Triple-Layer Moist Chocolate Cake

This cake has been sent down from the Chocolate Gods for us all to enjoy. It is so easy to make, and DAMN it makes a good cake. I originally stumbled across this recipe a few years ago, and it came on my radar again when a friend asked if I could make a chocolate cake for her. The only hitch was that it had to be gluten-free. I turned to a good friend for a recipe recommendation, and she told me to just use a good cake recipe I had and sub in some gluten-free flour. I double-checked that all the other ingredients were gluten-free, and it was AMAZING.

So yes, I have only made this cake gluten-free, but here’s the deal. I made this cake twice: one test run, and one for my friend. I took the test-run gluten-free cake to a party, and didn’t tell anyone it was gluten-free until after everyone finished it… and they HAD NO IDEA. They said it was an amazing cake and they COULDN’T BELIEVE the cake was gluten-free. That was the only swap I made! This cake is THAT GOOD. *I did forget to get a picture of the cross-section, but this cake was incredible!*

The original recipe, found here, is not gluten-free, but that is the only change I made – other than the tweaks I made to the frosting. I’m sure it is just as good with regular flour. But man, this is a really freaking delicious cake. For the frosting, I prefer the texture of all-butter icings, so I used all butter in the frosting, and lessened the amount of icing sugar, as I got my frosting to my preferred texture and consistency with less. I have included my changes below, but if you would like the original measurements, be sure to go and check out Life, Love and Sugar. She is fantastic! If you like chocolate, then get ready. This cake will rock your world.

Ingredients

Yield: 1 triple-layer 9-inch cake

For the cake:

2 c. flour
2 c. sugar
¾ c. cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 c. buttermilk
1 c. vegetable oil (I used canola)
1½ tsp. vanilla
1 c. hot water

For the frosting:

2½ c. butter, at room temperature
5-6 c. icing sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1 c. cocoa powder
4-5 tbsp. milk

Preheat oven to 300°F. Line three 8 or 9 inch cake pans with parchment paper on the bottom, and grease the sides.

In a large mixing bowl, add all dry ingredients and whisk together. Add in the eggs, buttermilk, and oil, and whisk again.

Add the vanilla to the boiling water, and add in to mixture, mixing well.

Divide batter evenly between cake pans, and bake for 30-33 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out with a few crumbs.

Allow cakes to cool in pans about 10 minutes before removing cakes from pans and cooling completely.

To make the frosting, beat the butter until smooth. Add in 4 c. icing sugar and mix until smooth. Add in the vanilla, and 1-2 tbsp. of milk. Mix until smooth, and check for consistency.

Add in the rest of the icing sugar, the cocoa powder and 1-2 more tbsp. of milk until smooth and spreadable.

Once cakes are cool, level with a knife. On a cake plate, spread a small dollop of frosting in the center to make the bottom cake stick. Place the bottom layer of cake down, and cover with about 1 cup of frosting. Repeat with the second cake layer and another cup of frosting.

Add last cake layer, then frost rest of cake. I went for a more rustic, swooshy style of decorating, but feel free to make the frosting perfectly smooth. Slice, and serve!

Pumpkin Roll

Fall/winter is the perfect pumpkin season. As I learned the last time I made a roll cake, they are extremely easy to make. Bake a cake in a large jelly roll pan, roll it up while still warm, let it cool, then fill it.

This pumpkin roll was just as easy. A few simple steps for a large reward. I’m not going to bore you with a bunch more talking… to cake!

Ingredients

Yield: 1 cake

For the cake:

¾ c. flour
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 c. sugar
3 eggs
2/3 c. canned pumpkin
1 tsp. vanilla

For the filling:

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp. butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. icing sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a large 10×15 pan with parchment paper, leaving an extra inch or so of overhang.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon. In a large bowl, mix the eggs, sugar, vanilla and pumpkin until smooth.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until just combined and no dry streaks remain. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan.

Bake in the preheated oven for 14-15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

When the cake is done, let cool in the pan for 2-3 minutes, then while still hot, transfer to a flat surface. Roll, using the parchment paper, and let cool completely while wrapped on a wire rack.

To make the filling, in a medium bowl whip the cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and icing sugar with an electric mixer or with a stand mixer.

Once the cake is completely cool, unroll it and spread the filling evenly over the cake, and re-roll tightly. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Dust the top with icing sugar, cut into slices, and serve.

Almond Amaretto Cake

September is my birthday month! This is the cake that I made for myself. I had a wicked craving for something almond, and this cake really hit the spot. The almond flavour is everywhere, and it really sings in this cake. I was pretty spoiled for my birthday. I came in to my classroom and it was filled with balloons. I had some of my students make me cookies, and a dear friend had flowers delivered to me at work. After all that, Paul made an amazing dinner of maple glazed pork belly, loaded mashed potato spring rolls, and grilled asparagus. Like I said, spoiled.

I love me some cake, and couldn’t resist when I found this recipe. I found the original recipe here, and didn’t change it either. The cake is moist and delicious, soaked with a luxurious amaretto syrup. It has a ton of almond flavour in the cake, partly because of the almond flour, and partly because of the almond extract and amaretto in the actual cake.

The only part of the cake without any almond flavour is the buttercream, which I really like, as it gives a bit of a break from the nutty richness of the cake. A smooth, sumptuous vanilla Swiss Meringue buttercream icing, slathered all over the three layer cake. Garnish with toasted slivered almonds, and you have a knock-your-socks-off cake loaded with almond flavour.

If someone you know loves the flavour of almond, make them this cake to celebrate their next birthday. It’s incredible!

Ingredients

Yield: 1 6-inch three-layer cake

For the cake:

1½ c. flour
¾ c. almond flour
2 tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. salt
¾ c. butter, at room temperature
1½ c. sugar
3 eggs
1½ tsp. vanilla

¾ c. milk, at room temperature
¼ c. Amaretto liqueur

For the amaretto syrup:

½ c. sugar
½ c. water
¼ c. Amaretto liqueur

For the vanilla Swiss Meringue buttercream:

5 large egg whites
1½ c. sugar
1½ c. butter, at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla

1 c. sliced almonds, toasted (for garnish)

To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour (or brush with Miracle Cake Release) three six-inch cake pans.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, almond flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Combine the milk and amaretto in a liquid measuring cup. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add vanilla.

Alternate adding the flour mixture and milk mixture to the eggs, beginning and ending with the flour. Pour into prepared pans, and bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Cool cakes in pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pans and cool completely before icing.

To make the amaretto syrup, in a small saucepan combine the sugar and water. Whisk together, and bring to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, and stir in the amaretto. Let cool.

To make the Swiss Meringue Buttercream, in the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the egg whites and the sugar. Place the bowl over a double boiler, and whisk constantly until the mixture reaches approximately 160°F.

Place the bowl of the stand mixer back on the stand mixer, and whisk on medium-high heat until the meringue is stiff and cooled. The bowl should no longer be warm to the touch, which should take about 5-10 minutes.

Switch to the paddle attachment, and add the butter, about a tablespoon at a time, until it is completely incorporated. Add vanilla and mix again until light and fluffy.

To assemble, place a small dollop of the icing on the serving plate. Trim cakes so they are flat and level. Brush cakes with amaretto syrup, to make sure cakes are moist. Place one cake layer on the icing dollop. Layer cake with icing, then repeat with last two cake layers.

Frost the outside of the cake with a thin crumb coat. Chill for 20 minutes. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the icing, and pipe dollops on top of the cake. Cover sides and/or top of the cake with slivered almonds.

Slice, and serve!

S’mores Cake

Happy Belated Birthday to Paul!

As usual, he challenged me to make something new for him. Lately, he has been migrating away from the chocolate peanut butter classic combination he loves so much, and has been delving into the world of s’mores. I’m okay with it – it’s just as good, and classic, a combo!

Last week, I did a lot of talking about why I was missing from the blogosphere for a while. This week, I just want to get to the cake. If you like s’mores, and if you like cake, you will love this cake!

I found the original recipe here, and didn’t really change a thing. This is the perfect cake to welcome in summer!

Ingredients

Yield: 1 6-inch cake

For the cake:

1¼ c. flour
¾ c. graham cracker crumbs
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. allspice
1 c. softened butter
½ c. sugar
½ c. light brown sugar
3 eggs
1 egg white
½ c. buttermilk
½ c. sour cream
1 tbsp. vanilla

For the crumble:

4 graham crackers, roughly crumbled
4 tbsp. melted butter
½ tsp. cinnamon
1 pinch salt
¼ tsp. allspice

For the chocolate buttercream:

1½ c. softened butter
1½ pounds (3-4 c.) icing sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 c. dark or semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled

For the marshmallow fluff:

1 c. sugar
½ c. light corn syrup
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
¼ tsp. salt

To make the cake, preheat oven to 350°F. Brush 3 6-inch cake pans with Miracle Cake Release and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, vanilla, and sour cream.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and add the sugars. Mix until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs and the egg white one at a time, mixing after each addition.
Add in the flour mixture and the buttermilk mixture in alternating batches, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Mix until just combined.
Pour batter into the prepared pans and bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Remove from oven, cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pans and cool completely before assembling the cake.
To make the buttercream frosting, beat the butter in the bowl of a stand mixture fitted with a whisk attachment until light and fluffy. Add in the icing sugar, a bit at a time, and beat until incorporated. Add in 1-2 tsp. milk if needed for consistency.

Drizzle in melted chocolate, and mix until well combined. Add more milk or sugar to adjust consistency as needed. Set aside.

To make the marshmallow fluff, add 2/3 c. sugar and the corn syrup to a small saucepot and head on medium high. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pot. The sugar mixture must reach 240°F, and not more!

In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, make sure there is NO grease. Wipe down with vinegar to be sure. Start beating the egg whites on low, and gradually increase speed to medium-high. Add in 1/3 c. of the sugar while the egg whites are stiffening.

Once the egg whites hit the soft peak stage, slowly drizzle in the 240°F sugar syrup, and beat on medium-high to high for about 10 minutes, to allow the fluff to cool and thicken.

For the crumble, preheat oven to 350°F. Mix the melted butter and graham cracker crumbs together well. Spread mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake for about 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow to cool, then crumble the mixture, allowing some larger pieces to remain.

To assemble the cake, place one layer of cake on a cake stand. Pipe a ring of the chocolate buttercream on the layer of cake, and fill with marshmallow fluff. Sprinkle a small amount of the graham cracker crumble, and top with the next layer of cake.

Repeat the ring of chocolate buttercream, marshmallow fluff, and graham cracker crumble, then top with the last layer of cake. Spread a small amount of the frosting around the outside of the cake as a crumb coat. (I don’t usually do this, but I did here, and I’m glad. It helped everything stick together a little better. Maybe I’ve been converted!) Put in the refrigerator for 20 minutes to set up.

Take out the cake, and spread the remaining chocolate buttercream around the sides and top of the cake. Smooth with an offset spatula, and press the graham cracker crumble around the bottom third of the cake.

Pipe the marshmallow fluff on top of the cake, and torch. Slice, and serve!

Vanilla Cupcakes

I’m back! I was gone for about a week because I went up to Edmonton to mark English diplomas. I ended up working for about 12 days straight, and wanted to just take a little break.

After I got back, I wanted to make something, and I asked Paul if he was craving anything. His answer was just a simple vanilla cupcake. Hence, this recipe.

This recipe was also extremely easy. It uses simple, pantry ingredients and can be whipped up in about 10 minutes. It also uses only a few dishes, so you can have cupcakes in less than an hour!

This is going to be a short post, mostly because I’m still extremely tired, but these are a simple treat that yield a high reward.

Ingredients

Yield: 2 dozen cupcakes

For the cupcakes:

2½ c. flour
2 c. sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 c. milk
½ c. vegetable oil
1 tbsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1 c. water

For the frosting:

½ c. butter, room temperature
½ c. shortening, room temperature
4 c. icing sugar
1½ tsp. vanilla
2-3 tbsp. milk

To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350°F and line two cupcake tins with paper liners.

In a large bowl, add the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt and whisk to combine.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, vegetable oil, vanilla, and eggs. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk until combined.

Slowly add the water to the batter, and whisk gently until combined. The batter will be thin.

Fill the cupcake liners halfway, then bake for 15-17 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out with a few moist crumbs.

Cool the cupcakes in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

To make the frosting, combine the shortening and butter in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat until combined and fluffy.

Add two cups of sugar, and beat on low until sugar is combined. Add in the vanilla and 1 tbsp. of milk and whisk again.

Add the remaining icing sugar, and beat on low until well combined. Add more of the milk until the desired consistency is reached.

Fill a piping bag with a large star tip and ice the cooled cupcakes. Serve immediately.