It is no secret that I love to bake. I could really take or leave cooking. I like to cook as well, but it would be enjoyable if I had more time. The reality is that I have limited time to do either. So, if it comes down to cooking or baking…it is going to be BAKING!
This time the occasion is my dad’s birthday. I went back to my favorite location for baking recipes at the moment…MARTHA STEWART. I can hear my mom and mother in law sigh in disgust; Martha seems to represent someone evil to them. Despite all the stories (oh and the jail thing), I like her recipes and clear instructions. Yes, I know, she probably has an army of people working for her that make her house look so perfect and the kitchen so damn clean when she cooks with everything neatly organized in those little bowls. But, can’t a girl dream….
I would like to think that would be the reality of my life if I didn’t have a full time job. I would flit from one creative thing to another throughout the day while making sure that my sheets were pressed, the roses pinched back and dinner roasting in the oven. Wake UP…you have to go to work tomorrow!!!
So, for the cake….I used the recipe from Martha Stewart for Butter Cake. In addition, here are the details below.
- 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
- 1 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 3/4 cups sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups milk
Shot from the Martha Stewart Baking Handbook
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 9-by-2-inch round cake pans; line the bottoms with parchment paper. Butter parchment, and dust with flour, tapping out excess; set aside. Into a medium bowl, sift together flours, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour; beat until combined after each addition.
- Divide batter between the prepared pans, and smooth with an offset spatula. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until cakes are golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool 20 minutes. Invert cakes onto the rack; peel off the parchment. Reinvert cakes and let them cool completely, top sides up.
First Cake Turned Over - Used My Patience on This One!
Cake All Wrapped up in Refrigerator Overnight
And, here’s the recipe for the amazing chocolate frosting….also from my friend Martha.
- 24 ounces best-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon boiling water
- 3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
- Pinch of salt
- Yellow Butter Cake
- Colored sprinkles (optional)
Melted Chocolate - Make Sure to Cool to Room Temperature Before Mixing w/ Butter/Sugar
- Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over (but not touching) simmering water. Turn off heat; stir occasionally until chocolate has melted completely, about 15 minutes. Set bowl on countertop, and let chocolate cool to room temperature, 25 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, combine cocoa powder and boiling water in a small bowl; stir until cocoa is dissolved.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, confectioners’ sugar, and salt on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add melted chocolate; beat on low speed until combined, 1 to 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in cocoa mixture.
- Using a serrated knife, trim tops of cakes to make level; brush off crumbs. Place four strips of parchment paper around perimeter of a serving plate or lazy Susan. Place the first layer on the cake plate, and spread top with 3/4 cup of frosting. Place the second layer on top, bottom side up, and spread top with 3/4 cup of frosting; repeat process with the third layer. Place the remaining layer on top of the third layer, bottom-side up; insert a dowel into the center of cakes if necessary. Spread entire cake with remaining frosting. Decorate with sprinkles, if desired.
See the Disaster on the Side of the Cake - Fixed w/ A Little Construction
And, of course…my TIPS….these are the embarrassing things that no one else will admit to or tell you how to handle.
- The recipe is for two 9″ layer cakes. The recipe in my cookbook is not clear so I doubled the recipe. So, if you do this and fill up each of the cake pans, you have overflowing goodness on the bottom of your oven. Lovely. If this happens, act quick and place a cookie sheet on the rack below so you don’t have burnt goodness wafting through your house. However, I did have extra cake for my husband which made him happy.
- When you are mixing the flour and milk alternately, the texture seems really weird (kind of lumpy). It turns better as you empty your last batch of flour mixture.
- If you have a gas oven like I do, the baking temperature should really be more like 300 degrees and the time for baking is more like one hour. My oven is calibrated, but it cooks the top and outside too quickly at 350. For baking, I typically lower it by 25 to 50 degrees and bake longer.
- Be patient…HELLO! You think I would know this by now. When you take the cakes out of the oven and let them rest for 30 minutes, follow the instructions. For the first cake, I followed the instructions and turned the cake over onto a wire rack. It is simplest if you use two wire racks on either side to squeeze the cake together. It worked great. I guess I got cocky on my second cake layer and decided to do it by hand. Ooops…the cake broke in half!
- Stick the cake layers in the fridge over night….it will fix everything. Hopefully.
- Put a layer of parchment paper between your cake plate and your cake. I didn’t and it was a pain to clean out the chocolate frosting out of all the little holes of the cake plate. Lovely.
- Cutting even cake layers is harder than it looks. Be patient and don’t cut too deep or you will have crooked layers.
- Use a cold cake to fix your problems. I had a large hole in the side due to #3 above. As a result, I was able to fill this area with some cake cut off the top and do some construction with the frosting.
- DO A CRUMB LAYER OF FROSTING AND THEN PUT THE CAKE BACK INTO THE REFRIGERATOR! Best tip ever…this will make it so much easier to put your second layer of frosting on without crumbs all over the place.
- Make extra frosting for your husband to lick. Otherwise, you will get mad at him!
Cake w/ Crumb Layer of Frosting - Goes Back into Fridge for 30 Minutes
Last, but not least…have fun!
Swirl Textures w/ Frosting & Sprinkles
Making my dad’s birthday cake….made the two 9 inch cakes last night. They are waiting in the refrigerator for frosting. Details to come….
With the football game on and whole lot of procrastination at play (laundry, house cleaning, work, etc), I entered my sewing room. I had no idea what was on the agenda. I organized some fabric and a small stack of fabric caught my eye. With no particular plan in mind, I just started sewing pieces together. And, here’s how it went:
Bliss by Camille Roskelley
Looking at the Colors
Putting it All Together
The Addition of an Aqua Border
So, a few hours and an assembled quilt top. I will leave the back, quilting and binding for an another day. Look for it soon in my etsy shop.
In the next few weeks, I will be working on a 40th Birthday commemorative quilt that should be exciting. The design has been sketched up and approved. Just hunting for the right fabric and will get started in the next week. More to come on that quilt. And, after that, a sweet memory quilt for my niece with all of her baby clothes. I am really looking forward to that quilt. It should be fun to put together.
The week ahead will be very busy. My scheduled is filled every single day already. I am thankful for a few hours this afternoon to create. Taking the time to do those things always makes the stress and intensity of the week more palpable. I enjoy my job every day, but am very mindful of the need to refuel what I call my “love cup.” I do that by creating and when I don’t, everyone knows it!
Thanks for stopping by and have a great week.
Sunday of last weekend was all about creating; creating with someone who wanted to spend ALL DAY making one thing after another. ”After we finish this, do you think we could make something else.” So sweet…my 6 year old niece. What I didn’t expect was to become sick (and I mean really sick) that night with the 48 hour stomach flu. I haven’t been that sick in over 15 years. So, this post is a recap of last Sunday’s fun events (minus the sickness!).
First, we set out on making chocolate dipped marshmallows with a Valentine’s Day theme. Yeah, I know…over 20 days away, but still fun to have a theme. These are super simple and easy to do. First, I would prep the work space if you are going to make this a kid project. I taped wax paper / freezer paper to the counter (shiny side up) and pulled up the stool. I would also use small bowls to set up the different sprinkles for dipping rather than sprinkling onto the chocolate. Dipping is easier (and less messy) than shaking the sprinkles out of a container.
Supplies you will need:
- Place a Candy Stick in Each Marshmallow and set them out ready to go.
- Melt the chocolate
- Start Dipping – Either dip just the end or swirl and get the entire thing.
- Dip into whatever sprinkles you want.
- Set the dipped marshmallows onto the wax paper (stick up) to dry.
- The chocolate will set up and dry within 15 minutes.
- At the end, I swirled the red and white chocolate together to make an interesting effect.
- My niece had the best idea to use the cone shaped plastic pastry bags in my drawer to make small bouquets out of a few of the marshmallows together.
- We placed them in the bag and wrapped a bow around them.
- You could also do singles with a bow tied on them and give them as cute gifts to accompany a Valentine’s Day Card.
All ready for delivery….she wanted to stop at every neighbor’s house along the way home to drop off a little gift. And, last but not least, we sewed her first project. It was a small little bag that came ready to make with her new sewing machine. The funny part was that her new sewing machine was a bit difficult to operate and so I had to break out the instructions. At some point, she instructed to me that this was very boring and can’t we just sew.
Needless to say, we sewed her bag using both machines (hers and mine) and had a great time. Here’s the final result:
I am now feeling much better and hoping to get a few hours of sewing in before the end of this day is over even though I should really clean the house, knock out the piles of laundry, do some work….
I am using pinterest more and more to collect recipes and ideas that I see and want to try. Rather than clip something out of a magazine or bookmark it on the computer and never use it, I seem to really use pinterest to keep ideas and actually try them. I saw this recipe for Pizza Monkey Bread (I call it pull apart) a few weeks ago and pinned it. Then, when checking yesterday for just the right appetizer recipe for my niece’s 6th birthday party, I decided on this recipe.
I used the idea from the recipe above and headed to the store. I decided that I didn’t want to make anything from scratch so I set out to get items that were ready to go.
My Shopping List
Supplies You Need
- Pan – I used a bundt pan. You will want a pan that is somewhat deep so that you can stack the rolls.
- Baking Brush (not required but helpful)
So, when I had all the ingredients on the table and my husband saw the bundt pan, he was a bit confused to say the least. He thought a dessert with pizza sauce????
Here’s how you pull it all together…really simple, but allow yourself a good 15 to 20 minutes to get it oven ready.
- Take butter and garlic over medium head and melt until garlic starts to brown.
- Remove from heat and set aside.
- Take small chunks of pizza dough (a little under a Tbs) and press flat.
- Place a piece of pepperoni and cheese piece in the middle.
- Fold over the dough and roll into a ball. Make sure everything is completely covered in the middle.
- Place in the bottom of your pan and brush the garlic butter sauce on the ball.
- Keep adding to your pan until you have finished all of your dough.
- Cover and let sit for 30 minutes.
- Heat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Cook for 30 to 35 minutes until the top is lightly browned.
- Remove from oven, let sit for 10 minutes.
- Turn your pan over onto your serving dish, add pizza sauce for dipping and you are done!
So, I got too excited and forgot to take a photo of the final product! But, it turned out great and was a hit. It is also very kid friendly. It would also be a fun recipe to try with kids that like to cook. It’s a fun hands on recipe.
Here’s a photo from the website linked above for this recipe…thanks for the assistance in the final photo that I forgot to take. And, yes, it did look something like this.
Check out my pinterest board with all of my pinned recipes for appetizers and entertaining. Hope you have a great Sunday. Hoping for rain here and to get a little sewing in! Wouldn’t that be great!
I am slowly but surely finishing up the home decor in our new home. Surprisingly, I got most of it done in the first few weeks after moving (huge thanks to my mom for the help). I have a few things left to do:
- Window Coverings – I am threatening to make these so be on the lookout.
- House Plants – I could use some greenery in the house.
- Front Entry – Plants & Decor
- Framed Bulletin Board – This is on my list to make myself. Stay tuned.
- Laundry Room – Needs something!
- Garage – Forget it…not mine!
That is pretty much it. Today, I crossed one item off of the list. This was the second bathroom which has been waiting for me to find just the right color combination of towels. I wanted something different and colorful. Today, at Target, I found it. Enjoy the before and after photos. Super simple update that took less than 20 minutes. I already owned the framed prints which worked perfect in the bathroom.
BEFORE – PLAIN JANE
New Shower Curtain & Towels & Few Touches of Turquoise on the Counter
Floor Candles, Photos
Quick and simple…I <3 Target!!!
Have a great week.
I updated the pantry board menu project already with some vinyl letters. You can see the original post here.
I added vinyl adhesive letters using my new Cricut machine which I am learning to use. It was a Christmas present from my husband. I can’t wait to start using it more. For now, I am dabbling. Here’s the update photo:
The menu is already set for next week and the shopping is done. Maybe I will start sharing recipes next week…I am going for simple and quick but fresh. So far, so good. We tried four new recipes last week and all were winners.