Tuesday, March 30, 2010

7/8 Chocolate Overdose Cake

I love chocolate. Let me rephrase that- I really, really, really love chocolate. So when I first saw the recipe for Chocolate Overdose Cake at Confections of a Foodie Bride I bookmarked it and waited very patiently for the perfect moment to go back to it. The opportunity finally presented itself this past weekend for my sister's birthday party and I could not have been more giddy.  The cake baking process seemed a little daring at the beginning and I can't say that I wasn't warned by others who have made it. But all of the delicious reviews told me that it was going to be worth it in the end. And oh boy was it ever! The recipe calls for a few 7/8 measurements and  I don't own a 1/8 measuring cup, my set begins at 1/4. Because of this I had to guesstimate a few things and do some simple math. My mom joked that this cake should be called "7/8 Chocolate Overdose Cake" .

When assembling the cake, I didn't use enough of the chocolate mousse (oops) and heard a lot of "great cake..could have used more mousse". Live and learn, right? ::nervous laughter:: I have to say that my favorite part was the brownie base. Next time I may just bake the brownie base, scoop on some ice cream for good measure, and eat it straight out of the spring form pan. You can find the recipe here. Try not to be intimidated by the length of the recipe, it really isn't as troubling as it seems. And even if it was, it's chocolate. If anything is worth turmoil.. it's chocolate!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

This banana bread comes out so moist and delicious that you can't help but serve yourself a second helping. The only thing I would do differently is add more cinnamon next time. It's hard to go wrong with extra cinnamon! ;)

Buttermilk Cinnamon Banana Bread
2 cups of all purpose flour
2 tsp, baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup sugar
1 stick butter, room temperature
1/4 cup vegtable/canola oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
2 ripe bananas

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter loaf pan or spray with cooking spray.
2. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, beat together the oil, butter, and sugar for a few seconds. Mixture will be a pale color, not fluffy.
4. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Add vanilla extract and buttermilk.
5. Add the flour mixture by hand in two additions and mix with wooden spoon. Don't overmix!
6. Mash ripe bananas really well in seperate bowl and add the cinnamon.
7. Stir in mashed banana/cinnamon mixture.
8. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Warm Delights

You know those days when you don't want to do anything? Well, I'll admit it's usually an every day feeling but I work through it. These past two days though have been different: I didn't even want to bake or be in the kitchen at all. Am I the only one this happens to? Please, someone out there in this blogosphere tell me that I'm not..

Despite this I still had a craving for something baked, so I grabbed a Betty Crocker Warm Delight. I'm a big Betty Crocker fan and the Warm Delights are..well.. delightful. It really hit the spot. I also realize I shouldn't be eating this past 9pm on a Sunday before bed, but lets just throw caution to the wind, shall we?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Chocolate Citrus Cake with Ganache

I made this cake back in January and it was my first attempt at constructing a two layer cake. I'm looking back on it now since my sisters birthday is next weekend and she requested a cake. A request that I am more than happy to fill (right now at least, ask me again next Friday night..) Oh, and as you can tell my skill for photographing food lacks now as it did back then. I promise I'll get better! This cake took all day! I didn't even include the candied oranges for garnish..

Hands on time: about 1 hour
Total time: about 6 hours (including filling, frosting, etc..)

To make this cake you will need the following tools:

Parchment paper
Two 9-inch round pans
Electric mixer
Heat proof bowls (glass)
Free time and every bowl in your kitchen! (don't say that I didn't warn you..)

Chocolate Citrus Cake with Ganache
Adapted from Southern Living Magazine
For the cake:
  • 2 (4-oz.) bittersweet chocolate baking bars, chopped
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (8-oz.) container sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup hot brewed coffee
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees . Grease and flour 9-inch round pans. Line bottoms of pans with parchment paper. Lightly grease parchment paper.

2. Melt chocolate in double broiler or microwave-safe bowl at high for 1 1/2 minutes or until smooth, stirring at 30-second intervals. Personally, I'm not a fan of melting chocolate in the microwave and don't own a double broiler, so I got a heat proof glass bowl and put it above a sauce pan with boiling water underneath and stirred the chocolate until it had melted. Same concept.

3. Next, beat the butter and sugars at medium speed with electric mixer until well blended (about 3 minutes). Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Add melted chocolate, beating just until blended.

4. Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add to chocolate mixture alternately with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. At this point the mixture is going to be thick, don't let that scare you.

5. Stir vanilla into hot coffee. Gradually add coffee mixture to batter in a slow, steady stream, beating at low speed just until blended. Pour batter into prepared pans.

6. Bake at 350 degrees for 38 to 42 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on a wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pans to wire rack, and let cool completely (about 1 hour).

Whipped Ganache Filling:

  • 1 (12-oz.) package semisweet chocolate morsels
  • 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon orange liqueur (I beg you not to skip the liqueur)

1. Melt chocolate morsels and whipping cream until smooth, stirring at 30-second intervals. Whisk in liqueur until smooth. Cover and chill 2 hours or until mixture is thickened.

2. Beat ganache at medium speed with an electric mixer 20 to 30 seconds or until soft peaks form and ganache lightens in color. Be very careful not to overmix. Use immediately by spreading between layers, spreading to edges of cake and leveling with an offset spatula. Gently press top cake layer down, pressing out a small amount of ganache filling from between layers, and spread filling around sides of cake, filling in any gaps between layers.

Seven Minute Frosting:

  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon orange liqueur

1. Pour water to depth of 1 1/2 inches saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer. Combine egg whites, sugar, corn syrup, orange liqueur, and 1/4 cup water in a glass bowl that will fit over your saucepan. Beat at high speed with an electric mixer until blended. Place bowl over simmering water, and beat at high speed 5 to 7 minutes or until soft peaks form; (NOTE: it took me well over 7 minutes for the peaks to form, just keep at it even if you feel your arm about to dislocate). Remove from heat. Beat to spreading consistency.

2. Spread over top and sides of cake. You can swirl the frosting using the back of a spoon to create a nice circle effect on the cake if you wish.

If you'd like to add the lovely candied oranges for garnish, you can find out how here. I should mention that this cake was to die for and once I tasted the combination of chocolate with the frosting, it was worth every single minute in the kitchen, every trip back to the grocery store, and every dirty dish in the sink. Sinful.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Lazy Brownies and Cake

Have I mentioned that I'm lazy?
I've never made brownies from scratch, so when I was in the mood for some this weekend I resorted to Betty Crocker. I usually mash up the the cookie part of Oreos and add the crumbs to the brownie mix but since it's girl scout cookie season (yay!) and we have boxes and boxes of thin mints around the house, I decided why not use those?

We also had some Red Velvet cake mix in our pantry that was about to expire and since it takes no time and/or real effort to bake a cake from a box, I figured I might as well bake it. I did make a Marshmellow Frosting to spread over the cake since I've never been a fan of the traditional cream cheese frosting on red velvet cake.

I'd never made this particular recipe before and my only critisim is that it was WAY too sugary. If I ever make it again, I would reduce it from 1 1/2 cups to maybe 1.

Marshmellow Frosting recipe can be found here: http://www.cooks.com/rec/doc/0,166,152170-236207,00.html

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Cherry White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

I started making these cookies last year during Christmas (what better time to make cookies?) and they were a hit with everyone! The original recipe calls for dried cranberries but I've never been a fan so I substitue them with dried cherries which gives them this wonderful sweetness with every bite. I made them again last night for my brother and dad as a thank you for helping me move new furniture into my bedroom earlier this week. What better way to say thank you and show someone how much you love them than baking for them?
1 cup AP flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup quick cooking oats
9 tbsp. butter [room temperature]
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 roughly chopped pecans (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit and line two cookie sheets with foil or parchment paper.
2. Measure flour, baking powder, salt, and oats into a bowl. Put butter and sugars in seperate bowl and beat together until creamy. Then beat in the egg and vanilla extract.
3. Beat in the flour mixture, then cherries, pecans, and white chocolate chips.
4. Roll tablespoonfuls of dough into balls. Place them on cookie sheet and sqush down with a fork.
5. Bake for 15 minutes or until the cookies start tinging a pale gold.

You won't regret making these. The recipe yields about 24 and we're already down to the remaining 4 cookies in our house. We have to litereally make a conscious effort to walk away from them.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies

The original recipe comes from http://natalieskillercuisine.com/ and they are wonderful! I didn't make any changes to the recipe, I followed her ingredients and instructions exactly and they were delicious. The pudding made them very soft and chewy - which is the way I prefer my cookies. And rolling the dough into little balls before baking them gave them the perfect shape and fluffy texture which made it easier to put scoops of ice cream inbetween them for munchy purposes.
- 1 cup butter [2 sticks] room temperature
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup ganualted sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 1/4 All Purpose flour
- 1 vanilla pudding mix [3.4 oz]
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 3/4 choclate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the butter and sugars together in a mixing bowl until creamed then add in the eggs one at a time followed by the tsp of vanilla. In a seperate bowl combine the dry ingredients (flour, pudding mix, baking soda, and salt). Add these to the wet mixture and mix until well combined. Fold in chocolate chips.
Scoop out tablespoons of the dough and gently roll into a ball, leaving space inbetween each cookie. Bake for 11 minutes (took me around 15) and remove from the oven. Let cool and enjoy!