After Valentine’s Day, Easter is the next best occasional to stock up on chocolate and candy. It also provides a good excuse to experiment with chocolate since the festival itself has become something of a showcase for chocolatiers all over the world. Though milk chocolate is the much neglected counterpart in everyday baking as opposed to the dark and white varieties, it can be made to shine on special occasions. Being richer in milk solids, it imparts a creamier taste as you will enjoy in this luscious Milk Chocolate Cake taken from King Arthur Flour.

MILK CHOCOLATE CAKE

For the Milk Chocolate Cake

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 tablespoons butter, softened

3/8 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg, room temperature

85g milk chocolate, chopped and melted

1/8 teaspoon table salt

1 1/4 cups cake flour

1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/8 cup dried whole milk

1/8 cup cocoa powder

1/2 cup yogurt, room temperature

For the Milk Chocolate Ganache

170g milk chocolate, chopped

1/2 cup heavy cream

Easter eggs, for decoration

Method:

  • For the ganache, place chocolate in a medium-sized bowl. Heat the cream until just boiling and pour over chocolate.
  • Slowly stir mixture until completely melted and lump-free. Set the bowl in the fridge to chill. Preheat oven to 350°F.

  • For the cake, place the oil, butter, sugar, and egg in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.
  • Add melted chocolate, salt, flour, baking soda, vanilla, milk, cocoa and 1/4 cup of plain yogurt and beat for 1 minute.

  • Stop and scrape the bowl. Add the remaining plain yogurt and beat for 30 seconds. Pour the batter into greased pan.
  • Bake for 8″ round, 18- 24 minutes; for 9″ round, 20- 28 minutes; for cupcakes, 15- 18 minutes.  Remove from oven.

  • Rest for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely. Remove the chilled ganache from the refrigerator.
  • It should now be the consistency of chocolate pudding. Place in the bowl of your mixer and whip until light, and fluffy.

  • Be sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl to fully incorporate all of the chocolate. Divide the cake round into two layers.
  • Soak the layers in simple syrup by brushing 2 tablespoons simple syrup over each layer and let it soak in for 5 minutes.

  • Place one layer on your serving plate and spread with a 1/2″-thick layer of whipped ganache. Add another layer of cake.
  • Ice assembled cake with the remaining chocolate ganache. Top frosted cake with Easter eggs and chill till serving time.

If you are trying to improve on banana cake, you’ll probably end up baking a dulce de leche banana cake. The addition of caramelized milk takes this plain dessert cake to a level you probably would not have thought possible. Instead of refined white sugar, I used my all-time favourite, light muscovado, to give the crumb a rich golden hue and omitted the eggs, replacing them with 1/4 cup applesauce. The substitution resulted in a delightfully moist texture for an eggless cake without compromising the integrity of the crumb. Adapted from Bakers Royale, this simple teatime treasure can be topped with a layer of cream cheese frosting for those with an incurable sweet tooth.

DULCE DE LECHE BANANA CAKE

Ingredients:

For the Cake

½ cup unsweetened yogurt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

1/3 cup light muscovado sugar

2 eggs, room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon table salt

1 cup bananas, mashed

¾ cup dulce de leche

Method:

  • Heat oven to 350 oF. Lightly butter a 9-inch cake pan and then dust with flour. Place parchment round on bottom of pan.
  • For the cake, place the plain yogurt in a bowl and add baking soda; set aside. Mix butter and sugar until light and creamy.

  • Add eggs (if using) and beat until combined. Add vanilla extract and beat till combined. Mix flour, baking powder and salt.
  • Mix bananas, dulce de leche and yogurt. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture in 3 parts, alternating with banana mixture.

  • Mix after each addition until just combined. Pour mixture into prepared cake pan and bake at 350 oF for about 45 minutes.
  • Cool cake for 5 minutes in cake pan. Remove cake and continue to cool cake completely on a wire rack. Makes a 9-inch cake.

Dulce de Leche & Banana

The birth of Lord Rama remains a major celebration in all Hindu households and falls on the ninth day of the Chaitra month (March-April) of the Hindu lunar calendar. The seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu, born to King Dasharatha and Queen Kaushalya of Ayodhya, Lord Rama is described as the Maryada Purushottama/the perfect man in the epic, Ramayana. His words and actions portray the epitome of righteousness which has been followed for generations and remain to guide many more in future.

COCONUT LADDOO

Ingredients:

1 large coconut, husk removed

1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk

1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder

Method:

  • Remove the skin from the coconut and grate finely using a box grater. Place on a baking sheet.

  • Toast coconut at 75oC until the moisture has evaporated. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

  • Set aside 1/2 cup for the final step. Add condensed milk and cardamom to remaining coconut.

  • Knead mixture lightly to form a soft dough and shape ping-pong sized balls out of the dough.

  • Roll the balls in the remaining coconut and space them apart on a lightly greased baking sheet.

  • Bake laddoos at 75oC for 30 minutes. Transfer baking sheet to a wire rack and cool completely.

  • Store baked laddoos in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Makes about 20 coconut laddoos.

Coconut Laddoos

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PrerrnaMirchi
Mauritius

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