In the Oven: Toffee Coffee Cake Surprise

Surprise! We’re making a coffee cake next, for Groundhog Day. Posting date is February 1 – let’s bake!

Toffee Coffee Cake Surprise
 
Author:
Recipe type: Cake
Yield: 1 Bundt cake • 12 to 16 servings
Ingredients
For the Toffee (30 ounces/850 g, approximately 4 cups)
  • 1 cup (150 g) whole almonds, darkly toasted (see page 19)
  • 8 ounces (2 sticks/225 g) unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons (125 g) granulated sugar
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons (140 g) firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 ounces (225 g) good quality dark chocolate (60 to 72% cacao), coarsely chopped
For the Toffee Coffee Cake
  • 6 ounces (1 ½ sticks/170 g) unsalted butter, cool but not cold, cubed
  • 2 cups (255 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (130 g) cake flour
  • 1½ cups (330 g) firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • ¾ cup (150 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 ounces (115 g) homemade toffee (see above), or 3 Skor or Heath bars, chopped very finely (see Baked Note)
  • ½ cup (75 g) coarsely chopped toasted almonds (see page 19)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1½ cups (345 g) sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
Instructions
Make the Toffee
  1. Butter a 9-by-13-by-2-inch (23-by-33-by-5-cm) glass or metal baking pan (do not use nonstick spray).
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the almonds until they are super finely chopped, almost but not quite powdery. Place in a bowl and set aside.
  3. Place the butter in a medium pan over low heat. When the butter is halfway melted, add the granulated and brown sugars, the corn syrup, and 2 tablespoons water. Cook over low heat, stirring very gently with a silicone or rubber spatula, until completely combined. Stop stirring. Clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan and turn the heat up to medium-high. The mixture will start to bubble and turn brown. If the browning seems uneven, gently swirl the pan during the cooking process, but do not stir. After 10 to 15 minutes, when the mixture is just under 300°F (150°C), remove the pan from the heat and remove the candy thermometer. Stir in the vanilla and salt. Pour into the prepared pan. After the mixture has evened out, wait 1 minute, then sprinkle the chocolate pieces all over the toffee. Wait for the chocolate to melt, about 3 minutes, then use an offset spatula to spread the chocolate into an even layer. Sprinkle the ground almonds over the chocolate in an even layer and ever so gently press them into the chocolate. Freeze the pan for about 30 minutes.
  4. Remove the pan from the freezer and break the toffee into pieces with a sharp knife. Measure out 4 ounces (115 g), chop it very finely, and set aside; save the remainder of the toffee for another use. Store for up to 1 week between layers of parchment in an airtight container at cool room temperature.
Make the Toffee Coffee Cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Generously spray the inside of a 10- or 12-cup (2.4- or 2.8-L) Bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray; alternatively, butter it thoroughly, dust it with flour, and knock out excess flour.
  2. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, both flours, the brown and granulated sugars, the vanilla, and salt on medium speed until the mixture resembles sandy crumbs, 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Scoop out 2⁄3 cup (90 g) of this crumb mixture and place it in a large bowl. Stir in the reserved ounces (115 g) toffee and the almonds and set aside.
  4. Sprinkle the baking powder and baking soda over the remaining crumb mixture in the mixing bowl. Beat on medium speed for 15 seconds to incorporate. Add the egg and egg yolks and beat on medium speed until combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the sour cream and beat until smooth. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and beat again for seconds.
  5. Spoon half the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth the surface with an offset spatula. Spoon the dry toffee/nut mixture on top of the batter in an even layer, keeping it in the center of the batter, away from the sides of the pan. (If some of the toffee mixture touches the sides, nudge it gently back toward the center as best you can.) Cover with the remaining batter and smooth the top with an offset spatula.
  6. Bake, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 45 to 55 minutes, depending on your Bundt pan size or shape. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool for about 30 minutes. Use a small knife or very small spatula to loosen the sides of the cake from the pan. Turn the cake out onto the rack and let it cool completely. Sift confectioners’ sugar over the cake and serve.
Notes
How to store: the cake can be stored, tightly covered, at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Excerpted from Baked Occasions: Desserts for Leisure Activities, Holidays, and Informal Celebrations, by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. Copyright © 2014 by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito.  Excerpted by permission of Stewart, Tabori & Chang, an imprint of Abrams. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

In the Oven: Gingersnaps with Lemon Sugar

Ready to spice things up?
Next posting date is Sunday, 18 January.

In the Oven: Gingersnaps with Lemon Sugar
 
Author:
Recipe type: Cookies
Yield: 36 Cookies
Ingredients
For the Lemon Sugar
  • ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
  • Zest of 1 lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
For the Gingersnaps
  • 1¼ cups (250 g) granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon (195 ml) canola oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon (75 ml) molasses
  • 2 2⁄3 cups (340 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
Instructions
Make the Lemon Sugar
  1. Place the sugar in a small shallow bowl. Sprinkle the zest over the sugar. Use your fingers to rub the lemon zest and sugar together.
Make the Gingersnaps
  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar and canola oil until combined. Add the egg and egg yolk and whisk to combine. Add the molasses and whisk to combine.
  3. In another large bowl, whisk together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, and salt.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Using your (very clean) hands, combine the dry and wet ingredients together in the bowl, kneading as necessary.
  5. Scoop and roll the dough into balls about 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter.
  6. Roll them in the lemon sugar to coat and place them on the prepared baking sheets about 1½ inches (4 cm) apart.
  7. For soft cookies, bake 12 to 15 minutes; for a cookie that is crunchy on the outside yet soft on the inside, bake 15 to 20 minutes.
  8. Remove the sheets from the oven and place them on cooling racks. Serve warm or transfer the cookies directly to the racks to cool completely.

Excerpted from Baked Occasions: Desserts for Leisure Activities, Holidays, and Informal Celebrations, by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. Copyright © 2014 by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito.  Excerpted by permission of Stewart, Tabori & Chang, an imprint of Abrams. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

In the Oven: Hair of the Dog Cake

Let’s ring in the new year with Hair of the Dog Cake, AKA Rum-Flavored Hot Milk Cake with Broiled Rum Brown Sugar Frosting. Posting date is January 4!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Hair of the Dog Cake
 
Author:
Yield: 1 9- by-13-inch cake • 24 servings
Ingredients
For the Hot Milk Cake
  • 2 cups (255 g) all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons (45 g) cake flour
  • 2½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 ounces (1½ sticks/170 g) unsalted butter, cut into chunks, plus more for the pan
  • 1¼ cups (300 ml) whole milk
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2¼ cups (450 g) granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) dark rum
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
For the Broiled Frosting
  • 4 ounces (1 stick/115 g) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 1 cup (220 g) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) heavy cream
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons (90 ml) dark rum
For the Rum-Flavored Whipped Cream (optional)
  • 1¼ cups (300 ml) heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons superfine sugar
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons dark rum
Instructions
Make the Hot Milk Cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Butter the sides and bottom of a 9-by-13-inch (23-by-33-cm) pan. Line the bottom with a sheet of parchment paper, and butter the parchment.
  2. Sift the all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  3. In a saucepan set over low heat, stir together the butter and milk until the butter is melted and the mixture is hot and begins to bead (small bubbles appear) around the edge of the pan. Keep the mixture on very low heat (avoid a rolling boil) and stir occasionally while you make the batter below.
  4. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs, egg yolk, and granulated sugar on medium-high speed until thick and pale (the mixture will change color as it thickens). Replace the whisk attachment with the paddle attachment. Add the dry mixture all at once and beat the on the lowest speed until just incorporated.
  5. Remove the hot milk mixture from the heat. Stir in the rum and vanilla extract. Pour the hot milk mixture into the batter and beat until just combined.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake the cake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out with just a few moist crumbs. Transfer the cake, still in its pan, to a cooling rack and cool for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, make the frosting, as it is important to apply it to a very warm cake.
Make the Broiled Frosting
  1. Preheat the broiler.
  2. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Remove from the heat, add the brown sugar, and stir until combined. Add the cream and rum and whisk until incorporated.
  3. Pour the frosting over the warm cake (still in its pan) and place in the oven directly under the broiler.
  4. Broil for 2 to 4 minutes, until the top of the frosting is just starting to brown and looks bubbly; we recommend keeping a close eye on it to prevent burning (you might even want to keep the oven door slightly ajar and watch the cake the entire time). Transfer the cake to a cooling rack.
Make the Rum- Flavored Whipped Cream (Optional)
  1. Pour the cream into a chilled metal bowl and beat vigorously with a chilled whisk for about 1 minute, until soft peaks form (alternatively, you can use a standing mixer). Sprinkle the superfine sugar and rum over the cream and continue whisking vigorously until stiff peaks form.
  2. Serve the cake warm or at room temperature; spoon a dollop of whipped cream on each slice, if you like.
Notes
How to store: the cake can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Excerpted from Baked Occasions: Desserts for Leisure Activities, Holidays, and Informal Celebrations, by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. Copyright © 2014 by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito.  Excerpted by permission of Stewart, Tabori & Chang, an imprint of Abrams. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

In the Oven: Wintermint Cake

Are you ready to bake another gorgeous Baked cake?

Posting date is Sunday, 21 December.

Wintermint Cake
 
Author:
Yield: 1 8-inch three-layer cake • 10 to 12 servings
Ingredients
For the Classic Chocolate Cake
  • ½ cup (40 g) unsweetened dark cocoa powder (such as Valrhona) plus ¼ cup (20 g) unsweetened black cocoa powder; or just ¾ cup (60 g) unsweetened dark cocoa powder
  • 1¼ cups (300 ml) hot water
  • ⅔ cup (150 g) sour cream
  • 2 2⁄3 cups (340 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 ounces (1½ sticks/170 g) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the pans
  • ½ cup (100 g) unflavored vegetable shortening
  • 1 ½ cups (300 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (220 g) firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
For the Peppermint Buttercream
  • 1½ cups (300 g) granulated sugar
  • 1⁄3 cup (40 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups (360 ml) whole milk
  • 1⁄3 cup (75 ml) heavy cream
  • 12 ounces (3 sticks/340 g) unsalted butter, soft but cool, cut into ½-inch (12-mm) cubes
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon pure peppermint extract (not mint or spearmint extract)
  • Food dye or gel
For the Peppermint Chocolate Ganache
  • 6 ounces (170 g) dark chocolate (60 to 72% cacao), coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup (120 ml) heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon crème de menthe (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon pure peppermint extract
Instructions
Make the Classic Chocolate Cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C).
  2. Butter three 8-inch (20-cm) round cake pans, line them with parchment, and butter the parchment. Dust with flour and knock out and discard excess flour.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the cocoa powder, hot water, and sour cream together and set aside to cool.
  4. In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside.
  5. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and shortening together on medium speed until light and smooth, about 5 minutes; the mixture will appear to string or ribbon throughout the bowl. Add both sugars and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 more minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each until incorporated, then add the vanilla and beat together. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again for 30 seconds. Add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the cocoa mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, beating to incorporate after each addition. Scrape down the bowl and beat for a few more seconds.
  6. Divide the batter among the three prepared pans (about 1¼ pounds/565 g of batter per pan). Use your spatula to spread the batter evenly. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer the cakes to a wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes. Invert the cakes onto the rack and let them cool completely. Remove the parchment.
  7. Make the Peppermint Buttercream
  8. In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the sugar and flour together. Add the milk and cream and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly but gently, until the mixture comes to a boil and has thickened, 8 to 12 minutes.
  9. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on high speed until cool, at least 7 to 9 minutes of mixing; you can speed up the process by pressing bags of frozen berries or corn against the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter a few cubes at a time, beating well after each addition. Once all of the butter is thoroughly incorporated, increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the vanilla and peppermint extracts and continue mixing until combined. If the frosting is too soft, put the bowl in the refrigerator to chill slightly, then beat again until it is the proper consistency; if the frosting is too firm, set the bowl over a pot of simmering water and beat with a wooden spoon until it is the proper consistency.
Make the Peppermint Chocolate Ganache
  1. Place the chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl and set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the cream just to a boil. Remove from the heat and pour it over the chocolate. Let the cream sit for 2 to 4 minutes, then, starting in the center of the bowl and working your way out to the edges, slowly stir the chocolate-and-cream mixture in a circle until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth. Whisk for another few minutes to release the excess heat from the mixture. Stir in the crème de menthe, if using, and the peppermint extract. Let the ganache come to room temperature, whisking occasionally, about 15 minutes.
Assemble the Cake
  1. Place one cake layer on a serving platter (or, better yet, a cake turntable). Trim the cake layer to create a flat top surface. Use an offset spatula to spread about ¼ cup (60 ml) of the mint chocolate ganache on the top (not sides) of the layer. Put the cake in the refrigerator to set the ganache for a few minutes. Remove from the refrigerator and spread approximately 1¼ cups (160 g) of the peppermint buttercream on top of the ganache. Top with the next cake layer, trim, add ganache, chill, and then add buttercream as with the first layer. Then add the third layer and trim the top. Spread a very thin layer of peppermint buttercream (known as crumb coating) over the sides and top of the cake and put it in the refrigerator to firm up for about 15 minutes.
  2. To frost the cake ombré-style, distribute the remaining frosting into three separate bowls, putting about ¼ cup (30 g) more frosting in one bowl than in the other two. Add a few drops of food dye to each bowl and mix to create three different shades of pink: dark, medium, and light; the one with slightly more frosting should be the light pink. Obviously, if pink is not your color, you can use any color on the spectrum.
  3. Starting with the bottom of the cake, apply a band of the dark pink frosting up one-third of the cake and all the way around. Wipe the spatula. Apply an equal band of medium pink frosting above the dark pink frosting and wipe the spatula. Then apply an equal band of light pink frosting above the medium pink band, bringing it all the way up to the top edge of the cake. Wipe the spatula. Immediately, use an offset spatula to smooth the bands (you can spin the cake turntable against the edge of the offset spatula to make this step easier; while continuing to smooth the color bands, bring some of the light pink frosting up and just slightly over the top of the cake.
  4. Using the same offset spatula, wiping it as necessary, start from the bottom and dimple the cake in even rows up the sides of the cake (if you are using a cake turntable, rotate the cake and just lift and press with the curved end of the spatula).
  5. Finally, once all of the dimples have been applied to the sides of the cake, spread the remaining light pink frosting over the top of the cake (you might need to add a smidge more light pink icing to your spatula as you work) and continue the dimpling process in toward the center.
  6. To frost the cake more conventionally (not ombré-style), follow the instructions in step 1 to apply the crumb coat. Frost the sides and top of the cake with the remaining buttercream, and refrigerate for about 15 minutes to firm up the entire cake.
Notes
How to store: this cake will keep beautifully in a cake saver at room temperature for up to 3 days, as long as the weather is cool and humidity-free. Otherwise, place it in a cake saver and refrigerate it for up to 3 days; let the chilled cake sit at room temperature for at least 2 hours before serving.

Excerpted from Baked Occasions: Desserts for Leisure Activities, Holidays, and Informal Celebrations, by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. Copyright © 2014 by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito.  Excerpted by permission of Stewart, Tabori & Chang, an imprint of Abrams. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.