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!  :-)

August 15, 2019

Viennese Swirls

One of my favorite bakers to follow on Instagram is Thida Bevington.   I don't remember how I came upon her account but I'm so glad I did.  She is an unbelievable talent and I am constantly inspired by all of her bakes.  The breads, cakes, cookies and tarts she makes are absolutely stunning!    Check out her feed and you'll see what I mean.

Out of all of her amazing creations it was the Viennese Swirls that I had to attempt.   These biscuits (Thida is English, btw) are right up my alley and everything I love in a cookie - buttery and not too sweet.   I'd also seen something similar on The Great British Bake Off so that was extra motivation to give them a try.

After watching the step-by-step instructions on Thida's Instagram highlights more than a few times I had no trouble mixing the dough.  The most important thing is for your butter to be very soft, otherwise the finished dough will be difficult to pipe. 

When the first tray came out of the oven I couldn't help myself and had to have a little sample.  Mmmmm...the texture is so short (i.e., very tender) and buttery.  Absolute heaven in a bite I tell you.  To finish them off I dipped the swirls in some tempered milk chocolate which sent these cookies to another stratosphere!  

August 10, 2019

Tomato Galette

My co-worker Coltin brought in a bounty of tomatoes he'd grown in his garden.  Never one to pass up on lovely produce I grabbed a few of the big, beefy ones.  First thing that popped in to my mind was to use them in a Tomato Galette.  I'd bookmarked a recipe from Cook's Country but didn't have all the ingredients so I improvised a bit and it still turned out delicious.    

I had plans to use up some leftover roasted vegetables by making a quiche.   Not wanting to make two different crusts for the quiche and the galette I saved myself some time and just doubled the quiche crust recipe.  It's super buttery and flaky and bakes up beautifully.

The galette itself couldn't have been easier to throw together.  Slice up the tomatoes, lightly salt them and then drain in a colander for at least 30 minutes.  This extracts most of the excess juice that otherwise would be the bane of any flaky pastry.   No soggy bottoms over here!  Add some cheese, shallots, garlic and thyme and you've got a gorgeous looking galette.

This is a fantastic option for a vegetarian but meat eaters will love it too!  Add a salad and you've got yourself a delicious meal.  

August 5, 2019

Piña Colada Cake

When I was a kid my favorite ice cream flavor of all time was Thrifty's Coconut Pineapple.  Truth be told it's still my number one, even in adulthood.  I'd been meaning to make a cake version of this ice cream flavor and I finally got around to it after being inspired by Baking With Blondie's Mango Coconut cake.  Swap out the mango for pineapple and I present to you my Piña Colada Cake


I used Baking with Blondie's coconut cake recipe and Cook's Illustrated recipes for the pineapple filling and coconut buttercream frosting.  The cake recipe actually uses a Duncan Hines cake mix as its base.  Yes, this is a bit controversial in a world of "from scratch" baking but one that I welcome to be honest.  I grew up eating cakes made from a mix so this brings back a lot of nostalgia for me.   There's nothing wrong with taking shortcuts if it doesn't compromise the taste.

For the filling it was important that it contain fresh pineapple and was sturdy enough to hold up between the cake layers.   Ground instant tapioca did the job of thickening the pureed pineapple while still retaining it's fresh fruit flavor.   As for the frosting I went for an American buttercream which is easier to pull together than Swiss meringue, my normal go to.  To finish the cake off I had to recreate these amazing buttercream pineapples I saw from @makefabulouscakes...are they not the cutest things you've ever seen?

When I had a taste of the finished cake I was blown away by how delicious it was.  The tender coconut infused cake with the fresh pineapple filling is a taste home run!  I will definitely be making this cake again.

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