Sunday, May 31, 2009

Babygirl's Cake

DSC01649 Babygirl made this yellow cake with chocolate frosting for her sitter, Miss Karolyn's birthday. She found the recipe in her William Sonoma Sweet Treats cookbook.  It's a nice starter cookbook for children.  This is actually the third  recipe she's made from it.  (The other two recipes were much better and the black bottom cupcakes were flat out gooood!) I'd say she made 90% of this cake by herself.  She calls herself a "pro-in-training"!  I call her bossy! 

The recipe calls for the layers to bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes.  This HAS to be a mistake as ours were over cooked at about 40 minutes which was when I started checking it.  I personally wouldn't make this but I would let Babygirl give it another try with me checking it after 30 minutes.


Besides baking the cake she also decorated it herself AND took the photos. I think her beginning photos just might be better than mine.

Baseball update:  We played our last "official" tournament of the season. Unfortunately it didn't end as we would have liked but the team did go down battling. 

Next up for my two is a trip to Cooperstown, NY for 5 baseball filled days.  They are going with their coach.  I'm staying behind. I will though be able to watch two of their pool play games on the internet  and all of Thursday's games if their team advances passed Wednesday. 

I'm sorry I haven't been around this weekend to read what delish yummies you've been whipping up and comment.  I wish I could say this coming week will be a slower one but I've got a TON of baking to do for the kids' end of the year parties.  With the twins in middle school they have 7 classes which means more than one teacher.  Luckily I'm not baking for all fourteen of them just three.  I'm hoping they don't come home from school and at the last minute add a teacher or two!  :)  

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Pig & Whistle Cake

DSC01400 I loved the name of this cake though I'm not sure how it got its name. Definitely a stand out. 

I baked this one afternoon when I came home early from work after picking the Twins up from the bus stop.  On afternoons when it is raining either I or another thoughtful (Thanks Dawn & Kim!) mom picks up my guys along with theirs.

When I first saw this cake I knew it would just be a matter of time before I made it.  It was definitely a no brainer.  Unlike most chocolate doesn't do anything for us.  For my family and I, it's caramel and nuts that make everything better!  It didn't hurt that it would also be an easy one to put together.  (It was.) I'm not certain if we're alone in this.......we love nuts ON our desserts but no so much in the dessert.  Make sense?  Anybody else?

I found this gem on Sandie's  blog Inn Cuisine.  (I also have another tasty treat to tell you about that comes from her blog.)In her post Sandie says that her cake was dense and moist. My cake was moist but it was surprisingly light almost fluffy.  Maybe it was because it was still very warm from the oven?  As the day progressed the weight of the caramel and nuts weighted it down a bit but still, it wasn't overly dense.  Needless to say this cake didn't last until the next morning!


Pig & Whistle Cake (my changes)

Serves 6-8

for the cake

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup half & half (1/4 c. 2% milk & 1/4 c. heavy cream)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F for baking. Spray an 8×11x2″ or 9×9x2″ baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. (I used a 9x9 & lined it with nonstick Reynolds foil that I sprayed with Pam.)

In a small saucepan over low heat, combine butter and half & half; heat until butter is melted and mixture is warmed through. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat eggs until light yellow; add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. To eggs and sugar add warmed butter and half & half mixture; beat until thoroughly combined; add vanilla and mix again. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt; blend ingredients. Add flour mixture to wet ingredients; blend well. Pour batter into a prepared 8×11x2″ or 9×9x2″ baking dish. Bake cake at 350 degrees F for 30-35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean and cake springs back when touched in the center. Remove cake from oven and prepare topping.

DSC01398for the topping

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons half & half (heavy cream) 
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (I added some pecans to get to the 1/2 cup)

Set oven to broil.

Mix all ingredients until thoroughly combined; pour (spread) onto hot cake and broil (in oven) until bubbly and browned (a few minutes will do). Watch cake closely; when mixture becomes bubbly throughout, remove cake from oven and allow to cool (set baking dish on wire rack). As cake cools, the topping will set. Slice and serve cake barely warm or at room temperature. (I went with nice and warm with the caramel still soft! Oh, yea!)


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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Banana and Cream Cake with Browned Butter Glaze

DSC01489 This cake is excellent especially if you're looking to use up some over ripe bananas and don't want to make the standard banana bread.  What makes this so outstanding is the browned butter glaze!  It was finger lickin', spatula lickin', bowl lickin'  GOOD!  (Donna behave!  :)) In that first photo you can kinda see the browned bits of butter, yum! Even my non-glaze or frosting loving son tried getting the slices that had the most glaze on them!

DSC01498 I saw this yummilicious banana cream bundt cake over on the blog, Bunny's Warm Oven.  Bunny and Carol make lots delish dishes, both savory and sweet!  They've also welcomed a new contributor, Cyndy.  If you haven't been by yet be sure to hop over.

Bananas and Cream Bundt Cake with Brown Butter Glaze
Taste Of Home

1/3 cup shortening
1-1/4 cups Domino® or C&H® Granulated Pure Cane Sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/4 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3 medium)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
3/4 cup chopped walnuts (I left these out)
Domino® or C&H® Pure Cane Powdered Sugar

Directions: In a large bowl, cream the shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Add bananas and mix well. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; add to the creamed mixture alternately with sour cream, stirring just until combined. Stir in walnuts. Pour into a greased and floured 10-in. fluted tube pan. Bake at 350° for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Dust with confectioners' sugar. Yield: 12-16 servings.

Brown Butter Glaze
For Glaze
1/2 cup butter
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 tablespoons milk
For glaze:
In a medium bowl, add powdered sugar.
Place butter in a small saucepan. Melt butter over medium heat until bubbly. Cook, stirring occasionally until golden brown.
Remove from heat and pour butter into the bowl of powdered sugar. Add milk and vanilla, stir until smooth.


Friday, May 22, 2009

Almond Toffee Tart

DSC01432 While this tart is called an almond toffee tart it's the hints of orange  mixed with almond that stands out.  Here yet again is a flavor combination I had no idea I would like let alone love.  Almond and orange, who knew?!


Devon had requested two specific desserts for our Easter lunch, lemon bars and almond baby cakes. Though both equally good I had no intentions of making them again. Instead I decided to go with those flavors but in a different and hopefully tastier form.  His lemon bars turned into lemon and mascarpone cream shots and his almond came by way of this delightful almond toffee tart that I found on Our Best Bites. Everything went smoothly making this and truth be told was pretty impressed with myself.  The only thing I wound up having a problem with was the crust.  The edges crumbled when I cut a large slice and fell apart when I tried cutting smaller slices.  I'm not certain where I might have gone wrong but that's why I don't have a photo of it sliced to show you.  DSC01428-1

Almond Toffee Tart
Recipe By

2 C flour
3/4 C real butter, chilled
2 egg yolks
1 1/2 C heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 C sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2TB fresh orange zest (zest from 1 large orange)
2 C sliced almonds
1/4 tsp pure almond extract
11" or 12" tart pan with removable bottom

To make  the pastry:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Spray tart pan with cooking spray and set aside.
If you have a food processor, use it!  (Directions by hand to follow).  Place flour in a food processor.  Cut butter into chunks and add to flour.  Pulse until mixture resembles crumbs.  Add in 2 egg yolks and pulse to combine.  If you're doing it by hand.  Use a fork, 2 knives, a pastry blender or your fingers to incorporate the butter chunks into the flour.  Mix in egg yolks and use your hands to combine the mixture. 
Press pastry dough into tart pan and up the sides.  Bake for 10 minutes and remove from oven.  When pastry is removed, increase oven heat to 375.

To make the filling:
While pastry is baking make filling.  In a pot on the stove top set to med-high heat, combing whipping cream, sugar, salt, and orange zest.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat and add the almonds and extract. (This is filling is very "thin".)  Pour mixture into pastry crust.  (My mixture filled the tart to the tippy tip top.  I set my tart pan on a jelly roll pan.) Cook at 375 for 50-60 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and caramelized.  Remove from oven and let cool on a rack. When it is cool enough to handle, remove the rim of the pan to make sure nothing sticks to it.  You can then store the tart in the pan with the rim on.  Cool completely before serving.  You can make it a day in advance as well, just cool completely and wrap in plastic wrap to store. (I made it the day before and it was fine.)

*Hope everyone has a safe and wonderful holiday weekend!

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Is anyone else having a problem with internet explorer opening up links to various blogs? Both yesterday and today internet explorer will start to open the blog and then tell me the "operation has been aborted". What the heck is that? I'm starting to get real annoyed as this is my free non-baseball filled weekend and I was intending to try catching up on things. :(

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Lemon Curd & Mascarpone Cream Shots

DSC01447Wanna know how far behind I am on posting?  I made these lemon curd and mascarpone cream shots the day before Easter!  Yea, that far behind! Even after posting this one I'll still have another Easter day treat to share with you.  That one will have to wait as I'm just back into town from the Twins' baseball tourney and decided to wrap this one up.  We lost in the quarterfinals.  You win some you lose some. 

Thanks to everyone for Devon's get well wishes!  The tooth's roots weren't cracked or broken (YAY!) but we're still waiting to see if there is any nerve damage.  I take him on Thursday to see a specialist.  Back to the recipe!  I saw and lusted for this parfait after seeing it on the blog, One Ordinary Day.  She made hers as parfaits but I piped mine into shot glasses.  I didn't get a photo of one totally put together as I put the finishing touches on them at my brother's house but I did take a few photos to show ya.

We loved this!  It was nice and lemony but not over the top.  The cream DSC01436 filling is delish and just lightly sweet.  The original recipe called for vanilla wafers but Michelle used a lemon white chocolate shortbread cookie and I suggest using it over the wafers.  I didn't think I liked lemon and white chocolate together but I do! Now this isn't  the quickest recipe and you know how I am about quick and easy but it was well worth it! I felt a huge sense of satisfaction after making all the components (on their own each is easy) and putting it together. 

Recipe: Lemon Mascarpone Parfait

(adapted from relish)

Cream Filling:

8 oz. mascarpone cheese

6 oz. cream cheese, softened

1/4 c. granulated sugar

1/4 c. sour cream

2 Tbsp. grated lemon zest, to taste

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 c. heavy cream, whipped

Lemon Curd:

3 eggs

1/3 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice (I used Meyer lemons)

3/4 c. granulated sugar

4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and room temperature

1 Tbsp. grated lemon zest (I used Meyer lemons)


24 lemon white chocolate shortbread cookies (available at Target)(Their the target brand)

(Optional garnish:  (1) 1 oz square of Bakers chocolate, lemon zest, and cookie pieces)

To prepare the curd, whisk eggs, lemon juice, sugar, butter and lemon zest in a stainless steel bowl over a pot of simmering water.  Cook, whisking constantly, for 10 minutes or until thick.  Remove from heat and strain if necessary to remove any lumps.  (I mixed in some lemon zest I had leftover) Lay plastic wrap on the surface of the curd and bring to room temperature.

Whip heavy cream.  (I find it’s quick and easy to do this when I place my mixing bowl in a larger bowl full of ice. (I set my bowl of heavy cream and  the hand mixer whisk in the freezer while I'm setting everything else up) )To prepare the cream filling, beat mascarpone, cream cheese, sugar, sour cream, lemon zest, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl until smooth.  ( I did this while Gently fold in whipped cream.

To prepare the crumbs, place cookies in a food processor and pulse until fine.  (I lightly crushed mine by hand.)

Layer the cookie crumbs, cream filling, and lemon curd in parfait glasses or in a trifle dish.  Top with sweetened whipped cream, if desired. (I didn't add the additional whipped cream later and my layers went like this cookie pieces, lemon curd, and mascarpone cream.  I garnished them with cookie pieces, lemon zest, and white chocolate curls.  As I mentioned earlier except for the cookie layer I piped in the curd and cream layers.  It made things much neater. To make the tiny white chocolate curls I microwaved the square for 1o seconds to soften and used my vegetable peeler to "peel" the chocolate.)


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Cinnamon Roll Cake

DSC01591This isn't what I originally was going to post but it was so good and so easy I bumped it to the top of the list! I've made this twice in four days and had ever intention of making it again tonight but came up three eggs short.

I found this cinnamon roll cake on Abby Sweets early Thursday afternoon. Abby starts off her post claiming that this would be "the easiest, quickest, and yummiest desserts" I would ever make. Well, she isn't far off the mark. I'd have to say that its tied with monkey bread and the mb muffins for quick and easy. It is though (IMHO) one of the yummiest. Besides being easy, quick, and yummy this cake is also moist, light, and wonderfully cinnamony. I didn't make any changes to the recipe though I've been thinking chopped nuts might be a tasty addition. Mmmmm.


The first time I made the cake was Thursday night for Babygirl's teacher and classmates.It was teacher appreciation week and what better way to show our appreciation than with cake. Babygirl came home from school with the message that everyone loved the cake and wanted seconds. Lucky for us she came home with a bit of the cake leftover otherwise I/we might not have realized how amazing this cake was. I only got to sample the crumbs but my parents who were in town got to try a piece and loved it. So much so I decided to bake another one instead of the Oreo cake or the raspberry swirl tea cake I had intended to make for our Mother's Day luncheon. DSC01589

Cinnamon Roll Cake
Yellow Cake Mix
4 eggs
¾ cup oil
1 cup sour cream
Mix by hand and pour in 13 x 9 greased baking pan.
1 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon
Mix and pour over cake batter. Swirl into batter with knife. (this was not easy to do as the batter is thick)
Bake @ 325 for 40 minutes. (Mine was done in 30 minutes.)Let cake cool 10 – 15 minutes before icing.
2 cups powdered sugar
4 tbsp milk (I used heavy cream and had to add more to get the consistency I needed)
Pour over warm cake.


I also baked Monica's Mom's Tres Leches Cake for another teacher but she told Devon that she wouldn't be in on Friday so it never made it into class. I had mixed emotions about this cake. I liked it (loved the three milk mixture) but I didn't like the boxed cake mix (the recipe called for one) that I used to make it. Everyone who tried it said they liked it but I could really taste that it was made with a cake mix. I'm going to try it again but with a different brand of cake mix. I'd also like to try a homemade version of it.

I've been meaning to tell you guys that I made Artisan Bread in Five Minutes' Olive Oil Pizza dough. Babygirl and I made it two Thursday's ago for a pizza-fest that she and one of her friends were having at the house. To say that it was easy is a huge understatement. The only thing I wasn't sure about was the stickiness of the dough. Once again, being the dopiest bloggers out there, I neglected to take any photos of the girls and their pizzas.

Bad news one of the Twins, Devon, got hit in the mouth with a ground ball. He's going to live but will be in pain for several days and may (I hope not)lose one of his front teeth. I'm going to try to get him into the dentist tomorrow. I should know more afterwards. Wish us luck!

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Saturday, May 9, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Hope your day is filled with good food, family, and friends!

Sorry I haven't been around much.  I've been trying to keep up with reading by I know the commenting has been light.  The Twins have had three or four weekends (lost count) in a row filled with baseball.  That means I'm up earlier and out later on the weekends than I am during the week for work.  In other words I'm tired. This was my off weekend but my parents ( I love you, Mom & Dad!) have been in town from North Carolina so there's no catching up.  :)  See ya guys next week!

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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Em's Hybrid Lemon Bars

DSC01532 For those who may not know...Em is the lady behind the wonderful blog The Repressed Pastry ChefEm is a huge fan of lemons but others (Jamie) call her obsessed. :) A few weeks ago Em posted this recipe and this recipe. Each one was very good in it's own separate way.  Em claimed that the first recipe's shortbread crust was one of the yummiest and the second recipe's filling was near perfect though not (in her opinion) tart enough.  Leaving a her a comment asking for her opinion on which was the best one to make she suggested the brilliant idea of combining the best of each recipe.  Along with her suggestion she also mentioned cutting back on the sugar in the filling.  Because I, too like my lemon bars tart and tangy I went ahead and cut back on the sugar. I'm very happy to say these bars were terrific!  They'll definitely make you pucker up but in a good way. Not overly so but I did think that the sprinkling of powdered sugar on top complimented it nicely.  Usually I prefer mine with it out.  If you like a milder lemon taste  just follow the recipe and use the full amount of sugar.


Around the same time I was whipping up these bars so was Jamie.  Please hop over and check out hers.  I love how she always adds sprigs of mint leaves to her dessert giving 'em that little something extra.  Be sure to check out the original recipes at Em's.

Em's Hybrid Lemon Bars

Makes about two dozen 1-1/2 to 2-inch squares


--The Crust--
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar -- plus extra to
decorate finished bars
1/4 cup cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter -- (1 1/2 sticks) at
very cool room temperature, cut into
1-inch pieces, plus extra for greasing pan

--Crust Directions--

1. For the crust: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 13-by-9-inch baking dish and line with one sheet parchment or wax paper. Dot paper with butter, then lay second sheet crosswise over it. (I used Reynolds nonstick aluminum foil and lightly sprayed it with Pam.)
2. Pulse flour, confectioners’ sugar, cornstarch, and salt in food processor work bowl fitted with steel blade. Add butter and process to blend, 8 to 10 seconds, then pulse until mixture is pale yellow and resembles coarse meal, about three 1-second bursts. (To do this by hand, mix flour, confectioners’ sugar, cornstarch, and salt in medium bowl. Freeze butter and grate it on large holes of box grater into flour mixture. Toss butter pieces to coat. Rub pieces between your fingers for a minute, until flour turns pale yellow and coarse.) Sprinkle mixture into lined pan and press firmly with fingers into even, 1/4-inch layer over entire pan bottom and about 1/2 inch up sides. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, then bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. (I baked mine for less as I noticed it was already golden brown and smelling heavenly after the 15 min mark, so I took it out.)



  • 6 extra-large eggs at room temperature (I used 6 large eggs) 
  • 3 cups granulated sugar (I only used 2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (4 to 6 lemons) (I used 3 regular lemons & 3 Meyer)
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (I used 3 regular lemons & 3 Meyer)
  • 1 cup flour
  • Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

--Filling Directions--

For the filling, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Pour over the crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the filling is set. Let cool to room temperature.  Sprinkle generously with confectioners' sugar and cut.

Note:  I don't know if the filling is normally very "watery" when the recipe is followed (exactly) but mine was.  When I noticed how much I was really worried but it worked out fine. 

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Sunday, May 3, 2009

Angel Cake


This Angel Cake almost didn't happen. As a matter of fact this is the second cake that was chosen by Charity and I's two person baking group.  The first cake we chose was Baked's Snowball cupcakes which are coconut cupcakes filled with coconut cream and topped with a coconut cooked flour frosting. This was my choice.  Sounds good doesn't it but we just couldn't get excited enough about it to get around to making it, maybe next time.  With that cake by the wayside I decided to bypass my turn and let Charity chose the next cake. Charity chose an Angel Cake from the Joy of Cooking.  If you're here from Charity's blog or already ready her post you'll have read that she had issues finding an aluminum tube pan.  Six stores later and still no pan.  Determined to make this cake she finally caved and bought a nonstick one.   Me? I've had a tube pan that I purchased some time ago but never used. I'm finally gonna get to break that sucker in but wait! Charity has mentioned in her emails that she can NOT find a nonstick one.  Hmm, yeah. It got me thinkin'.  Could mine be nonstick?  Uh, yeah. It's nonstick.  Well, I learned from Charity that the aluminum ones are hard to come by if you don't order it online so I just used my nonstick one and prayed that it worked ok.  I think it worked but here's the thing I'm not sure how tall the cake should have been.  Mine only rose to three inches but unlike Charity's mine never sank.  I've never tasted homemade Angel Cake before so I'm not sure if this is what it's supposed to taste like but I do know it tastes waaaaaaaaaaaay better than any store bought or boxed one I ever tasted.  I loved this cake.  Based on my prior experiences with Angel Cake I was prepared to not like it.  I figured like the store bought kind it would need something , berries, whipped cream but it didn't and it's a "healthy" cake! Because I was already behind the eight ball with the pan I went ahead and just made the plain one but I'm going to try some of the other flavors.  There's even a candy bar one! 


Please, hop over to Charity's to see how she faired with her cakeDSC01570 and get the recipe.  She also has some helpful tips. If you like Angel Cake give it a try.  I actually thought it was pretty easy and much better than any store bought one or mix.  The toughest part for me was flipping that hot tube pan over without burning myself or dropping it on the floor.

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Friday, May 1, 2009

And the winner is


Noodlegirl!  Congratulations Noodlegirl!  Thanks everyone for your responses.  Here's what I would rather I post the recipe with my adaptations and provide you with a link back to the blog that inspired me to try the recipe.

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