Monday, August 30, 2010

The inspiration for this next baked goodie actually comes from Starbucks. Before we began this blog, we had compiled a list of possible cakes, cookies, and cupcakes that we're going to do for the next few months. We ended up talking about how delicious the cakes look in Starbucks, especially the Raspberry Swirl Pound Cake, so we decided to make our own raspberry pound cake and see how well it would turn out. We first visited our local Starbucks and tried the raspberry pound cake, and their lemon and poppy seed loaf. The raspberry swirl cake that we had looked rather pathetic compared to the one shown on the website, and naturally we were convinced we could bake a better cake by making it a Raspberry Swirl Lemon Cake. Well at the end of our baking session, we ended up making two pound cakes. The first one did not turn out as marble-ly as we would have liked it, and the second one turned out great, but looked a lot like our Starbucks Raspberry Swirl Pound Cake.

There are two elements to this recipe: the lemon cake, and the raspberry swirls, which is a raspberry sauce. The lemon cake recipe was taken from The Joy of Baking website. We followed the recipe but omitted the poppy seeds. As for the raspberry sauce, that was taken from Betty Crocker's Book, Basics: How to Cook and Entertain With Confidence. All other changes that we made to the recipe are in italics. Our initial plan was to divide the lemon batter, and mix half with the raspberry sauce. Unfortunately the batter turned out more purple than pink (that's where food colouring and artificial flavour is quite useful) so we did not get the marble effect we were hoping for, but with the second batch there was more of an emphasis on creating swirls, which turned out quite beautifully.

Raspberry Swirl Lemon Cake

Lemon Cake

3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup (60 ml) milk
1 1/2 cups (195 grams) all-purpose flour sifted
3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (outer yellow skin of the lemon)
13 tablespoons (184 grams) unsalted butter, softened

Lemon Syrup

1/4cup (60 ml) fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup (65 grams) granulated white sugar

Raspberry Sauce

1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons of water
5 ounces of frozen raspberries in syrup, thawed and undrained


1.Begin with the raspberry sauce. Mix the sugar and cornstarch in the saucepan. Stir in water and raspberries. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and boils.

2. Continue boiling for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove the saucepan from heat.

3. Strain the sauce through a strainer to remove the raspberry seeds. Let it cool.

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place the oven rack in the center of the oven. Butter and flour the bottom and sides of a loaf pan (8 x 4 x 2 1/2 inch) (20 x 10 x 7 cm).

5. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla extract, and milk.

6. In the bowl of your electric mixter, or with a hand mixer, beat the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and lemon zest until combined. Add the softened butter and half the egg mixture and mix on low speed unitl moistened. Increase the speed to medium and beat for about one minute. (This aerates and develops the cake's structure.) Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the remaining egg mixture in two batches, beating about 30 seconds after each addition. (This will strengthen the structure of the batter.)

7. Pour half of the batter in the prepared pan. With the help of a spoon pour half of the raspberry sauce and use a knife to create the swirls. Pour the remaining batter and the remaining sauce and swirl.
That's not blood, we swear!
8. Bake for about 55 to 65 minutes or until the bread is golden brown and a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Ours took 30-35 minutes, so keep an eye after 30 minutes.

9. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring the sugar and lemon juice to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. When the bread is done, remove from the oven and place on a wire rack. Pierce the hot loaf all over with a wooden skewer or toothpick and then brush the top pf the loaf with about half of the hot syrup. Cool the loaf in the pan for about 10 minutes then invert onto a greased wire rack. Brush the remaining syrup onto the bottom and the sides of the loaf. Reinvert the bread so it is right side up and then cool the bread completely before wrapping. Store at least overnight before serving to allow the lemon syrup to distribute throughout the loaf.
First Batch
Second Batch
Ann's Thoughts

I've had lemon pound cake a millions times before but I've never had the change to make one. When we were making the cake, we were kind of skeptical that one tablespoon of lemon rind would actually make the cake lemony, I even suggested to Ana that we should add some lemon juice to the batter, but she insisted that we stick to the recipe, (after all, we were risking it with the raspberry sauce.) It was a good thing we went by the recipe because surprsingly we could actually taste the sweet, tangy, lemon flavour.

Out of the three recipes that we've done so far, this cake is by far our most experimental. We could not find a lemon raspberry pound cake recipe so when we decided to make this cake, we had to figure out how to make the raspberry swirls. Using jelly was one possibility, but I suggested that a raspberry sauce would probably do the trick. Making the raspberry sauce was ridiculously fast, easy, and is excellent for drizzling on top of cakes, brownies, and ice cream for an extra sweet treat.

Ana's Thoughts

More sugar! Oh my, after a week eating sugar everyday (i.e. pancakes, ice cream, cupcakes, cinnamon buns, and more ice cream. =O), here comes our baking-for-the-blog –weekend and guess what? More sugar, this time in the form of cake. Raspberry swirl lemon cake to be more exact. But I don’t mind. It’s for the blog so it’s for a good cause. *wink*

This week we baked at my new place. =D Despite the small space, the lack of some utensils and a different oven, everything went fine. Well, almost everything. (Ha! I bet you were finding it weird that nothing went wrong this time.) We had to make the recipe twice, as Ann said in the beginning, because we had a problem with the marbling. Both tasted good, though. So lemony and moist and fluffy. Hmmm. My mouth is watering just writing this. Okay, I’m having another piece right now. See you next week!

P.S.: They aren’t too sweet, so I guess this doesn’t count as sugar. ;) (Yeah, right.)

Receita em Português:

Bolo de Limão
3 ovos
1 1/2 colher (chá) de baunilha
1/4 xíc.(60 ml) de leite
1 1/2 xíc. (195 g) de farinha de trigo
3/4 xíc. (150g) de açúcar
1 colher (chá) fermento em pó
1/4 colher (chá) de sal
1 colher (sopa) de raspas de limão
3 colheres (sopa) de sementes de papoula (opcional)
13 colheres (sopa) (185g) de manteiga sem sal, temperatura ambiente

Calda de Limão
1/4 xíc. (60 ml) de suco de limão
1/3 xíc. (65g) de açúcar

Calda de Framboesas
1 1/2 colher (sopa) de açúcar
1 colher (chá) de amido de milho
3 colheres (sopa) de água
140g de framboesas em calda, descongeladas

Modo de Preparo

Comece pela calda de framboesas. Combine o açúcar e o amido de milho em uma panelinha. Junte a água e as framboesas. Cozinhe em fogo médio, misturando constantemente, até ferver e engrossar.
Deixe ferver por mais 1 minuto, misturando constantemente, e retire do fogo.
Passe a calda por uma peneira para retirar as sementes e deixe esfriar.

Pré-aqueça o forno a 180ºC. Unte e enfarinhe uma forma de bolo inglês.
Em uma tigela, misture os ovos, o leite e a baunilha.
Na tigela da batedeira, bata a farinha, o açúcar, o fermento, o sal e as raspas de limão até combinar. Acrescente a manteiga e metade da mistura de ovos e bata em velocidade baixa até obter uma massa úmida. Aumente a velocidade pra média e bata por mais um minuto. Acresecente o restante dos ovos, em duas partes, batendo bem após cada adição.
Despeje metade da massa na forma e metade da calda de framboesas. Utilizando uma faca, faça movimentos de vai-e-vem para obter um efeito mesclado. Despeje a outra metade da massa e da calda e repita o processo.
Leve ao forno e asse por 55-65 minutos ou até dourar. O nosso bolo assou em 30-35 minutos. Fique de olho no forno após 30 minutos.

Enquanto isso, leve ao fogo os ingredientes da calda de limão e misture até o açúcar dissolver.
Quando o bolo estiver pronto faça furos com um garfo e pincele a calda de limão por todos os lados. Após esfriar, embale e deixe de um dia para o outro para que a calda umedeça todo o bolo.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

This week we decided to make cupcakes. It was kind of a bittersweet event because this week is Ana’s last week living with me (Ann) before she’s off to her new home. Ana loves, loves, loves cupcakes! Just utter the word and it will totally make her day. For the past four months or so, we’ve talked about cupcakes, eaten cupcakes at cupcake bakeries, watched TV shows of people making cupcakes, but we’ve never actually made our own until now. We thought that this week we would play it safe and use a simple recipe, and voila, Cookies and Cream cupcakes became our recipe of choice. Not only are these cupcakes easy to make, but are great to make if you feel upset and need to let out some stress - there’s serious cookie crushing involved. You’ll have fun making them - we promise!

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes

The recipe that we used to make the cupcakes comes from Patricia Scarpin’s blog, Technicolor Kitchen; Her recipe is actually a cake recipe which she got from a book called Whimsical Bakehouse: Fun –to-Make Cakes that Taste as Good as They Look! by Kaye Hansen. The ingredients and directions are taken exactly from Scarpin’s blog. The changes that we made to the recipe are written in italics.


170g (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 ½ cups (300g) sugar
4 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ½ cups + 2 tablespoons (370g) cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
A generous pinch of salt (optional)
1 cup + 2 tablespoons (270ml) milk

Yield: Two dozen cupcakes

  1. Preheat oven to 180⁰C/350⁰F.
  2. Line two muffin trays with paper cups.
  3. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  4. Using an electric mixer, or in our case a bowl and a wooden spoon, beat the butter and sugar at high speed until light and fluffy. Add the yolks and vanilla and beat on medium speed until fluffy.
  5. At low speed, add the dry ingredients, alternately with the milk, beating until incorporated.
  6. Take about 10-15 Oreo cookies and using a knife, remove the cream, and please do not directly lick the cream off the cookies…after all people will be eating them. Place the cookies into a freezer bag, and using a rolling pin, mallet, or any other object used to whack stuff, bang on the bag until the cookies are crumbs.
  7. Add the cookie crumbs into the batter and mix at low speed.
  8. Using an ice cream scoop, fill muffin trays.
  9. Bake for about 15-20 minutes. Or check by poking one of the cupcakes with a knife, if there isn’t any batter on the knife then it’s ready.
Cookies and Cream Icing 

450ml (very cold) heavy cream
3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. In a bowl of an electric mixer at high speed, whip the cream, sugar, and vanilla until stiff. This can also be done by hand with a bowl and whisk.
  2. Scoop in an icing pipe bag, and decorate your cooled cupcakes. Sprinkle the remaining cookies onto of the cupcakes.

Ann’s Thoughts

So when we decided to get the ingredients for this cupcake recipe, I volunteered to get the cake flour. The brand that I always buy is Brodie XXX Cake Flour, which also contains baking powder and salt. The thing is that because this is the only cake flour that I buy I’ve always assumed that all cake flour has baking powder and salt, so when Ana and I were mixing the ingredients together I mentioned that it was kinda funny that we’re already adding more baking powder when the cake flour already has baking powder. Ana gave me this look of shock and exclaimed “The cake flour already has baking powder?! I had no idea!”

Well apparently cake flour doesn’t normally have baking powder and salt added. I just checked online, and what makes cake flour, well cake flour, is that it contains low wheat protein which make it more fluffier than all purpose flour (I Wiki-ed it.) So here we were with a batch of cake batter with double, maybe triple the amount of baking powder than we needed. I don’t know, but we’ve got some issues with baking powder (see last week’s post). Despite that, I was more confident in this recipe, and ya know what? They turned out really good, as you can tell by the lovely pics taken by Ana, and they tasted even better.

Ana’s Thoughts

This week things worked out pretty well. Even our little mistake turned out to be a good one. I have to agree with Ann, I think the extra baking powder made the cupcakes even better =). I can say that because I’ve already made this cake once with the exact amount of baking powder and the result was a dense and heavy cake, plus I didn’t mix crushed Oreos into the batter. Not that it was bad, don’t get me wrong, it was delicious and I think I ate fiv…more slices than I should have =O but this cupcakes..oh my…so light and airy and with bits of Oreos throughout the batter... Pure heaven! The whole process was pretty straightforward and simple, and the final result was so, so good. What are you waiting for? Run for the kitchen and do it right now! I bet you have all the ingredients in your pantry. ;)

See you next week!

Receita em Português:
Nós retiramos a receita dos cupcakes daqui. A única coisa que modificamos foi acrescentar os biscoitos na massa e assá-los em formas de muffins. =)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Hurray! This is our first blog entry, and to start off this four month baking experience, we decided to do a Brazilian recipe called pao de mel, which roughly translates into honey bread, which really isn't bread, but does consists of a ton of honey. The way to describe them are mini honey and spice cakes with a dulce de leche filling smothered with dark chocolate. This recipe was taken from Ana's mother back in Brazil, which meant that the outcome of the cakes would be different since the ingredients were not from the same company or brands. Nonetheless we were determined to make these little treats. What we were not expecting was the level of dificulty it came in making them.

Pão de Mel

1 1/2 cup brewed fennel tea, cooled down
1 cup honey
1 cup milk
4 cups flour
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking soda
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
A pich of cinnamon, ground cloves and ground ginger
1 kg dark chocolate

 Pre-heat the oven to 375ºF. Grease and flour mini tins or muffin tray.
 Sift the flour, sugars, baking soda and cocoa powder in a large bowl.
 Add the spices.
 In another bowl, add the milk, fennel tea and honey.
 Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients while stirring with a wooden spoon.
Pour the batter halfway into greased tins or trays. It's important not to overfill the tins because they rise a lot.    

If using individual trays, arrange them on a cookie sheet and place it in the oven for about 15-20 minutes.Pierce a knife or toothpick into the centre of one of the cakes to determine its completeness. When they are ready, take them out of the oven and allow them to cool for about 15 minutes.

While the cakes are cooling, melt 1 kg of dark chocolate. If you do not have a double-boiler to melt the chocolate in ( which was the case for us) then break the chocolate into pieces and place them in a ceramic/glass bowl and boil  hot water in a saucepan. Remove the saucepan from the heat and place the bowl with the chocolate on top. Stir until melted.

Take the cooled spice cakes, cut them horizontally in half and fill it with dulce de leche.

Deep each pao de mel into the chocolate. Use a fork and spoon to dip them in to minimize the mess.

Arrange the chocolate covered cakes on a sheet of foil paper and allow the chocolate to harden.
Eat and savour the chocolate as it melts in your mouth!

*Because they were too thin (Look at Ann's comments below), we had to take two of the spice cakes and put them together.

Ann's Thoughts

Okay, we were quite ambitious to make this recipe, no, I was quite ambitious to make this recipe. When Ana first came to Canada from Brazil, she brought these little cakes that her mother made, and I just had to learn how to make it. I thought that I could totally replicate this recipe, but boy was I wrong. There are so many things that went wrong with this recipe, but at the end we ended up with a pretty decent batch of paes de mel despite the mishaps that were made.

The first thing that went wrong was that I doubled the batter amount. If you have these little tins, then this recipe calls for forty of them. I only had twenty (which I got as a gift from Brazil), so what we had to do was not only use the twenty tins, but also a jumbo muffin tray (which holds six muffins) and one 8" cake pan. We both joked that we were making small, medium, and large paes de mel.

The second thing that went wrong, which I'm terribly embarassed about is that I used one tablespoon of baking powder, instead of baking soda. So remember people, its baking SODA not baking powder.

The third thing that went wrong was the chocolate. I used regular extra dark chocolate, specifically President's Choice Extra dark Chocolate. The chocolate itself was delish, if you like it really dark, the only problem is that it did not harden, and when we chilled one of the chocolate covered cakes in the freezer (just to speed up the drying process because we were dying to try one), it totally melted all over our fingers. We ended up looking like naughty children caught eating a ton of chocolate. It was funny, but kind of frustrating at the same time.

Despite the fact that the cakes were a bit dense, and literally melted in out mouths ( and hands) they were pretty good. So are we going to try this again? Of course! We now know what our mistakes are and we do plan on doing this again in the future. We just need to figure out where we can get chocolate that stays dry on our finger tips but melts in out mouths.

Ana's Thoughts

All righty... so our first mission didn't end up the way we had fantasized, but it wasn't a total disaster, either. i thought the cakes turned out pretty good. It tasted like a store-bought Pao de Mel I used to have when I was younger.

I didn't tell Ann this, but the chocolate was my biggest fear - chocolate can be very tricky to handle. Back home, my mother uses a special chocolate to coat the cakes so all you have to do is melt it. No tempering, no nothing. Just melt it, coat the cakes and they almost instantly dry. But here it's different. So many kinds of chocolate to choose from and so many different names! I didn't know which one I could use to coat, so I just said: "Buy dark chocolate"; we would see what would happen later.

Everything seemd fine. We melted the chocolate and coated the cakes. "Now we just have to wait them to dry." So we waited, and waited...then we decided to put them in the fridge. Now, I know you're not supposed to do that, because it becomes sweaty, but it was 9pm and we were tired and impatient. At least now you can learn from our mistake.

The chocolate-all-over-our-faces moment was hilarious. Do you remember the scene from the movie Charlie and the Chocolate Factory when the chubby boy finds the Golden Ticket and his face is all covered in chocolate? Well, I always thought "Oh, c'mon" You can never get your face that dirty eating chocolate!" Oh well, I found out that, yes, you can get your face that dirty eating chocolate...and it doesn't even have to be 258 bars. All it took for us was half of the mini cake. *cheeks turning pink*

See you next week!