Monthly Archives: June 2010

TWD Lemon-Drenched Vanilla Cakes

It has been a long time since I have posted a recipe and I am glad I was able to finally come through on a TWD post. Between having an excess of sweets on my hands after my birthday and a busy schedule, I have been out of the kitchen for quite a while!

This weeks recipe was chosen by Wendy of Pink Stripes. The original recipe is for rum-drenched cakes and to be honest, I probably would have never bothered with this recipe because rum isn’t my thing (well, at least in baked goods!). However, Dorie gave lots of ideas for change and I do love lemon! This was my first time making a pound cake and I think it went pretty well. I really need to invest in a smaller loaf pan because it was a bit wide and short,  but oh well!

I am not usually much for a pound cake but this one was lovely. This cake would make a great little treat if you were having afternoon tea with friends.It was so easy to put together and I halved the recipe which works better for me. I made a few changes (other than the obvious change from rum-drenched to lemon drenched). I used half and half cream (I didn’t notice any difference!) and used pure vanilla extract instead of the vanilla beans. I am sure the vanilla beans would be lovely but I was looking for the easy route last night! This recipe is one I would make again and may even try making a thicker lemon glaze next time for something different.


Mile-high zebra cake with fluffy vanilla cream cheese frosting

Last week was Claire’s birthday, so S. and I hopped on the 401 and headed to Ottawa for the party. Claire had requested this cake and to ensure freshness I decided to make it on Saturday morning. I was to bring cupcakes too, so I got up early to get my bake on. Things were going well and I was on track with the cake in the oven by ten. As I was getting ready to work on the cupcakes, I looked at the counter thought it was odd that the sugar wasn’t out. And then it hit me, it wasn’t out because I hadn’t actually put any sugar in the cake. Ugg.

After an emergency trip to the grocery store, I set about to making it for the second time.  Needless to say, my whole day was set off schedule and I was a bit late for the party. Fortunately, I came bearing baked goods. Butter and sugar heal most wounds.

Claire's Birthday Cake Mile High Chocolate Cake

The cake was amazing. I highly recommend it. My only beef was the icing. I think it had too much butter in it. Next time I would do more cream cheese and less butter (I know, hard to believe that I just wrote less butter!)

Mile High Zebra Cake (Two Dishes: Mother and Daughter: Two Cooks,Two Lifestyles, Two Takes)

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups dutch process cocoa powder (Caroline and my mum used Frys)
2 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt (they used regular)
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 1/4 cups warm water
2/3 cup vegetable oil

Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz cream cheese, at room temp
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
Pinch of kosher salt
Seeds of 1/2 vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups confectioners (icing) sugar, sifted
Preheat oven to 350.

Butter three 9 inch round cake pans. Place a round parchment paper in the bottom of each pan and butter again.

For the cake, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Add the sugar and whisk together.

In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, buttermilk, warm water and oil with a mixer on low until combined.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix on low for 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl partway through mixing. Divide the batter evenly among the cake pans.

Bake the cakes for about 35 minutes, or until the cake tester comes out clean. If you cannot fit all the pans on the same oven rack, rotate the pans halfway through baking.

Let the cakes cool in the pans for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pans and remove the cakes to cool completely on a wire rack.

For the frosting, combine the cream cheese, butter, salt and vanilla seeds in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on high for about 3 minutes, or until light and creamy.

Add the confectioners’ sugar in two batches (so as not to make a mess of your kitchen with flying white powder). Beat for 2 minutes to aerate.

Once the cakes are completely cool, cut off the slightly domed centre of the cakes with a serrated knife to make the tops completely level. Frost the cakes with a thick layer of frosting between each later. (Don’t frost the outside of the cake, just between the layers and the top. The icing will softly ooze from between layers of the cake, creating alternating black and white layers).

Claire and Caroline with the Mile High Zebra Cake

Sisters and a birthday cake

Caroline (obvious, I think)

PS Claire really digs Delica Kitchen, the restaurant owned by one of the cookbook authors (they are a mom and daughter combo). If you are in the T-dot looking for  some good eats, try a Claire recommendation

Raisin Swirl Bread TWD

I have been known to have bread and butter for dinner. Bread really is the one food I couldn’t live without, a low-carb evangelist I am not.  Yet, I have only made yeasted bread once before. The real barrier for me is the time factor. I am not the most patient person in the world and the multiple risings really prevent me from fully embracing bread making (perhaps this is a good thing). However, since this week’s TWD was bread and I love it so, I decided to face my impatience head on. (It didn’t hurt that I was scheduled for a day in the kitchen anyways, as I threw my first high tea on the weekend).

Overall, this was super easy to make. I had the oven on all day so the rising was a cinch. I always get a little confused on the warm place but now I have this nailed down. The bread rose beautifully and I used it to make goat cheese and apple sandwiches for my high tea. The only thing that kept it being a 100% sucess was that there was that it had a bit too much air. Alas, perfection is overrated.  My one adaption was that I used a maple sugar cinnamon mix instead of granulated sugar. Delish.

Raisin Swirl Bread

Thanks to Susan of Food.Baby for this week’s selection. Head on over to her blog for the recipe. You can see what other TWD bakers got up to over here.


Tender Shortcakes TWD

I love scones. They are one of my favourite treats, (ok, I have a lot of favourites) right up there with cinnamon buns and banana chocolate chip cake. Now I know that these are shortcakes but the helpful people who contribute to wikipedia tell me that shortcakes are aka scones.  So I consider these scones by another name. I made them last night and didn’t have anyone to share them with so I ate two *gasp* I know, summer is coming and shorts and tees abound but I couldn’t stop myself.

I halved the recipe and made 6 plain shortcakes/scones and 4 raspberry ones (I couldn’t leave well enough alone and had to add fresh raspberries!) Admit it, you wish you could taste one. The raspberry ones were delicious. In addition to the raspberries, I added an extra tbsp of sugar and I substituted 2% milk for the cream (somehow I knew I would eat two!) I didn’t serve them with whipping cream because it is not my favourite. That’s the beauty of being the baker I get to pick how it all works out. I ate them straight up and so will my taste testers. S. will be stopping by later today to pick up his treats.

For the recipe head on over to Tortefeasor. Thanks Cathy for a GREAT choice.


PS It’s Claire’s birthday today! Join me in wishing her a happy, happy birthday! Being seven years older I remember the day she was born and I am super lucky that she grew up to be a great sister AND a baker. Happy Birthday Claire!!!!

PPS The beautiful pottery dish in the picture came from Susan Card’s studio in the Distillery District. The Distillery is one my favourite places in Toronto because it is filled with local artists, great food and beautiful buildings. I love pottery and I am impressed with Susan’s work especially because she has little platters that I can serve my baked goods on. Be sure to stop by Susan’s gallery the next time you are down there.

White Chocolate Brownies TWD

I made these on the weekend to take with me for a Sunday lunch with friends. Sunday was beautiful in Waterloo and we spent the afternoon eating yummy bbq and enjoying the sun. This seemed like a great recipe for a summer-ish day. I was all over this recipe as I love white chocolate and raspberries. But I have to admit I really didn’t dig these. I made the coulis which was delicious, but otherwise found them a bit bland and dry. S. on the other hand dug them quite abit so maybe I am not the best judge. If I made them again I might add chocolate chips or something else to jazz them up. (Note: I didn’t make the meringue as this made a big pan and you can’t freeze meringue).


Image Credit Pamela Fane


Head over to Marthe’s blog for the recipe and check out other TWD bloggers to see if they had more success than I did.