Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Chocolate Cake Recipes

Sour cream cakes are a dime a dozen, but using, German-style quark (a low- or nonfat fresh cheese that tastes like a combination of sour cream, yogurt, and cream cheese) takes this ordinary chocolate cake into the realm of the memorable. It's fudgy, yet slightly easier on your conscience. If you can't find quark, which is available in some supermarkets, you can make this cake with sour cream. Since this is a three-layer cake, plan to serve a lot of people or to have a lot of leftovers. This cake is best eaten the day it's made, though it will hold, covered, for twenty-four to forty-eight hours at room temperature. Do not refrigerate.

Yield: 12 to 15 servings

1 1/4 cups heavy cream1 2/3 cups sugar6 1/2 ounces good-quality unsweetened chocolate, such as Scharffen-Berger or
Callebaut, finely chopped3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened, cut into tablespoons1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup boiling water1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process), plus extra for dusting the pans4 ounces high-quality unsweetened chocolate, such as Scharffen-Berger or
Callebaut, coarsely chopped1 3/4 cups cake flour6 tablespoons all-purpose flour1/2 teaspoon baking powder1/4 teaspoon salt1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened2 1/2 cups sugar1 whole egg5 large eggs, separated1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract1 cup quark, such as Ellen's Nonfat, stirred until smooth

To make the frosting:
In a medium-size
saucepan, heat the cream and sugar. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Add the chocolate and stir until it is thoroughly melted. Remove from the heat, cover, and let cool for about 10 minutes.

Using an
electric mixer, mix the butter on medium-high speed until it is smooth and creamy. Turn the mixer to medium-low and add half of the chocolate mixture along with the vanilla. Mix well. Add the remaining chocolate mixture and mix until smooth and creamy. Set aside until it hardens slightly, to become a spreadable consistency, 1 to 2 hours. (Or, you can refrigerate the frosting for about 30 minutes, or until it becomes thickened and spreadable. Bring it to room temperature before frosting.)

To make the cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Generously grease three
9-inch round cake pans. Cut a piece of waxed paper to fit the bottom of each pan and place inside the pans. Grease the waxed paper, and dust the pans with cocoa powder until well coated. Set aside.
In a small heatproof bowl, pour the boiling water over the 1/2 cup cocoa. Stir until the mixture is very smooth, and set aside to cool.

Melt the chocolate in a
double-boiler or in a stainless-steel bowl set over a pan of hot, but not boiling, water. Stir occasionally until smooth. Remove from the heat.
Into a medium-size bowl, sift together both flours, the baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a
stand mixer, beat the butter until smooth and creamy, about 5 minutes. Add 2 1/4 cups of the sugar and beat until well blended, about 5 minutes. Beat in the whole egg and egg yolks, one at a time. Beat in the cooled cocoa mixture until very smooth, scraping down the sides as you go. Turn the mixer to medium-low and add the melted chocolate, beating until well incorporated. Add the vanilla. Turn the mixer to low and add half the dry ingredients. Then add the quark, mix well, and add the rest of the dry ingredients. Beat until smooth and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes.

In a copper or stainless-steel bowl, and using clean beaters, beat the egg whites at high speed. When frothy, add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and continue beating until the egg whites form stiff peaks, 5 to 6 minutes.
Using a large rubber spatula, fold about 1 cup of the chocolate mixture into the egg whites. Then gently fold that mixture back into the chocolate mixture, just until the egg whites are well incorporated. Do not overmix.

Distribute the batter evenly among the pans, and bake in the center of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Do not overbake. Cakes are done when the tops are just beginning to crack and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few crumbs clinging to it. Let cool on a rack for about 15 minutes. Remove the cakes from the pans and let cool completely on a
wire rack.

To assemble:

Place the first layer on a serving plate and frost the top only. Place the second layer on top of the first and frost the top. Repeat with the top layer. Spread the remaining frosting along the sides until the cake is completely covered with frosting. Cut and enjoy!

The New American Cheese by Laura Werlin

Saturday, March 7, 2009


Dimensions® Giant Cupcake Pan
Cooling Grid

2 teaspoons instant coffee
1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups butter softened
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar firmly packed
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
1 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
Makes: 10-12 servings.

Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease and flour or use pan spray with flour to prepare pan. In small bowl, dissolve instant coffee in water; stir in cocoa powder and mix well. Set aside to cool.
Stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside. In large bowl, beat butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar with electric mixer until light and fluffy.
Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla; mix well. Combine cocoa mixture and sour cream. Add flour mixture alternately with sour cream mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating after each addition until smooth. Fold in chocolate chips. Spoon 4 1/2 cups batter into top of
Bake 60-70 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool cake in pan on wire rack 15 minutes. Turn cake onto wire rack to cool completely. To assemble cupcake ice top of cake’s bottom half. Place top half of cake atop iced bottom half. Decorate as desired.


When baking cakes, think of your cake as the canvas on which you will create beautiful icing decorations. To achieve the masterpiece you want, it is essential that your canvas be smooth and free of crumbs. Using these cake making steps to prepare and ice your cake will result in a perfectly smooth decorating surface for your work of art.

baking cakes
Here’s a handy guide on how to make a cake using our most popular pan shapes and sizes. If you’re looking for ideas on how to make a birthday cake, be sure to check out the guide below on baking 3-d bear cakes.
Baking cakes
Cake pan preparation
How To Make a Birthday Cake: Baking 3-d Bear Cakes

torting and filling cake making methods
The torting method in cake making adds extra height, drama and taste to the cake when the layers are filled with icing, pudding or fruit filling.
Leveling the cake
Torting the cake
Filling cake layers

tiered cakes serving amounts
When baking tiered cakes, use our diagrams to find the ideal tiered construction to serve your guest list.
Under 100 servings
100-150 servings
150-200 servings
200-300 servings
View All Cake Making Servings

baking time and batter amounts
The right baking times and batter amounts are an essential part of learning how to make a cake. Follow the guides below for baking wedding cakes or birthday cakes.
Wedding cake - 2" deep pans
Wedding cake - 3" deep pans
Party cake - 2" deep pans
Party cake - 3" deep pans

choosing a cake size
Get helpful tips on choosing a cake size or learn how to make a cake look larger without increasing serving sizes.
Cake Size Guide