Four Recipes For 'Perfect Cake'

Early Show Nick Malgieri perfect cake recipes nickmalgieri.com

Most people love to eat cake, but not everyone can be a master baker. You can come close,however, with help of Nick Malgieri, author of "Perfect Cake."

Malgieri's cookbook contains a collection of 200 cake recipes. He shares four of the book's recipes on his visit to The Early Show — apple rum cake, Martha Turner's carrot cake, fudge cake and a coconut raspberry layer cake.

"Perfect Cake" is a well thought out diary of cake recipes, many of which were given to Malgieri from friends. Others have come from professional baking books or periodicals, and still more are originals. No matter the recipe origin, each was tested over and over by Malgieri and adjustments in ingredients or instructions were made until he was satisfied the final result would taste good.

The book is divided into fourteen chapters. They are:

Coffee Cakes
Pound Cakes and Butter Cakes
Cakes Made with Fresh and Dried Fruit
Cheesecakes
Sponge and Foam Cakes
Meringue Cakes
Nut Cakes
Chocolate Cakes
Layer Cakes
Rolled Cakes
Molded Cakes
Individual Cakes (they're absolutely adorable)
Frostings, Fillings, and Glazes
Decorating

Malgieri emphasizes that baking is a precise science, and measuring dry ingredients must be exact. He writes in "Perfect Cake" that when baking, it's best to adopt the philosophy of the professional baker and get organized.

APPLE RUM CAKE
(Makes one 9-inch cake)
About 8 servings


Malgieri says his friend Maureen McKeon, one of Australia's top food stylists, gave him this delicious Australian recipe.

Ingredients:

Apple Filling:
2 tart apples, such as Granny Smith, peeled, halved, cored, and sliced, about 1/8 inch thick
1/2 cup golden raisins
2 tablespoons dark rum

Cake Batter:
2 1/4 cups bleached all-purpose flour (spoon flour into dry-measure cups and level off)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk

Rum Glaze:
1 cup confectioner's sugar
2 tablespoons dark rum

Method:

One 9-inch springform pan, buttered and bottom lined with buttered parchment or wax paper

1. Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.

2. Combine all the filling ingredients in a glass or stainless steel bowl and let stand while you prepare the batter.

3. Stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl, mixing well.

4. In the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed for about five minutes, or until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating until smooth after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. With a rubber spatula, fold in half the flour mixture.

5. Drain the apples in a colander set over a bowl. Add the milk to any rum that drains into the bowl and stir the liquids into the batter, then fold in the remaining flour mixture.

6. Spread half the cake batter evenly in the prepared pan. Scatter with the sliced apple mixture. Scrape the remaining batter onto the filling and smooth it with an offset metal spatula.

7. Slide a foil-lined cookie sheet onto the rack below the middle one to catch any drips. Bake for about 55 to 65 minutes, or until the cake has risen - firm, and deep golden and the apples are cooked through and tender.

8. Cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes, then loosen the cake by running a sharp paring knife around the inside of the pan, scraping the knife against the pan, not the cake. Remove the sides and slide the cake off the base to a rack to finish cooling.

9. When the cake has cooked completely, invert the cake onto a plate, remove the paper, and invert the cake onto the rack again so it is right side up.

10. To make the glaze, stir together the confectioner's sugar and rum in a small saucepan, mixing well. Place over medium heat and stir until warm and fluid.

11. Drizzle half the glaze over the top of the cake in a series of parallel lines. Rewarm the glaze if necessary and drizzle another series of lines on a diagonal to the first ones. Wait unil the glaze dries, then slide the cake onto a platter.

Serving: Serve with ice cream or shipped cream.

Storage: This cake is best on the day it is baked. Keep it under a cake dome at room temperature.

MARTHA TURNER'S CARROT CAKE
Makes one 9-inch three-layer cake
About 16 servings


The quintessential carrot cake. This is one of the few cakes in which Malgieri ever use canned fruit. The pineapple makes it moist and tart. He thanks to Martha Turner of Greensboro, N.C., for the recipe.

Ingredients:

Cake Batter:
2 cups all purpose flour (spoon flour into dry-measure cup and level off)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
4 large eggs
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil, such as corn or canola
2 cups peeled and finely grated carrots, (about 4 large carrots)
One 8-ounce can crushed pineapple in juice
3/4 cup (about 3 ounces) pecans, coarsely chopped

Cream Cheese Icing:
12 ounces cream cheese, softened
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup (about 4 ounces) pecans, coarsely chopped and lightly toasted
6 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted after measuring

Method:

Three 2-inch deep 9-inch cake pans, buttered, with bottoms lined with buttered parchment or wax paper

1. Set the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees.

2. Stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon in a bowl, mixing well.

3. Whisk the eggs in a large mixing bowl. Whisk in the sugar and continue whisking briefly until light, about 1 minute. Whisk in the oil in a slow stream.

4. Stir in the carrots, the pineapple with its juice, and the peacans, then fold in the dry ingredients. Scrape the batter into the prepared pans and smooth the tops.

5. Bake for about 45 minutes, switching the position of the pans, top and bottom and back to front, once during baking, until the cake layers are firm and golden and a toothpick inserted in the center emerges clean.

6. Cool the cake in the pans for 10 minutes, then invert onto racks to finish cooling. Remove the paper before icing.

7. To make the icing, in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla on medium speed until soft and light, about 5 minutes. Decrease the mixer speed to low and gradually beat in the confectioner's sugar. Once the sugar is incorporated, increase the speed to medium and beat for 5 minutes longer.

8. To assemble to cake, place one layer on a platter or cardboard round and spread with one-third of the icing. Top with another layer and spread with another third of the icing. Place the last layer on top. bottom side up, and using a large offset spatula, frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining icing. Sprinkle the toasted pecans on top of the cake, and press into sides.

Storage: Keep under a dome at room temperature.

TUNNEL OF FUDGE CAKE
Makes one 10-inch Bundt or Tube cake
About 16 servings


This is the recipe with which Ella Rita Helfrich of Houston, Texas, won the 1966 Pillsbury Bake-Off. It's still a winner. While baking, the cake develops a creamy, fudgy core, like a tunnel, hence the name.

Ingredients:

Cake Batter:
1 3/4 cups sugar
28 tablespoons (3 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
6 large eggs
2 cups confectioner's sugar
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (spoon flour into dry-measure cup and level off)
3/4 cup alkalized (Dutch-process) cocoa powder
2 cups (about 8 ounces) chopped walnuts

Chocolate Glaze:
3/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1/4 cup alkalized (Dutch-process) cocoa powder
6 to 8 teaspoons milk

Method:

Once 10-inch Bundt or tube pan, is buttered:

1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.

2. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the sugar and butter together on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in the confectioner's sugar. Stir in the flour, cocoa, and nuts until well blended.

3. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the top is set and the edges are beginning to pull away for the sides of the pan (this cake has a soft center, so the ordinary doneness test of inserting a toothpick does not work).

4. Cool the cake (upright) in the pan on a wire rack for 1 1/2 hours, then invert onto a serving plate and let cool for at least 2 hours.

5. To make the glaze, in a small bowl, stir together all the ingredients, adding enough milk to achieve a drizzling consistency. Spoon over top of the cake, allowing some to run down the sides.

Serving: This is really a dessert cake - it's great with some whipped cream.

Storage Store under a cake done at room temperature; press plastic wrap against the center cut surfaces of the cake to prevent excessive ooze.

COCONUT-RASPBERRY LAYER CAKE
Makes one 9-inch cake
About 12 servings


This is a great combination of colors, tastes, and textures-raspberry preserves, white cake layers, lemon buttercream, and fluffy white coconut. A perfect old-fashioned layer cake.

Ingredients:

Cake Batter:
2 1/4 cups cake flour (spoon flour into dry-measure cup and level off)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
1 1/4 cups milk
1/2 cup egg whites (about 3 to 4 large eggs)

Lemon Buttercream:
1/2 cup egg whites (from about 4 large eggs)
1 cup sugar
20 tablespoons (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup strained fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For Finishing:
1/2 cup seedless raspberry preserves
one 7-ounce bag sweetened shredded coconut

Method:

Two 9-inch round cake pans, buttered and bottms lined with buttered parchment or wax paper

1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 450 degrees.

2. Sift the cake flour, baking powder, and salt onto a piece of parchment or wax paper.

3. In the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer, beat the butter and sugar with the paddle attachment at medium speed until light, about 3 minutes. Beat in the lemon zest and extract.

4. In a bowl, whisk together the milk and egg whites. Add one-third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat until smooth. Scrape down the bowl and beaters. Beat in half the egg-white mixture until incorporated, then beat in another third of the flour mixture. Scrape down the bowl and beaters. Beat in the remaining liquid until absorbed, followed by the remaining flour mixture; scrape well after each addition.

5. Divide the batter between the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes, until well risen and a toothpick inserted in the center emerges clean. Cool the layers in pans for 5 minutes, then invert onto racks to cool. Peel off the paper.

6. To make the buttercream, whisk together the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Whisk over a pan of simmering water until the egg whites are hot and the sugar is dissolved. Attach the bowl to the mixer and whip with the whisk until cool and increased in volume. Switch the paddle attachment and beat in the butter until smooth. Beat in the lemon juice and vanilla.

7. To assemble the cake, slice each layer horizontally in half. Place on layer on a cardboard round or a platter and spread with one-third of the jam and one-quarter of the buttercream. Top with another layer and repeat. Repeat with the third layer. Place the last layer on top and spread the top and sides of the cake with the remaining buttercream. Press the coconut all over the outside of the cake.

Serving: Serve at cool room temperature

Storage: Cover loosely and refrigerate for up to 2 days; bring to room temperature before serving
  • Rome Neal

Comments