Banana split ice cream cake

Happy national ice cream day! I couldn’t let the day pass without celebrating one of my favorite foods! Because I can’t just do things the simple way, and make a regular banana split, I decided to make a banana split cake, made from layers of banana chiffon cake, 3 flavors of ice cream, homemade sauces, and topped with cherries.

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I would recommend starting this at least one day before you need it. The cake components need time to set, and shouldn’t be rushed. I also recommend making the chocolate sauce right before you assemble the cake, otherwise it will thicken up too much and won’t be pourable.

BANANA CHIFFON CAKE

  • 2 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ c granulated sugar divided
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 ½ ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • ¾ c water
  • 7 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Separate eggs, placing the whites in the bowl of a mixer and the yolks in a large mixing bowl.20170711_224103
  3. Add ½ cup of sugar and the cream of tarter to the whites.
  4. Using a whisk attachment, whip until stiff peaks form.
  5. While the whites whip, add the mashed bananas, oil, water and vanilla to the yolks. Whisk until well combined.20170711_224854
  6. Add the flour, remaining cup of granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt to the yolk mixture.20170711_225153
  7. Whisk until well combined and smooth.20170711_225321
  8. Once the whites have come to stiff peaks, fold the whites in to the batter carefully but thoroughly.20170711_225619
  9. Spray the bottom only of 3-9” round cake pans, and line with parchment.20170711_225754
  10. Separate batter evenly between the 3 pans.20170711_230118
  11. Bake at 350 until golden brown, and the middle of the cake springs back to the touch, or a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in to the middle of the cake.
  12. Once cooled, refrigerate the cakes until cold.

PINEAPPLE OR STRAWBERRY SAUCE

  • 1 ¼ c crushed pineapple or thawed frozen strawberries
  • ¼ c water
  • ¼ c sugar
  • 1 T pectin

DIRECTIONS

  1. Place fruit and water in a pot and bring to a boil over medium heat.20170712_231721
  2. In a separate bowl, stir together sugar and pectin, add to the boiling fruit.20170712_231234.jpg
  3. Stir constantly for 20 minutes, until thickened slightly.20170712_232021
  4. Skim off any foam.20170716_121914
  5. Refrigerate until use.20170712_233033

 

CHOCOLATE SAUCE

  • 8 oz chopped dark chocolate
  • 10 oz heavy cream
  1. Place chopped chocolate in a heat proof bowl.
  2. In a small saucepan, bring cream to a boil over medium heat.
  3. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let sit for 5 minutes.20170715_182214
  4. Whisk until incorporated and glossy.20170715_182605
  5. Cover the surface with plastic wrap, hold until it is just cooled but still pourable.

ASSEMBLY

  • 1 pint chocolate ice cream
  • 1 pint strawberry ice cream
  • 1 pint vanilla ice cream
  • 1 ½ c heavy cream
  • 3 Tbsp powdered sugar
  • Maraschino cherries with stems
  • Chopped peanuts
  • Banana cake layers
  • Pineapple sauce
  • Strawberry sauce
  • Chocolate sauce

DIRECTIONS

  1. Let the ice cream sit out until soft but not too melted.20170712_221427
  2. Line the 9” cake pans with parchment. One at a time, place the whole pint of ice cream in a cake pan and spread out in an even layer. Repeat with remaining 2 pints and pans.20170712_232318
  3. Place the cake layers, top side down in each of the pans. Freeze until solid, about 2 hours.20170712_232403
  4. Once the layers are set, and you’re ready to build, starting with the strawberry layer, peel the parchment off the cake layer Run a knife along the edge of the cake and ice cream to loosen the sides.20170715_183002
  5. Carefully run hot water over the bottom of the pan, using your hand to support the cake, then tap the pan on the counter until the layer comes out.20170715_183022
  6. Place the layer on your serving plate, ice cream side up, and remove the parchment ( I also use a cake board under the cake, but it’s not mandatory).20170715_183116
  7. Spread the strawberry sauce evenly over the layer, letting some drip down the side.20170715_183148
  8. Repeat the steps with the vanilla ice cream layer and pineapple sauce.20170715_183355
  9. Finish with the chocolate layer and chocolate sauce.20170715_183529
  10. Freeze the built cake while you prep the remaining items, and you’re ready to serve.
  11. Whip the cream with the powdered sugar until stiff. Place in a piping bag with a large star tip.20170715_183831
  12. Chop the peanuts.20170715_182318
  13. Pull out the cherries and allow them to dry briefly in a paper towel.
  14. Once you’re ready to serve, pipe several large rosettes around the top of the cake, as well as one in the center.20170715_183906
  15. Sprinkle the chopped peanuts over the whipped cream.20170715_183948
  16. Top each rosette with a cherry.20170715_184329
  17. Enjoy!!20170715_184327
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I ❤️ Churros

I know cinco de Mayo isn’t really much of a holiday in Mexico. I know it’s just turned in to another day for Americans to drink in excess, but as with most holidays, instead, I see it as an excuse to make something tasty.

I think you would be hard pressed to find too many people that don’t like churros. Fried piece of dough, warm, covered in cinnamon sugar? Sign me up. I know one of my favorite snacks at Disneyland are their famous churros, and if I spot some on the menu in a restaurant, there’s a good chance I’ll order them.

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Churros may seem intimidating, but they’re really not that hard. If you’ve ever made choux before, like cream Puffs or eclairs, you can make these, as they use the same dough. You can make these as regular sticks, pipe them in to fun shapes, or make some over the top ice cream sandwiches.

You can fry these in a deep frier, or any kind of wide, deep pot, but a Dutch oven does work best. You have a lot of space, and it holds heat well, which helps for consistent frying. I also can recommend using a digital thermometer enough. I love this one from polder. I use it for roasting meats, making candy, and with deep frying, it’s easier to watch the temperature, and make adjustments to raise or lower the temperature of the oil.

While churros are best fresh, you can also fry the doug ahead of time, then warm them in the oven before tossing the churros in the sugar mixture.

Churros

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 c milk
  • 6 oz butter
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 3/4 c + 2 tbsp flour
  • 6 eggs
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 1 T cinnamon
  • Ice cream (optional)IMG_0383
  1. In a Dutch oven, heat 1 quart of vegetable oil over medium heat until it reaches 330 degrees.IMG_0392
  2. In a large sauce pan, over medium heat , bring the milk, butter, vanilla, first amount of sugar and salt to a boil.IMG_0382
  3. Once the mixture comes to a boil, mix in the flour, little by little, moving quickly. The dough will come together in a ball.IMG_0381
  4. Continue cooking the mixture, until the dough leaves a thin film on the bottom of the pan.IMG_0380
  5. Transfer dough in to a stand mixer fitted with a paddle.IMG_0379
  6. Running the miser on medium/low, slowly add the eggs, one by one, waiting until the egg is completely incorporated before adding the next one.IMG_0378
  7. Once all the eggs are added, mix until the dough comes together and is glossy.IMG_0376
  8. Place dough in a piping bag fitted with a medium/large star tip.
  9. Mix together the second amount of sugar and the cinnamon in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  10. If you’re making shapes like circles or hearts, pipe these shapes on parchment, before frying. You can also use this meathod for the more traditional stick shapes, for more consistent pieces. When frying the dough, place most of the paper in the oil, dough side down, until it comes off the paper, being careful not to touch the hot oil.IMG_0373IMG_0371
  11. When the oil is up to temp, pipe the dough in 3 to 4 inch long pieces, straight in to the oil, using your finger to separate the end of the dough from the tip.IMG_0366IMG_0365
  12. Fry until dark golden brown, flipping the churros once one side has browned.IMG_0370
  13. Once the churros are done, place them on a wire rack, and let cool for 5 I minutes.IMG_0364IMG_0369
  14. Toss the slightly cooled churros in the cinnamon sugar mixture. Eat warm.IMG_0391IMG_0368
  15. If you’re making ice cream sandwiches, let the churro rounds cool completely before placing a scoop of ice cream on one churro and sandwiching it with the other.IMG_0386

Spring Carrot Pots

Even as an adult I have a soft spot for the ever popular cup of dirt. I know their generally geared towards kids, but who doesn’t like chocolate pudding and cookies?

As I mentioned in my Robins Egg Cake with Filo Nests post, I love the spring, and I get really inspired by spring and Easter, and cups of dirt seemed like a great base for a cute Easter dessert. Wanting to up the cuteness quotient, I wanted to make carrots you could pull out of the dirt and eat, and because no one wants a real carrot in their pudding, I went with peanut butter carrots. The carrots are great on their own too, you can set out a plate of them with other Easter candy, or stick a few in a basket.

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The base is my favorite chocolate pudding recipe. It’s thick and rich, but if you want something a little sweeter sub milk chocolate for the dark chocolate. For the cookies, I used extra chocolate cookie dough, but you can just as easily use nabisco famous wafers, or Oreos.

Ingredients

Chocolate Pudding

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, choppedIMG_0341
  1. Whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch and salt in a medium sauce pan. Whisk in the milk, and half and half.IMG_0343
  2. Place yolks in a medium bowl.
  3. Heat the milk mixture over medium heat, stirring occasionally until hot, but not boiling.
  4. Temper milk mixture in to yolks, and return to the pan.IMG_0342
  5. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened and bubbling.IMG_0344
  6. Remove from heat and mix in butter, vanilla and chocolate, until incorporated.
  7. Strain into a clean bowl. Press plastic wrap to the surface, then refrigerate until cold, about 3 hours.IMG_0345

 

Peanut Butter Carrots

  • 3/4 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 1/4 cup butter, room temp
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, or as needed
  • 1 package orange Wilton candy melts
  • Green frill toothpicks or Easter basket grass (see notes below)

For the carrot tops I tried to different things. The first was using Green frill toothpicks that I cut the pick down to 1 1/2 inches. The other was using Easter basket grass. I gathered in to bundles of 12-14 pieces, then tied them off before cutting  a  1 1/2 inch piece with the knot at one end.IMG_0347

  1. Combine peanut butter, butter, vanilla and salt in the bowl of a mixer.
  2. Cream on low until blended.
  3. Add 1 cup powdered sugar, beating until blended. Beat in additional powdered sugar until mixture is thick and dough like, and will hold its shape.IMG_0339
  4. If you’re using the basket grass, form a cherry tomato sized ball of peanut butter mixture. Stick a bundle of grass in the middle, closing the mixture up around the knot, then roll in to a 2″ carrot shape.IMG_0337IMG_0336
  5. If your using the toothpicks, shape the mixture in the a carrot shape before inserting the toothpick through the length of the carrot so only the top frill shows.IMG_0338IMG_0335
  6. Place all the carrots on a parchment lined sheet pan, and freeze for at least 3 hours.
  7. Melt the entire bag of candy melts over a double boiler, stirring occasionally until smooth.IMG_0334
  8. Place melted candy melts in a glass ( a tall narrow container makes it easier to dip the carrots).
  9. Working quickly, dip each carrot until the coating just touches the “carrot greens”. IMG_0332
  10. Shake off any excess coating before placing back on the parchment. Repeat until all carrots are coated.IMG_0331
  11. Refridgerate until the coating is firm.

 

Assembly

  • chocolate pudding
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 12 oz chocolate cookies (homemade, nabisco famous wafers, or Oreos)
  • peanut butter carrots
  • mini chocolate eggs
  • large piping bag
  • Container of choice (see note below)

I made my mini pots in mini silicone cupcake cups that look like  terra-cotta pots. You can use real mini pots, but you need to plug up the hole in the bottom. You can also make a large pot of carrots using a wide shallow pot, or a serving dish (I used a clear pirex bowl so you can see the layers).

  1. Whisk the cooled pudding until smooth.IMG_0330
  2. Whip the cream and powdered sugar in the bowl of a mixer until stiff, but not over whipped.
  3. Fold the whipped cream and pudding together until just combined. Place in piping bag, set aside.IMG_0329
  4. Crush the cookies, either in a food processor, or in a plastic bag using a rolling pin. It’s ok if it’s a little chunky, it’s supposed to be dirt.IMG_0328
  5. Sprinkle enough cookie crumbs at the bottom of the container until just covered.
  6. Pipe the pudding mixture next, until just before halfway full.
  7. Sprinkle on more cookie crumbs.
  8. Pipe in more pudding until just below the top.
  9. Sprinkle with more cookies.IMG_0327
  10. Stick a carrot, greens up, in each mini pot. Or multiple if using a large pot.IMG_0357
  11. Decorate with mini eggs. IMG_0349
  12. Enjoy!

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Bakealong Butterflake Herb Loaf

Back in August of last year, King Arthur flour started A fun challenge every month called the bakealong challenge. Each month is a new recipe that they invite everyone to bake along with them. When I started this blog I vowed to follow along every month.

This month’s recipe is a delicious butterflake herb loaf. Anytime you layer bread and butter, I’m always on board. I know yeast breads can seem intimidating, but as long as you follow the dir cations, don’t stray from the basics of the recipe it’s pretty easy.

I’m including the recipe as it is on the website, but with my own notes in bold.

One of my favorite things about the recipes and the King Arthur Flour website is that all their recipes can be changed from volume to weight (in ounces or grams) with a quick press of a button above the ingredients. I always prefer weight over volume so this keeps me coming back to their recipes.

DOUGH
8 ounces milk
2 ounces butter
1 1/4 ounces sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons instant yeast or active dry yeast
17 to 18 ounces King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
3/4 ounce potato flour or instant potato flakes, optional, for increased moistness 
FILLING*
4 ounces unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon grated onion or chopped chives
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds or chopped fennel seed
1/2 teaspoon dried basil, crushed
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste
*See “tips,” below.

The filling in this recipe is a great place to tweak the taste to your liking. As long as the amount of butter stays the same, you can change the herbs and spice all you want. Like I learned I don’t like caraway seeds. Also next time I make this I want more garlic and to add thyme as well. Maybe you want it spicier with red pepper flakes. Or sweeter spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. Have fun with this part.

Instructions

  1. Combine the milk, butter, sugar, and salt in a microwave-safe measuring cup or bowl; or in a saucepan. Heat, stirring, until the butter melts. Let the mixture cool to lukewarm. I warmed everything up until most but not all of the butter was melted, which allowed the mixture to cool quicker.IMG_0247
  2. Transfer the milk mixture to a mixing bowl, and add the eggs, yeast, 4 cups of the flour, and the potato flour and mix to form a shaggy dough. Knead the dough — using your hands, a stand mixer, or your bread machine set on the dough cycle — until it’s smooth. The dough will remain somewhat sticky, but should definitely form a ball. During the summer, or in a warm/humid climate, you’ll probably find you have to add the remaining 1/4 cup flour.
  3. Place the dough in a greased container, cover, and let it rise for about 90 minutes, until it’s puffy though not necessarily doubled in bulk. I cheat and put this on my stove with the oven on, but not too close to the vent, or it will get too hot.
  4. While the dough is rising, place the filling ingredients in a bowl and mix to combine. See note above about changing the flavoring of the filling.IMG_0249
  5. After the dough has risen, deflate it and divide it in half. Working with one piece at a time, place the dough on a lightly greased or lightly floured surface (your preference), and roll/pat it into a 12″ circle about 1/4″ thick. Cut 3 1/2″ to 4″ circles with a cutter, large canning jar lid, or English muffin ring; you should have about 10 circles. Make sure the dough is thin! You get more circles which means more layers. I also cheated and re-rolled my scraps. 

  6. Spread the butter-herb filling on half of each circle, fold in half, and place fold-side down in a lightly greased 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf pan. Repeat with the remaining half of the dough, filling another 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ bread pan. Or place all of the circles in a 12″ x 4″ x 2 1/2″ tea loaf pan. Shape any scraps into small rolls; or butter them, and pile them into the wells of a muffin tin. They won’t look pretty, but they’ll taste just fine. Divide out the butter before spreading so you know it’s divided evenly.IMG_0253
  7. Cover the pan(s) with greased plastic and let the dough rise for about 90 minutes, until it’s puffy and starting to fill the pan. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.IMG_0254
  8. Uncover the loaves, and bake them for 25 to 30 minutes. Bread baked in a ceramic pan will take 5 to 7 minutes longer to bake than in a metal one. Tent the loaves with foil if they look like they’re browning too quickly.
  9. Remove the bread from the oven; brush it with additional melted butter, if desired. Turn the loaves out of the pan, and serve warm. Store any leftovers, well wrapped, at room temperature for several days; freeze for longer storage.

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    Finished and ready to inhale

Mardi Gras King Cake with Praline Filling

New Orleans is one of my absolute favorite places to visit. Since my first visit in 2015, I’ve managed to get back out there once a year. I love it so much that I’m even planning on getting married there.

I’ve experienced a lot there, but I’ve yet to make it out for Mardi Gras yet. Since I can’t make it out this year, I figured I could still celebrate, by making my own king cake. This is my first time making, one and I think it came out pretty good. I wanted to give it a flavor reminiscent of another New Orleans treat, so I made a praline filling. You can fill it was anything you usually put in breads, or it’s tasty on it’s own.

 

Cake:

  • 1 c warm milk, about 110°F
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 2 Tbsp dry yeast
  • 3 3/4 c AP flour
  • 1 c butter, melted
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp salt

Filling:

  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 T water
  • 6oz pecans

Frosting:

  • 3 c powdered sugar
  • 1/2 c condensed milk
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 T water
  • Purple, green, and gold/yellow sprinkles

Process:

1. To make the dough, pour the warm milk into the bowl of a mixer. Whisk in the granulated sugar, yeast, and a tablespoon of the flour, mixing until the sugar and the yeast have dissolved.

2. Once the mixture begins to look foamy, whisk in the melted butter, eggs, and vanilla. Add the remaining flour and salt, place in the mixer with the dough hook.

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What the yeast mixture should look like when it’s ready

3.  After the dough comes together, mix until it is smooth and elastic. Add more flour if the dough is too sticky.

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Dough ready to proof

4. Keep the dough in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap, and set aside in a warm place to let it rise for 1 1/2 hours or until the dough has doubled in volume.

5. While the dough is proofing make the filling. Place the brown sugar, vanilla, water and salt in a saute pan. Cook until bubble and the sugar has dissolved. Stir in pecans until coated. Spread out on a greased cookie sheet to cool. Once the nuts are cool, pulse in a wood processor until finely chopped.

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Cooking the sugar mixture
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Cooling candied pecans
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Finished filling

6. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Once the dough has risen, punch it down and divide the dough into 3 equal pieces. Roll each piece of dough in to a 24in. by 8in. rectangle. Spread 1/3 of the filling on to each rectangle, then roll each piece lengthwise in to a long log.  Braid the 3 logs around one another and then form the braid into a circle, pinching ends together to seal. Gently lay the braided dough on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and let it rise until it doubles in size, about 30 minutes.

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Dividing dough before rolling
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Rolled dough spread with filling
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Rolled up log
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Starting the braid
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Braided logs
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Forming the braid into a ring

7. Once it’s doubled in size, place the cookie sheet in the oven and bake until the braid is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven, and allow to cool for 30 minutes.

8. While the cake is cooling make the frosting. Whisk together the powdered sugar, condensed milk, water and lemon juice in a bowl until the icing is smooth and very spreadable. If the icing is too thick, add a bit more water, if it’s a too loose, add a little more powdered sugar.

9. Once the cake has cooled, spread the icing over the top of the cake and sprinkle with purple, green and gold/yellow sprinkles while the icing is still wet. If you have a plastic baby, tuck it under the cake. Carefully move to a large platter to serve.

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Finished king cake slice