Showing posts with label Cake. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cake. Show all posts

Thursday, October 27, 2011

One-Eyed Monster Cake Pops for Halloween

I've finally ventured into the world of cake pops, although somewhat reluctantly. Bakerella is the queen of the cake pop, and after seeing her mind-blowing creations, I quickly realized that I would never be able to achieve that level of perfection and shouldn't even try.

Then I made an ugly mess of a whole pile of completely edible chocolate cupcakes, and couldn't bear to eat them all in one sitting or throw them out. So, I added a bit of vanilla frosting, rolled them into balls, and popped them in the freezer for my first attempt at cake pops.

Now what to do with them?

Halloween is quickly approaching, so I went with a one-eyed monster kind of pop. To say these are a bit rough is an understatement, but that's what makes them so authentically monstrous, right? Right?

Anyways, I dipped each pop in coloured candy melts (I used Wilton's gel colours to get this teal) and then let dry. For texture, some of them were sprinkled with Skor pieces, dried, and then re-dipped to give a bumpy appearance.

For the rest, I either dipped the pops for a smooth finish, or drizzled the melted candy overtop with a spoon. For the eyes, I dipped half of a white candy wafer into some of the teal-coloured candy melts and then painted the iris on with black food colouring. I also made mouths using the same method, but would recommend a different medium, as black food colouring has a bit of a bitter aftertaste.

There are loads of bloggers out there with tips and tricks for making cake pops, but my favourites were from Needful Things, The Crafty Penguin, and The Kitchn. I bought the candy sticks, food colouring and candy wafers from Bulk Barn.

I found the following tips the most useful:
- Melt the candy coating in a double boiler, and add a tiny bit of vegetable shortening to make the consistency more runny. This makes it much easier to coat the pop without it falling off the stick.
- Dip the candy stick in a bit of chocolate before sticking it into the cake ball - this helps it stay put when dipping.
- I pierced holes with a skewer into a piece of styrofoam to make a homemade cake pop stand, but a colander with large holes would also work. This is a great way to let the pops dry.

So, if you your kids are looking for something super-easy and fun to make this Halloween, give these a go. It's pretty spooky how quickly they disappear!

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Cookies and Cream Cheesecakes

Scanning baking blogs is a pretty dangerous past-time for my waistline, especially when I come across a recipe like Cookies and Cream Cheesecakes from The Girl Who Ate Everything. Crunchy Oreo cookies paired with rich cheesecake? Sign me up!

This recipe is adapted from Martha Stewart's original recipe with two major exceptions: I halved my recipe and omitted the sour cream (I didn't have any in my fridge!) These are EXCEPTIONALLY easy to make and are best left in the fridge overnight after baking. The satisfying crunch of the Oreo on the bottom takes this dessert to a whole new level... I dare you to try to eat just one. :)

The saying, "too much of a good thing" does not apply to these cheesecakes!

Cookies & Cream Cheesecakes

20 Oreos, 12 left whole and 8 coarsely chopped
8 ozs. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 275°. Line standard muffin pans with liners. Place 1 whole cookie in the bottom of each liner.

Beat cream cheese at medium speed using an electric mixer. Gradually add the sugar, beating until combined. Beat in vanilla.

Drizzle in eggs, a bit at a time. Beat in salt. Stir in chopped cookies by hand.

Divide batter evenly among cookie-lined cups, filling each almost to the top. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until filling is set, 20 - 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Refrigerate at least 4 hours (or up to overnight). 

Makes 12

Friday, September 30, 2011

Baptism Cake

This past Sunday was my little girl's baptism  - I can't believe that she's almost 6 months old already! Time certainly is flying by. She was absolutely adorable in her white satin ensemble and simply ate up being the little princess. To celebrate, Rayzor and I hosted a small lunch for our close family and I volunteered to make the cake.

I knew that I wanted to do something with pink frosting, and with a white-coloured cake. Other than that, my vision for the cake was non-existent. Using my trusty friend Google, I found many beautiful baptism cakes, but they were a bit too, well, religious-looking. I wanted to make something simple and beautiful to reflect the miracle that is my baby Lainey!

When I came upon this tutorial for piping buttercream roses, I knew that I found what I was looking for. Simple, yet elegant, this cake was the perfect match for the occasion. Isn't her cake gorgeous? I won't even pretend that mine looks anything like hers. For one, you'll notice in my photos that only the top of the cake was covered in roses... this was the result of not doubling the strawberry frosting recipe and running out! Luckily I didn't start on the sides only to find out that I had none left. Making these roses is super easy and will leave your guests very impressed with your decorating talent!

For the cake itself, I baked two round cakes, using Martha Stewart's Basic Yellow Cake recipe. It was good, but would've been better if I baked it for only 32 minutes instead of 35. For the filling and roses I whipped up a batch of strawberry frosting via Sprinkles Cupcakes. I should've doubled the recipe to cover the cake with roses and do the filling, but that was my fault. The frosting itself was sweet and buttery, and had the slightest hint of strawberry flavour. This is a great recipe for making frosting pink without adding food colouring, by the way.

I can't wait to try this frosting and decorating technique again soon. If you're looking for an elegant way to dress up a birthday, wedding shower, baptism or baby shower cake, then I think this would be perfect.   Enjoy!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Coconut Cream Cheese Cake

I've just got to say - I love coconut. I think that I could eat it on just about anything. Well, maybe not spaghetti, but you get the idea. I like it a lot.

I originally saw this recipe on Abby Sweets (I seem to be getting most of my inspiration from there lately), and knew I had to try it. I must admit, I was not disappointed.

If you're like me, and you really enjoy coconut, you'll love this moist, dense, coconutty cake. It's really easy to make, and the tropical flavour makes it a great summer treat.


The ingredients:

Baked cake:

Frosted and sprinkled with coconut:

Coconutty Perfection!:

Coconut Cream Cheese Cake (adapted from Abby Sweets)

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 cups sugar
6 large eggs
3 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 3/4 cups flaked, sweetened coconut
1 tsp vanilla

1. Beat butter, shortening and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer for 2 minutes or until creamy.
2. Gradually add sugar, beating for about 2 - 5 minutes.
3. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition, just until yellow disappears.
4. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt; add to butter mixture, beating at low speed just until blended.
5. Stir in coconut abd vanilla.
6. Pour batter into a greased and floured bundt or tube pan.
7. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 10 - 20 minutes or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean.
8. Cool in pan on a wire rack 10-15 minutes; remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack.

Vanilla Frosting
1 1/2 cups flaked, sweetened coconut (toasted optional)

1. Frost the entire cake with vanilla frosting.
2. Sprinkle cake with coconut and press into frosting where needed.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Lemon Cheesecake

I honestly ask you - is there anything richer, more decadent, more roll-your-eyes-in-the-back-of-your-head delicious than cheesecake?

This lemon cheesecake is AMAZING. It melds the richness of the cheese with the tartness of lemons into something better than wonderful, and is now, officially, my favourite cheesecake EVER. Add the sugared lemon zest garnish, and you've created something that not only tastes incredible, but looks incredible, too. You could leave out the glaze and the sugared lemon zest, but it won't be as cool. Trust me, none of your friends will believe that you made this!

Like most cheesecakes, this is a make ahead recipe, especially because it takes several hours for the cheesecake to chill and deepen in flavour, and for the zest to dry out before sugaring. But it's worth it - and it's even worth working out for a whole week to burn off the calories!

NOTE: The sugared lemon zest is adapted from Anna Olson's Sugar and the crust, cheesecake filling and glaze are adapted from this recipe.

The ingredients:

The lemon zest, candied and drying:

"Sugaring" the zest:

A closer look:

Lemon Cheesecake
Sugared Lemon Zest
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 lemons
1 cup water
1. Slice off the top and tail of the lemons. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the zest of the lemons into thin strips.
2. Julienne (slice thinly lengthwise) the peel segments.
3. Blanch the peel in a pot of boiling water for 2 minutes and drain (this will cook out the bitterness).
4. Return zest to pot with 1 cup sugar and 1 cup boiling water and simmer until zest appears translucent, about 15 minutes.
5. Drain well (reserve the syrup for the glaze) and spread zest onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, allowing to dry for 4 - 6 hours.
6. Toss zest with remaining 1/4 cup sugar to coat. Zest will keep in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
7. Decorate glazed cheesecake with candied lemon zest.

Cheesecake Crust:
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
3 tbsps. sugar
3 tbsps. melted butter

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. In a medium-sized bowl, combine crumbs, sugar and butter.
3. Press mixture into the bottom of a 9" springform pan.
4. Bake the crust for 10 minutes, remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.

Cheesecake Filling:
3 packages of cream cheese (8 oz. each), room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 tbsps. flour
2 tbsps. lemon juice (1 medium-sized lemon will suffice for the juice and rind)
1 tbsp. grated lemon rind
1/2 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs
1 egg white

1. Preheat oven to 450F.
2. Combine cheese, sugar, flour, lemon juice, rind and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer and mix at medium speed until well blended.
3. Add the whole eggs, 1 at a time, mixing well after each addition.
4. Beat in the egg white.
5. Pour the mixture over the baked crust.
6. Bake at 450F for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 250F and bake for 30 minutes.
7. Remove the cake, allow it to cool for about an hour, then remove the springform portion and chill the cake for at least 8 hours, but preferably overnight.

Lemon Glaze:
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 tbsp. cornstarch
3 tbsps. reserved syrup from the candied lemon zest - feel free to add more to sweeten further

1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk the lemon juice and cornstarch together.
2. Cook for 2 - 5 minutes, until mixture thickens somewhat.
3. Remove pan from heat and stir in the reserved syrup.
4. Allow the glaze to cool, and when lukewarm, brush over the top and sides of the chilled cheesecake with a pastry brush.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Mini Raspberry Cheesecakes

These little cakes are tiny bites of heaven!

As I was preparing for Sherm's bridal shower about a month ago, I knew that I wanted to make mini cheesecakes as I have a fondness for individual desserts that don't need to be sliced for reasons of convenience and visual appeal. The only problem? I didn't have a mini cheesecake pan.

I hunted down a mini-cheesecake pan from Williams-Sonoma, and while it wasn't cheap, it was worth it. Anyone who's ever made cheesecake understands that cheesecake doesn't simply slide out of a pan like a chocolate cake. It requires the sides of the pan to spring away, or in the case of the mini cheesecake pan, a bottom that can be removed.

The recipes for the crust and the filling were printed on an insert attached to the cheesecake pan. I had prepared the raspberry topping before for a Raspberry Cream Tart , and simply halved the recipe for this dessert. The addition of the raspberry in the centre was inspired by a mini cheesecake recipe I saw on a Food Network show a few years back.

While these cheesecakes are very easy to make, they do require ample time to prepare as the crust needs to be baked and cooled before baking the filling. Then they need to be chilled for several hours, overnight being best, but this also makes these a wonderful bake-ahead dessert.
The addition of the raspberry in the centre adds an element of sophistication, as well as deepening the flavour of the cheesecake and the raspberry topping compliments the sweet, creamy smoothness of the cheesecake filling perfectly.

Looking to impress your friends or simply trying to limit the size of your daily dessert indulgence? Then these mini-cheesecakes are for you!

Mini Cheesecakes

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 tbsps. sugar
Pinch of salt
2 tbsps. unsalted butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly coat the cups of a 12-cup mini cheesecake pan with cooking spray.
2. In a small bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and salt.
3. Add the melted butter and stir until combined. Divide the mixture among the cups, and using your fingertips (I used the the round top of a meat thermometer instead), press it evenly into the bottom.
4. Bake until the crusts are set, about 10 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely.
5. Reduce the heat to 300F.

16 oz. (500g) cream cheese
2 eggs
1/4 cup heavy or whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
Whole, fresh raspberries (about 12)

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese on low speed until smooth, about 2 to 3 minutes.
2. Increase the speed to medium-low and add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
3. Add the cream and beat until incorporated, about 1 minute.
4. Add the sugar and salt and beat until incorporated, about 2 minutes, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
5. Pour the batter onto the crusts so that they are half full, dividing it evenly among the cups.
6. Press 1 raspberry into each of the cups and then cover with the remaining batter.
7. Bake until the cheesecakes are set, about 20 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely.
8. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before unmolding.
9. To unmold, insert the end of a wooden spoon (or the dowel that comes with the cheesecake pan) into the hole in the bottom of each cup. Gently push up to remove the cheesecake from the cup.
10. Use a small spatula or butter knife to remove the cake from the metal bottom. If the cheesecakes are sticking to the pan, gently run a toothpick around each cheesecake to loosen it before pushing it out of the cup.

Raspberry Topping:
3 cups raspberries, fresh or frozen
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cold water
1 1/2 tbsps. corn starch
1 1/2 tbsps. lemon juice

1. Over medium heat, whisk together 2 cups raspberries, sugar, water, corn starch and lemon juice in a medium saucepan.
2. Cook until thick, and then fold in the remaining raspberries. Allow to cool completely.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Martha Stewart's Chocolate Ganache

Remember Carrie's Birthday Cupcakes? Well, here's the recipe for the ganache I used, courtesy of Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook. Have I mentioned that I love Martha?

It's rather unfortunate that I didn't let the ganache set properly, but learn from my mistakes and remember to be patient so you don't end up with a chocolate swamp:

Chocolate Ganache
2 cups heavy cream 1 pound best-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat bring cream to a full boil; turn off heat.
2. Add the chocolate, and swirl pan to completely cover it with cream. Let stand about 5 minutes.
3. Slowly whisk mixture until smooth. Transfer to a clean bowl. Let cool, stirring frequently.

Martha's Notes:
-This recipe makes about 3 cups of ganache.
-Ganache will thicken as it sits. To cover a cake, it should be pourable but still thick enough to coat. If not, place the bowl of ganache over a pan of simmering water and stir until it reaches the right consistency.

Heidi's Chocolate Cake

This one-bowl chocolate cake recipe is from the Trinity Square and Cawathra Square Cafe Cookbook, which is a lovely little book full of delicious and satisfying recipes. The Trinity Square and Cawathra Square Cafes are part of Trinity Square Enterprises, which provides job-related and life skills training for its clients and nutritious and inexpensive food for the public.

I've used this recipe many times, for cakes and cupcakes, and have always been rewarded with dark, dense chocolatey goodness:

Heidi's Chocolate Cake
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tsps. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup half-and-half cream
2 eggs
1 cup cold coffee
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350F and line two 12-cup muffin pans with paper liners.
2. Mix flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt together.
3. Add cream, eggs, coffee, oil and vanilla, and mix thoroughly.
4. Pour batter into liners, filling them 3/4 full
5. Bake cupcakes for 20-25 minutes, or until knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Monday, February 4, 2008

One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes

This is one of the easiest cake/cupcake batters I've ever made, which of course means that it's also one of my favourites.
It's from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook, and I've used the recipe so much that the page is all crumpled and stained from past baking experiences (my baker side smiles with satisfaction at this, while the librarian in me struggles not to cry). It makes quite a bit of batter, so if you're making a cake, you'll need two pans (or a large bundt pan), and two standard 12-cup muffin pans for cupcakes.

Here's the recipe:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups cocoa powder
2 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/2 tsps. baking soda
1 1/4 tsps. baking powder
1 1/4 tsps. salt
2 large whole eggs, plus 1 large YOLK
1 1/4 cups milk
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsps. vegetable oil
1 1/4 tsps. vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups warm water

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line your muffin pans with paper liners or spray your cake pans with cooking spray.
Sift together flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl.
Add the eggs and yolk, milk, oil, vanilla and water, and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until smooth and combined (about 3 minutes). Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups (about 2/3 full) or cake pans.
Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until a knife/toothpick inserted in the middle, comes out clean.
My cupcakes took about 25 minutes, but the cake took much longer, around 60 minutes (Martha suggests 45 minutes for the cake).
Cool the cupcakes completely before frosting.

And here are the cooling cakes:
I love the smooth, shiny surface. These cakes always bake up moist and light, and are absolutely delicious. And they look cute with some decorations, too!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Super Bowl Cake and Cupcakes!

Rayzor was planning on attending a Super Bowl party and he begged me (OK - maybe asked nicely) to make him a football cake similar to the one I made him for his 28th birthday a few years back. Being completely new to cake-decorating and construction then, I searched the Internet for "football cake" and came up with this, which I'll admit, turned out alright for one of my first attempts.

Being the show-off that I am, I agreed to bake it again but I knew that I wanted more of a challenge. So I decided this time to cover the cake in chocolate "stars" (icing piped into small 'star' shapes, using a star tip on my piping bag).

I used one of my favourite chocolate cake recipes, One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes, from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook, using the following ingredients:
When I realized that I had enough batter for the cake and more, I decided to make cupcakes and somehow incorporate them into my design.
Now, I won't lie, I punked out and bought chocolate and vanilla Duncan Hines frosting (it was on sale!) for the decorating. Occasionally I make my own frosting, but only when I have lots of time on my hands and a great desire to make the whole product from scratch. As you can tell, today was not one of those days.
Pulling the cake from the pan, I cut a two inch strip from the center to give the cake an oval shape. Then I covered the cake with a thin layer of the frosting to sort of glue it together.

To prepare for the "stars", I quickly piped the lacing using vanilla frosting and then got to work with the chocolate. Here's the finished product:
And closer up:

Now I had to figure out what to do with the cupcakes. I took a look at some of the recipes at Wilton and found this, which in turn, inspired the cutesy football players below (I'm pretty sure that football isn't supposed to be cute, but whatever). I used the star technique again on the helmets, but close inspection reveals that I made MANY mistakes (you might see some of the smudged icing, but I did a pretty good job covering it up) and while there is no photo evidence, the original frosting that I tinted for the faces was so pink that I had to toss it.
To ensure that my cakes didn't look like a finger painting when they arrived at their destination, (Rayzor is many things, including clumsy) I cleverly inserted toothpicks into the sides of the cupcakes, and then anchored them to the cake. And here's the final product!
By the end of it all, my wrist was killing me from holding my hand so still, but it's all worth it in the end - FOOTBALL SEASON IS FINALLY OVER!!!