Friday, July 30, 2010

Angie's Pumpkin Cake (Cooking with Kids)

Oh my was this recipe an adventure. Distracted baking and mommy-brain almost made this recipe a disaster, but we prevailed. I had some leftover pumpkin from my recently baked pumpkin bread and I thought I'd give this pumpkin cake a try. The recipe came from my sister Angie and Charlotte was eager to help. Here she is doing the big pour.
When you're learning to cook, sometimes you have spills.
Here's her first ever egg cracking. In the end most of it got into the bowl.
Gotta check the batter.

Okay, here's where I almost caused cake disaster. The recipe has you layer the pumpkin mixture on the bottom of a pan and then top it with a yellow cake mix, nuts, and butter in that order. I read yellow cake mix and it did not compute that it meant a cake mix made into batter, so yes, I poured the actual cake mix itself on top of the pumpkin mixture. I put on the nuts and poured on the butter. Here is Charlotte with our creation.
It wasn't until the cake was in the oven for about 3 minutes that it hit me what I did wrong. To make matters worse, I've done this before. There was a biscuit mix incident a couple of months ago when I was making a version of a pot pie where I did the same thing. You'd think I'd learn!! I pulled it out of the oven, scraped the powder into the mixer and added water, oil, and an egg until it was the consistency I'd expect from a cake mix. My nuts just sunk in my cake batter instead of on top.

Update: I talked to my sister Angie and it turns out I had it right the first time! I was just supposed to sprinkle the cake mix straight onto the cake and as it bubbles in the oven it makes the top kind of crumbly. Oops.
Luckily, two year olds don't know live their life by silly rules of perfection. All that matters is that there is cake and that we share it.
No more pictures mama, just eat the cake with me.

Angie's Pumpkin Cake
From: Angie
Printable Recipe

3 c pumpkin
1 can evaporate milk (12 oz)
1 1/2 c sugar
3 eggs
3 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Mix together and pour into 13x9 greased pan.

Sprinkle on top in order:
1. 1 box yellow cake mix
2. 1 c chopped nuts
3. 3/4 c melted butter

Bake at 350 for 50 minutes.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Daring Bakers: Swiss Swirl Ice Cream Cake

The July 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Sunita of Sunita’s world – life and food. Sunita challenged everyone to make an ice-cream filled Swiss roll that’s then used to make a bombe with hot fudge. Her recipe is based on an ice cream cake recipe from Taste of Home.
Ice cream cake! I was very excited to try this challenge and bit blown away by how much whip cream it took. The challenge was in four parts. First, I made swiss rolls with a whip cream filling, then vanilla ice cream, then chocolate sauce, and then chocolate ice cream.
My rolls were a disaster. They didn't bake thoroughly and so thus when rolled, they crumpled and stuck to the kitchen towel. Recipe problem? Nope, baker error. Daring Bakers live all over the world and our hosts make sure to include direction so everyone can understand and participate. All ingredients are given in cups and mls and temperatures are given in Celsius and Fahrenheit. I was reading quickly and saw 200 degrees. Not realizing it meant Celsius and that's what I baked my rolls at. (200 Celsius is 400 Fahrenheit). No wonder they took so much extra time! Oh well. I did persevere even with this snafu.
I chilled the rolls, sliced them, and set them in my bowl. I know they look like a big mess.
I've always made homemade ice cream with an ice cream maker, but I decided to give it a try with just my KitchenAid. My vanilla ice cream turned out quite well.
Unfortunately, my chocolate sauce did not. I thought it was right, but it wasn't. It didn't thicken right and after it froze it froze more like milk does than fudge does. It tasted like chocolate ice crystals. The poor chocolate ice cream got forgotten about and wasn't whipped as many times as it should have been. I thought it would be okay and just poured it on top and froze the whole thing for a day, but when I went to unmold it, my chocolate ice cream just hasn't set and began melting in large puddles.

Even with all of failures throughout this recipe, the end product was still pretty darn good. It didn't look pretty, but it tasted just fine. It was a fun challenge! 

Swiss Roll Ice Cream Cake
Printable Recipe
Swiss Rolls
6 medium sized eggs
1 C caster sugar +extra for rolling
6 tblsp flour
5 tblsp natural unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted together with flour
2 tblsp boiling water
a little oil for brushing the pans

For the filling-
2C whipping cream
1 vanilla pod, cut into small pieces of about ½ cm (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
5 tblsp caster sugar

1. Preheat the oven at 400 degrees. Brush the baking pans (11 inches by 9 inches ) with a little oil and line with greaseproof baking paper. If you have just one pan, bake one cake and then let the pan cool completely before using it for the next cake.
2. In a large mixing bowl, add the eggs and sugar and beat till very thick; when the beaters are lifted, it should leave a trail on the surface for at least 10 seconds.
3. Add the flour mixture, in three batches and fold in gently with a spatula. Fold in the water.
4. Divide the mixture among the two baking pans and spread it out evenly, into the corners of the pans.
5. Place a pan in the center of the preheated oven and bake for about 10-12 minutes or till the center is springy to the touch.
6.Spread a kitchen towel on the counter and sprinkle a little caster sugar over it.
7. Turn the cake on to the towel and peel away the baking paper. Trim any crisp edges.
8. Starting from one of the shorter sides, start to make a roll with the towel going inside. Cool the wrapped roll on a rack, seam side down.
9. Repeat the same for the next cake as well.
Prepare filling.
1. Grind together the vanilla pieces and sugar in a food processer till nicely mixed together. If you are using vanilla extract, just grind the sugar on its own and then add the sugar and extract to the cream.
2. In a large bowl, add the cream and vanilla-sugar mixture and beat till very thick.
3. Divide the cream mixture between the completely cooled cakes.
4. Open the rolls and spread the cream mixture, making sure it does not go right to the edges (a border of ½ an inch should be fine).
5. Roll the cakes up again, this time without the towel. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge till needed, seam side down.

Vanilla Ice Cream
2½ C whipping cream
1 vanilla bean, minced or 1 tsp vanilla extract
½ C granulated sugar
1. Grind together the sugar and vanilla in a food processor. In a mixing bowl, add the cream and vanilla –sugar mixture and whisk lightly till everything is mixed together. If you are using the vanilla extract, grind the sugar on its own and then and the sugar along with the vanilla extract to the cream.
Pour into a freezer friendly container and freeze till firm around the edges. Remove from the freezer, beat till smooth and return to the freezer. Do this 3-4 times and then set completely.

The Hot Fudge Sauce
1 C caster sugar
3 tblsp natural unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tblsp cornflour/cornstarch
1½ C water
1 tblsp butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1. In a small saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder, cornflour and water.
2. Place the pan over heat, and stir constantly, till it begins to thicken and is smooth (for about 2 minutes).
3. Remove from heat and mix in the butter and vanilla. Keep aside to cool .

Chocolate Ice Cream
2C whipping cream
1 C caster sugar
3 tblsp natural unsweetened cocoa powder.
1. Grind together the sugar and the cocoa powder in a food processor.
2. In a saucepan, add all the ingredients and whisk lightly.
3. Place the pan over heat and keep stirring till it begins to bubble around the edges.
4. Remove from heat and cool completely before transferring to a freezer friendly container till firm around the edges. If you are using an ice cream maker, churn the ice cream according to the manufacturer’s instruction, after the mixture has cooled completely
5. Remove from the freezer, beat till smooth and return to the freezer. Do this 3-4 times and then set completely. 

1. Cut the Swiss rolls into 20 equal slices ( approximately 2 cms each).
2. Cover the bottom and sides of the bowl in which you are going to set the dessert with cling film/plastic wrap.
3. Arrange two slices at the bottom of the pan, with their seam sides facing each other. Arrange the Swiss roll slices up the bowl, with the seam sides facing away from the bottom, to cover the sides of the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and freeze till the slices are firm (at least 30 minutes).
4. Soften the vanilla ice cream. Take the bowl out of the freezer, remove the cling film cover and add the ice cream on top of the cake slices. Spread it out to cover the bottom and sides of the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and freeze till firm ( at least 1 hour).
5. Add the fudge sauce over the vanilla ice cream, cover and freeze till firm (at least an hour).
6. Soften the chocolate ice cream and spread it over the fudge sauce. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 4-5 hours till completely set.
7. Remove the plastic cover, and place the serving plate on top of the bowl. Turn it upside down and remove the bowl and the plastic lining. If the bowl does not come away easily, wipe the outsides of the bowl with a kitchen towel dampened with hot water. The bowl will come away easily.
8. Keep the cake out of the freezer for at least 10 minutes before slicing, depending on how hot your region is. Slice with a sharp knife, dipped in hot water.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Pumpkin Bread

I love how simple my grandma's recipe cards are. It just says mix, sift, and bake.

Pumpkin bread might seem more appropriate for October, but I had an itching to try this recipe and canned pumpkin is so readily available. The recipe was super simple and brought a little fall flavor to my summer day.

Pumpkin Bread
From: Grandma Blackburn
Printable Recipe

4 c pumpkin
4 c sugar
1 c oil

Sift and add to above:
5 c flour
4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 Tbs cinnamon
1 Tbs cloves

Bake in loaf pans at 350. (Mine baked for about 35 minutes.)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Gingerbread Cake Cookies

These were supposed to be a Cooking with Charlotte recipe, but the little darling wasn't feeling so great and no one wants to eat cookies prepared by a sick person. But, the baking must go on!

This recipe comes by my step-mom. They're super simple since part of the recipe is using a cake box of spice cake. Yes, I could have figured out how to do it from scratch, but sometimes these super mommy-friendly recipes are what you need on hand instead one with a long list of ingredients.
These will be a fun repeat around the holidays. Perhaps they'll make it onto my cookie plate this year. 

Gingerbread Cake Cookies
From: Sheila
Printable Recipe
1 pkg spice cake (or white cake with 1/2 tsp cloves and 1 tsp cinnamon)
3/4 c flour
2 tsp ground ginger
2 eggs
1/3 c oil
1/3 c molasses

1. Mix dry ingredients. Add eggs, oil and molasses. Chill 2-3 hours.

2. Preheat oven to 375. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to about 1/4 inch thick. Cut in shapes. Bake about 6 min. Cool 5 min on sheet then transfer to rack. Cool completely and frost.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Modern Baker: Rosemary Olive Knots

For the bread section of The Modern Baker Challenge, I chose to tackle the Rosemary Olive Knots. Nick Malgieri uses a food processor to combine his dough ingredients. I only have a little mini prep and it wouldn't hold the volume of flour needed. Instead, I used my KitchenAid mixer, which worked just fine. The dough came together quite quickly and easily.
It was a beautiful warm summer day and dough doubled beautifully. I patted it into a rectangle and then folded it as instructed to move it to my baking sheet for chilling.
One reason I was so excited about this recipe is because it was the first time I was able to use my new rosemary herb plant. I plucked the rosemary leaves myself. I used Kalamata olives and did a rough chop on them. The larger chunks made tying the knots a bit more difficult, but I liked the larger chunks of olive in the baked knots. 
I spread the filling on the bottom half of the chilled dough, folded the top half over, and used a pizza wheel to cut the strips. My baking sheet has a lip around the edge and this made cutting each strip a bit difficult as the wheel couldn't get all the way to the edge. Next time I'll either use a baking sheet with no lip or a cutting board so I can avoid this problem.
Tying each strip into a knot is as simple as that, although it did take some practice. My first couple were a bit sloppy. Again, the larger chunks of olive impeded the knot tying, but boy were they yummy in the finished knot. Do make sure to chill the dough. Even though I got better was I went, the dough was warming up and it was harder to handle.
I set them on baking sheets, let rise again, and popped them in the oven.
They baked up beautifully and the house smelled incredible with rosemary and bread in the oven. These knots do take at least three hours with 1 hour for rise, 1 hour for chilling, and a second hour for rising, but they are worth it! Scrumptious is the word! I made these for a dinner party and one of the guests didn't have room for dessert because he kept going back for more knots. Four adults ate ten in one evening and then my husband and I finished off the last two for breakfast the next morning. I was so sad they were gone I almost made a second batch later that day. These will a be definite repeat in our house.

Monday, July 19, 2010

BBA: Cornbread

The tenth bread of the BBA Challenge is cornbread.
The overnight soaker was easy.
The dough mixed together quickly.
And, the bacon baked perfectly.
How could this possibly go wrong? Well, Reinhart has you use the rendered bacon fat to prepare the pan. I like bacon okay, but I was not a fan of the bacon grease flavor this gave the cornbread. A bacon lover would probably love it, but I didn't like it at all. I also found the cornbread itself kind of unremarkable. The crumbled bacon on top was nice though.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Modern Baker: Turkish Flatbread

My next Modern Baker bread is the Turkish Flatbread. Malgieri has you use a food processor to mix the dough. I'm sure that works well for most others, but having just gotten into cooking, I only have a little mini prep. I made a half batch so I could fit all the flour in the bowl, but the combining of the ingredients did not go well. The flour just didn't incorporate fully and I had dry stiff spots of flour throughout the dough. I tried to mix it more with my hands, but didn't have the time I needed to fully work the dough so it stayed a bit unmixed in spots.
I liked the dough right out of the oven, but there wasn't anything very special about the bread. I'd be hard pressed to not a like any warm dough right out of the oven though. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't very interesting either and I don't think I'll be doing this recipe again.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

MSC: Flourless Chocolate Cupcakes

Lauryn from Bella Baker chose Flourless Chocolate Cupcakes for the July Martha Stewart Cupcake Club. I must admit I was skeptical of these cupcakes. They didn't look very exciting. Martha suggests serving them with ice cream which I didn't have on hand and didn't want to buy seeing as the Daring Baker's challenge this month, which I'll be starting soon, involves some ice cream (only hint you'll get until the reveal on the 27th!).
I've never made flourless cake before. It was easy enough to mix together as it's basically whipped egg whites folded with a chocolate mixture. The cracking tops were unexpected, as were the little mini cake that were light as air beneath the crumbling tops.
They were like little chocolate treasures protected in little cocoons. I now understand why even a non-gluten intolerant person would choose a flourless cake. I made mine into little chocolate strawberry shortcakes and enjoyed them thoroughly.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Daring Cooks: Nut Butter & Chicken with Curried Tomato Almond Sauce

The July 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by Margie of More Please and Natashya of Living in the Kitchen with Puppies. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make their own nut butter from scratch, and use the nut butter in a recipe. Their sources include Better with Nut Butter by Cooking Light Magazine, Asian Noodles by Nina Simonds, and Food Network online.
Nut butter. I had no idea it was so easy to make nut butter. Basically, you just put it in the food processor and process for 2-4 minutes depending on the nuts. I made almond butter from almond slivers.
Now, what to make with the almond butter? The challenge also included the caveat that the nut butter must be used in a savory recipe. Margie provided a number of yummy recipe suggestions and the chicken with curried tomato almond sauce caught my eye.
The dish was only okay to me. There was a bit too much of the garam masala seasoning. I think a hint of the flavor as opposed to overpowering flavor would suit my taste buds. And, even though the nut butter was easy to make, I think I would have preferred a recipe that was very nutty. I didn't taste the almond butter in this recipe. I'm a huge fan of peanut sauce with thai food. Maybe I should give that a try.

Chicken with Curried Tomato Almond Sauce

Printable Recipe 
1 Tablespoon olive oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
Salt to taste

Spice Blend:
1.5 tablespoons garam masala seasoning
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

4 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, cut in half pole to pole
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
⅓ cup almond butter
⅓ cup milk
½ to ¾ cup chicken broth or water, more as needed
1 cup frozen peas (optional)

Hot basmati rice for serving
Chopped parsley (optional garnish)
Sliced almonds (optional garnish)

  1. Cook the chicken. If desired, pound chicken to ¼ inch (6 mm) thickness to promote even cooking. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper to taste. Heat 1 teaspoon (5 ml) olive oil a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add half the chicken; sauté 3 to 5 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Cook the chicken in 2 batches, adding more oil if needed for second batch. Dice chicken into bite-sized pieces; set aside on clean plate and keep warm.
  2. Prepare spice blend. Stir garam masala, ginger, cinnamon, and pepper together in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. Melt the butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook gently for several minutes to infuse the butter with onion flavor. Keep the heat low to avoid burning the butter; a little color is fine. Add the spice blend and garlic and cook for 1 minute or till fragrant, stirring constantly. Add the tomato sauce, stir well, and bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Whisk in almond butter and milk until thoroughly combined with tomato sauce. The almond butter is thick so it takes a while to make a smooth sauce. Return to simmer. Add broth (or water) to sauce to reach desired consistency; return to simmer. Add more broth (or water) as needed to thin sauce as desired.
  4. Remove onion from sauce and discard. Stir frozen peas (if using) into sauce. Transfer sliced chicken to sauce. Simmer gently for a few minutes until peas and chicken are heated through.
  5. Serve chicken and sauce over rice. Garnish with chopped parsley and/or sliced almonds if desired.
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