Monday, May 23, 2011

Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake

This coffee cake looks beautiful and tastes just as good.  Instead of being dense and heavy, the cake is lighter than you might expect.  The first time I made this cake I followed the recipe exactly as written.  The photos below reflect my first attempt.  The second time I made this cake I doubled the cinnamon streusel and it was fabulous.  I have never added the nuts, but I'm sure they would taste great. If you don't have maple syrup, or don't like maple, just mix a little milk with the powdered sugar to make the glaze.  I definitely recommend doubling the streusel, and I have written the recipe below to reflect the increased amount.

Adapted from Ina Garten

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 extra-large eggs at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups sour cream
2 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts, optional

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons real maple syrup

1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan.

2. Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for 4 to 5 minutes, until light. Add the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla and sour cream. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture to the batter until just combined. Finish stirring with a spatula to be sure the batter is completely mixed.

3. For the streusel, place the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt, and butter in a bowl and pinch together with your fingers until it forms a crumble. Mix in the walnuts, if desired.

4. Spoon half the batter into the pan and spread it out with a knife. Sprinkle with half of the streusel. Spoon the rest of the batter in the pan, spread it out, and scatter the remaining streusel on top. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.

5. Let cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes. Carefully transfer the cake, streusel side up, onto a serving plate. Whisk the confectioners’ sugar and maple syrup together, adding a few drops of water if necessary, to make the glaze runny. Drizzle as much as you like over the cake with a fork or spoon.

This post is liked to Sweets for a Saturday and This Chick Cooks.

Friday, May 13, 2011

German Chocolate Cake

I am a novice when it comes to German chocolate cake.  I've eaten it a few times, but had never made it or even thought about making it before.  When a co-worker said she wanted German chocolate cake for her birthday I jumped at the chance to give it a try.  I'm always looking to expand my baking repertoire.  Making the frosting turned out to be quite a process and took some patience, but it was well worth the effort.  This cake earned rave reviews from the birthday girl and everyone else who was lucky enough to try some.


2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

1 1/2 cups evaporated milk (12 ounce can)
1 1/2 cups white sugar
5 egg yolks, beaten with 1 1/2 teaspoons water
3/4 cup margarine
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two 9-inch pans with parchment paper and spray pans with cooking spray.

2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla, a beat on medium speed of mixer for 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.

3. Bake 25-30 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely before frosting.
4. For the frosting, in a large saucepan combine evaporated milk, sugar, egg yolks, margarine and vanilla.  Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly.  Once mixture is hot, gradually increase the temperature until the mixture nearly boils.  Continue stirring constantly until mixture is thick.  Remove from heat.  Strain mixture if you see any bits of cooked egg.  Then stir pecans and coconut into the thickened sugar mixture.  Cool slightly until frosting firms a bit more but is still spreadable.  Spread frosting between cake layers.

This post is linked to Sweets for a Saturday.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Caramel Oat Bars

Sometimes I make impulse buys when I'm shopping in the baking aisle.  A while back I bought a bag of Kraft unwrapped caramel bits not knowing what to do with them.  I liked the idea of not having to unwrap a bunch of caramels, but did not have any plans or desire to bake anything with caramel.  After seeing the bag of caramel bits sitting in my pantry for a few months I decided I better just go looking for something to make.  I found several versions of caramel oat bars on the internet, and combined recipes to get the bars that I made.  The caramel was nice and gooey and paired well with the oats and chocolate chips.  Just make sure to cool the bars completely before cutting or you may have a mess!
From Hannah's Kitchen

1 package (11 ounces) Kraft caramel bits
3 tablespoons milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup regular or quick cooking oats (not instant) 
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine caramels and milk in a saucepan; cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until caramels melt. Set mixture aside.

2. Combine flour, oats, sugar, baking soda, salt, and butter, stirring until mixture is crumbly. You can also just use your hands to mix until crumbly. Press half of the crumb mixture into a greased 8 x 8 inch baking pan. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. 

3. Remove crust from oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Pour caramel mixture evenly on top. Sprinkle on remaining crumbs. Bake at 350 for 15-18 minutes, or until bars are lightly browned. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

This post is linked to Sweets for a Saturday.