When I first saw the recipe for Jeni’s mochi cake in her newest book, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream Desserts, I was instantly intrigued. Jeni chose this cake for her ice cream recipes because instead of hardening, the cake stays soft and chewy when frozen. At room temperature, the cake is springy, spongy, and delightfully chewy. Like the Japanese mochi, but in pound cake form. Continue reading
It happened. On Monday I officially said “goodbye” to my 20s and dove headfirst into the big 3-0. I’m officially a grown up, and I know this because I got furniture for my birthday. Yep. Furniture.
Not only did I get furniture, but I was excited about it. EXCITED. ABOUT FURNITURE. WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME?
A lot has been going on in the world and I’ve just been sitting back and taking it all in…
I’m not one to dwell on these things but I lost a huge piece of my childhood with the passing of an amazing actor/comedian.
Cue the comfort food (and childhood movie marathon).
And what food is more comforting than pound cake? The best thing about this pound cake is that the sweet cake will absorb my tears and their salt will perfectly complement the cake’s sweetness.
When I saw this recipe for a pound cake using sweetened condensed milk as one of the key ingredients and a food processor as the main mixing tool, I wasn’t 100% sure what to expect. However, since pound cake is basically impossible to mess up as it is, I didn’t really see how it could possibly go wrong.
So, what should you expect?
Once in the oven, the sweetened condensed milk in this batter fills your home with the aroma of dulce de leche caramel. Once out of the oven, a hint of caramel flavor of permeates this tender pound cake. It doesn’t have an overwhelming caramel flavor, but you can definitely pick up on the caramelly notes in the cake (especially in the browned edges).
So wrap yourself in a warm, caramel-scented hug (from the inside) with some condensed milk pound cake.
- 1 cup (8 oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
- 3 large eggs, room emperature
- Preheat the oven to 325° F. And prepare an 8 by 5-inch loaf pan with parchment and baking spray (or flour and butter) and set aside.
- Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder and set aside.
- Add butter and sugar to a food processor and process until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides and bottom as needed. Add the condensed milk and pulse until well incorporated. Add eggs and vanilla and pulse again to combine.
- Add dry ingredients and pulse just until incorporated, being careful not to over-mix, scraping down the sides and bottoms if needed, and pour into prepared loaf pan.
- Bake until the top is dark golden brown and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 70 minutes. Cool 20 minutes in pan, turn out onto rack to finish cooling.
Recipe from Boy Meets Bowl
I already told you all about the Baked Sweet & Salty cake, and now the time has come to sing the praises of ye olde Fluffernutter Cake.
I will start by saying that I am surprised that there even was a fluffernutter cake, given the amount of cake batter I ate.
Peanut butter + cake batter is a dangerous combination.
I found this cake over on Faygie’s website (Life Tastes Good) and was immediately smitten. Anyone who has been on this site for more than millisecond probably knows that peanut butter is my one true love. Some of my earliest memories are when my uncle would come over with a small jar of Jif peanut butter and I would sit on the windowsill (with the curtain closed to conceal myself) and spoon it into my mouth over and over until the jar was gone.
Yeah, peanut butter and me, we go way back.
For those of you who DON’T know, a “Fluffernutter” is a sandwich composed of peanut butter and marshmallow fluff. Part of everyone’s dietary requirements. It’s great because it can be lunch or dessert, or both at the same time! I know it sounds weird but I promise it’s delicious. Seriously delicious.
If you haven’t had the opportunity to enjoy a fluffernutter sandwich in your lifetime, now is the time. You’re (most likely) a grown up so go to the store with this list:
1. White bread. Like, Wonderbread white bread. This is a fluffernutter sandwich, let’s not try to get all high and mighty on your whole wheat train.
2. Marshmallow fluff. You’ve seen this stuff, it comes in a jar. Real marshmallows will NOT do, you need this super processed sugary spread. (Also great for dipping pretzels in, FYI)
3. Your favorite peanut butter.
Now assemble the ingredients like you’re making a PBJ but with fluff in place of the jelly. Congratulations, now you’re 5 years old again. You’re welcome.
So while I was (literally) laying in bed thinking about what kind of cake I wanted to have for my birthday… the thought occurred to try conjuring a peanut butter cake… I don’t know that I’ve ever actually consumed a peanut butter cake. Frosting, of course, but cake? I don’t think so.
Then, as fate would have it, the very next day our dearest Faygie posted this very same cake on her blog.
Fate, people. FATE.
And who am I to ignore fate?
Generally speaking when you have a peanut butter cake (or brownie/blondie/cookie) a lot of the time it can end up just tasting like cooked peanut butter. It’s hard to describe, but almost like just slightly burned eau de peanut butter without having a real authentic peanut butter flavor.
I was thrilled to find that this cake (well, the cupcake version, which I ate fresh out of the oven) tasted like straight up cake filled with peanut butter flavor. As an added bonus, since my dream of double ovens has yet to come to fruition and I don’t believe in moving cakes once they are in the oven (sorry, I know I’m supposed to “rotate cakes halfway through baking” but that just sounds like someone trying to trick me into dropping a cake or shaking the bejeezus out of it until it falls – no thank you) I had to bake my cupcakes on the top third of the oven, which I assume is why they didn’t dome properly and instead had flat peanut-butter-cookie-like tops.
It was seriously like someone baked a delicious soft and chewy peanut butter cookie and attached it to an amazingly tender peanut butter cake. I want to make it again just to see if I can make it happen on purpose…
I made my cake (as I do with most of my cakes) a week in advance and thawed and frosted it the day before serving, and stored it covered in the fridge. Whether it was just that the cake doesn’t hold up well to freezing, or perhaps just because the sides were left unfrosted (or likely the latter since the cupcakes seem to do fine), the served cake was definitely more dry than the fresh cake. The flavor was still great, but the texture definitely suffered. So, my tip to you, is to make this cake no more than 24 hours prior to serving (or to frost the sides, which may prove challenging with sticky marshmallow frosting).
**Update: I have eaten several of the peanut butter cupcakes after they were frozen and thawed and they were amazing. So, my advice to you is that if you want to assemble this cake in advance to MAKE SURE YOU COVER THE SIDES OF THE CAKE with plastic wrap or foil to keep the cake from drying out. Alternatively, you could frost the sides of the cake which will likely solve any potential dryness problems.**
Additionally, for the first time in probably ever, I ran out of vanilla extract when it was time to make this frosting. Even though the frosting recipe doesn’t call for extract, my intuition told me that it would definitely benefit from a little extra kick of flavor – and I was right. The marshmallow fluff, though delicious. would have definitely benefited from the extra boost of flavor that a bit of vanilla would have offered. Oh, and I toasted some of the frosting. Because toasting and marshmallows go together like peas and carrots … or … you know… something and something else that go together really well.
Below is the side-by-side I did to taste-test the cakes before serving them for my birthday. Just like the sweet & salty cake, though this recipe made layers, I only had two cake pans of the right size so I got 4 layers and a dozen cupcakes. Which works out well for me because now I have a variety of cupcakes stashed in my freezer (win!).
Without further adieu, Fluffernutter Cake (with my notes).
- 6 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk, room temperature
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup smooth peanut butter(*)
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 6 large egg whites
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch of kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare three 8-inch round cake pans(*1) by lining with parchment and greasing. (I use Pam for Baking)
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla until well combined.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, and both sugars on low speed until combined. Add the softened butter and peanut butter, and mix on medium speed until the mixture is combined, it will be dry and crumbly.
- Add 1/3 of the milk mixture, and beat on medium speed for a couple of minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, and add another 1/3 of the milk mixture, mixing well. Scrape the bowl down again, and the remaining milk mixture, and mix well, until smooth and creamy. Divide the mixture evenly between the prepared pans (Faygie recommends a kitchen scale and I second her recommendation! I think each of mine were about 750g each, although my last "layer" was cupcakes so 3 layers may be different.)
- Bake until a toothpick inserted into the centers of the cakes comes out clean, and the top of the cakes springs back when lightly poked, about 50-55 minutes. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then turn the layers out onto a rack to cool completely.
- Combine the sugar, egg whites, and salt in a heat-resistant bowl. Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water, making sure that the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water (think "double boiler" method here). Whisk constantly until the mixture is frothy and hot to the touch, about 5 to 7 minutes(*2). No, your arm won't fall off (though it will feel like it wants to).
- Transfer mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on high speed, using the whisk attachment. Continue beating until it gets fluffy, then add vanilla. Continue to beat on high until it’s thick, shiny, and bright white, and the bowl is cool to the touch. This took me about 7 minutes but that was using my Kitchen Aid Pro mixer, other mixers may take longer.
- Use a serrated knife to even out the tops of your cakes and cut each cake in half horizontally, as evenly as possible.
- Spread a 1/6 of the frosting onto the bottom layer of cake. Top with additional layer and repeat with the rest of the cake layers and frosting(*3), ending with the frosting.
* Generally speaking you don't want to use a "natural" peanut butter for baking. I always use Jif)
* I recommend baking this cake no more than one day before serving. If you intend to freeze the cake before serving, I recommend frosting the sides of the cake to help to keep it from drying out.
*1. I used two cake pans and poured the rest of the batter into cupcake tins and baked them separately. They took about 25 minutes to bake as cupcakes and served as a good deterrent to keep Future Husband from trying to attack the actual cake layers.
*2. If you want to be sure your mixture has reached the right temperature - you're looking to get to about 160 - 165F (this will kill any bacteria in the eggs) - if you don't have a thermometer it should be the temperature at which your sugar is completely dissolved. If you rub the egg white mixture between your thumb and forefinger it should feel smooth and not grainy.
*3. I used my hand-torch to "toast" my inner marshmallow layers for fun. It wasn't super noticeable flavor-wise. My ambition was to toast "Happy Birthday" into the top layer of frosting, but then I remembered that I suck at that - lacking both the handwriting skills and the torch skills to do so. If you have more skills (or are more brave) than I, it could be a fun embellishment.
[ Adapted from Life Tastes Good who adapted it from Piece of Cake]
I know that by now my birthday was like over a week ago and I should get over it.
Except I can’t, because … this cake. Guys, this cake.
I don’t know what came over me because I was already super excited to have not only picked out what cake I was making but I had all the ingredients ready to go… Then, at the last minute, it happened.
It was just a quiet night, like any other night, lounging in my super awesome grown up monkey pajamas, watching
Keeping up with the Kardashians some critically-acclaimed drama on TV with some of my best friends a stack of cookbooks by my side, and I opened the book directly to this.
It was a sign. From the heavens above. A sign.
I had to make this cake.
You see, when I received this book some Christmases ago, I had never made a “real” cake nor caramel and making both at the same time seemed like an insane task that was doomed for failure.
Now, several years later, I was still pretty sure that I might fail, but there was a chance that I could not only accomplish this goal, but that it would make a fine birthday gift to myself.
The gift of self-satisfaction and accomplishment. And cake.
I like cake.
I especially like cake when it is sandwiched between layers of gooey caramel, and salted-caramel-chocolate frosting and then finished with a light dusting of crunchy fleur de sel.
I’m not usually the type of person who usually really cares for frosting. I’m usually that weirdo who is always scraping it off of my cake and pushing it to the side while people stare at me in horror “BUT THE FROSTING IS THE BEST PART”
1. If the frosting is the best part of your cake, your cake is awful.
2. If your cake isn’t awful and you still like the frosting best, then you’re awful.
Ok, you’re not awful. In fact we should probably be best friends because then I can eat all of your cake guilt-free while you eat all of my frosting. It’s better for the environment – no waste!
But this frosting. I would inject it into my veins if I could just to get it inside of me. It’s so fluffy and creamy and sweet and delicious and amazing and … you get the point. You should make it. Even if you don’t make the cake. Eating a bowl of frosting is a totally acceptable thing to do.
I did learn three things in the process of making this particular cake.
First – I HATE chopping chocolate. Like, really hate it. An absurd amount.
Sometimes I will even skip making a recipe JUST because it calls for chopped chocolate. I will instead find a recipe in which I can use cocoa powder instead.
Chopping chocolate is messy and annoying and awful and it takes forever and shoots chocolate particles all over my kitchen.
My million dollar idea? Let’s sell pre-chopped chocolate! You know there are chocolate crumbs in factories somewhere – LET’S BAG THAT SH*T AND SELL IT!!
Second – If you have ever made caramel before, you know when it’s done. Trust yourself.
The book’s recipes call to bring the caramel to 350F degrees. I did not follow my instinct and instead waiting for it to reach the 350F degree mark, and then had to dump it down the drain because burned caramel, as it turns out, is not actually very delicious (trust me, as someone who hates wasting food, I really did try to salvage it and make it work in the recipe).
Lesson learned: Do not burn your caramel. Instead, do it like this:
I took mine off the heat a bit before 350 but the temp kept going up all on its own. When all was said and done I think I still added the cream a tiny bit before the official 350F mark, but just trust your eyes. And your nose. You want an amber color, maybe dark amber… think : color of brown sugar. If you see black or any HINT of black-like color, you’re done for. Just let it go and start over.
Third – I need to buy another 8-inch cake pan.
As for the frosting – Future Husband is NOT a fan of dark chocolate (I will get him to the dark side eventually, but he’s not there yet). Since I didn’t want to eat a whole cake (or two, for that matter) by myself, I used milk chocolate in the frosting recipe. And I loved it. It was amazing. If you’d rather use dark, go for it.
Dark chocolate will be amazing, but I liked the combo of the dark chocolate cake with the caramel layers and milk chocolate frosting. It was a winning combination for sure.
- 3/4 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1/4 cups hot water
- 2/3 cup sour cream
- 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter,softened
- 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar, firmply packed
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon fleur de sel
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1/4 cup sour cream*
- 1 pound chocolate, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
- 2 cups unsalted butter, soft but cool, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Prepare three 8-inch round cake pans with butter and parchment.
- In a medium bowl, combine the cocoa powder, hot water, and sour cream; set aside to cool.
- In another medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together until combined; set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and shortening on medium speed until well smooth and creamy, about 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides and add the sugars to the butter mixture, beating until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
- Scrape down the sides again and add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, then add the vanilla and beat until incorporated. Scrape down the bowl and mix again for another 30 seconds.
- With the mixer on low, carefully add the flour mixture, alternating with the cocoa mixture, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. (flour-cocoa-flour-cocoa-flour). Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure the batter is well-mixed.
- Divide the batter among the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean. Transfer the cakes to a wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes. Invert the cakes onto the rack, remove the pans, and let cool completely.
- *These cakes are VERY delicate. Since I made mine a week in advance, I very carefully wrapped my cooled cakes and kept them in the freezer until I was ready to use them. Be gentle.
- In a small saucepan, combine the cream and fleur de sel. Bring to a simmer over very low heat until the salt is dissolved. (I hate dirtying extra pans, so I cheated and warmed mine in the microwave for just under a minute, stirring to ensure the salt dissolved).
- Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan combine 1/4 cup water, the sugar, and corn syrup, stirring them together carefully so you don't splash the sides of the pan.
- Cook sugar mixture over high heat until an instant-read thermometer reads 350 degrees F*(see note above), 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for 1 minute.
- Add the cream mixture to the sugar mixture. Whisk in the sour cream. Let the caramel cool to room temperature, then transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until you are ready to assemble the cake.
- *You can make the caramel up to two days in advance.
- Put the chopped chocolate in a large heatproof bowl and set aside.
- In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer over very low heat (again, you can cheat with the microwave if you like. You don't want to BOIL the cream, only heat it to a gentle simmer).
- Meanwhile, MAKE ANOTHER BATCH OF CARAMEL. Don't worry, you just did this at least once (or twice, if you're me) so you've got some practice in...
- In a medium saucepan combine 1/4 cup water, the sugar, and corn syrup, stirring them together carefully so you don't splash the sides of the pan. Cook over high heat until an instant-read thermometer reads 350 degrees F*(unless yours is done before it reaches 350F), 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the caramel cool for 1 minute.
- Add the cream to the caramel and stir to combine. Stir slowly for 2 minutes, then pour the caramel over the chocolate.
- Let the caramel and chocolate sit for 1 minute, then, starting in the center of the bowl, and working your way out to the edges, slowly stir the chocolate and caramel mixture in a circle until the chocolate is completely melted.
- Let the mixture cool, then transfer it to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
- Mix on low speed until the bowl feels cool to the touch (This took about 8 minutes and I started to worry about my poor mixer but he pulled through).
- Increase the speed to medium-high and gradually add the butter, beating until thoroughly incorporated. Scrape down the bowl and beat on high speed until the mixture is fluffy. Transfer to a container until ready to use.
- *You can prepare the frosting up to two days in advance. Bring to room temperature before using.
- Place one cake layer on a serving platter. Spread 1/4 cup of the caramel over the top and let the caramel soak into the cake.
- Spread 3/4 cup of the ganache frosting over the caramel and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the fleur de sel over the frosting.
- Top this with the second cake layer and repeat with caramel, frosting, and fleur de sel.
- Top this with the third cake layer and spread with caramel. Crumb coat the cake and place cake in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to firm up the frosting.
- Frost the sides and top with the remaining frosting. This frosting is amazing. I would say it spreads "like butter" but it spreads SO MUCH BETTER than butter. It spreads like a soft, buttery, cloud.
- Garnish with a sprinkle of fleur de sel.
* You may notice that my cake is only two layers while the recipe makes three layers. I realized (a bit too late) that I only had two cake pans of each size, so I opted for a 2-layer cake, and got about 12 cupcakes in addition to my two cake layers. This worked out in my favor as now I have a bunch of frozen cupcakes to enjoy at my leisure.
* This cake can seem overwhelming. Help yourself out by breaking it into steps. Day one: Make caramel. Day two: Make frosting. Day three: Make cake. Day four: ASSEMBLE ALL THE THINGS .
* This cake can be stored in a cake saver at room temperature (cool and humidity free) for up to 3 days. If your room is not cool, place the cake in a cake saver and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Remove the cake from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for at least 2 hours before serving.