I am a very casual cook and an average baker. I just love to do it. It makes me happy. I am not spectacular at it. Growing up in a restaurant family makes me appreciate not only the people that seem to make music in the kitchen but can also re-imagine the basics.
If you haven't heard about the bakery and the book "BAKED" you need to. Their brownies have been on Oprah's favorite things.
Martha Stewart & Jacques Torres have raved.
They definitely re-imagine the basics and beyond.
With delicious stuff like Malt Ball Cake, Chipotle Cheddar Biscuits, Vanilla Bean Caramel Apples, Sour Cherry Slump and Sweet & Salty Cake (among many delicious others) how can you NOT fall in love a little with these recipes and bake shop? Seriously.
The founders, RENATO POLIAFITO & MATT LEWIS, have a very
interesting back story and have created a storefront and cookbook that manages to breathe new life and fun into the very crowded world of flour, butter & sugar.
Here's the recipe for their very tasty MILK CHOCOLATE MALT BALL CAKE:
FOR THE MALT LAYERS
2 1/4 cups cake flower
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup malted milk powder
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups ice cold water
4 large whites, at room temperature
FOR THE MILK CHOCOLATE FROSTING
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
8 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, soft but cool, cut into 1-inch pieces
TO ASSEMBLE THE CAKE
Malted milk balls for decoration
MAKE THE MALT CAKE LAYERS
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter three 8-inch round cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment paper, and butter the parchment paper. Dust with flour, and knock out the excess flour.
Sift the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg together into a large bowl. Whisk in the malted milk powder. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and shortening on medium speed until creamy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce the speed to low. Add the flour mixture, alternating with the ice water, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Scrape down the bowl, then mix on low speed for a few more seconds. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. Do not over beat. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter.
Divide the batter among the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake for 40-45 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes. Invert the cakes unto the rack, remove the pans, and let cool completely. Remove the parchment.
MAKE THE MILK CHOCOLATE FROSTING
Place both chocolates in the bowl of an electric mixer. In a small saucepan, bring the cream and corn syrup to a boil, then remove from the heat and immediately pour the mixture over the chocolate. Let stand for 2 to 3 minutes. Starting in the center of the bowl and working your way out to the edges, whisk the chocolate mixture until completely smooth. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
With the electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, on medium speed gradually add the butter pieces and mix until thoroughly incorporated. The frosting should be completely smooth and have a silky look.
ASSEMBLE THE CAKE
Refrigerate the frosting for a few minutes (but no more), until it can hold its shape. Place one cake layer on a serving platter. Trim the top to create a flat surface and evenly spread about 1 1/4 cups of the frosting on top. Top with the next layer, trim and frost the top, then add the third layer and trim. Crumb coat the cake (essentially a very thin layer of frosting applied to the cake to keep the light crumbs suspended so they won't appear in the final layer of frosting. It's like the first coat of paint; it lays the foundation for the next final coat. A crumb-coated cake should be refrigerated for at least 15 minutes prior to applying the next frosting layer.) After refrigeration frost the sides and top with the remaining frosting. Garnish the cake with the malted milk balls and refrigerate again for 15 minutes.
This cake will keep beautifully in a cake server at room temperature (cool and humidity free) for up to 3 days. If your room is not cool, place the cake in a cake saver and refrigerate for up to 3 days. remove the cake from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for at least 2 hours before serving.