June 25, 2012

Petal Icing Technique

Ever since I saw an ombre petal cake on The Hungry Housewife I've been dying to have a go at this decorating technique.   

Decorating the cake does take some time but I think the end result makes it all worth it.   The perfectionist in me wishes the petals on my cake were more defined but the chocolate frosting I was working with was too soft.  Next time I'll let it stiffen up more or maybe use swiss meringue buttercream instead.

This yellow cake with chocolate frosting is dedicated to one of my dearest besties, Sirine, who is celebrating  her birthday today.  


June 23, 2012

French Toast

My normal breakfast routine is pretty simple and purposely low maintenance - a cup of Early Grey accompanied by either warm buttered toast, dry cereal or a bowl of fruit with Greek yogurt and granola.  But every now and then, usually on Sundays, I like to indulge myself and partake in something truly decadent.

Remember the challah I made the other week?  It was the perfect bread to use for french toast.  There's nothing worse than soggy french toast and challah's firmness really stood up to the rich, creamy custard.  A light dusting of confectioner's sugar, a drizzle of warm maple syrup and some mixed berries and you've got yourself a breakfast to remember.

June 19, 2012

TWD French Strawberry Cake

Here's a fabulous dessert that showcases summer's quintessential fruit.  While this week's Tuesdays With Dorie recipe, French Strawberry Cake, may look and feel decidedly American, the French factor comes from the vanilla genoise cake. 

Unlike most of the genoise I've made or encountered this sponge cake was quite delicious and not dry in the slightest.  The whipped cream is out of this world.  I strayed slightly from the cookbook recipe by adding softened cream cheese.  It's a trick I learned from Cook's Illustrated and provides a slight tang and additional stability to the heavy cream that is truly scrumptious. 

For the cake recipe please make your way over to Sophia's Sweets or Think, Love, Sleep, Dine who are this week's hosts.  I've included the whipped cream recipe below if you'd like to try it for yourself...you won't regret it!

June 15, 2012


My quest to become a master bread maker continues in earnest.  The latest endeavor - Challah, a Jewish classic.  What's not to love about this rich, egg-y braided bread?  Can I get a holla for challah?  Sorry, I couldn't help myself...hehehe.

Once again I turned to my friends at Cook Illustrated for a recipe.  The dough was a snap to make and the best part was the actual braiding.  Stay tuned because the challah is going to be a key ingredient in an upcoming post.  Here's a hint...think Sunday brunch staple. 

June 9, 2012

Battenberg Cake

Reading about all the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations this week inspired me to make a quintessential British dessert.   Ironically enough the origins of Battenberg Cake are actually German.  Pastry chefs in the court of Queen Victoria, herself of German ancestry, created the marzipan covered sponge to celebrate the wedding of Victoria's namesake granddaughter, Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine, to Prince Louis of Battenberg.  

In all the times that I've visited England I never actually tasted Battenberg cake but knew of it, especially because of the pink checkerboard design.   How cute would it be at afternoon tea or a bridal or baby  shower? 

The recipe can be found here from the BBC website.  The sponge cake itself was a bit dry for my taste so next time I think I'll make it with either pound cake or high ratio butter cake.   Hmmmm...now that I think about it maybe I'll try to get my hands on a real Battenberg cake tin.  One more pan couldn't possibly make a difference in my already stuffed pantry, right?

On another note.....

Today is my very dear friend Gullet's birthday so I am sending her my best wishes.  Wish I could be in Norway to celebrate with you but I'll definitely be there in spirit!  Have a glass of Veuve for me!

June 5, 2012

TWD Oasis Naan

Oasis Naan, this week's Tuesdays With Dorie recipe, was the perfect vehicle for my favorite Sabra hummus, roasted red pepper.   I'm the first to admit that Indian food and I don't really get along so I was very hesitant about this recipe.  But my love of carbs, especially breads, trumped any  uncertainty I was feeling.

The Baking With Julia recipe calls for sprinkling the dough with scallions prior to baking.  I don't know about you, but I find the smell and taste of fresh scallions a bit too pungent.  To tone it down I fried them quickly in vegetable oil and then brushed both on top of the naan.  A sprinkle of Maldon sea salt and black sesame seeds and they were good to go. 

The recipe can be found at Always Add More Butter and Of Cabbages and Kings Cake
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