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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Unique Cakes

Happy Wednesday everyone! We're almost to the weekend and that can only mean one thing: 2 days to bake, bake, bake! Not sure what to do? Put away the classic vanilla and try one of these unique cake recipes.

Hummingbird Cake
Watershed Restaurant, Atlanta


  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 3 cups flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1  8-oz. can crushed pineapple, juice reserved
  • 2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 5 bananas)
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1" cubes, chilled
  • 3  8-oz. packages cream cheese, cut into 1" cubes, chilled
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
  1. Make the cake: Heat oven to 350°. Line the bottoms of three 9" round cake pans with parchment paper. Grease each pan with 1 tbsp. butter and dust with a little flour; shake pans so that flour evenly coats them. Invert pans and tap out excess flour; set pans aside.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt; stir in the pecans and set aside. Using a handheld mixer set on high speed, beat the sugar, brown sugar, and eggs in a large mixing bowl until smooth, 1 minute. Add the crushed pineapples and their juice, bananas, oil, and vanilla and mix until combined. Add the pecan mixture and mix on low speed until evenly combined.
  3. Divide the batter evenly between the 3 prepared cake pans, smoothing the tops with a rubber spatula. Bake cakes, rotating occasionally, until a toothpick inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Transfer cakes to racks and let sit for 15 minutes; invert pans and unmold each cake; discard parchment paper. Let cakes cool.
  4. Make the frosting: In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth, 2 minutes. Add the cream cheese and vanilla and beat until creamy, 1–2 minutes more. Add the confectioners' sugar and mix on low speed until incorporated. Increase speed to medium-high and continue mixing until the frosting is light and fluffy, 2–3 minutes. Remove any dust from the pecans by shaking them in a wide-mesh sieve over the sink; using a rubber spatula, fold the pecans into the frosting.
  5. Assemble the cake: Place 1 cake layer on a cake stand. Using a butter knife, spread 2/3 cup frosting evenly over the top. Place second cake layer atop first one and frost top of it with another 2/3 cup frosting. Repeat with remaining cake layer. Spread remaining frosting over the sides of the assembled cake. Serve immediately or wrap loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Orange-Scented Olive Oil Cake
 The Perfect Finish: Special Desserts for Every Occasion by Bill Yosses and Melissa Clark 

  • 2 oranges
  • 2⅓ cups sugar
  • Unsalted butter, for greasing the pan
  • 2½ cups flour, plus more for pan
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 6 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup fresh orange juice
  • ¼ cup confectioners' sugar
  • Sea salt, for garnish
  1. Trim about ½" from the tops and bottoms of oranges; quarter oranges lengthwise. Bring 6 cups water to a boil in a 4-qt. saucepan; add oranges. Bring water back to a boil; drain. Repeat boiling process twice more with fresh water. Put oranges, 1 cup sugar, and 4 cups water into a 4-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring often, until sugar dissolves and orange rind can be easily pierced with a fork, about 30 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let cool to room temperature.
  2. Heat oven to 350°. Grease a 10" round cake pan with butter and dust with flour; line pan bottom with parchment paper cut to fit. Set pan aside. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium bowl and set aside. Remove orange quarters from syrup, remove and discard any seeds, and put oranges into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until oranges form a chunky purée, 10 to 12 pulses. Add remaining sugar, reserved flour mixture, vanilla, and eggs and process until incorporated, about 2 minutes. Add olive oil; process until combined. Pour batter into prepared pan; bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool for 30 minutes. 
  3. In a small bowl, whisk orange juice and confectioners' sugar to make a thin glaze. Remove cake from pan and transfer to a cake stand or plate. Using a pastry brush, brush orange glaze over top and sides of cake; let cool completely. Garnish cake with salt.

Classic Carrot Cake
Saveur Magazine

  • ¾ cup canola oil, plus more for pan
  • 2 cups flour, plus more for pan
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 3 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups finely grated carrots
  • 1 cup canned crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 8 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • Marzipan carrots for garnish
  1. Heat oven to 350°. Grease and flour a 9" x 13" baking dish; set aside. In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt; set aside.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together oil, sugar, buttermilk, 2 tsp. vanilla, and eggs; whisk into flour. Stir in carrots, pineapple, nuts, coconut, and raisins. Pour batter into prepared dish; smooth. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Let cool.
  3. In a bowl, beat cream cheese and butter with a hand mixer until smooth. Add remaining vanilla and confectioners' sugar; beat until fluffy. Spread icing over cake; refrigerate. Garnish with marzipan carrots, if using.

Boston Cream Pie
Saveur Magazine

  • 12 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pan
  • 1½ cups flour, plus more for pan
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • ⅔ cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ vanilla bean, seeds scraped and reserved
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1½ cups milk
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 oz. 60-percent bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  1. Make the cake: Heat oven to 350°. Grease and flour a 9″ round cake pan; set aside. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl; set aside. In another bowl, beat butter, sugar, and vanilla on medium-high speed of a hand mixer until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each, until smooth. Alternately add dry ingredients and buttermilk in 3 batches, beginning and ending with dry ingredients; beat until just combined. Pour into pan; smooth top with a rubber spatula. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes, and then invert onto a wire rack; let cool completely.
  2. Make the filling: Whisk together sugar, cornstarch, salt, and vanilla seeds in a 4-qt. saucepan; add yolks, and whisk until smooth. Stir in milk, and place pan over medium heat; cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and add butter one cube at a time, whisking until smooth; stir in vanilla extract. Transfer pudding to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap; chill until firmed, at least 2 hours.
  3. Make the glaze and assemble cake: Place chocolate in a bowl. Bring cream to a boil in a 1-qt. saucepan over high heat; pour over chocolate and let sit for 1 minute. Slowly stir chocolate and cream until smooth and shiny; set aside to cool for 10 minutes. Using a serrated knife, split cake horizontally into two layers so that the top layer is slightly smaller than the bottom. Spread chilled pudding over cut side of bottom layer and cover with top layer; pour chocolate glaze evenly over cake, letting it drip down the side of the cake. Refrigerate cake until glaze is set, at least 30 minutes. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Happy baking!

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