Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Buckeye Cake and Garlic-Parmesan Skillet Bread with Ranch Sauce

This was an exciting day at the 2019 Ohio State Fair.  It was the end
of a very long week of local and state fair competitions...and I desperately needed a nap.

I bet you're ready... I know I am.
I am ready for fall...and all that September has to offer.  
The leaves here have just started to show little bursts of 
color on otherwise all green I know 
autumn is on it's way....and I for one, am thrilled.

I'm hoping you are ready for a new blue ribbon recipe too.  
I'm so excited to share with you a cake I named "The Buckeye".

 ... When cakes are entered into the Ohio State Fair... 
there is a line on the entry form that asks for the recipe name.  

I probably could have written "Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting"...but 
I decided to give it a real name... and, by the way, naming cakes or recipes... it is really hard sometimes. Generally speaking, you don't want the recipe to sound silly...or in any way unappealing  Not too many words and also not too few...descriptive...but not boring...and not too over-the-top... The name, like the recipe has to be just right.

So many recipes that have been popular over the years, have had some really creative names... think of the "Tunnel of Fudge Cake", or the "Lazy Daisy Cake"... two cakes that I have not ever made, but are on my to-do list...  How about Waldorf Salad, or the Cronut??  Someone thought up those names too...and maybe at the time, like me...they were trying to decide... "Should this salad be called "Apple-Grape-Walnut-Celery Salad ...or the Waldorf??  Actually--there is quite a story behind a lot of our beloved recipes... including the Waldorf Salad.

This cake, the Buckeye Cake is named for the State Tree of Ohio, the Buckeye... which is also a the same name of a popular Ohio-loved "buckeye" candy...a peanut butter and chocolate confection... so delicious.  I mean really, chocolate and peanut's a winning combination!!

If you're into dessert first... please enjoy the recipe just below...and if you need a delicious cheesy skillet bread... scroll down a little further for Garlic-Parmesan Skillet Bread with Homemade Ranch Dipping Sauce...  Maybe it needs a jazzier name... you can let me know if you think of one... in the meantime, enjoy the recipes and the change of season too.  xo

The Buckeye Cake:
Dark Chocolate Devil’s Food Cake
With the BEST Peanut Butter Frosting and Chocolate Ganache
Karri Perry, Blue Ribbon Kitchen blog
2019 Ohio State Fair First Place Blue Ribbon

2 ¼ cups all purpose flour
¾ cup dark cocoa powder- Hershey’s Special Dark
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda

2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
¾ cup black coffee –cooled
1 tsp espresso powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup vegetable oil
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate-melted (1 Baker’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar)
1 cup room temperature buttermilk

Peanut Butter Frosting
2 sticks unsalted butter (1 cup)
¾ cup creamy peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp salt
3 Tablespoons heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla
4-5 cups confectioner’s sugar
½ cup chopped dry roasted peanuts for garnish

¾ cup heavy cream
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line two 9-inch cake pans with parchment rounds spray generously with non-stick cooking spray.  How-To: Use nonstick cooking spray to spray the bottom of pan, place parchment in the bottom and then spray bottom and sides again.

In a medium bowl mix together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and baking soda, set aside.

In a second mixing bowl, add the sugar, eggs, cooled coffee, espresso powder, vanilla, oil and melted chocolate.  Mix well with a handheld electric mixer until combined and emulsified.  There should be no oily puddles on the surface.

Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients in two parts, alternating with the buttermilk.  Mix until just combined and uniform in color, with no streaks of flour showing. Scrape down sides of the bowl and pour equal amounts of batter into prepared cake pans.

Bake in a preheated oven on the middle rack for 27-30 minutes or until the cakes are set and a toothpick comes out clean from the center.

After 5 minutes, loosen cake from edges of the pan with a paring knife if necessary.  Turn cakes out onto a cooling rack and carefully peel off the parchment paper.  Let cakes cool on racks until room temperature.

For Cupcakes:  Fill 2 muffin tins with 24 cupcake liners. Scoop batter into each liner, filling 1/2 to 3/4 of the way full.  bake on the middle rack of a 350 degree oven for 15-17 minutes or until cupcakes are set and a toothpick comes out cleanly from the center.  Cool before frosting.  For extra fun, hollow the center of the cupcakes and fill with ganache, or
mini peanut butter cups before frosting.

Peanut Butter Frosting:
With a mixer ( I like the stand mixer with the whisk attachment), cream the softened butter until light and fluffy--at least 5 minutes.  Add the peanut butter, vanilla and salt, mix well.  Slowly add the confectioner’s sugar, ½ cup at a time.  If frosting becomes too thick add a little heavy whipping cream to thin.  Frost the cooled cake layers, between the layers and including the top and the sides of the cake.  The key to this frosting is whipping a lot of air into the butter and peanut butter so that the frosting is light and spreads easily.

Warm the heavy whipping cream in the microwave for 1 minute. Add the chocolate chips and stir.  Stir until a chocolate sauce is formed.  As the mixture cools the ganache will thicken and become glossy.  Once the ganache is thickened but still pourable, drizzle onto the frosted cake.
Garnish: Drizzle with ganache, add chopped peanuts or chocolate-peanut butter candies if desired.

Garlic-Parmesan Skillet Bread

With Herbed Ranch Dipping Sauce
Recipe by: Karri Perry, Blue Ribbon Kitchen Blog

Baking temperature: 375 degrees
Baking time: 30 minutes

·         1 Tablespoon instant yeast
·         1 cup warm milk (2% or whole) (no hotter than 110 degrees)
·         1 tsp salt
·         1 Tablespoons granulated sugar
·         1 tsp granulated garlic
·         1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
·         1  large egg-room temperature
·         2 Tbsp softened unsalted butter
·         3 cups all purpose flour
For the Pan and Topping
·         2 Tablespoons melted butter
·         2 cloves of fresh garlic minced
·         1 Tablespoon butter melted + ½  teaspoon garlic salt
·         ½ cup of parmesan and ½ cup mozzarella cheeses

·         In a large measuring cup, combine the warm milk, and yeast   Stir together and set aside for 5 minutes.
·         In a medium bowl measure 3 cups of flour.
·         In a large stand mixer, add the egg, granulated garlic, oil, softened butter, salt and sugar. Mix on low speed.
·         Add the yeast liquid to the mixer. Slowly add the flour, one cup at a time, until the dough comes away from the sides of the mixing bowl.
·         Once dough is pulling away from the sides and looks shaggy, stop mixing. Try to not over mix.
·         Let dough rest, covered, in a warm place for 30-40 minutes, up to one hour.  The dough should be doubled in size.
·         Prepare a large 18 inch cast iron skillet:  On low heat, melt butter and add minced garlic.  Turn off heat and set aside.  (No Cast Iron Skillet? Use two 8 inch caked pans, add melted butter and garlic-set aside)
·         After dough has risen, punch down dough.
Portion the dough, making three-inch sized rolls and place into the prepared skillet on top of the melted butter and garlic (To make the dough rolls, roll similarly to how you would roll a meatball.)
·         Let dough rise 30 minutes, lightly covered.   The dough will fill in all the voids as it rises a second time.
·         Before baking, brush the tops of the risen dough with melted butter/garlic salt and sprinkle the cheese on the tops and sides of the rolls. 
·         Bake on middle rack of a pre heated 375 degree oven for 25-35 minutes or until bread is baked to a golden brown and the cheese is melted. Use foil to cover for the last 5 minutes if over-browning occurs.
·         Use a paring knife around the inside edges of the pan, loosen any cheese from the sides.  Serve while bread is warm and cheese is soft.

Herbed Ranch Dipping Sauce
½ cup buttermilk
½ cup sour cream
½ cup mayonnaise (Substitute plain Greek yogurt if desired)

Mix well and add:

1 fresh garlic clove minced

½ teaspoon dried basil
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried dill
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste

(Can substitute the above spices for your favorite dried Italian Herb blend- add about 2 teaspoons plus salt and pepper to taste if substituting)

Let mixture chill for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator.  The longer the dipping sauce sits, the better it tastes.

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