12/27/09

How To Use Leftover Candy Canes

If you are looking for ways to creatively use your leftover candy canes, here's a video to give you some helpful tips.


12/25/09

Santa Cake for Christmas


Here it is, the Santa Cake I said I was going to make for Christmas. This is a Florida Santa Cake! Can you see his tan face? Well, it's not the same pale Santa from the Swiss Colony catalog, but it's pretty good. I think it came out really cute and festive. The tan is from the peanut butter icing, which is also in the cake. It's a chocolate cake with one thick layer of peanut butter icing, decorated with butter cream icing for Santa's face.



I used a chocolate cake box mix, followed the recipe instructions and embellished with Greek yogurt, vanilla extract, peanuts, butter, and milk. Santa's hat is rolled fondant, same for his little blue eyes.


12/23/09

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays and lots of delicious desserts on your table!

I will be making a delicious and cute Santa Claus face cake - come back later to see pictures of it. I got the idea from the Swiss Colony catalog.


12/17/09

Tip on how to use Anise Star


I had a little bag of anise stars for over 6 months and I had no idea of what to use it with. Well, the other day, as I watched a show on the Food Network, they said you could boil cider something and get a great aroma going in your house. So, with that in mind, I decided to boil the anise stars I had for so long. I started on Sunday I am still boiling the water with the anise stars in it until today.
Just fill up the water half way in a medium size pan and boil it, then keep the heat in low for a while. It leaves a great anise aroma around the house. WHAT A GREAT IDEA and it's perfect for the holidays! It's almost a week and it still smell great.
Give it a try.

12/15/09

Christmas Cookies

Christamas Cookie Tray
Last Sunday I baked a few cookies for our Holiday luncheon at work; it was today. My cookies were a hit! Almost all gone. OK, so I did two types of Christmas cookies, sugar cookies and brownie bites.
  1. The sugar cookie was a cookie sandwich with cream cheese icing and crushed peppermint edge; delish!
  2. The second type of cookies were more like brownie bites. I baked the double chocolate brownie, then cut them in different shapes; stars, mini Christmas trees, gingerbread man, and snowman. So, once the brownie bites were cut into shapes, I iced them with the same cream cheese icing I used for the sugar cookies, then topped some with colored sugar and some with crushed peppermint.

The cookie tray looked really festive and colorful. See the pictures above and below. I was lazy and only took pictures with my phone, so not the best resolution but you get the idea.

Christmas cookies



11/28/09

Gingerbread Man Cookies

In addition to my Thanksgiving desserts, I also made some gingerbread cookies to send to my family for the holidays. It was hard to ice them so I decided to just use melted white chocolate and add a few dots here and there; also dipped them in crystallized sugar. They were delicious and who says it all needs to be perfect!
I hope the chocolate doesn't melt too much, I dropped them off at the post office this morning; hopefully they will make their journey overseas. Oh well, it's the thought that counts, right!

Red Velvet Cake & Pumpkin Pie - My Thanksgiving Desserts

For Thanksgiving, I was in a mood to make a Red Velvet cake; that is because I have made two pumpkin pies in the last two weeks and I haven't baked a cake in almost a month. I actually planned on making only red velvet cupcakes but there is always batter left over, so I used my heart shaped pan for the cake. The picture above is a slice of the red velvet cake with cream cheese icing and raspberries on top - so pretty! and really good.



The picture at the top is a slice of the red velvet cake and my mascarpone pumpkin pie cheesecake. The slice doesn't really show the mascarpone layer on the bottom, but it's there.



So, I ended up with 24 cupcakes and a cake. It was my first time making the red velvet recipe and I must say I love the color. I guess the thing with this cake is mostly about the color; so red and rich looking. Even though the cake is good it doesn't really has a distinct flavor. I used a recipe that called for 1/2 cup of unsweetened cocoa and I thought I would get more of the chocolate taste, but not really. There were other two recipes I found in my books that called for only 2 tsps of cocoa. I am glad I went with the 1/2 cup, recipe I don't think I would like the other one.

The red velvet cake batter -beautiful rich red

Red Velvet Cupcakes just out of the oven


Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing and Raspberries

Here is a good tip when you are making a homemade pie crust with gingerbread cookies, as I did.
Pie Crust Tip - use a measuring cup wrapped in plastic wrap to press the crust on the pie dish. You will get an even crust and no messy hands.





11/20/09

Pumpkin Cheesecake

For this pumpkin cheesecake I combined a couple of recipes. Instead of using regular cream cheese I used mascarpone cheese with the pumpkin pie mix. It still turned out delicious, specially topped with a homemade cream cheese -- so yummy!

Ingredients used for this Pumpkin Cheesecake:
  • 1 cup of mascarpone cheese
  • 1 cup of pumpkin pie mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 store bought 9" unbaked pie crust

Preheat oven at 425 F - Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl, pour into pie shell Bake pie for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 F and bake for another 50 minutes. Cool on rack for 2 hours- then you can serve or refrigerate. One of the recipes suggest not freezing the pie because the crust will separate from the filling.

You can find more yummy pumpkin recipes at http://www.verybestbaking.com


11/7/09

Shortbread Cookies


I made delicious shortbread cookies from the Barefoot Contessa recipe. But, I didn't just dipped them in chocolate, I also dipped them in peanuts, cookie crumbs, sliced almonds, and chocolate sprinkles.

They look sop pretty and are delicious with coffee or just by itself.

11/1/09

Key Lime Pie with Meringue Top


I haven't made key lime pie in a while and it's such an easy recipe. So, yesterday I doubled up on a key lime recipe and made two pies. One with a meringue top and another topped with melted chocolate and homemade whipped cream; just like my Key West Key Lime Pie.

For the key lime pie ingredients all you need is:
  • 1 gram cracker crust (store bought works just fine)
  • 1/2 lime juice
  • 1 can of condensed milk
  • 2 tsp water
  • 3 egg yolks
  • green food coloring or icing optional

Mix the eggs and condensed milk then add the water and lime juice slowly; add food coloring. Pour it into the pie shell. Bake at 350 for about 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and let it cool for about 30 min. then place it into refrigerator for another hour.

Since I added meringue, I removed the key lime pie from the oven about 10 minutes before and added the meringue on top. Then, it goes back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes.

I love how the meringue gets a little burned, looks great and it's delicious!



10/18/09

Double Chocolate Rum Cake


Today I baked my first rum cake; and it turned out delicious. I used a recipe from the Cake Mix Doctor, I got the book yesterday and decided to try it out. The cake was very easy and fast to make, the consistency was tender and moist. It calls for 1/2 cup of gold rum which I thought it was going to be too much, but it was just enough to get the rum taste; plus the raspberry rum sauce gives a little extra - delish!

I just tried this recipe for now but I will bake some others. I love the way this book shows the cake pictures right at the beginning of the book with the page for the recipe. It makes it very easy to pick and choose what you want to bake.





10/5/09

PB&J Cupcakes

Last weekend I decided to turn one of my husband’s favorite sweet treats, PB&J sandwich, into a cupcake.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Cupcake Ingredients:

  • 1 box of white cake mix, you can also use butter cake mix
  • 2-3 cups of Peanut butter spread; I used Jiffy’s reduced fat
  • 3 eggs
  • 3-1/2 sticks of unsalted butter (oil substitute)
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of milk (water substitute)
  • Grape or strawberry jelly
  • 1/2 cup chopped peanuts

Directions:

  1. Cream about ¾ cups of peanut butter with ½ stick of butter
  2. Just follow the instruction of the cake mix box, but make the substitutions listed above.
  3. Add to creamed peanut butter - cake mix, eggs, vanilla extract, 1 stick of butter, sour cream, milk
  4. Fold in chopped peanuts
  5. Bake according to cake box instructions

After cooled, inject the jelly into each cupcake with a piping tip and voila! Now, it’s ready for icing.

Peanut Butter Icing

Mix about 1-2 cups of peanut butter with 2 cups of confectioning sugar; taste it to make sure it’s not too sweet and make sure it stays at a good consistence for decoration. Not too hard and not too soft.

Well, it turned out delicious and I even had extra for a little cake.

If you like PB&J sandwiches, this is a must. I am sure you will love it!










9/15/09

Strawberry Banana Cake

Last Sunday I made a delicious and moist strawberry banana cake with Coconut Swiss buttercream; then, sprinkled some coconut flakes on top.

The recipe was a mixture of a semi homemade magazine strawberry cake recipe and my usual recipe. But, instead of using a strawberry cake mix I used a white cake mix and added strawberry gelatin to give it color and flavor and it made it really moist, this was the recipe from the magazine. Then, just added butter, milk, eggs, sour cream, vanila extract, and a pinch of salt. After it's all mixed up I added the fresh chopped strawberries and bananas. Baked at 350 for about 40 minutes. Then, voila! !

Let the cake cool for about an hour then frost with the Swiss coconut buttercream - DELISH!

BTW- I took the Swiss buttecream recipe from cupcake recipe book .

See more strawberry cake at http://lapetitebaker.blogspot.com/2009/07/starwberry-cake.html

8/31/09

Family recipe - Tiramisu Cold dessert

This is a delicious cold dessert my mother and gramma used to make. I tried a few times but had no luck. Then, finally asked my gramma for the correct recipe; it turned out delicious. In Portuguese, this dessert is called "Pave Gelado" similar translation would be "Cold Dessert"

Ingredients
  • 1 can of condensed milk
  • 1 can of milk you can use 2% but full fat is always better
  • 1 can of table cream
  • 4 eggs - separate egg whites and yolks
  • 2 packs of ladies fingers wafers
  • 4 tbps of sugar
  • 1 cup of chocolate milk

Directions

Freeze the table cream for one hour before using, to eliminate liquids. Place condensed milk, milk and 4 egg yolks in a sauce pan ; stir it until you get a thick consistence. Place the thick cream in a glass dish, 11'x8" approximately. Dip ladies fingers in chocolate milk and sugar and place two layers of the wet wafers over the thick cream.

Beat the 4 egg whites until peak and add table cream, from freezer (make sure there is no liquids on the top layer), add 4 tbps of sugar. Mix is all and pour it over the wafers' layer. Cover with aluminum foil and place it in freezer for at least 2-3 hours.

Enjoy!

Tips -

  1. you can add some instant coffee to bottom or top layer to give it a bit of tiramisu taste.
  2. if you like coconut, sprinkle some coconut flakes on top of the last layer and/or shaved chocolate like I did

8/16/09

Baby Shower Purse Cake


This was my third purse cake and it came out real cute. It was for my girl friend's baby shower yesterday. I got the idea from another baby shower purse cake picture someone sent me a while ago. I made the cake a day before to let it cool and decorated the next day. It was a chocolate cake with chocolate chips and coconut buttercream icing.
The little green shoes and bibb were made with fondant. I added a few baby spoons on the side pocket and a little baby bottle. Also, a real pacifier next to the baby shoes.
Everyone loved the cake and they kep telling me a should open a bake shop!


This is Melissa - she looked so cute! She is having a baby girl ;-)


Messy picture of the cake after we started slicing it. But, it was delicious.


Find some instructions on how to make a purse cake or Making a purse cake








8/11/09

Orange Peel Cake


Saturday I made a delicious orange peel cake. And, I made it out of a moist yellow cake mix. I like to sometimes mix my recipes, it’s a bit dangerous because they say baking is a science and you need to follow the measurements to have it all come together. But, it’s fun to experiment and see the results, plus you can also learn along the process.

So, even though the orange cake tastes it shrunk about 1” or 2”, from when I took it out of the oven. My husband thinks it need to bake longer; I don’t agree because I did the tooth pick test and it came out dry so it was time to remove from the oven. I think that the one possible reason the cake shrunk is because I opened the oven once and actually moved the rack out of it to check o nthe cake; and I read in this other web site http://www.baking911.com/ that you are not supposed to do that. Oh well, live and learn. I won’t do it next time. My husband likes the taste but still think he can taste the dough; I think it’s because the cake is really moist. I added orange juice, a whole orange, orange rum, and milk; so a lot of liquids.

Here is the recipe:
  1. 1 box moist yellow cake

  2. Eggs, follow cake mix instructions

  3. ½ stick of unsalted butter

  4. 1 cup of sour cream

  5. 1 tsp vanilla extract

  6. 1 tbp orange rum

  7. ½ cup of milk – 2% is ok
  8. ½ cup of orange juice
  9. 1 whole orange, ground in food processor

Follow cake mix package instructions for oven temperature. Grease 9” round pan; I use Bakers Joy. Also, follow instructions from cake mix for mixing ingredients, you will be replacing the oil for the butter and the water with milk and the orange juice, add the vanilla and rum orange extracts. Then, add the whole orange.


I made a creamcheese icing for this cake, but you can also do an orange glaze, or no icing at all.

Once it’s done, let it cool and enjoy!

8/9/09

Julie & Julia - My Movie review

I watched Julie & Julia this afternoon, with my husband, and we both loved. It was funny and a even emotional at times. I think a lot of people can identify with Julie, the girl making Julia's recipes; her frustrations, ups and downs about what to do with her life and her work. Plus, you get a little glimpse of Paris, circa 1950 - I hope it was Paris - if not, it was still a pretty scenery.
Mastering the Art of French Cooking
Meryl Streep did a great job playing Julia Child; she is too funny and was able to walk in those really high heels to be as tall as Julia was. She had a real loving husband, Paul, and they both loved each other very much and seemed to always encourage each other a lot, no matter what; something to learn from them. So, I recommend to all of you food fanatics out there and even if you never watched food shows from Julia Child, like me, you will still like the movie and be encouraged to start cooking and, in my case, I will look for a Julia Child DVD to see some of her cooking shows. And, I am even thinking of getting the book Mastering the Art of French Cooking

Now, go watch it!
Here is a clip from one of Julia Child's TV show

8/7/09

Smart Penguin

Smart Penguin and cute! This post has nothing to do with baking but a cool and funny video to watch. Penguin was able to dodge the whales and make some new friends ;-)


video

Ok, some baking stuff now - so I will be making a cool baby shower cake next week - came back to see it. It will be a baby purse with baby stuff in it. I will be making the tiny baby shoes with gum paste this weekend.

8/6/09

Cake Boss Video

Easy Blueberry Peach Pie


The other night I made a very easy and delicious blueberry peach pie, with ingredients I had in my pantry. Since blueberries are in season and at low cost, I stocked up to get my antioxidants servings for the day, suggested 5 servings by Dr. Oz , Oprah’s doctor, and also used to make this delicious pie.

Ok, so here is what you need – Blueberry Peach Pie Ingredients:
  • 1 package of room temperature Pillsbury pie crust – keep package to follow instructions
  • 1 can of sliced peaches
  • ½ cup of fresh blueberries
  • Get ingredients listed on pie crust package – it might be a recipe to make apple pie, but you can sue the same things this pie, just replacing apples with blueberries and sliced peaches

Directions
  1. Roll out pie crust on round baking dish
  2. Make pie filling by following instructions from pie crust using package; sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, flour etc – use sliced peaches and fresh blueberries instead
  3. Pour pie filling into pie crust
  4. Roll out second pie crust to cover pie, sprinkle some sugar
  5. Bake in oven at 425 degrees for about 40-45 min. Set rack in middle

I wonder if blueberry pie slice would count as a serving of our needed antioxidants for the day! Probably so, but also count for the calorie intake and sugar, carbs etc – all that bad and good stuff we love ;-)

Enjoy!




8/3/09

Banana Butterscotch Cream Pie

This weekend I made a quick dessert with some bananas and sugar-free butterscotch instant pudding – easy and delicious. So, here is what you need:
  • 2 bananas
  • 1 pack of instant pudding – butterscotch for this recipe but you can also use vanilla; it doesn’t have to be sugar-free but it makes me fell a little better and it tastes just as good as the regular pudding

  • 1 chocolate gram cracker crust; you can also make your gram cracker crust if you prefer – but since this was a quick fix I used the store bough gram cracker crust

Directions

  1. Slice the bananas, and place them all over the crust

  2. Prepare the pudding according to box directions and pour it over the bananas

  3. Place it in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours to

I also topped with chocolate cookie crumbs - just delicious!

You know, before I started baking I never knew that almost every ingredient you by comes with a little recipe on the box; I never paid any attention to the box; I used to open and discard it right away – not anymore! How can you go wrong? This is how I started many of my baking and some cooking too – just look at the box and try the suggested recipe.


8/1/09

My Test Kitchen

That weekend I was trying a few differeent things to enter the Pillsbury Bake-Off contest, which I did and now I am waiting to be called ;-) so I hope!
Ok, so I made a delicious chocolate tart, which got perfected later and fa ew other sweet things - check out my test kitcehn post at http://webbyzard.wordpress.com/2009/03/17/having-fun-baking/
Peanut butter cookie stack



Baking on Sunday – Cupcakes, wheat bread & more

You have to check this post I did a few months ago, it's in my other blog; and I guess I am just to lazy to move it all to the new La Petite Baker blog, so I will be adding links to my older baking posts here and there.

Anyway, that Sunday I wanted to finish a lot of the stuff in refrigerator, like ½ can of cranberries and ½ can of crushed pineapple. So, in an effort to not let the food spoil ..... read more go to http://webbyzard.wordpress.com/2009/03/24/baking-cupcakes-wheat-bread/





Key West Key Lime Pie

If you have ever been to Key West, FL you might have seen that some stores sell their own key lime ice cream; which tastes just like a key lime pie on a stick but covered with rich dark chocolate - very delicious.

So, with that in mind, I decided to create my own version of the Key West Key Lime Pie. And, as you can see in the picture, it came out great. I used the blottled key lime juice and just followed the directions, then added some coconut flakes, coconut is one of my favorite ingredients to add to my baking. Ok, so ater the pie was baked and cooled I poured a tick layer of good dark chocolate ganache, and to the refrigerator it went. At the end, just made some homemade whipped cream and decorated. Voila!

Below is a picture of my ordinary Key Lime Pie - but also very yummy!