yellow buttercake with fudge frosting

yellow buttercake  with fudge frosting | A Brown Table

First things first, the winner of the Wolf Gourmet giveaway is Angela Fields. Congratulations!!! Angela, please send me an email so I can have your shiny new cookware sent out to you. 

When Tessa Huff (who is a cake maven) asked me to share a cake recipe from her new book Layered, I immediately went with her birthday cake. Tessa's blog, if you aren't familiar with it already, is full of delicious cakes and treats made with unique flavors and styles. There's a cake for every occasion to bake and plenty of tasty ones to choose from. From rhubarb, to zucchini to tea infused cakes, you will have a blast going through the book and cooking from it.  

A yellow layer cake frosted with chocolate buttercream fudge frosting. It's simple yet  decadent and delightful, everything a birthday cake should be! I've added a light sprinkling of maldon salt flakes for color and flavor. Make sure you use good quality chocolate and cocoa for the frosting, it makes a huge difference in flavor. Yellow layer cakes are made with egg yolks which give the cake it's color and name. The crumb is soft and delicate and a spoonful with a layer of chocolate fudge frosting, goes a deliciously long way! 

Tessa is also giving away a copy of her book to one lucky reader (contest is open to US and Canadian readers only) from here. The giveaway is open for a week and ends on April 29th, 2016. I'll pick a random winner, all you need to do is leave a comment below and share the name of your favorite birthday cake. Please don't forget to leave your email address so I can contact you. Good luck and happy baking!

yellow buttercake  with fudge frosting | A Brown Table
yellow buttercake  with fudge frosting | A Brown Table
yellow buttercake  with fudge frosting | A Brown Table
yellow buttercake  with fudge frosting | A Brown Table
yellow buttercake  with fudge frosting | A Brown Table
yellow buttercake  with fudge frosting | A Brown Table
yellow buttercake  with fudge frosting | A Brown Table

Here are some of my kitchen tips that you might find useful when preparing this cake;

  • Note that I made a two layer cake instead of four. 
  • I used dark unsweetened cocoa powder for the frosting to give it a deeper chocolate flavor.
  • When making a chocolate based fudge frosting you should end up with a frosting that is soft and smooth. This is important when you frost the cake or it will rip the cake as you move against the grain of the cake with the offset spatula.  I usually add more heavy cream (1 tablespoon at a time) to the frosting until it feels smooth and silky. It should be thick enough to hold its shape yet soft enough to frost.
  • Adding the salt flakes at the end is optional. Since salt is hygroscopic, it will absorb moisture from air so watch out for that. You could also sprinkle salt flakes on each slice just before serving.
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yellow butter cake with fudge frosting (from the book Layered by Tessa Huff)

yields: makes 4-layer or two-layer 8 inch cake

ingredients

yellow cake

butter/non-stick cooking spray for pans

3 1/4 cups (425gm) cake flour plus a little extra for dusting the pans

1 tablespoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup (225gm) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 cups (400gm) finegrain sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste

6 large egg yolks

1 1/2 cups (360mL) whole milk

for the fudge frosting

1 1/2 cups (340gm) unsalted butter, at room temperature

5 1/2 cups (690gm) confectioner's sugar

1/2 cup (50g) unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon finegrain salt

1/4 cup (60mL) heavy cream

8 ounces (225gm) semisweet chocolate melted and cooled

1 teaspoon maldon salt flakes (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease and butter two 8 inch cake pans and set aside.

2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth. Add the sugar and mix on medium-high until the butter is light and fluffy. Add the sugar and mix on medium-high until the butter is light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.

4. Turn the mixer to medium-low and add the vanilla and egg yolks, one at a time. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl. 

5. Turn the mixer to low and add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix on medium for no more than 30 seconds after the last streaks of the dry ingredients are combined. 

6. Evenly divide the batter between the prepared pans. Bake for 25 to 38 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Let them cool on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes before removing the cakes from their pans.

For the Fudge Frosting

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter until smooth and creamy. With the mixer on low, gradually add the confectioner's sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla and salt. Pour in the cream and mix until incorporated. Turn the mixer to high and mix until the frosting is light and fluffy. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl. Add the chocolate and mix until smooth.

2. To assemble the cake: Once the cakes have completely cooled, carefully halve them horizontally (I didn't do this) to create four even layers of cake. Level the cakes and choose which layer will be at the bottom. Place it on a plate or serving dish. Spread 3/4 cup of the frosting with an offset spatula. Place the next layer of cake on the top and repeat. Frost with remaining fudge frosting. Sprinkle the top of the frosted cake with a little maldon salt flakes if desired.

samoa brownies

The first time I learned of the Girl Scout Cookie collection was when I immigrated many years ago. I vaguely remember how I  heard about them but I know it had to do with someone selling them at school for their little sister. Of course when it's my first time trying anything out, I'll get them all in the name of taste testing and assimilating to a new cultural experience. Of all the choices that were in front of me the Samoa and Thin Mints, it's the chocolate , I'm a sucka when it comes to that dark decadent piece of joy!

The first time I heard of Girl Scout cookies was after I immigrated here, that might have been a long time ago but of course, I remember cookies. Because, I'm not the type of person who forgets a good cookie or a slice of cake, nope! I don't remember the exact story as to how I came across them at school but I do remember falling in love with two types: the Thin mints and the Samoa cookies. It's the chocolate, it sucks me in every time!  Girl Scout Cookies as I've realized are an American tradition that a lot of folk love to indulge in every every year as soon as the "season" of cookies arrive. 

Now, Aimee of Twigg Studios has a gorgeous new cookbook, Love, Aimee X out and yes, it includes a recipe for these equally attractive and delicious samoa brownies. Whether it's satisfies your craving for a Girl Scout cookie or adds some extra sweetness to your Valentine's Day, it's a delicious treat to bake at home.  Aimee bakes from her heart and she's created some wonderful recipes in the book and true to her work, the book is accompanied by lovely photos of tasty and indulgent desserts! From Succulent shaped cupcakes, chocolate quail eggs to violent lemon éclairs...you get the picture. 

Think about those layers, brownie, caramel, toasted coconut with a drizzle of chocolate.

aimees samoa brownies | A Brown Table
aimees samoa brownies | A Brown Table
aimees samoa brownies | A Brown Table
aimees samoa brownies | A Brown Table
aimees samoa brownies | A Brown Table
aimees samoa brownies | A Brown Table

aimee's samoa brownies (from Love, Aimee X)

yields: 9 brownies

ingredients

for the brownies

90g (3 1/4 ounces) unsalted butter + a little butter to grease the sides

200g (7 ounces/ 1 1/3 cups) dark chocolate, chopped

4 large eggs

220g ( 7 3/4 ounces/1 cup) superfine sugar

110g (3 3/4 ounces/  3/4 cup) plain all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

for the caramel

90g ( 3 1/4 ounces/ 1 cup) desiccated sweetened shredded coconut

60g (2 1/4 ounces) unsalted butter

110g (3 3/4 ounces/ 1/2 cup) superfine sugar

100g (3 1/2 ounces/ 1/2 cup) brown sugar, light packed

125mL (1/2 cup) golden syrup (light treacle)

125mL (1/2 cup) sweetened condensed milk

To decorate

100g (3 1/2 ounces/ 2/3 cup) chocolate, chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 350F and lightly grease a 9 inch square baking tin and line with parchment paper. 

2. Melt the butter and chocolate in a microwave or in a heatproof bowl over a pan of boiling water, then set aside to cool. Beat the eggs and sugar together in a bowl until pale and thick, then fold in the chocolate mixture. Sift the flour, cocoa and baking powder three times in a medium-sized dry bowl and then fold into the liquid ingredients until you have a consistent batter, but do not overmix. Pour into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes and then allow to cool. 

3. Spread the desiccated coconut on a baking tray and bake for 5 minutes until toasted. Put the remaining ingredients for the caramel into a heatproof bowl and microwave for 6 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes. 

4. Spread half of the caramel over the brownies. Mix the remaining caramel with half of the toasted coconut and spread this on op of the plain caramel. Sprinkle the remaining toasted coconut on top.

5. Melt the chocolate and pipe lines over the top. Allow the chocolate to solidify and then cut into 9 slices. 

cinnamon spiced chocolate bark

Cinnamon Spiced Chocolate Bark | A Brown Table

November has been a month of change. For one, we had some big weather changes, it finally cooled down and we had a nice big shower of rain (a much needed one at that and I hope we get several more). Second, I learned that I can spend a lot of time at hardware stores as much as I do at kitchen stores and at the cookbook aisles in bookstores. And I dread the thought of packing and unpacking when it's a move that's only a few miles away. But as time proceeds and I see my ideas actually materialize, I find the stress of renovating worth it and exciting. The kitchen is painted and the garden fence is finally up and the move date moves closer and closer.

By the way, I feel that the holidays are making their appearances even faster than usual, I was hoping to catch a few horror flicks last weekend during Halloween but I found myself flipping through four or five different tv channels that were filled Christmas movies! Way too soon...

Chocolate bark is one of my favorite sweets to look forward to during the holidays. It's perhaps one of the easiest things to make and to be honest, it's versatility is understated, you can adapt it to whatever season or festivity that you want to and this time, I'm making a holiday version. This bark is scented and spiced with a little cinnamon with a few dried cranberries, pistachios and maldon salt flakes embedded to add sweet, tangy, nutty and salty flavors to each and every bite of chocolate you eat.

To get the recipe and learn how to make this chocolate bark, headover to West Elm's blog,Front + Main!

Kitchen #abrownhome | A Brown Table
Kitchen #abrownhome | A Brown Table
Cinnamon Spiced Chocolate Bark | A Brown Table