Posts Tagged ‘Washington Capitals Recipes’

Let Them Eat Birthday Cake (Part II)

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

My favorite young goalie makes a save at the Verizon Center.

My nephew Michael loves to play and watch hockey. During hockey season he follows the exploits of the Washington Capitals.
He has even been known to read the newspaper (which I certainly never did when I was ten) in order to keep up with the latest Caps news.
I shudder to think what family life will be like when he realizes that entire chat rooms on the internet are devoted to analyzing the team’s performance on the ice.
When Michael’s birthday rolled around last week, his mother Leigh asked me to design a birthday cake that would (a) taste yummy and (b) look like a hockey puck.
“A” was not a stretch. All my cakes taste wonderful (probably because I’m so modest).
“B” was more challenging. Luckily, I knew I would have Leigh to help. She is much better at presentation than I am.
Even with her help the cake was a learning experience! As I mentioned in my recent cupcake post we had a couple of tries to get it right since like royalty Michael enjoyed a public birthday as well as a real one.
My concept was a chocolate cake with fudge frosting that would include a moon-pie-like marshmallow filling. (I know this is a bit excessive, but I also know kids love marshmallow filling.)
We started out with a pan from Williams-Sonoma with ridged edges, designed to mimic a chocolate sandwich cookie. The cake was adorable, but the ridges made it difficult to frost.
Even when we used a straightforward round cake pan we had a little trouble with the filling, which tended to melt and ooze when confronted with warm frosting.

Our solution was to refrigerate the cake and filling—and to make sure that the filling didn’t go all the way to the edge of the cake.
For one version of the cake we added butter to the frosting (you’ll see I’ve marked it as optional in the recipe). The butter made it possible to frost the cake later in the life of the frosting—that is, when the frosting was almost cool. It made the frosting a little less fudgy, however. This didn’t bother me, but Leigh was disappointed.
You may ice your cake either way. Frankly, delicious as both versions were, I don’t want to see another chocolate cake for a long time. It’s all yours now, dear readers…… 
Washington Capitals Puck Cake
For the Cake:
1/2 cup (1 stick) sweet butter, at room temperature
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 squares (1 ounce each) baking chocolate
3/4 cup hot water
2 cups flour
1/2 cup milk
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cream together the butter and the sugar. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, followed by the baking powder and soda.
Melt the chocolate in the hot water. Add the flour to the mixture alternately with the milk. Stir in the chocolate and hot water. Pour into 2 greased and floured 9-inch layer pans (you may use 8-inch pans, but 9-inch pans look more puck like), and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Let the cakes cool for 15 minutes on a wire rack before removing them from the pans. Allow them to cool completely before frosting.
For the Filling:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 7-ounce jar marshmallow cream
Beat together the butter, sugar, and vanilla. Fold in the marshmallow cream.
For the Frosting:
2 cups sugar
4 squares (1 ounce each) baking chocolate
2 eggs
6 tablespoons milk
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) sweet butter (optional)
2 teaspoons vanilla
Place the sugar, chocolate, eggs, milk, and butter (if you are using it) in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, and boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the vanilla.
Cool the mixture for about 15 minutes. (If you use the butter, you may wait an hour before you use the frosting.)
For Assembly:
2 layers of cake
icing (you may have a little of this leftover, or you may skip the filling and use the icing between layers)
additional colored icing of your choice for decorating the puck
Bake the cake and allow it to cool completely. Assemble the filling, and spread it on the bottom layer of the cake. Do not go quite all the way to the edge of the cake. Refrigerate both layers, separately, lightly covered with foil to keep them from drying out.
Make the frosting. When it has cooled sufficiently to be usable assemble the cake layers and quickly but firmly spoon and spread the icing over the cake. Return the cake to the refrigerator until ready to decorate.
Decorate just before serving. Serves at least 10. 

Here are a couple of our experiments......

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Let Them Eat Birthday Cake (Part I)

Monday, May 17th, 2010

I think I can speak for the entire Weisblat family when I say that we have had enough cake in the past week or so to last for several months.
My nephew Michael turned ten on Thursday. Naturally, a birthday cake was in order.
We ended up making a number of cakes—two identical cakes for his official party the previous weekend (he had invited quite a number of guests), a similar cake for the actual birthday, and cupcakes for his classmates at school.
None of them was hard to make individually—but en masse they pretty much exhausted us.
I do not want to talk about calories here. I will say that we have bought and used a HUGE amount of butter, eggs, flour, and sugar of late. Luckily, the birthday boy and his friends ate most of the cake(s)—and they were very happy indeed.
I’m starting with the cupcake recipe because, frankly, I’m not sure I can write with equanimity yet about the main event—a chocolate, marshmallow-filled cake in the shape of a Washington Capitals hockey puck!
The cupcakes were made with one of my very favorite cake recipes—a simple yellow cake that takes less work than a mix (well, almost). It’s the Platonic ideal of a yellow cake.
This old-fashioned combination is called “1-2-3-4” because it takes a cup of butter, 2 cups of sugar, 3 cups of flour, and four eggs.
If you want only 24 cupcakes (or a 9-by-13 sheet or 2 8-inch rounds), you may reduce the recipe by a quarter to 2-1/2 cups flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 3/4 cup butter, and so forth. Be sure to adjust baking times if you change pan sizes. You can probably get 3 8-inch rounds with this version, if you want a high and lovely cake!
Since my family is into excess we piled sprinkles on top of the cupcakes—red and blue for the Washington Capitals, of course (we already had white icing).

The birthday boy took cupcake decoration seriously.

1-2-3-4 Birthday Cupcakes
3 cups flour
2-2/3 teaspoons baking powder
2/3 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) sweet butter at room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1-1/3 cups milk
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 32 cupcake tins with liners.
In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients. In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until they are light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add the vanilla, and beat again.
Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Pour the batter into your cupcake tins.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the cakes pass the toothpick test. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and let cool. Ice with snappy butter icing (see below). Makes 32 cupcakes.
Snappy Butter Icing for 1-2-3-4 Cupcakes
1-1/2 cups (3 sticks!) sweet butter at room temperature
confectioner’s sugar as needed (I think we used a little less than a pound)
2 teaspoons vanilla
Cream the butter and add confectioner’s sugar a little at a time until the icing is tasty and spreadable. Beat in the vanilla. Ice your cupcakes, and throw on some birthday sprinkles if you want to. Ices 32 cupcakes generously.

Grandmother Jan went to town with the sprinkles.

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Washington Capitals Sweet Potato Pucks & Sticks

Friday, February 27th, 2009

Michael (center) plays goalie as one of the Mites on Ice.
Michael (center) plays goalie as one of the Mites on Ice.

February is sweet-potato month. As I child I hated sweet potatoes—mostly because I saw them only at Thanksgiving goopily encased in maple syrup and other sweet substances. Once I realized they could be eaten in other ways I became a big fan. My favorite way to consume them is baked simply in the oven, split open, and smeared with a little butter. I’m always on the lookout for something new to do with them, however.

Last week my nephew Michael requested that I come up with a recipe that relates to hockey. At eight Michael is enthralled with this sport. He drills and plays every weekend with his fellow Northern Virginia Ice Dogs. I’m impressed with the amount of time these kids spend on the ice—and with the lessons they learn, which are as much about teamwork and sportsmanship as about winning.


Michael and his parents have season tickets to the Washington Capitals’ games. They started watching the Caps last year when Michael was in second grade and took up hockey. They were delighted to see the team get better and better as the school year went on.


Sports watchers credit much of the team’s newfound success to coach Bruce Boudreau. Boudreau fascinates me. His face at most games is impassive. He is famous for dressing down his players, however. Thomas Boswell recently quoted him in the Washington Post as saying of his team, “They’re good kids. But sometimes kids don’t do their homework. Coaching is a lot like parenting.” (Michael loved reading this.)

Michael's Bruce Boudreau bobblehead clutches his trophy for Coach of the Year.

Michael's Bruce Boudreau bobblehead clutches his trophy for Coach of the Year.

I have a feeling Michael thinks the Caps’ improved scoring is less due to their coach than to their new eight-year-old fan. Perhaps he’s right. Certainly, the team and its management are going out of their way to encourage family attendance. Michael seldom comes home from a game without a treasured freebie; recently he showed off a Capitals lunchbox of which I am very jealous. And he and his junior team are proud to have been invited to don Capitals uniforms and play as “Mites on Ice” during the intermission at one of the games.


Here for Michael and all young hockey fans are recipes for sweet potato hockey pucks (rolls) and sticks (roasted sweets). Maybe one of these days these treats will be available at one of the Capitals’ games…….



Sweet Potato Pucks


This recipe can be made two different ways, to produce a sweet or a savory roll. I personally prefer the savory version, but it never hurts to have a choice!




enough sweet potatoes to make 1 cup mashed (about 1 medium to large sweet potato)
1 packet yeast

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) sweet butter, melted

1 tablespoon salt

4 to 5 cups flour (part may be whole wheat)

2 eggs, well beaten

2 generous teaspoons cinnamon plus 2 tablespoons sugar–OR 2 generous teaspoons Creole seasoning plus 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese




Wash and trim the sweet potato(es) and cut into manageable pieces. Boil the pieces they are until soft enough to mash. Remove them from the water—but do not throw out the water!
As soon as you can, peel the sweet-potato pieces. Mash them thoroughly, using a little of the water if they seem a little dry.

Measure out 1/2 cup of the sweet-potato water; you may discard the rest. As soon as the water cools to lukewarm (this will not take long), place the yeast and 2 tablespoons sugar in a small bowl, and pour the lukewarm vegetable water over them.

While the yeast is proofing, put the milk in a saucepan over low heat. In a mixing bowl, beat together the mashed sweet potatoes and butter. When the milk is steaming but not boiling, remove it from the heat. Stir the yeast mixture into the sweet-potato mixture, followed by the hot milk, the salt, and 2 cups of the flour. Stir thoroughly, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Let this wet mixture rise in its bowl, covered, until it doubles in bulk (this took me about 1-1/2 hours).


When the batter has risen, stir in 1-1/2 cups more flour. Turn the dough onto a floured board and knead it until it is smooth, adding more flour as needed. As you knead, you have a choice. If you like sweeter rolls, try kneading in the cinnamon and sugar. If you like tart rolls, knead in the Creole seasoning and cheddar. Your final product will be a little sticky but not too sticky.


Using your hands shape the dough into little balls about 1-1/2 inches in diameter. Place the balls an inch or two apart on greased (or parchment-covered) baking sheets. You should have about 24. Allow the balls to rise on the baking sheets until they double in bulk again, at least 1 hour.


Preheat the oven to 375, and bake the risen rolls from 15 to 25 minutes, until their tops are golden. These pucks are best served hot from the oven with lots of butter. Makes about 24 rolls.


Sweet Potato Sticks




1-1/2 pounds sweet potatoes

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more oil as needed

2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary (or 1 teaspoon dried)

1 teaspoon salt

lots of freshly ground pepper




Wash and trim the sweet potatoes, and cut them into fingers about 1/2 inch thick. If you want to do this step early in the day, let them soak in salt water until you are ready to use them; then drain and blot them. Do not peel them.


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a wide bowl, stir together the 2 tablespoons oil, garlic, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Throw in the sweet-potato pieces, and toss them well to coat them with the flavorings.


When the oven has preheated, place the coated sweet potatoes on a jelly-roll pan (that is, a cookie sheet with low sides). Bake them for 30 to 40 minutes, until they are brown but not black. Turn them at least twice to keep them from burning and sticking to the pan—and be sure to add a little more oil if it is needed to prevent sticking.


Serves 4.

Leigh, Michael, and David at a Caps game

Leigh, Michael, and David at a Caps game