Saturday, March 16, 2013

DIY - 2 Ingredients is all….Did you know?!

Happy St. Patricks's Day!!!

I hope you are having a safe and wonderful weekend with friends and family. It is such a beautiful time to remember what is important this Spring…..

So I am a fan of DIY. If I can find a way to make it myself I get excited. I have always made my own Vanilla and recently started making my own liquid soap (who knew it was so easy??). I am always on the hunt for new things I came make in my own kitchen. Did you know Baking Powder is made with only two ingredients already on hand??? Neither did I. 

So here you go….DIY Baking Powder…

1 Tsp Baking Soda
2 Tsp Cream of Tartar

Mix the baking soda and cream of tartar together until well combined. Use immediately.

Yield - One tablespoon of baking powder.

If you plan to store baking powder - Add 1 teaspoon of corn starch to the mixture and stir. Cornstarch will absorb any moisture and prevent the baking powder from reacting until used. Store in an airtight container.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Spring Forward

Spring…Spring…Where are you?? 

Could it be right around the corner? Let's hope. In the last two weeks, the Midwest received three storms and inches upon inches of snow.  While I am a fan of winter, I am quite willing to let this season end so we can move on to the beautiful possibilities of Spring.

Every March my neighborhood hosts a wonderful Spring Fling. It is always exciting to catch up on the lives of great friends who I see only during these events. Do you ever realize there are people in your life who you may not see as often as you would like but you always love how you feel when you are around them. These are some of my neighbors and friends. 

While I cherish these friendships, I am also glad they allow me to share in this hobby of baking. They keep me excited to create the next dessert and I am happy I have dozens of taste testers. So I offered them and now I offer you Apple Spice Cake with Sea Salt Caramel Buttercream. 

Whether people are in your life for a short time or longer, it is important to be grateful for the time allowed. Sometimes in life we can get caught up in the world and miss out on these moments.  So I hope you have people in your life who are as meaningful as these friends are to me. 

Apple Spice Cake with Sea Salt Caramel Buttercream

3 sticks Unsalted Butter, room temperature
3 C Sugar
2 Tbsp Molasses
6 Eggs
3 C Unbleached Flour
1 1/4 Tsp Baking Soda
1/4 tsp Kosher Salt
1 1/2 Tbsp Ground Cinnamon (yes this is Tbsp J)
1 1/2 tsp Ground Allspice
3/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg
3/4 tsp Ground Ginger
1 cup Sour Cream
2 C Honeycrisp Apples, peeled and shredded
1 Tbsp Vanilla

Sea Salt Caramel Buttercream recipe (see below)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease three 9-inch cake pans, line with parchment paper and grease again.

In a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar on medium-high until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes).  Add molasses scraping down sides of bowl. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well.  In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.  Alternating, add the sour cream and flour mixture, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Remove bowl from stand and stir in the shredded apples and vanilla.

The batter will be thick, so use a spoon to transfer evenly into the three pans. Place in oven. Bake about 45 minutes, rotating the layers halfway through, until cake tester comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and cool in the pans for 15 minutes.  Run a knife around the edge of pans and invert onto a cooling rack. Cool completely before icing.

Place 1 cake layer on a cake stand and spread top with a thin layer of icing.  Continue with each layer. Once layers are all completed, cover the cake with a thin crumb coat and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Finish cake off with remaining frosting.

I hope this means the neighbors liked it.  Nothing came home.

Sea Salt Caramel Buttercream 
Sea Salt Caramel Sauce
3/4 C White Sugar
4 Tbsp Light Corn Syrup
1 Stick Salted Butter
2 Tbsp Heavy Cream
1/8 Tsp Sea Salt

Put sugar and corn syrup in heavy large saucepan (it will expand so need to have room) over medium heat (about 2 minutes). Stir to combine until sugar is dissolved. Once dissolved, continue to cook until it turns a golden amber (about 5 minutes but keep an eye). Once amber color appears add cream (it will bubble up) and stir. Then add butter in pieces stirring until combined well. Add sea salt and remove from heat. Let cool until barely warm but still pourable.  (Note: Can use this sauce for other desserts)

Cream Cheese Buttercream
2 pkg Cream Cheese, room temperature
1 stick Unsalted Butter, room temperature
5 C Powdered Sugar
1 Tbsp Vanilla

In bowl, combine cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. On low speed, add a couple cups of powdered sugar and mix until combined. Then add the lukewarm caramel sauce (Be sure it is lukewarm... if too warm it will harden when added or melt the butter) then increase speed until combined well. Turn speed back down and slowly add the rest of the powdered sugar. On a higher speed, mix until combined and smooth. Place frosting in refridge for about 40 minutes before using. (You may need to run through mixer before you use to make smooth again.)