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Posts Tagged ‘Chocolate Cherry Cake’

Hi, welcome back.  Week 2 of Holiday Baking Championship Challenge is in the bag!  If you’re new to my blog, I am baking along to the Holiday Baking Championship on Food Network and blogging all my successes and failures.  And believe me, I’ve experienced both.  So that being said, let’s get into it!

Week 2 started with the bakers teaming up and making four pies in the same sheet pan in two hours.  That’s all well and good, but I don’t know of anyone else baking along to these challenges.  If YOU are, please comment because I’d love to follow you!  My boyfriend offered to be on my team.  And it’s not that I didn’t appreciate that (he bought store made pie dough two years ago), but I thought the better choice might be the woman who taught me how to bake . . . Mom!

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Mom came over and I showed her the lay of the land (kitchen).  Time was going to fly so I needed her to know where everything was.  After a quick pow wow, we got to work.

I started with the pie dough and used a recipe that my grandma got from her house cleaner.  It uses vodka and LOTS of butter, in my opinion.  But we’re not counting our calories on this one.  While I was whizzing it all in the food processor, Mom worked on the pies that needed to be baked.  You see, I thought it would be nice to have two baked pies and two “nonbaked” pies, but I didn’t want any dividers (pie dough) separating them.  So once the dough was made, I rolled it out onto the sheet pan and carefully put nonstick foil with pie weights in the center where the custard/cream pies would go.  If all goes to plan, the dough in the center would blind bake while the other two pies baked through.

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Mom was fast! She cut up the apples and heated them on the stove with some cinnamon, sugar, lemon zest, and butter.  Then she made our family’s traditional pie, the oh-so-beloved derby.  She got started on the butterscotch before I finished getting the dough all set.

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When the sheet pan was meticulously laid out with dough, foil, and pie weights, I poured the derby and apple pies in their respective places and got it baking.  This was probably about 40 minutes in.  I wasn’t worried about time since the sheet pie was shorter and longer and would bake much quicker than your typical round pie pan.

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I got started on the chocolate cream pie while Mom finished up the butterscotch.  It was a little challenging because we took most of our recipes and cut them in 1/2 or 1/3 mentally.  I had to keep reminding myself that so I didn’t screw up the measurements.  Mom kept busy and washed some dishes and the counters, which was super helpful.

The butterscotch and chocolate cream went into separate metal bowls and placed in the freezer as quickly as possible.  I cut the letters “ABCD” out of pie dough.  (Get it? Apple, Butterscotch, Chocolate Cream, Derby).  The pie came out of the oven with about 35 minutes left on the clock and the letters went in for a quick bake.  I had to scrape off a little of the derby pie which seeped underneath the foil, then I crammed the sheet pie into our spare freezer causing some of the crust to break slightly due to the tight fit.

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Okay, checklist time.  Everything is cooling down.  The dough letters were done and put in the refrigerator.  The only things left to make were the meringue and whipped cream, which we would pipe onto the butterscotch and chocolate cream in the last 5 minutes.  Mom made the meringue and I took care of the whipped cream.  We decided with about 12 minutes left on the clock, ready or not, the sheet pie came out.

Phew!  It had cooled down enough and the custard/cream was cold enough to hold shape and not melt the toppings.  I spooned the B and C pies into place and started piping.  Meringue needed to go on first so it could get torched without melting the whipped cream.  Mom did the torching which left me 3 minutes on the clock to pipe the whipped cream.  I did it in 1 minute, placed the letters over each section, and we congratulated each other on finishing with 60 seconds to spare.  Felt nice to finish early!

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Holy smokes!  That sheet pie was delicious!  One long slice and you get all 4 pies. The crust was flaky and fantastic.  I joked with the family that if the pie didn’t taste good, Mom made 3 of the 4 fillings.  But we didn’t have to worry about that, she’s still got IT!

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While the preheat was a great team effort, it was back to flying solo for the main challenge: two hours to make a stuffed cake.  I wrote “apple, pear, blood orange, and cherry” on index cards and had my boyfriend randomly choose one.  Winner was . . . cherry!

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Here’s the deal.  I don’t particularly like chocolate with my fruit.  It must be a family thing cause neither does my mom or sister.  But putting my feelings aside, I decided to stuff the cherries into a chocolate cake.  Wouldn’t exactly be a black forest cake, but along those lines.

I got started on the cake first, using a favorite chocolate cake recipe but adding an extra egg in hopes of making it slightly more dense to hold up the filling.  I have this nifty little cake pan where you put another rounded pan on top and it bakes with an indentation for filling.  I’ve actually never used it before, but now was the time!

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When that was in the oven, I got out another little nifty thing I’ve never used before, a chocolate temperer attachment bowl for the Kitchenaid mixer.  I read the quick start guide and threw some semisweet chocolate in the bowl to temper.

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While that was doing it’s thing, I put some frozen cherries, sugar, and brandy in a saucepan to cook.  When it cooked down a bit, I added a little cornstarch to thicken the mixture then threw it in the freezer to cool down.

There was about 45 minutes left on the clock when the chocolate was in temper and ready to pipe out in the shape of trees.  I wanted to create a forest scene with 2D and 3D trees standing on the base of the cake which was slightly wider than the dome.  I added some chopped mint to the chocolate (the challenge twist) and it seized.  Really didn’t have time to restart the whole process, so I set the machine at a higher temperature hoping to fix the problem and then bring it back in temper.

The cake was done so I inverted it on a baking rack to cool.  Mistake #1.  The dome that was created started to fall apart.  As gently as I could, I put it back into the mold, pressing it into certain places, and stuck it in the freezer.  It needed all the time it could get to cool down.  I decided I could assemble everything with about 15 minutes left so there it stayed and I shifted my focus on the frosting.

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I made a white chocolate ganache and used a hand mixer to whip it up with some extra milk.  It didn’t quite have the fluffy effect I was going for.  Nothing seemed to be going my way.  But to my surprise, the chocolate being tempered looked glossy again.  I quickly put that in a piping back and piped some 2D trees out onto wax paper.  The ticking time took away my chance to make 3D trees.

Ready or not (I feel this in every challenge), time to assemble.  I grabbed the cake out of the freezer and put the base on a wooden cutting board.  Then I put the cherry filling in the domed cake and inverted it on top of the base.  When I started spreading the white chocolate ganache on top, Mistake #2, the cake started crumbling into it.  This would definitely not resemble a winter wonderland!  I had no choice but to make more whipped cream.  It’s what is used in an actual black forest cake so I consoled myself with that fact.  But I really didn’t want to make whipped cream again.  I am not a one-trick pony!

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Well, it worked.  It covered what had become the crumb-coat and was a nice, bright white.  I had about 50 seconds left on the clock at this point.  Frantic, I placed the mint chocolate trees around the side and leaned a few against each other on top, threw 3 cherries on top to show what fruit was picked, and threw my hands up in the air, mainly out of frustration.  Time reminded me that it is not my friend.

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So obviously, I wasn’t too thrilled with the overall look of the finished cake.  I had envisioned so much more.  But cutting into it, seeing the filling and everything holding up, taking a bite of the chocolate cake with the sweet, juicy cherries and lush white chocolate frosting; it was good.  The flavor combination was spot on.  And the chocolate tree snapped and faintly tasted of mint.  Mission accomplished.

 

 

Fool Proof Pie Dough derived from the NY Times/America’s Test Kitchen:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons sugar
12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into slices
1/2 cup shortening
1/4 cup vodka
3-4 Tbsp cold water

Process flour, salt, and sugar in food processor until combined, about 2 one-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and pulse briefly, no more than 10 times. Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add vodka and water to mixture and pulse until dough is slightly tacky, about 5 times.  Turn out dough, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour or longer.

 

Derby Pie

1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
3/4 cup flour
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup light corn syrup
5 3/4 oz evaporated milk
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 325F.

Sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over a 9-inch unbaked pie crust.

In a mixing bowl, combine flour and sugar.  Whisk in the butter, corn syrup, and evaporated milk.  Beat eggs and whisk into flour/sugar mixture until smooth.  Mix in vanilla.  Slowly pour mixture over the chocolate chips, pushing down any chocolate chips that rise to the top.  Bake for 45-60 minutes until set.

 

Open Faced Apple Pie

8 apples, cored, peeled, and sliced or chopped
3 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
zest of 1/2 lemon
1 Tbsp corn starch
2 Tbsp butter

Preheat oven to 350F

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine apples, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt, sugars, and zest.  Cook until the sugars dissolve and syrup forms.  Add the corn starch and butter and continue to cook a few more minutes until slightly thickened.  Pour over unbaked pie crust.  Bake for 45 minutes or until apples pierce easily.

 

Butterscotch Pie from AllRecipes.com

1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
4 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
3 egg yolks
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (9 inch) pie shell, baked
3 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the brown sugar, flour, and cornstarch. Mix in beaten egg yolks and milk. Cook slowly, stirring constantly.  When thick (after about 12 minutes), remove from heat. Add butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Pour the filling into the baked pie shell.

In a medium mixing bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Beat in cream of tarter, white sugar, and 1 teaspoon vanilla until stiff peaks form. Spread meringue over pie filling.  Either torch the meringue or bake in a 375F oven until meringue peaks turn a golden brown.

 

Chocolate Cream Pie

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups milk
4 egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
9-inch baked pie shell

In a saucepan, stir together sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder, and salt.  Combine egg yolks and milk and blend into sugar mixture.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil.  Stir an additional 1 minute then remove from heat.  Stir in butter, vanilla, and chocolate chips.  Mix until chips are melted.

Pour into pie shell, press plastic wrap directly on top, and refrigerate several hours until cool.  Garnish with sweetened whipped cream and mini chocolate chips.

 

Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cake

3/4 cup butter, softened
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/3 cups water
2 cups flour
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease and flour 2 8-inch cake pans.

In mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar.  Add eggs and vanilla and continue beating on high for 3 minutes.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Alternately add flour mixture and water to sugar mixture, starting and ending with the dry ingredients.

Bake 30-35 minutes until cake springs back after being pressed and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes in pans, then run knife along edges and turn out onto a cooling rack.

 

Cherry Compote

2 bags frozen cherries
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp brandy
pinch of salt
1 Tbsp cornstarch

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine cherries, sugar, brandy, and salt.  Cook for 6-8 minutes, then add cornstarch and continue cooking until mixture thickens slightly.  Chill until ready to use.

 

White Chocolate Ganache

1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 cups white chocolate chips

Heat heavy cream in saucepan until it begins to boil.  Pour over chocolate chips and stir until melted and smooth.

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