Tag Archives: cake

Blueberry Buckle

It’s official–My baking block is over! I’m back to cooking too. The long work hours, new wifehood, and zumba take up a lot of a girl’s time and doesn’t leave time for much of anything else. Most of the time, I get home from work or class and all I feel like doing is plopping. My little bro and I call it “potato time”. (Oh, did I mention–my younger brother is now living with me? Yes, in my studio. He has a mattress all the way on the other side of the coffee table. I’ll get more into it later, but it’s actually pretty great. I like having him around!)

Anyway, potato time. Its been my go-to home hobby for the past, oh, 6 months. So much has happened. I started my dream job, Liam moved in, I fell in love with zumba–and I got married. And as a result, I stopped cooking, baking, and sometimes even cleaning. But it’s all over now. I’m back!

Yesterday was Sunday–my new LMA (leave me alone) day. And I baked this pretty little blueberry buckle. Much like the French apple tart recipe from my last post, fruit is the leading lady. It’s like a pound of blueberries, a simple batter, and streusel topping.

Love: The streusel is the batter mix before adding liquid.
Love: Berries start on top and sink to through the batter while baking.
Love: Super transportable for taking to work.

Don’t love: I had to bake 20 min. longer than stated in the recipe.

It’s tart and über-berry. I think you’ll like it. So here’s the recipe and a few pics of the sweet thing.

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French Apple Cake

I think it’s been 6 months since I last posted. I even thought about giving up my little blog. In the end, though, I think I’ll keep going.

I’ve been wanting to this cake for weeks. It’s simple, custardy, and more apple than cake. Here’s the link to the recipe. It’s delicious and super fruity. Make it. Oh, an eat it with ice cream.

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It’s raining. I need cake.

Yes, it’s raining in San Francisco. I’m from Oregon, so I shouldn’t (and normally don’t) care. But, it’s been a tough week at work, I’m tired, it’s wet outside…and I haven’t baked in ages.

So I stayed in tonight, foregoing happy hour, friends and perhaps even dancing. Instead, I made cake. And actually, I’m really happy I did. It feels good to be home, doing something just for me. I need to do this more often.

The recipe is Martha Stewart’s via Shoots and Roots. I made a few modifications:

  • 2 eggs, not 1: Because 2 in this case seemed better than 1!
  • 1 tbsp sugar, not  2 for sprinkling: Shoots and Roots said so.
  • Almond milk, not regular: I needed to save the milk for my morning coffee 🙂
  • Loaf pan, not pie: Because I halved the recipe. (It IS just for me–and the rest for the office tomorrow.)
It’s good. It’s one of those humble share-with-the-one-you-love cakes. You know those? The kind that warms your heart on rainy days like today.

Enjoy.

Strawberry Cake (a Martha Stewart recipe courtesy of Shoots and Roots)

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup, plus 2 tbsp sugar

2  large eggs

1/2 cup milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 lb strawberries, hulled and halved

METHOD

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 F. Butter a 10 inch pie plate or 10 1/2 inch cast iron pan. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
  2. Mix butter and 1 cup sugar in a separate large bowl and mix on medium high speed with an electric mixer until the mixture is soft and fluffy, ca. 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium low and add the eggs, milk and vanilla. Mix until well blended.
  3. Reduce speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture. Transfer the batter the pie plate or cast iron pan and spread evenly. The batter will be thick. Arrange strawberries on top, cut side down. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tbsp sugar on top of the cake.
  4. Bake the cake for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325 F. Bake until golden brown, ca. firm to the touch and pulled away from the sides of the pan, 55-60 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack. Cut into wedges (or slices) and serve. Cover loosely; can be stored on the countertop for up to 2 days.

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

When I think red velvet, I think Rhett Butler and Scarlett O’Hara—sitting in a grand dining hall, dressed in ball gowns AND eating red velvet cake. Well, Rhett wouldn’t have worn a dress, but they could have eaten cupcakes.

For my first experience with this cake, I have to admit slight disappointment. At least I can cross it off my list of “Must Try” foods. Without the frosting, all I taste is a cavity waiting to happen. Taste aside, however, as a cake or cupcake, they’re absolutely gorgeous, like seriously stunning. The deep, intense red is so sexy. I loooove it!

So I followed the recipe exactly, except for the frosting, to which I added a cup of coconut flakes—because coconut makes everything taste better. This makes 24 cupcakes, but I halved the amounts and just made 12.

Enjoy!

Red Velvet Cupcakes (ever so slightly adapted from Cook’s Illustrated via Gonna Want Seconds)

printable recipe

Makes 24 cupcakes or two 9-inch cake layers

INGREDIENTS

Cake

2 1/4 cups (11 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

pinch of table salt

1 cup buttermilk or 1 cup whole or reduced-fat milk plus 1 tbsp lemon juice (let sit for at least 10 min.)

1 tablespoon white vinegar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons natural cocoa powder

1-1 ounce bottle red food coloring

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar

Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

4 cups (16 ounces) confectioner’s sugar

16 ounces cream cheese, softened and cut into 8 pieces

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

pinch of table salt

1 cup dried, unsweetened grated coconut, optional

METHOD

Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans or line cupcake pans with liners.
  2. In a medium bowl mix flour, baking soda and salt.
  3. In another bowl add buttermilk, vinegar, vanilla and eggs and whisk to combine.
  4. Sift cocoa into a small bowl the mix with food coloring until it forms a paste.
  5. Beat butter and sugar together, in a standing mixer, set on medium, for 2 minutes. Scrape down bowl.
  6. Add 1/3 of flour mixture and and beat on medium speed just until it’s incorporated. Add 1/2 the buttermilk mixture and beat on low until combined.  Scrape down the bowl. Add 1/3 of flour mixture and beat on medium until incorporate. Add the rest of buttermilk mixture beat on low until combine. Add last 1/3 of flour mixture and beat on medium until just combined.  Scrape down the bowl.
  7. Add the cocoa paste mixture and beat on medium until incorporated. Scrape down the bowl and make sure the bottom of the batter is incorporating as well. Give the batter a final good stir with a rubber spoonula to mix completely and pour into prepared pans.
  8. Bake cake/cupcakes in preheated oven about 25 minutes for cake and 20 minutes for cupcakes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (18 would’ve sufficed for me.) Cool cakes in pans 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire rack to cool completely, at least 30 minutes.

Frosting

  1. In a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add cream cheese, 1 piece at a time, and beat until incorporate. Beat in vanilla, salt and if using, grated coconut. Spread or pipe on completely cooled cakes/cupcakes.

Mmmm…Banana Bread

Nom nom nom. I made this ‘nana bread yesterday with a good friend of mine. We used to teach together, and just recently she became a mommy to the most gorgeous little boy. (He’s so funny; I’ve never met a baby so concerned about being clean!) So now whenever I go over to her place, she schools me on things like feeding schedules, bath time and “Mobys” (a cotton wrap baby carrier—Question: how do people not get tangled up in those things? They look so complicated!)

Anyway, S. had three really, really brown bananas and had asked me what to do with them. Naturally, I suggested banana bread—it’s easy, requires no special equipment or ingredients. I also have a stellar recipe, which I already wrote about in a previous post. I especially appreciate how flexible it is: you choose the kind of “fat”, the liquid, and whether to add nuts or not (No nuts this time). Then, blend wet ingredients and mix dry, combine and bake. How nice.

So, I went over there yesterday afternoon to show S. how to make it. And as we waited for it to bake, we sipped our chai, nibbled on brie and crackers and talked about all the big things happening in our lives right now—there’s A LOT going on. I think it did both our little hearts good—the baking and the talking. Ah, girlfriends. Sniff, sniff. 😛

Enjoy!

Recipe: Banana Bread

Zucchini Swirl Bread

It’s freezing outside and they say it’s going to S-N-O-W! I’m a city girl and a big scaredy pants in winter weather! So, with bad weather a-threatening outside and the kitchen so warm and inviting inside, I’m in the mood for baaaaking!

Zucchini bread—it surprises me every time. How can something so green and bitter become so moist and sweet? And how come it doesn’t taste anything like zucchini??? “I don’t know. It’s a mystery!” (Gold star to anyone who knows which film that’s from!) I used a recipe I found on CookWomanFood.com, and the only thing I changed was to add a cream cheese swirl—an excellent addition in my opinion.

Anyway, this was just delightful. No butter—love that (I might even replace the oil with applesauce next time); all my favorite warming spices—hooray for fall; and lots of lots of crunchy bits—I do adore those. 🙂 It’s irresistable; my mama couldn’t stop eating it!!

Enjoy!

Zucchini Swirl Bread (from CookWomanFood.com)

printable recipe

Makes 2 loaves

INGREDIENTS

3 cups flour

1 cup white sugar (I used raw cane)

1 cup brown sugar

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp ground cloves

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

2/3 cup vegetable oil

4 cups chopped zucchini

3 eggs

1 cup chopped nuts (I used almonds)

1 cup golden raisins (I used regular)

8 oz cream cheese at room temp, plus 1/4 cup sugar, or to taste

METHOD

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 F.
  2. Mix the flour, sugars, baking soda, ground cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and baking powder in a large bowl.
  3. In a blender, mix together vegetable oil, zucchini and eggs until smooth.
  4. Pour wet ingredients into dry and stir until just combined. Add in raisins and nuts and again, stir in quickly.
  5. Mix together cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Set aside.
  6. Fill each loaf pan to half full. Then, spread the cream cheese filling equally among the two pans. Pour the remaining batter into both pans. With a knife or end of a wooden spoon, gently draw a few swirls in the batter to marbleize it.
  7. Bake for 1 hour, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Mocha Muffins

I made these little ones last week—sort of as a last hurrah for my role as housesitter and also because I was mad-craving peanut butter. I think I’d been dreaming about peanut butter for an entire week, but never found a recipe that sounded right. But then I found a good one for Peanut Butter Mocha Muffins on Fat Girl Trapped in a Skinny Body (ha ha, cute). She made my little peanut butter dream come true 🙂

They’re fun to make and easy; crumbly and moist; adorable, chocolaty and whoa-so-peanut-buttery. I don’t taste any coffee flavor in there, but don’t actually miss it. (I also think it’s meant more to deepen the flavor of the chocolate anyhow.) They turned out perfect! I only wish the peanut butter blob on top didn’t look the way it does: it’s the BEST part, but kind of looks like baked brain 😛

Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Mocha Muffins (recipe thanks to Fat Girl Trapped in a Skinny Body)

Makes 12. (My muffin molds are smaller, so I ended up with 14.)

INGREDIENTS

2 cups all purpose flour

1 stick (4 oz) butter, room temperature

1/2 cup peanut butter, divided

3/4 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/3 cup cocoa powder (I was a little more generous on the amount)

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 cup brewed coffee, room temp

1/2 tsp salt

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12 muffin tins with paper liners.
  2. In a medium bowl mix the butter, 1/4 cup peanut butter and sugar with a hand or stand mixer. Add the eggs, vanilla and room temperature coffee. In a separate bowl mix the flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Add the dry mix to the wet mix. Stir only until incorporated. Add about 1/3 cup mix to each muffin tin, filling almost all the way to the top. Top with about 1 tsp of peanut butter.
  3. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a fork inserted comes out clean.
  4. Cool for about 5 minutes in the pan then finish cool on a wire wrack.


Mochi Cake

I love mochi–in soup, filled with sweet beans in daifuku form, or toasted, dipped in soy sauce and sugar and wrapped in nori. Growing up, though, I was actually scared of it. Every New Year’s Day, my mom would make ozoni, Japanese mochi soup, and every year she would warn us kids to eat it slowly–because if we didn’t we would choke and maybe die! I guess I can see how it could happen–it’s really sticky and when added to soup, it becomes kind of thick and hard to swallow. It’s like when you buy bubble tea; the label always includes some “use caution when swallowing” warning because you don’t want one of those little tapioca pearls getting stuck in your throat.

All grown up, I can proudly say I have worked through my mochi issue and am now able to eat it without fear 🙂

When I heard about mochi cake for the first time, I was really excited by the idea! And when I tried it for the first time, oddly enough in Lima, I couldn’t stop eating it, it was that good. Since then, I’ve been dying to make it myself. Yesterday, I finally had the time.

The recipe I found on Week of Menus couldn’t have been simpler. (You don’t even have to think ahead to take the butter out to warm to room temperature—something I always forget to do.) Whisk, whisk, pour, bake and serve. Love that.

So what did I think? It was perfectly moist and had this amazing chewy texture—via the rice flour—and yet, something was missing: the coconut? I poured two whole cans (28 oz) of coconut milk in there, but I couldn’t actually taste any coconut flavor in the finished product. Where’d it go?? In all honestly, I made this because a) I’m crazy for mochi and b) I’m even more coo-coo for coconut. What a let down that was. So I’m a bit disappointed, not necessarily in the recipe (I made one 9×13 panful yesterday and they are already all gone—a sign that they must be good), but in myself. Because I didn’t love this as much as I hoped I would. I think it was the coconut. Next time, I’ll maybe add flaked coconut or maybe coconut essence to up the flavor. I might also try using evaporated or condensed milk too.

Mochi Cake via Week of Menus

Makes one 9×13 pan, or 24 squares

INGREDIENTS

1 lb box (3 cups) mochiko flour

2 1/2 cups sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

2-14 oz cans coconut milk (full fat)

5 large eggs

1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

1 tsp vanilla extract

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9X13 baking pan.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together mochiko flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl or large measuring cup (4 cup capacity), beat eggs, then add coconut milk, melted butter and vanilla extract.
  4. Carefully pour the wet ingredients over the mochiko flour mixture and whisk until mixture is smooth and uniform in texture.
  5. Pour batter into greased 9X13 pan. Carefully smooth out the top.
  6. Bake for 90 minutes, until top is golden brown and the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan.
  7. Allow cake to cool for about 30 minutes on a rack, and then carefully flip it out and cut into 24 squares, or the size of your choice. Can store mochi cake for three days, covered.

Carrot Cake with Dulce de Leche Buttercream

A lot of things got put on hold after I left for Peru, including this blog! But now I am back and so is Little Baker SF 🙂 I made this cake for someone’s birthday a few months back, but never got around to posting it…probably because the only picture I took I ended up trashing. It looked like someone had attacked it with claws! Actually, “it” was 50 hungry birthday guests 😛 I’m taking it as a compliment!

In making this, I pulled from two sources: Vanilla Sugar for the cake itself and Joy the Baker for the buttercream and for assembly help. Both awesome recipes (and amazing blogs), I’m really pleased with the way they paired together in the final product. (Not that there could ever be anything wrong with carrot cake, dulce de leche and frosting—together or apart.)

The cake has everything a carrot cake should: sweetness from the carrots and raisins, spice from the cinnamon and nutmeg and crunch from the pecans. And the dulce de leche buttercream…dreamy.

Make it. You’ll love it.

Believe me.

Birthday Carrot Cake with Dulce De Leche Buttercream

Makes 1 two-layer 23 cm cake

INGREDIENTS

Carrot Cake (via Vanilla Sugar)

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 1/4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1/8 tsp ground cloves (I omitted this.)

1/2 tsp table salt

1 lb. medium carrots (about 6-7), peeled

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar (I omitted this too.)

4 large eggs

1 1/2 cups vegetable or canola oil

1 1/2 cups raisins

1 cup pecans, roughly chopped

Dulche de Leche Buttercream (from The Pastry Queen via Joy the Baker)

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened

3 tbsp heavy cream (I used reduced-fat milk)

1 tsp vanilla extract

4 cups powdered sugar

a pinch of salt

3/4 cup prepared dulce de leche (I used Nestle’s Manjar Blanco available in Peru)

METHOD

Cake

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 350 F / 175 C. Spray two 23 cm springform tins with nonstick cooking spray. Line bottom of pan with parchment and spray parchment.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt in large bowl; set aside.
  3. Shred carrots, which should yield about 3 cups. Transfer the carrots to a bowl and set aside.
  4. With a whisk or hand mixer, process granulated and brown sugars and eggs until frothy and thoroughly combined, about 20 seconds. Still whisking or with the hand mixer running, add oil in a steady stream. Whisk or mix until the batter is light in color and well emulsified, about 20 seconds longer. Scrape mixture into medium bowl. Stir in carrots and dry ingredients until incorporated and no streaks of flour remain. Finally, gently stir in the raisins and chopped pecans until just combined.
  5. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake at 350 F / 175 C until toothpick or skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 45-50 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking time. Cool cake to room temperature in pan on wire rack, about 2 hours. (If you omit raisins and nuts, reduce baking time by 10-15 minutes.)

Buttercream

  1. Cream together softened butter and powdered sugar on low using an electric mixer.
  2. Add the milk and vanilla and beat on medium speed until smooth and no lumps appear.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  3. Add the prepared dulce de leche and beat to incorporate.  Set aside until ready to use. (Do not refrigerate; it will harden and will not spread if you do.)

Assembly (adapted from Joy the Baker)

  1. On your cake platter or plate, lay the first cake layer top-side up. If uneven, use a serrated knife to trim.
  2. Put about 3/4 of the frosting into the center of the cake layer. Then with an frosting spatula, spread the frosting evenly around the cake surface until you reach the edges.
  3. On a second cake plate, lay the second cake layer, again, top-side up. As with the first layer, if it is uneven, trim with a serrated knife. Next, carefully lay it top-side down onto the first cake layer, onto the frosting.
  4. Gently press the top of the cake down to make sure it is even. Dollop about 1 cup of frosting onto the center of the top of the cake and, again, using your frosting spatula, spread the frosting evenly around the cake surface towards the edges of the cake. Smooth the center. (Frosting will accumulate at the edges if there is excess, which is fine. You will use it to frost the sides.)
  5. Run the frosting spatula under hot water. (This will help you smooth the icing out.) With your clean spatula, scoop up some frosting and spread it across the sides of the cake. Keep doing this until, turning the cake, until all sides are frosted and somewhat smooth. (Don’t worry if it’s not smooth; you will smooth it out the second time you apply frosting.)
  6. Clean your spatula again. With a light but firm touch, place the front edge of the icing spatula along the seam where the side of the cake meets the top of the cake.  (Icing has accumulated here and is creating a rough border to the cake.)  Hold the spatula firmly in one place along this icing seam and slowly being to rotate the revolving cake stand—moving the cake, but not the knife, to smooth the top.  You can leave the icing as rough and rustic, or smooth as you’d like. Clean any stray icing at the base of the cake, or on the cake board with a damp paper towel.

Summer Fruit Cake

Ah, summer in San Francisco. Only here on a warm 80 deg. day is it necessary to pack a sweater and scarf in your purse/bag just in case it gets chilly…and believe me, it always does.  The fickle nature of the weather here has made me truly appreciate those rare run-around-in-shorts days. This Saturday was one of those days. Sunday, too, actually.

I spent most of the weekend outside laying out in the sun, trying to make up for being cold for a year. The only time I was inside was when I was baking this cake. I went a little crazy at the Farmer’s Market—organic peaches and apricots for $0.75/lb. and cherries for $1/lb.? I couldn’t help myself—so had a lot of fruit to use up.

After looking at like 50 recipes for cakes, galettes, and pies, I finally decided on a Joy of Baking recipe for Cherry Cake. It’s a no-fuss, yet pretty cake that is texture-wise a cross between a cake and a clafoutis, i.e. it’s very moist. Flavor-wise, it’s mildly citrusy and sweet and super fruity. I love how the juice from the fruit flavors and sweetens the batter, and also, how you get a piece a fruit with every bite! Tastes like summer…yum.

Enjoy!

Summer Fruit Cake

(adapted from a recipe found on Joy of Baking)

INGREDIENTS

1 lb (454 grams) fresh fruit (I used cherries, peaches and apricots)

1 1/2 cups (195 grams) all purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

2 large eggs

3/4 cup (150 grams) sugar (I used evaporated cane sugar)

1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter,  melted and cooled

1/3 cup (80 ml) milk

1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped

Zest of 1 lemon

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 400 deg. F (205 deg. C).  Butter and flour an 9-inch (23 cm) spring form pan and line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.  Set aside.
  2. Rinse, dry, and prepare the fruit however you see fit, i.e. peel, remove stone fruit pits, and slice. (I peeled the peaches, then halved and removed the pits from the peaches and apricots, and sliced. For the cherries, I used the end of a round-tipped chopstick to push out the pits, then cut each in half.)  Set aside about 1/2 of the prepped fruit and set aside for topping the cake later.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.
  4. In the bowl of your electric mixer, with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs and sugar until thick and lemon colored (about 3-5 minutes).  Add the melted butter, milk, vanilla, and lemon zest and beat just until incorporated.  (I warmed the milk in the microwave just slightly and added in the vanilla bean to infuse in more flavor.) Add the flour mixture and stir just until moistened.  Gently fold in the fruit (but not the half that you have reserved for the top of the cake).   Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with an offset spatula.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove from oven.   Quickly arrange the remaining fruit (cherries cut side down) on the top of the cake.  Return the cake to the oven and bake for a further 20 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the cake portion comes out clean. (Mine was not very golden, so I turned the broiler on high and let the cake brown for a minute or two.)
  6. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool slightly.
  7. Serve warm or at room temperature with a dollop of softly whipped cream.