Thursday, July 30, 2009

discovering my grandmother's recipe book

Most of my fondest childhood memories include sitting around our dining room table, surrounded by not only my immediate family, but also my extended family - enjoying my grandmother's baking.

So when my aunt pulled out my grandmother's "go-to" recipe book (The Fannie Merritt Farmer Boston Cooking School Cookbook), I just knew I had to bake something from it. The result was a lovely yellow cake with a non-buttercream frosting... seriously, this frosting tasted like melted marshmallows. Both my uncle Phil and I were licking the plate trying to make sure none went to waste.

Baked with my cousin Olivier in mind, and enjoyed by some of my favourite people (aunts, uncle, cousin and mom) this cake is quick and easy... perfect for those low key family dinners.

Golden Cake
1 1/2 c. all purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
4 tbsp butter
3/4 c. brown sugar
zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp vanilla
3 egg yolks (keep the egg whites)
1/2 c. buttermilk

Preheat your oven to 375 F. Prepare your 8 inch cake pan by spraying it with non-stick spray (or lightly grease with butter). Set aside.

Sift together your flour, b. powder and salt in a medium bowl.

Cream together the butter, sugar, lemon zest and vanilla. (thank you for letting me use your Kitchenaid MJ!)

Beat in, one at a time, your egg yolks. You want your batter to be really fluffy. Now add your flour and buttermilk to the batter - alternating between the two: flour/buttermilk/flour/buttermilk/flour.

Spread the batter into the pan and bake for 20 minutes.

The cake will be golden. Remove from the pan and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

While your cake is cooling, take the time to make your non-butter frosting. This is known as the seven-minute frosting in the recipe book...

Marshmallow Frosting
3/4 c. sugar
juice and zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp corn syrup
pinch of salt
1 egg white (use one from the cake batter)

In a large glass bowl beat together the sugar, lemon juice, corn syrup, salt and egg white. After about a minute, set the bowl over a pot of simmering water (double boiler).

With your electric beater, keep beating the mixture until it is stiff enough to be standing in peaks. Make sure that the water doesn't touch the bowl - otherwise, curdled egg whites! YAK!

Remove from the heat and continue to beat it until it thickens, adding the lemon zest to the mix. Once it's triple in volume, allow it to sit in the fridge for about 30 - 45 minutes.

This allows both the frosting to thicken and allows the cake to fully cool.

Using a metal blade (either a pastry knife or a large knife) top the cake with the frosting - as it warms up a bit, it will start to naturally drizzle down the sides. Top with pieces of shaved dark chocolate.

INCREDIBLE! first time I try this type of frosting... really really delicious. Give it a try!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Daring Bakers Challenge... whippets!

The July Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Nicole at Sweet Tooth. She chose Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies and Milan Cookies from pastry chef Gale Gand of the Food Network.
(I only made the Chocolate Covered Marshmallow cookies - I'll try out the Milan ones another time)

When I looked at the recipe challenge this month I got very excited... not only did it highlight cookies - which, as you know, I became obsessed with... but these are the cookies that my mother gushes about...

My mom grew up in a large family, and when she first moved out on her own she bought herself a box of whippets and ate the entire thing in one sitting - sugar overload to be sure, but who hasn't done that once or twice in their lifetime?!

I was excited to be able to make something that I just knew my mom would enjoy... I baked my batch just before her week long camping trip - a little treat to enjoy while sitting next to the campfire.

Note: This recipe has a few stages - all fairly simple, but they still require a bit of premeditation - the cookie dough needs to chill a little in the fridge before being baked, and although I made my marshmallows in advance, next time I'll make them the same day and pipe them onto the cookie base, allow to harden a little and then dip in the chocolate glaze.

My version of a Whippet
Mallows(Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies)
Recipe courtesy Gale Gand, from Food Network website
3 c. all purpose flour
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/8 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
3 eggs, whisked together

In your food processor, combine the dry ingredients. Slowly add in the butter and continue to combine until the dough is almost sandy. Add the eggs and mix well to combine.

Remove the dough from the bowl and form it into a disk. You want to wrap it up in plastic wrap and have it chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour - I let mine sit in there for 3 days.

When you're ready to bake, preheat your oven to 375 F. Line your cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Roll out your dough (with your rolling pin) until it's about 1/8-inch thick. I used a 1 1/2 inch round cookie cutter to cut out the rounds of dough.

Bake for 10 minutes - they will be slightly golden. Remove from the tray and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

Note: My batch made 100 cookies!!! (I baked and froze all but 2 dozen of them). In order to keep that amount of dough from warming up too much, I cut out my rounds and then kept them in the fridge until it was time to bake them. But feel free to load these onto the trays - they don't spread as they bake.

Let the real fun begin now that they have completely cooled :0)

Since I had already made my Marshmallows (see blog entry, July 16th)I cut them up into small cubes and spread a little blueberry jam on the top of the cookie and then topped them with the marshmallow. I placed the cookies on a parchment lined cookie tray and placed them in a 350 F oven to have them "slump" a little - pay attention! otherwise they completely melt. They only need about 1 - 2 minutes to slump.
**This is how to do it if you decide to use purchased marshmallows

If you're going to make the marshmallows day of (follow the same recipe as before) - only once you have completed your batch, transfer the batter to a Ziploc bag that you have cut off a tip and pipe the marshmallow onto the cookie top. Allow to sit for a couple of hours while they firm up.

Chocolate Glaze:
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
2 ounces vegetable oil

Melt the 2 ingredients together in the top of a bowl set over barely simmering water.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. One at a time, gently drop the marshmallow-topped cookies into the hot chocolate glaze. Life it with a fork, allow the excess chocolate to drip back into the bowl and place on the prepared pan. Allow them to set at room temperature (a couple of hours) - I then transferred the pans to my fridge and had them chill overnight.

Really really good - half of them had the blueberry jam, and half of them didn't. Both were enjoyed by all - my mother, her friends, my co-workers... myself ;0) Give them a try - they might seem like a lot of work - but they are so worth it!

Happy baking!

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Ever since I watched Alton Brown make marshmallows on his show Good Eats, I knew that I wanted to attempt making them too. Then I was looking around smitten kitchen's blog and saw that she too had a recipe for homemade marshmallows (spring, fluffy marshmallows). That was it - I knew it was time to give it a try... plus, I figured, if they work out, next time I go camping (or to Gigi and René's cottage) I can bring some along for the bonfire!

One thing I learned (even though I was warned both via blog and the food network) - marshmallows are sticky little things - so make sure you have everything you need before you start. Other than the clean-up factor these are pretty simple - and worth it! No more store bought marshmallows for this girl...

1/4 c. water
1/4 c. corn syrup
3/4 c. white sugar
1 tbsp powdered gelatin
2 tbsp cold water
2 egg whites, room temperature
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 c. powdered sugar, divided

Before you start, pull out a square brownie pan and butter the bottom and sides of it well, then dust with some of the powdered sugar (the base should be lightly covered). Set aside.

Put the 2 tbsp of cold water into a bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over it. Allow to stand so that if softens.

I then whipped up my egg whites in a large bowl, getting them to a soft peak stage. Set aside.

Now, in a tall saucepan over medium heat combine the water, corn syrup and sugar so that the sugar can dissolve. Allow to reach a boil without stirring it - you want it to reach that soft ball stage (as mentioned in my Toblerone Cream Meringue recipe).

Remove the syrup from heat and add the gelatin to it - start to whisk with a wooden spoon - or, use your electric beaters (clean them after beating the egg whites) to get it as incorporated as possible.

Pour the syrup into the egg whites and add the vanilla. With your beaters on high, keep whipping everything until the result is stiff white cloud.. oh ya, and by this point you'll notice that it's pretty sticky!!!!

With a rubber spatula, transfer from the bowl into your pan, spreading it out so that the entire pan is covered. Sprinkle with more of the powdered sugar - an important step, since this allows for easier removal of the marshmallows once they set.

Allow to chill in the fridge, uncovered until firm - @ least 3 hours (and up to a day).

Once set, sprinkle some powdered sugar on your clean surface (I used a wooden board). Run a knife along the edges of the pan and loosen the square of marshmallows out of the pan and place on your surface/ board. Grab a sharp knife and cut into little cubes.

Note: I had to loosen the bottom of the marshmallows with my fingers, slowly "un-gluing" it from the bottom... they are sticky so it take some patience and a bit of extra effort.

Put the remaining powdered sugar in your empty pan and roll the marshmallows through it (all sides should get covered - it prevents them from being too sticky).

These can be packed away in an airtight container for a week.

Friday, July 10, 2009

the end is here...

Just of my cookie week! Don't worry - you can't get rid of me that easily ;0)

Over the course of the last 4 days I tried and tasted some recipes from some of my favourite blogs - however, I couldn't let this week go with only making other peoples cookies. So this last one is my personal childhood favourite. My friend Robin's mom used to make them, and when I got my hands on the recipe I tweaked it a little - adding a bit more spice, a little less butter - but have found that they are popular as ever!

This recipe makes about 5 dozen cookies ... these not only pack a punch, but are a nice thin cookie - perfect for dunking into tea or milk. I would say these are just about perfect!

1/2 c. butter, softened
1 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. molasses
1 egg
2 1/4 c. whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp vanilla salt
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
Raw sugar, to coat (I use large brown sugar, but white will work too)

Preheat your oven to 375 F. Make sure that your racks are in the middle and upper parts of the oven (too low and the cookies will burn). Line your cookie trays with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, beat together the butter, brown sugar, molasses and egg until nice and fluffy. Again, this is when you want to do the majority of your beating - so that the dough doesn't toughen up once you add the flour to it.

In a smaller bowl, combine the flour, b. soda, salt, and spices.

With your wooden spoon, stir the dry ingredients into the butter mixture until just combined.

Form the dough into small balls and roll each one in the raw sugar. Place about 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet - these do expand as they bake.

Bake for 11 minutes. Allow them to cool on the tray for a couple of minutes and then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Not only do these taste great - but they freeze well, and can be ground up to form the base for cheesecakes or to top ice cream with!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

i've gone bananas!!!!

Another day - another cookie recipe... yes, the end is almost here, but not before this goody of a recipe gets its 15 minutes of fame. As you know, I heart 101 cookbooks. I absolutely adore Heidi's entries and recipes. Oh and the pictures... sigh. I need to start adding pictures to my blog (I know I know... I just need to get a little camera first).

But let's get back to this cookie. I was drawn in by the name, banana chip cookie recipe. Banana chips in a cookie? Why the heck not! I mean, cookies tend to be crunchy anyway, so why not add some banana to it? And why do we always use only mashed ones? So here goes (I did tweak a couple of things... less butter and two different chocolates rather than just dark).

Banana Chip Double Chocolate Cookies
1 3/4 c. whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 c. oat bran (the original recipe was toasted wheat germ)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1.2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla salt
1/3 c. butter, softened
1 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
2/3 c. banana chips, loosely chopped
1/2 c. white chocolate chips
1/2 c. dark chocolate chips
2/3 c. walnuts, toasted and chopped

Whisk together the flour, oat bran, salt, baking soda and powder. Set aside.

In a large bowl beat the butter until you have it light and fluffy. Beat in the sugar until it looks like thick frosting. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, incorporating each fully before adding the next one, and scraping down the sides of the bowl a few times along the way.

With a wooden spoon, stir in the vanilla. Now add the flour in two batches, stirring between each addition. You just want it to be combined, don't over work the batter. Now stir in the banana chips, chocolate chips and the walnuts - you just want everything to be distributed.

I chilled my batter for 30 minutes in the fridge (Heidi's recipe doesn't require this stage, but I think it makes the dough more manageable).

At this point preheat your oven to 375 F. Make sure that your racks are in the middle/upper of the oven. Line your baking sheets with parchment paper.

I used my ice cream scooper again to divide these cookies. Each cookie was placed about 2 inches apart (this means more baking time, but these cookies expand while baking). Bake for 8 minutes, until barely golden on top and bottom. You'll want to keep baking them - but Heidi says not too - otherwise they dry out. Cool on racks.

I was able to get 3 dozen cookies - that freeze well (after 5 different types of cookies, making at least 3 dozen each, I needed to freeze some!)

As Shauna and Amanda told me when they tried them - these cookies were made with love... :0)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

a "melt in your mouth" kind of cookie...

Day 3. Completely different flavour from the first two. I started off this week with a day of chocolate, followed by a day of vanilla. The use real butter blog then offered me something a little different... lime metaways. Delicate and sweet, these cookies are a real punch of lime covered in powdered sugar. They were one of the cookie doughs that needed to be chilled - but they did live up to that little extra effort (and premeditation).

Lime Meltaways
12 tbsp. butter, softened
1/3 c. powdered sugar
2 limes, zest
2 limes, juice (about 3 tbsp)
1 tbsp vanilla
1 3/4 + 2 tbsp all purpose flour
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp vanilla salt
2/3 c. powdered sugar (for dusting)

With your hand mixer, cream the butter and 1/3 c. of sugar together until fluffy. Add the lime zest, juice and vanilla. Continue to beat the batter (fluffy fluffy fluffy).

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, cornstarch and salt together.

Add the dry mixture to the butter and beat on low speed until just combined.

Roll the dough into two 1 1/4 inch logs (I rolled mine on top of wax paper) and then wrap in plastic wrap. Allow to chill at least 1 hour. I chilled mine in the freezer overnight.

When you're ready to bake...

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Line your cookie trays with parchment paper. Place the 2/3 c. of powdered sugar into a large Ziploc bag.

Take the chilled logs out of the freezer and allow to soften just a bit (because of the over night freeze I left mine out on the counter for 60 minutes). Slice the logs into 1/4 inch rounds. Place the rounds on your baking sheets, about an inch apart (they don't expand while baking). Bake for 15 minutes - barely golden. Remove from the tray and set on a wire rack for 3 minutes. At 3 minutes, pop them into the powdered sugar and toss to coat (don't get too rough, otherwise they'll fall apart).

Return the cookies onto the rack and allow to cool completely (I placed parchment paper under the rack to catch the excess powered sugar).

The dough will freeze - and can keep for 2 months. Or they'll keep for 2 weeks in an airtight container once baked.

Makes 4 dozen cookies.

Try this one... people will be instantly impressed when they see these little treats... and they melt in your mouth, just like their name promises.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Day 2 of the cookie binge

As promised I'm letting you in on my second cookie recipe in this great cookie "challenge"... this one was selected from Katy's Sugarlaws blog (a favourite of mine) - her vanilla bean sugar cookies. This recipe is not only incredible raw (yes, the spoon was licked) but it tastes like vanilla bean ice cream when baked. Easy to make, and easy on your taste buds - the biggest question is, can you eat just one?

Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies (that remind me of ice cream)
3/4 c. butter, softened
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
1 tsp vailla
2 eggs
1 vanilla bean, scraped
1 tsp baking powder
2 1/2 c. whole wheat pastry flour

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a cookie tray with parchment paper.

In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar. Add the vanilla, eggs (one at a time, between after each addition) and vanilla seeds. Beat really well - the batter will be super fluffy.

Combine the baking powder and flour together, and add to the wet ingredients. Use a wooden spoon to just combine the flour - you don't want to over mix the batter. I then put the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes, just to allow it to chill a little.

Grab your ice cream scooper and scoop out the batter and place on your lined cookie sheet and flatten with your fingers- allow for enough room between each ball of batter, the cookies expand while baking.

Bake for between 8 - 10 minutes (my oven needed 10 minutes). Remove from heat and allow to cool for a minute on the cookie sheet. Remove from the tray and allow to completely cool on a wire rack.

This made 3 dozen cookies (36).

They freeze well... if you need to hide them because they're a little too tempting ;0)

Absolutely delish. Who says vanilla is plain?

Monday, July 6, 2009

my sweet tooth

I know... all my entries recently have been baked goods... cakes, tarts, cookies, muffins, etc. My sweet tooth seems to be calling to me ;0)

This week is no different. I actually have gone on a cookie binge... I searched all my favourite blogs: 101 Cookbooks, Use Real Butter, and Sugarlaws for cookie recipes that tempted me. I found some really good ones - including a new favourite blog. For the next 5 days you will be getting to share in these recipes too (including one of my personal childhood favourites).

The first recipe comes from my newest blog discovery, Smitten Kitchen - and is based on her Korova Cookies (adapted from Dorie Greenspan's world peace cookies). The claim to fame on this one is that it is the best cookie ever. Pure and simple. Who can resist such a challenge, not me! So here it is. Are you up for the challenge?

Korova Cookies
1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/3 c. dark chocolate cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 stick + 3 tbsp butter, softened
2/3 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. white sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla salt
1 tsp vanilla
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate (mini mini mini chips)

Combine the flour, cocoa, and baking soda together in a bowl.

Beat the butter with your hand mixer until it gets really creamy. Add in both sugars, salt and vanilla and beat for a few more minutes to combine. I've been learning that beating the batter at this point is really important, since you hardly want to mix the batter once you add the flour - so get your "wet" batter as creamy as you can.

Now, add the flour and, using your hand mixer on LOW speed just combine everything. The dough is very crumbly. If you over beat at this point the cookies will end up being tough after you bake them. Add in the chocolate chips and just distribute with a wooden spoon.

Turn the dough onto your counter and press it together into a ball. Divide that in half and with each half create a log (about 1 1/2 inch in diameter). Cover in plastic wrap and place in the freezer. Allow to chill for at least 1 hour, but it will keep for 1 month. I chilled mine overnight.

Preheat your oven to 325 F. Line your cookie sheets with parchment paper (I rotated 3 cookie sheets). Take out the logs and allow them to soften up a little - since I had frozen my logs overnight, I allowed them to sit on the counter for about an hour. Then, using a large knife, slice the logs into about 1/2 inch thick disks. If they crack or shatter as you cut, don't worry... just press them back together - you won't be able to tell once they're baked.

Place the cookies on the sheets with about an inch between them - but don't worry, they don't really expand while baking - what you cut is what you'll get. Bake one sheet at a time, on your highest rack in the oven for 12 minutes. They won't look done - that's ok. Let them cool on wire racks.

*Note- seriously the best cookie dough I have EVER eaten. EVER. This is the type of dough they should put in "cookie dough ice cream".

You should get about 3 dozen cookies.

All of the recipes you'll see this week as part of this "challenge" were actually baked in 1 afternoon/evening... dozens of cookies going in and out of my oven all day :0) I hope you enjoy these recipes (and try them too). I know I'll be making them again... especially this one. Smitten Kitchen is right - this is the world's best cookie.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

another use for meringues

I was invited to a bbq this weekend and wanted to bring along a dessert... both the hostess and another friend are gluten intolerant - and I've already baked my gluten free brownies for both of them... it was time to try something different.

I pulled out my copy of the golden book of patisserie and discovered their chocolate cream dacquoise recipe... meringue disks and chocolate cream. I used some dark chocolate toblerones in my chocolate cream - adding a little twist to this recipe. Really simple but impressive looking... not only did it turn out great but everyone at the table enjoyed indulging in it!

Toblerone Cream Meringue

6 egg whites
1/8 tsp vanilla salt
1 1/2 c. white sugar
1 1/2 c. ground almonds
1 tbsp cornstarch

Preheat your oven to 300 F. Grab a couple of cookie trays and line with parchment paper. Now, trace 3 x 9-inch circles... I traced the circles with a black sharpy and then flipped the parchment paper over - you can still see the guide without having to worry about marking your baked goods ;0)

In a large bowl, beat the egg whites and salt with your electric mixer at medium speed until frothy. Then increase the speed and add the sugar - you want to get stiff peaks... beat until you can hold your bowl of meringue over your head and it doesn't fall all out :0)

Put the ground almonds and cornstarch in the middle of the meringue and fold in with a large rubber spatula. Fill a LARGE Ziploc bag with the meringue... remember to zip it up completely (I didn't and a decent dollop of meringue ended up on my kitchen floor). Cut the edge of one of the corners, and following your traced rounds fill in the circles completely. I actually had enough meringue to be able to make 4 disks - even though I only made 3.

Bake in the oven for about 75 minutes - you want them to be crisp. Remove from the heat and cool on the cookie trays for 10 minutes, then remove from the parchment paper and cool completely on a wire rack.

Once your meringues are cooling on the wire rack start making your chocolate cream.

Toblerone Cream
8 oz dark toblerone (I used the mini ones)
1 1/2 c. butter, softened
6 egg yolks
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. water
2 tsp vanilla
slivered almonds

In a double boiler over simmering water melt your mini toblerones. Remove from heat and set aside.

Over medium heat and in a deep saucepan combine the brown sugar and water together. Now, don't stir the mixture, just allow it to get to that boiling point (that's why the saucepan needs to be deep, so that it doesn't overflow). You want it to get to the point known as the "soft-ball" stage. Take a glass of COLD water and drop some of the syrup into the glass. It should come together once it hits the cold water, and when you remove it from the water you can still mold it. That's when you know you have reached the right stage.

While the sugar syrup is boiling away on your stove top, beat your butter in a bowl until it becomes creamy.

In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks until they thicken.

At this point your syrup should be ready, so remove it from the heat and slowly beat it into the yolks - do this slowly so that you can temper the yolks and prevent curdling. Once the syrup and the yolks are combined, add the butter, followed by the chocolate and vanilla. Beat until it cools down. You want the cream to thicken so that it is easily spreadable - while ensuring that it doesn't run all over the plate.

Place one meringue disk on your serving platter and top with 1/3 of the chocolate cream. Repeat with the two other disks. I then topped the top layer of toblerone cream with slivered almonds. Place in the fridge to set. Allow to return to room temperature before you serve it.

We got 8 pieces out of this baby. It was really delightful!

*Note: I had about 3/4 c. of extra toblerone cream left over, so I packed it up and put it in the freezer. I'm sure I'll be able to find another use for it soon...

Saturday, July 4, 2009

combining Canada Day and the 4th of July!

My big sister turns 35 today! She's also probably the first girl who would celebrate such a milestone early :0)! She and our mom came up to visit me in Ottawa on Canada Day and we were able to celebrate her birthday then. Since it's such a special birthday, and she's such a special person, I wanted to make a cake that had that W-O-W factor. That meant my lemoncello lemon curd. A summer birthday cake with the right taste.

I found the basis of this recipe on the Use Real Butter blog - I followed the cake recipe itself, but decided to stick with my traditional curd recipe and switched up the cream cheese frosting for something lighter - buttercream meringue. This cake delivered - big time! Really simple, 4 easy steps and a bit of time...

Anne's 3 Layered Lemon Meringue Birthday Cake

Lemon Cake:
1 c. butter, softened
4 eggs, room temperature
2 1/3 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp vanilla salt
2 c. brown sugar
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp lemoncello
1 c. buttermilk (milk with 1 tbsp lemon juice - allow to sit 5 minutes)

Take your eggs out of the fridge and allow to reach room temperature (you can also place the eggs in a bowl of warm water to quickly warm them up).

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Grease and line with parchment paper 3 round cake tins. Set aside.

In a medium bowl combine the flour, b. powder and salt.

Beat your butter in a large bowl with your hand mixer for about 30 seconds. Add the sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and lemoncello and beat well until everything is combined. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.

Add the flour mixture and the butter milk alternately to beaten mixture - you'll want to barely beat the flour into the batter (low speed) so that you don't over work it.

Once just combined, pour the batter equally among the 3 pans. Bake for 25 minutes (your wooden toothpick will come out clean). Cool the cakes for about 10 minutes, then remove them from their pans and cool completely on a wire rack.

*Note: I let my cool completely and then covered each cake individually in plastic wrap and kept them in the fridge overnight.

Lemon Curd
3/4 c. sugar
3 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1 1/2 c. water
3/4 c. lemon juice
2 tsp lemon zest (the zest of an entire lemon)
1 tbsp lemoncello
2 tsp butter
4 egg yolks, lightly beaten

In a medium saucepan (over medium heat), whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, flour, water, lemon juice, lemoncello and lemon zest. You want it to thicken, so make sure that you stir it well until it gets to that boiling point.

Remove it from heat and stir in the butter. Take about 1/2 c. of the mixture and add it to the egg yolks - it'll temper the yolks and keep them from curdling. Whisk the egg yolks well - once they're smooth, return to the pan and whisk constantly - you'll know it's done when the top starts bubbling. Remove from heat and chill completely. The curd will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for a couple of days.

*Note: I used the remainder of this curd in my Chocolate stuffed lemon curd filled, lemon meringue buttercream frosted cupcakes (July 2, 2009)

Lemon Meringue buttercream frosting
4 egg whites
1 c. white sugar
pinch of vanilla salt
1 c. butter, softened
1 tbsp lemon juice

In a large glass bowl over a pot of simmering water (about 1 inch of water) place the egg whites, sugar and salt. Take your hand mixer and start beating! This is about a 5 minute process of contineous mixing - you want to make sure that the eggs don't cook - so make sure that the water doesn't touch the bowl.

Remove from the heat and continue to whisk until the meringue doubles in volume.

Add the lemon juice. Now start adding the butter, 1 tbsp at a time and continue to beat with your mixer. You want each spoonful of butter to be incorporated before you add the next one. Once everything is well combined, cover and allow to chill for at least 30 minutes in the fridge.

Now for the fun stuff... assembly!

Take your cakes out of the fridge and place the first one on your serving plate. Cover with 1/3 of the lemon curd - spread the curd evenly over the surface. Repeat with the second cake - as mentioned, you'll have some left over curd. Top with the final lemon cake. Frost the top and the sides of this cake - believe me, you'll have plenty of frosting to do this (and then some).

I recommend putting it back in the fridge until you're ready to serve (it will keep in the fridge covered for 3 days).

The result is a fluffy white cake that is light and tangy.

Happy Birthday Anne! mouah xxx

Thursday, July 2, 2009

another use for lemon curd...

I made a batch of lemon curd for a birthday cake and had some left over... rather than let it go to waste I started thinking about making a batch of cupcakes. Chocolate cupcakes filled with lemon curd and topped with a meringue buttercream frosting. Sounds pretty darn good eh? I think so too ;0)

I ended up "blog surfing" and came upon my new favourite blog (check out cup cake blog from my list) - which unfortunatley has been shut down - BUT I was able to check out her archives and found some delightful recipes (already excited to try them)... here is my twist on her stuffed chocolate cupcakes - she used strawberries and cream and I used lemon curd... :0)

These cupcakes have just a bit more assembly time required compared to regular frosted ones... but really, if I can do it - so can you!

Chocolate stuffed lemon curd filled, lemon meringue buttercream frosted cupcakes (is that a title or what!?)

1/4 c. butter, softened
1/4 c. + 2 tbsp brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 c. + 2 tbsp whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp vanilla salt
1/4 c. dark chocolate cocoa
1/4 c. milk
1/2 tsp vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line 8 cupcake molds with paper liners (fill the remaining 4 molds with water so that you don't burn your tin).

In a large bowl - cream the butter. Once it has loosened up, add the sugar and beat together until fluffy (about 2 minutes - the sugar will lighten up a bit). Add the egg and beat well.

In a smaller bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and soda, the salt and the cocoa.

In a third bowl, combine the vanilla and the milk together.

Incorporate 1/3rd of the dry mix into the butter/sugar mix - beat to combine. Then add 1/2 the milk mix to the batter, and continue adding the dry and wet ingredients (alternate) until everything is well blended.

With your mini ice cream scoop divide the batter among the 8 liners (about 2 scoops each).

Bake for 22 minutes. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

The rest of my recipes are for full batches... far to much of both the frosting and the curd for just 8 cupcakes - you can either divide them, or do like me... and bake lots of lemon meringue buttercreamed treats for a week :0)

Lemon Curd
3/4 c. sugar
3 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1 1/2 c. water
3/4 c. lemon juice
2 tsp lemon zest (the zest of an entire lemon)
2 tsp butter
4 egg yolks, lightly beaten

In a medium saucepan (over medium heat), whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, flour, water, lemon juice, and lemon zest. You want it to thicken, so make sure that you stir it well until it gets to that boiling point.

Remove it from heat and stir in the butter. Take about 1/2 c. of the mixture and add it to the egg yolks - it'll temper the yolks and keep them from curdling. Whisk the egg yolks well - once they're smooth, return to the pan and whisk constantly - you'll know it's done when the top starts bubbling. Remove from heat and chill completely (in an airtight container in the fridge overnight is a-ok).

*Remember that this amount of curd was made to be the filling for a 3 layered cake - and I still had enough left over for 8 cupcakes... or it'll fill a pie crust/ tart

Lemon Meringue buttercream frosting
4 egg whites
1 c. white sugar
pinch of vanilla salt
1 c. butter, softened
1 tbsp lemon juice

In a large glass bowl over a pot of simmering water (about 1 inch of water) place the egg whites, sugar and salt. Take your hand mixer and start beating! This is about a 5 minute process of contineous mixing - you want to make sure that the eggs don't cook - so make sure that the water doesn't touch the bowl.

Remove from the heat and continue to whisk until the meringue doubles in volume.

Add the lemon juice. Now start adding the butter, 1 tbsp at a time and continue to beat with your mixer. You want each spoonful of butter to be incorporated before you add the next one. Once everything is well combined, cover and allow to chill for at least 30 minutes in the fridge.

*Note - this was also used to completely cover a three layered cake and there was enough left over for these cupcakes. The frosting will keep in the fridge in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

Now to assemble ;0)

Using a sharp knife, make an X in the middle of each cupcake (don't go too far down). Now, using your pastry bag, add a small pastry tip to it and fill it with your lemon curd.

Dig the tip into the centre of the cupcake and start filling - the curd will come out of the top - no worries, you're covering it with frosting.

Remove the tip - and repeat 8 times. Now grab that frosting and slather it ontop the top of each cupcake. It's a light frosting (it actually ressembles whipped cream) so pile it on!

Next time I'll scoop more of the centre out so that I get a really good doople of lemon in the centre - this method seems to only allow for a thin line of it... but leason learnt right? That's part of the fun in the kitchen, you never know what you'll end up with (and everyone at work still enjoyed them)!