Chocolate Olive Oil Sheet Cake with Milk Chocolate German Buttercream


 
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I think we’ve talked here before about how much I love sheet cakes. It’s all the flavour of a layer cake, but just way, way more laid back. They are super easy to transport (you just take the whole pan with you), are the best for loading up with sprinkles, and, I don’t know about you, but I LOVE making the swirls with my little offset spatula. I could seriously do it all day - it’s so relaxing to me.

Today’s recipe is a chance for me to love on the sheet cake just a little more, with this double chocolate situation. There’s a chocolate olive oil sheet cake on the bottom - it’s rich and moist, but still has a lovely springy texture, and a depth of flavour from the olive oil in the recipe. I then topped it with a fave of mine - milk chocolate german buttercream. Chocolate has got to be one of my all time faves when it comes to German buttercream. Someone once described it as room temperature ice cream, which I think is really just the perfect description. The chocolate goes so nicely with the silky buttercream, giving you this smooth, decadent topping to the cake. This cake would go great with a load of different buttercreams - in fact, there are a heap on the site here for you, but I can’t go past a good double chocolate pairing, and sprinkles are optional but also kind of necessary.

Let’s take a quick sec to talk about the oil I used in the recipe - I used the Robusto Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Filippo Berio. I love all of their oils, but the Robusto is great to use in baking where you really want the oil flavour to shine through. Here, it gives flavour, and the perfect texture to the cake, but also gives another dimension to the chocolate flavour of the cake, which is so perfect! If you wanted to have a slightly less intense olive oil flavouring, their Extra light olive oil is my go to for when I need a neutral oil in baking too. If you haven’t tried adding olive oil to your cake before, I highly recommend giving it a try!

A few wee tips:

  • I used a milk chocolate in the buttercream, which gave a very light taste, but if you wanted something a bit darker, sub the milk chocolate for a good quality dark chocolate.

  • Ideally the pastry cream for the German buttercream needs to chill down - I like leaving it for at least a few hours, or overnight if I can.

  • This cake is great as it comes together all in the one bowl - you end up with quite a bit of mixture, so make sure that you have a big enough bowl!

 

 

Chocolate Olive Oil Sheet Cake with Milk Chocolate German Buttercream

- Makes one 9” x 12” cake - serves 12-16 people -

Chocolate Olive Oil Cake
375g all-purpose flour
350g sugar
120g dutch cocoa
2 tsp espresso powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
4 eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
180g Filippo Berio Robusto Extra Virgin Olive Oil
330g whole milk, at room temperature
300g freshly boiled water

Milk Chocolate German Buttercream
110g sugar
12g (1 1/2 Tbsp) cornstarch
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 tsp kosher salt
190g whole milk
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
340g (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
180g good quality milk chocolate, melted and cooled slightly

 

- PROCESS -

CHOCOLATE OLIVE OIL SHEET CAKE

Preheat the oven to 350°f / 180°c. Lightly spray a 9”x13” baking pan with baking spray, and line with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, espresso powder, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Add the eggs, yolk, vanilla bean paste, Filippo Berio Robusto Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and milk, and mix to combine well. Add the boiling water and whisk until incorporated.

Transfer the batter into the prepared pan, and tap a few times on a flat surface to remove any excess bubbles.

Bake the cake for 40-45 minutes, until the centre springs back, or a cake tester inserted in the middle of the cake comes out cleanly.

Cool in the pan completely.

 

MILK CHOCOLATE GERMAN BUTTERCREAM

In a bowl, whisk together the sugar, corn starch, egg, egg yolk and salt. In a medium saucepan, heat the milk and vanilla to just shy of a simmer.  Remove from the heat.

Using one hand to whisk constantly, pour half of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture. This helps to temper the eggs and stop them from scrambling. Whisk until incorporated, and then pour the whole lot back into the saucepan.

Heat the milk and egg mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it begins to bubble. It will thicken quickly. Once it has thickened, cook for one minute, then remove from the heat. Pour into a shallow container or bowl of a stand mixer and press some plastic wrap over the surface to avoid a skin from forming. Refrigerate until cold - at least four hours, preferably overnight. If you need to speed this process up, you can place the pastry cream in a bowl, then place the bowl in an ice bath. Stir frequently.

Fit your mixer with the whisk attachment, and place the pastry cream in the bowl. Whip the mixture on medium until creamy and lump-free. Begin adding the butter, a few cubes at a time, until fully incorporated. It may look curdled at some point but just keep whipping - it will come together! Once the buttercream is homogenous, add the cooled melted milk chocolate.

ASSEMBLY

Transfer the cake to a serving plate or board. Dump the milk chocolate buttercream onto the cake, and, using an offset spatula, spread over the cake, creating swirls in the buttercream. Add sprinkles if desired.

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

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Thank you so much to Filippo Berio for sponsoring this post! All opinions are my own.

Cereal Macarons with Cereal Milk German Buttercream - Frosted Flakes, Lucky Charms, and Trix French Macarons


 
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Hi hi! Things are a little crazy around here but in a good way - I got back from the most amazing three days away in the Hudson Valley with friends, and today we are leaving for a wee weekend away for our friend’s wedding, and thennnn on Tuesday next week I go to Alaska! It’s the best type of busy, but travelling a lot always makes me a little frazzled - I miss my cat, and I don’t know how people who travel all the time manage to do it so well!

I currently have a peach pie in the oven - trying to make the most of the amazing peaches NY throws at us during the summer, but I just wanted to pop on here and share this recipe for cereal milk macarons that Jase and I made a few weeks ago! Cereal milk was made a thing by Christina Tosi a while back - it’s basically meant to be a nod to that milk that is left at the bottom of your cereal bowl. The original recipe uses cornflakes and brown sugar, but we took it in a different direction - infusing the milk and then using it as the base of a German buttercream, which we used to fill cereal inspired macaron shells.

We went with three different cereals, all of which seem to be nostalgic flavours. I didn’t grow up here so followed Jase’s lead - although I am absolutely partial to a sneaky bowl of lucky charms every now and then. We used to travel to the states and Canada a fair bit when we were younger, and we always saw lucky charms as a huge treat, but also used to sit eating it, wondering how candy can be passed off as cereal. Regardless - delicious. I can’t pass it up now. Alongside the lucky charms we also used Trix (which are similar to froot loops if you’re not from America), and frosted flakes (super sweet cornflakes). We used the infused milk as the base for a pastry cream, which then got butter whipped into it to transform it into a German Buttercream. This is one of the reasons I love German buttercream so much - you can infuse the milk for the pastry cream base, which means your options are almost endless.

We kept the shells pretty simple, with our standard vanilla bean shell, and then sprinkled some of them with crushed cereal once they had been piped out. They all turned out super, super cute, and all different looking, it was so hard to choose a favourite! We actually ended up making three batches (we have it down now and can pump them out), so the recipe below shows just the quantities used for one batch - we infused all the milk separately to yeild three batches of German buttercream, and followed the macaron recipe to give three batches of shells.

A few wee tips:

  • All my mac tips are in this post!

  • We made three types of cereal macarons here. The process is essentially the same, except for varying the cereal that you use to infuse the milk, and colouring and finishing the shells depending on what flavour you are using. In the ‘flavour variations’ section of the shells part of the recipe, I have outlined what we did for each flavour.

  • Same goes with the German Buttercream - the recipe here is for one batch, in which you can infuse the milk with the cereal. We made three batches, one for Trix, one for Lucky Charms, and one for Frosted Flakes.

  • We did end up adding a tiny drop of food colouring to the lucky charms and Trix buttercreams, just because the yellow of the egg yolk and butter offset the colour of the milk a little.

 

 

Cereal Macarons with Cereal German Buttercream - Frosted Flakes, Lucky Charms, and Trix French Macarons

- Makes about 24 Macarons -

Macaron Shells
170g ground almonds
300g powdered sugar
180g egg whites, at room temperature
160g sugar
A few drops of pink gel food colouring
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
Crushed Cereal to finish, optional

Cereal Milk German Buttercream
400g whole milk
75g cereal (Either Lucky Charms, Trix, or Frosted Flakes)
110g sugar
12g (1 1/2 Tbsp) Corn Starch
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
340g unsalted butter, at room temperature

 

- PROCESS -

MACARON SHELLS

Preheat oven to 300˚f / 150˚c, and position the oven rack in the centre of the oven. Using a round cookie cutter or the base of a large piping tip (something about 1.5 inches in diameter), draw a "template" for your macarons on a piece of parchment paper, leaving about 3/4" between each circle. 

Combine the almond meal and powdered sugar together in a large bowl. Sift the mixture twice, to ensure there are no large lumps and that the mixture is properly aerated. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Gradually add the sugar, increase the mixer speed, and whip on high until the meringue starts to firm up. If using, add gel food colour a few drops at a time, until the desired colour is reached. Add vanilla and mix until incorporated. Continue to whip until the meringue forms stiff peaks (there is a good example here). 

Remove the bowl from the mixer. Add half of the ground almond and powdered sugar mixture, and fold into the meringue. You want to deflate the meringue just a little at this stage, to combine the meringue and ground almond mixture. 

Add the remaining ground almond mixture, and stir lightly to combine. Now comes the important part - mixing the batter to the correct consistency. Again, this video does a good job of explaining it. Fold the mixture in a series of 'turns', deflating the batter by spreading it against the side of the bowl. Turn the bowl slightly and repeat the movement - scooping the batter from the bottom of the bowl, and spreading it against the side. Continuously check the consistency of the batter - you want it to flow like lava when you lift the spatula from the bowl, and you should be able to 'draw' a figure 8 with it, without the batter breaking (again, watch lots of videos to get an idea! They help so much). This step can take some practice until you know what it should feel and look like. If in doubt you are better to under mix them than over mix them - the process of putting the batter into the bag and piping out will help mix a little too.

Fit a large pastry bag with a medium sized round tip, such as an ateco #805. Place the macaron template on a sheet pan, and place a second piece of parchment over it. Holding the piping bag at a 90˚ angle to the surface, pipe out the batter into blobs the size of the circles drawn on the template. Finish off each piped circle with a little "flick" of your wrist to minimise the batter forming a point (it will still form a small one, but we can get rid of this with banging). Remove the template from under the macarons.

Hold the baking sheet in two hands, and carefully but firmly, evenly bang it against the bench. Repeat this a few more times - this will get rid of any air bubbles, remove points on the top, and help them to spread out slightly. 

Repeat the piping and banging process until you have used up all of the batter - I usually make three sheet pans worth. Sprinkle the tops of the macarons with the crushed cereal, if using.

Allow the macarons to dry at room temperature for approximately 30 minutes, or until they form a skin that you can touch without your finger sticking to them. This time will drastically vary depending on the humidity. 

About fifteen minutes before you are going to bake the macarons, place a spare sheet pan in the oven to preheat - this is going to be used to place under the pan with the macarons on it, to double up, which should help with even baking. Bake the macarons one sheet at a time - place the sheet with the macarons on the preheated sheet, and place in the oven. 

Bake for approximately 18 minutes, rotating the pan once during the cooking process, and checking for doneness after 15 minutes. The macarons should develop a foot (the ruffled part on the bottom of the macaron), and bake without browning. To see if they are done - press down lightly on a shell. If the foot gives way, it needs a little longer, if it is stable, then it is close to being done. Test a macaron shell - if you can peel it away cleanly from the paper, they are done. If they are stable but cannot yet peel away cleanly, give them another minute or so. Again, this part takes a little trial and error depending on your oven. If they seem done but do not peel away cleanly, do not worry - there is a little trick for that! 

Remove from the oven, and allow to cool on the sheet pan for 10 minutes before peeling off the parchment paper and allowing to cool completely on a wire rack. Repeat the baking with the remaining trays, using the same spare sheet pan to double up.

If your macs do not peel away cleanly, place them, on the parchment paper, into the freezer for 5-10 minutes, then peel away from the paper. 

Store cooled macarons in an airtight container until ready to use. 

-FLAVOUR / COLOUR VARIATIONS -

  • For Frosted Flakes Macarons, Sprinkle the shells with crushed frosted flakes once you have piped them out and banged them.

  • For Lucky Charms Macarons, colour the shells with mint green / avocado green gel food colouring

  • For Trix Macarons, colour the shells with deep pink gel food colour, and sprinkle some of the piped and banged shells with crushed trix.

 

CEREAL MILK GERMAN BUTTERCREAM

Place milk and cereal in an airtight container. Leave to sit at room temperature for an hour, shaking frequently, to allow the flavour of the cereal to infuse into the milk. Strain the mixture twice, and weigh the infused milk - you need 190g. Top up if needed.

In a bowl, whisk together the sugar, corn starch, egg, egg yolk and salt. In a medium saucepan, heat infused milk and vanilla to just shy of a simmer.  Remove from the heat.

Using one hand to whisk constantly, pour half of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture. This helps to temper the eggs and stop them from scrambling. Whisk until incorporated, and then pour the whole lot back into the saucepan.

Heat the milk and egg mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it begins to bubble. It will thicken quickly. Once it has thickened, cook for one minute, then remove from the heat. Pour into a shallow container or bowl of a stand mixer and press some plastic wrap over the surface to avoid a skin from forming. Refrigerate until cold - at least four hours, preferably overnight. If you need to speed this process up, you can place the pastry cream in a bowl, then place the bowl in an ice bath. Stir frequently.

Fit your mixer with the whisk attachment, and place the pastry cream in the bowl. Whip the mixture on medium until creamy and lump-free. Begin adding the butter, a few cubes at a time, until fully incorporated. It may look curdled at some point but just keep whipping - it will come together! Add food colouring if using, and transfer to a piping bag - we used round tips for lucky charms and trix macarons, and an ateco #867 tip for the frosted flakes.

ASSEMBLY

Pair each macaron shell with another of a similar size. Pipe a circle of buttercream on one half, and then sandwich with the second shell. Add additional crushed cereal if desired. Finish with gold leaf if desired. Macarons taste best if you 'mature' them in the fridge overnight to let the flavours meld, but they are perfect eaten immediately too! Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

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Mixed Berry and Cream Cheese Hand Pies


 
Mixed Berry and Cream Cheese Hand Pies - an easy flaky pie dough encases a mixed berry and vanilla bean cream cheese filling. These miniature pies are perfect for using up surplus cream cheese or jam that you may have, or for making use of slightly sad or tired berries. #handpies #easyhandpies #mixedberryjam
Mixed Berry and Cream Cheese Hand Pies - an easy flaky pie dough encases a mixed berry and vanilla bean cream cheese filling. These miniature pies are perfect for using up surplus cream cheese or jam that you may have, or for making use of slightly sad or tired berries. #handpies #easyhandpies #mixedberryjam
Mixed Berry and Cream Cheese Hand Pies - an easy flaky pie dough encases a mixed berry and vanilla bean cream cheese filling. These miniature pies are perfect for using up surplus cream cheese or jam that you may have, or for making use of slightly sad or tired berries. #handpies #easyhandpies #mixedberryjam
Mixed Berry and Cream Cheese Hand Pies - an easy flaky pie dough encases a mixed berry and vanilla bean cream cheese filling. These miniature pies are perfect for using up surplus cream cheese or jam that you may have, or for making use of slightly sad or tired berries. #handpies #easyhandpies #mixedberryjam
Mixed Berry and Cream Cheese Hand Pies - an easy flaky pie dough encases a mixed berry and vanilla bean cream cheese filling. These miniature pies are perfect for using up surplus cream cheese or jam that you may have, or for making use of slightly sad or tired berries. #handpies #easyhandpies #mixedberryjam
Mixed Berry and Cream Cheese Hand Pies - an easy flaky pie dough encases a mixed berry and vanilla bean cream cheese filling. These miniature pies are perfect for using up surplus cream cheese or jam that you may have, or for making use of slightly sad or tired berries. #handpies #easyhandpies #mixedberryjam
Mixed Berry and Cream Cheese Hand Pies - an easy flaky pie dough encases a mixed berry and vanilla bean cream cheese filling. These miniature pies are perfect for using up surplus cream cheese or jam that you may have, or for making use of slightly sad or tired berries. #handpies #easyhandpies #mixedberryjam

Hi! I am writing this to you from a cute little coffee shop up in Rhinebeck - a few friends and I have escaped for a little mid-week work holiday. For some reason getting work done while you’re tucked away in a little air bnb (we got one with a pool, it is dope) is so much more satisfying than working at home. Don’t get me wrong, I love both, but it’s real cute up here.

I made these just before we left for Canada as a way to use up a couple of things in my fridge - a brick of cream cheese, and half a jar of jam. I had some pie dough in the freezer, so I whipped up these little hand pies, and ohhhh man. I used the cream cheese to act as a bit of a dam to hold in the filling, and the combination of vanilla bean flavoured cream cheese, and sweet mixed berry jam filling is just so good. I didn’t add any additional sugar to the cream cheese, and the super flaky pie dough isn’t sweet, so the jam centre is so, so good against the slightly tangy cream cheese. These are crazy easy to make - they have serious pop tart vibes, and can very easily be scaled up to make a bunch. You could also do them as little circle hand pies rather than the rectangles, and another great thing about them is that you can freeze them ahead of time, store them in an airtight container in your freezer, and bake them off as you need.

Use whatever flavour of jam you like in these - I used mixed berry, but they would also be so, so good with a stone fruit jam or anything berry. You could also use a store bought puff pastry - this is a choose your own adventure here, you can make as many or as few components as you like.

A few wee tips:

  • A pie dough trick I learnt from my friend Erin that is now firmly in my repertoire : After you mix the dough and shape it into discs, rest it in the fridge for about an hour, and then roll it out on a floured surface into a rectangle, fold it in thirds like a letter, then roll again and repeat the folding. Then you shape it into a disc by folding the edges under, rewrap tightly in plastic, and rest for at least two hours before using. What this step does is make the dough homogenous and therefore easy to work with, but also adds layers through the rolling and folding - the same way puff pastry is laminated. It is definitely an optional step but from my experience it makes the world of difference when it comes to rolling out the dough and getting a nice even crimp or lattice work.

  • These come out of the oven HOT. Like, take skin off the inside of your mouth hot. Make sure you let them cool down before you eat it. You’ve been warned.

  • I used homemade jam to make these because I had it on hand, but store bought is great too!

  • I added a couple of flowers I cut out from some excess pie dough. To make these I like to roll out the scrap dough and freeze briefly on a baking sheet, then cut out the shapes with pastry stamps - I have these and love them!

 

 

Mixed Berry and Cream Cheese Hand Pies

- Makes about 9 hand pies -

Pie Dough
375g (2 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
Pinch of Salt
2 tsp (8g) sugar
225g (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
240g (1 cup) cold water
1 cup ice
60g (1/4 cup) Apple cider vinegar
Egg wash - 1 egg whisked with 1 Tbsp water

Filling
225g full fat cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
1/2 cup mixed berry jam or jam of your choice (I used this recipe)

Egg wash - 1 egg whisked with 1 Tbsp water
Turbinado (raw) sugar to finish

 

- PROCESS -

PIE DOUGH

Place flour, sugar and salt into a large bowl. Cut butter into chunks, and add to the flour. Toss lightly to coat. Working quickly, using a pastry blender or  your fingers,  cut the butter into the flour mixture until there are only large pea-sized chunks left. You want a few lumps of butter remaining to keep the pastry nice and tender.

Combine ice, water and cider vinegar in a bowl. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of the ice water into the flour and butter mixture, and using a stiff spatula or your hands, mix in well. Continue adding water a tablespoon at a time ( I normally need about 8-10 tbsp) until you have a dough that holds together well, but is not too wet. Squeeze together with your fingertips to make a homogenous dough. Shape into two rectangles, and wrap in plastic wrap. Rest in the fridge for at least two hours, or preferably overnight.  (See notes for rolling out dough during resting period)

 

FILLING AND ASSEMBLY

In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese and vanilla bean paste. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a round tip.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pie dough into a large rectangle. If you are worried about it getting too warm and soft, you can cut it in half and do this in two parts. Using a ruler and a sharp knife or pastry cutter, cut the pastry into 3" x 4" rectangles (7cm x 10cm). You should get approximately 18 rectangles. Place the cut rectangles carefully onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet, and refrigerate for 10 mins to help firm up the pastry slightly. 

Remove the pastry rectangles from the fridge and match up into pairs. Lightly brush the edges of one piece of pastry with egg wash, then pipe a rectangle of the cream cheese mixture, and fill the centre with two teaspoons of jam. Top with a second piece of pastry, pressing down lightly around the edges to seal, ensuring that there are no air bubbles. Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet, then use the tines of a fork to press down around the edges to help seal. Repeat with the remaining rectangles of pastry until all the hand pies are assembled. Add decorations using pie stamps by stamping out rolled out scrap pastry.

Place the baking sheet in the freezer and freeze for 30-40 minutes, or until the dough becomes very firm. If you are planning on freezing them for a longer period of time, freeze solid then transfer to an airtight plastic bag. 

While the pies are in the freezer, preheat the oven to 425°f / 220°c. Remove the pies from the freezer. Using a sharp knife, cut a cross in the top of each pie, brush with egg wash, and sprinkle with additional raw sugar. Bake for 25-35 minutes, until the pies are deeply golden brown and the juices are bubbling. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store leftovers wrapped in foil at room temperature. Reheat in the oven to help keep the pastry crispy. 

Mixed Berry and Cream Cheese Hand Pies - an easy flaky pie dough encases a mixed berry and vanilla bean cream cheese filling. These miniature pies are perfect for using up surplus cream cheese or jam that you may have, or for making use of slightly sad or tired berries. #handpies #easyhandpies #mixedberryjam