Peanut Butter Chocolate Banana Cake

19 Mar

March 19th, 2015

I often buy too many bananas and they ripen quicker than I can finish them and I absolutely hate tossing them out. So what better way to use overly ripe bananas? Use them to make banana cake!

My buttercream of choice was peanut butter flavored since I sometimes eat my bananas with peanut butter. To top that off, I drizzled some Kona chocolate sauce for a full flavor explosion.

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Banana Cake

1 ½ C sugar
4 oz butter
2 eggs
¼ tsp vanilla extract
8 oz sour cream
3 bananas, mashed
2 C AP flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda 

Y= Four 6-in layers

Directions:

  1. Cream together sugar and butter until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the eggs and vanilla.
  3. Add the sour cream. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  4. Add the mashed bananas.
  5. Combine flour, salt and baking soda together.
  6. Add the dries into the wet ingredients in three additions, scraping in between each addition.
  7. Divide batter into prepared cake pans.
  8. Bake at 330F for 40-50 minutes, or until cake is done.

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Peanut Butter Buttercream
3/4 C egg whites (I used carton egg whites)
9 oz sugar
1 lb softened butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
⅛ C – ¼ C creamy peanut butter

Note: this is more than enough buttercream to frost a 4 layer cake. I just saved the extra for future use.

Directions:

  1. Whisk together sugar and egg whites in a mixer bowl.
  2. Place bowl over a pot of simmering hot water.
  3. Using a hand whisk, constantly whisk the sugar-egg mixture until sugar is completely dissolved. The mixture should be warm to touch, but not burning hot on the finger.
  4. Transfer the mixer bowl to the mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whisk on medium speed until mixture is cooled. Continue to whisk until the mixture becomes meringue-like.
  5. Once the meringue is cool enough, add the softened butter, a few pieces at a time. Allow the butter to mix in before adding the next few pieces.
  6. Once the butter is all in, whisk on high speed for a few seconds. Scrape sides down if necessary.
  7. Add peanut butter, a little at a time, until desired flavor is reached.

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To assemble the cake:

  1. Divide cakes, lengthwise, into even layers.
  2. Spread buttercream on the first layer.
  3. Add the second layer and repeat with the buttercream. Repeat with other layers.
  4. Apply a thin crumb coat to the cake. Refrigerate to set the crumb coat.
  5. Apply a final coat to the cake.
  6. Decorate as desired.

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Cranberry-Apple Hand Pies

3 Mar

March 3rd, 2015 

The past few days have been busy and I fell behind on posting these wonderful cranberry-apple hand pies, so I am making up for it now. I originally planned to make some cherry hand pies, but things changed when I saw cranberries while at the grocery store. Then cranberry pies turned into cranberry-apple hand pies. I’m not complaining because these turned out better than I expected.

I often have ideas in my head to make one thing, but sometimes they slightly change along the course of the way. I’m ok with that, as long as the end product is not burnt, is edible and presentable.

What inspired me to make hand pies? Well, I wanted to use up my pie dough in the freezer!

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Pie Dough, recipe can be found here.

Cranberry-Apple Filling:
1-20 oz bag frozen cranberries
1 medium apple (I used Gala), diced into small pieces
¼ C + ⅛ C sugar
¼ tsp vanilla powder
pinch of salt
zest of half a lemon
zest of half an orange
1 tsp orange juice
1T cornstarch

Y= 12-3×3 inch hand pies

Directions:

  1. In a bowl combine cranberries and apples. If cranberries are too big, use a fork to slightly break apart.
  2. Add the sugar, vanilla, salt, zests, and juice. Mix to combine.
  3. Add the cornstarch and mix.
  4. Set mixture in refrigerator until ready to use.

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To Assemble:

  1. Roll dough out. Cut into desired sizes for the hand pies. I cut pieces that were 3×6 and 2×6 in dimensions so that when folded, pies are 3×3 inches and 2×3 inches in size.
  2. Scoop filling and place on one end of the cut piece, making sure to leave a slight border along the edges.
  3. Using a pastry brush, brush egg wash along the edges.
  4. Fold one side over to cover the filling and bring together to seal the edges.
  5. Use a fork to crimp the edges to securely seal it.
  6. Make a few slits on the top of sealed pies. The slits act as vents as they are baking.
  7. Brush egg wash to cover the pies and sprinkle sugar on top.
  8. Bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes.

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Mini Red Velvet Vanilla Ice Cream Cakes

13 Feb

February 13th, 2015

Valentine’s Day is tomorrow and for those who celebrate this, I hope you have a very romantic day and evening with your special someone. And for those who prefer to make it low-key and will be staying in, may I recommend some red velvet vanilla ice cream cake? I’ve been dying to make homemade ice cream cake for some time now since one of my guilty pleasures is Baskin Robbin’s ice cream cakes. And Valentine’s Day was the perfect opportunity to experiment. I had extra layers of cake left from my previous red velvet cake post and used a similar vanilla ice cream recipe I made for these macaron ice cream sandwiches to put together these mini red velvet ice cream cakes.

To save time, you can definitely break the steps up into multiple days– bake the cake on day one, then the following day make the ice cream base, and on the third day churn the base. On the same day of churning the ice cream base assemble everything together. This dessert can be made a few days in advance and can be kept in the freezer until ready to serve.

I’m looking forward to devouring my Valentine’s Day dessert tomorrow!

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Red Velvet Cake, recipe can be found here

Vanilla Bourbon Ice Cream
1 ½ C heavy cream
1 ½ C milk
⅔ C + ⅛ C sugar
pinch of salt
6 egg yolks
½ tsp vanilla
 
Yield = 1 quart (enough to fill 6- 3×3 inch cake rings)

Directions:

  1. Heat the cream, milk, sugar and salt. Add the vanilla powder remove from the heat, cover and let steep for about 20 minutes.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk the yolks.
  3. Temper the yolks with some of the heated milk mixture. While slowly adding the milk, whisk the mixture constantly. This prevents the yolks from curdling.
  4. Add the yolk-milk mixture back into the pot and heat on medium. Using a spatula, continuously stir and scrape the bottom of the pot.
  5. Heat until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon.
  6. Strain the mixture into a clean bowl. Place bowl over an ice-bath to stop the cooking.
  7. Place a piece of plastic directly on the surface of the base. Allow the ice-cream base to cool in the refrigerator overnight.
  8. Churn ice cream the next day.
  9. Place ice cream in a clean container. Allow it to firm up in the freezer for about 20-30 minutes.

Chocolate Ganache Drizzle
50g dark chocolate, chopped
50g heavy cream

Directions:

  1. Place chopped chocolate in a heat-proof bowl.
  2. Heat the cream to a slight boil. Remove from heat and pour into the chocolate. Stir to combine.

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To Assemble:

  1. Gather cake layers and cut to the diameter of the ring mold.
  2. Line molds with acetate cake collars. These can be found on Amazon in the Home & Kitchen department.
  3. Place molds on a sheet pan that will fit in your freezer.
  4. Place cut cake pieces inside the bottom of the ring. The cake piece will serve as the base for the ice cream.
  5. Once ice cream is firm enough, carefully fill the remainder of the ring with ice cream. Work quickly as ice cream will become soft. Repeat for the rest of the molds.
  6. Carefully cover the tops of the ring with plastic wrap and place the sheet pan containing the molds in the freezer for a few hours or overnight.
  7. To serve: drizzle with chocolate ganache and other desired toppings.
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Valentine’s Day Countdown- Red Velvet Cake

11 Feb

February 11th, 2015

Valentine’s Day is just 3 days away and I have my second round of Valentine’s Day desserts to share. I’m sure red velvet everything is showing up on Pinterest boards as people are most likely trying to plan what to make. I knew the red velvet cake was on my agenda for Valentine’s Day, as this is what I’m bringing to work to share.

It’s a simple cake and you can’t go wrong with a classic red velvet.

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Red Velvet Cake
2 ½ C Flour
1 ½ C Sugar
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Cocoa Powder
1 ½ C Canola Oil
1 C Buttermilk
2 Eggs
1 tsp Vinegar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
red food coloring

Yield = 3 – 6 inch cakes

Directions:

  1. In a mixer bowl combine the oil, buttermilk, eggs, vinegar, and vanilla extract. Using a paddle attachment, mix to combine.
  2. Add the food coloring until desired shade of red is reached.
  3. Add the sugar and mix to combine.
  4. In a separate bowl sift together the flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder.
  5. Add the dries to the wet mixture in three additions, mixing well after each addition.
  6. Divide batter evenly into prepared cake pans, about halfway full.
  7. Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes. Cake should be done when it springs back from touch. Or insert a toothpick in the center and if it comes out clean, then cake is done.
  8. Allow cakes to cool completely before frosting. 2015-02-08 05.12.192015-02-08 05.16.50

Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
5 oz butter, softened
12 oz powdered sugar, sifted
½ tsp vanilla extract
 
Yield= enough to frost a 4 layer 6-inch cake.

Directions:

  1. Paddle the cream cheese in a mixer bowl to soften.
  2. Add softened butter in chunks. Mix thoroughly, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  3. Add sifted powdered sugar in multiple additions, mixing and scraping in between.
  4. Add vanilla extract.

To assemble the cake:

  1. Divide cakes, lengthwise, into even layers. The cake recipe will yield more than 4 layers, so feel free to make the cake taller. (I went with four layers).
  2. Spread cream cheese frosting on the first layer.
  3. Add the second layer and repeat with the frosting. Repeat with other layers.
  4. Apply a thin crumb coat to the cake. Refrigerate to set the crumb coat.
  5. Apply a final coat to the cake.
  6. Decorate as desired.
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7-Layer Vanilla Bourbon Birthday Cake

9 Feb

February 9th, 2015

This weekend we celebrated my Husband’s birthday with a very boozy, 7-layer cake. He’s a big fan of drinking Whiskey (not to mention, our dog is named Whiskey) so I decided to make a vanilla Bourbon cake for his special day. Initially I only intended to flavor the cake part with Bourbon, but the alcohol baked off and only a mild alcohol taste was left. To intensify the booziness, I added more Bourbon to the buttercream. This was definitely a very adult tasting cake! 

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Vanilla Bourbon Cake

1 lb + 2 oz sugar
¾ C oil
3 eggs
1 ½ C heavy cream
1T vanilla extract
1 lb + 6 oz AP flour
2 ¼ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsp salt
1 ½ C buttermilk
optional: 2-3 T Bourbon (I used Basil Hayden)
 
Y= 3- 6 inch rounds 

Directions:

  1. Combine oil and sugar together in a mixer bowl. Use the paddle attachment to mix to combine.
  2. Add eggs, one at a time.
  3. Add heavy cream and vanilla extract.
  4. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  5. Alternate adding the dries and buttermilk, mixing in between. Scrape down sides of the bowl as necessary.
  6. Add Bourbon if using.
  7. Prepare 6-inch round cake pans- coat with non-stick spray and dust with a thin layer of flour.
  8. Divide batter evenly into cake pans.
  9. Bake at 350F for 40-45 minutes. 

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The birthday boy with his cake. 

Bourbon Simple Syrup
1 ½ C water
1 ½ C sugar
1-2 T Bourbon

Y= This recipe yields a lot of simple syrup so set aside the desired amount for soaking the cake and save the rest for future use. 

Directions:

  1. Combine water and sugar in a saucepan. Mix together. Bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat to simmer until sugar is completely dissolved. Simmer for about 15 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  4. Add Bourbon to taste.

Vanilla Bourbon Buttercream:
3/4C egg whites (I used carton egg whites)
9 oz sugar
1lb softened butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 to 5 T Bourbon

Directions:

  1. Whisk together sugar and egg whites in a mixer bowl.
  2. Place bowl over a pot of simmering hot water.
  3. Using a hand whisk, constantly whisk the sugar-egg mixture until sugar is completely dissolved. The mixture should be warm to touch, but not burning hot on the finger.
  4. Transfer the mixer bowl to the mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whisk on medium speed until mixture is cooled. Continue to whisk until the mixture becomes meringue-like.
  5. Once the meringue is cool enough, add the softened butter, a few pieces at a time. Allow the butter to mix in before adding the next few pieces.
  6. Once the butter is all in, whisk on high speed for a few seconds. Scrape sides down if necessary.
  7. Add Bourbon to taste.

White Chocolate Ganache
125g white chocolate, chopped (I used Valrhona)
65mL heavy cream
food coloring (I used a soft gel by AmeriColor)

Directions:

  1. Place chocolate in a heat-proof bowl. Heat the cream until it starts to bubble along the edges.
  2. Pour the heated cream over the chocolate. Let it stand for a few minutes.
  3. Stir to combine.
  4. Add food coloring and mix together.

To assemble the cake: 

  1. Divide cakes, lengthwise, into 7 even layers.
  2. Using a pastry brush, generously soak the first layer with the Bourbon simple syrup.
  3. Spread buttercream on the first layer.
  4. Add the second layer and repeat with the simple syrup and buttercream. Repeat with other layers.
  5. Apply a crumb coat to the cake. Refrigerate to set the crumb coat.
  6. Apply a final coat to the cake.
  7. Decorate with white chocolate ganache.

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Strawberry Mousse in Mason Jars

2 Feb

February 2nd, 2015

Valentine’s day is around the corner and I’m starting the Vday desserts early. My first round of desserts for this Hallmark Holiday is a light strawberry mousse with a graham cracker crumb bottom. I adopted the mousse recipe from Miette’s baking book. They use this mousse recipe for their Strawberry Charlotte cake, but I turned it into individual serving sizes in these adorable mini mason jars I found. It’s like taking a shot of delicious sweetness. Instead of using fresh strawberries, I grabbed a package of frozen strawberries, which worked out the same. Let me tell you, my kitchen was filled with strawberry aroma as they cooked on the stove top.

Another option is to make a layered mousse cup, alternating with the graham crumbs and mousse. I opted to put the crumbs at the bottom and top and topped them off with strawberry chunks that I reserved when straining the strawberry juice. These jars of heaven are definitely cute for entertaining, and even more delicious to taste! Here’s to the beginning of February and to the countdown to Valentine’s Day!

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Graham Cracker Crumbs Bottom
¾ C graham cracker crumbs
1T sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
2T melted butter

Y= enough to fill the bottom of six 4 oz mason jars and for toppers

Directions:

  1. Combine crumbs, sugar, and cinnamon in a bowl. Stir to mix.
  2. Add melted butter and mix to combine.
  3. Spread crumb mixture on parchment-lined sheet pan. Bake at 320F for 8-10 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven. Set aside to cool.

Strawberry Mousse, adopted from Miette’s book
1-16oz bag of frozen whole strawberries (Miette uses fresh strawberries)
1/3C sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
1T water
2 tsp gelatin
3/4C heavy cream

Y= enough to fill six 4 oz mason jars

Directions:

  1. Combine strawberries, sugar, lemon juice, and water in a saucepan. Heat on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture becomes juicy.
  2. Strain the strawberry juice into a clean bowl. Set aside the strawberry pulp.
  3. Take about half of the juice and return it back to the saucepan.
  4. Sprinkle gelatin over the other half of the juice. Whisk to combine.
  5. Add the gelatin-juice mixture to the pan with the rest of the juice. Heat on low until gelatin dissolves, whisking slightly.
  6. Strain the juice into a clean bowl. Allow to cool completely.
  7. Whisk the heavy cream to a medium peak.
  8. Fold in the cooled strawberry juice, a little at a time until streaks are gone.
  9. To assemble: Fill bottom of jars with some of the graham cracker crumbs. Spoon or pipe strawberry mousse to fill the rest of the jar.
  10. To garnish: Top with some of the strawberry pulp and any leftover graham crumbs. Refrigerate to chill before serving.
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Orange-Glazed Madeleines

26 Jan

January 25th, 2015:

This week I was inspired to make madeleines and I blame it on Starbucks. If you haven’t noticed, Starbucks carry packages of madeleines that they place right by the register. Every time I pay for my coffee I see them, but have actually never tried them before, so I can’t say how good (or bad) they taste.

Madeleines are pretty easy to make and I love the spongey-cakey texture. Similar to food and wine pairing I believe desserts are the same way. Certain desserts just taste better with tea, coffee, or milk. And for me, madeleines just taste better with a good ol’ cup of hot tea….keep in mind, I’m usually not a big tea person, but I’ll take tea over coffee with my madeleine.

These can be versatile, in that you can flavor madeleines quite easily. For a basic flavor, use vanilla, or  add zest for a tangy flavor, or glaze them for an extra umph of sweetness.

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Orange Madeleines
3 eggs
120g sugar
⅛ tsp salt
175g AP flour
1 tsp baking powder
zest of 1 medium orange
120g butter, melted

Y= 24 madeleines

Directions:

  1. In a bowl, combine flour and baking powder. Set aside.
  2. Whisk together eggs, sugar, salt, and orange zest until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the dry ingredients in three additions, mixing until just incorporated after each addition. Scrap down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  4. Add melted butter last. Mix to incorporate.
  5. Let batter rest in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
  6. Spray madeleine pan with non-stick spray. Carefully pipe batter into pan.
  7. Bake at 330F for 12-13 minutes, rotate halfway through.

Orange Glaze:
1-1.5 cups powdered sugar
1-3 Tb milk, adjust if necessary
zest of ½ an orange

Directions:

  1. Combine 1 cup of powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon of milk and zest. Whisk to combine.
  2. Adjust powdered sugar and milk ratio as needed until desired consistency is reached. Glaze should be smooth and thin enough to dip madeleines in. If glaze is too thin and doesn’t coat, thicken by adding more powdered sugar.
  3. Allow glaze to dry.
  4. Keep madeleines in an airtight container at room temperature.

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