Posts tagged ‘baking’

An Inappropriately Happy Game of Thrones Cake

GoT Cake Final

Do you watch Game of Thrones? I do.

Given the trauma of last week’s whimdinger episode, I needed a little pick-me-up for last night’s finale. And so I made this. Thank you, Nicola, for your help! If winter is coming, we might as well get a little cakefat. And obviously we served it with a some extra-creepy blackberry puree.

P.S. I used the sheet cake and berry buttercream recipe from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. It was really, really good. Lots of butter. Recommended!

Baked Love Comes in All Forms

So here I am, sorting through pictures for today’s post about a our trip to the Christmas tree farm. And BAM there’s a pic, there’s another one, and holy hell a third pic! All food porn. All of them baked last week. Here’s what you can expect to hear from The Hipster Home soon…

Chocolate Chip Cookies Chicken Pot PIe Baked Eggs with Bacon, Caramelized Onion and Gruyere

Chocolate chip cookies, chicken pot pie and baked eggs with bacon, caramelized onion, garlic and jalapeno and greyere. And they tasted every bit as good as they look!

An Illustrated Guide to French Laundry Shortbread

This is a hard recipe. It is incredibly simple but also probably the most light-handed recipe I’ve ever made. The problem is it’s simplicity and delicacy, which is also what makes the end result so amazing.

Behold: Thomas Keller‘s French Laundry Shortbread. If you’d just like to full recipe, go to Chef’s Blade (if you have a baking scale) or Epicurious (if you don’t). Or you can follow along below…

An aside: thanks to the Mr. for allowing me to spend his Williams-Sonoma gift card to buy a baking scale. Which I use all the time!

Ingredients

To start, measure out:

  • 8 oz. all purpose flour
  • 2 3/4 oz.  caster sugar
  • 5 1/2 oz. ROOM TEMP unsalted butter, chopped into pieces

You’ll also need a vanilla pod*.

THAT’S IT. 4 ingredients, seriously. You will also want some coarse see salt to add that special magical kick. So I guess 5 ingredients.

Sift

First you’ll want to pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Then dump the flour and sugar into a sifter of some sort and shake. One pass works great to make a fluffy base.

Vanilla Bean

Take out that ole vanilla bean and slice through one side of it just enough to expose the seedy center. Use the back of your knife to scrap out the black seeds. Add the insides to the flour/sugar mixture.

Mix

Here comes the tricky part: add the butter. You’ll want to massage it in, “rub the flour into the butter until incorporated” says Chef’s Blade. But don’t over do it! It should make some loose ball-y clumps. Then you have the joy of trying to make some sort of a ball out of it in the bowl. I’ve had the most success pressing it together then adding the remainder, pressed clump by pressed clump down on a lightly floured surface.

The Chef’s Blade recipe says to not overwork the dough, but that’s a tough call. How do you know it’s overworked? It’s almost impossible to make a cohesive ball out of this stuff so have patience and don’t be afraid to keep shaping and pressing it together.

Once you get it all out on that floured surface, roll it out. Using a heavy rolling pin, it definitely starts to come together even more. So keep up with that patience. When you get to a half-inch thick, stop. I used my blunt knife edge to press together the ragged edges.

Cut

Cut into longish rectangles and gently place on a baking sheet using a spatula. Sparingly sprinkle some coarse sea salt onto the tops. Put into the oven and bake for 15 minutes. I like mine toasty golden, so I flip the pan around and bake for another 10 minutes.

Done

We brought these to a family Thanksgiving and they turned out great! I packed the perfect cookies on the bottom so pay no attention to the few wonky ones on top in this pic. I’ll have to purchase more vanilla beans and try, try, try again but man, this a simple recipe that pays off in spades.

*PRO TIP: If you live in San Francisco’s Mission district, the people that opened the newish ice cream shop Xanath Ice Cream are also heavy into vanilla and saffron import/export. They’ve been handing out whole vanilla bean pods as a promotion for the ice cream shop. If you see them handing something out in front of the store at 20th and Valencia, STOP AND TAKE IT. You will not be sorry. And presto, you automatically have all ingredients for this recipe!

Overhyped Food of the Moment

Cupcakes.

You know what’s better than a cupcake? A WHOLE GODDAMED CAKE.

Each bite is different. You have cake and frosting and cake and frosting again! Best of all, there is no last bite that is just the crummy butt. There’s a reason Larry David made an entire Seinfeld episode about that close bastard brother of the cupcake called the muffin. You know the episode. Jerry & co spend the whole time trying to dispose of bags FULL of crappy muffin butts because everyone loves muffin top. I dare to suggest people only eat cupcakes for the tops as well. And you know what? A well made cake is like BITE AFTER BITE of cupcake tops!

Also a CAKE is a collective experience. You share a whole cake with people, friends. And you can eat just a sliver or a gigantic slice and not feel guilty. But the cupcake? You eat one. Or two and feel like a  cow. But with a cake, it’s easy to negotiate around the serving size.

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It was these feelings that brought me to check out a book from the library called 500 Cakes, alleging it was the only cake compendium I’d ever need. I’ve since made 2 recipes from it and while I shant RAVE about it, the results were pretty good. Both the recipes aren’t actually for cakes in the classic sense but ended up being more like loaf breads and were both devoured at the Mr.’s office! The easy lime loaf cake was moist and delicious but didn’t look anything like the picture. (Clearly the food stylist thought the lime glaze was groody looking.) Today I’ll be sharing with you the recipe for the…

Apple & Cinnamon Loaf Cake

adapted from 500 Cakes

Ingredients
  • 1 stick butter, room temp
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 extra large eggs (or 2 large eggs plus 1 tablespoon additional egg)
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 small apples, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 4 tablespoon jelly of choice (I used plum, they suggested apricot)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a loaf pan and line the bottom with waxed or parchment paper.

Mix

Beat together the butter and sugar until creamy. Taste test to make sure the butter and sugar isn’t rancid. Hmm, not sure? Have another little taste. YUM.  Beat in the sour cream and cinnamon. Beat in each egg and sift the flour, baking powder and salt over the top. Fold it together until a relatively smooth batter.

First Half Single Layer

Spread half the batter in your loaf pan. Put a generous layer (or two) of apples down. Add the remaining batter and smoosh another layer of apples on the top. You’ll be able to see it, so if you’re at all anal retentive, make sure it looks good. (Note If you’re not using jelly to top the baked loaf, I’d recommend putting a little butter on the top layer of apples as they got very dried out in the oven.

Ready to Go Baked

Bake for an hour until the loaf passes the toothpick test (a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle). Let the cake cool and remove from the pan once cool enough to handle.

Gory Slice

Heat the jelly in a small pan until hot, then brush over the still-warm cake to glaze. Totally cut and eat and enjoy!

Oh this won’t be the last of the cake posts. Expect more. Many more. What kind should I next tackle?

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