Friday, March 25, 2011

Checkerboard Cake

So I am just going to start this off by letting you know that over the next 6 weeks or so my posting ability is going to be quite limited. Or I should say, I think it might be.

I may have mentioned before that my grandparents own a produce-store-that-actually-sells-everything store. And because they sell everything, of course they have a bit of a home baking operation going on. There is a great lady who has been doing the baking (in my grandmas certified kitchen) for 14 years!
14! FYI that is a long time.
Anyways, she broke something in her hand about a week ago and will be wearing a cast for 6 weeks. Obviously somebody has to step in a bake the pies and the bread and the sweet loafs and the cinnamon buns and the muffins and the cookies. Naturally, I offered. So last week I spent 2 days in the kitchen with the broken hand baker and she taught me the ropes. Basically, she doesn't use recipes...and is super woman and can work harder and faster then anyone I know.

I think the whole time she was probably shaking her head at me as my pie dough ripped or my loafs got stuck in the pan or I spill flour/sugar/raspberries/etc. on the floor.
Anyways, I think I can do it, and I think it could be fun. I look forward to when I can do it by myself and crank up the radio and just get in to my baking world ( my favorite place to be! ).
I do have to mention that when her hand is healed, I will not be sad to give her her job back. I am sure it is going to be very tiring.

Especially becauseeeee ( changing the subject completely) Gary and I have to move. Well we don't have to move, but we are moving. We get to start milking cows in May ( wohoo! this is Gary's life long dream) on our own little dairy farm. Only it wont be our own cause we can only afford to rent a barn with a milking parlour etc. In BC it costs a lot to get started milking cows. Most people are either born into a dairy farm one way o another or start with the help of a program in place by the milk board. The problem with the milk board program is that if we put our name on the list...we could easily not get to start milking cows for 20 years!

So I need to stop rambling...but to summarize everything into point form:

a) In may we get to start milking cows ( ahem....12-15 cows...YES I am going to name them!)
b) On april 15th we are moving to a house much closer to the farm we will be renting then the house we live in now
c) I will get to milk cows too ( Sorry I shouldn't say its a pleasure to get up at 5:30 to go milk the cows...but hey..I will get an early start to my day!)
d) I am baking for the next 6 weeks 3 days a week for the Yellow Barn.
e) I am currently baking 2 9x13 cakes to attempt to make a checkerboard cake. Ok I didn't talk about that before but I am now :)

Has anyone ever made a checkerboard cake? Do you even know what it is? Basically you make a chocolate and a vanilla/white cake. and then you cut it in a special way and put the pieces back together to make a checkerboard look when you cut into it.

With that great description I am sure you are all saying OHHHH I get it. or probably not..

This is what the top of mine looked like:

Next time I would have much more yellow icing and not run out so I could do more decorations :)
I did the words by printing a page off the computer in writing that I liked and then placing wax paper on top and basically copying the writing with my melted white chocolate (with a touch of yellow food colouring) 

and THIS was the inside! Surprisingly enough, this is the only actual picture I have of the inside of the cake..
I know, I know, way to be a good blogger. 
But I was cutting and serving and admiring my cake! 

Ok I am sorry this is taking me forever to post! I have been super busy baking for the yellow barn and starting packing our house! :) 

Ps. can I just say, I am sorry I talk so much!
I think its because my husband talks sooo much too that I don't always get to say the millions of things I want to say and so then I end up saying them all on here and I could just write for ages and ages
I am sorry 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Better-Then-Crack Brownies (for real)

Ok, so have you ever made something that is sooo good that you want to eat the whole pan?
I mean, I make things I like all the time, but LOVE and want to eat every last crumb of? That doesn't happen very often, or at least I don't let it happen very often or else I would be 300lbs. by tomorrow.
I have to admit though...3/4 of this pan is gone and I have eaten every last crumb. :)
I made these once before but for somebody else so I only had 1 piece. (thank goodness)
This time I made a 9x9 pan rather then the 9x13 pan that this recipe calls for.
I found this recipe on How Sweet It Is. Which is my new favourite blog by the way. So many delicious treats that look amazing! I have made quite a few and they are always always always delicious!

So you know what this is??

Brownie ( well I actually used chocolate cake but...same difference)
Peanut Butter Cups
Rice Krispies coated in peanut butter, chocolate and butter



and yum

I never know if I should post the recipe here or direct you over to How Sweet blog.. but today I think I am going to post it here...

Better-Than-Crack Brownies

1 - 9x13 size batch, Brownies
1/2 cup Salted Peanuts
1 cup chopped Peanut Butter Cups ( I used 6 cups for a 9x9 and that was plenty)
1 1/2 cup Milk Chocolate chips ( you could totally use semisweet...I used half semi and half milk)
1 1/2 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
1/2 tablespoon Butter
1 1/2 cups Rice Krispie Cereal

1. Bake Brownies till set and basically done.
2. Remove from oven and sprinkle with chopped Peanut Butter Cups and Peanuts. Put back in oven and bake for a few more minutes. Basically till brownie is 100% done and the PB Cups are melting.
3. When they are done, melt Peanut Butter, Chocolate Chips and Butter in a medium sized pot. Stir over medium/low heat until completely melted and combined.
4. Remove from heat and stir in the Rice Krispie Cereal. ( both times I have made this I added about 1/2 cup more cereal. I am sure it doesn't matter but I just like the krispyness :) )
5. Spread over the Brownie base evenly.
6. Chill till the chocolate is set and not goopy or runny. (about 2 hours)
7. YUM eat and share ( so you don't gain 100lbs like me :) )

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Giant Cupcake Re-cap

Remember the giant cupcake cake I talked about earlier this week?
Well, today was the day! (ok I started this on actually Sunday was the day I made it etc)
I baked it up Saturday using my Wilton Cupcake pan. Now I didn't take any pictures of that process...I should have though. Ohhhh my.
See in my test run I only made 1 batch of cake which turned out to be not nearly enough. I needed just over 1 1/2 recipes of the cake batter to fill the pans. And so I made 2 batches of cake and filled up the pans niceee and full. Apparently too full... like pouring out of the pan in a hot stream of goopy cake batter. Anyways it was messy and my oven now needs a good clean.
Anyways, I iced it and decorated it and had a few disasters in the process. Overall I was happy with how it turned out.
I am SUPER critical of myself and everything I make so obviously I could begin to list the things I would have done differently but Julia Child said to never apologize or make excuses, just learn from your mistakes. So thats what I am going to do!

Here is what the final product looked like:

I had sprinkles and all sorts of things to put on it as well, but I started putting sprinkles on and they were just too much. 

Anyways, I can't wait to make another one soon so I can practice my skills! 

Oh I also bought a cake leveler today. 

This one
Only thing I have to learn is to start ordering my Wilton product online. This was about 3 dollars online and I paid 6 bucks in store! I mean 6 bucks isn't much really but 3 is even better!
I had no idea it would be so cheap! My world has been revolutionized! 

OH I also made Shamrock Cookies to sell tomorrow. 
I will post about them before I go to sleep tonight maybe :) 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Update... can I just restate the fact the when starbucks starts making a bakery treat its a trend?
( In case you missed it.. I talked about this yesterday...Here!

because you know what happened today?
I went to Starbucks... I haven't been in forever!

They had new mini treats... guess what they were???

Red Velvet Whoppie Pies

Salted Caramel Chocolate Square

Mini Cupcakes

Cake Pops ( SO popular...thank-you Bakerella. )

YES Starbucks now sells cake pops...can you believe it? I couldn't.

They also had a lemon square ( lemon curd was tres popular this winter )
and the mini vanilla bean scones ( scones are sooo up and coming )  ( I know they had these in the USA but not in Canada I don't think...or not in Chilliwack at least! )

I can't even explain to you the feeling I got when I saw those little treats... I almost laughed out loud.

I Love Pillow Talk

Today I noticed that almost all of my posts have been given the Tag Label, `Ramblings`.

Last night my husband said it was good that I had a blog so I could say things I wanted to say on here rather then talk his ear off when he come home from work.

I then procedded to talk his ear off till midnight while he lay in bed trying to fall asleep... I can`t help it. The words flow better when I am laying down.

I <3 Pillow Talk

Thats what Gary calls it.

He doesn't love it.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

All the Rage

Cupcakes are all the rage these days.
There is  little cupcake bakeries popping up on every corner. 

Even Starbucks has a selection of "fresh" cupcakes topped with an overly generous amount of sickeningly sweet Butter cream icing. 
And we all know that the trend is official once Starbucks jumps on the bandwagon. 

And of course there are other popular things that it seems "everyone" is making. Like smoothies, and macaroons, and salted chocolate/caramel anything, and anything with nutella, and red velvet everything. Don't get me wrong, I am not bashing the many bloggers who are making these things. I love to make them all too! I am totally just stating an observation that I have recently made. Its kinda fun actually to make these things and experiment along with the rest of the baking blog world. Not that I have actually made any of those things and posted them. Though I did make Nutella Chip Cookies which were delish! Did I post about them? I don't remember. Next time I make them I will :) They were so yummy. But let me tell you, making your own chocolate chips out of nutella...not an quick and easy thing to do. 

Anyways...this whole thing about trends actually has nothing to do with what I am going to post about...except that maybe giant cupcakes are becoming a bit of a trend. have heard of this right? Making a huge, jumbo cupcake? In the olden days...people used to use a round glass pyrex bowl and a round equally sized cake pan and put them together to make a big cake that, when iced, looks like a huge cupcake. 

Well times have changed and now...Wilton (and I am sure many other companies) have come up with a much simpler way to pull this fun cake off...

Its the Jumbo Cupcake Pan

Now to the point of the post...

A friend of a friend contacted me a weekish ago asking if I could make one for her sons first brithday. Of course I said YES! 
I received a pan for a wedding present and have seriously been waiting for the perfect occasion to whip out a giant cupcake! I baked a trial version tonight (there is nothing worse then saying yes when you are actually not sure if you can pull it off) and it turned out great!!! I am going to experiential with icing the top tomorrow afternoon. I am thinking either a light blue or green tinted buttercream with maybe a darker strip of colour swirled throughout. ( I learnt a fun and easy technique at a cupcake decorating class a while ago!) Anyways. It should be fun! 

Has anyone else ever made a Giant Cupcake Cake? Any tips? 

PS. We are home from mexico. We got home at 3:00 AM. It is def time for bed. We are super super tanned and had an awesome time! Maybe I will post a picture or two later :) Sleep now.