18 May 2017

Chocolate Bundt Cake - Quick and Easy

Chocolate Bundt Cake - this one is light, not dense and heavy / delightfulrepast.com

Everybody needs a good recipe for Chocolate Bundt Cake. Most are quite dense and heavy, which can be good. But mine is one for those times when you're in the mood for light and fluffy, even in a Bundt cake.

And it's quite quick and definitely easy, with no special equipment required. You just need a little saucepan to melt the butter and stuff and a big bowl and spoon to give it a quick mix. Bakes in just 40 minutes.

It has plenty of chocolate kick on its own (enhanced by using coffee as the liquid), so I just gave it a dusting of powdered sugar and a bit of whipped cream. Chocoholics could stir up a little ganache to ladle over the top.

Oh, and if you're vegan and/or interested in foods of the Great Depression, or if you just want an easy single-layer cake, check out my One-Bowl Chocolate Cake

Are you a Cake Person or a Pie Person? Many people think you're one or the other, but I think I'm both!

Chocolate Bundt Cake - this one is light and fluffy, not heavy and dense / www.delightfulrepast.com

Chocolate Bundt Cake

(Makes one 10-inch Bundt cake)

1 cup (8 fluid ounces/237 ml) brewed coffee*
1 3/4 sticks (7 ounces/198 grams) unsalted butter, plus 1 tablespoon for pan
1/2 packed cup (1.5 ounces/42 grams) unsweetened natural cocoa powder*, plus 1 tablespoon for the pan
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 6-ounce (170 grams) container (or 3/4 cup) plain yogurt, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar

2 dip-and-sweep cups (10 ounces/283 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour 
1 3/4 cups (12.25 ounces/347 grams) sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons (7 grams) baking soda 
2 large eggs, room temperature

* I buy organic and Fair Trade Certified coffee, cocoa and chocolate products.

1 In small saucepan, combine brewed coffee, butter, cocoa and salt. Cook, stirring, over medium heat until butter is melted and mixture is smooth. Set aside to cool slightly, then stir in vanilla extract. Stir vinegar into the yogurt.

2 Preheat oven to 350F/180C/Gas4. Grease (1 tablespoon butter) and flour (1 tablespoon cocoa powder) a 10-inch 12-cup Bundt pan. Or just spray the pan with cooking spray, if that works with your Bundt pan.

3 In large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar and baking soda. Add the melted butter mixture, half at a time, stirring after each addition until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition until well incorporated. Stir in the yogurt mixture.

4 Scrape the batter into the prepared Bundt pan. Run a knife through the batter a few times to break up any large air pockets. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes; then turn out onto wire rack to cool completely before glazing (ganache would be good!) or dusting with powdered sugar.

Chocolate Bundt Cake - this one is light and fluffy, not heavy and dense / www.delightfulrepast.com

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11 May 2017

Raspberry Swiss Roll

Raspberry Swiss Roll - It's easier than you think. Just roll it once, no cracks. / www.delightfulrepast.com

A Swiss Roll with just raspberry jam is a wonderful thing, but the addition of raspberries and whipped cream takes it right over the top. It's one of those desserts that never fails to impress, looking much more difficult than it is.

The problem I had with the first one I made years ago was with the cake itself. Baking a regular cake in a jelly roll pan is not the way to go. It needs to be a proper sponge cake, and I prefer the kind made with separated eggs.

I used to make the sponge cake with four eggs until I had occasion to try one made with five. When I took it out of the oven, I thought it looked far too eggy, even omelette-like. So when I had my first slice of the finished product, I was surprised at the perfect texture.

Though all recipes for a Swiss Roll seem to call for pre-rolling the cake while it is warm and then unrolling it, filling it and rolling it up again, I've found that's not necessary. I don't do it with my recipe. I just roll it once, at a carefully timed moment, and that's that. I'm going to say that again: I just roll it once!

How to Keep A Rolled Cake From Cracking

Cracking when rolled is the main problem people have with a Swiss Roll. There are preventive measures:

  • Beating the yolks and whites separately makes a more flexible sponge that is less inclined to crack.
  • Not overbaking, baking just until set but still springy to the touch.
  • Rolling it while it is still warm enough to be pliable, but not warm enough to melt the whipped cream.

Raspberry Swiss Roll - It's easier than you think - Roll it once, no cracking / www.delightfulrepast.com

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Raspberry and Cream Swiss Roll

(Makes about 9 servings)

The Sponge Cake

1/2 dip-and-sweep cup (2.5 ounces/71 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons (0.5 ounce/14 grams) cornstarch

1/8 teaspoon salt, divided
5 large eggs, separated cold, left at room temperature for 30 minutes
1/2 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
2/3 cup (4.67 ounces/132 grams) sugar, divided
1/4 cup (2 fluid ounces/59 ml) milk
2 tablespoons (1 ounce/28 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

The Filling

1 cup (8 fluid ounces/237 ml) heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons (0.5 ounce/14 grams) unsifted powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup raspberry jam, melted
1 cup halved fresh raspberries

1 Preheat oven to 375F/190C/Gas5. Line a 15x10x1-inch (38x25x2.5 cm) rimmed baking sheet (jelly roll pan or Swiss roll tin) with a piece of parchment with an extra 2 inches on each end for easy removal. Spray parchment and sides of pan with cooking spray. In small bowl, sift together flour, cornstarch and half the salt.

2 In bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk, beat the egg whites, cream of tartar and half the salt on low speed until foamy (might have to use a spoon to mash up clump of cream of tartar). Increase speed to medium and continue beating until trails become visible and bubbles are very small, about 2 to 3 minutes.

3 Increase speed to medium-high and gradually add in 1/3 cup of sugar, about a tablespoon at a time, taking about 2 to 3 minutes. Increase speed a bit and whip until meringue is glossy and medium* peaks form when the whisk is lifted, about 4 to 5 minutes.

* Must beat past soft peaks, but not all the way to stiff peaks.

4 In 2- to 2.5-quart mixing bowl, using an electric hand mixer, beat the egg yolks with remaining 1/3 cup sugar until pale yellow and fluffy; this takes a few minutes. Add the cream, melted butter and vanilla extract; mix until combined.

5 Sift the flour-cornstarch over the egg yolk mixture. With silicone spatula, gently fold the flour in. Then gently fold in the stiff egg whites, a third at a time, being careful not to deflate them.

6 Gently scrape the batter into the prepared jelly roll pan and quickly spread it evenly. Place a towel (or pair of potholders) on the countertop and drop the pan onto it from a height of about 6 inches two or three times to get out the large air bubbles that would make holes in the cake.

7 Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, just until done. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean; the cake should spring back when pressed gently in the center.

8 While the cake is baking, whip the cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract until it is quite stiff. You need to have your filling ingredients ready so that you're ready to proceed the moment the cake is cooled sufficiently but not completely.

9 Use a knife to loosen the sides of the cake from the pan. Using the two ends of parchment paper, lift the cake out of the pan onto a wire rack to cool for a bit. Melt the jam.

10 When the cake is still warm enough to be pliable but not warm enough to melt the whipped cream, take the cake off the wire rack and place it paper-side down on the counter with a short end in front of you. Spread the jam evenly over the cake, leaving about a 1.5-inch border at the far end uncovered. Spread the whipped cream evenly over the jam. Distribute the berries evenly over the whipped cream. 

11 Start rolling the cake at the end nearest you, peeling away the parchment as you go. Wrap the rolled cake in plastic wrap, place on tray seam-side down and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 1 day. Bringing it out of the refrigerator 15 to 30 minutes before serving makes the texture of the cake superb.

12 When ready to serve, trim the ends of the roll for a tidier look (and a cook's treat!), place it on an attractive platter, dust with powdered sugar, garnish as you like.  

04 May 2017

Raspberry Muffins with Lemon Glaze

Raspberry Muffins with Lemon Glaze / www.delightfulrepast.com

Raspberry muffins are not raspberry cupcakes. One of the things I love about a muffin is that it has a lot less sugar than a cupcake. That is, it should. I've seen recipes with sugar levels nearing that of cupcakes. I've made this recipe with even less sugar than indicated here, but I must admit it does alter the texture a bit.

So I'm writing the recipe here with the maximum amount of sugar, which amounts to under 3 teaspoons per muffin without the glaze. If you've read my Sugar - Toxin or Treat? post, you know I limit myself to 6 teaspoons of sugar per day. So I could have two of these without the glaze. The glaze brings it up to 4.5 teaspoons per muffin.

The texture is wonderful. Of course, the key to proper texture of any muffin is not overmixing, not developing the gluten in the batter. So I've included some tips in the directions.

What's your favorite kind of muffin? 

Raspberry Muffins with Lemon Glaze / www.delightfulrepast.com

Raspberry Muffins with Lemon Glaze 

(Makes 12 muffins) 

The Raspberry Muffins 

6 tablespoons (3 ounces/85 grams) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Milk to make 1 cup (8 fluid ounces/237 ml) milk
1 3/4 dip-and-sweep cups (8.75 ounces/248 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
2/3 cup (4.67 ounces/132 grams) sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon mace or nutmeg
2 large eggs, room temperature
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) raspberries, fresh or frozen 

The Lemon Glaze 

3/4 firmly packed cup (3 ounces/85 grams) unsifted powdered sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 

1 Preheat oven to 400F/205C/Gas6. Grease a standard 12-muffin tin or line it with paper bake cups. (I usually bake muffins in a greased tin, but I just happened to have a dozen of these pink bake cups.)

2 In 2- or 4-cup glass measure, melt the butter in the microwave; cool slightly. In 1-cup glass measure, stir together fresh lemon juice and milk; set aside to thicken a bit.

3 In large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and mace or nutmeg. Take out 2 tablespoons of the flour mixture to coat the berries before adding them to the batter.

4 Add soured milk to melted butter, and whisk in eggs, lemon zest and vanilla extract. Add thoroughly whisked wet mixture to thoroughly whisked dry mixture. Stir as little as possible, just until dry ingredients are moistened. Using a silicone spatula, gently fold in the berries.

5 Scoop the batter from the edge of the bowl so as not to further mix the batter and evenly fill twelve muffin cups just about to the top. Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes or until lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in a center muffin comes out clean.

Note: I used frozen raspberries and baked the muffins for 25 minutes. With fresh berries, they would take less time.

6 Whisk powdered sugar to get most of the lumps out, then whisk in lemon juice. Drizzle over slightly cooled, but still warm, muffins. If you like the glaze to be visible, cool the muffins more before glazing. Serve warm or room temperature.

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