Monthly Archives: April 2016

Chocolate Fudge Cake Recipe

 

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Makes one 9- inch round layer cake feeding about 18 people

Chocolate cake

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 cups hot brewed coffee

2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

2 ½ cups granulated sugar

4 large eggs

1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray two 9-inch round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray. Cover the bottom of each pan with a parchment paper circle and spray again. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of flour in each pan. Rotate to coat all surfaces and knock out excess. Set pans aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine cocoa and brewed coffee, mixing with a whisk until smooth. Set aside to cool completely.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer using the paddle attachment on medium speed, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla.
  5. On low speed, beat in one third of the flour mixture followed by one half of the cocoa mixture. Add another third of the flour mixture followed by the remaining cocoa mixture. Blend in remaining flour mixture. Combine well.
  6. Evenly divide the batter between the pans and bake for 40-50 minutes or until a small knife inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean. Cool cakes until barely warm and remove from pans.

Chocolate Fudge Icing

3 cups heavy cream

3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

3 cups milk chocolate chips

  1. Bring heavy cream to a simmer in a large saucepan. Remove from heat and add both chocolates. Whisk until melted.
  2. Cool down by whisking over an ice water bath or chilling in the refrigerator until frosting is of spreading consistency.

Assembly of the Cake

Additional whole chocolate covered coffee beans to decorate the top of the finished cake

  1. Place 1 cake layer onto a serving platter. Spread about ¾ cup of Chocolate Fudge Icing evenly over the entire layer using an offset spatula.
  2. Place second cake layer on top of the icing. Press down gently to seal.
  3. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining Chocolate Fudge Icing. There will be extra to decorate the top of the cake.
  4. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip half full with the Chocolate Fudge Icing and pipe stars or rosettes on top of the cake decoratively. Top each star or rosette with a chocolate covered coffee bean. Chill until ready to serve.

Note:

Any extra Chocolate Fudge Icing can be stored in an airtight container and frozen for up to 6 months. It can be melted down in the microwave and used as a chocolate sauce over ice cream or cake.

Tips for Success:

  1. When creaming the butter and sugar in the electric mixer, do not rush the process. It may take 3-5 minutes. The butter and sugar mixture should be light, fluffy and the color will lighten as air becomes incorporated. These air cells help create the fine texture of the cake.
  2. When combining the dry ingredients, be sure to whisk them thoroughly. This will ensure the chemical leaveners, baking powder and baking soda, are evenly distributed throughout the batter.
  3. Remove the cakes from their pans when they are barely warm. They will be easier to remove when not completely cooled.

 

Knotted Challah Rolls

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Makes about 12 rolls 

 

 

 

5 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons salt

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon warm water (110° F)

2 1/2 teaspoons fast rising dry yeast (1 envelope)

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 large eggs

1 large egg yolk

Cornmeal for sprinkling

 

Egg Wash

1 large egg beaten with a whisk

Black and white sesame seeds or poppy seeds for sprinkling, optional

 

  1. In a bowl of an electric mixer, place the flour, sugar, and salt. Using the paddle attachment, mix the ingredients on low speed.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk the yeast into the water. Add the oil, eggs, and egg yolk. Whisk well.
  3. On low speed, add the liquid ingredients into the electric mixer with the dry ingredients.
  4. Mix the dough for about two minutes on medium speed until well combined.
  5. Place the dough onto a work surface and knead well until smooth and elastic, about 3-5 minutes. Place the dough in a large mixing bowl that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Flip the dough over so the greased side is facing up.
  6. Allow the dough to rise until it has doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
  7. Using a dough cutter, divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece out until it is about 8-9 inches long.
  8. Form each roll into a knot and place the knot onto a parchment paper lined sheet pan sprinkled with cornmeal.
  9. Repeat rolling out and shaping the remaining 11 pieces of dough. Place them onto the sheet pan as above spacing them about 2 inches apart.
  10. Cover the rolls lightly with plastic wrap and allow the rolls to rise until they have doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  11. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 375° F. Using a pastry brush, egg wash each roll.
  12. Bake for 5-10 minutes and egg wash one more time. Sprinkle each roll with some of the sesame or poppy seeds, if using. Return to the oven and continue baking rolls for another 10-15 minutes or until they are golden brown. Cool on a rack.Rolls

Free Form Apple Tart

Makes 8 Servings

Apple Tart

Flaky Pastry

1 cup all-purpose flour

½ cup whole wheat flour

1/8 teaspoon salt

12 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch cubes

1/3 cup plus 1 teaspoon ice water

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Filling

3-4 medium crisp apples such as Gala or Granny Smith peeled, quartered, cored, and thinly sliced

¼ cup granulated sugar

¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted

3 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter cut into tiny pieces

1 egg, lightly beaten (to use as a glaze)

¼ cup granulated sugar for sprinkling

Make Flaky Pastry

  1. In a food processor, pulse both flours, salt, and butter until butter is the size of peas.
  2. Add the ice water and vinegar all at once and pulse just until water is incorporated.
  3. Pour the mixture into a medium bowl and gently gather into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and flatten into a 1 inch thick disk. Chill for 20 minutes.

Assembly

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to a rough 12-14 inch circle.
  3. In a small bowl, combine ¼ cup granulated sugar, cinnamon, flour, and walnuts.
  4. Scatter the sugar and nut mixture all over the rolled out crust leaving 2 inches of the edge uncovered.
  5. Arrange sliced apples on top of nut mixture. Scatter tiny butter pieces all over the apples.
  6. Using a pastry brush, brush border of crust with beaten egg.
  7. Fold the edges of the tart up over the apples creating a 1½-2 inch border, pressing down gently. Transfer the tart to a large pizza pan covered with parchment paper.
  8. Brush the edges of the tart with the beaten egg and sprinkle the entire tart, including the border, with the remaining ¼ cup sugar.
  9. Bake the tart for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown and the apples are softened.
  10. Serve the tart warm, cut into slices and topped with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Tips for Success

  1. Be sure butter and water are very cold to ensure the flakiest crust.
  2. Do not overmix flaky pastry or excess gluten will develop making a less than tender crust.
  3. Once flaky pastry is wrapped in plastic wrap, it can be chilled in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or frozen for up to 3 months.
  4. Although the Apple-Walnut Tart is best eaten the same day it is made, it can be re-heated in a 325° F oven for 10 minutes or until it is warm to the touch.