I made that!

Berry Peach Trifles!

Posted in All Sugar All The Time by brandi on September 2, 2009

Yesterday was the 1 year anniversary of me and John moving into our cute little apartment. To celebrate we had our landlords come down to eat dinner with us, as well as Nir (close friend and previous tenant), who allowed us to move in here by purchasing a home and moving into it! After all the chocolate I’ve been cooking, it’s time for a berry dessert! I do love a trifle, and my pastry boss (Rachel Leising, pastry chef extraordinaire) introduced me to this lovely combo…

I started by tossing blueberries, strawberries, raspberries & blackberries with lemon zest and sugar.


Then I cooked them in a heavy pot for about 7 minutes, long enough to have them release their juice,


Meanwhile I roasted some peach halves…


and baked a sheet of buttermilk cake.


I used a cookie cutter to cut circles out of the cake. I chose a small one and a larger one, to fit into the glasses.


Then I made a cream. I started by whipping some heavy cream, and then mixing in vanilla creme anglaise and homemade creme fraiche. I whipped them until I had a nice stiff and flavorful cream.


Then it was time to start layering! First I pressed in a layer of the buttermilk cake.


Then I ladled in some of the berry compote, to soak into the cake.


Then I added some thin slices of the roasted peaches.


And finally a big scoop of the cream mixture.


And repeat!


Delicious! And perfect for this hot weather, it actually feels like summer in San Francisco…


2 1/2 cups (250 g) sifted cake flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 large eggs, room temperature

6 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature

1 1/2 cups (300 g) granulated sugar

1 cup buttermilk, room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla


– Preheat oven to 350.

– Butter, flour baking pan and line with parchment.

– Triple sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside.

– Crack the eggs into a small bowl and whisk.

– Pour the buttermilk into a liquid measuring cup. Add the vanilla and stir to combine.

– Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer. Cream the butter with the paddle on medium speed until it is light in color, clings to the sides of the bowl, and looks satiny.

– At the same speed, add the sugar in a steady stream. When all of the sugar is added, turn off the machine and scrape the gritty, sandy mixture clinging to the sides into the center of the bowl. Continue to cream at the same speed for 4-5 minutes, or until the mixture is very light in color and fluffy in appearance.

– With the mixer still on medium speed, add the eggs a tablespoon at a time. continue to cream, stopping the mixer and scraping the sides of the bowl at least once. When the mixture is fluffy, white and increased in volume take the paddle and bowl off of the mixer.

– Add 1/4 of the dry ingredients, sprinkling over the top of the creamed butter. fold it in with a rubber spatula, then add 1/3 of the buttermilk mixture. Repeat, alternating dry and wet ingredients. With each addition, scrape the sides of the bowl and continue mixing until smooth.

– Spoon into pan and bake until done (the baked surface springs back slightly when touched lightly in the center and the sides begin to contract from the pan).

– Place the cake pans on racks and cool for 5-10 minutes before removing cakes from the pans. Cool cakes completely before icing or cutting.



Chocolate and Mint Happiness

Posted in All Sugar All The Time, Celebrating with Cake! by brandi on September 1, 2009

My friends Carmen and Alex are getting married this weekend (congrats!) and they’ve asked me to make the cupcakes! Today I’m testing options for the groom’s cake, and he requested a chocolate and mint combination. I’m super excited, since I’ve never experimented with mint before. I also wanted to test out a different chocolate cake recipe than the one I normally use. Tonight is my weekly dinner and trashy TV (90210 is away for the moment, so we distract ourselves with True Blood), so I have a captive audience to taste my experiments.

So here goes…

I started by melting some chocolate.


Once the chocolate was melted, I added butter and stirred it around until it melted into the mixture.


Once it was all smooth I mixed in sugar.


Then I whipped it for a few minutes.


And then slowly whipped in some eggs.


I folded in flour, salt and baking powder and then piped the batter into cupcake liners.


They baked for about 24 minutes and came out looking like brownies… yummmm.


While they cooled I made a swiss meringue buttercream that I flavored with peppermint oil.


And then I started having second thoughts, because sometimes mint can just taste like medicine. So I whipped melted chocolate into half of the buttercream. At tonight’s tasting I’ll get the final say on which is yummier!


Time to assemble those little suckers. I used a fluted tip to poke a hole into the middle of the cupcakes.


And filled the holes with a chocolate mint ganache!


And then topped half with mint buttercream, and half with the chocolate buttercream. So tonight it’s a taste-off! Chocolate Mint vs. Chocolate Chocolate Mint!


Stay tuned for a winner…