Thursday, April 25, 2013

Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake

I have a new pan obsession. This pan may now be as exciting as some intricate bundt pans or whatnot. This pan is simple and makes me happy. It’s the 8 inch square pan. Yeah, I know; I told you this pan wasn’t exciting, but it is exciting to me. I have never owned an 8 inch square pan up until recently. I’ve always just had a 9 inch pan, which come to think of it, I think is a little bigger than 9 inches. Oh well, back to my simplistic little square pan.

I have used this pan for about three recipes now (all involving cake) and I have never had a square cake come out so tall! Ohmygoodness, it’s so mesmerizing and just plain awesome! Yes, I get excited about the tallness of my cakes, and no, I don’t care if it seems silly. You should really see me in the kitchen; I sit by the oven and watch the thing ride like right up to the top of the pan and beyond. My 9 inch square pan doesn’t do that (I still love you little big-pan)

Ok, that’s enough of me fangirl-ing over a pan. I mentioned cake earlier, so lets talk cake!

I saw this cake over on Baked Bree a while ago I knew I had to make it. I mean its coffee cake with chocolate chips in it for goodness sake!!

The cake came out so pillowy soft. The exture is like a dream. First you get to bite into that crunchy cinnamon crust, and then you hit a pocket of melty chocolate chips. It really is a great feeling. I never knew chocolate and cinnamon sugar could play so well together.

Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake
Adapted from Baked Bree
Makes one 8x8 inch square pan

1 ¼ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ cup white whole-wheat flour
½ tsp. baking powder
¾  tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
½ stick unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ cup sugar
1 egg, separated
1 egg white
¾ tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream, room temperature

 Middle and Topping
½ cup milk chocolate chips
¼ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
¼ cup sugar
½ tsp. cinnamon

 Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line an 8x8 inch square pan with tin foil. Grease tin foil with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours (you can use all all-purpose flour if you wish, I’m just trying to get rid of some whole wheat stuff – you can’t taste the whole wheat, honest), baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a medium bowl, whisk together two egg whites until they reach stiff peaks. Set aside. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the egg yolk and vanilla extract. Beat until well incorporated. Add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the sour cream in two parts, starting and ending with the flour. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure everything is well combined. Fold in the egg whites.

To make the middle and topping: whisk together the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.

Spread half the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle half of the cinnamon sugar over the top. Sprinkle half of both chocolate chip varieties over top the cinnamon sugar mixture. Cover with the remaining batter. Sprinkle the top with the remaining cinnamon sugar and chocolate chips.

Bake on the center rack for about 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out almost clean when inserted in the middle. Allow cake to cool in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes before removing from the pan. Allow cake to cool completely before slicing and serving.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Cake Slice Bakers - April 2013: Lemon and Almond Streamliner Cake

A few quick things:

1. It’s been almost a month since I posted. I wont say it again, but you all know why. Luckily I only have one more week of regular school and then it’s finals week. Unluckily enough, I have two exams next week (Chemistry and Physics) and a Calculus quiz. Then I have my three hardest finals back to back at the start of the week, a three-day break, and then my two easiest finals.

2. I have been reading a lot lately. Reading has now become my way of relaxation because I don’t have to wait for butter to soften, or eggs to come to room temperature or wait for something to finish baking. With baking there is too much down time where I could be doing something productive but I’m not. In the past month and a half I have read (in no particular order) Vampire Knight volume 16 (it’s a very addicting manga), Zodiac (I love true crime… or any kind of crime stuff for that matter), The Notebook (I have watched the movie over a dozen times so I figured I would see how the book was. It was pretty good and a very quick read), The Perks of Being a Wallflower (An amazing book which took me two days to read. The first day I made it through 60 pages and the next day I sat on the couch for four hours straight, not moving until I finished), and now I’m reading The Help (it’s really good so far. I like the way the author formatted three points of view into the book).

3. It’s been snowing like no other back home. And even though I love looking at snow, I’m so happy that I’m not in Colorado. Here it’s been at least 70 degrees every single day for the past few weeks.

4. It’s the 20th, which means I get to share another marvelous cake from Vintage Cakes by Julie Richardson. The lemon custard topping is sooooo tart (but in a very pleasant and refreshing way). Not to mention the custard is this pretty bright yellow color that reminds me of spring. So if you’re in one of the states that gets a second winter, make this and it will feel like spring. You don’t even need the cake because I wanted to eat the custard out of the bowl with a spoon all by itself. However, the cake is also so moist and perfect along with the lemon custard. It’s so soft and melt-in-your-mouthy. It’s not dense, but it’s definitely not airy.

5. I made some changes to this cake: I never use all the frosting or custard called for in a recipe, so I halved the custard recipe. I used homemade cake flour instead of regular store-bought cake flour because I don’t want another container of flour lying around. I reduced the amount of butter from 10 tbsp. to 8 tbsp. because I did that the last time, and the cake still turned out beautifully.  Instead of using a round cake pan, I used an 8x8 inch square pan because that’s how I roll. All these changes are reflected in the recipe below. To see the real recipe check out here or visit the rest of the memembers’ cakes.

Lemon and Almond Streamliner Cake
Makes one 8x8 inch square cake

¼ cup + 2 tbsp. milk
¼ cup sugar (divided)
2 egg yolks, room temperature
¼ tsp. salt
1 tbsp. cornstarch
¼ cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed

1 cup + 2 tbsp. unbleached all purpose flour
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
2 tbsp. cornstarch
½ tsp. salt
6 oz. almond paste
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
3 tbsp. canola oil
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3 eggs, room temperature
2/3 cup buttermilk, room temperature

To make the custard: combine the milk and 2 tbsp. of sugar in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat until just hot. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks, remaining sugar, and salt until combined. Whisk in cornstarch and lemon juice. Slowly whisk in about a third of the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture. Pour the mixture into the saucepan and cook on medium-low to medium heat, whisking until the custard thickens and starts to bubble. (My mixture was kind of foamy, so it was hard to tell when it started to thicken, but it eventually did.) Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a clean bowl and mix in the butter until it has completely melted into the custard. Place a piece of plastic wrap right on the surface of the custard. Refrigerate for at least two hours.

Preheat oven to 350 F and line an 8x8 inch square pan with foil. Grease foil with cooking spray.

To make the cake: sift together the flour and cornstarch a few times. Whisk in the baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the almond paste, butter, sugar, oil and vanilla and mix on low speed. Increase the speed and beat until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Blend in the eggs, one at a time, adding the next as soon as the previous egg has been incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Decrease the speed to low and gently add the flour in three parts, alternating with the buttermilk in two parts, beginning and ending with the flour. Stop the mixer and mix batter with a rubber spatula to ensure all the ingredients are well incorporated.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to release any air bubbles. Place on the center rack and bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out almost clean when inserted in the middle of the cake.

Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes. Gently invert the cake onto the wire rack. Take off the tin foil and flip cake over to cool completely to room temperature.

To finish the cake, cut the cake into squares (I cut mine into 9 pieces). Dollop a spoonful of the chilled custard onto each piece of cake. Allow the cake and custard to set in the fridge for 30 minutes. Bring cake to room temperature before serving. (it really is best eaten at room temperature, so do some laundry or call a friend while you wait for the cake to warm up)
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