Strawberry Cream Cake

This delicious  cake is certainly the most complicated recipe we will be attempting. It’s a very touchy recipe, with a number of very specific steps that affect the outcome of the cake. We did make a few alterations to this cake. The icing was originally white chocolate, but we decided that it wasn’t cost effective, so a light whipped icing was substituted. Raspberries were originally called for in the filling, but we switched to strawberries because there were some left over from the cheesecake.
Ingredients:
  • 2 ¾ c Butter
  • 2 ½ c + 1T Granulated Sugar
  • ¼ c Water
  • 9 ½ egg whites
  • ½ + ⅛ t Cream of Tartar
  • 3 oz Fresh Orange Juice
  • ¾ c frozen strawberries, defrosted
  • 2 c Vegetable Shortening
  • 8 c Confectioners Sugar
  • 1 ¼ t Salt
  • 4 ½ t Vanilla
  • ¾ c Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1 c Milk
  • 3 c cake flour
  • 4 t Baking powder

Cake:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Combine 4½ egg whites, ¼c milk, and 2¼t vanilla.
3. In a mixing bowl, combine cake flour, 1½c  Sugar, baking powder, and ¾t salt.
4. Add to the dry ingredients ¾c butter and ¾c milk. Slowly mix until moist.
5. Beat at medium speed for 1½ minutes to aerate batter.
6. Add ⅓ of the egg batter. Beat for 20 seconds. Repeat with remaining batter.
7. Pour into two greased and flowered pans.
8. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Then, cool on metal racks for ~10 minutes.

Filling:
1. Beat butter until smooth and creamy with a wooden spoon.
2. Puree frozen strawberries with 1 T sugar. Drain off liquid; make sure to retain a few tablespoons to use as coloring.
3. Pour strawberry puree into the butter and mix well.
4. In a small saucepan heat ¾ c sugar and ¼ c water until sugar dissolves and the mix bubbles. Remove from heat.
5. Beat 5 egg whites and cream of tartar until there are soft peaks.
6. Beat into the eggs ¼ c Sugar until stiff peaks.
7. Bring the syrup in the saucepan up to 248°. Transfer syrup to glass container to stop cooking.
8. Beat the syrup into the whites. Continue beating until cool.
9. Beat in 2 c butter at a medium speed.
10. At a slow speed, add orange juice
11. Refrigerate until used. Quickly beat directly before constructing cakeIcing:
1. Cream shortening until fluffy. Pour in confectioners sugar and blend well.
2. Add  2 t vanilla, ½ t salt, and whipping cream. Blend until moist.
3. Beat at high speed until fluffy.
4. Slowly beat in retained strawberry juice until icing is a pleasant shade of pink

Construction:
1. split the layers of the cake in half horizontally
2. spread one layer with a portion of the filling. Then, cement another layer on top.
3. repeat for all layers
4. chill the cake for 10 minutes
5. spread frosting over cake

There were a number of complications associated with this cake,  but it came out well. For some reason one of the cakes fell in the middle and the other did not. The only explanation we could find was that the batter was unevenly mixed, causing one of the pans to have less fat in it. Either way, we couldn’t properly divide the sunken one, so we only divided one of the layers in half. We placed the half layers on the top and bottom, with the messed up layer in the middle.
Icing the cake was relatively simple, and it came out well. The only recommendation would be to add about 1/4c of strawberry juice, rather than 1-2 T, as the color did not show up well. We would also add more strawberry puree to the filling, because the butter overwhelms the taste somewhat.

Chocolate Oblivion Truffle Torte

Chocolate Oblivion Truffle Torte in name alone sounds absurdly decadent. This light and fluffy torte is not too complicated, but requires lengthy preparations and will need to be executed carefully. Only calling for three ingredients, the recipe will serve a good number of people and would be great for any special occasion. This torte is also a good substitute for a normal cake and is perfect for the chocolate lover.
Chocolate Oblivion Truffle Torte
-Yields about 16 servings
Ingredients:
  • 1 lb bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 c unsalted butter
  • 6 large eggs

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425° F
  2. Place a pan of water on top of the stove. Heat until hot, but not boiling.
  3. Put a large heatproof bowl over the pot and mix the chocolate and butter. Stir periodically until melted into a smooth liquid.
  4. Set that aside. Get another large metal bowl, place over the same pan and heat the water to a simmer.
  5. Add the eggs to the second bowl and stir continually to avoid curdling. The mixture should be warm.
  6. Remove from heat and whisk until its volume triples in size, and soft peaks form when the whisk is raised.  Beat for about five minutes for this to occur.
  7. Fold about 12the eggs into the chocolate mixture using a rubber spatula.
  8. When the eggs are fully folded into the chocolate, add the rest of the eggs until no streaks are left and everything is mixed together. Make sure that the heavy mixture at the bottom of the chocolate substance is blended in well.
  9. Pour into the baking pan. Try to transfer all of the mixture. Smooth out the top.
  10. Place the pan into a larger pan that is filled with 1 inch of very hot water. Bake 5 minutes.
  11. Cover the pan loosely with buttered foil. Bake 10 minutes.
  12. Take out of oven and let it cool on a rack for 45 minutes.
  13. Cover with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for about 3 hours or until very firm.
  14. When getting the cake out, if you are using a springform pan, just pop the sides off. If you are using an aluminum baking pan, run a knife along the outside of the cake to loosen up the edges.
  15. Place the pan on a stove burner over low heat so as to warm up the bottom. This will only take a minute or two, so keep an eye on the pan.
  16. When the bottom is loose, put a large plate over the pan and carefully flip both together. If the cake does not release, try putting it back on the stove top and try again.


Whipped Cream

Ingredients:

  • 2 c whipping or heavy cream
  • 1 T confectioners sugar

Directions:

  1. Slowly pour the whipping or heavy cream into an electric mixer. Add the tablespoon of confectioners sugar.
  2. Drape a clean dish cloth over the mixing bowl to prevent splashing. Start the electric mixer slowly, and gradually increase the speed.
  3. Continue until the mixture is stiff and is no longer a liquid.


We had a little trouble with the water bath. First, we couldn’t find a pan that would fit the cake pan and also hold the water. Eventually we found one of the pans we used to cook the chickens in last Thursday. The next problem we ran into was that the recipe called for a springform pan. Unfortunately, as much as Amory tried to make the pan waterproof, the foil would still let water seep through the cracks. So we substituted the springform pan for a regular round aluminum pan. The whipped cream came out wonderful and complimented the torte nicely.

 

 

Chewy Sugar Cookies

Chewy Sugar Cookies
(from the Food Network’s show Sweet Dreams, online recipe)
2 3/4 C flour
1 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1 C softened butter
1 1/2 C white sugar
1 egg
1 t vanilla extract
3-4 T buttermilk
Sprinkles or colored sugar (optional)

Making the Cookies (oven at 375°F)
1. Mix together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder.
2. In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar, then add the egg and vanilla extract.
3. Slowly add the dry ingredient mixture to the butter mixture until the flour is incorporated.
4. Stir in enough buttermilk to soften the dough so it can be rolled into balls, but not so much that the dough becomes wet.
5. Roll the dough into tablespoon-sized balls and place them on a pan.
6. Gently flatten each cookie and lightly brush with buttermilk. If desired, press the toppings onto the cookies before baking.
7. Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool on the pan for two minutes before moving to a rack.

Today we set out to complete this simple, fun recipe to make sugar cookies. We lacked buttermilk, so Luke took it upon himself to make homemade buttermilk with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and a cup of milk. First we mixed the dry ingredients, the flour, the baking powder, and the baking soda. In another bowl, we mixed the butter and sugar, hand creaming it and blending in the egg. By mixing the ingredients in the two bowls we were able to start a dry dough. To soften the dough we added about 5 tsp of the homemade buttermilk. Then the dough was ready to to be molded into small balls. We were able to fit 28 of these small cookies onto the cookie pan, and using a cup we flattened the balls into small disks. All that was left to do was to pop them in the oven and wait for our delicious treats to be ready! In retrospect, 28 cookies was too many for one tray, as the cookies grew into one mass. We tried again with less cookies; both batches were equally tasty, even though the first batch wasn’t perfectly shaped.

The Good Ol’ Chocolate Chip Cookies

The cookies are all done!

Today, Friday, we are making chocolate chip cookies. When we chose our recipes for the week, Friday was cookie day and we decided to go classic. Not only are chocolate chip cookies easy to make, but they always come out so well.

Makes 3 – 4 dozen

Ingredients:

  • ½ lb. butter, softened
  • ¾ c granulated sugar
  • ¾ c brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 c all-purpose flour
  • ½ t baking soda
  • ½ t salt
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 2 c (8 oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. With a mixer, beat together the butter, sugar and brown sugar. Add the eggs one at a time and continue beating until the mixture is nicely blended.

    Unmixed ingredients

  3. Mix the flour, baking soda and salt in a different mixing bowl. After stirring together, gradually add the dry ingredients to the butter and sugar mixture.
  4. After blending the dry ingredients and the butter and sugar mixture, add the vanilla and chocolate chips. Stir to evenly distribute the chocolate chips.
  5. Drop tablespoon-sized balls of dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Place the cookies roughly 3 inches apart. Cook for about 10 minutes or until they turn light brown.

    Cookie dough is good for eating.

  6. Cool cookies for a few minutes on the cookie sheet before removing them and placing them on a cooling rack.
  7. Serve warm or store in a container for later.

As expected, the cookies came out just as expected with no difficulties whatsoever except for the fact that we couldn’t get our hands on the electric mixer. Instead, Amory had to mix the sugar and butter by hand with a fork. Hats off to you, Amory! The cookies had to go in for slightly longer than is stated in the recipe, but it may have been because we made the cookies slightly larger than directed.

Snickerdoodles

Snickerdoodles

Ingredients:

1 1/2 c sugar
1/2 c butter or margarine, softened
1/2 c shortening
2 eggs
2 3/4 c all-purpose or unbleached flour
2 t cream of tartar
1 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1/4 c sugar
1 T ground cinnamon

Instructions:

1. Heat oven to 400ºF.
2. Mix 1 1/2 cups of the sugar, all the butter, shortening and eggs in large bowl. Stir in flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt.
3. Shape dough into 1 1/4-inch balls. Mix 1/4 cup sugar and the cinnamon. Roll balls in cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place the balls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until set. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.

These snickerdoodles were some of the easiest cookies to make, they are very low maintenance and have a remarkably short cooking time. The mixing process went without flaw, the only way we differed from the original recipe was replacing the Cream of Tartar with lemon juice.  This was done at the instruction of our teachers, Ms. Baker and Mrs. McGreevey. The baking process also went without error, with the cookies being done at exactly 10 minutes.  The cookies came out looking delightful and tasting wonderful.

French Bread

Today, we as a class are having a baked-chicken lunch with yummy sides. As a group, we decided to make french bread because no meal is complete without some sort of bread. There are so many different types of bread and it was hard to choose. We wanted something simple, classic, and would work well with carrots, potato dishes, and most of all, chicken. French bread is something that can be enjoyed by many different people because its just simple bread that is good plan or with butter.
French Bread
-Yields 2 baguettes
Ingredients:
4 c All purpose flour
2 t Salt
2¼ t Active dry yeast
2½ c + 1 T water
1 Egg White
  1. Mix the flour, salt, and yeast in a large bowl.
  2. Pour in 1½ c warm water and mix by hand until the dough become elastic.
  3. Cover with a moist cloth and let rise for 1½-2 hours.
  4. When the dough rises to twice it’s original size, punch it down and divide it in half.
  5. Place the halves onto a floured surface and pat into a rough rectangle. Then, roll the dough away from you to form it into the traditional baguette.
  6. Place the two loaves onto a greased baking sheet. Be aware that they will double in size. Cover with a floured cloth. Let rise.
  7. Preheat the oven to 400° F.
  8. With a sharp knife, score the top of the loaf. The cut should be about ½ inch into the dough.
  9. Pour 1c of water into a baking pan and place it on the bottom rack of the oven. The steam will make the crust of the bread crisp.
  10. Bake the bread on a center rack for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350° F and bake for another 25 minutes, or until crust it is golden brown.
  11. Brush the bread with a combination of 1 egg white and 1 T cold water. Bake for another 5 minutes.
  12. Let cool on rack and serve.

This classic recipe resulted in a delicious outcome of warm, crunchy french bread that really complemented the chicken lunch. Even though at points, one has to carefully read the recipe otherwise mistakes can be easily made, the end result was completely worth the long wait and attention. One of the things that as a group we noticed is make sure that once the french bread is done cooking, let cool until a reasonable temperature, otherwise it is difficult to cut to serve. Also the water bath is key to the crust of the bread, making the crust crunchy and delicious. Overall, the french bread was a success!

Lattice Apple Pie

Apple Pie
(from the Food Network’s show Tyler’s Ultimate, online recipe)

Crust:
2 c all-purpose flour
1 t salt
3/4 c chilled vegetable shortening
Ice water

Filling:
1/2 to 1 c all-purpose flour
6 to 7 c apples cut into thin slices (recommended: Green Golden and Jonathan’s)
1 c white sugar
1 c brown sugar
1 t cinnamon
2 T melted butter

Preparing the Dough
1.    Stir together the four and salt in a mixing bowl (using a stand mixer helps in the next steps).
2.    Add the shortening and mix into the flour until there are no large lumps of shortening.
3.    Slowly add the ice water a tablespoon at a time, being sure to scrape the mixture down, until the dough clumps easily when mixed (about 3 T).
4.    Divide the dough into two balls, one slightly larger than the other, for use as the two pieces of crust when assembling the pie.

Making the Filling
1.    In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugars, flour, cinnamon, and butter.
2.    Wash, peel, and core the apples, then cut them into eighths.
3.    Add the apples to the sugar mixture and coat all the slices.

Rolling the Dough and Assembling the Pie
preheat oven to 375°F
1.    Roll out the larger dough ball until it is about 2 inches in diameter larger than the pie dish.
2.    Transfer the sheet of dough onto the rolling pin and place it in the pie dish.
3.    Firmly press the dough into the dish.
4.    Evenly spread the apple filling in the crust.
5.    Cut the dough into even strips, long enough to cover the top of the pie
6.    Lay four of the strips about an inch apart across the pie
7.    Weave four to five more strips perpendicular to the strips already laid down.
8.Cover the edges of the pie crust with foil and bake for 25 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for another 20 minutes or until the top of the pie is browned.

The biggest challenge we faced while making this pie was perfecting the dough. We added water to the mixer to moisten the dough, we were already doubting ourselves. It was still crumbly, but we were still able to roll it into a ball. We thought that some time in the fridge would help the dough come together. After making the filling, we removed the dough from the fridge and sprinkled our work surface and rolling pin with flour, attempting to roll the dough that was falling apart. It took a lot of extra water to make the dough workable, and it turns out that we probably needed a little more water in the mixer from the start. Since we were having trouble rolling the dough into one thin layer to completely cover the filling, we decided to attempt a lattice weave. With help from our instructor, we were able to weave the dough correctly. We then used a fork to mold the edge of the dough together and then trimmed the edges. Finally, foil covered the edges and the pie then went into the oven. The struggles with the dough were over.


Two Pie Day: Pecan Pie

Flaky Pie Crust
from How to Cook Everything, 10th Anniversary Edition, p. 928
1 C + 2 T + extra flour
1/2 t salt
1 t sugar
8 T butter, cut into pieces
3 T cold water, more if necessary

1-2 C rice, beans, or pie weights (for precooking)

Preparing the dough
1.    Mix the flour, salt and sugar in a food processor.

2.    Add the pieces of butter and process until the mixture looks like cornmeal.
3.    Move the mixture to a bowl and carefully mix in the ice water with your hands. If the mixture is too dry, you can add another tablespoon or two of cold water.
4.    Form the mixture into a ball, wrap it in plastic, and refrigerate for half an hour or freeze for ten minutes. The dough can be wrapped and stored in the refrigerator for a few days.

Forming the Crust
1.    Prepare a counter top and rolling pin by dusting each with flour. Place the dough on the counter and sprinkle it with additional flour.
2.    Roll the dough out into a disk, dusting with flour as necessary. If the dough becomes soft and sticky, cool in the refrigerator or freezer again before continuing to roll it.
3.    When the dough is about 2 inches in diameter larger than the pie plate, transfer it to the pie plate by draping it over the rolling pin.
4.    Firmly press the dough into the plate and refrigerate for an hour or freeze for half an hour.
5.    Trim the excess dough from the edges of the crust and from the edges by pinching the dough or pressing a fork into it. Freeze the dough for ten minutes or refrigerate for half an hour.

Blind-Baking the Pie Crust
preheat oven to 425°F

My first homemade pie crust!

1.    Immediately after refrigerating the crust, prick it with a fork to allow steam to escape while it is baking
2.    Lightly grease a piece of aluminum foil and line the pie crust with the greased foil, butter side down. Chilling the pie crust again will help the crust turn out well.
3.    Fill the foil with rice, beans, or pie weights and bake for 12 minutes.
4.    Remove the foil and weights, reduce the oven temperature to 350°F, and bake until the crust is a light golden brown (about 10 minutes).
5.    Fill the pie and finish baking according to the pie recipe.

Pecan Pie Filling
from Karo® brand corn syrup, Ach Food Companies, Inc.

1 c dark corn syrup
3 eggs
1 c sugar
2 T melted butter
1 t vanilla extract
1 1/2 c toasted pecans
1 blind-baked or frozen pie crust

1.    Preheat oven to 350°F
2.    Combine the corn syrup, eggs, sugar, butter, and vanilla extract.
3.    Place one layer of pecans on the bottom of the pie crust, then set them aside.
4.    Chop the remaining pecans.
5.    In a small bowl, coat the whole pecans in a few tablespoons of the syrup mixture.
6.    Add the chopped pecans to the syrup and pour into the pie crust.
7.    Place the whole pecans in a radial pattern on the surface of the pecans and syrup in the pie crust.

The pie before baking.

8.    Bake for 60-70 minutes or until the center of the pie springs back if pushed down.

The completed and baked pie.

Making a pie from the bottom up was a great experience. We didn’t have a food processor, but I was able to make the dough relatively easily. After chilling for a while, the dough was not difficult to work with and only stuck to the counter a little bit. The pie plate I was using didn’t have a large lip, so I didn’t make a very decorative edge for the crust. Precooking the crust worked pretty well, but it still had a few air bubbles that I pressed out after lightly browning the crust.

After that new experience, I just had to finish the familiar routine of finishing a pecan pie. It turns out that the lack of a decorative edge on the crust, coupled with the walls of the crust shrinking slightly helped because there wasn’t enough filling to completely fill the pie plate. After baking for an hour and cooling for another, the pie was still slightly warm and I got to serve it to a bunch of the MSSM staff.

It became apparent that I should have greased the pie plate before baking the crust, but I managed to pry the first few slices out successfully. Now, I can look forward to having more pie for breakfast tomorrow.

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Considering Pies

Alex:

Since I was about 7 years old, I have been crazy about pecan pie. My mom made a pie every Christmas, and I am excited to try my hand at it. We have a limited amount of ingredients, so I doubt it will be anything fancy. This is something I worry about tomorrow’s apple pie, because it lacks molasses. However, a pie does not require numerous, fantastic ingredients to be tasty. My biggest worry with the pie is burning it because I never have been a particularly gifted baker, especially because pecan pie is filled with sugar and can easily crisp up and be ruined. I’m also concerned about proportions and making sure the pie isn’t overwhelmingly sweet or nutty. However, if we follow our plans and keep a careful eye on the pie while it is baking, success should not be too hard to grasp.

Thomas:

Making pies is easy, right? Well, making a pie is easy when you just make the filling and drop it into a frozen prepared pie crust. I’m confident that today’s pie fillings will come out nicely, but preparing crust from scratch seems much more difficult. After this, I would like to see if a homemade pie crust seems better than store-bought. Ingredients-wise, it’s probably better for you, but making the crust takes a great deal of time. Since the apple pie we are making today has a crust top, it should be worth the time to make the complete pie, but the pecan pie doesn’t need such a complex crust arrangement.

Luke:

When making pies, the most “American” pie would be the apple pie. The image that comes to mind is a old grandmother pulling a delicious smelling pie out of the oven and putting it on her windowsill. My expectations for the apple pie is just that. The perfect pie: its smell making your mouth water. For the pecan pie, I’m going to try it for my first time, which is exciting.

Cheesecake with Strawberry Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs Cream Cheese
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 c Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1 T Flour
  • ½ c Maple Syrup
  • ½ t Vanilla
  • 3c Crushed Graham Crackers
  • 1 c butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 c frozen strawberries
  • 1 T maple syrup
  • 1 t corn starch

Crust:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F
  2. Melt the butter. Pour the melted butter over the crackers until the mixture becomes stiff enough to hold together on it’s own.
  3. Press this into the bottom and halfway up the sides of a springform pan.

    Graham cracker crust in the spring-form pan.

  4. Bake at 400°F for 5-10 minutes, and give some time for it to cool.

Strawberry Sauce:

  1. Mash frozen strawberries
  2. Put mashed strawberries in to a sauce pan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Keep at this boil until the sauce becomes thick.

    Heating up the strawberries to create the sauce.

  3. Add the maple syrup to sweeten to the sauce.
  4. Leave until cool. Mix in the corn starch to stiffen.

    Cooling both the cheese cake and the strawberry sauce.

  5. Place on top of the cheese cake right before placing the cake into the fridge.

    Pouring the sauce on top of the cheese cake.

Custard:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F
  2. Whip the cream cheese until soft.

    Whipping the cream cheese.

  3. Mix together the cream cheese, the egg, cream, flour, syrup, and vanilla into a large mixing bowl. Be careful not to over mix, as it can cause the cake to crack during cooling. There will be small lumps in the mix.
  4. Pour the cheese mixture into the crust.
  5. Place a pan full of water on a low rack in the oven. This will keep the cake moist, and prevent cracking.

    How to place the pan of water underneath the cheese cake in the oven.

  6. Bake the cake for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Allow it to cool in the oven  with the door cracked for at least 1 hour. Run a knife between the crust and the side of the pan to separate them.
  7. Top with the strawberry sauce and cool  in the fridge for at least 2 hours. When stiff, remove the sides of the pan and serve.

    Making sure that the cheese cake is not sticking to the springform pan.

This recipe went very smoothly. The biggest recommendation we can make is to allow the cream cheese to reach room temperature before whipping. Soft cream cheese is much easier to beat, and (hopefully) cling to the whisk less compared to the cool cream cheese. We also found that an electric mixer is very necessary to properly whip the cream cheese, although the other ingredients should be mixed by hand. Use as few strokes as possible and make them large and slow to make the cheese cake come out the best.