The baking

Month: June, 2013

Chocolate cake cones

Once again, cupcake cones, delicious chocolate cupcake cones with chocolate icing:

choc cupcake cones

These cupcake cones are actually from quite a while ago. Chocolate on chocolate is a delicious variation on cupcake cones that I thought worth sharing.

I used the exact same recipe for chocolate cake that I used for this cake and this cake. Then, I poured the batter into flat-bottom ice cream cones and baked the cones in the oven. More instructions here.

For the icing, I used pretty much the same icing recipe that I used in both of the linked cake recipes. I added about 1/4 of a cup of cocoa powder to the icing mix at the same time as the shortening and margarine. And I didn’t use any food colouring.

To ice the cupcake cones, I used a spoon to fill my icing gun with frosting. I used a large, star-shape, icing tip to put swirls of chocolate icing onto each cupcake cone.

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Chocolate-chocolate chip cookies with cardamon

cardamon chocolate cookies

These are chocolate-chocolate chip cookies with cardamon.

I happened to have a small amount of cardamon spice available – I needed it for chai tea cupcakes  – so I decided to try making cookies with it.

The cookies worked – and were delicious.

I used my basic cookie dough recipe.

To make the batter chocolate-y, I added about two tablespoons of cocoa powder. I added about one teaspoon of cardamon spice at the same time as the cocoa.  Then,  after all other ingredients had been mixed, I added about 1/3 of a cup of large, semi-sweet chocolate chips.

What’s cardamon, you say?

Cardamon – or cardamom – is a spice, in the ginger family, that is native to south Asia. Cardamon is commonly used as a flavouring in food and drink. Ever found a small, pointy-on-one-end, light green pod in your Indian food? That was probably cardamon.

Cardamon is also sometimes used for medicinal purposes.

Wikipedia has an article on cardamon here.

I bought the cardamon I used at a bulk food store. I chose the bulk food store as I could buy a small quantity of cardamon. Instead of paying $10-plus for a jar of cardamon at the grocery store, I got a few teaspoons of cardamon for about 50 cents.

Chai tea cupcakes

Cupcake:

chai tea cupcakes3

And cupcake:

chai tea cupcakes2

These cupcakes were another fabulous recipe from the cupcake cookbook.

I’ve had the cupcake book for years. And, as of late, I’ve been working through it with a fellow cupcake fan. The goal is to try all of the recipes.

I modified the recipe slightly and used vanilla-cardamon buttercream-style icing – like I icing I made for the pie-in-a-cake – instead of the suggested dusting of sugar and spice.

I also used some colourful new sprinkles – bright circles and pastel stars – that I picked up at a local bulk food store.

Here’s the icing being mixed with my old-school mixer:

Sir mix-a-lot

Baking usually smells good.

It’s kind of a thing.

But the chai tea cupcakes smelled especially good – all that tea and spice – while baking and cooling.

And they tasted delicious.

The cupcake book wins again.

 

 

Pie inside a cake

Yes. Correct. This is a delicious, double-layer chocolate cake with an apple pie  inside it.

Here is the outside of the finished product:

cakepie5

I got the idea from pictures I had come across of cakes with apple and or pumpkin pies baked into them.

Anyway.

To cut down on baking time, I decided to buy a small apple pie from the bakery section of a grocery store.

You could also make your own pie.

If you make your own pie, I suggest checking out my previous posts on pie, pie, and pastry. Also, it would probably be a good idea to let the pie cool completely before baking it into a cake.

This is the pie I used:

cakepie3

I got the smallest pie I could find in the bakery section at the store. The pie was apple-cinnamon and it was about 6 inches or so in diameter.

Next, I made a batch of chocolate cake batter. I used the same recipe that I used to make an 80s video game-theme chocolate cake in this post.

But, instead of making you click, here’s the recipe for the cake:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare the cake pan or pans that you’d like to use by lightly greasing the inside surfaces with margarine or shortening. Then, coat the greased pan insides with a light layer of flour. I used two round cake pans to make this cake.

In a bowl, mix:

-3/4 cup canola oil

-1 1/2 cups sugar – I usually use regular fine grind white sugar

-1 1/2 – 2 cups water or another liquid – I usually add around 2 cups liquid total and sometimes use chilled coffee instead of water. More water – as long as you don’t add too much, makes the finished cake more moist and dense.

-1 teaspoon salt

-3 teaspoons vanilla extract or another liquid flavour extract. Vanilla sugar also works.

-2 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot powder

-1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

-1 teaspoon baking soda

-2/3 cup cocoa powder

-2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour – I usually use all-purpose unbleached wheat flour

Beat all ingredients together for about two to three minutes or until fully blended and the desired consistency. The consistency you should be aiming for is somewhere between a thick soup and pancake batter. Gradually add small quantities of water or another liquid if the batter is too thick. Remember to stop and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula a few times so that everything is mixed together.

-Next: time to put the pie into one of the cake pans.

If you baked a pie, make sure that it is fully cooled. Yes, you will have to make your pie – or pies [?] – ahead of time. That’s part of why I decided to buy a pie instead of making one.

Anyway: carefully remove the pie from the pan it was baked in and transfer it to one of the cake pans. I decided to – in interest of making less of a mess of the pie – simply put the pie upside down into one of the cake pans and carefully lift away the aluminum pie tray.

Then, I poured chocolate batter into the pan and over the pie. I used about two thirds of the cake batter in the cake pan with the pie in it. And I poured the other third of the cake batter into a second cake pan.

This is what the cake pan with the pie in it looked like right before going into the oven:

cakepie2

Once the cake pans are in the oven – you can bake both side-by-side if there is room in your oven – bake them for about 30 to 45 minutes or until a wooden toothpick stuck into the centre of the cake comes out without any batter sticking to it. For the tray with the pie in it, try to check if the cake is ready somewhere in the centre of an area that is mostly cake.

Remove the pans from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

Fun icing fact: it is not a particularly good idea to ice a cake – or cupcakes – before it is fully cooled.  It’s also easier to remove cake from cake pans when the cake is fully cooled.

I made vanilla-cardamom icing for this cake.  I added a little more liquid – both vanilla extract and almond milk – than I would usually use so as to make a lighter, fluffier version of buttercream-style icing.

To make the icing:

-1/4 cup of margarine – use a margarine that is firm like butter when it’s stored in the fridge. I usually use Earth Balance brand margarine.

-1/4 cup of shortening – You could also use either 1/2 cup of margarine or 1/2 cup of shortening instead of both shortening and margarine. When measuring shortening, it’s helpful to remember that most vegetable shortening is sold in boxes with cut lines/measurements printed on them. You can use the cut lines as a guide to measure shortening when adding it. And you can use the size of the cut piece of shortening to estimate how much margarine to use. It also helps to bring the margarine and/or shortening to room temperature before using it to make icing.

-1/2 cup liquid – I usually use coffee or soy milk. I have also used beer or whiskey. Pretty much any consumable liquid could be used. I used almond milk this time – and a little more than half a cup

-2 teaspoons liquid vanilla extract or other flavouring. You could also just use more of whatever other liquid you are using. I used about three teaspoons of vanilla extract this time.

-1 teaspoon ground cardamom/cardamon

-4 to 6 cups icing sugar

Mix the margarine and shortening together until well-blended. If you want to use food colouring, add the  food colouring at this stage.

Add about half of the icing sugar and mix.

Add the liquid and the flavour extract.

Mix.

Gradually add more of the icing sugar. Mix and add more icing sugar until the icing is of the consistency and thickness you’d like.

I usually use an old-school hand-powered egg beater to mix icing, but you could also use and electric beater or stand mixer.

To ice the cake, I spread a thin layer of icing on top of one layer of cake – I used the cake without the pie in it on the bottom – and then put the other layer of cake on top of the first layer. Then, I used a butter knife and a spatula to spread icing over the top and sides of the two layers. Then, some rainbow sprinkles happened.

It’s pretty cool to cut into a cake and see apple pie inside one of the layers. Check out this fabulous and hastily-taken, on-location, picture of a slice of the cake:

WP_001528

I think that a cake with a pie inside would work with vanilla or white cake as well. And I think that it would also work with other pies with fruit filling or other relatively solid filling – like the pumpkin pie cakes found online.

It was discussed whether it would work to bake a pecan pie inside a cake, but I’m not quite sure whether a pecan pie would stand up to being re-baked.  Though I may have give a baking a pecan pie into a cake a try – for baking science and all.