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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Happy Birthday WITK!

That's right, it's my birthday!

Actually, to be precise, it's Wilde in the Kitchen's birthday!  Or it was last week.  I'm so terrible with dates.

It's been three whole years since I first put my fingers to the keyboard and typed up my very first post.  It's amazing how many things have changed since June 2010.

In three years I have...

- had four different home addresses
- completed two natural product syntheses
- started and ended my first job in industry
- finally moved in with my long term love
- visited 14 different countries

My cooking and baking skills have improved dramatically since I first decided to join the ranks of the food blogger.  Some things I thought I would never make, but have, include...

- sponge candy
- coconut milk
- Greek yogurt, from scratch
- potato gnocchi
- my own ketchup & mustard

There were so many side effects of starting WITK that I never expected.  Of course I planned on trying my recipes and stretching my culinary skills.  I had hoped my photography skills would improve (something I'm still working on!).  I never thought I would come to know so many great people, make new friends and become part of a larger community.

Thanks so much to everyone out there in the world that has made WITK as fun as it is, for supporting me in my crazy kitchen endeavors and giving me a reason to keep on going.

Have a slice of cake to celebrate WITK turning 3.  I wonder what the next few years will bring?

One Year AgoSimple Arugula Salad
Two Years AgoLight Wheat Bread
Three Years Ago!!!Chocolate Buttercream & Peanut Butter Frosting

Milky Way Cake
A Wilde Original

To celebrate WITK's third birthday, I thought it would be most appropriate to make a candy-inspired cake.  Last year I made a sponge candy-inspired cake.  This year I went to a classic candy bar - The Milky Way!  This cake is a spongey chocolate cake, topped with fluffy chocolate buttercream and layered with Milky Way Caramel.  This recipe makes a petit, 6-inch cake.  Perfect for a small celebration!  (Also perfect when you don't have a hoard of chemists to feed anymore.)

For the Chocolate Sponge Cake

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons buttermilk
1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons brewed coffee

Preheat oven to 350 ºF.  Spray a half sheet pan with cooking spray.  Line pan with parchment paper and lightly coat with cooking spray.  Sprinkle with cocoa powder and tap pan to distribute evenly.

In a large bowl, mix together flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt on low.  In another bowl, whisk together eggs, vanilla extract, butter, buttermilk and coffee.  Add to the dry ingredients and stir until fully combined.  Pour batter into prepared pan.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out with only crumbs clinging to it.

Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan, on a wire rack.  Once cooled, remove cake from the pan and peel parchment paper from the cake.

For the Chocolate Buttercream

3 egg whites
1/4 teaspoons cream of tartar
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
2/3 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 1/4 cups butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large bowl, whisk together egg whites with cream of tartar, just until cream of tartar dissolves.  Place chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl.  Heat for 1 minute on 50% power, stir chips.  Heat for another 1 minute on 50% power.  Stir until chocolate is totally melted, set aside to cool slightly.

In a 2-quart pot, combine 2/3 cup sugar, water and corn syrup.  Set over low heat until sugar is dissolved, stirring occasionally.  Increase heat to high and clip on a candy thermometer.  Let candy boil until the temperature reaches 240 ºF.  Remove from the heat.

Add 2 tablespoons sugar to the egg whites.  Begin whipping on medium speed.  Beat for 2-3 minutes until the whites reach soft peak.  Reduce speed to low and slowly stream in sugar syrup.  Once sugar is all added, increase heat to medium-low and beat for up to five minutes.  You want the meringue to be whip and shiny and to have stuff peaks.

With the mixer on medium-high, add butter two tablespoons at a time.  Be sure to fully incorporate each piece before adding the next.  Add melted chocolate and beat until combined.  Finally, add vanilla extract and turn up mixer to high.  Beat until buttercream is fluffy.  If it's too soft, put the buttercream in the fridge for 30 minutes.

For the Milky Way Caramel

1 Milky Way bar
2 1/2 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 - 4 tablespoons whole milk
Pinch salt

In a small saucepan, melt Milky Way bar and butter over low heat.  Whisk until smooth (it will look pretty gross as it melts).  Add powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons milk.  If the mixture is too thick, add remaining milk.  Allow caramel to cool to room temperature before adding to the cake.

Assembling the cake (similar method to the celebration cake)

Using a 6-inch cake ring, cut out 2 full cake circles and two 1/2 circles.  Clean cake ring and place on a parchment paper covered baking sheet.  Place an acetate cake collar inside of the cake ring.  Arrange the two 1/2 circles in the bottom of the ring, fill in any open spaces with remaining pieces of cake.  Add 3 tablespoons buttercream and smooth over the cake.  Add half of the Milky Way caramel and spread over the buttercream.  Add another acetate cake collar between the cake ring and the first cake collar.  Add second layer of cake, more butter cream, remaining caramel.  Top with last cake round and 3 tablespoons buttercream.  Place cake in the freezer for 2 hours to set up.

Take cake from the freezer and remove the cake ring.  Peel off acetate collars.  Use 1/4 cup buttercream and frost the outside of the cake.  Place in the fridge for at least 1 hour before serving.
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