Thursday, March 17, 2011

Rusty Cake Skills

I was asked to decorate a cake for a church party tonight.  As usual I decided to do more than was necessary.  But, I thought it would be a good chance to practice my decorating skills which I have really let go the last few years.   I used Marshmallow Fondant.  It's a little harder to work with, but tastes so much better.  Since I knew it would take a little while I divided it up into a few hours a day, some days more hours.  Since I only had 1 6in pan and 2 9in. pans it took hours just to bake all the layers.  I made Chocolate (baked 6 layers, 3 on the cake, 1 to experiment with and two for later use. The recipe just makes a lot.) one day. Yellow (3 6in layers) another day. I made the fondants on one day. Another for frostings and fillings and one to decorate. The yellow I filled with Lemon curd and vanilla buttercream.  The chocolate is filled with ganache and vanilla cream.  I messed up on the vanilla cream but left it, it still tastes good, just a bit lumpy.  shh. 

This is the kitchen just after decorating.  it looked at least this bad all those separate days.

The MMF is a little stretchier so I had problems with the ribbon pulling as I put it on.  I tried twice.  The bow started pulling the Choc. MMF so it cracked a bit above that.  The ganache dots were a little too pointy and of course I wish it wasn't so lumpy. The bow got a bit cracky as well but dried better than my past experience. But overall, from a distance it looks alright.

I was able to bring one slice from each cake home.  The family was happy. 

Monday, March 14, 2011



Finally.   It only took me about a year and a half to get around to actually painting this thing.
Now maybe I can get my Thanksgiving word done before 2 years go by on that one.

(Thanks A. for pushing me to work faster on it.)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Pink Lemonade Cake

I experimented with a new cake last night.  Pink Lemonade.  Sounds good, right?

It was good.

I think it started when my neighbor asked me at church if I had some lemon juice at home, I didn't have time to chat but assumed she meant to borrow.  I told her no but said that I had some lemon powder, without further explanation.  I figure she didn't know what that was or wanted something else, never heard from her later. You  just reconstitute it.  Anyway, lemon must have been in my brain so I decided to try this.  

We have been through this before, where I didn't really have all the ingredients but made due anyway.  (ahem- icecream) I was ok with the lemon powder, but I didn't have fresh zest.  I have dehydrated lemon rind though.  NEVER buy this, at least from SF herb.  It turned out the whole rind is just chopped up, yup, bitter part and all.  So when you use it, it mostly tastes bitter.   Anyway I made it, putting the dry powder in with the sugar, I don't know if that was the right way but that is what I did and just put in the water for when it called for lemon juice.

For the frosting I tried adding grenadine syrup, I wanted a berry-ish flavor.  I was at the bottom of the bottle, it needed more.  I added a pinch or two of the lemon powder too.  I liked it but it probably would be better with real berries. I adapted a frosting recipe from my niece.

The recipe only makes a small 9 in cake.  I divided the batter and made two short layers.  The recipe was adapted from one I have seen several places around the Internet. I don't know who truly originated it. It did  have a slight gooey feel, that may or may not have been from the lemon powder? The family really liked it, The kids and I had seconds my husband kept eating while at the same time saying, there is just something about it...maybe it's needs a stronger lemon?
As I was cleaning up later, I picked up the container of lemon powder to put away.  Light goes on.  It says Lime Powder.  Oops, both containers look exactly alike.

Lemon Cake

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour  (I took out a tablespoon and substituted a tablespoon of cornstarch)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
Zest of 1 lemon
2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/4 cup plus 2 T lemon juice
1/2 cup buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and prepare cake pan.  
Sift all dry ingredients together and set aside.
Combine zest and sugar and rub or mix together to infuse lemon into sugar. Add the butter and cream cheese to the sugar and beat until creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each egg. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture, beating on low speed until just incorporated. Add 1/2 of the buttermilk, once incorporated, add the next 1/3 of the flour mix, followed by remaining buttermilk, and remaining flour, beating each addition until just incorporated. Add lemon juice, beating until just incorporated on low speed.
Bake until edges pull slightly from side of pan.  (I didn't time it, I just always do it this way.  Cooking at the lower temp. also helps keep the sides high and the middle from doming.)


2 1/2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teas. vanilla (this is where I substituted about a tablespoon of grenadine but it could use more)
1/2 cup Butter
1/2 cup Granulated Sugar


In a small saucepan, whisk the flour into the milk and heat, stirring constantly until it thickens. You want it to be really thick, like brownie batter thick.
Remove pan from heat stir in the vanilla and cover the mixture with plastic wrap or wax paper so no skin develops. Let the mixture cool completely to room temperature.
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy and ALL the graininess is gone (this can take a while,... 5-10 minutes)
When Flour and milk mixture has cooled, stir vanilla into the mixture. Then add the mixture to the butter and sugar and beat until it is combined and resembles whipped cream. If it looks separated, keep beating, another 5-10 minutes.  (With the grenadine it is less stiff at the end)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Utah Scones and Dr. Suess' Birthday

Dr. Suess is the bestest author ever! So today to celebrate he birthday we thought about Dr. Suess foods and came up with of course Green Eggs and Ham. My son also suggested Scrambled Eggs Super. I didn't go all out though.  I made simple green scrambled eggs for the kids and Scrambled eggs super (omlets) for the dad and me.  We had ham, not green, in the form of bacon.  I decided to make some scones as well.
(I got a little messy with the honeybutter)

If you don't live in Utah or have not been here long enough to have Utah Scones than you need to try these.  I do not know why they got called scones in the first place but I was an adult before I knew that they weren't a traditional scone that the rest of the world knows.  Some people think they are the same as frybread, and I suppose that depends on your version.  Having grown up around some Navajo's I know it's not the same as their traditional fry bread. I have a recipe for that which is a simple dough made with only a little baking powder and not necessarily deep fried.  Utah Scones are closer to a yeast bread dough that is deep fried golden and most often served with whipped honey butter. Often you will see Navajo Taco's at a fair food stand and the frybread is almost more a cross between the two.  Another interesting thing about this recipe is that as well as yeast it also has baking power and baking soda.  I have also seen them served filled with just about everything, but usually chili or taco type toppings and sandwich fixin's.  But most people I know just eat them plain with honeybutter.

I didn't get a very good picture, I wasn't trying real hard.  Sorry.  This is a recipe that has been around a long time, it was published by a local newspaper food editor.  This makes a TON. Which makes it a good recipe to share with family and friends for a fun evening/brunch/whatever.  Goes great with some hot cocoa or hot cider too.  It was an odd time for me to make them, I usually equate them with fall.  I have quartered and halved the recipe just fine.  Also I have made them, as this time, without the overnight step although it probably makes them better to do it.

Utah Scones
From Three Decades of Cooking With Donna Lou Morgan.

1 quart warm buttermilk
2 packages (2 tablespoons) active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
2 tablespoons sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
10 to 11 cups flour
Heat buttermilk; pour into a large mixing bowl. Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add to the buttermilk: sugar, eggs, oil, salt, baking powder, baking soda, dissolved yeast and 6 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Add remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough. Place in a greased bowl; turn. Cover and allow to rise until doubled in bulk; punch down. Cover and place in refrigerator overnight. Roll out 1/2-inch thick and cut into squares just before frying in hot, deep vegetable oil. Serves 15 to 18; recipe can be halved.

Serve with Honey Butter, made by beating 1 cup softened butter with 1 cup honey for 10 minutes, or until fluffy.
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