Extremely Moist Cakes with White Chocolate Frosting

Ingredients

butter, for greasing
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 eggs
scant 1-1/4 cups vegetable oil
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon red food coloring
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

White Chocolate Frosting

3 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped
1-1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons milk

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease seven 2-1/2-inch diameter baking rings, 1-1/2 inches deep, line with parchment paper, and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the eggs and sugar, using an electric handheld mixer, until pale. On slow speed, add the oil a little at a time until it has all been incorporated.
  3. Beat in the buttermilk, food coloring, and vanilla.
  4. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt, then fold in, followed by the vinegar.
    <liDivide the batter among the baking rings, filling them three-quarters full. Bake in the oven for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean.

  5. Let cool in the rings for 5 minutes, then remove the cakes from the rings to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  6. To make the frosting, melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, making sure the surface of the water does not touch the bowl. Let cool. Beat together the butter and half the confectioners’ sugar until smooth, then add the remaining confectioners’ sugar a little at a time, beating until the mixture is smooth.
  7. Add the milk and cooled chocolate and beat for another 2 minutes.
  8. To assemble, slice a cake horizontally into three layers. Thinly spread a layer of frosting onto the bottom layer, then sandwich the middle layer on top. Spread a little more frosting on the middle layer, then add the top layer. Repeat with five of the mini cakes so that you have six cakes in total, with one extra cake without frosting.
  9. Spoon the remaining frosting into a pastry bag fitted with a plain piping tip, then pipe around the edges of the cakes until completely covered. Crumble the remaining unfrosted cake and sprinkle the crumbs over the tops of the piped cakes. Serve dusted with confectioners’ sugar.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: Chocolat

Advertisements

Roman-style Gnocchi Made with Semolina Flour

Ingredients

3 cups whole milk
teaspoon salt
3/4 cup semolina (3 ounces; sometimes labeled “semolina flour”)
3 large eggs
7 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
4-1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

Method

  1. Bring milk with the salt to a simmer in a 2- to 3-quart heavy saucepan over medium-low heat. Add semolina in a slow stream, whisking, then simmer, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, 12 minutes (mixture will be very stiff).
  2. Remove from heat and stir in eggs, one at a time, then stir in 6 tablespoons cheese and 3 tablespoons butter. Spread into a 1/2-inch-thick slab on an oiled baking sheet using a lightly oiled rubber spatula, then chill, uncovered, until cool to the touch, about 10 minutes.
  3. Cut out rounds from gnocchi with cookie cutter dipped in cool water (incorporating scraps as you work) and gently transfer rounds (they will be very soft), slightly overlapping, to buttered baking dish.
  4. Chill gnocchi, uncovered, for 1 hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 450°F, with racks in upper and lower thirds.
  6. Melt remaining 1-1/2 tablespoons butter and brush over gnocchi, then sprinkle with remaining tablespoon cheese.
  7. Bake in upper third of oven for 10 minutes, then switch dish to lower third of oven and continue to bake until gnocchi are slightly puffed and lightly browned, about 10 minutes more.
  8. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: Gourmet Italian

A Classic Hors D’oeuvre with Crabmeat

Ingredients

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped yellow onion
1 tablespoon water, if needed
1 cup heavy (double) cream
1-1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1-1/2 tablespoons finely chopped jarred pimiento (sweet pepper)
salt and freshly ground white pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 lb lump crabmeat
1-1/4 cups fine dried bread crumbs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 lemon
12-14 thin baguette slices (optional)

Method

  1. In a small saute pan over low heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the celery and onion, cover, and cook very gently until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the water if the vegetables begin to brown.
  2. Add the cream, raise the heat to medium, and simmer, stirring frequently to prevent the mixture from boiling over, until reduced and quite thick, about 5 minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat, pour into a heatproof bowl, and let cool.
  4. Add the mustard, pimiento, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon white pepper to the cooled cream mixture and mix well.
  5. Whisk in the egg, then add the crabmeat, breaking it up a little but leaving some lumps intact. Toss gently until evenly mixed.
  6. Pour the bread crumbs onto a plate, spreading them in an even layer. Scoop up a golf ball–sized portion of the crab mixture and gently squeeze out any excess liquid. Shape into a small patty. The mixture will be quite wet and loose.
  7. Place the crab cake on the crumbs, then scoop more crumbs over the top. Using a spatula, carefully turn the cake over onto your palm, letting the excess crumbs fall back onto the plate. Turn the cake back over onto the spatula and slide it gently onto a platter. Repeat to make the remaining crab cakes, 12-14 in all. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, preferably 2 hours, or up to 3 hours.
  8. In a large frying pan over medium-low heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the remaining butter with 1 tablespoon of the oil. When the foam subsides, gently slide half of the crab cakes into the pan. Cook the first sides until golden brown, 5-6 minutes.
  9. Turn and brown on the second sides, 4-5 minutes longer. Keep the first batch of cakes warm in a low oven.
  10. Wipe out the pan with a paper towel and repeat to make the second batch of crab cakes.
  11. Squeeze the lemon half over all the crab cakes and, if desired, serve each on a slice of baguette.

Makes 12 to 14 warm bites.

Source: Hors D’oeuvre

Pan-seared Tofu with Creamy Yogurt-chard Sauce

Ingredients

350 g package extra-firm tofu
2 tsp garam masala, divided
1/2 tsp salt, divided
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 bunch Swiss chard
1 Tbsp + 2 tsp grapeseed or sunflower oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp finely chopped ginger
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup half-and-half cream
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup sliced roasted almonds

Method

  1. Line cutting board with a couple sheets of paper towel. Top with tofu, a couple more sheets of towel, and another cutting board. Press to extract excess liquid. Slice tofu into 3/4 in blocks and toss with 1 tsp garam masala, 1/4 tsp salt, and black pepper.
  2. Slice off stems from chard leaves and thinly slice stems. Roughly chop chard leaves and then soak them in large bowl of cool water, swishing to loosen any grit clinging to them. Drain and squeeze out excess water, or use a salad spinner to remove excess water. Chop greens into smaller pieces.
  3. In large skillet over medium-high, heat 1 Tbsp oil. Add tofu and cook, tossing the cubes occasionally, until golden brown all over, about 8 minutes. Remove tofu from pan and set aside.
  4. Heat remaining 2 tsp oil in pan. Add onion, chard stems, and 1/4 tsp salt. Cook until onion has softened and browned, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add garlic and ginger to pan. Cook for 2 minutes.
  6. Add 1 tsp garam masala, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, turmeric, and red pepper flakes in pan. Cook for 30 seconds. Add chopped chard leaves in batches and cook, stirring often, until wilted, about 2 minutes.
  7. Remove pan from heat and let cool for about 2 minutes. Stir in yogurt, 1/4 cup at a time, and then stir in cream. Gently stir in tofu and lemon juice. Serve topped with almonds.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Alive magazine

Moist and Delicious Gluten Free Chocolate Cake

Ingredients

1 (4-ounce) bar dark chocolate with cacao, broken into pieces
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup pure cane sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup unsweetened cacao powder, sifted, plus more to serve

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly oil a 9-1/2-inch round cake pan.
  2. On the stove, boil water in a pot. As soon as water boils, turn down to medium-high heat and place a stainless steel bowl on top of the water. Melt chocolate and butter together in the bowl. Do not let the bottom of the bowl touch the water. This process will take about 5-7 minutes. Stir frequently, so the chocolate does not burn.
  3. In a separate large mixing bowl, combine sugar and vanilla. Mix melted chocolate mixture into sugar mixture, and with a wooden spoon, stir until well blended.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, and then honey. Stir until well blended. Sift in cacao powder and stir to combine. Pour batter into cake pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
  5. Let cool slightly and serve warm with cacao powder sifted on top and a side of coffee ice cream.

Makes 8 servings.

Source: The Organic Family Cookbook