Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Vanilla Bean Cakes

Vanilla Bean Cakes

Guest Author, Dennis Weaver from The Prepared Pantry

Every day is bake day at The Pantry.   We bake, we test, and we share the good stuff with our customers in the store.


Last Friday and Saturday, we made cakes using our Vanilla Bean Baby Cakes mixes and then topped them with fresh or frozen fruit, sauces, and flavored whipped cream.   When we got them right, they were luscious.


The Vanilla Bean Baby Cakes mixes are cream cake mixes, denser and moister than the fluffy mixes from the store.  They are about half way between the fluffy mixes and a pound cake.  With more substance, we think they are more suited for these desserts.


Get your vanilla bean cake mixes here


Raspberry/Lemon Vanilla Bean Cake

Raspberry/Blackberry Vanilla Bean Cake



Lemon and raspberry is a great combination.  We made the lemon sauce from a mix and then added raspberries.  We concluded it was better not to mix them, rather, pour the lemon sauce over the cake and add the berries.


We tried several flavors of whipped cream.  We liked the lemon cloud whipped cream the best.


Step 1:  Make the cake according to package instructions.


Step 2: Make the lemon sauce according to package instructions.


Step 3: Make the lemon whipped cream according to the recipe below.


Assemble the dessert.


Vanilla Bean Cake with a Blueberry Lemon Sauce

Vanilla Bean Cake with a Blueberry Lemon Sauce

Lemon and blueberry is a classic combination. We liked the berries mixed right in the lemon sauce. It made a beautiful pink and magenta sauce. 
The lemon cloud whipped cream was really the only choice for this dessert. 
Step 1: Make the cake according to package instructions. 
Step 2: Make the lemon sauce according to package instructions. 
Step 3: Make the lemon whipped cream according to the recipe below. 
Assemble the dessert

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The World’s Best Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Cake

Chocolate cake can be hard to get right. It’s either not chocolaty enough, or not moist enough, or has a strange texture, but not with this recipe. I’ve tried a lot of different chocolate cake recipes and this one has been developed to work every time. There’s a secret ingredient too, which is Guinness – the Irish stout/ale. By adding in some of this drink, it makes the texture a lot richer and stops the cake from drying out when being baked.

This is the perfect celebration cake and is a real show stopper and is guaranteed to have people asking, “how have you got this cake so rich and moist?”. So what do you need for this amazing cake? I bet you’re excited to see the ingredients:

275g plain flour
400g caster sugar
150ml sour cream
250ml Guinness stout
250g unsalted butter
100g cocoa powder
2 eggs
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp vanilla extract

There’s a very simple method too:

  1. Firstly preheat the oven to 180 degrees in advance and line a 22cm cake tin with a little vegetable oil to stop it sticking when turning it out.
  2. Warm the Guinness up in a large saucepan but don’t let it boil. Add in the butter until it completely melts and becomes a buttery alcoholic mixture.
  3. Add in the sugar and use a whisk to ensure there are no lumps and all the sugar dissolves into the liquid to make an almost syrup like batter.
  4. Add the cocoa powder and whisk so there are no lumps. The mix should now be very dark and look like a dark liquid chocolate.
  5. Add the soured cream and again whisk. Take the mix off the heat too which will allow the sour cream to lower the temperature in preparation for the eggs.
  6. Beat in the eggs ensuring the mix isn’t too hot, or the eggs will poach.
  7. Add all the flour and whisk in. This mix will get a little tough now as it becomes thicker, but ensure with it until all the visible lumps are gone.
  8. Pour the mix into the tin and bake for around 40 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean with tested. It will take a couple of hours from here to cool, where you can then take it out of the tin and decorate however you like.

Cream cheese or butter frosting goes really well with this recipe, but you have freedom to do whatever you want. You can even leave it undecorated and serve with a spoon of clotted cream in aid of turning this cake in a pudding. Enjoy!

Attached Images:
  •  License: Image author owned 

Aideen is a serious devotee to all things chocolate and although a daytime employee within the takeaway food industry in Ireland with Just Eat, still finds time to explore recipes and write about her experiences.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

How to make Torta Setteveli

How to make Torta Setteveli

Delicious Torta Setteveli

Image Courtesy: http://foodloversodyssey.typepad.com

How to make Torta Setteveli – the Seven Veils Cake


This cake is as beloved across the whole of Sicily as it is in Palermo villas. The seven veils refers to the seven strata of the cake, making this delightful treat a time consuming affair usually reserved for special occasions. And what could be a more special occasion than the Easter break? when the cake is often made.



Use your favourite recipe to make the chocolate sponge cake in a 10-1/2 inch spring form pan. You will also be wetting the cut surfaces with simple syrup, made from equal parts water and sugar, brought to a boil and chilled.


The cake should be fully cooled and the simple syrup cold before you begin final preparation.


First, trim the cake top to insure it is flat, then slice in half lengthwise, producing two half thickness 10-1/2 inch rounds. Place one at the bottom of a 10-inch spring-form pan, cut edge up. Dab this surface with the simple syrup until damp, then refrigerate.


For the next layer, Praline, uses crushed corn flakes that give some crunch. Melt together in a double boiler:


2-1/2 ounces dark chocolate;

1-3/4 tbs butter;

6 tbs hazelnut paste.


Then incorporate


1-3/4 cups cornflakes, crushed a bit.


Spread praline evenly on cake, and return it to the refrigerator.


The next layer, hazelnut Bavarian cream, requires an ice bath that can hold a good sized mixing bowl.


In a large saucepan, heat to scalding:


1/2 cup whole milk;

1/2 cup heavy cream;

7 tbs hazelnut paste.


While heating, whisk together in a new bowl…


5 egg yolks and

1/2 cup granulated sugar


…until the mixture is uniform and pale. When the milk has scalded, remove from heat and add…


3/4 tsp unflavored gelatin


…and stir to incorporate. Temper this egg mixture with the hot milk a bit at a time, whisking continuously. When incorporated return it to the saucepan and slowly heat to 160°F, stirring regularly. Transfer mixture to the ice bath, and let it cool while stirring.


Then whip…


2 cups heavy cream


…to the soft peak stage, and fold one third into the chilled hazelnut mixture, combine, then repeat twice more until both are fully incorporated.


Spread half onto the cake, then place in freezer for 15 minutes to set cream.


When set, add the other cake round to the pan, treating cut cake surfaces as before. Return to freezer for ten minutes, then apply the remaining cream, and back to the freezer for 45 minutes.


The chocolate mousse for the next layer starts with a chocolate ganache made from…


5-1/4 ounces dark chocolate, cut into small pieces, and…

…a scant 2/3 cups heavy cream.


Heat cream to a very low boil, then pour it over the cut up chocolate pieces and stir until mixed.


Whip 1 cup heavy cream until the soft peak stage, and leave it unrefrigerated so it can warm through slightly to avoid seizing the chocolate. When the ganache has cooled to about 100°F, fold in the whipped cream by thirds to combine.


After the Bavarian cream on the cake in the freezer has set, remove the spring-form rim from the cake. Apply the mousse to the top and sides of the cake, making sure it’s as smooth as possible. Freeze for 45 minutes.


The chocolate glaze covers the finished cake. In a saucepan bring…


1/3 cups water,

1/3 cups heavy cream,

6 tbs cocoa powder, and

1/2 cup plus 2 tbs granulated sugar


…to a boil while whisking. Boil for four minutes, continuously whisking. Remove from heat and add…


3/4 tsp unflavoured gelatine


…and stir. Let cool to 90°F, and then take cake from freezer and place on a baking rack set on a sheet pan. Carefully pour the glaze over the cake, covering it slowly and evenly to insure it is completely glazed.


Garnish with chocolate shavings, and return to the refrigerator for at least one hour before serving.

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