Coffee and Donuts Cake

Coffee and Donuts Cake

Happy National Donut Day! Does this mean we can eat all the donuts we want and calories don’t count today? If so, you should make three of these cakes. Actually, I didn’t even know Donut Day was a thing until I saw donuts popping up all over Instagram yesterday. I made this cake a couple of months ago for a silent auction, but hadn’t gotten around to posting it out of sheer laziness, so the stars aligned and it’s coming to you on National Donut Day!

The cake itself is a super simple chocolate cake recipe that I got from here. I doubled the recipe to get a 3 layer 6-inch cake plus about 16 mini donuts (or really, donut shaped cakes). Although this cake recipe is vegan, I used cow’s milk since the frosting is not vegan. Speaking of frosting, coffee swiss meringue buttercream is quite possibly the most heavenly creation on earth. I used 2 shots of espresso from my favorite local coffee shop in the frosting, but you could also use 2 tablespoons of instant espresso powder dissolved in 2 tablespoons of water, or 2 tablespoons of coffee extract (I like Nielsen Massey brand).

The frosting recipe makes a lot, so before you tell me that this recipe makes too much frosting, here’s why (also, please stop complaining about an overabundance of frosting). I wanted to crumb coat the cake and have enough frosting to get a really smooth finish since I knew that people would be bidding on this cake. The leftovers freeze really well (or taste good spooned directly into your mouth). Plus, it’s always nice to have some extra Swiss Buttercream in your freezer.

If you’ve read any of my previous posts, you know that I use pasteurized liquid egg whites 99 percent of the time when I make SMB. I’ve tried it with both fresh and liquid egg whites, and while the liquid egg whites whip up slightly fluffier, I don’t find that it makes a difference in the finished product. Plus, you don’t need to heat liquid egg whites past 120 degrees, which makes the whole process go faster. So unless I know I have to make a very large batch of pudding in the near future, liquid egg whites it is. And don’t forget to wipe down all your tools with vinegar before you start. Any traces of grease will prevent your meringue from whipping up properly.

As for the butter, the ideal temperature should but soft, but it should still retain it’s shape. If the butter starts to get greasy or mushy, you may have a harder time getting your SMB to come together. In case your butter is too soft (or your egg whites are too warm), just stick the whole bowl of frosting in the refrigerator and try beating it again.

Coffee and Donuts Cake

Coffee and Donuts Cake
Coffee and Donuts Cake
Coffee and Donuts Cake

For the cake, double the recipe here. This makes a 3 layer 6-inch cake plus about 16-20 mini donuts. You’ll need a mini donut pan like this one. Make the glaze in the recipe below. Dip one side of the donuts into the glaze, and then cover with sprinkles. Let the glaze dry while you frost the cake.

Coffee and Donuts Cake

Ingredients

    For the Coffee Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
  • 6 ounces (170 grams and approximately 6 large) egg whites
  • 6 ounces (170 grams) granulated sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 pound (450 grams) unsalted butter, softened but still cool and cut into 2 inch chunks
  • 2 ounces espresso, cooled to room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • For the Chocolate Glaze:
  • 5 ounces (140 grams) bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 5 ounces (150 ml) heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • Lots of sprinkles for topping

Instructions

    For the Coffee Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
  1. Combine the egg whites, sugar, and salt in a bowl (I used the bowl of my stand mixer).
  2. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water. The bowl should not touch the water, nor should the water be at a rolling boil. It's the steam that's going to heat the egg whites, since we don't want scrambled eggs.
  3. Heat the egg white mixture until it reaches 160 degrees fahrenheit (120 degrees is fine if you're using pasteurized egg whites), whisking frequently.
  4. Remove the bowl from the heat, and whip the egg whites on medium high using the whisk attachment of your stand mixer.
  5. Whip the egg whites until they become fluffy and double in volume. The bowl should be cool to the touch (this will take up to minutes).
  6. Turn the mixer down to medium low, and add the butter in one chunk at a time, until it has all been incorporated.
  7. Add the espresso and vanilla extract and beat to combine.
  8. To make the glaze:
  9. Place the chopped chocolate in a heat proof bowl.
  10. In a small saucepan, heat the heavy cream until it starts to steam.
  11. Pour the cream over the chopped chocolate and let stand for about 5 minutes.
  12. Add the corn syrup and whisk until smooth.
  13. Use this glaze for the mini donuts and also the top of the cake.
  14. To Assemble the Cake:
  15. Place one layer of the cake on a cake board that is 6 inches or larger.
  16. With an offset spatula, spread 1/2 cup of the coffee frosting on top of the first layer.
  17. Repeat this process with the second layer, spreading another 1/2 cup of the frosting on top.
  18. Place the 3rd layer on top.
  19. Place the cake on a turntable, and apply a thin layer of the frosting on the sides and the top of the cake to lock in the crumbs.
  20. Let the frosting set up in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
  21. Apply the remainder of the frosting to the sides and top of the cake.
  22. Slowly pour the remainder of the glaze on top a little bit at a time until it runs down the sides (you probably won't use all of it) and use an offset spatula to smooth out the top. If the glaze has hardened, warm it up in the microwave at 50% power in 10 second intervals.
  23. Top with sprinkles.
  24. Place the donuts around the bottom part of the cake. If they don't stick to the frosting, use a little bit of glaze to stick them onto the cake.
  25. Serve at room temperature
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Recipe inspired by Sprinkle Bakes
Coffee Swiss Meringue Buttercream adapted from Bravetart

Momofuku Inspired Chocolate Stout, Pretzel, and Marshmallow Cake

Momofuku Stout Cake-11

My 2nd birthday cake comes to you almost a month after my actual birthday and barely in time for St. Patrick’s day (even though it’s St. Patty’s inspired). I wish I could say I was just too busy to make it in a timely manner, but really, it was put off due to sheer intimidation. This year, I really wanted one of my birthday cakes to be a Momofuku Milk Bar cake. At first, I toyed with the idea of ordering one online. I couldn’t decide on a flavor, so I was going to pretend that I had an upcoming wedding (even though I got married last year) and order the sampler pack. Slightly pathetic, I know, but my idea of a good birthday is eating an entire sampler pack of Momofuku cake in my pajamas while watching cheesy 90’s movies on Netflix. Hawt.
In the end though, I just couldn’t justify paying a shipping cost that was significantly more than the actual cake, so I figured it was time to put on my big girl pants and make one. I will say that once I assembled all of the ingredients and equipment, it was not as difficult as I made it out to be in my head. Time consuming, yes, but not so hard. I also think that making this cake would have been a lot less stressful had I not tried to do everything in a 24 hour period. I would actually recommend spacing it out over 5-7 days if you can, since a lot of it can be made in advance. I would also recommend reading through the entire recipe and familiarizing yourself with the process before you start making this cake.

Momofuku Stout Cake
Momofuku Stout Cake

After browsing the website, I decided on making the Salted Pretzel Cake because I love the idea of beer in a cake. I just recently discovered that I like beer, but only if it’s a darker beer that tastes like chocolate (such as this one). After checking out the Momofuku Milk Bar Cookbook from the library, I realized that other than the Pretzel Crunch, the rest of the Salted Pretzel Cake wasn’t in there. I was able to find the cake recipe online, but some of the instructions weren’t clear (or in weight measurements like the cookbook). For example, the recipe states that 3 cups of mini pretzels should be ground down into a powder, but should you measure the pretzels before or after you crush them? It’s a pretty big difference, since 3 cups of mini pretzels is only about 1 cup after it’s ground. There was no stout ganache recipe, but I found one online, and I replaced the burnt honey frosting with a charred marshmallow frosting (inspired by Momofuku’s Malted Chocolate Cake). In the end, I used my best judgement and was happy with the result. I’ve also included a few step by step photos at the bottom of this post as well. Please excuse the awkward lighting and non-prettiness since some were quickly snapped on my iPhone.

Here are the the components of the cake:

The Salted Pretzel Cake: This can be made up to 5 days in advance is kept wrapped in plastic in the fridge. I recommend making it at least a day in advance since it is easier to work with if you refrigerate it overnight.
The Stout Beer Soak: Just go buy your favorite stout beer. I used Samuel Smith’s Organic Chocolate Stout.
The Malted Chocolate Pretzel Crunch: These can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for a week or refrigerated for up to one month.
The Stout Ganache: Can be made a week in advance and kept in the fridge. You’ll need to rewarm it in order to spread it over the cake.
The Charred Marshmallow Frosting: This needs to be made and used immediately.

There’s also the equipment. You’ll need:

A quarter sheet pan. I used the 9×13 pan I had and got away with it. It’s a little smaller than a quarter sheet pan and required me to piece a few more scraps together.
A 6-inch cake ring. I used a 6-inch cheesecake pan with a removable bottom that I already had and it worked just fine. A springform pan would work too, but I wouldn’t recommend a regular 6-inch cake pan or anything with a closed, non removable bottom.
Two 3×20-inch strips of acetate. I was able to get 2.5×20-inch strips at my local cake supply store and they worked well. You can also find larger sheets on amazon and cut them down to size.

Momofuku Inspired Chocolate Stout, Pretzel, and Marshmallow Cake

Yield: One 6-inch round cake

Ingredients

    For the Pretzel Cake:
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick, 113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups (250 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup (120 grams) grapeseed oil
  • 3/4 cups (85 grams) cake flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 cups (150 grams) unsalted pretzels, ground down into a powder (this ended up being about 1 cup of pretzel powder)
  • Your favorite stout beer for soaking the cake.
  • For the Malted Chocolate Pretzel Crumbs:
  • 2 cups (100 grams) unsalted mini pretzels
  • 1/4 cup packed (60 grams) light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons malted milk powder
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 7 tablespoons (100 grams) melted unsalted butter
  • For the Stout Ganache:
  • 1 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate (170 grams)
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) stout beer
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) heavy cream
  • For the Charred Marshmallow Frosting:
  • 1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons, 170 grams) unsalted butter, softened but still cool
  • 3/4 cup (85 grams) powdered sugar
  • 10 ounces (283 grams) mini marshmallows, divided

Instructions

    For the Pretzel Cake:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit and line the quarter sheet pan with parchment paper (make sure you cover the sides as well).
  2. With an electric mixer, beat the butter, molasses, and sugars together on medium high for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs, and mix on medium high for an additional 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. On low speed, stream in the buttermilk and oil.
  5. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and beat for 4 to 6 more minutes, until the mixture is lighter in color and homogenous. Don’t rush this process.
  6. Scrape down the sides on the bowl and stir in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and the ground down pretzels until just combined.
  7. Bake the cake for 30 to 35 minutes. Check the cake at 30 minutes. If the center is still jiggly and underdone, bake for an additional 3-5 minutes.
  8. Cool the cake completely on a wire rack. I recommend wrapping it in plastic and refrigerating it overnight before assembling the cake.
  9. For the Malted Chocolate Pretzel Crumbs:
  10. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees fahrenheit.
  11. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
  12. Place the pretzels in a food processor and pulse until you get small bits (stop pulsing before it gets powdery). You can also break them up by hand.
  13. Stir the crushed pretzels, brown sugar, granulated sugar, malted milk powder, cocoa power, and salt in a bowl.
  14. Add the melted butter and stir to combine.
  15. Spread the mixture on the sheet pan and bake for 20 minutes.
  16. Cool completely before using.
  17. For the Stout Ganache:
  18. Place the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl.
  19. In a small sauce pan, combine the cream and beer and heat until it just starts to boil.
  20. Pour the beer/cream over the chocolate and let stand for 5 minutes.
  21. Whisk until smooth.
  22. Let cool until the ganache reaches a spreadable consistency. You can speed up the process by refrigerating it for about 15 minutes.
  23. For the Charred Marshmallow Frosting:
  24. With an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth.
  25. Add the powdered sugar and beat on low to combine.
  26. Take a handful of marshmallows and set them aside for later. You'll use these to top the cake.
  27. Place the remainder of the marshmallows on a parchment lined baking sheet and put them in the oven on broil. Toast them to your preferred level of doneness. I like them past the point of toasted until they are slightly burnt.
  28. Scrape the marshmallows immediately into the bowl with the butter and sugar and beat on medium to combine. At this point, it will look like a soupy gloomy mess but that's ok. Set it aside for about 15-20 minutes and it will thicken slightly to the point of being spreadable and will set up completely in the freezer.
  29. To Assemble the Cake:
  30. Once you take the cake out of the fridge, use the cake ring to stamp out 2 6-inch circles. These will be the top 2 layers of your cake. The remaining scraps will make the bottom layer.
  31. Line a sheet pan with parchment and place the cake ring in the center (if you used a cheesecake pan with a removable bottom, you don't don't need to place it onto a separate pan).
  32. Place the first strip of acetate inside the cake ring.
  33. Place the cake scraps inside the cake ring and use you hand to gently press the cake into the bottom layer.
  34. Dunk your pastry brush into the beer and give the bottom layer a good healthy soak.
  35. Spread 1/2 of the ganache onto the first layer of cake.
  36. Cover the ganache layer with about 1/3 of the pretzel crunch and press it gently into the ganache.
  37. Spread the 1/3 of the marshmallow frosting over the pretzel crunch.
  38. Before you start the second layer, gently tuck the second strip of acetate between the cake ring and the top ¼ inch of the first strip of acetate. It should be sticking out enough to support the next 2 layers (see picture below).
  39. Then, place the second layer on top of the marshmallow frosting, top with the remainder of the ganache, another 1/3 of pretzel crunch, and another 1/3 of marshmallow frosting.
  40. Place the las layer of cake on top and spread the remainder of the marshmallow frosting on top.
  41. Top the cake with the remainder of pretzel crunch and put it in the freezer for at least 12 hours.
  42. Remove the cake from the freezer and slide it out of the cake ring (or cheesecake pan).
  43. Place the rest of the marshmallows on top and toast them with a blowtorch (or toast them under the broiler and put them on top).
  44. Let the cake defrost in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.
  45. Slice, serve with stout beer, and enjoy!
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After you cut out two circles with the cake ring, line the inside of the cake ring with one strip of acetate. Use the leftover cake scraps to form the bottom layer. You can use you hand to gently press the cake scraps down and a pastry brush to soak the bottom layer with stout.
Momofuku Stout Cake
Spread 1/2 of the ganache on the bottom cake layer.
Momofuku Stout Cake
Cover the ganache with pretzel crunch. You can use up to 1/3 of it (I used a little less) and press it gently into the ganache).
Momofuku Stout Cake
Spread 1/3 of the charred marshmallow frosting over the pretzel crunch.
Momofuku Stout Cake
Before you start the second layer, tuck the second strip of acetate between the cake ring and the top 1/4 inch of the first strip of acetate. It should be sticking out of the cake ring high enough to support the next two layers. Then, repeat the process with the 2nd layer: the remainder of the ganache, 1/3 of the pretzel crunch, and another 1/3 of marshmallow frosting.
Momofuku Stout Cake
Place the last layer on top and spread the remainder of the marshmallow frosting on top.
Momofuku Stout Cake
Gently press the remainder of the pretzel crunch on top and put the cake in the freezer overnight (at least 12 hours).
Momofuku Stout Cake
After the cake has set in the freezer, pop it out of the cake ring. Since I used a cheesecake pan, I pushed the base from the bottom up and it slid right out. Peel of the first strip of acetate.
Momofuku Stout Cake
Then the second…
Momofuku Stout Cake
And voila! Let it defrost in the fridge for at least 3 hours and serve with chocolate stout.
Momofuku Stout Cake
Eat cake!
Momofuku Stout Cake
This cake will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Cake recipe adapted from the Momofuku website.
Pretzel Crunch recipe adapted from the Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook.
Stout Ganache recipe adapted from The Beeroness
Charred Marshmallow Frosting adapted from Cookies and Cups

Chocolate Overload Cake

Chocolate Overload Cake

I had a super cool Valentine’s day cake planned for you this year. Truly I did. It looked really beautiful in my head, but in real life, it was a fail. Twice. And by fail, I mean it involved me huddled in the corner of my kitchen with flour covered yoga pants and frosting in my hair. So I ended up totally bah-humbugging my V-Day dessert this year because I just needed to few days to regroup before bringing you a new version of this cake and sharing some final thoughts on my month long vegan challenge. And it’s just in time for my birthday!

Chocolate Overload Cake
Chocolate Overload Cake
Chocolate Overload Cake
Chocolate Overload Cake

Even though I completed my vegan month last week, I still find myself eating mostly vegan because I’ve noticed that I just feel better, lighter, and more energetic. I almost wish this weren’t true so I could just go back to eating a crap ton of cheese and butter. While I’m not ready to switch to a completely vegan lifestyle, this challenge has definitely changed the way I think about food in terms of health, environmental impact, and animal welfare issues. Essentially, I’m just trying to sneak more chocolate into my diet while pretending to save the world. But really, I do want to continue to eat mostly vegan, perhaps by way of the “vegan before 6″ diet or maybe be a weekday vegan. I’m not sure yet, but I’d love to hear your thoughts if you have tried anything similar.

The funny thing is that I grew up eating mostly vegan food, but I just never noticed it. My parents are from a part of India where meat or eggs just aren’t a part of the menu. The only time I noticed it was when I wanted to bake cakes for friends or relatives and I felt at a loss without eggs.

Since then, I think I’ve tried every recipe for vegan and/or eggless chocolate cake out there, and the one from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World is always what I go back to. You can use soy milk, rice milk, or almond milk, and it works equally well with natural or Dutch process cocoa powder. I’ve even tried replacing 1/2 cup of the milk with espresso or coffee and I like it even better. I wish that my teenage self had this recipe when trying to make birthday cakes for my grandmother, because it would have saved my family from eating the glue like substance that came out of the oven and pretending to enjoy it for many years.

This recipe makes a 3 layer 6-inch cake, but if you’re not into tall cakes, the PPK recipe makes a 1 layer 8-inch cake. The frosting is made out of coconut cream, which I found at Trader Joe’s (and is a available at most asian grocery stores). You get twice as much cream as a can of regular coconut milk and don’t have to worry about the cream and the water not separating properly. If you can’t find coconut cream, you can use 2 cans of full fat coconut milk and get about the same amount of hardened cream after you refrigerate it for 24 hours.

I have a way of overcomplicating cakes by adding a lot of stuff (hence the overload), but you can simplify it by spreading the frosting in between the layers and serving it without the ganache, mix-ins, or chocolate curls and it would still be delicious. That was my original plan, but then I went crazy with chocolate because eeets mah birthday!

Chocolate Overload Cake

Yield: One 3 layer 6-inch cake

Ingredients

    For the Chocolate Cake:
  • 1 1/2 cups (360 ml) non-dairy milk
  • 1 teaspoon white or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup (200 grams) unbleached granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) vegetable oil, grape seed oil, or canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups (190 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (60 grams) cocoa powder (regular or Dutch process)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • For the Chocolate Frosting:
  • 1 14 ounce can coconut cream, refrigerated overnight
  • 1/2 cup (60 grams) powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Dutch process (or natural) cocoa powder
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
  • Optional mix-ins: 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips and/or cacao nibs
  • For the Chocolate Glaze:
  • 4 ounces (113 grams) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup, 120 ml)) coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup (optional)
  • For the Chocolate Curls:
  • 4 ounces (113 grams) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil or vegetable shortening

Instructions

    For the Chocolate Cake:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
  2. Grease and line 3 6-inch cake pans with parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the non-dairy milk and vinegar and set aside for a few minutes to curdle.
  4. Add the sugar, oil, and vanilla extract and whisk until foamy.
  5. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda baking powder, and salt.
  6. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and stir until just combined.
  7. Divide the batter between the cake pans and bake for 20-23 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  8. Cool the pans on wire racks for 15 minutes.
  9. Turn the cakes out onto the rack and cool completely before frosting.
  10. For the Chocolate Frosting:
  11. Open the can of coconut cream and pour off any water that has separated from the cream.
  12. Put the hardened coconut cream in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth.
  13. Add the powdered sugar and cocoa powder and beat to combine.
  14. Add the melted chocolate and beat until combined (don't over mix).
  15. For the Chocolate Glaze:
  16. Put the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl.
  17. In a small saucepan, heat the coconut milk until it is just about to boil.
  18. Pour the heated coconut milk over the chopped chocolate and let stand for a few minutes.
  19. Add the maple syrup and whisk until smooth.
  20. You can omit the maple syrup. It just gives the ganache a shiny look (which you can't tell from the picture because the cake was just taken out of the fridge).
  21. For the Chocolate Curls:
  22. In a heatproof bowl, melt the chocolate and coconut oil in the microwave in 30 second intervals on 50 percent power.
  23. Stir in between each interval until smooth.
  24. Using an offset spatula, spread the mixture into a thin, even layer onto a cookie sheet.
  25. Refrigerate for 10-15 minutes until the chocolate has set.
  26. Remove the cookie sheet from the refrigerator and use the end of a spatula and push the chocolate away from you to form the curls. If the chocolate flakes, it's too hard and will need to sit at room temperature for a minute or two before you start curling. If it comes off the cookie sheet easily and doesn't curl, it's too soft and will need to set in the fridge longer.
  27. Refrigerate the curls until you are ready to use them.
  28. To Assemble the Cake:
  29. If you plan to frost the outside of the cake, set aside about 1/4 of the frosting for the outside of the cake and mix the chocolate chips and cacao nibs into the remainder of the frosting.
  30. Place the one layer of the cake on a 6-inch cake board.
  31. Spread 1/2 of the frosting onto the first layer.
  32. Do the same with the second layer.
  33. Place the 3rd layer on top and use the frosting that you set aside to lightly frost the top and sides of the cake.
  34. Let the chocolate glaze cool slightly and pour in slowly over the top of the cake until it starts to drip down the sides. You may not use all of it depending on how much coverage you want.
  35. Place the chocolate curls on top of the cake.
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Chocolate cake recipe adapted from ppk.com and Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World