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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Other Output of 312sqf

I have been putting my 312 square feet to good use. I made the dress above as my first sewing project in years. We'll see if I have the time to keep it up, but it was fun re-learning all the skills for sewing. I will keep posting my hand made clothes right next to my cakes!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Mole Cake Redux

The fantastic Lynly celebrated her birthday this past weekend with a home karaoke throw down! Chock full of delicious food like mini chopped beef sandwiches with pickles and bean and cheeses empanadas, and of course, amazing conversation from Lynly's ragtag of friends from all over the city and country.

To celebrate, I decided to take her Texas/South of the boarder flavor and re-work my Mole Cake. Less dense than the first and with a Dark Chocolate Ganache (sans the chilies this time), the cake was still richly spicy and had the perfect moist crumb. I love the Mole Cake! No one expects the sweet and the spice. It makes a cooling dessert on a hot night, especially when topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

Mole Cake 2.0

2 sticks butter, softened
2 cups sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups cake flour, sifted
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
4 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon ground pequin pepper
1 whole dried ancho chili
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
2 tablespoons ground pumpkin seeds

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease, flour and line the bottoms of two 9" cake pans with parchment paper.

Finely grind all the chilis and sift in with the cocoa powder and dry seasonings. Whisk together with sifted flour, baking powder, soda and salt.

In another bowl, beat the butter with the sugars until very fluffy. Beat in each egg, one at a time, beating thoroughly for each egg.

Add 1/3 of the flour mixture, combine very well, then add 1/3 of the butter milk, combine well. Continue until all combined into a smooth batter.

Bake 25-30 minutes until it passes the cake test and cool in pans for 10 min. remove from pans and cool completely before frosting.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Meals with the Man

Though I have been lax about posting lately, I have not been lax about cooking or baking!

Octavio guested at 312 square feet to make me his patented "Skate Fish with Chicken Sauce". I created the fresh mango salsa to go with it.

Then I whipped a nice mid summer meal of Fresh Herb Crusted Monkfish with New Garlic Sauteed Broccoli Rabe. I made a kind of compote with jarred artichoke hearts and capers, but it was a tad too over powering. Next time, I will sick just with some capers and lemon, or get fresh artichokes.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Honey for the First Year

We celebrated Miss Jackson's transcendence to her 29th and the 1 year anniversary of 312 square feet, in fitting fashion with a decadent, yet almost savory cake. The request this year was to honor the missing bees and bake with honey. I created a pistachio sponge cake with a deliciously rich, but not overly sweet French buttercream frosting.

The cake came out with a perfect sponge crumb, and next time I will take advantage of that by sprinkling the layers with combination of simple syrup and orange liqueur. You bake, you learn!

Pistachio Cake with Honey Buttercream

2 1/2 cups cake flour, sifted
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
10 eggs, room temperature and separated
1 cup pistachios shelled and finely chopped

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Flour and line the bottoms of three 9" cake pans with parchment paper.

Whisk the four and baking powder together to combine. In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks with the sugar until thick. Longer than think about 15 minutes.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites together until light and fluffy and stiff peaks form. Again, this will take longer than you think! Get a magazine in one hand and your mixer in the other. (Please! Some one get me a Kitchen Aid!)

Fold this into the egg yolks, fold in the flour and then fold in the pistachios.

Bake until the cake test comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes.

for the icing
6 egg yolks at room temperature
1/3 cup honey plus 1/2 cup honey to add to taste
2 cups butter, softened

You see "room temperature" in all of my cake recipes. I can not stress enough how important it is to bring you butters and eggs to room temperature. They bake better cakes, especially butters. Since they will combine better with your sugars.

This recipe is not for an American buttercream, which is basically butter and powdered sugar, which I love, but can have over power sweetness. I wanted to have an icing that really emphasized the savory cake and the deep floral nature of the local farmer's honey.

Beat the egg yolks until pale yellow, again longer than you think! they should be very, very light.

Heat the honey over medium heat until just bubbling. Slowly pour in stream into the eggs. Be careful to avoid the beaters. Beat until very well combined.

Beat in the butter, pat by pat until you get the consistency you like. It will be much more shiny and soft than other frostings. Add more honey until you get the flavor you desire.