Sunday, November 27, 2011

sans rival

It's been kinda quiet on this blog lately... the insanity that is my job in the fall and cake decorating classes doesn't leave much time to fool around in the kitchen. And now with the days getting shorter and shorter... I should really learn how to take food photographs using artificial lights!

In any case, I was glad to have found the time to make this month's Daring Bakers' challenge. Catherine of Munchie Musings was our November Daring Bakers’ host and she challenged us to make a traditional Filipino dessert – the delicious Sans Rival cake!

Now I don't know how Filipino the Sans Rival is - sounds like a French dessert to me - but it sure wasn't traditional when I was done with it.

The Sans Rival is made of layers of cashew daquoise, or nut meringue, and french buttercream. Our host had modified the recipe to include chocolate, and her cake looked too good not to make the chocolate version as well. I was planing on using hazelnuts and frangelico to flavor the cake, but when I looked in the pantry, there were no hazelnuts to be found. So I substituted Oreo crumbs for the nuts, baked 5 layers of the meringue in 6 inch pans, and the rest of the batter in .2.5 inch molds, to make mini cakes.

I have absolutely no luck with frosting, so I wasn't expecting much from this... only for it to turn out beautifully silky. A seriously beautiful frosting that's insanely rich! A keeper of a recipe!

Chocolate Sans Rival
recipe modified from November 2011 Daring Bakers' Challenge
Yields 1 6-inch, five-layer cake and 3 2.5 inch, two-layer cake

10 large egg whites, room temp
1 cup (8 oz) white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
 2 cups oreo cookie crumbs

1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
2. Line cake pan bottoms with parchment paper and butter and flour the sides really well.
3. In a large clean, dry glass or metal mixing bowl, beat egg whites on medium until foamy (2 mins.). Sprinkle with cream of tartar. Gradually add sugar, a couple of tablespoons at a time, continuing to beat now at high speed until stiff shiny peaks form. (about 7-10 mins.)

4. Fold in oreo cookie crumbs.

5. Spread meringue in pans, evenly to edges. If doing batches, use fresh parchment paper and cooled pans for each batch.

6. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove the meringue from the baking pans while still hot; allow to cool slightly. Peel off the parchment paper while it is still warm, it is difficult to remove sometimes when they have completely cooled.

French Buttercream

 5 large egg yolks, room temperature
1 cup (8 oz) white granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1¼ cup (10 oz) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted, 

1. Put the egg yolks in a mixing bowl. Beat at high speed until the yolks have doubled in volume and are a lemon yellow.
2. Put the sugar and water in a heavy pan and cook over medium heat, stirring the sides down only until all the sugar is dissolved and the syrup reaches 235°F/112°C (or thread stage).
3. With the mixer on high, very slowly pour the syrup down the sides of the bowl, until all has been added. Be careful as the very hot syrup could burn you if it splashes from the beaters. Continue beating on high until the mixture is ROOM TEMPERATURE (about 15 mins). Still on high, beat in the soft, room temperature butter a tablespoon at a time. Add chocolate after you beat in the butter. Refrigerate the buttercream for at least an hour, and whip it smooth just before you use it.
Set bottom meringue on cake board with a dab of butter cream to hold it in place. Spread a thin layer of buttercream and then place another meringue on top. Repeat with remaining layers, and finally buttercream the top and sides. Decorate with more oreo crumbs.

Refrigerate until ready to serve. It is easier to cut cold. May freeze.

My daughter's babysitter got the bigger cake for her birthday. She said it was to die for, and reminded her of a cake found in a French patisserie. I'll take that as a compliment! Too bad I couldn't get a picture of it cut, with its layers... 

I enjoyed this one! Can't wait to see that next month brings!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

boston cream pie cake

When I actually have a reason to bake, I look through the upcoming recipes on the Baked Sunday Mornings schedule and try to pick one of those recipes. So a little while back, for my Dad's birthday, I made this morning's recipe, Boston Cream Pie Cake from Baked Explorations.

I though it was a good match for my dad, who doesn't really like desserts, and is not a big fan of chocolate. So instead of having 2/3 chocolate pastry cream to 1/3 vanilla pastry cream, I decided to do the opposite. The only thing is that I didn't bother decreasing the amount of chocolate the recipe called for, so my chocolate pastry cream was way to thick and solid to use as cake filling. So the filling in the cake ended up all vanilla, which was not a bad thing.

I baked the cake in a half sheet pan, and split it into four rectangles to get a rectangular cake. Once it was assembled, I trimmed the sides to get a cleaner look, although it didn't work as well as I had hoped. I think if the cake had been frozen it might have worked better.

I used 72% dark chocolate for the glaze, and it was too bitter for most of us. Strangely enough, the glaze was my husband's favorite part of the cake!

I was really worried about the final look of the cake, but I was satisfied with the way the chocolate glaze dripped down the sides. It's definitely not the prettiest cake I've ever made, but it was tasty enough. It's hard to go wrong when you fill cake with pastry cream! Yum!

Want to see how the other Baked Sunday Mornings members fared with their cakes? Head on over to Baked Sunday Mornings for their links, and this recipe! Next up is Baked French Toast! Sounds good!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

pumpkin cheddar muffins

I totally wasn't feeling this week's Baked Sunday Mornings recipe. I mean pumpkin and cheese? In a muffin. With cayenne and black pepper. In the breakfast section of the Baked book. Right... So I consulted my husband who said I should probably try it, since there hasn't been very many bad recipes in the book so far.

So I sent him to the store to get a can of pumpkin puree, and aged cheddar. Since this was one of the few recipes in the book that are "two bowls, mix wet ingredients with dry ingredients and bake", I quickly whipped these muffins up. Interestingly enough, they were baked in a 400 degree oven, for 20 minutes, and when I pulled them out, they were a tiny bit over baked. They smelled really interesting in the oven. I tasted one right away, and was really intrigued by the flavors. This muffin was surprisingly good! It has spicy end notes that are quite pleasant. Although I did eat it for breakfast, I think it would pair really well with a hot bowl of tomato soup! Perfect fall food!

To get the recipe and see how the other Baked Sunday Mornings bakers thought of this one, click on through to the new page!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

pumpkin apple streusel muffins

I know it's now November and I said that I only bake with pumpkin in October, but this recipe is just too good not to share!

Many years ago, I made these so often that we actually got totally sick of it. It took a few years before I could make it again, and I swore that I would only make it in the fall. So now I totally look forward to the cooler weather so I can bake these.

Although I usually bake this batter in muffin tins, this time around, I baked it in a 9x13 pan. A round pan works too... very forgiving recipe!

Pumpkin Apple Streusel Muffins
recipe source:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups peeled, cored and chopped apple

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 teaspoons butter

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease 18 muffin cups or use paper liners.
2. In a large bowl, sift together 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 2 cups sugar, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together eggs, pumpkin and oil. Add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture; stirring just to moisten. Fold in apples. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.
3. In a small bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons flour, 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle topping evenly over muffin batter.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.

These are insanely moist and flavorful. It is a sweet cake, especially the streusel, but I still enjoy it for breakfast one in a while. And the perfect recipe to use up leftover pumpkin puree, as it calls for only a cup of the stuff. So if you buy a big can, make the whoopie pies, you'll get just enough leftover to make this recipe!