Thursday, June 4, 2020

Devil's Food White-Out Cake

One of my favorite cakes for sure!  The cake itself has a deep chocolate flavor that is perfect.  The marshmallow frosting is one I will make over and over again. From Dorie Greenspan's book "Baking From My Home to Yours."  A bit time consuming but worth every minute!

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) unsaltd butter at room temperature
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1/2 cup buttermilk or whole milk, at room temperature (I used whole milk)
1/2 cup boiling water
4 ounces semisweet or milk chocolate, finely chopped, or 2/3 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips (I used mini chocolate chips)

For the filling and frosting

1/2 cup egg whites (abut 4 large)
1 cup sugar
3/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 cup water
1 tbs pure vanilla extract

Center a rack in the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter two 8-x-2-inch round cake pans, dust the inside with flour, tap out the excess and line the bottoms with parchment or wax paper.  Put the pans on a baking sheet.  I used baking spray along with the parchment paper.

 For the Cake:  Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy.  Add the sugars and continue to beat for another 3 minutes.  Add the eggs one by one, beating for 1 minute after each addition.  Beat in the vanilla; don't be concerned if the mixer looks curdled.  Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the melted chocolate.  When it is fully incorporated, add the dry ingredients alternating with the buttermilk, adding the dry ingredients in 3 additions and the milk in 2 (begin and end with the dry ingredients); scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed and mix only until the ingredients disappear into the batter.  At this point, the batter will be thick, like frosting.  Still working on low speed, mix in the boiling water, which will thin the batter considerably.  Switch to a rubber spatula, scrape down the bowl and stir in the chopped chocolate.  Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and smooth the tops with the rubber spatula.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, rotating the pans at the midway point.  When fully baked, the cakes will be springy to the touch and a thin knife inserted into the center will come out clean.  Transfer the cake pans to a rack and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unmold them and peel off the paper liners.  Invert and cool to room temperature right side up.
When you are ready to fill and frost the cake, inspect the layers.  If the cakes have crowned, use a long serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion to even them.  With the same knife, slice each layer horizontally in half.  Set 3 layers aside and crumble the fourth layer; set the crumbs aside.

For the filling and frosting: Put the egg whites in a clean, dry mixer bowl or in another large bowl.  Have a candy thermometer at hand.
Put the sugar, cream of tartar and water in a small saucepan and stir to combine.  Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, cover the pan and boil for 3 minutes.  Uncover and allow the syrup to boil until it reached 242 degrees F on the candy thermometer.  While the syrup is cooking, start beating the egg whites.
When the syrup is at about 235 degrees F, begin beating the egg whites on medium speed with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer.  If the whites form firm, shiny peaks before the syrup reaches temperature, reduce the mixer speed to low and keep mixing the whites until the syrup catches up.  With the mixer at medium speed, and standing back slightly, carefully pour in the hot syrup, pouring it between the beaters and the side of the bowl.  Splatters are inevitable - don't try to scrape them into the whites, just carry on.  Add the vanilla extract and keep beating the whites at medium speed until they reach room temperature, about 5 minutes.  You should have a smooth, shiny, marshmallowy frosting.  Although you could keep it in the fridge in a pinch, it's really better to use it right now.

To assemble the cake:  Put a bottom layer cut side up on a cardboard cake round or on a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment paper.  Using a long metal icing spatula, cover the layer generously with frosting.  Top with a second layer, cut side up and frost it.  Fi
nish with the third layer, cut side down, and frost the sides and top of the cake.  Don't worry about smoothing the frosting - it should be swirly.  Now, cover the entire cake with the chocolate cake crumbs, gently pressing the crumbs into the filling with your fingers.
Refrigerate the cake for about 1 hour before serving.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Coconut Tea Cake

The is absolutely one delicious cake!  It comes from Dorie Greenspan's book From My Home to Yours.  It's simple and the flavor of coconut comes through and through!  If you are a fan of coconut then you should give this a try!

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
4 large eggs, preferably at room temperature
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons dark rum, optional
3/4 cup shredded coconut (unsweetened or sweetened), toasted or not

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the overn to 350 F.
Butter a 9- to 10-inch Kugelhopf or Bundt pan, or use an unbuttered silicone pan.  Don't place on a baking sheet - you want the oven's heat to circulate through the inner tube.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together.
Pour the coconut milk into a small saucepan, add the butter and heat until the milk is hot and the butter is melted.  Remove from the heat, but keep warm.
Working with a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar at medium-high speed until pale, thick and almost doubled in volume, about 3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla and the rum, if you're using it.  Reduce the mixer speed to low and add dry ingredients, scrapping down the sides of the bowl as needed and stopping just when the flour disappears.
Keeping the mixer on low, add the coconut, mixing only until it is blended, then steadily add the hot milk and butter.  When the mixture is smooth, stop mixing and give the batter a couple of turns with a rubber spatula, just to make certain that any ingredients that might have fallen to the bottom of the bowl are incorporated.  Pour the batter into the pan and give the pan a few back-and-forth shakes to even the batter.
Bake for 60 to 65 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown and a thin knife inserted deep into the center comes out clean.  Transfer the cake to a rack and cool for 10 minutes before unmolding onto the rack to cool to room temperature.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Lemon Pastry Cream

I made this delicious tart the other day but the one thing that stood out was the delicious pastry cream.  It was just sooo good.  My husband commented that instead of adding this into a tart it should be eaten by itself, like in a parfait!  I couldn't agree more.  Here's the recipe below.  I came across this at a blog called As Easy As Apple Pie!!!  Enjoy!!!

Lemon Pastry Cream

2 egg yolks
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspon lemon zest, grated (since this is removed from the mixture once it is cooked, I used several thin peels from the lemon since that easy quite simple to remove.)
1/2 cup flour
2 cups milk

In a medium bowl whisk together the sugar, egg yolks and grated lemon zest.
Add the flour, a couple of tablespoons of milk taken from the total amount and continue beating until well combined and has a thick creamy texture.
Place the remaining milk and lemon zest in a saucepan over medium heat until the milk just comes to a simmer.
Remove from heat and discard lemon zest.
While whisking, very slowly add the milk to the egg mixture and return to the saucepan. (I just add a very little and keep whisking and then add a little  more and again keep whisking and then add remainder to the saucepan.)
Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the cream has reached the desired consistency.
To prevent a skin from forming, press a sheet of cling wrap directly onto the surface of the pastry cream.  Refrigerate until chillled.
Remove from fridge when you are ready to add this to your tart.
Whisk until smooth and spread an even layer in the tart crust.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Banana Bread

Another banana bread?  Like I don't have enough banana bread recipes already!  Well, just like I have tons of pound cake recipes the same holds true for banana bread.  This one is slightly lighter in the sense that it's not quite as heavy and moist as some.  This is the one I prefer simply for that reason.  It's  also a very simple one where you can add additional ingredients and doctor it up a bit if you like.  I firmly believe that you cannot go wrong with simple! This was adapted from Allrecipes with a few of my own changes.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas, about 3 medium
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour one 9x5 inch pan

Cream butter and sugar until smooth.  Beat in eggs, then bananas.  Add flour and soda, stirring just until combined and fold in walnuts by hand.

Pour into prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees F for about 1 hour.  Mine was done in slightly less time.  Remove from pan after 10 minutes and let cool.  I like to wrap my banana bread in plastic wrap after it has cooled for about 15 minutes.  This locks in some moisture and flavor.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Citrus Raspberry Coffee Cake

This cake should also be titled "Baking 101!"  It is really very simple to make and pretty foolproof.  And it tastes delicious.  I've made this numerous times and have always gotten compliments on how good it is.  You don't have to stick with just using raspberries either.  I've used blueberries in the past and used a combo of both raspberries and blueberries this time around.  It's just a matter of preference.  This recipe comes courtesy of Taste of Home magazine.

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
4 large eggs
1 cup canola oil
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tsp pure lemon extract
2 cups fresh raspberries or blueberries
Confectioners' sugar

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  In another bowl, combine the eggs, oil, orange juice and extract.  Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients until just moistened.

Pour half of batter into a greased and floured 10-in. fluted tube pan.  Sprinkle with berries.  Top with remaining batter.  Bake at 350 degrees F in preheated oven for 55 - 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.  Dust cake with confectioners' sugar.

*If using frozen berries, use without thawing to avoid discoloring the batter.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Tofu Lettuce Wraps

Although I am a vegetarian and do not eat meat, I still enjoy following Ree Drummond aka Pioneer Woman on TV and her blog.  She has some great vegetarian recipes and this happens to be one of them.  Super easy and tasty.  If you like tofu I highly recommend trying this recipe. 

2 teaspoons peanut or olive oil (I used olive oil)
one 14 ounce container extra firm tofu
Kernels from 2 ears of corn or 1 1/2 cups frozen corn (I used one cup canned corn)
1/4 teaspoon chili powder (I used 1 teaspoon)
1/4 cup soy sauce, plus more for drizzling
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar (didn't have any on hand but would recommend using)
2 green onions (green parts only), sliced
Romaine lettuce leaves
2 avocados, peeled, pitted and sliced

Heat oil in skillet (nonstick for this recipe is best) over medium high heat. Place tofu in skillet.

Use a spoon to break it into very small pieces as it cooks. (I used a potato masher).  Continue cooking the tofu for several minutes, until much of the liquid has cooked off and the tofu starts to turn golden brown.

Add the corn and stir it around.  Cook for 2 to 3 minutes (less time if you're using frozen corn).  Stir in the chili powder, soy sauce and balsamic vinegar.

Add the green onions and cook the mixture for another couple of minutes.

To serve, spoon the warm tofu mixture into the lettuce leaves.

To make it extra delicious, lay on some avocado slices and drizzle on more soy sauce.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

The Best Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

The title boasts quite a bit about these cookies but it's very true!  These are the best vegan chocolate chip cookies i have tasted.  They are crispy on the edges and soft in the middle.  The perfect cookie!  I highly recommend these.  I've made them several times since I first discovered the recipe a week ago and have decided I like them better smaller versus a large one like the original recipe specifies.   I used a small ice cream scoop which I highly recommend.  I also used one cup of chocolate chips versus the 2 cups suggested in the original recipe.  I hope you give these a try.  They do not disappoint!

Recipe Adapted from Baker by Nature

1/2 cup coconut oil, solid (be sure it is not melted at all)
1 and 1/4 cups light brown sugar (dark brown sugar is fine also)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup coconut milk 
1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
2 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda 
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups chocolate chips or vegan chocolate chips (I used 1 cup)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl whisk together the coconut oil, brown sugar and vanilla, beating until well combined.  Add the coconut milk and applesauce and whisk until well combined; set aside.  
In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking soda and salt.  Whisk well to combine.

Add the dry ingredients into the wet mixture and using a wooden spoon or sturdy spatula, stir until ingredients are combined.  The batter will be thick.  Fold in the chocolate chips.

Scoop one tablespoon size mound of dough onto the prepared cookie sheet, leaving a few inches between each cookie for spreading.  Bake for approximately 9 minutes but start checking by 7 minutes.  Bake until edges are golden brown and the centers have set.

Cool cookies on baking sheet for 15 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

*If batter is too sticky add a small amount of flour.  If too thick, add a little more coconut milk.