Tag Archive for KitchenAid

Operation Make a Cake

If you have been reading my blog, you probably know that I consider myself a cookie queen. As for baking cakes by scratch, I am kind of a newbie.

A couple of months ago, I decided it was time to start baking cakes. Operation Make a Cake was in full effect. The KitchenAid was in overdrive and the oven was working overtime. Cakes and cupcakes were popping out of the oven on a nightly basis. There were some good ones and some not so good ones; finally I came across an excellent recipe.strawberry batter

After all of my cake trials and errors, I decided to take on a strawberry cake with strawberry filling. As a cake novice, I was a little nervous, but thought, it is now or never. Of course I made some sample strawberry cupcakes and there were delish! After spending a couple of hours, mixing, baking, filling, frosting, and decorating, I had the perfect strawberry cake….or so I thought.

Something went wrong, majorly wrong! I was mortified! What happened? I was told it was hard and mushy. How could it be both? They were very inconsistent messages, and I was not even able to try it! After some tears, swear words, more tears and questions, I decided that maybe cakes were not for me.blank cake

My husband came to the rescue with hugs and advice. My confidence was back up (kind of), and I was back in the cake baking business. After more researching, mixing, tasting and a few pounds, I found it. The cake looked great and I had a good feeling about it. It tasted so good, I didn’t even regret not frosting it.

Fast forward a couple of months later, one of my family members asked me to make them…you got it, a strawberry cake with strawberry filling. Of course I said I would make it, although I was nervous. With tender loving care and lot of prayer, I made theside of cake strawberry cake. It looked beautiful from the outside, but how was the inside? Would it be moist, light and most of all…unforgetable? My anxiety rose as the cake was being cut. Did it have the same issues as the last strawberry cake? NO WAY!! It was delicious, moist strawberry cake with homemade strawberry filling, with real strawberries, and butter cream frosting. The cake was a hit.

In case you are wondering what the problem was in the first cake, it was the filling. Apparently I did not let it cook down and thicken enough. LESSON LEARNED!mels cake

Am I still nervous about cakes? Sometimes, but I have been learning tons and my confidence is growing.

What makes you nervous about baking?

Quest for the Perfect Brownie

I am on a mission to find the perfect brownie recipe. My husband is a brownie fanatic. He loves fudgy, extra chewy brownies,cocoa brownies and his favorite ones come from a local bakery. Here’s the thing, I want to make him the perfect homemade brownie. So at midnight last night, I started my quest. Before I start, I must admit my sad secret……I have never in my life made brownies from scratch. Crazy, I know, coming from a girl who loves to bake.

Having recently discovered Rose Levy Beranbaum, I decided to try out her Cocoa Brownie recipe. (I am an avid visitor of her blog and website.) I followed her recipe to the T, even whisking the batter by hand and not using my trusty KitchenAid mixer. The only thing omitted was the pecans, because I did not have any in the house and I was not about to head out and get some at midnight. cocoa brownies with carmelTo add my own little flare, I added some Carmel Bits to half of the pan of brownies.

These brownies turned out wonderfully. They were very fudgy, cakey and moist. The brownies were not overly sweet or rich. Were they the exact match to my husband’s perfect brownie? No, but he still ate his fair share. These Cocoa Brownies are wonderful and will definitely fill your chocolate craving. However, I am still on the mission in finding the perfect chewy brownie.

Cocoa Brownies

(Rose Levy Beranbaum, Rose’s Christmas Cookies)

1 ½ cups-coarsely chopped pecans

14 tablespoons-unsalted butter

½ cup + 2 teaspoons –unsweetened cocoa (preferably Dutch-processed)

1 cup + 3 tablespoons-sugar

3-large eggs

2 teaspoons- pure vanilla extract

½ cup- bleached all-purpose flour

Pinch of saltCocoa brownies with c bits

Equipment: 8 x 8 x2 inch baking pan, preferably metal (if using a glass pan, lower the oven temperature by 25 degrees F.), bottom lined with parchment or wax paper, sprayed with nonstick vegetable spray or butter.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

-Place pecans on a cookie sheet and toast them, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely.

-In a medium saucepan or in a microwave-proof bowl, melt the butter. Remove from the heat source and whisk in the cocoa. Whisk in the sugar, then the eggs and vanilla extract. Add the flour, salt, and nuts and stir into the mixture using a large rubber spatula or wooden spoon.

-Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.

-Bake for 30 to 40 minutes. A wooden pick inserted in the center should come out with moist crumbs still clinging to it. Do not over bake.

-Place the pan on a wire rack and cool completely. Use a small metal spatula to loosen the brownie from the sides of the pan and invert onto the back of a cookie sheet. Peel off the liner and reinvert the brownie onto a cutting surface. Use a serrated knife to cut 2 inch squares.

3 cocoa brownines