Posts Tagged ‘Cream Cheese’

h1

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back: The Case of the Reverse Red Velvet

February 24, 2011

So recently I was really craving some red velvet in my life. The problem is I get bored of the same things over and over again. For example, my dad absolutely loves chocolate chip cookies. He also likes most of the random cookies I’ve pieced together like Tazo Passion Chips, Triple Chocolate Tangelo, and White Chocolate Pistachio, but always defaults to requesting chocolate chip. Sure they are wonderful and delicious and homey, don’t get me wrong, but what they lack to me is a challenge. I’ve realized I like challenges. A lot.

Which brings me back to my dilemma; I wanted something that filled the void of being red velvet, without being red velvet per se. Thus came the idea for a reversed red velvet cake. In my head this cake would be cream-cheesy in the center and red chocolaty goodness on the outside. I feel this cake does just that, but left me a little “whelmed.” It turned out quite tasty and I was so happy to make a red icing without having to use a whole lot of dye (Pure red can be a quite the task to make, as more often than not it comes out pink or really fake nuclear red). The downside though, is that it just became a vanilla cake with a creamy filling and red chocolate frosting. It wasn’t as exciting as I had imagined.

Not all my ideas work out 100% of the time. At this point I’d like to quote one of my favorite teachers of all time.

“Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!” ~Ms. Frizzle

In baking and cooking, it’s important not to just have ideas, but to run with them. Make them into a reality. Worst-case scenario is that you make a wonderful mistake of a recipe (see here) or you learn how to improve your recipes slash realize they are awful. <(^_^)>

I may have lost this challenge to myself, but as a result I have even more new ideas that I want to try out.

Thoughts:

-If you don’t want to use cake mix in the frosting, you can substitute in a 2-3 Tbsp cocoa powder, an extra cup of powdered sugar, and red food coloring until you reach your desired level of crimson to chocolate ratio. Warning: You may need a LOT of red dye.

-This cream cheese pastry cream is fantastic! It reminds me a bit of the filling inside of those cheap and tasty Costco cakes, but hey — you can make it yourself! Woot woot!

-Trying out the cheesecake flavor of LorAnn oil I have discovered an essential flavor for my pantry. It tastes more like cake-batter than anything else. I foresee a lot of cake-batter flavored sweets and treats in the future.

-Next time I would cut each of the 8 inch cakes in half to have a total of 3 layers of pastry cream. That stuff is good. I could seriously eat it like pudding…well it kinda is just that.  <(>.>)>

Reverse Red Velvet Cake

Cake:

  • 2 c soymilk
  • 2 tsp. vinegar (apple cider variety if you have)
  • 2 ½ c. all-purpose flour
  • 4 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2/3 c. canola oil
  • 1 ¼ c. sugar
  • 2 drops of cheesecake flavor LorAnne oil (or 2 tsp vanilla extract)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2 8-inch cake pans.

Mix together the soy milk + vinegar and set aside to curdle for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile in a large bowl sift together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Add the oil, sugar, and flavoring to the curdled soymilk and beat together. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix until the lumpiness is gone.

Separate into the 2 cake pans and bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Set aside to cool.

Cream Cheese Pastry Cream

  • 2 c. soymilk (or milk)
  • 4 egg yolks
  • ½ c. sugar
  • 4 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 6 oz. cream cheese (¾ of a brick)
  • ½ tsp vanilla ( I used vanilla bean paste for some flecks)

In a medium saucepan warm the milk until scalding. Meanwhile, in a large bowl whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch until light in color. In a small bowl, heat the cream cheese in the microwave for 30-45 seconds until melted and smooth. Now, slowly whisk the milk into the egg mixture until it all comes together. Return to saucepan over medium-high heat. Continue whisking for 3-4 minutes until the mixture thickens and bubbles. Whisk for 1 additional minute then remove from the heat. Fold in the cream cheese, cover with some plastic wrap, poke some holes and refrigerate for an hour or until chilled (The plastic wrap should touch the surface of the cream, so a skin doesn’t form while chilling).

Red Velvet Frosting

  • 1 c. butter or margarine (softened at room temp)
  • 1 ½ c sifted red velvet cake mix
  • 3 c. powdered sugar
  • ¾ c. soymilk or milk (more may be necessary)

Cream the butter until light and fluffy. Sift in the cake mix along with ¼ c. of the milk. Slowly alternate additions of the powdered sugar and the milk. The resulting frosting should be a nice spreading consistency. If too thick add more milk, if too thin add more sugar.

To assemble: fill layer(s) with the pastry cream, frost and enjoy!

~Erik <(^_^)>

h1

Happy New Year, and Asparagus Spiral Appetizers!

January 2, 2011

Looking for an easy, yet elegant appetizer for a cocktail party or a get together with family or friends?  Well look no further.  Seriously, whether vegetarian or not, this quick concoction is sure to impress any crowd.  And it’s so tasty I could hardly wait to share it here.  I want everyone to make it.  Really, it’s that delicious.  Plus, I got a new camera for Christmas that has a pretty good food setting, so I’m excited to share pictures!

We decided to make this appetizer for New Year’s Eve after Erik’s dad showed us a recipe he’d found online.  We tweaked it a bit, omitting the proscuitto it called for (though that does sounds awfully delicious – the meat eaters among us will have to try it that way and report their findings).  Though, we certainly didn’t miss the meat, and neither did the Bowens.

The original recipe didn’t mention a sauce, but I couldn’t really imagine it without one.  And since I have an ongoing love affair with horseradish, I thought nothing would be more fitting than a horseradishy dipping sauce.  Erik suggested horseradish hollandaise.  Bingo.  It coupled so nicely with the asparagus and puff pastry.  (Though I am ashamed to admit we used hollandaise from a packet…never again will I stoop so low, especially since hollandaise is a relatively simple sauce to make).

Also, ideally, I’d make my own puff pastry, but that is quite another adventure…

So, without further ado, the recipe…

Asparagus Spirals with Horseradish Hollandaise

  • 1 package (2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 cup whipped cream cheese, seasoned as desired
  • 30-40 asparagus spears, washed/dried/trimmed
  • 1 recipe hollandaise sauce (whether from a packet or homemade – we’re not judging)
  • 1-2 tsp. prepared horseradish

For the asparagus:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line baking sheet with foil.  Unfold thawed puff pastry sheets and spread ½ cup of cheese on each sheet.  Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut puff pastry into thin strips (cut as many strips as you have asparagus spears).  Wrap each strip around an asparagus spear, using the cheese-side to stick the puff pastry to the asparagus.  Place on baking sheet and bake 20 minutes or until puff pastry is lightly golden brown.

For the sauce:

Stir 1-2 teaspoons of prepared horseradish (depending on your taste preference) into the finished hollandaise.  That’s it.  Really.  Dip the asparagus, and enjoy!  But, a word of caution…once you start snacking on them, it’s hard to stop.

 

~ Josie