>> Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I know it's September and summer is gone, but we recently had a heat wave.  We took this opportunity to have one more taste of summer and started with an Agua Fresca recipe, but ditched it last minute.  Instead we made Watermelonade!  In short, we cubed a ton of watermelon, stuck it in the blender, added some sugar, and chilled it.  We originally tried to strain it, but it wasn't straining very well.  All the better, I love when my fruit juice is pulpy/meaty!

Approximately 4-5 cups of watermelon (seeded and cubed)  We used a seedless watermelon to make this step easier
1-2 cups of water, as required to help the watermelon blend
Sugar to taste
Mint leaves for garnish

  1. Fill a blender with cubed watermelon.  Add a little water to help the watermelon blend.  We used less water so that we could get a stronger watermelon flavor.
  2. (Optional) Filter the watermelonade using a strainer.  The unfiltered drink has a thicker consistency.
  3. Add sugar.  We used 1 tablespoon of sugar for every cup of watermelonade.  The sweeter the watermelon, the less sugar you need to add!
  4. Serve chilled, with a sprig of mint to garnish


Bad A$$ Blueberry Muffins

>> Monday, September 27, 2010

Blueberry Muffins, originally uploaded by Dessert Night.

How do I capture that last taste of sweet, summer bliss? Store bought blueberries are a passable substitute for the pounds of pick your own blueberries I just enjoyed last month. This muffin batter is uncommonly thick and gooey. The batter is so thick, you have to wonder how the blueberries don't get crushed in the folding process. The result is delightful. No rock hard muffins posing as paper weights here! The first bite is that AH-HA moment you’ve been waiting for - a touch of a crunchy-cinnamon-sweet-crumble topping, followed by a burst of tart blueberries mixed with the delectable soft, moist cake. Where have you been my whole life?

The recipe has been adapted from here

Ingredients for 8 muffins

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1 cup fresh blueberries (plus a few for munching while you wait)
1/2 cup white sugar
dash of cinnamon

Crumble Topping
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons softened butter, cubed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
  2. To make the batter, mix together flour, sugar, salt and baking powder with a dash of cinnamon. Add the vegetable oil, milk and egg to the dry ingredients and mix together. Fold in the blueberries.
  3. For the crumble, in a separate bowl, mix together sugar, flour, butter, and teaspoons cinnamon.
  4. Fill the muffin cups with the batter and top with the crumble topping.
  5. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the oven.


Chocolate Cupcakes... with Beets?

>> Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Vegan cupcakes came to my attention, at least twice in the last week.  I'm intrigued by the idea of a vegan cupcake, although I am in no way a vegan.  Then today I came across spring around the bend's can't be beet chocolate cupcakes and I think DN may have to try that one out because I LOVE beets.  I'm not too keen on buying beet powder, but maybe, just maybe I will so I can try that cupcake.  Anyway, I'm in the market for a basic, moist, and very delicious white cake (for cupcakes) recipe.  I think I found some today that I will try, but that adventure will have to wait until next week perhaps.

Before I head to bed, I do want to say I love the idea behind spring around the bend's blog: cooking with home grown ingredients... in DC!  Right around the area from DN!  I like when I come across local blogs of local people.


Congrats to Tina and Joel!

>> Friday, September 10, 2010

DessertNight would like to congratulate our friends Tina and Joel who got married last weekend! They are one of the coolest couples and they are so cute together! They had a beautiful wedding reception at the Hyatt overlooking Baltimore Inner Harbor, and their cake was delicious! I had a slice of the white cake with raspberry filling, which was heaven.  In fact a couple of people had to get seconds.  Many blessings to the happy couple!


Really-Red Red Velvet

>> Thursday, September 2, 2010

I wonder if Red Velvet wasn't red and was perhaps just velvet, would it be as popular and delicious and loved as it is?  I honestly don't understand why a red cake is so popular and loved.  I just don't see someone creating the exact same cake but with orange food coloring, calling it Orange Delight, and it being as popular as Red Velvet (although Orange Delight does sound like Chinese food because it probably IS a Chinese dish somewhere).

Anyway, it was recently Travis' (AKA Jen's husband, DN's flickr uploader and sometimes ingredient picker upper) birthday and we wanted to surprise him with a birthday cake.  Red Velvet (which I will from here on refer to as RV) seemed like a good idea because good RV is really good.
We did our research and picked a recipe for the cake.  We had SUCH high hopes for this cake, at least I did.  It was supposed to be better than any RV I could buy. 

I'll admit, I DID over whip the frosting just a bit.  I think next time I over whip cream (Yeah yeah, I have done it before), I am just going to keep going and make butter.  BUT still, our RV was a FAIL.  So much... unrealized potential.  The cake was off -- next time we'll double or triple the amount of cocoa powder as we couldn't taste anything cocoa in it.  The frosting was WEIRD -- the taste and texture was grainy gross.  I really recommend against using Mascarpone cheese for the frosting.  Next time we will stick to the traditional cream cheese frosting.  *Sigh*.  And worst of all?  No one wanted seconds!

While it was a fail, I will say the cake tasted better on the subsequent days.  And hey, I think it was Jen's first time cutting layers!  Anyway, Travis seemed to think it was good and I hope appreciated our efforts (he honestly thought it was good).  I feel a need for redemption, however!

The recipe we used from Joy of Baking:


Red Velvet Cake:
2 1/2 cups (250 grams) sifted cake flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons (15 grams) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups (300 grams) granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup (240 ml) buttermilk
2 tablespoons liquid red food coloring
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda
Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 1/2 (360 ml) cups heavy whipping cream
1 - 8 ounce (227 grams) cream cheese, room temperature
1 - 8 ounce (227 grams) tub of Mascarpone cheese, room temperature
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup (115 grams) confectioners' (icing or powdered) sugar, sifted


Red Velvet Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Butter two - 9 inch (23 cm) round cake pans and line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl sift together the flour, salt, and cocoa powder. Set aside.
In bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until soft (about 1-2 minutes). Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla extract and beat until combined.
In a measuring cup whisk the buttermilk with the red food coloring. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk to the butter mixture, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour.
In a small cup combine the vinegar and baking soda. Allow the mixture to fizz and then quickly fold into the cake batter. 
Working quickly, divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans and smooth the tops with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 25 - 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean. Cool the cakes in their pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Place a wire rack on top of the cake pan and invert, lifting off the pan. Once the cakes have completely cooled, wrap in plastic and place the cake layers in the freezer for at least an hour. (This is done to make filling and frosting the cakes easier.)
Cream Cheese Frosting: In your food processor, or with a hand mixer, process the cream cheese and mascarpone cheese until smooth. Add the vanilla and confectioners sugar and process until smooth. Transfer this mixture to a large mixing bowl.
Then, in the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, whip the cream until stiff peaks form. With a large spatula, gently but quickly fold a little of the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture to lighten it. Then fold in the remaining whipped cream, in two stages. If the frosting is not thick enough to spread, cover and place in the refrigerator for an hour, or until it is firm enough to spread.
Assemble: With a serrated knife, cut each cake layer in half, horizontally. You will now have four cake layers. Place one of the cake layers, top of the cake facing down, onto your serving platter. Spread the cake layer with a layer of frosting.  Place another layer of cake on top of the frosting and continue to frost and stack the cake layers. Frost the top and sides of the cake. Can garnish the cake with sweetened or unsweetened coconut
Makes one - 9 inch (23 cm) four layer cake.

Read more: http://www.joyofbaking.com/RedVelvetCake.html#ixzz0yQkPhw3V


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