Yesterday was my first anniversary here at Relishing It. For me, it’s a bit mind-boggling. I remember the day I told Radd that I wanted to write a food blog. I recall mulling over what I wanted the blog to be about, and being both excited and nervous when I finally took the plunge with that first post. As much as I love having a visual place to keep my most-loved recipes, I really wanted share them with people. And, of course, I wondered if anyone would read them? Thankfully, all of you have been stopping by to share in this with me. You’ve helped make blogging a wonderful experience. ‘Life-changing’ may sound a bit dramatic, but for me it’s close to the truth.
I was a bit fearful that I’d be doing this solo– sequestered in my kitchen cooking/baking away then writing to no one about it. Instead, blogging has opened up a whole new social world. I had no idea there were so many MN food bloggers. And I was surprised to see how close-knit, and accepting they all were. In the last year, I’ve made friendships through blogging that mean the world to me. I’ve also been lucky enough to “meet” so many wonderful people through Twitter. People who are as excited about food, health, and the environment as I am. I’ve had the opportunity to chat with chefs and writers that I admire in the culinary world– people who have taken the time to help with advice and support. The internet can really close those vast spaces between people, and I’m thankful that through Relishing It, my world has expanded beyond our little neighborhood in St. Paul, MN.
I will say, there are definite ups and downs to food blogging. It’s a huge commitment. Testing the recipes, taking the photographs, and then writing about the experience often takes a colossal amount of time. And it’s not exactly convenient. As I write this, I chuckle when I think about how many times I’ve cursed at having to open the kitchen door in mid-January to try to squeeze the last bit of sunlight into the room for a decent photo. And trying to keep two small children entertained while frosting a multi-layer cake always makes things ‘interesting’. Even so, it’s been such a wonderful experience for me.
As a thank you to you readers who stop by my little corner of the internet to see what I have to say; and to my wonderful friends and family who are always so encouraging, I’m giving away a prize to mark my first anniversary! By now you all know that I love cookbooks. One lucky reader will get to choose one of these lovely cookbooks that I often turn to for inspiration: “In the Kitchen With a Good Appetite” by Melissa Clark, “Plenty” by Yotam Ottolenghi, and “Super Natural Every Day”, by Heidi Swanson. A crisp new one, of course (I wouldn’t dream of parting with mine.) To enter the contest just leave a comment– say whatever you want– at the end of this post. If you follow me on twitter , and tweet about my giveaway, you’ll get a second entry. You must come back to the comment section here and tell me you did so in a separate comment. Here’s a sample tweet. “Enter to win a cookbook from @LaurieJKul to celebrate “Relishing It’s” first blogiversary! Enter here: https://relishingit.com/2012/03/16/tres-leche-cake-one-year-of-blogging-and-a-giveaway/ #giveaway”. You can even enter a third time if you subscribe to Relishing It– again, just tell me in a separate comment on this blog post. The contest ends on March 22, 2012 at 11:59 pm Eastern Time. It’s is only open to US residents (sorry). Please be sure to leave your email in the appropriate spot in the comment section, so that I may contact the winner. Allow roughly 4 weeks to receive your cookbook. (I’m just being realistic folks — why is it so hard to get to the post office?) Good Luck!
UPDATE: The winner of the cookbook giveaway is Tammy Kimbler! Congratulations Tammy! The winner was chosen using Random.org. Thank you All for the very kind and wonderful comments. I enjoyed reading through all of them.
And since we’re celebrating, I thought it fitting to share my family’s go-to celebration cake. This is the King of the Cakes in our house– all four of use would pick this beauty over anything else. The is cake layered in three different types of milk…well, actually four. It’s a simple whipped cream “frosting” with a bit of creme fraiche mixed in to help it hold its shape. If you can’t find creme fraiche, just make it without it. The extra fat content in creme fraiche helps the whipped cream keep it’s shape longer, but will certainly be delicious without it. This cake can last for about 2 days in the refrigerator if covered, but for optimum results should be eaten right away. The best part? It’s quite easy to make. I hope you give it a try!
The Recipe: Tres Leche Cake
For the Cake:
2 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup (5 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup, canola oil
1 cup all-purpose flour (4 1/2 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup buttermilk, at room temperature (or microwaved a few seconds)
For the Soaking Liquid:
1/2 can (7 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup half and half
For the Topping:
1/2 cup (2 1/4 ounces) confectioners’ sugar
4 cups heavy cream, cold
1/3 cup creme fraiche, cold
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare a 8-inch round cake pan by buttering it, lining with parchment paper, buttering the parchment, and lightly coating it with flour. Tap out any excess. Set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add the eggs, sugar, and vanilla. Mix on medium for about 2-3 minutes, or until there is a bit of volume and the mixture is a light pale color. Add the oil, and mix for a minute longer, until it is thoroughly combined. Scrape down the sides, as needed. Sprinkle dry ingredients over the wet and mix until combined, about 30 seconds. Add the buttermilk and mix until just combined — do not over mix. Bake for 25-27 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and a cake tester comes out with almost no crumbs. Cool completely in the pan.
When the cake has cooled, begin making the soaking liquid. Mix the sweetened condensed milk, half and half, and vanilla in a medium bowl and set aside.
Run a knife along the edges of the pan to loosen the cake. Invert cake onto a flat surface, such as a plate. Using a serrated knife, horizontally cut the cake into two equal halves. Place each half, cut side up, into it’s own rimmed baking sheet, or anything flat that it will fit into. Slowly pour the liquid equally over each of the cake halves. Let it soak in while you prepare the whipped topping.
In a cold bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the cold whisk attachment, add the heavy cream. Start on low and slowly increase the speed to medium-high. After about a minute, add the creme fraiche. Continue beating and when it’s about half-way whipped slowly sprinkle the confectioners’ sugar into the cream. Continue beating on medium-high until it is fully whipped, is smooth and has shape. Be careful not to over-whip or it will look curdled.
On a cake stand place the bottom layer of cake, cut side up. At this point, it’s a good idea to tuck waxed paper under the edges of the cake. It will catch any topping and make clean-up a cinch. Mound 1/3 of the topping onto it and smooth it out with an offset spatula. Place the other layer of cake, cut side down on top of that. Place 1/3 of the topping on the sides, and 1/3 on the top. Smooth out with an offset spatula. Garnish with raspberries. Best if eaten right away, but will keep fairly well covered in the refrigerator for 2 days. 3 days is pushing it, but I’ve certainly devoured a piece at that point.
A special thank you to my husband, Radd, for all of his help on this blog this past year — I truly appreciate it. To Radd and our kids — thank you all for being so patient as I snap picture of our dinner before we devour it. And thanks for always being excited (or pretending to be ) to try new things. Thanks to my readers, once again for always stopping by to say hello! I can’t wait to see where this next year will take us!