Thursday, February 17, 2011

Dominican Cake

Dominican Cake

Growing up, Dominican cake was my favorite cake. My Mom is from the Dominican Republic and I remember she would bake Dominican cake for birthdays or special occasions. This cake brings me back to my childhood because I always loved watching Mom bake and the smell throughout our apartment was out of this world. There are different variations of Dominican cake but the outcome is to obtain a smooth and spongy cake. I followed ingredients from a cookbook my Mom loves, Mujer 2000 recetas de cocina by Silvia H. de Pou. Yesterday, we made this cake together and had a lot of fun.

Dominican Cookbook
Cake Ingredients:
2 sticks of Salted Butter - at room temperature
2 cups of Sugar
4 Eggs
1 teaspoon of Pure Vanilla Extract
3 cups of All Purpose Flour
3 teaspoons of Baking Powder
1 cup of Whole Milk
1/8 teaspoon of Salt

Dominican Cake

Grease with butter 2 9" inch round baking pans and line with parchment paper. Sprinkle flour lightly over the greased parchment paper.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix baking powder and flour, and sift together. Put aside for now.

I used a stand mixer but you can use a hand held mixer as well. Mix butter until it is creamy and then add sugar little by little and continue mixing until it is light and creamy.

Add eggs one at a time, mixing well.

Add in some of the flour, mix well and then add some of the milk. Do this a few times ending with flour. Scrape sides of bowl to make sure you have incorporated all the ingredients.

Add vanilla and salt, and mix well.

Spread cake batter evenly between the 2 pans using a spatula.

Bake for 45-55 minutes. Cake is ready when toothpick comes out clean. Oven temps vary so keep an eye on the cake so you don't over brown it.

While cake is baking make the frosting.

Merengue (Frosting) Ingredients:
3 Egg Whites
1 1/2 cup of Sugar
1/2 cup of Water
1 teaspoon of freshly squeezed Lemon juice

Using a hand held mixer, mix egg whites for several minutes until nice stiff peaks form. Put aside for now.

In a small pan, stir sugar, water, and lemon juice on low heat until sugar dissolves and caramel forms a syrup-like texture. Keep an eye on it so it does not burn. This step is a little tricky and easy to screw up.

Take hot caramel and mix in little by little to the egg white/whipping cream mixture and keep mixing until it reaches a thick but soft consistency like whipped cream cheese. If you wish, you may add food coloring at this time.

Put the frosting aside and let it cool completely before frosting the cake.

Dominican Cake
Place cakes on cooling racks for about 20-25 minutes and then remove from baking pans onto cooling racks so they completely cool for another 30-35 minutes. Cakes must cool completely before you frost them.

Cake Filling:
Pineapple Preserves

Decorate Cake:
Once cake and frosting have cooled completely, place bottom layer of cake on a flat serving plate, top side down and spread pineapple preserves generously. Place the second layer on top, top side up and decorate with frosting.

Let frosting set on cake for one hour at room temperature, and serve.

-Sophia/Two Frys

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Dark Chocolate Coconut Brownies

Dark Chocolate Coconut Brownies

Dark Chocolate Coconut Brownies
Yesterday morning, I unfortunately had to go out in the snow and ice instead of staying in my PJs to get a few things at my local grocery store. It was a slippery mess and good thing I was home in about 10 minutes and back in my PJs. I had a craving for chocolate but did not have all the ingredients I needed to make brownies or cookies from scratch. I am thankful hubby and I always have a few ready made mixes when we want to satisfy a specific craving real quick. It is so smart to think ahead for days like this. I was very happy to find Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate Fudge Brownie Mix hubby bought around the Christmas holidays in the pantry.

The kitchen smells so good when there is baking or cooking going on and it makes me a happy girl. The directions are super easy to follow whether or not you are a baker. The mix calls for 1/4 cup of water, 2 eggs, and 1/2 cup of vegetable oil. I added 1 teaspoon of vanilla to bump up the flavor and folded in 1 cup of Mounds Coconut Sweetened Flakes just before transferring the mix into my glass 8x8 inch Pyrex baking dish. Just follow oven heating directions according to the type of pan you use. Keep an eye on baking times as well according to the size baking dish you use. If it says bake for 35-38 minutes for example, I always check my brownies right at the 35 minute mark and insert a toothpick. If the toothpick comes out clean, the brownies are ready. Just keep an eye on them.
Serving brownies warm are the optimum way if you can, but let them cool down for at least 20 minutes before you serve them. I store the brownies in my fridge right in the baking dish and cover them with aluminum foil. The brownies stay fresh for about 4-5 days so enjoy them in moderation. You can freeze them in a tight container as well for when that chocolate craving kicks in. The ladies especially know what I am talking about. Works every time.

Sophia/Two Frys