Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Mini Cakes

Here we go! Mini-baking—my new favorite food experiment. How perfect is this: the ability to have a homemade treat without filling your kitchen with a pile of cupcakes or feeling forced to settle for a store bought monstrosity.

A few years ago, I received a stack of tiny cake pans for Christmas. They’re so stinkin’ cute! If you happen to be lucky (or, like me, spoiled!) enough to have mini cake pans, feel free to break them out for this recipe. If not, never fear! Simply remove the labels from two 14.5 ounce cans and wash them well. Voila! A recycled mini cake pan!

Mini Chocolate Cake (makes 2 cakes-in-a-can, or one 2-layer mini-cake)

1/4 cup milk
1 ½ tablespoons pasteurized egg product (such as Egg Beaters)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

Preheat oven to 350˚F.

Spray the insides of two clean 14.5-ounce cans with nonstick spray. Trace the bottoms of the cans onto parchment paper, then cut out the circles and line the bottoms of the greased cans. Line the sides of the cans with 10”x4.5” strips of parchment paper. Set aside. Alternately, butter the bottoms and sides of two mini cake pans and line the bottoms with rounds of parchment paper.

In a small bowl, whisk together milk, egg, and vanilla.

Place a wire-mesh sieve over the bowl of a stand mixer. Sift flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into bowl. If you’re not working with a stand mixer, sift dry ingredients into a medium mixing bowl.

Add butter and half of milk mixture; beat at low speed until dry ingredients are moistened. Again, if you’re not using a stand mixer, use a handheld-mixer for this part—see the tip at the end. Increase speed to medium and beat until batter has lightened and increased in volume, about 45 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl.

Add remaining milk mixture, and beat until well blended, about 20 more seconds.

Scrape batter into cans or pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 20 minutes for mini-pan cakes and 30 minutes for can-cakes. Cool 15 minutes on wire rack. Loosen edges of cakes from pans using a small sharp knife; invert cans and remove cakes. Discard parchment paper and allow to cool completely before frosting. Cut in half crosswise; frost between layers and on tops and sides of cakes.

A little visual tip:
The cake in the foreground was created with a mixer, the cake in the background was beat by hand. The choice is yours. Although after leveling them in order to frost, the uglier background cake did yield more cake scraps to munch on…

The following recipe yields enough frosting to frost one 2-layer mini-cake
Small-Batch Chocolate Frosting
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, melted (you can substitute a dark chocolate candy bar for bittersweet baking chocolate if you’re determined to save a few pennies—just make sure it’s P.H.O.-free!)
1/2 tablespoon milk
Cream the butter with an electric mixer, and then pour in vanilla. Add powdered sugar gradually with the mixer on low speed. Beat in the melted chocolate. Slowly add milk, about a teaspoon at a time, with mixer on low speed, until the frosting is spreadable.
Until next time!

1 comment:

  1. 1. I LOVE the photo of Little Debbie. 2. The owl bowls you used are adorable :) Wonder who you got those from!? Keep up the good recipes girl!