Posts Tagged '#cantgowrongwithflourbutterandsugar'

Everyday Cake

Yesterday when Luke asked (using the power of his magical dimples) if we could make a cake together, how could I say no? It was a sweet afternoon; we walked to the store in the sunshine for eggs and buttermilk and then got to making a mess in the kitchen, just the two of us.

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We had such a good time. Sometimes I struggle to let go and let my kids REALLY help me with baking or cooking projects. The mess and energy and just overall chaos of little kids with spatulas and measuring cups (yelling ‘I can do it!!!!’ at the top of their lungs) can be overwhelming not to mention I might be a tad bit over-controlling when it comes to how I want things done.

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But yesterday we got it right. Lu was helpful and listened and followed instructions and I was calm and patient and took a deep breath and LET him do it on his own.

And the best part? We made a cake. And it was delicious. One layer of buttermilk vanilla cake with a lemon cream cheese frosting and strawberries. It tasted like spring.

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Buttermilk Cake:

  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Generously spray a ten inch round cake pan with cooking spray or butter and lightly flour it. You could also use a 9×9 square cake pan.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Set aside. In a mixer cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Mix in vanilla. Mix in flour mixture in three parts alternating with the buttermilk. Mix together until well-combined. Pour batter into pan and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes, then turn it upside down on a cooling rack and pop it out of the pan to finish cooling.

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 8 ounces of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • splash of milk
  • the zest of one lemon
  • pinch of salt

In a mixer, mix the butter and cream cheese until they are well-combined. Add the vanilla, salt and lemon zest and continue to mix. Slowly add in the powdered sugar. If the frosting is too thick, add a splash of milk to get to desired texture.

When the cake is cool, liberally frost the top of the cake. Garnish with fresh strawberries.

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Chocolate Chocolate White Chocolate Cookies

It’s officially February. January is gone for another year (oh thank goodness) and I need a break from green smoothies, salad and constantly feeling hungry.

Besides, February is the month of love and all that mushy stuff and what goes better with romance than a big plate of chocolate goodness? Nothing, I tell you.

Make a double batch of these treats. Trust me. Put some in the freezer. You’ll be so glad you did the next time your husband comes home grumpy from work, or you need a treat to take to a friend or your day just blows up in your face. Not that I would know anything about any of that…

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This recipe is a bit of a mash-up between a cookie recipe from The Pioneer Woman and The Farm Chicks.

Triple Chocolate Cookies:

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. In a mixer, cream the butter for 1 minute. Add the sugars and vanilla until creamy and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Lower the mixer speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture. With a spatula mix in the chips until well-combined. Bake for about 8 minutes. It’s easy to over-cook the cookies because its hard to tell how brown they are getting. Err on the side of undercooked. Allow to cook on a wire rack and try not to eat a dozen in the first hour you bake them.

Enjoy!

Egg Nog French Toast

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This was a rogue experiment that turned out delightfully delicious. I know not everyone fall into the pro-eggnog camp, but if you do, this is a yummy breakfast to indulge in.

Eggnog French Toast:

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups light eggnog
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 9-10 slices hearty multi-grain bread

Heat griddle to 325 degrees or a pan to medium heat. Whisk eggs and eggnog together along with 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice. Soak bread in egg mixture and then place each slice on griddle. Flip after a minute or two until both sides are golden brown. After cooking one side, lightly sprinkle toast with pumpkin pie spice.

Top with butter and (real) maple syrup.

*to be honest, I didn’t measure the eggnog at all, the 1.5 cups is my best guesstimate. Just slowly pour in the milk, whisking until your egg mixture is light yellow.

Coffee Cake

I have a recipe that will knock your socks off. Raspberry Almond Coffee Cake.

It is a decadent but light loaf cake. It has a crunchy almond streusel topping and sweet tangy raspberries stirred into the batter. This is an excellent weekend brunch item, hostess gift or a random Tuesday morning treat.

I made this for my in-laws a couple weeks back and I’m still thinking about it. I might have to make a few mini loaves for the freezer so I always have some on hand.

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Raspberry Almond Coffee Cake
Adapted from Joy of Cooking / stumbled on at A Cup of Jo

You’ll need:
For the streusel topping:
1/3 cup chopped almonds
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
3 tbsp. butter

For the cake:
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
5 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. almond extract
1 cup frozen raspberries (I still had raspberries growing on my bushes, so I used fresh. I think you can use whatever you have on hand)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.

To make the streusel topping: In a small bowl, combine almonds, brown sugar and 3 tablespoons butter. Using your fingers, work the butter into the sugar and almonds until blended.

To make the cake: Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Add the 5 tablespoons of butter. Using either your fingers, a pastry blender or two knives, work the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Don’t allow the butter to melt or form a blended paste with the flour.

In another bowl, whisk together the egg, buttermilk and almond extract. Pour over the flour mixture, and stir until just barely combined. Add the frozen berries, and fold in until just mixed through.

Spoon batter into prepared loaf pan. Top with the streusel topping, distributing evenly. Bake for about 55 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack for ten minutes.

Blueberry Hand Pies

I started this post out with a very whiny tirade on sick kids who don’t sleep. But nobody wants to hear about that and quite honestly, anybody who’s been in a ten foot radius of me in the last month has heard all about it.

So…time for a topic change and hopefully with that, an attitude change! Hurray!

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I am in love with hand pies. I love pie, but often my crust to fruit ratio is off. Most of the time the filling is runny and the bottom crust is soggy. For me, it’s just tricky.

But the hand pie is different. The smaller scale somehow makes everything work a little better. No soggy crust, no runny filling. Just sweet, tart, amazing blueberry filling wrapped in a buttery, flaky decadent crust. I’ve made these a couple of times now and while they may not LOOK amazing, they taste incredible. (Also hello portion control. You can make them as big or small as you like.)

Recipe is HERE. I highly recommend making this dessert with whatever fruit you have on hand. I happened upon some blackberry bushes yesterday and I think I might have some hand pies in my future this weekend.

Zucchini Bread

My sad little zucchini plant sat wilted and small in the corner of my garden this year. I almost gave up on the thing until finally in the last couple of weeks, he’s made a comeback. I’ve never met a zucchini plant that didn’t want to grow.

And grow and grow and grow.

That corner of the garden is now taken over by a zucchini plant that’s taller than Luke and pumping out giant squash nearly every day.

This means I once again buy flour and sugar in bulk and my oven works its tail off baking zucchini bread almost every day. Last summer I think I ended up storing 20 loaves in my freezer and I’m sure it will happen again this year.

My mom’s recipe has always been by far my favorite and yet I never asked her for it. I just waited until she took pity on me and shared what she had made. This year, I finally wised up, got the recipe and now it’s the only recipe I make.

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Mom’s Zucchini Bread

(adapted from a recipe from the Spokesman Review…probably from the late 1980’s????)

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line bread pan with parchment paper or coat it in cooking spray. Beat eggs and oil for 2-3 minutes until creamy. Add sugar and mix well. Add zucchini and vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix together all dry ingredients. Slowly combine dry ingredients with wet ingredients. Do NOT over mix! Add in chopped walnuts. Pour batter into bread pan and bake for at least one hour, until a toothpick stuck into the center of the bread comes out clean.

A couple of quick notes:

Bake the bread in ONE large bread pan. I don’t know why, but this makes a difference. The top of the bread forms a slightly crispy crust, making it so delicious. For some reason, when the dough is divided, it doesn’t do this.

I typically add an extra 1/2 cup of zucchini. It takes the bread a few extra minutes to cook, but I feel like the bread stays moist an extra day.

If the bread is getting too dark on top but it’s not finished cooking, fold a piece of tin foil in half and create a little ‘tent’ to cover the bread. It will continue cooking but the top won’t get overly brown.

Add chocolate chips, blueberries or other kinds of nuts. Do NOT add whole wheat flour, flax-seed or bran flakes. This significantly changes the texture and taste of the bread (I tried, I was very sad with the results). It’s a treat, not health food.

Enjoy!

Lemon Yogurt Cake

I’ve seen versions of this desert everywhere from Barefoot Contessa to food blogs to my Martha Stewart cookbook from 1995. The technique is the same and everyone seems to adapt it slightly to make it their own.

I love this desert because it’s fairly light but still decadent tasting. It’s the perfect vehicle for strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and tons of whip cream. Here’s my version:

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Lemon Yogurt Cake:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup plain greek yogurt
1 1/3 cups sugar, divided
3 extra-large eggs
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* 1/2 cup vegetable oil (coconut oil is a great swap)
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

 

For the glaze:
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease loaf pan.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the oil into the batter, making sure it’s all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.

When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool.

For the glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice and pour over the cake. (I typically don’t do the glaze…I don’t think the cake needs the sweetness).

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Once cooled; slice, top with berries and whip cream and devour.


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