Tag 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.

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.

Cranberry-Pecan Muffins

I needed homebaked breakfast food so here we go. . .

Ingredients:

1 c all purpose flour

3/4 c whole wheat flour

1/2 c sugar

2 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp ground cinammon

1/4 tsp salt

1 egg

3/4 c fat free milk

3 tbsp canola oil

1/3 dried cranberries, coarsely snipped

1/3 c chopped pecans, toasted

1. Preheat oven to 400 and prep muffin pan.  In a large bowl stir together all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.  Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and set aside.

2. In a medium bowl whick together egg, milk and oil.  Add this mixgture to flour mixture and stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy).  Gently stir in dried cranberries and pecans.

3. Spoon batter into muffin cups about half full.  Bake for 12-15 minutes and cool on wire rack for 5. Makes 12 muffins.

Nutritional Information:

Calories: 176

Total Fat: 6 g

Cholesterol: 18 mg

Protein: 4 g

Carbohydrate: 27 g

Fiber: 1 g

Sodium: 134

Grandma Nakielny's Shortbread Cookies

With everyone making cookies these days, from Reeni to ReTorte, I felt the need to get in on the action.  I went to my grandmothers tried and true shortbread cookie recipe – and a true childhood favorite of mine.

Be warned, this is VERY easy to make.

1 lb. butter

1 c. sugar

4 c. flour

Again, this is really easy….

1. Cream the margarine with a hand mixer until light and fluffy.  Add the sugar and keep creaming.  (This will take a little while. )

2.  Gradually add the flour.  When the dough leaves the side of the bowl and does not stick to your fingers, it is ready.  If it sticks to your fingers, add 1 to 2 more tablespoons of flour.

3.  Pat into an ungreased cookie sheet.  Cover pan with wax paper and gently roll the surface with a rolling pin (this will compact the dough).  Remove the wax paper and pierce the dough, at half inch intervals, with a fork.

4.  Put into a cold oven.  Set oven to 275 degrees and bake for 60 -70 minuter, or until light golden.

5.  Remove from oven and slice immediately.

Grandma Nakielny's Shortbread Cookies

Grandma Nakielny's Shortbread Cookies

A few things to note:

- The creaming of the butter and sugar is what gives the cookie its texture.

- These can be stored in an air tight container or tin for a while and still remain fresh.

I hope you enjoy!

UPDATE – Monica posted her Shortbread Cookies and I am very impressed.  There is a nice twist with her recipe!

Cinnamon and Brown Sugar Spiced Rum Cake

I decided to do a small variation on the Spiced Rum Cake. This version is for those who cannot eat/do not like nuts.

The recipe for the cake and glaze is here. In this variation, however, you make a Cinnamon and Brown Sugar topping.

You’ll need:

3/4 cup of dark brown sugar

1 Tbs Cinnamon

1 Tbs Flour

And now for the complicated part – mix all three together then dust the batter with the mixture before placing it in the oven!

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Enjoy!

Spiced Rum Cake with Walnuts

Two weeks ago I magically got involved in a “bake off” with a good friend at work.  Our two departments have a semi-important meeting tomorrow, we thought we would have a little fun, and the next thing I know he and I are fighting for bragging rights.

I love baking.

Initially I was going to make a double layer white and chocolate cake but then the rules were set – we could not make an item we were comfortable with. After some thinking I decided, hey, I’m going with a spiced rum cake!

It is hard to find a recipe that doesn’t call for a box mix, so I went with my own version:

Spiced Rum Cake

2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs

2 cups cake flour

1 package of instant vanilla pudding

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar

4  eggs

1/2 canola oil

1/2 cup water

1/2 Captain Morgan spiced rum

1 cup chopped walnuts

Directions

1) Pre heat your oven to 325 degrees

2) Mix your flour, instant vanilla pudding, salt, baking powder,  sugar, eggs, oil, water and rum until there are no lumps in the mixture.

3) Grease a 5 by 10 baking pan, pour in mixture

4) Sprinkle chopped walnuts on top of cake

5) Bake for 45 minutes at 325, then raise the heat to 350 and bake for an additional 15 to 25 minutes – you want to have the nuts brown to release the flavor.

6) Once finished, remove the cake from oven and let sit for 10 minutes and add the glaze (see below).

The Glaze

1 Cup of powdered sugar

1 table spoon of melted butter

1 teaspoon Captain Morgan Spiced Rum

Warm water (as needed)

1) Mix powdered sugar, butter and rum.

2) Add water by the teaspoon to your desired consistency.  Note  - chances are you will not want to go beyond 3 teaspoons as the consistency will become to watery.

3) Drizzle over cake and let set.

And the result…

Spiced Rum Cake with Walnuts

Spiced Rum Cake with Walnuts

It took me some tweaking to get my white cake recipe down, not so in this case. First time out I managed to knock it out of the park.

I am blown away by this creation.

The vanilla pudding helps hold in the moisture and the nuts add a flavor that compliments the rum perfectly. This is  a cake that can be taken everywhere – parties, dinner gatherings, work events… You will not be disappointed in any way.

There is a variation to this recipe I am trying, expect the post tomorrow.

The Chocolate Chip Scone Experiment

Feeling a bit experimental, I wanted to try making scones.  My baking experience is limited to the wonderful white cake I made for easter (and yes, it was wonderful).  So, I turned to my personal search assistant – Google – for a Chocolate Chip Scone recipe.  Enter this bit from The Joy of Baking
http://www.joyofbaking.com/SconesChocChip.html
Not trying to be negative here but the experience well less than joyful.
The Prep
Following ever step listed in the recipe I thought things were going well until I look down at my dough and realize I have a overly wet, overly sticky ball of what should be scone dough.  It was almost as if there was too much milk and not enough flour.
My initial reaction was to add more flour but I resisted, thinking to myself “Ok, just follow the recipe”.  I ball up, knead the dough twice, and cut the product into triangles and get ready for some baking.
15 to 20 minutes later the scones are done.
The Scones
ACK.
During the prep the dough appeared to be too moist; however, the actual scones tasted as if there was too much flour added – they tasted doughy.  I thought, maybe, this was due to the fact that I was tasting the scones shortly after they came out of the oven so I decided to wait until the next morning and give them another try.
Yea, the ACK principle still applied for me.
I’m not sure what the issue was with this experiment.  Was it the recipe?  Was it the prep?  Was it some unknown variable?
While I’m disappointed with the outcome I will be giving it another try in the near future. Oh, and yes, I did have pictures of the scones (they looked good, trust me) but I have misplaced my camera.

Feeling a bit experimental, I wanted to try making scones.  My baking experience is limited to the wonderful white cake I made for easter (and yes, it was wonderful).  So, I turned to my personal search assistant – Google – for a Chocolate Chip Scone recipe. Enter this bit from The Joy of Baking.

Not trying to be negative here but the experience well less than joyful.

The Prep

Following ever step listed in the recipe I thought things were going well until I look down at my dough and realize I have a overly wet, overly sticky ball of what should be scone dough.  It was almost as if there was too much milk and not enough flour.

My initial reaction was to add more flour but I resisted, thinking to myself “Ok, just follow the recipe”.  I ball up, knead the dough twice, and cut the product into triangles and get ready for some baking.

15 to 20 minutes later the scones are done.

The Scones

ACK.

During the prep the dough appeared to be too moist; however, the actual scones tasted as if there was too much flour added – they tasted doughy.  I thought, maybe, this was due to the fact that I was tasting the scones shortly after they came out of the oven so I decided to wait until the next morning and give them another try.

Yea, the ACK principle still applied for me.

I’m not sure what the issue was with this experiment.  Was it the recipe?  Was it the prep?  Was it some unknown variable?

While I’m disappointed with the outcome I will be giving it another try in the near future. Oh, and yes, I did have pictures of the scones (they looked good, trust me) but I have misplaced my camera. Maybe someone with some more experince can suggest some tips for future scone experiments.

Easter Egg White Cake

I have no problem with experimenting… when it comes to food that is.  Recently the baking bug kicked in and I thought to myself “Hmm… how could I make a classic white cake?” Having no desire to do a box cake, I decided to do a little research on what I could use.  One thing leads to another and a bunch of reading later, I came up with the following recipe:

Dense White Cake

  • 1 ½ sticks of salted butter, softened
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 ¾ cups of sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 ½ tsp French Vanilla Extract

Now, I know what you may be thinking… YES… buttermilk.  The characteristic of the typically sour dairy product produces a unique flavor especially when introduced to the French Vanilla.

Pan Prep

Before you start mixing everything together, make sure your pan is prepped. As a non-professional baker, what do I know, but here is what I do. Using Crisco, grease the bottom on the pan so that all surfaces are covered.  Take wax paper, enough to cover all surfaces of the pan, and place into the pan and press so that coverage is as even as possible.  Cut off any extra wax paper that extends over the edge of the pan to prevent browning/burning once it gets into the oven.

Directions

Pre-heat your oven to 350.

Bowl number two – mix your butter and sugar together until the mixture does not retain the “grainy” aspect of the sugar.  Set aside.

Bowl number two – mix flower and baking powder. Set Aside.

Bowl number three – mix buttermilk, egg whites and French vanilla. Set aside.

Slowly mix the flower/baking powder into the butter/sugar mixture, adding the milk/egg mixture to keep the butter/sugar base as moist as possible.  Once all contents are mixed, pour into pan.  Bake for for 30 minutes and test.  If your cake is not finished, back for 5 minute intervals until finished.

White Cake Baking Away

White Cake Baking Away

Once your cake is finished, let it cool for 5 to 10 minutes.  Place some wax paper on the counter and turn the cake over onto the wax paper.  It should come right out of the pan.  You will need to remove the wax paper that lined the pan from the cake but that will be no isssue.

The cake, fresh from the pan.

The cake, fresh from the pan.

Time to decorate.  It’s important to point out that 24 hours passed from the time the cake came out of the oven until the decorating started. 

 How you want to do this is up to you.  We decided to use fondant purcahsed from a baking suply company, then paint the fondant.  

Here is the fondant going on.

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Fondant looks.... so smooth.

Remember how I said I like to “experiment?”  Well, I also attempted to make butter cream frosting for the first time.  It was going to be used as the bonding agent between the cake and the fondant.  Yea, well…  the butter cream frosting did NOT work out.  One wouldn’t think it’s that hard – some confectionery sugar, some butter, some milk…  Yea, no.  Not so much.   I ended up having to use a can of frosting from the store.

The finished Easter Egg Cake

The finished Easter Egg Cake

In the end, I think this turned out extremely well all things considered.  I have a number of things I want to try moving forward, maybe some variations on the cake recipe, but an overall successful first attempt.

I hope you enjoy Easter!

Update – one thing I forgot to say previously.  This cake tastes better the longer it sits around.  Obviously, there would be a point where it would start to go stale but I baked a practice cake and it tasted so much better on day 5 than fresh out of the oven, it really caught me off guard.