Cakes · Dessert

Strawberry Cream Cake

The cake portion can be made ahead of time, wrapped in plastic wrap, and frozen. Thaw the frozen cake, unwrapped, at room temperature for two hours before proceeding with the recipe. The recipe makes enough whipped cream for the middle and top of the cake; if you want enough to cover the cake, double the whipped cream recipe.

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Strawberry Cream Cake


Yield: 3 layer 9-inch cake

 

INGREDIENTS

Cake:

cups cake flour

teaspoons baking powder

¼

teaspoons table salt

1

cup granulated sugar (7 ounces)

5

large eggs (2 whole and 3 separated), room temperature

6

tablespoons unsalted butter

2

tablespoons water

2

teaspoons vanilla extract

Strawberry Filling:

2

pounds fresh strawberries, washed, dried, and stemmed

4-6

tablespoons granulated sugar

 

pinch salt

Whipped Cream:

8

ounces cream cheese, room temperature

½

cup granulated sugar (3½ ounces)

1

teaspoons vanilla extract

teaspoon table salt

2

cups heavy cream

                                                          

 DIRECTIONS

1.   For the cake: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour round 9 by 2-inch cake pan or 9-inch springform pan and line with parchment paper. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, salt, and all but 3 tablespoons sugar. Whisk in 2 whole eggs and 3 yolks (reserving whites), butter, water, and vanilla; whisk until smooth.

2.   In bowl of standing mixer, beat remaining 3 egg whites at medium-low speed until frothy, 1 to 2 minutes. With machine running, gradually add remaining 3 tablespoons sugar, increase speed to medium-high, and beat until soft peaks form, 60 to 90 seconds. Stir one-third of whites into batter to lighten, add remaining whites and gently fold into batter until no white streaks remain. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until toothpick comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then invert cake onto greased wire rack; peel off and discard parchment. Invert cake again and cool completely, about 2 hours.

3.  For the strawberry filling: Halve 24 of the best-looking berries and reserve. Quarter remaining berries and toss with 4-6 tablespoons sugar (depending on sweetness of berries) in medium bowl and let sit 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Strain juice from berries and reserve (you should have about ½ cup). In food processor, give macerated berries five 1-second pulses (you should have about 1½ cups). In small saucepan over medium heat, simmer reserved juice until syrupy and reduced to about 3 tablespoons, 3 to 5 minutes. Pour reduced syrup over macerated berries, add pinch of salt, and toss to combine. Set aside until cake is cooled.

4.   For the whipped cream: When cake has cooled, place cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and salt in bowl of standing mixer. Whisk at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes, scraping down bowl with rubber spatula as needed. Reduce speed to low and gradually add heavy cream; when almost fully combined, increase speed to medium-high and beat until mixture holds stiff peaks, 2 to 3 minutes, scraping bowl as needed. Should make about 4½ cups.

5.  To assemble the cake: Using a large serrated knife, slice cake into three even layers. Place bottom cake layer on cake plate and arrange ring of 20 strawberry halves, cut sides down and steam ends facing out, around perimeter of cake layer. Pour half of pureed berry mixture (about ¾ cups) in center, then spread evenly to cover cake. Gently spread about one-third of whipped cream (about 1½ cups) over berry layer, leaving ½-inch border from edge. Place middle cake layer on top and press down gently (whipped layer should become flush with cake edge as you press down). Repeat with 20 additional strawberry halves, remaining berry mixture, and half of remaining whipped cream. Gently press final cake layer on top. Spread remaining whipped cream over top and decorate with remaining strawberry halves. Serve or chill for up to 4 hours.  

Printable Version

SOURCE: Cook’s Illustrated

Cookies · Dessert

Soft Sugar Cookies

These cookies are pretty easy to make and taste far better than Swig or Sodalicious cookies (in my humble opinion).

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Soft Sugar Cookies

Yield: 2 dozen large cookies

 

INGREDIENTS

Cookies:

4 ½

cups all-purpose flour

4

teaspoons baking powder

¾

teaspoons table salt

1 ½

cups unsalted butter, room temperature

1 ½

cups granulated sugar

3

large eggs

5

teaspoons vanilla extract

 Frosting:

cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1

teaspoon vanilla extract

2 ⅔

cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

 

pinch salt

¼

cup heavy cream

 

food coloring, optional

                                                                      

 DIRECTIONS

1.    Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. In a medium bowl whisk flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

2.    In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar and beat together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla and mix until combined. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl and mix on low speed until just combined. Cover and chill the dough for 1 hour.

3.    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Divide the dough into 24 equal pieces, a little less than ¼ cup of dough, and roll into a ball. Flatten the ball slightly and place on the prepared baking sheet, about 2-3 inches apart. Bake about 11-13 minutes or just until set. (Do not overbake or they will be dry! The edges should be no more than lightly browned, if at all.) Cool cookies on baking sheets for 5 minutes. Using metal spatula, transfer cookies to wire rack and cool to room temperature.

4.    To frost the cookies: In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and vanilla extract at medium-high speed until smooth, about 20 seconds. Add confectioners’ sugar and salt; beat at medium-low speed until most of the sugar is moistened, about 45 seconds. Scrape down the bowl and add heavy cream, 1 tablespoon at a time, and beat at medium speed until incorporated. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add food coloring if desired. Add food coloring if desired. Use an offset spatula to frost the cookies. Store in an airtight container.

 

SOURCE: cookies adapted from Annie’s Eats, frosting adapted from Two Peas and their Pod

 

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Bread · Rolls

Holiday Rolls

This are my go to rolls for holiday dinners. They are relatively easy to make and have a wonderful texture and flavor.  You can make them ahead of time (up to a month in advance) and freeze them to reduce the stress of holiday baking!

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Holiday Rolls


Yield: 18 rolls

 

INGREDIENTS

3 ½

cups all-purpose flour

2 ¼

teaspoons instant yeast

2

tablespoons granulated sugar

1 ½

teaspoons table salt

1 ¼

cups whole milk

1

large egg

8

tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces and softened

                                                                                      

 DIRECTIONS

1.    Microwave milk in microwave until warm (approximately 95 degrees). Sprinkle yeast over milk and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes. Whisk egg into milk mixture.

2.    In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the flour, yeast, sugar and salt. With mixer running on low speed, add milk mixture until just combined. With mixer running, add the butter one piece at a time; increase speed to medium and mix dough until smooth and sticky, about 6 minutes. Transfer dough to greased large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise until dough doubles in bulk, about 60-90 minutes. (You can accelerate rise time by putting the dough in the oven at 100-110 degrees.)

3.    Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface. Divide the dough evenly into 18 portions. Form each portion of dough into a smooth round ball. Transfer shaped rolls to baking sheets and cover with clean kitchen towel. Let rise until almost doubled in size, about 30-45 minutes. Meanwhile, adjust oven racks to lower- and upper-middle positions and heat oven to 375 degrees.

4.    Bake the rolls, rotating the pans once halfway through baking, until the tops are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer rolls immediately to wire rack and cool.

MAKE AHEAD DIRECTIONS

Follow directions through step 3 (skip preheating the oven). Without pressing on the rolls, spray cooking spray on rolls and then cover tightly with plastic wrap. Freeze rolls until solid, about 6 hours. Transfer to ziplock bag and freeze for up to 1 month. When ready to bake, heat oven to 375 degrees, let rolls stand at room temperature for 30-45 minutes. Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes.

 SOURCE: Cook’s Illustrated

 

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Appetizer

Alan’s Salsa

This salsa is an easy recipe to adapt to your liking! If you like spicier salsa, add the seeds and ribbing of the jalapeño. If you love cilantro, add more! This recipe is best after it sits in the refrigerator for at least 60 minutes, which allows for all the flavors to meld.

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Alan’s Salsa


YIELD: 5 cups

 

INGREDIENTS

2

(14.5-ounce) can Mexican stewed tomatoes

1

(4-ounce) can green chiles

5

large tomatillos, husks and stems removed, quartered

5

medium cilantro stems

1

jalapeño chile, stemmed, halved, and seeded

6

green onions

2

garlic clove, minced

1

teaspoon cumin

½

teaspoon chili powder

 

pinch cayenne

3

tablespoons lime juice

 

salt

 

pepper

 DIRECTIONS

1.    Pulse stewed tomatoes, green chiles, tomatillos, cilantro, jalapeño, green onions, garlic, cumin, chili powder and cayenne in food processor until roughly chopped. Transfer to serving bowl and add lime juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

SOURCE: Alan’s original

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Candy · Dessert

Rocky Road Fudge

Normally I don’t love fudge because it’s sickening sweet to me, however I really like this recipe because it’s not too sweet and the fudge is nice and firm. Make sure to use high quality chocolate, otherwise your fudge flavor will suffer.

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Rocky Road Fudge


YIELD: ~2.5 pounds

INGREDIENTS

16

ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped fine

2

ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped fine

½

teaspoon baking soda

teaspoon table salt

1

(14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

1

tablespoon vanilla extract

1

cup mini marshmallows

1

cup salted & roasted peanuts

½

cup semisweet chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS

1.    Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.

2.    In a heatproof bowl, mix semisweet chocolate, unsweetened chocolate, baking soda, and salt. Add the sweetened condensed milk and chocolate. Set over a pot with a few inches of simmering water. Stir occasionally until the chocolate is almost fully melted and a few small pieces remain.  

3.    Remove the bowl from the heat and stir until the chocolate if fully melted and smooth. Mix in mini marshmallows, peanuts, and chocolate chips. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking pan and spread into an even layer. Cover and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours. Use the foil to lift the fudge from pan. Cut the fudge into squares.

SOURCE: slightly adapted from Cooks Illustrated

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