Friday, October 29, 2010

Dad's Birthday Cake

"I don't know if we each have a destiny, or if we're all just floating around accidental-like on a breeze, but I, I think maybe it's both. Maybe both is happening at the same time." Forrest Gump

This cake was rushed, not planned in advance and even improvised. My dad is diabetic, and I didn't thought it would be a good idea to do a cake for his birthday, much less a regular sweet cake, but I still wanted to do something. I did a research for a cake recipe for diabetics and wasn't convinced and I realized  that having a little piece of a regular cake would be more satisfying for him.

I was right...he loved it : )  They even liked the meringue, which  I know wasn't the way it's supposed to be. I may not be happy with the meringue, but knowing that my family liked it, specially  birthday boy, makes me feel happy.

For the recipe, I adapted Martha Stewart's Versatile Vanilla Cake. It turned out to be perfect, not too sweet, soft crumble, very tender, with a nice buttery vanilla flavor. This one is moms favorite now, and mine. So I'll be doing this recipe for my Baby Shower too ;D

I did half the recipe, since I didn't wanted a big cake, and I used a 6" pie pan.... yes a pie pan, no need to buy more cake pans when I could just trim the edges, right?  I baked two, and made it layered. I have to admit I made a mistake with the recipe, while I used half of most of the recipe, I used by mistake all the buttermilk, well my substitution of buttermilk.  I don't think I have even seen buttermilk, so I avoided any recipe with it. But I read somewhere that adding 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to regular milk works just fine, so I did just that, but used all of it. Anyhow, it came out so good, I intend to make the same mistake again ;)

I was still beating my head over what to use for the filling, when dad arrive with some passion fruit. I have been craving these since the beginning of my pregnancy, finally almost seven months later, I got them ;)
Naturally I made a sauce and used as a filling.... yummy!!! I used the pulp of two fruits, 3 tablespoons of honey, 3 tablespoons of butter, and some flour. I found it perfect because I love the sour taste of passion fruit, and I still had that in the sauce.

Now the meringue, well I'm not going to dwell on it, I over beat it, like most the times I have tried it.

It dosent look too bad, right? At least I tasted really good!!!! So I'm happy :)

Have a good one,

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Bread Pudding with Whiskey sauce

"With time you will understand that rushing or forcing the things you want will only make them be different than what you hope they'll be". Jorge Luis Borges

One of my favorite desserts I found it quite recently. At the beginning of this year my Hubby took me to Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. The dinner was simply amazing. I had a roasted chicken filled with herbs and cheese so good I almost liked the bones… yep, that good. But what surprised me the most was dessert. We tried something that never called me before. Bread pudding. I have always had this idea of any kind of pudding being a watery gooey mass of something. I guess it was just a matter of finding the right place to try it… along with a nice glass of wine, just in case.  I mean, after such a nice dinner surely dessert would be great, right? Well it was more than great, it was divine.  So I found myself on a search frenzy, a search for a great bread pudding recipe. It wasn’t easy given the fact that here in Puerto Rico bread pudding seems to takes a trip to the blender before baking because is not chunky like the one I tried. Finally I found what I was looking for at Epicurious. The recipe is for a Bread Pudding Soufflé with Whiskey Sauce by Jaime Shannon. I did made some changes.


Instead of making it a soufflé, I used the meringue as topping for the pudding. It came out so good I couldn’t stop giggling ;D


Sadly, I can’t make this again for a while since I don’t feel comfy using whiskey while pregnant, no matter how small the amount.


Here is the recipe for you.

Bread Pudding:
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
3 medium eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (use a high-quality extract, not an imitation)
5 cups day-old French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (Instead of a French bread I used a sweet bread which is a lot denser, and added half a cup of heavy cream to make sure all the bread got moist.)
1/3 cup raisins

Whiskey Sauce:
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons cold water
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup bourbon

9 medium egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
3/4 cup sugar   

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan.
To make the bread pudding, combine the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl. Beat in the eggs until smooth, then work in the heavy cream. Add the vanilla, then the bread cubes. Allow the bread to soak up the custard. Scatter the raisins in the greased pan, and top with the egg mixture, which will prevent the raisins from burning. Bake for approximately 25 to 30 minutes or until the pudding has a golden color and is firm to the touch. If a toothpick inserted in the pudding comes out clean, it is done. It should be moist, not runny or dry. Let cool to room temperature.
To make the sauce, bring the cream to a boil, combine the cornstarch and water, and add the mixture to the boiling cream, stirring constantly. Return to a boil, and then reduce the heat and cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds, being careful not to burn the mixture. Add the sugar and bourbon, and stir. Let cool to room temperature.

mmmm.... finger licking good ;) 
To make the meringue, be certain that you use a bowl and whisk that are clean and that the egg whites are completely free of yolk and at room temperature. In a large bowl or mixer, whip the egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy. Gradually add the sugar, and continue whipping until shiny and thick. Test with a clean spoon. If the whites stand up stiff, like shaving cream, when you pull out the spoon, the meringue is ready. Do not over whip, or the whites will break down.

If you are using sweet bread like me, and are a bit scared about it being too sweet, bake the pudding first, and then taste it, you can then confidently adapt the sugar amount on the sauce. Just make sure to adjust the whiskey too, or it could get too strong.

To serve you can use tow different approaches. Bake the pudding on a nice baking dish to be served at the table. Once the pudding is ready to be served, pour part of the sauce on top. You can save the rest and serve it on a saucer for those who would like extra sauce. Then cover the pudding with the meringue. Take this chance to decorate your dessert, you can have a smooth finish, some spikes or even breakout your piping bag. You can brown it by placing it under the broiler for a bit, or going wild with a hand torch.

I know!!! Sorry I couldn't wait for the camera....
On the other hand you can try individual servings like I did. Don’t worry; you don’t need a special dish or anything. Just get the cutest crystal glass you have, serve the pudding on it, pour the sauce and cover with a nice dollop of meringue.

I used a martini glass. I adore them and this two are the firsts ones on my soon to be martini glasses collection, so feel free to donate to the cause ;)


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Sugar Cookies part two

"They say that dreams are only real as long as they last. Couldn't you say the same thing about life?" from the movie Waking Life

Decorating cookies can be tricky. You need a plan, patience, and practice.  I had those, or at least I though I did. The results were not exactly what I had in mind, but it was fun, and I got to eat cookies ;)

The icing recipe I used is from I am baker. I got curious about the recipe because is so easy. Just four ingredients, how easy is that!!

Here is the recipe:

Sugar Cookie Frosting Recipe

1 cup Confectioners Sugar (powder sugar sifted)
1 Tablespoon Milk
1 drop Lemon Juice (fresh or processed)
1 Tablespoon Light Corn Syrup
Combine powder sugar, corn syrup, and lemon juice in a bowl.
******This next step is important! ******
If you need a thicker frosting, say for outlining your cookies, add less milk. Just a drop at a time.
If you have already outlined your cookies and need to fill in or ’spill’ your cookies, you can add more milk (as much as you would need) to make your frosting very runny.
If you are using food coloring, be sure to use less milk. Most food colorings are liquid and can make your frosting runnier. If you are using a gel food coloring, your milk quantity can remain the same.
If you want to add different flavors, you can add drops of vanilla extract, almond extract, lemon, etc. to flavor your frosting.
If you want more shine, use more corn syrup and less milk.
This frosting will stay good for days in the fridge.

And here is the result.

I had to use zip bags. They are great on emergency, but I found them a bit uncomfortable.  Just snip at a corner and  go crazy...

X-mas spirit anyone!!!!

Cute for St. Valentines

Halloween and baby onesie :)
Like I said, not exactly what I had in mind, but it was great practice. For the next cookie project I will concentrate on the onsies, and that will be for MY Baby Shower!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can't wait.

See ya!!


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sugar Cookies part one

"We are all a little weird and life's a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love." ~Author Unknown

So funny and so  true.  I will always thank God for letting me find the love of my life. Is truly amazing to have someone by your side who not only loves you but supports you in everything you want, no matter how crazy it may be. Love you G.

Today’s project is decorated sugar cookies. These cookies are not only tasty and cute, they are functional. How? Simple, they are great personalized gifts, excellent for party decoration, and how about greeting cards, thank you cards or just some cute souvenirs… see, functional.

Lets say you have an up coming party, like, I don’t know, a baby shower … did I mention I’m pregnant, of course I have everything baby on my mind ;)  So wouldn’t some cute baby onesie cookies be a great decoration, or thank you gift? Let’s see how it works out. Please keep in mind that I haven’t attempted this before, well the cookie part yes, the decorating part, big NO.

How to get started, first, there is a great blog for us, University of Cookies. How cool is that!!! They have great video tutorials for all beginners.  Then make sure you have all supplies you need at hand and in good condition. I had some piping bag malfunction along with some missing couplers. Yes, that’s the beauty of moving, things get lost. I’m sure I’ll find them, once I get the new ones of course. For the moment I used a small Ziploc bag, not my favorite thing to use, but they are great for emergencies.

The cookie recipe that I used is from Bridget (Bake at 350) posted on University of Cookies. Is a great recipe, very easy. I did had to add a bit extra flour to get it to the right consistency, but on her tutorial, the dough came out perfect with the amount stated on the recipe. My suggestion, stick to the recipe, but if by any chance the dough come out to wet, a little bit of flour can do the trick, just not too much or it will dry out the cookies. For the rolling, I used a bit of flour on the rolling pin, and wax paper. Those two along with a cold dough work like magic ;) 
I made a mistake of not taking pictures of the dough making and rolling process  (now I have an excuse to do it again ;D ), but this is the result, a nice sturdy, yet soft cookie. 

I did different cut outs for practice. On the next post Ill show you the decoration!!

Have a good one ;D


Monday, October 18, 2010

I have an obsession, a dream, a goal, what ever you want to call it. I think passion would be more apt. I want my own business, a sweets business, everything sweet.  This is odd for me since I don’t have a sweet tooth, but still, baking is the thing for me. I absolutely love it. However…. I can’t seem to take off. There is always something holding me back, Some times recipes don’t work right, some times is a money thing, like all times ;) . Most times it was a time thing, not enough just like the money.... It was hard for me to let go of my job, but it was time. I couldn’t get started on my dream with the job I had.

            I love working (and laziness, but don’t tell my Hubby), I started at a McDonald's about ten years ago (wow, I can’t believe I said it) It was a fun experience; I learned to respect hard work, and the value of money. From there I move to a hotel and I fell in love. It was the coolest thing until an adventure came along. I got an opportunity to work as a Flight Attendant!!! Can you imagine, your office flying over 10,000 feet all over the Caribbean. Well that was my job!!! Once that came to an end I went back to the hotel, but it wasn’t the same. I felt something missing, on the professional side of me there was a void. And then I discovered baking. I always have done cakes, but the box cake (which I honestly believe are good.) but then I tried to make one from scratch and it was magic. I couldn’t believe I baked a Cake all by my self, and it was good.  The feeling was amazing, and I wanted more. I have to confess I went nuts. I tried everything, cakes, cupcakes, cookies, muffins, flans (crème caramel), and I still wanted more. So I tried cheesecakes, éclairs which were quite scary, and the very much scary French Macaroon.

The outcome… well see for your self. Please beware... It is not that pretty.

The cake….

The cupcake…

The flan (crème caramel)….

Mmmmm Chocolate!!!!!
The cheesecakes…..
The Bars!!

Covered with chocolate ganache!!! 


The verdict…. I love baking…. I want to learn, improve, excel. I want to make my dream come true, and I want to share it with you. So stay tune for more on my new adventure, well, one of them ;)

Happy, happy, joy, joy!!