Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Did Someone Say Spiced Lemon Cake?

You will need:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp finely grated lemon zest plus 6 tbsp lemon juice (takes 2 lemons)
  • 3/4 tsp ground cardamom*
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cup confectioners sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter and flour an 8-inch round cake pan. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Beat butter, granulated sugar, zest and cardamom* with a mixer on medium high speed til light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in 3 tbsp lemon juice. Reduce speed to medium low; beat in flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour.

Pour batter into cake pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Turn onto a wire rack. Let cool, top side up.

Whisk confectioners sugar with remaining 3 tbsp lemon juice until smooth; pour over cooled cake.

And enjoy!

Don't forget, if you have a garbage disposal put the rinds and pulp down it with a handful of baking soda to clean it and eliminate odors.

* I did not have cardamom and did not want to buy a $12 jar so I used 1/4 tsp ground ginger, 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon and 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg.

Source: Real Simple Magazine

Monday, August 29, 2011

Cupcake Decorations

So I checked my e-mail this morning and had 2 mysterious e-mails to me, from me. I opened them and found 2 photos of cupcakes I made about a year and a half ago that I sent myself from my phone...about 3 months ago. Yes, I need a new phone.

So since I haven't had anything to post in a few days I figured I'd throw these up here.

These were for Megan's going away party. You know, the one she had pneumonia during and didn't come to? What a bum. Kidding!:)

Liane helped me make all the roses. We used the Sizzix Big Shot with the 3-D flower die for roses(we got it during black friday sales for a really good price). They were a bit time consuming to make, maybe 2 hours, but came out really cute and the time goes by fast when you do it with someone else. They are just glued to toothpicks and stuck in the cupcake. I love the blue color and the little non perils also:).

Thursday, August 25, 2011

"Stop the Presses!"

How did I not know about the new Muppet Movie coming out soon??????

This looks awesome, I'm not gonna lie.

"I've got cabin fever. I think I've lost my grip! I'd like to get my hands on whoever wrote this script. Si!"

Pepe, you are my Muppet crush. *swoon*

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

"If You Like Pina Coladas, And Getting Caught In the Rain"

Oh Jimmy Buffet.....

First off, I HATE that song.

Secondly, I've never actually had a pina colada.

Third, I used to hate coconut, until I worked at Butterwoods.

Pina Colada Cake

You will need:

  • White Cake (Use a box mix, or make it. Don't matter none to me.)
  • White Frosting (2 cans or make it)
  • 1/2 pint Heavy Cream plus 1 tbsp confectioners sugar
  • 2  1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 1/4 tsp Coconut Extract
  • 1 can Crushed Pineapple (well drained)
  • Rum 
I used a boxed cake mix for the white cake. Work these days has been long and hard. Wait, why am I trying to justify this? There's nothing wrong with a box cake!

Once they are cooled use a serrated knife or cake leveler to level off the top of the cakes(then eat it!). They don't have to be perfect, you just don't want a mound on top.

Whip up your cream and confectioners sugar. After it is whipped add the coconut extract. You can add less or more according to your taste.

It was at this point that Matt woke up abruptly and said. "Allison!!! Was there an earthquake?" to which I replied, "What???" He said, "There was an earthquake!" I said, "Did you feel one?" He said, "Yea...I felt it." Then he zonked out again. I'll have to watch the news today, but I felt no earthquake.

To toast the coconut, lay a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet and spread the coconut flakes out evenly. Heat your oven to 350 degrees (or just leave it on from the cakes). Toast the flakes for 10-12 minutes. The outer edge flakes toast first so I sort of shifted them around after 8 minutes. Keep a close eye on these. They can go from perfectly toasted to burnt to a crisp in a matter of seconds.

They make your house smell sooo good:). Add about a quarter cup of the flakes to your whipped cream once they have cooled.

I put a dam around the bottom layer of cake to help hold the filling in. You can use a pastry bag or a ziplock and just put a ring of frosting around the edge.

I omitted the rum because this is for the Pioneer School lunch ahah. But you could just brush some on the cake before you spread the pineapple on top. I used maybe a third of a cup of the crushed pineapple for a bottom layer. Then spread a layer of the coconut whipped cream on top of that.

Don't make it to high or else the top layer will slide around or the filling will ooze out the sides.

Place the top layer top side down on the bottom layer.

Use an offset spatula to frost the cake. I think it's easiest to use the top side of the spatula to frost the sides. Make sure you fill in any gaps between the two layers. Work your way around the cake holding the spatula at a 90 degree angle. Make sure the frosting goes a little higher then the top of the cake.

Put a big blob of frosting on top and I use the bottom side of the spatula to work my way from the center and spread out to the sides, spinning it as I go.

Meet the edge and close the gap between the top frosting and the sides.

Use the bottom side of your spatula (holding it evenly) and go from the edge, grab the lip of frosting and pull in over the top, scraping off excess frosting. Go back around the sides, evening them out and over the top again if you have to. The nice thing about this cake is that it doesn't have to look perfect because it's all getting covered in the coconut!

Hold the cake over the bowl of toasted coconut, take a handful and press it onto the sides of the cake. Brush off extra as you go. Once the sides are done, cover the top. Go back around and cover up any missed/thin spots. This is messy. But just look at the result! oooo-aaaaa:)

I had enough frosting left over for a bottom border so I used a large star tip and just did a scallop border.


So there was a 5.9 earthquake this afternoon centered near Richmond VA...Matt was right I guess hahah.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I Don't Know What To Believe?

So I just gulped a Sencha Shot....I'm waiting for my belly fat to disappear...Oh wait, that's not how it works? Crap!

I saw this at Wegmans today and thought I would give it a go and then share it with you. I've made the mistake before of seeing something new and interesting at the store and being like, "Hmmm...I'll get 5 of these!" Only to get home, have one and wonder, "What was I thinking, this is disgusting."

We've all heard the numerous benefits of green tea- prevents cancer!, helps cholesterol levels!, aids in weight loss!, antioxidants!, fights free radicals! All very promising things. As to whether or not they are true, I can't say. Overall though, drinking this was not a particularly bad experience. In fact, it was even bearable enough that I'm considering making this an every other day thing. As for the benefits I'll get back to you when my belly fat has vanished (with the aid of some pilates unfortunately) and I have porcelain skin:).

I added maybe 2 tsp of honey to help it go down for the first time. And yes, I am crazy and googled "does honey counteract benefits of green tea". Hey, I'm not doing this for nothing! I couldn't find anything that said yes it does but I will probably wean myself off of it just in case. You could always drink it down and then have a teaspoon of honey as sort of an apology to your taste buds:). Kidding! It really isn't that bad. Pour it over ice and down the hatch it goes. 

One immediate result is that even though it's only been about 10 minutes I've noticed I'm feeling more energetic. I was dragging before I had it. It has 40mgs of caffeine per can. So not quite so much as a cup of coffee but enough to make a difference(enough to get me up off my butt to make dinner).

All in all, I would recommend this if you're looking to try something new that's easy and healthy for your body.

(I think it was $1.29 a can if you're wondering. Go Here for more info.)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Coveted Monkey Bread

I've owed Eric monkey bread for...a very long time now. Since today we're having a dinner for their 5th Anniversary I figured I'd finally come through on my promise (sorry for the long wait Eric).

It's been a really long time since I've made this, but it came back to me like riding a bike. Actually better then riding bike! I believe I'm one of few people who the saying "it's like riding a bike" does not apply to.

Monkey Bread

You will need:

  • 2 (1lb.) loaves of frozen white bread dough (please do the world, and your taste buds, a favor and DON'T use biscuit dough. I don't understand why anyone would?)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Place 2 frozen loaves on a plate sprayed with cooking spray and cover with plastic wrap.Thaw the 2 loaves of dough in the fridge for 12 hours.

Combine 1 cup sugar and the next 4 ingredients in a small saucepan; bring to boil, cook one minute. Remove sugar syrup from heat and let cool. (A special Thank You to Steph for the cute heart shaped brown sugar:) made from the heart measuring cups!)

Cut each loaf into approximately 24 equal portions.

I think I ended up with a few more then 48 pieces.

Combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon in dish; stir well. Roll each piece in mixture and layer dough in a bowl or bundt pan coated with cooking spray. I ended up leaving 5 or 6 pieces out. I felt like there was enough and I didn't want it overflowing once it had risen and was baked. So just use your own judgement.

As you can see, I used a bundt pan. I used to make this in a large glass bowl but it's been years and my mom, sister and I all don't know what happened to the bowl. Just make sure you do NOT use a bundt pan with a removable bottom. You will have a ginormous mess in your oven and a really smelly house.

Pour the sugar syrup over the dough; cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, 35 minutes or until doubled in bulk.

This was after 30 minutes. Uncover and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until lightly browned.

This baked for 30 minutes because half way through I put a baking sheet under it. It was getting awfully high and I didn't want the syrup to bubble over and burn on my oven(it didn't end up doing that anyway). Immediately loosen from sides. Put serving dish on top of monkey bread and flip it over (be careful! It's very hot!!).


Serve it warm. Everyone can help themselves and pull it apart.

I couldn't let those pieces of dough go to waste that I hadn't used for the monkey bread! So I kneaded out the pieces in the cinnamon and sugar mixture and heated up about a 1/4-1/2 inch of oil in a frying pan.

Mmmmm Fried Dough:). This makes me so happy. Let the oil heat up on medium heat til you can see the oil swirling from the heat. Drop in your pieces with tongs and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side. Let them sit on a paper towel for a couples minutes to soak up some of the oil and then eat them!!!!


I might actually say it...this was better then the fair. You could fry them plain and then shake them in cinn/sugar or dust them with confectioners sugar. Or even make a chocolate sauce to dip them in. Are you drooling? Sorry:).

I learned when you are making anything amazing and sugary and bad for you to always have a snack sitting nearby to have. It helps you not to pick at devour what you just made.

And as mouthwatering good the fried dough was, a tomato with salt hit the spot and I didn't over indulge.

Now go make yourself some monkey bread and invite some people over to share it with! Monkey Bread is always better with friends:).

Friday, August 12, 2011

A Rose By Any Other Name Would Smell As Sweet

I apologize, I'm not a very good teacher. Here is a relatively simple how-to for a buttercream rose.
Hold the broad end of the rose icing tip (#104) at the center of the platform. Squeeze out enough icing to form a small cone with a wide base, twirling the tip as you rise.

Rotating the rose platform slowly as you work, squeeze out a second cone about halfway up the sides of the first cone, broad side of the tip down, holding the bag at a 45 degree angle.

To shape the small petals of the icing rose at the center, hold the end of the icing tube horizontal to the platform and squeeze three over lapping bands of icing around the second cone. Make sure your petals are curling out rather than in. If they curl in, or slat in, you end up with a cabbage:).

Squeeze out a second row of five icing rose petals just below the first row, turning the tube away from the cone as you work so the petals stand out slightly.

A traditional Wilton rose is 3-5-7. That is, 3 petals then a row of 5 then a row of 7. But really any combination will work. This frosting was a bit too soft so it was difficult to do that many. I also am a bit rusty:(. But you get the idea. Now practice, practice, practice!!

This makes me want to whip up a batch of frosting and completely cover a cake with dozens of roses!!

I made these this morning with some left over frosting. It was easier to work with because it was more stiff. Just thought I'd add a couple more examples. The second one is made with tip #101, it makes a much smaller rose.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Zucchini Muffins: Round 1

There are a lot of vegetables that I don't use on a regular basis...more like at all. So, in an effort to expand my  vegetable use, and do it in a way that isn't completely boring I decided to test out some zucchini bread/muffin recipes.

This first one is on the healthier side. I'm sad to say it, but my brain and my taste buds are not geared for thinking "yummm this is healthy and so delicious!"

I give these a B+. They aren't eyes-roll-back-when-you-take-a-bite awesome, but they're pretty healthy, so what do you expect.
****Edit**** I had one of these the next day for breakfast and I'm bumping it up to an A! I think my problem was eating it warm with butter last night...not a good idea.

Kathie's Zucchini Muffins

You will need:
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups grated zucchini
  • 1/2 cup fat free milk
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Sorry for the crappy pictures, I made this at night and the lighting was particularly awful. One of these days I'll take some time to work on my photography skills. 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grate zucchini and set aside.

In a large bowl combine the first seven ingredients (through salt), and mix together with a whisk.

In a separate bowl combine the zucchini and next 4 ingredients (through egg) and mix well. Looks yummy huh?:)

Make a well in the center of flour mixture and pour in milk mixture, stirring just until moist. Spray 12 baking cups or line with cupcake liners. Spoon in batter. Mix together sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over top of the muffins. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes.

Remove from pan immediately and cool on a wire rack.

They seem like they'd be good for a mid-morning snack or with some fruit for breakfast. I may freeze them in baggies of two so I can defrost them as I want them.

Look out for Round 2! I'll be making zucchini lemon muffins with not quite so much attention to my caloric intake:):).