Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Anniversary Cake

I was asked to make an anniversary cake for a couple who is celebrating  64years of marriage.
Unbelievable... right. 
This cake was so heavy. The bottom tier is and 8in. carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.
The top is a vanilla cake with fudge filling all covered with a vanilla buttercream frosting.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Simple Strawberry Shortcake

To me nothing says summer like Strawberry Shortcake . 
I love fresh picked strawberries alone but when homemade whipped cream and a freshly baked sponge cake come together (mmmm) it sure takes me back to to my childhood. I even got my 9yr. old to try this-he has an aversion to berry's. Not that he's allergic I think it's a textural thing with him and maybe the fact that they are better for him than a chocolate bar anyway... after giving this a try he's hooked.

I don't have anything against the cream in a can or a frozen tub but there is something about whipping it up yourself. I had someone ask me how to make whip cream topping for a desert the other day so I'm posting what I do. 
Very important to have a clean, cool bowl and cold cream.
Pour whipped cream into a bowl and begin whipping on med speed. Once it begins to thicken and shows soft peaks add about 3 Tablespoons of Powdered Sugar. Certainly add more if it's isn't sweet enough to your liking.

Very Simple-Whipping Cream and 3-4 Tablespoons of Powdered Sugar.

Achieving stiff peaks-keep your eye on it, It can changed very quickly to a thick blob if you over mix. I will usually stop the mixer and pull the beater out to see if it is the right consistency. Dip the beater a couple of times into the cream if your peaks stay firm and not deflate you are doing good.
Not quite there-keep mixing another 3 minutes or so

For this Recipe I made my own sponge cake. I like to bake it in a rectangle 9 x 13inch pan. After it's cooled I use a biscuit cutter to cut circles to place in a desert dish.

Pre-heat oven 375
Butter and flour your 9x13 pan
5 large eggs
2 Tablespoons lemon or Orange juice                                          
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 Cups all purpose Flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 Cup of melted salted butter-not hot-
Beat Eggs until light and fluffy-about 5 minutes
add lemon juice slowly add sugar.
In a large bowl combine flour and baking powder and give it a good whisk.
Pour egg mixture into the flour. Takes a little time but fold together.
Now fold in butter trying not to over mix. You want the batter to stay light.
Pour into pan and bake 20-30min.

If you don't have the time to bake up a cake there are other alternatives like the pre-baked sponge cake shells usually found in the fruit section of your grocery store or I've used frozen pound cake and just slice it up which is quick and easy. I have also used regular refrigerator biscuits, sprinkle them with a little granulated sugar before baking,  makes a great alternative to baking a whole cake.

Once you have decide what cake or biscuit you'd like to use now it is time to make your Strawberry Sauce.

4 Cups of fresh hulled strawberries placed in a 4 quart pot. Add 1/2 Cup water and 3/4Cup granulated Sugar.
Stir and bring the mixture to a full boil. Cook for 1-2 minutes until it becomes thick. It will also thicken some as it cools down.
Now to assemble. Alternate your cake with the Strawberry syrup. To me the best part is having enough syrup so it soaks into the the cake making it moist and well it just makes it simply delicious . Oh and if it's still warm even better!

Top with your whip cream and extra strawberries.

I think I'm going to have one now!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Watermelon Basil Sorbet

My first thought was hmmm watermelon and basil what a strange combination but hey why not give it a shot. The final result is a smooth cool refreshing unlikely pair.
Absolutely delish!
Great served on a hot summer day as a treat or a wonderful light ending to your meal. I definitely recommend trying this.
Unlike ice cream, sorbet usually contains no dairy which makes it a wonderful alternative for those who are lactose intolerant and or vegan. Mostly made from  pureeing fruit and freezing it slowly in an ice cream churn. It's texture is somewhat like a soft ice cream but definitely not as hard as say an Italian ice.


5-6 Cups cubed Watermelon
1 Cup Water
1 Cup Sugar
4-5 leaves of basil 

Bring water and sugar to a boil. Stir until all sugar is dissolved then remove from heat.


Add Basil leave to the warm syrup and allow to steep for 20-30 minutes.
Place cubed watermelon in a food processor and puree.
I like to push the puree through a mesh sieve to give it a nice 
smooth texture 
but if you like a chunky texture by all means leave it in.

In a medium size bowl whisk together 1/2 of the cooled syrup and watermelon puree. Give it a taste. If you think it needs more sugar than add. Place in the fridge for at least 1-2 hours and completely chilled.

Using your ice cream maker follow it's directions on churning. I find this Sorbet needs to set over night for the best results.

Thanks Susan


Friday, July 8, 2011

Chocolate Chip Banana Cake with Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

One of my favorite blogs http://www.birthdaygirlblog.com had recently posted a cute recipe for banana cupcakes. But I really wanted was to make a cake.  When you type in Banana Cakes it is amazing all the wonderful ideas that pop up.
I came across a post on Hub-pages ( http://hubpages.com/hub/Banana-Cake-Recipe ).
My first thought was holy cow what a fantastic looking cake. The cream cheese frosting and chocolate glaze puts it over the edge (for me).  So my hope for today was to get rid of those bananas on my counter and make this cake.

 I used my own  Banana Cake recipe for this which happens to be the same recipe I use for my Banana Walnut muffins. Certainly use what ever recipe you like. I used a simple Peanut Butter Cream Cheese frosting with a chocolate glaze. This cake may seem really sweet but actually it is just right. Banana and peanut butter go together perfectly and the chocolate gives it that little extra something.

Pre- heat oven to 350
2 Cups Four
1 1/2 Cups Sugar
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2-3 ripe bananas
1/2 Cup buttermilk
1/2 cup butter or shortening
1 1/2 Cup of mini chocolate chips (optional)

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda in a large bowl and set aside. In a  mixing bowl cream together butter and sugar. Add cut up bananas.  Add flour mixture. Mix until just slightly combined. Add eggs one at a time scraping down bowl after each. Slowly add buttermilk.  Mix until well combined then add vanilla. Grease and flour 2 8inch pans and bake at 350 for 25-30 min. Shorter or longer time depending on your oven. Always check with a tooth pick-If placed through the center and it comes out clean you know it's done :)

8 ounce Cream Cheese-Room temperature
4 Tablespoons butter
1/2 Cup Peanut Butter
2 Cups Powdered Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla 

Cream together Cream Cheese, Butter and Peanut Butter. Slowly add Sugar-adding it all at once with make a mess. Add Vanilla and mix well. If you find it is too thick at 1/2 tablespoon milk if you find it's too thin add 1/2 cup confectioners sugar at a time until you get the consistency you prefer. Humidity can change the consistency of your frosting.

4 squares of semisweet chocolate 
3 Tablespoons Butter
1 1/2 Cups sifted powdered sugar
In a small pot melt chocolate and butter over low heat
Once melted remove from heat whisk in sifted sugar.
I sift because I don't want lumps and it does give a smoother texture.

This batter can also be used to make 12-16 cupcakes.


Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July

Wishing all a Happy and Safe 4th of July

Cupcake Toppers by Wilton
Cookie Cutters by Wilton

A simple add of food coloring to cupcake batter or to your frosting can change any treat into a festive goodie.

Buttercream Frosting
1 Cup Butter
4 Cups Powder Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/2 teaspoon Almond Extract
2-3 Tablespoons Milk or Water
Cream butter
add Vanilla and Almond Extracts
Slowly add powder sugar
Add Milk
Depending on how thick you want your icing you may want to add more or less milk

Raspberry Cake

Raspberry Cake

Little Minis

Little Minis

Chocolate Valentine Cupcakes

Chocolate Valentine Cupcakes