Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Birdie Baby Shower Cake Squares

Last week, a girlfriend asked if I could make a cake for a baby shower she was throwing.  I suggested that she go with cake squares instead of just a cake -- maybe that's a southern thing, they seem to be something new to alot of my friends.  It's pretty much just a pre-cut sheet cake.  It's really nice at a shower because no one gets stuck cutting slices of cake for everyone.

My friend sent me the invitation as inspiration and that's when I got really excited!  Here's the top section of the invite -- I'm not even sure what the rest of the invite looks like because I just fell in love with that birdy at first sight.

I just loved it!  I knew I wanted to create that bird on the cake somehow.  I started out with fondant but I couldn't get exactly what I wanted.  So I pulled out the royal icing to see if I could make a little birdie worthy of the cake squares.

I traced the bird onto a sheet of paper that I used under a sheet of wax paper as a template that I piped white Royal Icing over.  I let them dry overnight and then I used a white pearl dust (mixed with a little vodka to make it stick and then evaporate) for a little sparkle.  I cut a few flowers out of my homemade pink fondant for a little color.

I baked a 13x9 chocolate cake using Barefoot Contessa's recipe -- it's my favorite!  I frosted it with a vanilla buttercream and cut it into squares.  I bet it would be great to show you a picture here of what that looks like... but I didn't take one.  Oops!  I piped pretty pink icing to cover up the cuts and outline the squares.  I used the flowers and birds to decorate each piece.

I hope the shower guests enjoyed eating this cake as much as I enjoyed making it!

I'm linking up!!!  Melt in Your Mouth Monday, Recipe Sharing Monday, Tasty Tuesday, Too Cute Tuesday, These Chicks Cooked, Works for Me Wednesday, Cast Party Wednesday, What I Whipped Up Wednesday, Foodie WednesdayThrilling ThursdayFull Plate Thursday, Sweet Treats Thursday, Turning the Table Thursday, Sweet Tooth Friday, Chic & Crafty Party, I'm Lovin It, Tasty Thursday, Bake with Bizzy, Friday FavoritesFun with Food FridayFoodie Friday, Friday Flair, Sweets for a Saturday, Strut Your Stuff Saturday, Sweet Indulgences Sunday

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Guest Post - Frying Pan Pot Roast

Hello!  I am the other half of the Cake Dish family.  I thought that I’d take a few minutes to write a “guest post” so I could share a quick and easy twist on traditional pot roast.

It’s easy, relatively quick, and very tasty.

You need two ingredients:  a roast and 2 cans of Progresso French Onion Soup.  I normally use a chuck roast.  Any roast that will fit into your pan will work, I suppose, but the first time I ever made this dish I used a chuck roast and it’s always been good so I’ve never tried any other cut.  However, the roast in the pictures does represent a major change for me, because it is not your typical grocery store chuck roast.  It is all-natural, grass-fed beef from Wilkerson Farms in Willow Springs, NC.  Also, it is bone-in….most grocery store chuck roasts are boneless

I let the meat sit at room temperature for about half an hour or so, so that it isn’t very cold going into the pan.  Season it just like you would a steak, but be careful if you use seasoning salt.  The soup will add sodium, so I normally go heavier on pepper and lighter on salt.  When you’re ready to start cooking, put a little oil (I use canola) into your pan and turn the heat to med-high.  Once the oil is hot, put the roast in and sear it for just a couple of minutes on each side.

It won’t take long before you have the outside browned.  When you do, open up the cans of soup, and pour them over the roast.  After the soup is in the pan, drop the heat to low and cover.

After about half an hour, you need to turn the roast.  It’s a big cut of meat, and it isn’t easy to turn it without spilling the soup.  Be very careful.  Usually, I use two forks for the turns:  One to start lifting it, and the other to “catch” it while it drops back into the soup. 

From this point, all you have to do is continue to turn the meat every half hour or so.  In about 3 hours (depending on the size of the roast), it will be fork-tender and the soup will have reduced to a dark, savory gravy.  Delicious!

By the way….the bone-in aspect of this particular roast didn’t last very long.  The second time I turned this roast the bone came out clean as a whistle.

Normally, I make potatoes, carrots and onions to accompany this dish.  There are two ways to prepare them, but both methods start with simply cutting the veggies into bite-sized pieces.

Once that’s done, you can simply add the veggies to the soup/roast mixture if your pan’s space allows.  If you have a “normal” frying pan, be careful.  Everything will fit, but turning the roast can become especially tricky.  Also, you have to be careful with the timing.  If the veggies stay in the soup mixture for more than 20 or 30 minutes, they can turn to mush.

The other option (and the one I usually choose) is to roast the veggies in the oven.  After slicing them, I put them into a bowl and coat them with a little olive oil (just enough to cover all the veggies with a light coat).  Then, I add salt and pepper and put them on a cookie sheet (actually a Pampered Chef bar board) and roast them at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes (the timing depends on the size of your bites).

To serve, I place the roasted vegetables in a bowl and place the roast on top of them, and then pour the gravy (by the end, you can’t call it soup anymore) over all of it.  The roasted veggies keep their texture, but the flavor of the gravy still comes through.  It’s very tasty and very easy.  Enjoy! 

Friday, July 15, 2011

Bourbon Spice Cupcakes

Yesterday was my dear friend, Emily's, birthday!  I have been thinking about what to make for her all week!  I wanted to make her something a little different... 

I remembered this cake recipe that I used from The Pampered Chef a few years ago for a Caramel Bourbon Spice Cake.  It starts with a cake mix but I always prefer cakes made from scratch so I looked for a spice cake recipe and found an awesome one at The Hungry Mouse for a Buttermilk Spice Cake.  I will print this recipe at the bottom of the page as I did make one adjustment that I'll share with you, but there's already a nice tutorial for this cake there.

Once I made the cupcakes, I went back to The Pampered Chef recipe for the filling and topping.  I decided to use the filling recipe as a start for the frosting on this cupcake and the caramel topping as a drizzle.  I modified the filling by adding more whipping cream and less sugar.  I made the caramel topping from scratch instead of from melting store bought caramel candy. 

This turned out perfectly.  Most of the people who tried this, had two.  It was that good.  Even my husband who doesn't like spice cake wanted to eat the whole pan of these!  And most importantly, Emily liked them!

Buttermilk Spice Cupcakes
adapted from The Hungry Mouse

2 c cake flour, sifted
3/4 c sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp ground ginger
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 c brown sugar, packed
8 tbsp (1 stick) butter, softened
3/4 c buttermilk
2 eggs, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line muffin pans with paper lines for 24 cupcakes.

Sift dry ingredients together into the bowl of yor mixer.  Using the paddle attachment, mix it a bit to ensure that everything is combined.  Add the milk and butter and mix until just incorporated.  Add eggs and beat for 1-2 minutes to get a fluffy batter. 

Fill cupcake liners evenly with batter.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cake center bounces back when pressed.  Cool.

Bourbon Whipped Topping
2 tbsp bourbon
1/2 tsp unflavored gelatin
2 c heavy whipping cream, chilled
1/4 c sugar

Place bourbon in small bowl.  Sprinkle gelatin on top and allow to stand for 5 minutes.  Microwave for 10 seconds and stir.  Repeat up to 2 times until all gelatin is dissolved.  Add this to the bowl of your mixer, along with whipping cream.  Start mixer on low and gradually increase speed to high and allow cream to form stiff peaks.  Slowly add sugar as the cream is mixing. 

Spiked Caramel Sauce
1/2 c sugar
3 tbsp butter
1 tbsp bourbon
1 tbsp heavy cream

Add sugar and butter to a small pan and heat over medium-high heat, stirring constantly.  This will take several minutes but it will come together and look like a nice thick golden caramel.  Add cream.  Continue to stir until completely incorporated and desired thickness has been reached.  Remove from heat.  After cooling down, add bourbon and stir into sauce.

Linking up at:

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Zucchini Bread

My hometown is a small town in North Carolina on the Pamlico River.  We spent our weekends on the boat skiing and tubing and hydra sliding.  One of my favorite snacks when we were out on the boat was zucchini bread.  My mom would bake it and wrap it with plastic wrap and chill it in the refrigerator until it was time to head out.  Then she'd pack it in the cooler with some drinks and off we'd go!  After working up an appetite, there was just nothing better than that cool, dense, moist treat!

This time of year, we seem to have tons of zucchini around and the other night I thought about this bread. I called my mom to get the recipe and she whipped it right off the top of her head.  I want to share it with you all while zucchini is in season and so inexpensive.  It's a very simple recipe and so worth your time!

You start out by beating 3 eggs with vegetable oil. 

Once they are well combined, add sugar and beat until light and fluffy.  Then you can add grated zucchini -- look at how yummy this is!

Mix the zucchini into the mixture.

Once the zucchini is mixed in, add the flour and cinnamon and beat until just combined.

Pour the batter into your loaf pans evenly -- I used the Pampered Chef mini loaf stoneware.

After an hour in the oven, each loaf comes out a lovely golden brown.

The zucchini makes this so ooey and gooey and yummy!  Even kiddos will love it and who doesn't love an easy way to get more veggies in their bellies.

Zucchini Bread
3 eggs
3/4 c vegetable oil
2 c sugar
2 c grated zucchini
2 tsp vanilla
2 c flour
2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Beat eggs and oil together.  Add sugar, zucchini and vanilla and combine well.  Mix in flour and cinnamon. 
Pour into greased loaf pans and bake for 1 hour or until toothpick in center comes out clean.

Let cool and then refrigerate.  Okay, that part isn't official, it's just the way I prefer it!  Warm is good, too. :)

Linking up at:

Monday, July 4, 2011

Red, White and Blueberry Cobbler

Hope everyone is enjoying their 4th of July celebrations!  I know I am!  This is one of my most favorite holidays.  It's always a time for family... and food!  Or at least that's how it works in our family. 

This year we are enjoying a getaway at my parents' house and they live on a big beautiful river that we have been swimming and boating in all weekend.  And fishing!  Last night, the fish were jumping on the docks to get in our bellies.  We had a wonderful fish fry this evening and needed a special red, white, and blue dessert.  Here's what I came up with...

I'll apologize now for not having more photos.  I took bunches as I made this but as I finished watching all of the firework displays up and down the river, I realized that my cord to connect my camera to my laptop is at home.  Boo!  I snapped this shot with my phone earlier today so I'm sharing it now.  I would wait to share the recipe but this one cannot wait -- make it NOW!  It's worth it!

I had 2 pints of blueberries in the refrigerator and there's not much that we love more than cobbler.  I figured blueberry cobbler would be perfect.  But when's the last time I made something regular and expected for my family.  They are always willing to be guinea pigs when I want to try something new.  Last night, I was reading some other blogs and saw someone had make Lemon Blueberry cupcakes.  Is there a better flavor combination?  And what if I threw in some cream cheese?  I went to bed with yummy dreams last night and this morning I knew exactly what I wanted to try.

My aunt taught me to make cobbler many years ago with what we called the 'Cupa Cupa' method.  It was so easy to remember!  Melt a stick of butter in your pan, mix a cupa flour and a cupa sugar and a cupa milk and pour it over the melted butter.  Then top with fruit of your choice and bake.  Easy Peasy!

I used this basic idea but I added a few twists... of lemon, that is!  And a little cheesecake batter, just for fun!  I started by mixing up the cheesecake mixture -- just cream cheese, lemon zest, sugar, and eggs.  I preheated the oven and put my pan with a stick of butter in it into the oven as it preheated.  Why dirty up another dish to melt butter?  While that was going on, I heated my blueberries over medium heat with some sugar, lemon juice and zest.  They began to soften and bubble and smell so good!  I could have let them cool and eaten them all by myself!  My family better be glad that I love them!  I mixed the flour and sugar together in another bowl and then added milk with a splash of vinegar to make it curdle like buttermilk.  Why not?

So now for the good part...  Just pour the flour batter over the melted butter.  Then pour the fruit over that, then the cream cheese mixture over that.  That's all!  No stirring!  It went into the oven and came out perfect!  I hate to admit that I had two bowls of this.  But it was that good.

Oh!  And you may wonder why I'm calling this red, white and blue.  We topped each BLUEberry serving with WHITE vanilla icecream and RED strawberry whipped cream.  Festive!

Since I don't have anymore pictures to share now, here's the recipe... 

Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Cobbler
8 oz cream cheese, softened
zest of 1 lemon, divided
juice of 1 lemon
2 1/4 c sugar, divided
1 c self rising flour
1 c milk
1 tsp vinegar
2 pints fresh blueberries
2 eggs
1 stick of butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Using an electric mixer on low, mix cream cheese, 1/2 c sugar, 1/2 of the lemon zest and 2 eggs until smooth.  Set aside.

Place stick of butter in 9x13 baker and place in oven to melt while mixing the rest of the ingredients.

In small saucepan, heat blueberries, 3/4 c sugar, lemon juice, and other 1/2 of lemon zest until berries start to soften and all sugar is dissolved in the juice.

In a separate mixing bowl, mix flour and 1 c sugar until blended.  Then add milk and vinegar.  Let it sit for about a minute so that the milk will curdle a little.  Blend everything together until smooth.

Pour batter over the melted butter.  Do not stir.  Top batter with blueberries and juice.  Then added cream cheese mixture in spoonfuls over the fruit.  Sprinkle with sugar and place in oven for 35-40 minutes.

Optional: Strawberry Whipped Cream
8 oz heavy whipping cream
1/4 c strawberry preserves*

Use an electric mixture to whip the cream until stiff peaks begin to form.  Add preserves and beat until just mixed.

*I use my homemade strawberry freezer jelly -- made according to the directions found on the Ball freezer pectin.

I'm linking up at:
Melt in Your Mouth Mondays
This Week's Cravings
Nap Time Creations' Tasty Tuesday
Sugar and Dot's What I Whipped Up Wednesday
This Chick Cooks' These Chicks Cooked
Lady Behind the Curtain's Cast Party Wednesday
Daily Organized Chaos' Foodie Wednesday
Paisley Passions' Thrilling Thursday
Miz Helen's Country Cottage's Full Plate Thursday
Something Swanky's Sweet Treats Thursday
Around My Family Table's Turning the Table Thursday
Little Brick Ranch's Foodie Friday
Tidy Mom's I'm Lovin It
Simply Sweet Home's Friday Favorites
The Frugal Girls' Chic & Crafty Party
Alli n Son's Sweet Tooth Friday
Whipperberry's Friday Flair
Sweet As Sugar Cookie's Sweets for Saturday
Six Sister's Stuff's Strut Your Stuff Saturday
A Well Seasoned Life's Sweet Indulgences Sunday
Bizzy B Bakes' Baking with Bizzy
Recipe Sharing Monday
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...