Monday, March 22, 2010

A Weekend of Baking

Success! I managed to bake two types of desserts this weekend so I can update the blog and have some savory treats before I embark on another trip across the US. My awesome friend Fabianne and I made lemon poppy seed pound cake with wild blueberries on Saturday. If you like the texture of banana bread, this would be a great recipe for you. I've never made anything with poppy seeds before so I was even more excited! I'm a big follower of and have been browsing her site for months now and finally put her recipes to good use. If you ever need an idea for dessert, browse her website. There are more than 100 to choose from. :)

Recipe from Joy the Baker with some edits by me.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon poppy seeds (available at World Market)
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/3 cup frozen wild blueberries

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter a 9-x-5-inch loaf pan. Put the pan on an insulated backing sheet, or on two regular baking sheets stacked on top of the other.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and poppy seeds.

Rub the lemon zest into the granulated sugar until sugar is slightly tinted yellow and is fragrant. (If you want a more lemony flavor, add some lemon juice or zest more lemon. I would recommend this as there is a very subtle lemon flavor and I love the flavor of lemon pound cake).

Working with a stand mixer (if you want to do it by hand, you can do that too. I did it and it came out just fine), preferably fit with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar mixture on high speed until pale and fluffy, a full 5 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and beater and reduce the mixer speed to medium. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 to 2 minutes after each addition. As you’re working, scrape down the bowl and beater often. Mix in the vanilla extract. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour and poppyseeds, mixing only until incorporated. Take the bowl off the stand mixer, and use a spoon to fold in the frozen blueberries. Scrape the batter into the buttered pan and smooth the top.

Put the cake in the oven to bake, and check on it after about 45 minutes. It it’s browning too quickly, cover it loosely with a foil tent. Bake the cake for about 70 to 75 minutes. The cake is properly baked when a thin knife inserted deep into the center comes out clean

Remove cake from the oven, transfer the pan to a rack and let it rest for 30 minutes.

Run a blunt knife between the cake and the sides of the pan and turn the cake out, then turn it right side up on the rack and cool to room temperature. (I just left the cake in because I was lazy)

Wrapped well, the cake cake keep for 5-7 days at room temperature.


If you check out her website, you'll notice that she put some lemon curd on the slices. I think this would add some more lemon flavor to the pound cake as it has a very subtle lemon flavor (add more zest!). I didn't have any lemon curd and thought that the pound cake was good enough as is with some tea ;). I love tea and this was the perfect combination with black tea.

The second dish I made was for my office colleagues. Peanut Butter Blondies. Yeah.. drool. I'm not really into super sweet dishes but I knew my office mates would like it. I would have this dish with a cup of coffee (without sugar) because it will balance out. I would also recommend using dark chocolate to top off the blondies instead of milk chocolate. I think this is only because my taste buds have become a little biased and they enjoy the dark taste of dark chocolate. I can handle about 60% of cacao now (but don't do 75% because that's NO LONGER chocolate!).

*Excuse my photo. I took it with my camera phone.

Peanut Butter Blondies with Milk Chocolate Frosting by Joy the Baker

10 Tablespoons unsalted butter cut into 5 cubes
2 cups dark brown sugar (I did half dark brown and light brown - still tastes the same :))
1 cup smooth and natural peanut butter (Henry's and Trader Joe's has great natural PB)
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 9×13-inch pan, line with parchment paper if you have it on hand, then grease the parchment paper. If you don’t have parchment paper, these blondies will be just fine.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and sugar together until the butter is just melted. Remove from the burner and allow to cool for 5 minutes, then add the peanut butter. Stir until incorporated. Allow to cool for 5 minutes more, then whisk in the eggs and vanilla extract. You want the sugar, butter and peanut butter mixture to be cool enough that the eggs won’t begin to cook when they’re added in.

Whisk together salt, flour and baking powder. Add dry ingredients all at once to the wet ingredients. Stir until just incorporated. Pour the thick batter into the prepared pan and smooth out. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center of the blondies comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature before frosting.

Milk Chocolate Frosting

6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 – 2 cups powdered sugar
3 Tablespoons milk
3/4 cup milk chocolate chips, melted

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter, cocoa powder and salt. Add 1/2 cup powdered sugar followed by 1 tablespoon milk. Beat well. Add another cup of powdered sugar, followed by 2 tablespoons of milk. Melt milk chocolate chips in the microwave or in a double boiler. Add melted and slightly cooked milk chocolate the frosting and beat to incorporate. *It will be very watery and not thick but I left it as it was without the additional half cup of powdered sugar to cut down on sugar. Also, the blondies are quite sweet already so I would suggest just pouring the mixture as-is onto the blondies and refrigerate to harden*. Spread evenly over peanut butter blondies.

If you want more sugar and thickness: Add the final 1/2 cup of powdered sugar.

I don't know if I'll make a dish like this again just because of the amount of sweetness and butter it has. I would much rather prefer something cake like. I don't really like dense sweet treats because it just doesn't settle well with me and it's way too much SUGAR. I like fluffy things like cakey brownies. I think that will be my next mission :).

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