Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Patriotic July Fun!

It's still July! I made it! I am so behind on uploading the fun things we've been doing this summer! Sorry!
Here's the 4th of July hairdo I did for my daughter. So dang cute!


For our neighborhood BBQ I brought two patriotic dishes! Since moving this was our first year at this annual get together. Both dishes were a huge hit and one neighbor said I was the new favorite neighbor with the goodies I brought.

Patriotic Strawberries
Strawberries
Vanilla melts
Blue sugar

Melt vanilla melts. Dip strawberries. Roll in sugar.

Patriotic Cake
In truth the original recipe I found for this cake uses a cake mix for the cake. I just couldn't do that for my first neighborhood BBQ. Instead my cake the Coconut Cake from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes book. I then separated the batter into three bowls and dyed one bowl red and one blue and layered the batter so that the cake came out red, white, and blue. The topping is SO easy. I took a container of frosting and dyed one bowl red, one blue, and left one white. I put each one in the microwave for about 15 seconds to make the frosting runny. I took a fork and drizzled each color of frosting all over the cake and topped it with patriotic sprinkles!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Modern Baker: Golden Cupcakes

The Modern Bakers are baking cakes now! Well, cupcakes. I made these little golden cupcakes awhile ago for a playdate at the park.

First, I think my baking powder has lost it's umph. After the cupcakes came out of the oven they all caved. So sad.
Luckily, the confectioners' sugar icing connected with the recipe covered up the hole. The cupcakes were good but not great. Four year olds are not picky though so they were devoured. I thought they were a little dry. The highlight was the icing! I've made buttercream icing like this before but for some reason this icing really stood out. Even my husband commented by saying it was "perfect birthday cake icing". I'm not sure the cupcakes are repeat (I highly prefer chocolate anyway) but I will be repeating this icing!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Modern Baker: Raspberry Cream Cake

The Modern Bakers are baking cakes and this week I made a yummy raspberry cream cake.
The cake begins with a classic genoise cake. A genoise cake is a light sponge cake that is made with a considerable amount of eggs. Egg whites and yolks are whipped with sugar, salt, and vanilla. A flour and cornstarch mixture are then folded into the cake and the cake is baked. This cake is a good canvas for lots of variations. N.M. lists a ton of tempting options and although the chocolate variation sounded very tempting I thought I'd step out of my chocolate zone a bit and try something else.
There are three components of raspberry in this raspberry cake. The first is a raspberry syrup that is made by cooking down sugar and water and adding the raspberry liqueur Charmond. This syrup is then brushed on each layer of cake. (The genoise cake is sliced into three layers.)

On top of the syrup raspberry jam is spread. I used my mother-in-laws homemade jam.
Next is the buttercream frosting. Frozen raspberries are pushed through a strainer and the juices then reduced. The resulting reduction is then added to a buttercream frosting which is in fact primarily butter. (That can't be good for the hips!)
I found the cake to be delicious! The raspberry syrup and jam were soaked into the cake and made it more moist and raspberry tasting. The buttercream was also very good and brought it all together well, but in truth was also quite rich to me. I could only have a one piece before becoming a lit overwhelmed with the butter.

My two year old loved the "pink cake" and I'm sure still thinks I made it just for her since she loves pink so much right now.

The only tragedy that befell was that the syrup got on the recipe pages and stuck the pages together! A little tearing got them apart though.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Modern Baker: Cinnamon-Scented Baked Chocolate Mousse Cake

The Modern Bakers are still hard at work on churning out all these cakes. This cinnamon-scented baked chocolate mousse cake has tremendous potential!

N.M. says he makes this cake when he has a bare minimum of time for a dessert. I don't disagree that it's a great option for a last minute dessert and one would usually have all the ingredients on hand, however, since I was anticipating this cake so much the bake time of one hour was torturous.
The cake is quite simple to make with only 5 ingredients (6 if you count water). There is no flour in this cake, although plenty of eggs. It's baked in a pan of water to insulate the bottom. N.M. says this is much like cheesecake, however I've never baked cheesecake in a pan of water. Perhaps I'm missing out.

The cake has a great texture. It's spongy and light. The flavor was great, however personally I'd have liked the cinnamon scent to be stronger. In fact, I wouldn't mind dropped the "scented" and putting in enough cinnamon to taste. N.M. has some other great ideas about using rum or orange liqueur in place of the cinnamon. A very versatile cake this is!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Modern Baker: Milk Chocolate Mousse Cake

Ready for some chocolate?! This cake out of the Modern Baker cookbook will fill your need for chocolate this week.

It has four element. First, is a chocolate genoise cake. I baked a genoise earlier Raspberry Cream Cake. This uses the chocolate version. I had a little trouble with the chocolate version because the ratio of flour, cornstarch and cocoa powder was quite a bit more than the classic genoise's flour and cornstarch. This resulted in the cake being a lot less light and much more dense. I'm wondering if there was an error here. I should have cut the cake into three layers (to use only two) but my cake was so short, I just cut it in two. (I have since learned there was a typo in the book. The correction is here. That explains my problem.)
The second element moistening syrup. This syrup is simply sugar and vanilla cooked slightly. The syrup is brushed on the cake layers to moisten them and make them oh so yummy.

The third element is the mousse! Making mousse is always eye opening. I love mousse and yet when I see the massive quantity of whip cream, eggs, and sugar going into the mixer it always reminds me to take it easy on my portion size.

The fourth element is the finishing. Whipped cream to cover the cake and chocolate shavings.
N.M. says he likes this mousse because it doesn't use gelatin and thus is more delicate. Well, my mousse could really have used some help from gelatin. I layered my cake and mousse in a springform pan and let it set overnight. The next day I un-sprung my pan and my poor cake immediately began to sag.
I quickly cut a piece.
And then found a pretty bowl. My cake became more of a large mousse bowl. It was delicious. It was chocolately and rich but not overly sweet. I put it in the fridge and nibbled on it over many days. I don't want to think about all the running I'll have to do to take these calories off.
Want to join the Modern Bakers and bake along? Check us out.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Modern Baker: Individual French Hazelnut Cakes

Are you ready for an "individual cake". Not a cupcake. An "individual french cake". 

What is the difference? Well....Would a rose by any other name smell as sweet?

For that matter a lot of muffins are masquerading cupcakes in my estimation. I quite like the term individual cake and perhaps it is appropriate to distinguish. This little cake is a perfect tea cake. It also doesn't have frosting. A staple of the cupcake world. So, yes, an individual cake it is.

Again only 5 simple little ingredients create this little gem. The ground hazelnuts are a large portion of the batter too so the little cakes taste like soft hazelnut clouds. I don't drink tea, but these little cakes sure made me think I should start.

Oh, and yes it's another cake from the Modern Bakers and the Modern Baker Cookbook. Don't want to forget that part because you need to know where to get the recipe when you make them yourself!
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