Thursday, July 28, 2011

Fresh Strawberry Vanilla Bean Cake

This is a perfect summer cake. It's fresh, sweet, fruity, but still rich and delicious. I just made a basic vanilla cake recipe, put strawberries in between the layers and frosted with real vanilla bean frosting. I adapted Billy's vanilla cupcake recipe for the cake. So here's what you'll need for the vanilla cake
Butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, milk, cake flour, all purpose flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large mixing bowl, sift together both flours, sugar, salt, and baking powder
Slice butter into tablespoons and add to the dry mixture
Mix until the butter is crumbly and covered with dry mixture. In a large pourable measuring cup, whisk together milk, vanilla, and eggs
Slowly pour into the first mixture
Beat until just combined, being careful not to over mix
Pour batter evenly into 2 round, greased 9-inch pans. Bake
When cakes are finished baking, pull out of the oven and let cool a couple of minutes. Here's the baked cake
Flip them out onto wax paper covered wire wracks. Let cool completely. While the cakes are cooling, prepare the vanilla bean buttercream. Here's what you need
Butter, vanilla beans (or vanilla bean paste), powdered sugar, and milk. If you are using vanilla beans, cut straight down the middle to open up the vanilla bean
Take a spoon and scrape out all of the paste you can
Drop paste into a mixing bowl with butter
Mix until vanilla bean paste turns into vanilla beans
add powdered sugar, a cup at a time
Beat well, add milk until your desired spreading consistency is reached
Set the frosting aside and sweeten the strawberries. Wash and slice strawberries, place in a small bowl and add sugar
Stir together; let sit about 5 minutes so the strawberries can soak up all the sugar. Now assemble the cake! Place one layer of the cake on a serving plate. Cover that layer with frosting
Spoon strawberries onto cake, leaving behind as much juice as possible
Place the other layer on top of the strawberries
Cover with vanilla bean frosting
If you want to get a little fancy, pipe frosting around the edges and place more sliced strawberries around the top
Slice er up..
preferably hefty slices

Fresh Strawberry Vanilla Bean Cake
(Adapted from Billy's Vanilla Cupcakes)

1 1/2 cups cake flour, not self-rising
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
4 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 325°. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt; mix on low speed until combined. Add butter, mixing until just coated with flour. In a large glass measuring cup, whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla. With mixer on medium speed, add wet ingredients in 3 parts, scraping down sides of bowl before each addition; beat until ingredients are incorporated but do not over beat. Divide batter evenly among 2 9-inch round greased cake pans. Bake about 25-35 minutes, or until the center of the cake no longer jiggles. Remove from oven and let sit in pans about 2 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack covered with wax paper to cool completely. While cake layers are cooling; prepare frosting. 

Vanilla Bean Frosting:
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 tsp. vanilla bean paste
4 cups powdered sugar
1-2 Tbs. whole milk

Place butter and vanilla bean paste in mixing bowl. Beat together until the vanilla bean paste turns into little specks throughout. Mix in powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. If needed, add milk, a tablespoon at a time. Mix throughly until frosting is light and fluffy. 

10 strawberries, washed, capped, and sliced
3 Tbs. sugar

Place in a small bowl and stir until strawberries are fully coated with sugar. Let sit about 5 minutes to let the strawberries soak up the sugar. Assemble the cake.

Place one cooled cake layer on a serving plate. Spread about 1/4 of the frosting over that layer. Then scoop strawberries over the frosting, leaving behind as much of the juices as possible. Stack the second layer on over the strawberries. Use the remaining frosting to frost the top and sides of the cake. You can pipe frosting around the edges and top the cake with more strawberries for decoration, if desired. Enjoy :)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Giant Cookie

Everyone loves cookie cake, there is just something about a giant cookie with frosting on it that is irresistible. This is perfect to make for someone who doesn't like cake.. weird, but some people don't like cake. I just can't comprehend that.. anyways, sorry non-cake lovers. I'm not judging. This was so easy, a caveman can do it, so don't let the giant cookie scare you away. Here's what you need
Butter, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, milk, salt, bread flour, baking soda, chocolate chips, and M&S's (optional). In a small saucepan, melt the butter
Once fully melted, let cool about 5 minutes. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Add both sugars and vanilla
Mix together. Add eggs and milk
Mix well; set aside. In a separate large bowl, combine bread flour, salt, and baking soda. (Be sure to use BREAD flour and NOT all-purpose. I've done it once before and it makes a huge difference. You can find bread flour on the flour isle. It will say bread flour on the package.)
Stir together; add chocolate chips and M&M's
Fold those into the flour mixture until fully coated in flour
Here's the two mixtures
Pour the wet (butter) mixture over the flour mixture
Stir together until combined
Scoop out onto a greased round deep dish cookie sheet
Gently press down evenly to form a flat, giant cookie
Cover and chill in the fridge at least 2 hours. Bake 
While that is cooling, prepare vanilla buttercream to go on top. I didn't take pictures of the frosting, but here are some from an earlier post. It is the same recipe I used, I just omitted the oreos.

Put the finished frosting into a piping bag to decorate the cookie cake. I piped around the edges
If you have extra frosting, which you probably will; you can spread it over the top of the cookie cake, make a thicker edging, or write something in the middle. Here's the inside of the cookie cake
I had 10 girls over and two desserts.. and the whole cookie cake got eaten. I highly recommend this dessert :)

Cookie Cake
(Alton Brown's 'The Chewy')

2 sticks unsalted butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 Tbs. milk
1 Tbs. vanilla
2 1/4 cups bread flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 cup milk chocolate chips
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup mini M&M's

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat; let cool about 5 minutes. Pour the melted butter in a mixing bowl. Add both sugars and vanilla; cream together on medium speed. Add the egg, egg yolk, and milk. Mix until well combined. In a large separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking soda. Add the chocolate chips and M&M's, stirring until chocolate chips are fully coated in flour. Pour the wet mixture over the flour mixture and gently stir together until combined. Scoop dough onto a round, greased, deep dish cookie sheet. Gently press down until you have an even surface of dough. Sprinkle more M&M's on top. Cover and chill the dough at least 2 hours. Bake at 350 degrees about 18-25 minutes or until light golden edges and the middle is no longer gooey. (You don't want to overcook because the cookie cake will be hard.) Cool completely. While cooling, prepare vanilla buttercream. Once cooled, decorate the cookie cake however desired. Slice and enjoy!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Poppyseed Chicken

I/we apologize for the delayed posts recently. Both sweet toother's have been out of town for a while now, but we are doing as best as we can! So bare with us :) I decided to make poppyseed just because I was craving it. Poppyseed chicken is one of my favorite meals. It's easy, quick, delicious, and fattening.. whats not to like?  This recipe is a little different than some of the usual poppyseed chicken recipes, but it's my new go-to poppyseed chicken. Here's what you'll need
Chicken, sour cream, cream cheese, cream of chicken soup, poppyseed's, butter, and ritz crackers. Place chicken breasts in a large pot and fill with water until all the chicken breasts are covered. Bring to a boil; cook about 10 minutes. (Your chicken may need more or less time depending on the size) Also, I added a little oil to the chicken and water before cooking just to keep the chicken from sticking
Once the chicken is cooked, drain and let cool. Once chicken has reached room temp, cut into cubes or shred
Set in a bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl, combine cream cheese, cream of chicken soup, poppyseeds, and sour cream
Stir together until well combined; add chicken
Spread into a 13x9 casserole dish
Top with one roll of crushed ritz crackers
Sprinkle with poppy seeds 
Pour melted butter over that
Bake about 30 minutes, or until crackers become golden. Serve warm 

Poppy Seed Chicken

6 chicken breasts, boiled and cubed
8 oz. sour cream
1 can cream of chicken soup
4 oz. cream cheese, soft
2 tsp. poppyseed's
1 roll ritz crackers, crushed
1 stick butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Boil chicken in a pot with a little oil and salt until cooked through. About 10 minutes (once boiling), depending on the size of the chicken breasts. Just make sure there is no pink or clear in the chicken when you cut into it, that means it is not cooked. Once chicken is done, let sit about 10 minutes. Chop semi-cooled chicken into cubes, set in a large bowl and set aside for now. In a separate bowl, combine sour cream, cream of chicken soup, cream cheese, and poppy seeds. Once well combined, add the cubed chicken and stir until fully coated. Spread into a 9x13 casserole dish. Sprinkle on the crushed crackers and poppy seeds. Pour melted butter over that evenly and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until warm and bubbly.