Pink Diva Zebra Cake

I think this is officially a new favorite design…20150225_073922

…who knew that zebra stripes could be so fashionable on a cake!20150225_074133

Amaretto Cake

Raspberry Filling

Italian Meringue Buttercream Frosting

Zebra Stripes

Pink Flowers

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A Day Late and a Biscuit Short

Yesterday was national BUTTERMILK BISCUIT DAY!

Unfortunately, I am a day late, so I missed the opportunity share my love for buttermilk biscuits on the official day, but thankfully for me, everyday is a good day to share about the wonders of the buttermilk biscuit!  So, in honor of the day after buttermilk biscuit day, I thought I would share a couple pictures of the lovely and yummy buttermilk biscuits I’ve eaten over time!   ENJOY!

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(Don’t you LOVE all those layers!!)

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(Nothing better than biscuits made in cast iron pans!!)

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Biscuit with the all the necessary accompaniments… bacon, eggs… YUM!

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(Above)  A slight twist on the classic… cheddar buttermilk biscuits… almost like red lobster?!

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I love how each biscuits is uniquely different…

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Jam + Fig Preserves = Perfection!

Lately, I have been topping my biscuits (after a good dousing with a little cream before baking!) with cracked black pepper… so good!

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My go to biscuit recipe is from one of the classics… the Joy of Cooking.  No adaptations, well except for the cracked black pepper!

Buttermilk Biscuits by the Joy of Cooking

2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons. baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter cut into chunks
3/4 cups buttermilk

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients.  Add cold butter and using a pastry cutter, your hand or if you opt to do this in a food processor, pulse for a couple minutes until the butter is incorporated into the flour and about the size of peas.
  • Add buttermilk and lightly mix until the dry ingredients are moist.
  • Gather together the dough until it comes together and pat out the dough on the counter or on a marble board until its about 1/2 inch thick.  Cut with biscuit cutter and place on baking sheet.  IMPORTANT NOTE 1:  When cutting the biscuits, resist the urge to twist the cutter, just up and down to cut out the biscuits.  When you twist the cutter it causes them to not rise as high… and we want our biscuits to rise high, after all the higher the biscuit, the closer to God, right?  🙂
  • Place biscuits on a parchment lined baking sheet and brush the biscuits with milk and add the cracked pepper if you please.  Bake them until golden brown on top and bottom, about 10-12 minutes.
  • Try to allow them to cool for at least 1 minute, then add butter and fig preserves or any preserves, apple butter or honey and repeat as often as you like.  But don’t go too crazy, they aren’t the healthiest of things to eat!  But they sure are good every once in awhile!  So now for IMPORTANT NOTE 2:  I use a small biscuit cutter (maybe 2 inches) so that I can eat two(ish) (or more) and not feel guilty… yep, you are welcome! 🙂

ENJOY!

ProjectLife365 and Instagram Review

Here is a brief snapshot into my life via #ProjectLife365 and Instagram….

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Sweet #little_things #projectlife365 – I LOVE the farmers market!

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Chocolate chip cookies almost as thin as my grandma’s… trying to keep my family recipes alive!

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The #reality is that thin cookies will crumble… thank goodness the crumbs are still good! #projectlife365

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It would be wrong to leave these beauties in the store, right? #obligations #projectlife365

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My favorite pair of earrings, can’t believe I still have the#matching_pair #projectlife365

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Nice day to walk around the lake… 🙂

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Blackberry Cobbler with Cornmeal Crust

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Spinning… #motion_blur #projectlife365

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Angel Wings #flight #projectlife365

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I know it’s not quite the time of year to be making chili, but I had to have it and… it was so good!

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Some fortunes are worth holding onto… maybe I should play the #lucky_number? #projectlife365

Hope you enjoyed a quick view into my world!
Clearly I have a couple recipes to post, so stay tuned!

Tuesdays with Dorie ~ Rustic Potato Loaves

WOW… I made bread!!

That should really be the title of this post because as I gaze upon the beauty of these two loaves I am still amazed that such simple ingredients, six to be exact, can come together to make this wonderful bread. I’ll admit, I was a little intimidated by this recipe because I haven’t really worked with yeast based recipes, but I am glad that I decided to give it a try. Loaves completed

This recipe starts with potatoes, simple russet potatoes, unpeeled and then boiled.

Loaves Potato

Add the air dried potatoes to the mixer to mash them up a bit.

Loaves potato mix

Now comes the yeast… this was how it looked after sitting for awhile.  I used my thermometer to make sure the liquid was at the correct temperature, didn’t want to kill any innocent yeast!

Loaves yeast mix

And then the kneading and kneading and kneading… This recipe most definitely gave my KitchenAid a workout!  I guess better the mixer than me!  I do love my mixer!!

Loaves mixer in action

After the mixer finished doing its thing, I put the dough into another bowl to rest and rise… and boy did it rise!  It is quite amazing to watch this dough transform through each phase.

Loaves dough risen

And here are my lovely skin flecked balls of dough.  I realized that I might have gotten a little flour happy,  but I experienced a little stickiness early on and wanted to make sure I didn’t leave all my dough on the counter!

Loaves divided

And here they are in all of their glory after the final rise.  The directions tell you to flatten out the dough and then roll them toward you.  Then it says to bake it seam side up, I didn’t really have a seam, I guess I really closed up these loaves during the shaping process.  The truth is I kind of like when it looks like the loaf is ‘stretching at the seams’ if you will…  next time I won’t be as hyper vigilant on the closure of the loaves.

Loaves final rise

After about 45 minutes in the oven I had two beautiful (if I do say so myself!!) loaves of bread.  And, yes, they are indeed ‘rustic’ and I love them that way.

Loaves cut

Let me say, this bread is good.  I’ll admit that I am probably a little biased.  After seeing how beautiful these loaves turned out, I thought that I should have maybe engraved my initials in at least one of the loaves so that people would actually believe that I made them!  In the spirit of ‘testing’ this bread, I decided that I should pair it with  something sweet and savory.  So, I toasted up a couple slices, one topped with a blend of Italian cheese and the other toasted with butter and then drizzled with honey.

loaves collage

After my rigorous testing (and testing) I can confidently say that this is indeed very good bread!!  You should definitely give this recipe a try.  It was a very gratifying experience.  To find the full recipe visit Dawn at Simply Sweet.

Chocolate Decadence

It all started with this cake…

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I’m pretty sure that my love affair with baking started with this cake.

It’s not a particularly fancy cake, but it is a really REALLY good cake. It’s the kind of cake that you can always feel safe making to take to parties, potlucks or the like. It’s the kind of cake that you can make to celebrate birthdays, showers and holidays. It’s the kind of cake that makes you look good no matter what the occasion! It makes you look like you might just know your way around a kitchen!

This is my go to cake. I think that everyone should have a special cake in their arsenal that is their go to cake. When asked to make a cake, this is usually the first one that comes to mind. There are so many wonderful cake flavors and I often make myself choose another cake to make, just to stretch my baking skills and try new things. However in the back of my mind, I am hoping that whatever I make will be as good and reliable as this one and in fact become a new go to cake.

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You can add all kinds of flavors and combinations with this recipe.  I’ve done this cake with blackberry, raspberry, strawberry and cherry frosting.  I’ve made it with a vanilla frosting and drizzled it with chocolate ganache…  when I’m feeling fancy, I tend to drizzle things with chocolate ganache!  I’ve topped it with peanut butter frosting (I love chocolate and peanut butter).  I’ve used this recipe to make cupcakes and baby cakes.  This recipe never fails.

And the frosting… It all starts with chocolate.

bowl of chocolate

Mixed with butter, vanilla and powdered sugar…

Chocolate dollops

Its light and fluffy, but still rich and chocolaty.

Cupcake on high

Yep, my love affair with baking definitely began with chocolate cake.

The recipe for this cake can be found here.  This is a really moist cake that will remain moist for several days.

The frosting recipe is also inspired by the Barefoot Contessa.  I opted to leave out the coffee powder and egg yolk.

Chocolate Buttercream

6 ounces semisweet chocolate
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

Melt chocolate in microwave or in a heat proof bowl over boiling water.

In stand mixer, beat the butter on medium speed (4) until butter is light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix to incorporate.

Turn down the mixer and add the confectioner sugar, mix slowly at first, then turn it up to fully incorporate.

Turn down mixer, add all the chocolate and mix to combine.