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Red Velvet Cake

I am having some mixed emotions as I write this post.  I am ashamed and excited at the same time. It started on Wednesday night this week when I was seriously in need of cake.  It was that time of the month and I was craving something sweet.  There on my kitchen table was a box of Duncan Hines red velvet cake mix and a can of cream cheese frosting that I was actually going to return (yes, I have no shame in returning things).  I had bought them when I was planning to make Bakerella’s Red Velvet Cake Balls to ship to my brother but ended up going with raspberry and cream cheese brownie bites instead.  Ok, back to my need for cake.  Just this past weekend I made a layered chocolate cake for an engagement party by doctoring up a cake mix and then making my own mocha buttercream.  It was such a success that I figured I would jazz up the red velvet mix and hopefully satisfy my urgent need for cake.  Fast forward to my cooled and frosted cake…oh my goodness…it was DELICIOUS!  Granted, the frosting most definitely tastes like it comes from a can but I didn’t have any cream cheese at home to make it myself.  I took the cake to work yesterday and only told one friend the truth behind the cake.  Everyone knows I always bake from scratch so I didn’t want to reveal that I had used a cake mix even though I was sure the frosting would give me away.  I asked my friend to taste it without the frosting at first and give me her honest opinion.  She loved it and told me I could make it for her any day of the week.  That cake was gone quicker than anything else I have ever brought to work!  I got compliments yesterday on how good it was and today one co-worker even told me it was better than the red velvet cake she recently had at her friend’s wedding!  My eyes and taste buds have been opened to the world of cake mixes. They were BOGO free at Publix yesterday so I am stocked and ready to experiment!

Ingredients:

  • 1 box Duncan Hines red velvet cake mix
  • 1 small box Jello instant chocolate pudding mix (3.9 oz I think)
  • 1 cup sour cream (used Daisy’s)
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Mix all ingredients in large bowl.  Pour batter into 2 buttered and floured 9″ cake pans (or use baking spray).  Check for baking times on the cake mix box as it can vary depending on the type of pan you use.  Mine were done in about 35 mintues.
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Posted by on April 22, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Daring Bakers: Yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake

The March 2011 Daring Baker’s Challenge was hosted by Ria of Ria’s Collection and Jamie of Life’s a Feast. Ria and Jamie challenged The Daring Bakers to bake a yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake.

I was excited about this month’s challenge because it somewhat reminded me about December’s Christmas stollen which I loved.  My fellow Daring Bakers never disappoint when it comes to creative twists on the challenges so I gave the fillings I was going to use much thought.  I decided to do one with guava and cream cheese and the other with almonds, cinnamon and brown sugar.  I ran into some problems with my guava and cream cheese coffee cake as I was a little heavy handed with the meringue.  Once I rolled my dough the filling started to come out therefore making it quite messy and difficult to seal the edges.  I kept my fingers crossed in hopes that it would not totally fall apart in the oven.  I had some leakage but overall it retained its shape and most importantly was absolutely delicious!  I used the guava paste cut up into little cubes which in retrospect I definitely should have gone with the guava preserves.  I hate when that happens….always go with your gut instinct!  For the cream cheese filling I let it come to room temperature and then beat it together with some lemon juice, milk and a little sugar.  It reminded me of the wonderful Cuban pastries we get here in south Florida….DELICIOUS!

The almond, brown sugar and cinnamon one was also yummy but the guava and cream cheese was clearly the winner for me and amongst my co-workers.  As far as the meringue quite honestly I couldn’t even tell it was there…in either coffee cake.  Many of my fellow bakers described it as adding a noughat texture or chewy feel to it but not for me.  I am guessing it helped to keep the dough from being dry but that’s about it.  Regardless this recipe is a winner!

I know my fellow bakers did incredible things with this challenge so check them out here.  The challenge recipe can be viewed and printed here.

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

The Cake Slice Bakers: Chocolate Cream Pound Cake Trifle

It seems like this month’s challenge came around so fast.  I wasn’t too excited about the winning cake as I am not a huge fan of chocolate desserts.  Unless of course it’s a warm molten cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream! I decided early on that I was going to use the cake to make a trifle since I thought it would be too boring on its own.  This ended up being quite a good idea as the cake itself was not too pretty looking.  It formed this crust on top and kind of sank.  Although I am not complaining about the crust because it tasted sooo good.  Sort of reminded me of a chocolate lady finger if the existed.  Wait, do they exist?  If so I have never seen them! LOL

I tried a tiny piece of the cake before assembling the trifle and it was quite good.  I used regular cocoa powder instead of the Dutch process cocoa powder the recipe calls for.  I also added 1/2 tsp of pure orange extract thinking it would add a nice touch which luckily it did…orange and chocolate always seems to be a combo.  The other components of the trifle are a sauce of blueberries, raspberries and marionberries and regular cool whip.  I added orange juice to the berry sauce and orange extract to the cool whip to keep that background flavor throughout the dessert.  I did not try the finished dessert because I am taking it to my Bible study group tomorrow.  I hope the ladies enjoy it!

Check out my fellow bakers’ cake here.

Recipe from Cake Keeper Cakes by Lauren Chattman

Ingredients:

  • 6 tbsp unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Method:

Heat the oven to 325F.  Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan and dust with flour.  Sift the cocoa powder into a heatproof bowl.  Place the cream in a microwavable bowl and heat for 30-60 seconds until just boiling.  Pour the hot cream over the cocoa and stir and mash with a spoon to make a thick paste.  Set aside to cool.

Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a medium mixing bowl.  Combine the butter and sugar in a large bowl and cream with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Scape down the sides of the bowl once or twice as necessary.  Beat in the cocoa powder paste until smooth.  With the mixer on medium-low speed add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition.  Stir in the vanilla extract.  Turn the mixer to low speed and add the flour mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, scraping down the sides after each addition.  After the last addition mix for 30 seconds on medium speed.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula.  Bake the cake until it is firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1hr and 10 min.  Let the cake cool in the pan for 5 minutes.  Invert it onto a wire rack and then turn it right side up to cool completely.  Store uneaten cake in a cake keeper or wrap and store at room temperature for up to 3 days.

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 20, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Doughnut challenge revisited

Just two months ago I made donuts for the first time thanks to Daring Bakers.  For October’s challenge I went with the bomboloni recipe and really enjoyed the end result and so did my co-workers.  I would say that at least twice a month I share my baking efforts with my co-workers. Out of everything I have brought the last 5 months there is nothing my friend Stacey enjoyed more than the doughnuts.  I figured it was obvious there was no better way to say “Happy Birthday” to her today than with some homemade doughnuts.

Even though Kate Neumann’s bomboloni recipe was such a success I decided I wanted to give Alton Brown’s recipe a try.  Armed with the doughnut cutter at I bought at Sur la table last week I was ready to go.  I made the dough last night and left it in the fridge overnight for the first rise.  Thanks to tips from many of my fellow talented Daring Bakers I knew to expect working with a wet dough.  I figured this morning it would be easier to work with after it rising in the fridge.  Well, this was so  not the case….it was seriously a sticky mess!  I was liberal with the flour when rolling out the dough but it still stuck to my counter when trying to cut out the doughnuts.  After I vented out my frustration a bit I scraped off the dough and rolled it out again this time being more generous with the flour.  It was much better the second time around although not as easy as I would have liked.

I let the doughnuts go for a second rise for about 1hr and then it was frying time!  The first doughnuts I had cut out were very hard to get off my floured baking sheet and completely lost their shape.  The rest I was able to get off without a problem and fried up to perfectly shaped doughnuts.  I rolled the doughnut holes and crazy shaped doughnuts in cinnamon sugar.  The rest I did half traditional glaze and chocolate glaze sprinkled with heath pieces.  I ended up with 20 glazed doughnuts and way to many doughnut holes and crazy shapes.  These were so incredibly light and airy with the right amount of sweetness.  I was sure there was going to leftovers being that many people were out on vacation but they were all gone before lunch time!  Best of all Stacey was totally surprised and really enjoyed her birthday gift.

Yeast Doughnuts adapted from Alton Brown

Ingredients

  • 1  1/2 cups of milk
  • 2  1/2 ounces of unsalted butter
  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup warm water (95 to 105 degrees F)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1  1/2 tsp salt
  • 23 ounces all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting surface
  • canola oil for frying

Place the milk in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat just until warm enough to melt the butter.  Place the butter in a bowl and pour warmed milk over.  Set aside.

In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and let dissolve for 5 minutes.  After 5 minutes pour the yeast mixture into the large bowl of a stand mixer and add the milk/butter mixture (make sure lukewarm).  Add the eggs, sugar, salt and half of the flour mixture. Using the paddle attachment, combine the ingredients on low-speed until flour is incorporated and then turn the speed up to medium and beat until well combined.  Add the remaining flour, combining on low-speed at first and then increase to medium and beat well.  Change to the dough hook attachment and beat on medium speed until the dough pulls away from the bowl and becomes smooth, approximately 3 to 4 minutes.  Transfer to a well-oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in the refrigerator overnight.

Let the dough rest for 30 minutes to take the chill off (I did it for less and think that could have been my problem).  Punch down the dough and then roll it out to 3/8 inch thick on a well-floured surface.  Cut out dough using a 2  1/2 inch doughnut cutter or pastry ring and using a 7/8 inch ring for the center hole.  Set on floured baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap, let rise for 1hr.

Preheat the oil in Dutch oven to 365 degrees F.  Gently place the doughnuts into the oil, 3-4 at a time, and cook for about 45 seconds per side.  Transfer to a cooling rack lined with parchment paper underneath.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes prior to glazing, if desired.

Chocolate doughnut glaze adapted from Alton Brown

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp (1oz) milk
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tbsp marshmallow creme (fluff)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted

Combine butter, milk, marshmallow creme and vanilla in medium saucepan over medium heat until butter is melted.  Reduce to low heat and add chocolate, whisk until melted.  Turn off heat and add sugar, whisk until smooth.  Dip doughnuts and let glaze set for 30 min.

*recipe called for light corn syrup but I didn’t have any and when I googled possible substitutions it mentioned marshmallow creme

Glaze recipe from allrecipes.com

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1  1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 4 tbsp hot water

Melt butter over medium heat.  Stir in sugar and vanilla and whisk until smooth.  Remove from heat and whisk in the hot water 1 tbsp at a time.  The icing should be somewhat thin but not watery.  Dip doughnuts and let glaze set for 20 minutes.

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

The Daring Bakers: Doughnuts!!!

I am happy to announce that I am an official daring baker!!! The October 2010 Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up.  Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts.  She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious.

When it comes to doughnuts I am definitely partial to the yeast variety…my favorite being glazed and jelly filled.  The only cake doughnut I enjoy is blueberry.  I waited in anticipation for the Daring Bakers October challenge to be announced.  I was excited and nervous at the same time as this was going to be my first time baking along with the group.  Once I found out I was being challenged to make doughnuts the anxiety took over and I was no longer so filled with excitement.  Daring bakers is most definitely an appropriate name because in my opinion you have to be quite daring to want to venture out and make something like homemade doughnuts!

Now that I have made them I realized there was no reason for me to be nervous.  It was much easier than expected as the dough was very quick to put together.  The only part that didn’t work out all too well for me was actually filling the doughnuts.  I fit a pastry bag with a 1/4 inch tip as the recipe stated but my preserves oozed out between the tip and the pastry bag making it a bit difficult to fill the doughnuts.  If I make these again I will definitely use the other suggested method….a squeeze bottle.  Regardless of the issues with filling my doughnuts I was very happy with this recipe and so were my co-workers!

Recipe by Kate Neumann

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp lukewarm water
  • 1  1/2 envelopes of active dry yeast (3  1/4 tsp)
  • 1  1/2 tbsp honey
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar, plus more for rolling
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 cups canola oil for frying ( I didn’t need this much)
  • 3/4 cup seedless raspberry preserves
  • Confectioners’ sugar for dusting (just realized I skipped this part)

1.  In the bowl of a standing electric mixer mix, mix the water, yeast, honey and 1 cup plus 2 tbsp of the flour.  Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature until foamy, about 1 hr.

2.  Return the bowl to the mixer fitted with a dough hook.  Add the remaining 1 and 3/4 cups plus 2 tbsp of the flour, milk, egg yolks, 1/3 cup of sugar and the salt.  Mix at low-speed until blended then add the butter and knead at medium speed until silky but sticky, about 5 minutes (the dough will not pull away from the side of the bowl).  Using an oiled spatula scrape the dough into an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

*Recipe states the dough will not rise but mine did.  I also left it in the fridge two nights without a problem.

3.  In a large saucepan heat the canola oil to 360 degrees.  Line a rack with paper towels and fill a shallow bowl with 1/2 inch of granulated sugar.  On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough a scant 1/2 inch thick.  Using a 1/2 inch round biscuit cutter stamp out 32 rounds.  Fry the rounds 8 at a time until they are browned.  Be sure to keep the oil between 360 and 375 degrees.  Drain the bomboloni on the paper towels and then roll them in the granulated sugar.  Continue frying and rolling the remaining bomboloni.

* Recipe states not to re-roll the dough but I did so without a problem.  I also used a 2″ cutter as it is all I had available.

4.  Fit a pastry bag with a plain doughnut tip (or a 1/4 inch tip) and fill with the preserves (you can also use a squeeze bottle).  Poke the tip three-fourths of the way into the bomboloni and squeeze in the preserves, pulling the tip out slightly as you squeeze to fill them as much as possible.  Dust the bomboloni with the confectioners’ sugar and serve warm.

 
22 Comments

Posted by on October 27, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

Breakfast for dinner

Again, I found myself trying to get rid of this buttermilk this evening.  Luckily I love breakfast for dinner so I decided to make some buttermilk pancakes.  I looked to my May 2010 issue of Food Network magazine which included a booklet of 50 pancake and waffle recipes!  The recipe was very quick to pull together and made some delicious fluffy pancakes.  The few times I have made pancakes at home I use my electric griddle.  This time I decided to use a skillet and I will definitely not be doing that again! It just takes too much time compared to the griddle.

  • 1  1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1  1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl and set aside.  In another bowl whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, butter and vanilla extract.  Whisk the wet ingredients into the flour mixture until just combined. Ladle 1/4 cupfuls onto a hot buttered skillet and cook until bubbly. Flip and cook until golden on the bottom.

 
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Posted by on October 1, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

Birthday party cupcakes

Let me start off by saying I am very happy with how the cupcakes look on my tower.  The birthday girl’s reaction was adorable.  She truly had a surprised look on her face and brought her hand to her chest as to say “oh my goodness.”  She just turned 3yrs old this week so I am just adding the caption to go along with her facial expression and body language.  My friend was surprised and excited to see how everything turned out.

Now on to the cupcakes themselves…..cookies n’ cream and plain vanilla.  I was able to get a small taste of the cookies n’ cream one and it was good.  Not amazing….delicious or anything that would make my heart skip a beat…they were simply okay.  The kids and parents alike seemed to enjoy them but I on the other hand was a bit dissapointed.  The recipe comes from Jen of Beantown Baker.  I was excited to make them as many people raved about them both on Jen’s blog and on Annie’s Eats.  Maybe something went wrong at some point or maybe they my taste buds simply weren’t fans.  Ultimately the important thing is everyone else seemed to enjoy them and they looked super cute! Please go here to see Jen’s recipe….you’ll likely be with the majority and fall in love with these cupcakes.

On to the vanilla cupcakes….these I definitely did not like.  In my opinion these cupcakes were very dense….not light and airy as expected.  The recipe comes from Joy of Baking as does the buttercream frosting I used to top both of the cupcakes.  Jen paired her cookies n’ cream cupcakes with a cream cheese frosting but I opted for the flavor 3 yr olds may be more accustomed to, which luckily turned out well.  You can check out both the vanilla cupcake and frosting recipe here.

 
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Posted by on September 26, 2010 in Cupcakes, Uncategorized