Cakes

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cake

On any given day there are dozens of recipes that come into my Google Reader from the food blogs I follow.  It would be impossible for me to read all these posts, and even more impossible for me to try to make even half of them.  If something catches my eye, I’ll open it in another window and let in linger there for a few days, read through it a couple times, and figure out when (or if) I will have the time to make it.  This particular recipe was something I knew I had to make, I just had to find the time to get a few things at the store and a big enough chunk of nap time from Carson to get it done.

Bake or Break posted this recipe which is from a cookbook from Baked in Brooklyn.  I visited Baked last summer when I went to see my sister and her family.  I highly recommend making the effort to go there if you find yourself in New York City.   Here is the link to Bake or Break, and here is the link to the cookbook…which I am seriously considering purchasing.

Due to a lack of time, resources, and the memory to get cream cheese at the grocery store, I did not make the cream cheese frosting.  I instead opted to make a simple glaze of milk, powdered sugar and a little almond extract.  I glazed the cake in the pan after it had cooled.  The glaze is nice on this cake, but I am a huge fan of cream cheese frosting and will probably make this again to see how the two variations compare.

The method of soaking the oats in boiling water and melting the butter with that mixture was something I hadn’t seen or done before.  I think it gave the cake a moister and more delicate texture than if those ingredients were combined separately.  Mixing the chocolate chips with liquor (I used Courviosier…don’t ask me why I have a bottle of that) and then tossing in the flour was supposed to keep them from sinking to the bottom, but most of mine did sunk anyway.  Not a big deal.

I really like this cake.  It’s dense, moist, and has great contrasts in texture with the oats, chocolate chips and glaze.  Skipping the glaze and serving this warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce would be crazy delicious.  Why do I get these great ideas after I make something? (more…)

Marbled Spice Cake

The high in Amarillo was 17 yesterday, and we didn’t even get snow.  It just wasn’t fair.  If it is going to be bitterly cold outside, I would like to get some beautiful snow in return!  Since it was a bit too cold out for me to go run errands, I went in search of something to bake with what I had at home.

In my fridge was half a container of sour cream, and plenty of eggs and butter.  In the pantry I had a box of spice cake mix and half a bag of chocolate chips.

I searched “sour cream cake” and found a marbled sour cream cake that sounded easy and quite good.  Instead of the vanilla cake mix I used the spice cake.

The end result was quite pretty, and smelled delicious baking.  The texture of the cake was a bit dry, and I wasn’t terribly impressed by the taste either.  A glaze of some kind might be a nice improvement.  I might also add some whole chocolate chips or maybe nuts to the batter.

But this was incredibly easy to prepare, and not bad.  I can’t say that Ben and I will finish the whole thing, but I will give it another chance tonight.

Marbled Spice Cake

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 package spice cake mix
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375° F. Grease and sugar 10-cup bundt or tube pan.
  2. Microwave chocolate chips in medium, microwave-safe bowl on HIGH (100%) power for 1 minute. Stir. Microwave at additional 10- to 20-second intervals, stirring until smooth.
  3. Combine cake mix, eggs, sour cream, vegetable oil, water and sugar in large mixer bowl. Beat on low speed until moistened. Beat on high speed for 2 minutes.
  4. Stir 2 cups batter into melted chocolate. Alternately spoon batters into prepared pan, beginning and ending with yellow batter.
  5. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in cake comes out clean. Cool in pan for 20 minutes. Invert onto wire rack to cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar if desired.

Nilla Wafer Cake

What has happened to me?  Why did I make Kraft macaroni and cheese for Ben and a frozen Healthy Choice meal for myself for dinner last week?  Because I am a new mommy, and that means I am kind of a mess.  To all those mothers of newborns who have it together, I envy and admire you.  Everyone is telling me it will get better…I hope they’re right.

I’m not cooking anything really worth posting about.  And even if I was, I don’t really have time to post!  I really miss my kitchen.

This recipe caught my eye on allrecipes.com a few weeks ago, right after Carson was born.  My mom even bought a box of Nilla Wafers that day so that we could make it, but we didn’t have a chance.  Ben and I were having company last night, so I decided to try it out.

I wasn’t too impressed with this, but the people who ate it were very nice to be complimentary!  It wasn’t very sweet, and the texture was quite dense and a little rubbery.

So, I went and looked at the recipe again.  I FORGOT THE SUGAR!  2 C UPS OF SUGAR!  Maybe the lack of sleep is catching up with me.  Maybe it was just a result of my haste to get this made while Carson slept.  Whatever the explanation for my mistake, it was a bad one.  This ranks up there with making a cup of coffee at my parents house over Christmas with one of those Tassimo makers and putting the mug upside down.  I have lost my mind.

I might try it warmed up in the microwave or possibly toasted with some butter.  I will probably try this again sometime.  I like the idea of the using the cookie crumbs as the flour, and I am interested to see the difference 2 cups of sugar makes.

Nilla Wafer Cake

Ingredients

  • 6 whole eggs
  • 3.5 oz can of coconut (if you use bagged sweetened flaked coconut, just use 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 12 ounce box vanilla wafers, crushed
  • 2 C sugar
  • 1 C chopped pecans

Directions

  1. Beat eggs well.
  2. Mix wafers and all other ingredients into eggs.
  3. Pour into greased and floured tube pan.
  4. Bake at 350 for one hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Daring Bakers: Christmas Stollen

What a great challenge for Christmastime.  I wish I’d had a huge family to share this with.  I’d bring it out on a lovely platter.  Everyone would ooh and aah over this lovely sugar coated, fruit and nut filled bread.  But it is just me, Ben and the new baby at home…and the new baby can’t appreciate my culinary feats just yet.  We’re going out of town for Christmas, and traveling with this thing intact would be difficult.  So, I made my stollen, had a little photo shoot and cut it into pieces to pack away.  At least I can post the photo of my stollen for all of you!

The 2010 December Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Penny of Sweet Sadie’s Baking. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make Stollen. She adapted a friend’s family recipe and combined it with information from friends, techniques from Peter Reinhart’s book………and Martha Stewart’s demonstration.

The dough for the stollen was quite easy to prepare and work with.  While I was given the option to let my imagination run wild in what I added to the dough, I just used cranberries and sliced almonds.  As a new mom I decided it was OK for me to opt out of making the candied citrus peel.  It would have been quite nice in this bread though, so I wish I’d taken the time to make it.

I used orange juice instead of rum to soak the cranberries and it was a good substitute.  The citrus flavor was subtle, but nice.  If you’re really into citrus then definitely use the juice, more zest and the candied peel as well.

I froze half of the wreath and plan to bring it down to my parents for Christmas.  The other half I have been snacking on over the past week.  It is incredibly tasty toasted with a little spread of butter.  Now, the only issue I had was the bottom of the bread.  It was beyond browned.  It was beyond dark.  It was burnt.  Solution?  Slice off the bottom before enjoying!

You can find the recipe and photos here.  Merry Christmas!

Oreo Cheesecake

When I saw this recipe I thought that there was no possible way that this dessert could turn out poorly.  Oreos, butter, heavy cream, sugar, cream cheese, and chocolate…no possible way.  I was right.  This thing is dang good.

In fact, the only problem I encountered in making this cheesecake is that my pan wasn’t deep enough to add the sour cream layer on top of the cheesecake, and without this layer the cheesecake had a visibly cracked top.  But that issue was hidden by the chocolate ganache layer.

In the past I have been known to cut corners in the time department.  I have very little patience.  I don’t allow things to set up or chill completely, usually because I have not given myself enough time to complete the dessert.  I gave myself plenty of time for this cheesecake, and my planning and patience paid off.  The cake cut nicely and had a terrific creamy texture.  So, give the cake the time is deserves to set in the oven, chill in the fridge overnight, and chill with the chocolate layer as well.

This recipe is from allrecipes.com.  Here is the link to the recipe.  I left out the sour cream layer completely, but other than that I did not make any changes.  You will need one package of Oreos…unless you plan to snack on them along the way.  I crushed them in the food processor, which is tons easier than banging them in a plastic bag that inevitably breaks and creates quite a mess.

Cheesecake alone is decadent, but this one is especially so thanks to the Oreo crust, the layer of Oreo in the middle and the lovely chocolate top.  This was a hit at the Christmas party I took it to.  You will not be sorry if you take the time to make this!  Enjoy. (more…)

Sweet Potato Cake

Why I ever bought a can of sweet potatoes is a mystery.  I bake sweet potatoes every now and then, but I have never had a use for canned sweet potatoes.  I saw this can of potatoes and went to the trusty internet in search of something I could bake with it.  I found this recipe on cooks.com for sweet potato muffins.  I changed it to a sweet potato cake by simply baking it in a bundt pan. Here is the link.

Ben is not a sweets person, but he really liked this cake.  He even ate it for breakfast on 2 mornings last week, and he always has cereal.  When I make something that Ben eats without being asked to or having a piece served to him, I am pretty excited about it.  The cake is moist, the raisins and pecans add nice contrasts, and it is delicious.  Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups cooked mashed sweet potatoes or yams, fresh or canned
  • 1 stick butter, room temperature
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup chopped raisins
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Directions

  1. Grease and sugar a bundt pan.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  3. Beat sugar, sweet potatoes and butter until smooth.
  4. Add eggs and blend well.
  5. Sift together flour, baking powder, spices and salt.
  6. Add alternately with milk to sweet potato mixture, stirring just to blend. Do not overmix.
  7. Fold in raisins and nuts.
  8. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes, or until firm to the touch, and cake tester comes out clean.

Apple Cake

The past week has been a very eventful and exciting one.  A week ago today, we headed to the hospital to welcome this little guy into the world.  Despite his surprise arrival eight days early, we could not be happier that he is finally here.

Since the arrival of Carson, I haven’t been doing much cooking or baking.  Carson was born on Sunday and Ben’s parents and my mom made it to Amarillo in time to be some of the first to meet him.  My parents have been here since then and my mom has been making breakfast, lunch and dinner for us as well as cleaning up and doing laundry for me.  I don’t know how we’re going to survive once they leave this afternoon!  Thankfully Ben’s parents and Aunt Claire will be here on Tuesday, so we won’t be on our own for long.

Last night Patti brought over a pork roast, rolls and gravy; my mom made mashed potatoes and a salad; and my mom and I made this apple cake.  It was a simple dessert and I’m planning to make it again for Thanksgiving.  The ingredient list is short, and there are no special skills required to make this cake…which is more tart- or pie-like, really.  I found the recipe here on A Whisk and a Spoon.

We ate the cake with a scoop of Blue Bell vanilla ice cream.  It was the perfect combination.

Apple Cake

Courtesy of A Whisk and a Spoon

Ingredients

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing pan
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped and reserved
  • 1 1/4 pounds (3 to 4 small to medium) Granny Smith apples
  • 1/2 cup AP flour, plus mor for dusting the pan
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup milk, at room temperature
  • Powdered sugar for dusting

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line the base of an 8-inch springform pan with parchment, then smear with thick layer of butter. Dust with flour; turn pan over and tap lightly to remove excess flour.  Melt butter in small saucepan (you can take it a step further and lightly brown it, if you like). Set aside.
  2. Beat together eggs and half the sugar in a bowl (it’s not hard to do by hand). Continue to beat while slowly adding remaining sugar until thick; it should form a ribbon when dropped from a spoon.  Add the vanilla seeds to the batter and add the pod to the melted butter.
  3. Peel, quarter and core apples, then trim ends and slice thinly.
  4. Remove vanilla pod from butter and stir butter into egg-sugar batter. Combine the flour and baking powder, then stir it into batter alternately with milk. Stir in apples, coating every piece with batter. Pour batter into pan, using fingers to pat top evenly.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes, then rotate pan; bake for about 25 minutes more, until cake pulls away from pan and is brown on top; a thin-bladed knife inserted into center will come out clean when it is done. Cool 30 minutes on a rack.
  6. Remove the sides of the springform, cut the cake into wedges and sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.

Cold Oven Pound Cake

Another recipe from America’s Best Lost Recipes that I received for my birthday and where I got the recipe for the peach puzzle.

The only unexpected thing about this pound cake is the baking process.  The pan goes into a cold, as in DO NOT PREHEAT, oven.  It then cooks for an hour and a half.  I’m not sure if the time the cake is sitting in the heating oven is what creates such a nice crusty exterior, but that crust is lovely.  Encased within the crust is the soft, sweet, buttery cake that just melts in your mouth.

I absolutely love plain pound cake.  It’s for the same reason I would rather have a plain slice of cheesecake than one with caramel, chocolate or fruit sauce.  Simple is just the only way to go sometimes, and with pound cake you can focus on the textures and delicate sweet vanilla flavors instead of whatever extras are interfering.  I know even while I type this that sometime very soon I will probably have to eat my words and fall in love with some fancy pants pound cake.  But, for today at least, I am a plain pound cake lover.

The only complaint I have with this cake is that it gave me some trouble coming out of the pan.  I can grease and flour a pan with the best of them, but it still stuck…not terribly, but it wasn’t exactly picture perfect.  Despite this minor imperfection in appearance, the cake is delicious and definitely worth trying.

Cold Oven Pound Cake

America’s Best Lost Recipes

Ingredients

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup skim milk (or 1%)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 3 cups sugar

Directions

  1. Grease and flour a 12-cup tube pan.
  2. Whisk flour and salt in a medium bowl.  In a separate bowl, whisk milk, vanilla and egg yolks.  In a separate bowl beat egg whites to soft peaks.
  3. In a separate bowl beat butter, shortening and sugar on medium high until fluffy.
  4. Reduce speed to low and flour mixture and milk mixture alternately, in 4 batches, beating after each addition until just combined.
  5. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the egg whites.  Scrape batter into prepared pan and place in a COLD oven.
  6. Heat the oven to 300 F and bake for 45 minutes.  Increase the temperature to 325 and bake for an additional 45 minutes.
  7. Cool the cake in the pan for 20 minutes, run a knife around the edge, then turn the cake out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. Serve plain or with fresh berries and whipped cream.

Calzones and Cake

My birthday and our wedding anniversary are exactly one week apart.  This makes the dates easy to remember, but its hard to have  two celebrations so close together.  For my birthday, Ben took me to Boot Hill Saloon in Vega, Texas.  It was a really fun experience and we had a great meal.  If you live in the Amarillo area and haven’t yet been there, then I encourage you to make the trip to Vega.

For our anniversary, we couldn’t decide what to do.  We figured we’d eat at home, so I decided to make something a little out of the ordinary.  I made two different kinds of calzones, and they were both pretty delicious.

The meaty version was a Philly Cheese Steak Calzone.  I grilled a strip steak, sliced it up thinly, sauteed onion and green peppers and topped it all off with provolone cheese.

The veggie version was spinach, cheese and mushroom.  I sauteed the spinach with some garlic and squeezed it dry.  Then I mixed the spinach with ricotta, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.  These ingredients alone would be perfect, but I added some sauteed mushrooms.

I tried a new recipe for dough, and I liked it a lot.  It rose well and was incredibly easy to roll out and make the calzones.  The only issue we had was that we had to break out the steak knives to cut through the bottom of the calzone.  Other than that, the dough had a good chew and good flavor.

I doubled the dough recipe and only baked 6 calzones for dinner and for leftovers this weekend.  I made the other 6 dough balls into calzones and froze them to thaw out and eat later.  It is so nice to have homemade meals in the freezer.  As long as you can remember to put them in the fridge the morning before you plan to enjoy them, kitchen time is cut to a minimum….as is clean up!

The recipe for the dough came from My Kitchen Cafe.  It is a French dinner roll recipe used as calzone dough, so I will probably try it for rolls at some point.  You make the dough as you would for the rolls, but divide the dough into about 6 pieces after the first rise for the calzones.

The Philly calzones recipe is also courtesy of  My Kitchen Cafe and the spinach and cheese came from Tyler Florence, although I did make a few changes.  All the recipes are at the bottom of this post.

Now, on to the cake.  I had planned for us to eat my Daring Bakers July dessert for our anniversary.  But when Ben got home from work he had a lovely pink box with him that contained this beautiful cake!

It was such a great surprise.  The cake was made by Cara Linn Cakes in Amarillo.  I took a cake decorating class from her a few months ago.  She is a great teacher, and is incredibly talented.  I am so pleased to have someone like her in Amarillo.  If you are a fan of the Food Network challenges, then you may have seen Alisa Strauss on a few of the cake challenges.  Cara interned for her in New York, before opening her own store.  If you’re not impressed by this, you should be!

The cake not only looked beautiful, it tasted even better.  The cake itself was a dense vanilla that was sweet and delicious, but not a fake sweet like cake mixes and most bakery cakes.  The buttercream was strawberry, that had actual pieces of strawberry in it.  Yum.  The fondant that covers the cake is unique in that it looks smooth and beautiful and it tastes good!  Cara changed my opinion of fondant.

If you are in need of a cake, cupcakes, or other sweet treats, please call Cara.  She was a huge help to my husband when he ordered the cake and she does an incredible job.  The cake classes are well worth your time and money.  I had such a fun time and I learned a lot.  You also get to take your cake creation home!

Read on for the calzone recipes.

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Daring Bakers: Swiss Swirl Ice Cream Bombe

So many components to this dessert!  Two ice creams, hot fudge sauce, chocolate cake, whipped cream…and then there’s the assembly process.  Whew!  When I told Ben all the things I had to do, he said “Can you imagine having to do this when you were still teaching?”  Yes, I can imagine that.  I would have freaked out.  Probably like this scene from Julie & Julia.

Thankfully I saved myself, and Ben, from this potential freak out by spreading everything out over 5 days and having this thing ready to enjoy 3 days before the Daring Bakers reveal.  Having a lot of free time is such a luxury.

The July 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Sunita of Sunita’s world – life and food. Sunita challenged everyone to make an ice-cream filled Swiss roll that’s then used to make a bombe with hot fudge. Her recipe is based on an ice cream cake recipe from Taste of Home.

I must confess right now that I cannot attest to how good this ice cream treat is at present.  I haven’t yet cut into this impressive dessert and tasted it.  It is sitting in my freezer just waiting for me…calling to me, really.  I’m saving it for our 4th anniversary this Thursday.  I’ll make sure to amend this post once I get to try a slice as we celebrate 4 years of marital bliss!

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