Monday, February 16, 2015

italian cream cake

This Italian cream cake (also called Italian wedding cake) is another old-school, family recipe.  Back before I fell in love with that chocolate peanut butter cake, I always wanted this for a birthday cake.  Before we discovered Italian cream cake, I was in love with carrot cake, and I suppose my love for all three stems from my deep adoration of a cream-cheese-based frosting.


In a few months, Nick and I will be tying the knot and celebrating with our nearest and dearest, some good food, and (hopefully) some homemade cake(s).


Personally, I have analysis paralysis sometimes, especially when it comes to picking a favorite dessert--I could no sooner choose a favorite star in the heavens!  (Bonus points for knowing from which 1998 Drew Barrymore movie I stole that line).


Inevitably, this overwhelming love for dessert means that I'll be making several single-tier cakes, but the problem still remains in narrowing down my choices.  Obviously there must be a double chocolate cake for my sister Steph and a red velvet cake for my mother and a cheesecake for Nick, but what else? 


Funfetti?  Vanilla?  Almond?  Italian cream cake?  Strawberry?  Mix it up with brownies or crack pie?


I mean--sheesh!  How do you still pick from those?  Since we're not going around doing cake testing, I thought it would be kind of fun to still do it on a small scale to help us decide (and I'm sure that those getting in on the cake testing will certainly attest to its necessity).


This recipe is hopefully the first of several to undergo the test process, but it is still a favorite.  I scaled it down to two-fifths of the recipe for the sake of this small cake, but scaling it down is messy (think tablespoons mixed with teaspoons for each ingredient), so I have shared the whole, original, old-school recipe here, updated to have double the cream cheese frosting and everything.



Ingredients

Cake
1 stick (½ cup) butter
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 c oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups sugar
1 cup sweetened, shredded coconut
2 cups flour
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup buttermilk
5 eggs, separated

Frosting
12 ounces cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 stick butter
5 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups coconut
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts (optional)

Instructions:

1.  Pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees F

2.  Make the cake.
  • Prepare 3 round 9-inch cake pans by greasing, flouring, and lining with parchment paper.
  • Cream 1 stick butter, oil and sugar until smooth.
  • Add egg yolks and beat well. 
  • Add flour and baking soda to creamed mixture. 
  • Add the buttermilk, vanilla, coconut, and nuts.
  • In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until they form stiff peaks.  Then, fold stiffly beaten egg whites into cake batter.
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
3.  Make the frosting
  • Beat cream cheese and butter until smooth.
  • Add sugar and mix well.
  • Add vanilla and beat until smooth.
  • Beat in nuts and coconut until well-combined.
4.  Frost cake and serve. Top with extra toasted coconut if desired for decoration.
5.  Store in the refrigerator covered or in an airtight container.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

loaded maple ice cream with oatmeal cookie pieces

With snow having already arrived here in St. Louis, it might be a little late for sharing this Fall-themed ice cream; in fact, it seems that we have been scooped up and dropped in the middle of Winter with the amount of snow that we've already had.


My only hope is that this early snow isn't a sign that we are about to be buried under another winter comprised of snowpocalypses; unfortunately, I do believe the Farmer's Almanac is predicting colder than normal temperatures if not massive amounts of snow.  I am still acclimating to the cold temperatures, and, as with every winter, will simply feel cold constantly until Spring decides to show its face.


I do maintain that, despite the cold weather, there is no seasonality for ice cream.  Though this may be Fall-themed, I do think that perhaps maple flavoring and oatmeal cookies have not quite worn out their welcome, as we have have yet to celebrate the upcoming pumpkin-turkey-mashed potatoes-and-gravy themed holiday... despite what the Christmas-themed department store might otherwise indicate.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

grilled asaparagus with prosciutto, fried bread,and poached egg

It's certainly no secret that Nick and I love foodie projects; from making our own pasta to trying Pad Thai at home to brewing beer, we we will try making anything for which we have the time.  Fortunately, we have an ever-growing collection of cookbooks, the Internet, and the Great British Bake Off to provide endless sources of inspiration.


Over the last year, we've been collecting Thomas Keller's cookbooks, which provide innumerable projects:  as the only American chef to have been awarded simultaneous three star Michelin ratings for two different restaurants, you can hardly expect that his recipes will be simple.  We have made his Ad Hoc fried chicken, which was the best fried chicken I have ever had, and we just tried his apple fritters (dipped in caramel sauce despite Nick's protests) last night.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

cheddar waffle BLTs

I've always been a pancakes-over-waffles kind of girl.  I recall this even being an important subject for discussion amongst friends way back when I was in high school (I was evidently one for profound and important discussions back in the day).  


In recent years, however, I've gained an appreciation for waffles; I think their versatility and charming molding has entrapped me.  When my sister sent me this list of surprising foods you can make in a waffle iron (click the link; you know you love a good Buzzfeed list), just about everything on the list got mentally filed away under "foods to make."


That waffled bibimbap?  How soon can you get me to South Grand for those special ingredients?