Tag Archives: Baking

American Honey – Pistachio Cake w/ Honey Vanilla Butter Cream

I really love honey. I’m not one of those people who is all “Umm yeah, I’ll have honey in my tea once every six months” or “Honey on a biscuit sounds like it would be okay.” I seriously love honey; like in an eat it straight from the bottle, people bring me honey as souvenirs, always looking for new recipes to use all the honey in my pantry sort of way. This cake, or rather the frosting for this cake, is right up my alley. I made this for a birthday celebration for a few of my girl friends; we had dinner, drinks, dessert, and a night out on the town. 
All photos courtesy of Bentley @ lilybelleboutique
Pistachio Cake with Vanilla Honey Buttercream
by Matt Lewis, Renato Poliafito, and Tina Rupp.
1 cup shelled pistachios (plus 1/3 cup for decorating)
2 1/2 cups cake flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon. vanilla extract
1 large egg
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups ice cold water
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
Make the cake:
1. Preheat the oven to 325° F. Butter three 8-inch round cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment paper and butter the parchment. Dust parchment with flour and knock out excess flour. * I just sprayed my pans with nonstick spray.
2. In the bowl of food processor, pulse the pistachios until they are coarsely chopped. Transfer about 2 tablespoons’ worth of the coarse pistachios to a large bowl. Continue to process the rest of the pistachios until they are almost powdery- but not a superfine dust. Stir the pistachio powder into the reserved coarse pistachios. Sift the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt, together over the large bowl containing the pistachios mix. Stir to combine.
3. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and shortening on medium speed until creamy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl, add the whole egg, and beat until just combined. Turn the mixture to low. *I used a hand mixer, just start your mixer on its slowest speed and then increase gradually.
4. In a measuring cup, make 1 1/2 cups ice water. Add the flour mixture to the mixer in three parts, alternating with the ice water, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. For each addition, turn the mixer to low to add ingredients, then up to medium speed for a few seconds until incorporated. Scrape down the bowl, and then mix on low speed for a few more seconds.
5. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form (You can do this by hand. Don’t be intimidated, it should only take 2 to 3 minutes). Do not overbeat. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter.
6. Divide the batter among the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake for 40-45 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes. Turn the cakes out onto the rack and let cool completely. Remove the parchment paper.
Honey Vanilla Buttercream:
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, soft but cool, cut into small pieces
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoon honey  *I actually used close to ¼ cup of honey to achieve the flavor I wanted, just FYI.
Make the honey vanilla buttercream: 
1. In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the sugar and flour together. Add milk and cream and cook over medium heat whisking occasionally, until the mixture comes to a boil and has thickened, about 10 to 15 minutes.
2. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a standing mixer with paddle attachment. Beat on high speed until cool (this takes at least 7 to 9 minutes of mixing) then add the butter; mix until thoroughly incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until frosting is light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. *Again I did this by hand, just be patient, one you add the butter your frosting will change texture dramatically (from smooth and sticky like sweetened condensed milk to fluffier like frosting).
3. Add the vanilla and honey and continue mixing until combined. If the frosting is too soft, put the bowl in the refrigerator to chill slightly, then beat again until it is proper consistency. If the frosting is too firm, set the bow over a pot of simmering water and beat with a wooden spoon until it is the proper consistency.
Assemble the cake: 
1. Place one cake layer on a serving platter. Trim the top to create a flat surface, and evenly spread about 1 1/4 cups frosting on top. Add the next layer, trim and frost it, then add the third layer. Spread a very thin layer of frosting over the sides and top of the cake and put it in the refrigerator for bout 15 minutes to firm up. (This is known as the crumb coating and will help keep loose cake crumbs under control when you frost the outside of the cake.) Spread the sides and top of the cake with the remaining frosting. Garnish the cake with crushed pistachios and refrigerate it for 15 minutes to it firm up before serving.
2. This cake will keep beautifully in a cake saver at room temperature for up to 3 days, if the weather is humidity free. Otherwise, put it in a cake saver and refrigerate it for up to 3 days. Let the cake sit a room temperature for at least 2 hours before serving.
Serves: 12-16
 This cake was really good. The flavors were just fantastic; and the cake and the frosting together…OMG Yum! The cake itself was a little dry; I’m not sure if this is bake error ( I may have over beat my eggs…I’m still not sure) or if using milk in place of the water would help the dryness. Either way I’d definitely make this again. 

BFFMandy’s Chocolate Chip Cookie


So you know how like 80 years ago I promised ya’ll Christmas cookies? I’m fiiinally posting my first Christmas cookie recipe…after New Years…whatever.So this year for Christmas everyone got their favorite kind of cookie; up first is my CousinMichael whose favorite kind of cookies (for like forever) are chocolate chip. For as long as I can remember we’ve made chocolate chip cookies from the recipe in the Toll House Cookbook; the cookies are a classic and they come out crisp with morsels of chocolate. This year though (mostly cause I was home after surgery) I attempted and conquered BFFMandy’s Chocolate Chip Cookies. These cookies are soft, chocolate-y, pillows of awesome-ness. This recipe makes like a zillion cookies (I stopped counting after 11 dozen) and my family gobbled them up. One of my most favorite things is that you can mix and match your chips. I used a blend of milk and dark chocolate, but BFFMandy usually uses a mix of chocolate and peanut butter chips. So seriously if you’re jonesing for a chocolate chip cookies, make these ones.

BFFMandy’s Chocolate Chip Cookies
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 (3.4 ounce) packages instant vanilla pudding mix
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups semisweet chocolate chips (I used two 12oz bags, I could have used two and a half).

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Sift together the flour and baking soda, set aside.
2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar. Beat in the instant pudding mix until blended. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Blend in the flour mixture. Finally, stir in the chocolate chips and nuts. Drop cookies by rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
3. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Edges should be golden brown.


Baking Day: Snickerdoodles


Baking is one of my favorite things. I like to bake just because I can and baking is my go to coping mechanism when I’m feeling especially stressed/anxious/nervous. I’ve actually said to multiple people  “I just feel like I need to bake something.” And Sunday is apparently baking day around here. Today’s project was pumpkin scones and I also baked calzones for dinner. It’s been a day of successful and yummy kitchen projects. But today’s blog is actually about last week’s Sunday baking say project. Snickerdoodles!! I love snickerdoodles, they’re little pillows of awesome. So last week when I was visiting YoungerBrotherGreg baking time became snickerdoodle time.

Original Recipe Here  
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3.5 tablespoons white sugar
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Side Note: I found the sugar/cinnamon mix proportions that I like, you should play with it a little to find what you like best.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

Cream together butter, shortening, 1 1/2 cups sugar, the eggs and the vanilla.

 Blend in the flour, cream of tartar, soda and salt. Shape dough by rounded spoonfuls into balls.

Mix the sugar and the cinnamon. Roll balls of dough in mixture.

Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until set but not too hard. Mine were done just right at 8 minutes (crispy around the edges and soft/chewy towards the center.) Remove immediately from baking sheets.

This was a fabulous start of fall baking project. I kept about a half dozen for BFFMandy and I; the rest went to work with YoungerBrotherGreg.
SideNote: I realized when I uploaded the Snickerdoodle pictures that I’m crazy behind on posting about the stuff I’m cooking and eating. It is very likely this week will be all about food. 

Presents from my Mommy


 I went home this weekend for my Dad’s birthday. While I was there my Mom surprised me with a bag full of gifts. She got me replacement straws for my tervis tumbler (Thanks LittleBrother) and two cookbooks. One is all cupcakes; people who know me know I am cupcake obsessed. The other is all sorts of other desserts that start with mixes. I’ve read the Cupcake one cover to cover twice already, I’ll get into the other one later this week. My final gift was the “Perfect Brownie Pan:” (See ad below)

That’s right, I am the proud owner of one of these suckers. Actually, I’m pretty sure it’s knock-off but I’m still super excited and I will probably make brownies tomorrow just to test it out. =).
I also did a fun paper mache crafting project today. It was a lot of fun and I’ll definitely have pictures later.
Smiles. =)