Tag Archives: dessert

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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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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fresh cherry crumble


I thought it would be fun to make a dessert with cherries what with them being in season and all.  Then I realized I’d have to pit the cherries. “How hard could that be?” I thought to myself. A quick google search led me to a YouTube video which suggested using the paper clip method. Well, by the time I was done pitting 4 cups of red, overripe cherries, I was ready to stab myself in the eye repeatedly with that paper clip.

Some wise person told me you could buy fresh Ontario cherries which have already been pitted. I think that’s what I’ll do next time.

Once the cherries were ready, I didn’t much feel like baking anymore. So I settled for a pretty simple crumble recipe which I topped with some amazing homemade vanilla ice cream from a shop up the street! Sweet Olenka’s in Etobicoke seriously makes some of the world’s best ice cream. If you’re ever in town, check them out. You won’t regret it.

Fresh Cherry Crumble
4 cups , pitted cherries
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp white sugar
¾ cup lightly packed brown sugar
½ cup flour
4 tbsp cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
¾ cup old-fashioned oats
4 tbsp sliced almonds
¼ tsp salt

Preheat your oven to 375F.

Spray an oven-safe baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

In a bowl, toss the cherries with lemon juice and sugar. Pour into baking dish.

In another large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. Using your hands add the butter and mix until well incorporated. You want it to be pebbly and crumbly.

Spoon the topping (streusel, if you want to sound fancy) on top of the cherry mixture.

Bake for about 30-35 minutes until the topping is golden brown.

Serve with ice cream, whipped cream or creme anglaise. Enjoy!

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a cake fit for a wee princess!


We celebrated my niece’s first birthday over the weekend. When I found out we’d be having a small celebration for her, I jumped on the opportunity to make her birthday cake. Making all the family’s kids’ birthday cakes has become a bit of a self-imposed tradition, after all! Because of the wee little miss’ love of strawberries, I decided to whip up a fabulous Swiss chocolate cake topped with fresh strawberry butter cream. I have to brag: it turned out magnificently! The cake was delicious and moist, and the icing had just the right amount of strawberry flavour to it. A perfect combo!

Chocolate Cake
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup Dutch process Cocoa Powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
1 cup strong, hot black coffee or espresso
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Prepare 2 x 9″ cake pans with butter and flour or parchment paper.

Sift all the dry ingredients into the bowl of your electric mixer.

Add remaining ingredients to mixture and mix, with your paddle attachment, for 2 minutes on medium speed.

Divide among prepared pans. Batter will be runny.

Bake for 35 minutes. Cakes are done when toothpick or skewer comes clean.

Cool on wire racks for 20 minutes.

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Fresh Strawberry Butter cream
1.5 cup fresh strawberries
2 cups unsalted butter
5-6 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
2 tsp vanilla extract
Heavy cream as necessary

Puree the strawberries a blender or using your immersion blender.

Transfer the strawberry puree to a saucepan and heat over medium heat. Bring to a boil and stir often. Reduce the puree by half. This should take approximately 20 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely. (You can do this step way ahead of time!)

Beat the butter in your electric mixer using your paddle attachment.

Add 1 cup of sugar and beat until just blended.

Add 2 tbsp of puree and the vanilla extract. Beat until just blended.

Add 2 cups of sugar followed by 2 more tbsp of puree. Twice more (I used approximately 6-8 tbsp of puree)

Add the remaining sugar and beat until you achieve the desired consistency. If the buttercream is too runny,add some sifted sugar. If it’s too dry, add some of the heavy cream, about 1 tbsp at a time.

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Cakes and cupcakes galore!


Cakes galore!

I lovingly crafted these cupcakes and this cake for my nephew’s 6 birthday. It’s easy to guess the theme of the party; my sister-in-law threw a little boy’s dream party complete with Padawan costumes, a Darth Vader visit, Jedi training and many treats! I was thrilled when she asked me to make the cake.

I used these brilliant William Sonoma cookie cutters to cut the shapes out of fondant.

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I free-handed the letters using a template I printed out on the computer using a Star Wars font I found and handcrafted the light sabres out of fondant.
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I added some gum paste to the Yoda heads so they would withstand the heat of an outdoor party and not wilt and sag.  I also tried making some Swiss meringue buttercream for the cupcakes. It tasted amazing!

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I’m really thrilled with how they all turned out!

 

 

 

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pouding chômeur


This is a delicious, ridiculously easy dessert I grew up with back home in Quebec. It literally means “poor man’s” pudding and was created during the Great Depression. It uses ingredients that were easy to come by and rather inexepensive at the time,  hence its name.

It’s simply a very basic batter onto which you pour a maple syrup or brown sugar syrup overtop. As the cake cooks, the syrup sinks to the bottom, creating a seperate layer. While I didn’t serve it this way, this recipe is absolutely delicious served straight out of the oven, topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Pouding Chômeur
Cake:
1 1/3 cups flour
3/4 cups sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cups milk
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 egg

Sauce:
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup maple syrup
2 tbsp butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla

Combine all the dry ingredients together in a medium sized bowl.

Beat the milk, egg and butter. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until the whole mixture is wet.

Pour into a well greased 13×9 baking dish.

For the sauce, pour all the ingredients into a sauce pan and heat until it almost boils (don’t let it boil!) and pour over uncooked batter.

Bake at 350F for about 35 minutes. Serve as is, with crème fraîche or ice cream.

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