Friday, April 29, 2011

White Cake (with Whipped Cream & Strawberries)

This is the cake I made for Easter, that I mentioned in this blog post. I got the recipe from my mom, who had made it a few weeks earlier for a co-worker's birthday. I figured it would be a perfect Easter/spring cake and called her for the recipe and her tips on it. She said the original recipe had a different filling, but she just to use just whipped cream and strawberries. She suggested I incorporate the strawberries into the whipped cream, in the hopes that it would sit and set up better. She had done: cake/whipped cream/sliced strawberries/whipped cream/cake, etc., and it was a bit slippery. The way I did it worked well, but I didn't need nearly as much whipped cream and strawberries as she suggested, so ... just a note.

Also, another note: follow the recipe exactly. And use parchment paper. It just makes life easier. The cakes turned out perfectly and my confidence level for cake making rose about 50 points after this baking episode.

White Cake (warning, you will be licking the bowl, it is so tasty!)
2 1/4 c. cake flour
1 c. whole milk, room temperature [a tip for getting things to room temperature: set containers in bottom of sink, filled with hot water, leave for 10 or so minutes, just make sure to check periodically]
6 large egg whites (3/4 c.), room temperature
1 tsp. almond extract
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 3/4 c. sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
12 Tbl. unsalted butter, softened but still cool, cut into pieces

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Either cut parchment paper to lay on the bottom of round pans or grease and flour pans.
3. Pour milk, egg white, extracts into 2 c. glass measuring cake and stir with fork until blended.
4. Add cake flour, sugar, baking powder and salt and beat in mixer on low speed until all mixed up.
5. Add butter, beat on slow speed until resembles coarse crumbs.
6. Add all but 1/2 c. milk mixture, and beat on medium speed 1 1/2 minutes.
7. Add remaining milk mixture, beat 30 seconds on medium speed.
8. Scrape sides of bowl, beat another 20 seconds on medium.
9. Divide batter evenly into pans.
10. Bake on middle rack 23 - 25 minutes. Make sure the middle isn't wobbling; if the cake starts to sink when it's pulled out of the oven, it's not cooked enough.
11. Rest for 3 minutes in pans after pulling out of oven.
12. Loosen sides with a knife around the edges.
13. Turn over onto cooling rack; turnover again so top is facing up (use parchment, if desired).
14. Let cool 1 1/2 hours.

Whipped Cream
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1 lb. strawberries, cut and diced into small pieces
powdered sugar
almond extract (opt.)
vanilla extract (opt.)

1. Beat whipping cream until thick.
2. Add powdered sugar (sorry I don't have an estimate, just until it is sweet enough; don't add sugar to the strawberries because they'll 'leak', so allow the cream to get sweet enough to compensate for the berries) until sweet.
3. If desired, add in some vanilla and/or almond extract. Just eyeball it.
4. Once thick, remove from mixer and incorporate strawberries in by hand.
5. Spread whipping cream between cake layers, on top and on sides if there is enough. It's also good just by itself!

a beautiful golden cake

complete with filling; this cake is very dense and rich
care for a slice?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Breaded Chicken Parmesan

This recipe is so simple and tasty. We've had it a few times, last time Zak was in charge of the chicken. We have this with mashed potatoes and corn, easy and delicious!

12 oz. chicken breast
1 Tbl. grated parmesan cheese
1/4 c. Italian-style bread crumbs
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 Tbl. dried onions
sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes
salt & pepper
1-2 Tbl. olive oil

1. Cut the chicken breasts horizontally (filet) into thin pieces.
2. Lightly rub each piece with olive oil.
3. Mix dry ingredients and pat each piece of chicken with it.
4. Bake at 375 minutes for about 20 minutes.

Seriously 'Sinful' Cheesecake Brownies

I heart cheesecake brownies. They are more or less, my number favorite dessert. It is hard to describe my love from them. I try to not make them often because I will sit and eat the whole pan in one sitting. So, moderation is the key. I made these because our friend Mat did a lot of help with our car recently and wanted to make a little something for all of his help. I got this recipe from and it did not disappoint.

6 Tbl. unsalted butter
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate (or semisweet; I used a combo of semisweet and milk)
2/3 c. sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 c. flour
1 Tbl. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. chocolate chips (I used a mix of milk, semisweet and white chocolate, just to see)
pinch of salt

8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 large egg yolk
5 Tbl. sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

1. Line an 8" or 9" pan with foil (trust me, you'll regret it if you don't..), lightly mist with non-stick spray.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
3. In saucepan, melt butter and chocolate over low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat, pour into heatproof bowl.
4. Add 2/3 c. sugar, and then eggs.
5. Mix in flour, cocoa powder, salt, then vanilla and chocolate chips. Spread evenly in prepared pan.
6. In a separate bowl, beat together cream cheese, yolk, 5 Tbl. sugar and vanilla until smooth.
7. Distribute cream cheese mixture across top of brownie mixture, then swirl together with dull knife.
8. Bake for 35 minutes.
9. Once cool, lift foil out of pan and cut into pieces.

soooooo delicious