13 July 2010

Cake Tuesday: 4 Cakes Celebrating America

*** Check out the new cookbook that celebrates cakes from across America!




United Cakes of America cookbook by Warren Brown


From Denny: Most doctors and lawyers want to be somewhere else and be someone else. This lawyer, cookbook author Warren Brown, wanted to bake, and bake he did! He came up with a great idea for a book to merge his love of eating cake and studying American history.

He has recipes featured in this food video segment that hail from Wyoming, Texas, Delaware and Illinois. He has cake recipes from all 50 states, from California to Connecticut. All his recipes are simple, easy to do for the home baker.


Recipes Featured:

Coffee cake
Honey and Raspberry Cheesecake
Devil's Food Cake
Texas Sheet Cake



I especially liked his simple layered coffee cake to enjoy for a weekend breakfast or brunch. It's pretty enough to serve for guests too.

This was a Today Show segment for the Fourth of July holiday.





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Coffee cake

From: Chef Warren Brown

Makes: One 9-by-13 inch sheet cake

Ingredients:

Filling:

Light brown sugar, soft
1/4 cup superfine granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves .
Salt pinch
Ginger (optional) pinch
1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

Topping:

3/4 cup light brown sugar, soft (not packed)
1/4 cup superfine granulated sugar 2 ounces
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Salt pinch
Ginger (optional) pinch
1/2 stick unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Cake:

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream

Creaming:

1 stick unsalted butter, soft
1 1/2 cups superfine granulated sugar
3/4 cups light brown sugar, soft (not packed)
3 eggs


Directions:

Preheat the oven to 335 degrees and place the rack in the middle position. Spray a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with nonstick oil-and-starch spray.

Combine the ingredients for the filling in a bowl. Crumble them together with your fingers to break apart any clumps of brown sugar. Set aside.

Combine the ingredients for the topping in a bowl and press to combine with a fork or your fingers, or mix on low speed using a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Set aside.

Combine the dry ingredients for the cake in a bowl; combine the wet ingredients in another bowl. Set aside.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, sugar, and brown sugar and mix on low speed for about 3 minutes.

Once the butter is creamed well, add the eggs one at a time. Use a flexible spatula to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, and mix until everything is thoroughly combined.

Alternately add the dry and wet mixtures about a quarter at a time without pausing between additions. Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix on low for another 20 seconds.

Scoop half of the batter into the prepared pan, smooth it out, and sprinkle on the filling. Add the rest of the batter and smooth again. Sprinkle on the topping.

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the cake bounces back when lightly pressed and a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool the cake for 5 minutes before inverting it onto a plate and flipping it again so the streusel side is facing up. It’s also fine to serve it in the dish it’s baked in.

Serve warm or at room temperature.









Honey and Raspberry Cheesecake

From: Chef Warren Brown

Ingredients:

Graham Cracker Crust:

Graham crackers
3 tablespoons Superfine granulated sugar
3/4 stick Unsalted butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon salt

Filling:

16 ounces cream cheese
16 ounces fresh goat cheese
1/2 cup superfine granulated sugar
1 cup crystallized or raw honey
4 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup raspberry puree


Directions:

Preheat the oven to 300°F and place the rack in the middle position. Grease a 9-by-3-inch round pan and line the bottom with parchment.

Crush the graham crackers in a bowl or food processor into very fine crumbs.

Using a fork, toss all the crust ingredients in a bowl until evenly combined. Press the mixture firmly into the prepared pan.

Bake until fragrant, 10 to 12 minutes. Set aside to cool while you make the filling. Leave the oven on for the filling.

Place a roasting pan large enough to hold your cake pan in the oven and fill it about two-thirds of the way up with water.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cheeses on medium speed to break up and soften them.

Reduce the mixer to slow speed and add the sugar and honey in 2 additions each, beating until they dissolve, about 3 minutes total.

Add the eggs one at a time, allowing each to combine before adding the next.

Mix the sour cream, heavy cream, and vanilla together until smooth. Pour into the mixer slowly.

Pour the filling into the prepared crust. Drizzle up to . cup of the raspberry puree randomly on the batter and swirl it with your finger.

Gently set the cake pan in the water bath. Bake, uncovered, until the center of the cake is only slightly wobbly when the pan is shaken, about 1 hour.

Turn off the heat and leave the oven door ajar for 1 hour.

Remove the pan from the water bath and cool the cake for 4 hours, until it reaches room temperature.

Cover the cake tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, and preferably overnight. (Be sure you don’t have cut onions or garlic in the fridge—the cake will absorb the odor.)

Set the pan in warm water to loosen the cake. Run an offset spatula around the edge if necessary. Invert the cake onto a flat plate, then turn it right side up onto a decorative plate for serving. Smooth out any tears on the sides with an offset spatula. Add a cluster of raspberries to the top of the cheesecake if you like.

To make your own puree, combine 1 (10- ounce) package of frozen raspberries with 2 cups of sugar in a medium-size saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Strain the puree through a fine-mesh sieve and discard the seeds. Cool the puree completely before using.










Devil's Food Cake

From: Chef Warren Brown

Makes: One 9-inch layer cake

Ingredients:

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate (100% cocoa)
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate (60% cocoa)
1 stick and 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, very soft
1/2 cup half-and-half
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 8 ounces
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 eggs
1 1/4 cups superfine granulated sugar, divided 10 ounces
1/4 cups water


Directions:

Preheat the oven to 335 degrees and place the rack in the middle position. Line the bottoms of two 9-by-2-inch round pans with parchment.

Melt the chocolates, 1 ounce of the butter, and the half-and-half in a double boiler over steaming water. Once melted, remove the pot from the water and whisk to combine the ingredients. Set aside.

Measure the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt into a bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside. Separate the eggs and set the yolks aside.

Combine 6 ounces of the sugar and the water in a saucepan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves.

Place 4 of the egg whites in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the wire whip attachment and beat on high speed until stiff peaks form. (Discard the 2 leftover whites or reserve them for another use.)

When the sugar syrup measures 240 degrees on a candy thermometer, drizzle it slowly into the meringue while the mixer is on high speed. Whip for another 20 seconds and then remove the meringue from the bowl and set aside.

Add the reserved yolks and 2 ounces of sugar to the mixer’s bowl and whip with the wire whisk — there’s no need to clean the bowl or whip. You can even leave the cooked meringue that’s stuck inside the whip. Whip on high speed until the yolks are pale yellow, about 2 minutes.

Reduce the speed to low and add in the remaining 4 ounces of butter. The yolk base will lose volume — that’s okay.

Alternately add the dry ingredients and the melted chocolate to the mixer about a quarter at a time without pausing for the ingredients to combine. Detach the bowl from the mixer and gently fold in the cooked meringue in two stages. It will be stiff at first. Use caution not to over mix it or you will deflate the batter.

Divide the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 22 to 24 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean and the top appears dry, soft, and flat. It will give slightly to a very light touch.

Cool the cakes for about 20 minutes, then run a metal offset spatula around the rim of each and invert the cakes onto a flat surface. Cool completely.

To assemble the cake, slice each cake in half horizontally with a serrated knife to create four layers.

Spread about 1 cup of frosting between each layer with an offset spatula and stack into a four-layer cake. Then pipe on the frosting with an open star tip to cover the top and sides of the cake, or just spread it lavishly with the spatula.








Texas Sheet Cake

From: Chef Warren Brown

Ingredients:

2 cups Superfine granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups All-purpose flour
1/2 cup Cocoa powder
1 teaspoon Baking soda
3/4 teaspoon Salt
2 sticks Unsalted butter, melted
2 Eggs
1 cup Milk
1/2 cup Buttermilk
1 tablespoon Brandy
2 teaspoons Vanilla extract
Chocolate Pecan Icing
1 1/4 cups Pecans
1 stick Unsalted butter, room temperature
4 cups Confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup Cocoa powder
1/2 cup Milk
2 teaspoons Vanilla extract
Sugared Pecans
2 cups Pecans
2 tablespoons Honey
1 cup Superfine granulated sugar
2 teaspoons Vanilla extract

Baking Directions:

Preheat the oven to 335°F and place the rack in the middle position. Grease a 12-by-2-inch round pan or 9-by-13-inch baking dish.

Measure the dry ingredients into a bowl and whisk to combine.

Combine the wet ingredients in a second bowl and whisk lightly to combine.

Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir well for about 20 seconds.

Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean and the top of the cake bounces back slightly when gently pressed.

For the icing, roast the pecans on a baking sheet for 4 to 5 minutes while the cake is baking. Remove the nuts from the oven, cool to room temperature, and chop.

Combine the butter, sugar, and cocoa powder in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Begin beating on low speed and then increase to high.

Slowly add the milk and vanilla and beat well. Stop the mixer and fold in the roasted pecans by hand. Set aside.

To make the sugared pecans, combine the ingredients in a bowl and mix well with a rubber spatula.

Roast the sugared pecans on a baking sheet, while the cake is baking, until crisped and fragrant, approximately 10 minutes. Remove the nuts from the oven and cool on a heat-resistant surface before using.

Cool the cake completely before spreading the icing onto the top using a flexible spatula. (If you prefer, you can turn the cake out onto a tray, but it’s fine to leave it in the dish.) Add the sugared pecans across the top, pressing them slightly into the frosting.




United Cakes of America cookbook by Warren Brown


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