Monday, June 29, 2015

Vanilla Bean Flan Cake

Vanilla Bean Flan Cake 
Adapted from: Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Vanilla Bean Cake
1/2 cup caramel sauce or topping (store bought or homemade)
1 box white or vanilla cake mix
1/2 tablespoon vanilla bean extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 12-cup bundt pan, taking care to get in all the nooks and crannies. Pour the caramel sauce into the bottom of the pan (the caramel sauce, if store-bought and thick, may need a quick warm-up in the microwave to be pourable).

In a medium bowl, make the boxed cake mix according to the instructions and then mix in the extract. 

Do not pour the entire batch of batter into the bundt pan. It will be too much. Pour about a third of it into the pan, evenly over the caramel. Refrigerate the rest of the cake batter to bake later.

2 (14-ounce) cans sweetened condensed milk (when split: 1 can)*
2 1/2 cups whole milk (when split: 1 1/4 cups)
6 ounces cream cheese (when split: 3 ounces)
6 large eggs (when split: 3 whole eggs)
4 large egg yolks (when split: 2 egg yolks)
1 teaspoon vanilla bean extract (when split: 1/2 teaspoon)

*The original recipe says to add all the flan ingredients to a blender and process until smooth. I have a standard size (even a tad bit on the large size) blender and I have to process it in two batches because its too much. So split the above recipe in half, process in the blender, and then repeat.  

Slowly and carefully pour the flan mixture over the the cake batter. Place the cake pan in a large roasting pan. Place the roasting pan in the oven and carefully pour warm water into the roasting pan until it reaches halfway up the sides of the bundt pan. Bake the cake until a toothpick comes out clean in both the cake and flan (or the flan registers 180 degrees on an instant-read thermometer), about 75 minutes.

Remove the Bundt pan from the roasting pan (the easiest way for cleanup is to leave the roasting pan and water in the oven until it has cooled) and place it on a wire rack to cool completely. Refrigerate for 8 hours  or overnight.

To remove the cake from the pan, fill a large bowl with hot water and place the bottom third of the Bundt pan in the water for 1 minute. Carefully invert the cake onto a flat plate or cake platter - I do this by putting the cake platter or plate over the Bundt pan opening and then, holding onto the edges of both platter and cake pan, I gently turn the pan upside down while flipping the cake platter. Slowly remove the pan letting the caramel drizzle over the top of the cake. Serve chilled.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Pecan Pie Chocolate Truffles

Toasted pecans, brown sugar, caramel, AND milk chocolate! I added a swirl of dulce de leche to the center of these Pecan Pie Truffles. Nutty, gooey, salty and sweet!

Pecan Pie Chocolate Truffles
Adapted from: High Heels & Grills
Yield: 2 dozen truffles

Oat and Walnut Crust
2 1/2 cups pecans
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
3/8 cup corn syrup
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
Dulce De Leche, refrigerated jar, optional

12-16 oz. dipping chocolate {chocolate bark or Wilton cocoa candy melts}

Preheat the oven to 350º F. If your pecans are not toasted it, place them whole on a baking sheet (don't use a dark one). Lie them flat in one layer on the pan and bake for only 6-7 minutes. Do not leave the oven. The oils in the nuts heat up fast and they can burn very quickly. As soon as you smell them, take them out of the oven immediately. Allow to cool and then process in a blender until fine. Reserve 1/4 cup to sprinkle on top of the truffles at the end.

In a medium bowl, combine together the pecans, graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar and salt.
Add maple syrup, corn syrup and vanilla and mix thoroughly. Refrigerate mixture for 15 minutes.

Line a cookie sheet with wax paper. Roll mixture into 1 inch balls and place on wax paper; let truffles refrigerate for 30 minutes. Optional, add a 1/4 tsp of dulce de leche to the center before rolling into a ball.

Melt the dipping chocolate according to package directions. Coat the truffles with chocolate and return back to wax paper. Sprinkle some reserved pecans on top of the truffles before the chocolate hardens. Once chocolate hardens, serve and enjoy.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Caramelized Apple Cinnamon Cheesecake

Caramelized Apple Cinnamon Cheesecake
Adapted from: Taste of Home
Yield: One 9-inch cheesecake or 
4 mini cheesecakes (4.75 inch springform pans)

Oat and Walnut Crust
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup quick-cooking oats
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 325º F. In a small bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually add flour, oats, walnuts and cinnamon until well blended. Press onto the bottom and 1-1/2 inches up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan or 4 mini springform pans. Place on a baking sheet. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until set. Cool on a wire rack.

Apple Cheesecake
2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed
3 eggs

Preheat the oven to 325º F.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Beat in milk and apple juice concentrate until smooth. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined (batter will be thin). Pour into crust. Return pan to baking sheet.

Bake the 9 inch cheesecake for 40-45 minutes or until center is almost set. Bake the mini cheesecakes for 30 minutes, until the center is almost set. Cheesecake is done when the center will be firm on top (does not look wet) but is underdone underneath and still jiggles inside. Cool on a wire rack for 45 minutes. Carefully release springform pan and run a knife around the edges of pan to loosen; cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate until cold or overnight.

Caramelized Apples
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 cup thawed apple juice concentrate
3 large, tart, baking apples (such as Grannies, Pink Ladies or Fujis)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch salt

Whisk the cornstarch and juice concentrate in a small bowl or measuring cup until smooth. There may be small pieces of cornstarch that doesn't break up. Set aside. 

Peel the apples, remove cores and cut into 1/4 inch slices. In a 10 - 12" skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the sugar, cinnamon and salt, stirring until the mixture bubbles, then toss in the apples to coat them. Let the apples sit, undisturbed, for 1 minute to sear a bit, then toss them again, and let them sit another minute. Repeat this for about 10 minutes, until the apples are deeply golden and tender. Remove from the heat and scrape the apples and their juices into a bowl. Return skillet to medium heat and add the cornstarch and juice concentrate. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cook and stir for 1 minute or until thickened. Mix in with apples. Do not top cold cheesecake with steaming hot apples unless you want a melted cheesecake. Either cool apples to room temperature and then arrange over cheesecake and then serve immediately or refrigerate for 1 hour and then serve chilled or if ready to serve right away, then top warm apples over sliced cheesecake servings.  Refrigerate leftovers. 

Monday, June 8, 2015

MLC Graduation Cake

What a pleasure to see the leaders of our community share their passion for service with our future youth leaders. Congratulations MLC!

These notes are just for me as I start to streamline this process and how much time it takes:

10 inch, 8 inch, 6 inch. (3 layers each)
One layer of white cake surrounded by two layers of dark chocolate fudge

Bake cakes and clean up: 2 hours
Level cakes, make frosting, frost all cakes, and clean up: 3 hours

Fondant cakes: 1.5 hours
Fondant decorations, including gold dust: 1.5 hours

4 batches frosting (16 sticks butter)
Blog Installation and Coding by Designs by Linds 2011