Sunday, August 22, 2010

Cherry-Streusel Coffee Cake

 I am finally off of night float and I am now working days again.  It took me over a week to reacquainted with the daylight.  With being used to days again, I have more time to bake and more time to exercise.  Prior to call last weekend, I decided that I wanted to bake for the call team.  I picked this recipe from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook.  The last coffee cake I made I was not that impressed with.  I have had good coffee cakes, but I have never made a good coffee cake.  Hopefully, Martha's recipe won't let me down.

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
1 cup frozen sour cherries, thawed and drained well
1 cup Streusal(see recipe below)
Milk glaze

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Butter a 9-inch tube pan; set aside.  In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.  Add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the sour cream and beginning and ending with the flour.  Beat until just combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
3. Spoon about half of the batter into the prepared pan.  Arrange the cherries in a single layer on top of the batter; avoid placing any cherries against the pan's edge, as they may stick or burn if  not fully encased.  Top with the remaining batter, making sure it is evenly distributed, and smooth with an offset spatula.  Sprinkle streusel evenly over the top of the batter.
4. Bake until the cake is golden brown and springs back when touched, 40 to 45 minutes.  Transfer the pan to a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet, and let the cake cool 10 to 15 minutes.  Invert the cake onto the rack, then reinvert (so streusel side is up), and let cool completely.  Spoon the glaze over the cake, letting drip down the sides.  Let the cake sit until the glaze is set, about 5 minutes, before serving.  Cake can be kept at room temperature, wrapped well in plastic, for up to 4 days.

Milk Glaze
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons milk
In a medium bowl, whisk together the confectioners' sugar and milk until completely smooth.  Immediately drizzle glaze over cake.

Streusel (Makes 4 cups)--> adjust recipe accordingly
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt; cut in the butter using a pastry blender until large, moist clumps form.  Streusal can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

The fast fact of this blog is the following: The term streusel is German for something scattered or sprinkled.  (which exactly what happens when you eat it.)  So don't expect a dessert topped with streusel to be clean! 

I give this Cherry-Streusel Coffee Cake from Martha Stewart 3.0 out of 5 stars.  It tasted good but I would say it is a mere average recipe.  Despite the cakes average taste, I received good comments on the recipe from people who ate the cake at work.  So it is not a bad recipe.  However, the cake leaves something to be desired.  The cake itself is a bit dry even for a coffee cake.  It only crumbles and is a bit bland tasting as well.  The struesel is too buttery.  All I taste is the butter.  Normally, you can eat the struesel straight off the cake and really enojy it.  I don't like straight up butter without a sufficient sweet taste.  Maybe more sugar would have helped?  Maybe this is just a personal preference?  My favorite part of the cake was the cherries.  I used regular cherries instead of sour ones because I couldn't find sour cherries at the grocery store.  I added too many cherries (as in the whole bag!) but I do not regret this decision at all looking back on it.  The cherries were quite good and I think they could have been even better if I had soaked them in sugar water prior to adding them to the cake.  I do not plan on making this exact recipe again.  Let me know if you have any great coffee cake recipes.  I am in search of one.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Chocolate Ice Cream

About a week ago, my next door neighbors and I watched a movie together and made ice cream.  The movie of the night was Whip It.  (Honestly, I think the movie could have been better, but it could have been a lot worse)  So we picked out a recipe on one of the first websites we googled.  I am not going to is a crazy simple recipe.  But residency has been rough lately and we needed something easy to make.  We made not just any ice cream, but chocolate ice cream.  The inspiration for this ice cream was my friend's new ice cream maker and a strong desire to eat lots of ice cream. 

Ingredients for a batch:
5 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 can condensed milk
1/2 pint whole milk

1. Dissolve the cocoa with a little hot water.
2. When fully dissolved, stir in the milk (condensed and whole milk)
3. Transfer mixture to ice cream maker and follow manufacturer's instructions
4.  During the last 5 minutes add mix-ins (chopped chocolate, cookies, etc)
5. Freeze mixture.

One of the things I really liked about this recipe is the fact that the ice cream did not taste like eggs.  A lot of ice cream recipes call for eggs but if you slightly overcook the eggs....your ice cream tastes eggy. (for lack of a better word)  One thing I don't quite understand is how the substitute of condensed and whole milk is sufficient.  The ice cream tastes wonderful.  I actually have relatively few complaints about it.  The ease and simplicity of the recipe lessen my complaints as well.  I give this recipe 4 out of 5 stars.  However, if you happen to know why this recipe works...please let me know.