Browsing Tag

cake

Peach Birthday Cake and a Blogiversary Giveaway!

August 15, 2011

This week, Espresso and Cream turns two! When I started this blog, I had very few expectations of what it would become and was excited when a few others besides my mom started reading my posts. Two years later, more people than I could imagine visit each day. You guys, the amazing readers of Espresso and Cream, knock my socks off with your comments, e-mails, and Twitter conversations.

So to say thank you for making this site what it is, I want to do a special birthday giveaway to one lucky reader! Since I’ve been posting so many ice cream recipes lately, I though it only appropriate to give away a KitchenAid Ice Cream Maker Attachment or a Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker (the winner gets to choose which one they want). To enter, leave a comment below telling me your favorite type of ice cream between now and Tuesday, August 16, at 10 p.m. I will announce the winner on Wednesday morning.

Oh, and I also made you cake. An unbelievably moist, flavorful cake from Melissa Gray’s charming cake cookbook, All Cakes Considered. Melissa, who is a bit of a cake-baking legend at National Public Radio where she works, stumbled upon this recipe for peach cake with cream cheese frosting in a local church cookbook. Yet another reminder of the culinary treasures that are right in front of us.

This little gem is incredibly simple and bursting with flavor, thanks to chopped canned peaches. Although fresh peaches are perfectly acceptable, Melissa notes that the canned variety yielded more favorable results. Since the dishwasher was full, I thought I would make this cake with a whisk and bowl instead of hauling out the mixer. Turns out, you can make this cake the old fashioned way just fine, too.

Joey and I have been gushing over this cake for the past two days. I actually think it might be getting better as the days go by, something that seems to happen with most fruit-based quick breads and cakes. Although I made the cake with three six-inch layer pans, the original recipe calls for a 10-inch tube pan, and I can imagine two 8-inch layers would be a suitable fit, too.

Peach Birthday Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Recipe from All Cakes Considered

Ingredients
For the cake
*3 large eggs, beaten
*1 3/4 cups sugar
*1 cup vegetable oil
*2 cups all-purpose flour
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1 teaspoon baking soda
*1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
*2 cups sliced peaches, preferably canned
*1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

For the frosting
*4 ounces cream cheese, softened
*4 tablespoons butter, softened
*1 teaspoon vanilla extract
*2 cups confectioners’ sugar
*1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Instructions
*Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease three six inch round cake pans and line the bottom with parchment paper. Set aside.
*In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the eggs, sugar and oil. Mix on medium speed until just blended. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt baking soda and cinnamon. Add to the egg mixture and beat until just combined. The batter will be sticky.
*With a spatula and/or wooden spoon, fold in the peaches and nuts.
*Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 50 minutes, or until the cake tests done.
*Let the cake cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then unmold onto a cake rack. Allow to cool completely.

*Meanwhile, make the frosting. With the mixer on medium speed, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla extract until smooth. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar and cinnamon. Beat until smooth. Apply the frosting to the cooled cake.

Happy Baking!

Madison

Project Wedding Cake: Part 1

August 8, 2011
On Friday after work, Joey and I took off and headed four hours north west to spend time with our families and friends for the weekend. It was the first time we had been home since the wedding, and seeing everyone was such a great way to spend the weekend. However, it wasn’t just a weekend of play. I also had a mission: making a small, two-tiered wedding cake for the bride and groom to cut into. The bride is a family friend and I was more than happy to jump in and do my part. 
Although I’ve made wedding cakes before, I had yet to find a basic cake recipe that really worked as hard as I needed it to. A good wedding cake recipe needs to be firm enough to stack multiple layers on top of one another, have a short ingredient list that allows you to churn out batter quickly for all those layers, and, most importantly, it needs to be moist and flavorful. Not an easy task for one recipe. 
After doing a little digging and a bit of research, I found a cake recipe that got great reviews online. And seeing that it had hundreds of positive reviews online, I jumped at the chance to use it for this weekend’s baking.  The cake proved to be super easy to pull together and stacked incredibly well. In fact, I think this was the most structurally stable cake I’ve ever made.

{Nutmeg also jumped into the action, hoping that I would drop a few crumbs along the way. With a face like that, it’s hard to resist.}
I was also incredibly pleased with the buttercream I used. I veered from my usual powdered sugar-based buttercream and used a Swiss meringue buttercream made with egg whites, granulated sugar and butter, but I’ll break that up into a second post.
{Of course my mom decided that snapping a few photos of me blogging was necessary}
Simple White Cake (makes one 9-inch cake)
Recipe Courtesy of AllRecipes.com
Ingredients 
*1 cup sugar
*1/2 cup butter
*2 eggs
*2 teaspoons vanilla extract
*1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
*1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
*1/2 cup milk
Instructions
*Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease baking pans (whatever size you need for your specific cake; increase recipe as needed) and line with parchment paper. Set aside.
*With an electric mixer, cream together the sugar and butter, beating until fluffy. Add in eggs, one at a time, beating until just combined, followed by the vanilla.
*In a small bowl, combine the flour and baking powder. Add the mixture to the butter-sugar mixture and beat until just combined. Add in the milk and beat until just combined. 
*Spoon batter into prepared baking pans and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 
Happy Baking!
Madison

Banana Sheet Cake

August 4, 2011
Over the past month of marriage, I’ve realized how much more fun cooking has become. Although I could live on smoothies, roasted vegetables and whole grains, it’s been a blast getting to stretch myself in the kitchen again and push myself to come up with meals many nights during the week. 
Typically, desserts have been a bit of trouble spot for me. I love to eat them, probably a little too much, and more often than not, I found myself in the cycle of depriving myself for days only to overindulge every now and again. Joey, on the other hand, has a much better grasp on enjoying desserts in moderation since sweets have never really been his thing. Having someone to keep me accountable, while allowing me to still enjoy something sweet every single night has been a nice switch up from the way it used to be before we got married.
Over the past couple days, we’ve been enjoying slices of this Banana Sheet Cake. The recipe comes straight from my favorite cookbook of all time, The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook. I don’t think I’ve made a single recipe from this cookbook over the years that hasn’t turned out beautifully. Complicated, sophisticated food it is not. But delicious it is, indeed. 
One of Joey’s biggest requirements for a tasty cake or quick bread is that it be moist. This recipe fits the bill thanks to the addition of mashed banana as well as a can of crushed pineapple. Although the pineapple flavor and texture is barely noticeable, it imparts amazing moisture to this cake that only gets better as the days go by. 
Banana Sheet Cake
Recipe from The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook (aka my absolute favorite cookbook)
Ingredients
*1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
*1 teaspoon baking powder
*1 teaspoon baking soda
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
*1 cup sugar
*2 bananas, mashed
*1/2 cup vegetable oil
*2 large eggs
*1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained

Frosting

*4 oz. cream cheese, softened
*1 teaspoon vanilla extract
*1/4 cup butter, softened
*2 1/4 cups sifted powdered sugar
Instructions
*Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch cake pan. Set aside. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a mixing bowl.
*In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the banana, sugar, vegetable oil and eggs until combined. Add in the dry ingredients. Stir in the crushed pineapple. 
*Spoon batter into prepared pan. Bake for 35 minutes or until cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 
*Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 
*Meanwhile, combine all the ingredients for the frosting with an electric mixer. Beat until smooth and well combined. Spread over cooled cake. Cut into squares. 
Happy Baking!
Madison

Nutella Olive Oil Cake

February 25, 2011

I’m terribly undecided about this cake. Which is probably why these images have been sitting on my computer for weeks, taunting me, begging to be posted – or not. It’s not that I didn’t love this cake. In fact, I actually enjoyed it quite a bit. I’m just unsure how others might feel about such a cake. Olive oil and Nutella? Together? Yes, indeed.

Since mildly sweet, humble cakes are somewhat of an obsession of mine, this cake won me over at first bite. The original recipe doesn’t call for Nutella but rather the more expected flavor of lemon. But I had a half opened jar of the chocolate hazelnut spread in my pantry and couldn’t imagine a better way to put it to use. It imparted an interesting sweet and savory flavor combination to the cake, though I should not that I would highly recommend making it with a light-flavored olive oil instead of a full-bodied variety, unless you really, truly love olive oil.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to get ready for the weekend ahead. Making the bed, baking banana bread, cleaning my apartment, and getting cleaned up for Joey’s visit in a few hours! It never gets old. I get so excited each and every weekend. Hopefully this weekend I manage to stay healthy and do more than sit curled in a ball on the couch.

Have a happy weekend, all!

Nutella Olive Oil Cake
Adapted from Gourmet magazine, 2006

Ingredients
*3/4 cup olive oil (extra-virgin if desired), plus additional for greasing pan
*1/3 cup Nutella, melted slightly in the microwave and stirred
*1 cup cake flour (not self-rising)
*5 large eggs, separated, reserving 1 white for another use
*3/4 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
*Powdered sugar

Instructions
*Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Grease springform pan with some oil, then line bottom with a round of parchment paper. Oil parchment. 
*Beat together Nutella, egg yolks and 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until thick and pale, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium and add olive oil (3/4 cup) and reserved lemon juice, beating until just combined (mixture may appear separated). Using a wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture (do not beat) until just combined.
*Beat egg whites (from 4 eggs) with 1/2 teaspoon salt in another large bowl with cleaned beaters at medium-high speed until foamy, then add 1/4 cup sugar a little at a time, beating, and continue to beat until egg whites just hold soft peaks, about 3 minutes. 
*Gently fold one third of whites into yolk mixture to lighten, then fold in remaining whites gently but thoroughly. 
*Transfer batter to springform pan and gently rap against work surface once or twice to release any air bubbles. Sprinkle top evenly with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar. Bake until puffed and golden and a wooden pick or skewer inserted in center of cake comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool cake in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then run a thin knife around edge of pan and remove side of pan. Cool cake to room temperature, about 1 1/4 hours. Remove bottom of pan and peel off parchment, then transfer cake to a serving plate. Dust with powdered sugar. 
Happy Baking!
Madison

Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting

February 21, 2011
This weekend, Joey and I had a date to celebrate the fact that he passed a very important work-related certification exam. Naturally, I thought baking a cake was in order and had intended to share with you a cake and frosting recipe. However, the cake was a tad on the dry side and not yet ready to share. The frosting, on the other hand, was fabulous. 
It was thick, dense, and ultimately rich in the very best sense. And I was so delighted with how easy it was to work with when frosting a cake. The smooth, shiny, velvety texture made cake decorating a breeze. I would, however, offer this bit of advice: this frosting is best eaten on the day you frost the cake. After a day it loses its luster just a bit. Though it didn’t really stop me. 
And now for a public service announcement: If you haven’t gotten your flu shot this year, go and do so this week. Though I felt decently healthy on Friday and was on the mend from my recent sickness, I woke up Saturday morning with chills, intense body aches, and major chest congestion. The doctor’s diagnosis on Saturday was Influenza B, and I spent the rest of the weekend in a ball on the couch. It was no fun and a flu shot could have saved me a bunch of pain and discomfort. 
Take care of yourselves and have a happy Monday!
Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting
Adapted just slightly from Maida Heatter’s Cakes
Ingredients
*12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
*16 oz. milk chocolate chips
*1 pint sour cream
*1 tsp. vanilla extract 
*1/4 cup milk
Instructions
*Heat semi-sweet chocolate and milk chocolate in a saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently, until just melted. Remove from heat and pour into the bowl of an electric mixer. Add in sour cream and vanilla and beat 1 to 2 minutes on low heat until smooth. Add in milk and beat an additional 30 seconds. 
*Spoon over cake and spread into an even layer. 
Happy baking!
Madison
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...