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Archive for January, 2010

Honestly, the cake part of this recipe sucked. I actually made it twice and it still was dense as a rock. Maybe thats how it was supposed to be. It also had a very strong eggy taste. In a last minute move, I ended up using a box white cake mix and the cake was fabulous! Loved the filling and frosting. If I were to make it again, thats the route I would go. Plus, its a lot easier 🙂

Lemon Layer Cake with Lemon Curd and Mascarpone (epicurious.com)

Ingredients:
Lemon curd
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Cake
6 large eggs, separated
14 tablespoons sugar
1 3/4 cups sifted cake flour (sifted, then measured)
1/4 teaspoon salt

Syrup
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup boiling water
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

Filling and frosting
2 cups chilled heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup sugar
3 8-ounce containers chilled mascarpone cheese*

Directions:
For lemon curd:
Whisk first 4 ingredients in medium metal bowl. Set bowl over saucepan of simmering water (do not allow bottom of bowl to touch water). Whisk constantly until thickened and instant-read thermometer inserted into mixture registers 160°F, about 10 minutes. Remove bowl from over water. Add butter; whisk until melted. Transfer 1 cup curd to small bowl for spreading on cake layers. Reserve remaining curd for filling. Press plastic wrap directly onto surface of both curds. Chill overnight. (Can be made 3 days ahead. Keep chilled.)

For cake:
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375°F. Line bottom of two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides with parchment paper (do not grease pans or parchment). Using electric mixer, beat egg yolks and 7 tablespoons sugar in large bowl until mixture is very thick and slowly dissolving ribbons form when beaters are lifted, about 4 minutes. Using clean dry beaters, beat whites in another large bowl until soft peaks form. Add remaining 7 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff and glossy. Fold half of whites into yolk mixture, then sift half of flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt over and gently fold in until incorporated. Fold in remaining whites, then sift remaining flour over and fold in just until combined, being careful not to deflate batter.

Divide batter between pans; smooth tops. Bake until tester inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Cool in pans on racks.

Run knife around edge of pans to loosen cakes. Invert cakes onto 9-inch-diameter cardboard rounds, tapping on work surface if necessary to release cakes. Cut each cake horizontally in half (layers will be thin). Peel off parchment.

For syrup:
Place sugar in small metal bowl. Add 1/2 cup boiling water; stir to dissolve sugar. Stir in lemon juice.

For filling and frosting:
Beat whipping cream and sugar in large bowl until peaks form. Add mascarpone to lemon curd in medium bowl; whisk until blended. Fold whipped cream into lemon-mascarpone mixture.

Place 1 cake layer, flat side up, on platter. Brush with 1/4 of syrup. Spread 1/4 cup lemon curd over, then 1 cup lemon-mascarpone filling. Top with second cake layer; brush with 1/4 of syrup and spread with 1/4 cup lemon curd and 1 cup lemon-mascarpone filling. Repeat with third cake layer, syrup, lemon curd, and filling. Top with fourth cake layer. Brush with remaining syrup, then spread remaining lemon curd over. Spoon 2 cups lemon-mascarpone filling into pastry bag fitted with 1/4-inch star tip (to be used for rosettes). Spread remaining lemon-mascarpone filling as a frosting over sides of cake. Pipe small rosettes of frosting over top of cake, covering completely. Cover cake with cake dome; refrigerate at least 6 hours and up to 1 day.

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For my husbands birthday I made him two cakes (yes he is really lucky!). This cake is really delicious because of the mocha mascarpone filling and frosting. If you don’t want to go to the trouble of making the cake itself, you could easily use a box cake mix and then use the filling as described below. Enjoy!

Coffee-Chocolate Layer Cake with Mocha-Mascarpone Frosting (epicurious.com)

Cake:
2 cups cake flour
3/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups (packed) golden brown sugar
3 large eggs
11/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
4 teaspoons instant espresso powder dissolved in 3/4 cup hot water

Frosting:
1/3 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
1 1/2 cups chilled heavy whipping cream, divided
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 8-ounce containers chilled mascarpone cheese*
Bittersweet chocolate curls (optional)

Directions:
For cake:
Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 325°F. Generously butter two 9-inch cake pans with 2-inch-high sides; dust with flour, tapping out any excess. Line bottom of pans with parchment paper.

Sift 2 cups cake flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until smooth. Add brown sugar and beat until well blended, about 2 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in vanilla. Add flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with buttermilk in 2 additions, beating just until blended after each addition. Gradually add hot espresso-water mixture, beating just until smooth.

Divide batter between pans; smooth tops. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on rack 15 minutes. Run small knife around sides of pans to loosen cakes. Invert cakes onto racks; lift pans off cakes and remove parchment. Place wire rack atop each cake; invert again so top side is up. Cool completely. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Wrap each cake in plastic and store at room temperature.

For frosting:
Sift cocoa powder into large bowl; add espresso powder. Bring 1 cup cream to boil in small saucepan. Slowly pour cream over cocoa mixture, whisking until cocoa is completely dissolved, about 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup cream and sugar; stir until sugar dissolves. Chill until cold, at least 2 hours. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; keep chilled.

Add mascarpone to chilled cocoa mixture. Using electric mixer, beat on low speed until blended and smooth. Increase speed to medium-high; beat until mixture is thick and medium-firm peaks form when beaters are lifted, about 2 minutes (do not overbeat or mixture will curdle).

Using pastry brush, brush off crumbs from cakes. Place 1 cake layer, top side up, on platter. Spoon 13/4 cups frosting in dollops over top of cake. Using offset spatula, spread frosting to edges. Top with second cake layer, top side up, pressing to adhere. Spread thin layer of frosting over top and sides of cake. Chill 10 minutes. Using offset spatula, spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake, swirling decoratively. Top with chocolate curls, if desired. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome; chill. Let stand at room temperature 20 minutes before serving.

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Sorry for the poor picture, but the dip does taste better than it looks there. You can make this dip the day before your party and pop it in the oven just before. Serve it with some crusty french bread.

Spinach and Artichoke Dip (Mary Ellen’s Cooking Creations)

Ingredients
½ sweet yellow onion finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, pressed
1 tbsp olive oil
1 10 oz box frozen spinach
2 cans artichoke hearts in water, drained and coarsely chopped
2 packages cream cheese, softened
½ cup sour cream
½ cup mayonnaise
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup mozzarella cheese
Few pinches of red pepper flakes
Salt

Directions
Saute onion and garlic in olive oil and set aside
Cook spinach according to package directions; drain.
Mix spinach, onion, and garlic in large bowl.
Add cream cheese; mix
Add mayonnaise, sour cream, cheeses, red pepper flakes, and salt. Mix well.
Add artichoke hearts; mix; transfer to a baking dish
Top with some cheese.
Either store in fridge until ready to bake or bake on 350 degrees until hot and bubbly.

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Chicken Marsala

A very simple delicious chicken dish that you can make on any night after work. It really doesn’t take that much time at all.

Chicken Marsala (What’s Cooking Chicago)

Ingredients:
4 skinless, boneless, chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds)
All-purpose flour, for dredging
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 ounces prosciutto, thinly sliced (I used bacon since thats what I had on hand)
8 ounces crimini mushrooms, stemmed and halved
1/2 cup sweet Marsala wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley (skipped)

Directions:
Put the chicken breasts side by side on a cutting board and lay a piece of plastic wrap over them; pound with a flat meat mallet, until they are about 1/4-inch thick. Put some flour in a shallow platter and season with a fair amount of salt and pepper; mix with a fork to distribute evenly.

Heat the oil over medium-high flame in a large skillet. When the oil is nice and hot, dredge both sides of the chicken cutlets in the seasoned flour, shaking off the excess. Slip the cutlets into the pan and fry for 5 minutes on each side until golden, turning once – do this in batches if the pieces don’t fit comfortably in the pan. Remove the chicken to a large platter in a single layer to keep warm.

Lower the heat to medium and add the prosciutto to the drippings in the pan, saute for 1 minute to render out some of the fat. Now, add the mushrooms and saute until they are nicely browned and their moisture has evaporated, about 5 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Pour the Marsala in the pan and boil down for a few seconds to cook out the alcohol. Add the chicken stock and simmer for a minute to reduce the sauce slightly. Stir in the butter and return the chicken to the pan; simmer gently for 1 minute to heat the chicken through. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with chopped parsley before serving.

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Blueberry Crumb Cake

This was one of my husband’s favorite coffee cake. The crumb topping is what makes a coffee cake delicious and this is no exception.

Blueberry Crumb Cake (Barefoot Contessa)

For the streusel:

1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

For the cake:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2/3 cup sour cream
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup fresh blueberries
Confectioners’ sugar for sprinkling

Directions:
Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-inch round baking pan.
For the streusel:
Combine the granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a bowl. Stir in the melted butter and then the flour. Mix well and set aside.

For the cake:
Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on high speed for 4 to 5 minutes, until light. Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla, lemon zest, and sour cream. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the batter until just combined. Fold in the blueberries and stir with a spatula to be sure the batter is completely mixed.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and spread it out with a knife. With your fingers, crumble the topping evenly over the batter. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool completely and serve sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar.

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