Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Valentine's Party and Cherry Chocolate Cake!

1. Valentine's Party
Two weekends ago, my roommates and I decided to throw a party for Valentine's day. We had Valentine's drinks and Valentine's decorations, so I decided to make Valentine's cupcakes. I wanted something that would embrace the pink and red of the holiday, so I whipped up some strawberry cupcakes. These cupcakes are a basic white cake filled with strawberry compote and topped with the best strawberry frosting.
Here's a close-up of the filling:
I did two designs for the frosting: Candy hearts...
...And Heart Tattoos
2. Cherry Chocolate Cake
Last weekend I was home relaxing and realized that I haven't made an actual cake in a while, so I decided to make one! I have been trying to find a really good chocolate cake recipe for a long time, and I've heard that beets make chocolate cake really moist and rich, so I tried out a chocolate beet cake recipe. I wanted to mimic a black forest cake, so I did a dark chocolate beet cake with cherry filling and whipped cream cheese frosting. While the cake did turn out to be really yummy, I am most impressed with how pretty it looked! Here are the layers:

Cake and Cherry Filling:
Second Layer of Cake:
Frosting and Maraschino Cherries:

Friday, January 28, 2011

Marshmallow Mermaid Pie

The other day, I was watching the movie Waitress. Throughout the movie, the main character, Jenna, makes a bunch of really creative, delicious looking pies. The one that always sounds the most amazing to me is her Marshmallow Mermaid Pie. Well, I haven't baked in a while, so I decided that that pie would be the perfect recipe to try out. However, when I looked it up, I couldn't find a recipe that really seemed as amazing as the one in the movie, so I came up with my own. The end result has to be one of the sweetest things I have ever tasted!
1. Crust- vanilla Oreo (creams in!)
2. Filling #1- crushed pineapple and maraschino cherries
3. Filling #2- a combination of a lot of different sweet ingredients, but the end result is really creamy with a cream cheese-marshmallow flavor
4. Multi-colored/flavored mini marshmallows
This ended up being one of my favorite things that I have ever made, and is definitely the sweetest!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Christmas Surprise

For Christmas this year, I decided to go with a Christmas classic: red velvet cake. To put a fun spin on the classic, I decided to make the cake into red and green cake balls. Half were white chocolate and the other half (because I ran out of white chocolate) were bittersweet chocolate.
For my big present this year, my parents got me a KITCHENAID MIXER!! It is adorable! I can't wait to bake with it! No more hand mixing for me!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Happy [Late] Birthday Mom!

For my mom's birthday, I wanted to do something different. For her dessert, she requested something that included either caramel, coffee, or fruit. I managed to get two out of three categories.

The dessert I chose to make, chocolate-caramel tart with drunken raspberries and vanilla creme fraiche, had really high ratings, but also was rated as pretty difficult to make. All in all, it had five components, each equally delicious:

Part 1: Chocolate chip crust- The crust for this tart was different from the usual tart crusts that I have made. It included egg yolks and crushed chocolate chips, so it turned out more like a thin, crispy cookie.
Part 2: Salty-caramel- Salty-caramel is my favorite type of caramel. There is something so perfect about the salty and sweet flavors coming together. The recipe provided a thick, yummy salty-yet-rich caramel layer.
Part 3: Chocolate ganache- The tart included a thick layer of chocolate ganache, which I made from bittersweet Ghirardelli chocolate chips. This was the last layer of the tart.
Part 4: Creme Fraiche- I made a modified creme fraiche topping for the tart (since actual creme fraiche takes at least 8-12 hours). With three types of cream and a little lemon, it turned out light and tangy.
Part 5: Drunken Raspberries-
I was lucky enough to find delicious, plump raspberries from the store. The recipe required me to make them "drunken," which basically means that they sit in alcohol for a few hours. However, I wasn't happy with just one kind of alcohol, so I made three versions: raspberries in amaretto, raspberries in pomegranate martini, and raspberries in triple sec orange. The berries tasted mildly of the differing flavors, but they definitely tasted drunken! I think my favorite was the amaretto!

With all of these parts, it came out DELICIOUS! It was by far the richest recipe I have ever made, but all of the effort was definitely worth it! If you are looking for a rich, decadent recipe, make this! Here it is! Enjoy!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Better late than never

Over Thanksgiving, I was excited to actually get some time to bake. I have had almost no time to bake throughout this quarter, so I took full advantage of the few days off of school to make some tasty treats. However, I have been so busy with my finals that I have not had time to blog about them until now (and that's just because I'm avoiding my homework). This post is a little late, but I hope you will still enjoy it!

The first dessert that I baked was sweet potato cupcakes with burnt marshmallows on top. This recipe was really easy (surprising, since it was Martha Stewart's recipe) and came out really well.
The sweet potatoes caused the cupcakes to be really moist and the burnt marshmallows provided a really yummy substitute for frosting!
Apparently, the cupcakes were so good that Tucker couldn't resist stealing one for himself!
The second dessert that I made for Thanksgiving actually came from the Cooking Light magazine! It was a cranberry tart with meringue topping. It turned out so rich that it's hard to believe that it could qualify as "light."
The directions had me use shortening in the crust, which I don't usually do. It created a really delicious, flaky crust! The cranberry curd had a very strong taste, so I added a lot of meringue to balance it out. Overall, it was very delicious and [relatively] healthy!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!
I know this is late, but I am finally getting to blogging about my Halloween goodies! As most of you know, I get really into Halloween, so I was pretty excited to make some Halloween desserts. However, I made pumpkin cupcakes a few weeks ago, so I wanted to do something different. I ended up making two desserts: witch finger cookies and apple cider cupcakes with salted caramel frosting.

1. Witch finger cookies
I finally got to try out my new witch finger cookie pan! I made a basic sugar cookie, but added some frozen strawberries into the batter. I got to use some of my new food coloring to make them green and purple. While the molds produced cookies that were actually shaped like witch fingers, I had quite a bit of trouble cooking them. Something about the shape of the molds caused them to cook unevenly, so I had to be really careful with the timing!

2. Apple cider cupcakes with salted caramel frosting
I really wanted to make cupcakes with a candy corn design, but I didn't want to do a regular white cake flavor, so I decided to go with an apple cider cupcake. For a fun twist on a caramel apple, I did a salted-caramel frosting. The cupcakes turned out well--the salty-sweet frosting was a nice combination with the sweet, dense cupcake--but did not taste as strongly of apple as I had hoped.

**Also, I found a pumpkin ale at World Market, which I was really excited about! It pretty much tasted like regular beer, but it was exciting anyway!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Happy Birthday (to me)

As many of you probably would have guessed, for my birthday I asked for mostly baking related stuff. Here are the awesome baking goods I got for my birthday, as well as the amazing cake my mom made for me!

1. Books
I love getting baking cookbooks! These two were given to me by aunt. The first one, "Cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery," has a number of different combinable cupcake and frosting recipes. Some that I am excited for are strawberries and cream, ginger, cranberry and orange, and coconut lime.
The second, "Ghoulish Goodies," is a cookbook of both Halloween desserts and Halloween snacks. I can't wait to try them out for a Halloween party that my roommates and I are having!

2. Tools

I got three exciting baking tools for my birthday as well. The first is a pastry brush from Wilton, which I have found myself wanting for a number of recipes.
The second item is a cake tester, which I have already used quite a few times. It is AMAZING because it allows you to test your cake without leaving a big hole in it, and it saves you from having to use toothpicks every time. I'm pretty excited about it!
The final tool is something that I have really wanted all season. Don't ask me why I need this item so much, but I do. It is a cookie pan for witch finger cookies! I'm hoping to find more recipes than just cookies, because I want to use this pan as much as possible!
3. Flavoring, coloring, and sparkles

In the sparkle category, I got green edible glitter, and black and orange sparkle gel (all of which are definitely going to be used on some serious Halloween desserts).
The second category, coloring, includes a 12 PACK of Wilton icing colors!! Wilton makes really amazing coloring gel, which lasts forever and provides really vibrant results. These are going to be getting some definite use!
The final category, flavoring, is probably the most exciting for me. I got 7 different extracts, including root beer, cherry vanilla, amaretto, coconut, pina colada, watermelon, and bubble gum. These are going to make some AMAZING cupcakes!
4. Birthday Desserts
For my birthday, I got two amazing desserts. When I went out with my friends, we stopped at Jeni's, one of my favorite ice cream places. Well, because it was my birthday, I got four different flavors: apple butter, salty caramel, pumpkin 5 spice, and smokey chocolate with marshmallows! As usual, salty caramel was my favorite.
And for my actual birthday, my mom made me a delicious, adorable jack-o-lantern cake that was funfetti with pina colada frosting. Yum!
Happy Birthday to me!