Alton Brown Don’t Let Me Down

February 17, 2017

King Cakes

Today in Advanced Baking we had the option to test recipes for our cupcakes that are due next week or making a king cake. I choose to do both! Chef said that we could come in early to start on the king cake dough since it take a while to make due to the proofing process. So, I showed up bright and early in the kitchen at 7:30! Chef Mary Helen had two recipes that we could choose from: one was a braided cream cheese filled and the other was a roll up with three different flavor options. I choose to do the roll up one with a chocolate filling and chocolate glaze. I was right after Valentine’s and I was still in the chocolate mood! (Plus I’m a chocoholic at heart!!) First things first get the dough made to it can rise.

King Cake Dough

  • 1 1/2 tsp Active dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup plus 1/2 tsp Sugar, divided
  • 1/3 cup Water (105 F to 110 F)
  • 1/2 cup Sour cream
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Egg yolk
  • 3 1/4 cups All-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 6 tbsp Butter, unsalted; cubed and softened
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine yeast, 1/2 tsp sugar, and water. Let stand until mixture is foamy, about 7 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk together sour cream, vanilla, eggs, egg yolk. Add to yeast mixture. Beat at low speed until combined, about 1 minute.
  2. With mixer off, add flour, salt, and remaining sugar. Beat at medium low speed until most of dry ingredients are moistened. Increase mixer speed to medium; beat for 2 minutes. Add butter; beat until combined, about 2 minutes. Scrape out dough onto a lightly floured surface (dough will be sticky), and gently knead 4 or 5 times.
  3. Spray a large bowl with cooking spray. Place dough in bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let stand in a warm, draft free place (75 F) until doubled in size, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.


Chocolate Filling

  • 1 2/3 cups Semisweet chocolate
  • 2 tbsp Butter, unsalted
  • 3 tbsp Milk, warm
  • 1 tbsp Cocoa powder, unsweetened
  1. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Punch King Cake Dough down. On a lightly floured surface , roll dough into a 17×16 inch rectangle.
  3. In a medium microwave safe bowl, combine chocolate and butter. Microwave on medium for 1 minute; stir. Continue microwaving in 30 second intervals; stirring between each, until chocolate is smooth. Stir in milk and cocoa. Spread in a thin layer over dough.img_5285

    Baking Babe, Allie, rolling out her king cake dough.
  4. Staring with one short side, roll up dough, and gently place on prepared pan, seam side down. Form a ring and pinch each ends together to seal. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft free place (75 F) until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 325 F.
  6. Uncover cake. Using kitchen scissors, make 7 1/4 in deep cuts in top of dough. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes, lightly covering with foil during last 5 minutes of baking to prevent excess browning, if necessary. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Transfer to a serving platter.

Chocolate Glaze

  • 1/4 cup Heavy cream
  • 1 3/4 cup Semisweet chocolate
  • 1 tbsp Butter, unsalted
  • 1/3 cup Confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
  1. In a medium microwave safe bowl, combine heavy cream, chocolate, and butter. Microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring between each, until chocolate is melted and smooth. Stir in confectioners’ sugar and vanilla. Spread over cake and sprinkle with colored sugars, if desired.



For my cupcakes I have chosen a Breakfast at Tiffany’s theme. The cupcakes will be devils food with a coffee cream filling with a buttercream frosting dyed Tiffany blue topped with fondant bows, pearls, and the signature Tiffany silver heart.

I picked out a couple of devils food cake recipes and ran them by Allie to see what see thought. One of the recipes was from Alton Brown, Allie said, “go with that one I like him.” So, I said, “Alton Brown don’t let me down.” Here is the recipe:

Devil’s Food Cake

  • 1 cup Water, boiling
  • 4 oz Cocoa powder
  • 10.5 oz Brown sugar, dark
  • 5.5 oz All-purpose flour
  • 4 oz Cake flour
  • 1 tsp Baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 cup Vegetable oil
  • 4.5 oz Sour cream
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Egg yolks
  1. Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 F. Line a 24 count cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
  2. Whisk the boiling water and cocoa powder together in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Combine the sugar, flours, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Whisk the oil, sour cream, eggs, egg yolks in a large pourable vessel. Add the oil mixture to the cocoa and water mixture and slowly whisk to combine. With the mixer on low speed, add liquid mixture over 30 seconds. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Continue to beat on low speed until the batter is smooth, 10 to 15 seconds. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until the cake springs back when pressed and reaches an internal temperature of 205 degrees F, 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Cool in the pan on a rack for 30 minutes, and then remove from pan and cool completely before frosting.

I found a coffee cream filling recipe on the internet and tried it… it was awful. It was clumpy, bitter, and not silky at all! I remade it with a few tweaks! Here’s my recipe:

Coffee Cream Filling

  • 1/4 cup Sugar
  • 2 cups Milk
  • 1/4 cup Corn starch
  • 1 Egg, beaten
  • 3 tbsp Ground coffee
  1. Boil the milk and pour it over the ground coffee.
  2. Let stand covered for 5 minutes to steep, then strain.
  3. Mix together sugar and corn starch in a sauce pan, pour over milk and cook for about 4 minutes over medium heat, or until thickened. (*Stir constantly to prevent form scorching)
  4. Temper in the egg and cook for 1 minute more.
  5. Let cool and spread between layers of cake or filling for cupcakes.

Once the cupcakes were cool I cored them and filled them with the coffee cream filling. Gentry make up a batch of buttercream icing for us to use and I piped that onto the cupcakes using a 1M tip to create a rosette. I didn’t dye the buttercream because this was just a trial run and a practice for piping.

I then practiced piping rosettes on the counter with will be on the bottom tier of my 3 tier wedding cake! Super excited to make these cupcakes next Friday and work towards making my wedding cake!

~ Holly O


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