Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Wired, In More Ways Than One!

For the first time this year, it's finally felt like Spring outside! There have been warmer days, sure... but today was so clear and bright that the very thought of being inside the classroom was sheer torture. Add to that the oh so wonderful event that was my Accounting midterm (can we say... hire an accountant, Sarah?) and I could not get out of that building fast enough!

Of course, looking like Spring and acting like Spring are two very different things in this crazy world - we're still a good ways away from the "official" beer-drinkin' seedling-plantin' weekend that is the May 2-4, and just like last year we still have to wait before we can even start our seedlings! The comforting notion for our household is that after this weekend, we'll have three of the four Spring birthdays past us... it's always a benchmarker for us, because after my mom's, dad's, my own, and finally my sister's birthdays (and Easter, since it always falls somewhere down that line), nothing else is left in the way of that long weekend.

Speaking of birthdays, mine is this Saturday (but my fete menus are never any fun - my meals almost never are, but I will have a kick-butt cake again!) yet I still have failed to post the remainder of the other various baked goodies that have exited the kitchen over the past couple weeks. I'm really starting to wonder if I'm ever going to get back into this blogging groove again... gah! I hate trying to drag up inspiration when I have snippets of time, and not having the time to write when I'm inspired! Although, looking at the most recent sweepstakes giveaway at Chocolate Covered (Vegan) Katie's blog... hmm, that could be inspiring enough to do a whole slew of posts! Check it out if you like (amongst other things) chocolate, and peanut butter, and... oh yeah... chocolate!

This cake was the "office" rendition of my mom's birthday offering, and is a blessing for those of you who need that caffeine / sugar "pep" mid morning (or you know, afternoon, after dinner...). So far I think it's been one of the stars at the office. Mind you, give the poor people anything caffeine and sugar laced and they'll pretty much love you regardless of what it is - they've pretty much eaten every last crumb of what I've sent in, flop or not! What can I say... I think I keep them wired up enough to crave my offerings, even without adding illegal substances! At any rate, I was more than wired enough for everyone last week. My sister took this shot of me modelling my gorgeous Holter monitor that I was stuck with for 48 hours. I kept thinking Bride of Frankenstein, myself. But, thank God, it's now long gone (though unfortunately the allergic reaction welts from the tape still remain) and I can get on with avoiding the medical profession for another couple weeks.
In the meantime, I suppose I'll try to catch up on all the recipe documenting (promises, promises, I know) while trying to search out a good, opaque poured fondant recipe. You see, one of my final assignments has me doing a demonstration lab for my Communications class and I figured what could be more fun than a simple, Spring-themed cake decorating tutorial? I totally ripped off this idea from Martha in terms of the design, but really... who has time to come up with something easy to teach in 15 minutes, and who can beat the "domestic queen" anyway? The poured fondant would cover the cake squares to give an even base for the frosting decorations, so it doesn't have to look spectacular, just even and solid. So... if anyone has a good poured fondant recipe for petits fours, please please please let me know! I would greatly appreciate it.

Okay... cake time! I'm actually going to give you guys a "two-fer" in this post, though the other recipe photo got eaten by the evils of the delete key a while back. You'll just have to trust me that it's a good one, and pretty - I've been asked for two repeat performances already! But have your coffee now, I've made you wait long enough!

Cafe Au Lait Breakfast Cake
14 Slices
Filling:
1/2 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats (not instant)
3 tbsp hot chocolate beverage mix
1/2 tbsp instant coffee granules
3 tbsp canola oil

Cake:
4 oz butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 block (6 oz) silken firm tofu (I use Mori-Nu lite), pureed
1 cup sour cream (full fat, s'il vous plaƮt!)
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp instant espresso powder
2 tbsp hot water
2 cups flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup (1%) milk
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and line a 9" springform pan (trust me, you want to line it!).
  2. Combine the dry "filling" ingredients in a small bowl until crumbly, adding a little water if necessary. Set aside.
  3. For cake, cream butter and sugar until light.
  4. Beat in tofu puree, sour cream and vanilla.
  5. Combine the instant espresso powder and hot water, stirring well. Add to the creamed mixture and beat thoroughly.
  6. In another bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg and salt.
  7. In alternate additions with the milk, begin adding the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture, blending well after each.
  8. Pour 1/2 the batter in the prepared springform pan, then sprinkle with 3/4 of the filling mixture.
  9. Top with remaining batter and crumble.
  10. Cover with foil and bake 80 minutes, or until tests done.
  11. Cool completely in the pan before releasing from the springform - it is very moist.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 286.5
Total Fat: 13.9 g
Cholesterol: 25.8 mg
Sodium: 78.7 mg
Total Carbs: 35.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.7 g
Protein: 5.3 g

This cake was made as a gift for my friend Georgiana's 50th birthday celebration - she loves pumpkin and coconut together! The coconut is in no way overbearing in this cake, but it adds a hint of richness that traditional pumpkin cakes lack. This cake is not a sweet one, and so leans toward the "adult" side of the palate. I frosted her birthday cake with a plain buttercream that I added coconut extract to, then covered the whole thing in unsweetened shredded coconut. It was a beauty, and a hit!
Pumpkin - Coconut Spice Cake
12 Slices
2 cups flour
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup water
5.3 oz creamed coconut (about one package - it's solid, not a coconut cream or milk)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
2 tsp vinegar
1 cup canned pure pumpkin (not pie filling!)
  1. Heat the oven to 350F, grease 2 8" square pans.
  2. Mix the flours, white sugar, spice, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
  3. In a medium saucepan, heat water to boiling.
  4. Stir in creamed coconut until smooth and rich-looking.
  5. Add brown sugar and simmer 1 - 2 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat, stir in oil, vinegar and pumpkin.
  7. Pour warm pumpkin mixture (carefully!) into the dry ingredients, mixing lightly but thoroughly.
  8. Pour into prepared pans.
  9. Bake for 30 minutes, or until it springs back when touched and tests done with a skewer.
  10. Allow to cool completely in pans on a wire rack before frosting.
Amount Per Serving
 Calories: 388.2
Total Fat: 17.9 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 61.0 mg
Total Carbs: 54.8 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.3 g
Protein: 4.5 g

1 comment :

DaviMack said...

Glad you're done with that monitor! T. had to wear one for a day, years ago, and the tape pulled off skin. Evil things.