Friday, April 24, 2009
Strawberry-Lemon Curd Galette

Those mornings when I wake up with a craving for something sweet and ample time to make something from scratch are the bane of my existence. The fact that I have a refrigerator full of fresh strawberries just waiting for new, yummy ways to be enjoyed only amplifies the danger. I'm catching up a little late with the discovery of lemon curd, but ever since I got my hands on some a few weeks ago, I can't get enough of the stuff. On crepes, on cake, there's no possible vessel for lemon curd that I won't I thought to myself, why not a galette? I've always wanted to try my hand at the simple, free-form pastry and I finally found the perfect opportunity. The tart sweetness of the strawberries and lemon helped balance the soft, buttery crust.

Strawberry-Lemon Curd Galette

Pate Sucree
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 stick butter
2-4 tablespoons ice water

Mix the flour and sugar in a food processor. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. With the motor running, add the ice water; process only enough to moisten the dough and have it just come together. Dump the dough out onto a floured board and knead quickly into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic and allow it to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to one hour.

1 pate sucree
lemon curd
Strawberries, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 tablespoon honey
1-2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon milk or water for egg wash

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Mix the strawberries, cornstarch, honey, and lemon juice in a bowl and set aside.

Roll out the crust to about 1/4 inch thick and about 8 inches in diameter. Top with a few tablespoons of lemon curd. Placed the strawberries on top of the curd in an even layer, leaving a one inch ring around. Fold the edges of dough over the strawberries. Brush the dough with the egg wash and bake for 20-25 minutes until the crust is browned and the center is bubbling.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Strawberry Ice Cream Cake

Yesterday, March 31, was the birthday of a very special boy. Yep, Mr. Simple turned twenty three. Back in January, he grumbled at how I always seemed to make treats for my friends and never for him...which, after giving a few examples, I easily argued was not true in the least. However, I explained to him that his time would come when it was his birthday for him to choose his special treat. His favorite dessert, which is saying a lot considering he tends to shun dessert and constantly warns against my weakness for it, is strawberry ice cream. So he decided that he would like an ice cream cake. After some consultation, we came upon the agreement that the perfect ratio for an ice cream cake 45% cake to 55% ice cream...roughly. At first, I ambitiously wanted to make my own ice cream, but considering the already hefty expense of his surprise gift (a Playstation 3), the added cost of an ice cream maker attachment for my new, and regrettably, little used Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer deterred me.

The process of making the cake itself was fun. The top of the cake that I sliced of to create a flat surface tasted delicious with lemon curd and became my snack as I finished the rest of the process. It was hard to resist licking my fingers as I spread the ice cream, and even the whipped cream was irresistible. Although it isn't included in the recipe, I garnished the top of the cake with fresh strawberries and shaved white chocolate with bittersweet strawberries, a product from Divine that I stumbled upon at Borders and thought would go perfectly with the cake. The finished product was everything I hoped it would be and the smile on Mr. Simple's face confirmed that he was, for once, in agreement with me.

A note before you read the recipe, I altered the recipe to make a 6" cake. I also apologize for the quality of the photos which I was forced to take inside in less than ideal lighting. Due to the sensitive nature of the cake it seemed ridiculous to attempt to take it out into the sun for a pho

Strawberry and Vanilla Ice Cream Cake

adapted from Joy the Baker

Vanilla Cake

adapted from the “Confetti Cakes” cookbook via ButterCakesbyEvan

2 cups cake flour (8 ounces)

1 3/4 cups plus 1 1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour (8 ounces) (yes, two types of flour)

2 1/4 tsp baking powder

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp

3 cups granulated sugar (21 ounces)

3/4 tsp salt

1 Tbs vanilla extract

1 cup egg whites (8 ounces; about 7 eggs)

1 1/2 cups milk, room temp (12 ounces)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter, flour, and line pans with parchment paper (optional) and set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together the flours, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla to the eggs and then add the egg mixture, a little bit at a time, until fully incorporated. Alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk, beginning and ending with the flour. Try to do this as quickly as possible so you don’t dry out the cake by over mixing. It is okay to add the milk immediately after adding the flour, and vice versa.

Divide the batter between your cake pans and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. For cupcakes, bake 20-25 minutes.

Whipped Cream Frosting

2 cups heavy whipping cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup powdered sugar

In a large bowl of an electric mixer add whipping cream and vanilla extract. Using the whip attachment, begin to beat the mixture on medium speed. Gradually add the powdered sugar, increase the speed to high and beat until stiff peaks form. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Assembling the Cake

Step One: Grease the two 8-inch round cake pans. Make the vanilla cake batter and add about 2 -2 1/2 cups of batter into each cake pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Remove cakes from oven and let cool for 30 minutes. Once cooled, loosen the edges of the baked cake with a butter knife, flip the cake pans over onto a wire rack. Return 1 cake round to one of the 8-inch cakes pans and place the other cake round on a plate. Place both cake pan and plate in the freezer to begin to freeze the cake rounds.

Step Two: Freeze the cake rounds for 1 to 2 hours. You’ll need the cakes to be firm enough to spread fairly hard ice cream over them. Take the ice cream out of the freezer about 15 minutes before you’d like to use it, letting it rest on the counter.

Step Three: Remove the cake that’s in the cake pan from the freezer. Using the back of a stiff spatula, spoon the strawberry ice cream into the 8-inch cake round, on top of the first layer of vanilla cake. I used all but 1 cup of the half gallon of ice cream. Leave about 1-inch of space from the top of the 3-inch deep cake pan. At this point you’ve got a vanilla cake bottom layer topped with strawberry ice cream, leaving about 1 inch of empty space at the top of the pan.

Step Four: Remove the plated vanilla cake layer from the freezer. Place the second layer of vanilla cake inside the 8-inch round, on top of the strawberry ice cream. Return pan to the freezer to set for about an hour, depending on how soft your ice cream became while you were shaping the cake.

Step Five: Make Whipped Cream Frosting and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Step Six: After 1 to 2 hours in the freezer, remove the cake pan. Run a butter knife under hot water and run the knife along the cake, in between the cake pan and the ice cream cake to loosen the sides. Flip pan over onto a serving plate or cardboard cake round. Return cake to freezer if you find it too soft.

Step Seven: Quickly frost Ice Cream Cake with Whipped Cream Frosting. Return to the freezer to chill. Decorate the cake as you like. I used fondant to make a layered heart topper.