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May 31, 2009

::SMS:: Bee Stings

Unfortunately, i totally flopped on this week's SMS recipe, which was chosen by Jaime of Good Eats and Sweet Treats. If you head over to Jaime's blog, you'll find the complete recipe and WONDERFUL photos of what the Bee Stings are suppose to look like.

Mine.... i couldnt even get the dough to rise. I think my first mistake was cutting the recipe in half and trying to make 6 Bee Stings instead of 12. Second mistake, was not adding more flour like many of the other SMS Bakers suggested.

Sorry.... i'm going to have to take another stab at this in the near future but please be sure to check out the SMS Blogroll for some other successful goodies.
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May 25, 2009

::People's Choice:: Lemon Yogurt Cake

Welcome to a new feature that i decided to add to my blog: People's Choice, where I will (hopefully) cast a weekly poll for you to decide what I make next.

This week's winner is Lemon Yogurt Cake, Recipe by Ina Garten

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 1/3 cups sugar, divided
3 extra-large eggs
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (approx. 2 lemons)

Glaze (i made half the recipe here)
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. I used my mini loaf pan.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it's all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Using the mini pan, I only had to bake for 35 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.

When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes.

Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan.

While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. I used approx. 1 tsp. per loaf. Cool.

For the glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar and lemon juice and pour over the cake.
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May 20, 2009

People's Choice

See the poll on the right and vote for what I should make next!
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May 18, 2009

Wedding Cupcakes

This past weekend my mission was to make 10 dozen cupcakes plus an 8" layered cake for my friend's sister's wedding. I NEVER had to make more than 3 dozen cupcakes at time so this was a new task. First I set everything out (the night before) so I wouldnt have to stop & search in the middle of my bake-a-thon. I did measure out all the sugar & flour a few days ahead... so all i had to do was add oil/butter & eggs. Early in the morning, I took out the milk, butter & eggs to bring them to room temperature.

Flavors for the day:
- Red Velvet with Light Pink Cream Cheese Frosting
- Vanilla with Hot Pink Vanilla Buttercream

Here's the vanilla waiting for its turn into the oven.

6 dozen & counting...

10+ dozen cooling...

Vanilla Cupcakes w/Hot Pink Vanilla Buttercream

Red Velvet w/Light Pink Cream Cheese Frosting

Cupcakes wrapped & boxed...

8" 2-layer Red Velvet with Cream Cheese Frosting

The task of frosting the cake was actually completed by the hubs. After 6 hours of baking & frosting cupcakes I was hella tired. Initially, I slapped on all the frosting, making it as smooth as I thought possible. Hubs took one look at it and shook his head. "No, no, no! You canNOT bring that to the wedding!" He said he could do a MUCH better job at it. I handed him a tub of frosting & a spatula and left. Ten minutes later..... VOILA! He asked, "Did you take a before photo? Cause if you did, you must post it up!" Unfortunately, I did not.... was too tired.

On display...

Layer cake adorned with a large peony.

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May 17, 2009

::SMS:: Guinness Gingerbread

Other than cut-out gingerbread cookies, I never really had gingerbread (as a "cake"). My dad told me that gingerbread is an acquired taste and he tried to dissuade me from making this. My mom told him to shut up and told me that he doesnt have to eat it, and to go ahead and make this. And so I did! Mom & I loved it! (Dad snuck a piece and he admitted that this was pretty good!)

Using the full recipe I baked two cakes: one 8" for me and one 7" cake for my mom. Baking time was shorter -- i baked both of them at the same time at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes and then baked them for another 15 minutes at 325 degrees.

The Guinness wasn't a dominant flavor. The ginger wasnt really that strong either. Mom told me to increase the ginger a lil more next time. This was a really good, moist & yummy cake. And so simple to make -- i totally didnt have to whip out the Kitchenaid -- a bowl and a whisk was all i needed. This was so yummy I TOTALLY forgot about the whipped cream. Thank you Katie, of Katiecakes, (head to her blog for the recipe) for choosing another winner!

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May 12, 2009

DIY Cupcake Stand

I needed to find a stand for 100 wedding cupcakes. I decided to make one for the event. Basic instructions can be found here. The cake circles & dummies can be found at A.C. Moore, Michael's or other craft supply stores.

What I used:
8" cake circles
10" cake circles
12" cake circles
16" cake circles
20" cake circles
3" by 4" tall cake dummies
6" by 4" tall cake dummies
8" by 4" tall cake dummies
glue, tape, wrapping paper, ribbon

What I did:
The cake circles are really thin so I glued 3 of them together, making one cake circle 1" high. I then glued 1" wide ribbon around the edge of the cake circles. I used wrapping paper to cover the cake dummies. Since the bride's colors are fuschia and light pink (and since the cupcakes will also follow this color scheme), I didnt want to go overboard and make the cake stand the same colors so I kept the cake circles plain and left them white, while the edges of the other pieces are red. I added an extra cake dummy on the bottom for added height. Cupcakes can go around the bottom of the stand, which is almost 36" tall.

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May 10, 2009

::SMS:: Lemon Icebox Cake

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY to all the moms out there (myself included)!

I took my mom out for dimsum in Chinatown on Saturday. We went to a new place that's across the street from Harmony Palace on Mott Street (i totally forgot to note the name of the restaurant). The dim sum was pretty good and very hot & fresh. I guess that's what you get for a place that just opened (as in Grand Opening).... so get there before things change. For my day, the hubs took me out for Japanese on Saturday evening.

In between brunch & dinner on Saturday, I took the time to make my Mother's Day Treat -- this week's SMS recipe -- Lemon Icebox Cake --- picked by Jennifer of Keep Passing the Open Windows. THANK YOU, Jennifer, cause this is another winner! Head over to her blog for the recipe. As always, be sure to check out the creations by my fellow-SMS Bakers.

I didnt have any strawberries on hand and it didnt dawn on me a few weeks ago to reserve some for the sauce, so I did without the strawberry sauce. I also made a 7" cake (half the recipe) because I think I'm the only one that's going to eat this one. Hubs isnt a lemon fan... and that's just too bad... cause this was delicious!

This was my first time making a meringue.
I used a 60mm macro lens for this shot --- dont you love the peaks?

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May 07, 2009

Molten Chocolate Cake

By now most of you know that BabyDaddy is the ultimate Chocolate Lover. He'll only eat my Chocolate Valentine's Cake or a chocolate cupcake covered with a thick layer of dark chocolate buttercream. So how could I say no when he requested a Chocolate Molten Cake for his birthday? The ingredients are always on-hand & the method couldn't be easier.

Recipe from Jean-Georges: Cooking at Home with a Four-Star Chef
by Jean-Georges Vongerichten & Mark Bittman

Makes 4 individual cakes

1/2 cup unsalted butter, plus more to butter the molds
4 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate (NOT unsweetened)
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons flour, plus more for dusting

1. In the top of a double boiler set over simmering water, heat the butter and chocolate together until the chocolate is almost completely melted. While that's heating, beat together the eggs, yolks, and sugar with a whisk or electric beater until light and thick.

2. Beat together the melted chocolate and butter; it should be quite warm. Pour in the egg mixture, then quickly beat in the flour, just until combined.

3. Butter and lightly flour four 4-ounce molds, custard cups, or ramekins. Tap out the excess flour, then butter and flour them again. Divide the batter among the molds. (At this point you can refrigerate the desserts until you are ready to eat, for up to several hours; bring them back to room temperature before baking.)

4. Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C). Bake the molds on a tray for 6 to 7 minutes; the center will still be quite soft, but the sides will be set.

5. Invert each mold onto a plate and let sit for about 10 seconds. Unmold by lifting up one corner of the mold; the cake will fall out onto the plate. Serve immediately.

Featured in entry # 24604
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May 06, 2009

My 100

Quite an ambitious list; I thought I'd set some goals for myself.
So, here goes (by the way, this was NOT an easy list to put together)...

1. Bagels
2. Pretzels
3. Croissants
4. Cinnamon Rolls - completed (here)
5. Zeppolis
6. Donuts - completed (here)
7. Bee Stings - attempt #1, failed
8. Chinese Steamed Mantau
9. Baked/Steamed Roast Pork Bun
10. Scallion Pancakes
11. Cornbread
12. Hokkaido Milk Bread
13. Banana Bread - completed (here and here)
14. Aloo Paratha - completed (here)
15. Roti
16. Garlic Naan

17. Linzer Sandwiches
18. Layer Cookies aka Rainbow Cookies
19. Biscotti - completed (here)
20. Gingersnaps
21. Gingerbread Cookies
22. Red Velvet Cookies
23. Black & White Cookies
24. Green Tea Cookies
25. Peanut Butter Cookies - completed (here)
26. Snickerdoodles - completed (here)
27. Fortune Cookies
28. Almond Cookies
29. Oatmeal Cookies - completed (here)

30. Strawberry Shortcake - completed (here and here)
31. Gingerbread - completed (here)
32. Crumb Cake - completed (here)
33. Blueberry Mochi Cake - completed (here)
34. Carrot Layer Cake - completed
35. Red Velvet Layer Cake - completed (here)
36. Green Tea Pound Cake
37. Molten Chocolate Cake - completed (here)
38. 14 Layer Cake
39. Mocha Cupcakes
40. Vanilla Bean Pound Cake
41. (Lemon) Yogurt Pound Cake - completed (here)
42. Green Tea Cupcakes - completed (here)
43. Lemon Cupcakes
44. French Vanilla Cupcakes
45. Hi Hat Cupcakes
46. Martha's One Bowl Cupcakes
47. Banana Cupcakes - completed (here)
48. Vietnamese Coffee Cupcakes
49. Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes
50. Chocolate Chip Cupcakes
51. Japanese Cheesecake
52. Green Tea Cheesecake
53. Italian Cheesecake

54. Chocolate Cream Pie - completed (here)
55. Banana Cream Pie
56. Apple Pie - completed (here)
57. Pumpkin Pie
58. Boston Cream Pie
59. Coconut Custard Pie
60. Fried Apple Pie
61. Chicken Pot Pie

Frozen Desserts:
62. Frozen Yogurt - completed (here and here)
63. Sorbet - completed (here)
64. Lychee Ice Cream
65. Green Tea Ice Cream - completed (here)
66. Lemon Icebox Cake - completed (here)

Dim Sum:
67. Taro Cake
68. Fried Turnip Cake
69. Beef/Shrimp Rice Rolls
70. Har Gow
71. Siu Mai

72. Apple Turnovers - completed (here)
73. Broken Glass Jell-o - completed (here)
74. Gâteau de Crêpes
75. Meringues
76. Creme Brulee - completed (here)
77. Flan - completed (here)
78. Cream Puffs
79. Chinese Egg Tarts ("Dan Tat")
80. Truffles - completed (here)
81. Fudge
82. Mango Pudding
83. Red Bean Soup
84. World's Best Lasagna
85. Osso Bucco
86. Steamed/Fried Dumplings
87. French Onion Soup
88. New England Clam Chowder
89. Jalapeno Poppers
90. Onion loaf
91. Coconut Shrimp
92. Vietnamese Springrolls (Chả giò)
93. Pho
94. Homemade Pasta
95. Fried Chicken
96. Pad Thai
97. Sticky Rice
98. Sweet Sticky Rice w/Mango
99. Chicken or Beef Satay
100. Crabcakes

What's your Top 100?
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May 03, 2009

::SMS:: Strawberry Shortcakes

This Sunday's recipe, chosen by Wendy of Pink Stripes was Strawberry Shortcakes (p. 130). Head over to her blog for the recipe and some really great photos. I'm sure everyone else had better luck with this recipe than me.

At first, I was going to skip this recipe because i was somewhat intimidated. Ask me to bake a cake and i'll jump at the chance. Ask me to bake three dozen cupcakes and they'll be baked and frosted in two hours.

Ask me to make a dough and, uh.... i might rethink the request. I dont like to make a pie crust (i have never been successful); heck, i struggled with puff pastry. So when I read that this recipe wasn't like the birthday strawberry shortcake, i hesitated for a moment. But I have to get over my fears sooner or later, right? So I did! To my surprise, the dough for the shortcakes formed rather quickly & easily. Instead of cutting into 2.5" squares, I used a 2.5" round glass and cut them into circles. I was a happy camper as I put my tray of shortcakes into the oven.

To my dismay I was right, yet again! My shortcakes were worse than biscuits! They didnt puff up like they were suppose to so i couldnt "fork-split" them when the time came. I tasted one just to see what it tasted like and it was a little on the dry & bland side. Let's just say... i would have had better luck if i cheated and sweetened up a pack of Pillsbury Grand Biscuits.

I did do something a lil different that made it edible & made it seem more like a strawberry shortcake. I sweetened up the strawberries like i was suppose to. I placed my "shortcake" on a plate, added some vanilla ice cream, added the strawberries, added one more spoon of ice cream.

Topped it off with some HOT FUDGE!
Voila, Strawberry Shortcake Sundae!

All the toppings made my "shortcake" a lil more enjoyable; albeit, I might have shoved it aside and ate everything else. =)
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