Devil’s Food Cake with Angel Frosting

I made this cake for my friend’s 23rd birthday party. I adapted the recipe from Baked Explorations.

Ingredients
For the Devil’s Food Cake

1 ounce good quality dark chocolate (60-72%) broken into a few pieces
1/2 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder (like Valhrona)
2/3 cup hot coffee
1/3 cup whole milk
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (1 1/14 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes, softened
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Angel Frosting
5 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla paste (or 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract)

Make the Devil’s Food Cake

Preheat the oven to 325 F.  Butter two 8 inch round cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment paper, and butter the parchment.  Dust the parchment with flour and knock out the excess flour.

Place the chocolate and cocoa powder in a medium heatproof bowl.  Pour the hot coffee directly over them and whisk until combined.

In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugars on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, then add the vanilla and beat until incorporated.  Scrape down the bowl and mix again for 30 seconds.

Add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with chocolate mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.

Divide the batter into the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake for 35-40 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.  Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let cool for 45 minutes.  Turn the cakes out onto the rack and let them cool completely.  Remove the parchment.

Make the Angel Frosting

Place the egg whites in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Set aside.

In a medium saucepan over low heat, stir together 1 1/4 cups of the sugar, the corn syrup, and 1/4 cup water.  Once the sugar is dissolved, increase the heat to medium high, and clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pot.  Heat the mixture, without stirring, to almost soft ball stage ( about 235 degrees F) do not let it go above 235 degrees F.

While you wait for the syrup to reach soft ball stage, whip the egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form-do not beat beyond this.

As soon as the sugar mixture reaches the soft-ball stage, remove the pan from the heat.

Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup sugar over the soft peaks of the egg whites and turn the mixer to low.  Slowly stream in the hot sugar syrup.  Once all the syrup has been added, increase the speed to medium high and beat the icing for about 7 minutes until it is thick and shiny. Add the vanilla and beat again for 10 seconds.

To Assemble the Devil’s Food Cake

Place one cake layer on a serving platter.  trim the top to create a flat surface and evenly spread about 1 cup frosting on top.  Place the next layer on top, then trim and frost it in the same way.  Frost the sides of the cake with the remaining frosting.  Serve immediately.

I added a ring fresh rasberries around the top of the cake.

Angel frosting tastes best if it is served within 4hours of being made.

 

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Black & White Cookies (from Baked Explorations)

Black & White cookies are an essential New York cookie that are popularly served in New York delis. I got this recipe from Baked Explorations.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 14 tablespoons (1¾ sticks) unsalted butter, cool but not cold
  • 1¼ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 3¾ cups confectioners sugar
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons dark unsweetened cocoa powder (like Valrhona)

Directions:

To make the cookies:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, halting powder, and salt.
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and add the eggs and egg yolk one at a time, beating briefly after each addition. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl again, and mix on low speed for 10 seconds. Add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the buttermilk in two parts (end with the flour mixture). Scrape down the bowl; add the vanilla and lemon zest, and mix on low speed for a few more seconds.
Using a ¼-cup ice cream scoop, drop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 8 inches around each cookie. (You’ll be able to fit about 6 cookies onto each sheet.)
Bake the cookies for about 17 minutes, rotating the sheets between the oven racks halfway through the baking time, until edges are golden brown and the tops spring back when gently touched. Place the baking sheets on wire racks to cool for 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to the racks to cool completely.
To make the Black and White Frosting:
In a large bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, milk, cream, and vanilla. If the mixture is too thick, add milk by the teaspoon until the desired consistency is reached. Pour half of the frosting (about ¾ cup) into a separate bowl and add the cocoa powder and 1 teaspoon water. Stir to incorporate the cocoa powder. The chocolate frosting should be about the same consistency as the “white” frosting. If it is too thick, keep adding water by the teaspoon until you get the right balance.
Use an offset spatula to spread white frosting on half of the flat side of each cookie. Let stand until almost set, about 20 minutes. Clean the spatula and use it to spread chocolate frosting over the unfrosted half of each cookie. (If the frosting thickens up while you are working, whisk it until it loosens.) Let the frosted cookies set completely, about 1 hour, before serving them.
Bakers Note: Black and White Cookies are essentially little cakes, and they taste best eaten the day they are made. However, you can store them in an airtight container for up to 3 days at room temperature.

Spaghetii Aglio E Olio with Chicken and Broccoli

Ingredients:
  • 1 pound of Spaghetti (although we used Fettuccine because that’s all we had on hand)
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 large heads of Broccoli, cut into
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • ¼ cooking water
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • Parmesan cheese
  1. In a bowl, mix together flour and a generous portion of black pepper
  2. Dredge cut up chicken pieces in flour and pepper mixture.
  3. Melt a tablespoon of butter with a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet
  4. Add chicken
  5. Meanwhile, blanch broccoli in salted boiling water for 5 minutes. Save this water, you will use it for boiling the pasta.
  6. When broccoli is done, remove from boiling water
  7. Remove the stems and chop the stems, keep the heads of the broccoli whole.
  8. Add pasta (we used linguine but generally prefer angel hair)
  9. In the skillet, once chicken is cooked through, add the sliced onion and cook until soft.
  10. Add 1/2 cup of olive oil and garlic to the chicken mixture
  11. Toss chopped broccoli stems and heads into the oil and garlic mixture.
  12. Simmer while pasta cooks. Add 3/4 cup of pasta water if needed to make more of a sauce.
  13. Add red pepper flakes if you want to add heat to the dish
  14. Drain the pasta and add to the skillet with broccoli and chicken mixture.
  15. Toss with grated Parmesan or Romano cheese.

Spicy Sausage and Kale Pasta

Ingredients:
  • 1 lb. Hot Italian Sausage
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, cut into thin slices
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 3 large leaves of kale, torn
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 lb. Whole Wheat Penne Pasta (or any kind you have on hand)
  • Parmesan Cheese
  1. Boil water and cook pasta according to package instructions.
  2.   Heat olive oil in a pan and add sausage, breaking up to crumble. Cook until browned and cooked through.
  3. Add onions and garlic and cook until they are soft and translucent.
  4. Add kale, and tomatoes and cook until vegetables are soft and kale has wilted.
  5. Add white wine and simmer until it starts to evaporate.
  6.  Toss pasta with sauce, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and enjoy!

Easy Spaghetti Squash with Pesto

This is a healthy and delicious alternative to pasta.
Ingredients:
  • 1 Spaghetti Squash 
  • Package of store-bought pesto
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Torn pieces of basil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

1. With a sharp knife, puncture squash in at least 5 places. Make sure the holes are open so that the squash doesn’t explode in the microwave
2. Place squash on two pieces of paper towel and microwave on high for 12-15 minutes. Rotate the squash 3 or 4 times throughout cooking. You’ll know when the squash is done when you press it and it gives slightly.
3. Let stand for 5 minutes to cool.
4. Cut squash in half lengthwise and discard seeds. Using a fork, remove flesh from the shell (it will come out in spaghetti like strands). Salt and pepper to taste.
5. Mix spaghetti squash with store-bought pesto, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and torn basil pieces and serve.

 

Dad’s Famous Stuffing Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 bags of stuffing (we used Pepperidge Farm herb flavored stuffing)
  • 2 packages (equivalent to 2 lbs) of Jimmy Dean sage-flavored pork sausage
  • 6 celery stalks
  • 6 carrot sticks
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 and half cup chicken stock
Directions:
  1. Pour stuffing into a large bowl. Chop onion, garlic, carrots, and celery and pulse in food processor until minced.
  2. Fry pork sausage in skillet, breaking it up so that it is crumbled. Once cooked through, add cooked sausage to the stuffing bowl.
  3. Cook minced carrot, celery, onion, and garlic mixture in the skillet with the sausage fat until soft. Add to stuffing and sausage mix in the large bowl.
  4. Beat 2 eggs and add to stuffing mix. Pour chicken stock over mix and stir to combine all ingredients.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees covered with tin foil for half an hour and uncovered for the lat 45 minutes. When uncovering, add some more chicken stock or some broth from the bottom of your turkey pan.