Almond Lemon Tea Cake

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Aly’s friend Lulu made this cake once. It was so delicious that she was inspired to try it as well. It turned out well but Aly learned that she really didn’t enjoy working with almond paste. Even after using her friend’s tip of softening it in the microwave before working with it, it was very hard to break up. She tried her best but had to bake the cake with a few clumps. After it baked one could see the slight discoloration of where the paste didn’t break up, but thankfully it wasn’t too noticeable in taste.

The recipe is a copy from Tartine’s cookbook, but with a few modifications. Aly used all purpose flour instead of cake flour and had to make due with an electric mixer (that could be part of the reason why the almond paste was difficult to break up). She mixed for around 5-7 min after adding the butter and eggs in an attempt to make the batter smooth. In her oven the cake was done in around 40 minutes versus 60. For the glaze she used raw sugar instead of granulated white sugar to give it a slight crunch on the top.

Ingredients

1 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
3/4 cup cake flour (I used all purpose)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
5 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup almond paste
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons orange juice
3/4 cup sugar (I used sugar in the raw)

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter and flour a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.

2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a small bowl, combine the eggs and vanilla and whisk together just to combine.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the almond paste on low speed until it breaks up. This can take up to a minute, depending on how soft and warm it is. Slowly add the sugar, beating until incorporated.

4. Cut the butter into 1-tablespoon pieces. Continue on low speed while adding the butter, a tablespoon at a time, for about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Then turn on the mixer to medium speed and beat until the mixture is light in color and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. With the mixer still on medium speed, add the eggs in a very slow, steady stream and mix until incorporated. Stop the mixer and again scrape down the sides of the bowl. Turn on the mixer again to medium speed and mix for 30 seconds more.

5. Add the citrus zests and mix. Add the flour mixture in two batches, stirring after each addition until incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

6. Bake until the top is golden brown and the center comes out clean, 60 to 65 minutes. Let the cake cool then add the glaze.

7. To make the glaze, stir together the lemon and orange juices and sugar in a small bowl. Run the tip of a small knife around the edge to loosen the cake from the pan and flip onto a plate. Brush the entire cake with the glaze, and let it set.

Mo Cookies Please!

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This recipe is a slight variation of Momofuku’s cornflake marshmallow cookie. After testing it a few times I’ve changed a few things like leaving out salt from the cornflake crunch mixture, hand mixing because using an electric mixer didn’t seem to alter taste or form, and altering the baking time according to my own oven. It’s a lot of work but it’s worth it.

Ingredients for Cornflake Crunch

5 cups of cornflakes

9 tablespoons of melted butter

1/2 cup of instant milk powder

3 tablespoons of sugar

Directions for Cornflake Crunch

1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees.

2. Pour melted butter over cornflakes. Then add milk and sugar.

3. Bake for 20 minutes and let it cool.

Ingredients for Cookies

1 1/2 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

16 tablespoons, 2 sticks of softened butter

1 1/4  cup granulated sugar

2/3 cup light brown sugar

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

3 cups of cornflake crunch

2/3 cup chocolate chips

1 1/4 cup mini marshmallows

Directions for Cookies

1.Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Cream together butter with sugar.

3. Then add egg and vanilla and mix together for a few minutes.

4. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and mix.

5. Fold in cornflakes and chocolate chips, and then add in marshmallows.

6. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Make small scoops. This cookie will spread out.

7. Bake for about 8-9 minutes. I found this time to be enough for the middle to still be a little chewy and the edges crunchy.

Pumpkin Pie

Thanks to her good friend Angelina, Aly finally made a pie crust she was happy with. It was flaky and buttery; perfect for pies. For the filling she used a recipe from Williams Sonoma’s jar of pecan pumpkin butter. Happy Turkey Day!!

Ingredients

2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1 teaspoon salt

2 sticks of very cold unsalted butter

1/4 cup ice cold water

Directions

1. Throw butter into the freezer for about 10 minutes before you begin to ensure very cold butter.

2. Sift flour with salt.

3. Dice butter into small pieces.

4. Throw flour into a food processor. Add a few pieces of butter at a time and mix until fully incorporated.

5. Roll dough into a disc, wrap and refrigerate overnight.

6. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and grease your pan with butter.

7. Roll your dough out until it’s a thin disc, dusting the surface and rolling pin generously.

8. Arrange dough into your pan, add filling and bake at 425 for about 15 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 40-45 minutes. Baking times may vary a little depending on what type of filling you’re using.

Happy OWLeen!

Hoooo doesn’t love halloween?? It was definitely one of Aly’s favorite holidays. She loved that one day out of the year you could be anything you want and eat all the candy you want! Celebrate this halloween with these owl cupcakes!

Ingredients

Chocolate cake mix

Chocolate frosting

Oreos

Reeses pieces

Directions

1. Bake cupcakes according to box (substitute whole milk for water for a more dense cake).

2. After cupcakes have fully cooled, you may need to use a knife to flatten the tops to make them easier to decorate.

3. Frost cupcakes.

4. Twist oreos and set aside halves with cream. Add brown Reeses pieces to the oreo halves for the owl eyes and then place on top of the cupcakes.

5. Add orange Reeses pieces underneath the eyes to make the owl beaks.

6. Depending on what time your event is, you may want to decorate on site. This will ensure everything stays in place and the oreos will stay crispy. If you decorate beforehand, serve within a few hours.

* 1 out of every 2-3 oreos I twisted were usable for the eyes. Save unsuccessful twists and other halves to make a crust or add to vanilla cake for a cookies and cream flavor.

Chai Ginger Cookies

After having some delicious ginger beer, Aly was inspired to make a dessert with ginger. She found candied ginger at a magical place called Trader Joes and with Thanksgiving just around the corner she decided to add some seasonal spices. A dash of cinnamon and a dash of cardamom and voila! Chai spiced ginger cookies with a great balance of sweet and spicy.

Ingredients

2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1 teaspoon of cardamom

3/4 cup unsalted butter

1 and 1/4 brown sugar

1/4 white sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 egg + 1 egg yolk

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup chopped candied ginger

Directions

1.Take eggs and butter out about 30 min before you start so they are room temperature.

2. Sift flour with baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and cardamom and set aside.

3. Blend butter with sugar until creamy. Then add eggs and vanilla. Slowly add the flour mixture and then add chocolate and ginger.

4. Refrigerate dough for 1-2 hours.

5. When you’re ready to bake, line your cookie sheet with parchment paper. Preheat the oven at 400 degrees and bake for 10-12 minutes (until edges are golden brown). Cool on the sheet for 1-2 minutes then move to cooling rack.

Save Sesame Street!

Once upon a time an evil man tried to take over Aly’s kingdom. He made threats against all the people she loved, including everyone on Sesame Street. Aly and Prince Charming were especially worried about their friend Cookie Monster. Thankfully they were able to gather an army led by Sir Obama and banished the evil man away to a far away land.

How to Decorate:

After your cupcakes have fully cooled, use a sharp knife to cut sections out for the eyes and mouth. If your cupcakes baked really high in the middle, you might also want to level it off a little bit.

The eyes – Wilton’s white chocolate baking chips with the black cookie icing (you can also use a black edible pen).

The mouth – small chocolate chip cookies cut into halves.

Frosting – blue food coloring added to vanilla frosting and piped on last after placing the eyes and mouth.