Search This Blog

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Pink Giraffe Birthday Cake

 This cake is a 10" and a 6" it is my very first attempt at doing a fondant character.  The cake is chocolate cake with chocolate ganache filling and the frosting is the basic american buttercream made with butter and powdered sugar and the baby giraffe is fondant. 

Monday, December 26, 2011

Red Bow Wedding Cake.

This cake is my first bow cake to ever do.  I made the bow out of gum paste and the red drapes are fondant that I put through the spaghetti setting of my pasta maker. The cake is 14" 10" and 6" round.  All white cake with Italian Meringue buttercream. I also did fondant pearls around the base of the cake.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Zebra Purse Cake

This cake is inspired from the new Wilton Yearbook.  I used the new frosting sheets that Wilton has come out with.  Overall it is expensive at first.  You will have to purchase some cutters.  The sheets were pretty cool.  The black bleeds so be very careful using the sheets in black.  This cake is sour cream orange and frosted with an orange cream cheese frosting.  Strawberries sauce is included to be served on the side.  This cake is a 12" round cake.  The purse is an 8" cake cut in half.  This cake will serve about 30 people. 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Strawberry Orange Wedding Cake

 This cake is all made from scratch.  The cake is sour cream orange, the layers have freshed orange juice soaked into them the filling is fresh strawberries cooked down and thickend.  The frosting is an orange cream cheese frosting.   The bottom cake is a 12" heart the middle cake is a 9" heart and the top is a 6" heart.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Apple Strudel

Apple Strudel
Strudel Dough
1 Cup King Arthur Flour
3/8 tsp Salt
1/3 Cup + 1 tsp warm water
4 tsp vegetable oil

In the mixing bowl with the paddle add the flour and salt and mix. Form a well in the flour mixture and add the water and oil and kneed. You will end up needing to knead by hand. This will take about 20 minutes. The dough will get smooth and satiny. Cover the dough with oil, then cover the dough with plastic and let it rest for 30 minutes.

Clarify a stick of butter-set aside

Meanwhile make the filling:
1 ½ tsp butter
½ cup fresh bread crumbs
¼ tsp sugar

In a fry pan melt the butter then add the crumbs and sugar and mix until the bread crumbs become brown and toasty. Set aside.

Apple Filling:
4 Cups chopped apples
1 ½ tsp lemon juice
¼ Cup Sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/3 Cups toasted and chopped walnuts

Toast walnuts while you are cutting the apples. Add all the ingredients together and mix. Set aside.
Stretching the dough.
Roll the disk out to about 10 “diameter. Brush the dough with the clarified butter and begin to stretch the dough. Have a buddy help you if possible. Use the back of your hands with your knuckles up and pull and stretch the dough to 4 feet diameter. Put the stretched dough on a clean sheet.

To assemble. Place ½ the Brusel mixture on the dough. Add the apples on top and then the other half of the Brusel. Using the sheet lift the dough and roll the bottom up over the filling. Brush the dough with the clarified butter. Next roll the sides in leaving about 3 inches on either side. Continue to brush the butter and roll the strudel up. Tuck in the edges and lift the strudel onto the baking sheet. Cut some slits for air release. Bake at 425 on the upper rack in your oven for 35 minutes.

Note: It is not a big deal if your dough rips as it will be covered up with all the rolling and layering. Eat strudel soon after making it-it doesn't hold up for many hours.


Erica of Erica’s Edibles was our host for the Daring Baker’s June challenge. Erica challenged us to be truly DARING by making homemade phyllo dough and then to use that homemade dough to make Baklava.

Phyllo Dough:
*Note 1: To have enough to fill my 9” x 9” baking dish with 18 layers of phyllo I doubled this recipe.
*Note 2: Single recipe will fill a 8” x 5” baking dish.
*Note 3: Dough can be made a head of time and froze. Just remove from freezer and allow to thaw
and continue making your baklava
1 1/3 cups (320 ml) (185 gm/6½ oz) unbleached all purpose (plain) flour
1/8 teaspoon (2/3 ml) (¾ gm) salt
1/2 cup less 1 tablespoon (105 ml) water, plus more if needed
2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil, plus additional for coating the dough
1/2 teaspoon (2½ ml) cider vinegar, (could substitute white wine vinegar or red wine vinegar, but could affect the taste)

1. In the bowl of your stand mixer combine flour and salt

2. Mix with paddle attachment
3. Combine water, oil and vinegar in a small bowl.
4. Add water & oil mixture with mixer on low speed, mix until you get a soft dough, if it appears dry add a little more water (I had to add a tablespoon more)

5. Change to the dough hook and let knead approximately 10 minutes. You will end up with beautiful smooth dough. If you are kneading by hand, knead approx. 20 minutes.
6. Remove the dough from mixer and continue to knead for 2 more minutes. Pick up the dough and through it down hard on the counter a few times during the kneading process.
7. Shape the dough into a ball and lightly cover with oil
8. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and let rest 30-90 minutes, longer is best ( I let mine rest 2 hours and it was perfect)
Rolling your Phyllo
** Remove all rings and jewelry so it does not snag the dough**
Use whatever means you have to get the dough as thin as you can. I have included a fantastic video at the end of the post on how to roll out your phyllo dough, using a wooden dowel, which worked perfectly for me. You may also use a pasta machine if you have one, or a normal rolling pin whatever works for you.
1. Unwrap your dough and cut off a chunk slightly larger then a golf ball. While you are rolling be sure to keep the other dough covered so it doesn’t dry out.
2. Be sure to flour your hands, rolling pin and counter. As you roll you will need to keep adding, don’t worry, you can’t over-flour.
3. Roll out the dough a bit to flatten it out.
4. Roll the dough out to an 8" disc
5. Pick the dough up with the back of your hands and knuckles and stretch it out.
6. When you get it as thin as you can with the rolling pin, carefully pick it up with well floured hands and stretch it on the backs of your hands as you would a pizza dough, just helps make it that much thinner. Roll out your dough until it is transparent. NOTE: you will not get it as thin as the frozen phyllo dough you purchase at the store, it is made by machine
7. Set aside on a well-floured surface. Repeat the process until your dough is used up. Between each sheet again flower well. You will not need to cover your dough with a wet cloth, as you do with boxed dough, it is moist enough that it will not try out.

Baklava Recipe
Adapted from Alton Brown, The Food Network
30 servings
For the syrup:
 1 1/4 cups (300 ml) honey
 1 1/4 cups (300ml) water
 1 1/4 cups (300 ml) (280 gm/10 oz) sugar
 1 cinnamon stick
 1 (2-inch/50 mm) piece fresh citrus peel (lemon or orange work best)
 a few cloves or a pinch or ground clove
When you put your baklava in the oven start making your syrup. When you combine the two, one of them needs to be hot, I find it better when the baklava is hot and the syrup has cooled
1. Combine all ingredients in a medium pot over medium high heat. Stir occasionally until sugar has dissolved

Ingredients for the Filling:
1 (5-inch/125 mm piece) cinnamon stick, broken into 2 to 3 pieces or 2 teaspoons (10 ml) (8 gm) ground cinnamon
15 to 20 whole allspice berries ( I just used a few pinches)
3/4 cup (180 ml) (170 gm/6 oz) blanched almonds
3/4 cup (180 ml) (155 gm/5½ oz) raw or roasted walnuts
3/4 cup (180 ml) (140 gm/5 oz) raw or roasted pistachios
2/3 cup (160 ml) (150 gm/ 5 1/3 oz) sugar
phyllo dough (see recipe above)
1 cup (2 sticks) (240 ml) (225g/8 oz) melted butter ** I did not need this much, less then half**

1. Preheat oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4.
2. Combine nuts, sugar and spices in a food processor and pulse on high until finely chopped. If you do not have a food processor chop with a sharp knife as fine as you can. Set aside
3. Trim your phyllo sheets to fit in your pan

4. Brush bottom of pan with butter and place first phyllo sheet
5. Brush the first phyllo sheet with butter and repeat approximately 5 times ending with butter. (Most recipes say more, but homemade phyllo is thicker so it's not needed)
6. Sprinkle 1/3 of the nut mixture on top
7. Continue layering phyllo and buttering repeating 4 times
8. Sprinkle 1/3 of the nut mixture on top
9. Continue layering phyllo and buttering repeating 4 times
10. Sprinkle 1/3 of the nut mixture on top
11. Continue layering and buttering phyllo 5 more times. On the top layer, make sure you have a piece of phyllo with no holes if possible, just looks better.
12. Once you have applied the top layer tuck in all the edges to give a nice appearance.
13. With a Sharp knife cut your baklava in desired shapes and number of pieces. If you can't cut all the ways through don’t worry you will cut again later. A 9x9 pan cuts nicely into 30 pieces. Then brush with a generous layer of butter making sure to cover every area and edge
14. Bake for approximately 30 minutes; remove from oven and cut again this time all the way through. Continue baking for another 30 minutes. (Oven temperatures will vary, you are looking for the top to be a golden brown, take close watch yours may need more or less time in the oven)
15. When baklava is cooked remove from oven and pour the cooled (will still be warmish) syrup evenly over the top, taking care to cover all surfaces when pouring. It looks like it is a lot but over night the syrup will soak into the baklava creating a beautifully sweet and wonderfully textured baklava!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

BBA Challenge: Pannettone

This week the challenge was Panettone bread. It is traditionally a Christmas bread with roots in Italy. I think this bread took me almost 2 weeks to make. First I pulled my barm out of the freezer. I made it back on the Greek Celebration Bread. I froze it like the book said. After 3 days in the refridgerator it was soft and ready to go into a bowl and I was going to give it a few days worth of feeding and revive it. So I thought....I couldn't revive it..finally I cheated. I added some yeast to it rather than start all over trying to make barm. Once I had some bubbles I had to make another sponge using the barm, milk and flour. I then had to wait another day while that bubbled up. Meanwhile while I was making starter I cut up dried fruits-I used pears, peaches, prunes, craisins, golden raisins and apricots. I added some orange zest also.

I got the dough mixed up, then let it rest for 20 minutes then added the fruit and nuts.

I then put the dough in an oiled bowl and let it proof.

I deflated the dough and added it to a cheesecake pan and let it rise overnight in the pan as it was getting late and I needed to go to bed. I baked it off the next day.

I would liken this bread to more of a cake consistency. It has nice flavor. If I had to choose a holiday bread to make though I would prefer a stollen to pannettone.

Thank you Chris from for hosting our challenges.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza

This is my first attempt at Chicago style deep dish pizza. I found an authentic recipe I am excited to share:


1 1/2 packages yeast

1/2 Cup warm water

1 Tbsp. Sugar

3 1/2 Cups unbleached all purpose flour

1 tsp Salt

1/2 Cup Cornmeal

1/4 Cup vegetable oil

1/2 Cup water

Mix the warm water, yeast and sugar together and set aside for the yeast to bloom. Add the rest of the ingredients to the mixing bowl. Finally add the yeast/water mixture and kneed it to window pane.

Sauce: 1 28 oz Can 6-1 Brand tomatoes

2 Tbsp. fresh chopped basil

1 tsp Oregano

Salt to taste.

As my family happens to be fans of garlic and spicy food, we added a bit of Frank's Red Hot and about a tablespoon of minced garlic. After finishing the Pizza, my husband recommended adding some sugar as well to the sauce. Once again, all of these add-ins are to taste and your personal preferences.

The key to this sauce is the 6-1 Brand tomatoes-according to my source this is the brand of tomatoes that are used all over Chicagoland. I would agree it made a difference.

Add all the ingredients together and stir, set aside.

Let the dough sit at room temperature until it doubles. Once the dough is doubled kneed it for 2 minutes. Put it in a 14" round pizza pan. Be sure to oil the pan. Let the dough ball rest for 10 minutes.

Using your hand form the dough into the pan.

Once the dough is formed use a fork to dock the dough

Bake the dough at 475 F. for 4 minutes to set the dough. Brush the dough with olive oil.

Cover the bottom of the dough with sliced mozzerella

Next add the toppings-I used pepperoni that is purchased at a local Italian speciality store...Fraboni's.

Cover the pizza with some shredded mozerella cheese.

Add the sauce.

We also added some grated parmesan to the top of the pizza.

Bake the pizza the first 5 minutes at 475 on the very bottom shelf of the oven to get the crust really crisp. After 5 minutes move the pizza to the middle shelf and bake for 30 minutes.