Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Vanilla Mocha Bundt Cake

This was a cake of firsts.  First baking in the new house (without Kristi... we're brainstorming something out of this world for our first joint effort).  First treat to share with my resident colleagues.  First recipe from Joy the Baker's Cookbook.  First Bundt cake success since the lemon disaster several years ago!  I even photographed the un-iced cake to prove its in one piece and without cracks.

The coffee flavor in this moist cake is quite pronounced.  I planned to use hazelnut coffee, but we didn't have any in the house, so vanilla it was.  I can only imagine how wonderful this would be with Nutella frosting and a few toasted hazelnuts on top!  Mint mocha is another flavor I have tucked away for future use.  It is incredibly easy to change this cake with a switch of coffee flavors.
Vanilla Mocha Bundt Cake (from JTB Cookbook)
makes one Bundt cake

Cake Batter
1 1/4 cups hot vanilla coffee
1 cup cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2/3 cup sour cream
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 1/2 cups flour
Butter or shortening, and flour for Bundt pan

Preheat oven to 350.
Prepare Bundt pan with LOTS of butter or shortening and flour.  Set aside.
While coffee is brewing, cream together sugar and eggs.
Add sour cream, yogurt, and oil.
Mix in salt and baking soda.
In a separate bowl, whisk together coffee and cocoa powder.  Let cool slightly.
Slowly pour coffee mixture into eggs while beating.
Add flour 1/2 cup at a time.
Pour into prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes.
Cool cake in pan for 20 minutes.
Invert onto wire rack and cool completely before frosting.
See that plate just waiting for a piece of cake?!  Annnnd the no-crack Bundt cake!
3/4 cup butter
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons vanilla coffee
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup sour cream

Melt butter and chocolate together over double boiler.
Add coffee and vanilla.  Cool slightly.
Beat in sour cream.
Refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.
Beat until fluffy.
Frost cooled cake.
Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Hummingbird Cupcakes

Madi's birthday cupcakes part 3!  Kristi and I have seen "hummingbird cake" on several of the blogs we follow recently, but had never heard of it previously.  We wanted something non-chocolate and preferably fruity to balance out the selection and this seemed like the perfect recipe to try.

I thought the cake alone was a little too dense (could be the excessive amount of butter!) and muffin-like, but with the frosting they're pretty tasty!  Many of the adults at the party really enjoyed them, too.
Hummingbird Cupcakes (from Annie's Eats)
makes 24 cupcakes

2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
11 teaspoons butter, softened
1 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 cup mashed ripe banana
1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
2/3 cup shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350.
Combine dry ingredients, flour through cinnamon, in a bowl.  Set aside.
Cream butter, vanilla, and sugar on high.
Add eggs one at a time.
While mixing, slowly add dry ingredients.
Mix in banana and pineapple.
Fold in coconut.
Divide the batter between lined cupcake pans and bake for 20 minutes.
Cool on wire rack before frosting.

8 ounces cream cheese
5 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Beat cream cheese and butter together.
Add vanilla.
Slowly mix in powdered sugar.
Blend until smooth.

Pineapple Flowers
2 whole pineapples

Peel the pineapple, being sure to remove all the spiny parts and seeds.
Slice very thinly and arrange on cookie sheets.
Bake in a 250 degree oven in 30 minute increments, until dried out, about 2 hours depending on how thinly you can slice the pineapple.
Remove from oven and while still warm, place in cupcake pan and leave overnight.  The pineapple slices will retain the shape and look like flowers.

To decorate cupcakes, frost (as neatly or messily as you prefer a it will be covered) and top with a pineapple flower.  Add the flower just before serving because they absorb moisture from the frosting and start to get sticky.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Turtle Thumbprints

Today we take a little break from sharing Madi's birthday party cupcake recipes to bring you turtle thumbprints.  And the debut of photos snapped with my graduation present, a Nikon D3100.  A big thanks to my family for such a great gift!

These cookies are a delightful, fudgy brownie texture.  The pecans become perfectly toasted in the oven.  And the caramel isn't too sweet.  While the cookie dough is only enough for 2 dozen cookies, there is plenty of leftover caramel.  To solve this "dilemma" make a double batch of dough, or use the caramel as ice cream topping.

Turtle Thumbprint Cookies (from America's Test Kitchen)
makes about 2 dozen

Cookie Dough
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1 large egg, separated
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup pecans, finely chopped

Cream butter and sugar together on high until fluffy.
Add egg yolk, milk, and vanilla.
Mix in salt and cocoa powder.
Slowly add flour.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
While the dough is the the fridge chop the pecans and begin the caramel.
 Once chilled, roll dough into small balls, about 1 inch in diameter.
Dip in egg white and roll in chopped pecans.
Place on cookie sheet prepared with cooking spray about 2 inches apart.
Use a 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon to make "thumbprint" indent in center.
Bake at 350 for 12 minutes.
Caramel Filling
1 can sweetened condensed milk

Heat milk in a double boiler for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Allow to cool and using a spoon fill the centers of cookies.