Strawberry Shortcake

 

 

You know those days when you do so much exercise that having a little (or large) treat feels justified? Well, today was not one of those days. I had an unhealthy meal, did no exercise, and then proceeded to eat dessert. But hey, if I acknowledge that it wasn’t the best thing for my body, doesn’t that count for something? No? Well then…

Today I made strawberry shortcake. This is one of those desserts that I’ve never tasted at a restaurant or anything, but the version I made was delicious, so I’ll just assume it was right. The recipe I used was from Laura Vitale on Youtube. I’ve tried this recipe a couple of times, and this is definitely one of those dishes that requires you to use butter (I usually use margarine in its place) to ensure that the dough is perfectly flaky and tasty.

photo

If you want to cut down on the sugar in this recipe just don’t sweeten your strawberries and don’t add too much extra sugar when whipping up the cream. That’ll help…somewhat. There’s nothing too complicated with this recipe, and it comes together really quickly.

Image-6

Hope everyone is having a wonderful week and we’ll talk to you soon.

– S

 

Recipe from http://www.laurainthekitchen.com/all/episode.php?episodenumber=117 

Ingredients
For the shortcakes:

1 ½ Cups of All Purpose Flour

¼ Cup of Sugar

2 tsp of Baking Powder

1 Stick or Half Cup of Cold Butter

¼ tsp of Salt

½ Cup of Heavy Cream
(you can just use milk here)

1 Egg Yolk, beaten

Egg Wash, for the topping ( 1 egg beaten with a bit of water)

Additional Sugar, for sprinkling on top

 

For the Berries and Cream:

Fresh Sliced Strawberries

Zest of One Small Orange

2 Tbsp of Sugar, or more if the strawberries are not very sweet

Juice of Half an Orange

Whipped cream

Process

1) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

2) In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a peddle attachment, combine together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the butter and mix until the butter is dispersed thru and is the size of small peas.

3) Add the cream and egg yolk. Combine together just until a dough forms. Dump on a board and form the dough into about half inch thick. Cut squares or circles and place on your prepared baking sheet.

4) Brush the tops with the egg wash and sprinkle a little sugar over them.

5) Bake for about 20 minutes or until lightly golden, let cool completely.

6) For the strawberries, place them in a bowl along with the sugar, orange zest and orange juice. Let them sit in the fridge for about 20 minutes.

7) When ready to serve, slice the shortcake in half, spoon a little whipped cream on the one of the cut sides and add some marinated strawberries on top, place the top half on and spoon a little more whip cream over the top and fish off with a fresh strawberry.

 

Blue Baby Shower Cake!

Hello!

We’ve been making up for lost baking time at Sweet Little Brownies! This week, I have for you, a beautiful baby shower cake! The highlight of this cake is pretty much the frosting technique, which is stunning. The mom-to-be is expecting a baby boy, and so the theme of the cake was baby blue.

1

Making this cake was a bit of a process, in that I made the fondant decorations the day before, and then spent the next day baking and decorating. To make the fondant toppers, I used homemade marshmallow fondant, for which the recipe can be found here: http://whatscookingamerica.net/PegW/Fondant.htm. It is super easy, and actually tastes good, compared to traditional fondant. S came up with the idea of making baby blocks to put on top of the cake. I simply cut out cubes of fondant, and decorated them with buttercream. To make the elephant, I used a shape that I printed out, as a stencil to cut the fondant. Don’t be intimidated by fondant – it will be worth the effort!

2

I made a funfetti vanilla cake with blue sprinkles to go with the theme of the cake. I used a new recipe from I am Baker (it is listed below), and I thought it was quite good, but not as fluffy as I would have liked. The White Velvet cake posted in the Happy Diwali post is still my go-to white cake recipe!

I wanted to incorporate both the Petal frosting technique and an ombre effect, so I decided to make a diagonal blue pattern with the dots. I loved the look of the frosting so much! There’s a photo tutorial on this website: http://www.mycakeschool.com/blog/pretty-petal-effect/.

PhotoGrid_1371511615805

I first put a crumb coat of my favourite buttercream (https://sweetlittlebrownies.wordpress.com/2012/10/29/me-love-coookies/) on the cooled cake, I separated the remaining frosting into three bowls. Two of the bowls were tinted different shades of blue using Wilton Royal Blue gel colour. The remaining frosting was left white. I filled three plastic pastry bags with the frosting, and piped dots onto the cake (I did not use a tip). Then, using my icing spatula streaked the frosting dots to the right. It is MUCH easier than it looks, but does take some time to finish. Just put on some Maroon 5, and you wont notice the time go by!

The cake was yummy and beautiful! I hope you try it out! All of the high quality photos are taken and edited by V – thank you!

5

Thanks for coming by,

-G

The Perfect White Cake
From: I am Baker

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 cup milk at room temperature
  • 6 large egg whites at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened but still cool

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two 8-inch cake pans.
  2. Make sure milk and eggs are room temperature.
  3. Pour milk (I used skim) , egg whites, and extracts into medium bowl and mix with fork until blended.
  4. Mix cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of electric mixer at slow speed. Add butter, cut into cubes and continue beating on low for about 1-2 minutes.
  5. Add all but 1/2 cup of milk mixture to flour mixture and beat at medium speed for 1 1/2 minutes. Add remaining 1/2 cup of milk mixture and beat for about 1 minute.
  6. Pour batter evenly between two prepared cake pans.
  7. Bake until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 27 to 30 minutes.
  8. Allow cake to cool to room temperature.
  9. Frost cakes with favorite frosting.
  10. Just barely adapted from epicurious, taken from Cooks Illustrated.

Happy Graduation!

5

Many months after we started this blog, we finally braved the incredibly long 20 minute drive to each other’s house to bake together. We’ve both recently finished our undergrad degrees and tomorrow is our graduation. As always, baking is an appropriate way to mark this occasion.

2

Red Velvet cupcakes are really popular right now (we’re still trying to figure out why), so we thought we would bake them and add a little graduation cap on top for some extra excitement! This recipe is from Paula Deen, and is different from the Red Velvet cake recipe that we posted a few weeks ago. The cupcake itself is less chocolatey, but extremely fluffy!

3

To make the graduation caps, we bought peanut butter cups for the base, and glued chocolate squares on top using Nutella. We then piped on frosting for the tassels.

4

We thought we should experiment with the frosting and tried a vanilla frosting recipe from The Pioneer Woman. It tasted wonderful, but personally, we would not make it again, purely because of the runny texture.

1

We’re going to experience many changes in the near future, and it’s going to be exciting! If any of you are graduating this year, congratulations and good luck! 🙂

Thanks for celebrating with us, and see you soon!

-S & G

 

Paula Deen’s Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting


Yields: 12 cupcakes

Adapted Slightly From: http://www.pauladeen.com/recipes/view2/red_velvet_cupcakes_with_cream_cheese_frosting/

Cupcake Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder
3/4 cups vegetable oil
3/4 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp red food coloring (Wilton Gel colour)
1/2 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line (12-cup) muffin pan with cupcake papers.

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 cupcake tins about 2/3 filled. Bake in oven for about 20 to 22 minutes, turning the pans once, half way through. Test the cupcakes with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.

 

Vanilla Frosting

From: http://tastykitchen.com/recipes/desserts/thate28099s-the-best-frosting-ie28099ve-ever-had/

Frosts more than 24 cupcakes

 

  • 5 Tablespoons Flour
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1 cup Butter
  • 1 cup Granulated Sugar (not Powdered Sugar!)

 

  • Bake your favorite chocolate cake and let it cool.
  • In a small saucepan, whisk flour into milk and heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens. You want it to be very thick, thicker than cake mix, more like a brownie mix is. Remove from heat and let it cool to room temperature. (If I’m in a hurry, I place the saucepan over ice in the sink for about 10 minutes or so until the mixture cools.) It must be completely cool before you use it in the next step. Stir in vanilla.
  • While the mixture is cooling, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. You don’t want any sugar graininess left. Then add the completely cooled milk/flour/vanilla mixture and beat the living daylights out of it. If it looks separated, you haven’t beaten it enough! Beat it until it all combines and resembles whipped cream.

 

Caramelized Banana Bread with Cinnamon Swirl

Free time is such a beautiful thing! All of a sudden, napping after lunch, watching movies at all hours of the day, and having unscheduled hangouts with friends have become daily activities rather than something I dream about during lectures. You would think that with all this time on my hands, I would be baking up a storm, but clearly that hasn’t been happening. We went on a cruise recently, and in order to offset the gluttonous dessert consumption during our vacation, I have avoided baking at all costs. Alas, the allure of combining simple ingredients into a sweet masterpiece is too strong to resist!

1

In order to feed my need to bake, I made an extra special banana bread. We do already have a classic banana bread recipe on the blog, but this one is a little more amped up. There’s a boost of flavour from the caramelized bananas and cinnamon swirl-this is no plain jane banana bread!

2

This recipe has been adapted from a blog called Some Kitchen Stories, which has great recipes, all accompanied by beautiful photographs.

3

Caramelizing the bananas in sugar and butter adds an extra depth of flavour; this essentially applies to any fruit that you cook over heat. As the sugars cook, their flavour develops, and becomes more intense. At this point, you know how I feel about cinnamon, so do I really need to justify the cinnamon sugar swirl? 😉 If you look carefully, you can see that I also sprinkled some white sanding sugar on top, for some sparkle!

4

Eat a warm slice with Nutella or peanut buttah-your tummy will thank you.

Bake some today!

5

It was great to see you today, come back soon!

-G

Caramelized Banana Bread with Cinnamon Swirl

Adapted From: http://somekitchenstories.com/2012/09/26/caramelized-banana-bread-with-browned-butter-glaze/

Makes one 9×5” loaf pan

INGREDIENTS

4 TBSPs of butter, softened and divided
3/4 Cup of packed dark brown sugar
3 Medium-sized, ripe bananas, sliced
1/2 Cup of buttermilk
3 TBSPs of oil

1 tsp vanilla
2 Large eggs
2 cups AP flour (whole wheat or white)
3/4 Teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 Teaspoon of salt

1 tbsp sanding sugar (optional)

1/3 cup granulated sugar

2 ½ tsp Ground Cinnamon

DIRECTIONS

Make bread:

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

3. Add brown sugar and bananas; sauté 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Remove from heat; cool 10 minutes.

5. Place banana mixture in a large bowl.

6. Beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth.

7. Combine buttermilk and next 3 ingredients (through eggs).

8. Spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt.

9. Mix wet and dry ingredients

10. Scrape 1/3 batter into a 9 x 5-inch metal loaf pan coated with butter and flour.

11. Combine cinnamon and white sugar.

12. Add about half of cinnamon sugar, layer another third of batter, followed by remaining cinnamon sugar and batter. Sprinkle top with sanding sugar.

13. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs clinging.

14. Cool for 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack.

15. Remove bread from pan, and cool on wire rack.