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Coffee Cake

This Coffee Cake is adapted from Pioneer Woman’s Food from my Frontier cookbook. The recipe is also on her website. It’s made with lots of instant coffee in it so it’s really a Coffee Cake, not the plain type of coffee cake. The instant coffee you use in this cake really influence the flavour so it’s best you use one that you like. I used UCC Instant Coffee Blend No.117 left behind by my parents which has this sour-ish aftertaste (which is why I don’t like drinking instant coffee!) and it didn’t impart a rich coffee flavour to the cake.

I halved the recipe and made the cake in a 6″ round pan, and I’m not sure if that has any impact on the texture of the cake but I’m not crazy about it. It could also be due to the one-bowl mixing method.

The coffee icing is a new update to the icing she used on her blog post. She creamed the butter in that one while this one the butter is melted. Again, I halved the recipe but used only 1/4 of the powdered sugar as it was too sweet when I tasted it. I had to add unsweetened cocoa to make it less sweet and that’s why my icing is darker in colour compared to hers. (The second sign that her sweets recipes will be too sweet for my taste is from her latest blog post where she said she found Starbucks’ lemon poppyseed ‘delightful and delicious’ while I found it too sweet with the icing to finish!)

Coffee Icing
(From Food from my Frontier)

3/4 cup butter
2 T instant coffee
4 T half-and-half
4 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Melt the butter in a saucepan and add in the instant coffee. Stir it together, then add the half-and-half and whisk to combine. Turn off the heat and add in the powdered sugar and vanilla. Whisk till the sugar has dissolved and the icing is smooth. Let it cool for 5 minutes. Drizzle the icing over the cake.

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What I think of the cookbook? Well, I wouldn’t buy it as I found three of the recipes that I would make from it on her website. She also gives more instructions there as she’s not restricted by space. However, if you’re a fan of Pioneer Woman and you’re always making her recipes, this cookbook will be convenient. She has included new recipes as well as updates to some of her old ones. This Coffee Cake, for instance, has been updated with a creamy (cream cheese) filling between the layers and a different icing. There are also awesome pictures of her family and farm throughout the book with humorous captions. If you love PW, you’ll love it!

 
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Posted by on March 24, 2012 in Baking, Food

 

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Rich Chewy Brownies

We would usually be out on a Saturday but today the force is strong with the wind. Blowing at 46km/h and gusting at 63km/h at one point, home we stayed. I tried this brownie recipe from Anna Olson. She posted a link to it on her Facebook page on Valentine’s Day. I like that it’s quick to make; no butter to measure out, just vegetable oil.

When it was baking, the aroma was so good that it drew Little Guy out from his room to ask me what it was.   I told him it was brownies and he exclaimed, “BROWNIES!!” then proceeded to thank me for making brownies. So sweet. :)

These brownies are hard to photograph, they are so dark!

Verdict: They are true to name, rich and chewy. Very nice, my boys like it so it means it’s not too bitter even though I reduced the sugar to 1 cup. Would be good with vanilla ice-cream or whipped cream!

Update: I have to add that they are very chocolatey too! I used Ghirardelli’s Bittersweet Chips and they’re   larger than regular chips so they didn’t fully melt and it’s wonderful! 

Rich Chewy Brownies (from Anna Olson’s website)

These brownies are rich and dense, and get that beautiful shiny, crackling top to them. Another secret to them: they are Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free!

If you wish to make these using traditional wheat flour, replace the 1/2 cup of rice flour and 2 tbsp of cornstarch with 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour.

Makes 1 8-inch square pan

Cuts into 25 brownies

  • 11/4 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups Dutch process (alkalized) cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/2tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces and/or chocolate chips (I left out the nuts)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and line an 8-inch square pan with parchment so that the paper comes up the sides of the pan.

Stir the sugar, cocoa and oil together until moistened.

Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk to blend.

Add the rice flour, cornstarch and salt and stir until incorporated. Stir in the walnut pieces and/or chocolate chips. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.

Bake the brownies for about 25 minutes, until they lose their shine and when a tester inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool the brownies to room temperature before slicing.

The brownies will keep in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

 
5 Comments

Posted by on March 3, 2012 in Baking

 

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French Fridays with Dorie: Crème Brûlée

Blew the dust off my Around My French Table cookbook and joined the club again with this Creme Brulee. I checked the French Fridays with Dorie website on Tuesday and knew I could make this week’s recipe as there’ll be three egg yolks left over from the cupcakes I was baking for my son’s school. It’s also about time that I wrote a new post since my last post was back in October! I had been busy and was neglecting the blogging world for a bit but will be back next year with more regular reading and posting. I do missed visiting all the wonderful food blogs!

Anyway, back to the Creme Brulee, the custard was cooked on Wednesday and then all of a sudden….. it’s Friday! Where did the time go?? I baked the custard on Friday and served it on Saturday. I baked the custard for 50 minutes and left them in the oven to cool as they were still too jiggly in the middle. Dorie could fill 6 ramekins with 1/2 cup of custard each but I only have slightly more than 2 cups of custard and filled 5 ramekins.

The Christmas busyness got me distracted when I made the creme brulee and I forgot about the jam at the bottom of the ramekins although I remembered it earlier in the day! So no jam surprise, just regular creme brulee for me.

I sprinkled the one on the right with white sugar just to see the difference in effect and it doesn’t look as good as using brown sugar.

The taste? Well, I could have under-baked it or maybe it’s meant to be this way but it was too soft for me. While the taste was good it felt like ice-cream that has been sitting out for too long.

Take a look at other Creme Brulee here.

I would like to end this post by wishing everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!

 
8 Comments

Posted by on December 25, 2011 in Baking, Food, French Fridays with Dorie

 

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Banana-Coconut Cake

I saw these mini-loaf pans and thought they’re cute. They’re also good for making cakes to give away. They came in a pack of 5.

I recently used them for a banana-coconut cake which is really Dorie Greenspan’s Lots-of-Ways Banana Cake. The full recipe made exactly five mini-cakes and I gave three of them away including one to my friend, Sue, for her birthday.

This banana cake is moist with chewy coconut shreds. It’s great as a snack or after-school snack for kids and also good for breakfast with tea for mommy! I didn’t frost these cakes but I’m sure they’ll be fantastic with a cream cheese frosting.

Lots-of-Ways Banana Cake
(Adapated from Baking: From my Home to Yours)


2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar (or granulated sugar)
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs, preferably at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons dark rum
About 4 very ripe bananas, mashed (you should have 1 1/2 – 1 3/4 cups)
1/2 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk, regular (stir well before measuring)
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut, preferably toasted

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 5 mini loaf pans, dust the insides with flour and tap out the excess. Put the pans on a baking sheet.

Whisk the flour, baking soda, salt and nutmeg together. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugars and beat at medium speed for a couple of minutes, then add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, followed by the vanilla and rum. Lower the speed and add the bananas – the batter will curdle, but that’s fine; it will come together as you add the remaining ingredients. Still on low speed, add the dry and liquid ingredients alternately, adding the flour mixture in 3 portions and the coconut milk in 2 (begin and end with the dry ingredients). Mix just until everything is incorporated. Switch to a rubber spatula and gently stir in the coconut. Divide the batter evenly between the pans. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the cakes are a deep golden brown. They should start to pull away from the sides of the pans and a thin knife inserted into their centers will come out clean. Transfer the cakes to a cooling rack and cool for 5 minutes, then unmold and invert onto another rack to cool to room temperature right side up.

For the original recipe, along with the ways to play around, click here.

 
10 Comments

Posted by on September 5, 2011 in Baking, Food

 

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Breathing New Life into Failed Cake

Remember my earlier post about the cake that didn’t rise hence I couldn’t make the tall party cake? I didn’t know what to do with it but I couldn’t just throw it out so I put it away in the fridge. Then yesterday I remembered my long procrastinated project – cake pops! I had all the ingredients and materials. Just never gotten around to making them. It was a fantastic way to use up the cake, I’m so pleased it didn’t go to waste. The cake pop was great with the lemony cake and the chocolate. I served them at an ‘Everyday Style’ party I hosted this morning and they were a hit!

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Dorie’s Perfect Party Cake crumbled and mixed with canned cream cheese frosting. Dipped in melted Mercken’s chocolate wafers, thinned with sunflower oil. 

 
13 Comments

Posted by on July 23, 2011 in Baking, Food, Life

 

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Lemon Pound Cake with Strawberry Sauce

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This recipe is taken from LCBO’s Food & Drink Summer 2011 issue. I had been looking out for it and was quite pleased to see it was available when I went to get some summer beers yesterday. This pound cake doesn’t require the usual creaming of butter and sugar and uses a combination of oil and butter. It produces a soft and buttery cake with slight tartness from the lemon. 

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The original recipe served the cake with a sauce made from fresh strawberries and strawberry jam but I used my own homemade strawberry sauce instead.

LEMON POUND CAKE

5 large eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt (use greater amount if using unsalted butter)
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 lemon
1/3 cup canola or other vegetable oil*
1/2 cup butter, 1 stick, very soft
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (160C).

2. Separate eggs, placing whites in a clean mixing bowl. Place yolks in a small bowl. Using extra, very generously butter and flour a Bundt pan.

3. Place measured flour into a large mixing bowl. Stir in 3/4 cup sugar along with salt and baking soda; mix well. Finely zest lemon with a rasp; squeeze 2 tbsp juice.

4. Slowly add oil in batches to very soft butter, stirring well after each addition. Stir in yolks; then zest, juice and vanilla.

5. Beat egg whites until foamy; beat in cream of tartar. When soft peaks form, gradually beat in remaining 3/4 cup sugar until glossy stiff peaks form. A bit of whipped egg rubbed between fingers feels smooth, not gritty.

6. Make a well in the flour mixture; add butter mixture all at once. Stir until all flour is absorbed. Using a large rubber spatula, fold 1/3 of whipped whites into dough until evenly mixed. Then fold in remainder just until streaks almost disappear. Turn into prepared pan; smooth top.

7. Bake in centre of preheated oven for 45 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in cake middle comes out clean. Cool upright on a rack for 15 minutes to firm up cake. Then loosen and turn out upside down to finish cooling on rack.

8. To serve, dust cake top lightly with icing sugar in a small sieve. Serve slices with some berry sauce.

* I used sunflower oil but I may have mistakenly used half a cup!

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STRAWBERY SAUCE

1 lb strawberries, hulled and halved
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon sugar (or 3 tablespoons sugar if you’re not using maple syrup)
Juice of 1/4 lemon
Zest of the 1/4 lemon (optional)
2 teaspoons cornstarch

Put the strawberries, maple syrup, lemon juice and zest (if using) into a medium saucepan and cook over medium-low heat for 10 mins. Taste and add the the 1 tablespoon sugar if it’s not sweet enough. Mix the cornstarch with 2 teaspoons water and add to the saucepan. Continue to simmer for another 10 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat and mash lightly with fork to break up the bigger pieces. If you want a smooth sauce, puree the cooled sauce in a blender.

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9 Comments

Posted by on July 10, 2011 in Baking, Food

 

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Blueberry-Brown Sugar Plain Cake

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I made a simple cake for tea the other day, a Dorie Greenspan cake – Blueberry-Brown Sugar Plain Cake. Blueberries were on sale that week – $1.99 a pint – and they were sweet not tart. Eating them with (or in!) cakes is my favourite way of eating many blueberries at one go!

This cake is called a plain cake – “no crumbs, streusel, nuts, icing or filling” – but it is not plain in taste. It is very moist, with blueberries in almost every bite, and has a strong caramel flavour from the brown sugar. There’s also a hint of cinnamon.

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Blueberry-Brown Sugar Plain Cake
adapted from Baking From My Home to Yours

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon plus a pinch of salt
2 large eggs, separated
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar (I didn’t pack it)
1/2 cup whole milk
1 pint blueberries – fresh, preferably, or frozen

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Generously butter an 11-x-8-inch baking pan and place it on a baking sheet.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and the 1/8 teaspoon salt.

Beat the egg whites with the pinch of salt until they form firm, glossy peaks.

Put the butter and sugar in the mixer bowl and beat on medium speed until creamy. Add the egg yolks and beat 2 minutes more. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add half the dry ingredients, then all of the milk and then the remainder of the dry ingredients, adding each new batch as soon as the previous batch has been incorporated.

Using a large rubber spatula, stir in about one quarter of the stiffly beaten egg whites. Gently fold in the rest of the whites. Still working with a light hand, fold in the blueberries, and scrape the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake the cake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until it is golden and a thin knife inserted into the centre comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a cooling rack and cool in the pan for about 30 minutes before dusting the top with confectioners’ sugar and serving warm. (I served mine the next day and warmed it up in the microwave.)

 

 
6 Comments

Posted by on June 22, 2011 in Baking, Food

 

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