Moist Chocolate Cake- Easy Recipe

Last Blog I was talking about the difference between “Natural” and “Dutch Processed” cocoa. If you missed that post, I would suggest you read it because it can make a difference in the outcome of your chocolate cakes. In this Blog I will be talking about one of my favorite chocolate cake recipes.

When I first opened my website I had a Stout Chocolate recipe posted in there. I love that cake recipe. It’s a strong cake and almost tastes like a brownie. But not everyone wants to add beer to their cake and I can understand that. The alcohol in the recipe is baked away so there’s really no alcohol left in the cake but some people just don’t care to deal with it. Knowing this I have been meaning to post other chocolate recipes I love but between moving the website a couple of times and all the work I had, I just didn’t have enough time to sit and do a tutorial as I wanted. I can say that I finally took the time to do the tutorial and post it in the website. YAY!

This is a very old recipe but it has a few changes from the original recipe that in my opinion makes it taste even better. It makes a very moist cake and it’s super easy. The batter is a bit liquid and I am sure most people are not used to batters like that, but it works great. I use unflavored coconut oil for the recipe to make it healthier but you can use canola oil or vegetable oil instead if you prefer.

The recipe has never failed me but you can always decrease the baking soda by half a teaspoon if your cake sinks slightly in the center. Also keep in mind that depending on the cocoa you use the finished product could be different . I talked about this in my previous Blog.

I tried the recipe using Hershey’s Natural and Hershey’s Super Dark and I will say that I didn’t love the one with the Hershey’s Natural, but the one I made with Hershey’s Special Dark was really good. So if you are not in the mood to order high end cocoa for your cake, feel free to test it with the Hershey’s Special Dark. If you use your regular cocoa and it doesn’t turn out moist or with a a good crumb, make sure to try again but change your choice of cocoa this time. I assure you the cake is worth the try. I have used this recipe for many years with success.

Chocolate Buttercream Recipw

You can pair this chocolate cake recipe with my Chocolate Buttercream if you want a “death by chocolate” type of cake. I don’t use Hershey’s Special Dark for the buttercream because then it makes the chocolate flavor super strong so I tend to use a lighter flavor. I love Valhrona but you can use Ghirardelli or even Hershey’s Natural if you want to go with a super basic cocoa that you can find in any supermarket. I also love Droste but it’s harder to find. If you want higher end cocoa powders for your cakes, you might have to go to specialty stores or check in the internet for them. I will add that once you taste higher end cocoa powder it’s a bit difficult to go back to the supermarket because some of them are so good! lol

I will be working next on a tutorial for cookies and cream cake. So if you are an Oreo lover then you will love the next cake recipe post. But for now, click here for the link to the Chocolate Cake Recipe and Click here for the Chocolate Buttercream Recipe.

I hope you enjoy this Blog, until next one.. Ta ta!

Edna

 

 

 

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Stabilized Whipped Cream Tutorial

Whipped cream is a great addition to any dessert and even though I am allergic to dairy, once in a blue moon I choose to suffer the consequences just to be able to eat some. I figure the swollen eyes and headache are just temporary and since I don’t eat it all the time I can handle the temporary pain. Lol

One of the problems you will find with whipped cream is that it’s not stable. You can use it at the time you make it but it won’t stay fluffy for long. It starts melting. With Stabilized Whipped Cream you can cover a cake and use for piping on the cake or desserts.

There are a few ways to stabilize it. Some people use cornstarch for a quick fix. I am not a big fan of the taste but the others options used also run along the cornstarch idea. These other options include Powder Milk and Powder Pudding Mix. All of these contain cornstarch. Even if you use just confectioners sugar, you will find that there is cornstarch in it. For me the most stable one is the gelatin recipe, but as you know, I am all about giving you guys all the info.

Making whipped cream is not really difficult, but I do hear people that encounter problems like lumps, whipped cream that’s too runny and other issues. I’ll try to offer some tips that might help, but if you have a fail, just keep in mind that Rome wasn’t built in a day. My advice is to try again. Maybe you used the wrong ingredient, took a wrong step, or missed something. Try again! This is not a new recipe and it works for many, so don’t give up, and try to figure out what went wrong for you.

First for the gelatin, you will need unflavored gelatin. Knox Brand is the most easily found in supermarkets. Great Lakes has another one that is Kosher. A bit more difficult to find but you can always try Amazon. As an added bonus, gelatin is a good source of collagen. Great for skin, nails and hair. If you can’t eat gelatin, you can try Agar-Agar as a thickening agent. For Agar-Agar you really don’t need water. Just dissolve it in milk and make sure that it’s mixed well and then strained to avoid lumps.

Usually you want to sprinkle the gelatin evenly over water.  I don’t know about you guys, but somedays I am just not in the mood to take it slow and I just drop it too fast on the water. Unfortunately, if done improperly, it won’t soak evenly and you will get some lumps. These days I just take a fork and lightly move it to make sure it’s fully mixed. Once the gelatin blooms, it looks like hard jelly. If you want to be safe and properly melt the gelatin without burning it, you can cook it in a double boiler. Some people do it straight in a pan, but if you do this, you will need to cook it on low. You really don’t want to burn it. My favorite and fastest option is the microwave. I cook mine for 30 seconds. Just make sure that the gelatin is clear and fully melted. If you need to cook yours for a longer period, make sure to do it in 10 seconds increments. Once again you don’t want to burn the gelatin. Did I mention that enough? Lol

One of the biggest problems people encounter is adding the warm gelatin to the cold heavy cream. This is where you have to watch yourself. For making whipped cream, you need for your heavy cream to be as cold as you can. Usually it’s even preferred to chill the bowl as well as the whisk attachment. I usually don’t bother too much with that, but maybe in a hot environment it might be a good idea. When working with sugar it’s best to work in areas with air conditioner to avoid issues. If you add the warm gelatin to the cold heavy cream, guess what will happen??? It’ll start getting hard, because that’s what gelatin does when it gets cold; it hardens up. So you can’t let the gelatin cool down all the way because it will start solidifying and you can’t add it when is too hot to the heavy cream because it can get lumpy.

How do I solve this and make sure I don’t have a whipped cream full of lumps? I take some of the heavy cream and leave it at room temperature. Usually around a 1/4 cup will do.

Once I get the gelatin out of the microwave, I leave the gelatin alone and start whipping my cream. This will give the gelatin a few minutes to cool down some. Then once I get the whipped cream to the right consistency, I add the 1/4 cup of heavy cream I left at room temperature to the gelatin and combine that well. This is sure to bring the gelatin down enough so that when you add it to the cold cream, it won’t create lumps.

Another thing I do is to pass the gelatin/ heavy cream mixture through a sifter to ensure I don’t have any lumps in that mix. If you are using a stand mixer, you can slowly pour the gelatin on top of the whipped cream without stopping the mixer. If you have a hand held mixer, just make sure to sift the gelatin before you pour it because it’ll be more difficult to do, since we only have two arms. No matter what, if you watch the tutorial, you will see that I poured the gelatin/heavy cream mixture all at once. I was expecting this might create some lumps since I always use a stand mixer. I can honestly say that it didn’t have one tiny lump. All of it was super smooth. Still, I will advise to slowly pour the gelatin as you mix.

I want to clear up for those who are new to whipped cream, is that you should use a cream that has at least 35% fat in order to get the best results, especially if you want to use it for cakes. It’s confusing when you go to the stores and see all these bottles of cream and not be sure which one to use.

Here are some of the most basic ones but there are others I am not mentioning:

*Half-and-half= 15% fat. In the USA this means that it usually contains 1/2 whole milk and 1/2 cream. It’s not meant for it to be whipped, so save it for your coffee.

*Single Cream= 20% fat. This one has a low fat content. You can use in sweet and savory dishes but it won’t thicken when beaten.

*Light Cream= 18% to 30% fat. It can be used just as half and half and in the higher number of fat content it can be whipped lightly but is not stable. Some people also call this one Single Cream. The fat content will determine its uses, but it won’t ever work for cake.

*Whipping Cream= 30% to 35% Fat. This is where you have to watch for the fat. If it contains less than 30% fat, it will whip up lighter, fluffier and more airy. Great to use over pies and desserts, but the higher content of fat will mean stiffer peaks that are best for piping and covering a cake. So if you get whipping cream, make sure it’s at least 35% fat. Most whipping creams these days are pasteurized in order to extend their shelf life.

*Heavy Whipping Cream= 35% Fat I am adding this one on the list because it’s the one I use. I figure it’s a middle ground between whipping cream and heavy cream. The one I use has exactly 35% fat and works great! With that said, heavy cream is even better when it comes to stiff peaks.

*Heavy Cream= 36-38% Fat. You can also use this higher fat heavy cream for stabilized whipped cream. Higher content of fat will make the mix double in size and tends to hold stiff peaks strongly. This one is great to use for ice creams but it works great for soups and sauces as well without the risk of curdling.

Unpasteurized cream whips much easier than pasteurized. But these days you will find more of the ultra-pasteurized cream because it has a longer shelf life of 60 days before it’s opened.

Pasteurization is a process where they bring the cream to a fast heat of 167 degrees for 15 seconds then cool it down really fast. The ultra-pasteurization process brings the milk to a 280 degree heat and even though it kills bad bacteria, it can take away some of the creaminess in the flavor of the cream. Because of the ultra-pasteurized being heated to 280 degrees, there’s a cooked taste to it and less flavor in comparison to the pasteurized. Also the pasteurized holds better peaks than the ultra but that’s where flavorings and stabilizers help if you find only ultra-pasteurized.When you start working, make sure that the cream is cold as you start and as you mix. If it’s not cold enough, it doesn’t “whip,” it “churns” and we’re not making butter. I suggest to put the bowl and the whisk in the fridge so they’re cold as you mix. If you are in a hot environment, you can place a bowl of ice below your mixing bowl to keep everything chilled. And again remember that if you over mix your whipped cream, you will end up with butter, so keep an eye on it.

 

This is all basic information that is always helpful, especially for those of you who aren’t used to working with these ingredients. Another important piece of information concerns the sugar. You need to use confectioners’ sugar for this recipe. If you use granulated sugar it will give you a grainy whipped cream. I tested the recipe using Swerve Confectioners for a sugar free whipped cream and it worked really well. So for those of you who are on a keto diet or need to be on sugar-free diet, you can have your whipped cream guilt free! For those of you who don’t know what Swerve is, it’s a sugar replacement that doesn’t raise insulin levels. Usually you would use the same amount as you use for regular sugar. And if you want it sweeter, you can always add more sugar to the mix, no matter if you are using regular sugar or Swerve.

Finally you have to decide on the flavoring. You can use any extract you want for this. I prefer the Clear Vanilla Extract to avoid getting the brown color on the whipped cream, but you can use your regular Vanilla if you prefer. You can also make it chocolatey by adding cocoa or melted chocolate. The sky is the limit with this recipe but the downside to it is that it needs to be kept in the fridge. So if you don’t like cold cake you will need to wait till my next tutorial so I can talk about other options for dairy free whipped cream substitutes.

But for now I think this is plenty of information for you guys. So click here for the full recipe and video tutorial on how to make Stabilized Whipped Cream.

Click here to go watch Tutorial and see full recipe.

I hope you guys enjoy the information. I know is a lot of it but is worth the knowledge.

Until next Blog, Ta ta!
Edna

 

Moist White Cake Recipe

Moist White Cake Recipe

This is my favorite White Cake Recipe. This cake is moist and has a great crumb. It pairs great with anything but I love it mostly with fruit fillings. My favorite one would be Raspberry Jam which I do from scratch and I will share the recipe soon.

Here is the link to the recipe and the tutorial. Click here for, Moist White Cake Recipe.

Moist white cake recipeI made a step by step tutorial on this cake with very detailed information on how I make it. This cake will work great for stacking but I don’t suggest using it or sculpting cakes. Most white cakes tend to be delicate and crumb more than any other cakes and that is something you don’t want to deal with when you are sculpting a cake.

I will also add that this cake does shrink some and I don’t suggest to use it with cupcakes. If you live in high altitude, keep in mind that my recipes are not made in that condition so make sure to do the necessary adjustments so it works for your area.

I give a lot of extra tips in this tutorial that I use when I am baking cakes that you guys might find useful. So I do suggest to watch the video and follow the steps for making this cake. Click here to watch video and get recipe.

Remember, baking is a science and following instructions are important. I have made this cake many times and have tested different techniques and I posted the one I love the most. If you have your own way of baking and you get a successful cake, feel free to share with us in the comments! If it didn’t work, then make sure to try it my way.

Hope you enjoy the recipe! Until next time, ta ta!

Edna 😀

 

 

Mason Jar Cake Tutorial

I love Mason Jars. They are reusable, great for canning, jams and storing food. I found this website that sells caps for mason jars that I totally fell in love wMason Jars Recapith. They are called Mason Jar ReCap.

My 2 favorite ones are the one with the flip top and the one to pour liquids from, but they have so many other ones to choose from.

I made a tutorial on how to use Mason Jars for cakes. It’s a fun way to make cakes to take along or share with friends and family. And I will say that there is not one person that doesn’t smile when you share  a mason jar filled with delicious cake. Even if you have a cake shop, it’s a great way to sell cakes. They stay moist longer because they are sealed. Win win!

For this tutorial I used my Banana Cake Recipe. People are always trying to find ways to pair cakes with fillings and I am sharing one of my favorite ones.

I used sugar covered roasted pecans and caramel as part of the filling for this cake. I will be sharing the recipe for the roasted pecans soon. Basically I layered the banana cake, then added a layer of caramel then added the roasted pecans on top and finishing it with another layer of cake and buttercream.

You can use any buttercream you like for mason jars. Even soft icing will do great since the jar holds everything together. For banana cake you can use cream cheese frosting. I have a Crusting Cream Cheese Recipe but I have another recipe that is softer and has more cream cheese in it. I use it mostly as a filling but it’s great to use in jars as buttercream, (click here for the recipe) . I have made this cake using Suspiro recipe too and it’s delicious. You can also use Wilton whipped buttercream that is sold in a box if you want a fast fix on a lazy day. There are so many options, you can choose what you enjoy the most!

I have a great recipe for Salted Caramel. But if you feel lazy, you can use caramel from the store. Just keep in mind that the caramel that is sold in supermarkets tends to be too soft for cake fillings. It works great for jars because the jar holds the cake in place but in a regular cake, it might be too soft and make the layers slippery.

I sent an email to the company and got a 25% discount for you guys if you are interested on getting some of the Mason Jar Recap lids. The coupon is good until May 20, 2017. You can visit their website at: www.masonjars.com

 

Here is the tutorial posted below. It will be also posted in my website under this link: http://www.designmeacake.com/mason-jar-tutorial

 

Hope you enjoy this Blog and tutorial. Until next time..ta ta!

Edna 🙂

Best Macadamia Nut and White Chocolate Cookies

Best Macadamia Nut & White Chocolate Cookie Recipe

Presione aqui para Español

I love macadamia nuts. My father got me into eating them and one of my
favorite cookies are the macadamia nut and white chocolate. I had some
of the ingredients and decided to make some of these amazing cookies.

Not sure who is the original creator of this recipe since it was passed to
me by a friend. But there was nothing to fix in this recipe. It’s perfect and
delicious. I am adding a few tips so you guys get a great cookie.
Click here for the recipe.

Baking Macadamia Nut & White Chocolate Cookie Recipe

There is a science to baking cookies. I read over the years people talking how
they want their cookies softer, while others like them crunchy. But the most
dreaded issue people face is, why did my cookie spread and now looks
like a flat blob?

There are so many reasons why cookies can go wrong. One of these reasons
will come from ingredients. Too much sugar can make a cookie spread.
But one factor that people don’t figure most of the time is the butter. Margarine,
for example, will spread more than butter since it is more oily and softer.

Another reason why cookies can spread is from putting the cookies in a hot
cookie sheet that just came out of the oven. The heat from the sheet will cause
the butter to melt before it has a chance to set. So avoid placing your cookies
in a hot cookie sheet or make sure to move fast if you decide to do this. Just
have the cookies pre-shaped so it’s a matter of placing them real fast and move
to the oven in a snap.

Sometimes people use too much butter or oil on the pan that can make a cookie spread too much while it’s cooking. I use the non-stick aluminum foil and it’s a fast clean up, plus I don’t have to add anything. The cookies don’t stick to it. You can also use a Silpat, (non slip baking mat), which is really good for this.

Make sure that you don’t over beat your mixture. This only creates air and that air can cause pockets that eventually just deflate. I usually tend to place my mixture in the fridge. Since the butter in the recipe is used at room temperature,
I want the butter to harden up so that my cookies stay fatter.

Best Macadamia Nut & White Chocolate Cookie Recipe

If you follow all these steps and you still get flat blobs for cookies, you can
either use half butter and half shortening. You can use all shortening too instead,
but if you are like me, you might not want to give up the buttery taste. If that is
the case, you have one more option. Lower the temperature of the oven. All
ovens are different. You would think that temperatures should be the same in
all ovens, but somehow things change between one oven to the next. So if
you have tried it all, and your cookies are just not cooperating with you, lower
the oven to 300 degrees. They will take a bit longer to bake, around 24 minutes
for chewy and 30 minutes if you like them crispier. And this time amounts are just approximations. Since each oven works different, just make sure to watch
your cookies.

There are many factors that can make a cookie recipe go wrong. This recipe
I am posting has been tested and it works great. So if you find yourself with
cookies you were not happy with, try the recipe again and follow the tips above.
I am sure you guys have your own tips so feel free to share them. In the
meantime, I hope you guys enjoy this recipe. (Click here for recipe)

Until next blog, ta ta!
Edna

Best Guava Pastries-Recipe

 

Guayaba Pastries recipe

Para Español presione aquí.

This blog is not about cake but I will talk about a delicious dessert that is loved by a lot of Latin cultures. Pastelillos de Guayaba is the Spanish for Guava Pastries. I grew up in Puerto Rico and my mother was the biggest fan of this dessert.

I was at the supermarket the other day and saw a box of these pastries.
I had not eaten one in years and I just decided to forget the diet and go for a
sugar high. lol When I got home and had some of the pastry, I was not very
satisfied with it. Seems they forgot to add the filling! I was totally disappointed.

I decided at that moment that if I wanted to eat a really good pastelillo, I would have to make it myself. I want it fast and making the dough is time-consuming. So I decided to go and buy some.
Puff Pastry from Pepperifdge farms.

I went to the supermarket and got some puff pastry. You can find it
in the freezer section.  When you
work with this product you have to make sure to keep it cold.
Once it gets too warm, it tends to stick. This happens because it’s
made of many layers of dough that has pieces of butter in between the many layers.

This dough has no yeast in it. All the leavening comes from the layers of butter.
Once you start baking it, the butter melts and the steam puffs the layers of
dough up. Making the pastries really airy, flaky and tasty.

As you can see above, it’s really easy to make these pastries. Basically,
you cut the dough in squares then add the guava paste on top. As an extra
flavor, I added some cream cheese to this recipe, but if you don’t like it,
you can dismiss it.

Another thing you can keep in mind is that you can use many other fillings
for them. Some of them can be strawberry jam, raspberry jam, Bavarian cream,
chocolate, salted caramel (click here for tutorial) with pecans, Nutella, pineapple filling (click here for tutorial), cinnamon apples, and so many others, that it will
take forever to mention them all. I grew up with the guava flavor and it’s
still my favorite.

Click on the photo below to watch the tutorial so you can learn the steps to
make these easy pastries. Below the video in the linked page you will find the recipe.

 

I hope you enjoy, until next time, ta ta!!!

Edna 😉