Strawberries and Cream Cake!

I discovered this cake on Twitter!

I follow Hungry Rabbit NYC and he told the most lovely story from his childhood and made the most beautiful cake for his mother for Mother’s Day!

Ken, otherwise known as HungryRabbitNYC, takes amazing photographs and builds an even more amazing cake.

My photos aren’t nearly as good, and my skills don’t seem to be as sharpened as Ken’s but this cake was delicious!

Strawberry n Cream Cake

recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

Ingredients

1 tablespoon lemon zest, freshly grated
1 cup sugar (7 ounces)
1-1/4 cups cake flour (5 ounces)
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon table salt
5 large eggs (2 whole and 3 separated), room temperature
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract

2-1/2 pounds fresh strawberries (medium or large, use 3 quarts), washed, dried, reserve 8-10 strawberries (stems in tacked) for decoration
4–6 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons rum
Pinch table salt

WHIPPED ICING
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar (3-1/2 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon table salt
2 cups heavy cream

Method

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 9 by 2-inch cake line with parchment paper, grease and flour, set aside.

2. Add lemon zest and all but 3 tablespoons sugar in large mixing bowl, rub with fingers until sugar is slightly moist and takes on a pale yellow color. Add flour, baking powder, salt, whisk to combine. add 2 whole eggs and 3 yolks (reserving whites), butter, water and both extracts; whisk until smooth.

3. In clean bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat remaining 3 egg whites at medium-low speed until frothy, 1 to 2 minutes. With machine running, gradually add remaining 3 tablespoons sugar, increase speed to medium-high, and beat until soft peaks form,about 2 minutes. Stir one-third of whites into batter to lighten; add remaining whites and gently fold into batter until no white streaks remain.

4. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until toothpick or wooden skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 25-35 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then invert cake onto greased wire rack; peel off and discard parchment. Invert cake again; cool completely, about 2 hours.

5. Stemmed and halve 24 of best-looking berries and reserve. Quarter remaining berries; toss with 4 to 6 tablespoons sugar (depending on sweetness of berries) in medium bowl and let sit 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Strain juices from berries and reserve (you should have about 1/2-3/4 cup). Place macerated berries in food processor fitted with metal blade, give it five 1-second pulses (you should have about 2 cups).

6. In small saucepan over medium-high heat, simmer reserved juices and rum until syrupy and reduced to about 3 tablespoons, about 5 minutes. Pour reduced syrup over macerated berries, add pinch of salt, and toss to combine. Set aside until cake is cooled.

WHIPPED ICING
1. Place cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and salt in bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Whisk at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes, scraping down bowl with rubber spatula as needed. Reduce speed to low and add heavy cream in slow, steady stream; when almost fully combined, increase speed to medium-high and beat until mixture holds stiff peaks, 2 to 2-1/2 minutes more, scraping bowl as needed.

ASSEMBLE THE CAKE
1. Using large serrated knife, slice cake into three even layers. Place bottom layer on cake plate and arrange half of the strawberry halves, cut sides down and stem ends facing out, around perimeter of cake layer. Pour one half of pureed berry mixture in center, then spread to cover any exposed cake. Gently spread about one-third of whipped cream over berry layer, leaving 1/2-inch border from edge. Place middle cake layer on top and press down gently. Repeat with remaining strawberry halves and berry mixture, and half of remaining whipped cream; gently press last cake layer on top. Spread remaining whipped cream over top; decorate with reserved strawberries. Chill for 1-2 hours.

The aroma of the batter; full of lemon zest and vanilla, was intoxicating!

We wanted to eat it fresh out of the oven!

The texture is also fantastic and I could see using this recipe for other fruity type cakes, heavy frostings, or nut fillings.

I am a bit sloppy campared to Ken who seems to be an engineer of all things Baked!

Thank you Hungry Rabbit for a beautiful recipe and for inspiring me to make this cake for myself on Mother’s Day!

I assure you that I thuroughly enjoyed it!

Spinach Spirals with Goat Cheese and Roasted Red Pepper!

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Super easy and so delicious!

Whole grain spinach spirals and red pepper are perfect paired with a creamy goat cheese sauce.

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I roasted the pepper in the oven at 350 for about 20 minutes then chopped them and threw them into the boiling pasta water for abot 10 minutes.

This infused the flavor a bit and softened the peppers.

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I started with about 2 tbsp. of butter, 2 cloves crushed garlic, 1/2 cup of half and half, and 1 cup of sour cream.

Let this simmer for a few minutes then add a half a cup or more to taste of soft goat cheese.

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Drain the pasta and mix in the goat cheese with the red pepper and stir.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

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This is a great meatless meal, nutritious and filling.
Enjoy!

“Easy Peasy” Chocolate Cream Pie with Perfect Pie Crust for Your Sweetie!

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The secret to this recipe is the Martha Stewart Perfect Pie Crust.

You may not have a pre made crust on hand but you most certainly have flour, butter and water!

The recipe is so easy and so delicious you’ll have a fresh homemade pie in no time.

This recipe makes two crusts. Freeze one for a quickie treat later!

Makes 1 double-crust for a 9-inch pie

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
3 tablespoons margarine or chilled vegetable shortening
1/4 cup ice water

Method

1.Hand Method: In a large bowl, sift the flour and salt. Cut the chilled butter and margarine into 1-tablespoon bits and add to the flour. With a pastry cutter, work flour and shortening together until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the ice water little by little pressing the pastry together into a ball. Wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.

2.It is very important to work the pastry as little as possible. Don’t overhandle. A secret to light, flaky pastry is to keep the mixture cool, add as little water as possible, and mix only as much as necessary.

3.Food Processor Method: Put flour and salt in bowl of machine. Cut butter and margarine into flour. Process a few seconds until mixture resembles coarse meal. Drop by drop add the water, processing very briefly. The whole process would take 20 to 30 seconds. Wrap and chill the pastry for at least 1 hour.

4.If pastry has been chilled for a long time, let it sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before rolling.

5.Lightly flour a pastry board, marble counter, or kitchen counter. Divide the pastry in half. Pat each piece of pastry into a flat round. Lightly flour the rolling pin. Roll pastry in one direction only, turning pastry continually to prevent it from sticking to the surface.

6.Using pie plate as a guide, measure rolled-out pastry — it should be slightly larger than the pie plate and 1-8-inch thick. Fold rolled pastry circle in half so you can lift it more easily. Unfold, gently fitting the pastry into the pie plate, allowing pastry to hang evenly over the edge. Do not trim the pastry yet.

7.Fill the pie with filling. Then roll out the second crust in the same manner as for the bottom. Fold circle in half and with a sharp, pointed knife cut little vents in a decorative pattern. Place folded pastry on one half the pie. Unfold, pressing top and bottom pastry together. Trim edges with scissors, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. Fold bottom pastry overhang over top and press firmly to seal. Crimp rim, using fingers or the tines of a fork.

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Roll out the crust.

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Make it look pretty.

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As for the filling I just used what I had on hand and got fancy!

I created layers by mixing some whipped cream with some pudding but you could just as easily do a layer of pudding; I used instant chocolate, and whipped cream; I made my own!

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Whipped cream.

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First layer of chocolate pudding.

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Mix some whipped cream with chocolate pudding for a special layer of creamy yumminess!

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I dusted with cocoa for effect!

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Fun for two!

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Soda Bread with Raisins is Warm and Delicious on a Snowy Winter Morning!

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This delicious bread is so simple to make that I can find no reason not to make a fresh loaf every morning!

There is nothing better than waking up on a snowy winter morning to the smell of bread baking in the oven.

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This slightly sweet, crumbly quick bread worked well with 2 cups of whole wheat pastry flour and 1 cup baking flour.

I also used turbinado in the place of granulated white sugar.

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Ingredients

Raisin Soda Bread

3 cups (390 grams) all-purpose flour (or 1 1/2 cups (195 grams) whole wheat flour and 1 1/2 cups (195 grams) all purpose flour)

3 tablespoons (40 grams) granulated white sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons (42 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut in small pieces

3/4 cup (100 grams) Thompson raisins

1 1/2 cups (360 ml) buttermilk (soured milk)

Method

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) and place the rack in the center of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Cut the cold butter into small pieces and blend into the flour mixture, with a pastry blender or two knives, until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Stir in the raisins. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add most of the buttermilk. Using yours hands, or a wooden spoon, mix (adding more buttermilk if necessary) until you have a soft moist dough.

Transfer to a lightly floured surface and gently knead the dough into a 7 inch (18 cm) round. Place the round on your prepared baking sheet and then, with a sharp knife, cut a 1/4 inch deep “X” across the top of the bread.

Bake for about 40 – 50 minutes or until nicely browned and a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean. You can also test that is fully baked by tapping the bottom of the bread – it should sound hollow. Remove from oven. This bread is wonderful when served warm with butter. It also makes great toast.

Makes one seven inch (18 cm) round raisin soda bread.

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The dough hook on my Kitchen Aid mixer makes this a peice of cake!

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I always use parchment paper.

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This recipe is so quick and easy.

You can have warm bread in less than an hour!

What a great last minute surprise for breakfast.

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Cold butter on warm bread is a special treat!

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What is especially nice is that you can usually find most of these ingredients in your pantry at all times.

No buttermilk? Add lemon juice to milk!

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No raisins? Use dried cranberries or prunes.

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…even chocolate chips would work nicely and the kids will love it!

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What to do with Party Leftovers!? Crudites get re-made with Linguine and Feta Cheese!

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I hate to waste food. So after a recent party instead of just tossing the leftovers, I made an effort to to come up with a meal that utilized the crudites that were left.

I didn’t want another raw food meal or a stir fry rice thingy.

This reminds me a little of pot roast; vegetarian style , of course.

It kind of looks like that, don’t you think?

I just sauteed the vegetables as they were, added them to some linguine added feta cheese, balsamic vinegar and Ghee. You could also use butter.

This was a complete meal and quite different from the ingredients original incarnation.

My secret ingredient ? Live music in my kitchen!

Check out this video performance of “Summertime” by Dolinar Spahija!

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