Tuesday, May 26, 2015

This Cake

I made this cake for one of the loveliest people I know.  I could not make a cake tall enough to express how much I appreciate her.  

After much brainstorming, I decided on a chocolate, cheesecake, and raspberry treat.  The layers are chocolate cake (recipe from Add a Pinch), cheesecake (recipe from Milk Bar), raspberry jam buttercream (recipe from my brain), chocolate ganache, and fresh raspberries. It was quite a hit, and I can't wait to make this again. First, let me go run 100 miles to undo the damage. ;)

Friday, May 22, 2015

Naked Chocolate Cake

I've been wanting to make a "naked cake" for quite a while.  I finally purchased a cake ring and cake bands so that I could do it the way I wanted.  I know you could build it without any special equipment, but I wanted a 6" inch cake.

The layers include chocolate cake, chocolate and coffee buttercream frostings, and chocolate candies. It was surprisingly easy to build.  I baked one chocolate 9" cake round, and, after a short time in the freezer, I cut it with a 6" cake ring.  I split those two rings in to two rounds, and I used the scraps to create the middle cake layer.  This was not my creativity at work, I adapted the Milk Bar method I had read about.

The cake was for a friend's birthday.  So, after it was assembled I had to wait for the guest of honor to dive in.  The waiting was the hardest part.  I'll definitely be making more of these cakes in the future.  I like the different look, and I enjoy the process very much.

Happy Friday!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Bready McBread Bread

Making bread at home can be hit or miss to say the least. The good news is that it almost always smells amazing, and even "bad" bread is kind of delicious. 

Mark Bittman's famous No Knead Bread is the best recipe I've tried. I say "famous" because it is super popular. Google it, and you'll see what I mean. 

Of course, not everyone loves it, but I've made it several times now, and I'm a major fan.  I've tried different flours and slightly varied my technique. If you want to make it, just follow the recipe.  

I don't have any recipe changes, but I do have some bakers notes...

*I made it once with half whole wheat and half all-purpose flour. As you might guess, it was a little tough. 

*Sometimes, before the rise, it is a bit more wet than the "shaggy" dough it should be. The first time, this stressed me out. I spent a lot of energy thinking about adding flour. In the end, it doesn't seem to cause any problems. 

*I screwed up my timing once, and I had to let it sit for longer than planned before baking. It was sitting for about 20 hours. It was amazing. Now, I do that every time. 

*If you can possibly have the self control, let it cool before you cut in to it. The crust is so much better if you can wait. 

Grab your yeast, salt, and flour. Get started now, and you'll have bread tomorrow! 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Fudgy Fudge Fudge

Do you like chocolate ganache?  Yes? Make this fudge right away. Here is the recipe.

I made the accompanying bourbon sugar this past winter, but I never tried out the fudge until today.  Bon Appetit is running a contest (you know I can't resist a contest!).  I'm hoping to win the cookbook and prize, but, either way, I'll have some delicious fudge to nibble. Win, win.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Snicker Snicker Doodle Doodle

If you are a snickerdoodle fan like me, you need to try out this recipe.  They are so super tender.  I was worried they had too much cinnamon, they don't.  The only change I made to the recipe is I chilled the dough, rolled it in to cookie-sized balls, froze them.  Then, when I bake, I just thaw for 15-20 minutes.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Bad Juju

Inspired by an article in Food & Wine from the Mad Genius, I wanted to try making swirled frosting. I was underwhelmed with the result. 

First, I didn't have the right tip for decorating. That's why I squiggled instead of swirling. Second, when I put extra effort in to something, I want extra flavor. As you would expect, it was really just chocolate and vanilla. Even more, once mixed in the mouth, it was just weak chocolate. So, I'm going to pass on this technique in the future...unless I think of some flavor combo that I can't resist. 

Finally, to be fair, I was in a bad mood when I made these. I burned my hand, and I dropped a cupcake. Maybe it wasn't the technique. Maybe it was me. Or, maybe my batch just had bad juju. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Bake Sale for No Kid Hungry

This past Saturday, I hosted a bake sale to support the efforts of No Kid Hungry. Their mission is one that I think is important, and I wanted to do something, however small, to support. 

Our neighborhood was having a yard sale weekend, so I figured I could take advantage of the traffic. 

I kept it simple. I made an iced lemon pound cake, chocolate chip cookies, and double chocolate cookies. 

I froze the cookie dough ahead of time. This way, I could cook as many or as few as we needed. 

I posted on neighborhood facebook pages to advertise the sale. It worked! A few people mentioned the posts.

It was easy. It was fun to bake, and it was fun to meet some neighbors. I'm so glad that I got to have this experience. :)

If you would like to know more about No Kid Hungry, please visit their site for all the details.