Sweet Potato Pound Cake

Thanksgiving came and went, and I’m sitting here asking myself where the year went? We’re about one month away from ringing in 2017. 20-17. Let that sink in.

 

Sweet potatoes are in season every season, but we find ourselves loading up on them especially during the cooler months.  I stumbled upon this fabulous recipe by Grandbaby Cakes for Sweet Potato Pound Cake, and I was sold. I had one lonesome sweet potato hanging out in my pantry, and I just knew that it was destined for greatness.

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Sweet Potato Pound Cake

Yield: One 9”x5” Loaf

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup mashed roasted sweet potato
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup neutral flavored oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 ½ cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F and set aside a greased loaf pan.

In the bowl of a mixer, combine mashed sweet potato, brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, and oil. Mix on medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla and mix on medium-low speed until thoroughly combined. Add cake flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and ground ginger. Mix on low speed until completely combined.

Pour batter into loaf pan and bake until an inserted toothpick comes out clean, about 40 to 50 minutes.

Allow cake to cool for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

 

Note: Cake can be kept at room temperature for a few days.

Instructions on roasting sweet potatoes: Wash and pat dry potatoes. Place each potato on a square piece of aluminum foil. Drizzle with a tiny bit of neutral flavored oil. Wrap loosely with foil and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350°F for 40 to 60 minutes. Potatoes will be ready when they can pricked with a fork easily. Cool slightly before using.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls (with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting)

You guys, pumpkin season is here and I’m all about it! I’ve made these rolls 5 times in the past month (not all for myself! I’ve been making them and handing them out like halloween candy)!  I’ve been going through cans of pumpkin like no one is watching, and I’ve got no intention of slowing down. There’s something just so irresistible about the combination of cinnamon and warm spices like nutmeg, cardamom, and ginger.  Oh Fall, how I love thee❤

(Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen <<< you know you can’t go wrong with that!)

 

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Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

With Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: 12 – 18 Rolls

Ingredients:

For Rolls:

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • ½ cup whole milk, slightly warmed
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons yeast
  • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg, optional
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin puree, canned or homemade
  • 1 egg

For Filling:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt

For Frosting:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons milk

Directions:

Make Dough:

Brown the butter by cooking it over medium heat in a stainless-steel saucepan. Whisk so that the butter melts evenly. As it cooks, the butter will begin to foam, so be sure to whisk frequently to check underneath the bubbly surface. Soon little browned bits will form at the bottom. As soon as they begin to form, remove from heat and pour the melted butter (with the bits) into a glass or metal container and allow it to cool slightly.

Combine milk and yeast in a small bowl and set aside for 5 minutes.

In the bowl of a mixer, combine all-purpose flour, brown sugar, sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and ginger. Mix on low speed until combined. Add browned butter, milk and yeast mixture, pumpkin puree, and egg. Mix on medium-low speed until combined. Reduce speed to low and mix for 5 minutes. Transfer dough to a large oiled bowl, cover, and set aside until doubled, approximately 1 to 2 hours.

Make Filling:

Brown the butter by cooking it over medium heat in a stainless-steel saucepan. Whisk so that the butter melts evenly. As it cooks, the butter will begin to foam, so be sure to whisk frequently to check underneath the bubbly surface. Soon little browned bits will form at the bottom. As soon as they begin to form, remove from heat and pour the melted butter (with the bits) into a glass or metal container.

In a medium bowl, combine brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, and salt.

Assemble Rolls:

Lightly grease 2 9-inch pans, or one 9”x13” pan. Set aside.

After the dough has doubled, punch it down. Transfer it to a lightly floured surface and divide into 2 portions. Working with 1 portion at a time, roll the dough out into a large rectangle, about 9”x13”. Spread the browned butter evenly over the surface, followed by the sugar mixture.

Starting with the longer side, gently roll into a log. Lightly pinch the seams together. Using a knife, gently cut the rolls into 6 to 9 even sections. Place them cut-side up in prepared pans. Cover and allow them to rise for an additional 45 to 60 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Bake until puffed and golden, about 25 minutes.

Make Frosting:

In a large bowl, combine butter and cream cheese. Mix on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar, and mix on low speed until completely combined. Add maple syrup and milk, and mix on medium speed until smooth and combined. Add additional milk if the consistency isn’t thin enough.

Pour or spread on rolls once they are done baking.

 

Note: Unbaked rolls can be prepared in advance. After being cut and placed in baking pans, cover and refrigerate. Remove a few hours before baking to allow them to finish rising.

Roasted Tomato Soup

Here in the Midwest the weather has finally started to cool down and we’re entering my favorite season of the year, Autumn! I love everything about it- the colors, the cooler weather, the fallen leaves, the longer nights, and the abundance of fall-centric produce (think apples, pumpkins, pears, etc.).

The cooler weather has me wanting to cook things that warm our bellies and souls. I personally am not a fan of smooth soups (I prefer some texture in my soup; something about the smoothness reminds me of baby food), but tomato soup is the sole exception. I like my tomato soup unadulterated and free of unnecessary frills (oooh fighting words!). I prefer the flavor of tomatoes to shine. I’ve tried my hand at many recipes, but my search for the ultimate grilled cheese partner in crime has come to an end, much thanks to Sarah at Flour & Spice. Her recipe results in a soup that lets the tomatoes be the star (rightfully so).

So go ahead and start warming up friends, it’s only going to get colder😉

 

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Roasted Tomato Soup

Yield: 4 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ pounds fresh tomatoes, quartered
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 onions, peeled and sliced
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 – 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450°F.

In a foil lined tray, combine tomatoes, garlic, and onions. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes, until caramelized.

Transfer roasted vegetables to a large cooking vessel. Increase heat to medium high, and add 3 cups of the vegetable broth, bay leaves, and butter. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

Add sugar, thyme, and red pepper flakes. Remove and discard bay leaves. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. If the soup is too thick, add more of the remaining broth to thin it out. Remove from heat and adjust seasonings.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Mis Amores! I’ve missed you! It’s been a busy summer, and now that school has started (my son started kindergarten! Crazy!), we’re on a tightly packed schedule.

Soon after Eid ul Fitr, the kids and I left for California to prepare for my brother’s impending wedding festivities. To say the wedding was amazing would be an understatement. Like, understatement of the century.

We’re back now, and in the thick of a standard school year. Although the summer was fun, it is nice to be back home and into a normal routine. It’s nice to have some predictability.

While in California, I got the chance to test out some amazing new recipes. Luckily for me, my mom and brother are both amazing taste testers. I’m excited to recreate some of the stellar recipes that were tested.

Now onto today’s recipe- Chocolate cream cheese frosting. A few days ago I was asked to bake some cupcakes for an Eid ul Adha kids gathering. Surprisingly, I was low on butter but had a few packages of cream cheese (very strange in my home!). I wanted to try my hand at something different, and I’ve seen recipes floating around for a chocolate take on cream cheese frosting. I adapted this recipe and came up with this fabulous frosting! It’s slightly tangy with an amazing chocolate kick. It’s an amazing alternate to regular buttercream!

 

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Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: Enough To Frost 2 Dozen Cupcakes

Or a 2-Layer Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup cocoa powder

Directions:

Place cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and salt in a large bowl, and using a whisk attachment, whip on medium-high speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the powdered sugar and whip on low speed until incorporated. Add cocoa powder and whip on low speed until incorporated. Increase speed to high and whip until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes, remembering to scrape the sides of the bowl along the way.

Use as needed.

Refrigerate leftovers.

Note: Frosting may be made and frozen in advance. To use, simply leave on the counter and bring to room temperature. The frosting may need to be whipped lightly to bring back t original consistency.

Eid Eats 2016: Zesty Spice Roasted Chicken

Eid Eats 2016 is officially here! This “party” is one that I look forward to all year🙂  With Ramadan coming to an end, it’s fun to get together with other bloggers and enjoy the festive atmosphere.  Do you want to come to the party but worried that it’s too late?  Fret not my friend, there’s still time! You’ve got until Wednesday, July 6, to submit a recipe.  Just follow the guidelines found here, and you’re in!  I, along with my co-hosts Asiya of Chocolate and Chillies (check out what she’s sharing here), and Sarah of Flour and Spice (and the yummies that she’s sharing here) would love for you to join us!

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Click on this graphic to submit your addition to #EidEats2016. You can also click here to check out all of the yummies everyone has brought.


This year, Eid Eats falls on my father’s birthday.  I had decided beforehand that I wanted to make something that would make him proud.  My father was a huge fan of roasted poultry (chicken and turkey). He was the honoree turkey-carver at every Thanksgiving gathering. He used to enjoy revving the electric knife and getting down to business on the bird. Friends (and their children) would stand around and watch him, and he would hand feed little pieces to those standing closest to him.

I decided to make a zesty spice rubbed roasted chicken (adapted from here) because I knew it would be something that he would have enjoyed.  Prior to this attempt, I had never roasted a chicken before. I don’t know about you, but I had so much fear going into it! Afterwards however, I wondered why the heck I took this long to attempt something so simple! Please, don’t be a scaredycat like me. It’s a simple dish to prepare, and it really adds a classy touch to any spread.

 

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Zesty Spice Roasted Chicken

Yield: 4 to 6 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 (3 – 3 ½ pound) whole chicken, skin removed
  • 1 tablespoon + 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon red chili powder
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • ½ lemon
  • Potatoes, as needed, diced into 2-inch chunks (or baby potatoes cut in half)
  • Chopped cilantro, for garnish

Directions:

In a small bowl, combine 1-tablespoon butter, salt, paprika, basil, oregano, black pepper, and red chili powder.

Place chicken in a large container and rub with spice mix, making sure to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate, allowing the meat to marinate for several hours (overnight is best).

Remove chicken from the refrigerator and preheat oven to 450°F. In a baking pan, place potatoes in an even layer. Place chicken on top and stuff the cavity with garlic and lemon. Tie the chicken legs together with baking twine. Brush chicken with remaining 3 tablespoons butter, making sure to pour a few spoonfuls into the cavity as well.

Roast chicken in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Reduce temperature to 400°F and cook for an additional 40 minutes, until the internal temperature has reached a minimum of 165°F. Remove from oven, cover lightly with foil, and allow it to rest for 10 to 15 minutes.

Serve garnished with cilantro.