When in Doubt…Leave it at 350

baking, cooking, and other adventures

Tuesdays With Dorie: Bread and Cake January 28, 2015

Surprisingly, I have actually made everything on time, but then the posting just doesn’t happen on time.

When I was placing my King Arthur Flour order the other week, I blanked and forgot to get Rye Flour.  So I sent the husband out to get some from the store and the Eastern European Rye Bread was actually pulled out of the oven at 10 pm the night we were suppose to post. Incidentally, I never actually took pictures of it, but one of the loaves is in the freezer.  I ended up making them in loaf pan since the husband LOVES rye bread and wanted to make sandwiches from it.  He made Tuna Melts one night when I was at work and said that it was really good. I have yet to try it since I am not really a fan of rye bread unless it is housing a Rueben.  This recipe is located on page 98 of Baking With Julia.

Now the Brown Butter and Vanilla Weekend Cake, located on page 6 of Baking Chez Moi, I actually made the weekend before so that we could have a dessert. Once it was cool enough to handle, I slicing myself a piece.  I was actually caught in the act by my 3.5 year old, and she insisted on a piece.  So we were standing in the kitchen eating the cake and we were caught by my 1.5 year old.  Then all three of us are in the kitchen and we get caught by the husband. So needless to say, me sneaking food did not work this time.  All of us ended up with a piece or two and eating it in the kitchen before dinner.  My oldest actually ate her entire piece which is surprising since she usually doesn’t eat the crust.  The cake was very good, and I loved the combination of brown butter and rum.  I ended up using 1 Tablespoon of Vanilla Bean Paste to replace the vanilla bean and it turned out fine. I am pretty sure we will be making this cake again since it was easy and everyone loved it.100_4291As you can see from the picture, Emma was hanging out eating slices while I was taking pictures 🙂

 

Vegan Day 21, 22, and 23 September 24, 2014

Day 21

We ended up having a Viva Vegan themed night.  Granted, I probably should have made more food but we have been feeling a bit under the weather so we didn’t want to eat too much anyways. I ended up making Arepas with Sexy Avocado Tempeh Filling and Coconut Tres Leches Cake.  Surprisingly, I really liked the Arepas.  I didn’t think I would because I am not that big of a fan of Tempeh but the recipe was actually really good and Mike also liked it.  The Coconut Tres Leches Cake was also a big hit.  I wasn’t too sure about the topping, but tasting everything together, it worked perfectly.  Mike actually liked it too, which is very surprising since he doesn’t like the texture of coconut.  He said that since I used shredded unsweetened that it was okay because the bits were small enough that it wasn’t off putting.  I have also witness him eat a couple of slices, so I know that he was telling me the truth. For the flavorings of the cake and topping, I played it safe and just used vanilla.

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Day 22

…was pretty uneventful.  I worked that night, so I just had leftovers of Stuffed Peppers.  I almost caved and had pizza when I got home, but I battled thru and grabbed an apple and some peanut butter for a snack.

Day 23

I have no witty banter or anything to leave you with today.  I have been sick for a few days and it is taking its toll on me.  I keep thinking I will be able to do my 5k training and then my body betrays me, so I am trying to get better.  Because of the sickness going around the house, I called Mike while he was at work and requested Pho.  The closest place is near Mike’s work which is 30 minutes from the house.  So he agreed to pick me up Vegetarian Pho, Vegetarian Spring Rolls and Eggrolls.  I did check the ingredients in everything and it all listed ingredients that were Vegan, no animal products here.  So that made me very happy.  Everything was very good, and actually helped me battle thru this insane cold.

My French Bread post will have to wait until next Tuesdays since I was unable to post this until Wednesday.

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Tuesdays With Dorie: Poppy Seed Torte August 5, 2014

Filed under: Baking,Baking With Julia,Cake,Tuesdays With Dorie — pastrybrush @ 11:17 am
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IMG_4688 IMG_4692This weeks Tuesdays with Dorie recipe is the Poppy Seed Torte which is located on pages 258-260 in Baking With Julia.  The contributing baker for the recipe is Markus Farbinger.  I actually went online and watched the PBS episode of Julia and Markus making this recipe and it was very helpful.

The recipe was actually pretty simple to make, it just required a few extra steps: grinding poppy seeds, cake crumbs, and peeling and poaching apricots.  I figured I would not have any problems with the recipe. Little did I know that my apricots refused to have themselves peeling. I boiled them for the 10 seconds, a little bit longer, and A LOT longer and still it was hit or miss.  Some would only peel halfway and most would not peel at all. Because some of the apricots cooked longer than they were suppose to I ended up just soaking them in the Ginger-Vanilla Syrup instead of cooking them longer.

After the apricot peeling fiasco, everything went very smoothly.  The final product of the torte looked just like the picture.  The final test was the taste and it was actually very good. It had a slight lemony flavor from the juice/zest and I also used a left over lemon cake for the crumbs.

 

Tuesdays With Dorie: Vanilla Pound Cake July 15, 2014

Filed under: Baking,Baking With Julia,Cake,Pound Cake,Tuesdays With Dorie — pastrybrush @ 2:38 pm
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This weeks recipe for Tuesdays With Dorie is the Vanilla Pound Cake which is located on pages 251-252 in Baking With Julia.  I was looking at the recipe it looked pretty straight forward and reminded me of the Pound Cake recipe my Mom and Nanny make.  I decided to compare those two recipes and only noticed a few differences.

My family’s recipes has

1) No baking powder.

2) 1 cup more sugar

3) 1 tsp more vanilla extract (total of 1 Tbsp)

4) 1/2 cup of vegetable oil (in addition to the 2 sticks of butter)

5) 2 more eggs

I guess the most notable different with regard to taste was sweetness and texture.  Of course with one cup less sugar this pound cake wouldn’t be as sweet, which I did actually mind.  It was the texture of the cake.  It was good, but when comparing the two I would prefer my family’s recipe because it yields a moister cake.  Which of course it would with the addition of vegetable oil. I have done the recipe with apple sauce instead of the oil and it turned out just as moist. I have also left it completely out of the recipe a few times and the cake turned out good just not really moist. Because the recipe doesn’t call for baking powder it yields a denser cake, but you are using sifting the dry ingredients and the creaming of the butter and sugar together instead of chemical leveners.

So in the end, it is a good recipe, but a bit too dry for my taste.  I will probably just stick with my family’s recipe and modify flavorings for the type of cake I want.

Vanilla Pound Cake

The cake looks WAY darker than it really was. I was using natural sunlight coming in from the skylight.

 

Tuesdays With Dorie: Mocha Brownie Cake March 18, 2014

This weeks Tuesdays With Dorie recipe is the Mocha Brownie Cake, which is located on pages 282-283 in Baking With Julia. This recipe is essentially a cake brownie that is filled and iced with a Chocolate Ganache. I decided to add a Saint Patrick’s Day twist to it and add Irish Cream flavoring to the cake and ganache. The idea was to serve it yesterday, but I started a little late in the day while running errands and running herd on 2 little ones.

So, yesterday, I baked and assembled the cake and this morning I reheated the ganache and iced the cake aka I poured the ganache over. Through the years I have become really good at pouring ganache over a cake.

How is that, you ask.

A few years back, I worked at a bakery and one of my jobs almost everyday was to pour chocolate ganache over our Chocolate Disaronno Cake and then decorate them. So, I actually got pretty good at it 🙂

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Finally, the children are in bed and I have been able to slice into the cake (with a hot knife, of course) and taste it. I found it to be very good and the Irish Cream flavor was perfect. I ate this straight out of the fridge and the cake was firm, but moist and the ganache was smooth and melted once it hit your mouth. I would definitely consider making this for a birthday cake for anyone that LOVES chocolate, but remember to use a good quality chocolate.

 

Tuesdays With Dorie: Country Bread and Vanilla Chiffon Roll January 28, 2014

I have been MIA for a bit but I have been baking and have actually completed each month, but I have had some issues with actually taking the time to post….opps.

The first Tuesdays with Dorie of the New Year was the recipe for Country Bread, which is located on page 136 in Baking With Julia. This bread was fantastic. It does take some time to make because you make your own sponge, but it was worth it. I especially enjoyed the bread still slightly warm from the oven and smothered in Kerrygold Irish Butter. I thought I had gone to bread heaven when I was eating a slice. My 2 year old (Emma) was also a fan of the bread and butter combo.

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This weeks Tuesdays with Dorie is the Vanilla Chiffon Roll located on page 227 in Baking With Julia. This recipe is a vanilla sponge cake filled with a chocolate-walnut mousse. It sounds weird but it is actually very good. The cake has a very pronounced vanilla flavor and has just enough sweetness to balance out the richness of the filling. I would state that if you are not a fan of walnuts, then I would omit that from the recipe and proceed with just the melted chocolate. If you can eat nuts, then I would suggest a substitution of hazelnuts. Speaking of that, maybe I should have done that since I had some on hand and then the filling would be similar to a Nutella mousse. Which currently sounds fantastic.

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Tuesdays With Dorie: Fresh Rhubarb Upside-Down Baby Cakes May 7, 2013

Filed under: Baking With Julia,Cake,Tuesdays With Dorie — pastrybrush @ 6:00 am
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This weeks Tuesdays With Dorie is being hosted by

ME

WHAT?!?!?

Once I found out I was hosting I knew that I had to hurry up and bake the cakes because I currently as of Friday, May 3, 2013, I looked like this.

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So, in this picture I am 37 weeks and 2 days pregnant, but as of the posting I will be 37 weeks and 6 days. Unless I happen to have this little girl by then, which is very possible since I had Emma at 37 weeks and 5 days. Now you see why I was in a hurry to get on top of this because I have been waiting to host and this baby could come at any moment 🙂

UPDATE The doctor actually said they modified my due date and It was never mentioned to me, so in the picture I am actually 38 weeks and 6 days and as of the posting 39 weeks and 3 days. Still waiting on this little girl. UPDATE

I have been planning on making the recipe a few weeks early, but I was actually unable to find rhubarb until a few days ago. I was thinking about using apples because that is what we had in the house, and then Mike showed up with 3 HUGE stalks of rhubarb and all was not lost. I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to make 8 baby cakes because I only had 4 small cake pans, which just happened to be 4-inch pans and they were springform (cheesecake pans). I decided I would make 4 baby cakes and use the rest of the batter and make one 8-inch round cake.

Large Rhubarb Cake Fresh Rhubarb Upside-down Baby Cakes

Source: Baking With Julia, pages 244-246

Makes 8 small cakes

Here’s a tender, soft-crumbed butter cake, a classic of the genre, made as individual upside-down cakes. The baby cake pans, each four inches across (see Sources, page 467), are lined with a mixture of melted butter, brown sugar, and pecans and decorated with slices of rhubarb before the bourbon-boosted butter cake batter is poured in. It is a sassy take on the old pineapple upside-down cake (a cake worthy of revival if made without the once-obligatory maraschino cherry). In fact, there’s nothing sacred about rhubarb; you can vary the fruit as you choose. Try using mangoes, apples or pears, apricots, plums, or bananas, and vary the liqueur or flavoring to match the fruit. (For ideas about making this cake with rose geranium leaves or herbs, turn to page 247.)

If the urge to bake these lovely cakes strikes and you haven’t a set of baby cake pans at hand, make these in muffin tins or custard cups, or make the recipe as one large cake. The batter is perfect for an eleven- or twelve-inch cast-iron skillet or a twelve-inch round cake pan, and turned out, the large cake is impressive.

These baby cakes, as well as the Gingerbread Baby Cakes (page 247), Hazelnut Baby Loaves (page 249), Oven-Roasted Plum Cakes (page 255), Vanilla Pound Cake (page 251), Lemon Loaf Cake (page 252), and the grand and glorious Wedding Cake (page 232), are members of the same large and universally appealing family, the butter cake clan.

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt, preferably kosher or fine sea salt

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 cup crème fraîche, homemade (page 447) or store-bought, or sour cream

1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup (lightly packed) dark brown sugar

1 tablespoon bourbon

2 tablespoons chopped pecans

6 or 7 stalks (12 ounces) fresh rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices

1 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature

Baby Rhubarb CakesMelted butter, for greasing the pans

Lightly sweetened whipped cream, for serving (optional)

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Brush the insides of 8 mini- or baby cake pans, each 4 inches across and 1 inch deep, with a light coating of melted butter, dust with flour, and tap out the excess. Whisk or stir the flour, baking powder, and salt together just to blend; reserve. In a separate bowl, stir the vanilla into the crème fraîche and set aside until needed.

Melt the 1/2 stick of butter in a heavy skillet. Add the brown sugar and bourbon and cook over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the sugar melts. Stir in the pecans to coat with caramel and turn off the heat. Divide the caramel evenly among the pans, working quickly to get it to the edges of the pans before it sets (cooked sugar cools rapidly). Arrange the rhubarb in circles over the sugar, and set aside while you make the batter.

Put the remaining stick of butter and the granulated sugar in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or use a hand-held mixer, and beat on medium-high speed until the mixture is smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. The butter and sugar must be beaten until they are light, fluffy, and pale, so don’t rush it – the process can take 3 to 4 minutes with a heavy-duty mixer and 6 to 8 minutes with a hand-held mixer. Reduce the speed to medium and add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Working with a rubber spatula, carefully fold in the dry ingredients and the crème fraîche alternately – 3 additions of dry ingredients, 2 of crème fraîche. You’ll end up with a thick batter.

Baking the Cakes Spoon the batter over the rhubarb and smooth the tops by rotating the pans while you run a rubber spatula over the batter. Put the pans on a jelly-roll pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. (Test a couple of the cakes to be certain.) As soon as the cakes are removed from the over, turn them out of their pans onto a rack.

Serve with whipped cream if desired.

Storing The cakes can be kept wrapped in plastic at room temperature overnight.

Large Upside-down Cake

Make the caramel in a heavy 11- or 12-inch skillet that can go into the oven- cast-iron is ideal for this. Arrange the rhubarb over the caramel, spoon in the batter, and bake the cake for 45 to 50 minutes. If you do not have a skillet, butter and flour a 12-inch cake pan, pour in the caramel, top with the rhubarb and batter, and bake. If, when you turn out the cake, some of the caramel and fruit sticks to the bottom of the pan, scrape it onto the top of the cake, smoothing the top with a blunt knife.

Rose Geranium Upside-down Cake

By varying the batter slightly, you can produce upside-down cakes with a very different look and taste. For making the rose geranium cake, a sage cake (which appears in the photograph on page 219), or any other kind of herb cake, choose plants that have not been sprayed. Butter and flour the cake pans, but do not make the caramel. To prepare the batter, substitute 2 teaspoons of rose water for the vanilla. Arrange a few geranium leaves on the bottom of each pan, spoon in the batter, and bake. The rose geranium or any other baby cakes can be made as a large cake; just use a 12-inch round cake pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes.