One Bowl Devil's Food Layer Cake with Milk Chocolate Frosting


 
One Bowl Devil's food Layer Cake with Milk Chocolate Frosting - from the new Bravetart book!
One Bowl Devil's food Layer Cake with Milk Chocolate Frosting - from the new Bravetart book!
One Bowl Devil's food Layer Cake with Milk Chocolate Frosting - from the new Bravetart book!
One Bowl Devil's food Layer Cake with Milk Chocolate Frosting - from the new Bravetart book!
One Bowl Devil's food Layer Cake with Milk Chocolate Frosting - from the new Bravetart book!
One Bowl Devil's food Layer Cake with Milk Chocolate Frosting - from the new Bravetart book!
One Bowl Devil's food Layer Cake with Milk Chocolate Frosting - from the new Bravetart book!
One Bowl Devil's food Layer Cake with Milk Chocolate Frosting - from the new Bravetart book!

I've been on some sort of Cake Hiatus. And I'm not sure why. It could be because the leftovers are a little harder to get rid of - mind you our doormen don't mind if there's a slice cut out. I think part of it was that sometimes people thought it was all just cake over here. I have been introduced a few times as 'This is Erin, and she makes amazing cakes!' Which is all well and good and I hugely appreciate that people think the cake is amazing, but I like to think that i'm a little more versatile than just being a cake person. Or even just a sweets person - I have a fairly strong pasta game too ;). So I guess I've just been making other things to prove a point that I can do it, even just to myself? What a weirdo. Or maybe it's because I fell down a giant pie rabbit hole - there's something so calming about making pie. And Bread. Sorry Cake.

The excitement of making cake slowly crept back up on me - I forgot how fun it was. And then when Stella's new book: Bravetart: Iconic American Desserts showed up in my mailbox, I knew it was time. I've been waiting for this book for what feels like the longest time ever, and it is even more amazing than I knew it was going to be. Stella is an absolute wizard, and a lady after my own heart - she treats baking as a science (because it is), heavily endorses the use of a scale (if you don't have any, buy some RIGHT NOW because it will change your baking forever), and includes things like cooked temperature for cakes, and little hacks you never knew you needed. I have followed her work since way way back when she had a blog, and her magic ways have made their way into the way I bake. Her recipes are solid, easy to follow, and reliable, and can easily be adapted to suit your liking - I just can't say enough good things about them.

Deciding what to make from the book first proved to be kind of difficult. Because I didn't grow up here, there's so many nostalgic childhood desserts in this book that I have never tried. Which I kind of like - it means that the first time I try them, they will likely be home made. However I kept turning back to the one bowl devil's food layer cake. It looked rich and fudgy, and had a milk chocolate frosting. I can never go past a double chocolate situation. 

This cake is a dream - I almost went full on Bruce Bogtrotter on it. It all comes together in one pot, which is amazing. The layers bake lovely and flat, which makes assembly super easy. The frosting is a simple whipped ganache, which you make in the bowl of the stand mixer, leave to cool, then whip up all in the same bowl. (Best Idea ever?!? I think so). You need it in your life. Congrats Stella! This book is so, so beautiful, and I can't wait to slowly work my way through it! xx

A few wee notes:

  • This recipe is made in three pans. While owning three pans the same size probably seems excessive to most people, trust me on this one when I say that they are insanely handy to have. Trying to cut a cake in half cleanly and evenly sucks. Baking the layers in individual pans sucks much less. You can also use the pans for all sorts of other things - cinnamon rolls, cheesecake, quiche, ice cream, etc. I have three of these and I love them to bits. They are super easy to wash, and things don't stick to them.
  • Be careful when covering the ganache to cool - I was silly and didn't let it cool enough before putting it in to the fridge and a teeny bit of condensation dripped into it which made it the tiniest bit grainy, but still tasted amazing.
  • The Ganache needs up to 6 hours to cool before you can whip it, or you can cool it in an ice bath.
  • Buy this book because you need it.

I am doing a giveaway over on Instagram where you can win a copy of this book! Head on over to enter! Feel free to stop by Saveur and pop a vote in on your way past too! x

 

 

One Bowl Devil's Food Layer Cake with Milk Chocolate Frosting
- Makes one 8 by 4 inch, three-layer cake -

Reprinted with Permission from Bravetart: Iconic American Desserts

Devil's Food Cake
3 sticks (12oz) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups (12 oz) Black coffee or black tea
1 cup (3 oz) Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 1/4 cups (6 oz) finely chopped dark chocolate, approx 72% cocoa solids
2 cups gently packed (16oz) Light brown sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 tsp kosher salt
6 large eggs, cold
3 Tbsp (1 1/2 oz) egg yolks (about 3 large eggs worth)
2 cups (9 oz) all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking soda

Milk Chocolate Frosting
3 cups (24 oz) heavy cream
3 3/4 cups (20 oz) good quality milk chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 tsp kosher salt
 

- PROCESS -

CAKE

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat the oven to 350˚f / 180˚c. Line three 8 inch cake pans with parchment paper, and spray with baking spray. (If you don't have three pans, the batter can be kept at room temp for 90 mins)

Combine butter and coffee in a 5 quart pot, and set over low heat. Once the butter is melted , remove from the heat and whisk in the cocoa and chocolate, followed by the brown sugar, vanilla, and salt. Mix in the eggs and yolks. Sift in the flour and baking soda. Whisk thoroughly to combine, then divide the mixture between the 3 pans (it should yield approx 23 ounces in each)

Bake until the cakes are firm, about 30 minutes, or until they register 210˚f on a thermometer. A toothpick inserted in the centre will emerge with a few crumbs left on it. Cool until no trace of warmth remains, at least 90 minutes. 

MILK CHOCOLATE FROSTING

In a 3 quart stainless steel pot, warm the cream over medium heat. When bubbling hard around the edges, pour over chocolate in the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk by hand until smooth, stir in the salt, and set aside until no longer steaming. Cover and refrigerate six hours, or until thick and cold (45˚f) about 6 hours. Alternatively you can cool in an ice bath, stirring frequently, for about an hour.

Whip with a whisk attachment on medium high until the frosting is thick and silky. (75 to 120 seconds). Use immediately.

ASSEMBLY

Invert each pan onto a wire rack, and peel off the parchment. Trim the tops of the cake using a serrated knife. Place one layer cut side up on a serving plate or turntable. Cover with a cup of the frosting spreading evenly with the back of a spoon or offset spatula. Repeat with the second and third layers, cut side down. Finish the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting, and the decorations of your choice (I piped a little leftover on as blobs around the top of the cake, and then added some chocolate balls). 

The frosted cake will keep under a dome or pot for 24 hours. Once cut, wrap slices individually and store at room temp for up to 4 days.

One Bowl Devil's food Layer Cake with Milk Chocolate Frosting - from the new Bravetart book!

Asparagus, Goat Cheese, and Caramelised Onion Quiche


 
Asparagus, Goat Cheese, and Caramelised Onion Quiche - a great way to use up bits and bobs in your fridge. Would also be great with broccoli!
Asparagus, Goat Cheese, and Caramelised Onion Quiche - a great way to use up bits and bobs in your fridge. Would also be great with broccoli!
Asparagus, Goat Cheese, and Caramelised Onion Quiche - a great way to use up bits and bobs in your fridge. Would also be great with broccoli!
Asparagus, Goat Cheese, and Caramelised Onion Quiche - a great way to use up bits and bobs in your fridge. Would also be great with broccoli!
Asparagus, Goat Cheese, and Caramelised Onion Quiche - a great way to use up bits and bobs in your fridge. Would also be great with broccoli!
Asparagus, Goat Cheese, and Caramelised Onion Quiche - a great way to use up bits and bobs in your fridge. Would also be great with broccoli!
Asparagus, Goat Cheese, and Caramelised Onion Quiche - a great way to use up bits and bobs in your fridge. Would also be great with broccoli!

Just want to start out by saying a quick THANK YOU SO, SO MUCH for all of the kind words after Wednesday's post! Now that I can finally talk about it the excitement is setting in properly. Please remember that you can vote as many times as you want - so if you have spare minute feel free to pop over and hammer on the refresh button for a bit! 

I thought it was quite fitting to post the recipe for this quiche - it was something that Kate and I came up with. Kate is also a finalist in the 'Baking and Sweets' category along with our best girl Becky. Charleston had better watch out. This particular quicheweekend I flew down to Alabama to visit and we went from internet besties to IRL besties. We were attending a Bennett Brunch hosted by the lovely Brian of Bake from Scratch, and while we had the baked goods side of our contribution sussed, we wanted to take something savoury along too, just because. Asparagus had just come into season and both of us had been meaning to make a quiche for a while, so we kept it simple and went with asparagus, goats cheese, and caramelised onions. When you have strong flavours and fresh produce, I find the best way to go about it is to keep the ingredients to a minimum. My usual go-to for quiche is a filo base, and the contents of the fridge inside, covered with some egg, but this time we kept it classy like the beings that we are. Plus you can't ever go wrong with goat's cheese and caramelised onion. 

So here's a bff quiche recipe for you - we started with Kate's pie crust, which is way less high maintenance than mine, comes together in the food processor, and only needs a short rest, not an overnight nap like mine. We then went in with some onions, which had hung out in the pan just long enough to reduce right back into a sticky caramel mess. Some sharp soft goats cheese topped the onion, then the filling was covered with a cream and egg mixture. Asparagus that had been quickly blanched was then placed on top, in a pattern that managed to hold nicely even in the oven. The result was a little bit fancy, very pretty, and insanely delicious. Savoury quiche win. The recipe doubles really well, so if you have two tart tins, making a second one will be well worth your while (and really, not much more effort).

A few wee notes:

  • Thin asparagus works well! Usually I would just snap the ends off, but I tried to cut each one to a similar length that would fit inside my tart tin.
  • Caramelise the onion while the pastry rests! It may seem like a lot of onion at the start, but I promise it will all cook down into a melty, delicious mess. 
  • If asparagus is out of season / you don't like it / it's too hard to find, this would work perfectly with broccoli too - cut it into thin slices, blanch quickly then arrange on the top. 
  • If you don't have chevre (soft goat's cheese), sub feta cheese.
 

 

Asparagus, Goat Cheese, and Caramelised Onion Quiche
- Makes one 9" quiche -

Crust recipe from The Wood and Spoon

Crust
1/2 batch of Kate's pie crust, rested
1 egg white plus 1 tsp water, whisked

Caramelised onions
4 Medium to large white onions, peeled and sliced thinly
Olive Oil
Large pinch of salt
1/2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

Filling
1 medium bunch asparagus, washed and trimmed
1/2 cup caramelised onions
4oz (115g) soft goat's cheese (chevre) or feta
1 cup (240ml) heavy cream
4 eggs, at room temperature
Salt and pepper to season

- PROCESS -

CARAMELISED ONIONS

Heat a large, heavy bottomed pan over high heat. Add about 2 Tbsp oil, and the onions, stirring to coat. Add a big pinch of salt. Reduce the heat slightly, and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. After 10 minutes, add the sugar, and stir well. 

Continue to cook the onions for a further 30 to 40 minutes, reducing the heat as necessary and stirring every few minutes. Add a little extra oil or water if needed to stop the onions drying out. 

Once the onions are collapsing, and dark brown in colour. They will have reduced significantly. 

Deglaze the pan with the balsamic vinegar, and stir well. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

CRUST

Preheat the oven to 350˚f. Roll out the dough to 1/4" thickness and use it to line a 9" round Tart tin with a removable bottom, trimming the excess. Line tightly with foil, and fill with ceramic pie weights, rice, or beans.

Bake for 15 minutes, until the pastry has set and is beginning to go golden. Remove
from the oven, remove foil and weights, leave to sit for 5 minutes, then brush all over
with egg wash. Return to the oven for another 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

ASSEMBLY AND BAKING

In a medium bowl, whisk together the cream, eggs, and salt and pepper. Blanch the asparagus in boiling water for 15-20 seconds. Drain and run under cold water. Spread the caramelised onions over the bottom of the prepared tart crust using your hands or an offset spatula. Crumble the goat's cheese over the onions. Pour the egg mixture over the onions and goat cheese, taking care not to overfill.

Arrange the asparagus on the surface of the tart, with all of the spears pointing in the
same direction. You will most likely have to double up on the layers to fit it all in. Bake the quiche for 30-35 minutes, until the filling is set and golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Asparagus, Goat Cheese, and Caramelised Onion Quiche - a great way to use up bits and bobs in your fridge. Would also be great with broccoli!

Chelsea Buns (Custard and Raisin Brioche buns), plus exciting news!


 
Chelsea buns (custard and raisin brioche buns), by Cloudy Kitchen. Fluffy brioche filled with a vanilla custard and raisins. An amazing riff on the traditional cinnamon bun.
Chelsea buns (custard and raisin brioche buns), by Cloudy Kitchen. Fluffy brioche filled with a vanilla custard and raisins. An amazing riff on the traditional cinnamon bun.
Chelsea buns (custard and raisin brioche buns), by Cloudy Kitchen. Fluffy brioche filled with a vanilla custard and raisins. An amazing riff on the traditional cinnamon bun.
Chelsea buns (custard and raisin brioche buns), by Cloudy Kitchen. Fluffy brioche filled with a vanilla custard and raisins. An amazing riff on the traditional cinnamon bun.
Chelsea buns (custard and raisin brioche buns), by Cloudy Kitchen. Fluffy brioche filled with a vanilla custard and raisins. An amazing riff on the traditional cinnamon bun.
Chelsea buns (custard and raisin brioche buns), by Cloudy Kitchen. Fluffy brioche filled with a vanilla custard and raisins. An amazing riff on the traditional cinnamon bun.
Chelsea buns (custard and raisin brioche buns), by Cloudy Kitchen. Fluffy brioche filled with a vanilla custard and raisins. An amazing riff on the traditional cinnamon bun.
Chelsea buns (custard and raisin brioche buns), by Cloudy Kitchen. Fluffy brioche filled with a vanilla custard and raisins. An amazing riff on the traditional cinnamon bun.

So I have some exciting news that I have been busting to share for the last week or so - I have been nominated as a finalist in the "best baking and sweets" category for the Saveur Blog Awards!  I've been the worst excited person ever to be around for the last week - this morning I could hardly wait and ended up so excited that I got stressed and lost it at Rich over literally nothing, and ended up standing in the kitchen in tears holding an egg. Everything still seems a little surreal at the moment - I never once imagined that after starting a little corner of the internet where I share my food just over a year ago, I would be nominated for something like this! I am insanely grateful - thank you so, so much to everyone who nominated, follows along, and provides support! I don't have enough words to express how thankful I am! The awards are taking place in Charleston at the start of October - and you can vote for your favourites. You can vote as many times as you like over on Saveur's website, so I would be extremely grateful if you told your friends / family / coworkers / everyone you've ever met in the world that they can vote too! 

I created this little space as a way for me to have somewhere to express me. I needed something that was just mine, that I could work on as my own little project as somewhat of a coping mechanism for negotiating this crazy city that we live in, which is polar opposite to little old New Zealand that I was so comfortable and used to. Making food has always provided me with comfort, but there is something about making it to share with others that really hits home for me - it draws on how I grew up, in a household full of friends and family, and if I can replicate that wherever I go, I can bring a little bit of home with me always. What I didn't expect was for it to grow into this amazing thing, which I am so, so excited to work on every day. Not only that, but the incredible people of the food community that I have met along the way are the biggest bonus ever - I can honestly say I have met some lifelong friends. 

And what better way to celebrate than with something that is a nod to where it all came from - a recipe from home. We call these "chelsea buns" and for us they were the ultimate bribe for making it through a supermarket trip with mum without standing up in the trolley. Essentially they are a brioche dough, spread with a custard/pastry cream, then sprinkled with some brown sugar and raisins, before being rolled up tightly and cut into slices - just like cinnamon buns. Once out of the oven they are glazed with a super icing, and they are ready to go. The combination of custard and raisins mixed with the fluffy bread dough is enough to transport me straight back to childhood - sitting in the back of the car with my arms straight out, forbidden to touch anything with my sticky fingers. From memory there were also another variation of chelsea buns which were more similar to a cinnamon bun but with raisins, but I always far preferred the custard version. 

These aren't your standard Cinnamon rolls. These are something that will make you never look at cinnamon rolls the same way again. Getting this recipe right was a little tricky - it took five tries and one oven filled with overflowed brioche dough before I finally came up with something I was happy with. Because the custard adds moisture, the sugar in the filling can't be added the regular way mixed with butter and spread on, because it creates too much moisture and the buns collapse. Sprinkling the sugar on with the raisins seemed to work best! These are amazing straight out of the oven, and the leftovers are also lovely zapped in the microwave to warm them up slightly. Good luck with them lasting longer than a day though. 

This is also the second recipe in a wee mini series I am doing of recipe variations on one brioche dough recipe - the first, black bean burgers, is here

A few wee notes:

  • After five batches of custard, I ended up using custard powder in the pastry cream / custard. If you don't have any custard powder you can substitute corn starch, although I recommend getting custard powder if you can! The flavour it gives was exactly what I was looking for - just the way that custard tasted growing up. You want to cook the custard until it is very thick, so that it spreads nicely on the dough. 
  • I use a brioche dough that can be made and baked on the same day, but if you wanted to prepare this ahead of time, you could make the dough and custard the day before, and do the first rise in the fridge overnight, then assemble the buns the next day just before baking. Chilled dough is actually much easier to roll out!
  • Sometimes it is a little hard to tell with buns etc when they are cooked, because the filling can cause the tops to go golden before they are done. I like to check the internal temperature using a thermometer - it should be around 200˚f / 95˚c for enriched dough. I have a thermometer with a cord on it and a little probe, and it's the best thing ever (plus it has an alarm which is super handy for people like me who walk away while things are cooking)
 

 

Chelsea Buns (Custard and Raisin Brioche Buns)
- Makes 12 large buns -

Pastry cream recipe adapted from Bouchon Bakery

Brioche Dough
1 envelope (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
1 cup (240ml) whole milk, lukewarm
4 Tbsp sugar
3 3/4 cups (565g) all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
90g (6 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
 

Custard / Pastry Cream filling
132g (1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp) egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
110g (1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp) sugar
50 grams (6 tbsp) custard powder
550g (2 cups plus 3 Tbsp) whole milk

Filling
3/4 cup (150g) soft brown sugar
1/2 cup (85g) raisins

Egg wash - 1 egg whisked with 1 Tbsp water

Glaze
2 1/2 cups (315g) powdered sugar
3-4 Tbsp whole milk
 

- PROCESS -

BRIOCHE DOUGH

In a small bowl, combine the yeast, milk and 2 Tbsp of the sugar. Mix well, and leave to sit for 10-15 minutes, or until foamy.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour, salt, and remaining 2 Tbsp sugar. Mix briefly to combine. Add the eggs, vanilla, and foamy yeast mixture to the bowl. Mix on low for 2-3 minutes, until the dough is starting to come together. It may look slightly dry but do not worry - it will mix together nicely in the next steps. Increase the mixer speed to medium, and mix for another 10 minutes, until the dough is soft and smooth. 

Reduce the mixer speed to low, and add the butter a little at a time, waiting until it is fully incorporated into the dough before adding the next piece. This process should take 3-4 minutes. Once the butter is fully incorporated, increase the mixer speed to medium, and mix for a further 5 minutes, until the dough is very soft and smooth. 

Transfer to an oiled bowl, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Place in a warm spot until doubled in size, approximately 1 - 1 1/2 hours. 

CUSTARD

In a large bowl, whisk together the yolks, sugar and custard powder in a bowl. 

In a medium pot, warm the milk and vanilla paste until there is movement just around the edges of the milk - do not bring it to the boil. 

Remove the milk from the heat, and, whisking constantly, add half of the milk mixture into the egg and cornflour mixture to temper the egg yolks. Whisk briskly for 30 seconds. Transfer the milk-yolk mixture back to the pot, and return to a medium heat. Whisk constantly until very thick. 

Strain the custard through a mesh sieve, and into a bowl. Cool to room temperature then place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the pastry cream to prevent a skin. Place in the fridge until completely cooled. If you are in a rush, place the bowl of water in an ice bath to speed up the cooling process

ASSEMBLY AND BAKING

Preheat the oven to 350˚f / 180˚c. Lightly grease a 9" x 13" baking dish.

Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Roll out to a 24" x 18" (60cm x 45cm) rectangle. If you find your dough is resisting being rolled out, stop and let it relax for about 15 minutes before continuing to roll. 

Using an offset spatula, spread the cooled custard evenly over the surface of the dough. Sprinkle with the brown sugar and raisins. Starting with the long edge, carefully roll up the dough tightly. Cut into 12 equally sized slices, and arrange in the baking dish. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and allow to sit in a warm place until they have risen slightly, and have gone a little puffy.

Brush the tops of the rolls with the egg wash. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the bread is cooked through and the top is golden. (internal temp 200˚f) Tent with foil after 20 minutes if the buns seem to be browning too quickly. Check for doneness after 35 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes. While they are cooling, mix the sifted powdered sugar and 3 Tbsp of the milk in a medium bowl, adding extra milk a teaspoon at a time until you reach your desired consistency. Spread over the buns using an offset spatula while they are still warm. 

Serve warm or at room temperature. Leftovers are best eaten the day of, or the day after baking.

Chelsea buns (custard and raisin brioche buns), by Cloudy Kitchen. Fluffy brioche filled with a vanilla custard and raisins. An amazing riff on the traditional cinnamon bun.