Sunday, October 30, 2016

Mini Sweet Potato Cakes

For some reason, vegetables with a golden hue have been the favorites to bake with. Squash, pumpkin and even sweet potatoes have made it in cakes. However, I cannot just pick them because of the color, even purple yams have made it into recipes for baked goods.

Vegetables, unlike fruit, do not hold a lot of liquid nor do they have the acid content you will find in some fruits. With the absence of liquid and no acid, vegetables are easier to incoporate into a recipe.

Today's post uses sweet potatoes as a major ingredient. For the moist texture, olive oil is used along with butter. To compliment the sweet potatoes, the cakes are laced with cinnamon and ginger.

Paired with coffee or tea, these little cakes are a perfect if you are seeking something a little sweet in these cold, crisp days of fall. This recipe makes 1-12 cup bundt cake or mini bundt cakes (1-2 1/2 dz, depending on size of cavities.

Sweet Potato Bundt Cakes
adapted from Feast Magazine

Ingredients/ Cake
2 cups pureed sweet potato
1/2 cup or 1 stick butter
1/2 cup olive oil
splash of vanilla extract
4 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 3/4 cup flour

1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 stick of butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup powdered sugar

In a large bowl, sift together baking powder, baking soda, flour, salt, cinnamon and ginger. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, then grease and flour the cavities of a mini bundt pan or 1 12 inch bundt pan.

Fill another large bowl with both kinds of sugar and butter. Beat until the mixture is like wet sand. Whisk in the add the olive oil until evenly distributed. Add the sweet potato puree, folding the batter together to blend. Add 2 eggs and beat for about 30 seconds. Do the same with the remaining 2 eggs.  Lastly, whisk in the splash of vanilla. Once all is blended, fold in the sifted ingredients.

Spoon batter into prepared mini bundt pan or 12 cup bundt pan. Place in oven and let mini cakes bake for about 15-20 minutes and the large cake about 30 minutes. Test for doneness by using a toothpick. Cakes should have a toasted edges and spring back when touched on the surface.

Let the mini cakes cool in pan for about 3 minutes and the large bundt for about 20 minutes. After cooling time, invert and invert again so decorative side is face up.

For the frosting, put all ingredients ( with the exception of the powdered sugar) in a saucepan over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, watch for the mixture to start to simmer. It will need to simmer for approx 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Sift powdered sugar into a medium size bowl. Then pour in the brown sugar/butter mixture and whisk together. Let cool for about 10 minutes and then ladle glaze over cakes using a spoon. Once set, then the cakes are ready to serve.

Tips and Notes:
1. the frosting is more like a glaze and to get rid of all the clumps of powdered sugar (even though sifted) you may have to use a mixer to beat.
2. Mini bundt pans vary in size, I used the smallest cavities and the recipe yielded 28 cakes.

3. I ended up using 1 1/2 times the recipe to coat all my mini cakes.
4. For the pureed sweet potato, I sliced 2 peeled sweet potatoes into 1/4 inch slices and boiled for about 20 minutes. Then I drained in a colander and beat until smooth and let cool.
                            **Last Year: Maple Pecan Pinwheel Cookies** 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Triple Caramel Mudcake

I have a cake book that has several recipes for this type of cake. Mudcake is a very dense but moist cake. These cakes have a low amount of flour vs a high amount of liquid, which puts them between a standard cake and a flourless cake. Due to the high liquid, the cakes take an hour or more to bake.

The method for this particular type of cake is quite different from the average. Ingredients are heated together in a saucepan and cooled, then mixed with eggs and flour. For the ganache, white chocolate is actually baked in the oven.

The heavenly triple caramel flavor stems from several ingredients, but the butterscotch schnapps plays a key role in the taste of the cake, so it is a must to include.

So let's get started....

Tripe Caramel Mudcake
adapted from Australian Women's Weekly

300 grams of white chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream

1 can /395 grams sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup butterscotch schnapps
250 grams or 1 cup, 1 tbs and 1 tsp butter
2 eggs
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup self rising flour
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp sea salt flakes

Since the ganache has to cool, it should be made first. Break up white chocolate bars and place in a shallow baking dish. Then preheat the oven to 320 degrees. Once preheated place baking dish in oven and cook for 10 minutes. Stir and then let cook for another 10 minutes and remove. Place a saucepan over medium heat and fill with cream. Let come to a simmer and add melted white chocolate, whisking until smooth.

Place a sieve over a medium bowl and pour chocolate mixture into sieve. Use the back of a spoon to help the chocolate strain through. After the ganache has been strained, cover and place in refrigerator to cool.

As this is cooling, prepare an 8 inch cake or springform pan by greasing the interior and lining the bottom and sides with parchment paper. Turn oven temperature up to 400 degrees.

Pull out another baking dish and fill it with the sweetened condensed milk. Cover the dish with foil, in the manner as a pie crust. The foil should sink about 1/4 inch down on the inside and the top edges should have foil that has been crimped up to make the edge stronger. Then place dish in a larger baking pan and fill the larger pan with boiling water. The boiling water should reach halfway up the outside of the smaller pan. Place in oven and let bake for 1 hour.

Uncover and then stir. Check water level and, if needed, add more boiling water to outer pan, making sure it reaches the halfway point on the outside of the interior pan. Cover again and let bake for an additional 30 minutes. Remove pan and whisk caramel until smooth. Cover and let cool to room temperature.

Once the caramel has cooled, take out a medium size saucepan. Fill with the butter, brown sugar and salt and place over low heat. As the butter melts, whisk with the brown sugar. After the butter has melted, add the cooled caramel and the butterscotch schnapps. Remove from heat and mix sauce until all ingredients have been evenly distributed.

Pour sauce into a medium size bowl and let cool for about 20 minutes. Turn oven back down to 320 degrees. As the caramel continues to cool, sift together the all purpose flour and self rising flour. Fold the sifted ingredients into the cooled caramel/butter mixture. Stir in salt. Lastly, whisk the two eggs in a small bowl and then stir them into the cake batter.

Pour batter into prepared pan and let bake for 1 hour. Cover and let bake for an additional 30 minutes. Then, test to see if done with a toothpick. If done, remove pan. If not done yet, let cook in additional 5 minute intervals until tester shows done. Let cake cool in pan 15 minutes. Invert onto rack and remove paper/parchment and invert again.

Remove ganache from refrigerator and let cake cool. Then you are ready to ice the cake. Whisk the ganache. It should be pourable, if not, heat up in the microwave to reach desired consistency. Place a sheet of wax paper under the cake and then pour the ganache onto the center top of the cake. The ganache should cover the top and drip down to cover all sides.

Let ganache set up prior to cutting cake.

                              **LAST YEAR: Caramel Apple Nut Pie**

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Banana Rum Coffee Cake

Bananas have shown up in many of the recipes posted on this blog, so I guess it can be called one of my favorite ingredients when it comes to baking. One of the reasons is that it has a strong flavor. Sometimes when you bake, the end result my be a lost flavor. No so with the banana.

This particular recipe yields a moist and fluffy cake with a pecan/praline topping. When I read this recipe, the ingredients and preparation of the batter intrigued me. It is a blend of cream cheese and butter with a cooked banana sauce folded in. The topping is a cream sauce made with rum, but I actually dusted this piece with powdered sugar. I am saving the cream sauce for serving.  Warming up the sauce and ladling it over the cake right before serving adds that special rum flavor which puts this coffeecake in a delicious class of its own.

When making this recipe, please pay close attention to the instructions for measured ingredients. There are items in the ingredient list which are divided up to make different components of the recipe.

Banana Rum Coffee Cake
adapted from Southern Living Dec 2014

2 eggs
2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups butter (room temp)
8 oz cream cheese (room temp)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups mashed, ripe bananas
1 cup granulated sugar
2 cups brown sugar
1 tsp gnd cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 1/4 cup flour plus 3 tbs
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
7 tbs light rum

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9 x13 inch cake pan by greasing and dusting the interior with flour. Set pan aside. The recipe ingredients require 4 blends or components, so be prepared with 4 bowls.

The first component starts by filling a saucepan with 1/2 cup brown sugar, mashed bananas, 3 tbs rum and 1/4 cup of butter. Place saucepan over medium heat and stir, letting sugar and butter melt. Once melted, let heat up until mixture starts to bubble or boil in pan. Remove and let cool until it reaches room temperature and then add 1 tsp of vanilla.

The second bowl will be for the dry ingredients. Sift together salt, baking soda, baking powder and just 3 cups of the flour into this bowl.

The next bowl will be the bowl from a stand mixer. Fill bowl with 1/2 cup of butter and cream cheese. Beat the two together until smooth, scraping down sides of the bowl when needed. Then incorporate 1 cup of the brown sugar, by beating for about 1 minute until batter is light and fluffy. Add one egg and blend on medium speed for 30 seconds. Repeat with the other egg.

Fold sifted ingredients into the cream cheese mixture until no dry streaks remain. Lastly, stir in the banana mixture, distributing throughout the batter. Empty batter into prepared pan and smooth, making sure mixture is even in pan.

For the pecan praline topping, start by whisking together the pecans, cinnamon, 1/4 cup flour and 1/2 cup brown sugar. Stir in 1/4 cup of melted butter. Sprinkle evenly on top of the cake batter. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40-45 minutes or until tester comes out clean. When done, remove pan from oven and place on rack to cool.

Once cooled off for 20 minutes, you can dust with powdered sugar. If you choose the cream sauce, it can be made as soon as cake comes out of oven.

For the cream sauce, start by filling a saucepan with the granulated sugar and flour. Whisk together. Then place pan over medium heat and add cream and 1/2 cup of butter. Let the mixture cook, stirring constantly. Keep stirring until it comes to a boil. As it boils, the mixture will thicken. It will take approximately 2 minutes to reach the correct consistency. Remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in 1/4 cup of rum and 1 tsp vanilla.

To prepare in advance, the sauce can be made and chilled the day before. The cake also can be made the day before. To serve, drizzle heated sauce over each serving of cake.

Tips and Notes:
1. In order to avoid a dry cake, I pureed the bananas and I sifted the flour prior to measuring.

2. Ripe vs over-ripe: I used ripe bananas, so I am unable to rate how the recipe does with leftover dark or over-ripe bananas.
3. The cake is just as delicious cooled right out of the oven, without additional toppings.
4. If you are a fan of having rum in the topping, use more cream instead.
                                   **LAST YEAR:Gingerbread Latte Fudge*