Chocolate Marzipan Cake

Cake

In exactly seven months I will be living in my brand new condo. I went down to the construction site last week, the building is far from done but it is definitely a building. I’m getting pretty excited thinking about living there. I’ve been scoping out deals on line for all the things I need. I think I’ve got my couch and bed picked out, and I’m now moving on the colour schemes. What do you think of white, grey, and yellow?

I’m also getting really nervous. A downtown condo on my own is a huge deal financially. I’ve gone over the budget a million times, and even though I know I can do it I still worry. I’m good at worrying. I sometimes find myself stuck in a loop of “what ifs”. My latest solution is to give myself a firm action plan and then listen to Bob Marley. Every little thing is gonna be alright.

flowers

Of course the classic stress reliever is chocolate. This cake will calm me down even on my most anxious days. Thanks to the marzipan it’s dense and moist, and the almond flavour perfectly complements the chocolate. This recipe is also really easy to make, just be sure your ingredients are at room temperature so that the eggs and butter combine properly.

cake

Chocolate Marzipan Cake

Adapted from Anna Olson

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 250 g marzipan
  • 6 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar
  • berries to garnish
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease and flour a 10 inch springform pan, set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy with an electric mixer. Break the marzipan into pieces and mix into the butter mixture until smooth.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, making sure they are well combined after each addition. Mix in the vanilla and almond extracts. 
  3. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Beat into the butter mixture until well combined. 
  4. Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes until a tester comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 20 minutes then turn it out onto a rack to cool completely.
  5. Whip the cream with the icing sugar until stiff, cover the cooled cake with cream. Garnish with berries. 
Enjoy!
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Grape and Rosemary Cake

Another of summer treasures has arrived in Quebec over the last couple of weeks: Concord Grapes. Concord Grapes are a little smaller than the standard varieties, and I find them to be much sweeter. Their season only lasts a couple of weeks and they’re really easy to miss. I bought a small box and started munching on them right away.

As I was stuffing my face with grapes I wondered how else I could use them. Then I remembered this month’s Bake Together. Abby Dodge has asked us to bake a simple fruit cake our way. Concord Grapes were clearly how I wanted to go. I struggled with how to flavour the cake for awhile. I considered following Abby’s original instructions, or maybe some cardamom. Then Janice suggested rosemary, which sounded perfect. I didn’t want an overwhelming rosemary flavour so I used Janice’s infused honey method from her Lavender Honey Cakelettes.

Grape and Rosemary Cake

  • 1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 6 tablespoons clarified butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp rosemary infused honey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 pint Concord Grapes
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp flour
  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Line a 9 in round pan with parchment paper, leaving enough overhang to pull the cake out of the pan once done.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer. Mix in the honey. Add the eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla.
  4. Mix in the dry ingredients alternating with the sour cream.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 15 minutes. During this time prepare the fruit, toss the grapes with 1 tbsp sugar and 1 tbsp flour. Once the 15 minutes are done pour the fruit on top of the cake (you’ll have to work quickly). Bake for and additional 25 to 30 minutes.
  6. Serve with a drizzle of rosemary honey.
Enjoy!

Guest Post: For The Love of Cookies!

In my last post I mentioned that I’m looking for people to guest post, as I’ve been incredibly busy lately. I didn’t really think anyone would volunteer, but I underestimated the kindness of food bloggers. Almost immediately Marnely of Cooking With Books sent me a message offering to help.

Marnely is a blogger I discovered through the magic of Twitter (follow her @nella22). I’ve only just recently “met” her, but can already tell that she is a kind, generous and fun person. You can see from her blog and her choice of career that she is also very passionate about food and has lots to share. I hope you enjoy her guest post as much as I did!

For the Love of Cookies!

Marnely of Cooking with Books

 I’d love to say I have great memories of my Cookies, Tarts and Mignardises class at the CIA. Baking cookies all day and taking boxes to share with roommates, what was not to love? I’ll tell you what: the homework! We were sent every day with a tray of labeled cookies to taste test. About 20 cookies a day, for the first week of the class, that’s 100 cookies in a week. You might be thinking, oh I wish I had that homework! No darling readers, you don’t. It gets old, FAST.

Day One, you were excited, “Oh cookies! Yum!” and wouldn’t even share with your roommate.
Day Two was, “Oh…cookies. Ok, let’s get this over with!”
Day Three, “Hey Roommate, you want to taste these cookies and tell me your thoughts?”
Day 3 and 4, the roommate (a cook, not a baker) would eat your cookies and help.
Day 5, you did the unthinkable. Remember wine tasting and spit buckets? Yeah, I’ll spare you the details.
That my friends, is the life of a baking and pastry student in culinary school. On Pie day in Baking Techniques, we took home 8 pies each. Good thing the CIA is visited by more than a million tourists a year, so as I walked out of class I handed them pies, cakes, cookie boxes, chocolates and candies. We feared the Freshman 15, which turned out to be more like the Freshman 22 for me.
Well, back to this post for Lynn. I wanted to share a simple but great tea cake recipe. Financiers are commonly confused with pastries but they are actually French cakes typically made in rectangular molds. Their flavor is based on both almond flour and the browned butter in it. Since berry season is approaching, this is a great way to showcase your berries! Serve with whipped cream on the side and enjoy with your afternoon tea or coffee.
Financier

Photo Credit: The Culinary Institute of America
8.2 oz Almond flour
6 oz Sugar
1.5 oz Cornstarch
Pinch Salt
6 oz. Egg whites
2 oz. Honey
5 oz Brown Butter
Raspberries or blueberries, frozen
1.      Melt butter in small sauce pan and continue to heat until the butter reaches a light brown color. Cool.
2.      Combine the almond flour, sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a bowl.
3.      Whisk egg whites gently, only until frothy. Add to dry ingredients and then stir in the honey.
4.      Stream in the brown butter and incorporate.
5.      Pipe into silicone molds and garnish with a berry before baking.
6.      Bake at 375 F, until edges are golden brown.

Orange Tea Loaf

I switched departments in my company a little over a year ago. The work I do now is a lot more interesting, but the environment is … less fun. I used to work with a team the handled Canadian trades only, then switched to the International side. The work in both departments is very stressful. They are high risk jobs with tight deadlines. My old department dealt with the stress by joking around and helping each other out. Even though there was a lot of pressure coming to work was fun.

Now it’s every man for himself. In my new department I sit beside a man who swears all day long and likes to slam his phone. The other day he picked it up and slammed it down even though it wasn’t even ringing. I think he got an email that upset him; you can’t slam an email.

I’m thinking of starting a swear jar in the office. I’m pretty sure it will pay for my morning coffee. It might even cover lunch sometimes. And if it manages to curb the swearing, then it will make coming to work that much more pleasant.

Until the day my neighbour calms down, I have an afternoon ritual that gets me through the day. Just before 3PM (when the Fed closes and things get extra stressful), I make myself a tea, put on my noise reducing headphones, and I listen to music that makes me happy. This afternoon it was Graceland. Sometimes it’s the Dirty Dancing soundtrack.

If I’ve got my act together, I have a piece of cake with my tea.  This cake is one of my favourites. It’s a modification of one of my moms recipes. She uses raisins and walnuts, and puts an orange glaze on the cake. Today was particularly bad, and I could have used a little glaze on my cake, so I’ll post the recipe for even though I didn’t use it.

Orange Tea Loaf

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • zest of one orange, divided
  • juice of one orange
  • 1/4 cup yogurt
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup pistachios

For glaze

  • orange zest (leftover from cake)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 4-5 tsp milk
  1. Preheat the oven to 350, line a loaf pan with parchment paper (or grease it)
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla and 1 tsp orange zest.
  4. Add 1/2 the flour mixture the butter, mix well. Stir in the orange juice and yogurt, followed by the remaining flour. Stir in the cranberries and pistachios.
  5. Pour batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes. Test the loaf after an hour with a toothpick to see if its done.
  6. Once done, let cool in the pan for 10 minutes then cool on a wire rack.
  7. For the glaze: Stir together the powdered sugar, vanilla, milk, and remaining orange zest. Pour over cooled cake.

Enjoy!

A Birthday Trifle

My birthday is coming up later this week. I have what I would call a love hate relationship with birthdays, I hate getting older but looove getting presents. This year I’m feeling a little neutral about it though. I guess compared to the stress/panic excitement of 30, 31 is just no big deal. Besides, one of my coworkers told me I look 27 the other day and I’m choosing to believe her.

Despite my neutral feelings, I will never pass up an opportunity for a treat. I still have a ton of sweets left over from Christmas so I decided to follow Sarah of The House Wife Diary‘s lead and create something out of them.

For Christmas I made Anna Olson’s Marzipan Cake. This cake was incredible, it was moist and tender with a lovely almond flavour. I replaced the lemon zest with orange, which went very well with the almond.  I decided to use the leftover cake to make myself a mini trifle. Then I started thinking about all the sugar I’ve been eating and thought maybe I should tone it down. Traditionally a trifle has layers of cake, fruit, custard, and cream. I replaced the custard and whipped cream with greek yogurt. I left the yogurt unsweetened as the cake and jam I used were both quite sweet. If that’s too tangy for you, try sweetening it with a little honey.

Marzipan Cake

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup marzipan
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons icing sugar, sifted, for dusting
  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Grease an 8 inch round pan and line with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Cut the marzipan into chunks and beat into the butter mixture one piece at a time until its completely incorporated.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the zest and extracts.
  4. In separate bowl sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the marzipan mixture, beating until well incorporated.
  5. Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes.

Greek Yogurt Trifle

  • Leftover marzipan cake
  • Greek yogurt
  • Raspberry jam
  1. Layer the cake, jam and yogurt into a tall glass or bowl. Let chill until ready to serve.

Enjoy!

Chocolate Truffle Cake

You didn’t think I’d let my Moms birthday go by without a cake, did you?

I usually decide on a type of cake myself, but this time I decided to ask my mom what she wanted. She said chocolate, chocolate mocha. So I got to work looking for the perfect recipe. The perfect recipe turned out not to exist, but I was inspired by two chocolate truffle cake recipes, one from Food and Wine and the other from Anna Olson. I used Anna’s cake recipe so that the cake would have some coffee flavour, and I used the ganache filling from the Food and Wine recipe. I added espresso powder to the dark chocolate layer, and kahlua to one of the white chocolate layers. Unfortunately I don’t think I used enough coffee, the chocolate flavour kind of took over. Despite not being very mocha-ey, the cake was delicious.

Before I get to the recipe, I have a blog award to share. Alina at Russian Season was kind enough to give me the Stylish Blogger Award.

Alina’s site is full of great Eastern European dishes, if you haven’t already you should definitely visit her site. So I’m giving the award right back to her and to these blogs I’ve recently discovered.

All Day I Dream About Food

Amy Bakes Everything

Black Book Kitchen Diaries

Oil and Butter

Wilde In The Kitchen

Pretty Peas

 

Chocolate Truffle Cake

For the cake

  • 3/4 cup hot brewed coffee
  • 1 1/2 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup regular cocoa powder (not Dutch pressed)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg white
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

For the Chocolate Ganache

  • 1 1/3 cups plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

For the White Chocolate Kahlua Ganache

  • 8 ounces white chocolate, chopped
  • 2/3 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons Kahlua

For the White Chocolate Ganache

  • 8 ounces white chocolate, chopped
  • 2/3 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  1. Make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 and grease a 15 by 12 inch baking sheet.
  2. In a small bowl, pour the hot coffee over the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted then set aside.
  3. Sift sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  4. In a separate bowl, beat eggs on high-speed for 1 minute. Slowly add the oil, buttermilk and vanilla.
  5. Alternate adding the flour and coffee mixture to the eggs.
  6. Taste the batter, it’s like pudding.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, bake for 25 to 30 minutes then let cool completely.
  8. Make the chocolate ganache. Heat the cream until small bubbles start to appear. In a small bowl pour over the chocolate and stir until the chocolate has completely melted and is shiny. Chill for 1 hour.
  9. Make the white chocolate Kahlua ganache: Melt the white chocolate over a double boiler. Heat the cream and butter until small bubbles appear then pour into the melted chocolate. Stir until completely combined. Stir in the Kahlua. Chill for 1 hour.
  10. Make the white chocolate ganache: Melt the white chocolate over a double boiler. Heat the cream and butter until small bubbles appear then pour into the melted chocolate. Stir until completely combined. Chill for 1 hour.
  11. Assemble the cake: Slice the cake into 4 equal parts. On the first layer spread the chocolate ganache, reserving some ganache for the top of the cake. Top with another layer of cake. Spread the white chocolate Kahlua ganache on the cake. Top with the third layer of cake, and spread the white chocolate ganache. Top with the final layer of cake and ice with the remaining ganache.
  12. Let the cake set for at least 1 hour. When serving slice with a hot knife.

Enjoy!