Thursday, February 20, 2014

#BundtBakers: Espresso Cake with White Chocolate Buttercream


You would think that asking a self-professed chocoholic to bake a cake with chocolate would be her dream come true. She'd run to the kitchen with a million ideas and have difficulty deciding on which of her many ideas would be the one. Perhaps she'd bake a few and then decide. did not quite go like that for me. I was stumped.

Perhaps it was because I declared a moratorium on (baking not eating) chocolate cakes last year. I was getting tired of baking the same old cake. My friends weren't interested in cinnamon chocolate nor spicy chocolate nor chocolate with berries nor chocolate cake layers with cheesecake ones too. They just wanted pure unadulterated chocolate. And, I mean, that's fine. But I want to spread my baking wings and pure unadulterated chocolate cakes just weren't going to do it for me. Let's face it, this baking thing is more for me than them. (Don't tell them that though.)

So there I was, faced with this month's Bundt Bakers theme - chocolate - and completely blank. Let me tell you a secret, I SUCK at melting chocolate. It's either too hot or too thick or too runny or too something. That meant that I couldn't rely on the old chocolate ganache/glaze standby. I did a little crowd sourcing. But most of the ideas would be better suited to layer cakes. (Side note: one of these days I am going to slice a bundt into two layers.)

I was actually mulling over a mocha cake when it hit me that I should just keep it plain coffee/espresso and work my chocolate into a glaze (uh oh!). Luckily, I thought of using my favourite buttercream before I went to glaze-land. I LOVE LOVE LOVE flour-based buttercreams. They are light and fluffy and not as sweet as American buttercream. When I am deciding on buttercreams, it's usually Italian Meringue, flour or Swiss Meringue - in that order.

This flour buttercream different from others - by accident. I was ready to make it when I realised that I was out of milk. I started getting ready to go get milk when I thought - well, why not try it with plain water? And you know what? It worked! I honestly could not tell the difference. It was the same light and fluffy buttercream that I loved. I can't wait to try this with other liquids - juice, perhaps?

I hope you try this and love it as much as I did. And if this doesn't suit your fancy, perhaps one of the other "chocolate" bundts made by one of the other Bundt Bakers might? This month's host was Veronica (thanks, Veronica!). Be sure to check out her bundt and the others below.

#BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our of lovely Bundts by following our Pinterest board.
We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send an email to Stacy at or ask to join our private Facebook group.

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Espresso Cake with White Chocolate Buttercream                             
Recipe by:   Kelster
Yield: 9 4oz servings.
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup water
4 tablespoons espresso powder
½ cup butter
½ cup oil
2 eggs
¼ cup sour cream
¼ cup milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

White Chocolate Buttercream
1/2 cup water
½ cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
½ cup butter, room temperature
3 oz white chocolate, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cake Directions

Preheat oven to 325F. Thoroughly grease and flour a 12-cup bundt pan.
Combine flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a large bowl.
Bring the cup of water to a boil and stir in espresso powder, butter and oil. Stir until butter is melted then immediately pour over flour mixture. Stir for a minute just to let it cool somewhat.
In a small bowl whisk eggs, sour cream, milk and vanilla extract. Pour over flour mixture and mix until thoroughly combined.
Pour mixture into prepared bundt and immediately place in oven. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

White Chocolate Buttercream Directions

In a small saucepan, whisk together water, sugar and flour over medium low heat. Whisk continuously until mixture thickens and reaches the consistency of a thick pudding. This will take a few minutes.  Remove from heat, cover with plastic wrap and allow to completely cool. You can place this in the fridge to speed up the cooling.

When the flour mixture has cooled, using a whisk attachment, whip the butter until it’s light and fluffy then add the flour mixture.  Whip on medium speed until the mixture is thoroughly combined and resembles whipped cream. Add melted chocolate and vanilla and whisk until combined.

Use immediately.

Ground espresso or instant coffee crystals can be substituted for espresso powder.
If frosting is too soft, refrigerate for a few minutes.
Milk can be used instead of water in the frosting.

Slow Cooker Berry Baked Beans for Crazy Ingredient Challenge February

It's another Crazy Ingredient Challenge and this month we're using strawberries and mustard!

This post was supposed to be about spring rolls dipped in a strawberry-mustard sweet and sour sauce. I was getting ready to make the wonton wrappers when I realised that I was running low on flour. I gathered my things to head to the supermarket and paused to return a recipe to an overflowing recipe box. A post-it note fell out of the box as I was stuffing the recipe in. I picked it up noticed that it was a recipe for slow cooker baked beans.

Light bulb moment!

I immediately ditched the spring rolls plan and ran to the kitchen to soak my beans. I am still craving those spring rolls but I do not regret switching to these baked beans. Not even a little bit. They were just that delicious. The strawberry preserves are subbed for the brown sugar in my old recipe. And as strange as it sounds, it just works. You definitely do not taste strawberries. You just taste that there is something different - pleasantly different.

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Slow Cooker Berry Baked Beans                                            
Recipe by:   Kelster
Yield: 9 4oz servings.
12oz dry Great Northern beans
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4oz smoked jowl bacon, finely chopped
½ cup strawberry preserves
½ cup tomato sauce
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2  cup water

Wash and sort the beans then soak them according to package directions.  After soaking, drain and place in slow cooker.  Top the beans with onions, garlic and bacon.

In a small bowl, mix the remaining ingredients together then pour over beans. Stir the beans then cover and cook on low for 7 hours or until beans have reached the desired texture.
Most of the liquid will be absorbed. If desired, add more water.
I used Great Northern beans but any white bean can be used.
I used smoked jowl bacon because that’s what I had on hand. Feel free to use your preferred bacon or smoked ham hock. You could also leave it out.