Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wish Me Luck!

Have you ever loved to do something but quit only because you have found that there are not enough hours to do what you love? That is what I have been thinking about for quite some time now. I love to cook and used to keep up with this blog faithfully until things felt like they got so complicated. Between ball games, work and home life I felt like I didn't have time to do anything I loved to. I began feeling like what I made wasn't blog worthy, but I didn't have the time to scour all of my cookbooks to find something different. I got in the rut of making the "usual dinners" because they didn't take much time and heaven forbid I make a calorie laden dessert.

I have finally begun to think of my own feelings for a change. I am now beginning to understand that time for myself to do what I love is what makes me feel human and not like a robot who gets up for work, makes dinner, straightens the house, runs errands, sleeps and starts the next day over again to do the same thing. I started off small with an hour here or there to read a good book or play a game on the computer, but now I realize that nothing relaxes me more than baking. I am going to try to start cooking again and maybe I will post my creations to this blog again, but just writing this now makes me feel so inspired to actually do it.

There is another problem though. Baking is my passion but I feel terrible for tossing out all the leftovers that no one wants to eat. My co-workers along with my family have tired of all the fattening foods and requested no more since all the butter and sugar are unhealthy. I know there are foods out there that don't require so much artery clogging ingredients, but I am a fan of the real thing. My dreams were to one day open a bakery of my own and all of my baking was in hopes of being able to perfect my techniques.

Maybe I should just start small with a little cookie here or there and take it one day at a time again. I am sure somewhere out there, there is someone willing to eat my pastries and if not, well, I had a fabulous time making them! So wish me luck!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

A birthday cake of a different kind

This year my dad didn't get to spend his birthday here at home with us since he was working out of town. I wanted to make him a cake for his birthday so we could celebrate a belated birthday with him. I came across this recipe and decided that it would be an excellent cake to try. I did make a few changes in it though. I used Splenda rather than sugar since my grandmother was here with us and she has to watch her sugar intake. I am not sure what the cake would taste like made with real sugar, but this one made with Splenda was awesome! The cream "frosting" was really good. I did however forget to add the bananas in the cream frosting, but it was really good without them. I think with the bananas missing it brought out the caramel flavor even more. The cake was moist and the cream topping was just the right sweetness to top it off. I would definitely recommend this recipe to anyone who loves bananas. I think I might have found a new favorite here. Give it a try...I think you will like it!

Adapted from Bon Appetit

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (generous) fine sea salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 1/2 cups sugar, divided
6 large eggs
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
2 small ripe bananas, peeled, cut into 1/4-inch cubes (about 1 1/2 cups)

Banana-caramel cream1 1/2 cups (packed) golden brown sugar
1 small ripe banana, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
3 3/4 cups chilled heavy whipping cream, divided

4 1/2 teaspoons fresh lime juice, divided
4 1/2 teaspoons dark rum, divided

Sea Salt-Roasted Pecans

For cake:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. Sift flour, baking powder, and sea salt into medium bowl. Beat butter and 1 cup sugar in large bowl until well blended. Add 2 eggs; beat until blended. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture in 4 additions alternately with buttermilk in 3 additions. Beat remaining 4 eggs and remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar in medium bowl until mixture is thick and pale in color, about 4 minutes. Fold egg mixture into batter. Fold in bananas. Divide batter between prepared pans (about 3 1/2 cups for each).

Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool 15 minutes. Invert cakes onto racks; cool completely. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Wrap in foil; store at room temperature.)

For banana-caramel cream:
Combine brown sugar, banana, and 3 tablespoons butter in processor; blend until smooth. Add 1 1/2 cups whipping cream; blend. Transfer to heavy medium saucepan. Whisk over medium heat until sugar dissolves and mixture boils. Attach candy thermometer to inside of pan; cook without stirring or swirling pan until temperature registers 218°F, about 10 minutes. Pour caramel into bowl. Cool to room temperature, whisking occasionally.

Whisk remaining 2 1/4 cups whipping cream in large bowl until cream mounds softly. Gradually fold in cool caramel mixture. Chill until cream is firm enough to spread, about 3 hours.

Cut each cake horizontally into 2 layers. Place 1 layer, cut side up, on platter. Drizzle 1 1/2 teaspoons lime juice and 1 1/2 teaspoons rum over. Spread 1 1/4 cups banana cream over. Top with second cake layer. Drizzle 1 1/2 teaspoons lime juice and 1 1/2 teaspoons rum over. Spread 1 1/2 cups cream over. Repeat with third cake layer, lime juice, rum, and cream. Top with fourth cake layer, cut side down; spread remaining cream over top.

Scatter roasted pecans over top of cake. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome and refrigerate.)

Makes 10 to 12 servings.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Raspberry Butter Cake

I have once again began my baking spree. Tonight I decided to try out a recipe from my Cooking Pleasures magazine. It was a very pretty cake but the top was a bit too mushy for me. I am not sure if it was supposed to be that way or not. I personally think that maybe I didn't let it cook long enough. I think the top was supposed to be like a cheesecake. I did happen to taste it while it was still warm though. I stuck it in the fridge to see if it tastes better. I am betting that it will. You are supposed to top the cake with fresh raspberries, but I only had frozen so I pureed them and put that on top. I am wondering if this cake would taste good with blueberries instead of raspberries....I may have to retry this recipe one more time.

Raspberry Butter Cake
Adapted from Cooking Pleasures Magazine

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
2/3 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup fresh raspberries

2 (3-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups fresh raspberries

1. Heat oven to 325°F. Spray 8-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in medium bowl.

2. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl at medium speed 3 to 4 minutes or until creamy and lightened in color. Beat in 1 egg. At low speed, beat in sour cream, lemon juice and 1 teaspoon vanilla until combined. Beat in flour mixture just until incorporated. Spoon batter into pan. Sprinkle with 3/4 cup raspberries, pressing gently into batter. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or just until top feels firm when lightly touched.

3. Meanwhile, beat cream cheese and powdered sugar in large bowl at low speed until smooth. Beat in 2 eggs and 1 teaspoon vanilla until combined. Slowly pour topping over partially baked cake. Bake 25 to 35 minutes or until edges look firm and center moves slightly when pan is tapped but doesn’t ripple as if liquid.

4. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Sprinkle with 2 cups raspberries before serving. (Cake can be made 1 day ahead.) Cover and store in refrigerator.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Okay, so it isn't banana cream pie...

My first creation in my new found kitchen didn't turn out to be a Banana Cream Pie. It was totally opposite of a creamy, sweet pie. It was a fluffy, fruity cake. I get the FOODIE email from Central Market all the time. I love Central Market. We don't have one anywhere near us, but I sure do love to go when we go up to see my sis. I was browsing through their recipe index and came across this Collapsed Lemon Chiffon Cake. It was my first time to make a chiffon cake. It was awesome! It came out about 2 inches high and light and airy. The lemon flavor wasn't overpowering. In my opinion it had a faint lemon flavor. I couldn't find any decent berries in our little store but if it had some it would be even better. It kind of made me think of the sponge cakes that you would make a strawberry shortcake with. I can already taste the strawberries mixed with the lemon flavor in the cake. I just might do that with the remaining cake. Strawberry lemon shortcake! I'll let you know how it turns out!

Collapsed Lemon Chiffon Cake
Adapted from Central Market Recipes

1 3/4 cups cake flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons egg substitute
8 egg whites
3 cups mixed berries
2 tablespoons sugar

Spray a 10-inch spring form pan with nonstick cooking spray and dust with confectioners sugar. Sift cake flour, 3/4 cup sugar, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl. Combine oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla, egg yolks and egg substitute in a bowl and mix well. Add to the sifted ingredients and beat until smooth.

Beat egg whites in a mixing bowl until stiff peaks form. Fold into batter. Pour into prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Cool in the pan for 6 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Invert onto a serving plate.

Combine berries and 2 tablespoons sugar in a bowl and press lightly to release juices. Serve with the cake. Garnish with mint leaves.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

It is almost done!

I am so excited!! We are almost done with my kitchen! I now have a workable kitchen. I am so anxious to bake and cook. I don't know whether I want to make a cake or some cookies or a great dinner!!! I actually went to the store today to buy the ingredients to make a Banana Cream Pie. I figured since it was so hot today a nice light pie would do the trick.

I love the look of my floor. It is almost a dark mauve color. The pattern is so pretty. I wish you could see the actual color and pattern of this floor. The picture just doesn't do it justice!

My new favorite thing is my island! We were going to build a custom island with the cabinets we used in the kitchen but when my mom showed me this Martha Stewart island I fell in love!! I have decided though that I am going to change the color of the kitchen. As much as I love my orange doesn't go well with the floor and it sort of makes the cabinets look a yellowish color. I am thinking of paiinting it a light bamboo color. It is a really nice color. I think it is better for me to go with a more neutral color though. I can say now though that I am ready to get in the kitchen again!!