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Friday, July 16, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me

Yes, I made my own birthday cake... Ha ha. I wanted to. The cake had to be special, exotic, and intriguing. So, I made a chocolate cake spiked with cinnamon and chili powder. Then I drizzled it with homemade dulce de leche and covered it with chocolate ganache and topped it with homemade candied orange peel.

Mexican Chocolate Cake heavily adapted from Sara Campbell

2 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup soy flour
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
2 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups soymilk
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/8 cups cocoa powder


1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray cake pans with baking spray and place mini cupcakes paper in 12-cup cupcake pan.

2) In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the sugar and apple sauce. Turn on the mixer to a low speed and mix in the eggs.

3) Sift together the flours, baking powder, soda, salt, cinnamon, and chili powder in a separate bowl. Set this mixture aside.

4) In another small bowl, mix the vanilla into the milk and set this aside as well.

5) To the egg mixture, alternately add the flour mixture and the milk mixture beginning and ending with flour.

6) Bring the water to a boil and pour over the cocoa and whisk it until it is smooth. With the mixture at a low speed add the cocoa. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and pour this mixture into the prepared cake pans.

7) Bake the cupcakes for approximately 15 minutes and the cakes for about 25 minutes or until tester comes out clean.

Dulce de Leche loosely adapted from KitchenBismarckrecipes

2 cups 2% milk
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1) Combine all the ingredients in a large, heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer the mixture briskly, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until thick, caramel colored, and reduced by half, 30 to 40 minutes. Watch it so it doesn't overboil! Mine did and it was a messss. :(

2) I poured some straight off the stovetop onto the cake layers so it would drip through and permeate the cake. There was plenty left over, and if you don't overboil yours out of the pot, you should have even more. Just stick it in the refrigerator.

Candied Orange Peel adapted from Giada

1 large navel orange
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water

1) Peel orange with vegetable peeler from end to end to make long strips.

2) Place peel in small saucepan and cover with water. Bring water to boil for about 1 minute. Drain and rinse peels in cold water. Repeat process 2 more times.

3) Stir the sugar and 1/2 cup of fresh water in the small saucepan over medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil. Add the orange peels and simmer over medium-low heat until tender, about 15 minutes.

4) Using tongs, transfer the peels to a sheet of parchment paper, sprinkle with sugar, twist into pretty shapes and allow to dry slightly, about 1 hour.

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