YUM Red Velvet Cakeballs!

This was my first attempt at cake balls. Four hours and a messy kitchen later, I think these were pretty successful. I figured if I was going to try out the confectionery trend of cake balls, I would do it right: completely homemade.

In my natural style, I actually forgot the baking soda and they were still fantastic- just a little dense. But that says a lot about this recipe adapted from www.bakedperfection.com

Red Velvet Cake:

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon red gel-paste food color
1 teaspoon bourbon
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

Brown Sugar Frosting:

1 1/2 cups butter, softened
8oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
4-6 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons milk

Red Velvet Cake:

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a smaller bowl, mix together flour, cocoa, and salt. set aside.

2) With an electric mixer, mix together sugar and oil. Add eggs (one at a time) beating until each is well mixed in.

3)  Mix in food color and vanilla. Reduce speed to low. At this point you may want to scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure you’re maximizing the ingredients.

4) Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two batches of the buttermilk.

Note: It was hard to resist this face, but no matter how much a puppy begs, never feed them chocolate!! (or raw eggs….)

Stir together the baking soda and vinegar in a small bowl; add foamy mixture to the batter, and mix on medium speed 10 seconds.  Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until knife comes out clean, about 20 minutes.

Let cake cool, then tear apart (you’re going to have to use your hands on this one) until your pan is just crumbs. Try to avoid leaving any full cake chunks.

Make the Frosting:

Mix butter and cream cheese in electric mixer.

Add brown sugar, vanilla, and salt.

Add powdered sugar and milk, mix until creamy. I over-mixed mine a little and it became whipped, I don’t think it makes a difference in the taste if you happen to over-mix.

Next:

Mix 1/2 cup frosting into cooled cake crumbs. Roll into 1.5 inch balls and place on a pan with wax paper. If the cakeballs arent moist enough to stick together, add 1/4 cup frosting. Adding more frosting will continue bringing the cakey consistency closer to that of brownies or cookiedough…it all depends on your taste! Once all of your cake has been rolled into balls, put in the refrigerator to chill for at least 3 hours (overnight is fine…this is usually a 2 day process)

 

Melt white or milk melting chocolates in a double boiler over very low heat. It might take a while for them to melt, but do not increase the heat! Once melted to a smooth consistency, take the cakeballs out of the refrigerator and, with a fork, dip in the chocolate coating. Hold it over the pot so that the extra can drip off. You don’t want the thick chocolatey coating to overshadow the yummy cake. Decorate with other colors of melting chocolate, sprinkles, or crushed food (graham crackers, pretzels, coconut, peanuts, etc.)

 

The Ultimate “Traditional” Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake


Ingredients:

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp allspice
1 cup applesauce
1/2 cup vegetable oil
6 egg whites
3 cups peeled, grated carrots

Raisins and Nuts are optional- 3/4 cup of each.

Mix dry ingredients in mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Spread in 2 greased 8″ round pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes, or until toothpick stuck in the middle comes out clean. Cool in pan and then lay on flat surface for decorating with:

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 stick butter or margarine, softened
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla

Beat in electric mixer, add more powdered sugar if you would like icing to be thicker.

Frost the top of one 8″ layer about 1/4-1/2 inch thick. This layer will be the icing that separates the two layers. Carefully place the other layer (also fully cooled) on top. Ice the top layer and ice the uneven ridges of the joining layers. If you have a cake icer use the tip to scoop out teaspoons of icing at a time. If not, take a spoon and use the back of the spoon to scoop teaspoons of icing at a time, and place it on the side of the cakes to create a scalloped look on the edge.

Unfortunate Looking Fortune Cookies (Attempt 2 coming soon)

Who doesn’t love to be able to decide other people’s fate (or at least pretend)? Fortune cookies are your one, safe and non-voodoo-doll way to put a certain idea in someones head. Now fortune cookies are the perfect way to to propose to someone or, a more realistic option, say happy birthday to someone. My reasoning was neither, I just put together a package for some bestfriendskies in DC and fortune cookies were relevant to the package. Problem: thin crispy fortune cookies probably don’t mail well. woops!

This was a difficult attempt and next time I am going to test out other variations of the recipe until I find one I love. Here’s a peak inside one of the cookies:

Fortune Cookie Recipe (for the time being)

this recipe is adapted from Paula Deen. I love cinnamon so I add a perfect amount of it to everything.

You will need:
2 egg whites
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons water
1 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Makes about 15 lovely fortune cookies
Set oven to 400F degrees.

1) Place egg whites in a bowl and beat with electric mixer on medium speed until very frothy, almost soft peaks.
2) Add sifted flour and cinnamon
3) Add sugar, almond, and vanilla then mix.


4) Stir in 2 tablespoons of water to thin batter.


5) Place 1 tablespoon of batter on pan and thin out with the back of the spoon. Thin out to an equally distributed 3 1/2 inch round.

6) Start with one cookie. If you find yourself being speedy, start cooking two at a time. Bake until edges are lightly browned (do not overbake) and remove from the oven.

7) Carefully but quickly flip the cookie with a spatula and place the fortune in the middle of the circle. bring sides upward to create a half circle. Your cookie should look like a hard taco shell with the tops touching.

8) Fold over the rim of a glass cup to get the fold in the cookie. Let cool.

You have about 10-15 seconds to do steps 7 & 8. Good luck!

Here they are! Not even close to professional fortune cookies but mark my words, readers (all 10 of you…hi mom): I will take another try at fortune cookies next week and learn from my mistakes so that y’all can do the same.

Friday Pie-Day

Peach & Blueberry pie with Ginger crust!


Makes one 9 inch pie

For the Crust:

2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes

5 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons ice cold water

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

For the Filling:

about 3 pounds ripe peaches (I used about 6 peaches)

1 cup fresh blueberries

1/2 to 2/3 cups granulated sugar (depending on the sweetness of your peaches)

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

scant 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 (a couple dashes..who really measures 1/8 tsp??) teaspoon ground cloves

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 egg, beaten, for egg wash

Cinnamon sugar topping for top of crust.

Crust:

1) in a medium bowl, mix flour, sugar, and salt.  Add cubed butter and work into the flour mixture with your hands.  Work quickly so that the butter does not get warm. The mixture will not be cohesive…there will be different sized pieces of flour/butter bits, don’t worry about mixing it all together.

2) Stir together the ice cold water and vinegar.   Create a hole in the butter and flour mixture and pour in the liquid mixture and mix together.  On a lightly floured work surface, dump out the dough mixture.

3) Divide the dough in two and gently work into two flat disks, about 1.5 inch thick.  Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Filling:

1) wash and slice peaches.  In a medium bowl, combine peach slices and blueberries.  In a small bowl aside,  whisk together sugar, spices, flour, and cornstarch.

2) Pour the spice mixture over the fruit, and toss gently.  Add lemon juice.  Place bowl of fruit in the fridge while you roll the bottom crust out.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Place rack in the center of the oven.

Remove one of the dough circles from the fridge.  On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out into a circle (or as close to a circle as you can get).  Roll the dough a few strokes, but keep moving the dough with your hands to make sure it’s not sticking. If the dough starts start springing back, that means that the butter is warming and you should put the dough back in the fridge.  Gently lift round from the floured surface and center in the 9-inch baking dish.  Place in the fridge while you roll out the top crust.

Do the same with the next disk, creating a roughly 13-inch circle.  Remove the bottom crust and fruit filling, pour the fruit filling into the pie dish.  Carefully remove the top crust from the work surface and drape over the fruit in the pie dish.  With a small knife, trim the crust into strips. I used a fondant cutter for the design. Carefully weave the fragile strips to create the top crust, or just alternate placing one horizontal strip and one vertical. Brush lightly with beaten egg and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

Place pie in the oven and bake at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes.  Reduce the oven heat to 375 and bake for 50 more minutes.  Remove from the oven when crust is browned and golden, and the juices are bubbling.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 2 hours before serving.

Enjoy! If you really love ginger and are feeling adventurous, some minced candied ginger would be amazing in the filling!

“Gimme More” Granola

I adapted this granola recipe by adding dried fruit, chocolate, pumpkin seeds, and pistachios. Printer Friendly Version

Ingredients:

**** = dairy free version

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 3/4 cups sliced almonds
  • 3/4 cups roughly chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup coconut
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup pistachios
  • 10 tablespoons margarine
  • 1 cup dark-brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 7 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • optional: 1/2 cup dark chocolate chunks or yogurt covered raisins*****

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together oats, almonds, coconut, pumpkin seeds, pistachios and pecans. Spread oat mixture in an even layer on prepared baking sheet. Transfer to oven and bake until toasted, about 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, place margarine, sugar, honey, salt, and cinnamon in a medium saucepan. Place over medium-low heat and cook until margarine is melted and mixture is well combined.
  4. Take out oat mixture and change oven to 275 degrees.
  5. Transfer toasted oat mixture to a large bowl and add the heated sauce; toss to coat. Return mixture to rimmed baking sheet and transfer to oven. Bake, stirring every 15 minutes, for an hour or until desired texture. Remove from oven and let cool.
  6. Granola will crisp up while cooling. 
  7. Leave granola on baking sheet to cool (15 min) and then transfer to an airtight container, breaking up larger pieces. Add fruit and chocolate, cover container, and shake to combine. Granola may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 to 2 weeks.

Williams Sonoma Pumpkin Bars

If you are part of the small but loyal group of people who have been introduced to Williams Sonoma Pecan Pumpkin Butter, then you probably know the magical bars that the little jar can yield. I have tried it with other brands of pumpkin butter and it is just not the same (this could be/is probably just in my head).

  • 1 (18 ounce) box yellow cake mix
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 13 ounces WS pecan pumpkin butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. Reserve 1 cup of cake mix and set aside. Mix remaining cake with with 1/2 cup melted butter and 1 egg. Press mixture lightly into the bottom of a 13″ x 9″ baking dish. Mix one jar of pumpkin pecan butter with remaining two eggs and milk, and pour over cake mixture in pan.

interruption: I pour the pecan pumpkin butter in a small bowl, then crack the two eggs in, and then pour the milk INTO THE CONTAINER of the pumpkin butter. Close it, shake it around and then pour into the small bowl with the eggs and remaining pumpkin butter. This ensures that you get every bit of that 10-dollar-goodness.

Mix remaining 1 cup cake mix with flour, sugar, remaining 1/4 cup butter, cloves and cinnamon, and crumble over the top of the pumpkin layer. Bake 35-40 minutes, or until golden.

Cool to room temp, cut into squares, serve and watch people rave.

Summer Lovin’

Well, it’s been a full year since I’ve tried to start this baking blog and I’m back again!  A great summer batter with fresh coconut and lime flavors. Decorations: I used graham cracker crumbs, teddy grahams, melted chocolate to make faces on the teddies, gummy rings, swedish fish, and octopuses on toothpicks (paper umbrellas if you have them!) for the beach umbrellas.

We used unsweetened coconut and it tasted perfectly fine. So here it is, Coconut Lime Cupcakes (taste like a baked goods version of  Malibu rum!)

Coconut Lime Cake

  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons coconut extract
  • 1 1/2  tablespoons finely grated lime peel
  • 1 1/3 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2/3 cup milk (I substitute with almond milk)
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 1/2 cups self-rising flour (all purpose works just fine)
Preheat oven to 350. Line cupcake pan with liners. Beat the butter, coconut extract, lime peel, sugar and eggs in large bowl with electric mixer. Stir in milk an coconut, then stir in flour. Divide the mixture among the cupcake liners and bake for 25 minutes. Let cool and then frost with…..

Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 5 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 5 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 teaspoons coconut extract
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lime peel
  • 3 cups (1 lb) powdered sugar