Archive for the ‘baking’ Category

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Fall themed cake

October 31, 2010

My husband’s office had a fall/ Halloween luncheon for the staff and their families on Friday.  They had called me previously to see if I’d make a cake for the event and here is the finished work.  I was relatively pleased with it.

There was a chocolate cake layer and a yellow cake layer with vanilla/almond buttercream icing.  Overall I think that most people enjoyed it, so that was good too!

So happy fall and happy Halloween!

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A Happy Birthday Cake

December 15, 2009

I made this cake for my cousin Sara’s 10th birthday in September.

She was our flower girl when we got married in 2007.  I can’t believe how fast time flies!

I got the idea from a few examples I found online (I would give credit, but I have no idea where I got the inspiration anymore) but I thank them, because she was ecstatic when she saw the cake!  She wanted to take photos and show all her friends, so I guess it turned out okay.

This was one of my first attempts using home made fondant, and I think it turned out rather well.  I just want some more opportunities to work on my skills!  I can’t make a cake for us every week, I need to have excuses!

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Holiday Treats – Fantasy Fudge

December 10, 2009

Wow… this blog can be updated?  NO WAY!!  I had no idea. 🙂

Nothing like a super awesome giveaway to get me back into the blogging world.  That’s right… Brown Eyed Baker is giving away something SUPER, so I just had to pop back into the blogging world to have a chance at it… and at the last minute too!

One of my favorite holiday treats is fudge… and I like it with nuts (walnuts or pecans are great!).

My mom actually always used the recipe right off of the package… the Jet-Puffed Marshmallow Creme package that is.  It always HAD to be Kraft Marshmallow Creme though, that was the only kind to be used, and it’s still the only kind I’ll use.

The recipe can be found here, and I will post it below also.

Prep Time:
10 min
Total Time:
25 min
Makes:
3 lb. or 40 servings, about two squares each

What You Need

3 cups sugar
3/4 cup  (1-1/2 sticks) butter or margarine
1 small can (5 oz.) evaporated milk (about 2/3 cup) (Do not use sweetened condensed milk.)
1-1/2 pkg.  (12 squares) BAKER’S Semi-Sweet Chocolate, chopped
1 jar (7 oz.) JET-PUFFED Marshmallow Creme
1 cup  chopped PLANTERS Walnuts
1 tsp. vanilla

Make It

LINE 9-inch square pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides of pan; set aside. Place sugar, butter and evaporated milk in large heavy saucepan. Bring to full rolling boil on medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil 4 min. or until candy thermometer reaches 234°F, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Remove from heat.

ADD chocolate and marshmallow creme; stir until completely melted. Add walnuts and vanilla; mix well.

POUR immediately into prepared pan; spread to form even layer in pan. Let stand at room temperature 4 hours or until completely cooled; cut into 1-inch squares. Store in tightly covered container at room temperature.

Kraft Kitchens Tips

Size-Wise
A serving of this sweet treat is two squares. You’ll find that a small portion goes a long way on chocolate flavor.
Variation – Classic Fantasy Fudge
Prepare recipe as directed, using 3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) margarine and substituting 1 pkg. (12 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips for the chopped BAKER’S Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate and a 13×9-inch baking pan for the 9-inch square pan.
Use Your Microwave
To prepare the fudge in the microwave, place butter in 4-qt. microwaveable bowl. Microwave on HIGH 1 min. or until melted. Add sugar and milk; mix well. Microwave 5 min. or until mixture begins to boil, stirring after 3 min. Stir well, scraping down side of bowl. Microwave 5-1/2 min., stirring after 3 min. Let stand 2 min. Add chocolate and marshmallow creme; continue as directed.
I have a TON of other favorite holiday treats, but this is probably the first one that popped into my head, so there it is.  Yay Kraft Foods!!
Also, I’m going to try and keep up this blog posting trend again… if you internet folks out there are interested of course.

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I <3 Auctions

October 14, 2009

Almost every Friday night in the general area there is an auction.  I have been going to auctions with my parents since I was a kid, and  I guess that it’s gotten into my blood or something, because I REALLY like going now that i have money of my own.  The key of course is that if you are planning on bidding on any items, to figure out how much you are willing to spend on said items before actually bidding… it’s safer that way, because then you know when to stop and don’t get taken over by adrenaline (although if you’re an auction frequenter, we’ve all had those moments too).

A few months ago I was at an auction and in my opinion I got a steal!  They had several different cake plates, and I was eyeing one that had a glass bottom with a silver foot.  Well, I had made up my mind that I wouldn’t spend too much, and I got it for $15!

The other thing that I was really tickled with was a box full of pans, most of them brand new and in the package.  I ended up getting the entire box for $35.  It was a little bit more than I wanted to spend, but my parents were with me, and what’s funny is that if I hadn’t gotten them for that price, they were going to bid on them for me.  I have awesome parents.  So here are my auction finds:

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Everything in the box on the right is brand new and in the packages.  The pans and cheese grater that are on the table also came in the box lot, and if they have been used, they were kept in FANTASTIC shape.  So far I’ve used some of the loaf pans, and the mini fluted pans, and the mini heart pans.  They work really great and release the cake very easily.  I didn’t really need the mini muffin pans because I have several already, but I guess that it doesn’t hurt to have some extras.  All things considered, I think that I got a GREAT deal and I’m really happy about the purchase.

A lot of the things in our house have been purchased at auctions.  We got our dining room suit (cherry I believe), our dining room table and chairs, and our living room furniture (all leather, wood inlay details, with a large couch, loveseat, large chair and ottoman) all at auctions.  The best part is that even though the stuff is used, we couldn’t have afforded the quality of items brand new that we have, so it’s really great.  I like auctions a lot.  If you’ve never been to one I’d highly recommend it, they’re an adrenaline rush on top of finding some great deals and sometimes some unique finds!

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Banana Bars

May 18, 2009

Several weeks ago I finally jumped on the banana bar wagon.  I had seen several of my friends post this recipe on their blog, so I finally had some “need to be used” bananas and decided I’d give them a try.  Well, everyone else was right: they are fantastic!  I let my husband take a good portion of them to his office, and he said “they devoured them.”  I guess that means that they’re pretty good.  I sure thought so.  However, the icing was almost “too” rich for me.  That didn’t stop me from eating several though, you just need a glass of milk to go with them.

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Recipe from several on my blogroll and Allrecipes.com

Bars –

Ingredients:

½ cup butter, softened
1 ½ cups white sugar
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (I used three ripe bananas)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 10 x 15 inch jellyroll pan or one 9X13 pan and an additional 8X8 pan. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the sour cream and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl; stir into the batter. Finally, mix in the mashed banana. Spread evenly into the prepared pan(s). Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow bars to cool completely before frosting.

Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 cup white sugar (I used confectioners)
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream

Directions:

In a large bowl combine cream cheese, sugar, salt and vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy. Set aside. In another medium bowl, beat whipped cream until stiff peaks form (it helps to use a chilled bowl and chilled beaters). Fold whipped cream into cream cheese mixture.

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Amish Friendship Bread

April 9, 2009

Last Thursday at the church life group my husband and I attend, one of the leaders had made Amish Friendship bread.  I had never had it before, but it’s quite tasty!  I don’t really think that it’s “Amish” though… somehow the vanilla pudding gives that away.  Regardless, it has the friendship sharing aspect, so I’m giving it a try.

As we were talking about the bread, she told us that she had starters that we could take to make our own.  This was new to me and I was a little worried about it… but the best part I saw in the recipe was that for almost all of the 10 days in making, all I had to do was “mush the bag.”  That, I figured I could handle.

The recipe for after you have a starter is as follows:

day 1:
Do nothing with the starter.
days 2-5:
Mush the bag.
day 6:
Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup milk.  Mush the bag.
days 7-9:
Mush the bag.
Day 10:
Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk.  Stir. Take out 3 cups and place 1 cup each into three separate plastic bags. Give one cup and a copy of this recipe to three friends. To the balance (a little over one cup) of the batter, add the following ingredients and mix well.

1 cup oil
1/2 cup milk
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

In a separate bowl combine the following dry ingredients and mix well:

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 – (5.1 oz) box instant vanilla pudding
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup nuts

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Mix and pour into two well greased and sugared bread pans. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour.

(At least that’s the recipe I found online, not positive it’s the exact one I have at home.)

What’s great about the timing of when I got this starter, is that it will be Easter bread!  I’m excited to make it by the original recipe, and maybe I will keep one of the starters from this batch to try some variations in another 10 days. 🙂

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Chocolate cake

February 4, 2009

So, some of you may know that I’ve recently gotten the urge to learn how to decorate cakes.  I’m not really sure where this has come from, but perhaps it is a combination of “all my friends are doing it” aka peer pressure, and the fact that my mom did cake decorating for years.

For Christmas I got some really cool cake decorating stuff, and this past weekend I finally got a chance to try it out… just a little bit.

Now, I know that many people out there are incredibly against boxed cake mixes, but, well, I’m not one of them.  So my cake was a boxed mix, but it was my mom’s chocolate icing recipe, which is FANTASTIC!  I would share it here, but I’m not sure that she’d like that, since it’s sort of her “secret recipe.”

She did tell me how to line my pans though, that it makes it easier to get the cakes out of the pans etc.  So I greased the pans with Crisco as instructed, and lined them with waxed paper. 🙂

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Anyhow, I need a LOT more practice with icing a cake, and decorating it too, but for my very first cake attempt, with no instruction whatsoever, I thought that I did alright.  You probably want to see a photo of the cake now, don’t you?  Alright, alright, calm down.  Here goes:

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I thought that the inside of the cake looked pretty neat once we cut it.

img_0173It also got rave reviews!  I took it to my parent’s house for dinner.  We had a huge get together (11 of us total) and everyone loved it.  There was a lot of “this is really good” which you’d have to imagine being spoken through a mouthful of cake, because that’s how it was. 🙂  For my first attempt ever, I don’t feel too badly about it.  I since have figured out how to do shells.  I think I’m just going to make a batch of icing one night to practice with.  That’s the only way I’ll learn right?