Lemon Pound Cake

Sunday, March 28, 2010

I just had to share this lemon pound cake that I got from Tartelette. I made it twice because I didn't love the glaze that the original recipe called for the first time around. So I made a few changes and am in LOVE with the way it turned out the second time around.

Original Recipe:
Ultimate Pound Cake, adapted from Lori Longbotham:

Serves 12 (in theory)

2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
2 1/4 cups sugar
6 large eggs
1 cup milk
1 1/2 TB lemon zest
1 tsp. pure lemon extract
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 300F. Butter and flour a 12 cup Bundt pan.
Sift the flour, baking owder and salt together twice.
Cream the butter and 1 3/4 cups sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce the speed and add the flour mixture, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the flou. Stir in the lemon zest and lemon extract.
Pour the batter into the prepared apn and bake for 1 1/2 hours, or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Poke holes all over the cake with a wooden skewer
Meanwhile, bring the lemon juice and remaininf sugar to a boil over medium high heat in a small saucepan, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.
Invert the cake onto a rack, position over a baking sheet and slowly pour the syrup over the cake, it will seap through the holes and into the cake. Let cool to room temp.

My changes:
Into the actual cake, I added an additional Tb of lemon zest and an additional tsp of lemon extract.

Also, instead of doing the glaze, I made a buttercream with 2 sticks of butter and...um...some powdered sugar *I just eyeballed it* It wasn't super thick like frosting, but not runny like glaze, either. Somewhere in between. I added the juice from 2 lemons and about 2-3 Tb cream. It was still spreadable. After the cake sat in the pan for about 20 minutes right out of the oven, I dumped it onto a wire rack over a cookie sheet and generously spread about 2/3 of the frosting on the cake. The heat from the cake melted it a little and made it run down the cake. I kept scooping it up and putting it back on the top. *I hadn't poked holes in the cake fyi* I let it set for a bit *an hour or so* then I took the rest of the frosting and added a little lemon extract and water to thin it out. I poured it over the cake and let it sit. I sprinkled the top with lemon zest and powdered sugar and let it set up into a harder "shell". SO GOOD. When I cut into the cake, the first batch of frosting had seeped into the top of the cake which is exactly what I wanted. So dense and moist and...just awesome. And the zest really added a whole other level to it. :)

On another note, I am done with my first quarter of school. I definitely have 2 A's and am fairly confident I will end with an A in my last class, as well. I will enjoy a weeks break, but I am also excited to get into my second quarter. There will be all new goodies to post in a week and a half. I may post some home made things, but I may not. We will see how the week goes.

Last week!

Monday, March 22, 2010

I just had to share the recipe for these meringue cookies we made today in pastry. (They are the cookie on the left in the picture, followed by hazelnut focus, and coconut macaroons) They were "Oh so yummy!" fresh out of the oven and cooled for only a few minutes. The outside was light and crispy and the inside was warm and chewy. The nuts gave additional texture to it and the chocolate was still melty. I'm sure my face is glowing right now with the memory of these cookies and I am glancing towards the oven since I had to whip up another batch when I got home because they were THAT GOOD! *And I had egg whites left over from making creme brulee yesterday so I'm not wasting eggs.*

Meringue Cookie-

Egg whites- 6
Salt- dash
Cream of Tartar- 1/4 tsp
granulated sugar- 1 1/2 cups
vanilla extract- 1 tsp
nuts, toasted- 1/3 cup
chopped chocolate- 4 oz. *The better quality chocolate you use, the better the cookie will be*

Make a meringue with the whites, sugar, and cream of tartar *whip egg whites till a soft peak forms and gradually add the cream of tartar and sugar*.

Fold in all the other ingredients.

Mound with a spoon or small scoop on paper lined sheet pan.

Bake at 250 degrees F until dry.


My Bag of Tricks

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Towards the beginning of the quarter, I invested in a large, rolling toolbox to bring my tools with me to class. My table mate has a regular toolbox but I just couldn't fit all my stuff in one that size. *Another huge thank you to everyone who participated in my Christmas surprise for that one!!!* At first, everyone giggled and playfully teased me about my huge toolbox, but then their curiosity started to get the best of them and, one by one, they approached me asking to see what was in my huge box. Once they all knew all the awesome things I had, they began asking me to borrow things and made jokes about my toolbox being my "bag of tricks". These things ranged from my scissors to my sifter. I let people borrow things, but made it perfectly clear that they were to clean and return them to me or else. Noone officially knew what the "or else" part was, although I jokingly threatened to shank someone at one point.

Last week was the buffet. One of the guys that used to work at a table with me asked to borrow my sifter. I allowed it, but reminded him several times that it needed to be cleaned and returned to my box before the end of the day. With all the craziness that went on that day, I forgot to double check for my sifter until I was down in my car. It was missing.

On Monday, I happened to be walking into the school with the person that had borrowed the sifter. I approached him in this manner:

"I was hoping to talk to you. Last week you borrowed my sifter for your station, and I never got it back."

Him, wide eyed: "No, no, no! I cleaned it and put it back on your table by your stuff!"

Me: "I don't doubt that you did that, but I never got it. I'm not mad, but I am letting you know that noone is borrowing any more of my tools until I either get my sifter back, or it is replaced."

Him: "Don't worry, I will find it!"

Me: "That would be great! Again, I'm not mad, but noone is borrowing my tools until I get a sifter back."

Him: "I will find it! Don't worry."

Me: "Ok."

He searched the kitchen and questioned people. No luck. So he came to me and told me that he is going to replace the sifter. That it is his fault, he should have handed it directly back to me. Tuesday he came in and said that he looked all over and could only find the kind that you squeeze with your hand, not the kind that you turn the handle and asked where I got mine so he could replace it with the same exact one. I told him and he says he will bring it to me on Monday. I am giving him the benefit of the doubt, but if he doesn't come through, I will be much more stingy with my things from now on. My tools not only have functional value, but also sentimental value since they were part of my huge Christmas surprise. They represent the love and support of all my family and friends. Hopefully he comes through.


Week 10!!

This week in pastry, we worked on petit fours. Monday, I spent the majority of the day making macaroons. Everyone had trouble on the first try, but my second batch turned out well. Once they were baked, we matched up top and bottoms and sandwiched the matched with chocolate ganache and seedless raspberry jam. I also took some time to plate my macaroons. I was feeling playful and my plating reflected this.

While I worked on that, my table mate worked on the cat's tongues, the cherry almond florentines, and the ganache for the truffles. Once the ganache was made, I piped it into mounds to freeze so we could roll them into balls for the truffles we were to finish on Tuesday. This is a picture of a cat's tongue:

Tuesday, my table mate was not there, so I got to work alone. Chef CJ came to make sure I was fine with that. I didn't say it, but I was kind of excited to just work alone for once in a huge kitchen and to have so much space to myself. I love my table mate, and we work really well together, but it is nice to just have everything to yourself once in awhile.

I got my frozen ganache out to warm up a little and started making my madelines. We only had one pan for those and the batter had to rest for an hour before baking, so I knew that I needed to go ahead and get that out of the way. While that batter was resting, I cut and decorated the florentines that had been baked yesterday. Petit fours are judged based on uniformity of size and decoration. I am a little OCD, so I was extremely careful cutting the florentines into 1 1/2" squares. Then I melted some dark and white chocolate and used my squeeze bottle to drizzle the chocolate over the whole pan to create uniform lines on them. Once that was done, I plated a couple of them. Chef CJ took quite a few of them for a gathering that Chef Mattern is putting on this week. Quite a few of the things made this week were for that purpose.

Once the flornetines were completed, it was time to bake off my madelines. Once those were in the oven, I was able to quickly whip up some hazelnut focus', and then spritz cookies. Both of those recipes were surprisingly simple.

After those were out of the way, I began to work on my truffles. I decided to make an outer coating of cocoa powder, coffee beans, and some powdered sugar to off set the bitterness of the cocoa and coffee. I only had time to dip one row of my truffles into melted chocolate before coating them in the dry coating. The rest were just tossed in the dry mixture. I tasted both variations, and I definitely see why it is good to coat them in the melted chocolate first. It gives it a hard shell and contrasts with the softness of the interior of the truffle. The others were still yummy, but the texture contrast wasn't there.

I had a massive quantity of product to bring home. I decided to box some of them up prettily to send to my sister for her birthday next week. Here is how that turned out:

Next week in pastry, we are finishing up a couple of things on Monday and then we take the final on Tuesday. After the final, we all have to stick around to deep clean the kitchen. I cannot believe that this is week 10 already! Next week is finals and I will have made it through my first quarter of school! It is a relief to have made it through a quarter, but also a little sad. It is flying by, and although I know I have plenty of time left, I wish it would slow down a little.

Caribbean buffet

Saturday, March 13, 2010

In pastry this week, we teamed up with another class who works on "real" food and put on a Caribbean themed buffet. All those items that I have talked about in previous posts that I didn't have photos of appeared on this buffet. We had the mango torte:

the caraibe torte, the charlottes, coffee rum parfaits, and chocolate hazelnut marquise:

We also had some eclairs:

and some raspberry mousse:

We also had a flambe station where they made flambe bananas with the ice creams we had prepared and a fry station that was making churros. This is the flambe station:

I was on the sorbet station. We made some fruit skewers with mango, papaya, and pinapple and grilled them ahead of time. We also made some decorative flower cutouts of plantains and grilled them, as well. Then during service they were warmed on a griddle. I did most of the talking during service and it went something like this:

"Would you like some sorbet today?"

"Hmmm...what is it?"

"We start off with an edible meringue cup with a tropical coulis topped with one of our sorbets. You have a choice of coconut, mojito, or mango. Then we top it off with a grilled fruit skewer."

"Mmmmmm...sounds wonderful! I'll try the ______ sorbet."

"Great choice! Enjoy!"

This was our table:


The grilled fruit skewers:

This is the plated sorbet in the edible meringue cup topped with mango sorbet and following that is me posing with the sorbet scoop.

This was a really fun experience and I really enjoyed participating in it. I loved the creativity we were allowed to express during this. We weren't given step by step instructions, just basic guidelines. We had to work together as a team to produce our final product and make decisions on how our table was going to be set up and how we were going to plate our items. I was in a new group this week and she specifically put one student and I together because she thought we would work well in the creativity department. She was right. He was able to finish my thoughts and we were able to just DO instead of hemming and hawing over everything. It was also nice to still be with someone who cared about the end result and professionalism in service. IE- he shook hands with someone and immediately changed his glove.

I have made it through week nine! Only two more weeks to go in this quarter. This next week is mostly review and then the next week are the finals! At this point, I still have an "A" in all three of my classes. Studying will be a huge priority this next week after taking this last week as a breather. I'm ready! I checked out two DVD's from the school library on the different food borne illnesses and will be watching it many times in hopes of cementing them in my head before the ServSafe exam.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Thursday, March 11, 2010

My brother in law was in town this week and he has a major sweet tooth. I always enjoy cooking/baking for people who really enjoy it and he is one of those people. I had asked Marc to ask my brother in law what his favorite cakes are and one of the cakes that he picked was a pineapple upside down cake. On Wednesday, I whipped one up for him and it turned out wonderful! I had never made a pineapple upside down cake before but knew I did NOT want to make one from a box. I picked a recipe from Gale Gand, who is pretty much one of my top inspirations. She is an incredible pastry chef and she used to have a show on Food Network that I watched all the time.

First, I browned a cup of sugar by itself in a heavy bottomed pot until it was a nice amber color. Then I carefully stirred in 3 Tb butter and poured the mixture into the bottom of a pan sprayed with pan spray. Over the hot mixture in the pan, I sprinkled a cup of packed brown sugar. Over that I layered the thinly sliced pineapple. The rest of the ingredients, including cherries, got mixed all together to form the batter and was spread over the pineapples. Once baked, the cake was immediately inverted and the remaining sugar in the bottom of the pan, and the sugar that dripped off the edges of the cake were transferred to a heavy pot and simmered with cream until it formed a nice, thick caramel sauce to drizzle over the individual pieces of cake.

My brother in law loved it. He ate two pieces before leaving that day and took half of the cake home with him. I would have sent the whole thing, but he didn't have room on the plane. My neighbors enjoyed the rest of the cake.

Week 8

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

This week we made ice creams and sorbets. I, again, don't have photos of those since they will be used next week at the buffet we are doing. I will have plenty of pictures next week! We made a vanilla ice cream and a french ice cream. Both turned out fine. We also made a mango sorbet, a mojito sorbet, and a coconut sorbet. All turned out well. The coconut sorbet, though, was absolutely divine! We used high quality coconut puree to make this sorbet and the finished product was perfectly smooth and creamy. I wanted to eat the whole container myself!

We also made a coffee rum parfait. This is not a parfait as typical Americans would think of a parfait. This is a still frozen dessert that has whipped cream folded into it to make it light and airy and then piped into a mold and frozen. The coffee was not an overpowering flavor and it was, not to be crude, but basically an orgasm in a cup. We were all just melting as we were tasting this dessert. This is what it looks like now, before we unmold it.

We made a chocolate hazelnut marquise that was poured into a terrine mold, but it is being saved for next week, as well.

We completed all those projects yesterday. Today we made nougatine and formed them into cup like shapes to place some of the ice creams and sorbets in next week. We ended up making this three times before it came out correctly. The recipe specifically says not to stir the corn syrup and fondant while it is cooking together to an amber color. I assumed this meant not to move the sugar at all and one side began to burn. Chef then told me that you can swirl it while it is cooking. The second try, Chef stood with me the whole time. The almonds browned a little too much while they were being toasted in the oven. They would have been fine, but when they were added to the hot sugar, they got cooked even more and the nougatine tasted burnt. The third try worked out well and tasted fine. It's a pain to work with, but at least I've had the experience.

Lastly, we got to work with gum paste and make roses. Not too many people enjoyed this activity, but I got a huge kick out of it. Here is my first try at a rose.


We also unmolded our mango tortes from last week. You will see it again, once it is plated, next week, but I thought you may like to see the whole top of it, and a side view. I brought some pieces home and both girls gobbled it up.


My brother in law will be in town for the buffet and I think Marc, the girls, and he may come out to enjoy some free food. It will be fun to show them all what I am doing, and also to show the girls off to my classmates.


Monday, March 1, 2010

Well, I was GOING to post a picture of the blondies plated pretty with ice cream and caramel sauce but they got eaten too fast. So here is a picture of it before everyone dug in. The wording on the cake is a joke between Marc, me, and some friends of ours. It's becoming kind of my signature way to write on a birthday cake. I wrote on it with melted white chocolate and trimmed the sides off so all the pieces were "middle pieces."


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