Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Caramel Toffee Pie Cake

With this cake I took serious liberties.  My co-workers only request was that I make a cake using a recipe from the infamous Magnolia Bakery in New York City. (http://www.magnoliabakery.com/home.php)  So, I started looking through the cookbook and trying to out how to combine recipes and still come out with a delicious cake.  That is when I happened upon the Devils Food Cake recipe.  From there I originally thought, maybe I will try my hand at an ice cream cake, and use Magnolias Chocolate Chip Ice Cream recipe.  Then, I turned the page and I knew my choice had been made.  The next recipe was for a Caramel Toffee Pecan Ice Box Pie.  For this recipe, I have taken the filling for this pie, altered it just a bit, placed it between the layer of Devils Food Cake, and covered in Cool Whip.  Beware the this is a tall cake, I am talking like 6 inches.

Caramel Toffee Pie Cake:

Yum, butter and sugar all creamed together.

Here when it starts to smell like cookie batter, buttery and chocolaty. I kind of wanted to just eat the batter at this stage, but I powered forward, I was making a birthday cake for someone else.

So pretty...these cakes came out so smooth.

Yummy cake all put together!

Devil's Food Cake: (adapted from Magnolia Bakery's Devil's Food Cake Recipe)
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
9 ounces unsweetened chocolate melted
1 1/2 cups coffee at room temperature
1/2 cup skim milk
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray three 9 inch cake pans with nonstick cooking spray and lightly flour.

2.  Melt chocolate using a double boiler over medium-low heat. (I use a metal bowl over a sauce pan filled 1/3 full of water.)  Let melted chocolate cool for 5-10 minutes.

3.  In a small mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.

4.  In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar.  

5.  Whisk in egg yolks in to the creamed butter until well combined; whisk in chocolate until well incorporated.

6.  Combine milk, coffee and vanilla in a measuring cup.

7.  Add the flour and coffee mixture to the sugar-butter mixture, alternating between flour and coffee, mixing between the addition of each.  Begin and end with the flour mixture.

8.  In a separate small bowl, beat the egg whites on high speed using an electric mixer until soft peaks form.  Gently fold the egg whites into the batter.

9.  Divide the batter among the three pans and bake in the center of the over for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

10. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 5-10 minutes, then remove from pans and finish letting the cakes cool on a rack until they are at room temperature.

Caramel Toffee Ice Box Pie Filling: (adapted from Magnolia Bakery's Caramel Toffee Pecan Ice Box Pie Recipe)
8 ounces caramels
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 pound (1 8-ounce package) 1/3 fat cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 tub Coolwhip, defrosted

1.  In a medium sized sauce pan over low heat slowly melt caramels with 3 tablespoons heavy cream.  Let cool to room temperature 10-15 minutes.

2.  Mix melted caramel sauce and vanilla in with the cream cheese until well combined.

3.  In a separate bowl, beat the heavy cream on high speed using an electric mixer until soft peaks form.  Gently fold the whipped cream into the caramel-cream cheese mixture.

4.  Lay the bottom layer of cake on the cake stand.  Gently spread 1/2 of pie filing onto the layer.  Repeat with next layer of cake.  And finish by placing the last layer on top.  Place in refrigerator until just before serving. 

5.  Before serving cover cake with defrosted Coolwhip, then serve.  Enjoy!

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Best Gluten-Free Carrot Cake

In the past few years, I have met more gluten-free individuals...I moved to DC knowing only one other person, a family friend.  Right before I left for DC I tried my hand at making her a lemon-blueberry gluten-free pound cake.  It turned out okay, not great.  Now however with three gluten-free people in my office I have had the opportunity to try my hand at a few different things: peanut butter cookies, chocolate cake, cinnamon streusel muffins, brownies and this carrot cake that you would hardly know is gluten-free.  Enjoy!

Gluten-free Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting: 

***double the recipe to make a two layer cake.
Gluten-free Carrot Cake:
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup light brown sugar packed
3 large eggs
1/3 cup plain yogurt
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 tablespoon honey or agave nectar
2 cups Pamela's Ultimate Baking and Pancake Mix (can be found at Wholefoods)
1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup flaked sweetened coconut
1 1/2 cups finely shredded carrots
1/2 cup raisins
3/4 cup crushed pineapple drained

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray a 9 inch cake pan with nonstick cooking spray and flour.

2.  In a large mixing bowl cream together oil and sugar, then add in eggs, yogurt, vanilla and honey until well combined.

3.  In a separate mixing bowl using a whisk, combine baking mix, pumpkin spice and cinnamon.

4.  Mix dry ingredients into wet, the mixture will be thicker than normal cake batter.

5.  Fold in coconut, carrots, raisins and pineapple.

6.  Pour mixture into cake pan and using a spatula spread to make even in the pan.

7.  Bake in the center of the oven for 40-45 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.  

8.  Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and let cool on rack until room temperature.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 oz 1/3 fat cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar

1.  With a mixer cream, together cream cheese and butter until smooth and well combined.

2.  Mix in vanilla.

3.  On a lower speed, mix in powdered sugar one cup at a time.  If frosting begins to appear dry, taste.  It is okay to not use full amount of powdered sugar.