Friday, October 30, 2009

Cake Balls

Pin It Now!

IMG_2766


So you have the balls? Of course...who don't? So, it was inevitable that I try this. I bake a lot of cake. I level cake and I score cake. When I did Frankie I had a ton of Devils Food Cake leftover. I usually shove them down hubby and my oldest son's throats...they happily oblige. But this time I told them not to touch as I had a plan.


I mean come on, Bakerella has made these once overlooked little puffs of cake into a fast growing trend.


Mine aren't as fancy. These were my first so I didn't go overboard. Just kept it simple. Scraps from Devils Food cake and about 2/3 cups of buttercream icing covered in melted semi~sweet chocolate. So next time you are in the cake neighborhood, go ahead and play some ball. Okay, cheesy. How about "grow some balls?" Oh forget it.


One tip...when I first started dipping my balls weren't cold enough. This caused them to get soft in the chocolate dipping bowl leading to a mess and me getting frustrated and eating melted mushy balls. I took a break and placed my undipped balls in the freezer for a couple of hours. I re~melted a fresh batch of chocolate and proceeded to dip and I had success!! Oh, another thing...when you melt chocolate in the microwave be sure it is in a glass bowl and you do it in minute intervals. I lost a batch of chocolate and a bowl and had a stinky burnt plastic smell in my kitchen for a few days. I know you know these things and so do I, but sometimes I tend to get that "It'll never happen to me attitude." I seriously need to check myself!


IMG_2774


Chomp!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Daring Bakers: Macarons

Pin It Now!

The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Ami S. She chose Macarons from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern as the challenge recipe.

Well, this was my FIRST Daring Bakers Challenge. What a challenge it was too. This little french version of a cookie made me sweat. I only did it twice and did not succeed and seriously questioned myself as a novice baker. Novice is the operative word and I had to remember that.

I present to you my failed Macarons

IMG_2525

The most stressful thing to me about making these finicky little cookies is staring in the oven hoping they develop "feet". Neither one of my batches wanted to walk. But I tell you..I did. Despite failure, I continued on to use my chocolate ganache and my homemade cherry filling( in which I which I was so proud of making).

Then in the admittance of failure I still snapped away with a de"feet"ed attitude.

IMG_2534

hmmm??

I can tell you this. Despite their appearance. These Macarons tasted soooo good. Especially with the chocolate ganache and the cherry filling.

These are worth another try.

Please note...if you have no clue as to what these cookies are supposed to look like, check out She's Becoming DoughMessTic's blogspot! She did a great job!!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Irish Cinnamon Coffee Cake

Pin It Now!

IMG_2713

The WC Challenge Ingredient this time is Cinnamon! I love me some Cinnamon. Who doesn't? I wanted to use a recipe that really used a good amount of cinnamon. I found a recipe for a Cinnamon Marble Cake in a cookbook at one of my favorite shops, Tuesday Mornings. I didn't want to buy the cookbook so I took pictures of the recipe with my camera in my phone. Funny right? Well, I can hardly see the recipe!! Joke on me.

So I decided to Google for the recipe and was very unsuccessful at finding that particular recipe. What did come up in Google was a blog that contained the above mentioned recipe! I am grateful..because it is a good one.

JCasa ~ handmade has graciously shared this recipe from her mom on her blog. Here is how I made it...

INGREDIENTS

1/2 stick of unsalted butter (I used a 1/2 cup of butter)

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 cup non-fat greek yogurt (my mom uses sour cream)...(so did I)

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 + 1/2 cups flour

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

DIRECTIONS

Cream the wet ingredients then stir the dry ingredients into the wet mixture.(I sifted them because I misread the recipe!)

Combine 3 Tbsp. cinnamon with 1/2 cup sugar - set aside.

Pour half of the batter into your greased pan and sprinkle half the cinnamon/sugar mix over it. (I used a bundt pan for this recipe)

Pour on the remaining batter and knife the batter a bit in the pan as you would when making a marble cake. I left my cinnamon mixture in a clump and next time I will be sure to incorporate it in the batter a bit more)

Sprinkle the remaining cinnamon/sugar mix on top and bake for 45 minutes on 350

IMG_2719

This coffee cake got hubby's seal of approval!!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Decorating 1020202020202

Pin It Now!

BOO!!

modified

Did I scare you?? After all it is Halloween next week and all of the scary scares are coming out!! My son is having his Halloween party at his Martial Arts School the week before Halloween...so I offered to make a cake. I thought it would be good practice. And with my Instructor Christine of Not a Crumb Exquisite Cakes, awesome guidance I made it through my FIRST fondant cake. I actually am trying to work more with fondant because I was soooo terrified of it. Yes, fondant frightened me. Frightened me more then this cake.

IMG_2690

I am so proud of my achievement. I learned a lot from decorating Frankie. Christine was awesome in telling me about details, teaching me about luster dust and the textural differences between black fondant and fondant mixed with several colors. I had some hiccups but she put me at ease and I got through it.

The cake is a devil foods cake...I did use a box mix cake because I didn't have time to do it from scratch. It felt so strange baking the cake, almost too too easy. I started asking myself why I don't use box mix more often. I know why though...the joy of a successful baked cake from scratch is a great feeling. Moving on...the fondant is Satin Ice green mixed with yellow, baby blue and black. All hair, eyes, nose, bolts and warts are made from fondant with the help of luster and petal dust and edible marker to bring them to life. The picture really does it no justice. The scars and eyebrows are buttercream dyed black. I was nervous about piping because I am still practicing but it was fun because Frankenstein is far from perfect...and so is my piping!!

Hopefully the kiddies at the Tae-kwon-doe Halloween party will think it is awesome because I certainly do!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Luscious Sour Cream Chocolate Cake

Pin It Now!

IMG_2651


Many people rate Hershey's Recipe for Chocolate Cake. Ya, its okay. This chocolate cake makes Hershey's Chocolate Cake seem like a ...a...well, I don't know. But seriously, this is a great recipe! I took a baking class at Cake Art in Tucker Georgia and the lovely teacher shared a few recipes with us. One of which was this cake. She said "If you are not a fan of Chocolate Cake, you will be after you eat this one." She also said, "If you haven't found the perfect chocolate cake recipe...then here it is. You will never use another." And guess what? I don't use any other.


I have made this cake for my daughters birthday. And everybody raved about it. I make it when I am craving chocolate..which is often. I always keep unsweetened chocolate in the house for this cake only!! Yes, I only make this chocolate cake.


IMG_2679


There she is.


I wanted a birthday cake and it wasn't anybodies birthday. So, since when does baking have a special occasion in my house? Never. I created a little mock birthday cake. I wanted chocolate and raspberries. I have really been on a chocolate kick lately, haven't I? What is that about??? (As I am typing this I am munching on chocolate chips..I have it bad!!)


The recipe makes a big cake. I usually half it and bake it in 2 8 inch rounds. For this cake I split each layer in half and created a four layer cake. I filled one layer with buttercream, the next with raspberry filling and the next I mixed buttercream with raspberry filling. I frosted the cake with the Buttercream and sprinkled a few sprinkles on the edge.


Recipe ~


INGREDIENTS


4 cups granulated sugar


4 cups all purpose flour


1/2 teaspoon salt


2 cups hot water


2 sticks butter


8oz unsweetened baking chocolate


2 cups sour cream, room temperature


2 tsp vanilla extract


2 tbsp baking soda


4 eggs lightly beaten


DIRECTIONS


Place hot water and butter over low heat in saucepan until butter melts. Remove from heat. Melt baking chocolate. Add to water/butter mixture.


While heating water, butter and chocolate, sift sugar, flour and salt into mixing bowl.


With mixer on low speed, add water/butter/chocolate mixture to dry ingredients in mixing bowl. Beat until combined.


Continuing on low speed, add sour cream, vanilla and baking soda, beating just until thoroughly combined.


Add lightly beaten eggs, continuing to beat until just thoroughly combined.


Pour into greased and floured baking pans.


Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes. Test for doneness with toothpick.


Makes two 10 inch layers, 2 inches deep.



I used a Buttercream icing recipe that I go to when I don't feel like making Italian Meringue Buttercream. The recipe comes from one of my all time favorite recipe sites... allrecipes.com. It is a little sweet so I do add less powdered sugar then the recipe calls for. I do not substitute the shortening for all butter as I like how the buttercream crust. When I want a softer buttercream I tend to use the Italian Meringue recipe.


Raspberry filling recipe ~


1 1/2 cups frozen raspberries


1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch


2 tbsp lemon juice


1/4 cup sugar


Combine all ingredients in sauce pan and bring to boil over medium high heat. Let cool.


My tip for the filling... Add the cornstarch last by putting a little of the raspberry/lemon juice mixture with it in a separate bowl and make a paste. Add the paste to the saucepan once all the cornstarch has been absorbed.


Another tip...strain the seeds out of the filling!!


I can't remember where I got this recipe from but those are 2 things I would like to add to the recipe! Otherwise, it was a great filling!


Please let me know what you think if you decide to try this cake!!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Lentil Loaf

Pin It Now!

IMG_2541



Lentils. Lentils. Lentils. Oh how I have never heard of thee. Just like our friend the chickpea. I was deprived as a child and now I have been set free!! lol.


My mom rarely tried anything new. She claims because my father was boring. He was for a long time. We'd go to the same restaurants for years and he would always order the same thing. My mom would cook basically the same dishes for dinner. She was a great cook mind you..but she never step outside her box. When he was here at my wedding rehearsal dinner, he did surprise me. Our dinner consisted of a Guyanese menu, as my husband family is from Guyana. My father licked his plate clean. So you can teach an old dog new tricks. he didn't throw his nose up in the air and say "I am not eating that!", no...he step out of his box and tried it. I love my dad even more for that.


As Hubby is a pescatarian, I had to make adjustments to my cooking lifestyle. I learned about this lentil loaf from his mom and set out to find a recipe. Keep in mind, I had never had a lentil before in my life. Now I am a lentil queen. okay, maybe a princess.


This recipe for lentil loaf is the best that I have had. So moist and tasty that it doesn't last 2 days in our house. The sad part is that I have no idea where I got the recipe from. It was on the internet and I did not bookmark it. So if you recognize it please feel free to let me know! I do know the person's screen name and will be able to be a better detective once I get other clues! Thanks!


Recipe~


INGREDIENTS


2 cups water


1 Maggie Vegetable bouillon cube


1 tsp salt


1 cup lentils


1 small onion, diced


1 cup quick-cooking oats


3/4 cup grated cheese (cheddar, swiss, jack or american)


1 egg, beaten


4 1/2 ounces spaghetti sauce or tomato sauce


1 tsp garlic powder


1 tsp dried basil


1 tbsp dried parsley


1/2 tsp seasoning salt


1/4 tsp black pepper



DIRECTIONS


Bring salt and water to a boil in a sauce pan with 2 Vegetable Cubes


Add lentils and simmer covered 25-30 minutes, until lentils are soft and most of water is evaporated.


Drain and partially mash lentils


Allow lentils to cool slightly and stir in bowl with onions, oats and cheese until mixed.


Add egg, tomato sauce, garlic, basil, parsley, seasoning salt and pepper, mixing well.


Put in non-stick or greased loaf pan, smooth top with back of spoon and apply glaze ( recipe below)


Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 mins.



IMG_2545



GLAZE


The same applies for the glaze. I asked my lovely lady friends from the What's Cooking board for a glaze for a meatloaf and someone put forth this one. Sad thing is, again, I cannot remember who but have a vague idea. So, if you recognize the recipe..yeah...you get the point!


1/2 cup ketchup


1 tsp hot pepper sauce


1/2 tsp coriander


1/4 cup cider vinegar


3 tbsp packed light brown sugar


Mix all ingredients and spread on loaf. This is great on meatloaf too!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Pin It Now!

IMG_2609



I was craving chocolate. Hubby wanted cake. I was tired and didn't feel like going to the store to get cocoa. Even though my favorite chocolate cake recipe doesn't have cocoa powder in it I wanted to try something new. I was going to do a pumpkin chocolate marble cake. But I didn't. I was so tired from being at Straits Restaurant the night before and drinking with some friends I really didn't want to be in the kitchen all day baking a cake. Plus I had a slight headache from the Pinot Grigio that I drank. I only had 2 glasses...my days of drinking are seriously over.


I pulled out the Pumpkin Cake Recipe I made last week. I grabbed some chocolate chips, cream cheese and Semi-sweet Bakers Chocolate. I also pulled out the Bundt pan. I was in the mood to pour or drizzle icing, not plump and spread frosting.


I adapted my original recipe by adding 1 1/2 semi-sweet chocolate chips at the end of the mixing and prior to pouring in a greased and floured Bundt pan. I should have floured the chips first but truthfully was too lazy and didn't care if they had sunk to the bottom of the cake, cause in a Bundt the bottom is the top. Whoopee, who cared..my Hubby was going to get cake and I was going to satisfy my chocolate craving non-the-less. I baked the cake for 55 mins in a 350 degree oven.


While the cake was baking, I mixed 4 ounces of cream cheese in the mixer until fluffy and added 2 ounces of melted unsweetened chocolate. Next added 1/8 tsp salt and 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract. I then gradually added 2 cups of Confectioners sugar and put in about 2 tbsp of evaporated milk. I added more and more milk a tsp at a time until the consistency of the frosting was thin enough for me to pour but thick enough for it to hug the cake.


IMG_2617


Hubby was happy and so was I. Again, the pumpkin cake was so moist and rich. And to be hit with the patch of gooey chocolate chips at the top only to finish off with the chocolaty creamy cheese icing is so good!! I love this cake. Good things can come out of those who hung out too late the night before!!

Special Salmon

Pin It Now!

IMG_2603


Not sure why this salmon is special. I think all salmon is special. We tend to only buy it when our wallets are thick. But there is always a race between tilapia and salmon in this house. Tilapia always wins because I get more for the money and I don't fret when I cook it. I always get nervous cooking salmon. When I first started experimenting with it I used to over-cook it. Then, I under-cooked it. I have baked it, grilled it and broiled it. Never pan-seared...(working on that.)When I got that about right I began experimenting with different seasonings on it.


Hubby loves salmon, when I get it right anyway. He is honest about it too. "Baby, the salmon is a bit dry." "Okay babes. Thanks." I say...secretly wanting to crawl under a rock, (or tell him to cook it himself) but appreciating the so called constructive criticism.


Despite the stress, I enjoy cooking salmon. I enjoy eating it too. And so does hubby. Even when it is dry.


I found this recipe on allrecipes.com and adapted it. I didn't have steaks so I used fillets with skin. And I used red onion instead of green. It is a light flavor recipe for salmon and can be enjoyed with just about any side dish you chose.


Recipe ~



INGREDIENTS


2 (8 ounce) salmon steaks


2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted


2 tablespoons lemon juice


1 green onion, sliced


1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley


1/4 teaspoon garlic salt


1/8 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning



DIRECTIONS


Place salmon in a lightly greased 8-in. square baking dish.


Top with butter and lemon juice. Combine onion, parsley, garlic salt and lemon pepper; sprinkle over salmon.


Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees F for 15-20 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.



Please Note: I tend to not measure my seasonings.. This may explain why they parsley looks like it is attacking my salmon. Just my personal taste. :)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Apple Frangipane Galette

Pin It Now!


IMG_2470


Found this recipe and just so happen that I had a huge bag of Red Delicious apples. Just so happens that apples are the ingredient for the What's Cooking Ingredient Challenge!!!


The recipe called for Puff Pastry. I did not have Puff pastry but I did have Shortcrust Pastry that was in the fridge that needed to be used up. So why not? I took a risk. Thought it would be a disaster and it wasn't a complete one. The apples where a bit small and if I knew that the Galette was going to spread out as so I would have loaded more apples on it. The recipe also called for the sugar and cinnamon mixture to be sprinkled on the apples after placing on fangipane mixture...but I threw the slices in the bowl and slushed them around...completely covering the apples! Yum. I was quite pleased with the results of this recipe being I had the huge challenge of not having the right pastry. I made 5 small ones and 1 large one. My hubby ate 3 of the small ones that night! This recipe will be made again!


IMG_2471


Recipe ~


INGREDIENTS


1/4 cup butter at room temperature


1/2 cup Powdered Sugar


3/4 cup Almond Meal/Flour


1 large egg


1/8 tsp Almond Extract


1 package frozen Puff Pastry, thawed (I used this Homemade Shortcrust Pastry Recipe)


1 large egg lightly beaten for egg wash


2 medium apples peeled, cored and sliced thin


1/4 cup granulated Sugar


1/2 tsp ground Cinnamon


4 tsp melted Butter, divided



DIRECTIONS


Line baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.


In large bowl, beat butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in Almond Meal/Flour and white flour. Beat in 1 egg and almond extract: set aside.


On a lightly floured surface, roll out puff pastry to about 1/4 inch thick. Using 6 inch plate, cut out four circles of dough and transfer to prepared baking sheet.


Put about 3 tbsp of almond mixture in center of each pastry round and spread out leaving about 1/2 inch edge of pastry showing. Lightly brush pastry edge with beaten egg.


Place apples on top of almond mixture in a spiral pattern leaving the pastry edge showing. Mix together granulated sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle evenly on top of apple slices.


Drizzle 1 tsp of the melted butter on top of each galette. Refrigerate galettes on baking sheet for 15 minutes.


Bake at 375 degrees for 18 to 20 mins or until golden brown and the pastry is puffed. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.


IMG_2489


My one large galette!

Apples on Foodista

Spicy Chickpeas

Pin It Now!

IMG_2454


Chickpeas were introduced to me by my hubby's family who are Guyenese. I had never seen them before in my life. I remember when we was at a family gathering and my hubby tried to feed me a spoonful of "chana" which is what they like to call them. I cringed. Despite not wanting to try them I knew he would try anything I put forth to him, if it didn't contain meat of course. I tried them and needless to say I have fallen in love with chickpeas, garbanzo beans or chana...however, you prefer to call them.


I have used them in chow mein, stir fry, curry, and roasted them and even made patties from them. My children are so so about them. My oldest doesn't like them. My middle child will eat them sometimes, but my youngest loves them. My youngest particularly loves this recipe.



Recipe ~


INGREDIENTS


2 tablespoons vegetable oil


1 tsp cumin seed


1/2 tsp salt


1/2 tsp chili powder


1/2 tsp lemon pepper


2 tomatoes, chopped ( I used potatoes that I had boil prior and diced)


2 (15 ounce) can of garbanzo beans, drained ( I used dried beans, soaked overnight and boiled for 1 hr 30 mins)


1 tbsp lemon juice


1 onion chopped



DIRECTIONS


In a large pot over low heat, warm oil and cumin; heat until cumin turns a darker shade of brown.


Add salt, chili powder and lemon and pepper seasoning; mix well.


Stir in tomatoes(or potatoes); once the juice begins to thicken add in chickpeas and mix well.


Add in lemon juice and mix well; add onions and stir until they become soft.


Remove from heat and place into a serving bowl; serve immediately.



I only used 2 cups of cooked Chickpeas for the recipe above. If I were to use more I would double the spices. I didn't find them to spicy at all. Far from it. They were just quite tasty. I may try to add a bit of cayenne pepper to it but then my kids may not want to eat them at all!


I got this tasty recipe from Recipezaar.com.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Pumpkin Cake

Pin It Now!

Pumpkin fever! Yes, I have 3 huge cans of it. Since there was talk of a shortage I thought I would stock up just a little. 3 cans is stocking up to me because I normally only make maybe 3 baked goodies a year with pumpkin. And my pint size kitchen can't hold anymore canned anything.


I had some pumpkin left from the cheesecake recipe and decided to use it wisely. I was itching to bake a cake so voila...Pumpkin Cake!


IMG_2416


I googled for the easiest recipe that I could find that would have good reviews and I found it on about.com under Southern Food.


I followed the recipe exactly and the result was an extremely moist delicious pumpkin cake. My hubby really did his best to hold back from eating the whole thing in one sitting.


Recipe ~


INGREDIENTS


2 cups sugar


1 cup vegetable oil


4 large eggs


2 cups all purpose flour


2 tsp baking soda


2 tsp ground cinnamon


1/2 tsp ground ginger


1 tsp baking powder


1/2 tsp salt


2 cups pumpkin puree or cooked mashed pumpkin (I used Libby's canned Pumpkin)


cream cheese frosting (recipe below)


1/2 cup chopped pecans (I omitted)


DIRECTIONS


Combine sugar, vegetable oil, and eggs in a large mixing bowl; mix well. Sift dry ingredients into a separate bowl; stir into oil mixture, beating well. Stir in pumpkin puree.


Pour batter into 2 greased and floured 9-inch round layer cake pans. Bake at 350 degree for 35 to 40 mins. Turn out onto racks to cool. Frost pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting and sprinkle with chopped pecans( I used chocolate sprinkles)


IMG_2438


I did find that this cake domed when it baked. I believe that this was a result from my oven being mistakenly up too high. My oven is off by 25 degrees and I forgot to lower the temp by that amount resulting in my oven thermometer reading 375 degrees when I took the cake out! I thought the cake would be dry. Luckily it was far from dry! However, I had to level it and since the dome was so high a lot of the cake went to scraps. But hubby took care of them so I guess they really didn't go to waste!!


Since I didn't feel like practicing any decorating skills I just applied some chocolate sprinkles on the lower of the side and around the rim. It was 1 in the morning at this point!


IMG_2415


I also used the same frosting recipe on the site. I have used many different cream cheese recipes in the past that I love and this one was really good too.


Cream Cheese Frosting


1/4 cup butter


8 oz package of cream cheese at room temperature


1 pound confectioners sugar, sifted


2 tsp vanilla extract


Combine all ingredients in large mixing bowl; beat well until smooth. Makes enough for 2 layer cake.


ENJOY!!