I ran across a baking book called Rose's Heavenly Cakes. It has completely revolutionized my baking. In fact, it is one of the few cookbooks I have actually forked out the money to buy (at full price none the less) instead of serially renewing a copy from the library. The recipes include weights as well as volume, so all you have to do is set a big bowl on a scale and keep adding stuff until the weights are correct. SO much easier then leveling cups and making a mess with the flour! I LOVE IT! And the few recipes I've made have been delicious. Apparently this is no new trick, Rose has been around forever and is a goddess in the baking world, but considering I'm new to cooking/baking, it's all news to me.
There is a blog called Heavenly Cake Baker which is a bake-along with recipes from the book. I'm going to try my hand at blogging on a schedule. Unfortunately, I can never take good food pictures, but I'll do the best I can! This week featured the Chocolate Streusel Coffee Cake. Luckily, I had all the ingredients in the pantry, except sour cream. So I picked up some sour cream from Target of all places and didn't even have to make a run for the grocery store. I did cheat and use regular brown sugar, not the muscavdo. I was visiting my family for our Christmas-in-January party, so it was a great opportunity to share a not-so-sweet sweet.
Unfortunately I am a huge procrastinator and this project is no different. As I mentioned, I was leaving for the two hour trip to my parents' house Friday after work. I was due at work at noon and I put off making the cake until Friday morning! So two hours before work, I started to make the cake. I started by preparing the pan and pulling out some cupcake liners....I'm not sure why this recipe makes a cake and two cupcakes. I'm not sure if this is something I misread because my cake seemed somewhat smaller than the picture in the book, nowhere near filling the pan. But I did read and reread the instructions and went with it. Next, I mixed the chocolate/sugar/cinnamon filling, breaking up the chunks with a fork as suggested. I did take out a stick of butter and two eggs when I first woke up Friday morning. But, of course, the butter was still cool and firm when I was ready to start baking. SO, I stuck the butter in the microwave for a few seconds. And it immediately melted! (You can see that I'm on my way to having a great morning!) This was my last stick of butter, so I considered scrapping the whole project. But I figured I'd try to whip the butter before giving up. It actually ended up fluffing up, slightly runny, looking better when I added the sugar. (I'm not privy to a fancy stand mixer and have to make do with a hand-held.) Next eggs and vanilla and it started to look normal, nicely fluffy pale yellow.
I measured the dry ingredients on the scale (love it!) and added them along with the sour cream in three batches into the wet. I made a bit of a mess with this because I underestimated my bowl size. I made my cupcakes and started to build the cake, adding half the batter, sprinkling the streusel and plopping a few spoons of the batter on top. Unfortunately, when smoothing out the batter, the chocolate mixed in a bit, so it wasn't as pretty as it could have been. Then there was the infamous hold-your-breath-and-flip moment, that ended with a perfectly intact cake on the cooling rack.
The cake itself was very moist and very good, not too sweet, which is what I expected. Everyone liked it, we ate it Friday night as a snack and then again Saturday morning with coffee (the best!). The bites with more chocolate where incredible. I will definitely try this cake again, but I will try adding more of the streusel mixture (double?). I think if the cake can handle it, this will kick it up to incredible for my tastes. All in all, with some of the troubles I ran into, this cake turned out great...and I (barely) got to work on time!