Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Train Cake

This cake was for Aiden a couple months ago, who turned 1. The cake was chocolate with vanilla filling.

Friday, October 19, 2012

TWD- Pumpkin Bagels

I really love bagels. When I was in high school, we would go to lunch at Einsteins all the time. I loved bagel sandwiches. Then I went through my stage where I thought I shouldn't eat 500 calories of bread. Then I got married and while we were living in Virginia, I discovered Panera. And now I'm back to loving bagels (seriously, get the Cinnamon crunch with Hazelnut cream cheese).
This week's TWD is for bagels. Making bagels is time intensive and involves quite a few steps. First, you make the dough of yeast, sugar, shortening, salt and flour. I added about a 1/2 cup pumpkin puree and used half whole wheat flour. Once it's risen for about an hour, you refrigerate it overnight. Then you shape the dough into balls, poke a hole in it and pull it so it looks like a ring. I found it interesting how active the dough still is- in the picture below, all the bagels were shaped the same way, but the top left was shaped first and the bottom right last (I know, they're not on dishtowels. Sometimes I don't follow directions):
After they've been shaped you boil them for about 90 seconds. They come out looking like soggy, wrinkly doughnuts (again, I know there's no cornmeal under these (see above) :)).
Then you brush them with egg whites and sprinkle them with whatever. I chose sesame seeds for some and cinnamon sugar for the rest. 
These baked up beautifully and were so delicious. They had the signature chewy outside and had the perfect texture inside.
This was my lunch after they came out of the oven- ham, provolone, basil, tomatoes and olive oil. I couldn't wait to eat before taking the picture, ok? Don't judge me.
Heather has the recipe!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

BHBC- Diary of a Submissive

I know there's a craze going on right now that was sparked by "Fifty Shades of Grey." I have not read that book, nor do I want to. Knowing that about myself, I probably should have read the book description of this month's BlogHer Book Club selection before signing up to be a reviewer. 
This book by Sophie Morgan (not her real name) is supposedly a true story about the author, from an allegedly normal childhood and family, and her journey to realizing her tendencies toward submissiveness. I meant to keep an open mind about this, but I just did not get it. The behavior is abusive, demeaning and cruel. And yet, of all the things she forces herself to do, kissing someone's feet is the ultimate degrading experience?!! I felt like the reader doesn't really get to know the author or any insights into her mind and thoughts. I wondered why she wrote the book, if not to explain behavior that I felt needed explanation. The language is crude and offensive. I know I'm being judgmental, but when you write a book about this, it's open to be judged. 
Read what other reviewers said here.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Cookie Monster Cake

This cake was for my buddy boy, who turned 1 last week. I'm so sad that he's growing up so quickly. Why, time, why?!! My boy is crazy about food- ever since he was about 5 months old he would get all excited when he saw people eating anything, and got upset that he couldn't have any. So, I thought it was fitting that he should have a Cookie Monster cake. I used this cake as inspiration (it's so adorable, I love it!!). The cake was chocolate with Cookie Butter buttercream. He's holding a real chocolate chip cookie.
The cake board says "C is for Canon." Happy birthday to the happiest boy.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Karaoke Cake

This cake was for Abbey, the mom of my daughter's pre-school friend. Apparently, Abbey loves Britney Spears and was having a karaoke party. The gorgeous birthday girl loves pink and green. The cake was chocolate with salted caramel buttercream, after her favorite Starbucks drink!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Orchid Cake

A cake for Sydney, who turned 21. The flowers are all made from half gumpaste/half fondant. I think combining the two is easier to work with and isn't as dry. I painted the middles with color gel. The cake is red velvet with vanilla meringue buttercream.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Pumpkin Bars with Browned Butter Frosting

First pumpkin recipe of so-called fall! Pumpkin bars are great to feed a crowd. This is my usual pumpkin bar recipe, but after having browned butter frosting on these banana bars, I decided it was only just and true to put them on these pumpkin bars.
Make them and feel like it's fall. Or just feel happy that these are in your belly.
Pumpkin Bars
adapted from BHG
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
1 15-ounce can pumpkin
1 1/2 cups sugar
cup cooking oil

In a medium bowl stir together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In a large mixing bowl beat together eggs, pumpkin, sugar, and oil. Add the flour mixture; beat until well combined. Stir in chopped pecans, if desired.

Spread batter in an ungreased 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack. Cut into squares. Store in refrigerator. Makes 24 bars.

Browned Butter Frosting
1/2 cup butter
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
8 oz cream cheese, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat; cook 4 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool slightly. Combine browned butter, powdered sugar, cream cheese, and 1 teaspoon vanilla in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer until smooth. Spread frosting over cooled bars.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

TWD- Pumpkin Cinnamon Chocolate Loaf

Ahh, it's October. What should be starting to feel like fall. Leaves falling, crisp air...
Well, it's actually about 100 degrees here, but I personally am rebelling by acting like it's fall. I made pumpkin bars last weekend and this bread last night.
This week's Tuesdays With Dorie is for Cranberry Walnut Pumpkin loaf or some such nonsense. If you're new here you should know I don't do dried fruit or nuts very often. Especially in bread. I thought this was going to be a quick bread (non-rising), but it is a yeasted bread.
This recipe is somewhat time consuming- it requires chilling in the refrigerator overnight. Pumpkin puree and some sugar make it slightly sweet, but really only slightly.
Instead of the nuts and fruit, I rolled mine out, spread it with melted butter, and then sprinkled it with brown sugar and cinnamon. I then sprinkled some chocolate chips over the cinnamon sugar and rolled it up.
The bread is moist and chewy- I really liked the texture and my additions made it more dessert-y. I think this would be great toasted or even made into French toast the next day.
Rebecca at This Bountiful Backyard has the recipe!