Baking With Butter

The perceptive observer might notice, we hear always use butter in our recipes. It is quite common to find a recipe that calls for shortening, or even margarine. In these recipes we always replace these unsavory items for butter. It is our belief down in Hell that the only reason someone would replace an item as sumptuous as butter with something as dreary as shortening is because they have some unresolved, human related, issues with semi-solid gold.

The Issues

It’s everywhere!

Butter has a fairly low melting point. This makes it rather hard to work with. Even holding butter in your hand for too long will cause it to melt, unless you’re an ice elemental anyways. This also means that while cooking, your baked goods like cookies are going to spread farther and it could cause your cookie to be flatter than intended.

Run for your lives! It’s… FAT!!

Butter is fatty. There is no getting around it. But that is one of the main reasons you’re using butter! You are using it as a source of fat for your baked goods. Which is a vital part of the chemistry of your desserts! Plus, shortening is also fat. That is why it is used in place of butter. The fat in some shortening can be worse than the butter fat.

Try a sip, it’s good!

Butter, on average is going to contain about 20% water. This means that when your baked goods are baking away they are also steaming away. This will produce more glutton in your food. Though this isn’t really a problem unless you want your baked good all crumbly.

The Fix

To start with the easy one, butter is fat get over it. Some fat is good for you and believe it or not it is an essential part of life. Stop whining that it is going to make you fat. We know that the human metabolism isn’t as good as a demons but deal with it and eat in moderation.

Sure, I’ll watch it. Might eat it all though…

We know that it can be hard to work with butter when it keeps melting one you. Sometimes it does come in handy though. For the times that it doesn’t, there are some tricks to make things easier. Try to touch the butter as little as possible. The less heat you put into the butter, the slower it will melt. Cool your hands. You don’t have to shove your hands in ice, something as simple as running them under cold water works too. And even easier, if it gets too hot shove it in the fridge. Try chilling your dough before you bake it. Believe it or not it will cause the butter to melt slower.

Yes butter contains water. But so does milk, coffee vanilla extract and various other ingredients you will be using in your baked goods. If you tried to make a treat without any water at all you would have something similar to sand. Even down here that is horribly unappealing. If your baked goods end up too chewy, you can always reduce one of the other liquids in the mix too.

The Taste

The flavor of butter is wonderful! Of course, just like anything, the taste depends on a vast number of things but overall it is delicious. And this is why we love to use it. Butter tastes so much better then all the other alternatives. And yes we know, you can get shortening in butter flavor or just use butter extract. It just isn’t the same though. The taste of butter is so important that it is one of the main criteria for the quality rating.

What Makes a Spice Cookie

The Cookie

12 for me… 1 for you

Who doesn’t love a cookie? They are small hand-held tasty temptresses that can travel with you wherever you go. Unlike a cake they don’t travel awkwardly and, most of the time, they don’t have pesky frosting to get squashed and get all over everything. They come in all shapes and sizes and flavors. There is no such thing as the best cookie, but today we have decided to go with the spice cookie.

Spice cookies are similar to the spice cake we previously mentioned. The cookies have a combination of spices which gives them a whimsical woodsy flavor. One dimensional thing about spice cookies, that varies from a spice cake, is that they usually contain molasses. This gives the cookies a deep sweet flavor. To balance out the bitter taste of most of these ingredients, spice cookies are loaded with sugar. They not only get a dose of sweetness from the molasses, they also contain large amounts of brown sugar and white.

The Flavor

Molasses is a byproduct in the process of making sugar. It’s level of sweetness can vary depending on the amount of sugar removed from the product. It is very thick and syrupy and tends to have a strong and distinct bittersweet flavor.

Spices are the main source of flavor in a spice cookie. While the spices used can vary, most commonly used are cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, nutmeg and ginger.

The Additions

So tasty! As long as you don’t get bit during harvest… that could be bad…

The above simply depicts your average everyday basic spice cookie. As always, creatures love to make the dessert their own by adding their own special ingredients. Quite often, those ingredients are used by other individuals to make their own ‘creative’ cookie. Most commonly humans like to add seeds and nuts, such as sesame seeds and almonds. It is also common to add fruits such as oranges and often pumpkin is thrown in as well. A lot of the time, since humans don’t know when to leave well enough alone, the cookies can be found iced or dusted with powdered sugar. We do concur, sometimes, that with a crisp spice cookie the addition of icing can be delish. Down here in hell though, we like to add ghael. It gives such a nice flavor.

Devil’s Food Cake

Devil’s food cake is just sinful. It is delicious and dark and just so darn appealing. So we like to pair it with an equally sinful filling and frosting. It is a cake to make you stop, notice and gorge.

Lucifer doesn’t scare me

Well, at least for a slice anyways. This cake can be very rich and most people cannot eat more than one smaller slice at a time. Due to this we say this cake can feed 16-20 people. Or just a few djinn. Those guys are the only ones crazy enough down here to try to steal Lucifer’s cake.

The Recipe

The Cake

  • 3 cup flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup coffee
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cooked beets, peeled and pureed (or 1 can beets drained and rinsed)

The Filling

  • 16 oz dark chocolate (bittersweet)
  • 8 oz milk chocolate
  • 1 1/2 cup butter (3 sticks)

The Frosting (Ganache)

  • 8 oz dark chocolate (bittersweet)
  • 1 cup heavy cream (whipping cream)
  • 2 tbsp butter

The Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and grease 3 (or 2) round pans.
  2. In a bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat together butter and sugars. Add in liquids (milk, coffee, vanilla extract and eggs)
  4. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Add beets. Mix will be wet.
  5. Pour batter into bans and cook for 20-30 min.
  6. Let cakes cool until room temperature.
  7. In a double boiler, melt dark and milk chocolate for filling. Be careful not to burn chocolate or get any water in chocolate.
  8. Let chocolate cool until no longer hot to the touch.
  9. Beat chocolate together with butter until light and fluffy.
  10. If you used 2 pans, cut each cake in half so you have 4 cake layers.
  11. Spread filling over each layer of cake (top included). Stack layers on top of each other.
  12. In double boiler, heat milk and butter for frosting. Add chocolate. Heat until mixed.
  13. Let ganache cool slightly. Pour over top of cake.
  14. Eat and enjoy!

The Outcome

I tricked you~

Our version of Hell’s mascot cake has a deep chocolate flavor and no taste of beets. Sliding them into this recipe is really just a way trick some picky eaters into eating their vegetables. Our filling tastes as if you fluffed up a candy bar and set it between the cake layers. It is a perfect pair for any dense chocolate cake. The ganache that we used for frosting has a dark taste and dark color for a nice shine. It not only tastes good but it also compliments, in all our minds, exactly how a Devil’s food cake should look. Overall, a delicious chocolate cake.

 

Baking with Vegetables

Now we all know that when you people read the last few lines of the last post, What Makes a Devil’s Food Cake, almost all of you made a little gross face at the thought of baking a cake with beets in it. Sounds disgusting to you. huh? You are wrong. Vegetables, beets included, are delicious in baked goods and they show up there way more than you seem to realise. Quite a few of you know what we are talking about. For those of you who don’t, prepare to be informed.

The Argument

It’s not so much an addiction as…

“But baked goods should be sweet!” You argue. Not true. There are many breads and pies that are not sweet. These can be made with or without vegetables. Think of pizza or a good chicken pot pie. Both are baked, in your oven or someone elses, and both are savory dishes that you more than likely eat quite routinely for dinner. Not just for you humans either, ogres love a good slice of pizza. 

Your thinking of dessert. Here we have to agree, desserts should be sweet. But, there is no reason why we cannot use vegetables to make a sweet dessert. Many have done so before and many will continue to do so. Think about your common baking ingredients. Commonly in cake one would use flour, sugar, egg, extract (usually vanilla), baking soda/powder, butter and salt. Have you ever tried any of these ingredients all by their little lone selves?

Ya, not so sweet

Aside from the sugar, not one of them is considered sweet. All of these even find themselves in savory dishes. So why is adding a vegetable any different from adding an egg?

The Desserts

 

Squash-y goodness!

Pumpkin pie. Be honest here, you just drooled a little. What is the main ingredient? Pumpkin. Have you ever had pumpkin soup? Toasted pumpkin seeds? Neither of these are sweet foods. Somehow pumpkin manages to pull of both.

 

This counts as my serving of veges right?

Carrot Cake. Take a moment to wipe our mouth. This cake is both delicious and sweet. While you might argue with us a little on the pumpkin, there is no way that ou can argue about carrots. They are a vegetable that is found, more often than not, in not so sweet dishes. Yet they can be sweet too.

  

Honey butter here I come!

How about Zucchini bread, or a good sweet cornbread. If you have never had zucchini bread, remedy that. Zucchini bread is absolutely delicious, especially with a nice bit of honey butter. It is a slightly sweet bread and we definitely count it among our collection of desserts. However, if it is not dessert-y enough for you, try zucchini brownies. Again, delicious. And no one can convince any of us down here in hell that a brownie isn’t dessert.

What Makes a Devil’s Food Cake

 

The Cake

Make me cake!!!

One cannot talk about hellish desserts without a mention of the devil’s food cake. The devil’s food cake is a sinfully dark chocolate cake and favorite of hell’s own ruling devil, Lucifer. A lot of humans tend to get confused between a devil’s food cake and a regular chocolate cake. The main difference is that the devil’s food cake tends to have less sugar in its batter, making it dark chocolate. An easy way to tell if your about to eat a chocolate cake or a devil’s food cake is the color of the cake itself. Devil’s food cake is usually a much darker color sometimes with a hint of red, though too much red color means your eating a red velvet cake instead.

The Frosting

A sweet vanilla frosting is used by quite a few people to frost devil’s food cake. They choose vanilla for the added sweetness and the contrast between the white frosting and the near black cake. It can be a tasty and visually appealing combination.

Chocolate frosting is the other popular choice for frosting. Either milk or dark chocolate adds another level of chocolate flavor. Lucifer himself prefers to keep his cake chocolate through and through and seeing as we are out to tempt a devil, we will stick with the well-worn favorite.

Flavored frostings are not usually paired with a devil’s food cake. Not that you can’t make this flavor combination, but flavored frostings often have stong tastes and chocolate is supposed to be the star of this cake, not your pink strawberry frosting.

The Additions

Definitely made for cake

Classically, the devil’s food cake is a layered cake with a simple filling and few additions. As we have said, the star of this cake is meant to be the chocolate. This means that it is rather rare to find a devil’s food cake with added fruit or nuts. Not impossible mind you, just rare. This said, if you use an old devil’s food cake recipe you will often find they contain beets. They work much the same as carrots in carrot cake and add more of a red color to the cake. Another common addition to this cake is coffee. Coffee amplifies the taste of chocolate and adds another layer of complexity on the cake. It is often used in any chocolate themed baked good.

Cinnamon and Ginger Coffee Cake

Yummy cake with yummy coffee

Our morning cup of piping hot coffee is vital here in these fiery pits. A morning simply cannot start until we have had at least one cup of our caffeinated beauty. And this cake pairs perfectly with the taste and body of a good cup of coffee. The flavor isn’t too strong to war with the coffee, yet it has enough of a bite to survive on its own as well for the freaks who don’t drink

I ate the entire pan

this nectar of the devil. You impatient humans may be tempted to eat this cake fresh and steaming right out of the fires, while it tastes good this way the cake is sumptuous as breakfast the next morning. This cake feeds about 10 or just two minutes by the coffee pot. Griffins make fast work of anything with coffee.

The Recipe

The Ingredients

The Topping

  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 3/4 cup melted butter

The Cake

  • 2 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 tbsp vanilla

The Directions

  1. For the topping, mix together dry ingredients (flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon and ginger) in a bowl. Stir in butter until moist clumps appear. Set aside
  2. Preheat oven to 325F. Grease a 13×9 pan. (No smaller as cake will fill entire pan)
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda and allspice.
  4. In another separate bowl beat together sugar and butter until light and fluffy (2-3 min).
  5. Add eggs one at a time. Add sour cream, milk and vanilla. Add flour mix.
  6. Pour half of cake batter into the pan. Spoon 1 cup topping evenly overtop batter. Pour remaining batter into pan and smooth. Top with remaining topping.
  7. Bake 1 hour, or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean.
  8. Cool in pan.
  9. Eat and enjoy!

The Outcome

As we briefly warn you in the directions, this cake will near double in size so don’t worry, that extra room in the pan will disappear. This cake is nice and delicious and moister than most people think it will be. The topping gives the cake a nice crunch or added texture. The cake is lightly sweet with a nice tang, which as we have said, pairs extremely well with coffee. We like to make it the night before so that it’s ready when we wake up for breakfast. Of course that means we have to have a few dragons stand guard over the cake to make sure it isstill there in the morning. That’s the price you pay for making such an in demand cake.

It’s all gone!

Kaffee und Kuchen

The Tradition

Long before we decided that we needed to make a cake specifically for coffee, the Germans were enjoying kaffee und kuchen, coffee and cake. Around three-four in the afternoon people would gather at a cafe or at home, with friends and family to enjoy a tasty slice of cake and a good cup of coffee. Of course if you don’t like coffee, you can always have tea instead though kaffee or tea und kuchen just doesn’t roll off the forked tongue as well.

Look at the colors!

The type of cake eaten doesn’t matter. Whatever delicious form of baked goodness you feel like eating on that random day at three, given you have access to it, can be consumed. More traditionally, people tend to eat classical German cake, of which there is still a vast array of tasty options. Traditional German cakes do have less sugar and more butter though.

The History

So… ya… important stuff…

Back in the 17th century, which I hear is a long time ago for you humans, women in Germany were not to drink coffee. It was deemed ‘unladylike.’ As such, women were not allowed in coffee houses either, places where men held conversation about politics, the economy, trade, culture, and networking.

As everyone knows, women don’t like being told what they cannot do. So they said screw you and started kaffee und kuchen, a chance for them to do everything the men were doing with the addition of cake. And we all know cake makes everything better. eventually women were allowed in coffee shops but the tradition still goes on. Usually, it has been limited to Sunday afternoons when people have more free time.

Yum