Monday, January 31, 2011

Cupcakes, Cupcakes, Cupcakes!!

I'm loving trying new cupcakes and cupcake techniques and cupcake flavors!
Now that I have found an icing that I LOVE (Melts in your Mouth!!!), I need to find amazing cupcake flavors that compliment this amazing icing!

So here are my most recent tests..pretty good findings :)




After trying all 3 and having the hubby try all 3 I (we) decided that...
*Tiramisu needed more of a coffee flavor--just wasn't strong enough for me when I think about Tiramisu..
*Lemon needed more of a lemon flavor in the icing and a little less of the lemon curd in the center..the lemon taste was just too off-center for me..
*Snickerdoodle was PERFECT. For anyone that has had or loves snickerdoodle cookies...these were just like them! But with a creamy icing that just added to them! YUUMM!

Well- Tomorrow is a no-work day due to the horrible Ice Storm we are getting and Wednesday school was already canceled for a staff development day--so having 2 days off in a row means lots of baking for me!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Daring Baker's Challange- January

Here it is! My very first Daring Baker's Challange!!  from the Daring Kitchen::

The January 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Astheroshe of the blog accro.
She chose to challenge everyone to make a Biscuit Joconde Imprime to wrap around an Entremets dessert.

Joconde Sponge

YIELD: Two ½ size sheet pans or a 13” x 18” (33 x 46 cm) jelly roll pan
¾ cup/ 180 ml/ 3oz/ 85g almond flour/meal - *You can also use hazelnut flour, just omit the butter
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons/ 150 ml/ 2⅔ oz/ 75g confectioners' (icing) sugar
¼ cup/ 60 ml/ 1 oz/ 25g cake flour *See note below
3 large eggs - about 5⅓ oz/ 150g
3 large egg whites - about 3 oz/ 90g
2½ teaspoons/ 12½ ml/ ⅓ oz/ 10g white granulated sugar or superfine (caster) sugar
2 tablespoons/ 30 ml/ 1oz / 30g unsalted butter, melted
*Note: How to make cake flour:
  1. In a clean mixing bowl whip the egg whites and white granulated sugar to firm, glossy peeks. Reserve in a separate clean bowl to use later.
  2. Sift almond flour, confectioner’s sugar, cake flour. (This can be done into your dirty egg white bowl)
  3. On medium speed, add the eggs a little at a time. Mix well after each addition. Mix until smooth and light. (If using a stand mixer use blade attachment. If hand held a whisk attachment is fine, or by hand. )
  4. Fold in one third reserved whipped egg whites to almond mixture to lighten the batter. Fold in remaining whipped egg whites. Do not over mix.
  5. Fold in melted butter.
  6. Reserve batter to be used later.

Patterned Joconde-Décor Paste

YIELD: Two ½ size sheet pans or a 13” x 18” (33 x 46 cm) jelly roll pan
14 tablespoons/ 210ml/ 7oz/ 200g unsalted butter, softened
1½ cups plus1½ tablespoons/ 385ml/ 7oz/ 200g Confectioners' (icing) sugar
7 large egg whites - about 7 oz / 200g
1¾ cup/ 420ml/ 7¾ oz/ 220g cake flour
Food coloring gel, paste or liquid
COCOA Décor Paste Variation: Reduce cake flour to 6 oz / 170g. Add 2 oz/ 60 g cocoa powder. Sift the flour and cocoa powder together before adding to creamed mixture.


  1. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy (use stand mixer with blade, hand held mixer, or by hand)
  2. Gradually add egg whites. Beat continuously.
  3. Fold in sifted flour.
  4. Tint batter with coloring to desired color, if not making cocoa variation.

How much fun was this challange! I haven't made this dessert since Pastry school, and it has been amazing getting back to this technique !   I made a cocoa patterned joconde and I filled it with chocolate mousse on the bottom and a Strawberry mousse on the top!   DELICIOUS! *And when you freeze it, the mousse tastes like ice cream!*

Thanks again Astheroshe for this amazing challange!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Strawberry Cupcakes

I found this great Strawberry Cupcake recipe online, and I had a strawberry mousse in the fridge, so I replaced a lot of the ingredients so I could add this mousse into it. Then I decided to dip the tops in a ganache to have the amazing chocolate covered strawberry taste!!


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Dinner Testing

I had an interview yesterday to work for a catering/ballroom company as their head chef and kitchen manager. SUPER EXCITED.
Interview went really really well and I have been asked to do a "practical interview" for them. They want me to come up with a menu and create the food. Main entree, 2 sides and a dessert.  And prepare it for them (5 people).

So, tonight I decided it would be smart to do a test run of my menu ideas.

Chicken Marsala
Dutchess Potatoes
Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce

Ending with::
Warm Chocolate Melting Cake

AMAZING Dinner...A few things I need to fix and work on before my Practical interview in 2 weeks-- but i'm sure they will love it as much as we did!  :)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Cupcake Heaven

Spent the weekend in Chicago!! Had an amazing weekend! Fancy Italian dinners, wine, massage, spa, cooking class,and.... A Cupcake Tour of Chicago!
I have been to chicago many times, but have never been into or bought any of the sweet treats from chicago bakeries. So, this time, we decided to try as many cupcake places (within walking distance) that we could find..

More (Forever More Cupcakes)
Sweet Mandy B's
Sugar Bliss
Sensational Bites

So-- we tried  Chocolate Hazelnut, Smores,Lemon Meringue,Andes Mint,Black and White, Carrot, Strawberry,Vanilla,Chocolate,Butterfinger,Red Velvet and More!!


Best Packaging:: More
Best Logo::More & Sugar Bliss
Best Shop::Sprinkles
Best Cake::More
Worst Cake::Sprinkles
Best Icing::Sugar Bliss
Worst Icing::Sweet Mandy B's
Most Unique Flavors:: More

So-- If someone (maybe me!) Could make cupcakes that taste like More with unique flavors like More but made an icing like Sugar Bliss--they would make a lot of people happy and make a lot of money!!

So, today, my first day back at home and a day off of work (MLK Day)..I decided to start my venture with this idea- starting with Icing!

I usually make the "American Buttercream" which is shortening,butter,powdered sugar,vanilla....WELL this is NOT my kind of icing anymore!
I am LOVING the Roux Buttercream

1/2 cup Milk
2 1/2 TBL. Flour
1/2 cup Butter
1/2 cup Granulated Sugar

Easy measurements--i've only made it once and have it memorized! Delicious..a few problems..

Making sure the sugar granuals get all dissolved without melting the butter..pushing the roux through a sieve before adding it to the sugar/butter to get rid of any flour clumps.

But- texture is amazing, consistancy is amazing, it is thick enough to pipe, sturdy enough to keep a cake from sliding around and taste= FANTASTIC!

 So after I made this icing.. I decided you can't truely tell how great it is unless you are eating it with cake!
So I made a quick carrot cake batter and made some mini cupcakes to test this icing!

AMAZING.  This icing almost has a natural cream cheese flavor without ever adding cream cheese! It is so great. Not overly sweet, not a crunchy sugar texture. It's so great and easy to pipe!

My new love!!  <3

Monday, January 10, 2011

Cookies and a Lazy night

It's a Monday--what a boring day...

Didn't do much after work- the Bachelor is back on TV!

I found a great new recipe--i've been CRAVING chocolate chip cookies, but we don't have chocolate chips in our house right now, just have butterscotch chips and white chocolate chips ...soo trying to find a cookie to satisfy my cravings, I found this recipe..

Butterscotch and White Chip Cookies

2 1/2 cups Flour
1 tsp. baking soda
-Keep seperate

1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar

Beat in:
2 eggs
1 TBL vanilla

Add Flour mix.
Then add:
1/2 cup butterscotch chips
1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Pre-heat oven to 350 degree. Spoon out cookies onto sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes, until light brown. After pulling the cookies out of the oven, they will continue to bake on the sheet so do not over-bake them in the oven.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

My Boy's Birthday!

It has been a LONG time since I have posted. Seems like the Holidays throws me off my game every year. 
Christmas time was CRAZY.   We went to 6 christmas's and a new years eve party. A lot of Baking happend on my part..

I made my first ever Pineapple Upside Down Cake- which turned out pretty great for my first time!
I made Cream Puffs (first time since culinary school). It took me 2 times. My first recipe was a flop. But once I found a great recipe, they turned out fantastic!! With a Bavarian Cream filling! Yummm.
I also found a great recipe for a light lemon cheesecake fluff dessert. It was so low in calories but so delicious! Even my father-in-law didn't notice!!

Just last night I threw a birthday party for my hubby! We had about 12 people at our house with some snacky foods.  He wanted a Chocolate cake with chocolate mousse filling and iced in a chocolate buttercream.  It turned out really great! But incredibly sweet-. I couldn't finish my piece but everyone at it all! And my Hubby loved it- which is all that matters on his birthday!

I am officially a part of the Daring Kitchen- Daring Bakers!! Super excited! This month should be great and I am so ready to bake! Now, if I could just find the time!  ;)

Well! On to my 2nd job! Have to pay the bills!