Tuesday, October 5, 2010

TWD - Double Apple Bundt Cake

This week, Lynne from Honey Muffin chose the Double Apple Bundt Cake from pages 184 and 185 of Dorie Greenspan's "Baking: From My Home to Yours". I love everything about fall - the weather, the leaves, the pumpkins, and especially the apples! I picked up some crisp, tart apples from the farmers market to use in this cake. The cake was super easy to put together and tastes fantastic. Dorie recommends a glaze with confectioner's sugar and lemon but I had some reduced apple cider left over from another baking project so I used that instead of the lemon. Yum! Make that a Triple Apple Bundt Cake!

I'll be back with pictures ....

Please be sure to visit Lynne's blog and the rest of the TWD bakers to see how their cakes turned out.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Cupcake Hero - Caffeine

Voting is now open! Please visit The Insomniac Baker's Blog to cast your vote. This month’s secret ingredient for the Cupcake Hero challenge is caffeine. Hooray! Since caffeine is an ingredient near and dear to my heart, I doubled up on the jitters and added caffeine in the form of chocolate and coffee. Until recently, I was skeptical about the cinnamon-chocolate combination but was hooked after I made a Cinnamon Chocolate Tart for the TWD group.

Cinnamon Mocha Cupcakes

adapted from Taste of Home's Cooking for 2 Fall 2005


1/4 cup butter, softened

2/3 cup sugar

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/4 cup baking cocoa

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 cup strong brewed coffee, room temperature

3 tablespoons buttermilk

Cinnamon Swiss Meringue Butter cream for frosting

chocolate covered espresso bean

cinnamon for dusting finished cupcake


In a small bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, baking powder and cinnamon; add to creamed mixture alternately with coffee and buttermilk, beating well after each addition.

Fill paper-lined muffin cups half full with batter. Bake at 350° for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Frost with Cinnamon Swiss Meringue Butter Cream, top with a chocolate covered espresso bean, and dust with cinnamon.

Yield: 8 cupcakes

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

4 egg whites

1 cup sugar

3 sticks of butter

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

2 teaspoons of cinnamon

Place sugar and egg whites in the heat-proof bowl of an electric mixer. Set bowl over a pan of gently simmering water and whisk until sugar has dissolved and egg whites are hot to the touch, about 3 minutes.

Transfer bowl to mixer stand. Using the whisk attachment, beat on high speed until mixture has cooled completely and formed stiff and glossy peaks, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Switch to the paddle attachment and add the butter, one piece at a time, and beat until incorporated about 6 minutes. Don't worry if the buttercream appears curdled after all the butter has been added; it will become smooth again with continued beating. Add vanilla and cinnamon and beat just until combined.

If using buttercream within several hours, cover bowl with plastic wrap, and set aside at room temperature in a cool environment. Or transfer to an airtight container, and store in the refrigerator, up to 3 days. Before using, bring buttercream to room temperature, and beat on the lowest speed with the paddle attachment until smooth, about 5 minutes.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

TWD - Peanut Butter Crisscrosses

Jasmine of Jasmine Cuisine selected Peanut Butter Crisscrosses for this weeks TWD recipe. The recipe can be found on page 78 of Dorie Greenspan's "Baking: From My Home to Yours". These cookies were fast, easy, and delicious! The only change I made was in the sizing department. Dorie says to scoop the dough by the tablespoon and I used a slightly larger #20 disher. The result was big, fat, chewy, peanut butter cookies! The next time around, I'll make the chocolate version as suggested in the "playing around" section. YUM!

Please visit the rest of the TWD bakers to see how they did with this recipe.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

TWD - Oatmeal Breakfast Bread

This week, Natalie of Oven Love chose Oatmeal Breakfast Bread from page 44 of Dorie Greenspan's "Baking: From My Home to Yours." You can also find the recipe on Natalie's blog. This recipe was simple and delicious and best of all ... I had all the ingredients in my pantry! Perfect for last minute baking! I followed the recipe as written except that I made 4 muffins and 5 mini bread loaves. I doubled up on the topping since I'd have more surface area to cover and I didn't want to skimp on the crunchy top.

Please be sure to check out the rest of the TWD Bakers to see their versions of this bread.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Raspberry-Peach Cobbler Cupcakes - Cupcake Hero August

Raspberry-Peach Cobbler Cupcakes

I devised this recipe for the August edition of Cupcake Hero. Please visit the (Vegan) Cupcakes and Other Culinary Creations for details and voting (after August 18th). These are a buttermilk-cinnamon cake with raspberry peach compote filling, whipped cream frosting, and a crunchy streusel topping.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 T. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. salt
¼ cup butter, softened
¼ cup sugar
¾ cup honey
2 eggs
½ cup buttermilk
½ tsp. vanilla
Peach and Raspberry Compote
Sweetened Whipped Cream Frosting
Streusel Crumbles

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in honey, eggs, buttermilk and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Scoop the batter into prepared cupcake pan.

Bake 17-20 minutes or until the tops spring back when lightly pressed. All cupcakes to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

When cool, core each cupcake and add about 1 teaspoon of peach and raspberry compote. Swirl on whipped cream frosting and top with streusel crumbles.

Peach and Raspberry Compote
¼ cup sugar
½ T. cornstarch
¼ tsp. cinnamon
3 peaches
¼ quart raspberries
1 tsp. lemon juice

Mix sugar, cornstarch, and cinnamon in saucepan. Stir in peaches, raspberries, and lemon juice. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minute. Cool.

Sweetened Whipped Cream Frosting
1 cup heavy cream
2 T. powdered sugar (or to taste)

Chill mixing bowl and whisk attachment. Whip cream and sugar in chilled bowl until stiff peaks form. Do not over mix!

Streusel Crumb Topping
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup chopped pecans
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp. nutmeg
3 T. butter (not softened)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix with fingers until crumbly. Spread mixture on parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes. Stir mixture and return to oven for 5 minutes. Cool.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

TWD - Chocolate Ganache Ice Cream

Hooray! Ice Cream! The past few days have been scorching hot here so I was delighted that of Baking and Boys chose Chocolate Ganache Ice Cream for this weeks TWD recipe. You can find the recipe on her blog or on page 430 of Dorie Greenspan's "Baking: From My Home to Yours". I make ice cream pretty often so and I thought I was fairly skilled in this particular area but my chocolate ganache didn't really freeze into what I consider "ice cream" - it was more like "frozen chocolate ganache". None the less it was decadent and will certainly not go to waste!

I've often wondered how ice cream ended up in a baking book but I just assumed that Dorie included it because ice cream and cake just go together. I happened to catch the Good Eats "Churn Baby Churn II" episode on Tuesday night and in this episode Alton Brown compares ice creams to baked goods. He states that the comparison makes sense because ice cream is essentially a foam (structurally) as are baked goods such as cakes and breads. Hmmmmm ..... interesting!

I wish I would have caught this show before I made my chocolate ganache ice cream because I think I could have vastly improved the outcome! and Please be sure to visit the rest of the TWD bakers to see how they did with their ice cream.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

TWD - Lots-of-Ways Banana Cake

It’s my turn to pick the TWD recipe! Yeah me! I feel like I get to be princess for a day! Many of the bakers in our group wait until the last minute to carefully make their pick. Me? I’ve had my eye on this recipe for months! Each time a new round of picks was announced, I would cross my fingers and whisper “please, please, please no one pick the banana cake”. When I saw the email asking for my choice, I jumped on it in about two seconds. No joke. I’ve made this cake a bunch of times in lots of ways. I love this cake so much that I wanted to share it with everyone. I hope you love it as much as I do!
This weekend, I made the cake as written and frosted and filled the cake with brown sugar cream cheese frosting but more often, I’ve used this recipe to make cupcakes. I get about 36 regular sized cupcakes which are super moist and full of banana flavor.

I vary the basic recipe for the cake and some of my favorite toppings are Cashew and Coconut Frosting (German Chocolate Cake-like Frosting), Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting and a Banana Slice with a Caramel Drizzle, and Cream Cheese Icing and Toasted Coconut.

But my all-time favorite is this one…

Caramelized Banana Cake with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting and Toasted Coconut
I used some of the brown sugar and the rum from the recipe along with an extra tablespoon of butter to caramelize three and a half ripe bananas. I let them cool a bit and added them to the batter as the recipe directs. I made sure to scrape up some of the caramelized sugar from the skillet – you can see them in the batter …
This cupcake was banana-y and caramel-y and yummy. Over the top delicious. No joke. One of the great advantages of cooking the banana before had is that you can use ripe bananas! No need to wait around waiting for brown spots to appear on your prized fruit.

Here’s the recipe, which can also be found on pages 204-205 of Dorie Greenspan’s “Baking: From My Home to Yours”.

Lots-of-Ways Banana Cake

The inspiration to bake a banana cake always seems to strike when a bunch of bananas are mottling on the counter. But just because you’ve got the fruit doesn’t mean you have all the other stuff you need, which is why I created this amazingly flexible cake. No coconut? Skip it. No brown sugar? Use white. No coconut milk? Use milk, buttermilk, sour cream or yogurt. You can serve the cake as a single layer or a double (the recipe makes two layers, plain, frosted, filled or frosted and filled. Take a look at Playing Around for some ideas.

If you make the cake with the ingredients listed first below, you’ll get a consistency that isn’t heavy but not featherweight either. It has enough substance to chew on, but its light enough to entice you to go back for a second serving … or a third.
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 ¼ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 ½ sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup (packed) light brown sugar (or granulated sugar)
¾ cup sugar
2 large eggs, preferably at room temperature
1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons dark rum or Malibu coconut rum (optional)
About 4 very ripe bananas, mashed (you should have 1 ½ - 1 ¾ cups)
½ cup canned unsweetened coconut milk, regular (stir well before measuring) or “lite” (or whole milk, buttermilk, sour cream, or plain yogurt)
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut, preferably toasted (or an equal amount of moist, plump dried fruit, such as currants, raisings, chopped apricots, cranberries, blueberries, or halved cherries, or a combination of coconut and dried fruit)

Getting Ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9x2-inch round cake pans, dust the insides with flour and tap out the excess. Put the pans on a baking sheet.

Whisk the flour, baking soda, salt and nutmeg together. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugars and beat at medium speed for a couple of minutes, then add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, followed by the vanilla and rum. You’ll have a beautiful satiny batter. Now lower the speed and add the bananas-the batter will curdle, but that’s fine; it will come together as you add the remaining ingredients. Still on low speed, add the dry and liquid ingredients alternately, adding the flour mixture in three portions and the coconut milk in 2 (begin and end with the dry ingredients). Mix just until everything is incorporated. Switch to a rubber spatula and gently stir in the coconut. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the cakes are a deep golden brown. They should start to pull away from the sides of the pans and a thin knife inserted into their centers will come out clean. Transfer the cakes to a cooling rack and cool for 5 minutes, then unmold and invert onto another rack to cool to room temperature right side up.

Playing Around
To frost one layer or to fill and frost both layers, consider Sweetened whipped cream to which you’ve added vanilla, a splash of dark rum or Malibu coconut rum and toasted coconut, Marshmallow frosting (p. 247), Chocolate Whipped Cream (page 457) and just for fun, a crown of chocolate shavings (p. 471) or Bittersweet Ganache (p. 453).

Rum Syrup: If you like the flavor of rum, you can douse the cakes with rum syrup as soon as they come out of the oven (see page 226 for the syrup recipe-give these cakes the same treatment you’d give the Rum-Drenched Vanilla Cakes).

One-Layer Cake: Serve just one layer, lightly sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar or cocoa powder, and accompany it with lightly whipped cream and/or ice cream (chocolate, coconut, vanilla, or coffee) and/or Hot Fudge Sauce (page 465).

Grand Banana Sundae: You can cut one cake into small cubes and make a sundae. Toss the pieces of cake with some cubes of fresh banana and a little rum and top with ice cream, hot fudge sauce and whipped cream. Why not go all the way and add some toasted coconut too?

Thank you for visiting my blog today (please come back soon) and be sure to visit the rest of the TWD bakers to see lots-of-versions of this fantastic cake!