Saturday, March 28, 2009

Red Velvet Daisy Cake

My sister was supposed to visit this Saturday, and this was to be a reconciliation cake. However, she couldn't make it, so I gave it to my cousin instead.

This is the first cake I have made with fondant, and I am so thrilled with how it turned out. There will be three recipes here. The Red Velvet cake, found here on The Nest, the cream cheese filling, chocolate buttercream frosting, and the chocolate fondant, which were all found here at A Year in the Kitchen. The daisies on the cake were made from white modeling chocolate, which I blogged about originally here. I planned on doing them in white chocolate fondant, but I ran out of powdered sugar.

Red Velvet Cake

This cake is moist and fluffy, and the color is fantastic. Once again, I found this here.

-3/4 cup butter, softened
-2 1/4 cups sugar
-3 eggs
-6 Tablespoons red food coloring
-3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
-1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
-1 1/2 teaspoons salt
-1 1/2 cups buttermilk
-3 1/3 cups cake flour, sifted
-1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar
-1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Grease three 9 inch round cake pans and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
4. In a small bowl, whisk food coloring, cocoa and vanilla. Add to batter and beat well.
5. Stir salt into buttermilk. Add to batter in three parts, alternating with flour.
6. In a small bowl, stir together cider vinegar and baking soda. Add to batter and mix well.
7. Divide batter among 3 pans. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Let cool for 1 hour. Remove from pans and frost.

Cream Cheese Filling

This is a fantastic filling for this cake. I love cream cheese and nearly ate this filling alone (if only I weren't lactose intolerant). Again, I found this and the following recipes here.

-1 8-ounce brick of cream cheese
-1 cup powdered sugar
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-1/4 cup milk

1. Cream together all ingredients, beat until smooth.
2. Use a serrated knife to level the top of each cake layer. Spread filling between layers.

Chocolate buttercream frosting

This is another thing I just wanted to eat straight. It was so smooth and creamy.

-1 cup butter
-3/4 cup cocoa powder
-6 cups powdered sugar
-1/4 cup milk
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Cream butter. add in cocoa powder and mix together on low. Add vanilla.
2. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency.
3. Keep refrigerated until use.

Chocolate Fondant

The reason I never used fondant before was I had never had fondant that tasted good. I had also never made my own. But when I found this recipe, I was overjoyed. This tastes fantastic! The original recipe called for a stand mixer, but I did it all by hand because my stand mixer does not have a dough hook attachment.

-1 pound dark chocolate candy coating (I used semi-sweet chocolate)
-3/4 cup corn syrup
-1 cup Cocoa Powder
-3.5 pounds powdered sugar
-8 Tablespoons hot water
-1 cup glucose (this is a liquid measurement)
-2 teaspoon vanilla
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-4 Tablespoon shortening

1. Melt the chocoalte chips in the microwave or over a double boiler, stir in the corn syrup, set aside until cool.
2. Put 3/4 of powdered sugar and cocoa powder in a large bowl and make a well in the middle.
3. Mix water, glucose, vanilla, salt, and shortening together in a saucepan. Heat until shortening is almost melted.
4. Pour into the well of powdered sugar and mix with a flat spatula until incorporated. Add chocolate mixture and mix well.
5. When mixture is too hard to mix with the spatula, take it out and turn on a powder sugar dusted surface. Knead in the remaining powdered sugar.
6. Wrap very tightly in plastic wrap, then place in a ziplock bag. It will get somewhat hard, but kneading it will loosen it up. Use within a month. (Do not refrigerate)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Cinnamon Graham Cookies

I wonder if Walter's co-workers love me yet. This is week four of sending tasty baked goods to the office. So far, I have heard no complaints.

Cinnamon Graham Cookies

This week, I may hear a few complaints. These cookies are good, but I overbeat the first batch, leaving some of them a little flat. Not so flat that they are not delicious, but not the best I have ever done. Still...they are good. They taste almost identical to snickerdoodles to me, but I can taste a hint of the graham cracker, which sets them apart. I found this recipe here at Allrecipes.

-2 cups graham cracker crumbs
-1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I used 1 1/2 cups plus 3 Tablespoons cake flour)
-1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I used 2 teaspoons)
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-1 teaspoon salt
-1 cup butter
-1/4 cup white sugar
-1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
-2 large eggs
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine first five ingredients and set aside.
3. Cream butter, sugar, and brown sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each. Add vanilla and mix well.
4. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture and stir until combined. Drop dough two inches apart by rounded spoonful (I used a 1 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon) on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until edges are brown.

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Nest WC Spring Exchange Items!

I received my spring exchange items a while ago (last week?) but I forgot to blog them until now...oops. Here they are!

A silicone cupcake pan, a curved spatula, some Easter cupcake liners, some Easter sprinkles, and a lovely spring notepad (that I have been using for my many, many obsessive-compulsive lists).

Fantastic! I sent my Elfster an Easter cookie pan, some Easter sprinkles, a monkey vegetable peeler (from Boston Warehouse Animal House--such cute little things!), and some spring cupcake liners. This was my first WC Exchange, and I was totally thrilled with the results. :)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Caramel Krispie Treats

Rice Krispies are a staple of childhood. Believe it or not, this was my first time making them in my adult life.

Caramel Krispie Treats

This recipe is pretty standard, as far as I can tell. I used the recipe on the side of the Rice Krispies box, and I doubled it for good measure (any leftovers can be sent to the office). Of course, I am sharing the standard recipe, not the doubled. These only exist because of an impulse buy I made a couple of weeks ago. I was in the grocery store and saw these:

And I picked them up, knowing that I could make SOMETHING with them that would be delicious. They also had a chocolate variety, but I was not as excited about those, so I did not grab any. I apologize that the picture is just of the empty bag--I forgot to photograph them until I had already melted the mallows.

These tasted like caramel corn--but better, in my opinion (and Walter's). I am going to be bringing them to my father-in-law's 50th birthday party tomorrow.

-3 Tablespoons butter (I used 4 Tablespoons)
-6 cups Rice Krispies cereal
-1 10-ounce bag marshmallows or 4 cups mini-marshmallows (I, of course, used 1 10-ounce bag of caramel swirl marshmallows)

1. Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat.
2. Stir in marshmallows and melt, stirring often, until completely smooth. Remove from heat.
3. Stir in Rice Krispies. Stir mixture until fully combined.
4. Press Rice Krispie treats into a foil-lined, greased 9 x 13 pan.
5. When cool, cut treats into squares and serve.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Chicken Salad

Chicken salad is my fall-back lunch. If we have no leftovers, I make a batch and eat on it for a couple of days. I like to experiment with it, and this is my best recipe so far, hands down.

Chicken Salad

I have a secret ingredient that makes this the best chicken salad ever. That ingredient is bacon. Not real bacon, but this:

It makes it fantastic, especially with the tomato. And the jalapeno adds just a little kick to it. Oh, I could eat this for every meal.

-1 9-ounce can white meat chicken
-1 medium onion
-8 dill pickle hamburger-cut slices
-5 slices of jarred jalapeno
-1 small vine tomato
-1 small red bell pepper
-3 Tablespoons mayonnaise
-1/8 teaspoon bacon salt
-Dash of cinnamon
-Curry powder, salt, and pepper, to taste

1. Chop all vegetables.
2. Combine all ingredients. Stir until thoroughly moistened. Keep refrigerated. Makes about 3 sandwiches.

Donna-FFW's Giveaway

I am just writing this entry to let you know that Donna-FFW at My Tasty Treasures is doing a giveaway. Three winners will receive a spring-related cookbook or magazine. Head over there and sign up!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Chili Barbecue Burgers

It is eighty degrees outside, with low humidity (something that does not happen often in Missouri). Grilling season has begun! I do not have a fantastic grill, but I have a grill. My parents gave it two Walter and me as a housewarming gift when we moved to this duplex last summer. It came late, so we did not use it nearly as often as we would have liked. However, I am definitely going to try to get much more use out of it this year.

Chili Barbecue Burgers

Walter loves burgers more than any food in the entire world. He eats them at every restaurant we go to, no matter the menu (except the Mongolian place). If it was all I cooked for the rest of his life, I think he would be okay with that. Of course, I also like to play around with the seasonings more than he does. He just wants a burger--I want a super awesome recipe. ;)

This is for one burger

-1/3 pound lean ground beef
-1 teaspoon chili powder
-1 teaspoon Southwestern Chipotle Mrs. Dash seasoning
-1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
-1/2 teaspoon seasoned meat tenderizer
-2 Tablespoons Hickory BBQ Sauce

1. Combine all seasonings with meat. Mix well.
2. On a heated grill (mine is charcoal-burning), cook burgers until done to your liking (about 30-45 minutes), flipping halfway through. After flipping, brush with
barbecue sauce. Flip again about 5 minutes before done, and brush with barbecue sauce again.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Chocolate Cake Bites

I had so much leftover cake from the castle cake that I thought I would put it to good use!

Chocolate Cake Bites

Walter prefers these to be called "Chocolate Cake Bites" when he brings them to the office...of course. So, instead of "cake balls," they have now been renamed. Cake Bites sounds cuter anyway. ;)

-1 recipe Easy Chocolate Party Cake
-1 jar Pilsbury Milk Chocolate icing
-12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
-12 ounces white chocolate
-1 bag each desired color Wilton colored melting discs

1. Prepare cake according to recipe. Cool. Crumble cake into a large bowl.
2. Stir in jar of icing. Mix until combined and all cake is moistened.
3. Roll cake into small balls, about 1/2 an inch in diameter.
4. Melt chocolate (keep colors separate), stirring often, until smooth. Dip balls in desired color/flavor and cool on wax paper (if desired, cool in refrigerator to harden more quickly).
5. Once cooled, use colored chocolate melting discs to drizzle each bite with color, if desired.

Curry Chipotle Chicken and Lemon Chipotle Potatoes

I love seasonings. I want them all.

Curry Chipotle Chicken

This recipe is my own. I think it could have used a bit more kick, so I may change it a bit next time, but it was still very good.

-2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
-1 cup vegetable oil
-2 Tablespoons Southwestern Chipotle Mrs. Dash seasoning
-1 teaspoon curry powder
-1/4 teaspoon sage
-1/2 teaspoon cumin

1. Combine oil and seasonings and marinate chicken for 2 to 24 hours.
2. Preheat oven to 425 degree.
3. Place chicken and potatoes (recipe to follow) in a 9 by 13 inch baking pan. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Lemon Chipotle Potatoes

I wanted the side to be a bit lighter than the main course, and I think I achieved that with the lemon pepper seasoning. All in all, it was a pretty decent dish.

-3 medium red potatoes, chopped
-1/2 cup vegetable oil
-2 Tablespoons Southwestern Chipotle Mrs. Dash seasoning
-1 Tablespoon lemon pepper seasoning

1. Combine oil and seasonings. Toss potatoes in mixture. Drain off excess.
2. Place potatoes with chicken in a 9 by 13 inch baking pan. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Princess Castle Cake: Kamryn

I was unsure about this cake all the way up to the end, when I added the green grass, vines, and writing. And even then I was not completely sure about it until it turned out much better in pictures than in real life. :P Overall, I am much happier with this cake than I was with my last, but I still have lots of room for improvement. Oh well...practice makes perfect!

The recipes for the icing and modeling chocolate are the same as the ones I used here, but I used butter flavoring in the icing instead of vanilla (and recommend that. It tasted much better this time). The cake recipe was from Country Living. The only requests I had from the girl receiving this cake were to make it chocolate and pink. I think I succeeded at both of those things.

My favorite parts of the cake are the path leading to the castle and the princess:

I used Wilton sparkling gel icing for the vines and flower shaped sprinkles for the flours (obviously). All of the other details were made from modeling chocolate.

Next, I am making an Easter basket cake. Hopefully it is even better!

Easy Chocolate Party Cake

This cake was incredibly moist and delicious...a little too moist, as it crumbed HORRIBLY when I frosted it, but it was still fantastic. I would recommend it with a chocolate frosting instead, to hide some of the crumbs, but it was still great. In order to make my cake, I made the recipe about four times--each recipe will fill one 8 by 8 square pan.

-2 cup(s) all-purpose flour (I used 2 cups and 4 Tablespoons of cake flour)
-1 1/2 cup(s) whole milk
-2/3 cup(s) granulated sugar
-2/3 cup(s) dark brown sugar
-1/2 cup(s) unsweetened cocoa
-3/4 cup(s) butter
-3 large eggs
-2 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract
-1 teaspoon(s) baking powder
-1 teaspoon(s) baking soda
-1/2 teaspoon(s) salt

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Combine all ingredients and mix on medium speed until smooth. Pour into greased cake pan and bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until middle springs back lightly when touched.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Butter Pecan Cookies

I love to bake, as you probably know by now. However, I do not eat many baked goods, as I do not like sweets much, and Walter does not believe that cookies are great for his waistline (he is probably correct). To remedy this without wasting food or stopping baking, I have started sending baked goods to work with Walter. This works fantastically--I still get to bake, but I don't have to worry about the food being wasted!

Butter Pecan Cookies

I got this recipe from Martha Stewart. The cookies were crunchy and crumbly in just the right way, and had just enough pecan taste without overpowering. The recipe makes twelve cookies, so I tripled it (but will post the measurements for just the single recipe).

-3/4 cup pecans
-1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
-1/3 cup sugar, plus more for coating
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-1/8 teaspoon salt
-1 cup all-purpose flour

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Toast pecans until aromatic, about six minutes. Let cool and chop finely (I put them in the blender until they were nearly a dust).
3. Cream butter and sugar until light, about 1 minute. Beat in vanilla, salt, and flour just until dough comes together. Fold in pecans.
4. Separate dough and roll into twelve balls. Roll balls in sugar. Place on a baking sheet about three inches apart. Gently flatten with the bottom of a glass. Sprinkle with sugar.
5. Bake until golden brown, about fifteen minutes, rotating sheet halfway through. Let cool on sheet for about two minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.