August 1, 2015

Chocolate-Caramel Layer Cake

Pardon my absence from the blog but I was away in Europe for the last two months, working and spending time with my friends.  To say that my time there was great would be an injustice - it was f'ing amazing!  But if I missed anything about home, other than proper Asian and Mexican food, it was my kitchen.  Baking, as many of you know, is my jam and as soon I landed in SF I was anxious to get back to my happy place.

I was absolutely delighted to see this recipe for Chocolate-Caramel Layer Cake in the Sep/Oct 2015 issue of my favorite cooking magazine, Cook's Illustrated.   There are a few steps but they couldn't be more straightforward and this is a recipe that doesn't require a stand mixer.  

The chocolate cake and frosting couldn't be simpler to make but I'm always a bit apprehensive when it comes to homemade caramel.  The key to success is using a really good instant read thermometer.   [I have  this one from Thermapen and it's also recommended by the Test Kitchen.]  After frosting the cake, all that was left was a nice sprinkling of Maldon sea salt that I brought back from London.  

It's great to be home!

June 5, 2015

Hot Dog Sugar Cookie

These hot dog sugar cookies are complete knock-offs from Callye Alvarado's blog The Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle.   She is an amazing artist who uses sugar cookies as her canvas and royal icing as her paint.   I am constantly in awe of her talent and get so much inspiration for my own baking.  Her ability to visualize so many different cookies out of the most ordinary cutters is truly incredible...what a visionary!

Nothing says summer more than hot dogs and how cute would it be to serve these cookies at your next summer BBQ?  I myself am a ketchup, relish and onion fan but with these "hot dogs" you can add whatever condiments you want.

Happy Summer!!!

June 1, 2015

Buttermilk Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Here's a scrumptious banana bread that tastes even better the next day.  The recipe originated from one of my sister's co-workers, but was adjusted and tweaked to it's current deliciousness.  Buttermilk makes the bread really moist and I added mini chocolate chips to gild the lily even further.   (Never a bad thing in my opinion.)  Be sure to use REALLY ripe bananas, we're talking super dark, to get the maximum fruit flavor. 

May 16, 2015

Rainbow Cake

This Rainbow Cake has been a long time coming - we're talking five years!  Procrastination is not a trait I am friendly with.  I'm the type that likes to cross things off my to do list as soon as possible but for some reason I waited such a long time to make this cake.   Not anymore.

I'd first seen it featured on the blog Whisk Kid and then later on the Martha Stewart Show.   I loved how the rainbow of colorful cake layers is hidden behind a veil of unassuming white Swiss meringue buttercream.   There's just something so joyful about this surprise that it always makes me smile.

For the cake layers I used the recipe from Cook's Country's Confetti Layer Cake.  I like that it contains cake flour instead of all-purpose and uses a reverse creaming method to make the batter.    I find the crumb of the baked cake is so much more tender this way.   

I have a feeling I'll be getting many requests from family and friends to make this cake again and again.  But since it makes me so happy I don't mind!

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