Look Honey….I shrank the “mexican chocolate cake”!

I may never make a full-size cake again after styling and receiving my first copy of Candace Floyd’s “Little Everyday Cakes”. I immediately went to page 94 and baked the above two layer, 6 inch cake for no special reason except that I just wanted a slice.  One slice. That’s all. This was the perfect cake…the perfect slice….very dark chocolate cake, not overly sweet, with a spicy cayenne bite, plenty of cinnamon and fluffy coffee liqueur-chocolate ganache frosting. Thanks Candace.

photo: Danielle Atkins Photography

This photo is the one from the book that I styled, shot by photographer extraordinaire, Danielle Atkins. I love this image. Just looking at it tells a story. Isn’t that what a good photograph should do? Of all the cakes in the book that are lovely and delicious, this photo inspired me to bake this particular cake.

The holiday season is just around the corner and you will no doubt be looking for just the right gift for the dessert lover on your list? This is it. A book full of “50+ perfectly proportioned confections to enjoy any day of the week” to eat and share. Ask for it at your favorite local bookstore, or purchase from the publisher Springhouse Press, or online at Amazon.

Cover photo: Danielle Atkins Photography “Chocolate Malt Cake”

There are one layer cakes, square cakes and round cakes, layered cakes and cakes you cut up to serve…cakes that only take one egg, loaf cakes, seasonal cakes and easy cakes that are for breakfast and brunch. All the kinds of cakes we love to eat and bake shrunk down to serve 4 to 8 people. Elegant cakes and simple old-fashioned cakes along with a whole section on glazes and sauces and frostings.

Life can be complicated and hard. Some days you need to do something nice for yourself such as baking a cake just because you want a slice! Then pass it on.

mexican chocolate cake

Ingredients for cake:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (150g)
  • 7 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa (53g)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I think I added 1/4 teaspoon!)
  • 2/3 cup water (156g)
  • 1/4 cup whole milk, room temp (56g)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened (84g)
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar (106g)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar (99g)
  • 2 eggs room temp

Ingredients for ganache frosting:

  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons coffee liqueur such as Kahlua
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • dash of cayenne pepper

Directions for cake and frosting:

  1. Preheat oven to 325F (165C). Grease two 6 inch round cake pans. Line pans with parchment paper. Grease parchment paper. Dust pans with flour. Set aside.
  2. Whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and cayenne.
  3. Combine water, milk and vanilla.
  4. Place butter in a mixing bowl. Using an electric stand or hand mixer on medium-high, beat until creamy.
  5. Add the sugars and beat until fluffy.
  6. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  7. Reduce speed to low and add the flour mixture and milk mixture a little at a time, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat just until smooth. Scrape batter into the prepared pans and smooth the tops.
  8. Bake cakes for 30-35 minutes or until a tester inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Place pans on wire rack and let cakes cook 10 minutes. Remove the cakes from the pans and let cook, top sides up, completely.
  9. While cake is baking place the chocolate chips in a mixing bowl along with the coffee liqueur, ground cinnamon and cayenne pepper.
  10. Heat the cream in a saucepan just until bubbles begin to form around the edges.
  11. Pour the cream over the chocolate chips and let stand 10 minutes. Stir mixture until the chips are completely melted and mixture is smooth. Let cool completely. (Refrigerate to speed up cooling process if you like.)
  12. When mixture is cool, beat with an electric mixer on high-speed until fluffy. Beat in the vanilla.
  13. To frost the cake place one layer on cake stand or plate. Spread one-third of the frosting on top. Place second cake layer on top and spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake.

(for my photo I added some sanding/decorative sugar just for the crunch.)

Recipe by: Candace Floyd for “Little Everyday Cakes” published by Springhouse Press 2018

teresablackburnfoodstyling.com

 

 

 

Pumpkin-Maple Biscuits & Karma

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Last week I had a couple of projects going on at home from various clients…recipe developing and testing using canned pumpkin puree and as always happens I ended up with a can opened & partly used…what to do? I find it so hard to toss out food even though a large part of my job as a food stylist has to do with just that! This is the one part of being a food & photo stylist that is hard for me. I grew up in a blue-collar household, poor by today’s standards, and food was not wasted…ever. For some reason when we did not finish our food my Mother always brought up the starving children in India…why India I do not know…but it stuck and every time I toss out food I have that image in my head. Her point was made simply and straightforward.

By the last day of many photo shoots there is always food that has been too handled and left to sit out just too long while being photographed to be eaten. It has to be tossed and this always gives me pause. On the other hand, on most photo shoots we end up taking car loads of food to local food banks. I am hoping that cancels out my bad food karma turning it into good food karma.

So with a half can of leftover pumpkin puree and not wanting to toss into the trash bin,  I tossed it into one of my easy weekend morning go-to recipes for two, now three ingredient biscuits. Deliciously saved and reused.

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“The well” is my favorite part of biscuit-making…learned from my mother it always works to aid in making the most tender biscuits ever.

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Dry ingredients….using a fork…make “the well” by pushing the flour mixture up against the sides of the bowl creating a bowl or “well”. Add wet ingredients all at once…..

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….quickly stir together pulling the dry ingredients into the wet using a fork…don’t try to mix totally… gently and quickly make a “slaggy” dough….

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….dump out onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few times to meld wet and dry together to form a smooth dough…pat out into a circle…fold over and pat out again…repeat about 4 times…patting and folding and patting….

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…cut biscuits straight down…no twisting the cutter and spread out on parchment lined baking sheet…

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…brush tops with maple syrup and bake.

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Warm from the oven smeared with softened butter. Happy Weekend y’all.

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Pumpkin-Maple Biscuits

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups self-rising flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup, divided
  • 3/4 cup whipping cream
  • softened butter for serving

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Mix together the flour, salt & pumpkin pie spice. Use a fork to make “a well” in the middle of the mixture.
  3. Add pumpkin puree, 2 tablespoons maple syrup & whipping cream. Using a fork, gently and quickly blend ingredients together. Your dough should not be totally blended.
  4. Dump out onto a work surface lightly dusted with flour. Using your hands fold and knead to create a smooth dough. Pat into a circle, fold over and pat out again and folding and patting out…repeat 4 times lastly patting dough out into a circle about 1/2-3/4 inch thick depending on how you like your biscuits.
  5. Cut out biscuits…taking care to not “twist” the cutter…just cut straight down. Place biscuits on parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  6. Brush tops with remaining 2  tablespoons maple syrup. Bake for about 15-20 minutes. Biscuits will be light and fluffy with a glazed top and are best eaten warm. They will keep up to one day and can be reheated.

Teresa Blackburn        www.teresablackburnfoodstyling.com