Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sweet Potato Fries

Two of my best friends are vegan. Which is no big deal, except for the fact that I have this compulsion to stuff people full of dairy and refined wheat products. Two things that are not so good for some people. Anyway, I had them over, and I made these. They loved them. I loved them. THIS IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE FOODS. It's perfect. It can be adapted. It's delicious. And simple. And perfect. And I love it with all of my entire soul. And here's the thing, they're even better cold. It sounds weird. But just out of the refridgerator, they make me swoon. Oh yes they do.

Roasted Spiced Sweet Potato
from The Gourmet Cookbook

1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds*
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 pounds medium sweet potatos, scrubbed
3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Put rack in middle of oven adn preheat to 425 F.

Coarsely grind (or finely chop) coriander, fennel, oregano and red pepper flakes in coffe/spice grinder, a mortar with pestle, or chop them together very finely. Stir together spices and salt.
Cut potatos lenghtwise into one inch thick wedges. Toss with oil and spices in a roasting pan and spread out in one layer. Roast for 20 minutes.
Turn wedges over with a spatula and roast until tender and slightly golden, 15 to 20 minutes more.

* Um, excuse me? Fennel seeds? Really? Well I'm sorry, but I just DON'T HAPPEN TO HAVE A BUNCH OF FENNEL SEEDS ON HAND IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN. I just substitued with something I figured was similiar.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Moosewood Sour Cream Coffeecake

It's a cake marathon this week.

This is the second cake I made in honor of my birthday, inspired by my Aunt Eileen, (who makes a wicked coffee cake), this cake is something else: light, rich and creamy, with a pleasant crackling of pecans. Despite the fact that it's from the Moosewood Cookbook, don't worry, this was before they got all healthy, there are enough calories in this baby to keep you on the treadmill for a week.
Moosewood Sour Cream Coffeecake
from The Moosewood Cookbook

1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cups sour cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups white flour
1 cup toasted pecans
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)

about 1 tablespoon powdered sugar (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter and flour a bundt pan.

Cream butter with 1 1/2 cups of sugar. Beat in eggs until throughly blendt. Beat in sour cream, vanilla, baking powder, soda and slat. Gently stir in flour until totally incorporated.

Coarsely chop pecans, toss with nutmeg, cinnamon and remaining sugar.

Spoon half the batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle nut mixture evenly over batter in pan. Spoon rest of the batter over the mix. Bake cake until knife inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 50 to 70 minutes. (50 for a bundt, 55 to 75 minutes for cake baked in a square pan.) Cool in pan on rack. Turn out onto plate after 10 minutes. When completely cool, dust cake with powdered sugar. It makes people think you worked a lot harder than you actually did.

Chocolate Roll with Cappuccino Cream

My 17th birthday was Tuesday. It actually snowed, and because everything was cancelled or closed, I had time to bake my birthday cake.

I make the best birthday cakes.

This is the first roulade I'd ever made, and it suprisingly wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be.
The cake itself was flourless, so it had a very decadent, smooth texture, and with the capuchino cream.....Needless to say I had two slices, because you know what? IT WAS MY BIRTHDAY.
Plus because the cake is a FREAKING LOG it makes for very exciting candle blowing-outing:

Chocolate Roll with Cappuccino Cream
from The Gourmet Cookbook

For Cake:
7 ounces good bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup water
6 large eggs separated
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

For Filling and Rolling Cake:
1 cup very cold heavy cream
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
5 1/2 tablespoons confectioners sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

For Garnish:
1/3 cup very cold heavy cream
1 teaspoon espresso powder
pinch ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon confectioners sugar
chocolate-covered coffee beans

Make the cake:
Make sure rack is in middle of oven, and preheat to 350 F. Lightly butter a 15x10x1 inch baking sheet. Line with foil, butter foil and line foil with wax paper, butter paper.
Melt chocolate with water in a metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely boiling water, stirring until smooth. Remove bowl from heat and cool for 10 minutes.
Beat yolks with 1/3 cup sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until mixture is thick and pale and forms a ribbon when beaters are lifted, about 5 minutes. Beat in chocolate mixture and vanilla.
Beat egg whites with salt in another large bowl with cleaned beaters until frothy, then add cream of tartar and beat until whites hold soft peaks. Add remaining 1/3 cup sugar a little at a time, beating until whites just hold stiff peaks.
Stir one quarter of whites into chocolate mixture to lighten it, then gently but throughly fold in remaining whites. Pour batter into lined sheet and spread it evenly with a metal spatula. ake until cake is puffed and just set, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool completely on sheet on a rack. ) Cake will sink as it cools.

Make the filling while the cake cools:
Beat cream with espresso powder and cinnamon in a medium bowl with electric mixer until it holds soft peaks. Add 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) confectioners' sugar and beat until cream holds stiff peaks. Refrigerate filling, covered, for 10 minutes.

Fill and roll the cake:
Stir together cocoa powder and remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar in a small bowl. Sift about half of mixture evenly over cake. Cover cake with a sheet of wax paper, invert a baking sheet over paper and invert cake onto baking sheet. Carefully remove foil and wax paper. Spread filling on cake, leaving a 1-inch border on short ends and a 1/2 inch border on long sides. With a long side nearest you, and using wax paper as an aid, roll up cake jelly-roll style, keeping it wrapped in wax paper (cake will crack but still hold together). Refrigerate cake, in wax paper, on baking sheet for at least 1 hour.

Garnish the cake:
Beat cream with espresso powder, cinnamon, and confectioners' sugar in a small bowl until it just holds stiff peaks. Transfer to pastry bag and pipe decoratively on and around cake roll. Top with chocolate-covered coffee beans if using.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Black Bottom Cupcakes

My favorite word lately has been BADASS.

These cupcakes are BADASS.

All February I've craved these. Everything about these seems so FEBRUARY. Dark, and chocolaty and very, very rich. They make the horrible dreary days we've been suffering through absolutely bearable. And that's no exaggeration.

Plus, they're BADASS.

Black-Bottom Cupcakes
From The Great Book of Chocolate by David Lebovitz

Yield: 12 full-size or approximately 30 mini cupcakes

For the filling:
8 ounces cream cheese, regular or reduced fat, at room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

For the cupcakes:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
5 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1/3 cup unflavored vegetable oil
1 tablespoon white or cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Make the filling: Beat together the cream cheese, granulated sugar, and egg until smooth. Stir in the chopped chocolate pieces. Set aside.

Make the cupcakes:
1. Adjust the rack to the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F (175°C). Butter a 12-cup muffin tin, or line the tin with paper muffin cups.
2. In a medium bowl sift together the flour, brown sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together the water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla.
3. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and stir in the wet ingredients, stirring until just smooth. Stir any longer and you will over mix the batter and end up with less-than-tender cupcakes.
4. Divide the batter among the muffin cups. Spoon a few tablespoons* of the filling into the center of each cupcake, dividing the filling evenly. This will fill the cups almost completely,** which is fine.
5. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the tops are slightly golden brown and the cupcakes feel springy when gently pressed. These moist treats will keep well unrefrigerated for 2 to 3 days if stored in an airtight container.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Toothsome Italian Cream Cake

I associate this cake with my Aunt Eileen. Eileen loves making Italian Cream Cake. And my cousin Claire, Eileen's daughter, she loves eating cake especially Italian Cream Cake. That's a lot of love. This is their favorite cake.

I don't know what makes this cake Italian, in fact I've read that it's a Southern invention, and actually has nothing to do with Italian cooking.

This is a mellow, rich, coconutty cake. Luscious. And toothsome.

Italian Cream Cake
From ThePioneerWomanCooks



1 stick Butter

1 cup Vegetable Oil

1 cup Sugar

5 whole Eggs (separated)

3 teaspoons Vanilla

1 cup Coconut (from PW: If You Think You Hate Coconut, Trust Me: I Do Too, And I Love It In This Recipe)

2 cups All-purpose Flour

1 teaspoon Baking Soda

1 teaspoon Baking Powder

1 cup Buttermilk



2 packages (8 Oz) Cream Cheese

1 stick Butter

2 teaspoons Vanilla

1 package 2 Lb Powdered Sugar

1 cup Chopped Walnuts

1 cup Sweetened, Flaked Coconut

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 9-inch round cake pans.

Beat egg whites until stiff. Set aside.


In a large bowl, cream together butter, oil, and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the egg yolks, vanilla, and coconut.

In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and baking powder.

Alternate adding buttermilk and dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Mix until just combined, then fold in egg whites.

Pour evenly into the three prepared pans, then sprinkle the top of each pan with 1 (at least) tablespoon sugar.

Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes, then turn the cakes out onto cooling racks and allow to cool completely.


In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and powdered sugar. Beat until light and fluffy. Stir in chopped walnuts and sugared coconut. Spread between layers and serve.

Note: cream cheese frosting will soften at room temperature, so refrigerate if you won’t use it right away.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Cocoa-Buttermilk-End-of-the-Month-Celebration Cake

I just watched the movie (500) Days of Summer, and while it was an exercise in complete and total wannebee hipster lameness, the "protagonist" wrote cards for a living. There's a scene where all of the cardwriters(?) are trying to come up with new holidays to sell more cards. If I were in that movie, I would have won an academy award for best card concept-- END OF THE MONTH CAKE DAY. To celebrate the end of the month and the start of a new one, bake a cake. And I mean CAKE. A celebration cake.
This cake is way delicious. Dorie Greenspan, aka Goddess of Baked Goods, had malt powder in her recipe, because I had no malt powder I just substituted extra powdered sugar. Relatively quick, and very simple this cake is an excercise in deliciousness.

Cocoa Buttermilk End of the Month Celebration Cake
From Baking:From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

For the Cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temp
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled

Getting ready to bake: Center a rack in oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9x2 inch round cake pans, dust insides with flour.

To make the cake: Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Working with a stand mixer in a large bowl beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add sugar and beat for about 2 minutes, until throughly blended with the butter. Add the eggs one at a time, then the yolks one by one, beating for 1 minute after each addition and scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla. Reduce mixer speed to low and add dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk; add the dry ingredients in 3 portions and the buttermilk in 2 (begin and end with dry ingredients); mix only until each new batch is blended into the batter. Scrape down the bowl, and if you want, add teh melted chocolate, folding it in with a rubber spatula. Divide the batter between the cake pans.
Bake for 26 to 30 minutes, or until the cakes feel springy to the touch and start to pull away from the sides of the pans. Transfer the cakes to racks and cool for about 5 minutes before unmolding. Invert and cool to room temperature.

For the Chocolate Malt Buttercream:
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/4 cup malted milk powder
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa power
1/4 cup boiling water
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temp
pinch of salt
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups confectioners sugar, sifted

To make the buttercream: Melt the chocolate with halft the brown sugar in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from the heat.
Whisk the malt powder and cocoa together in a small owl, pour over 3 tablespoons of the boiling water and whisk until smooth. Whisking the melted chocolate gently, gradually pour in the hot malt-cocoa mixture and stir to blend-- it should be daark, smooth and glossy.
WOrking with the stand mixer, preferably fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining brown sugar and beat for 2 to 3 minutes more, until well blended. Beat in the slat and vanilla extract, then reduce the mixer speed to low. Scrape in the chocolate mixture and mix until smooth. Still working on low speed add the confectioners sugar. When all the sugar is in, increase mixer speed to medium and beat for a few minutes. Lower speed and add remaining tablespoon of boiling water, then increase speed and give frosting another spin. It will be light and thick enough to use immediately. If it doesn't hold shape beat more.

To assemble cake: Place one layer top side up on a cardboard round or a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment paper. Frost top of the layer, cover with second layer, top side down. Frost the sides and top of the cake, either smoothing teh butter cream for a sleek look or using a spatula, knife or spoon to swirl it for a more exuberant look.
Refridgerate cake for at least 1 hour to set frosting, then bring to room temp and serve. (Lies. Who can wait ONE WHOLE HOUR?)