Lite Brite Cake

 

UPDATE: My cake made it into the contest!  Please like it on this Facebook album to help me win.  Contest ends on Saturday, July 20th at 5:00 p.m. Eastern time. Thanks!

I’m totally going to show my age in this post.  I joke that I’ve led a “culturally deprived” childhood. My parents weren’t into keeping up with the latest trends.  I am a total child of the 80’s, yet I went my whole formative years without seeing E.T. Or The Goonies.  I never had any of the cool toys.  No cabbage patch doll. No Atari game system. No Star Wars action figures.  No Lite Brite. I was entranced by the Lite Brite.  So many pretty colors. So many possibilities for creativity.

 

Well then, why the Lite Brite Cake? And who is Brian?  Let me ‘splain…

One of my favorite bands is Guster. Despite the laid back vibe of many of their songs, they give incredibly energetic performances.  They happen to be currently touring with two of my other favorite bands to see live.  Unfortunately, they are coming nowhere near Florida.  So when Brian, the percussionist (I say percussionist because he uses a multi-percussion set up, not just the usual drum set) of Guster posted this amazing opportunity on Facebook, I immediately started brain storming of an idea for an apporpriate 40th birthday cake.  I went full-on nostalgia with the Lite Brite idea.  As a fellow Child of the 80’s, I’m hoping he shares similar feelings about one of the best toys from the decade.

So, how to make this cake? It takes some planning.

Step 1: sketch out your idea.  Keep in mind, Lite Brites have an off-set grid, which means that the horizontal rows are straight, but the vertical rows are not.  I used a hexagonal grid for my map.  This was especially helpful for the letters.

Step 2: Bake a really large cake.  I lopped off a bit on one end because I didn’t need that much surface area.

Step 3: While the cake bakes and cools, sort out the jelly beans.  If you’re lucky and live somewhere where you can buy bulk jelly beans and pick out the exact colors you need, then you can skip this step.  I was not so lucky, and had to buy three bags of jelly beans to get enough of the colors that I needed. It was an oddly calming task.

Step 4: Once the cake has cooled, frost it.  Make sure the top of the cake is level and flat. Measure the dimensions of the top of the cake. Cover cake in plastic wrap.  You won’t need it again until the next day.

Step 5: Dust some cornstarch or powdered sugar on a clean surface. Roll out black fondant to a 1/8″ thickness, and cut to the correct size.  Slide an offset spatula under the fondant to make sure it isn’t sticking anywhere on the bottom. Using your sketch as a guide, start gluing jelly beans to the fondant.  Since I knew no one would be eating the fondant or jelly beans, I used Elmer’s glue.  This is normally a huge no-no, as anything on a cake should be consumable. But like I said, I knew for a fact that no one would be eating the top of the cake.  If you think people will consume the image, then use black sugar cookie icing as your glue.  It’s like commercial royal icing, and it’s way easier than trying to dye homemade royal icing black. As you attach each jelly bean, press it into the fondant to help it stay in place.

Step 6: Let fondant and jelly beans dry overnight.  The fondant won’t harden completely.  Carefully lift the fondant and place onto the cake.  Fill in any gaps with additional frosting.  When it’s time to serve, you’ll be able to cut through the fondant as you cut the cake into pieces.

In case you’re wondering, the image in the center of the fondant is supposed to be a bongo with some candles lit on the top.  It’s based on the one I saw here.  I reeeeeeeeeeeeeally hope I win the cake contest.  Cross your fingers, and wish me luck!

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Lime Chiffon Cake

Blueberry season here is just ending, much to my disappointment.  My favorite u-pick farm is closing up this weekend.  I went  about every other weekend for the past two months.  Before they opened, they sold their berries at local farmer’s markets, and as soon as they started I rushed out to purchase a few cartons.  I wanted my favorite berries for this cake, even if they were used only for a garnish.  My husband liked eating slices of the cake with even more berries on the side.  The fresh blueberries really went well with the lime in the cake.

adapted from Cooking Light, June 2006

Lime Chiffon Cake

Lime Chiffon Cake

Ingredients

Filling
1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
Cake
2 cups sifted cake flour
1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
½ c canola oil
1/3 cup fresh lime juice (about 3 limes)
3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon finely grated lime rind
1 teaspoon pure lemon extract
4 egg yolks
8 egg whites
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
Butter cream
1 c sugar
4 large egg whites
Pinch kosher salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, “room temperature”
2 tsp vanilla

Instructions

  1. For the filling: Combine lime zest, lime juice, and condensed milk in a bowl. Cover and chill for at least 3 hours.
  2. For the cake: coat the bottoms of 3 (8-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray; line bottoms with wax paper. Coat wax paper with cooking spray; dust with flour.
  3. Combine cake flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk until well combined. Combine oil, 1/3 cup juice, 3 tablespoons water, 1 teaspoon rind, lemon extract, and egg yolks in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add oil mixture to flour mixture; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth.
  4. Place egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer; beat at high speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar; beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form. Gently stir one-fourth of egg white mixture into flour mixture; gently fold in remaining egg white mixture.
  5. Divide cake batter equally among prepared pans, spreading evenly. Break air pockets by cutting through batter with a knife. Bake at 325° for 20 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Cool in pans for 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pans. Remove wax paper from cake layers. Cool completely on wire rack.
  6. For the butter cream: Place sugar and egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer. Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water. Heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture reaches 160°F. Mixture will be frothy.
  7. Remove bowl from heat and attach to the mixer. Fit the mixer with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high until stiff peaks form, about 10 minutes. The mixture should be room temperature. Reduce speed to medium and add the butter, 2 Tbs at a time, making sure each addition is well incorporated. If the mixture is soupy, stick the bowl in the fridge, chill for 15-20 minutes, and continue to beat until the mixture comes together. If the mixture looks curdled, just keep beating. Beat in the vanilla.
  8. To assemble the cake, place one cake layer on a serving plate. Spread half the lime filling on top. Place second cake layer on top of the first. Repeat with remaining filling and final cake layer. Frost cake with butter cream.
http://kokocooks.com/2013/06/lime-chiffon-cake/

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Over The Rainbow Cake

I had a difficult time thinking of a name for this cake. I really wanted to create a cake that mimicked the arch of a rainbow, and wanted the name to reflect it. Calling it just a “rainbow cake” didn’t seem sufficient.  “Rainbow layer cake” also brought a different looking cake to mind.  I finally came up with the “over the rainbow” name, and thought it fit.  This cake took me an inexcusably long time to make.  My motivation has needed a kick in the pants the past few weeks.

I used this cake pan to bake the white cake mounds.  It produced perfect half-spheres of cake about 3.5″ in diameter.  The finished cake ended up being about 8 inches in diameter.  This recipe yields two cakes, which would be enough to feed a large party of guests.

Over The Rainbow Cake

This recipe makes enough for two rainbow cakes. If you want to make the cake from scratch, just double a recipe for a white layer cake.

Ingredients

2 boxes white cake mix
Eggs, water, and oil as per cake mix instructions
Gel food coloring in red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet
White frosting

Instructions

  1. Prepare batter from one box of cake mix. Pour cake ¾ of the way full into two ball-shaped cake cups. Divide remaining batter into 3 bowls, staggering the amounts of batter in each bowl. Tint the bowl with the least amount of batter with violet. Tint the bowl with slightly more batter with blue, and tint the bowl with the most amount of batter green. Coat three 8-inch cake pans with non-stick spray.
  2. Pour each shade of cake batter into a separate cake pan (it’s okay if the cake batter doesn’t completely cover the bottom of the pan). Bake white cake mounds and the three cake pans in the oven at 350ºF for about 18-20 minutes, until cake is set in the middle. Cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack, then remove cake from pans and cool completely.
  3. Prepare batter from second box of cake mix. Divide batter into three bowls, once again staggering the amounts in each bowl. Tint the bowl with the least amount of batter yellow; the bowl with slightly more batter orange; and the bowl with the most batter red. Repeat baking instructions, increasing the baking time as needed. Cool cake for 10 minutes on a wire rack, then remove from pans and cool completely.
  4. Level the mounds of white cake so they sit flat against a cardboard round. Crumble the purple cake in a bowl and mix with a little bit of frosting (cake crumbs should stick together when pressed into a ball). The consistency should be a bit dryer than that of cake pops. Coat the white cake mounds with a thin layer of frosting. Cover cake mound with a layer of purple cake, patting the crumbs together in an evenly across the entire surface. Chill for an hour. Repeat process with remaining cake colors, coating each layer thinly with frosting before adding a new color on.
  5. Frost the red (and final) layer. Chill before serving.
http://kokocooks.com/2013/03/over-the-rainbow-cake/

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Homemade Sno-Balls


My husband has never eaten a Hostess Sno Ball. I know, shocking! I, on the other hand, have had my fair share. With the news that Hostess has filed for bankruptcy, I’m sure there are people fretting over where they will get their cakey, cellophane-wrapped snacks. Worry no more! Homemade sno balls coming right up.

I found this mini-ball cake pan at a local baking supply store. They made the cutest chocolate cake mounds, and were the perfect size for sno balls. I made twelve mini-cakes, and had extra batter. I probably could’ve made another 4 more cakes, but opted to do something else with the batter.

I tried to dip the cakes in the marshmallow by inverting them, but they got stuck once I they were more than halfway submerged. I ended up coating the rest of the cakes using an off-set spatula and keeping the cakes upright. To cut down a bit on the crumbs, I recommend wearing gloves during the coating process. I came to this brilliant realization when there were only 2 cakes left. Oh well, better late than never.

cake recipe from David Lebovitz
marshmallow coating adapted from Coconut and Lime

Homemade Sno-Balls

Homemade Sno-Balls

Ingredients

Cake
½ c plus 1 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ½ c cake flour
½ tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp baking powder
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ c sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
½ c brewed coffee
½ c milk
Marshmallow coating
1 lb sweetened, shredded coconut
Pink gel food coloring (if desired)
1 ½ packets of unflavored powder gelatin (about 9 grams)
¼ c cold water
1 c sugar
⅓ c corn syrup
2 Tbs water
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp vanilla
Creme filling
½ tsp warm water
Dash of salt
Half of a 7 oz. jar of marshmallow fluff
¼ c shortening
2 Tbs powdered sugar
¼ tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. For the cake: Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter and flour the wells of 2 mini-rounded cake pans.
  2. Sift the cocoa powder, cake flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder together. Set aside. In a medium bowl, beat the butter and sugar until smooth. Add eggs one at a time and beat until well combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the coffee and milk. Stir half the dry ingredients into the butter mixture. Stir in the coffee/milk mixture. Add the remaining dry ingredients and stir to blend. Pour batter into prepared cake pans until ⅔ full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes clean, about 18 minutes. Let cakes cool completely before turning the pan over to remove them.
  4. For the marshmallow coating: Pour coconut into a bowl. Mix with a teeny bit of food coloring. Mix well to evenly tint the coconut. Set aside.
  5. Place the ¼ c of cold water in the bowl of a stand mixer. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water, and let set. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, and 2 Tbs water. Bring to a rolling boil. Fit the whisk attachment to the stand mixer, and turn to low to break up the gelatin. Pour the corn syrup mixture into the stand mixer with the gelatin and beat on high for 4 minutes. Stop the mixer and add the salt and vanilla. Continue beating on high for another 6-8 minutes. Remove bowl from mixer.
  6. Using a fork or spoon, dip the rounded side of the cakes into the marshmallow. Quickly roll the marshmallow-coated cake in the coconut, making sure to cover the entire marshmallow surface. Place uncoated side down on a sheet to set.
  7. For the creme filling: Combine salt and water in a small bowl. With a mixer, combine fluff, shortening, sugar, and vanilla. Beat until fluffy. Add the salt mixture, and beat until combined.
  8. Using a large plain decorator’s tip, pipe the filling into the center of each cake, from the bottom.
http://kokocooks.com/2012/02/homemade-sno-balls/

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Vertical Christmas Tree Cake


Every year, my work holds a holiday bake-off. It takes place in conjunction with the holiday party for the Superintendent. This year I decided to make a vertical layer cake. Manda of I Am Baker has a wonderful tutorial on how to put this together. She also made a beautiful ruffle cake last year, which I freely riffed on for decorating the outside of my cake.


I did make one adjustment to the instructions. Instead of pouring the simple sugar over the cake, I put a thin layer of frosting between the layers. Because of this, the seams didn’t quite meet once I reassembled the cake. No worries, it just meant that someone got an extra helping of frosting.


Unfortunately, I didn’t win the bake-off. For the past few years the winning entry has been accompanied by a festive display. Maybe I should think more about the presentation of my dessert for next year. The cake got scarfed up before I could take a picture of the inside. So, I made a second cake for photography purposes. I used a different cake recipe, one that wasn’t quite as sturdy as the first. But the inside looked like a (much) neater version of this:


I’m including my recipe for whipped buttercream. I use this for cakes that need a LOT of frosting. The bonus of this recipe is that the frosting doesn’t need to be refrigerated, if using the version with all shortening. It can stay at room temperature all day if necessary. The cake recipe that worked really well (from the first cake) is an almond scented white cake.


source unknown

Whipped Buttercream

Whipped Buttercream

Ingredients

2 ½ c vegetable shortening (or 1 ½ c shortening, 1 c of butter)
1 lb powdered sugar
1 Tbs vanilla
½ c granulated sugar
½ tsp salt
2 Tbs meringue powder
¼ c plus 2 Tbs boiling water

Instructions

  1. Beat shortening and powdered sugar in a large bowl until fluffy. Add vanilla and beat until combined. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment (make sure the bowl is very clean), mix the granulated sugar, salt, and meringue powder. Add the boiling water and mix on high until stiff peaks form, about 8 minutes. Add the whipped mixture to the large bowl and beat both mixtures until well combined.
http://kokocooks.com/2011/12/vertical-christmas-tree-cake/

Beat shortening and powdered sugar in a large bowl until fluffy. Add vanilla and beat until combined. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment (make sure the bowl is very clean), mix the granulated sugar, salt, and meringue powder. Add the boiling water and mix on high until stiff peaks form, about 8 minutes. Add the whipped mixture to the large bowl and beat both mixtures until well combined.

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Funfetti Cake


I’ve debated on whether I should mention this on my food blog.

How much of my personal life do readers really want to know? Well, here goes.

My dad passed away a week ago. He had been in the hospital since Thanksgiving, and had been going steadily downhill. We are having a memorial service for him in a few weeks. It was my job to gather photos of him for a slideshow. It made me feel better to see lots of pictures of him smiling and not in pain.

This cake takes me right back to my childhood. I always requested tall, colorful cakes for my birthday. I remember cakes with lots of pink and yellow frosting, dotted with life savers on the top and sides. My dad was the baker in the family. He taught me all the basics – measuring ingredients, baking cookies, rolling pie dough, whipping cream (and licking the beaters)….


My dad also taught me to make things from scratch. Sure, there is funfetti cake mix that is a snap to make. But homemade is always better. My dad would’ve been proud of this cake.

adapted from Williams-Sonoma, Baking
edited by Chuck Williams

Funfetti Cake

Funfetti Cake

Ingredients

2 c all purpose flour
1 Tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 c sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 c milk
5 large egg whites, room temperature
¼ c multi-colored nonpareils

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. With butter, grease 2 9-inch round cake pans. Dust with flour, and shake out excess.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a larger bowl, using a mixer, beat the butter until light. Gradually add the sugar, beating until well blended. Beat in vanilla extract. Reduce speed to low, and alternately beat in the flour mixture and the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Do not overmix.
  3. In a large bowl, using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment (if available), beat the egg whites on high speed until stiff peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the whites into the batter until just combined. Fold in the nonpareils. Divide batter between prepared pans, and smooth with a spatula.
  4. Bake about 30 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Transfer to wire racks; let cool for 10 minutes. Invert onto racks, and cool completely.
http://kokocooks.com/2011/03/funfetti-cake/

 

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Persian Love Cake

This is one of my favorite desserts. The first time I made it was three years ago, for Valentine’s Day. It is rich, without feeling heavy. As much as I love chocolate, this is a nice change. The saffron, cardamom, rose, and pistachios give the dessert an exotic flavor.


This was the first time I made sugared flowers, and I learned a few things. The egg whites started to go flat as I worked, so I had to keep re-beating them. I sprinkled too much sugar on the first few petals. Once dry, the sugar showed up much better.


Adapted from Bon Appétit
June 2005

Persian Love Cake

Persian Love Cake

Ingredients

Candied Rose Petals
1 large egg white
¼ c sugar
Petals from 2 organic roses
Cake
1 c cake flour
14 Tbs superfine sugar, divided
1 ½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp kosher salt
3 large eggs, separated
6 Tbs water
¼ c canola oil
1 tsp fresh lemon zest
½ tsp ground cardamom
Frosting
2 c chilled heavy whipping cream
Pinch saffron threads
2/3 c powdered sugar
1 tsp rose water
Garnish
2 Tbs natural, unsalted pistachios, chopped

Instructions

  1. For the candied rose petals:
  2. Whisk egg white in a small bowl until foamy. Using a pastry brush, paint a light coat of egg white onto both sides of the rose petals. Sprinkle lightly with sugar. Dry on a wire rack for at least 6 hours.
  3. For the cake:
  4. Preheat oven to 325˚. Butter the bottom and sides of 2 8-inch cake pans. Line the bottom with parchment paper; butter the parchment.
  5. Sift flour, 7 Tbs of the sugar baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together egg yolks, water, canola oil, lemon zest, and cardamom. Add to the dry ingredients, and whisk until smooth.
  6. Beat egg whites in a medium bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining 7 Tbs of sugar. Beat until egg whites resemble thick marshmallow fluff. Fold the whites into the batter in 3 additions. Divide batter between the prepared pans. Bake until cakes are golden and toothpick inserted into the center comes clean, 20-25 minutes. Cool in pans on racks for 15 minutes. Turn onto racks, peel off parchment, and cool completely.
  7. For the frosting:
  8. Combine ½ c cream and saffron in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer. Remove from heat, and let steep 20 minutes. Chill until cold.
  9. Beat remaining cream in a large bowl until soft peaks form. Add powdered sugar, rose water, and saffron cream and beat until peaks form.
  10. Stack and frost cake with whipped cream. Chill at least 1 hour. Top with rose petals and pistachios.
http://kokocooks.com/2011/02/persian-love-cake/

 

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Entremet with a Biscuit Joconde Imprime – January Daring Bakers

The January 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Astheroshe of the blog accro. She chose to challenge everyone to make a Biscuit Joconde Imprime to wrap around an Entremets dessert.


It took me a few times of reading through this challenge to figure out all that was being asked of me. An entremet is a fancily layered dessert – usually involving cake, mousse, pastry cream – that is assembled in a mold. The biscuit joconde imprime is a thin sponge cake with an imprinted design baked in. This wraps around the entremet, creating an elegant and stunning dessert (hopefully.)


Despite the lengthy directions, this dessert was fairly easy to make. I filled the dessert with a vanilla bean mousse, and topped with a glaze made from freshly squeezed tangerine juice. I now have eleven leftover egg yolks, so I’ll be making some ice cream in the near future. The only suggestion I can add is to have the egg whites at room temperature. And my son was very eager to dip his spoon into the dessert.


Joconde Sponge
recipe from Chef John O. of The International Culinary School in Atlanta, Georgia USA.
YIELD: Two ½ size sheet pans or a 13” x 18” (33 x 46 cm) jelly roll pan

Ingredients:
¾ cup/ 180 ml/ 3oz/ 85g almond flour/meal – *You can also use hazelnut flour, just omit the butter
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons/ 150 ml/ 2⅔ oz/ 75g confectioners’ (icing) sugar
¼ cup/ 60 ml/ 1 oz/ 25g cake flour *See note below
3 large eggs – about 5⅓ oz/ 150g
3 large egg whites – about 3 oz/ 90g
2½ teaspoons/ 12½ ml/ ⅓ oz/ 10g white granulated sugar or superfine (caster) sugar
2 tablespoons/ 30 ml/ 1oz / 30g unsalted butter, melted

In a clean mixing bowl whip the egg whites and white granulated sugar to firm, glossy peeks. Reserve in a separate clean bowl to use later.

Sift almond flour, confectioner’s sugar, cake flour. (This can be done into your dirty egg white bowl)

On medium speed, add the eggs a little at a time. Mix well after each addition. Mix until smooth and light. (If using a stand mixer use blade attachment. If hand held a whisk attachment is fine, or by hand. )

Fold in one third reserved whipped egg whites to almond mixture to lighten the batter. Fold in remaining whipped egg whites. Do not over mix.

Fold in melted butter.

Reserve batter to be used later.

Patterned Joconde-Décor Paste
YIELD: Two ½ size sheet pans or a 13” x 18” (33 x 46 cm) jelly roll pan

Ingredients
14 tablespoons/ 210ml/ 7oz/ 200g unsalted butter, softened
1½ cups plus1½ tablespoons/ 385ml/ 7oz/ 200g Confectioners’ (icing) sugar
7 large egg whites – about 7 oz / 200g
1¾ cup/ 420ml/ 7¾ oz/ 220g cake flour
Food coloring gel, paste or liquid

COCOA Décor Paste Variation: Reduce cake flour to 6 oz / 170g. Add 2 oz/ 60 g cocoa powder. Sift the flour and cocoa powder together before adding to creamed mixture.

Directions:

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy (use stand mixer with blade, hand held mixer, or by hand)

Gradually add egg whites. Beat continuously. Fold in sifted flour.
Tint batter with coloring to desired color, if not making cocoa variation.
Preparing the Joconde – How to make the pattern:

Spread a thin even layer of décor paste approximately 1/4 inch (5 millimeter) thick onto silicone baking mat with a spatula, or flat knife. Place mat on an upside down baking sheet. The upside down sheet makes spreading easier with no lip from the pan.

Pattern the décor paste – Here is where you can be creative. Make horizontal /vertical lines (you can use a knife, spatula, cake/pastry comb). Squiggles with your fingers, zig zags, wood grains. Be creative whatever you have at home to make a design can be used. OR use a piping bag. Pipe letters, or polka dots, or a piped design. If you do not have a piping bag. Fill a ziplock bag and snip off corner for a homemade version of one.
Slide the baking sheet with paste into the freezer. Freeze hard. Approx 15 minutes.
Remove from freezer. Quickly pour the Joconde batter over the design. Spread evenly to completely cover the pattern of the Décor paste.
Bake at 475ºF /250ºC until the joconde bounces back when slightly pressed, approx. 15 minutes. You can bake it as is on the upside down pan. Yes, it is a very quick bake, so watch carefully.
Cool. Do not leave too long, or you will have difficulty removing it from mat.
Flip cooled cake on to a powdered sugared parchment paper. Remove silpat. Cake should be right side up, and pattern showing! (The powdered sugar helps the cake from sticking when cutting.)To prepare the entremet:

Start with a large piece of parchment paper laid on a very flat baking sheet. Then a large piece of cling wrap over the parchment paper. Place a spring form pan ring, with the base removed, over the cling wrap and pull the cling wrap tightly up on the outside of the mold. Line the inside of the ring with a curled piece of parchment paper overlapping top edge by ½ inch. CUT the parchment paper to the TOP OF THE MOLD. It will be easier to smooth the top of the cake.
A biscuit cutter/ cookie cutter- using cling wrap pulled tightly as the base and the cling covering the outside of the mold, placed on a parchment lined very flat baking sheet. Line the inside with a curled piece of parchment paper overlapping.
Cut PVC pipe from your local hardware store. Very cheap! These can be cut into any height you wish to make a mold. 2 to 3 inches is good. My store will cut them for me, ask an employee at your store. You can get several for matching individual desserts. Cling wrap and parchment line, as outlined above.Trim the cake of any dark crispy edges. You should have a nice rectangle shape.

Decide how thick you want your “Joconde wrapper”. Traditionally, it is ½ the height of your mold. This is done so more layers of the plated dessert can be shown. However, you can make it the full height.
Once your height is measured, then you can cut the cake into equal strips, of height and length. (Use a very sharp paring knife and ruler.)
Make sure your strips are cut cleanly and ends are cut perfectly straight. Press the cake strips inside of the mold, decorative side facing out. Once wrapped inside the mold, overlap your ends slightly. You want your Joconde to fit very tightly pressed up to the sides of the mold. Then gently push and press the ends to meet together to make a seamless cake. The cake is very flexible so you can push it into place. You can use more than one piece to “wrap “your mold, if one cut piece is not long enough.
The mold is done, and ready to fill.

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Flourless Chocolate Cake

 

We attended a Passover seder on Monday night. Our friends Alyssa and Stephen hosted. This was our second year participating. Alyssa asked me to bring a dessert, and to adhere to the dietary rules, she asked it not include flour. I thought of trying macarons again, and instantly dismissed that idea. Too much work, and way too finicky. Flourless chocolate cake appealed to me: 1) lots of chocolate, and 2) relatively easy to throw together.
 

The seder was fun – we got there late, but just in time for the matzoh ball soup.


The flourless cake was sooo rich – like very fudgy brownies. One guest commented, “I’m not used to using the words Passover, dessert, and delicious in the same sentence.”

from Williams Sonoma, Baking
Chuck Williams, editor

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Ingredients

10 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 c unsalted butter, cut into pieces plus extra for greasing
2 tsp vanilla extract
5 large eggs, room temperature
1 c sugar
Glaze
3 Tbs heavy cream
3 Tbs corn syrup
4 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
Raspberries for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch springform pan with butter. Line the bottom of the pan with a piece of parchment paper cut to fit. Grease the paper and then dust with flour (since it was for Passover, I used matzoh flour.)
  2. Combine the 10 oz of chocolate and butter in a medium saucepan. Heat on low, stirring until the mixture is melted and smooth. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Stir in the vanilla.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the eggs and sugar. Beat on medium-high speed until the mixture lightens and triples in volume, about 6 minutes. Pour the chocolate mixture over the egg mixture. Gently fold with a rubber spatula until combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  4. Bake until the top forms a crust and a toothpick inserted into the center comes almost clean (some wet batter should come out). Transfer to a wire rack. Run a knife along the side to loosen the cake. It's okay if the top of the cake falls. Let cool.
  5. Release sides of the pan and remove. Trim off any crumbly edges.
  6. For the glaze: In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the cream and corn syrup. Bring to a simmmer, then reduce heat to low. Add the 4 oz of chocolate and whisk until smooth, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and let stand for about 10 minutes. The glaze should be thick put still pourable.
  7. Carefully pour the glaze over the top of the cake, smoothing out to the edges in an even layer. Chill until the glaze sets. Serve cold or at room temperature.
http://kokocooks.com/2010/03/flourless-chocolate-cake/

 

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Carrot Cake Bars

My sister has a killer carrot cake recipe, and I always forget to find out where she got it from. She attributes its super-moistness to the copious amount of vegetable oil that the recipe calls for. This recipe has a small amount of oil, but still came out very moist. I made this for a party a few months ago (okay, it was a Christmas party.) Cutting them into bite-sized squares made them convenient for our friends to eat.



adapted from Cuisine at Home, Holiday Cookies

Carrot Cake Bars

Carrot Cake Bars

Ingredients

2 c flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
3 eggs
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c canola oil
2 c grated carrots
1/2 c sweetened shredded coconut
1/2 c golden raisins
1 tsp vanilla extract
Frosting
1 stick butter, softened
4 oz cream cheese, softened
2 1/2 c powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 13x9 baking pan with nonstick spray.
  2. Whisk flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, and cardamom together in a bowl; set aside. Beat eggs in a second bowl with a mixer. Add both sugars and blend until dissolved, then add the oil and beat until the texture
  3. becomes smooth and thick.
  4. Stir carrots, coconut, raisins, and vanilla into the egg mixture. Gradually add the dry ingredients. Mix well to incorporate the flour, but do not overmix.
  5. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and bake 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes clean. Cool bars completely before frosting.
  6. For the frosting: Blend butter and cream cheese together in a bowl with a mixer. Gradually add the powdered sugar, beating until smooth. Spread frosting over cooled bars using an off-set spatula. Cut into bars.
http://kokocooks.com/2010/03/carrot-cake-bars/

 

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