Birthdays

Raspberry Sponge Cake

August 23, 2013

Raspberry CakeRaspberry Sponge Cake

Today is National Sponge Cake Day so let’s celebrate with making a simple, but delicious sponge cake.  Many people wonder what the difference is between a sponge cake and a regular cake.  Sponge cake is a light, porous cake that is made by beating egg yolks and sugar until fluffy, and then folding in beaten egg whites.  The eggs are the only leavening agent in the cake.  There is a large proportion of eggs, but no shortening in a sponge cake.

INGREDIENTS

3 Large Eggs (Separated)

5 Ounces Sugar

4 Ounces Self-Rising Flour

1/8 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

Cream Cheese Frosting or Whipped Cream

1 1/2 Cup Fresh Raspberries

Fresh Mint for Garnish

Preheat your oven to 375° F.  Grease and flour two 9 inch cake pans. In a large-size bowl beat the egg yolks and sugar for 1 minute until thick and creamy. Set aside. In a separate large-size bowl beat the egg whites until they are stiff.  Fold the flour and kosher salt in to the egg yolk mixture.  Finally, fold in the beaten egg whites.  Divide the batter between the cake pans and place in the oven.  Bake for 20 to 30 minutes until light brown and springy to the touch.  Remember that all ovens heat differently so check at 20 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes.  Turn the cakes out on to a wire rack to cool completely.  When cool frost each cake with either whipped cream or cream cheese frosting.  Garnish with the fresh raspberries and mint leaves.  If you want to make this a single layer cake then place a layer of frosting or whipped cream between layers.  Makes either 1 or 2 cakes.

Whipped Cream:

1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream

2 Tablespoons Sugar

1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

In a chilled medium-size bowl combine the whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla.  Beat until stiff peaks form.  The tips should stand straight.  Do not overbeat or it will turn to butter.

 

Cream Cheese Frosting:

8 Ounces Softened Cream Cheese

1/2 Cup Softened Butter

2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract

6 Cups Powdered Sugar

In a large-size bowl beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until light and fluffy.  Gradually beat in the powdered sugar to reach spreading consistency.

Park Avenue Peanut Butter & Jelly Cupcakes

June 11, 2013

Peanut butter & Jelly CupcakesPark Avenue Peanut Butter & Jelly Cupcakes

I came up with this recipe while walking on Park Avenue two weeks ago.  If you’re a fan of the humble PB&J then you’ll be a fan of these unique cupcakes. Most recipes have you piping in the peanut butter and jelly. You could even serve these cupcakes for breakfast.

INGREDIENTS

3/4 Cup Softened Butter

3 Room Temperature Eggs

2 1/2 Cups Unbleached Flour

2 1/2 Teaspoons Baking Powder

1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1 3/4 Cups Sugar

1 1/2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract

1 1/4 Cups Milk

1 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter

2 Cups Strawberry Jam

1/2 Cup Peanut Halves For Garnish

Preheat your oven to 350º F.  Line 1 large muffin tin with large muffin liners or the special parchment paper liners.  Set aside.  Allow the butter and eggs to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.  In a medium size bowl stir together the flour, baking powder and kosher salt.  Set aside.  In a large size bowl beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds.  Gradually add the sugar while continuing to beat on medium speed.  Add the eggs one at a time.  Beat well after each addition.  Beat in the vanilla.  Alternately add the flour mixture and milk to the butter mixture.  Beat on low speed after each addition just until combined.  Pour the batter into the muffin cup just so it reaches 1/2 of the way up the muffin cup.  Place 1 Teaspoon of the creamy peanut butter on top of the batter in the muffin cup.  Then add 2 teaspoons of the strawberry jam on top of the peanut butter.  Finish pouring the rest of the batter in the muffin cup (about 3/4 of the way to the top).  Continue until the entire muffin cups are filled the same way.  Place into the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.   Remember that all ovens heat differently so make sure to check at 20 minutes.  Remove from the oven and garnish the tops with the peanut halves.  Let the cupcakes cool in the pan on wire racks for 15 minutes.  Remove from the pan and place the cupcakes on the wire racks to cool completely.  Transfer to a serving platter.  Makes 12 large cupcakes.

Parchment

 

 

Italian Chocolate Cake

June 1, 2013

Italian Chocolate CakeItalian Chocolate Cake

The ricotta cheese really adds to this chocolate cake.  Plus the chocolate frosting has ricotta too!  Delicious!

INGREDIENTS

2 Cups Sugar

1 3/4 Cups Unbleached Flour

3/4 Cup Cocoa

1 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder

1 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda

1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

3 Eggs

1 Cup Ricotta Cheese

1/2 Cup Olive Oil

2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract

1 Cup Boiling Water

Preheat your oven to 350º F.  Prepare a bundt pan (grease & flour) or use two 9 inch round cake pans.  In a large size bowl combine the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and kosher salt.  Add the eggs, ricotta, olive oil and vanilla.  Beat for 2 minutes.  Stir in the boiling water.  Don’t worry that the batter may look a bit thin.  Pour into the cake pan(s) and place into the oven.  Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.  Remember that all ovens heat differently so check at 30 minutes. If you are using a bundt pan then baking may take a bit longer.  Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes.  Remove the cake from the pan(s) and cool completely before frosting.  Frost with Ricotta Chocolate Frosting.  Serves 10.

Ricotta Chocolate Frosting

1/2 Cup Softened Butter

2/3 Cup Cocoa

3 Cups Powdered Sugar

1/3 Cup Ricotta Cheese

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Soften the butter by leaving out on the counter for 30 minutes.  In a large size bowl add the butter.  Stir in the cocoa.  Add the powdered sugar, ricotta and vanilla.  Beat until creamy.  Makes about 2 cups.

 

Amazing All-In-One Cake & Frosting

April 15, 2013

Amazing All-In-One Cake & FrostingAmazing All-In-One Cake & Frosting

All you need is one large bowl and you are on your way to the easiest homemade dessert there is.  Perfect for holidays or every day baking.

INGREDIENTS

8 Ounces Softened Cream Cheese

1 Cup Softened Butter

2 Tablespoons Vanilla Extract

4 Cups Powdered Sugar

2/3 Cup Milk

4 Lightly Beaten Large Eggs

2 1/2 Cups Unbleached Flour

1 Teaspoon Baking Powder

1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

2/3 Cup Room Temperature Water

Preheat your oven to 350ºF.  Grease and flour a Bundt pan.  In a large size bowl beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla, with a mixer, on a medium speed until combined.  Alternate adding the powdered sugar and milk.  Beat until fluffy.  Scoop out 2 1/2 cups of the frosting and put into a large ziplock bag and set aside.  Add the eggs to the remaining frosting in the bowl.  Beat until well blended.  Add the flour, baking soda and salt and beat for 1 minute.  Add the water and beat another 30 seconds.  Pour the batter into the Bundt pan and place into the oven for 1 hour.  Remember that all ovens are not created equal so your cake may need more or less baking time.  Insert a toothpick in the center and if it comes out clean then take your cake out of the oven.  Cool for 1/2 hour and then remove from the pan and put onto a serving plate.  Cool completely before frosting.  Frost and serve.  Serves 8

 

Mango Upside-Down Carrot Cake

March 11, 2013

Mango Upside-Down Carrot Cake

This cake is easy to make and the bonus is that you don’t even need to own cake pans!  First, just as with pineapple upside-down cake, cook the butter and brown sugar into a caramel in a cast iron skillet.  Then top with mango slices.  Instead of pouring the typical yellow cake batter over the top I used carrot cake batter.  To remove excess liquid,, drain the mango slices on layers of paper towels. 

INGREDIENTS

Topping

8 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter

3/4 Cups Brown Sugar

3 Cups Mango Slices (Packed in a Jar)

 

Cake

2 Cups Unbleached Flour

2 Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon

1 Teaspoon Ground Allspice

1 Teaspoon Baking Soda

1 Teaspoon Baking Powder

1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1 1/2 Sugar

1/2 Cup Brown Sugar

5 Eggs

1 Cup Olive Oil

3 Cups Shredded Carrots

Preheat your oven to 350º F.  Melt the butter in a large cast iron skillet over a medium heat.  Stir in the 3/4 cup brown sugar and cook for 2 minutes.  Turn the heat off. Place the mango slices all around the center and edges of the skillet.  In a medium size bowl whisk together the flour, cinnamon, allspice, baking soda, baking powder and kosher salt.  In a large size bowl beat the sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar and eggs with a mixer until thick and creamy.  With the mixer running, slowly add the oil.  Beat until combined.  Stir in the carrots until thoroughly combined.  Gradually add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and beat for 30 seconds.  Pour the batter into the skillet (over the mango).  Place in the oven and bake for 50 to 60 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let the cake cool in the skillet for 10 minutes.  Turn out onto a serving platter and serve either warm or at room temperature.  Serves 8

Afternoon Peach Cake

March 8, 2013

Afternoon Peach Cake

It’s about that time of year when I start posting “Tea Time” recipes.  My mother-in-law was from England and always liked to have her cup of tea around 4pm accompanied by some sweets.  My children grew up having their grandmother’s tea time and the black tea they drank was always served with milk and loads of sugar.  You can imagine what I thought of that!

INGREDIENTS

1/2 Cup Canned Peach Slices

3/4 Cup Unsalted Butter

1 1/4 Cups Sugar

Grated Zest of 1 Orange

4 Room Temperature Eggs

2/3 Cup Sour Cream

2 Cups Unbleached Flour

1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda

1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

Powdered Sugar for Garnish

Preheat your oven to 350º F.  Grease and flour a bundt pan.  Drain the peach slices and chop them into coarse pieces.  In a large size bowl beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the orange zest and beat in the eggs one at a time.  Fold in the sour cream and the peaches.  Combine the flour, baking soda and kosher salt in a medium size bowl.  Gradually add the flour mixture into the batter.  Pour into your prepared bundt pan and place into the oven.  Bake for 45 minutes until golden brown.  You may need to add 5 more minutes depending on your oven.  Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes.  Turn the cake out and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Sift the powdered sugar over the cake and serve.  Serves 8

Ginger Carrot One Layer Cake

December 19, 2012

Ginger Carrot One Layer Cake

Here is a new twist on a thoroughly American cake.  By adding the crystalized ginger to the cake it gives it a certain something alongside the grated carrots. 

INGREDIENTS

5 Beaten Eggs (Room Temperature)

2 Cups Unbleached Flour

2 Cups Sugar

2 Teaspoons Baking Powder

1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda

3 Cups Grated Carrot

1 Cup Crystalized Ginger

3/4 Cup Grapeseed Oil

Cream Cheese Frosting

 

Preheat your oven to 350º F.  Allow the eggs to sit out for 30 minutes to get to room temperature.  Line a large glass baking dish with parchment paper.  Set aside.  In a large size bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda.  Set aside.  In another large size bowl combine the eggs, carrot, oil and crystalized ginger.  Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture.  Stir until combined.  Don’t over mix or the batter becomes tough.  Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and bake for 50 minutes until golden brown.  Remember that not all ovens are created equal so baking time may be a bit less or a bit more.  You be the judge.  Remove from the oven and cool thoroughly in the pan.  When cool remove by the parchment paper sides and place on the counter.  Frost with the cream cheese frosting and cut into individual pieces and place on a serving platter.  Trust me they will be gone in a flash.  Serves 12

 

Cream Cheese Frosting

INGREDIENTS

16 Ounces Cream Cheese

1 Cup Butter

2 Tablespoons Vanilla Extract

1 Tablespoon Rum

2 Cups Powdered Sugar

 

Let the cream cheese and butter sit out for 30 minutes to get to room temperature.  Place the cream cheese, butter, vanilla extract and rum into a large size bowl.  Beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed.  Slowly add the powdered sugar and continue beating the frosting until it reaches spreading consistency. 

Chocolate Cupcakes

October 27, 2012

Chocolate Cupcakes

If you’re going to a Halloween party this weekend and need to bring a dessert here is a great portable dessert that everyone will love.  Even after Halloween these cupcakes are an excellent “go to” dessert for home or potlucks.

INGREDIENTS

2 Cups Unbleached Flour

2 Teaspoons Baking Powder

2 Teaspoons Baking Soda

1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

2 Cups Sugar

2 Cups Water

8 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter

4 Ounces Chopped Unsweetened Chocolate

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

2 Large Eggs

Frosting

Preheat your oven to 350° F.  In a large size bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and kosher salt.  Set aside.  In a medium size saucepan combine the sugar and water and cook over a medium high heat until the sugar and water are dissolved.  Add the chocolate and butter to the sugar mixture.  As soon as the chocolate melts add the vanilla and turn off the heat.  Pour the mixture into a large bowl and beat on medium with a mixer for 3 minutes.  Add the eggs one at a time to the mixture and beat for 30 seconds after each egg.  Add the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture 1/2 cup at a time making sure to thoroughly combine.  Line your cupcake pan with cupcake liners of your choice.  If it is Halloween use Halloween themed liners.  Pour the batter 3/4 of the way into the cupcake liners. Place the cupcake pan on the middle rack of your oven and bake for 14 minutes.  Make sure not to overcook the cupcakes.  Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing the cupcakes from the pan.  Remove the cupcakes and cool completely before frosting. Frost and decorate if you like. Makes 12

 

Frosting

INGREDIENTS

1/2 Cup Shortening

1/2 Cup Softened Unsalted Butter

1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

5 Cups Powdered Sugar

4 Tablespoons Half & Half or Whole Milk

In a large size bowl place the shortening and butter.  Beat on medium for 1 minute with a mixer.  Add the vanilla and continue to mix.  Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time while beating on low.  After adding the cups of sugar drizzle a bit of the half & half or whole milk.  Continue alternating the powdered sugar and half & half until the texture becomes fluffy.  You may not need all of the powdered sugar. Frost your cupcakes and refrigerate any leftover frosting. 

Banana Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes

October 13, 2012

Banana Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes

If you want a cupcake that will please a crowd then look no further.  These cupcakes are great as a snack or for dessert. 

INGREDIENTS

1/2 Cup Softened Butter

1 Cup Sugar

2 Eggs

3 Medium Mashed Ripe Bananas

1/4 Cup Buttermilk or Sour Milk

3 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract

2 Teaspoons Pumpkin Pie Spice

2 Cups Cake Flour

1 1/2 Teaspoons Baking Powder

1/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda

1/8 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

Frosting:

2 Cup Confectioners’ Sugar

1/2 Cup Softened Butter

2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract

3 Tablespoons Milk

Preheat your oven to 350° F.  In a large size bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time.  Beat well after each egg is added.  Add the mashed bananas, buttermilk, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice.  Beat well.  In a medium size bowl combine the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and kosher salt.  Gradually add the flour mixture to the wet mixture.  Mix well.  Pour the batter into paper lined muffin cups two thirds full.  Bake for 20 minutes until done.  Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack.  Remove from the muffin cups and let cool completely on wire racks.  For the frosting: In a large size bowl, beat the confectioners’ sugar and butter until fluffy.  Beat in the vanilla and the milk.  Pipe the frosting over the cupcakes.  Makes 1 1/2 dozen

Fresh Blueberry & Mango Cake

September 1, 2012

Fresh Blueberry & Mango Cake

I am going on a Labor Day picnic this weekend and made my Fresh Blueberry & Mango cake to take along.  It is delicious and easy to cut into pieces to pack into the picnic basket. 

INGREDIENTS

1 Pint Fresh Organic Blueberries

1 Small Diced Mango

1/2 Cup Softened Butter

2 Cups Sugar

4 Large Eggs

1 Cup Milk

3 Cups Unbleached Flour

1 Teaspoon Baking Powder

1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract

Preheat your oven to 350° F.  Wash and dry the blueberries.  In a large size bowl cream together the butter, sugar and the eggs.  Stir in the milk.  In a medium size bowl combine the flour, baking powder and the salt.  Slowly add the flour mixture into the egg mixture.  Stir and then add the vanilla.  Mix well.  Fold in the blueberries and mango.  Prepare a bundt pan or any pan you wish to use which will hold the batter.  Bake for 1 hour until done.  Remove from the oven and cool the cake while still in the pan for 25 minutes on a cooling rack.  Remove from the pan onto a cake plate.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar or frost if you wish.  Serves 8

 

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