Tres Leches Cake

So this recipe was a request, no more like a demand, from someone I know. I decided, even though they were being a pain, to make it for them anyway. For once I didn’t really modify the recipe other than changing the frosting. The original called for a simple powdered sugar frosting. I figured, this being a Mexican cake, that it deserved a Dulce de Leche frosting instead. Turned out really good, according to those who got to eat it. Be warned, this cake is moist! Enjoy!

Tres Leches Cake

Cake:

  • 9 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp real vanilla, divided equally
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 12 oz can evaporated milk
  • 1 cup whole milk

Frosting:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 1 cup Dulce de leche
  • 1 tsp real vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350°. Spray a 9×13″ pan with non-stick cooking spray, line with parchment paper and spay the paper. This makes taking the cake out super easy.

Take the separated eggs and using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment beat the egg whites on medium-high for 4 to 5 minutes, or until they form soft peaks. Turn the speed down to low and slowly add the sugar until combined. Turn it back up to medium-high and beat until stiff peaks form.

In another bowl, use your hand mixer to beat the egg yolks until light yellow and the consistency of mayo (about 5 minutes). Stir in 1 tbsp vanilla and mix to combine. Pour the egg yolk mixture into the egg whites and with a spatula gently fold in to combine. You don’t want to deflate the egg whites too much.

Shift together the flour and salt. Gently fold in the flour a little at a time, mixing until just combined. Again you don’t want to deflate the eggs too much, this is what is going to give your cake lift and make it light.

Pour the batter into the lined pan and bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out moist but not wet. Allow it to cool. Using a platter or cutting board turn the cake out by placing it on top of the pan and flipping it over. Thanks to the parchment it should come right out but you may need a knife to loosen the sides. Remove the parchment and flip it back onto the baking pan. Use a skewer or fork and poke a lot of holes all over the cake. This will help it absorb the milk mixture.

In a bowl whisk together the sweetened condensed, evaporated, and whole milk with 1 tbsp of vanilla. Pour it all over the cake. It’s best to let it sit overnight to soak up all the milk.

In another bowl, beat together the butter and Dulce de Leche until smooth. Add in the vanilla and pinch of salt. Beat for another minute. With the mixer on low add the powdered sugar 1/4 cup at a time, beating until smooth. Frost the cake once all the sugar is added and enjoy!

 

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Lemon Bars

So one of my coworkers was quite upset when she found out I made the lemon pound cake and didn’t bring any into work. Now it partly my fault, I have spoiled my coworker by bringing in a lot of what I make and post on this blog. And to be fair, she LOVES lemons; to the point that she eats lemon slices all the time. To make it up to her, and because she recently had a bad one, I decided to make lemon bars. This recipes is a slightly modified version of the America’s Test Kitchen’s version. To be honest, while it turned out, I’ll probably double the recipe the next time I make it. I thought the bars were really thin. Enjoy!

Lemon Bars

Crust:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 lemons, zested & juiced

Filling:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 6 eggs, 3 whole and 3 yolks only
  • 4 lemons, zested and juiced
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted cutter, cut into pieces (about 8)
  • Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350° and make sure the rack is in the middle position. Make a foil sling for an 8″ square baking pan by folding 2 long sheets of aluminum foil so each is as wide as the pan. Lay the sheets into the pan, so they form a cross. Press into the pan, up the sides, and fold the extra over. This will help you take it out when it’s done.

In a bowl, combine 1 cup flour, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 tsp salt and whisk together. Add the melted butter and the zest of 2 lemons. Press into the bottom of the pan to form an even layer. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown, rotate after 10 minutes.

While the crust is baking; whisk together 1 cup sugar, 2 tbsp flour, cream of tartar, and salt. I do this in a medium sized pot. Add in the eggs and whisk until there are no streaks. Add in the remaining lemon zest and juice; you should have 2/3 cup of juice. It really depends on the size of your lemons.

Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and registers at 160°. If you don’t have a candy thermometer I highly recommend getting one. Take the mixture off the heat and whisk in the butter, one piece at a time until completely incorporated.

By this time your crust should be done. Pour the lemon through a fine strainer into the pan with the crust. This will make sure there are no lumps. Bake until set, about 10 minutes, or until the center doesn’t jiggle when the pan is shaken. Let cool for at least 1 1/2 hours. Use the foil sling to get it out of the pan. I found it was pretty delicate so be careful. To get it off the foil I placed a piece of parchment paper on top and then a square platter on top of that. Flipped it over, removed the foil, and then flipped it over again onto a cutting board. Remove the paper and cut into squares, cleaning the knife between cuts to prevent sticking. Dust with the powdered sugar and serve.

Lemon Pound Cake

So I was having dinner with a couple of friends and since they were doing the cooking I figured I’d make dessert. Plus it’s really my specialty. I asked them what do you want? The answer, lemon pound cake. I was like, ok. I just made the key lime pound cake so making this kind of cake was pretty fresh in my memory. I consulted my good friend, Google, found a couple of recipes and decided on this on. With some modification, of course. And for the frosting, I really like a cream cheese frosting. Since this was lemon, I decided to bump it up several notches. I added in a little lemon curd, which I had leftover from making my Limoncello cake recipe. Enjoy!

Lemon Pound Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter (1 cup), at room temp
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs, at room temp
  • 1 tsp real vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced

Directions:

Shift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Zest in the lemon.  In a mixer, I like to use my Kitchenaid stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Lower the speed and slowly add in the sugar. Mix until combined and again, fluffy. With the speed still lowered, add the eggs one at a time. Mix until well combined. Add in the extracts and lemon juice, which should be about 1/4 cup of juice. Add in the flour mixture and mix until it’s just combined, don’t over mix it our the cake will come out too dense and tough.

Pour into a parchment lined loaf pan that’s been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

Bake in a 350° oven for 50-60 minutes or until a skewer comes out of the center clean.

Frosting

  • 1 8 oz package cream cheese, at room temp
  • 1/2 cup lemon curd (you can find the recipe here)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

Directions:

In a bowl with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese until it’s smooth. Add in the lemon curd and beat again until smooth. Lower the speed and slowly add in the sugar, beat until smooth. Frost the loaf of cake and refrigerate. This frosting is somewhat loose but very tasty.

 

Raspberry Cream Cheese Brownies

So I wanted something to take to a party recently. As raspberries are in season, I thought, lets make something with them. I’ve had this recipes in my to do pile for about 7 years. I thought now is a good time to give it a try. The only change, really, that I made to the original recipe was to add both Chambord liqueur and fresh raspberries. The original only called for raspberry jam. They turned out super moist and gooey, delicious. Enjoy!

 

Raspberry Cream Cheese Brownies

  • 8 oz cream cheese, at room temp
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar (divided 1/4 and 1 1/4)
  • 1 egg yolk plus 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp real vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 4 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup raspberry jam
  • 1/2 pint fresh raspberries (don’t use frozen)
  • 4 tbsp Chambord liqueur (divided 2, 1, 1 tbsp)

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350°. Spray an 8″ square baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. I like to line mine with parchment paper to make it easier to get the brownies out. You can also use foil but it you do make sure to spray the foil as well.

Beat together the cream cheese, 1/4 cup sugar, egg yolk, 1/2 tsp vanilla and 1 tbsp Chambord until smooth. Set aside.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Use a microwave-safe bowl and nuke the chocolate and butter until smooth and melted; use 20 second increments to do this. Whisk in 1/4 cup of raspberry jam and 2 tbsp Chambord until smooth. Add in the remaining sugar, eggs and 1/2 tsp of vanilla. Fold in the flour mixture until just combined, you don’t want to over mix it.  Pour 1/2 of the batter into the baking pan.

Take the remaining raspberry jam and nuke it for about 20 seconds. Add in the fresh raspberries and remain tbsp. of Chambord. Gently stir to combine, you don’t want to crush the fresh raspberries too much.

Dollop the cream cheese filling over the brownie batter and gently spread out, try to create an even layer. On top of that dollop the jam mixture randomly across the top of the cream cheese. Cover with the remaining brownie batter and gently spread out evenly. Bake for 60 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out fairly clean.

Coconut Chocolate Pie

I made this recipe as a follow up for my Hawaiian friend who had a birthday. I figured, why only celebrate once? It was one of the recipes suggested by my friend, Google. I only modified it slightly. Instead of using a store bought pie crust, I used the recipe I’ve posted before in my Dutch Apple pie for the crust.  I really liked that the coconut flavor was subtle, not in your face. Enjoy!

 

Coconut Chocolate Pie

  • 1 pie crust
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 14 oz can coconut milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 1/4 cups chocolate chips
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup creme de cocoa liqueur, divided in half

Directions:

Bake the pie crust in a 350° oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. You want to poke the bottom and sides with a fork first.  I weight mine down with parchment paper and some old dried beans. This prevents it from puffing up but can take longer to bake. Allow to cool completely.

In a medium pan; whisk together the milk, coconut milk and sugar. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat then reduce to low. Combine the corn starch and cold water, I like to use a jar for this. Shake well until it’s mixed (no lumps of cornstarch). Slowly pour into the milk mixture, whisking constantly. Continue stirring until it thickens, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Use a microwave safe bowl and nuke the chocolate in 20 second interval, stirring between, until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Add in 1/2, or 2 Tbsp, of the cocoa liqueur.

Divide the milk mixture evenly, I like to use 2 identical liquid measuring cups for this. Add the chocolate to one of them. Pour one of the mixtures into the cooled pie shell and smooth out. The original recipe called for the chocolate first but I missed that and poured the coconut first, I don’t think it really matters but I liked the light/dark/light layering. Pour the second mixture and gently smooth out. Refrigerate for at least an hour, longer is better.

Place a mixing bowl and beaters, or whisk attachment if using a stand mixer, in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes. Once cold, beat the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add the powdered sugar and remaining cocoa liqueur and beat until stiff peaks form. Spread on top of the pie and serve.

Dulce de Leche Pie

So I was requested (more like a demand) that I make a Dulce de Leche recipe. I was pretty sure what was wanted was actually a tres leches cake but that’s another story (turned out I was right). I’ve modified it a bit, like most recipes I make, and I think it turned out pretty good (or so I heard since I didn’t get any). The original recipe called for white chocolate and I didn’t think that really paired well with the leche. The crust is based on the recipe I posted earlier for dark cocoa cookies. Just let them dry out for a day or too. And an added bonus? There’s not baking involved. Enjoy!

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Dulce de Leche pie

Crust:

  • 14 to 16 oz of dark cocoa cookies, crushed (amount depends on your pie tin size)
  • 8 Tbsp melted butter

Filling:

  • 10 Oz chocolate chips
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 8 oz cream cheese, at room temp
  • 1 cup dulce de leche (I make my own)

Topping:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp chocolate vodka or liqueur (optional)

Directions:

Pulse the cookies in a food processor until fine. Add the melted butter and mix well. Pour into a pie tin and press firmly into the button and up the sides to create a thick crust. Chill.

Place a mixing bowl and beaters, or whisk attachment if using a stand mixer, in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes.

Using a microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate by nuking for 20 seconds at a time; stirring in-between until it’s completely melted and smooth. Beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the melted chocolate and beat again until smooth. Add the dulce de leche and beat again, until smooth.

Take the bowl out of the freezer and beat the heavy cream until it starts to form peaks. Add in the powdered sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold into the cream cheese/chocolate/leche mixture until well combined. Pout into the pie shell and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours, or until set.

Before serving; put a mixing bowl and beaters, or whisk attachment if using a stand mixer, in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes. Beat the heavy cream until soft peaks start to form. Add the powdered sugar and chocolate vodka, if using, and beat until stiff peaks form. Spread on top of the set pie and serve.

Lilikoi Bars

A friend of mine recently had a birthday. She’s the tasting room manager for Rotie Cellars, one of the best wineries in Washington if I may say so. I stopped by the weekend of her birthday and brought key lime pound cake (a recipe I previously posted). Unfortunately she was off enjoying herself. So I decided to make her something special for when she returned. Being Hawaiian, I figured a Hawaiian dessert was in order. My friend Google suggested several things but I liked this dessert. It’s similar to a lemon bar but is made with lilikoi, which is passion fruit. I had no idea what a challenge it would be! I had to go to at 7 different stores in Seattle that where known for Hawaiian foods. The first 5 had nothing, the 6th had passion fruit from concentrate in a can and finally the 7th had frozen passion fruit juice with seeds. It turned out really well and needless to say my friend was really touched. Enjoy!

Lilikoi Bars

Crust

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter at room temp
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 Tsp kosher salt

Filling

  • 6 large eggs at room temp
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup lilikoi (passion fruit) juice, fresh would be best but good luck finding it.
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 lemon, juiced and zested
  • 1/4 Tsp cream of tartar

Glaze

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup lilikoi juice
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Combine the flour and salt and add to the butter mixture with the mixer on low speed until just combined. Dump the dough into a 9″ x 13″ baking pan and press it along the bottom and about 1/2″ up the sides.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Bake the crust for 15 minutes, remove to cool slightly (leave the oven on). While it’s cooling, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lilikoi juice, lemon zest & juice, cream of tartar, and flour. Pour over the crust and bake for 30 minutes or until the filling is set. A knife inserted in the middle should come out fairly clean. Allow to cool.

To make the glaze, bring the 1/4 cup of water and 1/2 cup of sugar to a boil stirring to dissolve the sugar. Turn down to medium heat and cook for 5 minutes. Add the lilikoi and lemon juice, boil for another 3 minutes. Allow to cool and drizzle over the lilikoi bars.

Dark Cocoa Cookies

So I had a request to make a Dulce de Leche dessert. I gave it some thought, consulted my friend Google, and came up with the idea of a pie. The recipe I found, which I’ll post later, wasn’t exactly what I wanted so I modified it extensively. But one of the things it called for was ground up Oreos for the crust. Unfortunately it called for them WITH the filling, which I thought sounded awful (and way too sweet). So I decided to make my own but more in the style of Paul Newman’s tops & bottoms.  I found this recipe, which is one of the few I haven’t modified really, and they turned out exactly how I wanted. No, in fact, better than what I wanted. Unlike the above mentioned, they were just a tiny bit moist. Well until I let them dry out for my pie. The key is GOOD cocoa. Don’t go buy cheap stuff, like Hershey’s, but true Dutch processed cocoa. The darker the better! Enjoy!

 

Dark Cocoa Cookies

  • 1 1/4 cups butter at room temp
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup Dutch processed cocoa
  • 1/2 Tsp kosher or fine salt
  • 1 Tsp real vanilla
  • 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups flour

Directions:

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy. Turn down to low and add the cocoa a little at a time, careful it’s very powdery and will fly everywhere if you’re not careful. Once incorporated, add the salt and vanilla, mix until combined. Add the flour 1/2 cup at a time. And each time you want to mix it until all the flour is incorporated. Mix until the dough is mostly dry and crumbly. It’s a fine line here, you don’t want it too moist because you want a crisp cookie; but you don’t want it too dry either. It should stick together but not be sticky at all. Divide it into 2 disks, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 15 minutes. You want it cold but not so cold it won’t roll out. If it goes longer that 15 minutes then let it warm up at room temp for 15 minutes before trying to roll it out.

Preheat your oven to 350° and line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Roll out the dough to about 1/8″ thickness. Again not to thick, you want a crisp cookie after all. I used a couple of pieces of waxed paper and sandwiched the dough between them so it wouldn’t stick. Use a 2″ circle cutter, like a biscuit cutter, to cut out the cookies.

Bake for 8-9 minutes. It’s almost impossible to tell when they’re done because they’re so dark but you should be fine as long as you stick to this range. You may need to adjust slightly depending on your oven. Better a little underdone and needing to be popped back into the oven for a minute or two than over done and burnt.

 

 

Roasted Garlic & Truffle Chicken

There’s a reason why my blog tag line is my experiments in cooking. Sometimes it’s just that, experimentation. This is one of the recipes I found via the internet, I don’t even remember where, that I thought I’d try. It turned out super moist but not nearly as flavorful as I had hoped. In part, I’m sure, because I modified the recipe slightly. I don’t have truffle bouillon or salt on hand nor actual truffle. Both of which the original recipe called for. In addition, I cheated slightly buy using garlic butter instead of plain butter and cut the amount of fresh garlic down (big mistake). And I have also realized that not all truffle oils are the same. I recently had to buy some as I had used up my supply. Unfortunately I couldn’t find the same brand that I had before so I bought a different brand. Not nearly as good. And a quick consult with my friend Google informed me that a lot of truffle oil isn’t made with truffles at all, instead they use chemicals to get the flavor. Yuck!

So long story short, I’m going to have to try this again with different ingredients. But it did turn out ok so I’m still going to post the recipe. Enjoy!

Roasted Garlic & Truffle Chicken

  • 1 whole chicken, 4-6 lbs
  • 1/4 cup garlic butter (recipe below)
  • 1/2 bulb of garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 4 sprigs of rosemary
  • 4 Tbsp truffle oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 400°.

Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel, make sure to take the package out of the inside of the chicken (it’s the heart, gizzard, liver and neck). I put these in the freezer and when I have several I use them to make chicken stock. Place the chicken in a Dutch oven or roasting pan, breast side up. Tuck the wings underneath so they don’t burn. Take the rosemary, lemon, several of the smashed garlic cloves and put then in the chicken cavity. Tuck the rest of the garlic under the chicken skin. Rub the chicken all over with the garlic butter. Pour the truffle oil over the bird as well. Salt and pepper generously. Put the rest of the onion in the pan with the bird.

Bake, uncovered for 20 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 350° and bake for another hour. Baste the chicken half way through and then again when you remove it from the oven. You want the internal temp to be 165 at the thigh, make sure not by the bone though.

Remove the chicken and let it rest for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, remove the onion from the pan and return it to the stove. Skim off some of the grease from the butter and truffle oil. Add 1/4 cup of wine and the chicken stock. Heat on medium-high for about 20 minutes or until reduced by half; this will make a nice gravy. It you like it thick, add a tbsp. or so of flour or cornstarch.

 

Key Lime Ice Cream

Ok now that I’ve found key limes, I’ve been on a kick. I asked my friend, Google, for key lime ice cream recipes and for once he pretty much failed me. I found 1 and it used limeade!, corn syrup, buttermilk, and sweetened condensed milk. I did not care for the sound of that. So I decided to make up my own recipe. It’s based on a simple, no-cook, vanilla ice cream recipe. I think it turned out pretty good. Enjoy!

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Key Lime Ice Cream

  • 1 Tbsp key lime zest
  • 1/2 cup key lime juice (this takes a pound or more of lime)
  • 1/4 cup key lime liqueur (optional but it added a lot of flavor)
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/8 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 Tsp vanilla

Directions:

Zest enough of the limes to get about 1 Tbsp of zest, more if you want more lime flavor. Juice the limes until you get 1/2 cup. Combine the zest, milk and powdered sugar. Beat until the sugar dissolves, this is why I used powered sugar as it dissolves easily. Add the heavy cream, lime juice, vanilla, and key lime liqueur. Beat to combine.

Put it in the freezer for about 20 minutes, this will give it a head start when you put it in your ice cream maker. I have a small Cuisinart ice cream maker, it cost me $35 at Costco and has more than paid for itself. Mix until it solidifies, put it in containers and freeze until firm.