Rainbow Cookie Cake

This cake might be a stretch as a holiday cake, but, since I normally make Rainbow Cookies around the holidays I figured a Rainbow Cookie Cake would be a nice addition as a holiday cake. It definitely has a bit of a wow factor and it’s much easier & quicker to make than the cookie version.

One of the things that made this cake easy was using three boxes of white cake mix. I prepped each following the directions on the package and added in 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract to each. While the almond flavor was noticeable, I think it would have been better to add in 3/4 to 1 teaspoon of extract to each. Or, you could skip the extract altogether and grate in almond paste. I would suggest buying one package of almond paste and dividing it into three equal parts. Once the cake mix was prepped I then added in gel food coloring to achieve the pink, yellow & green colors. Here’s a tip, instead of adding a bunch of one color to achieve your desired shade, add in a little orange to the yellow, add a drop of red to the pink and a bit of blue for the green. This will also result in more vibrant shades of each color as well.

I baked each of the layers in a 9 inch square pan. While the directions said to bake the cakes in a 350 F oven for about 35 minutes, I found that after 30 minutes my cakes were still undercooked so I lowered the oven temperature to 325 F and baked the cakes for an additional 10-12 minutes. I let the layers cool in the pan for about 15 minutes and then inverted them on wire racks to cool completely.

Once the layers were cooled I leveled each of them with a serrated knife. I placed the pink layer on a cake board, trimmed side up, and spread about 1/2 cup of raspberry jam. I repeated this step with the yellow layer and then topped the cake the green layer, trimmed side down. While the directions called for the cake to be frozen for 1 hour, unfortunately I used a round cake board that wouldn’t fit in my freezer so I ended up refrigerating it for about 2-3 hours. Don’t worry if your layers are not flush, i.e. not the same width, you will be trimming the sides of the cake once you top it with chocolate. This ended up happening to me because while both of the pans I used were 9 inch squares the sides of one of the pans was straighter than the other.

Before removing the cake from the refrigerator I made the chocolate topping. I melted chocolate and butter together in the microwave in 30 second intervals. Well, to be truthful, I microwaved it once at 30 seconds and the second time at 45 seconds and then stirred it together until smooth. I set it aside for about 10-15 minutes so it could cool and thicken before pouring it on the cake. If you pour it right away the chocolate will be too thin and just run down the sides of cake when you try to spread it. Also, you won’t be able to create the usual wavy lines in the chocolate that rainbow cookies normally have.

Once the chocolate was ready I removed the cake from the refrigerator and poured the chocolate over the top and using an offset spatula I spread it into a thick even layer over the cake. And for the final touch, using the tines of a fork I created wavy lines in the chocolate. If you find that the chocolate isn’t holding the wavy pattern, wait a minute or two and then go over the patter again with the fork. It could just be that the chocolate needs to cool a bit more. I then returned the cake to the refrigerator so the chocolate could set, but, not harden.

And finally, I trimmed all for sides of the cake. I did find this part a bit tricky as my cake was crumbling while doing so. Partly because, as per the directions, I only used eggs whites in the batter which produces a much lighter cake. You could use whole eggs as opposed to the egg whites which would produce a denser and moister cake and one that is slightly yellower, which would be good when tinting the yellow layer of the cake.

So, everyone who tried this cake, including me, loved it. They all agreed that it was light and not crazy sweet. The perfect type of dessert.

Rainbow Cookie Cake

Ingredients:

Cake:

3 16 to 18–ounce boxed of white cake mix (plus the required ingredients)

1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract

Pink, yellow and green gel food coloring

1 cup seedless raspberry jam

Chocolate Topping:

2 4–ounce bars semisweet chocolate, chopped

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray a 9-inch square pan with baking spray and set aside.

Prepare 1 cake mix per box directions adding in 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Tint with the pink food coloring, stirring well making sure no white streaks remain. Transfer to the prepared pan and bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Repeat to make the yellow and green layers.

Trip the tops of each of the cakes to make level. Don’t worry if the widths of the cakes are different, you will even it out at the end.

Place the pink cake, trimmed side up, on a cake board and spread with 1/2 cup of jam. Top with the yellow cake, trimmed side up, and spread the remaining jam on top. Top with the green layer, trimmed side down. Freeze for 1 hour.

Microwave the chocolate and butter together in 30 second intervals, stirring after each, until melted and smooth. Let it cool slightly.

Pour the cooled chocolate over the top of the cake and using an offset spatula, spread the chocolate in a thick even layer over the cake.

Using the tines of a fork create a wavy lines pattern in the chocolate. Return the cake to the freezer so the chocolate can set, but not harden, about 15 minutes.

Using a long serrated knife trim all four sides of the cake.

 

Recipe notes:

You can use whole eggs as opposed to the recommended egg whites on the box directions

For a stronger almond taste try adding in more almond extract, or substituting it with almond paste.

To achieve brighter shades of pink, yellow and green, add a little red to the pink, orange to the yellow and blue to the green

You can place the cakes in the refrigerator as opposed to the freezer, but, will need to leave them in longer.

Recipe from Food Network

Almond Horns

If you didn’t know, almond is one of my favorite flavors when it comes to dessert. Give me an Almond Croissant for breakfast and I am a happy camper – although that’s not really a dessert item, but, it could be. LOL! Since I am a fan of almond I regularly get the Odense Newsletter that features recipes using their almond paste. In their latest newsletter they had a recipe for Almond Horns that were super simple, I had most of the ingredients on hand and I figured it was time to bake something sweet.

To make the dough I broke the almond paste into small pieces and added it to the bowl of my food processor along with confectioners’ sugar. I mixed the two until it was the texture of fine crumbs. I then added in an egg white (reserving the yolk) and almond flour. I continued mixing the dough until it became a smooth paste.

Next I turned the dough onto my counter that I dusted with confectioners’ sugar and rolled the dough into a 12-inch log and then divided it into 12 equal pieces and rolled each piece into a ball.

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After that I rolled the balls into 3-inch logs that were slightly tapered toward the ends.

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I added water to the reserved yolk and beat the two and spread thinly sliced almonds, which I crushed slightly, on a plate.

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I then dampened the logs in the egg yolk and rolled them in the almonds bending them into crescents and placed them on a parchment lined cookie sheet that I then placed in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.

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While the Almond Horns were in the refrigerator I preheated the oven to 350F. After the 20 minutes, I baked them for 14 minutes and then let them cool completely on a wire rack.

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Once they were cooled I melted bittersweet chocolate and dipped the ends of the horns in.

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These are so good and so easy and quick to make. The outside is crispy while the inside is moist and chewy.

 

Almond Horns

Ingredients:

1 box Odense almond paste, broken into small pieces

3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more for dusting

1 large egg, separated and at room temperature

1 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour*

1 cup thinly sliced almonds, slightly crushed

4 oz. bittersweet chocolate

*Can substitute Almond Flour. Using Almond Flour will make these cookies Gluten Free

Directions:

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper

Using a food processor or mixer combine the almond paste and 3/4 cup of sugar. Mix until the texture is that of fine crumbs. Add the egg white and flour and continue mixing until the dough becomes a smooth paste, it will be slightly sticky.

Turn the dough out onto a confectioners’ sugar dusted work surface and roll into a 12-inch log. Divide the log into 12 equal pieces and roll each piece into a ball. Roll the balls into a 3-inch log that is slightly tapered at then ends.

Spread the almonds on a plate and beat the egg yolk with 2 tablespoons of water. Dampen the logs in the yolk mixture and then rolls in the almonds shaping the logs into a crescent. Place the crescents onto the prepared cookie sheet 2-inches apart and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Bake 14 to 16 minutes, until lightly golden. Cool the cookie sheet on a wire rack for 5 minutes and then slide the parchment paper off of the cookie sheet and onto the wire rack so the cookies can cool completely.

Once cooled melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave. Dip the ends into the melted chocolate and return to the parchment paper so the chocolate can set. Layer the cookies between sheets of wax paper in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Recipe from Odense

Almond Pound Cake

I pretty much love anything made with almonds…Danishes, croissants, cookies, cakes, milk, etc. And of course almond themselves are wonderful to snack on. Their health benefits are pretty vast. To name a few… they are a great source of Vitamin E, they are packed with protein, they are gluten free and snacking on them can help curb other cravings. So, when I had half a pack of Odense Almond Paste left over from a previous recipe I knew I had to put it to good use and what better use than an Almond Pound Cake… something simple but yet so satisfying.

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To begin I beat 2 sticks of butter until they were creamy, then gradually added in 2 cups of sugar and continued beating the mixture until it was light and fluffy. I then added in an 8 oz. package of cream cheese, vanilla extract and the almond paste, which I crumbled.

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Following that I added in 6 eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

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And finally I added in 2 cups of flour that I whisked together with baking powder and salt. I beat the batter until it was well blended and then stirred the mixture a few times with a rubber spatula to ensure all of the ingredients were well combined.

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I then poured it into a prepared tube pan. To prepare the pan I sprayed it with a baking spray that contains flour.

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After baking the cake in a 325 F preheated oven for 55 minutes it came out perfect and smelled amazing.

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I let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then removed it and let it cool completely on a wire rack.

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I couldn’t wait to slice it into it and I wasn’t disappointed. This was the perfect comfort dessert for the cold weather this winter has brought. It had the dense familiarity of a pound cake while still being moist and a hint of almond flavoring thanks to the almond paste.

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Almond Pound Cake – Adapted from here

Ingredients:

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 cups sugar

1 8oz. package cream cheese, at room temperature

4 oz. almond paste, crumbled

1 tsp, vanilla extract*

6 eggs, at room temperature

2 cups flour

1 tbsp. baking powder

1 tsp, salt

*For an extra dose of almond flavor use almond extract

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 325 F. Grease and flour (or spray with a baking spray that includes flour) a fluted tube or tube pan.

2. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.

3. Beat butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating well after each addition. Continue beating until the mixture becomes light and fluffy. Add the cream cheese, almond paste and vanilla extract and beat for another minute. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat until well blended.

4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about an hour or until golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in the pan and then remove and let it cool completely on a wire rack.

Rainbow Cookies

Christmas week is finally here and holiday baking is more than likely in high gear for most of you. I know I have quite a few different cookies to bake over the next few days. I was already busy last week trying out some recipes. One of those recipes is actually one that I have tried twice before without much success, but luckily I didn’t strike out with this third attempt. These Rainbow Cookies came out perfect and were well worth the time and numerous steps it took to make them! I’m not sure what exactly led to my success this time, maybe it was the jelly roll pans I used as opposed to the baking dishes or rimmed cookie sheets I used in the past, or me diligently following the recipe exactly as written and reading and re-reading it to make sure I followed it properly or maybe it was just due to sheer patience and dedication. Whichever it was I am just happy to say I finally succeeded in making one of my favorite cookies!

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I began making the batter by mixing together almond paste and sugar until it formed into fine crumbles.

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Next I added in 2 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter a few pieces at a time.

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And finally I added in 4 large eggs yolks one at a time.

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In a separate bowl I sifted 2 cups of flour and then sprinkled salt on top.

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I then added the flour to batter and mixed it until it was just combined.

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In another bowl I whisked 4 large egg whites until they were foamy and then slowly added 2 tablespoons of sugar and continued whisking until firm peaks formed.

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Once the egg whites were ready I gently folded them into the batter.

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Next I evenly divided the batter among three bowls and tinted one a deep salmon color, another a bright green color and I left the third uncolored.

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Following that I spread the batter among three prepared (I first sprayed them with baking spray and then lined them with parchment paper) jelly roll pans.

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After baking the layers in a 350 F oven for about 10 minutes I let them cool completely in the pans on wire racks.

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Then it was time to start assembling the cookies… I began by spreading the green layer with a decent amount of seedless raspberry jam.

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Next I slid the uncolored layer onto the raspberry covered green layer and covered it with raspberry preserves as well.

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And finally I slid the salmon color on top.

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After wrapping it with plastic wrap and then covering it with one of the jelly roll pans and a few of my old college textbooks I placed the assembled layers in the refrigerator overnight.

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The following day I unmolded the layers and trimmed them to make straight edges.

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I then melted bittersweet chocolate and poured it over the layers.

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After letting it set for a few minutes I scraped wavy lines into the chocolate with a fork.

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And finally once the chocolate had set a little more I cut the cake into cookies. First by making vertical cuts.

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And then horizontal cuts.

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And then it was time to enjoy all my hard work and these cookies were definitely worth every minute of it!

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Rainbow Cookies

Recipe courtesy Lidia Bastianich for Food Network Magazine

Ingredients:

2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into pieces and softened, plus more for the pans

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pans

8 ounces almond paste

1 cup sugar

4 large eggs, separated

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Red and green food coloring (gel preferred)

1 15 -ounce jar smooth apricot jam*

Cooking spray

1 pound bittersweet chocolate, chopped

*I used seedless Raspberry Jam

Directions:

You’ll need three 9-by-12-inch jelly roll pans or rimmed baking sheets to make these layered cookies.

Prep the pans: Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour three 9-by-12-inch jelly roll pans or rimmed baking sheets and line with parchment paper.

Make the batter: Combine the almond paste and 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until the mixture is in fine crumbles. Beat in 2 1/2 sticks butter, a few pieces at a time, until well combined. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, until smooth.

Sift 2 cups flour onto a sheet of parchment and sprinkle the salt on top; add to the mixer bowl and beat until just combined.

In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until foamy; while whisking, slowly add the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and whisk until firm peaks form (or use a hand mixer). Fold about one-third of the egg white mixture into the batter with a rubber spatula, then gently fold in the rest. The batter should be fluffy.

Color the batter: Divide the batter evenly among 3 bowls. Stir enough red food coloring into 1 bowl to make a deep salmon color. Stir enough green food coloring into another bowl to make a medium green color. Leave the third bowl uncolored.

Bake the layers: Transfer the batter to the prepared pans (one pan for each color). Dip an offset spatula in water and spread the batter to the edge of each pan, smoothing the tops. Bake, switching the position of the pans halfway through, until the cakes are cooked through and just beginning to brown around the edges, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool completely in the pans on wire racks.

Assemble the layers: Spread half of the jam evenly over the green cake layer almost all the way to the edges. Unmold the plain cake layer by inverting it onto another pan or cutting board; peel off the parchment.

Carefully slide the plain layer onto the green layer (use a wide offset spatula to help you, if necessary). Spread the remaining jam on top of the plain layer. Unmold the red cake layer and slide it onto the plain layer.

Cover the cake with plastic wrap and top with one of the empty pans; place several heavy cans on top to weigh down the layers. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.

Unmold the cake: Remove the cans and plastic wrap. Place a cutting board on top of the cake and flip to unmold it onto the cutting board. Remove the parchment from the top of the green layer.

Trim the cake: Trim the sides with a knife to make straight edges. Spray a wire rack with cooking spray; set the rack over a baking sheet. Carefully slide the cake onto the rack, using a wide offset spatula to help you, if necessary.

Cover in chocolate: Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water; pour over the cake. Dip an offset spatula in the hot water and smooth the top and sides. Let set slightly. Scrape wavy lines into the chocolate with a fork; let cool a few more minutes until the chocolate is mostly set but still slightly tacky.

Cut into pieces: Slide the cake back onto the cutting board. Slice crosswise into 6 strips, then cut each strip into 8 rectangular pieces. For clean edges, dip the knife in warm water and wipe it with a cloth between cuts. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.