Valentine's Day

Victoria’s Carrot Cake

August 9, 2012

Victoria’s Carrot Cake

If you’ve never eaten my Carrot Cake then you are in for a real treat.  I rarely share this recipe and have had people beg me over the years to make my Carrot Cake for various occasions.  Now you can make my cake in your own home. 

INGREDIENTS

5 Lightly Beaten Eggs

2 Cups Sugar

2 Cups Unbleached Flour

2 Teaspoons Baking Powder

1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda

3 1/2 Cups Finely Shredded Carrots

3/4 Cup Olive Oil

2 Tablespoons Vanilla Extract

Cream Cheese Frosting

Preheat your oven to 350° F.  Take the eggs out of the refrigerator and let them sit for 30 minutes to bring them to room temperature.  Prepare two 8×1 1/2 inch round cake pans (grease well).  In a large size bowl stir together the flour, surgar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda.  In a separate large bowl combine the eggs, carrots, oil and vanilla.  Slowly add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir until combined, but don’t over mix.  Pour the batter evenly into the two greased cake pans.  Bake for 35 minutes until done.  Remove the cake pans from the oven and let them cool on wire racks for 10 minutes.  Remove the cake from the pans and allow the cake to completely cool on the wire racks.  Assemble and frost the middle, sides and top with cream cheese frosting.  Cover and store the cake in the fridge for up to 3 days.  Serves 12

 

Cream Cheese Frosting

INGREDIENTS

8 Ounces Softened Cream Cheese

1 Cup Softened Butter

3 Tablespoons Vanilla Extract

7 Cups Powdered Sugar

In a large size bowl beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla with a mixer on medium until fluffy.  Slowly beat in the powdered sugar.  Beat for 2 minutes to make sure to get all of the powdered sugar lumps out and the frosting is at spreading consistency.  If you need more powdered sugar feel free to add more.  Makes about 4 cups. 

Busy Day Cake

August 3, 2012

Busy Day Cake

Everyone needs to have my Busy Day Cake recipe at their fingertips.  It’s great to have in a pinch.  Top it off with whipped cream and berries or top it with your favorite ice cream or drizzle with honey, chocolate or caramel sauce.  Any of these toppings will make this cake a special-day treat. 

 

INGREDIENTS

1 1/3Cups Unbleached Flour

2/3 Cup Sugar

2 Teaspoons Baking Powder

2/3 Cup Milk

1/2 Cup Softened Butter

2 Eggs

2 Teaspoons Vanilla

 

Preheat your oven to 350° F.  Grease and flour an 8×1 1/2 inch round cake pan and set aside.  In a large size bowl, combine the flour, sugar and baking powder.  Add the milk, butter, eggs and vanilla.  Beat on a low speed with an electric mixer until combined.  Beat for another minute on medium speed, but don’t over beat.  Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes until done.  When you insert a wooden toothpick near the center is should come out clean.  When done remove from the oven and cool in the pan, on a wire rack, for 10 minutes.   Loosen the sides of the cake and invert onto a cake plate.  Cool for 20 to 30 minutes.  Serve warm with berries & whipped cream, ice cream or honey or caramel sauce.  Serves 8

Cosmopolitan

July 31, 2012

Cosmopolitan

Ever wondered how to make a Cosmopolitan?  Perfect for backyard barbeques, holiday or dinner parties. 

INGREDIENTS

2 Ounces Vodka

1 Ounce Orange Liqueur

1 Ounce Cranberry Juice

1/2 Ounce Lime Juice

Lime Slice For Garnish

In a cocktail shaker combine the vodka, orange liqueur, cranberry juice and lime juice.  Add ice cubes.  Cover and shake until very cold.  Strain the liquid into a chilled glass.  Garnish with a slice of lime.  Makes 1. 

Burrata, Tomato & Basil Salad

July 6, 2012

Burrata, Tomato & Basil Salad

This salad is very similar to a caprese salad. The burrata is silky on the outside and creamy on the inside which boasts a richly sweet and milky flavor.  Since burrata is a delicate cheese it should be handled as little as possible.  I love this salad so much.  It is great as a main dish by itself or layered with strips of grilled steak.  It also makes a nice appetizer or side dish.  The perfect combination of flavors and textures make this delicious salad truly magical. 

 

INGREDIENTS

3 Ripe Tomatoes

12 Ounces Burrata Cheese

25 Fresh Basil Leaves

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Balsamic Vinegar

Kosher Salt

Freshly Ground Pepper

 

Cut the tomatoes into slightly thick slices.  Very carefully slice the burrata cheese into slices.  On a large shallow platter layer alternating the slices of tomatoes and burrata and top with basil leaves.  Drizzle the salad with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.  Serve immediately.  Serves 6

Lemon Parfait

June 28, 2012

Lemon Parfait

This dessert looks like it took all day to make, but actually is pretty easy.  The only trick is that you need to chill for a few hours so you will need to plan ahead a bit. 

 

INGREDIENTS

1/2 Cup Strained Lemon Juice

1 Tablespoon Grated Lemon Rind

3 Large Egg Yolks

1 Cup Sugar

3 Large Egg Whites

1/8 Teaspoon Cream of Tartar

1/8 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1 Cup Chilled Heavy Cream

3 Tablespoons Powdered Sugar

Quartered Lemon Slices For Garnish

8 Small Shortbread Cookies

 

In a small saucepan combine the egg yolks, 1/2 cup sugar, lemon juice and lemon rind.  Beat well until combined.  Cook over a medium heat.  Stir CONSTANTLY until the mixture gets thick, but do not let it boil.  Remove from the heat and pour into a large bowl to cool.  In a separate large bowl beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar and kosher salt.  You want the egg whites to have peaks.  Now, add the remaining 1/2 cup sugar a little bit at a time.  Fold the egg white mixture into the lemon mixture.  In a chilled bowl beat the whipping cream until it has peaks.  Always be careful not to over beat so you don’t end up with butter.  Beat in the powdered sugar.  Take 4 parfait glasses and place 1 broken shortbread cookie at the bottom of each glass.  Place the lemon mixture over the broken cookie and alternate with the whipped cream until you come to the top of your parfait glass.  Do this to all 4 parfait glasses.  Garnish with quartered lemons and 1 whole shortbread cookie.  Chill for 3 hours.  Serves 4

Root Beer Brownies

June 27, 2012

Root Beer Brownies

The small amount of root beer extract really brings out the chocolate in these brownies.  Wow, what a dessert!

INGREDIENTS

12 Ounces Softened Butter

2 1/4 Cups Sugar

1 1/4 Cups Cocoa

1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1 Teaspoon Baking Powder

1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract

4 Tablespoons Root Beer Extract

1/4 Cup Cold Brewed Coffee

4 Large Eggs

1 1/2 Cups Unbleached Flour

2 Cups Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

1/2 Cup Demerara Sugar

 

Preheat your oven to 350° F.  Line a 9×13 inch baking pan with parchment paper.  In a large size bowl place the softened butter.  Add the sugar to the butter and mix until combined.  Add the eggs and beat until smooth.   Add the coffee, vanilla and root beer extract and stir.  In a separate large bowl combine the cocoa, salt, baking powder and flour.  Stir until well combined.  Finally add the chocolate chips and stir.  Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the top of the batter with the demerara sugar.  Bake the brownies for 30 minutes.  The brownies should feel set both on the edges and in the center.  Remove from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack before cutting and serving.  Makes 24 Root Beer Brownies.

Pain Perdu

June 13, 2012

Pain Perdu

In honor of St. Anthony we are making Pain Perdu or “Lost Bread.”

What we call French toast, the French call Pain Perdu.

Baked in butter and served covered with powdered sugar, Pain Perdu is considered a dessert in France.

INGREDIENTS

6 Large Eggs

1 1/2 Cups Milk

1 1/2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract

2 Tablespoons Sugar

1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

12 Thick Slices French or Italian Bread

6 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter

Powdered Sugar

Preheat your oven to 400° F.  In a large size bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla, sugar and cinnamon until well blended.  Place the bread in a large shallow baking dish

slightly overlapping one another.  It is best to use day old bread.  If you don't have day old bread don't worry about it.  Pour the egg mixture over the bread and let sit for 30 minutes.

Turn the bread with a spatula so that it gets evenly moistened halfway through the sitting time.  Put the two oven racks in the middle of the oven.  Place 3 tablespoons of the butter on

two baking sheets.  Put in the oven and melt the butter for 1 minute.  Remove the baking sheets from the oven and make sure that the butter covers the entire baking sheet evenly. 

Arrange 6 slices of the soaked bread on each of the hot baking sheets.  Make sure to space them evenly.  Bake for 15 minutes and then turn them over to bake an additional 15

minutes.  You will want the bread to be puffed and evenly browned.  If you need to bake them a bit more then go ahead.  Remove from the oven and transfer to a serving platter.

Dust with powdered sugar.  Serves 12

 

 

 

Classic Chocolate Brownie Cookies

May 17, 2012

Classic Chocolate Brownie Cookies

 

Everyone loves cookies and for me they’re an essential food group.  The magic is proportions and the quality of the ingredients.  These cookies will transform teatime, bring a smile to a neighbor’s face, picnics and make the sun come out for young ones coming home from school on a rainy afternoon. For efficiency and uniform results, invest in a small handheld cookie scoop.  It looks and works just like an ice cream scoop and cuts your production time in half. 

 

INGREDIENTS

12 Ounces Chopped Bittersweet Chocolate

4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter

3 Eggs

3/4 Cup Turbinado Sugar

2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract

1/3 Cup Unbleached Flour

1/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder

1/4 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1/2 Cup Chopped Pecans or Walnuts (Optional)

 

Preheat your oven to 325° F.  In a double boiler melt the chocolate and butter together over simmering water.  Let cool.  In a large size bowl mix together the eggs, sugar and vanilla.  In a medium size bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt.  Fold the chocolate and butter mixture into the egg mixture.  Fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture.  Finally, fold in the pecans or walnuts if you are using them.  Make sure not to overmix.  Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet.  Bake for 8 minutes until puffed and cracked.  Makes 4 dozen cookies. 

 

Camille’s Chocolate Cheesecake

May 1, 2012

Camille’s Chocolate Cheesecake

If you want friends then make this cheesecake!

INGREDIENTS

Cheesecake Crust:

1 1/3 Cups Graham Cracker Crumbs

1/2 Stick Butter

1 Tablespoon Cocoa

 

Cheesecake:

12 Ounces Semisweet Chocolate (Chopped Small)

3 (8 Ounces Each) Packages of Cream Cheese

1 Cup Powdered Sugar

1 Tablespoon Custard Powder

3 Large Eggs

3 Large Egg Yolks

2/3 Cup Sour Cream

1/2Teaspoon Cocoa (Dissolved in 1 Tablespoon Hot Water)

 

Sauce:

3 Ounces Finely Chopped Bittersweet Chocolate

1/2 Cup Heavy Cream

1 Teaspoon Dark Corn Syrup

 

Preheat your oven to 350° F.  For the crust put the graham crackers in either a blender or food processor.  Add the butter and cocoa.  Pulse until the crumbs are damp.  Pour the crumbs mixture into a 9 inch springform pan.  Spread evenly into the bottom of the pan and press well.  Place into the freezer while you are preparing the filling.

To make the filling:  Boil a small pan of water.  Melt the chocolate in a double boiler and then set it aside to slightly cool.  Beat the cream cheese to get it nice and soft.  Add the powdered sugar and the custard powder.  Beat again until well combined.  Add the 3 eggs and also the additional 3 egg yolks.  Beat for 20 seconds.  Add the sour cream, the cocoa dissolved in hot water and melted chocolate.  Beat until you have a smooth batter. 

Remove the pan from the freezer and pour in the cheesecake filling.  Bake in the oven for 1 hour.  You will notice that the top of the cheesecake will be set, but the underside will have a bit of a jiggle to it.  Don’t worry about that.  Remove from the oven and let the cheesecake fully cool, in the pan, on a wire rack.  When it is fully cooled cover with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator overnight.  When you are ready to serve remove from the fridge and let it sit on the courter for 45 minutes before removing from the springform pan. 

Remove from the pan and place on a cake plate.  To make the chocolate sauce: Slowly melt the chocolate, cream and syrup in a double boiler.  When the chocolate has almost melted remove from the heat and whisk it to make a smooth sauce.  Let the sauce cool, on the counter, for 10 minutes and then pour over the cheesecake on the cake plate.  Serves 8

 

*Note: You should be able to find custard powder in any British section of the grocery store.  I usually use Birds Custard. 

Chocolate Chip Shorties

April 10, 2012

Chocolate Chip Shorties

This is my go to recipe when I want to make quick cookies, but I don’t want to sacrifice taste.

INGREDIENTS

1 Pound Softened Butter

1 Cup Sugar

5 Cups Unbleached Flour

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

12 Ounces Chocolate Chips

Preheat your oven to 350° F. In a large size mixing bowl cream together the butter, sugar, vanilla and salt. Gradually add the flour and combine with a wooden spoon. Add the chocolate chips and mix well. As the mixture becomes thick knead it lightly with your fingers until it is firm. Pack the dough into a lightly buttered baking dish. Prick the center with a fork. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack. While in the pan cut into squares. Cool completely and remove from the pan. Transfer to a serving plate. Makes approximately 24 cookies depending on how big you cut them.

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