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Video: ‘First State’ coffee cake

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    >> the country. if i knew you were coming i'd have baked a cake>>> this morning in "today's kitchen" cakes from across the country. we have a lawyer turned baker, warren brown . this is his second cookbook, "united cakes of america ." recipes celebrating every state. warren, good to see you again.

    >> good to be here, al. thank you.

    >> what was the inspiration for this?

    >> i love cakes and i love american history and i wanted to look at how people bake and spend time in their kitchen and i wanted to look at america through the lens of a cake.

    >> so what state or region are we doing here?

    >> delaware, a coffee cake . it has to do with the early settlers to the delaware region and some of the spices and the traditions that they were baking with.

    >> what are we doing here?

    >> i have some eggs and butter and sugar mixing together.

    >> right.

    >> i'd like to you mix together the fillings in this bowl.

    >> salt.

    >> we have salt and ginger. a little bit of clove, coco powder, cinnamon, some nice sugar and walnuts and a little more brown sugar . and i'm putting together like the batter right here. so what we're going to do is just mix and really get a nice c caramel. don't be afraid to use your hands. they're the best tool to work with. and then we'll put that as the filling in the cake we have right over here.

    >> we have some batter.

    >> we have some batter made. put down as much as you want. you can even use this same filling as your topping or, what i like to do, is go with a topping that has a little bit of butter mixed in.

    >> i like that, too.

    >> so we have that down. and these recipes are designed for everyone to make at home, easy to follow, easy to make, and things that people are familiar with.

    >> right.

    >> we just do this. we'll spread it out. want to make it as smooth as possible. we can even use this offset because sometimes it will catch a little there. then you have something to lick because people do like that and you can even just kind of work this whole filling right on top and don't be afraid that you don't have enough batter because it kind of puffs up.

    >> bubbles up.

    >> exactly. and, you can use a little bit more -- i like to do a little extra salt sometimes.

    >> that's interesting.

    >> a little sweetness there.

    >> and that goes into the oven.

    >> preheat 350 or so and our result --

    >> is this.

    >> right here. exactly.

    >> everybody all together now.

    >> there's a big crowd that's getting ready.

    >> come on in.

    >> what other cakes do we have?

    >> a devil's food cake that celebrates illinois.

    >> this is still warm.

    >> wow.

    >> we have goat cheese and honey with cheesecake right there. thank you very much. and then texas sheet cake on the end right over there.

    >> the recipes from all over america . it's how we make it home.

    >> so great.

    >> you have to stay here, willie. they don't do this on " morning joe ."

    >> this was worth stay iing the hour.

    >> absolutely. thank you.

    >> warren brown , thank you so much. we'll get some of this down to our control room.

    >> no we're not. this is ours.

    >>> coming up, look at the crew. there's like 700 of you in here. this is crazy. coming up, live coverage of wimbledon.

TODAY recipes
updated 6/30/2010 10:29:21 AM ET 2010-06-30T14:29:21

Recipe: Coffee cake

Ingredients
  • Filling
  • Light brown sugar, soft
  • 1/4 cup superfine granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves .
  • Salt pinch
  • Ginger (optional) pinch
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
  • Topping
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, soft (not packed)
  • 1/4 cup superfine granulated sugar 2 ounces
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Salt pinch
  • Ginger (optional) pinch
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Cake
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • Creaming
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, soft
  • 1 1/2 cups superfine granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cups light brown sugar, soft (not packed)
  • 3 eggs
Preparation

1.  Preheat the oven to 335 degrees and place the rack in the middle position. Spray a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with nonstick oil-and-starch spray.


2. Combine the ingredients for the filling in a bowl. Crumble them together with your fingers to break apart any clumps of brown sugar. Set aside.


3. Combine the ingredients for the topping in a bowl and press to combine with a fork or your fingers, or mix on low speed using a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Set aside.

4. Combine the dry ingredients for the cake in a bowl; combine the wet ingredients in another bowl. Set aside.


5. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, sugar, and brown sugar and mix on low speed for about 3 minutes.


6. Once the butter is creamed well, add the eggs one at a time. Use a flexible spatula to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, and mix until everything is thoroughly combined.


7. Alternately add the dry and wet mixtures about a quarter at a time without pausing between additions. Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix on low for another 20 seconds.


8. Scoop half of the batter into the prepared pan, smooth it out, and sprinkle on the filling. Add the rest of the batter and smooth again. Sprinkle on the topping.


9. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the cake bounces back when lightly pressed and a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

10. Cool the cake for 5 minutes before inverting it onto a plate and flipping it again so the streusel side is facing up. It’s also fine to serve it in the dish it’s baked in.

11. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Tips

One 9-by-13 inch sheet cake

Recipe: Honey and Raspberry Cheesecake

Ingredients
  • Graham Cracker Crust
  • Graham crackers
  • 3 tablespoons Superfine granulated sugar
  • 3/4 stick Unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Filling
  • 16 ounces cream cheese
  • 16 ounces fresh goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup superfine granulated sugar
  • 1 cup crystallized or raw honey
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup raspberry puree
Preparation

1. Preheat the oven to 300°F and place the rack in the
middle position. Grease a 9-by-3-inch round pan and
line the bottom with parchment.


2. Crush the graham crackers in a bowl or food processor
into very fine crumbs.


3. Using a fork, toss all the crust ingredients in a bowl
until evenly combined. Press the mixture firmly into
the prepared pan.


4. Bake until fragrant, 10 to 12 minutes. Set aside to cool
while you make the filling. Leave the oven on.
for the filling


5. Place a roasting pan large enough to hold your cake
pan in the oven and fill it about two-thirds of the way
up with water.


6. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle
attachment, beat the cheeses on medium speed to
break up and soften them.


7. Reduce the mixer to slow speed and add the sugar and
honey in 2 additions each, beating until they dissolve,
about 3 minutes total.


8. Add the eggs one at a time, allowing each to combine
before adding the next.


9. Mix the sour cream, heavy cream, and vanilla together
until smooth. Pour into the mixer slowly.


10. Pour the filling into the prepared crust. Drizzle up to .
cup of the raspberry puree randomly on the batter and
swirl it with your finger.


11. Gently set the cake pan in the water bath. Bake, uncovered,
until the center of the cake is only slightly wobbly
when the pan is shaken, about 1 hour.


12. Turn off the heat and leave the oven door ajar for 1
hour.


13. Remove the pan from the water bath and cool the cake
for 4 hours, until it reaches room temperature.


14. Cover the cake tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate
for at least 4 hours, and preferably overnight. (Be sure
you don’t have cut onions or garlic in the fridge—the
cake will absorb the odor.)


15. Set the pan in warm water to loosen the cake. Run an
offset spatula around the edge if necessary. Invert the
cake onto a flat plate, then turn it right side up onto a
decorative plate for serving. Smooth out any tears on
the sides with an offset spatula. Add a cluster of raspberries
to the top of the cheesecake if you like.

Tips

To make your own puree, combine 1 (10-
ounce) package of frozen raspberries with 2 cups of sugar in a
medium-size saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer.
Strain the puree through a fine-mesh sieve and discard the
seeds. Cool the puree completely before using.

Recipe: Devil's Food Cake

Ingredients
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate (100% cocoa)
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate (60% cocoa)
  • 1 stick and 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, very soft
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 8 ounces
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups superfine granulated sugar, divided 10 ounces
  • 1/4 cups water
Preparation

1. Preheat the oven to 335 degrees and place the rack in the middle position. Line the bottoms of two 9-by-2-inch round pans with parchment.


2. Melt the chocolates, 1 ounce of the butter, and the half-and-half in a double boiler over steaming water. Once melted, remove the pot from the water and whisk to combine the ingredients. Set aside.


3. Measure the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt into a bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside. Separate the eggs and set the yolks aside.


4. Combine 6 ounces of the sugar and the water in a saucepan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves.


5. Place 4 of the egg whites in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the wire whip attachment and beat on high speed until stiff peaks form. (Discard the 2 leftover whites or reserve them for another use.)

When the sugar syrup measures 240 degrees on a candy thermometer, drizzle it slowly into the meringue while the mixer is on high speed. Whip for another 20 seconds and then remove the meringue from the bowl and set aside.


6. Add the reserved yolks and 2 ounces of sugar to the mixer’s bowl and whip with the wire whip—there’s no need to clean the bowl or whip. You can even leave the cooked meringue that’s stuck inside the whip. Whip on high speed until the yolks are pale yellow, about 2 minutes.


7. Reduce the speed to low and add in the remaining 4 ounces of butter. The yolk base will lose volume—that’s okay.


8. Alternately add the dry ingredients and the melted chocolate to the mixer about a quarter at a time without pausing for the ingredients to combine. Detach the bowl from the mixer and gently fold in the cooked meringue in two stages. It will be stiff at first. Use caution
not to overmix it or you will deflate the batter.


9. Divide the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 22 to 24 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean and the top appears dry, soft, and flat. It will give slightly to a very light touch.


10. Cool the cakes for about 20 minutes, then run a metal offset spatula around the rim of each and invert the cakes onto a flat surface. Cool completely.


11. To assemble the cake, slice each cake in half horizontally with a serrated knife to create four layers.


12. Spread about 1 cup of frosting between each layer with an offset spatula and stack into a four-layer cake. Then pipe on the frosting with an open star tip to cover the top and sides of the cake, or just spread it lavishly with the spatula.

Tips

One 9-inch layer cake

Recipe: Texas Sheet Cake

Ingredients
  • 2 cups Superfine granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups All-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup Cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon Baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 sticks Unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 1/2 cup Buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon Brandy
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla extract
  • Chocolate Pecan Icing
  • 1 1/4 cups Pecans
  • 1 stick Unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups Confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 cup Cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup Milk
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla extract
  • Sugared Pecans
  • 2 cups Pecans
  • 2 tablespoons Honey
  • 1 cup Superfine granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla extract
Preparation

1. Preheat the oven to 335°F and place the rack in the
middle position. Grease a 12-by-2-inch round pan or
9-by-13-inch baking dish.


2. Measure the dry ingredients into a bowl and whisk to
combine.


3. Combine the wet ingredients in a second bowl and
whisk lightly to combine.


4. Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and
stir well for about 20 seconds.


5. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 30 to 35 minutes,
or until a wooden skewer inserted in the center
comes out clean and the top of the cake bounces back
slightly when gently pressed.


6. For the icing, roast the pecans on a baking sheet for 4
to 5 minutes while the cake is baking. Remove the nuts
from the oven, cool to room temperature, and chop.


7. Combine the butter, sugar, and cocoa powder in the
bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
Begin beating on low speed and then increase to
high.


8. Slowly add the milk and vanilla and beat well. Stop
the mixer and fold in the roasted pecans by hand. Set
aside.


9. To make the sugared pecans, combine the ingredients
in a bowl and mix well with a rubber spatula.


10. Roast the sugared pecans on a baking sheet, while
the cake is baking, until crisped and fragrant, approximately
10 minutes. Remove the nuts from the oven and
cool on a heat-resistant surface before using.


11. Cool the cake completely before spreading the icing
onto the top using a flexible spatula. (If you prefer, you
can turn the cake out onto a tray, but it’s fine to leave
it in the dish.) Add the sugared pecans across the top,
pressing them slightly into the frosting.

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