Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Chocolate Fudge Cake with Canoli Cream Filling

Another cake I made for my brother's graduation party.  I made it into a sheet cake and then rolled it up into a diploma shape.  Here I used my coconut cake frosting without the coconut to get a nice white finish.  Another great idea would be to use the chocolate fudge frosting recipe on my blog.

Canoli Cream:
32 oz whole milk ricotta
2 cups confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup mini chocolate chips

Drain ricotta for at least 24 hours before by putting in a wire strainer over a bowl and sitting in the refrigerator overnight. 

Once drained, beat the ricotta, confectioners sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla together with an electric mixer.  Then stir in the chocolate chips and refrigerate. 

Chocolate Fudge Cake:
9 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1½ cups cake flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon baking powder
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
½ cup strong coffee
½ cup whole or low-fat milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Line whatever baking pan you are using with parchment paper and grease.  This makes one 13 by 9, 24 cupcakes, 2-9 inch rounds, or in my case one sheet cake.

Sift together the cocoa powder, cake flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder in a bowl.

In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, or by hand, beat together the butter and sugar about 5 minutes until smooth and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time until fully incorporated.

Mix together the coffee and milk. Stir half of the dry ingredients into the butter mixture, the add the coffee and milk. Finally stir in the other half of the dry ingredients.

Bake the cakes for 25 minutes for 9 inch rounds and 24 cupcakes.  For the 13 by 9 bake for 30-35 minutes and for the sheet cake 15-20 minutes. 

One done baking cool for 1 hour and remove from pan.  Then cool completely before frosting.

To make the diploma:
After baking the cake, allow to cool for 15 minutes.  Remove the cake from the pan.  Place parchment over the top layer of the cake and then a clean dish towel over that.  Roll the cake up very tight from the shorter end.  Then wrap the entire cake in another dish towel tightly and refrigerate for 1 hour. 

After refrigeration, slowly unwrap the cake, removing the parchment paper and the dish towel.  Add a layer of the canoli cream to the entire cake and roll it back up, very tightly.  Wrap the entire thing back up in the dish towel and refrigerate for 3 hours. 

Once it is done refrigerating, frost the cake completely.  I used a fabric bow for the diploma ribbon.  Enjoy

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Vanilla Cake with Chocolate Fudge Frosting

I also made this cake for my brother's graduation party.  I made it in the shape of a graduation cap by using a pan in that shape.  This cake is very classic and is very easy to make too.  Enjoy!

Vanilla Cake:
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup  milk
3/4 cup  vegetable oil
2-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  You can make this cake with 2-9 inch pans or a 13 by 9 pan.  I used the graduation cap pan here.  Grease the pan of your choice very well.  For pans without grooves I would even line it with parchment paper, but I couldn't do that with the graduation cap pan. 

In a large mixing bowl, with an electricmixer, beat sugar and eggs together until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Add flour, milk, oil, baking powder, and vanilla and beat for another minute, just until the batter is smooth and creamy. Don't overbeat. Pour batter into the prepared baking pan.

Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until the tops are golden and a toothpick poked into the center of the layer comes out clean. Allow to cool for an hour before removing from the pan . Loosen the sides of the cake from the pan with a thin knife, then turn out onto a rack and peel off the paper. Let cool completely before covering with frosting, if desired.

Chocolate Fudge Frosting:
1/2 cup butter
3-1 ounce squares unsweetened chocolate
1 pound confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk

Melt chocolate and butter in the microwave, or in the top of a double boiler.  In a large bowl, combine confectioners' sugar, vanilla and 1/2 cup of the milk. Blend in the melted chocolate mixture. Add remaining milk, a little at a time, until desired consistency is achieved.

Once the frosting is made and the cake is completely cooled you can frost the cake.  Enjoy!

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Monday, July 25, 2011

Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

I made this cake for my brother's Graduation Party and it was a big hit.  The cream cheese frosting isn't too sweet and will become your staple cream cheese frosting.  Enjoy this delicious cake!

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease two 13 by 9 baking dishes. 

In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In a large bowl gently beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla with a handheld electric mixer. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined.

Divide the batter evenly among the two pans. Bake in oven for about 28-32 minutes, turning the pans once, half way through. Test the cake with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • 1 pound cream cheese, softened

  • 2 sticks butter, softened

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar

  • Directions:
    In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth. Add the sugar and on low speed, beat until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy.

    To decorate put one cake down on the platter.  Put 1/3 of the frosting and coat the top layer of that cake.  Then put the other cake on upside down, in order to have a flat surface on top.  Frost the top of the cake and then go around all of the sides of the cake.  Enjoy!

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    Tuesday, July 12, 2011

    Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

    These are a delicious healthy lunch or a great side at dinner.  It tastes delicious and is so easy to make.  Enjoy!

    2 portobello mushrooms
    1/4 of an on onion, finely chopped
    2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    1/2 box frozen spinach
    1/2 cup parmesan cheese
    3/4 cup bread crumbs
    3 basil leaves
    2 slices fresh mozzarella cheese
    1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put the spinach in a microwave safe bowl and cook in the microwave for 6-8 minutes.  When it is done drain well and squeeze out of the liquid in the spinach.

    Take the stems out of the portobello mushrooms and place the mushrooms face up in a baking dish.  Chop up the stems and reserve.  In a large skillet saute the onions and garlic for about 6 minutes.  Then add the mushrooms stems and the spinach and cook for another 5 minutes.  Finish with 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar.
    Once the mixture is caramelized and browned, take out of the pan and allow to cool in a bowl.  Once cool, add the chopped basil, bread crumbs and parmesan cheese.  Stir the mixture. 
    Take half the mixture and stuff it inside the mushroom cap, packing it down.  Do the same with the other mushroom. 
    Then top the mushrooms with either mozzarella cheese, or additional parmesan cheese.
    Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until the cheese is golden and the mushroom is full cooked. Serve and enjoy!

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    Wednesday, July 6, 2011

    Berry Nectarine Cobbler

    This recipe is a low fat recipe that is only 5 points on Weight Watchers for 1/6th of the cobbler.  It is such a great summertime treat and nobody even knows its healthy!  Enjoy!

    1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
    1/3 cup cranberry juice
    1 tablespoon cornstarch
    1/2 tsp ground ginger
    1/4 tsp ground allspice
    1 1/2 lbs nectarines, halved, pitted, and thinnly sliced
    1 cup all-purpose flour
    3 tablespoons sugar
    1 tsp baking powder
    1/4 tsp baking soda
    1/2 cup buttermilk
    2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Whisk together the raspberry jam, cranberry juice, constarch, ginger, and allspice in a 9 inch deep dish microwavable pie plate until blended.

    Then stir in the nectarines to coat well.  Microwave on high, stirring occassionally for 6-7 minutes.  Every 2 minutes I would take it out and stir it.  The mixture should begin to bubble.
    Meanwhile, to make the topping, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda in a medium bowl.  Make a well in the center and pour in the buttermilk and the melted butter into it.  Quickly combine the flour and buttermilk mixtures, stirring just until blended. 

    Drop the topping by teaspoonfuls on the hot fruit, forming 6 mounds.  Sprinkle the top with a little bit more sugar. 

    Bake until the topping is golden and the fruit is bubbly, about 25 minutes.  Enjoy!

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    Tuesday, July 5, 2011

    Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake

    This recipe is great for a summertime dessert.  It is very easy and a great twist on a regular cheesecake.  There is a similar cheesecake at the Cheesecake Factory and this one comes pretty close to it.  Enjoy!

    1 9-ounce box chocolate wafer cookies
    3 tablespoons sugar
    7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

    2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
    1/2 cup sugar
    1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    2 eggs
    1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    1 cup seedless raspberry jam

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Crush the cookies using a food processor or put them in a plastic bag and crush using a rolling pin to grind to fine crumbs.  In a bowl mix these crumbs with the melted butter and the sugar. 

    Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan that has been greased.  Press about 1 inch up the sides of the pan.

    Bake for 15 minutes and allow to completely cool while you make the filling.

    In a large bowl beat the cream cheese and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Then add the vanilla and 1 egg at a time, beating in between each egg.  Then add the lemon juice and beat for 2 minutes on high until smooth and creamy. 

    Spread half of the mixture into the crust.  Then swirl half of the raspberry jam into the cheesecake mixture in the pan. 
    Then top with the remaining batter.  Swirl the rest of the cream cheese in the batter and bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes or until cheesecake is set.
    When cheesecake is out of the oven, allow to cool.  Then chill in the fridge for 3 hours or overnight.  Enjoy!

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    Monday, July 4, 2011

    Fried Chicken

    Since its the Fourth of July I thought this would be a great idea for picnics and barbecues.  For a fried chicken recipe its relatively simple and its probably the best fried chicken you ever tasted! Enjoy!

    • 1 (3 to 4 pound) chicken, cut up into 10 pieces
    • 2 tablespoons salt
    • 3 cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
    • 2 tablespoons onion powder
    • 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
    • 2 teaspoons cayenne
    • Freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 quart buttermilk
    • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
    • peanut or canola oil for frying
    • 1/2 head garlic, smashed, husk still attached
    • honey for serving (I know it sounds weird but just try it)
    Put the chicken pieces into a large bowl. Cover the chicken with water by 1 inch. Add 2 tablespoons of salt. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.

    In a large shallow platter, mix the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and cayenne until well blended and season generously with salt and pepper. In another platter combine the buttermilk and hot sauce with a fork and season with salt and pepper.

    Drain the chicken and pat it dry. Dredge the pieces, a few at a time, in the flour mixture,
    then dip them into the buttermilk, then dredge them again in the seasoned flour. Set aside and let the chicken rest while you prepare the oil.

    Put about 3 inches of oil into a large deep pot; it should not come up more than half way. Add the garlic to the cool oil and heat over medium-high heat until the oil registers 350 to 365 degrees F on one of those clip-on deep fry thermometers. The garlic will perfume the oil with their flavor as the oil comes up to temperature.  Watch out for the garlic because it may pop in the hot oil. 

    Once the oil has reached 350 to 365 degrees F, working in batches, carefully add the chicken pieces 3 or 4 at a time. Fry, turning the pieces once, until golden brown and cooked through, about 12 minutes. When the chicken is done, remove the chicken pieces and herbs from the pot, shaking off as much oil as you can, and lay it on a plate with paper towels. Sprinkle all over with a little salt. Repeat with the remaining chicken pieces. Serve with honey and enjoy!

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