Saturday, February 28, 2009

Daring Bakers Chocolate Valentino Cake

The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE's blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef.
We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.

I have to say I was very VERY excited for this challenge! I love baking cakes and I was particularly excited for this cake because it was flourless so my celiac sister in law could have it! When I read that the cake would taste exactly like the chocolate you use in it I instantly thought "What woulld be better than a Symphony Bar flavored cake!" So my chocoate was decided: Symphony Bar. I also am not a big fan of dark chocolate so I thought that milk chocolate woud be the way to go for me. However, after making the cake and looking back I think I would defnitely have done a semi sweet chocolate. Although the symphony bar gave it a good flavor it just wasn't chocolatly enough for me. I am excited to try this cake again and use a semisweet chocolate, I think it would be that much better. I paired this lovely cake with the best homemade vanilla ice cream ever! I am not joking when I say that! It was absolutely heaven! The ice cream is so light and fluffy it almost has a marshmallow like flavor. This was a very easy cake to make so hope you have a chance to try it out. Also make sure to check out how the other Daring Bakers did!

Chocolate Valentino
Preparation Time: 20 minutes

16 ounces (1 pound) (454 grams) of semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
½ cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons (146 grams total) of unsalted butter
5 large eggs separated

1. Put chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water) and melt, stirring often.
2. While your chocolate butter mixture is cooling. Butter your pan and line with a parchment circle then butter the parchment.
3. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and put into two medium/large bowls.
4. Whip the egg whites in a medium/large grease free bowl until stiff peaks are formed (do not over-whip or the cake will be dry).
5. With the same beater beat the egg yolks together.
6. Add the egg yolks to the cooled chocolate.
7. Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and follow with remaining 2/3rds. Fold until no white remains without deflating the batter. {link of folding demonstration}
8. Pour batter into prepared pan, the batter should fill the pan 3/4 of the way full, and bake at 375F/190C
9. Bake for 25 minutes until an instant read thermometer reads 140F/60C.
Note – If you do not have an instant read thermometer, the top of the cake will look similar to a brownie and a cake tester will appear wet.
10. Cool cake on a rack for 10 minutes then unmold.

Vanilla Ice Cream
1 1/2 cups whole milk
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar
2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise
8 large egg yolks
1/4 tsp. kosher salt

In a heavy bottomed saucepan, combine the milk, cream, and 1/4 cup of
the sugar. With the tip of a knife, scrape the seeds from the vanilla
beans into the pan, then toss the pods into the pan. Place over
medium heat and bring just to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the
sugar. Remove from the heat and steep for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, vigorously whisk together the egg yolks,
salt and the remaining 1/2 cup sugar until the mixture falls in a
thick, wide ribbon when the whisk is lifted.

Remove the vanilla bean pods and reheat the milk to a bare simmer.
Slowly add it to the yolk mixture while whisking constantly. Pour it
all back into the pan and cook gently over medium-low heat, stirring
often with a wooden spoon, until thickened enough to coat the spoon,
about 3 minutes. Draw your finger across the spoon. The custard is
ready if it does not immediately bleed back together. Strain through
fine-mesh sieve into a clean storage container, let cool to room
temperature, and then cover and refrigerate overnight.

Pour into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the
manufacturer's directions. Transfer to a tightly covered container
and freeze for about 6 hour to firm up before serving.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

New baby in the family!

Hey everyone! Today was such an exciting day, my sister in law gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, 5 lbs 15 ounces. She makes me an aunt for the first time on my side which is really exciting. I will post pictures soon but until then check out her cute little video at my brothers blog:

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Mini heart cakes with the best red velvet recipe!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Valentines day! Again, sorry for not posting sooner about my Valentines but again life is busy! A few days before Valentines day I went to my mom's to do a fun activity with the two kids she she teaches from her home. I saw these darling conversation heart cakes on Martha and couldn't resist! I knew I just had to make them and I thought they would be such a fun activity for kids. Let me first start by saying that the red velvet cake recipe used to make these little cakes is by far the best red velvet recipe I have found. The taste is delicious and as for the buttercream...o my gosh! So good!!! The cinnamon was perfect in it! If you want to make these and don't think that cinnamon would be good in the frosting just trust it because it was truly wonderful. I will definitely make these little cakes again and will try many different shapes. I am excited to try this recipe out as cupcakes also. If you choose to make mini cakes it is very important to crumb coat because this cake is so moist. Hope you have a change to try this recipe out because you wont be dissappointed!

Here is the beautiful colored batter ready to bake

Now ready to frost!

Ally and Aaron working hard on their mini heart cakes,
and doing a great job!

My mom with her students and their final product. Aren't
those cakes cute?!

Now my mom and I had to take a whack at it and
make some of our own. We crumb coated these
which made them look really smooth.

Red Velvet Cake

Makes six 4-inch heart-shaped cakes

  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons red food coloring
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable shortening, at room temperature
  • 1 2/3 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup melted dark chocolate, for decorating
  • Speckled Cinnamon Frosting


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees with rack in the center of the oven. Butter an 18-by-13-inch rimmed baking sheet, line with parchment paper, butter parchment, and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together cocoa powder, food coloring, and 1/4 cup boiling water. Set aside to cool.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and shortening on high speed until smooth. Add sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Stir buttermilk and vanilla into cocoa mixture. Into another medium bowl, sift together flour and salt. With the mixer on low, add flour mixture alternating with cocoa mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat until incorporated.
  5. In a small bowl, mix together vinegar and baking soda until baking soda dissolves; mixture will fizz. Add to batter and mix until just combined.
  6. Pour batter into prepared baking sheet, smoothing the top. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 20 to 30 minutes, rotating pan after 10 minutes.
  7. Cook cake completely on a wire rack. Using a 4-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut out 12 hearts.
  8. Place 4 strips of parchment paper around perimeter of a serving plate or lazy susan. Place 1 layer on the cake plate. Spread a thin layer of frosting on the cake; top with another heart, bottom side up. Cover entire cake with a thin layer of frosting and transfer to refrigerator for 10 minutes. Repeat process with remaining ingredients.
  9. Remove cakes from the refrigerator and cover each cake with a generous layer of frosting, smoothing as you go around to create a flat surface.
  10. Place chocolate in a pastry bag fitted with a small plain round tip; decorate as desired.
Speckled Cinnamon Buttercream

Makes enough for six 4-inch cakes

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened but still cool, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • Food coloring, in desired color


  1. Whisk together sugar and flour in medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add milk and cream and place over medium heat, whisking occasionally until mixture comes to a boil and has thickened, about 20 minutes.
  2. Transfer mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on high speed until cool. Reduce speed to low and add butter; mix until well incorporated. Increase speed to medium-high and mix until frosting is light and fluffy. Add vanilla and cinnamon and continue mixing until combined. Add a couple drops of food coloring while continuing to mix, until desired color is reached. If frosting is too soft, chill slightly and then re-mix to proper consistency. If frosting becomes too firm, place bowl over a pot of simmering water and re-mix to proper consistency.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Fun with Funfetti!

Ok, so I feel like for the past few posts I begin with "I am so sorry I haven't posted in forever!"...but I am going to say it again "I am so sorry!" Life gets busy and I am a little sick right now so I just haven't gotten around to it. But here I am with a very very simple recipe that anyone could make! I definitely love homemade anything and prefer it to store bought or mixes any day, but sometimes life doesn't give you enought time to put all the work into a beautiful homemade master piece and you have to settle for a semi homemade dish-which doesn't have to be half bad! That's where these cookies come into play, I was in a baking mood but didn't want to make a huge mess or take alot of time. I looked through my pantry and saw that I had a funfetti cake mix and remembered some funfetti cookies that I made a while ago which everyone loved! So simple, so easy but satisfying. And to make things even easier I had some store bought frosting I used to top them off with. You could actually do a few different things with these cookies....
You could do the frosted, the sandwitch, or the plain

but...the most popular: the sandwitch. Who wouldn't want to
eat two cookies at once with a frosting filling?

So if you are looking for a quick treat try these funfetti cookies! They are sure to not dissapoint!

Funfetti Cookies
1 pkg. Pillsbury Plus Funfetti cake mix
1/3 c. oil
2 eggs
1 can Pillsbury Vanilla Funfetti frosting (if you want, or eat them plain-still super yummy!)
Heat oven to 375 degrees. In large bowl combine cake mix, oil and eggs. Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten to 1/4 inch thickness with bottom of glass dipped in flour. Bake at 375 degrees for 6-8 minutes. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheet. Spread frosting over warm cookies. Immediately sprinkle each with decorator sprinkles from frosting. Yield 3 dozen.