February 8, 2018

Cupcake Bouquet

Just in time for Valentine's Day, something sweet and unpredictable.  Why not forgo the usual gift of flowers and make your Valentine a bouquet made of beautiful cupcakes instead?   Seriously, these tasty treats may look complicated but they couldn't be easier to make.  All you need are Russian decorating tips and you'll be turning out professional looking decorated cupcakes in no time. 

For these cupcakes I used my new favorite cake and buttercream recipe from Bravetart's latest cookbook.  The white cake is so moist and velvety with a melt-in-your-mouth crumb and her marshmallow buttercream is a game changer.  Even better, the buttercream pipes like a dream with these decorating tips. 

February 2, 2018

Russian Honey Cake

When you mention 20th Century Cafe here in San Francisco the first thing that comes to mind is Russian Honey Cake.  It's one of their signature desserts and is so visually stunning and amazingly delicious.  Layer upon layer of cake (they taste like speculoos cookies) filled with a burnt honey and caramel whipped cream.   Absolute heaven I tell you.  I had my first taste in 2016 and was always curious about how it was made.  

Alas, I was never able to find a good recipe to replicate at home so I never attempted to make one, until now!  Recently the cafe's owner, Michelle Polzine, was kind enough to finally reveal her masterpiece.   And to the New York Times no less!

Granted, the instructions to make the cake are very LONG, but don't be deterred.  Admittedly the process is time consuming but all that effort will be worth it, I promise.   I was crazy enough to make my cake in one evening after coming home from work.  Not something I would recommend for the novice baker.  Start to finish I estimate it took me about 4 hours, with a little down time in between.  Next time I'll make this on the weekend to give myself a cushion.

One bite of the cake and I was immediately taken back to 20th Century Cafe.  It seriously is an amazing copycat that you should try for yourself. 

January 13, 2018

Salted Butter and Chocolate Chunk Shortbread

Over the holidays it seemed like one cookie recipe was taking the Internet by storm.  The biscuits in question were these Salted Butter and Chocolate Chunk Shortbreads from Alison Roman.  Instagram seemed to be inundated with posts heralding these cookies, so of course I had to jump on the bandwagon and give them a try! 

By using salted butter instead of unsalted this recipe openly defies one of the so-called cardinal rules of baking.   Would they be too salty...especially when you sprinkle additional salt on top?  The answer is NO! I can say with resounding conviction that these cookies deserve all the praise that's been heaped on them.  Buttery, crispy and just the right amount of chocolate and salt.  They are seriously delicious!

Even better, they are the ideal make ahead cookie.  I made a double batch of the recipe and divided the dough in to four equal logs that I subsequently froze.  Fresh baked cookies on demand anyone?

January 7, 2018

Biscoff Brownies

You probably already know that I'm a huge fan of The Great British Bake-Off as I've mentioned it enough times on this blog.  One of my favorite contestants from Season 3 was Holly Bell because her bakes consistently looked so delicious and more importantly, down to earth and real.  I follow Holly on Instagram and whenever she posts pics of her baked goods I'm so envious! 

Holly is about to launch a brownie business so I figured she knows her stuff when it comes to these bar cookies.  One version she makes quite often that really got my attention were made with Lotus biscuits or Biscoff cookies as they're more commonly known here in America.  Who doesn't love those spiced speculoos cookies and to marry them with fudgy brownies was true genius!

I have to say these Biscoff Brownies are a real winner.  Just the right amount of fudgy-ness, a delicious cookie butter center and the crunch of the cookie crumbles on top.   I think they'd taste even more amazing straight out of the fridge or freezer.  They're quite rich so for some much needed portion control I cut the sixteen brownie squares in half to make 32 triangles.  But for those of you who want to indulge you can skip that last step!

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