Tres Leches Flan Cake

The following recipe was prepared for my Tamales cooking class. You can read about my class and get other links to recipes HERE.

Tres Leches Flan Cake

Cake:
1 (18.25 oz.) box butter/yellow cake mix and ingredients to prepare as directed on box
1 (12 oz) can of regular Coke or Pepsi

Topping:
1 (10.9-oz.) jar cajeta (caramel topping) or caramel ice cream topping

Flan:
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Heat oven to 350 degrees

1.) Follow instructions to make cake, but use the can of coke instead of water.
2.) Set cake mix aside and make flan
3.) Put the flan ingredients in a blender and mix well
4.) Spray the bundt pan with Pam and then cover the bottom with carmel
5.) Pour cake mix into bundt pan.
6.) Pour the flan mix gently down one side of the pan. The flan will go to the bottom and the cake mix will raise up a bit as the flan mixture fills the bottom of the pan.
7.) Set the bundt pan in a larger pan or tray with water. You are creating a double boiler, but you only need a couple inches of water.
8.) Put it all in the oven and it will cook for at least 45 minutes and as much as an hour.
9.) Check the cake doneness with a toothpick. The cake will stay more moist than most cakes you’ve ever made and you will see it separate a bit from the pan when it is done.
10.) Let is cool and regigerate for several hours.
11.) Take it out two hours before you plan to serve. Turn the bundt pan over and let it sit while warming to room temperature.
12.) The bundt pan should then lift off to reveal a layer of flan, topped with carmel sitting atop a very moist cake.

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Bananas Foster Bread Pudding

The following recipe was prepared for my Chef Spotlight Dinner highlighting New Orleans chefs. You can read about it and get other recipes from the event HERE.

Bananas Foster Bread Pudding
shared at the event by Joelen
inspired by this recipe & adapted from here

4 loaves – French bread, each 1’ long
1 qt – Heavy cream
1 ½ C – Whole milk
1 ½ C – Sugar
3 C – Light brown sugar
12 ea – Egg yolks
3 ea – Bananas
1 C – Rum
½ t – Ground cinnamon
4 T – Vanilla extract
Fresh mint for garnish

Slice French bread and dry in a 200° oven for 20 minutes. Combine remaining pudding ingredients in a large container and blend well with a hand mixer. Thinly slice dried French bread and place in an 8” x 10” x 2” pan. Pour pudding into pan and mush all bread by hand so that the liquid is absorbed and the bread becomes very soggy. Be sure to flatten all of the lumps. Cover pan with foil and bake at 300° for 2 ½ hours, or until a skewer inserted in the center of the pudding comes out dry. Remove foil and bake for an additional 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Set aside to cool.

Foster Sauce
4 ½ C – Unsalted butter
4 ½ C – Packed dark brown sugar
3 t – Ground cinnamon
2 ¼ C – Golden rum
2 ¼ C – Banana liqueur
8 – Bananas, sliced lengthwise and in half

Melt butter in a saucepot. Add the brown sugar and cinnamon and mix well. Add the rum and ignite. Allow the flames to subside. Then, stir in the banana liqueur. Add fresh bananas and simmer over medium heat for about 2 minutes or until the sauce coats the spoon.

To Serve: Cut bread pudding into 3 ½” x 3 ½” squares. Top warm bread pudding with Foster sauce and garnish with mint leaves.

Best Brownies

I prepared the following recipe for my Book/Movie club. You can read about my event and view other links to recipes I made for it HERE.

I found this recipe in a thrift store, believe it or not. I was shopping around for a nice glass pitcher for cheap and there lost with the piles of books was a copy of a Cook’s Illustrated. Inside this whopping $.40 gem was Cooks Illustrated’s recipe for Best Brownies. I made their recipe verbatim, but to put a twist on it, I topped the brownie with pecan halves… and drizzled the top with buttery caramel. Here is Cook’s Illustrated’s recipe for Best Brownies to which I added some caramel over the top for a little more indulgence:

1 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped medium
1 1/4 cups cake flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 baking powder
6 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped fine
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into 6-1 inch pieces
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
caramel sauce (optional)

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position; jeat oven to 325 degrees. Cut 18-ince length foil and foild lengthwise to 8 inch width. Fit foil into corners and up sides of pan; allow excess to overhang pan edges. Cut 14-inch length foil and, if using extra-wide foil, fold lengthwise to 12-inch width, fit into width of baking pan in same manner, perpendicular to first sheet. Spray foil lined pan with nonstick cookin spray. (Basically, line your baking pan well with foil, allowing some excess foil to hang off the edges for esay removal once its baked.)

2. If using nuts, spread nuts evenly on rimmed baking sheet and toast in oven until fragrant, 5-8 minutes. Set aside to cool. (I didn’t bother toasting the nuts because I knew it would bake up in the oven.)

3. Whisk to combine flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl; set aside.

4. Melt chocolate and butter in a large heatprood bowl set over saucepan of almost-simmering water, stirring occassionally, until smooth. (Alternatively, in microwave, heat butter and chocolate in large microwave-safe bowl on high for 45 second, then stir and heat for 30 seconds more. Stir again, and if necessary, repeat in 15-second increments; do not let chocolate burn.) When chocolate mixture is completely smooth, remove bowl from saucepan and gradually whisk in sugar. Add eggs one at a time, whisking after each addition until thoroughly combined. Whisk in vanilla. Add flour mixture in three additions, folding with rubber spatual until batter is completely smooth and homogeneous.

5. Transfer batter to prepared pan; using spatula, spread batter into corners of pan and smooth surface. Sprinkle toasted nuts (if using) evenly over batter and bake until toothpick inserted into center of brownies comes out with few moist crumbs attached, 30-35 minutes. Cool on wire rack to room temperature, about 2 hours, then remove brownies from pan by lifting foil overhang. Cut brownies into 2 inch squares and drizzle caramel generously over the top before serving. (Store leftovers in airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.)

Bread Pudding Pleasures

What do you do when you have lots of leftover bread that you’d hate to throw away? You could make breadcrumbs or better yet, bake up some bread pudding! Because it was such a dreary, damp and dark spring day here in Chicago, some comforting bread pudding definitely fit the bill.
I used this Butterscrotch Bread Pudding recipe as my guide, but to put my own spin on it, here’s my recipe for Caramel Apple Bread Pudding with Fresh Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream.

1 1/2 loaf of old bread, 1″ cubed
( I used an artisanal italian pane, but you could use a french baguette, french bread or even bagels)
3 cups half & half
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
3 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla paste (or vanilla extract)
1 cup caramel chips
3 medium apples, chopped
1 teaspoon cinnamon

PREHEAT oven to 350 degrees. Coat 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray or butter.

COMBINE all ingredients in large bowl. Allow bread to soak in liquids, especially if the bread is really dry. Pour mixture into prepared pan.

BAKE in preheated oven for 1 hour, until nearly set. Serve warm or cold, with a dollop of whipped cream.

For the vanilla bean whipped cream:

1 tablespoon vanila paste (or vanilla extract)
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 cups heavy cream

Place all ingredients in your stand mixer and whip with whip attachment until it thickens to whipped cream consistency.

12 Minute Turtle Bundt Cake

12 Minute Turtle Bundt Cake

1 box chocolate cake mix
1 small box instant chocolate pudding mix
2 cups (16 oz) sour cream
1 cup chocolate chips
3 eggs
cooking spray
caramel sauce
chopped pecans

In a stoneware bundt pan, grease the inside with cooking spray.
Combine cake mix, pudding mix, sour cream, chocolate chips and eggs in a large bowl.
Place thick cake batter into the greased stoneware bundt pan.
Bake bundt pan in the microwave for 12 minutes.
Allow cake to cool and sit for 10 minutes in pan.
Invert onto a cake platter when slightly cooled.
Top cake with caramel sauce and chopped pecans.
This is served great with ice cream!

Chocolate Flan Bundt Cake

Chocolate Flan Bundt Cake

Cake:
1 (18.25 oz.) box chocolate or devil’s food cake mix and ingredients to prepare as directed on box 1 (12 oz) can of regular Coke or Pepsi

Topping:
1 (10.9-oz.) jar cajeta (caramel topping) or caramel ice cream topping

Flan:
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
3 eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Heat oven to 350 degrees
1.) Follow instructions to make cake, but use the can of coke instead of water.
2.) Set cake mix aside and make flan
3.) Put the flan ingredients in a blender and mix well
4.) Spray the bundt pan with Pam and then cover the bottom with carmel
5.) Pour cake mix into bundt pan.
6.) Pour the flan mix gently down one side of the pan. The flan will go to the bottom and the cake mix will raise up a bit as the flan mixture fills the bottom of the pan.
7.) Set the bundt pan in a larger pan or tray with water. You are creating a double boiler, but you only need a couple inches of water.
8.) Put it all in the oven and it will cook for at least 45 minutes and as much as an hour.
9.) Check the cake doneness with a toothpick. The cake will stay more moist than most cakes you’ve ever made and you will see it separate a bit from the pan when it is done.
10.) Let is cool and regigerate for several hours.
11.) Take it out two hours before you plan to serve. Turn the bundt pan over and let it sit while warming to room temperature.
12.) The bundt pan should then lift off to reveal a layer of flan, topped with carmel sitting atop a very moist cake.