Monday, March 31, 2008

Orange Cream Roll

Today was my advisor's birthday. What better reason to bake a cake? I had been eyeing this lovely lemon roll over at Tartlette's so I finally got over my reluctance to use lots of eggs for a dessert (a lingering effect from starving chinese family during cultural revolution syndrome) and hopped to it. Except I subbed orange for lemon and agar agar for the gelatin. The cream turned out great. The cake was another story. After I carefully measured and whipped and folded, and finally slide the batter gently into the oven, I started cleaning up dishes and found that I had totally forgotten to put the butter in! I took the cake out after 10 minutes and inverted it to find something akin to a 2 by 4. I tried to roll it but the stiffness made the roll rectangular rather than a nice spiral. It was a dilemma for me (Oh!). Bake another cake or just make do with this one? Well, I thought, it only takes 10 minutes to throw together and 10 minutes to bake and I could deal with using more eggs. But this time I used a roll cake recipe from Paula Deen. It turned out beautifully and my advisor (and the rest of the group) was pretty happy.

Orange Roll Cake (adapted from Paula Deen's Jelly Roll recipe)

4 eggs, separated
3/4 cup sugar
zest of 1 orange
1 tablespoon vanilla
3/4 cup cake flour, sifted
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Confectioners' sugar, for dusting, sifted
1 cup orange cream

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a jelly roll pan (cookie sheet with sides) with parchment or wax paper.

In a small bowl beat egg whites until soft peaks form and set aside. In another bowl, beat the egg yolks until light and lemony and fluffy. Gradually add the sugar, zest and vanilla, and mix well. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the sifted flour mixture to the egg yolk mixture. Stir in half of the egg whites into the yolk mixture then fold in the rest. Pour the batter into jelly roll pan and smooth out. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until the cake is golden and springs back with pushed lightly with a finger.

Meanwhile, prepare a kitchen towel by dusting it with some powdered sugar. Loosen edges of cake, invert cake onto the towel (Wow! I should really read directions better. That is so much easier than inverting the powdered sugar towel over the cake, which is what I did and ended up with a gentle cloud of powdered sugar descending over the front of my shirt). Gently peel wax paper off cake. Trim 1/4-inch of hard crust off each long side of the jelly roll cake. Begin with the narrow side and roll the cake and towel up together. Cool cake on rack, seam side down, for 10 to 15 minutes.

Once cake has cooled, gently unroll and spread cake with orange cream and re-roll. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar or cover with whipped cream.

Orange Cream (from Pierre Herme by way of Tartlette)

1 cup sugar
zest of 2 oranges
4 eggs
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 Tb agar flakes, softened in 3 Tbs hot water
1 stick butter, cut into 1 inch pieces, softened

Make a water bath by putting a saucepan of water over heat to simmer and placing a metal bowl over, without the bottom touching the water. Rub the sugar and zest with your fingers and add to the metal bowl. Whisk in the eggs and juice.
Cook the mixture over the water bath, whisking constantly until the cream reaches 180 degrees (btw - this is hard to do with my meat thermometer). Put it into a blender with the agar mix until a taste test shows no sign of agar lumps. Let the cream cool to 140. Blend in the butter until smooth. Pour into a container, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

A Yum Yum Dinner

It's spring break which doesn't affect me too much except that I don't have classes on top of my long days in the lab. This means I can actually come home and cook myself something healthy and good such as this tofu and kale dish from Vegan Yum Yum. I substituted collard greens for kale and found that I really like the subtle sweetness of the collard greens. I also used soba noodles instead of rice noodles. It turned out delicious and made me feel so healthy.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Mint Chocolate Lovecakes

I was inspired to make cupcakes today after a long day of school and lab. They are mint chocolate cupcakes. But now it's Bedtime!

Chocolate mint cupcakes

1 cup flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup soymilk
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon mint extract

Preheat the oven to 350 and line a 12-muffin tin with paper cupcake liners. Sift together flour, cocoa powders, baking powder, baking soda and salt. in another bowl combine the rice milk, oil, maple syrup, sugar, vinegar and vanilla. Beat at medium speed for about two minutes. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and beat for about another minute to combine. Fill each cupcake liner about 2/3 full and bake for about 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to fully cool.

Mint icing:
1/4 cup Earth Balance
3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup or less soymilk
1 teaspoon mint extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
green food coloring

Cream the shortening for a few minutes until soft. Add 1 cup of the powdered sugar and a few splashes of the soy milk. Mix to incorporate and continue to alternate until all the powdered sugar is used up and the frosting is at the desired consistency. Add vanilla and mint.


2 Tablespoons soycreamer or soymilk
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Melt chocolate and soy milk in a double boiler or in the microwave until smooth and runny; be careful not to burn or the chocolate will seize up and become bitter.

Chocolate Hearts

Melted some chocolate and fill a small plastic bag. Cut a small hole at the tip and pipe some hearts onto a piece of waxed paper. Repeat with white chocolate . After letting it harden (on a cold cold porch), peel the hearts off of the waxed paper with a toothpick or two. Fingers will melt them.

Use a piping bag with a large round tip to frost cupcakes. Place a dollop of ganach on top. Pipe another dollop of frosting on top. Add chocolate hearts.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Strawberry Ice Cream

Saturday was a fun day spent with my roommate D. We wanted to go and study in a coffeeshop but crazy Delaware seems to close down at 5pm on Saturdays. Luckily, the "Farmer's Market" was right across the street so we hopped over there to browse. I say "Farmer's Market" in quotes because that is the name of the place but it's really more like a flea market with a Mexican/Asian/even cheaper than Trader Joe's grocery store in the middle. D and I both wandered around with glazed eyes dropping ridiculous things in our shopping cart. Not being one to resist baking ingredients, I gathered up about 5 different boxes of bulk nuts in my arms and went over to D to make sure that I wasn't going overboard buying so many nuts. But at that moment, she was slipping a gigantic case of ramen noodles into the cart as well as cilantro bouillon cubes so I knew we were a lost cause. As you can imagine, we ended up buying lots of ridiculous, but probably yummy in the future, foods and were as happy can be. We also had a great time with "Farmer's Market boy" who we were pseudo-eyeing and whose car, jacket and glasses we are familiar with. Someday we'll find you.

Anyways, they were giving away free strawberries at the farmer's market (!) so we came home with 2 lbs of fresh red happiness. That was made into the following ice cream. I also tried to make a balsamic reduction to drizzle over it but got distracted watching a movie and ended up caramelizing (ie. burning...) the vinegar so it wasn't great but the concept was good.

Adapted from epicurious

1 c heavy cream
3/4 c half and half
1/8 t salt
3 two inch long strips of lemon peel
2 eggs
1/2 c + 1/4 c sugar (I used raw cane sugar)
1 lb fresh strawberries
1 T lemon juice
1 tsp balsamic vinegar

Combine cream, zest, and salt in a saucepan and bring just to a boil. Or just bring it to a boil like I did (oops). Remove from heat and fish out the zest.

Whisk eggs with 1/2 cup sugar in a bowl, then slowly add hot cream 1/4 cup at a time whilst whisking. Pour cream/egg mixture back into saucepan and cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened and coats the back of a spoon. Don't let it boil.

Fill a big metal bowl or deep baking pan halfway with ice cubes and water and set the custard in the ice water until chilled, stirring occasionally.

While custard is chilling, purée strawberries with remaining 1/4 cup sugar, lemon juice and vinegar in a blender until smooth. Stir purée into custard.

Freeze in ice-cream maker, then transfer to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden.

Monday, March 3, 2008


Yes, a post to the tango shoe. My friend decided to take up migration and flew down to Buenos Aires for October. But being a novice at migrating, he left the warm sunny spring of BA and returned to the Northeast just in time for the coldest part of winter. I suppose he'll get better at it with each passing year.

Anyways, before this little birdie left for BA, I had tied a purse with some money around his neck so that he could bring me back some tango shoes. And he did!


Patent Snakeskin T-strap