Vanilla Bean Cake with Vanilla Bean Meringue Buttercream Frosting

Screen shot 2014-01-02 at 3.31.27 PM My mom loves vanilla cake so I decided to make her a special vanilla bean cake for her birthday.  This cake will turn chocolate cake lovers into vanilla cake lovers.  It is extremely light and bursting with vanilla flavor.  It is very refreshing!

Ingredients:

Cake

  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  •  ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons of vanilla bean paste (5 vanilla beans)

Frosting

  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
  • 4 sticks of butter
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • Vanilla bean paste from 2 vanilla beans

Directions:

Cake

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Prepare 2 or 3 9 inch round cake pans with non-stick spray.  I did two so I could freeze the batter and use it later!
  3. Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Add eggs one at a time.
  5. Mix on medium for about 10 minutes for until very fluffy.
  6. In a separate bowl mix together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  7. Alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk into the egg mixture.  Mixing on low.
  8. Take out the paste from the vanilla beans and add it to the batter.
  9. Add the vanilla extract.
  10. Mix on medium until all is incorporated.
  11.  Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
  12.  Let cool before frosting.

Frosting:

  1. Combine sugar and egg whites with a mixer.
  2. Put egg mixture into a pot and put on medium high heat.
  3. Whisk mixture for about 5 minutes until sugar has dissolved.
  4. Then bring back to stand mixer after the midrange has cooled.
  5. Mix for about 10 minutes until light and fluffy.
  6. Add butter one tablespoon at a time.
  7. Add vanilla and vanilla bean past.
  8. Frost cake and garnish with fresh raspberries.

This cake is extremely light and special.

Enjoy!

Lizzie

Blueberry Sour Cream Cake

Screen shot 2014-01-02 at 3.31.38 PMI made this cake during the summer and forgot to post it.  One of my family friends said it was the best cake she had ever eaten.  Personally, I would rather eat chocolate cake than blueberry cake, but whatever works!  This cake is not extremely sweet, but it still shines through with flavor.

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup butter
  • 1 ½ cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups of cake flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½  cups sour cream
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat Oven to 350 degrees F
  2. In a large bowl cream together butter and sugar.
  3. Add eggs one at a time.
  4. Add vanilla.
  5. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl.
  6. Combine flour mixture and egg mixture mixing on medium.
  7. Fold in the sour cream.
  8. Fold in the blueberries.
  9. Bake for about an hour or until cake is firm and golden brown.

The sour cream is especially important because it gives the cake an airy creamy texture.

Enjoy!

Lizzie

Chicken and Leek Pie

I would like to apologize for not keeping the blog updated.  I cook all the time but always forget to post!  I do however try to keep our instagram up to speed so, follow us @textbooksandteacakes!  I made this pie a while ago, but decided to make it again recently because it is one of the ultimate comfort foods.  I’m a sucker for comfort food.  This pie is the best savory pie I have ever eaten.  I promise you will fall in love with it.

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Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 leek, peeled and sliced
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 Yukon gold potato diced
  • 1 zucchini chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 4 tablespoons of fresh thyme
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 large chicken breast preferably rotisserie
  • 2 sheets of puff pastry
  • 1 egg beaten

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F
  2. Heat oil over medium heat then add leeks cook until soft.
  3. Add carrots, potato, garlic, thyme, salt, zucchini, and pepper.  Add any other veggies you like! Cook vegetables until tender.
  4. Separately shred the chicken that will be added to the vegetables later.
  5. Make the sauce by making a rue out of the butter and flour.  Melt the butter and whisk in the flour until smooth.  Add milk and continue whisking over medium heat until sauce is thick and creamy.  Add cheese, salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste.
  6. Combine sauce, chicken, and vegetables all together.
  7. Roll out the puff pastry dough on a sheet pan.
  8. Pour filling over the puff pastry.
  9. Line the outside with egg wash and put the second sheet of puff pastry over the filling.
  10. Crimp edges and cut an X on the top of the pie to let air out.
  11.  Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

This pie is truly a crowd pleaser and a perfect warm winter recipe!

Enjoy!

Lizzie

 

Mothers Day Brunch with Blueberry Lemon Coffee Cake, Roasted Vegetable Frittata, and Strawberry Walnut Salad.

For mothers day I wanted to cook brunch for my mom and our family.  I made blueberry lemon coffee cake, roasted vegetable frittata, and a strawberry walnut salad.  The coffee cake was light and sweet.  I had been wanting to make a frittata for a while and this one sure was a hit.  Lastly, my moms favorite salad is a strawberry walnut salad so I couldn’t resist.

Blueberry Lemon Coffee Cake:

Ingredients:

For the Crumb Topping:

  • 1 ¾ cup all purpose flour
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 ½ salts unsalted butter

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Cake

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¾ cup melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Juice of 1 ½ lemons
  • 18 oz. Blueberries

 

Directions:

  1. Set the oven to 350 and grease a 9 inch pan
  2. Make the crumb topping by combining all of the ingrediants together. 
  3. Put the crumb topping in the refrigerator while you make the cake.
  4. Combine the dry ingredients and set them aside.
  5. Beat the eggs and sugar together until foamy.
  6. Add zest, lemon juice, vanilla, and eggs and mix together.
  7. Add the dry ingredients and mix together.
  8. Fold in the blueberries.
  9. Place the crumb mixture on the bottom of the pan and then pour the cake batter over.
  10. Bake for 40 minutes or until golden brown.

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Roasted Vegetable Frittata:

 Ingredients:

  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 1 red onion
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 12 large eggs
  • 1 cup of half-and-half
  • ¼ cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup chopped scallions
  • ¾ cup grated gruyere cheese

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Directions:

  1. Set the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Chop the vegetables and place them on a sheet pan with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  3. Roast the vegetables for 15 minutes in the oven.
  4. Meanwhile crack the 12 eggs and beat in half and half with a pinch of salt and pepper.  Add Parmesan cheese.
  5. In an oven safe pan heat the butter and scallions for three minutes.
  6. Mix in roasted vegetables.
  7. Pour egg mixture over the vegetables and bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
  8. Once puffed up and ready sprinkle the Gruyere cheese on top and bake for another 5 minutes or so until the top in golden.

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Strawberry Walnut Salad:

Ingredients:

  • Baby spinach
  • 1 cup goat cheese
  • 18 oz. strawberries
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • Brianna’s Blush Wine Vinaigrette

 Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients!

 

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Reese’s Cookie Cups

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My lacrosse team held a bake sale to raise money for epilepsy awareness.  My whole team pitched in to support our amazing team captain, Lauren Wemple, in her effort to raise awareness.  Instead of just making plain cookie cups I decided to put Reese’s on the bottom of the cookie cups.  They were a hit!  I would say they sold out within minutes!

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Recipe for the Cookies:

  • 1 cup butter at room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 ½ cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 bag of Reese’s

Directions:

  1. Cream butter and sugar together.
  2. Add eggs one at a time and mix together.
  3. Add vanilla.
  4. In a separate bowl combine dry ingredients.
  5. Mix a half of the dry ingredients to the wet ones and repeat.
  6. Place a Reese’s at the bottom of the muffin cup.
  7. Place two tablespoons of cookie dough on top of the Reese’s.
  8. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until golden.

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Chocolate Crackle Cookies

1Chocolate crinkles/crackles were a huge part of my childhood. Whenever we stopped by the local bakery, I would either get chocolate crackles or peanut butter cookies, without fail. I’ve wanted to make these for quite some time, but I am literally one of the worst cookie bakers ever — maybe it’s the oven, but they never come out quite right — but I finally decided to give it a shot.

After trying this recipe, I am inclined to say it is foolproof. The cookies were the perfect consistency and didn’t fall flat in the oven — just make sure you chill the dough thoroughly! I also would recommend adding a little extra cocoa powder (about 1/4 cup) to the batter if you want more chocolatey cookies.

3Here’s the recipe, from Martha Stewart:

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup Dutch cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups light-brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more for rolling

4Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Chop bittersweet chocolate into small bits, and melt over medium heat in a heat-proof bowl or the top of a double boiler set over a pan of simmering water. Set aside to cool. Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.
  2. In the bowl of a heavy-duty electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and light-brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, and beat until well combined. Add melted chocolate. With mixer on low speed, alternate adding dry ingredients and milk until just combined. Divide the dough into quarters, wrap with plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator until firm, about 2 hours.
  3. On a clean countertop, roll each portion of dough into a log approximately 16 inches long and 1 inch in diameter, using confectioners’ sugar to prevent sticking. Wrap logs in plastic wrap, and transfer to a baking sheet. Chill for 30 minutes. Cut each log into 1-inch pieces, and toss in confectioners’ sugar, a few at a time. Using your hands, roll the pieces into a ball shape. If any of the cocoa-colored dough is visible, roll dough in confectioners’ sugar again to coat completely. Place the cookies 2 inches apart on a Silpat-lined baking sheet. Bake until cookies have flattened and the sugar splits, 12 to15 minutes.
  4. Transfer from oven to a wire rack to let cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

2Enjoy!!

— Halie

Baklava

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If you’ve ever had a bad experience with baklava and aren’t disposed to try this recipe, I hope you think again: I’ve always tried baklava at restaurants and have been seriously disappointed, but this recipe is simply addictive. I prefer my baklava without pistachios or honey, and I find that it is best served cold, rather than warm, because the sugar syrup tastes better. You can make this ahead and store at room temperature for days — it’ll keep a while, and only tastes better with a few days to let the sugars sink in.

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Baklava is also incredibly simple to make — it does require some patience, but it’s not a complex process. The key is to use a lot of butter between every single layer of phyllo — otherwise the pastry will flake apart after it’s been baked. (Plus, everything tastes better with butter.) To work with the phyllo, I recommend thawing it in the fridge for a good 4-8 hours before you begin baking. If it’s too frozen, it will flake, and if it’s too thawed it will be sticky and the layers impossible to separate. If it does flake apart (this happened to me when I made this batch of baklava), don’t worry — just try and fill the pan as best you can by piecing layers together.

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Finally, I recommend using a pyrex glass casserole dish for baklava (as pictured). Your baklava will bake perfectly and it’s just the right size for the phyllo sheets.

Here’s the recipe (adapted from here):

Ingredients

For the syrup:

  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons rose water (you can also substitute orange blossom water)

For the pastry:

  • 1 pound unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons rose water (or orange blossom water)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 16-ounce package frozen phyllo pastry, thawed

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Directions

  1. To make sugar syrup, boil together sugar and water for about 2 minutes over high heat, being careful it does not burn or boil over. Just before removing from heat, stir in the rose water. Let cool slightly, then refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. To make the pastry, first clarify the butter. Melt in a pan over gentle heat. Spoon off the milky froth that rises to the top and the solid residue that settles to the bottom. One pound of butter should yield about 1 1/2 cups clarified butter. You can pour the butter into a mug for ease of use later on.
  3. Place walnuts and rose water in bowl of food processor and process in spurts until walnuts are minced. (The rose water helps keep walnuts from getting oily.) Add sugar and process briefly to mix well.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  5. Spread a sheet of plastic wrap or aluminum foil on a work surface. Open phyllo pastry and spread on the surface.
  6. Using the clarified butter and a pastry brush or clean paintbrush, butter a 10- by 14-inch baking pan liberally, bottom and sides. Place one sheet of phyllo pastry in bottom of pan (only half the sheet will fit). Butter surface of pastry, then fold the other half over and butter it. Proceed with the remaining sheets, buttering each one, until you have used about half the sheets in the box. The phyllo sheets should be somewhat crowded in the pan, folded up a little along the sides and at each end. Be sure to butter the corners of the pastry.
  7. Distribute the walnut mixture over the pastry in an even layer.
  8. Place the remaining phyllo sheets over the walnut mixture, again buttering liberally between each layer. When all the sheets have been used, cut the pastry with a sharp knife lengthwise into strips about 1 inch wide, then on the diagonal to make diamonds. Be sure to cut right down through to the bottom of the pan. Pour any remaining clarified butter over the top of the pastry.
  9. Place in oven for 30 minutes, then raise temperature to 425 degrees and bake an additional 10 minutes, or until pastry is puffed and golden brown on top. Remove from oven and immediately pour cold syrup over hot pastry. Set aside to cool to room temperature before serving.

Enjoy! This is a fantastic recipe, and great for entertaining — I guarantee it’ll be a hit.

— Halie