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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Vanilla Cupcake, Coconut Buttercream, Caramel Drizzle

Here is a delicious cupcake. And its easy. Easy peasy.


My mom was throwing a party and needed 60+ cupcakes. So, I went to my handy dandy box mix. Then I love my classic buttercream, so I dressed it up with a little coconut. Finally, it needed a little more oomph. I drizzled those babies with a classic store bought caramel sauce. The kind you drizzle on ice cream. I like the ones that aren't as "artificial" tasting, but use whatever kind you like.


Unfortunately, only 10 people showed up to her party. In the end that meant more cupcakes for me. But the people who did show up loved the cupcakes.



Coconut Buttercream

12 ounces (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 14oz bag of flaked sweetened coconut

Cream the butter, confectioners sugar, and vanilla in a stand mixer. Once it is nice and smooth add the coconut.



Monday, December 17, 2012

Kahlua and Biscoff Cake

Another hiatus. I know. I'm a terrible blogger.

But, I got a job. Like a real human job. So that's good.
Also, I took 511 photos of my thanksgiving pies and that number is so daunting I cannot even bring myself to go through them to find the good ones.

Hopefully this will make up for my absence: 


Here is cake recipe that I found on pinterest. The original recipe was for 12 cupcakes, so I trippled it for a 3 layer 9" cake.

Delicious.


I mean. Biscoff, Chocolate and Kahlua. Duh. Perfect combination.


The cake was great. Really intensely kahlua-ey. But, when I pulled it out of the oven, it was hard as a rock. The top had baked into what I would describe as brownie brittle meets...well... a rock. I mean. I knocked on it. And it went nowhere. So, I flipped the cake and checked the bottom to see what was going on. And the bottom was UNDERCOOKED (seriously, can I ever bake anything and not experience drama??)


I threw it back in the oven and lowered the temperature. It all came out fine in the end. The top softened a ton once it was iced and no one knew about my major issues.

The frosting is so good. If you haven't tried a) Biscoff (shame on you!) or b) Swiss Meringue Frosting then you need to get on it now.


For the piping, I swiped some of the chocolate ganache along the inisde of the piping bag and then filled it with the Biscoff swiss meringue.


Overall, A+ to this recipe. Try it now. The cake and chocolate are easy peasy. The icing is a bit of a challenge, but worth it. 100% worth it.


Adapted from Baker's Royale

Kahlua Cake

Yield: 3 layer 9" cake or 36 Cupcakes

3 cups all flour
3 cups plus 6 tablespoons sugar
1 cup plus 6 tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup (3 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and warm
6 large eggs
3 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoon instant coffee (dry)
1 1/2 cup Kahlua
"Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Add flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, instant coffee and salt in a bowl and mix thoroughly to combine. 
Add in the butter, eggs, and vanilla and beat on medium speed for one minute. 
Add half of the Kahlua into the mixture and beat for 20 seconds. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add remaining Kahlua. 
Beat for 20-30 seconds until the batter is smooth. 
The batter will be thin enough to pour. Divide it evenly among the 3 pans."
Bake ~20-30 minutes. I don't have an exact number, so just watch it. Carefully.

Biscoff Swiss Buttercream

5 large egg whites
11/2 cup sugar
4 sticks unsalted butter, diced and softened
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/4 cup of Biscoff spread
"Combine egg whites and sugar in a bowl placed over simmering water. Bring mixture to 160 degrees F while whisking constantly.

Transfer mixture to stand mixer bowl, fitted with a whisk attachment and beat on medium high speed (speed 8 on a KitchenAid stand mixer) until mixture cools and doubles in volume and forms stiff peaks; about 10-12 minutes.

Add butter in one piece at a time, mixing to incorporate after each addition. The mixture may appear clumpy and almost curdled looking-this is normal. Keep mixing and it will become even and smooth again. 
Add salt and vanilla and mix to combine. 
Add in Biscoff and mix until well combined."

Chocolate Pouring Sauce

2/3 cups dark chocolate
2 tablespoons heavy cream
4 tablespoons powdered sugar, sifted
4-5 tablespoons water, warm
"Place chocolate and heavy cream in a bowl over simmering water. Let chocolate and cream sit for 2-3 minutes to melt without stirring. Then slowly stir mixture to combine. 
Add powdered sugar and mix to combine. 
Add water 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing after each addition until pouring consistency is reached. 
Set aside all chocolate pouring sauce to cool until warm."

Monday, November 19, 2012

Chocolate Cobbler


Well, I think it's safe to say I'm obsessed with chocolate. I mean, this is the third straight post of just chocolate...

I found this recipe on StumbleUpon (surprise, surprise) and when I saw the pictures I knew I had to make it. It was a gooey, warm, molten chocolate cake thing.


It was pretty good. Really good. But it needs to be HOT HOT HOT. Or else it tastes a little bit "low fat" because it is mostly water.


Its a very interesting recipe. The original can be found here. It's like a brownie but then you put a weird powder mixture all over it, then pour water all over it. It feels so wrong. But just follow it, it's right.


I used a 9" pie pan for my cobbler, and it was VERY full. I put it on a jelly roll pan just in case there was any spillage in the oven.

Luckily, there wasn't, but I was glad I was prepared.

And this definitely needs a scoop of ice cream. And maybe some fresh whipped cream.

I preferred it with some chocolate ice cream, but it was good with vanilla too. As long as it's super hot and molten.

Next time, instead of the water pour, I might try a heavy cream pour or something of that nature. This cobbler has the same consistency of the "cake in a mug" which I think is kind of weird.



Chocolate Cobbler


1 cup All-purpose Flour
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
¼ teaspoons Salt
7 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder, Divided
1-¼ cup Sugar, Divided
½ cups Milk
⅓ cups Melted Butter
1-½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract
½ cups Light Brown Sugar, Packed
1-½ cup Hot Tap Water


"Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

First stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, 3 tablespoons of the cocoa, and 3/4 cup of the white sugar. Reserve the remaining cocoa and sugar.

Stir in the milk, melted butter, and vanilla to the flour mixture. Mix until smooth.

Pour the mixture into an ungreased 8-inch baking dish. I prefer my small oval Corning Ware glass dish.

In a separate small bowl, mix the remaining white sugar (it should be 1/2 cup), the brown sugar, and remaining 4 tablespoons of cocoa. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the batter.

Pour the hot tap water over all. DO NOT STIR!

Bake for about 40 minutes or until the center is set.

Let stand for a few minutes if you can hold yourself back."

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Nutella Layer Cake




For the past few years, my mom has been organizing birthday parties for the people who work at her office. And it used to be that when I was home from school, I would make the cake. But now that I am home all the time, I have been making them all. I love doing it because I have twenty adoring fans at the church, almost all of which are over 60 years old, so they never have anything bad to say.

So, just recently there was a big surprise birthday party for the finance manager. My mom had the idea of making a Nutella cake, so I went for it.


I made a Devil's Food cake from a box mix. I love box mixes (but only if they are Duncan Hines). My view is why mix they dry ingredients when they are already perfectly mixed for you. A lot of times I will doctor them up a lot, but this time, I just followed the instructions on the box.

Then, I found THIS Nutella Buttercream and knew that it must be made. I made a few adjustments and doubled the recipe because I sliced each of my layers in half to get a 4 layer cake. I ended up having some extra, but I just spread it on the last slices of last weeks Chocolate Bundt Cake (perfect on there too).


Also, I threw in some mini chocolate chips to half of the frosting so there would be chips in the filling. 

In general, this cake was SO good. I couldn't have been more happy with how it came out. Next time, I would skip the chips and do a dark chocolate ganache pour over the whole thing.




Nutella Buttercream Frosting

Yield: enough buttercream to frost 24 cupcakes or 1 8" or 9"cake

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 13-ounce jar of Nutella
pinch of fine grain sea salt
1 tsp clear vanilla extract
1 pound confectioners’ sugar, sifted
4-6 tablespoons heavy cream or milk
8oz Mini Chocolate Chips (Optional)

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and Nutella until well combined, thick and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add salt and vanilla. Slowly add in confectioner’s sugar, alternating with the heavy cream and continue mixing until well blended until you get the desired consistency. Then if you want, toss in the chips and mix well.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Dark Chocolate Bundt Cake



I sincerely apologize for the lack of posts lately. First I had tech week and performances of the show I was stage managing, and that sucked up every minute of time that I had. Then on Monday when it was all over I came home and baked this beautiful bundt cake. Unfortunately, Hurricane Sandy had other plans for my post. As I was mixing the batter my power began to flicker and right when I finished photographing the whole thing, my power and cable went out. Big bummer.



I haven’t had internet in a few days, which was good for productivity, because it gave me the opportunity to write up some posts and edit some old pictures so I can post a little more frequently.



Anyways. Here it is in all it’s chocolaty glory. My mom and I were both craving some chocolate, and since we knew we could be cooped up in the house for at least a few days, it needed to have alcohol in it too…

So, this baby is loaded with Godiva Chocolate Liqueur. Obviously, this is optional, but if you are forced to sit at home with no power, cable or internet with your parents for three days, every bit of alcohol helps.



I used my grandma’s chocolate bundt cake recipe, which my mother recommended. And when she pulled it out of the family cookbook/binder, she was a little bummed to see that it was no more than a cake mix, a box of instant pudding and some liquids. Nothing fancy at all. But really good.

Naturally, I had none of the right puddings or mixes on hand, so I went with what I had. I used Dark Chocolate Fudge instead of chocolate cake mix and chocolate fudge pudding instead of plain chocolate. I’m actually not sure if they make just plain ol’ chocolate cake mix any more. Advertising has eliminated the classics… Oh well.

So, I substituted ¼ cup of the 1 ¾ cups of milk with the Godiva Liqueur. Delicious.



I dusted the pans with cocoa powder, which I don’t actually recommend for this. I felt like all I could taste was the cocoa powder on the edge, which took away from the dark chocolaty goodness.

Then I found a glaze online. But this too, needed to be loaded with alcohol. So, instead of 4 tablespoons of water it was 3 tablespoons of Liqueur and 1 tablespoon of water. The glaze ended up being my favorite part of the whole cake. It wasn’t good with the cake, but I could have eaten the whole bowl with a spoon. My favorite thing to do was the take a spoonful of the fresh whipped cream and then drizzle it with the glaze (No wonder I ran out of glaze and whipped cream before I ran out of cake…).






Chocolate Bundt Cake



1 box Chocolate Cake Mix
1 box Instant Chocolate Pudding
1 ½ Cup Milk
¼ Cup Godiva Chocolate Liqueur
2 Eggs
12 oz Chocolate Chips

Preheat the oven to 325ยบ. Grease and flour a large bundt pan.

In a large bowl mix together all ingredients until blended.

Pour batter into bundt pan and bake for 50-55 minutes.

Let cool completely before serving.


Chocolate Glaze


2 TBS Butter
3 TBS Cocoa Powder
1 Cup Confectioners Sugar
3 TBS Godiva Chocolate Liqueur
½ tsp Vanilla

Melt the butter in a small bowl in the microwave. Then add all other ingredients and stir until smooth


Whipped Cream 

2 Cups (1 pt) Heavy/Whipping Cream
2 tsp to ¼ Cup Confectioners Sugar (Adjust to how sweet you like it)
1 tsp Vanilla

Whip all ingredients together in a large bowl until stiff peaks form.




Monday, October 15, 2012

Apple Crisp


As many of you know, I went to Ithaca College in Ithaca, NY. And every year at the beginning of fall on the commons, there is the best weekend of the year: APPLEFEST.

Applefest consists of every fall treat you can imagine. There are apple cider donuts, kettle corn, deep fried Oreos, pumpkin funnel cakes and every kind of pie that you can imagine. It is the best thing ever.


Unfortunately, I was stuck in Connecticut this year and couldn't make it up for some apple-y goodness. So I had to make my own.

I went out and bought some apple cider, some apple cider donuts and a TON of apples from Costco. Then in my cabinet I had this:


I could have made some crumble from scratch, but I figured I already had it, so I used it up.

This is pretty good. And could not be easier.

I sliced up some apples with my handy dandy apple slicer. Put them in 4 small ramekins. Mix up the butter and crumble mix and put it on top. Then bake it up.


Now, this is nowhere near as delicious as a homemade version. It takes a long time for the crumble to get crispy and by that time the apples are almost apple-saucy. But it's hard to go wrong here. Next time, I would want more crumble (because that's the best part.)


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Pumpkin Oatmeal Scotchies


Fall. It is the best. Leaves changing colors, not sweating every time you walk out your front door, and pumpkin everything.

Pumpkin Spice Lattes are one of the best and most delicious of the pumpkin flavored treats. (I've had two in the past two days...I try to just order a latte, but pumpkin spice just comes out instead...). And I just stumbled upon a recipe for it!!!! (See, StumbleUpon IS great!) I also love that Pinterest and Blogs EXPLODE with all things pumpkin. It could not be better.

I was deciding which pumpkin-ey goodness to make. I was all ready to make a pumpkin loaf when I had a sudden hankering for Oatmeal Scotchies. AND I had butterscotch chips already in my cabinet. It was perfect.


Google provided me with a great recipe.

And the cookies were delicious.


As a little experiment, I tried adding chocolate chips to two of the cookies. It wasn't great. Don't waste your chocolate chips here...


Pumpkin Oatmeal Scotchies
(Two Peas & Their Pod)

Yields 2 1/2 dozen cookies

1 1/4 cup cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin spice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
3 cups old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups butterscotch chips


"Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and set aside.

 Whisk flour, baking soda, pumpkin spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.

Beat butter, sugar and brown sugar until smooth and creamy. Add egg and vanilla extract. Next, add in pumpkin and mix until combined.

Slowly add in flour mixture. Stir in oats and butterscotch chips.

Drop dough by the tablespoon onto prepared baking sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until the cookies are set and golden. Remove cookies from the oven and cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely."

Monday, October 1, 2012

Martini Cookies


This past week I had a cookie order for Martini Cookies.

Now, I am not new to making drink cookies, but I am new to making Martini Cookies.
It is really hard to show a clear liquid on a cookie. I didn't it to look like the glass was empty, but martini's don't have color. So I decided to make the glass part white and tint the liquid slightly green, like the olives were reflecting through the drink.

I thought that these would look the best with a black outline. So my icing colors were:
Black piping
White flood
Green-ish White Flood
Green 20-Second
Red 20-Second

I made myself a cookie cutter template using a plastic binder divider.

Then made the dough, cut them out, and baked 'em up.

I was a little worried about them breaking or me screwing something up, so I always recommend making a few extras.

I had extra dough because the order was only for a dozen cookies. So I made some olive cookies by squeezing a round cutter into an oval shape. Then I still had some extra, so I froze the rest of the dough.

I started by making some royal icing transfers. I lined a cookie sheet with wax paper. Then I piped red dots all over the sheet. I let that dry for about an hour. Then I went back with the green 20-second icing and made the red of the olive shape.  Then let this dry overnight.

For the cookies, I started by outlining the martini cookies in black and let that dry for about an hour. Then I flooded the greenish-white section and dropped on the olive royal icing transfers. Then let that dry for a bit. Then I flooded the white parts and let that dry for a few hours, preferably overnight.

I finished them off by painting on the toothpick. To do this, grab an unused paintbrush, your gel food coloring and some water. Mix about equal parts water and food coloring (For this, a drop each is plenty). Then just paint lightly. You really need to make sure that your icing is very dry to do this or else you will poke holes in your icing.

Finally, I wanted to make them pop a little more so I re-outlined them in black. I thought this also helped to make it look like the olives and toothpick and liquid were inside the glass. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Decorating Cookies - Bake at 350

Hey guys. Quick post today.

For my birthday, I received the brand spankin new book Decorating Cookies by Bridget Edwards, the author of the blog Bake at 350.


She is pretty much my favorite blogger. Every post is hilarious, every cookie is adorable, but most of all she is the nicest. And how do I know this? We had a twitter conversation on my birthday. I was in heaven. Pretty much the best birthday gift ever (other then upgrading my blackberry to an iPhone.... Actually, no. It was better.) Check it out. She is @BakeAt350tweets and I'm @JoyServedWarm (She even complimented my lipstick.... eee!)

Bake at 350
Isn't she the cutest???

Anyways. The book is amazing. If you are a beginner at decorating cookies and want to learn a ton, but also want some nice easy cookies to start with that will look great even when they are made by you, this is your book.



There are over 60 cookie ideas and a handful of recipes and tons and tons of helpful tips. I couldn't recommend this enough.

You can buy it on Amazon (here) for a REALLY great price (I thought it should be worth double with all of the valuable cookie knowledge that Bridget was dishing out).

Friday, September 21, 2012

Happy Birthday To Me!


Whoa! How did that happen? I feel like just yesterday I was turning 21. So much has happened in a year. I worked on two wonderful shows, I had a blast with my 5 housemates up in Ithaca, I graduated college, and I ate a lot of baked goods.

I just want to wish everyone else who's birthday is today a Happy Birthday! I hope you have a fabulous day filled with family, friends and food. And I want to thank everyone for the birthday wishes!

For me, I have a quiet evening at home with my Dad planned, and because it's just the two of us this year, and I didn't want a whole cake lying around for me to eat... I made this:




Exactly Two Chocolate Cupcakes

It is the prefect size for just you and a friend (or just you, I won't judge) and the recipe couldn't be simpler. All you need is a small bowl and some measuring spoons. I didn't even pull out the cupcake pan. I just used the Reynolds brand baking cups that are aluminum lined, so you can just pop them on a cookie sheet. So so so easy.

3 tbsp flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp cocoa powder
1/8 tsp baking soda (just eyeball half of a quarter-teaspoon and it will be fine)
1/16 tsp salt (otherwise known as a pinch)
2 tbsp cold water
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/16 tsp vanilla (ie, just a few drops)
1 tbsp chocolate chips (optional)

"Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Whisk all the dry ingredients together in a small bowl. In a second small bowl or spouted measuring cup, combine the wet ingredients. Add the dry to the wet and stir till combined, whisking well. Divide batter between two cupcake liners and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Bake for 18 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Allow to cool before frosting."


There is also a recipe for the perfect amount of fudgy chocolate frosting, but I had some vanilla butter cream left over in the fridge, so I just used that.


Have a good weekend!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

English Muffins, Butter, and StumbleUpon


I have a confession to make.

I'm addicted to StumbleUpon. If you don't know what StumbleUpon is, its probably best you don't find out.

But if you are itching with curiosity... It is the best website in the whole entire world, because it links you to endless amounts of websites that you might like. It is like your favorite blog being updated every second. It customizes the internet to help you find things you like. Its amazing, but the biggest time suck of my life (aka. hours a day...) Check it out at your own risk: http://www.stumbleupon.com/.

The one great positive to StumbleUpon is that it it gives me TONS of recipes and pretty pictures of cake and food (maybe not a positive for my waistline?). This week when I was stumbling, I came across a recipe for English Muffins. I actually didn't really know that you could make your own English muffins, and I really really didn't know that they were made on a griddle or frying pan. I assumed they were baked. But after thinking about that, I realized that of course they are done on a griddle, they are crispy on both sides and there is the magical "waffle iron flip bubble" in the middle. You know, that bubble that happens when you flip batter over and you get a nice fluffy baked good. Mmm.

I didn't love the recipe it gave me (weird ingredients, rolling pins... ugh) so I found another on Google.



I ended up trying this recipe one out. http://ruhlman.com/2010/12/english-muffins-recipe/
It has a lot of basic ingredients. Alton's gets good reviews, but I didn't want to have to run out to the grocery store again to get powdered milk.
The recipe is very easy, which is nice. Its one bowl, a saucepan, and the griddle, which is right up my alley (aka. less to clean).





To get their super round shape, you can use rings, I tried them, but ended up finding it easier to go without. I also didn't mind having a little wonky muffins.



 

English Muffins

Yield: 8-14 muffins

4 TBSP (1/2 stick) butter
1 TBSP sugar
2 cup milk
1 package active dry yeast
1 large egg, beaten
4 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder dissolved in 1 tablespoon of water
cornmeal for dusting

"Combine the butter and sugar in a small sauce pan, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the milk, stir it and remove it from the heat. Stir in the yeast and the egg.

Combine the flour and salt in mixing bowl. Add the milk mixture and stir till it’s all well combined. Cover and set aside for 1-1/2 hours, or refrigerate overnight (removing it from the fridge an hour before cooking).

Heat a griddle or a skillet over medium heat. If you’re using rings, butter them. Stir the dissolved baking powder into the batter. Dust the griddle or skillet with corn meal. Scoop-pour about 1/4-cup portions onto the griddle, free form or in rings. Cook for about seven minutes. Flip them and continue cooking till done, 7 to 10 more minutes.

Allow them to rest for at least 10 minutes, pry in half with a fork, toast and serve with butter, honey, or jam, or beneath Canadian bacon, poached egg and Hollandaise sauce."

My dad liked them, I thought they were good too. They are nice to know how to do if you don't want to get the ones from the store with a ton of preservatives. It was a little hard to tell when they were done. I kept pulling mine off the griddle, and then dropping them back on because I felt like they were still a little mushy inside. In the end, I really recommend toasting them. I just think they are better that way. 

When I made it I go 14.5 muffins. So be ready for that.



I was especially excited to have stumbled upon this english muffin recipe because a few days ago, I flavored my own butter!!!!!




I'm not going to lie, I was way more excited about this than anyone else. Partially because I FLAVORED MY OWN BUTTER, also because I didn't use a recipe. I always follow recipes, but this time I just went with my gut. I have read about doing this before, but here is all the breakdown you need.

Soften your butter, but don't melt it. Either let it sit on the counter all day, or speed things up by putting it in the microwave on half power for 30 second bursts or so.

Then dump in whatever you like and mix it up. You can do this by hand if its soft enough, or if you want use a mixer.

Then scoop out the goodness into a small ramekin and let it pop that baby back in the fridge.

For my recipe, I put in:
Chopped Garlic
Garlic and Herb Seasoning
Parmesan Cheese
Onion Salt
Pepper
Olive Oil (to make it spreadable!)

I have stinky breath, but it is so worth it.
This butter is actually perfect for garlic bread, so that's definitely happening for dinner tonight...


Hope everyone had a nice weekend. Enjoy your week!