Tag Archives: cream cheese

12 Layers: White Dobos Torte

White Dobos Torte

 

I haven’t always been a contrary person, but when I saw the August challenge the Daring Bakers were to task themselves with smack in the middle of the dog days of summer, I knew I wanted  to work with a light cake  and feature some aspect of the summer fruit that is so plentiful at this time of the year.  Of course, I’m a chocolate lover, but not so much in the summer. Bear in mind that not following the recipe in a Daring Baker Challenge is not in keeping with the spirit of the experience, but I’ve been doing this for a few years now, so know that rule.  I couldn’t help myself.  Besides, I could work with white chocolate instead, which isn’t always as forgiving as traditional chocolate, and then I would feel as if I was not quite avoiding my responsibility with the challenge.  Add some homemade peach puree and put a cream cheese spin on the white chocolate buttercream, and a White Dobos Torte is born.

The August 2009 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Angela of A Spoonful of Sugar and Lorraine of Not Quite Nigella.  They chose the spectacular Dobos Torte based on a recipe from Rick Rodgers’ cookbook Kaffeehaus:  Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Caffes of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague.  Many thanks to them both for providing the inspiration behind my torte.  The original recipe can be found at either of their sites.

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Blueberry Cupcakes and Berry Cream Cheese Ice Cream

Blueberry Cupcakes When Lis of Daring Baker fame asked me to do a post for The Daring Kitchen for July 4th, I thought, sure, no problema.  Absolutely. I’ll get right on that. I imagined all the red, white, and blue possibilites available and scrimped time here and there to google and oogle all that I could find in blogs, and websites, food magazines, and cookbooks.  And since this was back before Father’s Day, I knew that whatever I made would be something I could serve in celebration of my father-in-law who has always been a gracious supporter of my adventures in cooking.

I’d never made a red, white, and blue dessert before, so with the color firmly in my mind (talk about priorities…), I began to think about what it would be.  Berries were a must.  It’s summer, right? They’re everywhere.  For a split second I actually considered making three types of whatever the recipe I chose — as in red this, blue that, and — well, you get the idea.  But no matter how great the idea was, I knew I’d fail on delivery because that seems to be my track record in the kitchen these days.

Cupcakes and ice cream seemed simple enough, and they actually were until I decided to put lots and lots of frosting on the cupcakes.  The ice cream involves no cooking whatsoever, so at least the simplicity of that recipe makes up for the buttercream which still isn’t all that bad if you know that you’ll have to whisk the egg whites over simmering water until they reach a particular temperature and then beat them to a marshmallow-like consistency before proceeding with the recipe.  Practice.  It’s all about the practice — or leading a charmed existence.

The result:  Delicious, but not quite red, white, and blue.   Maybe mauve and pink will be the new thing?  Okay, so probably not. But by all means, check out my post and the recipes for July 4th Treats:  Blueberry Cupcakes and Raspberry Cream Cheese Ice Cream at The Daring Kitchen.  And have a safe, happy July 4th!

Blueberry Cupcakes & Raspberry Cream Cheese Ice Cream

Addendum:  Because I never included the process shots I normally do when I post, I’m adding a few to answer a question in my comments.  Pictures paint a thousand words, right?


Blueberries

Fresh blueberries are heated alone…

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…to achieve this simple sauce…

Blueberry Puree

…which a portion of is mixed with milk and vanilla (above) then added with dry ingredients to the butter-sugar-egg mixture.

A dollop of some of the remaining blueberry sauce is dropped on the top of the batter-filled cups…

…then swirled in with a wooden skewer…

Blueberry Swirl Cupcakes

…and end up looking like this after baking.

Here are the directions:

Not Quite Blue Cupcakes with Not Quite Red Ice Cream
Makes 12 standard cupcakes

For the Cupcakes…
2 Cups + 2 tablespoons sifted all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup of unsalted butter (2 sticks)
1-1/2 cups of Sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup of whole milk
1/2 cup of blueberry puree (recipe follows)
1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

For the Blueberry Puree…
Bring one pound of blueberries to a boil in a sauce pan over medium heat and stirring frequently so they don’t burn. Reduce heat to low and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated (about 1/2 hour) and the mixture is thick. Cool the blueberries slightly and place in a food processor or mash with a fork. Mix until smooth. For an extra smooth puree pass mixture through a fine sieve before using.

For the Cake…
Cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating
until each is incorporated before adding the next.

Sift dry ingredients into a medium bowl. Mix milk with 1/2 cup of blueberry puree and vanilla in a large measuring cup. Add wet and dry ingredients alternately to butter mixture starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix until just incorporated after each addition. Do not overbeat.

Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full of batter. Spoon 1 teaspoon of blueberry puree into the center and swirl with a wooden skewer. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes or until cupcakes spring back to the touch.

Cool 10-15 minutes in the pan then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Frost with Blueberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream (see below) and top with a fresh blueberry. Daring folks will spoon some blueberry puree over the cupcake before taking a big bite.

For the Blueberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream…
5 egg whites
1-1/4 cups sugar
2 c. unsalted butter, room temp.
1/4 cup + 2 T blueberry puree
Pinch of salt

Place sugar and egg whites in the metal bowl of an electric mixer. Set bowl over a
pan of gently simmering water, and whisk until sugar has dissolved and egg whites are
hot to the touch, about 3 minutes. Test by rubbing the mixture between your fingers; it
should feel completely smooth.

Transfer bowl to mixer stand. Using the whisk attachment, beat on high until mixture has cooled completely (feel the bottom of the bowl) and formed stiff and glossy peaks, about 10 minutes. It will appear somewhat like soft marshmallow in consistency. Add the butter, one piece at a time, and beat until well incorporated after each addition. The buttercream may appear curdled after the butter has been added — keep beating and it will become smooth again. Add blueberry puree and salt and beat just until combined. Switch to the paddle attachment, and beat on the lowest speed to eliminate any air pockets, about 5 minutes.

If using buttercream within several hours, cover bowl with plastic wrap, and set aside at room temperature in a cool environment. Or transfer to an airtight container, and store in the refrigerator, up to 3 days. Before using, bring buttercream to room temperature, and beat on the lowest speed with the paddle attachment until smooth, about 5 minutes.

The recipe for these cupcakes was adapted from that of Trophy Cupcakes as seen in seattlepi.com — but I was led to that source by the gorgeous cupcakes at The Casual Baker whose Blueberry beauties are far more purple than mine.  Thanks to both sources for such a great recipe!

Daring Bakers: Cheesecake Heaven

Cheesecake with MangoA good friend of mine turned 40 not too long ago and she decided that what she wanted was to have her friends with her to celebrate in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.  The plans were made far in advance, and since then so much has happened.  Our house was torn apart by construction.  Immediately afterwards, my sister and her family came to stay for the Holidays.  Then busy season set in for my husband, and before I knew it, the date for our

A good friend of mine turned 40 recently and decided to celebrate by inviting her girlfriends to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for a week.  The plans were made seemingly forever ago, but time flies when you’re busy, doesn’t it?  Since that time, we’ve had construction on our house, my sister and her family came to stay during the holidays, and then my husband’s busy season set in as it always does.  From one year to the next, I can never quite figure out how April finally gets here, but it thankfully does.  Normally about this time, my husband and I would be in Las Vegas where he enjoys unwinding for a couple of days, but in the fashion I’ve grown accustomed to in the years we’ve been married, he’s sending me off with good natured smiles  — and threats of taking photos of all he and my son eat while I’m away.  I can’t wait to see that.

This past weekend, we’ve been out and about enjoying the spring weather here, and had friends over for dinner.  Oh, yes — and cheesecake.  Lots and lots of cheesecake.  Now that I think of it, I must have had my almost tropical vacation on my mind when I conjured up these particular cheesecakes and didn’t realize it.  Or maybe it was that mangos have been on sale here.  And strawberries.  They go together quite well, you know, and what a coincidence that it’s time for my Daring Bakers’ challenge.

The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey’s Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge. Many thanks to her for this delightfully tasty recipe. Continue reading

Spicy Duo: Breaded Calamari and Jalapeno Poppers with Bacon

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I’ve been so jittery the last couple of days.  I know it’s the election — waiting, and waiting to find out.  The feeling is strangely like I felt waiting for Christmas morning to arrive when I was a kid, the anticipation just about doing me in.

But it’s not just the election.  Having to pack four rooms in our house to prepare for a big remodel isn’t helping.  It’s great to be busy, though,  since the time is flying by.  Each book or knick knack I take from the shelf to pack is accompanied by my nagging alter ego which is reminding me I should have gotten rid of this crap a very long time ago.

And then there’s the little matter of a trip I’m taking in a couple of days, leaving the hunkster to finish what I’ve not managed to do to prepare the house.  Maybe that’s why I’m giddy with excitement as well.  I’m headed to the Midwest to meet with several food bloggers.  In fact, it’s for a wedding:  Lis’ wedding.  You know Lis, right?  Co-founder of The Daring Bakers? La Mia Cucina Lis.   And guess who’s making the wedding cake?  Helen.  Helen, Tartelette Helen.  Now how exciting is that?

Seriously exciting if you ask me.  So I’m pretty much a basket case right now, stomach in nervous knots and finishing almost nothing that I start.

Wait.  That sounds somewhat like a normal day now that I think of it.  The not finishing anything I start part.  Whatever…

So food is definitely in the low maintenance zone at our house right now and since the hunkster wanted to know what was on the Election Day menu, I figured Batter Fried Calamari & Jalapeno Poppers would work just fine.  And I have the perfect accompaniment for both — a sauce made with a bit o’ spicy love.

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Key Lime Cheesecake

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Sometimes I’ll ask my husband what sounds good — to smack his lips together and let me know.  It’s only fair since I’m the one who always decides what we’ll eat.  He barely gets a request in edgewise, so I give him the chance once every other blue moon.

“Key Lime Pie,” he answered when I asked a few days ago.  Not a question — a statement.  Okay.

I’m fairly good at anticipating much of what he comes up with — dinner or dessertwise — but this one threw me for a loop.  Even though we’re experiencing typical San Diego weather now (it’s always hotter in the early Fall…) I’ve had baked apples and braised meat swirling through my head for weeks.  Key Lime?  Talk about shifting gears.

It sounded so tropical and fresh — so summery.  Not to mention that my regular market doesn’t always have them.  But it must have been his lucky day, because not only did I find them, I found a bag of them — tiny green orbs of heaven from Mexico.

Key limes are quite a bit smaller than regular limes and often have skin that is more yellow than green.  To me, the taste isn’t as bitter as that of a regular or Persian lime, and the aroma more sweet. They’re so tiny, I have to get out my wooden router instead of using my old glass juicer which is so much neater.  Yes, the wooden one works, but somehow, my technique must be rotten; I end up with lime juice everywhere but the bowl I want it it!

So how did we end up with cheesecake instead of key lime pie?  I’m still working on that cheese drawer and happened to have two packages of cream cheese that needed to be used.  Besides, I couldn’t resist the lime custard in this recipe.  Oh.  My.

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