17 November 2009

spinach-poblano pesto sauce

frozen spinach

What to make for dinner? An oft-asked question, most likely, and one that sometimes remains unanswered. To answer this question for myself, I asked what I could make with frozen spinach. Yes, frozen. The answer?

poblano pepper

Spinach-poblano pepper sauce, using the frozen spinach and a charred poblano pepper I had that was shriveling up. I also added cashews to the mix since I like the taste of cashews in pesto, as I used when I made cilantro pesto.

spinach-polbano pepper, all blended up

What I ended up with was an incredibly delicious take on pesto, and made light with the addition of chicken broth (vegetable broth would work) instead of cream, which not only would have made it heavier but tempered the flavors a bit. The flavor from the poblanos was a tad on the spicy side, and you want it that way since you'll mix a bit of pasta water in after you toss the pesto with the pasta.

pasta perfecto

Green pasta might be a bit disconcerting to some, though no one will have a problem with it once they taste it.

The next time you don't know what to make for dinner, look at what you have and try to think of a simple, creative way to utilize it with anything you have. Not only could this have been used as a sauce, but as a dip for chicken fingers or quesadillas, sandwich spread, or used to fill wonton wrappers, a rub for a roast or a plating sauce served alongside steak, chicken, or fish. As for the pasta, you can easily cook a chicken breast, slice it, and place on top of the pasta, or saute cubed, cooked meat with an onion in some olive oil before adding the pasta and sauce like I did. Want shrimp? that would work. There is more than one way to use this, and it can even be frozen (might want to add a bit of lemon juice if you do) for super easy meals on nights you don't know what to make.




Print this recipe

spinach-poblano pesto sauce
Recipe by Christina Provo

ingredients ~

12 ounces farfalle
1 10-ounce package frozen spinach, cooked according to directions, omitting seasoning, drained and pressed
2 poblano peppers, charred on a skillet or under the broiler, peeled, deveined and seeded
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cashews
3/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1/3 cup olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
A shake white pepper

optional ingredients ~

Cubed, cooked meat
Raw shrimp
1 large onion, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra

directions ~
  1. Heat a large pot of water to a boil with a teaspoon of salt. When water boils, cook pasta for 2 minutes less than recommended amount of time for al dente (pasta will continue to cook when added to skillet).

  2. Meanwhile, place spinach, poblano peppers, garlic cloves, and cashews in a blender or food processor. Add salt and pepper plus around half of the chicken broth. Pulse to combine, using a spatula to scrape down the sides, adding more chicken broth as needed until the mixture is roughly blended together. Slowly stream in olive oil and continue to pulse/blend until the pesto is cohesive. Taste for seasonings and adjust accordingly.

  3. For optional ingredients: In a large skillet, heat olive oil medium heat and add the cooked meat and saute until heated thoroughly. For shrimp, time it so the pasta is ready shortly after adding the shrimp to the skillet, as it cooks quickly. Just before the shrimp turns pink, dump in the pasta, reserving about 1 cup of pasta water. Toss both the pasta and meat/fish together, then add pesto and toss to combine thoroughly. Add about 1/2 cup pasta water, and more as needed to thin out the consistency of the sauce to create a smooth texture.

  4. Remove skillet from heat. Serve the pasta with a bit of olive oil drizzled on top. For the presentation factor, cook the shrimp separately and place on top, or thin the pesto out with pasta water in the skillet, sans pasta and meat, then drizzle it over cooked pasta.

15 November 2009

lime wreaths, aka ciambelle

lime sugar and butter

Whilst normally I refrain from any sort of Christmas baking, carol-listening, decoration setting things until immediately after Thanksgiving, that didn't keep me from perusing the Christmas Martha Stewart magazine.

I saw a recipe for "lemon wreaths", basically a traditional Italian cookie called ciambelle. Shaped into a circle, dipped in icing, then sprinkled, these don't have to be a Christmas cookie depending on the type of sprinkles you use. I also didn't have any lemons, so I subbed lime zest and juice. The sugar gets pulverized a bit with the rind before mixing it with the butter. It smelled awesome.

different stages of shaping

The process of shaping is pretty simple, just scoop the appropriate portion of dough, roll it into a rope, attach the two ends together. My brother and I realized too late that we were rolling the ropes out too much and the cookies ended up being larger as a result, but good and pretty nonetheless.

iced and sprinkled

After being banked and cooled, the cookies are dipped in a lime glaze and sprinkled with nonpareils. Rather simple, yet very elegant in its simplicity.

I admit to being wary about making this recipe in the first place. Last time I tried a recipe like this (from a different source, and shaped into knots instead of wreaths), the end result was rather doughy and very meh. Either the recipe was quite unlike this, or my baking skills just weren't as developed then. Whichever it was, they just weren't worth the time. This, however, made me feel bad about cutting the recipe in half.

behold, the yumminess

Not here. Because here, the cookies were soft and somewhat crispy like a shortbread, thought the texture wasn't as "fine". The lime glaze added a tangy-sweet element that complimented the cookie, and I loved the crunch from the sprinkles.

Also great about these, you can change the flavor up to whatever you please. Lemon, orange, even grapefruit. Don't want a citrus flavor? No problem, leave it out, add some coconut or strawberry extract. I bet that rum flavored extract would actually lend an intriguing flavor. Add a spice if you want.

One thing I noticed is that the dough was quite sticky, and I realized this after mixing in all the flour and didn't want to add more afterwards to keep from handling the dough too much. Chilling the dough for a while worked, though it was still on the sticky side and the board needed to be kept lightly floured, but not too much so that the dough didn't stick to itself when attached. Despite that, these came together quickly.



Christine's Lemon Wreaths
From Martha Stewart Living, December 2009

Make 6 dozen

ingredient ~

For the cookies
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

For the glaze
3 cups confectioners' sugar
7 to 8 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 4 lemons)
1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons white nonpareils, for sprinkling

directions ~
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Make the cookies: Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Pulse the sugar and zest in a food processor until combined, about 2 minutes.

  2. Beat sugar-zest mixture and butter in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and lemon juice. Reduce speed to low. Gradually add flour mixture, and beat until combined. (After this I chilled the dough for about an hour or so.)

  3. Scoop 1 tablespoon dough (or use a 1 1/8-inch ice cream scoop), and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Roll dough into a 4-inch rope. Bring ends together, overlapping slightly, and press together to form a ring. Repeat with remaining dough. Transfer rings to parchment-lined baking sheets, about 1 1/2 inches apart, as you work. Bake until pale golden on the bottoms and around the edges, about 18 minutes. Transfer to wire racks, and let cool.

  4. Make the glaze: Whisk together confectioners' sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl until smooth. Dip the top side of each cookie into glaze, letting the excess drip off. Return cookies to wire racks, glaze sides up, and sprinkle with nonpareils. Let dry completely. (Decorated cookies can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days.)

11 November 2009

garlic fries

garlic fries

Garlic fries are one of the tastiest fries I've ever eaten that I've never had at a restaurant. I'm not sure where I could go around here to find some, but why bother when I can make them just as easily myself!

Most complaints with oven roasted fries is that they don't get as crispy as regular french fries. After looking around and remembering a process I tried earlier, I settled on my version that produces really crispy fries with a garlicky topping made by infusing oil with minced garlic.

This method requires that the potatoes, sliced into 1/4-inch sticks (peeling isn't necessary), are briefly boiled in water and patted dry. Boiling them sort of jump starts the cooking process so that the outsides cook along with the insides, and it seems to make them crispier, though that could just be how they are roasted.

Minimal oil is added to the potatoes, just enough to coat them lightly, but enough so that they crisp without sitting in a pool of grease. The oven temperature is quite high, and the cooking racks are placed at the highest and lowest position inside the oven. The baking sheets are rotated between the top and the bottom for 15 minutes at a time until the potatoes take on a uniformly roasted and crispy appearance.

With a little extra preparation and attention to timing, you can serve these alongside hamburgers, or just as a snack to munch on whilst movie watching.




Print this recipe

garlic fries
Recipe by Christina Provo

ingredients ~

5 cloves minced garlic
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
6-8 large russet potatoes, sliced into 1/4 inch sticks
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

directions ~
  1. Preheat oven to 475°, making sure the oven racks are at the lowest and highest position. Heat a pot of water to a boil with 1 teaspoon salt. Have ready two large baking sheet lined with paper towels.

  2. In a small saucepan, heat garlic and oil together for 2 minutes. Strain the garlic from the oil and set both aside.

  3. In batches, boil potato matchsticks in water for 1 minute; remove with a slotted spoon and drain on baking sheet. Repeat with remaining potatoes until all have been boiled, making sure the potatoes have been patted dry.

  4. Divide potatoes among two baking sheets and toss each batch with 2 tablespoons oil, 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.

  5. Place both sheets in the oven and set the timer for 15 minutes. When the time's up, remove both sheets and carefully toss the potatoes. Switch sheets so that the sheet on top is now on the bottom and the bottom sheet is on top. Set the timer for 15 minutes. Repeat process until the potatoes look fairly uniformly roasted and crispy.

  6. After removing sheets from oven, place the fries in a large bowl and toss with the parsley, reserved garlic, and more salt if required.


10 November 2009

Vietnamese Caramel Chicken & baby bok choy

baby bok choy

Baby bok choy is so cute, the miniature stalks that seems like a fun idea to make. They are, but there's a bit of cleaning involved. First you slice each bok choy in half and rinse it under water to rid the crevasses of dirt. Then, I chose to stir-fry each one instead of tossing all of them in the wok for a few minutes before letting them steam briefly. It was really good, though, and I would make it again. The soy glaze was very tasty and complimented the meat dish.

Vietnamese Caramel Chicken, jasmine rice, and soy-glazed baby bok choy

On FoodieMayhem I saw what looked like would be a very tasty dish, and also a perfect football-watching meal. They make a Vietnamese caramel sauce in which baby back ribs are cooked away until the meat is tender and the outsides are coating in a wonderfully colored crust, almost, of the caramel sauce. We made this dish with a few drumsticks we had left and despite the initial overwhelming smell of fish sauce first inhaled, everyone thought it was one of the most incredible chicken dishes ever.



recipes ~

Baby Back Ribs in Vietnamese Caramel Sauce

Soy-Glazed Baby Bok Choy

08 November 2009

candy corn sugar cookies


candy corn cookies, originally uploaded by Caudagali.

Any leftover candy corn? You could save it for next year or, especially if the bag is already opened, make these incredibly cute little cookies!

From Everyday Food, the recipe is for a simple sugar cookie dough that can also be turned into a chocolate version, which I felt contrasted better with the candy corn.

The recipe uses 1 egg yolk, though I used a whole egg and added 2 more tablespoons flour and 1 tablespoon of extra cocoa powder. This may have affected the resulting cookies, as mine didn't have the pretty crinkled tops seen in the picture on the site, but that's alright because the taste was decent.

Many of the comments for the recipe was that they had trouble getting 36 cookies. Well, when the instructions state to scoop out level teaspoons of dough, that means you take a teaspoon measuring spoon, a regular spoon, and scoop out level teaspoons of dough. Really doesn't take much time at all. These cookies are meant to be tiny little coins and that's part of the charm.
For ease of handling, I didn't roll the dough into balls; rather, I scooped them out into roughly-shaped balls and plopped them on the baking sheet (the recipe doesn't state whether to grease or line the sheets, so to be on the safe side go ahead and line them with parchment, though I left the sheet ungreased and unlined and they came off fine).



candy corn sugar cookies
From Martha Stewart

Makes about 36

ingredients ~

* 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, very soft
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 1 large egg yolk
* 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
* About 36 candy corns

directions ~
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place butter and sugar in a medium bowl; beat with a wooden spoon until combined. Beat in egg yolk, vanilla, baking powder, and salt. Add flour, and mix until a dough forms.

  2. Scoop out level teaspoons of dough, and roll into balls (chill dough briefly if it becomes too soft to handle). Place balls on baking sheets, 2 inches apart.

  3. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until edges are firm and cookies are dry to the touch (do not let cookies color), 10 to 12 minutes.

  4. Remove from oven; gently press a candy corn into center of each cookie (surface of cookies may crack slightly). Cool on sheets 1 minute; transfer to a rack to cool completely.


Chocolate Variation: Reduce the amount of flour given in the recipe to 1/2 cup. Add 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder along with the flour in step 1, and proceed.

06 November 2009

black bean and pumpkin soup


black bean and pumpkin soup, originally uploaded by Caudagali.


Another post from Once Upon A Tart, this time something savory and perfect for the season.

Black bean soup gets paired with pumpkin, cumin, cinnamon and ginger for a soup that's not only delicious, but warming, and who wouldn't want a bowl of soup like that right now? If you're used to the Panera black bean soup, this won't be quite so salsa-ish, tasting a bit more like mild chili than salsa.

While I initially thought the 1 tablespoon of cumin might be a bit overpowering, it really wasn't. These recipes have it all together, and while the taste of cumin was present, it melded with the cinnamon and ginger to unite as a whole.



Black Bean and Pumpkin Soup with Cinnamon and Ginger
From Once Upon A Tart

Makes 6 servings

ingredients ~

1 1/2 cups dried black beans, picked through, rinsed, and soaked overnight
6 cups cold unsalted water (for simmering the beans)
1/2 big yellow onion, diced
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 pound plum tomatoes, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 cups (1 quart) vegetable or chicken stock
1 cup canned or fresh pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar

directions ~
  1. Drain and rinse the soaked beans in a colander. Bring the water and the beans to a boil in a large soup pot over high heat. Lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for about an hour, until the beans are soft to the bite but not falling apart or splitting. Drain the beans in a colander.

  2. Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil in a large soup pot over high heat, stirring frequently so that they don't stick to the bottom of the pan., until the onion begins to soften, 5-10 minutes. Lower the heat to medium and continue to saute, stirring occasionally, for about 10 more minutes, until the onion is tender and translucent. (I added the spices at the end of the onion's cooking time and sauteed for about a minute before proceeding with the recipe)

  3. Add the tomatoes, cumin, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and pepper to soup pot, and saute until the tomatoes begin to break down and give off juices, 5-10 minutes. Pour in the stock, pumpkin puree, vinegar, and beans.

  4. Bring the soup to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld.

  5. Remove the soup from the heat to puree. Pureeing makes it a thick, smooth, more cohesive soup, but you still want the texture of the black beans, so don't puree it all. If you're using an immersion blender, puree one-third of the soup right in the pot. Serve warm.

  6. If you don't have an immersion blender, wait until the soup cools (I did not, I just was extra careful), then scoop up some with a ladle, or a heatproof measuring cup with a handle, and pour it into the bowl of a food processor (or a blender) fitted with a metal blade. Process in batches until you have pureed about one-third of the soup. Serve warm.

03 November 2009

fried rice recipe

chicken fried rice

Here, finally, is the actual recipe for how I make fried rice. I never really had a recipe so my instructions in a previous post were rather vague, but I wrote it down the other day.

Fried rice is the ultimate leftover dish, using leftover rice, and while you mainly use fresh vegetables and raw meat (or tofu, or all veggies), you can use any leftover meat you have, stir-frying it to heat it up. My favorite part of fried rice is probably the eggs, which you scramble in the pan and break up in a dish before adding to the final mix.

how to julienne carrots

Before the recipe, I found a really easy way to julienne vegetables similarly shaped to carrots on a Gwyneth Paltrow cooking video, of all places. I used to dice the carrots until I decided that they added more to the dish if the pieces were larger, and when you julienne them the matchsticks remain thin and cook quickly while being larger and also easier to eat.

Start by thinly slicing the carrot on the bias.

slice

Stack a few of the pieces together, then thinly slice the carrot, lengthwise, into matchsticks. It'll take a bit of practice before they really are thin, but it's fun to do.

julienned carrots

And there you go. Perfect in salads, too. To see the video with the pro instructions (Gwyneth is with a chef), visit the video.




Print this recipe

Basic Fried Rice Recipe
The sky's the limit with fried rice; mix and match ingredients, omitting those you don't, replacing them with ones you do, or use up any vegetables that would work to clean the fridge out.

Serves 4

ingredients ~

2-3 chicken breasts, cubed into 1/2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon soy sauce
3/4 teaspoon oyster sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and diced
1 bunch green onions, sliced on the bias
1 medium onion, chopped
1 carrot, julienned
2 eggs, beaten
4-5 cups day old rice, preferably white rice, though I've had good results using jasmine brown rice
2-3 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon rice vinegar
3/4 teaspoon sesame oil
Chili sauce to taste
Salt and white pepper, mixed together in a small container
Vegetable oil

directions ~
  1. Mix the chicken with 1 tablespoon soy sauce, oyster sauce, cornstarch, and white pepper. Set aside while you assemble the remaining ingredients.

  2. Next to the stove, place a large bowl. Place the garlic and ginger in a small bowl, and all the other ingredients, from vegetables to rice in their own bowl; all the ingredients, once stir-fried, will be placed into the large bowl before being put back in the wok with the rice. Whisk the remaining soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and chili sauce together in another small bowl.

  3. The method goes like this: Pour a few drops of oil (don't be heavy-handed with the oil as you are trying to avoid greasy rice) into the heated wok or skillet, add an ingredients and sprinkle with some salt and pepper (again, lightly; you can check for seasoning at the end). Stir-fry, stirring constantly, on high heat until just beginning to wilt and the vegetables have brown marks. Remove from pan and place in the large bowl. Repeat.

  4. Heat a wok or a large skillet on high. Starting with the garlic and ginger, stir-fry for thirty seconds or until fragrant; remove from pan. Stir-fry the greed onions next, then the onions, followed by the carrots.

  5. After adding more oil, pour the beaten eggs into the wok and mix constantly until you get softly-scrambled eggs -- large curds, but not dry. Place on the side of the large bowl and have someone smush them with a fork.

  6. Stir-fry the chicken until all the pieces lose the raw look, about 3-5 minutes. Remove to bowl.

  7. Finally, add the rice to the wok, following the oil-seasoning method stated above. Stir-fry until the rice begins to look charred, then dump in all the ingredients in the large bowl and any accumulated juices. Mix thoroughly. Turn off heat. Add the sauce ingredients and mix thoroughly. The Rice will no longer look white, but almost like brown rice. Add more soy sauce if needed. Check for seasonings.

  8. Serve immediately, placing on a heated platter if not serving directly on plates.

02 November 2009

happy 200th post!

let's frost a cake!

Since I've never made much of a mention of my 1st and 2nd years of blogging, I decided that I would bake a cake for my 200th post! It's kind of cool to think that I've been blogging this long, and that with all the breaks I've come back and stayed with it. The food blogging community is really great and I've learned quite a bit about cooking and baking just from reading all the different posts from everyone. You guys are also some of the most hilarious people out there!

first layer
Brown butter layer cake with light and airy chocolate buttercream


While I originally planned on baking the yellow cake from a Nick Malgieri, the technique of beating the cake for 3 minutes at the end reminded me of a cake recipe from The Anne of Green Gables Cookbook I got as a birthday gift last year. The difference is the use of melted butter instead of beating the butter and sugar together, thus creating a denser cake, but I figured that it'd still be rather light and not hockey puck-ish. And I'm lazy, melting butter takes less time than letting it come to room temperature.

crumb coat completed
The key to a perfectly decorated cake is a crumb coat


Called Anne's Liniment Cake, readers of the Anne of Green Gables will remember that the Reverend and Mrs. Allan were coming over to the Cuthbert's house for dinner and Anne begged Marilla to let her make a cake for Mrs. Allan, whom she adored.

While Anne was wont to daydream and ruin many attempts at baking, she maintained her focus from start to finish and produced a lovely layer cake that did justice to anyone cooking in Marilla's kitchen.

Dinner came and went, and while everyone was stuffed from the many delicacies of Marilla's table, Mrs. Allan, once realizing that Anne had baked the cake just for her, was pleased to have a slice. Unfortunately, Anne's first few years at Green Gables were pegged with Charlie Brown cases in the sense that the football was always being removed just as she was about to kick it. Instead of vanilla extract, Anne had mistakenly used anodyne liniment. The liniment bottle broke and Marilla poured the remains into an empty vanilla extract bottle.

So, this cake is titled in honor of Anne, using vanilla extract in the place of liniment.

the final coat

Since the butter in this recipe is melted, I went ahead and decided to brown the butter, letting it cool a bit afterward, and using buttermilk in place of the regular milk. There is no baking soda present, though there isn't any in Dorie's Perfect Party Cake either and I figured it would be fine. More on this later.

frosting swirls

The batter tasted wonderfully, as brown butter and vanilla are compatible flavors, and the batter was thick and fluffy. I felt very good about this cake.

sliced

It's a really pretty cake, and the layers baked up dense and sturdy, easy to move around, though lacking the dry, sawdust feel you get from cakes that are dense. The downside, however, was that it came out tasteless. How brown butter and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract could translate into flavorless, we have no idea! Maybe I should have added a bit of cardamom, or maybe the buttermilk canceled out the flavors since the Perfect Party Cake does have lemon zest and extract, though it's optional so I'm deciding that it had nothing to do with buttermilk. Perplexing, to be sure. I'll post the recipe anyway and if you have any tips, perhaps a sugar syrup spread on the layers, or anything reason you can think of that explains what happened, let me know.

a slice of cake

This really didn't stop anyone from eating the cake, as it still tasted good even if rather flavorless, and it just made the chocolate buttercream stand out more. The buttercream is a simple butter-shortening, Wilton-standby that's easily whipped up on a moment's notice.

So, Happy 200th Post to me, and to everyone who's been reading this blog!

P.S. Blogger says I have only 200 posts published, yet I have a total of 201 posts. Whatever the reason may be, this is the 200th post because it has cake.



Anne's Liniment Cake
From The Anne of Green Gable Cookbook by Kate Macdonald

ingredients ~

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
a pinch of salt
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup melted butter (I browned the butter)
1 cup milk (I used buttermilk)
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Chocolate buttercream, using a total of 1/3 cup milk

directions~
  1. Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans (I greased the pans, lined with wax paper, then greased the wax paper and dusted with flour). Preheat the oven to 350°.

  2. Measure out the sifted flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar and whisk together in a large bowl.

  3. Add the melted butter and the milk to the flour mixture and beat the mixture for 1 minute with an electric mixer, scraping down the sides of a bowl with a spatula.

  4. Add the eggs with the vanilla to the cake batter, then beat with the mixer for another 3 minutes, constantly scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.

  5. Pour the cake batter evenly into the two cake pans. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Test the cakes with a toothpick, or press lightly on the top; the toothpick should come out clean, or the tops will have a bit of resistance when pressed.

  6. Let cool, in pans, on wire rack for ten minutes. Slice the blade of a butter knife around the edges to loosen the cake from the pans. Turn cakes out on wire rack. Let cool completely before icing.

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