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.

cake2
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
Q

Irish Whiskey Cake with Midnight Chocolate Glaze

cake03
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.


cake01
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
Q

Key Lime Pie

keylimepie
As Father's Day falls at the start of the summer, this easy-to-make key lime pie, served well chilled, makes a perfect refreshing citrus treat for Dad.

One thing is fact: The pie is made with a graham cracker cookie crust and the filling from only three ingredients—Key lime juice, egg yolks, and sweetened condensed milk—used in varying amounts according to the source. Some recipes call for leaving the filling uncooked-just chilling it until the custard is set. I don't care for this method because the filling is very soft, which makes the pie difficult to slice. Others suggest baking the pie for a few minutes to firm the filling.

Joe's Stone Crab restaurant in Miami Beach, Florida, renowned for its Key lime pie, partially freezes the pie, which makes it easier to cut and gives it a pleasant frosty texture.

The following recipe is adapted from those I researched along with my own practical approach. While partially freezing the pie is an alternative, baking the filling before chilling is the method that wins hands down in my book. If fresh Key limes are not available, do what most professional bakers do: buy the juice. Look for a widely available brand called Nellie and Joe's "Famous" Key Lime Juice. If this juice is difficult to find, regular Persian lime juice can be substituted.

Key lime pie can be finish with whipped cream or topped with meringue. The whip cream can be made up to 2 days in advance, while a baked meringue should be made within 2 to 3 hours of serving.

KEY LIME PIE

CRUST
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 ¼ cup graham cracker cookie crumbs
2 tablespoons sugar

FILLING
3 large egg yolks
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
½ cup fresh or bottled Key lime juice
2 teaspoons grated lime zest

TOPPING
1 cup heavy cream, well chilled
2 tablespoons strained confectioners’ sugar
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Persian lime, for garnish

MAKE THE CRUST:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Position the oven rack in the lower third of the oven. Butter the pie or tart pan very well. Dust the pan with flour and shake out any excess.
2. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat, then set aside to cool.
3. Place the cookies in the bowl of a food processor. If large cookies are used, break them into smaller pieces. Process until the cookies are finely chopped, then measure the crumbs in dry measuring cups without shaking or packing.
4. Add the measured crumbs and sugar to the cooled butter, stirring around the saucepan with a fork to blend.
5. Empty the crumbs into the baking pan. Using a tablespoon, press firmly against the sides of the pan working the crumbs up to the rim. Forming a ¼-inch thick edge. Smooth the bottom with a spoon.
6. Lay a square of plastic wrap over the crumbs. Using a batarde or a glass with a smooth bottom, press firmly against the plastic to even the crumbs on the bottom. Also press firmly at the bend of the pan because the crumbs are always thicker there. Remove the plastic wrap.
Place the pie plate on a shallow pan and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until you smell the crust. The surface should feel hot the bottom will not firm until the shell cools. Alternatively, the shell can be chilled in refrigerator or freezer until firm.

MAKE THE FILLING:
1. Pre­heat the oven to 325 degrees. Position the oven rack in the lower third of the oven.
2. Place the yolks in the large bowI of an electric mixer. Using the whip attachment, beat the yolks on medium speed until light in color.
3. Increase the speed to medium-high. Slowly add the condensed milk and beat the mixture for 4 to 5 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium. Add lime juice and zest and continue to beat until well blended.
4. Pour the filling into the crumb shell. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the center of the filling feels set when touched your finger. Cool on a rack, then refrigerate. (The pie can be made up to this point up to 3 days in advance)

MAKE THE TOPPING:
1. In a chilled bowl with chilled beaters whip the cream on medium speed until it starts to thicken. Add the confectioners' sugar and vanilla. Beat until firm peaks are formed.
2.Empty the cream into a 16-inch pastry bag fitted with a #824 large open star tip. Starting at the edge of the filling, pipe 1-inch rosettes, making a circle around the plate. Pipe a second row of rosettes, having them touch the first row, then pipe a third row, continuing until the entire surface is covered with rosettes. Insert small wedges of lime, peel side up, into the rosettes at random on top of the pie. Refrigerate until ready to use.

STORAGE
Cover any leftover pie with aluminum foil tent and refrigerate for up to 5 days. This pie can be frozen for up to 3 months.

Copyright © 2017 by Carole Walter, CCP
Q

Boston Cream Pie

BOSTON CREAM PIE
Serves 6 to 8

bostoncream2
As summer is pie season, Fourth of July festivities tend to be celebrated with fruit pie. This year why not try something unique and uniquely American.

Boston Cream Pie is a traditional American dessert, enjoyed over many decades. It is made with a simple sponge cake that is filled with pastry cream. The cake is topped with a chocolate glaze that randomly drips over the side of the cake. Besides being delicious, the cake can be made up to 1 day or several hours in advance.

THE HOT MILK SPONGE CAKE:
½ cup milk
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
¾ cup superfine sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

THE VANILLA CUSTARD FILLING:
1 1/3 cups milk, divided
1/3 cup sugar
4 teaspoons corn starch
1 tablespoon flour
1 large whole egg
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup heavy cream whipped to soft peaks

QUICK CHOCOLATE GLAZE
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 ounce semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup strained confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons boiling water (about)
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons dark Jamaican rum (optional)

TO PREPARE THE CAKE:
1. Position rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. WELL BU'ITER a 9-inch round layer pan and line with a parchment circle.
2. In a small saucepan, warm the milk and butter on low heat until the butter is melted. Set aside.
3. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a triple sifter. Set aside.
4. Beat the eggs on medium-high speed in an electric mixer fitted with beaters or a whip attachment for about 2 minutes. Gradually add the sugar, I tablespoon at a time, taking about 4 to 5 minutes to blend it in well. Scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally. The mixture will thicken and turn light yellow in color.
5. Reduce mixer speed to medium. Add the vanilla, then pour in the hot milk IN A STEADY STREAM, taking about 10 seconds. Immediately add the dry ingredients all at once, and beat just until blended, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Increase mixer speed to medium--high and beat 10 seconds. The batter will be very thin. Remove the bowl from the mixer and quickly pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until the cake begins to come away from the sides of pan and is golden brown and springy to the touch.
6. Set on a cake rack to cool for about 10 minutes. Run a thin knife around the sides of the pan to loosen. Invert pan onto the rack sprayed with non-stick coating and peel off the parchment paper. Cool right side up.

TO PREPARE THE FILLING:
1. In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup of milk and the sugar, and bring to a slow boil over low heat. Set aside.
2. In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and flour. Gradually stir in the remaining 1/3 cup milk, whisking until very smooth. Then whisk in the whole egg and the egg yolk. Add to the hot sugar/milk. Bring to a boil on low heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture is thick and smooth. Cook 30 to 45 seconds after the mixture reaches the boil, stirring gently with a wooden spoon to prevent scorching.
3. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla. Press a piece of buttered waxed paper onto the filling to prevent a skin from forming. Cool until tepid. Stir in 1/3 of the whipped cream. Fold in the remaining cream and refrigerate until filling is chilled.
4. Place the chocolates and the butter in a small glass bowl. Set the bowl in a pan filled with 1 til the ingredients are melted and smooth, or melt in a microwave. Off the heat, stir in the sugar and water alternately, beating well. Blend in the corn syrup, then the vanilla. Stir in the rum.. The glaze should be glossy and pourable. If it is too thick, stir in a little more hot water.
DO NOT MAKE THIS GLAZE AHEAD BECAUSE IT WILL BECOME TOO THICK.

bostoncream
TO ASSEMBLE THE CAKE:
1. Divide sponge cake horizontally into 2 layers. Set the bottom layer cut side up on a serving plate. Cut 4 strips of waxed paper, each 4-inches wide, and slide under edge of the cake to keep plate clean while you frost.
2. Place about 1/2 of the custard into a 14-inch pastry bag fitted with a large ½-inch round decorating tube. Pipe a ring of custard around the edge of the cake, starting 1/2-inch in from the edge of the cake. Empty the remaining custard into the center of the cake along with the remaining contents of the pastry bag. Using a small offset spatula, spread the custard evenly on the bottom layer. Position the second layer over the first, cut side down.
3. Pour the glaze over the center of the cake holding the bowl about 10-inches high. Using a 10-inch metal spatula, QUICKLY ease frosting to edges of cake, allowing it to drip randomly down the sides. The chocolate glaze will begin to set almost immediately. Refrigerate until 1/2 hour before serving. If made ahead, cover loosely with aluminum foil. Leftover cake will keep refrigerated up to 3 days.

Copyright © 2017 by Carole Walter, CCP
Q
© 2017 Carole Walter | Photos by Saori Kurioka | Site by TesslerDesigns | Contact Carole