a tv cake? you want a tv cake?


That was my first reaction to my nephew’s cake request for his 5th birthday.

What on earth is a TV cake? And why does a five year-old want one? I prodded a little more. “Well,” he said, “Since I’m having a movie party. I’d like a TV cake.” I tried to offer him some alternate ideas but his mind was made up. I had a couple of weeks to figure out how to design a TV cake. I decided to combine the TV along with the movie they’d be watching, Monsters University, and came up with this:

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Not bad, right? The kids loved it too… Only mine had no idea what the buttons on the side of the screen were. Glad I didn’t decide to make an old-school shaped television!

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pulled pork with apple coleslaw


“What’s the secret to your pulled pork?” people ask. I stutter, and stumble and blush and try to come up with an answer.

Because the truth is my secret is a pouch of Clubhouse slow cooker seasoning and a couple of pork tenderloins I toss in the slow cooker. I haven’t been able to make a pulled pork that comes out as tender and tasty as when I use the spice mix. My only complaint is the amount of sodium, otherwise the ingredients are pretty straightforward.

The real secret to this delicious meal though is the apple cole slaw. The tartness of the slaw and the sweet & savoury pork is a perfect combination.

Apple cole slaw
4 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp cup packed light brown sugar
1 tbsp cup apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp minced celery
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups shredded green cabbage
1 large carrots, shredded
1 Granny Smith apple, grated

Combine the first 7 ingredients to make your sauce. Add the cabbage, carrot & apple. Toss lightly until the slaw is well coated.

Chill for at least an hour and serve as a side, or on top of the pulled pork.

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peanut free “peanut butter”, banana, chocolate chip & oat bars


I mentioned a few posts back discovering Sally’s Baking Addiction through a cooking challenge on a forum I’m on. I perused the site a little more after trying out that recipe and found this one which I thought sounded absolutely delicious: peanut butter, chocolate, bananas? Sounds like the perfect combination to me. It was!

I made some substitutions, namely the pb for WOW butter swap (so that my eldest could take the bars to school) and added a couple of tablespoons of ground flax and some shredded coconut. The parts turned out moist, delicious and they freeze very well.  Perfect to have on hand for school snack time.

Peanut Free “Peanut Butter”, banana, chocolate chip & oat bars
2 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup brown sugar, loosely packed
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 tbsp ground flax
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/3 cup WOW butter
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Spray 8×8 square baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside.

Mix together oats, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Add in the milk, vanilla, and egg. Mix together until evenly combined. Add mashed bananas, WOW butter, chocolate chips, and shredded coconut. Stir well.

Pour the mixture into the pan and bake for 20 minutes. Allow to cool and cut into bars.

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chocolate cake with ganache & raspberry filling


I’ve been in quite the cooking rut lately; sprinkle rushed evenings with cranky kids and a touch of culinary burnout and you find yourself with lots of repeat meals, breakfast for dinner and (gasp) takeout. I haven’t been slacking in the cake department, however. I whipped up this fantastic cake for our office Christmas party last weekend. It is probably one of the best chocolate cakes I’ve made in a very long time!

Although a few mishaps occurred along the way – the cake was supposed to be a 3-layer one, and the Christmas trees I’d first made were much prettier before I dropped the cookie sheet they were sitting on and smashed most of them – it was a pretty straightforward cake to create. I’ll be trying it again for our family Christmas dinner this year.

Chocolate Cake with Ganache & Raspberry Filling
1/3 cup chopped semi-sweet chocolate
1 1/2 cups hot coffee (brewed or instant, it doesn’t matter. It does need to be hot to melt the chocolate, though.)
3 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 300F.

Grease & flour 3 9″ cake pans. I find it easier to line the bottom of the pan with a piece of parchment paper and grease the sides.

In a bowl, pour the hot coffee over your chopped chocolate chips. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted.

In a large bowl, sift together your dry ingredients.

In your mixer, beat your eggs for about 3 minutes. Add the oil, buttermilk, vanilla and melted chocolate. Beat until just combined.

Gradually add your dry ingredients and mix on medium speed until just combined.

Divide the cake batter evenly among the three pans.

Bake for about 1h to 1h10 until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Cool the cake completely on cooling racks.

Once cooled, carefully wrap each layer in plastic wrap and freeze for a few hours.

Ganache
3/4 cups of semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cups of heavy cream

In a small saucepan, heat the cream until warm. Make sure not to boil!

Add the chocolate and stir until blended. Set aside.

Raspberry filling
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 cup water
8 oz raspberries
2 tbsp cornstarch

In a small sauce pan, heat all the ingredients until heated through. Using an immersion blender, pulse the sauce a couple of times to make it smooth. Pour the sauce in a small bowl and refrigerate.

Chocolate Trees
1 cup of dark chocolate, chopped

Melt chocolate over double boiler. Remove from heat and cool to luke warm.

While the chocolate cools, line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Pour chocolate into a piping bag and draw out your trees on the paper. Place the trees in the fridge until cool and you are ready to use them.

Almond Buttercream
1 1/2 cups softened butter
4 cups icing sugar
1 tsp almond extract
2-3 tbsp heavy cream

In a large mixer bowl, cream your butter on low-speed.

Gradually add icing sugar, one cup at a time.

Add whipping cream and almond extract. Keep mixing and adding whipping cream until your icing has reached your desired consistency.

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Now it’s time to assemble your cake. Take your cake layers out of the freezer. Level each cake by trimming the top until both sides of the layers are perfectly flat.

Lay out your first layer and pipe a dam around the edge of your cake. Make it at least 3/4″ high. I learned the hard way and all my filling started pouring out!

Pour 1/2 of the chocolate ganache on the layer. Now pour 1/2 half of the raspberry filling on top.

Place your 2nd layer on top and repeat.

Top with your third layer and frost the cake with your remaining icing.

Take your chocolate trees out of the refrigerator. Pipe some butter cream on the back of the trees and place them on the cake.

Enjoy!
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showing off another one of my cakes


If you’re a regular reader, you know that I love  making kids’ birthday cakes! I’m really quite proud of the monster cake I created for my eldest’s 6th (yes, SIXTH!) birthday party. It was rather simple to make and I took a few shortcuts but it turned out great! All the kids loved it. The only negative experience was not having enough eyeballs for all the party guests. If I was to make it again, I’d have a 9-eyed monster!

T had requested a Sully (from Monsters Inc.) cake which I decided was impossible for me to make. Instead, I decided to create my own interpretation of Sully and made purple cake with blue icing.

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The eyeballs were really quite easy to make! I bought a box of pre-made Rice Krispie squares and one full square rolled out into the perfect size…!
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Then I coated them in some white, premade fondant (yep! I didn’t even make my own this time!) to cover the eyes. I cut out some extra white pieces for the monster’s teeth. Then, I coloured the rest of the fondant in the colours I needed for the eyes and made some extra black for the mouth. I used a bit of vodka brushed on the different fondant pieces to make them stick together. Worked like a charm! Stuck a few cake-pop/lollipop sticks in them and they were done!
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As for the icing, I just made a regular buttercream and iced it using a grass (233) tip. I started around the bottom and worked my way around and then up. It’s pretty hard to mess anything up using that tip. It’s pretty straightforward. If you do mess up, just go over the problem spot again with some more icing. You can never tell!

The birthday boy loved his cake and has requested another one for next year… Although i’m sure he’ll change his mind by then!
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buttermilk pancakes


Oh buttermilk pancakes? How did I ever live without you? I don’t know how I did not know about buttermilk pancakes until now but from now own, they’re all I’ll ever make. Fluffy, light and full of flavour… Perfection!

I discovered this recipe about a month ago while I was looking for ways to use up a litre of buttermilk I’d purchased for a recipe that only needed approximately 3/4’s of a cup’s worth. I was so surprised and impressed at how lovely the recipe turned out. So were the kids, I thin. They have demanded pancakes every weekend ever since I first made them.

This recipe makes a pretty large batch, but I make it on the weekends and keep the batter in the fridge so I can whip up some quick pancakes for breakfast during the week.

Buttermilk Pancakes
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
2 1/2 cups buttermilk (If you don’t have any buttermilk on hand, add 1 tbsp of vinegar to every 1 cup of milk and allow to stand for 5-10 minutes)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Heat your pan over medium heat.

Whisk together your flour, baking powder & soda, salt and sugar. Add eggs, buttermilk and vanilla extract. Whisk to combine, but don’t overmix. You want some small lumps in there!

Use a 1/4 cup measure to dole out your batter. Cook until the pancakes have bubbles on top and the edges are slightly dry. Flip over and cook another minute or so, until the bottoms are golden too. Serve with a pat of butter on top and some warm maple syrup.

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korean beef bowl


Yet another fantastic Pinterest find! It’s probably far from authentic Korean beef but delicious nonetheless. It is one of the easiest recipes in our meal rotation. The entire cooking process takes about 15 minutes, and that includes making the rice to go along with it. Perfect for one of those rushed nights! I doubled the recipe the first time I made this to make lunches for the week, and most of it was gone by the end of the meal. My eldest ate three kid-sized bowls of it! I, myself, was very tempted to lick my bowl clean.  We’ve made it several times, since!

Korean Beef Bowl
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp crushed red-pepper flakes
1 tsp minced ginger
1 tbsp vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground beef
2 green onions, thinly sliced
Cooked rice
Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish

Whisk together the sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil and red pepper flakes in a bowl.

Heat your vegetable oil over medium high heat, add garlic and ginger. Sautee until aromatic. Add your beef and cook until browned and crumbled. Add the soy sauce mix and green onions. Stir until well combined. Simmer for about 2 minutes. Serve with rice and sprinkle some sesame seeds on top for garnish.

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