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Cinnamon Apple Cake! (a recipe from Shelly)

wpid-wp-1445819002238.jpgApple season has started and I picked some up at my local farmer’s market last weekend.  Half got eaten on their own, but I wanted to make something delicious with the last couple!  I came across this recipe from The Baking ChocolaTess and decided to use it as the base, but I made some modifications based on my preferences😉.  Mostly, cutting down the butter and sugar because using a whole stick just didn’t feel right to me.  I also like to use some whole wheat flour in there – it’s not enough to notice, I promise.  And the most important addition…

wpid-wp-1445812941393.jpgCinnamon chips!  They’re basically white chocolate chips with a ton of cinnamon flavor.  I love these, and they only come out around this time of year.  (Actually, I stocked up last year, and this was the last of those :P)

Check below the cut for my version of the recipe!

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Green Velvet Cake with Ombré Cream Cheese Frosting

My first post! Hello everyone, this is Sabeen. I apologize for taking so long to finally write one. I tend to make things all the time but find the task of writing about it a little daunting…so this is my first go at it. 
It all started after a conversation with my dearest friend Saira who asked me to make her wedding cake…I was terrified. I mean, yes, I’ve baked before. A lot. But things change when it’s for a lot of people. This is where she reassured me that it can just be a small cake that she can cut into during the ceremony. Less pressure. Not so bad. Let’s give it a shot?

Now she’s wearing a green and gold wedding dress and wanted the cake to have some green in it. 

So I went with the cake recipe I found on Love From The Oven (with a couple tweaks) and it was divine! As I was stacking this cake and cutting off the tops as needed; my siblings and parents were happily munching away. This is pretty big since the entire household is constantly on a diet. 

  
Cake recipe – I doubled this for four 8″ layers. 

(Tweaked a tad from Love From The Oven):

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cups oil
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise 
  • 1 cup buttermilk 
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar (this threw me off too, trust it!)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla 
  • Green food coloring gel (I like these better than the 2 oz bottles. Tend to not change the flavor as much.)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and lightly spray two 8″ round cake pans. (I really really wish I had used bake even strips so please do so! The sides had become super crispy and the center was still raw—If you don’t have them, preheat your oven to 300 degrees for a little longer baking time) 
  2. Whisk eggs in a medium bowl and add all the wet ingredients (oil, mayo, buttermilk, vinegar, vanilla and food coloring as desired)
  3. Combine all dry ingredients in seperate bowl (flour, cocoa powder, sugar, salt, baking soda)
  4. Combine wet to dry ingredients and mix on low for a minute or two (so nothing flies) and then on medium until combined. 
  5. Pour batter evenly into cake pans and bake for 25-35 minutes at 350 degrees (with bake even strips) OR 40-55 minutes at 300 degrees.

Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe (from Five Heart Home

  • 1/2 cup salted butter, room temperature
  • 8 oz cream cheese, straight from fridge
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
  • Green food coloring gel (optional for decor)
  1. For perfect consistency, whip butter in medium bowl until no longer lumpy. 
  2. Add cream cheese and beat on medium until smoothly combined.
  3. Add 1 cup of powdered sugar at a time and vanilla. 

Note: I ended up doubling butter and cream cheese in this recipe with only 4 cups powdered sugar for the filling. It was a mistake but a beautiful one…it wasn’t too sweet on the inside as this cake is already so sweet! 

Outside frosting was this recipe as I needed a nicer consistency🙂

Decor

  • Add green food coloring a little bit at a time to get that nice ombré look at the end
  •  Use a 2D Wilton star tip to make roses (YouTube is your friend)

  
So much love to you for reading all this. Enjoy!

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Alton Brown’s Mini Peach Upside-down Cake (a recipe review by Shelly)

I’m sure most of you know of Alton Brown, Food Scientist Extraordinaire & Thyme Lord – and if you don’t, maybe this list will convince you?  Recently, he posted an updated version of his peach upside-down cake recipe, and since I had some Georgia peaches from the farmer’s market, I wanted to give it a try!

(Have I mentioned AB lives half an hour from me?  I wonder if I’ll spot him in the city one day…  Until then I’ll have to make do with his local restaurant recs.)

Get the recipe here!
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Some Caveats:

  1. I made these just for me, so I halved the recipe.
  2. I didn’t peel my peaches.  It seemed unnecessary, but if you’re making these for others I can see how you might want to.wpid-wp-1435792855025.jpeg
  3. I didn’t have buttermilk, so I used the lemon juice & milk trick – stir a spoon of lemon juice into your milk and let it sit for five minutes or so, to let the milk curdle.  This has been a pretty good replacement for me in the past.
  4. I made mine in the toaster oven, but I had to add a few minutes because I think my ramekins are bigger and had more dough in them.  More on that in a sec…wpid-wp-1435792868962.jpeg
  5. I used something like a 2:1 ratio of whole wheat to white flour, which has usually worked pretty well for me.  (Also, I added cinnamon and nutmeg, because why not?)
    BUT…this is kind of embarrassing.  I completely forgot that Alton Brown likes to measure his baking ingredients by weight, not volume (something that I thought was beaten into my head over many episodes of Good Eats).  So I used (half of) 2.5 CUPS of flour instead of 2.5 OUNCES (not fluid).  Oops.  It turned out to be a good thing I actually forgot to halve the buttermilk (and even needed an extra splash of milk).  So my batter turned out more like a dough, and the sugar ratio was off.  Oh well, I’ll definitely fix that next time…

wpid-wp-1435800123426.jpegThe Verdict:

  1. This was a very simple recipe, and I’m definitely planning to make it again.  I think it could work really well even shrunk down more in a muffin tin.
  2. The peaches were really good in the brown sugar; it was an easy way to get them caramelized.
  3. Since I screwed up the flour, the dough-to-fruit ratio was not the best.  I would’ve liked it better with a double layer of fruit, I think.  But I can’t say for sure until I make it properly!
  4. Even though I messed up, the cake was still pretty moist – just too dense.  So I have hopes for the next time😉

Did you try this recipe out?  Let us know what you think in the comments!

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What’s Jamming?

Hi readers, I don’t think I’ve posted in here before- I was invited by Shelly, Akhi, Sara, Sabeen, and Mariel to contribute despite the fact that I don’t cook or bake very often. I generally blog at Dorothy Ann Writes, and I’m currently an Americorps Intern through the Student Conservation Association (aka a professional tree hugger) in the Hudson Valley, New York, USA. Hopefully in the future I’ll get into some fun Polish family recipes, but an odyssey into the forest is still an odyssey, right? This recipe is going to be less of a recipe and more of a story of my experience making jam for the first time, from foraged berries. So let’s take a hike!

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Oh, what’s this I’ve found in the forest? Could it be wineberries?

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Keema Biryani

Hello everyone! Today I made one of my favorite dishes: a rice dish called Biryani. The specific variation I made is generally inspired by Hyderabadi Biryani, a common dish from Hyderabad in south-central India. Although Biryani is eaten by everyone in South Asia (India, Pakistan, etc.) today, it originated in particular from Muslim communities in South Asia. The cities of Hyderabad and Lucknow in India are particularly famous for their Indo-Islamic recipes. Traditional Biryani, made from goat or mutton, is especially popular during Ramadan. There are now many, many variations of this dish all over the Subcontinent region including vegetarian, chicken, and seafood ones.

First, prepare your basic vegetables, those which give the biryani their extra flavor and character. Since I’m making a meat biryani, I’m not going heavy on vegetables, and avoiding bulky ones like tomatoes and potatoes. You can can these if you want, though I recommend saving those for potato biryani. I used onions, green chilies, and ginger.

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Put these in the pot to fry in oil on high.

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Also, add whatever spices you want, if you have any. Here, I added some cardamom for flavor. Cinnamon, peppercorn, cloves, and cumin seeds are also common.

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Now, it is time to add the meat to the mix. Make sure you add a cut that’s flavorful and won’t get too dry. So if you’re using chicken, avoid breast. Normally, a nice chunk of meat with bone is a good add since the marrow adds extra flavor to the biryani. Some of the best biryani has the bone of a goat/lamb or chicken drumstick. However, today I wanted to make something simpler/easier, so I used ground chicken thigh. Technically, I made keema biryani (ground meat biryani).

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Add and stir.

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Now add rice. Biryani won’t be biryani without rice. Make sure you use white basmati rice (basmati rice is a long-grained rice from India or Pakistani, do not use East Asian style rice). Also add some yogurt as a thickener if you want.

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Now, here’s the most important step. The Biryani mix! This gives the biryani its distinct flavor as biryani, as opposed to rice with vegetables. You can of course make your own biryani mix, but I used a prepared one that gets the taste right. Add the mix to the pot.

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Now, all that’s left to do is to cook it as you would with any dish with rice. Fill the pot with water, but not too much. The dish should be moist but dry when finished. Cover and cook. Remove from stove when the water has been completely absorbed by the biryani. Serve with egg and yogurt, as is traditional, if you wish! Enjoy!

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