Pie Day 12 – Birthday Cake! Salted Caramel Chocolate Ding Dong Cake

Happy birthday to me! This Friday was my birthday, and since I had already spent the week re-trying the Crack pie and because I really wanted birthday cake, this Friday’s “pie” was actually a ridiculously delicious salted caramel chocolate and cream cake adorably named “Salted Caramel Ding Dong Cake” or, as I like to call it “Salted Caramel if-you-don’t-like-it-you’re- a-ding-dong Cake.” Haha, I’m a dork.

It’s actually called that because it has some passing resemblance to a hostess ding dong cake.

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I was super worried about making this cake because my last two cake attempts were super dry and I didn’t like the frosting. But I guess some of this pie baking has rubbed off on my general baking skills because this cake was amazing. No joke, while we were eating it my little sister said with complete seriousness, “I hope you are going to blog about this cake because people need to know about it.”

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And she was right.  You need to know about this cake. It would be evil not to share.

So here you go!

First things first, make this cake early in the day or the day before. It’s supposed to sit in the fridge for 6 hours (or 3 if you are like me and didn’t leave enough time for 6 hours in the fridge- it was fine after 3)

I used this cake recipe called “the best chocolate cake” by My Baking Addiction because it had the most wet ingredients of all the recipes for chocolate cake that I found. It was very good. Although I will take it out 3-5 minutes earlier if I make it again. It said to bake for 30-35 minutes and I pulled them out at 30 minutes and they were totally done. Super clean knife.

I used this recipe for the chocolate/caramel ganache and the stiff whipped cream filling from the blog Eats Well With Others.

First things first, make the cakes. They were so easy to make it was kind of ridiculous.

Ingredients:

2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons King Arthur Flour Black Cocoa, optional (I didn’t use this) 
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup strong black coffee
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Combine your dry ingredients first.

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2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons King Arthur Flour Black Cocoa, optional (I didn’t use this) 
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Mix them in a stand mixer or bowl with a whisk.

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They will come out looking, basically, like a box cake mix.

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Then add all your wet ingredients.

2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup freshly brewed (hot) strong black coffee
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Mix until fully incorporated and pour evenly into two oiled and floured pans (you don’t want your cake to rip when you take them out of the pans, so I highly suggest greasing and flouring)

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Bake at 350 F oven for 25 to 35 minutes for round pans, 30 to 40 minutes for rectangular pan or until wooden toothpick or butter knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. 

If you don’t cool them completely you will melt your filling and then cry.

The Chocolate Caramel Ganache (Also know as “the stuff dreams are made of”)

  • 9 oz (a little more than a cup) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I just used chocolate chips)
  • 1 1/8 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Put chocolate and salt in a heat proof bowl.

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In a heavy sauce pan over medium low heat mix the 1/3 c of water and 1 cup of sugar until sugar is dissolved.

Raise heat  to medium high and continue to heat until the sugar mix is a deep amber. The liquid will bubble quite a bit and sugar will harden on the edges of the pan.

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Remove from heat and pour in the 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream. The caramel in the pot will turn into a HARD clump when the cool cream is poured on it.

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That’s ok.

Put the pan back on the heat and continue to stir the caramel and cream, slowly melting the caramel into the cream.

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Stir until all the caramel is melted into the cream. This mixture will bubble a lot. So be prepared by using a large pan or being ready to pull it off the burner before it bubbles over.

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Once the mixture is a smooth even consistency with no more caramel chunks remove from heat and pour over your chocolate and salt.

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Mix the caramel and chocolate until all the chocolate is melted, then add the teaspoon of vanilla and mix that in.

You now have your chocolate caramel ganache!

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Let the ganache cool slightly for 10 minutes or so.

The recipe I used said at this point you should put one of your cold cake layers in a springform pan and pour 1 cup of the ganache over it to cool. I didn’t have a springform pan so I just poured the ganache over and let it drip a little down the edges. The center layer of ganache wasn’t as thick as it could have been, but it was still very good. either way is fine.

Let this cool for about 30 minutes while you make the whipped cream filling.

Cream Filling:

  • 1 1/4 tsp unflavored (kosher/vegan) gelatin
  • 2 T cold water
  • 1 1/2 cups chilled heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste (or a teaspoon of vanilla extract)
  • flaky sea salt

Put 2 T cold water in a small microwave safe bowl and add the gelatin. Let stand until soft and incorporated, about 10 minutes.

Place the 1 1/2 c heavy cream, 1/2 c powdered sugar, and vanilla into a large bowl. Mix with a hand mixer on high until stiff peaks form.

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Microwave the gelatin mix for about a minute until a runny liquid. Mix it into the whipped cream. Mine was very hot coming out of the microwave so I poured it into a cold cup before pouring it into the whipped cream. It was still hot but it incorporated well.

Smooth a layer of whipped cream over the bottom layer of the cake (still in the springform if you are using one)

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Gently place the second layer of cake on top of the whipped filling.

Pour the ganache over the top of the cake letting it drip down the sides. I started in the center and whirled my way out to the edge.

WARNING! I had WAY more ganache than necessary and mine ended up pouring everywhere and spilling over the edges of the plate and I didn’t even use it all! Go slow and pour on as much as you want.

See how crazy mine looked?

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Also, mine was kind of bumpy looking because I didn’t use a springform. If I was to do it again without a springform I would cut and smooth the edges a little better and then put less ganache on.

But whatever, it was super delicious and I have no complaints!

Let sit in the refrigerator for 6 hours (I only left it for 3 and it was fine) to give the cream center time to stiffen up so it doesn’t just smuch out when you cut it.

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Cut, serve, drool, enjoy, then eat another slice. It’s so good everyone will love it, and they will love you for giving it to them.

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Yum.

 

Crack Pie – Re-try

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Crack pie re-try! It turned out beautifully and, true to it’s name, it is as addictive as crack. The first slice I thought, “it’s ok, maybe too sweet.” Then I tried another little sliver and thought, “wow, that’s better then I remember from an hour ago.” Then later last night another sliver and “wow. That’s really freakin’ good.”

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Today it’s basically all I’ve eaten. Thank goodness I only made one.

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It was still slightly warm in the picture above, that’s why it is falling apart. Today it is a little more firm.

So my first attempt at Crack Pie was a Fail. It turned to butter. I’m still not sure exactly where I went wrong, but I think it has something to do with this:

“Pie fillings contain egg yolks, and egg yolks have an enzyme, alpha-amylase, which just loves to gobble up starch. The recipe tells the cook to heat the filling (bring it to a boil) after the yolks are added. But you need to really bring it to a boil to get all of the filling above 170 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s the temperature needed to kill alpha-amylase. This is hard to do — the filling is thick and sticking and going blop, blop, blop. But if you don’t get it hot enough, it just takes a few little alpha-amylase to gobble away like Pac-Man — and there goes all the starch that was holding your filling nice and firm.” Food Chemist Shirley Corriher

She said that in response to a question about runny lemon merengue pie, but I think it still applies. Maybe I should check and make sure my oven is heating correctly. It’s kind of old.

Anyway… I tried again, and I used a new recipe which asked for MUCH more time in the oven.In the original recipe I used (This one) the recipe said to bake it for 15 minutes at 350 and then for another 10-20 minutes at 325. The blog author said she added much more time to get it right. I added 30 extra minutes at 325 and it still didn’t work.

This recipe from Epicurious (the one I used this time)says to bake it for 30 minutes at 350 F and then about another 20 minutes at 325 F. So, right away that is a HUGE difference. And guess what? It worked with the Epicurious recipe. (which also didn’t have any flour in the filling, by the way.)

Another thing to note is that on every other picture I’ve seen of this pie it has a brown top and is not custardy looking. Like this:

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So I don’t know what was going on with Averie Cooks Crack Pie, but her pics were very misleading to me.

So, on to the recipe!

Cookie Crust –

Wait, first let me tell you, this crust is a MUST DO in my opinion. Don’t use a graham cracker or other crust. The crust is as much a part of the pie as the filling. In fact the crust almost soaks into the pie giving it some of it’s texture… at least it did for me. I can’t imagine this pie without this cookie crust.

Ingredients:

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  • Non stick vegetable oil spray
  • 9 tablespoons (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
  • 5 1/2 tablespoons (packed) golden brown sugar, divided
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon (generous) salt

Pre heat oven to 350 F, spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray

Combine 6 tablespoons butter, 4 tablespoons brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons sugar in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat mixture until light and fluffy, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl, about 2 minutes.

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Add egg; beat until pale and fluffy.

Add oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and beat until well blended, about 1 minute.

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Turn oat mixture out onto prepared baking pan; press out evenly to edges of pan. Bake until light golden on top, 17 to 18 minutes. Transfer baking pan to rack and cool cookie completely.

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Turning the cookie into Crust

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Using hands, completely crumble oat cookie into  large bowl; add 3 tablespoons melted butter and 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar. Mix until evenly moist.

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Press into small pie pan, pressing the sides first and then pressing down the middle.

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Set aside.

The Filling

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  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon nonfat dry milk powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, cooled slightly
  • 6 1/2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Powdered sugar (for dusting)

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F.

Whisk both sugars, milk powder, and salt in medium bowl to blend.  (I did this in my standing mixer)

Add melted butter and whisk until blended. Add cream, then egg yolks and vanilla and whisk until well blended.

That’s it, that’s your filling. And it should basically look like caramel sauce.

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Pour into prepared crust

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Bake pie 30 minutes (filling may begin to bubble). Reduce oven temperature to 325°F. Continue to bake pie until filling is brown in spots and set around edges but center still moves slightly when pie dish is gently shaken, about 20 minutes longer.

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Cool pie 2 hours in pie dish on rack. Chill uncovered overnight. DO wait until this pie is all the way cooled off, it’s not as good when it’s still warm in the middle.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar, serve cold. Try not to eat the whole pie in 24 hours, or just make two 🙂

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Very good, very high-flavor pie. I enjoy it best in 1 inch slivers every hour or two rather than a full slice all at once. That’s why it is dangerous. You can accidently eat a lot of pie when you only it it one inch at a time. 🙂

Yum.

 

 

 

 

Crispy Oatmeal Cookies

I stole this picture directly from the blog I’m about to link you to. I’m not going to post the recipe here on my blog, just follow the link and use the recipe you find there.

Crispy Oatmeal Cookies: Macheesmo

These are my number one favorite oatmeal cookies of all time. I’m posting them now because each time I have tried to make this “Crack Pie” I started by making a big delicious looking oatmeal cookie then crumbling it down to make the crust.. which then got covered in gewy yuck that didn’t turn into pie and I didn’t get pie or cookies.

Basically what I’m saying is I’ve been really craving these oatmeal cookies.

They are great plain or with a light smear of almond icing (Powdered sugar with a little milk or water to the thickness you want and a splash of almond extract. Try it. It’s delicious.)

If you, too, try the crack pie recipe (fixed version coming soon!) and find yourself craving oatmeal cookies, this is the recipe that you want. I promise.

Olive Oile Citrus Cake

My mother in law made this Olive Oil Citrus Cake when I was down for a visit and it was so easy and moist and delicious I had to get the recipe from her. She sent it along and I then proceeded to make it for my mom for her birthday!

It’s hard to tell because of the powdered sugar, but they are shaped like roses! My mom loves roses and she had recently given me a rose-shaped cupcake tin. Perfection.

Aren’t they pretty?

Apparently there is a place in LA called Tender Greens that sells these. I have never been there but if all their food is as good as these then next time I’m in the area I will certainly be stopping by.

The recipe below is for making them as mini bunt cakes or cup cakes

The Recipe:

Olive Oil Cake – Citrus from Tender Greens

2 eggs at room temperature

1 1/2 c. (11 oz) sugar

1 c. whole milk

1 c. good quality olive oil

Zest of 2 oranges or other citrus fruit, plus more for garnish

1 1/2 c. flour

1/4 t. baking powder

1/4 t. baking soda

1/4 t. salt

In a mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs and sugar together until pale and thick, about 4 minutes.

In a separate bowl, combine the milk, olive oil and citrus zest. With the mixer running slowly add to the egg mixture, scraping the bowl down once while mixing to make sure all of the ingredients are incorporated.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, soda, and salt. Over low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture, scraping down the bowl once again while mixing to make sure the dry ingredients are fully incorporated.

Spoon the batter into greased muffin tins, filling each cut about 3/4 full. Bake at the cakes at 350 F until the toothpick inserted comes out clean, 18 – 24 minutes rotating halfway for even heating.

Cool the cakes completely and dust lightly with powdered sugar and sprinkle with extra zest before serving.

These are better without frosting, they are best served sprinkled with powdered sugar!

*Warning* *Warning* This is NOT a pie post!

I am trying to get better at making pie, that is why I am writing this pie blog. But I also love to bake other things like bread and cookies and candy cake! And every now and again I come across a recipe that deserves to be shared… or at least saved here so I can find it again. Plus this Friday is my birthday (!!) and I’m planning on making myself an AMAZING cake and it wouldn’t feel right not to tell everyone how it went. Because it’s going to go perfectly. Hopefully.

This is what I have in mind:

Moist, chocolate, maybe a little salted caramel mixed in, maybe some creamy something white, maybe sprinkles! I don’t know yet. Definitely chocolate. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Pie Day 11 – Crack Pie – FAIL.

Yep. It finally happened. I totally completely failed at making this delicious looking (and smelling) pie.

think I did everything the way that I was supposed to, but obviously something went wrong because, well, the pie that was supposed to look like this:

Came out looking like this:

You might be thinking, “ok, that looks a little burnt on top, but maybe it’s just a nice brown crust and it still has a tasty inside. Maybe it’s not soooooo bad.”

You would be wrong.

This is me tipping my pie sideways:

See all that buttery, sugary goo on the right hand side? That just poured right out. And before you ask, yes, I tried cooking it longer. In fact, I cooked it 30 minutes longer than it said checking the middle for the right “wiggle” every 5-10 minutes. It was pure burnt liquid every time.

Want to see what happens when I tried “cutting”into it?

Yep. Just butter under there. WHERE DID ALL THE FLOUR AND EGGS AND SUGAR GO?? No one knows.

This is how my husband found it when he got home.

I had abandoned it.

If you are wondering if he tried it: yes, yes he did. He said the first bite wasn’t so bad but after that he just stared hating himself. I guess he must have been really hungry. Or maybe it was just hard not to try it because It Smelled So Damn Good. Or both.

I’ll be working towards figuring out what went wrong, hopefully tomorrow.

In the mean time, check out this yummy Chocolate Chess Pie and Coconut Cream Pie from Lauretta Jean’s Pie Bakery, which turns out to be a convenient 0.9 miles from my house! I brought a slice of their cherry pie home too, but I’m saving that for later.

 

The verdict: Their Chocolate Chess Pie was my son’s chosen pie and was amazing amazing amazing. unfortunately I only got to have a couple bites before he very sternly insisted that the chocolate was his pie then pointed to my Coconut Cream and told me “that one’s all yours.” Sigh.

The lady behind the counter suggested the Coconut Cream as her absolute favorite so that is what I ordered for myself. It was OK but didn’t have enough coconut in the cream for me. Honestly it tasted like whipped cream in a crust with shaved coconut on top. I didn’t finish it, so that says a lot. But it was an OK pie if you are in the mood for a slice of heavy whipping cream in a super flakey and delicious crust.

Apparently the Cherry is their number 1 best seller. I’m looking forward to warming it up and eating it with some ice cream tonight!

I’m also really looking forward to berry season! Which is just around the corner so I can finally start baking some berry pies of my own! Aaaah spring and summer  and delicious fruit pies; how I love you.