Tuxedo Cake

When I have an excuse to make cake, I go bonkers.

Like, bananas with excitement. This cake has been on my mind for a while. A Pastry Queen creation. A genius idea.

AND, a Valentine’s Day dream! I served this up the other night while entertaining some friends and every step of this cake was like creating a baby. Sweet and tender loving, hunny.

This year for Valentine’s Day, I’m not sure what the boy has planned. I decided to be a spoiled brat this year. I’m a lady, and this lady right here is going to take some serious time to be treated like a Queen. Valentine’s Day is about the lady anyway, right?

Plus it’s an excuse to eat more cake. And I’m ok with that.

To begin, spray 3 8-inch pans with nonstick spray and preheat oven to 350. Get your cake’s baked (directions at the end) and cooled, and let’s get rocking! Why do my cakes have funny squares on them? Because they cooled on the racks top side down. They like it that way.

To make the frosting, whip the heavy cream on high until soft peaks form.

Add the powdered sugar and whip until stiff peaks form.

Level the cake layers. You want them to be flat on the top, so if your cake looks like mine:

Chop that top off!

Top the first layer with ~1/2-2/3 cup frosting, spread evenly.

Now top with the second cake layer. Repeat.

Cover the cake with remaining frosting and refrigerate for one hour.

You should probably get your chocolate dipped strawberries ready now. Make extra, you won’t regret it.

For the ganache, heat chopped chocolate, heavy cream, and golden syrup in a microwave safe bowl in 30 second intervals until completely melted, stirring in between. Stir in vanilla and stick in the fridge for 15-20 minutes to cool. Stir after chilling. The glaze should be pourable but very thick. Pour the thickened glaze over the top, gently pushing it towards the edges so it will overflow. Refrigerate until time to serve.

Top that beauty with your berries and eat that chocolate sucker up!

Tuxedo cake
Recipe taken from Confections of a Foodie Bride who adapted it from the Pastry Queen
This cake is BIG. It serves anywhere from 12-16 people.

Ingredients
For the cake:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
2 cups water
1 cup canola oil
3 cups sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 cups all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk or fat-free Greek yogurt
1 Tbsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp vanilla

For the frosting:
4 cups chilled heavy whipping cream
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar

For the glaze:
4 oz (100g chocolate bar + 4 squares more) dark chocolate
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 Tbsp Lyle’s Golden Syrup
2 tsp vanilla
Chocolate-covered strawberries (optional)

Instructions
Cake:
To make the cake, spray 3 8-inch pans (or two 10-inch pans) with nonstick spray and preheat oven to 350.
Combine the butter, water, and canola oil in a medium sauce pan set over medium heat and cook just until butter has melted.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the sugar, flour, and cocoa. Pour the butter mixture into the flour mixture and mix on low. Increase to medium and add one egg at a time. Add the buttermilk (or yogurt), followed by the baking soda, salt, and vanilla.

Divide the batter evenly between the pans and bake for 30-40 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the center of the cakes comes out with moist crumbs attached.

Let cool 10 minutes in pan and then turn out onto a rack to cool completely, about one hour.

Frosting:
To make the frosting, whip the heavy cream on high until soft peaks form. Add the powdered sugar and whip until stiff peaks form.

Level the cake layers, if necessary.

Top the first layer with ~1/2-2/3 cup frosting, spread evenly, and then top with the second cake layer. Repeat and then cover the cake with remaining frosting.

Refrigerate for one hour.

Ganache:
Heat chopped chocolate, heavy cream, and golden syrup in a microwave safe bowl in 30 second intervals until completely melted, stirring in between. Stir in vanilla and stick in the fridge for 15-20 minutes to cool.

Stir after chilling. The glaze should be pourable but very thick. Test a small spoonful down one side of the cake – if it stops running before it hits the bottom or just as it hits the bottom, it’s done. If it’s too thick, add a Tbsp or two more golden syrup or heat for 10 seconds in the microwave.

Pour the thickened glaze over the top, gently pushing it towards the edges so it will overflow.

Refrigerate until time to serve.

Serve with chocolate-covered strawberries (optional). Leftovers will keep in a covered container in the fridge for a few days.

Advertisements

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

All of the Valentine’s Day posts popping up around the blogosphere are making me super excited. Heart shaped cookies, heart cupcakes, heart shaped s’mores galore! The internet needs a little more pink in it’s mix, don’t ya think?

Here is my contribution – deliciously sweet and creamy red velvet whoopie pies. These babies have a soft outer cookie with a cream cheese filling that will melt your heart.

I ended up making these this past weekend at my boyfriends parents house. We went to visit their new most adorable puppy ever puppy and while I was there I thought I’d get some Valentine’s baking in. These turned out great. Enjoy!

To begin, preheat your oven to 375˚ F. Using a heart template cut out from card stock, trace evenly spaced hearts onto pieces of parchment paper sized to fit two cookie sheets. Place the parchment on the cookie sheets so that the side you have drawn on is facing down; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.

In another bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg until incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Blend in the vanilla.

With the mixer on low speed, beat in about a third of the dry ingredients, followed by half of the buttermilk, beating each addition just until incorporated. Repeat so that all the buttermilk has been added and then mix in the final third of dry ingredients. Do not overbeat.

Blend in the food coloring. I used a full bottle almost.

Transfer the batter to a pastry bag fitted with a large plain round tip. Pipe the batter onto the parchment paper using the heart tracings as a guide.

Bake 6-9 minutes or until the tops are set but not hard, rotating the baking sheets halfway through. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets at least 10 minutes, until they can be easily transferred to a cooling rack. Repeat with any remaining batter. Allow cookies to cool completely before proceeding.

To make the cream cheese frosting, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed until well combined and smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Mix in the vanilla extract. Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar until totally incorporated, increase the speed and then beat until smooth.

Transfer the frosting to a clean pastry bag fitted with a plain, round tip. Pair the cookies up by shape and size. Flip one cookie of each pair over so that the flat side is facing up. Pipe frosting onto the flat-sided cookie of each pair, leaving the edges clear.

I like a lot of frosting…

Sandwich the cookies together so the flat sides are facing each other and press gently to help the filling reach the edges. Awwwww…now these are just pretty.

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies
Recipe taken from Annie’s Eats

Ingredients:
For the cookies
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. cocoa powder
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 oz. red food coloring

For the frosting
8 oz. cream cheese
5 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375˚ F. Using a heart template cut out from card stock, trace evenly spaced hearts onto pieces of parchment paper sized to fit two cookie sheets. Place the parchment on the cookie sheets so that the side you have drawn on is facing down; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. In large bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg until incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Blend in the vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, beat in about a third of the dry ingredients, followed by half of the buttermilk, beating each addition just until incorporated. Repeat so that all the buttermilk has been added and then mix in the final third of dry ingredients. Do not overbeat. Blend in the food coloring.

Transfer the batter to a pastry bag fitted with a large plain round tip. Pipe the batter onto the parchment paper using the heart tracings as a guide. Bake 6-8 minutes or until the tops are set, rotating the baking sheets halfway through. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets at least 10 minutes, until they can be easily transferred to a cooling rack. Repeat with any remaining batter. Allow cookies to cool completely before proceeding.

To make the cream cheese frosting, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed until well combined and smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Mix in the vanilla extract. Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar until totally incorporated, increase the speed and then beat until smooth.

Transfer the frosting to a clean pastry bag fitted with a plain, round tip. Pair the cookies up by shape and size. Flip one cookie of each pair over so that the flat side is facing up. Pipe frosting onto the flat-sided cookie of each pair, leaving the edges clear. Sandwich the cookies together so the flat sides are facing each other and press gently to help the filling reach the edges. To store, refrigerate in an airtight container.

Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake

I had a splendid Valentine’s day this year. My boyfriend took charge of the main meal and my part of the day was to make the dessert. I rarely get the chance to make a special cake, so I searched my favorite blogs, and read my favorite recipe books for the most decadent cake I could find. It didn’t take me too long, I have had this Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake bookmarked from Annie’s Eats Blog since I first saw it way back in May.

The bottom layer of this baby is a flourless chocolate cake, the middle layer is a silky chocolate mousse and the top layer is a beautifully creamy white chocolate mousse. I salivated for hours waiting to eat this cake.

Let’s begin, shall we? To make the bottom layer, butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 325˚ F. Combine the butter, chocolate, and espresso powder in a large heatproof bowl set over simmering water. Stir occasionally until the mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the vanilla and egg yolks. Set aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and salt on medium speed until foamy, about 30 seconds.  Crumble half of the brown sugar into the mixing bowl with your fingers to remove any lumps.  Beat until incorporated, about 15 seconds.  Add the remaining brown sugar and continue to beat on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 1 minute more.

Using a whisk, mix one-third of the beaten egg whites to the chocolate mixture to lighten it.  Fold in the remaining egg whites gently with a rubber spatula until no streaks remain.  Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake until the cake has risen, is firm around the edges and the center has just set but is still soft about 14-18 minutes. Transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool completely, at least 1 hour. Do not remove the cake from the pan.

To make the second layer, whisk together the cocoa powder and hot water in a small bowl; set aside. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Once melted, remove from the heat and let cool slightly, 2-5 minutes.

In the clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream, sugar and salt on medium speed until the mixture begins to thicken, about 30 seconds. Increase the speed to high and whip until soft peaks form when the whisk is lifted, 30-60 seconds.

Whisk in the cocoa powder mixture until smooth. Using a whisk, mix one-third of the whipped cream to the chocolate mixture to lighten it.

Fold in the remaining whipped cream gently with a rubber spatula until no streaks remain.

Pour the mousse into the springform pan over the cooled cake and tap gently on the counter 3 times to remove air bubbles. Gently smooth the top with a spatula. Wipe the inside edge of the pan to remove any drips. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes while preparing the top layer.

To make the top layer, sprinkle the gelatin over the water in a small bowl and let stand at least 5 minutes to soften.  Place the white chocolate in a medium bowl.  Bring ½ cup of the cream to a boil in a small saucepan.  Remove the pan from the heat, add the gelatin mixture and stir until dissolved.

Pour the hot cream mixture over the white chocolate and let stand about 1 minute.  Whisk until the mixture is smooth.  Cool to room temperature, about 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In the clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the remaining 1 cup of cream at medium speed until it begins to thicken.  Increase the speed to high and whip until soft peaks form when the whisk is lifted, 30-60 seconds.  Using a whisk, mix one-third of the whipped cream to the white chocolate mixture to lighten it.  Fold in the remaining whipped cream gently with a rubber spatula until no streaks remain.

Spoon the white chocolate mousse into the pan over the middle layer.  Smooth the top with an offset spatula.  Return the cake to the refrigerator and chill until set, at least 2½ hours.  (Note: Do NOT cover your pan with plastic wrap unless you are completely sure you can do so without it touching the top of your cake during placement or removal.)

Decorate to your liking. I had a Valentine’s theme so I put shaved semi-sweet chocolate, and heart sprinkles on top.

Eat!

Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake
Recipe taken from Annie’s Eats via Cooks Illustrated

Ingredients:
For the bottom layer:
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces (plus extra for greasing the pan)
7 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
¾ tsp. instant espresso powder
1½ tsp. vanilla extract
4 large eggs, separated
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed

For the middle layer:
2 tbsp. cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-processed
5 tbsp. hot water
7 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1½ cups heavy cream
1 tbsp. granulated sugar
Pinch of salt

For the top layer:
¾ tsp. powdered gelatin
1 tbsp. water
6 oz. white chocolate, finely chopped
1½ cups heavy cream

For garnish:
Chocolate curls or cocoa powder

Directions:
To make the bottom layer, butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 325˚ F. Combine the butter, chocolate, and espresso powder in a large heatproof bowl set over simmering water. Stir occasionally until the mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the vanilla and egg yolks. Set aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and salt on medium speed until foamy, about 30 seconds. Crumble half of the brown sugar into the mixing bowl with your fingers to remove any lumps. Beat until incorporated, about 15 seconds. Add the remaining brown sugar and continue to beat on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 1 minute more. Using a whisk, mix one-third of the beaten egg whites to the chocolate mixture to lighten it. Fold in the remaining egg whites gently with a rubber spatula until no streaks remain. Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan and smooth the top with a spatula.

Bake until the cake has risen, is firm around the edges and the center has just set but is still soft (should spring back after pressing gently with a finger), about 14-18 minutes. Transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool completely, at least 1 hour. Do not remove the cake from the pan. (If not making the second layer right away, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to proceed.)

To make the second layer, whisk together the cocoa powder and hot water in a small bowl; set aside. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Once melted, remove from the heat and let cool slightly, 2-5 minutes.

In the clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream, sugar and salt on medium speed until the mixture begins to thicken, about 30 seconds. Increase the speed to high and whip until soft peaks form when the whisk is lifted, 30-60 seconds. Whisk in the cocoa powder mixture until smooth. Using a whisk, mix one-third of the whipped cream to the chocolate mixture to lighten it. Fold in the remaining whipped cream gently with a rubber spatula until no streaks remain. Pour the mousse into the springform pan over the cooled cake and tap gently on the counter 3 times to remove air bubbles. Gently smooth the top with a spatula. Wipe the inside edge of the pan to remove any drips. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes while preparing the top layer.

To make the top layer, sprinkle the gelatin over the water in a small bowl and let stand at least 5 minutes to soften. Place the white chocolate in a medium bowl. Bring ½ cup of the cream to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove the pan from the heat, add the gelatin mixture and stir until dissolved. Pour the hot cream mixture over the white chocolate and let stand about 1 minute. Whisk until the mixture is smooth. Cool to room temperature, about 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In the clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the remaining 1 cup of cream at medium speed until it begins to thicken. Increase the speed to high and whip until soft peaks form when the whisk is lifted, 30-60 seconds. Using a whisk, mix one-third of the whipped cream to the white chocolate mixture to lighten it. Fold in the remaining whipped cream gently with a rubber spatula until no streaks remain. Spoon the white chocolate mousse into the pan over the middle layer. Smooth the top with an offset spatula. Return the cake to the refrigerator and chill until set, at least 2½ hours. (Note: Do NOT cover your pan with plastic wrap unless you are completely sure you can do so without it touching the top of your cake during placement or removal. If it does touch the cake, it will smudge the top.)

Good Old Fashioned Rice Krispie Squares

When someone says “ooey-gooey” I think of two things. (1) A warm, half-baked brownie (oh my there’s drool everywhere..) and (2) melted marshmallow goodness. Marshmallows are underrated. Sometimes I feel like the food blog community gets too caught up with making daring recipes, that they forget about the simple stuff. Like Mom’s good old rice krispie squares that you used to sell at bakesales, or eat warm right from the pot. So mom, this blog’s for you and your yummy, simple, mouth-watering rice krispie squares. Thanks.

Ingredients:
¼ cup butter
1 pkg (250g) mini marshmellows
1 tsp vanilla
5 cups rice krispies

Directions:
1. Melt margarine in large saucepan over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat.


2. Stir in vanilla. Stir in rice krispies cereal until well coated.
3. Using lightly buttered spatula, press into buttered 13 x 9″ pan.
4. Allow mixture to cool. Cut into bars. Best if served same day

As I said – simple, and delicious. Love you mom.

Sexy Red Velvet

Whoaaaa cupcakes! Cupcake fever is NOT over yet. You’d think it would be considering the Olympic Cupcakes I just decorated the crap out of. But no. Nothing says “I love you” like a moist, tasty, red velvet cupcake. Decorated to a tee I might add.

Cupcakes are great because they’re a way to express how you feel about a subject simply by decorating it out. By looking at my designs you can see some of the fun colours, and sayings that remind me of Valentines day.

I must say that I haven’t always been a fan of Valentines day. Of course I liked the seasonal chocolates that came out, but “single Katrina” found this day kind of depressing. Eventually though, I started spending this lovey-dovey day with my girlfriends, and found it rather enjoyable. So whether you’re hitched, dating, or single, mix up some yummy Valentines day treats and share them with your loved ones. Heck, make the treats together!! It’s a blast and will surely be a day to remember. It doesn’t have to be the actual 14th either. I celebrated my Valentines day on the 11th, because the 14th is going to be too busy. But it’s not the DAY that matters, it’s the person/people you spend the day with that do :)

Red Velvet Cupcakes
This Red Velvet cupcake recipe is adapted from Joy the Baker, and yields 12 cupcakes.

Ingredients:
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2 1/2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 Tablespoons red gel food coloring
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp white vinegar

Directions:
1. Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about three minutes. Turn mixer to high and add the egg. Scrape down the bowl and beat until well incorporated.

2. In a separate bowl mix together cocoa, vanilla and red food coloring to make a thick paste. Add to the batter, mixing thoroughly until completely combined. You may need to stop the mixer to scrape the bottom of the bowl, making sure that all the batter gets colour.

3. Turn mixer to low and slowly add half of the buttermilk. Add half of the flour and mix until combined. Scrape the bowl and repeat the process with the remaining milk and flour. Beat on high until smooth.

4. Turn mixer to low and add baking soda and white vinegar. Turn to high and beat a few more minutes.

5. Spoon batter into a paper lined cupcake baking pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center cupcake comes out clean.

6. Let rest in the pan for 10 minutes, then place them of a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting with buttercream frosting.

Buttercream Frosting
Ingredients:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 3/4 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons cream

Directions:
1. Using a mixer, cream softened butter and vanilla until smooth.
2. Add sugar gradually, allowing butter and sugar to cream together before adding more.
3. If you want your frosting a little creamier, add a teaspoon of milk at a time and beat on high until you get the right texture.
4. Use lots of food colouring to tint your frosting the colour of your choice!