Sunday, April 24, 2011

Dancing with Caterpillars on top of Bundt Cake...

Happy Easter friends!

I hope that no matter how you celebrated today you have enjoyed every last bit of it... with a side of pie and icecream! ;)

Unfortunatly my day was spent in the dark... literally.
Storms knocked out the power here in my corner of the 405 and so our Easter plans where put on pause just a bit.
Which is probably for the best... this weekend has been the upside down the rabbit hole kind of weekends. And sometimes those are better off letting go of, ya know what I mean?

I dropped a 10lb bag of sugar all over my kitchen floor...
ruined a bundt cake, burned the sugar for marshmallows...
had to settle the tiny diva who is petrified of The Easter Bunny... {that is a whole other story you will soon find here}, was told by the 9 year old critter that he knows the truth of said Easter Bunny and will no longer be fooled by my pranks leaving me crying that my babies are growing up too fast...
had to intercept a teenage boy with dog poop in an easter egg... {long story... sigh}
and the power was out for 12 hours...

Sometimes The Chef says I try and do too much, like while mixing the glaze for the bundt cake with one hand I was washing the dishes with the other... things dont always turn out right when you do that.

And he also has to remind me that nothing has to be perfect... the kids dont have to have homemade "peeps" and the chocolate bunnies I made them dont HAVE to be decorated to the nines... its chocolate... chocolate = happy kids.
And holidays dont have to be running around like crazy people... its time to take a step back from the crazy and take count of the things we are all gathered for. {He's not only cute... but smart to boot!}

And in the end I took his advice... {dont you DARE tell him he was right!}

So the bright side of things...
We had ice cream for lunch...
Easter dinner clean up was a snap...
we played a rousing game of "Phase10"...
have 2 chapters left in reading "Little House In The Big Woods"...
AND I made another bundt cake once the power was back on... and even though it didnt make it in time for our Chinese take out Easter dinner... it has made a great late night snack!

I thought while I was taking advantage of all this electricity and magical WiFi I have been missing and complaining about all day, I would at least share with you my Grandma Maggies Strawberry Cake recipe... Easter just isnt Easter with out it... not that its all that special, Im sure the same recipe is in every homemakers cookbook and foodie website around... but alas, its tradition... and I hope you enjoy!



2 cups white sugar
1 (3 ounce) package strawberry flavored gelatin
1 cup butter, softened
4 eggs (room temperature)
2 3/4 cups sifted cake flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup whole milk, room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup strawberry puree made from frozen sweetened strawberries


1.Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two 9 inch round cake pans.
2.In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and dry strawberry gelatin until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, mixing well after each. Combine the flour and baking powder; stir into the batter alternately with the milk. Blend in vanilla and strawberry puree. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.
3.Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a small knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow cakes to cool in their pans over a wire rack for at least 10 minutes, before tapping out to cool completely.

Tips from momma...
*I have this thing for bundt cakes... so I put mine in my new bundt pan, just fyi
... if you would rather it be in a square pan, a round pan, or a pan shaped like Justin Bieber... more power to ya! ;)

* I dont know how you feel about a glaze icing or a cream cheese icing... but both are simply yummy on this cake... or just plain ol whipped cream will do the trick

*As with all my cakes I take them out of the oven when the tester comes out pretty wet... I dont know if any of you guys do this, but I have found if i let the cake sit in the pan for about 10 minutes before I turn it out... its perfectly moist!

Again I hope no matter how you spent your holiday it was fantastic, and as always...

Be good to each other!
See ya soon...


Sunday, April 17, 2011

The art of doing nothing but a cream puff...

Really this post should be called the week of no blogging...
or The art of being entirely disengaged...

I just haven't been "feeling it" the past few days. Its all the tree pollen floating around, its cryptonite... all I can seem to accomplish is a simple click of the mouse to blog surf and minimal facebook updates... but enough about me.

How have YOU been?

Anything new in your corner of this little interweb?

The one thing that I have been doing, besides whining to the chef and swallowing antihistamines, is playing around with some sweet new recipes...

From new RI techniques {that's Royal Icing to you novices} that have seriously changed my life...

To the single BEST Swiss Meringue Butter cream in the universe...
It has been decided that all my birthday cakes from now on will be covered in sweet ruffles...

Ruffle Cake How To Here

Oh and a very tall, very yummy, Cookies and Cream Cake for a couple of my favorite people...

yummy right? ;)

And for this Sunday Dinner, I decided we should keep the "sweet" vibe we had going all week and I had the chef make my all time favorite treat! Hope you like!


Pate a Choux...

1 cup water
3/4 stick butter (6 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon sugar plus 1/8 teaspoon salt (for sweet)
1 teaspoon salt (for savory)
5 3/4 ounces flour
1 cup eggs, about 4 large eggs and 2 whites

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Boil water, butter, and salt or sugar. Add flour and remove from heat. Work mixture together and return to heat. Continue working the mixture until all flour is incorporated and dough forms a ball. Transfer mixture into bowl of a standing mixer and let cool for 3 or 4 minutes. With mixer on stir or lowest speed add eggs, 1 at a time, making sure the first egg is completely incorporated before continuing. Once all eggs have been added and the mixture is smooth put dough into piping bag fitted with a round tip. Pipe immediately into golfball-size shapes, 2 inches apart onto parchment lined sheet pans. Cook for 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to 350 degrees F and bake for 10 more minutes or until golden brown. Once they are removed from the oven pierce with a paring knife immediately to release steam...

Pastry Cream


1 tablespoon almond paste {you can also use any other flavorings you want... I really like Vanilla Orange myself! ;)}
1 1/4 cups half-and-half
1/2 cup sugar
Pinch salt
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon butter


In a nonreactive saucepan {AKA Stainless Steel}, combine the almond paste, 1 cup half-and-half and sugar. Whisk to dissolve. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer. In a small bowl, combine the egg yolks, cornstarch and remaining 1/4 cup half-and-half. Whisk well. Remove the milk from the heat and add some of the hot liquid to the egg mixture and mix well. Add the egg mixture back to the simmering milk and place over the heat. Bring to a boil, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, whisking constantly. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter. Pour into a bowl and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the pastry cream. Cool completely. Can be used either at room temperature or chilled.

Chocolate Ganache:


2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 pounds bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces


Heat the cream until it just comes to a simmer. Remove from the heat. Place the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl. Pour the cream over the chocolate. Allow to sit for about 10 to 15 seconds. Then, whisk until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Allow to cool slightly, stirring occasionally. Mixture should be a little thick, but still pourable.

We normally make them as single cream puffs, but it was decided last night as we were both getting ready to snuggle into bed that we would skip the time consuming filling of each puff and topping with the ganache we would layer everything and make a cake instead! Just as yummy with less the mess! :)

Have a SWEET week!

Be Good to each other!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Tickled Pink....

Everywhere I go Im looking through rose colored glasses! or at least thats the way it seems... and so is everyone else!

Pugly PixelHas stolen my heart this morning!

That is all.

Be good to each other!
♥ tawny

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sunday Dinner... picnic style!

The Chef and I have taken to spending friday afternoons at the lake with a blanket, good book, and a picnic basket... {weather permitting}

And that means we get to try out fun new "picnic~y" type recipes.
This is one we recently tried, and Im a bit in l♥ve with!


For the dressing:
1 1/2 C Packed fresh cilantro
1/2 C Good-quality extra-virgin olive oil
2 T Fresh lime juice
1 T Finely grated lime zest
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the salad:
4 ears Corn, kernels removed (about 3 cups)
1 1/2 pounds Grape tomatoes, halved (about 3 cups)
1 pound Fresh mozzarella, diced
2 medium Avocados, diced

Combine the dressing ingredients in a blender, using two teaspoons salt and pepper to taste; process until smooth. Combine the salad ingredients in a large bowl and toss with the dressing. Let sit at least 15 minutes before serving, or cover and refrigerate for up to four hours.

We enjoyed this with a crusty baguette, a bottle of Fisher Vineyards Moutain Estates chardonnay {2006} and some pretty yummy brownie style whoopie pies for dessert! YUM.Tastic.

I hope you enjoy!

Be good to each other!
♥ Tawny