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."

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Lemon-Raspberry Coffee Cake

 This gorgeous thing was on my list of contenders to make for Summer Fruits DC, so I made a tester ahead of time for dinner at a friend's house.  I've really been into cakes without frosting lately.  They are so versatile, and just as important, easy to make and store.  But simple does not mean boring.  I was attracted to this recipe because it seemed so thoughtful.  A vanilla buttermilk cake with a lemon cream cheese layer, and raspberries added on top halfway through baking, so they roast just the slightest bit, and some sink into the cheesecake layer.  Just amazing.  And of course, perfect for breakfast or any time thereafter.

Lemon-Raspberry Coffee Cake (print recipe)
Makes 10 servings

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 tsp finely shredded lemon peel
1 egg
1 cup fresh raspberries
Powdered sugar, optional

1.  Preheat oven to 375.  Lightly grease bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan.  Line the bottom of the pan with parchment.  Grease and lightly flour pan; set aside.  For cake, in a medium bowl stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside. 

2.  In a medium mixing bowl beat 1 cup of the granulated sugar and the butter with mixer on medium to high until combined.  Add 1 egg and the vanilla.  Beat on low to medium 1 minute.  Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk to sugar mixture, beating just until combined after each addition; set aside.

3.  For cheesecake filling, in small mixing bowl beat cream cheese and remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar on medium to high until combined.  Add lemon peel and 1 egg.  Beat until combined.

4.  Spoon half the cake batter into prepared pan, spreading to edges.  Pour cream cheese mixture on cake batter, spreading to edges.  Dollop remaining batter on cream cheese layer, carefully spreading to edges of pan.

5.  Bake 20 minutes or until puffed.  Gently press raspberries into cake.  Bake 25 to 30 minutes more or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.  Cool in pan on wire rack 10 minutes.  Loosen edges of cake from pan; remove from pan.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.
Recipe from Better Homes and Gardens, April 2012

1 year ago:  Chocolate Pudding
2 years ago:  S'mores Pie
3 years ago:  Cream Cheese Carrot Cake Muffins

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Double Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

 It is always the right time and season for another banana bread recipe.  We have a couple go spotty at least once a month, and while we often turn to our favorite recipes - this, and this - we never turn down a new one that looks promising.

 Like, say, if it has both cocoa powder and chocolate chips.  Promising.

This one kept its promise - as you can see, moist beyond description - I do hate to overcook, so I pull it out a minute or two early, and happily enjoy the fudgy results.  But, you know, there are bananas, too, so these are totally healthy-ish.  Make a good teacher's gift, too.  I brought them in to parent-teacher conferences last month.  Can't hurt.  Bananas and chocolate - a timeless combination.

Double Chocolate Chip Banana Bread (print recipe)
Makes 2 mini loaves or one 9"x5" loaf

1 cup (4 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 T cocoa powder
1/2 cup soft unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup mashed banana (about 2-3 medium)
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, mini preferred

1.  Preheat the oven to 350.  Lightly grease two 3 1/4" x 5 3/4" mini loaf pans, or one 9" x 5" loaf pan. 

2.  Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa.

3.  In a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and creamy.  Beat in the egg, then stir in the vanilla, banana, and sour cream.  Gently mix in the dry ingredients and chocolate chips until well incorporated.

4.  Pour the batter into the pan(s) and bake for 45 minutes for mini loaves or 60 minutes for a large loaf, until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

5.  Remove the bread(s) from the oven, and allow to rest in the pan(s) for 10 minutes.  Turn the bread(s) out onto a rack to cool completely.

Recipe from King Arthur Flour

1 year ago:  Banana After-School Cake
2 years ago:  Coconut Lime-Curd Bars

3 years ago:   Fresh Lime Chiffon Cake

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Chipotle Brownies

 As promised, here are my smoky spicy oh-so-chocolatey chipotle brownies!  It's like you take my favorite combo - chocolate, cinnamon, red pepper - and add that very slight smokiness that makes chipotles (smoked peppers), and wow!  We have a NEW favorite that is more than the sum of its parts!

And not that this recipe needs any more in its favor than that, but it also has FOUR kinds of chocolate, sour cream, and three times more sugar than flour.  All signs of a recipe to die for.

Chipotle Brownies (print recipe)
Makes 9 to 16 servings

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp chipotle powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
3 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup sour cream
4 ounces (2/3 cup) chocolate chunks

1.  Heat oven to 325.  Butter and flour an 8 x 8-inch baking pan (I doubled the whole recipe for a crowd and made it in a 9x13.)  Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, cinnamon, chipotle powder and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.

2.  In a medium saucepan, bring 1 inch of water to a simmer.  Add butter, unsweetened chocolate, and semisweet chocolate to a metal bowl large enough to sit on top of the saucepan.  Melt ingredients, about 4 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir until smooth.

3.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, combine eggs, sugar and vanilla.  Whisk on high speed until slightly thickened, 1 to 2 minutes.  Pour in the melted chocolate mixture and whisk on medium for 30 seconds.  Add the flour mixture and whisk on low for 30 seconds.  Add sour cream and whisk on medium for 30 seconds.  Stir in chocolate chunks by hand. 

4.  Bake at 325 for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool on wire rack 10 minutes.

Recipe from Family Circle, February 2012
1 year ago:  Lemon-Scented Pull-Apart Bread
2 years ago:  Toasted Coconut Cupcakes
3 years ago:  Toronto Blueberry Buns

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Dessert Club - Secret Ingredient

 Would you like to play a little game?  Our Dessert Club theme in August was "Secret Ingredient", meaning, you make something with a surprise ingredient you think will be hard to guess.  We skipped our usual protocol of labeling our dishes upon arrival, and instead just dished them up and ate without knowing exactly what they were.  We nibbled and chatted as usual, but our oft-used question, "What's in this?" was prohibited. 

After we'd eaten, I handed out a list of ingredients, and everyone's challenge was to match the dish with the secret ingredient (everyone had told me theirs ahead of time.)  I know it's hard without tasting, but can YOU guess the secret ingredients in these dishes?
Here are your choices:  Ancho chile peppers, cashews, chai, cottage cheese, cottage cheese/white beans/chickpeas, lentils, mashed potatoes, Nutella, sauerkraut, zucchini

So...what do you think?  It was pretty fun, and we definitely had some good surprises, and some really good food.  I won't hold you in suspense any longer.

Chocolate Sauerkraut Cake 
with Whole-Egg Chocolate Buttercream (mine)
 I thought it was incredible. The vinegar reacts with the baking powder to make a light crumb, and the cabbage imitates coconut in texture.  Plus that frosting was something else.  One of my favorites of the night!

Nutella-Swirl Meringues

Citrus Pound Cakes 
with Melon-Scented Swiss Meringue Buttercream (cottage cheese)

Vanilla Chai Cake 
(I could eat that frosting ALL DAY)

Zucchini Dessert Squares (totally tasted like apple)

Lentil Cookies

Spudnuts with Dark Chocolate Nutella Glaze (mashed potatoes)

Deep Dish Cookie Pie à la Mode
My standout favorite of the evening
 The cookie was made with chickpeas and white beans - no flour or eggs!!!  And the ice cream was made with cottage cheese - decadent, incredible, and very surprisingly healthy!

Ancho Chili Fudge Pie
This one won "Taster's Choice" of the evening - it was really awesome.

Chocolate Coconut Cream Pie
And this one stumped us all.  Not a single person guessed the right secret ingredient for this pie.  Seriously, how do you hide cashews in a cream pie?!  And it's not in the crust.  She just ground them up really finely - if it had been on the list, I would have guessed a hint of ricotta cheese in her chocolate cream, the texture was that fine.  Really awesome job by everyone! 

I definitely want to do this theme again sometime!

And our Dessert Club: Next Gen is growing.  New babies Abigail and Paul joined us for August's gathering. And their moms looked incredible.  One of them even ate chocolate that night, knowing it would wreak havoc on the baby the next day.  We all make our sacrifices, and apparently none is too great for DC.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Gingerbread Mini Cakes

Ahem.  Don't mind me.  Just taking almost an entire month to get one more post written.  Looks like the days of being two months ahead on this blog are over.  Does anybody still check it?

Just in case you do, here's an easy fall treat for you.  Fall baking truly rocks, doesn't it?

Of course, we made these in the summer, and served them for a girls' tea party with friends.  We have a lot of those.  Tea parties, not friends.  It's better that way - more gingerbread cakes for us.

These are made with pumpkin, molasses, and all those warm fall spices I love.  When I see a long list of 1/2 and 1/4 tsp of lots of herbs in, say, a dinner recipe, I reject it - too much work!  But when I see a similarly long list of spices, for something like a cake or muffins, I pounce on it eagerly.  Because I know it will be delicious, and oh, so worth it.  As these mini cakes are!

Gingerbread Mini Cakes (print recipe)
Yield depends on mold size - makes 60 mini muffins or 18 canelé or standard muffins

1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature plus more for muffin cups
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for muffin cups
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp fine salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup pure pumpkin purée
1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted

1.  Preheat oven to 350.  Butter and flour 18 standard muffin cups or whatever mini cake mold you are using.  In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, allspice, cinnamon, cloves, and salt.  In a medium bowl, beat granulated sugar and butter with a wooden spoon, until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Whisk in pumpkin purée until smooth, then whisk in molasses, eggs, and buttermilk.  Add to flour mixture in 3 additions, stirring well to combine.

2.  Divide batter among muffin cups.  Bake until puffed and set, 35 minutes (12-14 for mini muffins), rotating pans halfway through.  Let cool completely in pans on wire racks. 

3.  Whisk together confectioners' sugar and 2 T water.  Spoon over muffins and let glaze set, about 15 minutes, before serving.  Or dip tops of mini muffins in glaze and let extra drizzle off before setting upright to set.  (Refrigerate in an airtight container, up to 1 week.)

Nutrition per 3 mini muffins:
165 cal, 3g fat, 25mg chol, 156mg sod, 32.6carb, 0.8g fiber, 18.7g sugar, 2.6g protein

Recipe from Everyday Food, Jan 2012
1 year ago: Devil's Food Cake with Black Pepper Boiled Icing (oh, yes)
2 years ago: Sour Cream Muffins with Poppy Seed Streusel
3 years ago: Strawberry New York Cheesecake-Stuffed Blondies
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