Baking with B: Classic Rice Pudding with Fresh Raspberries

If any of you follow me and the saga of my porch garden on Instagram you’ll know that I have a couple of raspberry plants that over the summer have produced the occasional fruit. (To be honest, I didn’t have high expectations to begin with so I was happy I got any berries at all.)

Well, wouldn’t you know, mere days before October arrives, these little plants decide to wake up and grow raspberries like there’s no tomorrow. They’re pretty teensy and tart, but there’s a fresh crop coming out each day. However, I still didn’t have quite enough to bake with so I had to rack my brain to figure out what I could do with them.

Enter rice pudding: one of the greatest desserts to make when you have practically nothing in your pantry and you’re craving something sweet. It’s creamy with a hint of vanilla and it’s the perfect delivery method for sweet-tart raspberries (although really, I think any fruit will do).

Oh, and did I mention it’s actually pretty easy to make? See what I mean for yourself…

Classic Rice Pudding with Fresh Raspberries (makes approx. 4 servings)

(loosely based on the recipe found here)

3/4 c. uncooked white rice (short or medium grain is best)

2 c. milk

2 tbsp vanilla custard powder

1/3 c. white sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1 egg, beaten

1 tbsp butter

raspberries, to taste (or fruit of your choice)

Note: I used vanilla custard powder in this recipe because it gave me such a rich, creamy vanilla flavor. The original recipe suggests adding 1/2 tsp vanilla extract at the very end, which is perhaps a little more traditional than my method.

In a medium saucepan, bring 1 1/2 c. of water to boil. Add rice and let simmer on low, covered for approximately 20 minutes.

Whisk custard powder in with milk until dissolved. In a separate saucepan, bring 1 1/2 c. of milk to a slow boil, stirring occasionally to prevent scalding. Add in cooked rice and sugar, stirring to combine. Let simmer on low for 15-20 minutes until texture becomes quite thick.

B’s Tip: I suggest adding the sugar last to your mixture because I added it first while the milk is still heating up. That’s ok, too, but if you’re not watching it (and I wasn’t) the sugar will end up caramelizing and burning at the bottom of your pan, making it hotter than you really want it to be. On the bright side, I ended up with all these really delicious flakes of burnt sugar scattered throughout my pudding. It was a lemons-into-lemonade kind of situation.

Stir in remaining 1/2 c. milk (you may want to give it a slight whisk beforehand) and beaten egg. Stir to combine and let cook for two minutes more. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Let pudding sit for 10 minutes before serving. Scatter with raspberries (or fruit of your choice.

Rice pudding can be served hot or cold, but I prefer it slightly warm because that’s when the texture feels just right. (So creamy! So vanilla-y!) If you’re not a fan of rice pudding because all you’ve had is the gelatinous, cold stuff from the grocery store, I ask you to try this recipe and reconsider. It may have a reputation as a dessert for the elderly, but I think you’ll find it’s actually delicious for all ages.

Happy baking!

B

Baking with B appears (usually) every other Monday on the Keeping Busy with B Blog. Find out why I like baking so much here. For more of my baking, click here. And for even more recipe inspiration, check out my Pinterest full of food eye candy that will have you licking your computer. Promise.

Baking with B: Cherry Vanilla Cake

It’s been quite some time since I’ve written a post about something I’ve made- and the truth is, I haven’t really been baking as much as I used to. Seeing all the fresh fruit around at this time of year, however, sparked my interest again. That, and having a friend who has a cherry pitter gave me a great deal of encouragement. (Don’t have one? I suggest you befriend someone who does, immediately.)

Cherry Vanilla Cake (serves 8-12)

2/3 c. butter, softened

4 eggs

1 1/2 c. sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

4 tsp baking powder

1 c. milk

2 c. fresh cherries, pitted and chopped

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

1 1/2 c. butter, softened

2 c. icing sugar, sifted

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

 

Preheat the oven to 350F. Melt butter, set aside. In a bowl, beat eggs and sugar until light yellow and very thick (use a mixer if you’re not brave enough to do it by hand). Stir in the vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine flour and baking powder. Add dry ingredients to the egg mixture a little bit at a time, alternating with the butter and milk. Stir until thoroughly combined. Gently stir in 1 1/2 cups of the cherries, reserving the remainder. Grease and flour two round (6-cup) cake pan. Pour batter into prepared pans and bake on low oven rack for 40-50 minutes. Let cakes rest in pan 10-15 minutes before turning them out on racks to cool.

Next, place the remaining cherries in a small saucepan and cook on low heat, 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally until mixture resembles thick liquid (you may have to add a pinch of water or two to get the consistency needed). Remove from heat and cool.

To make buttercream frosting, beat butter until creamy and add sugar 1/2 c. at a time, until well combined. Add vanilla extract and beat until smooth.

Slice the top off of your first cake. Spread with buttercream frosting, and spoon over half of the cherry mixture. Place second cake on top and layer with the remaining frosting and cherries. Top with additional fresh cherries, if desired.

I love the combination of vanilla and cherry flavors, and using fresh cherries gives it a sweet-tart flavor instead of using something from a can. There’s so many fresh, local fruits in season though that you could swap the cherries out with virtually anything your little heart desires- this cake recipe is simple enough to support a dazzling array of flavors. This cake would be awesome served warm and as-is, but sometimes it’s nice to go the extra step.

Man, that felt good to share another baking post again. Hopefully I won’t be as long in sharing the next one!

Happy baking!

B

Baking with B appears  (usually) every other Monday on the Keeping Busy with B Blog. Find out why I like baking so much here. For more of my baking, click here. And for even more recipe inspiration, check out my Pinterest full of food eye candy that will have you licking your computer. Promise.

Cupcakes for the Masses

7BFP-SpringCupcake-SQ1000-05There was another birthday party at the office. Guess what happened. This.

The request this time was for cupcakes, of all flavors, and after I briefly considered opening a bakery, I decided the only way to approach this task was to make it as efficient and simple as possible. (Who says you can’t mix productivity and baking?) See, I’m a not a professional cake decorator or baker (although sometimes I pretend to be when I break out my cake decorating kit with all of the fancy icing tips) and although I do enjoy having people over for coffee or brunch, I’m not really accustomed to making things for a large group of people, let alone bake and decorate cupcakes en masse.

So maybe I cheated a little bit and made a giant batch of my favorite vanilla cupcake recipe (which you can find here and multiply according to your needs). Despite the numerous (and extremely varied) requests I received, I decided to narrow down my flavors to three classic options: plain vanilla, chocolate chip and butterscotch chip. Oh, and they were all going to have buttercream icing too. Ba-bam. Who could argue with that?

Once my batter was mixed, I divided into three separate mixing bowls. I left one batch plain and stirred in 1 c. of chocolate chips into one, and 1 c. of butterscotch chips into another, stirring gently to mix. I baked them according to the instructions here and left them on a rack to cool completely before decorating.

To “color-code” all of the flavors, I found three different patterns of muffin cups and decided to coordinate them with three different colors of frosting to further increase the recognition. Making several colors of frosting can be labor-intensive but luckily isn’t too difficult once you’ve made yourself a big batch of icing and separate it accordingly. I never worry about making too much icing- it’s always handy to have some extra on-hand to clean up mistakes. In my case, having too much icing was a little bit of a happy accident- I wasn’t initially going to draw flowers but I couldn’t resist using up the rest of those sweet spring colors.

It feels silly to admit it now, but baking such a large amount of cupcakes was a (needlessly) intimidating experience for me. Despite the fact that they were not among my best or most exciting baking adventures, they were definitely one of the simplest and weren’t any less tasty. It was worth it to see the look on everyone’s face when I brought a giant plate of them out into the waiting room. It reminds me that I bake for my own enjoyment and for others; my baking is for sharing, and not for impressing other people.

Besides, sharing is totally calorie-free.

KBwB-BFlower-50

Why just stick with baking a big ol’ batch of vanilla? If you’re the mood to change things up a little bit, I’ve baked chocolate cupcakes, banana cupcakes and a whole whack-load of muffins here, here, here and here. Or if you mosey on by the blog tomorrow, I might have another super special cupcake recipe to share with you too!

Baking with B appears every other Monday on the Keeping Busy with B Blog. Find out why I like baking so much here. For more of my baking, click here. And for even more recipe inspiration, check out my Pinterest full of food eye candy that will have you licking your computer. Promise.