Archive | October, 2010

Match Made in Heaven

31 Oct

There are so many things that pair perfectly with chocolate…… chocolate and nuts, chocolate and caramel, chocolate and pretzels, chocolate and mint, chocolate and more chocolate…. But I’m not sure if any of them can beat chocolate and peanut butter. It’s a match made in heaven. When I saw a peanut butter fudge recipe on bakerella.com, I KNEW it would be amazing. If you like Reese’s candy (and who doesn’t?!?!?) I guarantee you will love this. It’s easy to make, but it does require your constant attention. You don’t want the mixture to scorch. Here’s the link to the full recipe: http://www.bakerella.com/peanut-butter-fudge/

Here are the things you will need: sugar,margarine, evaporated milk, chocolate chips, peanut butter, vanilla, and marshmallow creme.

Start by heating the sugar, margarine, and evaporated milk until it comes to a boil.

This needs to boil (on medium) for 4 minutes. These four minutes are not a time for any multi-tasking. You want to stir this constantly while boiling, because if you don’t it could scorch.

After the 4 minutes are up, remove from heat and stir in the chocolate chips. The mixture will be pretty thick once the chips are added.

Once all the chips are melted, pour it into a mixing bowl and add the vanilla and marshmallow creme and mix it together.

Pour this mixture into a greased  pan. The recipe says to use a 9×13 inch pan. However, in the future I will use a smaller pan. The fudge was VERY good, but it was pretty flat. I think a nice thick piece of fudge looks much nicer. 🙂

Now rewind and start back at the beginning. Combine the sugar, margarine and evaporated milk, boil for 4 minutes, and then remove from heat. The only difference this time is that you’re adding creamy peanut butter in the place of the chocolate chips. Once the peanut butter is incorporated, transfer to a mixing bowl and add the vanilla and marshmallow creme.

Pour this batch right on top of the chocolate batch and let it cool to room temperature.

That’s all there is to it! Once it’s cool, just cut into squares.

See what I mean about it being flat though? I cut this into fairly large pieces since it wasn’t very thick.  But next time when I use a smaller pan, I’ll cut smaller squares. I hope you take the time to try this! Christmas will be here before you know it, and this is a perfect fudgy treat to share with friends and family. Of course, you don’t have to wait until then. 😉

Next up: Chocolate cupcakes with mint icing

Random Thought of the Day: What was the best Halloween costume you’ve seen? Super Mario Brothers were pretty popular in my neighborhood. I saw 3 sets!

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Gameday Cakepops!

24 Oct

I hope some of you have had a chance to try making cakepops. They are a lot of fun to experiment with, and I have a feeling that I’m just getting started 🙂 I decided this week that I wanted to venture into different shaped cakepops. Seeing as it is football season, that’s where I started. First you start with crumbled cake. For the basic cakepop instructions, visit www.bakerella.com

Add just enough icing to make a texture that is easy to shape.

Then use your hands to shape footballs. If you ever played with PlayDough as a kid, you have all the skills you need for shaping cake balls. No special training required. 🙂

These will need to sit in the freezer for about 15 minutes to firm up before inserting a lollipop stick. Here’s where I had a decision to make. Which way should I insert the stick? I decided to try both ways, and see which I liked best.

My thought was that if I inserted the stick so that the football sat horizontally, it would look most natural. The only problem was that the treat bags I normally use to individually wrap these cakepops are not wide enough for them to fit this way. So, I tried a vertical football too. After seeing both, I decided that a vertical football just didn’t look as good. I’ll just have to figure out a different way to package them. 🙂 Although, the vertical one probably would be easier to dip.

Here’s a horizontal football cakepop after it’s been dipped in chocolate.

So far it’s looking just as nice as I’d hoped! Now it needs some threads. I happened to have white chocolate on hand, so I decided to use that. I melted it in a disposable piping bag, then cut off a tiny bit of the end so that I could squeeze the icing out.

I realized as I was making these that the white chocolate just doesn’t work as well as I thought it might. The chocolate bark that I used to dip the footballs hardens up very quickly. The white chocolate just never seemed to really “set up” and get firm enough. Next time I try these, I’ll use white Candy Melts instead.

All done!

One more  picture, with a more appropriate background. 😉

Go NOLES!

I’ve already seen a couple of GREAT ideas for Christmas cakepops. So you will be seeing more cakepops in the near future. 🙂

Up next: Peanut Butter Fudge

Random Thought of the Day: What kind of candy will you buy for Trick or Treaters? ?? 🙂

The End.

Short and Sweet

16 Oct

That’s how this week’s post is going to be. I nearly forgot to take any pictures of the cake at all, and I don’ t have very much time on my hands right now to type out long, funny stories. So I’m going to give you a short and sweet post today….hopefully next week I’ll have time to write something really creative.

The cake is called Hummingbird cake. Ever heard of it? I hadn’t until about a year ago. I found the recipe on cakecentral.com. Here’s the link. http://cakecentral.com/recipes/1643/hummingbird-cake-ii

I really like the taste of this cake (although the title left me a little worried the first time I heard it). It’s got bananas, walnuts, and pineapple. It’s iced with a cream cheese frosting and it has a taste of cinnamon, so it reminds me a little of a carrot cake. Except I don’t really like carrot cake. 🙂 So maybe I should say this is more of a cross between carrot cake and banana nut bread. The frosting and texture of the cake is similar to carrot cake, but the taste is more like banana nut bread.

Like I said, I almost forgot altogether that I needed pictures of this cake. So….I didn’t get any of the cake mixing process. Here’s one that I shot about 10 minutes into baking.

Although the recipe says to bake for 30 minutes, I’ve found that it actually takes closer to 40 minutes. Here’s how it looks when it’s finished.

The icing is SUPER easy. And very rich. 🙂 I love cream cheese icing. Start by creaming butter and cream cheese (make sure both are softened).

It looks a little soupy at this point, but once you add the powdered sugar it with thicken up quite a bit.

An added bonus to this recipe is that you will have just a little icing left over once the cake is covered. Perfect chance to lick the bowl. 🙂 I’m telling you……this icing is good!

There you have it! No special decorating skills required. If you’d like to try a variation of this recipe, try adding some coconut. A friend of mine says she loves hummingbird cake with coconut, because it gives it a little more of a tropical taste.

Next week, I promise to actually decorate something! Either a Halloween cake or special version of cake pops. And I’ll spend more than 5 minutes writing the post. 🙂

Random Thought of the Day: I’m loving this cooler weather!

The End. 🙂

That Guy Rocks!

8 Oct

Guy Fieri, that is. 🙂 I watched his show one day on Food Network and saw him make a pouncake that looked amazingly delicious. I thought to myself: Guy doesn’t really seem like the poundcake-baking-type. He’s all big and tough, so if he is on TV showing a poundcake recipe, it must be really good. I thought I’d try it myself, and I *highly* recommend that you do the same. I’ve only made it once, so I hope it wasn’t just beginner’s luck with the recipe. But it was very, very good. I took it to the school where I teach so I could share it with some of my co-workers. One of the ladies there told me that it was the best poundcake she’s ever had in her life. And I didn’t add any specials extras to the recipe, so Guy has clearly got this thing down pat. Here’s the link if you’d like to print it. (Trust me, you want to print it).

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/guy-fieri/golden-pound-cake-recipe/index.html

Personally, I don’t care for cranberries, so I didn’t make the cranberry glaze. But I did think that a berry glaze sounded nice. I love strawberry, so I looked up a strawberry glaze recipe on the Food Network site. I ended up using the glaze from this Sandra Lee recipe. It went well with the poundcake, but honestly……the cake doesn’t even need any kind of topping. It is awesome just standing alone. If you’d like to make the strawberry topping, you can find it here.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/sandra-lee/cheesecake-petit-fours-with-creamy-strawberry-glaze-recipe/index.html

You start by creaming butter and sugar. LOTS of butter and sugar.

Then you’ll add eggs, vanilla, and lemon and orange zest. My mom gave me a nifty little zester for my birthday. I can’t remember if I have ever posted it to the blog or not, so I’m showing it off now. 🙂 It makes very quick work of the zesting. You just scrape it down the side of the fruit, and it has little teeth that rake off the peeling. Of course, if you don’t have one of these, a grater will work just fine as well.

Next comes the alternations of cake flour and buttermilk and cream. It made quite a thick batter. This was my first experiment with a pound cake, so I was hoping it was supposed to be this thick and I didn’t mess up somewhere along the way!

I usually take a short cut  and spray the pan with cooking spray instead of taking the time to actually butter and flour it. However, I thought that with this thick of a batter, I better go the extra mile. The batter smelled heavenly, and I did not want to take any chances that it would all stick to the insides of the pan.

Into the oven it goes!

Interestingly enough, this recipe says to NOT preheat the oven. You put the cake in a cold oven and then set the temperature. I don’t know if that’s the norm for poundcakes or not. Anyone know?

This is the beauty that emerged almost an hour and a half later. After letting it cool in the pan for a while first, I flipped it out onto a cooling rack to let it cool down to room temperature.

The glaze consisted of strawberry jam, cream cheese, sugar, and lemon juice.

It has to boil for five minutes. I kept worrying that it would burn and stick to the bottom of the pan, but it didn’t.

Put the two together, and you have one heck of a dessert. Or, leave the poundcake alone and you still have one heck of a dessert. 🙂

Coming up next: Hummingbird Cake

Random Thought of the Day: Today at my school we voted for Teacher of the Year. Doesn’t that seem a bit early? The lady who won definitely deserves recognition. She works hard every single day, and her students are lucky to be in her class. But really, if the voting happens before the first report card is even sent home, how can we know who the Teacher of the Year is for the 2010-2011 school year? Really, you kind of have to judge based on mostly last year. I think the teacher who won deserves the award and would have gotten it had we voted later in the year, so I guess it all comes out the same. I just think it’s a little odd…

Rush Order

2 Oct

As promised last week, I made a banana pudding flavored cake. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to make it as pretty as I would have liked. 😦 I was in a big hurry to get it finished before time for small group to start. As it turns out, I didn’t make it to small group afterall because I never got directions to the new location. So I guess I could have spent more time on it and decorated it all beautiful….but at least I snapped lots of pictures for you to see. 🙂

The banana pudding flavored cake consists of banana cake, pudding filling, and whipped cream for icing. Throw in a couple of mini vanilla wafers, and you can’t get much better than that. Of course, regular sized vanilla wafers could work just as well. I just think the mini ones are cuter. 🙂

It starts with ripe bananas…

…add all the basic cake ingredients: sugar, flour, eggs, vegetable oil, blah, blah, blah. I don’t have an electronic copy of the recipe. But if you really want it, give me your email address in the comments section. I’d be happy to send it to you.

Mix it all together and pour it in three 9″ pans. The batter smells a lot like banana nut bread.

Bake it until it becomes a shade of brown that I like to call “delicious.” 🙂 

(“Delicious brown” is just a little darker than “golden brown”)

After the cakes had time to cool, I used a cookie cutter to cut a little section from the middle. I just wanted to double check that it was cooked all the way through. Then I added a row of mini vanilla wafers to build a wall around the cake. The wafers will help keep the pudding in place.

I mixed up some instant vanilla pudding and added a few vanilla wafers pieces to it. This will be the filling of the cake.

Keep stacking alternating layers of cake and the pudding.

(This was about the point when I started licking my lips.)

Now time to make some whipped cream for the icing. The trick here is to chill your mixing bowl and beaters in the freezer for about 15 minutes before you start. I don’t remember how chilling it helps, but I know it has to do with the texture. You’ll need heavy whipping cream, vanilla extract, and powdered sugar.

Spread this over the entire cake. Since the icing is genuine whipped cream, you’ll want to keep the cake refrigerated until you’re ready to serve it.

This is where I’d planned to pipe some borders with the whipped cream, but I didn’t have time for that. I added some of the mini wafers around the edges instead, since that was a much quicker option.

And this is what it looks like all sliced up. It was very yummy. : )

Sorry that I’m too lazy at the moment to type up the entire recipe. But like I said, if you want a copy of it just leave your email address in the comments. I’ll get around to typing it up and sending it to you. 🙂

Next up: Poundcake

Random Thought of the Day: Ok, so this isn’t completely random. It does have to do with the blog. I’ve never tried the poundcake recipe that I’ll be making in the upcoming week. But I’ve seen great reviews about it online. It is a recipe from a Food Network Star. Anyone want to guess who? 🙂