I love you...

like a [phat] kid loves [cheese]cake

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Hello Cal; Meet Your Thursday Columnist

That's right - I am the new Thursday columnist for the Daily Cal! Today marked the debut of my first column about [you probably can guess this] FIGS! It's a rendition of an earlier post here about my deep-dish pie, but extended to roughly 900 words to fit the space. So far I've received lots of positive feedback, which I greatly appreciate, so please keep it up!

Here is the article online [please ignore the last-name spelling error. It's correct in the printed publication!]. Take a looksie and let me know what you think. I am open to suggestions and criticisms, too, so don't feel shy!

Now off to pop some more pills and pass out at 9pm in hopes to mitigate this killer migraine and get my iron levels in check. All good things come to an end.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Don't Trip Chocolate Chip - Cake!

Okay, so I lied about my next post being about figs. But you should be happy, because this is definitely way better, and I know y'all are sick about hearing about figs anyways.

I have a friend who has a mad love-affair with chocolate chip cookies. It mimics my obsessions with pancakes or, more recently, figs, except while my crazes change, his has remained steadfast for as long as I have known him. He would spend hours on TasteSpotting, gazing at pictures of different cookies during study breaks for finals, and don't even get me started on what would happen if he stumbled across something on FoodPornDaily. Now that is a look of bliss if I ever saw one.

So when his birthday rolled around, I sat down and thought, what does he like most in the world? Easy answer. Now, how can I make that into something birthday-like? That didn't take much effort, either. The alarm in my brain went off with the celerity of a kitchen timer as I formed my solution: a chocolate chip cookie cake.

Yes, I did just say that.

When I was baking, I wanted to make sure that the final product was indeed a cake, and not just a giant cookie a la Mrs. Field's, so I thinned out the batter with some cream to create the right consistency. I also baked the two cakes simultaneously in round pans, which I can now do thanks to a brand-new set of bakeware bestowed by my mom for my birthday. She knows me so well!

The filling is a wonderful chocolate buttercream that I pulled from the Daring Bakers newest challenge, with the addition of a little cream cheese, just for funsies. I always have trouble with keeping frostings stiff enough for cakes, but this is by far the best buttercream I have ever made, and everyone who ate this cake agreed! I'm definitely keeping it on file for future use and modifications.

Oh, and as for the birthday boy, I think it's safe to say that he got to have his cake and eat it, too. Happy 20th!


Don't Trip Chocolate Chip Cake

Ingredients
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
Directions

Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans and set aside.

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in cream, and then chocolate chips.

Pour batter into two pans and bake until set, 25-30 minutes. Cool in pans for 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire rack to cool completely.

For the buttercream:

4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup (200g) caster (ultrafine or superfine white) sugar
4oz (110g) bakers chocolate or your favourite dark chocolate, finely chopped
2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons (250g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

4 oz. cream cheese, softened

1. Quarter-fill a large saucepan with water and bring it to a boil. This is going to be your double boiler.
2.Meanwhile, whisk the eggs with the sugar until pale and thickened, about five minutes. An electric mixer is best for this.
3.Fit bowl over the boiling water in the saucepan (water should not touch bowl) and lower the heat to a brisk simmer. Cook the egg mixture, whisking constantly, for 2-3 minutes until you see it starting to thicken a bit. Whisk in the finely chopped chocolate and cook, stirring, for a further 2-3 minutes.
4.Scrape the chocolate mixture into a medium bowl and leave to cool to room temperature. It should be quite thick and sticky in consistency.
5.When cool, beat in the cream cheese. Then add the soft butter, about 2 tablespoons at a time. You should end up with a thick, velvety chocolate buttercream. Chill for a couple hours.

Assembly:

Spread chilled buttercream onto one of the cooled cake layers. Top with second cake, wrap in plastic wrap, and let chill for at least an hour.

Spread a chocolate ganache on top, and decorate the sides with chocolate chips and coconut flakes. Refrigerate until ready to serve.