Mar 28, 2012

Strawberry Buttermilk Cake

I’m always down to bake.
I bake when I’m bored
I bake when I’m happy
I bake when I’m sad
I bake when I’m upset
I bake when I’m stressed
And I bake when I feel like it

I made strawberry buttermilk cake just now. It kept me entertained, it made me happy, and it took away my stress.
This cake was so delicious, probably one of my favorite cakes I’ve ever had. And it’s got fruit in it, it’s good for you… kind of.

Anyways, I got the recipe from smitten kitchen; one of my favorite bloggers. I substitute the raspberry with strawberries, but you can use any fruit really, be creative, go crazy. Actually, go make it now, if you’re bored and are craving for something sweet and yummy.
Strawberry Buttermilk Cake
Recipe adapted from smitten kitchen
2 C all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ C (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/3 C sugar + 3 Tbsp granulated sugar, divided (I used 1 ¼ C sugar)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon zest
2 eggs
1 C buttermilk, shaken
2 C sliced strawberries
1. Preheat oven to 400F. Butter cake pan
2. In a bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, set aside.
3. In another bowl, beat butter until soft and creamy, about 30 seconds. Add in 1 ¼ C sugar, beat until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla and lemon zest.
Add in eggs, one at a time, mix well.
4. Add in 1/3 of the flour mixture, 1/3 of the buttermilk, mix until just combined. Add in half of the flour mixture; half of the buttermilk, mix again. Then add in the rest of the flour mixture and buttermilk.
5. Pour batter into pans, scatter strawberry slices on top and sprinkle 3 Tbsp sugar on top
6. Bake cakes for 20-25 minutes, or until cake starts to pull aside from the pan. Mine took 22 minutes.
7. Let cake rest for about ten minutes in the pan, and then turn it out and serve
* I doubled the recipe and made two 8-inch cakes; one round, one square
* I omitted the 3 Tbsp sugar for sprinkling on the top of the cake because I forgot about it.
* Lemon zest is optional but personally I think adding it makes a huge difference.
* When adding in flour mixture and buttermilk, try not to over mix the batter. For the first two times, mix the batter until the flour almost disappear; there’s no need to mix until it’s completely incorporated
* I highly recommend serving this cake with a giant scoop of vanilla ice cream.

This cake was a big hit, everyone loved it. I love feeding people, it makes me happy.

Mar 25, 2012

Sour Cream Cheesecake

I made cheesecake again last night.
I’ve been using this recipe for many years, and I thought I could never find a better one, but when I tried Alton Brown’s Sour Cream Cheesecake recipe this time, I changed my mind. I think I’ve found my favorite cheesecake recipe.

Almond Crust
3 C almond flour/ ground almond/ almond meal
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
½ C (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1. Preheat oven to 350F
2. Mix almond flour, sugar, and salt together with a fork. Add in softened butter and mash with fork to blend until it forms a “dough”. Press in pans/mold
3. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until it smells “nutty” and starts to pull away from the pan. Let cool.
Sour Cream Cheesecake
recipe slightly adapted from Alton Brown
1 ¼ C sour cream
20 oz (3 ½ 8-ounce-package) cream cheese, softened
1 C sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 whole eggs
3 egg yolks
1/3C heavy cream
1. Preheat oven to 300F
2. Whisk sour cream in a bowl for about 10 seconds.
I used my orange spatula to beat it.
3. Mix in the cream cheese and sugar. I added the cream cheese a little at a time because I didn’t let it come to room temperature and adding it a little by little allow the dense cream cheese to incorporate with the soft sour cream.
After adding in all the cream cheese, add in sugar and mix until well blended.
4. In another bowl, combine vanilla extract, eggs, egg yolks, and heavy cream. Then SLOWLY pour it into the cream cheese mixture. If you dump in too much of it, the batter will become lumpy and you don’t want that to happen to your cheesecake.
5. Pour batter into the cooled crust. I made some plain cheesecake, some lemon cheesecake, and some strawberry swirl cheesecake.
With the lemon cheesecake, I simply added 1 Tbsp lemon juice and 1 tsp of lemon zest to half of the cheesecake batter.
For the strawberry swirl cheesecake, I made some super easy strawberry sauce (recipe below) and put dollops of it on top of the plain cheesecake.
Lower oven temperature to 250F and bake cheesecake in water bath for an hour.
The original recipe yielded a 9 x 3-inch cake pan and I made two 8-inch round cheesecakes and 9 muffin-size cheesecakes.
I baked the mini ones for about 25 minutes, and take them out of the oven while I baked the 8-inch cakes for about 35-40 minutes; then turn the oven off and let them sit in oven for another hour.
6. Chill for at least 6 hours or overnight.

* Make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature; I talked about it in my previous cheesecake post.

I saw this post just now, and it made my day.
I miss Christmas, but I right now I need some sunshine.

Mar 18, 2012

Get 'em Drunk Chocolate Guinness Cake

Most people around me love drinking; and me, I’m not much of a drinker, but I love alcohol in my sweets. It's St. Patty’s day, so I’m making a cake inspired by Nigella Lawson’s Chocolate Guinness Cake. Oh and I’m a huge fan of Nigella; one because she’s a chocoholic like me, and two because she’s awesome.
Chocolate Guinness Cake
Recipe slightly adapted from Nigella Lawson
2 C all-purpose flour
2 ½ tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1 C Guinness
1 stick + 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into chunks
¾ C unsweetened cocoa
1 C granulated sugar
½ C light brown sugar
¾ C sour cream
2 eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Generously grease two 8-inch cake pan. The batter is enough to make two thin 8-inch cake and an 8-inch square pan.
2. In a bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt, set aside
3. In a saucepan, add in Guinness and butter
heat until the butter’s melted; turn off heat. Whisk in cocoa and both sugar and mix until combined, set aside
4. In another bowl, whisk together sour cream, eggs, and vanilla until well combined
Slowly add in the butter-beer mixture and mix well
Make sure you let the butter-beer mixture cool a bit before you add it to the egg mixture so you don’t scramble the egg
5. Whisk in half of the flour mixture, mix until almost combined and then whisk in the rest.
6. Pour batter into cake pans and bake for 30-35 minutes
or until the side of the cake starts to pull away from the pan
Let cool completely before you frost this baby.

1 (8oz.) package cream cheese, at room temperature
1 ¼ C confectioners’ sugar (I used 1 C)
½ C heavy cream
(vanilla extract, coffee liqueur, green food coloring)
1. In a bowl beat the cream cheese until soft and smooth
gradually sift in confectioners’ sugar and beat together until incorporated. Beat it good
2. Slowly drizzle in the heavy cream and whip until it makes a spreadable consistency. Whip it good
At this point, I also added a splash of vanilla extract, coffee liqueur
and four drops of green food coloring
3. Frost you cooled cake, and make sure you frost it good.
* This has the texture between frosting and icing. It’s not firm enough to frost the cake, but it’s also not runny enough to pour over the cake. You don’t have to try to be a smarty-pants and layer them like I did; you won’t end up with a pretty cake. Spreading the frosting on top of the cake is just fine.

Enjoy the cake with the rest of your Guinness.
If I don’t finish this cake today, I’ll make them into cake balls. By mixing the cake crumbs and the rest of the frosting, form them into calls, and then coat them with candy coating.
... Or maybe I’ll share with friends, maybe.
“A great friend is like a four leaf clover; hard to find and lucky to have”

Mar 17, 2012

Irish Soda Bread

I made Irish soda bread, just now. And my kitchen smells like heaven. I’m on my computer right now, trying really hard not to go into the kitchen so I don’t eat the whole bread.
This bread is so easy to make, it requires almost no kneading and it doesn’t need to raise either. Most importantly, it tastes amazing. ‘nough talking, Talk doesn’t fill the stomach.
Irish Soda Bread
Recipe adapted from Barefoot Contessa
4 C all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
4 Tbsp granulated sugar (I used 3 Tbsp)
1 tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsp salt
4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter
1 ¾ C cold buttermilk, shaken
1 egg
1 tsp grated orange zest (I didn’t add it because I didn’t have any on hand)
1 C dried currants (I also omitted this)
1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper
2. In a bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt, set aside.
3. Cut cold butter into cubes
mix into flour mixture
I mix them with my fingertips. Try not to mix it for too long, you don’t want to soften the butter.
4. In another bowl (I used measuring cup) mix together buttermilk and egg.
Add it to the flour mixture all at once
mix with a fork or with your hand until the dough almost comes together
Dump it out onto a floured board and knead until it forms a ball; it only takes about 20 seconds.
5. Place the bread dough on the prepared sheet pan
lightly cut an X into the top of the bread with a knife
Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until you get a hollow sound when tapping on the bottom of the bread. Mine took exactly 45 minutes.
The best way to eat this bread is enjoy it with butter while it’s still warm.

“A man is like the bagpipes, he never makes a noise until his belly is full.”

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