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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Blueberry bread with lemon glaze

It's a shame.

I had some really great pictures for this post that I took with my new iPhone 4S, but they seem to be lost in cyberspace. Not sure where they went after I plugged my phone in to iTunes. All I know is they're not on my phone and not on my computer. Can any of you techies help a gal out?

This recipe is too good not to post, though, so I'll post anyway without pics. My sweetie, Teddy, lives in Chicago, so I like to bake him sweet treats when I see him. Last weekend we met halfway in the Wisconsin Dells, so I baked him some blueberry bread and added a little twist by adding lemon zest and topping with lemon glaze. A perfect summery mix of flavors.

Blueberry bread with lemon glaze

1 1/2 C packed brown sugar
1/2 C canola oil
1 egg
3/4 C skim milk
1/4 C half & half
1 T lemon juice
1 t vanilla extract
2 1/2 C all-purpose flour
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 1/2 C fresh blueberries
Zest from one lemon

For the glaze:

2 C powdered sugar
2 T whole milk
2 T melted butter
1 t lemon extract

Preheat the oven to 350 and spray two loaf pans with non-stick cooking spray.

First prepare your buttermilk.  In a liquid measuring cup or small bowl, combine skim milk, half & half, and lemon juice.  Stir and let stand for at least five minutes.

In a large bowl combine brown sugar, oil, and egg. 
Mix until well-combined and smooth.  Stir in your vanilla and buttermilk mixture.  Next, add your dry ingredients to the wet mixture - flour, baking soda, and salt.  Mix until well-combined and smooth.

Fold your blueberries and lemon zest in to the batter.

Pour half of the batter in to one of the loaf pans and the rest in to the other loaf pan. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

For the glaze, mix all ingredients until smooth.  Add milk as needed so that the glaze will drizzle evenly on to the bread.  Once the bread is completely cool, drizzle on a dollop of glaze.  Let glaze harden.

No pics, but I insist, it's very delicious!



Friday, April 13, 2012

Birthday Cake! (Yellow with Chocolate Frosting)

This blog post is long overdue. My stepmom's birthday was February 4, over two months ago now, and as a special birthday treat I went over to their house and prepared a good home-cooked meal.

What was on the menu?

  • Fennel-rubbed pork tenderloin (I've never worked with fennel before, and it was a tad intimidating, but it turned out DELICIOUS. Ever since I first had the fennel fries at Bulldog Northeast I've been completely obsessed)
  • Garlic mashed potatoes (skin on)
  • Steamed green beans with toasted almonds, butter, and lemon juice

And the VERY BEST BIRTHDAY CAKE! Yellow cake from scratch with chocolate buttercream frosting.

I've attempted to white/yellow cakes from scratch several times before without much satisfaction. They've never been bad, but they've never been keepers, either.

This recipe is a keeper, no doubt.

Very Best Birthday Cake, from Smitten Kitchen

4 C + 2 T cake flour
2 t baking powder
1-1/2 t baking soda
1 t table salt
2 sticks butter, softened
2 C sugar
2 t vanilla extract
4 eggs, at room temp.
2 C buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350, and spray 2 round pans - 9 inches in diameter - with non-stick cooking spray.

Sift together your dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy, the beat in vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

At low speed,  beat in buttermilk until just combined. It's okay if the batter looks a bit curdled.

Add your dry mixture in three additions, mixing after each addition until just combined.

Pour batter evenly in to both prepared pans. Holding the pans a few inches above the counter, drop each pan individually a few times in order to remove air bubbles that may be hangin' out in the batter.

Bake for 35-40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Allow to cool in pans for a bit, then remove the cakes from the pans and allow to cool completely.  If your cake is even a little warm, the frosting will melt all over, and you'll have one BIG mess on your hands (and an ugly cake).

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting, from Nestle Toll House

3 C powdered sugar
2/3 C cocoa
1 stick butter
6 T milk
1 t vanilla

Beat 1 C powedered sugar, cocoa, butter, 2 T milk, and vanilla. Gradually beat in remaining milk and sugar until creamy.

To frost: 

Layer cakes are a bit tricky to frost, and it really does take some practice. Not that I should be the one to talk, because I'm far from a pro cake-froster.  Flip one of your cakes upside down on the plate on which you'd like to serve the cake. Start by frosting the flat surface facing up (which is the bottom of the cake). Put a big ol' dollop on the top and spread evenly with a knife.

Place your other cake upside down on top of the bottom cake. Put another big ol' dollop on the top and spread. Then, using hefty scoops of frosting, frost the sides.