Tag Archives: flour

Spice Cake Drenched in Cream Cheese Frosting

I obtained this recipe, after suffering its wonderous, moist, frosted phenomenon, from old family friends.  They deserve credit for this amazing cake I continue to make at least once a year. It’s perfect for that rich, Christmas or Thanksgiving dessert you were assigned to bring to the party.

For the cake:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream (cream cheese substitution is okay)
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 heaping tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 heaping tsp. cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 heaping tsp. nutmeg
  • 2 eggs

For the cream cheese frosting:

  • 1 package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 Tbsp. milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 4 cups powdered sugar

Start by preheating the oven to 300 degrees Farenheit.  Grease and flour either a 13″ x 9″, 2 round cake pans, or a bundt cake pan (these would also make excellent cupcakes). 

Beat all ingredients with a hand mixer on low for 30 seconds.image  Beat for a remaining 3 minutes on high.image

Pour batter into your pan.  imageBake for approximately 40-45 minutes for a rectangular pan or 30-35 minutes for the round pans or bundt cake.  When a toothpick comes out of the center clean, the cake is finished cooking.

While the cake is cooling, whip up the frosting.image In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, milk and vanilla together on low-speed with a hand mixer until smooth. image In doses of about one cup, add in the powdered sugar. image Cream together until frosting is smooth and spreadable. image

Spread cream cheese frosting over cake. Enjoy.image

I doubted the fridge’s holding of unexpired sour cream, and used cream cheese in the cake instead only to find out the next day we had not one, but TWO fresh cartons of sour cream. Whoops. The only difference I noticed was the dense cake was less moist than its sour cream compromised counter-part.  It was still enticing, then again, what, covered in cream cheese frosting, wouldn’t be?

I made a mini sampler size for taste testing, just in case the cake didn’t turn out using cream cheese inside the cake. Andrew refused to touch it, so I gave it to my mom and Dave first. They all agreed it was well-prepared and delectable, despite my impatience for both the trip to the store to buy sour cream and to allow the oven to fully heat up to 300 degrees Farenheit.

The spices remind me of sipping on a gingerbread latte from Starbucks, or slurping up some Pumpkin Black Bean Soup (minus the cayenne), not to mention it makes the whole house smell like a lit Yankee Candle.  Each bite is dribbled in luscious cream-colored gobs of icing.

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Paula Deen’s Buttery Lemon Bars

Gotta love those Paula Deen goodies. This one only requires two sticks of butter and a little extra to grease the pan.  I made these once before for Rosette’s family and they have been dying for us to make them again. So, we had a cooking and crafting Sunday night with the Bears on in the background (yes, they lost).

To make the crust:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 sticks of butter, and more for greasing

For the lemony center:

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 6 Tbsp. flour
  • 6 Tbsp. lemon juice (fresh lemons are best)
  • Powdered sugar for dusting

Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit and greasing a 13″ x 9″ baking dish (preferably glass, the dark metal pan overcooked the crust the first time). 

Next whip together the crust flour and sugar ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  With a fork, take the room temperature butter and mash it into the flour/sugar combo until it becomes light and crumbly. 

Press the crust compound into the pre-greased baking pan, pressing up the sides about an inch or so.  Bake for 15-20 minutes (but watch it. It tends to overcook).

In another bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, flour and lemon juice. 

Pull the pan out of the oven and pour in the yellow hodgepodge of ingredients.

 Place back into the oven for a remaining 25 minutes. (I took  mine out early, so check it at 15 min. and again at 20 min.). 

Let cool. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and cut into squares.

 

These gel-like lemon bars have a few textures. Initially, you sink your teeth into a soft, sticky gelatin that brings a rush of sweet tang .  Next your bottom pearly whites help the top ones to crunch into a semi-soft crust cradling the citrus insides in a sweet, flaky melt-in-your-mouth carbohydrate.

Rosette’s mom bugged us until we finally went upstairs to cook she was so excited to have these. They are that heavenly. Bring them to your holiday gatherings this year for dessert.

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Blueberry Streusel Cake

This easy to make recipe will have your co-workers begging for more.

For the cake you will need:

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 cup blueberries or blackberries or any other berry

For the topping you will need:

1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup softened butter
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 tsp. cinnamon

Start by preheating the oven to 375 degrees Farenheit and grease an 8×8 baking pan.  It only takes about 10-15 minutes to throw the ingredients to be cooked together, just enough time to get the oven nice and hot.
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In a mixing bowl, combine your dry ingredients for the cake: flour, baking powder and salt.  In a separate bowl combine the wet ingredients: oil, egg, milk and brown sugar (okay this isn’t a wet ingredient, but it is heavy and when combined with the egg and oil will diffuse into a liquid).

Gradually combine the dry ingredients in with the wet ingredients adding in a tablespoon of cinnamon.  I used a fork to get a gentle whipped texture keeping the cake nice and light.  The cinnamon will incorporate with the sugar creating a sweet spice.  Stir until everything is blended.

Carefully fold in the berries to you mix.  If you are too rough, the berries will break open staining your cake.  My mom likes to freeze berries when they are cheap and in season in individual sized glad freezer wrap.  These turned out excellent for the cake because they are solid enough to not break open, but still fresh.  Pour your mixture into the 8 x 8 pan making sure it evens out and set aside. image

In a small bowl, stir together the dry ingredients: flour, sugar and cinnamon.  Add in the softened butter and mix until they are equally incorporated and form into small crumbles.  You really want softened butter and not melted to get the correct form and texture of the topping.  Sprinkle the sugary morsels onto the top of your cake mix in the 8 x 8-inch baking pan and place in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour.  The cake will stop jiggling when lightly shaken from side to side when it’s ready. Stick a toothpick into the center. If it comes out clean, your cake is ready.  Let cool in pan for 10 minutes before cutting into the sweet morning treat.

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The cake holds the perfect amount of moisture so every bite holds together and melds into your taste buds.  The best part is the topping, so make sure to get some with every forkful.  It brings more of that sweet spice from the sugar and cinnamon into the cake and when you get some with a berry, your taste palate is complete.

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Caprese Pizza

This Epicurious recipe was worth the amount of time it took to wait for the dough to rise and the pizza stone to warm up.  Both my mom and her business partner, Claudia thoroughly enjoyed it during their meeting for PRS.  I highly recommend this for a Sunday night dinner.

Make sure you have:

  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 7 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more
  • 2 1/4 cups (or more) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes or garlic powder
  • 1½ pound cherry or grape tomatoes
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2-4 garlic cloves
  • 2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan, divided
  • 2 cups grated mozzarella (about 8 ounces), or 6 ounces buffalo mozzarella, thinly sliced, divided
  • Chopped fresh basil
  • Optional added ingredients (black/green olives, zucchini, broccoli)
Prepare the dough 1 1/2 hours before you plan on eating.  It needs time to rise.  I started cooking at 6, so with hunger pains decided to cut the rising time down to only forty-five minutes. You could see and feel when handling the dough that it needed to be thicker and fuller resulting in smaller pizza crusts.
 
To prepare the crust, add yeast and sugar to 3/4 cup of warm water. Stir and let sit about 5 minutes until the top becomes a spongy crust.  Mix in 1 1/2 Tbsp of olive oil, 1 tsp of salt, and here I added in 1 tsp of red pepper flakes and 1 tsp of garlic powder.  Slowly stir in flour then knead either in the bowl or on a work surface for 6 minutes, adding more flour if it becomes too sticky. Grease a large bowl with oil to keep the dough from embedding itself to the sides of the bowl while it rises and add dough to bowl, cover with plastic, and let rise for about an hour and a half or until it’s double the size it started at.  The plastic will gather condensation as the active yeast works the dough to an increased size.

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While the dough is rising, you will want to place the pizza stone on the very top rack of a cold oven and preheat to 500 degrees. 

Also, add a Tbsp of olive oil to a roasting pan along with the tomatoes and some pepper.  Place them on a lower rack in the oven and cook for 10 minutes or until their skins start splitting.  Too much oil will cause the oven to smoke, so add just enough to coat the bottom and the tomatoes.  Let them cool.

While the pizza stone is preheating and the dough still rising, you can take the time to go outside and grab fresh basil (or use your purchased basil) and chop it up.  You can also thinly slice the buffalo mozzarella into little circles and shred the parmesan if you didn’t buy it pre-grated.

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When the dough is doubled in size, split it in half and roll out one portion to a 13″ x 9″ rectangle, or a circular shape if you prefer this.  Let it sit for 15 minutes to settle into the shape and puff up a bit around the edges.  Here I grabbed a paintbrush we use solely for the kitchen and painted on crushed garlic cloves with a Tbsp of olive oil.  Layer on a fine sprinkling of half of the parmesan and take half of your carved mozzarella slices and distribute them evenly across the pizza. Top with the tomatoes and any other ingredient you prefer to add.  Crush on a little black pepper then toss onto the pizza stone in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese a gooey mess and browning like the crust.imageGarnish with the fresh chopped basil.  Repeat with the second pizza.

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My first pizza was a little messy (see picture above). I couldn’t figure out how to transfer it from the baking sheet to the pizza stone and ended up folding it in half then unfolding and rearranging it in the hot oven.  The second pizza (see picture of pizza on stone in oven) I cooked for 5 minutes on the baking sheet until the crust firmed up then transferred it to the pizza stone, which cooks the crust and entire pizza much better than the baking sheet. At the 5 minute mark, the baking sheet probably would have needed another 30 minutes to completely cook the pizza, but because the stone is preheated, it thoroughly cooks the entire pizza leaving a nice crunchy crust. 

I did not buy enough tomatoes, so substituting salt-free canned tomatoes worked just fine on the second pizza.  The fresh mozzarella melts perfectly and isn’t as salty as other cheeses. The recipe didn’t call for garlic, but it was a very nice addition, creating a good balance of spices without adding too much extra salt.  Next time I’ll buy the grape tomatoes which are a little smaller and sweeter than the cherry tomatoes. It will be easier to bite down on a piece of this pizza without stuffing a huge tomato in your mouth or having a hot one fall down onto your face. 

Claudia and my mom were only going to eat one pizza, but between the three of us we demolished both pizzas in one sitting. All that remained was the faint smell of garlic and basil in the air.

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