Friday, February 17, 2012

Blood Orange Marmalade Cake for a New “Champion” Virtual Shower.

 

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Rustic. Simple.Delicious. Marmalade cake to Die For.

I had the pleasure of meeting Courtney of Cook like a Champion Blog at the Blogher11 Food Conference here in Atlanta. Prior to that we posted on a popular “foodie” board, but I never knew her until we met for a dinner that Josie of Pink Parsley Blog had planned. Courtney has a great smile and a personality to match. She is very light…if you can say that about a person. Light. Yes…meaning she has a presence that is delightful.

I am very excited for her new “Champion” addition to her family. What a very lucky blessed baby she will be bringing into this world. Speaking of blessings.. that is how I feel to be a part of this virtual shower being hosted by Josie.

  Truthfully, it felt great to take it light…(there is that word again) for this shower. I am so use to baby shower’s with fully fondant decorated cakes and this one I decided to keep it rustic and simple.  No fuss. However, by all means is this cake no fuss. This cake is delightful.

I made my own Blood Orange marmalade. Bummed I didn’t take a picture( I know right) but I really did it! I was looking for Seville oranges as I thought they were in season but I couldn’t find any. However, when the produce department at Whole Foods directed me to the Blood Oranges…. the idea of working with Blood Oranges intrigued me.

I used a recipe that was easy and it was surprising that something so easy could taste this good. Okay.. truth is I burned the first batch but hey.. to err is human? Right?

Find the recipe and technique I used over at Evil Mad Scientist. Once you make a batch you are never going to buy the store made marmalade ever! It’s that good!

Now..on to the cake. I wanted a recipe that I didn’t use before and in researching I found a recipe that didn’t seem that popular but the little reviews were good.

Marmalade Cake  to Die For

source: Food.com

 

Cake Ingredients:

3 cups flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup softened butter
2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs , at room temperature
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
1 cup buttermilk , at room temperature

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 and prepare two 9inch round pans.

Sift flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl.

With an electric mixer, beat butter until light, and add the sugar a little at a time and beat until light and fluffy.

Beat in the eggs and vanilla.

Beat in 1/3 of the dry ingredients alternately with 1/2 of the butter milk until well combined.

Add half the remaining dry ingredients and the remaining butter milk, continue to beat until well combined.

Add in the remaining dry ingredients and beat until smooth.

Evenly divide the batter between pans and bake for 45 minutes or until a cake tester inserted comes out clean.

(The cake turns a dark golden brown as you can see in the picture) Leave the cakes in the pans

Meanwhile make a syrup with 1 cup of juice that is the same flavor as marmalade and 1/4 cup syrup.

Once the cake is cooked, poke holes 1/2 inch apart with a toothpick and spoon the syrup generously over each layer.

Let the layers cool completely in the pans.

 

I slathered my homemade Blood Orange Marmalade between the layers and saved some for the top of the cake. Yes…in the middle of the top of the cake I mixed the Buttercream with the Marmalade for that extra kick. And it was so worth it.

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Now lets talk frosting. I was introduced to Italian Meringue Buttercream by my cake mentor Christine John Harris over at Not a Crumb.com. This Buttercream beats the typical American made Buttercream any day. It is very light.. yet rich… not too sweet.. just perfect. I got a little excited with it on this cake and if you chose to make it you would too.

This Buttercream can be intimidating if you are not used to working with hot syrup. It is a non crusting Buttercream and using none of the powdered sugar. It is absolutely heaven.

Since you may not have your own Christine to watch make it and I don’t do the photo tutorials on my blog (yet) then I thought I would find a website that would have the step by step tutorial in pictures for you. I found a great one at King Arthur Flour.com. This is as perfect of a tutorial as you can get if you don’t have someone live in front on you demonstrating.

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I am still learning my way with this buttercream as practice makes perfect and I love the taste so much that I want it to be just that…perfect.

Kaye’s Italian Meringue Buttercream

source: Whimsical Bakehouse

In a saucepan, bring to a boil:
1/2 cup water
2-1/4 cups sugar


Use a clean brush and cold water to wash
down any sugar crystals that form on the
sides of the pan as the water heats. When
the sugar comes to a boil set a timer for 7
minutes, and let boil.


After 5 minutes, in the bowl of an electric
mixer, begin to whip at high speed:
1 cup egg whites (about 12 large egg whites)
Whip until stiff. They should be done when
the timer goes off.


With the mixer on high speed, slowly beat
the sugar syrup into the egg whites, pouring
the syrup to the side of the bowl to avoid
the whip.


Continue to beat until the bowl is cool to
the touch, about 10 minutes. Slowly add:
1-1/2 pounds (6 sticks) unsalted butter at
room temperature, cut into 1-inch pieces
When the buttercream begins to jump out of
the bowl, reduce the speed to low.


Mix in at low speed:
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Beat until light and fluffy. At some points
the mixture might look curdled. Just keep
beating; it will become smooth again.


YIELD: 8 cups

 

Congratulations to you and your family Courtney.

Thanks for allowing me a slice of your virtual baby shower. Everybody.. please check out our Virtual Shower hostess blog Josie at Pink Parsley.com. (Love her).  You can see all the wonderful eats by the beautiful bloggers I am proud to even be associated with. Also of course, Courtney (her blog is awesome) over at Cook like a Champion.

Enjoy.. and I hope this virtual shower inspires you.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Celebrate Valentines day with Coconut Candy Cakes.

 

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I wanted something simple to make for valentines day. I thought of cheesecake brownies, I thought of strawberry pie… I even thought of well.. I thought of so much I lost track. My brain was filled with ideas that it began to hurt. So I kept it simple.

I grew up on coconut cakes in Bermuda yet I never made them myself. Just like glass candy.. well I tried to make those years ago and the outcome was not great.  So, back to the coconut cakes.. I love these.

I had the pleasure of having a similar candy that I bought from a Caribbean grocery store on Covington Highway in Georgia. They call them Coconut drops and they have a bit of ginger in them. So delish!

I enjoyed these too. I notice that they are softer then the Coconut drops I bought in the store and that was fine.. plus you only need 2 main ingredients. Coconut and Sugar.

I thought I would make mine pink.. you know.. in all Valentine Day style. Turned out that a tad drop of red food coloring went a long way and the color was fabulous.

The recipe is as easy as it seems…

Coconut Candy Cakes

My original source: Fellow Bermudian Rosely M. Joell

but techniques also adapted from: Food.com 

 

Ingredients:

4 cups sugar

1 cup water

2 cups grated unsweetened coconut

2 teaspoons lemon extract

 

Directions:

Prepare baking sheet with parchment paper.

Bring sugar and water to a boil in a heavy saucepan, stir occasionally until sugar dissolves.

Stir in coconut and continue boiling.

If you have a candy thermometer , boil until mixture reaches 234 degrees. If you don’t have a thermometer drop a small bit of mixture in glass of ice water. If it holds together and is soft when you press, it is ready.

Remove from the heat source.

Quickly stir in extracts and coloring (if you desire to change the color).

Dump the entire mixture on the baking sheet and let them harden slightly and break them into individual candy cakes for wrapping and presentation.

These can last for up to a week if left in a airtight container . I can totally seeing these Coconut Candy Cakes in different colors at parties ! Lime green, yellow, blues and pinks and red all assembled on a platter! The color turns out beautiful as long as you don’t over boil your coconut.. that will turn it a golden brown color.. still delicious though. :)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Bacon and Artichoke Dip

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Aaahhhh, bacon.. it soothes my soul. You can add bacon in pretty much anything and I will devour it. Almost.

This dip comes just in time for the Superbowl. I found this recipe by Lauren King while surfing through a Bermuda Cookbook.

14oz can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

1 cup mayonnaise

1 cup parmesan cheese

6 strips of cooked crispy bacon, crumbled

Mix all ingredients and place in a buttered pie dish. Place in 350 degree oven for 2o minutes.

Enjoy!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Oven Fried Chicken Tenders.

 

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In ode to the upcoming Superbowl I did another finger food post. Whoo hoo. Go me. Actually, this was my kids dinner one night. But I am sure it would look pretty on a table of appetizers for the Superbowl. I do have a suggestion.. have plenty of dipping sauce.

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My reason you ask? I just didn’t find these to be well seasoned enough. The original posters says it taste like Kentucky Fried Chicken…nah. I didn’t think so. It was missing something. I love my fried foods to be heavily seasoned. I mean if you are going to eat fried fattening food you might as well go all the way and add more salt. However, I don’t add much more salt. In fact my secret ingredient for fried food is mustard.

Before I fry my chicken or fish I marinate it in plain ole French’s Yellow Mustard. A tip a good friend from LA told me. I love how it makes the food pop! Mustard is great in so many things!

But this post isn’t about mustard. It’s about chicken tenders that are fried in the oven in a ton of butter. Another recipe that was brought to you courtesy of  Pinterest board.

Recipe:

source: Our Life Uncommon

1/2 tsp  Salt

1 tbsp Season Salt

3/4 tsp Pepper

1 cup Flour

2 tsp  Paprika

1 1/2 pounds of chicken breast tenderloins

milk

 

Mix dry ingredients in bowl or large ziplock bag.

Marinate thawed chicken breast tenderloins in a bowl of milk for about 20 to 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut 1/2 stick of butter into pieces and place in a 9x13 baking pan.

Melt the butter in the pan in the pre-heated oven.

Remove pan when butter is melted and spread around the bottom of the pan.

Shake excess milk off of chicken and  coat each piece with the flour mixture.

Place piece chicken in  pan.

Cook for 20 minutes and turn each piece of chicken and continue cooking for 10 more minutes, or until cooked.

 

I know I already mentioned that I thought this recipe needed more seasoning. In addition to that my batter stuck a bit to the pan as I turned the tenderloins. I also think there was too much butter as the original poster didn’t state how much chicken she actually used.

The pros to the recipe is that it is quick and easy and less work then frying chicken. I feel with some minor adjustment it can be a good recipe. I think it serves well for large crowds and as I stated…just have plenty of dipping sauce. I think next time I try it I will be marinating it in some good ole Yellow Mustard! I will let you all know how that works out!

Feel free to post your experiences with this recipe and your tips!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

I hear Superbowl is coming up.

…again.

I am no huge fan of the big game but I do have 2 people in this house that are. The 12 year old boy and the Hubsta often sit in front of the tellie to enjoy a good match. The 12 year old is a Steelers Fan and the Hubsta is a Giants fan. Needless to say this year the Hubsta is very happy. This should be a great game for him. For me? Well…I will enjoy the commercials.. and the food of course.

I enjoy Pinterest for pinning recipes I want to try. And this is one on my “its done” list. I thought it would be appropriate to post it the week of the Superbowl as it is a wonderful munches appetizer. Since the Hubsta doesn’t eat pork the kids and I enjoyed it ourselves.

Cheddar Bacon Ranch Pulls. Oh my.

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Recipe:

source: Plain Chicken 

1 unsliced loaf of round sourdough bread

12 oz cheddar cheese, thinly sliced

3 oz bag Oscar Mayer Real Bacon bits

1/2 cup butter, melted

1 Tbsp DRY Ranch dressing mix

 

Cut the bread going both directions without cutting through the bottom crust.

Place the cheese slices in between the cuts.

Sprinkle bacon bits on the bread and get them between the cuts as well.

Mix the melted butter and Ranch mix together and pour over bread

Wrap the entire loaf in foil and place on baking sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees then open foil and bake for additional 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Watch loaf disappear.