rolled buttermilk scones: a tuesdays with dorie post

such a dark and dreary day.  cold and icy and snowy.  who isn’t over this winter thing yet?  this weeks tuesdays with dorie baking challenge was buttermilk scones.  they were the perfect treat to pair with a steaming hot cup of tea on such a cold and damp day.

scones recipes call for cold butter to be cut into the dry ingredients.  this recipe was no exception.  to get the job done, i used my vintage piano wire dough cutter.

the recipe instructs you to cut the butter into the dry mix until it resembles coarse meal.  i left some small lumps of butter because that will add to the flaky texture i prefer in a scone or biscuit.

after the butter is cut in, buttermilk is added and the dough is kneaded about a dozen times.  in my opinion, the kneading is not necessary.  mix it up and pat it out.  game over.  the recipe gave us two options;  classic wedges or filled, rolled up and sliced.  since i have made more wedge shaped scones than i could ever count, i opted to make the rolled scones.  the dough was patted out into a 12″ x 4″ rectangle that was about a half inch thick.  first, a brush of melted butter, then a sprinkle of sugar before topping the dough with some candied lemon peel and candied citron that were left over from holiday baking.

there wasn’t much to work with as far as rolling up the dough.  i didn’t get much of a spiral and they looked more like a donut with a clump of dried fruit in the middle.  with a final brush of melted butter and sprinkle of sanding sugar over the top of each spiral, they were ready to be baked.

 a close up view of the spiral.

my work table.  i love being able to work with dough on the tabletop.  it is next to a large window and i get lots of natural light on my workspace.  the bench knife is one of my favorite tools.   it is one of those tools that once you have one, you cannot go without it.  first i used it to cut the butter up into little cubes.  then i used it to slice the spirals.  finally, a quick scrape across the tabletop removed all of the dough and flour.

the rolls took several minutes longer than the 10-12 minutes that the recipe called for.  in my oven, it was more like 15-16 minutes.

a quick and easy treat to make, scones are always a favorite of mine.  however, i was not impressed with this recipe.  it was not buttery enough for me-the recipe could have used a couple more tablespoons of cold butter cut into the dough.  it also could have used a little more buttermilk-i only used the amount called for since i had no experience with the recipe, i did not want to add too much.  then, there was the kneading which was totally unnecessary.  next time, i will stick to my own recipe but i may try the spiral slices again.

to see the recipe, visit this site.  but as a cookbook author, i ask that you consider buying the book, baking with julia.  it is a wonderful book to add to your cookbook collection!  to see what the other tuesdays with dorie bakers came up with, visit the website.

buttermilk cake with fudge frosting: my favorite birthday cake

when it comes to birthday cake, i love a homemade cake.  homemade from scratch that is.  people are always scared to bake one for me though.  they think that because i can bake, that anything they do would never be good enough.  then they either make one from a mix or buy one from the grocery store.  4somehow, that is supposed to be better than anything they could make.  i will never understand that logic, and those cakes will never convince me that they couldn’t do any better-just that they weren’t willing to try.

good cake isn’t hard to make.  you just have to follow a some important rules:
1.  use heavy gauge pans for even baking.
2.  preheat the oven for at least 20 minutes and use an oven thermometer to check the temp.
3.  read the entire recipe, twice, and check to make sure you have everything needed before you start.    
4.  room temperature means that the ingredients are about 70 degrees so let the cold stuff sit out for a    
     while.
5.  measure properly.
6.  use a timer rather than glancing at the clock and winging it.
7.  test the cake for doneness near the minimum baking time-if it says 40-45 minutes, check it at about    
     38-40 minutes and adjust the additional baking time as needed.
8.  cold cake layers are easier to frost and slice but cakes should always be served at room temp; let it sit
     out before serving if you had it in the fridge.

vanilla buttermilk cake with instant fudge frosting
makes an 8 inch triple layer cake serving 12-16
4 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
3 cups cake flour
2 cups sugar
4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 ounces unsalted butter, at room temp
frosting, recipe follows
preheat the oven to 350.  spray 3 (8″) heavy gauge metal cake pans, line them with paper(wax or parchment) and spray again.  
whisk the eggs, yolk, vanilla and 1/4 cup of the buttermilk to combine.  set aside.  place the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a mixing bowl.  with the mixer on low speed, blend the ingredients to combine.  with the mixer off, add the soft butter and the remaining buttermilk.  mix on low to blend.  turn the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.  add the egg mixture in 3 additions, scraping the bowl well as you go and mixing only to combine thoroughly.  divide the batter between the 3 pans and bake until a pick inserted comes out clean, 28-32 minutes.  allow the cake to cool in the pans for 10 minutes, turn out on to a rack and cool completely before frosting it.
the layers can be wrapped and cooled in the fridge overnight to make frosting easier but serve it at room temperature for the best flavor and texture.
instant fudge frosting
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
4 1/2 cups powdered sugar, no sifting needed!
12 ounces unsalted butter, softened
6 tablespoons half and half
1 tablespoon vanilla
using a large capacity food processor, place all of the ingredients in the bowl and pulse to combine.  allow the machine to run and process the frosting until it is smooth and glossy.  
to frost the cake, place one layer, domed side down, on a cake plate.  top it with 3/4 cup of the frosting and spread it to the edges of the layer.  top it with the next layer and repeat the process.  place the top layer on the cake and using the remaining frosting, frost the sides and top of the cake.  if you would like to pipe a border or other decorations, be sure to set aside about 3/4 cup of frosting to use in a piping bag.  
adapted from my first book, sky high