Archive for the 'cake' Category

31
Mar
11

persimmon bundt cake

I know; I’m such a flake when it comes to blogging.  I don’t really have any other excuses except for the fact that I usually enjoy reading other people’s blogs instead of posting on my own.  There was a lot of baking going on in my kitchen (baking is currently on hold) and I do have lots of pictures to share, but I’ll admit that I’ve been lazy.

This recipe comes to you at the wrong time of the year (I made this cake in October) but I wanted to share with you now because I’ve had persimmons on my mind.  My parents have a fuyu persimmon tree in their backyard and they get tons of persimmons so my dad sent H and I a box of them in the mail.  The following week we received a whole bag of fuyus from my friend.  What was I to do with so many persimmons?

H loves them (fuyus) and will eat 2 or 3 a day, but I’ve never been a huge fan of them.  The first time I tasted a persimmon it was a hachiya persimmon…the mushy kind.  After that experience I tried to stay away from eating any kind of persimmon in their natural whole fruit form.  My grandpa makes persimmon cookies which  I do like so I searched for the recipe he had shared with me.  Bummer, the cookies were made with puree from the mushy hachiya persimmons;  I had an over abundance of the crisp fuyu persimmons.  Darn.  I searched online and most baking recipes use hachiya.  I was getting discouraged when I finally found this.  I was so excited to try it out, especially because it was made in a bundt pan and I really like bundt cakes.  The cake was very yummy.  It was the perfect “Welcome Fall Season” spice cake.  I made it a few times and even turned it into a “persimmon bread” simply by baking it in a loaf pan and not icing it.

So, back to my relationship with persimmons and why they’ve been on my mind.  The cake only uses about 4 persimmons so even though I’d made it a few times we still had tons of them on our kitchen  counter.  Everytime H ate one I’d have a bite too and eventually I kind of started to like the fuyu persimmon.  It’s crisp like an apple and I’m all about crispy things.  The fuyu persimmon was finally starting to grow on me.  I probably won’t eat 2 to 3 a day like H does, but now I know they’re good for baking too.  What really pushed me over was finally looking at the persimmon tree in my parents’ backyard.  It’s beautiful!  I haven’t seen too many persimmon trees, but I really liked how theirs looked.

I’ve been looking into fruit trees for my backyard so a persimmon tree made it onto my wishlist and I finally ordered a bareroot a few days ago.  My current view from the kitchen sink is pretty bleh so I am very excited about having a nice persimmon tree to look at.  My bareroot tree just arrived yesterday and I’m looking forward to planting it this weekend.  Ok…on to the recipe!

Continue reading ‘persimmon bundt cake’

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06
Aug
10

strawberries!

I can’t believe mid-August is just around the corner.  I feel like I’m always asking, “Where did the time go?” H and I have been doing lots of yard work.  We started in April and have come a long way, but there is still lots of work to be done.  Up until this week, I hadn’t been baking nearly as much as I used to (used to being at least once a week) and when I did bake I didn’t take any pictures half the time.  We’ve recently started going to farmer’s market again and when the strawberries are good we usually end up buying a half flat because it’s such a good deal.  Whenever we buy that many, there are definitely plans for baking with some of them.  I love fresh strawberries from farmer’s market, but I find that if we don’t eat them within the first 2 (or if we’re lucky 3) days, they start to take a turn for the worst real fast.  What do I do when I find myself in such a predicament? I start baking strawberry everything!  If I really don’t have time, I’ll freeze them, but I hate having to resort to that because I’d much rather take advantage of their freshness.  A few weeks ago when I had an overabundance of strawberries I made some strawberry ice cream.  It is delicious! I’ve made strawberry ice cream before, but I think this is my new favorite recipe (which I promise to post later).  There’s no egg yolks so it’s not too rich.

strawberry ice cream

This week I had strawberries and leftover buttermilk from making pancakes over the weekend.  I found the perfect recipe for a raspberry buttermilk cake on smitten kitchen and substituted strawberries.  My cake wasn’t as pretty as the raspberry buttermilk cake, but it was still wonderful.  My cut strawberries must have been a little heavier than raspberries because they all them sank to the bottom.

strawberry buttermilk cake

And because I had even more strawberries and buttermilk leftover, I made a strawberry layer cake that I saw in the August 2010 issue of Martha Stewart Living.  The cake in the magazine is a beautiful 4 layer cake with strawberry jam, macerated strawberries, and whip cream between each layer.  It really is a picture perfect cake that I wanted to replicate, but ended up with what I like to call a strawberry slump cake.  I cut the strawberries too thin and decided to make pastry cream instead of whip cream, which was fine except that I didn’t have enough to create a lot of lift between the layers.  Nevertheless, it was still tasty and was gobbled up when I brought it to work.

strawberry layer cake

You’d think I’d be a little strawberry’d out, but I’m not.  My strawberry plants in the backyard are doing well, but not enough for me to bake anything with them.  I usually harvest 1 or 2 at a time :).  H has been wanting me to make a strawberry pie so I don’t think he’ll mind if we stop by the farmer’s market again tomorrow to pick up a few packs, or maybe even another half flat.

19
Jun
10

transitions

A friend asked me to make some cupcakes for her brother’s graduation a few weeks ago.  I made chocolate cupcakes topped with peanut butter cream cheese frosting and whipped caramel ganache.  H and I ate the extras and they were delicious.  I think I finally have a few recipes down that I can rely on every time.  It’s kind of scary to think how fast the time is flying by these days; another round of graduations come and gone.  Graduation…one of those major life transitions where I thought, “What now?”.  Well, another one of those major life transitions is coming up for me again in a few weeks and the same question keeps popping up in my head.  I just keep reminding myself that it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time.  It’s for not being stressed out and tired all the time.  It’s for hopes of finally expanding our little family.  It’s for an opportunity to do what I’ve always been passionate about.  It’s for the best.

13
Mar
10

cupcakes and mini bundt cakes

Here are some photos of recent cupcakes and mini bundt cakes.

These are some cupcakes that H and I got at Joan’s on Third in LA.  I think the one up front is the snickers cupcake and the one in the back is the cream filled chocolate cupcake.  I didn’t get to try the snickers cupcake; H probably finished it off in 3 or less bites.  The cream filled cupcake was ok; the filling was very sweet.

Joan’s on Third cupcakes

I brought red velvet cupcakes to work the week before Valentine’s Day.   They had cream cheese frosting and were sprinkled with lip-shaped sprinkles.

red velvet with lips sprinkles

The banana bundt cake I posted before has become one of my favorites.   I’m one of those people who will only eat bananas with very few or no spots.  Once they become spotty, I just leave them alone on the counter and let them get uglier and more rotten looking.  Ugly bananas don’t go to waste in this house.  The uglier they get, the more I look forward to baking something with them.  H knows that I will only eat bananas with very few spots, so when he sees me buying a big bunch of bananas, he knows that I have an ulterior motive.

I finally decided to try out my mini bundt pan that I received as a wedding gift (almost 4 years ago!).  I registered for the pan, but never knew what I should make in it.  Go figure.  I wasn’t sure how much batter to put in each mini bundt and ended up slightly overfilling each one.  I was shocked when I checked on them at the halfway point and saw cupcakes!

they look like cupcakes…

…but they’re not!

Fortunately, their little bottoms weren’t so puffed out that they couldn’t stand on their own.  A nice thing about overfilling them slightly was that instead of having a hole in the middle of each bundt for the lemon icing to run through, there was a small cavity to hold it all in.

drizzled with lemon icing

I recently made chocolate cupcakes for a friend’s birthday.  I made a last minute decision to make the caramel ganache frosting from the book Baked.  I really liked the caramel ganache and it was so easy to make!  I also got to use the Valrhona chocolate pearls that I recently bought at a restaurant supply store in LA.  I was having trouble piping nice round swirls and was too lazy to squeeze out all my frosting just to change tips so I ended up just piping out small mounds of frosting.  It’s not the prettiest because the frosting wasn’t smooth enough; next time I’ll use a star tip.

chocolate cupcakes w/ caramel ganache frosting and crunchy chocolate pearls

27
Feb
10

where to begin?

It’s been so long since my last real post that I don’t really know where to start.  I’m still working on a new header and it looks like I might have to go back and fix some of my previous photos to work with the new template (yeah…we’ll see if that happens).  Unfortunately, since it’s been so long, I can’t remember what some of the stuff is that I made and took photos of.  Oh well, I’m going to post them all anyway.

I’m planning on posting recipes now – not all of them, but a few here and there to make things more interesting.  H said that people don’t want to just look at food photos, they want to know how to make them, too.  True.  I look at a lot of baking/food blogs and I love it when I can get some recipes.  My first one, which I’ll post later, will be of some chocolate chip cookies I made a few weeks ago.

Well, I have tons to show you, so I better get started. (I promise, this ‘months of recapping’ won’t be a yearly thing…)

June 2009

pineapple upside down cupcake

vanilla cupcake w/ chocolate glaze and sprinkles

July 2009

This is a birthday cake I made for one of the older ladies at church.  I can’t remember what kind of cake it was or how I made the buttercream :(.  The flowers look kinda funny because this was my first time trying to make roses this way (not the way I learned at my Wilton class).  For these flowers I took a small ball of fondant, pressed it into a petal shape and layered it.  It wasn’t the best time for me to experiment, but I thought it would be easier than it turned out to be.  My fondant was way too soft for this.

happy birthday!

banana bundt cake w/ lemon glaze

the lemon glaze was a surprisingly nice contrast to the banana flavor

My friend asked me to make some bridal shower cookie favors for her friend’s bridal shower.  The theme was orange and purple.

T + J cookies

pile of wrapped favors


Since it was a bridal shower, my friend also asked if I could make a cake just for decoration.  Well, between the two of us, H is usually the designer/sculptor so I left it to him.  His idea was for an open gift box overflowing with bras and panties (geez, I’m embarassed to even write those words on my blog, but just remember – BRIDAL SHOWER!).  The idea seemed ok.  I imaged some classy/elegant lingerie spilling out of this box…and then I saw his creations starting to come to life and my eyes almost bulged out of their sockets.  They were more like Frederick’s of Hollywood than Victoria’s Secret.  Ahhh!!!!!  I am laughing as I write this, but I vividly remember how mortified I was.

Be warned that the following photo may be considered PG-13.  I tried to take the photo from the most “conservative” angle.   I don’t want to explain this cake, but I’m afraid if I don’t you’ll just be examining everything and getting the wrong idea.  Up front is a stacked heart G-string (I never imagined I would be writing that word), to the right is a white one, and the shiny orange thing on the right is supposed to be some leather thing.   I wanted there to be something (anything) classy on this cake so I had him make the pearl necklace.  Are you blushing yet?

H is GREAT when it comes to things he knows about (cars, kung fu panda, thomas the tank engine, etc.), but let’s just say that next time there’s a request for a bridal shower cake, I’ll be doing the designing.

Rated PG-13

Continue reading ‘where to begin?’

26
May
09

something to hold you over…

I’ve been a bum again – it’s been almost 2 months since I last posted.  I’ve still been baking about once a week, but I’ve been lazy.  I have lots of excuses – allergies (which won’t go away), P90X workout (which is not regularly scheduled either so it’s a poor excuse), and busy times at work (projects and we’re moving to a different building).  On top of that, this past month has been the  c r a z i e s t  because H and I bought a house!  It’s literally been a month since we went out with a realtor to look at some houses “just for fun”.  We’d been looking online for awhile “for fun” and decided we wanted to see the inside of some of the places.  Well, we ended up putting in an offer that day and have been in a whirlwind of house related business since.  My interests almost immediately flipped – Home Depot over Michaels, HGTV over Food TV, and paint/furniture/decor over icing/mixers/cake decorating.  Well, maybe not that drastic.  I’ve still been baking, but haven’t been putting as much time into experimenting,  taking step-by-step photos, or even final product photos. *Sigh*  I’ve felt really bad for neglecting my blog so I thought I should at least post a short little something.

We bought some strawberries that weren’t so sweet so I decided to make a dessert out of them instead of eating them straight up.  I made an angel food cake and macerated the strawberries in amaretto liqueur and a little sugar and also had a convenient (secret) stash of Cool Whip in the freezer.  Here’s to the beginning of summer and to other new and exciting beginnings.  🙂

strawberry trifle

10
Apr
09

Thomas the Tank Engine Cake

H and I made a Thomas the Tank Engine (aka Thomas the Train) cake for a 1st birthday last Saturday.  The Monday before the party I tried to get everything organized so we could work on it in stages.  I printed out a calendar for the week and listed all the tasks we would need to get done each day: make fondant, color fondant, make decorations, make buttercream, etc.  Well, last week work was just as crazy as this week; we weren’t getting home until around 7 and I just felt drained so I had no motivation to do anything.

I showed H how to make fondant on Tuesday so he made 4 total batches on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Each batch weighs about 2.5 lbs. and takes forever to make.  My poor little 5 quart KitchenAid doesn’t have enough power (or space) to mix up a batch so it has to be done by hand.  He was really good at working on the train for a few hours each night whereas I waited until Friday night to make the cake and buttercream.   I didn’t even start until 10 pm!  Needless to say, we stayed up almost all night working on the cake and didn’t finish until right before we needed to leave for the party on Saturday (which has become a typical schedule for us whenever we make these types of cakes).  This was our 3rd 1st birthday cake – I think 1st birthdays are becoming our specialty.

the making of a trainThe cake was a vanilla chiffon cake with strawberry puree and strawberry swiss meringue buttercream.  It was really good –  I liked it more than the perfect party cake I had made the week before.

the cake

The finished cake was adorable.  I loved all the colors.  My favorite part about the cake was the railroad tracks.  At first I wasn’t sure about the color H had made, but I should’ve known better than to second guess him.  The shade of brown went well with the other pastel colors and the tracks were cartoony and perfect.

the details

Even though I was kind of stressing out until the last minute, I had fun making this cake.  I think H enjoyed it too and I know he likes the challenge of trying to create something new.

Thomas the Tank Engine