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Crunchy Toffee Triangles

toffee

Chewy and moist on the inside, these indulgent bars get crunch from toffee pieces mixed into the dough and a generous sprinkling of almonds on top. Great for dessert or afternoon tea, these treats also pack well in lunch boxes.

Crunchy Toffee Triangles

2 1/4 cups (11 1/2 oz./360 g.) all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

1 cup (8 oz./250 g.) unsalted butter

1 cup (8 oz./250 g.) granulated sugar

1 cup (7 oz./220 g.) firmly packed dark brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

8 oz. (250 g.) toffee pieces

3/4 cup (3 oz./90 g.) whole almonds, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped

 

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter a 9-by-13-inch (23-by-33-cm.) baking pan. Line with parchment paper, letting the paper overhang the long sides by 1 inch (2.5 cm.).

 

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugars on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat on low speed until the eggs are completely incorporated. Beating on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients and continue to beat until almost incorporated. Add the toffee pieces and beat on low speed just until incorporated. Spread the dough evenly in the prepared pan. Sprinkle the top evenly with the almonds.

 

Bake until golden around the edges and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with only moist crumbs attached, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack, about 1 hour. Run a metal spatula around the edges of the pan and use the parchment paper to lift the dessert from the pan. Cut into 18 triangles and serve. Makes 18 cookies.

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Sage Popovers

popovers

Let this recipe be your secret weapon for any last-minute needs. These popovers are crisp and puffy, and since they’re hollow inside they lend themselves to all kinds of savory jams and spreads. They can be made entirely of ingredients you’re likely to have on hand, and the batter can be prepared ahead and refrigerated. Happy Thanksgiving!

 Sage Popovers

2 cups (500 ml) milk

2 bay leaves

4 eggs

6 Tbs. (3/4 stick/90 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

2 cups (315 g) all-purpose flour

2 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper

1 Tbs. chopped fresh sage, plus 10 whole leaves

 

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, warm the milk and bay leaves until small bubbles appear around the edges. Off the heat, let stand for 20 minutes. Discard the bay leaves. Refrigerate the milk until cool.

 

Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 400ºF (200ºC). Place two 6-well popover pans in the oven for 5 minutes.

 

In a blender, combine the milk, eggs, butter, flour, salt, pepper and chopped sage. Blend on high speed until the batter is smooth.

 

Remove the pans from the oven and spray 10 wells with nonstick cooking spray. Fill each about three-fourths full with batter and top with a sage leaf.

 

Return the pans to the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven to 325ºF (165ºC) and continue baking until the popovers are golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes more. Remove the pans from the oven and, using the tip of a small knife, pierce the top of each popover to allow the steam to escape. Remove from the pans and serve warm. Makes 10 popovers.

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Bake a Layer Cake

layer

A towering, decadent, showstopping cake is the best way to celebrate a special occasion, whether it’s Easter Sunday or a spring birthday. Here are our best tips for pulling off your most memorable dessert yet!

Our Celebration Layer Cake Pans

make it easy to bake each layer, and with their pretty scalloped edges, you don’t even need to frost the sides before serving! Our Test Kitchen cooks love these pans because they work with almost any batter: our mixes, other prepared mixes or a scratch white or chocolate cake. Whether you’re using the layer cake pans or a regular cake pan, be sure to brush the pans with melted butter and dust with flour before baking, then cool them on a wire rack before frosting.

Slice into layers

If you’re using a standard cake pan, you’ll need to slice it in half horizontally. Hold a ruler up to the side of the cake base and, using toothpicks, mark the midpoint at regular intervals around the cake. Using a long, thin serrated bread knife, split the cake horizontally into even layers. Put one layer, cut side up, on a cardboard circle. Place the other layer, cut side down, on a sheet of plastic wrap.

Fill the cake.

 When filling a layer cake, jams should be spread thinly, while rich fillings, such as curd, pastry cream or buttercream, should be thicker. Lighter fillings like mousse should be thick, but never thicker than the cake layer. Mound the filling in the center of the layer and, using an icing spatula, spread it to the edge. Flip the other layer over onto the filling, cut side up. Gently push the layer evenly into place. Repeat with remaining layers (remember, you can make as many as you want)!

Frost and finish.

Before you start frosting, you need to make a crumb coat — a thin layer of frosting that sticks to the crumbs so they don’t mess up the surface. Place the filled cake on a work surface and put a small amount of frosting on top. Using an icing spatula, smooth a thin layer of frosting over the cake. The crumb coating should be thin and even, covering the entire surface of the cake. Refrigerate until firm, 15 to 20 minutes, before frosting.

To frost, mound the frosting in the center of the cake and use an icing spatula to smooth it gently and evenly over the top. Smooth down the frosting with broad strokes; be sure not to touch the spatula to the cake without icing on it, or you could pick up crumbs.

Dip the spatula in warm water and wipe clean with a damp kitchen towel as needed. The top of the cake should be flat. Whether you frost the sides is up to you — leaving them bare gives you a more casual dessert, while frosting them looks a little fancier.

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Tres Leches Cake

Tres-Leches-Cake-652x615

In this version of tres leches cake, a dessert that’s popular in many parts of Latin America, a simple white cake is soaked in a luscious sauce made from three milks and a hit of rum. For a colorful presentation, garnish the fluffy, glossy meringue frosting with tropical fruits like papaya, mango and pineapple.

Tres Leches Cake

For the cake:
1⁄2 cup (4 oz./125 g) vegetable shortening
1 1⁄2 cups (12 oz./375 g) sugar
2 large eggs
2 1⁄4 cups (9 oz./280 g) sifted all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1⁄2 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) whole milk
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

For the tres leches sauce:
1 can (14 fl. oz./430 ml) sweetened condensed milk
1 can (12 fl. oz./375 ml) evaporated milk
1⁄2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) heavy cream
3 Tbs. dark rum
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

For the meringue frosting:
3⁄4 cup (6 oz./185 g) sugar
3 large egg whites
1⁄4 tsp. cream of tartar

Preheat an oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter a 9-by-13-inch (23-by-33-cm) baking pan. Dust with flour and shake out the excess.

To make the cake, in a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the shortening on high speed until fluffy. Add the sugar a little at a time, beating until fluffy between additions. Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs one at a time, beating until incorporated after each addition, about 2 minutes total. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the milk and vanilla. Add one-third of the milk mixture to the egg mixture and beat until well mixed, then add one-third of the flour mixture. Repeat twice more, beating well after each addition. Scrape the batter into the pan.

Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then invert the cake onto a platter and let cool completely.

To make the tres leches sauce, in a bowl, whisk together the condensed milk, evaporated milk, cream, rum and vanilla. Poke the cake all over with a fork, and spoon the sauce over the surface, a little at a time, allowing the cake to absorb the sauce before adding more. A little sauce may pool on the platter, but the cake should absorb almost all of it. Cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 1 hour.

To make the frosting, in a saucepan, bring the sugar and 1⁄2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) water to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat and simmer, washing down the sides of the pan as crystals form with a pastry brush dipped in cold water. While the sugar is cooking, in a clean metal bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar on high speed until stiff peaks form. Cook the sugar syrup until a candy thermometer registers 230°F (110°C), 10 to 12 minutes. Slowly add the boiling syrup in a thin stream to the beating egg whites until all the syrup is incorporated. Continue beating until the meringue frosting is cooled and glossy. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Spread the meringue frosting on the cake, cover, and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 3 hours and up to 8 hours. Serve chilled, cut into squares. Serves 10 to 12.

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Blackberry Coffee Cake with Pecan Streusel

coffee with blackberry

A moist streusel-topped coffee cake is the perfect canvas for fresh blackberries, creating the perfect breakfast or brunch treat for late summer mornings.

Blackberry Coffee Cake with Pecan Streusel

2 cups (10 oz./315 g) plus 1 Tbs. all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. fine sea salt

16 Tbs. (2 sticks) (8 oz./250 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 3/4 cups (14 oz./440 g) granulated sugar

Finely grated zest of 1 orange

2 eggs, beaten, at room temperature

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup (8 oz./250 g) sour cream, at room temperature

1 pint (8 oz./250 g) blackberries

2 Tbs. firmly packed light brown sugar

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

 

For the pecan streusel:

3/4 cup (4 oz./125 g) all-purpose flour

1/3 cup (2 1/2 oz./75 g) firmly packed light brown sugar

6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) (3 oz./90 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup (4 oz./125 g) coarsely chopped pecans

 

Preheat an oven to 350°F (180°C). Lightly butter a 9-by-13-inch (23-by-33-cm) baking dish. Dust the pan with a little flour, tapping out the excess.

 

In a bowl, sift together the 2 cups flour, the baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, using a handheld mixer, beat together the butter, granulated sugar and orange zest on high speed until light in color and texture, about 3 minutes. Gradually beat in the eggs and then the vanilla. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the sour cream and beginning and ending with the flour, beating until smooth. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

 

In another bowl, combine the blackberries, brown sugar, cinnamon and the 1 Tbs. flour. Spread half of the batter in the prepared pan. Top with the berry mixture, taking care that no berries touch the sides of the pan. Spread the remaining batter over the berries, smoothing the top.

 

To make the streusel, in a small bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar and butter. Using your fingers, work the ingredients together until just combined, then work in the pecans. Press the mixture together into a ball and then separate it with your fingers into coarse crumbs. Sprinkle the streusel evenly over the cake.

 

Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Cut the cake into squares and serve. Serves 12.

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Sour Cream-Chocolate Cake

Sour cream chocolate

Sour Cream-Chocolate Cake

This splendid cake is the perfect centerpiece for a birthday or other celebration and can be made a day in advance of the party. The sour cream in both the cake and the frosting lends a slight tanginess that nicely complements the chocolate flavor. For a special touch and extra flavor and texture, press chopped toasted walnuts, peanuts, or pistachios into the sides of the frosted cake. Or, leave the cake plain and use the back of a spoon to make a scallop pattern in the frosting all over the cake.

Makes one 9-inch cake

1 1⁄4 cups (61⁄2 oz/200 g) all-purpose (plain) flour
1⁄2 cup (11⁄2 oz/45 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
3⁄4 cup (6 oz/185 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1⁄4 cups (9 oz/280 g) firmly packed light brown sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature
2⁄3 cup (5 oz/160 g) sour cream
Sour Cream Fudge Frosting (recipe follows)

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter the bottoms and sides of two 9-inch (23-cm) round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment (baking) paper. Butter the paper.

In a small bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter until light, about 4 minutes. Gradually add the brown sugar and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. On low speed, add the flour mixture in 3 batches, alternately with the sour cream in 2 batches, beginning and ending with the flour mixture and mixing until incorporated.

The batter will be thick. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Let cool in the pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Invert onto the racks, peel off the parchment, turn right sides up, and let cool completely.

Place 1 cake layer, top side down, on a plate. Using an icing spatula, spread 2⁄3 cup (5 fl oz/150 ml) of the frosting over the top. Place the second cake layer, top side down, on top, lining up the edges. Spread the remaining frosting decoratively over the top and sides of the cake. Serve right away, or cover and store at room temperature for up to 1 day.

Sour Cream Fudge Frosting
When a cake calls for something ultrarich, creamy, and chocolaty, this is the answer. Sour cream can curdle if exposed to high heat, so be sure to let the butter-cream-chocolate mixture cool until it is just warm enough to melt the sour cream when it is added.

Makes about 2 2/3 cups (21 fl oz/660 ml)

4 tablespoons (2 oz/60 g) unsalted butter
1⁄4 cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) heavy (double) cream
10 oz (315 g) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3⁄4 cup (6 oz/180 g) sour cream
1 cup (4 oz/125 g) confectioners’ (icing) sugar

In a heavy saucepan, combine the butter and cream over low heat and heat, stirring frequently, until the butter melts. Add the chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth, about 2 minutes. Remove the mixture from the heat and let cool to lukewarm, about 8 minutes.

Whisk in the sour cream until fully combined, then whisk in the confectioners’ sugar. Let the frosting stand until thick enough to spread, about 10 minutes.
If the frosting becomes too stiff to spread, rewarm it briefly over low heat and whisk again until smooth.

For mocha frosting: Add 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder or regular coffee powder to the butter and cream.

For tangerine-fudge frosting: Whisk in 1 tablespoon grated tangerine zest before adding the confectioners’ sugar.