Showing posts with label Dessert. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dessert. Show all posts

Monday, April 17, 2017

Sugared Jam Cake


"Don't take mirrors seriously. Your true reflection is in your heart." (Anonymous) Over the course of the past several months I have become slightly addicted to yoga. While I may never or rather will never master any of the poses, yoga has enabled me to come to the place where 'progress not perfection' matters more than anything. Considering I am a first born, perfectionist Virgo, this way of thinking is nothing short of a head spinning, 'who is this?', 180 degree shift. And almost nothing can keep me away from this newly discovered guilty pleasure. Not even the first pose in the restorative class, the extreme heat in hot yoga, or the angst causing, recycled circus mirrors lining some of the walls. Amongst my running-yoga friends it seemed I was the only one who viewed the mirrors in the same suspicious way. Until one day one of them decided to look at herself in one of the mirrors in her house before taking the three minute drive to the yoga studio. Before teasingly cursing me for bringing her attention to these mirrors, she said 'the person who left the house was not the same person who showed up for yoga'. Well, there are moments of redemption, and then there are MOMENTS of redemption. This was definitely the latter. Imagine how good it felt to have an incredibly fit, self-confident friend also believe there was something a little off with the mirrors! It felt almost as good as this what I believed was going to be a ruined Sugared Jam Cake!


For an Easter eve dinner I decided to make and bring this Sugared Jam Cake to my sister's house. Although I had never made the cake before I completely trusted the recipe. Yet in spite of reading the recipe a couple of times, I made what I thought was going to be one of those epic fail cakes. I had made one those mistakes you realize a minute too late you can't reverse.


Each of the elements of the Sugared Jam Cake was insanely delicious. The homemade Blueberry Blackberry Jam was better than any small or large batch jam you could buy in the gourmet section of any food store. The cake itself had great texture and an even better taste. But I worried using too much of the jam in the cake was going to the deal breaker. So I texted my sister to tell her I was bringing the cake, but would also back-up plan dessert, just in case. Why I was even bringing a cake I thought I ruined was completely out-of-character for me. But a small part of me held out hope that the parts of the cake would override the whole of the cake.

I could go on endlessly about the Blueberry-Blackberry Jam. It's relatively easy to make and should be something you have in your refrigerator all of the time. Yes, all of the time. There are two important things you need to know about it. First, it yields two cups of jam. Since you only need 3/4 cup for the cake, you will have plenty left to spread on toast, over peanut butter, over whipped ricotta cheese on crostini, or eat directly off of a spoon. Second, the process of making this jam takes almost 4 hours. Would recommend you make the jam at least one day before you plan on baking up this Sugared Jam Cake.

The berries, sugar, and freshly squeezed lemon juice macerate for 2 (yes 2) hours before the cooking process begins. After bringing the mixture to a boil at medium-high heat and cooking for 5 minutes, the heat is reduced to medium. It will continue to cook for 20-45 minutes. My cooking time was closer to 30 minutes. Due to the fact this isn't summer fresh berry season and berries are super summer ripe, it took a little longer for the jam mixture to thicken to the right consistency. The riper the berries, the shorter the cooking time. The recipe called for mashing the berries with a potato masher during the cooking process. However, I wanted the jam to be slightly textured with pieces of berries, so I didn't mash them to smithereens. After the jam thickens and cools (it needs an hour to cool before jarring), divide and put into 2 jars. Hint: I am helping you not make the same mistake I did.


The cake is one of those only two bowls and a whisk needed ones. While it calls for the use of freshly grated nutmeg, you can use ground nutmeg. It also lists vanilla bean paste as one of the ingredients, but you can use vanilla extract). Other than that, you should have all of the other necessary ingredients in your pantry and refrigerator. When it all comes together your batter should be on the thick side.


Half of the batter is spread over the bottom of the buttered-floured parchment paper lined 8 inch backing pan. The remaining batter is spooned into a pastry bag. After piping a ring of the batter around the edge of the pan, you will spread 3/4 cup of the homemade jam in the center of the ring. And not the full 2 cups of jam like I did! The remaining batter is piped over the top of the jam and smoothed with an offset spatula.


The cake bakes for 55-60 minutes in a preheated 350 degree (F) oven. To prevent the top from over-browning you may need to cover it loosely with aluminum foil for the last 30 minutes of baking time. Note: I didn't cover mine. The finished cake will have a slightly domed, beautiful golden brown top. Test the cake for doneness by inserting a toothpick along the edge of the cake. If you insert it in the middle, jam will come out and you won't be able to determine the doneness of the cake's crumb.


After the cake rests for 10-15 minutes, remove from the pan onto a cooling rack. Invert the cake before putting on a cake stand or platter. To give it it's jelly doughnut finish, the entire cake is brushed with melted butter and then sprinkled with a cinnamon sugar mixture. If there was ever a cake perfect for both brunch and a dinner party, this Sugared Jam Cake would be the one. 


So what happened when we finally cut into the cake? Well, the bottom layer of the cake was almost completely absorbed by the jam so it didn't have the cake/jam/cake layered look when it was cut. In spite of this, everyone devoured their slice. They were in jelly-jelly doughnut heaven. Although I was relieved it got rave reviews, next time I will definitely make this cake with only 3/4 cup (maybe a full cup) of the homemade jam. Not only will make this cake again and again, I will definitely make the jam again.

The finished cake photos may not cause it to be one to go viral or get hundreds or thousands of likes. But trust me, the recipe is one that should. Sometimes what we think we see with our eyes doesn't tell the whole story. If you love jelly doughnuts, you and everyone you serve it to will fall deeply, madly in love with this Sugared Jam Cake. If this cake were in a bakery, you should willingly stand in line to get it. It's that good.

Recipe
Sugared Jam Cake (inspired by the Sugared Jam Cake recipe from Bake from Scratch: Artisan Recipes for the Home Baker cookbook)

Ingredients
Blueberry-Blackberry Jam
1/2 pound fresh blackberries
1/2 pound fresh blueberries
2 cups (400 grams) granulated sugar
Juice of 1 medium or large sized lemon


Cake
2 1/2 cups (313 grams) all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups (250 grams) granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (or ground nutmeg)
3/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons (141 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
3/4 cup Blueberry-Blackberry Jam

Topping
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup (57 grams) unsalted butter, melted

Directions
Blueberry-Blackberry Jam (Makes 2 cups aka MORE than you need for this cake)
1. In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients. Stir with a wooden spoon and allow to sit to 2 hours.
2. Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Stirring frequently, cook for 5 minutes.
3. Reduce heat to medium and cook, while stirring frequently, until mixture thickens (ranges from 20-45 minutes, berry ripeness will affect cooking time). During this phase, use a potato masher to mash berries, leaving some berries still intact.
4. Remove from heat and let cool for 1 hour.  Divide and transfer to 2 clean jars. Jam will keep refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

Cake
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F). Line an 8 inch baking or springform pan with parchment paper. Spray with baking spray and lightly flour. 
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and nutmeg.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, melted butter, eggs, and vanilla bean paste.
4. Add the flour mixture to the milk mixture, stirring until just combined. Batter will be thick.
5. Spoon half of the batter into the prepared pan. Use an offset spatula to smooth surface.
6. Spoon remaining batter into a piping bag.
7. Pipe a ring of batter around the inside edge of the pan.
8. Spoon 3/4 cup of the Blueberry-Blackberry Jam into center of the ring.
9. Pipe remaining batter on top of jam. Smooth with an offset spatula.
10. Bake for 55-60 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in side of cake comes out clean. Note: May need to cover with foil for the last 30 minutes of baking to prevent excess browning. 
11. Allow cake to cook in the pan for 10-15 minutes.
12. Run an offset spatula around the edge of the pan to loosen cake before turning out. Turn cake back over (to dome is on top).

Topping and Assembly
1. Whisk together the sugar, cinnamon and salt.
2. Brush top and sides of the cake with the melted butter. 
3. Sprinkle with sugar mixture, pressing into sides of cake.
4. Serve and enjoy.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Rocky Road Bark


If I share something with you, promise you won't abandon our love of good food friendship? You promised, right? Okay, well here it is. I haven't yet jumped on the current sheet pan dinner bandwagon. The one-pot, or rather one-pan wonders that are all the rage right now. I am neither one of the early adopters, nor one of the fast followers. This sheet pan craze has been around for at least four years. Maybe even longer. Which means I seem to be getting dangerously close to falling into the (gasp) laggard (aka embarrassing late to the party) category. It's not that I haven't been paying attention. I have been. And it's not that I have any aversions to convenience. I don't. The only savory thing my sheet pans have been making lately is Roasted Bacon. Which could be loosely described as a sheet pan side dish. Right? Truth be told, my sheet pans have been otherwise occupied lately. Not permanently. Just temporarily.


This Rocky Road Bark is it's own one pan miracle. Getting a text from your niece telling you it's the best thing she has ever eaten is yet another kind of marvel.

What is not to love about dark chocolate, roasted almonds, soft pillowy marshmallows, graham crackers, and a sprinkle of sea salt? Nothing. This variation of a Rocky Road Bark has the best of all textures.


Always use a good quality chocolate, one designed for melting. Sometimes I use the chocolate from a local confectionary, but this time I used the Ghiradelli dark chocolate. It would be equally delicious made with milk chocolate.


I know I will sound will like a broken record when I say 'always roast your nuts' before using them in your baked goods or confections. Roasting deepens their flavor and will take most anything from good to great.


I used a large (12"x18") sheet pan to make this Rocky Road Bark. If you halve the ingredients, it can easily be made in a half-sheet pan. The bark is simply a layered bar. The bottom layer is half of the melted chocolate; the second layer is made up of some of the graham cracker pieces, marshmallows and roasted almonds; the third layer is the other half of the melted chocolate; and the final layer made up of the remaining graham cracker pieces, marshmallows and roasted almonds. A sprinkling of sea salt and drizzling of any remaining chocolate are the finishing touches.


The Rocky Road will set up in less than an hour. But unless you are in a hurry to cut it up (and you probably should be), you can let it sit for several hours before cutting into bars or odd-shaped pieces. This is a use a knife versus your hands cutting kind of bark.


Many think of making a bark only around the holidays as they make great gifts and give a cookie platter more dimension. However, bark is something we should be making year-round. And like those one pan sheet pan dinners, you can decide your ingredients. Don't like almonds, use peanuts instead. Want to make a gluten-free bark? Eliminate the graham crackers. Like a bark with a little more sweetness, add some raisins (kind of like a Chunky but with marshmallows bark). The possibilities are endless. And like the early flowers of spring, this bark won't last long.

Recipe
Rocky Road Bark

Ingredients
1 3/4 - 2 pounds of dark or milk chocolate, melted and divided
1 2/3 cups miniature marshmallows (divided)
3/4 cup whole almonds, roasted and coarsely chopped and divided
7-8 whole graham crackers, broken into pieces and divided  (I used almost one package of the rectangular shaped Nabisco Graham Crackers)
Sea salt 

Directions
1. Line a large (12"x18") baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Melt chocolate in a double boiler (or carefully secure and position a bowl over the top of the pot of simmering water).
3. Pour half of the melted chocolate on the prepared pan. Spread with an offset spatula.
4. Using 3/4 of the graham crackers, lay randomly on the top of the melted chocolate. Next sprinkle approximately 2/3 of the marshmallows and roasted almonds on top of the graham crackers.
5. Pour the remaining melted chocolate over the top.
6. Scatter the remaining graham crackers, marshmallows and almonds over the top. If using dark chocolate, lightly sprinkle with sea salt. Using a fork, drizzle any remaining melted chocolate over the top.
7. Allow the bark to set for at least one hour. Using a sharp knife, cut into bars or random shapes. 
8. Serve and/or store in sealed container or tightly tied cellophane bags.


Spring crocus (April 2017)

Monday, March 27, 2017

Fruit Trifle w/ Candied Almonds


As much as I like going out to eat in restaurants, I love even more the intimacy of a meal shared with family and/or friends at home. Sometimes after traveling and eating out at restaurants for several days in a row, I long for a home-cooked meal. Even if that home-cooked meal is simply a plate of scrambled eggs topped with some goat cheese, a peanut-butter and jelly sandwich on white bread with the crusts cut off, or a container of pineapple yogurt topped with almonds and dried cranberries. In other words, home-cooked doesn't have to mean a three or four course meal or one taking all day or even days to make. It definitely doesn't have to be 'fancy' or 'gourmet', it just has to be satisfyingly good or whatever my current version of comfort food might happen to be. Whenever my niece stays overnight during one of her breaks from school or friends are in from out of town, I like to make at least one homemade meal for them. Something a little more than my simple versions of homemade. I don't usually make these homemade meals 'easy' on myself, however, I recently had one of those moments of clarity. You know, the moment when you finally see the obvious and come to realize (or rather truly believe) simplicity can be a really good thing.


This long overdue epiphany came after making brunch for some friends recently. Everything about the meal was simple. The table was set simply with my favorite white dishes and the menu consisted of only three things. Okay, so there might have been linen napkins and fresh flowers on the table, but if you lived in my world you would understand this was 'simple'.


After going through and trying to sort a bin of saved recipes (not a simple endeavor), I rediscovered the recipe for a Fruit Trifle w/ Candied Almonds. It was one a friend gave to my friend who gave it to me. As soon as I looked at it, I immediately knew it would be one of the three things I would make for the brunch.

I had almost forgotten how beautiful and delicious this fruit trifle was. Fortunately I was able to have my memory jogged. Granted this trifle might be a little more decadent than the fruit platter you might normally serve at a brunch, but we all need a little decadence in our lives. Some of us more than others.


The trifle can be made with any number of fruits or fruit combinations. Although strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and/or blueberries lend themselves to be the best fruit options. Use all of them or use at least a couple of them. The trifle would lack flavor, texture and taste dimension if you used only one fruit. Personally I think this is one of those 'the more the merrier' kind of trifles, so I used all four 'berries' when I made it. Equal amounts of strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries create the perfect trifecta: color, texture and flavor. This trifle needs at least 3 pints (or 6 cups) of fresh fruit, although depending on your preferred fruit to whipped cream cheese/whipped cream ratio, 7 cups may be more to your liking.


The luscious, creamy, decadent other layer is made with cream cheese, whipping cream whipped to beautiful stiff peaks, confectionary sugar, and some freshly squeezed lemon juice.


If you don't have a trifle bowl, use a clear bowl to alternately layer the whipped cream cheese/whipped cream mixture with the fresh fruit. The first and last layers will be the whipped cream cheese/whipped cream mixture. Try to create at least 3 layers of fruit between the filling so that the fruit is evenly distributed when spooned out. You can completely finish the trifle with a full layer of the whipped cream cheese/whipped cream mixture or pipe it along the edges of the bowl using a pastry bag fitted with the pastry tube of your choice.


The sugared slivered almonds are the trifle's proverbial finishing touch. In a pan of melted butter and sugar over medium-low heat, the almonds are sautéed until lightly golden. Once caramelized the sugared almonds are transferred to a piece of parchment paper and allowed to cool. You will have more than enough of the almonds for this trifle. Serve the 'extras' in a bowl on the side so everyone is sure to get some of the 'crunch'. They can be made the day before and stored in a sealed container.


You can make the Fruit Trifle w/ Candied Almonds several hours before serving. It comes together relatively easily and takes less than 30 minutes to assemble.

Make this trifle for your next Sunday brunch or bring it to your next office/friend breakfast potluck. Okay, so this Fruit Trifle might not win any healthy awards, but it will for taste and presentation. And I promise it will be incredibly well received and devoured. Scouts honor.


This Fruit Trifle w/ Candied Almonds paired incredibly well with freshly brewed coffee, a pitcher of orange juice, some roasted thick-cut bacon, and this Baked Praline French Toast Casserole. If there was a way to make this menu a little more festive, it would be to open up a bottle of champagne or prosecco and turn the pitcher of orange juice into mimosas. With Passover, Easter, graduation parties, birthdays, anniversary celebrations, Mother's Day, Father's Day or reunion gatherings coming in the weeks and months aheads, consider making this Fruit Trifle w/ Candied Almonds your 'fruit' dish.

Recipe 
Fruit Trifle w/ Candied Almonds
Serves 8-10 

Ingredients
6-7 cups (3-4 pints) fresh fruit (strawberries (cut into slices or wedges), raspberries, blueberries, and/or blackberries)
2 cups heavy whipping cream 
16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup confectionary sugar
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 cup slivered almonds
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
3 Tablespoons granulated sugar

Directions
Candied Almonds
1.  Sauté almonds in butter, adding sugar in after the almonds have sautéed for at least 2 minutes.
2. Continue sautéing until almonds are lightly browned.
3. Transfer to a piece of parchment paper or aluminum foil. Very lightly sprinkle with some additional granulated sugar.
4. Allow almonds to cool completely. Note: Can be prepared a day ahead. Store in a sealed container until ready to use.)

Fruit Trifle
1. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whisk heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Temporarily transfer mixture to a separate bowl.
2. In the bowl of standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat cream cheese until smooth and creamy (approximately 2-3 minutes).
3. Add confectionary sugar and lemon juice into cream cheese. Beat until well blended.
4. Remove bowl from standing mixer and fold in whipped cream until well blended.
5. Beginning with the whipped cream cheese/cream, alternately layer the cream and fruit mixture, reserving enough of the cream mixture to pipe on top of the trifle. (Depending on the size of the trifle bowl, will have three to four layers of each.)
6. Using a pastry bag fitted with tip of choice, pipe reserved whipped cream cheese/cream along edges of the bowl.
7. Sprinkle candied almonds on top of whipped cream. Note: You will not use all of the candied almonds if you only pipe the whipped cream cheese/cream along the sides of the trifle bowl. Serve remaining almonds on the side when serving the trifle. 
8. Serve immediately or refrigerate several hours before serving.

Notes: (1) The original recipe also suggested the trifle could be made with green or red seedless grapes. It could, but I really think berries work so much better. (2) The trifle is best served to 'company' on the day it is made, but leftovers continue to be delicious the next day. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Everyday Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Buttercream Icing


The time-change has me feeling a little more out of sorts than usual. Quite possibly my sub-conscious has been affected by all of the recent daylight savings time stories citing the numerous impacts time-change has on our mind and bodies. Given my frequent unusually high levels of gullibility I would venture to say this more than likely partially explains my temporary altered state. Beside undergoing the recent time-change brainwashing, the winter season in the midwest has been a little outside the norm. Up until the return of the winter wonderland this week, we have been relatively snowless for almost two months. Having summer and spring-like days interspersed amongst wintery weather ones here in February has felt good, but at the same time it has also felt a bit strange. One day you are bundled up wearing layers of winter clothes and boots, the next day you are wearing flip flops and turning off the heat. It's a good thing I didn't change out my closets for the seasons this year (or truth be told any year). Even my cravings for sweets has been different lately. It seems I only want the Cadbury chocolates imported from across the pond or cake.


Kind of like this cake, this Everyday Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Buttercream Icing. One that should probably be called 'Love at first sight, love at first bite' cake.

As far as chocolate cakes go, this one is the kind you want to eat when you are happy, melancholy, euphoric, out of sorts, stressed, or filled with joy. In other words, it's a cake where in one bite everything is immediately all is either right or better with the world.


The recipe for this chocolate cake comes from someone who seems to understand there is greatness in simplicity. In her first cookbook, 'Small Victories', Julia Turshen uses ordinary, easy to find ingredients and transforms them into extraordinary dishes. In reading through her recipes, you are convinced you will make each one more than once. The recipe for the the buttercream icing comes from Sarah Kieffer's cookbook, The Vanilla Bean Baking Book. Another baker whose recipes also seemed destined to go into the timeless classics category.


There are a million reasons to always keep buttermilk in your refrigerator. The million and one reason would be this chocolate cake.


If you made (or have already made) buttermilk is one of your staples, you can make this deep chocolate, moist, just the right amount of sweetness chocolate cake whenever you get a craving for it. Or, whenever the day calls for cake. Which for some of us could be pretty much almost every day. If you can boil water, you can make this cake. Not that you necessarily need to boil any water. Essentially you only need is a large bowl, a whisk, some measuring spoons, and some measuring cups (and/or a digital scale) to make it. It's a cake recipe proving great homemade cakes don't need to be complicated. They only need to made with love using good quality ingredients.


All of the dry ingredient are whisked together in a large bowl.


After all of the wet ingredients are added, the batter is whisked until it is smooth and slightly thickened. That's it. Your cake batter is ready in a matter of minutes.

The 8" inch rounds of cake bake up in approximately 30 minutes in a 350 degree (F) oven. Buttering and lining your cake pans with parchment paper helps ensure they will come out of the pan perfectly. Allow the cakes to cool completely before you begin frosting the layers.


The icing recipe makes just enough to ice this two-layer 8" cake in the naked style. If you want a heavily iced on the sides cake, increase the recipe proportionately. A standing mixer with a paddle attachment makes for an incredibly creamy icing, but you can achieve the same results using a hand mixer and some patience. 

The original recipe for the cake called for a chocolate icing and slathered a generous half-cup of raspberry jam as the middle layer. As much as chocolate and raspberry are perfect flavor combinations, I was in the mood for just cake and icing. And almost uncharacteristically, I had a craving for vanilla buttercream icing rather than chocolate icing.


Simple cakes call for simple finishes. But it you are making this cake for a 'fancy' occasion, make it as fancy as you want.


If you have yet to have a go-to chocolate cake in your recipe file, make this Everyday Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Buttercream Icing it. It will never disappoint. Never. If you have never added coffee to your chocolate brownies, cookies or cakes to enhance the flavor of the chocolate, your chocolate loving palate is in for a surprise. A really good one.


Top with candles and serve alongside your favorite vanilla ice-cream and you have a cake worthy of celebrating any birthday, anniversary or special occasion. But actually, you don't even need the ice cream. The cake all on it's own is that good. And you definitely don't need a special occasion to make it.


I completely agree with Julia Turshen. This is one of those 'decadent without being too heavy or too sweet' cakes. And we all deserve a little decadence in our lives. Chances are the Everyday Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Buttercream Icing will become one of your favorites.

Recipe
Everyday Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Buttercream Icing (minor changes to Julia Turshen's Happy Wife, Happy Life Chocolate Cake recipe as shared in her cookbook "Small Victories: Recipes, Advice, and Hundreds of Ideas for Home-Cooking Triumphs" and not even a change to Sarah Kieffer's American Buttercream recipe as shared in her cookbook "The Vanilla Bean Baking Book: Recipes for Irresistible Everyday Favorites and Reinvented Classics"
Serves 8-12 people, depending on how you slice it

Ingredients
Cake
1 1/4 cups (150 g) all-purpose flour (See Note below)
1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
3/4 cup (75 g) Dutch-processed cocoa powder, sifted if lumpy
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
8 Tablespoons (120 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
1 cup strong black coffee cooled or 1 rounded teaspoon espresso powder mixed into 1 cup boiling water then cooled
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon good quality vanilla

Icing
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons good quality vanilla
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups (339 g) confectionary sugar, sifted
Optional: Food coloring and/or sprinkles for decorating

Directions
Cake
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F). Butter and parchment paper line two 8" baking pans. Lightly butter top of parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
3. Add melted butter, eggs, coffee, buttermilk, and vanilla. Whisk until batter is thick and smooth.
4. Divide batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans. Lightly tap the cake pans to remove any air bubbles. Note: Using a digital scale helps to ensure each pan has equal amounts of batter.
5. Bake until tops of cake spring back when lightly pressed and edges begin to come away from the pan. Approximately 30 minutes of baking time.
6. Transfer cakes to a wire rack and allow to cool completely. 

Icing and Assembly
1. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter on medium-high speed until creamy (approximately 2 minutes).
2. Scrape down sides of the bowl, add vanilla and salt. Mix on low until incorporated. Then beat on medium for one minute.
3. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the sifted confectionary sugar until all is incorporated. Stop to scrape the bowl as needed. Increase speed to medium high and beat until light and fluffy (approximately 6-8 minutes).
4. Place one of the cakes upside-down on your serving platter or cake stand. Spoon slightly more than 1/3 of the frosting on the cake. Spread evenly over cake.
5. Place the second cake layer (again upside-down) on the frosted layer. Top cake with approximately 1/3 more of the frosting. Use the remaining frosting to frost the sides of the cake. Smooth out top layer using an off-set spatula.
6. Wait at least an hour or lightly cover cake and chill in the refrigerator before serving. This is one of those cakes that is even more delicious when served chilled.

Notes: (1) The original recipe called for 1 1/2 cups or 150 g of all-purpose flour. I used this ounces to grams conversion chart and measured my flour on a digital scale. If not using a scale, recommend using only 1 1/4 cups instead of 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour. (2) If you don't own either of the cookbooks referenced in the recipe, you should. They are destined to become classics. (3) I am a big fan of King Arthur All-Purpose flour, but use whatever high quality flour you have available to you. (4) If you want a raspberry jam filling instead of the buttercream filling, use a generous half cup of your favorite jam.


A wintery March day at Morton Arboretum (2017).