Sunday, September 30, 2007

First try... not too bad!

So a few weeks ago my husband and I traveled to Newport, RI. While we were there we stayed at the Hyatt on Goat Island. Our first night there we had a not so great dinner in the hotel restaurant, but I insisted on having dessert anyway. We opted on sharing the Boston Cream Cake. Oh my God, if this wasn't the most fabulous cake ever... a perfect sponge cake, cream filling, topped with chocolate ganache and creme anglaise. We had another piece the following night. We immediately knew I had to try to recreate this cake when we got home.

And so this weekend I attempted the cake. I found some recipes online for each component of the cake.

We both decided, although the cake was still delicious, we need a "spongier" cake. Also, I don't think I'll be using real vanilla beans again. They're expensive! Ok, anyway, here are the recipes I did use.


6 large eggs
2/3 cup plus 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup plus 4 Tbsp all-purpose flour
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Butter and line 2-8 inch round cake pans and line with parchment paper.
3. In electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat the eggs and sugar on high speed for about 5 minutes, or until they are thick, fluffy and light colored (when you slowly raise the beaters the batter will fall back into the bowl in a slow ribbon). At this point, beat in the vanilla extract. Sift 1/2 of the flour over the batter and gently fold through with a rubber spatula or whisk. Sift the remaining flour over the batter and fold in. Whisk about 1/2 of the batter into the melted buter (to lighten it) and then gently fold the butter mixture back into the rest of the batter.
4. Pour immediately into the prepared pans and bake for 25 minutes or until springy to the touch.
5. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Run a spatula or sharp knife around the inside of the pan and then invert the cake onto a wire rack. Remove parchment paper.
6. With a serrated knife slice the cakes horizontally.
7. Assemble with pastry cream between layers.


9 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
Large pinch of salt
4 Tbsp cornstarch
1 vanilla bean
2 1/2 cups milk

1. Whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and salt. Then whisk in the cornstarch. Set aside.
2. Using a small, sharp knife, cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds.
3. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan over med-high heat, combine the vanilla bean, seeds and milk. Cook until bubbles appear around the edges. Remove from heat and slowly pour the milk mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly.
4. Return mixture to the saucepan and set over med-low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is as thick as mayonnaise, 5-7 minutes.
5. Remove from heat and strain the pastry cream into a clean bowl, discarding the vanilla bean.
6. Cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pastry cream. Let cool completely, then refrigerate until ready to use.


8 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
2 Tbsp unsalted butter

1. Place the chopped chocolate in a medium sized stainless steel bowl. Set aside.
2. Heat the cream and butter in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil.
3. Immediately pour the cream over the chocolate. Allow to stand for 5 minutes.
4. Stir with a whisk until smooth.
5. To cover cake, pour the ganache into the center of the cake. Working quickly, spread with a spatula, using big strokes to push the ganache over the sides of the cake to create an even coating of ganache. Cover any bare spots with leftover ganache.

*Note: If covering a cake that is to be refrigerated, make sure the cake is cold before covering with the ganache to ensure that the ganache does not dull when stored in the refrigerator.


2 cups light cream or half & half (12-18% buttefat)
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise (or 2 tsp vanilla extract)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
5 large egg yolks

1. Have a fine medium sized strainer and bowl ready near the stove.
2. In a stainless steel bowl stir together, using a wooden spoon, the sugar and egg yolks until well blended (do not let this mixture sit too long or a film will develop on the yolks).
3. In a small saucepan heat the cream and vanilla bean (if using) just to the boiling point. Remove from heat and whisk a few tablespoons of the cream into the yolk mixture. Then gradually add the remaining cream, whisking constantly.
4. Pour this mixture into a medium sized saucepan and over medium heat, gently heat the mixture to just below the boiling point (170-175 degrees). You will notice that steam will begin to appear and the mixture will be slightly thicker than heavy cream. Do not boil or the eggs will curdle. Check to see if it is the right consistency by holding a wooden spoon sideways that is covered with the custard and run your finger along the back of the spoon. If the streak remains without the cream running down through the streak, it is ready.
5. Immediately remove from the heat and pour through the strainer, scraping up any thickened cream that settled on the bottom of the pan. Remove the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the sauce. Stir until the seeds separate (If you are using vanilla extract instead of the vanilla bean, add it to the cream now).

Can be refrigerated covered with plastic wrap for a couple of days.

*Note: If sauce was overheated and curdling occurs, pour instantly into a blender and process until smooth before straining. If necessary, add a little heavy cream to the mixture before blending.

Friday, September 28, 2007


Ok, seriously, I really despise pumpkin flavored food items. BUT... I came across this recipe in a magazine a few years ago. It's a low-fat chocolate chip pumpkin bread. I just liked to bake and figured I would just take it into work for everyone else to enjoy since it was "pumpkin season", but of course, I have to taste everything before I share it with others, so I did, and fell in love with this bread. I have no idea what magazine I ripped this recipe out of, however the article says ...

"While Sarah Brinkley's Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread sounded deliciously intriguing, it was the vanilla pudding that really caught our eye. Sarah says this recipe for pumpkin bread is a family favorite.

"Sarah inherited the recipe from a friend but knew she wanted to give it her own twist when she saw the ingredients. 'It had egg yolks and lots of oil,' she says. Her first step was to reduce the amount of oil and substitute egg whites for whole eggs. Then she turned a trick she learned from a banana bread recipe in Cooking Light that used sour cream to make a light, moist loaf. 'I was out of sour cream, so on a whim I used vanilla pudding.'"

Blah blah blah, etc., etc.

Needless to say, I believe Sarah is a genius. This bread is SO moist and, so, without further adieu, here it is!
no mixer required
2 cups sugar
2 cups canned pumpkin
1/2 cup canola oil (I'm sure vegetable oil would be fine)
1/2 cup fat-free vanilla pudding (I used Hunt's Snack Pack Fat-Free Vanilla Pudding)
4 large egg whites
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used Hershey's Milk Chocolate Chips)
Cooking spray
1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Combine first 5 ingredients in large bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, level with a knife. Combine flour, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture, stirring just until moist. Stir in chocolate chips.
3. Spoon batter into 2 (8 x 4 inch) loaf pans coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 for 1 hour 15 minutes (mine took 1 hour 25 minutes) or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pans on wire rack, and remove from pans. Cool completely on wire rack.
Yield: 32 servings
Calories: 152
Fat: 5g
Protein: 2g
Carb: 26.5g
Fiber: 1.1g