Apricot Pasta Flora (Greek Jam Tart)

DSC_0202I have been a bit absent lately from the blog and I do apologize but I have been incredibly busy with Christmas shopping, baking, and trying to keep up with my crazy toddler all while fighting being sick. Let’s just say it has been rather hectic 24/7. Since I have been baking I did want to share this with you since I usually have several holiday posts up by now and this year I have been slacking. So my first installment of what I promise to be a few more before the holidays are over, is Pasta Flora. Pasta Flora is a Greek Jam Tart that you can make with almost any jam flavor, although we prefer apricot.

DSC_0201This tart is delicious in the morning with coffee and a great addition to any Christmas morning treats to give the kids and even set out for Santa. It is very simple to make. You can use a traditional tart pan or if you are like me and have no idea where your tart pan is located following a move, you can use a springform pan, as long as it is 10 in. in diameter.

DSC_0195I truly love this tart not just for how great it tastes but all of the memories surrounding it. This was the first Greek sweet I ever tried at Christmas when I first met my boyfriend over 5 years ago. It has always remained my favorite with a close second being the cookie Melomakarona. Even if you are not Greek it is something interesting to add to your table that those would not expect and I guarantee they will love. I hope you all can try this with your families and make memories of your own to cherish.

Apricot Pasta Flora (Greek Jam Tart)

Ingredients:

  • 9 oz. Butter; melted (approximately 2 sticks plus 1 tbsp.)
  • 3 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1/3 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1/3 cup Brandy
  • 1 Egg; separated
  • ½ tsp. Lemon Extract
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 18 oz. Apricot Jam (or any flavor you prefer)

Formula:

  1. In a large bowl of a stand mixer, sift the flour and baking powder together. With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour in the melted butter. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add in the sugar, brandy, egg yolk, vanilla, and lemon extract. Mix on low speed until mixture is just incorporated.
  2. Sprinkle a work surface with flour and turn dough out onto it. Gently knead into a cohesive ball, but be sure not to overwork the dough otherwise it will not be tender. Wrap the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, grease the bottom and sides of your pan with butter or nonstick cooking spray.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°. After the dough has chilled, separate into two equal portions. Dust your work surface and a rolling pin with flour and roll out one portion of dough to about 1/3 inch thick. Carefully roll the dough up on the rolling pin and unroll it over the the pan. Gently press the dough into all spaces of the pan’s base. If extra pushes up the sides, gently trim it.
  4. Take a small portion from the reserved dough ball and roll between your hands into a rope about the width of your finger. Press the rope around the sides of the pan and gently press at the base to merge the sides and base together. Continue taking small portions and forming ropes until all of the sides are covered and merged with the base. Trim any excess if it pushes over the edge of the tart pan. If using a springform pan, press the rope of dough up the sides of the pan until it forms a crust that extends about 1 inch above the base.
  5. Using an offset spatula or back of a spoon, gently spread the jam evenly over the base, making sure to fill in all spaces. Sprinkle the work surface and rolling pin with flour and roll out the remaining portion of dough to 1/2 inch thick. Using a pastry cutter or knife, cut the dough into thin strips. Use a metal spatula to help lift the strips to the tart and arrange each strip in a lattice pattern over the jam. If the strip breaks, gently patch it back together. Once all the strips are placed, brush the strips with the egg white.
  6. Bake the tart for approximately 30 to 40 minutes, or until the tart is a rich golden brown. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack for at least one hour before serving so that the jam can set.

SPECIAL THANKS TO:

PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEE’S PATISSERIE 2014

Alfajores

20140328_111907This past week my family celebrated Greek Independence Day and the amount of national pride and love for culture set me off to find a cultural piece to post on. You may wonder why I didn’t choose a Greek dish and I admit I did contemplate doing so but then again that would be exposing family heirloom recipes and I thought the better of it out of respect. So I ended up stumbling on a little gem out of Argentina. Like the popularity of the Oreo in America, Alfajores are practically Argentina’s national cookie. They have been a part of Argentinian culture since the 19th century and to this day Argentina remains the world’s largest consumer of Alfajores as they are a common snack for kids and adults alike.

20140330_134354In doing my research I was quick to find the millions of variations to this cookie. Variations span all across the Latin American countries as well as overseas in Spain (although the Spanish version is of little resemblance to this recipe to the point you want to question they are at all related). The most common type of Alfajores start with two soft cookies and are sandwiched with a decadent dollop of dulce de leche (a Latin American style caramel). Just the dulce de leche alone is enough reason why this is probably the chosen common variation. I chose to prepare this version and also a version where the cookie is finished off by rolling in toasted coconut. Other common alternatives include dusting the cookie sandwich with confectioners’ sugar, coating in dark or white chocolate, or going as far as to ditch the dulce de leche for jam or mousse. I personally prefer the dulce de leche and that is why you will find it here.

20140330_134539Like the Oreo has its milk, the Alfajor is often paired with morning coffee or tea but why limit them to mornings when they make a great afternoon snack or dessert after dinner. One bite and you will quickly understand why they are so popular. Don’t be alarmed by the high amount of cornstarch in this recipe. It is necessary for the cookie to have its signature, slightly cakey texture. In fact, the traditional dulce de leche recipe for Alfajores has been on the back of cornstarch boxes in Argentina for years. If you decide to try the Alfajores with coconut, make sure to toast the coconut until it starts to turn golden brown. This brings out its nutty flavor. You can certainly fill the cookies in this recipe with anything you have on hand but if you want the traditional Argentinian style make sure you use dulce de leche. You won’t regret it I swear. You can find dulce de leche in the baking aisle or Ethnic aisle of most supermarkets. This recipe will yield you approximately 1 ½ dozen cookies. The cookies can be stored at room temperature for 3 days. Enjoy 🙂

20140330_134124Alfajores

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup Cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp. Baking Powder
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 14 tbsp. (1 ¾ sticks) Unsalted Butter; softened
  • 1 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 ¼ cups Dulce de Leche
  • 1 cup Sweetened Shredded Coconut; toasted

Formula:

  1. Adjust the oven racks to the upper-middle and lower-middle positions before pre-heating the oven to 375°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or grease pans with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until just combined. Add the eggs and mix until well incorporated. Add the flour mixture and continue to beat until combined. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate until slightly firm, about 30 minutes.
  3. Roll tablespoon amounts of dough into round balls. Place the dough balls about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake the cookies until the edges begin to turn golden, about 12 minutes. Be sure to rotate sheets halfway through the baking time so they cook evenly. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes then transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat the process with the remaining dough.
  4. Spread 1 tablespoon of dulce de leche on the bottom half of each cookie. Top with the remaining cookies to form a sandwich and press down gently to push some of the dulce de leche to the cookie edges. Roll the sides of the cookie in the toasted coconut, pressing gently to adhere. Serve.

SPECIAL THANKS TO:

 

PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM ADRIANA MILNER

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEE’S PATISSERIE 2014

Loukoumades

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Today was a very overcast blah day which made it perfect for baking. I chose to tackle a famous Greek pastry called Loukoumades, also known as Greek Honey Puffs. A few days ago I tried to make these sweet gems but failed miserably. After translating a family recipe from Greek to English the measurements were not clear and a lot of guess-work was necessary. This guess-work produced a bowl of dense, inedible pastry.

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I admit I was rather frustrated. After working hard to translate my boyfriend’s family recipe only to have it not turn out did cause me to lose motivation, especially since the Greek language is not the easiest thing to learn in the world. I have been trying to learn as much Greek since the birth of my daughter as we will be raising her Greek Orthodox and sending her to Greek school so it will be important for me to have a clear understanding of the language and culture in order to help her learn easier. This has been an uphill battle since the only foreign language I know is Spanish and some random German words and phrases, which are not helpful at all in the quest to master Greek.

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Sure I have picked up a lot of Greek words and phrases and can even generally decipher conversations I hear based on what I do know but I am nowhere near where I want to be. Since I have a long road ahead to master Greek language I decided there is one thing I can master from Greek culture rather quickly… their food. This will also come in handy since I want my daughter to learn the tastes and flavors of that portion of her heritage all while broadening the horizons of my own palate. Lately I have been succeeding with savory options such as pasta and rice dishes to offer at dinner. It was only natural that I move on to sweets, which Greeks are notorious for.

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Having gotten over my initial frustration I remembered my ultimate goal to provide these traditional dishes for my daughter and boyfriend since we are miles from family that would be able to do so for us. I was refreshed with my initiative to learn every traditional Greek dish, savory or sweet, knowing there is no one else to take on that responsibility and make sure tradition passes down to my daughter and eventually her children as well. With this newly lit fire I decided to get to the bottom of my initial failure.

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I did some research online as well as cross referencing the family recipe with a recipe I received from the church cookbook of other family’s traditional Greek recipes. It was there I found my problem. The dense nature of my failure had two causes. The first was too much flour and not enough leavening agent. The second was too thick of dough, causing it to remain lumpy and hard to shape.

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With my knowledge of what went wrong I went back to the drawing board. Can you guess what happened… that’s right… SUCCESS!!! Having successfully tackled on Loukoumades I can now put that burden behind me and find a new Greek recipe to try.

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Loukoumades

Ingredients:

  • 2 pkgs Instant or Rapid-Rise Yeast
  • ½ cup Warm Water; between 90° to 100°
  • 2 Eggs
  • 4 tbsp. Granulated Sugar
  • ¾ cup Milk, lukewarm to touch
  • 3 ½ cups All-Purpose Flour, sifted
  • 1 ¼ tsp. Salt
  • Oil for Frying
  • Pure Honey; for drizzling
  • Cinnamon; to taste

Formula:

  1. Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Be sure to not overheat the water as it will kill the yeast. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the eggs until light and fluffy. Add the milk and sugar and mix until just combined.
  3. Stir in the yeast and half of the dry ingredients. Mix until smooth. Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until well blended. If the dough appears too thick, add water in small increments until the dough is smooth and falls slowly from the spoon. Make sure the dough is lump free. Allow the dough to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about an hour.
  4. In a large saucepan or pot heat the oil. Line a baking sheet with paper towels. This will absorb the excess oil after the Loukoumades are removed from frying. Give the risen dough a quick stir. Place a small amount of oil in a cup or bowl. If you desire small Loukoumades, select a teaspoon. If you desire larger Loukoumades like the ones pictured, select a tablespoon.
  5. Dip the spoon you selected in the cup of oil. This will keep the Loukoumades from sticking to the spoon and maintain their shape while frying. Grab a handful of dough and gently squeeze your fist together, causing the dough to squish out through the space in your palm between your thumb and pointer finger. Squeeze out enough dough to cover the surface of the greased spoon and use the edge of the spoon to cut off the dough and create a smooth, round shape. Gently slide the dough off the spoon into the hot oil. Fry the dough until golden brown.
  6. Use a slotted spoon to remove each Loukoumades and place on the prepared pan. Once all the Loukoumades have been fried, transfer to a serving platter. Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with cinnamon. Serve immediately as the texture deteriorates once the Loukoumades cool.

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SPECIAL THANKS TO:

 

PETER MENDOROS – PHOTOGRAPHY  & STAGING

 

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEE’S PATISSERIE 2013

Roselyn’s Buttermilk Jumbles

dsc_0280When I was a kid, I remember attempting to make a Spritz cookie with a cookie press contraption that was just too difficult for my little hands to grasp let alone the dough was too soft and didn’t hold up after being pressed. This caused me to have a frustration with this cookie into adulthood. I thought I would revisit the concept of the spritz cookie but in a whole new way. That is when I stumbled on a recipe for Roselyn’s Buttermilk Jumbles.

dsc_0269Roselyn’s Bakery opened in 1943 and was a major distributor of baked goods around the Indianapolis area. They closed in 1999 leaving many locals craving their specialties, including the Buttermilk Jumble Cookie.  Although you can still find some of their baked goods in supermarkets near the area they are non-existent here in Florida and it is a shame because they are so delicious and rather simple to prepare. Resembling the look of a spritz cookie, you use a piping bag and large star tip rather the traditional cookie press. I much prefer this method as most people have these items already in their home and you don’t have to go waste money on expensive cookie presses to get an elegant looking cookie.

dsc_0273This cookie is soft and delicate. It looks impressive and time consuming but is easy to assemble and uses minimal ingredients. The only ingredient that may be hard to find for this recipe is the necessary arm strength and posture needed to make many little stars. The formula uses the creaming method to ensure a proper spread and rise. Also by using cake flour rather than all-purpose the cookies obtain an even smoother, tender texture than a traditional spritz. All in all a great find that history has tried to swallow up but hopefully this delicate little jumble will stay alive a bit longer.

dsc_0294Note: You will need a piping bag and a large star tip. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 days. This formula yields about 3 dozen cookies.

Roselyn’s Buttermilk Jumbles 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups Vegetable Shortening
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 2 ½ cups Cake Flour
  • ½ tsp. Baking Soda
  • 6 tbsp. Buttermilk

Formula:

  1. Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions. Heat oven to 375°. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Fit a piping bag with a large star tip.
  2. Beat the sugar, shortening, and salt together until light and fluffy. Mix in the egg and vanilla until just combined. Add the flour, baking soda, and buttermilk. Mix until light and fluffy. Transfer dough to prepared piping bag.
  3. For each cookie, pipe 1 star and then pipe 6 more stars surrounding the first star onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing cookies about 2 inches apart. Bake until light golden, about 10 to 15 minutes. Cool on the baking sheets. Repeat with any remaining dough. Serve.

SPECIAL THANKS TO:

 

PETER MENDOROS – PHOTOGRAPHY  

 

 ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEE’S PATISSERIE 2013

Bonnet Biscuits

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With it being a little bit cooler and rainy around Central Florida the past few days I was in for something rustic and homey to prepare for the visitors here. My boyfriend pointed out that in the past I had made some very good bread while in culinary school and he missed it. This led to me realizing that I really lack making bread not just for blog posts but in general. This sent me on a mission to find a formula that would lend the house a yeasty fresh baked loaf scent but also unique enough that you wouldn’t just look at this post and feel like you could have easily went to the supermarket and picked yourself up the same thing in the bakery minus the hassle and dirty dishes. So here is what I found… the Bonnet Biscuit.

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What’s so stellar about this formula is the resulting soft texture and yeast flavor of a fancy dinner roll yet the convenience of the traditional biscuit. Oh and lets not forget to mention how cute and unique the shape is – a tiny replica of a woman’s bonnet. Turns out, these biscuits are rather rare and forgotten pieces of pastry’s history. A search for the original recipe is difficult to find and often leads back to one woman… Mary Midleton. During a visit to her aunt and uncle in Bucks County, Pennsylvania she collected and recorded farmer’s recipes, which one happened to be for Quaker Bonnet Biscuits. In a 1915 book by Edith M. Thomas titled, “Mary at the Farm and Book of Recipes Compiled during Her Visit: among the “Pennsylvania Germans,” Mary’s original recipe was listed and very tough to execute in the modern era. Definitely a formula in need of updating. Since lard is no longer a conventional fat used, an equal amount of butter provided great taste as long as the flour was reduced by half. The original formula also lacked salt and sugar, which when added provided a better taste as long as it was kept to a minimum. Rapid-rise yeast was a necessary transition for a quicker rising time as it is widely available compared to the original cake yeast called for by Mary.

Although most bread formulas require two rises to provide a tender, flakiness, it is no longer practical to take so long just to make biscuits when you could grab a tube of pre-made stuff at the store marketed by a white doughboy that’s as cute in his own right as the little bonnets shown here.  Mary may have had all morning to make her biscuits for dinner but us working mom’s and dad’s need something quick and easy enough to make after work still while watching out for the children as they get more and more rambunctious while waiting for dinner. To make this happen, the traditional first rise is cut out all together, much like a southern yeast biscuit. As soon as the dough is mixed together, rather than allow it to rise for the first time, it is instead quickly rolled out, cut, and then allowed to rise. Once doubled in size it could be baked and on the table all in an hour’s time. Surely a biscuit recipe worth getting to know in our modern kitchens.

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One important note to anyone who wishes to try these historical biscuits, they are easiest to prepare using a large food processor. However, if you don’t own a food processor don’t fret it, you can still make these delicious little bites just be sure to freeze the butter. Once the butter is hard, grate it on the large hole side of a box grater into the dry ingredients. Using your hands, toss the dry ingredients gently in order to evenly distribute the butter. Once thoroughly mixed, you can proceed with the formula as given. A little extra work but totally worth it to have one of these dainty little bonnets in your stomach 🙂

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Bonnet Biscuits

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Milk
  • 1 pkg. Rapid-Rise or Instant Yeast
  • 1 Egg
  • 4 cups All-Purpose Flour; extra for work surface
  • 2 tbsp. Sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp. Salt
  • 8 tbsp. Unsalted Butter (1 stick); cut into ½ in. pieces; kept chilled
  • 1 tbsp. Unsalted Butter; melted; for biscuit assembly

 

Formula:

  1. Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions. Heat oven to 200°. Once the oven is preheated, allow temperature to maintain for 10 minutes, then turn off the oven. 
  2. Heat the milk to 100°-110°. Add the yeast and stir gently until just combined. Allow mixture to bloom a few minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, mix the flour, sugar, and salt together in a food processor until combined.  Add the chilled butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, about 15 one-second pulses. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.
  4. Add the egg, milk and yeast mixture to the dry ingredients until the dough comes together. Turn the dough out onto a clean, lightly floured surface. Briefly knead the dough together, about 1 minute. If dough is too wet or hard to work with, add more flour as necessary.
  5. Roll the dough into a 12 in. round. Cut out eighteen 2 ½ in. circles that are ¾ in. thick, and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Re-roll the remaining dough into a round a ½ in. thick and cut out eighteen 1 ¼ in. rounds. Lightly brush the larger dough rounds with melted butter and place the smaller dough round slightly off center on top of each larger round. Place baking sheets in the warmed oven. Let rise until double in size, about 25-35 minutes.
  6. Once doubled in size, remove the baking sheets from the oven and heat to 375°. Once the oven is fully preheated, return the baking sheets to the oven and bake until biscuits are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Be sure to rotate the baking sheets halfway through the baking time. Serve biscuits hot or warm. 

 

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SPECIAL THANKS TO:

 

PETER MENDOROS – PHOTOGRAPHY  

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM BRIDGET LANCASTER

 

 

 

 

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEE’S PATISSERIE 2013

 

 

St. Louis Gooey Butter Cakes

Happy Hump Day Everyone!!! Boy has it been a rough couple of weeks but have no fear I am still around and today I will be bringing you a regional favorite that you may not be aware of if you have never been to the Midwest. Although I haven’t visited my hometown of Dubuque, Iowa in a while, I still remember some of the regions favorites… Taco pizza from Happy Joe’s, Maid Rite Sandwiches, Chicago Style Coney Dogs, and for dessert the Gooey Butter Cake of St. Louis, Missouri. This quirky dessert is a favorite of St. Louisans  and according to the area bakeries it is an acquired taste of the locals. I gave it a shot and I must say was surprised at how delicious it is. Now there are two different types of Gooey Butter Cake. The first is one with a cake batter/cake mix bottom with the gooey layer up top. This is often found in St. Louis supermarkets, restaurants, and made by the home baker as it is easier than the original. However that type of Gooey Butter Cake is more like a chewy and messy bar cookie rather than a delicious cake. The original formula for Gooey Butter Cake resembles an old-fashioned coffee cake base made up of yeast dough and topped with a gooey custard. The second type of Gooey Butter Cake is the one you see in the photos and is worthy of regional recognition. As popular as the Gooey Butter Cake is it comes as no surprise that there are many claims to its fame in St. Louis. Several bakeries were making it years and years ago but two particular families have their own stories claiming they made the original and all the other bakeries followed suit after it’s popularity peaked. The most accepted origin of the cake is that it occurred by accident in the 1930’s by a German-American St. Louis baker who was attempting to make a regular cake but reversed the proportions of certain ingredients. The bakery owner, John Hoffman, had hired a new baker who certainly messed up the formula and created this concoction. Being that it was during the Great Depression, a little screw up was a big deal and so rather than throw out the large amount of screwed up cake, they decided to sell it. Surprisingly it became a huge hit at the bakery and so then they were forced to try to duplicate it. Once it was duplicated they began selling the Gooey Butter Cake as a staple item of their bakery and other bakeries nearby followed suit, creating St. Louis’ most popular ethnic treat. I have chosen two produce two flavors of Gooey Butter Cake, Butterscotch and Chocolate, although there are several more flavors you could experiment with and try. The classic flavor is vanilla and that formula I will provide below. I will also provide the alterations to the original formula so that you can also produce the Butterscotch and Chocolate varieties seen in the photographs. A few quick notes before I leave you… Be sure to remove the cake from the oven when the perimeter is golden brown and the center jiggles when gently shaken. The topping will continue to set up with residual heat as the cake cools. The secret ingredients in this formula that are not exactly traditional but allow ease for the home baker to recreate the original in a snap are light corn syrup and Instant Pudding mixes. These two ingredients quality are crucial. The corn syrup aids in the gooey topping and the instant pudding adds flavor, sweetness, and structure to the gooey topping that would otherwise be much harder to achieve. I suggest using Karo brand corn syrup and Jell-O brand Instant Pudding for best results.

St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake

Ingredients: (Original Vanilla Version)

Dough:

  • ¼ cup Milk, heated to 110°
  • 1 ½ tsp. Rapid-Rise or Instant Yeast
  • ¼ cup Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • ½ tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • 1 ½ cups Bread Flour
  • 6 tbsp. Unsalted Butter, softened & cut into pieces

Topping:

  • ½ cup Sugar
  • 4 tbsp. Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 2 oz. Cream Cheese, softened
  • 2 tbsp. Light Corn Syrup
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1/3 cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 3 tbsp. Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix
  • 2 tbsp. Confectioner’s Sugar (Powdered Sugar)

Formula:

  1. For Dough: Adjust the oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 200°. When the oven is preheated to 200°, turn it off. Line an 8-in. square baking pan with foil. Grease the foil and a medium sized bowl. 
  2. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix milk and yeast on low speed until the yeast dissolves. Add sugar, eggs, vanilla, salt, and flour and mix until combined. Increase the speed to medium-low and add butter, one piece at a time, until incorporated, then continue mixing for 5 minutes. Transfer batter prepared bowl, cover with plastic, and place in the warmed oven. Let the dough rise until it has doubled in size, about 30 minutes. Spread the dough into the prepared pan. Heat oven to 350°.
  3. For Topping: In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the sugar, butter, and cream cheese on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add corn syrup, egg, and vanilla until combined. Add flour and pudding mix and continue mixing until just incorporated. Portion dollops of topping evenly over batter, then spread into an even layer.
  4. Once oven is fully heated, bake until exterior is golden and center of topping is just beginning to color. The center will still jiggle slightly when you shake the pan, about 25 minutes. Cool in the pan at least 3 hours. Use the foil overhang to lift the cake out of the pan. Dust the cake with some confectioner’s sugar. Serve. If the entire cake is not completely consumed at once the cake can be refrigerated for 2 days. 
 

Alternate Versions:

Chocolate Fudge Gooey Butter Cake

Following the formula above make the following adjustments. For the dough, replace 3 tbsp. flour with an equal amount of Dutch-Processed Cocoa powder. For the topping, substitute 3 tbsp. instant Chocolate Fudge pudding mix for the vanilla pudding mix.

Butterscotch Gooey Butter Cake

Following the formula above make the following adjustments. For the dough, substitute ¼ cup packed light brown sugar for the granulated sugar. For the topping, substitute 3 tbsp. instant Butterscotch pudding mix for the vanilla pudding mix.

Special Thanks To:


Cali Rich

Peter Mendoros – Photography

Jello Brand Pudding © 2012 Kraft Foods

Karo Brand Syrup © 2012 ACH Food Companies, Inc.


All remaining content © Honeybee’s Patisserie 2012


Chocolate Blackout Cake

 

chocolate blackout4As spring approaches here in Florida so does the increase in the number of Spring Break tourists. As I was driving home from work the past few days, I have noticed an abundance of New York State licence plates, so it is only fitting that today’s post focuses on a treat straight from Brooklyn. Chocolate Blackout Cake originated from Ebinger’s Baking Company, which opened its doors in 1898 on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn, New York. Arthur Ebinger, the creator of the first death by chocolate cake, named the confection after blackout drills conducted by the Civilian Defense Corps during World War II. As Navy ships were sent out to sea from the Brooklyn Navy Yard, the streets of Brooklyn were “blacked out” to avoid silhouetting the battleships against the backdrop of Brooklyn and Manhattan. This cake is meant to resemble the blackout as it has dark chocolate layers which tower high to resemble the Manhattan skyline.

chocolate blackout5To make the cake layers dark and full of chocolate flavor, there are a few culinary tricks that are simple and totally worth it. Start with cocoa powder, and bloom it with some butter in a pan on the stove. Once bloomed, another culinary secret is added which enhances chocolate flavor… that being coffee. Perhaps the best part of all of this little process is not only am I starting the cake batter on the stove but will also finish it there, making for a quicker process, less dishes to clean later, and no messy transfers between bowls! As for the frosting…err I mean pudding (which is probably my favorite part of this whole cake as I am not a traditional frosting fan) the most important part is to ensure it has a velvety rich chocolate taste but also enough stability to cling to the sides of the cake and adhere the cake crumbs to itself. Using half & half plus milk achieves a satiny quality with a bit of sweetness which helps to prevent an over bitterness which can happen when too much chocolate is on the palate. Once the cake is completely cooled and the pudding chilled and set (be sure you allow enough time or  the cake will be gummy and the pudding will run) you can assemble the pastry equivalent of a New York City skyscraper.

chocolate blackout3After I assembled my cake, I realized that I had some extra crumbs and a generous amount of pudding. Since we are in the age of going green and I didn’t want to see any product go to waste, I decided to utilize my extra pudding and cake crumbs in a simple yet innovative way, perfect for parties or even dessert for a weeknight dinner. I shall call them, Blackout Parfaits. To make them you will need parfait glasses of your choice. I own the tall and thin variety but short and stumpy or even a shot glass would work just fine. To neatly fill the glasses, I filled a piping bag with the remaining chocolate pudding and piped it into the glass. For the topping, I used some of the extra chocolate cake layer crumbs and sprinkled them over the piped pudding. It’s as simple and quick as that!

Chocolate Blackout Cake

Ingredients:

*Chocolate Pudding*

  • 1 ¼ cups Sugar
  • ¼ cup Cornstarch
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • 2 cups Half & Half
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 6 oz. Unsweetened Chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla Extract

*Cake Layers*

  • 8 tbsp. (1 stick) Unsalted Butter
  • 1 ½ cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • ½ tsp. Baking Soda
  • ¾ cup Cocoa Powder
  • 1 cup Coffee, brewed
  • 1 cup Buttermilk
  • 1 cup Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

Formula:

  1. For the Pudding: Whisk sugar, cornstarch, salt, half & half, and milk in a saucepan set over medium heat. Add chocolate and whisk constantly until chocolate melts and mixture begins to bubble, about 2 to 4 minutes. Stir in vanilla and transfer pudding to a bowl. Place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding and refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours and up to 1 day. 
  2. For the Cake Layers: Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat to 325°. Grease two 8 in. cake pans. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in cocoa and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Take off the heat and whisk in coffee, buttermilk, and both sugars until fully combined and sugars are dissolved. Whisk in eggs and vanilla, then slowly mix in the flour mixture. 
  3. Divide batter evenly between the prepared pans and bake approximately 30-35 minutes. Cool layers in the pans for 15 minutes, then remove and finish cooling to room temperature on a wire cooling rack for at least 1 hour. To assemble the cake cut each layer in half horizontally. Crumble one cake layer into crumbs and set aside. Place one cake layer on a cardboard round and set on a decorating table. Spread a generous amount of pudding over the first cake layer then top with another cake layer. Repeat with another generous helping of pudding and top with the final cake layer. Spread pudding evenly over the top and sides of the cake. Sprinkle the cake crumbs evenly over the top and sides of the cake and press lightly to adhere the crumbs to the pudding. Serve or store for up to 2 days. 

Special Thanks To:

Peter Mendoros – Photography

& Jeremy Sauer

All content © Honeybee’s Patisserie 2012