Ev requested a Black Forest Cake for his Birthday this year. I made for past Birthdays and he loved it so much he wanted another one. So now I have decided to document the preparation of this utterly delicious, decadent cake. If you can, make it when fresh Cherries are available but if not, then frozen or canned Cherries will work. This year I used dried Cherries which I reconstituted in Cherry Liqueur along with frozen Cherries. There was an excess of frozen Cherries, so I put the leftovers on top of the cake as decoration.
The ingredients you will need for a Black Forest Cake are:
1 dozen large Eggs
1/2 cup Cocoa Powder
1/2 cup Black Cocoa Powder or a total of 1 cup regular Cocoa Powder
Vanilla & Almond Extracts
1 Qt. Whipped Cream
Note: For exact measurements and complete directions please go to Black Forest Cherry Cake
First of all, gather and measure all of your ingredients. Separate the Whites from the Yolks and allow them to come to room temperature.
Prepare three 9″layer pans by spraying with a Vegetable Spray and then fitting with Parchment or Waxed Paper.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Sift together the Flour, Cocoa Powders and 1/4 cup of the Sugar.
Beat the Egg Yolks and 1/4 cup of Water with an Electric Mixer until they are thick and light colored. Gradually add the Sugar while still beating; once all the Sugar has been beaten in add the Flavorings.
Exchange the Wire Beater for the Paddle Beater. Sift the Flour Mixture over the Beaten Egg Yolks and slowly beat it in with the Paddle Beater.
Flour Mixture Blended in
Next using a clean bowl and beater use the Wire Whisk to beat the Egg Whites to a soft Peak. (Over-beating them will make the cake dry and underbeating them will cause the cake not to rise fully)
Once all the Egg Whites have been well-blended into the Chocolate Batter, pour into the prepared pans and bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of each layer comes out clean.
Set the pans to cool on a wire rack; once the layers are cool to the touch (about 15-20 minutes) invert onto the rack by placing the rack over the pan and turning over. Cool the layers completely before assembling.
While the layers are cooling, prepare the syrup, the filling and the Chantilly Creme. (This may also be done while the cakes are baking) See the link above for the recipes and directions.
Brush the cake layers with the Syrup.
Place the first layer, top side up on a serving plate and spread with the Chantilly Creme. Add half the Cherry Filling and the second layer of cake.
Repeat the process with the second layer and then add the third layer.
Use a pastry bag filled with the Chantilly Creme and drop Rosettes on the top of the Cake. If there is Creme left over, spread it on the sides of the cake.
Top each Rosette with a Cherry (if any leftover or use Maraschino Cherries or none at all, if preferred.
Refrigerate at least one hour before serving. When serving cut with a serrated knife and cut small to moderate pieces as this is a rich cake. Delicious, but rich!
Thanksgiving is right around the corner and while everyone is trying to think of ways to use the turkey leftover from the Holiday Dinner how about different ways in which to use Pumpkin. Pumpkin itself, does not taste particularly good but when you add spices and sugar and cream and eggs it turns into something wonderful. Here are a list of recipes featured in this blog that you can try for your own Thanksgiving Dinner or for Breakfast or Dessert on Thanksgiving Weekend.
When cooking or baking with Pumpkin be sure to use the Sugar Pie Variety. The larger Pumpkins do not lend themselves to baked or cooked recipes.
DOUBLE DUTY PUMPKIN WAFFLES
PUMPKIN MUFFINS made from the
Easy to do, just add a little more flour.
The Ravioli can be made with Pumpkin or Butternut Squash or any Squash of your choice. The dark leaves on top of the Ravioli are Sage.
The Pumpkin Pie in Pecan Crust looks dark, but it is actually not burned. In this case, the oven was too high and it baked at a much faster pace than it should have. Luckily I took it out before it was actually burned. Everyone loved it and it was gone by the end of dessert time.
To make the Pumpkin Pie in a Pastry Crust, use the same filling recipe as the Pie in Pecan Crust. Simply substitute a pastry crust of your choosing.
For the ultimate dessert try my pumpkin-cheesecake recipe
Apple Bread & Muffins: Use the Apple Bread Recipe to make Muffins as well as Bread
Pies: Apple Pies can be made as a Double Crust Pie or as a French Apple Tart
Apple Sauce: the Apple Sauce pictured is not a true Apple Sauce. The Apples have been juliened, not pureed. This gives more texture and flavor. This version of Apple Sauce is good as a condiment with Ice Cream, Cereal or on top of cake. To make the Sauce, peel and seed the Apples and then cut into Juiien strips. If you have a food processor, use the 6 x 6 Julienne Blade to cut them. Place Julienne Apples in a saucepan that is large enough to hold them along with Brown Sugar (minimum amount), some Water or Apple Juice and cook until the Apples give up their moisture and the resulting mixture is of the viscosity that you want. If you do a large quantity pack into sterilized canning jars and seal with caps and rings. Place in a kettle and cover with water to at least 1″ over the tops of the jars and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes. Carefully remove from the pot and turn upside down on a clean dish towel. Turning the jars upside down will insure that the lids will seal. If you use a pot with a rack inside that can be lifted out, this will be the safest way to remove the jars from the hot water. Let stand upside down until cool. Turn right side up and tighten the lids. Store in a cool dry place. Apple Sauce is great with Pork, Poultry and Seafood dishes.
Tarts: An easy way to make delicious, beautiful tarts is to have on hand some Puff Pastry Sheets. Peel and slice your Apples and then place on Puff Pastry that has been cut into a circle or square, whichever you prefer. Place the prepared Puff Pastry on a baking sheet – if you have Silpat, use that or just put the pastry on the ungreased baking sheet.
Layer the Apples on the Puff Pastry, being sure to leave about 1″ uncovered all the way around.
Sprinkle a little Sugar and Cinnamon on top of the Apples. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until the edges have puffed up to form a rim and are a nice dark golden brown.
Remove from the oven and brush the Apples with Jelly that has been heated to melt it down to make it brushable.
Once the Jelly has set up, your tarts are ready to serve.
Use your Apples for eating, baking or cooking. Have fun and enjoy!
Do you have an Apple Tree that is a mass producer? Or do you have friends with Apples that they are trying to get rid of? If the answer to either question is yes, then here is what you can do with them. If the answer is no and you need to purchase apples, you can still use the recipes below. For convenience the recipes are listed in alphabetical order.
To make the Apple Braid you will need Puff Pastry Sheets – Sliced Apples as prepared for Apple Turnovers, a Baking Sheet and a knife.
- Peel, slice and dress the Apples as for the Turnovers.
- Lay out a large sheet of Puff Pastry (alternatively use Pie Crust) on a pastry board.
- Arrange the prepared Apples down the middle of the Pastry leaving about 2 inches at either end.
- As pictured, cut the exposed pastry into 2″ strips.
- Lap each piece over the middle, working from side to side. Fold in the ends so that the Apples are completely covered.
- Transfer to a baking pan that has been covered with baking parchment or a silpat sheet.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. While the oven is heating, brush the Pastry with a beaten Egg White and then sprinkle with Demarara Sugar. (Coarse, brown Sugar)
- Bake on the lower shelf of the oven for 25 minutes or until the pastry has puffed up and is a dark golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool before transferring to a serving platter or cutting board.
- To serve, cut into pieces at least 2 inches long. Best when eaten warm and is very good with Vanilla Ice Cream or Whipped Cream.
Angel Food Cake is like it’s name implies – ‘light and heavenly’. Angel Food Cake is the perfect summer dessert. It can be eaten plain (and not make you feel too full or sugared out) or it can be topped with Strawberries and Whipped Cream or filled with Ice Cream and covered with a Baked Meringue for a faux ‘Baked Alaska’.
The main structure of an Angel Food is Egg Whites whipped full of air which in turn provides the leavening for your cake. Because it has no fat, an Angel Food Cake has fewer calories than most other shortened cakes. There are three main ingredients in Angel Food Cake – Egg Whites, Sugar & Flour. Add a little salt for balance and Vanilla for flavor and lots of air for your leavening agent.
To have your Angel Food Cake come out like it should, just follow a few important rules:
1. Separate the Egg Whites from the Yolks and make sure that not a speck of Yolk gets into the White portion. Egg Whites are mainly Protein and Egg Yolks contain a good portion of Fat. The Whites will not beat up like they should if you get even a tiny bit of yolk into them. So, when you separate your Whites from the Yolks, follow a few simple rules.
- Separate the Eggs when they are still cold from the refrigerator. There is less chance of getting the yolk into the white this way.
- Have a clean bowl for the Whites and another bowl for the Yolks. Have a second smaller bowl to separate the White into before adding to your larger bowl. This way, if some yolk gets into the white by mistake, it is only one white that you cannot use, instead of a whole bowl full of them. If you do get some yolk into the white this way, just combine the White and the Yolk and set aside for another use, such as scrambled eggs or cookies that require a whole egg.
- If you are not going to use the yolks right away, cover with a thin layer of water and then plastic wrap and refrigerate. The water will prevent the yolks from drying out. When ready to use, the water should be easy to pour off or just incorporate them into the eggs.
- Allow your Whites to come to room temperature before beating them. Cold Egg Whites will not beat up as well as the warmer ones and therefore will not be able to incorporate enough air to make a light cake.
2. Use a tube pan that is large enough to hold at least a 12 Egg White Cake. Never, ever grease the pan when making Angel Food Cake or other Sponge Cakes. The lubricant will make the batter fall down and not raise up sufficiently. The Angel Food Cake needs the ungreased walls of the pan to cling to when raising in the oven.
3. Always use Cake Flour for an Angel Food Cake. (Cake Flour is lighter than All-Purpose and will therefore give you a lighter cake. Spoon the Flour into a dry measuring cups and level off with a straight-edged spatula.
4. Sift the Flour and half the Sugar into a clean, dry mixing bowl.
5. Make sure the bowl that you are going to beat the whites into is clean and dry; any speck of grease or other residue will prevent the Whites from beating up properly.
6. Always, fold the flour into the beaten whites, DO NOT MIX – the folding process is an over and under motion. Beating will deflate the Whites and prevent the cake from raising up properly.
7. When you are ready to begin your cake preparation, lower your oven rack to the lowest setting and heat the oven to 350 degrees.
For the recipe go to angel-food-cake/. This recipe is a 12 Egg White recipe – for a taller cake increase the recipe by 1/2 – use 1 1/2 cups of Whites instead of 1 cup. Increase all the other ingredients accordingly. For the increase recipe use a 12 inch tube pan. The cake pictured in the recipe was made in a 10 inch tube pan. I prefer the large one because it make a more attractive cake.
The best and easiest way to beat your Whites if to use a ‘standing electric mixer’. A hand mixer can also be used but the standing mixer will give you the best results. As an anecdote, the very first Angel Food Cake that I made was when I was a teenager and decided to make for my Mother for Mother’s Day. We did not own an electric mixer or even a hand electric mixer. All we had was a Rotary Egg Beater and this was before they put ball bearings into the wheel. It took me so long to beat those Egg Whites that I ended up with a blister on my thumb. If we had even a wire whisk, that would have been infinitely better. But the Cake turned out fine but I don’t think I made another Angel Food until I owned an electric mixer.
Sift the Flour/Sugar mixture over the Beaten Egg Whites and use a rubber spatula to fold the dry ingredients into the Whites. Be sure and get all the dry ingredients incorporated.
Use a rubber spatula to scrape the batter from the mixing bowl to the baking pan. Level off the top and then place in the lower third of the pre-heated oven and bake for 45 minutes. The increased recipe bakes for the same time as the original one as the pan you use is larger.
There are many ways to serve Angel Food Cake – the photos below show two different ways –
At right, Angel Food Cake with Strawberries,
Vanilla Ice Cream and a Chocolate Sauce made
from Bittersweet Chocolate melted with Butter and
a little Heavy Cream, Powdered Sugar and Vanilla.
Keep it thin so it can be poured over the cake.
The photo below shows Angel Food Cake with
fresh Peaches and fresh Pitted Cherries which
have been cut in half. Add a little Whipped
Cream or just pouring Cream and you have a
delicious dessert or even breakfast.
October is ‘National Apple Month’ so I decided to look up and see how many different kinds of Apples there are. Wow, I did not expect to find the number I did – there are literally dozens and maybe hundreds – the only letter in the Alphabet that does not bear the name of an Apple is ”X”. There are numerous kinds of Apples for each and every letter, however most of us are familiar with only a small number of them.
The most common Apples are the Red and Golden Delicious, Gala, Fuji, Pippins and Granny Smith. The best for eating are the Delicious, of course and the Gala and Fuji. The best for baking are Granny Smith and Pippins. The last two are not terribly sweet and have a firm flesh which lends them well to baked goods such as pies and pastries. For cooking and Applesauce the Winesap and Gravensteins are excellent.
My favorite use for Apples is to make Pie and of course, there is nothing as American as ‘Apple Pie’. I also love Apple Turnovers made with Puff Pastry. Puff Pastry is a pain to make but you can purchase frozen Puff Pastry Sheets which work very well. You can also use Pie Crust or even Yeast Dough for your Turnovers Shells.
There are also many other ways in which we can use Apples and so I am going to explore some of them here and reference several really great recipes. The first one is for Apple Bread – what a good way to use up those Apples from your tree or even the ones you bought. You can even use Applesauce. Try the referenced recipe. This recipe makes two to three loaves, depending on the size of the pans you use. You can also make Muffins from the same recipe. If there is too much for your family to consume at one time, these loaves freeze well or you can share them with your friends. www.sylveeeskitchen.com/recipes/baked-goods/breads/apple-bread/
Apple Pie can be made in various ways – there are French Apple Pies with a streusel topping and then there are the traditional ‘American’ type Apple Pies with both a bottom and a top crust. The referenced recipe is for a French Apple Pie which always easy to make because there is only a bottom crust and you don’t have to worry about getting the top crust to fit and look beautiful. www.sylveeeskitchen.com/recipes/baked-goods/pies-pastry/
Apple Turnovers are absolutely my favorite way to go! You can eat them out of hand without utensils; they are good for Breakfasts on the Go or for snacks or Desserts. You can use Puff Pastry or Pie Crust or any of your favorite pastry doughs.
Apple Brown Betty is an old fashioned dish which can also be used for dessert or for Breakfast. There is no Pie Crust to worry about, just a cumbly topping. It is fast and easy to make and is great with Vanilla Ice Cream or Whipped Cream on top. www.sylveeeskitchen.com/recipes/deserts/apple-brown-betty/
Caramel Apples are one of my favorite ways to eat Apples. I love Apples and I love Caramel and nothing goes better together than Apples and Caramel. And since Halloween is this Month what better treat than Caramel Apples to share with the kids. This recipe is simple to make and the Apples are fun to eat. The best Apples to use for Caramel Apples are Granny Smith or Golden Delicious. Pippins are also good, but make sure that they are somewhat ripe or they will be to tart to eat, even with the Caramel. www.sylveeeskitchen.com/recipes/halloween-recipes/caramel-apples/
Remember, October is ‘National Apple Month’ and there is no better time to buy and eat Apples than now. Even better is if you can pick your own, either from your own trees or nearby orchards. Play around and experiment – Apples are a wondrous fruit and don’t forget ‘An Apple A Day Keeps the Doctor Away’. Try a different Apple Recipe for the Month of October – ‘National Apple Month’. And another reason for eating and using them now is that later on, the Apples you buy will all have been in cold storage which makes them mealy and less tasty. So take advantage of ‘National Apple Month.
This time I decided to make a batch of Ricotta using Rennet Tablets. It was my understanding that a quarter of a Rennet Tablet would be sufficient to curdle two quarts of milk. Unfortunately, this did not happen. When I used the Lemon Juice the heated Milk curdled within about 2 minutes. With the Rennet, I cooked and stirred with the Rennet added (after the milk came to a boil) for about 10 minutes. Getting frustrated I added Lemon Juice and it still did not look curdled so I added the rest of the Rennet Tablet. It finally curdled but did not yield as much Cheese as the Lemon Juice alone did and it was much looser and did not hold its shape. Fortunately I used the Cheese in Sweet Cheese Turnovers so the thickness did not matter as much. To add body to the Cheese I also used about half a carton of Mascarpone (thick Italian Cream Cheese). Next time I will go back to the Lemon Juice.
To make the Turnovers I placed the drained Ricotta in a medium-sized mixing bowl and added half a carton of Mascarpone, (about 4 oz.) along with 1 Egg, 2 Tablespoons Granulated Sugar (this should be to your taste) and some Vanilla. A pinch or two of ground Cinnamon may also be added if desired. Combine the mixture and refrigerate until ready to use.
For the Turnovers I used commercial Puff Pastry but you can use Pie Crust or any other type of Dough that you prefer.
Have a small bowl of cool water at hand to help seal the pastry edges along with a fork to crimp them.
Lay out the Pastry on a cutting board and cut into 6″ squares. If needed you can use a clean ruler to measure. I usually just eye-ball it. Use a long knife or Pizza Wheel. Keep your eye on the end point and you will end up cutting a straight line. If you try to guide the knife or wheel, it is likely that your pieces will end up crooked. (I learned this little trick from my Mother who used to make all our clothes – when she cut out fabric she always said, keep your eye on the place where you want to end – this will guide your hand and keep it straight) It works every time!
Arrange the squares so that they are facing you as a diamond. Place a scoop of the filling on each square. (I used a #30 food scoop – about 1 1/2 Tbsps.) The filling should be placed just below the mid-point which will give you enough room to fold over the pastry and seal the edges without the filling oozing out the sides.
Using your clean finger or a pastry brush lightly coat the edges of two adjacent sides with the water; fold over into a triangle and then crimp with the fork.
If you plan on baking the Turnovers right away preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Place the Turnovers on the lined baking sheet with at least 2 inches between each turnovers on all sides. Even though there is no leavening agent as such in Puff Pastry, the layers formed by the Butter will puff up tremendously. Once the baking pan is full brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with Turbinado Sugar. Bake in your preheated oven for 20 minutes (DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR UNTIL THE 20 MINUTES ARE UP). The Turnovers should be a golden brown when completely baked – if after 20 minutes they are still too pale then bake for another 5 minutes or until golden brown. The Baked Turnovers are the Feature Photo above.
If you plan on freezing all or part of the Turnovers before baking them you can place them as close together on the sheet that you can as long as they don’t touch each other. Once they are frozen wrap them in plastic wrap or the parchment and place in a freezer bag. You can remove and bake as many or as few at a time as you need.
Now that I had a batch of fresh homemade Ricotta Cheese the next step was to make something with it. I decided to make a batch of Cheese Blintz to serve for Sunday Brunch with fresh Strawberries. The crepes for the Blintz are easiest to work with if the Batter is made at least 1 hour ahead of time and then allowed to rest in the refrigerator. If you try to make the Crepes right after making the Batter there will be too much air in the batter for the pancakes to form properly. Now as far as I am concerned, the thinner the crepes the better, but of course you do need to have them thick enough to hold the filling without tearing. You can use the Sweet Crepe Batter Recipe under the Recipe/Dessert Section of this Blog. deserts/sweet-crepe-shells/ Just reduce the Sugar in the recipe from 1 Tbsp. to 1 tsp.
I made the Crepe Batter with the residual Whey from the production of the Ricotta. This reduces the waste that normally would result from making the Cheese. To make the Crepes, the Filling and the topping just follow the procedure below.
#1 – Make the Batter and refrigerate for at least one hour.
#2 – Rinse, dry, slice and sugar the Berries. If using Blackberries, Boysenberries or Raspberries eliminate the slicing procedure. Place the Berries in a bowl and squeeze the juice of 1/2 of a lime (for every pint of berries) over the Berries and then toss with 1/4 cup of Superfine Sugar. Taste and add more Lime Juice and/or Sugar as desired.
#3 – Make the Cheese Filling for the Blintz. /deserts/cheese-filling/
4. Make the Crepes –
Heat the crepe pan until a drop of water splashed on it sizzles; melt the Butter and stir into the Batter.
- Use approximately ¼ cup of Batter (the exact amount depends on the size of the pan)
- While you are pouring in the Batter, tilt the pan with your other hand to cover the bottom of the pan.
- When the edges begin to dry and bubbles appear on the crepe surface, turn it over with a heat-proof spatula and cook a few seconds more on the turned side. (Cook one side to a light brown and the other just enough to set the batter. This side should still be almost white when you remove it from the pan.)
- You will be browning the Blintz in Butter before serving them so you do not want the second side to be cooked too long.
5. Filling the Blintz –
- Lay the Crepe Shells on a flat plate or work surface
- Place a scoop of the Cheese Filling in the middle
- Fold in the sides and then fold over the top and bottom. You should have a square package.
6. To Serve –
- Melt enough Butter to make a thin sizzling layer in the bottom of a medium to large frying pan. When the Butter starts to sizzle add the Blintz, leaving about 1/4 – 1/2″ between each one.
- When the bottoms brown gently turn and cook the other side.
- Serve while hot with the sliced Strawberries and Sour Cream or Whipped Cream as a Garnish.