Arsip Tag: gingerbread

gingerbread layer cake – smitten kitchen

For the last seven Christmas Eves, I have made the gingerbread cake Claudia Fleming made famous during her time at Gramercy Tavern. The first year, I was so excited about it that I made it twice, first, for the holiday and then so I could tell you all about it because I think we all know that a Deb-fitted torture chamber would be me making some awesome cooking discovery and not being able to run to the internet to tell you about it immediately.

what you'll need
wet ingredients

But every year after that, it’s given me a hard time. At first, I shrugged it off — a chunk stayed behind in the pan, I pasted it back on and showered the cake with an extra blizard of sugar “snow.” Two chunks stayed behind, we teased it for its lopsidedness while eating it with no-less-diminished vigor. But it didn’t get better from there. I assumed it was my greasing technique; maybe this cake was no match for my beloved Baker’s Joy? I doubled-down on the buttering and the flouring and was rewarded with the cake equivalent of a gap-toothed 6 year-old. I did the same but gave it 20 minutes to set in the freezer; it mocked my efforts. I switched to the Crisco my mom swears by for pan release; the hungry hungry bundt still ate a third of the cake. I questioned the half-life of factory-applied nonstick coating, but it was hard to ignore that the same coating was mighty effective at releasing other cakes. Finally, I pulled in the big guns, this mix of shortening, oil, and flour many more talented bakers than myself swear by; the situation was so bad that year, I had to make this cake at the last minute instead.

lots of spices
adding the beer-molasses mixture
stir in dry ingredients
dividing the cake batter
whipped mascarpone cream

This is where the story arc demands a resolution. Here is where I’m supposed to say “But here’s what finally worked!” This is America! We like happy endings. Alas, as I’ve run out of solutions, I’ve instead changed vessels. Down with bumps and notches; down with shapes that do not allow for the ultimate in cake-release security, a layer of parchment paper. Up with celebratory layer cakes! Poured thin, sandwiched with whipped mascarpone cream, stacked high and a little messy and crowed with the festive-est berry tiara, we still get to eat our favorite gingerbread cake on Christmas Eve and the only chunk of gingerbread that isn’t going to make it to the table this year is that plated wedge up front. We’ll blame the elf.

a good thwunk of cream
stacked and humble
gingerbread layer cake
gingerbread layer cake

One year ago: Deep Dark Gingerbread Waffles and Fairytale of New York
Two years ago: Linzer Torte and Breakfast Slab Pie
Three years ago: Cashew Butter Balls
Four years ago: Parsnip Latkes with Horseradish and Dill
Five years ago: Broiled Mussels and Spicy Gingerbread Cookies
Six years ago: Ridiculously Easy Butterscotch Sauce, Mushroom Marsala Pasta with Artichokes and How to Host Brunch (and Still Sleep In)
Seven years ago: Cranberry Vanilla Coffee Cake, Sausage-Stuffed Potato with a Green Salad, Seven-Layer Cookies, Grasshopper Brownies, Potato Pancakes, Even Better
Eight years ago: Austrian Raspberry Shortbread and Slice-and-Bake Cookie Palette
Nine years ago: Pecan Squares, Boozy Baked French Toast and Zucchini Latkes

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Herbed Summer Pasta Bake
1.5 Years Ago: Frozen Coconut Limeade
2.5 Years Ago: Espresso Granita with Whipped Cream
3.5 Years Ago: Cold Rice Noodle with Peanut-Lime Chicken
4.5 Years Ago: Rich Homemade Ricottaand Linguine with Pea Pesto

Gingerbread Layer Cake with Whipped Mascarpone Cream and Sugared Cranberries
Adapted from Claudia Fleming (cake), Nancy Silverton (stabilized cream) and My Recipes (sugared cranberries)

This recipe makes three thin cake layers. As most of us have 2 cake pans, at best, you could also make it into two thicker cake layers, giving it a little more baking time. Or, you could do as I did, which is to hold the last bit of batter in a bowl until the first layer comes out and can be unmolded. It holds up just fine at room temperature for an hour. You’ll have up to 1 cup more whipped cream than you’ll need; you can make a little less or just keep the rest in a jar for another dessert. The cream stays stable due to the added mascarpone, although that was my preference and creme fraiche or sour cream are usually what’s recommended. (Read more about why here.) Finally, the sugared cranberries are something I auditioned at the last minute for the first time so I’m hardly an expert (but hope to be, in two or three bags); you’ll want to start them the night or day before. You’ll have way more than you’ll need; the rest make pretty gifts, festive treats or can be scattered on plates when serving.

Sugared Cranberries
1 cup (200 grams) plus 1/3 cup (65 grams) granulated sugar
1 cup water
1 cup (100 grams) fresh cranberries

Cake layers
1 cup (235 ml) oatmeal stout or Guinness Stout
1 cup (235 ml) dark molasses (ideally, not blackstrap)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 large eggs
1 cup (190 grams) packed dark brown sugar
1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
3/4 cup (150 grams) vegetable or another neutral oil
2 cups (260 grams) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Pinch of ground cardamom

2 cups (475 ml) heavy or whipping cream
6 tablespoons (45 grams) powdered sugar
1/2 cup (115 grams) mascarpone

Make sugared cranberries: Bring 1 cup granulated sugar and 1 cup water to a gentle simmer (not a full boil) on the stove, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and add cranberries. Pour mixture into a bowl and let syrupy cranberries chill in fridge overnight, or at least 8 hours. The next morning, drain cranberries (you can reserve syrup for soda or sweetening cocktails). Place remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a bowl and roll cranberries in it. Arrange them on a tray or plate and refrigerate for another 45 minutes to an hour, so that the sugar sets. (They’ll feel mostly dry to the touch.)

Make the cake layers: Heat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour, or use a nonstick spray to coat three 9-inch round cake pans (see note above re: if you have fewer) and line the bottom of each with a fitted round of parchment paper.

Bring stout and molasses to a boil in a large saucepan and remove from heat; whisk in baking soda carefully — it will foam up. Cool to room temperature.

In a large bowl, whisk together sugars and oil. Whisk in eggs, then whisk in cooled stout-molasses mixture. Place dry ingredients in a fine-mesh sieve or sifter and shake over bowl. Stir until just combined.

Divide batter into prepared cake pans; you’ll have about (updated!) a scant (bit less than) 2 cups or 515 grams of batter in each. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out batter-free. Cool in pan on rack for 5 minutes, then flip out onto cooling rack, carefully remove parchment paper (it’s sticky) and flip back right side-up, letting each layer cool completely. You can hasten this along outside (if it’s cold) or in the freezer.

Make whipped mascarpone cream: Beat heavy cream and powdered sugar in a large bowl with a whisk or electric beaters until soft peaks form. Beat in mascarpone, one spoonful at a time, just until it disappears into the cream.

Assemble cake: Place first cake layer on cake stand and level top with a serrated knife if it has domed. Spread with 1 cup whipped mascarpone. Repeat twice, then smooth sides. Decorate with sugared cranberries. Serve immediately, or keep refrigerated until needed.

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gingerbread yule log – smitten kitchen

Make the sugared cranberries: Bring 1 cup the sugar and 1 cup water to a simmer on the stove, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and add cranberries. Let syrupy cranberries chill in fridge overnight, if you have time, or an hour or two, while you prepare the rest of the cake. [I left mine outside at 34°F for an hour.] Drain cranberries (you can reserve syrup for sweetening drinks). Place remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a bowl and roll cranberries in it. Arrange them on a plate and chill until dry to the touch, about another 45 minutes in the fridge [or 20 minutes outside for me].

Make the cake: Heat oven to 350°F and line the bottom and sides of a 10×15-inch jelly roll pan with a large piece of parchment (I used a pre-cut half-sheet rectangle). Dabbing the edges and corners of empty pan with a bit of water can help parchment stay in place. Coat the parchment with butter or nonstick spray.

Beat the eggs in a large bowl with a whisk or electric mixer, until well-mixed and bubbly. Add brown sugar, molasses, and applesauce, sour cream, or mascarpone and mix again. Sprinkle baking soda, salt, and spices over the batter and whisk thoroughly into batter, giving it several more whisks around the bowl than seems necessary. Sprinkle flour on batter and switch to a rubber scraper to stir. Stir slowly from the center of the batter, drawing in a little flour at a time until all the flour disappears. Scrape bowl well.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 4 minutes; rotate pan 180 degrees. Bake for another 4 minutes, and check for doneness. The finished cake may look sticky and underbaked, but will not move when the pan is jiggled, and a tester inserted into the cake will come out clean or only with a couple sticky crumbs, not loose batter. Return to the oven for 2 minutes more, if needed, [updated] and in additional 2-minute increments until cake is set.

Transfer cake pan to a cooling rack and let cool for 5 minutes. While it cools, grab several things: A second large sheet of parchment paper, a large cutting board or flat tray, powdered sugar, and a mesh strainer to sift the sugar over the cake.

Run knife around between the cake edge and parchment, loosening it. Tilt the pan and gently tug the parchment and cake onto the cooling rack. Sift powdered sugar all over. Put the second sheet of parchment over the cake, and the cutting board over the parchment. With potholder-ed hands, grab cooling rack and board together, and flip cake onto the board. Gently, carefully peel back the parchment on the back of the cake. Sift powdered sugar all over the back of the cake.

Use the parchment underneath the cake to help you roll the cake from the short side into a snug coil and rest seam side down. Let it cool completely in this parchment log; this take a couple hours at room temperature or about an hour in the fridge. [But I chilled mine outside and it took about 45 minutes.]

Make the bark: Melt about 2/3 of the chocolate chips (you can eyeball it) in the microwave — give it 30 seconds, then stir, add another 30 seconds, if needed — or on the stove in a small pot over medium heat. Off the heat, stir in the remaining chocolate chips until melted. This will bring down the temperature of the chocolate so you can use it right away.

Spread chocolate thinly over a large piece of parchment paper — I use the same size I do for the baking pan, a 13×18-inch sheet. Roll it up into a log; I leave about 1 to 2 inches open in the center, for a looser coil — imagine rolling it around an invisible dowel. Chill in the fridge until firm [I sound like a broken record but I put mine on the patio for 15 minutes].

Make the cream: Place heavy cream, vanilla, and sugar (I use the lower amount; I prefer a barely sweetened cream here) in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer — or with a large whisk — until the mixture holds stiff peaks. Whisk in mascarpone or sour cream until it disappears. This adds both a very slight tang and stabilization; the cream will stay thick for days.

Assemble the cake: Gently, carefully unroll your cooled cake. Spread it with about 2/3 of the whipped cream, in an even layer. Carefully re-roll your cake with the cream inside, carefully peeling off the parchment as you do. Sometimes, barely any cake stuck to the parchment. Other times, a bit more did and a scraper helped separate it. Place the rolled cake seam side down on the final serving platter.

Cover cake with remaining cream, leaving ends exposed. Slowly unroll your chocolate bark coil. The pieces of chocolate will separate in long and short curved pieces. Arrange them over the whipped cream to resemble bark. Shower cake with powdered sugar and decorate the tray with sugared cranberries.

Do ahead: Yule log will keep for several days in the fridge. The cake gets a bit softer every day.

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