Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Lemon meringue cupcakes

Listening to this song while making these cupcakes.

For the cupcake:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs plus 3 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup low-fat buttermilk

For the lemon curd:

1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
8 tablespoons butter, cubed
1 1/2 cup superfine sugar
4 eggs + 4 egg yolks
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest

For the meringue:

2 large egg white
1/2 cup of sugar
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line two cupcake pans with liners. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and lemon zest.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar until light and fluffy. With mixer on low, beat in eggs and yolks, one at a time. Beat in lemon juice. Alternately beat in flour mixture and buttermilk beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix just until combined.

Divide batter evenly among pans, filling each 3/4 full. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 22-25 minutes. Let cool in pans 10 minutes, and then cool cupcakes completely on a wire rack.

While the cupcakes are cooking, make the lemon curd. In a heatproof bowl, whisk together all ingredients except butter. Place it over a small pot of simmering water, whisking constantly. When the mixture thickens to coat the back of a spoon, so that when you run your finger through it the finger stripe doesn’t disappear, take if off of the pot. Add the butter and whisk until it melts. Allow to cool slightly, then transfer to a clean glass jar, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate.

For the meringue, put the sugar, cream of tartar, and egg whites into the bowl of an electric mixer. Set the bowl over a pot of simmering water (the bowl should not be touching the water) and allow the sugar to melt into the eggs. Once warmed, add the vanilla and beat the mixture until stiff peaks form, about 3 – 5 minutes, set aside.
Turn your oven on broil at 400 degrees. Cut a cone out of your cupcake with a small, sharp knife. Fill the opening with a spoonful of lemon curd. Either cut the very top off of the cone and cover the opening, or just leave it open- either will work. Once your cupcakes are filled, cover them with a generous heap of meringue. Use the back of a spoon to create stiff peaks in your meringue, and place the cupcakes on a baking sheet. Place them in the oven and watch very carefully until the tops are just golden brown, 2-4 minutes, depending on the strength of your broiler. Don’t look away for a second! (If you have a torch, congrats on your courage, and feel free to use that instead of the oven method. It’s probably much, much easier.) Let the meringue tops cool before serving.

Recipe from Flour Child

Friday, December 23, 2011

Peppermint bark brownies


zomgwow. Rebe and I are dying over these brownies. It's definitely the peppermint layer, it's so light and airy and delicious. I cannot recommend these enough. So perfect for the holidays.

Apologies for being on a brownie kick, they're just SO AWESOME.

For the brownie bit:

8 Tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 extra large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon espresso powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

For the peppermint layer:

2 cups confectioners' sugar
8 Tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
2 Tablespoons whole milk
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the chocolate layer:

4 ounces semisweet chocolate
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 candy canes, crushed

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line an 8x8-inch baking pan with parchment paper leaving overhang for easy removal; lightly spray with non-stick baking spray. In a bowl set over a pan of simmering water or in the microwave, melt the butter and chocolate; set aside. In a medium bowl beat the eggs and sugar with a hand-held mixer until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Add the flour, extracts, espresso powder, and salt. Add the melted chocolate mixture and stir just until blended. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and sprinkle the top with the chocolate chips. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs, about 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, beat together the confectioners' sugar, butter, milk, and extracts until smooth and creamy using a hand-held mixer. Spread the mixture over the cooled brownies and chill in the refrigerator until set, about 1 hour.

One the peppermint layer and brownies are cooled, start with the chocolate layer. In a bowl set over a pan of simmering water or in the microwave, melt the butter and chocolate; cool slightly. Pour the chocolate over the peppermint layer and sprinkle with the crushed candy canes. Chill in the refrigerator until set, about 1 hour. Cut into 20 squares. Serve the brownies chilled or at room temperature. Enjoy!

Recipe from The Galley Gourmet

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Gingerbread men

Louie and I were in class yesterday and he asked if I would make some holiday-inspired treats. I asked what kind he meant. He said, "I don't know, like... gingerbread men?" So I said, "Okay." "Really?!" he asked. I said sure, went home, and got to work. I found a recipe that is puffier than most gingerbread cookies, so it's more thick and cookie-like than your typical gingerbread man. Louie was really happy.

For the cookies:

3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 stick butter or margarine, softened
2 large eggs
1/4 cup molasses
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup powdered sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons milk

Cream together the sugar and butter in an electric mixer. Add eggs & molasses until combined. Set aside

In a large bowl, combine the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Mix the flour mixture into the butter mixture, little by little until combined. The dough will be pretty dry. If it's too dry, add in a splash of milk. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 1 hour or overnight.

After time has elapsed, preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll out onto a lightly floured surface, to about 1/8″ thick. Cut out with cutters. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool on racks.

Meanwhile, mix the powdered sugar with milk. Use piping bags to decorate the cookies. If you don't have piping bags, pour the icing into a ziplock bag and cut a small slit in the corner. Squeeze the icing through the hole for a makeshift piper.

Recipe from Paula Dean via Cake Student

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Red velvet cheesecake brownies

As if cheesecake brownies weren't enough. Duh.

For the red velvet bit:

1/2 cup butter
2-oz dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp red food coloring
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt

For the cheesecake bit:

8-oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line an 8- or 9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil and lightly grease. In a small, heatproof bowl, melt butter and chocolate together. Stir with a fork until very smooth. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs, vanilla extract and red food coloring. Add in the chocolate mixture and stir until smooth. Batter should be red. If a brighter red is desired, add an additional 1/2 tsp food coloring. Add flour and salt into the bowl and stir until everything is just combined and no streaks of dry ingredients remain. Pour into prepared pan and spread into an even layer.

Next, prepare cheesecake mixture. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, egg and vanilla extract until smooth. Drop in dollops onto prepared brownie batter. Gently swirl two batters with a butter knife.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, until brownies and cheesecake are set. A knife inserted into the cheesecake mixture should come out clean and the edges will be lightly browned.

Cool in the pan completely before slicing and serving, either at room temperature or chilled. Brownies can be refrigerated, covered, for several days.

Recipe from Baking Bites

Monday, November 28, 2011

Pumpkin pillow cookies with brown butter frosting

Meet Dwight Eisenhower. He's our new pet. We call him Ike for short (or Craig, or Randy, depending on who you ask...). He enjoys apples, being scratched, and sitting in people's laps. Deighton and I just adopted him yesterday, and he's been an absolute joy to have so far. I can't wait to have guinea pig adventures with him, dressing him in felt hats, dinosaur costumes, etc! Slightly joking but mostly serious.

And he matches these fantastic pumpkin pillow cookies, which pretty much taste like clouds of pumpkin spice with a slightly nutty brown butter frosting. Which are so delicious that I may have to make a second batch.

For the cookies:

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 1/4 cups packed light-brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin (14 ounces)
3/4 cup evaporated milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the icing:

4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon evaporated milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg in a medium bowl; set aside.

Put butter and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in eggs. Reduce speed to low. Add pumpkin, evaporated milk, and vanilla; mix until well blended, about 2 minutes. Add flour mixture; mix until combined.
Transfer 1 1/2 cups batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tip (such as Ateco #806). Pipe 1 1/2-inch rounds onto parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing 1 inch apart. Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until tops spring back, about 12 minutes. Cool on sheets on wire racks 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks; let cool completely.
While the cookies are baking, put confectioners' sugar in a large bowl; set aside. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, swirling pan occasionally, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Immediately add butter to confectioners' sugar, scraping any browned bits from sides and bottom of pan. Add evaporated milk and vanilla; stir until smooth. Spread about 1 teaspoon icing onto each cookie. If icing stiffens, stir in more evaporated milk, a little at a time.

Recipe from Martha Stewart

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Gingersnap molasses cookies

It's definitely holiday season. The supermarkets are playing holiday music, people are bringing out their sweaters in full-force, and Starbucks Christmas cups are back. And seeing as I now live in a state with nearly 6 months of winter, it seems fitting to embrace this cold weather as much as I can. So on come the holiday treats. Starting with.... gingersnap molasses cookies!

For the gingersnaps:

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 Tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup (6-ounces) vegetable shortening
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 extra large egg at room temperature
1/4 cup molasses (not blackstrap)
1/3 cup granulated sugar for rolling

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, clove, pepper, and salt; set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the shortening and sugars together until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the egg and molasses and beat until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat again. Add the flour in three additions and mix until just combined. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour to firm. (Dough can be made in advance and refrigerated up to 2 days or frozen for up to 1 month).

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Place the 1/3 cup sugar in a shallow bowl. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. Using a small ice cream scoop or spoon, shape the mixture into 1-inch balls and roll in the sugar. Place the balls 2-inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until the tops are rounded and slightly cracked, about 12-15 minutes (12 minutes for a chewier cookie, 15 minutes for a crisp cookie). Allow the cookies to cool on the pan for 2 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week. Enjoy!

Recipe from The Galley Gourmet

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Pumpkin cheesecake muffins

There's nothing like cooking with friends. Everything tastes better, calories count less, and you get to be with the people you love. I highly recommend this recipe with friends on the side. So0o0o corny but so true.

For the muffkeys:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup canola (or /vegetable) oil)

For the cream cheese swirl:

8 ounces cream cheese
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients. Add eggs, oil, milk, vanilla, and pumpkin puree. 

Grease muffin trays. Pour half of the pumpkin batter into 12 muffin cups. Then add half of the cream cheese filling on top. Swirl with a knife to create a marbled effect. Scoop the remaining half of the pumpkin mixture into the 12 cups. Top with the second half of the cream cheese mixture. Swirl again with your knife to combine. Dust with ground cinnamon. Bake until knife comes out clean when inserted into muffin, about 20 minutes. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Apple oat bars with dulce de leche

If you're like me and you like apple crisp but wish the crisp to apple ratio were a little bigger, try this recipe. Mostly crisp, then some apple on the side. Hehe. And the brown sugar/oats combo is awesome. Add in some dulce de leche for some caramelly goodness and you've got yourself a really really good dessert.

Makes ~32 bars

For the bars:

1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats (NOT instant oats)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3-4 apples, peeled, cored, and diced
juice of half a lemon
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup dulce de leche or 1 cup from a 14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk (you can buy this in the store or you can make your own, I made my own so it's included in the recipe)

Peel the label off of the can of sweetened condensed milk. Fill a pot with enough water to cover the can, with about an inch between the top of the can and the water. Place the can in the water to check, then remove it and set it aside. Bring the water to a rolling boil over high heat, then reduce to simmering over medium to medium-low heat and add in the can.

Add in enough warm water to keep the water at the same level every 30 minutes or so (I did about 3/4 cup of water every 30 minutes). Simmer the can for a minimum of 3 hours. After 3 hours, turn off of the heat and place the pot on a different, cool burner. Do NOT remove the can from the water immediately, as the temperature change may cause the can to explode. Allow the can to sit in the water for 30-45 minutes, then carefully, with tongs, remove the can to another surface and allow it to sit for another 20 minutes or so, until it is cool enough to touch.

Use a can opener to open the can. Set aside.

Preheat your oven to 400°F. Cream together the butter and brown sugar, until fluffy, about 3 minutes. In another bowl, combine 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, the oats, the cinnamon, the salt, and the baking soda. Set 2 cups of this oat mixture aside and press the remainder into a greased and/or lined 9×13 baking dish.

Core, peel, and dice your apples into thin, bite-sized pieces. Toss them with lemon juice and 3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour. Spread the apples over the dough pressed into the dish. Take your set aside dulce de leche and drizzle it evenly over the apples (it doesn’t have to be perfect). Sprinkle the 2 cups of oat mixture that was previously set aside over the apples and dulce de leche, then press down to be sure that everything sticks together. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until set and golden.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Cut into small bars and refrigerate until ready to serve. 

Recipe from Crepes of Wrath

Monday, October 31, 2011

Twix and a blogiversary!

Today is Broma Bakery's first birthday. I cannot believe it's been a year since I started my blog. I've loved every bite, every photograph, and every post. Through midterms, finals, work, play, holidays, and bored mornings this blog has kept me sane. My motto for life is now unofficially, "when in doubt, bake." And in looking back over old posts, I realize how insane I sound in most of my writing. It's kind of ridiculous. So thank you for bearing with me. And happy birthday to YOU, Broma! My little baby's all grown up!  

For the shortbread:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar

For the caramel:

14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

For the chocolate:

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl, cream sugar and butter for about two minutes. Stir in the vanilla. Add in the flour and salt, mixing until the dough starts to come together.

On a lightly floured surface mix the dough together with your hands. Spread out into a 9"x13" greased baking dish. Use a fork to poke holes in the dough so that no air bubbles will form. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the dough is golden brown. Allow to cool on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring the butter, salt, sugar, and condensed milk to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for about 45 minutes, stirring often. The caramel should be medium-golden brown in color and the milky taste should pretty much cook out (taste test this!). 

Once the cookies are cooled, spoon the caramel over them. Again allow to cool completely before cutting the cookies into 1 1/2 by 4 inch bars. Set aside.

In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave the chocolate chips in 30 second intervals, stirring in between each one. Once the chocolate is completely melted, pour into a shallow bowl. Dip the cookie bars into the chocolate and set on wire racks to cool.

Tadaaa, homemade Twix!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Mini apple pies

Mini apple pies are the definition of cute.

Makes ~9 mini pies

For the pie:

2-3 granny smith apples, cored and cut into very small pieces
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
pinch salt

For the crust:

2 store-bought pie crusts (from my experience, it's better to use a high-quality crust, as the pies will be much more flakey and yummier).
... or make your own!
1 egg 

Preheat the oven to 375°F. In a large bowl, mix your cut apple slices with the cinnamon, sugar, nutmeg, salt, and vinegar. Set aside.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out your pie crusts and, use a 3-inch (or anywhere around that diameter) cookie-cutter to make small rounds. Create a small bowl with the dough in your hand, then scoop a small amount of apple mixture into the center of the dough. Brush water around the outside of the dough, then stack a second circle over the dough and seal it by pressing the edges together. Using a fork, create little indentations around the outside of the mini pie. Set on a parchment-lined baking tray.

Scramble your egg and brush it liberally onto the tops of the mini pies. Finally, use a sharp knife to make air pockets on the tops of the mini pies. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the tops of the mini pies are golden brown. 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Nutella brownies

Let's face it I'm obsessed with brownies. And these ones are up there with the best I've ever had. Better than my Plumb good brownies. Yup, better. They've got a crispy crunchy top and are super gooey inside. I hadn't previously been a fan of crispy tops, but I think I've been turned. I would go as far to say that they are even better on the second day! Really I just plan on using this brownie batter base for everything in the future, and substituting nutella for swirls of peanut butter, cream cheese, you name it. My one mistake was that I only made a half batch. Don't do it, you'll be disappointed. If anything make a double batch. Or triple...

For the brownies:

4 squares Bakers unsweetened chocolate
3/4 cup butter or margarine
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup flour

For the swirl:

1/2 cup Nutella

Heat oven to 350°F.

Line 13x9-inch pan with parchment paper, with ends of parchment paper extending over sides. Spray with cooking spray.

Microwave chocolate and butter in large microwaveable bowl on high for 2 minutes or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Stir in sugar. Blend in eggs and vanilla. Add flour; mix well. Pour into prepared pan.

Spoon tablespoon-sized dollops of Nutella over the brownie batter. Using a knife, swirl the Nutella around until it is just incorporated.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or untila knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely. Use parchment paper handles to remove brownies from pan before cutting to serve.

Recipe inspired by Baker's Brownies


welcome dear all my friends. enjoyed

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Homemade pumpkin donuts

All I could think about yesterday was Linda's Donuts, this small donut shop in my hometown. Their donuts are so doughy and delicious. Rebe likes the airy sticky sweet ones, but I prefer the denser more crumbly ones. Either way, Linda's caters to our likes.

So I really wanted a donut this morning. Like Linda's. I scoured the world wide web for the perfect dense donut recipe. None of this baked bull, this is pure deep-fried goodness. And it was so easy, and fun. I am officially obsessed with deep-frying. I saved the oil so that I can make round two (chocolate donuts?) in the near future. And by near I mean tomorrow.

For the donuts:

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup pumpkin puree

For the buttermilk glaze:

3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Canola oil for frying

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, spice and sugar. Whisk together all of the remaining ingredients (except for the canola oil) in a second, medium bowl. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and stir them around the bowl until the mixture is well combined. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, rolling the donut dough to approximately1/4-1/2″ thick. (I know this will seem quite thin, but the donuts puff up immensley while frying). Cut with a donut cutter.

Meanwhile, whisk the glaze ingredients together in a small bowl until smooth.

Heat 2 inches of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, gently slide the donuts into the oil, frying on the first side until the edges of the donut are lightly browned, flip carefully and allow to cook on the other side until lightly browned. Remove and dunk immediately into buttermilk glaze. Allow to air dry on a cooling rack before serving.

Original recipe found here!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Red velvet redux

I've used this exact Martha Stewart recipe before in cupcake form, but I couldn't resist posting it a second time because the cake is just so. freaking. good. I made it for one of my housemate's birthdays and- well, that's a lie. Another one of my housemates and I made it together. It was adorable. Anyways, it turned out absolutely fantastic. The cake is extra moist because it calls for oil and not butter, which is a huge plus. Oh, Martha, you never cease to impress me. Even given your incarceration...

Makes one, two-tiered 9-inch cake

For the cake:

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for dusting
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons red food coloring
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1cup low-fat buttermilk
1/2 cup hot (but not boiling) water
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons white vinegar

For the frosting:

12 ounces cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3 cups confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°. Butter two 9-inch cake rounds; dust with cocoa, tapping out excess. Set aside. Whisk together flour, salt, and cocoa in a medium bowl; set aside.

Mix sugar and oil on medium speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk until combined. Add eggs one at a time; mix well after each addition. Mix in food coloring and vanilla. Add flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the buttermilk and beginning and ending with flour, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down sides of bowl as needed.

Stir together baking soda and vinegar in a small bowl. Add baking-soda mixture to batter, and mix on medium speed 10 seconds. Mix in the hot water until just combined. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake until a cake tester inserted into centers comes out clean, 18 to 23 minutes. Let cool completely in pans on wire racks.

Once the cake is cooled, using a serrated knife cut off the convex tops from both cakes, leaving your cakes with flat tops. Crumble the discarded cake tops into tiny crumbs to be used as a garnish for later. Set aside.

While the cakes are baking, prepare the frosting. In a large bowl, using a mixer on medium speed, mix together the softened cream cheese, butter, and vanilla extract. Add the confectioner's sugar in batches until the frosting comes together and there are no lumps. Let cool in a refrigerator until the cakes are ready to frost.

Frost your cake as you normally would, using about a third of the frosting for between the two layers, the top, and the sides of the cake. Finally, sprinkle the cake crumbs around the sides of the cake, spreading evenly. YUHM SO GOOD.

Cake recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Wedding Cakes

Friday, October 7, 2011

Better than sex cake

Hi, I'm a cake with a ridiculous name, and I don't look very pretty. In fact, I'm really, really ugly and un-photogenic. But I taste awesome. So awesome.

The name. It refers to the combination of pineapple and coconut infused in a vanilla cake. I didn't make it up, apparently this is a legit thing. Go ask Paula Dean. Not really sure if it's bette... yeah. But I will say it's pretty fantastic ;)

For the cake:

1 box of vanilla cake mix, along with whatever ingredients the mix calls for (eggs, oil, water)
20 ounce can of crushed pineapple, with juice separated from pineapple
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut flakes

For the frosting:

12 ounces cream cheese
3 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 stick salted butter, at room temperature

For the topping:

1 cup sweetened shredded coconut flakes

Preheat the oven according to cake mix directions.

In a large bowl, prepare the mix according to cake mix directions. Add in the drained, crushed pineapple and the shredded coconut. Pour into two greased 9" round cake pans and bake according to cake mix directions.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl and using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the cream cheese and butter together until fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and beat until combined. Next add the confectioner's sugar in small batches, beating after each addition. You can store the frosting in the fridge until the cake is ready to frost.

When the cake comes out of the oven, let it sit for ~10 minutes, then flip it out of the pan and make small indentations with a fork throughout the cake. Pour 2-3 ounces of the pineapple juice saved from earlier over each cake. Allow to soak for at least 20 minutes before assembling cake.

Place remaining 1 cup of coconut on bakesheet and bake until golden brown, 6-9 minutes. Make sure to stir the coconut half way through. Be very watchful of the coconut-- it takes seconds for toasted to turn to burnt.

Frost the cake in layers, then add the shredded coconut to the top. Et voilà!

Recipe by me

Friday, September 30, 2011

Cinnamon sugar pull-apart bread

This bread is irresistible. Can't you tell? The top left corner is eaten off in the photo because I had to test for done-ness. Then the crew boys- wait I'm supposed to call them men- started whining if you can eat it now we want to, too. So we had many taste-testers tasting before it was even out of the oven. I die.

Hands down the best thing I've made all month.

Update: It's two days later and I'm still thinking about it. Of course it was a short-lived bread. Gone in, oh, 4 hours? Regardless...

Makes one 9x5x3-inch loaf

For the Dough:

2 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope) active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 ounces unsalted butter
1/3 cup whole milk
1/4 cup water
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the cinnamon sugar filling:

1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted until browned

In a large mixing bowl whisk together 2 cups flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Set aside.

Whisk together eggs and set aside.

In a small saucepan, melt together milk and butter until butter has just melted. Remove from the heat and add water and vanilla extract. Let mixture stand for a minute or two, or until the mixture registers 115 to 125

Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix with a spatula. Add the eggs and stir the mixture until the eggs are incorporated into the batter. The eggs will feel soupy and it’ll seem like the dough and the eggs are never going to come together. Keep stirring. Add the remaining 3/4 cup of flour and stir with the spatula for about 2 minutes. The mixture will be sticky. That’s just right.

Place the dough is a large, greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and a clean kitchen towel. Place in a warm space and allow to rest until doubled in size, about 1 hour. The dough can be risen until doubled in size, then refrigerated overnight for use in the morning. If you’re using this method, just let the dough rest on the counter for 30 minutes before following the roll-out directions below.

While the dough rises, whisk together the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg for the filling. Set aside. Melt 2 ounces of butter until browned. Set aside. Grease and flour a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. Set that aside too.

t this point, place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F.

Deflate the risen dough and knead about 2 tablespoons of flour into the dough. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rest for 5 minutes. On a lightly floured work surface, use a rolling pin to roll the dough out. The dough should be 12-inches tall and about 20-inches long. If you can’t get the dough to 20-inches long… that’s okay. Just roll it as large as the dough will go. Use a pastry brush to spread melted butter across all of the dough. Sprinkle with all of the sugar and cinnamon mixture. It might seem like a lot of sugar. Seriously? Just go for it.

Slice the dough vertically, into six equal-sized strips. Stack the strips on top of one another and slice the stack into six equal slices once again. You’ll have six stacks of six squares. Layer the dough squares in the loaf pan like a flip-book. Place a kitchen towel over the loaf pan and allow in a warm place for 30 to 45 minutes or until almost doubled in size.

Place loaf in the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the top is very golden brown. The top may be lightly browned, but the center may still be raw. A nice, dark, golden brown will ensure that the center is cooked as well.

Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 20 to 30 minutes. Run a butter knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the bread and invert onto a clean board. Place a cake stand or cake plate on top of the upside down loaf, and carefully invert so it’s right side up. Serve warm with coffee or tea.

Recipe adapted from Joy the Baker

Saturday, September 24, 2011

S'mores brownies

I just ate my weight in brownie batter. Then half my weight in brownie crumbs when they overflowed of the baking pan. Ouchhhhh.

That's how good these brownies are. They make you lick spoonfuls of batter each time you add another ingredient. Any good cook monitors their work now, don't they? What's that called, a product tester? Yeah that's totally my job. At least that's what I'm telling myself...

Case in point these brownies are kind of addicting.

That's really all I have to say.

Makes 15 super large brownies

For the brownies:

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
5 large eggs
1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup graham cracker, roughly crushed with your hands
15 big marshmallows

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9×13-inch baking pan with 2-inch-high sides (This part is very important! You need a tall pan or they'll overflow!) Combine first 3 ingredients in small bowl. Stir butter and chocolate in a medium sized bowl over a heavy saucepan of simmering water. Stir chocolate and butter in this double boiler until melted and smooth.

Beat eggs, sugar and vanilla in large bowl to blend. Stir in warm chocolate mixture, then dry ingredients. Fold in graham crackers. Pour batter into prepared pan. Dot with 15 large marshmallows. Bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 30- 40 minutes minutes.

Marshmallows will be browned and puffy but will deflate as the brownies cool. Cool for at least 20 minutes than slice with a sharp knife, cleaning the knife with hot water if it gets too messy and sticky. Serve or wrap individually in wax paper for storing.

Tip: this makes a very cakey brownie. If you prefer a more fudgey brownie, eliminate 1 egg for a richer texture.

Recipe adapted from Joy the Baker.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Apple roundup and a cinnamon apple cake

I ruvv fall. The leaves are changing, the air is crisp, and the colder temperatures mean I can start wearing sweaters again. Oh, and it's apple season. Apples. My favorite fruit. Crunchy, sweet, tart, fresh, and absolutely delicious. So naturally I jump at any opportunity to make apple desserts. Here's a quick recap of my previous apple adventures:

Upside-down apple biscuits: delectable little guys. 
Scrumptious apple pie: an elegant pie perfect for company. 
Applesauce spice cake: one of the best cakes I've ever eaten. 
Apple cinnamon coffeecake: my go-to fall cake. So dense and flavorful. 

And now to add to the list, this cinnamon apple cake! It's super moist but also light, and makes a lot of cake, seeing as half of the volume is apples. So that means half the calories, right? No, who am I kidding. It means twice the portion size.

Yaaaay. Fall. 

For the cake:

4 1/2 cups diced apples (roughly 3 apples)
3/4 cups medium brown sugar
3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
6 ounces plain or greek yogurt
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
whole or slivered almonds to decorate (optional)

Preheat oven to 350° F and grease a medium baking pan. Set aside.

In a large bowl sift together the flour, and the rest of the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine wet ingredients and mix until well incorporated. Fold the flour mixture into the wet ingredients, gently mixing the ingredients just until combined. Mix in chopped apples.
Pour the batter into the baking pan, making sure it is evenly distributed. Decorate the top of the cake with a handful of almonds.

Bake in an oven for 40 minutes or until a knife comes out clean when inserted into the pan. Allow to cool completely before serving. 

Recipe adapted from the whinery

Friday, September 16, 2011

Salted chocolate peanut butter cups!

Woah. Peanut butter and chocolate is quite possibly my favorite duo. It's as if when you combine the two a new flavor is created. It's not quite chocolate, but it's not quite peanut butter...

Brilliant, I know. But seriously. Winning combo. And as Friend Lanie will tell you, I love my sprinkle of salt. It's like a little kick that brings out the flavors even more. WOOHOOOO

Makes ~18 cups

For the peanut butter cups:

1 cup salted peanut butter
2/3 cup confectioner's sugar
2 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
sea salt, for dusting
cupcake liners

In a small bowl, combine the confectioner's sugar and peanut butter until smooth. Using teaspoon-sized measurements, roll the peanut butter mixture into balls, then push down to form small coin-like circles. Set aside.

In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate chips in 30 second intervals, mixing in between each blast (this will prevent the chocolate from overheating and burning). While the chocolate is heating, set up the cupcake liners on a cutting board or other flat surface. Once melted, spoon teaspoon-sized dollops of chocolate into the cupcake liners. Next, set in the peanut butter coins from earlier. Spoon another dollop of melted chocolate over the peanut butter, creating swirls with a spoon to smooth out the chocolate. Finally, sprinkle the tops of each cup with a pinch of sea salt. Transfer the cups to a fridge or freezer, allowing to cool thoroughly before eating. Nom nom nom.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Banana bread

This banana bread is denser than most, so it takes a long time to bake and the end product is fairly filling (and delicious!). And lowfat. What? Negating that fact, it makes for a great breakfast when toasted and slathered in butter! I also made an alternative loaf mixed in with 1 cup of chocolate chips, which the boys loved. You could add walnuts, too! Endless possibilities...

For the bread:

2 cups flour
1/2 cup medium brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 overripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder


Preheat oven to 375°F.

In a large bowl, blend butter and sugars together until smooth. Add in eggs and bananas. Mix in dry ingredients, then add in buttermilk.

Bake in a buttered loaf pan for 45-60 minutes (oven temperatures will vary).

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Lemon strawberry scones

I adapted this recipe from its original "Lemon blueberry scones," but really you can use any berry you'd like. Blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, boysenberries, snozberries (yeah ok Willy Wonka).
Makes 8 scones

For the scones:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 lemons, zested
Pinch of salt
1 stick unsalted butter, cold and cubed
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 large egg
1 cup chopped strawberries

For the glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus extra if needed

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, lemon zest, and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until mixture resembles a coarse sand (alternatively, if using a stand mixer, mix in butter with paddle attachment until butter is pea-sized or smaller).

In a small bowl, whisk together the heavy whipping cream and egg until well blended. Pour cream into scone mixture and mix until it comes together as a dough. Stir in the strawberries (over-mixing the berries will squish the berries and dye the batter—try to avoid this).

On a lightly floured surface, place dough and form into a circle, flattening the top until dough is roughly an inch thick. Cut dough into 8 pie-shaped pieces and transfer to a baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until scones are lightly browned. Allow to cool to room temperature before glazing.

In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar and lemon juice until smooth. If glaze is too thick, add lemon juice 1 teaspoon at a time until glaze is thick, but still runs.

Lightly drizzle glaze over scones and allow scones to sit for a few minutes for glaze to set before serving.

Recipe adapted from The Pastry Affair

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Chewy peanut butter cookies

I moved. To the midwest. Kind of? For school. And I live with a bunch of guys. Who row. And eat. And eat. A lot.

Triple batches are the new single batches.

Makes ~3 dozen cookies

For the cookies:

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar, plus more for sugar-coating
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Beat together butter and peanut butter until well combined. Add both sugars and beat until fluffy. Add egg, milk, and vanilla extract and mix until smooth. Add flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt and mix just until blended. Roll balls of dough in more granulated sugar before placing on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 350°F for 10 to 12 minutes. Do not over bake. Let cookies cool on baking sheet for at least 3 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Best. Buns. Ever.

holy buns.

Man, I gotta start making more Cook's Illustrated recipes...

Makes twelve 3 1/2-inch buns.

For the dough:

3 large eggs at room temperature
3/4 cup buttermilk at room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
4 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus additional for dusting work surface
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm

For the caramel glaze:

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar (5 1/4 ounces)
3 tablespoons corn syrup, light or dark
2 tablespoons heavy cream
Pinch table salt

For the cinnamon sugar filling: 
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar (5 1/4 ounces)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Pinch table salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

For the pecan topping:

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar (1 3/4 ounces)
3 tablespoons corn syrup , light or dark
Pinch table salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup pecans (3 ounces), toasted in a skillet over medium heat until fragrant and browned, about 5 minutes, then cooled and coarsely chopped

In bowl of standing mixer, whisk eggs to combine; add buttermilk and whisk to combine. Whisk in sugar, salt, and yeast. Add about 2 cups flour and butter; stir with wooden spoon or rubber spatula until evenly moistened and combined. Add all but about 1/4 cup remaining flour and knead with dough hook at low speed 5 minutes. Check consistency of dough (dough should feel soft and moist but should not be wet and sticky; add more flour, if necessary); knead at low speed 5 minutes longer (dough should clear sides of bowl but stick to bottom). Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface; knead by hand about 1 minute to ensure that dough is uniform (dough should not stick to work surface during hand kneading; if it does stick, knead in additional flour 1 tablespoon at a time).

Lightly spray large bowl or plastic container with nonstick cooking spray. Transfer dough to bowl, spray dough lightly with cooking spray, then cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and set in warm, draftfree spot until doubled in volume, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

Meanwhile, combine all ingredients for glaze in small saucepan; cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until butter is melted and mixture is thoroughly combined. Pour mixture into nonstick metal 13- by 9-inch baking dish; using rubber spatula, spread mixture to cover surface of baking dish. Set baking dish aside.

To assemble, store, and reheat buns: For filling, combine brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and salt in small bowl and mix until thoroughly combined, using fingers to break up sugar lumps; set aside. Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface. Gently shape dough into rough rectangle with long side nearest you. Lightly flour dough and roll to 16 by 12-inch rectangle. Brush dough with 1 tablespoon melted butter, leaving 1/2-inch border along top edge; with butter remaining on brush, brush sides of baking dish. Sprinkle filling mixture over dough, leaving 3/4-inch border along top edge; smooth filling in even layer with hand, then gently press mixture into dough to adhere. Beginning with long edge nearest you, roll dough into taut cylinder. Firmly pinch seam to seal and roll cylinder seam side down. Very gently stretch to cylinder of even diameter and 18-inch length; push ends in to create even thickness. Using serrated knife and gentle sawing motion, slice cylinder in half, then slice each half in half again to create evenly sized quarters. Slice each quarter evenly into thirds, yielding 12 buns (end pieces may be slightly smaller).

Arrange buns cut side down in prepared baking dish; cover tightly with plastic wrap and set in warm, draft-free spot until puffy and pressed against one another, about 1 1/2 hours. Place baking dish in freezer; store for up to 1 month.

To bake, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Remove buns from freezer, remove plastic wrap, wrap dish tightly with foil, and set on baking sheet. Bake buns for 30 minutes, then remove foil and continue to bake until golden brown and center of dough registers about 180 degrees on instant-read thermometer, about 20 minutes longer. Cool on wire rack 10 minutes; invert onto rimmed baking sheet, large rectangular platter, or cutting board. With rubber spatula, scrape any glaze remaining in baking dish onto buns; let cool while making pecan topping. For the topping: Combine butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt in small saucepan and bring to simmer over medium heat, whisking occasionally to thoroughly combine. Off heat, stir in vanilla and pecans until pecans are evenly coated. Using soupspoon, spoon heaping tablespoon nuts and topping over center of each sticky bun. Continue to cool until sticky buns are warm, 15 to 20 minutes. Pull apart or use serrated knife to cut apart sticky buns; serve.

Published May 1, 2007 in Cook's Illustrated

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Beaches, yoga, and cake pops

This week we're up at our family house in Nova Scotia, Canada. Our house is situated on a northward-facing cove on Bell's Island, one of the LaHave islands. It's my favorite place ever. And so far the weather couldn't be better, considering the islands have been getting a lot of bad weather prior to this week. We've been going to the beach every day, and the water is surprisingly warm for up here! The other day Rebe and I journeyed with our grandmother/Noni into town to do errands, and we stopped at a magical place called the Bulk Barn. It's a store full of every single food item you can think of in these bulk containers, making it easy to buy as little or as much of something as you'd like. Down the first aisle I found chocolate of every which sort. The second aisle, piping supplies. The third, cake mix (by this point my head was full of ideas for what I could bake with all this stuff). The last aisle was full of sprinkles in different colors and sizes. I looked to Rebe and said, "Wait, but... I'm in love with bulk barn."

We finally decided on cake pops on account of their general awesomeness. Everyone loves cake (or at least those who matter...). And everyone loves finger-food. Then what better way to enjoy cake than in a bite-sized morsel with sprinkles on top? So we gathered our supplies (lollipop sticks, cake mix, white chocolate wafers, $0.06 worth of pink, blue, yellow, and rainbow sprinkles), and headed for the checkout.

Now back on the island with Friend Simone, swapping music and going out to the wharf to do some sunset yoga.  Lovely, lovely day.

Makes 40-50 cakepops

For the cake bit:

1 box vanilla cake mix, prepared according to directions
1 16 ounce can of vanilla frosting

For the frosting:

1 pound white chocolate wafers


Lollipop sticks

After cake is cooked and cooled completely, crumble into large bowl.
Mix thoroughly with 1 can frosting. (I use the back of a large spoon, but it may be easier to use fingers to mix together. But, be warned, it will get messy. Also, you may not need the entire can of frosting, so start out by using almost the entire can and add more if you need to.)
Roll mixture into quarter size balls and place on wax paper covered cookie sheet. 

Melt 90% of the chocolate in a double boiler on medium heat. Once melted, turn the heat down to low and add the other 10% of the chocolate. Using a whisk, stir until dissolved completely. Turn up the temperature to medium for about 2 minutes. The chocolate should now be tempered and ready to use! If it starts to harden, just turn on the heat for a minute until it re-melts.

Dip the tip of your lollipop stick in a little of the melted chocolate and insert into the cake balls. (Insert a little less than halfway.)

Place them in the freezer for no more than 10 minutes to firm up.

Once firm, carefully insert the cake ball into the chocolate coating by holding the lollipop stick and rotating until covered. Once covered remove and softly tap and rotate until the excess chocolate falls off.

Don’t tap too hard or the cake ball will fall off, too.

Place in a styrofoam block to dry.

Once chocolate is pretty much dry, decorate however you'd like with sprinkles!

Recipe adapted from Bakerella.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Zucchini & parmesan focaccia

Bread. Parm. Zucchini.

For the dough:

1 1/4 cups warm water
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
3 3/4 cups bread flour
1 package instant dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt

For the topping:

1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons dried thyme
3 tablespoons chia seeds (or any other small seed)
1 1/2 teaspoons flaked sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Combine flour and salt in a bowl of a stand mixer. In a separate bowl, whisk together the warm water and yeast. Add the olive oil. With machine on low and using a dough hook attachment, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. When the dough begins to come together, increase speed to medium and continue to mix until the dough is shiny and smooth. If the dough is too wet and isn’t coming together, add 2 to 4 additional tablespoons of flour (stop the machine once to scrape sides if you need to). Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and work with your hands a little bit to form a smooth, round ball. Coat a large bowl with nonstick spray. Place dough in the bowl and spray the top lightly with nonstick spray as well. Cover the bowl with a clean dish towel. Turn your oven on 400°F and let it warm up for 1 minute. Turn it OFF. Turn ON the oven light. Place your covered bowl of dough into the warmed oven until the dough doubles in size- 50 to 60 minutes. 

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Spread the dough onto a well-oiled cookie sheet with 1 inch sides. Using your fingers, dig into the dough, creating small dimples. Brush the dough with half of the olive oil mixture. Cut the zucchini into thin slices and place on top of the dough. Brush the rest of the olive oil mixture over the zucchini and dough, and sprinkle the entire thing with parmesan. Bake for ~10 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown.

Recipe by me!

Friday, July 29, 2011

July 28th cake

I've been thinking about this for about a week and a half because it's my BIRTHDAY CAKEEEEE. Because baking is like rully important to me, this cake was destined to be a winner from the start. Everyone I talked to laughed when I said I was making my own cake, but the way I see it... why would I leave it in the hands of someone else? That way if it came out horribly I would have only myself to blame....

But it came out great, so no worries. Like, super great. So great that Lanie asked if I got it at Whole Foods. Lol'ing.

For the cake:

2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1cup low-fat buttermilk
1/2 cup hot (but not boiling) water
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons white vinegar

For the raspberry bit:

1/2 pint fresh raspberries
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon gelatin

For the heavenly lemon frosting:

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
zest of 2 lemons
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups confectioner's sugar
5 drops lemon essential oil
2 egg yolks

Preheat oven to 350°. Butter cupcake rounds; dust with cocoa, tapping out excess. Set aside. Whisk together flour, salt, and cocoa in a medium bowl; set aside.

Mix sugar and oil on medium speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk until combined. Add eggs one at a time; mix well after each addition. Mix in food coloring and vanilla. Add flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the buttermilk and beginning and ending with flour, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down sides of bowl as needed.

Stir together baking soda and vinegar in a small bowl. Add baking-soda mixture to batter, and mix on medium speed 10 seconds. Mix in the hot water until just combined. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake until a cake tester inserted into centers comes out clean, 18 to 23 minutes. Let cool completely in pans on wire racks. Using your fingers, take one cupcake and crumble it into tiny crumbs to be used as a garnish for later. Set aside.

While the cakes are baking, make the raspberry bit. In a small saucepan, melt butter on a low heat. Add raspberries, stir. Add brown sugar, lemon juice, and gelatin and heat until the berries break apart into a soupy consistency, about 3 minutes. Pour into small ramekin and allow to cool in a refrigerator for approximately 2 hours.

Next, prepare the frosting. In a large bowl, whip butter and egg yolks with an electric mixer until creamy. Add vanilla extract, lemon essential oil, and lemon zest and mix until combined. Add in confectioner's sugar in 3 batches, mixing between each addition. Let sit at room temperature before frosting!

Place one cake on a cake stand, spread raspberry bit on top. Place the second cake on top. Frost the entire thing with the lemon frosting. YAAY JULY 28TH!

Cake recipe adapted from Martha Stewart. Frosting/jam by me!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Oatmeal plum upside down cake

I'm so glad I have friends that eat as much as I do. Today Lanie came over and obviously I was in the kitchen. I was also really hungry, which is a bad thing to be before baking, so I decided to pull out some cookie dough from the fridge and munch on it while making the batter for this cake. Lanie, of course, did the same.

Then the batter was finished and we put the cake in the oven. Lanie couldn't pull herself away from the cookie dough, so I asked if she just wanted me to whip up a batch in the oven. She looked at me, her bod not wanting to say yes but her sweet tooth screaming DUH. The sweet tooth won.

So at this point we had a cake and some cookie dough in the oven, and of course we left a bit of dough out to eat right then.

By the time Rose came over the cake was finished and we all helped ourselves to a big slice.

Then Lanie ate more cookies.

It was hillarious.

We sat around and talked like good friends do. I'm not going to include the part where I got sugared out and fell asleep a couple hours later, so this is where I stop...

For the cake:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
3 eggs
6 ounces sour cream (or plain yogurt)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the upside down:

1 large plum
1/2 cup regular oats (not instant!)
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
small pinch of cloves
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
4 teaspoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan, set aside.

Cut your plum into slivers, about 12 to each half. Place in a circular pattern on the bottom of the greased pan.

Melt the 4 tablespoons of butter in a small pan and mix with the brown sugar until the sugar granules are gone. Take off heat and add in the oats. Pour the entire mixture over the plums (mixture will be thick, feel free to spread it out to coat the pan evenly with a metal spoon).

In a large bowl, mix the butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and sour cream until blended. In a separate bowl mix the flour, baking soda and powder, and salt. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, stirring the entire time as to prevent lumps from forming. Pour the batter over the plum and oatmeal in the cake pan. 

Bake for about 25 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean!

Recipe by me! 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

the best chocolate cake in the world

Don't believe me? Try it for yourself. Seriously. The end. 

Makes one, two-tired 9-inch cake

For the cake:

2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

For the frosting:

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup cocoa powder
3 cups confectioner's sugar
1/8 teaspoon instant coffee powder
1/3 cup milk

shaved semi-sweet chocolate, for the sides

Preheat oven to 350° F. Butter and flour the bottom and sides of two 9-inch round cake pans.

Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, espresso powder, and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.

While the cake is baking, prepare the frosting. In a large bowl, mix together butter, sugar, cocoa powder, coffee powder, and milk until there are no lumps. 

Once the cake is cooled you may begin to frost your cake. Start by skimming of the tops of the cakes with a large serrated knife to ensure the cakes are even and do not puff up in the center. Frost the cake as normal, using the most frosting on the top of the cake. Using a butter knife, create crescent-shaped divots in the cake, moving from the outsides to the center until you've gone all the way around the cake. If you wish, make a swirl in the middle so you can't tell where you started and where you ended your divots. Shave semi-sweet chocolate using a peeler and decorate the outside edges of the frosted cake.


Recipe adapted from Hershey's