Christmas Goodies

This was an exciting Christmas, to say the least. I baked an excellent cake and some delicious rolls, and then my husband slipped in the parking lot on some ice and sprained his ankle something horrible. So we spent our Christmas Day eating leftovers we traded for the cake and watching Merlin and generally doing what neither of us had expected. It turned out alright, though, because it’s only a week later and he’s feeling much better, which is the most important thing. Having said that, let’s talk cake.

My word.

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This cake. This cake needs making again. I can’t get over the recipe. I can’t get over this cookbook. I think I’m going to have to buy it for real, because so far every recipe has been excellent. I might try one or two more before I give it back, but seriously. They are excellent. Do go to Ovenly’s website and do buy their book. It’s worth having.

I also made lime cardamom ice cream. It is divine.

Black Chocolate Stout Cake with Salted Caramel Cream Cheese Buttercream

  • Servings: 1, 2-layer 9
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate stout (I used chocolate porter — 1 bottle was the perfect amount)
  • 1 1/2 cups (12 oz) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups dark Dutch-process cocoa powder (but as I can’t find that anywhere I used regular)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 3/4 cups sugar
  • 3/4 tbsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup full-fat sour cream
  • 3 eggs
  • Salted Caramel Cream Cheese Buttercream (see recipe below)

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter and flour two cake pans. You don’t necessarily need parchment paper, but butter and especially flour are absolutely necessary. Heed my warning.
  2. Melt the butter in the microwave in short bursts so it does not overflow (30 seconds at a time) in a reasonably big bowl. Then whisk in the beer, then the cocoa powder.
  3. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt).
  4. In a third bowl (I did this in the bowl of my new stand mixer), whisk together the sour cream and eggs.
  5. Then, add the beer/butter/cocoa mixture, whisking to combine, then the flour mixture. Make sure it’s all incorporated.
  6. Pour evenly into prepared pans and bake for about 35 – 40 minutes (or a shade longer) until a toothpick/cake tester comes out clean. Be aware that they will probably puff up and come above the rim of your pans. That really surprised me and I had to level off quite a bit when I put it together.
  7. Myself, I made these on an afternoon, then when they cooled I wrapped them in saran-wrap and put them in the fridge, so they’d be nice and sturdy when it came for decorating. I made the frosting and decorated the cake the next day.
  8. When decorating, be sure to level off both of your cakes (flat side first, then level the bubbly top, then put the next flat side down after frosting, then level off that top) and also cut off the edges around the cake. This makes a nice even surface for frosting. I also finally put a crumb-coating on the outside, then refrigerated it for half an hour before I put the regular frosting on, which did make it very nice.
  9. Finally, make sure you keep the trimmings and add all the extra frosting on them because that’s delicious and still really worth eating.

Salted Caramel Sauce

  • Servings: ~1 1/2 cups
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp (2 oz) unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp light corn syrup
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  1. Put a half cup of the cream and all the other ingredients except for the vanilla in a pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  2. Whisk occasionally until it turns a deep dark tan color and it’s thick (having said that, mine was neither thick or dark — c’est la vie, still tasty).
  3. When a candy thermometer reads 250º or it has been about five minutes and achieved the consistency described above, take it off the heat and add the rest of the cream and vanilla.
  4. Return to a lower heat, whisking vigorously for about 45 seconds, then immediately pour it into a jar to cool. When it has cooled, refrigerate it. Reheat in the microwave to use.

Salted Caramel Cream Cheese Buttercream

  • Servings: plenty to decorate 1, 2-layer 9
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 16 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature and cubed
  • 7 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup + salted caramel sauce (see above recipe)
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz) cream cheese, softened
  1. Combine the butter, 3 cups of confectioner’s sugar, and the heavy cream together in your stand mixer and mix on low until incorporated. Then beat on high for 1 minute.
  2. Add the salted caramel sauce and beat on high for about 1 minute.
  3. Add the cream cheese and beat again for 1 minute on high.
  4. Keep adding confectioner’s sugar until it’s the right consistency for you (I think I actually only ended up putting in about 6 cups instead of 7) and I added more salted caramel sauce because yum.
  5. Use to decorate cake and try not to lick the bowl ravenously when you’re done.

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Trimming the edges, waiting for the crumb coating.

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