The Mad Cake Batter

sweet treats and savory deets


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Coffee Cake with Caramel Frosting

My roommate and I were throwing a joint birthday party and I was in charge of making the cake. I work up early to make it before going to work. As I was going through the motions, I noticed that the batter was a little too watery. Going against my intuition, I divided the batter into the cake pans and throw them in the oven…

crispy, flat

Crispy, flat cake rounds

Thirty minutes later, what I pulled out, was not three fluffy cake rounds, but three flat crispy things. Defeated, I had to walk away and go to work. Luckily, I had enough ingredients to make another cake after work, and enough time to make another cake before the party.

I decided to go with a different recipe which was from the Cake Blog. This time, the batter actually looked like batter. More confident, I filled the cake rounds and threw the cakes in the oven. Twenty-five minutes later, I pulled out three beautiful cakes and placed them on the wire rack to cool.

THE CAKE:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 heaping teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • ¾ cup strong, hot coffee

cake2Preheat the oven to 350F and prepare three 8-inch cake rounds. In a medium size bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, salt, and espresso powder. Set aside. In a standard mixer, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Add the sugars and mix on medium high speed until well incorporated. Reduce the speed to low, add the eggs, one at a time. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Add a third of the flour mixture and mix on low. Alternate between the milk and the flour, ending with the flour mixture. Finally, add the coffee and mix until smooth. Divide the batter and bake for about 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing the cakes from the tins.

THE COFFEE SOAK:

  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 heaping teaspoon instant espresso powder

Over medium-high heat, combine all of the ingredients in a saucepan and bring the mixture to a slight boil. Lower the heat and simmer on low for about 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool until use.

CARAMEL SAUCE:

  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

cakeIn a saucepan, stir the sugar, corn syrup and water. Over high heat, occasionally  stir the mixture until fragrant and the mixture turns an amber gold. The sugar will begin to bowl. Remove from heat and slowly, carefully add the heavy cream, stirring constantly. Add the butter and stir until melted. Add the vanilla and salt. Allow to cool completely.

THE FROSTING:

  • 6 large egg whites
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 cups unsalted butter, cubed, softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ cup caramel sauce, or to taste

In a bowl, lightly whisk the egg whites and sugar. Place the bowl over a double-boiler. Whisk constantly while the mixture reaches 160F. Transfer to a standard mixture and whisk the eggs on high until stiff peaks form and the bowl is at room temperature. Use the paddle attachment and add the butter on low speed until well incorporated. Add the vanilla and whip until smooth.

ASSEMBLY:

Level out the cakes so they are flat. Take the first layer on a cake platter and give it a healthy coat of the coffee soak. Spread a layer of buttercream before repeating the process two more times. Take the remaining frosting and cover the cake until smooth and add whatever toppings you chose. Enjoy!

 


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Birthday Layer Cake

The final cake in the trio was the Milkbar’s Birthay Layer Cake because it’s not a birthday without birthday cake. This is probably the most famous cake from the Milkbar, and almost anyone loves a good confetti cake. If Milkbar would have a mascot, I think this would be it. I have make the birthday cookie numerous times, but it finally time to make the cake.

BIRTHDAY CAKE CRUMB:

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 TBS light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 TBS rainbow sprinkles
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
  • 1 TBS vanilla extract

They suggest using a clear vanilla extract. I use the regular and don’t see much of a difference. Preheat oven to 300F. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, combine all the dry ingredients on low. Add the oil and vanilla to the mixture and mix until well incorporated. Evenly spread out the clusters on a silpat-lined baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes, checking on the crumbs occasionally and breaking them up. Be careful not to overcook the crumbs. Take them out if they start to brown and allow to cool.

cake1

BIRTHDAY CAKE

  • 4 TBS butter, room temp
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 TBS light brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup grapeseed oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup + 2 TBS rainbow sprinkles

Again, they use vegetable shortening where I prefer to use coconut oil. To each’s own. Preheat oven to 300F and have 3 6-inch cake rounds prepared with either pam spray or coconut oil and lined the bottom with parchment paper. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the butter, coconut oil, and sugars on medium-high for 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula and add the eggs. Increase speed back up to medium-high for another 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

On low speed, add the buttermilk, grapeseed oil, and vanilla. Increase speed to medium-high for 4-6 minutes. Mixture should be doubled and consistent. There should be no streaks in the mixture and scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure all ingredients are incorporated.

Add the flour, baking powder, salt, and 1/4 cup of the sprinkles. Mix on low speed for about a minute. Evenly distribute the batter between the 3 cake rounds and evenly sprinkle the remaining 2 TBS of sprinkles on the cakes. Bake for 30-35 minutes. The cake will double in size and dome in the center. Test the cake with a knife and take the cakes out if it comes out clean. Cool the cakes on a wire rack.

BIRTHDAY CAKE SOAK

  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

In a small bowl or pyrex, whisk the ingredients together.

cake2

BIRTHDAY CAKE FROSTING

  • 8 TBS butter, room temp
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 2 oz cream cheese
  • 1 TBS glucose
  • 1 TBS corn syrup
  • 1 TBS vanilla extract
  • 2-4 cups confectionary sugar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • pinch baking powder
  • pinch of citric acid

I always seem to use more confectionary sugar than they suggest (1 1/4 cup) . In the stand mixer, cream the butter, coconut oil, and cream cheese on medium-high for 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

On the lowest speed, add the glucose, corn syrup and vanilla. Increase the speed to medium-high for another 2-3 minutes until the mixture is smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the confectionary sugar (one cup at a time), baking powder and citric acid. Mix on low to for about a minute and then increase the speed to medium-high for 2-3 minutes.

 

ASSEMBLE THE CAKE

On a cardboard round, add the first cake layer in the center. With a serrated knife, level the cake and use 1 sheet of acetate to line around the cake. Give the cake a healthy layer or the cake soak and spread one-fifth of the cake frosting on the cake. Sprinkle about a third of the crumb on the frosting and anchor the crumbs using the back of your hand. Then add another layer of frosting.

Before adding the second layer of cake, using the knife again, level the cake. Then gently, add the layer to the cake. At this point, the cake should have met the top of the acetate so add a second layer around the cake. Follow the same pattern for the second layer.

For the final layer of cake, level the layer using the knife before adding it to the cake. Cover the top with the remaining frosting and garnish with the crumb. Cover the top using plastic wrap and transfer the cake to the freezer for a minimum of 12 hours to set the cake.

Remove the cake from the freezer at least 3 hours before serving. Remove the plastic wrap and acetate and let it defrost in the fridge.


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Confetti Cookies

It has been a hectic summer. I have moved into a new place and am still adjusting to the new changes. It is an old building which in this case also means, old appliances. Don’t get me wrong, this place is super charming. I love it, but I realized I was spoiled with my previous oven. My new one is much tinier and much, much hotter than my old one.

I decided to test it out on my newest baking treat. At work, we are planning a surprise Bridal Shower for my boss and I decided to make cookies. Not just any cookies, but Christina Tosi’s Milk Bar Confetti Cookies also known as “Funfetti Cookies.” I have had this book for quite some time. I have looked at all the recipes multiple times, drooling over the images, and I knew from the get-go this would be my first recipe out of this book.

The day before, I made the “Birthday Cake Crumb” which is a key ingredient in the cookies I planned on making the following night. Not sure what I was up against with my new baking environment, I just dove right in and prayed for the best. The Birthday Cake Crumb is made up of:

  • compare 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 TBS light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 TBS rainbow sprinkles
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
  • 1 TBS clear vanilla extract

Heat oven to 300F. Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl and mix until well incorporated. Add the wet ingredients and mix until the mixture creates small clusters. Spread crumbs on a parchment/silpat lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, breaking up the clusters occasionally. They should be still moist when pulling it out of the oven. Let the crumbs cool completely and keep in an airtight container at room temp for a week or in the fridge for a month.

When I placed the tray in the oven, I wasn’t thinking and put it on the bottom rack. Well, as you probably could have guessed, it burned a bit. I had some time left before I had to start getting ready for work, and I took another crack at it. This time, placed the tray on the top rack and checked the oven from time to time. The crumb looked much better. I placed it in a Mason jar and went about my day.

WARNING! The crumbs are super addicting, you need to walk away. Trust me, you will catch yourself standing there with a handful of this stuff if you are not careful!

cookiesConfetti Cookies

  • 16 TBS butter at room temp
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 TBS glucose
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp clear vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2/3 cup milk powder
  • 2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup rainbow sprinkles
  • 1/2 recipe of Birthday Cake Crumb

Combine the butter, sugar and glucose in a mixing bowl and cream on med-high for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the eggs and vanilla. Beat for 7 to 8 minutes. (The batter will be light and fluffy at this point)

Reduce mixing speed to low and add the flour, milk powder, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt and sprinkles. Mix  just until the dough comes together, no longer than 1 minute. Scrape down the sides with a spatula. Add the Birthday Cake Crumb and mix until just combined, about 30 seconds.

When placing the cookies on the parchment paper, Tosi says to use an ice cream scoop and then pat the tops of the dough dome flat. I don’t have an ice cream scoop so I just used a spoon. IMPORTANT STEP: refrigerate for at least 1 hour. DO NO PUT THE COOKIES DIRECTLY IN THE OVEN AT ROOM TEMP! They will not come out the way you want them to!cookies1

I went back and forth on whether or not, I make the cookies today or just prep and bake the following day. Remember how I said my oven was tiny, my trays are about 15″ long and per the directions, I needed about 4 inches of space between the cookies, so I could only fit 6 on a tray. I had to make them tonight. The recipe says to bake at 350 for 18 minutes. My cookies were baking within 13 minutes. I kept an eye on them and when I saw the first signs of browning on the bottom, I pulled them. I let them sit on the tray for a couple more minutes, but let them finish cooling on racks.