Pretzels

Warning – you won’t be able to stop at one. Hubby says they are way too good to be called pretzels. Soft, chewy, sweet and salty. Yes, they will make you thirsty, but they wouldn’t be pretzels if they didn’t. This is an easy recipe, using pantry staples. Don’t be deterred by having to wait for the dough to rise; you only need to do it once, unlike in most yeast-based recipes.

Pretzels
Recipe adapted from Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, by Yammie’s Noshery

Ingredients

2 cups skim milk
1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
6 tablespoons brown sugar 
60g butter, melted 
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt

1/3 cup baking soda
3 cups warm water
coarse salt

100g butter, melted in a shallow dish

Directions

Warm milk on stove or in microwave until lukewarm.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine yeast and warm milk, stir then let sit for three minutes.

Add melted butter, sugar and salt to milk mixture. Using a dough hook on low speed, add flour, one cup at a time. Let the mixer knead the dough for 10 minutes.

Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with a tea towel until dough has doubled in size. (Approximately one hour).

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

Shape pieces of dough into pretzel knots, long straight pieces or small bite-sized buns.

Combine water and baking powder in a medium bowl. Dip shaped pieces of dough in baking powder mixture.

Place on lined baking tray, sprinkle with coarse salt and then bake for 7 to 11 minutes.

Dip freshly baked pretzels in melted butter, serve.

Published in: on May 2, 2012 at 10:20 am  Leave a Comment  
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Chocolate Cake

Happy birthday Elise!

Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Frosting
Recipe adapted from Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented, By Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito.

Ingredients

For the classic chocolate cake

3/4 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
2/3 cup sour cream
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch cubes, softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tbs vanilla extract

For the chocolate frosting 

180g dark chocolate, chopped
180g milk chocolate, chopped

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

2 tbs light corn syrup or golden syrup

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, soft but cool, chopped into 1 inch pieces

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter three 8 inch round cake pans, line them with parchment paper, and butter the parchment. Dust the parchment with flour and knock out excess flour.

In medium bowl, mix the cocoa powder and sour cream with 1 1/4 cups hot water and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together and set aside.

Using a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and shortening together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes – the mixture will appear to string or ribbon throughout the bowl.

Add the sugars and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 more minutes.

Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing about 10 to 15 seconds after each addition until the egg is incorporated into the mixture.

Then turn the mixer to low, add the vanilla, and beat until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again for 30 seconds.

Beginning with the dry ingredients, add the dry mixture and the cocoa mixture to the mixer bowl in three alternating parts, ending with the dry.

Divide the batter among the prepared pans. Use an offset spatula to level the batter. Bake the cakes for 35-40 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Transfer the pans to a wire rack and cool for 30 to 45 minutes. Turn the cakes out onto the rack and let them cool completely. Remove the parchment.

Make the chocolate frosting

Place the chopped chocolate and milk chocolate in the bowl of am electric mixer. In a small saucepan bring cream and syrup to the boil, remove from heat and immediately pour over the chocolate. Let stand for 2-3 minutes. Slowly whisk the chocolate mixture until completely smooth. Let mixture cool to room temperature.

With the electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on medium speed, gradually add the butter and mix until well combined and smooth. Chill frosting for a few minutes until it can hold its shape.

To assemble the cake

Place one cake layer on a serving platter. Trim the top to create a flat surface, and evenly spread about 1 1/4 cups frosting on top.

Add the next layer, trim and frost it, then add the third layer. Spread a very thin layer of frosting over the sides and top of the cake and put it in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes to firm up. (This is known as the crumb coating and will help you keep loose cake crumbs under control when you frost the outside of the cake.)

Spread the sides and top of the cake with the remaining frosting. Refrigerate it for 15 minutes to firm it up.

The cake can be stored, covered in a cake dome or cake saver, at room temperature for up to 3 days

Published in: on April 29, 2012 at 9:32 pm  Comments (3)  
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Chocolate Cake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream


Happy birthday Jess! Good food, good company and cake. Not a bad Friday night at all.

Sweetapolita is an expert on Swiss meringue buttercream frosting – I highly recommend you visit her site before making it. And visit YouTube for sweetandsaucyshop’s video on making frosting ruffles. They are easier to make than they look! This was my first attempt but I’d love to try them again.

Chocolate Cake
Recipe adapted from Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented, By Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito.

Ingredients

3/4 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
2/3 cup sour cream
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch cubes, softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tbs vanilla extract

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter three 8 inch round cake pans, line them with parchment paper, and butter the parchment. Dust the parchment with flour and knock out excess flour.

In medium bowl, mix the cocoa powder and sour cream with 1 1/4 cups hot water and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together and set aside.

Using a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and shortening together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes – the mixture will appear to string or ribbon throughout the bowl.
Add the sugars and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 more minutes.
Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing about 10 to 15 seconds after each addition until the egg is incorporated into the mixture.
Then turn the mixer to low, add the vanilla, and beat until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again for 30 seconds.

Beginning with the dry ingredients, add the dry mixture and the cocoa mixture to the mixer bowl in three alternating parts, ending with the dry.
Divide the batter among the prepared pans. Use an offset spatula to level the batter.
Bake the cakes for 35-40 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and cool for 30 to 45 minutes.
Turn the cakes out onto the rack and let them cool completely. Remove the parchment.

Sweetapolita’s Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Because it does take some time to make and freezes well, I make a larger batch. You can divide this recipe in 2 or even 3.

Yield: 15 cups (enough to frost and fill approximately three 8″ round cakes)

Ingredients

16 large egg whites (30g each–total 450g, or 2 cups)
4 cups granulated sugar (800g)
5 cups (2.5 lbs, 10 sticks) of unsalted butter, softened but cool, cut into cubes
30 ml (2 tablespoons) pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt

Directions

Wipe the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk attachment, small bowl, and whisk with paper towel and lemon juice (or vinegar), to remove any trace of grease.
Add egg whites and sugar,  and simmer over a pot of water (not boiling), whisking constantly but gently, until temperature reaches 140 degrees F, or if you don’t have a candy thermometer, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot (you can feel a drop in between your fingers to ensure no granules.).

Take off of stove, and place bowl back on electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment, begin to whip until the mixture is thick, glossy, and neutral (you can feel outside of the bowl to test temperature).
Switch over to paddle attachment and, while mixing on low-speed continuously, add butter one cube at a time until incorporated, and mix until it has reached a silky smooth texture (if curdles, keep mixing and it will come back to smooth).  Add vanilla and salt, mix well. You can also add a wide variety of flavourings, extracts, and more. If buttercream is too runny, the butter was possibly too soft–place into the refrigerator for about 15 minutes, then beat again.
If still too runny, add a few more cubes of butter and keep beating until it reaches Use immediately, or refrigerate/freeze.

Notes:

Keep in airtight container in refrigerator for up to one week, leaving out at room temperature when needed, rewhipping in mixer for 5 minutes.

Can freeze for up to 6-8 weeks. To thaw, place on counter overnight, and rewhip for 5 minutes with paddle attachment in an electric mixer.

If buttercream still doesn’t have its satiny finish after rewhipping, microwave 1/3 of the buttercream for approximately 10 seconds and add to remaining buttercream in mixer bowl, beating for a few moments to incorporate.

Published in: on April 28, 2012 at 12:50 am  Leave a Comment  
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Anzac Biscuits

April 25 is Anzac Day in Australia and New Zealand, a day of remembrance for those who served our countries. These sweet, oaty, crispy biscuits were said to have been sent to Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) soldiers during World War I by their wives and families.

Recipes for Anzac biscuits don’t vary too much, just remember they never contain egg and are never to be called cookies. Golden syrup is a pale-coloured treacle, similar in colour and consistency to honey. It is widely available in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and South Africa. I’ve also read a version of golden syrup is popular and locally produced in Louisiana, so US bakers may have luck finding it in that area. Light corn syrup is a suggested alternative, but true Anzac biscuits always contain golden syrup.

Anzac Biscuits
Recipe from Woman’s Day magazine

Ingredients

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup plain flour, sifted
1 cup caster sugar
1 cup desiccated coconut
125g butter, chopped
1 tablespoon golden syrup
2 tablespoons boiling water
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
 
Directions

Preheat oven to moderately low, 160°C. Line baking trays with baking paper.

In a medium bowl, combine oats, flour, sugar and coconut.

In a small pan, combine butter and golden syrup. Stir over low heat for 2-3 minutes until melted.

In a small jug, combine water and bicarbonate of soda. Stir into butter mixture. Pour into dry ingredients. Mix well.

Roll pieces of mixture into walnut-sized balls. Arrange on prepared trays, leaving a 4cm space between each biscuit to allow for spreading. Press lightly to flatten.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden. Allow to stand for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool. Biscuits will harden on cooling.

Published in: on April 22, 2012 at 2:23 pm  Comments (4)  
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Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Cake

This recipe is my new favourite chocolate cake recipe. Chocolate cake with mousse-like chocolate frosting and dark chocolate ganache drizzled on top. I think I’ll tweak the recipe a little further but it’s pretty darn good just the way it is.

Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Cake
Recipe adapted from Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented, By Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito.

Ingredients

For the classic chocolate cake

3/4 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
2/3 cup sour cream
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch cubes, softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tbs vanilla extract

For the chocolate frosting

180g dark chocolate, chopped
180g milk chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 tbs light corn syrup or golden syrup
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, soft but cool, chopped into 1 inch pieces

For the chocolate glaze

180g good quality (60-72%) dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
3/4 cups unsalted butter, softened and cut into 1/2 inch pieces

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter three 8 inch round cake pans, line them with parchment paper, and butter the parchment. Dust the parchment with flour and knock out excess flour.

In medium bowl, mix the cocoa powder and sour cream with 1 1/4 cups hot water and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together and set aside.

Using a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and shortening together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes – the mixture will appear to string or ribbon throughout the bowl. Add the sugars and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 more minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing about 10 to 15 seconds after each addition until the egg is incorporated into the mixture. Then turn the mixer to low, add the vanilla, and beat until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again for 30 seconds.

Beginning with the dry ingredients, add the dry mixture and the cocoa mixture to the mixer bowl in three alternating parts, ending with the dry. Divide the batter among the prepared pans. Use an offset spatula to level the batter. Bake the cakes for 35-40 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and cool for 30 to 45 minutes. Turn the cakes out onto the rack and let them cool completely. Remove the parchment.

Make the chocolate frosting

Place the chopped chocolate and milk chocolate in the bowl of am electric mixer. In a small saucepan bring cream and syrup to the boil, remove from heat and immediately pour over the chocolate. Let stand for 2-3 minutes. Slowly whisk the chocolate mixture until completely smooth. Let mixture cool to room temperature.

With the electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on medium speed, gradually add the butter and mix until well combined and smooth. Chill frosting for a few minutes until it can hold its shape.

To assemble the cake

Place one cake layer on a serving platter. Trim the top to create a flat surface, and evenly spread about 1 1/4 cups frosting on top. Add the next layer, trim and frost it, then add the third layer. Spread a very thin layer of frosting over the sides and top of the cake and put it in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes to firm up. (This is known as the crumb coating and will help you keep loose cake crumbs under control when you frost the outside of the cake.) Spread the sides and top of the cake with the remaining frosting. Refrigerate it for 15 minutes to firm it up.

Make the chocolate glaze

Place the butter and chocolate in the top of a double boiler. Using a rubber spatula, stir the mixture until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and smooth.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir the glaze to release excess heat. Cool until it is still pourable but not hot to the touch. Otherwise you may melt your frosting right off your cake. Drizzle glaze over the cake. Refrigerate the cake about 15 minutes to set the glaze before serving.

Glaze the cake

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place your cake on a wire rack over the baking sheet. Slowly pour about 3/4 of a cup of the glaze over the cake. Use a small offset spatula to smooth it out to the edges. Place the cake in the refrigerator for 5 minutes to set the glaze. Remove from the refrigerator and slowly pour the rest of the glaze over the cake. It should run down the sides in thick streams. You should be able to control the size and length of the streams by the pour. Feel free to experiment, and have no fear in playing around. This is the fun part, and there is no right or wrong way. Chill the entire cake for approximately 20 minutes, or until glaze is set, then transfer to a cake plate. Serve at room temperature.

The cake can be stored, covered in a cake dome or cake saver, at room temperature for up to 3 days

Published in: on April 20, 2012 at 4:48 pm  Comments (4)  
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Kitchen Sink Cookies

Yes, I make these often don’t I? Another batch today – Easter M&Ms and McGrath Fountation pink-and-white M&Ms.


More kitchen sink cookies –

Kitchen Sink Cookies
Adapted from recipe by Martha Stewart
Makes about 40

Ingredients

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light-brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
Any variation of chocolate, nuts, candy etc like –
2 cups milk chocolate chips
1 cup chopped milk chocolate
2 cups M&Ms

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius. Line baking sheets with baking paper.
  2. In a large bowl with a wooden spoon or hand mixer, beat butter, sugar and brown sugar together until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until well blended. Stir in vanilla.
  3. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Gradually stir into butter mixture until well blended. Stir in oats, M&M’s, chocolate chips and chocolate.
  4. Drop heaping tablespoons of batter onto trays, about 2 inches apart. Press tops down with the bottom of a glass to flatten cookies evenly. (I roll into balls). Bake until golden, about 16 to 18 minutes (8-10 minutes in my oven). Cool on pan for 2 minutes. Remove from pan, and finish cooling completely on wire rack.
Published in: on April 9, 2012 at 4:53 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Hot Cross Buns

Eat these when freshly baked, that’s when they are best. Warm with butter of course.

Hot Cross Buns
Recipe from Gourmet Traveller
Serves  16

Ingredients

Buns

750 gm (5 cups) plain flour, sifted
55 gm (¼ cup)  caster sugar
2 tsp (14 gm)  dried yeast
1 tsp  allspice
½ tsp  cinnamon
250 gm (1½ cups)  sultanas
100 gm candied orange peel, coarsely chopped
1 orange, finely grated rind only
300 ml  milk
100 gm unsalted butter, coarsely chopped
1 egg

Glaze

55 gm (¼ cup) caster sugar
¼ tsp mixed spice

Directions

1. Combine 700 gm flour, sugar, yeast, spices, sultanas, orange peel and rind and 1 tsp sea salt in a bowl. Gently warm milk and butter over a low heat until butter melts and mixture is tepid. Add egg to milk mixture and whisk. Make a well in the centre of flour mixture, add milk mixture and stir. Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes or until smooth. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and stand in a warm place for 40 minutes or until doubled in size. Knock back dough and cut into 16 equal pieces. Knead each piece into a ball, place in a lightly greased 22cm-square cake pan, cover with a damp tea towel and stand in a warm place for 40 minutes or until doubled in size.

2. Preheat oven to 220C. Combine remaining flour and ¼ cup water and stir to a smooth paste. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a fine nozzle. Pipe lines down each row to form crosses. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce temperature to 200C and bake for another 10 minutes or until golden. (They’re ready when they sound hollow when tapped).

3. For glaze, combine ingredients with ¼ cup water in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Bring  to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 1-2 minutes. Brush glaze over hot buns, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Published in: on April 8, 2012 at 2:58 pm  Comments (1)  
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Peanut Butter Easter Eggs

Mix smooth peanut butter (softened, about 1/4 cup) with icing sugar (sifted, about 1/4 cup). Chill mixture, then shape into egg or ball shapes (about 8). Insert lollipop sticks into peanut butter eggs, chill again. Dip eggs into melted chocolate and chill until set. Then enjoy!

Published in: on April 8, 2012 at 2:46 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Easter Kitchen Sink Cookies

Mars have done it again! Easter M&Ms! The packet contains bright aqua, pale yellow and white M&Ms. Easter colours? I’m not sure. It looks like in the US Easter M&Ms are pretty pastel colours – I want some of those too! I hear there are white chocolate M&Ms out there somewhere.
These cookies are delicious but not the prettiest so sometimes I press extra M&Ms on to the top of the rolled balls of dough just before baking.

Kitchen Sink Cookies
Adapted from recipe by Martha Stewart
Makes about 40

Ingredients

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light-brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups milk chocolate chips
1 cup chopped milk chocolate
2 cups Easter M&Ms

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius. Line baking sheets with baking paper.
  2. In a large bowl with a wooden spoon or hand mixer, beat butter, sugar and brown sugar together until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until well blended. Stir in vanilla.
  3. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Gradually stir into butter mixture until well blended. Stir in oats, M&M’s, chocolate chips and chocolate.
  4. Drop heaping tablespoons of batter onto trays, about 2 inches apart. Press tops down with the bottom of a glass to flatten cookies evenly. (I roll into balls). Bake until golden, about 16 to 18 minutes (8-10 minutes in my oven). Cool on pan for 2 minutes. Remove from pan, and finish cooling completely on wire rack.
Published in: on April 5, 2012 at 6:44 pm  Comments (2)  

Chocolate Cake with Coffee Buttercream Frosting

This recipe is from Baked Explorations. I just love this cookbook. I love both of the Baked cookbooks. If you haven’t already got these two cookbooks on your shelf I highly recommend you fix this. If you like cake. And chocolate. And American desserts, pies and cookies. Oh my.

I didn’t make any major substitutions on this recipe. It’s a delicate cake so be careful when removing the layers from the tins. My frosting did have a slightly odd texture, but was more than usable and tasted great if you like coffee. I had to rush the chocolate topping onto the cake as guests were waiting, otherwise it is worth the time to let the chocolate cool slightly before adding to the top of the cake. The cake looks quite spectacular, chocolate sauce running down over the caramel-coloured frosting.

I found coffee essence in the baking supplies aisle of my supermarket, next to vanilla extract. Happy (belated) birthday Dad.

Chocolate Coffee Cake
Recipe from Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented, By Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. Recipe found and reviewed at Modern Domestic

For the classic chocolate cake

3/4 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
2/3 cup sour cream
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch cubes, softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tbs vanilla extract

For the coffee buttercream

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups (three sticks) unsalted butter, soft but cool, cut into small pieces
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 tbs coffee extract

For the chocolate glaze

8 oz good quality (60-72%) dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
3/4 cups unsalted butter, softened and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 tbs light corn syrup

Assembly
10-12 chocolate covered espresso beans

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter three 8 inch round cake pans, line them with parchment paper, and butter the parchment, Dust the parchment with flour and knock out excess flour.

In medium bowl, mix the cocoa powder and sour cream with 1 1/4 cups hot water and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together and set aside.

Using a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and shortening together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes – the mixture will appear to string or ribbon throughout the bowl. Add the sugars and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 more minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing about 10 to 15 seconds after each addition until the egg is incorporated into the mixture. Then turn the mixer to low, add the vanilla, and beat until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again for 30 seconds.

Beginning with the dry ingredients, add the dry mixture and the cocoa mixture to the mixer bowl in three alternating parts, ending with the dry. Divide the batter among the prepared pans. Use an offset spatula to level the batter. Bake the cakes for 35-40 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and cool for 30 to 45 minutes. Turn the cakes out onto the rack and let them cool completely. Remove the parchment.

Make the coffee buttercream

In a medium, heavy bottomed saucepan, whisk the sugar and flour together. Add the milk and cream and cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until the mixture comes to a boil and has thickened, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on high speed until cool (this takes about 7-9 minutes; however, you can speed up the process by pressing bags of frozen berries or frozen corn around the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl). Reduce the speed to low and add the butter; mix until thoroughly incorporated. Increase the speed to medium high and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy, about another 1-2 minutes.

Add the vanilla and coffee extracts and continue mixing until combined. If the frosting is too soft, put the bowl in the refrigerator to chill slightly, then beat again until it is the proper consistency. If the frosting is too firm, set the bowl over a pot of simmering water and beat with a wooden spoon until it is the proper consistency.

To assemble the cake

Place one cake layer on a serving platter. Trim the top to create a flat surface, and evenly spread about 1 1/4 cups frosting on top. Add the next layer, trim and frost it, then add the third layer. Spread a very thin layer of frosting over the sides and top of the cake and put it in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes to firm up. (This is known as the crumb coating and will help you keep loose cake crumbs under control when you frost the outside of the cake.) Spread the sides and top of the cake with the remaining frosting. Refrigerate it for 15 minutes to firm it up. 

 Make the chocolate glaze

Place the butter, chocolate, and corn syrup in the top of a double boiler. Using a rubber spatula, stir the mixture until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and smooth.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir the glaze to release excess heat. Drizzle glaze over the cake. Refrigerate the cake about 15 minutes to set the glaze before serving.

Glaze the cake

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place your cake on a wire rack over the baking sheet. Slowly pour about 3/4 of a cup of the glaze over the cake. Use a small offset spatula to smooth it out to the edges. Place the cake in the refrigerator for 5 minutes to set the glaze. Remove from the refrigerator and slowly pour the rest of the glaze over the cake. It should run down the sides in thick streams. You should be able to control the size and length of the streams by the pour. Feel free to experiment, and have no fear in playing around. This is the fun part, and there is no right or wrong way. Garnish with chocolate covered espresso beans. Chill the entire cake for approximately 20 minutes, or until glaze is set, then transfer to a cake plate. Serve at room temperature.

The cake can be stored, covered in a cake dome or cake saver, at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Published in: on March 25, 2012 at 9:20 pm  Leave a Comment  
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