Featured Recipes

Devil’s Food Cake

If there's a lover of sweets in your life, nothing says "I Love You" better than chocolate. And I can't think of a more perfect Valentine's Day treat than this devil's food cake with a chocolate custard frosting.

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DEVIL'S FOOD CAKE WITH CHOCOLATE CUSTARD FROSTING AND CHOCOLATE SHAVINGS
(Serves 10 to 12)

FOR THE CAKE:
3/4 cup strained unsweetened cocoa such as Hershey's (do not use Dutch-processed cocoa)
1/2 cup hot water
3/4 cup cold water
2 3/4 cups sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

FOR THE FROSTING:
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon freeze-dried coffee
½ cup boiling water
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup half-and-half
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

TO BAKE THE CAKE:

1. Position racks in the lower and upper third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Butter two 9-inch round layer pans. Butter the bottom and sides well. Line the bottom with a circle of parchment and butter well.

2. Put the cocoa in a small bowl. Slowly add the hot water, stirring until smooth, then blend in the cold water. Set aside.

3. Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt, using a triple sifter. Set aside.

4. Place the butter, cut into 1-inch pieces, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment to soften on low speed. Increase mixer speed to medium-high and cream butter until smooth and light in color, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.

5. Add the white sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, taking 3 to 4 minutes to blend it in well. Then add the brown sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, over an additional 3 to 4 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally.

6. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, at 1-minute intervals, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Blend in the vanilla.

7. Reduce mixer speed to low. Add the flour mixture alternately with cocoa liquid, dividing the flour into 3 parts, the liquid into 2 parts, starting and ending with the flour. Mix only until incorporated after each addition. Scrape sides of bowl. Mix 10 seconds longer.

8. Spoon the batter into the prepared pans, smoothing the surface with the back of a tablespoon. Place the pans on the lower shelf of the oven. Bake in the preheated oven 28 to 30 minutes, or until the cake begins to come away from the sides of the pan and top is springy to the touch.

9. Remove pans from oven. Set onto cake racks for 10 minutes to cool slightly. Spray the racks with non-stick coating, invert the cakes and remove the pans. Carefully peel off paper. When the cake is completely cool prepare the frosting.

TO PREPARE THE FROSTING:

1. In a small, heavy saucepan, combine the chocolates, coffee, and boiling water. Stir over low heat until the chocolate is completely melted and the coffee dissolved. In a separate small bowl, combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt and add to the chocolate mixture, stirring until blended. Slowly add the half-and-half, whisking gently until well combined.

2. Bring to a boil over low heat, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon. Cook gently about 1 minute longer, stirring occasionally, then remove from the heat. Off the heat, blend in the butter and vanilla. To cool quickly, set saucepan in cold water. Stir gently, do not beat, until icing is thick enough to spread. This will only take a few minutes.

TO ASSEMBLE THE CAKE:

1. Place first layer-top side down on serving plate. Slide 4 strips of waxed paper between the plate and the bottom of the cake to keep the plate clean.

2. Spread a layer of frosting over the cake. Place the top layer, top-side up over the bottom layer. Cover the sides and top of the cake with the remaining frosting. Garnish the edge and bottom of the cake with 1-inch of chocolate shavings. Carefully remove the wax paper moving the paper from left or right, NOT STRAIGHT as you pull it out.

TO MAKE CHOCOLATE SHAVINGS:

Warm a 3 ½ or 4 ounce dark chocolate candy bar briefly in a microwave just to soften the chocolate. To do this, INVERT a small plate in the microwave and place the chocolate with a paper towel underneath on top of the plate. Using the defrost setting, warm the chocolate only for a few seconds. DO NOT LET THE CHOCOLATE GET TOO HOT OR IT WILL MELT.

Copyright © 2017 by Carole Walter, CCP
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Irish Whiskey Cake with Midnight Chocolate Glaze

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Irish Whiskey Cake with Midnight Chocolate Glaze

During a lunch I had with my elderly cousin, Elsa Sobo, (who loves a good piece of cake), she asked me if I had a recipe for Irish Whiskey Cake, and I replied that I didn’t. “Oh, you must!” she said. And before the day was over, she made sure I had her recipe in hand. I couldn’t wait to test it and upon tasting the first slice, there is no doubt that she was absolutely right in wanting me to try her recipe. Elsa was also right when she told me that this cake gets better with age. Here for your enjoyment is Elsa’s Irish Whiskey Cake, perfect for your St. Patrick's Day celebrations.


3 cups sifted cake flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly firm
2 cups superfine sugar
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons instant coffee crystals dissolved in 1 tablespoon boiling water
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
¼ cup Irish or Scotch whiskey

Confectioners’ sugar for dusting or Midnight Chocolate Glaze (see below)

1. Position the rack in the lower third of the oven. Heat the oven to 325°. Generously butter a 10 –12 cup fluted tube pan, dust with flour, then invert it over the kitchen sink and tap firmly to remove the excess flour. Set aside.

2. Thoroughly whisk together the cake flour, salt and baking soda. Set aside.

3. Cut the butter into 1-inch pieces and place in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream the butter on medium speed until smooth and lightened in color about 2 minutes. Add the sugar gradually, about 1-2 tablespoons at a time, taking about 6 to 8 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, about 1 minute apart, scraping the side of the bowl as needed. Blend in the dissolved coffee mixture and the vanilla extract.

4. Reduce the mixer speed to low. Stir the whiskey into the sour cream and add it alternately with the dry ingredients, dividing the flour into 3 parts and the sour cream mixture into 2 parts, mixing just until blended after each addition. Scrape the side of the bowl and mix for about 10 seconds longer.

5. Empty the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top with the bottom of a soupspoon, and bake for 70-75 minutes. The cake is done when the top is springy to the touch and a twig of straw or a toothpick inserted deeply in the center comes out clean.

6. Remove the cake from the oven and let stand on a cooling rack for about 20 minutes. Invert the cake on the rack, gently lift off the pan, and cool the cake completely. When ready to serve, dust with confectioner’s sugar.
Note: If using the Midnight Chocolate Glaze, frost the cake while it is still warm.

STORAGE: Store the cake under a glass cake dome, or covered with aluminum foil for up to 5 days. This cake may be frozen.


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Midnight Chocolate Glaze

Makes enough for 1 10-inch Bundt cake or 9 x 13 x 2-inch coffee cake or 16-18 muffins

½ cup water
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
4 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate, such as Lindt, finely chopped
¼ cup strained powdered sugar
1 tablespoon Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon lemon juice
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, soft

1. Place the water in a heavy-bottomed 3-quart saucepan. Add the sugar and corn syrup, but do not stir. Cover and bring to a slow boil on medium-low heat. After one-minute check to see if any sugar crystals remain. If so, gently stir the mixture. Continue to cook the syrup uncovered for about 3-4 minutes. (Large bubbles will form on the surface.)

2. Remove the pan from the heat and sprinkle the chopped chocolate over the syrup. Push the chocolate gently into the syrup, but do not stir. Let stand 2 – 3 minutes until the chocolate is melted, then stir gently with a small whisk.

3. When smooth, stir in the powdered sugar and cocoa powder, then blend in the vanilla, lemon juice and salt. Stir gently with the whisk until smooth, then blend in the butter. If the glaze is not pourable, add 3 – 4 teaspoons of very hot water until the desired consistency is reached. NOTE: This glaze is best used immediately.

STORAGE: Leftover glaze can be refrigerated for several weeks. This glaze may be frozen. To use, reheat, adding very hot water to thin the glaze, as needed.

Copyright © 2017 by Carole Walter, CCP
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