Sunday, May 8, 2011

Shower Cakes

Yesterday Karen and Kim held a baby shower for Margie who is having a boy on June 8.
These cakes were beautiful and delicious and maybe I'll make them sometime so I'm posting the recipes here so I don't forget 

Chocolate Cake with Fleur de Sel Caramel Filling

There's chocolate cake—and then there's this chocolate cake. Four layers of cake. Chocolate ganache. Salted caramel. Toasted almonds. It's a decadent combination that has become a big seller at Santa Monica's Vanilla Bake Shop—and a new favorite for weddings.

Recipe by Vanilla Bake Shop
September 2008
  1 cup sugar
  1/4 cup water
  2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, diced
  1/4 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
  1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  Large pinch of fine fleur de sel* plus additional for assembly

  1 1/2 pounds bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  3 cups heavy whipping cream

  2 cups sugar
  1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  1 teaspoon salt
  1 cup whole milk
  2 large eggs
  1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  1 cup hot water
  1 tablespoon instant espresso powder or instant coffee
  1 1/4 cups almonds, toasted, coarsely chopped

Stir sugar, 1/4 cup water, and corn syrup in deep medium saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium; cover pan and cook 4 minutes. Uncover; increase heat to high. Boil without stirring until syrup is deep amber, occasionally brushing down pan sides with wet pastry brush, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat. Add cream (mixture will bubble). Whisk in butter, then crème fraîche, lemon juice, and pinch of fleur de sel. Cool completely. DO AHEAD Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before using.

Place chocolate in large bowl. Bring cream to simmer in medium saucepan. Pour cream over chocolate; let soften 1 minute. Whisk until chocolate is smooth. Cool, then cover and chill overnight. DO AHEAD Ganache can be made 3 days ahead. Keep chilled. Bring to room temperature before using.

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 2-inch-high sides. Line bottom of each with parchment paper; butter paper and dust pan with flour.

Sift sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into large bowl. Add milk, eggs, and melted butter. Using electric mixer, beat at low speed until blended. Increase speed and beat 2 minutes. Stir 1 cup hot water and espresso powder in small bowl to dissolve. Add to batter; beat until blended (batter will be thin). Divide batter between pans (about 3 cups each).

Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 32 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on racks 10 minutes. Cut around cakes; turn out onto racks. Peel off parchment and cool completely.

Using long serrated knife, cut each cake horizontally in half. Place 1 layer on platter; spread with 1/2 cup room-temperature ganache. Spoon 3/4 cup ganache into pastry bag fitted with 1/4-inch plain round tip. Pipe ring of ganache around edge of layer. Spread 1/4 cup room-temperature caramel filling evenly inside ring. Sprinkle caramel with large pinch of fleur de sel, then 1 tablespoon almonds. Top with second cake layer, ganache, ganache ring, caramel filling, fleur de sel, and almonds. Repeat with third cake layer. Top with fourth cake layer, cut side down. Spread remaining ganache over top and sides of cake. Press remaining almonds onto sides. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover with cake dome and chill. Let cake stand at room temperature 1 hour.

A type of sea salt; available at some supermarkets and at specialty foods stores.

Mixed-Berry Chiffon Cake with Almond Cream Cheese Frosting

Almond cream filling
1 cup half and half
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 large eggs
1/2 7-ounce roll almond paste (scant 1/2 cup packed), diced
6 ounces good-quality white chocolate (such as Lindt or Baker's), finely chopped
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
2/3 cup chilled heavy whipping cream

1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
5 large eggs, separated
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

1 cup raspberry preserves

Almond cream cheese frosting
2 1/2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon almond extract

Assorted fresh berries (such as strawberries and blueberries)
Currant jelly, warmed

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