Easter “Bunt-ey” Cake and Egg Dying

 

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It all started with Georgiana wanting to wash her hands in the kitchen sink. I got out a little step stool for her and that was it. She basically LOVES to stand on that thing. Well, since she was already up there I started to see if she wanted to help me cook which she did. That lead to her DEMANDING that we cook every morning (and wearing an apron!). So I decided that we can’t have baked goods lying around every day after our morning bake-off so we would have to start giving the stuff away. Since Easter is this weekend (tomorrow!) I thought a lovely pastel pink bunt cake would be a nice choice. And Georgiana did the finishing touches by drawing a little picture for her friends to serve as the gift tag. Happy Easter everyone! (The last two egg dying shots are just for fun. Doesn’t Georgiana look like she’s having the time of her life!? ;)

Easter Bunt-ey Cake

Ingredients: (based of Better Homes & Gardens “Easy day cake with coconut topping.“)

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

2/3 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 cup milk

1/4 cup butter

1 egg

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

dash of salt

1 recipe simple glaze (see below)

Directions:

Grease two 6 inch bunt cake pans and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a mixing bowl combine flour, sugar and baking powder. Add milk, butter, egg and vanilla. Beat on low speed until combined. Beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Pour batter into prepared pans.

Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely. Carefully turn over bunt cakes so that the mold comes out cleanly.

Pour glaze over cakes. If you like, sprinkle some zest on top for decoration. Enjoy!

Recipe Simple Glaze:

1 1/4 cup powdered sugar

3 tbs milk

Mix all ingredients together until combined. Add food coloring if desired.

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(if you don’t have a cake base on hand you can always cut one out of a paper plate. ;)

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Pizelle’s (a cream/preserve filled mini waffle)

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Another cooking class recipe! The beautiful women at my church get together once a month to do a cooking class and we always come away with a full belly, laugher and a new recipe. This time we did pizzelle’s which is sort of like a thin waffle filled with cream and preserves. Think waffle meets cannoli. Pretty yummy, right? I thoughts so too and the proof is in each bite. Enjoy!
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Classic Pizelles
6 eggs
3 1/2 c. flour
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 T. vanilla or anise
1 c. margarine, melted (do not substitute oil)
4 tsp. baking powder
Beat eggs, adding sugar gradually.  Beat until smooth
Add cooled margarine and vanilla or anise
Mix together flour and baking powder.
Blend into egg mixture until smooth. Dough will be sticky enough to be dropped by spoon.
Bake in Pizzelle Baker.  Makes approximately 60
Chocolate Pizzelles
1/2 c. cocoa
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. baking powder
Add cocoa, additional sugar and baking powder into dry ingredients for Classic Pizelles.
Blend into egg mixture until smooth.
Bake in Pizzelle Baker.  Makes approximately 60
Cream Filling
1 small package instant pudding (4 serving size)
1 1/4 c. milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tsp. almond extract
In small bowl beat whipping cream to stiff peaks.  Set aside.  In a separate bowl whisk pudding mix and milk.  Fold in whipped cream and almond extract.
Simply Berry Sauce
2 c. frozen berries (any variety)
2 T. berry preserves or jam (any flavor)
In a microwave safe bowl heat berries for 1 minute.  Add preserves.  Either mash or blend lightly in blender.

Pink, Blush & Ivory Rose Ombre Cake

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Okay okay, I know that ombre is the big thing right now but I really couldn’t resist. I mean, how delightful is cake with pink, blush and ivory roses piped on the outside? So sweetly romantic and darn easy too. All you need (besides the obvious) is a large icing star tip, and icing bag (see my video on how fill an icing bag mess free!) and some food coloring. The trick with the icing is to make the consistency firm enough that the icing keeps its shape but not so firm that you can’t get it out. (So with your basic buttercream icing recipe, keep milk and powdered sugar on hand for firming or loosening the icing). And the trick with food color is to use ONE DROP at a time until you get the desired color. More than one or two drops of red food coloring in white icing can create a barbie pink VERY quickly. (I like slightly more subtle colors myself). Below are few more specifics on how to get started. Enjoy!

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Things you Need:

Baked Round Cakes filled with either buttercream or a filling of your choice. (The size and amount of layers is up to you. I use the Better Homes & Garden’s Yellow Cake Recipe myself…)

Buttercream Frosting (I always refer to Savory Sweet Life’s Recipe. This won’t be enough so make more than you think you need for the size cake!)

Red Food Color

Large Star Icing Tip (and a small one as well to fill in gaps)

Icing Bags

Saran Wrap

Directions:

Divide your frosting into three parts and color with food coloring until you’ve reached your desired look. (Make SURE before you color the frosting that you have enough! Its almost impossible to get the color exactly the same if you run out….)  Cut the end off your icing bag and put in your large star tip until bag is tight around the edges of the tip. Make sure that no icing can get out. Take a large piece of saran wrap and lay it flat on the counter.  Spoon in as much frostings (from the color you want to use for the top) as will fit while leaving enough room to wrap up like a sausage. Wrap saran wrap around the frosting and twist the ends until tight. Cut off one end of the saran wrap and put the cut end into the icing bag first (so the icing can get out and through the star tip). Twist the top of the icing bag until there is enough tension to pip the icing out.

With a circular motion make a rose in the very center of the cake. Continue making roses evenly until you reach the point where you want to switch to the next color. Continue with the next color and switch again when necessary.

Chamomile Ice Cream

On a cool winter’s night there is nothing better than a steamy cup of chamomile tea right before bed. But what about in the summertime when its hot!? Chamomile ice cream is the answer to that questions. Its been so hot around here lately (well, in Santa Barbara hot means anything above 75 degree’s) and a frosty bowl of relaxing ice cream is just the ticket. If you haven’t tried chamomile tea I highly recommend it. Its know for its soothing qualities and is the reason I drink it before bed. It has a sort of flower meets dried field sort of taste. Like if you stood in the middle of a dry grassy field and opened your mouth when its windy… Well maybe not exactly like that but you get the idea. Anyway, this recipe was modified from a Lavender Honey ice cream recipe by Kevin Weeks that I found online. (The lavender version is amazing too!) Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup half and half
  • 2 tbsp. agave syrup (or honey)
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 4 chamomile tea bags
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 lg. egg yolks

Preparation:

1. Heat half and half, agave syrup, chamomile, salt and 1 cup of the heavy cream in a sauce pan over medium heat until mixture begins to bubble and an instant-read thermometer reads 170 – 175 degrees F.

2. Remove from heat, cover, and allow to steep for 30 minutes. Strain mixture into a medium bowl and discard chamomile.

3. Return cream mixture to sauce pan over medium heat and warm to 170 degrees. Stir in sugar until dissolved.

4. Whip egg yolks in a small bowl then whisk in 1/2 of cream mixture. Whisk egg mixture back into sauce pan and return to medium heat.

5. Cook, stirring steadily until mixture coats the back of a spoon and a finger drawn through the back of the spoon leaves a trail and mixture registers 170 – 175 degrees F. Do not boil.

6. Strain mixture into a medium bowl in large bowl surrounded by ice.

7. Stir in remaining cream, add water to ice, and cool until ice melts then cover bowl and refrigerate for at least three hours until cold.

8. Freeze mixture in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions then scoop into an airtight container and put in freezer to harden.

Mint Milano Log

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I feel like this dessert needs no explanation. Just read the title. Mint.Milano.Log. Yep, I want that.

Who has seen the Jim Gaffigan comedy sketch where he talks about undressing a mint milano cookie? “Hey there cookie, let me help you with that mint milano pack….let me help you get out of that wrapper and into something a little more comfortable.” He cracks me up….

ANYWAY. This recipe is so easy I almost don’t need to write it out. Just look at the photos! But seriously, this is easy, delicious and just fun. Its a version of a peppermint whipped cream log my Mom often makes at Christmas. Her recipe has chocolate wafers, whipped cream and crushed candy canes. So the difference here is that I substituted mint milano cookies for the chocolate wafers and andes mints for the peppermint. Voila! When I was growing up, mint milano cookies were my parents little treat many nights while they watched Nick at Nite. I remember trying to make sure I could snag a cookie as they went fast due to my Dad’s cookie monster like techniques. And my sister Sarah and I were major Andes mints fans. When we were kids we’d walk to the drug store and buy them all the time. Its not really a kid type of candy but what can I say? We had mature taste. ;) If  we were in a mischievous mood we’d fold up an empty Andes Mint wrapper to look like it had something in it and give it to each other as a trick. We had a BFF/Frenemy type relationship as kids…! ;) This nostalgic hodge podge makes for a great dessert though. Enjoy!

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Whipping cream in a mixer is soooo easy… ;)

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My beloved Andes mints ;)

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Layers of whipped cream in between the cookies

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Making the “log”

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Sprinkle the top with crushed Andes Mints.

Recipe:

2 packages mint milano cookies

16 oz whipping cream

1 teaspoon mint flavoring

1 package andes mints

Directions:

Whip up the whipping cream using 2 tablespoons of sugar. Add mint flavoring. Taste and add more mint if you like.

To make the log, take four cookies and spread a dollop of whipped cream in between them sandwiching them together. When done with one row, start on the next. You should have four cookies wide and four row long approximately. It also depends on the size of your platter. After your done, spread a thick coating of whipped cream around the entire log. Sprinkle with the crushed Andes Mints. Refrigerate overnight. Serve and enjoy!

Old Fashioned Peach Pie

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(Sorry, didn’t mean to be giving the finger in this shot. You get the idea…)

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Recipe:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Pie Filling

12 peaches

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup white sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 egg, beaten

2 tablespoons butter cut into small cubes

Pie Dough: 

2 3/4 Cups Flour

½ Tbs Salt

4 Tbs cold unsalted butter cut into pieces

1 Cup Shortening

½ Cup Ice Water

Directions: 

Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Add the butter and using your fingers cut in into the flour until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Break up the shortening an add it in little bits and cut it into mixture with your hands. Continue working the mixture until it has small clumps and curds. Switch to a wooden spoon and add the ice water, stirring to incorporate it. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and fold it over on its self a few times. Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or for as long as 5 days.

In the meantime, fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add peaches and allow to boil for several minutes until peel come off easily.  The peaches will be VERY hot so use tongs as you put them into an ice bath. Remove peel and pits.  Take all peaches and put onto a large cutting board and cut into slices. Put peaches into a large mixing bowl.

Meanwhile, combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a separate bowl. Mix together thoroughly. Pour mixture onto peaches and stir enough to combine but don’t over do it. Set aside

Take chilled pie dough out of refrigerator and lay out on floured work surface. Separate into two equal amounts. Roll out the first portion of dough and transfer to a glass pie plate. If the pie crust isn’t even on all sides then use excess dough to fill in open spots. Beat an egg and brush onto the bottom of the pie to make sure  the filling doesn’t stick. Pour pie filling into crust. Dot with butter. Roll out second portion of dough and transfer to the top of the pie. Cut sides of the pie so their is ½ inch around and with your fingers crimp the edges. Brush the top with more egg wash for browning.

Bake for 45-60 minutes until golden brown and bubbling around edges. If the edges of the pie start over browning and the top still has a ways to go then cover with a piece of aluminum foil with a hole cut out of the center. This way  the middle of the pie continues to brown while the edge stay the same. HERE is a little explanation if my directions aren’t clear… Take out of oven and let cool. Enjoy!

Cap n’ Gown Treats

Graduation season is coming up! These little Cap n’ Gown treats are easy to make and super impressive looking which makes it a win-win dessert.  And since my brother graduated from UCLA and is now going to Harvard for graduate school I want to be sure to really impress him… I’m sure this will do the trick. haha!

Ingredients:

Hostess Mini Chocolate Donuts

Ghiradelli Chocolate Squares (individually wrapped)

Red Twizzlers (unraveled and cut in one inch pieces)

Buttercream Frosting (reserve a small amount and dye red. Put it into a piping bag affixed with a small round tip)

Direction for Assembling:

Take a donut and spread a small amount of buttercream frosting on the top. Place a chocolate square over the buttercream. Place a twizzler and secure it onto the middle of the cap by piping a dot of red icing over it. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Orange Marmalade

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I got this orange marmalade recipe from Ina Garten who got it from her friend Anna (go figure!) This recipe is so good that I gave some to my landlord and he loved it so much that he dropped a heavy hint that he was running low so I made him more. ;) Enjoy!

Ingredients
4 large seedless oranges
2 lemons
8 cups sugar
Directions
Cut the oranges and lemons in half crosswise, then into very thin half-moon slices. (If you have a mandoline, this will be quite fast.) Discard any seeds. Place the sliced fruit and their juices into a stainless-steel pot. Add 8 cups water and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring often. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar until it dissolves. Cover and allow to stand overnight at room temperature.

The next day, bring the mixture back to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered for about 2 hours. Turn the heat up to medium and boil gently, stirring often, for another 30 minutes. Skim off any foam that forms on the top. Cook the marmalade until it reaches 220 degrees F on a candy thermometer. If you want to be doubly sure it’s ready, place a small amount on a plate and refrigerate it until it’s cool but not cold. If it’s firm — neither runny nor too hard — it’s done. It will be a golden orange color. (If the marmalade is runny, continue cooking it and if it’s too hard, add more water.)

Pour the marmalade into clean, hot Mason jars; wipe the rims thoroughly with a clean damp paper towel, and seal with the lids. Store in the pantry for up to a year.

Chocolate Covered Cheesecake Balls with a Raspberry Center

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I came up with so many inappropriate one liners for this dessert but I thought of my daughter digging this up years down the road and decided to omit them. So you’ll just have to ask me personally when you see me next…

I have to say that this dessert is truly unbelievably and its only 3 ingredients! Its a bit messy but definitely worth it. I made these for movie night with our friends and they were gone in two seconds flat. If you make these for a special event you’ll have to be slapping your husband (or wife’s) hand because they’ll be trying to sneak them out of the fridge. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 pint raspberries

1 bag semi sweet chocolate chips

1 small 8 inch pre made plain cheesecake from the store

Directions:

Take the cheesecake out of its container and place in a mixing bowl. Mash cheesecake with a fork until crust and cheesecake is just mixed. Take one raspberry and cover with cheesecake mixture. Roll between your hands until a smooth ball. Set on a cookie sheet. Repeat. When you are done place the cheesecake balls in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm them up for dipping in chocolate.

After 30 minutes, empty chocolate chips in a microwavable bowl and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Remove and mix. Continue to microwave for 30 second intervals (mixing in-between) until the chocolate is just melted.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment or wax paper. Using a fork, lower a cheesecake ball into the chocolate and then turn once gently to cover the opposite side. Take out the cheesecake and place on parchment. Repeat until all the balls are covered in chocolate. Let stand at room temperature until cool. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.