Sunday, June 17, 2012

Batman cake

This year my to-be five year old wanted a Batman cake for his birthday.  We browsed some fun ones on cake central and flickr, and he decided he wanted one with buildings, the bat signal and some kapow's :-)

The fondant was a little soft, it was a little warm out, and I rushed so we could get to the zoo, so it's obviously a little rough.  And I really need to work on spacing my letters.  Still, I thought it was a fun idea, and he was happy :-)

Monday, June 4, 2012

Sailboat & whale cookies

And another cohort treat, this time for a new baby boy!  These are my mom's sugar cookies with meringue powder royal.  I've not done much decorating with royal.  One thing that seemed odd was that adding color seemed to thicken the icing.  Maybe it was more time out, but you can see the little crabs have far more texture than the whales or the boat sails.
And I think it ended up working best when I didn't use a thicker royal to outline and another to flood.  I did the sails all with one consistency, and I think that turned out best.  Maybe not for details (like my fish-face instead of smiling whales), but at least for the sails.  Looking forward to more practice!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Shower Cupcakes

I've been taking some classes in a cohort, so as our members in our little group have some life changing experiences, I've been trying to make little treats to celebrate.  One of the ladies is getting married, so I made cupcakes and tiny sugar cookies.  The cupcakes are Toba Garrett's moist yellow cake which work well for me for cupcakes, if they're made the day of.  The frosting is Rosenberg's buttercream again.  The flowers were from the smallest cutter in the Wilton flower cutters, and the centers are Wilton's sugar pearls.  In the store, the pearls looked huge compared to the cutters, but they worked out to be pretty proportionate!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Ina's Outrageous Brownies

I kept reading that Ina's Outrageous Brownies were a favorite, so I finally got around to trying them.  They are very moist and fall apart pretty easily.  Usually when a brownie recipe says to refrigerate, I just ignore it because I don't care how pretty the slices are.  This time, though, I had to refrigerate so they would keep their shape at all.  I think these really are better made ahead.  I won't make them often as they really do have a ridiculous amount of butter and chocolate, but I'm thinking they could be really good cut in chunks for ice cream. 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Baked Chocolate Donuts

In the mood for donuts, but not interested in frying, I tried these baked chocolate donuts.  I was really excited about how these turned out!  Unlike the plain baked donuts I'd tried where I liked the donut holes the best, here I liked the actual donut.  The donut holes seemed to dry out a little.  I tried the glaze in the recipe, a basic powdered sugar glaze and  another chocolate glaze, and I liked the alternate chocolate glaze the best. 

The donut recipe is available at the link above.  Here's the chocolate glaze:
2 oz bittersweet chocolate
1 TB powdered sugar
1 TB butter
Melt chocolate and butter, stir in powdered sugar. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Maida Heatter's All American Brownies

Lately I've been making our bread, and whenever I have the oven already heated, I kind of think I might as well use it and make some dessert!  I was in the mood for some plain brownies, and found Maida's All American Brownies.  They're really easy, saucepan style brownies.  Thin, dark and rich.  A perfect quick dessert!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Mocha Sherbet

So now that my cream is gone, I'm still on a frozen dessert kick.  Using what I had on hand, I tried David Lebovitz's Mocha Sherbet.  I did make a sub of 1% milk instead of whole, but this was great sherbet!  I've loved espresso granita in the summer, and this is kind of the same flavor, only much richer.  It's so easy, since it's pretty much just heating to dissolve the sugar and combine.  It didn't scoop the prettiest, but it was very smooth and really it's pretty healthy compared to the other desserts I've been making!  I think I'll be making this one a lot this summer :-)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Philadelphia Style Chocolate Ice Cream

In preparation for Christmas baking, I'd bought a half gallon of Horizon cream at Costco.  I know a half gallon seems ridiculous, but it's so reasonably priced that I can't help myself.  Anyway, I ended up only making one batch of caramels for Christmas, so I was left with a lot of cream.  Enter the chocolate cake kick, all with lots of ganache and whipped cream!  And still I was left with about 4 cups of cream!  

I don't usually think of ice cream in winter in Wisconsin, but since it's been a pretty warm winter and I had four cups of cream on my hands.... I started browing the Perfect Scoop.  I tried both the vanilla philadelphia style ice cream and the chocolate.  My 4 year old's favorite ice cream is vanilla, which is perfect for his shirts!  And the vanilla was very good.  The chocolate though.  The chocolate is incredible!  It's rich, dark, chocolaty and perfectly scoopable from the freezer!  I used El Rey Bucare 58.5%, and it was really perfect.  Usually I like going for a darker chocolate, but it's what I had on hand, and I don't think I would use darker next time.  I do have Lebovitz's truffles and thin mints as add-in's for next time though!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Martha Stewart's One-Bowl Chocolate Cake

So I've been on a bit of a chocolate cake binge lately.  We've stayed with our favorites (the double chocolate layer from epicurious and Toba Garrett's chocolate fudge) for the last couple years, so I thought it'd be fun to look around again.  And this last cake in the chocolate cake streak was prompted by a late-night craving, so I tried Martha Stewart's one-bowl chocolate cake.  I was amazed at the little oil in the recipe, and in the end, I was disappointed.  The cake rose like crazy and domed, so maybe I overbeat.  It was a tough cake and not very chocolaty. The frosting was good, but seemed to be a mismatch with the cake.  I might like the cake better with maybe whipped cream instead of a dense ganache type frosting.  The frosting I would try again on a denser cake.  So here's the last little piece. 

It was fun to play around a little, and we got a couple new favorites with the Chocolate Cloud Roll and the Chocolate Orange Cake.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Chocolate Cloud Cake Roll

 I've never made a jelly roll before, but was inspired to try so I went to Beranbaum's Cake Bible and the Chocolate Cloud Cake Roll.  I've found Beranbaum's recipes to be really helpful when trying something new.  Her directions are always specific enough that I feel like I know what should be happening.  And this cake roll was amazing!  It was quick and easy to put together, and the quick baking time made it convenient.  It rolled so nicely (sorry for the night-time photo), and it was very light eating.  The next day I added a quick ganache and it was like a big swiss cake roll, but really good.  I can't wait to try again and make a pretty one!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Dark Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Orange Ganache and Orange Buttercream

So it's a bit of a ridiculously long title, but it's a review of this recipe from the yellow Gourmet cookbook, so I thought I'd keep the name.  I've been looking at this cake for years now and finally got around to making it.

I made the cake and ganache as directed, and adapted the buttercream a bit.  I'd made the lemon raspberry wedding cake from the same cookbook a couple years ago, and I thought the buttercream was very heavy, so just lightened it a bit.  I made the orange curd as directed, and then added half the curd to swiss meringue buttercream with one less stick butter than usual (4 whites, 1/2 c sugar, 2 sticks butter). 

The buttercream was perfect - not too over-the-top orangey, and not too dense and heavy (leaving out the extra stick butter).  The cake itself was tender and fine, nice and chocolaty, not too dense or light or crumbly.  The orange ganache was my favorite element, though.  I'm thinking of trying some truffles with the ganache.  Altogether we really liked this cake - rich dark chocolate brightened with a little orange.  This is a new grown-up favorite!