8.01.2014

Turtle Cupakes & OXO Good Grips Giveaway!!


In the USA we have this caramel pecan chocolate that is called a Turtle. It’s called a “turtle” because when DeMet’s Candy Company created the delicious chocolate treat one of the workers pointed out that it looked like a turtle!

I would have to agree it does sort of look like a turtle, but even if it doesn't look like a turtle or not it is irrelevant! Because the combination of chocolate, caramel, and pecans is amazing!

If you ever are in the Mid-West (where I am now!) and you are able to visit a Culvers they do a Turtle Sundae and it’s very good! It’s vanilla frozen custard topped with caramel sauce and chocolate sauce and topped with pecans!

I've based this cupcake on that. So, I have a chocolate cake, filled with caramel sauce, topped with vanilla buttercream, drizzled with caramel and chocolate sauce and pecans!

Seems like a lot, but it’s totally worth it! Trust me!



Turtle Cupcakes

100g plain flour
20g cocoa powder
140g golden caster sugar
1 ½ tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
40g unsalted butter, room temp
120ml whole milk
1 egg
¼ tsp vanilla extract
caramel

Heat the oven to 170C and line your cupcake pan with 10 cupcake cases. Beat the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, salt, and butter until it’s a bit crumby! Combine the milk, egg, and vanilla together before gradually adding it to the crumby mixture. Once combined beat on high for a minute or two to make sure there aren’t any lumps and the mixture is smooth.

Using a trigger scoop fill each of the cupcake cases just about half way. Bake for 20-25 minutes. A skewer should come out clean. Leave to cool completely before using the Cupcake Corer to take out the middles and add about a teaspoon of the caramel to the middles. Put the sponge bit back in and top with the vanilla frosting!

vanilla frosting:

250g icing sugar, sifted
80g unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tbsp whole milk
½ tsp vanilla extract
100g pecans, chopped
chocolate sauce
caramel sauce

Beat the icing sugar and butter together until it's completely combined. Add the milk and vanilla extract and beat until smooth and at your desired constancy! Top each cupcake with the frosting before drizzling over the chocolate and caramel sauce and sprinkling the chopped pecans on top!


To help me make these cupcakes I used an OXO Good GripsTrigger Scoop to fill my cupcake liners, an OXO Good Grips CupcakeCorer to take out the middle of the cupcakes, and an OXO Good Grips CupcakeIcing Knife to ice my cupcakes!

If you would like a chance to win these items so you can make these cupcakes at home follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter below! Good Luck! I look forward to reading your comments! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


notes: In association with OXO Good Grips, please see my contact/policy page above for further information! Recipe is adapted from the hummingbird bakery cookbook

7.28.2014

5 ways to use your Brioche Pasquier Loaf


1. Cinnamon Toast
Cinnamon Sugar: 2/3 cups sugar mixed with 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
Toast your brioche slice and liberally butter sprinkle the cinnamon sugar on top leave for about a minute then tap off the excess cinnamon sugar back into the cinnamon sugar pot/jar.


2. PB & J Sandwich
All you need is your favorite jam be it strawberry, raspberry, or bramble on one slice of brioche and peanut butter on the other. Then enjoy!


3. Hamburgers
Some trendy burger joints are now offering brioche buns for a small extra fee. And other trendy burger places are using sliced bread instead of buns. So, I thought I’d use both trends and use sliced brioche for my hamburgers!


4. Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding:
260g sliced Brioche Pasquier, cubed
100g chocolate chips
3 large eggs
40g light brown sugar
2 tbsp of dark rum
600ml full fat milk
4 handfuls of demerara sugar

Lightly butter a baking dish and add the stale cubed bread. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the stale cubed bread. Whisk the eggs, brown sugar, rum and milk together before pouring all over the stale cubed bread. Then sprinkle about 4 small handfuls of the demerara sugar over the top, this is what gives it a nice sugary crunch on top. Heat the oven to 170C. Soak for about 20 minutes while the oven heats up. Bake in the oven 40-50 minutes. Let it cool slightly before serving!



5. Classic Bread & Butter
Let’s be honest Brioche is delicious and I ate at least half of my Brioche Pasquier loaf with a slathering of butter. Sometimes with Maple Moose Butter! When it's paired with the sweetness of the brioche loaf it is something pretty special! Yum! 



notes: I was given a couple of loaves of Brioche Pasquier to try, please see my contact/policy page for further information. Moose Maple Butter was also given to me at Food Blogger Connect. Recipe is adapted from Nigella’s Kitchen.

7.25.2014

Jellybean Vanilla Cupcakes

I am a part of the PTA at the girl’s school at for one of the last fundraisers we held a cake stall. Basically the parents who won’t be buying cakes tend to donate cakes and then the parents who don’t donate end up buying the cakes.

Since me and Baby-Baker went early and helped set it all up we had first pick of the plates. We had a good plate it had a princess and bumblebee cupcake and other delicious looking cakes.

However when Mini-Baker arrived she was not happy with the plate we choose. She wanted a different plate because it had a fairy cake with jellybeans on it. If it had been sooner I might have just swapped one cake for another. However the room was already full of people looking for cake and if we did it then other children would have wanted to do it.

Basically I had to promise that we would make cupcakes and put jellybeans on them. We even bought jellybeans at the quick trip to the store after school. So, the following day we made vanilla cupcakes with vanilla frosting colored blue topped with jellybeans.

This vanilla cupcake recipe is adapted from the hummingbird bakery book and I’ll be honest they are pretty darn good vanilla cupcakes. Children really could care less about gourmet cupcakes and adventurous flavors. I find they are just happy with either a simple vanilla or chocolate cupcake as long as it’s decorated to their liking.


Jellybean Vanilla Cupcakes:

120g plain flour
140g golden caster sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
40g unsalted butter, room temp
120ml whole milk
1 medium egg
1/4 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract

Heat the oven to 170C and line your cupcake pan with 10 cupcake liners. In a free standing mixer or large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter until crumb-y. Slowly pour in half of the milk and mix until just combined. Add the egg and vanilla to leftover milk and gently whisk before adding to the mixer and mix until just combined and smooth, try not too over mix! It will make the cupcakes holey and heavy. I use an ice cream scoop and I fill the scoop and trigger release into the cases! Bake for 20-25 minutes until lightly browned and spring back when gently pressed. Skewer should come out clean. While cooling make the buttercream frosting.

vanilla frosting:
250g icing sugar, sifted
80g unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tbsp whole milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
blue food coloring paste just a drop
Jellybeans

Beat the icing sugar and butter together until it's completely combined. Add the milk and vanilla extract and beat until smooth and at your desired constancy! Then add the food coloring a little bit at a time, paste makes a great color quickly so you need very little. Then beat until the frosting is completely blue! Top with jellybeans and enjoy!!

7.22.2014

Welcome to America

My parents moved us around a few times while I was growing up. So, I have lived in Wisconsin, Indiana, and Minnesota. We never left the Mid-West, but it's amazing how states are different. 


It's also amazing the amount of friends and family I have spread across that area. Today my girls and I are flying to Minnesota to stay with my parents for five weeks! We won't be able to see everyone, but we will be meeting up with as many people as we can. 

I do plan to have some down time and in that time I hope to update my blog with any foodie things I do! 

I have some blog posts already pre-dated over the first few weeks, just a few things I have been up to this past week. There are books, bars, cupcakes, and a giveaway! 

There is hope that I will be Tweet-ing, Instagram-ing, Pinterest-ing and Facebook-ing as well so be sure to follow me! I usually follow back as long as I haven't hit any following limits so please find me and say hi! 


7.18.2014

Coconut Lover Coconut Cake

There are either coconut lovers or coconut haters. It’s a rare thing to be an “in-betweener” when it comes to coconut.

It’s like having a rare blood type.

I happen to be a coconut lover. I love it in baked goods and in savory dishes. It is also one of those flavors that pairs well with a variety of fruit.

But for this cake it was all coconut: coconut cake with coconut frosting!

I actually made this cake a while back when I was hosting my friends with a chili night! It all started when I was asked if I made cornbread.

Of course I said yes and then before I knew it my girlfriends were round for chili with cornbread and a coconut cake for dessert. I felt like staying with the Southern American feel of the meal.

The cake was soft and spongy and the frosting was smooth and silky both with the right amount of coconut flavor! 

We had some great food that night, if I do say so myself. That coupled with the great company was a very good night! Who could ask for more?

They did ask for the recipe, which I still haven’t gotten to them so I thought, might as well pop it on here!


Coconut Cake:

235g plain flour
4 tbsp corn flour
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
170g unsalted butter, room temp & cubed
6 egg whites
240ml coconut milk
120g sweetened shredded coconut
1 tsp vanilla bean paste

Heat the oven to 180C. Grease two round (8in) cake tins lightly flour, tap out any excess flour.
Sift the flour, corn flour, and baking powder into the bowl of a mixer or a large bowl if hand mixing it. Mix in the sugar and salt until combined. While mixing on a low speed add the butter cube by cube and mix until the mixture is coarse and crumbly.
In a separate bowl beat the egg whites, coconut milk, shredded coconut and the vanilla paste until well combined.
Add half of the wet mixture to the dry and beat until combined. Scrap the sides and bottom of the bowl before adding the rest of the wet mixture. Mix on a medium speed for about 25 seconds, it should be light and fluffy.
Divide the batter between the two prepared cake tins. Bake for 30-40 minutes. The tops should be a light brown and should spring back when lightly pressed. Let cool completely in the pans before removing.


Coconut Frosting:

300g caster sugar
6 egg whites
342g unsalted butter, room temp &cubed
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp salt
160ml coconut milk

While the cakes are cooling and not before because the frosting needs to be used pretty much right away and it won’t go well on a hot cake!
In a heat proof bowl mix the sugar and egg whites together, place on top of a simmering pot of water (make sure the bowl does not touch the water) and whisk for 6-8 until the sugar dissolves. It will thin out as the sugar dissolves.
Then place the mixture into the stand mixer and whip with the whisk attachment for 6-8 minutes on a medium speed until it’s cooled down and turns into a light meringue.
Turn the mixture down to low and add the butter cube by cube. Once all the butter is incorporated turn the mixture up to medium and whisk for 4-5 minutes, it will look curdled at one point, but keep mixing it will come together to be smooth and glossy.
Then add the vanilla extract, salt, and coconut milk and whisk for about 1-2 minutes or until smooth.

to finish:

120g sweetened shredded coconut

Remove the cakes from the tins and level them if necessary. Place one layer on a serving plate or cake stand or whatever you have before dolloping a bunch of frosting on top of the layer.
Smooth it on the top and down the sides before carefully placing the second layer on top, upside down so the sharp edges are on top.
Add a thin layer of frosting as a crumb coat and let it set before adding the rest of the frosting. Once it’s frosted coat the cake in the shredded coconut!



notes: This recipe is adapted from flour by Joanne Chang. 

7.16.2014

Hungry Monkey: A Food-Loving Father’s Quest to Raise an Adventurous Eater by Matthew Amster-Burton {book review}

I long for the days when I only had to think of myself at meal times. I know what I like and therefore I find it easy to feed myself.

Now I have a husband and two little people have likes and dislikes of their own. Which means dinnertime especially can be nothing short of my worst nightmare.

To be fair to my husband it’s not his fault he’s allergic to all citrus, but it is something I have to accommodate for.

My Mini-Baker loves all veggies and will try anything and everything at least once. My Baby-Baker loves meat and point blank refuses to try anything.

When I first became a mom I did stress about food. My Mini-Baker didn't like jarred baby food nor did she like homemade food, whole or pureed. She was only happy with toast and some fruits.

I felt like I was failing at one of the 3 fundamental things that all children (and adults) need: food, clothes, shelter.

I wish I had this book then, I would have saved me a lot of stress and allowed me to relax and know that it would be okay. It wasn't until she was 8 or 9 months old that I realized there was no need to stress. I caught her watching my fork go to the plate to my mouth. From then on she ate what we ate and did so just fine. 

According to Amazon I bought this book in 2011 well after both my little ones were weaned, so there were parts that I really related too.

He tells us how at first he was very smug at his 2 year old ate pretty much everything, but little did he know that by the time she was 3 she would start to get picky.

When Mini-Baker was about 2 ½ years old she loved Chilli Beef, our local Chinese does the best, so I didn't blame her. We were so tired of her stealing ours we ordered her her own portion and she ate all of it. I was so smug about it I told everyone!

We took her again for a treat around 6 months later and again ordered her her own portion expecting her to demolish it. No, such luck she decided that it wasn't that good and much preferred to just eat the rice. I wasn't so smug after that and was prepared when her sister came along.


Baby-Baker currently loves olives and hot sauce, sometimes together. But I know one day that might not be the case. For know though we have lots of olives because I love them too.

This is the reason that children are so hard to feed. One day they love something the next day they don’t.

Now that they are both older and discovering their own tastes when I meal plan they get to suggest something they would like for dinner. I always listen because it saves me the hassle of figuring out what to make!

If you are a foodie, parent, or both this book is for you. It’s full of parenting truths only learned by experience, but it’s also full of recipes!

In chapter 18 he states that his food fantasy is to take his daughter to Toyko for the ultimate culinary vacation. Well his fantasy came true as he writes about it in his second book Pretty Good Number One: An American Family Eats Tokyo which I have downloaded on my kindle app and will be reading while I am visiting in the USA!

If you are a parent I would love to hear what your kids favorite foods and dishes are! Please leave a comment below! 

notes: I bought this book as stated above years ago, I have just re-read it and felt like writing down my thoughts on it. I will be posting a post on my summer reading soon! Matthew Amster-Burton also writes a blog called Roots and Grubs.

7.14.2014

Happy Birthday Mr. President

In May of 1962 Marilyn Monroe sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to the President of the United States in a sexy sultry way that has made history.

First it was one of her last public performances, but mostly because of the alleged affair between her and JFK.

Not gonna lie I love a good conspiracy! Did they have an affair? Did JFK have anything to do with her death? We will never know!

If I don’t step away I can drive myself crazy with that sort of stuff. So, I will leave the conspiracies to theorists and I will get on with the cake making!

I am a little behind in posting this cake, it was about a month ago that a friend’s son was turning 21, and he requested this cake for his birthday.

The cake was a marbled vanilla and chocolate tray bake with a layer of buttercream before the top layer of white sugar paste.

Our friend gave me the stencil- that was super useful! So, with the stencil and my cake painting knowledge from Sprinklebakes I made this:




It is a simple design, but it has a bold stylish effect. The color pastes were gently mixed with a little vodka to make it easy to spread out and it turned out exactly how we all wanted it too!


I also gave them a pan of chili brownies because they were the same friends that requested chili brownies and told me they weren't hot enough! So, this time I added a bit more chilies to the brownies and they said they did have a bit more of a kick to them! I guess I will have to up my game again! 

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