Saturday, January 30, 2010

Wilton Course 1, week 4 - final cake!

What's baking?
This is the cake I made for my last Wilton class of Course 1.  I did not want to post it until after it got to my daughter for her birthday!  The cake is the same recipe Chocolate Layer cake as the mini cake a couple of posts back with the buttercream frosting using the Wilton classroom recipe with half butter, some almond extract and a dash of salt.

The roses are still a bit of a challenge.  I do need to practice and hope to find time before the next class starts, but I am pleased how this cake came out and very happy that it managed it's way across the state in time for my daughter's birthday!

Friday, January 29, 2010

More cake decorating practice!

What's baking?
More practicing! Can you tell I like making the drop flowers?  The cupcakes are Brownie Cupcakes (click for recipe) from Joy of Baking with Wilton Classroom recipe for the Buttercream Frosting.   

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


What's Baking?
Mini 4" cake to practice.
I needed to bake a cake for my last Wilton Course 1 class.  I used Mark Bittman's recipe for Simple Chocolate Layer Cake to make a mini 4" cake to practice and a larger cake for class this week with Wilton classroom buttercream icing.  The whipped cream would have been much better, but this was to practice decorating!  I cut the little cake into two layers and brushed them with Creme de Cacao and mixed some strawberry jam with buttercream for the filling.  I'll post pictures of the larger cake with the dreaded Wilton rose later.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Muffins x 5

What's Baking?
I baked five different types of muffins for a breakfast board meeting using recipes from King Arthur Flour.  Since I was trying all new recipes, I figured four out of five should come out well, but King Arthur Flour recipes are tested and are very reliable so they all came out great!  They are Blueberry Muffins, Morning Glory Muffins, Simply Sinful Cinnamon Muffins, Bran Muffins, and Chocolate Breakfast Muffins.
Each recipe was a little different from the next in terms of ingredients and method of preparation. One called for buttermilk, one had vinegar, some used oil, some butter, one dump all in bowl, mix and go, another cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy first.  I will post recipes, changes I made to them and details later.  

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Combining Wilton Cousre 1, Week 2 cake and book club!

What's baking?
My first cake decorated using the Wilton method!

The first week (Wilton Cake Decorating Course 1) our instructor, Jeanine, went over tools and supplies and demo'd how to tort, fill, and ice a cake.  She is very clear in her instruction, extremely helpful and I was excited to get started.  For the second week we had to bring in a cake already iced smooth (a bit of a time-consuming challenge in

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Brussels Sprouts

My sister-in-law made delicious Brussels Sprouts for Thanksgiving a couple of years ago and it was requested again for this past years feast so it has been added to our list of family favorites.  She followed Brussels Sprout Hash with Caramelized Shallots from Bon App├ętit, November 2007.  

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Little Thai Turkey Loaves

What's for dinner?
This recipe is adapted from Food Network: Little Thai Turkey Loaves, actually simplified based on what I already have in the kitchen.
These are delicious, fairly quick to put together and very forgiving in terms of ingredients

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Chocolate Mocha Cookies

What's baking?

Unfortunately, I do not remember where the original recipe came from which is a shame because these are delicious and I would like to give the proper credit.  My original recipe is handwritten and barely legible on very brittle paper.

Chocolate Mocha Cookies

4 oz. unsweetened chocolate
3 C semisweet chocolate chips, divided
½ C butter (cut small pieces)
½ C flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
4 eggs, room temp
1½ C sugar
1½ TBS espresso powder
2 tsp vanilla

Pre-heat oven to 350.
Melt unsweetened chocolate, 1½ C chocolate chips and butter over hot water or slowly in microwave, stir until smooth. 
Stir flour, BP and salt in small bowl.

Beat eggs and sugar until thick and pale.  Beat in espresso and vanilla.   Fold in chocolate.

Fold in flour.  Stir in remaining chips.
Let stand 15 minutes.
Drop heaping TBS onto parchment covered baking sheets.  Bake 8-10 minutes until puffy, shiny, crackled.  Cool.  Transfer to rack to cool.

This recipe double easily and the cookies freeze well.  I let batter sit longer, sometimes overnight, if convenient.  I use less sugar, less salt, a bit more vanilla and sometimes more chips at the end.  I try using different chocolates.  This last batch has a combination of Ghiradelli and Trader Joe’s.   What chocolates do you have the most success with in baked goods?  What are your favorites?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Cake Decorating Class

Practicing cake decorating is another one of my New Year's Resolutions that falls into the "just do it" category.  I knew I'd need some structure in order to really practice, so I did some on-line research and found Wilton Cake Decorating courses.  Several were supposed to be starting soon at local craft stores.  I assumed I would register on-line and then show up for the first class.  But it took a little more effort to just do it, for one needs to register in person in the store.  Well, I guess I am fortunate to live between two sets of Michaels and ACMoores.  I went to the closest of the four stores first, but was told that their schedule for class times was not yet available. At the second store there was only one other person registered for the class so there was the distinct possibility that it will not run this month.  Finally, at the third store, I was able to sign up!  I'm very excited and already have some tools ready to go, although my instructions say we only need to bring paper and pen for the first class!  Have you taken these classes before and what suggestions do you have on how to get the most out of the course?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Social media: more or less connected?

"Social media make you more social, more involved, not less" was the argument of this article Connected, not just online that I read with my morning coffee.  "People who use social media have larger, more diverse "discussion networks" - groups of people with whom they share important issues - than those who don't.  And social media users tend to be more, rather than less, involved in their communities."  Being a member of the boomer generation

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Why blog, continued

My New Year's resolution to get organized is actually a bit broader than just dealing with my recipes.  There are various other areas of my life that could use some help and by sharing I hope to become a bit more organized and to learn from others along the way.  By posting some of my architectural projects, as well as others, we can share design ideas. And I can document for my children what our house looked like while they were growing up, before we remodeled several spaces, just in case they want to remember outdated 80's!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Why Blog?

Several New Year's resolutions have led me to this blog. One is to organize and record my favorite recipes so my children and my nieces and nephews will have them (if and when they want them) and so I can find and sort through them more easily and to be more efficient when a friend asks me for one. I have files and piles of papers with recipes, some handwritten, some typed, some from newspapers, in addition to shelves of cookbooks and magazines. Last week someone requested my chocolate mocha cookie recipe. I found it very quickly for I had baked them recently, hence the request, but the ink on the paper was so faded it was barely legible anymore, especially to someone who hasn't mixed that batter a hundred times already and the paper was a bit brittle (not that I am that old) so it was time to think about how to share my love of baking!