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Bringing Home the Bakin'

bake my cake and eat it, too

Monthly Archives: May 2010

There isn’t much of a story with this post… I knew I had to update my blog, and I was leafing through a magazine and found this recipe.  Nevertheless, the results were extremely satisfying: the clafoutis was so easy, and really good.  It’s not very sweet, and would be perfect at a brunch.

 

Cherry-Almond Clafoutis, Fine Cooking Magazine*

3 cups small fresh sweet or sour cherries (about 1 lb.), pitted
1-1/2 Tbs. kirsch (cherry brandy)
1/3 cup sliced almonds
1-1/2 Tbs. unsalted butter (1/2 Tbs. softened, 1 Tbs. cut into small pieces)
1 cup whole milk
3 oz. (2/3 cup) unbleached all-purpose flour, sifted
1/4 cup plus 1 to 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
3 large eggs
1/8 tsp. pure almond extract
1/8 tsp. table salt

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl, toss the cherries and kirsch. Set aside, tossing periodically, for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, scatter the almonds on a baking sheet and toast, turning occasionally, until light golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Set aside. Increase the oven temperature to 400°F.

Grease a shallow round 11-inch quiche or gratin dish with 1/2 Tbs. of the butter.

Combine the milk, flour, sugar (1/4 cup for sweet cherries; 5 Tbs. for sour), cream, eggs, almond extract, and salt in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or in a bowl, if using a hand mixer). Mix on medium speed, to aerate, for 5 minutes. Drain the cherries and stir the liquid into the batter.

Arrange the cherries in the dish and pour the batter over the top. Bake for 15 minutes. Sprinkle the toasted almonds and remaining 1 Tbs. sugar on top and dot the surface with pieces of the remaining 1 Tbs. butter. Bake the clafoutis until puffed and golden-brown, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes.

Transfer to a rack and let cool for 30 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature, spooned onto individual serving plates.

*I made a few minor-ish adjustments to the recipe: I omitted the brandy, and I swapped almond extract for vanilla.

Bugs Bunny really knew what it was all about: carrots… well, carrot cake.  This mother’s day I was determined to buy my mom something I knew she REALLY wanted.  It’s not very often that my mom is forthcoming about what it is she actually wants, so usually we have to guess; fortunately for me, I paid extra-close attention this year and I hit the jackpot.  I figured out that she really wanted Thomas Keller’s cookbook Ad Hoc at Home, so we surprised her with it.  Upon flipping through its glossy pages, I came across a gem: carrot cake cupcakes.  My physics teacher has been begging me for a carrot cake ever since he found out about my blog, but I was leery about making another layer cake, so I decided upon carrot cake cupcakes.  After scouring through carrot cake recipes, none seemed right… until this one.  It was exactly what I was looking for, and it was specifically for cupcakes so I wouldn’t have to modify it at all.  My immediate family and my grandma (who have the most discerning palates ever) all loved the cupcakes, as well as my entire physics class and my teacher.  I think they even converted one or two chocolate-only-lovers into carrot cake lovers, as well.  I really hope everyone tries this recipe.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes – Thomas Keller, Ad Hoc at Home

Cupcakes
2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
4 large eggs
1/4 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla paste or pure vanilla extract
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup canola oil
3 cups finely shredded carrots
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped toasted walnuts


Cream Cheese Frosting (makes about 3 cups)
1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into chunks, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla paste or pure vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line 24 cupcake cups with paper liners.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the eggs, milk, vanilla and both sugars until smooth.  Beat in the oil.  Slowly, add the dry ingredients.  Mix in the carrots and 1 cup of the chopped walnuts.

Divide the batter among with lined cupcake cups.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Rotate the pan and bake for another 10 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden skewer inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.  Remove the cupcakes from the tins and let cool to room temperature on a cooling rack.

Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the cream cheese at medium speed until smooth.  Add the butter and mix until smooth.  Beat in the powdered sugar, then add the vanilla.  Scrape down the sides and beat for 30 seconds on high speed.

Spread the tops of the cupcakes with the cream cheese frosting and sprinkle with the remaining chopped walnuts.  The cupcakes are best frosted and eaten the day they are baked, but they can be refrigerated for up to 2 days; bring to room temperature before serving.


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I’ve been feeling a little nostalgic lately.  With only 10 (well 9 really, because of my French AP exam) days left of high school, I’ve been feeling so old and grown-up.  At a time like this, I’m consumed with a yearning for the past, but also an eager desire to move forward; to say the least, this time in my life is certainly bittersweet.  To honor these feelings, I’ve made something that is an unwavering reminder of childhood, and also fulfills my friend’s birthday request: vanilla cupcakes with vanilla frosting.  No, those would not have been my poison as a child, as I was always a chocolate lover, but let’s just pretend for the moment…

About the cupcakes (and cupcakes in general): It is IMPERATIVE that you be patient while making them… you have to wait until they are slightly cooled to remove them from the pan, and you have to wait until they are COMPLETELY cooled before frosting them. Anyway, the cupcakes were a hit.  Not only did everyone love them, and the “real frosting,” they made a BEAUTIFUL centerpiece.

Magnolia Bakery Cupcakes
Magnolia Bakery

Makes 2 dozen cupcakes

INGREDIENTS

• 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
• 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
• 2 cups sugar
• 4 large eggs, at room temperature
• 1 cup milk
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line two 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake papers.

In a small bowl, combine the flours. Set aside.

In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the dry ingredients in three parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended. Carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about three-quarters full. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.

Cool the cupcakes in the tins for 15 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

Vanilla Buttercream Icing
Magnolia Bakery

Makes enough for one 2-layer 9-inch cake or 2 dozen cupcakes

INGREDIENTS

• 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
• 6-8 cups confectioners’ sugar
• 1/2 cup milk
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the milk and vanilla. On the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3-5 minutes.

Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be of a good spreading consistency. You may not need to add all of the sugar.

If desired, add a few drops of food coloring and mix thoroughly. (Use and store the icing at room temperature because icing will set if chilled.) Icing can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

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