Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Cranberry Streusel Pound Cake

I'm continuing to make my way through all the Fine Cooking back issues, given to me by a generous customer last summer. There are so many great recipes and this wonderful quick pound cake recipe is no exception.

It is moist and full of orange flavor from the orange zest and extra boost I gave it with a little extract. I switched out the walnuts for pecans because I love the combo of pecans, dried cranberries and orange. I left out the glaze for the top on mine but I'll give you the recipe for it. I think it would have been "over the top" with sweetness.

A perfect snack cake...anytime!

Beat your butter and sugar and throw in the orange zest.

Once all the ingredients are combined, stir in the dried cranberries.

Spoon half the batter into your prepared loaf pan and sprinkle the pecan streusel over it. Then spoon the remainder of the batter over this.

Cranberry Streusel Pound Cake ( adapted from "Fine Cooking" Winter 2005 issue)
Makes one 8 1/2" loaf.

1 1/2 cups (6 3/4 ozs.) unbleached AP flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. table salt
1 tsp. finely grated orange zest
1/2 cup ( 1 stick or 4 ozs.) unsalted butter, softened to room temp.
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temp.
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. orange extract (my addition to boost the orange flavor)
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup walnut pieces (I used pecans), finely chopped
2 tbsp. light or dark brown sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tsp. heavy cream ( or more as needed)
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
Preheat oven to 325. Grease an 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pan with nonstick cooking apray or butter and dust with flour. Tap out the excess.
1. In medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt.
2. In mixing bowl, beat butter on medium speed 1 minute, then gradually add in the sugar, beating til slightly fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping the bowl well.
3. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
4. Beat in the orange zest and vanilla.
5. With the mixer on low speed, alternate adding in the buttermilk and flour mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
6. Stir in the dried cranberries.
7. Spoon half the batter into the prepared loaf pan and spread evenly.
8. Combine the streusel mixture together in a small bowl and sprinkle over the batter evenly.
9. Spoon the remaining batter over the streusel.
10. Bake til golden brown and tester comes out clean, about 1 hour or 10 to 15 minutes longer, depending on your oven. Cool in pan on rack 10 minutes, then turn out of the pan and cool completely on rack.
In small bowl, combine confectioners' sugar, cream and cinnamon with a spoon til there are no lumps.
The glaze should drizzle in a thin line. Add in a little more cream if the consistency is not yet thin enough.
Drizzle glaze over cake and allow to set at least 15 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Mocha Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

Sorry...a little late for Valentine's Day! But it doesn't have to be a special day for anything chocolate. Right?

I made these for that certain day so I thought I'd share the recipe with you. These cupcakes are chocolatey and so delicious and with the espresso...yum!  I threw in a handful of mini chocolate chips, rather than the regular sized chips and I actually liked the smaller size better.
The frosting is made with sour cream, which I think helps cut down that overly sweet frosting taste.

The recipe is pretty straightforward to make and, as my usual way, I baked them jumbo size! Sometimes you just want a good sized cupcake and it's really even a little less than a slice of cake, too!

First you need to melt the chocolate over gently simmering water.

Once the chocolate has melted, set it aside to cooled slightly.
Next beat the butter and gradually beat in the sugar, followed by the eggs, vanilla and melted chocolate.
Add in the flour in stages, alternating with the espresso mixed with water.
Place the batter into your paper liners and bake 20 to 22 minutes.

Mocha Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting ( from "Fine Cooking" magazine)
Makes 12 regular ( standard) size or 6 jumbo cupcakes

3 ozs. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cup (4.5 ozs.) unbleached AP flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. table salt
1/2 cup (4 ozs. or 1 stick) unsalted butter, room temp.
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. instant espresso powder, dissolved in 1/2 cup cool water
2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips (I used mini chips)
2 ozs. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/3 cup sour cream (not low-fat)
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
Pinch salt
1 1/2 cups (6 ozs.) confectioners' sugar
Milk, if necessary
Preheat oven to 350. Line muffin cups with paper liners.
1. Put the unsweetened chocolate into a bowl set over gently simmering water and stir occasionally til melted. Set aside to cool.
2. In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda and salt.
3. In a mixing bowl, beat the butter 30 to 60 seconds or til smooth. With mixer running, gradually pour in the sugar, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl a few times. Then beat in medium high til light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
4. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, scraping the bowl after each addition.
5. Beat in the vanilla and melted chocolate til smooth and blended.
6. On low speed, add the dry ingredients in 3 installments, alternating with the espresso in 2 additions.
7. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand.
8. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups. Don't smooth the batter.
9. Bake the cupcakes til they spring back when gently pressed in the center, 20 to 22 minutes.( a little longer if making jumbo cupcakes). Let them cool 5 minutes in the pan, then remove and cool on a wire rack before frosting.
1. Put the chocolate and butter in a bowl over gently simmering water and stir til melted and smooth. Set aside to cool til barely warm.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together sour cream, vanilla and salt.Gradually whisk in the confectioners' sugar til smooth.
3. Add the chocolate/butter mixture and beat it in with the whisk til smooth and creamy.
The frosting must be thick and spreadable. If too thick, thin it with a few droplets of milk. If too thin, chill it briefly, stirring occasionally, til adequately thickened.


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