ANNOUNCING: Change is part of life, and apparently, it's part of blogging, too. As of September 5, 2013, I'm merging The Virtual Goody Plate with Disco Mom Takes on the World and whatever else may henceforth spill from my fingertips (and kitchen), into one great new blog. I hope you'll join me there in exclaiming, "THIS IS AWESOMELAND."

Monday, July 30, 2012

Blueberry Pull-Apart Bread

 This was one of the many, many delicious-sounding blueberry recipes I collected for my study in blue challenge.  Finally got around to making it this week, and wow!  Pull-apart bread rocks!  Plus this one has flax seed and wheat flour, so you know what that means.  Healthy-ish!

I made this one afternoon when we had friends over, and us two adults and six kids devoured it up in one sitting.  The middle part was unfortunately still doughy or else we would have eaten even more, but don't worry.  I've fixed the original recipe so that won't happen to you.  Blueberries are so sweet this time of year - go bake some into pull-apart bread!

Blueberry Pull-Apart Bread (print recipe)

Makes 1 loaf

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 T ground flax seed
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup whole or 2% milk
1/4 cup water
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
1/4 cup maple syrup

1 cup light brown sugar
6 oz. fresh blueberries, rinsed and picked over
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted until browned

1.  In a large bowl of a stand mixer, with the whisk attachment, whisk together 1 cup all-purpose flour, the whole wheat flour, flax seed, sugar, yeast, and salt.  Set aside.

2.  In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt together milk and butter until butter is just melted.  Remove from heat and mix in water and vanilla; wait until the temperature of the liquid is between 115-125 degrees F.

3.  Change to paddle attachment.  On low speed, pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients.  After well combined, pour in eggs and maple syrup.  At this stage, the dough will fall apart and separate into pieces - just keep going.  Add in the final 3/4 cup all-purpose flour; mix until everything comes together again.  The dough will be sticky.

4.  Place the dough in a large greased bowl.  Cover with clean humid towel. Place in a warm place and let it rest until double in size, about an hour.  Or you can place it in the fridge overnight.  Remove from fridge 30 minutes before step 8.

5.  While waiting for the dough to rise, in a small bowl, combine filling brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Set aside.

6.  In a small saucepan, melt the 1/4 cup butter until browned.  The milk solids in the butter will turn medium to dark brown and it will all smell heavenly and nutty.  Do not burn.

7.  Grease a 9x5 or 10x5 loaf pan.

8.  Gently deflate the dough with your hand. Flour a work surface and roll the dough into a 20" by 12" rectangle. You should measure it and make it as accurate as possible. Use a pastry brush to spread the melted butter evenly and liberally over the dough. Sprinkle with all of the sugar-spice mixture.  Use a pizza cutter to cut the dough crosswise in five strips, each 12" by 4". Sprinkle about 1/5 of the blueberries (a small handful) over the first sugared rectangle. Top it with a second rectangle, sprinkling that one with 1/4 of the remaining blueberries. Continue to top with rectangles and blueberries, so you have a stack of five 12" by 4" rectangles, all buttered, sugared, and berried.

9.  Slice this new stack crosswise, through all five layers, into 5 equal rectangles, each about 4" long and 2 - 2 1/2" wide. Carefully transfer these strips of dough into the loaf pan, cut edges up, side by side. This is easier if you prop the loaf pan up on its end. There will be some extra room, but the bread will expand during the second rise and baking. 

10.  Cover with a clean humid towel and let rest again in a warm place for about 45 minutes.

11.  Preheat oven to 350 F.

12.  Place loaf on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  This keeps the bottom from burning but more importantly, catches the drips of juicy, bubbly goodness that may overflow.  You don't want your oven and kitchen filling with smoke like mine did!  Place in the oven and bake until the top is very golden brown, about 30-35 minutes.  Tent with foil if it is browning very quickly.  Bake for another 10-20 minutes, for a total of 45-55 minutes.  Remove from oven and rest for 20 minutes before serving.  

Recipe adapted (=fixed!) from

1 year ago:  Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars
2 years ago:  Kiwi Pops
3 years ago:  Mrs. June's Heavenly Coconut Cake

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Raspberry-White Chocolate Bombe

 Yeah, I made this for Dessert Club back in April.  Yeah, I'm that behind in my posts.  But I'm making a comeback.  And I also made this for my friend's birthday in late May, so by that measure, I'm only two months behind.  See, I'm already catching up.

Sometimes when I get behind, I just give up and start where I am, allowing the intermediate goodies to fade into obscurity.  But I could NOT do that with da Bombe.  First, because it was a little bit of work, and I want credit for that.  Second, it is so pretty!  Or would be at more artistic hands.  Third, I love it!  Cake, mousse, raspberries, and white chocolate!  It's light, summery, sweet, whimsical, and oh-so-pretty-in-pink!  Couldn't let it slide.

The first time, I made the white cake layer from scratch.  Recipe below.  The second time, I just didn't have time so I made it from a mix, and it was just as good, if not better, so you can totally go for that option. 

The most important thing in making this cake is choosing the right mold.  It must be symmetrically rounded, preferably with a rounded bottom rather than flat.  And at the top few inches, it should be 9 inches in diameter, or as close as possible.  The first time, I used a glass dish from a nesting set I have.  But the second, I hit jackpot with a ceramic IKEA serving dish I had - it was the perfect size, and gave it a beautifully tall, rounded top.  Everything else about this cake is pretty easy, just has a few steps.  Enjoy!

 Raspberry-White Chocolate Bombe (print recipe)

Serves 12
1/4 cup raspberry liqueur, such as Chambord (I used cran-raspberry juice; you can use water)
1/4 cup raspberry-flavored gelatin
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 pound white chocolate, finely chopped
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups fresh raspberries
1 (9-inch) white cake round (see recipe below)

White chocolate curls, for decoration

FOR THE MOUSSE: Line 10-cup-capacity mixing bowl with plastic wrap. Bring liqueur to simmer in small saucepan. Stir in gelatin and salt until dissolved; remove from heat. Microwave 8 ounces white chocolate and ½ cup heavy cream in medium bowl, stirring every 30 seconds, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth, about 1½ minutes. Stir in gelatin mixture and let cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Whip remaining 1½ cups cream with electric mixer until soft peaks form, 1 to 3 minutes.
 Gently fold one-third of whipped cream into cooled white chocolate mixture. Fold in remaining whipped cream until incorporated. Scrape one-third of mousse into prepared bowl and stud with raspberries.
  Repeat twice with remaining mousse and berries. Place inverted cake round on top of mousse, trimming cake to fit if necessary. Cover with plastic and chill until mousse is set, about 4 hours (and up to 24 hours).

TO ASSEMBLE: Turn out bombe onto large cake platter. Remove plastic. Microwave remaining 8 ounces chopped chocolate in bowl until melted and gently spread over mousse and cake. Press chocolate curls into white chocolate. Cut cake with warm knife and serve.
HOW TO MAKE CHOCOLATE CURLS: Use a vegetable peeler to peel curls off of a large block of chocolate. (Large blocks of chocolate make nicer shavings than thin bars of chocolate.) 

White Layer Cake
Makes one 9-inch cake round
Nonstick cooking spray 
1 1/8 cups cake flour, plus more for dusting pans
1/2 cup whole milk, at room temperature
3 large egg whites, at room temperature 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
7/8 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt 
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened but still cool

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray one 9-inch round cake pan with nonstick cooking spray, dust with flour, and tap pan to remove excess flour. Mix milk, egg whites, and vanilla together in 2-cup measuring cup.

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together in bowl of electric mixer at low speed. Add butter and beat at low speed until mixture resembles moist crumbs, with no powdery streaks remaining.

Add all but 1/4 cup of milk mixture to crumbs and beat at medium speed (or high speed if using handheld mixer) for 1 1/2 minutes. Add remaining 1/4 cup of milk mixture and beat 30 seconds more. Stop mixer and scrape sides of bowl. Return mixer to medium (or high) speed and beat 20 seconds longer.  Pour batter in to prepared cake pan and using rubber spatula, spread into even layer. Bake until thin skewer or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 21 to 25 minutes.
Rest cake in pans 3 minutes, then loosen from sides of pan with a knife. Invert onto large plate, re-invert onto wire racks. Cool completely, about 1 1/2 hours.
Recipe from Cook's Country, Feb 2012

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Gâteau au Yaourt (French Yogurt Cake)

Having a little fun here with a cross-blog two-part post.  See here for Part 1 (how my 7- and 2-year-olds made this cake by themselves.)

And now, I give you....Le Gâteau au Yaourt:

This cake is so awesome!  Totally easy, famously hard to mess up, moist, deliciously vanilla-y, and I LOVE the high rise!

It was late afternoon by the time it came out of the oven, and we were all hungry.  My husband and middle daughter were out of town, so with half the family gone, it seemed pointless to even pretend to cook dinner.  Instead, we sliced this cake into thick wedges and ate it for dinner with tall glasses of milk.  I.  Love.  Summer.
 We froze the remainder and I am even now chomping on a hunk of it as I write.  It's so good I crave it, and how often does that happen with an unfrosted cake?  Amazing.  And just because a child can make it, does not mean it is a juvenile dessert - I would proudly serve this to company, after dinner with tea or along with fruit at a brunch, any day.  My new favorite.

Not only is yogurt an ingredient, but most of the ingredients are also measured in the 6-ounce yogurt containers, how cool is that?  Hazel was as tickled as I at the fun of measuring in non-measuring cups.  I had a hard time finding whole milk yogurt - it's all lowfat these days!  So I compromised by using part lowfat, part fancy European whole milk yogurts.  I highly recommend the combo.

Gâteau au Yaourt
(French Yogurt Cake)
print recipe
2 six-ounce containers plain (or vanilla) whole-milk yogurt (use the empty containers to measure the other ingredients)
2 eggs
2 containers sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Just under 1 container vegetable oil
4 containers flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
Crème fraîche, for serving (optional)

1.  Preheat oven to 375.  Grease a 9-inch round cake pan or a loaf pan.

2.  Gently combine the yogurt, eggs, sugar, vanilla and oil.  In a separate bowl, mix the flour and baking powder.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet; mix gently until ingredients are just combined (don't overmix.)  You can add 2 containers frozen berries, a container of chocolate chips, or any flavoring you like.  Bake for 35 minutes, then five minutes more if the cake doesn't pass the knife test.  It should be almost crispy on the outside, but springy on the inside.  Let it cool.  Serve with tea or hot chocolate and a dollop of crème fraîche.

Recipe from Bringing up
Bébé by Pamela Druckerman
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