Monday, June 22, 2015

Bon Appetit Desserts: Parsnip Spice Cake with Ginger-Cream Cheese Frosting

I don't think that I have ever eaten a parsnip. I may have mentioned before, I am a very picky eater. I didn't want to try this cake, because the parsnip put me off a bit. However, my nerves were settled when I realized they're just like white carrots. When I began shredding the parsnips, a beautiful and subtle spicy scent filled the air. At that point, I was sold on the parsnips. By the end of the shredding, I looked like I had been shaping surfboards. There were white pieces of parsnip all over the place!

I suggest that you allow this to set for 24 hours. At first bite, the parsnips were still a bit toothsome. After I allowed the cake to chill for 24 hours, everything was soft and delicious! This cake certainly is spicy and I like it!

Parsnip Spice Cake with Ginger-Cream Cheese Frosting

1-1/2    cups unbleached all purpose flour

1          cup sugar

1          tablespoon ground ginger

2          teaspoons baking powder

1/4       teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4       teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon salt

3/4       teaspoon ground nutmeg

3/4       teaspoon ground allspice

3/4       teaspoon ground cloves

3          large eggs

1/2       cup canola oil or other vegetable oil

1/2       cup whole milk

1-1/2    teaspoons vanilla extract, divided

2          cups (packed) shredded peeled parsnips (about 3 large)

1/2       cup walnuts, toasted, chopped

4          ounces Philadelphia-brand cream cheese, room temperature

2          tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

2          teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger

3          cups (about 12 ounces) powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Butter and flour 13x9x2-inch metal baking pan. Combine flour, 1 cup sugar, ground ginger, baking powder, cinnamon, 3/4 teaspoon salt, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves in large bowl; whisk to combine. Whist eggs, oil, milk, and 1 teaspoon vanilla in medium bowl to combine. Pour egg mixture over dry ingredients; stir until just combined. Stir in parsnips and walnuts. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool cake completely in pan on rack.

Beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl until smooth. Beat in fresh ginger and remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Gradually add powdered sugar and beat until frosting is smooth. Spread over cake.

DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Bon Appetit Desserts: Carrot Cake with Buttermilk Glaze and Cinnamon-Cream Cheese Frosting

This carrot cake is a delight! It is jam packed with carrots, pineapple, coconut, and pecans. Sounds great, right? However, for me, it is the frosting that steals the show. The frosting is amazing! That subtle hint of brown sugar really comes through. This cake was a big hit with a group of friends. I hope that you enjoy it too!

Carrot Cake with Buttermilk Glaze and Cinnamon-Cream Cheese Frosting


2          cups unbleached all purpose flour

2          teaspoons baking soda

2          teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2       teaspoon salt

1-1/2    cups sugar

3/4       cup buttermilk

3/4       cup vegetable oil

1          teaspoon vanilla extract

2          cups coarsely grated peeled carrots

1-1/2    cups sweetened flaked coconut

1          8-ounce can crushed pineapple in juice

1          cup coarsely chopped pecans


1          cup sugar

1/2       cup buttermilk

1/2       cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, diced

1          tablespoon light corn syrup

1-1/2    teaspoons baking soda

1          teaspoon vanilla extract


1-1/2    8-ounce packages Philadelphia-brand cream cheese, room temperature

1/2       cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

1          1-pound box powdered sugar

2          tablespoons (packed) brown sugar

1-1/2    teaspoons vanilla extract

1          teaspoon ground cinnamon

CAKE: Preheat oven to 350ºF. Brush 13x9x2-inch metal baking pan with vegetable oil; dust with flour. Whisk flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in medium bowl. Beat sugar, eggs, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla in large bowl until smooth. Beat in dry ingredients, Fold in carrots, coconut, pineapple with juice, and pecans. Transfer batter to prepared pan. (I used 4 medium carrots and 1 large carrot to get the 2 cups of grated carrot, but I would say that 2-3 large carrots will do the trick.)

Bake cake 30 minutes. Tent loosely with foil. Continue to bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 15 minutes longer. Remove from oven. Using bamboo skewer, poke deep holes all over cake. (I used a cake pop stick to make my holes.)

GLAZE: Meanwhile, bring sugar, buttermilk, butter, corn syrup, and baking soda to boil in large saucepan (This is very important because the baking soda causes the mixture to expand and become very puffy and it will overflow if you use a smaller pan. I am definitely speaking from experience.), stirring until sugar dissolves. Boil until glaze is deep amber color, whisking often, 3 to 4 minutes (glaze will thin out when almost done). Remove from heat; mix in vanilla.

Spoon hot glaze evenly over warm cake. Cool cake completely in pan.

FROSTING: Beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl until fluffy. Add powdered sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon; beat until blended. Spread frosting over cooled cake in pan.

DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

Monday, June 15, 2015

My Bon Appetit Journey: One year of Bon Appetit Recipes

For the last year, I have been baking my way through the Bon Appetit Desserts Cookbook. I have always wanted to do something like this and since I have essentially been baking my entire life, I thought, why not jump in?

The last year has been fun and I shall continue with my cookbook efforts. This process should honestly take me over 12 years to complete. There are 631 pages in this book. I have already gone through the entire book and marked each year off, so that I can see what I am supposed to be doing.

What does year two hold? More cakes!! Year three? Some more cakes, cheesecakes, and pies! I am looking forward to year eight, which will be filled with ice creams, granitas, sorbets and the like... or maybe it's years eleven and twelve with cookies and candy!

I didn't make it to 52 recipes, but 23 is a pretty good effort!

Follow the links below, to take to you each of the recipes baked, in the last year:

1. Classic Pound Cake *

2. Deep Chocolate Pound Cake

3. Kumquat-Cardamom Tea Bread *

4. Hot Fudge Banana Pound Cake

5. Cornmeal Pound Cake with Rosemary Syrup, Poached pears, and Candied Rosemary *

6. Vanilla Chiffon Cake *

7. Angel Food Cake with Strawberry-Blueberry Sauce *

8. Orange-and Vanilla-Scented Bundt Cake

9. Apple-Spice Cake with Brown Sugar Glaze *

10. Maple-Walnut Cake with Maple Glaze *

11. Raspberry-Yogurt Cake

12. Coconut Bundt Cake with Powdered Sugar Glaze *

13. Almond Butter Crown

14. Chocoloate-Apricot Kugelhopf with Chocolate Swirl Whipped Cream

15. Blueberry Coffee Cake

16. Spiced Crumble Cake With Chocolate Frosting

17. Sour Cream-Orange Coffee Cake with Chocolate-Pecan Streusel

18. Poppy Seed Coffee Cake with Cardamom Streusel *

19. Raisin Streusel Cake *

20. Cherry-Vanilla Tea Cake with Vanilla Sugar *

21. Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake

22. Chocolate-Pecan Coffee Cake *

23. Texas Sheet Cake

*Family, friend, and neighbor standouts!!

I have enjoyed many of these cakes myself, but a couple that really stand out are the Kumquat-Cardamom Tea Cake, the Cherry-Vanilla Tea Cake with Vanilla Sugar, and the Coconut Bundt Cake with Powdered Sugar Glaze. Mmm mmm mmm!

I hope that you try a few of these recipes out. If you do, let me know what you think about them! I'll continue to bake my way through the Bon Appetit Desserts cookbook. It's going to be great!

Also, if you are interested in baking fair trade, I get my chocolate chips and my cocoa from Equal Exchange. Check them out! They sell a lot of great items. If you are in the mood for other fun chocolates (rice, quinoa, or sugar), check out Alter Eco.

** Remember that you are able to print these recipes out, by clicking on a link and scrolling down to the bottom of that post and clicking on the print button.**

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Bon Appetit Desserts: Texas Sheet Cake

If you can believe it, I started my Bon Appetit Desserts Journey just over a year ago. I set out to make one recipe per week. That was quite the goal. Even though I love baking, it was just too large of a task while working full time and trying to have a life (I work more than an hour away from my home, so a lot of free time is spent traveling to and from work). Baking a Bon Appetit dessert once a week is also quite expensive. To date, I have made 23 of the 52 recipes that I had hoped to make this year. I will be posting a list of all of the recipes that I have made, in the next few days.

The recipe for the 23rd cake is below, Texas Sheet Cake!

Texas Sheet Cake


1-2/3      cups unbleached all purpose flour

2/3         cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder

3/4         teaspoon baking soda

3/4         teaspoon salt

1-1/2      cups sugar

3/4         cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

2            large eggs

1            teaspoon vanilla extract

1            cup hot water


2/3         cup heavy whipping cream

2            tablespoons sugar

6            ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (do not exceed        
              61% cacao), chopped

2            tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1-1/4      cups coarsely chopped pecans, toasted

CAKE: Preheat oven to 350ºF. Butter and flour 13x9x2-inch metal cake pan. Whisk flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in vanilla. beat in half of dry ingredients, then 1 cup hot water, then remaining dry ingredients. Transfer batter to prepared pan; smooth top. Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. (Mine took 30, adjust time if needed.) Cool cake in pan on rack.

GLAZE: Bring cream and sugar to boil in heavy medium saucepan. Remove from heat and add chocolate and butter. Let stand 5 minutes; whisk until smooth. Drizzle half of glaze over cake; sprinkle with pecans. Drizzle with remaining glaze. Cool until glaze is set.

DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

Cut cake into squares and serve.

Bon Appetit says: There are lots of ways to change up the topping, such as adding coarsely crushed toffee bars, chocolate-coated espresso beans, or toasted coconut; or add mini marshmallows and toasted walnuts for a rocky road rendition.

I did not have enough pecans, so I added toasted coconut to my topping.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Bon Appetit Desserts: Chocolate-Pecan Coffee Cake

Wow! It has been a long while since I have been able to bake and post a recipe. I'm already in my second week of summer break, but last week was spent recovering from a food borne illness that I got at Disneyland's California Adventure. It was not pleasant and was not how I pictured spending my first week out of school. I am currently in my 4th week of my first grad class and I am feeling the heat. Today was the first day that I felt like I didn't have a ba-jillion assignments to do.

I celebrated by baking!

When reading the ingredients and procedure you might find yourself thinking, "A raisin and cream cheese topping with sugared pecans... on a chocolate cake?" I know that I did and you know what? It totally works!!

Chocolate-Pecan Coffee Cake


1          8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature

1/4       cup powdered sugar

1          large egg yolk

2/3       cup golden raisins


5          ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped (I just used chocolate chips)

3/4       cup (packed) golden brown sugar

1-1/2    cups sifted unbleached all purpose flour (sifted, then measured)

3/4       teaspoon salt

6          Tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, diced

1/3       cup warm water (105ºF to 115ºF)

1          teaspoon sugar

1          1/4-ounce envelope active dry yeast

1          large egg, room temperature

6          Tablespoons milk, room temperature


1          large egg white

1/2       cup sugar

1          cup pecan halves

**This cake must rise for an hour! Plan ahead.**

TOPPING: Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, sugar, and egg yolk in small bowl to blend. Mix in raisins.

CAKE: Butter 9x9x2-inch metal baking pan. Finely grind chocolate and brown sugar in processor. transfer to bowl. Blend flour, cocoa, and salt in processor 5 seconds. Add butter; using on/off turns, chop finely. (I do not have a processor. I just whisked these ingredients and then cut the butter in.)

Combine 1/3 cup warm water, sugar, and yeast in large bowl. Stir to dissolve yeast. let stand until foamy, about 8 minutes. Mix in egg, milk, chocolate mixture, and flour mixture. Spread batter in prepared pan. Drop topping over batter by tablespoonfuls and spread carefully to cover.

pour boiling water in bottom of 8x8-inch pan to depth of 1-1/2 inches. Place pan with dough over pan with water. Cover pan with dough lightly with plastic wrap, then kitchen towel. Let stand until dough has risen, about 1 hour.

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350ºF.

PECANS: Meanwhile, beat egg white and sugar in medium bowl until thick. Add pecan halves and stir until well coated.

Arrange pecans, rounded side up, atop cake in irregular pattern (discard excess sugar mixture). bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out with just a few crumbs attached, about 35 minutes. (Keep and eye out, my cake needed 50 minutes.) Cool cake in pan on rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.