Thursday, November 10, 2011

Chocolate Delights!

We're off to find the best chocolate we can discover for you. Who is your favorite chocolatier?
Here is one of my most requested recipes that's all chocolate all the time!
Savor. Linger. Enjoy!

Chocolate Angel Food Cake
Angel Food Cake is the ultimate in (almost) guilt free delight. Airy and light it will melt in your mouth. This chocolate version is lovely with a warm, dark, fudgy sauce, or fresh fruit and whipped cream. Cut the cake in half and fill it with custard and top it with chocolate for a boston cream version.
Serves 12-14
14  large egg whites- about 1 1/2 cups- at room temperature
3/4 cup sifted cake flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 teaspoon cream of tartar- or Bakewell Cream
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place all of the dry ingredients in a bowl. Sift the flour before measuring. If you don't have a sifter, use a wire strainer and a whisk to fluff the flour before measuring. Add about half the sugar to the flour and the cocoa and sift again. Sift the flour, cocoa and half the sugar together once more.
Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl, adding the salt and the cream of tartar to the whites as soon as they become foamy. Continue beating. As soft peaks begin to form, add the remaining sugar and vanilla. Beat until stiff peaks form.
Using a flexible spatula, gently fold the flour, cocoa, and sugar mixture into the egg white mixture with an under, over, cut straight down through the mixture and up motions. Be sure to go all the way to the bottom of the bowl with each folding motion.  Mix only until the dry ingredients are combined.
Gently place the batter into a ten-inch tube pan and bake immediately. Bake for 45 minutes or until the cake is done.
When the cake is removed from the oven, immediately invert the tube pan on the counter. If the tube pan does not have legs, invert the pan over a glass wine type bottle-inserted into the center tube. Cool.

Chocolate Whipped Cream
1 pint heavy cream
1/2 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate bits
3 Tablespoons sugar or to taste
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons chocolate covered cocoa nibs
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler (or in the microwave for one minute at high heat) Stir gently. Continue heating until smooth and melted. Let the chocolate cool for five minutes. peaks form. Sprinkle the sugar over the cream and whip another minute. The chocolate should be slightly warm and still liquid but not hot.
Whip the cream until soft peaks form. Stir 1/3 of the whipped cream into the chocolate. Very gently, fold the chocolate mixture and the extract into the remaining whipped cream.
Make sure the cake has cooled completely, at least two hours. Run a sharp knife around the edge of the pan to separate the cake from the sides. Invert the cake onto a plate and remove the pan. Brush any loose crumbs off of the cake. Turn right side up and place on a serving plate.  Use a spatula to spread the chocolate whipped cream evenly over the cake. Place the cake in the freezer for an hour to set the whipped cream. Serve either frozen or chilled.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Recipe Testers Club #107: Heirloom Carrot Cake with Coconut Cream Frosting

Heirloom Carrot Cake with Coconut Cream Frosting
Using several varieties of heirloom carrots and zucchini adds an extraordinary sweetness to this traditional cake. They are surprisingly hidden- the kids might not even notice they're there. Pastor Chuck's applesauce gives it a special moistness that almost removes the need for frosting- my daughter Elizabeth would disagree. Creeze cheam frosting is good on just about anything.
Serves 24
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup Pastor Chuck's applesauce
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup
2 cups grated fresh heirloom carrots in assorted colors
1 cup grated fresh zucchini
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup dried currants
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, applesauce, eggs and sugar. Set aside. In a large bowl sift together the cinnamon, nutmeg, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir in the grated carrots, zucchini, currants and cherries. Toss the vegetables and fruit in the dry ingredients to coat. Pour the egg mixture into the dry ingredients and veggies. Stir until all are completely combined.
Pour the batter into an ungreased 10 inch bundt pan or three greased 8 inch round cake pans. Set the pans on a cookie sheet and place in the oven.
Bake in the bundt pan for 55 to 60 minutes or the 8 inch round cake pans for 35-40 minutes. Remove from oven. Turn the bundt pan upside down to cool. If your bundt pan does not have little legs to keep the top of the cake from touching the counter, carefully balance it upside down on a long necked bottle. Cool. Remove from pan.
When cake is completely cool, cover with coconut cream frosting.

Coconut Cream Frosting
1/2 cup unsalted butter
8 oz cream cheese
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 lb confectioners sugar
2 Tablespoons heavy cream
1 1/2 cups shredded coconut
Cream the butter and cream cheese together. Scrape down the bowl often. Slowly incorporate the confectioners sugar. Add the vanilla and heavy cream. Whip the frosting for 4 minutes. If the mixture is too dense, add another Tablespoon of cream. If the mixture is too runny add more confectioners sugar one Tablespoon at a time. When you have the consistency you want, stir in the coconut. Use immediately or chill until you need it.