Category Archives: Cake

Diddy Dum Diddy Do


Nothing here but these boring cakes.

Supa dupa boring. I mean, simple white buttercream. Unadorned. Undecorated. Ungarnished.

Dull. Plain.

Yep. Bor-RAINBOW.
You saw it! A rainbow cake! This feller took forever to create, but it was so much fun to play with as well.

The batter was simple and delicious, very moist. However, I don’t know if it was just me, but I followed the recipe to a “T” but despite the toothpick coming out clean, the tops of the cakes felt almost unbaked, so I baked them five minutes longer than the recipe recommended. This didn’t dry the cakes out or cause them to be darkened on the edges, but the tops remained the same. Not sticky, but they left a divot. I just leveled them off and was fine and good, I just thought it was odd. I blame the butter.

Wait, what am I saying? Don’t blame the butter! The butter did nothing wrong!

In order to maintain even layers, I took the batter and weighed it in a separate bowl. This made more dishes, so I would weigh the mixing bowl first, write that weight down, then make the batter and weigh it, then take off the weight of the bowl. The batter, for me, weighed 3 pounds 10 ounces, so when that was divided into six portions, each would be 9.6667 ounces, or 9.7 ounces.

I don’t like math, but I do it for you all. You can thank me later.

Then I have to make this

    exponentially

important statement. I bolded it, but if you could do me a favor and imagine some flashing lights around it, that would be greatly appreciated.

DO NOT USE LIQUID FOOD COLORS ONLY USE GEL FOOD COLORS!

If you use liquid food colors, it would offset the delicate balance of liquid to dry ingredients in the batter, thereby messing with the baked product. In other words, it might make it too liquidy in the end with the amount of food color you might use.

Oh, gel food colors are probably about 5 or 6 times more concentrated than liquid food colors, so you will need a lot less. That’s important too. You can find them for cheap at your local craft store in the baking isle, or I get mine at a bakery supply store. You’ll find that they are super easy to use.

I’m telling ya, man, if you don’t use gel food colors, your layers will not be as blinding as these.

All in all, its a pretty normal sized cake once the layers are all stacked up, equalling to about the size of a tall double layer cake. Its not like you baked the amount of batter for three cakes, its basically the amount of a normal cake batter. Where is all this verbage and analyzing coming from? These colors are messing with my brain. Just think, if you make two of these cakes…

That would probably be my reaction too.

Even though the cake wasn’t that tall, it did require a lot of frosting, so I applied a relatively thin amount in between each layer. I do have to admit, I really don’t like massive amounts of frosting, so this amount was adequate, and I sliced really small slices. The one in the picture is an exception. Or was it? Don’t judge.

Now listen. Once your layers have been assembled, don’t dump on a massive amount of frosting and cover the cake right away. You might get crumbs to cover your cake, and we want to deceive! Any indication of color might make your cake followers curious! They may question! To prevent that, spread on a small amount of frosting all over the cake. Like in the picture, you will still see the cake layers pretty well. Now stick your cake in the freezer for about five or ten minutes.

Trust in Clara, you must.

It’s called a ‘crumb coat’, basically, the frosting will catch and hold onto the straying cake crumbs and hold them onto the cake when you frost. By sticking it in the freezer, the crumb coat becomes hard because of the butter, and so the crumbs are cemented to the thin layer of frosting, and they will not invade your lovely white buttercream which you will spread on the outside. The result? Boring, inconspicuous cake. Perfect method of deceit.

Bright and shiny. Ultra colorful. This cake is about as delicious as it is saturated in color. It will make a great birthday cake! Or if you get that sudden urge to make something wacky.

Rainbow Cake via Whisk Kid

White Cake (but not really)
Ingredients
2 sticks (226 g) butter, room temp
2 1/3 c (466 g) sugar
5 egg whites, room temp
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 c (375 g) flour
4 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 1/2 c (355 g) milk, warmed for 30 sec in microwave to bring to room temp
Red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple GEL food coloring. Liquid will not be vibrant enough!

Method
Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Oil and line how ever many 9” cake pans you have (I have three and I just reused them).

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Cream the sugar and butter, then add the egg whites (I cracked them all into one bowl) and add them a little at a time. Add the vanilla and mix until fully incorporated. Then, alternating between wet and dry, add the milk and flour mixture in two parts.

Divide the batter amongst 6 bowls (I did it by weight. Weigh your mixing bowl before you begin adding ingredients and then subtract the weight of the bowl from the final measurement after the batter is completed. Divide that number by six and add that weight of batter to each bowl), and then whisk a fair amount of the appropriate food color into each bowl. Keep in mind that the color of the unbaked batter will be the color of the baked batter. Pour into the pans and bake for 15 minutes each.

When you remove them from the oven, let them rest on the cooling rack, in the pan, for ten minutes. Then flip, cover, and stash them in the fridge to cool quickly.

American Buttercream (you may want to double this)
Ingredients
2 sticks Unsalted Butter, softened
4 C. Powdered Sugar, Sifted
1 T. Vanilla Extract
2 T. Milk, plus more if needed

Method
1. In a heavy duty mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip butter until fluffy, about one minute.
2. Add in powdered sugar, about 1/2 cup at a time, until thoroughly combined.
3. Add in vanilla extract and milk. If the frosting is too thick, add in more milk, one tablespoon at a time, until frosting achieves your desired consistency.
4. Frost!

Happy Baking!
Clara

Key Lime Cheesecake


This summer has really been a scorcher. In fact, just the other day our state broke its record for 100+ degree days. At just over 50 days (and maybe around 30 days IN A ROW) at a standard temperature of 105 or more, its a record I’d rather not have. It leaves me terrified to even put my dog outside, so I cut it into once an hour where I take him out to go potty, then back into the depths of an air-conditioned home he goes. Honestly, Avery doesn’t seem too bothered by it, he thoroughly enjoys air conditioning. In fact, when we got him from the breeder, we were overwhelmed by a slew of rowdy corgi puppies scampering indoors and out as their poor mother waddled after them, her tubby tummy dragging on the ground.

And then there was our puppy dog, laying on an air conditioning vent, happy as a clam. It was a match made in heaven.

Now he just hogs the AC vent.

So that begs the question; hot or cold? I am pretty cold-blooded, I get too cold very easily. I even get blue fingernails and purple toes, so a lot of times you will see me inside wearing a zip-up hoodie or a jacket, despite it being 100 degrees outside, AC just makes me too dang cold! On the other side, I’d much rather be cold than hot, because when you are cold you can just put on a jacket, a pair of pajama pants, or just settle underneath a warm blankie. When you’re hot, however, there’s pretty much no way out other than eating ice cream or drinking something chilly.

Or you can head to the Florida Keys and eat some Key Lime Pie. Or just stay where you are and have Key Lime Pie or Key Lime Cheesecake, what have you. Every time my dad goes to Tampa or the Keys on business, he always makes an effort to tell us about the Key Lime Pie, that’s his favorite thing! I don’t blame him, I don’t think I’ve been to Florida or than going to Disney World at the ages of 2 and 8, and I’m sure that if I were able to go any time soon (which I most likely can and will, since I’m so dang close!), I will make an executive effort to try an AUTHENTIC Key Lime Pie from the Keys. Until then, I’ll utilize the very nice and cute little key limes that they sell in little netted bags at the Grocery Store. The cute, tiny little limes that literally take me an hour to juice 1 cup out of. The precious, adorable little limes that always make me roar like Reptar out of frustration because the tiny little feller managed to get some juice in a cut that I didn’t even know I had.

The wittle, baby, itty-bitty, little limes that always perk up, without overpowering, fabulous key lime pies or other custard-like desserts in the most lovely of ways.

So I utilized the graham crackers that I had made (two posts ago) and made a graham cracker crust for some Key Lime Cheesecake (a light one, so everyone can be happy). I wanted to merge that almost overbearing lusciousness of the New York-style cheesecake with the tart lightness of the Key Lime Pie from the Florida Keys. Needless to say, it was a successful mission.

I chose to make the cheesecake tart, because otherwise, the cream cheese flavor could overbear it. Once the flavors meshed, they complimented each other nicely.
Light and luscious, this cheesecake alleviated the oppressive, and downright offensive, heat of the summer for a little relaxation. Whether on the patio with some sweet tea, or a delicatessen, or just hiding from the flames of heck that is the sunny outdoor heat.

So what are you waiting for? Give it a go!

Key Lime Cheesecake
Ingredients

    For the Crust

8 oz. Honey Graham Crackers, finely crushed
6 T. Unsalted Butter, melted
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 c. Sugar

    For the Filling

5, 8 oz. blocks Regular Cream Cheese (for light, use 3 blocks Light, and 2 blocks Nonfat)
1 1/4 c. Granulated Sugar (add 1/4 more if you want the mixture sweeter)
5 eggs, plus 3 egg yolks (for light, just use 4 eggs)
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1/4 c. plus 2 T. All-Purpose Flour
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 C. Key Lime Juice, freshly-squeezed (alternatively, you can use regular limes)
1 tsp. Zest from Key Limes (alternatively, you can use regular limes)

Method
Stir together crust ingredients with a fork, then pour in the melted butter and stir so that the crumbs are moistened. Press this mixture into a 9 in. Springform pan that has been buttered. Wrap the outside with foil, making sure that the place where the pan parts connect is thoroughly covered. Place the pan into the freezer while you prepare the filling.

-Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
1. In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the cream cheeses together thoroughly, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl every once in a while.
2. Pour in the sugar and mix until combined. Add in the juice and zest of the key limes and the vanilla. Taste the mixture at this point to make sure if it needs to be sweeter or more tart and adjust to your liking.
3. Mix in eggs, one at a time, making sure that there are no streaks of unmixed cream cheese floating around in the mixture, then add in the flour and salt.**
4. Pour the mixture into the prepared springform pan and place pan on a cookie sheet, or a baking dish in which the pan can fit into. Fill the baking dish with water, making sure that the water line is below where the foil ends. Gently place the pans into the oven and bake at 500 for 15 minutes, making sure to watch the top so that it does not burn.
5. Reduce temperature to 300 and bake the cheesecake for about an hour longer, until the cheesecake is almost firm (the center may slightly jiggle when you remove the cake, if it’s almost fluid-like or has the jiggle-factor of Jello, then it needs to return to the oven. Bake for 10 minutes at a time until mostly firm.)
6. Remove cake from oven and run a knife around the sides of the pan to loosen the crust from the walls. Remove the pan from the water-bath and take off the foil. Allow the cake to cool for at least 3 hours, or until cool enough to touch. Place cake in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours, or until thoroughly chilled.

Enjoy!

**: OPTIONAL: To make the cake mixture seem a bit more “limey” in color, add a drop or two of kelly green gel food coloring with a drop of lemon yellow gel food coloring. Go by drops when it comes to the food coloring!

Happy Baking!
Clara

Orange Pound Cupcakes


As you all know, I have discussed pound cake in a past post. I just recently had a hankering to make a pound cake, well, recently as in this morning. Only this time, I wanted to make it orange flavor, utilizing both the zest and the juice to create the most flavorful essence.

Okay, I sound like I’m making some sort of perfume here! It’s been a busy past few weeks, time to wind down and make cupcakes. Pound cupcakes. Little pound cakes. Baby pound cakes. Pound Puppies.

Well, I already baked them at this point, so I’ll give you the option for the icing. The icing is simple, utilizing fresh orange juice, zest, and powdered sugar. It’s not too sweet, not too sour, it almost tasted like orange juice, which was what I was going for.

You have the option of either dunking your cupcakes in the icing.

Or spooning it on. Either way, try to get it to drip down the sides of the cupcakes or cake or drip into your stomach. I don’t judge.

The thing that I was really proud of with these cupcakes here was the face that they really gave me some purty pictures! I’ve been trying to get some more ‘food stylist-y’ in my photography without having to spend, I don’t know, the extra thousands and thousands of dollars that i have in the depths of my poor college student bank account. I fear I’ll never be as good as Matt Armendariz or Tartlette, but then again, they are professional photographers. I love looking at their work and getting inspired by it. All I can say is this, I love my camera, I love natural light, and I love Photoshop, that’s all I need.

So give them a go! You’ll be glad you did!

Orange Pound Cake with Sweet Orange Icing
Adapted from the Buttermilk Pound Cake recipe by Alton Brown
Ingredients
1 1/2 Sticks Unsalted Butter, room temperature
8 ounces All-Purpose flour
8 ounces Granulated Sugar
The zest of 1/2 Orange
2 large Eggs
1 vanilla bean, scraped
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/4 cup Buttermilk
1/4 cup Freshly-Squeezed Orange Juice

Method
Preheat oven to 375 degrees, prepare 1 loaf pan by spraying with nonstick baking spray or rubbing with butter and dusting with flour, or line cupcake tins with cupcake liners. Set aside.
1. Combine buttermilk and orange juice, set aside.
2. In the bowl of a heavy-duty electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix butter and sugar together on medium speed until very light and fluffy, about 6 minutes (no less than this). Add in the seeds of the vanilla bean, salt, and orange zest and mix until evenly distributed.
3. While making sure to scrape down the bowl as you go, add in the eggs, one at a time, mixing on medium speed until evenly mixed and distributed; around 2 minutes per egg. The mixture will be very creamy.
4. Starting and ending with the flour, alternate adding the flour and the buttermilk mixture until both are incorporated. Around three additions of flour and two of the buttermilk mixture.
5. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan, or distribute into cupcake tins, filling each liner around 2/3 full. Bake 40 minutes in the loaf pan, or 25 minutes in the cupcake tins. A toothpick will be clean when inserted into the center of each. Transfer the cupcakes to a cooling rack quickly. Allow the loaf to sit in the pan for ten minutes exactly, then loosen the edges with a knife and transfer to a cooling rack. Allow to cool immediately.

Citrus Glaze
Recipe by Alton Brown

Ingredients
6 ounces powdered sugar
1 teaspoon lemon or orange zest
2 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon or orange juice
Pinch kosher salt

Method
Add the powdered sugar, zest, juice, and salt to a medium mixing bowl and whisk until smooth.

Drizzle immediately over the completely cooled cake or store glaze in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Stir well before using.

Happy Baking!
Clara

Hi, I’m Home


It’s Spring Break! You know, that time of year where students typically go to Cabo San Lucas, Playa, Tampa, Miami. You know, all those fancy-dancy ‘spring break’ type places. Where do I go? Home. I am perfectly content with it, too. To be reunited with my mixer, my oven, my plethora of ingredients. Heaven on Earth, this place. What did I make first thing back here? I made Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cooked Frosting. But of course! I made a few minor changes, just to adjust the fluffiness and consistency of the cupcakes. They stayed about the same, but they were a little more fluffy thanks to the mixture of cake and all purpose flour in the batter.

Another substitute I made in the recipe was oil in the place of the solid shortening. To kind of play on with the moisture of the cupcake. It turned out fine, if not a little more moist. You can’t do much when it comes to red velvet, the buttermilk makes them already pretty moist. Anything more than that, you’ll get mush. But the final batter was looser and more fluid. It was ideal for cupcakes!

My favorite part of making the batter is just putting together the paste for the food coloring and the cocoa powder. You can certainly put them together separately, adding each directly to the batter; however, I think that this is a little less risky. If you added the red food coloring directly to the batter, you run the risk of it splashing out and ruining your Gap blazer. That never happened, but seeing as I wore it while baking, it could have been.

It just makes me think of Dexter or True Blood whenever I make this cake.

I used about 1 1/2 cups of All-Purpose Flour and 1 cup of Cake Flour in the batter, it certainly did yield a softer cake. I’ll experiment again and see how they hold up to all cake flour. Red velvet is a pretty heavy cake.

Oh, also a DASH of cinnamon :).

But oh, is it a pretty batter.

The chemical reaction from combining the vinegar and baking soda helps leaven the cake in a more gentle manner, not only that, but it has been said (in ancient times) that it makes the cake redder.

But you didn’t hear anything from me.

Pretty cakes too! Such even crumb structure! The cake flour contributed to that.

So yeah! Give the recipe a try with the slight modifications! Tell me what YOU think!

Dump some cooked frosting on top (my favorite frosting to make! Its a fun process!)

Give it a go! make the slight modifications!

Happy Baking!
Clara

Pumpkin Surprise Cheesecake – Say Thank You!


I will have you know that pumpkin is a controversial subject. Not everyone likes pumpkin pie, and i can respect that, I didn’t start liking it until a vew years ago, when I got past the texture and got to the flavor. I have had pumpkin pies in the past and, though I love them so, I just cannot stand the texture. Custard isn’t my favorite in terms of palate pleasure, it’s too eggy to me, eggy and strange. My problem is that I love flan, creme brulee, pumpkin and sweet potato pie and whatnot, but they all have that eggy-custardy texture. I’m honestly not a fan. When I think pumpkin, I think smooth, and if I had a choice, pumpkin cheesecake should be on the Thanksgiving table everywhere in the United States!

But you know, that’s just me. There are all sorts of opinions in the world, and mine is to embrace the wonderful world of pumpkin, ginger, spice, chocolate, and cheesecake all in one texture and experience. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

Let’s give this a go, I had been planning to give this a go ever since the few weeks before coming home from school, the lack of a community kitchen only fueled the fire in this area.

Here, I used those gingersnaps that I made earlier that day to make a rather delightful crust. I love gingersnaps…

Have I already told you that?

I think so.

And then, of COURSE, the cream cheese. Isn’t it delightful? Big bricks of love.

I should be a spokesperson. Paula Deen was! Why can’t I?

Eggs, sugar, the ‘uge, you know, everything that makes cheesecake so wonderful.

Except here’s the difference, I took two cups of the batter out to the side before i mixed in the pumpkin and spices in, and added in cooled, melted chocolate to the mix. Finished the pumpkin portion then actually put a layer of pumpkin on the bottom of the pan, then added in all of the chocolate in an even layer, then topped off with the rest of the pumpkin. What was neat was that the on the baked cheesecake, the crust actually covered the chocolate layer, so its a surprise!

Bake with a waterbath! The most important aspect of it all! Don’t be discouraged if you find a crack or two. It happens! For me, it happened along the sides of the baked cheesecake if you look on the top. That’s why, in New York, you always see cheesecakes with the pie filling pooled on top! I betcha they are hiding cracks! Gotcha there!

Surprise! Pumpkin Chocolate Cheesecake! A sight to behold! But wait! There’s more!

There ya go! Hee hee, no cheesecake is complete wihout whipped cream!

So if you’re wanting to try something new this year on the Thanksgiving table, give this a go! You won’t be disappointed!

Pumpkin Chocolate Cheesecake
Ingredients
8 oz. Gingersnaps, pulsed into fine crumbs
2 oz. Unsalted Butter, melted
1 tsp. Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp. Ground Ginger
1/4 tsp. Kosher Salt

4 8 oz blocks Cream Cheese
1 1/2 c. Granulated Sugar
4 Eggs
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1/2 tsp. Kosher Salt
3 T. All Purpose Flour

For the Pumpkin Layers:
1 c. Pumpkin Puree
1/2 tsp. Grated Nutmeg
1/8 tsp. Ground Cloves
1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon

For the Chocolate Layer
6 oz. Bittersweet Chocolate, melted and cooled
1 T. Dutch Process Cocoa Powder

Method
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place a cookie sheet in the oven and fill halfway with water, prep a springform pan with nonstick cooking spray and wrap the outside in foil, set aside.
1. Place gingersnap crumbs in a bowl and stir in salt, brown sugar, and grated ginger until combined. Slowly add in butter while stirring until you get moist crumbs, but not saturated. Press crumbs into the springform pan, all along the bottom and walls (halfway is fine). Place pan in the refrigerator to firm up.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix blocks of cream cheese until smooth. Add in vanilla, salt, flour and sugar until smooth, and add in eggs, one at a time, until completely combined.
3. Take two cups out of the batter and place into a separate bowl, stir in melted chocolate and cocoa powder until incorporated, set aside.
4. Add pumpkin, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves to the original batter and stir to combine.
5. Take the springform pan and pour in half of the pumpkin batter in an even layer on the bottom. Evenly spread the chocolate layer on top of the pumpkin layer, gently pushing it to the edges of the crust, top with remaining pumpkin batter and be sure to completely cover the chocolate.
6. Place foil-wrapped springform pan into the cookie sheet filled with water into the preheated oven. Bake at 450 for 12 minutes, then lower the temperature to 350 and allow to bake for another hour, or until slightly jiggly in the center and the edges are firm. If the cheesecake is still quite jiggly, bake in 30 minute increments, do not take the cheesecake when it is very jiggly, it won’t firm up.
7. Allow to cool to room temperature for two hours, then chill overnight until ready to serve. Top with whipped cream, enjoy!

Happy Baking! Happy Thanksgiving!
Clara

An Early Gift


Today is a special post to me. Since I am leaving for school in about 9 days, I am going to be missing my grandfather’s birthday, which occurs about two weeks after I leave. He is turning 90, and I wanted to make things special for him, despite me not officially being there. My dad always told me stories of how my grandmother would make this lemon pound cake with lemon rind in the cake and in the frosting. He called it just perfect. My sisters also told me of this cake, as well as her Devil’s Food cake. Unfortunately for me, my grandmother had stopped cooking by the time I came along, so I missed out! She passed away two years ago, and my grandfather thinks that she is living through me in terms of my baking. “Pound-A-Butter Betty” has come through to me as “Pound-A-Butter Clara”, I feel honored with the title, and I wanted to make something special for him for his 90th birthday. So I made him Mamo’s Lemon Pound Cake.

Considering that Mamo never wrote down a recipe for anything, and it was apparently impossible to get them out of her, I had to go by word of mouth as to how to make this cake. I needed accuracy. Was it sour? Was it sweet? Did it taste like tangy lemonade? Did it taste like sweet lemon curd? I had to be as spot-on as possible to make this special ‘birthday’ cake a reality for Dado. After all of the research and thought-process, I put together a pound cake that was lemony, sweet, bright, and makes you feel happy on a summer day.

Behold, the old-fashioned pound cake.

For amazing smoothness, I used one 8 oz. block of unsalted European butter. European butter has a higher fat content than standard butter, so it ups the richness significantly. I’m going totally Southern here, richness is in my roots!

I went a pretty straight-forward way. I measured my ingredients so that I had an equal amount of each. Really, this is a half-pound cake, since I weighed everything to be eight ounces. However, you can definitely double the recipe and use a bundt pan for a ‘Pound Cake’.

Heck, since this is 8 oz. of everything, you could call this a Cup Cake! What? That’s what the phrase came from! Did you know that? Betcha didn’t!

I beat the butter and an equal portion of sugar in my mixer on medium speed for about 9-10 minutes. I know this seems like a long time, but this is how pound cakes were done in the past. However, we have stand mixers now, and not tons and tons of time to stir and stir and stir the butter and sugar together until nice and creamy and fluffy. Let me explain this process real quick.

When we cream butter and sugar together, the sugar granules are poking thousands and thousands of tiny holes in the butter so that air can come in. I did not use any other forms of leavening in the cake other than the creaming method. As a result, the cake is rich and dense, yet oddly light. That is the strangeness of the pound cake. The eggs puff when they bake, using the air pockets that we have created with this long creaming time, which causes the cake to rise. So, the long creaming time is ESSENTIAL. I use the time to my advantage, weighing my ingredients, preheating my oven, and prepping my pan all while this is happening. Trust me. It must be done.

At my grocery store, they had these beautiful large lemons on sale, not the teeny ones, but the mondo ones. I had a thought that if I used one of these lemons in the cake, it would give enough flavor without over powering the cake. I also did the same with the icing, knowing that the ratio of juice/milk will give the icing a tangy aspect. Also, the addition of vanilla to the cake will round out the flavors and really make the cake more…well…lemon-y!

I zested one entire lemon and used its juice, beating it in AFTER the creaming was completed.

I weighed four eggs. So I can tell you that a large egg (not extra large, please) weighs 2 ounces, so four of them weigh 8 ounces. There you go, I weighed everything for you. I also used half cake flour and half all purpose. The protein in the all purpose would give the cake a bit more firmness, while the cake flour would keep it tender.

I’m just working on the science aspect for you!

Okay, don’t be worried about filling the pan too high. It WILL look like the pan is too high, but trust me here, it will not overflow. The batter is simply too dense, and the lack of baking powder will not allow it to rise too much. So don’t worry, trust me. While it seems like there is a lot of batter, it really is just right.

And smooth it off, too! That’s just my little thing. I like it to be smoooooth!

Bake it for about an hour and fifteen minutes! The top will get nice and golden, and then it will crack in the center, like a wonderful, classic pound cake. So preeeeettyyy.

While the cake is baking, make the icing. Milk, powdered sugar, and zest and juice of HALF of one of the large lemons (or one whole smaller lemon) turned out to be just right. The frosting was thicker, don’t worry about that. We are putting it on the cake when it is still fairy hot, so it will ‘melt’.

Be sure to taste as you go! If it’s too sour, add more milk and powdered sugar. Too sweet? Add more lemon!

Welcome, little cake! It’s been quite a long journey, its dark outside now, I have lost my pretty natural light while waiting for you. But I forgive you. You are delicious.

And fattening…

You ARE called pound cake, after all!

Pour the frosting evenly over the top of the still-hot pound cake, it will melt and seep down the sides. Add as much as you want, I didn’t skimp. Also, its important to let the cake cool for a bit after the frosting is on, so that it can set.

Happy 90th Birthday, Dado! I love you!

Mamo’s Lemon (Half) Pound Cake with Lemony Icing
Ingredients
8 oz. Unsalted European Butter, softened
8 oz. Granulated Sugar (I used vanilla sugar, but you can use whatever)
8 oz. Large Eggs (four)
Zest of 1 Large Lemon
Juice of 1 Large Lemon
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
4 oz. Sifted Cake Flour
4 oz. All-Purpose Flour
1/2 tsp. Kosher Salt

1 3/4 C. Powdered Sugar
Zest of 1/2 Large Lemon
Juice of 1/2 Large Lemon
3 T. Milk, plus more in case the frosting is too thick

Method
-Preheat oven to 350 and prep one 9″x5″ loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.
1. In a heavy duty mixer, cream butter and sugar together until almost completely white and very fluffy, about 9-10 minutes (this has to be done). Add in zest and juice, and beat for another minute.
2. Add in eggs, one at a time, beating until each egg is thoroughly incorporated before adding the next. Add vanilla and salt. The end mixture should look a bit curdled, this is alright.
3. Pour in flour in three increments, mixing until each addition is mixed in. Mix for about 30 seconds on medium-low speed after the flour has been incorporated.
4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top, do not be concerned about filling the pan too high. Bake in preheated oven for 75-80 minutes until cake is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the cake inside the crack on the center is slightly dry but springy. Allow to sit in pan for five minutes, then invert to a cooling rack set over a kitchen towel.
5. Prepare icing, whisk together powdered sugar, milk, zest, and lemon juice until smooth. The frosting should be as thick as maple syrup.
6. While the cake is still hot, use a toothpick to prick holes all over the top of the cake. Pour icing evenly over the cake. Allow the cake to cool and set before enjoying.

Happy Baking!
Pound-A-Butter Clara

Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake


I am in Albuquerque at the moment, my last little ‘vacation’ before I jet off to Savannah in a few weeks. I don’t start until the 13th, gaah. At that point, everyone will be a month into college! Haha. It’s hard to think that my friends are all separated out. Bob is in NYC (jealousy…), Jake is in Boston (jealousy…again..)…I just can’t believe it! Thanks to the world of Skype!

Catherine (my eldest sister) and I are very conscious about our weight, since we both have lost a lot in the past few years, we like to try and figure out substitutes to our favorite things that are low calorie, low fat, yet full flavored. Catherine’s favorite thing is the chocolate mousse cheesecake at the Cheesecake Factory. We have been planning to find out a healthier (and still decadent!) substitute to the 17 Weight Watcher point slice (she is on weight watchers, it works! She’s so LITTLE now!). And here we have it! All it takes is a couple things to make a difference.

By taking the concept of the last cheesecake I made and figuring out how I could make everything come together in a ‘lighter’ manner without substituting richness, I, well, we (she made the mousse) managed to make a cheesecake that was substantially less (probably seven points a slice).

Oh, and it was REALLY good.

We went ahead and made a full fat mousse, using about half of it on the cheesecake, since it was easier. But that’s okay! Do what you want to do with it! The sky’s the limit!

The only thing that is very important here, though, is the use of a water bath. Without it, then the cheesecake will REALLY crack and be…um…not too pretty. Sure, you cover it with mousse, but you will still know its there.

You will…

So what are you waiting for?? Give it a go!

Lighter Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake
Ingredients
FOR THE CRUST
2 C. Chocolate Teddy Grahams ground into fine crumbs (should amount to 1 1/4 C.)
3/4 C. Melted Unsalted Butter
1/2 C. Granulated Sugar

FOR THE MOUSSE
1 Half Recipe Chocolate Mousse

FOR THE CHEESECAKE
6 oz. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips, melted and cooled
2 Blocks Fat Free Cream Cheese
1 Block Low Fat Cream Cheese
1 1/2 T. All Purpose Flour
1 Large Egg
2 Egg Yolks
3/4 C. Plus 2 T. Granulated Sugar
1 tsp. Salt

Method
1. Preheat oven to 350 Degrees and fill a large roasting pan with water, set inside oven.
2. Stir the melted butter in with the ground chocolate teddy grahams and sugar, the crumbs should be lightly moist and crumbly, but still hold together when pressed. Add butter a little bit at a time to make sure. Spray a 9″ springform pan with nonstick cooking spray and pour the mixture into the pan. Using a flat-bottomed glass, gently press the crumbs against the bottom and up the wall of the pan. Place pan into the refrigerator so that the crust can firm up.
3. Prepare cheesecake filling. In the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the cream cheese and flour until combined. Scrape bowl as needed. Mix in sugar, salt, as well as the eggs, one at a time. Mix until combined. Pour melted chocolate into the mixture and stir until thoroughly combined.
4. Pour mixture into the chilled crust and smooth the top as best as possible. Wrap the bottom of the pan in aluminum foil and place into the roasting pan filled with water. Bake until the cheesecake has puffed slightly, slightly firm, and the center is slightly wobbly. Allow the cheesecake to cool completely at room temperature, then cool in the refrigerator from 4 hours to overnight.
5. Prepare chocolate mousse as the recipe instructs, then pour on top of completely cooled cheesecake, then spread around the top. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least two hours so that the mousse can firm up. Slice and serve.

Happy Baking!
Clara