Saturday, May 30, 2009

Raspberry Cream Cheese Pound Cake

cakecreamcheesepoundrasp

I wasn't expecting to bake a cream cheese pound cake. This actually started off as frosting that I made for fun and didn't want to waste. I'm starting to find that the process part of baking is more fun than the eating part, which usually means that sometimes I make desserts randomly. Lately, it's been frosting, especially ones made with powdered sugar because it's always nice to have a quick and easy recipe for emergencies. With so many similar recipes out there, it is very difficult to try them all and not literally eat a stick of butter. The recipe from the Whimsical Bakehouse looked interesting because the sugar is dissolved first in boiling water and it claims to be non-crusting! I liked that it wasn't super sweet, but so mad that I messed it up. It was not a pretty frosting, looking like it was on the verge of separating. It's probably my fault for overwhipping/underwhipping (I don't know) and substituting the butter for shortening, since the liquid in this recipe is water. I read a lot of great reviews for this recipe so I'm going to give it another try! Since I ruined this batch, I thought it would be fun to throw in some cream cheese to see what would happen. Instead of patiently waiting for my cream cheese to come to room temperature, I just threw half a block that I softened with my hands. That obviously was not a good idea because there were mini cream cheese chunks galore! I turned up the speed, but that only turned my thick, but chunky mixture into soup.

For some reason, I didn't want to give this up and wanted to throw more ingredients into my mixing bowl and hope that something edible would turn out. So far, I had 9 tbsps of butter, 4 oz cream cheese, 1 cup of powdered sugar and 1/6th cup of water. Don't those sound like basic ingredients for cake?! Cream cheese pound cake fit the best so I used the recipe from Deb of Smitten Kitchen as a guide. I was a little worried that the powdered sugar and water would mess this up, but the pound cake turned out to be delicious.. phew! My favourite is still the whipping cream pound cake because of it's velvety and melt in your mouth texture, but this one was good in its own way. It had a nice crust and the combination of sweetness, tanginess and burst of raspberries was really good!

I'm not sure if anyone actually wants the recipe, since it started off as being frosting, the mixing sequence might be weird and it wasn't very tall since the recipe is kind of small.

Raspberry Cream Cheese Pound Cake

1 cup powdered sugar
1/6th cup boiling water
9 tbsp butter
4 oz cream cheese
1/2 granulated sugar
2 eggs
1.5 cup (6.75 oz) sifted all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup (or more or less depending on preferences) of raspberries

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a bundt pan
2. Combine flour and salt in a bowl
3. Beat powdered sugar and boiling water in a mixer until smooth and cool
4. Add butter and cream until smooth and fluffy on medium high.
5. Add cream cheese and cream until smooth and fluffy on medium high.
6. Add granulated sugar and cream until smooth and fluffy on medium high
7. Add eggs, one at a time until fluffy and well incorporated
8. On low speed, add flour until incorporated.
9. Add half the batter and spread evenly using a spatula.
10. Scatter raspberries on top
11. Add the rest of the batter on top and smooth with a spatula
12. Bake 30-40 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Daring Bakers: Apple Strudel

steudalapple

I don't know if I should even call my apple strudel a strudel because it was more like 'tough and chewy crust wrapped apples'. This was definitely the hardest DB challenge I've participated in, but it was so much fun! It took me an really long time to gently stretch the dough and try to maintain its rectangular shape. It was a little frustrating to see one end of the dough stretch out so much and the other side not having enough dough to stretch, but it felt so good to be concentrated and focused. I was so proud of myself for getting the dough to stretch to 60x60 cm. If I could have somehow transferred some of the extra dough on one side over to the other, maybe I would have been able to stretch to 90. Hopefully next time I can get those nice layers!

The May Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Linda of make life sweeter! and Courtney of Coco Cooks. They chose Apple Strudel from the recipe book Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Caf├ęs of Vienna, Budapest and Prague by Rick Rodgers.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Banana Cupcakes

cupcakesbanana

I decided to participate in May's Cooking Club Challenge hosted by Food Network Canada because they were making Anna Olson's White Chocolate Banana Loaf! There were a few mixed opinions about this recipe, but I made it anyway because I'm not sure when FN Canada will have another baking recipe. Since this recipe uses cake and pastry flour, I thought it could work well as a cupcake and frosted them with Martha's honey-cinnamon frosting I saw on Hannah's gorgeous blog, Honey and Jam. Other than the frosting and omitting the white chocolate chips from the batter, I followed the recipe.

I have to admit that I was disappointed with these banana cupcakes, especially since my kitchen was smelling so yummy while they were baking. The texture was a little too springy and loose, but not in a fluffy kind of way. Maybe it's because I'm used to banana breads being dense yet tender and super moist. Even as a cupcake, the texture seemed kind of off. I think it might be the cake flour or baking powder because this recipe has a very similar ratio of ingredients as my favourite banana bread recipe from the Silver Palate Cookbook. I thought that the honey and cinnamon frosting complimented the banana flavour really well though! I'm keeping my fingers crossed for another baking recipe for June!

cupcakesbanana (5)

Banana White Chocolate Loaf

1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups pastry flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup mashed banana
1/2 cup white chocolate, chopped, plus some for drizzling (I omitted)

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour a 6 ½ x 3-inch loaf pan. (I used a muffin tin)
2. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla extract.
3. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add to creamed mixture alternately with banana.
4. Fold in chopped white chocolate (I omitted). Scrape batter into pan and spread evenly (I used a large cookie scoop = 3 tbsp and got 12 cupcakes)
5. Bake for 30 minutes (it took me 15 minutes) until a tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
6. Allow to cool 10 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a plate.

Honey-Cinnamon Frosting

1 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon honey
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
(I added 2 tbsps of milk for a softer consistency)

1. Cream butter on medium high until there are no lumps and fluffy
2. Add sugar, cinnamon and honey on low. Continue beating on medium low speed until fluffy
3. Add milk by the tablespoon until desired consistency is reached

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Strawberry Muffins

muffinstrawberry

Normally, I don't like to bake with berries because I would rather eat them. There's nothing better than fresh and juicy blueberries, raspberries and strawberries! When I saw that strawberries were on sale, I picked up a few boxes and ate an entire one myself, saved the other one for my family (ok, this sounds bad, but they're not big fruit eaters.. I'm not a hog..) and used part of another box to make strawberry muffins! At first, I was going to make the strawberry cupcakes from Sprinkles, but Steph of Steph Chows, who has been on a muffin kick lately inspired me to make strawberry muffins. Plus, I had one container of strawberry yogurt that needed to be used so it was perfect. I was going to make her recipe because I've never made muffins that were truly low in fat or healthy even though I generally like to cut butter and sugar where I can. Then I realized I didn't have apple sauce so I adapted a recipe from Cook's Illustrated. I made Steph's topping, but subbed the slivered almonds for flour because I didn't have any. I really liked how light the topping was. With less butter, it doesn't have its usual buttery and crunchiness, but when it comes to streusal/crumbs, too much butter makes me feel like I'm eating chunks of butter so I really liked her recipe!

Topping
Adapted from Steph Chows

1 tbsp slivered almonds (I used 1 tbsp flour)
2 tbsp firmly packed brown sugar
1 tablespoons whole wheat flour
3/4 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/4 cup uncooked regular oats

Rub butter into flour, sugar. Add oats and mix together.

Strawberry Muffins
Adapted from Cook's Illustrated, original can be found on Basically Baked

(I made a half recipe so these are the ingredients divided by 2 and got 11 muffins)
1 1/4 cup flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp butter, melted
2 tbsp oil
100g container of yogurt (I used strawberry for extra strawberry flavour) + enough milk to make 1/2 cup liquid
1 cup sliced strawberries

1. Preheat oven to 400F
2. Grease muffin pan
3. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in large bowl.
4. Whisk sugar and eggs together until thick and homogeneous, about 45 seconds. Slowly whisk in butter and oil until combined.
5. Using rubber spatula, fold egg mixture and flour mixture until just moistened (Batter will be very lumpy with few spots of dry flour; do not overmix.)Fold in sliced strawberries
6. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin pan (I used an Oxo large cookie scoop = 3 tbsp)
7. Sprinkle topping on top of muffins
8. Bake until muffin tops are golden and just firm, 17-19 minutes, rotating muffin tin from front to back halfway through baking time. Cool muffins in muffin tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and cool 5 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

TWD: Mango Bread

quickbreadmango

I thought I was going to have to skip this week's TWD, but then my mom came home with a case of Ataulfo mangoes. I'm not sure how long this case will last us because we inhale mangoes at our house! I made 1/3rd of the recipe even though I ended up with a little less than 1 cup of mangoes and baked in a mini loaf pan. The more mango the better, right?! I halved all the spices after I thirded them so the mangoes wouldn't get overpowered by ginger and cinnamon. I was surprised that I enjoyed this so much considering there was no butter and all the folding it took to distribute the mango in this thick batter. I thought for sure this would end up tough and chewy, but it was actually tender, dense and very moist. Maybe I was just being overly paranoid about the overmixing as usual! I love how I'm discovering that it's not always about trying to get the fluffiest cake. The only thing I wasn't crazy about was the cooked mangoes because they seemed to have lost their fresh mango flavour and was a little mushy.

Thanks to Kelly of Baking with the Boys for choosing this recipe, which can be found on her blog and here. Don't forget to visit the TWD Blogroll!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Apple Cake-Muffins

cakeupsidedownapple

I was having an apple cake craving on my bus ride home from school.. yes.. that's right school in the summer..fun right?. I got home and the first thing I did was chop up apples. The thing with last minute cravings is that sometimes you don't always have all the ingredients you need and have to improvise. Umm I don't exactly like to do that because sour cream and yogurt aren't really the same.. right? Since many bakers have substituted yogurt for sour cream with sucess, I decided to give it a try. The substitutions didn't end there because I only had one container of yogurt left so I topped the rest off with milk. I also omitted the extra egg yolk because I didn't feel like accumulating extra stuff in my freezer. Then I assembled everything in my muffin pan instead of a 9 inch and crossed my fingers that this would still taste good after all these changes. I like to use muffin pans to reduce baking time and for faster turnover because having to take a knife out proves to be too much work for my family.

Edit. I forgot to add that these were a bigger hit with my family than me. The topping was really good with the cinnamon, nutmeg, apples and brown sugar and the cake part had a nice tang with the yogurt. I thought the texture was good just when they were completely cool, but a few hours later, the fluffiness disappeared and it was denser. I'm not sure if it's because of the moisture from the apples or the yogurt itself..hmm.. I think I'm going to try baking with yogurt more often.

Original recipe here

Adapted recipe (since I made so many changes, I thought it would be neater to just post the adapted recipe)

Apple Cake

Ingredients
Apples:
2 tablespoons butter
2 tbsp dark brown sugar (I reduced it significantly)
Pinch cinnamon
Pinch nutmeg
4 medium-large apples, cut into chunks

Cake:
1/4 cup yogurt + 1/4 cup milk
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees and adjust a rack to the center position. Butter a muffin tin well so that the apples won't stick
2. For the apples: Place the butter, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and apples in a large heavy-duty skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, until the apples have softened slightly and the juices are thickened and syrupy, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat and divide evenly in muffin pan.

For the cake:
1. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt
2. Combine yogurt and milk in a measuring cup
3. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes
4. Add egg and continue creaming until well combined
5. Alternately add flour and liquid mixture on low speed until flour disappears
6. Divide batter evenly ontop of apples and spread out evenly
7. Bake 18-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean
8. Cool on a baking rack for 10 minutes
9. Loosen the sides of the muffins using a knife and place a jelly roll pan on top of the muffin pan and invert so that all 12 muffins flip over at the same time.
10. Transfer cakes to cooling rack to cool completely.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

TWD: Tiramisu

caketiramisu

This was delicious. I even ate almost 1/6th of it myself and I made the whole recipe.. eek... that's a lot of cream cheese frosting!

Sorry for the background furniture and not the prettiest pic, but I was in a big rush. Right now, I'm either panicking, nervous or stressed because I'm either waiting to write, writing, or just finished writing my exam.

Thank you so much Megan of My baking adventures for this week's amazing pick! The recipe can be found on her blog or you can buy the book here. Don't forget to visit the TWD blogroll.

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