Friday, October 16, 2009

Power Fail Fail

No, it's not a stutter.  We had a power fail fail.  The power went out at my office for 2 hours.  Right before I was going to heat up my lunch.  So we sat around, waiting until 3:00 to see if it would come back on before being released from our office prision.  It came back on at 2:47.  Poo.  So I'm here until 5:00!  Happy Friday everyone.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Living in Florida we don't see much of a season change.  As September turns to October the grass stays green, the palm trees still wave their branches, and the air is hot (upper 90's all week with high humidity).  We had a cold front two weeks ago.  I think we had a low of 72.  Brrrrr.  But, I think fall is on it's way.  Why?  Because we have a low of 59 on Sunday (with a high of 80.  woo hoo).  No!

I can't depend on weather to get me in the fall mood so I depend on other factors.  
Tastespotting - October brings the shift from light fruit desserts, tarts, and salads to everything pumpkin!  Soups, stews, must be cool somewhere!
My wardrobe - I can't wear boots and heavy cable-knit sweaters yet, but I have started to shift from my light colored work clothes to my fall colors.  Orange, green, brown...yum.  I just have to choose fall type clothing that is light weight.

This being said, I love the holiday season.  I don't know Christmas with snow, I only know Christmas in a t-shirt.  But the sights, smells, and sounds put me in the spirit.  Come on November, I'm ready for you!

Friday, October 9, 2009

I don't like raisins

How 'bout you?  I will eat them plain sometimes but I loathe them in anything.  Oatmeal Raisin cookies?  Why not oatmeal chocolate chip (the 8th wonder of the world in my opinion).  

This morning I got a bagel sandwich from my favorite coffee shop.  Whole grain bagel, sausage, and a fried egg.  I'm eating said sandwich only to discover shrivled little bits of gag in the bagel.  Why?  Why?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Chocolate Espresso Fudge Cake

So here's the deal.  I don't post a lot because I'm waiting to make something worth posting or getting the right picture of it to post.  I'm done with all that.  The great food bloggers of today did not start out perfect.  This is a total learning process.  Practice.  Failure.  Success.  It really doesn't matter.

I look at the blogs that I love and they have three things in common.  Great food/recipes, great pictures, and personality!  Speaking of personality this recipe comes from Jen at Use Real Butter.  Yes, she posts STUNNING pictures and amazing food but she is also super witty and is a great read.  

The moral of my disjointed story?  Blog readers come to a blog to see a great recipes and pictures and stay for the person.  So here I am world!  I'm a 22 year old working a 9-5 in Florida.  I love to dance and bake.  If I go a week without baking something I get a little crazy...just ask my family!

So without hesitation I present to you the Chocolate Espresso Fudge Cake...

This cake came together very nicely.  Of course, as usual, I started it after dinner and was putting on the final touches after midnight.  
I think my favorite part of this cake (besides the icing pattern on top!) was the textural difference between the buttercream and the ganache.  The middle layer was iced with the ganache.  It just had a thick, decadent taste and feel to it.  I used 60% dark chocolate for the ganache.  It was a good choice.  It kept it rich without being overwhelmingly sweet.  
The dots on the top were just fun to eat as the smooth and creamy buttercream combined with the think, rich ganache.
A piped ring of buttercream was a must to keep the ganache from escaping.

Crumb coat!

I used my cake leveler to make a grid for piping the top.  
My grid wasn't perfect but it was close enough.  

I was so happy with this cake.  It is one of the prettiest things I've ever made (in my opinion) and it tasted of pure happy.  If you ever try it you won't be disappointed!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Chocolate Souffle Cupcakes

I made the cupcakes for a co-worker's birthday.  I ask everyone what their favorite desserts are and I try to cater to that for their birthdays.  His is a chocolate souffle from a local restaurant.  This was the best I could do.  
They were amazing after a few seconds in the microwave (even better straight from the oven!)  The coffee infused whipped cream was a wonderful addition.  Thank you Zoe!

Recipe from  My notes in red.
The basic recipe comes from page 393 of Carole Bloom’s The Essential Baker
Makes about 48 mini cupcakes or one 9 1/2″ cake (I used regular cupcake tins)
6 ounces unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup coffee beans 
1 pound bittersweet chocolate finely chopped
2 teaspoons pure vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
6 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Prepare a 9 1/2-inch spring form pan or mini muffin tins with butter, set aside. (I used cupcake papers)
In a small sauce pan heat the heavy whipping cream and coffee beans over low heat until simmering. Remove from heat and let sit for at least 15 minutes. The longer you allow them to steep the stronger the flavor.

Strain the beans from the heavy cream through a fine mesh sieve.

Take out 1/2 cup of the cream for the cake recipe and refrigerate the rest for the garnish.

Heat the 1/2 cup of cream and the butter together in a medium sized sauce pan over low heat, just to a simmer.

Once the butter is melted turn off the heat and add the chopped chocolate. Stir gently then cover the pan and allow to sit for five minutes.

Gently whisk the cream and chocolate together.

It should be nice and smooth with no lumps of unmelted chocolate. Set aside and allow to cool slightly.

Meanwhile whip the egg yolks and 1/3 cup of sugar together for about 5 minutes.

They should be pale in color, very think and able to hold a ribbon on the surface when you hold up the beater and allow the mixture to fall into itself.

Gently fold the whipped egg yolks into the chocolate mixture.

Using a rubber spatula to combine them gently. Set aside.

Whip the egg whites and 1/3 cup of sugar together, until they reach stiff, but not dry peaks.

In three additions fold the whites into the chocolate mixture.

Working gently so as not to knock all the air out of the whites. This is what will cause your cake to soufflé.

The mixture should be shiny, smooth and light in texture.

Pour into cake pan or scoop into muffin tins.

You can also use cupcake papers.

Bake for about 20 minutes in mini-muffins (35- 40 minutes for 9 1/2-inch cake pan) or until the cakes are set and slightly cracked on the tops.

Let the cakes cool on a rack for 5 minutes and then turn them out of the muffin tins. If baked in the spring form pan then release the sides.

Whip the coffee scented cream with 2 tablespoons powdered sugar until stiff peaks. Fit a pastry bag with a star tip and pipe the cupcakes with a generous amount of the cream.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Tiramisu Macarons

This was my first attempt at the notorious macaron.  I found the recipe on (aka, the best site ever!)

I will admit, they weren't even close to perfect...but they were GOOD!  I highly reccomend the recipe.  I had to make my own almond flour (above), but other than that, it was an easy/fastish recipe.
I didn't get feet.  And my macarons didn't flatten out at all really.  The batter was too dry.

But let me tell you, the flavor delivered!  I used marsala wine instead of rum in the filling.

Tiramisu Macarons (recipe adapted from L. A. Times then by Weeva then by Sarah at SweetEndeavors)
* 1 c + 3 tbsp almond flour
* 2 c + 3 tbsp powdered sugar
* 4 egg whites
* 3/4 tsp cream of tartar
* 4 scant tbsp sugar
* 1/4 c instant espresso (more if you prefer a stronger flavor)
* Mascarpone Filling (recipe below)
* 6 oz dark chocolate, shaved

Line two 17-by-12-inch baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside (you may want to fold over the edges to keep the paper flat). In a food processor or coffee grinder, grind instant coffee granules into powder.

In a food processor, blend the almond flour, powdered sugar and coffee for 1 minute. Sift the blended almond mixture directly into a medium mixing bowl. Set aside. (This can be made up to 2 days in advance.)

Fill a small saucepan halfway with water. Bring to a simmer, then remove from the heat. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the egg whites until foamy. Place the bowl over the pot of hot water and whisk quickly until the egg whites reach 100 degrees on a candy thermometer.

Remove the bowl from the pot of water and whisk in the cream of tartar. Place it on a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment. Whip on medium speed for 2 minutes, then gradually beat in the sugar. Continue whipping for 6 minutes until the egg whites come to medium stiff peaks (tips droop only very slightly) and are shiny.

Remove the bowl from the mixer. Add egg whites to the almond mixture by gently bringing the flat side of a rubber spatula through the center of the egg whites and up the opposite side of the bowl, folding the dry ingredients over the egg whites. Repeat the same motion 50 times, turning the bowl a quarter turn each time.

Fit a pastry bag with a medium round tip (No. 4) and fill with the mixture. On the parchment-lined baking sheets, pipe 1.5-inch rounds (the batter will be slightly wet) by holding the bag at a slight angle and releasing small amounts of batter. Allow one-half inch between cookies; they will spread slightly.

Keep the piped cookies at room temperature, uncovered, for 1 to 2 hours. (This will help form a skin.) If in a high humidity area, place cookies in oven turned off but with oven light on. Remove cookies from oven and heat to 325 degrees, placing the racks in the center and lower shelves of the oven.

Bake the macarons for 12 minutes, reverse the trays on the racks and rotate. Bake 8 to 10 minutes more, or until firm and not wet. Cool on a rack.

Mascarpone Filling:
* 6 oz mascarpone cheese, softened
* 6 tbsp butter, softened
* 1-1 1/2 c powdered sugar
* 1/4 c marsala wine

In a stand mixer, beat the mascarpone cheese until smooth, 1 minute. Add butter and rum and mix until incorporated. Slowly add powdered sugar to mixer, until filling is thick without being stiff. (The mascarpone should outweigh the sugar flavor.)

Match up fully-cooled macarons for size and shape. Pipe filling on bottom macaron and sprinkle with shaved chocolate. Place top macaron on chocolate and press lightly.

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Sorenator

Meet the most adorable boy in the world.  This is my nephew Soren at 2.5 weeks old.  I LOVE HIM!  I'm sure that I will post more pictures in the future.  I am quite a proud auntie.  He is such a good little boy.  And he is a genious...I'm sure of it.  Mr. Bright Eyes is ready for the world.  He has already been in one car crash and slept through it.  Nothing can scare this kid.  The dog barks in his ear and he sleeps.  His little expressions crack me up.  I could sit and stare at him for hours and not get bored!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

What have I been up to?

I am not a blogger yet.  I update about once a month, or less.  I am trying to be better at it.  

This year for Chrismtas I made homemade vanilla and bottled it up to give to friends.  I bought my vanilla at Vanilla, Saffron Imports.  I got about 100 beans for $25!  I have been making vanilla and giving it away like crazy!

Below is a cookie I am working on.  This was the first attempt.  It is a raspberry white chocolate chunk, dark chocolate chip cookie.  It needs a little work but it has great potential!

That's about it for now!

Cake Wrecks

If you haven't experienced Cake Wrecks then go NOW!  Leave my blog, and go.  It is the funniest site, ever!  Jen updates it daily with professional cakes gone wrong.  I have officially "wreckported" my first find.  This was a CCC (cupcake cake) made by Publix.  I will let you know if it gets accepted to the Hall of Fame at Cake Wrecks!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Ghost Poo

Well, my first attempt at making a carved caked was a total fail!  Ha ha.  I wanted to make it tapered like a topsy turvy cake.  Well, that sorta worked.  I filled it with a Kahlua mousse and topped it with buttercream.  So far, so good (not great, but good)

Then came the modeling chocolate.  Sounds simple... 10oz chocolate chips melted, 1/3cup corn syrup.  Mix, chill.  Mold.

This stuff turned to goo as soon as I touched it.  Then it hardened as soon as it hit the cake or I put it down.  My original plan for the cake was to have "fondant-type" circles and maybe fondant lollipops or a spider or two.  Simple.  Cute.

When the modeling chocolate failed I decided to go with it.  (Since it was already after midnight and I had work in the morning)  It would have taken less time to just make some marshmallow fondant and do it right.  So, I used the drippy chocolate to "drip" down the side of my cake.  Why?  I don't know.  It was late.  Then I decided I didn't like how the top of the cake looked so I ripped off some of the slime puddles (and cake and icing that had adhered to it)  Now I was left with a big hole.  Hmmmm, I thought, I should make a stand up ghost.

Word to the wise...NEVER MAKE A CHOCOLATE GHOST!!!!  

Now my cake has a giant turd with eyes and a creepy smile.  Great.  Oh well.  It's 1:30 am by now.  I go to put it in the outside fridge...It doesn't fit.  Solution?  Smash the turd down about an inch.  Now I have a smashed turd with smooshed eyes and a creepy smile.
This morning I open the fridge to find the cake has cracked around the turd in two places.  Oh well, I will either make a bit of marshmallow fondant tonight before the party to make a proper white ghost, or I will serve the turd cake in all its glory.

Please, enjoy.  And laugh.  I am!