Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Home run for God.....

Now for the second cake. This cake I made for my Godson's First Holy Communion. He's a pitcher, a great baseball player and a great kid. So he deserved something cool, not a stuffy communion cake. This was such a fun cake to make since I've never done a baseball hat or a book OR a boys cake- I have 3 daughters! I tried to personalize many of the little aspects, the hat has his initials, the bible is titled for the first communion, the Phillies bookmark, date, etc. The hat is carved cake covered in fondant, the brim is gumpaste. The bible is a 9x13 cake covered in fondant and the letters are hand painted with gold highlighter dust. The cake board I covered in fondant with all hand cut fondant details and baseball field. The baseball is rice krispy treats covered in fondant then smoothed with sponges for a half hour! Hand painted with edible pens. The baseball rosary is real, one of my gifts to Charles. All cake was chocolate chip with vanilla bean swiss meringue buttercream.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Hello again....

I sincerely apologize for my lack of postings!! It's been a busy spring. I decided to start back to work part time. So I haven't been baking nearly as much. But I did make two speciality cakes that I'd like to share. In January my sister-in-law celebrated her 50th Birthday. Her favorite drink is Freixenet Champagne so the natural choice was the "box" cake with a bottle on top. It's been done so much but I've never tried it. Most times the bottle is carved in cake which makes it difficult to make an entire bottle. I wanted to do a whole bottle not half so I chose to make it out of rice krispy treats and then covered it in fondant. The "box" is cake with embossed fondant panels and draped fondant on top. All the flowers and the 50 are gumpaste. The cake itself was dark chocolate cake with orange-vanilla swiss meringue buttercream and chocolate ganache.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Holiday Baking....

I know that it's very close to the Holidays, but this is when I like to bake. Here are the goodies I've made for this Christmas. These are Peppermint chip flourless fudge cookies. The regular fudge cookie recipe with a cup of peppermint chips added.

Snickerdoodles, a traditional favorite that has a stronger flavor thanks to Vietnamese Cinnamon and Sparkling sugar on top.

These are already gone they were so amazing, Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate chip cookies. I used milk chocolate chips instead of semi-sweet.

Another hit from King Arthur Flour, Almond Cloud cookies.

Because I can't get enough almond, Solo Almond Macaroons. These were very festive. If you love marzipan, you'll love these!

And my girls made some fun sugar cookies with Hershey Kisses!

Monday, November 21, 2011


Two great but easy chocolate recipes I love. One is light and airy, the other is very rich and decadent.
Chocolate Truffles are easier than you think! I rolled some in cocoa powder and some white chocolate shavings.


Chewy Chocolate Meringue Cookies (sorry, forgot to take picture-too busy eating them!)
Give them a try and then share, your friends and family won't be disappointed!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Lemon Poppy Seed Cakes.....

Lemon Poppy Seed is a classic cake flavor. We had it as our wedding cake 12 years ago! I recently made a very large batch of individual bite sized glazed lemon poppy seed cakes. I used a fantastic recipe from Southern Living. Because I needed bite sized pieces I baked them in the Wilton square brownie bites silicone pans. But the recipe calls for Mini Bundt pans. They are regular muffin pans but with Bundt shaped cups. These work well when eat person wants their own small cake that's about 3 bites in size.

Lemon-Poppy Seed Cakes
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
3/4 tsp. poppy seeds
3/4 tsp. almond extract
2 tsp. lemon zest, divided
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat butter and cream cheese at med speed till well blended. Gradually add granulated sugar, beating until creamy and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until yellow disappears after each addition. Beat in milk, poppy seeds, almond extract and 1 1/2 tsp. lemon zest. Mixture will be slightly lumpy.
Whisk together flour and next 2 ingredients in a large bowl. Gradually add to butter mixture, beating until well blended. Spoon batter into 1 greased and floured (12 cup) mini Bundt pan, filling all cups 3/4 full. Spoon remaining batter into second pan filling only 6 cups.
Bake at 350 for 24 - 26 minutes until wooden toothpick comes out clean. Remove pans to wire racks and let cakes cool 10 minutes.
Whisk together 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar, 1/4 cup lemon juice and remaining 1/2 tsp lemon zest until smooth. Drizzle glaze over warm cakes. Let cakes stand 4 to 5 minutes or until glaze is set.
* I dipped the cakes into the glaze after they were cooled. And then after the glaze was set I dipped them a second time. It was my experience that the glaze takes longer to set than a few minutes, but I made my glaze thinner to allow for dipping. Obviously if you use the small squares pan the cooking time is greatly reduced.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

'Chestnuts roasting on an open fire....'

I love chestnuts. And this is the time of the year to get them! I don't roast them over an open fire but they still taste wonderful. Very easy to do, but it does take a little time and patience to shell them. They are best when still warm but keep in an airtight container for several days.
This is the recipe I used. I chose the 'In the Oven' method because I have a cast iron skillet. It has always worked perfectly. There are always a few that don't turn out. If when shelling them it doesn't peel off easily then discard that chestnut.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Fall Baking.....

Some of my favorites to bake in the cooler, crisper fall months include Cranberry Almond cake with Orange Zest icing, Jewish Apple Cake, Vanilla Butternut Velvet Pound cake with Maple Syrup icing AND my all time favorite Apple Pie! The Velvet Pound cake and Apple Pie are 2 recipes from my favorite King Arthur Flour. They are truly reliable and wonderful and will be used over and over again. The Jewish Apple Cake is my mother-in-law's recipe and she's been baking it to rave reviews for 40 years. You can't go wrong with recipes that have been so thoroughly tested!

King Arthur Flour's The Best Apple Pie is truly a wonderful pie. I've tried tons of apple pie recipes and this one really does top them all. I used every ingredient listed, including the ones you can only purchase at KAF. But the boiled cider really adds that flavor punch and is worth the purchase.

The Jewish Apple Cake is my husband's favorite and my MIL bakes it for him every Birthday. You can use just about any apple that you have on hand but firmer apples like granny smith and cortland work best.

Joanne's Jewish Apple Cake
preheat oven to 350 degrees
4 large apples, peeled, cored and sliced thin
3 cups sifted all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1 cup oil
4 large eggs
1/2 cup orange juice
2 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
cinnamon-sugar for sprinkling
Grease and flour tube pan (I use a metal, coated Monkey bread tube pan)
Add everything together in mixer bowl and beat till light, batter is thick.
Pour 1/2 batter into pan, add 1/2 of the apples in a layer and then a heavy sprinkling of cinnamon-sugar.
Pour remaining batter on top and layer the rest of the apples on the batter. I press down the apples so that many of them sink into the batter but some remain on top. Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar.
Bake in oven for 75 minutes or until top is brown, crusty and toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in pan and then turn out onto platter.

The Cranberry Almond cake is my adaptation of the Solo Almond cake recipe that I have highlighted on my blog before. Recipe can be found here. It's the same recipe with the addition of 1 cup sweetened dried cranberries mixed into the batter at the end. Add the zest of one orange and a 1/4 tsp of orange oil to the icing.

I can't say enough about the King Arthur Flour's Velvet Pound cake. Very versatile, reliable and yummy! Instead of the vanilla and almond extracts I used 1 tsp of KAF Vanilla Butternut flavoring. I also made a glaze with 1/2 cup powdered sugar and pure maple syrup. I don't measure the syrup, I slowly add it and whisk with the sugar until I have the consistency I need.

View more cake photos in the Galleries at distinctivecakes.com