Posts Tagged 'butter'

Pipe Dream #118: To Butter You Up – Gooey Butter Cake

Ok, friends. Never mind that this recipe includes the word ‘butter’ in the title.

Never mind that this recipe includes making a yeast sponge.

Never mind that this recipe is supremely un-summer.

And never mind that this 9×13 pan will only last you 24 hours.

It is pretty good. Like, real good. And you deserve it. Because you’re worth it. Or something like that.

You can always lighten it up with some whipped cream, you know, for those real hot days.



P.s. You might want to try baking this at a lower temperature than the original recipe below. I found that my cake got a little browner than I would have preferred. And do let it cool properly.

Gooey Butter Cake

Adapted from misadventuresofmrsb

½ cups warm milk
1 envelope active dry yeast, 0.25 ounce packet
¼ cups unsalted butter, softened
¼ cups sugar
¼ teaspoons salt
1 whole large egg
2-½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
⅔ cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2 whole large eggs
5 tablespoons milk

For the cake:
Preheat oven to 375 F.

Put the warm milk in a small bowl. Dissolve yeast in the warm milk, then set aside.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream butter, sugar and salt. Add egg and beat one minute until well blended. Add flour and mix to combine. Then add the milk-yeast mixture and vanilla to the batter. Mix for three minutes with the dough hook or by hand. If mixing by hand, turn out onto a floured board and knead for one minute. Otherwise, this can be kneaded using the dough hook with your stand mixer.

Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with a towel and set in a warm place to rise for one hour or until doubled. Meanwhile, prepare topping and then set it aside.

For the topping:

In a medium sized bowl, cream butter. In another bowl, stir together flour and sugar. Gradually beat the sugar mixture into the butter. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add milk, one tablespoon at a time, just until the mixture reaches a spreadable consistency. It should still be thick!

Putting it together:

Pat dough into a 9×13 pan, bringing dough halfway up sides of pan to hold the filling. Prick dough all over with a fork. Pour topping over dough, spreading evenly. Let cake stand 20 minutes before baking in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Do not over-bake! Topping should be crusty, but gooey. It should jiggle slightly when shaken. Allow cake to cool before cutting, otherwise you’ll end up with all the gooey goodness spewing out like mine did.

Pipe Dream #3: To Make The Perfect Caramel, Revisited Again – Caramel Cake

Haha another caramel fail. I bet you were beginning to wonder what a caramel fail looks like. After all, I’ve only posted my successful caramel stories on this blog. Now you will know my true self.

This cake looked and sounded fabulous on smitten kitchen. Even though her caramel didn’t turn out as it was supposed to, either, it at least looked yummy. In my case, the caramel sauce tasted swell, but it looked like chunky puke. Chunky puke that was lovingly spread over a heart-shaped vanilla cake.

I really should have known that I would have problems. I had no heavy cream, so I used half and half instead and threw two tablespoons of butter into the pot, hoping to make the fat content similar to heavy cream. I used brown sugar I had made from scratch. And my candy thermometer was janked so I didn’t know if it was reading right, and I probably didn’t let it boil long enough. I can’t pinpoint the source of my problems, but I’m willing to bet the fail was due to one or all of those factors.

Moral of the story, always keep a gallon of heavy cream in your fridge in case of emergency.

The cake itself is actually quite good. It’s dense and richly flavored. The caramel will probs work out better for you, so don’t let these pictures deter you from what will surely be caramel-laden bliss.

Just fine and dandy,


Caramel Cake

Adapted from smitten kitchen

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature 30 minutes
1 cup well-shaken buttermilk

1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Equipment: a candy thermometer

Make the cake: Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Butter an 8-inch square cake pan and line with a square of parchment paper, then butter parchment. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. At low speed, beat in buttermilk until just combined (mixture may look curdled). Add flour mixture in 3 batches, mixing until each addition is just incorporated.

Spread batter evenly in cake pan, then rap pan on counter several times to eliminate air bubbles. Bake until golden and a wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then run a knife around edge of pan. Invert onto rack and discard parchment, then cool completely, about 1 hour.

Make the glaze: Bring cream, brown sugar, corn syrup, and a pinch of salt to a boil in a 1 1/2-quart heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Boil until glaze registers 210 to 212°F on thermometer, 12 to 14 minutes, then stir in vanilla.

Put rack with cake in a shallow baking pan and pour hot glaze over top of cake, allowing it to run down sides. Cool until glaze is set, about 30 minutes.

Do ahead: Cake (before glazing) can be made 1 day ahead and kept in an airtight container at room temperature.

Pipe Dream #60: To Bake In Large Quantity – Brown Sugar Pound Cakes with Browned Butter Glaze

Oh but these are yummy. It is highly appropriate that I only have one picture of these delectable delights to share with you. It is representative of the fact that whenever I make these, they’re gone within 24 hours. Gone to stomachs like yours around the world and also mine.

Let’s start with the brown sugar pound cake. Delectably moist. And the moisture in the brown sugar ensures that they stay that way. And it’s pound cake. Need I say more?

Then the icing. I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced browned butter, but I highly recommend it. You just have to heat it up in a saucepan until it starts to look a bit brown. Why mess with a good thing, you ask? After all, we know that regular butter is fabulous.

Survey says: We are not afraid to brown butter because butter can’t possibly get worse, regardless of what you do to it. I am now going to use another highly irrelevant analogy. Butter is like lampreys or bot flies. There are few things in this world that could make it worse. Except butter is good, not parasitic.

Bonus, these cupcakes are really easy. They work well for breakfast, elevenses, lunch, afternoon tea, supper and late-night snack. I can testify.

This recipe also brings to my attention something you may have been wondering about. A lot of the cake recipes I post include buttermilk. It seems like such a finnicky thing to buy, especially if I don’t know when I’m going to use it all. Instead of buying it from the store, I usually make my own buttermilk.

It’s super simple, and has always worked just fine in my recipes. Either that, or I don’t know enough about baking to know if my lack of store-bought buttermilk was the singular source of my extensive collection of spectacular fails. Here is the procedure:

1) Put 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar in a bowl.

2) Measure in 1 cup of regular milk.

3) Let stand for 5 minutes.

Here’s wishing happy eating for six meals straight,


Brown Sugar Pound Cakes with Brown Butter Glaze

adapted from Martha Stewart

For the cupcakes:

3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 1/4 cups packed light-brown sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup buttermilk

For the glaze:

4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 to 4 tablespoons whole milk

To make the cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cream butter and sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition.

Reduce speed to low. Mix any remaining wet ingredients in a bowl if needed. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture in 3 additions, alternating with wet ingredients and ending with dry. Scrape sides of bowl. Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full.

Bake cupcakes until testers inserted into centers come out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool in tins on wire racks. Cupcakes will keep, covered, for up to 3 days.

To make the glaze:

Heat butter in a saucepan over medium heat until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Carefully pour butter into a bowl, leaving sediment behind.

Add sugar, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons milk to butter, and stir until smooth. If glaze is too thick, add more milk. Use immediately. Sometimes when I use brown butter glazes, I find that the butter separates out a little bit. I don’t know why this is. Sorry.

I Got It Right: Incredibly Moist Chocolate Cake

This cake.

Ok, this cake.

Excuse me for a moment.

Thank you.

Ok so this cake is tremendous. It is so rich. And so moist. I am somewhat ashamed to say that I kept these cake crumbs for a full week unrefrigerated just to see if they would dry out. They showed signs of dryness on Day 7, but were still highly passable. Highly. And I would know. Because I ate them.

The recipe really threw me for a loop because it is made with butter. That wouldn’t be weird, except that every chocolate cake recipe I’ve seen recently uses oil. Every one that claims to be super moist, that is. Now I’m no expert baker, so I don’t know what combination of ingredients or method of mixing makes this cake so fab, but I do know that I will keep using this recipe for forever as an amateur.

For some reason, a lot of other chocolate cakes add water. This one is no exception, except that it adds cooled coffee in place of the water. Plus, there is a bit of cinnamon thrown in for extra flavoring uniqueness. Flavor sensation on the tastebuds.

This is the cake I used for the Orchard wedding. I mean, not the cake pictured above; that was just a practice cake. I was a bit nervous for the real thing, but as you can see, it turned out fine. Incidentally, I used this practice cake to figure out how I was going to frost the real thing. By the time I was finished with it, the frosting had been scraped off and reapplied twice and looked different from every angle. Needless to say, it was still delicious. It just keeps going and going and going and going and going…

Makin’ it or breakin’ it,


Incredibly Moist Chocolate Cake

Adapted from Sky High: Irresistible Triple Layer Cakes

Makes one 8-inch square, three layer cake

3 cups cake flour
3 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
3 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups freshly brewed coffee, cooled to room temperature

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter three 8-inch square cake pans. Line the bottoms with parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper.

In a large mixer bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. With the electric mixer on low speed, blend for about 30 seconds. Add the butter and buttermilk and blend on low until moistened. Raise the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.

Whisk the eggs and coffee together, and add to the batter in 3 additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl and beating only until blended after each addition. Seriously, you gotta scrape down the bowl a lot. I hate pouring the batter into pans and finding butter nibs at the bottom of the mixer bowl. Divide the batter among the three prepared pans; each pan will take about 3 1/4 cups of batter.

Bake for 38 to 40 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Carefully turn them out onto wire racks and allow to cool completely. Remove the paper liners only when they are cool. And do wait until they are cool. It will make you happy.

Pipe Dream #15: To Be A Microwave Maven

A few days ago, I softened butter just right. Sometimes, I get lazy and don’t soften things as I should. In light of this, I have decided to post a full-blown tutorial. I  know. And you’re saying, “It has been done so many times, Lauren! Why don’t you just leave it to the pros, like Pioneer Woman?”
To which I say, I can blog a tutorial if I want to. So read on, unless you are now engrossed in PW’s website. I really should do an ode to PW at some point, I try enough of her sa-weet recipes.
The following is my general procedure when softening butter in The Apartment Microwave:
I keep the butter in it’s wrapping. If you don’t melt the butter, the wrapper actually keeps the butter in pretty well, makes for less cleanup later and (bonus!), it won’t blow up in the microwave like aluminum foil or forks. Did you know it is bad news to put forks in the microwave? It is. I’ve never done that before.
I could mess around with power levels on the microwave, but I’m too lazy, so I just keep it at 100 percent and set the timer for 30 seconds. Depending on the amount of butter you use, you might need to use more or less time. In this case, I used two sticks.
Let the microwave run for about 5 seconds–just in case! Then poke the butter.
Does it feel soft? No? Then flip the butter to another side to guard against melty spots, and let it go for another five seconds. Keep flipping and poking until the butter yields a a bit but is not melted.
This maybe seems a little tedious, but I guess it is less tedious than staring at a stick of butter for a couple hours, waiting for it to lose its refrigerator memory.
Note: I when R and I went up north last time, we found a book from the 80s all about cooking in microwaves. Pot roast, brownies, jello salad. You name it, it was in there. I’m real real sorry I don’t have a picture; it was priceless. Super weird, though. Please never bake a cake in the microwave.
Other side note: I realize that this post should be titled “What Do You Think I Am, Lauren–Stupid?” You probably know how to use a microwave. I just needed a little boost today. At least I can say that I have achieved one of my pipe dreams–to be a microwave maven.
Carry on,

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