Daruma Cake

Have you seen a Japanese daruma doll before?  I’m obsessed with them, and guilty of having quite a few nestled here and there in my apartment.  When you first become the proud owner of a daruma, you fill in one of its eyes and set a goal for yourself.  When the goal or wish is fulfilled, you fill in the second eye.  You’ll be motivated to make  that wish come true, if only so that the little guy can see again!

This is a three layer tahini cake with tart citrus curd.  Tahini, made from toasted ground sesame seeds, has a mild, nutty taste which is a dream pairing with the tangy mingling of lemon and grapefruit flavors.  Add a cloak of tahini cream cheese frosting, and this cake makes wishes come true.  As someone who likes their cake not on the supersweet side of the spectrum, this was the ideal treat for me.  To create the daruma design, I used strawberries, chocolate shortbread cookies, and edible copper glitter.

This cake is ideal for serving at any occasion… it signifies the mouthwatering beginning of a new wish or goal.  It’s perfect for the new year, a wedding, or really any new phase of life that you want to celebrate.  What better time for an uplifting baking project than the beginning of 2018?

Scroll down for the recipe!

Daruma Cake

For the Tahini Cake (I used Molly Yeh’s tahini sheet cake recipe, but divided it between two round 6 inch cake pans)

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 c sugar
  • 2 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 c buttermilk
  • 1/2 c flavorless oil, like canola
  • 1 c tahini
  • 1 1/2 tb vanilla extract
  • 3/4 c water

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two 6 inch cake pans with parchment and nonstick cooking oil and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, buttermilk, oil, tahini, vanilla extract, and water.
  3. Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until well-combined. Pour batter into prepared cake pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Begin checking the cake after 30 minutes.
  4. Let cakes cool.  Torte both cakes into two separate discs.  Use to make a three or four layer cake.

Fort the Lemon Grapefruit Curd

Ingredients:

  • 1 & 1/4 cup grapefruit juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1 tsp grapefruit zest
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1 large whole egg
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened

Instructions:

  1. Combine the grapefruit and lemon juices in a saucepan. Simmer until reduced by about half, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a different container, add the grapefruit zest and let the juice cool for about 30 minutes.
  2. In the same saucepan, whisk together sugar, egg yolks, and whole egg. Add the citrus juice and whisk again to combine.
  3. Place the pan over a double boiler and cook, whisking frequently until the mixture thickens and a few large bubbles break the surface.
  4. Immediately remove from heat, add butter, and stir until melted.
  5. Strain the curd through a fine mesh sieve, transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until completely chilled, about 2 hours.
  6. When assembling the cake, use a piping bag to distribute between layers.

For the Tahini Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 1 c unsalted butter
  • 1 c cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 c powdered sugar
  • a pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 tb vanilla
  • 1/4 cup tahini

Instructions:

  1. Cream together the butter and cream cheese in a stand mixer until combined.
  2. Mix in the powdered sugar, salt, tahini, and vanilla.  Beat until light and fluffy.

Cookie Butter Cupcakes

Even stronger than the lure of eating Nutella with a spoon is my gravitational pull towards cookie butter.  Despite the odds, if you have the patience to wait it out and bake some cookie butter cupcakes, you won’t be disappointed.

The cookie butter you know and love is made from European Speculoos, or holiday spice cookies.  Apparently we have the airline Delta to thank for first introducing the cookie to U.S. markets.  And as for the genesis of cookie butter, apparently back in the day it was common in Belgium to create butter sandwiches with cookie crumbles inside, until the handy invention that is cookie butter came to be.

In the future, I want to experiment by making different flavors of homemade cookie butter.  If it isn’t made with Speculoos cookies, will it still be cookie butter?  I intend to find out.  Chocolate chip oatmeal cookie butter on your pancakes, anyone?

This cupcake project rekindled my somewhat dormant cake-for-breakfast habits.

Scroll down for the recipe!

Cookie Butter Cupcakes

(Borrowed from Tastemade. Makes about two dozen cupcakes.)

Ingredients:

  • 429 grams all-purpose flour

  • 265 grams sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 3 teaspoons baking powder

  • 375 milliliters of milk

  • 125 milliliters vegetable oil

  • 125 grams unsalted butter, softened

  • 2 tablespoons sour cream

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 2 large eggs

  • 250 grams melted (not hot) cookie butter

Instructions:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the flour, baking powder, caster sugar and salt. Sift ingredients together. Add the softened butter and let it mix until it resembles a fine sand like texture.

  2. Next, add milk, eggs, sour cream, oil and vanilla extract in a large bowl and whisk well.

  3. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients in a slow and steady stream until no dry ingredients are visible. Scrape down the bowl, add 1/2 cup cookie butter and mix until just combined.

  4. Fill each cupcake liner 3/4 of the way. Bake for 20-25 min or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow them to cool completely on a wire cooling rack before frosting.

    Post-baking thoughts: In the original Tastemade recipe, these cupcakes are cored and then filled with cookie butter frosting.  I tried the recipe without coring each cupcake, and found the result to be on the drier, crumbly side.  I liked them this way, but I suggest the coring approach if you’re hankering after a moister cupcake.

Cookie Butter Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup cookie butter, plus extra for decoration
  • 1-2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk

Instructions:

  1. Beat butter on high with a stand mixer until light and fluffy.
  2. Add cookie butter and milk and continue to mix.
  3. Add powdered sugar in stages and continue beating until you reach your desired frosting consistency.
  4. Pipe frosting onto cool cupcakes.  If desired, put extra cookie butter into a small piping or ziplock bag, and decorate.