generously grease (with vegetable shortening) and lightly flour a Bundt pan.
2. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl until thoroughly combined. Make a well in the center, and add wet ingredients. Stir until just combined, and fold in chocolate chips.
3. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until skewer inserted into cake comes out clean; be careful not to overbake.
4. Cool for about 20 minutes, then turn out onto plate or serving platter. Cool completely and top with Chocolate Glaze.

Glaze
1. Melt first three ingredients on low power in microwave, stir until smooth, add vanilla, and drizzle over cake.

Adapted from The Joy of Vegan Baking, by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau.

Recipe: Dulce de Leche Pastry Cake (Torta Chilena)

26 Nov

When I was in college,  I sampled an exquisite confection that has forever remained seared on my memory: Torta Chilena. It was a cake with eight crispy layers filled with dulce de leche (caramelized sweet milk).  I immediately requested the recipe from the Costa Rican lady who made it, and it has since followed me across continents and years to be pulled out on special occasions.

Torta Chilena is a beloved Costa Rican dessert. So why, you may ask, is it called a “Chilean Cake”?  In Chile, a very similar dessert is called Torta Mil Hojas (“Thousand-Layer Cake”), which is itself a variation on the mille-feuille theme. But instead of being filled with custard, as the French versions are, the Latin American versions are filled with dulce de leche.  Latin Americans love dulce de leche, so it is a natural adaptation. I surmise that a Chilean with a fondness for sweets settled in Costa Rica, made the dessert to great acclaim, and helped start the national craze for Torta Chilena. However this cake originated, I am deeply grateful.

Note: One popular way to make dulce de leche is to cook unopened cans of sweetened condensed milk in boiling water for 2-3 hours. The problem with this method is that the occasional can explodes. So, I’ve always preferred making it in the oven in a bain-marie (water bath, also known as a baño maría in Spanish).

Torta Chilena
[Updated 12-15-12]

Pastry
2 c. flour
1 tbsp. sugar
½ lb. butter (2 sticks)
¼ + 1/8 c. white wine

Dulce de Leche Filling
2 cans  sweetened condensed milk

powdered sugar

Preparation
1. Dulce de Leche filling: Heat oven to 425º. Spray a glass casserole dish with cooking spray, pour both cans of condensed milk into it, cover the dish, and then set it in a deep roasting pan filled with enough water to rise slightly above the level of the condensed milk in the casserole dish. Bake covered for about 3 hours until golden brown (stirring vigorously 2-3 times during the latter part of the cooking process to avoid lumps). Set aside. This is the dulce de leche; you can make it ahead of time, but if you are not using immediately, refrigerate it and bring to room temperature before using.

 

2. Pastry:  Put flour and sugar in a large bowl, cut in butter, then add ¼ c. wine, mix thoroughly, then add remaining 1/8 c. wine. Mix thoroughly. Turn dough out onto well-floured surface, shape into a log and cut into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball. Draw 9-inch circles on baking/parchment paper (I used a  plate and traced around it). Turn sheets of paper over so dough doesn’t come into contact with pen/pencil marks, then place 1 ball of dough in center of the circle, and use fingers to spread out to edges. Dough will be very thin.

3. Preheat oven to 300º.  Bake pastry circles until slightly golden (exact time will depend on your oven; start checking at about 8-10 minutes–the circles should look “cooked,” but not brown). When cool, very carefully remove each pastry circle from paper; circles will be wafer-like and fragile. Place a small dab of dulce de leche on a round platter, then gently position the first pastry circle on top. Press carefully to stabilize the circle on the platter, then spread with roughly 1/7 of the dulce de leche (doing so as lightly as possible). Put the next cooked pastry circle on top, spread with dulce de leche, and repeat with all the layers except the top one – sift powdered sugar on top of that one. Some layers may crack; press the pieces onto the dulce de leche base, and try to reserve the best layer for the top.
4. Enjoy.

*For another cake that features dulce de leche, see this recipe.