Thursday, January 1, 2009

Giant Cupcake

For Christmas this year, my parents got me a cake pan in the shape of a huge cupcake. So we had to try it out for Christmas dinner (yes, I am a little behind on posting). We made a white cake with chocolate frosting. I had been looking for a go-to white cake recipe, and this could be it. It was very moist, with a light crumb and not too sweet. The chocolate frosting was good as well, I would just like it to come out darker without having to use food coloring. Any suggestions?

White Cake (from Baking Bites)

1 cup milk, room temperature
6 egg whites
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter (6 oz), softened

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Grease two 9 inch cake pans with vegetable shortening, line the bottom with parchment paper, grease the parchment paper and flour the pans.

Combine milk, eggs whites and extracts in a small bowl with a fork. Set aside.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in an electric mixer and mix at slow speed with a paddle attachment. Add butter. Continue beating at slow speed until mixture looks like wet sand (If you’re doing this by hand, sift the dry ingredients together and rub in butter).

Add all but 1/2 cup of milk mixture and beat at medium speed for 1 1/2 minutes. Add remaining milk mixture and beat for an additional 30 seconds, scraping the sides of the bowl if necessary. Do not overmix.

Divide batter evenly between prepared pans and gently shake to smooth batter. Bake 30-35 minutes, until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. (I baked the large cupcake for about 25 minutes, with the bottom piece for about 6 minutes more than the top)

Let cakes cool in the pans for 15 minutes then invert onto racks to cool completely before frosting. Unfrosted cakes can be frozen for 1-2 weeks.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

1/2 cup butter (room temperature)
1 1/2 cups Confectioners sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 tbsp milk
1 tsp meringue powder

Mix the sugar and cocoa powder together (making sure there are no lumps). Add the butter and milk, and mix until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes or so. Add meringue powder and mix for 30 seconds more.

Light as Air Focaccia

For New Years, I had to make some black eyed peas to make sure we had some good luck in the new year. To go with it, I wanted a light, crusty bread and only had a few hours. So, I made this recipe form King Arthur flour with their Italian-style Flour. It was good, I added some garlic for a bit of flavor, and some wheat germ and flax seed to healthy it up a bit. The texture was light, with a nice crunch to the crust. I would make it again, and it was very quick to put together.

Light as Air Focaccia

3 1/2 cups King Arthur Italian-Style Flour
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/4 cups water
1 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp ground flax seed
2 tsp wheat germ

1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
coarse salt

Mix together all of the dough ingredients and knead briefly; 5 to 6 minutes, by hand or machine, is all this dough needs.

Cover the dough and let it rest for 15 minutes. Remove it from the bowl, and fold it over a few times, to redistribute the yeast.

Place the dough onto a lightly greased or parchment-lined half-sheet pan (or similar-size pan, about 18 x 13 inches), and pat it out into a rectangle about 10 x 15 inches in size. The dough is very tender and easy to work with. Brush it with olive oil, and sprinkle lightly with coarse salt. Cover the focaccia, and set it in a warm place to rise for about 30 minutes.

Just before baking the focaccia, use your fingers to gently dimple the dough every 2 inches or so. Bake it in a preheated 425°F oven for 18 to 20 minutes, until it’s golden brown. Remove it from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool slightly before cutting it into squares.

Yield: about a dozen 4-inch squares.