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Bake Bunny Surprise

bunny

We flipped for the playful cake shown in our latest catalog, a whimsical treat in the shape of the season’s signature rabbit. All you need to pull it off is our easy-to-use nonstick pan, plus a few everyday baking essentials — then, decorate any way you like. Whether you sprinkle your bunny with sugar, drizzle him with a chocolate glaze or adorn him with colorful icings, this magical cake is guaranteed to make everyone at the table smile.

 Bake Bunny Surprise

There are two ways to serve the cake: You can build a 3-D bunny cake following the directions below, or simply bake one half and serve it, flat side down, directly on a platter. Surround it with festive Easter candies for a pretty presentation.

Add the batterAdd the batter

Grease and flour the pan, then divide the batter made from our Bundt cake mix between two halves.

Bake, then cool downBake, then cool down

Place pan on a wire cooling rack and let cool 10 to 15 minutes.

Turn outTurn out

Invert pan onto rack and lift it off. Let cakes cool completely.

Trim topsTrim tops

Using a serrated knife, trim the domed top of each cake to create a flat surface.

Sneak a sampleSneak a sample

Enjoy the cake scraps with whipped cream to tide you over!

Fill with frostingFill with frosting

Spread a 1/4-inch layer of buttercream frosting on the flat side of one cake.

Bring it togetherBring it together

Top with the other cake half and let sit for 30 minutes so frosting can stiffen.

Add a finishing touchAdd a finishing touch

Dust with confectioners’ sugar or pipe buttercream frosting to decorate.

Serve up a surpriseServe up a surprise

Stand bunny upright and transfer to a plate or cake stand to serve.

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Ice Cream Cakes

baking104_cakes_12062-652x756

An ice cream cake is the ultimate showstopping dessert for any summer party. It combines everyone’s favorite things — rich, melting ice cream and soft, fluffy cake — in one perfect package, and it’s easy to customize with your favorite flavors. Here, Williams-Sonoma Test Kitchen cook Melissa Stewart shares her tips for making it at home. (Scroll down for recipes — 4th of July inspiration!)


Bake your cake
. You can use whatever cake you like as your base. “I’ve even used brownies,” says Melissa. Since you’re freezing the cake, pretty much any recipe will have enough structure to stand up to the weight of the ice cream. To save time, use a store-bought cake or a mix.

Very Berry Ice Cream CakeBake and assemble in the same pan. For easy assembly, use the pan you baked the cake in to build the finished masterpiece.

Mind your cake-to-ice cream ratio. For the best bites, create thin layers of cake — that way the cake won’t overwhelm the ice cream. You can freeze the cake layers before assembling, but it’s not necessary.

Soften your ice cream. Let your ice cream sit at room temperature for 10 minutes or so before you start spreading it on the cake layers. You can also let it thaw for a few minutes, then beat it in a mixer with a paddle to create a pliable texture. Or, put it in a large bowl and beat it with a wooden spoon. Once it’s soft, pour it onto the cake and use an ovset spatula to spread it.

Avoid sticking. Ice cream melts quickly, so you shouldn’t have too many issues with the cake sticking to the pan. If you like, you can put a piece of parchment paper or a big piece of plastic wrap on the bottom of the pan to insure it doesn’t stick.

 

Freeze the assembled cake overnight. “You want it to be nice and solid and to make sure the ice cream really adheres to the cake layers,” says Melissa.

Serve! Let the cake sit for two or three minutes before serving. “I like to heat a big slicing knife under hot running water, and wipe it with a towel to cut through and get clean slices,” says Melissa. Don’t frost the cake with a buttercream, which will seize up against the cold cake. If you do want to frost it, use a pourable topping like a ganache or caramel.

 

Cookies and Cream-Mocha Chip Ice Cream Cake

 

Cookies and Cream-Mocha Chip Ice Cream Cake

20 Tbs. (2 1/2 sticks) (10 oz./315 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

Cookies & Cream Cake Mix (includes sugar and cake mix packets)

5 egg whites, at room temperature

3/4 cup milk (6 fl. oz./185 ml) milk, at room temperature

2 pints (28 oz./875 g) mocha chip ice cream, slightly softened

6 oz. (185 g) bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

3/4 cup (6 fl. oz./185 ml) heavy cream

1/2 cup (3 oz./90 g) finely crushed chocolate sandwich cookies

Preheat an oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease and flour two 9-inch (23-cm) round cake pans.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Reduce the speed to low, add the sugar packet and beat until just blended, about 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

In a bowl, whisk together the egg whites and milk until blended. With the mixer on low speed, add the cake mix packet in 4 additions, alternating with the egg white mixture and beginning and ending with the cake mix. Beat just until the batter is well blended, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the bowl.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake until the cakes are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 26 to 28 minutes.

Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes, then invert the pans onto the rack and let the cakes cool completely. Using a serrated knife, split each cake in half horizontally.

Cut out a 9-inch (23-cm) circle of parchment paper and place in the bottom of a clean 9-inch (23-cm) round cake pan.  Place 1 cake layer, top side down, in the pan. Spoon half of the mocha chip ice cream into the pan and, using an offset spatula, spread it evenly to the edges of the pan.

Top with a second cake layer, then spoon the remaining mocha chip ice cream on top and spread evenly. Top with a third layer of the cake, setting aside the fourth layer for snacking or another use. Cover with plastic wrap and transfer to the freezer until frozen solid, at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.

Place the chocolate in a heat-safe bowl. Set aside.

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, warm cream until small bubbles form at the edge of the pan. Pour the cream over the chocolate and let sit for 1 minute. Stir until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.

Remove the plastic wrap from the cake and carefully turn out onto a wire rack. Place the rack on a baking sheet and remove the parchment paper. Pour the chocolate mixture over the cake, allowing the chocolate to cover the entire top and drizzle down the sides. Sprinkle the cake with the crushed cookies. Return to the freezer for at least 30 minutes before serving. Serves 12.

Very Berry Ice Cream Cake

 

Very Berry Ice Cream Cake

1 8-by-4-inch (20-by-10-cm) pound cake

1 pint (14 oz./440 g) strawberry ice cream, softened

1 pint (14 oz./440 g) strawberry or raspberry sorbet, softened

1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) heavy cream

2 Tbs. confectioners’ sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 cups (8 oz./250 g) mixed berries, such as raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and quartered strawberries

Line the bottom and sides of an 8-by-4-inch (20-by-10-cm) loaf pan with plastic wrap or parchment paper, allowing it to overhang the edges by 2 inches (5 cm).

Using a serrated knife and starting from the bottom of the cake, cut the pound cake horizontally into two layers, each 1 1/2 inches (4 cm) thick. Set aside the extra layer for snacking or another use.

Scoop the ice cream and sorbet into a large, wide bowl, alternating scoops of the ice cream and the sorbet to make them easier to combine. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold and swirl the ice cream and sorbet together until they are mostly combined but some swirls are still visible.

To assemble the cake, spoon half of the swirled ice cream into the prepared loaf pan and, using an offset spatula, smooth it in an even layer. Top the ice cream with the bottom layer of pound cake. Spoon the remaining ice cream into the pan and spread it evenly over the cake layer. Top the ice cream with the second cake layer. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours and up to 2 days.

When ready to serve, remove the ice cream cake from the freezer and, using the overhanging plastic wrap to help remove the cake from the pan, invert the cake onto a serving platter. Remove the plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes.

While the cake is resting, in a large bowl combine the cream, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla. Using a whisk, whip until stiff peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes. Using an offset spatula, spread the whipped cream over the top of cake, then scatter the berries on top of the whipped cream. Slice and serve immediately. Serves 10 to 12.

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Blackberry-Apple Pie

cleanup

Prepared in a fry pan rather than a traditional pie dish, this simple pie makes a homey finish to a rustic dinner party. And cleanup is easier than ever since you cook the fruit and serve the pie from the same pan.

 

Blackberry-Apple Pie

4 apples, about 1 1/2 lb. (750 g) total, cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) pieces

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

2 Tbs. cornstarch

1/4 tsp. salt

5 cups (20 oz./625 g) fresh or frozen and thawed blackberries

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 batch basic pie dough

1 egg beaten with 1 tsp. water

2 tsp. turbinado sugar

Preheat an oven to 400°F (200°C).

In a 10-inch (25-cm) sauté pan over medium heat, stir together the apples, brown sugar, cornstarch and salt. Sauté until the apples until just tender-crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the blackberries and cook until the blackberries soften and begin to release their liquid, 2 to 3 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Set aside and let cool to room temperature.

Roll out the pie dough into a 12-inch (30-cm) round about 1/8 inch (3 mm) thick. Carefully roll the pie dough around your rolling pin and unroll it on top of the pan. Trim the edge, leaving 1 inch (2.5 cm) of overhang, then crimp the edges to seal the dough to the pan.

Brush the edges of the crust with egg wash and sprinkle the top of the pie with the turbinado sugar. Using a small, sharp knife, cut about 5 slits in the crust to allow steam to escape during baking.

Bake until the crust is crisp and golden brown, about 25 minutes. Transfer the pie to a wire rack and let cool for at least 1 hour before serving.  Serves 8.

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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.