Welcome to the 1st edition of The Cake & Cookie Closet Newsletter. I appreciate you going on this journey with me to teach America how to “dream in sugar” and hope you’ll find the cakes or cookies featured and tips offered an important part of your baking arsenal.
This newsletter is broken into different “sides” – the cake side, cookie side, upcoming classes/events and companies I use. Since there are some people who like baking cakes and cookies, and others only interested in one of the two, I thought this would be an easier format to get to what you need quickly. Please send me an e-mail – firstname.lastname@example.org – with suggestions for other things you’d like to see in this newsletter. Happy baking and decorating! Debra
The Cake Side…
- Completely read the recipe before beginning to make it. Sometimes people place ingredient information into the recipe that is not at the top.
- All ingredients should be brought to room temperature unless noted otherwise.
- Whenever I say “butter” I mean unsalted butter. I only use unsalted butter in baking. It’s much fresher. Also, some recipes say butter or margarine. I prefer the flavor and texture of butter instead of margarine.
- I always line my cake pans with parchment circles before greasing/flouring the pan. Makes it easier to remove the cake.
- Whenever you’re using a new flavor, i.e., coconut, remember that a little goes a long way. It’s easier to add a little more than taking it out.
- Plan ahead. Give yourself time to bake your cakes without a lot of last minute stress. That’s how ingredients magically disappear. I’ve created several new recipes based on things that were left out of cakes. Supplies are too expensive to mess up your desserts.
- Two websites every cake baker should be part of – http://www.cakecentral.com/ and http://www.allrecipes.com/. Both websites feature incredible recipes and sometimes share pictures so you can see what it is supposed to look like. Check out the comments on the allrecipes site for suggestions from people who made the recipe. They sometimes suggest changes that improve the taste.
Featured Cake Recipe
5 large eggs
3-1/3 cups Softasilk cake flour
½ cup baking cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream (I’ve used buttermilk as a substitution with no problem)
¼ cup boiling water
2 teaspoons vanilla
1. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour 3 cake pans. (I’ve used 9” and 10” round cake pans lined with parchment circles, sprayed with butter/flour mixture and just spread the batter evenly between the three or you can use an angel food/tube pan. A scale works well for making sure you evenly distributing the batter between pans.)
3. Mix flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Beat in flour mixture alternatively with sour cream, beating after each addition until batter is smooth, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Stir in boiling water and vanilla. Spread into pan(s).
4. Bake 30-40 minutes in 9” or 10” cake pans or 1-1/2 hours or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan before removing to cooling rack to completely cool.
Combine water and sugar in a saucepan. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved in the water. Bring to a boil and then remove from heat. Let completely cool. Use a candy mold bottle to apply to your cake if you want to keep it super moist for a couple days. Allow the sugar syrup to be completely absorbed into the cake before applying the ganache.
1 tbsp vanilla or Grand Marnier liqueur
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2-1/3 cups confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 cup hot fudge topping
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
The Cookie Side…
Today’s spotlight tool for decorated sugar cookies is the Stitching (sometimes called “Quilting”) tool.
There’s another tool like this that makes solid lines (it has a large/small circle on either end). This stitching tool is perfect for rolling all over your fondant in different directions like the purse or in a pattern design like the shoes. I used it on my sneaker cookie as well to make the lines. It’s also perfect for making the stitch lines on hat, t-shirt or pants cookies. Use light and even pressure because if you press down too hard, you leave deep marks in your fondant. Practice before you apply it to your cookie so that you get the hang of it. Pretty soon, you’ll be embellishing everything with a few stitches!
Featured Cookie Recipe
3 cups brown sugar (packed well into measuring cup)
1/2 cup sugar
4 large eggs
5 tsp. pure vanilla extract (or you could substitute 5 tsp. Bailey's Irish Cream for a different flavor)
4 heaping cups all purpose flour (meaning that you just dip the one cup measure into the flour and then shake the excess off -- doesn't matter if the top is not completely level)
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
6 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (you would substitute milk chocolate chips if you like those better)
In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Add it slowly to the butter/sugar mixture. Add the chocolate chips and blend well.
These cakes are part of my Miniature Hats/Miniature Purses class.
All classes listed below are being taught at Cookology in the Dulles Town Center Mall, Sterling, VA between Macy*s & Dick’s Sporting Goods on the lower level. I am currently working with Bob at Little Bitt’s in Wheaton, MD to schedule classes there either later this month or in June. I sent a proposal last month to Cakes Plus in Laurel, MD with suggested classes. Note: There are no classes scheduled at Fran’s Cake & Candy in Fairfax, VA this month. Classes will resume in June.
Listed below are some of my favorite companies. When you check them out, please make sure to let them know that I sent you to them. Thank you.