Archive for May, 2009

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Peanut Butter Silk Cake

May 31, 2009

PB Cake close up

I am a peanut butter junkie.  No doubt about it.  There can be no questions regarding this fact.  The most difficult part of being pregnant was having to limit my peanut butter intake… I think I went through an entire jar in just a couple days after I delivered.

That being said, I am always on the look out for a good peanut butter cake recipe.  I’ve found that it is hard to get a good PB flavor once it’s spread through out a cake.  I’ve always used Jif before.  I’m a bit of a peanut butter snob when it comes to that.  It’s Jif or nothing for me.

Until I met P.B.Loco’s.  My first exposure to this nirvana was through a jar a friend brought back for me from NYC.  It was PB mixed with dark chocolate.  Pure. Heaven. I ate it out of the jar with a spoon… so did my hubby.

Needless to say the jar did not last long, so, being the internet junkie that I am, I promptly hit the net looking for a website, and naturally, they have one. I browsed around and signed up for their mailing list.  When I first went to their site, the chocolate variety was not available so I left empty handed.  A few weeks later, however, I got an email from them offering a free jar of their Dreamy Creamy when you I bought 3 other jars and this time they had the chocolate! Woohoo!

So, contrary to my usual snobbery, I’m going to try a cake I’ve made before with Jif (which had the previously mentioned small flavor) with P.B. Loco’s Dreamy Creamy!

Now before I go in to the differences between the cakes, I want to point out that when they are fresh out of the oven they both taste like a giant peanut butter cookie.  It’s when they’ve cooled that the Jif looses most of it’s flavor…

The P.B.Loco PB cake was divine.  I was, frankly, shocked at how much more PB you could taste.  I took this cake to a friend’s cookout on Saturday and stupidly forgot to take a picture before we left the house.

This is all that remained by the time we got home…

PB Cake aftermath Oh, the humanity! Such carnage!

It was a truly scrumptious cake, though, if I do say so myself.  I think I’m going to try a PB&J cake to take to work on Monday….

**note** the recipe calls for a box yellow cake mix, but I used the recipe here, instead.

Peanut Butter Silk Cake

Prep: 15 min       Bake: 38 min      Cool: 1 hr 10 min               Chill: 10 min        12 to 16 servings

1 pkg. Betty Crocker SuperMoist yellow cake mix

1 ¼ c. water

½ c creamy peanut butter

1/3 c vegetable oil

3 eggs

¼ c butter or margarine

¼ c packed brown sugar

1 c heavy whipping cream

½ c creamy peanut butter

1 recipe Creamy Chocolate Frosting (see below)

1 c chopped peanuts, if desired

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Generously grease bottoms only of 2 round pans, 8 or 9 x 1 ½ inches, with shortening.
  2. Make cake mix as directed on package, using water, ½ cup peanut butter, the oil and eggs. Pour into pans.
  3. Bake 30 to 38 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Run knife around side of pans to loosen cakes; remove from pans to wire rack.  Cool completely, about 1 hour.
  4. Melt butter in 2-quart saucepan over medium heat; stir in brown sugar. Heat to boiling; boil and stir 1 minute.  Remove from heat. Refrigerate 10 minutes.
  5. Beat whipping cream in chilled medium bowl with electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form; set aside. Beat ½ cup peanut butter and the brown sugar mixture in another medium bowl on medium speed until smooth and creamy.  Add whipped cream to peanut butter mixture; beat on medium speed until mixture is smooth and creamy.
  6. Split each cake layer horizontally to make 2 layers. Fill each layer with about 2/3 cup peanut butter mixture to within ½ inch of edge. Frost side and top of cake with frosting. Press chopped peanuts into frosting on side of cake. Store covered in refrigerator.

Creamy Chocolate Frosting

Prep: 15 min       12 to 16 servings, about 2 cups

3 c powdered sugar

1/3 c butter or margarine, softened

2 tsp vanilla

3 oz unsweetened baking chocolate, melted and cooled

3 to 4 tablespoons milk

  1. Mix powdered sugar and butter in medium bowl with spoon or with electric mixer on low speed. Stir in vanilla and chocolate.
  2. Gradually beat in just enough milk to make frosting smooth and spreadable. If frosting is too thick, beat in more milk, a few drops at a time. If frosting becomes too thin, beat in a small amount of powdered sugar.

* Generously frosts a 13×9-inch cake, or fills and frosts an 8- or 9-inch two-layer cake.

Recipe from Betty Crocker’s Ultimate Cake Mix Cookbook

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Sweet and Savory Strudel – May 2009 Daring Baker’s Challenge

May 27, 2009

1st berries and cream strudel Savory meat strudel Second berries and cream strudel

The May Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Linda of make life sweeter! and Courtney of Coco Cooks. They chose Apple Strudel from the recipe book Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague by Rick Rodgers.

I have to admit, coming into this challenge, I was not entirely sure what a strudel really was.  I mean, I’d heard of them.  They’re in the song from The Sound of Music and all, but I don’t think I’ve every actually seen one in person.  Well the joys of Google enlightened me as to what it was supposed to look like (plus all the finished products at the daring baker’s forum).

We, my friend Beth and I, opted to do a berries and cream strudel. You can find the recipes in this video. The berries makes a wonderful topping for toast or an English muffin, or heck, a spoon.  It’s super tasty without being super sweet.  The confectioner’s cream is a mild flavor but very creamy.  I think the next time I make it I’ll put a little more vanilla in.

The dough rolled out beautifully.  We used cheesecloth to roll it on and we were able to roll it out to the specified size.

1st strudel dough

Now, at the time, we thought this was great luck as we were both a bit nervous about the whole stretching process.

1st strudel dough close up

However, the end result was much too thick once it baked and broke off in chunks when you tried to eat it.  Looked like baked potato chips.

buttered dough confectioner's cream berries 1st flip rolling still rolling all done ready to bake1st strudel

Tasted lovely, but the texture was wrong.  We also forgot to put the breadcrumbs on it before we rolled it up, so there was no space between the layers to allow them to bake up and get flaky.

We’re going to try it again tonight!  I’ll let you know how it goes… we’re also going to try a savory one and put some potatoes in it too!

**EDIT** We made the second berries and cream strudel and the savory meat strudel last night.

Second berries and cream strudel Savory meat strudel

Wow!  What a difference a bit more filling, a little stretching and some breadcrumbs will do!  The second berries and cream strudel was sooo much better than the first.  It was full, flaky and just scrumptious!

Savory strudel fillingsavory strudel one side in Savory strudel 1st roll savory strudel almost rolled Savory strudel ready for the oven Savory strudel in the oven Savory strudel ready to come out Savory meat strudel

The savory meat strudel was so good.  Granted the fact that it was 10 pm before we got to eat it and we were all starving didn’t hurt, but it was still very good.  It was a little liquidy, so I think we’ll cook it a bit longer to let some of the juices evaporate next time.  It smells heavenly when it is cooking.  It nearly drove us crazy waiting for it to come out then letting it sit and cool off.  It was so worth the wait. This was my first adventure with savory as well.  I had no idea it was an herb; I just thought it was an adjective 🙂

Here’s the full DB recipe if you’d like to try your own!

Preparation time
Total: 2 hours 15 minutes – 3 hours 30 minutes

15-20 min to make dough
30-90 min to let dough rest/to prepare the filling
20-30 min to roll out and stretch dough
10 min to fill and roll dough
30 min to bake
30 min to cool

Apple strudel
from “Kaffeehaus – Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague” by Rick Rodgers

2 tablespoons (30 ml) golden rum
3 tablespoons (45 ml) raisins
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (80 g) sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick / 115 g) unsalted butter, melted, divided
1 1/2 cups (350 ml) fresh bread crumbs
strudel dough (recipe below)
1/2 cup (120 ml, about 60 g) coarsely chopped walnuts
2 pounds (900 g) tart cooking apples, peeled, cored and cut into ¼ inch-thick slices (use apples that hold their shape during baking)

1. Mix the rum and raisins in a bowl. Mix the cinnamon and sugar in another bowl.

2. Heat 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high. Add the breadcrumbs and cook whilst stirring until golden and toasted. This will take about 3 minutes. Let it cool completely.

3. Put the rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a large baking sheet with baking paper (parchment paper). Make the strudel dough as described below. Spread about 3 tablespoons of the remaining melted butter over the dough using your hands (a bristle brush could tear the dough, you could use a special feather pastry brush instead of your hands). Sprinkle the buttered dough with the bread crumbs. Spread the walnuts about 3 inches (8 cm) from the short edge of the dough in a 6-inch-(15cm)-wide strip. Mix the apples with the raisins (including the rum), and the cinnamon sugar. Spread the mixture over the walnuts.

4. Fold the short end of the dough onto the filling. Lift the tablecloth at the short end of the dough so that the strudel rolls onto itself. Transfer the strudel to the prepared baking sheet by lifting it. Curve it into a horseshoe to fit. Tuck the ends under the strudel. Brush the top with the remaining melted butter.

5. Bake the strudel for about 30 minutes or until it is deep golden brown. Cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing. Use a serrated knife and serve either warm or at room temperature. It is best on the day it is baked.

Strudel dough
from “Kaffeehaus – Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague” by Rick Rodgers

1 1/3 cups (200 g) unbleached flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons (105 ml) water, plus more if needed
2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil, plus additional for coating the dough
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar

1. Combine the flour and salt in a stand-mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix the water, oil and vinegar in a measuring cup. Add the water/oil mixture to the flour with the mixer on low speed. You will get a soft dough. Make sure it is not too dry, add a little more water if necessary.
Take the dough out of the mixer. Change to the dough hook. Put the dough ball back in the mixer. Let the dough knead on medium until you get a soft dough ball with a somewhat rough surface.

2. Take the dough out of the mixer and continue kneading by hand on an unfloured work surface. Knead for about 2 minutes. Pick up the dough and throw it down hard onto your working surface occasionally.
Shape the dough into a ball and transfer it to a plate. Oil the top of the dough ball lightly. Cover the ball tightly with plastic wrap. Allow to stand for 30-90 minutes (longer is better).

3. It would be best if you have a work area that you can walk around on all sides like a 36 inch (90 cm) round table or a work surface of 23 x 38 inches (60 x 100 cm). Cover your working area with table cloth, dust it with flour and rub it into the fabric. Put your dough ball in the middle and roll it out as much as you can.
Pick the dough up by holding it by an edge. This way the weight of the dough and gravity can help stretching it as it hangs. Using the back of your hands to gently stretch and pull the dough. You can use your forearms to support it.

4. The dough will become too large to hold. Put it on your work surface. Leave the thicker edge of the dough to hang over the edge of the table. Place your hands underneath the dough and stretch and pull the dough thinner using the backs of your hands. Stretch and pull the dough until it’s about 2 feet (60 cm) wide and 3 feet (90 cm) long, it will be tissue-thin by this time. Cut away the thick dough around the edges with scissors. The dough is now ready to be filled.