Monday, September 24, 2012

Deep Dark Chocolate Goodness

Sometimes, a girl's just gotta have some chocolate. Not just a chocolate chip cookie. Or even a brownie. Chocolate cake? Please. No. A girl's best friend is mega-ultra-rich chocolate goodness. Like this:

Ooey, gooey, fudgy, chocolate goodness. Oh, yes please! And with a name like this, how can you say no?

Deep Dark Chocolate Cookies
from Divine Baking

1 1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips, divided (I used semi-sweet)
3 large egg whites, room temperature
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, divided
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Grease your baking sheets with cooking spray.

Melt 1 cup of the chocolate chips in glass bowl in the microwave at 20-second intervals until melty. It should be kind of thin, so if it isn't, add a tablespoon of oil to thin it out.

Now, beat the egg whites in large bowl until soft peaks form. It will take some time to get them to this point, so don't give up! Remember, though, you want the egg whites to be a little on the warmer side. It will make it easier for peaks to form.

Gradually beat in 1 cup of the powdered sugar. Continue whipping it until the mixture looks like marshmallow creme.

Already amazing.

Whisk 1 more cup of sugar, the cocoa, cornstarch, and salt in a medium bowl to blend to perfection.

On a lower speed, beat the dry ingredients into the meringue.

 Stir in the lukewarm chocolate and 1/2 cup chocolate chips. This is the epitome of chocolate goodness.

The dough should be stiff. If it's not, then put it in the fridge for 20 minutes or so.

Place 1/2 cup sugar in a bowl. Roll 1 rounded tablespoon dough into a ball. Feel free to be generous with your coating! As you can see, my dough wasn't stiff enough when I first started, so I used two spoons and rounded them after coating with the powdered sugar.

Place the cookies on the prepared sheet.

Bake these heaven-sent treats until they're puffed up and the tops crack, about 10 minutes.

This makes about 18 to 20 cookies. You probably can't eat more than two in one sitting. Even washing it down with milk. That's how rich and delicious they are! So enjoy! And if you baked them and loved them, leave me a comment!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Chocolate Velvet

Just the sound of it makes me drool. I have never been in love with a cake before, but this one, this one might be different. The one. The cake of my dreams. And the one my husband begged me to make for his birthday.

Sam is kind of annoying about birthdays, and, well, holidays in general. I asked him what he wanted for his birthday, and you know what he said? Tires. I'm not kidding. And this happens every time I try to get him something. Clothes. Socks. Dude. So this year, I decided to give him a cake. And a trip to Disneyland. It was our first time back since before the summer, since our annual passes are blacked out from June to August. We had a great time in Radiator Springs!

It was too early for some grub, but Flo's Cafe sure had some tasty-lookin' chow!

Looks like we've found alternative, albeit hippy, fuel choices!

We went cruising through Radiator Springs with the ever darling Sally.

Unfortunately, our day was cut short when Sam, overcome with the heat and dizzy from our whirl on the California Screamin', got hit with a terrible wave of nausea and our day at Disneyland was cut severely short. But that's okay! I got to work on the cake that is my masterpiece, my Sistine Chapel, if you will. Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating just a little. But it was my first ever multi-layered cake, and it made my heart stop a couple of times.

Chocolate Velvet Cake with Instant Chocolate Buttercream
from Martha Stewart (Of course!)

For the Cake:
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups buttermilk (or 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice and the rest milk, set out for 5 minutes to curdle)

For the Icing:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 jars (7.5 ounces each) marshmallow cream
2/3 cup cocoa powder
2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

Grease and lightly flour two 9-inch round cake pans. 

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.

In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and both sugars until the mix is nice and fluffy.

Add the eggs, one at a time until well mixed.



And tres!

Now, beat in the vanilla.

Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in sections, alternating with buttermilk and beginning and ending with the flour mixture.

Pour the batter into the pans. It should have the consistency of chocolate pudding. So creamy and yummy! You can definitely bet I licked that bowl clean!

Bake the cakes for about 25 to 30 minutes. Don't forget to check them with a toothpick or a knife to see if they're ready!

Cool them in the pans for about 10 minutes before inverting cakes onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

While they're cooling, start on the buttercream frosting. In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and marshmallow cream until they're nice and fluffy.

I started out by hand, but quickly realized my folly and transferred it to mixer. Even though the butter is soft, getting it to fluff up is a painstaking venture. You're best off whipping it in a mixer or with a handheld. Trust me.

Now mix in the cocoa, chocolate, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon of water.


Melted chocolate. You just know something is going to be amazing when it calls for cocoa and melted semi-sweet chocolate.

Finished product should look like this. It's so fluffy!!!

If it's too thin, refrigerate it for about 5 minutes.

Now the hard part. I have never before in my entire life attempted a multi-layered cake. Make both layers flat by skimming a knife over the top of each cake.

Place one layer on your cake platter. We didn't exactly have a cute, fancy cake plate, so I whipped out the cutest cutting board we've got and improvised.

Spread the top with about 1 cup buttercream.

Place second layer on top. I swear, my heart almost stopped at this point. Who knew making a cake could be so terrifying? Sam, darling that he is, helped me to carefully inch the second layer off of the plate and onto the bottom layer. If you've never built a two-layer cake before, make sure the part being slid off the plate is supported, or the whole thing will crumble to pieces and you'll feel rotten. Luckily, that didn't happen. I think it was the Birthday Magic.

Frost the entire cake with the remaining buttercream. Make it look pretty! When you do the sides, you can hold up your spatula and turn the cake, adding more frosting as you go. That's the easiest way I found to work it!

And now, for its intended purpose: being lit on fire!

I'm surprised we didn't have a fire extinguisher ready! I kid, I kid. He's not that old. Just... older than me.

Another birthday success! I just need to top this for next year!

But for now, I'm gonna go back for more cake. :) Enjoy!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Delicious Cake for Your Coffee

Well, it's official! I'm back in school! I'm really weird like that. Every time we go to Target in August, Sam has to pretty much drag me away from the school supply section. The week before school started, I think I went shopping for supplies like, 3 times. And then after my first day in English class, I went back again. I don't know what it is. Part of it is that I wasn't able to go to school for 3 years, so getting back in the saddle makes me feel accomplished, like I'm actually progressing with my life, not living in limbo. Another part is that, well, I'm just kind of a nerd. The whole glasses-wearing, high-tech calculator-toting, thinking pocket protectors are cool type of nerd. Yeah. That's me. Anyways, the point of my rambling is that I have been getting up at 5 every weekday morning for school, and I'm trying out new (and tried and true) recipes for my breakfast on the run. My mother gave me another huge zucchini. This one:

That is a 1-cup measurement next to it. Which means it's even bigger than the one she gave me before. Yeah, my mom rocks. :)

So anyways, I made some more zucchini bread, which lasted for a week. But my tastebuds longed for something new, something fresh! So my quest for a new breakfast treat began. And quickly ended, once I discovered this beauty!

Maple Glazed Coffee Cake
from CaffeIna

For the cake:
1/2  cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sour cream

For the filling:
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

For the glaze:
1/4 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

Preheat the oven to 350ยบ.

Spray a 9x5 loaf pan with cooking spray.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, the baking powder, the baking soda, and the salt.

In a large bowl, beat together the softened butter and both sugars until the mix is nice and fluffy.

Add the egg and mix well.

Now add the vanilla and sour cream, stirring until it's just combined (not lumpy).

Add the dry stuff to the sugar mix a little at a time until it's creamy.

Whisk the brown sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl, then set it aside.

This is my new favorite smell. I imagine heaven will smell just like brown sugar and cinnamon.

Spread only half of the batter into the loaf pan.

 Now coat it with a layer of cinnamon heaven.

Cover that with the remaining batter.

Bake for 35 - 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Mine ended up needing to bake for 45 minutes, so I put some aluminum foil over the pan to keep the coffee cake from browning too much.

Remove the cake from oven and cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack or a plate.

You can leave it whole and drizzle the glaze over the loaf, or you can slice it up and drizzle each slice individually. Plus, you get to see the yummy insides!

When the cake is cool, whisk the powdered sugar and maple sugar together.

If it's too thick, just pour on more maple syrup!