Cakes Tips

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Devils-food versus Fudge

If you have concerns about saturated fat content, try baking a devils-food cake instead of a fudge or chocolate cake.

The difference between the two is that chocolate cake contains baking chocolate and butter (and sometimes sour cream), whereas devils-food contains cocoa powder and vegetable oil.

The crumb of devils-food cake isn't as fine, but devils-food is even moister and tastes just as good. Some people--including my daughter and my husband--even prefer it!

   

Perfectly simple buttercream without the grit!

When making frosting for your next layer cake, beat together the confectioners sugar and butter with a pinch of salt, then beat HOT whipping cream or half and half into the mixture.

Just pour half a cup or so of cream into a microwave-safe bowl, and zap it until it scalds (just bubbles up--keep an eye on it!).

Then gradually add the hot cream to your sugar/butter mixture until it's of spreading/piping consistancy and add vanilla or other extract.

The hot cream helps dissolve the sugar crystals, and because of the increased fat content, your frosting won't separate.

Sure, it's more fattening, but who ever dug into a perfect birthday cake in order to lose weight?!

   

Chocolate Raspberry Bundt Cake

Moist and delicious, when served with a few raspberries on the side, this easy cake is impressive enough for special occasions.

Chocolate Bundt Cake

¾ cups butter (room temperature)
1 2/3 cups sugar
2 eggs
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract
1 6-ounce container raspberry yogurt
2 cups white flour
2/3 cup cocoa
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup sour milk (or buttermilk)

Preheat oven to 350º. Cream butter, sugar, eggs and extracts in mixing bowl. Blend in the yogurt. In another bowl, combine the flour, cocoa and salt and set aside. Stir the baking soda into the sour milk, then add it to the butter mixture alternately with the dry ingredients. Beat the mixture until well blended (about 2 minutes). Pour the batter into a greased and floured Bundt pan and bake for 45-50 minutes, until cake tester comes out clean. Cool for 10-15 minutes; remove from pan to a wire rack. Cool completely before frosting with Chocolate Raspberry Glaze.

Chocolate Raspberry Glaze

½ cup heavy cream
6 tablespoon raspberry jam
8 oz. chocolate chips

Place cream and jam into a medium saucepan and set it on medium heat. Bring it to a simmer, then reduce heat to low. Add chocolate chips and whisk until melted (about one minute). Remove from heat and let stand for 10 about minutes (until lukewarm) before pouring/spreading it on your cake.

   

Keep it moist and light!

If your cakes are tougher and drier than you'd like, you're probably beating the batter after you've added the dry ingredients.

Absolutely beat the heck out of sugar and butter (eggs, too, unless using beaten whites); but if you beat the flour--particularly all-purpose flour--you'll develop the gluten, leading to a tough, dry result.

Cake flour doesn't contain as much gluten to begin with, but unless a recipe specifically calls for a lot of beating once you've incorporated the dry ingredients (usually only thin batters require it), try folding them into the creamed liquid ingredients. Your cakes will have a finer crumb and a moister texture.

   
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Guru Spotlight
William Pirraglia