Posts tagged ‘dessert’

September 4, 2011

Chocolate + Pear Cake

I wasn’t sure how this combination would work or if it would or if it could. I love the individual ingredients. So much. Juicy pear. Dark chocolate chips. They’ve never even crossed my mind as a combination. Never. And that is saying a lot.

So, of course, when I read about this cake over here at a LOVELY blog written by an incredibly witty and inspiring lady named Deb, I had to have it.

Chocolate and Pear Cake
inspired by smitten kitchen

1 c white whole wheat flour
1 T baking powder
1/4 t salt
3 eggs, room temperature
8 T (1 stick) butter
3/4 c brown sugar
1 lb (about 3 medium or 2 large) pears, peeled and diced
3/4 c bittersweet chocolate chunks or chips

Preheat the oven to 35o degrees F.

Prepare pan (I used a 9 in round cake pan. The original recipe called for a springform pan.) by swiping butter all over the bottom and sides. Then, sprinkle a little flour and powdered sugar into the pan, tipping, turning, and tapping to cover the entirety of the pan.

In a small bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together.

Beat the three eggs with the whisk attachment on high for a really long time. But have no fear, during this time, I’ll give you something exciting to do! Ten minutes should get the eggs to go from eggs…

… to lightly colored and pretty thick froth.

Then, beat a little longer until it’s custard consistency.

(Next time, I’ll actually use the whisk attachment instead of my regular beaters. It turned out fine. So you should be relieved to know that this is a forgiving recipe.)

As promised, something exciting:: Browning butter!!

What’s better than butter? Browned butter. And even though I was pretty frightened of this process when I first heard of it, I love it. It adds a richness, nuttiness, and depth of deliciousness. Oh, man. Okay. So. Put your stick of butter in a medium sauce pan and leave it on medium-ish heat for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally especially a lot in the last couple of minutes so the browning happens all over not just for the first bits to be browned. And yes, those bits are okay. They’re good and welcome, even. Once the butter’s browned, take it off the heat, but keep it in a pretty warm place.

Now, that your eggs are fluffed and your butter browned, add the brown sugar to your egg mixture. Mix until incorporated.

Add flour mixture to egg fluff mixture. Now, get a spatula and fold the flour into the eggs to try to maintain the fluffiness. Add browned butter; fold.

Pour into prepared pan.

Add peeled and diced pears and chocolate chips.

Bake for about 40 minutes. Don’t take the cake out of the oven until your doneness tester comes out completely batter-free. I used my Doneness Tester (butter knife) to go around the edge of the cake just inside the pan to make sure it was separated before turning it out on a cooling rack.

Let it cool for at least 15 minutes.

If I can wait that long, you can, too. It’s possible.

And enjoy.

Every single bite.

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February 9, 2011

Gingery Molasses Cookies

These ginger cookies are incredible!!! Yes, I must be in the cookie spirit, because I can’t turn down a good cookie recipe right now. I’m not sure what it is– random cravings, the time of year, butter, sweet, delicious, soft, chewy, warm out of the oven, magnificent. I love cookies lately. And not all, mind you. I’ve still retained my sense of standard and decorum. I don’t jump onto every cookie I see. I consider it carefully before I tell the good ones how much I love them.

These are some mighty good ones. Let me tell you. Actually, allow me to show you. And encourage you to make these right this very moment. Yes. Now.

Gingery Molasses Cookies
Inspired by Rosie at Sweetapolita

2 1/4 c unbleached white-wheat flour
1/2 t ground ginger
1 t cinnamon
2 t baking soda
1/2 t sea salt
3/4 c unsalted butter, room temperature
1 c dark brown sugar
1/4 c molasses
1 large egg
1 pkg crystalized ginger
Demerara sugar for coating

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Sift all dry ingredients together. Set bowl aside.

Cream butter and brown sugar until fluffy and much lighter. At least beat for 2 minutes. Add egg, mix; add molasses, mix for another minute.

Blend. Add dry ingredients and mix until incorporated.

Chop up crystalized ginger.

Add and mix in on low.

Make balls of dough then roll in demerara sugar to completely coat. Place on Silpated cookie sheet.

Lightly flatten cookie. Refrigerate for about 15 minutes. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or as soon as cookies begin to crack. Let cookies cool on sheet then on a cooling rack.

These are incredibly chewy and absolutely perfect.

October 5, 2010

Summer Blueberry Coffee Cake

This summer, I made a food. I’ll try to keep my foods as recent as possible so that you feel as though you have up-to-the-minute recipes and reactions. However, I started writing a food blog post-summer. So I present to you, a retrospective. And I feel as though this exception is worth it, because this coffee cake is EXCEPTIONAL. And all thanks to a very special lady who had to endure a painful summer healing after foot surgery. Do you realize all that you need BOTH feet for? You cannot just let one take a vacation and heal without serious consequence. I made this coffee cake for her, but I enjoyed it. A lot. Almost enough to make it seem as though I had made it just for me.

Blueberry Coffee Cake
Inspired by the Atlanta Journal Constitution

1/2 c packed brown sugar
1/2 c chopped pecans
1 t ground cinnamon
2 c fresh or frozen blueberries
1 1/2 c plus 2 T A-P flour, divided
1 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1 1/2 c granulated sugar, and then a bit more for dusting the pan
1 c (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
Zest of 1 lemon
2 eggs
8 oz sour cream
2 t vanilla extract
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl, combine sugar, pecans, and cinnamon, then set aside. In a second small bowl, combine blueberries with 2 T flour. This will allow the blueberries to float in the batter while it cooks instead of sinking to the bottom like a swimmer’s floatie. In the third small bowl, stir the rest of the flour, salt, and baking powder; set aside. Grease and dust (with granulated sugar) a 9-inch fluted or tube pan.

In a mixing bowl, cream sugar and butter. Add lemon zest, then add the eggs one at a time. Beat in the sour cream and vanilla extract. Mix well. Add half the flour mixture, mix, repeat. Beat until combined. Beat for an additional 30 seconds. Then, fold in the blueberries. Gently.

Spread half the batter in the pan. Sprinkle half the brown sugar mixture. Swirl the brown sugar mix with a knife or small spatula. Pour second half then top with the remaining brown sugar mixture.

Cook for about an hour or until the coffee cake can pass the doneness toothpick test (or DTT). Allow it to cool in the pan for 20 to 30 minutes. Then run a knife around the edge, carefully separating any renegade blueberries that might have stuck to the sides of the pan. Invert the cake onto the serving platter. Just before serving, sprinkle (generously) with confectioner’s sugar.

And, oh man, enjoy.

September 17, 2010

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

Oh, boy. Oh, boy. Ohboyohboyoh.

Lemon Poppy Seed cake. It’s my boyfriend’s favorite muffin. Favorite. After much research and browsing through quite a few trusted cake sources, I figured out what would probably work. Reasons why this cake is awesome:  (1) Egg whites in the cake but, no worries, because the yolks are used in the center; (2) lemon. Poppy Seed; (3) lemon frosting; (4) cake!; and (5) birthday.

___

And now, some warnings:

1. I had WAY to much raspberry curd filling leftover. Now, I’ll be forced to use it on pancakes, waffles, or, worse, yogurt (I’m looking forward to all of these).
2. I almost didn’t have enough lemon frosting. Don’t snack too much on this!
3. It looks homemade in these pictures; it is. I’m still practicing my cake decorating skills, and still working on growing my baking collection. (Please note my “cake stand” is the pan, flipped upside down, just on a plate.)
4. This recipe calls for Cream of Tartar (I went to the grocery store in my apron.) and 36 tablespoons of butter, two lemons, five eggs, three cups of powdered sugar, and raspberries.

Ooh. Finished product.

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake
Inspired by Eliza

2 1/3 c minus 2 T A-P flour
2 3/4 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
2 T poppy seeds
5 lg egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 t cream of tartar
1 1/2 c sugar
2 T finely grated lemon zest
12 T (1 1/2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1 c milk

8 T butter (1 stick)
12 oz raspberries, fresh or thawed
5 lg egg yolks, lightly beaten
3/4 c sugar
pinch of salt
2 or 3 t lemon juice

16 T (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
2 T finely grated lemon zest
3 c confectioners’ sugar
3 T fresh lemon juice

For the cake:: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, checking to make sure rack is positioned in the middle. Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, and poppy seeds in a bowl. In another bowl for stand or hand mixer, beat (medium speed) egg whites with the whisk attachment until frothy. Add cream of tartar and up the mixer speed to medium-high until stiff peaks form.

In new bowl with what I refer to as the regular attachments, beat (medium speed) the butter until smooth. Add the sugar in increments until incorporated. Add lemon zest. Beat (medium-high) until light and fluffy. Go ahead and measure out 1 c of milk then from that, pour 1/4 c into mixture; beat until blended. With mixer on low, gradually add the flour mixture and alternately the milk in three installments, mixing until incorporated between each addition. Once blended, fold a quarter of the egg whites into the batter. Add the rest of the egg whites and gently fold until all is combined.

Coat two 9in round pans in butter and flour. Pour batter evenly between the two. Bake for about 25 minutes or until golden and can pass the toothpick test. Cool in the cake pan about 10 minutes. Then, allow to cool completely on a rack out of the pan.

For the raspberry curd filling:: Melt butter over medium heat. Add raspberries, egg yolks, sugar, and salt. Mash the berries; stir occasionally until it starts bubble. Then continuously stir for 10 minutes. Strain really well through course strainer (not a colander; mine was too seedy). Strain into a bowl, making sure you get as much liquid as possible. Cool to room temperature, thereby letting it solidify. Stir in lemon juice to taste. Cover and put in the fridge for more cooling.

Raspberry Curd

For the frosting:: With the beaters attached to the electric mixer, beat the butter and lemon zest on medium speed until light and fluffy. Gradually add the sugar and beat until smooth. Add the lemon juice and beat for another minute.

For assembling the cake:: Layer the cooled cake rounds with the cooled raspberry curd. Frost the cake.

Litly