Monday, August 30, 2010

Baby Shower Blues

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Not really blues, but I like the sound of the title. I did this cake for a special friend of mine… her little bundles of baby boy is due soon and a shower was thrown for her.

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This cake was an easy one… I only drew maybe 10 designs… sometimes it takes me more because I always want to do so much. I was glad that the colors were decided for me by the host of the party!

I had fun doing the bassinet. I really wanted to do a stroller but I ran out of time. It was interesting because when you do objects out of fondant it can take a while before it starts to look like what you intended it to be! This started looking like a bonnet.. then a shoe!! I was beginning to get discouraged.. but I knew once I pushed on to the completed object it would be what it was supposed to be.

The cake was basic white cake with buttercream. The top tier was white Satin Ice fondant I died to an ivory hue and the bottom tier was chocolate Satin Ice fondant. The adornments are all fondant but the bassinet and the flowers are gumpaste I made using fondant and tylose powder.

I really like doing baby shower cakes. I find them to be beautiful yet whimsical. I guess it depends on what look you are going for.

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Baby teddy was removable… he matched the decor of the cake table perfectly!!

Congratulations to the mother and father to be!!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Champagne cake and Ginger Ale money…

My mom always used to say something close to that. We would go shopping and I would pick out something that I loved and look at the price and die. And she would giggle and say “Champagne Taste and Ginger ale money!”

Gotta love her.

Anniversary cake I did last month proved more challenging to me that anything… Why? It had to go on a plane…and it wasn’t a non-stop flight! Oh the pressure…

I couldn’t do too much in decoration… but I didn’t want it too look to dull either. So I played it safe.

anniversarycake

I kept it simple…so simple that even if I put the words Happy Anniversary on it it would have off set the whole cake. Don’t think I didn’t do the words… I did.. I placed them on the cake.. around the cake… nothing satisfied me. I was a nervous wreck with this one.

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The flowers were crazy! I loved them. Chocolate rose with bronze luster dust to highlight. The fondant was ivory Satin Ice. I probably could have done the roses a bit smaller.. .but I just loved them!

It was humid in my house too. The fondant swirls kept falling as the edible glue would take extra long to stick them to the cake. My cake began to sweat as so did I. Now, I have the air-condition set to 50 when I do any cakes! Decorating in the summer heat is stress!! But all a learning process…

Okay, the cake.  Champagne Cake with Champagne Buttercream and Strawberry Buttercream to fill.

Oh… yeah….. Champagne, Chocolate and Strawberries…

Turn off the lights hon.. Let’s eat cake.

Friday, August 27, 2010

August 2010 Daring Bakers ~ Baked Alaska and/or Ice Cream Petit Fours

The August 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Elissa of 17 and Baking. For the first time, The Daring Bakers partnered with Sugar High Fridays for a co-event and Elissa was the gracious hostess of both. Using the theme of beurre noisette, or browned butter, Elissa chose to challenge Daring Bakers to make a pound cake to be used in either a Baked Alaska or in Ice Cream Petit Fours. The sources for Elissa’s challenge were Gourmet magazine and David Lebovitz’s “The Perfect Scoop”.

Call me a loser but I didn’t do it. I had all intentions to complete this because it was my birthday month and petite fours would have been perfect little birthday cakes for me. But when it came around to that time the last thing I wanted was to be in the kitchen. 

This is ridiculous. Seriously I have no other excuse but to say simply that “life got in the way.”

August 2010 Daring Bakers Challenge ~ Ice Cream Petit Fours

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The August 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Elissa of 17 and Baking. For the first time, The Daring Bakers partnered with Sugar High Fridays for a co-event and Elissa was the gracious hostess of both. Using the theme of beurre noisette, or browned butter, Elissa chose to challenge Daring Bakers to make a pound cake to be used in either a Baked Alaska or in Ice Cream Petit Fours. The sources for Elissa’s challenge were Gourmet magazine and David Lebovitz’s “The Perfect Scoop”.

We had a choice this month. We could make Ice Cream Petit Fours or Baked Alaska! As long as we prepared the Brown Butter pound Cake from the recipe provided… and we did ice cream from scratch!

I really want an ice cream maker. But I did my own ice cream using this recipe! It came out more like a sherbet but it was really tasty and tart. I really liked it and will definitely use it again…

I did the ice cream on one day and the pound cake the next. I followed all the steps and then I stopped at one. I had the ice cream sandwiched in between the cake layers a little too long in my freezer. It still tasted good but I could never find the time to get the petit fours together.

Now I didn’t have a small square pan (oh wow… the shocker..me a bake… no small square pan!!) so I used a round pan. Then… I got lazy.. I didn’t feel like cutting out the small petit fours… I used a round cookie cutter that wasn’t quite that petit. Anyway, it was delicious… once I poured a chocolate ganache over the top of them it didn’t matter what size they were!!!

Again… this was a great challenge.. the Brown Butter Pound cake was really good on its own as well!

Here's the recipe and the directions to make this great summer treat!!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Strawberry Blueberry Buckle

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I have had this recipe for like ahhhh, 2 years??!! Never made it until today! It’s been so long that I have had it printed that I don’t remember whose blog I retrieved it from. All I remember is that whomever blog it was on.. the picture was so enticing. I had to make it. Unfortunately, it took me this long. Well, I won’t make that horrible mistake again. Mistake being waiting so long, not actually making it. Cause this recipe was, sorry is a winner!


Such a cool summery treat. I always buy blueberries and strawberries when they are in season. How can you resist especially with them being so inexpensive at this time. And they look so good too.


So, today, I had an excessive amount of blueberries and strawberries. I wanted to make some blueberry muffins. I have a great recipe for blueberry muffins… it is so yummy that you can’t just eat one muffin. Wait, rewind… back to buckle.


I am not sure why they call this dessert a buckle. Does one buckle at the knees when they taste it? I almost did. Is it so heavy with delicious berries that it buckles your baking pan? Nah… it is so light. Hmmmmm, well to anyone reading my rambling if you know the answer, please feel free to leave it in my comments.


Oh, and another favor…if any of my foodie buddies recognize this recipe from another blog.. .please leave a comment on who you think it belongs to so I can credit them. I owe them lots of credit for this one.


Recipe


source: unknown


Ingredients


1 cup sifted all purpose flour


1 tsp baking powder


1/4 tsp salt


1/4 cup butter


1/2 cup granulated sugar


1 egg


2 tsps grated lemon rind(I didn’t have any lemon so I used extract and subtracted 2 tsp of the milk to off set the wet ingredients)


2 tbsps of lemon juice


1/3 cup coarsely chopped toasted almonds ( I omitted)


1/4 cup milk


1 1/4 cups sliced fresh or frozen strawberries, thawed and drained.


1 1/4 cups fresh or frozen blueberries, thawed and drained


Topping:


1/2 cup sifted all purpose flour


1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar


1/4 cup butter


Directions


Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease a 8 x 8 baking pan


Sift together flour, baking powder and salt onto wax paper


Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with mixer set high speed until light and fluffy.


Beat in egg, lemon rind and juice. Stir in nuts (if using), then milk.


Stil in dry ingredients, then berries.


Spread into prepared pan.


Prepare streusel topping buy mixing flour and brown sugar in small bowl. cut in butter with pastry blender until mixture is crumbly.


Sprinkle the streusel in an even layer over the batter.


Bake for 40 mins or until wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean and cake begins to pull away from sides.


Cool on wire rack.


Cut and serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.



I attempted making whipped topping with evaporated milk. It was nerve wrecking because I didn’t think it would come together… but it was possible and it was good.


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The above whipped delicacy was made possible by Google. Well, I had to Google my butt off to see if heavy cream can be substituted with evaporated milk. That was all I had in the house. Apparently, if you place the milk in an ice cube tray and place in freezer for about 30 mins until the edges started to crystallize you can use it as you would heavy cream! Place the not quite frozen ice cubed milk in the cold mixing bowl and beat with cold beaters and in about a minute you have frothy milk!


Look… just do this…


1 cup evaporated milk ( I used a full fat one because the more fat the better the consistency)


1/2 cup powdered sugar


1 tsp vanilla extract


Beat the cold cream for about 1 minute until frothy. Gradually add the sugar and vanilla extract and beat some more for about 2 mins. Serve immediately.


Read the recipe for yourself at Very Best Baking.


I know the recipe says serve immediately but Hubby wasn’t home when I served this to the kids. So I threw the whole stainless steel bowl in the fridge and it was still good and stable when he was home and ready to indulge.

Get your Fish on with this Cod and Veggie Casserole

I am loving one dish cooking. If I can cram everything in one pot and cook, I am a happy wife. If it looks pretty, my kids are happy kids. If it taste good, Hubby is a happy Hubby.


I love Cod too. Mostly salted Cod. Any other Cod you kind of have to make it taste like something by covering it up with something.


This is that dish.


Ohhh Yeah, chicka chicka… cheeewww bow bow… for some reason that Ferris Bueller’s Day Off song wont go away while I type this post.


Okay…back to the schedule program dish.


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Although this is a one dish dish, it doesn’t contain a starch item. So I did some brown rice to help soak up some of the sauce.


The preparation of this dish is easy and it cooks in 25 mins. Great.


Recipe


source: adapted from Food.com


Ingredients


1 lb Cod


1/4 tsp salt


1/2 tsp pepper


1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning


1 medium tomato, fresh and sliced thick


1/4 sliced red pepper


1/4 sliced green pepper


1 tbsp chopped red onion


1 tbsp chopped green onion


1/2 pd fresh asparagus spears


vegetable oil cooking spray


Directions


Preheat Oven to 375 degrees


Spray medium size casserole dish with vegetable oil cooking spray


Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides of Cod and place in dish.


Place tomato on Cod then sprinkle with the peppers and onions. Add Cajun spices.


Top with asparagus spears and sprinkle green onion. Then add some more Cajun seasoning if desired.


Spray with vegetable spray.


Cover casserole and bake for 25 mins or until fish flakes easy with fork.



Serves 2! Recipe can be easily doubled or tripled!!


Uncover… scoop on to plate and Enjoy!!!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Easy Baked Breakfast Casserole

Easy Brkfast Casserole


I am so not a breakfast person. I mean, come on…how many post of breakfast food do you see on this blog. I am not a morning person so I leave the beating of eggs up to Hubby.


However, there are times I need to step up to the stove and battle the pancakes or bacon or eggs or whatever. I do this while wishing that the kids would just crave the toaster Eggo waffles… or how about those awfully sweet pop-tarts that I tend to indulge in from time to time.


I needed to incorporate breakfast into more of a baking project in order for me to enjoy it. Thus, this recipe was perfect. And I will proudly say that I have a few more up my sleeve that will soon be posted.


Easy for me first thing in the morning is always good!


Recipe



adapted from here! Food.com


Ingredients


10 to 12 eggs


12 ounces grated cheddar cheese


2 (4 ounce cans) chilies (I used green peppers)


salt and pepper


I added chopped tomato and more grated cheese when there was 10 minutes of cooking time left.


Directions


Spread grated cheese in a 9 x 13 inch pan that has been buttered.


Spread green chilies evenly over the cheese.


Beat eggs and add salt and pepper to taste.


Pour the eggs over the cheese and green chilies.


Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until set.


Cut into squares and serve.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Oven Fried Fish

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Not having a stove has forced me into trying something that is supposed to look or taste fried without being fried. I have always been curious about this non frying but baking technique but not enough to actually do it. I felt like fried fish, no stove. Beggars can’t be chooser.


Home-ec101.com has a fish and chip recipe that is oven fried/baked/whatever. It is actually pretty good.


I marinated fillets of Whiting in a Kosher Steak Seasoning from Publix Grocery Store for 25 minutes. Love that stuff on burgers, steak and fish… you name it. It makes it all good!


I then followed the recipe as best as I could with what I had on hand. Instead of white cornmeal I had yellow and I had seasoned breadcrumbs only. Those changes only added to the great flavor. Within 10 minutes of oven baking/frying/whatever time, the fish was ready!


So check out the recipe here at Home-ec101.


Oven Fried Fish


Its a good recipe as I adapted it and I am sure it is great as written too. I now think I have converted to a rookie fried like baked in oven something or the other. Ohhh, what about using this recipe with boneless chicken!! Yea, The possibilities are endless!

I Love David.

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David’s Yellow Cake that is. I have to tell you something. Yes, its a confession. I was a box cake baker a long long long time ago. Yes, yes, it is true. Until, I decided I liked baking enough to bake my own cake. And luckily with some minor research I met David.

I met David through his cake. Okay, I didn’t really meet him…but I can honestly say that his cake is sooooo delish that I almost know him because I make it often. Does that count? This cake was my first recipe I used to make a cake from scratch. I was so proud that I did it, I did it again and again. Getting better and better with research and practice.

Doesn’t his cake look good, minus that little flour ball left from me flouring the Bundt pan to death. Which is a no no by the way. Tip… you must have equal amount of shortening to flour to ensure proper disheveling removal of your cake from the pan.  I wasn’t taking any chances with this puppy. I again, was baking this in my lovely Tiny Toaster Oster Oven.  This time knocking down the cooking temperature by 25 degrees. YES! Perfection.  Thank you David!! I will give you a call sometime to personally thank you and take you to dinner. I am sure hubby won’t mind as he loves this cake too.

DAVID’S YELLOW CAKE RECIPE

source: Allrecipes.com

Ingredients

1 cup butter

1 1/2 cups white sugar

8 egg yolks (I hate wasting yolks so I used 5 whole eggs instead)

3/4 cup milk

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups cake flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. (I dropped temp to 325 degrees when using toaster oven I think I will try in my regular oven too.)

Grease and flour 2 - 8 inch round pans. ( I used a Bundt pan this time…both come out perfect)

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Beat in the egg yolks one at a time, then stir in the vanilla.

Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the milk, mixing just until incorporated.

Pour batter into prepared pans.

Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until tops spring back when lightly tapped.

Cool 15 minutes before turning out onto cooling racks. ( I normally cool for 10.)

Okay, how about I had no butter to make buttercream frosting. I could not make my FAVORITE buttercream frosting!! Oh, the horror. I only use that one and it calls for all shortening but I substitute half unsalted butter for the shortening! How was I going to make it without any butter. Ew! the thought of a buttercream using all shortening frightened me! But I had no choice.  So I found a recipe using ingredients that I had on hand…well almost.

Kittencal is a veteran in the frosting area. I love her Chocolate Buttercream recipe which was used for the Naruto Cake.  I came across her Extra Creamy Fluffy White Frosting and gave it a go.

It was sooooooooooooo good. To my surprise. It didn’t taste like a blab of grease! I found a new recipe for frosting I love.

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EXTRA CREAMY FLUFFY WHITE FROSTING RECIPE

source : adapted from food dot com

Ingredients

1 cup of white Crisco

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

4 cups confectioners sugar sifted

1/2 cup un~whipped heavy cream (I used evaporated milk)

Directions

In a bowl using an electric mixer, beat together the shortening, salt, vanilla and half of the icing sugar and beat until very smooth.

Add in milk (or whipping cream) and beat well.

Add in remaining icing sugar to desired texture and beat until fluffy and creamy.

 

I love this moist cake people.  I love this fluffy light frosting. Great combination. David, I must get your autograph next time you pop by.  You superstar you.

My Tiny Convention Toaster Oven & The One Bowl Mocha Devil Food Cake

Well, I am certainly challenging myself. We have recently moved and had not arranged to get the gas turned on. Well, I had to learn to cook using only our microwave, George Forman Grill and our lovely Oster Toaster Oven. Just until our lovely gas man cometh that is.


I pushed myself and I was having fun with it. This semi - somewhat process cooking is a breeze. Throw a steam bag of veggies in the microwave for 7 mins and taaa daaa .. bam… beautiful corn, asparagus and carrots courtesy of Birdseye. And delicious I must add. WOW, there’s 10 minute rice! Pop it in the microwave and POW …it’s rice! Heck, throw some thyme, paprika, pepper and a veggie bouillon cube in it and you have flavored quickie rice. Meat? No problemo. Grill some chicken seasoned with some Lipton Herb and Garlic Soup mix… yum.


Okay, so how about I bake me a cake in the toaster oven. Yeah, you heard me. Simple. With the right oven you can. I was craving cake and craving baking. I chose to dig in my pantry and found some Ghirardelli unsweetened chocolate that I had bought to make my Luscious Sour Cream Chocolate Cake. I remembered that Ghirardelli had some recipes on the inside of the wrapping that I wanted to try.


Truthfully, I am not big on Devils food cake. But I wanted to try it anyway. Ghirardelli has a One Bowl Devil Cake that look like it was delicious. It was okay, yes just okay. It was moist and rose great in my oven. I couldn’t fit both 8 inch round pans in the oven so I did a no no which was let one pan sit out. Trick to that is place a damp cloth over the batter while you wait. Despite this waiting on the side the second cake rose fine.


Please note that this picture was taking with my mobile phone as my camera was nowhere to be found due to our move :(


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I had leveled and frosted this beauty with a recipe I also found on the back of the wrapper called Ghirardelli Mocha Buttercream Frosting. Both recipes are posted for your convenience.


As said, I am not a big Devil Food Cake lover… this cake tasted better the next day. I also think that because the oven is smaller I should have dropped the temperature by 25 degrees. Needless to say the cake was eaten in two days :)


Recipe


source : Ghirardelli wrapper


Ingredients


2 cups sifted cake flour


1 1/2cups sugar


2 tsp baking soda


1/2 tsp cream of tartar


1/2 tsp salt


1 cup shortening


1 1/2 cups buttermilk (I had none on hand so subbed 1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice with enough milk to make 1 1/2 cups)


3 eggs


1 1/2 tsp vanilla


4 oz Ghirardelli Unsweetened Chocolate, melted



Directions



Sift cake flour, sugar, soda, cream of tartar and salt into large mixer bowl. Add shortening, half the buttermilk, eggs and vanilla. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Mix in remaining buttermilk and melted chocolate. Beat additional 2 minutes. Spread into 9 by 13" greased cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes. Cool in pan. ( I never cool in pan… i can’t let cakes sit in a pan for more then 10 mins…it just doesn’t seem right)



Okay.. on to the Delicious Ghirardelli Mocha Buttercream Frosting.


Recipe


Ingredients


source: Ghirardelli Wrapper


4 ounces (1 baking bar) Ghirardelli Unsweetened Chocolate


2 tsp granulated instant coffee


2 tbsp boiling water


2/3 cup butter


2 cups confectioners' sugar


1/3 cup milk


1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract



Directions


Melt the chocolate.


Stir occasionally until the chocolate is smooth.


Dissolve the instant coffee granules in the boiling water.


Stir the coffee mixture into the chocolate and set aside.


In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter until fluffy.


Gradually add the confectioners' sugar, milk, and vanilla extract, mixing until smooth.


Add the melted chocolate and mix until well combined.