Saturday, September 22, 2012

Almond Joy-Inspired Cake: Version 1

A while back, a meme was going around the blogosphere: "Things I'm Afraid To Tell You." If that's not ringing any bells for you, this was a confessional meme bloggers posted and reposted, admitting that we're not perfect and that we only share the best of ourselves online and that that practice inflates expectations to the point that it is no longer real or attainable; these pressures and expectations were just as vexing to the bloggers themselves as they were to the readers. Read more about it here; read some examples here, here, and here.

At the time, I hadn't been blogging very long and I hadn't yet experienced many of the things others described; however, it still made an impact on me. Because of it, I made the decision that mine would be a warts-and-all blog. I'd share successful projects, as well as the ones that ended badly, and the ones that were somewhere in the middle.

This is a Somewhere In The Middle post.

Almond Joy-Inspired Cake. 
(And a messy kitchen counter with failed cookies in the background, they will be a future post)

This is a 4 egg white layered cake, with coconut cream and a chocolate ganache. I used a white cake recipe from "Betty Crocker's Picture Cook Book" (circa ~1966). My Great Grandma Schottler gave it to my mom as a wedding present, who in turn gave it to me as a wedding present. It has been well used, so I have to be careful with it. What I love about this cook book is the way it's set out: a key recipe is presented that is amazing by itself, then variations of that same recipe are presented on the same page and all of those directions refer to the key recipe. It makes it really easy to play around with a recipe--especially in baking where the chemistry is important--and still end up with a tasty product because you have samples already. You can see what has been changed or added in each variation, so you have a better idea of what absolutely has to stay, as well as how other flavors may be introduced. But I digress. 

The Cake: Silver White Cake (4-Egg White) (Key Recipe)
2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour
1 1/2 cup sugar   (I substituted 3/4 cup Baking Splenda)*
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup soft shortening
2/3 cup milk plus 1/2 cup milk
1 tsp almond flavoring
4 egg whites (unbeaten)

Grease generously and flour   2 8 or 9: layer pans
1. Sift together into bowl the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
2. Add shortening, 2/3 cup milk and almond flavoring; beat 2 minutes.
3. Add remainder of milk and egg whites, 2 minutes.
4. Pour into cake pans; bake 30-35 minutes in 350ยบ oven.
5. Let cool in pans 10 minutes, then remove cakes from pans and let rest on cooling racks until completely cool.

*Note: if you use baking Splenda, double the recipe. Otherwise the pans are too big and the cakes are pale, flat and shrunken. I learned this the hard way

Coconut Cream:
2 Tbs coconut cream
4 Tbs hot water
1 cup heaving whipping cream
Powdered Sugar (to taste)

1. Beat coconut cream and hot water until they come together.
2. Add heaving whipping cream and powdered sugar, beat on highest setting until it's fluffy. Add as much or as little powdered sugar as you like.

Chocolate Ganache:
1 bag dark chocolate chips
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
2 Tbs powdered sugar

Melt chocolate in double boiler. Remove from heat, stir in heavy whipping cream and powdered sugar. 

Assemble cake:
Additional ingredients:
Shredded coconut or coconut flakes
Sliced Almonds

1. Bottom layer of cake.
2. Spread Coconut Cream onto cake, top with shredded coconut/coconut flakes
3. Top layer of cake.
4. Pour on Chocolate Ganache.
5. Top with sliced almonds.

Next time, I'll do the chocolate differently. The cake was really good as is, but the dark chocolate ganache is a bit heavy compared to the cake and coconut cream.

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