Category Archives: Baking

The 30 Cake

Just a quick update.

This past weekend, the wife and I were asked to do a birthday cake for a friend (our first officially commissioned cake). Oh… and we had less than 24 hours to get the supplies, the theme and the cake baked and out the door. Outside of the fact that we used the cake recipe for the Easter cake, there is not much more of story behind this. I just wanted to share the final result.

Texas Sheet Cake

I don’t ever recall having this before.  I just saw the picture of a simple chocolate cake that serves a small crowd people and that filled the need I had for this past weekend’s festivities.  This turned out different – GOOD different – than I expected as this was not the way I had ever made chocolate cake before!

2 tsp all purpose flour

2 c all purpose flour

2 c granulated sugar

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 c water

1/2 c butter

1/2 c unsweetened cocoa, divided

1/2 c low fat buttermilk

1 tbsp vanilla extract, divided

2 large eggs

6 tbsp butter

1/3 c fat free milk

3 c powdered sugar

1/4 c chopped pecans, toasted

1. Preheat oven to 375. Coat a 13 x9 in pan with cooking spray, dust with 2 tsp flour.

2. Combine 2 c flour with next 4 ingredients in a large bowl, stir with a whisk.  Combine 3/4 c water, 1/2 c butter, and 1/4 c cocoa in a small saucepan; bring to a boil, stirring frequently.  Add to flour mixture.  Beat with a mixer at med speed until well blended.  Add buttermilk, 1 tsp vanilla, and eggs; beat well.  Pour batter into prepared pan.  Bake for 22 – 25 mins (closer to 25 for me).  Place on a wire rack.

3. Combine 6 tbsp butter, fat free milk, and remaining 1/4 c cocoa in a saucepan; bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and gradually stir in powdered sugar and remaining 2 tbsp vanilla.  Spread over hot cake.  Sprinkle with pecans.  Cool completely on a wire rack.  Makes 20 servings.

I wish I had alternate views of an actual slice for you but I had to leave the party a bit early to go to work.  My husband saved me a slice and I ate it by the time I remembered I needed another pic :-p  Anyway, as you can see the frosting has a light crispness to the very surface.  The frosting is distinct yet the moistness of the cake (I believe d/t the buttermilk) blends nicely with it and gives it a definite richness.  Very good! I would definitely make this again for a large event.  You can make this the night before and let it cool overnight to save you time.

Nutritional Information:

Calories: 298

Fat: 10 g

Protein: 3.1 g

Carbohydrate: 49.8 g

Fiber: 0.5 g

Cholesterol: 44 mg

Sodium: 188 mg

2010 Easter Egg Cake – The Fabergé Egg Cake

In 2009, the wife and I decided to start an Easter Brunch Holiday tradition – The yearly Easter Egg Cake. (the original cake and recipe can be found here) Each year we intended on simply trying something new, something creative, and sharing the joy with the family…

Here is the result of the 2010 Easter Egg Cake effort – The Fabergé Egg Cake.

Here is the base cake, fresh with Fondant.

Adding the ribbons…

And the final Cake…

Again, this cake reminds me that, yes, I/we should be baking for a living.

Chocolate Mint Bars

So here we are. . .dessert time again.  I needed something to bring in to work yesterday and wanted to use ingredients I had on hand.  Needless to say, chocolate and mint is another favorite pair of mine.  So decadent and good – you’d never know these were low-cal!

Bottom layer:

1 c flour

1/2 tsp salt

1 c granulated sugar

1/2 c egg substitute

1/4 c butter, melted

2 tbsp water

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 (16 oz) can chocolate syrup (about 1 1/3 c)

Mint layer:

2 c powdered sugar

1/4 c butter, melted

2 tbsp fat free milk

1/2 tsp peppermint extract

2 drops green food coloring

Glaze:

3/4 c semisweet chocolate chips

3 tbsp butter

1. Preheat oven to 35o.

2. Combine flour and salt; stir with a whisk.  Combine granulated sugar and next 6 ingredients in a medium bowl; stir until smooth.  Add flour mixture to chocolate mixture, stirring until blended.  Pour batter into a prepped 13 x 9 baking pan.  Bake for 28 mins.  Cool completely in a pan with a wire rack.

3. Combine powdered sugar and next 4 ingredients in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer until smooth.  Spread mint mixture over cooled cake.

wow. . .this was super green. . .like Shrek.

4. Combine chocolate chips and 3 tbsp butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl.  Microwave on high for 1 minute, stirring after 30 seconds. Let stand 2 minutes.  Spread chocolate mixture evenly over mint layer.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.  Cut into 20 pieces.

The bottom layer was a bit moister than I expected but still very good.  I wonder if it may needed to have been in the oven a few minutes longer.  Other than that I had NO complaints whatsoever – delicious!

Nutritional Information:

Calories: 264

Fat: 8.7 g

Protein: 2.8 g

Carbohydrate: 45 g

Fiber: 0.5 g

Cholesterol: 38 mg

Sodium: 139 mg

Coffee Nut Scones

Let’s hear it for the scones, again!  Okay, I’m just going to tell you now – this is a very traditional scone in that it is a bit more on the ‘bitter’ side.  Most scones you see now are sweetened by what’s added into or on top of them (IE. chocolate, fruit, icing, etc.).  So I don’t want you to be surprised.  Despite that, I still really liked the coffee and nut flavor and they are perfect paired with your daily coffee or espresso (I have a great connection with this – my friend makes and sells his own). If you’re up to it – here you are!

Ingredients:

2/3 c low fat milk

2.5 tbsp instant coffee granules

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 large egg, lightly beaten

2.25 c flour

1/3 c sugar

2.5 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground cinammon

1/4 c chilled butter, cut into small pieces

3 tbsp finely chopped walnuts

2 tsp low fat milk

2 tsp sugar

1. Combine 3/4 c milk and coffee granules in a microwave safe bowl – heat on high for 1 minute.  Cover and chill completely.  Stir in egg and vanilla.

2. Preheat oven to 425.

3. Combine flour and next 4 ingredients into the bowl.  Cut butter in with a pastry blender.  Stir in walnuts.  Add milk mixture, stirring until moist (dough will be sticky).

4. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead lightly 4 times with floured hands.  Pat dough into an 8 in circle on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.  Cut dough into 10 wedges (do not cut all the way through the dough though so as to retain moisture).  Brush with remaining milk and sprinkle with 2 tsp sugar.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Makes 10 servings.

***Van, these would be the third scones I’ve made and I will tell you – each time the dough seems like a sticky mess but apparently they are supposed to be that way.  Adding more flour will make the scones too dry.  So if you care to try again don’t fret if the dough seems “off”.

Like I said, I really enjoyed these but because I’m a chocolate freak I will probably add some chips in there the next time :)

Nutritional Information:

Calories: 207

Fat: 7 g

Protein: 4.9 g

Carbohydrate: 31 g

Fiber: 1 g

Cholesterol: 35 mg

Dolly Bars

Otherwise known as seven layer bars (but I counted in this recipe and I didn’t find seven – so I’m not sure what constitutes an actual “layer”) these are ooey, gooey, and absolutely delicious!  These are quite simple and since I have never made them before I just stuck with the original recipe I had on hand but the possibilities are endless here.  My friend who doesn’t even like coconut said she liked these.  You be the judge.

1.5 c graham cracker crumbs (about 9 cookie sheets)

2 tbsp butter, melted

1 tbsp water

1/3 c semisweet choco chips

1/3 c butterscotch chips

2/3 c flaked sweetened coconut

1/4 c chopped pecans, toasted

1 15-oz can fat-free sweetened condensed milk

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Line the bottom and sides of a 9 in square baking pan with parchment paper.

3. Place crumbs in a bowl and drizzle with butter and water.  Toss with a fork until moist.  Gently pat mixture into an even layer in the pan (do not press firmly because the milk needs to seep into the graham cracker crumbs).  Sprinkle with chips.  Top evenly with coconut and pecans.  Drizzle milk evenly over the top.  Bake for 25 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly.  Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.  Yields 24 small bars or 16 medium sized bars.

What was left 5 hours later. . .

The bottoms came out pretty moist, especially the center pieces.  I think I would leave them in the oven a bit longer so the crust is harder.  But other than that the taste is wonderful :)

Nutritional Information:

Calories: 123

Fat: 4.4 g

Protein: 2.1 g

Carbohydrate: 19.1 g

Cholesterol: 5 mg

Sodium: 64 mg

Fiber: 0.5 g

Chocolate Chip and Cinnamon Cookies

So I went with this recipe because I wanted to use what I had on hand – and we ran out of the chocolate hazelnut drops.  Holy crap these were so good!  Definitely not your average chocolate chip cookie.  Add these to your gourmet cookie box collection – that’s my goal, you know!

Heaven’s ingredients:

1 c butter, softened

scant 3/4 c superfine sugar

1 egg yolk, lightly beaten

2 tsp orange extract

2.5 c flour

generous 1/2 c semisweet chocolate chips

salt

1.5 tbsp each superfine sugar and ground cinammon

1. Preheat oven to 375 and line your cookie sheets with parchment paper.

2. Beat your butter and sugar together with a wooden spoon until well combined then beat in egg yolk and extract.  Sift together your flour and pinch of salt into the mixture and add the chocolate chips.  Stir until thoroughly combined.  Keep in mind the batter may be somewhat crumbly.

3. For the coating, mix your tbsps of sugar and cinnmmon.  Scoop out dough by tablespoons and form into balls and roll them in the coating.  Place on your cookie sheets spaced well apart.

4. Bake for 12-15 mins and let cool on cookie sheets for 5-10.  Then transfer to wire racks with metal spatula. Makes 30.

Guaranteed to make your kitchen smell so delicious!

Enjoy these as much as I have =D

(New and Improved) Apple Muffins

Not too long ago I made an apple streusel muffin that was very good. Well. . .I came across this recipe and decided to try it since I needed more homemade breakfast goods on the kitchen counter.  Let’s just say the first apple muffins are now complete history.  I believe, yes, I believe my husband ate 3 out of the dozen the first day.  These are so moist and satisfying and for being low-cal I fell in love!

Your supplies:

3/4 c plus 2 tbsp packed brown sugar

1/4 c chopped pecans

1/2 tsp ground cinammon

1 c each flour and wheat flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 c canola oil

2 large eggs

1 c natural applesauce (= 2 small individually packed applesauces)

1 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 c lowfat buttermilk

1 golden delicious apple, peeled, cored, and chopped

1. Preheat oven to 400 and prep your muffin pan.  In a small bowl mix the 2 tbsp of brown sugar and pecans.  Set aside.

2. In a medium bowl mix together flours, baking soda, and salt.

3. In a large bowl mix remaining 3/4 c sugar and oil until combined.  Add eggs one at a time, whisking after each.  Then add applesauce and vanilla.   Whisk in flour mixture in 2 batches, alternating with buttermilk.  Gently stir in apple.

4. Fill your muffin pan and sprinkle with sugar/pecan topping.  Tap the pan to remove any air bubbles (did not know this previously!).  Bake for 20 mins and let cool on wire rack for 15.  Enjoy!

sorry about the flash - took this with my phone :-p

Nutritional Information:

Calories:  219

Total Fat: 8 g

Protein: 4 g

Carbohydrate: 35 g

Fiber: 2 g

Chocolate Hazelnut Drops

Hello.  My name is Eileen and I am a chocoholic. . .I once again hit the jackpot with these cookies.  Hazelnuts are my favorite nut and although I think almost anything is good drenched in dark chocolate – this combination is incredibly satisfying.  But that’s just my opinion.  Feel free to form your own once you’ve made these ;-)

Supplies:

1 c softened butter

scant 3/4 c superfine sugar

1 lightly beaten egg yolk

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 c flour

1/2 c unsweetened cocoa

1/2 c ground hazelnuts

1/3 c semisweet chocolate chips

4 tbsp chocolate and hazelnut spread

salt

1. Preheat oven to 375 and line your cookie sheets with parchment.

2. Mix your butter and sugar with a wooden spoon and then beat in yolk, and extract.  Stir together flour, cocoa, and a pinch of salt, add the hazelnuts and chocolate chips and stir until thoroughly combined.

3. Scoop out tablespoons of the mixture and shape into balls.  Place on sheets and use the dampened end of a wooden spoon to make a hollow in the center of each cookie.

4. Bake for 12-15 minutes and let cool on the sheets for 5-10.  Then transfer to wire rack to cool completely and fill the hollows with the spread.  Makes about 30.

let me count the ways. . .

Let me count the ways. . .

Incredibly decadent :9

Yeah, I wasn’t counting calories with these.

Enjoy!

Angel Food Cake with Chocolate Ganache

So by a friend’s special request I decided to take this cake on.  From all the recipes I read I knew it was going to be a bit of a challenge.  The ganache was my preference out of all the different ways you can present the cake – surprise, surprise.  So if you like angel food and would like to attempt it yourself, here you are :)

You will need:

  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 12 large egg whites
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • Note: For those not use to making angel food cakes don’t get any yoke in the whites, if you do throw out and start over. You can always separate the egg in a glass first. Then if no yoke pour into measuring container.
  • DO NOT GREASE PAN.
  • Use a two piece angelfood cake pan.

  1. Heat oven to 375.
  2. Sift the cake flour and 3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp sugar; set aside.
  3. Combine the extracts in a small bowl and set aside.
  4. Beat egg whites, cream of tartar and salt until it forms peaks.
  5. Add the other 3/4 cup of sugar slowly, then beat on high until stiff peaks form.
  6. Beating on LOW, add flour mixture and extracts slowly. Make sure you fold in the sides and bottom of your mixing bowl.  Spoon into an angel food cake pan.  Move a knife through batter to remove air pockets. Bake 30-35 minutes or until top springs back when touched lightly with finger.  Invert pan onto a tin funnel to cool completely.

    Some angel cake pans have tri-legs so you can invert it onto a countertop but another site said that the moisture from the cake’s heat against the countertop makes the cake shrink and ruins the top.  The space just isn’t far enough.  So per another suggestion I inverted mine on a colander.  This worked just fine!
  7. To remove the cake from your pan run a knife around the rim of the cake pan just to get the ‘crust’ away from the pan.  Then firmly spank the sides of your pan.
  8. While your cake is baking make your ganache – 1-package Ghirardelli semi-sweet/dark chips, 1 c heavy cream, and 1 tbsp butter.  Heat heavy cream on stove until almost boiling (but NOT!).  Quickly take it off heat and pour over chocolate in a glass bowl.  Allow to sit for one minute.  Stir together with butter. (The butter gives it that nice shine. Alternately, vanilla extract does the same thing.)


    It will look a bit “milky” at first.  The first time I made this I was a bit scared of how it would turn out because I didn’t want to lose the bitter flavor.  But rest assured, it was fine.  This will keep at room temperature for 2 days so this is something you can make in advance or if you have leftover and want to use the rest you can.  Just cover with plastic wrap.

    When you’re ready, slowly pour or spoon over cake (on parchment paper).  I decided to do only the top of the cake and let the sides drip down.  Since it is such a light cake I didn’t want to overwhelm it by covering the cake entirely.



    I served this last night with raspberries, strawberries and whip cream.  Fantastic!  I hope you enjoy as well.

    Happy Monday everyone and here’s to another week of cooking :)