TWD – Coconut Tea Cake

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I’ll go ahead and keep this short in hopes that I’ll save some time and get some other posts typed up because I have some pretty yummy stuff waiting in the wings :)

This cake isn’t exactly my cup of tea, mainly because the texture throws me off. It might be my fault and I could have over-baked it (although I baked mine ten mins less than the lesser time) and it seemed to teeter between moist and dry.

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The coconut flavor wasn’t as prominent as I thought it was supposed to be and the rum was a wasted liquid. Maybe my rum just sucks? But I didn’t taste it. At. All. Don’t get me wrong, this is a tasty cake. My co-workers seemed to like it and I sent 95% of this cake to work with the fiance and he said that “it went very fast and was liked very much.”

All in all it came together quickly and baked up pretty. Dust with a bit of confectioners sugar, serve alongside a cup of your favorite tea and you’re in business.

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Thanks to Carmen of Carmen Cooks for choosing this recipe and getting some of my coconut out of the freezer :) Her blog is set to private, but you can find the recipe here!

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Up next week: Mocha-Walnut Marbled Bundt Cake

SMS – Completely askew Double Crusted Caramel Apple Pie (Minis)

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“I’m going to make minis” I say. “I won’t eat an entire apple pie anyhow. Ok… I SHOULDN’T eat an entire pie” I say. “Pie crust hates me anyhow” I say. “My pie crusts always come out slightly crappy. I’ll half the pie dough and make minis” I say.

Sometimes I wish I would just learn to keep my big trap shut. I decided to make minis mainly because my pie crusts have always been nothing short of disappointing. Always. Not one instance where my pie crust has turned out flaky and delicious. Well, until now. OF COURSE!! I swear the baking gods hate me sometimes.

I can chalk my pie dough up to actually taking care to follow the steps and to put everything in the freezer before it was to be used. Cold butter, cold shortening, cold flour even. I used the maximum amount of water that was listed and although I though I needed more, I stopped. Rolling it was a bit of a pain because it wanted to crack on me BUT I didn’t really care because I thought it would suck anyhow. Psh.

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On to the caramel. HA!! The god bless me once and damn me in the same pie. I tried THREEEEE TIIIIIMES (persistent little thing, aren’t I?) to caramelize my sugar and water. And THREE TIMES it seized. It just wouldn’t stay liquidy. I have NO IDEA what I did wrong but I threw the pot in the sink, added cinnamon (1TBSP), nutmeg (1/4 tsp), and allspice (1/4 tsp) to my apples (left out the zest and upped the sugar 2TBSP extra) and went about my pie making.

Halving the recipe left me with 4 ramekins full-o-pie. These are goooood! Eat it waaaaarm and delicious with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top and be quickly transported into apple pie heaven. There is simply no other way :)

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Thank you to Susan of Baking with Susan for Choosing this recipe, how’d you know that I have a weakness for baked apples? But honestly, why didn’t you warn me that I should have made an entire pie? ;) Head on over to her blog for the recipe and be sure to head on over to the other bakers’ blogs to see their (complete) pies.

Happy St. Patty’s Day!!

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I have missed every fun food related “holiday” since, well… ever. I missed Pi Day, Nutella Day, CCC week, Pound Cake Day (or was it week?) either way, I miss EVERYTHING!! So I WASN’T missing the chance to make something awesome for St. Patrick’s Day.

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Enter: Green Velvet Cupcakes! The color is AMAZING!! The texture of these is fluffy and moist and they bake up so pretty!! If you’re looking for drop dead delicious chocolate flavor, look elsewhere. These have a hint of chocolate flavor but vanilla takes the spot light. But there’s something to be said for aesthetics!! I sent half to work with the fiance (and I’m happy to report that they are all gone!) and the other half went to work with me. Not even the UPS guy could turn one down.

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As soon as the green shock-and-awe wore off, there wasn’t a sound. Except the munching and “mmmm, oh yum’s” filling the air. I’ll be using this recipe as my go to Red Velvet cake recipe as well, but I’ll be playing around with different chocolate measurements.

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I topped these with a tad of vanilla frosting (although cream cheese is ideal, but when you discover that you only have half a block left, this can pose a problem. HALF A BLOCK?! Who has HALF a block? Ugh.) and green sprinkles.

They are SURE to delight!!

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Red Green Velvet Cake

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 Tablespoon cocoa (mine was heaping)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
1 cup oil (use 1-1/2 for a layer cake)
1 cup buttermilk
1 Tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 oz. green food coloring (usually one standardย McCormickย bottle)

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Line two cupcake pans with liners.
  • Lightly stir eggs in a medium bowl with a wire whisk. Add remaining liquid ingredients and stir together with whisk until blended. Set aside.
  • Place all the dry ingredients in your mixing bowl and stir together really good with another wire whisk.
  • Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix starting on LOW to get things going(this is ONE ENTIRE BOTTLE of food coloring, you don’t want it on your clothes!) then on medium-high for about a minute or until completely combined.
  • Fill each liner about 2/3 of the way (I had extra batter left over so I filled em up about 3/4 of the way) and then drop the pans on the counter a few times to release any air bubbles.
  • Bake for about 30 minutes for a layer cake and about 18 minutes for cupcakes. Or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  • After about ten minutes, remove from pans and cool completely on a wire rack. I also cover in plastic wrap while the cakes cool.
  • Then make the frosting (which I wasn’t too crazy about but below is the recipe in case you’re interested).

Fluffy Vanilla Frosting
From Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes book

Makes about 4 cups

  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 pound (4 cups) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

  • With an electric mixer, beat butter on medium-high speed until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes.
  • Reduce speed to medium. Add the confectioners’ sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down sides of bowl as needed; after every two additions, raise speed to high and beat 10 seconds to aerate frosting, then return to medium-high. This process should take about 5 minutes. Frosting will be very pale and fluffy.
  • Add vanilla, and beat until frosting is smooth. If not using immediately, frosting can be refrigerated up to 10 days in an airtight container. Before using, bring to room temperature, and beat on low speed until smooth again, about 5 minutes.

After seeing how fun baking something like this for St. Patty’s day was, I vow to bake more fun themed things for foodie holidays. Just do me a favor? Remind me when they are ;)

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TWD – Soft Chocolate and Raspberry Tart

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When I read that this was the next recipe in line for TWD, all I could think was “OMGdrool!” Literally.

Raspberries and dark chocolate are my kryptonite. Along with s’mores, baked cinnamon apples, orange +ย darkย chocolate, the fiance’s smile, and the sleepy look in my puppy’s eyes when he wakes from his nap. But that’s fodder for another day.

I almost scrapped making this tart because raspberries are a whopping $3.75 for one little pack!! Which is crazy talk to me. BUT the fiance saved the day and came home with TWO packs just for me :)

I didn’t change a darn thing about this recipe (except adding more raspberries). The tart dough came together in a flash, I microwaved the chocolate to save on dishes, time and burns (don’t ask). Whipped everything together and in the oven it went. Mine baked for 45 mins (15 mins more than the recipe suggested) it was still a bit jiggly but I was afraid to bake it any longer so out it came, onto the counter overnight to come to room temp.

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Upon walking in the door with this tart in my hands, I was promptly asked to QUICKLY take pictures so my co-workers can dig in. Mmmm-nom-nom-omg-mmmm’s filled the office. Then I was told “this tart is trouble. I’m going to pack it up and take it home with me!”

This tart is nothing short of a hit. It has a buttery, shortbread-like crust, creeeeamy dreamy chocolate filling dotted with plenty of tart raspberries in each bite. I baked this quite late last night so I didn’t have much time (read: tired) to think up extra ways to bring it up a few notches for elegance, but I have plenty ideas now:

  • Add finely chopped nuts (honey roasted peanuts, hazelnuts)
  • Make a raspberry coulis and decorate the plate with it before setting a slice of tart down on top of it
  • Make a thick rasbberry glaze and spread it on top and let it set
  • Drizzle melted dark chocolate on top in decorative patterns
  • Sprinkle shaved chocolate on top
  • Adorn with whipped cream
  • Click here for other ideas, etc.

So have at it and serve this at your next elegant soiree :)

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A big thanks goes out to Rachelle of Mommy? I’m Hungry! for choosing this deliiiicious recipe. Head on over to her blog for the recipe (trust me, you’ll want it) and check in on the other TWDers for their wonderful creations!

SMS – Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

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First and foremost…

HAPPY BIRTHDAY HONEY PIE!!!

I fully expect each and every one of you to sing ‘happy birthday’ to the fiance. At least in your heads ;) He will be working for the majority of the day/night which makes me sad but we celebrated his birthday on Saturday.

Anywho, this… was my first homemade carrot cake. I’m used to the cloyingly sweet frosting and the fakey taste of the ones you find at your Randall’s bakery section.

With that being said, it got rave reviews from everyone who tried it, took it to work this morning and its almost gone, the cake is fluffy and moist, the frosting is creamy and delicious. The only thing I have an issue with is that it didn’t taste much like carrot cake to me. It was actually more of a spice cake than a carrot cake. But good none-the-less.

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I suck at frosting cakes. Not to mention it was getting late and I had zero patience left. BUT I’ll hopefully be taking some classes this year, so look forward to non-crumby, smooth frosting in the future! :)

I know the cream cheese frosting didn’t sit well with some people, so I was hesitant in making it myself, but I couldn’t leave the cake unfrosted, so I took the plunge. And boy am I glad I did. My mother (read: hater of all sweet frostings and overly sweet confections) LOVED the frosting!! She wouldn’t stop sticking her finger in my frosting bowl ;) It did make more than I needed so I sent the leftovers home with her in a bowl to eat at her leisure.

Things I changed:
I added one small can (8oz, I think) drained to the carrots
omitted the orange zest from the frosting
baked in two 9″ cake pans (my layers were very thin as a result)
omitted walnuts

All in all, it was delicious. Simple to throw together and yields a fluffy very moist cake if it isn’t overbaked.

Thank you to Julie of Little Bit of Everything for choosing this recipe and making me take the plunge on this frosting. Head on over to her blog for the recipe and a laugh or two :)

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TWD – Thumbprints (For Us Big Guys)

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I must admit, I used to looooooove the packaged thumbprints in the little baggies. You know the ones: buttery, crumbly “shortbread” dough, odd, hard and chewy “jelly” center. Oh yes, those! I devoured those. I don’t know WHAT it was about them, but I never could resist.

Thumbprints have been on my “baking to do” list for quite some time so I was happy that I no longer had a reason to push them off. I was excited! Which makes me sad to say that I prefer the packaged ones over these. I think it was mostly my fault, but the flavor of the cookies just wasn’t there for me. I might add some orange or lemon zest into the sugar next time for a much needed jolt of flavor. Also, I think I underbaked a bit too much (trying to be cautious) so my cookies were very soft the next day and started to fall apart. DON’T UNDERBAKE them too much. Trust me! You don’t want to walk around taking a bite of a cookie only to have it fall apart all. over. your. shirt. Jam-side-down. Not that it happened to me. I’m just sayin’ …

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I subbed walnuts for hazelnuts (didn’t have hazelnuts, although I’m positive that this would have been great with them), I used raspberry and apricot filling, I halved the recipe and made the cookies a bit bigger (since I didn’t want 30 cookies lying around) and it made 18 cookies.

FYI: I dusted the holy hell out of these cookies with powdered sugar but once I added the jam, it just sort of disappeared. See?

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So in short, what I will change for next time:
quarter the recipe, make smaller cookies (they spread quite a bit)
work zest into sugar.
bake a bit longer until they appear more set.
use hazelnuts, fill with nutella.

Delish.

For the recipe, head on over to Mike of Ugly Food Dude and be sure to check out the rest of the blogroll, as I have a feeling these came out better for them than me. It’s just my luck :)

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