March 20, 2010

Red Velvet, Take 2

Ok, so this is probably "red velvet, take 5 or 6"...but who's counting. When you've found something this good, you'll want to make it again and again as well :)

This is my absolute favorite red velvet recipe. The cake is incredibly moist, with a distinctive "red velvet taste" from the subtle hint of cocoa and buttermilk. And the cream cheese frosting is deliciously smooth and creamy, with just the right amount of sweetness (it's my go-to frosting for everything). These cupcakes are always a huge winner whenever I make them, which is why they've surfaced so many times. Plus, I don't mind the "extras" lying around my kitchen as well ;)

Anyway, I made these for a collective "83rd birthday" party in celebration of three different birthdays (mine included). I should actually call it a party of drunken boys because that's exactly what the shindig quickly became. Like any festive gathering, we started off with drinks and cupcakes...only the girls were drinking bubbly, and the guys were doing massive shots of bourbon and scotch. Typical.

You can only imagine what happened once we all headed out for Korean barbecue at Ohgane, which also just happens to serve delicious soju and beer as well. Good times all around! Let's just say that at the end of the night, someone mistakenly wore AC's shoes back to his home :P

Of course when we were all back at our place after Ohgane, more red velvets were quickly polished off. And some were even taken with guests in to-go boxes as well (per their request). Can't wait for next year's celebration. Until then, am just waiting for another excuse to make these lovelies again...

Red Velvet Cupcakes
Recipe previously posted here

2 1/4 C sifted cake flour (sifted, then measured)
1/4 C unsweetened cocoa powder
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 C buttermilk
1/2 bottle red food coloring
1 t distilled white vinegar
1 t vanilla extract
1 1/2 C sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs

2 8-0z packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 T vanilla extract
2 1/2 C powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350. Mix sifted flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Whisk buttermilk, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla in a small bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl until well blended.

Add eggs to mixed butter and sugar, 1 at a time. Beat in dry ingredients in 4 additions alternately with buttermilk mixture in 3 additions.

Pour batter into cupcake trays. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 10-12 min. Cool in pans on racks 10 minutes.

Beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl until smooth. Beat in vanilla. Add powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Spread frosting over cupcakes
Continue reading for recipe...

March 09, 2010

Raspberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

I've been in a little bit of a blogging rut lately. You see, I'm not really a writer -- far from it, actually. I was supposed to be in the MENU program at college (Mathematical Experience for Northwestern Undergraduates...yeah, don't judge) before I almost flunked out of my first math class freshman year. As my dad always told me, "When it comes to mathematical theory, sometimes you just hit that brick wall and can't get around it. Not too much you can do about that." Which is apparently very true. So I chose to study economics instead, and spent 4 exciting years buried in problem sets. Math to econ -- I'm quite the rebel, eh? ;) Anyway, I think I wrote about 3 essays my entire college career. Which is why it's actually pretty funny that I have a blog.

So what happens when you lose your (made up) writing mojo? Get back to the basics, and I mean basics of all sorts. I always get a little nostalgic when I make this coffee cake because it's one of my very first "baking experiments" growing up. It was around high school when I made this for a good friend's potluck party. What were we doing having potlucks as teenagers?? I have no idea. But apparently we were already old-at-heart back then...

This four (does jam count?) -- ok three -- layer coffee cake is one of my favorites. The bottom cake layer is flavored with almond extract and sour cream, which gives the spongy cake a refreshingly bold taste. Next is the cream cheese filling, which provides a very creamy and moist contrast to the cake. And then finally a thin layer of raspberry jam, followed by a wonderfully sweet and buttery almond crumb topping. This is always a crowd pleaser, and best of all, it's easy! I mean, if I made this in high school almost a decade (gulp!) ago, it's gotta be fairly basic.

Anyway, sorry for the lack of photos. I've also seemed to lose my picture-taking mojo as well. Hopefully, I'll see an uptick in both of these sometime soon...

Raspberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake
Recipe dug up from my mom's cooking files

2 1/4 C flour
3/4 C sugar
3/4 C butter
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
3/4 C sour cream
1 t almond extract
1 egg
8 oz package cream cheese, softened
1/2 C sugar
1 egg
1/2 C raspberry jam or preserves
1/2 C sliced almonds

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour bottom and sides of a 9 or 10 inch springform pan.

In a large bowl, combine flour and 3/4 C sugar. Mix well. With 2 knives, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Reserve 1 C crumb mixture.

To remaining crumb mixture, add baking powder, baking soda, sour cream, almond extract and egg. Blen well. Spread batter over bottom and 2 inches up sides (about 1/4 inch thick) of greased and floured pan.

In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, 1/4 C sugar and 1 egg. Blend well. Pour into bater lined pan. Carefully spoon jam evenly over cream cheese mixture.

In a small bowl, combine served crumb mixture and sliced almonds. Sprinkle over layer of raspberry preserves.

Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes until cream cheese filling is set and crust is lightly browned. Cool 15 minutes and remove sides of pan.
Continue reading for recipe...

March 02, 2010


Probably the #1 reason why I go camping.

....although, who needs camping when you can do this at home?? :P

A rainy day treat at its finest. Too bad it rained so much that I had 3 the other day...whoops ;)

Recipe by SC

1 graham cracker, broken in half
1 piece of dark chocolate
1-2 marshmallows, depending on taste

Hold marshmallows over flame until nicely toasted (I kinda like them burned). Place toasted marshmallows in between chocolate & graham crackers and indulge!

I think Sachi was scared of the fire, heehee :P
Continue reading for recipe...