Happy Birthday To… Me :) 24… yikes!
I wanted to celebrate with some cake of course, but wasn’t so keen on making an entire cake. I’ve seen cakes baked in jar’s, so I thought why not a mini-birthday cake for one (maybe I’ll share with Adam..) Simple chocolate cake with vanilla swiss-meringue buttercream, depending on jar size, bake at 350 for 15-18 minutes. And bonus, it’s portable! You can make this for someone special on their birthday :)
Make a wish…
… until next year!
.. Stay tuned this afternoon for another, outrageous, birthday treat I created.
This is a different type of baking post! You see, I made a batch of Mocha Brownies for a friend of mine’s BBQ yesterday, and posted some pictures from my Iphone on my Facebook page. I had received comments on them, and had 2 messages in my inbox asking if I was going to post the recipe on my website! I do bake often while I’m here on the island but I haven’t posted everything that I’ve made. But I thought why not post the pictures anyways, as semi-blurred as they are, and include the delicious recipe. I ate about 1000 of these yesterday, and taste-tested the frosting a few times over. They were definitely a hit! It has the perfect combination of fudge-yness and the coffee icing is so so so good. If you’re going to a BBQ, or have any other excuse to make them I suggest it!
These are densely fudge type brownies, not cakey, and super moist! You can choose to add the frosting, or even have them plain.
You Will Need:
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 2 1/4 cups sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 1/4 cups cocoa
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
- about 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9″ x 13″ pan
2) In a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl, or in a saucepan set over low heat (I always use the saucepan method), melt the butter, then add the sugar and stir to combine. Keep the element on low, and let the sugar dissolve. it’ll become shiny looking as you stir it. Add in the Chocolate Chips stirring until they melt.
- Meanwhile, crack the 4 eggs into a bowl, and beat them with the cocoa, baking powder, and vanilla till smooth.
- Add the hot butter, chocolate and sugar mixture, stirring until smooth.
- Add the flour and stir until incorporated.
- Spoon the batter into a greased 9″ x 13″ pan.
- Bake the brownies for about 20 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, or with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it. I checked mine and took them out at about 17 minutes, you don’t want it to overbake or else you will have a more cakey-brownie on your hands!
- Remove them from the oven and cool on a rack. I allowed it to cool for a bit, but then moved it into the fridge to speed the cooling process. This also sets the fudge-y texture of it, and makes it densely chocolatey.
While it is cooling, you can make the Mocha Frosting.
You will need:
- about 4 cups Icing Sugar, Sifted ( depending on the consistency )
- 1 cup strongly brewed coffee, or espresso, cooled
- a splash of milk
- 3/4 cup butter, softened to room temperature
- Beat the butter till it is light and fluffy. Add about 1/2 a cup at a time the icing sugar. After about 2 cups add in a splash of milk, and vanilla. You want the icing to be quite stiff before you add in the coffee/espresso. So you don’t want to add too much milk to water it down. Continue adding the icing sugar until you reach a stiff consistency, and add a little at a time the coffee. You can add it to your tasting preference, I added quite a lot for a rich coffee taste. The icing will thin quite a bit, you can add more icing sugar if you think it is too thin.
- Once you reach the desired taste/texture pour it on top of the brownies while still in the pan, and smooth it on top so it completely covers it.
- Return the brownie pan to the fridge to set. You can decorate the top with little coffee beans if you like. Allow the icing to set up again in the fridge before cutting into it. Trust me, it’s worth the wait.
First off I’d like to wish my mom a Happy Birthday!! As I mentioned earlier, my mom has been away at the Dominican Republic for a week! And today is her Birthday! But she isn’t home til tomorrow, friday, missing her birthday! So I thought I would bake her a cake so she could have it when she gets home! A birthday isn’t a birthday without cake! Also, I’ve gotten my final grades back and was super happy to receive a B in Biology! So all that stressing, and even lack of baking paid off! So, I think I deserve a piece of cake too!
Ever since I made the Zucchini cake I’ve been wanting to make a carrot cake, mostly so I could use my shredder attachment again! But also, my mom loves carrot cake as well! I was originally going to make another one from the Joy of Cooking, but then compared the two and liked the additions of coconut to the cake, also it seemed to make more. So, from the book I got for my birthday last year, Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From my home to yours, I decided to try out her Bill’s Big Carrot Cake. So far I’ve loved everyting I’ve baked from it, including the white out devils food cake, which I made for my brother’s birthday in March, which was de-licious!! So here’s the recipe for the carrot cake! It’s definitely a winner.
Bill’s Big Carrot Cake
From Baking: from my home to yours by Dorie Greenspan
Yields 10 servings
For the cake:
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 3 cups grated carrots (about 9 carrots, you can grate them in food processor fitted with a shredding a blade or use a box grater, i used my KitchenAid with the shredding blade and baby carrots)
- 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
- 1 cup shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
- ½ cup moist, plump raisins
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup canola oil
- 4 large eggs
- *I also added about a cup of crushed & drained pineapple
Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter three 9-x-2-inch round cake pans, flour the insides, and tap out the excess. Put the two pans on one baking sheet and one on another.
To make the cake:
- Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl, stir together the carrots, chopped nuts, coconut, and raisins.
- Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the sugar and oil together on a medium speed until smooth. Add the eggs one by one and continue to beat until the batter is even smoother. It will resemble custard or Jell-o at this point.
- Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture, mixing only until the dry ingredients disappear. Gently mix the chunky ingredients. Divide the batter among the baking pans.
- Bake for 40-50 minutes, rotating the pans from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point, until a thin knife inserted into the centers comes out clean. The cakes will have just started to come away from the sides of the pans. Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes and unmold them. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up.
- The cakes can be wrapped airtight and kept at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to 2 months.
*I didn’t want to make three layers with the hastle of fitting them in the oven, so i made two larger layers and it worked out just as well. You could also make it into a sheet cake or even bake it in a bundt cake pan.
For the frosting:
- 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 stick ( 8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 pound or 3 and ¾ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice or ½ teaspoon pure lemon extract
- ½ cup shredded coconut (optional)
- Finely chopped toasted nuts and/or toasted shredded coconut (optional)
To make the frosting:
Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until the frosting is velvety smooth. Beat in the lemon juice or extract. If you’d like coconut in the filling, scoop about half of the frosting and stir the coconut in.
*I toasted some coconut beforehand, and sprinkled it on top of the first layer in the middle of the cake.
To assemble the cake:
Put one layer top side up on a cardboard cake round or a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment paper. If you added the coconut to the frosting, use half of the coconut frosting to generously cover the first layer (or generously cover with plain frosting). Use an offset spatula or a spoon to smooth the frosting all the way to the edges of the layer. Top with the second layer, this time placing the cake stop side down, and frost with the remainder of the coconut frosting or plain frosting. Top with the last layer, right side up, and frost the top- and the sides- of the cake. Finish the top with swirls of frosting. If you want to top the cake with toasted nuts or coconut, sprinkle them on now while the frosting is soft. Refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes, just to set the frosting before serving.
This cake can be served as soon as the frosting is set. It can also wait, at room temperature and covered with a cake keeper overnight. The cake is best served in thick slices at room temperature and while it’s good plain, it’s even better with vanilla ice cream or some lemon curd.
Happy Birthday Mom! xox From Me & The animals