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    Classic German Chocolate Cake Recipe

    Learn how to make my family’s recipe for classic German Chocolate Cake. Get the step-by-step instructions and video tutorial for both the cake and the famous coconut-pecan frosting.

    While reviewing all the cake recipes that live on this blog, I was surprised to find there were a few classics still missing. For example, Classic German Chocolate Cake. Any baker worth their salt (and sugar) has an excellent German Chocolate Cake recipe! I haven’t made one in a very long time, and I found myself without a trusty recipe. Seeking one, I called my mom for advice. I knew the most delicious recipe was somewhere, hanging from a branch on our family tree.
    “Oh, your Aunt Alice! You should ask her.” mom said. Memories of Aunt Alice’s sweets came flooding back. Mostly of Christmases at Gran’s house, when she’d make something special. I reached out to her, hoping she’d share. She was more than happy to oblige. And boy. Did she ever deliver!

    It may be a family recipe, but it’s no family secret. The recipe is the original Baker’s German’s Chocolate Cake recipe first developed in 1957. Which used to be printed on the backs of the Baker’s German’s Sweet chocolate bar boxes. Speaking of German’s chocolate…

    Is German Chocolate Cake, German?
    Plainly, no. But yes, it definitely sounds like this cake originated in Germany. It is named for the type of chocolate used in the recipe. In 1852 Sam German created a sweeter variety of dark chocolate (48% cacao) that was marketed under the name German’s Sweet Chocolate for the Baker’s Chocolate Company. The company named the chocolate in his honor.
    Much later, in 1957, a recipe for German’s Chocolate Cake (note the possessive) showed up in a Dallas Morning Star newspaper, from Texas homemaker Mrs. George Calay. Made with German’s Sweet Chocolate, it quickly gained popularity nationwide. General Mills, who then owned the Baker’s Chocolate Company, took notice and distributed the recipe under the name German Chocolate Cake (dropping the possessive). And that’s how it came to be!

    German Chocolate Cake Batter
    Begin with a 4 oz. bar of German’s Sweet Chocolate. If you can’t source this product, use a semisweet chocolate bar with around 50%-56% cacao. Melt the chocolate in boiling water and let it cool.
    Next you’ll do some familiar mixing of dry ingredients in one bowl. And creaming butter, sugar and egg yolks in another. The dry ingredients are mixed in alternating with buttermilk. But the real magic happens when you fold whipped egg whites into the finished batter. Fold gently so you don’t knock the air out of the whites, and the baked cake will be supremely fluffy and moist!

    The true hallmark of a German Chocolate Cake is its light chocolate appearance. That’s thanks to the German’s Sweet Chocolate bar, which is sweeter and milder than other Baker’s bars. Cool the layers completely. And get started on that amazing coconut-pecan frosting.

    Coconut Filling and Frosting
    I could eat this stuff straight from the bowl! Place evaporated milk, sugar, butter, egg yolks, and some vanilla extract in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat until thickened and bubbly (see the video for visual cue), about 12 minutes.

    Once the mixture is ready, remove it from the heat and pour it over sweetened flake coconut and chopped toasted pecans. Stir it all up until and let it cool completely. Because the mixture thickens to spreading consistency as it cools.

    Here’s the tricky part. The frosting is almost too thick to spread. Use an ice cream scoop to portion the frosting on the cake. Then, using an offset spatula, spread it by pushing it around with the tip of the spatula. Pat it down with the flat part of the spatula as evenly as you can.

    Are We There Yet? Maybe!
    You could stop right here. With all the layers filled and a coat of coconut pecan frosting on top, you’ll have the original German’s Chocolate Cake, as it was written so long ago. However, I did not stop right there. I went a step further by coating the sides with a simple chocolate ganache. It makes the cake look a bit neater to me. And it’s not just for looks! It’s delicious, and the ganache seals in the cake’s moisture, Which, in my opinion, keeps it fresher longer.

    Two Ingredient Chocolate Ganache
    You’ll need two cups of chopped chocolate (chips work fine) and 1 cup of heavy cream. Get them together in a bowl and microwave for about 1 minute 30 seconds. The cream should be steaming upon removal from the microwave. Let the mixture stand for about 60 seconds, then whisk together to combine. You can leave the ganache at room temperature to thicken. Or refrigerate it – checking and stirring it often- until spreading consistency. Coat the sides of the cake.

    After frosting the sides, pat a small line of toasted pecans into the bottom edge of the cake. And there will be just enough ganache left over to pipe a decorative border (if you so choose).

    Line toasted pecan halves 1/2″ apart around the top edge of the cake for a pretty presentation. This can be optional, but it gives the cake a bakery-made look.

    Talk about fluffy! This is one of the most delicious cakes you will ever make. It sounds like hyperbole, but I promise you it’s not. The cake portion is so fluffy and moist, sweet and light. But it’s that ridiculously delicious boiled coconut pecan frosting that makes it really special!
    I’m so thankful to my Aunt Alice for sending me her time-tested recipe. It’s the real deal Classic German Chocolate Cake recipe! I hope you love it as much as I do.
    Related recipe: Death by Chocolate Cake

    Classic German Chocolate Cake

    Heather Baird

    This recipe is lightly adapted from the original “German’s® Sweet Chocolate Cake” recipe from Baker’s Chocolate Company, originating in 1957. Both the cake recipe and coconut-pecan frosting recipes are true to the original, with my addition of chocolate ganache to frost the sides of the cake. If possible, use German’s Sweet Chocolate bar by Baker’s Chocolate Company to make the cake layers. An acceptable substitute is a semisweet chocolate bar with cacao content of 50% to 56% (this percentage will be somewhere on the label). This recipe requires a cup of buttermilk. If you don’t have any on hand, see the recipe notes for a substitution using whole milk and vinegar. Special thanks to my Aunt Alice Welch Crutchfield for handing down her best recipe to me.

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    Prep Time 45 minutes minsCook Time 45 minutes mins1 hour cooling time 1 hour hrTotal Time 2 hours hrs 30 minutes mins

    Course DessertCuisine American

    Servings 12

    Equipment8-inch cake pans (3)parchment paper
    Ingredients US CustomaryMetric German’s Sweet Chocolate Cake Layers4 oz. German’s chocolate bar broken into pieces (1 bar)1/2 cup boiling water1/4 teaspoon instant coffee or espresso powder optional2 cups all-purpose flour1 teaspoon baking soda1/4 teaspoon fine grain salt1 cup unsalted butter softened2 cups granulated sugar4 egg yolks1 teaspoon vanilla extract1 cup buttermilk see recipe notes4 egg whitesCoconut-Pecan Filling and Frosting12 oz. evaporated milk 1 can1 1/2 cups granulated sugar3/4 cup unsalted butter4 egg yolks1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract2 2/3 cups sweetened flake coconut 7 oz. or 1 package1 1/2 cups toasted chopped pecans see recipe notesChocolate Ganache2 cups chocolate chips or chopped semisweet chocolate1 cup heavy creamToppings1/2 cup toasted chopped pecans16-18 toasted pecan halves
    Instructions Cake LayersPreheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and line three 8” cake pans with parchment paper. Set aside.Place the chocolate pieces in a medium bowl and pour over the boiling water. Add the instant coffee, if using. Let stand 1 minute; whisk together until the chocolate is melted and set aside to cool.In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the cooled chocolate mixture and vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture alternately with the buttermilk (begin and end with the flour mixture).In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites with an electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. Gently fold half of the egg whites into the batter to loosen it using a large rubber spatula. Fold in the remaining egg whites. Divide the batter between the prepared pans.Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick tester inserted near the centers of the cakes comes out clean. Immediately run a knife between the cakes and sides of the pans. Let cool 15 minutes. Remove the cakes from the pans and peel away the parchment paper. Cool completely on wire racks.Coconut-Pecan Filling and FrostingIn a medium saucepan, combine the milk, sugar, butter, egg yolks, and vanilla. Cook on medium heat while stirring occasionally.When the butter is melted, cook for approximately 12 minutes whisking constantly, or until the mixture thickens and turns golden. Remove from the heat.Place the coconut and pecans in a large bowl. Pour the cooked mixture over them and stir to combine. Cool to room temperature and of desired spreading consistency.Chocolate GanachePlace the chocolate and heavy cream in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at 100% power for about 1 minute 30 seconds. The cream should be steaming upon removal from the microwave. Let the mixture stand for about 60 seconds, then whisk together to combine. You can leave the ganache at room temperature to thicken. Or refrigerate it – checking and stirring it often- until spreading consistency.Cake AssemblyPlace a cake layer on an 8” cake board, a cake stand, or serving plate. Scoop 1/3 of the coconut-pecan frosting on top; spread as evenly as possible. Use a spoon or an offset spatula to push the thick frosting into place. Top with a second cake layer and repeat frosting. Top with the third cake layer and spread on the remaining coconut-pecan frosting. (At this point, you could serve the cake without the ganache covering.)Spread a crumb coat of the cooled and thickened ganache on the sides of the cake. Refrigerate 15 minutes; add a second even coat to the sides. Immediately press chopped pecans into the bottom edge of the cake. Transfer any leftover ganache to a piping bag fitted with a small closed star tip, and pipe a shell border around the top edge (this is optional but pretty). Sprinkle any leftover chopped pecans on the shell border.Line pecan halves within 1/2 inch of each other around the top edge of the cake.Store the cake at room temperature in an air-tight cake keeper, or tightly under plastic wrap for up to 4 days. Or, to prolong freshness, store in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. Bring slices of cake to room temperature before serving.
    NotesButtermilk Substitute: Place 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice into a 1 cup measure. Fill the cup to the rim with whole milk. Stir. It may curdle a little; this is normal. Use in the recipe as a substitute for buttermilk. (There really is no perfect replacement for thick, rich and tangy buttermilk – but this substitution works well enough in this recipe.)
    2 Layers Instead of 3: Divide the cake batter between two 9-inch round cake pans; increase bake time by 10 minutes, or until cakes test with a clean toothpick.
    Toast Those Pecans! For the absolute best flavor, toast the pecans at 350F for 5 minutes. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn. Chopped pecans can vary in size, and small pieces may toast quicker than larger pieces.
    Freezer-Friendly: The assembled cake can be frozen for up to 3 months. Chill the cake in the refrigerator first to firm up the ganache. Wrap well in plastic wrap, then double bag in extra-large zip-top freezer bags. Or, if you don’t have freezer bags large enough, wrap cake in at least four layers of plastic wrap, then in aluminum foil, to prevent freezer burn.

    Keyword Baker’s chocolate bar, buttermilk, coconut chips, egg whites, German chocolate bar, German Chocolate Cake, German’s Chocolate Cake, pecan-coconut frosting, toasted pecans, white chocolate ganache

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    5 Recipes You Should Be Baking to Celebrate the Lunar New Year

    February 10 kicks off the Lunar New Year, a 15-day-long celebration of the beginning of the new year in the traditional Chinese calendar. For those who celebrate, the very light takes on a bright red hue. For these 15 days in China and all other countries that celebrate the Lunar New Year, the cheery glow of red lanterns illuminate the roads, with red paper pasted over windowpanes and doorways for good measure. At night, fireworks shout across the horizon in rapid succession and burst in dazzling, rhythmic fashion—an unsurpassed spectacle considering the Chinese invented fireworks. At the close, thousands of lanterns are lit and sent to the sky, with hopes and dreams scrolled on the paper that will soon be consumed by the growing internal flame. 
    But perhaps the quietest tradition is the most important: the reunion dinner, held on Lunar New Year’s Eve. The entire extended family gathers around the dinner table to dine on an multicourse meal made up of dumplings, rice cakes, and more. Food plays an integral part in welcoming the new year, and there is much to feast on. Start this new year, the Year of the Dragon, in sweet fashion with our five home baker-friendly recipes featured in our January/February 2020 issue. 

    Walnut Cookies (hup toh soh)
    A common treat found in pastry shops in China year-round, during Chinese New Year, home bakers often make hup toh soh as a crunchy treat to welcome visitors and family to their home. Supposedly, the original walnut cookies contained no walnuts in the dough. The “walnut” in the name might have been used to refer to the cookie’s crunchy texture, or its wrinkly, golden appearance. 

    Pineapple Buns (bolo bao)
    Instantly recognizable with its crosshatch design on top, pineapple buns are a treasure to have come out of Hong Kong bakeries in the 20th century. Contrary to what its name would have you think, no pineapple is used in making these buns. Instead, the title refers to its similarity in appearance between the crispy top and a pineapple’s bumpy exterior. The base bun is made of a milk bread dough—sweet and fantastically fluffy.

    Coconut Almond Rice Cake (nian gao)
    For Chinese New Year, a number of rituals ensure luck and fortune: wearing red, not cleaning, burning fake money and coins, and, most deliciously, eating nian gao. This traditionally steamed sticky rice cake is almost 2,000 years old, first coming to prominence around AD 200. The cake’s potential luck is due to being a homonym, with nian gao sounding similar to the Chinese characters for “higher year,” meaning you’ll have a bountiful year by eating a slice of this iconic rice cake. Of course, consuming cake is always lucky in our book. Click here for our recipe!

    Sweet Egg Tarts (dan tan)
    Hailing from the city of Guangzhou in the 1920s, the Chinese variation of the egg tart features a crisp, crumbly shortcrust made with lard and a luminous, egg-rich custard. Once the dish came to Hong Kong, it transformed again, getting a tender cookie-like pâte sucrée crust but keeping the reflective custard. Though a relatively new addition to the Lunar New Year feasting, the egg tart is one more sweet way to celebrate the new year. 

    Barbecue Pork Buns (char siu bao)
    A Cantonese and dim sum classic, this bao is special because it is steamed rather than baked, making it both fluffy and sturdy. Once steamed, the dough will form a chewy skin while staying snowy white and gently heating a tender filling of barbecue-style pork (or char siu). Pork is symbolic during the Chinese New Year, standing for strength, wealth, and blessings. Click here for our version of this dum sum classic. LEGGI TUTTO

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    8 Sensational Small-Batch Bakes

    Whether you’re enjoying a solo cozy night in or celebrating a special occasion with a few friends, small-batch bakes are perfect for baking for a smaller crowd. From savory breads to dark chocolate cakes, these eight scaled-down recipes are sure to satisfy in their perfect portions.

    Cakey on the outside and filled with a mouthwatering center of molten dark chocolate, these lava cakes are the ultimate romantic dessert for two—just in time for Valentine’s Day.

    To share with a smaller crowd, we scaled down our Four-Cheese Pull-Apart Milk Bread to produce two mini-loaves. This recipe is a savory twist on Japanese milk bread, with a quartet of melted mozzarella, provolone, fontina, and cream cheese stuffed between buttery pull-apart layers. 

    In a 1997 episode of Julia Child’s Baking with Julia, Nancy Silverton baked a brioche tart that was so good it made Julia cry. In our take on this groundbreaking dessert, we filled a pillowy brioche “crust” with velvety cream cheese custard and swirled it with fruit preserves. Finished off with crunchy pearl sugar, this stunner might just make you shed a tear, too.

    There’s something so nostalgic about yellow cake with chocolate frosting, and sometimes, there’s just nothing better! These mini cakes will add a pop of color and sweetness to any celebration. 

    We’ve scaled down our Carrot Cake Cheesecake Bars from a large rectangle pan to fit in a smaller square pan for those occasions when you want the classic carrot, pecan, and spiced flavor of carrot cake but need a recipe for a slightly smaller crowd.

    For these Coffee Tres Leches Cakes, luscious mini pound cakes get soaked in the classic trinity of milks, with shots of espresso and coffee liqueur added in for good measure. Topped with meringue and a sticky coffee syrup drizzle, this cake offers custard-like texture with oodles of coffee flavor.

    Seamlessly blending sweet and savory ingredients, this Small-Batch Fig and Onion Focaccia is perfect for dipping in your favorite olive oil, serving alongside pasta, or eating on its own.

    Cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookie fans, this Black Cocoa Cookies and Cream Cake is for you! Rich black cocoa mixes with espresso powder for a delightful chocolate kick, and a creamy cookie-filled frosting sweetly finishes it. Find the Nordic Ware Charlotte Cake Pan and our book, Another Bundt Collection, in our store here! LEGGI TUTTO

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    Costco Vanilla Sheet Cake (Copycat Recipe)

    This cake is inspired by the beloved Costco Vanilla Sheet Cake, with white cake layers, vanilla cheesecake filling, and vanilla buttercream. It’s great for any occasion and feeds a crowd!

    It’s always good to have a reliable sheet cake recipe in your back pocket for birthdays, anniversaries, or anytime you need to feed a party crowd. But it’s especially good if that sheet cake recipe is filled with vanilla cheesecake mousse. This homemade version of the Costco Vanilla Sheet Cake is made with two 9×13 white cake layers, the aforementioned cheesecake filling, and it’s covered in vanilla buttercream. The decors are up to you and your party theme.
    How did I decide to develop this recipe? First of all, I wanted to make a vanilla sheet cake for a special February birthday. And I found a copycat Costco sheet cake recipe online that I was content to use without having to develop my own. However, it was a total disaster. I had an inkling that it would fail after reading through the recipe once. But with hundreds of five star ratings (and curiously, no written reviews) I tried it anyway. After doing some digging on Pinterest, and reading actual text reviews there, I discovered that I wasn’t the only one with terrible results. That’s when I decided to take matters into my own hands.

    Why Make your Own Costco Vanilla Sheet Cake?
    If you live in close proximity to a Costco, then I understand if you’d prefer to just buy one. Costco Sheet Cakes cost $24.99 for a 12×16-inch cake that feeds 48 people. That’s a deal, if you ask me! However, if – like me – you don’t live near a Costco anymore – this recipe may be a valuable resource. Also, in 2020 when folks weren’t gathering as much, Costco stopped selling their large sheet cakes for a while. But thankfully, they’re back. And hopefully that will never happen again! (However you may want to bookmark this recipe just in case.)

    Make the White Cake Layers
    First, mix all the dry ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer: flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Then, add room temperature butter to the dry ingredients and mix until the ingredients resemble fine cornmeal. This is called ‘reverse creaming’. It may sound strange, but it’s a tried-and-true method that harks back to the 1950’s. But all you really need to know is that it creates a fluffy cake with a tender crumb. Once the wet ingredients are added, which includes 8 egg whites and 2 whole eggs (add an extra dozen to the shopping list!) the batter becomes thick and smooth. Divide the batter into two 9×13 inch cake pan with sides at least 2 inches deep.

    Bake and Cool the Cake Layers
    Bake the cakes for about 30 minutes, or until golden on top and set in their centers. Turn them out on wire racks to cool completely. You’ll notice the centers don’t crown or dome too much. This is another benefit of reverse creaming. There is very little leveling to do after the cakes are baked. Some, but not much.
    When the cakes are cool, refrigerate them for a couple of hours. This firms the crumb and makes them much easier to level with a serrated knife.

    Make the Vanilla Cheesecake Filling
    In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together cream cheese and heavy cream on low speed. You’re not trying to whip the heavy cream, you’re just combining the two ingredients. Next, beat in a little whole milk and a package of instant vanilla pudding. Then, raise the mixer speed to high and beat until thick and fluffy. This combination of ingredients creates a lovely, smooth, not-too-sweet filling that tastes a whole lot like its inspiration!
    Top one cake with the entire amount of cheesecake mousse filling, then top with the second white cake layer.

    Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
    Cover the cake in a classic American buttercream. This formula is just butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract, and a little milk to thin. The trick to making this kind of buttercream billowy and light, is to beat the heck out of it on high speed. I recommend a stand mixer for this. A sturdy hand mixer could also work but will take a long time.

    Pipe a Shell Border
    While décor will always vary on the Costco Vanilla Sheet Cake, there’s always one decoration that is a mainstay: a piped border. Use a large open star tip (such as Ateco 826) to pipe a shell border along the bottom and top edges of the cake. If using sprinkles to decorate, sprinkle them on immediately after piping one edge. Because the buttercream crusts easily, if you wait to long they’ll bounce right off.

    Add Decors to Match Your Party
    This cake is an all-occasions kind of cake. So as I mentioned earlier, the decors are up to you! Red, white, and blue for July Fourth. Red and green for Christmas. Or any mixture of happy sprinkles for a birthday-friendly cake (such as these neon baubles).

    I added a pink ‘Happy Birthday’ candle to the center of the cake. Because my finer piping skills are not the best (I’m actively working on improving – but oof! It is hard.) I couldn’t find the exact candle topper I used, but you can find a similar one right here.

    Happy Everything!

    Party Cake Cutting Guide
    This cake is slightly smaller than the 12×16 Costco cake, at 9×13-inches. However, it’s still a sizeable confection! With two white cake layers, and the filling – it’s hefty. And you can tailor your slices to the size of your party using my guide below. Large Party Size Slices are generous indeed, and would nearly feed 2 people instead of one. The Medium Size Party Slices are more in keeping with what I’d consider a normal serving. However the Small Wedding Size Slices are plenty sufficient for a larger event, and not skimpy-looking on a dessert plate.

    This sizeable corner piece shows off the pale fluffy layers and cheesecake filling. The cake slices so beautifully and has a tender, fluffy crumb. Flavor-wise it is smooth and mellow with vanilla, although with more scratch-made flavor than the original Costco White Vanilla Sheet Cake. The filling is quite close to the original – not overly sweet, really smooth and creamy. While the buttercream frosting is the guest that brings the sweetness to the party.
    This cake isn’t difficult to make, and most home bakers will have a couple of 9×13 pans in their bakeware arsenal. Use two identical pans if possible, which will prevent extra trimming once assembled. Check out the reverse creaming method in my video if you’re not familiar with the technique. Enjoy!

    Related recipe: Bottle of Sprinkles Cake (Homemade Funfetti Sheet Cake)

    Costco Vanilla Sheet Cake (Copycat Recipe)

    This copycat recipe for Costco Vanilla Sheet Cake is perfect for just about any gathering. It’s home baker-friendly, and easily made in 9×13 cake pans. The end result is a hefty cake suitable for serving a large gathering. See the recipe notes for the cake cutting guide.The white cake recipe uses ‘reverse creaming’ or ‘paste method’ of mixing the batter. This refers to the first step of mixing, which is to combine the dry ingredients with the butter until a crumbly or sandy texture is formed. The mixture may also form a paste in a humid environment. Both textures are normal. (Read more about this at the link in the blog post.)The vanilla cheesecake mousse calls for 1 package (3.4 oz.) instant vanilla pudding mix. This means the dry mix, poured directly from the pouch into the mousse mixture.

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    Prep Time 1 hour hrCook Time 16 minutes mins2 hours chill time 2 hours hrsTotal Time 3 hours hrs 16 minutes mins

    Course DessertCuisine American

    Servings 18 + servings

    Ingredients US CustomaryMetric White cake layers5 1/4 cups cake flour3 1/3 cups granulated sugar2 tablespoons baking powder1 1/2 teaspoons fine grain salt1 1/2 cups unsalted butter at room temperature8 egg whites from large eggs at room temperature2 whole large eggs at room temperature2 cups whole milk at room temperature1 1/2 tablespoons pure vanilla extractVanilla cheesecake mousse filling8 oz. cream cheese softened1/2 cup powdered sugar1 1/2 cups heavy cream1/2 cup whole milk3.4 oz. package instant vanilla pudding mix dry mixVanilla buttercream (American)1 lb. unsalted butter at room temperature7 cups confectioners’ sugar2 tablespoons vanilla extractWhole milk to thin to spreading consistency1 cup rainbow sprinkles or other decors
    Instructions White cake layersPreheat the oven to 350°F. Grease two identical 9×13-inch baking pans line the bottoms with parchment paper. Lightly grease the parchment paper.In the bowl of an electric mixer (stand mixer preferred) combine the cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to combine.Add the butter to the flour and mix until well incorporated and crumbly, with a texture similar to damp sand or cornmeal. The mixture may also form a paste in humid conditions, this is fine too.With the mixer running on low speed, add the egg whites and the whole eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the bowl and mix again briefly.Add the milk, about 1/3 at a time, to the batter. Beat 1-2 minutes after each addition. Mix in the vanilla extract.Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake for 26-30 minutes, or until the cakes are golden on top, and a toothpick tester inserted near the center comes out clean. Let cakes cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then turn them out onto wire cooling racks to cool completely. Peel away the parchment paper and discard it.Optional step: Wrap and refrigerate cakes for 2 hours, or overnight. This will firm the crumb and make them easier to level.When cakes are completely cool, level the rounded tops using a serrated knife.Vanilla cheesecake mousse fillingIn the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and mix again until incorporated.Add the heavy cream and mix on low until incorporated. Scrape down the bowl and mix again, raising the speed slightly, until the mixture is smooth (you’re not trying to whip the cream, just mix until the two are smooth).Add the whole milk; beat to combine Then, add the dry instant vanilla pudding powder. Mix until combined. Scrape down the bowl (sides and bottom) and mix on medium-high speed until the mixture thickens, 2-3 minutes.Place a white cake layer on a cake board or serving platter and top with all of the cream cheese mousse. Spread evenly to the edges and top with the second white cake layer. Cover and refrigerate while you make the buttercream.Vanilla buttercreamIn the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment, add the butter and mix until creamy. Add three cups of powdered sugar; mix on low speed until combined, the beat on high speed 1 minute. Add remaining confectioners’ sugar, pulsing the mixer on and off to combine slowly, so the sugar doesn’t fly out of the mixing bowl. Beat until incorporated. Add milk or cream a little at a time to thin. Mix on high speed for 5 minutes, or until lightened in color and billowy. The frosting should lose most of it yellow butter hue.Transfer about 1 1/4 cups of the buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a large open star tip; set aside Use the remaining frosting to cover the entire cake, smoothing it evenly with an offset spatula.Use the piping bag with the decorator tip to pipe a shell border around the bottom edge of the cake (see video for this action). If using sprinkles, add them after you pipe one edge (wait too long and the sprinkles won’t stick!). Pipe a shell border on the top edge of the cake and add decors, if using.Refrigerate cake until the buttercream is set, then cover gently with plastic wrap. Store cake in the refrigerator.Bring the cake to room temperature before serving. The cake’s texture, flavor, and filling will be most developed at room temperature.
    The cake recipe was adapted from King Arthur Baking’s Tender White Cake recipe, from their book “The All-Purpose Baker’s Companion“.
    For volume measuring, use the spoon and sweep method for the cake flour. This means to spoon flour into the measuring cup and sweep the top level with a knife or spoon handle. Flour scooped directly from the bag with a measuring cup tends to pack more flour in the cup than needed, which can result in a dense cake. Keep this cake fluffy with the ‘spoon and sweep’ technique.

    Keyword american buttercream, cake flour, confectioners’ sugar, Costco Vanilla Sheet Cake Recipe, heavy cream, pure vanilla extract, vanilla cheesecake mousse filing, white cake layers

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    Meringue Christmas Tree Cake

    This Meringue Christmas Tree Cake is a showstopping edible centerpiece made of white cake layers, raspberry filling, and Swiss meringue buttercream. It’s covered in dragee-studded meringue cookies to make your holiday sparkle!

    For many, the joy of Christmas has much to do with the preparations – as much as the day itself! I am one of those people. I find decking the halls, planning the feast, and certainly baking all the things to be ritualistic. And there’s comfort in revisiting traditions. One of those traditions is creating an edible centerpiece for the Christmas table. This Meringue Christmas Tree Cake is this year’s creation. It’s a tall patisserie-inspired cone-shaped tree decked out in sparkling meringues. Despite its towering appearance, it’s not awfully hard to make!
    The inspiration for this cake comes from this Baked Alaska Tree recipe from Martha Stewart. I’ve had it pinned for a very long time. To me, it looks so chic and sophisticated – yet simple. After reading the recipe and realizing they used a manila folder (!) to create the shape, I wondered if the same technique could be used with large poster board, and something much less meltable. Like cake! The answer – yes. Read on for the pictorial to show you how!

    White Cake Layers
    This meringue Christmas tree cake begins with white cake layers. Specifically, my favorite white cake recipe. I’m sure this will be no surprise to regular readers. I use this cake recipe all the time when I want a beautifully pale interior that is moist and flavorful. You’ll need four 6″ cake layers. I used these pans to bake the batter.

    Level and Torte the Cakes
    Use a serrated knife or wire cake leveler to even the tops. Then torte (cut horizontally) each cake into two approximate 1″ layers.

    Concentric Circles
    Further trim 3 sets of the cake layers using pastry rings and cookie cutters to create concentric circles. If you don’t have pastry rings, you can make yourself circle templates and cut them from card stock. Leave one set of cake layers as-is, in 6-inch rounds. Cut another set of cake layers into 5″ rounds. The next set is cut into 4″ rounds, and the last set is cut into 3″ rounds. Save the cake scraps! They’ll come into play later in this recipe.

    At the end of all that trimming, you’ll have graduated layers to work with. Now, if you wanted to skip the paper cone-making, you could. Just fill, stack, and frost this cake upright – layered just as you see it here. And use Swiss meringue buttercream to spackle the gaps and create an organic tree shape. But before you decide, read more to see how I created the patisserie-inspired cone shape.

    The Tree Top.
    Remember those cake scraps? Discard the crusty bits and crumble the soft cake scraps in a bowl. Add a little vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream and mix together. This ‘cake pop’ mix is packed into a sugar cone and helps to form a perfect (and sturdy!) tree tip. Refrigerate the cone, and save the extra cake pop mix, because you’ll use that later as well.

    Make the paper cone mold.
    How many times have I purchased expensive molds for desserts? Too many! It can get quite costly. I suppose that was one of the reasons that Martha’s manila folder technique appealed to me so much. I was also inspired by Laduree’s macaron and truffle towers. They are so beautiful, and so quintessentially ‘patisserie’. Even if I’d wanted to buy a 16″ tall mold for this meringue Christmas tree cake, I couldn’t. They are simply not available.
    To make the cone, purchase a new (unused) standard size (22×28 or 24×30 inch) piece of poster board. Roll it into a cone shape and secure with clear packing tape. Tape any parts of the spiraled edge inside of the cone down with more packing tape. Measure the cone from the tip down to 16″ and trim the bottom. The opening should be around 6.5 to 7″ in diameter.

    To fill the cone, get a tall stock pot and fill it with soft tea towels – or even crumpled aluminum foil. Turn the paper cone upside down and put it inside the stock pot. Arrange the towels or aluminum foil on either side of the cone, so that it stands firmly upright.
    Begin the assembly by piping about 4 inches of Swiss meringue buttercream into the tip of the cone (this recipe make a large batch of buttercream – you’ll need it!). Then, insert the filled sugar cone into the tip, squeezing some of the frosting around it as you push it in. Next you’ll pipe a ring of buttercream around the edge of the ice cream cone, and pack some of the reserved cake pop mixture on top. You’ll use just enough of the cake pop mixture to create a layer with a top surface area of about 3″. Which is the size of the smallest cake layer. Next, you’ll add a 3″ cake layer, pipe a ring of buttercream around the edge, and fill it with raspberry jam. Repeat the process using the other cake layers, piping and filling and stacking until all of the layers are used.

    Swiss meringue buttercream stiffens significantly in the refrigerator, and we’ll use this to our advantage! Transfer the filled cone (still upside-down) in the pot to the refrigerator. Let it chill for 2 hours minimum. When it comes time to unmold, turn it upright onto a plate and use sharp scissors or an x-acto knife to cut the packing tape at the seams. Gently unfurl the paper, splitting the packing tape on the inside seams as you go. Store the cake in the refrigerator until you are ready to frost and decorate it.

    Make the Meringue Cookies
    The meringue cookie recipe is so simple and classic. I’d call it definitive – so much that I put it in my first cookbook. Whip up a big batch and pipe it on a large parchment-lined baking sheet (or two) in large and small star shapes. I also piped a few large and small kiss shapes, but I think the stars are my favorite. The large and small sizes will help you effectively fill almost every space on the cone. After you pipe the cookies, sprinkle on silver dragees for maximum sparkle.
    Although these cookies are quick to whip up, they require a low and slow bake time. So you may want to plan ahead for your oven to be occupied for 1.5 hours.

    Frost and decorate.
    As I mentioned earlier, the Swiss meringue buttercream recipe provided makes a large batch, and you’ll need every bit of it! You should have plenty enough leftover from assembling the cake to frost it, and to affix all of the meringues to the outside.
    I will include a short video here of the Swiss meringue buttercream-making process. It’s an old video, but many still find it helpful. (You’ll notice that Biscuit pug is a young pup in the video!)

    Here’s the finished cake! I tried all kinds of toppers for this cake – a gum paste star, some fringed Mylar cupcake picks, a Dresden crown. It wasn’t until the table was set, that prompted a simple but luxurious velvet blue bow topper with flowing ribbons down each side of the cake. Speaking of this table setting…

    DIY Block Printed Table Linens.
    Recently, my MIL gave me custodianship of her beloved Royal Sapphire dishes. I wanted to use them in a Christmas tablescape, but with less conventional holiday colors. I found a brilliant fuchsia tablecloth with pomegranate motif that would be eye-popping with the blue dishes. But it was a little too expensive and the pattern was a tad busy.
    I was talking about this to Rachel Ann, who is pretty much resident crafter for our craft blog Confetti Fix. Her college studies were focused on art and specifically print making. She offered to create some custom block printed linens in the same color, and with a pomegranate motif! I just adore how they turned out. And what’s better? She’s created an entire DIY of the process on Confetti Fix. It’s like a block printing 101 class for beginners. So if you’re interested in learning about this ancient and unique art form, then hop on over to read her post!

    The Little Things
    The entire table came together with some of the most brilliant fuchsia grocery store roses I’ve ever seen! They perfectly matched the table linen color. And these little Godinger place card holders deserve a mention, too. I’ve used and reused them many times now. Little things like this feel special, and make a big impact.

    For the record, and contrary to what this image shows, cutting this cake should start at the top. Slice the top off crossways where the cake pop portion ends. Then, the remaining layer cake can be cut into pieces.

    This cake is such a delight to eat! The two meringue elements of Swiss meringue buttercream and crunchy meringue cookies keeps this confection light. The cake is moist with a sour cream tang, and tart raspberry jam is a sharp foil for so many creamy elements. I couldn’t resist adding pomegranate arils as garnish, and to match the pomegranate table linens.
    I’ve really enjoyed continuing this edible centerpiece tradition. If you’d like to see others, here’s my White Birch Yule Log Cake, Ruby Chocolate Truffle Tower, Gingerbread Star Cookie Tree and Black Forest Buche de Noel. Happy Christmas!

    Meringue Christmas Tree Cake

    Heather Baird

    This festive holiday cake really makes a statement with its height and glittering meringue decorations. The cake layers are assembled in a somewhat unconventional way, using a piece of poster board formed into a cone shape. There are several steps to this cake, but it’s not difficult to make. It may look stately with its towering height, but it requires only four 6-inch round cake layers to achieve. Use your favorite raspberry jam as filling. Be sure to refrigerate the cake well to set the buttercream. This cake should be cut slightly chilled. Slices can also be served chilled, or at room temperature.

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    Prep Time 2 hours hrsCook Time 2 hours hrs 40 minutes mins2 hours chill time 2 hours hrsTotal Time 6 hours hrs 40 minutes mins

    Course DessertCuisine American

    Servings 10

    Equipment6×2-inch round cake pans (4)Kitchen-dedicated shears or scissors22×28 or larger poster boardClear packing tapeparchment paperlarge closed star decorator piping tip
    Ingredients US CustomaryMetric White almond sour cream cake layers1 box white cake mix 15.25 oz. 1 cup all-purpose flour1 cup granulated sugarPinch of salt1 cup sour cream1 cup cold water3 large eggs1 teaspoon vanilla extract1 teaspoon almond extractFilling2 cups raspberry jamSwiss meringue buttercream8 large egg whites about 1 cup or 8 oz.2 cups granulated sugar3 cups unsalted butter at room temperature1 tablespoon almond extract1/4 teaspoon fine grain saltSmall dab royal purple soft gel food color optionalAssemblyReserved cake scrapsSugar coneMeringue cookies6 egg whites1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar1 ½ cups fine grain granulated sugar or caster sugarSmall silver dragees1/3 cup pomegranate arils for garnish optional
    Instructions Cake layersPreheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour four 6×2-inch round cake pans.Whisk together the first 4 ingredients in a large mixing bowl. In a four-cup measure, stir together the sour cream, water, eggs and extracts. With a hand mixer running on low speed, gradually pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients. Scrape the bowl down and mix again.Divide the cake evenly between the pans. Bake for 25- 35 minutes, or until the cake springs back in the center when pressed.Turn out the cakes on a wire rack to cool completely.Using a serrated knife or leveler, torte each cake horizontally so that you have eight 6-inch cake layers.Next, trim two of the layers to 5-inches, another two to four inches, and another two to 3-inches. Leave one set of 6-inch cake layers as-is (untrimmed). Save all the cake scraps in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap; reserve for later use.Chill the cake layers in the refrigerator to firm them, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, make the Swiss meringue buttercream.Swiss meringue buttercreamPlace a saucepan filled 1/3 full of water over medium heat. Bring to a simmer.In a large stainless-steel bowl, combine the egg whites and sugar. Set the bowl over the simmering water and cook while whisking intermittently. Cook until the mixture is hot (110°F) and you can no longer feel sugar granules when the mixture is rubbed between your finger and thumb. Transfer the hot mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on high speed for 10 minutes or until a thick, shiny meringue forms that holds stiff peaks. The bowl should feel cool to the touch. If it doesn’t, refrigerate the meringue in the bowl for 10 minutes. Return the bowl to the mixer and swap the whisk attachment for the paddle attachment.Beat the room temperature butter into the meringue one cube at a time on medium-low speed, waiting to add the next cube when the previous cube disappears. The batter will deflate with the butter addition, and may even look curdled (if the butter was the slightest bit cold this happens), but this is normal. When all of the butter is added, beat the mixture on high speed until light in color and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the almond extract and salt. To whiten the frosting, add just a tiny dab of royal purple gel food color to the buttercream and mix to combine. This will color correct some of the natural butter yellow tinge of the finished buttercream.Transfer the buttercream to two large disposable piping bags with a 1” hole snipped in the tips.Assemble the cakeCrumble the reserved cake scraps in the bowl and remove any hard or crust bits. Add Swiss meringue buttercream 1 tablespoon at time, mixing well to form a cake pop mixture that holds together and packs well. Completely fill the sugar cone with the cake pop mixture, and cover the remaining mixture for later use.Make a tall cone shape using the poster board and secure the outside seams with packing tape. Trim it to 16” tall. The bottom opening should be about 6.5 inches in diameter. If your opening is larger or smaller, remove the tape and twist the cone so the bottom opening is 6.5-7 inches in diameter. Close all seams on the outside of the cone with packing tape, and do the same on the inside. The interior also needs to be perfectly smooth for a flawless cone shapeMake room in your refrigerator for a 16” tall cake.Use a tall stock pot in which to place the cone upside-down, and pad the bottom of sides of the pot with tea towels or crumpled aluminum foil. The cone should be firmly standing upright with the open end toward the sky.Pipe about 4” of buttercream into the tip of the cone. Press the filled sugar cone into the buttercream until the frosting squeezes around the sugar cone. Pipe in a little more buttercream to cover the sugar cone. Pack the remaining cake pop mixture into the cone firmly. Pipe in a thin layer of buttercream to cover it. Place a 3” cake layer on top of the piped frosting. Pipe a ring of buttercream around the edge of the cake layer and fill with a thin layer of raspberry jam. Top with a second 3”inch cake layer pipe another ring of buttercream around that cake layer and fill with raspberry jam as before.Continue this process with the 4” cakes, 5” cakes, and 6” cakes. The cake layers should come to the top of the open end of the cone, or within 1-2” of the opening (it doesn’t need to be exactly 16” tall). If the cake has to travel, dowel the cake ¾ of the way through the center of the cake to secure all the layers together.Transfer the upside-down cone in the pot to the refrigerator and chill for 1 hour. Remove the cone from the pot and turn upright onto a serving plate. Refrigerate the unmolded, upright cake for another hour.Carefully unmold the cake by cutting the tape seams on the outside with an x-acto knife or sharp scissors. As you unfurl the poster board cone, snip the inside tape seams as the appear. Gently remove the unfurled poster board from the cake. Transfer the cake to the refrigerator while you make the meringues.Meringue cookiesPreheat the oven to 170°F. Line two or more large cookie sheets with parchment paper. Fit two or more large pastry bags with a large closed star decorator piping tip.Place the egg whites in a spotlessly clean bowl and whip them with an electric mixer on medium speed until frothy. Add the cream of tartar. Start the mixer again and continue to beat the egg whites.Once the egg whites form soft peaks increase the speed to high and gradually add the sugar, a little at a time. Beat the egg whites until they are very shiny and hold stiff peaks but are not dry or crumbly, about 6 minutes. To make sure the sugar has completely dissolved, rub a bit of the meringue between two fingers to see if any granules of sugar remain. If grains are present, continue to beat the meringue until the sugar has fully dissolved.Spoon the meringue into the prepared piping bags. Pipe meringues of large and small sizes onto the lined cookie sheets. Sprinkle meringues with the silver dragees before baking.Bake for 90 minutes, turning them halfway through the cooking time to ensure even cooking. When the meringues are done, they should be dry to the touch. You can remove them from the oven, or if time permits, turn off the oven and let them stand inside the oven until the oven cools completely. When cool, you should be able to lift the cookies easily from the parchment sheet.Decorate the cakeApply a thin coat of the leftover Swiss meringue buttercream all over the chilled cake. Starting at the bottom of the cone, apply the meringue cookies, using the larger ones first, around the circumference of the cone.Work your way up, using buttercream as needed as adhesive to the backs of the meringues, and fill in gaps using smaller meringues. It’s okay if not every space is filled, and you can still see some of the smooth white buttercream between the meringues.Store the decorated cake in the refrigerator until ready to serve.To serve the cake, cut the top 1/3 of the cake away, just below the cake pop layer, and place it on a plate to the side (you may ask guests if anyone wants the sugar cone tip!). Slice the remaining layer cake into thin, tall pieces. You may divide one tall piece into two at a buttercream layer.Garnish cake slices with pomegranate arils, if desired.
    Winter is the perfect time to make meringue cookie because of the dry atmosphere. Avoid making meringues in humid weather.
    I used a tiny drop of royal purple gel food color to cancel the slight yellow tinge in the buttercream. If you do this, only use a tiny drop, and remember that food color intensifies over time. If used correctly, the addition of purple makes a wintry (or wedding) white buttercream that matches the meringue cookies.

    Keyword christmas cake, christmas tree cake, cone cake, holiday cake, meringue cake, meringue Christmas tree cake, meringue cookie, seedless black raspberry jam, silver dragees, swiss meringue buttercream, WASC, white cake mix

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    Red Velvet Trifles

    Indulge in the southern tradition of red velvet cake with a twist – Red Velvet Trifles! Assemble them ahead of time for hassle-free hosting during the busy holiday season.

    The holiday season can be a whirlwind of activities, and having make-ahead desserts in your repertoire is a real time-saver. After many years of hosting during the Christmas season, I’ve learned to depend upon prep-ahead recipes, such as these Red Velvet Trifles. They are so pretty! And they’ll add a splash of Christmas color to your special holiday feast. Prepare them a couple of days ahead and store them in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve. Simply add the garnishes a few hours before serving, and you’ll have a show-stopping dessert without the last-minute stress.

    Plan ahead.
    Before you get started mixing up the cake batter, here’s a couple of initial things to get in order to make the entire process smooth sailing.

    Choose your serving glasses. These Red Velvet Trifles are assembled in 8 clear 12 oz. rocks glasses (or other dessert glasses). I’m usually all about breaking out the finest tableware for Christmas, but I made these in plastic recyclable Tossware glasses. Each glass is made from 1 recycled plastic bottle. I’ve reused them loads of times, and have yet to toss them!
    Make room in your fridge. I don’t know about you, but my refrigerator during the holidays – oof! Space gets maxed out pretty quickly. Make sure you have enough space to store the trifles before you begin the recipe. It may help to put the serving glasses on a baking sheet so it’s easy to transfer to the fridge once all the glasses are assembled.

    Make the Red Velvet Cake.
    Now – the cake! Start by mixing up the wet ingredients in a large mixing bowl. It’s not a big job, so this can easily be done using a hand mixer. Add 2 tablespoons of liquid red food color at this stage. If you only have red gel food color, add much less – 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons should do it.

    Sift in the dry ingredients: flour, unsweet cocoa powder, and leavening. Mix together on low speed. Again, a hand mixer is fine. It’s a quick bowl of batter that stirs up easily. I appreciate that!

    Bake the Red Velvet Cake.
    Spread the batter into a greased 13×9 inch pan, and bake for about 20 minutes at 350°F. Be careful not to over bake this cake, as the edges can get a little dry. If this happens, go ahead and trim off the crusty edges.

    When the cake cools cut it into bite-size pieces with a large chef’s knife. You’ll notice the texture is dense like pound cake. This is by design, as the cake needs to be sturdy enough to absorb the raspberry rum drizzling syrup without falling apart. Yes – I said raspberry-rum drizzling syrup! More on that in a bit.

    Make the Cream Cheese Filling.
    This filling is so easy! It’s a simple mixture of cream cheese, whipped cream, sugar, and vanilla extract. However, it does require careful folding. Use a large rubber spatula to fold whipped cream into the sweet cream cheese mixture. It’s so delicious, and a nod to the classic red velvet layer cake with cream cheese frosting.

    Assemble the Trifles.
    Begin assembling the cake trifles in your 12 oz. rocks or dessert glasses. Place a layer of red velvet cake cubes at the bottom of each glass.

    Rum-Raspberry Drizzle.
    Something that pastry chefs know, that not all home bakers know, is that sweet, rich desserts like this one can benefit from a tart foil. The acid, or tartness form berries and fruit creates balance to an otherwise too sweet dessert. In this recipe, it’s the rum-raspberry drizzle. It’s a pleasant surprise flavor when you taste it in this dessert. And just the thing to give it balance. Stir together your favorite brand of prepared seedless raspberry jam, rum, and a little orange juice in a small bowl. Spoon a tablespoon of this mixture over the red velvet cake cubes.

    Pipe or dollop the cream filling evenly over the cubes. The mixture pipes beautifully, so I like using a large closed star piping tip (Ateco #849) for a ruffled appearance through the glass.. Although, just dolloping it in looks fine too.

    Repeat the entire process using more of the cake cubes and raspberry-rum mixture. Finish with a big swirl (or dollop) of the cream cheese mixture on top.

    You’ll have some red velvet cake cubes left over, so crumble them with your fingers into a bowl. Then sprinkle them over each trifle for an easy topping.

    Tips for Success.

    Don’t overbake: I mentioned this earlier, but it warrants repeating. This cake is like the pound cake version of red velvet, designed to stand up (and absorb) the rum drizzle. Baking it too long can yield a dry cake with crusty edges.
    Trim any tough cake edges: After testing this cake a couple of times, I found using a light aluminum pan helped to avoid tough edges. However, use whatever pan you have. And if you get some crust edges, just trim them away. These trifles should contain only the soft cubes of cake for the optimal eating pleasure.
    Fold the filling carefully: Whipped cream is folded into sweet, whipped cream cheese for a cloud-like filling. So, take your time when folding the two together. Otherwise you could knock too much air out of it and it could become runny.
    Variation: If you have more than 8 people to serve, consider assembling the components in smaller glasses. The 12 oz. rocks glasses called for make a hearty serving indeed. You could easily use 6 oz. glasses and double your yield!

    Red Velvet Cake – A Southern Tradition.
    Red Velvet cake, with its deep crimson hue and rich, velvety texture, is rooted in Southern tradition but is loved the world over. As a born and bred southern girl, I’ve tried almost every iteration. From red velvet cupcakes to Oreo-stuffed red velvet crinkle cookies and everything in between. I’ve always thought the vibrant color makes it ideal for the Christmas holidays. Now I especially love it as an elegant little dessert trifle that will stand out on your dessert buffet.

    These individual Red Velvet Rum Trifles are not just pretty to look at, they’re rich, creamy and a little punchy with tart rum-raspberry syrup. I think they actually improve after a day in the refrigerator, because the flavors have a chance to marry, and the syrup absorbs into the cake cubes making them moist and flavorful.
    Happy hosting!
    Related recipe: Red Velvet Cream Cheese Swirl Bundt Cake

    Red Velvet Trifles

    Heather Baird

    Serve up the holiday season in a glass! Whether you’re hosting a feast of friends or having a more intimate gathering, these trifles are sure to leave a lasting impression on your guests. Raspberry-rum drizzle keeps the cake moist with a tongue-tingling boozy note, while the cream cheese contrasts the tart raspberry flavor. Make these trifles up to 3 days ahead for fuss-free hosting.For an alcohol-free version, replace the rum with apple juice.

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    Prep Time 20 minutes minsCook Time 25 minutes minsTotal Time 45 minutes mins

    Course DessertCuisine Southern United States

    Servings 8 servings

    Equipment8 rocks glasses, 12 oz. capacityPiping bagLarge star decorator piping tipPiping bag
    Ingredients US CustomaryMetric Red velvet cake3/4 cup granulated sugar3 whole large eggs2 egg yolks from large eggs1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract3/4 cup unsalted butter melted2 tablespoons red food color liquid1 1/3 cups cake flour2 tablespoons unsweet cocoa powder1/2 teaspoon baking powder1/4 teaspoon fine grain saltRaspberry-Rum Drizzle1 cup seedless raspberry jam1/4 cup golden rum or spiced rum1/4 cup orange juiceCream cheese filling16 oz. cream cheese at room temperature2 cups heavy cream1/3 cup granulated sugar1 teaspoon vanilla extractRosemary sprigs for garnish
    Instructions Red velvet cakePreheat the oven to 350°F. Coat a 13×9-inch baking pan with flour based baking spray, or grease and flour the pan.In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the sugar, eggs, yoks, and vanilla extract. Mix on medium speed until thick and pale, about 5 minutes. Add the melted butter and food color. Mix again.In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Sift the dry mixture over the wet mixture. Mix on low speed until just combined. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the bowl and fold in any streaks of flour.Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until well risen and a toothpick tester inserted near the center comes out clean. Turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.When the cake is cool, use a large chef’s knife to cut the cake slab into 1” cubes. Remove 8 cubes to a small bowl and crumble them with your fingers. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.Rum-raspberry drizzleIn a small mixing bowl, combine the raspberry jam, rum, and orange juice.Whisk together until well combined. Cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel and set aside.Cream cheese fillingPlace the cream cheese in a large bowl and beat with a hand mixer until fluffy. In a separate bowl, beat the heavy cream while gradually adding the sugar. Mix in the vanilla and beat until soft peaks form.Add in 1/4 of the whipped cream to the cream cheese mixture and fold to combine. Add in the remaining whipped cream and fold in gently.Transfer the cream cheese filling to a piping bag fitted with a large open star tip.Assemble the triflesPlace red velvet cake pieces into the 12 oz. glasses about 1/3 of the way up the glass. Drizzle half of the raspberry-rum mixture over the cake pieces in the glasses (a little more than 1 tablespoon per glass).Pipe a swirl of cream cheese filling over the cake cubes in each glass. Top the cream cheese filling with more cake cubes and spoon over the remaining raspberry drizzle into each glass.Pipe a swirl of cream cheese filling over the cake cubes and immediately garnish the tops the reserved bowl of cake crumbles.Cover trifles and refrigerate until ready to serve.Up to 4 hours before serving, add rosemary sprigs standing upright to one side of each trifle.
    NotesVariation: If you have more than 8 people to serve, consider assembling the components in smaller glasses. The 12 oz. rocks glasses called for make a hearty serving indeed. You could easily use 6 oz. glasses and double your yield!

    Keyword christmas dessert, cream cheese, cream cheese filling, holiday desserts, individual Christmas desserts, make ahead deserts, red food color, red velvet cake, red velvet trifles, rum raspberry drizzle

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    Baking School In-Depth: Hungarian Coffee Cake

    The origin of Hungarian coffee cake is a true masterpiece called aranygaluska, which translates as “golden dumpling.” The recipe can be traced back to the 1880s in Hungarian literature. By the mid-20th century, it began popping up as Hungarian and Hungarian Jewish immigrant bakers and home cooks migrated and introduced it to the US. In […] LEGGI TUTTO

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    Death by Chocolate Cake

    This Death by Chocolate Cake is the epitome of dessert luxury! Dark chocolate cake layers are filled with chocolate pudding mousse and covered in double chocolate frosting. One bite and you’ll say goodbye forever to restraint!

    It’s nice when one project inspires another. I mentioned earlier that I’ve been working on holiday content for another website. One assignment, (which you should totally check out here) led me to make classic “Death by Chocolate”. Ever heard of it? It’s a trifle assembled with layers of Kahlua-soaked dark chocolate brownies, chocolate pudding, and crushed toffee bars. After tasting it, I instantly knew those flavors were destined for an over-the-top layer cake.

    Begin with dark chocolate cake layers.
    Start with my all-time favorite chocolate cake recipe. I’ve used it in so many other recipes (like this one!). It delivers everything you’d want from a chocolate cake. Such as, deep chocolate richness, a tender texture, and moist crumb. Check out the video at the end of this post to see exactly how it’s made!

    Brush on some Kahlua.
    The cakes are all brushed with undiluted Kahlua. Which may sound bold but the amount is not overwhelming. This slight amount not only compliments the dark chocolate flavor – it also intensifies it!

    2 Ingredient chocolate pudding mousse filling.
    Remember the classic trifle version I mentioned? It’s made with chocolate pudding. So I was really excited to find a shortcut recipe for chocolate pudding mousse! It just requires two ingredients: boxed chocolate pudding mix and heavy cream. That’s it! I was skeptical at first. But I was truly amazed at how two simple ingredients transform into something akin to homemade chocolate mousse.
    One thing to remember when mixing this filling together, is that it sets quickly! Have your cake layers cooled and ready to fill before you start mixing up the mousse.

    Double chocolate frosting.
    Yes, it’s twice as nice as regular chocolate frosting! Believe it or not, this recipe has a mere 6 tablespoons of powdered sugar in it. Instead of loads of sugar, it depends on melted semisweet chocolate to sweeten and thicken it. You’ll also use a little cocoa powder in the formula. Which helps give the frosting body and more chocolate flavor.

    White chocolate cream cheese frosting.
    Before I get the the white chocolate frosting, let’s talk ganache. It’s so easy to make so I couldn’t resist adding a thick drape to the top of the cake. (Another 2-ingredient fix!) Let it thicken slightly before you pour it on top of the cake. This way you’ll get the draping effect you see above.
    Use the leftover double chocolate buttercream to pipe large swirls on the top edge of the cake. Then, alternate with my homemade white chocolate cream cheese frosting for contrast in flavor and color. It’s so creamy and delicious! The formula uses a surprise ingredient – a little lemon juice – to balance the sweetness of the overall frosting. The contrast it brings to this cake is so nice, and needed. It’s an extra step but I promise it’s worth the effort.

    Chocolate cake toppings – overload!
    It looks as if I went a little overboard on the toppings. But it’s just one box of assorted Belgian chocolate cookies. I used Delacre cookies, which can be found in the international section at most US grocery stores.
    However, you could forgo all of the cookies. Just opt for the crushed toffee bars, which are original to the classic inspiration recipe. In addition to the cookies, I added them last, to the top of the finished cake.

    Death by Chocolate Cake? More like LIFE by Chocolate Cake. Because all of that chocolate is giving me life right now. I wish I could virtually dole out slices to all of you!

    I made a little banner for the cake simply by printing out ‘Death by Chocolate Cake‘ in script font and attaching it to a cocktail pick. My friends and family thought it was so cute, and I think it made everyone even more excited to try it! This cake is extremely rich, but not the sugar rush you might expect. It’s well worth the indulgence!
    This confection would be perfect for a Murder Mystery Dinner Party, which was the project that inspired this cake! Definitely check out my article on How to Throw a Murder Mystery Game Dinner Party. (And be sure to look for the trifles served in martini glasses that inspired this cake!)
    One more thing – this baking project requires several steps, which may seem like a total production. But it’s not that bad. I’ve made a video to help you along the way. Enjoy!

    Death by Chocolate Cake

    Heather Baird

    Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or surprising the chocoholic in your life with a sweet birthday treat, this cake is the ultimate way to satisfy any chocolate craving. This luscious dessert consists of four moist and rich dark chocolate cake layers, sandwiched together with a simple 2-ingredient chocolate pudding mousse. The entire cake is generously smothered in a silky double chocolate frosting that is pure chocolate bliss! Alternating swirls of double chocolate and white chocolate buttercream are piped around the cake’s top edge, and then topped with a scattering of chocolate-covered toffee bars. Take note that the chocolate cake layers bake at a reduced temperature, 300F instead of the usual 350F. This keeps the cake moist and the layers won’t crown, so there’s no leveling to do after baking.The toppings for this cake can be widely varied, but the chopped chocolate-covered toffee bars are non-negotiable, as they are original to the cake’s inspiration trifle dessert – Death by Chocolate. I used a variety of Belgian chocolate cookies, but you could tailor the toppings to your taste or to the recipient’s favorite chocolate treats.

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    Prep Time 1 hour hrCook Time 50 minutes mins40 minutes cooling and setting time 40 minutes mins

    Course DessertCuisine American

    Servings 12

    Ingredients  Dark chocolate cake layersFlour-based baking spray for the pans1 1/2 cups hot water almost boiling3 tablespoons espresso powder3 oz. semisweet chocolate finely chopped about 1/2 cup2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour2 1/2 cups granulated sugar1/2 cup light brown sugar1 1/2 cups unsweet dark cocoa powder sifted2 teaspoons baking soda3/4 teaspoons baking powder1 1/4 teaspoons fine grain salt3 large eggs3/4 cup vegetable oil1 1/2 cups sour cream2 teaspoons vanilla extract2/3 cup Kahlua liqueurChocolate Pudding Mousse2 cups heavy whipping cream1 box instant chocolate pudding mix, 3.9 oz. dry mixDouble chocolate frosting¼ cup unsweet cocoa powder¼ cup boiling water1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature6 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar siftedPinch of salt12 oz. semisweet chocolate chips 2 cups melted and cooledGanache Drip1 cup semisweet chocolate chopped½ cup heavy creamWhite chocolate buttercream4 oz. cream cheese3 oz. white chocolate melted and cooled slightly1/3 cup unsalted butter at room temperature½ tablespoon lemon juice1/3 cup confectioners’ sugarToppings2 whole chocolate-covered toffee bars chopped (such as Heath bars)Assorted Belgian chocolate cookies optional2 tablespoons chocolate sprinkles optional
    Instructions Dark chocolate cake layersPreheat oven to 300°F.Coat four 8-inch round cake pans with the flour-based baking spray. Alternatively, grease and flour the pans.Place the hot water in a large glass measure with a pour spout. Stir in the espresso powder. Add the chopped chocolate and let stand for 2 minutes. Whisk until the mixture is smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.Sift together the flour, sugars, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl.In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment, beat the eggs on high speed until they are pale and thick, about 3 minutes. Add the oil, sour cream, vanilla extract, and the melted chocolate-espresso mixture. Add the flour mixture and mix on medium speed until combined.Divide the batter between the four prepared pans, about 2 cups per pan (batter will be thin). Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until the middles are slightly puffed and spring back when pressed in their centers. The layers won’t crown much so you shouldn’t have to level the cakes.Let the cakes cool in the pans 5 minutes, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely. Poke holes in the cakes using a toothpick. Brush each cake with the Kahlua using a pastry brush. The cake layers can be made 1 day ahead and kept, wrapped well in plastic wrap.Chocolate pudding moussePlace the heavy cream and dry pudding mix in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat until the mixture is smooth and consistent. It will thicken quickly, so have the cake layers close to hand and ready to fill. Place a cake layer on a serving platter or cake board. Cover with 1/3 of the pudding mousse. Repeat twice more, ending with the final cake layer on top. Refrigerate the cake while you prepare the other elements.Double chocolate frostingIn a small heatproof bowl, whisk together the cocoa and hot water until the cocoa is dissolved. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter, confectioners’ sugar, and salt on high speed until fluffy. Reduce speed to low and add the melted and cooled chocolate. Beat until well combined. Add cocoa mixture and beat until completely smooth.Cover the cake with a layer of buttercream and smooth with a bench scraper or cake leveler. Transfer the remaining frosting to a piping bag fitted with a large closed star tip. Refrigerate the cake while you prepare the other elements. Keep the bag of frosting at room temperature.Ganache dripCombine the chocolate and heavy cream in a large microwavable bowl. Heat for 1 minute at 100% power. Let stand 1 minute. Whisk together until the ganache is thick and smooth. Let stand until cooled and slightly thickened.Remove the cake from the refrigerator and pour ½ of the ganache on the top center of the cake. Push the ganache to the edges of the cake using the back of a spoon. Pour the remaining ganache around the top edge of the cake and again, push over the edges of the cake so that thick drapes of ganache form. Refrigerate while you prepare the white chocolate buttercream.White chocolate buttercreamIn the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese on high speed for 2 minutes. Add the white chocolate and beat until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.Add the butter and lemon juice; beat well to incorporate. Reduce speed t low and add the confectioners’ sugar a little at a time until well blendedTransfer the frosting to a piping bag fitted with a large closed star tip.ToppingsPipe tall mounds of the buttercream on the top edge of the cake, alternating with the reserved piping bag of double chocolate frosting.Sprinkle on the two chopped chocolate-covered toffee bars. Add Belgian chocolate cookies and chocolate sprinkles, if using.Store the cake covered in plastic wrap in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature about 2 hours before serving for best flavor and texture.
    NotesWhat to expect:
    This is a supremely moist chocolate cake. The layers are tender and the flavor is dark, and the Kahlua brushed on the cakes after baking intensifies the chocolaty flavor.
    The 2 ingredient mouse filling is rich and creamy, and its firm texture makes for beautiful cake slices. Choose a brand name pudding, such as Jello brand instant pudding mix for best flavor. Dove and Godiva pudding mixes are also excellent choices for the mousse.

    Keyword Belgian chocolate cookies, chocolate cake, chocolate sprinkles, chocolate-covered toffee bars, dark chocolate cake layers, Death by Chocolate Cake, double chocolate frosting, kahlua, ulitmate chocolate layer cake, white chocolate frosting

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