Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Birthday Cake For My Hubs!

Between February 17th and March 30th, there are 6 birthdays and an anniversary in my family to celebrate- that's about one a week...and a lot of dessert! For my brother's birthday, I made him peanut butter marbled brownies, for Jack, I made a cherry almond Bundt cake, my FIL got an icebox lemon pie, my sister got a strawberry celebration cake and my hubby got this Tiramisu layer cake. Whew! 5 birthdays down, one more to go!

This cake was the winning cake for The Cake Slice Bakers for the month of January. I was way behind on making it, but it finally got done. I really liked it and it was impressive looking (in my opinion) but it was expensive and I had major issues with the cake part of the recipe, which meant I had to make it twice at 2 in the morning. I've never made a chiffon cake before and it was looking pretty perfect until I added the butter and the batter completely liquefied and deflated my egg whites. I wasn't sure what it was supposed to look like so I forged on and baked it anyway. A few minutes later, a rubbery flat cake emerged from the oven. The second attempt was better though not perfect. If I were to make it again, I'd use a different recipe for the cake part, but the espresso syrup and the mascarpone filling/frosting were delicious.

This cake almost made me cry and I almost scrapped it and tossed it all in the trash. I would have, if I hadn't already used up 18 eggs and promised this cake to my deserving husband! This layer cake version of tiramisu is great for a special occasion and tasted just like the original, but the chiffon had a little lemon zest in it that brightened up the flavor. I really liked that addition, but Mr. H did not. If I ever have a craving for tiramisu again, I'll just stick with the classic version that uses ladyfingers, and if necessary, plop a candle in it. I'm not sharing a recipe today simply because I'm too lazy to type it out and it has so many steps and also because I did a few things differently that the original recipe called for. You can click on over to Anabel's blog for a simplified recipe, if you'd like.

Anyway, for Mr. H's 32nd birthday this year, he requested filet mignon, shrimp, cheddar cheese risotto and roasted asparagus. His wish was my command. While I played in the kitchen, Daddy and Hayden took a little snooze together on the couch. This cake was the perfect ending to a relaxed day with my family. Happy birthday, my love!

Monday, March 26, 2012

A Heavenly Cake for A Heavenly Birthday

A few weeks ago was, my sweet boy, Jack's Heavenly birthday. He would have been 5 years old on February 21st. It's hard to imagine a 5 year old running amok around this house, especially after having Hayden. I've always wondered what I was missing out on by not having him here and now I know. Even though he and his older brother, Sam, are not here in person, I still make a point to make their birthdays special. This year, in his memory, I made him this cherry almond cake.

Cherries and almonds are a perfect pair, add a little amaretto in there and you have a match made in Heaven, no pun intended. This is not really a cake suited for a small child, but we surely enjoyed it. The bright red cherries add a nice pop of color against the spongy white cake, making it visually appealing. I basically followed the recipe but I opted to add a little vanilla and almond extracts to punch up the flavor. I also added a glaze and more maraschino cherries and whole almonds for garnish.

Hayden with his Poppa visiting Jack at the cemetery for the first time. Happy birthday Jack- we love you!

This cake was was really light and almost spongy but it was moist and tender at the same time. It was a nice contrast from a heavily frosted layer cake. It would be perfect at a luncheon, tea time with the ladies or for a light dessert after a leisurely brunch. You could certainly omit the Amaretto and replace it with milk or water, just be sure to add a little more almond extract. It's that sweet aromatic nuttiness that makes this cake so pleasing. If you make this cake, I hope you enjoy it and I sincerely hope that you'll spare a moment and think of Jack.

Cherry Almond Cake adapted from Bundt Classics
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  • 1 box white or vanilla cake mix
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup Amaretto (almond liqueur)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 4 eggs
  • 1- 10 oz. jar maraschino cherries, drained and chopped
  • Maraschino cherries, patted dry and almonds, for garnish (optional)
Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour a Bundt pan and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, mix all cake ingredients except cherries. Mix on medium speed for 2 minutes. Increase speed to medium high and mix for another 3 minutes. Stir in cherries by hand, spoon batter into prepared pan.

Bake for 50-55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely on a wire rack.

Once cool, drizzle with glaze (recipe below) and garnish with more cherries and almonds, if desired.

Vanilla-Almond Glaze from Monica h
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1-2 Tablespoons milk, or more if needed
In a medium bowl, add sugar, vanilla and almond extracts. Stir or whisk until smooth. Gradually add milk until desired consistency is achieved. Drizzle over cooled cake.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Cowboys Gone Wild

Seriously, where does the time go? Again, another week has flown by. It seems like it was just Christmas, and now Easter is fast approaching. Like it's just a couple weeks away! How did this happen? It's not like I was sleeping and it it just passed on by, because let's face it, I'm not getting much sleep these days! It's just really hard to believe that a quarter of the year is already gone.

The passing of time, has really nothing to do with these cookies, except that I made these a couple weeks ago back in January and it's almost April. I'm just in shock I think. Anyone else out there feel the same way? Or maybe time is standing still, and in that case you should bake these cookies to help pass the time :-) I have a favorite recipe for Cowboy Cookies that I've shared here before but when I saw this version on Let's Dish that included the addition of corn flakes I knew I had to try them. Mr. h bought a ginormous box of corn flakes awhile back and they seem to be multiplying in the dark corner of my pantry. I've eaten several bowls with milk, used them in Rustic Apple Pie, to coat chicken in and now these cookies and I still have some left.

Somehow while making these, I knocked the bowl of cookie dough off the kitchen island and it fell to the ground and shattered all over the floor. Hayden was in the other room but he, as curious as he is, had to come and see what was going on. Luckily, I had already portioned out most of the batter into balls so I didn't lose too much. The ones that I did bake, were delicious, especially when still warm from the oven. They were chewy, but crispy, and you could really taste the corn flakes when first baked. They next day the corn was more subtle but it definitely added a textural element to the cookies. I think I'd like to experiment with my favorite Cowboy Cookie recipe that has cinnamon in it, by adding crushed corn flakes to it in addition to the coconut, pecans, oats and chocolate chips. yum!

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup crushed corn flakes
  • 2 1/2 cups quick oats
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup shredded, sweetened coconut
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the milk, vanilla and eggs and beat well.
Stir in cornflake crumbs and oatmeal. Add the flour, baking soda and salt and mix. Stir in the coconut, nuts, if using, and chocolate chips.

Place tablespoon-sized balls of dough on a lightly greased or lined cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes until lightly golden around the edges. (I used a medium ice cream scoop and baked them til golden- about 12-13 minutes.)

Makes 3-4 dozen, depending on size

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Irish Cream Cake and My Little Helper

I didn't intend to be away from the blog for this long, but it's been a couple weeks since I shared a recipe with you guys. Luckily, Hayden stepped in and did a guest post for me about his new favorite foods. Thanks Boo Bear! I'd love to say I was on vacation but it has just been a busy couple of weeks for us. Today, though, I was able to get back in the kitchen and bake up this delicious cake.

Usually Hayden sits in his swing, exersaucer or the high chair and plays when I'm in the kitchen but today he wanted to help. With him in one arm, I picked up the baking powder tin and he put his hands around it while I measured out the needed 1/4 teaspoon. When it came time to pull out the mixer he held on to the handle and when I poured out the booze, he immediately tried to put it into his mouth. That's my boy!

I've made this cake before and was wanting to make it again for St. Patrick's Day. The only thing I did differently this time was to omit the Guittard Cappuccino Chips. I have a surplus of them because I bought out the supply from World Market a couple years ago when they were discontinued, but I realize you all don't have them hiding out in your pantry so regular chocolate chips can be subbed. This cake is tender and moist, but slightly dense at the same time. And it's boozy from the addition of Bailey's Irish Cream in the cake and the glaze. It's been awhile since I've eaten it but it's just as good as I remember. If you're not into baking dozens of leprechaun topped green frosted cupcakes for the 17th, maybe you'll try this "adult" cake instead. And before you start feeling too guilty, it only has 5 tablespoons of butter in it and that includes the glaze. It's practically low fat!

Glazed Irish Cream Cake previously seen HERE
Printer Friendly Version 

For the Cake:
  • 2/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 cup Bailey's Irish Cream
  • 1/8 cup milk
For the Glaze:
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. Bailey's Irish Cream
  • 1 tsp. milk or half-n-half, or more if needed
  • Guittard Cappuccino Chips or chocolate chips for garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 8-inch pan with non-stick spray and set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, followed by vanilla extract. Mix in half of the flour mixture, followed by the Irish cream and milk, then the remaining flour mixture and mix til well blended. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake for approximately 24 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack until completely cool. Turn out cooled cake onto a platter and make the glaze.

To make the glaze, add all the ingredients in a small bowl and mix until smooth and pourable. Add more milk a half teaspoon at a time if needed. Garnish the cake with Cappuccino chips or chocolate chips before the glaze sets up, if desired.
Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Hayden Eats!

This weekend last year, Mr. h and I were in New Jersey so I could have cervical surgery in order to be able to carry Hayden to term. I wrote about it HERE, if you'd like to go back and read it. One full year later, Hayden is thriving and doing wonderfully and eating big boy food! He turned 6 months old on Thursday, March 1st. I think he was ready a couple weeks ago to start solids but I wanted to wait til he was a full 6 months old to introduce other foods besides milk. He may have been ready but his momma was not. My baby is growing up so fast!

My mom bought him some rice cereal a couple months ago. His pediatrician said it okay for him to eat it but that it wasn't necessary so we weren't in any rush. But on Thursday he got his first taste and since this is a food blog, I thought I'd share his first food experience with you all. Here goes!

Day 1: Excited to be sitting in his high chair, but has no idea what is to come.

I let him pick the color of his bowl then Daddy and I took turns feeding him with his new spoon that Michelle of One Ordinary Day got for him. Isn't it great? You can get one from Lisa Leonard Designs. Thank you Michelle!

It started off okay, but he really was not a fan of the rice cereal mixed with milk.

Day 2: My mom came over to feed him and Hayden was still not impressed, as you can see. We decided to try a little banana puree since he likes to gum on and lick chunks of banana. He really didn't take to it either, I think because of the texture.

So we mixed the two together and he seemed to like that better.

Then he got silly and started making this face which made us laugh so he kept doing it. He's such a ham.

Day 3: We tried a slice of mashed banana with the rice cereal again yesterday and in return I got plenty of this:

He may have stuck his tongue out in disgust after every bite, but he ate it all!

Today, Mr. h fed him, which meant half of it wound up on him rather than in his mouth, but he finished up that bowl too! We'll continue with the rice and banana for a few more days before trying new foods, but so far so good. Pears are next on the list.

Thanks for letting me share Hayden's first foods with you all. This is just the beginning of all the excitement :-).

"Star of Mommy's Blog"- could not be more true.

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