Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Yellow Bundt Pound Cake

My aunt and uncle sent me some wonderful birthday gifts, which included a really cool Nordicware bundt pan and lovely bundt-friendly cake carrier. What a great reason to bake a cake! I immediately began searching for a recipe so I could try out the new pan. I am always worried that my bundt cakes won't come out of the pan properly, but luckily this one turned out beautifully!
This is the fancy bundt pan that I used.
A tasty slice.

Adapted slightly from The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, cut into chunks and softened
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 large egg yolk, room temperature

1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 12-cup bundt pan with bake release spray. Whisk the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda together in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, whisk the buttermilk, vanilla, and lemon juice together.

2. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 6 minutes. Beat in the eggs and egg yolk, one at a time, until combined, about 1 minute.

3. Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in one-third of the flour mixture followed by half of the buttermilk mixture. Repeat with half of the remaining flour mixture and the remaining buttermilk mixture. Beat in the remaining flour mixture until just incorporated.

4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Wipe any drops of batter off the sides of the pan and gently tap the pan on the counter to settle the batter. Bake the cake until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 50 to 60 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking.

5. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then flip it out onto a wire rack. Let the cake cool completely, about 2 hours, before serving. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Gooey Double Chocolate Cookies

I have another summer cookout to head to this evening so I needed to bake up something easy and portable. Since we will be outside the whole time and it is over 100 degrees, a cookie seemed like the best option. These cookies are very decadent and almost brownie-like. The bittersweet chocolate chips add depth and keep the cookies from becoming too sweet. Look how gooey the insides are!

So easy and so delicious!

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
4 tablespoons butter
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 bag (11.5 ounces) Ghiradelli bittersweet chocolate chips

1. In a bowl set over a pot of simmering water, melt the unsweetened chocolate and butter. Remove from the heat and cool slightly.

2. In a large bowl using a fork, combine the eggs, vanilla and sugar. Mix just until incorporated and set aside.

3. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl. Set aside.

4. Add the melted chocolate to the egg mixture and mix just until combined. Stir in the sifted dry ingredients and mix just until combined, then stir in the bittersweet chocolate.

5. Cover the batter with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to chill thoroughly.

6. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

7. Divide the dough into 18 portions. Grease hands to prevent dough from sticking, and shape the portions into balls. Place the balls on a greased, parchment-lined sheet pan, leaving 2 to 3 inches between each.

8. Bake until the edges of the cookies are just set and the center is still soft, 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. Place the cookies, still on the parchment, on a rack and cool completely before serving. They will be very soft.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Hummingbird Cake

Happy Birthday to me! Today is my birthday so of course I had to bake a cake. I have been thinking about making a hummingbird cake for a while, so I decided to give it a try. I've heard that hummingbird cakes are traditional southern cakes, so now that I live kind of in the South (Dallas) it seemed like a fitting choice. Oh, and it was pretty darn delicious too!
Whisk together the dry ingredients.
In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, oil, and vanilla extract.
Chop the toasted pecans and bananas.
Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.
Fold in the pecans, banana, and crushed pineapple.
Divide the batter into the three pans.
Cool the baked cakes completely.
Whip up the frosting.
Fill the cake layers with frosting.
Add a crumb coat to the sides.
Frost and decorate!
Now try a slice...or two.

From America's Best Lost Recipes

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple packed in juice
1 1/2 cups pecans, toasted and chopped, plus extra for garnishing, if desired
2 ripe bananas, peeled and chopped

16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
4 cups confectioners' sugar
16 ounces cream cheese, cut into 8 pieces, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

1. For the Cake - Adjust two oven racks to the upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 9-inch cake pans. Whisk the flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Whisk the oil, eggs, and vanilla in a medium bowl, add to the flour mixture, and whisk until combined. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the pineapple (with the juice), pecans, and bananas. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes, rotating and switching the pan positions halfway through baking. Cool the cakes in the pans for 10 minutes, then turn out onto racks to cool completely, at least 30 minutes.

2. For the Icing - With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter and confectioners' sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the cream cheese, one piece at a time, and beat until incorporated. Beat in the vanilla and salt. Refrigerate until ready to use.

3. Spread about 1 1/2 cups of the frosting on one cake layer. Top with a second cake layer and another 1 1/2 cups frosting. Top with the final cake layer and spread the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. The cake can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Sugar Cookies

I'm going to a 4th of July party later this evening and I wanted to bring something festive. I decided to make sugar cookies, ice them, and then sprinkle with red and blue sugar. Of course I had to use my star-shaped cookie cutter to add to the festiveness!

From the Betty Crocker Cookbook (circa 1960)

2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium mixing bowl.

2. Cream together butter and sugar; add eggs and vanilla and mix until light and fluffy.

3. Add dry ingredients to the butter mixture a little at a time and mix until combined.

4. Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate overnight.

5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

6. Roll out dough to about 1/8" thickness and cut out cookies.

7. Bake for 5-6 minutes, or until edges are the lightest of browns. Do not overbake.

8. Cool completely before icing.