Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Cake Slice Bakers - August 2012: The Ultimate Lemon Roll

It's cake time! And by cake time I mean that it's time to share this month's cake baked to you from the Cake Slice Bakers. Well, I'm actually a little late, it being the 21st and all, but more on that later. 

I know I've been on a hiatus for a little while, and I probably will go back to that after I share this post. But it won't be for long. I'm just trying to settle in and get used to things. It's only my fourth day in my new "home" and I think I'm already starting to miss the normality of my home back in Colorado. 

Even though I haven't been posting anything recently, I did manage to make this cake a week before my road trip (my dad and I drove 1,700+ miles just so you know!). This month's cake happened to be a lemon roll cake. Now I've never made any sort of roll cake in my life, ever, so this was new and exciting for me, and dare I say it a dern good success! But when I think of lemons, I think of Spring, not Summer, but because this was the cake that won, I was obligated to make it, and I'm so very glad I did.

This cake is called the "Ultimate Lemon Roll" for a reason. It is super duper tart and lemony and so, so delicious. The cake is light and springy, not too lemony, but just right. The filling, which I halved from the original recipe (the amounts I used are listed below), was super creamy and really sour, but a good kind of sour. It was like eating a lemonade milkshake. Granted, the filling was very loose and sort of squished out at the sides, but it was great nonetheless. My entire family liked this cake! Even my mom, who never goes back for seconds on anything I make, went back for seconds, and I think she wanted to go back for thirds, but was shy about asking. She thought it was a beautiful cake, and joked around saying it should be her birthday cake. I'll have to see about that, because her birthday is in November and if August doesn't scream "lemons!" then I don't think November will either. And even if she wanted it, I wouldn't be able to be there to make it. One of the downfalls of going to a different state for college, right?

Anyways, the reason this post is a little late is because my apartment's internet decided to disconnect. We were finally able to get a guy to come in and fix the internet today, and I'm so glad I'm not paying for the maintenance because all the guy did was unplug something and then plug it back in. Yay for college taking care of that stuff. Anyways, enjoy this cake, it is really fantastic, especially if you love tart lemons!

The Ultimate Lemon Roll
Makes one 11 inch cake roll
Slightly adapted from The Cake Book

Lemon Silk Filling
3 large egg yolks, room temperature*
½ cup + 2 ½ tbsp. (233 g) sugar
1/3 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
Pinch of salt
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
¼ cup heavy cream

*I suggest holding on to at least one egg white because you will need it for the cake.

Set a sieve over a medium bowl and set aside. Whisk together egg yolks and sugar in a medium saucepan until blended. Stir in the lemon juice, salt, and butter over medium heat. Whisk the mixture constantly until it thickens. (I have an electric stove and used the 4.5 setting) The custard should leave a path on the back of a wooden spoon when you draw your finger across it. Strain the mixture through the sieve and into the waiting bowl.
Set the bowl containing the custard in a larger bowl filled 1/3 full of ice water. Be careful when placing the bowl with the custard into the bowl with the water; you don’t want the water to splash into the custard. Stir the mixture frequently until chilled, about 15 minutes.

Whisk the heavy cream in a small bowl until soft peaks form. You can use your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment; you can use a regular hand mixer; or you can chose to strengthen your arm muscles and do it manually. Stir a spoonful of the whipped cream into the lemon mixture and beat. This will lighten up the custard. Fold in the remaining whipped cream. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use. This filling can be made two days in advance,

Lemon Chiffon Sheet Cake
Confectioners’ sugar for sprinkling
1 ¼ cup (125 g) sifted cake flour*
½ cup sugar (96 g)
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
3 large eggs, separated
¼ cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice, strained of the pulp and seeds
¼ cup canola oil
1 tbsp. water
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 large egg white
½ tsp. cream of tartar
¼ cup (48 g) sugar
*Sift the flour first, then scoop, measure, and level out.

Preheat the oven to 325 F. Grease the sides and bottom of an 11 ½ x 17 ½ inch jelly-roll pan. Line the pan with parchment paper and set aside. Place a sheet of parchment paper (roughly the size of the pan) on a clean work surface. Dust the top with confectioners’ sugar.
Sift together the sifted cake flour, ½ cup of sugar, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl. Whisk the mixture until well blended and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, lemon juice, canola oil, water, and vanilla extract until well combined. Gradually fold in the flour mixture one quarter at a time. Mix until just blended.

In the bowl of a clean electric mixer fitted with a clean whisk attachment, beat the 4 egg whites and the cream of tartar on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the sugar. Increase the speed to high and beat until the egg whites are stiff but not dry. Using a rubber spatula quickly beat in one-quarter of the egg whites into the cake batter. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites. Scrape the batter into the prepared baking tray and smooth the top.
Bake the cake for 14-18 minutes (it took 14 ½ minutes for me). The top should look like it’s just starting to brown and it springs back when lightly touched. Run a paring knife around the edges of the cake. Invert the hot cake onto the sugar-dusted parchment paper. Take the pan off the cake and gently remove the parchment paper from the bottom (now the top) of the cake. Starting with the short end, gently roll the cake up, rolling the bottom sheet of parchment paper along with it. Let cool like that completely.

Gently unroll the cake. Spread the chilled filling over the surface of the cake, leaving a 1 inch boarder all around. Reroll the cake (this time without the parchment paper). Place on a serving tray and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. If you wish, dust confectioners’ sugar on top before slicing and serving.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Truffle Brownies

Guess what?! I’m off to college! Ok I probably sound a little more excited than I actually am. Sure I’m excited, but I’m also scared. I’m going to be in a new town, I’m going to be completely surrounded by strangers, and just, everything is changing. I’m trying not to sound like a cliché, but I think I am.

I just hope I can handle it. I was used to elementary school; I was used to middle school (a.k.a. the worst three years of my life!); I was used to high school, but for some reason I can’t wrap my mind around getting used to college. I’m worried that during the summer my drive to succeed decreased or maybe I’m just not as smart as I thought I was; plus the new professors have me worried. I’ve asked round and it seems like I’ve got a pretty good lot of professors, except one. It turns out I’ve got the meanest, most harsh, most unforgiving wretch of a teacher for my advanced English class – a class I’ve always excelled in.

Gah, so anyways, this will probably be my last post for a couple days/weeks.

In other news: I made brownies! Ok, maybe brownies are really all that special so some people, but these are special brownies, and no not that kind of special.

These brownies come from the lovely Martha Stewart! Sure she can come off a little harsh on camera, but I don’t care, that’s what makes her so loveable. Plus she can craft like no other. I wish I had the gift of craft like she does, but I digress.

Instead of pouring the batter into a square or rectangular pan, the batter gets poured into a simple round cake tin and baked. Then, once the brownie has cooled completely, a layer of rich ganache is poured on top, which puts this brownie over the top! (Hardy-har-har)

Martha has come up with a soft, but not cake-like (which is a sin in the Brownieopolas) brownie that’s dark and dense, but not too rich. This really is one of the better brownies that I’ve had. Also, for the first time ever, I correctly made ganache! I’ve tried making ganache before, but it’s always too liquidy and the chocolate never melts completely. Then I’m left with liquidly-flaky chocolate soup. Boo. The ganache that goes on top is silky smooth and sets up just right. It never hardens all the way, so you’re not fighting it with your fork. It’s not good to fight desserts with your utensils.

Truffle Brownies
Slightly adapted from Martha Stewart’s Cookies
Makes one 9” round

4 tbsp. unsalted butter
3 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
½ cup (60 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
¾ cup (144 g) sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
¼ cup milk
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 325 F. Grease a 9 inch round springform pan with cooking spray (make sure you really get the bottom). Set pan aside.

Put butter and semi-sweet chocolate into a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Stir until the butter and chocolate have melted together. Set aside to cool slightly.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl; set aside. Whisk together the sugar and eggs in a large bowl until pale and fluffy. Add chocolate mixture and stir until combined. Stir in the milk and vanilla. Add flour mixture and mix until well incorporated.

Pour batter into the prepared tin. Set on the middle rack and bake for 25-27 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean except for a few crumbs. Let the brownie cool on the counter while you make the ganache.

Place chocolate in a small bowl. Heat the cream in a saucepan over medium heat until simmering. Pour over chocolate and let sit for about 5 minutes. Gently stir until smooth. Allow ganache to cool, stirring every 10 minutes, until thickened.

Pour ganache over cooled brownies (still in the pan). Refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes. Once chilled, run a paring knife around the edge of the cake tin. Remove the bottom of the cake tin and cut brownies into wedges.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Chocolate Chip Scones

Oh biscuit dough, how lovely you are. Biscuits are so simple and easy to put together. It probably doesn’t even take 10 minutes to go from measuring out ingredients to having those little round gems onto a baking sheet.

There are so many kinds of biscuits out there I’m not even sure where to start. There are the crispy and flaky, the soft and fluffy, the dense and buttery, the light and airy. And don’t get me started with the different add-ins.

What I have for you today is not really a biscuit, but it uses the same mixing technique.

I was going through my cookbooks, trying to decide which ones I would take to college and which ones I was going to give away. As I was looking through my little collection I spotted a cookbook that I had made a couple recipes from, but hadn’t used in ages! I was flipping through the pages and stopped dead in my tracks on page 51. On that page is a picture of the most beautiful scones with chocolate chunks peeking out from the crust. These looked so delicious and reminded me so much of the chocolate-hazelnut scone I had in England that I just HAD to make these, and boy I’m so glad I did.
These taste almost the same as the ones from England (without the hazelnuts of course). These were so light and buttery. It was like eating little clouds with a chocolatey surprise. These didn’t have the super crunchy shells that the English version had, but I liked it so much better that way.
These have become one of my favorite things I’ve shared with you guys. Hopefully you enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Scones
Adapted from 1001 Cupcakes, Cookies, & other tempting treats
Makes 8-9 scones

5 tbsp. unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 tbsp. sugar
1/3 (75 g) cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2/3 cup milk + extract for brushing

Preheat oven to 425 F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Sift flour into a large bowl. Add the butter and rub into the flour with your fingertips until the mixture is coarse and looks like bread crumbs. Mix in the baking powder, salt, and sugar. Stir in the chocolate chips. Pour the milk into the flour mixture and mix until the dough had just come together.

Roll the dough onto a lightly floured surface and pat until it’s about 1-1 ¼ inches thick. Firmly press (don’t twist) a round cookie cutter into the dough. Peel away the scraps and place the rounds of dough onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing about 2 inches apart. Re-roll the dough and repeat until all the dough has been used. Brush the tops with milk.

Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes, or until the scones have risen and the tops have become golden brown. Another way of testing a scone’s doneness is by carefully lifting the scone (remember, they will be hot) and tapping the bottoms. If you hear a hollow sound, the scones are done. Remove from baking sheet and transfer to a cooling rack.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

I know this is highly insignificant, but last Friday it rained. Not like a little drizzle rain or like a ginormous downpour of rain, just… rain. When it rains, I crave cookies. Well actually I crave making cookies, which is completely different than wanting cookies.

The difference between the two is: when I want cookies I long to watch the little dough rounds slowly spread and puff in the oven; I patiently wait for the cookies to cool down before I remove them from the hot pan to my plate, more often than not breaking the cookie in the process; I love pulling apart the warm and soft freshly baked cookie; and I savor each and every gooey bite. When I want to make cookie dough I gather all the ingredients and get everything set up first; I’m totally patient and content with the waiting period for the butter and sugar to cream. Sometimes I get hypnotized by the motion of the beaters and the silky texture of the creamed butter and sugar. I’m fascinated with how the dough can look so dry when you first put in the flour to how smooth and soft the dough becomes. I love taking my cookie scoop and scooping out the dough rounds. Making dough just relaxes me, and it’s something I love to do while it rains. As soon as the rains stop, I kind of get uninterested.

So like it said, last Friday it rained, so I excitedly went to Foodgawker (my absolute favorite site to find recipes I’ve decided) to see the different kinds of chocolate chip cookies I could make. Uhmm, I think I have about sixty-six cookies favorited on that site, thirteen of which are just chocolate chip (no add-ins like oats or M&Ms or whatever). What’s a girl to do? Well I kind of just did eeny-meany-miney-moe, and wound up baking these cookies from Bibberche.

This recipe yields a flat, yet surprisingly chewy cookie. Because I love soft, chewy, and puffy cookies, I can’t say that these are my favorite, but I did enjoy eating them. They have a nice brown-sugary taste to them and they are the perfect color! I know it’s weird to discuss a chocolate chip cookies color, but if I had a lighter chocolate chip cookie in front of me and a slightly darker cookie was placed next to it, I’d go for the darker cookie. It’s more aesthetically appealing, and plus it gives the promise of a rich brown-sugar taste, which I love.

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Slightly adapted from Bibberche
Makes about 32 cookies

1 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cubed
½ cup sugar
¾ cup dark brown sugar
1 ½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 egg, lightly beaten
95 grams semi-sweet chocolate chips (or desired amount)

Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together in a small bowl and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the butter and sugars together. The butter and sugars will not look creamy because the butter is cold, but once the ingredients have been combined, pour in the vanilla and egg. Beat on medium speed until combined, you may need to scrape the sides of the bowl.

Turn the speed down to low and slowly add in the flour mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat on medium for 30 seconds. Pour in the chocolate chips and mix until the chips have been well distributed throughout the dough.

Refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Portion out the dough with a 1 tbsp. cookie scoop (or just eye-ball 1 tbsp.-worth of dough). Place on the lined baking sheet 2 inches apart, the cookies will spread quite a bit. Bake the cookies for 7-10 minutes.

Allow cookies to cool on the pan for 2-3 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Vanilla Cupcakes with Nutella Swirl

Oh Nutella. I’m pretty sure everyone is in the know about this creamy hazelnut spread that is unless you live under a rock.

When I lived in Puerto Rico my parents would drop me off at Monsé’s house. Monsé was my nanny-baby sitter lady who not only took care of me and my sister, but about ten other different kids as well. She was like superwoman (in my eyes). I absolutely adored her. And when all the kids were behaving, she would let each of us pick a candy from her store (yeah, this woman had a candy shop built into her home!). I would sometimes go for a gummy hamburger, but most of the time I would chose a case of Nutella. These little cases came in the shape of the Nutella jar and came with a little plastic spatula to eat off of. It was the most magical thing ever I thought.

After we moved, I stopped eating Nutella. I don’t know why, but I’ve pretty much stayed clear of it. I think my fondness for peanut butter took over. But just the other day I had a sudden urge to use Nutella. I looked under all the recipes I had using Nutella and I found about four. Yeah, that doesn’t help much. I considered making donuts, but I wasn’t in the mood for donuts. Then I thought about making Nutella oat bars, but when I asked my sister if she’d rather have Nutella oat bars or Self-frosted Nutella cupcakes, she leaped at the cupcakes. So cupcakes it was.

I was looking at the reviews for the self-frosted cupcakes and none were too pleasant. Most of the comments were centered on the cupcakes being too dry. I searched and searched, but the only recipe I could find were very similar recipes to that one I had bookmarked. Instead of going with a mediocre cupcake recipe I decided to just get a really good vanilla cupcake base and swirl on some Nutella.

Kristin is the author of the beautifully written The Pastry Affair. I can get lost in her posts all the time. And those pictures, my god those pictures she takes are so stunning. Sometimes they make me want to cry. It’s sad, I know. Kristin’s blog is where I found the most heavenly vanilla cupcakes you will ever try, really. They are soft and delicate, not to mention so, so airy! I don’t think I’ve ever liked a cupcake more. Plus, the addition of a little swirl of Nutella makes it all the better, but next time I’m going to give these babies the true royal treatment and top them with some kind of fluffy frosting.

Vanilla Cupcakes with Nutella Swirl
Recipe slightly adapted from The Pastry Affair
Idea from Self-Frosted Nutella Cupcakes
Makes about 9 cupcakes

¾ cup + 2 tbsp. (112 grams) cake flour
¾ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup (96 grams) sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
½ tbsp. Greek yogurt (full fat, low fat, or fat free)
2 tbsp. canola oil
1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a muffin pan with paper liners and set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set the bowl aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream the butter and the sugar until well combined, about 2 minutes. The mixture won’t look light and fluffy like normal. Add the egg and beat well on medium. Add the yogurt, oil, and vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Turn the mixer down to low and gradually add the flour mixture, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Slowly stream the milk in and beat on low until the batter has become smooth.

Fill the lined muffin tins about 2/3 full. Take your Nutella (as much or as little as you want) and melt it in the microwave. This will make it easier to swirl into the batter. Once the Nutella has melted add about 1 tsp. to the tops of each cupcake. Swirl the Nutella with a tooth pick.

Place muffin pan in the oven on the middle rack and bake for 12-14 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center. Place pan on a cooling rack and allow cupcakes to cool completely before serving. 
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