Tag Archives: cake

How To: Pumpkin Puree

4 Oct

Alright ladies and gents. It’s that time of year again, the time when most Americans begin to experience uncomfortably desperate pumpkin cravings. You know who you are. You’re the one in the corner mainlining pumpkin spice lattes. Don’t try to hide! YOU’VE BEEN SPOTTED.

Ahem.

Sugar pie pumpkins and all manner of squash are currently on sale at Whole Foods for 99 cents a pound, which is what made me want to buy one. That and “sugar pie” pumpkin is such a cute name. Don’t you want to go buy one now? Sure you do. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

I’ve never actually been a fan of pumpkin pie (one of the only pumpkin incarnations I am aware of, I’ll admit) and I’ve recently decided that this might be because my grandma uses canned pumpkin. I know, I know, apparently there are really awesome and good quality canned pumpkin products out there, but this is just my THEORY. I really want to like pumpkin pie. I feel like I might be missing out on something.  In any case, making your own puree is really easy, and if you get the pumpkin on sale it is SO CHEAP. My pumpkin cost me about $1.50. You’re welcome.

The first step is to grab your pumpkin. Hello pumpkin! He is a sugar pie pumpkin, one of the smaller, sweeter varieties best for dessert making, and he weighs approximately 1.5 pounds. Aww.

Now, wash him. Cut off his stem and then cut him into quarters. This is his better half.

Use a spoon to scoop out all of his insides-seeds and stringy pulpy bits. Put it all aside because you can use the seeds for roasting, or making pumpkin brittle.

Put the quarters on a baking sheet, cover with foil, and roast in a 400˚ oven for 35-40 minutes.

My pumpkin has battle scars.

When it’s done, the pumpkin should be soft enough for you to scrape the shell off with a spoon. I left mine for 35 minutes and it was perfect.

Allow the pumpkin to cool for 10-20 minutes, then take a spoon and scrape the shell off.

Using some sort of mixing or mashing device, puree your pumpkin! I used my very favorite immersion blender that I use for everything. You might prefer a cuisinart, or a fork. I just don’t know.

The puree will keep for a few days in the fridge. I am still trying to decide what to so with mine. Right now, I’m thinking either pumpkin cheesecake or pumpkin pavlovas. I’ll decide in the next few days and post the results next Monday. In the meantime, happy pumpkin making!

❤ stef

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Recipe: Nearly-Flourless Chocolate Cake

22 Jun

A few weeks ago, some of my friends had a massive birthday party to celebrate their combined birthdays. The party started at one of their houses, with a barbecue dinner and snacks and alcohol (of course!). Guests were asked to bring some alcohol or a snack to share, and I love an opportunity to show off. Yup, I admitted it. I cook tasty things to impress people. Also to trick them into befriending me. Muahahaha! (Wait…)

My original idea was just to make some chocolate cookies from the leftover dough I had in the freezer, but then I decided that I should put in more of an effort. I have this teeny little cookbook (in the shape of a slice of cake!) called “The Chocolate Lover’s Cookbook”. I don’t remember where it came from but it is fair to guess that my mom gave it to me.

I chose the recipe because I had all of the ingredients for it and it was rich enough that I wouldn’t need to make any frosting. I am personally not a fan of flourless-type cakes (I think they are too rich and sweet) but my mom and sister LOVE THEM so I figure I am just a weirdo and that the cake would be a hit. My initial idea was to stencil “Happy Birthday” on the cake with powdered sugar, but that went terribly. It was a crazy, messy, blurry mess of powdered sugar so I smeared it around and voila! Cake. I tried a bite at the party and I have to say, it was really good, like a crazy delicious rich brownie. It got many compliments from other people at the party, so I’m going to call this one a win. It’s so easy too, so you really have nothing to lose. This cake is NOT a lie.

6 oz semi sweet chocolate, chopped, or 1 C semi sweet chocolate chips

1 stick butter, softened

2/3 C sugar

3 eggs

1/2 C flour

Confectioner’s (powdered) sugar to dust on top

Preheat the oven to 350˚. Line a 9″ round pan with parchment paper (or grease thoroughly and shake with flour).

Melt the chocolate in top of a double boiler. I always use a glass or metal bowl and set it on top of a saucepan in place of a true double boiler.

Beat the butter until light and fluffy.

Beat in the sugar, then pour in the chocolate and mix. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Gently mix in the flour until it just disappears. Don’t over mix! Pour the batter into your prepared pan, smooth the top, and bake for 25 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. I usually use a fork or a knife.

Allow the cake to cool in the pan, then invert it onto a plate and top with powdered sugar.

Yum yum yummmm. I feel that this cake would also taste very very good with a little bit of raspberry jam, or with fresh raspberries. It is summer, after all.

Cut into wedges to serve, maybe with some of those berries we were talking about?? I don’t have serving pics because I brought it to a party. If I showed you pictures it would be of drunk people shoving cake into their mouth and while those are super-entertaining it doesn’t really showcase the food in the way I’d like. 🙂

❤ Stef

Recipe: 5 Minute Microwave Cake

21 Jan

Weird. That’s what you are thinking, I know. Microwave cake?? Intriguing and yet dubious. So many questions – will it taste good? You can make cake in the microwave? Should this recipe be trusted?

Fear not! For I am here to answer your questions.

It all started when I got back from my break in San Francisco (which was lovely, thank you!) and found that the pilot light in my stove wasn’t on, and I couldn’t light it. I called the gas company and they said that they gas wasn’t off, but they couldn’t figure out what was wrong remotely so they would have to send someone out. Thanks, gas company. I’ve been living without a stove for the past two days, which resulted in my discovering alternate uses for my waffle iron and eating a lot of microwave food. Last night I googled “microwave oven meals” and I happened upon the microwave cake. WHOA.

Microwave Cake

4 TB flour

4 TB sugar

2 TB cocoa powder

1 egg

3 TB milk

3 TB oil

1/2 square of bittersweet chocolate, chopped OR 3 TB chocolate chips, both optional.

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Microwave safe mug

Mix together all of your dry ingredients.

Add the egg, milk and oil.

Now is the time to MICRO!

The actual recipe says to microwave for 3 minutes at 1000 watts. I have a 950 watt microwave, and I microwaved for 2 minutes and that was plenty of time. In fact, if I’d left it in for the 3 minutes suggested I probably would have had sad, rubbery cake. So, I’d say to start with about 1.5 minutes and go from there.

The cake will puff up and make it look like your mug is wearing a square-shaped afro. This is ok, and is in fact very entertaining.

It gets taller.

Remove from the microwave.

Most recipe say to take it out of the mug, but I didn’t. Why bother?

But is it delicious? you ask.

This is not the most incredible cake ever, but it is good. I would recommend eating it with some nutella, cool whip, whipped cream or jam because it gets a teensy bit dry if you let it cool (dude, if you poured caramel or melted chocolate on this cake right when you take it out of the microwave and let it cool like that, it would be AMAZING!) but this is something that I would definitely make – and eat – again. Just don’t over cook it! Overcook BAD.

Now go and eat tasty five minute cake!

❤ Stef

UPDATE!

I finally got around to eating my entire mug of cake (that was really fun to say!) and I have to say that it was surprisingly delicious. It might help that I am slathering it with nutella (I totally recommend this) but still. Cake in five minutes! I can’t get over the awesomeness.

Recipe: Olive Oil Pound Cake with Lemon and Rosemary

22 May

A few weeks ago I started carrying a notebook on me, so I could write down ideas when they came to me. I don’t remember where I was when I thought of making a pound cake with olive oil, but the idea popped into my head fully-formed–“olive oil pound cake”! Brilliant, I thought.

I think the idea really came from a little place in Berkeley called Sketch Ice Cream. Sketch was the first ice cream place I ever saw to use unconventional toppings, such as olive oil and sea salt. I’ve only ever been there once, because I live in San Francisco without a car and Sketch is located in a part of Berkeley that is inaccessible by BART. If you are ever in the area, or if you live in the area, I highly recommend you stop by. So although Sketch didn’t directly inspire me to make the olive oil pound cake, it opened me to the idea that savory things can be sweet. Like salt on caramel.

When I decided to make olive oil pound cake, I googled it and saw that it is not an original idea. Sad! Instead of using an available recipe, I decided to go ahead and make a regular pound cake and substitute olive oil for the butter. I found this nifty article about baking with olive oil, and it told me that 3 TB of olive oil can be substituted for 1/4 C of butter. So, I used 3/4 C of olive oil in place of the 1 C of butter the recipe originally called for. I also added the zest of 1 lemon, and the rosemary.

Olive Oil Pound Cake, adapted from the joy of baking.com

1 3/4 C flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp salt

3/4 C olive oil

1 C sugar

4 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

zest of 1 lemon

2 TB fresh rosemary, 1 TB if using dried.

Set the over to 350˚. Grease a 9x5x3″ loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper (I used waxed paper, and it worked wonderfully) and grease it.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. I didn’t sift. I never sift. It’s the lazy in me. Maybe something fully amazing would happen to this cake if you sifted, but I didn’t, and it was still delicious.

Beat together the sugar and the olive oil.

I thought this looked cool.

I thought this looked cool.

Add the eggs to the mix one at a time, fully incorporating each egg before adding the next. Add the vanilla, lemon zest, and rosemary.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients until just incorporoated. Pour into pan.

Bake for 50-60 minutes.

Let cool for approximately 10 minutes, then overturn and cut. It should come out of the pan without a fuss. Serve warm either alone, or with honey or jam. If you’re feeling adventurous, slather that pound cake with butter. It’s ok; it’s made with olive oil!

Or, if you made some, serve with maple cream.

It is also really good cut into thick slices and toasted in the morning for breakfast. Or you could use it as the base for french toast! I haven’t tried that one, yet.

❤ Stef

Recipe: Molten Chocolate Cake

10 Apr

This recipe hails from the September 2008 issue of Food and Wine magazine. These mini chocolate cakes are extremely easy to make and sinfully delicious. One of the coolest things about them is their versatility–you can use almost anything you like for the filling (I used marshmallow fluff and strawberry jam) or if you don’t have a filling at all, the cake naturally creates its own molten chocolate center. Yum.

Ingredients:
Note that I cut this recipe in half in order to only make two cakes. My boyfriend and I don’t need any more excuses to pig out than we already do!
1 stick of butter, plus melted butter for brushing
1 TB unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 C plus 1 TB flour
6 oz dark chocolate, chopped
1/2 C sugar
3 large eggs
Pinch of salt
Your choice of filling, about 1 TB per cake. Some options:
Fruit jam
Marshmallow fluff
Caramel (with or without a bit of sea salt)
Peanut butter (mixed up with about 1 TB of powdered sugar)
Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Grease two ramekins. The recipe says to use melted butter for this, but I used veggie oil. Why? I’m a rebel. Also, the point of this is to ensure that the cake doesn’t stick to the ramekins. I figured that veggie oil would work just as well. (It did.) I’m also lazy. Very, very lazy.
Mix together the cocoa powder and the 1 TB flour, and dust the greased ramekins.
Chop the chocolate and melt over low heat with the butter.
While it melts, whisk together the egg, sugar and salt until thick and pale yellow.
Gently fold the melted chocolate into the egg and sugar until there are no visible chocolate streaks.
Do the same for the flour.
Fill the ramekins 2/3 of the way with the batter, then spoon 1TB of your filling of choice on top, and cover with the remaining batter.
Put the ramekins onto a cookie sheet, and bake in the center of the oven for 16 minutes, until the tops are cracked but the center is still slightly jiggly. Look at the crazy marshmallow fluff cake! You will have to take my word for it when I tell you that they had jiggly centers.
Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the cakes to loosen, invert onto a plate, and serve. Top with powdered sugar, if you like. Yummy yummy yum!
I lived every child’s dream tonight, as I gleefully ate dessert before dinner.

Hahaha!

❤ Stef