Saturday, August 24, 2013

Bolo de Banana (Banana Cake)

Bolo de Banana (Banana Cake)

I just received the most beautiful and thoughtful gift. Nick's Grandma in Brazil handmade me a cookbook filled with traditional Brazilian recipes! It is SO perfect and I couldn't be more honored and happy to have it :) On Nick's last day visiting me in Seattle, we decided to make one of the recipes! Thanks to Nick and Google translate we were able to make sense of the Portuguese and make this AMAZING banana cake. It is a lot like traditional American banana bread, but I'd have to argue that this cake version is WAY better. I am definitely going to be making this again. Thank you Nick's Grandma!!!

Bolo de Banana 

3 ovos
2 xícaras de farinha de rosca
cara de óleo
caras de açúcar
4 bananas prata maduras
1/2 cara de uvas passas sem semente
1 colher de sopa de fermento em pó químico
1/2 cara de farinha de trigo p/empanar as uvas passas
1/2 cara de açúcar misturada com canela em pó

Modo de fazer:
Bata no liquidificador o óleo, os ovos, o açúcar, e as bananas até ficar bem homogêneo. Em uma tigela, junte a farinha de rosca e o fermento, misture bem e despeje o creme aos poucos, misturando bem a cada adicão e por ultimo as uvas passas empanadas na farinha de trigo. Unte com óleo e enfarinhe com farinha de roasca duas formas de bolo inglês médias, ou se preferir três formas descartáveis de bolo inglês. Cubra a massa com o açúcar de canela e leve ao forno prê-aquecido a 180 por 1/2 hora ou até o bolo ficar dourando por cima.

Banana Cake

3 eggs
2 cups bread crumbs
1 cup oil
2 cups sugar
4 over ripe bananas
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup of flour (to mix into raisins)

1/2 cup of sugar mixed with 1 tsp cinnamon

Blend together the oil, eggs, sugar, and bananas until it becomes homogeneous. In a bowl, combine the breadcrumbs and baking powder, mix well and pour the banana cream slowly, mixing well after each addition. Gently stir in the raisin/flour mixture until just mixed. Divide batter between two greased and floured cake pans. Sprinkle the batter with cinnamon sugar and bake in oven heated to 350 F for 30 minutes or until the cake is browning on top.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Best Blackberry Pie

The Best Blackberry Pie

This pie is so good you'll want to eat it for breakfast. Seriously. I did that and have no guilt whatsoever. This reminds me of my new favorite quote from the book I've been reading, One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. "Life is dessert, too brief to hurry." Check out this book. It is so beautifully written and is a challenge to live fully and thankfully every day. Anyway...back to the pie. I have always LOVED picking berries. I still have memories of going picking with my parents when I was little and now I have memories of picking blueberries and blackberries with my favorite friends! This summer I had the delight to pick with my beautiful best friends, Catie, Letitia, and Rach, and my AMAZING boyfriend Nick. We used a few blueberries in this pie cause we ran out of blackberries, but it still turned out delicious. Nick made a sweet design on the top of the pie but sadly my camera didn't catch it. You'll just have to believe me ;)

The Best Blackberry Pie
Recipe adapted from Better Homes

Double pie crust or lattice top:
2 cups sifted flour
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup shortening
5-7 Tbsp cold water

Sift flour and salt. Cut in shortening till pieces are size of small peas. Sprinkle water over one tablespoon at a time, tossing mixture after each addition. Form into two balls, flatten on lightly floured surface. Roll 1/8 inch thick from center to edge. Place one disk in a lightly greased 9-inch pie plate.

1 1/4 cups sugar
1/3 cup minute tapioca
1/8 tsp salt
8 cups fresh blackberries

Preheat oven to 375 F. Combine sugar, tapioca, and salt. Add sugar mixture to prepared blackberries; toss to coat fruit. Fill a pastry-lined 9-inch pie plate with berry mixture. Adjust top crust. Seal and flute edge. Cover edge of pie with foil. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil; bake for 25-30 minutes more or till golden. Cool on a wire rack. Serve warm with some vanilla ice cream.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Red Velvet (Beet) Cupcakes

Red Velvet (Beet) Cupcakes

This past Sunday afternoon, my lovely neighbor Sheila hosted a cook-off at her house! We used fresh vegetables from her garden and all cooked together in her kitchen. It was an absolutely splendid time! I so enjoyed eating the variety of dishes that were represented. It was also just a great community bonding time. I really enjoyed reconnecting with all my neighbors and meeting new friends. Everyone's neighborhood should be this wonderful! 

Red Velvet (Beet) Cupcakes
Adapted from Je Suis Ali Mentageuse

- 3/4 cup freshly puréed beets (boiled until tender, then puréed)
- 1/3 cup oil 
- 1 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cup flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tbsp natural cocoa powder (NOT dutch processed)
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 cup milk 

- 1/4 cup Earth Balance or butter
- 1 block cream cheese (250g) 
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups icing sugar
- a splash of vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Mix the beet purée and oil until incorporated.
  3. Add sugar, vanilla extract.
  4. In a bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder.
  5. Alternate adding the flour mixture and milk until incorporated into the batter.
  6. Divide among cupcake liners, filling them 3/4 full, and bake for 15-20 minutes (for mini cupcakes) and 20-25 minutes (for regular sized cupcakes) until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean when poked in the middle.
  7. To make the cream cheese icing, whip together all ingredients (add the icing sugar 1/2 cup at a time until it reaches your desired consistency)
  8. Pipe onto cupcakes as desired. The beetroot may discolor the frosting if left for too long, so if you are piping this ahead of time, do not do so more than 24 hours ahead of time.
  9. Keep the cupcakes in the fridge and let sit at room temp at least 30 minutes before serving.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Ginger Cake with Bourbon Frosting

Ginger Cake with Bourbon Frosting

I have been waiting for an excuse to make this cake. And the excuse finally came yesterday when I went to the Annual Camano Bash, hosted by my lovely friends the Hardins. It was a BEAUTIFUL day on Camano Island and we had a blast eating lots of delicious food, reconnecting with old friends, making new ones, and soaking up the sun. This cake turned out just beautiful and moist, with a unique, but oh-so-delicious flavor. I don't think I'm going to need an excuse next time I want to make it ;)

Ginger Cake with Bourbon Frosting
Adapted from Country Living Magazine

1/2 cup canola oil
1 1/4 sticks (10 Tbsps) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 2/3 cups packed light-brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 Tbsp (heaping) grated fresh ginger
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
4 1/4 cups cake flour, sifted
2 1/2 tsps baking soda
1 1/2 tsps ground ginger
Bourbon frosting (recipe follows)
1 Anjou pear, cored and sliced into matchsticks
Zest and juice of 1 lime

Preheat oven to 325 F. Lightly grease three 8-inch round cake pans. Set aside. 

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, on low speed, cream together oil, butter, and brown sugar, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time; then beat in grated ginger until batter is smooth, about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.

In a small bowl combine buttermilk and coconut milk. Set aside

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and ground ginger. Set aside

Alternate adding wet and dry mixtures a little at a time, to the egg mixture, mixing on a medium-low speed until well blended.

Pour batter evenly into prepared pans. Bake on middle rack of oven until a toothpick inserted into the cake center comes out clean, about 40-45 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes; then remove cakes from pans and cool completely on wire rack.

Place 1 cake on a cake stand. Using a small spatula, frost the top with Bourbon frosting, repeat until all layers of cake are added and finish frosting the sides of the cake.

In a small bowl, toss pear with lime juice and zest. Garnish cake with the pear mixture.

Bourbon Frosting

3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 package cream cheese (4 ounces), room temperature
1/4 cup good quality bourbon
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 lbs confectioner's sugar

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, on a medium speed, cream together butter and cream cheese until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add bourbon and vanilla and continue mixing until smooth. Reduce speed to low, and slowly add confectioner's sugar, a little at a time mixing until smooth. (You may not need ALL the sugar, just keep adding until you reach your desired consistency/taste)