Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Bear Claw for Dad

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Happy Birthday, Dad! I miss you like crazy today. I wish the rest of the world would have a chance to meet you. I wish my future family would get to know you. I wish I had more time to build an even deeper relationship with you. But for now, I guess we'll get by on the sweet memories we made while you were with us. 
Dad, you and Mom always encouraged me to be my best and do everything I ever wanted. For your love and support, I'll be forever grateful. My next few recipes are for you, Dad. Because, just like you, I find joy as I make things for the people I love, thinking about how happy it will make them. I can see you now, rubbing your hands together with excitement as I describe whatever I've got baking away, with you practically purring as you take the first bite. 
Bear Claw
So, Dad. I miss you and I love you and I can never forget you.
And Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Ginger Carrot Cake

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It's finally been feeling like spring and I'm loving it! The sunshine is beautiful, the trees are ultra green and gigantic full blooms are showing up all over the place. Now, if only I had a window to view all this during the workday...but maybe I wouldn't actually do much work if that were the case.

But window or not, I think you'd all agree that if the seasons were a cake, it would totally be packed with carrots. And some ginger. Because it's like a little surprise inside and adds a new dimension to that regular old carrot thing.

I used a vanilla German buttercream to frost this cake and it tasted delicious, although it is really flavorful and moist on its own. Please try it!

(And invite me over.)

Ginger Carrot Cake [click to print]
Makes one 9x13" cake or two 9" layers

For the cake
  • 1 c. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 c. sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2-1/2 c. flour
  • 1 T. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. white pepper
  • 2/3 c. whole milk
  • 4 c. carrots, shredded or pulsed in food processor to approx. same size
  • 1/2 c. crystallized ginger, finely chopped
For the buttercream
  • 2 c. whole milk
  • 1-1/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 T. cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp. salt 
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tsp. vanilla bean paste (OR seeds from 2 bean pods)
  • 2 c. unsalted butter, softened
1) Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 9x13 pan with parchment paper or coat generously with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. 

2) In bowl of stand mixer, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, incorporating well between each addition. In medium bowl, whisk together flour, powder, soda, salt and ground ginger; set aside. Cream butter and sugar in mixing bowl. Add eggs and vanilla, continuing to mix until well incorporated. If your batter looks a little curdled at this point, it's okay, just keep going with the next steps!

3) In separate bowl, whisk together flour, powder, soda, salt, ground ginger and pepper. With mixer on low speed, alternately add flour mixture and milk to batter in about 3 additions, beginning and ending with flour mixture.

4) Stir in chopped ginger and carrots until evenly distributed. Pour batter in prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or until top is golden and springs back when touched lightly. Allow to cool completely in pan.

5) Frost as desired and enjoy!

Source: Adapted from Sweetapolita

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Strawberry Lemon Roulade

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I have two things to tell you. First, I totally ran out of flour. Like not even a teaspoon left in the bottom of my 5 gallon bucket. And second, I have an even better excuse for why I've been apparently slacking in my blog posting duties. But I can't tell you what that second excuse is yet because it's a surprise!

So, in the meantime, I hope you'll accept my humble apologies in the form of Lemon Berry Pavlova. If you've ever tasted such a thing before, you'll know this is more than acceptable. The mousse is flavored with sweet lemon curd and is so thick and creamy but feels so light and fluffy all at the same time. And the meringue base has a beautifully shiny shell and a bit of chewiness when you bite into it. So good.

P.S. If you need to apologize to me for any reason while lemons and berries are in season, feel free to bring this little guy on over!

Strawberry Lemon Roulade [click to print]
Makes one roll
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3-1/2 oz. cake flour
For assembly
  • 1-1/2 to 2 c. lemon curd
  • 2 c. sliced strawberries
1) Preheat oven to 375 F and line jelly roll pan with parchment paper; set aside. 

2) In bowl of stand mixer, whip egg whites with a pinch of sugar. When whites begin holding soft peaks, gradually whip in sugar. Continue whipping until medium-stiff peaks form. In separate bowl, break up yolks with a fork and mix into whites with vanilla. 

3) Fold in flour mixture in about 3 additions. Pour batter into pan and spread evenly. Drag thumb around perimeter of baking sheet to create a small gap between batter and edge of pan. These last two steps will help prevent the edges from cooking too fast or from cooking unevenly. 

4) Bake 10-12 minutes. Surface of cake should appear dry and spring back when touched lightly. If edges start browning before it is done cooking, reduce temperature. Immediately remove cake, still attached to parchment paper, from pan and allow to cool completely on wire rack. 

4) When cool, remove parchment paper and evenly spread a thin layer of lemon curd across surface. Press berry slices into lemon curd. With the long edge of the cake in front of you, carefully roll the cake up. Tightly wrap rolled cake with plastic wrap. Store in refrigerator at least 1 hour or until ready to serve. 

Source: Roulade adapted from L'Academie de Cuisine
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