Thursday, January 27, 2011

How NOT to make cake donuts or Epic Fail #347

I had high hopes for my little cake donuts.
Millions are made everyday, they can't be that hard, right?
wrong
so horribly, pathetically wrong.

I began with a highly rated recipe for dark chocolate cake donuts.
The dough tasted pretty good!  Nice, right?

Here's where donut day started to go down hill, on a fast moving bicycle with no breaks.
The frying.
I think I got the oil too hot.
They were gooey on the inside and it was hard to tell when they were done, since they were dark brown to begin with.  Hence, they burned.
Yeah, that didn't go well.



Desperately, I thought, hey....bake them!
I hated to think of all that beautiful dark dutch cocoa going to waste.

People bake donuts all the time.  They do, really.
Just not like this.
How did they turn out?
Booooooooooooring.
Tragically, irrevocably, irreversibly boring.
 
*Sigh*
Back to the drawing board, my friends.
If any of you have some tried and true recipes, please take pity on me and share.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Blueberry Pecan Coffeecake



My very kind neighbor came over after the last snow and cleared my driveway with his ATV and snow blade.
I was oh so very happy and grateful, which of course means, he needed a treat.
This is what I made him.

what you'll need my snow bunnies:
cake:
~5 oz. cake flour
~1/2 c. sugar
~1/4 tsp. baking soda
~1/4 tsp. baking powder
~1/4 tsp. salt

Whisk to combine and add:
~6 Tbs. butter, softened
~1/4 c. buttermilk (not low fat if possible)
~1 Tb. sour cream (full fat)
~1 large egg
~1 egg yolk
~1 tsp. vanilla

Pour this into a greased 8" springform pan, then layer with a generous cup of blueberries, like so:
nom nom
next, you'll need your crumb...
~ 1 c. flour
~ 2 T. cornstarch
~ 1/2 c. sugar
~ 1 Tb. brown sugar
~ 1/8 tsp. salt
~ 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), room temp
~ 1/3 cup pecans, chopped

Mix with a fork till you get a pebbly texture, kind of like a crumbly cookie dough.
Layer over the berries.  Then gently press them down a bit.
Now, let's bake this bad boy.
Preheat the oven to 325*F and bake for about 40-45 minutes.  Make sure the rack isn't too low in the oven (or too high if that is where your heating elements are).
When your cake is baked through, give it 10 minutes, then remove from the pan.

I decided to lay the cake on a cardboard round and wrap it up in some plastic gift wrap with a little label so they'd know what I made for them.


Which was done really, because my husband was to deliver it and you know how guys are at explaining things.

Me..."Don't forget to tell them its Blueberry Pecan Coffeecake, okay?  Honey, did you hear me?"
Him..."k"

"Oh thank you so much!  Really, you didn't have to go to so much trouble!  It looks great, what is it?"  says my kind neighbor.
{ insert blank stare }  
"Its uh...well, its probably....um....cake?"  says my cute, but forgetful husband.

yeah, this is why I label.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Bakery Style Cakes


As a baker, Im often asked to bring "the cake" to many functions, parties, get togethers, soirees, whatever.
And instead of racking my brain to come up with some new fondant design (that tastes like...well, fondant) or piping a ton of overdone buttercream roses, I opt for an easier style.

Enter....the bakery style cake.
Its always a hit, they are pretty and most importantly, they don't have to be fussy!

Here's a few examples.

For my uncle's retirement party, a dark chocolate cake, iced and filled with whipped cream frosting and topped with a dark chocolate drizzle, chocolate dipped cherries and squares of a Hershey bar.

Next, a chocolate espresso cake, iced with a whipped ganache and topped with almond butter cream rosettes, crushed walnuts, espresso powder and espresso beans.

This one is also a chocolate espresso cake, but its iced and filled with whipped cream frosting and topped with dark chocolate covered espresso beans and heart sprinkles.  Take note here:
*Sprinkles fix everything, only always*

And a simple one here, all I had was a boxed chocolate cake mix and a tub of chocolate frosting.  Tweaking the recipe a little (*click here for the blogpost on this cake*) gives it better flavor and crushed walnuts add a nice finish to the top.

one more?
another whipped ganache chocolate cake.  For a little bling, I melted some white chocolate and piped zig zags onto some parchment then chilled it.  They stay nice and firm and stand up all cute in the dog poo-shaped piles on top of the cake.  Yeah, I see it too...its a doggie poo cake, with bling.
Here's a linky...poo (ha) to the frosting: CLIIIIIICK

Next time you need to bring "the cake" to a function you've been dragged invited to, keep in mind the humble bakery cake.  So many options and not so much work ;)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Pining for Summer

Can I get some fellow feeling here?
Its snowing...again.
meh.
I want blue skies, warm breezes, green grass and cool, babbling brooks.

To make me even more season sick, Ive decided to post some photos taken back when it was warm.
This little get-to-gether had a theme.  Theme was you could bring anything you wanted to eat, but it had to be cooked over an open fire.
A little caveman bbq, if you will.

So, my creative friends came up with some great ideas.


There was grilled corn in the husk, chicken and beef kabobs, fish freshly caught from the lake, cheesy potatoes ("baked" in foil over the coals) and cinnamon rolls baked in hollowed out orange peel bowls (also in foil).
and beer.  and the peasants rejoiced.




The longest wait was letting the fire burn down to hot coals.
So, we played some cards and noshed some chips!
It was rough, but somehow we managed.

hope you enjoyed a few warm photos on this cold, winter day
plan your own campfire bbq, its a little challenging, but so much fun!
now, if you'll all excuse me, I have to shovel about 5 inches of snow off my driveway.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Screen Printing your own T shirts with Freezer Paper

You've probably seen this sprinkled around the web on various blogs and how-to sites.
But, Meg and I thought we'd try our hand at it.
What's so nice about this project is, you can make just about any image you want (depending on what you want to tackle), its cheap and even kids can get involved.
Come along for the ride, there are tons of photos to help you if you decide to make your own t shirt.

What you'll need...

~freezer paper (not wax paper or parchment) cut into 8.5x11" to fit into your printer
~fabric paint (got mine at Joann's Fabric store, they were 50% off...woo!)
~foam brushes or paint brushes
~cardboard
~X-acto knife

for the first step, you'll need to find an image you'd like to use.
I found an image of Gir.
Don't know Gir?  Ask your kids!  =)
I printed him out onto the paper side of the freezer paper (NOT the wax side)
This may take some experimenting to find out how your printer feeds and prints on paper.

With an X acto knife, cut out the part of the image that you want to become the painted part...in a sense, turn it into a stencil.  I did this on top of a self-healing cutting mat.  Here's Gir, all cut out.

Place your cut out onto your t shirt wherever you'd like it to be.  I put him on the back side of my tshirt on the bottom right so he'd sit on my hip.  Don't forget to place a piece of cardboard inside your t shirt so that the paint won't bleed thru to the other side of the shirt.

Now, with a dry iron (heated up to the highest setting for the type of fabric your t shirt is), iron your image down.
The wax side will adhere to the t shirt.  Isn't that neato??

Looking at the original image, I started painting Gir.
The wax will keep the paint from seeping, just be careful as you paint not to lift the edges of the stencil up.
With a blow dryer, you can dry the paint a little quicker than if you let it dry naturally.  But, either way is okay.
Now, peel the wax paper off!
It got dark on me, so I didn't take a pic of peeling off the wax paper.  But, when I did, I noticed my mistake.
Yep, Im human...so human its not even fair sometimes.
Anywho, Gir is grey....so is my shirt.
D'oh! *facepalm*
So, I got out a black Sharpie and outlined him so you could uh...SEE him on the shirt.
As you might be able to see...I ended up adding some highlights and shadows to his metal body so he'd be a little more 3D.  But, it wasn't necessary.  Ain't he just precious??
After the paint dried for 24 hrs. I set it with the iron.  Just follow the directions on your fabric paint.
Here are some more we did.
Meg's Irken logo....again, ask you kids, folks.
Meg and I happen to be cartoon dorks =/

She was ambitious on her first t shirt by using a black shirt (takes a lot of paint to cover the black) and she decided to make kind of a reverse stencil so that her black shirt would be the outline of her image.

And finished!

This is also one I did, probably a good choice for a beginner as its just text.
I *heart* Mumford and Sons.
Don't know them?  Ask your kids!  lol
no, srsly, search for them on Youtube.  They are a West London band, so extremely talented.
I suggest listening to "The Cave" and "Dust Bowl Dance", ohh and "Thistle and Weeds".   I bet you'll love them, too!
Anyway, I couldn't find a shirt with their logo, so I improvised.
Hope you found something to inspire you!  My husband wants an Opus shirt now.  Remember Opus?
I promise I'll post a recipe soon.
I just haven't been feeling well and food doesn't sound good to me yet...blech.

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