Of Cake and Cake Scraps
How was your weekend? Mine was filled with cake, buttercream, cream puffs, Chantilly cream, topped with tempered chocolate. I had too much fun playing in the kitchen!
I was going to make a simple chocolate cake with coffee buttercream. I think I may have overdone it, just a tad. Well, the cake still had my original plan but I decided to top it with cream puffs and add filigree. Then, I debated whether the cream puffs were to be covered with caramel or chocolate. I went for the chocolate since I have Lindt Couverture sitting in the cupboard – that means I have to temper the chocolates – the fun stuff…so, all in all I made: the chocolate cake, buttercream, cream puffs, Chantilly cream and tempered chocolate.
I’ll post the chocolate cake and Swiss Meringue Buttercream recipes for now. I will have to owe the rest of the other recipes on my next posts.
Chocolate Cake with Coffee Buttercream
Chocolate Cake Recipe:
Preheat oven to 350F
3 – 8″ cake pans: Spray cake pans with Pam (alternatively, you can butter the pans too) and line bottom of the pan and sides with parchment paper
- 1 1/2 cups Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 3 cups All-Purpose Flour
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 3 cups Caster Sugar
- 3/4 cup Vegetable Oil
- 3/4 cup Milk
- 3/4 cup Sour Cream
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla extract
- 3 large Eggs (slightly beat eggs, easier to incorporate
- 1 1/2 cups Hot Water
1. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cocoa powder into the mixing bowl. After sifting add the sugar and start mixer at low-speed.
3. Begin to add the “wet ingredients” to the “dry ingredients” with the mixer at low speed starting with the vegetable oil, sour cream, milk, vanilla, eggs and water. We want to add the ingredients in a steady stream. Keeping in mind to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with every addition.
4. Mix until well blended and batter is smooth this will take approximately 2 minutes. (It may sound like you’re over-mixing but relax, it’s a high-ratio cake. Mixing it for a couple of minutes will not hurt your cake.)
5. Divide batter into pans. Tap the pans on the counter to loosen any air bubbles.
6. Bake for about 40 minutes. You may also check for doneness by inserting a toothpick in the middle of the cake, if the toothpick comes out clean, then the cake is done.
7. Let the cake cool in the pan before removing. Once the cake has cooled down, remove the parchment paper lined on the side of the pans and invert the cake. (I usually invert the cake into an aluminum foil)
Coffee flavoured Swiss Meringue Buttercream Recipe:
Swiss buttercream is the simplest BC to make, that is, in comparison with Italian Meringue and French Buttercream. French Buttercream is richer and smoother because it makes use of the egg yolks instead of egg whites; whereas Italian and Swiss Meringue use egg whites – hence, meringue. For this cake, I chose Swiss Meringue Buttercream because it’s quicker to prepare. It basically achieves the same smoothness as with Italian Meringue Buttercream.
- 5 large Egg whites ( I prefer pasteurized eggs)
- 1 1/4 cup Caster Sugar
- 2 cups softened unsalted Butter, cut into cubes
- 2 teaspoons (10 ml) pure Vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 tablespoon instant coffee
- 2 tablespoons hot water
- pinch of Salt
- Pinch of Cream of Tartar ( to stabilize the meringue, a trick I learned from a chef professor way back)
1. First, make sure the bowl is grease free ( grease hampers the meringue from reaching its full volume). Mix coffee and hot water set aside and let cool.
2. In your mixing bowl, add egg whites and sugar and place over the pot of simmering water (bain-marie). Whisk the egg and sugar gently. The goal is to dissolve the sugar and warm the eggs for the meringue to maximize its volume.
3. Once the egg mix is warm, place the bowl back in the mixer. Use the whisk attachment of the mixer. Whisk the egg whites at high-speed and add the pinch of cream of tartar. Continue whisking until the meringue is glossy and thick. Be patient. This takes awhile, give it about 10 minutes.
4. Add softened butter gradually. Once all the butter has been incorporated, you can add the cooled coffee and vanilla at this point and switch the whisk attachment to a paddle attachment to make buttercream smoother with less air bubbles.
Buttercream can be a bit challenging during warmer season or when humid. To stabilize buttercream, you can substitute part of butter to shortening. Don’t overdo the shortening though, it leaves an unpleasant film of grease in your mouth.
If you don’t like coffee, you can customize the buttercream to the flavour and colour of your liking.
If you want the recipe for the Cream Puffs, click here.
Once I finished the cake, there were cake scraps/trimmings, buttercream, chocolate left over…here’s what I did with it: