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It’s the end of the month and I’m so excited to be participating in the Daring Bakers’ Challenge. I had to miss last month but this month we are back!
Inma of la Galletika was our Sept. 2013 Daring Bakers’ hostess and WOW did she bring us something decadent and delicious! Pastel de Tres Leches or Three Milk Cake, creamy yet airy, super moist but not soggy.. just plain delish!
I opted to do a coffee version and it came out amazingly good. A cross between a traditional Tres Leches and Tiramisu in taste and still such a light dessert.
I halved the recipe, but in hindsight wish I had not, so I am gonna give you the full amounts.
Also, check out the comments, now enabled. Go on, scroll down… fancy huh?
Cafe Pastel De Tres Leches
For the Sponge Cake
5 eggs, separated
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup flour
For the milk and coffee syrup
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup brewed coffee
For the topping
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar (feel free to add a 1/2 cup here if you like your whipped cream sweeter.)
Unsweetened cocoa powder
To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees, grease a 9’ cake pan (square or round) and separate your eggs.
Beat your egg whites to the soft peaks stage.
Slowly add in the sugar and keep beating.
Whip the egg whites and sugar until stiff peaks form and then set aside. Since I only have the one Kitchen Aid and no hand beaters, for me that meant scraping the eggs whites into a separate bowl so I could use the Kitchen Aid on the egg yolks.
Then the Kitchen Aid was too small for the halved recipe and I wound up having to use a whisk and trying to beat my egg yolks to a nice pale yellow stage by hand. I failed. Don’t be like me. Beat your egg yolks until they become pale, creamy, and puffy. Then stir in the vanilla.
Carefully pour the yolks over the whites and gently fold, just until combined.
Then gently sprinkle the flour in small batches over the egg mixture and fold in. Gentle and slow really is key here or your cake will be dense and flat.
After you have all the flour in, pour the batter into the well-greased pan and bake for 20 - 25 minutes.
Let the cake cool completely.
While the cake is cooling, make your milk syrup.
In a sauce pan combine the sweetened condensed milk, heavy cream, and coffee. Heat until the sweetened condensed milk melts and they are all thoroughly combined.
Let the milk/coffee mixture cool.
Once the cake has cooled, poke it all over with a fork. Be sure to get both the top and bottom scored to give the milk syrup a lot of places to enter and soak in.
Using a pastry brush, try to get the entire cake saturated with the syrup. In the end I had a little syrup left, which I just poured over the cake.
It is best to let the cake rest overnight in the fridge to get all the liquid completely absorbed into the cake.
The next day, make your whipped cream by beating the 1/2 cup heavy cream and sugar until thick and delicious.
Cover the top of your cake with the whipped cream.
If you want to be fancy you can dust the top of the cake with cocoa powder. I used a tea strainer to dust my cocoa powder because I do not own a fancy dusting gadget but I do own a bunch of tea strainers. I think my life is better that way.
And that is it, you can slice into this beautiful cake and enjoy!
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Growing up, when it would be my mother’s turn to pick a cake, she would always go for either strawberry with chocolate icing, or orange with chocolate icing. So I knew I had to make this cake for her. I just needed a good reason.
And the reason finally came. My mother has been selected to be the new District Superintendent of the Northern District of the West Virginia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. Got all that? Yeah, it’s a lot. But this is a big promotion and she is gonna be really good at it. She just never really wanted the job, because she doesn’t have the political/ambitious drive. But I think that is part of why she will be so good at it.
Nevertheless, this cake became her Congratulations/I’m So Sorry cake.
And the cake is good. Really good. Moist days later and super orangey and delicious. If you have never had an olive oil cake, it is really worth a try. The texture has a bigger crumb than a traditional American cake, but it is really good and, though time consuming, fairly simple and straightforward to make.
Orange Olive Oil Cake
For the cake:
2 medium oranges
2 1/3 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp orange blossom water**
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp fresh orange juice
For the Frosting
5 oz unsweetened chocolate
8 tbsp butter
1 cup plus 1 tbsp sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
** Orange Blossom water…I couldn’t find any. I hear you can get it at Whole Foods but I do not have a Whole Foods handy. And Amazon has it-but not for AmazonPrime or for Super Saver shipping, and the shipping is more than the cost of the product. So I fudged it, by substituting more fresh orange juice or the liquid I cooked the oranges in. I note both the original and the changes in case you can get your hands on some.
Bring about 6 cups of water to a boil on your stove top. Trim about 1/2 inch from the tops and bottoms of each orange. Once the water is at a rolling boil, submerge the oranges and cook for about a minute. Drain and discard the water, then repeat the boiling, cooking, and draining two more times (for a total of three blanches).
Put the blanched oranges, 1 cup of sugar, and 4 cups of water back into the sauce pan and back onto the heat. Cook for 30 minutes while stirring frequently. Reserve the cooking liquid and let the oranges cool to room temperature.
Roughly chop the oranges into fourths or so; remove the seeds. Puree the oranges in a food processor or blender. Even the rinds.
Combine the remaining sugar, eggs, vanilla, 1 tsp orange blossom water (Here I used 1 tsp of the cooking liquid) and the pureed oranges in a large bowl. Mix well.
Add in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir until combined.
Gradually add in the olive oil and mix well.
Pour the batter into a really-well-greased 8x 3 in cake pan (I used a springform pan and it worked perfectly).
Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes (mine needed to cook even longer-more like a hour-but watch it so that the edges don’t get too well done).
Mix 2 tbsp of cooking liquid, 1 tbsp orange blossom water, and 1 tbsp of orange juice. (Here to compensate for the missing orange blossom water I just did 2 tbsp cooking liquid and 2 tbsp orange juice.) Remove the cake from the oven, and poke it all over with a fork. Brush the liquid all over the cake and allow it to cool completely.
Now to make the frosting. Chop the chocolate and butter and set aside. Or, if you are like me, mix the 15 tbsp of cocoa powder and 5 tbsp of oil with the butter and set aside. (Helpful conversion: 1 1 oz. square of chocolate = 3 tbsp cocoa + 1 tbsp oil)
In a saucepan, bring the sugar and heavy cream to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 6 minutes. Be careful that the saucepan does not overflow!
Pour the sugar/cream mixture over the chocolate/butter mixture and stir until completely melted. Stir in the vanilla extract and let it cool completely.
Whisk occasionally during cooling. I think of this more as a cross between frosting and ganache.
Frost that baby and let the feasting begin!
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Guys… Monday, June 18th is our birthday! Not my birthday that was in May; and I’m not sure when your birthday is, but… this blog is turning one! Hooray! Who would have thought it?
So to celebrate I baked a cake! (Sorta)
I might have cheated and used a box cake mix. Duncan Hines white cake mix. Though I did do all the tweaks I listed for the cupcakes (here). I know, I know: gasp! Sigh… But I have a good reason to resort to box cake-I am still doing all the bar stuff (thus the computer reviewing principles of constitutional law while I am baking… everyone wave at the nice professor.)
This is more a discussion of technique than a recipe for the cake. A frosting recipe will follow, though. Make your cake batter with whichever form you like. I find white cake kinda boring, so I added a teaspoon of almond extract to mine.
I really like the mild almond flavor with a raspberry jelly filling layer… just, you know, helpful advice should you be looking for a variation.
Select which colors you would like to use, I used six, but you can use as many or as few as you like (though I would recommend at least three colors). Now here is the tricky part: you need to divide your batter as evenly as you can into bowls, one bowl for each color. I failed at this and so ran out of pink well before I ran out of blue but, you know.. it happens.. and I don’t really like pink that much anyway, so you can decide how intentional that mistake really was. Haha.
Add the food coloring into the batter and stir like a mad person to get it all even.
Taking your greased cake pans, place a scoop of one of the colors and into the middle of the pan. Directly on top of that put the next color, then the next, and so on.
After about 10 or 12 scoops I find it helpful to shake the cake pan gently to even out the batter and to make sure it gets to the edges. Continue doing this until all of the batter is used up and both cake pans are full.
Bake according to either the package or your recipe’s instructions. Take out and let cool completely.
In the mean time make your icing. Now here is a secret truth which hurts my pride but I am gonna tell you all anyway, since, in the spirit of us making it a year together, I feel you get to know this. Awww.
I suck at homemade icing. I can’t do it. It fails on me. Often spectacularly. The closest I can come to homemade icing is italian meringue. But, when I was doing the shopping for this cake I forgot to pick up a can of icing. And then I used all of the eggs for the cake itself, so any form of meringue was out. So I… screwed up my courage, and attempted “The Best Frosting I’ve Ever Had” From The Pioneer Woman Cooks (Scroll down; it’s there.) And it… well… sorta worked. I mean, it tasted really good. Just didn’t look right.. or at all like, well, icing… sigh. Maybe you will have better luck.
In a saucepan, whisk together 5 tbsp of all-purpose flour and 1 cup of milk. Cook it until it gets really thick (this might have been my fatal error; maybe I kept it too runny). Remove from heat and let the mixture cool to room temperature. Then stir in 1 tsp vanilla.
Meanwhile, beat 1 cup of butter with 1 cup of granulated sugar. And beat it well. You really want to make sure you get all of the sugar crystals dissolved into the butter. Then add in the flour/milk mixture and beat. LIke forever. Just keep beating and beating and beating. It should eventually look like whipped cream and be all amalgamated. Eventually.
And that’s it. Hopefully you now have a beautifully fluffy and delicious icing. I just had fluffy and delicious icing… but you know, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all that right…?
When you are ready to assemble the cake, I find this trick most helpful. Carefully cut off the top bump of your cakes in order to make a nice flat surface.
Spread the jelly liberally over the top of the bottom layer, and then place the top layer upside down on the jelly.
This gives you a nice flat surface for icing the top of your cake.
Ice that baby all over and be prepared for people to be amazed when you cut into it.
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday dear Creamed Butter Blog
Happy Birthday to you!
This is a cross-update for both Creamed Butter and AdieandAndrew.com, our wedding website. I am trying for the most part to keep the two separate, but a friend suggested I post about cake testing on the food blog, and it seemed like a good idea to cover both bases. Sorry no recipe this week but I hope its still interesting and we will return to regular recipe updates in the future.
Exam season is upon us and in the weeks leading up to it I have been doing my best to get a lot of wedding things done. I have met with the florist (Carrolton Flower Market) and am very excited to see the flowers. They are going to be really beautiful! We decided on an alternate guestbook and ordered supplies. I have also bought fingerless lace gloves (hehe) organized all the rentals (NOLA event rental), and am beginning to work out designs for where stuff is going to go in the rooms of the Art Gallery.
But one of the more exciting and fun things I have recently done is Lacey (my roommate/bridesmaid) and I went cake tasting. Ladies and Gentleman, we have a wedding cake! Woot! I was actually a little nervous about the cake tasting, which is silly, I know ,but really I was very unsure what I wanted here or what the process would entail. But really it was very easy. We got the cake from Haydel’s Bakery, the place for King Cakes and other amazing desserts in New Orleans. They gave me a book of designs and soon came with a plate of white cakes, each with a different filling. Andrew and I had talked about what type of cake we wanted and had the cake topper but I had never even thought about fillings.
First we debated design and colors and all such things. Then got to eating. There was lemon (which I really liked but didn’t think would be a big hit beyond just me), chocolate (which Lacey had to try as I have given up chocolate for Lent), simple buttercream, praline (my least favorite actually), and strawberry. Those flavors were delicious, but then we got to the big three which caused me the most angst. There was a surprisingly good irish cream which was mild and tasty but most importantly: green. I was very taken with the idea of a white and purple cake which then we can cut into and see green, thus representing all the wedding colors. But in the end, taste won over my aesthetic. My all time favorite filling was the amaretto, also mild and very delicious, and that will be the middle tier filling. The bottom and the top tiers will be a raspberry jelly filling that is delicious and will be I hope a hit with the most guests attending.
Andrew and I are taking the top tier home with us to freeze for our first anniversary, so there was even more angst for me. I had to try and decide which filling he would like best as well. But I figure, no matter what, it will work better than some of the stories I have heard about the first anniversary cake. From iced styrofoam to forgetting it for years and years in the back of a freezer, I think delicious raspberry filling in our cake might be ok.
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Happy Mardi Gras!
Here in New Orleans the parades and festivities are in full swing, school is canceled, everyone is walking around with neck pain from too many beads and putting on a few extra pounds from the King Cake!
So even though they sell it everywhere, I still had to make my own. And it is amazing! Moist, delicious, sweet, rich, don’t think about the calories and just enjoy!
A word of warning though, this is not a good place to start if you have never made a yeast bread. It is a doable bread but not the easiest, most consistent, or happiest of the bread baking experiences. It’s not even really a bread but some strange hybrid pastry cake brioche masterpiece. So if you have never made a yeast bread before I recommend getting a few under your belt but then definitely coming back and making this. It is worth it!
Traditional recipe taken from Mardigrasday.com
1.2 c warm water
2 pkg active dry yeast
1/2 cup plus 2 tsp sugar
3 1/2 - 4 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp allspice
2 tsp salt
Zest of one lemon
1/2 cup warm milk
5 egg yokes (yep 5!)
1 stick butter softened
2 tbsp butter melted
best quality you can find cinnamon
1 egg slightly beaten
1 tbsp milk
3 cups confectioner sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice (though I always just use what I get from the above mentioned zested lemon)
3-6 tbsp water
Pour the warm water into a bowl and sprinkle with the yeast, and 2 tsp of sugar. Let that sit for three minutes before mixing. After the yeast is all dissolved put the bowl in a warm place for about 10 minutes until it has foamed up and doubled in bulk. I do not recommend using a Kitchen Aid for this recipe. I love my Kitchen Aid but this dough is delicate and I find it easier not even to start it in the machine but work it all by hand.
In a second bowl combine 3 1/2 cups of flour, 1/2 cup sugar, allspice, salt, and lemon zest. Dig out a hole in the middle of the flour mixture and pour in the yeast and milk. Add the egg yolks and slowly combine into a rough dough.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and begin slowly to knead in the stick of softened butter (and it really needs to be softened for this to work). The recipe says you should be able to do this with a wooden spoon beating the dough… I have not found that to work best. Instead I just spread about a tablespoon of the butter on the dough, give it a few good turns kneading and then repeat. It takes a lot of work and a lot of kneading but eventually (after a good 8 - 10 minutes) you will get a smooth, shiny, soft dough. (And it will smell heavenly!)
Using yet more softened butter, throughly grease a bowl. Rotating to make sure the entire surface is covered in butter, place the dough into the bowl and cover with a kitchen towel. Allow the dough to rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.
Punch down the dough (my favorite part) and be forceful! Then place the dough back on a lightly floured surface and pat out into a rectangle. You want it to be about an inch thick at this point. Brush the dough with the melted butter and sprinkle liberally with sugar and cinnamon.
At this point, if you like and if you have one, you can place a small plastic baby figurine, or a pecan, or a dried bean, into the dough. This is a really old custom and has many different interpretations depending on which region of the world you are in. Here in New Orleans the most common is who ever finds the baby must get the next king cake! If you are worried about your baby melting you can also add it after the cake is baked and before you ice it to hide its location.
Roll the dough up like you would for a cinnamon roll and seal the edges.
Twisting the roll form into a wreath shape, pinching the ends together to complete the circle. Cover and again let raise until doubled, about 45 minutes this time.
Pre-heat the oven to 375 and prepare the egg wash simply by beating the egg with the tablespoon of milk.
Brush the top and sides of the cake with the egg wash and bake for 25-35 minutes - mine went for 30 but I should have probably taken it out at 25 as the bottom, while not burned, was well done.
Place the cake on a wire rack to cool while you make the icing.
Traditionally for Mardi Gras the king cake will be covered with a white icing and then green, gold, and purple sugars. If you can find the sugar in the store that is far and away the simplest but I, alas, can never seem to get the colored sugar and so always hand-dye with food coloring and regular sugar.
For the icing combine the confectioners sugar, lemon juice and 3 tbsp of water until smooth, adding more water if needed. You want it to be a spreadable consistency. This year my icing was actually a little thin but someone (ok it was me) forgot to check on the amount of confectioners sugar we had when she (I) went shopping for king cake ingredients. (Oops!)
Spread the icing over the top of the cake and immediately sprinkle the colored sugars in individual rows. Tradition is two rows of each color but feel free to do more or less.
And don’t feel tied to the Mardi Gras colors. There are often Saints King Cakes here for Tailgating parties. I make one for my brother every year for his birthday in whatever colors I feel like, haha go wild! I have even seen red and green Christmas King Cakes!!
P.S. Look for me and this cake on the amazing Yeast Spotting Blog!!
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As I am sure you have gathered if you have looked around here at all, I love to bake. But sometimes, even I want to just get to the good part, the tea and cupcake part, fast.
My sister and I came up with this tweak on the boxed cupcake mix you can get at any grocery store. We scoured the internet and found a bunch of suggestions and mushed a ton together. The results were moist, beautiful, delicious only slightly box-tasting cupcakes :)
Better Boxed cupcakes.
Using the measurements on the back of the box:
Substitute milk for the water
Melt 1/3 cup butter to substitute for the 1/3 cup of oil
Add in an extra instant pudding pack in a corresponding flavor (though messing around with flavors here might be fun and tasty)
And increase the eggs from 3 to 4.
Put all the ingredients into a bowl and mix with hand or stand mixer - whatever you have on hand (hehe).
Pour into lined cupcake tins and bake according to the box’s directions.
(Side note… look at that ring! Sp pretty! So shiny! So purple! :D Yep, I’m Engaged!!! Ok back to the cupcakes!)
Cool, ice, eat!
I’ll never tell they aren’t homemade!
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Red Wine Chocolate Cake
This has been a long and not-so-great week for me. All of which has left me craving chocolate and tea.
I stumbled upon this recipe a few weeks ago and was very excited by the idea. Red wine and chocolate in cake form… who wouldn’t be intrigued? Then just two or three weeks ago Smitten Kitchen posted an update on the theme from the same recipe and I knew it was meant to be.
I went back to the original variation (which consequentially is a variation on Smitten Kitchen’s everyday chocolate cake) and let me say this cake blew me away. It is so so good and I am not really much of a cake person.
This cake is… the perfect ending to a long and not-so-great week.
Red Wine Chocolate Cake
From 17 and Baking
1/2 cup (I stick) butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup red wine (I used a sweet dessert red and it was great but I plan on trying a Merlot next time)
1/4 cup plain yogurt (I used greek for extra tang)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup dutch cocoa* powder (yes it’s a lot… go with it)
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
Preheat over to 325 degrees F and butter and flour (or if you are me just Pam) a 9x5 loaf pan.
Beat the butter until smooth then add in the sugars and cream till fluffy. Beat in the egg thoroughly then add wine, yogurt, and vanilla. It will probably look a little curdled here but don’t worry. Sift in flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stirring with a wooden spoon, mix just until there are no streaks of flour, being careful not to overmix.
Scoop batter into the loaf pan and bake for 60 - 70 min or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Allow to cool for 10 - 15 mins and then turn cake out onto a wire rack to finish cooling. If you want, feel free to dust with powdered sugar before serving. I actually think I might add in chocolate chips next time to really push it over the edge of decadence.
* The conversion for Natural-process cocoa, if you don’t have Dutch, is to leave out the baking powder and use 1/2 tsp baking soda.
I am home on break before the fall semester starts (Yea!). My little sister and I both love to bake as well as watch other people baking. One day last week we turned on Food Network to catch the very end of Paula Deen and this is the cake they were making. We had to do it.
So with out further adieu I present Paula Deen’s Caramel Cake (and yes it really does use 5 sticks of butter… that is not a typo!!)
Paula Deen’s Caramel Cake
For the Cake
1 cup (thats the first two sticks) butter, at room temperature
2. cups sugar
3 cups flour
4 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup milk
1tsp vanilla extract
For the filling
1 cup (another two sticks) of butter
2 cups packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
For the frosting
1/2 cup (the final stick) butter
1 cup packed Dark brown sugar
1/3 cup heavy cream (more if needed)
16 oz (1 box) of confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp vanilla
optional chopped nuts
Preheat the over to 350 degrees F and grease 3 (we only did two and had a lot of batter/ filling left over) 9” cake pans.
Using an electric mixers cream butter and then add in the sugar. Beat for 6 - 8 minutes (till you think your hand is gonna fall off and you and having longing thoughts for the Kitchen Aid sitting unused and lonely in New Orleans). Add eggs beating well after each. Alternate in the flour and baking powder with the milk beginning and ending with flour. Add vanilla and beat until just mixed. Pour batter into pans and bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
While the cake is baking; combine butter, light brown sugar, and milk in a saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat for 3 - 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
Remove first layer of cake and invert on to cake plate. Pierce cake layer with a toothpick over entire surface (we kinda twisted the toothpick to make a larger hole). Spread 1/3 of filling mixture on the cake. Top with second layer and repeat, then the last again repeating the entire process.
Finally, melt the last stick of butter in a saucepan over medium heat and stir in dark brown sugar and cream. Bring to a boil and transfer to a mixing bowl. Add the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla. Beat with the electric mixer unitl it reaches a spreading constancy (again thinking about the beloved kitchen aid forlorn in New Orleans).
Allow the cake to set up and enjoy. We found you had to cut very small pieces and drink a lot of milk or tea as it is a divinely rich cake.