Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse Cake

So, I’ve become negligent about posting again. Unfortunately it’s been busy lately. Fortunately though, this cake is an excellent return. It is, admittedly, pretty much the cake version of a cupcake I made over the summer. But that didn’t stop it from being excellent. I also used the “Deep Dark Chocolate Cake” recipe from bakewise as the cake, which was an excellent choice. Very chocolaty and moist. This recipe makes more peanut butter mousse than I needed, but I imagine you can find a creative use for the extra. Special thanks, as always, go to my friend Jessica, who helped me a great deal in making this cake (particularly by making the actual cake part).

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Mousse Cake

Chocolate Cake Layers

Makes 3, 8 inch layers

4 cups + 2 T sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup + 2 T Dutch Process Cocoa Powder
1 ½ tsp baking soda
1 ½ cup water
1 ½ cup canola oil
3 tsp vanilla extract
2 ½ + 2 T Spooned and Leveled AP flour
6 large egg yolks
3 large eggs
3/8 cup buttermilk

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter cake pans, line with parchment, and butter the parchment.

2. In a heavy saucepan stir together the sugar, salt, cocoa, and baking soda. Bring the water to a boil, stirring constantly, pour the water slowly into the cocoa mixture. Stir the mixture. Place on the heat and bring back to a boil. Turn off and allow to stand for 10 minutes.

3. Pour the cocoa mixture into a large mixing bowl, add the oil and vanilla and beat on low speed for 10 seconds. Still on low speed add the flour, and then quickly add the eggs, yolks, and buttermilk. Pour the batter into the prepared pans, filling about 2/3 full. If you have extra, make them into cupcakes (that’s what I did).

4. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the cake is set, pulls away from the sides of the pan, and a tester comes out clean. Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes, and then invert onto cooling racks to cool completely.

Peanut-Butter Mousse

2 cups creamy peanut butter (not natural)
2 8oz package cream cheese, room temperature
2 cup powdered sugar
2 T vanilla
2 cup chilled whipping cream

1. Beat the peanut butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla together until smooth and well blended.

2. Using clean, chilled beaters, and a chilled bowl, beat the cream to stiff peaks.

3. Fold ¼ of the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture. Fold in the remaining whipped cream ¼ at a time. Fold until smooth and well mixed. Chill in the fridge until ready to use.

Peanut-butter Ganache

18 oz. dark chocolate, chopped
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 cups heavy cream

1. Put the peanut butter and chocolate in a bowl.

2. Heat the heavy cream to a simmer, pour over the chocolate

3. Let the cream sit for a minute, then stir until thoroughly mixed. Let the ganache cool until it thickens enough to be spreadable.


Place one layer flat side down. Spread about 2 cups of the peanut butter mousse on the cake, all the way to the edge. Place the most imperfect layer in the middle. Spread another 2 cups of peanut butter mousse on the cake. Place the final layer on top, flat side up. Pour about half the ganache over the cake, use an offset spatula to spread it all around the top and sides covering all of the cake. Once this layer of ganache, reheat the remainder just until it flows, and pour it over the cake. I found this ganache was too thick to just let it run down the cake, so I still had to use a spatula to spread it all around. I used a little extra peanut butter mousse to do the decorations.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

One Quiche, Two Quiche

Since everyone was back in town once school started back up, I threw a potluck. People brought lots of food, and a good time was had by all. I followed my traditional potluck style and made an entrée, and a dessert. This time for the entrée I decided to make two quiches. First, I made a pesto and goat cheese quiche with caramelized onions, and then I made a broccoli and garlic quiche with cheddar. Unfortunately the pictures are a little lacking, since I didn’t cut them until it was time to serve, at which point people dug in with a gusto which left no leftovers. The plus side is that it certainly seemed to mean that people liked the quiches (I sure did), and I would recommend them to anyone. If you’ve never tried making a quiche, it is remarkably easy, and if you’re lazy like me you can use a frozen, store-bought pie crust to make things even simpler.

For the pesto quiche I used homemade pesto, but you can just as easily use store brought if you don’t happen to have any around. I got the instructions for caramelizing onions from simply recipes. The one change is that I found it too

Goat Cheese and Pesto Quiche

1 deep dish pie crust, frozen
½ a large red onion, sliced into thin strips
2 tsp olive oil
½ tsp balsamic vinegar
¼ cup pesto, divided
5 oz goat cheese, room temperature
1 ½ cups low fat sour cream
6 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 large tomato, sliced into quarter inch thick slices

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Put oil in a medium, heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and a little salt. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to

medium low and continue cooking for another 30 minutes, until onions are well browned, stirring occasionally. Add the balsamic vinegar, and cook for another 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

2. While the onions are cooking, blind bake the pie crust. To do this, poke holes in the bottom

of the crust with a fork. Line the crust with tin foil or parchment paper, pushing all the way into the corners. Fill the pie crust with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, and let cool briefly. Remove the pie weights or beans, and place the pie back in the oven for another 10 minutes. When this is done, turn the oven up to 400 degrees.

3. Put one T of the pesto into the pie crust. Using a pastry brush, spread the pesto around the inside of the quiche, trying to cover the entire bottom as well as the sides.

4. In a large bowl, whisk together the goat cheese (it really just turns into small crumbles) and the sour cream. Add the remaining pesto and the eggs, and whisk until thoroughly combined. Stir in the caramelized onions.

5. Layer the bottom of the quiche with the sliced tomatoes.

6. Pour the quiche filling over the tomatoes (you will probably have a little extra).

7. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes. It’s done when the edges are set, but the center is still a little shaky. I should note that my quiche souffléd like crazy (it rose a good two inches, probably means I overbeat the eggs, that’s why I’m saying you should beat them lightly before adding them), which made it hard to tell when it had reached this point. I took it out after an hour 10 and it was fine (and fell back down to normal levels). Cool until just warm and serve.

Brocolli-Garlic Quiche

1 deep dish pie crust
1 cup broccoli florets, 1-2 inches of stem attached
3 cloves raw garlic
5 cloves roasted garlic, divided
6 large eggs
1 ½ cups half and half
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp cayenne
8 oz shredded cheddar cheese.

1. Preheat the oven to 375. Blind bake the pie crust. To do this, poke holes in the bottom of the crust with a fork. Line the crust with tin foil or parchment paper, pushing all the way into the corners. Fill the pie crust with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, and let cool briefly. Remove the pie weights or beans, and place the pie back in the oven for another 10 minutes. When this is done, turn the oven up to 400 degrees.

2. While the crust is baking, bring 3 quarts of water to a boil. Add the broccoli, and cook for 4 minutes.

3. With a generous pinch of salt, chop up the raw garlic until you make it into a paste. Mush in three cloves of the roasted garlic.

4. Take the remaining two cloves of roasted garlic and place them into the pie crust, using your fingers, gently crush them, and do your best to spread them around the bottom of the crust, without breaking it (this is a challenge).

5. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and heavy cream. Add the garlic paste, nutmeg, and cayenne.

6. Line the bottom of the crust with half of the cheese. Pour over the egg mixture. Place the broccoli in the quiche, and cover with the remaining cheese (that has not yet been done in the picture below).

7. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes. I found this quiche souffléd a lot as well, but I took it out after an hour, and it seemed well set (maybe because it was on the upper rack, and so cooked a little faster). Cool until just warm and serve.

Sunday, September 6, 2009


A few weeks ago some friends and I decided to make donuts (I like to spell it doughnuts, but apparently I’m the only one), just because we could. It was the heady days before class had started up again. As you may recall, I’ve tried making donuts before, without much luck. Fortunately, with a recipe my friend Beth provided (from an old Pillsbury cookbook), and some additional assistance from Jessica, we were able to make some excellent donuts. These are simple drop donuts, so they don’t have quite the neat appearance of traditional donut holes, but that doesn’t stop them from tasting excellent. These are great, simple donuts for those who’ve

never tried making them before.

Cinnamon-Sugared Doughnut Drops

Makes 30-60 donuts

1.5 cups AP flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup milk
2 tbl oil
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg

1/2 cup sugar1 tsp cinnamon

1. In large saucepan, heat 2 to 3 inches oil to 375.

2. In large bowl, combine first 6 ingredients. Stir in milk, oil, vanilla and egg with a fork just until dry ingredients are moistened.

3. Drop by teaspoonfuls into hot oil, 5 to 6 at a time. Fry donut drops 1 to 1.5 minutes on each side until deep golden brown. Drain on paper towel. Mix 1/2 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon; roll warm donut balls in sugar-cinnamon mixture.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

I Scream, You Scream

Sorry, I couldn't come up with a better title for this post. I recently got an ice cream maker attachment for my Kitchenaid, and so I figured I had to try it out and make some ice cream. Gourmet recently printed a recipe for a recipe for salted caramel ice cream, and so I thought I would try my hand. I thought the ice cream this made was really good, with a strong toffee flavor. I didn't think the salt came through particularly though, but maybe that's just me.

Salted Caramel Ice Cream

1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
2 1/4 cups heavy cream, divided
1/2 tsp flaky sea salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup milk
3 large eggs

1. Heat 1 cup sugar in a dry, heavy skillet. Stir sugar with a fork until it begins to melt, then stop stirring and cook, swirling pan occaissionally so sugar melts evenly. Continue cooking until the sugar reaches a dark amber.

2. Carefully add 1 1/4 cups cream (mixture will splatter), stir until all of the caramel is dissolved. Transfer into a bowl and stir in the salt. Cool to room temperature.

3. Bring milk, remaining cup cream and 1/4 cup sugar just to a boil.

4. Lightly whisk eggs in a medium bowl. Add half the hot milk mixture in a thin stream while whisking. Pout back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Continue cooking until mixture coats the back of the spoon and registers 170 degrees on a candy thermometer.

5. Pour the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a clean bowl. Chill in the fridge, stirring occasionally, for 4-5 hours. Freeze according to instructions of your ice cream maker.