Archive for August, 2011

Sweets Bakeshop Macaron!

August 15, 2011

Macaron on the dashboard of my car.

Is anyone tired of reading about macaron? I don’t blame you if you are. I hesitated to bring them up again for fear that another blog post about macaron might make the Internet come crashing down around all of us. I decided to risk it for people living in the Minneapolis – St. Paul area who have not yet found Sweets Bakeshop.

In the comment section of my previous post about macaron reader Maria suggested I try the macaron at Sweets Bakeshop. Now I get it! Now I understand why people go gaga over these little french style cookies. I had one filled with chocolate ganache which was very good, praline also very good, and salted caramel which were the best. Next time I’m headed straight for the salted caramel.

For better or worse I’ve decided I’m still not going to make my own. They’re very good, but the next time I need a macaron fix I’m headed toward Sweets Bakeshop. You’ll find them (and maybe me) at 2042 Marshall Ave, St. Paul, MN, or 4747 Nicollet Ave S., Minneapolis, MN.  And like Maria said. Have a cupcake while you’re there. You won’t regret it.

Cupcake on the dashboard.

Cafe Latte’ style Turtle Cake

August 12, 2011

Turtle Cake

There is a restaurant called Cafe Latte’ on Grand Avenue in St. Paul, MN. It’s almost three restaurants in one. They serve up-scale food cafeteria style, they have a pizza/wine bar, and a retail bakery. We’ve enjoyed every single thing we’ve ever tried there, and that’s saying a lot because we’ve been going there for a lot of years. One of the things they’re most known for is their Turtle Cake. It’s absolutely delicious!

This year we celebrated a bunch of spring and summer celebrations at one small family event. I decided I should try to make my own version of Turtle Cake. The recipe for the Cafe Latte’ Turtle Cake can be found on the web, but truth be told I had a little trouble with that recipe and decided to strike out on my own. I melded together some different recipes to come up with an excellent cake of my own.

The cake starts with a really moist, chocolate cake which I ever so slightly adapted from the King Arthur Flour Favorite Fudge Birthday Cake recipe. Next is a smooth fudgy frosting studded with toasted pecans, and then all of that layered with caramel sauce. You could use caramel sauce from a jar. Next time I’ll either do that, or I’ll make caramel sauce from scratch. The recipe you’ll find here is a little too runny.

Here’s how I made the cake.

Cake: (recipe adapted from Favorite Fudge Birthday Cake by King Arthur Flour)
2 cups (14 ounces) sugar
2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) King Arthur  Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 tablespoons (3/8 ounce) cornstarch
3/4 cup (2 1/4 ounces)  Dutch-process cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) water

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease and flour,  then line with parchment, three 9″ round cake pans.

To make the cake: Whisk together the dry ingredients. Add the eggs, oil, and vanilla, beating until smooth. Gradually add the water, beating until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pans dividing equally. (A kitchen scale comes in really handy here.)

Bake the cakes for about 25-30 minutes  or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the cakes in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn them out of the pans to cool completely on a rack.

Caramel Sauce – Warning! This recipe is runny and I recommend using caramel sauce from a jar for a less runny sauce.

One package Werther’s Caramels
2 T. heavy cream

Remove the caramels from their wrappers and place in a small saucepan with the cream. Place the pan over medium low heat and stir occasionally until the caramels melt. Set aside to cool. You will need about 3/4 c. of sauce

Fudge Frosting
1/2 cup milk
1 cup sugar
6 T. butter
2 cups good-quality semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 c. toasted pecans for garnish

Mix sugar and milk in saucepan. Add butter and bring to a boil.
Remove from heat. Add chocolate chips. Using wire whisk, mix until smooth. If
frosting is too thick or grainy, add 1 or 2 teaspoons hot coffee.

To assemble cake: Place one cooled cake layer, top-side down, on cake plate. Spread
with one-third of frosting, pushing it out gently from edges to make a petal effect.
Sprinkle with 1/2 cup pecans, Drizzle with 1/4 cup caramel. Add next layer, again
top-side down. Repeat frosting and sprinkle with 1/2 cup pecans and drizzle with 1/4 cup
caramel. Place final layer top side up. frost with petal effect and finish with remaining
pecans and caramel.

Time to slice and serve!

By the way! The photos have not been altered. The grass in the above photo really was that green!!

Blueberry Buckle

August 10, 2011

Blueberry Buckle

Today, Wednesday August 10, 2011 there will be a guest post by me on Cookie Madness.

For the story and the recipe, click on the link.  And check out the previous post here at Basically Baked for a peach and mixed berry crisp that was one of the contenders for my guest post at Cookie Madness.

Peach and Mixed Berry Crisp

August 9, 2011

Peach and Mixed Berry Crisp

On Wednesday August 10, 2011 there will be a post written by yours truly on Cookie Madness! I couldn’t be any more excited about the opportunity to do a guest post for Anna while she’s on vacation. The inspiration for the post is the Ginsberg’s Alaskan cruise.

When Anna and I chatted we talked about ice cream desserts but as I did my research and thought about Alaska I kept coming back to berries. One of the recipes I was really excited about is this crisp recipe I found on Epicurious. Apparently it is on the menu at a place in Anchorage called Marx Bros. Cafe. A google search for Marx Bros. Cafe told me that if I ever get to Anchorage I will make time for a meal there.

The peach berry crisp is excellent. It didn’t make the cut for my Cookie Madness post because it was the slightest bit runny and I didn’t think the photos were very appealing. That said, it’s a very tasty dessert and one I would make again. I loved the flavors of all the fruits and the topping was nice and crisp.

My husband enjoyed this with vanilla ice cream. I ate mine straight up.

Peach and Mixed Berry Crisp (adapted by Sue at Basically Baked)

Topping

3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter

Fruit layer

2 large peaches, peeled, pitted, chopped (about 2 1/2 cups)
1 1/3 cups blueberries (about 6 ounces)
1 1/3 cups raspberries (about 6 ounces)
1 1/3 cups blackberries (about 5.6 ounces)
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8×8 inch baking dish.

In a small bowl whisk together the dry ingredients for the topping, then add the butter and rub all of the ingredients together with the back of a spoon until the crumbs are very fine. You can also do this with your fingers but I prefer to use a spoon. Set the mixture aside.

Put all of the fruit in a separate bowl and toss it with the sugar and flour.

Place the mixture in the prepared baking dish and bake for 40 minutes stirring every ten minutes until the juices are bubbling. Bake another five minutes.

Remove from the oven. Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees.

Top with the reserved topping mixture and bake for another 20 minutes, until the topping is golden.

Remove from the oven and cool slightly. Serve slightly warm.

A healthier chocolate muffin

August 4, 2011

Banana Chocolate Muffins

Anna at Cookie Madness posted a recipe for Apple Butter Chocolate Muffins and I nearly went running to the kitchen to make them. The only problem is I don’t have apple butter on hand, I don’t have enough apples to make any, I don’t have applesauce to reduce, and I don’t have time to run to the grocery store. I didn’t let any of that stop me. I did have an overripe banana on the counter and I thought it might be okay in place of the apple butter.

I have a personal pet peeve about comments on blogs and recipe sites that say, “I made  your recipe but I changed this, that and the next thing and my results are different than yours. What did I do wrong”? Swapping out banana for apple butter is a major ingredient swap. I hoped it would work, but if it didn’t I could only blame my cavalier ways in the kitchen. (All that said, I love to read your comments, and am happy to answer any questions you might have… even if you change things up to suit your own tastes or what you have on hand.)

The muffins are relatively low in fat and the fruit adds to the sweetness in a tasty, healthy way. The white whole wheat flour adds to the nutritional profile and the chocolate chips and cocoa add a bit of decadence without being over the top.

How did they turn out? They’re very tasty and just moist enough. They’re tall with nice crowns, and they smell great! When apple season rolls around I’ll definitely make some apple butter and make these according to Anna’s recipe. In the meantime. Here’s how I made them.

The banana substitution made me concerned that they wouldn’t be as moist as they would be with apple butter. Let’s face it. There are a lot of differences between banana and apple butter. I added a little almond milk, and upped the spices and hoped for the best.

Cross section of Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Banana Chocolate Muffins (Adapted from Cookie Madness’ Apple Butter Chocolate Muffins)

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons white whole wheat flour (114 grams)
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (28 grams)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of allspice
pinch of cloves
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar (63 grams)
1/2 cup mashed overripe bananas (114 grams)
2 large egg whites
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
2 generous tablespoons vegetable oil (30-33 ml)
1/2 T. almond milk
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray 6 silicone cupcake molds with release spray. Mix the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices together in a bowl. In a mixing bowl, stir the brown sugar, mashed banana, egg whites, vanilla, almond milk and oil together. Pour the dry mixture into the banana mixture and stir until almost mixed. Add the chocolate chips and mix just until incorporated. Divide batter equally among the cupcake molds. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs.


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