Sunday, June 27, 2010

Red Velvet Cuppycake

I had a magnificent lunch this afternoon with my mom at Elephant Bar. Their crab cakes are the most divine morsels of food that I have ever put in my mouth. And on top of that their served in a rich mango sauce that is to die for. Please, don't even get me started on the seared ahi and ginger. After eating this delicious meal and feeling pretty good from my Passion Mai Tai, I was perusing the dessert menu my eyes landed on a Frosted Red Velvet Cupcake. It looked good in the picture, but we thought to ourselves 'why spend money on something that we can easily bake at home?'.. so we bought some red food coloring and the rest is history! The recipe comes from Paula Deen so you know that not only were the cupcakes moist but they were fluffy and rich in flavor. Red Velvet isn't my favorite flavor for cakes and I never really go out of my way to make it, although I have in the past and this recipe definitley puts the others to shame. We decorated them with a standard vanilla buttercream instead of the traditional cream cheese frosting, since it was easier to throw together at the last minute. Besides, I've never ever been a fan of cream cheese frosting unless its piggy backing something carrot flavored.

Grandmother Paula's Red Velvet Cake
Courtesy of Paula Deen

2 cups sugar
1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
2 eggs
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 ounces red food coloring
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon vinegar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare muffin pan by lining with cupcake holders.
2. In a mixing bowl, cream the sugar and butter, beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and mix well after each addition. Mix cocoa and food coloring together and then add to sugar mixture; mix well.
3. Sift together flour and salt. Add flour mixture to the creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk. Blend in vanilla. In a small bowl, combine baking soda and vinegar and add to mixture.
4. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from heat and cool completely before frosting.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

3 cups confectioners' sugar
1 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons whipping cream

1.Mix together sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes.

2. Add vanilla and cream and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream if needed for spreading consistency.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Meyer Lemon Triangles

If it's true what they say and we are what we eat, than tonight I am a lemon. I baked these lemon traingle bars for a get together we had at my sister's house this afternoon. I thought that since tomorrow is the first day of summer and the weather is so bright and warm this time of year that lemons would be a perfect way to kick things off. Originally, I was going to bake a lemon pound cake, but the 1 1/2 hour baking time just wasn't going to fit into the schedule. These lemon bars are a sinch to make and can be finished in under an hour, prep time included. They were excellent, from the delicate crust to the rich lemon filling to the powdered sugar on top. Personally, I could not stop munching on them. And that is why tonight ...I am a lemon.

Meyer Lemon Bars
Adapted from Sugarcrafter

1 cup flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 cup butter, melted

1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons flour
2 eggs
1 teaspoon pure lemon extract
3 tablespoons lemon juice (about 3 Meyer lemons)
2 teaspoons lemon zest (from about 2 of the Meyer lemons)

Powdered sugar, for dusting

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, powdered sugar and salt. Stir in the melted butter and then press the dough into a greased 8x8 inch pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the crust turns light brown.
3. Reduce the heat to 300 degrees.
4. In another medium bowl, mix together the sugar, flour, eggs, lemon juice, and lemon zest.
5. Pour the lemon mixture over the crust and bake for 20-25 minutes.
6. After removing from the oven, lightly dust the top with powdered sugar.
7. Cool completely and then cut into squares. Then cut each square diagonally to form triangles.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Coffee Cake

I've always been a fan of a good warm oatmeal raisin cookie. I'm a fan of the texture and I enjoy the spurts of chewy raisin. Another fan of oatmeal raisin in the house is my dad. Actaully, he is more of an oatmeal raisin enthusiast. It has always been his favorite cookie and guilty pleasure and he makes no secret of it. Since it's Fathers Day weekend, I thought it would be nice to bake this Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Coffee Cake for him. The plan was to bake this morning so that he would be able to eat it for breakfast (cake for breakfast again Grace?) however due to extenuating circumstances I put it together last night. My poor dad, by the time he woke up this morning more than half of it was gone. But thats what being a dad is about right? making sacrafices for your kids. Secretly, I think he had a few pieces in the middle of the night like every one else did. This cake is very simple and the buttermilk really adds to the moist texture. The raisins in the middle of the cake spread over the cinnamon topping mixture tastes fantastic! If you have a food processor I recommend using it for the topping so that it isn't too coarse. I used my hands and as you can see from the pictures that it is a little lumpy and didn't bake into the cake very well. It's still very delicious though and full of cinnamon and butter goodness!

Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Coffee Cake
2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup quick cooking oats
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2/3 cup raisins

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Flour a 9 inch springform pan. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder, and salt.
2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in eggs one at a time. Blend in 1/3 of the flour mixutre, followed by half of the buttermilk and the entire vanilla. Then, blend in half of the remaining flour, the rest of the buttermilk, and then the last of the flour. Set aside and prepare topping.
3. For the topping, combine the flour, brown sugar and cinnamon in a medium bowl and stir well. Rub butter into the mixture with your fingertips (with pulsing with a food processor) until the mixture resembles coarse sand.
4. Pour half of the batter into the prepared springform pan. Top with half of the topping mixture. Evenly sprinkle raisins in a single layer. Pour remaining batter on top and spread carefully to the sides of the pan. Sprinkle all remaining topping over the batter.
5. Bake for 45 - 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow cake to cool on wire rack until it is room temperature before running a knife around the edge and removing springform.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Buttermilk Breakfast Cake

I love the weekend. I especially love Sunday mornings. Nothing beats lounging in your bed, reading the paper, drinking coffee, and of course eating a delicious breakfast (preferably while still in the aforementioned bed). This morning I treated myself to this Buttermilk Breakfast Cake. What is that you say? Cake for breakfast ? Yes, of course a cake for breakfast! And the best part is that this moist cake starts from a box, so it's super easy and quick to whip up in the morning.
Buttermilk Breakfast Cake
Southern Living Magazine

For the cake:
1 (18.25 oz.) white cake mix
1 cup buttermilk (low fat works just fine)
1/2 cup butter (I used unsalted)
5 large eggs
3 tbsp. light brown sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tbsp granulated sugar
Buttermilk-Vanilla Glaze (see recipe below)

For the glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp melted butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 to 2 tbsp buttermilk

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat first three ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer 1 1/2 minutes or until well blended; add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
2. Stir together brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside.
3. Grease a 12 cup bundt pan; sprinkle with 1 tbsp granulated sugar.
4. Spoon one third of the cake batter into prepared pan; sprinkle brown sugar mixture evenly over batter. Top with remaining batter.
5. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Cool cake in pan for about 15 minutes. Remove cake from pan and cool for 20 minutes. Drizzle Buttermilk-Vanilla Glaze over lightly warm cake.

Buttermilk-Vanilla Glaze:
1. Stir together first 3 ingredients and 1 tbsp buttermilk until smooth, adding additional buttermilk if necessary for desired consistency.

Who doesn't want to start their morning eating a slice of tasty cake drizzled with a sugary glaze?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookie #10

Well look at this: elevn whole days into June and not one baking adventure to show for it! June is shaping up to be a crazy month and I never have been great with time management.. Anyway, I'm bringing myself back with some chocolate chip cookies! Chocolate chip cookies from Alton Brown to be exact. All week I was debating what I would bake Friday night and as the week shaped up to be more and more hectic all I could think about was the warmth and comfort of a fresh homemade chocolate chip cookie. Let me just say that I think I failed somewhere between the egg yolks and the folding of the ingredients so the texture was a little different, but these cookies were not a dissapointment (and I still ate more of them than I should have). I would say that when you mess up an ingredient and cookie is still delectable, you got yourself a grade A recipe!

By the way, I have no idea why the recipe is titled Chocolate Chip Cookie #10. Is it the painfully obvious "10th cookie" reason or is there another story behind it..anyone know?

Chocolate Chip Cookie #10
Alton Brown's I'm Just Here For More Food Cookbook

2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
2 cups chocolate chips (I used semisweet)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. **As soon as you put the cookies in the oven turn the temperature down to 350 degrees (Alton Brown swears by this initial temperature boost).
2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the butter, sugars, egg yolks, and vanilla until combined.
3. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, pour in butter mixture and fold the ingredients together until just combined. Add the chocolate chips and fold to combine. Be careful not to overmix!
4. Using a spoon, dish out cookies about 2 inches apart on a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper.
5. Bake for 12 - 15 minutes. Let cool on baking sheet for a couple of minutes before transfering to a wire rack.

*Alternate option: For a cookie cake (what!? YUM), dump the dough into an ungreased pizza pan or whatever kind of pan you have and gently press down until the dough is evenly distributed around the pan. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until light gold brown.