Archive for the 'Uncategorized' 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’

23
Feb
10

***Under Construction***

I’ve been working on organizing all my baking photos from the past 9 months…it’s scary how fast the time has gone by. I feel like I owe it to my blog (and to you) to start with a fresh new look.

In the meantime, here’s the new addition to our household:

05
Mar
09

valentine’s day

H and I visited my family after our San Francisco trip.  I usually make breakfast when we visit and I decided to make a vday breakfast – heart shaped eggs, banana pancakes, and bacon.

Valentine's BreakfastMy sister has been asking me to make these inside out peanut butter cups  so I made these, too.

inside out peanut butter cups

05
Mar
09

san francisco

H tried to surprise me with a trip to San Francisco to see Wicked for my birthday/valentine’s day.  I kind of figured it out a few weeks before when he told me that I needed to request a few days off from work.  I’d hinted at wanting to see the musical a few months before when I found out it was going to be in SF.  We really liked the show and would probably watch it again sometime – although I told H that maybe we should see a matinee next time.  I’m kind of known for falling asleep when I watch movies or even live shows at night.  I never actually fell asleep during the show, but I have to admit that there was a few times when my eyes started closing… wicked

We had fun walking around and being touristy, despite the cold I came down with right before we went on vacation.  We got really lucky that it didn’t rain during the day –  that would have been miserable.   The day after the show we walked around the city.  We started with breakfast at Tad’s Steakhouse.  It was just ok, a normal breakfast.  Our day got off to a later start than I had planned and it was close to our hotel.  We walked around a bit afterwards and then headed down to the Ferry Building where we did a lot of sampling.Ferry Building

We started at Miette where I admired the pastries and cake stands.

Miette

Continue reading ‘san francisco’

21
Jan
09

i haven’t forgotten…

I meant to update months ago with photos of H’s german chocolate birthday cupcakes.  Then we couldn’t find the photos, which were taken when our old camera started dying.  I was bummed and  didn’t really have any desire to post anything.  Then I got sucked into the Twilight saga.  Well, if you’re a fan you probably know what that means.  Life outside of  Forks and Edward Cullen ceased – even baking! (H and I are still listening to the audio books during our commute to work, but we’re almost through with those too :() Before I knew it Thanksgiving was around the corner.  I felt so busy even though I probably did most of my baking and cooking on the day before Thanksgiving.  All of a sudden December was here and I was partially living in my kitchen baking tons of cookies, shopping, wrapping, and running around.  *Sigh* And now January is almost over and I wonder where all the time went.  I know, excuses, excuses. I actually think about posting pretty often – it’s sitting down and doing it that I have trouble keeping up with.  Maybe I should make a resolution to update at least once a month… 🙂  I’ve finally accepted the fact that I probably won’t be able to catch up all in one post this time.  Here’s October for now:

(I’m having issues with photos and text right now.  Don’t know what happened – it was perfectly fine before my last save – augh!)

Apples Galore

One of my co-workers has organic apple trees and gave me a grocery bag full of granny smiths.  I was able to make an apple pie and an apple slab pie.  I loved the apple slab.  It reminded H and I of those 50 cent hand pies you get at the grocery store because of the icing – these were WAY better though!

apple pie

pile of apples

apple pieApple Pie

huge crust for the apple slabhuge crust for the apple slab
the apple slab the apple slab

a closer looka closer look

Cinnamon Rolls

I got hooked on no-knead dough and made cinnamon rolls and sticky buns a few times (for some reason I don’t have any photos of the sticky buns  – they were stick-to-your-teeth delicious).

naked cinnamon rollsnaked cinnamon rolls
all dressed upall dressed up

Chocolate!

I was excited when I found out that Ghirardelli’s bittersweet chocolate was a Cooks Illustrated favorite.  I really like Scharffen Berger, but it’s easier for me to find Ghirardelli where I live.  When I found out there was a Ghirardelli Outlet in San Leandro I just had to check it out. H and I stopped by one weekend after visiting my parents and I stocked up – it was SO much cheaper than buying it at the grocery store.

chocolate shopping spreechocolate shopping spree
pure chocolatepure chocolate

Biscuits

I had a craving for a McDonalds bacon, egg,  and cheese biscuit one morning so I was going to try to make my own.  I found a recipe for simple drop biscuits in my America’s Test Ktichen baking book (one of my favorites).  They were super easy to make – buttery and delicious.  Maybe a little too buttery, but I still enjoyed them.  Unfortunately, the bacon, egg, and cheese part went out the window.

simple drop biscuitssimple drop biscuits

Sprinkles

H and I visited Sprinkles in Palo Alto. I was really excited because I had never been to a Sprinkles.  From all the ones we tried, I think I liked the red velvet the most, except that I could sort of taste the red coloring.

coconut, dark chocolate, red velvet, chocolate marshmallowcoconut, dark chocolate, red velvet, chocolate marshmallow

Vat of Vanilla

I received a COOKS catalogue in the mail one day with a free shipping code.  I poured through the catalogue trying to find a good deal.  They had this jug of vanilla that was way cheaper per ounce than the little 4 oz. bottles I had been buying.

almost a jug of vanillaalmost a jug of vanilla

*Sigh* It’s nice to be somewhat caught up.  I’ll be back soon for the rest 🙂

03
Oct
08

catching up…

I can’t believe it’s been 2 months since my last update. I was so excited when I started, but lately I haven’t had any motivation to do anything. I’ve just been tired and blah. I’ve still been baking, but I’ve even lost the motivation to take pictures. I do most of my baking at night after work and it’s hard for me to get pictures I’m happy with, especially now that it’s getting dark so early. Oh, and of course I can’t forget the fact that my camera has slowly started going haywire and is now highlighting my pictures purple. I was really bummed at first, but now I have an excuse to get a new one :). I’m hoping not to stay in this unmotivated rut for much longer. In the meantime, here’s a short summary of what I’ve been up to.

Blueberry Crumb Bars

blueberry crumb bars

blueberry crumb bars

I think I made these blueberry crumb bars in August. They were delicious. Trader Joe’s was having an amazing sale on fresh blueberries – cheaper than the frozen ones. Of course I took advantage of it and ended up buying several packages. I tried to make these crumb bars a second time, using some frozen raspberries and blueberries. I wasn’t happy with the result at all – the frozen fruit made the bars too wet and soggy and I realized that I didn’t like the taste of the raspberries so much. The bad texture was most lkely my fault, for wanting to add extra fruit at the last minute in an attempt to make the center a little thicker. I probably didn’t add enough cornstarch and sugar to balance out the extra frozen berries.

Mini Vacation

chocolate peanut butter cupcake

chocolate peanut butter cupcake

My husband and I went on a mini vacation in Monterey/Carmel for our 2nd anniversary. We stopped by a coffee shop in Santa Cruz and I was tempted by this chocolate peanut butter cupcake. We did not enjoy it – the cupcake was dry and the frosting was chewy and oily (see the oil on the frosting?). It was the first time I’d ever had frosting that was chewy and oily. What made the experience even less enjoyable was the hefty price tag on the cupcake – $4 if I remember correctly!

Olallieberry Cream Cake

olallieberry cream cake

On the way home from Carmel we stopped in Cambria, the little town where we had our wedding. It would’ve been nice to walk around a little, but we were tired from our mini trip and only stopped to pick up a slice of this delicious Olallieberry Cream Cake from Linn’s. It is my absolute favorite cake. It was the cake we served at our wedding – where I had hoped that the small top tier would be leftover for me to eat all by myself :). Well, that didn’t happen, but I told H that as long as we live on the Central Coast, I want to get this cake at least once a year on our anniversary.

crushcakes cupcakery - peanut butter chocolate and coconut

crushcakes cupcakery - peanut butter chocolate and coconut

Labor Day Weekend

For Labor Day Weekend, H and I took a day trip down to Santa Barbara. We mostly window shopped and of course I had my “kid in a candy store” experience at Sur La Table. I just get so mesmerized at everything in there. Before we left we stopped at Crushcakes Cupcakery. They were closing in less than an hour so there weren’t too many cupcakes to choose from. We got peanut butter and coconut and I also tried a mini lemon. The cupcakes were a little dry, but I figured it was because it was the end of the day. The frosting on both cupcakes was awesome. They had a very light and fluffy texture that H and I both enjoyed. Next time we should each get our own instead of trying to split. 🙂

Birthday Cake

Chocolate Chiffon Birthday Cake

chocolate chiffon birthday cake

The following weekend, I made a cake for my pastor’s birthday. I tried to make something that wasn’t too sweet or rich and ended up altering a recipe to make a chocolate chiffon cake. It was the first time I’d made a chiffon cake and was surprised about how many eggs I needed to make a cake this size. I was a little nervous because I had never even tried the original recipe and here I was modifying it. The cake was delicious; it was moist and spongy and had a nice chocolate flavor. Unfortunately, I was in such a hurry to finish it that I didn’t do a very good job with the frosting/decorating and then forgot to take a picture of the final product before H and I had to run out the door.

Royal Icing Cookies

A few weeks ago, there was a baby shower for one of my co-workers. I made some cute baby themed cookies (bib, onesie, bottle, pacifier, carriage), but was so upset because my royal icing didn’t set properly. I’m pretty sure I had added too much water to the icing and overmixed it in an attempt to get the right consistency. Afer a full day of drying, the icing was bubbly and soft, almost like marshmallow. The night before the shower, I ruined all but 2 of the cookies I had made for her just by accidentally touching the not-so-set icing. From all the cookies I had been decorating, all I was left with was 1 bib and 1 bottle. I was devastated, but there was nothing I could do about it. I didn’t even get a picture of the 2 cookies that turned out ok.

soccer mania

soccer mania

Anyway, everyone at the shower thought that the bib cookie was really cute so I guess it wasn’t so bad after all. A different co-worker asked me if I would be interested in making 24 soccer cookies for her daughter’s birthday. I jumped at the opportunity just so I could practice with royal icing. Now, I don’t really watch sports and I don’t think I had ever REALLY looked at what a soccer ball looked like. I searched the web and found a picture I was happy with. I printed it out and traced it onto a piece of waxpaper using an edible ink marker. After I had all my circles cut, I TRACED the soccer ball design on each cookie TWICE – first with a blunt fondant tool so as not to rip through my template and then with a toothpick so I’d be able to see the line after it baked. I baked them on Saturday night and on Sunday night I piped the black outlines and filled in the black sections. I also needed to fill in the white sections that same night so I could package them on Monday night since she needed them on Tuesday. It was a very time consuming process and H ended up having to help me fill in the white sections b/c it was getting so late and I was exhausted. I hadn’t realized just how long this would all take me. It was a painstaking, yet fun, experience and I learned so much about royal icing, process, and time management. I was so happy with the results; the soccer cookies turned out really good and the icing set beautifully.

a satisfying ending

the fruit of my labor

End of Summer Cupcakes

Some of our friends hosted an end of summer bbq for which I volunteered to make a dessert. I decided to do 3 types of cupcakes and be extra organized to increase my efficiency since I planned to make all 3 the night before. What a difference it makes to have a plan and be organized! I made hummingbird cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, and coconut cupcakes with 7 minute frosting. They were a hit!

red velvet, hummingbird, and coconut cupcakes

red velvet, hummingbird, and coconut cupcakes

I was excited to use my cupcake courier and have it be filled to full capacity. I love this thing!

coconut, red velvet, and hummingbird

cupcakes!

Ok, so I think that ended up being a little longer than a short summary, but I think I’m caught up now. Recalling all the events and seeing the pictures made me excited about posting again. I should be updating sooner than later. It was H’s birthday on Wednesday and I’m looking forward to posting his german chocolate cupcakes.

02
Aug
08

s’more cupcakes

This was the third and final dessert for our dinner party 2 weeks ago. This was served as the first dessert while H and I “secretly” dealt with the peach cobbler fiasco in the kitchen. These cupcakes are very time consuming, but well worth it in the end.

chopped bittersweet chocolate
chopped bittersweet chocolate
chocolate graham cracker crust
chocolate graham cracker crust
chocolate graham cracker topping
chocolate graham cracker topping
fresh out of the oven
fresh out of the oven
mmm…marshmallow
mmm...marshmallow
ready…set…pipe!
ready...set...pipe!
waiting for the final touches
almost done...
kissed with fire
kissed with fire
the finished product
beautiful...

The first time I made these, I attempted the frosting 3 times, each time with a new batch of meringue that would just melt and goop down the sides of the cupcake. It was probably too humid that day. They were delicious nonetheless and looked more like campfire s’mores with all the goop, but I have to admit that I was overjoyed about the meringue swirls staying in tact this time.