Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Lemon Glaze & Lemon Pound Cake

The Mission:
To make yet another dessert for my best friend's birthday party. He requested "chocolate" or "lemon" so here's part two! And again, instead of making a simple boxed cake, I tried something different :) I altered my Cream Cheese Pound Cake recipe by adding the zest of one lemon and leaving out the vanilla extract. Here's the original recipe: Cream Cheese Pound Cake.

The Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 1 (8 oz) package of cream cheese, softened
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 3 cups flour, sifted
  • zest of one lemon
The Icing:
  • 2 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
  • 4 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 4 Tbsp lemon juice (I used the juice from the lemon I zested and had the perfect amount!
  • Mix all of the ingredients together until blended and pour over cooled cake.
The Instructions:
Preheat oven to 300*F. Cream the butter, cream cheese, and sugar together. Add eggs one at a time, beating well between each egg. Don't forget to scrape the sides of the mixing bowl. Add in the lemon zest and then slowly add the flour. I like to add one cup at a time, mixing thoroughly and scraping the bowl between each cup. Spoon the batter into a tube or bundt pan (it will be thick). Bake for approximately 1.5 hours. I usually set the timer for 1 hr 15 minutes and then test the cake for doneness. Cake is done when an inserted knife comes out clean.

The Result:
The icing ran way more than I thought it would. I'm not sure why. Perhaps I needed to thicken it up a bit by adding some more sugar. Who knows. Certainly not I. But the flavor was divine and complemented the cake very well. I think that the cake could use a tad more lemon flavor, so next time I might add a tsp of lemon extract in addition to the zest.

The Reviews:
Mark loved it! Which was the whole point of this recipe :) Everyone else thought it was really good. The rest of my dinner guests had very nice things to say about it, as did the recipients of my leftovers (namely coworkers and my parents). This twist on my pound cake is definitely a keeper :)

Somehow the pictures ended up being deleted. I shall blame the dog.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes (with Chocolate Buttercream Icing)

The Mission:
  • To make something chocolatey to bring to my best friend's birthday party. And instead of baking a cake, I figured I'd do something different and make cupcakes. And since box cupcakes are easy and boring, I figured I'd try out a new recipe. I chose this recipe from my America's Test Kitchen: Family Cookbook. I fell back on my favorite website - - for the icing.

The Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks butter
  • 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream
    The Instructions:
  • Microwave the butter, chocolate, and cocoa powder together, whisking often, until melted and smooth (took me about 4 minutes). Set aside to cool. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in a small bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, wisk the eggs and vanilla together, slowly whisk in the sugar until combined. Stir in the cooled chocolate mixture. Sift in half of the flour mixture, stir in the sour cream, and sift in the remaining flour mixture. Line two muffin pans with cupcake liners and fill about two-thirds full. Bake in a 350* preheated oven for 18 minutes or until done. Let cupcakes cool and ice as desired.

The Icing:

  • 1/2 cup butter - softened
  • 2 2/3 cup confectioner's sugar, sifted
  • 1/3 cup half and half cream
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted

Cream the butter in a small bowl. Blend in the cocoa powder, vanilla, and the confectioners sugar alternately with the cream. Beat with an electric mixer until the desired consistency. If needed, add a more cream. Click here for the Recipezaar link!

The Results:

Well - I thought they turned out good. Though I have to admit, it was waaaaaay too much work for something that wasn't just absolutely fantastic. So I probably won't make these again. The idea of a dark chocolate cupcake went over very well, though.

The Reviews:

I had my husband test them out before I took them to the party. He said that they were too bitter. Obviously he doesn't really care too much for dark chocolate. He made sure to tell me that it was a personal preference and that he wasn't implying that my cupcakes were awful. He said they were "hoity toity." hahaha. I got a big laugh out of that :) Everyone else who tried one liked them..... one person said they were very rich. Dad gave me his honest opinion and told me they were slightly on the dry side, but that he and Mom enjoyed them regardless. So this recipe isn't a winner, but it wasn't a total loss either.