Friday, September 22, 2017

Lemon Velvet Cake

Lemon Velvet Cake

I've made this cake a lot lately....turns out lots of people really like lemon, so it keeps getting requested! I think I have perfected the recipe and as such it's time to record recipe for future bakes! 

Cake recipe adapted from Rock Recipes, with addition of lemon syrup soak, lemon curd filling and lemon buttercream. A fluffy yet moist cake bursting with lemony lemonness. You will need 4-6 lemons for all the components, depending on how big and/or juicy your lemons are.

Lemon Cake

·         1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
·         1 1/2 cups cake flour
·         1/2 tsp baking soda
·         1 1/2 tsp baking powder
·         1 tsp sea salt
·         1 1/2 cups sugar
·         2/3 cup vegetable oil
·         1/3 cup vegetable shortening (room temp)
·         1 tsp good quality vanilla extract
·         4 large eggs
·         1 1/2 cups buttermilk OR almond milk if you want to make it dairy-free
·         2 Tbsp lemon juice
·         zest of one large lemon

A few hours before (or the day before), put sugar in a bowl, zest lemon and rub zest into sugar. Cover.
Grease and flour 3 nine inch round cake pans.
In a large bowl, sift together both flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
In another bowl or measuring cup, measure out the milk and mix in lemon juice. Let sit for 15-30 minutes.
In the bowl of an electric mixer beat together the vegetable oil, shortening, sugar, and vanilla. Beat well at high speed with whisk attachment until light and fluffy.
Beat the eggs in one at a time.
Fold in the lemon zest.
Fold in the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk: Add dry ingredients in three divisions and liquid ingredients in 2 divisions. It is very important to begin and end the additions with the dry ingredients. Do not over mix the batter. As soon as it has no lumps in the batter, pour into the three prepared 9 inch cake pans.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 22 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. While cakes are baking, prepare lemon syrup:

Lemon Syrup

·         ½ cup lemon juice
·         2 Tbsp lemon zest
·         ½ cup sugar
·         1 tsp vanilla
Bring to a boil in small pot. Cool slightly.
When cakes are done, cool for 5 minutes then use toothpick to poke holes. Pour half of the warm syrup over warm cakes while still in pans. Cool for additional 20 minutes, then turn out onto wire racks and pour remaining syrup over other side of cakes. Cool completely.

Paleo Lemon Curd

from What the Fork
·         4 large eggs, room temperature
·         6 Tbsp coconut oil
·         2 Tbsp butter (or earth balance for DF version)
·         zest of 2 lemons
·         1/4 C honey
·         2 Tbsp raw sugar
·         1/4 tsp fine sea salt
·         1/2 C lemon juice, freshly squeezed ( 2-3 lemons)

Add all ingredients to a pot. Whisk together until all ingredients are combined, while gently heating (on 5 or so). By the time it starts to boil, it should be nice and thick, this takes about 8-10 minutes. Strain through fine mesh sieve and cool in fridge with plastic wrap on surface to avoid skin.

Lemon-Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

·         3/4 cup salted butter OR earth balance for DF version, cool but soft (out of fridge for 30 min or so)
·         ¼ cup shortening
·         1 tsp vanilla
·         2 Tbsp whipping cream OR coconut cream
·         4-6 cups icing sugar
·         Pinch salt

Beat all ingredients together until light and fluffy. Fold in ¼ of the lemon curd.


If cake layers are not flat, trim them. On bottom cake, spread 1/3 of the remaining lemon curd. Dollop and spread some buttercream overtop. If you have done DF version, skip the buttercream as it will deflate with curd and get soupy, and then cause you no end of troubles.  Repeat with next layer and top with last cake layer. Cover with a crumb coat of buttercream and chill for at least an hour. Store buttercream in fridge but take out 20 min before next step.  Coat cake with a good layer of buttercream and decorate. Chill to set.

You can also make this as cupcakes, in fact the DF version is better as such, since you won't have to worry about the structural integrity of high-moisture-content buttercream (or lack thereof). Just cut the baking time to about 17 minutes (test with toothpick after 15). For decorating, fill a piping bag with the lemon curd, using a large tip. Now here's where you have to get intimate with your cupcake. Shove the tip into the centre of the cupcake, going about as deep as you figure the mid-point is, and force a squeeze of lemon curd in. The cupcake will resist a bit, but don't squeeze TOO hard, as you will suddenly feel it give and the cupcake will poof a bit. Pull out carefully and go on to the next.

I can't believe I said all that with a straight face. Ice with butter cream and decorate.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Egg Roll Stir-Fry

I haven't posted in ages but am compelled to share this, if only to remember it for myself. I tend to go through food phases, and then totally forget about something I previously loved until 5 years later I see it on a blog and think, oh YEAH I can't believe I haven't been making that. So, I bring to you, my take on the Egg Roll Sir-Fry.

A lot has happened since I posted last. Has it really been three years?? I got engaged, planned and executed a perfect wedding day including making my own cake (it wasn't brilliant but I had a lot going on that day lol), had an amazing honeymoon in New Orleans (lots of awesome food and music, so perfect for us!), applied and was accepted to grad school (finally, currently underway), started a new job that's not so new anymore (and that I love), renovated and sold our condo (which looked flippin' AMAZING after renos), bought a house (which does not look at all amazing but will someday) with a huge yard (turns out I have a real green thumb, woot!!), developed major gut issues which seem to be related to a terrible dairy intolerance, which led to much mourning for cheese (I can have a little now, but not much), and currently planning for a major kitchen reno. All that, and I still had time to gain back all the weight I had lost previous :S. Well, the only failure is not trying, right? So I try....I know what works for me, just have a really hard time sticking to it.I blame the microbes in my gut  but until they come up with some killer cure, it's up to me.

This dish makes it look easy's lower in carbs and fat, chock-full of veggies and lean protein, and a total flavour-bomb in your mouth! I have recently discovered kimchi and gochujang, both being good sources of probiotics, and as a bonus make everything they come into contact with delicious. They are a terrific add, but even without them it's a yummy dish, just not as cool, because well fermented stuff is pretty cool these days. I named it for its resemblance to the inside of an egg roll, and the internet supports it....this is not the first or only egg roll stir-fry out there! I contend it may be the best ;).

Egg Roll Stir-Fry

1 Tbsp oil of choice (I use avocado or olive)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 stalks celery, sliced thin
1/2 head green cabbage, shredded
2 large carrots, julienned
2 bell peppers, julienned (I like red and yellow)
1/2 cup kimchi, chopped small
1 Tbsp gochujang (or sriracha, if you can't find it)
1 tsp chicken or "no-chicken" Better Than Boullion
2 tsp sesame oil
3 green onions, sliced
2 small wads mung-bean vermicelli (a.k.a. bean threads or glass noodles)
1 pkg tofu cut into cubes or 1 lb ground turkey
1-2 Tbsp soy sauce or Bragg's aminos (GF and less sodium)

In a large fry-pan or wok heated to medium, add 1 tsp of the oil, garlic, cabbage, and celery. Stir-fry for 5 minutes and then add carrots and peppers. Cook for 5 minutes longer or until veggies are all tender but not too soft. Add the kimchi, gochujang, boullion paste, sesame oil, and green onions, combining well.

Meanwhile, soak vermicelli in water and heat a separate pot of water to boiling. Once boiling, drain the vermicelli and snip them so that they are shorter threads, about 3 inches long. Add them to the boiling water and boil for one minute, then drain and place in a large holding bowl.

Once the veggies are done, place them in the holding bowl as well and stir everything together.

Return the frypan to the stove and add the remaining oil and ground turkey or tofu. Fry until browned. Add soy sauce and fry until evaporated. I usually do both (separately), and divide the veggies into two to create both vegetarian and meatatarian versions.

Add the veggies back into the frypan with the meat or tofu, and combine well. Done!

At this point it looks like a massive amount of food, but it's actually just 5 servings, at 365 calories each! Compare to a similar amount of, say, pad thai, and its a third of the calories. Yet, totally deliciously satisfying.

Calories 365
Fat 15 g
Protein 29 g
Carbs 31 g
Fibre 5g
Sodium 568 mg