Hazelnut Brown Butter Cake

One of my all-time favorite flavors is hazelnut.  I love hazelnut cake, I love hazelnut frosting, I love Ferrero Rocher, I love Nutella… the list goes on and on.

When my dad’s birthday came around, I asked what kind of cake he wanted, to which his reply was “a nut cake”.  I tried my hardest to get him to be a little more specific, but alas, I was left with “a nut cake” and nothing else.  I had seen this recipe for a hazelnut brown butter cake on Smitten Kitchen a while ago, and had been looking for an opportunity to try it out… and since hazelnuts qualify as nuts (I think they’re not one of those seeds-posing-as-nuts), I had my “nut cake”.

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Strawberry Rhubarb Tart

Well, the beginning of an extreme baking weekend!

My company has summer hours, and that means that the Friday before this holiday weekend was a full day off – a complete welcome surprise!  My dad’s birthday is always over Memorial Day weekend, so I knew I would be going home for the weekend, and decided to surprise my parents with a little baked treat to get the weekend started. Continue reading

Buttermilk Pancake Cupcakes, Maple Frosting, and Bacon Crumble

This week, while waiting for a bus on my daily commute, I decided to see if there were any little cookbooks I could download to my Kindle.  The first thing I found was The Sweet Little Book of Cupcakes by Nicholas Peruzzi.  And man, were there some yummy-sounding cupcakes in this book, with some flavor combinations I had never thought of before!

The first cupcake that immediately drew me in (there were many) was  Buttermilk Pancake Cupcake.  It is exactly what it sounds like – buttermilk pancake batter, tweaked slightly, and then baked just like a cupcake.  And, of course, if you have pancakes you just MUST have syrup, so I added some maple syrup frosting on top.  Not one to let breakfast just glide away so plainly, I decided to add some crumbled crunch bacon on top, because bacon makes EVERYTHING better! 🙂 Continue reading

Advanced Cake Decorating so far…

Well I just finished my midterm cake for my cake decorating class last night.  It was interesting – both myself and one of my classmates had one of our layers collapse in the middle, leaving a huge divot to fill.  This, of course, just caused air bubbles galore underneath the fondant no matter what we did – so eventually I just gave up and let it be, because all I was doing was poking holes to pop one air bubble and then finding 10 more.  Regardless, my color scheme worked out well, I loved the roses and my butterfly ended up looking very nice!

Here is my first attempt at a square cake – definitely had some issues, mainly because the kitchen was so hot that the buttercream started melting before I could even put the fondant on, which made for a very messy process.  I did my best to cover up my mistakes with a thick border, as my corners weren’t looking too hot.  I really did like the color scheme, and I loved using the little pink buttons on the border (I used them on all sides).

The last cake is our first cake we made in class, where we were learning about draping.  I had fun cutting out all the circles and attaching them, even though the fondant was way too thick (should’ve been around 1/8″ thick) – but even though the drape/flowers don’t really match with the circles, I still like both aspects (just not together!)

Red Velvet Rose Cake

Well, it was a long and rainy weekend (any of those near the Chicago area know exactly what I’m talking about).  After I had walked to and from the grocery store in the rain and wind, almost losing my footing and my little wheely-cart about three times and turned into a popsicle because of the wind, I decided to hunker down and make it a rose-filled weekend.  I worked on gum paste roses for my cake decorating class, and then on decorating my cake of the week with a rose design that I had seen in passing that thought was beautiful. 

One of my favorite cakes, oddly enough, is Red Velvet.  I think I’m in the minority here, but I just love that it’s not overly sweet, not overly chocolate-y, and of course, I LOVE that it has cream cheese frosting (is there anything better??). 

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Happy Diez de Mayo! Chocolate Chipotle Cake

A little late on the holiday, so I’m celebrating Diez de Mayo today 🙂

After searching around, looking for something to spark my “I must make THAT!” reaction, I found my answer on Epicurious in the form of a Chocolate Chipotle Cake with Vanilla Custard Sauce and a Sweet Tomatillo Sauce.  Very different, but sounded delicious (and had wonderful reviews).

I think the most complicated part of this recipe was finding the ingredients – seriously.  Tomatillos are becoming somewhat more common, so that was easier than I expected – but chipotle peppers?  Um… not so much.  Continue reading

In honor of mothers everywhere… Monkey Bread!

Totally running late this week on my updates… but have another one coming soon!

This year for Mother’s Day, my mom told me I wasn’t allowed to bake – after all, I had Chocolates class the night before until 11 pm, and my cousin’s family was coming over the next morning to celebrate around 8 am.  I managed to finagle a little something though – even though it’s not really made from scratch, I got to make the delicious, not-nutritious Monkey Bread 🙂

 

For those of you who don’t know, Monkey Bread is a pull-apart cinnamon sugar gooey baked good – it’s not really a cake, it’s not a bread… it’s just delicious.  Half the fun of this one is eating it with your fingers and getting to lick all the cinnamon stickiness off your fingers afterwards. Continue reading

Chocolate Cake with Hazelnut Buttercream

This week I decided to finally take on a classic and make a chocolate cake (although since it is FINALLY sunny in Chicago, I was originally leaning more towards something coconut-limey… but soon, soon).  Personally, chocolate and hazelnut go together like PB&J for me – the flavor combination is absolutely delicious, and all I can think of is Ferrero Rocher (yum).

I had never made a hazelnut buttercream before, so I wasn’t entirely sure on how this was going to go.  I found a basic recipe to get to a hazelnut paste, and then pulled my Italian Buttercream recipe out of my back pocket (from school) and just figured I could combine it all into one frosting.  Continue reading

In Honor of Kate & Wills: Scones, Clotted Cream, and Lemon Curd

Happy Royal Wedding Day! 🙂 🙂

I was one of those suckers who got up today at 4.30 to make sure that I got to watch as much coverage of the royal wedding as possible (after going to bed around midnight last night after school).  But honestly, it was SO well worth it.  Although now I’m hyped up on coffee and probably will not calm down for about 2 days. **sigh** 

(I also did not take very many pictures, given that I was running back forth from the kitchen to the living room while making the dough… but oh well!)

Last night before bed, I decided to make lemon curd and Devonshire cream (or a makeshift clotted cream), along with some scones to celebrate.  I’m really not entirely crazy – but all of these recipes are incredibly simple, so I figured that I would have no problem getting all of this done (and I didn’t!).  The clotted cream was ridiculously easy to make (basically dump it all in a mixer and whip until done), but the lemon curd was a little trickier.  I was supposed to make it in a double boiler, but alas, I gave mine back to my mom after never using it, so I had to make it similarly to an anglaise, directly over the heat. Continue reading