Cakes

Bungled Breakfast

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Mental note — do not make pancakes while Hot Fuzz is on the tele.  The concept itself wasn’t bad, and I am referring to the breakfast, not the movie, although I love the movie.  Anyhoo. . . I wanted to make a nice anniversary breakfast and came up with some Apple-Pecan pancakes (since I had to use up an apple and had some pecans in the freezer).  Plus I had an apple syrup / extract that was leftover from a pie that was made a couple of weeks ago.

Tasty! Actually they tasted good. It's the newest thing -- blackened pancakes! And since it is the month of March, a college basketball bracket is always nearby.

Although a little charred, they didn’t taste bad.  They just needed a little bit of extra syrup 🙂  At least these pancakes are great makeshift doggie treats.

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German Chocolate Cake, pt. 2

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German Chocolate Cake

Remember when I posted about Michigan’s birthday and having a German Chocolate Cake?  Turns out I never posted a recipe.  So here it is!  What I came up with is a conglomeration of several different recipes that I’ve collected over the years and I honestly am not sure from whom I’ve adapted this.  A chocolate frosting is included here, which is optional (some folks don’t like a frosting on their German Chocolate Cakes).  This recipe makes 2 9-in. cakes or 3 6-in. cakes.  All the pics that I show here are for a 6-in. cake.  Here’s what you need:

For the cake:

  • 3/4 c., plus 2 T. Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1/2 c. boiling water
  • 1/2 c. canola oil
  • 4 eggs, separated, plus 2 egg whites
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 c. cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • 1/4 t. salt

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter and coat the sides and bottom of the pans with cocoa, tapping out the excess.  Then line with parchment rounds.

2.  In the bowl of a mixer, whisk together the cocoa and boiling water by hand.  Cover with plastic and bring to room temperature, about 30 minutes.  Then add the oil and egg yolks.  Start on low speed and gradually increase to medium, where you would mix for about one minute, scraping the bowl as needed.  Chocolate mixture should be smooth and shiny.  Beat in vanilla.

3.  In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cornstarch, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Add half of the dry ingredients to the chocolate mixture and mix on low until just combined.  Scrape down the sides and add the rest of the flour.  Beat on medium-high speed for about 1 minute, again scraping the sides as needed.

4.  On low speed, add the egg whites.  Gradually raise the speed to medium-high and beat for 2 minutes.  Divide the batter evenly among the pans.  Bake for about 30 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.  Unmold the cakes immediately, remove the parchment, and cool on racks.

For the filling:

  • 1 c. heavy cream
  • 1 1/4 c. sugar
  • 4 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 1 stick butter, cubed
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 c. sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 1/4 c. chopped toasted pecans

1.  In a medium saucepan, combine the cream, sugar, yolks, and butter.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the butter melts and the mixture thickens and bubbles.  Reduce to low and cook for 2 more minutes.

2.  Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla (the mixture will bubble), coconut, and pecans.  Cool for about an hour, or until mixture becomes spreadable.  If the mixture is still loose, add some coconut and pecans to thicken the filling.  This can be stored in the fridge for about 2 weeks.

For the frosting:

  • 8 oz. bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 T. light corn syrup
  • 3 T. unsalted butter
  • 1 c. heavy cream

1.  To make the icing, place the chopped chocolate in a bowl with the corn syrup and butter.

2.  In a medium saucepan, heat the cream to scalding.   Remove it from the heat and pour over the chocolate.  Let stand for 1 minute, then stir until smooth.  I always have a double boiler waiting just in case it needs some help with melting.

3.  Chill until it’s a spreadable consistency.

Assemble the cake:

1.  Using a serrated knife, cut the cakes in half to make two rounds from each cake.  You may need to level off the tops.  In the center of a cake round or serving plate, place a spoonful of the filling to help hold the cake steady.  Place the bottom half of a cake cut-side up.  Spread some of the coconut filling on top, using a palette knife to push it out to the edges (I use about 1/2 c. for a 6-in. cake.  If making a 9-in. cake, use 1/4 of the filling).

2.  Cover with the top of the cake and alternate layers of filling and cake.  If you’re using the frosting, I like to wait to just mound the final layer of filling on top after I frost the cake and top it with some pecan halves.  Otherwise, just spread the top of the cake with some of the coconut mixture.

3.  Again, this is optional, but you can use an off-set spatula or palette knife to frost the sides and top of the cake.  I like a textured finish, but if you want a smooth & shiny look to the cake, heat your palette knife or spatula in some hot water and run it along the sides of the cake.  You can also put a decorative border around the bottom and top edges of the cake.

Notes — I have seen versions where you can lightly brush the cake layers with some flavored syrup, with rum being the most common.  I don’t use that in this recipe, but I am all for boozing up!. . . If you make a 6-in cake, you will have one left over.  You can just freeze that and have it ready for some other time.  Right now, I have two in my freezer so all I need to do is make a quick filling, and I got a cake all ready to go!. . . hope the directions were clear because, I am a little fuzzy since it is almost 3:00 am as I write this.  Just let me know if there are any questions and I will get to them after I take a long nap.

The Orange Devil Cake

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So here’s a recipe finally!  I made this as a special birthday cake.  What I didn’t realize at the time is that this makes a hefty cake.  It didn’t even fit in my covered cake plate.  And usually there’s no problems with finishing off a cake, but with this one — I had to cut it into quarters and freeze a couple of sections.  This should really be no surprise since there are four layers of cake and eight layers of filling, plus frosting.  And after thinking about it, I did go a little overboard with the non-cake aspects of the recipe.

This was adapted from bon appétit, with one change.  Well, maybe a couple changes, and I did a couple different versions.  The original recipe is a Devil’s Food Cake with a Peppermint Frosting and a double ganache filling.  Well, I omitted the peppermint in the frosting (which was very much like a seven-minute frosting), and with the white chocolate filling, I added the zest of an orange, hence the name of my version.  But keep in mind when you’re whisking the white chocolate, be sure to clean off the tines of the whisk (they’re called “tines”, right?), because the zest will get caught all up in ’em.  There’s a different version of the cake that I made for a friend as a “thank you” where I just used the orange / white chocolate cream alone.  That’s the one with the rosettes on it.  Of course, I also I made a chocolate frosting for that one and coated it with toasted cake crumbs.

Here's a pre-frosted Orange Devil Cake

Now this recipe can seem a little complicated, but that’s just because there are several components involved.  So if you break it down in that way, it’s not too bad.  Or you can just omit certain parts and make up something else.  Here’s what you need:

For the cake:

  • 2 2/3 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 T. baking powder
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 1 t. salt
  • 2 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • 2 c. ice water

Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 350°F.  Butter two 9 in. cake pans with 2 in. high sides.  Dust pans with cocoa and tap out excess.  Whisk first 4 ingredients in medium bowl to blend.  Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl until well blended.  Beat in eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in yolk.  Add cocoa and beat until well blended.  Add flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with ice water in 2 additions, beginning and ending with flour mixture and beating until just blended and smooth after each addition.  Divide batter between prepared pans; smooth tops.

Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes.  Cool cakes in pans on racks 15 minutes.  Invert cakes onto racks and cool completely.  Can be made 1 day ahead.  Wrap in foil; store at room temperature.

Here's the other version of the Orange Devil with the chocolate frosting, cake crumbs, and orange / white chocolate cream

For the dark chocolate ganache:

  • 1 1/3 c. heavy whipping cream
  • 2 T. light corn syrup
  • 14 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Bring cream and corn syrup to simmer in medium saucepan.  Remove from heat; add chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth.  Transfer to small bowl.  Chill until firm enough to spread, about 1 hour.  Can be made 1 day ahead.  Before using, let stand at room temperature until soft enough to spread, about 30 minutes.

For the orange / white chocolate cream:

  • 12 oz. high-quality white chocolate, finely chopped
  • 3 c. chilled heavy whipping cream, divided
  • zest of 1 orange

Place white chocolate in large heatproof bowl.  Bring 1 c. cream to simmer in a saucepan.  Pour hot cream over white chocolate.  Let stand 1 minute; whisk until smooth.  Whisk in zest.  Cover; chill until mixture thickens and is cold, at least 4 hours.  Can be made 1 day ahead. Chill.

Add 2 c. chilled cream to white chocolate cream and beat until smooth and peaks form.  Can be made 3 hours ahead.  Cover and chill.  Rewhisk to thicken, if necessary, before using.

Assemble the cake:

Using long serrated knife, cut each cake horizontally in half.  Place 1 cake layer on platter, cut side up.  Spread 1/3 of dark chocolate ganache over cake.  Spoon 2 c. white chocolate cream in dollops over cake; spread evenly to edges.  Top with second cake layer, cut side down; spread 1/3 of ganache over, then 2 cups white chocolate cream.  Repeat with third cake layer, cut side up, remaining ganache, and remaining cream.  Cover with fourth cake layer, cut side down.  Chill while preparing frosting.

For the frosting:

  • 2 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1 T. light corn syrup

Combine sugar, 1/2 c. water, egg whites, and corn syrup in large bowl of heavy-duty stand mixer.  Whisk by hand to blend well.  Set bowl with mixture over saucepan of gently simmering water; whisk constantly with hand whisk until mixture resembles marshmallow creme and ribbons form when whisk is lifted, 8 to 9 minutes.  Remove bowl from over water and attach bowl to heavy-duty stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment.  Beat on high-speed until mixture is barely warm to touch and very thick, 7 to 8 minutes.

Using offset spatula and working quickly, spread frosting over top and sides of cake.  Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome; chill.

A Rosy Orange Devil

Notes — Alright so I made a common mistake with the ganache filling.  I accidentally overheated the chocolate which causes the chocolate to separate.  I’m sure this has happened to lots of folks.  So how to fix this?  There’s lots of things that you can do to get things come back together.  First of all, transfer everything into a new bowl to help cool things down.  One of the things you can do is to gradually add some additional chocolate.  This helps to temper it.  You could also add some additional cream or butter; adding fat helps smooth things out.  Immersion blenders can also prove very useful as well at this stage.  What I did was a combination of all these and I also added a brick of cream cheese to this batch.  Problem solved!. . . If any seizing or separating occurs when you’re working with chocolate, keep in mind that you cannot use it to coat anything anymore.  It doesn’t matter if you fix it and everything looks fine — it will not coat properly!  You can still use it for frostings though, or in brownie recipes, or things along those lines. . . This Devil’s Food Cake recipe is different from other recipes that I have.  Most recipes that I know of combine the cocoa and some hot water together, which you then add to the batter.  This one, as you’ve read earlier, combines the cocoa into the batter and adding ice water separately.

It’s been one of those days. . .

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So I’m having one of those days.  Actually it’s been a couple of days.  Last night, I had one of my worst games in recent memory (I play in a local volleyball league).  And it’s now spilled over to today.  I’m working on a couple of birthday cakes for the weekend and nothing ever looked quite the way they are supposed to.  The ingredients weren’t mixing correctly, the batter looked weird, and then they weren’t baking right.  And then it hit me halfway through the baking time — I never added any sugar!  Nice.  Ever wonder what cakes without sugar look like?  Feast your eyes!

I wonder what they taste like. Oh right -- terrible. Actually, it wasn't too bad. More like chocolate bread.
They look like little round pumpernickel loaves, or maybe giant whoopie pies.
They're nice and piping hot, though!

I just started a Facebook page for Jereme’s Kitchen so stop by and like my page because it’s just me so far!  I added a widget at the bottom of the sidebar.  It’s so sad — number of likes = 1 🙂

Have some German Chocolate Cake on Michigan’s 175th Birthday

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Happy 175th Birthday to the State of Michigan!  So in honor of Michigan’s birthday today and tomorrow’s National Chocolate Cake Day, I present this German Chocolate Cake.  Of course, from what I can discern, the (un)official state cake of Michigan is a German Chocolate Sauerkraut Cake.  It’s listed in Warren Brown’s book, United Cakes of America.  Now these two cakes are very close — one uses pickled cabbage, the other uses some sweetened coconut.  Those two ingredients are readily interchanged in any number of recipes, like kielbasa for example 🙂  See?  Virtually the same!

Did you know that German Chocolate Cake isn’t actually German?  It was named after Sam German, who developed a type of sweet, dark chocolate for Baker’s Chocolate.  This recipe was developed in his honor, using the chocolate that he created.  Originally, it was called German’s Chocolate Cake, but that was changed along the way, as things are wont to do.  Now this cake wasn’t in my normal rotation, but after a couple of special requests for it, I’ve decided to add it.  I couldn’t be happier with the results.

I used a chiffon cake for the base.  Chiffon is an oil-based cake that was really popular in the ’40s and people loved it because it stayed so moist.  The actual recipe was closely guarded secret until it was sold in the mid or late ’40s and later popularized in those box cake mixes you can find in the grocery store today.  So if you ever make one of those cakes from a box mix (ugh!), you will be making a chiffon cake.

So since National Chocolate Cake Day is on the 27th, I’ll be posting on my Orange Devil Cake and my Chocolate Ice cake in the next few days.  Stay tuned!

By the way, I got that Michigan birthday cake pic from the State of Michigan website.  I’m not sure if they found the image or developed it themselves, but I just wanted to give them a shout out.  Happy Birthday Michigan!

Cranberry Cheesecake

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Here’s another holiday menu post!  I do want to start by apologizing for some of my pics.  When I was doing my Winter Feast, I was so concerned with keeping to my schedule and feeding hungry guests, I forgot to take pictures of the finished products 😦  Like the Savory Bread Pudding, the Rapini with Fried Apples, the Biscotti, the Roasted Fennel, and this.  But luckily there were some leftovers (as is the usual with large parties) and I got to take some shots.  Of course, I don’t know what my excuse is for not taking pics of the cheesecake because this was made the day before.  But it was evening, so natural light wasn’t available.  Plus it’s been very cloudy lately which makes taking good pictures more challenging.  That was the case when I was trying to take some pictures of what was left of the cheesecake (and it was raining a little bit).  All the Christmas lights in the world really can’t replicate natural light.

Chanukah Bear and the Christmas Turtle (or is that a Frog?) are happily sharing a piece of cheesecake.

Anyhoo, I wanted to put a different twist on cheesecake for the holidays.  And then I asked myself, “Waterlily, why don’t you add some of the Cranberry Compote to the cheesecake batter?  What a wonderful idea!  Such fun!”  So that’s essentially what this is, with a little tweaks here and there. . . maybe.  This makes a relatively tall 9″ cheesecake (and that’s 9″ wide, not 9″ tall).  Here’s what you need:

For the crust:

  • 12 graham crackers, the large 4-piece kind
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 T. crystallized ginger
  • pinch of salt
  • 6 T. butter, melted

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Spray 9-in springform with cooking spray.  Pulse the graham crackers, sugar, and salt until fine.  Add the crystallized ginger and chop (I like having larger bits of ginger in the crust, but you can keep everything a uniform size if you like).  Drizzle in the melted butter and combine.

2.  Press the crumbs into the bottom and up the sides of the pan about 1 inch.  Bake for about 15 minutes until slightly browned.  Allow to cool.  After the pan is cool to the touch, wrap in foil to prevent water from seeping in.

For the filling:

  • 5 8-oz. packages cream cheese
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 t. salt
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1/2 c. sour cream
  • 1 c. Cranberry Compote

1.  Reduce oven to 325 degrees F.  In the bowl of a mixer, beat cream cheese until fluffy using the paddle attachment.  Be sure to scrape down the sides as you go along.  Add sugar and salt and mix well, scraping down the sides.  Add eggs one at a time, again scraping down the sides after each addition.  Mix in the sour cream well.  Fold in the compote.

2.  Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan.  Place the springform in a roasting pan; now fill the roasting pan with hot water halfway up the sides of the springform.  Bake for about 90 minutes until set in the middle.  If there is too much browning during baking, loosely place some foil on top of the cheesecake.

3.  Allow the cake to cool on a rack.  After about 15 minutes, run a knife around the edges of the cake to help release it from the pan.  Let it cool completely before wrapping the top with plastic.  Refrigerate for at least 6 hours, or overnight (even better)!

Notes — I was hoping that this would be a little bit more pink.  I guess I could always add some coloring, but I’d rather not. . . You are supposed to bake this in a water bath, but if you don’t happen to have a roasting pan you can just use a sheet pan.  Fill the pan as high as you can with water; you will probably have to refill the pan at least once during baking.  But halfway through the baking process, loosely place some foil on top of the cake.  This helps trap some steam around the cake, which helps it bake. . .

Breakfast in Traverse City

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Here’s another post from my trip up to the Traverse City area.  If you saw my post on Elk Rapids, I likes me a nice breakfast when I’m on vacation — usually an omelette (still don’t know if it’s one “t” or two).  This time I got a chance to go to J&S Hamburg on Front St. in Traverse City, MI.  It has that whole charming hole-in-the-wall / diner feel.  Plus, it was during Halloween, so that gets to add a little something to the experience — I guess some folks like to dress up in their costumes for the whole day.

Farmer's Omelette @ J & S Hamburg

I ordered a Farmer’s Omelete which had tomatoes, sausage, and mushrooms.  Much to my surprise it came with a stack of pancakes!  Everything was delicious and well cooked; maybe I’m just a sucker for eggs, but since I always order them, I know a good omelette when I taste one.  It’s like when I judge a sushi restaurant by how good their spider rolls or temaki are.  But I digress. . . you get a lot of good food for the price.  Definitely worth a return visit.

Of course, I also had to check out what the town had to offer in regards to pumpkin donuts.  And that’s where Potter’s Bakery comes in.  As you may recall, I visited the Elk Rapids Sweet Shop and sampled their offerings.  Potter’s makes a doughnut that can challenge the Sweet Shop for what I think is the best pumpkin doughnut.  What makes the one from Potter’s different is in the flavor profile.  The main thing that stands out is the spiciness of the it.  It wasn’t overwhelming, but gave it a nice kick.  It was a nice way to warm up a chilly autumn morning.

Can we go to D.O.G. Bakery now?

Also joining us on this road trip were the puppies Daisy and Cooper (well, maybe not puppies anymore).  So I wanted to make a stop that was specifically for them.  And Traverse City is home to D.O.G. Bakery, which stands for “Daisy and Oscar’s Gourmet Bakery”.  You may have seen some of their goods since they have vendors in Michigan, Florida, Indiana, New York, Wisconsin, New Mexico, Ohio, and Tennessee.  The store is located on Front Street in Traverse City and has some of the standard items that you would find in any pet store.  What makes them special is the bakery in the back (plus the fact that they donated over 7% of their proceeds to pet focused charities).  They use quality ingredients and use local food producers whenever they can, which is great.  Naturally dogs are welcome inside.  Thankfully there were no other puppies inside when we went in because Daisy and Cooper have a tendency to be excitable.  But it was nice for them to go to a place where they can be included — it’s not like those two would be welcome inside North Peak Brewery (which I will post on soon).

Special Treats for the puppies!

So stay tuned for my final post about my trip up north when I will share a little bit about North Peak and Shorts Brewing Companies!  It’s the last post about my vacation, I promise!  That is, until the next vacation.