In the Oven: Everyone’s Favorite Birthday Cake

Next up is Everyone’s Favorite Birthday Cake in honor of Martha Stewart’s birthday.
Who are you going to bake it for?
Posting date is: Sunday, August 2nd

In the Oven: Everyone's Favorite Birthday Cake
 
Author:
Yield: 10-12
Ingredients
  • For the Sour Cream Cake
  • 2½ cups plus 2 tablespoons
  • (330 g) cake flour
  • 1 scant tablespoon baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 7 ounces (1¾ sticks/200 g) unsalted butter, softened, cut into ½-inch (12-mm) pieces, plus more for the pans
  • 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup (165 g) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1½ cups (345 g) sour cream
  • For the Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 4 ounces (1 stick/115 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 (8-ounce/226-g) package cream cheese, softened
  • 3 to 3½ cups (340 to 395 g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 ounces (85 g) dark chocolate, melted and cooled
  • For Décor
  • Candles (of course)
Instructions
  1. Make the Sour Cream Cake
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Butter two 8-inch (20-cm) round cake pans, line them with
  3. parchment paper, and butter the parchment. Dust with flour and knock out the excess.
  4. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon; set aside.
  5. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and both sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, and beat until just incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Reduce the speed to low; add the flour mixture in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, alternating with the sour cream, and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Set the pans on a wire rack to cool for at least 20 minutes before loosening the sides of the cakes from the pans with a small knife and inverting them onto a wire rack. Remove the parchment paper and turn the cakes right side up; let them cool completely.
  7. Make the Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
  8. Beat the butter in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until smooth. Add the cream cheese and beat until well combined. Add only 3 cups (340 g) confectioners’ sugar and the salt; beat until smooth. Add the chocolate and mix until well combined. If the frosting seems too loose, add additional confectioners’ sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it becomes thicker. Do not overbeat. The frosting can be made up to 24 hours in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator; let it soften at room temperature before using.
  9. Place one cooled cake layer on a serving platter. If necessary, trim the top to create a flat surface. Spread about ¾ cup (200 g) of frosting on top. Add the top layer and trim if you want (some people prefer a domed cake top). Spread a very thin layer of frosting over the sides and top of the cake (called a crumb coat, this helps to keep loose cake crumbs under control when you frost the outside of the cake), and place it in the refrigerator for 10 minutes to firm up. Spread the sides and top of the cake with the remaining frosting. Refrigerate for another 10 minutes to set before serving.
  10. How to Store
  11. This cake will keep beautifully in a cake saver in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Allow to come to room temperature before serving.

 

In the Oven: Gonzo Cake

Next up is a quirky cake in honor of Hunter S. Thompson. The purple comes from ube (purple yam powder) – found online, or at a Filipino grocery.

Posting date is July 19!

In the Oven: Gonzo Cake
 
Author:
Yield: 1 8-inch (20-cm) three-laYer cake • 10 to 12 servings
Ingredients
For the Purple Velvet Cake
  • 1 (4-ounce/115-g) package purple yam powder (about 1⁄2 cup plus 2 tablespoons; see Baked Note)
  • 1⁄4 cup (60 ml) canola oil or other vegetable oil
  • 21⁄4 cups (285 g) cake flour
  • 3⁄4 cup (90 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 ounces (1 stick/115 g) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the pans
  • 1⁄4 cup (50 g) vegetable shortening, at room temperature
  • 2 cups (400 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • Blue and red food dyes or gels
  • 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
For the Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 3 cups (340 g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 8 ounces (2 sticks/225 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 (8-ounce/226-g) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (optional)
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
For Décor
  • Purple sprinkles (optional)
Instructions
Make the Purple Velvet Cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C). Butter three 8-inch (20-cm) cake pans, line them with parchment paper, and butter the parchment. Dust with flour and knock out the excess.
  2. In a small saucepan over very low heat, stir together 2 cups (480 ml) water with the purple yam powder and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is rehydrated, between 5 and 20 minutes depending on the heat. Once the mixture looks and feels like mashed potatoes (or mashed yams) remove it from the heat and whisk in the canola oil.
  3. In a large bowl, sift both flours, the baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and shortening on medium speed until creamy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat on medium speed until the mixture is fluffy, about 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to low. Add the flour mixture in three equal parts, alternating with the purple yam mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and then mix on low speed for a few more seconds.
  5. Mix equal drops of red and blue food dyes in a small bowl to make purple, then scrape it into the cake batter and mix until a pale purple color is achieved.
  6. In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites by hand or in your standing mixer until soft peaks form; do not overbeat. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the batter.
  7. Divide the batter equally among all three pans. Use your spatula to spread the batter evenly. Bake the cakes, rotating the pans halfway through baking, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean, 20 to 30 minutes. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and cool for 20 minutes. Invert the cakes onto the rack, remove the pans, and let them cool completely. Remove the parchment.
Make the Cream Cheese Frosting
  1. Sift the confectioners’ sugar into a large bowl and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until it is completely smooth. Add the cream cheese and beat until combined.
  3. Add the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, if using, and salt and beat just until smooth; do not overbeat or the frosting will lose structure. Chill the frosting in the refrigerator for about 5 minutes. (The frosting can be made up to 24 hours ahead; cover the bowl tightly, refrigerate, and let the filling soften at room temperature before using.)
Assemble the Gonzo Cake
  1. Place one cake layer on a serving platter. Trim the top to create a flat surface and evenly spread about 11⁄4 cups (330 g) of the frosting on top. Add the next layer, trim and frost it, then add the third layer. Trim the top layer. Spread a very thin layer of frosting over the sides and top of the cake (a crumb coat, which helps to keep loose cake crumbs under control when you frost the outside of the cake) and place it in the refrigerator to firm up, about 15 minutes.
  2. Remove the cake from the refrigerator. Frost the sides and top with the remaining frosting. Sprinkle the outer edge of the top of the cake with the sprinkles, if you like. Chill the cake in the refrigerator to set the frosting, about 15 minutes. Slice and serve.
Notes
How to store: This cake can be covered in a cake saver in a cool room for up to 3 days. If you refrigerate it, make sure to cover it tightly and bring it back to room temperature before serving.

Substituting Sweet Potatoes for Yam Powder:
- Swap the yam powder in the recipe for 2 cups (420 g) roasted, peeled, and mashed sweet potatoes. Ideally, use fresh sweet potatoes, though canned puree without any other ingredients should be okay.
- Bake the mashed sweet potato cake layers slightly longer than the yam powder layers, 5 to 7 more minutes.
- Omit the purple food dye. the mashed sweet potato cake is a pretty sherbet-orange color, and the purple dye will just ruin it.

 

In the Oven: Orange Buttermilk Picnic Cake with Chocolate Chips

Next up is this summery Orange Buttermilk Picnic Cake with Chocolate Chips.
Doesn’t it sound just right for your 4th of July picnic?
Posting date is: Sunday, 5 July.

Orange Buttermilk Picnic Cake with Chocolate Chips
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Yield: 12 servings
Ingredients
For the Buttermilk Cake
  • 1 orange
  • ½ cup (120 ml) well-shaken buttermilk
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons (70 g), plus 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons (85 g) cake flour
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ cup (165 g) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 3 ounces (¾ stick/85 g) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the pan
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • ¾ teaspoon pure orange extract
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 ounces (115 g) semisweet mini chocolate chips or coarsely chopped regular size chocolate chips (about ¾ cup)
  • 1 tablespoon orange liqueur or canola oil
For the Orange Syrup
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier (optional)
For the Assembly
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
Instructions
Make the Buttermilk Cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C).
  2. Butter one 9-inch (23-cm) round cake pan, line the bottom with parchment paper, and butter the
  3. parchment. Dust the parchment with flour and knock out the excess.
  4. Zest and juice the orange. Set aside the zest. Place ¼ cup (60 ml) of the juice into a glass measuring cup and reserve the rest for the orange syrup (below). Add the buttermilk to the orange juice in the measuring cup and whisk until combined. Set aside.
  5. Sift ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons (70 g) all-purpose flour, the cake flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder into a small bowl.
  6. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the brown sugar and
  7. butter on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and egg yolk and beat well, then add the orange extract, vanilla, and orange zest until incorporated. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, and mix again for 15 seconds. Add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the buttermilk mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
  8. Toss the chocolate chips in the liqueur and sprinkle them with 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour. Toss to coat the chips in the flour. Fold the chocolate chips into the batter and pour the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth the top. Bake, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, plus another minute or two, 32 to 37 minutes. (Since this is a picnic cake, you should bake it a tiny bit more than you are normally comfortable with. This cake will still be moist—you just don’t want it “falling-apart moist.”)
  9. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool for 15 minutes.
Make the Orange Syrup
  1. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over very low heat, whisk together the orange juice, sugar, and Grand Marnier, a tablespoon at a time (to taste), until combined. Once the sugar is melted, increase the heat to medium-low and simmer until the syrup is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove it from the heat.
  2. Turn the still-warm cake out of the pan onto the rack, remove the parchment paper, and flip the
  3. cake right side up. Place the wire rack over a baking sheet. Using a toothpick or wooden skewer, poke holes evenly all over the cake. Brush the cake with the orange syrup and allow it to sink in and set, about 15 minutes. Dust it with the confectioners’ sugar immediately before serving (or before packing up for your picnic).
Notes
How to store: The cake will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

 

In the Oven: Dad’s Black Cocoa Bundt with Butter Whiskey Glaze

Let’s celebrate dads, chocolate and whiskey with a Bundt cake! Posting date is June 21.

Dad’s Black Cocoa Bundt with Butter Whiskey Glaze
 
Author:
Yield: 1 Bundt cake • 12 to 16 servings
Ingredients
For the Black Cocoa Bundt
  • ½ cup (40 g) unsweetened dark cocoa powder, such as Valrhona
  • ¼ cup (20 g) unsweetened black cocoa powder (see Baked Note and page 19)
  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
  • 1 cup (240 ml) hot coffee
  • 2¼ cups (285 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1¼ teaspoons kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2¼ cups (495 g) firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons (210 ml) canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1½ cups (360 ml) heavy cream
For the Butter Whiskey Glaze
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2½ to 3 cups (280 to 340 g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 3 tablespoons good-quality whiskey
For Décor
  • Chocolate sprinkles (optional)
Instructions
Make the Black Cocoa Bundt
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Butter the inside of a 12-cup Bundt pan, dust with cocoa powder, and knock out the excess. Alternatively, liberally apply a nonstick cooking spray, dust with cocoa, and knock out the excess. Either way, make sure the pan’s nooks and crannies are all thoroughly coated.
  2. Place both cocoa powders and the instant espresso powder in a medium heatproof bowl. Pour the hot coffee directly over the powders and whisk until combined. Set aside to cool.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.
  4. In another large bowl, whisk the brown sugar, oil, and vanilla until combined. Add the eggs and egg yolks and whisk again until just combined. Add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the chocolate mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Whisk each addition gently to combine.
  5. Whip the cream (either by hand or with a standing mixer) just until medium peaks form. Fold one-third of the whipped cream into the batter to lighten it. Fold in half of the remaining whipped cream until just incorporated, then fold in the rest until no streaks remain.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake in the middle of the oven until a small sharp knife or toothpick comes out with just a few moist crumbs, 50 to 55 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Then gently loosen the sides of the cake from the pan and turn it out onto the rack so that the crown is facing up. Place a baking sheet (lined with parchment paper, if you like, for ease of cleaning) underneath the wire rack.
Make the Butter Whiskey Glaze
  1. In a saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cream. In three parts, add 2½ cups (280 g) confectioners’ sugar, whisking to combine after each addition. Add the whiskey and whisk until uniform. The glaze should be thick and ropy, but pourable—not runny and thin. If the glaze looks too thin, add the remaining ½ cup (60 g) confectioners’ sugar and whisk to combine.
Assemble the Black Cocoa Bundt
  1. Pour the glaze over the room-temperature cake in thick ribbons; it will slowly drip down the sides. Add a few sprinkles to the top, if you like. Let set for about 15 minutes before serving.
Notes
How to store: The cake will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.