Sunday, August 30, 2009

TWD Rewind: Tall and Creamy Cheesecake

Another TWD rewind! We were having dinner with the same people I made the other cheesecake for, and they had loved it so much, I decided to make another one. We are in Brazil right now, and they don't have graham crackers here (what do kindergardeners eat? :D ), so we substituted vanilla cookies for the crust. I didn't taste this cake, because we gave it as a present, so I hope everything worked. I am so proud of myself, because this cheesecake didn't crack! :D
If you want the recipe, BUY THE BOOK. Okay? ;D

Thursday, August 27, 2009

TWD Rewind: Bill's Big Carrot Cake

It's official: I've joined Tuesdays With Dorie! The few recipes I've tried from the book have been amazing; the fluffiest batters I've ever seen! I'm really excited to be able to say "I've made every recipe in this book". However, I am really far behind on the recipes, so I've got to get started. I made this cake a couple of weeks ago, when I didn't even know TWD existed. I took a picture intending to post it on here with the recipe, but now that I'm making every recipe, I'm going to do what lots of other TWD bakers do, which is tell you that if you want to make this recipe (you should), GO BUY THE BOOK! Is that clear? Go buy it! :D 
Anyways, about the cake. I took this cake to a dinner where four people ate from it, one of which barely ate because he is diabetic. Between them, almost half was gone at the end of one meal. That says a lot about it, don't you think? This batter is pretty easy if you're using a stand mixer. The only thing time-consuming is grating the carrots like I did, but if you're not too lazy to take out the food processor (me! I'm lazy!), that step is quick, too. The cream cheese frosting is great, too. Good luck!

If you don't know what Tuesdays With Dorie is, it's a group of food bloggers who make the same recipe every week from Baking From My Home To Yours by Dorie Greenspan

Buttery Cut-Out Cookies

We are in Brazil on vacation, because my mom's entire family is here. We come every year, so we've made friends and though we stay at my grandma's house, we see them every time we come. Today I went to a friend's house because she had said that she had a great cookie recipe she wanted to teach me to make, because I had taught her to make cupcakes when she had visited me. This recipe is really good. We cut out the cookies really thick, but you can cut them however thin or thick you want, just adjust the cooking time. You can decorate them however you like, but we left ours plain and they were great anyways. This dough is different from most cut-out cookies, too, because it only rests for 20 minutes outside of the fridge, instead of 2 hours inside the fridge. It's an easy recipe if you have a mixer (this friend doesn't, so we did it by hand, but it should work with a stand mixer using the paddle attachment), and very tasty.

Buttery Cut-Out Cookies (from some magazine in Portuguese I don't know the name of)

8 oz. margarine, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract (optional)
1 pinch salt
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
tiny bit of milk (about 2 tablespoons? my friend says "two fingers" :D )

Beat margarine, sugar, egg, egg yolk, vanilla and salt until fluffy. 
Add the flour and beat until dough comes together. Mix baking powder with the milk (it will puff up) and beat that into the dough until you can no longer see the white mixture.
Let rest at room temperature for 20 minutes (it will not rise).
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Roll out dough to desired thickness, working with small amounts. As you roll, you will see that cracks are going to appear all over. This is fine; just press the dough together and keep rolling. Cut with whatever cookie cutters you want and place on greased and floured cookie sheets (it doesn't matter if small and large shapes are on the same cookie sheet; they will be done at the same time). 
Bake for about 2o minutes. This is an estimate, but it will depend on the thickness of your dough (we rolled ours really thick and it took about 30 minutes). Check on the cookies frequently. You can let them brown as little or as much as you want. 
Yields: about 70 small cookies (more or less depending on the size of your cookie cutter).

     All cut out and ready for the oven

Baking. Looking yummy!

A small plate of cookies I brought home. Yum!!!!!

            Making pictures with cookies! :D


Tuesday, August 25, 2009


I'm on vacation right now, which is why I haven't been posting, but I just wanted to let you all know that I've joined Daring Bakers! It looks like so much fun. See ya!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Southern Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

A while ago, I got an order for a red velvet cake. So the day before the cake was being delivered, I made it. Let's just say everything that could go wrong, went wrong. The buttermilk powder wouldn't break up. I ran out of flower in the middle of baking. An egg fell on the floor. But, in the end, it turned out well. I made the basic cream cheese frosting that was with the recipe for the cake. That turned out well, too. If you are crumbling the pieces of cake left over from leveling the layers and putting them on the sides like I did, you don't have to worry about the frosting being smooth, because the crumbs will cover it up.

Southern Red Velvet Cake (
2 1/2 cups ap flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. fine salt
1 tsp. cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tablespoons red food coloring (1 ounce)
1 tsp. white distilled vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
cream cheese frosting, recipe follows
crushed pecans, for garnish (or you can use cake crumbs like I did)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil and flour 3 (9 by 1 1/2-inch round) cake pans. (I used two 9 by 3? round cake pans and it worked fine.)
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In another large bowl, whisk together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla.
Using a stand mixer, mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined and a smooth batter is formed.
Divide the cake batter evenly among the prepared cake pans. Place the pans in the oven evenly spaced apart. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through the cooking, until the cake pulls away from the side of the pans, and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean, about 30 minutes. 
Remove the cakes from the oven and run a knife around the edges to loosen them from the sides of the pans. One at a time, invert the cakes onto a plate and then re-invert them onto a cooling rack, rounded-sides up. Let cool completely.
Frost the cake. Place 1 layer, rounded-side don, in the middle of a rotating cake stand (or level it, if you are using crumbs to decorate the cake). Using a palette knife or offset spatula spread some of the cream cheese frosting over the top of the cake. (Spread enough frosting to make a 1/4 to 1/2-inch layer.) Carefully set another layer on top, rounded-side down, (or leveled) and repeat. Top with the remaining layer and cover the entire cake with the remaining frosting. Sprinkle the top with pecans. (Or crumble the scraps of cake left from leveling the layers and press them into the sides or top of the cake.)

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 pound cream cheese, softened
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter (1 cups), softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract

In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand-held electric mixer in a large bowl, mix the cream cheese, sugar, and butter on low speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to high, and mix until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. (Occasionally turn the mixer off, and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.)
Reduce the speed of the mixer to low. Add the vanilla, raise the speed to high and mix briefly until fluffy (scrape down the bowl occasionally). Store in the refrigerator until somewhat stiff, before using. May be stored in the refrigerator for 3 days. 
Yield: enough to frost a 3 layer (9-inch) cake.

Start baking!