Month: February 2012

Chocolate = Love

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!  Whether you are celebrating with a lover, a friend, a family member, or the television, you should definitely remember to love yourself and for me loving myself means chocolate. I made this cake for my mother’s birthday not too long ago, much love going around for everyone! I have shared my super secret chocolate cake recipe with you before, and today we are going to make a chocolate layer cake with salted caramel buttercream.  With one of these decadent babies you will certainly feel loved! CHOCOLATE CAKE RECIPE Ingredients: 1 3/4 cups flour 2 cups sugar 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa 1 tsp salt 1 1/2 tsp baking powder 1 1/2 tsp baking soda 1/2 cup canola oil 1 cup whole milk 2 large eggs 2 tsp vanilla 2 tbsp anise liqueur (I use Arack) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Oil and flour 3 8-inch baking tins.  Begin by filling a sauce pan with water.  Set it on high heat until it boils. While you are waiting for the water to …

Would You Like S’more?

After I made the marshmallows, my boyfriend came over for dinner, and I immediately sent him to the store to get a chocolate bar.  “Do you need anything else” he asked.  Nope.  I was certain I had graham crackers, well, mostly certain.  So he came back, we ate dinner, and I was so excited about making s’mores over my gas range with my newly homemade marshmallows.  So, where were those graham crackers again?  Erm, hmmm… Well turns out I was wrong.  No graham crackers! The next morning I put it on my agenda to go buy some graham crackers.  The day went by, and going to the grocery store sounds so unappealing.  I have this very strange aversion to going to the grocery store.  Well, turns out I had all the ingredients at home to make graham crackers.  I’m insane, I know.  Well, here ya go – graham cracker recipe with step-by-step photo instructions! GRAHAM CRACKER RECIPE (adapted from Baking Bites) Ingredients: 1/4 cup all-purpose flour 3/4 cup and 2 Tbsp whole-wheat flour 1/4 cup …

Shabbos Specials: Chocolate Bavarian Cream Recipe

Since that movie came out, Julia Child is all the rage, right? Or was? Anyway, French food is certainly the pinnacle of fine culinary arts, and I believe it has something to do with the very few ingredients required to make it.  I typically have a real knack for Indian and Southern cooking because they fall under the category “flavor symphony” – well-balanced flavors and spices, often including 15 ingredients or more.  It’s all very layered, quick and dirty.  Not so with French food.  French cuisine requires that one smoothly caress each ingredient and treat is with the utmost care, squeezing every bit of flavor out of the simplest food – at least, that’s what I’d assume Julia would say. šŸ™‚ French food can be difficult to make kosher.  If it doesn’t involve meat drenched in butter, it does usually involve gelatin – hey, like this recipe!  Now there IS kosher gelatin made from fish bones. Like this one I got at my local kosher market. You:  Miri, what are you thinking? I don’t live …

Heartmallows or Marshentines, Whichever

This will be my first Valentine’s Day ever when I will actually have a man to celebrate with!  Pathetic? Maybe, but I find it more stressful than anything.  What does a girl with a limited budget get her sweetheart?  I have been exploring a lot of options and I read this article yesterday that I found rather interesting.   I have several jars of luster dust hanging around my house, and I suppose I never figured out the proper way to use them.  Mixed with a dash of vodka, the luster dust turns into edible paint… EDIBLE PAINT! Get your head out of the gutter, I mean for cakes.  The blogger said you can use it on any dry edible surface and it got me thinking about these marshmallows my mother used to make me as a kid.  On top of that, I knew I had some kosher gelatin in the pantry, and thus, my heart-mallows were born! HOMEMADE MARSHMALLOW RECIPE (adapted from My Baking Addiction) Ingredients: 7 1/2 tsp kosher gelatin* (about 3 packages normal gelatin) …

Snickerdoodle Cake Recipe

You may remember a few posts back that I was commissioned to do a Rosh Hashanah dessert reception for about 200 people.  The themes of Rosh Hashanah tend to be sweet, so it was a good opportunity to try out a Snickerdoodle Cake recipe I had been curious about. Snickerdoodles are my favorite cookies – I’m a bit of a cinnamon-phile.  I found this recipe on Pinterest.  The picture of the cake appealed to me because it looked just like that monster piece of cake in Pollyanna. As a side note, the cakes in Pollyanna were some kind of amazing.  This wasn’t movie magic folks, do you see that buckling of the buttercream?  Those are real 3-layer cakes, no styrofoam!  Also, those cakes look to be about 12 inches across.  Great stuff.  Anyway, back to the Snickerdoodle cake. As appealing as the picture was, I looked at it rather skeptically considering that in addition to 1 cup of brown sugar, the frosting recipe called for EIGHT TO NINE CUPS of powdered sugar.  Gross.  I guess …

Crush Cakes – Santa Barbara, CA

Since I began my baking ventures, constantly seeking to improve my current skills, I get the same question over and over:  Is it hard for you to eat baked goods from other places? The answer is a definitive YES!  Not that I don’t appreciate the efforts of other bakers, but I find that there are two things people expect from delicious baked goods:  1. a moist cake and 2.  buttery flavor.  That said, on Matt’s and my little day trip we stopped by a shop that never disappoints… Crush cakes in Santa Barbara has stolen my heard when it comes to moisture, buttery flavor, and original ideas that are executed so beautifully and simply! You may recognize the names from Cupcakes Wars, and they are worthy soldiers!  Just look at all the choices were at our discretion: We made our selections, then I had to run to the car and grab my camera exclaiming to Matt “DON’T EAT ANYTHING YET, I HAVE TO TAKE PICTURES OF THE THINGS!” Our choices:  Oreo cupcakes, Crumb cupcake, and …

I Love Frosting Like a Fat Kid Loves… Well, You Know

Frosting Techniques.  Well, you know I’ve been practicing my little heart out for months and I believe I got it down!  Little homemade tutorial for y’all: 1.  Dirty Icing.  Ok, here’s a good trick.  ALWAYS MAKE THE ACTUAL CAKE PART THE DAY BEFORE.  Put it in the freezer.  The next day it’s perfect for dirty icing.  Take your bottom layer, and put about a 1/2 cup of frosting on there, spread around to the edges. Put your layer pieces on top, in this case, strawberries. Cover up your layer pieces with another 1/2 cup of frosting, then put the top layer over it. Put another 1/2 cup of frosting on top of the top layer, spread to the sides, and fill in the middle gap.  Keep going all around your cake until that gap is filled and you have a complete cylinder. Here’s another trick:  After dirty icing, put the cake in the refrigerator for a half hour. 2.  Frosting the cake.  Color the frosting with food coloring that you would like for the top …

Tu B’Shevat Option: Ratatouille Recipe (vegan)

 Tu B’shevat is the Jewish new year for trees.  Many have called this a Jewish Arbor Day, but it is actually much more than that.  Judaism has several new years on the calendar.  This particular new year is used to calculate tithes.  Leviticus 19:23-25 states that fruit may not be eaten or pruned from a tree in the first 3 years of a tree’s life.  In the 4th year, the fruit from the tree must be given to G-d as the “first fruits”.  From this directive in the Torah we also extrapolate the tradition of not cutting a child’s hair until the age of 3 years, likening a person to a tree. There are several traditions that have been developed around Tu B’Shevat.  Some people eat a fruit or vegetable they have never tasted, others plant a tree in Israel.  Some even use the holiday as a social environmental initiative.  Most commonly, observant Jews celebrate a Tu B’shevat seder.  The method is very similar to a Passover seder but with a seder plate consisting of …