Category: Recipes

Faux Pa’s Fudge

March 12th, 2010 — 7:00pm

Faux Pa’s Fudge (as opposed to my grandfather’s vintage recipe) saved the day for my daughter in the traumatic wake of putting her foot in her mouth after seeing “Spring Awakening” for the first time. Maybe fudge can’t cure everything but it will certainly make you friends.

This is the recipe I’ve been asked for more than any other. When my kids were small I started making it in big batches for teacher gifts once a year, and it was so sought after teachers who’d never had my children in their classrooms started asking me how they could get on the fudge list. Family and friends must have their fudge needs taken care of, too, so in recent years I’ve made up to 90 pounds of fudge in December and shipped it off as far away as England, Australia, and Italy.

From my perspective, Faux Pa’s Fudge is also the antidote to the despair and frustration borne of struggling to make the real “Pa’s Fudge,” described in Cakewalk – and yes, it has a couple of dirty little secrets. But I bet you do, too.

1 1/4 pounds high-quality milk chocolate
10 ounces high-quality dark or bittersweet chocolate
Optional: 1 heaping cup of walnut halves
4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups evaporated milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups marshmallow cream

Butter the bottom and sides of a 10 1/2-by-15 1/2-inch pan. Chop or break the chocolates into small pieces. Set aside. If using walnuts, toast them at 375 degrees for 5-8 minutes, checking every few minutes until the nuts are fragrant and starting to lightly brown. Set aside.

In a large, heavy saucepan or Dutch oven over low-medium heat, cook the sugar, butter, and evaporated milk, stirring occasionally, until it comes to a full rolling boil. Boil, stirring constantly, for exactly 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow the boiling to subside, then quickly add the chocolates and salt, stirring until the chocolate is thoroughly melted and the mixture is smooth. Add the marshmallow cream and vanilla, stirring until the fudge is thoroughly uniform and no traces of marshmallow can be seen. Add walnuts if using and stir in. Turn into the prepared pan and let cool for several hours or overnight, until completely firm. Score the top of the fudge into 1-inch squares and cut with a sharp knife, dipping the knife in hot water between cuts if necessary. Store the fudge between layers of wax paper in a sealed container in a cool place. Can be refrigerated or frozen.

Makes about 5 pounds of fudge.

1 comment » | Baking, CAKEWALK, Recipes

Coconut Cake

January 17th, 2010 — 11:42pm

This is the Coconut Cake that concludes the chapter called “Alligator Toes” in Cakewalk: unforgettable as a 5-year-old’s birthday cake baked in a miniature pan, but even better three layers high and cut in slabs as thick as Bibles.

For the Cake:

2 ¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ tsp salt
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, separated
1 cup light coconut milk, well stirred before measuring
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut for garnish

For the Filling:

3/4 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
¾ cup light coconut milk, well stirred before measuring
¾ cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
14 ounces sweetened, shredded coconut
For the Fluffy White Frosting:
3 egg whites, at room temperature
Pinch of salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cup cold water
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
Rounded ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
Additional 1 cup sweetened, shredded coconut for garnish

Heat oven to 350°. Butter and flour three 9-inch round cake pans.

For the cake: Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg and set aside. Beat the butter for a full minute, then gradually add the sugar and beat until very creamy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating for another full minute after each addition. Add the vanilla to the milk. On low speed, add the flour mixture in three parts alternately with the milk mixture in two parts, beginning and ending with flour; beat until smooth after each addition, scraping the bowl after each addition as well.

Beat the reserved egg whites in a separate bowl on medium speed until they form soft peaks but are still glossy and not dry. Fold half of the whites gently into the batter, then the rest, just until they disappear.

Divide the batter among the cake pans and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cakes cool in pans for about 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely.

While the cakes cool, toast the 1 cup of coconut reserved for the garnish. Spread it on a cookie sheet and toast for about 10 minutes, stirring and watching carefully every 3 minutes or so, until it is evenly golden brown – it will burn easily so keep watch! Cool thoroughly.

For the filling, whisk together the sugar and flour, then add the milks and thoroughly combine. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring continually, until thickened and bubbly but still pale in color, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract, salt, and coconut. Cool to room temperature before filling the cake.

When the cake and the filling have cooled completely, place the bottom layer on a serving plate. Spread half the filling on top. Center the middle layer of cake over the bottom layer and spread with remaining filling. Add the top layer of cake. Now make the frosting.

For the frosting, combine the egg whites and vanilla extract in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment. In a medium saucepan over high heat, combine the water, sugar and cream of tartar. Stir to dissolve the sugar but do not stir again after the mixture begins to bubble at edges. Let the mixture come to a full rolling boil, then remove immediately from heat.

With the mixer on medium-high speed, beat the egg whites and vanilla until foamy, about one minute. Without turning off the mixer, pour the warm sugar syrup into the beaten egg whites in a thin, steady stream. Continue beating constantly on medium-high for 5 to 7 minutes, until stiff peaks form but the frosting is creamy, voluminous, and holds stiff peaks.

Frost the top and sides of the cake immediately. Generously sprinkle the top with shredded coconut. Best served the day it is made. Makes one 3-layer cake.


For a completely snowy-white cake:
Do not toast the shredded coconut for the garnish.

For 36 cupcakes:
Line cupcake tins with paper liners and divide cake batter evenly among them. Bake at 350˚ for 18-20 minutes, until cupcakes spring back when lightly touched and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of a cupcake. When cupcakes are cool, spread a layer of filling ¼” thick over the top of each cake, then frost.

For Almond Joy Cake:
Use the recipe for Plenty of Chocolate Cake (see Cakewalk), baking three 8” layers. For the filling, substitute ½ teaspoon of almond extract for ½ teaspoon of vanilla, and toast 1 cup of roughly chopped almonds at 350˚ for about 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes until the almonds become fragrant and lightly brown; let cool before adding to the coconut filling. Frost with the Fluffy White Frosting and garnish the cake with untoasted coconut. This also makes great cupcakes: fill the cupcake cups a scant 2/3 full and bake for 18-20 minutes. When cool, top with a 1/4” layer of the coconut-almond filling, then frost with Fluffy White Frosting.

2 comments » | CAKEWALK, Recipes

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