Upside Down Sweet Cherry Cake

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All sorts of things went wrong with this particular recipe! Mainly being is I did not have enough cherries for this cake and had to improvise with other fruits I had in the fridge!  Also the caramel was dripping in the oven which caused it to smoke up a bit and cause our smoke alarms to go off often. Comical when trying to use a small hotel kitchen but the taste was all that matters and what we ended up with was a delicious rustic sweet dessert!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter a 9 inch square or round nonstick surface baking pan.  First make a caramel topping.  Melt butter in sauce pan over medium heat and then stir in sugar and lemon juice (preferably with wooden spoon). As mixture boils it will turn from beige to amber brown.  Once that happens remove from heat and pour the caramel into the prepared pan. Set aside to cool for about 10 minutes.  Place cherries (with pitted side facing up) on top of caramel.

CARAMEL TOPPING

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter (2 ounces)
  • 3/4 cup ( 5 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 4 cups pitted sweet cherries

CAKE

  • 1 3/4 cups (8 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (6 ounces) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of sugar (8 ounces)
  • zest and juice from 1 orange
  • 2 eggs separated
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup sour cream (7 1/2 ounces)

Sift the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl.  Using a hand-held mixer cream the butter, sugar and orange zest together on medium speed for 3-5 minutes until light and fluffy.  Add egg yolks ONE AT A TIME. Then stir in flour mixture (in three additions) alternating with the sour cream in two additions beginning and ending with the flour mixture and scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally.

In a clean bowl whisk the egg whites until soft peak forms.  Fold half of the whites into the batter incorporating them fully into the batter.  Carefully pour the batter over the cherries.  Bake for about 45-50 minutes or until top of the cake is firm.  Again like i stated the caramel started to drip when I first put my cake in the oven so I had to use a baking sheet to put underneath my cake pan.  The cake has a lot of moisture from inside the cherries.  Cool the cake in its pan on a wire rack for about 30-40 mins before removing from pan.

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Red Velvet Donuts with Egg Nog Glaze

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As you all know our house caught on fire and burned last week and we are now staying in a hotel until we can find a temporary home. I have been feeling depressed lately and haven’t been baking much, however this morning I decide to get out my funky mood and utilize our hotel kitchen and bake some donuts.  Furthermore, I thought why not red velvet donuts with an egg nog/white chocolate glaze! YUM! This recipe calls for only half a dozen donuts in your donut bake pan.

  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • ⅓ cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted and cooled (can also use melted butter)
  • 2 tablespoons of non-fat plain Greek yogurt (for moistness! you can also use sour cream like I did)
  • ½ tablespoon of oil (I used canola oil but you can also use vegetable or olive oil)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ teaspoon distilled white vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon red food coloring (depending on how red you want the donuts) 

If you do not have a donut pan invest in one IMMEDIATELY! Michael’s happened to be having a sale where they had 50% off one item so I bought this donut pan and other baking goods! Original price is $9.99 but after my discount just paid $5 and some change for it! Not bad!

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Lightly spray donut pan with baking spray.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg and salt.
  4. In a liquid measuring cup, pour in the buttermilk and whisk in egg, melted coconut oil, Greek yogurt or sour cream, vanilla extract, distilled vinegar and oil.
  5. Add the liquids to the flour mixture stirring with a rubber spatula until just combined. (I used my hand mixer on low)
  6. Add red food coloring a little bit at a time while stirring until desired color has been reached.
  7. Using a small spoon fill each donut pan about ⅔ of the way full or you can transfer the donut batter to a ziplock or pastry bag and squeeze in. (I used a spoon)

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8. Bake for 7-8 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean and cool in pan for 5 minutes before moving to wire rack to cool completely before adding glaze.

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For the glaze I used the Eggnog Ghirardelli Chocolate melted in the microwave and just dipped my donuts in the melted chocolate for the glaze! It was soooo good!

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I am trying to decorate our hotel room more to feel like home. Just trying to make the holidays a bit brighter for my family :)  HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL MY READERS!

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recipe adapted from Life Made Sweeter

Be Thankful

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I will not be baking for awhile due to the fact that our house caught on fire yesterday.  Everyone in my family is ok thank God and our neighbors homes were not damaged either. What a relief! But I am still saddened that I will not have a kitchen for now to bake in or a home to spend the holidays with my family.  Just want to take a moment to tell everyone to be thankful you never know when your life or circumstances can change in an instance. I am so thankful no one was hurt I have a lot to be happy and thankful for.  Wishing everyone the best and thankful for all my readers and to everyone who has supported me and my blog.  Be thankful and tell the ones you love they are appreciated. You just never know..

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On Sundays We Bundt!

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Just a lazy Sunday and we are putting up the tree.  I wanted to make something fairly easy so I adapted this original recipe from Bundt Queen herself Kiss My Bundt which this was originally a red velvet recipe but of course I forgot to add the red food coloring!

Red velvet bundt

  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk (I used low fat) 
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar (I used white wine vinegar) 
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups flour (I used cake flour) 
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

Glaze

  • 9 oz. dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tbsp. corn syrup (light or dark)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease and flour a large bundt pan, or spray it with a flour-based cooking spray such as Bake Easy or Baker’s Joy.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar and vanilla with an electric hand mixer at medium speed.In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda and cocoa powder.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, in three additions. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45-50 minutes in an aluminum pan or about 40 minutes in a dark non-stick pan. The cake is ready when a toothpick tester comes out clean.  Remove from oven and let cool in pan 10 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.  Place wire rack inside a large jelly roll pan with a lip.  Let stand at room temperature while you make the glaze.
  4. For the glaze, place heavy cream in a large microwaveable bowl.  Heat in the microwave at 40 second intervals until very hot but not boiling (you can do this on the stove top if you don’t have a microwave). Stir in chopped chocolate. Let stand for 3 minutes then begin gently stirring mixture.  You can use a whisk, but do not whisk vigorously as it will create air bubbles in the finished glaze.  When chocolate and cream are thoroughly mixed and smooth, add corn syrup.  Stir until combined. Transfer to a 4-cup measure with a pour spout. *Note: Corn syrup can be omitted if desired.  It is used to give the glaze an extra glossy appearance.
  5. Pour glaze over entire surface of the cake. Allow the cake to stand until the glaze dripping subsides. Lift the rack from the jelly roll pan and pour excess chocolate in the pan back into the 4-cup measure.  Rewarm glaze for 20-30 seconds in the microwave if it has thickened. Stir, then pour a second coat over the entire surface of the cake. Transfer the cake to a serving plate or cake stand using a large spatula on one side of the dessert and a hand supporting it on the other side.

**It is also important to note I always sift my dry ingredients and mix them together before I added them to the wet ingredients. I also added some chopped almonds on top of the glaze! 

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Peppermint Rose Meringues

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I have never made meringues before and on a whim wanted to try to make them yesterday evening.  I knew off the bat I wanted them to taste and look like ‘peppermints’ and I would probably end up using my rose tip decorator for the shape of the cookies.

To get started I basically followed this guide HERE on how to make the perfect meringue! To get started you will need:

  • 6 egg whites (room temperature)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Cream of Tartar
  • 1 cup of super fine sugar (I broke my granulated sugar in my Ninja Blender)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Pure Vanilla extract 1/2 teaspoon Pure Peppermint Extract
  • One drop of red food coloring
  • One rose pastry tip decorator

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Beat egg whites in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until frothy.

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Add cream of tartar; beat until soft peaks form. Increase speed to medium-high.

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Add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until sugar is dissolved and stiff peaks form.  Continue beating until the whites are stiff and glossy. Add vanilla and peppermint extracts and beat for 30 seconds more. Place in two separate bowls.  In one bowl add ONE DROP OF RED FOOD COLORING. Mix until color blends.

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Preheat to 200°F.  Line your baking sheets with parchment paper sheet and began to place the meringue in pastry tube.  Alternate between filling the pastry tube with the ‘white’ meringue and the ‘red’ meringue.  Should come out swirl like when it comes out of the tube.

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Bake the cookies until dry and crisp throughout, about 1 1/2 hours. Transfer the pans to wire racks and let the cookies cool to room temperature, about 15 minutes.

Well my cookies come out pink in color and didn’t really look like a peppermint to me although they sure did taste like it! I think 1/2 teaspoon of Pure Peppermint extract may have been a tad too much next time I will cut back on that and maybe add more drops of red food coloring.  Other than that the cookies came out delicious!

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Raspberry Focaccia

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For those who are new to my blog I just started my baking journey earlier this year.  For now I am a self taught home-baker (until I go to pastry school next year) and I love to make my baked goodies from scratch.  When I say scratch I mean literally working from the yeast up.  I have only worked with yeast a handful of times, as I have learned that making different types of breads is fairly easy.

There are several different variations on how to make focaccia but I wanted to make my version with raspberries.  Focaccia is an oven baked flat bread very popular in Italy and most usually seasoned with olive oil and herbs.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tbsp of dried yeast
  • 2 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour (plus extra for dusting)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar (and 1 tbsp for  sprinkling)
  • 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil (and extra for greasing)
  • 10oz Raspberries (any berries will do)
  • powdered sugar (optional)

In a small bowl sprinkle the yeast over 4 tablespoons of lukewarm water. Let stand for 5 minutes until dissolved and stirring only once.

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In a large bowl combine the flour, salt and sugar.  Mix and make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the dissolved yeast, 4 tablespoons of olive oil, and 1 cup of lukewarm water.  Keep mixing to form a smooth dough. The dough should be soft and sticky, avoid adding more flour to dry it out.

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Flour your hands and dough.  Find a space to knead your dough and flour the surface.  Knead dough for 5-7 minutes until smooth and elastic.  Transfer to a greased bowl and cover with damp kitchen towel for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

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After the 2 hours your dough should have risen and doubled in size (see pictures below)

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Take dough out of bowl onto floured surface and ‘punch’ the dough to take the air out and flatten on surface.  Let sit for 5 minutes cover with kitchen towel.  Then place dough onto an oiled 15x9in pan and flatten with hands.  Spread raspberries onto the dough and sprinkle the remaining sugar over dough and let stand for another 15 minutes.

Brush your dough with oil before going into the oven and bake at 400 degrees for 15-10 minutes or until dough has turned a light golden brown! Take out and let cool on rack and serve immediately.  I used a sifter and sprinkled powdered sugar over my focaccia, YUM!

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Homemade Apple Pie

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I wish I had a recipe for this but I don’t.  Truth is this is the first time EVER I have made a pie from scratch. From the crust to the filling everything was homemade.  Actually no one cooked in my family this year, we opted for catering at our favorite restaurant.  My son has been sick with a yoyo fever for the past few days with it hitting 102 yesterday and I didn’t want to be stressed and overwhelmed with making a Thanksgiving dinner.  I did want to at least try to bake a pie.  It was my goal for the day. I had been running around all day.  My process was frustrating, I felt defeated at times, I didn’t know what I was doing, I was saddened about current events going on, my son’s fever, and the pie was driving me mad.  I sat down almost shedding a tear at how upset I was….and then I started to reflect…on the positive. I sat for about 5 minutes and then started baking and didn’t stop until this is what I came up with.  Not the best or prettiest but I baked it with love.  Wishing everyone peace and love at this time.  HAPPY THANKSGIVING!! 

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Blackberry Jam Ice Cream with White Chocolate Shavings

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In my previous blog post I made some simple yet tasty HomeMade Blackberry Jam and had a small container of leftover jam that I decide to make homemade ice cream!

Know the Difference?

  • Sorbet — contains no dairy; is very light in flavor
  • Sherbet — contains fruit, but also dairy and is lighter than ice cream
  • Frozen Yogurt — Contains dairy that has been cultured; resembles soft ice cream
  • Ice Cream — Must have at least 10% milk fat; may or may not contain eggs
  • Gelato — Ice cream with a mix of milk and sometimes cream, and eggs; boasts a dense texture.

Homemade Blackberry Jam Ice Cream

Ingredients

  • Fruit jam
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg

In a medium bowl, combine milk and sugar. Stir the mixture until the sugar has dissolved. Then, pour in the cream and egg and stir until combined. Pour the mixture into the bowl of your ice cream maker and churn for 10-15 minutes, when the ice cream begins to freeze and thicken. Dump your fruit jam (any flavor will do!) right into the ice cream while it churns. Continue to let it mix for another 10 minutes or so. After that I just shaved a bit of white chocolate on top!

You can also use this to make a sherbet.

Homemade Blackberry Jam Sherbet

Ingredients

  • fruit jam
  • 1 can of condensed milk
  • 1 cup cream

I  mixed all the ingredients in my Ninja Blender and placed the mixture into a container in the freezer overnight.  I just scooped out the sherbet and added a bit of more jam.

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Fun Weekend Activity!!

Just a side note I did not feel like putting this in a separate post and just another cool way to show you all how I used my leftover blackberry jam! Decided to make jam filled white chocolate snowmen and snowflakes.

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SUPER SIMPLE AND FUN TO DO WITH KIDS! Take any mould and add thin layer of chocolate to coat the base (make sure entire base is covered in chocolate). FRREZE FOR 5 MINUTES.  Then add a bit of jam and cover again with melted chocolate. FREEZE FOR 10 MINUTES.  And that’s basically it.  There you have your jam filled white chocolate :)

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Homemade Blackberry Jam

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This was just something quick I did yesterday because blackberries and raspberries were on sale at my local market.  Wanted to try a jam because I never made jam before and because I wanted a jam to use for a future baking project.  All you need are (2 cups) blackberries, (1 cup) white sugar, (2 teaspoon) cornstarch, and (1-2 tablespoon) ground cinnamon (optional)

  1. Mash blackberries in a saucepan with a potato masher. Stir in sugar until juices form; place about 1 tablespoon blackberry juice in a small bowl and stir in cornstarch. Pour cornstarch mixture into saucepan.
  2. Bring berries to a boil, stirring often, until jam is thickened, about 5-7 minutes. Stir in cinnamon. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Transfer jam to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate until chilled. 

Simple right? Nothing to it but to do it.  I think I will use this jam for a special white chocolate baking project I will work on with my son today!

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recipe adapted from All Recipes 

DIY: Colored Sanding Sugar

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This is probably one of the most undemanding and yet fun things to do! Making colored sanding sugar is great for that extra kick when decorating your baked goods such as cakes and cupcakes.  Unfortunately, I do not record video tutorials right now (hopefully in the future) but I did find a great video on YouTube to explain the process a bit better (see below).  Let’s get started shall we!

HERE IS WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

  • sugar (I used pure cane)
  • gel food coloring
  • plastic heavy duty zip lock bags
  • cookie sheet lined with waxed paper (or aluminum foil will do as well) 

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What you do is take equal parts amount of sugar and divide the sugar into separate zip lock bags.  Drop about 2 teaspoons of color in each bag filled with sugar and began to knead the sugar into the color with your hands/fingers. I simply just laid the bag on a flat surface (my kitchen countertop) and began to flip the bag over and over as I knead the color into the sugar. After the ingredients are well mixed pour the sugar onto a wax paper lined baking sheet.

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Set the oven on 350 degrees and bake for about 10 minutes.  When done the sugar will be a bit hard and stuck together.  That is fine and ok.  Just break it up with any utensil you can find.  I used a fork and the bottom of a tiny tin steel cup.

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Overall I am happy with how the sugar came out (wish it were a bit shinier) and cannot wait to use it for a future baking project.

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