Friday, April 29, 2011

Baking Disaster

I was hoping to share a vegan cupcake recipe today, but honestly I haven't gotten around to making them yet. This week has been a busy one for sure with finals, a graduation cake for D's cousin and a birthday cake for D (both of which I plan to share soon) all in one week, I haven't had a chance to make the cupcakes. So since I don't have a baking success to show today I thought it would be fun to share this baking disaster instead.  So here it goes, I was going to post this cute bunny bread recipe for Easter, but things didn't quite go as planned. Everything started out great, the dough was easy to make and work with (or so I thought), the dough bunnies were cute and simple to put together and everything was running smoothly until I put these little darlings into the oven. I was really looking forward to how fun and cute these little Easter bunnies would be, I started to type up the directions and get the pictures in order. But then the timer went off and I opened the oven only to find my cute bunnies had gone from adorable to unrecognizable, more appropriate for Halloween than for Easter, a complete disaster. I hope you get a kick out of this baking disaster and have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Pavlova is a nice light dessert, made simply from egg whites, sugar, cornstarch, vinegar and a little

vanilla. It has a crispy outer shell that melts in your mouth and a marshmallow-like center. Pavlova is

believed to have originated in either New Zealand or Australia during the 1920's and was named after 

Russian ballet dancer, Anna Pavlova.

4 Egg Whites at Room Temperature*
1 cup Fine Sugar**
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla
1 teaspoon White Vinegar
1/2 tablespoon Cornstarch

Whipped Topping 

* To bring egg whites to room temperature, cover eggs with hot tap water for 10 minuets.

** To make super fine sugar place regular granulated sugar a food processor fitted with the blade attachment and blend until fine.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment beat egg whites over medium speed until soft peeks form. Increase the speed to high and beat in the sugar one tablespoon at a time until stiff peeks form and sugar dissolves. Pour in the vanilla and beat to incorporate, scraping down the sides and bottom as necessary. Stir in the vinegar and cornstarch. Drop batter onto prepared baking sheet in mounds. Slightly flatten the centers to create a nest-like appearance. Bake for 35 minutes at 300 degrees F. Turn off the oven and leave pavlovas in the oven for 1 hour with the door closed. After an hour remove pavlovas from oven and allow them to cool on baking sheet for a few minutes then carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Top with whipped cream and berries just before serving.

Makes 9-10

Recipe from Joy of Baking
This post is linked with Everyday Sisters 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Homemade Power Bars

This week I will be experimenting with a few new recipes and ingredients, (well new to me that is). I am going to try my hand at a vegan recipe or two and make a few healthy(ish) baked good recipes as well.  First up, homemade power bars, new ingredient: brown rice syrup. Brown rice syrup is made from brown rice and purified water. It is used as an alternative sweetener.
These bars are quite tasty and really simple to make. They would be a great snack to take along on nice afternoon hike (just make sure you have a little water to rinse your hands with because they can be a bit sticky).

Homemade Power Bars
Unsalted Butter for Pan
1 cup Toasted Walnuts *
1 1/4 cup Old Fashioned Oats
1/2 cup Oat Bran
1 1/2 cup Puffed Cereal (such as Barbara's Peanut Butter Puffins) **
1 cup Dried Cranberries
1 cup Shredded Coconut
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 cup Brown Rice Syrup
1 teaspoon Vanilla

Butter a 9x9 inch pan and set aside. In a medium sized bowl stir together all of the dry ingredients. Pour the vanilla and brown rice syrup into a sauce pan and heat over medium until mixture is warm and syrup has thinned. Pour syrup over dry mixture and stir until fully combined. Press mixture into prepared pan and freeze for 45 minutes. Then cut into squares. Store bars in the refrigerator.

Makes 9 Large Squares

* Toast walnut in a 350 degree F oven for 8-10 minutes
** Place puffed cereal in a large plastic bag then using a rolling pin, crush into course pieces

Recipe adapted from The Kitchn where it was adapted from Super Natural Cooking by Heidi Swanson

Friday, April 22, 2011

Cinnamon Rolls

Want your house to smell like Ikea? Okay maybe not quite but when you walk in the doors at Ikea, at least at the one by where I live, it always smells like cinnamon rolls baking. I have never had one of their cinnamon rolls but they do smell pretty good. The recipe for these cinnamon rolls came from The Pioneer Woman, with a few of my own little adjustments thrown in. These rolls are not difficult to make, they just take a some time. They would make a perfect addition to an Easter day brunch.

Cinnamon Rolls 
1 cup Whole Milk
1/4 cup Granulated Sugar
1/4 cup Canola Oil
1 heaping teaspoon Active Dry Yeast
2 1/4 cups All-Purpose Flour, Separated
1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 tablespoon of Salt

In medium pot fitted with a lid stir together the milk, sugar and canola oil. Over medium-high heat bring mixture to just under a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and allow mixture to sit until it is warm but not hot, about 20-25 minutes. Sprinkle the yeast over the top and let sit for a minute or two then stir in 2 cups of flour. Cover and let the dough rise for 1 hour. Once dough has risen for an hour, whisk together the remaining 1/4 cup of flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt and stir it into the dough. Turn dough out onto a work surface and knead until all the flour is incorporated, about one minute. Transfer the dough to a medium sized bowl and cover then refrigerate overnight. The original instructions note this step is optional, you can move on and continue making the rolls if you like, since I was making them for breakfast the next day I refrigerated the dough overnight.

Milk, sugar, canola oil and yeast
Dough after flour was stirred in
Dough raised for 1 hour
Dough after kneading 
1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
5 tablespoons Unsalted Butter, Melted and Divided
Cinnamon (to your liking)

Turn dough out onto a generously floured work surface. If you refrigerated the dough overnight let it sit at room temperature on the floured surface for 20-30 minutes, just to warm it up a bit (I find the dough is easier to work with this way). Roll the dough out thin into a rectangular shape. Pour 4 tablespoons of the the melted butter over the dough and spread it around evenly. Next sprinkle the sugar over the butter followed by the cinnamon. Once dough is covered carefully roll the opposite end of the long side of the rectangle towards you. Once rolled pinch the seam to seal. Cut into 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 inch pieces. Pour the remaining tablespoon of melted butter into the baking dish, then place the rolls inside (I use a standard sized pie dish for my rolls). Allow rolls to rest in pan for 20-30 minutes and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until golden.

Butter and sugar 
Cinnamon on top 
Rolled and sealed 
Dough rolls 

Maple Icing
4 ounces Powdered Sugar
1 tablespoon Pure Maple Syrup
3 tablespoons Milk
1/4 teaspoon Vanilla
1 tablespoon Unsalted Butter, Melted
1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 a Pinch of Salt

Mix all the ingredients till smooth and pour over baked cinnamon rolls.

Makes 12-13  Rolls

Recipe slightly adapted from The Pioneer Woman

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Easter Cupcakes

Easter morning in our house usually goes something like this... sleep in, make coffee, eat candy and other various forms of sugar for breakfast. I guess once D and I have little ones running around we may have to set a better example but until then we are going to live it up.

Chocolate Cupcakes
1 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
3/4 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder 
1 1/2 cups Sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Soda
3/4 teaspoons Baking Powder
3/4 teaspoons Salt 
2 Eggs
3/4 cup Buttermilk
3 tablespoons Canola Oil
1 teaspoon Vanilla
3/4 cup Warm Water 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a standard muffin tin with baking cups. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk together all of the dry ingredients. Beat in the eggs, buttermilk, canola oil, vanilla, and water. Divide batter among the prepared cups, filling 1/2 to 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 20 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. 

Toasted Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting 
16 Large Marshmallows
1 cup Powdered Sugar
1/2 pound Unsalted Butter, Room Temperature
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract 
8 ounces Marshmallow Cream

Line baking sheet with parchment paper and set oven to broil. Broil marshmallow for about two minutes or until toasted. Keep a close eye on them so they don't burn. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat together the butter and powdered sugar until combined. Add the vanilla and beat for a few minutes until fluffy. Beat in the toasted marshmallows and marshmallow cream until incorporated, about a minute.

Recipe from Sweetapolita

Toasted Coconut
5 ounces Sweetened Coconut

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread coconut out on a baking sheet. Bake for about 7-8 minutes, tuning coconut half way through. Keep an eye on the coconut as it bakes, it can burn pretty quickly.

Frost cupcakes and pour toasted coconut into a bowl. Swirl frosted cupcake around in the coconut until all the frosting is covered. Top each cupcake with a mini Cadbury Creme Egg.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Tosted Marshmallow and Chocolate Malt Layer Cake

I have been thinking about this cake for a long time, it's been hard to get it out of my head. Ever since 

I saw it featured on Sweetapolita I knew I had to try it. The toasted marshmallows and malt were just too 

much to resist. The toasted marshmallow buttercream frosting is ridiculously good, I could have eaten it 

all on its own, but since I had an entire cake to frost and not to mention my health and well being to 

consider, I used it for the cake instead.  This frosting is one of my new favorites and I am sure you will 

be seeing it again or some version of it in the near future. 

Chocolate Cake

1 pound 4 ounces Granulated Sugar

4 ounces Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

8 ounces Bread Flour

8 ounces Cake Flour

2 teaspoons Baking Soda

2 teaspoons Baking Powder

6 Eggs

2 cups Buttermilk

2 cups Sour Cream

12 ounces Unsalted Butter, Melted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Melt butter then set aside. Whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder,

flours, baking soda, and baking powder. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle

attachment beat the eggs for one minute then mix in the sour cream and buttermilk. Add the flour mixture

and beat until smooth. Pour in the melted butter and mix to combined. Spray three 8 inch cake pans with

baking spray and divide the batter evenly among them. Bake for 40 minutes or until cake tester comes

out clean.

Slightly adapted from The Professional Pastry Chef by Bo Friberg

Toasted Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting

16 Large Marshmallows

1 cup Powdered Sugar

1/2 pound Unsalted Butter, Room Temperature

1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

8 ounces Marshmallow Cream

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set oven to broil. Broil marshmallows for about 2 minutes

or until toasted. Keep a close eye on them so they don't burn. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with

the paddle attachment beat together the butter and powdered sugar until combined. Add the vanilla and

beat for a few minutes until fluffy. Beat in the toasted marshmallows and the marshmallow fluff for

a minute or so.

Recipe from Sweetapolita

Chocolate Malt Buttercream Frosting

1 pound Unsalted Butter, Room Temperature

4 cups Powdered Sugar

3 teaspoons Vanilla

3/4 cup Malt Powder

8 ounces Bittersweet Chocolate Chips, Melted

1/2 cup Whipping Cream

Melt chocolate and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat

together the butter and the powdered sugar until combined. Beat in the vanilla and malt powder. Pour in

the melted chocolate and beat for two minutes. Add the whipping cream and beat for another minute or

until fluffy.

Recipe from Sweetapolita


Slice each layer in half and trim the tops if necessary. Place bottom layer on cake board and frost top

with the toasted marshmallow buttercream. Add the next layer and frost with the chocolate malt

buttercream. Continue to layer and frost alternating between the toasted marshmallow buttercream and

the chocolate malt buttercream. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the rest of the chocolate malt

buttercream then top with chocolate sprinkles if you like.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Vanilla Frosted Honey Cake

This recipe comes from the cookbook Apples for Jam by Tessa Kiros. This cookbook is one of my absolute favorites because I never tire of looking through the pages. The pictures gorgeous and her recipes are exactly what I picture when I think of homemade. Every recipe in this book has a story or a memory attached to it. The other day when I was looking through the cookbook I came across this recipe for honey cake. I have made this dessert before but it's been while. This cake reminds me of spring.  From the dense moist cake made with honey and rosemary to the delicate vanilla frosting it is the perfect springtime dessert. The original recipe calls for lemon frosting, but I made this cake with vanilla instead. The frosting for this cake is delicious, it is lighter and a bit more runny than your typical buttercream but it compliments the heartiness of the cake perfectly.

Honey Cake 
11 tablespoons Unsalted Butter
1/2 cup Dark Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Honey
1 1/2 tablespoons Water
1 2/3 cup All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
pinch of Salt
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh Rosemary Leaves
2 Eggs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour an 8 inch round cake pan and set aside. In a medium sized sauce pan set over medium heat melt the butter. Stir in the brown sugar, honey and water and cook until the sugar completely dissolves, then set aside to cool. In the bowl of an electric mixer whisk together all of the dry ingredients. Attach the paddle attachment to the mixer then add the cooled butter mixture to the flour mixture and beat to combined. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides as necessary. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25-35 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Cool cake in pan for 20 minutes then using a butter knife, or plastic if your pan is non-stick, go around the edge of the cake loosening it from the sides then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Vanilla Frosting
7 tablespoons Unsalted Butter, Softened
1 2/3 cups Powdered Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla
3-4 tablespoons Milk

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the butter until smooth. Beat in the powdered sugar until incorporated then add the milk and vanilla. Beat for 2 minutes until frosting is light and airy.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Carrot Sugar Cookies

These sugar cookies are fun and pretty simple to make. The dough comes together quickly so you can easily make it the night before then stick it in the refrigerator and make your cookies in the morning. When rolling out the dough be sure to use enough flour so the dough does not stick to the rolling pin. If you find the dough is getting too soft to work with, stick it back in the refrigerator for a few minutes until it firms up a bit. I find it helpful to use a metal spatula to transfer the unbaked cookies from the work surface to the baking sheet.

Sugar Cookies 
1/2 cup Unsalted Butter, Softened
3/4 cup Powdered Sugar
1 Egg, Room Temperature*
3/4 teaspoon Vanilla
1 1/4 cup All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt

Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt, set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat together the butter and the powdered sugar till fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla until well combined. Add the flour mixture and beat to incorporate. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line baking sheet with parchment paper. Working with half of the dough at a time (leaving the other half in the refrigerator), on a floured work surface roll out dough then cut into shapes. Bake for 7-10 minutes. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for a few minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 12-15 cookies

* To bring the egg to room temperature place the egg in a bowl and fill the bowl with hot tap water. Allow egg to sit in water for 10 minutes.

Adapted from Taste of Home

8 tablespoons Unsalted Butter, Room Temperature
1 tablespoon Meringue Powder
1 teaspoon Vanilla
2 1/2 cups Powdered Sugar
3 tablespoons Milk 

In the bowl of an electric mixer beat together the butter, meringue powder and vanilla until fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and beat to combined. Pour in the milk and beat for a few minutes, until frosting is nice and fluffy. 

Recipe from King Arthur Flour

Place 1/3 cup frosting in a separate bowl and stir in two drops of green food coloring until all frosting has been colored. To the remaining frosting add 4 drops of orange food coloring and beat until all the frosting has been colored, add more food coloring if desired. For the coconut, place 2 drops green food coloring in a container fitted with a lid. Add 1/4 cup shredded coconut, cover and shake until all coconut has been dyed. 
Frost the carrot leaves first then sprinkle with coconut. To frost the carrot, fill a pastry bag fitted with the star attachment half way full with the orange frosting. Line the border of the carrot with stars, then fill in the middle.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Springtime Wreath

I saw this great "how to" for a spring wreath on The Lettered Cottage. I thought it looked easy enough so I gave it try. I had so much fun making it, I thought I'd share. If you'd like to make your own springtime wreath check out The Lettered Cottage for a great tutorial.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Coconut Lime Cupcakes

Fridays are my favorite day of the week. Most Fridays D and make a pizza, have a glass of wine or two and watch a movie. I know this is not the most exciting evening, but it's what we do. Tonight however we will be going over to a friend's house for dinner because one of D's good friends is in town and we are going to celebrate his birthday. We actually celebrated his birthday last year too, only he wasn't there. It's long story, anyway this year we are happy he will be in town to celebrate his birthday with us.

Lime Cupcakes
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons Cake Flour
3/4 cup plus one tablespoon Super Fine Sugar*
1/2 tablespoon Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt 
6 tablespoons Unsalted Butter, Softened*
2 Egg Whites
1 Whole Egg
1/2 cup Sour Cream (the full fat kind)
1 teaspoon Vanilla
Zest and Juice of 1 Lime 

Line a standard 12 cup muffin tin with cupcake liners. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk together all of the dry ingredients starting on low then gradually increase the speed to medium until well mixed, about 2 minutes (make sure flour doesn't fly out). Switch to the paddle attachment, add the softened butter and mix till crumbly. Beat in the egg whites until fully incorporated, about 1-2 minutes, then beat in the whole egg, about 1-2 minutes, scraping down the sides and bottom as necessary. In a separate bowl stir together the sour cream, vanilla, lime juice and zest then beat 1/2 of the mixture into batter until well mixed about 1 minute, then beat in the rest of the sour cream mixture until fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping sides and bottom as necessary. Fill baking cups 3/4 of the way full. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Cool on wire rack. 

Makes 12 cupcakes 

Adapted from King Arthur Flour

* A few notes:
1) To make super fine sugar from regular granulated sugar, put it in a food processor and grind until sugar is fine. 
2) Make sure butter is soft. To soften butter cut it up into tablespoon sized pieces and allow it to sit at room temperature until it become very soft, I let mine sit for 45 minutes. 
3) Always remember to scrape down the bottom and the sides of mixing bowl as needed to be sure all of the ingredients get incorporated.

Super Fine Sugar
8 ounces Cream Cheese, Softened 
4 tablespoons Unsalted Butter, Softened 
1 cup Powdered Sugar
2 teaspoons Vanilla 
3 ounces Sweetened Coconut for Topping 

Beat together the cream cheese and the butter for a few minutes. Add the vanilla and the powdered sugar beat for a few more minutes. Frost cooled cupcakes. 
Pour the coconut into a wide and shallow dish such as a pie tin. Using a small offset spatula, create a little dome of frosting on top of each cupcake. Dip the tops of the cupcakes into the coconut and roll them around a bit until the coconut covers the frosting.

This post is linked with Everyday Sisters Sharing


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Sea Salt and Rosemary Flatbread

Yesterday I bought a rosemary plant. He is just a little guy, pretty much just a sprig in a pot. I didn't use any of my new plant for this flat bread. I would have had to pull off all of his little leaves in order to have enough for the bread and then I'd just be left with a sad looking twig in a pot of dirt. However, you certainly could use fresh rosemary in this recipe, I am sure it would be quite delicious. This recipe was adapted from Smitten Kitchen . For her flatbread, she used one tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary in the dough and two sprigs for sprinkling.

I really like this bread because it comes together quickly, tastes delicious and smells absolutely wonderful. This bread goes perfectly with a warm bowl of soup especially on a chilly spring afternoon.

Sea Salt and Rosemary Flatbread
1 3/4 cup All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon dried Rosemary, plus more for sprinkling
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
3/4 teaspoons Salt (I used regular iodized salt)
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon Water
1/3 cup Olive Oil, plus more for drizzling
Sea Salt for Sprinkling
Semolina Flour for rolling out the dough

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk together the flour, rosemary, baking powder and salt. Pour in the water and olive oil and stir until dough takes shape. Turn out onto a work surface sprinkled with semolina flour. Gently knead dough 3 -4 times. Divide dough into 4 pieces. Rolls out two pieces and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil then spread oil around with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle with a little more rosemary and  some sea salt. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Cool on wire rack. Repeat with the other two pieces of dough.

Makes 4 pieces of flatbread

Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen where it was adapted from Gourmet, July 2008