Monday, June 27, 2011

Whipping Cream Cake

We have a friend named Will who is in school here in Tuscaloosa and who we love dearly. I swear since I have lived here in Alabama, even before we were married I would make food for Will and Thad. Will also mows lawns and does a dang good job at it. Life has been crazy for us these last 9 months and doing basic things like mowing the lawn seems to be impossible. So this is the second time Thad has offered my food in exchange for our front and back lawns to be mowed by our friend Will. This last time Thad gave Will the option of money or a meal and he chose.....a meal.

So the pressure was on. I ended up making chicken enchiladas with all the "fixins'" and I wanted something pretty wow for our Will. I had a couple cartons of strawberries and had some blueberries in the refrigerator, so I wanted something yummy to put them on. I came across this Whipping Cream Cake in my mom's book of recipes and had wanted to try it for some time. It was quick and easy to make and I could tell by a quick taste of the batter that it was going to be delightful. My assumptions were correct and it was an amazing cake that really did not need much added to it and could stand alone because of its rich and dense flavor. So good.

Whipping Cream Cake
1 cup butter softened
3 cups sugar
6 eggs
3 cups cake flour
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon lemon extract

Start off by preheating oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a bundt pan and set aside.

Using a medium size bowl (I use my Kitchen Aide), combine the softened butter and sugar. Mix on medium until light, fluffy and creamy. Next add the eggs, one at a time beating for 30 seconds each. Then add the cake flour and cream until mixed well. Lastly, stir in the vanilla and lemon extracts, until combined.

Once mixed well and all ingredients are incorporated, using the previously greased and floured bundt pan, spoon the batter in to the bundt pan, making sure the batter is evenly distributed. Then place in oven. Bake the cake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. I start checking the cake about 45 minutes into the baking time by using a butter knife and inserting it into the middle of the cake. If it comes out clean or has some crumbs on it, then it is down.

Once done baking, take out of oven and let cool for about 10 minutes in bundt pan on a cooling rack. After 10 minutes, invert the pan onto a cooling rack and cool completely. For garnish you can use any type of seasonal fruit with a little bit of whipping cream to top it off.

This cake is a delicious summer dessert, rich and light, topped off with some fresh fruit and cream, you seriously can't go wrong. I promise you won't be disappointed with this one.

Bon Appetit!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Banana Whoopie Pies

I am always looking for recipes to make with bananas because I feel like I always have ripened bananas hanging around. I think I have told you before that I always have bananas on hand even when I am not a big banana eater. It just makes me feel healthy and makes my kitchen feel homey to have them sitting there on top of my microwave. Since living in the South I have heard more about whoopie pies and seen them sold more than I have anywhere else. There are red velvet whoopie pies, chocolate, vanilla, coconut, raspberry, peanut butter........any flavor you could ever want.

So as I was browsing through some of Martha Stewart's recipes on her website, I typed in the word banana and it gave me an array of recipes involving bananas and there in front of me was a recipe for Banana Whoopie Pies. Since I was a Whoopie Pie virgin I knew that I had to try them and enter into the world of Whoopie Pies. These cake-like sandwiches were originally made by Pennsylvanian Amish woman, who placed them in farmer's lunches and it is said that when they would find these pies in their lunches they would shout "whoopie". After making these delicious little treats, I was taken with the moistness of the recipe, and how good the banana cake was with a creamy cream cheese frosting.....divine is all I can say about this recipe, divine.

Banana Whoopie Pies
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup mashed banana (from 1 large ripe banana)
1/2 cup sour cream
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a small bowl sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl. Set aside. Combine banana and sour cream in another bowl. Set aside. Beat butter and granulated and brown sugars with a mixer on medium-high speed, until pale and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, beating until incorporated. Add banana mixture in 2 additions, alternating with flour mixture. Mix until well blended.

Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch plain tip. Pipe batter into 1 1/4-inch rounds on baking sheets, spacing rounds 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake until edges are golden, about 9- 12 minutes (mine were done in 9 minutes). Slide parchment, with cookies, onto wire racks. Let cool. (Unfilled cookies can be stored for up to 1 day.) While cookies are cooling make the cream cheese frosting below.........

Cream Cheese Frosting (for filling)
8 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup butter, softened
16 ounces confectioners sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a stand mixer combine cream cheese, butter and sugar. Mix at high speed for 5-6 minutes. The longer you mix frosting, the smoother the texture will be. Then lastly, add in the vanilla. Mix until completely blended.

Once cookies are cooled, pipe or spoon 1 tablespoon cream cheese mixture onto the flat sides of half the cookies. Sandwich with remaining cookies. Dust with confectioners' sugar, and serve immediately.

I have been converted to Whoopie Pies and I am a lover of banana bread, so banana bread with cream cheese frosting is nothing short of heavenly. So easy to make and is a perfect finger food for any gathering. You will not be disappointed by this amazing comfort food!