Saturday, November 29, 2008

Daring Bakers - Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting


I am so excited to post my second Daring Bakers' Challenge!

This month’s challenge is a Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting courtesy of Shuna Fish Lydon, as published on Bay Area Bites. The co-hosts for this month’s Daring Bakers Challenge are Dolores of Culinary Curiosity, Jenny of Foray into Food, and Alex of Blondie and Brownie. Natalie from Gluten-a-Go-Go assisted with making gluten-free changes to the original recipe this month.

It was a great challenge. Especially because I've never made caramel sauce before and I am happy to say that it worked! The cake was sweet and rich. The frosting was sweet too but with a nice touch of sea salt it became unbelievable! My husband loved it and asked me to make him the cake again!

So, let's get started.

Caramel Cake
Recipe courtesy of Shuna Fish Lydon

10 Tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/4 Cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 Cup Caramel Syrup (see recipe below)
2 each eggs, at room temperature
splash vanilla extract
2 Cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup milk, at room temperature

Preheat oven to 350F

Butter one tall (2 – 2.5 inch deep) 9-inch cake pan.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth. Add sugar and salt & cream until light and fluffy.

Slowly pour room temperature caramel syrup into bowl. Scrape down bowl and increase speed. Add eggs/vanilla extract a little at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down bowl again, beat mixture until light and uniform.

Sift flour and baking powder.

Turn mixer to lowest speed, and add one third of the dry ingredients. When incorporated, add half of the milk, a little at a time. Add another third of the dry ingredients, then the other half of the milk and finish with the dry ingredients. {This is called the dry, wet, dry, wet, dry method in cake making. It is often employed when there is a high proportion of liquid in the batter.}

Take off mixer and by hand, use a spatula to do a few last folds, making sure batter is uniform. Turn batter into prepared cake pan.

Place cake pan on cookie sheet or 1/2 sheet pan. Set first timer for 30 minutes, rotate pan and set timer for another 15-20 minutes. Your own oven will set the pace. Bake until sides pull away from the pan and skewer inserted in middle comes out clean. Cool cake completely before icing it.

Cake will keep for three days outside of the refrigerator.

Caramel Syrup

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup water (for “stopping” the caramelization process)
In a small stainless steel saucepan, with tall sides, mix water and sugar until mixture feels like wet sand. Brush down any stray sugar crystals with wet pastry brush. Turn on heat to highest flame. Cook until smoking slightly: dark amber.

When color is achieved, very carefully pour in one cup of water. Caramel will jump and sputter about! It is very dangerous, so have long sleeves on and be prepared to step back.

Whisk over medium heat until it has reduced slightly and feels sticky between two fingers. {Obviously wait for it to cool on a spoon before touching it.}

Note: For safety reasons, have ready a bowl of ice water to plunge your hands into if any caramel should land on your skin.

Caramelized Butter Frosting
Recipe courtesy of Shuna Fish Lydon

12 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound confectioner’s sugar, sifted
4-6 tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2-4 tablespoons caramel syrup
Kosher or sea salt to taste

Cook butter until brown. Pour through a fine meshed sieve into a heatproof bowl, set aside to cool.

Pour cooled brown butter into mixer bowl.

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, add confectioner’s sugar a little at a time. When mixture looks too chunky to take any more, add a bit of cream and or caramel syrup. Repeat until mixture looks smooth and all confectioner’s sugar has been incorporated. Add salt to taste.

Note: Caramelized butter frosting will keep in fridge for up to a month.
To smooth out from cold, microwave a bit, then mix with paddle attachment until smooth and light.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

TWD - Thanksgiving Twofer Pie

This is my first official challenge with "Tuesdays with Dorie", and I am very excited about it! This challenge was hosted by Vibi from "La Casserole Carree" and is a beautiful and delicious "Thanksgiving Twofer Pie". I promise to upload more pictures of it once we cut it tonight!


Monday, November 17, 2008

Leche con Platano (Banana Milkshake)

One of the most traditional drinks we have in Chile is this milkshake, which everybody loves! It is very simple and it's especially good when you have those ripe bananas that you don't want to waste.

Get your blender ready!


1 cup of milk
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream (optional)
1 ripe banana cut in chunks

Put everything in the blender and chop/mix until everything is well combined. Enjoy it!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Banana Waffles (Sunday Morning breakfast)

Hey everybody!

After I served this breakfast at home today, I was asked to post it here since it's such a great recipe.

My guys usually have a special breakfast on Sunday's mornings. So, today I just whipped some things together and made this delicious creation. Let's get started.


For the waffles:
2 cups self rising flour
2 eggs
1/4 cup canola oil
1 1/2 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 pinch of lemon juice
1 banana (I made it puree with the food processor)

For the toppings:
- Butter
- Caramel sauce
- Whipped cream
- Pine nuts
- Shaved dark/bittersweet chocolate


Preheat your waffle maker.

In a mixing bowl put the flour, eggs and oil. Whisk until incorporated. Stir the milk, vanilla and lemon juice until everything is well blended. Add the banana puree and stir well.

Spray your waffle maker with cooking spry and add almost 1/2 cup of the batter. Once the waffle is made, set it aside on a serving plate. Add butter and caramel to taste. When the next waffle is ready, set it on top of the one you left on the plate and top it again with butter and caramel to taste. Make a little decoration at the middle with the whipped cream and sprinkle the pine nuts and shaved chocolate. Let is soak for a minute and serve. Proceed the same way with the rest of the batter.


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Cheesecake - NY Style... to die for!!!!

I saw this recipe name at King Arthur Flour website and I knew it that I had to make it right then. I was a little bit concerned after I read their blog considering the challenge of baking the cheesecake, but I decided to give it a try anyway and it didn't disappoint me! (To know what I am talking about, please visit their blog link)


1 1/2 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg

2 pounds (four 8-ounce packages) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 tablespoons King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
zest of 1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream

Fruit glaze
1 or 2 cans (14.5 ounces each) tart cherries in water, or 1 quart fresh or frozen fruit (I used frozen strawberries for mine)
1 cup water
1/2 sugar
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 drops red food coloring (optional)


1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a 10-inch springform pan.

2. For the crust: In a mixing bowl with a paddle, combine the flour, sugar, salt, and butter. Mix until the mixture is crumbly, then add the egg and continue to mix until a soft dough forms.

3. Press the dough on the bottom and an inch up the sides of the prepared pan; dock with a fork, and bake for 15 minutes, until light golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F.

4. For the filling: Place the cream cheese in a large mixing bowl with a paddle. Add the sugar and flour, and mix at low speed until there are no lumps. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl at least twice during this process, to be sure no cheese is sticking.

5. Add the lemon zest, salt, and vanilla, and mix to combine. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until incorporated and scraping the mixing bowl between additions. Stir in the sour cream.

6. Pour the filling over the crust and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the edges of the cake are set one inch in from the edge. The middle should still jiggle when you nudge the pan; in fact, the cake will look underbaked. Measure the temperature of the cake an inch from the edge: when it reaches 175°F, turn off the oven.

7. Prop open the door, and let the cheesecake cool slowly in the oven for 1 hour. During this time the center will finish setting. Cooling the cake slowly will keep the top from cracking and ensure a smooth, even texture inside.

8. For the glaze: Whisk together the water, sugar, and cornstarch in a medium saucepan until the cornstarch dissolves. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture boils, becomes clear, and thickens.

9. Remove from the heat and add the food coloring and the drained cherries. Let the mixture cool to room temperature, then spoon it over the cooled cheesecake. Refrigerate the cake until you're ready to serve

Hamburger Buns

I know... you're going to say... why is she making those? doesn't she know that she can get a bunch of them for like a dollar? INDEED, I know! But I saw these babies and had to try the recipe!

The Source is King's Arthur Flour. Their recipes are just so good and whenever I have a doubt or a question I can either go to their blog or ask for some help at their online help center, isn't that great?

This recipe is really good. It is hard to explain how a bun can be chewy and soft at the same time, but believe, these guys are just like that! They are easy to make and doesn't take a lot of effort to get them ready. You can use them from simple sandwiches, bar-b-q (as we did) or for burgers.

So here we go with the recipe:


2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 packets or 2 scant tablespoons active dry yeast (4 1/2 tspn.)
1/2 cup warm water (105°F to 115°F)
2 cups warm milk (105°F to 115°F)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons salt
6 to 7 1/2 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
egg wash: 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water
sesame, poppy or caraway seeds or coarse salt (optional)

This fairly wide variation for a couple of reasons. First, you'll find in the summer that you'll need a bit more flour to absorb a given amount of liquid than you will in the winter. This is because it's humid and flour acts somewhat like a slightly dampened sponge as a result.

Second, this particular dough should be quite slack, i.e., very relaxed in order to make soft and tender buns. So you want to add only enough more flour, past the 6-cup point, to make the dough just kneadable; sprinkling only enough more to keep it from sticking to you or the board.


Mixing: In a large bowl, dissolve the sugar and then the yeast in the warm water. Add the milk, oil, salt and 3 cups of flour to the yeast mixture. Beat vigorously for 2 minutes.

Gradually add flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface.

Kneading: Knead until you have a smooth, elastic dough. Because this dough is so slack, you may find that a bowl scraper or bench knife can be helpful in scooping up the dough and folding it over on itself.

Rising: Put the dough into an oiled bowl. Turn once to coat the entire ball of dough with oil. Cover with a tightly-woven dampened towel and let rise until doubled, about one hour.

Shaping: Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface. Divide into 18 equal pieces. This is done most easily by dividing the dough first into thirds, then those thirds into halves, then the halves into thirds.

Shape each piece into a ball. For soft-sided buns, place them on a well-seasoned baking sheet a half inch apart so they'll grow together when they rise. For crisper buns, place them three inches apart.

Second Rising: Cover with a towel and let rise until almost doubled, about 45 minutes.

Baking: Fifteen minutes before you want to bake your buns, preheat your oven to 400°F. Just before baking, lightly brush the tops of the buns with the egg wash and sprinkle with whatever seeds strike your fancy.

Bake for 20 minutes or until the internal temperature of the bread reaches 190°F. (A dough thermometer takes the guesswork out of this.)

When the buns are done, remove them from the baking sheet to cool on a wire rack. This will prevent the crust from becoming soggy

Oven Roasted Pork - Chilean Style

This is one of the fast and easy ways to make pork. Especially if you are kind of late to start cooking dinner. I made the pork, rice and salad in less than an hour!


1 Boneless Pork Rib piece
1 onion sliced roughly
3 roma tomatoes cut in big chunks
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
Fresh oregano leaves (15) or 1 tsp. dried
1/2 tsp. dill
1/2 tsp. thyme
1 Tbsp. Olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste


Let's start by heating the oven to 400ºF. Then, grease a 9x13' pan and set aside (I used Pam spry).

Take off the extra fat you can see on the piece of pork. Wash it with warm water and dried with some paper towel. Place the meat onto a cutting board and proceed to add salt and pepper to taste all around. Set is aside.

Peal and cut the onion into these big chunks and place them on the baking dish simulating a bed. Then wash and cut the tomatoes and put them on top of the onions. Sprinkle some salt (only a tiny bit). Put the pork on top of the tomatoes and sprinkle the herbs (dill, thyme and oregano). Drizzle the balsamic vinegar over the pork and finally the olive oil.

Bake on the top rack of the oven for 35-45 minutes. You can serve it with rice or mashed potatoes. Delicious!

Caramel-Peanut topped Brownie Cake

This is one of the most delicious recipes I've tried so far from Tuesdays with Dorie.

The consistency is just beautiful and the flavor impossible to describe it fairly. I mean... can anything be wrong when you have a brownie cake, caramel and salted peanuts?

You can decide if I am wrong or not after these shots!

Seafood Paella

Hey there!

I've been cooking a lot lately, but with not much time to upload pictures and do the blog thing... which is not fun at all!! I love to share new recipes and especially since I've been so encouraged by some of the Daring Bakers bloggers!

I made this recipe last week. It was delicious. You can think that involves a lot of work, but guess what?!?! It's the easiest thing ever!!!!

A long time ago, I was watching one of my favorite shows, "Take home Chef" at TLC and he made this dish and I wanted so bad to do it too, so after making some google work, I found his recipe.

So, here we go:

Seafood Paella

Serves 4


¼ cup/50 ml olive oil
3 shallots, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon/1.3 g Persian saffron powder
2 cups/375 g long grain white rice
1/2 cup/100 ml dry white wine
1 teaspoon/6 g salt
4 cups/900 ml chicken stock, warmed
1 tomato, seeded, diced
8 black mussels, scrubbed, debearded
8 Manila clams, scrubbed (I couldn't find those, so I just used a can of whole clams)
4 colossal shrimp, halved lengthwise, deveined (with shells)
4 sea scallops
1 tablespoon/about 3 g roughly chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1 tablespoon/15 ml extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon, halved


Preheat the oven to 425°F/220°C. Heat ¼ cup/50 ml of olive oil in a 12-inch/30-cm-diameter paella pan (a broad, shallow pan with two handles--I used the closest pan I had to this one) over medium heat. Add the shallots and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme and bay leaves, and sauté until the shallots are tender and translucent, about 1 minute.

Sprinkle the saffron powder over the shallot mixture and sauté for 1 minute. Add the rice and stir for 2 minutes or until the pan is quite dry and the rice is coated with oil. Stir in the wine and salt then the warm chicken stock. Stir the rice to distribute it evenly in the pan.

Bring to a simmer over high heat then remove the pan from the heat. Sprinkle the tomatoes over the rice mixture. Nestle the mussels, clams, shrimp and scallops into the rice mixture.Carefully transfer the pan to the oven and bake the paella uncovered for about 35 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the seafood is cooked (discard any mussels and clams that do not open).

Remove the paella from the oven. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and drizzle with the extra virgin olive oil. Squeeze the lemon juice over the paella and serve.

Source: "Take Home Chef" - TLC - Curtis Stone