Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Coconut Tea Cake -- Tuesdays with Dorie

Time for Tuesdays with Dorie! Our treat today is Coconut Tea Cake, picked for us to try by Carmen of
Carmen Cooks, thank you Carmen. I adore coconut and also love tea cakes, slightly dryer than your traditional cake, with a dense crumb and soft but not too moist texture. Just perfect for snacking on a slice with a cup of your favorite tea.

I decided to bake this in my Nordic Ware Chrysanthemum Bundt Pan. I've only baked a few other cakes in this pan, and have to admit it is usually a little tough for me to judge how much batter goes in. You want to be able to see the details after baking but not overflow while baking. Dorie takes care of that guessing problem with this recipe and specifically calls for a 10-12 cup bundt pan, this is a 10 cup pan (it says so right on it) so even though it was on the smaller side of the suggested pans, I put the whole amount of batter in and hoped for the best.

Success! No overflow, yay! As you can see I did bake this on an insulated baking sheet, I know in the directions Dorie says not to bake this on a sheet because you want the hot air to circulate through the center of the cake, I went against the directions because I know that these darker pans tend to bake faster and I do not like my cake edges extra dark and dry. Also because this is a black pan I turned the oven temperature down to 325, and set my oven timer to check the cake right at one hour, and right at one hour this cake was perfectly done.

It released nicely from the pan, which I sprayed with Pam for Baking, any little imperfections were from the way it baked, not from sticking. It looked like the perfect springtime cake for sipping tea with.
I let if cool for about 4 hours before slicing and the inside was perfectly done, a nice tender and close-knit crumb. The first flavor I noticed was the coconut milk, followed by a nice little crunch of coconut. I couldn't detect the rum right away but I'm sure it helped to balance the other flavors.

Two out of three little taste testers liked this one, husband was a no try because of the coconut, and I personally thought it was great and fit the title of Tea Cake perfectly. I'm looking forward to some with some strawberry compote and whipped cream later, yum :)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Dulce de Leche Duos -- Tuesdays with Dorie

First off, a huge thanks to Jodie of Beansy Loves Cake who picked these absolutely amazing cookies for our treat this week at Tuesdays with Dorie. I realize it's not Tuesday anymore, sorry, seem to be running late with everything lately. I was going to just post these next Tuesday along with the Coconut Cake, but these deserve their own post! We loved these cookies and I think that these are probably my favorite cookie we've done with Tuesdays with Dorie, yeah, they are that good. And that is coming from someone who almost didn't make these due to a dulce de leche making disaster...

I attempted making dulce de leche in the oven with the David Lebovitz recipe. My pie plate of sweetened condensed milk and a touch of sea salt, snugly covered with aluminum foil, was resting in a water bath, baking in the oven. After the time was up I took it out, it looked a little underdone to me, so I figured I'd pop it back in the oven, sans aluminum and water bath, just for a few minutes to get it a little darker, oops, big mistake...

After a self cleaning oven cycle and a pie plate that I ended up tossing after scrubbing for way too long, I went back to the internet to figure out another way to do dulce de leche. A lot of people recommended the crock-pot version but I read about there being a little rust ring in the bottom of the slow cooker after cooking the sweetened condensed milk in a can. One suggestion was to put the sweetened condensed milk in a canning jar and then put it in the slow cooker, covered with water, and cook for about 10 hours. I went with that method, and I have to say it was very easy and worked perfectly!

The cookies were easy to make and I loved their soft and slightly chewy texture -- slathered with the dulce de leche and sandwiched together, one delicious treat. I only made a few sandwich cookies at a time, and then kept the cookies in a zip top baggie and when we served some more I spread the dulce de leche on at that time.

Here is my little guy with dulce de leche on his face, asking for just one more cookie...

How could I say no?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Mini Caramel Apple Pies -- Sweet Melissa Sundays

It's Monday, a day late for Sweet Melissa Sundays, but late is better than never, right? I actually made these sweet little pies on Sunday but didn't get to posting about them until now. Caramel Apple Pie from The Sweet Melissa Baking Book was our pick this week for SMS, chosen by Susan of
Baking with Susan. Susan has a wonderful blog and I love to see her gorgeous photos whenever I visit :) You can visit Susan's site for the recipe and some great step by step photos if you don't have the book.

I decided to make these pies in my little electric pie maker, the kids love them and it's one of those small kitchen appliances I don't use nearly as much as I should. I followed the recipe exactly except for using Fuji apples instead of the Granny Smith suggested. In the book there are two choices for pie crusts, one is Melissa's Flaky Pie Dough and the other is an all butter pie dough. My usual recipe is an all butter pie crust and we love it, but for the sake of trying something new I went with the Flaky Pie Dough that has butter and shortening. It did not go over well with my picky husband, he really didn't like it :( It was okay for me, I prefer my usual recipe though. The kids did like the crust though, they actually really liked the pie and the crust.

The caramel came together nicely, although it was quite light colored after adding the cream it was still delicious. All together the pie didn't go over well for picky husband, he has a certain basic apple pie that I make that he just loves and every time I try a different one he is not a happy camper. I think I was missing the spices a little bit, but the kids really loved this pie, so not an all around new favorite, but definitely a tasty pie that was fun to make.

ETA for Natashya and Carmen -- here are a couple of shots of the mini electric Sunbeam pie maker...

one of my favorite specialty kitchen electrics :)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Soft Chocolate and Raspberry Tart -- Tuesdays with Dorie

Just a quick check-in post for TWD! Here is the soft chocolate and raspberry tart, we loved it -- will post more tomorrow :)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Carrot Cake -- Sweet Melissa Sundays

I have three Sweet Melissa Sunday treats to share, I had been trying to bake along and just got too swamped to blog about them! First up is carrot cake, this was our pick for today, chosen for us by Julie at Little Bit of Everything, thank you Julie! You can find the recipe for this delicious carrot cake here at Julie's site if you do not have The Sweet Melissa Baking Book.

~ mountain of shredded carrots ~

I changed up this cake a little bit, mainly by baking it in a bundt pan instead of the traditional layer cake as written in the recipe. I saw fellow SMS Baker Nina mention she was using a bundt pan in the P&Q section for this recipe and thought that was such a great idea, I hope she doesn't mind I baked this cake in a bundt also :) My second change to this recipe was to swap out the walnuts for raisins, we were out of walnuts and even though we have just about every other nut on hand, I didn't want to use pecans or macadamias because then my picky husband wouldn't have even tried this cake. I added in the raisins because we all like raisins, especially the kids, and we just bought four pounds of raisins at Sam's Club -- what better way to start using 'em up than carrot cake?

Lastly, I left off the frosting. The cake was supposed to be frosted with a delicious sounding orange cream cheese frosting, but picky husband hates cream cheese, and even though I love it, I figured I wanted to make this cake to his liking, especially since I had already omitted the nuts for his tastes.
End result? An amazing carrot bundt cake! I dusted it with powdered sugar, and everyone eagerly clamored around for a taste, and yes, even picky husband liked it! This cake reminds me of a sweet quick bread taste and texture, which I love, and I'm betting it will be great with a cup of tea :)

Next up to share is a pitcher of Strawberry Lemonade, picked for us to try by Jessica at My Baking Heart -- you can find the recipe for this delicious drink, and a cute picture of her special birthday glass here at her site.

We love strawberries and lemonade so this was a huge hit for the whole family. Will be making this one again for sure!

One more late SMS treat to share, Lemon Walnut Sour Cream Pound Cake, picked for us to try back in January by Raeann of Basically, Baby Boots -- this was a delicious pound cake, I loved the lemon and walnut combo! You can find the recipe here at her site.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Mini Toasted Coconut Custard Tarts -- Tuesdays with Dorie

This Tuesday we got the chance to make an amazing Toasted Coconut Custard Tart, picked by Beryl of Cinemon Girl, thank you Beryl! I am a huge coconut fan, but don't use it that often because my husband hates it. Now that the kids are getting a little older and developing their own tastes, it's fun to try recipes with ingredients that I personally like but haven't made in a while because picky husband doesn't like. All three little ones loved these coconut tartlets, and I did too!

It took me a while to decide on which tart pan to use, and I finally picked my new Chicago Metallic square tartlet pan. I ordered this online and when it arrived, I thought the squares looked almost too small, but they really are just right for a single serving and the squares are extra cute with their fluted edges. My three year old son was excited when mommy got out the new pan, and promptly told me that pan would make neat brownies. I was impressed with his interest in the pan, and he really won me over when he said, you could make mini square pizzas in there! What a great idea from my budding chef.

The tart dough is a winner, I've made it many times, and love the nut variations. I decided to use macadamias in these and it was perfect. Love that extra buttery crunch they gave the tartlet shells. I do always end up adding a little water to the tart dough recipe to make it easier to handle, and it hasn't failed me yet!

The custard for this recipe comes together like most of the other custard based pies or tarts we've tried, the prep for this one reminded me of the banana cream pie and the chocolate tartlets we also made with TWD. I used to be so afraid of egg based custards, as I hate anything eggy, but I've really learned to trust Dorie with these and have not been dissapointed. No eggy flavor at all with these, even though you use six yolks.

I did make a slight ingredient change in the custard and used skim milk instead of whole milk and I do not think that made one bit of difference. It's plently rich from the yolks and butter, and thickened perfectly thanks to the cornstarch, no need to make a special purchase of whole milk.

I really enjoyed this pick, it was great to share a favorite dessert of mine with my little sweethearts, even if picky husband wouldn't have any :)

Related Posts with Thumbnails