Category Archives: cooking

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

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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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10-Grain Muffins

Picture 2I love Bob’s Red Mill 10 grain hot cereal and when I saw a muffin recipe using the cereal I knew I had to try it.  These muffins are great for breakfast or snacking plus they are easy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ¼ cup bob’s red mill multi grain cereal
  • 1 ¼ cups buttermilk

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Mix the cereal and the buttermilk in a bowl.
  3. Let the cereal and buttermilk mixture sit for about 10 minutes.
  4. Cream the sugar and butter in a separate bowl.
  5. Add the egg and mix.
  6. Then add the dry ingredients and mix.
  7. Once 10 minutes has elapsed add the milk mixture stirring until combined.
  8. Spoon into muffin pan and bake for 15 minutes.

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These muffins are great, but I bet they would be even better if you added apples and honey or even raisins.  Let me know if you find any great mix-ins!

Enjoy!,

Lizzie

Tiramisu Cake

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I wanted to make a special cake for my mom’s birthday, and ever since her trip to Italy last year, she has been into tiramisu.  I figured making a tiramisu cake would be a nice alternative to the usual chocolate or vanilla birthday cake.

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Ingredients

For the Cake:

  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ¼ sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup buttermilk

For the espresso extract:

  • 2 tablespoons instant espresso power
  • 2 tablespoons boiling water

For the espresso syrup:

  • ½ cup water
  • 1/3 cup sugar

For the filling and frosting:

  • 2 8-ounce containers of mascarpone cheese
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup cold heavy cream
  • 2 ½ ounces of semisweet chocolate finely chopped

Directions

For the Cake:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Butter two 9 inch round cake pans.
  3. Beat butter until creamy.
  4. Add sugar and continue to beat.
  5. Add eggs one by one and then the yolk while mixing.
  6. Add vanilla.
  7. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk, adding the dry ingredients in 3 parts and the buttermilk in 2.
  8. Pour one half of cake batter in each pan and bake for 30 minutes.

For the extract and syrup:

  1. Stir the espresso powder and boiling water together until blended.
  2. Stir the water and sugar together in a saucepan.
  3. Bring sugar water to a boil.
  4. Remove from heat and add extract.
  5. Once the cakes have cooled pour 1/3 of the espresso syrup on top of each layer.

For the filling and frosting:

  1. Mix the mascarpone, sugar, and vanilla together in a bowl until smooth.
  2. In a separate bowl whisk the heavy cream until it forms peaks.
  3. Fold in the heavy cream to the mascarpone mixture.
  4. Frost each layer and add the semisweet chocolate between the layers.
  5. Assemble the cake and frost the outsides.
  6. Dust with coco powder and top with extra chocolate.

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My mom loved this cake.  It was full of flavor and very refreshing!

This recipe was adapted from Smitten Kitchen and can be found here.

Enjoy!

— Lizzie

PS: Follow us on instagram @textbooksandteacakes for lots of yummy food photos!

Peppermint Joy

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I wanted to bake for our family and friends for the holidays.  I went a little overboard with the peppermint theme and made candy cane cookies, peppermint brownies, and peppermint truffles.  Each of these recipes are great for the holidays.  I also made a trip to Michaels and found the perfect packaging.

Candy Cane Cookies:

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup margarine
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon red food coloring

Directions:

  1. Cream together margarine, white sugar, and powdered sugar.
  2. Beat in egg, vanilla, and peppermint extract.
  3. Combine with flour, and salt.
  4. Cover dough and chill for at least one hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
  6. Grease cookie sheets
  7. Divide dough into half
  8. Color one half of the dough with the red food coloring.
  9. Using half white dough and half red dough make candy canes.

10. Bake for 10 minutes.

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These cookies are so simple and a great holiday recipe.

Peppermint Brownies:

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Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate chopped
  • ¾ cup butter
  • 1 ½ cups white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 (1.55 ounce) Milk chocolate bars, broken into chunks
  • 1 cup of chopped peppermint chocolate (found at whole foods)
  • ½ cup of crushed candy canes for garnish

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Grease and 8X12 baking pan.
  3. Using a double boiler melt unsweetened chocolate and margarine in bowl.
  4. Whisk until chocolate is melted and stir in sugar.
  5. Add eggs, extracts, and salt.
  6. Gradually add flour and stir until combined.
  7. Spread ½ the batter into the pan.
  8. Top batter with milk chocolate
  9. Add second half of batter.

10. Top with peppermint chocolate.

11. Bake for 35 minutes.

12. Top with crushed candy canes.

These were honestly one of the top brownies I have ever had.  I promise.  You need to give these a try!!!

Peppermint Truffles:

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Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces of good semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • ¼ cup of crushed candy canes
  • 1 teaspoon of peppermint extract

Directions:

  1. Melt chocolate using a double boiler.
  2. Whisk until smooth and mix in cream.
  3. Stir in peppermint extract and crushed candy canes.
  4. Refrigerate overnight.
  5. Roll chocolate into one-inch balls.
  6. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
  7. Enjoy!

This was my first time making truffles and I will say that it was not as easy as I expected.  There are very messy, but worth it!  Happy Holidays!

Enjoy!,

Lizzie

Menu: A Global Christmas Party

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My Christmas party menu for this year… my family always gets together for desserts and to exchange gifts, and we end up hosting practically every year. This is fine by me as I get to cook a ton and I love putting dessert tables together.

What’s on your menu for the holidays?

— Halie

Candied Orange Peel in Dark Chocolate

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I’m obsessed with chocolate-covered orange peels. Then again, I’m also a huge fan of the orange-chocolate combination. If you’re anything like me, you’ll want to give this recipe a try!

These are surprisingly simple to make (you just have to be pretty exact about the process) and aren’t nearly as bad for you as regular chocolate. However, they’re just as delicious! Before you begin making these, here are a few tips:

  • Blanch the peels after you’ve cut them and before you begin the candying process. They tend to be very bitter, so blanching them helps draw out some of that bitterness.
  • High quality and/or organic oranges really do make a difference! It’s all about the flavor of the peels.
  • Make sure you don’t over-candy them. At a certain point, the orange peels in the saucepan will cease to become fragrant and will begin to taste funny.
  • Your peels won’t actually become “translucent,” as described in the recipe, so don’t let this lead to over-cooking. Because you’re candying at home, you’re not going to get the same effect as buying candied oranges in store.
  • You will have a lot of peels. 1 orange can yield 12-20+ strips alone. Given that removing the peels from the oranges can be rather time consuming, keep this in mind!

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To make these, I combined a bunch of recipes from around the internet, so here is what I ended up doing:

Ingredients:

  • 2 navel oranges
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • extra sugar for dusting

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Directions:

  1. Wash the oranges thoroughly and quarter them. You need to remove as much of the pith from the peel as possible (the pith is what gives the peels their bitterness), so what I did was slice out the flesh of the orange (you can use this later in salads). Then I sliced the quartered peels into the desired thickness and tried to cut off as much of the pith as possible from there. (It’s much easier to do this once you have made the slices.)
  2. At this point, you can blanch the peels 1-3 times, as desired.
  3. Place the peels, water, and sugar in a small saucepan (the smaller the better — mine was a little too big) and stir until the sugar dissolves. At this point, simmer the peels in the sugar/water mixture for 20-30 minutes, until the peels thicken and become more translucent.
  4. Remove peels from saucepan with a fork and let cool. After 10-15 minutes, you can coat them with extra sugar if desired.
  5. Melt the chocolate chips over a double boiler. Dip each peel into the chocolate as desired, and place on a plate to cool and harden.

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That’s it! You should have far more peels than are photographed here (my dad ate most of them before I got a chance to take pictures), and they are perfect for satisfying a sugar rush or for adding some festivity to a holiday party.

— Halie