Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Dark Chocolate Cake with Coffee Filling


I’ve been told that this is the best cake I’ve ever made. That comes as a pretty big compliment since I’ve made many cakes in my lifetime, most of which were pretty yummy. This chocolate cake is light and moist in texture and rich and decadent in taste. I made the coffee filling a little lighter by adding a bit more rice milk and I left the chocolate frosting pretty thick, but I could still easily frost the cake.



2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
  tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup sour rice milk
½ cup olive oil
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp coffee extract
1 cup boiling water
3 oz dark chocolate (melted in the boiling water)

·      Preheat the oven to 350°F
·      Grease and flour three 9-inch cake pans
·      Combine and whisk flour four, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl.
·      Combine sour milk, oil, eggs, and vanilla and coffee extracts.
·      Make a well in the flour mixture.
·      Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture.
·      Mix together on medium speed.
·      Reduce the speed and slowly add the boiling water/melted chocolate mixture to the cake batter.
·      Mix on high for 1 minute.
·      Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans.
·      Bake for 30-35 minutes (toothpick should come out clean).
·      Cool for 10 minutes.
·      Turn out on to a wire rack and cool completely.
·      Frost

Frosting

Occasionally taste the frosting as you add the sugar. If you like your frosting less sweet, then add less confectioners’ sugar If you want it more sweet then add more sugar.

Coffee Filling

1 stick Fleischmann's Unsalted Margarine sticks
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 tsp coffee extract (or to taste)
3-5 tbsp rice milk (until the desired consistency)

·      Combine the margarine, confectioners’ sugar, extracts and 3 tbsp rice milk in a mixing bowl.
·      Pulse the mixer on low until enough of the sugar is incorporated so that it doesn’t fly everywhere.*
·      Turn mixer on medium to medium-high.
·      Scrap downs sides as needed.
·      Add more rice milk 1 tbsp at a time until it’s at the desired consistency.

Chocolate Frosting

3 sticks of Earth Balance
6-8 cups of confectioners’ sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup cocoa powder
7-8 tbsp rice milk.

·      Combine the margarine, confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, and 6 tbsp rice milk in a mixing bowl.
·      Pulse the mixer on low until enough of the sugar is incorporated so that it doesn’t fly everywhere.*
·      Turn mixer on medium to medium-high.
·      Scrap downs sides as needed.
·      Add more rice milk 1 tbsp at a time until it’s at the desired consistency.



*Place a towel over the mixer and pulse the mixer on low until enough of the confectioners’ sugar is incorporated in the Earth Balance. Tap the towel and then remove it. This helps to greatly reduce confectioners’ sugar flying everywhere.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Random Thoughts


It’s funny how one little ingredient can make or break a dish. I made Kung Pao Pork the other night and when we sat down to eat it just tasted off. I couldn’t even finish it. I was quite upset with how it turned out. I’ve made this dish many, many times and I couldn’t figure out where I went wrong. I kept going over the ingredients in my head and rechecked the recipe and I left out the sugar. It wasn’t much, but after I added it, oh my goodness, what a huge difference it made. Three small teaspoons was all that made the difference.

I have very recently had to switch the margarine that I use. I had used Fleischmann’s Unsalted Margarine Sticks for years, but lately the local grocery stores (or should I say ‘store’ since one store pretty much has a monopoly on the grocery store market here) have stopped carrying it. I made the oreo cookies with it last night and they turned out great (except for the ones that I burned). It seems to have less water in it, so I am also going to try the Italian/Swiss meringue buttercream with this margarine.

I will be posting a recipe for a very dark chocolate cake soon. I haven’t made a chocolate cake in well over a decade. The one I made the other day was decadent, rich, and still light and moist. I used the Earth Balance to make coffee flavored filling and dark chocolate frosting. I have been told that this is my best cake to date. I always love to hear that.

I have been playing around with selling my cakes, cookies and other baked goods. It’s one of those things that you roll around in your head at odd moments. Since my daughter started school, I love making treats for her class and teachers. Her current teacher has been amazingly supportive. She ordered a decorated cake and she just placed an order for my homemade oreo cookies.  She has also been passing out my business cards. I stopped by the local spice shop and the lady working there suggested that I contact the owner about having a tasting of a variety of my baked goods. The thought of it is kind of overwhelming and exciting at the same time. We will see where this leads.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Dark Chocolate Brownies



Dark, rich, velvety brownies are small squares of chocolaty paradise. I know some people like theirs with nuts, but I prefer the simple luxurious texture of the brownie itself. This particular recipe has A LOT of chocolate in it, but who’s going to complain about that? Not me! I added some black cocoa powder to this recipe for even more intense chocolate flavor, but you can use Dutch process cocoa powder if that is what you have access to. The added coffee extract adds another subtle layer of richness to the brownies. To take it up another notch substitute Kahlua for the coffee extract.

4 ounces Dairy Free Dark Chocolate Dream
  cup plus 1 tbsp regular olive oil
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 tbsp black cocoa powder
¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp  baking powder 
½ tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp coffee extract
·      Preheat the oven to 350°F.
·      Grease and flour a square 8 inch cake pan.
·      In a medium bowl, combine and whisk the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.
·      Melt the chocolate with the oil over low heat.
·      Once melted, turn of the burner and add the sugar.
·      Quickly stir in the eggs.
·      Add vanilla and coffee extracts.
·      Gently add the flour mixture and mix just until incorporated.
·      Pour into the prepared pan.
·      Bake 23-25 minutes.
·      Cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack.
·      Cut into 16 squares and remove from the pan.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Homemade 'Oreo' Cookies

-->
-->
Who didn’t like Oreos growing up? Well, there may be some of you, but I think most of us enjoyed twisting and/or dunking those little black and white sandwich cookies. The Oreo chocolate wafers have a unique chocolate flavor that isn’t easy to recreate. To really get that flavor it’s best to use black cocoa powder. If you can’t find it in a store near you, you can order it online or you can just use plain Dutch process cocoa powder. I highly recommend getting the black cocoa powder if you can. I can’t wait to try it in a chocolate cake, but that’s a recipe for another blog.

The fun part of making homemade oreo cookies is that you can get creative with your fillings. You can put as much filling as you want in them. Single stuffed, double stuffed or even quadruple stuffed; it’s completely up to you. The filling flavor possibilities are endless. The first time I made them, I made vanilla filling. The second time, I made vanilla, caramel, coffee, and chocolate fudge fillings. I can’t wait to try some other flavors that I’m rolling around in my head. As I try new fillings, I will add them to this post.

I’ve adapted and enhanced the recipe from the Food Network.

Dough

⅔ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder (or 1⅓ cups if you are only using Dutch process cocoa powder)
⅔ cup black cocoa powder
1½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ tsp salt
2 stick Fleischmann’s unsalted margarine sticks, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp coffee extract

·      Combine the cocoa powder, flour, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk until completely combined
·      In a mixing bowl, cream the margarine and sugar.
·      Add the eggs one at a time.
·      Add the vanilla and coffee extracts.
·      Add the flour/cocoa mixture and mix until incorporated (don’t over mix). Scrape the sides of the bowl halfway into mixing the dough.
·      Divide the dough in half.
·      Roll each half to 1/16 inch thin on a floured piece of parchment paper.
·      Place another piece of parchment paper on top of the rolled dough.
·      Place each piece of rolled dough (with it’s 2 pieces of parchment paper) on a cookie sheet and place in the fridge for 1 hour up to 2 days.*

·      Remove the dough from the fridge.
·      Use a 2 inch round cookie cutter to cut approximately 154 circles. You can reroll the scraps twice.
·      Place the cookies onto parchment lined cookie sheets.
·      Put the cookies back in the refrigerator for another 20 minutes.
·      Preheat the oven to 325°F.
·      Bake the cookies for 20 minutes and the cool completely on a wire rack.
·      Prepare the filling.

*If you want to get and keep that crunch that is typical of the original Oreo, you really should leave the rolled dough in the fridge at least overnight up to 2 days. Also, keep them in a tightly sealed zip top bag with as much as air as possible pushed out. If you can’t wait that long or prefer a softer cookie, you can roll them out after being in the fridge for an hour.

Vanilla Filling

1 stick of Fleischmann’s unsalted margarine sticks
1lb box or ½ of a 2lb bag of confectioners’ sugar (extra if needed)
3 tsp vanilla extract

·      Mix all the ingredients until thick and you are able to roll the filling into at least a 1 inch ball without the filling sticking to your hands.
·      Place the ball on the bottom of one of the cookies.
·      Take a second cookie and place it on top of the filling and press down.

Chocolate Filling

·      Replace ¼ cup of confectioners’ sugar with a ¼ cup Dutch process cocoa powder
 
·      2 tsp vanilla extract plus ½ tsp coffee extract.

Coffee Filling

·      Use 2 tsp vanilla extract plus 2 tsp of coffee extract

Caramel Filling

·      See the Caramel Frosting recipe for the Caramel cake. Add confectioners’ sugar until you can roll the frosting without it sticking to your hands.


Save any leftover filling. Place the filling in a zip top bag, press as much air out as possible, zip closed, label, and place in the freezer.