Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Daring Caramel Cake.....

My second DB challenge was a Caramel Cake chosen by Shuna Fish Lydon of Eggbeater. This cake is her signature recipe! The recipe can be found at Bay Area Bites , along with many other wonderful sounding recipes. Helping Shuna this month are Alex (Brownie) from Blondie and Brownie, Jenny of Foray into Food, and our alternative baking guru, Natalie of Gluten-a-Go-Go .

I read all the tips given by Shuna, in the Bay Area Bites and had no problem with making the cake. I used a Mary Ann pan that creates a cake that has an indention on the top to fill with whatever you choose. From some of the comments it sounded like the frosting was a bit sweet so I thought I would just put frosting on top of the cake. Making the caramel sauce was easy, I have been making Fleur de Sel caramels for the last few months for Christmas presents, but the frosting really didn't have a caramel taste. The cake smelled wonderful baking and came out of the pan with no problems. After cooling I frosted the cake and drizzled the caramel sauce on top, I also added chopped pecans. I gave DH the first piece, he had been waiting patiently all day! The first comment was how sweet the frosting was and that the cake didn't really taste like caramel, but was good, non-the-less. I felt it was too dense and had expected something lighter in texture; perhaps it was the pan I used, not sure. Not a disappointment, but not a knock your socks off cake either. The frosting was tooth achingly sweet for my tastes; maybe a different frosting next time. Be sure to follow the Daring Baker link to see other members results!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Second Time for the 2fer.....

I made the Thanksgiving 2fer pie again with the changes I mentioned in my previous post and it came out perfect! No overdone edges and the filling was fully cooked, my DH's family really liked it, even the one's who don't like pumpkin pie! Very happy I tried it again and gave it a second chance.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving Twofer Pie.....

This pie was delicious and I want to thank Vibi from for picking a great recipe for this time of year! If you love pumpkin or pecan pie, this is the recipe for you. It's a combination of the two and it really works out well, the filling was soooo good! If you are interested in the recipe it's from Dorie Greenspan's book Baking from my home to yours, on page 321.
The fillings came together easily with no problems or confusion, the pie shell was another matter. Dorie indicated to use a 9" pre-baked pie shell, but I feel it should not have been pre-baked. I covered the rim with aluminum foil and a pie guard during the pre-baking and during the final baking; my rim was way too brown, as close to burned as you could get without the burn! The flash on my camera makes the rim look lighter than it really was. I think you should use a deep dish pie shell, that is what I used and it worked out fine, nothing overflowed. As to the temperature and time, again I feel they were not quite correct. Most Pumpkin Pie recipes start with the oven at 450 or 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then the temperature is reduced to 350 or 375 for another 30 to 40 minutes, just depends on the specific recipe. Dorie's recipe indicates to reduce the temperature to 300 degrees and bake for another 35 to 40 minutes. My pie had knife holes all over it because I kept checking to see if it was done; finally after an additional 18 minutes the knife came out clean. I will be making this pie again for Thanksgiving for my DH's family, I am so glad I tried it out on my family first, now I will make the following changes.

1. 9" deep dish pie shell, UNBAKED
2. Start at 450 degrees for 15 minutes.
3. Reduce temperature to 350 for 30 to 35 minutes.
4. Cover the rim to prevent over browning.

I still love the filling and know with the above changes it will be as close to perfect as I can make a pie! I plan on posting again with my new pie after Thanksgiving. I hope all of you and your families have a very Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Rice Pudding.....

Well, the box of Arborio rice is as far as I got to making this weeks recipe. I just couldn't bring myself to make something I know I won't eat. And after the comments on this recipe, it seemed there were a few problems with the cooking instructions. This is the first week I have missed since joining, so I'm OK with not making the rice pudding, but I will read as many postings as I can and see how everyone else did with the recipe. I want to thank Isanbelle from Les gourmandises d’Isa for choosing a recipe I almost made; it's not your fault, it goes way bake to my childhood. Looking forward to next weeks recipe, Thanksgiving Twofer Pie, from Dorie Greenspan's book, Cooking from my home to yours, the recipe is on page 321. This year my family is celebrating Thanksgiving on the Saturday before the traditional holiday; so my pie will be put to the test and will be posted next Tuesday!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I have looked forward to this recipe since I joined TWD and I want to thank Yolanda the All Purpose Girl for not making me wait any longer! I have no problems with using yeast but something went amiss with this recipe. The dough never climbed the hook and the dough was very loose and runny.

It rose as expected and I slapped it down, put it in the refrig and slapped it down three more times as specified in the recipe. OK, so maybe it was yeast abuse, too much slapping or something but after it rose in the kugelhopf pan and was put in the oven it totally sank! I baked the cake anyway, smelled great, DH couldn't wait to try it. When I tried to take it out of the pan only half came out the rest needed to be coaxed with a knife, no big deal, looks aren't everything. We both took bites, chewed, looked at each other and just shook our heads; no real taste, rather plain, not remarkable in anyway. I had read the comments before making and decided to soak the raisins in Grand Marnier and add the zest of an orange to give the cake some flavor. The orange flavor barely came through, I told my DH I would make it again and see what happens, he said "why bother, it has no flavor and is too bland". I threw the cake in the trash, looked through my recipe books and found another recipe for Kugelhopf that did not require all the rising or slapping down; this recipe came together quickly, rose as it should, baked up to perfection and smelled really good! The cake unmolded perfectly, WOW, can't wait for it to cool. Darn, it tasted just like Dorie's, plain, no big deal. This one ended up in the trash with the first cake, they can keep each other company. I wont waste calories eating something I don't like. So I'm thinking Kugelhopf is just not my kind of cake; I will see what others have done with theirs and maybe try again but will not use Dorie's recipe, the other one I used was much easier and faster for the same outcome.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Rugelach, a pastry for all seasons.....

Our recipe for this week at Tuesday's with Dorie was Rugelach, chosen by Piggys Cooking Journal. These were awesome!!! My DH said they were "very good, and could he have more?". DH is the taster for all the recipes I try, he's very good at critiquing each recipe and occasionally offering some good suggestions. These will defiantly be made again! Maybe for our Christmas brunch since they can be made weeks ahead of time.

I got a new kitchen toy this week, the Escali Pana volume and weight scale. This scale is made for a baker, it will weigh in grams and ounces like most scales but the great feature with this scale is that it can weigh the volume of ingredients. It will convert to cups and tablespoons for liquid and dry, very cool! I used it to measure the jam in this recipe; I needed a 1/3 cup of each of the jams I used, so I put a Pyrex custard cup on the scale, set the code for jam and just added the jam until the 1/3 cup was reached. No measuring cups to wash, I just heated the jam in the dish and was good to go. The scale comes with a sheet that has dozens of common items we use to bake and cook, each one has a code that you input (very easy to do). The codes are for the different densities of ingredients like powdered sugar, granulated sugar, packed brown sugar, grated carrots, cheese, different flours, syrup and many more. I think between the BeaterBlade and this scale I will be much faster in the kitchen, not that baking is a race, just means I can make more in the same amount of time, LOL.
The dough came together easily in the food processor and I refrigerated it for 2 days instead of 1 but didn't notice any adverse affects. After rolling out and brushing on the jam, the dough became a bit soft and made it a little difficult to roll up. I decided to roll the second piece of dough out on parchment paper, spread on the jam and nuts, put it on a baking sheet and then into the refrigerator for about 15 minutes. That worked perfectly, dough held together and rolled up much easier.

I made a few changes to the basic filling included with the recipe. I used the raspberry jam and pecans but changed the spice to one-half teaspoon of cardamon and an eighth teaspoon of cinnamon. I made another filling using apricot/pineapple preserves, turbinado sugar, macadamia nuts, ground ginger and coconut. I loved the coconut version but could have put more coconut in the filling. DH loves raspberry anything and liked the cardamon/raspberry combo the best! I only baked six of each kind and froze the rest for next weekend; can't wait for Saturday.