Friday, February 27, 2009

The Best Chocolate Cake

January and February are by far the two craziest birthday months in our family. I did 5 out of 7 cakes in just 2 months! Everyone is still managing to stick to their diets though, so I don't feel that guilty!

I've been saving Barefoot Contessa's Beatty's Chocolate Cake recipe for months so when my dad asked for chocolate cake- I had a plan. I think I'm safe to say that I will never need another chocolate cake recipe ever AGAIN. It was amazing!! I could go on and on about this cake because it seriously was the best I think I ever had. The Contessa does it again!

I used Scharffen Berger cocoa powder and semi-sweet chocolate which is a bit pricey, but very high quality and totally worth it for this recipe.

Sorry for the sloppy picture. I almost forgot to take one.

Here are my slight changes to the recipe:

Cake: I used a 1/2 cup of coffee and added a 1/2 cup of water to it.
Frosting: I used 1/2 tsp. of instant espresso powder instead of 1 tablespoon.

You can add as little or as much as you like, but since my dad hates coffee I was afraid to add the whole thing. I plan on making it again with the entire amount because being the coffee lover that I am, you can never have too much!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Valentine's Day Cupcakes

For Valentine's Day I whipped up these cute cupcakes in no time at all- thanks to my Cake Mix Doctor cookbook. Once in a while when I need a really quick recipe I'll use this book and nobody can ever tell that it came from a box mix..which is most important, right?

Basic Sour Cream White Cake
Adapted from The Cake Mix Doctor cookbook

1 (18 1/4 ounce) package plain white cake mix
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Generously grease and flour a 13 x 9 inch baking pan or line a cupcake tray with paper liners
3. Place cake mix, sour cream, oil, eggs, and vanilla in mixing bowl.
4. Blend with mixer on low speed for 1 minute
5. Stop machine, scrape down sides of bowl.
6. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes more.
7. Scrape down sides again if needed. The batter should look well combined and thickened.
8. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
9. Place pan in oven.
10. Bake the cake until it is light brown and springs back when lightly pressed with your finger, 35-40 minutes. OR for cupcakes 20-25 minutes.
11. Remove pan from oven and place on wire rack to cool for 20 minutes.
12. Run a dinner knife around edge of cake and invert it onto wire rack.
13. Allow cake to cool completely, 30 minutes.
14. Prepare the frosting

Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temp.
1 stick of butter, softened
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
3/4 cup fresh ripe strawberries, rinsed, capped, and mashed to make 1/2 cup, then drained well

1. Blend together the cream cheese and butter using an electric mixer on low speed until combined, about 30 seconds.
2. Add 3 cups powdered sugar, gradually, and the mashed strawberries; blend frosting again on low speed until the sugar is incorporated, 1 minute.
3. Increase mixer speed to medium and blend frosting until fluffy, 30-45 seconds more, adding up to 1/2 cup more sugar to make desired spreading consistency. (You may need to add more than that if you will be piping the frosting).
4. Use as desired.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Mini Orange Chocolate Chunk Cake

This is the first time I baked the same thing twice in the same week! It was that good! First, because I recently came to discover that my little brother loves chocolate and orange as much as I do so I wanted to make it for him. And second, because my mom liked it so much she wanted it for her Birthday.

If you recall, I made the bundt version of this cake awhile back, but something about these little minis was soooo much better! The recipe can be found here.

I used a Martha Stewart mini bundt pan, made by Nordic Ware that was only $8 on clearance at Kmart. These baby cakes slid right out of the pan-it was incredible! I must buy more Nordic Ware soon!

I took a lot of pictures this time because I couldn't resist. They are just so darn cute!