I seem to have an incurable compulsion for joining baking groups. I just can't seem to help myself! I guess the fact that it is so fun and that I don't want to stop probably has something to do with it!
So, here I am, with another group - and this one is all about cakes (for now anyway). We are baking one designated cake from Sky High: Irresistible Cakes for the next 12 months.
For our very first cake our group's fabulous creators Gigi and Katie chose to celebrate the beginning changing of the season and chose the Cappuccino Cake. Well, since I don't drink coffee, I chose to replace all the espresso in the cake with a rich hot cocoa blend. The cake was really a breeze to make and tasted wonderful - it had a very light cocoa flavor that was complemented by the light and airy texture of the cake. I will definitely make this cake again since it was easy to do with such spectacular looking (and tasting) results. I am sure the cappuccino version is fantastic as well. I've adjusted the original recipe below to show my changes.
Other than the slice we tried at home, this cake actually went to Aidan's kindergarten class as an example of baking and how fun it is to bake with kids and to bake your own goodies at home. The kids loved the show and the teachers got to eat the cake. It was really funny, because she made a point to tell me that she was so sad she had only taken a small piece - because when she went back after class for another piece it was completely gone! I would have to say that is a positive reaction. I loved this first recipe so much that I went ahead and got the book Sky High: Irresistible Cakes that the Cake Slice Bakers are baking from for 12 months (11 more to go!). I went ahead and made the Vanilla Buttermilk Cake with Instant Fudge Frosting for Cole's birthday last week and it was insanely good and really easy to make. This is a really great book if you like cake at all. The recipes are really well written and easy to follow with lots of good information.
Stay tuned on the 20th of each month for another fantastic cake from The Cake Slice Bakers - and if you love cake and are brave, join in the fun!
(Adapted from Sky High: Irresistible Cakes)
Makes an 8-inch triple layer cake (I used three 9-inch pans for slightly thinner layers)
1/4 cup of neutral oil (ie. vegetable, canola, or soybean)
6 eggs separated
6 tablespoons of freshly brewed espresso cooled to room temperature (6 T strong hot cocoa from the following mixture: 2 T cocoa + 2 T sugar + 10 oz hot water - use the remainder for the syrup below)
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1 and 1/3 cups of cake flour*
1 and 1/2 cups of sugar
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar
Cocoa powder or cinnamon for dusting
(*The recipe calls for cake flour and if you only have all-purpose flour on hand, you can substitute 3/4 cup (105 grams) all purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons (30 grams) cornstarch.)
1/3 cup hot freshly brewed espresso
1/3 cup of sugar
1/3 cup dark rum, such as Meyers* (*if you want to leave out the rum you can use molasses thinned with pineapple juice and flavored with almond extract to equal 1/3 cup. Or use 1 to 2 teaspoons of rum extract flavoring but you'll have less syrup - I left out the rum and the extract)
Vanilla Whipped Cream
3 cups of heavy cream
1/3 cup of sugar
2 teaspoons of vanilla
1. Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Line the bottom s of three 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper but do not grease.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the oil, egg yolks, espresso, and vanilla; whisk lightly to blend. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, 1 cup of sugar, the baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
3. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, whip the egg whites with the cream of tartar on medium-low speed until frothy. Raise the mixer to medium high and gradually add the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar. Continue to beat until soft peaks form. Do not whip to stiff peaks or the cake will shrink upon cooling.
4. Add the espresso-egg mixture to the dry ingredients and fold together just until combined. Add one fourth of the egg whites and fold them gently into the batter. Fold in the remaining egg whites just until no streaks remain. Divide the batter among the pans.
5. Bake the cakes for 18 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool completely in the pans. Once cooled run a knife around the edge of the pans to release the cakes. Invert onto a wire rack and remove the parchment papers.
6. To assemble the cake, place one cake layer flat side up on a cake stand or platter. Soak the cake with 1/3 cup of the espresso syrup. Spread 1 and 1/3 cups of whipped cream evenly over the top of the cake. Repeat with the next layer the same steps. Finally top with the third layer. Soak with syrup and frost the top and sides of the cake with the whipped cream.
7. To decorate the cake smooth out the whipped cream as much as possible on top. Lay a paper doily on top and sift cocoa powder or cinnamon over the doily to reveal a lacy detail.
makes 1 cup
In a bowl, stir together the espresso and sugar. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the rum and let cool to room temperature.
Vanilla Whipped Cream
makes 6 cups
Place the cream, sugar, and vanilla in large chilled mixing bowl with chilled beaters. With the whip attachment, beat the cream until stiff peaks form.