Pumpkin Cranberry Swirl Muffins
Got some leftover cran sauce? Have I got an idea for you :)
This weekend was our good friend Aggie’s birthday, and Dave and I had the honor of baking her birthday cake. So of course, we went big! Our good friends came over for a big slice of birthday cake and a cup of coffee.
Aggie’s birthday cake is based on a Martha Stewart almond chocolate torte recipe that was shared by my good friend Mary. I suspect it is from a cookbook – I can’t find a link to it 🙁 but it’s Martha’s, for sure.
Interestingly, Martha points out that this cake freezes really well, so if you want to put it in the freezer tightly wrapped in plastic and foil, you can pull it out and have a chocolate cake whenever you want. Who doesn’t want that?
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for pan
8 ounces semisweet baker’s chocolate, chopped into pieces
5 large eggs, separated, room temperature
1/4 cup dark-brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup ground almonds
1/4 cup cake flour
Pinch cream of tartar
Vanilla buttercream icing
Toasted almonds for the top of the cake
First of all, an exciting discovery I made this week. Not on my own, but from reading other things. Apparently you can make your own cake flour by substituting two tablespoons in every cup of regular flour with cornstarch. So that’s what I did, and until something trustworthy convinces me otherwise I’ll never buy it again.
Anyway, preheat your oven to 375 degrees and butter a springform pan. Then line the bottom of the pan with a circle of parchment paper, and butter it as well.
Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler, kind of like the Reese’s cups.
In a mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer with a whisk attachment, combine egg yolks, both sugars, and the vanilla. Stir in the warm chocolate mixture, ground almonds, and flour
and set aside.
Next it is time to whip the eggs. If you plan on doing this in your stand mixer, you might have to shuffle bowls. Did I mention that this cake uses a ton of dishes? Beat the egg whites and the cream of tartar on medium speed until creamy. Increase speed to high, and beat until rounded peaks form.
Stir about a cup of beaten egg whites into the chocolatey goodness, and then add the rest of the eggs, folding just until they are combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth out the top with a spoon or spatula – don’t bang the pan on the counter – you want the bubbles in the egg whites to stay as intact as possible. Bake until a cake tester inserted into middle comes out with moist crumbs sticking to it, about 30 minutes (Martha’s recipe called for 55 minute. For us it was not even close!). Cool completely and frost when completely cooled (worth noting: let the almonds cool back down after toasting them too). We just used a very basic vanilla buttercream frosting.
Oh man is it good.