Thursday, June 14, 2012

Banana Bread Revived!

My very first blog post was about my favorite, favorite, favorite recipe for banana bread. Unfortunatley during that time, I had pulled it out of the oven too early. After Cody and I moved in June, I just had to bake something. I hadn't baked in over two weeks because of packing. We didn't have much in the house, but I always keep over ripe bananas in my freezer.

Just thought I would share a picture of what it should really look like, and how it usually turns out.

1/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1.5 tbsp milk
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups flour
1 tsp soda
3 mashed bananas
my secret ingredient :)

Blend butter and sugar until creamy. Add eggs and mix well. Add milk and salt. Slowly add flour and soda. Add bananas and any extra goodies.

Bake at 350. 1 hour for 1 large pan, or 45 minutes for 3 mini pans.

This is just my basic recipe. It is a family recipe. I have made a few changes in the ingredients for myself. I have some plans for tweaking the recipe a bit next time, so stay tuned for more pictures! :)

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

The beginning of summer always proves to be extremely busy. With one job ending, another beginning, moving, and visits from parents, I have a lot of blogging to catch up on! Of course, I couldn't stop baking, who doesn't like treats all the time anyways?

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie is a family favorite. Simple recipe. Super tasty pie. Usually I try to stray away from a basic recipe and search for ways to make one even yummier, but this one has been a time tested keeper that I just couldn't change.

I have yet to find a pie crust recipe that I love. This one was pretty tasty, but I am still going to keep searching for more!

For the crust:

2.5 cups flour
1 tbsp sugar
2 sticks, very cold salted butter
1 cup very cold water (add a few ice cubes to the cup during preparation)

In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Dice the butter into small pieces (about half inch cubes in size). Using a pastry blender (or in my case, a few forks - yet another thing on my kitchen list) combine until the butter is pea sized. This is important, we do not want the butter to be too small. Slowly pour one half cup of the cold water over the mixture. With a rubber spatula gather all of the dough together. Do not mix too much. If the dough is still falling apart, add one tablespoon of water at a time until everything is just combined.

Lay down some plastic wrap and put half of  the dough on it. Use the sides of the wrap to pull the dough into a ball and shape into a flat circular disk. Repeat with second half of dough. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least an hour before using.

Sprinkle some flour on your rolling surface, and SLOWLY begin to roll our the disk of dough. I found it best to roll a bit, life and turn a little bit, roll some more, turn, roll, turn, roll. etc. Make sure you have enough flour so the roller will not stick to the dough and the dough will not stick to the counter. Continue this process until you have a 12 inch circle. It was easiest to lightly fold the circle in half and then in fourths to transfer to the pie pan.

Put this back into the refrigerator while rolling out the other half of the dough. Refrigerate that one as well (folded up) and while making the filling.

For the filling:

As stated before, this is a simple Betty Crocker Recipe.

2 cups strawberries, quartered (fresh is best)
3 cups rhubarb, diced in half inch pieces.
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp cold butter, cut into pieces
1 egg yolk
course sugar

First, cute fresh strawberries and mix with a tiny bit of the sugar to get some of the juices flowing. Mix the rest of the sugar and cornstarch together. Add in the strawberries, juice, and rhubarb. Stir until the fruit is coated with the sugar mixture. Pour into the pie crust that is in the refrigerator. Dot top with butter. Unfold the top crust, trim, and crimp to fit the pan. Beat egg yolk with a spoonful of water. Brush on the crust, cut pretty vent holes in the top with a sharp night, and sprinkle with course sugar.

Bake in a 400 degree oven for 20-30 minutes. Mixture will bubble and crust will be golden brown and flaky! Cool for at least 2 hours.

Best served with old fashion vanilla ice cream :)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Purple, purple, purple.... & Chocolate Cupcakes w/ Strawberry butter cream frosting

Well, another birthday has been added to the books. My wonderful family, boyfriend, and friends threw me a surprise, purple themed birthday party at Wowzone. Pizza, bowling, and of course DQ cake. Going w/ the purple theme, I received a beautiful kitchen aid which color?!

PURPLE! My favorite! My dad and I gave one of these to my mom when I was little, and I have always loved it! My sister, the amazing party planner, and my niece also gave me a ginormous box of every possible color of cupcake wrappers. They are so pretty - it is almost to hard to use them.

Of course, I had to try it out right away the next day. Having limited groceries in the house, I made a box of chocolate cake mix. Something easy for the first time! I also chose pink and purple polka dots for the wrappers!

I decided to make a butter cream frosting with the ingredients we had at the house.

2 sticks salted butter, at room temp
4 cups powdered sugar
3-4 tbsp skim milk
dash of vanilla
strawberry jello mix

Beat butter in your stand up mixer with the whisk attachment for about one minute. Add half of the powdered sugar, blend til combined. Add half of the milk and blend again. Repeat with the second half of ingredients. I learned a little trick from a good friend about coloring and flavoring frosting with a bit of jello mix for a quick option. I poured in a bit of jello mix, blended for a bit, and added a bit more until it was the flavor and consistency I wanted. This frosting has a bit of a "crunch" to it. I chose to use a 1M star tip to frost my cupcakes.

The pointy cupcakes were frosted from outside in, while the rose pattern is from inside out.

I brought these along for a picnic lunch we went to with my sister and niece today at Sibley Park. They were delicious! I can't wait to keep baking more goodies!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Lemon-Berry Shortcake Cake

Lemon is definitely favored among a few of my family members. I learned to make my dad a lemon meringue pie at age 3. Figures that my boyfriend is also a lemon freak. I found this delicious looking recipe and thought to give it a try and face the taste test of my family.

To make the cake:

1 1/2  cups all-purpose flour
3 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, at room temp
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 tbsp lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs, at room temp
1/2 cup light sour cream, at room temp

Sift together the first four ingredients in a medium bowl. In a mixing bowl, beat butter, sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and beat thoroughly after each.  Add sour cream and blend until smooth. Divide batter between two greased and floured 8 inch round pans. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes, then flip upside down on parchment paper or a drying rack. (I have very limited kitchen supplies and put mine on cutting boards. In the future, I would put some parchment down prior to doing this because the bottom layer stuck to the cutting board.)

To prepare the berries:
Thaw 16 ounces of fresh or frozen mixed berries (I used strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries) with 3 tsp of sugar. Mix well. After at least 10 minutes, smash the berries using a fork to release some juices. If frozen, there will be a lot of juice.

To make the frosting blend the following until smooth (add enough milk for a creamy spreadable texture):
8 ounces of cream cheese, at room temp
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, at room temp
2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla
splash of milk

To assemble the cake, place one of the cakes on your serving plate. I suggest doing this fairly close to serving time. Using a slatted spoon, spread half of berries on cake. Drizzle on some juice, using discretion as to not make cake soggy. Spread half of frosting on top of berries. Repeat using the second cake and the rest of the berries and frosting. Dig in and ENJOY!



Best eaten right away, it gets soggier the longer it sits. Store in the fridge!

The next time I make this, I'll probably frost the top of the first cake with a little frosting and then add the berries on top. I would frost the bottom of the top cake and squish together. I had some problems with my layers coming apart; I think frosting will glue it all together a bit more! I also didn't quite use all of my frosting.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Easter Egg Cake Pops

Okay, so it's been almost 2 months since my last post. It's been a busy, working-everyday sort of time. I've tried cake pops a few times before and I know my cousin Karie loves them! I decided to venture on and try a new version of the recipe..Easter Eggs. On a stick this time too!

Everything starts the same for cake pops.

Bake a cake of your flavor choice, a box is just fine. Everything gets mashed together so I don't see the point in making a homemade one. Maybe someday I'll master my own confetti cake mix. After the cake has cooled, crumb it with a fork. I decided to leave the very edges of my cake out of the mix, as they were pretty browned and gross. Mix in 3/4 of a can of frosting. Yup, not homemade either and any flavor you want. I chose a vanilla frosting to go with the confetti cake. Then, freeze this concoction as it definitely helps in the next few steps.

Get a cookie sheeet ready with some wax paper and then shape the mix into egg shaped "balls". Mine were about the width of a quarter. My one box of cake made 40 eggs.

Melt a package of vanilla candy coating (in the past I have used almond fudge, but I like this better) in the microwave. Pour into a mug or tall cup, wide enough to fit the egg with some space. Dip the ends of the sticks into the candy and insert halfway into the egg. (I used wood skewers but after I bought these I saw lollipop sticks that would have been cuter.) Place carefully on wax paper pan and freeze when all eggs have their sticks.

I found out the second time around that the longer they sit in the freezer, the easier it is to candy coat them. But after at least 20 minutes, take out the pan. Give the candy coating another 30 second zap in the microwave and a good stir. Then carefully dip egg into candy coating. Rotate and GENTLY tap the stick on the cup to get the excess coating off of the egg. Place into styrofoam to drip dry. Some of mine still dripped quite a bit of coating down the stick, but after it dries you can break it off.

When the coating is dry and hard you can decorate! I used all kinds of sprinkles and colored sugars. Use a paint brush dipped in light corn syrup to act as "glue" for your "glitter"

 I plan on bringing these with me to my parents for our Easter brunch on Sunday. I created a cute little pan, verses using boring Styrofoam. Now being as broke as I am, I cheaped out and bought the stuff you use when making wedding bouquets and arrangements. It turned out to work pretty well, as it's green and kind of resembles grass. I also bought some cheap Easter "grass". I used my leftover frosting (the last quarter of the jar) to glue three sections of this flower stuff to the bottom of my pan. I then spread a very thin layer on top to act as a glue for the Easter grass.

Then I placed all the eggs in the grass and there you have it.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

German Chocolate - Happy Birthday Abbi!

Birthdays are one of the best excuses I have to practice my baking skills! Second birthday of the week, my sister! She requested a german chocolate cake; one we have made together a few times! I needed a new challenge and went on a recipe hunt to test! I also wanted to make it completely from scratch. This is what I found and devoured.

For the Cake:

4 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips
2 1/4 cups cake flour (yes, cake flour - don't skimp out)
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup lukewarm coffee
1 cup buttermilk (the only buttermilk we had available was in powder form - 4 tbsp + 1 cup water)
1 1/4 cups butter, room temperature
2 1/4 cups granulated white sugar
5 large eggs, room temperature (in a rush, soak in WARM water for 5 minutes)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

For the Coconut Pecan Frosting:

1 cup  pecans - chopped
1 cup  granulated white sugar
1 cup evaporated milk
3 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
1/2 cup butter - cut into cubes
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups  sweetened, shredded coconut
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. The oven racks should be in the upper and lower third of the oven. Spray three round 9 inch baking pans with cooking spray. Line the bottoms with parchment paper, and then spray again.

Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl. In another bowl, combine the coffee and buttermilk.

Melt the semisweet chocolate and set aside. (I melted mine in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds, however a double boiler would also work.

With an electric mixer, blend the butter until it is creamy. Add the sugar and mix until fluffy. This will take 3-5 minutes (yes, THAT long). Scrape the sides of the bowl one or two times during this process. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each egg. Add the vanilla and melted chocolate and beat until mixed.

Add the flour mixture and coffee mixture next. I added 1/3 of the flour mix and 1/3 of the coffee mixture three separate times. Beat just until everything is incoorporated. You don't want to overbeat the cake, or the texture won't be right.

Divide equally between  the three cake pans and bake for 30-35 minutes. Cake will spring a little bit and toothpick will be clean.

When the cake is done, let them cool in their pans on a drying rack for 20 minutes. While the oven is still on, spread pecans on a cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until slightly fragrant. Remove and let cool.

Then, it is time the make the frosting. (Don't worry if your cake is still hot, everything will get a chance to cool).

In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, milk, egg yolks, butter, and salt. Over medium heat, stir constantly until mixture has begun to boil and is thickening. Remove from heat and add pecans, coconut, and vanilla. Let this mixture cool for 30-60 minutes.

After the cake has cooled in its pan, flip upsidedown, remove parchment paper, and cool completely.

When both the cakes and frosting are cooled, it is time to put the cake together! Put one cake down on serving dish. Spread only the top with 1/3 of the frosting. Add another cake, and another third of the frosting. Repeat with the last cake and bit of frosting. Serve immediately, or my preference is to serve chilled.

I hope you enjoy this cake as much as my family did! My mother requested it again, a few times!

Adapted from Joy of Baking

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Better than Sex Cake....well..maybe?

Classic recipe. Easy to make. Quick to be eaten.

Here goes it:

1 box german chocolate cake (yes, box - you'll see why I chose box vs homemade). Make according to directions. Let the cake cool..then use the end of a wooden spoon to poke holes in the cake about an inch or so apart. Thenn....

Pour the following over the cake, letting each soak in before adding the next:

1 jar Chocolate fudge sauce (the icecream topping)
1/2 jar Caramel fudge sauce
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk.

Then sprinkle some heath pieces over the top (enough to satisfy your needs). Top with an ENTIRE tub of whipped cream (really no need to skimp out and buy the fat free stuff at this point - yes, that is my nutrition major speaking). Then sprinkle w/ a few more heath pieces and voila.

Refrigerate, or eatt it up!

I made this for my best friends birthday, per request! Normally, I choose to go the homemade rought, you know, experiment with it. But, with so much stuff added on top, it'll taste delicious no matter what! Enjoy!