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

 

 

 

A Wee Sponge Cake with Tennessee Strawberries and Whipped Cream

 

Does this cake look gigantic to you? I thought so. Well it is really just 6 inches across….really. A wee, dramatic “Tennessee Strawberry Sponge Cake with Whipped Cream”.  A cake that is just enough to serve 6 people, or 2 people for 3 days…or maybe even 1 person for 6 days. Any way you slice it, this cake is easy to make, adorable and scrumptious.

I posted a “Victoria Sponge and Strawberries” as well as a “Ruby Red Victoria Sponge Cake with Lemon Mascarpone Filling” cake recipes a few years ago. They are larger cakes…..this is the “little sister” cake. If you wander over to those recipes you will find out a bit more about the history of the Victoria Sponge which is a good cake to make this week to celebrate summer, strawberries and the Big Wedding in London.

Later this year there will be a cookbook arriving on the dessert scene that features small cakes. “little everyday cakes” by Candace Floyd, published by Spring House Press.  My wee cake is inspired by Candace’s upcoming book. I was lucky and pleased to be asked to work on styling the cakes for this book. It’ll be out in October,  but if you want you can pre-order via Amazon.

Maybe we shouldn’t deny ourselves cake,  but just go smaller.

If a 10″ springform pan went on a diet this is what they would look like. These are my favorite 6″ springform cake pans from Fat Daddio’s.

Layers baked and split into 4, cream whipped fluffy, local strawberries macerated with a bit of raw sugar….that’s all.

Local berries will go quickly…make it now.

A Wee Sponge Cake with Tennessee Strawberries and Whipped Cream

Special Tools:  Two six inch cake pans, preferably springform as they are easier to get layers out of..but whatever you have that size.

Ingredients:

  • 1  1/4 cup self-rising flour, sifted
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 1/2 cup superfine sugar or powdered sugar
  • pinch of sea salt
  • coconut oil spray for greasing cake pans
  • 2 to 3 pints of fresh, early summer strawberries, tops removed and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup raw sugar
  • 2 pints of heavy whipping cream
  • powdered sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously spray cake pans with coconut oil spray. This will actually add a nice subtle flavor to cakes. Set aside.
  2. Beat egg yolks and sugar together until creamy and pale.
  3. Beat egg whites until stiff.
  4. Whisk the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture.
  5. Working a little bit at a time, fold the flour into the egg mixture using a large spoon until  blended. Fold in the sea salt.
  6. Scrape batter into cake pans. Bake for about 20 minutes until cakes are done in the middle. Let cool for a few minutes in the pans and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. While cake layers are baking, toss together the berries and the raw sugar.  If some berries are large then cut in half or into quarters. Set aside, in a smaller bowl, about 1/2 cup of the berries.
  8. Using a fork or potato masher, lightly crush remaining sugared berries just a bit. Let sit for about 30 minutes while cakes are baking and cooling.
  9. When cakes are totally cooled, split each layer into two thinner layers to make four.
  10. Whip cream to soft peaks.
  11. To assemble cake place one layer on a serving plate and cover with a third of the berries and juices and top berries with a third of the whipped cream. Repeat with next two layers and topping off with the fourth layer. Add the smaller bowl of berries, not crushed, on top of the cake. Chill for 1 hour before serving. The berry juice will soak into the cake layers somewhat and make for a delicious dessert. Dust with powdered sugar right before serving. If you happen to have any “sad” leftovers…then cover and chill cake up to 2 days.