Monday, October 25, 2010

Anniversary cake

I challenged myself last week to see just how good of a decorator I could be & excitedly agreed to bake a cake for my sis's anniversary
(her idea, a simple cake for a few goodfriends ..pufft...simple cakes are found at grocery stores, my cake had to be the kind we find in the magazine... something to get a 'WOW' out of her).

The prep work, the baking, the decorating to the debut of my latest cake was a huge success & the best part was that couple absolutely adored the cake. That makes the sleepless nights all the more worthwhile. Although I had the cake secure enough to travel down 3 hrs so it wouldn’t move, the mental image of my cake shimmering like jello all the way to the 'big apple' consumed my thoughts. My 3 hrs were consumed by mentally sketching & erasing the imaginary masterpiece shatter. Lucky for me, all that I imagine doesnt turn out true!

Among the compliments came all the queries on the process of getting this done.I sheepishly had to reveal it wasn't that big a deal & the cake baking was super easy as well as the decorating, especially since i use the 'box mix' cakes to craft my decoration. Because I trust my box mix wholeheartedly, I can confidently offer to make a party perfect display, If I may say so myself! Check it out!

The cake recipe was 4 boxes of white cake mix for a 10', 8' & a 6'cake. I'm a total cheat to use a premade/ measured box, but that’s A-OK. With this type of cake, where there are other details and things to take care of, I think it’s perfectly fine to cheat.

Friday, October 22, 2010

blueberry crumb bar



I'm on a" bake high" lately. This was what consumed my thoughts as I was making  mini cheesecake bite  last eve. My latest sugar fix was the cranberry crumb bar from Dunkin Donuts. As much as I love how moist & crazily delicious dried cranberries were, I am partial towards my favourite berry to bake: blue berries.
A quick check of the pantry to make sure I had all the ingredients on hand, a nod of approval from my kids( with the cake, cheesecake, frosting & stuff, I surely needed the extra sets of hands) a quick trip to attic hunting for my fluted pan later, I was all set to make this for the upcoming party this weekend. What better way than to share, my latest craze as I absolutely don't want to indulge in a tray full of 'hard to resist' goodies alone. Since 'hips definitely don't lie', use your judgement while indulging in more than 2.

5 cups blueberries ( fresh, frozen, canned- any)
3/4 cup sugar (brown)
Zest and juice of one lime
2 tsp cornstarch

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 sticks unsalted butter, cold
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 9×13 inch pan. Mine was a fluted side pan so I used a pastry brush to grease butter to get every nook of the dents smothered with butter. You can easily grease the regular Pyrex glass dish with a paper towel.

In a medium bowl,mix in all the ingredients listed under 'crumb'. Use a fork or pastry cutter to blend in the butter and egg. Dough will be crumbly which is what we want ( resist the urge to make a smooth powdered crumb). Pat half of dough into the prepared pan. Save the second half for the topping.

Seperately, mix together sugar, cornstarch and lime juice. Gently mix in the blueberries. Spread the blueberry mixture evenly over the crust. Crumble remaining dough over the berry layer. Bake in preheated oven for 40-45 minutes, or until top is slightly brown, whichever comes first.
Cool completely before cutting into squares.
Makes 36 decent sized squares or rectangular 18 bar.

Mini Cheesecake bites

WARnInG:These beauties will cause extreme satisfaction and may complicate weight loss.

Today's a day to celebrate. It is thuuuhh 10th yr anniversary of one a favourite couple of mine, P&S. The couple was gracious enough to let me bake their anniversary cake which I excitedly offered to make. It was a very bold move on their part as I haven't baked a cake in a while now( latest memory of a homemade cake was sometime in march).
This occasion gave me a chance to dream of the beautiful cakes & bite sized pastries that I could make for their party.....along came these beauties.

A very basic cheesecake recipe, simple graham cracker crust mixture, mini muffin liners + cooking spray gave birth to these little 'irresistible' cupcakes cheesecake disguising as a cupcake.
Recipes (fail proof one like this) can be found on Philadelphia cream cheese wrapper or a honey maid graham cracker box & all over the Internet.
 Here's mine:

2(16 oz) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
3 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
blend well to form a smooth, lump free mixture.

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoon sugar brown
3 Tbs unsalted butter, melted
Mix together

Line mini muffin pan with liners & spray with cooking spray lightly. Spoon in about a teaspoon of crust mixture & pat it to form a base. bake 3-5 mins. Remove from oven, spoon in 2/3 full of cream cheese filling mixture ( about 1 tablespoon full). bake for about 20-25 minutes at 350. Cool & serve chilled.

To fancy these beauties & add variety, drop in (before baking) crushed oreo, toffee its, choc chips, peanut butter chips, shredded coconut+ pineapple, m&m's, Reese's pieces, jams etc... possibilities are endless.
My kids opted for choc chips & a few plain ones which will be beautifully adorned with a dollop of whipped cream, blackberries & mint.

G's note:
The crust can also be made of nilla wafers, oreo's & digestive biscuits.
Can be frozen for a week without losing any flavor as long as its stored in an airtight container & foil wrapped on the outside( if it lasts).