The Mad Cake Batter

sweet treats and savory deets


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Pistachio Layer Cake

My parents were coming in for a St. Patty’s celebration where my Aunt wanted to turn it into a St.Patty’s/Dad’s birthday. My dad is a huge fanatic when its comes to all things pistachio so this cake immediately popped into my mind, and I wanted to do it right… aka the Milkbar way.

I’m not going to lie, this was one of the more expensive cakes I have ever created.  You need buy both pistachio paste and oil, and if you want good quality paste, you have to put in some dough, pun intended. I also had to buy gelatin and acetate which wasn’t bad. Each came to about $9 and change on Amazon.

I did one recipe for three 6-inch cake tins. As I have said before, what’s great about Milkbar, is that you can make their cakes in parts. I was able to make the milk crumb and lemon curd earlier in the week and have it sit in the refrigerator until I was ready to put the cake together.

The cake came out beautifully and my dad really appreciated the cake. It is definitely one I would make again but maybe not too soon since I would have to buy some more paste…

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MILK CRUMB

  • 1/2 cup milk powder
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 TBS arrowroot
  • 2 TBS sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 TBS butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup milk powder
  • 3 oz white chocolate, melted

Preheat the oven to 250F. In a bowl, toss the 1/2 cup milk powder, flour, arrowroot, sugar and salt. Add the melted butter and toss with your hands. The mixture will start become together in small clusters.

On a silpat baking sheet, evenly spread out the clusters and bake for 20 minutes. Allow to cool completely. Break down and crumb clusters that are over a 1/2 inch and put in a medium bowl. Add the remaining milk powder and melted white chocolate and toss until the white chocolate hardens and the clusters are no longer sticky. Keep the crumb in an airtight container.

LEMON CURD

  • 3 lemons
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 gelatin sheet
  • 8 TBS cold butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Zest the lemons with the box-grater.  Milkbar makes a note to grate down as far down as the yellow part of the skin, and then squeeze 1/3 of lemon juice. In a blender, combine the sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice until the sugar has dissolved. Add the eggs and blend on low. Transfer the mixture to a medium saucepan and clean the blender.

In a medium bowl, soak a sheet of gelatin in cold water. The gelatin has “bloomed” when it has become soft, after about two minutes. Make sure you keep an eye on it. If there is still hard bits, it needs to soak longer. If it is falling apart, it is too soft. You will have to discard the gelatin and start again. Remove excess water by gently squeezing it.

On low heat, whisk the lemon mixture. It will begin to thicken and once it boils, remove it from heat and transfer to the blender. Add the gelatin, butter, and salt. Blend until the mixture is thick and super smooth. Pour mixture into a fine-mesh sieve into a heat-proof container. Place in the fridge until completely cooled, at least 30 minutes.

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PISTACHIO FROSTING

  • 8 TBS butter, room temperature
  • 3 – 4 cup confectionary sugar
  • 3/4 cup pistachio paste
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Milkbar uses 1/4 cup sugar, but I normally have to add more for consistency and I don’t normally feel like I have enough to make layers. Either way, combine the butter and confectionary sugar in a standard mixer with a paddle attachment. Cream on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes.

Add the pistachio paste and salt. Mix on low speed for 30 seconds and then pick it up to medium-high speed for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. If the mixture is not cohesive, mix on high for another minute. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge for a week.

PISTACHIO CAKE

  • 2/3 cup pistachio paste
  • 3 TBS glucose
  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 3/4 cup confectionary sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup pistachio oil
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

Preheat oven 350F and have 3 prepared cake tins. I used coconut oil and parchment paper for the bottom. In a standard mixer, with a paddle attachment, combine the pistachio paste and glucose on medium-low for 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Reduce the speed to low, add the egg whites, one at a time. Make sure the egg whites are fully incorporated before adding the next. Add the confectionary sugar and almond flour. Mix on low speed for 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add in the pistachio oil and heavy cream. Mix on low for about a minute.

Scrape down the sides of bowl with a spatula and add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix on low for 2-3 minutes or until the batter is smooth. Evenly divide the batter into the three cake tins and bake for 20-22 minutes. I had to bake mine a bit more because the cake did not come out clean on a knife. The cake will rise in the middle and the edges should be spongey to the touch. When the knife does come out clean, remove the cakes from the oven and have them cool on wire racks.

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ASSEMBLE THE CAKE

I do not have a 6 inch cake ring, as suggested, so I did this all using acetate. On a cardboard cake platter, place the first cake layer in the middle. Using a serrated knife, even out the top and fit a clear piece of acetate around the cake. Using a pastry brush, give a healthy layer of pistachio oil on the cake. Spread half of the lemon curd evenly over the cake and sprinkle a third of the milk crumb on the curd. Use the back of your hand to firmly set the crumbs. Spread a third of the frosting on top of the curd/crumb mixture.

For the second cake layer, I flattened out the top before putting in onto the first layer of cake. Then added the second layer of acetate to build the stack. Go back and follow the complete instructions for the first layer of cake.

For the final layer, cut the top of the cake so it is flat. Firmly set it in the frosting of the second layer of cake, and cover the top with the remaining  amount of frosting and garnish with the remaining milk crumb. Cover the top of the cake with plastic wrap and transfer to the freezer for a minimum of 12 hours to set the cake. At least 3 hours before serving, remove the cake from the freezer and gently remove the acetate and then place it in the refrigerator for defrosting. Serve and enjoy!


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Strawberry Lemon Bars

slb2My roommate is allergic to chocolate. So when we were deciding what treats to bring down the shore, I usually make sure there is something for her to eat. I’m nice like that…

This recipe came from K&K Test Kitchen. My bars did not come out nearly as pink as the ones on K&K blog, but they were pretty good. I am a fan of lemon bars but I may have added a little more to get the “lemon bar” texture for next time.

THE CRUST

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • slb11/2 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt

THE FILLING

  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 2-3 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/2 strawberry puree
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350F and prepare a 9×13-inch baking pan. In a standard mixer, cream together sugar and butter, until smooth and fluffy. Reduce to a low speed, and gradually beat in flour and salt until mixture slbis crumbly. Press into an even layer in the greased pan. Bake for about 17 minutes, until set at the edges.

Puree the strawberries (about 3/4 cup to make 1/2 cup).  Pour in the standard mixer with the lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar and eggs and process until smooth. Add in flour, baking powder and salt, then pulse until smooth.

Gently pour the filling over the crust. Return pan to oven and bake for 23-26 minutes, until the filling is set. Sprinkle the bars with some powdered sugar.


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Blueberry Lemon Macarons

“In everyone’s life, a little rain must fall.”

The words my boyfriend told me after making this version of macarons. The last time I made macs, I used the recipe from Bravetart. It cut baking time significantly, however, my taste testers said they preferred the Pierre Herme recipe because they were “gooeier.”

I decided I was going to conduct some experiments this time around. Instead of 115 grams of Almond flour from the BraveTart recipe, I would use 200g. Pierre’s recipe has 300 grams Almond flour to 300 grams confectionary sugar so I thought 200 grams to 230 g was a good idea. Well, the shells were definitely softer, but almost all them cracked. I could blame this on a few things. Instead, I am just going to chalk it up as a failed attempt.

macs3Obviously, I haven’t found the right ratio. I want to incorporate what I learned from both recipes. I may try next the 1:1 ratio for flour and sugar, but keep the egg white process from Bravetart and see how I fare… To be continued.

My second experiment was using natural food coloring. Since these were going to be a blueberry lemon, I pureed some blueberries in a blender. I started off with a small amount because I didn’t want to overdo it. The puree turned the dough into a soft blue. A complete surprise since it was a dark purple? But hey, good to know for the future.

MACARON SHELLS:

  • 200 g Almond flour
  • 230 g Confectionary sugar
  • 144 g egg whites
  • 72 g sugar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup blueberry puree

Preheat oven to 300F. Sift the almond flour and powdered sugar into a large bowl. Set aside. In a standard mixer with the whisk attachment, add the egg whites, sugar, and salt. Beat on medium (level 4) for three minutes. Increase speed to a level 6 for another three minutes. Then increase the speed to a level 8 for another 3 minutes. Add the puree and mix at level 8 for another minute.

macs1Fold in the egg whites to the flour mixture to break down the egg whites. Put the batter in a pipping bag and pipe on a prepared baking sheet. Bake for 14-18 minutes. Since my oven gets super hot, I put a wooden spatula between the door of the oven to let moisture escape. It is supposed to prevent the shells from cracking which they still continued to do. Whomp.

BLUEBERRY LEMON FROSTING

  • 1/2 -1 squeezed lemon
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1 stick butter
  • 3 cups confectionary sugar

In a standard mixer using the paddle attachment beat the butter on high until it becomes light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides using a spatula and add the blueberry puree and 1 cup of confectionary sugar. Mix until well incorporated. Add confectionary sugar cup one at a time until the buttercream starts to take shape. Pipe frosting into cooled shells and store in freezer in an air-tight container. Allow macarons to sit in the fridge for at least a half hour before serving.


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Lemon Poppy Muffins

Hallelujah! The weather is finally starting to warm up! Even though it wasn’t a long winter, it surely felt like it was at the end there. Enough about the weather, onto better things. Spring time for me is about breaking into lighter clothes and eating fresh fruit. My roommate and I have been a real lemon kick lately, lemon water detox anyone? Which brings me today’s post, Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins.

I have always loved lemon poppy-seed baked goods for some reason, and I have had this cookbook, Bouchon Bakery for some time now. If you are familiar with the book, it is ginormous, and it take a while to get through it, but as soon as I came across this recipe I knew I had to make these muffins right away.

I made these with a Blueberry Almond Streusel Muffin which will be in a later post, and which is why they are photographed together. 🙂

lemonINGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/4 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 + 1/8 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup + 3 TBS sugar
  •  1/2 cup + 3 TBS Eggs
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla paste
  • 6.8 oz melted butter
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 TBS lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 tsp poppy seeds

Sift the cake flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl. Whisk to combine. In a standard mixer, combine the eggs, sugar and vanilla paste and mix well. Add the dry ingredients in two shifts, and mix until just combined. Add the butter with the mixer still on and mix until the batter is smooth. Fold in the lemon zest and poppy seeds. Transfer the batter to a covered container and refrigerate overnight.

By putting the batter in the freezer, it allows the dough to rest which in turn results in moist muffins. Another good point is that this method you will have fresh-baked muffins in the morning, and believe me, it is much appreciated by your consumers.

Preheat the oven to 425F. Line the muffin pan and spoon the batter evenly into the papers. This probably goes without saying, but If you do the freezer method, this batter is soft enough to spoon into the papers. They may look a little funky before going in the oven but once the batter warms up, the muffins level out. Bake for about 34 minutes (start watching them around the 30 min mark). Set the pan on a cooling rack immediately.


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Lemon Chia Almond Bites

It was a long day… I had to go into work early and found out I didn’t get a job that I cookiesinterviewed for two weeks prior. I thought of doing nothing else but baking something sweet. I saw this little recipe from  Clean food dirty city on instagram and it was a perfect little pick me up.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 cup almond flour/meal
  • 2 1/2 TBS coconut oil, melted
  • 2 TBS honey (the original says maple syrup)
  • 1/4 lemon zest
  • 1 TBS chia seeds
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350F. Combine all ingredients together. Use a tablespoon to scoop the mixture and roll into balls. Place on baking sheet and use a fork to gently press down on the cookies. Bake 12-15 min or until cookies to turn golden.