The Cake Slice Bakers are coming to the end of our baking adventures with Great Cakes by Carol Walter. As stated many times previously this was not the most well received book. A couple of months ago we found our stride by having the option to choose one of several cakes rather than just voting for one. For this month’s reveal I chose the Golden Peach Cake.
At the beginning of summer I had high hopes of harkening back to earlier years and preserving a bounty of summer fruits and vegetables. The whole idea made me feel very mother-earth-ish while planning a garden to champion the farm to table movement. Flash forward to today and the mother-earth-ish feeling has been replaced with a myriad of aches and pains that have sapped a good deal of my energy. My in home campaign of farm to table is slightly dampened in deed only, not spirit. Continue reading
Are you onboard with the small desserts craze? This is the perfect way to have your cake and eat it too, without guilt. Well, without much. Ever since I started styling parties and creating dessert tables I’ve been on the hunt for books dedicated to the subject.
Luckily, I found Petite Sweets by Beatrice Ojakangas at my library.
I loved everything about this book, especially the fact that there are lots of pictures. A recipe without an accompanying picture is a huge letdown. The book starts with a list of basic equipment and ingredients that are used for the recipes. This is great information for the novice and veteran baker. There is truly something for everyone. The chapters include: Petite Pies and Tarts, Fruit and Berry Desserts, Mousses and Chilled Desserts, Creams Custards and Frozen Desserts, Pastries and Sweets.
The pictures are mouthwatering and the presentation is simple enough to let you know you can do it. They are also combined with enough elegance for a special occasion.
The most challenging element is deciding what you want to make first. I suggest that you start with the type of dessert that interests you most, say cakes or pies, and then choose 2-3 of your favorites. From there, take an inventory of what you have on hand and work from there. You won’t find a long list of ingredients here that are expensive and you won’t use again. The only ingredients that may not be considered everyday staples would be espresso powder and phyllo dough. Both are easy to find and if you entertain regularly, chances are you’ll use them frequently should you decide to purchase them.
If I had to choose a downside or make a suggestion it would be to include all of the equipment used for the recipes and not just a basic list.
Small sweet treats are wonderful for a dessert buffet or when you want to serve several desserts and not go overboard.
This book is a must share so I’m taking it to the following parties:
Wow Us Wednesday’s
The first time I made this cake was for Father’s Day this year. At that time I proclaimed that it was the “Best Cake Evah”. It still is and this time it was even better. We had dinner at our daughter Charisse’s house on Saturday and me bringing a chocolate cake is a given. Why I only made a nine inch cake is beyond me.
Princess Gabbi is back from her vacation and spent the weekend with us. Of course being the doting Nanni that I am, I made another chocolate cake. The really cool part is that Mr. Sweets is eating it. He has his ice cream of choice (vanilla) and he is a happy camper.
This cake stays moist right until the very last crumb. Which I guess in our family doesn’t take long to reach. This one is flying away fast folks. Here is the link with the recipe for the Best Chocolate Cake Evah!!!
The Community Coordinator on behalf of Williams Sonoma
interested in my own twist on the Classic Bloody Mary…” The one stipulation was that I had to juice the tomatoes. No problem there, I am no stranger to juicing.
Running a baking blog means there’s a fair amount of sugar and saturated fat in my sweet treats. While I do give lots of them away some are just too darn good to part with. In attempt to balance things out so to speak I began juicing. I could tell the difference in my energy level and naturally I dropped a few pounds.
Let me begin with the optional ingredient, Bourbon Peaches. I’m saying optional because everyone doesn’t like boozy desserts. For me, yes please! The peaches I had picked up from the farmers market were about to go south and I couldn’t let that happen. Yes, I could have put them in the freezer but I think they were happier swimming in a Southern Comfort bath. Like who wouldn’t? I had enough peaches to fill one quart mason jar and enough liquor to cover them. So they sat in total darkness blissful, happy and submerged in bourbon for three weeks.
I’ve had blueberries in the freezer for a while. I’ve also been having this ping pong match in my mind about what to do with them. Jam or cake, jam or cake…… While preparing to review the Love Birds Coffee and Tea Cup set I felt a sweet treat would be great to go with it. Cake won woo-hoo!!! I wanted the cake to be lower in fat and cholesterol but still over the top in taste. Tall order I know; and honestly I wasn’t in the mood for lots of trial and error. I’ve seen many crumb cake recipes but have never made one. Ok, so now I’m making a crumb cake. Did I find one that was lower in fat and cholesterol? Yes. Did I make it? Nope.
Imagine opening a well packed box and then finding an item wrapped in corrugated paper, tied with navy grosgrain ribbon, and secured with a wax seal. Come on who does that nowadays? Uncommon Goods does that, and I was immediately impressed upon opening the box. I was sent this Love Bird coffee and tea cup set from Uncommon Goods for review. The opinions stated are my own.
Uncommon Goods has many unique hand crafted items like this one that are suitable for lots of gift giving occasions.
This porcelain set was designed by Lucie Piedra and Meg Oliver and it is quite a conversation piece. The larger cup is for coffee and holds 12 ounces. The smaller one for tea holds four ounces. There is a Zen-like aesthetic to the set which adds to its appeal. Given the size difference between the two you’d think his and hers which is why I could see these being given to honor several milestones in a couple’s life. At first glance you might think, “Ok, how am I supposed to hold on to and drink from this?” We’re used to a cup/mug with a handle to hold on to; this set doesn’t have one. That being said picking up and holding on to the cup by the beak and tail so to speak was different (in a good way) but very comfortable. I was also pleased to discover that there was no substantial heat transfer to the outside of the cups and the beverages didn’t stain the inside. The set is also microwave and dishwasher safe. To look at more one of a kind gift items be sure and visit Uncommon Goods.
I couldn’t resist baking a sweet treat for the Mr and I to enjoy with this set. The Blueberry Lemon Crumb Cake recipe will be posted her soon.
We’re having a bit of a cool spell so I thought I’d bake a batch of brownies before the heat arrives again. Brownies are a perfect stand alone dessert, but from time to time I refuse to leave well enough alone. These brownies are from a box (don’t throw tomatoes at me please) but they received the royal treatment.
I lined a 9×13 pan with foil and made sure there was overhang on the sides for easy removal. This size pan yielded the perfect thickness for cutting rounds from the baked batch. My intent was to use a three inch round cookie cutter but I didn’t have one so I used the lid from a mason jar instead. It worked like a charm. From the 9×13 pan I cut 12 circles and placed them on a wax paper lined cookie sheet. After an overnight stint in the fridge they were ready for the next step.
This nifty circle pan is great for molding as well as baking. Starting off I spritzed a couple of sections with non stick spray which was unnecessary because it’s a nonstick pan, DUH. Placing the crispier side up I molded the brownies into the cavity with my tart tamper. Don’t you just love multi-use tools! The whole pan was covered with foil and placed into the fridge to chill once again. This helped to retain their shape for the next step.
While the brownie cups were chilling I whipped up a creamy bowl of no bake cheesecake filling (a mix again) and started to gather my toppings. The easiest way to fill the brownie molds with the cheesecake is via a piping bag and I used the largest size I had. The three toppings here are, chopped oranges with chocolate shavings, mixed berry puree sprinkled with coconut and chopped walnuts with a drizzle of caramel sauce. Granted there are a few extra steps involved but they are worth it.
Using boxed mixes isn’t the healthiest option but it’s good to have options. Baking a batch of brownies or a simple layer cake from a mix when the temps are cooler can be a lifesaver when you need or want a dessert and it’s hotter than a biscuit outside. I decided to set a quick buffet able and used the brownies as the centerpiece. The details of the table décor is are here.
Starting with something plain lends itself to being adaptable to a myriad of tastes and seasonal treats. You’re going to love what you can do with these. Let me know what other toppings and fillings you’d use, and don’t forget to check out the rest of the table at Around My Table.
This mini dessert buffet is doing some traveling this week. Think of it as the “Where’s Waldo” edition of link parties!!
During my stint as Desserts Editor at Bellaonline we played the dessert name game in the forum. There was a popular game a while back where you took the name of your first pet and added it to the name of the street where you live and that would be your stage name (That’s my polite way of putting it). Here’s a new take on it. The abundance of summer fruits will soon fade away, but we can hold on to them a little longer; peaches in particular.
Peaches are an all around summer favorite, good in pies, cobblers or just eaten plain. For the game use Peaches as the first name and the street where you live as the last, to come up with a yummy dessert. With the dog days of August upon us I‘ve come up with a no bake recipe. If peaches don’t thrill you substitute any summer fruit.
When I started blogging I made a vow to be totally honest about what I thought of every recipe that I shared here so I’m not going to stop now. When I took this pie out of the freezer and dressed it up with the streusel topping and raspberry sauce I thought it looked great. I snapped pictures as usual and then came time for the individual slice shot. That went well also. Then it was time to taste it. Oh-my-gosh I hated it!!! The taste was good; it was the frozen little chunks of peaches that threw me off.
There was no way I was going to toss this so the thinking cap went on……..
Aha! I decided to make a milkshake out of it. I took two slices and ¼ cup of soy vanilla milk and gave it a good whirl in the food processor and it was awesome. It still had a few itsy bitsy pieces of peaches which gave it texture, along with the graham cracker crumbs and the streusel. So much better than in pie form. I poured it in a small brandy sniffer, added a striped straw and a tiny red tasting spoon. Great Save!
One more thing, even if you don’t make an actual treat play the game and let me know in the comment section what the name of your dessert would be. Remember use Peaches as the first name and the street where you live now or even the street you grew up on as the last name. Game on!!!!
- 1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
- 3 TBS butter, melted
- 2 ½ cups sliced fresh or frozen peaches, chopped
- ¼ cup dark brown sugar
- 1 TBS lemon juice
- ½ tsp almond extract (use this rather than vanilla it makes a huge taste difference)
- 2 cups softened vanilla ice-cream
- Streusel Topping (optional)
- Raspberry Sauce (optional)
- Mix the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter in a small bowl until the butter is incorporated. Spread the crumb mixture in the bottom and up the sides of a 9 inch pie dish or pan.
- In a food processor fitted with the knife blade add peaches and next 3 ingredients.
- Process for a minute, making sure to stop at least once to scrape down the sides.
- Pour peach mixture into a large bowl and gently fold in the ice-cream.
- Pour over crust.
- Cover and freeze about eight hours.
- Let it sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before serving.
- Garnish with streusel and raspberry sauce if desired.
What’s a party without dessert? These are the linky parties I participate in. Drop by and show them a little love!