Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Black Tea Infused Chocolate Cake + Lemon Buttercream

Hello Lovelies!!
With spring just around the corner, I felt a light yet vibrant cake was in order. I also wanted to make something without a recipe… to sort of experiment.
I've had this idea to make a black tea cake for some time now - it might have a little something to do with my missing England and wishing I could move back… so instead I'll just infuse a chocolate cake with black tea. For the frosting, I wanted something light and subtle, that would make you think, "This must be what a sophisticated, English spring tastes like!" (not really, but just go with it anyways) 
So here is my Black Tea Infused Chocolate Cake with Lemon Buttercream!

I know I'm not the first person to ever make a black tea infused chocolate cake, but I am happy to say this recipe is my very own… I didn't follow or reference any other recipes. I'm not boasting, but this is a very exciting thing for me as a baker. And it turned out wonderfully!! 
Ohhhh, the feels…. my heart is pretty stoked.

Recipe time!!
Since I have readers from all over the world, I decided I'm going to convert the measurements for my recipes to the metric system so you don't have to if you decide to make any of my recipes :) hope it helps a bit!

Chocolate Black Tea Cake:
Heat oven to 350 degrees F/180 degrees C or Gas Mark 4

2 cups (300g) all purpose flour 
1 teaspoon (5g) baking soda
1 1/2 cups (338g) granulated/caster sugar
1 cup (115g) cocoa powder
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup (360ml) black tea (make about 5-10 minutes before starting on your cake batter)
1 cup (240ml) vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon (3ml) vanilla extract
a pinch of sea salt

In a medium bowl, combine and mix all the dry ingredients, set aside. In a separate bowl (small/medium size) combine eggs, oil, black tea, and vanilla extract, whisk with a fork (or whisk) until the wet ingredients are completely mixed. Create a bit of a crater in the dry ingredients, pour wet mixture into the dry mixture bowl…. mix together until you have a lovely chocolate/black tea cake batter. Grease your pan (or pans) of choice with either butter, oil, or a spray like Pam - I used a 9x3 springform pan.
Pour your batter into your pan, make sure not to exceed 3/4 full if putting all your batter into one pan. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick/skewer comes out with just a few crumbs (not gooey batter). Let cool completely, then frost away to your hearts content… and try not to eat it all instantly :)

Lemon Buttercream:
8 egg whites
2 cups (450g) granulated/caster sugar
1 1/2 cups (340g) unsalted butter, softened + cubed
2 medium lemons - use 1tbs. + 1tsp. of the [squeezed] lemon juice, save the rest for soaking the cake

In a clean, dry mixer bowl add egg whites and granulated sugar and place over a pot of previously boiled water (meaning, I boiled the water while putting egg whites/sugar in my bowl, then turned the heat down to the lowest setting before placing my bowl on the pot). Whisk the sugar and egg whites gently but constantly until temperature reaches 160 degrees F/71 degrees C, or (if you don't have a candy thermometer) until the egg whites are hot and the sugar is completely dissolved. 
With a whisk attachment of a mixer, whip until the meringue is thick, glossy and the bottom of the bowl is neutral/cool, and not warm to the touch.
Switch to a paddle attachment, and with the mixer on low, add butter cubes one at a time until completely incorporated… at this point, your buttercream will break and curdle and you'll be tempted to think you failed or to just toss it and start over… don't do it!! Just keep mixing, the buttercream will come back together and eventually reach a silky smooth texture. If your buttercream is too runny, refrigerate for about 15 minutes and then continue to mix with a paddle attachment until it comes together.
Zest your lemons and squeeze out all the juice into a bowl. Add the zest and juice to the buttercream and mix on low until it's completely incorporated. 

If any of you try this recipe out, I'd love to know! Commenting below, or post a photo on twitter (@kraeshaew) or instagram (@kylieraecakes) and tag me in the photo!
kylie rae

Friday, February 13, 2015

Unconventional Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate chip cookies. 
They're kind of like the grandfather of baked goods; the glue that holds the entire baked community together.
Sorry… I'm getting way to sappy here.
But, the chocolate chip is one of the staples and I wanted to mess with it a bit.

I personally have been trying to eat extremely clean, and completely dairy free - because I'm lactose intolerant and cheese is SO not worth it anymore.
Sooo, I took a recipe from Ovenly's book: salted chocolate chip cookies (online recipe also on Vogue)
Being the salty/savory lover that I am, this recipe was calling my name.

The cookies I ended up with are healthier (aside from the sugar), but by no means lacking in flavor and awesomeness. I actually had to instruct my fam not to inhale the cookies so I could take photos for the blog… but as soon as the photographing was done, the cookies were basically inhaled.
So, if you're looking for a slightly healthier option to bake when your sweet tooth is screaming at you to feed it goodness, give these cookies a go. You'll thank me later :)

Also, just a little note about me… despite being a certified pastry chef, I mostly bake at home now (since I haven't found my perfect/dream bakery job), which means I'm also always on dish duty. So, in my personal interest of not wanting to do 50 million dishes, I added all my dry ingredients into one bowl, combined them using a fork, then added my wet ingredients and coconut oil. I actually tend to do this a lot (except when a recipe calls for creaming sugar and eggs/butter/oil/etc) and my baked goods tend to come out great every time.

I used almond meal/flour to start off, but ended up having to add a handful (yep… I measured the flour with my hand… I'm oh-so-fancy) of whole wheat pastry flour b/c the middles of the cookies didn't bake properly and the edges were already crispy. If you are gluten-intolerant, try adding a little less coconut oil and almond milk to keep the dough from becoming too wet. Have fun experimenting and playing with the recipe, and who care if you mess it up a bunch of times… the only way to get better is to face your fear of baking and just do it and have fun messing up. 
Soap box ramblings done.

Here's my recipe for my Unconventional Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies:
(adapted from Ovenly)
Heat oven to 350 degrees F/177 degrees C
2 cups almond meal/flour (or any gluten free flour of your preference)
1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. sea salt (I used pink himalayan sea salt, and kind of added a bit more to give it a saltier taste)
1 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
1 cup light brown sugar (high fattening bit)
1/2 cup ex. virgin coconut oil
1/4 cup (or a smidge less) unsweetened almond milk
Sea salt to top the cookies before being baked
optional: Whole wheat pastry flour - a handful or two

Like I said before, if you're going completely gluten free, mix in the coconut oil and milk a little bit at a time. You want the dough to hold a ball shape without leaving a bunch of dough on your hands after making little circles.
Place cookies about 2 inches apart on baking sheet/baking stone. I used my most loved (and heavily used) baking stone since I never need to use grease or parchment paper…so if you have stoneware, you should use it b/c it's fantastic.
Before placing the cookies in the oven to bake, sprinkle the tops with sea salt. 
Bake for 12 - 13 minutes or until the edges are golden.
The book recommends freezing the dough balls for 10 minutes before baking… I didn't do that, and my cookies (once the dough was a little less wet with added flour) retained their shapes nicely. But give the freezing a try and let me know how it goes by commenting on this post.

For all you lovelies out there reading this… I'd love to interact with you all! Leave me comments to let me know if you bake these cookies or if you liked/didn't like this recipe… or if you have any suggestions or recipes you'd like me to try, I'd love to hear from you all! Please leave a comment… and even find me on Instagram: kylieraecakes & Twitter: kraeshaew
I'd love to hear from you all!
Have a wonderfully sweet day!!

ps. also… how stinking cute is my bday present from my best friend?!!! I have a love for owls and foxes, and this plate kills me with it's cuteness! (it's from West Elm if you fall in love with the cuteness and have to get yourself one or more)….