Sally’s Baking Addiction, October Challenge, Pumpkin Roll Cake

IMG_3577

This month Sally challenged us to make a pumpkin roll cake. We had a roll cake challenge back in May. At that time I talked about how my roll cakes always crack and I have to cover it up with icing or flowers or some type of decoration.

IMG_1589

This time I thought I would really challenge myself and put a pattern in my pumpkin sponge cake. I saw this, for the first time, on The Great British Baking Show. Since this was a pumpkin sponge I wanted a pumpkin patch pattern but couldn’t find anything I liked or could put on the cake, so I made my own template using stickers from a craft store. Sally recommends a 10 inch x 15 inch jelly roll pan, so I made my template that size. I cut a paper to the same size and measured to find the exact center. I knew I would be rolling the cake from the short side so made my pattern such that it would repeat in that direction. I also knew that the edges would most likely be trimmed away so I left a good sized border along both sides. I used a pencil to draw in, roughly, where the vines would connect the pumpkins.

IMG_3547

I then layer a parchment paper over the template, securing it with tape, so I would be able to pipe the batter onto the parchment.

IMG_3549

Now I needed to mix up a cake batter that would be denser than the pumpkin sponge so that the pattern would not mix into the cake batter and disappear. I used this mixture:

50g butter, room temperature

50g powdered sugar (or icing sugar)

50g egg whites

50g flour, all purpose

IMG_3550

Using a hand mixer, combine the sugar and butter until smooth, then add the egg whites and finally the flour and stir to make a strong paste. You want this pretty thick, you need to be able to pipe it but still want it to hold a firm shape. I needed two colors, orange and leaf green.

IMG_3552

I used gel food colors and a number 1 piping tip to make the pumpkins

IMG_3553

Another portion was colored green, and using a number 3 tip, I piped the vines.

 

This went into the freezer for, at least 30 minutes, while I prepared the Pumpkin sponge cake as per Sally’s recipe. Once the mixture was ready I had to remove the template from the pan and replace the frozen pattern. Then I spread the pumpkin batter, carefully, over the design.

IMG_3558

IMG_3564

IMG_3567

Sally’s recipe stated that the baking time would be ~17 minutes, but mine was done in 10 minutes. It is important to not over bake the cake or it will crack when it is rolled (I should know, this is my big problem with roll cakes!). I had to flip my cake twice when it was done. The first time I turned the cake out onto a sheet pan covered with powdered sugar and removed the parchment paper-carefully, so the design would stay intact.

IMG_3571

The prepared pan

IMG_3570

The cake after I removed the paper. It worked!

To my surprise the patten was intact! From here I followed Sally’s instructions and flipped the cake onto a tea towel that had been generously sprinkled with more powdered sugar. Now the pattern side was down and I could roll the cake up, while it was still warm, to allow it to cool in the final shape. I was so busy doing all this while the cake was still warm that I did not get a picture of it this time. Here is what the process looked like from May, when I did the last roll cake.

 

The rolled cake needs to chill for about 2 hours in the refrigerator before adding the filling.

The cream cheese icing was also from Sally’s recipe. I did make one small change and added 30g of finely chopped crystallized ginger for some extra flavor and texture.

IMG_3574

IMG_3575

IMG_3576

The cake is unrolled, the filling spread out leaving a 1/2 inch border, then tightly rolled back up

This was the first time that my cake did not crack! And, the pattern is pretty good. There is some powdered sugar still on the cake, but that does disappear after a little time has passed.

IMG_3577

The cake and filling are delicious! Sally has another winner recipe on her hands!

IMG_3585

IMG_3589

IMG_3592

IMG_3598

IMG_3604

IMG_3609

I had fun working this out and challenging myself a little bit. It is a great cake for Halloween and I am really looking forward to what Sally comes up with next month!

 

 

SaveSave

Kaiserschmarren! Hard to pronounce, easy to eat!

IMG_3542

The lovely and talented Karin from The Austrian Dish posted this recipe for a sweet pancake called Kaiserschmarren. I was already thinking about making breakfast for dinner one night since the weather has turned decidedly fall like around here. When I saw Karin’s recipe I had to go for it, even though I had no idea how to pronounce it!

I contacted Karin and asked a few questions which she graciously answered, then set to work! The first step was to rehydrate raisins in either rum, bourbon or water. I chose cranberries because we prefer them, and let them soak in water for 30 minutes while I worked on the next step. I separated the eggs and whipped the egg whites, with a pinch of salt, until stiff peaks formed. The yolks were combined with the sugars and mixed until light, fluffy and pale yellow.

The flour and milk were added to the yolk mixture, alternating between the dry and liquid and mixing between additions. The melted butter was next.

IMG_3522

The egg whites were then folded into the mixture.

So far, this is a fairly straight forward pancake recipe. Until now! The batter is poured into hot pans with tight fitting lids. Karin told me to make sure that the batter was not deeper than 3cm to allow room for puffing up! Which they do, quite a bit. I wanted to use a cast iron pan because that was what I had! I added the batter and scattered the cranberries over the top. I watched them cook, until the bubbles formed to indicate it was time to flip. Karin recommended that they be cut into quarters to make them easier to turn, so that is what I did!

IMG_3530

IMG_3531

IMG_3532

The flip went okish!

IMG_3533

IMG_3534

The cast iron pan did cook a little faster, but we were ok with that. I decided to add some maple sausage and berries to make a full breakfast/dinner.

IMG_3535

IMG_3536

IMG_3538

IMG_3539

IMG_3541

We had some whiskey syrup that we received as a Christmas gift last year. This was delicious on the Kaiserschmarren.

IMG_3546

We will certainly be making and eating this again! Thanks for a great recipe Karin!

IMG_3542

IMG_3543

IMG_3545

SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSave

Sally’s Baking Addiction, September Challenge: Sunflower cupcakes

IMG_3508

I made sunflower cupcakes for the first time a couple years ago, in culinary school. The are so sweet and adorable! I was excited to see that Sally had chosen these for the September challenge because I had been looking for a reason to make them again. This time I combined the two versions of the recipes that I had to, hopefully, put together the best part of each process.

I started by baking spice cupcakes from Sally’s recipes. After baking and cooling the cupcakes, I made the vanilla frosting recipe that she recommended for the piping of the sunflower pedals and leaves. I colored one small batch leaf green, and the larger portion lemon yellow, using gel colors in order to maintain the overall consistency of the frosting. I always save some white portion of the frosting, just in case I need more of one color later on. My original recipe called for Oreo cookies for the center of the flower and red candies, which could be made into lady bugs. Sally used frosting and chocolate sprinkles to make her center (you can see how she did it and how she piped the flower pedals in the video embedded in the vanilla frosting link from above).

I took a short cut with the lady bugs by purchasing black gel icing. This worked ok, but royal icing is really better. I should have taken the time to make some, next time I will!

IMG_3481

I pulled everything together and loaded up two disposable piping bags, each with a #352 leaf tip.

352

 

 

The first step was to lightly frost the top of the cupcakes to provide a base for the Oreo to sit, and for the pedals to have something to adhere to.

 

IMG_3485

There are two options for the Oreo. You can use a whole cookie which will make a tall sunflower with a fair amount of icing or you can split the cookie to make a shorter flower. I made some of each just for variety.

IMG_3486

A whole cookie from the side,

IMG_3487

And from the top view

IMG_3488

From here I just added some leaves in various spots to fill in the flower. I used the black gel icing to draw a line and spots on the red candies to create the bugs.

IMG_3491

IMG_3489

IMG_3505

IMG_3494

IMG_3495

It appears to be quite the infestation! The finished cupcakes will stay fresh in the fridge for up to five days, according to Sally’s recipe.

IMG_3502

IMG_3504

IMG_3503

IMG_3508

IMG_3506

IMG_3509

IMG_3505

These were really simple to make. Once you get the hang of the piping tip it goes quite fast. Perfect for a fall dessert table, especially for the kids. I have a feeling Sally’s next challenge may have something to do with pumpkin! Cant wait 🙂

Sally’s Baking Addiction, August Challenge: The Checkerboard Cake

IMG_3407

The Seahawks won last week!! Probably because I made this checkerboard cake in their honor, because it’s all about me right? Well, maybe their success is not so much about me, but I did enjoy making this cake from Sally’s Baking Addiction Monthly Challenge. I barely got it finished in time as we have been traveling so much and did not return until August 29th. That left me two, jet lagged days, to complete the challenge before month’s end. I finished baking, photographing and tasting then posted to her Facebook at 2pm on August 31st. I think I was the last one done, fortunately, this project was easy enough for a sleep deprived zombie to bake!

Sally has wonderful recipes for both the vanilla cake and frosting, and a step-by-step video to successfully pull this together. Click on the link above for all the details. Since I missed the first 3 preseason football games this year, I decided to use Seahawk colors for the batter and icing. The first step was to make Sally’s vanilla cake batter, which was very straightforward, and divide into two equal portions. Yes, I used my scale for this! ~26 oz. (1 lb.  10 oz.) of batter into two bowls.

IMG_3381

This part was a little tricky. Matching the neon green was simple as I had that gel color on hand, but dark blue was tougher. I used sky blue and a little black to get the “Seahawk blue” I desired.

 

I still wasn’t sure how the colors would translate after baking, but this was how they looked at this point. Each color had to be split into two 9 inch baking pans, for a total of 4 layers. Yes, I used my scale and ~13 oz. went into each pan. Even with a scale it is hard to get it just right, but I poured the batter as best I could into the greased and floured pans. These baked at 350°F for 25 minutes. Once they were cooled completely, I wrapped them in plastic and stored them in the refrigerator overnight, which for me was from 6pm to 3am (jet lag, remember).

IMG_3385

The next (very early) morning I prepared the vanilla frosting, as per Sally’s instructions. It was time to assemble the checkerboard. Sally recommended two ring cutters, one 6 inch and one 3 inches in diameter. I had the 3 inch already but had to make a paper pattern for the larger one. I traced around a 6 inch plate to create that template.

The cakes are easier to cut when cold, so you don’t have to wait overnight, but do make sure the cake is chilled well ahead of time.

IMG_3386

I was happy with the final color of the baked cakes

I placed the paper template on the darker cake, taking care to center it as best as I could, and cut around the circumference with a sharp knife. Then, flipping the template to avoid color contamination, did the same for the green cake. I then used the 3 inch cutter to remove the center of both layers.

IMG_3387

Now it was just a matter of inserting the cut outs to form an alternate color scheme. This is where it is helpful to have chilled cake in order to manipulate the pieces together.

IMG_3388

Then  just repeat the process for the other two layers. At this point I noticed that my green layers were slightly higher than the dark blue, but oh well!

IMG_3390

Time to frost! I chose my bottom layer to have a darker outside ring, spread on a layer of frosting. The next layer was one of the lime green outside layers, and so on.

IMG_3391

This creates the alternate layering affect shown below.

IMG_3392

The final cake was frosted completely, and I reserved a small amount of the white frosting which was divided and tinted neon green and dark blueish to be use for the final decorations.

IMG_3394

IMG_3393

I kept the finishing touches simple as I was still too groggy to do anything too spectacular. A simple shell border for the bottom, dots around the top, a few mounds of green, blue and stripped icing and a dusting of Seahawk sprinkles completed the cake.

IMG_3395

IMG_3396

IMG_3400

IMG_3403

IMG_3401

IMG_3397

IMG_3404

IMG_3398

IMG_3405

IMG_3407

This was a fun challenge, and most importantly the flavors from Sally’s recipes are wonderful!  It is a really easy technique execute and a fun option for a special occasion cake. Next month is already posted and I am already looking forward to making some cupcakes in September.

GO HAWKS!!

SaveSave

Sally’s Baking Addiction, July Challenge: Cherry Pie, from scratch

IMG_2368

I have never made a cherry pie before, in fact, I have made very few pies in total. When I was in culinary school we made hundreds around the holidays. So, apple and pumpkin were the extent of my pie repertoire. I love fruit desserts and make many crisps, tarts and galettes, just not pies. The reason is that my family just doesn’t like pie. I think it has to do with the crust component which usually are soggy or too buttery for our liking. So when Sally’s Baking Addiction had a cherry pie as the July challenge I was not sure I would make one. Not because I was worried about the difficulty of making one but I did not have anyone to eat it! But I really wanted to take the challenge seriously and stretch myself as a baker so I forged ahead, and am so glad I did.

As usual, Sally provided wonderful directions as well as tasty recipes for both the crust and the filling. I began by making her pie crust recipe which is much like others I have seen and used as she mixes shortening and butter for the fats and stresses the importance of keeping all the components very cold for a flaky crust.

The flour and salt are combined, then the cold butter and shortening are cut in with a pastry cutter until the fats are the size of small marbles or peas.

IMG_2320

 

IMG_2322

The cold water is added, 1 Tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together into a ball.

IMG_2324

The dough is separated into two portions, discs are formed and wrapped in plastic. The dough is placed in the refrigerator for, at least, two hours.

While the dough rested the filling was prepared. No cans of pre made cherry pie filling allowed. I used my cherry pitter to remove the pits from 12 oz. of Bing and 12 oz. of Rainier Cherries.

IMG_2327

This yielded approximately 4 1/2 cups of halved, pitted cherries. I followed Sally’s recipe with the exception of using vanilla sugar instead of regular, granulated and I added the zest of the lemon used for juicing, just couldn’t help myself! The addition of the almond extract was really delicious! The cherries, flavorings, corn starch and sugar rested in the refrigerator while the oven preheated and I rolled out the pie dough.

IMG_2328

I made sure to roll the bottom crust thin since we don’t really like a thick crust and then filled the shell with the cherry mixture. Sally’s directions specified that the extra liquid from the cherries should not be added to the pie to prevent a soggy crust, but don’t throw the liquid away! It is delicious as a topping for ice cream or as a simple syrup for drinks!

The second disc of dough was rolled out and cut into strips which were woven together to form the lattice crust. The pie went into a 400°F for 20 minutes, then the temperature was reduced to 375°F and baked for an additional 30 minutes.

It came out smelling wonderful and looked pretty good too.

IMG_2340

 

IMG_2353

Sally recommended waiting 3 hours before cutting, to let the pie set up.

IMG_2355

 

IMG_2348

 

IMG_2366

 

 

 

IMG_2345

IMG_2357

 

IMG_2361

My husband and I were pleasantly surprised at how much we liked it! The fruit to crust ratio was perfect for us! I think I will try other fruit pies in the future and will be sure to keep Sally’s crust recipe on hand for next time! Another great result from Sally’s Baking Addiction!

Oh, and it was yummy with ice cream!

IMG_2372

 

IMG_2375

Pulled Pork with Lemon and Garlic on a Potato Herb Roll

IMG_1877

I have been making this pulled pork for quite some time. It is one of our favorite preparations and, if there is a healthier way to make a pork sandwich, then this is it. But, the real star of this dish is the potato herb rolls that I can customize with with any herbs that will complement whatever fillings will be in the sandwich. In this case the pork is made with garlic and lemon so I used thyme, rosemary, dried parsley and onion powder to flavor the rolls.

The pulled pork could not be easier, in fact I hesitate to call this a recipe. I take a 4-5 pound pork shoulder and trim off any excess fat. It goes into a slower cooker and I add several garlic cloves, 1 large lemon cut into quarters or two smaller lemons halved. To ensure the pork is not dry I add about a 1/4 to 1/2 inch of low sodium chicken stock. Thats it! It cooks on low for 8 hours or until it falls apart.

Near the end of the cooking process, I remove the lemons and garlic and reserve the latter for the sandwich. The garlic is perfectly roasted and spreads easily on the roll if you are interested in doing so-and I always do!

Of course, rolls form scratch do take a little more time and effort but are so worth it.

IMG_1844

I use a 6 quart stand mixer with a dough hook attachment for these rolls. You can use a small mixer but note that the final dough will be about 4 1/2 pounds in weight. Most 4 quart mixers will be fine with that, but you could half the recipe if needed. I made 24, 3 oz sandwich rolls from that amount of dough, which would yield about 35, 2 oz dinner rolls. These rolls freeze very well and you could store the extra for several weeks and then refresh as needed.

You will begin by combining all the ingredients, minus the herbs into the mixing bowl and adding temperature controlled water (not shown). In my kitchen I use water at 100°F but anywhere from 80-100°F will work. Mix on low to incorporate then turn to medium to knead for 7-9 minutes. What you are looking for is what is called a “window pane”. This lets you know when the dough has reached its correct gluten development. There is no real mystery about this step. After ~about 7 minutes, turn off the mixer and pull out a small amount of the dough, it will be slightly sticky. Stretch the dough between your thumbs and forefingers into the shape of a rectangle. If the dough breaks it is not ready, the gluten strands are too short. Continue kneading. The dough temperature should be rising as well, and it will be near 77°F to 80°F when the dough is fully developed. Keep checking these two parameters. Eventually, your window pane will be strong, and transparent. Light should be able to show through the dough, without ripping or tearing, as it will be so thin it appears to be a “window”.IMG_1851

Add whatever freshly chopped or dried herbs you want and mix just until the additions are incorporated and evenly distributed.

Cover the dough and allow it to ferment until doubled (about an hour).

Now you can punch it down to degas and divide into the portion size you desire. Shape and place on a parchment lined sheet to proof until 70-80% larger in size.

IMG_1865

 

IMG_1866

 

IMG_1868

 

IMG_1870

Once proofed they need an egg wash and a sprinkle of sea salt. Since I was not adding salt to the pork, I was generous with this!

IMG_1872

Bake, without steam, at 375°F for ~20 minutes or until golden brown.

IMG_1873

 

IMG_1876

These are wonderful on their own or with any type of sandwich you wish to build. The smaller dinner roll version is great with soups and stews as well.

Of course, we had pulled pork in the slow cooker! I shredded the pork and we built our sandwiches. We went with arugula and a grilled pineapple relish with candied peppers! An outstanding combination!

IMG_1881

 

IMG_1878

Let me know if you try either of these recipes!

Pulled Pork with Lemon and Garlic

  • Servings: 24, 3oz rolls
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

This Pulled Pork has no added salt or sugar. The lemon and garlic add wonderful flavor

Credit: Invisible-no-more.com

Ingredients

-4 to 5 pound pork shoulder or pork butt, trimmed of excess fat

-5 to 6 whole garlic cloves, peeled

-2 small lemons, halved

-low sodium chicken broth or water

-grilled pineapple salsa

-arugula

-potato herb rolls (recipe below)

Directions

  1. Place the pork shoulder, garlic and lemon halves into a slow cooker. Add broth or water to about 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch on the bottom. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
  2. Near the end of the cooking time, remove the lemons and reserve the garlic for the sandwich build. Continue cooking the pork until if falls apart easily. Shred the meat with two forks and keep the meat warm in the slow cooker.
  3. Build the sandwich with a potato herb roll spread with the reserved garlic (if using), add the grilled pineapple relish, pulled pork and arugula.

Potato Herb Rolls

  • Servings: 24, 3oz. rolls
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

These Potato herb rolls can be customized with any herbs you would like to use to complement your meal.

Credit: On Baking, Text book, 3rd edition

Ingredients

-2 lb 2 oz. Bread flour

-3 oz. Potato flour

-1 oz. Instant yeast

-21 fl. oz. Water, temperature controlled 80°F to 100°F

-2 Eggs

-1.5 oz. Dry milk powder

-2.5 oz. Granulated sugar

-3/4 oz. Salt

-3 fl. oz. Olive oil

Suggested Herbs:

-1 oz. Fresh Parsley, finely chopped or 1/2 oz. dried

-2 teaspoons Fresh Rosemary, finely chopped or 1 teaspoon dried

-2 teaspoons of Fresh Thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried

-1 teaspoon onion powder

-1 teaspoon garlic powder

-1 teaspoon Black pepper

-Egg wash, as needed

-Kosher salt or fleur de sel, as needed

Directions

  1. Place flours, yeast, water, eggs, milk powder, sugar, salt, and oil in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix on low speed to combine then knead on medium speed until a window pane is achieved and the dough is 77°F (about 7-9 min.). Add in the herbs and mix until the herbs are well distributed throughout the dough.
  2. Cover the dough and ferment until doubled in size (~1 hour).
  3. Punch down the dough and portion into 3 oz pieces. Shape and place on a parchment lined sheet pan.
  4. Proof until the rolls are 70-80% in volume.
  5. Carefully brush the proofed rolls with the egg wash and sprinkle with the salt.
  6. Bake without steam at 375°F for ~20 minutes until golden brown.

 

SaveSave

SaveSave

Maple Oatmeal Scones

IMG_1823

This is my family’s all time scone request. They never seem to get tired of this wonderful combination of oats, maple syrup and frosting, so much frosting! This recipe is adapted from Ina Garten, I really change very little and if you follow her recipe to the letter, you will not be disappointed! I decided to write up the recipe anyway for a couple reasons. For one, a few people asked my to and for another, I wanted to work on my short coding skills. I am new to using html code to embed recipes and would like to practice this skill.

This recipe comes together so easily that I did not take many production photos. The dough is sticky but it does have a major advantage in that you can mix and cut the scones out ahead of time and keep them in the fridge (or longer in the freezer) and bake off what you need in the morning.

IMG_1819

I wrap the scones loosely with plastic wrap the night before

The next morning I select the amount I want and transfer to a new pan with a parchment paper.

IMG_1821

You have a couple options here. You can brush the tops with an egg wash to facilitate browning. I recommend that if you plan to leave them plain or add a light glaze. Since I am using a frosting consistency, the tops are not visible, I omit the egg wash.

After the scones have cooled completely, add the frosting. Bonus: these are fantastic with coffee!

IMG_1822

 

IMG_1823

 

IMG_1829

 

IMG_1828

 

IMG_1824

 

IMG_1831

Enjoy!

 

IMG_1838

Maple Oatmeal Scones

  • Servings: About 24, 21/2 inch scones
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Pure maple syrup, buttermilk and oats combine to give these scones a sweet flavor and nutty texture

 credit:Ina Garten

Ingredients

-3 1/2 cups all purpose flour

-1 cup whole wheat flour

-1 cup old fashioned oats, plus extra for garnish

-2 Tablespoons baking powder

-2 Tablespoons vanilla sugar

-2 teaspoons kosher salt

-1 pound, cold unsalted butter, diced

-1/2 cup cold buttermilk

-1/2 cup pure maple syrup

-4 extra large eggs

frosting:

-1 1/4 cups powdered sugar

-1/2 cup maple syrup

-1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flours, oats, baking power, sugar and salt. Blend the cold butter into the dry ingredients, starting on low speed, until the butter is the size of peas.
  3. Separately combine the buttermilk, maple syrup and eggs. Add to the butter flour mixture and combine just until incorporated, this dough will be sticky.
  4. Dump the dough onto a well floured counter top and pull the dough together. Working with floured hands, pat the dough into a 3/4 inch round and cut out scones using a 2 1/2 inch biscuit cutter. Place the scones onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake the scones for 20-25 minutes until browned.
  5. Make the icing: use the proportions listed to make a thin glaze which can be drizzled over the scones once they have cooled. Or adjust the proportions to create a thick frosting consistency by adding more powdered sugar than listed. Sprinkle with oats for garnish.

 

I prefer to use old fashioned oats instead of instant as they add more texture. Also, if I were making a thin glaze where the top of the scone would show, then I would use an egg wash before baking to give the tops a nice brown color.

Another time saving tip that I often use is to make the scones ahead of time by cutting our the scones and placing them all on one pan, wrapping with plastic wrap and storing in the refrigerator. The next day I can bake off all or some of the scones. They will store in the refrigerator for a week or longer in the freezer, if needed.

 

 

 

SaveSave

SaveSave

Sally’s Baking Addiction, May Challenge: The Roll Cake!

IMG_1598

I have not made a roll cake since culinary school, and I really need more practice with them! Every roll cake I have ever made had some sort of crack in it, and this one was no exception. I am not sure why it cracks, I roll it warm right out of the oven, just like every recipe states but, inevitably it happens! So, when Sally’s monthly baking challenge came out this month I decided I would use it as an opportunity to work on two culinary issues that I struggle with constantly. One, fixing the cracking problem and two, practicing making buttercream roses to hide the crack!

I decided to divide this project into different phases and spread out the work over a couple days. I wanted the cake to be ready early on Mother’s Day, so working backwards meant that Friday was buttercream rose day. I used Sally’s Vanilla buttercream recipe from last months challenge because I knew it would pipe easily and tastes amazing!

IMG_1540

IMG_1545

This was the consistency I was going for, thick enough to hold shape but still able to flow through the #104 tip

I used clear vanilla to keep some frosting white and colored other portions red, pink and green for some leaves. I did try to stripe some white icing for two toned roses but had technical difficulties with that piping bag (meaning it blew up all over me!)

IMG_1546

IMG_1551

I stored the green icing in the fridge for later and set about piping roses. I watched a few youtube videos to refresh my memory but ultimately I had to dive in and just start trying. My goal was to pipe as many as I had icing for knowing full well that only a few would be useable! It might take 100 bad ones to get 3 or 4, such is my skill in this area!

IMG_1552

I tried to get a variety of sizes and I really had no idea how many I would need to cover the cake. So they all went into the fridge to firm up and I would have to see what I would have to work with after the cake was baked.

IMG_1553IMG_1554

Saturday was sponge cake time! My goal was to mix, bake and roll the cake which would then sit in the fridge until the following morning. I set about mixing the batter as per Sally’s instructions.

I sifted the dry ingredients together and set the them aside. The important part in making a sponge cake is to separate the eggs and beat the egg whites into stiff peaks, this will provide much of the leavening agent to the cake.

IMG_1564

The rest of the ingredients make up the base of the batter. The egg yolks, butter, additional sugar, vanilla and buttermilk are combined, then the beaten egg whites are folded in carefully. The dry ingredients are then folded into the final mixture. The batter is put into a 10 X 15 jelly roll pan that has been greased and lined with parchment paper. Bake the cake at 350°F for about 15 minutes. The critical part is next! Use a cup or so of powdered sugar and dust a clean, thin tea towel.

IMG_1571

When the cake is done it is immediately inverted onto the sugared towel.

IMG_1573

Peel off the parchment and roll the towel and cake into a tight spiral.

IMG_1574

The cake needs to cool in this form so that you can fill it later and re roll it. If you allow the cake to cool first, then attempt to roll it, you will have beautiful cake crumbs- I guess you could make cake pops!

IMG_1575

IMG_1578

The cake went into the fridge to sit overnight

Since we had a long drive planned on Sunday morning, I also wanted to prepare the filling on Saturday.  Sally’s recipe calls for a strawberry cream cheese filling but my mother-in-law and daughter do not eat any cheese! So I opted for Sally’s Strawberry Buttercream instead. I am so glad I did! This was the star flavor of the cake. If you like strawberry this is your new go to recipe! Unlike most strawberry flavored icings it does not have jello or pudding mixes for flavor. Sally uses freeze dried strawberries and grinds them into a powder to flavor her buttercream-yum! I found some at Trader Joes but I am told there are other outlets that carry dried strawberries.

With the strawberry filling made and sitting next to the cake and roses in the fridge, all I had to do Sunday morning was fill and decorate the cake.

The cake and icing need a couple hours to come to room temperature. I unrolled the cake, and spread on the filling.

IMG_1582

Rolled it back up and put it seem side down on my serving tray. Everything was looking pretty good, until…

IMG_1585

The big crack! Every time, at least my record remains intact!

IMG_1588

So I pulled out my roses and started covering the cake. I had to use some warm water on the bottom of the flowers to get them to stick to the powdered sugar cake and then I used the green icing and a leaf tip to fill in the holes.

IMG_1589

 

IMG_1593

 

IMG_1597

 

IMG_1593

 

IMG_1606

 

IMG_1610

 

IMG_1612

 

IMG_1613It wasn’t perfect, but it was delicious! My husband who dislikes frosting in general loved the strawberry filling. I was not sure the roses would make it the hour and half drive in the car to my in laws home, but to my delight not one fell off!

This was a tough challenge for me but I am glad I gave it a go and look forward to Sally’s next task in June.

What does an Irishman take to a Cinco de Mayo party?

IMG_1539

A pear, apple and cranberry crisp of course!  Well, maybe that is not so obvious to everyone, but my good friend did recognize my limitations with respect to the Cinco de Mayo party she organized last week. When I asked her what I could contribute to the dinner menu she immediately gave my an assignment that she knew I could handle. Since she was already making a tres leches cake, I was tasked with making a fruit based dessert. Thankfully she did not ask me to make enchiladas!

Originally I wanted to make a strawberry rhubarb crisp but the fruit was not quite ready here as spring has made had a painfully slow start in our area. The grocery store looked more prepared for autumn than any other season. So, I went with a no fail recipe from Ina Garten, her pear, apple and cranberry crisp is one I have made many times and it always comes out delicious, and it is fast and easy!

The “hardest” part is peeling, coring and dicing the bosc pears and honey crisp apples (2 lb. each). The diced fruit is then mixed with the juice and zest of both a lemon and an orange. I used a blood orange as that was what I had on hand.

IMG_1348

I added a full cup of cranberries, more than the recipe calls for but we like them, 1/2 cup of vanilla sugar and 1/4 flour.

IMG_1355

Next came the cinnamon and freshly ground nutmeg. This is all mixed well in a large bowl and then put into a lightly greased 9 X 12 baking pan.

IMG_1358

 

IMG_1362

Up to this point you could argue that this is not too unhealthy of a dessert, however that is about to change. This fruit mixture is good, but it’s the crumble topping that is the real star of the show!

For the crumble combine the 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup vanilla sugar, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1 cup old fashioned oats. Then add the diced, cold butter (2 sticks, 1/2 lb)

IMG_1365

Cut the cold butter into the dry components. Much like making a scone dough or pie crust, the goal is to have small pieces of butter throughout the mixture.

IMG_1367

Cover the fruit, entirely, with the crumble topping.

IMG_1372

IMG_1374

Bake at 350ºF for 50 minutes to an hour. Make sure the crust is nice and brown and the fruit is bubbling.

IMG_1376

I transported the crisp in the pan and we served it at my friends house for a nice ending to a great meal.

IMG_1380

 

IMG_1383

 

IMG_1534

 

IMG_1538

This is best served warm, but I will confess to eating it cold and having no problem! I have substituted different fruit combinations such as peaches and blueberries, plums and cherries and, of course, strawberries and rhubarb. They are all delicious using this same formula. Thanks to Ina for another awesome recipe and to my friend for opening her home to us!

 

I miss food: Dreaming about my last meal!

IMG_1240

I am having a colonoscopy today, in about four hours. It is not my first and won’t be my last, as I have rotten personal genetics in this respect.  If you have had the pleasure then you are fully aware that fasting the day prior to the procedure is required. One thing I learned yesterday, while feasting on popsicles and jello, is that my Instagram and Facebook are all full of images about food! I always knew my feeds were culinarily loaded, maybe more so than others in my non-blog world, but I really thought there would be other photos. Sure, there was the occasional sponsored messages and pics of people skiing-still snow in our mountains. But, 97% (yes, I did an actual calculation) was food related! Where were the runners, climbers and gardeners in my life when I really needed them! As I sit here this morning, drinking the last assignment from my doctor and watching Good Morning Football to prepare for the NFL draft, I find myself dreaming of all the food I can have after 2pm today. My thoughts keep drifting back to the Ham and Lentil soup I made for my “last supper” on Monday night.

This is a pretty straight forward soup that gets better each day as it sits in the fridge. I followed the recipe close to the original, except I rarely measure anything when making soup.

IMG_1232

I also rarely use celery in my soups as I just don’t love it! I will substitute with leeks or fennel, depending upon the overall flavor profile. For this soup I chose leeks. I also added more potatoes, carrots and peas than the ratios stated in the original recipe. I routinely use plain greek yogurt for thickening my soups as I prefer that to high fat sour cream, which this recipe already specified, so that worked well too. I did add some white wine to deglaze and subtracted that amount out of the total recommended liquid volume, but that is just me and not necessary-the recipe would be delicious just as written!

In my opinion, all soups and stews need a good salty roll or bread for dipping. And, by now you have probably guessed that I love to make my own bread. But this was a bit of a last minute decision the other day and I did not have any bread proofing on the counter for this meal. So, I  went to a handy and tasty short cut I use all the time. I use frozen dinner rolls from throllse store, my preference is Rhodes dinner rolls. I take the amount I want, place them into a baking dish, cover and pop them into the oven on proof (this is 100°F). They are fully proofed in about 3 hours, then go into a 350°F for 20 minutes. I brush them with melted butter, while they are still warm and sprinkle with fleur-de-sel and thyme. I just use any herb that complements the soup, sometimes rosemary or sage are a better choice. My family loves them, and will specifically requests these rolls, there are never any leftovers and I get to have that fresh bread taste in less time.

IMG_1224

IMG_1226

So this is where I am at now-dreaming about rolls and soup. The reality is I will get a banana right after the procedure and slowly be able to work my digestive tract up to normal over the course of the day. I will run and climb later this week (can’t wait to get my life back!)

Next up for culinary: I am thinking about cinnamon apple babka!