Coffee and Donuts Cake

20130702-141232.jpg My Pastor just had a birthday! I never caught how old he was turning, but maybe he likes it that way:) Everybody knows that he’s a regular at starbucks, and that he loves his donuts. So naturally, when I remembered this cake from Sprinkle Bakes, I knew that it would be perfect for him!

20130702-142235.jpg this cake has three layers of moist, dark chocolate cake, covered in a fluffy coffee buttercream that tastes like homemade coffee ice cream, and it is filled with homemade pastry cream. With chocolate covered donuts pressed into the sides, can you say yum?! My pastor said that it was ‘coffeelicious’…
If you know someone who loves coffee and donuts (who doesn’t?!), you need make this for them!!

Coffee and Donuts Cake

Adapted From Sprinkle Bakes

Cake Layers

3 oz semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups hot brewed coffee
3 cups (21oz) granulated sugar
2 1/2 cups (7.5oz) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups (4.5oz) unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3/4 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 300F. Grease three 9″ round pans with butter. Line bottoms with rounds of parchment paper and grease the paper.

Combine semisweet chocolate with coffee. Let mixture sit, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.

In large bowl, sift sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In separate large bowl with an electric mixer beat eggs on medium speed until thickened and pale (about 3 minutes). Slowly add oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and melted chocolate mixture to eggs, beating until well combined. Add flour mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined.

Divide batter evenly between pans and bake in middle of oven until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 50-60 minutes.

Cool layers completely in pans on wire racks. Run a knife around edges of pans and invert layers onto racks. Remove paper and cool layers completely. Cake layers may be made 1 day ahead and kept, wrapped well in plastic wrap, at room temperature.

Pastry Cream

2 cups half-and-half
1/2 cup (3.5oz) sugar
Pinch salt
5 large egg yolks
3 tbsp cornstarch
4 tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

In medium saucepan, heat half-and-half, 6 tbsp of the sugar and salt over medium heat until simmering.

Meanwhile, whisk together egg yolks in a medium bowl until combined. Whisk in remaining sugar until thoroughly combined. Whisk in cornstarch until pale and creamy, about 20 seconds.

When half-and-half mixture comes to a full simmer, pour 1 cup into egg mixture and whisk vigorously to temper. Pour this mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining half-and-half mixture and whisk to combine.

Heat over medium heat until a few bubbles break the surface and cook, stirring constantly, until it’s thick and glossy; about 30 seconds.

Off heat, whisk in butter and vanilla.

Strain pastry cream through fine mesh sieve into a medium bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing onto surface of cream. Refrigerate for about three hours or until cold and set.

Coffee Frosting

3 sticks plus 2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
3 cups (12oz) sifted confectioners’ sugar
3 tbsp heavy cream
1 tbsp instant espresso powder
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of salt

In small bowl, heat cream and espresso powder until hot; stir to dissolve powder and let cool.

Meanwhile, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip butter for 8 minutes on medium speed. Butter will be pale and creamy.

Add remaining ingredients and mix on low speed for 1 minute, then medium speed for 6 minutes. Frosting will be very light.

Donuts

6 oz semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 tbsp corn syrup
1/2 cup butter
3 dozen plain mini donuts

Combine first three ingredients in small saucepan over low heat; stir until mixture is melted, remove from heat. Dip top of donuts in glaze, move to wire rack. Immediately sprinkle with pearl non-pareils or white sprinkles.

Assembly

Place first cake layer on serving platter or cake turntable, anchoring it with a bit of buttercream. Top with half of pastry cream, spreading almost to edges but leaving a bit of room. Top with second cake later. Spread with remaining pastry cream and top with third cake layer. Brush crumbs from cake; frost with coffee frosting, using an offset spatula. Press donuts onto side of cake. Save one donut for top; attach a toothpick to the donut and press onto middle of cake top. Garnish with espresso powder and pearl non-pareils or white sprinkles.

Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes

20120829-164140.jpgThe flavors chocolate and raspberry were meant to be together; sweet, tart raspberries with rich, dark chocolate. They’re one of those combinations where the result is better than the sum of its parts. So to combine them in a moist, chocolate cupcake, filled with raspberry preserves, and topped with melt-in-your-mouth rich chocolate frosting, you’ve reached absolute cupcake perfection. The cupcake is made similarly to a brownie; melted butter and chocolate are stirred into the dry ingredients until just combined, with sour cream for moistness.

20120829-202234.jpgThey are baked, cooled, and the centers are removed and eaten filled with preserves, then the frosting. THE FROSTING. The frosting starts out by whipping butter for five minutes, until fluffy, where actual melted chocolate is added along with confectioners’ sugar. They are topped with a generous amount of frosting in the form of a gorgeous swirl.
Add sprinkles and…perfection! If love were a cupcake…

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Raspberry Chocolate Cupcakes

Adapted from Cooks illustrated

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
½ cup (1.5 ounces) dark cocoa powder
¾ cup (3.75 ounces) all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
¾ cup (5.25 ounces) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon table salt
½ cup (4 ounces) sour cream
Raspberry preserves

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat to 350 degrees F. (If you are using a non-stick muffin pan, heat the oven to 325 degrees F.) Line standard-size muffin pan with baking cup liners.

2. Combine butter, chocolate, and cocoa in medium heatproof bowl. Set bowl over saucepan containing barely simmering water; heat mixture until butter and chocolate are melted and whisk until smooth and combined. (Alternately, you can microwave the mixture at 50% power, stirring every 30 seconds until completely melted.) Set aside to cool until just warm to the touch.

3. Whisk flour, baking soda, and baking powder in small bowl to combine.

4. Whisk eggs in second medium bowl to combine; add sugar, vanilla, and salt until fully incorporated. Add cooled chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Sift about one-third of flour mixture over chocolate mixture and whisk until combined; whisk in sour cream until combined, then sift remaining flour mixture over and whisk until batter is homogeneous and thick.

5. Divide the batter evenly among muffin pan cups. Bake until skewer inserted into center of cupcakes comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes.

6. Cool cupcakes in muffin pan on wire rack until cool enough to handle, about 15 minutes. Lift each cupcake from muffin pan and set on wire rack. Cool to room temperature.

7. Scoop out centers using a teaspoon or a teaspoon sized scoop; fill with preserves.

You can find the frosting recipe here: Chocolate Buttercream

Spread or pipe frosting onto cupcakes; decorate with sprinkles or as desired.

Yield: 12

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Blackberry Lemon Cupcakes

20120905-222248.jpgThis year the blackberries are ripe right about now, leaving us in a mad scramble for recipes to use up these delicious fruits (berries) of summer. Whenever I make something with berries, it usually has to have lemon in it, because the lemon+berry combo is just too good to separate. Now these cupcakes you see here are extraordinary, and not just because they have that seriously delicious combo in them.

20120905-223109.jpgFirst, as always, I’ll break it down for you. When you bite into the cake, you realize this might be the moistest cake on the planet. Seriously, I don’t think it could get any more moist if I wanted it to. Then there are the fresh blackberries just wanting to burst out of the cake, as it brings memories of blackberry pie to mind, as cooked blackberries always seem to do. Then a layer of tart lemon glaze dripping down the sides makes a sweet contrast to the fairly mellow flavor of the cake, and THEN...the frosting. You actually cook down some blackberries, purée them, and pour that into the whipped buttercream and oh. my. goodness… fresh blackberry frosting tastes amazing!

20120905-223905.jpgThese cupcakes are worth using up those blackberries you just picked, or going out and picking some. Make a bright summer statement before those warm autumn flavors take over. Summer is still here. Enjoy all 15 more days of it!!

Blackberry Lemon Cupcakes

Cupcake recipe adapted from smitten kitchen

For the Cupcakes:

1 1/4 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
1 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup + 2 tbsp granulated sugar
Zest of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 eggs, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp buttermilk
1 1/2 cups blackberries

For the Glaze:
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Lemon juice

For the Frosting:

1 cup butter, at room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla
Pinch salt
2 cups blackberries

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line muffin pan with cupcake papers.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 1/4 cups of the all-purpose flour, the baking powder and salt; set aside.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or large mixing bowl), use your fingertips to rub together the sugar and lemon zest until the zest is completely incorporated and the sugar is evenly moistened. Add the butter and cream together on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes.

4. Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs one at a time, mixing until incorporated after each and scraping down the bowl each time. Add the vanilla and mix to combine.

5. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture, beating until just combined, followed by 1/2 of the buttermilk, another 1/3 of the flour mixture, the remaining buttermilk and the remaining flour.

6. In a large bowl, combine the blackberries and the remaining 2 tablespoon of all-purpose flour, tossing together gently so they are evenly coated. Use a rubber spatula to gently fold the blueberries into the cake batter. Spread the cake batter in the prepared muffin pan by 1/4 cupfuls. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until cupcakes spring back when gently pressed. Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely on rack.

7. Once the cupcakes are cool, whisk together the powdered sugar and as much lemon juice to thin to a pourable texture, until smooth. The icing should be quite thick. Spoon glaze onto cupcakes.

8. For frosting, In medium saucepan combine berries and 2 tbsp water, bring to boil, then lower heat to a simmer; stirring and mashing berries for 3 minutes. Strain liquid out of berries. Blend in blender until smooth, and measure out 1/2 cup. Meanwhile, whip butter with whisk attachment on mixer for 5 minutes. Add vanilla and powdered sugar. Add berry purée. Frost cupcakes as desired, applying a generous amount.

Yield: 15 cupcakes

Berry Crumb cake

20120824-233150.jpgLast spring I went on a church retreat, and the cook, besides being an amazing person, makes amazing food. She’s the kind of person I envy I admire because of her ability to cook and bake without a recipe. One of the things I remember most vividly is her berry cobbler. I don’t have cobbler very often, and I never thought very much of it, until hers; the sweet, tart mixed berry filling (warm, of course), underneath a light, vanilla scented biscuit layer with a hint of lemon. My thoughts of runny berries and soggy biscuits were over; this wonderful creation took it’s place.

20120824-235306.jpgAnyway, yesterday I felt I needed that cobbler. I mean, really needed, as I’ve been cutting out a lot sugar and needed it back. So I got out the recipe, oven preheated and all, and got to thinking; this isn’t enough biscuit. I needed more carb substance! So then, what could be better than tucking that berry layer between a thick (browned butter) crumb topping and a vanilla-lemon scented cake? What a sweet revelation. Long story short: I got my carbs. Warm berry filling oozing out of those soft/crunchy layers, perfect for using up those last summer berries. Happy baking!

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Berry Crumb Cake

Adapted from smitten kitchen who adapted it from The New York Times 6/6/07

Berry filling:

2 cups mixed fresh or frozen berries (or berries of your choice)
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch

Crumb topping:

1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick or 4 ounces) butter
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

For the cake:

1/3 cup sour cream or buttermilk
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp lemon zest
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons softened butter, cut into 8 pieces

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease an 8-inch-square baking pan. To make filling: toss berries with sugar and cornstarch. Set aside.

2. To make crumb topping: in a large bowl, whisk sugars, cinnamon and salt combine. Melt butter in small saucepan over high heat and cook, swirling the pan constantly until it is frothy and browned and has a nutty aroma (watch carefully).
Let cool slightly; whisk into sugars. Add flour and stir to combine. Press dough together and set aside.

3. To prepare cake: in a small bowl, stir together the sour cream (or buttermilk), egg, egg yolk and vanilla. Set aside.

4. In bowl of mixer, combine sugar with lemon zest; rub zest in to sugar until moistened. With mixer on low speed, mix the flour, baking soda, and salt into sugar mixture to combine. Add butter one piece at a time; continue beating until the mixture resembles moist crumbs, with no visible butter chunks remaining, 1 to 2 minutes. Add sour cream mixture; beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute, scraping the bowl once if necessary. Scoop out 1/2 cup batter and set aside.

5. Use a slotted spoon to remove the berries from the bowl where it will have released some juice. Add the drained berries to a clean bowl. Toss the berries with the 2 teaspoons of all-purpose flour, coating it evenly.

6. Scrape remaining batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle berry mixture over batter. Dollop set-aside batter over berries.

7. Break topping mixture into large crumbs, about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch in size. Sprinkle over cake. Bake cake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean of batter (it might have some berry juices on it), 55 to 65 minutes. Cool at least 30 minutes before serving.

Yield: 9-12 servings.