Happy Easter 2016!

images-1

Happy Easter everyone!

Today Luke and I will be celebrating in an untraditional way. We are traveling to New York City where we will be spending the next few days for Spring Break. This has been a trip on our bucket list for a while living on the East Coast and it’s taken us almost 4 years to get there. Plenty more on this trip’s details to come.

images

So no Easter dinner of us, but I still made hot crossed buns (Luke would be upset if I didn’t). For more on this see: hot cross buns. Since we are eating these on-the-go for our spring break breakfasts I made the buns smaller and did not ice them. Instead I made cream cheese icing spread in a tupperware container to dip or spread on the buns when we eat them.

IMG_2923

Also, this year we did not go to a maple farm for pancake breakfast, but I did make maple cookies from local syrup like last year for our coworkers and my students to enjoy. For more on this see: https://agreenesadventures.org/2015/04/22/maple-cookies-with-cinnamon-vanilla-buttercream/

IMG_4326

This year I decided to not fill the cookies with cinnamon buttercream so I added cinnamon to the cookie dough directly. I also let the dough cool  before baking to help with the sticky texture. It really made it easier.

Hope you all enjoy a beautiful Spring Easter! See you in a week!

 

 

Key Lime Chocolate Cupcakes

IMG_3010

You read the title right. A few months ago I made key lime chocolate cupcakes. Sounds like an odd combination right? That’s what I thought before I made them. Let me give you some background so you know how I ended up making such a interesting dessert.

As you probably know by now I love to bake, but without a rationale excuse (such as a function or group who will eat more than 3/4s of it so Luke and I don’t) I find it hard to make anything. Luke kept telling me anything I could baked would always be well received at his work. But I told him I didn’t have any fun new challenging recipes or a good enough excuse. Then one day Luke came home and told me, that’s right he didn’t asked he told me, I would be making key lime chocolate cupcake for his co-workers (no pressure).

IMG_3006

Here’s how his story went: Luke and some of his co-workers were watching some cooking or baking show on TV in the break room which highlighted odd combination desserts/foods that actually tasted great. One of which, as you can guess, was key lime chocolate cupcakes. Then apparently everyone was craving these odd combo cupcakes curious if they were any good. Luke, remembering hearing I’d love the excuse to bake something and knowing I loved new challenging baking experiences, decided to guarantee his co-workers that I could and would make these for them.

IMG_3008

After I heard this story, I began looking up elements for the cupcakes. In the end I decided on a base of  devil’s food cake mix. Yes, I prefer do all baking from scratch, but with so many experimental elements I wanted something to go predictably smooth. To make the cake mix I chose for the first time to use greek yogurt instead of eggs and oil. I had done this for years with brownies (see February is synonymous for chocolate right?) but following the trend on pinterest I decided to see how well it worked.

IMG_3001

While the cupcakes baked, I made my own key lime cream cheese icing using a combination of cream cheese, powdered sugar, lime juice, and key lime zest.

IMG_2999

After many adjustments and several taste test from Luke, I finally was satisfied.  I then colored the icing a light but bright green using the neon set of food dies.

IMG_3003IMG_2997

The chocolate cupcakes had a moist velvety texture (which I definitely give the greek yogurt credit for). This light soft texture balanced perfectly with the heavier cream cheese with a nice citrus kick of key lime. Since I had no sprinkles to decorate with I chose to dust the top of the cupcakes with a little lime zest.

IMG_3005

When Luke took the cupcakes to work people were a little skeptical. Since lime zest is not common, they were unsure thinking Luke was trying to feed them healthy bran/veggies muffin-like cupcakes. Once the confusion was cleared up and people felt safe to eat them, they went over very well.

IMG_3010

As the TV show indicated, this odd combination tasted amazing and the chocolate and lime worked together perfectly.

Cinnamon Roll Bunt B-day Cake

My husband’s b-day was this past Monday and I wanted to make him a cake. He’s not big on traditional b-day cake but loves cinnamon rolls. I thought: can I make cinnamon rolls into a cake? The answer is yes! I am not the first one to think up this idea the credit for the original idea/recipe goes to Bakers Royale. But I like to tweak and re-write recipes (yes a real recipe this time!)

So this is my version of the Cinnamon Roll Bunt Cake:

IMG_2815

Ingredients:

Dough:

  • 1 1/4 cup cottage cheese
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 or more cup cultured buttermilk
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus 2 tablespoons for brushing
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Filling:

  • 8 ounces light brown sugar, approximately 1 cup packed
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted

Icing:

  • 1/3 cup cream cheese softened
  • 2/3 tablespoons milk
  • ½ cup powdered sugar

To make the dough:

  1. Place the cottage cheese, sugar, buttermilk, 4 tablespoons melted butter, and vanilla in a large bowl, with a hand held or bowl mixer: mix on a setting of 4-6 for a minute or so. It will be a little lumpy from the cottage cheese.
  2. Add in flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to the bowl and mix until the dough starts to pull towards the center.
  3. Lightly flour a flat surface and scoop out the dough. It’ll be sticky so you may want to sprinkle flour on top of the dough before kneading. Knead gently, folding it over 5-8 times.
  4. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to make a rectangle (if still extra sticky add some flour). Mine was around 8 inch width and 20 inch length: you want the dough to be about 1/4 inch thick or less.
  5. Brush the surface with the 3/4 tablespoons melted butter. I use the back end of a spoon to spread it, leave a 1/2-inch border around all the edges.

To make the filling:

  1. Place brown sugar, cinnamon, and cloves in a small bowl and use a whisk to combine. Melt 1 and ½ tablespoons butter and sift into the mixture. Taste test it and adjust, you know what cinnamon roll filling should taste like!

Assembly:

  1. Sprinkle the filling over the dough and gently press it into the surface. (Again I used the backend of the same spoon I spread the butter with).
  2. Take the long edge of the dough and roll if away from you, making a jelly-roll. Leaving the ends open, roll the jellyroll over the seal. Make sure it is long 15 inches or more. If for some reason it is no,t you can roll it out  like a rolling pin on the floured surface and stretch a little-but not too thin.
  3. Grease the bunt pan with vegetable oil or butter.
  4. With a sharp knife, ( I would suggest a bread knife) cut the roll into small ½ inch pieces . Set the first layer of cut rolls flat on the bottom of the bundt pan. Set the second layer flat against the outside walls of the pan. For both layers thumb press the rolls together removing all cracks/space between them. Place the remaining slices in the pan on top of the bottom layer and again press in. The last layer can be your ends/non-pretty cuts or extra dough that falls off the rolls.
  5. Place the bundt pan in the oven and bake for about 25 to 30 minutes at 350, it should be golden brown and firm on the edges. The center should rise to be the same height as the sides.

Meanwhile to make the glaze:

  1. Place cream cheese in a bowl and microwave for half a minute if not already softened.
  2. Then add the confectioner/powdered sugar and mix.
  3. Last add the 2/3 tablespoons of milk. Add more milk or a little flour as needed based on the consistency you want for the icing. I prefer more cream cheesey over sugary but if you don’t like a strong cheese taste use less cream cheese and more milk.

IMG_2805

After 3o or so minutes:

  1. Remove the pan from the oven.
  2. When the pan has cooled turn it upside down onto a plate. If you are concerned about it sticking take the blunt end of a knife or a spoon and tap the pan all the way around before removing.
  3. Then spoon drizzle the glaze over the top. Let it stand for at least 15 minutes before serving or stick it in the fridge to let the icing harden.

IMG_2809

I chose to let some icing pool to center hole. Once the icing had set, I filled the hole with fresh raspberries. When the cake was served we spooned out some fresh berries and icing to place onto our slice. I suggest raspberries for spring or cranberries for winter because their tartness balances out the sweetness of the cake.

IMG_2815

It is not quick, easy, or healthy but it is so worth the time, effort, and calories.

Want a slice?