Cake 33: Orange Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache

I initially tried to make a guilt-free blood orange cake with chocolate ganache. I can’t even begin to describe how badly it turned out. To sum it up – it was raw goop in the middle, and goose poop green. I really botched it. So I tossed it and started over with a not guilt-free regular orange cake. Deal with it, peeps. 🙂

I over-baked my cake by about 5 minutes, so I reduced your bake time below to 30 minutes. It’s still delicious, but I imagine you folks would want a more perfect texture on yours than mine had!

I also included a picture of my extra good looking baking assistants who anxiously await dropped goodies and “mop the floor” as I go – Otto von Bisbark the shepherd retriever mix, and Ford Prefect the beagle.

Orange Cake Recipe Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups of flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups of sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons orange extract or orange flavoring
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 3/4 cups orange juice

Orange Cake Recipe Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. I used my Wilton flower-shaped pan to remind everyone Spring is here! Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda. in your kitchen mixer, cream the softened butter and orange flavoring. Add the white sugar a bit at a time and cream until your butter-sugar mixture is light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, and beat just until blended after each one. Alternate adding the dry ingredients mixture and the milk, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. While continuing to mix, slowly add the orange juice into the batter. Beat until smooth. Pour into your cake pan and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the cake springs back when gently pressed and your toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Chocolate Ganache Recipe Ingredients

  • 8 ounces of bittersweet chocolate
  • 3/4 cup of heavy cream

Chocolate Ganache Recipe Directions

Chop the chocolate and put into a medium bowl. In a small saucepan, heat the whipping cream just until it starts to boil. Remove the cream from the heat, and pour over the chopped chocolate. Let it sit for a few seconds, then stir the two together until you get a creamy chocolate ganache. Allow it to cool for several minutes at room temperature before you pour it over your blood orange cake, starting in the center and working your way outward. Garnish with a slice or two of orange, an orange peel curl or whatever you think looks nice.

I skipped the garnish this time because like a total loser, I’m probably going to sit at home and eat this cake all by myself.

Cake 11: Chocolate Cake, Peanut Butter Frosting, Caramelized Bananas

If it sounds decadent to you, well, it is. The secret ingredient for this week’s cake was “banana.” I make caramelized banana French toast that my husband loves, so that was my inspiration for this one. Rich chocolate cake with whipped peanut butter frosting and caramelized bananas. Once again, I just can’t seem to get the hang of the beautification of the cakes just yet. But it tastes incredible, I think. I really need to take a cake decorating class and learn what the hell I’m doing once these things come out of the oven.


Chocolate Cake Ingredients

  • 4 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate (chopped)
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2.25 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 0.25 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk

Chocolate Cake Recipe Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In two 9-inch round cake pans, spray vegetable cooking spray and line the bottom with cut-out parchment paper. In one bowl, add the chopped baking chocolate and cocoa powder, pour the boiling water over it and stir until smooth. In another bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In the mixer (I used my wonderful, amazing, incredible KitchenAid from my hubby) cream the room temperature butter. Add the sugar slowly and beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and mix in completely. Add the vanilla extract and the chocolate mixture and mix in completely. Add half the flour mixture, beat completely, the milk, beat completely, and the last half of the flour mixture, then beat just until everything is combined. Divide the chocolate cake batter between the two 9-inch round baking pans and smooth the top of the batter. Bake for 40 minutes or until the toothpick in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 10 minutes. Cool completely on the wire rack, and refrigerate until ready to frost.

Peanut Butter Frosting Ingredients

  • 0.5 cup softened butter
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/3 (or more) buttermilk
  • 4 cups powdered confectioner’s sugar

Peanut Butter Frosting Recipe Directions

Beat the peanut butter and butter together and gradually mix in the powdered sugar. Mix in the cream a little bit at a time until the frosting is creamy, thick and easily spreadable on your cake layers. Beat it for several minutes to get the peanut butter frosting fluffy. Add more cream or milk as you see fit if you want a more spreadable consistency. Spread onto each 9″ round cake layer and stack the two on top of one another. What I learned in this step: yes, you can add more buttermilk, but don’t go overboard like I did. I went all the way up to a cup because I thought I needed lots of frosting. I ended up with way too much and it was way too runny.

Caramelized Bananas Ingredients

  • 4 firm peeled bananas
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 6 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 0.5 cup orange juice
  • 0.25 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Caramelized Banana Recipe Directions

I had to make my bananas in two batches so as not to crowd them in the skillet. Cut the bananas in half, and then lengthwise (each banana yields four parts). Melt the butter in your skillet, add brown sugar, and then lay the banana slices cut-side up and cook for about 25 seconds. Add the orange juice and cinnamon and cook for 15 more seconds. Carefully turn the banana slices over to be cut-side down, and cook for another 60  seconds. Put some of that sauce from the pan on it. Repeat for the second batch. Lay on top of your two-layer cake and voila!

Cake 9: Red Velvet Cheesecake

The red velvet cheesecake was my most ambitious cake adventure yet. The baking itself was not intimidating, as I have made both cheesecakes and red velvet desserts before. The part that was most challenging for me was the assembly of the red velvet cheesecake as it requires cutting into layers and multiple days of baking and chilling and some decoration and so on. I got a few new baking arsenal supplies this week from Wilton – cooling racks, a frosting spatula, frosting decorating kit and parchment paper. This is the perfect opportunity to put all of them to good use. (“What is red velvet cake?” you ask? It’s just red cake. Seriously.)

New York Cheesecake Recipe Ingredients

  • 4 8-ounce packages of softened cream cheese
  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 0.25 cups cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 0.5 cup heavy cream

New York Cheesecake Recipe Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place another cake pan of hot water in the bottom of the oven. Wrap the bottom of two 9-inch round springform pans with aluminum foil, and fold the excess up over the edges to keep excess cake batter from spilling into your nice, clean oven. (I only have one springform pan, so I mixed and baked one half of the cheesecake per night.) Spray the bottom and sides. In a large bowl, mix room temperature cream cheese for a few minutes until it is smooth. Add the sugar and cornstarch and beat again until smooth. Add the vanilla, eggs and egg whites (two at a time) and beat the mixture until it is creamy. Slowly add the heavy cream and beat just until the lumps are gone and the filling is light and fluffy. Pour the batter split evenly into the two pans and bake for about 40 to 45 minutes Do not open and close the pan, as that could cause cracks. Just eyeball it through the oven door to see if it’s done – it should be puffy around the edges and the center should be a little gelatinous. Cool on a wire rack at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours. Run a knife around the edges, then refrigerate the cheesecake overnight – at least eight hours. Before releasing the springform pan sides, run a knife around it again. Peel the foil away from the cheesecake layers and prepare to layer with your red velvet cake!

Red Velvet Cake Recipe Ingredients

  • 0.75 cup buttermilk
  • 1.5 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 0.75 teaspoon baking soda
  • 0.5 teaspoon salt
  • 1.25 cups sugar
  • 0.75 cup canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon red food coloring

Red Velvet Cake Recipe Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-inch round baking pan. In a small bowl, whisk together your buttermilk and vanilla. In a separate bowl, blend flour, cocoa, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. In another bowl (or I used my handy KitchenAid wedding present from the best husband ever) cream the sugar and oil together. Add each egg, one at a time and whisk it in completely. Add the vinegar and food coloring. Mix in half the dry ingredient combo, then half the liquid ingredient combo. Scrape the bowl, then repeat with the last half of both the dry and liquid ingredient mixtures. Blend until batter is smooth and not lumpy. Pour the red velvet cake batter into your greased round baking pans Bake for about 35 to 40 minutes, or until your toothpick comes out dry when inserted at a center point. Cool the cakes for about 15 minutes, loosen, then remove them from the pans to cool completely. When the cake is completely cooled, use a cake leveler (or unflavored floss, or whatever) to slice the cake as evenly as possible into two layers. Freeze the two cake layers overnight.

Buttercream Frosting Recipe Ingredients

  • 0.5 cup shortening
  • 0.5 cup room temperature butter
  • 2 tablespoons marshmallow fluff
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2.5 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water (or as much as you need to get the right texture)

Buttercream Frosting Recipe Directions

Cream together the shortening, butter and marshmallow fluff, then add the vanilla extract and beat it until it is light and fluffy Add the powdered sugar about a half cup at a time. Add the water just a little bit at a time until the frosting is super-spreadable and smooth, not lumpy.

Red Velvet Cheesecake Assembly & Decoration Instructions

Place one of the red velvet cake layers on your serving dish. Spread a small dab of frosting on the layer. Add one of the cheesecake layers. Spread a small dab of frosting on the layer. Repeat with the next red velvet cake and cheesecake layer. Chill the cake. Take about 1 cup of the buttercream frosting and put it in a decorator’s bag with a decorative tip, and set aside. Using the rest of the frosting, ice the red velvet cheesecake and smooth the top and sides. Go slowly so you don’t tear up your beautiful cake and get red crumbs and whatnot in your beautiful frosting job. Once this is done, use your decorator’s bag to add a border, flowers, whatever you want Make it pretty, because you worked damn hard to get it this far and you want it to be go-o-orgeous and make people say “wow.”

(And they damn well better. This cake is a beast to make!)

Chill till it’s serve time, yo.

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