Showing posts with label cakes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cakes. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Bean There, Done That: Easy Flourless Garbanzo Bean Cake

Apparently I have a thing for beans in cakes! Several years ago, I blogged about a cake that calls for a can of baked beans. Rolled eyes aside, it was a huge hit. Fast forward to today and I am excited to share another hit, this time one that calls for canned garbanzo beans that you puree in the food processor before adding into the batter.

The cake is very moist, and can be eaten with a fork or your fingers. It reminds me of a spice/snacking cake. If I hadn't seen the recipe before I tasted it, I would never have guessed it contains garbanzo beans; I'd be fooled!

So many great things about this recipe. It's a great dessert to serve to guests who are on a wheat-free diet as it contains no flour. The orange flavor really comes through, and goes so well with cinnamon and the light texture. My hubby and I were also admiring the perfect crust edge that forms on the outside of the cake, and unlike brownies where everyone (at least in my family!) is fighting over the edge pieces, with this cake, everyone gets a slice that has some edge!

With so many reasons to make this cake, and only one reason not to (Beans in cake? Are you nuts?), try it out! You'll be so pleasantly surprised that you may want to start experimenting with other odd ingredients in cakes. Or maybe you'll convince yourself that garbanzo beans in all forms work in baking and you'll invent the first ever hummus cake. Unless I invent it first! :)

Easy Flourless Garbanzo Bean Cake
Adapted from a recipe by Jane Milton in Mexican: Healthy Ways with a Favorite Cuisine

2 (10-ounce) cans garbanzo beans, drained
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Grated zest and juice of 1 orange
Cinnamon Sugar Topping: 1/4 cup sugar combined with 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon for sprinkling on top

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x5" or 8x4" loaf pan. Set aside.

Place the garbanzo beans in a colander and rinse them. Shake out any excess water, and then rub a handful of garbanzo beans at a time in between the palms of your hands to remove the skins and discard them. You'll need to repeat this step several times until you've gotten the majority of the skins off. It's ok if a few are left on.

Transfer the skinned garbanzo beans to a food processor and pulse until smooth. Place the pureed garbanzo beans in a medium bowl and add the beaten eggs, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, orange zest, and orange juice. Stir just until combined. The mixture will be thin and runny.

Pour the cake batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes. You may want to check after an hour as ovens vary. Also note that it may take longer if you use an 8x4" loaf pan instead of the larger 9x5". The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Use a sharp knife to loosen the edges of the cake from the the pan and then invert it onto the wire rack. Place the rack over a plate or waxed paper and sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture over the top of the cake. Let the cake cool completely before serving. Goes great with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or fresh fruit!

Step-by-Step in Pictures
Drain the garbanzo beans and remove the skins...

Puree the garbanzo beans in the food processor until smooth...

Transfer the puree to a medium-sized bowl and add the eggs, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, orange zest and juice. Stir to combine...

Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan...

Bake at 350 degrees F for approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes...

Invert the cake onto a wire rack...

While the cake is still warm, sprinkle cinnamon sugar over the top and then let cool completely before serving...

Slice and enjoy with ice cream or fresh fruit!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Marniism: How to Cover a Frosted Cake with Foil so that the Foil Doesn't Stick to the Frosting

NOTE: A Marniism is any sort of useful habit or words of wisdom that I live by and want to share with you. Basically, a Happy Go Marni tip with a better name.

Two weeks ago during Passover, I was helping my mom put away the leftovers from the seder. There were so many leftovers! In fact, there was an entire untouched flourless chocolate cake with a chocolate ganache coating. I guess we overestimated the quantity of food needed. Although looking back, shouldn't this cake have been eaten up and the veggies spared? What's up with our priorities? Anyways, as my mom went to cover this extra cake with a loose piece of foil that was bound to land on the top of the cake and stick to the ganache, I yelled "STOPPPPPP!" I told her about a technique I had learned from King Arthur Flour that protects a cake from having the frosting get stuck to the foil. We applied this trick to our flourless chocolate cake and it worked perfectly!

Here's the tip:
  1. Get a couple of toothpicks and the same number of marshmallows, ideally the large size, but mini marshmallows will work, too. 
  2. Stick a marshmallow on the end of each toothpick but don't let the toothpick go all the way through and out the other side of the marshmallow
  3. Stick each toothpick into the top of the cake, spaced evenly apart at the corners of the cake. Don't push the toothpicks all the way down into the cake. You want them to stand tall over the cake. 
  4. Then cut a piece of foil large enough to cover the entire cake and tuck under the plate. Rest the foil carefully over the marshmallow-tipped toothpicks. Voila! The foil never touches the top of the cake because of the marshmallow padding! I love this tip!!!

Photo Gallery of the Marshmallow Toothpick Trick!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

How to Have a Half Birthday Cake

Today is my half birthday. The 6 month mark. That is worth celebrating, right? I was thinking of baking myself a half birthday cake. But what exactly does that look like? Does it mean I bake a whole cake and toss out half or give away half? Or do I only bake half the recipe? But in a round cake pan so it looks like a whole cake? Or do I bake a cake in a cake pan that looks like half a round cake? DING DING DING!

My friend Jan sent me a link to this half-round cake pan. It's perfect for celebrating half birthdays! Let me know if you have a different interpretation of how to bake a half birthday cake. I'm very interested. Particularly because I love finding excuses to bake. Not that I need excuses...

Sunday, July 3, 2011

I Would Do The Same Thing

Click image to view larger

My mom just sent me this comic strip. It was published in today's San Jose Mercury News.

Lucy and I are clearly related. I would do the same thing.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

I made this back in January for my birthday. I love oatmeal cakes, cookies, breads. Pretty much anything with oatmeal. I have an oatmeal cookie recipe I want to share with you soon, too. I also eat a lot of oatmeal for breakfast. Oatmeal is a big part of my life. Since this cake recipe is simple, and every ingredient called for is part of my pantry staples (other than cream cheese...I'll admit I don't stock EVERYTHING regularly), it was an easy sell for me to choose this recipe.

You'll notice that you toss flour with the chocolate chips before they go into the batter. It's a great technique for preventing the chips from falling to the bottom of the cake. Though isn't it funny how there's a famous quote: "Let the chips fall where they may." That quote definitely doesn't apply to cakes! I encourage you to try this trick in other cake recipes that call for chocolate chips. It really works!

And if you're in the mood for cupcakes, I'm sure this cake would lend itself perfectly to cupcakes instead of a 9x13-inch cake.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from a recipe by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito in Baked Explorations

8 ounces chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon bourbon, Scotch, or favorite liquor
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes, at room temperature
2 eggs, slightly beaten
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and position the rack in the center. Grease the sides and bottom of a 9x13-inch pan (either glass or light-colored metal). Measure 1 1/4 cups water and bring to a boil (microwave works well for this).

In a small bowl, combine the chocolate chips and bourbon and toss to coat. Sprinkle the 2 tablespoons of flour over the chips and toss to coat. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the oats and cubed butter. Pour the boiling water over the oat-butter mixture, leave it alone for 30 seconds, then stir to melt the butter. Set aside for 25 to 30 minutes.

In another large bowl, whisk together the eggs, granulated and dark brown sugars, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon until well combined. Add the cooled oatmeal mixture and fold it in to incorporate. Then gently fold in the remaining 1 1/2 cups flour and the chocolate chips. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake the cake for 38 to 45 minutes. You'll know the cake is done when you insert a cake tester or toothpick in the center and it comes out clean.

Let cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes.

Prepare the Cream Cheese Frosting (see recipe below). Spread a thin layer of frosting over the entire top surface of the cooled cake. Chill the cake in the fridge for 15 minutes to set the frosting before serving. Store leftover cake in the fridge, tightly covered. If you haven't frosted the cake yet, you can leave the cake, tightly wrapped, out on the counter (doesn't need to be chilled unless there's cream cheese frosting).

Cream Cheese Frosting
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
5 1/2 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until very smooth. Add the cream cheese and beat until smooth.

Add the confectioners' sugar and vanilla and beat again, about 1 minute. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. If you want, you can prepare this frosting the day before, just remove from the fridge and let it soften before you attempt to spread it on the cake.

Step-by-Step in Pictures
Place chocolate chips, bourbon, and flour in a small bowl...

Toss to coat the chips with the flour...
In a large bowl, combine the oats and cubed butter...
Pour boiling water over the oats and butter...

Let stand 30 seconds, then stir to melt the butter; set aside for 25 minutes...
In another large bowl, whisk together eggs, both sugars, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon...

Add the cooled oatmeal mixture and stir to combine...

Fold in the flour...

Stir in the chocolate chips...
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake at 375 degrees F for 38 to 45 minutes...

To make the Cream Cheese Frosting, beat the butter until smooth...
Add the cream cheese...
Add the confectioners' sugar...

Add the vanilla, then chill the frosting in the fridge for 30 minutes...

Frost the cooled cake...

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Brace Yourselves! These Kids Know How to Bake a Cake

Nothing like a good music video by children to teach you proper cake-baking technique! Ok, technique? Well, not exactly. But they do encourage you to follow the recipe in the cookbook carefully. And I can't argue with that.

So watch the video and pay attention! Quiz later. And don't forget to sing along. Lyrics below the video.

Lyrics to "Cooking by the Book"
by LazyTown

I'll pile on the candy,
It's such a pretty sight
It makes the food taste dandy
But my tummy hurts all night

I'll put in some ingredients
But keep the rest for me
I'm not just disobedient
I'm careful, can't you see?

It's a piece of cake to bake a pretty cake
If the way is hazy,
You gotta do the cooking by the book
You know you can't be lazy
Never use a messy recipe,
The cake will end up crazy
If you do the cooking by the book,
Then you'll have a cake
We gotta have it made,
You know that I love cake
Finally, it's time to make a cake

Making food is just like science,
With tools that blend and baste
And every fun appliance
Gives the food a different taste

It's a piece of cake to bake a pretty cake
If the way is hazy,
You gotta do the cooking by the book
You know you can't be lazy
Never use a messy recipe,
The cake will end up crazy
If you do the cooking by the book,
Then you'll have a cake
We gotta have it made,
You know that I love cake
Finally, it's time to make a cake
We gotta have it made,
You know that I love cake
Finally, it's time to make a -
'You gotta do the cooking by the book!'

Monday, April 18, 2011

Video Cake Tour: Beth's Birthday Cake

Presenting my first ever Happy Go Marni Cake Tour! Because for some of you, it may be the closest you come to being inside my kitchen. Now if only we had smell-o-vision.

Read the full post about this cake here.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Mastering Wilton Cake Decorating by Practicing on My Sister's Birthday Cake

The cake I made for my sister's birthday,
using skills I just learned in the Wilton workshop!

A few weeks ago I was invited to a Wilton cake decorating workshop. Wilton is the brand of cake decorating supplies and resources I grew up with. Every birthday cake of my childhood (and that of my sister and brother) was a cake my mom made, guided by the Wilton yearbook of decorating ideas. I used to watch my mom stay up really late the night before my birthday party, creating amazing, beautiful, glorious, creative cakes. It's one of my happiest memories.

Practicing my piping skills in the workshop

So getting the invite to this Wilton workshop was pretty thrilling. Of course I said yes. And I spent 6 hours learning from the absolute masters of the art. Sandy Folsom is the Director of The Wilton School and watching her pipe buttercream out of a pastry bag onto a practice board to demonstrate proper technique, upside down no less (!!!), was one of the most amazing things to witness. She made piping look effortless.

Director of the Wilton School Sandy Folsom
demonstrating piping skills upside down!

Let me tell you right now, it is not effortless! It's a lot of work, a steady hand, knowing which angle to hold the bag relative to the cake surface, how much pressure to squeeze around the pastry bag, consistency, and the list goes on. There are so many instructions. In piping a rosette, you start at the 9 o'clock mark and squeeze clock-wise until the 6 o'clock mark, then gradually release so it fades to nothing by the time you return to 9 o'clock. Whew! So much to think about!

I even learned how to make fondant flowers

Six hours is hardly enough time to master a skill. But getting an overview of the basic skills required to decorate a cake was a blast, and extremely helpful. Nancy Siler, the VP of Consumer Affairs, was there to introduce us to all the new Wilton products and work the room, helping attendees with proper hand position and technique.

I met really interesting people in the workshop, mostly food stylists, a few bloggers, and even journalists. Shout-out to Hilary of Nosh With Me, a blog I've been following for years. How thrilling to meet the person behind the blog you read. Bloggers have offline lives, too, ya know! Hong of Ravenous Couple sat in front of me and I was constantly impressed with his handiwork. Food stylist Alice Hart sat behind me and kept tweezers/pincers in her pocket, because as a food stylist, you never know when you're going to need to adjust something without using your fingers. Right? So fascinating! Chef Jamie Gwen, who hosts a radio show on KFWB News Talk 980, was also in the class, and I worked with her (and Alice Hart) on a group decorating project.

Some of the group cake decorating projects during the workshop
(my team was the yellow cake in the center)

One of the neatest effects I learned at this workshop was the basketweave, a technique that makes your cake look like a basket. It's very impressive-looking, but the way you create it is not all that difficult, just tedious. I was very excited to try this at home, and with my sister's birthday coming up just days later, I decided to go for it!

I made my grandmother's chocolate birthday cake and frosted it with homemade buttercream. I then covered the entire perimeter with my first ever on-my-own, no-hand-holding-from-master-Wilton-cake-decorators basketweave! I piped roses and other flowers on the top and hanging off the edge onto the basket, and wrote a birthday message to my sister in the center.

The cake took two days. I baked the layers on a Monday, froze them so they'd be easier to frost, and then spent all of that Wednesday evening making buttercream frosting from scratch and decorating the cake. I'm really pleased with how it turned out. I'm proud of my first effort doing basketweave. And most rewarding of all, my sister loved it.

Presenting the cake to my sister (who's 5 months pregnant!)

Thanks to Wilton for giving me happy memories as a kid and still today. The workshop was incredible. I think I'd make a great postergirl for Wilton. Heck, between my mom and me, we own so many Wilton products we could open up a shop! As for my skills, I have a lot of practice to do before I reach mastery level. Maybe this will be the Year of the Cake. More roses, rosettes, and basketweaves until I drop! I'll name my autobiography From Basketweave to Basketcase. Ha! Could be a bestseller.

More Photos of the Birthday Cake I Made For My Sister

Monday, April 4, 2011

Banana Chocolate Chip Layer Cake with Mocha Frosting

This is not your conventional birthday cake. But it is totally a great birthday cake! Imagine making banana bread in round cake pans instead of a loaf pan. That's essentially what this is. And it's made me rethink all quick breads. What if any loaf could be turned into a layer cake. So much more exciting. And so much more room for frosting. ;)

Pumpkin bread, zucchini bread, lemon poppy seed. Oooh, some of those might go well with a cream cheese frosting, perhaps flavored with orange or lemon zest. This quick breads-turned-layer cakes thing could possibly be a dangerous discovery. I don't have time in my life right now to start a new obsession. Someone needs to write a cookbook on the topic. I should get royalties.

This banana chocolate chip layer cake is everything you want it to be and more. Actually, if we really want to talk about "and more," try changing the frosting to peanut butter, because we all know that bananas, peanut butter, and chocolate go perfectly together. But even as is, I am so happy to have discovered this recipe and I will be making it again for sure.

Not only were the texture and taste great, but from a difficulty level, this cake is easier than other layer cakes. When the two layers bake, they pull away from the edges so nicely and plop right out of their pans without any trouble. They're a little denser than other cakes and therefore less fragile when handling. Sturdier. Forgiving. And when you've made delicate cakes that crumbled when removed from the pan, or broke into four giant chunks in your hand during assembly (and broke your heart!), a forgiving cake is something to be thankful for. Ain't that the truth!

Banana Chocolate Chip Layer Cake with Mocha Frosting
Adapted from a recipe by David Lebovitz in Ready for Dessert

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon instant espresso or coffee powder (you can skip this to avoid caffeine)
2 large eggs, at room temperature
6 tablespoons buttermilk, yogurt, or sour cream, at room temperature
2 cups banana puree (3 to 4 very ripe bananas)
1 1/4 cups mini chocolate chips

Mocha Frosting
10 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup strong brewed coffee or espresso (or water if you don't want caffeine)
10 tablespoons unsalted or salted butter, cut into pieces, at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease the bottom and sides of two 9-inch round cake pans, then place round parchment papers on the bottom.

In a medium bowl, sift together the dry ingredients: flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy in texture, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and coffee powder. Add the two eggs, beating well after each addition. Beat in half of the dry ingredients, then add the buttermilk (or other dairy option) and the banana puree. Then beat in the remaining dry ingredients. Stir in the mini chocolate chips just until combined, using a spoon or spatula, not the mixer. You don't want a tough cake, so as soon as the chocolate chips are dispersed, put down the spoon!

Spread the batter evenly among the two prepared cake pans. Bake for about 40 minutes until the tops of the cakes are golden brown and the sides pull away from the edges. I recommend checking the cakes at 30 minutes in case your oven is fast (like mine!). Cool at least 15 minutes in the pans on cooling racks before using a sharp knife to cut around the edges, then inverting onto the racks to finish cooling. Remove the parchment from the bottoms.

To make the frosting, melt the chocolate with the coffee in a medium saucepan or in the microwave, taking care not to burn the chocolate. Stir occasionally. The consistency should be perfectly smooth. Remove from the heat and add in the 10 tablespoons butter, whisking until completely melted and combined.

To assemble the cake, place one of the cake layers upside down on your serving plate. Slide pieces of wax paper or parchment paper under the edges of the cake to protect your serving plate from unruly frosting. Spread about 3/4 cup frosting over the cake. Place the second cake layer on top of the first, standing right side up. Use the remaining frosting to cover the top and sides of the cake.

Step-by-Step in Pictures
Sift the dry ingredients together; set aside...

Beat the butter and sugar together...

Add the vanilla and coffee powder...

Add the eggs, one at a time...

Add half the dry ingredients...

Add the buttermilk and banana puree...

Add the remaining dry ingredients...

Stir in the mini chocolate chips...

Spread evenly in two prepared cake pans...

Bake at 350 degrees F for about 40 minutes...

To make the frosting, melt the chocolate with the coffee...

Remove from the heat and stir in the butter until completely melted and smooth...

Spread about 3/4 cup of cooled frosting onto the first cake layer...

Place the second layer on top of the first...

Frost the outside of the cake with the remaining frosting...

Decorate with the back of a spoon if desired...

Slice and serve!
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