September 19, 2019

Churros


I'm a big fan of Churros but never really thought to make them at home.  Why?  Because it requires deep frying and I prefer not to do that in my kitchen.  Plus, anytime you go to Costco you can easily buy one for $1 each.  But let's be honest, the Costco variety don't hold a candle to the best ones I've ever tasted which are the ones in Spain.    


When I found myself with some leftover frying oil I decided to bite the bullet and make some of these delicious pastries.  The dough is basically pâte à choux, very similar to what you'd use for cream puffs.  The only difference being you pipe the dough in to long strips and then deep fry.  Once they are nice and golden brown they are then rolled in a cinnamon sugar mixture.   My favorite way to eat them is dipped in a chocolate sauce like they do for breakfast in Spain, churros con chocolate.


For the recipe I turned to one I found from Cook's Country.  Once you pipe the logs of dough you let them sit in the fridge for a while to firm up.   I had no trouble with piping, except towards the end when the dough was so stiff the bag burst!   As the churros were frying all seemed fine until they all developed this strange little hump on one end, as if air was trying to escape.  I'm not sure why the humps formed but at least it was consistent across all my churros.  Once cooled and rolled in cinnamon sugar all they needed was a dip in the chocolate sauce.  I'm telling you nothing compares to homemade churros - crispy and delicious!

September 10, 2019

Rigó Jancsi



For someone who's traveled quite extensively throughout Europe I never managed to make it to Hungary.  Had I known earlier about their famous cake, Rigó Jancsi, I might have made it more of a priority to visit.   Named after a famous Hungarian violinist, the cake is composed of two layers of  chocolate sponge filled with a whipped chocolate cream then covered in chocolate ganache.  A true chocolate extravaganza!


I had no idea this classic dessert existed until I saw it included in the latest volume of Bake from Scratch.  To be honest I'm not the hugest fan of chocolate but there was something about the sharp, clean lines of this entremet that really stood out to me.  Plus, the fact that it didn't use too much sugar is always welcome in my book.  For any chocoholic in your life this dessert is right up their alley.  Light and creamy but still decadent it's the perfect companion to a cup of coffee or tea. 

 
For portioning the cake I started with long rectangular slices, but after having a taste of how rich the cake was I ended up cutting the rectangles in half.  This yielded 36 perfectly sized pieces that can easily feed a crowd. 

September 2, 2019

Beehive Cakelettes


At last count I have more than one dozen Nordicware pans in my possession, I kid you not.  Call me crazy but I seem to have become an inadvertent collector.  Whether it's the traditional Anniversary Bundt or the Pineapple Upside Down Mini Cake, I've got the whole gamut.  But I can't help myself, they truly are pieces of baking art.  So much so that when I remodel my pantry this fall I'm planning to display my abundant collection on the wall. 


When I saw this adorable Beehive Cakelette pan on sale at Williams-Sonoma I couldn't NOT buy it.  How could I pass on something that was so cute?  All I could picture in my head were the mini cakes on display at a bee-themed party.   They would have been amazing next to the  bee birthday cake I made earlier this year.


For cake recipes I recommend using one that is dense so that the beehive design will stay intact.  For these cakelettes I went with my favorite pound cake which also happens to be Elvis Presley's favorite!   The pan is nonstick and quick release but I sprayed it with some Bakers Joy for added insurance and the baked mini cakes released from the mold in a breeze.  Once cooled I poured a simple sugar and milk glaze over the top to define the beehive shape more clearly.  I just think the finished product is absolutely bee-utiful!

August 20, 2019

Chocolate Bumpy Cake


I almost stopped in my tracks when I saw a picture of Chocolate Bumpy Cake on Shauna Severs Instagram feed.  Never before had a seen a cake like this and I've seen a lot of them in my lifetime!  She's included the recipe in her upcoming baking cookbook "Midwest Made" but if you don't want to wait for the book's publication in October you can find it on TheKitchn.Com.  When I read the accompanying story about the cake's origins I was even more intrigued.  

Chocolate bumpy cake was created in 1913 in Detroit, Michigan by the Sanders Candy company.  It's basically a devil's food cake topped with rows of buttercream "bumps" which are then covered in fudge frosting.  While the cake components are pretty basic, visually I find it absolutely stunning.  The stark contrast of the white buttercream bumps against the dark cake and glossy icing are so beautiful.   
 

What I can't understand is how this bumpy cake escaped my notice all these years.  Given that I know at least five people with ties to Michigan I'm very surprised that I'd never heard of it before.  I blame them for keeping me in the dark!

As expected the cake tasted great and was super moist and chocolate-y.  My only disappointment with the one I made for this blog post was that the fudge frosting wasn't as glossy and shiny as I would have liked.  Perhaps I let it cool too much before pouring it over the cake so the signature "bumps" were lost?  I think I was concerned that the warm fudge frosting would melt the cold buttercream bumps.   Guess I'll have to make it again to course correct!  :-)

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