Unlike cookies, pies, or ice cream, when I decide to make a cake, it becomes my baby for the following 48 hours. Maybe because the time it takes to complete the entire process is highly underrated, but it’s probably also due to the fact that a really good cake takes a lot of figuring how to go about the smallest details. Some are obvious, such as what flavor of cake you’re really in the mood for, but the very same flow chart that begins with chocolate or vanilla leads to a plethora of other options, leading to decisions, which then leads to the task of executing them.
In any case, there is a specific satisfaction that comes with baking something for fun, no matter what the dessert, as opposed to baking for an event or even for someone in particular. Exhibit A would be taking less than a minute to marvel at your finished product before slicing into it with a knife and a fork.
Check out the video of my cake process here!
Make the cake
- 2 sticks softened butter
- 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
- 3 cups white sugar
- Zest and juice of 2 oranges
- 3 cups flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 cups room temperature milk
- 5 egg whites (@ room temperature)
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- a pinch of ground ginger
1. Preheat the oven to 350 and butter & flour 3 8-inch cake pans.
2. Cream the butter and shortening together, then add the sugar gradually. Once incorporated, add the egg whites gradually, then add the orange juice and zest.
3. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour + spices + baking powder)
4. Alternate the wet and dry ingredients while mixing into the butter/egg mixture (scrape down the bowl occasionally).
5. Pour into prepared pans and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the cake is golden and a skewer inserted comes out clean.
For the frosting
2 sticks (1 cup) of softened butter
1 cup shortening
1 bag (2 lb, 3 3/4 cups) powdered sugar
4 tbsp. milk
rosemary syrup (1 cup water + 1/4 cup sugar + 6-8 sprigs of fresh rosemary — simmer together in a small saucepan for 5 minutes then chill and strain)
1. Beat the butter and shortening together, then add sugar 1/2 cup at a time.
2. Beat in syrup and milk and mix until the consistency is light and fluffy.
This post is part of the monthly link up party Our Growing Edge. This event aims to connect food bloggers and inspire us to try new things. This month is hosted by Lauren at Sweet and Southern Lifestyle.
For whatever reason, I’ve never been able to truly enjoy a mint-flavored anything. Whether it’s ice cream, cookies, or candy, I have always steered clear of mint chip, thin mints, and peppermint patties, respectively. If it registers as the same flavor of my toothpaste, I’m not into it. However, I will say that the difference between the flavors of fresh mint and bottled peppermint oil or tictacs is too immense not to call them by completely different names. The fact that all mint is considered to be on the same playing field is devastating, my point being that I enjoy desserts made with fresh mint, and do not enjoy desserts made with artificial mint flavoring. In the title, I made it my business to clarify: this is strictly fresh mint and nothing else.
Make sure the pastry of your tart shell is cooked all the way through before filling, or you’ll have a hard time making clean slices. Also be sure to leave some excess dough around the edges, as the puff pastry will shrink as it bakes.
Make the tart:
- 1/2 pint (1 cup) heavy cream (+ more for whipped cream)
- 10 oz dark chocolate, chopped (or 10 oz chocolate chips/chunks)
- 1 sheet of puff pastry
- 1 cup of fresh mint, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
- Preheat the oven to 350. Roll out a sheet of thawed puff pastry dough and lay it in a 9 in pie plate, then bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. (The middle will puff up, but once removed from the oven, press it down with a spoon.
- To make the mint syrup, crush the chopped mint with the sugar in a small saucepan with a wooden spoon. Add 1/2 cup of water and turn the stove on medium-low. Let the mixture simmer until it’s thickened slightly and is tinted light green. Strain the syrup through a sieve and set aside.
- In another saucepan, heat the cream with the corn syrup until bubbles form around the edges. Pour the cream over the chocolate and let sit for 3 minutes, then stir until smooth. Add 4 tablespoons of the mint syrup and stir until combined.
- Pour the chocolate mixture into the puff pastry shell, cover and refrigerate for an hour (or until completely cool). Make whipped cream and add 3 tablespoons of mint syrup to the cream before whipping. Spread the whipped cream over the tart and refrigerate until set.
Enjoy! <3, B
Every season has a different flavor and color palette in my opinion. So instead of calling these cookies “Chai Macarons” or “Cinnamon Macarons,” I decided it would be best to name them Autumn Macarons. Fall is cinnamon, pumpkin and cloves, summer is lemon, basil and peach, spring is lavender, chocolate and almond, and winter is mint, caramel, and nutmeg.
These just happen to capture fall.
(for the filling)
Make the croons
- 2 large egg whites
- 5 tablespoons of white sugar
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup of almonds
- 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. cloves
- Preheat the oven to 350. Line two baking sheets with silpats or parchment paper.
- In a food processor, grind up the almonds until they’re fine. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and powdered sugar and grind until well blended.
- In a kitchen aid, whip the egg whites. Add the white sugar gradually until the whites are stiff and hold peaks (There’s nothing more satisfying than this small accomplishment.)
- Fold the almond mixture into the egg whites, then fill a piping bag or large ziploc with the batter. Pipe the macaron shells on the baking sheets about 1 inch apart, then slam the pan on a flat surface a few times to flatten them out.
- Bake them for about 15 minutes. If they stick to the parchment when you try to pick them up, let them bake for another couple minutes.
For the chai filling:
Steep 2 chai tea bags in 1/2 cup of hot water, then let sit until the tea is cool. Remove the bags. Beat together 1 stick of salted butter (1/2 cup) and about 1 1/4 cups of powdered sugar. Add a dash of cinnamon and keep beating until the mixture is fluffy and creamy. Add 4-5 tablespoons of tea, mixing well after each tablespoon is added. Spread or pipe a little filling on the cooled macaron shells and sandwich them together.
Enjoy! <3, B