Thursday, November 13, 2008

Chocolate Toffee Cookie Cake

So it was my friend Julie's birthday last weekend and she is a big lover of baking, especially cakes! She's just starting out and I have promised her a lesson in cake decorating but in the meantime, just knew for her own birthday I had to make her a special cake! I had asked her what her favorite flavors were and the only thing she told me was CHOCOLATE. A girl after my own heart. If there is one thing I love most in the world it's chocolate chip cookies so it only seemed right that I incorporate it with another love of mine, moist chocolate cake! I was afraid the chocolate buttercream might soften the cookie layer overnight, but after biting into a piece of cake the cookies were still crispy and chewy. I figured I mine as well throw toffee in too, since I'd already taken it to that sugar level! Plus I loved the contrast of all the browns and gold, I was pleased how it all came together. I know this is where I'm supposed to tell you the recipe on how to make the cake but unfortunately all these recipes come from the bakery I used to work at, Crave so I can't reveal them to you! One of the best places I've ever worked my old bosses really knew how to treat their staff. Not only extremely nice, also very generous with staff meetings catered with good food and monthly staff gifts, a VIP Cowboys Stampede party, always stocked fridge and freezer with food for us to eat, free massages..I could go on! I have so many good memories from working there. My ol bosses deserve every bit of success they have had and recently were named 2 of the top 40 under 40 entrepreneurs of Calgary! If there are a few things I've learned from Crave, it would be how I would treat my employees, run an insanely successful business and how to ice a cake!

Ready to be assembled!

Rolling out the mini cookies, making sure each one had a chocolate chip (I would feel ripped off if I got a cookie with no chocolate chip in it, wouldn't you?!)

Middle layer of the cake-Chocolate Buttercream, Toffee Bits and Crumbled Chocolate Chip Cookies

After being out of the bakery for sometime now, I was relieved to know I can still ice a cake! I still got itt!

Finished on site

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Warm Chocolate Pumpkin Cake with Pumpkin Butter and Cinnamon Scented Whipped Cream

So a couple days before Halloween some friends decided they wanted to do pumpkin carvings. One of them an Art History major and the other three talented artists, I was trying to think what the heck I was going to carve into my pumpkin. Of course the first thing that came to mind was something food related! I thought about it, couldn't think of anything (besides seeing this excellent pumpkin on Butter on the Endives blog that was made into a hamburger with real lettuce, cheese, tomato and a sesame seed bun using the leftover pumpkin seeds) and realized why not let them do their kind of pumpkin art and I will do mine? So I looked up pumpkin recipes and came up with this! The original recipe was a two layer cake with ganache and pastry cream which would have taken too long to make since I wanted something that would be fast and easy to whip up while they were carving, so instead I changed the batter recipe, served the cake warm, dolloped it with pumpkin butter made with the leftover puree and finished it with whipped cream and a final dusting of cinnamon and icing sugar. Using pumpkin made the cake soo moist and cakey and served warm, its the perfect dessert for those chilly fall nights!

Above: My pumpkin art....Below: Their pumpkin art!

Warm Chocolate Pumpkin Cake
(Makes 1 - 8'' cake and 12 cupcakes or 2- 8'' cakes) This can be made into a cake as well-Cool both 8'' cakes, slice off tops of cake to make a flat surface, fill middle with pumpkin butter, invert one cake cut side down onto the filling and cover with whipped cream.

1 3/4 cup flour (plus more to coat pan)
1/3 plus 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp fresh ground nutmeg (optional)
1 15 oz can pumpkin puree
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp butter, softened (plus more to grease pan)
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 8'' pan and dust evenly with flour. Tapping out any excess flour. Line bottom of the pan with baking paper
2. Combine together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. In another bowl combine pumpkin puree, oil and cream.
3. In a mixer beat butter and sugar until fluffy, add eggs and vanilla.
4. Add in dry ingredients and wet ingredients, alternating, starting and ending with the dry ingredients.
5. Divide batter in half, and place in 2-8'' pans or 1/2 in one 8'' pan, the rest into lined cupcake molds.
6. Bake cakes for 30-35 minutes, cupcakes approx 15-18 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
7. Serve warm with pumpkin butter and whipped cream

Pumpkin Butter (*note this is not a typical pumpkin butter recipe)
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1. Combine and chill in fridge

Cinnamon Scented Whipped Cream
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp icing sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1. Whip cream slowly adding in icing sugar, cinnamon and vanilla. Whip to soft peak and chill in fridge.