Thursday, September 24, 2009

Blueberry Cake

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This wasn't what I envisioned for my blueberry cakes. When most of the berries sunk to the bottom and the cake wouldn't even support itself, I had to flip them upside down.


These were some of the better looking ones and the sinkage might even pass as intentional for decoration purposes.

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Since I'm obsessed with texture shots, this is the best one I could get after splitting through 3 and only seeing an explosion of blueberries. Maybe I went a teeny tiny overboard with the addins.

Despite their appearance, these were amazing! I loved the tight crumb and light and fluffy texture. The blueberries added a really nice burst of flavour with each bite. I'm definitely going to give this recipe a try again as cupcakes. Blueberries add a lot of moisture and these cakes weren't soggy at all so I hope that the cake only version won't end up dry.

I used the cake part of the New York style crumb cake from CI

New York Style Crumb Cake
Cooks Illustrated

Crumb Topping

1/3 cup granulated sugar (2 2/3 ounces)
1/3 cup dark brown sugar (2 2/3 ounces)
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
1/8 teaspoon table salt 
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), melted and still warm
1 3/4 cups cake flour (7 ounces)


1 1/4 cups cake flour (5 ounces)
1/2 cup granulated sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda 
1/4 teaspoon table salt 
6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 stick), cut into 6 pieces, softened but still cool
1 large egg 
1 large egg yolk 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1/3 cup buttermilk 

Confectioners' sugar for dusting

1. FOR THE TOPPING: Whisk sugars, cinnamon, salt, and butter in medium bowl to combine. Add flour and stir with rubber spatula or wooden spoon until mixture resembles thick, cohesive dough; set aside to cool to room temperature, 10 to 15 minutes.

2. FOR THE CAKE: Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Cut 16-inch length parchment paper or aluminum foil and fold lengthwise to 7-inch width. Spray 8-inch square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and fit parchment into dish, pushing it into corners and up sides; allow excess to overhang edges of dish.

3. In bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt on low speed to combine. With mixer running at low speed, add butter one piece at a time; continue beating until mixture resembles moist crumbs, with no visible butter chunks remaining, 1 to 2 minutes. Add egg, yolk, vanilla, and buttermilk; beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute, scraping once if necessary.

4. Transfer batter to baking pan; using rubber spatula, spread batter into even layer. Following photos below, break apart crumb topping into large pea-sized pieces and spread in even layer over batter, beginning with edges and then working toward center. Bake until crumbs are golden and wooden skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool on wire rack at least 30 minutes. Remove cake from pan by lifting parchment overhang. Dust with confectioners' sugar just before serving.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Chocolate Cupcakes

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There's something about sprinkles that gets me excited every time. Even when they aren't particularly yummy and annoying to have beads of sugar stuck between my teeth, I will gladly reach for that sprinkly donut. When my chocolate cupcakes looked a little too plain, I decided to dress them up a little. To make them a teeny bit fancier, I topped them with a sunflower left from cake decorating. I went with the always reliable and easy Hershey's chocolate cake recipe and frosting.


I'm trying to get caught up on commenting, but my google reader is going to burst with 1000+ posts and that was from a while ago! It annoys me when my reader isn't cleared so I'm getting through as many as I can.

Hershey's Perfect Chocolate Chocolate Cake
2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
(I added 1 tsp of instant coffee)

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.

2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.

3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost with "PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE" CHOCOLATE FROSTING. 10 to 12 servings.

ONE-PAN CAKE: Grease and flour 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Heat oven to 350° F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely. Frost.

THREE LAYER CAKE: Grease and flour three 8-inch round baking pans. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost.

BUNDT CAKE: Grease and flour 12-cup Bundt pan. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 50 to 55 minutes. Cool 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely. Frost.

CUPCAKES: Line muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper bake cups. Heat oven to 350°F. Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely. Frost. About 30 cupcakes.

Perfectly Chocolate Chocolate Frosting
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
2/3 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla. About 2 cups frosting.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

MSC: Zucchini Spice Cupcakes

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I don't exactly want to start off this post saying that I really didn't like these, but it's the truth. It's probably because I don't usually like spices so if you like zucchini and spices, you'll probably love these. I've gotten better though from TWD, but these were still too overpowering for me, especially since zucchini doesn't exactly taste like anything. I don't think frosting could have saved these so I left them as is.

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I feel like I've been a little absent from blogging and havn't been commenting as much as I would love to, but right now everything feels a little bleh. I'm sure I'll get back into it because I can't ever imagine stopping with blogging or baking.

Thanks to Tracey for choosing these. Don't forget to check out the MSC Blogroll!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

NYT Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Crisp edges, chewy interior, buttery and the perfect thickness (for me at least). These were very, very good. I can't believe I waited so long to try them!


The best part? They weren't just good when they were warm and gooey, but also delicious the next day. I think these cookies retained the crispy edges the longest compared to other recipes I've tried. I also liked that these weren't too soft, but actually chewy. Soft cookies remind me of raw batter and that isn't something I'm too crazy about. Up next, I'm going to try these again with all purpose flour to see if there's a difference. Some people have said it matters, but others say it doesn't. I guess the only way to find out is to give it a try. It's really hard to say for sure that these are my favourite. I'm really tempted to have a bakeoff of some of the most popular recipes, but CCCs can be so dangerous!

NYT Chocolate Chip Cookies
Jacques Torres

8 1/2 ounces cake flour (2 cups minus 2 tablespoons)
8 1/2 ounces bread flour (1 2/3 cups)
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 1/4 cups unsalted butter
10 ounces light brown sugar ( 1 1/4 cups)
8 ounces granulated sugar (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons)
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 pounds bitterswee chocolate discs or shards
sea salt, for garnish

Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Set aside.

Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5-10 seconds. Drop chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24-36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Scoop six 3 1/2 ounce mounds of dough (large golf balls) onto baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18-20 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then move cookies onto another rack to cool further. Eat warm.


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