Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Cinnamon Roll Cake

It's no surprise that cinnamon is one of my favorite spices, so when I received my copy of The Baking Sheet, published six times a year by King Arthur Flour, I couldn't help but take notice of this recipe for Cinnamon Roll Cake.  This recipe, with some adaptations, was originally submitted to the 2012 King Arthur Flour "Great Cake Contest" by Amy Colvin of Pueblo, Colorado, where it took 1st place in their State Fair.  It reminded me a lot of the sour cream coffee cakes my mom would bake, with the exception that this one has a small box of Jell-O Vanilla pudding mixed with the dry ingredients!
Whether you like a bit of cake with your coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon, or just as a dessert, this is a winner in my book.

Cinnamon Roll Cake
2 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 3-ounce box Vanilla instant pudding mix
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/4 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream

1/4 cup sugar
1 T ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350F-degrees.  Grease a 9 or 10-cup bundt cake pan
In a stand mixer, whisk together all the dry ingredients.  All at once add the butter, oil, eggs, vanilla, sour cream.  Mix well, the dough will be thick.

In a separate bowl, mix the 1/4 cup of sugar and 1 T cinnamon together.  Fold into the cake batter with a large spatula, leaving swirls through the batter.  Scoop half of the batter into the prepared pan.

Cinnamon Filling:
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 T cinnamon
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Mix the ingredients together in a separate bowl, then, sprinkle over the batter in the pan.  Scoop the remaining batter over the filling and smooth the top.
 Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.  (Mine took exactly 45 minutes).  Remove from the oven and cool on a rack for an additional 20 minutes before flipping the cake out of the pan to finish cooling.
2 cups confectioners' sugar
3 to 4 T heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix together the glaze ingredients until smooth.  Drizzle over the cake once it's lukewarm.  Yields about 20 servings.

Amidst another tragedy in our country, I felt baking a coffee cake was a good idea; have some friends stop by and make sure you tell them how special they are to you. So, I'm telling you all, my dear friends in blogdom, that you bring joy to my life and how much I love getting to know each and every one of you.  Enjoy!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Snickerdoodle Biscotti

It seems like ages since I've been in the kitchen to bake; between work and a quick trip to North Carolina, it's only been a week, but still, that's a long time for me.  We've decided to list our home and try, once again, to relocate to the east coast and be closer to family, hoping the real estate market will be kind to us:-))

The "Triangle" (Raleigh, Durham, Wake Forest) area is our destination and I was able to find a builder who will be building our last home! I'm emphasizing last because that term has been used (by hubby) in our past three locations:-D  We've driven through North Carolina several times on the way to Hilton Head and Orlando and Kelly lived in this area for about a year after college, but unlike the Seattle area, I felt I needed to go there and see if I got the "feeling."  I never visited the Pacific Northwest because my grandfather had been stationed at Bremerton and my mother had told me about the area; her brother was born here.  Happily, upon my brief visit to North Carolina, I got the same feeling...in a big way!

Now, the stress begins to list our home once more while juggling a very hectic work schedule.  I've already started the cleaning and sorting, which I do love about a move, but all of this does make for very long days.  So, this morning, I decided to create one of the most comforting foods I remember from childhood, Snickerdoodles, but in a biscotti version.  Simple and satisfying while I assemble kits for workshops and continue to clean and sort.

Snickerdoodle Biscotti
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 T vegetable shortening (I used the butter-flavored)
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. Vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. ground Cardamon
2 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 tsp. salt

1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350F-degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  
In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream the butter, shortening and sugar together until fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl, as needed, with a rubber spatula.  Beat in the vanilla and cardamon.

Mix the flour, cream of tartar, and salt together, then add to the bowl.  Mix on low, just to incorporate the dry ingredients--DON'T OVER MIX!  The dough will be somewhat sticky, but resist adding additional flour.  

I use a cookie scoop of dough to create the "log".  Wet your finger tips and smooth the surface, then heavily sprinkle the topping over the logs.

Bake in the preheated oven for 28 to 30 minutes.  Remove and allow to cool about 10 minutes before transferring to a cutting board.  Use a serrated knife to cut into 3/4" to 1" slices.  Place the slices on the baking sheet and return to the oven.  Bake 10 minutes more.

Remove the pan and turn the biscotti over to the opposite side and bake another 6 or 7 minutes.  Allow to cool completely before storing cookies.

Makes approximately 30 biscotti.

Simple and satisfying...now back to work! Enjoy! 

My beautiful granddaughters, Madison (4 1/2 yrs) and Emersyn (14 mos)

[If you'd like to visit my daughter's blog to China to bring Emmie home, you can read about it here.]


Sunday, April 7, 2013

Nostalgic German Chocolate Sauerkraut Cake & April's Give-Away Apron

This week I've been Spring cleaning and painting--getting ready to put our home for sale.  We love the Pacific Northwest, but as our oldest daughter prepares to leave on Tuesday for China to bring our granddaughter home, the heartstrings have pulled us to make this life changing decision.

While packing up some of my many cookbooks, I found a recipe box, full of my mother's recipes, that Kelly had "absconded" with and is back in my possession.  In it was a recipe for German Chocolate Sauerkraut Cake; one my mother baked several times.  I don't know where she got the recipe, but I do know it is delicious.  My mother was German and Irish and I bet this really appealed to her German side!  How sauerkraut found it's way into a cake is a mystery; was someone out of coconut and thought rinsing off sauerkraut might be a good substitute:-D  Moreover, I think like zucchini or carrot cake, it made sense, why not sauerkraut!  After all, it is a veggie with a high water content and with the addition of coconut, no one will ever notice.

In addition to the recipe from my childhood, nostalgia swept over me while cleaning and I was wishing I still had my Ginny Doll to show my granddaughters.  Thanks to the internet...I found one!
Vogue Dolls made them and she's just as I remember mine, dark hair and all.  I still have her in the box, but I'm now hunting down patterns to make her clothes, just like my mom did for mine.
German Chocolate Sauerkraut Cake
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup sauerkraut, rinsed thoroughly
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour
3/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2/3 cup sweetened coconut
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup water

Preheat oven to 350F-degrees.  Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.  I also used my Magic Baking Strips to keep my cakes from rising in the middle.

In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together thoroughly, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add the sauerkraut and mix again.

In a separate bowl, place all the dry ingredients together and whisk.  Add to the batter, alternatively with the water, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.  Stir in the coconut and pecans.

Spoon batter into the prepared pans and bake about 24 minutes, testing with a wooden skewer to check if the cakes are done.  Allow to cool in the pans about 10 minutes then, invert one onto a serving platter and the other on a wax-papered lined rack to cool completely.

While the cakes cool...I made my favorite Chocolate Buttercream. 

Chocolate Buttercream:
10 oz. chocolate, chopped or use chips
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
18 T (2 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
Place the chocolate in the food processor.  On the stove, in a small saucepan, heat the heavy cream, light corn syrup, and salt to a low boil.  Pour the hot cream mixture over the chocolate and process the mixture until smooth.
Add the sugar and vanilla and pulse several times to combine (about 30 seconds).  With the machine running, add the butter, one tablespoon at a time and combine until smooth and no butter chunks remain.  Transfer frosting to a medium glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until thick and spreadable, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

To assemble:
Spread a generous amount on the top of the bottom layer and spread to cover.
Place the top layer on and frost the top and sides.  I decided to decorate mine with addition chopped pecans on the sides and then, I made some chocolate curls to place around the circumference of the top of the cake.
 It's just a delectable cake and NO ONE would even guess that it had sauerkraut in it...something my brothers, to this day, probably still don't know:-D

Finally, I've actually had April's Apron made since last Monday, but haven't had the time to bake or blog to show it off.  The rules are...comment on any of the recipes I post this month and you're entered.  This month, I went bright and cheerful for all my friends and family who are sick of Winter:-((
Have a lovely week and do try this cake--it's a winner, Enjoy!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Deconstructed Strawberry~Rhubarb Crumble & March's Apron Winner

Not to brag...but we had a record breaking 70+ degrees day yesterday and no Rain!!  I've lived in the Pacific Northwest for almost 12 years and we have NEVER had a dry or warm day Easter since I moved here, so maybe we were due:-D  My baking yesterday definitely reflected this happy, rejoiceful day.

Strawberries and rhubarb have always been one of my favorite spring-time combinations; it started with my grandmother's compote that she made for us, if my older sister left enough strawberries to pick (only teasing!!)  This "deconstructed" crumble was inspired by her compote and we enjoyed it with doors opened and birds singing.

A crumble is a dessert of British and Irish origin and one my mother made often with the fruits of the season.  Although it can be either savory or sweet, the sweet version is definitely the preferred!  Typically, fruit is baked with a topping (crumble) of oats, sugar, flour, butter, cinnamon, and occasionally nuts, only I didn't add them to mine.  I baked the crumble topping separate and after making the compote, added to the center.  These are quick desserts to make and I've shown it "constructed" in my mini trifle bowls for the Easter table, but just as good would be some mason jars for your family outings when the weather is warm.

Deconstructed Strawberry~Rhubarb Crumble
3/4 cup King Arthur all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" pieces
3/4 Old-fashioned oatmeal
3 T maple syrup

Preheat oven to 350F-degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a bowl, mix the first three ingredients, then, use a pastry cutter (blender) to work in the butter pieces.

Stir in the old fashioned oats.  Next, add the maple syrup and stir with a fork to combine into a "crumble."

Spread mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.  Don't be concerned if it spreads into one big layer--When it's cool, break it into crumbles:-D

Set aside to layer with the compote.  Any leftover crumble makes for a delicious topping for ice cream or may find it's way into a cookie dough this week!

Strawberry~Rhubarb Compote:
2 cups of sliced strawberries, + 1 cup more added after the mixture has cooled
2 cups of rhubarb, cut into 1/2" pieces
1/2 to 3/4 cup granulated sugar (taste for sweetness)
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped

In a medium saucepan, combine the ingredients and stir gently.  Add the whole bean to the mixture and cook, covered, over medium/low heat until it starts to bubble (about 5 minutes).
Remove from the heat and cool.  Before you layer the compote and crumble, add one more cup of fresh, sliced strawberries.

To assemble ~
Spoon some of the compote into dessert bowls or mason jars, then add a layer of crumble.  Add a little more compote, then top it off with FRESH WHIP CREAM!


Now, no April Fools, but the winner of March's Give-Away Apron is Kari anne at Thistlewood Farms!  Congratulations Kari anne; please send me your address and the apron will be "winging" its way to you.

It all goes well, I will have April's apron up later today...or by tomorrow at the latest.  Thank you all  for all your lovely comments and inspiring me everyday:-D