Monday, March 26, 2012

German chocolate Cake

It is the BF birthday...and he requested for a German Chocolate Cake. His request floored me a weeta Chocolate Cake.

After much research on recipes.. I decided to use this recipe from Joy Of Baking. It was not too difficult...but gosh this is a BIG cake ! Well.... a German Chocolate Cake is meant to be an impressive 3 layers of chocolate ! I only have two 9 inch pans and so I decided to do a 2 layer cake instead... the end result is still impressive at 6 to 7 inches high:)

4 ounces (115 grams) semi sweet chocolate
, chopped

2 1/4 cups (270 grams) cake flour

3/4 cup (70 grams) unsweetened cocao powder
(preferably Dutch processed)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup (240 ml) lukewarm coffee (or water)

1 cup (240 ml) buttermilk

1 1/4 cups (280 grams) unsalted butter
, room temperature

2 1/4 cups (450 grams) granulated white sugar

5 large eggs, room temperature

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Coconut Pecan Frosting:

1 cup (240 ml) pecans1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar
1 cup (240 ml) evaporated milk
(can also use light or heavy cream)
3 large(60 grams) egg yolks
, lightly beaten
1/2 cup(113 grams)
unsalted butter
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups (150 grams) sweetened or unsweetened shredded or flaked coconut


1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place oven racks in the upper and lower third of the oven. Lightly butter and flour (or spray with a nonstick vegetable/flour spray), and line the bottoms of three - 8 x 2 inch deep (20 x 5 cm) round baking pans with parchment or wax paper.

2. In a heatproof bowl, placed over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the chocolate. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

3. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

4. In a small bowl, combine the coffee (or water) and buttermilk.

5. In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until smooth and creamy. Add the sugar and continue beating until the mixture is fluffy (this will take about three to five minutes). Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and beat to combine. Then add the melted chocolate and beat until incorporated.

6. Add the coffee/buttermilk mixture and flour mixtures in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat only until the ingredients are mixed together.

7. Divide the batter evenly among the three prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake for about 30 - 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the tops spring back when lightly pressed. (I like to rotate the pans about halfway through baking to ensure even baking.) Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 15 minutes. Butter or lightly spray with a non stick vegetable spray a wire rack before inverting the cakes onto the rack to prevent the cakes from sticking. Cool the cakes completely before frosting.

Coconut Pecan Frosting:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Place the pecans on a baking sheet and bake for about 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned and fragrant. Remove from oven, cool, and then chop fairly fine.

2. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, milk, egg yolks, butter, and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, and when the mixture begins to boil and thicken, remove from heat (about 5 minutes). Stir in the chopped pecans, coconut, and vanilla extract. Let cool until spreadable (about 30-60 minutes).

To Assemble: Place one layer of cake (top facing down), on your serving plate, and cover with one third of the frosting. Place the second layer of cake, onto the first cake layer and frost with another one-third of the frosting. Then add the third cake layer and frost the top of the cake with the remaining frosting (sides of cake are left bare). The finished cake can be stored at room temperature for a 2-3 days or it can be refrigerated.


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Billy's Big Carrot Cake

The BF has a 50K race this Saturday and we are invited to a carb-loading dinner. I asked the BF what desert I should make and he suggested carrot cake! His suggestion reminded me of the carrot cake recipe in Dorie Greenspan's "Baking: From my home to yours"

This is really an easy cake. I omitted the coconut and raisins. Carrot cake, to me, is carrot and walnut !!!!

Instead of baking the cake over 3 pans. I used a 10" spring foam pan. This is a hugh cake !

It was finger biting making this cake. I poured 1/2 cup of the oil over the dry ingredients by mistake. Luckily, the cake came out well.

For the cake:
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups grated carrots (about 9 carrots)
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
1 cup shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)*
1/2 cup raisins
2 cups sugar
1 cup canola oil
4 large eggs

For the frosting:
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 pound or 3 and 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup shredded coconut

1. Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 325F. Butter three 9-x-2-inch round cake pans, flour the insides, and tap out the excess. Put the two pans on one baking sheet and one on another.

2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl, stir together the carrots, chopped nuts, coconut, and raisins.

3. Working with a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the sugar and oil together on a medium speed until smooth. Add the eggs one by one and continue to beat until the batter is even smoother. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture, mixing only until the dry ingredients disappear. Gently mix the chunky ingredients. Divide the batter among the baking pans.

4. Bake for 40-50 minutes, rotating the pans from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point, until a thin knife inserted into the centers comes out clean. The cakes will have just started to come away from the sides of the pans. Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes and unmold them. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up.

To make the frosting:
Working with a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until the frosting is velvety smooth. Beat in the lemon juice.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Big Easy Jambalaya

Many of my running peeps were in Big Easy for the Rock and Roll Marathon this past weekend. The many pics of food which they posted on FB remind me of Jambalaya. My first taste of Jambalaya was in Nov last year when they BF made it.

I decided to try it today.... with some cheating>>>> by using a Jambalaya mix. I found an easy recipe on the brand website and decided to use it with some modification.

This is really an easy recipe.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 each medium green and yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) fire roasted or regular diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cup water
1 package ZATARAIN'S® Reduced Sodium Jambalaya Mix
1 pound chicken breast
1 package (12 ounces) smoked sausage, cut into 1/4-inch slices. ( I could not find andouille saugage)


1. Heat oil in large deep skillet or 5-quart Dutch oven on medium heat. Add onion and bell peppers and chicken breast cook and stir 7 minutes or until the chicken is cooked

2. Stir in tomatoes, water and Jambalaya Mix. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer 15 minutes.

3. Stir in sausage. Cover and cook 10 minutes longer or just until rice is cooked Remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley, if desired.

Verdict : Somehow my rice is not fluffy as it should be. It is somewhat sticky. I am not really good at making rice over stove top ! I will use the spicier version of the mix next time and be use rotel hot tomato instead of the regular tomato