Thursday, August 28, 2008

Boston Cream Pie

Boston Cream Pie

Adapted from Good Housekeeping Best Loved Desserts

Pastry Cream

3/4 c. + 6 Tbsp milk
2 large egg yolks
1/3 c. sugar
2 Tbsp. all purpose flour
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 Tbsp. butter
1 tsp. vanilla

1. In a heavy quart saucepan, heat 3/4 c. milk to boiling over medium heat.

2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl beat eggg yolks with whisk, along with remaining 6 Tbsp. milk and sugar until smooth. Add flour and cornstarch and whisk until blended. Gradually add hot milk, whisking until blended.

3. Return mixture to saucepan, cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture has thickened and boils. Cook 1-2 minutes more, over low heat, whisking constantly. Remove from heat and whisk in butter and vanilla.

4. Pour pastry cream into a shallow dish, press plastic wrap diretly onto the surface to keep skin from forming as it cools. Cool to room temp, then chill in refrigerator at least two hour or up to overnight.

Golden Butter Sponge Cake

1 1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3 large large eggs
1/2 c. water
3 Tbsp. butter
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 c. sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 8-inch round cake pans, line bottoms with a round of waxed or parchment paper and then grease and flour the paper.

2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt with a wire whisk. Set aside.

3. In a large bowl, beat eggs on high speed with an electric mixer until tripled in volume, about 5 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat water and butter to boiling, remove from heat, add vanilla. (I did this in the microwave, in a heavy glass measuring cup, just to save washing another pan)

5. With mixer at high speed, gradually add sugar to eggs, beating until thick and lemon colored and mixture forms a ribbon when beaters are lifted, about 5-8 minutes more. Add flour mixture in two additions, folding gently just until blended. Pour in water mixture and stir gently until just blended.

6. Divide batter evenly between pans and bake until toothpick inserted int he center comes out clean, 15-20 minutes.

7. Run a thin knife around edges to loosen layers from sides of pan. Invert onto wire racks, remove waxed paper and cool completely.

8. When cake is cool, prepare chocolate glaze.

9. Cool glaze slightly until it warm, not hot. Take out your pastry cream and whisk it to loosen it up. Set aside.

10. Place 1 layer, flat side facing up, on cake plate and spread with all of the pastry cream. Top with second layer, rounded side up. Pour glaze over top and smooth with a small angled spatula so that it's even, letting some glaze slide down over the edge and down the side of the cake. Let glaze set.

Store cake in refrigerator, bring to room temp to serve.

Chocolate Glaze

3 squares (3 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (I used 4 squares)
3 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. light corn syrup
1 Tbsp. milk

Combine all ingredients in a heavy 1quart saucepan and heat on low, stirring occasionally, until melted and smooth.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Guinness Chocolate Stout Cake

Happy Birthday to Me! I made my own birthday cake yesterday and it turned out delicious, moist and a huge hit with everyone that tasted it! It's the Guinness Chocolate Stout Cake from Epicurious and the Fool-Proof Chocolate Frosting from Cook's Illustrated.

The reviews on this cake do not's the perfect chocolate cake. You really can't taste the beer at all, it only deepens and highlights the chocolate flavor of the cake. I made this same cake last year for my birthday as well, topping it with a White Chocolate Italian Meringue Buttercream. This time I made my cake in 2- 8 inch pans and had enough batter left over for a medium sized Bundt cake pan. Here is a picture of last year's cake:

I can't recommend this cake enough...I mean, how could any cake that starts with four sticks of butter, nearly two cups of dutched cocoa and 2 cups of Guinness possibly be anything but delicious?

The recipe for the cake is linked up above but here is the recipe for that delicious fluffy, incredibly smooth chocolate icing! I used a premium milk chocolate for mine, but you can sub bittersweet or semi-sweet, whatever you prefer.

Fool-Proof Chocolate Frosting

20 tablespoons (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup confectioners sugar
3/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa
A pinch of table salt
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 ounces milk chocolate, melted and cooled slightly

Add butter, sugar, cocoa and salt to the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add vanilla and corn syrup and process about 10 seconds more, then stop and scrape down sides again. Add melted chocolate and pulse on and off, about 15 seconds, until smooth.

You can use this immediately or make it up to 3 hours in advance. If you're holding it longer than that, refrigerate the frosting, covered until ready to use. Let stand at room temp one hour before using.

Baking Illustrated Carrot Cake

If there is one cake that I absolutely adore, it's carrot cake. I know it's not the best thing for me, full of vegetable oil but there is just something about the simplicity of carrots, walnuts and cream just gets me every time. I've made a million and a half carrot cake in my time, some so heavy and dense the cake felt like a ton of bricks when you picked it up and others that tasted more like fluffy carrot-flavored cotton. So I decided to go where I always go when I want a recipe that works....Cook's Illustrated.

This is cake is beautifully moist but not heavy and paired with walnuts and a beautiful cream cheese is the most heavenly springtime dessert. I decorated mine with royal icing very first royal icing endeavor. They were a hoot to make...and so incredibly easy. They probably aren't the best looking carrots ever and they would have looked a lot nicer had I noticed I was using a PETAL tip to make the leaves but I'm pretty pleased with them!

Making the carrots:

I did these without any instruction at all, just sort of guessing on everything. I learned it's important to ease pressure off the bag at the bottom of the carrot to make the pointed tip and that it's important to pay attention when piping decors or else you will end up piping leaves on the wrong end!
Carrot Cake

2-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. salt
1 pound of carrots, peeled (about 6-7 medium)
1- 1/2 cups of granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cups canola or vegetable oil

Now the cookbook's instructions were for making this in the food processor but I didn't feel like hauling that out, so I made this in my Kitchen Aid mixer, you can make it however you want, in a food processor or with a hand mixer, or even by hand.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or spray with nonstick cooking spray a 15x10 jelly roll pan or a 9x13 baking pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper and then grease or spray the paper too.

Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices in a medium bowl, set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine oil, eggs and sugar and beat until thoroughly combined and light in color. Stir in the carrots and then the dry ingredients until incorporated no streaks of flour remain. Pour into prepared pan and bake until cake tests clean, 20 minutes (30-35 if using 9x13 pan). Cool cake to room temperature before icing.

Cream Cheese Icing

1 pound (2-8 oz packages) cream cheese, softened slightly
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened slightly
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
5 cups sifted confectioners sugar

In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese and butter and beat on medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla. Gradually add the sugar and beat until well incorporated.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Sno-Ball Cupcakes

In the mood for a Sno-Ball but you don't want to run out to the store? I found a great little recipe over at Leite's Culinaria but decided to make them in cupcake form (the recipe made 12 regular sized cupcakes). The cupcake itself is amazingly dark, bittersweet, fine-crumbed and very rich. I filled it with a marshmallow frosting, topped it with pink marshmallow frosting and drenched them with pink coconut. The sweet frosting contrasts perfectly with the barely sweet cupcake and the coconut was the perfect foil to the pillow-y frosting and soft cake. You'll find the recipe for the cupcakes HERE and the frosting below.

Marshmallow Frosting

1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 large egg whites
1 seven ounce jar marshmallow creme

Combine sugar, water and egg in medium saucepan over low heat, beat with hand-held mixer until soft peaks form, making sure to keep cord away from the heating element. Remove from heat, add the marshmallow creme and beat until stiff peaks form. Divide in half and set one bowl aside. Tint the other half pink with red gel food coloring, beating on high to make sure the food coloring is mixed in completely.

Use white frosting to fill cupcakes, then top with pink frosting. Cover with pink coconut and press lightly to help it adhere. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Steamed Chocolate Pudding

It might be springtime but we've had a sudden spate of cold weather and to me, cold weather is the perfect time for a nice steamed pudding. I also had a craving for chocolate and this recipe combines them both perfectly. This is a very moist, velvety smooth, intensely chocolate steamed pudding that stands alone very well but I can't ever leave well enough alone, so I like to top it with chocolate whipped cream. You can top it with regular whipped cream, ice cream, creme anglaise or go crazy and smother with with a dark ganache glaze. It tastes equally good hot or cold but I prefer it warm enough that it melts the whipped cream on delicious!

Steamed Chocolate Pudding

2 1/2 cups (150 grams) dark bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup whole milk
2 cups soft fresh white bread crumbs
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
a pinch of table salt
1/2 cup nuts, chopped (optional)

Fit a deep stockpot with a steamer rack and place your pudding tin/bowl onto rack, fill the pot with water until it comes 3/4 up the side of your pudding mold. Remove the pudding mold and set the water to boil over medium high heat.

Generously butter a 2 Liter capacity pudding tin or pudding bowl, making sure to get each crevice (this is key to un-molding the pudding) . Freeze bowl/tin for one minute and remove from freezer, then set aside while you prepare the pudding.

Melt the chocolate and milk over gentle heat and mix well so that no lumps remain. Add the bread crumbs to it. Mix well and set aside.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar in a bowl till light and fluffy, beat in egg. Add the condensed milk, vanilla extract, walnuts and dark chocolate mixture and mix well.

If you're using a pudding tin, snap on lid and place the pudding on the steamer rack in the pot of boiling water, cover with pot lid. If you are using a bowl, take a double square of foil and a square, the same size, of parchment paper and grease the bottom . Make a pleat in the center and fix it over the pudding, tying it securely around the rim with string. Lower the bowl onto the steamer rack in the pot of boiling water and cover with pot lid.

Steam the pudding for 60 minutes, check water level and replenish if necessary. Steam 25-45 more minutes. A cake tester will not test clean, it should hold it's shape but still look very moist. Remove the pudding mold from pot, let rest 1 minute and then turn out onto serving dish.

You can serve this warm or cold, it's soft and squidgy when warm and as it cools, it firms up to a nice consistency. I had mine warm with softly whipped cocoa cream which melted immediately into a wonderful sauce.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Raspberry Jelly Roll

My favorite kind of desserts are the simple ones....rice pudding, carrot cake, pineapple upside down cake, chocolate pudding and one of my most favorite and one of the easiest to prepare is a jelly roll. All you need is a good jam and a recipe for a nice sponge cake and there you have it....easy peasy!

I used the Cook's Illustrated Foolproof Sponge Cake for the jelly roll and some seedless raspberry preserves for the jam but you can use any flavor you like (even Nutella makes a great, if not somewhat decadent, cake roll).

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Gâteau Surprise Chocolat Pistache

Gâteau Surprise Chocolat Pistache

Spring Is In The Air.....

And here in the South that means a lot of gloomy rainy days, but I have just the recipe to brighten a rainy day. My favorite springtime flavor is lemon and this cake is full of it! This was one of the very first cakes I ever made as a child, it's incredibly simple to make and so very delicious.

A tip: The lemon syrup can be made very quickly in the microwave if you'd rather not dirty a pan, and this cake is very tender, so slice it thick!

Sweet Lemon Loaf
The New Doubleday Cookbook, 1985


1 1/2 c. sifter flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1/2 c. milk
Finely grated zest and juice of one lemon


Juice of one lemon
1/4 sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Sift flour with baking powder and salt, set aside. Cream butter in large bowl until light, slowly add sugar and cream together until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add dry ingredients alternately with milk, beginning and ending with the dry and adding about one-third of the total at a time. Add lemond rind and juice and beat just until smooth. Pour into greased 9"x5"x3" loaf pan or three mini loaf pans.

Bake 1 hour (or about 25-30 minutes for mini-loaves) or until golden, springy to the touch and a cake tester comes out clean when insterted in the center.

Let cool upright in pan on wire rack while you make the glaze.

Heat lemon juice and sugar in nonreactive pan on stove over low heat until sugar dissolves. Pour evenly over the top of cake(s) and let cool thoroughly in the pan before turning out. Wrap tightly and store overnight before cutting.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chips second favorite cookie (only to Girl Scout Tagalongs). I use the Nestle Tollhouse Original Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe with a few minor changes...comes out perfectly every time!

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter-flavored Crisco (1/2 stick)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

PREHEAT oven to 375° F.

COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


Just testing the new layout.