Friday, December 30, 2011

Candied Fruit

I decided to make the fruitcake wreath yesterday and opened up the recipe to see if I could put it together really quickly.  Lo and behold, the first step is to soak the fruit in vodka for a week before starting the cake.  I looked at what type of fruit I needed:

"Glacéed mixed fruit, preferably lemon and orange peel" and "glacéed red cherries."

I had to idea what "glacéed" meant but soon discovered that it means candied fruit. Then I read Rose's blurb and it said that she recommended high quality glacéed fruit from France because it tastes the best.  I'm impatient and cheap so I decided to make my own candied fruit.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

73/99: The Bostini


I've been waiting to make this one for awhile.  I really wanted to use a similar cup to Rose's because hers has a cool handle but I haven't come across one.  Tonight I had some friends over for dinner and decided to finish with the Bostini despite the lack of a custard or cappuccino cup.  In the end, I think my cups turned out just fine.  They had some pretty drawings of the side of them that had been etched in glass that I thought would look nice.  You can't really see them in the picture though.

For dinner I decided to make Dorie Greenspan's "my go-to beef duabe" (beef stew slow roasted in red wine, brandy, and herbs) from her book "Around My French Table."  Note to readers- the book is fabulous.  There was recently a Julie and Julia style blog community going on around it called Tuesdays with Dorie that I followed... it definitely inspired me to put the book on my Christmas list.  Now that the group has finished they are starting a new book called "Baking with Julia" in February.  I have twenty something cakes left so I'm seriously considering joining up with the group.  I would love to finish this one before I take on another project but I don't know if I can get that many cakes done by FEBRUARY!! We'll see...

Monday, December 26, 2011

72/99: Heavenly Coconut Seduction Cake

I had a special request from my Aunt Mary this year for Christmas: coconut cake.  I looked through the book and found that this cake is my last coconut flavored cake in the book. It didn't look as exciting as the Southern (Manhattan) Coconut Cake with Silk Meringue Buttercream or as the Coconut Cheesecake but it's coconut and so it seemed like it would be good nonetheless.

My mom and I made a long list of everything that we would need to make for parties and family get togethers each day of the week leading up to Christmas. Since there was so much to do, I decided to make the cake on Thursday and stick it in the refrigerator till Christmas. Sadly, that wasn't the best idea.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Buck-eyes (peanut butter balls)

One of our Christmas traditions is the Travis family Christmas questionnaire.  It's basically a Christmas list that asks sizes, store preferences, etc. but also includes general life questions.  For example, this year included "What's the best thing that's happened this year?" and "What is your favorite holiday food?"

My brother in law put Mom's famous buck-eyes as his favorite holiday food item. Their family is moving to Costa Rica this year so it seemed fitting to make Nate's favorite holiday food item since he won't be around for awhile.

Buck eyes are pretty easy. I used the Kitchen Aid and it might have been a mistake because the mixture barely fit in there by the end but it worked anyways. Here's my mom's famous recipe that she's used to use at the annual Christmas Party so if anybody gets hungry for some Reeses type snacks, try this one out:

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas Eve

I really shouldn't be on my computer right now because I have a list of about 20 things to make before the Christmas Eve service tonight, but I got a new camera for Christmas and I've been snapping photos all day.  And seriously--what kid wouldn't want to play with her new toy at Christmas before doing the grown up stuff?

Part of the Travis family tradition is to open one gift on Christmas eve.  The gift is always pajamas and that way we get to wake up in Christmas morning with our new pajamas already on.  I'm all upset this year because we're doing Santa after church since my sister has to do Santa at her own house on Christmas morning.  I announced this afternoon that everyone was going to have to change back into their Christmas pajamas after we get back from church but my family wasn't quite as enthusiastic as I am about it. So much is different this year.  For instance, now that we're all grown up, my nieces and nephews can't stay up late enough on Christmas eve after our Christmas eve party so we've switched to a Christmas eve breakfast. But I secretly kind of like it that way--good food all day for 2 days straight.

Anyway, my pajamas this year said "I majored in wine tasting" (hah funny mom... but yes true). And, as I already mentioned, I got a new camera that my mom let me open today so that the whole event could be properly documented! Yay! Now my pictures will look much better.

But before I go crazy putting tons of pictures for you to look at, check out this video in celebration of Christmas.  Some kids from New Zealand (?) made their own version of the Christmas story and it is the cutest thing you will ever see:

But if you're ready for some more pictures (and since I haven't made any cakes that are ready to be photographed) here are some pictures of my lovely family during our little Christmas Eve traditions:

Friday, December 23, 2011

71/99: Holiday Pinecone Cake

I've been really nervous about making this cake.  My mom volunteered me to make a cake for our family's yearly Christmas get together so I figured that would be a good time to make it.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Cinnamon Apple Cake

My niece is the sweetest, most adorable little girl that you will ever meet.  I came over to my sister's house this afternoon and my niece attacked me out in the driveway.  She was so excited to see me and said that she had a HUGE surprise for me.   She brought me inside and gave me a foil wrapped package and said in her cutest 5 year old little girl voice that she wanted to make a cake for me because I make so many cakes for people but nobody ever makes a cake for me.  I know, don't cry too hard.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

70/99: English Gingerbread Cake

Well, Ladies and Gents, I am over half way through finals: 3 down and 2 to go.  I studied all day yesterday for my English final that was scheduled for today. Then last night, my roommate asked me if I was ready for my Social Stratification final scheduled for today since I have that class at the same time that she has another class.  I told her that she was confused--my English final was scheduled for today and my Social Stratification final was scheduled for Thursday.

Well, the good news is that she wasn't mistaken.  The bad news is that I was. I had studied all day long for the wrong final.

I complained for a couple minutes before collecting myself.  I made a pot of coffee and went to my room to study.  The coffee definitely didn't work.  Since I get my best studying done in the morning I resolved to go straight to bed so that I could be rested and ready to study hard in the morning.  I set 5 alarms to go off every 10 minutes starting at 6:30.

And guess what happened? I slept through them.

That's when I decided that my final was doomed and gave up. Don't get me wrong, I studied for a few hours at Lusa and then decided that going into my final cheerfully was more important than stressing over pages of information that probably weren't going to stick in my head anyway. What's done is done.

So I went home and made a cake.

Monday, December 5, 2011

69/99: Caramelized Pineapple Pudding Cakes

Either my baking skills are rapidly declining or these little things were just mean. I started making these back in August when I made the Brioche that goes in it.  I made the Creme Anglaise that the brioche cubes have to sit in and never got around to making the rest of it.

Ever since then, the recipe has been staring at me from the index.  The thing is, I didn't want to make another brioche.  A few months ago I called several bakeries in town and one of them had brioche. I went to grab one but when I got there I was told that someone had just come and they bought the rest of them.  All that to say, these have been cursed since the first time I opened the book.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

68/99: Coconut Cheesecake

Yeah, I know. Coconut is not a Christmas-y food item. But the recipe has been calling me because I love cheesecake and I love coconut.  Let's just pretend that the coconut is supposed to be snow.  It can even be in celebration of our first snowfall of the season that we got this week. 

Though the coconut cheesecake was not difficult, it was time consuming--and not just in baking it.  It took me forever at the grocery store because it called for cream of coconut--not coconut cream and not coconut milk. Rose was very specific.  Being the novice that I am, I had no idea where to find cream of coconut.  First I went to the baking aisle to look by all of the evaporated milk and spices.  No luck.  Then the canned fruit.  Next stop- soups (I thought if they have cream of chicken then maybe they have cream of coconut... you can see how lost I am). Obviously that didn't work so I tried the oriental section since there's so much coconut in thai cooking. They had coconut milk but no cream of coconut.  

I asked the first store worker I found if he knew where the cream of coconut was.  He seemed like he was in his mid twenties and had probably never talked to a girl before.  He shyly looked at his feet while he spoke back to me.  He took me to the soup aisle again and slowly read the names of every soup on the shelf. As you can see, this was taking way too much time.

Friday, November 25, 2011

67/99: Apple Upside Down Cake

The apple upside down cake was really fun because one of my friends, Augusta, came over to help! It was so great!  I normally don't like upside down cakes because I think they're kind of ugly but seeing as this is the first recipe in Rose's Heavenly Cakes, it certainly needed to be tried.  

I let my mom pick a Thanksgiving cake and this was her choice.  She loves apple so this one was an easy pick. 

Before I get busy talking about the cake though, I want to take a second to clarify something.   I have been surprised at how many people have stopped me to ask if I think I can actually make my deadline.  They've been very concerned that I'm behind.  I didn't understand where the concern came from but then someone mentioned that I was going to have to make a cake every day till the end of the year if I was going to make it.  Then it clicked.  Somehow people got the impression that I was going to try to make them all by the end of 2011. So just to clarify, my deadline is actually in April since I am not superwomen, I am a full time student, I'd like to maintain my weight, and since my goal is one year from when I started.  Check out the ticker on the top right side of my blog to see the countdown.  

Thursday, November 24, 2011

66/99: Sybil's Pecan Torte with Coffee Cream

Happy Thanksgiving!

I've been cooking up a storm getting ready for everyone to come over tonight for Thanksgiving dinner.  My part of the deal was to make dessert and sweet potato casserole.  Normally, sweet potato casserole doesn't take that long but when you have to peel and mash potatoes for 20+ people, it is quite the endeavor. 

But in the true spirit of Thanksgiving, here are two things that I am thankful for:

Sunday, November 20, 2011

65/99: Cradle Cake

Rose describes her cradle cake as "magical."  It was the winner of the Pillsbury bake off and I can definitely see why.  It's a really different cake but in a good way.

The cake is made with an egg yolk batter that is surrounded by a dacquoise.  A dacquoise, as Rose explains, is "a meringue with a touch of bitter chocolate and nuts that cradles the cake batter as it bakes." Yum.

Rosemary Butter

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. 

I know, I know.  We still have a week till Thanksgiving Day.  But, this weekend officially begins THANKSGIVING BREAK! It was definitely time.  I spent the weekend doing absolutely nothing in order to regain my sanity and today, my roommates and I have been cleaning out our house before heading home for the holidays.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

64/99: Chocolate Tweed Angel Food Cake

The Chocolate Tweed Angel Food Cake was for a get together with RUF at Rowan Oak. I was a little late getting there but apparently that was a good thing because as soon as I arrived a man came running outside from the house to talk to us about the cake.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

63/99: Pumpkin Cake with Burnt Orange Buttercream

Now that the multicolored leaves are fluttering all around when I walk from class to class, it seems appropriate to bake a cake shaped like a pumpkin.   I wanted to save it for a special occasion so that it would have a worthy crowd but when a friend asked if she could use me for a magazine project for her class, I knew that the pumpkin cake would be perfect for her;  it's cute and its seasonal. 

Though the cake wasn't particularly difficult to make, it was time consuming.  But, since I've had a few comments about my lack of photos in the process of baking, I took some extra time for you faithful readers out there to provide you with step by step photos once again.

Monday, November 7, 2011

62/99: Baby Chocolate Oblivions

As mentioned in the Coconut Cake post, these little guys were a last minute decision that took forever to cool.  I was rushed on time and so I had to make these within an hour. Thankfully, that seemed easy because there are only 4 ingredients in the cake. The ingredients were pretty loud though. You can just feel the pounds (no pun intended) as you read what's in it:

1 POUND of dark chocolate
2 STICKS of butter
3 tablespoons of sugar
6 eggs

So as you can see, they are basically mini flourless chocolate cakes.  Personally, I love flourless chocolate cake so I was pretty excited. But since they're so strong, I think it's difficult for some people to handle them sometimes.

But as easy as it seems, they were also a huge headache. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Live in the kitchen: Barcelona Brownie Bars

The Queen of Cakes from Betsy Lynch on Vimeo.

Here's Betsy's video, as promised. I think I pronounced Rose's name wrong so just ignore that part. Check out the Barcelona Brownie Bars post for more details!

Fresh Coconut Cake

A friend of mine asked me to bring a cake to an event last night and I happily agreed. I made the Baby Chocolate Oblivions from Rose's Heavenly Cakes but then I realized that they probably wouldn't have enough time to cool for the party.  It was supposed to take 4 hours for them to cool.

So fresh from the book signing with Jodi Rhoden, I decided to quickly try out one of her cakes for the party.  I had exactly an hour before I had to leave for a meeting.  I could bake the coconut for 15 minutes while I prepped the cake.  Then I could stick the cake in the oven for 20 minutes.  That's 35 minutes total.  I could make the icing and grate the coconut while it's cooking.  Let it cool for 10 and then ice it in 15.  It's brilliant, right? Exactly one hour.

I opened the fridge and the pantry to begin but discovered that I had all the ingredients except the essentials: eggs, milk, and butter.  I thought I could make it to wal-mart and back and then swing back home later on to ice the cake right before the party.

Lesson of the day: always allot extra time.  Making a cake on the run, especially a coconut cake, is not always the best idea.  Here's why:

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Cake Ladies: Book signing with Jodi Rhoden

Today was yet another wonderful day at Square Books.  But, unlike the Paula day, this time I actually got to breathe in the store.

I went to a book signing for the cookbook Cake Ladies by Jodi Rhoden.  For those of you who aren't familiar with her, she's pretty wonderful.  Luckily for me, it was a small turn out so I actually got to speak with her for awhile.

Reasons why Jodi is cooler than Paula:
1. She didn't start sentences or conversations with comments about butter.
2. She had wine and cheese at her book signing. 
3. She blogs about gardening and spirituality and baking and anything else that is on her mind.  I kind of have the feeling that Paula doesn't actually have time to tour, write cookbooks, write articles for her magazine, and film a cooking show all on her own.
4. Her content is fascinating and unique.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Lingerie Shower: Booty Cake

As mentioned in my previous post, last Thursday Betsy came over because she had a little cake emergency.  The dilemma: lingerie shower that weekend and a cake box with no ideas on what to do. We got to work on that real fast.

I love making cakes, as you know, but I really love making cakes that are really different.  I quickly did some google research and got inspired by one cake that didn't look super hard to do.  We nixed the fondant and decided to make the butt a little bit more sexy.

Monday, October 31, 2011

61/99: Barcelona Brownie Bars

These little guys were quite the experience.  Here's why:

One of my friends, Betsy, is a journalism major and has a video project due for one of her classes.  I made her a cake this weekend (just wait till you see it) for a bridal shower and so she had the brilliant idea of creating a cooking show / expo for her assignment.

At 5:30, Betsy walked in and shouted hello.  A few seconds later I turned around and saw the professional Hollywood sized camera looking me in straight the eye.  I was expecting a hand held camcorder with a janky tripod but this thing was probably taller than I am.  Microphone included.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Harry Potter Cake

Disclaimer: If you can't identify all of the items represented on the cake then we may not be able to be friends anymore.

This weekend is kind of a dead weekend in Oxford because it's an away game and a lot of people left to go support our dying football team.  Elizabeth and I decided to have our own fun in Oxford.  And what can be more fun than having a Harry Potter night?

Before I go any farther though, I must give full credit to the beautiful cake above to Liz. I was a terrible friend and started slacking after the fondant was made because I couldn't keep my eyes off of Harry.  We started with the first movie while we were baking and I guess I got a little distracted.  As a result, she worked her own magic in the kitchen.  So Liz is either a muggle and a secret cake decorator who can whip out amazing cakes on command, or she is actually a Harry Potter character and has just been hiding that wand from the rest of us.  I guess none of us will ever know.

By the end of Harry Potter 1 and an NCIS episode, Liz had completed the masterpiece. It includes the snitch, Harry's broomstick (the firebolt), the gryffindor scarf, the sorting hat, Harry's wand, and the cake itself which represents the Marauder's Map.  We got the idea from google images which took us to a picture blog. We changed it up a bit though by adding a few of our own ideas.

The result was so cute that I just had to post about it and brag about Liz.  The Harry Potter cake was definitely a success. Now we're just scared to cut into it.

Friday, October 28, 2011

60/99: Marble Cake

I bought the Heritage bundt pan from William Sonoma a few weeks ago and have been dying to use it.  I just haven't had a bundt cake opportunity lately.  I used to really dislike bundt cakes because I thought they were boring and too grown up. A bundt cake is the Christmas gift from the neighbor that no one really wants.  I always think of My Big Fat Greek Wedding's quote, "there's a hole in this cake!" Honestly who can't relate? Why do we have cakes with holes in them?

But the heritage pan is just cool.  It's worth having a hole in the cake.  And totally worth making a bundt cake. I should have taken downward shot because it looks like a flying saucer.  And just so you know, flying saucer = cool.  (Note- this is not an advertisement / sponsored by Nordicware- I just really like their pan). 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

59/99: Pure Pumpkin Cheesecake

My roommates and I have been in a pumpkin phase for the past couple weeks.  It's that time of year where when you eat a dessert (or anything really) you want it to taste like fall.  We've had pumpkin cake, pumpkin cupcakes, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin lattes, and there are even quite a few carved pumpkins sitting outside my door.  I love it.

So since we're on the pumpkin kick, pumpkin cheesecake was the lucky choice for a dinner party.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

58/99: Chocolate Molten Soufflee and Lava Cakes

When I was going into 11th grade, my parents and I went to New York so that I could get on a plane to go to a conference in Vienna.  The night before I left, my dad and I went to Morton's Steak House to have a goodbye steak dinner. Since the meal was celebratory in nature, we vouched for dessert to compliment our meal.  The choice: Chocolate molten lava cake. We actually had to order the dessert before we ordered the meal so that it could cook while we were eating to be ready in time. It was that special.

The Morton's molten lava cake completely lived up to it's expectations.  I enjoyed every bite of it and ever since then, I have considered chocolate molten lava cake to be only for special occasions.

You can see my excitement around making this cake.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Paula Deen Day


A few weeks ago, I went to this adorable, locally owned book store called Square Books to study.  I bought a book and as I was checking out I signed up for the bookstore newsletter.  Lo and behold, as soon as I turned it over, I discovered that PAULA DEEN was coming to Oxford in 3 weeks! I started to freak out a little bit.  I tweeted about it, made it my facebook status, added it to my calendar, and then proceeded to tell all of my friends about the wonderful news that I had heard.

It was my midterm happy.  These past few weeks have been really stressful with papers and midterms so I kept telling myself that If I could just get through them then I would get to meet Paula Deen.

Well, Ladies and Gents, today was the day.  Paula Deen was scheduled to be at Square Books at 11.  You had to buy a copy of her new cookbook, the Southern Cooking Bible, from the bookstore and then you could get it signed.  I got up early this morning (skipped my bible study at 9:30) so that I could get to the bookstore a little after 10. I was absolutely elated.  I even straightened my hair all the way.

I got there around 10:30 (I left my camera at home so I had to go back and get it) and the line was already wrapped around the outside of the bookstore. It was moving pretty quickly though so I wasn't too worried.  I estimated that I'd be out of there within an hour- heck maybe even 30 minutes if it kept moving this fast.

About 10 minutes into the line I learned that this wasn't actually the line to see Paula.  This was the line to get a number to see Paula.  Paula was actually at the other part of the bookstore which was down the street. No wonder it was moving so fast.

I finally was able to move through the doorway and was about 5th in line. I could see the register and even hear the cash drawer opening and closing.  I don't know who still uses cash but then I realized that everyone in line around me could probably get the senior citizen discount at Piccadilly.

The drawer closed and I was ready to be number 4.  Then the cashier looked up at all of us crazed women in line and announced that all of the numbers had been sold out.  Only those who had pre-ordered a book could pick up their number.  We were welcome to buy a copy of the book but only those who actually had a number could see Paula.

You don't even want to know what kind of words were going through my head.  I started talking with the other women standing in line beside me.  What should we do? Sneak in? Buy a book anyway and just leave? Yell? Complain? Revolt? Cry?

Like it or not, the last idea seemed to be the only option.  I'm so passive aggressive.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

57/99: Spice Cake with Peanut Buttercream

Well, guys, it's been awhile. I don't know if you've been hungry for another post but I sure have.  This past week has been absolutely insane. One word: midterm.  But it's OK. They are all done and A or not, I don't have to worry about them again.

So this weekend my plan was to celebrate with a bit of baking and wine. Of course Ole Miss played (some might argue that they didn't actually play) Alabama this weekend and so there was no time for that.

Monday, October 10, 2011

56/99: Karmel Cake

Rose describes her Karmel Cake as "soft textured and deeply flavorful." Seeing that it's caramel flavored, it sounds divine.
But I was not looking forward to this cake for two reasons:

Sunday, October 9, 2011

55/99: Angel Food Cake Base Recipe (Petit Fours)

The angel food cake base left room for creativity.  I don't have an angel food cake pan so the classic angel food cake was out of the question for me.  Then I discovered that the recipe is truly a base and makes only 1 cup of batter.  Since I didn't read ahead, I could only make 3 cups (I only had 3 eggs) of batter.

So with three cups of angel food cake and a sheet pan, I decided that petit fours were the only way to go.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

54/99: Chocolate Ingots (Financiers au Chocolat)

A few days ago, I planned out my recipes for the week and then made my grocery list.  The chocolate ingots called for a very unique ingredient that I had never used before: Cacao Nibs (the base ingredient in chocolate).  Cacao nibs are roasted cacoa beans that are split in half.  It's not really a typical wal-mart item which makes it a bit difficult.  The cacao nibs were completely optional but I'm in a go big or go home phase so I wasn't going to bake the ingots without them.  Since my grocery store manager thought I was crazy trying to buy cacao nibs locally, I turned to Amazon to help me out.

Friday, September 30, 2011

53/99: Lemon Poppy Seed-Sour Cream Cake

While I was sitting on the floor of my bathroom this morning blow drying my hair, I had a visitor. I wasn't paying much attention to anything but the blow dryer in my hand since I still hadn't had my daily cup of coffee.  My housemate, Elizabeth, walked in behind me unnoticed and sat on the edge of my bathtub.   When she finally spoke I almost fell over from the shock of someone else being in the bathroom with me.  This week is rush week so she's not supposed to be in a good mood but something was apparently very good by her expression.

It was the cake.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

52/99: Rose Red Velvet Cake

This weekend was the celebrated Georgia v. Ole Miss football game.  It is the first SEC game that Ole Miss has played so the grove was packed full of fans.  In honor of this festive occasion, I decided that our cake must be red so that we showed a little team spirit. We may not win any games this year but we'll still have a good time. 

Here's what happens at the eleven o'clock games: First, everyone heads to the grove in the morning and has a delicious breakfast (and maybe a few mimosas) including bagels, sausage balls, pigs in a blanket, fruit, and lots of other tasty treats.  When the time comes, everyone either heads to the game or sits in the grove to watch the game on one of the many TV screens suspended from a tent.   When you return to the tent, you eat lunch with your family and friends and then cut into the desserts.  When I returned, however, I discovered that the cake had already been cut into.  So here is a picture of the half eaten cake:

Rose made her red velvet cake into a valentine but I decided to double the recipe and make it a red velvet layer cake.  Of course I made the dreamy creamy white chocolate frosting to go with it because who would refuse cake with dreamy creamy white chocolate frosting?  On the outside, I covered it with fondant (obviously in a hurry as you can see that my fondant did not turn out perfectly) and put some dots on it to give it a little school spirit.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

51/99: Individual Pinaple Upside Down Cakes

 These little cakes weren't quite as pretty as I expected.  I wanted the pineapples to be full circles like Rose's pretty picture (Jenn from the Knitty Baker has one too) but my ramekins were a little too small. I had to cut pineapple pieces as you can see from the above photo.

I'm really glad that I'm in the Heavenly Bakers group because this recipe might be one that I would have put off for a long time. I have never been a huge fan of upside down cakes so this one did not peak my interest as much as some of the other cakes.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

50/99: Ginger Cheesecake with Gingerbread Crust

This cake is kind of a big deal because it marks a very special day.  This cake means that I am officially over half way through the book. I really can't believe it.  It feels like yesterday (actually it was 163 days ago) that I went to the bookstore and happily stood in the checkout line with Rose's Heavenly Cakes snuggled in my arms.  This past week, I even had to go to the grocery store and buy another 20 pound bag of sugar.  I guess that's just another piece of evidence that proves that I've spent the last few months immersing myself in sugar.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

48/99: Yellow Butter Cupcakes and 49/99: Chocolate Egg White Buttercream

Birthdays are the best. I think they are almost as good as Christmas time.  There's something so special about celebrating a life every year. And it's always fun to blow out some candles.

This weekend was a weekend of birthdays. We celebrated Stephens birthday and we decided to celebrate George's birthday even though it was a week ago. 

These cupcakes were really easy.  They have a ton of butter in them which always means they will be yummy.  They also call for sour cream but I used yogurt instead.  She says full fat yogurt is acceptable but I don't think they sell that at my grocery store.  I looked for awhile.  I guess it makes sense though; who would want to buy something that says "full-fat" on it.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

47/99: Many-Splendored Quick Bread

Sometimes I make a cake when I don't have anything in particular to take it to. In that case, I open the book to the least exciting thing I can find and pour my heart into it.  This cake is a testament to my pretty low key week. No tests. No papers. No assignments.

The many-splendored quick bread looks good and easy but scared me away when I saw zucchini in the ingredients. And carrots. I'm not a huge vegetable person though I'm trying to get better at it.  When I eat cake though, it is supposed to be a treat.  I felt like this cake was doing what you have to do for your dogs when you give them medicine: wrap the pill up in a piece of meat. In my case, I'm disguising my veggies in lots of sugar. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

46/99: Gold Ingots (Financier Classiques)

About two weeks ago, I made the brioche so that I could make the caramelized apple pudding cakes. I made the crème anglaise for the cakes and then let the little brioche cubes soak in it as required. They had to sit for awhile so I put them in the refrigerator and forgot about them.

A day or two went by but I decided that I’d use them anyway. Then a week went by. And then two weeks.  Sadly, my little brioche cubes and their marinade found a new home- in the trash can. The lonely pineapple is still sitting on the counter top with half wilted leaves.

Since that recipe has been nagging me for a few weeks, I felt like I should just complete it today. Plus, that would keep the pineapple from dying.  The plan was to buy brioche from our local bakery and cheat. I already made brioche so it counts if I buy a loaf for the next recipe, right?

After class I hurried to the bakery that closes at 2:30.  It was 1:58. Whew.  I got to the counter, ordered my coffee (it’s the best in town), and then asked for a brioche.

The man at the counter looked at me regretfully and said that a gentleman had just come in and asked for 10 brioches. Sadly, he took the last ones.

I called the other, not so exciting bakery and they didn’t have a brioche either. They said I could special order one and it would be ready by the weekend. I could make my own brioche by then so no thank you.

Time was ticking because my next class was at four.  The goal was to get the majority of the cake done before class and that way my evening would be free for other things.  I flipped open Rose’s Heavenly cakes to see what I could make with the ingredients in my pantry.  I’m going out of town this weekend so I didn’t want to make anything exceptional because then it wouldn’t get eaten.

The final decision: Gold Ingots (Financiers Classiques). They contain only ingredients that any good baker has in the pantry at all times, no exceptions: eggs, sugar, flour, vanilla extract, butter, and baking powder.  The only ingredient that I could reasonably not have were almonds but thankfully I’ve acquired a semi-impressive nut assortment from making all of these cakes.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

45/99: Gâteau Breton

It looks simple. It looks plain. It looks delicious.

I think I had a croissant crust in my mind when I looked at this cake.  Rose says that it is "crisp like a pastry around the edge, but has a soft, dense, and moist interior." There really is no better way to describe this cake.

Monday, September 5, 2011

44/99: Lemon Meringue Cake

I have a new venue for my cakes.  For every home football game this season, I am assigned to bring one of my cakes to the grove for the Highlands tent. So, since this one has been on my schedule for awhile, The Lemon Meringue Cake was the final decision.  Don't worry though, I'll make the next ones a little bit more Ole Miss festive.

Friday, September 2, 2011

43/99: Chocolate Butter Cupcakes

These little guys were a hit. I should have doubled the recipe.

I made Rose's Chocolate butter cupcakes and then made a batch of peppermint icing from Mama's Peppermint Torte. Really, it was the perfect combination.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

41/99: Chocolate Raspberry Trifle


Today is my 22nd birthday and as pathetic as it sounds, i decided to make my own birthday cake.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

40/99: Classic Brioche

I thought this was a strange recipe to have in a book of cakes.  Then I realized that it's actually just a step of another cake but since it takes awhile, it gets it's very own recipe!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

39/99: Black Chocolate Party Cake

I've had my eye on this cake for awhile because it  looks so good and chocolaty. I was asked to bring a cake to a party on Monday night so this seemed like the perfect opportunity. Who doesn't like chocolate?

The cake was surprisingly easy to make too.  The only different part of it was that you had to de-skin  walnuts. Rose mentioned it briefly.  She said, "Turn the walnuts out onto a clean dishtowel and roll and rub them around to loosen the skins.  Discard the skins and cool completely." Simple enough right?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

38/99: Almond Shamah Chiffon

The Almond Shamah Chiffon was the final cake of the Lacey's 30th birthday cake extravaganza.

 "Shamah" in the title actually stands for one of Rose's friends, David Shamah.  A bunch of people at the party were curious and therefore looked up the word "shamah" in a translator.  They came up with something and then proceeded to discuss why the cake would be called this.  Sadly, I don't remember the word that they found but, if you were one of those people, I must inform you that you were wrong.  Sorry about that friends.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The one that's not a cake

 I've officially crossed the line of insanity. I know. 

I started learning to use the sewing machine last week when I decided to quilt some old fabric scraps.  Last night, I got ambitious and made a tee-shirt quilt out of all of my old tee shirts.  Then I had scraps left over from the tee-shirts so I decided to make an apron. 

How do I have so much spare time you ask? Honestly, I'm asking myself the same question. Class starts on Monday so I decided to use this weekend to do absolutely nothing.  But I have this issue where doing absolutely nothing stresses me out because I have to be doing something. So sewing kills two birds with one stone. I can sit in front of a TV and let my mind go completely blank while my body is actually being productive. Brilliant.

37/99: Tiramisù

The tiramisù was also for Lacey's birthday party. Lacey has always loved tiramisù so I thought it might be a fun addition.  I couldn't exactly take it out of the pan at the party to take a picture of a slice so you just get the whole thing:

I had baked for a few days and had completed the other four cakes for the party already.  I woke up on the morning of the party and decided that tiramisù was a must.  It's a crowd pleaser and Lacey loves it. I had already bought the ingredients in case I felt like getting around to it so I just hopped out of bed and went straight in the kitchen.

My best friend Alyssa was in town to visit for a few days (sadly she lives in Missouri now) so I happily put her to work too. 

She was put in charge of the eggs.  Putting someone else in charge of eggs is a pretty big deal for me because I am very OCD about eggs but I knew she'd do a great job. Her job was to whisk the yolks, sugar, and sweet marsala in a bowl on top of a pot of simmering water while holding a candy thermometer.   She also had to make sure the bowl stayed balanced on the water because you have to put the wooden spoon between the two pots in order to let the steam out (think back to the explosion from Zach's la Bomba). I sound like an evil friend right? Maybe I was just letting her get or hands dirty or maybe I just didn't want to do it myself.... mwah ha ha.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Mama's Peppermint Torte

Happy birthday to my big sister Lacey!

The Peppermint Torte is the official Travis birthday cake. Of course, for her birthday this year, all she wanted was a peppermint torte.  Out of all of the cakes that I've made this year (and I believe that totals well over 40), I still can't beat it.  I still have it every year for my birthday and my sister still has it for hers. Maybe it's the memories. Maybe it's the love that goes into making it. Or maybe it's just that good.