Saturday, April 2, 2011

Because everything's better with cake (and cookies!)

I enjoy baking a lot. You mix together a strange concoction in a bowl, put it in a pan, then apply a lot of heat to it over a period of time. When you pull it out it becomes something awesome like breads or pies or cakes or something else equally nifty. I know there's complex chemistry involved, but really I don't care. I put dough in, I get warm baked good out. That is enough for me.

My downfall, though, is that I seriously enjoy taunting my friends with pictures of what I have baked so that they might drool while I enjoy a slice of it. It isn't nice, but I'm not always a super nice person, and it's nice to know that people would be interested in having cake if they come over to your place. Especially if it's something you ~made~.

Recently I posted several pictures of things I made and people asked me for the recipe. I happily promised them I would share it and then..... never did. Which is my bad, because they're very good recipes and I really did want other people to enjoy them. SO... to make up for that, and to promote more posting of pictures of baked goods on the internet, I am posting the recipes here for use! Trust me... these things are goooooood...

Our first recipe is for Honey Madeleines. These things are bitchin', and make for an excellent breakfast with a cup of coffee:

1/4 cup butter
2 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
-powdered sugar for sifting

Preheat over to 378 degrees F. Lightly butter 12 madeleine molds. (or if you're me and have a mini-mold tin, you butter 18. There's enough to fill both equally well. If you don't have a madeleine pan, you can use a tartlet pan or butter the snot out of a muffin pan.) In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the 1/4 cup butter. Cool.

In a bowl, beat eggs and sugar unti pale and thick (this may NEVER happen. As long as you start to get a nice blanket of bubbles and the sugar seems integrated in to the egg, you'll be fine) Stir in melted butter and honey. Sift flour and baking power onto egg mixture, then fold in.

Spoon mixture into prepared molds. Bake 10 minutes, until light golden-brown. Leave in molds for 2 minutes, then turn out and transfer to a wire rack to cool. Dust them lightly with the powdered sugar. Makes 12 (or, once again, 18 if you're me)

The next recipe is for Green Tea Cake with Green Tea and Lime Buttercream, and even as I sit here typing this out, I'm having to brush the flour off of the pages from the last time I used it. This stuff is slightly less bitchin, but only because it takes longer and it leaves you with a LOT of baked good to get through. I would recommend making this when a big group of friends is coming over, because they will enjoy it and take all of it off your hands and not leave it around to tempt you constantly. Kind of like my trial-cake did with me. :D

For the cake~
2 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons Matcha green tea powder
1 and 1/3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oi
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup plain yogurt (greek yogurt is awesome for this)

For the buttercream frosting~
grated peel of 2 unwaxed limes, plus the freshly squeezed juice of 1
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 cups confectioners' sugar, plus extra to thicken
2 teaspoons Matcha green tea powder

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F

Prepare 2 8-inch round cake pans, greased and lined with backing parchment or waxed paper.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt and Matcha powder.

In a large bowl, beat together the sugar, vegetable oil and eggs until smooth. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the yogurt, mixing just until incorporated. (This is SERIOUSLY important. If you overmix, you will have a very flat, brownie-like cake. Once again, don't be like me kids!)
Pour the batter in to the prepared cake pans. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes until a skewer inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Turn out onto a wire rack and let cool for 30 minutes.

To make the green tea and lime buttercream, beat together the (ROOM TEMPERATURE) cream cheese, lime peel and butter with an electric mixer until smooth. Sift in the sugar, add the Matcha powder, and beat until smooth. (At this point your kitchen will smell fantastic and citrusy. It only gets better from there) Add enough lime juice until you have a thick, spreadable consistency. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Beat in a little more sugar if the mixture looks too thin.

Slice each cake in half horizontally with a serrated knife and remove the baking parchment. Place one layer on a plate and spread a little less than one quarter of the buttercream over it. Repeat with the remaining layers and spread the remaining buttercream over the top of the cake. (Of note... you will not have enough to frost around the sides at this point, which is okay. It's supposed to be more of a tea-cake -pardon the pun- than a birthday-style cake. If you really want those sides covered, make a double batch of the icing and have fun.) Refrigerate for 20 minutes to set the buttercream. Serves 6 to 8 people.

~a quick note, if you have an Asian grocery store they will probably have powdered matcha in their store for you to use. If not, try buying some online via an import place or Whatever you do, do NOT put regular green tea in your coffee grinder and pulverize it! The quality will be poor and the flavor will be bizarre. Matcha is an entirely different type of tea using different processes to make it that way. You really do need the powdered for this recipe.

I hope people have fun making a mess in the kitchen trying these things out, and I want to see PICTURES! Spam me with pictures! I love seeing what other people are making and how they get creative in different ways when using the same basic raw ingredients. And most of all, I hope everybody enjoys the hell out of these after they bake them and that it does not bring on any guilt or fits of jogging whatsoever following their consumption.

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