Friday, April 29, 2011

Whip It Good : Whipped Cream Cake

I'm not a well planned food blogger. I'm not one to make Easter candy, or Valentines dessert, or Halloween cookies weeks before hand just so I can blog about them. That probably makes me kind of a lame food blogger at times, since rarely can you count on me for fabulous ideas before the respective holiday arrives. And although I may lack in planning strategies when it comes to blogging, my hope is that my posts give you some great ideas, recipes you want to make, and food you want to eat any time of the year. Case in point. My easter dessert. What we ate on easter, not before. In fact, I whipped this cake up, start to finish, in less than 40 minutes. A cake worthy of baking spring, summer, fall or winter. 

This cake is a recipe of Rose Levy Beranbaum's from the book Rose's Heavenly Cakes. My original easter dessert plan was to serve vanilla bean pavlova's with stewed rhubarb, lemon curd, strawberries, and freshly whipped cream. But you see, my mother was coming over to our house for easter dinner, and if you are anything like me, when the mother is coming over cleaning the house takes on a whole new meaning. I cleaned. And cleaned. In fact I cleaned all day. And still, if probably wasn't 'mom clean'. The ham was set to go in at 4:30, and by the time I'd finished cleaning it was 3:00. I had run out of time for a proper pavlova and I desperately needed a plan b. A quick to make, quick to bake plan b that could be served with the same accompainments planned for pavlova. . . Rose came to the rescue.

Sure it looks like a bundt cake, but it's better. No butter here, can you imagine? A cake without butter? The heavy cream more than makes up for it. Whipped to a frenzy, mixed with standard cake ingredients like vanilla, eggs, and flour, the resulting batter is light, creamy, and quite unique. The best part of all? It took only 25-30 minutes to bake, half the time of any bundt cake I've ever made. Perfection in a pinch. This cake was light in texture, just sweet enough, and the perfect vehicle for all sorts of tasty toppings (kind of like the cake version of vanilla ice cream in a sundae). So the next time you run out of time for dessert, or  are craving a quick sweet fix that packs a pretty punch, please consider Rose's whipped cream cake. Surely, wonderful any time of the year.


2 1/4 Cups Cake Flour or 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
2 teaspoons Baking powder
3/4 teaspoons Salt
1 1/2 cups Heavy cream, cold
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup + 2 Tablespoons Superfine sugar

Preheat oven to 375 F

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk beater, whip the cream, starting on low speed, gradually raising the speed to medium-high as it thickens, until stiff peaks form when the beater is raised.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs and vanilla just until lightly combined. On medium-high speed, gradually beat the egg mixture into the whipped cream. The mixture will thicken into mayonnaise consistency (unless high-butterfat cream is used). Gradually beat in the sugar. It should take about 30 seconds to incorporate it. [Here's a slight change in how I now incorporate the flour thanks to both Marie Wolf and Hector Wong commenting on the difficulty with a rubber or silicone spatula] Detach the bowl and whisk beater from the stand.

3. Add half the flour mixture to the cream mixture and, with the whisk attachment stir and fold in the flour until most of it disappears. Add the rest of the flour mixture and continue folding and mixing until all traces of flour have disappeared. Using a silicone spatula or spoon, scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Run a small metal spatula or dull knife blade through the batter to prevent large air bubbles, avoiding the bottom of the pan. Smooth the surface evenly with a small metal spatula.

4. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted between the tube and the side comes out completely clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the center. The cake should start to shrink from the sides of the pan only after removal from the oven.

5. Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. With a small metal spatula, loosen the top edges of the cake and invert the cake onto a wire rack that has been coated lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Cool completely.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Unconverted : Banana Bread

A dear friend of mine, I like to call her Reaux, fellow food lover, gourmet cooking groupie, and overall soul sister, often searches for recipes by typing 'the worlds best _____' into her favorite search engine.  Now understand, the girl doesn't choose the first recipe that pops up. She's got a keen eye for ingredients and directions, scouring numerous versions of the top recipes before landing on (or combining a few to create) a final recipe. She generally uses this method for classics; chocolate cake, cookies, coq au vin, etc. Since she always seems to knock it out of the park doing this, I decided to implement her search process for banana bread. Primarily because I don't like it, and therefore know very little about it. Yes, you read that correctly, I'm not fond of banana bread and understandably so have never really had a desire to make it. Dare I say this in the food world, but, banana bread is boring, kind of ugly and tastes far too much like, well, bananas! Thus, my lack of interest in whipping up a loaf. That was until I somehow wasted yet another batch of bananas. Positive I wasn't ok with throwing them away I knew I had to come up with a plan b. My solution? Banana bread of course. Simple and quick, with a list of ingredients (including the bordering on rotten bananas) I already had on hand. Regardless of my general feelings towards the stuff, I knew it was the route I was destined to take to save my browning bananas. I realized that if I was going to voluntarily make banana bread, for the first time, and possibly the last, ever, I needed to give it the best shot I could. Thus Reaux's search tactics came into play.

Anyone who knows me well enough will tell you, I can be pretty darn impatient. Therefore, instead of scouring recipe after recipe a la Reaux, I clicked 'image' search and picked the picture I thought looked most appealing. Here is where I landed. Once I read through the description I figured a guarded long used mom recipe couldn't be bad. And it wasn't. In fact, I may actually go as far to say it was good, the banana bread lovers in my life were going gaga for the stuff. Best of all, it was just out of the oven moist & soft for four days, and it made the house smell amazing. All in all I can't complain, it surely wasn't the worst experience, but unfortunately I remain an unconverted banana bread lover. But if you are, and I bet you are, bake this. Easy, quick, and simple with winning results. Who could ask for more? 

Best I've Ever Tasted Banana Bread


3/4 cup sugar & 1/4 cup honey 
(I modified to add the honey, if you don't like it than just use 1 cup sugar)
1/2 cup unsalted butter room temperature
3 very ripe medium sized bananas
2 eggs, well beaten
1 1/4 cup ap flour
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 F

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer on medium speed cream the butter and sugar together for 3-5 minutes until light in color.
2. Add the bananas, eggs, and vanilla. Beat another 2 minutes to incorporate well.
3. In a small separate bowl mix together the dry ingredients.
4. Dump flour mixture into wet mixture and beat on medium speed until just incorporated. Do not overmix here. Seriously.
5. Pour into a prepared loaf pan and bake in your preheated oven for 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. 
6. If I were a banana bread lover I would turn this mother out 5-10 minutes after it comes out, slather a slice with soft salted butter and devour.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter.

I hope you had a relaxing, tasty, beautiful Easter Sunday.


Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Hot Mess : Cornbread Stacked Salad

That's right. This dish is a hot mess and I know it (unlike half the hot messes out there).
Regardless, this is one unique and tasty hot mess. 

Let's jump in so I can explain what you're looking at.

First, you start with a thick(ish) slice of incredibly moist, sweet, sharp cheddar cornbread.

Next, a few large butter lettuce leaves.

Then, a scoop of home pickled red onion.

A sprinkling of fried chicken sausage.

Followed by, a perfectly poached egg.

Drizzled with a homemade spicy, creamy, chive dressing.

All finished off with a sprinkling of cornbread 'sprinkles'. 

Admittedly, I'm not sure this dish is up everyones alley, it was in fact a bit of an experiment. In the end I liked it, liked not Loved (notice the use of a capital L), but it could easily be tweaked. Perhaps substituting the chicken sausage for some deliciously fatty, salty pulled pork (pork and cornbread a natural pair), or the chive dressing for, well, I'm not entirely sure because hollandaise or anything in the same family would end up being far too rich with the cornbread I think. Yet, tweaked it could be. Ultimately, the flavors and textures worked really well. Soft slightly sweet cornbread with bits of sharp cheddar and pops of fresh corn kernels throughout. Crunchy light butter lettuce. Incredibly tangy red onions pickled in cider vinegar with thyme and honey. Salty bits of seasoned chicken sausage. Poached eggs with runny yolks that mixed beautifully with all of the other elements. Finally a creamy, spicy sauce to top it all off. Different, incredibly colorful, and a bit whimisical. A dish whose colors and flavors, for some reason, reminded me of our newly Spring season. All in all,  not bad for a weeknight dinner!

Chive Dressing

1/2 cup creme fraiche
juice from one small lemon
1/4 cup milk
4 tablespoons fresh chive, chopped
1/2 teaspoon your favorite hot sauce
a pinch of cayenne


1. In a small bowl whisk creme fraiche and lemon juice together.
2. Place the creme fraiche mixture in a standard jar, add the remaining ingredients, place the lid on the jar and shake vigorously.

Thus far, my favorite cornbread recipe.

Pickled Red Onions
(adapted from a Molly Wizenberg Bon Appetit Recipe)

1 small red onion quartered and sliced very thin (think caramelized onion)
2 cloves of garlic
1 cup cider vinegar
2 Tablespoons honey
1/4 cup sugar
3 sprigs of thyme
pinch of chili pepper flakes


1. Pour cider vinegar, honey, sugar, thyme, and pepper flakes into a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat for about 5 minutes (to dissolve honey and sugar).
2. Place onions in a jar.
3. Pour hot brining liquid over onions, cover, and leave at room temperature for 5 minutes. Uncover, and allow the mixture to come to room temperature.
4. Screw lid onto jar, and chill in the refrigerator for up to ten days.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

A Spin : Curried Chicken Salad

It's been a while, I know. 

But you see, my lovely little white 8 month old ibook decided to burn up it's charging port on me a few weeks ago, so off it had to go the Apple doctor, and at home I was left with nothing more than the fiances old pc. Snoring boring. So blogging halted while this Spring weather and longer, lighter evenings definitely started to bring out the cook in me. Luckily, I was a smart girl and snapped photos of a few of my favorite dishes and drinks over the last few weeks so expect a slew of new content in the very near future.

First up, curried chicken salad. I loved this. Loved with a capital L! I want to have a bowl sitting in my fridge at all times. Although I made it for dinner I think it would make a satisfying after workout or after school snack and of course a wonderful lunch. It's simple, sweet, tangy, smoky, crunchy, creamy. . . basically, all things good. I mixed half a rotisserie chicken with light mayonnaise, plenty of Madras curry powder, sliced almonds, green onions, cilantro, sriracha, a touch of honey, and a bit of hungarian paprika. Let the culinary angels sing out *ahwwwwwh*. Spread on crackers, stuffed in a split pita with plenty of greens and veggies, or wrapped up in a whole grain tortilla - it's simply delish. 

One thing I need to tell you, a disclaimer if you will, I did not measure my ingredients. Whenever I make chicken salad I generally just throw a bunch of ingredients in a bowl and hope for the best. What can go wrong, really? So I'll give you a recipe, of sorts, but it's not written in stone so be cautious, particularly with spices, start with a little, taste, add more, taste, you get the idea. 

Dreaming of leftovers, too bad I don't have any.

Curried Chicken Salad


half a rotisserie or roasted chicken shredded
2 1/2 Tablespoons light mayonnaise
quick squeeze of sriracha 
1 Tablespoon (I know I used a LOT more, start slow here though) Madras curry powder
small handful of toasted sliced almonds
1 to 2 Tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
4 green onions sliced
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon hungarian smoked paprika


1. Mix all of the ingredients in a medium sized bowl until every ingredient is well incorporated. The flavors will intensify as it sits, but it's also wonderful to nosh on immediately after being mixed together.
2. Spread it on or in your favorite carbohydrate, or simply eat it right out of the bowl.