Monday, September 17, 2012

Samoas Cake

Another weekend just flew by, didn't it? It was quite an interesting weekend, but the best part was this cake that I made. A friend's birthday is coming up on Tuesday, but he decided to have an early party so he could celebrate on the weekend. My ears perked up. A party? Another excuse for me to bake a cake? I asked him if he had any arrangements for a cake and he said no but that I was more than welcome to make one if I wanted to. So I did!

I modeled this cake after a Samoas cookie. I didn't grow up eating girl scout cookies, so I don't really know what most of them taste like, but I trust that they are good as many people are crazy about them! I tried googling for a Samoas Cake recipe, but I could only find cupcakes or bundt cakes. I wanted to make a layer cake so I kinda grabbed recipes from all over and put them together.

Samoas Cake

The components of the cookie I had to include were the shortbread base, caramel, coconut, and chocolate. At first, I wasn't sure if I should make a chocolate cake, but I decided to try to stick true to the cookie and maybe just have a drizzle of chocolate on top of the cake and make a yellow cake instead. I wasn't sure how I felt about a coconut frosting (or really how well it would turn out when I decorate it) so I decided to make the filling with coconut.
Then the frosting would be where the caramel flavor is. I thought of every possible combination and I'm sure they all would have turned out tasty too, but this worked out really well also. The cake was delicious! While I haven't had a Samoas cookie before, maybe I should go buy some or make some of my own to see if my cake should, in fact, be named after the cookie!

A few things about the cake. For the filling, I didn't even out the top of the cakes as inverting them on wire racks flattened them anyway. They still weren't flat enough though and I wanted to make sure the filling didn't fall out from the sides of the cake so I dug out some from the tops of each cake to make "holes" for the filling. For the caramel frosting, I thought Kraft's caramel bits would work fine, but it really didn't work out too well for me. At first, I didn't think to add butter to the bits when melting them so it didn't melt very well and hardened before I even got the chance to mix with the other ingredients. Then when I did add butter, it melted pretty nicely and blended in better, but then it became too liquid-y. I was expecting a very fluffy frosting, so I was a bit disappointed, but it was still very tasty. I might do a thin chocolate glaze next time instead of just a drizzle.

Samoas Cake

I forgot to take a picture of the cake before it got cut up, so here's at least a cut up picture of the outside to show you out it ended up looking. I wrote "Happy Birfday" with the chocolate.

Yellow Cake
From Smitten Kitchen

4 cups + 2 tbsp (480 grams) cake flour (not self-rising)
2 tsp (10 grams) baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp (5 grams) table salt
2 sticks (1 cup, 1/2 pound or 225 grams) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups (400 grams) sugar
2 tsp (10 ml) pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups buttermilk (475 ml), well-shaken

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans and line with circles of parchment paper, then butter parchment. (Alternately, you can use a cooking spray, either with just butter or butter and flour to speed this process up.)

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well and scraping down the bowl after each addition. At low speed, beat in buttermilk until just combined (mixture will look curdled). Add flour mixture in three batches, mixing until each addition is just incorporated.

Spread batter evenly in cake pan, then rap pan on counter several times to eliminate air bubbles. (I like to drop mine a few times from two inches up, making a great big noisy fuss.) Bake until golden and a wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then run a knife around edge of pan. Invert onto rack and discard parchment, then cool completely, about 1 hour.

Coconut-Pecan Filling

From David Lebovitz 

1 cup heavy cream
1 cup sugar
3 large egg yolks
3 oz butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup pecans, toasted and finely chopped
1 1/3 cups unsweetened coconut, toasted

To toast pecan, set oven to 350F and leave pecans in for 5 minutes. To toast the shredded coconut, set oven to 350F, spread out coconut in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with foil. Toast for 7 to 8 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes or so.

Mix the cream, sugar, and egg yolks in a medium saucepan. Put the 3 oz butter, salt, toasted coconut, and pecan pieces in a large bowl.

Heat the cream mixture and cook, stirring constantly (scraping the bottom as you stir) until the mixture begins to thicken and coats the spoon (an instant-read thermometer will read 170°.)

Pour the hot custard immediately into the pecan-coconut mixture and stir until the butter is melted. Cool completely to room temperature. (It will thicken.)

Salted Caramel Frosting
From Baked Bree

2 sticks (1 cup) butter, at room temp
8 oz cream cheese, at room temp
1/2 cup salted caramel (homemade or store bought, if you cannot find salted caramel, add about a teaspoon of sea salt)
3 to 4 cups powdered sugar

Cream together the butter and cream cheese. Pour in the salted caramel. Beat until combined. Slowly add the powdered sugar, and beat for a few minutes until really light and fluffy.

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