Thursday, June 21, 2012

Biscoffee Cake (and a cake tip)

Biscoffee Cake - ButterYum

Have you had the pleasure of tasting Biscoff Spread yet?  I've been hoping our local grocery stores would start carrying it for more than 2 years now and I finally stumbled upon it a few weeks ago.  I quickly grabbed some and headed home to see if all the fuss I'd read about was true.  I'm happy to report, IT WAS!!!  If you're familiar with Biscoff Cookies, you already know that amazing butter-cinnamon-caramel flavor.  Now imagine it as a soft, creamy spread.  Insanely good, I tell you.  Insane!   I made the mistake of letting one of the teens taste my glorious find, but then I noticed the contents of the jar disappearing at an alarming rate so I had to move it into protective custody. 


Anyway, Biscoff Spread is soft, sweet, and spreadable, making it a perfect no-fuss substitute for frosting on my mocha version of this Busy Day Chocolate Cake - a one-bowl recipe that bakes in about 35 minutes. 

Biscoffee Snack Cake
Printable Recipe
serves 9-12
adapted from Lucinda Scala Quinn

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon table salt
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 cup freshly brewed coffee

1/2 cup Biscoff Spread
chocolate covered coffee beans for garnish

Preheat oven to 350F.  Prepare an 8x8-inch square cake pan with baking spray.  If you want your cake to bake without an ugly hump in the middle, wrap the pan with a moistened insulated baking strips (see photos below).

To make the cake:
In a medium bowl, combine all the cake ingredients and mix just until incorporated.  Pour the batter into a prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Remove cake from oven and place on a rack to cool completely; about 2 hours.

To decorate the cake:
Using an offset spatula, spread a thin, even layer on top of the cake.  Garnish with chocolate covered coffee beans.  Great served at room temperature, but it's also excellent chilled (my preference).

Now for my tip:

See this cake?  It was baked in a naked cake pan.  Kind of sad looking, don't you think?  The edges of the cake are over baked and dry, and the center of the cake puffed into a huge hump.

Why does this happen?  Because a naked cake pans heat very quickly in the oven, causing the batter along the edges to bake and set long before the batter in the center of the pan.
To avoid the hump issue, simply wrap the pan with a moistened insulated baking strip before popping it in the oven.

  So why do the insulted baking strips make such a difference?  They keep the cake pan temperature in check which allows all of the batter to bake at the same rate, resulting in a even layer.

See?  This is exactly the same cake recipe, but look how nice and even it baked.  The sides are as high as the middle.  No Hump!

And here's what that beautifully even cake looks like when plated.  Professional, no?
Needless to say, I highly recommend using insulated baking strips.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Alton's Skirt Steak

Alton's Skirt Steak - ButterYum

The next time you're tempted to pass up a skirt steak at the grocery store because you're not sure how to cook it, grab it and make this tasty recipe by Alton Brown.  The steak bathes in a flavorful marinade for an hour, then cooks in less than 5 minutes - doesn't get much easier than that.  Alton cooks his steak directly on hot coals, but I cooked mine in a searing hot cast iron skillet which worked beautifully.  I'll definitely be making this again.  

Alton's Skirt Steak
Printable Recipe from ButterYum
serves 2-4
adapted from Alton Brown

2 pounds skirt steak, cut into 3 or 4 equal pieces
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup soy sauce
4 scallions, roughly chopped
2 large cloves garlic
1/4 cup lime juice
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar

Trim excess fat and silver skin from skirt steak.  Combine all ingredient except the flank steak in a blender or food processor and puree.  Place trimmed skirt steak in a zip top bag, pour in the marinade.  Squeeze as much air out of the bag as possible and close.  Knead the bag in your hands to distribute the marinade all over the steak pieces; place in the fridge for 1 hour.  Remove steak from marinade and pat dry.  Cook in a searing hot cast iron skillet for 1-2 minutes per side; remove from skillet and cover with foil; rest for 15 minutes before slicing across the grain.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

5-Star Ham and Potato Soup

5-Star Ham and Potato Soup - ButterYum

I found this soup on a popular recipe sharing site - it had earned the highest rating of 5 stars after more than 6,000 reviews so naturally, I had to make it right away.  I prepared the first batch as the recipe was written and it was quite tasty, but I knew I could get even more flavor by tweaking here and there - so that's the version I'll share with you today.  The family loved it (even my picky eater), and my neighbor asked for the recipe after she enjoyed 2 bowls.  This one's a winner folks.      

5-Star Ham and Potato Soup
Printable Recipe
serves 6-8
adapted from

4 cups peeled and diced thin-skinned red or white potatoes (not baking potatoes such as Russets, Idaho, etc)
4 cups very flavorful homemade chicken stock
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 bay leaf 
6 tablespoons butter, divided
1/3 cup diced celery
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
3-4 cups diced cooked ham
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups milk

Optional Garnish:
fresh parsley, chives, scallions, cheese, bacon, crackers, croutons, etc

Place the diced potatoes, dried parsley, and bay leaf in a medium saucepan and cover with chicken stock.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium and cook until potatoes are tender, 15-20 minutes.  Remove saucepan from heat; do not drain.

In a large skillet, saute the ham, onions, and celery in 1 tablespoon of butter until the vegetables are soft and translucent.  Add mixture to the potato and chicken stock mixture.

In the same large skillet, melt the remaining 5 tablespoons butter.  Add the four, salt, and pepper and whisk until combined, continue whisking for 1-2 minutes to cook the raw flavor out of the flour.  Slowly add the milk and whisk to combine; continue whisking until the mixture thickens and begins to bubble; pour mixture into the saucepan that contain the ham and potatoes; stir to combine.  Garnish and serve.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Finally - Printable Recipes on ButterYum!!!

After many requests, I've finally gotten my act together and set up a printable recipe site (a big shout out to my friend Yvonne from Stonegable, who's tutorial was very helpful).

I'll be going through all my old posts to update them with the printable function, which I suspect will take weeks considering there are a few hundred recipes in the archives.  If there are any particular recipes you'd like me to tackle first, just let me know.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Blueberry Pomegranate Oatmeal Smoothie - CCC

Blueberry Pomegranate Oatmeal Smoothie - ButterYum

This month's Crazy Cooking Challenge theme:
Fruit Smoothies/Shakes

What recipe did I choose:
Pomegranate Blueberry Oatmeal Smoothies from The Yummy Life by Monica.

Did we like it:
You bet we did.  Just get a look at that amazing color - you can tell they're super healthy. They're easy to make too - and you can even freeze them if you want to make them way in advance.

Pomegranate Blueberry Oatmeal Smoothies
Printable Recipe
adapted from The Yummy Life

1/4 cup uncooked oats (old fashioned or quick oats)
1/2 cup skim milk
1/2 cup pomegranate juice
1/4 cup low-fat Greek yogurt
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2-3 teaspoons honey

Combine ingredients in blender and blitz until smooth (I love my Ninja).  Refrigerate at least 4 hours, or up to 3 days before serving.  Blend or shake if mixture separates.