March 31, 2011
I have been in a funk. A baking funk that is. I love to bake and most of the time I have a long list of items I want to try and make. Recently though I felt so pressured to bake what other people wanted that I wasn’t baking for my own enjoyment anymore. When it comes to paid orders I’m obviously completely happy baking what the customer wants and I’m also happy doing that when it’s not a paid order, but recently it has become too much of what everyone else wants. I want to experiment with weird ingredients, new baking equipment, and challenging recipes. What everyone else wants seems to being boring traditional recipes. The other day I was out to lunch and ordered a strawberry lemonade and I thought to myself “what if I made a cake this flavor?”. So I set out to do it, and I made one heck of a cake. I may be getting out of the funk.
2 C A.P. Flour
1 1/2 C sugar
3 1/2 tsp. B.P.
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter or shortening
1 C milk
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp lemon zest
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour baking two 9″ or 8″ round pans. Measure all ingredients into large mixer bowl. Blend 1/2 minute on low speed. Scrape down sides. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Pour into pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Cool. Once cooled slice each cake in half. Put the first piece of cake on a round 9″ or 8″ cake board. Fill a pastry bag with a medium sized tip with some frosting. Pipe around the edge the edge of the cake. Then fill with lemon curd. Then repeat for the next two layers. Then put the last piece on top. Do a crumb coat and then put the cake in the fridge for 15 minutes. Then take out and put final frosting layer on and decorate.
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 pound unsalted butter, room temperature
4 extra-large eggs
1/2 cup lemon juice (3 to 4 lemons)
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
Using a carrot peeler, remove the zest of 3 lemons, being careful to avoid the white pith. Put the zest in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the sugar and pulse until the zest is very finely minced into the sugar.
Cream the butter and beat in the sugar and lemon mixture. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and then add the lemon juice and salt. Mix until combined.
Pour the mixture into a 2 quart saucepan and cook over low heat until thickened (about 10 minutes), stirring constantly. The lemon curd will thicken at about 170 degrees F, or just below simmer. Remove from the heat and cool or refrigerate.
2 C butter room temp
6 C confectioner sugar
2/3 C seedless strawberry jam
In a mixer beat the butter and sugar together. Once combined at the jam and beat until combined.
March 6, 2011
Since I bake so much, I usually send the majority of baked goods either with my dad to work or sometime with my mum. Recently though I have started baking for my book group that comes over to my house. It’s really fun to bake new things for a new group of people. I had a whole towering plate of these and thought that I would have too many left over but to my surprise there were only two left. I think those two were eaten by my dad that night. The light bit of cream cheese swirled into the dark chocolate cake bites was a terrific combination.
1/2 cup, 2 Tbls cocoa powder
1/2 cup, 2 Tbls flour
6 oz butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 large egg yolk
5 tbsp sugar
1/8 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350F.
Grease a 9×13-inch baking pan. Sift together cocoa powder and the flour. Melt the butter over low heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar. Add the eggs, 2 at a time stirring after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until combined. Pour batter into the prepared pan. In a mixer, beat together the cream cheese, egg yolk, sugar, and cinnamon. Drop dollops of the cream cheese mixture on top of the brownies. Using dull knife swirl the cream cheese mixture in. Bake for 30 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Enjoy.
February 27, 2011
I pushed my foot against the gas pedal ever so lightly as the car rolled slowly over the gravel road. I brought my foot off the gas pedal when we were greeted by a group of cows lazily walking on the road, every now and then chewing on some near by weeds. We continued on to the top of the hill. My best friend since childhood and I wanted to go somewhere that we could discuss photography and she had the perfect place in mind. Since it’s winter it had rained the last few days, but that day was sunny and warm. We parked the car on the side of the road and walked to the edge of the hill. We were met with a scene of rolling green hills, old farms in the distance, the cows we passed on the way up, and glittering sun looking down on us. We lingered around for awhile talking about photography and other daily activities. We weren’t worried about what else was going on, we just focused on the view and simple things discussed. These are the moments I live for, truly enjoying the little things. I’m constantly thinking about how grateful for having the family and friends I have and where I have gotten to grow up. These breakfast buns are one of those little things I’m grateful for. Snuggling up with good book, a bun and some hot tea on a rainy day; something I think I have lacked in my busy life these days. The cream cheese makes these buns awesome, so moist and the little bit of strawberry flavor is great addition. I would suggest putting it into regular muffin pans because these were a bit to big to my liking, but great for sharing with a friend.
Strawberry Cream Cheese Breakfast Buns adapted from here
Bun1 3/4 a.p. flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound (one 8 oz package)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup of sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Topping1/2 cup strawberry preserves
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and lightly flour 9 bun pans or large muffin cups.
In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese, butter, and sugar until smooth about 3 minutes. Add the eggs and beat well. Add the dry ingredients in two parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. Spoon the batter into the bun pans or muffin cups, filling them about 2/3 full. Drop 3 small dollops of strawberry preserves into the batter, forming a decorative batter. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the bun comes out clean. Serve once cooled.
February 20, 2011
Today I finally got to meet Bakerella! It was rather rainy in the city today and I got to the book store a bit too early; so I walked around in the rain and went into some scrumptious bakeries. Once it was time for the signing I was second in line, which was exciting in itself. I met the lovely Armi who was first in line. Luckily we didn’t have to wait to long. When Bakerella came into the Store, I started to shake I was so excited, it’s safe to say I was star struck. Once I sat down to get my picture taken with her I calmed down. When I was handing her my book she said “You’re BakingMonster.” I was so shocked she knew who I was, that alone made me start to shake again. She was so nice and I’m glad I finally got to meet her! After I said goodbye I ran into Starbucks where my parents were. Man do I feel bad for the people sitting there. A slurry of words came tumbling out of my mouth as I told my parents each and every detail. I still have not calmed down yet from meeting her.
Above is Chronicle Books where the signing took place. All the employees were so nice.
After the signing I went into American Cupcake to snap some photos. Above are all the cupcakes. Some flavors were cotton candy, butterscotch, bubble gum and pixie stick.
The awesome decor.
The menu, yes they had a cotton candy machine there!
The bar where they had candy themed cocktails and did wine pairings with the cupcakes!
Lastly above is a Carmel Macron from La Boulange Bakery. I have never had a macron that was so good. It has a soft Carmel center. The shell was crunchy and then feathery on the inside with bits of toffee on top.
It was an awesome day and on the way home I met Bubba Paris an ex 49ers player!
February 15, 2011
Today is the 2 year anniversary of this blog. I started it my senior year of high school. I made this Lemon Cake. It’s very interesting to go back and look at how the blog has changed through the months and years. If you look at that lemon cake post you can see how horrible my photography was then, not that mine is at it’s best now either but my point is we learn from our mistakes. I have learned lot of different things through the blogging world that I had no idea about when I first started. The reason I love blogging even if it’s just about baking you’re able to go through the pages of posts and see what was going on in your life at the time and how your baking has changed. I’m very grateful for all the great people who follow my blog and the great bloggers that have taught me so much. I made this Blueberry and Meyer Lemon Mascarpone tart because it is full of all the flavors I love. It’s really simple to make and it’s the perfect dessert after a big Sunday dinner.
Ingredients for Filling:
1 tablespoons finely grated lemon rind
1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1 small container of blueberries
icing (confectioner’s) sugar, for dusting
sweet shortcrust pastry:
1½ cups plain (all-purpose) flour, sifted
4 oz cold butter, chopped
½ cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
3 egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon iced water
To make the pastry, place the flour, butter and icing sugar in the bowl of a food processor and process in short bursts until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. While the motor is running, add the egg yolk and vanilla. Add the iced water and process until the dough just comes together. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and bring together to form a ball. Flatten into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. Preheat oven to (350ºF). Roll the pastry out between 2 sheets of non-stick baking paper to 3mm thick. Line a lightly greased 12 inch loose-bottomed round tart tin with the pastry. Trim the edges and prick the base with a fork. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Line the pastry case with non-stick baking paper, fill with baking weights or rice and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the paper and the weights and bake for a further 10 minutes or until golden. Set aside to cool. While the tart is baking, make the filling. Place the mascarpone, lemon and icing sugar in a bowl and mix well to combine. Spread onto the base of the cooled tart shell, top with the blueberries and dust with icing sugar to serve. Serves 8–10.
February 9, 2011
Penuche Cake, Brown Sugar Cake, Starlight cake; many different names for a very simple cake. Growing up this was the birthday cake all my cousins and I got on our birthdays from our Grandma. There are 12 of us so it makes sense that she would make a simple cake. This cake is like wine it gets better with aging. The not so sweet cake gets a sweet caramel taste after a few days of sitting. The Penuche frosting is simply a brown sugar frosting smeared quickly inside the cake and then poured on top of the cake quickly pushed around to perfection before the frosting hardens. The cake not being too sweet is perfect since the frosting is like eating a hunk of brown sugar fudge. This cake is great when you have little time, ingredients and money. Whenever I bite into a slice a swarm of memories take over my mind as the cake and frosting melt into a sweet harmony of flavor. Continue reading
January 23, 2011
The new semester has started and it’s a really strange feeling. The weather has been like summer non stop. I drive with the windows down, I have been to the beach multiple times to tan, I feel like I’m in summer session. The idea that there are four months ahead of me is scary to think of. While I soak up the sun, I’m going to bake like it’s summer. I made these petite Eclairs with a Lemon Mousse filling. Since the mousse was so rich, the size made these perfect. When my mum started describing them to some people at work they requested she bring some in, they were delighted to say the least. Continue reading
January 16, 2011
After the holidays we had a lot of leftover eggnog. It’s so rich that I can hardly drink any, but it’s tradition to get it. I loved these muffins because have these were baked the whole house smelled like Eggnog. Of course I added cinnamon chips to these which was the perfect touch. Continue reading
December 31, 2010
I remember one new years eve I got up at about five in the morning. I was maybe 12 years old. I quietly took out all the ingredients to make Challah. I gingerly kneaded the dough, and then as if it were a new born baby I wrapped the dough in a towel and let it rest. By that point my parents had woken up and we all went for a walk. The thick morning mist lingered around us as we took in the last day of the year, before everyone woke up.
When we entered our house the warmth of the heater quickly welcomed us in. I braided the bread as if it were my only job, and then gently put it in the oven for it to bake. It was the first yeasted bread I had done on my own. I put so much time into it, only focusing on the task at hand. I think that’s something we forget how to do. In such a fast paced world it’s hard sometimes to focus; but what I find and experience when I focus on one thing at a time is delightful; and when I’m baking something a whole lot more delicious. Putting Challah it the circular shape is done for the New Year, and the long braided look is done all year long.
I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year and that it would bring a fresh start for you! Some things to think about this New Years: 3 things you accomplished this year! 3 things you would like to accomplish next year! Continue reading