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Thursday, January 9, 2014

Christmas 2013 Baking. The 12-14 Hour Marathon at the Les Bois Sucre! Devil Food Cake, Cannoli Filling with Ganache From Scratch

  The same recipe from my Cindy Birthday Cake I used to bake a Christmas cake. Instead of using the cupcake mold that was deep and would take a long time to bake/cool and etc. I decided to try my Giant Cookie pans instead. 
Medium size chocolate cake and Whoopie Pies
Giant Chocolate Cake with Ganache 
  This is the second time that I baked a cake from scratch. This time I used the giant cookie pan  and I decided to double the recipe to make sure that I had enough. The truth is that you do not need to double the cake recipe! I was able to make six whoopie pies, medium sized cake and a giant cake. What you do need to do is quadruple the ganache recipe so that you can have a thick layer of ganache! I have provided the ganache recipe quadrupled for convenience but left the cake recipe enough for two 9 inch pans.

  The Giant Cookie pan helped me save time which is important because the night before Christmas I put in a 12-14 hour marathon baking into 2 am in the morning. I was so tired on Christmas! Using the Giant Cookie pan is quicker time to bake the cake and you do not need to cut the cake to layer the cake because it is already thin.

  Buttermilk is very expensive if you do not have extra money for the Buttermilk you can use another substitute for Buttermilk instead.



   Milk (just under one cup)
   1 Tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice
1. Place a Tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice in a liquid measuring cup. I prefer lemon juice. Since I already used lemon zest in the cannoli recipe I could use fresh lemon juice from those lemons. 
2. Add enough milk to bring the liquid up to the one-cup line.
3. Let stand for five minute then you can use in the recipe. 

The ingredients
Devil's Food Cake 
(recipe I got from William Sonoma's Collection:Cake page 100)


Makes 2 9-inch (23 cm) round cakes

2.25 cups (9 oz) cake (soft-wheat) flour
1 teaspoon baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
0.25 teaspoon salt
1 cup (8 oz/250 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup (7 oz/220 g) firmly packed light brown sugar
0.75 (6 oz/185 g) granulated sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (essence)
4 oz (125 g) unsweetened chocolate, chopped and melted (page 40)
1 cup (8 fl oz/250 mil) low-fat or nonfat Buttermilk, at room temperature

1.) The cookbook suggests buttering the two 9 inch pans. But I decided to do the cake in two giant cookie pans and instead of butter I used Pam's Baking spray with flour. The book suggests preheating the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the cakes for 15-20 mins rotating them in Giant Cookie pan.

Giant Cookie Pan From Wilton

2.) Lightly tap the rim of  a fine-mesh sieve over a small bowl while adding the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

3.) Using the paddle attachment in a stand mixer combine the butter and the sugar (aka creaming the butter) . Beat on medium speed until the mixture is light and airy and lightens in color (refer to page 38 about creaming the butter if you have more questions).

4.) Add the eggs one at a time and beat on medium for one minute after each addition. Occasionally stop/scrape down the mixer.  

5.) After all of the eggs have been added add the vanilla extract and beat for 1 minute longer.

6.) Put the batter to the side and melt the chocolate over the double boiler on medium to low. Be careful not to burn the chocolate. Takes about 2 to 5 minutes after the water boils and make sure to stir it until it all melts.

7.) Add the melted chocolate to the batter and beat the mixture on medium speed until the batter is uniform in color. 

8.) Reduce the mixer to low. Add the dry ingredients in 3 batches alternatively with the buttermilk so that you begin and end with the dry ingredients. Before adding the ingredients make sure to well incorporate the batter before adding the alternative ingredient. 

9.) Pour the batter into the Giant Cookie pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake for 15-20 minutes (I would test with  tooth pick at 15 minute then evaluate. If it comes out dry it is ready. If it is wet or comes out with crumbs continue to bake until the cakes come out dry). 

10.) Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes then let cool. 

11.) Then run a thin knife carefully along the inside edge of the pan. Invert a wire rack on top of the cake and invert the cake pan. Lift off the pan it should slide out nicely. Let cool at least 45 minutes. This cake after being cooled it can be stored in plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 2 days.

12.) Next make the Coffee Syrup:

Coffee Syrup (page 110 in William Sonoma's Collection:Cake book but this has been quadrupled)

1 cup /8 fl oz ml water
1 cup /8 fl oz granulated sugar
2 tablespoon instant coffee powder

1.) In a small saucepan stir together the water and the granulate sugar over low heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is hot.

2.) Stir in instant coffee powder and let cool.

13.) Brush the coffee syrup onto both sides of the pieces of cake with a pastry brush. I suggest getting a jelly roll pan line it with parchment paper and then put the cooling rack on top of it. I got two from Sur la Table that were a jelly roll and cooling rack set on sale

14.) Put the cake aside to make the Cannoli Filling. Hopefully you drained the ricotta cheese overnight as it says in the following recipes.

 I used grated lemons instead of orange for a more subtle taste. I used mini chocolate chips and I felt that the cannoli filling needed more chocolate bits!

Martha Stewart's Classic Cannoli Filling
Copyright of Marthastewart.com


2 3/4 cups (22 ounces) fresh ricotta cheese
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons mini semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

  1.  Line a sieve with a layer of cheesecloth, and set over a bowl. Spoon ricotta into sieve. Cover, and let drain in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat ricotta and confectioners' sugar until fluffy. Beat in chocolate chips, vanilla, zest, and lemon juice. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate.
Cindy's Cupcake Cake Cannoli Filling (based on the Cannoli Filing by Martha Stewart)


2.75 cups (22 ounces) fresh ricotta cheese
0.75 cup confectioners' sugar
2 cups mini chocolate morsels
0.75 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
0.75 teaspoon finely grated lemons (about 4 or 5 lemons)
0.25 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

  1. Spoon ricotta over a sieve and drain overnight ( or 4 to 8 hours) over a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap.
  2. Using Stand mixer on medium speed, beat ricotta and confectioners' sugar until fluffy. Then beat in each item: chocolate/chocolate chips, vanilla, zest and then lemon juice. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour so that it can firm.
15.) When the Cannoli filling is cooled assemble the cake back together layer the filling. I would suggest putting it on a cookie sheet that is lined with parchment paper. Then put the cooling rack over the lined cookie sheet and put the cake on top of that cooling rack. Put a layer of cannoli filling between the two cakes.

16.) Put the cake aside and chill in the fridge. Make the Chocolate Ganache

Part of the supplies from my 12-14 hour baking marathon.
Hershey Baking Melts are perfect for the ganache
as you will not have to chop up the chocolate.
Chocolate Ganache (page 28 & 29 in William Sonoma's Collection:Cake book)

24 oz semisweet (plain) Hershey Baking Melts Milk Chocolate
8 tablespoons/ 1 stick unsalted butter
10 oz / heavy cream (plus more as needed to adjust the consistency)
4 teaspoon vanilla extract (essence)

1.) Chop the chocolate into small pieces so that they will melt quickly without burning. Make sure when you chop the chocolate not to touch it with your hands otherwise the chocolate will melt on your hands. Set the chocolate aside.

2.) Heat the butter and cream. Cut the butter into 8 equal pieces. In a heavy saucepan on medium-low heat combine the cream and the butter. Heat until the butter is melted and tiny bubbles have formed along the side of the pan which takes about 2 minutes. The mixture should be 160 F on an instant read thermometer. Do not allow the mixture to boil or it will scorch and give the finished ganache a burned tastes.

3.) Remove the pan from the heat and immediately add the chopped chocolate. Let the chocolate sit in the hot cream mixture for about 30 seconds to soften.

4.) Add the vanilla extract to the chocolate-cream mixture. Using the whisk, blend the mixture in a circular motion until all the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.

5.) At this point, the mixture will be smooth and pourable. I waited 1 hours for it to cool in the fridge and it was still like a thick glaze for the whole cake. Then I put it in the freezer for 20 minutes and it was finally the consistency of frosting. I frosted the cake on the platter then I did not wrap the cake so that it could firm up. When I woke up a couple of hours later I wrapped the cake and it had a lovely hard shell. It needed to have more frosting and next time I will quadruple the recipe.  I only doubled the recipe and there was not enough really to frost the cake.