Fudgy Brownies with Milk Chocolate Frosting

Years ago when I lived in Michigan I worked at this hospital that had these amazing brownies with chocolate frosting. They used to park those suckers [all neatly wrapped in plastic wrap] right next to the cashier so you saw them when you were checking out with your boring chicken ala king. Yeah, just try to ignore those beauties, that chocolate frosting glistening right through that plastic.  I worked night shift for 11 years. You know the 4:00 Pm lull you get everyday when you think you can’t hardly make it until 5:30? Well working night shift, it’s that 3:00 Am slump that is the equivalent. Let me tell you, there is nothing like a thick, rich, chocolatey brownie iced with frosting at 3:00 Am when you are draggin butt. Just add coffee and you’re good to go. I dedicate this brownie to all the Nurses and any other hardworking souls working grave yard shift out there- and you know with us Nurses- CHOCOLATE  IS A FOOD GROUP.

Fudgy Brownies with Milk Chocolate Frosting

(Recipe adapted from Fine Cooking)

Brownies:

10 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened to room temp

5 oz. bittersweet chocolate

2 oz. unsweetened chocolate

1 Cup sugar

2 tsp. vanilla

pinch of salt

2 large eggs, at room temp

1 large egg yolk, at room temp

2/3 Cup all-purpose flour

1/2 Cup chopped walnuts (optional)

One recipe chocolate frosting* (see below)

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare an 8-inch pan by lining with a parchment paper sling; both sides. Lightly spray the parchment paper with baking spray.

2. In a medium microwave safe bowl: Combine the  butter, and both chocolates and place in the microwave at 50 % power and melt the chocolate mixture starting at 1 minute-stop and stir, continue as needed at 15 second intervals; stopping after each 15 second burst to stir and check until the chocolate is melted. Let the chocolate cool slightly and whisk in the sugar until blended, then add the vanilla and salt. The mixture will look grainy; that’s okay. Mix in the eggs one at a time then the egg yolk, stirring after each addition. Add the flour and beat until the batter is thick and smooth; about 1 minute. Stir in the nuts if you like.

3. Spread the batter evenly in the pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the pan yields a few moist crumbs but not wet batter. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Make the frosting as below.

4. Lift the whole slab of brownies out of the pan using the sling to grab onto and remove the parchment paper from sides and bottom. Frost the brownies. Cut into bars.

Chocolate Frosting:

1 stick butter, softened

1/4 Cup cocoa powder, sifted

2 Cups confectioners sugar, sifted

1 tsp. vanilla

3 Tbsp. heavy cream+ more as needed

Place the softened butter in a mixing bowl. Add the cocoa powder, sugar, vanilla and heavy cream. Beat with a hand mixer until smooth. Add more heavy cream as needed to achieve desired consistency.

Printable Recipe:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Hpi0sk7e0kRoEE4mpJzOUQ-Z56n0al7nUpX9zt7Xh5U/edit?hl=en_US

 

Happy Baking,

Suzie


Coconut- Lemon- Passion Fruit Cake

Coconut-Lemon-Passion Fruit Cake

I like the combination of coconut and passion fruit. I was lucky to find this passion fruit jelly a couple of months ago and I bought the jelly with the intention of making passion fruit buttercream. I really liked how it turned out. I also used Monin passion fruit syrup to brush the cakes with and the passion fruit flavor really came through. I kind of whipped out this cake on a busy weeknight so I used a jar of purchased lemon curd, but you can certainly use the leftover egg yolks to make fresh lemon curd. If you don’t like passion fruit or can’t find passion fruit jam or jelly, the cake would be great with either vanilla buttercream, coconut buttercream; flavored with cream of coconut (such as coco lopez brand)  or cream cheese frosting and you could cover the cake in coconut.

Coconut Cake: (yield: 2 layer 9 inch cake)

3  1/4 Cups sifted cake flour

1 Tbsp. baking powder

3/4 tsp. kosher salt

1 C  unsalted butter, room temp

1  1/3  Cup granulated sugar

6 large egg whites

1  1/2 tsp. vanilla bean paste

1/2 tsp. coconut extract/flavoring

1 small lemon, zested

2/3 Cup coconut milk

3/4 Cup whole milk

3/4 Cup sweetened shredded coconut

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two 9-inch cake pans by spraying the bottom and sides with baking spray (I use the kind with flour in the spray). Line the bottom of each pan with a parchment paper round.

2. Combine the cake flour, baking powder and salt in  a medium bowl; whisk to combine and set aside.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment; cream the butter until creamy. Add the sugar and beat on med-high speed until light and fluffy. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the egg whites a little bit at a time until combined; stop the mixer to scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl every so often to insure the eggs combine thoroughly. Add the lemon zest and stir to combine.

4. Combine the coconut milk, whole milk, coconut extract and vanilla bean paste together in a measuring cup.

5. With the mixer on low-speed, add about 1/3 of the flour mixture, alternating with the milk mixture, stopping the mixer after each addition to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Make sure to end with the last bit of flour mixture. Stir in the coconut by hand.

6. Divide the batter equally into the two pans and smooth the tops. Rap the pans on the counter sharply to release any air bubbles.

7. Bake the cakes for 25-30 minutes until the tops are just lightly browned around the edges and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. You will not see the cakes turn much color; they will retain a light color, so be careful not to overbake.

8. Cool the cakes in the pans for about 15 minutes and then invert the cakes, peel off the parchment paper, and place onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Filling: Purchased lemon curd (I like Dickinson’s)* you can make homemade lemon curd; I’ve used jar variety here to save time on a busy weeknight after work and one jar is exactly the right amount to fill the cake.

Passion fruit syrup: Purchased Passion fruit syrup (Monin brand)

Passion Fruit Swiss Buttercream:

5 large egg whites

1 Cup granulated sugar

4 sticks unsalted butter (1 lb.)

6 Tablespoons passion fruit jelly (also known as lilikoi)

1 tsp. vanilla

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer place the egg whites and sugar and whisk to combine. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water as a double boiler setup and whisk the mixture until the temperature registers 160º degrees on an instant read thermometer.

2. Remove the bowl from the double boiler, and place on the stand mixer on medium high; using the whisk attachment,  whisk the egg/sugar mixture until you have stiff, glossy peaks and the bottom of the mixer bowl is not warm to touch; this will take about approx. 5 minutes.

3. Add one tablespoon of butter at a time and beat on medium high-speed. You will notice that  the mixture will start to take on a curdled appearance and separate, (this is because of the high water content in the butter)  but continue to add in the butter and the buttercream will come together. Add in the vanilla and combine. Add in the passion fruit jelly and turn the mixer down to low-speed and combine.

Cake Assembly:

Brush one cake layer with passion fruit syrup. Pipe a ring of frosting on the top of the cake layer around the outer edge around the cake circumference to create a dam so the lemon curd does not squirt out. Spread the lemon curd on top of the brushed cake layer within the buttercream dam; brush the 2nd cake layer with passion fruit syrup and invert the cake layer so the brushed layer rests over the lemon curd. Brush the top of the cake with more passion fruit syrup. Frost the cake with the buttercream frosting in your desired choice of design. Store the cake in the refrigerator until one hour before serving. Let the cake come to room temperature for about hour before serving. Serve at room temp. Chill any remaining cake in the refrigerator.

Printable Recipe:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/16sElZ7Nzjh1iFM3gYk3UK5w3YK0KimaImPeYDVy0He8/edit?hl=en_US

Happy Baking,

Suzie


White Chocolate Raspberry Cake

“Happy Anniversary” White Chocolate Raspberry Cake

I made this cake for my friend Jill’s parent’s 40th Wedding Anniversary. The cake is a tender white cake flavored with almond and vanilla, paired with homemade raspberry filling and white chocolate buttercream frosting. I love the combination of white chocolate and raspberry. Raspberries are in season right now so I always love to use what’s in season. I like to buy fresh raspberries when they are on sale, then I wash and dry them and  lay them out on a sheet pan in the freezer; after they have frozen solid, then I repack them up for another trip to the freezer in ziplock freezer bags.  Even if you buy frozen fruit remember; buy when that fruit is at the peak of season, and you know you are getting the best quality.  For the recipe below I have made it easy for everyone and you can buy a 12 oz. bag of frozen raspberries.

The cake recipe is from King Arthur Flour company www.kingarthurflour.com  and I was dying to try out the recipe as they have a new cake flour blend and the recipe is actually on the back of the box. Thier flours are very high quality and this new cake flour blend  is my new favorite of cake flours; it’s a bit pricey, but it is worth the extra money.  It is made without any chemicals and unbleached, and I seriously think it’s one of the best white cake recipes I’ve had; it’s very moist and tender just like the name implies. And believe me, I’ve tried quite a few of white cake recipes in my day.

“Tender White Cake”  {recipe from King Arthur Flour}

Yield: 2  layer cake with (8 or 9 inch rounds), one  9 x 13 pan, or 20-24 cupcakes.

Note: If you are making a party cake like I did; I double the recipe (so I can fill and have a 2 layer cake) and make 2 of the 9 x 13. A 9 x 13 will feed 15-21 people nicely.

Ingredients:

2 3/4  C  King Arthur Unbleached Cake Flour Blend

1 2/3  C  Sugar; superfine is best – {See my tip below}*

1 Tablespoon baking powder

3/4 tsp.  salt

3/4 C unsalted butter; softened to room temp

4 large egg whites plus 1 whole egg

1 C full-fat vanilla yogurt OR 1 C whole milk {I used whole milk and it came out divine}

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. almond extract

* Suzie tip: Don’t buy superfine sugar in the store; they jack up the price and all you need to do is put good old regular white sugar in your food processor and whiz it for a few seconds with the metal blade to turn it into superfine. I buy sugar in huge quantities;  [shocking, I know] to save money 🙂  and what I do is have 2 separate containers for my sugar; one labeled “superfine” and when I have a chance I just whiz some  in the food processor and pour it into my container.

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 ° F

Mix all of the dry ingredients for 2 minutes on slow speed, to blend and aerate the flour. This is actually part of the back of the box instructions but telling you; [DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP!] this is my own personal two cents here. This helps ensure a loftier cake. Add the soft butter and mix into a paste; (my two cents again;  it will actually look more like wet sand). Add the egg whites, then the whole egg, beating after each addition to begin building the structure of the cake. Scrap down the sides and bottom of the bowl periodically.

In a small bowl, whisk the yogurt (or milk), with the vanilla and almond extracts. Add that mixture, 1/3 at a time, to the egg mixture. Bet 1-2 minutes after each addition, until fluffy, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl. Pour batter into greased and floured or parchment-lined pans (two 8″ or 9″ round, one 9″ x 13″, or 20 to 24 cupcakes).

Bake the cake(s) in a preheated 350º F oven for 25-30 minutes or (see below) time tips from King Arthur.

For 8-9 inch pans ~ 25-30  minutes

For 9 x 13 inch pan ~ 23-26 minutes

For cupcakes ~ 20 minutes.

The cake I did was a 9 x 13 and mine took 29 minutes; so there ya go; but everyone’s oven is different.

Raspberry Filling: This recipe is a bit time-consuming; but it’s worth the effort. {Note; this is not only a filling but great on scones, blended into ice cream for a milk shake, spread on pancakes, Hell→ straight out of the bowl} 🙂  I’m just sayin’…

I will sometimes double or triple this recipe because it  freezes very nicely; so it saves you time when the urge strikes you to make a cake!

1 bag of frozen unsweetened raspberries (12 oz.) {thawed for 30 minutes}

1/4  C water

1/3 C Sugar

1/4 C  orange juice

3/4 tsp. cinnamon

3 Tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 2 Tablespoons cold water to make a “slurry”

Directions:

In  a 3 quart pot; place the entire bag of raspberries; including any juice that has collected in the bag;  heat the raspberries, water, sugar, orange juice and cinnamon until mixture has boiled and berries  have broken down to where they do not look whole anymore. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and push  and press the mixture with a spatula several times through the strainer to encourage the puree to collect on  the underside of the strainer ; and  with the spatula scrape the puree that  clings to the underside and let fall/collect in the bowl. Keep doing this until you can no longer collect any puree from the underside of the strainer and it looks like all you have left are raspberry seeds. Discard seeds. Pour your collected mass of puree/juices back into the pot and add your slurry of cornstarch and water. Bring the mixture back to a boil; whisking constantly until the mixture thickens. Pour into a bowl and refrigerate until mixture is cool. Before I place the mixture in the fridge…

* Suzie tip: I like to taste the mixture and see if it is sweet enough; If it’s not quite sweet enough for your taste; at this point I add a Tablespoon of light corn syrup or more if you need to adjust the sweetness and mix with a spoon. Let the mixture cool completely before attempting to fill the cake.

White Chocolate Buttercream

Ingredients:

2 sticks unsalted butter

3 C  confectioners sugar

pinch of salt

4 oz. white chocolate (melted & cooled)

1 tsp. vanilla extract

4 Tablespoons  half and half

Directions:

In a medium bowl; sift the sugar and add in the pinch of salt to mix. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment;  beat the butter and confectioners sugar until very fluffy; start slow so the sugar does not go flying. Stop the mixer to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as you go. Add in the vanilla and mix. Add in the chocolate that has been cooled; make sure it is totally cooled before adding. Beat the mixture on high for about 3 minutes.

Madeira simple syrup:

In a small saucepan boil 1/2 C water and 1/2 C water until the sugar dissolves. Add in one Tablespoon of Madeira. If you don’t have Madeira; don’t sweat it. Matter of fact you can skip this step all together. It’s a cheffy thing; we like to brush our cakes with simple syrup.

Cake assembly:

Let the cakes cool completely. I shave off a very thin layer of the tops of the cakes to create a nice flat surface. Brush each layer with the Madeira syrup.

Pipe a ring of buttercream damn around the perimeter of one cake layer; this will ensure the filling does not seep out. I use a piping bag with a large round tip but if you don’t have one; simply use a large ziplock bag; fill your bag with the buttercream and cut a corner off of the bag so you can “pipe” your ring of buttercream damn. Fill in with the raspberry filling and level off the filling so that it is flat. Place the next cake layer on top and brush with syrup. Cover the top and sides with the buttercream.

Enjoy

Happy Baking!

Suzie