Monday, June 28, 2010

Raspberry Buttermilk Cake

We've been plucking gorgeous ruby raspberries off our canes for a couple of weeks now. The rainy weather has completely changed the fruit schedule for this summer - we've just picked our first strawberry last week!

Our good friends hosted their annual car show and BBQ yesterday and despite the rain, we packed up our regular car and my husband's 1970 Ford Maverick and headed out to the country.

Even though we only had to bring our own chairs and adult bevvys, I wanted to bring something simple as a small contribution - and I wanted to use the few handfuls of fresh raspberries I'd picked just that morning.
Enter an easy, no-fuss everyday cake: raspberry buttermilk cake.

As Deb mentions in her post, you aren't limited to raspberries here. Try blueberries, blackberries, strawberries (diced)...whatever type of berry you'd like. This is a simple cake that comes together in a hurry and was perfect for packing along to our rainy day BBQ with friends.

Raspberry Buttermilk Cake
Smitten Kitchen
Makes 1 thin 9 inch cake

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

2/3 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, divided

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest, optional

1 large egg

1/2 cup shaken buttermilk (don't have buttermilk? Make your own by adding a 1/2 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice to 1/2 cup regular milk. Allow to sit for about 10 minutes)

1 cup fresh raspberries

Preheat oven to 400F. Butter and flour a 9 inch round pan.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, beat butter and 2/3 cup sugar with mixer until pale and fluffy, about two minutes at medium high speed. Then beat in vanilla and zest, if using. Add egg and beat well.

At low speed, mix in flour mixture in three batches, alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour. Mix until just combined.

Spoon batter into cake pan and smooth top. Scatter raspberries evenly over top and sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar.

Bake until cake is golden and cake tester inserted into center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then turn out onto rack and cool till warm, 10 to 15 minutes. Invert onto serving plate or stand.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Triple Chocolate Cupcakes

It was my birthday this past weekend.

The months leading up to it were tinged with this feeling of dread, but when I woke up in the morning on the day of, I didn't feel any different. I'm still not impressed about the number itself but I haven't suddenly become old or noticed new wrinkles, and there hasn't been a moment that I felt sad or depressed.

I was too busy baking triple chocolate cupcakes with an obscene amount of rich, fudgey frosting and a velvety ganache filling, in any case.

Do halve this recipe unless you have quite a few people to share these with. They are terribly decadent and just one is almost too much chocolate, in my opinion!

For the chocolate curls, see the Annie's Eats link below the recipe title; she gives a fabulous mini tutorial - I'm still practicing!

Triple Chocolate Cupcakes
Annie's Eats
Makes 32 cupcakes

3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
3/4 cup hot water
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream, room temperature

ganache filling:
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, room temperature

14 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
9 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
9 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups icing sugar, sifted
6 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sour cream

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners. In a small bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder and hot water until smooth. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine the butter and the sugar over medium heat. Heat, stirring occasionally to combine, until the butter is melted. Remove the mixture from the heat and transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on medium-low speed for 4-5 minutes, until the mixture is cooled. Mix in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed and beating well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla and then the cocoa mixture and beat until incorporated. With the mixer on low speed add in the dry ingredients in two batches, alternating with the sour cream, beating just until combined.

Divide the batter between the prepared cupcake liners, filling them about 3/4 of the way full. Bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, rotating the pans halfway through baking. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the ganache, place the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, remove from the heat and pour over the chopped chocolate. Let stand about 1 minute. With a whisk, gently stir the chocolate and cream together in small circles. When the ganache has become smooth, whisk in the butter 1 piece at a time until incorporated. Transfer the bowl to the freezer or refrigerator to chill and thicken the ganache a bit. Whisk every 5-10 minutes to help it cool evenly. Once the mixture is slightly thickened and no longer runny, you are ready to fill the cupcakes.

To assemble the cupcakes, cut a cone out of the center of each cupcake with a small paring knife. Cut off the pointed end of the cone and discard (or eat) so you are left with a cap of cake to cover the filling. Drop a spoonful of ganache into the center of each cupcake and recover the hole with the cap.

To make the frosting, melt the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Set aside to cool until just barely warm. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Gradually mix in the confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder and salt. Beat in the melted and cooled chocolate and then the sour cream. Continue beating until the mixture is smooth and well blended. Frost cupcakes immediately.

To make the chocolate curls, warm the block of chocolate just slightly (heat in 5-second intervals in the microwave – be careful not to melt). Use a vegetable peeler to create chocolate curls. Top cupcakes with curls immediately. Reheat chocolate as needed to keep it workable.


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Martha Stewart's Crisp & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

One cannot live by one cookie recipe alone.

Or that's what I think now, at least. I used to be on a very serious chocolate chip cookie recipe quest. It was my goal to find
the recipe, the recipe that would trump all others and make my cookie jar the one that all the neighborhood kids wanted to dig into.

The Jacques Torres recipe I posted about at Gotta Little Space remains the best recipe I've tried to date; I've made it countless times and it's my go-to recipe for dependable chocolate chip cookies.

However! When I see other chocolate chip cookie recipes, I still glance at them and if I'm interested, I'll give them a try.

Such was the story of these cookies.

Overall, they're a basic chocolate chip cookie. They deliver as promised: crispy edges and chewy centers. Try them straight out of the freezer; in my opinion the flavor and texture improves after a bit of a chill.

Crisp & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 20

Martha Stewart

2 3/4 cups flour

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, softened

1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar

3/4 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Sift together flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
Preheat oven to 350F. Beat butter and sugars on medium high speed till light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Beat in eggs 1 at a time. Add vanilla. Reduce speed to low and add in flour mixture. Beat till combined, then mix in chocolate chips.

Drop 3 tablespoons worth of dough onto parchment lined baking sheets, spacing about 2 inches apart. Bake till golden around the edges but still soft in the middle, about 15 minutes.

Let cool on baking sheet 5 minutes then transfer to a rack to cool completely.