Flour Child Bakery opens in Virginia Beach!

My mom and I just opened a bakery in Virginia Beach!! "Like" us to stay updated! If you care to read our blog, it's flourchildbakery.blogspot.com.



Monday, April 27, 2009

CI's "Classic Brownies" for HTEAC's 2nd Birthday!

UPDATE: Two days later, these brownies are quite delicious after they've dried out a bit! ;)

Happy 2nd birthday, HTEAC! My, how you've grown! It seems like only yesterday I was typing ".blogspot.com" after your name. Now you've established yourself on the almighty interweb and changed your last name to ".net!" No matter what, you'll always be my little baby blog!

As always, I really want to say thank you to every pair of eyes that has ever graced my pages, as well as every set of fingers that have typed a comment. Thank you to all of you who don't click "Spam" when you get my e-mail updates in your inbox. Thank you to all of you who send pictures showing what a great job you did recreating the recipes you've seen here! Thank you to the many of you who have actually sent me things by mail, just out of the kindness of your hearts (PS: Maela, I'm going to pick up your package from the post office on Monday!)! And most importantly, thanks to everyone who puts up with my mindlessness when I forget things, like including the amount of flour in the Whoopie Pie recipe! I wouldn't maintain this blog if it wasn't for all of my readers, so give yourselves a hug and then make these brownies!

By now, my most faithful readers probably know that I'm not the biggest chocoholic in the world. Don't get me wrong, chocolate is A-OK in my book. But given the choice between chocolate or vanilla, 8 times out of 10 I'm gonna pick vanilla! On that note, I'm going to tell you why I don't absolutely love these Cook's Illustrated brownies. First of all, I didn't really discover until today that I prefer cake brownies over fudge brownies... meaning I prefer them more on the fluffy side with just a hint of chewy fudginess. These "Classic Brownies" are definitely for fudge-lovers! They're made with cake flour, so that pretty much ditches any hope that they'll be chewy. They are extremely dense and fudgy when baked according to CI's instructions. My inspiration to make these brownies came from Smitten Kitchen, and she mentions that if they're baked longer, they'll be cakey. I'm not going to take that chance. My next brownie venture will be with a recipe that specifically caters to the chewy characteristic of my ideal brownie. And I'll also be looking for a recipe with a little less sugar, because these were almost tooth-achingly sweet.
Anyway, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, my dear blog!

Classic Brownies (from Cook’s Illustrated)

1 cup (4 ounces) pecans or walnuts, chopped medium (optional)
1¼ cups (5 ounces) cake flour
½ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon baking powder
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped fine
12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, cut into six 1-inch pieces
2¼ cups (15¾ ounces) sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 325 degrees. Cut 18-inch length foil and fold lengthwise to 8-inch width. Fit foil into length of 13 by 9-inch baking dish, pushing it into corners and up sides of pan; allow excess to overhand pan edges. Cut 14-inch length foil and, if using extra-wide foil, fold lengthwise to 12-inch width; fit into width of baking pan in same manner, perpendicular to first sheet. Spray foil-lined pan with nonstick cooking spray.
2. If using nuts, spread nuts evenly on rimmed baking sheet and toast in oven until fragrant, 5 to 8 minutes. Set aside to cool.
3. Whisk to combine flour, salt, and baking powder in medium bowl; set aside.
4. Melt chocolate and butter in large heatproof bowl set over saucepan of almost-simmering water, stirring occasionally, until smooth. (Alternatively, in microwave, heat butter and chocolate in large microwave-safe bowl on high for 45 seconds, then stir and heat for 30 seconds more. Stir again, and, if necessary, repeat in 15-second increments; do not let chocolate burn.) When chocolate mixture is completely smooth, remove bowl from saucepan and gradually whisk in sugar. Add eggs on at a time, whisking after each addition until thoroughly combined. Whisk in vanilla. Add flour mixture in three additions, folding with rubber spatula until batter is completely smooth and homogeneous.
5. Transfer batter to prepared pan; using spatula, spread batter into corners of pan and smooth surface. Sprinkle toasted nuts (if using) evenly over batter and bake until toothpick or wooden skewer inserted into center of brownies comes out with few moist crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool on wire rack to room temperature, about 2 hours, then remove brownies from pan by lifting foil overhang. Cut brownies into 2-inch squares and serve. (Store leftovers in airtight container at room temperature, for up to 3 days, or, ahem, in the freezer until your resistance gets the better of you.)


[printable recipe coming soon]

Friday, April 24, 2009

Friendship Blog Award

Thank you VERY much to Eliana of A Chica Bakes for thinking of me when she was asked to nominate eight others to receive this Friendship Blog Award!! Now I get to pass it along to eight others!

"These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated.”
Stephanie (my awesome cousin!) of Cram It In Your Face
Stacey of A Slice of Concentrated Love
Amanda of Is This Thing On?
Steph of A Whisk and a Spoon
Elyse of Elyse's Confectionery Creations
Gigi of Gigi Cakes
Hannah of Honey & Jam
Steph of Obsessed with Baking

Of course there are WAY more blogs than that on my Google reader... You ALL rock!! ;D
Don't forget to pass it along!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Holy Dutch Ovens Batman!

Elyse got a kick out of the comment I left her saying, "Holy Turnovers Batman!" I can't take full credit, however. I was inspired by a Twitter reply from Clara (the awesome genius behing iheartcuppycakes.com). Ever since then, I can't get the "Holy *insert word here* Batman" phrase out of my head!

Anyway, I totally got the deal of the CENTURY at TJ Maxx yesterday! If you're in the market for a Dutch oven (or two), you really need to get in your car and head over there right now. Even if you don't need one, this deal is too good to pass up! If they don't have them at TJ Maxx, never fear! Marshall's has them too! I bought these two Cuisinart enamel cast-iron dutch ovens for a fraction of their price! The red one is a 7 quart round Dutch oven (or covered casserole), and it was on clearance for $49! It's a $129.95 value according to cuisinart.com!
The blue one is 5.5 quart oval Dutch oven, and I stole it for $39! It's $99.95 at cuisinart.com! If you're counting, I saved $141.90!! My head is spinning with ideas to use these things. I want to make bread using the famous method mentioned in the NY Times about cooking it in a 500F Dutch oven... I wanna make soup... stew... I might even learn to braise. Oh the possibilities! If you have a favorite recipe using a Dutch oven, please suggest it! And then get to TJ Maxx FAST!
Oh I almost forgot! I also found this Chicago Metallic checkerboard cake pan set for $5.99 (just in case a certain cake wins this month's poll over at "The Cake Slice"). And they had a bunch of P.B. Loco peanut butter for $4.99! I've seen other bloggers talk about this stuff, so I had to try it. And how could anyone pass up Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough flavored peanut butter?
By the way, I just did a store locator search on the P.B. Loco website. Turns out they sell it at a bunch of local grocery stores near me!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

IronCupcake_009: "Drink Cheerwine" Cupcakes

Iron Cupcake:Earth_009
Theme: Soda Pop
My entry: "Drink Cheerwine" Cupcakes
Voting begins: Tuesday, April 28 @ http://www.ironcupcakemilwaukee.com/ and will be open through Monday, May 4 at 12 noon Central.

As soon as I saw that this month's theme for Iron Cupcake:Earth was soda, I knew immediately what drink I was going to use! Since I was born, we've been going to my Grandma's house in North Carolina for every major holiday. While we're there, it's always a treat to get a bottle of Cheerwine. Until recently, Cheerwine was hard to find oustide of NC. Thankfully, now you can get it at most grocery stores in the South. For my Iron Cupcake entry, I went in the direction of red velvet. I wanted to emphasize the color of the soda, and I also needed a recipe that called for water. (Substituting water in recipes that call for milk can result in gummy cupcakes.) I adapted a recipe called "Wacky Cake" from the 1983 book, The Southern Heritage Cakes Cookbook. Instead of using cold water, I used cold Cheerwine. I also added a tablespoon of red gel food coloring. The flavor of Cheerwine wasn't really detectable in the cake, so I knew I had to bring it in the frosting! I made a 7-minute frosting, again subbing Cheerwine for the water. I also added a tiny bit of cherry and almond flavorings. Finally, some Cheerwine flavor! These cupcakes are 100% delicious. The cake part is moist and tender, and the frosting is so light and airy! I am very pleased with these "Drink Cheerwine" Cupcakes as my Iron Cupcake entry for this month!

Ingredients... I promise that's not a jar of blood! I'm thinking the original cake was called "Wacky Cake" because of the strange order the ingredients are mixed.
Finally, it looks like batter! Ready for the oven...
Making the frosting...
I'm pretty proud of these cuppies! ;)

Cheerwine Cupcakes
Makes 12-14 cupcakes

1 cup sugar
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 tablespoon red gel food coloring
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup cold Cheerwine soft drink

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin pan with paper liners.
Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Add vanilla, vinegar, food coloring, and butter; beat well. Slowly stir in water; beat well.
Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Finish cooling on wire racks.

Cheerwine Frosting
1 ½ cups sugar
2 egg whites
¾ cup Cheerwine soft drink
¼ teaspoon cherry flavoring (or 1 drop cherry candy flavoring)
¼ teaspoon almond flavoring

Combine sugar and egg whites in top of a double boiler; add water, and beat on low speed of electric mixer for 30 seconds or just until blended.
Place over boiling water; beat constantly on high speed of electric mixer about 7 minutes or until stiff peaks form. Remove from heat. Add flavorings, and beat 2 additional minutes or until frosting is thick enough to spread.



Overall rating on a scale of 1-5
Moistness: 5
Tenderness: 5
Frosting: 5

Prizes provided by Etsy artists:
A creation by FRUITFLYPIE
A pair of cupcake earrings from LOTS OF SPRINKLES
Also,
CAKESPY, who is now going to be doing a piece for our winner each month until further notice!
SWEET CUPPIN CAKES CUPCAKERY will be tossing in sweet surprise.
Corporate prize providers:
HEAD CHEFS by
FIESTA PRODUCTS
HELLO CUPCAKE by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson
JESSIE STEELE APRONS
CUPCAKE COURIER
TASTE OF HOME books
UPWITHCUPCAKES.COM

Iron Cupcake:Earth is sponsored in part by 1-800-Flowers

Four-Star Chocolate Bread Pudding!

What!? I just happened to make Dorie's Four-Star Chocolate Bread Pudding at the same time as the TWDers, and I didn't even know it!? AWESOME! I've always wanted to join Tuesdays with Dorie, but somehow I always manage to fill up my week with other baking obligations. Oh well, this week I can pretend I'm one of them! ;)

Remember the Kugelhopf I just posted... seriously... you have to remember... it was literally minutes ago! Anyway, I mentioned turning the leftovers into bread pudding. Well, here she is! After a few days of nibbling off of the Kugelhopf, I had approximately half of it leftover. I knew I wanted to make bread pudding out of it, because I'd never had bread pudding before. I made it a few times at the bakery I used to worked at, but theirs smelled (and looked) like puke. I was hesitant to make bread pudding at home, but I had a feeling I could do a better job at making it look appetizing! Maybe, I was wrong, because mine came out looking a little like dog food (or Egg Fu Yung, you decide). But it definitely tasted good! You could still taste the wonderful yeasty flavor of the Kugelhopf, but now it was accompanied by the fantastic, creamy flavor of chocolate! At first I wasn't sure if I'd like the raisin/chocolate combo, but it was nice. The raisins added a nice burst of flavor every now and then. The only thing I'd change about it is to follow Dorie's optional instructions for baking it in a 7-x-11-inch pan to make it deeper. Other than that, this Egg Fu Yung *ahem* bread pudding is a keeper!

Four-Star Chocolate Bread Pudding (from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan)
MAKES 12 SERVINGS
“I like to use a pan large enough to create a pudding that's only about an inch high… If you'd like a deeper pudding, you can make the pudding in a 7-x-ll-inch baking pan or in something deeper, like a soufflé mold. Alternatively, you can make individual puddings--depending on the size of the cups you use, you'll need 8 to 10. Of course, with any change of pan, you'll have to change the baking time, which is not difficult since, as you'll see, it is easy to tell when the pudding is properly baked.”
SERVING: You could serve this pudding warm, but it is better at cool room temperature or even chilled--it also cuts better when it is cold. Serve the pudding simply with a dusting of confectioners' sugar or less simply with vanilla (or rum or Grand Marnier or brandy) Crème Anglaise, chocolate sauce, or whipped cream or crème fraîche.

STORING: Covered, the bread pudding will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. (Sike, I bet it can last for a week!)

12 ounces bread (brioche, challah or white (or Kugelhopf)), preferably stale
1/2 cup moist, plump raisins (dark or golden) or dried cherries (optional) (Since there were raisins alredy in my Kugelhopf, I just sprinkled a few extra raisins on top of the pudding before baking.)
3 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
3 large eggs
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (I used semi-sweet chips)

Getting ready: Have a 9-x-13-inch baking pan at hand (a Pyrex pan is perfect here), as well as a roasting pan big enough to hold the baking pan and hot water. Line the roasting pan with a double thickness of paper towels.
Cut the bread into I-inch cubes. If the bread is stale, put it and the raisins or cherries, if you are using them, into the baking pan. If it is not stale, spread it out on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat and bake in a 350 degree F oven to "stale" it for 10 minutes, then toss into the pan (with the fruit).
Bring the milk and cream just to a boil.
Fill a teakettle with water and put it on to boil; when the water boils, turn off the heat. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs, yolks and sugar together in a bowl. Still whisking, slowly drizzle in about one quarter of the hot milk mixture--this will temper, or warm, the eggs so they don't curdle. Whisking all the while, slowly pour in the rest of the hot milk. Add the chocolate and whisk it in gently until it is melted and the custard is smooth. Rap the bowl against the counter to pop any bubbles that might have formed, then pour the custard over the bread and press the bread gently with the back of a spoon to help cover it with liquid. Leave the pan on the counter, giving the bread the back-of-the-spoon treatment now and then, for 30 minutes.

Getting ready to bake: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Slide the pan setup into the oven and very carefully pour enough hat water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the pudding pan. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until the pudding is evenly puffed, the top is dull and dry and a thin knife inserted deep into the center comes out clean. Transfer the baking pan to a rack and cool to room temperature.

Kugelhopf (aka Gugelhoffen... for Dad!)

If you've been reading my new "business" blog, you might've noticed the Kugelhopf pan I picked up at an auction last week. Ever since I got it, my dad hasn't stopped bugging me about making something with it. I guess he just really loves the name of it because he randomly shouts it at me every time he sees me! But my dad has his own way of pronouncing words (ever since I can remember, he's never been satisfied with calling something by it's proper name), so he's been calling is "Gugelhoffen!" Finally, I decided to put an end to this madness and make him a "GUGELHOFFEN!" I'm so glad I did! Wow! It was totally different than what I was expecting. I was not expecting it to be so delicious! Actually, I'm not even sure what I was expecting, but what I got was very yummy! Dorie does a good job of explaining it in her book, Baking: From My Home to Yours.
Part bread, part cake, Kugelhopf is made very much like brioche. In fact, it is almost a brioche, but not a rich one. You won't miss the bit of butter that's left out of the dough, though, because once it’s baked, the cake is soaked with melted butter and sprinkled with sugar, so it develops a fine crust..."
If she says this bread isn't as rich as brioche, I'm very curious to taste brioche! The Kugelhopf seemed very rich to me. And she's right, it definitely wasn't lacking butter! I was tempted to add cinnamon to the recipe, but I'm glad I restrained myself. The plain, yeasty taste of this bread was SO good! Josh and I took a road trip up to Belle Isle, and I brought along a huge hunk of Kugelhopf for snacking! Mmmm, I'll definitely be using this recipe often!

PS: If you can't imagine eating an entire loaf of this stuff, stay tuned to see how to turn the leftovers into a delicious bread pudding (which, coincidentally, is the same bread pudding made by the TWDers this week)!

Here is the dough after being punched down the first time. It's still very sticky at this point! ...After the last rising, it's ready to be baked!
I was so excited to see this thing turned out of the pan!
Tada! Perfection!
I wish I had one more piece of this right now!
It was delicious for breakfast and for snacking anytime!
Kugelhopf (from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan)
MAKES 8 SERVINGS (To make this in a 12 cup pan, follow my conversions in italicized parentheses)
“For anyone who comes from Alsace, the northeastern region of France, Kugelhopf, as plain as it is, is a dream food. Part bread, part cake, Kugelhopf is made very much like brioche. In fact, it is almost a brioche, but not a rich one. You won't miss the bit of butter that's left out of the dough, though, because once it’s baked, the cake is soaked with melted butter and sprinkled with sugar, so it develops a fine crust… While, in a pinch, you could make a Kugelhopf in a Bundt pan, it's a treat to bake it in the pan designed especially for it… Like brioche, this dough is best made using a heavy-duty mixer; however, you can succeed in mixing it in a large bowl with a wooden spoon.”
FOR THE CAKE
1/3 cup moist, plump raisins (1/2 cup)
Scant 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast (1 packet [2 1/4 teaspoons])
1/3 cup just-warm-to-the-touch whole milk (1/2 cup)
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour (2 1/2 cups)
1/4 teaspoon salt (1/2 teaspoon)
2 large eggs (3 eggs)
1 large egg yolk (2 yolks)
3 tablespoons sugar (1/4 cup + 1/2 tablespoon)
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature (1 1/2 sticks)

FOR THE SOAK
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
Sugar, for dusting
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

To make the cake: Bring a little water to a boil in a small saucepan and toss in raisins. Turn off the heat and let steep for 2 minutes, then drain the raisins and pat them dry. Put the yeast and milk in the bowl of a stand mixer and, using a wooden spoon, stir until the yeast is dissolved. Add the flour and salt and stir just to moisten the flour--don't be concerned, the mixture will be shaggy and there may be dry patches.
In a small bowl, beat the eggs and yolk together lightly with a fork. Fit the mixer with the dough hook, if you have one, and, working on low speed, pour in the beaten eggs, mixing until they are incorporated. Add the sugar, increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the dough comes together and smooths out a little, about 5 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to medium and add the butter in 4 to 6 additions, squeezing each piece to soften it before adding it and beating until each one is almost fully incorporated before adding the next.
When the butter is blended in, the dough will be very soft. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and beat, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and climbs up the hook, about 10 minutes. Remove the bowl from the mixer, and stir in the raisins.
Scrape the dough into a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until nearly doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours. (The length of time will depend on the warmth of your room.) (I set my oven to the “warm” setting (170º F) and turned it off. This will cut the rising time almost in half.)
Deflate the dough by lifting it up around the edges and letting it fall back with a slap into the bowl. Cover the bowl again and put it in the refrigerator. Slap the dough down in the bowl every 30 minutes until it stops rising, about 2 hours. Then, if you have the time, let the dough rest in the refrigerator overnight. (The dough can be wrapped tightly and refrigerated for up to 2 days.)
Generously butter a 9-inch Kugelhopf mold (8- to 9-cup capacity) (Mine is a 12-cup; my conversions are 1.5x the original recipe.) and put the chilled dough in the pan. Cover the pan lightly with buttered parchment or wax paper and let the dough rise in a warm place until it comes almost to the top of the mold, 2 to 3 hours.

Getting ready to bake: When the dough has almost fully risen, center a rack in the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F.
(The times are the same for a 12-cup recipe.) Remove the paper and bake the Kugelhopf for 10 minutes. Cover the pan lightly with a foil tent and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes, or until the Kugelhopf is golden brown and has risen to the top--or, more likely, over the top--of the pan.
Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with foil and place a rack over it. Remove the kugelhopf from the oven and unmold it on the rack.

To soak the cake: (I didn’t increase the amount of butter to soak my cake; ½ stick was plenty.) Melt the butter and gently brush the hot cake with it, allow the butter to soak into the cake. Sprinkle the hot cake lightly with sugar and cool it to room temperature. Right before serving, dust the Kugelhopf with confectioners' sugar.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Cake Slice presents: Chai Cake w/ Honey Ginger Cream

I am so glad I joined The Cake Slice! Last month's Triple Lemon Chiffon Cake was fabulous, and this month's cake is even better! For April, we made this delicious chai spiced cake with honey ginger cream cheese frosting. Whoa! The cake is so soft and jam-packed with flavor. The honey and ginger flavors in the frosting are a perfect compliment to the warm spicy flavors in the cake. The recipe actually calls for cardamom, but have you seen the price of that stuff? I dunno if it's the same everywhere, but it was OUTRAGEOUS at my local grocery store. I substituted a little extra cinnamon and some cloves, and it tasted great! This cake would've been really perfect for Thanksgiving, but I'm glad they waited until I joined to bake it! I'll definitely be using this recipe as my go-to for spice cake! The frosting was extremely soft, so my cake is less than beautiful. I think when I make the cake again, I'll frost it with honey ginger SMBC!

Steeping the tea... Ohh I wanted to drink that so bad!Baking the layers...
Cooling time!
My sub-par cake...
...WAS FREAKIN DELICIOUS!
And what do you do with leftover cake scraps? Make cake truffles, of course!
UPDATE: Lots of you asked how to make the cake truffles. When you level the tops of your cakes, save the scraps. Mix it with a few spoonfuls of the frosting until you have a smooth, even mixture. Roll the mixture into bite-size balls and place them on a wax paper-lined cookie sheet. Freeze the balls until firm, about 10 minutes. Dip them in melted chocolate or candy melts. I like to keep mine in the fridge so the centers stay firm! Left at room temp, the centers will be extremely soft.

Chai Cake w/ Honey Ginger Cream (from Sky High Irresistible Triple Layer Cakes by Alisa Huntsman and Peter Wynne)
Makes an 8-inch 3-layer cake

1 1/3 cups milk
6 chai tea bags, without added sweetener, such as Tazo
(I used Stash)
4 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups cake flour*
2 cups sugar
4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom**
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
[*1 cup of cake flour is equal to 3/4 cup of all purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons of cornstarch.]
[**Cardamom substitute is an equal amount of brown cardamom OR equal parts ground nutmeg and cinnamon OR equal parts ground cloves and cinnamon]

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease the bottom and sides of 3 8-inch round pans and line with parchment paper. Grease the paper as well.
In a small saucepan bring the milk to a simmer over medium-low heat. Add the tea bags, careful not to let the paper tag fall into the milk. Remove from heat and allow the tea to steep for 5 minutes. Remove the teabags and squeeze out the milk. Let the chai milk cool completely.
In a medium bowl mix the eggs, egg yolks, vanilla, and 1/3 cup of the chai milk. Whisk together.
Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, cardamom, and salt in the bowl of a mixer. Beat on low for 30 seconds. Add the butter and the remaining chai milk, on medium-low speed. Raise the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy (If you're using cake flour, don't worry about over beating. If you're using all-purpose flour, beat just until mixture looks almost even). Add the egg mixture in three additions scraping the between additions. Divide the batter evenly among the pans.
Bake the cakes for 26-28 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean (My cakes were done at 22 mins). Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Remove cakes from pans and peel off parchment paper. Cool completely.
To assemble the cake place one layer flat side down a serving plate and top with 2/3 cup of icing. Spread to the edge and repeat with second layer. Place third layer on top and spread the remaining ginger cream on top allowing it to drizzle down the sides of the cake like icicles.

Honey Ginger Cream
2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup honey (any kind as long as liquid)
1/2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger

Place all the ingredients in a food processor. Pulse to blend together, then scrape the sides of the bowl and pulse until smooth (I mixed mine with a hand mixer on medium speed).

Friday, April 17, 2009

Whoopie Pies for Dad!

Remember those pumpkin whoopie pies I made last year? Well, my dad does! He hasn't stopped talking about whoopie pies since then. He mentions them to me at least a few times each month. I guess I'm a terrible daughter, because it's taken me this long to make them for him again! But never fear... these chocolate whoopie pies were worth the wait! The filling recipe needs a little work, but the cookies themselves are fantastic! I can definitely see these as a regular item at my future bakery! Now, if I could only figure out why they call them "pies"...

Sorry, I've been getting really bad at skipping the step-by step photos. I promise I'll bring them back soon!!

Whoopie Pies (from Recipe Hall of Fame Dessert Cookbook)
#30 scoop makes 24 cookies (12 pies)

COOKIE:
1/2 cup salad oil
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa (I used 1/4 cup regular + 1/4 cup dark)
1 cup milk (I added 1/2 teaspoon instant coffee)
1 egg
2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla


Mix ingredients in order and beat until well mixed. Drop on ungreased cookie sheet from a tablespoon. Bake for 7-10 minutes in a 375 oven or until done (Most of mine were done at 6 minutes). Spread filling between 2 cookies (I used a piping bag with a #32 tip).


FILLING:
1 cup milk
4 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup margarine (or butter), softened
1 cup Crisco (reduce to 1/2 cup)
1 cup sugar (replace with 2 cups confectioners’ sugar)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt

Cook milk and cornstarch together. This will be very thick. Cool completely. Cream together the margarine, Crisco, and sugar. Add vanilla and salt. Add cooled, cooked mixture and beat with electric mixer on high speed for at least 5 minutes. Will be very creamy. (These instructions are kinda vague. Here’s what I did. Bring the milk and cornstarch to a simmer over medium heat. As soon as it begins to thicken, turn the heat off and stir for another minute. It should become thick like glue. Transfer to a bowl and let cool to room temperature (do not refrigerate). I changed a few things about the next part. First, I used butter instead of margarine and reduced the amount of Crisco because, well, I just don’t like Crisco. Second, I would change the sugar next time to confectioners’ sugar because the regular sugar was just too grainy and not nearly sweet enough. Other than that, the directions for the last steps are pretty straightforward. PS: This recipe makes a GINORMOUS amount of filling. I only used about 1/2 of it!)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Product Review: Miss Muffet's Lemon Dream Cupcake Mix

Recently I was contacted by Carrie from Miss Muffet's about reviewing some of her bakery mixes. Over the weekend I made the Lemon Dream Cupcakes for my family for Easter. It makes 12 cupcakes, and the retail value is $8.25. Everyone loved them! We all agreed that the cupcakes were SUPER moist and slightly lemony. Some thought the frosting was "weird" but good. It's kinda like a whipped topping (kinda like Dream Whip), not really the texture or sweetness you think of when you think frosting. They were supposed to be filled with the mixture, but I was short on time, so I just piled all of it ontop of the cupcakes.

If you're interested in ordering some of Miss Muffet's bakery mixes, visit missmuffets.com!

Hot Cross Buns

Whoa! It's been a while, hasn't it? Excuse me while I blow the dust off my blog! Well, hello, I'm back! I was out of town for the Easter weekend, and then I took a few days to get myself back together (and to start a new blog!). And now I'm here, blogging for your enjoyment! Let me tell you about these hot cross buns... If you've never had them (or even heard of them) they are a traditional Easter treat. I'm not really sure why, but you can click here if you care to investigate. I had never made them before, but I wanted to start a new family tradition by making them for everyone on Easter morning. I didn't want to lug my million pound mixer on a 4 hour road trip. So I made the dough Thursday and froze it before the second proofing. I was extremely worried that the dough wouldn't survive the trip in the cooler. But it survived! Saturday night I took it out of the freezer and left it in the fridge to thaw overnight. Sunday morning, I sat it on the counter for an hour to finish proofing. When the buns were ready, I cut the X's, brushed them with egg wash, and threw them into the oven! 25 minutes later, things were smelling goooood! Instead of the plain powdered sugar glaze, I made a cream cheese glaze. They were so good! Everyone loved them... if you scroll down you'll see the proof! ;D I'm going to compare them to cinnamon rolls. They had that soft, chewy texture and a fabulous cinnamon-y, yeasty flavor. I'll definitely be making these more often than Easter!

Proofing on Sunday morning! Of course my family wouldn't settle a tiny 'X' of frosting...
I had to smother them! YUM!! How about some feedback...


WE LOVE THEM!!

HOT CROSS BUNS (from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book)
MAKES 12 buns
"These buns are traditional for Easter; however, they taste good all year round. To prevent the icing from being too thick, drizzle it over the buns while they are still warm."

BUNS
3/4 cup buttermilk, warm (110 degrees)
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 large eggs
4 1/4 cups (21 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) sugar
1 envelope (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant or rapid-rise yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup (3 3/4 ounces) currants or raisins
1 large egg
1 tablespoon water
GLAZE
3/4 cup (3 ounces) confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ounces cream cheese, softened (my own addition)

1. FOR THE BUNS: Whisk the buttermilk, melted butter, and eggs together in a large liquid measuring cup. Combine 4 cups of the flour, sugar, yeast, salt, and cinnamon in a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook. With the mixer on low speed, add the buttermilk mixture and mix until the dough comes together, about 2 minutes.

2. Increase the mixer speed to medium and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. If after 5 minutes, more flour is needed, add the remaining 1/4 cup flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough clears the side of the bowl but sticks to the bottom.

3. Turn the dough out onto a clean counter, add the currants, and knead by hand to form a smooth round ball with evenly distributed currants. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

4. Grease a 13x9-inch baking pan. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter; divide it into 12 even pieces (If you have a scale, now is a great time to use it!). Round the pieces of dough into small, taut rolls. Arrange the rolls in the prepared baking pan and wrap tightly with greased plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until the rolls have nearly doubled in size and are pressed against one another, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

5. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Using a sharp knife, cut an X through the top 1/4 inch of each bun. Whisk the egg and water together and brush over the buns. Bake until golden and puffed, 25 to 30 minutes.

6. FOR THE GLAZE: Let the rolls cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Whisk the confectioners' sugar, milk, and vanilla together then drizzle it in an X into the cut grooves of the buns. (I just spread the glaze over them like cinnamon rolls!) Serve warm or let cool completely.

To Make Ahead
In step 4, do not let the buns rise, but refrigerate them overnight or up to 16 hours. (I froze mine for 2 days and then left them in the fridge overnight to thaw.) Let the buns sit at room temperature until they have nearly doubled in size, about 1 hour, then bake as directed.