March 27, 2011

Yeasted Coffee Cake

As I've mentioned before I love carbs, especially for breakfast.  So this month's Daring Bakers challenge, yeasted coffee cake,  was definitely calling my name.  There really isn't anything better than a warm slice of cinnamon swirl bread chock full of nuts to start your day.  To gild the lily even further you can't forget the icing. 

Whenever yeast is involved I get a bit apprehensive but no need to be concerned this time. The dough came together really easily and worked like a dream.  I strayed from the recipe and opted not to fill the cake with meringue.  In its place I used cinnamon, brown sugar and pecans.   

The recipe yields two coffee cake rings.  Even I can't eat that much, so after making one ring I used the remaining for cinnamon rolls.

The March 2011 Daring Baker’s Challenge was hosted by Ria of Ria’s Collection and Jamie of Life’s a Feast. Ria and Jamie challenged The Daring Bakers to bake a yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake. 

March 12, 2011

Boston Cream Pie

Why is Boston Cream Pie called a pie when it's obviously a cake?  I did a little research online and apparently the "pie" part came from the tins that the cake layers were baked in.  See, you learn something new every day.

The Mar/Apr 2011 issue of Cook's Illustrated magazine featured this cake and it immediately jumped to the top of my "must-bake" list.   I can't remember if I've ever had Boston Cream Pie before, even in the town itself when I've visited before.   How sad is that?

My only disappointment with the recipe was that the pastry cream wasn't as firm and thick as it was supposed to be.  In fact, it was super runny.   I think it's because I was too impatient and didn't cook the custard long enough.    Lesson learned for next time - follow the recipe! 

I'm dedicating this cake to my dear friend Jill who's getting married in her hometown of Boston this summer.   Besides wedding cake can you guess what other treat I'll be partaking in while I'm there?

March 8, 2011

Berry Fool

When it comes to unusual food names the British definitely take the top prize.  Care for some bubble and squeak or spotted dick?  How about toad-in-the hole?  By their names alone they don't necessarily get your taste buds salivating do they?

Now here's a British dessert that completely belies its peculiar moniker, fool.  In this case strawberry and blackberry fool.  Looking for the perfect dessert that's creamy, light and  bursting with fruit flavor?  Look no further.  

If you love berries and you love cream I can pretty much guarantee that berry fool is right up your alley.   I can't think of a better dessert to herald the beginning of spring.

March 4, 2011

Pink Ruffle Cake

A ruffle cake similar to this one first caught my attention on Amy Atlas's blog.  It was the star of a Valentine's Day dessert table and rightly so.  I just love how pretty and romantic it makes the cake look.  It's so different from other buttercream cakes I've seen so I was compelled to try this new decorating technique.

My friend Elin won't at all be surprised about why this cake has captivated me.   She is well versed  in my infatuation with all things ruffled since it runs so!   

Refer to this blog post from Sweetapolita on how to make the ruffles.  Make sure you pipe the ruffles a little beyond the top of the cake otherwise you'll have gaps like I did when you decorate the top.  I had to fill them in afterwards and it's not necessarily as clean as I would have liked.

Warning: The one thing I failed to catch in the instructions was the amount of buttercream frosting required to completely cover the cake - 3x the normal amount.  That's a lot!  In fact, I ran out of frosting making the cake in the picture.  It's barely half frosted but thanks to the miracles of photo cropping hopefully it's not so obvious.  I won't tell if you won't! 

March 1, 2011

Ad Hoc Carrot Cupcakes

Since I had success with his rendition of white cupcakes I decided to try another one of Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc At Home cupcake recipes.  This time it was carrot cake and once again I wasn't disappointed.  

These cupcakes are really moist and absolutely delicious.   Just between the time I finished writing this post I had eaten four unfrosted ones!

Instead of frosting them with the recipe included in the cookbook I opted for a cream cheese version of miracle frosting.  The milk-based frosting is so light and fluffy and the addition of cream cheese really sets it apart from the rest.  It tastes just like cream cheese flavored whipped cream...yum!

This batch of cupcakes is in honor of Silja, a fellow avid baker who's been looking for a great carrot cake recipe.   Happy baking my friend!

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