October 13, 2011

Pumpkin Trifle

Pumpkin Trifle

Every October my mom and my best friend Darlene come to visit for a week around my birthday. This year that week happened to be last week. We spend the week goofing off, laughing and generally having a fabulous time. Some years they are here on my actual birthday, other years like this year, they are not, but it's a lot of fun and something I look forward to all year long.

The day after Mom and Darlene arrived I had a little lunch party after church so that a friend of mine here could meet Darlene and my sister could come pick up my mom to spend a few days with her in Virginia. Given it was fall I decided I wanted to make a pumpkin pound cake that I love to make around this time of year.

I mixed up my pound cake, put it in the oven and baked it. I left it turned upside down in the pan on a plate after it cooled, so that it wouldn't dry out overnight. When I removed the pan it stripped the sides of the cake with it. My OCD couldn't handle serving my guests something that looked like someone, or something, had torn in to the sides of the cake, so my mind started working on an alternative and a few minutes later I had the perfect solution...A Trifle!

This is a very simple thing to put together, but it's impressive all by itself. I decided to spice up the whipped cream a bit too and this really turned out to be the quintessential autumn dessert!

First Step: Bake your pumpkin pound cake and let cool.

Next Step: Make your Cinnamon Brown Sugar Maple Whipped Cream!

What You'll Need for the Cinnamon Brown Sugar Maple Whipped Cream:
2 cups of heavy cream
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/3 cup natural brown sugar
1/4 cup of maple syrup

Dump all ingredients in to the bowl of a mixer. Beat on high until soft peaks form.

Set aside to use for your Pumpkin Trifle. (See below.)

And Then: Assemble your trifle!

What You'll Need to make the Pumpkin Trifle:
Pumpkin pound cake
Cinnamon Brown Sugar Maple Whipped Cream (see above) Caramel sauce (Note: You can make your own or use pre-made from the store. I used store bought this go around, but you could use the caramel sauce from this recipe instead.)

Once cake is cooled cut it into chunks. (Note: You might not need all of the cake, depending on the size of bowl you put your trifle in. I like to cut the chunks for each layer as I go.)

Place a layer of pound cake chunks in the bottom of a clear glass trifle dish or bowl. Once you have your layer of pound cake add a layer of your whipped cream and spread it out evenly over the pound cake chunks. Repeat these steps until you reach the top of your bowl

Top the last layer of pound cake with a generous mound of whipped cream. Drizzle the top generously with caramel sauce and let sit for at least 30 minutes before serving so the flavors meld a bit.

Last Step: Eat and enjoy!

Store unused portions of the dessert in the fridge.

Notes: You could use this method with regular pounds cake and top it with any number of topping/whipped cream varieties of your choice. I have a blueberry version floating around in my head that you may see soon.

Posted by Dianne at 11:03 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

September 21, 2011

Triple Chocolate Ganache Cake

Triple Chocolate Ganache Cake

Ok let's get this out of the way...This cake is not a healthy alternative to anything. This is a calorie nightmare, not something you would eat everyday, loaded with sugar, chocolate and butter sort of dessert. In short it's the kind of dessert that probably makes your mouth water just looking at it! As I said you aren't going to eat this everyday, you wouldn't want to eat this everyday. This is a special occasion sort of cake, with plenty of cake to share with many of your closest friends!

One thing I really like about this cake is it doesn't have to be perfect. Let's face it, we aren't Martha Stewart, and quite frankly I wouldn't want to be. I have enough OCD tendencies without taking things as far as she would. You don't have to smooth out the buttercream to perfection. The ganache is going to run down the side of the cake. It'll happen. These are good things. Embrace your messy diva!

This cake has many steps, but trust me it's worth it! So break out your fork and let's talk a little chocolate cake!

Triple Chocolate Ganache Cake: Layers

What You'll Need for the Cake:
Three layers of a really good chocolate cake (Note: I used this one, tripled.)

Bake your three layers of cake and let them cool completely.

Once cool make and apply the chocolate buttercream. (See below.)

Triple Chocolate Ganache Cake: Butter Cream Layer

What You'll Need for the Chocolate Buttercream:
2 cups of double chocolate chips
4 egg whites
1 1/2 cups of superfine sugar
1 1/2 pounds of butter, softened
1 tablespoon of vanilla

Melt the chocolate chips in a glass bowl in the microwave at 20 second intervals until melted with no lumps. Set aside to cool slightly.

For this next step you're going to need a double boiler. If you don't have a double boiler they are easy to "make". Simply find a glass bowl that will sit on top of one of your pots and not go all the way down in so that the water does not touch the bowl. Viola...You've got a double boiler!

Place egg whites and sugar over medium heat in a double boiler until the mixture is warm to the touch and the sugar is completely dissolved. Turn off heat and add the melted chocolate stirring to mix thoroughly. Let this mixture sit until cool.

When chocolate/egg white mixture is cool add your butter and vanilla and beat until fluffy. Spread the buttercream in between the layers of your cake and then cover the entire cake in buttercream.

Place the cake in the fridge for at least 2 hours:

Triple Chocolate Ganache Cake: Buttercream Layer Setting in the Fridge

I usually leave this stage in the fridge overnight.

Once the buttercream is set you'll need to make your ganache. (See below.)

Triple Chocolate Ganache Cake

What You'll Need for the Ganache and Top of the Cake:
2 cups of heavy cream
2 tablespoons of butter
4 cups of semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup of powdered sugar
Shaved milk chocolate

In a large saucepan add heavy cream and butter and cook stirring often until the butter melts. Do NOT let this boil.

Once the butter is melted add the chocolate and stir constantly until chocolate is melted. Remove from heat and stir in powdered sugar and mix until smooth.

Pour melted chocolate mixture over the top of the cake and then sprinkle the top with the shaved chocolate.

Next place the cake back in the fridge to chill:

Triple Chocolate Ganache Cake: In the Fridge

Let it chill at least 2 hours before serving. I also like to let it sit out for at least 30 minutes before serving.

How good does this look?

Triple Chocolate Ganache Cake: A Slice

This is a "messy" cake, but it still has a bit of wow factor. It's the perfect, sometimes, lovely treat!

Triple Chocolate Ganache Cake: The Inside

Notes: You can mix up the kinds of chocolate you use. The next time I make this I think I make try to make a white chocolate buttercream and see how that turns out. This takes a little time, so make sure you take that in to account before you make it. I don't make this often, but it is so worth it when I do!

Posted by Dianne at 2:36 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

March 10, 2011

Glorious Chocolate Cream Filled Cupcakes

Glorious Chocolate Cream Filled Cupcakes

First off before we dive into these cupcakes, though I may end up regretting this, I'm going to start sharing pictures of Alexis again. Why? Because so many people ask me what she looks like and she really is my sous chef so you will be seeing more of her in the future.

Meet my sous chef...Alexis:

Lex: My Soux Chef

That's her, my little mini-me! My favorite 7 year old on the planet! ;oP

She likes to do things like make silly poses:

Glorious Chocolate Cream Filled Cupcakes: Lex Pose

Laugh and smile:

Lex: Smiling Girl

And of course the most important task...Lick beaters!

Lex: Beater Girl

Not to mention stir, mix, shake, roll, etc. Luckily she is cheap too. All she asks? To eat what we make! My kind of kid! ;oP

And now that is out of the way, let's talk some Glorious Chocolate Cream Filled Cupcakes! Why glorious you ask? Alexis thought it was an apt title and who am I to stifle creativity?

As a kid I remember buying cream filled cupcakes. I mean what's not to like? Chocolate? Check! Cream filling? Check! Chocolate icing on top? Check! Lately I started thinking about this type of cupcake and decided to give some theories a try and they more than worked out! The result is a fabulous little cupcake with a creamy surprise! I'll take two! ;oP

What You'll Need for the Cupcakes:
2 cups of unbleached all purpose flour
1 cup of cocoa powder
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 tablespoon of baking powder
2 sticks of butter, softened
2 cups or organic cane sugar
3 eggs
1 cup of sour cream OR buttermilk
Cream Filling (see below)
Frosting (see below)

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a large bowl whisk together flour, cocoa, sea salt, baking powder and baking soda until well mixed:

Glorious Chocolate Cream Filled Cupcakes: Dry Ingredients

Set aside.

In another large bowl cream together butter, sugar, eggs and sour cream OR buttermilk until relatively smooth:

Glorious Chocolate Cream Filled Cupcakes: Wet Ingredients

Slowly add the dry mixture to the wet mixture 1/3 a cup at a time until completely blended:

Glorious Chocolate Cream Filled Cupcakes: "Batter"

The "batter" will be slightly thick and fudgy. This is not a runny "batter".

Scoop in to muffin pans that have been lined with cupcake liners and fill each cup 3/4ths of the way full:

Glorious Chocolate Cream Filled Cupcakes: Ready to Bake

Bake in a preheated oven 25-30 minutes or until cupcakes still done with a toothpick

Let cool for at least 30 minutes before filling and frosting:

Glorious Chocolate Cream Filled Cupcakes: Baked

Makes 24 cupcakes.

While the cupcakes are baking make your filling and frosting.

Glorious Chocolate Cream Filled Cupcakes: Cream Filling

What You'll Need for the Cream Filling:
1 stick of butter, softened
1/2 of a 13 ounce jar of marshmallow cream

Now don't blink or you'll miss it...This is that easy!

Place butter and marshmallow cream in a bowl and mix together on medium until completely blended.

Set aside. You'll use this when you're putting the cupcakes together after they cool. (See below.)

Glorious Chocolate Cream Filled Cupcakes: Chocolate Marshmallow Frosting

What You'll Need for the Chocolate Marshmallow Frosting:
2 sticks of butter, softened
1/2 cup of a 13 ounce jar of marshmallow cream
1/2 cup of cocoa
1 cup of powdered sugar
1/2 cup of heavy cream

Again this is so simple....

In another bowl cream together butter and marshmallow cream until smooth.

Next add cocoa and beat until incorporated.

Next add powdered sugar and repeat the step for the cocoa. Don't worry if it looks a little crumbly at this point. The heavy cream will sort it out.

And last add the heavy cream and beat until smooth.

Set aside. Frosting will be used when the cupcakes are put together.

To Put Together the Cupcakes:

First cut out a round cork out of the top of the cupcake:

Glorious Chocolate Cream Filled Cupcakes: Cork Removed

Next use a spoon to dig out about 1/2 an inch to make the hole slightly bigger:

Glorious Chocolate Cream Filled Cupcakes: Hollowed

Fill the hole with the cream filling:

Glorious Chocolate Cream Filled Cupcakes: Filled

Place the cork you cut out back on top of the filling:

Glorious Chocolate Cream Filled Cupcakes: Corked

Frost the cupcake:

Glorious Chocolate Cream Filled Cupcakes: Frosted

And voila...Glorious Chocolate Cream Filled Cupcakes! Eat and enjoy!

Notes: If you wanted to flavor the Cream Filling you could. You could add 1/4 of a cup of cocoa to make a chocolate version, or how about 1 teaspoon of mint extract for a chocolate/mint combo. You could also use regular buttercream icing in place of the Chocolate Marshmallow Frosting.

Posted by Dianne at 8:13 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 2, 2010

Angelfood Cake

Angelfood Cake

I love angelfood cake. Alexis does too, it's one of her favorites. It's so light, airy and just an all around a fabulous little dessert that isn't quite as heavy.

When we had company the weekend before last I wanted to have a bit of a variety when it came to dessert. I made some peanut butter cookies for Jamison and anyone else that wanted them, and then brownies and angelfood cake to round things out. I cut up some strawberries and made some whipped cream and viola...Dessert!

I've made angelfood cakes from mixes before, but this was the first time starting out from scratch. I have to say it was much easier than I had anticipated, but then again most things are it would seem! The crumb was fabulous, and the cake was airy, it was perfect!

Oh and anyone have any ideas what to do with 8 egg yolks other than brioche? Drop me a comment and let me know!

What You'll Need:
1 1/2 cups of egg whites at room temperature (Note: It took about 8 eggs.)
2 teaspoons of cream of tartar
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of almond extract
1 cup of organic cane sugar
1 1/4 of cups powdered sugar sugar
1 cup of unbleached all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of sea salt

Place oven rack to the second lowest position.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

First up make sure your egg whites are at room temperature. It makes them beat a bit better. Place egg whites, cream of tartar, vanilla, almond extract and cane sugar in the bowl of a mixer and beat on high until stiff peaks form. Keep a close eye on this as it beats so you are sure they don't go too far.

While the eggs are beating sift flour, powdered sugar and salt together three or four times. (Note: For angelfood cake this is very important. This is one of the few times you'll see me sift something.) Set aside.

Once the eggs are beaten to stiff peaks slowly add the flour mixture a little at a time, folding to incorporate. Once all of the flour is incorporated pour the batter into an angelfood cake pan that is ungreased.

Bake for 45 minutes to an hour until cake is springy when touched and a very nice golden brown.

Cool inverted (that's upside down in case you didn't know! ;oP) and then remove from the pan. You may have to run a knife along the edge of the pan for it to release.

Serve as soon as cooled or store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Angelfood Cake

Notes: Angelfood cake is good plain, or with berries and whipped cream. I was discussing angelfood cakes with someone that works at the grocery store I shop at and he said he had heard of people making strawberry and chocolate versions. I must experiment!

Posted by Dianne at 10:04 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

January 30, 2010

Happy Third Blogaversary To Me! Let's Celebrate With Blueberry Cake!

Happy Third Blogaversary to Me: Let's Celebrate With Blueberry Cake

Three years ago today I started Dianne's Dishes! It's been a fun ride and I've really enjoyed the past three years. I don't usually post recipes on the weekends, but given the occasion I just couldn't resist! We were supposed to have dinner guests this evening, but we got snowed out and had to reschedule. I had already made dessert, so I thought I'd share that with you today to celebrate the big day! So sit back, relax and have a piece of cake...It's on me! ;oP

What You'll Need:
1 stick of butter, melted and cooled
1 - 11 ounce container of blue berries
1/3 cup of water
3 cups of unbleached all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 heaping tablespoons baking powder
1 cup of buttermilk
2 eggs

Melt butter and set aside to cool.

Wash blueberries and place in a medium sized pot:

Blueberry Cake: Blueberries

I actually used some blueberries I had frozen. I like frozen blueberries as a treat and often buy containers, wash them, let them dry and then freeze them to pull out for a sweet, yet healthy snack. They worked perfectly for this! Fresh or home frozen blueberries either will work.

Add sugar to blueberries:

Blueberry Cake: Blueberries and Sugar

And then water:

Blueberry Cake: Blueberries, Sugar and Water

Stir to coat the blueberries:

Blueberry Cake: Ready to Cook

Cook blueberries over medium heat. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes stirring often. Your blueberries will form a syrup and the berries themselves will turn soft:

Blueberry Cake: Blueberry Sauce

Remove the blueberry sauce from heat and let sit and cool to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 375 F.

In a large glass bowl mix together flour, salt and baking powder and stir to incorporate:

Blueberry Cake: Flour Mixture

Add melted butter, blueberry sauce, buttermilk and eggs to flour mixture:

Blueberry Cake: Ready to Stir

Stir to mix:

Blueberry Cake: Batter

Pour batter into a 13 X 9 inch dish that has been sprayed with non-stick spray:

Blueberry Cake: Ready to Bake

Bake for 25-30 minutes until cake is slightly golden and done through:

Blueberry Cake: Baked

Let cool to room temperature and then frost. (See below)

Blueberry Cake: Cream Cheese Frosting

What You'll Need for the Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 - 8 ounce package of cream cheese, softened
1 stick of butter, softened
3 cups of powdered sugar

Cream together cream cheese and butter. Slowly add sugar and mix until smooth. Spread the frosting on the cooled blueberry cake.

Notes: If I had had a lemon I probably would have added lemon juice/zest to the cake and/or the frosting.

Posted by Dianne at 5:07 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

December 3, 2009

Pumpkin Pound Cake

Pumpkin Pound Cake

What's Thanksgiving (or Fall for that matter) without a little pumpkin? This year I wanted to do something a little different, yet still have that iconic autumn fruit on the menu. I normally make a pie, tart or cheesecake, but this year I thought it would be fun to make a Pumpkin Pound Cake and I was very happy with the results!

The pumpkin gives the cake a moist and substantial texture, while the mix of sugars adds a nice complex sweetness that pairs perfectly with the pumpkin and sour cream. This is a very easy cake to put together, yet a delicious alternative to the traditional pumpkin treats. If you're a pumpkin fan then this is the cake for you!

Pumpkin Pound Cake

What You'll Need:
2 sticks of butter softened
2 cups of mashed pumpkin
1/2 cup of sour cream (Note: I used the light variety)
2 cups of organic cane sugar
1 cup of natural brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of sea salt
3 cups of unbleached all purpose flour
6 eggs

Preheat oven to 325 F.

Add butter, pumpkin, sour cream, sugars, baking soda, baking powder and sea salt to a mixer and mix until completely smooth. Slowly add flour and mix until just mixed. Add eggs two at a time and mix until completely incorporated.

You can add the batter to loaf pans that have been sprayed with non-stick spray or a Bundt pan. I prefer the Bundt pan. Pour batter into prepared pan(s) and bake for 50-75 minutes until cakes stick done.

Pumpkin Pound Cake

Let cool and then remove from pan. Slice and serve plain or with whipped cream.

Pumpkin Pound Cake

Notes: You could add in 1-2 teaspoons of cinnamon if you liked and/or perhaps some nutmeg.

Posted by Dianne at 10:56 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 10, 2009

Chocolate Cake à la Alexis

Chocolate Cake à la Alexis

A few weeks ago Alexis wanted to make a chocolate cake. She told me what to put in the cake, and I figured out the right quantities. What we came up with was a very moist, very tender, really fabulous chocolate cake! Top it with your favorite frosting/icing and you've got the perfect treat!

What You'll Need:
1 1/2 cups of unbleached all purpose flour
2/3 cups of cocoa powder
1 cup or organic cane sugar
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 tablespoon of baking powder
2 teaspoons of vanilla
1/3 cup of safflower oil
2 eggs
1 cup of buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a large bowl add flour, cocoa, sugar, sea salt and baking powder and stir until well mixed.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add vanilla, oil, eggs and buttermilk. Stir until all the ingredients are well incorporated.

Pour batter into an 8 X 8 inch dish that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake for 30-40 minutes until cake sticks done.

Cool and top with your favorite frosting or icing.

Notes: If you wanted to switch things up a bit you could use mint or almond extract instead of vanilla. Mini chocolate chips would be a fabulous addition too.

Posted by Dianne at 12:13 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack