Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Healthier Whole Wheat Bread & Honey Apple Butter

I don't think I ask much of Mountain Man.. well, ok.. I don't think ask too much of Mountain Man. But one thing I will ask of him is bread- sandwich bread to be specific.

Bread making scares me. I feel like there is so much involved: the yeast, the rising, the waiting, the kneading, the waiting...I get overwhelmed just thinking about it! I'll make up a mean quick bread any day, but throwing yeast in the mix totally intimidates me. I guess I should try it out some time though...

In the mean time, I think MM does a pretty good job in the bread department and I'm going to let him keep doing a good job. :)

For this edition of "In the Kitchen with Mountain Man" the recipes are completely his, but the narration is completely mine- with a lot of help.

Healthier Whole Wheat Bread
1st rise: 1 hour
2nd rise: 40 minutes
Oven: 425-350
Bake Time: 30 minutes
Makes 1 large loaf

2 cups warm water
3 TBS active dry yeast
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup sugar

1 cup bread flour
1 cup oat flour
1/4 cup quick oats (coarsely ground)
1/4 cup flax seeds
3 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/8 cup flax seeds

In a large bowl, whisk together water, yeast, honey and sugar. Let proof/stand about 5 minutes. (For those of you as unfamiliar with bread terms as I am, "proofing" basically means letting the yeast become active and the mixture begins to foam)
Mix bread, oat, and 1 cup of whole wheat flour, flax seeds and oats.
Add flour mixture to wet mixture, adding the rest of whole wheat flour, one cup at a time, as you go until dough needs to be turned out onto a lightly floured surface.
Knead dough for about 8-10 minutes, dough should be elastic-y.
Put the dough back in the bowl and cover with saran wrap (spray with Pam first).
Let the dough rest for about 1 hour or until it has doubled in size.
Prepare lightly floured surface with a sprinkling of sesame and flax seeds.
After the dough has napped an hour, turn dough back out on lightly floured surface and lightly deflate. Roll the dough in the seeds until covered.
Transfer seed covered dough into loaf pan and cover again with saran wrap, this time letting it rest for about 40 minutes.

While resting, preheat oven to 425.
After the dough is well rested, remove saran wrap and immediately turn oven temperature down to 350.
Bake for 30 minutes.
Transfer loaf to cooling rack until ready to eat.

Honey Apple Butter
1 whole apple
2 cups water
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup butter, 2 sticks
1/4 cup honey

Quarter apple- removing seeds and stem (but not the core-it will dissolve).
Bring water and vinegar to a boil. Add apple pieces and sprinkle about 1/4 tsp of cinnamon, dash of nutmeg and dash of cloves into pot.
Boil for 20-30 minutes or until apples are extremely soft.
Remove apples and puree in food processor.
In a medium sized bowl, melt butter, 1 tsp salt and 1/4 cup honey in microwave.
Mix in pureed apples.
Add 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp cloves, 1/4 tsp nutmeg (or less depending on taste preferences).
Refrigerate until mixture becomes solid again.

Slather on some Healthier Whole Wheat Bread and you're ready to start your day!

Happy Baking!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

DBs June Challenge: Chocolate Pavlovas with Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse

June has been a busy month for us here in good ole Temple, Texas, which means I waited till the very last minute to do this months Daring Bakers Challenge. After watching USA totally botch the game, I spent the rest of afternoon reviving my spirit in the kitchen preparing each of the steps involved in this months challenge. That's probably another reason I waited till the last minute.. I knew it would be time consuming, but man was it worth it!

The June 2010 Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Dawn of Doable and Delicious. Dawn challenged the Daring Bakers' to make Chocolate Pavlovas and Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse. The challenge recipe is based on a recipe from the book 'Chocolate Epiphany' by Francois Payard.

When making this recipe, make sure you have a few hours set aside to get everything together. Thankfully, it can all be done pretty smoothly because each component can be made while another is baking or cooling.

I chose to prep mine in the following order:
-Prepare the creme anglaise (for the mascarpone cream) earlier in the day- this requires at least 2 hours to cool in the fridge.
-Prepare pavlovas and while baking, begin the recipe for the mascarpone mousse.
-While waiting for the chocolate component for the mousse to cool, finish preparing the mascarpone cream.
The dessert took about 2 1/2 hours including the baking time for the pavlovas.

Don't be intimidated by all the steps! All the recipes are quite simple and the final presentation is pretty impressive.
Recipe 1. Creme Anglaise (component of Mascarpone Cream)
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 large egg yolks
6 TBS (75 grams) sugar

In bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until mixture turns pale yellow.
Combine milk, cream and vanilla in a saucepan and bring to boil over medium heat. Immediately take off heat.
Pour about 1/2 cup of hot liquid into yolk mixutre, whisking constantly to keep from scrambling eggs. Pour yolk mixture into pan with remaining cream and put back on heat. Stir constantly until mixture thicken enough to lightly coat the back of the spoon (this won't take very long).
Remove mixture from heat and transfer to bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
This will be used later for the Mascarpone Cream.

Recipe 2. Chocolate Meringue (Pavlovas- the base of the dessert)
3 large egg whites
1/2 cup plus 1 TBS (110 grams) white sugar
1/4 cup (30 grams) powdered sugar
1/3 cup (30 grams) cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Put egg whites in a large bowl and whip until soft peaks form. Increase speed and gradually add sugar until stiff peaks form.
Sift powdered sugar and cocoa powder over egg whites and fold dry ingredients into egg whites. Make sure to fold gently and it will eventually come together.
Fill pastry bag with meringue and pipe into shapes on parchment paper. If you don't have a pasty bag, you can just plop your meringue and level with the back of a spoon.
Bake for 2-3 hours until meringues are dry and crisp. Living in Texas the humidity is a problem sometimes, but after about 2 1/2 hours in the oven the meringues were perfect!

Recipe 3. Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse (to be placed on Pavlovas)
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
9 ounces (255 grams) 72% chocolate chopped If you don't have 72% use a combination of higher and lower chocolate
1 2/3 cup mascarpone
pinch of nutmeg
2 TBS Grand Marnier or orange juice (optional)

Put 1/2 cup of heavy cream into sauce pan over medium heat. Once warm, add chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. Transfer mixture to large bowl and let sit at room temperature until cool (about 30 minutes).
Place mascarpone and nutmeg in a bowl. Whip on low for a minute until mascarpone is loose. Stream heavy cream (Or you'll have a huge mess- I learned the hard way) and whip on medium speed until soft peaks form. Don't overbeat!
Once chocolate is cool, mix about 1/4 of mascarpone mixture into chocolate to lighten. Fold in remaining mascarpone until well incorporated. Fill pastry bag with mousse.
During assembly, you'll be topping your baked pavlovas with the mousse.

Recipe 4. Mascarpone Cream (for drizzling)
1 recipe creme anglaise
1/2 cup mascarpone
2 TBS Sambuca (optional)
1/2 cup heavy cream (I actually ran out of heavy cream and even without it the cream still turned out great)

Remove Creme Anglaise from fridge. Place mascarpone in microwave for about 10 seconds to make it a little softer. Slowly whisk in mascarpone until incorporated. 
In a separate bowl, beat heavy cream until very soft peaks form.
Fold cream into mascarpone mixture.

Pipe Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse onto baked and cooled Chocolate Pavlovas.
Drizzle with Mascarpone Cream.

This turned out to be my favorite challenge yet. A perfect dessert (and well presented if I do say so myself!) to top off a delicious dinner of fresh garden tomato pasta.

Shortly after this devouring, Mountain Man simply looked at me and held up his hand. No words needed to be shared...we both agreed... high five Daring Kitchen.

Happy Baking!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Breakfast in a Bowl

Biscuits. Eggs. Bacon. Cheese.

All you can want for breakfast in one tiny little bowl. And did I mention how easy it is?

MM wanted something savory for breakfast... I wanted to bake something. So we met in the middle and Breakfast in a Bowl was born.

Breakfast in a Bowl
Oven: 350 Bake Time: 20 minutes
Makes breakfast for 2

4 eggs, scrambled (2 whole eggs and 2 egg whites)
2 TBS milk
salt and pepper
2 biscuits (not baked), cut into pieces* recipe to follow
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
4 pieces of bacon, cooked and crumbled

I made my own biscuit dough using an adaptation of Ree's Buttermilk Biscuit recipe from her cookbook The Pioneer Woman Cooks, but to make it even easier you could absolutely use the canned biscuits. This recipe makes about 8-10 biscuits and you'll only need 2, but lucky for you biscuits freeze well.

Spray 2 small oven-proof bowls with cooking spray.
Place half of biscuit pieces into bottom of each bowl and sprinkle with some of the bacon.
In a small bowl, whisk 2 whole eggs, 2 egg whites and 2 TBS milk. Season with salt and pepper.
Pour egg mixture over bacon and biscuit pieces.
Place remaining biscuit pieces in bowl and sprinkle with remaining bacon and cheese.
Transfer to oven and bake for about 20 minutes. Check to make sure eggs are baked through by testing with a toothpick.
Allow bowls to cool for a few minutes before removing and transferring to plate.

Breakfast is served.

Whole Wheat Buttermilk Biscuits
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks

1 cup AP flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
2 1/2 TBS crisco
2 1/2 TBS cold butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup + 2 TBS buttermilk

Whisk flours, baking soda and baking powder in a large bowl.
Cut in crisco and butter, using two knives or forks. Mix until butter and shortening is incorporated and consistency resembles coarse sand.
Using a wooden spoon, mix in buttermilk until dough starts to come together and is slightly sticky.
Turn out dough onto lightly floured surface and roll out about 1/2 an inch thick.
Cut biscuits with round cookie cutter.
Reserve 2 biscuits for breakfast bowl.

Place rest of biscuits into airtight container and transfer to freezer.
When baking biscuits, preheat oven to 350 and bake for 10-15 minutes or until biscuits are golden.

Happy Baking!

Friday, June 25, 2010

This Week at the Sweet Factory

Have I mentioned how much I enjoy my part time job? 

I don't even care about having to come into work early a couple days a week.

And my boss at The Sweet Factory is great.. she's always open ears to my ideas and pretty much lets me do my thing in the kitchen when it comes to baking and decorating (awesome).

This week: Lemon Cupcakes with Buttercream and Oreo Cupcakes with Oreo Cream Cheese Icing.

Lemon Cupcakes w/Buttercream  
Adapted from recipe found on
Oven: 350 Bake Time: 25 minutes
Makes 24 cupcakes

3/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup shortening
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 1/2 tsp vanilla
Juice from 1 whole lemon
lemon zest from whole lemon
1/4 tsp salt
2 3/4 cup AP flour
1 TBS baking powder
1 cup warm half and half or heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350.
Line 24 cupcakes with paper liners.
Beat butter and shortening and sugar until fluffy.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated after each.
Mix in vanilla, lemon zest and lemon juice.
In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt.
Alternate the addition of flour mixture and warm cream, beginning and ending with flour.
Blend until smooth.
Fill prepared cupcake liners about 2/3 with batter.
Transfer to oven for 25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean and cake bounces back to touch.
After baking, remove from pan and place on cooling rack.

When cool, frost with Best Buttercream.

Best Buttercream
1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
1 cup crisco
2 tsp vanilla
1 TBS meringue powder (optional)
8 cups powdered sugar (sifted)
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
*juice from 1/2 lemon (optional)

Beat butter and crisco until creamy and combined. Stir in vanilla. Add sifted powdered sugar, meringue powder and whipping cream. Beat until smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
(I added juice from about 1/2 a lemon for a hint of lemon flavor)

Oreo Cupcakes w/Oreo Cream Cheese Icing 
Semi-homemade with Duncan Hines Devil's Food Cake Mix
Oven: 350 Bake time: 25 minutes
Makes 24 cupcakes

1 box Duncan Hines Devils Food Cake Mix
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup crushed Oreos

Preheat oven to 350.
Line 24 cupcakes with paper liners.
In a large bowl, beat all ingredients (expect Oreos) until blended and smooth.
Fold in crushed Oreos until incorporated.
Fill prepared cupcake 2/3 full with batter.
Transfer to oven and bake for 25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean and cake bounces back to touch.
After baking, remove from pan and transfer to cooling rack.

Completely cool before icing with Oreo Cream Cheese Icing.

Oreo Cream Cheese Icing
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup finely crushed Oreos

In large bowl, beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla until smooth and creamy.
Sift powdered into cream cheese/butter mixture and beat until smooth.
In small bowl, beat whipping cream until soft peaks form.
Add whipped cream to cream cheese mixture and beat until incorporated and fluffy.
Fold in crushed Oreos.

You got a sneak peak and a couple recipes out of it...
So.. when are you coming to visit me at the Sweet Factory???

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Homemade Thin Mints

Thin Mints are one of my favorite GS cookies and it's kind of a bummer that they're only around once a year. Don't those little girls know how much people look forward to seeing their smiling little faces outside the grocery store guilting you into buying at least 3 boxes cookies??

Actually...maybe it is a good thing they're only around once a year..

Who needs to buy cookies in a parking lot once a year when you can make them at home all year round?

Homemade Thin Mints
Oven: 350 Bake Time: 10 minutes
Yields about 24 cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 TBS white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 TBS cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup flour (plus a little more for rolling)

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar.
Add egg and mix until incorporated.
Stir in vanilla and cocoa powder.
Whisk baking powder, baking soda, salt and flour.
Using a wooden spoon, incorporate flour mixture into wet ingredients- mix until blended.
Transfer bowl to fridge and chill cookie dough for at least 15 minutes.
After chilling, turn out cookie dough onto slightly floured surface and roll out about 1/4 inch thick.
Cut out cookies using a small (2-inch) round cookie cutter.
Place cookies on parchment paper lined baking sheets and bake for 10 minutes.

Chocolate Coating
2 cups Andes Chocolate Chips
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 TBS crisco
In a double boiler, melt chocolates and stir in crisco until smooth and creamy.

Once cookies have cooled they're ready to be dipped.
Using tongs or a fork, dip cookies into chocolate until completely coated.
Transfer dipped cookies to parchment paper lined baking sheet for chocolate to set.
Allow cookies to set for at least a couple of hours before eating.

I like my Thin Mints cold, so as soon as the chocolate was set to the freezer they were sent until I was ready to indulge in these wonderful little minty cookies.

These also turned out to be a perfect Father's Day cookie to send to Daddy Tom who is now on month 6 of his tour in Afghanistan.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Peach Tea Cupcakes (for 2)

6am comes way too early on Monday morning, but that didn't stop me from being inspired even before I could even make coherent sentences.

As I reached to the cabinet for the elixir of life (aka coffee), something caught my eye... Crystal Light Peach Tea. Might I remind you, it was 6am so I of course shrugged it off and continued to make my morning cup of joe. But I found myself unable to stop thinking about it throughout the day until I came up with something... cupcakes.

Instead of making a whole batch of cupcakes, I went a different direction inspired by Christina over at Dessert for Two. Christina has a blog devoted to recipes built for two (genius!), cupcakes included. After browsing through her site and getting ideas I went ahead and attempted to make my own dessert for two- I hope I made Christina proud! :)

Peach Tea Cupcakes (for 2)
inspired by Christina at Dessert for Two
Oven: 375 Bake Time: 18 minutes
Makes 4 cupcakes

2 TBS oil
3 TBS sugar
1 egg
1/4 tsp vanilla
2 TBS vanilla yogurt
2TBS water
2 tsp Crystal Light Peach Tea
6 TBS AP flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
dash of salt

Preheat oven to 375 and line cupcake tin with 4 paper liners.
Whisk oil and sugar. Add egg and beat until combined. Mix in vanilla.
In a small bowl, mix yogurt, water and tea until smooth and tea mix has dissolved completely.
Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a small bowl.
Alternate adding flour and tea mixture, beginning and ending with flour.
Transfer batter to cupcake tin and place in oven.
Bake for 18 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Transfer to cooling rack and cool completely before frosting.

Peach Buttercream
1 peach, skinned, pitted and pureed
4 TBS butter or crisco
1 TBS whipping cream
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp lemon juice

Beat butter, powdered sugar, whipping cream and vanilla until creamy and smooth. Fold in pureed peaches and lemon juice.
Happy Baking!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Rugby and Strawberry Cake

This weekend MM and his boys attempted to kick some butt on the rugby pitch in a tournament down in Austin.  Every year some of the alum of SFA get together to prove that the old guys still have it in em ;) Unfortunately they had spent the evening before at a bachelor party, so you can imagine how well they played...and felt.
Angela and I watching our boys in the pink.

Angela (MM's best friends wife) and I on the other hand, were wonderfully refreshed after spending the night in front of the TV with a couple glasses of wine before heading down to Austin Saturday morning.  This weekend also happened to be Angela's birthday so of course I couldn't let a girl go without a cake on her birthday! Especially if she had to sacrifice her day to be outside, melting in the 105 degree Texas weather.

Strawberry Swirl Cake
adapted from recipe found at: allrecipes,com
Oven: 350 Bake Time: 35 minutes

1 cup butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 package strawberry jello
4 eggs, separated
2 3/4 cup sifted cake flour*
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup strawberry puree
*1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
*extra strawberries for decoration and/or filling

Preheat oven to 350.
Beat butter, sugar and jello until light and fluffy.
Add egg yolks one at a time, beating after each addition.
Stir in vanilla.
*Sift 3 cups of flour into a large bowl. Measure 2 3/4 cup of sifted flour.
Lightly whisk sifted flour, baking powder, and salt.
Alternate flour mixture and milk, beginning and ending with flour.
Blend in strawberry puree.
Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form.
Fold in egg whites until just incorporated.

Chocolate swirl:
Reserve 1 cup of batter and place in small bowl.
Melt chocolate chips in microwave for 1 minute, stirring every 30 seconds.
Mix chocolate with reserved batter.

Pour strawberry batter into prepared cake pans.
Place a few dollops of chocolate batter on top of strawberry batter.
Using a knife swirl the chocolate batter through the strawberry batter.
Transfer to oven and bake for 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Transfer cakes to cooling rack. Let sit for 15 minutes before removing cakes to completely cool.

This Strawberry Swirl Cake goes perfectly with a fresh strawberry filling and Cream Cheese Icing.

Cream Cheese Icing
1/2 stick butter, softened
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup whipping cream
3 cups powdered sugar

Beat butter and cream cheese until blended and smooth. Mix in vanilla. Continue to beat in powdered sugar and whipping cream until smooth and creamy.

Assembly: Split each layer of cake (ending up with 4 layers of cake) and alternate filling with fresh strawberry puree and cream cheese icing. Cover with remaining cream cheese icing.

Happy Baking!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Maple & Bacon Scones

When my boss decided to let us have this Friday off I wasn't excited that I was going to get to sleep in or watch the World Cup (ok, I was a little bit) but I was more excited about what I was going to make for breakfast! My thoughts immediately went to what I could whip up with an extra morning on my hands. Sad isn't it? Baking is literally always on mind.

Who doesn't love bacon? I most definitely do. If I could eat bacon as a part of every meal I probably would and I would probably be 300 pounds, but everything is OK in moderation right? right.
Everywhere I turn it seems bacon is being incorporated into some new baked good: brownies, blondies, cookies, cupcakes, but I have yet to see them it incorporated in an actually morning goodie. My first instinct was to make some type of muffin, but then I got to thinking about how the texture of a scone is a lot like a biscuit and biscuits go great with bacon and I love dipping my bacon in maple syrup so the obvious next step would be a Maple & Bacon Scone... oh, and it wouldn't be complete without a Maple Glaze and garnish of chopped bacon....

 Just a little insight to my ridiculous train of thought.

Maple & Bacon Scones
Oven: 350 Bake Time: 25-30 minutes
Makes 8 large scones or 16 petit scones

2 cups AP flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour (or just 3 cups AP)
1/4 cup brown sugar
5 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup cold butter, shredded*
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1/4 pure maple syrup
4-5 pieces bacon, cooked and chopped in small pieces
extra 1/4 cup flour for kneading

Using a cheese grater, shredded sticks of butter into a large bowl. Once butter is shredded place bowl in freezer to chill. (I learned this trick recently in Marcy Goldman's book: Passion for Baking)
In a food processor, combine flours, sugar, baking powder and salt.
Add chilled butter and pulse until incorporated and sandy consistency is reached.
Transfer mixture to a large bowl.
Create a well in the center and add milk, egg and maple syrup. Using a wooden spoon, mix until combined.
Fold in chopped bacon.
Sprinkle about half of reserved flour over top of mixture.
Turn out dough on lightly floured surface.
Knead dough into a large circle, sprinkling with extra flour when necessary.
Cut circle into 8 large triangles.
Transfer to parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes or until slightly browned.

Maple Glaze
2 TBS melted butter
2 TBS pure maple syrup
1/4 cup heavy cream
1-2 TBS powdered sugar

Mix all ingredients together until smooth. Cover and set aside.

While scones are baking, make Maple Glaze and set aside.
When ready, transfer scones to cooling rack.
Drizzle with glaze.
Garnish with extra bacon.

Happy Baking!!

 There may be a little maple syrup on my keyboard now, but I couldn't wait to get this out...
Mountain Man's two cents? "You done good babe, you done good"

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Sweet Factory

Last week I started a part-time job... on top of my full time job. When I found the add on Craigslist for a 'Creative Cupcake/Cake Decorator' I couldn't resist.  A few days a week I leave work at 5pm and head straight to a cute little sweet shop down the road where I spend a few more hours baking and decorating cookies and cupcakes until making my 30 minutes commute home to a wonderful boyfriend who makes me dinner.

Crazy? maybe. Lucky? absolutely.

I never thought I'd be so happy leaving work just to go do more work.

After putting in a long day working with soldiers and sitting in the computer, I trade it all in to work with cookies and cupcakes in my little nook in the kitchen...

My first project was decorating 120 bumble bee cookies... the next time you bite into a meticulously decorated cookie I suggest you take some time to think about all the time and energy that someone had to put into it and the fact that they may have developed carpel tunnel system in the process.. just something to think about :)

If you're ever in Killeen, Texas, stop on by The Sweet Factory..grab some ice cream, fill up on some candy or indulge in some delicious cupcakes... I'll be in the kitchen, loving life, happy as can be :)

Monday, June 14, 2010

1-2-3-4 White Cake and Pineapple Filling

I can always count on April to join me in a mid-day indulgence when sweets make their way to the office-for those of you that don't know: calories don't count when you're eating baked goods with someone else...duh. You might remember April from a couple of my previous posts (Hello Kitty Cake or April Appreciation Day), but this time the cake wasn't for her. Instead I got asked to make her mother's birthday cake :)

Just like the name, this cake is as easy as 1-2-3...4!

A few things I like about this cake:
1. It has the most wonderful flavor and texture.
2. The measurements are right in the title (You can impress your friends by not needing a recipe!)
3. It can easily be doubled or cut in half.
4. It pretty much goes with any icing, butter cream, or filling... the possibilities are endless!! 

I love this cake so much that I'm actually using it as my friend's wedding cake recipe in July (pictures/post to come).

This time around I went with a Pineapple Filling and covered the cake with my Homemade (stabilzed) Whipped Cream.

1-2-3-4 Cake
Oven: 350 Bake Time: 35 minutes
Makes 2 8-inch round cakes

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 cups flour
1 TBS baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 eggs, separated
1 cup whole milk
1 tsp vanilla

Whisk flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl.
Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add egg yolks one at a time, beating until incorporated each time.
Alternate flour mixture and milk, beginning and ending with flour.
Beat eggs whites until stiff peaks form.
Fold into batter until incorporated.
Transfer batter to prepared cake pans and bake for 35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Transfer to cooling rack for 30 minutes before removing cakes to continue cooling for at least an hour.

Pineapple Filling
1/4 cup sugar
16-20oz crushed pineapples
2 TBS water
2 TBS cornstarch
1 TBS butter

Drain crushed pineapples, collecting the juice in a small sauce pan. Place pineapple in a bowl and set aside. Add water and cornstarch to juice, whisking until cornstarch has dissolved into juice. Mix in just about 1/4 cup sugar, mixing until dissolved. Place over medium heat (mixing every now and then) until mixture begins to boil and thicken. Remove from heat and stir in butter until melted. Pour over reserved pineapple. Mix until combined and place in fridge to thicken before using.

Decorating cakes makes me happy.
 Happy Baking!