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Brown Butter Blueberry Walnut Cake

3 Apr

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Sometimes I wish I smelled like certain foods. Not like those people that smell like soup…you know those ones…the ones you stay away from on the subway. I’m talking about the yummy foods (not that soup isn’t yummy!!!), like cookies and gingerbread, chocolate, and….brown butter!!!

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Let’s be real- there is nothing better than the smell of brown butter. Period. You can try to argue, but I just won’t hear any of it.

My recent dreams of brown butter lead to this cake…

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I have a recipe for German apple cake that I’ve been using for years: I’ve substituted pears, cranberries, peaches and plums. Each time, the fruit is complemented by a perfectly textured and flavoured cake.

This time around I used blueberries, brown butter and toasted walnuts and again, the result was unforgivingly delicious. The best part about this cake is that it’s fuss free and easily adaptable. I baked it in a spring form pan but you could just as easily bake it in a 9 by 13 cake pan, just adjust the cooking time!

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So here is the recipe that leads you on a path of yummy goodness….adapted from this gem of a recipe.

Brown Butter Blueberry Walnut Cake

1 cup browned butter, cooled to room temperature

2 eggs

2 cups cane sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 cups flour

2 cups frozen or fresh blueberries

1 cup toasted walnuts, chopped

Beat the eggs and butter together until pale.

Add the sugar and vanilla, and beat again until combined.

Combine the dry ingredients, and incorporate into the egg mixture. It will be a thick batter. Fold in the blueberries and walnuts, and pour into the cake pan of your choice…perhaps a 9 by 13 inch pan if you want squares.

Bake at 350F until a toothpick comes out clean and it has come away from the edges.

7 Layer Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

14 Mar

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I did something bad. Twice. And I have plans to do it thrice.

No regrets. (ok…a little but only for dietary reasons)

I made this cake.

The first time was completely and utterly valid; a birthday cake for a good friend.

The result was basically crack on a pretty stand.

Naturally, I had to make it again. The reason was because I didn’t get the chance to take pictures…and without pictures I’m sure nobody would believe a word I say about this cake. So it happened. More unconventionally delicious calories for all!

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So what is this cake all about? It’s a layer of chocolate chip cookies.

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Topped with mascarpone cream. Multiplied by 7.

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You let it sit overnight to get nice and soft and comfortable with each other, and then you can slice and serve. Deadly goodness, and easily attainable at that. This is a bad bad bad (but really really good) creation and you should make it. Just make sure there are lots of people to share it with or you will hate yourself.

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This creation was courtesy of Martha Stewart. She’s so crafty.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

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2 cups unsalted butter

2 cups brown sugar

1 cup sugar

4 eggs

vanilla

4 1/2 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

4 cups chocolate chips

Cream butter until soft. Add sugars and continue to beat until light and fluffy.

Beat in eggs and vanilla

Mix together dry ingredients and then slowly add to the butter mixture and stir in the chocolate chips.

Scoop into 1 inch balls (approximately) I found the smaller the better for cookie size when it comes to building the cake.

Bake at 350F until golden brown.

Mascarpone Cream

3 cups cold heavy cream
8 ounces mascarpone cheese
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon whiskey (optional) You can also use vanilla extract
Chocolate shavings, for garnish
Whisk 3 cups cream and the mascarpone in a chilled bowl until soft peaks form. Add sugar and whiskey.
Whisk until medium-stiff peaks form. Refrigerate until ready to use (or up to 3 hours).
Arrange cookies in a circle (with cookies touching) on a cake stand or a plate. Place 2 cookies in center or what I did was break some cookies into smaller pieces to fill the holes. Spread 1 cup cream mixture evenly over cookies, leaving a slight border. Repeat to form 7 more layers, ending with cookies (you’ll have a few cookies left over depending on the size of your plate). Refrigerate, lightly draped with plastic wrap, overnight.
Garnish with a dollop of leftover cream and chocolate shavings.

Matcha Cupcakes with Cocoa Icing

11 Mar

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I don’t even know how these happened.

One minute I’m unwinding after a day at work, and the next, I’m standing in front of my pantry, grabbing cupcake accoutrements, preheating the oven, and getting out mixing bowls.

Midnight rolled around and there was an iced cupcake on a plate in front of me.

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Seriously. I don’t know.

The cool part was that it was a darned good cupcake, and I now have a way to get rid of the giant bag of unwanted matcha tea I have in my cupboard.

I’m a healthy person, but holy hell I hate drinking matcha. Baked goods with matcha on the other hand…yes. Please. Baked goods with matcha and chocolate? Heck yes.

Thanks to David’s Tea I found this recipe and have had it on my mind for a while. Making them was a good idea. Even if it was a little too late.

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The icing is a very simple cocoa frosting. The reason the frosting on mine is so dark is because I used my black onyx cocoa powder…it’s like powdered oreos and probably the greatest thing, but regular cocoa powder would be just as divine.

Cream cheese frosting works too! Double the matcha kick by adding it to a buttercream why don’t you?

Best served at midnight.

Matcha Cupcakes

adapted from David’s Tea website

1 tbsp matcha
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs
2-3/4 cups flour
1- 1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla

Beat butter on high until soft for about 30 seconds.
Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes
Add eggs one at a time, mixing in between each.
Mix the flour, baking powder, salt and matcha together.
Add in alternately with the milk and vanilla until combined.

The recipe makes just over 12 cupcakes depending on how full they are. I made 14 when I filled them 2/3 full.

Bake @350F for 20-25min….yada yada yada…

Cocoa Frosting

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
2/3 cup cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency.
Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla. About 2 cups frosting.

Banana Doughnuts with Brown Butter Icing

22 Nov

I could lie right now and try selling you on these doughnuts by talking about how they’re baked doughnuts.

I won’t.

They’re baked…that is a cold hard fact.

The fact that they’re baked, however, should not completely cancel out any guilt or shame post consumption.

It’s the icing.

There’s some hardcore icing on these guys…

Browned butter: have you ever smelled anything better than that? It makes me want to live in it. Bathe in it.

Hey, it could be worse. They COULD also be deep fried.

There’s also a healthy dose of grated milk chocolate on top.

I ate one and my head exploded. Ok that’s a lie. The truth is I ate one and my mind was blown.

These are so good.

These are addictive.

These are dangerous.

So without further ado, here’s the recipe.

You’ll thank me. Or hate me. But you can’t lie and tell me they’re not mind bogglingly good.

If you don’t have a doughnut pan, these will easily work in muffin tins! You’re welcome.

Banana Doughnuts with Brown Butter Icing.

adapted from Shutterbean

1 1/4 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs, at room temperature

1 1/4 cups mashed ripe bananas (3ish bananas)

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup vegetable oil

In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs, mashed bananas, vanilla and the oil. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until just combined. Spoon the batter about three-quarters full into two greased doughnut pans. Bake at 350F until golden and a toothpick inserted comes out dry, 14 to 16 minutes; let cool completely on a rack.

Brown Butter Icing

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) salted butter
2 cups icing sugar
4 to 5 teaspoons boiling hot water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Heat and stir for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the butter is lightly browned (you will see little flecks of brown throughout the melted butter when it is properly browned). Remove it from the stove and pour it into a bowl. Whisk in 1 cup of the powdered sugar. Add 3 teaspoons of the water and the vanilla. Whisk in more powdered sugar a little at a time until it thick but still pourable (add a teaspoon or two of additional water, if needed). Place paper towels under the cooling rack and proceed to dip the cooled doughnuts into the glaze. Let the excess drip off and place back on the cooling rack. Be sure to grate milk chocolate on top for good measure

Flourless Walnut Date Cake

14 Nov

Gluten-free desserts seem to be less of a specialty and more of a commodity; there are so many people with a gluten intolerance and Celiac’s disease is more prevalent in our society. Restaurants, grocery stores and bakeries are all taking initiative and offering gluten-free options for those leading a gluten-free lifestyle: progress!

Don’t get me started on why I think there are more and more people who are sensitive to wheat products. I feel that it has a lot to do with how our food is processed and the quality of product coming from our farms. Our food isn’t what it used to be: there are so many preservatives and unnatural ingredients that are being incorporated into what we consume, it’s no wonder our bodies are having difficulty digesting what we eat.

Anyway.

I happened to have bought a big bag of walnuts on a whim. They’ve been sitting in my freezer just aching to be dealt with. I threw a few into some oatmeal cookies (stay tuned), but I was still left with a substantial amount.

As a Jew (I use the term as loosely as I can considering I’m not a very good one) I grew up eating flourless cakes during passover where the use of flour (among other things) is forbidden. I remember them being light and nutty, and rather scrumptious!

This is why I decided that it was time to make a walnut date cake. I’m sure that’s the conclusion any normal individual would come to…

It’s the eggs in this recipe that help the cake rise. Ground walnuts give it body. The dates are there just because they were invited. There’s a chocolate glaze on top for good measure.

Gluten free dieter? Bake this cake. Are you a gluten eater? So am I. You should still bake and consume this cake. It’s delicious and there is very little sugar, no butter or oil….unless you count the glaze but that can easily be omitted or substituted.

It’s a winner. I might even say that I’m NUTS about it. (I’m sorry)

Just make sure you like walnuts! Other nuts can be substituted.

Flourless Walnut Date Cake

3 cups walnut halves

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup sugar

4 large eggs, separated

1 teaspoon vanilla

Pinch of kosher salt

3/4 cup chopped pitted dates

For the glaze

2 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped

4 tablespoon unsalted butter (or coconut oil)

1 teaspoon honey

Toasted walnuts, for topping

 

Put the walnuts, cinnamon and 1/4 cup sugar in a food processor; pulse until finely ground but not powdery.

Whisk the egg yolks and vanilla in a small bowl.

Beat the egg whites and salt in a large bowl until foamy. Beat in the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until soft peaks form for about 8 minutes. Fold in the yolk mixture and dates, then fold in the ground walnut mixture. Scrape the batter into a 9 inch greased spring form pan. Bake until the cake is golden and a toothpick comes out clean, 25-30 minutes. Let cool.

Put the chocolate, butter and honey in a saucepan until butter is melted. Whisk until smooth. Cool slightly, then pour over the cake. Top with walnuts.

Cranberry Pound Cake

9 Nov

This one time, I decided I was going to be true to the origin of pound cakes and make a pound cake:

A pound each of butter, sugar, eggs and flour. No leavening agents (bakers relied on the air incorporated into the batter for rising).

If you do a little research into the history of pound cakes, you will discover that pound cakes were geared towards making a recipe easy to remember. Equal parts of each ingredient? Yes, easy to make!

Traditional pound cakes were also very large and dense…enough to share with several families.

I didn’t have to read anything to acquire that information. There was a lot of cake. It was very large. It was very dense. Did I mention there was a lot of cake? I ate cake for a long time. I thrust containers of cake into the arms of everyone I knew.

That was years ago. I’ve since learned, that modern day pound cakes are the way to go. Modern day pound cake for modern day people.

I used brown sugar goodness in this particular recipe, along with almond extract and cranberries for good measure….what with the season being appropriate for cranberries and all things winter related.

You should make this pound cake. And then eat said pound cake. That’s what I did, anyway.

Cranberry Pound Cake

1 cup butter, room temperature

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

1 tsp almond extract

8 eggs

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/8 tsp. salt

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 1/2 cups cranberries , fresh or frozen

Cream together butter and sugar. Add almond extract. Add eggs one at a time, then slowly add dry ingredients. Carefully fold in cranberries.Pour batter into a greased loaf pan and bake at 350F for approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes. Cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Squares

23 Oct

You know what really sucks? Disappointment. It’s not the end of the world of course. It’s not the worst thing. But when someone says to you “I’m sorry miss, we don’t carry that brand of hair product anymore.” (It’s not like I considered it liquid gold or anything, no biggie. I’m not freaking out right now and drowning my sorrows in a giant bowl of sweet and salty popcorn).

When you’re waiting to meet the guy your friends set you up with who comes highly recommended and then you see him in real life…

That, my friends, is disappointment. It just plain sucks.

I find that baking leads to disappointment sometimes…you try out a new recipe..it sounds good….you start to imagine what it’ll look like in your head…

I had GREAT expectations for this recipe. For some reason, I was hoping it would turn out like a moist oatmeal cookie except in bar form. I should have known better.

Don’t get me wrong, the outcome was more than delicious. I ate more than what I should have…these squares are moist and and perfect for a breakfast or midday snack if you’re looking for a chocolate fix as well. They just disappointed me a little…I really REALLY wanted a chewy oatmeal ridden mouthful of baked goodness. These are more of a cakey oatmeal ridden mouthful of baked goodness.

Oh well, make these anyway. They have great flavour and ’tis the season for pumpkin!

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Squares

6 oz. canned pumpkin
2 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup whole wheat or 50/50 flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup whole oats
1/2 – 3/4 cup of chocolate chips (or pecans if you prefer)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix together pumpkin, sugar, brown sugar and butter.
Beat in egg and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, & salt.
Mix in oats and chocolate chips.
Add the dry mixture to the pumpkin mixture. Mix well.
Spray an 8″ square pan with non stick cooking spray.
Spread evening into bottom of the pan.
Bake for 20 minutes or until brown on top.