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Aug. 24th, 2009

joe

seasons change


Seasons Change.  Feelings change.  People switch blogsite services.

I'm over here:

http://davebakes.blogspot.com/

Hopefully this will get me to blog more regularly and frequently.  Feel free to stop by and comment!

Feb. 14th, 2009

joe

Valentine's Cupcakes

Who says it has to be red, pink, or heart-shaped?



Three flavors:

Orange Creamsicle w/ Mascarpone Buttercream (left)

Chocolate Mocha w/ Kahlua Chocolate Buttercream (center)

Pistachio Chai w/ Caramel Cardamom Buttercream (right)



I did up the buttercreams the other day, and finished baking it off this morning.  The BF will not know what hit him tonight!


Recipes (w/ modifications):

pistachio chai cupcake (subst. cocoa with toasted, ground, pistachio nuts, add one teaspoon cardamom, and 1/2 teaspoon almond extract use caramel cardmom frosting from here.  Top w/ peeled, blanched, toasted, and ground pistachios and drizzled caramel form the frosting recipe.)

Orange Creamsicle Cupcake (important whip up flour and liquid ingredients first, then whip up egg whites last before adding to get maximum height.  Subst. 2 T cointreau or grand marnier for 2 T half and half, and subst. 1 1/2 t orange extract for 1 1/2t half and half, increase orange zest by 1 t, use this for buttercream:  16 oz mascarpone, 4 oz white chocolate, melted, 2 sticks butter, 1 1/2 cups conf. sugar, 1 vanilla bean, scraped, 1 T vanilla.  decorated w/ orange decorating sugar and orange nonpareils)) 

Chocolate Mocha Cupcake ( Doubled recipe, instead of all coffee, used half buttercream.  Also, added 2T espresso powder to the coffee while hot, and added to the buttermilk. So, 1/2 c buttermilk combined w/ 1/2 c coffee w/ dissolved 2T espresso powder, for 2X recipe use.  Order of mixing ingredients similar to how I make red velvet: First, mix sifted flour, salt, and cocoa w/ whisk, then in sep. bowl, mix oil and sugar first w/ hand held mixer, then add eggs one at a time, mixing on medium until blended, then add vanilla, then alternate flour mixture and buttermilk mixture, until blended, then in separate small bowl, mix baking soda and vinegar, and stir together then add to batter w/ hand held mixer on medium for 10 seconds, then add to cupcake liners and bake.Topped w/ chocolate covered almond or espresso bean.)
 

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Feb. 3rd, 2009

joe

Orange Meringue Cupcakes!

 My coworker and friend is getting married and wanted three different kinds of cupcakes to serve instead of a wedding cake.  This is one of the flavors I’m trying to develop.  The other two flavors she wants is vanilla and chocolate. 

This flavor
still needs to be tweaked a little bit more, IMO.  I used this recipe, paired with a nonstandard meringue recipe (meaning I just whipped up some egg whites with a few tablespoons of sugar and cream of tartar, finishing it up with my blowtorch) that usually tops lemon meringue pie.  I added more grand marnier than the recommended one T, (3 tablespoons more in place of 3 T of half and half).  While I did get a more pronounced orange flavor, I think it needs more tartness, so I’m thinking of adding some lemon flavor, either from lemon juice or extract—but then I’m wondering why not then just go with lemon?  I also added some red and yellow food coloring for some orange color.  I also made a heavier version, using a orange butter cake recipe, again adding grand marnier in place of some of the liquid, but it was a little too heavy, IMO.  I only got about 12 cupcakes with this recipe, too.  I think I prefer the lightness of chiffon over this. 

There is a lot of time before the wedding, so don't be surprised if you see me trying out another cupcake recipe totally different from this one.


 

one more photoCollapse )

Dec. 25th, 2008

joe

cheesecake worship



Absolutely the best cheesecake to celebrate life!
It's easy as pie to make, too!
it works well with raspberry coulis.

Dec. 22nd, 2008

joe

tiramisu cake, the last slice!


It's really good with a scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream

 Recipe:

For Cake Layers:

Biscuit de Savoie 
from The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum:
Preheat the oven to 325degrees F. grease bottoms only of  3 9-in. round pans, not the sides, and line with parchment or wax paper
8 large egg yolks
1 cup sugar
2 & 1/2 tsps. vanilla
1 tbsp. warm water
Beat the yolks and 2/3 cup sugar on high speed until the mixture is very thick and ribbons when dropped from the beater. This takes about 5 minutes.  Lower the speed and add vanilla and water. Increase to high speed and beat for 30 seconds until it thickens again.
Stir together:
1 cup + 2 Tbsps. sifted cake flour
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp. cornstarch
and then sift over the egg yolk mixture without mixing in and set aside.
Beat 8 egg whites until foamy and add 1 tsp. cream of tartar, and beat until soft peaks form when the beater is raised. Gradually beat in 1/3 cup sugar and beat until stiff peaks form when the beaters are raised.
Add 1/3 of the whites to the yolk-flour mixture and fold until incorporated. Gently fold in the rest of the egg whites.
Pour into prepared pans and bake for 25 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Loosen the sides w/ a small metal spatula and unmold at once onto lightly greased racks and reinvert to cool

Espresso Cream:
3/4 cup strong coffee, italian preferred
1/2 cup kahlua
1/4 c sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
 
 
Mascarpone cream:
9 large egg yolks
1 cup sugar plus 2 Tablespoons
1.5 Tablespoons water
24 oz.(1.5lbs.) mascarpone cheese
4.5 Tablespoons dark rum
2.25 teaspoons powdered gelatin
1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons heavy cream
1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
 
In a medium stainless steel bowl, whisk together egg yolks, sugar, and water.  Place bowl over pot of simmering water (bottom of bowl should not touch water), and whisk constantly until mixture thickens and is hot to the touch, about 7 minutes.  Immediately scrape into bowl.  cover and refrigerate until cool, about 15 minutes.  In bowl of an electric mixer, using paddle attachment, beat mascarpone at medium speed, until creamy, about 30 seconds, gradually beat in cooled egg mixture and mix until blended.  Place rum in small heatproof cup.  Sprinkle gelatin on top and let mixture stand for 5 minutes.  Set cup of gelatin in pan of simmering water and stir occassionally until mixture is clear.  Whisk warm gelatin mixture into mascarpone until blended.  In bowl of electric mixture, using whisk attachment, beat heavy cream with vanilla extract until it forms soft peaks.  Gently fold whipped cream into mascarpone mixture.
 
Cake Assembly:
 
Prepare pan:  Place a acetate plastic border measuring about 3.5 inch wide around the edge of a closed springform pan and tape it in place.  This will enable you to fill with the mascarpone cream above the level of the springform pan. Using a serrated knife, trim sides of each cake layer all around so that each cake layer measures around 8 1/4" in diameter.  If you have the bottom of a 8" pie pan or cake pan, it works well to use as a guide.  Place one layer on a plate, and brush generously and evenly with espresso syrup until entire top is soaked.  Invert layer and insert at bottom of springform pan.  Brush top of that layer generously until soaked.  Pour about 1/3 of the mascarpone cream on top and sides of the first layer, maing sure the cream seeps between cake and side of pan.  Repeat brushing of syrup for second cake layer, invert and place on top of cream and press down, then continue to brush with syrup, then add half of remaining cream on top of second layer, again making sure cream seeps between cake layer and side of pan.  Repeat process for brushing with syrup and thrid cake layer.  After brushing syrup and adding remaining cream, smooth out with a small offset spatula, or spoon if you don't have one.  Refrigerate for at least  4hours, until set.  When unmolding, run a sharp thin bladded knife or spatula under hot water, then wipe dry, then run knife between cake and acetate to release cake.  You can smooth out cream if needed, with the spatula.  Pat grated chocolate into sides and dust with cocoa powder 
 
Garnish:
 
2-3 oz bittersweet chocolate, grated
unsweetened cocoa


 
 
 

Dec. 1st, 2008

joe

Candy from Aunt Bill?!


Taken from this month's Bon Appétit, Aunt Bill's Brown Candy is a soft, nutty, and somewhat crumbly cross between a praline and a fudge.  Just wanted to share, because it is fairly easy to make for the holidays, and you will impress people.  Technically, the only part that involves baking is putting the pecans in the oven to toast before using, in the recipe.  The rest of the recipe is all stove top.

Nov. 17th, 2008

joe

alfajores!


Hola!  Just wanted to share my new favorite cookie!  Alfajores!

An Alfajor is a spanish and latin american cookie with almost as many different versions as there are latin american countries!  It is more or less a type of sandwich cookie withcajeta in the middle, which is a type of sweetened condensed caramel milk syrup.  The two cookies that sandwich the cajeta are like shortbread, although that's where sometimes the variations lie.  

While some recipes call for the cookies to be dredged in finely chopped nuts or shaved coconut, or jam instead of the cajeta in the middle, I wanted mine to be fairly simple, with just a simple dusting of conf. sugar. 

I first tried these cookies in a Taqueria in the Mission District in San Francisco, and remembered them to be somewhat soft, but I've seen other recipes online that use a more traditional shortbread type cookie, which are harder.  It's your call, but I think this recipe from Mattbites , who made them on the Martha Stewart Show a few months ago, is great, and fairly easy to make, the cookies are soft and almost like little flat pillows, and you'll wow your guests with them (or co-workers, which is what I did!) 

You can find cajeta in most latino food stores, or you can substitute a thick caramel topping sauce, like the kind for ice cream topping.  Or you can google recipes for making your own caramel.  It does need to be fairly thick, though.
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Nov. 3rd, 2008

joe

Happy Election Day


Made red velvet mini cupcakes for election day tomorrow using this recipe.  Wanted to try out those mini paper nut cups that don't require a cupcake tray.  They're okay.  I realized I'm just not a big fan of (dare I say it?) cupcakes or minicupcakes.  I don't hate them, I just prefer making cakes.  Big layer cakes.  Used wilton's vanilla candy melts for the topping with wilton fondant icings in red and blue.  Found really cool to go containers from the cafeteria at work, though.

Now it'd be a shame if I then forgot to vote.  VOTE!!