Lemon Buttermilk Cake

Happy Daylight Savings! I definitely forgot about it until yesterday, but luckily today was the day we fall back, so I didn’t unexpectedly lose an hour. I had a lazy day today, running errands and doing housework, but it made me miss all my lazy days at home over break. Which reminded me of this wonderful lemon cake I made towards the end of my September break!

I adapted the recipe from King Arthur Flour based on my tastes and how many lemons I had. I only had two, so that’s what went in the cake! I also changed the order of mixing the ingredients, since creaming butter into a flour mixture seemed weird to me. I mixed the wet ingredients together and the dry ingredients together and them mixed them all up together with buttermilk, which is what I usually do with cakes. I’m not sure how much the order really matters but it seems to me that you might get some weird textures going on if you mix the butter into the flour before mixing it with other wet ingredients, but feel free to follow my method or the original one!

Anyway, this cake turned out wonderfully! It had a bright lemon flavor, accented by the lemon glaze brushed over the top and allowed to soak into the cake, and it was soft and fluffy, but not the slightest bit dry. This is definitely a recipe I’ll go back to if I have lemons and buttermilk to use up! Here’s the recipe I made:

Lemon Buttermilk Cake

adapted from King Arthur Flour

Makes 1 9×13 pan

Ingredients:

Cake:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp salt

2 tsp baking powder

Zest of 2 lemons

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

10 tbsp (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

3 eggs

1 1/4 cups reduced-fat buttermilk

Glaze:

Juice of 2 lemons

2 tbsp granulated sugar

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350˚F and grease a 9×13 pan (I used glass).

Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, and lemon zest.

Cream together the butter and sugar until a smooth paste forms. Beat in the three eggs. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture in 2 parts, alternating with half the buttermilk after half the dry ingredients. Mix until well-combined.

Pour the batter into the greased pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool for at least 5-10 minutes.

While the cake is cooling, make the lemon glaze by mixing the lemon juice and sugar in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave in 30 second intervals and stir until the sugar is dissolved in the lemon juice.

Use a toothpick to poke holes in the cake (I did them about an inch apart all over the cake) for the glaze to sink into. Brush the glaze over the cake evenly until it has all been used up and absorbed by the cake, leaving a glossy sheen on top of the cake. Allow to cool, then cut, serve, and enjoy!

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Ginger Scones

I’m back in Seattle after a glorious six week vacation from school, and finished with my first week of my first long clinical rotation. Seattle has welcomed me back with rain, clouds, and cold, but at least the streets are lined with trees in all their glorious fall colors!

Here’s a recipe I made while at home on break. I’ve wanted to try and replicate the ginger biscuit I’ve had a Cafe Besalu in Ballard for a while, and I found someone else with the same goal. I adapted my recipe from Just a Pinch, and I’d say these were pretty great! I increased the spice level, as always, and skipped the buttermilk glaze with super sprinkles, although if I had crystal sugar I’d probably add it on in the future. Here’s the recipe!

Ginger Scones

adapted from Just a Pinch

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp ground ginger

1 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted chilled butter, cubed

1/2 cup crystallized ginger, chopped

1 cup low-fat buttermilk

1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat the open to 425˚ and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Sift together the flour, ginger, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Cut in the chilled butter with a pastry cutter or a fork until it forms a coarse meal. Gently mix in the crystallized ginger.

Add the vanilla to the buttermilk, then add the buttermilk to the flour and butter mixture. Stir together until almost combined and a rough dough starts to form.

Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead just a few times, until the dough is just incorporated.

Pat the dough into a rectangular shape, about a 1/2 inch thick. Use cookie cutters in your desired shape to cut out scones, and place them an inch or so apart on the prepared baking sheet. Gently pat together the remaining dough and cut out more scones.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until lightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. Serve warm, with cream, butter, or jam, or just plain! Enjoy!

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Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

Woohoo summer! Summer means hiking, enjoying the beautiful PNW and the sunshine! I’m loving the hiking around here and I’ve gotten to explore more of the North Cascades recently, which are gorgeous and offer different views from the I-90 corridor. I also got to head down to Rainier last weekend, where the wildflowers are in full bloom, and the mountain is out! I’ve gotten into the habit of packing lunch on these hikes, to enjoy at our various hiking destinations, and so I made some whole wheat bread for sandwiches. I adapted this recipe of the Kitchn, and added some molasses for flavor, since I have the majority of a bottle lying around. It turned out wonderfully, with a fairly dense interior and a hearty flavor, and I’ve been enjoying my mountaintop sandwiches made with this bread.

A few tips: I made this with active dry yeast, then again with instant, and the instant yeast yielded a lighter, fluffier crumb. Additionally, I have the fan running often in my house right now due to the heat, so I was afraid that it would dry out the bread during the rises. So I tried removing the top rack from my oven, preheating the oven for 2-3 minutes, turning it off, then placing the dough inside with the door cracked open for the first rise, and it really helped the volume of the bread. You can probably play with the flavorings and amount of whole wheat flour, or try adding some flax seed or other grains, but I’d definitely do it just a little bit at a time to see how the recipe responds. In any case, enjoy this bread!

Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

adapted from the Kitchn

Makes 2 8×4 loaves

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups warm water (115-125˚F, check your yeast package)

1 packet (about 2 1/4 tsp) instant yeast or active dry yeast (I had slightly better results with instant)

1 cup nonfat milk

3 tbsp honey

1 tbsp molasses (I only had blackstrap, but you can use any variety)

2 tbsp canola or vegetable oil

2 3/4-3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

2 3/4-3 cups white whole wheat flour

1 tbsp salt

Directions:

Empty the yeast packet into the bowl of a stand mixer and pour the water over it. Let stand for about 5 minutes until foaming. Stir in the milk, honey, and oil.

Add the salt and the 2 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour and use a dough hook to combine. Add 2 3/4 cups of the whole wheat flour and stir until a shaggy dough forms. Let stand for 20 minutes to allow the flour to absorb the liquid.

Once the dough has rested, knead it for 8-9 minutes with the dough hook attachment. If you do not have a stand mixer, knead by hand.

If the dough is too sticky add a couple tablespoons of all-purpose flour, alternating with a couple tablespoons of whole wheat flour, until it no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl or the counter. The dough is ready when it is smooth, slightly tacky, springs back when poked, and forms a ball without sagging.

Remove the dough from the bowl and form it into a ball. Lightly oil the bowl, then place the dough in the bowl. Cover it with a dish towel or plastic wrap, then set the bowl in a warm spot until almost doubled, about 1-1.5 hours. If your kitchen is a little cool, a trick I use is to preheat the oven for a few minutes, then place the dough in a covered bowl inside and leave the oven door propped open slightly. This gives a nice warm environment for the dough to rise.

Once the first rise is finished, sprinkle the counter with some flour and turn out the dough. Divide it in half and form each half into a loose ball. Allow to rest for 10 minutes.

Grease 2 8×4 loaf pans. Shape each ball into a loaf. Gently flatten each round into a rough rectangle using the heels of your hands, then fold the rectangle in thirds, folding the bottom third up, then the top third down on top of the bottom third. Pinch closed, then pinch the ends closed. Repeat a second time, flattening the loaf into a rectangle, folding into thirds, then pinching in and sealing the ends. Pull the top of the loaf taut, and place seam-side down into the loaf pans. For a more detailed tutorial on shaping the loaf, see here.

Allow the loaves to rise in a warm place until they start to puff over the loaf pan, about 30-40 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 425˚F. Once the loaves have risen, slash each loaf vertically down the middle with a serrated knife. Place the loaves in the oven, the immediately reduce the temperature to 375˚F. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the loaves are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Remove from the oven and remove the loaves from the pans. Allow to cool completely before slicing. Enjoy!

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My Favorite Coffee Cake

Happy summer everyone! I’m having a great time with my 3-day weekends during summer quarter, and summer has finally arrived in Seattle! The weather has been sunny and warm and amazing, and I’ve been exploring the I-90 corridor, Rainier National Park, and the Olympic Peninsula with my friends. I’ve also been enjoying our backyard space, and hosting lots of barbecues, which has been super fun!

For the last barbecue, I made this coffee cake, which I made a month or so ago with Shelby, and it was amazing. We had to use up some leftover sour cream from the rugelach, and so Shelby found this recipe, and it turns out to be the best coffee cake we’ve ever made. It has a huge amount of crumb topping, and the sour cream keeps the cake portion soft and delicious. I basically used the recipe from Buns in My Oven with only a couple very minor changes. Here’s the recipe!

Coffee Cake

adapted from Buns in My Oven

Makes 24 servings

Ingredients

For the cake:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp cinnamon

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 1/4 cups sour cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

For the crumb:

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted

Directions

Use the butter wrappers to grease a 9×13 glass pan and preheat the oven to 350˚F.

To make the cake, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and granulated sugar, until smooth, then beat in the eggs, sour cream, and vanilla extract. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Pour into the pan.

To make the crumb, sift together the sugars, cinnamon, salt, and flour. Pour the melted butter over it and mix until it starts to come together, then mash it together with your hands. Sprinkle the crumb evenly over the cake, crumbling it into nice fat crumbs.

Bake for 50-55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cut into bars and enjoy!

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Look at that beautiful crumb topping!

Sesame Zucchini Noodles

Hello from sweet California! I am currently enjoying my week of summer break doing all the things I love most in the world: swimming in an outdoor pool, coaching my old summer league youth swim team, and spending time with our adorable foster kittens. I came home and was greeted with 4 rambunctious bundles of fur, named Chai, Chamomile, Earl Grey, and Jasmine (the Tea family). Who can resist these adorable faces? If you’re in the Bay Area, check them out at Companions in Waiting, because they’re up for adoption and looking for a loving home!

Kittens

Such playful little bundles of fun!

Anyway, onto the food portion of this post I made sesame noodles a couple weeks ago, since the weather was so nice and warm. This is a light and healthy meal that requires very minimal cooking, and can be served chilled. This also happens to be a vegan recipe, and would be a great addition to any summer barbecue or picnic as a side dish, or as a main dish on those too-hot-to-cook days. Here’s the recipe!

Zucchini Sesame Noodles

Makes 5-6 servings

Ingredients

8 oz spaghetti (1/2 a package)

12 oz frozen edamame (I use Trader Joe’s)

4 medium or 3 large zucchini, spiralized

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 tbsp rice wine vinegar

1 tsp minced garlic

1 tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped

1/2 tsp white pepper

Sesame seeds, for garnishing

Directions

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and edamame, and bring to a boil, then allow to cook until the noodles are just cooked, about 5-7 minutes depending on your preference. Place the spiralized zucchini in a colander and drain the spaghetti and edamame by pouring it with the hot water over the zucchini. (You can just skip this and just drain the pasta and edamame normally, I just did it to very slightly cook the zucchini noodles.)

Whisk together the soy sauce, sesame oil, vinegar, garlic, ginger, and white pepper. Toss with the noodles, edamame, and zucchini until the sauce is coating the noodles. Garnish with sesame seeds. Serve room temperature or chilled. Enjoy!

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Chocolate Rugelach

Happy finals week! For everyone on the quarter system, it’s probably spring quarter finals coming up, so good luck with studying! My classmates and I have realized that at this point in our careers, our finals are less about rote memorization and more about being able to use clinical reasoning, so I’m pleased to say that finals aren’t nearly as stressful as they were back in undergrad, when most if not all the exams consisted of regurgitating information.

In any case, since I’m not spending all my waking time studying, I made these delicious rugelach with my baking buddy, Shelby, on Friday night! We have also both realized that our ideal Friday night is spending it baking together and going to sleep at a reasonable hour. We may be getting old…

But in any case, we made these delicious Jewish pastries, and adjusted a recipe from the King Arthur Flour bakealong. We weren’t too keen on using nuts and raisins as the filling, so we just used the filling from this recipe on Just a Taste. We made the individual cookies smaller than the original recipe called for, so this recipe makes 48 smaller cookies, rather than 36 large ones. These turned out extremely well! The cookies were flaky, and bursting with chocolate with a touch of cinnamon. They also look quite nice, which is always a bonus. Here’s the recipe!

Chocolate Rugelach

Makes 48 cookies

Adapted from King Arthur Flour and Just a Taste

Ingredients:

Crust

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

6 oz cream cheese (we used reduced fat)

1/3 cup sour cream

½ tsp salt

3 tbsp granulated sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

Filling

¼ cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

6 oz semisweet chocolate, finely chopped or processed in a food processor

½ cup granulated sugar

1 tbsp cinnamon

Directions

Cream together the butter, cream cheese, and sour cream in a stand mixer or by hand. Beat in the salt and sugar, then stir in the flour until a soft, sticky dough forms. Divide the dough into 6 portions (or 2 or 3 and then you can just divide again later), wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, until the dough is firmed up but not rock hard.

Preheat the oven to 350˚F and prepare baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

Remove the dough from the fridge and divide into 6 equal sections. Shape one section into a circular disc, then roll out into a circle about 1/8 inch thick.

Brush the melted butter on the rolled out circle, getting it all the way to the edge. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the dough, then sprinkle the chopped chocolate and press lightly into the dough.

Cut the circle into 8 wedges, then roll the wedges from the wide part of the wedge inwards towards the point of the wedge. Place with the tail end tucked under onto the parchment, to prevent it from unraveling while it bakes.

Repeat with the remaining 5 portions of dough.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the rugelach are a lovely golden brown color. Remove from the oven and allow to cool (or eat them warm from the pan!) Enjoy!

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Such a pretty swirl inside!

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

My family often gets together with my cousin’s family for holidays, and a few years ago my aunt made these delicious cookies for our Christmas get-together. I loved the cookies, and my aunt gave me the recipe, but I just never got around to making them until a few weeks ago. A big thank you to my wonderful aunt for this delicious recipe!

These cookies are bursting with chocolate, and the powdered sugar coating gives them that nice crackly top appearance. These cookies are gooey, chewy, and completely delicious. They do require some chilling, but it’s only a couple hours, just so the dough firms up enough that they don’t spread out into pancake cookies in the oven. Definitely worth the wait! Here’s the recipe!

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Makes about 50 cookies

Ingredients

4 oz unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 3/4 cups granulated sugar

4 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2-3/4 cup powdered sugar (for coating)

Directions

Melt the chocolate in the microwave in a medium bowl in 30 second intervals at 60% power. Stir in the oil and sugar until well combined. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then beat in the vanilla until all the ingredients are incorporated.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt, then add the the chocolate mixture. Mix until well combined.

Chill for at least 2 hours, up to a couple days.

When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350˚F. Scoop about 2 tsp of dough (I used a small size cookie scoop) and roll into balls, then roll in the powdered sugar. Flatten slightly and place on a baking sheet a couple inches apart. Bake for 9-11 minutes, until the tops are crackly and almost set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool and set for a few minutes before removing from the pans. Enjoy!

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