Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Calling All Bakers

Now I have a chef for a son, I've gone to cooking schools in
France and I even worked for Sur La Table but I'll be darned if I can a super moist cake.  What is the problem?

I use butter, I use shortening, heck, I've used apple sauce.  What am I doing wrong? 

The absolute best, most moist cake I have ever made is actually a soda pop cake.  Do you believe that this is the best I could do?  It kills me because I like to bake from scratch; no cake mixes or premade anything.

So I am calling out to all bakers in blogland........help me with insights as to how to bake the moistest cake on the planet....................PLEASE!?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

To Bake or Not To Bake

No baking today but I did bake like a maniac last week.  You see it was my son's 32nd birthday and he's a chef.  Now, as some of you know, a chef is not necessarily a baker and vice versa.  So, I have been the one to bake all these years because I had aspirations to become a pastry chef at one time.  Needless to say, when my son has declared to us that he wanted to be a chef, the cost made it impossible for both of us to go to culinary school at the same time.  Your children always win out when it come to education so I put my hopes aside and he went to culinary school.  Anyway, I bake now as much as I can for him.

So....I baked a cheesecake for my son, oatmeal peanut butter cookies for my husband and coconut, almond bars for everyone (they were killer good and I will share the recipe next week).  My kitchen smelled like a bakery and I loved it.  Lots of sugar and fattening stuff is not so bad as long as it is in moderation, right!?

Here it is Tuesday and no baking yet.  I think I may go thru withdrawals.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Cookies #4

My husband has a real sweet tooth when it comes to peanut butter cookies.  Add oatmeal and butterscotch chips and we have a real ordeal on our hands.  He can't stop eating them.  Now I have tried recipe after recipe and the one I am going to share with you is #4 on my list of tried recipes for these cookies.  Also I am glad to say that this is most probably the BEST one yet.

Let me first tell you that I have been experimenting with cake flour for use in making cookies as opposed to all-purpose flour.  The recipe I will share with you is actually made WITH cake flour so I will give you the exact measurements when using it.  Just keep in mind that if you do use all-purpose flour the ratio is 1 cup for each 1 cup 2 tablespoons of cake flour used.  So you use less all-purpose instead of more.  Alrighty.

Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Cookies
3/4 cup softened butter
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/4 granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla
2 1/4 cups  + 4 1/4 tablespoons cake flour
2 2/3 cups rolled oats
1 10 ounce bag of miniature candy kisses (optional)

Mix butter and peanut butter together in large mixing bowl until smooth. about 30 seconds.
Add the granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking soda and baking powder; beat in until combined.  Be sure to scrap the sides of the mixing bowl from time to time.  Toss in the eggs and vanilla; beat until combined.  Thrown in the flour then the oats and lastly the chocolate kisses if you want to add them.  Beat until thoroughly combined.

Drop the dough onto ungreased cookie sheets about 2 to 3 inches apart.  Flattening them makes for more even baking.  Bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until they are slightly brown around the edges.
This recipe makes about 72 cookies.  You can store them in an airtight bag for about three days or freeze them for up to 1 month.


Let me ad a caveat here.  Since I used cake flour I set the temperature of the oven at 350 degrees and bake the cookies for 14 minutes.  This worked out excellently for me.  Try a few variations of your own and see what works best in your oven.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Cake Mix and 7 Up Cake

Have any of you ever tried Weight Wactchers ?  Come on now, be honest.  Many of us have and failed but many have and have been really successful.  The hardest thing I find is that I cannot satisfy my sweet tooth(and boy, is it a mega one) on Weight Watchers.  But have I got just the cake for you if you're like me.

This is a box cake mix and 7 Up soft drink.  You read it right.  Now, if you know me at all, I am a made from scratch kinda gal but sometimes you just gotta have an easy cake without all the butter, etc.  and here it is.  By the way, you can make this with any flavor cake mix and carbonated soft drink.  You put it together to your flavor likings.

1 box cake mix
3 eggs
1 cup carbonated soft drink
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Mix all together and pour into 2 8" rounds or 1 9 x 13 pan sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.
Poke with a toothpick in the center to assure doneness.  Cool on a rack.

When cool, ice as desired...........................done.

Now, how much easier can that be.  I just baked one myself and will be putting some cream cheese frosting on it.  Cool Whip also works as an icing, just be sure the cake is completely cool or the Cool Whip will melt and run all over the place.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Infamous (and authentic) Red Velvet Cake Cupcakes

There are many, many stories about where, when and who came up first with the Red Velvet Cake.  Putting all that aside, however, did you know that one of the most important ingredients in a Red Velvet Cake is cocoa ?  Yes, I said cocoa.  Lots of people neglect to include this little ingredient in the mix, therefore, making it taste non-authentic.  Alright, here we go with the recipe for true, southern Red Velvet Cake Cupcakes just in time for Valentine's Day.

2 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups of vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk at room temperature
2 large eggs always at room temperature
2 tablespoons red food coloring (do not use beet juice)
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Line your cupcake tins with appropriate Valentine's Day themed papers.  In a mixing bowl, sift together the flour, the sugar, the baking soda, salt and cocoa powder.  Using a large bowl, gently beat together the oil, the buttermilk, the eggs, food coloring, vinegar and vanilla.  Now this is important.......USE A HANDHELD ELECTRIC MIXER.  The reason is that a stand mixer over-mixes the batter.  Anyway, add in the sifted dry ingredients and mix until smooth and completely combined.

Pour the batter into the cupcake tines, 2/3 full.  Bake for 20 to 22 minutes making sure to turn the tins half way thru the baking process.  Take a toothpick and test for doneness.  Remove from the oven and cool completely before frosting with Cream Cheese Frosting (see recipe below).

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 pound of cream cheese, softened
2 sticks of butter, softened
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 cups of sifted confectioner's sugar
Chopped pecans and fresh strawberries or raspberries for garnishing purposes

Beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until smooth.  Add the sugar and beat at low speed until blended.  Beat at very high speed until it becomes light and fluffy.

Garnish with raspberries, strawberries or some chopped pecans.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

New Day......New Treats

Now, I gotta tell you...I can eat a sweet treat any time of the day.  Breakfast, lunch and dinner if given a choice.  How many of you are the same way?   Horrible, isn't it !?  Oh well, at least I recognize what my vices are.

So, today's recipe is for CUPCAKES........but can you guess what kind ?  CHOCOLATE !

5 ounces of softened butter
1 cup caster sugar (superfine)
3/4 cup cocoa
2 eggs
1 cup self-rising flour

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Beat the butter and sugar in an electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Add the cocoa, the eggs and the flour.  Mix until combined.  Spoon the cupcake mixture into a nine count non-stick muffin pan.  Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until just soft in the middle.  Turn them out onto serving plates and serve with ice cream.

These are really more like little lava cakes because you do not use paper cupcake cups when you bake these.  Great as a dessert after dinner or just whenever you want something sweet.  Enjoy.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Etsy Shop New Merchandise

When finding and posting new merchandise to my Etsy shop, it becomes one of those things that I dive into and lose all track of time.  Don't you?

Now I know that some of you bake and probably alot, so do I but it does make it just that little bit more special to have some fun with the products you use.

Take these cupcake paper cups.  "A well balanced diet is a cupcake in each hand".  How many of us can relate to THAT statement ?  I know I can.  What a dream to be able to eat all the cupcakes (and cake) you would like and never pay the price (big butt) for it !?  If anyone  can teach me how, I'm all ears.  Really, though it sounds great it's much better to share your goodies with your friends and coworkers, isn't it ?

So, enough about that stuff.  Let's get down to the very first recipe I am going to share with you on my blog as I promised.  This one is for cupcakes with crushed raspberry cream.  YUM !

4 oz butter, softened
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
2/3 cup caster (superfine) sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

crushed raspberry cream
8 oz raspberries
1 cup double thick cream
1 tablespoon confectioner's sugar, sifted

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  In an electric mixer, put the butter, eggs, flour, baking powder, sugar, milk and vanilla extract.  Beat for 4 minutes or until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
Line your cupcake tin with paper cups (which you can find at Cake Walk Atelier on Etsy).  Spoon the mixture to about 3/4 full.  Bake for about 18 to 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Cool on racks.
The raspberry cream is made by placing the raspberries into a bowl and gently crushing them with a fork.  Add the cream and sugar, folding to combine.  Done.
To serve, just take a small spoon and scoop out a hole into the top of each cupcake.  Fill the holes with the raspberry cream and then replace the cake where you had scooped it out previously.  Enjoy.