Sunday, August 4, 2013

Pregnant Belly Cake for baby reveal party

Vanilla Cake with Vanilla Bean Butter cream Frosting

 Pregnant Belly Cake

 I made this cake for my niece's 'baby reveal party'.  Isn't it great to have a themed party, especially when the surprise is who is going to be the next family member! Well I won't keep you waiting any longer; IT'S A GIRL!!!!! They will have a daughter in December. No name picked out yet but I know my nephew has something in mind.

The placement of the little foot pushing on her mothers belly is shown to the right and below. All I did was cut the shape of a babies foot in fondant and place it on the frosted belly then drape a large sheet of fondant over it. Gently press around the edges of the foot to make it prominent.

White cake with vanilla bean buttercream frosting. For the pans I used two oven prof bowls (1 small & 1 large) and two round cake pans (6 inch & 9 inch) to make two layered cakes. I bought Wiltons 5 lb. box of white fondant and mixed the colored fondant myself, using mint green, regal purple and lemon yellow AmeriColor food coloring.

The happy family!

Vanilla Cake with Vanilla Bean Butter cream Frosting

Cake; yield is two 2-layer cakes using 8" pans. We will be using two round oven proof bowls (one large and one small to fit over the round pans), 9" round pan, 6" round pan.
Vanilla Cake
10 large egg whites at room temperature
2 whole eggs
2 cups whole milk, at room temperature
4-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
6 cups cake flour, sifted
4 cups sugar
2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
24 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into 24 even pieces
Vanilla Bean Frosting:
6 sticks + 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
6 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
6 tablespoons cream
2 vanilla beans, scraped
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt
Vanilla Cake
Preheat oven to 350°F Grease, flour the pans and bowls.
In a large bowl, combine and stir the egg whites, whole eggs, 1/2 cup of milk, and the vanilla. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the dry ingredients together on low speed for 30 seconds.
Add the butter one piece at a time, about every 10 seconds, ensuring it's cold (you can keep some in refrigerator while you're adding pieces). Continue to mix on low until the mixture is a fine crumbly texture. Add milk, and mix on low speed for 5 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl and begin to add the egg mixture in 3 separate batches, mixing until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. (You want to ensure that the batter is homogenous.) Fold once or twice to ensure the batter at bottom of bowl is incorporated.
Dividing the batter is done by sight between the pans and bowls. you will bake 6 cakes total. One 9" round, two 6" rounds, one large bowl shape, and two small bowl shapes.
Bake until a cake tester comes out with a few crumbs when inserted into the center, about 30 minutes. The large bowl will need about 5 or 10 minutes extra and the small rounds and bowls will bake 5 or ten minutes under. Be so careful to not over-bake. Check cake at 20 minutes, but not before, and then set the timer for 5 minute intervals. Let cool on racks for 5 minutes before loosening the sides with a small metal spatula, and invert onto greased wire racks. Gently turn "round pan" cakes back up, leave bowl cakes upside down.  Cool completely.  If your cakes need to be evened out so they can be stacked now is the time to do it. Cut a circle out of the middle of the bottom layer if you are filling your cake with colored candy. Judge the size of cake removed by how much candy you bought.
Wrap tightly and store at room temperature for up to 2 days, refrigerator for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 2 months. Best eaten the same day as baked.
Vanilla Bean Frosting
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip butter for 8 minutes on medium speed butter will become very pale & creamy.
Add remaining ingredients and mix on low speed for 1 minute, then on medium speed for 6 minutes. Frosting will be very light, creamy and fluffy.
Best used right away.
You can eliminate the vanilla bean and use a total of 3 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract.
Place three bottom cake layers (one 9" & two 6") on thin round cake boards.
Cut the center out of the 9" bottom layer if you are filling your cake with colored candy. Judge the size of cake removed by how much candy you bought. Fill the center with candy. Spread frosting on top of each cake with a small offset spatula.

Gently place 2nd bowl shaped cake layers on top. Place a generous scoop of frosting on top each cake, spreading evenly with a small offset spatula and working your way down the sides until you have a thin layer of frosting over the three cakes. Chill until set, about 30 minutes.
Remove the three cakes from refrigerator and apply a final "coat" of frosting to each cake and then carefully smooth out the frosting so when the fondant is placed it will look perfectly smooth. Take your time with this very important step, if not done well your cake will look lumpy. Keep cooling your cakes in the refrigerator as many times as needed to create a smooth surface
Strategically place the large belly cake on your cake board first. Cut a babies foot out of rolled fondant and place on belly. Roll out the fondant to completely cover the belly portion and also over hang to create the bottom of the dress. Gently smooth fondant over belly and use a pencil to form the folds in the bottom of the dress.  When you happy with it, place it in the fridge for 15 minutes then cut off the excess fondant. Now place the two smaller round cakes to make the breasts area of the cake. Roll out fondant to cover both breasts and to slightly overlap onto the belly. Place fondant over cakes and smooth over breasts and let the fondant ride up the belly portion. Place in fridge for 15 minutes then cut off excess fondant.
Now roll out and cut the colored fondant to create the ribbon. Place the ribbon to your liking. Use very little water to glue the fondant ribbon to the cake. Next roll out the fondant to make the polka dots. Use a round cutter in the size you want. Glue the polka dots to the dress using very little water.

Store in a cake keeper in refrigerator for up to 4 days. Best eaten day 1.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Lemon Blackberry Cake

Aside from chocolate, lemon is a close runner up! I love the clean refreshing flavor and the color of lemons make me happy. I've been on a lemon bender lately using lemons in drinks, desserts, side and main dishes. This Lemon Blackberry Cake I've made twice in the past month - the first one we ate so fast that I completely forgot to photograph it. The second cake I made for Easter Sunday and almost forgot to photograph that one as well! After we got to my parents house I grabbed the cake took it outside and got a few quick photos. I really should photograph everything outside because the lighting is supurb.  Well now that spring is here I'll get to do just that.
This is a low-maintenance cake bursting with rich lemon flavor and a light moist texture. I used blackberries but any berry will do. A perfect ending to meal.

Lemon Black Raspberry Bundt Cake 

  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • Grated lemon zest of 4 large lemons
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 6 oz. container blackberries

For the glaze:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • juice from  one freshly squeezed lemon
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a bundt pan.

Cream the butter and 2 cups granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, and the lemon zest.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, combine lemon juice, the buttermilk, and vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour. Divide the batter evenly between the pans, smooth the tops, and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a cake tester comes out clean.

When the cakes are done, allow to cool for 10 minutes. Remove the cakes from the pans and set them on a rack set over a tray or sheet pan; spoon the lemon syrup over them. Allow the cakes to cool completely.

For the glaze, combine sugar and lemon juice in a pot over medium high heat, mixing with a wire whisk until smooth and bubbly. Mix one teaspoon of cornstarch in a small amount of water until dissolved then add to glaze. Bring to a boil then remove from heat. Pour half of glaze over the cake when it is still warm and let cake set to absorb the liquid. When cake has cooled pour the remaining glaze over the cake and allow the glaze to drizzle down the sides.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Strawberry & Cream Cheese French Toast

Just finished eating Strawberry & Cream Cheese French Toast! Yum...

I had some strawberries in the fridge that I had to use up before they spoiled so I searched around for a recipe to use for breakfast this morning. I found one from Paula Deen and with a few modifications this is what I came up with. A breakfast sandwich nirvana!

Strawberry & Cream Cheese French Toast

Ingredients:               Makes 5 servings
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup confectionary sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 10 slices bread
  • 1 cup fresh sliced strawberries
  • butter for frying
  • Strawberry syrup, recipe follows
  • Maple syrup & whipped cream if desired

In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla, set aside. In another small bowl whisk together cream cheese, confectioary sugar, and maple syrup, set aside.
Melt butter on griddle over medium-low heat. dip only one side of bread in egg mixture, cook one side only on griddle. Once all of the slices are toasted on one side it is time to assemble the sandwiches. Turn griddle off. Spread cream cheese mixture on the toasted sides of the bread then layer strawberry slices over the cream cheese on five pieces of bread. Top with the remaining five pieces of bread. Reheat griddle and butter. Now dip each sandwich in egg mixture on each side and fry until golden brown. 2-3 minutes each side.
Serve with strawberry syrup.
You can also serve with maple syrup, whipped cream, and confectionary sugar.
    Strawberry Syrup
  • 3 cups fresh sliced strawberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Zest and juice of one lemon
In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients and bring to a boil. 
Lower heat and simmer til syrup has thickened. 15-18 minutes.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Cheesy Beer Bread

I love baking bread in the winter, it warms the house and smells so good and tastes even better. This classic beer bread is hearty with a crunchy crust and cheddar cheese gives it depth.

It only takes a few minutes to put together and while it is baking you have time to make the rest of your meal.
I love easy!

Cheesy Beer Bread

·                  3 cups flour , sifted
·                  3 teaspoons baking powder 
·                  1 teaspoon salt
·                  1/4 cup sugar
·                  1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
·                  1 (12 ounce) can beer
·                  1/4 cup melted butter

Directions:                 Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix dry ingredients with cheese then stir in the beer. Pour into a greased loaf pan. Melt butter and pour over the mixture. Bake 1 hour, let cool for 15 minutes before removing from pan.

You will love this bread but if you prefer a soft crust just mix the butter into the batter instead of pouring over the top.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Painting a metal folding chair.

What do I do with free time? Paint my folding chairs from Lowes to look rustic. The legs are painted to look like birch bark and the seat & back resemble barn board.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Quick Teriyaki Chicken

This one is for Kevin!

Fast, healthy, delicious and you don’t end up with a big mess!

My youngest son is in college living in Boston. He is renting an apartment not living in student housing and does his own cooking so this meal is perfect for him. As a mother it brings me peace of mind knowing he'll be eating so well.

    Fry the chicken in oil and butter
                        Turn the chicken over.
Place chicken and peppers in a bowl
while you prepare the sauce.

As soon as sauce thickens add the peppers and chicken back in and a dash of red pepper flakes and sesame seeds. Ready to plate!

Quick Teriyaki Chicken With rice and carrots

·         2 boneless chicken breast, sliced in bit sized pieces
·         1 bell pepper cut in 1 inch pieces
·         1 tablespoon  butter
·         1 tablespoon  olive oil
·         1 cup chicken broth – use the remaining broth in rice below
·         2 teaspoons corn starch mixed in 1 tablespoon of cold water
·         1/3 cup soy sauce
·         ¼ cup brown sugar
·         1 garlic clove diced
·         Dash of Sesame seeds
·         Dash of crushed red pepper flakes
·         Salt and pepper to taste

 For the rice
·         1 cup rice
·         2 cups water (use leftover chicken broth to help make up the 2 cups of liquid)
·         2 tablespoon s butter
·         Dash of crushed red pepper flakes
·         1/8 teaspoon salt
·         Pepper to taste

3 or 4 Carrots (steamed; it’s the best way to cook them – makes them very sweet)


CARROTS: If you have a steamer pot, add water and set it on the stove (otherwise use a pot and boil the carrots in water). Peel and slice the carrots, place them in the steamer. Turn the burner on high. Once the water in the steamer boils turn down to med until the carrots are tender. About 5 to 7 minutes.

RICE: Add rice, water, butter, dash of red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to a 2 or 3 quart pot. Place on burner and turn on high, when it comes to a boil place lid on pot and turn burner down to the lowest setting. At this point follow the instructions for length of cooking time for the particular rice you have. When rice is done turn off stove and let it set in pan.

CHICKEN: While the carrots and rice are cooking on the stove, slice your chicken into ½” thick slices. Place teflon frying pan on burner, add butter and oil then turn burner to high. As soon as the pan heats up place enough chicken pieces in pan so they are side by side and not over lapping each other. Fry a few minutes on each side till just done in the center. Turn heat down if chicken is burning. Remove chicken and repeat. Then add peppers and fry just a few minutes so they are tender but still have a little crunch. Remove peppers. Add chicken broth, corn starch mixture, soy sauce, brown sugar, and garlic. Bring to boil then turn down to medium. When sauce has thickened add the chicken and peppers back in. turn off the burner and add a dash of red pepper flakes and a few dashes of sesame seeds.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Key Lime Pie

Every time my husband and I visit our son and his family in Florida we go to Hunts Ostyer Bar for two things that we love to eat.  Ostyers and Key Lime Pie! Here is a key lime recipe adapted from the Brown Eyed Baker.  I made indivdual key lime and almond joy tarts.
OK my photography sadly does nothing for this dessert, but they were delicious and looked much better in real life than how they photographed.  So if you scroll to the bottom of this post I added a few shots from the web that truly captures the color of this dessert.  
PS I need photography lessons!
Key Lime Tart
Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 1 hour (active) + 3 hours (inactive)
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours 40 minutes


For the Lime Filling:
4 teaspoons grated lime zest
4 egg yolks
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
½ cup fresh lime juice
For the Graham Cracker Crust:
9 graham crackers, pulverized into crumbs (about 1 cup cracker crumbs)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and still warm
For the Whipped Cream Topping:
1½ cups heavy cream, chilled
½ cup powdered sugar
a pinch of cream of tartar


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
2. Make the Filling: Whisk the lime zest and egg yolks together in a medium bowl for 2 minutes. Whisk in the sweetened condensed milk, then the lime juice. Set aside at room temperature to thicken while you prepare the crust.
3. Make the Crust: In a medium bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs and the granulated sugar. While stirring and mixing continuously with a fork, slowly drizzle the melted butter into the graham cracker and sugar mixture. Once you are done, all of the dry ingredients should be moistened and it should look like wet sand. Transfer the crumbs to 4 mini tart pans or a 9-inch pie plate and evenly press the crumbs into the tarts. Bake the crust until it is fragrant and beginning to brown, 15 to 18 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool to room temperature.
4. Once the crust has cooled to room temperature, pour the lime filling into the crust. Bake until the center is set, yet still wiggly when jiggled, 15 to 17 minutes. Return the tarts to a wire rack; cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until well-chilled, at least 3 hours. (At this point, the tarts can be removed from the tart pans and be covered directly with plastic wrap sprayed with non-stick cooking spray and refrigerated for up to 1 day.)
5. Make the Whipped Cream: Using an electric mixer, whip the cream on medium speed until soft peaks form. At this point, add the powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, while continuing to whip the cream until stiff peaks form. whip in the cream of tartar. Decoratively pipe the whipped cream over the filling or spread the whipped cream evenly with a spatula. Garnish with lime slices, if desired, and serve. Cover leftovers with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
 If I were a better photographer
 this is how my photo would have come out!