Carmel Browned Butter Cake

Makes 1 9" cake
Adapted From: Tartlette

For the Caramel Cake:
10 Tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup caramel syrup (see recipe below)
2 each eggs, at room temperature
splash vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup milk, at room temperature

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter one tall (2 – 2.5 inch deep) 9-inch cake pan.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth. Add sugar and salt & cream until light and fluffy.
Slowly pour room temperature caramel syrup into bowl. Scrape down bowl and increase speed. Add eggs/vanilla extract a little at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down bowl again, beat mixture until light and uniform.
Sift flour and baking powder. Turn mixer to lowest speed, and add one third of the dry ingredients. When incorporated, add half of the milk, a little at a time. Add another third of the dry ingredients, then the other half of the milk and finish with the dry ingredients.
Take off mixer and by hand, use a spatula to do a few last folds, making sure batter is uniform. Turn batter into prepared cake pan. Place cake pan on cookie sheet or 1/2 sheet pan. Set first timer for 30 minutes, rotate pan and set timer for another 15-20 minutes. Bake until sides pull away from the pan and skewer inserted in middle comes out clean. Cool cake completely before icing it. Cake will keep for three days outside of the refrigerator.

For the Caramel Syrup:
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup water (for "stopping" the caramelizing process)

In a small stainless steel saucepan, with tall sides, mix water and sugar until mixture feels like wet sand. Brush down any stray sugar crystals with wet pastry brush. Turn on heat to highest flame. Cook until dark amber.
When color is achieved, very carefully pour in one cup of water. Caramel will jump and sputter about! It is very dangerous, so have long sleeves on and be prepared to step back.
Whisk over medium heat until it has reduced slightly and feels sticky between two fingers. {Obviously wait for it to cool on a spoon before touching it.}

For the Caramelized Butter Frosting:
12 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound confectioner’s sugar, sifted
4-6 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2-4 tablespoons caramel syrup

Cook butter until brown. Pour through a fine meshed sieve into a heatproof bowl, set aside to cool.
Pour cooled brown butter into mixer bowl. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, add confectioner's sugar a little at a time. When mixture looks too chunky to take any more, add a bit of cream and caramel syrup. Repeat until mixture looks smooth and all confectioner's sugar has been incorporated.

For the Caramel Shards:
1/2 cup (100gr) sugar
3 tablespoon (45 ml water)
1 tablespoon (15 gr) corn syrup

Combine all the ingredients in a heavy saucepan and bring them to a boil. Monitor the temperature with a candy thermometer and bring the mixture to 300F and the color is slightly golden. While the caramel is reaching its desired temperature, take a sheet of parchment paper and crinkle it between your hands then flatten it out a bit. This will help with the forming of the bubbles. When the caramel is ready, slowly pour it over the parchment paper. You can lift the paper carefully to spread it around the surface if needed but watch out! I do this over a large sheet pan so all is required for clean up is hot water. Let cool completely before breaking into shards.

Because it is only one layer, decorating this cake is very simple. Feel free to add a second layer if you want.

Until next week!
I hope all of you had an amazing Christmas! This holiday season I finally felt as though I could say I have perfected perfected the French macaron. After many... many attempts I finally had a batch come out perfectly! They were very much a hit at our holiday party so expect to see some more on the blog soon!

This week I decided to break open a cookbook rather than go to the Internet for inspiration. (Shocker I know.) However, I picked up a new book focus on Irish dishes and I couldn't wait to test a couple. Its been a while since I have made a roulade cake, so I thought I'd give it a try!

noun: roulade; plural noun: roulades
a dish cooked or served in the form of a roll, typically made from a flat piece of meat, fish, or sponge cake, spread with a soft filling and rolled up into a spiral.

The great thing about a roulade is that it can be filled with anything, so feel free to get creative!

On another note, I'm trying something a bit different with my food photography today. I was inspired by some food blogs to try some messy food photography and a messy roulade cake seems like the perfect starting point!

Hope you enjoy!

Chocolate Raspberry Roulade

Serves 10

For the cake:
6 eggs, separated, at room temperature
250 g icing sugar
25g baking soda
100 g cocoa powder

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a baking tray measuring about 12x16 with a little butter and line it with baking parchment. Using a handheld electric mixer, whisk together the egg yolks and 175g of the icing sugar on high until very pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Set aside. In a clean bowl with clean beaters, whisk the egg whites until they hold soft peaks. Add the rest of the icing sugar and beat until very glossy stiff peaks form.
Sift the cornflour and cocoa together. Fold this into the egg-yolk mixture alternately with the egg whites until well blended. Spread mixture evenly on prepared baking tray. Bake until edges are firm and middle is still very soft to the touch, about 8-10 minutes. Cool completely and remove from pan.

For the Filling:
12 oz whipping cream
50 g caster sugar*
1/8 tsp. vanilla paste
350 ml raspberry jam
2 Tablespoons water
8 oz fresh raspberries

Whip cream until it holds still peaks. Fold in caster sugar and vanilla and set aside. Stir the raspberry jam and the water together. Brush diluted jam atop the cooled cake, covering the whole surface. Then, layer the whipped cream atop the cake, leaving about a 2 inch border. The whipped cream layer should be approx. 3/4 inch thick.  Sprinkle raspberries atop the whipped cream layer.
Starting at the side farthest away from you, roll the sponge up lengthwise, curling it over on itself with the help of the parchment. Carefully transfer to a serving tray and refrigerate for an hour before serving.

*To make cater sugar, place 50g granulated sugar in a coffee grinder and pulse until very fine. 

The cake should be super moist, almost fudge-y. Hope you enjoy!
Until next week.

Want something impressive to bake this holiday season? Skip the trite sugar cookies and kiss cookies, and try the French macaron. They can be made in a variety of flavors, from egg nog to candy cane!

This week I'm sharing one of my favorites: candy cane macarons.

Now, these cookies do have an air of difficulty about them. However, this shouldn't stop the beginner baker. My first few times making these cookies were a disaster, and was eventually scraped, however, I've picked up on a few tricks to help you out! Trust me, people will love these unique cookies for Christmas, or any other occasion!

Candy Cane Macarons

Makes approx. 20 cookies
**Must use food scale for the cookie shells**

For the macaron shells:
200 grams confectioners’ sugar
110 grams slivered almonds (no skin)
90 grams egg whites (aged at room temperature for 1 day or 3-5 days in the fridge, do not skip this step!!)
25 grams granulated sugar

To make the macaron shells, combine the confectioners’ sugar and almonds in a food processor. Pulse until the almonds are finely ground and the mixture is well blended. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue to beat, gradually adding the granulated sugar. Beat until a stiff, glossy meringue forms (do not over-beat). 

Add the ground nut mixture to the bowl with the egg whites. Fold together with a spatula until all of the dry ingredients are incorporated and the batter is thick and smooth. (Do not over mix, but be sure all ingredients are combined.)

Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Fit a pastry bag with a plain round tip and pipe small rounds onto the prepared baking sheets, about 1½ inches in diameter, by holding the bag perfectly perpendicular to the counter and smoothly giving pressure without moving the tip. Let the piped rounds sit at room temperature for 30-60 minutes to get "skins" on the tops of the cookies.

Preheat the oven to 280˚ F. Bake for 20 minutes. Let cool 15-20 minutes before removing from the baking sheet. (Do not touch while cooling.) Let cool completely before filling.

For the filling:
1/2 cup sugar
2 large egg whites
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon to 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Put the sugar and egg whites in a large heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and whisk constantly, keeping the mixture over the heat, until it feels hot to the touch, about 3 minutes. The sugar should be dissolved, and the mixture will look like marshmallow cream. Pour the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat the meringue on medium speed until it cools and forms a thick shiny meringue, about 5 minutes. Switch to the paddle attachment and add the butter, one tablespoon at a time, beating until smooth. Once all the butter is in, beat in the butter cream on medium-high speed until it is thick and very smooth, 6-10 minutes. Divided the butter cream in two portions.

For garnish:
Crushed candy canes

To assemble the macarons, pair up the shells by size. Add the finished frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a plain round tip. Pipe a small round of frosting onto the flat side of one shell from each pair. Sandwich together with the other shell and push gently together so that the frosting reaches the edges of the cookies. Place the crushed candy canes in a shallow dish. Gently roll the assembled macarons in the crushed candy canes so they adhere to the frosting.

Hope you enjoy them as much as I did!
Stay tuned for more macaron recipies, as I'm looking forward to making some more!

Until next week!

So, as it turns out I was going to meet a friend for doughnuts today, but she canceled, so I decided to make some myself! Doughnuts are the perfect breakfast to make the night before and fry the next day! Along with a simple glaze, these doughnuts are perfect for any brunch, or even just a snack.

Banana Doughnuts

Makes about 16
From: Tartlette

For the doughnuts:
3 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup honey
2 small bananas, mashed
1/4 cup sour cream
canola oil for frying

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt twice and set aside. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the eggs and honey for one minute at medium speed, until light and airy. Add the bananas and sour cream and beat until well incorporated. Turn the speed down to low and add the dry ingredients (little by little). The dough will be soft. Transfer to a medium bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
On a well floured board or countertop, roll the dough to about 1/4 inch thick. Cut rounds either with a 3-inch doughnut cutter or use a 3-inch cookie cutter and a 1-inch small cutter to make the holes in the middle. Reroll the scraps as you go. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes if it starts getting tough as you reroll and cut, to relax the gluten.
In a large cast iron skilet, heat enough oil (2 inches deep or so) to 325F and fry the doughnuts 3 to 4 at a time, 1 to 2 minutes on each side, turning them once. Do not over crowd your skillet or it will drop the temperature of the oil and you will end up with soggy doughnuts. Drain on a baking sheet lined with paper towels.

For the glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons milk

In a medium bowl, sift the powdered sugar. Add the milk and whisk until smooth.
Dip the doughnuts into the glaze and let drip on a wire rack set over a piece of parchment paper.

So, has we get closer and closer to the holiday season, the baking cookbooks start to appear. There are already Christmas decorations in stores, and Thanksgiving meals being planned. However, if you go into your pantry you may notice the old Halloween candy is still there... and you have no idea what to do with it.

Well, look no further because I have the solution: Kit Kat Cheesecake Bars. These impressive little bites are very easy to make and can take less than an hour to prep. They are, however, 100% addicting, so be careful!

Kit Kat Cheesecake Bars

Adapted from:  Baker's Royale

For the Crust:
1 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs
7 tablespoons of butter

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Place graham cracker crust and sugar in a bowl and toss to combine. Add in melted butter and mix to combine. Press mixture onto bottom of prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 7-10 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool while making cheesecake portion.

For the Chocolate Cheesecake:
12 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
6 Kit Kat packages

Place all ingredients in a bowl and beat until fully combined and smooth; set aside. Place Kit Kat bars on top of crust. Pour cheesecake mixture over Kit Kat bars and bake for 30-35 minutes at 350 degrees F. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. 

For the Ganache:

10oz. chocolate
8 tablespoons butter
4 oz white chocolate chips
1/4 cup heavy cream

Place chocolate and butter in a heat proof bowl over simmering water, gently stir until chocolate is melted and butter is fully combined. Pour chocolate over baked cheesecake.

Place white chocolate chips in a heat proof bowl. Boil heavy cream. Pour boiled heavy cream over chocolate and let sit. Do not stir for 3-4 minutes. Then using a sturdy spatula gently stir and fold chocolate, continuing until chocolate is completely melted. Chocolate may appear lumpy for the first few stirs, but will melt into smoothness. Transfer mixture to a pastry bag fitted with a number 2 round tip or a place mixture in a Ziploc bag and cut a small hole in one corner.
Pipe white chocolate horizontally across from top to bottom. Use a toothpick and starting at the top drag the toothpick vertically through horizontal lines. Starting from the bottom drag the toothpick to the top. Continue to alternate starting points with toothpick.

 So that is it! It seems like a lot of work because of all of the layers, but it goes by quickly!
Until next week!