Sunday, March 27, 2011

baking heals the heart

Just a few days ago, I suffered a loss of a loved one and it hit me pretty hard. I have taken time off from work to mourn the loss and in this time, rather than just being sad, I have decided to bake.

Today, I followed a recipe in Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook. The recipe is titled "Chocolate Chunk Cookies" on page 75.

I had to add about 1/4 cup of flour to the mixture after it was all mixed after discovering the cookies were baking flat.  Here's a picture of the first batch without the extra flour. See how flat they are? So disappointing.
So once I discovered this, I added the 1/4 cup of all purpose flour to the remaining batter.
This is how they turned out. 100% better, full, round and not thin.

In addition to baking cookies, I made 2 loaves of Banana bread.  One loaf is made with chocolate chips and coconut and the other is just a plain banana bread.  I always add cinnamon to the dry ingredients and stir thoroughly before adding it to the wet mixture.

Banana bread with chocolate chips and coconut
Banana bread

These breads will be a Hit. I have made these in the past and they are devoured within no time at all.

I used Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook for this recipe, but you can tweak it by adding your own "secret" ingredients.

Happy baking.


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Oh my strawberries.. it's Strawberry Creamsicle cupcakes!

Had another summer idea... This is strawberry season and why not make something sweet?  I made a batch of Strawberry Creamsicle cupcakes today.  Fresh strawberries were purchased at Publix, a local grocery store; they are actually from Plant City, FL.  Plant City annually has the Strawberry Festival, from now until March 13th.

The recipe for these cupcakes is quite easy.  Strawberry batter is blended with Fresh cut strawberries baked at 375*F for 19 minutes. Once they cooled, I piped the vanilla Bavarian cream *same recipe used in the Orange Dreamsicles, and made the frosting from scratch.  I like to use the Philadelphia Neufchatel Cream Cheese, twice sifted Powdered Sugar, unsalted butter and Fresh diced Strawberries.

Mmmm mmm good.

Monday, March 7, 2011

dreaming of orange sicles

A few nights ago I dreamt of popsicles, orange dreamsicles.. I use to eat those back when I was a little girl and had a great thought. Make cupcakes that remind me of that same great taste.

So I came up with the Orange Dreamsicle cupcake.

Sweets by Stepheny:  Orange Dreamsicle cupcake

This tasty delight is made with fresh Florida Oranges.  I squeezed the oranges and used the juice in the cake and also in the frosting.  I also took the pulp from the oranges and mixed it with the frosting.  The vanilla Bavarian cream was made with Vanilla Pudding and Heavy Whipping Cream.
The decor is orange rind lightly brushed with corn syrup and brown sugar and then was broiled in the oven until it was just right.

These cupcakes have been by far the Best I have created.  The comments are: Wilson:  "Awesome"   Stephanie and friends: "Oh my gosh, I must have another", "Steph, you make great cupcakes, but this cupcake is by far the Best I have tasted", "Oh, you're making cupcakes for my birthday"

This week I plan on baking Strawberry Cream cupcakes and Banana Bread.


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Ready, Set, Hike!

I have to say this is a foul proof recipe and technique to use when making a football cake for any football party. I made this particular cake for multiple SuperBowl parties.  

It’s quite the hit at any party.

The best store to purchase the football shaped cake pan is at Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft Stores:, Michael’s:, or at your local craft store.  Wilton:, is also another place where you can purchase the football shaped cake pan.  If you don’t want to spend the $12.99 on Wilton’s First and Ten Football Pan, then you simply can use 2 rectangular 11 x 7 x 2 inches pans.  The key with using the rectangular pans is to shape the top of the cake rounded like a football.  Grab your kids’ football or borrow one from the high school, this is a great visual aid, especially when trying to recreate it as edible art.
Wilton Football Cake pan

Basic decorating supplies

The supplies you’ll need for this cake are: 1 Wilton First and Ten Football Pan, *or 2 9 inch round cake pans, 1 box of Dunkin Hines, Betty Crocker or Pillsbury cake mix, 1 4 oz. of Baker’s coconut, 1 8oz. bottle of Wilton Cake Release *certified Kosher, Wilton Decorating disposable bags, Wilton icing tips: 3 and 16, 2-3 16 oz. tub of Dunkin Hines, Betty Crocker or Pillsbury Chocolate Frosting, 1 16 oz. tubs of Dunkin Hines, Betty Crocker or Pillsbury Vanilla or White Frosting, Wilton Icing Colors in White and Green, Cake Board, Fanci-Foil wrap, 1 Glad Ziplock sandwich bag and a football.
You can substitute the 1 16 oz. tub of Dunkin Hines, Betty Crocker or Pillsbury Chocolate frosting with White Frosting. If you use white frosting, then you’ll need Wilton Icing color in Brown.
Follow the directions on the cake mix as directed and ensure the cake pan is greased with the Wilton Cake Release.  Once the batter has been poured in the cake pan, bake as directed.  Once the cake has fully cooled on a wire rack, it’s time to decorate.
Let’s decorate your Football Cake!
Step 1.  Take the Fanci-Foil and apply it to the cake board, these can be purchased at Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft Stores, Michael’s or at your local craft store. Once the Fanci-Foil has been applied place the cooled football cake on it. 
Step 2.  You’ll need Wilton Icing Tips 3 and 16 and the Chocolate or brown icing.  Place the football for visual aid on the counter and reference this quite often, when icing the brown and white areas of the cake. Fill the Wilton Decorating disposable bag with the chocolate or brown icing using tip 3. Decorate the areas of the football that are brown using this icing bag.  Once you have completely decorated the areas of the football in the chocolate icing, dispose of the remaining frosting back in the tub, cover and place in the refrigerator.  Clean the tip 3 for later use.
Step 3. Using tip 16, place the white frosting in a Wilton decorating bag and get ready to frost the 2 stripes of the football. 
Step 4.  Use the same decorating bag in Step 3. with tip 16 for the laces, create a long straight line down the center.  Please reference your football.
Step 5.  Using tip 3, place the white frosting in the Wilton decorating bag and frost the laces, 7 horizontal short lines.
After the cake is fully decorated with the frosting, you’ll need to add “grass”.  Place a small drop of Wilton icing color green in a Glad Ziploc sandwich bag with the bag of 4 oz. Baker’s coconut. Shake the coconut, coating all the coconut until all pieces are green.  Next sprinkle the green colored coconut all around the edges of the football cake.

This cake serves between 15-18.

Place the cake in the center of the table for all to admire and enjoy.  

Happy baking!