Monday, November 29, 2010

The Thanksgiving Carrot Cake

Adam and I were going to a friend's place for Thanksgiving dinner. With both of us not growing up here, Thanksgiving is not part of our culture. He's been here longer though, so he's gotten the feel of it, and they've had several Thanksgiving dinners and all with his family. As for myself, it is only my second Thanksgiving, having spent the first one is Houston with the Mantarings.

We were going to Fort Bragg for Thanskgiving and Adam's friend John knows that I bake and he asked if I could bake a Carrot Cake. "Well, definitely", I said. I know of a killer recipe from Sarah, I made it once and it was just heavenly. Sarah's Carrot cake recipe is so moist and just delicious!

I made the whole Carrot cake, and frosted it with Sarah's matching Cream Cheese frosting. I love Cream Cheese frosting. They're tangy, not so sweet, a little sour and there's a bite to it. Sarah's recipe calls for two 9x2-in pan, and I made mine on two 8x2-in ones so I had some leftover batter which I made into mini cupcakes. I started baking pretty late Wednesday already so after I finished, it was already starting to get dark and we had to go to Adam's house first for an early Thanksgiving dinner since we were leaving the next day. I brought the mini cupcakes to Adam's house and I am surprised that even the kids loved it! I thought they'd never eat anything with carrots, especially for a cake, but they muched on it like they're eating chocolates.

So with all the running and buzzing that I did before our Fort Bragg trip, I was not able to take a picture of my Carrot Cake. I knew I would not be able to, so I purposely left three mini cupcakes for a picture when I come back. And the mini cupcakes were even better after being left in the fridge for three days. Haha.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Fancy Cake Balls

I do think that photography and baking go hand in hand. It's a different genre but they do compliment each other. And I'm in love with both. I love taking nice photos of my baking. I think photography makes me creative, it makes me think of wonderful baking ideas that could turn into nice photos.

I had been thinking about making cake balls for sometime already, and I decided to make these last night. They are pretty easy to make, but glazing the balls is tricky. If you look at my photos of the cake balls, they're not perfectly round and smooth. But I'm fine with it. They're still pretty. The chocolate recipe is from my baking mommy Sarah, and it's the best chocolate cake recipe. I have tried other chocolate cake recipes but I always go back to her Ultimate Chocolate Butter Cake recipe. So after crumbling the cake, I just added a little chocolate frosting to make the balls.

Now the fun part, I melted some of the Ghirardelli bars that I got from Jojo as birthday present (it was from May!). I still have a lot of unused chocolates because I stopped baking for a few months. I enrobed the balls with those yummy melted chocolate. I can't stop licking the melted chocolates too! Once the chocolate coating settled on the balls, I melted some white chocolates, colored with pink coloring, and then piped it on top of the balls, then I just decorated it with some sugar flowers. I'm so thrilled with how it turned out!

It does look pretty, but it was also so tasty! Adam was just so thrilled with all the chocolate overload. Can't wait to make more with different designs!

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Gourmet Cake

I had been thinking about making a layered sheet cake for some time, and I finally bought a new 13x9-inch pan to do the layers. With all the moving that I did the past 2 years, I have lost some of my stuff and I don't know where my 13x9-inch pan went (among other stuff).

I needed a sturdy base for the cake, so I made Sarah's Cream Cheese Pound cake. It holds, yet it is soft and moist. I first baked that on the sheet pan, and after about 20mins, I have my first layer. Then I made the Chocolate Cake. While I was baking, I made the Swiss Buttercream, halved it and flavored each half with Raspberry and Vanilla. I also made the Dark Chocolate Ganache.

Assembling the cake was so much fun, with all the variety and the colors! I cut the cakes lengthwise in half and I used the first half of the pound cake as the bottom layer. I still have some homemade raspberry jam, and I frosted the bottom layer with it. Then the next layer was the Vanilla Buttercream, and then the Chocolate cake layer. After the chocolate cake layer was the Raspberry Buttercream, and then the other half of the pound cake. It was tall enough without using the the 2nd half of the chocolate cake. I glazed the top with the chocolate ganache (which by itself is to die for!).

After putting everything together, I was thinking of what to put on top of the cake. I had always wanted to do sugar candies, spun sugar, or something like that. I think it makes desserts look fancy. I just never tried making it because it is messy! I made a simple sugar syrup for the sugar decoration. While I was boiling my syrup, my fire alarm came off! I was so scared that it went off since it was already in the middle of the night! It scared the wits out of me! After figuring out how to turn off the alarm (think Phoebe in Friends, lol), I continued with the sugar syrup. After much ado, I had my very first pretty sugar candies with only two burnt fingers to boot. Haha.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Banana Coffee Pie

I am not a pie person, let alone whipped cream and pie together - not my palette. However, Adam one day wanted something with banana and chocolate and I thought of the Banana Coffee Pie, or the Banoffee. I remember this dessert being really popular back home in the Philippines, it being almost always on the menus of restaurants and coffee shops. Even Starbucks had it on their limited pastry choices.

As always whenever I need a recipe, I go to Baking911. I remember Sarah has a recipe there of the pie and I decided to make it for Adam. It has a wonderful pie crust made of grahams, a layer of chocolate, bananas and espresso whipped cream. I don't like whipped creams, but this one is to die for. It's so light, and tasty. This recipe is also very easy to make, and is ready to serve in no time.

The pie was an awesome dessert to our wonderful steak and potatoes dinner.