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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Friendly Rose Cake

Yellow roses are suppose to represent friendship and I believe this cake is very friendly.

I mean, who would not want to be friends with a chocolate cake with light yellow buttercream? The chocolate cake was one of my favorites-One Bowl Chocolate Cake. I'm not sure why it's called "one bowl" because you really use 2 but I don't question Martha's methods. I modified my favorite buttercream recipe and it is now my FAVORITE favorite buttercream recipe.
Basically it was this:

4 sticks of unsalted butter, softened
8 cups of confectioner's sugar
6 tablespoons of heavy cream
4 teaspoons vanilla (I used clear for this recipe)

Blend the butter until smooth and add one cup of confectioner's sugar at a time. Add heavy cream and vanilla and blend until smooth.

Of course these "rose" cakes have been all over the baking blogs lately but I hadn't seen one quite like this. Most were one color and I thought it would look lovely to do a variation of the same shade. Yellow and chocolate seemed to be a good combination and I'm glad I chose it instead of something more predictable (ahem, pink). Only having one 1M tip made it a little difficult since I couldn't alternate the colors and had to do one at a time. I went back and filled in what I could with the tip and added a few more roses to hide some holes. This is my new favorite tip and I'm excited to use it next time I make cupcakes. Chocolate cupcakes with yellow roses would be lovely too!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Brownies and Baking Confessions

I have a secret baking confession. Despite being very OCD about using the best vanilla, whole milk, and good cocoa I always make brownies from a box. Well, always until this week.

I could have possibly gone the rest of my life baking brownies from a box, (preferably Betty Crocker Supreme Brownies with the Hersey's Syrup) if it hadn't been for Jon buying me Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented for Christmas. These guys were slightly on my baking radar but I hadn't tried any of their recipes until we made their Chocolate Whoopie Pies (which I forgot to photo and blog). Now their Swiss Meringue Buttercream is my go to frosting of choice. When I saw their brownie recipe from their first cookbook I knew I had to change my ways. The chocolate to butter to vanilla to dark cocoa ratio was unbelievable so I knew it had to work. And work it did, the chocolate flavor that you will experience is better than any brownie/cake experience I've had. They are perfectly fudgy and have that thinner than paper crust on top. What is it about that little crust that is so great?

The modifications I made on this recipe was this: it called for 11 ounces of dark chocolate. Dark chocolate means 60-85% cacao. For me I thought it would be much easier on me (and my wallet) to buy one 11.5 ounce bag of bittersweet (60%) chocolate chips. I bought Ghirardelli since that is the best brand I can find in Salisbury and they are better than most. And that extra half ounce? An extra half ounce of chocolate never hurt anyone! For the dark cocoa I used Hershey's Special Dark that I already had on hand. Oh, and that little tip about buttering your pan, then lining it with parchment paper? Best trick ever.

I'm completely won over. Goodbye little packets of syrup. And in case you still aren't convinced to make these brownies, they are on Oprah's List of Favorite Things. Isn't that enough?

The Baked Brownie - Adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking

1¼ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons dark unsweetened cocoa powder

11.5 ounces (1 bag) dark chocolate chips

1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 teaspoon instant espresso powder

1½ cups granulated sugar

½ cup packed light brown sugar

5 eggs, at room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the sides and bottom of a 9×13-inch glass. Line the pan with parchment paper.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt, and cocoa powder together.

3. Put the chocolate, butter and instant espresso powder in a large bowl and set it over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and smooth. Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water and add the sugars. Whisk until completely combined, then remove the bowl from the pan. Cool until room temperature.

4. Add 3 eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Add the remaining eggs and whisk until combined. Add the vanilla and stir until combined. Do not overbeat the batter at this stage or your brownies will be cakey.

5. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate mixture. Using a rubber spatula (not a whisk), fold the flour mixture into the chocolate until just a bit of the flour mixture is visible.

6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs sticking to it. Let the brownies cool completely, then lift them out of the pan using the parchment paper. Cut into squares and serve.

7. Store at room temperature in an airtight container or wrap with plastic wrap for up to 3 days.

Baking Lust: Fresh Florals

I've been saving these up for a while now on Pinterest. I know edible flowers are impressive but they still don't beat the real thing in my book.

This cake is pretty much perfection. And the glass cup holding the flowers?! Great idea.

Buttercream and Baby's Breath.

Love this one!

Another pretty purple arrangement.

Love this small cake surrounded by flowers on the glass cake plate.

So rustic and pretty!

Source: via

Chocolate ganache with peach flowers makes a lovely combination too.

Love the yellow with the bright pink and orange flowers.

Monday, June 20, 2011


Thank goodness for summer because my baking time was really being compromised this school year! I'm trying to come up with a list of all I want to bake/accomplish this summer. For now this is all I've done:

Peach & Blueberry Crumbles for Father's Day- except I made one big crumble instead of individual ones. Still just as delicious. I could eat up that crumble part forever.

I'm attempting at least one big baking idea each week. I have a lot of ideas saved up that I have not had time to attempt for no real reason other than practice. This week my goal is a cake with fresh flowers. I'm a little obsessed.

Oh, and I want to go to Paris.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies

Everytime I see a recipe including Nutella I save it. Who knows how many Nutella recipes I have stashed away somewhere on my computer (mostly starred from various blogs). However, after seeing this one yesterday afternoon I knew I had to make this cookie ASAP.

I have to say, this is probably the best cookie recipe find ever. On it's own it would make a great chocolate chip cookie. Then add in the Nutella and it's perfection. Thin and crisp but chewy on the inside- that's how I like my chocolate chip and this fits the description. Super easy to make. I pretty much did the entire recipe during commercial breaks of the Real Housewives of New Jersey. I know, I know, Nutella is from Italy so it's a great connection. I was thinking the same thing!

**The super cute paper doily was purchased at Bake it Pretty in Asheville, NC.

Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup Nutella (I maybe threw in an extra tablespoon or two...)
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment.

Whisk the flour, baking soda and salt together in a small bowl.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Add both sugars and cream on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. With the mixer on low speed, add the egg and vanilla and beat to combine. Mix in the Nutella until the dough is smooth.

With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients to the mixer a little at a time. Beat just until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl then add the chocolate chips. Beat briefly just to distribute the chips. (I refrigerated the dough for about an hour here, but it's not necessary.)

Use a small cookie scoop to portion the dough on the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between them. Bake for 7-8 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies are set (the tops may still be soft). Transfer baking sheet to a wire rack and let the cookies cool for about 5 minutes before transferring them to the racks to cool completely.

Makes 24 cookies.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Key Lime Pound Cake

I was so excited to try it this morning when I woke up that I couldn't even wait til after I went running or to take a photo.

Spring break has finally arrived and I promised myself that with spring break would come more baking. It's not that I haven't baked anything since my last actual baking post (was that the Caramel Cake in January?!) but just not managed to put baking+photos+blog post all together.

When I first saw this cake in Southern Living magazine I knew I had to bake it. Key Lime Pie, well let me rephrase that, Good Key Lime Pie is one of my favorites and you know Southerners love their pound cake so it was a win-win scenario. It's very springtime. The cake has just a hint of lime and the glaze is very tangy. The best part: not dry at all! I hate a dry pound cake.

The cake is easy to make, that is if you like juicing key limes. It's been a while since I've made a Key Lime Pie so I had totally forgotten how annoying that is. After about the 15th lime and maybe 1/8 cup of juice (half of the total) I tried to imagine I was a giant and was juicing regular size limes with my giant hands. That really didn't make it any more fun. Then I was overly anxious to see how much juice I had so I poured it in my 1/4 measuring cup. Halfway there. So I kept on juicing. A few limes later I was overly excited again so I picked up the halfway full measuring cup of lime juice. I hit it on something sitting nearby and juice spilled everywhere. Ahhhh! A few expletives and dozen key limes later I had enough and thus ended my juicing. Well, until I had to make the glaze...

Key Lime Pound Cake

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 6 large eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 1/4 cup fresh Key lime juice

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh Key lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1. Preheat oven to 325°. Beat butter and shortening at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.
  • 2. Stir together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla, lime zest, and lime juice. Pour batter into a greased and floured 10-inch (12-cup) tube pan.
  • 3. Bake at 325° for 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 20 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 to 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack.
  • 4. Prepare Key Lime Glaze, and immediately brush over top and sides of cake. Cool completely (about 1 hour).

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Cake and Dress: Hydrangea

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Bake Lust: Perfect Match

Friday, February 25, 2011

DIY Cadbury Eggs

Yes, please!

spotted at the kitchn

Monday, January 31, 2011

Banana Pudding Cake

Years ago, probably in high school, I made banana pudding for my dad. It was a baked banana pudding which is apparently the proper way to make it. Well, don't tell that to my dad. He straight up told me he preferred my grandmother's instant vanilla pudding, cool whip, refrigerator version. Not sure if I've ever made baked banana pudding since then! I learned my lesson. When it comes to something my grandmother makes and my dad likes, don't mess with it.

So it makes no sense that when my grandmother called me on Saturday to see if I was going to make my dad a birthday cake I decided to make him a banana pudding...cake.

I've never made a banana cake and even though I love bananas, I've never loved banana bread/baked things. This cake changed my mind though. Very good. Very. Very. The vanilla wafer toffee was made but I didn't like the look of it so much (although it tasted yummy) so I just used vanilla wafer crumbs. Oh, and the vanilla whipped cream? What isn't there to love about that?

Banana Pudding Cake
from Sugar Plum~Makes 10 servings
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup oil
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large bananas, mashed
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large egg yolks
3/4 cup buttermilk

Vanilla Wafer Toffee
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups coarsely chopped chopped vanilla wafer cookies

Vanilla Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour bottom and sides of a 10-inch springform pan.

In a medium mixing bowl, sift together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large mixing bowl, using a mixer on medium speed, beat together butter, oil, sugar and banana until creamy - about 1-2 minutes. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla until combined - about 1 minute. Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually beat in flour mixture, alternating with buttermilk, until combined.

Place batter in pan; bake 30 minutes or until well risen and golden brown. Cool completely on a wire rack.

To make the Vanilla Wafer Toffee, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat; whisk in brown sugar, cream and salt and bring to a boil, whisking frequently. Keep whisking and cooking for a minute or two, until sugar is dissolved. Remove pan from heat and stir in vanilla wafers until well coated. Scatter wafer pieces over a greased cookie sheet. Bake 8 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. Cool on waxed paper, breaking toffee into smaller pieces.

To make the Vanilla Whipped Cream, beat cream, sugar and vanilla together in a large mixing bowl, using a mixer on high speed, until stiff peaks form.

To assemble the cake, first remove sides from springform pan. Pipe or spread whipped cream over cake. Sprinkle vanilla wafer toffee on top of cake.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Baking Lust: Bake + Vintage

My dream come true: Open a bake/vintage shop.

This one is cute. Red Velvet Art. Before and after seen on Design*Sponge.

Black and White Krispie Treats

I love homemade rice krispie treat. Maybe one day rice krispie treats will be the new hip baked good, like cupcakes, macarons, and whoopie pies have been the last few years. Except that it isn't reallly baked, but you know what I mean.

Earlier this week I saw a recipe for Hot Chocolate Rice Krispie Treats. I was immediately sold but when I got to the grocery store I just couldn't commit to cocoa krispies. It took me back to 3rd grade when my grandmother had 18 types of cereal and we ate a different one each day. Anybody remember Reeses Peanut Butter Cup cereal? I swear it looked like dog food but I still ate it. And Trix? I always felt bad for the rabbit and how they never gave him any cereal so I boycotted it. Really, I just didn't like it, but that was another good reason. I couldn't see me eating a bowl of cocoa krispies and instead just bought the regular kind. Actually the store brand, because I was feeling cheap that day.

So once I got around to making them I had to figure out another way to make them chocolate since I also felt too cheap for hot chocolate mix. If I drink hot chocolate I like the real thing. I hate how hot chocolate mix never dissolves all the way. So basically, I scrapped the whole recipe.

Here is what I did:
Black and White Krispie Treats
1/4 cup of butter (half a stick)
1 bag of marshmallows (plus 1/2 bag for later)
4 oz. good semisweet chocolate (1 bar)
6 cups rice krispies

Spray baking pan with cooking spray. Chop 1/2 of chocolate bar and melt with butter in a large saucepan over low heat. When chocolate and butter are melted add 1 bag of mini marshmallows. Continue to stir until marshmallows are melted and incorporated with chocolate.
Remove from heat and add 6 cups of rice krispies. Now add 2 cups of mini marshmallows. Stir in until slightly melted. Pour into prepared pan and press down. Immediately spread 2 cups of marshmallows on top of krispies and press down. Let cool.
Melt remaining 1/2 bar (2 oz.) of chocolate over a double boiler until melted. With a spatula drizzle over krispies and marshmallows. Let cool and cut into squares.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Caramel Cake: Revisited 1 Year Later

Friday, on the way home, I had a baking craving. I love baking cravings. I had no idea what I was going to bake but I was going to bake something. Somehow caramel cake popped up into my head. I thought of my first and last caramel cake attempt. It was a good cake but thinking back on it it was a little cakey. I should have split those 3 layers into 6 and upped the caramel to cake ratio.

Here is the sappy, sticky, sweet part:
Last year when I made the cake it was a random baking event and ended up taking it to a small engagement party for two friends who had just recently gotten engaged. I'm thinking about all of this driving home and I remembered a conversation I had that night with newly engaged Heather about how I had a date the next night with an art director in Charlotte. That's what I called him I think. Our first date was January 10th. So, I'm making caramel cake the same weekend as I did last year. The first weekend in January. The weekend of my first date with Jon. That is why I had caramel cake on the brain (or heart).

Here is the recipe I had saved and forgotten about. It was okay. Didn't quite live up to my expectations. The cake was ever so slightly dry and the caramel was good but maybe because I forgot to add the vanilla at the end it wasn't as good as it could have been. Oh, and the presentation...I had to tell Jon it was supposed to look like that! Jon and I took it to poker night and when he told the sad story of how I didn't make him a birthday cake we turned this into a 5 month late celebration. I told him to look sad in the photo.