Friday, July 3, 2009

Birthday cake!

Well birthday time rolled around again for my husband R and I finally gave in to his wish for a yellow cake with chocolate frosting, apparently his dream cake that brings back good memories from his childhood. I have been browsing a book from my collection for some time called 'Sky High" by Alisa Huntsman and Peter Wynne and found a vanilla buttermilk cake with instant fudge frosting that sounded close enough to what my husband was looking for. I had a few challenges yesterday like a basement that flooded, and my nearly two year old driving me crazy that could have twarted my efforts to make this cake but I prevailed...this cake is super simple and I made just a few changes


4 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
3 cups cake flour
2 cups sugar
4 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature

Preheat the oven at 350F. Butter the bottom and sides of three 8 inch round cake pans. Line the bottom of each with a round of parchment paper. Note: I didn't have three round tins, so I baked the entire mixture in a square 10 inch cake tin and it turned out fine...
Put the eggs and yolk in a mixing bo
wl , add the vanilla and 1/4 cup of the buttermilk, Whisk to blend well.
Combine the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl, add the butter and the remaining one cup of buttermilk and blend together on low speed. Then raise the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Add the egg mixture in three additions, and mix until all incorporated together. Divide the batter amongst three pans if you have them or in my case in the square pan.
Bake for circa 30 minutes until the a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the cake begins to pull away from the side of the tin. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then carefully turn out and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

To assemble the cake, once it was cool, I cut it in two and filled the center with chocolate frosting ( recipe to follow) and fresh raspberries, then out the frosting on the top and sides.
Instant fudge frosting - makes circa 5 cups
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate melted and cooled
4 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
3 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
6 tablespoons heaving whipping cream or half and half
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Method: Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse to incorporate. Then process until frosting is smooth

Whilst on the subject of birthday cakes, I am starting to think about my sons 2nd birthday which is coming up in September. Last year I did a train theme cake that was really fun to do and although it was a last minute effort in making it, I was really happy with the creativity I found somewhere in my brain to pull it off....I hope I can be as creative this year....

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

First post!

Last weekend I finally decided
to start to write a blog so I could share my cooking and mothering adventures. I felt like it was time to really commit to eat seasonally so I could really enjoy the produce of my own garden, the Community Farm CSA and the local Ann Arbor farmers market. So enjoy this tomato, basil, potato and zucchini tart that I created for our evening dinner which I adapted from a classic quiche recipe my friend AD gave me
Pastry recipe:
1.5 cups all purpose flour, 1 stick of cold unsalted butter, 1 teaspoon of salt, 3-4 tbsp ice cold water. Mix flour and salt, add butter in a mixer until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs, add water one tablespoon at a time until dough comes together and than STOP, as over mixing the dough will make it tough. You can wrap it in Saran wrap and place in the fridge for min 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 F and roll out the dough into a 12 inch round tart tin or dish and prick it with a fork, cover with grease proof paper and line with pie weights. Bake for 15 minutes and then remove the paper and weights and bake for a further 5 minutes until the pastry is pale golden.

Whilst the dough is baking,
you can prepare the filling which is as follows
2 zucchini
1 tbsp olive oil
12 oz cooked new potatoes, sliced
4 oz Gruyere cheese
basil leaves
3 eggs

200 ml creme fraiche
150 ml milk
4 tbsp Parmesan cheese

Lightly brush the zucchini slices with oil and season. Cook in a pan until lightly brown on each side and remove from the pan to cool. Layer half of the potatoes, zucchini and tomatoes in the pasty case, season between layers and sprinkle a little Gruyere and a few basil leaves. Repeat this process finishing with a layer of tomatoes.
Beat together the eggs, cream fraiche, and milk, season with salt and pepper, then stir in the remaining Gruyere and half the parmesan. Pour this over the filling and sprinkle with the rest of the

Bake for 35-45 minutes, until golden and firm to the touch. Place remaining basil as a garnish. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

This tart is great served with a green salad for a perfect classy and tasty seasonal lunch with friends! Enjoy