Malted Chocolate Easter Cake

April 2, 2021

Woah! Here it is nearly Easter already! It is Good Friday to be specific. So anyone who knows me, knows that today I am baking my Apple Cinnamon Hot Cross Buns.

They are so tasty and if you bake them on Good Friday, they actually have some magical properties. With the year we’ve had, I need all the magic I can get! But let me focus on today’s recipe. And ya’ll…it is soooo amazing! I give you Malted Chocolate Easter Cake!

This cake has got it all. Most importantly it is absolutely delicious, but it is also not too hard on the eyes either! The malted chocolate cake is so rich and moist.

The frosting, which is my favorite Swiss Meringue Buttercream, is so silky and creamy.

But it doesn’t stop there, no. It is adorned with my one of my favorite Easter treats, Robin Eggs, which are malted milk balls dressed up to look like, well… Robin Eggs.

And taking a cue from them, the cake itself is reminiscent of a robin’s egg with it’s pale blue frosting bespeckled with cocoa. Good looks and great taste!

In past years, I have been on a roll (ha ha – you’ll get it with the next few words) making Easter Breads (get it? roll…bread…) from around the world. Last year I gave you Polish Babka.

And the year before was Cozonac – Romanian Easter Bread.

Don’t forget my  Italian Easter Bread:

Or that amazing Tsoureki from Greece:

There was the Slovak Paska:

And then quite a few years ago, I tried my hand at this impressive Russian Kulich:

That is a whole lot of Easter bread huh? But ya’ll this Malted Chocolate Cake tempted me to stray from my chosen Easter bread path! It all started when good friends of ours (shout out to Stephen & Julie – thank you so much!) gave us Joanne Chang’s new cookbook, Pastry Love: A Baker’s Journal of Favorite Recipes. Chef Chang is the owner of Flour Bakery as well as a James Beard award winner for Outstanding Baker. In her new book, she shares her best-loved cookies, cakes and confections from Flour Bakery and Cafe. It is chock full of gorgeous photos and very approachable recipes. She is able to eloquently explain some of the more difficult baking techniques in an easy to follow, friendly manner. You should definitely check it out. It was here that I first saw this Malted Chocolate Cake and instantly knew that we were destined for one another.

Seriously, I cannot get enough of that roasted, caramelized malted flavor!

This cake does require quite a few steps, but you can easily break them up over the span of several days. The vanilla syrup and chocolate speckle can be made days in advance. The cakes can be baked on another. The frosting on the next, you get it. Then there is just assembly on the day you want to serve it.

I will say that speckle took a bit of practice to get down. Use an old fashioned, bristle pastry brush rather than a silicone one. But overall it was pretty dang easy and believe you me, soooo worth it!

The husband isn’t usually one for chocolate desserts. But even he could not resist this Malted Chocolate Easter Cake and has already had a couple of pieces! That is high praise indeed! I hope everyone has a very Happy Easter!

Malted Chocolate Easter Cake

  • Servings: one 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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recipe from: Pastry Love by Joanne Chang

Ingredients:

For the Cake:

  • 210 grams (1 1/2 cups) malted milk powder
  • 175 grams (1 1/4 cups) all purpose flour
  • 60 grams (1/2 cup) Dutch-processed cocoa powder, sifted after measuring
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 200 grams ( 1 cup) sugar
  • 2 large eggs ( about 100 grams) at room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk (about 20 grams) at room temperature
  • 110 grams (1/2 cup) vegetable oil (such as canola)
  • 240 grams (1 cup) whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Malted Milk Frosting (recipe noted below)

Vanilla Syrup (recipe noted below)

Chocolate Speckle (recipe noted below)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325° F and place a rack in the center of the oven. Line the bottoms of two 8″ cake pans with parchment paper circles. Spray the sides lightly with pan spray or very lightly brush with vegetable oil. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, stir together the malted milk powder, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the sugar, whole eggs and egg yolk on medium hight speed until the mixture falls back onto itself in ribbons when you lift the whisk up. Turn the mixer to low and slowly drizzle in the oil. Turn off the mixer and add about one third of the flour mixture. Turn the mixer on to the lowest speed and mix just until most of the flour mixture has been incorporated into the eggs, about 10 seconds. Stop the mixer and use a rubber spatula to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and the whisk. Add about half the milk along with the vanilla and turn the mixer back onto the lowest speed. Gently combine until most of the milk is mixed into the batter. stop the mixer and again scrape the bowl and the whisk. Add half the remaining flour mixture; mix on low until it’s mostly mixed in, then stop and scrape. Add the rest of the milk and mix again on low util it is mostly mixed in. Remove the bowl from the mixer , add the last of the flour mixture, and gently fold by hand with a rubber spatula until all of it is incorporated into the batter. Divide the batter between the prepared cake pans.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, rotating the pans midway through the baking time, until the cakes spring back when you poke them in the middle and a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean when you insert it into the middle of the cake. Remove the cakes from the oven and let cool in the baking pans on a wire rack.

While the cakes are baking and cooling, make the frosting and vanilla syrup and set them aside.

Once the cakes are completely cool, run a small paring knife around the edges of the cakes and remove them from the pans. Peel off the parchment circles. trim the tops of the cakes to level them (they will have rounded a bit in the oven, and the scraps are your reward for your hard work so far). Place one cake on a large flat plate or serving platter or a rotating cake stand and use a pastry brush to brush and soak the cake with about half the vanilla syrup. Spoon about 1 cup of the frosting on top; use an offset spatula to spread it evenly to the edges of the cake. Carefully place the second cake upside down (for even, sharp edges on the final cake) on top of the first cake and soak with the remaining vanilla syrup. Spoon another 1 cup of the frosting on top of the cake. Spread the frosting to the edges of the cake and then down the sides, smoothing it as well as you can and covering the entire cake with a thin layer of frosting. This is called a crumb coat. It will keep loose crumbs from migrating to the surface of the finished cake. Refrigerate the cake for about 15 minutes to set the crumb coat completely.

If you are making the cake for Easter and would like it to have that lovely robins egg hue, now is the time to add a few drops of food coloring to the remaining frosting. Fit a pastry bag with a star tip and fill it with all but about 1 cup of the frosting. Set aside.

Remove the cake from the fridge and spoon the remaining frosting on the cake; spread it every over the top and sides. This is the final finishing layer of frosting. Smooth the surface with an offset spatula dipped in hot water and dried off before using.

Make the chocolate speckle, if using. When you specks the cake, be sure to place the cake on a flat plate and place the on large empty work surface covered in plastic or parchment paper so cleanup is easier. Dip four fingers into the speckle and use a pastry brush to quickly and firmly flick and hit the chocolate off your fingers i the direction of the cake to create random spots, to mimic a robin’s egg. (Test this in the kitchen sink at first so you get the movement down.)

If the cake is not already on a serving platter, carefully transfer it to one. Pipe a border of frosting along the top or the bottom edge of the cake, or both. Decorate with Robin Eggs malted milk ball candy if you prefer.

The frosted cake can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Vanilla Syrup

Ingredients:

  • 120 grams (1/2 cup) water
  • 100 grams (1/2 cup) sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar with the water and bring to a boil and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Let cool before using.

The syrup can be made in advance and stored in an airtight container in the fridge indefinitely.

Chocolate Speckle

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder, sifted after measuring

Directions:

In a small bowl, whisk the cocoa powder with 2 T. of water until smooth. The speckle will be a thing paste, no runny and not thick like speckle either, but somewhere in between.

Speckle can be stored in a airtight container in the fridge indefinitely. It is easiest to use when chilled. Rewhisk before using.

Malted Milk Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 135 grams (2/3 cup) superfine sugar
  • 2 large egg whites ( about 1/4 cup or 60 grams) at room temperature
  • 455 grams (2 cups or 4 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 420 grams(3 1/2 cups) confectioners sugar
  • 105 grams (3/4 cup) malted milk powder
  • 2 Tablespoons whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract ( I used vanilla paste & prefer it – plus the vanilla bean specks in it add to the speckled robins egg appearance)
  • pinch of kosher salt

Directions:

In a medium metal of heatproof glass bowl, whisk together the superfine sugar and egg whites to make a thick slurry. Place the bowl over a small pot of simmering water, make sure the pot is small enough the the bowl sits above the water and not directly touching it, or you may end up with scrambled egg whites. Cook, whisking occasionally, until the mixture is hot to the touch, 6 to 8 minutes.

Pour the sugar-egg white mixture into a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip on medium high for 4 to 6 minutes, until the mixture cools. Add the butter bit by bit and whip on medium until the butter is thoroughly incorporated. Add the confectioners’ sugar, malted milk powder, milk, vanilla, and salt and whip on medium until the frosting is smooth and satiny.

The frosting can be store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Before using, let it sit out at room temperature for at least 6 hours or ideally overnight. Place the frosting in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix until it smooths out again. It will look broken (curdled and very lumpy, possibly even separated with some liquid seeping out) for a while until it warms up, but don’t panic – just keep beating it and be patient.

Enjoy!

Links for helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Malted Chocolate Easter Cake:

Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer

Oxo Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Wilton Cake Leveler

Ateco disposable piping bags

King Arthur Bensdorp Dutch Process Cocoa Powder

Carnation Malted Milk Powder or King Arthur Malted Milk Powder

Vanilla Bean Paste

Mini Robin Eggs Candy

Wilton Icing Colors – Gel will not thin icing

Pastry Love by Joanne Chang – LOVE this cookbook!


Guinness Chocolate Cake with Baileys Buttercream Frosting

March 17, 2019

 

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Woo-hoo! Today is St. Patrick’s Day!!! It is here, it is here! But this year I am parting with tradition a bit. I have always shared a cupcake recipe for my last post of my St. Patrick’s Day blog-a-thon. However, today you are getting a full-sized cake! And when I say full sized, I mean it. This Guinness Chocolate Cake with Baileys Buttercream Frosting is a whopper!

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Kind of like my waist size after I gobbled it all up…but whatever! It was completely worth every inch it added as well as every additional minute I spent in the gym afterwards working it off. This imposing cake features a layer of silky, dreamy Baileys swiss meringue buttercream nestled between two big, tall layers of moist, rich and intensely chocolatey cake which has been frosted with a decadent chocolate ganache. The Baileys Buttercream makes another appearance as the garnish on top of the cake. A chocolate lovers bliss I tell you!

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Even the Husband, who doesn’t really go in for chocolate desserts, couldn’t get enough of it. He must have asked me a dozen times to make sure I saved this recipe. This Guinness Chocolate cake will definitely make an impression!

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So I do apologize for not sharing a cupcake recipe. Once I made this cake and got my first little taste of it, I just couldn’t wait to share it with you. I suppose you could make it into cupcakes if you wished, but I gotta admit I am a fan of the stature of this full sized decadent delight!

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Well it looks like I’ve gotta get going…my blogging is done for a while. I’ve got some Patrick’s Day festivities to attend to. So see you in a week or so, Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daiobh (Happy St. Patrick’s Day)!

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Guinness Chocolate Cake with Baileys Buttercream Frosting

  • Servings: 1 (excuse my french ) - Big Ass Cake, 16 servings or so depending how you slice it
  • Difficulty: moderate - nothing too difficult, but lots of steps!
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recipe adapted from: King Arthur Flour

Ingredients:

For the Cake

  • 2 cups stout or dark beer, such as Guinness
  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups Dutch-process cocoa
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sour cream

For the external Chocolate Ganache frosting

  • 1 pound bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the internal Baileys Buttercream frosting

  • 2 Extra – Large Egg Whites
  • 3/4 Cups Sugar
  • 1 Cups (2 sticks) Butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes, cool but not cold
  • 1/8 tsp Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Baileys Irish Cream

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour three 8″ or two 9″ cake pans, and line them with parchment paper circles. Be sure your 9″ pans are at least 2″ deep.

For the cake: Place the stout and butter in a large, heavy saucepan, and heat until the butter melts. Remove the pan from the heat, and add the cocoa powder.

Whisk until the mixture is smooth. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the eggs and sour cream.

Add the stout-cocoa mixture, mixing to combine.

Add the flour mixture and mix together at slow speed. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, and mix again for 1 minute.

Divide the batter equally among the prepared pans.

Bake the layers for 35 minutes for 8″ pans, or 45 to 50 minutes for 9″ pans, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the cakes from the oven and cool on a rack for 10 minutes before turning the cakes out of their pans and returning to the rack to finish cooling completely before frosting.

For the Ganache frosting: Place the chopped chocolate in a large heatproof bowl. Bring the cream to a simmer in a heavy, medium-sized saucepan.

Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir until the mixture is completely smooth.

Stir in the vanilla. Refrigerate until the icing is spreadable, stirring occasionally, about 2 hours.

For the Baileys frosting:

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites and sugar together. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water but do not let the water touch the bottom of the bowl. Heat the mixture until the sugar is completely dissolved and the color is milky white, about 2-3 minutes.

Transfer the egg mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat on medium-high speed (start slowly at first) until smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Remove the whisk attachment and replace with the paddle attachment. Add the cubed butter and beat on medium-high speed (start slowly at first) until smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes. If the buttercream looks like it is breaking, don’t worry, it will eventually come together.

Add the salt and Baileys Irish Cream and beat for 5 seconds to combine.

To assemble: Trim one cake layer to have a flat top, if necessary (otherwise the layer will crack when you place it upside down on your cake plate).

Line the edges of a serving plate with parchment or waxed paper to keep it clean, and then place the layer upside down on top. Spread 2/3 cup of the Baileys Buttercream over just the top of the layer.

Top with another cake layer, top side down. 

Spread the chocolate ganache frosting to cover the top and sides of the cake. Remove the parchment or waxed paper. 

Place remaining Baileys Buttercream frosting in piping bag and pipe onto the top of the cake. Garnish with chocolate candies if desired.

Enjoy!

Useful links for Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Guinness Chocolate Cake with Baileys Buttercream Frosting:


Skúffukaka – Icelandic Chocolate Cake

August 24, 2018

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I can’t believe that I didn’t experience Skúffukaka until our 7th visit to Iceland, considering it is a traditional dessert. Indeed nearly every Icelandic family has their own version of the recipe, complete with closely guarded secret ingredients. Basically it is a dark chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, sprinkled with coconut flakes. It isn’t fancy per se – in fact skúffukaka means “oven pan cake” or “baking tray cake”. They have a similar version of this recipe in Sweden which is called Kärleksmums (love-yums), but folks in Iceland are pretty practical, so they’ve decided to call it Baking Tray Cake. But don’t let its rustic name put you off, this cake is delicious! I was served my first slice at The Garage Apartments by our lovely host Anna. The Husband and I didn’t know we were eating Skúffukaka at the time, we just knew we loved it!

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The Skúffukaka baked for us by our lovely host Anna at the Garage Apartments.

Anna served us wonderful baked goods every day of our visit. The first being that amazing Varmahlíð Apple Cake that I told you about in my previous blog. I was able to search around the internet and figure out that the chocolate cake she served was called Skùffukaka and then I researched a recipe, which I will share here with you today.

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But let me also take this opportunity to both tell you more about that fantastic trip to Iceland that the Husband and I went on last September as well as alert you to a new feature on my blog. If you look up at the top navigation bar, there is now a “travels” section you can choose. I have organized all of our travel posts here. So it will be much easier to find that trip we took to Prague way back in 2013, should you be searching. These posts not only feature a delicious dish that we experienced on our trip, but are also chock full of lovely pictures and recommendations with links for hotels, restaurants, guides, shops etc, should you be inspired to visit the destination yourself. But back to this Iceland trip from 2017. After we had so much fun on the South Coast, we headed towards the East Fjords. The East Fjords are really a hidden gem in Iceland. Well, I guess they aren’t really hidden. They are right there in plain sight. They are just often overlooked by tourists. Most visitors don’t venture that far from Reykjavik and the Golden Circle. That, and the fact that only roughly 3% of Iceland’s population lives in this area of the country, ensures you will be able to experience some peaceful, beautiful isolation.

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On our way north-east, we stopped by the stunning  Jökulsárlón. Actually we stopped by on our way north and then again when we came back south. We just can not get enough of its breathtaking beauty.

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Jökulsárlón is a large lake which was formed by a glacier. It is located in southeast Iceland, on the edge of Vatnajökull National Park. Bits of the Vatnajökull glacier break off (calve) into the lake, forming icebergs. These icebergs float around until they melt enough to fit through the narrow opening of the lake and drift out into the ocean,

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though some do wash up on the nearby black sand beach, known as Diamond Beach.

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The first time we visited it was in December of 2013. It was really chilly that day, I’m talking like 12°F (-11°C). We braved the temps as long as we could, but we were pretty dang cold! So visiting in September was quite a different experience. It was sunny and warm both days. We really lucked out!

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A couple of seals swimming about

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Once we were able to finally tear ourselves away from Jökulsárlón, we continued on our northeast journey, taking a bit of time out to soak up the beauty that is Vestrahorn. Vestrahorn is one of the most photographed mountains in Iceland. It is located on the Stokksnes peninsula. One of Iceland’s earliest settlement farms was located in this area. The 454 meter high Vestrahorn mountain rises up from the lava dune strewn shore line. Truly a photographer’s paradise!

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We spent the night in an adorable little cabin

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where we were lucky enough to see a quick glimpse of the Northern Lights through the clouds.

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The next day we continued on towards Seyðisfjörður where we would be spending several days. On the way, zigzagging along the fjords on route 1, we saw many sleepy fishing towns surrounded by rugged mountains and dramatic coastlines. When we reached Egilsstaðir, we ventured off the ring road, up and over the Fjarðarheiði mountain pass, descending down into charming Seyðisfjörður (population 675). Nestled at the end of the fjord and surrounded by often snow peaked mountains and cascading waterfalls, picturesque Seyðisfjörður delights. Populated by many artists, musicians and craftspeople, this friendly town feels so welcoming.

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On our second day there we set off on a hike to see Tvísöngur, the sound sculpture created by german artist Lukas Kühne.

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This concrete structure consists of five interconnected domes, each with its own resonance that corresponds to a tone in the five tone harmony of traditional Icelandic singing.

After exploring the structure, we continued hiking on the Tvísöngur loop which took us up onto a plateau where we were treated to a bird’s eye view of the town and the fjord.

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Later that night we were delighted when the Northern Lights again made an appearance.

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After leaving Seyðisfjörður we headed south again, stopping at the Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon where the Aurora put on an amazing show. It was so intense, it was actually difficult to get a good picture because rather than a wispy trail of green against the black sky, the entire sky turned green.

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Our final adventure on this action packed trip was going on a glacier walk on Svínafellsjökull glacier in Skaftafell National Park with Icelandic Mountain Guides. They showed us how to use crampons and ice axes and then off we went.

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Svínafellsjökull glacier is where the scenes that took place “beyond the wall” in Game of Thrones were shot.

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So I’m sure you must be really inspired now to plan your own adventure in Iceland. Please take a look at the helpful links below if you need some assistance in planning. And do whip up some moist and decadent Skúffukaka while pouring over maps and booking sights. With a slice of that chocolatey goodness and mug of coffee, hepped up on all that sugar and caffeine, there’ll be no stopping you!

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Skúffukaka

  • Servings: 24
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe adapted from: Belle -ÆÐISLEG SKÚFFUKAKA

Ingredients:

For the Cake:

  • 280 grams sugar
  • 125 grams butter- room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs – room temperature
  • 200 grams flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 50 grams natural unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 100 ml milk

For the Frosting:

  • 130 grams salted butter, room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • 250 grams confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 100 grams dark chocolate, melted
  • 2 Tablespoons cream
  • 1 -2 Tablespoon strong coffee – cooled
  • coconut flakes to sprinkle over the cake

Directions:

For the Cake;

Preheat the oven to 355° F (180°C).

Butter and flour one 9X9″ baking tray.

In a bowl sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and cocoa. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together for 1 -2 minutes. Add the eggs, mixing well after the addition of each egg. Add the vanilla extract. Mix on medium high-speed for 6 -7 minutes until light and fluffy.

Add the dry mixture to the butter & sugar. Mix until just combined.

Add the milk and mix until just combined.

Scrape the batter into the prepared baking tray and spread evenly. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Set on a wire rack to cool before frosting.

For the Frosting:

In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the butter and egg together until combined. With the mixer on low-speed, add the confectioners sugar slowly, 1/4 cup  at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the cocoa and vanilla. Add the melted and cooled chocolate and continue mixing.

Mix in the cream and 1 – 2 Tablespoons of the cooled coffee to taste. Continue mixing until the frosting is smooth. If the icing is not the correct consistency for frosting the cake you can either add a bit more confectioner’s sugar or refrigerate for a short time to allow it to set.

Spread frosting over the cooled cake. This recipe makes a good amount of frosting, so you may not use all of it on the cake. Add as thick a layer of frosting as you prefer. Sprinkle with coconut flakes.

Enjoy!

Skúffukaka brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links for Helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Skúffukaka:

Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer

Oxo Good Grips 7 Piece Nesting Measuring Beaker Set

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Links for Planning your vacation in the East Fjords Iceland:

Accommodation:

Bragdavellir Cottages: located 10km from Djúpivogur, just off of Route 1, these cottages are clean, cozy and offer a fantastic view. Our only regret is that we had just one night’s stay.

Lónsleira Apartments: located in Seyðisfjörður these apartments are perfection! Stylishly furnished, sparklingly clean with amazing location and view!

Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon: We loved this hotel! So chic and stylish, not only are the rooms beautiful, but it is also located between Jökulsárlón and Skatafell National Park, two amazing destinations. We can not wait to visit again!

Restaurants/Bars:

Íshúsið Pizzeria: Located in Höfn, right on the harbor, this friendly pizzeria serves up some outstanding pies! We stopped on our way north and again on the way back south.

Kaffi Lára – El Grilló Bar: Located in Seyðisfjörður. Warm and friendly, you will love relaxing in this local bar/restaurant. Everything we tried here was very good, burgers to barbecue, but there was one standout item….they serve the BEST baked potatoes I have ever eaten. I kid you not. One night when we were there, we saw a couple who had just finished their meal. The lady ordered a slice of pie for dessert and her companion ordered another baked potato! Amazing!!!

Tours:

Icelandic Mountain Guides: Want to go on a glacier adventure? Contact these professionals! They won’t let you down!

Rental Cars:

Blue Car Rental: We ALWAYS rent our car from Blue Car Rental. Friendly Icelandic company, well maintained, newer, quality vehicles – they’ve never let us down and at this point we have rented from them on six different visits and have had excellent experiences every time. The price they quote on their website has all of the insurance included so there are no surprizes when you show up at their rental desk. Highly recommend!


Boozy Birthday Bourbon Layer Cake

August 29, 2014

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Boozy Birthday Bourbon Layer Cake. Say that three times fast! I would try but I’m afraid my mouth is stuffed full of cake at the moment. Hey…sometimes one – meaning yours truly – needs inspiration to write these blogs. I mean occasionally I’m at a loss what to say. If you were here I would just hand you a big old plate full of whatever it was I was trying to artfully describe. Let the food do the talking if you get my drift.

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Other times I just stuff my face full of whatever it is and start writing. Luckily for me, it was the last piece of the Boozy Birthday Bourbon Layer Cake I made for my friends recent birthday. I’m a big believer that there is nothing like a big old fancy homemade cake to properly convey an enthusiastic Happy Birthday.

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I mean store-bought cakes are ok and I guess I could see if you have a favourite bakery ( mine is Baked & Wired – if anyone was wondering…) and a favourite cake from said favourite bakery (uhhhh… do you know me at all?…cupcakes from Baked & Wired – any flavour will do but please no fruit filling. Get those for my husband.), folks could do just fine stopping by there and simply picking up a big old bakery box of love. However, if you have a bit of baking skill, I think you’ll get quite a few points (there I go with those supposed points again…) by making someone a cake, with as many layers as you can manage (the more layers, the more points) from scratch.

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My Grandmother, of the Jewish Apple Cake fame, always made me a Hot Milk Cake with Old Fashioned Chocolate Fudge Frosting for my birthdays. I can remember one above all of the others. I think I was about five years old. It had the usual chocolate frosting and shaky script handwriting spelling out Happy Birthday.  But this one was decorated with tiny plastic cake decorations. In this case they were ballerinas wearing pink tutus. I thought it was awesome!  I can still picture it perfectly in my mind’s eye.

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Here is the only picture we could find with the remembered cake. Perhaps also showing my early tendency towards cupcake obsession.

When I got to be about 14 -15 years old and was the standard clueless teenager, I asked my Mom for a store-bought sheet- style birthday cake. I got it into my head that they were pretty cool with all of their fancy colours and big frosting flowers. Not to mention, that is the type of cake most of my friends had on their birthdays. Mom got me the cake, but it just wasn’t all I hoped it would be. It tasted ok, if not a bit plasticy and sickeningly sweet as those cakes often do. The bakery misspelled my name, which was a bit of a bummer. But luckily, Grandma, either through force of habit or some greater knowledge (mom-mom worldly wisdom) had still made me my old standard Hot Milk Birthday Cake. From then on, I knew which cake I’d be requesting when asked. Yup…although Grandma is not around to bake it for me anymore, my Mom has picked up the torch and has been known to whip up one mean Hot Milk Cake with Old Fashioned Fudge Frosting in no time flat! So when my friend’s birthday rolled around, I wanted to make him something special. A cake he would really like. I was pretty sure that vintage plastic ballerinas wouldn’t do a thing for him, so I turned my thoughts to something which seems to get most folks pretty excited…booze! In his case Bourbon. He has been known to take an occasional sip or two of that Knob Creek elixir from time to time. And there is quite a lot of bourbon to be found in this cake. Yup…it is in the cake, in the ganache and in the icing. A veritable Bourbon bonanza!

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This cake was a huge hit. The buttermilk, yeah that’s right….even more “B” words, made the cake layers wonderfully light and moist. The frosting was rich, yet fluffy and fantastically boozy.

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Made for quite the happy birthday, not only for the birthday boy, but also for all his well wishers to boot! Got a special occasion coming up and some bourbon lovers in the house? Look no further, this Boozy Birthday Bourbon Layer Cake will get the job done!

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Boozy Birthday Bourbon Layer Cake

  • Servings: 16
  • Difficulty: easy but a lot of steps!
  • Print

recipe from: Love & Olive Oil

Ingredients:

For Cake:

  • 1 vanilla bean split and scraped, seeds reserved
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) bourbon (pick your poison…I used Knob Creek)
  • 2 cups (13.5 ounces) all purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 5 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk

For the Buttercream:

  • 4 ounces dark chocolate
  • 6 ounces milk chocolate
  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2-3 cups powdered sugar, or more as needed
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tablespoon Bourbon

For the Ganache:

  • 4 ounces dark or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon

Directions:

Combine the bourbon and vanilla bean together in a small bowl. Steep overnight, or as long as you can before proceeding.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Butter and line 3 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper. Butter parchment.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg. Set aside.

Combine the sugar, butter, and reserved vanilla bean seeds in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on medium speed for 10 minutes, until very light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl periodically as needed.

Reduce the speed to medium low and add the eggs and egg yolk, one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition.

Add the flour mixture, one cup at a time, alternating with buttermilk, mixing on low speed until incorporated. Immediately add the bourbon (discard the vanilla pod) and mix until combined.

Divide the batter among prepared pans. You can just eyeball it, or weigh the pans like I do, with my handy dandy OXO Food Scale. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until tops are lightly browned and springy. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack until cool enough to handle. Run a small knife around the edges of each pan, then gently invert onto wire racks. Cakes should come out cleanly. Allow to cool completely.

For the ganache:  Place chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring cream to a bare simmer over low heat. Pout hot cream over chocolate, and stir until smooth. Add bourbon. Set aside and allow to cool until thickened slightly (the room temperature ganache should be about the consistency of peanut butter). If it’s too thick, you can add a little bit more hot cream and stir until smooth.

For the buttercream: Melt chocolates in a microwave or double boiler over low heat until smooth. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter until fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add powdered sugar, 2 Tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition. If you don’t add the sugar slowly and mix thoroughly after each addition, you run the risk of ending up with gritty icing, which no one will be pleased with! Add cooled chocolate and beat until smooth. Add heavy cream and bourbon and beat until light and fluffy. Add more powdered sugar or heavy cream as necessary to achieve desired consistency.

To assemble:  Level each cake layer by cutting of the domed top with a long serrated knife. Or use a handy cake leveler like I did. Place one layer, flat side down, on a cake stand or serving platter. To keep the platter clean while frosting, place 4 small strips of parchment or waxed paper just under the edges of the cake. This will allow you to frost the cake and then remove these strips cleanly later.

Spread half of the ganache evenly over top of layer, followed approximately 1/2 cup of buttercream. Position second layer on top and press to adhere. Repeat with remaining ganache, another 1/2 cup of buttercream, and final cake layer, flat side up.

Cover the entire cake with a thin layer of buttercream. This “crumb coat” will make frosting the cake easier. Refrigerate for about 15 minutes to allow this crumb coat to set.

Remove cake from refrigerator and frost with remaining buttercream, reserving some if you’d like to add any decorative details or borders.

Enjoy!

Bourbon Birthday Cake brought to you by: Runcible Eats (http://www.leaandjay.com )


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