My Cake Decorating Gallery

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Caramel Cake with Carmelized Butter Frosting

Another Daring Baker's Challenge! I actually planned to serve this cake on Nov 29th which was the "reveal date" so as I write this, I have not cut into the cake! I will post a picture of the inside of the cake later after we all enjoy it for my family's Thanksgiving celebration (just a few days later than normal). I already tasted the frosting and it was awesome so I can't wait to try it together.

The caramel cake came together pretty easily, the only "tricky" part was making the caramel sauce. My caramel sauce came out OK though since I did it ahead of time, parts of it hardened but I was able to melt that back down later, for the most part, and I had enough for the frosting and the cake.

The frosting is awesome and I've never used "browned butter" before but that really makes the frosting pretty killer, I highly recommend it. I trimmed off the sides of the cake because I left them in a little long so they were a little crisp, and after tasting that, I know the cake will be awesome. Incredibly moist!

For decorations, I used those delicious Daelman's Original Dutch Caramel Wafers (Stroopwafel) which I thought would fit the theme of the cake. I cut them into little strips and made a windmill of sorts on top of the cake and when I dipped one of the scraps of the wafers into the frosting as a taste test, it was awesome. I highly recommend the combination! Yum!

The recipe is from Shuna Fish Lydon of Eggbeater as posted in Bay Area Bites and our hosts for this month's challenge were Dolores of Culinary Curiosity, Alex (Brownie of the Blondie and Brownie duo , and Jenny of Foray into Food. For those who were making gluten-free, etc versions of the recipe, Natalie of Gluten-a-Go-Go ( was there to assist.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Sugar Free Flourless Chocolate Cake

My dad does the "sugar free" and "flour free" thing so when his birthday rolled around this year, I thought I would try to at least make a flourless cake using unsweetened chocolate and splenda, and hope for the best. All of my cake decorating skills are lost on poor Dad, so this was the best idea I could come up with!

I searched online for a good recipe and there are a few out there but I decided to go with a "normal" recipe and just substitute splenda and unsweetened chocolate and hope for the best. This cake was based off of David Lebovitz's famous "Chocolate Idiot Cake".

I can't say it went smoothly but all in all, it was a success and my dad seemed to like the cake - see below for the notes about my adventure!

Sugar Free Chocolate Idiot Cake

One 9-inch (23 cm) cake

This cake is extremely rich, and tastes like the most delicious, silkiest, most supremely-chocolate ganache you've ever had. As mentioned, it's equally good a few days later, and only an idiot could possibly mess it up. You don't need to use ScharffenBerger chocolate for this cake, but use a good one—you'll appreciate it when you taste your first melt-in-your-mouth bite.

Note for sugar free: This cake will not turn out exactly like David's version if you use splenda and unsweetened chocolate, however a person who never eats sugar will find it enjoyable, and even I didn't think it was that bad. I had meant to use those fabulous Sugar Free Valor chocolate bars but the stupid market in Milford stopped selling those for some reason, so I had to go with unsweetened and hope I was adding enough Splenda. My sugar-free notes are included in the recipe below in bolded italics!

10 ounces (290 gr) ScharffenBerger bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used 10 ounces of ghiradelli unsweetened chocolate bars)
7 ounces (200 gr) butter, salted or unsalted, cut into pieces
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup (200 gr) sugar (I used 1 cup Splenda plus at least 1/4c extra due to use of unsweetened vs bittersweet chocolate)

Preheat the oven to 350F (175 C).

1. Butter a 9-inch (23 cm) springform pan* and dust it with cocoa powder, tapping out any excess. If you suspect your springform pan isn't 100% water-tight, wrap the outside with aluminum foil, making sure it goes all the way up to the outer rim. (Okay, I did this and my cake was still swimming by the time it was supposed to be done baking. Just used a regular cake pan, why does it need to be springform? Bad idea for floating in water! Note: If you get water leakage, just pour the water off and bake a little longer and cross your fingers... mine turned out OK)

2. Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler (or microwave), stirring occasionally, until smooth. Remove from heat.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar, then whisk in the melted chocolate mixture until smooth. (You will notice that the Splenda does not play well with the eggs and it will cause this mixture to be all weird, lumpy, etc. I added a splash of Sugar Free Vanilla flavoring syrup to try and thin it down so it wasn't like spreading a cookie dough in the pan)

4. Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan and cover the top of the pan snugly with a sheet of foil. Put the springform pan into a larger baking pan, such as a roasting pan, and add enough hot water to the baking pan to come about halfway up to the outside of the cake pan. (I'm thinking that a regular pan would be easier here, or really don't mess up your foil wrap!)

Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. (I think I had to bake mine less, because (probably) due to the Splenda, the cake won't rise and you'll have a thin pancake that doesn't need as much time to bake, it seems. Or maybe it was all the water?? haha)

You'll know the cake is done when it feels just set, like quivering chocolate pudding. If you gently touch the center, your finger should come away clean.

5. Lift the cake pan from the water bath and remove the foil. Let cake cool completely on a cooling rack.

Serve thin wedges of this very rich cake at room temperature, with creme anglaise, ice cream, or whipped cream. (I bought a jar of sugar free Smucker's hot fudge sauce and spread it over the top. This never dried and it has a fake sugar flavor, but it dressed up the bitterness of the cake which needed a little more splenda I think. Served with sugar free cool whip, as well!)

Storage: This Chocolate Idiot Cake can be wrapped and chilled in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.

So, I tried a sliver after I gave the cake to my dad and for being sugar free and having used Splenda, etc etc etc... it wasn't half bad. It was like a thick brownie bar cake, and the sugar free hot fudge sauce on top was nice but also extra splenda or other sugar free chocolate or fruit on top would also be great, with sugar free whipped cream, of course!

My dad said it was good but I'm not sure if he'd tell me if he didn't like it or not? But - I at least tried it so for all of you sugar free people out there, this wasn't half bad and might cheer up the diabetic near you! Also, I know David Lebovitz has excellent recipes so I look forward to buying some fabulous quality chocolate and trying his original recipe sometime in the future, it looks awesome!

Creamy Green Chicken Enchiladas

Maybe making these twice in one weekend was a little overboard, but in my defense, the first time was at my friend Natalie's house on a Friday for a "cooking night" of sorts! The cooking club lives on! I also had no plans for the following Sunday's dinner and I knew The Husband loves mexican and I thought, I'd be a nice wife and make this recipe again since it was so easy and he missed out on it. He really enjoyed it and we both agreed it is an awesome variation on your typical "chicken enchiladas" - delicious!

This is a recipe from Martha Stewart, also found online and in her Food booklets that my mom signs up for. I didn't really make any major modifications - just little things. I didn't waste time roasting garlic.. I like the fresh taste of garlic so I used fresh mixed into the "filling." I also was concerned about the lack of seasoning for the filling so I added cumin, more garlic than called for, coriander, and a can of corn. We also made extra enchiladas than the 12 called for so that resulted in less sauce per enchilada, but it was still great because it soaks into the tortillas.

Also, at Natalie's, I didn't quite read the recipe thoroughly so we did a few of the steps out of sequence, which may have changed the flavor of it slightly but it was great both times. Also, for Natalie's we used a rotisserie chicken from CostCo (they are good there), and for the one at home I just roasted chicken breasts and thighs (and then removed the skin and bones to shred) - and both worked great. So just use the type of chicken that you prefer or have time for.

Creamy Verde Chicken Enchiladas

Serves 6
3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken breast halves
Coarse salt and ground pepper
5 garlic cloves, unpeeled
2 jars (16 ounces each) medium green salsa
3/4 cup heavy cream
12 corn tortillas (6-inch)
12 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, coarsely shredded (3 cups)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Season chicken with salt and pepper; place with garlic on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of breast (avoiding bone) registers 165 degrees, 25 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine salsa and cream.

Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Once chicken is cool enough to handle, shred meat, discarding skin and bones. Peel and chop garlic. In a large bowl, combine chicken, garlic, and 1/2 cup salsa mixture. (I also added a can of corn, cumin, coriander, and extra fresh garlic here)

Stack tortillas flat, and wrap in damp paper towels; microwave on high for 1 minute to soften. Working with one tortilla at a time, dip in salsa mixture, lay flat, and fill with 1/3 cup chicken mixture. Roll up and arrange, seam side down, 8 enchiladas lengthwise and 4 crosswise in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Top with remaining salsa mixture, then cheese.

Bake until cheese is browned and salsa is bubbling, 40 to 45 minutes; let rest 10 minutes. Serve, sprinkled with cilantro, if desired.

This was such a tasty dinner, and the photos may not be the prettiest but you won't care once you try this recipe! Martha's photo (see above website) is a little prettier but these things just aren't very photogenic. :) Enjoy!

Thanks to Natalie and AJ for picking a great idea for cooking night, can't wait to see what we do next!