Posts Tagged 'saturday'

Pipe Dream #211: To Make A Mercy Killing – Orange Almond Trifles

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Trifles are the cooking equivalent of those sand art projects you did in elementary school, easy to assemble and satisfyingly ornamental without much effort. Granted, you probably won’t be able to create a camel under a palm tree using orange zest and whipped cream, but go for it if you want, man. Also, like sand art, trifles have a short shelf life, though this is because they go down easy, not because your little sister shook up your sand bottle and made all the colors mix and then your sand bottle was ugly beige-colored instead of zesty rainbow-colored.

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Guys, I was really excited about using this flavoring oil. It’s like orange juice concentrate. Except not for drinking. It’s just really strong, ok? You can get these in like, any flavor you want, too.

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Unlike this trifle, which was gluten-free and intentional, these are the result of an overly dramatic cake layer. I tried to get it out of a pan I didn’t bother lining before it was totally cool and was met with fierce resistance, so I mercilessly shook it into pieces. It was heartbroken, but hey, I can’t care about every cake’s feelings. After such a bad knock, I decided to give it a mercy killing and split it into four crumbled servings which I buried in creamy layers of pastry cream and whipped cream. Not such a bad way to go out, I guess.

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Because of the chill time required, trifles are a make-ahead dessert. Also, aren’t you just jazzed about getting a peek inside this fridge? To me, knowing what’s in someone’s fridge says a lot about them. It’s like reading their diary. Ok, I realize I am a little obsessed with food sometimes. You probably do not even care about this. Olives, broccoli slaw, maple syrup, greek yogurt and queso. Judge me how you will.

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I served the trifles in individual glasses garnished with an orange wedge to make them an acceptable dessert-for-breakfast. Because a pretty glass means you can eat whatever you want whenever you want.

Killin’ it,


Orange Almond Trifles

For the cake:

Half of any cake recipe will do. I used this one from i am baker.

For the orange pastry cream:

Any pastry cream recipe will do. I halved this one from Food Network.

For the sweetened whipped cream:

Beat 1 cup heavy whipping cream with a tablespoon or two of powdered sugar until soft peaks form. Stir in a 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.

Layer the trifle components, starting with the cake, then the pastry cream, then the whipped cream. Garnish with orange zest and toasted almonds. I used wine glasses as a vessel, but you could use anything. If you don’t want individual servings, you could try something like this.

Pipe Dream #198: To Exhaust Into Frost – Grasshopper Oreo Pots

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These pots are a product of exhaustion. Sometimes I plan to bake something and then have some extra ingreds to use up, which is a problem because of my natured and nutured sense of frugality. My thought process is like this:

“Oh, I’ll just do one more thing. I’ve really wanted to try this recipe again. Dang, now I will have an extra egg yolk? Heaven knows I don’t want to be wasteful and throw it away…what’s a girl to do with egg yolks? Pastry cream! But I need two. Ok, now I have an extra egg white! What to do with…ok, frosting, obviously. This recipe split last time I tried it. I think the kitchen was too warm. Or I overbeat it, one of the two. Might as well try my hand at two different flavors while I’m at it. I like Oreos. Ok perfect.”

And thus, a two-hour baking project turns into a day-long baking frenzy, the end of which results in zero self-control, eight cookies and that nauseous feeling you get after “taste-testing” the thirty kinds of frosting you’ve just made.

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I don’t remember what these even tasted like, but their praises were sung by all those who partook in their rich, creamy depths. I made the portions small, because heaven knows eating frosting and pastry cream with a spoon should only be done in the smallest of doses.

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Grasshopper Oreo Pots

An LH original

Oreo Pastry Cream

Inspired by Serious Eats

1 cup whole milk

1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

pinch salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 package of Oreo cookies, maybe 15?

Set out a large bowl over an ice bath. Pulse up the Oreo cookies in a food processor until you have both fine and large chunks.

In a small saucepan, whisk together cornstarch, sugar, salt and milk. Stir frequently and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook, whisking constantly, until the pudding is thick with slow bubbles breaking the surface (about 2 minutes). Remove from the heat and pour immediately into a large bowl.  Whisk in the vanilla. Set the bowl over the ice bath and whisk frequently to cool to room temperature, which should take about 10 to 15 minutes.

Stir in  about half of the Oreo crumbles to the pastry cream, using the finer crumbles and reserving the larger chunks for a garnish. Transfer into six small ramekins and refrigerate while you make the buttercream.

Note: The pastry cream can be made in advance, but make sure to put some cling film on top of the cream to prevent a skin forming.

Grasshopper Buttercream

Adapted from The Great British Bakeoff

2 egg yolks, at room temperature

85 grams white sugar or caster sugar

150 grams (or 1 1/2 sticks, 12 tablespoons) butter, at room temperature

1 tablespoon creme de menthe, to taste

1 teaspoon creme de cacao, to taste

Put the egg yolks in the bowl of an electric stand mixer and beat briefly to combine.

In a small sauce pan, heat the sugar with 4 tablespoons of water, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. When the sugar is dissolved, heat the sugar water until it boils. Using a candy thermometer, wait until the mixture has reached 225 degrees F; you shouldn’t need to stir it. Make sure the mixture does not start to caramelize.

With the mixer on medium speed, slowly pour the sugar syrup into the eggs, letting the syrup run down the side of the bowl in a thin, steady stream. Continue to beat the mixture until it is pale and mousse-like and completely cold.

At this point, start adding the butter, one tablespoon at a time and whipping until incorporated before adding another tablespoon. Whip until fluffy, then beat in the creme de menthe and creme de cacao.

To assemble the pots, pipe a swirl of buttercream over top of the chilled pastry cream and garnish with the reserved Oreo crumbles. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Pipe Dream #194: To Be Easily Amused – Chocolate Cake + Salted Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting

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In -depth layer cakes are for Saturdays. A girl’s gotta commit to something. Unless it is a no-commitment weekend. My dear friend suggested this recipe to me, and I couldn’t resist.  SALTED CARAMEL CREAM CHEESE FROSTING. Say that again.

Plus, I’ve been meaning to try Ina’s chocolate cake recipe for two years. It’s an internet standard, straight up chocolate cake. About this cake: it comes together in a cinch, and it’s really tasty. A little less dense than the super moist chocolate cake I’ve raved about before, but a little more flavorful than this one-bowl chocolate cake. Try it, you’ll like it.

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I will say. I did try and make my own caramel for the salted caramel frosting (which is why this recipe counts as “in-depth.”)

It wasn’t ultra-successful. The original recipe wasn’t super clear about the cooking time, which I realized, but I was just too lazy to look up a more detailed recipe. I decided to try and feel my way through it, but given my track record with caramel, this was an unwise decision. Will I never learn?

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The caramel lacked flavor; I didn’t cook until it reached a “deep caramel color.” In my defense, look at the above picture. Would you call that a “deep caramel color?” What is a “deep caramel color?” I’m making caramel. I knew I was sunk after the heavy cream I added didn’t foam up either, instead pooling like so many tributaries. But the end result, even though not as toasty as I would have liked, was still yummy. I mean, if you poured it all over my ice cream and/or quesadillas, I would still eat it.

P.S. When is the last time you had a quesadilla? Seriously, it has probably been, like, 11 years.

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The caramel frosting is also the reason I didn’t spend too much time dressing this cake up, except for the retro almond crusting. By the time I was finished slogging through the emotional highs and lows of failing caramel once again, I was in no mood to toast almonds and meticulously smooth out every crack and crevice like a plastic surgeon. Plastic surgery and cake should never go together. They are like the two positive ends of a cow stomach magnet. That is, they are not attracted to one another.

(What, you didn’t play with cow stomach magnets as a kid? You are so strange. I am easily amused, apparently.)

Hoo-ee this has been a post for the analogies. Sorry.

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I was also clearly not in the mood to wait until the cake was cool/the frosting firmed up before slicing into this baby. No regrets on this point.

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Impatient always,


Chocolate Cake
Adapted from Ina Garten

1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk, shaken, at room temperature
1/4 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1/2 cup hot, strong coffee
1 1/3 cups  flour
2/3 cup good cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two 8″ cake pans with parchment. Grease the pans.

Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir until just combined, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula a few times to make sure that everything is well-incorporated.

Divide the batter into the two pans and bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

Salted Caramel
Adapted from life on blackberry farm

1/4 cup white sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon light corn syrup

1/4 cup heavy cream

1 tablespoons butter

1/4 teaspoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon kosher

Combine the sugar, water, and the corn syrup in a medium saucepan and stir with a wooden spoon over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil, swirling (not stirring!) the mixture until the caramel turns amber-colored. Note: I’m not sure how long this should take (maybe 5 minutes?). I didn’t do mine long enough, and the caramel flavor wasn’t strong, but at least I didn’t make crunchy candy caramel.

Remove from the heat and let stand for 30 seconds. Pour the heavy cream into the mixture. Stir the mixture, then add the butter, lemon juice, and salt. Stir until combined.

Pour 1/2 cup of the caramel into a measuring cup cup and allow to cool until just warm, maybe 20 minutes.

Salted Caramel Frosting
Adapted from life on blackberry farm

1 stick butter, at room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
3 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/2 cup salted caramel

Beat the butter and cream cheese at medium speed until creamy. Add 2 cups of the powdered sugar into the butter/cream cheese mixture and beat to combine, then add 1/2 cup of the salted caramel and beat to combine. Add additional powdered sugar until the frosting is the correct consistency. If you find that the frosting is still too soft, you can set it up in the fridge for a few minutes.

To assemble to the cake, frost as desired and decorate with about 2 ounces of sliced almonds, toasted if you want.

Pipe Dream #190: To Find That One Gem – Cherry Breakfast Clafoutis

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I have recently been loving checking out HuffPost Taste. All the pictures are beautiful, and it points me to other blogs for inspiration. Scrolling through recipe indices is so fun for me. It’s like digging through the entire rack at the thrift store and finding that one gem.

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I tried a cherry clafoutis once before, but that was with cherry pie filling, and the effect is not quite the same. Clafoutis in their true form are easy art; the fruit displays beautifully like in a tart, but you don’t have to go through all the work of making a tart shell. Pancake tart art for Saturday b-fast? Yes please.

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The original recipe has a crumble topping which looked so amazing. Please try it like that. And bonus, clafoutis work well as dessert also, served warm or at room temperature.

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Happy breakfast-ing,


Cherry Breakfast Clafoutis

Adapted heavily from HuffPost Taste

2/3 cup white whole wheat flour (or all-purpose)
heaping 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons butter, melted
3 large eggs
3/4 cup lowfat milk
1/4 cup full-fat Greek yogurt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 pound (12 ounces) frozen, pitted cherries

For garnish: powdered sugar, heavy whipping cream

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Whisk in the melted butter, eggs, milk, yogurt and vanilla. Let the batter rest for 30 minutes.

Butter 8 small ramekins or a 6-cup baking dish. Arrange the cherries in the bottom of the dish(es). Pour the batter over the cherries and bake for 30-40 minutes until puffed and golden.

Whip the heavy whipping cream, adding sugar for sweetness. Dust clafoutis with powdered sugar just before serving and top with lightly whipped cream. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Pipe Dream #186: To Have Christmas in July – Cherry Chocolate Muffins

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Hello, morning.

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I made these muffins all the time in college. They have Greek yogurt in them, and the recipe makes 10. A very right number of muffins to make.

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We got these frozen cherries, and I was inordinately excited. Cherries in March is like Christmas in July. Out of season and unexpectedly delightful.

Oh, and I added milk chocolate chips.

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These verged on being overbaked, and this was 10 minutes before they were due to be done. I’ve adjusted the time below, so hopefully you won’t have this problem.

cherry muffins 6   Cherry chocolate-studded muffins in 30 minutes. You can sleep in. Boom.

I don’t like the phrase “stud muffin,”


Cherry Chocolate Muffins

Adapted from smittenkitchen

Makes 9 to 10 standard muffins

5 tablespoons (2 1/2 ounces or 71 grams) unsalted butter , softened
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces or 100 grams) organic, raw cane sugar
1 large egg
3/4 cup full fat Greek yogurt
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
1 1/2 cups (6 3/4 ounces or 191 grams) white whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoon (7 grams or 1/4 ounce) baking powder
1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) baking soda
1/4 teaspoon (2 grams) salt
3/4 cup (3 3/4 ounces or 105 grams) frozen cherries + 5 tablespoons milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray a muffin tin with nonstick spray. Beat butter and sugar by hand in a medium bowl until creamy. Add egg and beat well, then add yogurt and zest.

Stir together the dry ingredients. Dump half of the dry ingredients over the wet ingredients and mix until combined. Throw on the remaining dry ingredients to the batter and mix just until the flour disappears.

Gently fold in the blueberries and chocolate chips. Divide the batter evenly between 10 muffin cups, and bake for about 20 minutes until the tops are golden. Check them at 15 minutes (I took my batch out of the oven at 20 minutes and they were a little overdone). Turn out onto a rack and let cool. Or turn them out into your mouth.

Pipe Dream #185: To Fake Taste? – Cake Batter Pancakes

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These pancakes tasted average, so I messed with the photo edits to make them Pinterest-appropriate. I was trying to  make up for their lack of flavor by making them visually appealing. The idea of putting cake batter in pancakes is nice, but I just wasn’t into these.

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Don’t get me wrong. I ate them, and I kind of liked them. They are pancakes, after all.

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They were just super saccharine, but kind of bland at the same time. Try adding more vanilla, and maybe use a different glaze? Or just add more sprinkles for joy’s sake. Pretty makes up for taste sometimes?

Nah, I retract that.  Tastefulness always wins over pretty.

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Tastelessly pancaking,


Cake Batter Pancakes

Adapted from How Sweet It Is

1 cup all purpose flour

1 cup yellow cake mix (I used Betty Crocker Super Moist)

1 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of salt

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups milk


Stir together the dry ingredients minus the sprinkles in a bowl. Add 1 cup of milk, the eggs and the vanilla extract and stir until just combined. It’s ok if it is a tad lumpy. Add more milk if the batter seems too thick.

Preheat a skillet on medium-low heat. Fold in a bunch of sprinkles into the batter, then pour the batter in 1/4 cup measurements onto a lightly greased skillet. Cook until bubbles form on top, about 2-3 minutes, then flip and cook for 1 minute more. Serve immediately with a vanilla glaze. Recipe follows below.
1 cup powdered sugar

1/2 tablespoon milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

assorted sprinkles

Mix milk, extract and powdered sugar until glaze forms, adding more milk if necessary to thin out the glaze. Mix more sprinkles into the glaze and drizzle on the pancakes.

Pipe Dream #182: To Not Wait Ages – Raspberry Espresso Fudge Cake

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I’ve spent a good deal of time pre-thinking and post-thinking about this cake. I made the cake layers months ago and stuck them in the freezer. I couldn’t decide what kind of frosting to use on them, and I couldn’t decide if it was wise to use a Baking Saturday to get them all dressed up and then have nowhere to go but my stomach.

Eventually, I just decided to bite the bullet and eat lots of cake. I was worried that the layers would get frostbite if I left them any longer. Heaven knows, we wouldn’t want that.

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For the frosting, I combined two different types of frosting. About 1/3 was a chocolate swiss meringue buttercream. This type of frosting is super silky, but almost too buttery, so I paired it with an instant fudge fake buttercream for the chocolate factor. Which was glorious. I had some raspberry jam on hand also. Can’t hurt. Also, espresso can’t hurt. I chucked some of that in the frosting as well. Both the raspberry and the espresso could have been stronger. Next time.

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Super silk.  fudge cake 4

And the chocolate-covered coffee bean?  Also been waiting ages to use them. They’ve just been chilling up in my cupboard, lonelily waiting for some love. Don’t worry, beans. Today is your day! fudge cake 8

Like I said before, I was so obsessed with how pretty this cake turned out. And how well it sliced! Pipe dream fulfilled. The cake itself was average compared to my usual favorite vanilla cake, so I won’t endorse it too highly. Let’s just say it was a perfectly adequate vehicle for  the luscious frosting.

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Raspberry Espresso Fudge Cake

For the yellow cake, you can find the recipe at smittenkitchen.

For the first frosting (the swiss meringue one):

2 egg whites

1/2 cup granulated sugar

12 tablespoons butter, softened

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon strong coffee or espresso

1/3 cup milk chocolate chips melted and cooled slightly

Whisk egg whites and sugar together in a big metal bowl over a pot of simmering water. Whisk occasionally until you can’t feel the sugar granules when you rub the mixture between your fingers.

Transfer mixture into the mixer and whip until it turns white and about doubles in size. Don’t get any water in the bowl, now.

Add the vanilla and espresso.

Finally, add the butter a stick at a time and whip it ’til it looks like frosting and not a curdled mess. Set aside.

For the second frosting (the instant fudge one):

8 tablespoons butter, softened

3 cups powdered sugar

2/3 cup cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

4 tablespoons milk, half and half or heavy cream

Whip the butter on high speed for about 3 minutes in the bowl of a stand mixer. Stir together the powdered sugar and cocoa powder in a bowl. Add 1/3 of the sugar mixture to the butter, mixing on slow speed until combined. Add one tablespoon milk. Continue adding the sugar and the milk on low speed until everything is combined, then whip on high speed for about 4 minutes until the frosting is light and fluffy.

Set aside about 1/3 of the second frosting for piping. Add half of the first frosting to the stand mixer bowl, stirring the two frostings together on low speed until just combined. Add the second half of the frosting and mix until just combined.

To assemble the cake, top the first layer with about 1 cup of the frosting. Pop maybe 1/3 cup raspberry preserves in the micro for about 10 seconds, then spread on top of the frosting. Add the second cake layer, and frost the cake with the rest of the frosting. Decorate with the reserved fudge frosting as desired, topping with chocolate covered espresso beans.

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