Monday, October 31, 2005
Sunday, October 30, 2005
It was Carrie's birthday like two weeks ago and I was such a "busy" friend, running around partying with the "Turks", I forgot her birthday:( Bad! and Even worse because I always and always want to bake cakes and look for opportunities, and here I am missing Carrie's birthday! Good news is I got a chance to bake an apology cake this weekend when we decided to get together and catch up after my Chicago trip. I got inspired from an episode of Firefly, a sci-fi/western TV show, where one of the main characters, Kaylee, wears a pink dress all in ruffles and her friends call the dress a "layer cake":)
Lemon cake is Carrie's favorite and it worked perfect for the blog after getting quite a few complaints about my comments on friendship and chocolate last week! So, here is a correction, I have many non-chocoholic friends and a slice of lemon goodness is as good as a fudgy, soft and chewy cookie! (not better though:))) I made four small ruffled dresses and everyone seemed to enjoy it. I usually don't buy all that jazz about how great my cakes taste, but today I got double approval. Carrie's husband who only eats fruit as dessert said it was good and Aidan got his hands into the whole cake and finished his second big piece in less than 5 minutes! I am happy and pink!
P.S. Don't you think Carrie is a trooper with that husband of hers? I wouldn't be able to survive more than a couple dates leave alone marriage with a guy who doesn't eat desserts. Happy Birthday again!!!
If you like baking, check out the Whimsical Bakehouse Cookbook Mine has many pages with food stains, a good sign for a crazy cookbook owner like me, (good ROI, for those investors among you). Anyway, I highly recommend it.
For the lemon cake, I used their basic yellow cake recipe with a citrus twist, added 2 tablespoons of lemon rind and 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice. Their buttercream is absolutely fantastic; if you need the recipe, email me. That's all...More tips on the second episode of my Odeo show, check it out here:
Monday, October 24, 2005
Victory! After months of resistence to my insane baking habits, some friends at work finally gave in and asked me to bake again! Atkin's bankruptcy also helped:) How could I say no (!) As these guys are true dark chocolate and coffee lovers, I tried these chocoholic friendly cookies. If you are not one, are you sure we are friends?
Also, I am creating a new show and calling it "Flourless Chocolate Cake", compliments of this new tool from ODEO. You can now listen to a quick summary of tips and tricks for this recipe on Episode 1. Here we go!
I know I sound like a fairy:)
Chocolate Clouds with Turkish Coffee
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chop as small as the chocolate chips so they can melt at the same time, I use Ghirardelli.
2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips, I use Ghirardelli.
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, diced into 8 pieces
3 large eggs
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3 teaspoons finely ground dark-roast coffee beans, such as Italian-roast (I used Turkish Coffee)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup walnuts
(optional: 1/3 cup Cocoa Bits from Scharffenberger)
1) Preheat oven to 350F and line with parchment paper.
2) Melt unsweetened chocolate, 1 cup chocolate chips (recipe calls for 2 cups, one cup will be melted, one cup will be added in the last step), and butter using a microwave or a double boiler, stirring until smooth, and let it cool while mixing the other ingredients. If using microwave, make sure to check the power and do not use anything more than 50%.
3) In a bowl with an electric mixer beat eggs, sugar, and ground coffee on high speed (10 with Kitchenaid) until very thick and pale and mixture forms a ribbon when beaters are lifted, about 5-7 minutes, (longer if using hand mixer) and beat in the melted chocolate mixture. Make sure to stop every 3 minutes and scrape the mixer.
4) Sift in flour, baking powder, and salt and stir until just combined with a whisk. Sift in the mixture and fold gently, it is better if you do it in two steps.
5) Stir in remaining chocolate chips and walnuts (and cocoa nibs if using).
This is the easy part. The hardest part is the baking. Make sure your oven is preheated to 350 already. Do not place your baking sheet into the oven beforehand or your cookies will be flat as wheat thins:)
Drop batter by heaping tablespoons about 6 on one sheet and bake in middle of oven 8 to 10 minutes, or until puffed and cracked on top. Cool cookies on the baking sheet for 1 minute and transfer to a cookie rack to cool completely.
As usual, this is not an original recipe, I just got inspired from an old Gourmet magazine and made some changes.
I just uploaded a bunch of pictures from the class. Check them out at Flickr! Colette called the cake "Wacky! and Fun", Colette's mom called it "Whimsical"...I call it "Purple Green" I am just in heaven."
Friday, October 21, 2005
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Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Today was all about color, we started playing with the airbrush tool, oh my god, it was such a blast. It is the same thing as spray paint, but its hard to believe you can eat a cake decorated with it. You can cover a cake in seconds with this tool. I have spent hours coloring fondant in the past and it never looked this perfect.
Next was coloring the decorations we made since Day 1 using several different techniques. I had to skip lunch to finish my lilies, sweetpeas, orchids and grapes and at the end of the day they looked horrific!!! It is hard, really. The picture above is supposed to be an Orchid, well not quite botanically correct:) I need to read on flowers...I didn't even know what a lily looked like and painted 6 stems in 3 different colors thinking they would be paired. Too bad my lily is not coming to SF with me:) After the class, I went down to the local Michael's to get colored pencils and now I am working on some designs for that three tiered cake. Still no clue what I am going to do...Where is my baking fairy???
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Monday, October 17, 2005
I am in Darien, IL attending a 5 day Advanced Cake Decorating Class with Colette Peters. She is so amazing....We start at 8:30 in the morning and work all day...there is even a final project, a three tiered cake. So far, this is just a dream come true, playing with sugar dough and making flowers, leaves, reading cake decorating books and eating ice-cream for dinner. I even wake up before the alarm goes off-that hasn't happened for a loooong time. Wow! Life is pink and happy, even without cell phone coverage or fast speed Internet.
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Monday, October 10, 2005
I used the pistachios that I brought back from Turkey, but the taste wasn't distinct at all, next time I will try walnuts...