Portland Photography

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Archive for 'Food'

February 15, 2014

Delicious cinnamon rolls with a perfect cream cheese buttercream frosting with a secret ingredient.

filed under: Food, Uncategorized

For well over a year my wife and I have been experimenting with various recipes for cinnamon rolls in an attempt to find perfection. We hit a few snags along the way and learned two vitally important things:

…not all dough is created equal…

…not all frosting is created equal…


After plenty of experimentation we have found a perfect match for dough and frosting. The basis for the frosting recipe is a tweak on one that I found for a carrot cake that I made recently.



1 cup warm milk (or half and half)

2 eggs, room temp

1/3 cup butter, melted

4 1/2 cups bread flour or regular flour

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 pkg yeast (1/4 oz or ~1.5 tsp)



1 cup packed brown sugar

2 1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon

1/3 cup butter, softened



7-8 oz cream cheese, softened

6 oz tbsp butter, softened

4 tsp sour cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp salt

1 3/4 cups confectioner sugar



Microwave milk for one minute. Dissolve yeast in warm milk in a large bowl. Add sugar, butter, salt, eggs, and flour. Mix well. Knead dough into a large ball, using your hands dusted lightly with flour. Put in a bowl sprayed with cooking spray and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place about 1 hour or until dough has doubled in size. I let rise overnight and it was delicious.

In a small bowl, thoroughly combine brown sugar and cinnamon. Spray surface with cooking spray or sprinkle flour on it. Roll dough into a 16×21 inch rectangle about 1/4 inch thick. Spread dough with 1/3 cup softened butter and sprinkle evenly with sugar/cinnamon mixture. Roll up dough starting with the longer side and cut into 12 rolls (or more smaller rolls). Place rolls in a lightly greased 9×13 inch glass baking dish. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes. After 30 minutes heat oven to 350 degrees. Bake rolls in heated oven until golden brown, about 18-20 minutes.

Make the frosting: Process cream cheese, butter, sour cream, vanilla, and salt in food processor until combined, about 5 seconds, scraping down bowl as needed. Add confectioners’ sugar and process until smooth, about 10 seconds.



February 9, 2014

A deliciously moist blueberry cake with lemon cream cheese buttercream frosting that I baked my wife for her birthday.

filed under: Food

Yesterday was my wife’s birthday. Here in Portland it has been dumping snow for the past couple of days and the city has all but shut down. Unfortunately she had to work, and I did not, so I drove her into work. Since she went in I wanted to have a nice birthday cake ready for her when she got home. Tell her happy birthday.


I found this recipe and it looked absolutely delicious. Though the recipe looked almost perfect, I decided to make a few differences.

1) I baked this cake for 30 minutes rather than the suggested 50. 30 was perfect for a moist cake.

2) I used 1/2 cup less confectioner’s sugar in the frosting recipe.

3) I substituted half and half for the milk called for.


I would suggest if you want to make multiple layers doubling (or tripling) the recipe. Keep in mind the frosting recipe is also just enough for a single-tier cake.



  • 1/2 Cup of butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 Cup of white sugar + 1 tablespoon
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of salt
  • 1 Teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 1 1/2 Cup of all purpose flour + 1 tablespoon
  • 1 Teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/3 Cup of milk
  • 1 1/2 Cup of fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 6 ounces (3/4 cup) of cream cheese
  • 2 Tablespoon of butter, at room temperature
  • 2 Teaspoon of fresh lemon zest
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 Cup of icing sugar


Cooking instructions:

  1. Start by making the cake. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour an 8 inch square pan.
  2. Cream 1/2 cup of butter and 1/2 cup sugar until fluffy. Add 1/4 tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp of vanilla. Separate eggs and reserve the whites. Add egg yolks to the sugar mixture; beat until creamy.
  3. Combine 1 1/2 cups flour and baking powder; add alternately with milk to egg yolk mixture. Coat berries with 1 tablespoon flour and add to batter. (if you have frozen blueberries, make sure to thaw them before mixing them in the cake batter, if not, they will make the batter hard and cold and it will be hard for you to mix).
  4. In a separate bowl, beat whites until soft peaks form. Add 1/4 cup of sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold egg whites into batter. Pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle top with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes, or until cake tests done.
  6. To prepare frosting, combine cream cheese, 2 tablespoons butter, lemon zest, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and dash of salt in a large bowl. Beat with a mixer at high speed until fluffy. Gradually add powdered sugar; beat at low speed just until blended (do not overbeat). Make sure your cake has completely cooled before icing it.