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Entries in vanilla (4)


Reversed Impossible (it's possible) Chocolate Flan



I’ve been threatening to make the Reversed Impossible Chocolate Flan featured in  “Sweet & Southern” by Ben Mims and on NYTimes cooking for weeks. I’d been looking for a recipe like this after I made the Lemon Pudding Cake a few weeks ago (if you haven’t tried it do so. It’s amazingly delicious). I secretly tried to come up with a recipe for a one batter magic cake myself, hoping I could achieve the same separation with one chocolate batter. Well, I didn’t have much luck, but I did have a really nice chocolate mousse cake in my fridge.

     This cake has two batters (they’re both dead easy) so twice as much magic happens. Before your eyes, the pudding sinks, the cake rises and a dessert worthy of a banquet at Hogwarts appears. No charm or wand waving needed. Helga Hufflepuff would be proud.


For the cake

½ cup butter, room temperature (1 stick)

¾ cup sugar

1 large egg, room temperature

1-½ cups flour

¼ teaspoon salt

1-teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

¾ cup buttermilk

3 teaspoons vanilla extract

Cooking spray

For the chocolate custard

12 oz. can evaporated milk

14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk

½ cup cocoa powder

1-teaspoon vanilla extract

4 large eggs


     Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray a Bundt pan with cooking spray. Place it in a large roasting pan, fill roasting pan half way up with water. Remove Bundt pan, and place roasting pan on rack in middle of oven.

     In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, beat in egg and mix until incorporated. Whisk flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda together in a bowl. Whisk buttermilk and vanilla together in another bowl.

     Beginning and ending with the flour mixture alternating with the buttermilk, add to butter and sugar in three stages, beating just until incorporated. Spread evenly in Bundt pan, smooth top.

     Using a hand mixture, beat evaporated milk, condensed milk, cocoa, eggs and vanilla together until smooth (the mixture will be thin). Ladle custard gently on top of cake batter.


     Transfer to roasting pan, and bake for 35-40 minutes until a tester comes out clean.

     Cool completely on a wire rack before even attempting to turn out (I put it in the fridge towards the end to make sure the custard set). Invert pan onto a plate, cake should slide right out. Grab a fork.

Some notes if you make this: A few of the reviews mentioned that the custard portion was rubbery. I didn’t find that at all. The custard was silky with a rich chocolate flavor. Also, some thought the cake was bland; so with that in mind I decided to triple the vanilla, used buttermilk rather than coconut milk and skipped the vinegar.




Chocolate and Vanilla Tiramisu



I love tiramisu!  It’s one of my most favorite desserts.  I always order it when I see it on a menu and you know something?  Eight out of ten times I’m disappointed!  Yup, that’s right.  I take my first bite and wonder…where’s the mascarpone?  It’s easy to tell when “they” substitute a bunch of whipped cream for mascarpone cheese.  The texture isn’t the same.  I’m not saying it tastes awful; it’s just not tiramisu.  It’s coffee soaked ladyfingers layered in whipped cream.  That’s NOT tiramisu, but this recipe is with a little chocolate twist. 


6 egg yolks

16oz mascarpone cheese

7 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon, plus 1-teaspoon vanilla

¼ coco powder

¼ heavy cream

1 cup espresso or strong coffee, cooled

2 teaspoons dark rum

1 24-package Italian ladyfingers (savoiardi biscuits)


Mix coffee and rum together in a small shallow bowl or dish.  Set aside.  Beat 3 yolks with 2 tablespoons of sugar until thick and pale using an electric mixer in a medium bowl.  Add 8 ounces of mascarpone and 1 tablespoon of vanilla, continue beating until smooth. Set aside.  Clean beaters.  Beat the remaining 3 yolks with 5 tablespoons of sugar until thick and pale.  Add remaining 8 ounces of mascarpone, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, coco powder, and cream, beating until smooth.  Set aside.

Assemble tiramisu in a 9x12 (approx) baking dish by dipping each biscuit quickly into the coffee (no more then a few seconds or the biscuit will fall apart).  Lay 12 biscuits on the bottom the dish side by side (it’s okay to break them if they don’t fit).  Spread the chocolate mixture over the biscuits.  Arrange another layer of soaked biscuits on top of the mixture, then spread the vanilla mascarpone over.  Cover with plastic wrap and stick in the fridge for a couple of hours.  Before serving dust top of tiramisu with coco powder.


It’s All Delicious Note:  When I made this and snapped the picture, I reversed the chocolate and vanilla layers then soon decided the vanilla would look better on top!  





Vanilla Pound Cake - Thanks to Cooking by James Petersen and Bakewise by Shirley O. Corriher


There are hundreds even thousands pound cake recipes out there and they are all pretty much the same. 1lb of butter, 1 lb of sugar and 1 lb of flour or something like that, oh and 1 lb of eggs (that’s about 8-10) – no leaveners just whipped/aireated butter. Here’s why I picked James Petersen’s recipe...he gave detailed instructions of why the butter had to be whipped forever (or 8 minutes) and I thought better him than me making it 20 times before I got it right (still remembering my tussle with a vanilla caramel cake a few weeks ago). Like I said, while the ingredients are pretty much standard in this classic cake, the hint about timing was key plus I just love his book!

Shirley’s book gave me a touch of confidence. She even admitted that her pound cake sunk in the middle and unabashedly suggests using the bundt shape or tube pan since when the cake is turned out no one will know the difference. Also, I added just a ½ teaspoon of baking powder, thanks for the hint! One last thing, I creamed the butter alone for a while (actually forgot to add the sugar...whoops) then added the sugar and I have to say, that made a difference. The cake did not sink in the middle it rose perfectly so much so that I wished I had used a normal classic loaf pan. Anyway give it a was yummy!


1 ½ cups cold butter, cut in to ½ pieces

1 1/3 cups sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

5 eggs

1/3-cup whole milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1-½ cups flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 350° Butter and flour a Bundt pan. Tap out excess flour. Combine flour and baking powder in a small bowl, set aside.

Beat butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for 3 minutes until very light and fluffy on high speed. Add sugar and continue beating for another 5 minutes. Do not skimp on the time (think longer rather than shorter) Scrape down the sides periodically.

Whisk the eggs, milk, and vanilla by hand until combined. Add egg mixture to butter in a steady stream with the mixer on medium speed. Beat for about 2 minutes, the batter will look like small curd cottage cheese. Turn off the mixer and add flour in one addition, beat on low speed until just combined and there are no lumps. Bake for 50 minutes. Let cool in pan on rack for ten minutes then turn out and let cool completely on rack.



Lemon Soufflé Pancakes with Crème Anglaise and Summer Berries  


These pancakes are seriously one of the best things I have ever made. They are light and fluffy. They have a wonderful taste of lemon that fits perfectly with the berries and vanilla crème anglaise. Sure you could make them for breakfast and I did. But for dessert they’re fabulous.

After I made these my head was filled with ideas like; making orange soufflé pancakes or vanilla ones, using a large round cut out and make a more formal looking stack with fruit or just cream. Or make a lemon flavored whipped cream. See what I’m talking about? The ideas are endless. You could use these pancakes as the basis for a trifle...they are just that good! One other thing? I will never make pancakes the old fashioned way again. Like I said, light, fluffy tasty oh did I mention easy? Very!

Makes 8-10 pancakes


3 eggs, separated

1 cup ricotta cheese

Freshly grated peel from 2 lemons

Juice of 2 lemons, about 6 tablespoons

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 cup flour

Pinch of salt

Combine the egg yolks, ricotta, sugar, vegetable oil, lemon peel and juice in a food processor or blender. Process for 20 seconds. Add baking powder, flour, and salt. Process 10 seconds until smooth. Scrape down the sides if necessary. Pour batter into a large bowl, set aside. In another large bowl, beat eggs whites until they hold stiff peaks. Fold egg whites gently into batter. Cook on hot griddle for 2 minutes per side, until pancakes are golden.


Crème Anglaise

1-cup whole milk

1 cup whipping cream

1 vanilla bean, split

3 egg yolks

1/3-cup sugar

Heat milk, cream and vanilla bean in a medium saucepan over low heat until boiling. Set a side. Beat yolks and sugar together in a large bowl. Pour milk mixture over yolks beating vigorously (you don’t want the eggs to cook when the hot milk hits them). Pour mixture back into saucepan and continue cooking over low heat stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until it thickens. The sauce is done when it coats the back of the spoon and will continue to thicken while it cools. Strain sauce through a sieve, remove vanilla bean, cover with cling film and refrigerate until ready to use.