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“Twinkie Bundt”

6 Mar

Deb over at Smitten Kitchen is right – it’s fun to say.  However, it was a disaster for me.  Things started out well.  Mise en place – check.  I loved that this recipe featured weights – I felt like that was going to be key to my success here.

I did have to do the lemon juice + milk trick for the buttermilk though, since my grocery store didn’t have any buttermilk (?!).  No mind – this was fine.  The batter came together nicely.  It came nowhere near filling up my pan (I guess that’s why she specified the size of the bundt pan?  Go figure. . .), but no harm, no foul, right?  It just wouldn’t have all of the detail – plus, who knows, maybe it would puff up enough?  Clearly, I am not a baker.

Frosting.  Hmmm.  Frosting.  So, I thought I had Cream of Tartar at home.  Turns out I didn’t.  I did have meringue powder though, and what is marshmallow frosting if not sort of meringuey?  Wilton to the rescue, although this recipe did take up most of my meringue powder – something to keep in mind the next time I want to make macarons.

All in all, I’m still feeling pretty good.  Batter seemed good (smelled delicious as it baked), marshmallow fluff looks great.  Reminder to self: get thermometers for oven, since oven bakes at wrong temperature.  Was reminded of this when my cake took a full 12+ minutes longer to bake than the recipe stated.  Though 15+ is probably closer to the truth, because. . . . .

This was not baked as thoroughly as I would have liked; not sure if you can see the slight squidginess of the cake still in the pan, but it’s there.  Also, I learned a valuable lesson in REALLY making sure that the pan is properly greased/floured.  I thought I had done a good job – I was wrong.  On the left you can see my Ziploc bag o’fluff, ready to be piped in to the bundt, but lest you think all was lost. . .

The hubs and the pup thought everything tasted great – even if it didn’t quite turn out.  If I’m honest, I didn’t LOVE it.  I had a couple of bites of bundt + fluff and called it quits.  Though, I don’t love Twinkies, so no one should be surprised, right?  In any case, I’m definitely adding bundt cake to the list of “things to try again” during this challenge, just maybe not this one.


Twinkie Bundt*

Cake
1 cup (225 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature (I used this trick to quickly soften my butter)
1 3/4 cups (350 grams) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 large yolks (save the 2 whites for the filling Deb recommends, or cook it up for your dog, who is patiently waiting for anything you might be willing to give her)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon fine sea salt or table salt
2 1/2 cups (315 grams) all-purpose flour
1 cup (235 ml) buttermilk (purchased, or concocted as necessary

Filling
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp Meringue Powder
1 cup cold water (divided in half)
2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup

Heat oven to 350°F. Generously grease a 10-cup Bundt pan, either with butter or a nonstick spray.  REALLY do this part.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, scraping down bowl between each, and then yolks. Add vanilla. Sprinkle batter with salt and baking powder and mix briefly to combine. Add about 1/3 of flour, mix to combine, then half of buttermilk, mixing again just to combine, repeating with next 1/3 of flour, remaining buttermilk then remaining flour.

Scoop batter into prepared pan and spread smooth. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes, then invert onto rack, remove pan, and let cool absolutely completely. You can do this in the fridge to speed it up – it should take about 45 minutes.

When cake is completely and totally cool, invert it again. If your cake puffed up, you can use a serrated knife to level it a little. Then, using a melon baller, scoop out several mounds of cake through the underside, being sure not to cut through top or sides of cake.

In a large bowl, whip meringue powder and 1/2 cup cold water with an electric mixer on high speed, until stiff peaks form (about 4 minutes).  In a saucepan, stir together sugar, corn syrup, and remaining 1/2 cup of water.  Bring to a boil, and then cool for 1-2 minutes.  Slowly add syrup to meringue mixture, trying to stream the syrup down the side of the bowl.  Whip on high for ~4 minutes.  Add vanilla extract and whip until well combined.

Scoop filling into a large piping bag fitted with a large, round tip or plastic bag with the corner cut off and fill the indentations of the cake. Center your cake platter over the cake and invert your filled cake back onto it. If desired, dust lightly with powdered sugar before serving.

This cake keeps at room temperature for up to 3 days.

* Deb has several pointers on her blog – you should really just head over there and follow her recipe.

Double Apple Cake with Brandy Brown Sugar Sauce

29 Nov

I loves me some appley things.  Cakes, breads, pies, etc.  When I saw this recipe posted on the kitchn I nearly seized.  Appley cake PLUS boozey, salty caramelly sauce?  Sold.
Plus, you can make it gluten free?  Shut!  Up!!

Here, my slightly altered version that I’m sure was every bit as delectable as the original.

Sticky Spiked Double-Apple Cake with a Brown Sugar-Brandy Sauce
Serves 10 to 12
1 cup raisins
1/3 cup brandy
1 cup unsulphured dried apple slices (cut rings in half)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups all purpose flour, sifted
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1-1/2 cups tightly packed brown sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans – I used the lightly salted and sweetened ones from Trader Joe’s and chopped them
2 medium sized tart cooking apples, one peeled, one unpeeled, both cored and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
Additional unsalted butter, at room temperature, for greasing the pan

In a small bowl, soak the raisins in the brandy for 45 minutes. Add the dried apple slices and macerate for a further 15 minutes. Do not drain!
While the dried fruit is macerating, start your prep:
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Butter a 9 x 13 inch pan and line the bottom and up the two long sides with a sheet of parchment paper, letting the paper hang over the edges by an inch or so. Lightly butter the paper.
In a small bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and spices and set aside.
In a large bowl with a hand held electric mixer or whisk, or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, blend both sugars. Add the eggs and beat on medium speed until thickened and pale, about 2 minutes with a machine, 4 to 5 minutes by hand. Add the cooled melted butter and mix to blend. Fold in the dry ingredients in two additions, mixing just enough to moisten most but not all of the flour. Add the dried fruit and brandy mixture, chopped pecans, and diced fresh apple, then fold them into the batter with long, deep strokes.
Note: this is a very fruit heavy batter, but don’t worry.  It bakes out just lovely.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and set in the center of the oven.
Bake for some amount of time from 40 minutes to 1 hour and 20 minutes, depending on your oven.  I set my timer for one hour, but it was done much earlier than that.  It is done when the center springs back when lightly touched, a tester inserted into the center comes out clean and the cake is beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan.
Transfer to a wire rack and cool.
Serve warm or at room temperature with a healthy pour of the warm Brown Sugar-Brandy Sauce.

Brown Sugar-Brandy Sauce
Makes about 2-1/4 cups, aka, way more than you need – but you’ll love it on ice cream and fruit – apples and bananas especially – too!
1/3 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup tightly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup heavy cream (36%)
2-1/2 tablespoons brandy
Combine the butter, sugars and cream in a small, heavy bottomed saucepan. Stir this mixture over low heat until the sugar dissolves, then increase the heat to medium and bring the sauce to a very gentle boil, stirring all the while.
Cook 5 more minutes, then remove from the heat and stir in the brandy.
Serve immediately, or cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until needed, up to 3 days.
To rewarm, either microwave the uncovered sauce on low power or transfer the cold caramel to a saucepan and stir over low heat until warm.

Wrap the cake and store it at room temperature – I baked mine on Wednesday night to be ready for Thanksgiving on Thursday, and I still enjoyed the last piece on Monday, so this bad boy can stick around for a while.  Well, depending on your level of self restraint. . .

Butterscotch Cake

1 Nov

This cake just SCREAMS church bake sale somewhere in middle America, but when it’s this easy, why not give it a whirl, right?

1 package of yellow cake mix
1 c sour cream
1 small instant vanilla pudding mix
1/2 c vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 package of butterscotch chips

Preheat oven to 350.
Combine first 5 ingredients and mix well, for about 4 minutes.
Gently stir in butterscotch chips and pour into a greased and floured Bundt cake pan.
Bake for approximately one hour (check on it for doneness after 40-45 minutes or so).

I die.

22 Oct

Small things are cute.
Animals are cute.
Small animals are super cute.
Cake is good.
Small animal cakes make my head esplode.

I am SO making the bunnies, but probably with my fave bunny face (though please disregard how much this looks like a French bulldog; I’ll do French bulldogs next):

My friend Noelle made the chicks last Easter, and while they were too sweet for eating in my opinion (7 year old me would kick me in the shins for even suggesting such an abomination), they were so insanely cute that they simply must exist.
Now, do I do white cake and white frosting to stick with the white?  Probably.  I’ll come up with some species to create for my birthday so I can do yellow cake with chocolate frosting, omg yum.  Boston terriers?  Nah, I’ll probably just make cute little faces on them.

Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake with Bourbon Whipped Cream

5 Oct

Some people like cheesecake.  Sometimes I think it’s pretty good, but I’m never like, “OOOOOOOHHHHH – CHEESECAKE.”
I did have a pumpkin cheesecake once that was to die for, which then led my wonderful mother to believe that I would like ALL pumpkin cheesecake and that’s what she got for my birthday, only for us to realize that what I really want on my birthday is yellow cake with chocolate frosting, made with a boxed mix and using a can of frosting.  Seriously.
However, pumpkin cheesecake is a delight, and these little bites look just fab.  This is my first ever Seejeneat Special Request Recipe – so Quinn, when they’re done I will certainly be delivering.
And can we giggle for a second that in the address it says “whop cream?”  Okay, thanks. 

 Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake with Bourbon Whipped Cream

Yields 12 2×3 mini cheesecakes

Crust
1-1/4  cups  ginger snaps
1/4  cup  sugar
1/3  cup  butter, melted
Cheesecake
1  8-ounce package  cream cheese, softened
1  cups  sugar
2   eggs
3/4 cup  canned pumpkin
1/2  teaspoon  pumpkin pie spice
1/4  nutmeg
1/2   teaspoon of candied ginger
1  teaspoon  vanilla
1/4  teaspoon  salt
4 ounces  semisweet chocolate, cut up,
1  tablespoons  butter
Bourbon Whip Cream
3/4  cup whipping cream
2 tablespoon of bourbon 

1/4    cup caramel sauce
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly grease pan. Combine In a, combine ginger snap crumbs and 1/4 cup sugar in a bowl. Stir in the 1/3 cup melted butter. Press mixture evenly into bottom of the prepared baking pan; set aside.
Add cream cheese and sugar into a bowl and beat on medium speed until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. Add pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg, candied ginger, vanilla, and salt to the bowl and beat until combined. Remove 1 cup of the mixture.
In a heat proof bowl combine the 6 ounces chocolate and the 1 tablespoons butter and place in an inch of simmering water. Cook and stir over low heat until melted. Whisk chocolate mixture into the 1 cup pumpkin mixture. Pour over crust, spreading evenly. Bake for 15 minutes.
Gently pour remaining pumpkin mixture over baked chocolate layer, spreading evenly. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes more or until filling is puffed. Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes before releasing.
Whip cream until medium peaks form. Fold in bourbon and finish by drizzling caramel sauce on top and sprinkle with nutmeg seasoning.

A few notes: 

  • If you decide not to make mini cheesecakes, use an 8inch springform pan and increase the bake time by 15-20 minutes. Start checking for doneness at 12-15 minutes. The cheesecake is done when the center of the cake gives a slight jiggle when the pan is tapped.
  • You can skip the chocolate layer if you wish.
  •  This pumpkin cheesecake can be made three days in advance and kept covered in the refrigerator

Semi-Homemade Petit Fours

15 Sep

Unfortunately, we did not take our group photo until three teams had already left. . .

Yeah.  I totally used store bought cake for my croquet treats.  And you know what?  So what.
I tried to find a bakery that would just sell me a quarter sheet cake or something, and not only did it confuse the hell out of them, but it was pretty damn pricey.
A quick search for “quick and easy petit fours” brought me to a recipe by Miss Paula Deen, and hallelujah!  Not only did I not have time to bake a cake from scratch, but I didn’t have the time I thought to frost them – I didn’t let them dry long enough before I had to leave.  Not only were they too soft for me to do any further “eat me” decorating or package them all up (I could only bring about half so they wouldn’t touch), but I was half an hour late to my own damn event.
However, once croquet was over (and the next day), they were PERFECT.  I thought the frosting was too sweet at first, when it was still soft, but once it solidified, it made an awesome little cake.  Soft frosting or not, they seemed to be a hit at croquet.
Now, finding a pound cake in regular loaf form would’ve been way too perfect, so of course I could only find a bundt version, and I’m sure you can imagine how fun and easy it was to try to cut that into perfect little cubes.  A fun thing came from this though – I made whole little slices of cake as petit fours too and they turned out great.

Petit Fours 
1 loaf pound cake – about 1 pound, top crust removed, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
2/3 cup cold water
1 egg white
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
2 boxes confectioners’ sugar, about 1 pound, sifted
preserves of your choice (cherry or apricot would be great, I used  Bonne Maman cherry preserves)
Almond extract – I’m guessing I used about 1 tbsp
3 dyes of food coloring
2 forks
Something cute, for garnish and design

Arrange the pound cake cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet. Freeze until firm, 4 hours or overnight. I froze my entire cake and then cut off the dark parts and cut it into cubes.  This worked incredibly well, BUT – if your cake comes back to room temperature before you frost it (which it will unless you freeze it again), it’s crumb city and your frosting will get all clogged up which doesn’t leave you a very nice, smooth frost job.
I then cut my cubes in half (lengthwise) and put a dollop of warmed up cherry preserves (to thin them out a little).  Use less than you think you need, since it will ooze out the sides.  A small dollop – maybe 1/4 tsp seemed perfect for the little bites.
They look like little crustless pb&js:

In the top of a double boiler, dissolve the gelatin in 2/3 cups cold water. Add egg white and corn syrup. Whisk. Add confectioners’ sugar and whisk until well blended and not too thick. When mixture reaches 110 degrees F. (warm to the touch) divide the icing among several bowls and add your preferred food coloring to each bowl. Mix well.

Line counter or baking sheet with waxed paper. Place a cooling rack on top so the excess frosting can drip down and away and land on the wax paper below; then your cakes won’t have bloopy, gloppy frosting puddles attached to the bottom.
Rest your cake on one fork, and use a spoon to pour frosting all over cake – work fast, this stuff thickens quickly (but you can reheat it if you need to).  Make sure the cakes are completely covered.  Use second fork to help move the frosted cake onto the rack to dry.  Do this for remaining cubes, using the various colors of frosting (rinse your forks when moving between colors, unless you’re hoping for tie dye). When completely dried, place a dab of frosting onto the top of the cube to stick your cute little decor item.  OR, you can pipe little designs if you’re good at that.
I was going to make Alton’s royal icing to write “eat me” on mine.

Try to ignore the crumbs you can see in the tops.

Eat Me

3 Sep


Every year I host a croquet party.  We drink a lot of champagne and have an absolute blast.  The rules insist that we wear white (well, mostly), but I’ll also allow for a wicked good Heathers or Alice in Wonderland croquet get up as well – how could I not?

We bring snacks to help settle some of that champagne, and this year, I am totally going Alice with my snack.  I have been fantasizing about “Eat Me,” “Drink Me” treats for ages and I think this is just the year.  I’ll make some cute little template for the champagne bottles and/or juices we use as mixers, and then I’ll make some Eat Me cakes.  I’m thinking petit fours, but hot diggity dawg they’re a lot of work.  I’m thinking I can definitely do fudge covered brownies (and who doesn’t like chocolate?), but I really love the look of the petit fours since they remind me so much of the little cakes from the movies.

I saw Martha do petit fours once, but I can only find this one recipe and it’s different than the one I watched.  Alas, this recommended cake and frosting recipe did NOT get rave reviews, so I hunted out a more traditional genoise and another frosting.  Some reviewers stated that the cake tasted bland, but I’m thinking that once I thin down my cherry or apricot preserves into a syrup to brush over the top and allow that to soak in, it will not be bland at all.  Another theme that came up in reviews was SIFT SIFT SIFT – then maybe sift again.


GENOISE CAKE
1 cup sifted cake flour
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 pinch salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
4 eggs
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease one 8 inch round cake pan. Line with parchment paper and grease it as well. Lightly flour pan and paper. 

Sift together the flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, and salt onto a piece of wax paper. 

Place the eggs into a mixing bowl set over a pan of hot (not boiling) water. Add the 1/2 cup sugar to the eggs and whisk until the mixture feels warm (not hot) to the touch, about body temperature. Place the bowl onto a mixer and beat on medium speed until the mixture becomes pale yellow in color and falls off the end of the whisk attachment in long ribbons. Add the vanilla. Add about 1/3 of the flour mixture to the beaten egg and fold in. Continue to add the remainder of the flour, folding it in each time. 

Place about 1 cup of the batter into the bowl containing the melted butter and combine the butter with the batter. Add this back to the main batter and fold it in. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. 

Immediately bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for about 25 minutes or until the top is a light brown. Cool in pan on a rack about 10 minutes and then invert onto a rack. It is best to invert it again onto another rack so that it cools with the top up. Let cool completely before cutting or frosting. 

Um. . . her frosting didn’t seem to be very boss either.  This helpful video had one that looks like it’ll work: 
POURABLE FONDANT FROSTING
6 cups confectioner’s sugar
1/2 c water
2 tbsp corn syrup
1 tsp flavor (almond, vanilla, whatevs)
optional – coloring
Heat sugar, water and corn syrup to 92 degrees over low heat.  Remove from heat and add flavoring and any coloring if using.
Pour the fondant into a bowl and keep over another bowl of hot water (like a double boiler) to keep the frosting soft.

To make the petit fours, slice the cake into nice little squares and set on a cooling rack with wax paper underneath.  Spoon the fondant frosting over the top ensuring even coverage.  You can scrape the drippings off the wax paper back into the bowl to soften and reuse!  Or you can place the cakes onto a fork (or slotted spatula if they’re bigger) and really glob the frosting on; let the excess drip off, and THEN put them onto the cooling rack.

This video was incredibly helpful and featured lots of good tips as well.  I’m thinking of doing my petits fours a bit bigger than is traditional (I think 1 1/2″ square is the standard), just so I can ensure that I can fit “eat me” on top of them without it looking too crowded.

Mmmmmexico

1 Aug

Now that I have you salivating over corn fungus, let’s talk edibles.  Yet another overpriced cooking school (everyone scoffed at me when they heard I spent $600 pesos; but I have yet to find a single school that isn’t in that same price point) was kind enough to post some nummy recipes for us!  Yay, thanks Culinary Adventures!

Mango Mousse (Mousse de Mango)
6 servings
  • 2 ripe mangoes
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 envelope gelatin*
  • 2 tablespoons hot water*
  • 2 tablespoons cold water*
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Mexican lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1+1/2 cups whipped cream
1. Place the mangoes and powdered sugar in a food processor and puree.
2. In a large bowl, place the gelatin with the cold and hot water, lemon juice, nutmeg and cinnamon. Stir and then let sit for 5 minutes.
3. Add the mango puree to the gelatin mixture. Let sit for 20 minutes.
4. Beat one cup of the whipping cream to soft peaks and gently fold into the mangoes.
5. As this point you can either spoon the mousse into individual dishes or place the entire amount into a spring-form pan for slicing later.
6. Let the mousse chill in the refrigerator at least 4 hours. Top with fresh whipped cream.
*You can omit the gelatin and water, producing a softer consistency-more like a pudding.


Poblano Chiles stuffed with Scrambled Eggs & Bacon
(Chiles Rellenos con Huevos Revueltos y Tocino)

4 servings
  • 4 large fresh poblano chiles
  • 4 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 8 eggs
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 1 cup manchego cheese, grated
  • 1 cup tomato puree
1. Roast and clean the poblano chiles.
2. Place the bacon in a large frying pan and cook until crisp. Remove from the pan and drain all the grease, except 1 tablespoon.
3. Sauté the onion in the bacon grease for a few minutes, add the tomatoes and continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes.
4. Crack the eggs into a medium bowl and stir in the cream. Add salt to taste.
5. Add the eggs to the frying pan and finish cooking. Stir the bacon in.
6. Stuff each chile with the egg mixture. Place 1/4 cup of grated cheese on top and broil until the cheese is melted. (If you do not have a broiler, you can melt the cheese in an oven.)
7. Heat the tomato puree. Spoon 1/4 cup of the puree on each plate and place the chile on top.
Plan Ahead:
1-3 days in advance: Make tomato puree
1 day in advance: Roast poblano chiles


Chicken Poblano (Pollo a la Poblana)
6 servings
  • 4 poblano chiles
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 white onion, sliced thin
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 boneless chicken breasts
  1. Roast and clean the poblano chiles. Roughly chop and place in a blender.
2. Heat the oil in a frying pan. When hot, add the onion, garlic, oregano and thyme and sauté for 5 minutes.
3. Add the cream, cilantro and salt. Cook for another 5 minutes.
4. Pour the mixture into the blender with the poblano chiles and puree until smooth. Set aside.
5. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the chicken breasts and cook until both sides are lightly browned.
6. Pour the poblano sauce on top on the chicken breasts when serving.
Plan Ahead:
1-3 days in advance: Make the poblano sauce.


Mexican Beef Tips (Puntas a la Mexicana)
4 servings
  • 1 1/4 pounds marinated skirt steak
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 large white onion, sliced
  • 3 roma tomatoes, cored & sliced lengthwise from the center
  • 3 serrano chiles, sliced lengthwise into thin strips
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
salt and black pepper to taste

1. Slice the skirt steak, across the grain, into 1″ strips.
2. Place the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. When it starts to sizzle, add the steak and brown on all sides.
3. Add the onion, tomato, and chiles. Cover, stirring occasionally until the meat is cooked, 4-5 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro, salt, and pepper.


Green Rice (Arroz Verde)
4 servings
• 2 poblano chiles
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 1 3/4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 cup white rice
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
1. Roast the poblano chiles. (see page …)
2. Place the chiles into a food processor, adding the cilantro and chicken broth. Puree.
3. In a 2-quart saucepan, heat the oil. Add the rice and onion and cook for about 10 minutes.
4. Stir in the garlic and cook a minute longer.
5. Add the poblano chile liquid to the rice, stir, cover and let cook for about 20 minutes or until done.

Plan Ahead:
1 day in advance: Make chicken broth and roast poblano chiles


Pork Loin w/ Mango-Chipotle Salsa
(Lomo con Salsa de Mango y Chile Chipotle)

6 servings
  • 2 pounds pork tenderloin
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • 2 cups mango, chopped (approx. 2-3)
  • 1 chile chipotle, seeded and minced (see page…)
  •  1/4 cup green onions, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fresh Mexican lime juice
  • 1/8 cup cilantro, chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Salt and pepper the tenderloin and sear until browned on all sides. Transfer to a baking sheet.
3. Place the tenderloin in the oven for about 10-15 minutes or until done. (which for pork means 140 degrees.)
4. While the pork tenderloin is in the oven, place all the salsa ingredients into a large bowl and mix well.
5. Slice the tenderloin and top with the Mango Salsa.

Fruit-Chipotle Salsa:
Substitute 1 cup chopped pineapple for a cup on the mango.


Shrimp in Pumpkin Seed Sauce (Camarones en Pipián Verde)
6 servings
  •  1 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/2 pound tomatillos, husked and rinsed
  • 1 serrano chile
  • 1/2 white onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 lettuce leaves
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  •  1 pound shrimp, cleaned and deveined
1. Preheat the broiler.
2. Toast the pumpkin seeds in a frying pan over high heat or under the broiler, stirring frequently so they don’t burn. (Avoid browning them excessively, to maintain the sauce’s trademark green color.) Seperate 1/4 cup for the garnish. Toast the sesame seeds in the same manner.
3. Place the tomatillos, chile, onion and garlic on a tray under the broiler until soft. About 5 minutes on each side.
4. Place all the ingredients, except for the shrimp, in a blender. Puree until smooth.
5. Pour the sauce into a stock pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Lower to medium heat and let simmer for about 10 minutes.
6. While the pipian is simmering, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the shrimp and cook for about 5 minutes or until done. Drain.
7. Mix the shrimp into the pipian.
8. Garnish with the remaining 1/4 cup of toasted pumpkin seeds.

Plan Ahead:
In advance: toast the pumpkin and sesame seeds.
Pipian also holds well in the refrigerator, so it can be made a few days in advance.
Pipian freezes well, so make a double batch and save the other half for a quick meal when there’s no time to cook.


Chocolate Kahlua Cake (Pastel de Chocolate con Kahlúa)
1 cake, 12-15 slices
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup cocoa
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup boiling water
Filling:
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 + 1/2 cup Kahlua
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Grease three-9 inch round cake pans with shortening, line with wax paper and then grease again.
3. Place all of the ingredients, except the boiling water, into a large bowl. Beat for 2 minutes on medium speed.
4. Add the boiling water and continue beating for another minute.
5. Divide the batter evenly among the 3 cake pans. Bake for 20 minutes or until done.
6. While the cake is in the oven, make the Kahlua filling. Boil 2 cups of water over high heat in the bottom part of a double boiler. Place all the ingredients (with only 1/2 cup of Kahlua) in a large bowl over the double boiler. Stir the mixture continuously until it thickens, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.
7. Un-mold the cakes and lay out on 3 separate plates. Pour the remaining 1/2 cup of Kahlua on top of all three. Let cool for 2-3 hours. When ready to frost, place the first layer on a serving plate, spread with 1/2 of the Kahlua filling. Top with the second layer and spread with the remaining filling. Top with the third layer and frost with chocolate butter cream frosting.

CHOCOLATE BUTTER CREAM FROSTING (for one cake):
Beat 1/2 cup softened butter (one stick) in a mixer, add 3 cups powdered sugar, 1/4 cup milk, 1/8 cup cocoa, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until fluffy.


Raspberry Chipotle Brownies
(Brownies con Frambuesa y Chile Chipotle)

12 servings
  •  3/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup cocoa
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 chipotle chiles in adobo, minced without seeds
  • 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
  • 1/2 cup raspberry jam
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Grease a 9×13 pan with shortening, line with wax paper, and then grease again.
3. Boil 2 cups of water over high heat in the bottom part of a double boiler. Place the butter and cocoa in the top part. Stir until well blended. Remove from heat and let cool.
4. Place the eggs, salt, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat for 1 minute. Add the chocolate mixture, chipotle chiles, and adobo sauce. Beat for another minute.
Stir in the flour. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
5. Spread the raspberry jam on top and swirl with a knife into the brownie mixture.
6. Bake for 25 minutes or until the center is done. Invert the brownies and remove the wax paper. Let cool. Cut into 12 pieces.

Ice box cake/cupcakes

28 May

This reminded me of my faux-reo post and sent me straight to Nomvana.  I’m doing South Beach, but if I make this for a party and only have a tiny slice, or a mere wafer, or none at all, that’s okay, right?  Luckily, Smitten Kitchen teaches us that those DIYers vs. bakers can have some successes here too – Nabisco wafers are for sale on Amazon!!

Chocolate Wafers
1 1/2 cups (6.75 ounces) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (2.4 ounces) unsweetened cocoa powder (I’d recommend Black Cocoa)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
14 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened
3 tablespoons whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Combine the flour, cocoa, sugar, salt, and baking soda in the bowl of food processor and pulse several times to mix thoroughly. Cut the butter into about 12 chunks and add them to the bowl. Pulse several times. Combine the milk and vanilla in a small cup. With the processor running, add the milk mixture and continue to process until the mixture clumps around the blade or the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a large bowl or a cutting board and knead a few times to make sure it is evenly blended.
Form the dough into a log about 14 inches long and 1 3/4 inches in diameter. Wrap the log in wax paper or foil and refrigerate until firm, at least one hour, or until needed.
Position the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the baking sheets with parchment paper. Cut the log of dough into slices a scant 1/4-inch thick (I went thinner, closer to 1/8 of inch. If you’re trying to emulate the store-bought wafers, slice as thin as you can, and watch the baking time carefully, as it might be less.) and place them one inch apart on the lined sheets (cookies will spread). Bake, rotating the baking sheet from top to bottom and back to front about halfway through baking, for a total of 12 to 15 minutes. The cookies will puff up and deflate; they are done about 1 1/2 minutes after they deflate.
Cool the cookies on the baking sheets on racks, or slide the parchment onto racks to cool completely. These cookies may be stored in an airtight container for up to two weeks or be frozen for up to two months.
Note: These cookies should crisp as they cool. If they don’t, you’re not baking them long enough, says Medrich — in which case, return them to the oven to reheat and bake a little longer, then cool again.
Icebox Cupcakes
I came up with these a while ago as a way to make the icebox cake a little more single serving size. How many you’ll get depends on how many you want to stack — I use five, but the height comes up a tad short of your standard frosting-dolloped bakery cupcake. They’re decadent enough, in my opinion. Keep in mind that your cupcake will be too big for a standard sized paper liner, I just pressed the sides down a bit to make mine work. But if I knew I was making an entire batch of these, I’d make the cookie log smaller, more like 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter.
Makes about a dozen cupcakes, but this will vary depending on the size and thickness of your cookies, and the height of your stacks. I use five apiece.
1 batch of Chocolate Wafers (recipe above)
1 cup whipping cream
1 to 2 spoons of powdered sugar (adjusted to your preferred sweetness; I like my whipped cream barely sweetened)
A dash of your favorite flavoring or extract (I use about 1/2 teaspoon vanilla)
Whip cream with a spoonful or two of powdered sugar and a dash of a flavoring of your choice, until the whipped cream holds firm peaks. Spread about two teaspoons whipped cream between each cookie, to the edges, and stack them until you reach the height you’d like. If you spread whipped cream on top of the final cookie, you will end up with a softer lid — a good thing — but I prefer the look of the brown cookie top.
Set them in the fridge at least overnight or up to a day. The cookies will soften as they set, and become cake-like.
As an icebox cookie, these will take longer to soften than the store-bought wafers, so set aside more time than you normally would. I think 24 hours in the fridge would be ideal.

Office Breakroom Chocolate Cake

26 May

Thanks to Liz over at Home Sweet Homewrecker, comes this fantabulously easy “yes you can make chocolate cake at the office” recipe.  My coworkers are about to hate me as this will undoubtedly be far more torturous than microwave popcorn.