Buttermilk Pound Cake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Buttermilk Pound Cake

Buttermilk Pound Cake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

What do you do when your motivation is subzero? How do you respond when it seems like the world is against you in a thousand tiny ways? How do you survive those days when you ride the bus to work for an hour only to find out there’s no electricity? Then when you finally finish working from your living room floor only to discover the white screen of death on your website. Turns out you can’t post that cake you had to make twice because the first time it came out looking all funky and totally not photo ready. How do you keep from banging your head against the wall?

I usually watch some trashy tv and eat a cheeseburger then go to my bed at 8 pm and ready Harry Potter. It gets me through just about anything.

Buttermilk Pound Cake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Cake always helps. This buttermilk pound cake is simply beautiful. It stays moist for days, and it’s the perfect canvas for fresh fruit or jam. And don’t forget the whipped cream.

This cake comes together quickly and easily. I do have one tip for avoiding weird bubbles in your finished cake. When you transfer your batter to your bundt pan, use an offset spatula to make sure you fill in any empty space and smooth out the top as best as you can. It’s a thick batter, so it won’t spread and even out on its own. This will make sure your turned out cake isn’t weird. On, and grease and flour your pan really well so you don’t end up with a chunk stuck to the pan like I did.

Buttermilk Pound Cake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Nobody’s perfect. Cake isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty damn close.

Buttermilk Pound Cake
Serves 12
Buttermilk pound cake the delicious answer to almost all your problems.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
55 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
55 min
Ingredients
  1. 8 ounces unsalted butter, softened
  2. 2 cups sugar
  3. 3 eggs
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  5. 3 cups all-purpose flour
  6. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  7. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  8. 1 cup buttermilk
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 325F and grease and flour your bundt pan. Don't miss any curves or ridges.
  2. Add your butter and sugar to a large mixing bowl and beat together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. This may take up to five minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  3. Beat in your eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla. Beat until well combined. Scrape your bowl again.
  4. Sift together your flour, baking soda and salt onto some parchment paper or into a separate bowl.
  5. With your mixer on low, slowly add in a third of your dry ingredients, then mix in half your buttermilk. Add in another third of your dry ingredients, then the rest of your buttermilk, and finally your remaining dry ingredients. Give your bowl one more scrape and a final quick mix.
  6. Transfer your cake batter to your bundt pan and make sure you level it out before putting it in the oven. Bake for 55 minutes to an hour.
  7. Allow your cake to cool in the pan for about 15 minutes, then hold your breath, have everyone in the house cross their fingers, and turn it out onto a cooling rack to cool completely before serving.
Adapted from I'm Just Here for More Food by Alton Brown
http://awesomeon20.com/

 

Plainly Awesome Doughnuts | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Plainly Awesome Doughnuts

Plainly Awesome Doughnuts | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I try to avoid writing blog posts when I’m in a bad mood because of instead of helping you achieve peak awesomeness, I just complain about somebody stole my lunch and my favorite pen, and now I’m starving and want to cry.

I’d like to pass on a little advice to any young ladies who might be reading. You’ll know you’ve found the right partner if they let you whine like a four year and then order you a cheeseburger and a milkshake because you’re too hungry to even make a decision about what you want to eat. Then they bring you a cup of tea and just tell you they love you without making you feel like a crazy person. That’s true love.

You know that meme with the skinny girl who says, “Don’t reward yourself with food. You’re not a dog.” Remember her? Yeah, she sucks. I had a crap day and I deserve a doughnut. To my delight and astonishment, I recently learned that it’s surprisingly easy to make your own doughnuts from scratch.

Plainly Awesome Doughnuts | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

This is not a quick process. You definitely have to have some patience, but they are relatively easy, and the results are out of this world. I highly recommend you eat at least one of these within five minutes of cooking. There’s absolutely nothing quite as heavenly as a freshly fried doughnut. 

The first time I made these, I added just the right amount of flour and they came out looking beautiful. Of course, this time, the dough was a bit too sticky, so these particular doughnuts are a spiky mess. Honestly, though, the crunchy spikes added great texture, so don’t panic if this happens to you.

Still nervous about deep frying? Remember to use a thermometer, long tongs, and a heavy pan with high sides. Just keep a close eye on the temperature. Everything will be fine.

Is it easier to just go buy doughnuts from the Greg’s directly below your house? Well, yes, but I promise, these will be a hundred times better. And with this simple, basic recipe, you can adapt, glaze, and sprinkle to your heart’s content.

Plainly Awesome Doughnuts | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Please, please, please make your own Plainly Awesome Doughnuts. You won’t be sorry.

Plainly Awesome Doughnuts
Yields 8
Plainly Awesome Doughnuts are heavenly. You'll be dancing with joy.
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
3 hr
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
3 hr
Ingredients
  1. 2 tablespoons warm water
  2. 2-1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  3. 3-1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus some for dusting
  4. 1 cup milk
  5. 2 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
  6. 3 egg yolks
  7. 2 tablespoons sugar, plus some for topping if you like
  8. 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  9. Vegetable oil, for frying
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, stir together the warm water and yeast and let it sit for about five minutes. It should be foamy. If it's not, go buy some fresh yeast and start again.
  2. In a large mixing bowl add your yeast mixture, 3-1/2 cups flour, and all remaining ingredients, and combine using an electric mixer with a dough hook. Beat at a low speed until a soft dough forms, then turn the speed on your mixer up to medium high, and beat for another three minutes. If your dough is still very sticky, slowly add up to another 1/2 cup of flour until it's just dry enough to handle.
  3. Scrape down the sides of your mixing bowl to bring everything together, then sprinkle a light layer of flour over the top of your dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave it in a warm place for the dough to rise until doubled for about 2 hours.
  4. Flour a clean counter or dough mat and dump your dough onto it. Roll the dough out gently until it's about 1/2 an inch thick. Use a 2-1/2 or 3 inch cutter to cut out as many doughnuts as you can. Get your circles close together as you won't really be able to reroll this dough without it getting tough. If you want to be really thrifty, you could cut the remaining dough into "doughnut holes."
  5. Place your cut doughnuts on a lightly floured baking sheet, cover them with a clean kitchen towel, and leave this to rise again for about 30 minutes.
  6. Attach a candy thermometer to your high-sided, heavy bottom pot and pour in about 2-1/2 inches of oil. Heat your oil up to 350F. Keep a close eye on the temperature as you go, and do your best to keep steady. Fry your doughtnuts for about two minutes per side or until golden brown and puffy. I could fit two at a time in my pan.
  7. If you want to have sugar-coated doughnuts, have a plate or bowl with a shallow layer of fine sugar ready to go as you remove each doughnut from the oil. Press the side of the doughnut that's just been in the oil into your sugar, then flip it over to cool on a wire rack. If you're feeling frisky, go ahead and sugar both sides.
  8. Allow your doughnuts to cool for a few minutes so you don't burn your face off. The best experience will be to eat the doughnuts within ten minutes. They'll still taste good the next day, but the magic happens when they're fresh.
Adapted from Homemade Decadence by Joy Wilson
http://awesomeon20.com/
Mascarpone Meringue Cake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Mascarpone Meringue Cake

Mascarpone Meringue Cake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

As the sun crept through my window on New Year’s Day, I gave myself a moment to hope. Depression has had its cold hands resting on my throat for a long time, but the ritual of a fresh new year offers opportunity like few other days can. I want to smile more. See more new things. Take more chances. Be better to myself. Love more. Forgive myself and be kind.

I also want to be more bold in the kitchen. I finally have the space, and maybe someday I’ll even have the appliance to really go bold with my kitchen experiments. I want to try bigger baking projects and be more creative, even though that’s never been my strong suit. 

I want to take more photos of every day life, including photos of myself. I still think the word “selfie” is stupid, but I want to stop being afraid of my own face. Instagram should be very interesting this year. 

Mascarpone Meringue Cake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

So, this Mascarpone Meringue Cake is my first step toward being more bold. I had never made baked meringue before the first time I tried this cake. It was massive and risky. I wasn’t sure if it would be any good. Turns out, it’s freakin’ amazing, and actually not that hard to make. It looks hugely impressive, though, and your friends will never ever believe you if you tell them it was easy. The hardest thing is getting is transporting it. May I suggest making your friends and family come to you?

You’ll need plenty of time and patience to make this cake. It has three elements that have to be made separately. None of them is tricky, especially if you have a stand mixer. You will need a lot of time, though. I recommend making your meringue layers the day before, and then mixing the other elements and constructing your cake the next day. 

Mascarpone Meringue Cake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I am nowhere near perfect, but I’m hoping we can grow together. Some people would probably say I should leave it to the experts, but I’ve never been particularly good at listening to some people. We might as well fail spectacularly. It will be an adventure, and it will taste awesome! 

Mascarpone Meringue Cake
Serves 12
A towering confection of crunchy meringue, mascarpone cream, and ridiculous amounts of chocolate ganache, Mascarpone Meringue Cake is a real life showstopper.
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Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
3 hr
Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
3 hr
For the meringue layers
  1. 360 grams egg whites (from a carton)
  2. 2-1/2 cups sugar
  3. Pinch of salt
For the ganache
  1. 510 grams chocolate, semi-sweet or darker, chopped
  2. 2 cups heavy cream
For the mascarpone cream
  1. 1 cup whipping cream
  2. 2 tablespoons sugar
  3. 1/2 cup creme de cacao liqueur
  4. 500 grams mascarpone, softened
For the meringue layers
  1. Preheat your oven to 250F. Line three baking sheets with parchment. Use a round cake pan, 8 or 9 inches, to trace circles onto each piece of parchment. Set aside
  2. Splash a bit of vinegar onto a paper towel and wipe down the bowl and whisk attachment of your mixer to make sure they're super clean. This is just a bit of chemistry magic to help your egg whites foam properly.
  3. Add the egg whites and salt to the mixing bowl, and beat until the egg whites become foamy. This will take a couple of minutes. Slowly add in the sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. Be patient. This may take ten minutes or so.
  4. Divide your meringue mixture between your three baking sheets. Use an offset spatula or a butter knife to gently coax the mixture into your circles.
  5. Bake your meringue layers for at least 2 and a half hours and up to 3 hours. They need to be completely dry on the inside. Rotate your pans every half hour or so, and if you're cooking on multiple racks, switch out the pans to rotate oven position as well. If you can only fit two in your oven, you can stash the third on in the fridge while the other two bake. Allow your meringues to cool completely.
For the ganache
  1. Place your finely chopped chocolate in a mixing bowl. Heat your cream in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Keep a close eye on it, and stir frequently. The moment you see bubbles, take the cream off the heat and pour it over your chopped chocolate. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and let it sit for a minute or so.
  2. Remove the tea towel, and begin gently whisking the cream and chocolate together. It will look a mess at first, but eventually, it will all come together in a glorious, glossy chocolate ooze. Put your ganache in the refrigerator to stiffen up a bit. You want it spreadable, but not drippy. I left mine in the fridge for about 40 minutes, giving it a stir every ten minutes.
For the mascarpone cream
  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, use the whisk attachment to beat the cream to stiff peaks, adding the sugar about halfway through. Add the creme de cacao, and whisk for a few more seconds to incorporate the liquid into the cream.
  2. Transfer your cream to a separate bowl. Add your mascarpone to the bowl of your mixer, and switch over to your paddle attachment. Beat the mascarpone for a couple of minutes just to make it a bit more light and fluffy.
  3. Remove the bowl from the mixer, and use a rubber spatula to slowly beat your whipped cream into your mascarpone. Once everything is evenly incorporated, it's ready for cake building.
  4. To construct your cake, carefully peel the parchment paper off the bottom of your meringue layers. Place the first layer on your serving plate. Dollop a third of the mascarpone cream on the first layer and gently spread it around. Do the same with the ganache. Add the second meringue on top of this, then more cream and ganache. Place the final meringue on top, then spread the rest of your mascarpone, and finally the ganache on the top. I gave mine a bit of sparkle with some gold sprinkles. Put your cake back in the fridge for an hour or two, just to firm up. You're a miracle worker if you can cut this and keep it all in one piece, but it will taste awesome no matter what.
Notes
  1. Building this cake may be a bit nerve wracking, as you may hear a few cracks as you construct. Don't worry too much about it. It won't show, and it won't affect the taste at all. Just be as gentle as you can and keep smiling.
Adapted from Sweetapolita
Adapted from Sweetapolita
http://awesomeon20.com/
Top 16 of 2016 | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day
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