This is the Horde. Below are our Recipes. Thanks for sharing our Kitchen

Friday, September 18, 2009

Pound Cake Extraordinaire. Melt in your mouth.

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This pound cake is a little extravagant...okay, a lot extravagant. If you are looking for a simple pound cake this will also do the trick but it was my 16th anniversary today so I wanted it a little fancier.

I have never made pound cake before, but I've seen them use it so much on Cake Boss and various cake decorating shows I decided to try it. In trying to find a good recipe I learned pound cake is named as such because it uses a pound of flour, a pound of butter, pound of egg, and pound of sugar. I even weighed my eggs once cracked just to check. Sure totalled a pound.

This recipe is fantastic. I will credit Soul Food for the recipe as this is where I found it and it's simply perfect as is. No changes necessary.

Here is the recipe

3 cups cake flour
6 large eggs
1 pound butter, room temperature, softened
1 pound sugar
2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder

I always use a kitchenaid mixer for baking.

Sift the flour, baking soda,and baking powder
into a large mixing bowl.

Stir in salt and the sugar. Add the butter. Add the eggs, whole. At this
point I break out my mixer and begin mixing on
slow. Slowly add the buttermilk and vanilla. After it's thoroughly combined turn up the mixer to medium, and high for a few minutes each. If it's a little
thick add just a touch more buttermilk but it should be thick. If you don't
mix things thoroughly you will have lumps that will form air bubbles in your mixture and leave holes in your finished cake.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

This recipe makes quite a bit of cake. I used a medium and small hex shape deep pan, and still had a bit of batter left over. A large Bundt cake pan, plus a loaf pan would probably work too. Spray the pans with Pam cooking spray, and bake for about an hour to one hour 20 minutes. Check the cakes at the hour mark. When a nice golden brown they are complete and toothpicks come out clean.

For my extravagance I made the Italian Butter cream that I posted about yesterday. Cut the cakes into layers and used custard and strawberries between the layers. Iced the layers with the butter cream icing and topped with blueberries and strawberries. I refrigerated the cake and it was mouthwateringly good.

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Pound cake is great for carved cakes, or you can just slice a piece plain. You can dress it up really any way you wish.

I wish I could make my cakes look like Cake Boss' but at least they taste divine!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Italian Buttercream Icing.

The first time I tried to make this it wasn't exactly a failure but it turned into 7 hours of frustrating, "I'm not going to give up" hell. The final result came out well but I went through 12 lbs of butter, dozens of eggs, and many phone calls to my friend who was attempting to help me through my culinary crisis.

I am once again attempting to make Italian Buttercream to go onto a pound cake. No special occasion just feel like baking today. I made the mistake of watching cake boss this morning and felt the need to make something sweet. Nothing fancy today, just yummy (hopefully).

As I type this the egg whites and sugar syrup are getting beaten in the mixer for their required 10 minutes (or until cool). Last time I tried to make this recipe it was disaster and I'm pretty sure I know why. 40 degree (celcius), high humidity I think killed all of my chances of success.

It's cool today so I shall once again attempt. I am also trying a variation on the last recipe as I really don't want to waste 6 lbs of butter if it failed. It's scaled back so we'll see how it turns out.

Here is the recipe. I have no source for this as I found it in a comments section in some remote corner of the internet. I know it's half metric and half imperial, but I have a dual scale so it makes it a little easier. BTW...invest in a good dual scale...I can't believe how much time I save with it vs trying to convert by hand.

Italian Buttercream

750 grams. granulated sugar
1/4 litre of water
6 oz. egg whites
2 1/2 pounds of soft butter
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

Instructions say, whip the egg whites until fluffy and peaks appear. Bring the sugar and water to a boil and slowly pour the sugar mixture into the egg whites. Continue to beat on high for 10 minutes or so or until the mixture is cooled and sort of resembles liquified marshmallows.

I did that...turned out crystalization of sugar, it was perfect....Doesn't it look perfect?
Beef Stew Italian icecream 007

Then you are supposed to add the butter one tablespoon at a time into the mixture. The mixture turns soupy but then fluffs up again after the butter has been whipping awhile. we go. THIS would be where I screwed up (I think). Soupy is one thing, liquid flying all over the kitchen is another thing all together.
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I decide to throw a tea towel over the mixer while it's doing it's thing because I'm getting pelted with drops of ingredients even on low. I continue to lift the tea towel and toss in the butter one tablespoon at a time. I feel a drip, look over to the other side of the mixer and think...oh dear sweet lord I've done it again.
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THIS is what it looked like. What a mess!! Not to be deterred I continue. I decided to change paddles from the whipping paddle to the mixing paddle. That seemingly works and slow it down to level 1 while I continue adding the butter. Starting to look better's coming.
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I get through all the butter and look at my mixture...SUCCESS it worked!!!, then I tasted it. Damn....not to successful, it's like eating pure butter. I suspect my egg/sugar mixture has saturated my poor tea towel and not enough was left in the actual bowl to work.

As I type, I'm boiling some more sugar syrup, and will cool it down completely and try to add some. Praying I don't screw this up.......

I've rethought this problem. I think I'm going to whip up some more egg whites and add the sugar mixture to it, and add a little bit to my buttercream...

I ended up not doing either...sort of a combo. I cheated. I made some more sugar/water combo, let it cool completely. I added about 4 tblsps worth to the buttercream and about 1 tbsp Wilton's meringue powder. This worked. It's not nearly as buttery now.

I'm going to say at this point, I would reduce the butter quantity to two lbs vs 2 1/2.

It is acceptable now. This particular batch is going to be used on a vanilla pound cake, with fresh blueberries and strawberries so not too sweet will work fine.
Here is the final finished product, complete with finger marks for taste testing.
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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Pizza Scone Recipe (Great Lunch Idea)

Here is the Pizza Scone recipe I promised last week. I've had a bit of an insane week and have spent barely anytime in the kitchen.

This is a great idea for lunches. The kids love it. You can change it up and add ham and cheddar cheese instead of mozza/pepperoni/pizza sauce. It's quick and easy to make and takes less than half an hour start to finish. I often make this first thing in the morning when we realize that #2 son has forgotten to make bread the night before.

The kids loved this one so much my oldest son's football team requested a few of them for practise one day.

Pizza Scones
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup white flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons sugar
3 tablespoons margarine/butter
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 large egg whites
1 cup or so of cut up pepperoni, not in slices but cubed from the slices
1 cup (approx) shredded mozzarella cheese
pizza sauce

Mix all the dry ingredients together. Add the butter and mix it so it's kinda cornmealish Combine the buttermilk and egg whites together and add it to the dry mixture Add the pepperoni and cheese and mix again.

On a pastry board or whatever. Put down some flour, take the dough out and knead it a couple of times (about 4 times). Make sure it's lightly covered in flour. Shape it into a flat round circle and cut it into triangles but don't seperate the pieces (bake it as a circle)

Spray a cookie sheet with Pam and slide it onto sheet or cut it into triangles on the sheet) Brush pizza sauce over the top (not too much) and bake at 400 degrees for 20 min.

The one pictured above I sprinkled some extra mozza cheese on the top.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Back to School Lunch Ideas

With four kids and a husband to pack lunches for everyday you try to keep things fresh, easy, and fast. You also don't want to run into the monotany of a salami sandwich daily so we try to keep things varied, but easy daily. Given we have two in elementary and now two in highschool there are also issues with the older two "looking cool" for school. Fortunately the wide and varied lunches we prepare have gotten envious looks from my oldest's highschool football team so I think we are doing alright. (I even had a request to make pizza scones for the team at one point).

Now that school is back I'm spending the day getting prepared for the weekly lunches. Spending part of a weekend day prepping everything makes whipping together lunches in the morning a snap. Things to always have on hand

Cut celery
Carrot sticks
Broccoli heads
Salad dressings
Bacon bits

We try to keep our lunch waste to a minimum so rarely do we have prepared foods and we use these fantastic starfrit containers with snap down lids that never come off until intended. No smelly bags from inadvertant food spillage!!

Standard things we put in the lunches.

A small container with fresh veggies. Be they carrot/celery, broccoli, peppers. A side small starfrit container with some salad dressing for dipping.

Mixing is up is important. We also cut up fresh fruit ahead of time so we can have a container of that available if they want it.

Treats for lunches include, homemade chocolate chip cookies which can be seen In this post

Cupcakes (any number of the ones posted and those to come)

A slice of cake if we've made one.

Drinks are all done in refillable containers. Often we'll put the drinks in the freezer the night before so they are semi frozen in time for school and thaw out as the day goes on but they still have a nice cool drink. Lemonade, juice, etc.

Now for the fun part. Main course with lunch. Sunday nights I usually have a tray full of chicken breasts cooking in the oven. Used to make chicken salad sandwiches or buns. Cut up into wraps for something different with peppers, lettuce, and some cheese. This makes life so much easier.

Salads: Caesar, garden, whatever, the lettuce is already washed and ready to go. Rip it up, toss it into containers and add whatever you want to it. We already have all the veggies washed, cut up in containers in the fridge so the choice is endless. Cut up some chicken for protein and good to go!

Rice: Make some rice balls of white/brown rice, throw in some cut up chicken or pork, or beef, some veggies on the side and instant bento box.

Pizza scones...this is always a favorite. I'll make some later this week to show you how it's done. I usually just make these in the morning if I feel like it. 20 minutes and they are prepped and ready to go.

Tomorrow's lunch will consist of Chicken Salad on a homemade bun, carrot and celery sticks, chocolate chip cookies with lemonade drinks.

Wednesday will be Caesar's salads, rice balls, Amaretto cupcakes, apple and banana slices and a drink.

I also try to stay away from deli meats as they have so much sodium and nitrites in them I think too much of that is a little harmful. Other thinks we do is cook a beef roast on Sunday to use in sandwiches, pork roast, etc. Spice up the sandwich with some cut peppers, or make a wrap, add a little salsa and cheese and new ideas come out.

My chicken salad sandwich is a little different than the standard fare.
First I use shredded cooked chicken breast
Add shredded carrot and celery
Toss in a handful or two of bacon bits, some mayonaisse, a pinch of salt, and it's good to go. The bacon adds some nice little zest to it.

Chicken shredded

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Chicken with shredded carrots, celery, and bacon bits added.

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Now on the homemade buns with lettuce

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Sandwich all Packed up in the nifty Starfrit containers. 

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