The Mad Cake Batter

sweet treats and savory deets


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Mini Cheesecake Cups

In spirit of ‘Merica, Fourth of July, and USA playing Germany today in the World Cup, I decided to make something light and, of course, red, white and blue. I love all the recipes off of Skinny Taste and have come back to her site for countless occasions. I have made these in the past and they were a huge hit, not to mention, super easy to make. I doubled her recipe since it only makes about 12 and made some minor changes. I added her link so the original is available as well.

INGREDIENTS: 2012-07-06 08.47.46

  • 24 vanilla wafers
  • 8 oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1-1 3/4 TSP vanilla
  • 12 oz fat-free vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 tbsp all purpose flour
  • strawberries
  • blueberries

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350°. Line cupcake tin with liners, and place a vanilla wafer at the bottom of each liner.
Gently beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth using an electric mixer. Gradually beat in the greek yogurt, egg whites, and flour. Do not over beat. (At this point, I would test the batter and added some more vanilla or sugar it make it a tad bit sweeter) Pour into cupcake liners filling half way. Bake 20-25 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool to room temperature then chill at least 1 hour in the refrigerator. Before serving, add sliced strawberries and blueberries.


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Pistachio Coconut Cream Pie

Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers and soon-to-be fathers out there! Though my father’s actual gift isn’t until next weekend (Yankee Tickets and dinner in Little Italy!!), I still had to make a little something to celebrate this day. My father happens to love both pistachios and coconut so I just had to make this pie from Blackbirds Four & Twenty Pie Book; it was just too good to pass up!

A few things to keep in mind: it was always a  good idea to read the recipe fully to know what you are up against (also to make sure that you have all the ingredients, that’s a given, or should be). With this recipe, you have minutes between one thing to the next. Make sure you are prepped and ready to go and have things close by to you. I read and reread multiple times while making this pie to make sure I absolutely knew what my next steps were. And, as always, have fun!

THE CRUST pcc3

  • 1/2 cup plus 1 TBS shelled pistachios, raw and unsalted
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 TBS unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 3 TBS granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt

In a dry medium-size skillet, toast the pistachios over medium heat until fragrant, 7-9 minutes; shake the pan or stir frequently to prevent burning. Pour into a shallow dish and allow to cool, about 10 minutes. Toast the coconut in the same skillet over medium-low heat, 2-3 minutes or until lightly golden. Add immediately to the pistachios.

Once cool, pour the toasted pistachios and coconut plus sugar and salt into a food processor. Process until finely chopped and the mixture looks homogenous. the crumbs will stick together slightly when ready.

Pour the crumbs into an ungreased, 9-inch pie plate. Spread evenly over the bottom. Create a circle about 1 inch in to separate the crumbs for the sides from the crumbs fort he bottom. Start pressing the outer ring of crumbs evenly up the sides and ingot he corner of the pan. Press the remaining crumbs evenly over the bottom to meet the sides. Freeze until solid.

** I found the crust to be a bit salty. Next time I will probably nix the salt and maybe make it less crumbly with some butter 🙂 My mom suggested crushed animal crackers, hmmm…

THE FILLING & TOPPINGpcc2

  • 2/3 cup shelled pistachios, raw and unsalted
  • 2 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 5 large egg yolks, whisked
  • 6 TBS cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 2 to 3 inch strip lime zest
  • 3 TBS unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1 tsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 TBS confectionary sugar

Chop the pistachios in a food processor to medium to fine pieces. Add the chopped nuts to a heavy-bottomed saucepan along with the whole milk. Bring the milk just to a boil over medium heat, remove the pan front he heat and cover. Set aside to steep for 15-20 minutes.

Have the whisked egg yolks ready in a large bowl. In a large heavy saucepan, whisk together the cornstarch, granulated sugar, and salt. Whisk in the coconut milk and add the strip of lime zest. Strain the pistachios from the milk, then add the milk to the saucepan and whisk until combined. Cook over medium-high heat stirring constantly, until bubbling and thick, about 5 minutes. Once the mixture boils, cook for about 2 minutes longer. Remove from the heat. pcc

Slowly and carefully stream one-third of the hot milk mixture into the yolks, whisking constantly to prevent the yolks from cooking. Stream in the remaining hot milk, and then return the mixture to the saucepan. Have a large bowl set aside with a fine-mesh sieve to strain the mixture through. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil, 1-2 minutes. Strain through the sieve, using a spatula to push it through. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent a skin from forming.

Add the butter, 1 TBS at a time until mixed completely. Stir in lime juice. Pour into the prepared crust and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. * They suggested putting cling wrap onto the filling, I keep on forgetting I don’t have any, and it was fine without it.

In an electric mixer, beat the cream on medium speed until soft peaks form. Add the TBS of confectionary sugar and continue to beat on medium-low speed until stiff peaks four. Spread cream over filling, serve and enjoy!


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Chocolate Pretzel Cupcakes

I made these not too long ago because I really liked the sweet-salty aspect that these babies brought to the table. I found this recipe a while back from Me Versus Martha. She added ganache to the cupcakes after the come out of the oven, and had the crushed pretzels under the frosting with the ganache and on the frosting. I only had the thin crisps so I just left them whole. A word to the wise, if you are not serving the cupcakes right away, wait to put on the pretzel, whether crushed or whole, or it will get soggy…

Here is what you need:

THE CHOCOLATE CAKE2012-05-28 19.31.27

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (dark)
  • dash of salt
  • 2 TBS softened butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 eggs, beaten
  • 5/8 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 2 TBS sour cream
  • 1/4 cup freshly brewed coffee

Preheat oven to 350F. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder and salt. Mix together butter and sugar until well-incorporated. Add eggs and vanilla. Add part of the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture until incorporated. Add the sour cream and mix well. Add another part of the flour mixture and combine. Add the coffee. Finish the remaining flour mixture and mix well. Spoon batter into the cupcake liners, 2/3 full. Bake 15-18 minutes.

THE BUTTERCREAM FROSTING 

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2/4 TBS skim milk

Using the paddle on the standard mixer, beat butter on medium/high speed until light and fluffy. Lower to a slow speed to add the sugar, vanilla and milk. Beat until well incorporated.

 


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Honey Lavender Buttercream

I tested these out a couple of weeks ago as a contender for my cousin’s bridal shower. It was a tough choice between this recipe and the mascarpone filling which is just as delicious. The colors for the wedding and shower are purple and silver, and most people pair a lavender flavor when the color purple is involved.

The filling is an elegant paring of honey and lavender that went nicely went with the Vanilla Ganache Macarons. This is one of my own recipes. You do not need a lot of lavender oil because the flavor is so strong; you do not want it to overpower the filling.

INGREDIENTS: 

  • 120 g unsalted butter, room temp
  • 160 g of icing sugar
  • 1 1/5 tsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp food grade lavender oil

Cut the butter into cubes and place into a stand mixer. Beat on med/high until creamy. Add the honey and lavender. Add the sugar 1 cup at a time, fully incorporated before adding the next cup. Place into a pipping bag and pipe onto macaron shells!

Macarons are best served after a day in the fridge for the shells to capture the essence of the filling.

macs


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Strawberry Mascarpone Tart

I started writing this post with good intentions to get out right after Memorial Day. Well, tart1Memorial Day came and went, and I had one of the more stressful weeks of my life. It’s finally Sunday, almost a week later, and I can hang out on my porch watching the sun set with a beer and finally give my blog the love and care it deserves.

So here it goes… I had a lot of leftover mascarpone after the big macaron filling taste test and I have never been one to be wasteful, something I learned from my dad. However, due to my silly mistake of the Honey Mascarpone filling, it left the tart a bit soupy. Oh well, at least it was tasty.

This recipe is off of Leite’s Culinara and for the crust I found these delicious almond crisps if you will from my local grocer.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED: 

Hope you enjoy the view from my fridge!

Hope you enjoy the view from my fridge!

For the crumb crust:

  • 6 TBS butter
  • 9 oz cookies (almond, oat, etc)

For the filling:

  • 1 Large egg
  • 1 TBS sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups mascarpone cheese
  • 2 drops vanilla extract
  • 1/2 to 1/3 pound strawberries

DIRECTIONS: 

Melt the butter in a saucepan and remove from heat. Use a food processor to crush the cookies in a coarse powder. Add the crumbs to the butter and mix well. Press crumbs onto the bottom and the sides of a pie plate/tart pan. Place in the fridge to harden, if you can a few hours.

tart2Since my mascarpone was already pre-made: It had a 1/2 tsp of honey and a 1/2 tsp of vanilla, I forwent the other filling ingredients. You can follow the rest of Leite’s instructions using the hyperlink, but once the crust was set. I poured in the mascarpone and smoothly it out so it was even. Then I placed the strawberries on top of the filling. Set in the fridge until ready to serve.

Like I said earlier, the filling was soupy, but it tasted pretty good. The crust was so incredibly scrumptious, definitely the best part!