Friday, May 8, 2015

Pound Cake Simple & Delicious - Thank you Mom

So it's here again.  Mother's Day.  I write out cards for my mother in law and my favorite aunt who is my 2nd mother and I miss writing that card for my mom.  I just miss her.  She's the one person in the world I could trust, who was always there, no matter how annoying or nice I was.  She was that person I could tell anything to and I just miss her.  I can not take her number out of my phone.  Do I miss her on Mothers Day?  No, I miss her everyday.
As I've written before, my mom is the one who got me started with baking.  A Girl Scout Cookie Contest and I won! I have one of her cookbooks.

The Gourmet Cookbook, copyright 1950

It has a special place on my cookbook shelf!  

It's a little worn, but open it up and the illustrations are so beautiful. 

 There are many recipes, and many I would not even attempt but I Just Love this cookbook.  In honor of my mom, I'm going to try one of the dessert recipes.

The intro to this section, La Patisserie, tells how the art of La Patisserie dates back centuries, when angry pagen gods could be appeased by sacrifices of sweet cakes.  Wow! not sure I have any angry gods to appease. So which one should I make?   I've decided to make a pound cake and  then add fresh fruit.  This is one everyone will like.

So here goes: word for word but I did halve the recipe as I didn't need 2 of them


Sift 2 1/4 cups of sifted flour with 1/4 tsp of saltand sift again.  Cream 1/2 lb  of butter and add gradually 8oz of sugar beating till mixture is fluffy.  Add the yolks of 5 eggs till batter is light.
Sift in the sifted flour a little at a time & beat well.  Stir in 1tsp of vanilla, 1/2 tsp of lemon extract, blend well & carefully fold in 5 egg whites beaten till stiff but not dry.  (Wanted to check on that.) here's what I found:
Why do recipes for beaten egg whites always warn you to beat until stiff but not dry and is there a way to keep this from happening?
When egg whites are over beaten, they start to lose their moisture, airiness, and smoothness and break down when folded into other ingredients. The miracle solution here is surprisingly easy: use 1/8 teaspoon of cream of tartar for every egg white (1 teaspoon for 8 egg whites). 
Add it to the whites soon after you begin to beat them, when they start to get frothy. Note: egg white will never beat to stiff peaks if there is it comes into contact with any grease, either from the bowl, beater or even a bit of broken egg yolk.

Pour batter into loaf pan.  (I always use parchment paper) 
Bake in a slow oven at 300 degrees for 1 1/4 hours and cake tester comes out clean.
Happy Mothers Day to my Mom.  I love you xoxo

Would love to hear comments!!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Dessert Spying in Kiawah

Do I eat dessert when I go out to dinner?  Not really but I love to look!  Kiawah, South Carolina - tranquil, family time but I had to do some work right? Always looking for new ideas and what better way than checking out the menus around the island. And I must admit, taking a taste of everyone else's treats.   

We did eat in most nights (with a 2 & a 3 year old) but here's a few of the desserts I was able to check out.

In a section of Kiawah, there is a little village called Freshfields.  We actually were there after dinner and stooped at an ice cream shop where you could mix lots of fun stuff into your ice cream - sprinkles, M&M's etc.  The little girls loved it!
 I had mango sorbet which was ok but the server was so nice and the shop very cute.

On another day, someone mentioned Rootbeer Float at an old fashioned soda fountain in a pharmacy but no luck- Closed.  This did remind me of being a kid!

Next stop on our only rainy afternoon was a visit to Charleston and lunch at the Hominy Grill.  

We ate outside in a little garden surrounded by pink roses.

Boiled Peanuts were served as an appetizer.  Not quite sure if I liked them but interesting.  

Didn't have time for dessert but took a quick picture inside of the menu on a chalkboard.  These are my kind of desserts.  Definitely need to look up a recipe for Buttermilk Pie!
I loved the little rooster on the wall next to their takeout window.

Next stop, the Ocean Course Restaurant.  Beautiful ocean views, sunset on the golf course and dinner on the porch.  
We tried a Peanut Butter Chocolate cake with a toffee crunch base, chocolate cookie ice cream sandwiches, a banana cake which I unfortunately did not get the name but looked and I hear tasted delicious.  I had a Boysenberry Champagne Sorbet which I loved.  Picture are coming soon.

Heading home, fun to check out the sweets but family time was the best!!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Vanilla Cupcakes I LOVE VANILLA

I will never stop trying to find the Best Vanilla Cupcake Recipe Ever!  But that said, I always go back to Billy's Vanilla Cupcake Recipe. This time I did something that made a difference because sometimes my vanilla cupcakes are dry or just not light enough for my tastes. So here goes, nothing major just a few small changes.

I changed only one thing.  My mixer and I used the paddle attachment.   I just got a beautiful Kitchen Aid.  I've been looking forever at these and kept waiting for the Best Sale!  But what was really holding me back was the choice of colors.  I loved them all.  Finally decided on Buttercup Yellow.

Just in time for 2 showers and a book club party.  Vanilla cupcakes were for one order, the baby shower, so I decided to go back to Billy's recipe.

Billy's Vanilla, Vanilla Cupcakes
1 3/4 cups cake flour, not self-rising.  (I make my own cake flour) Just take out 2 tbs of flour and replace with 2 tbs of cornstarch.
Sift several times
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour 

2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
4 large eggs (room temp please)
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 325°. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt; mix on low speed until combined. Add butter, mixing until just coated with flour.
(So here was the difference - I think) the paddle attachment was the best.  What a difference it made and also it was just plain easy! What was I waiting for?

2. In a large glass measuring cup, whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla. With mixer on medium speed, add wet ingredients in 3 parts, scraping down sides of bowl before each addition; beat until ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat.

3. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling about two-thirds full. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 17 to 20 minutes.
(I also think vanilla cupcakes should be taken out sooner than later, when they are a very pale yellow) see my first picture. Wait too long and they will be dry. I always think they won't be done at this color but don't wait!
So mine baked in about 17 min

Cool and decorate
These were for a gender neutral shower
See my post for buttercream
I also used Natural Food Colors

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Star Wars - Hello R2D2 & Happy Birthday

Time to bake for another one of my favorite little people.  He is 5 and also a Star Wars Fan - and there are way too many choices of characters.

So for me it came down to colors.  Of course if I asked, I would hear Darth Vadar Cake! but that would mean a LOT of food coloring!  Too much for me anyway.  I decided to go for R2D2.  I love this little guy, was pretty sure I could draw the figure and with limited food coloring.

I made a one layer chocolate cake, perfect for all the little people at the party.

Parchment paper, the size of the pan made it easy for me to sketch R2.  

I had saved some of  my son's Star Wars Toys - probably about 30 years old but R2 Looks the same and was a perfect little model for me!

Then moving onto the cake. A quick layer of white for the base and then onto the decorating.

Time consuming, fun and totally worth it.

No words needed after hearing him say,
r2D2 my favorite!  Wait one minute, I thought it was Darth Vadar!  How easy is it to make a 5 year old happy!!
Love you Little Guy

May the Force Be With You!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

A Pretty Cake for a Sweet Girl

Time for a 2nd birthday cake!  Two years have gone by so quickly.  I still remember seeing this little preemie for the first time.  Now a little person who wants to be in on everything!  

I started out with big ideas.  I was going to make a rainbow cake with lots of colorful layers. I looked at all the beautiful pictures on Pinterest and just had to make this cake. I finally found a natural plant based food color to use and got started. It was a disaster.  The cake tasted great but the colors were just so disappointing.  I actually have to say they were awful! Very dull and pale.  Not the bright colors I had seen on Pinterest.  There was no way I would use regular food coloring with the kids so on to plan #2.

I decided to just make a pretty cake.  I've done castles, trains, trucks and cupcakes but time for something that just fit her personality - sweet.
Vanilla Cake with vanilla frosting.  I love this recipe.  It's simple and tastes so good.  Four layers with a plain vanilla filling.  A little Shabby Chic Polka Dot Cake Banner made with washi tape from my Etsy Shop Well Dressed Cupcakes as a decoration and it was perfect.  Nella loved it!

Abby Cadabby & Elmo are her favorites so invitations were from CharlesAlexDesign on Etsy and also the Thank you notes.

A Happy Birthday Nella Banner from Well Dressed Cupcakes was perfect for the living room fireplace made with her favorite colors - purple & pink.

I made Abby & Elmo confetti for the table

and Gift Tags for the chocolate lollipops.



Nella had her special birthday girl hat and wore it the entire time! This adorable hat was made by PixieandPenelope on Etsy.
Birthday Hat

 It was her day and I'm pretty sure she had a wonderful time.  I know she liked the cake! 

Nella"s Vanilla Birthday Cake
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup of unsalted butter at room temp
2 cups sugar
5 eggs room temp
1 1/4 cup of milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

1.  Line 2,  9" pans with parchment paper
2.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees
3.  Sift together dry ingredients & set aside
4.  In a large bowl, beat butter till smooth.  Add the sugar and beat until light and smooth.
5.  Add eggs, one at a time
6.  Alternate flour and milk ending with flour
7.  Stir in vanilla
8.  Divide and fold into pans
9.  Bake for 30-35 minutes
10.  Cool, split the layers and frost

Vanilla Frosting
2 sticks of unsalted butter softened
6-8 cups of powdered sugar
1/2 cup of milk
1 tsp vanilla - clear vanilla if you want the cake pure white

1. Put 2 sticks of butter, 4 cups of sugar ingredients in a large bowl & just add half the milk
2. Beat for 5 minutes
3. Gradually add the remaining sugar alternately with milk
4. Add the vanilla