A Party Without Cake is Just a Meeting

There is a quote from Julia Child that says “a party without cake is a just a meeting” and I thought that was a wonderful theme for a party! So I decided to have a tea and cake party and try my hand at making three different types of cakes.  The results were wonderful! I will admit that these three cakes have three different levels of work, so you can choose accordingly. There is so much to celebrate, so don’t forget to take a break and enjoy some cake!

The cakes:

  • Matcha Mille Crepe Cake with honey whipped cream and raspberry jam
  • Cheese Cake
  • Orange Cake with Mango filling and an Italian Meringue Butter Cream

Cheese Cake

The easiest to make is the cheese cake.  You can make this with any of your favorite cheeses but the ones I chose were Edam (with the beautiful red wax shell), a wheel of brie, and colby jack cheese sticks.  Basically you are going to make a “cake” out of different cheeses, and decorate using some cream cheese “frosting”

How to: Begin by making the cream cheese “frosting”.  Mine was sun dried tomato and basil flavored, but you can do whatever flavor you desire. Take block of cream cheese. Add in 1.5 tablespoons of sun dried tomato chopped or dried, one teaspoon of basil, and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder. Salt and pepper to taste.  Add a bit of water and whip together to soften it and make it pipe-able. I added a bit of dye to make it a bit more red.

Cutting the cheese sticks into cubes and make a circle layer base. Then top with the brie, then the edam.  I topped it with a few sprigs of basil and filled the plate with crackers.  This was a lovely presentation, but just know you will have to take it apart to eat most of it.

Matcha Crepe Cake

This is an average hardness level recipe.  The components are all simple together, but are a little time consuming to put together.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon matcha powder
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 raspberry jam

How to:

  1. In a large bowl add your flour and matcha powder and make a well.  Add the eggs to the well and begin to beat them into the flour.  Slowly add in the milk and whisk the mixture until smooth. Let sit for 30 minutes.
  2. In a nonstick pan, spray with a little pan spray and set to medium low heat. Then ladle in the crepe batter, about 1/4 cup per crepe.  Make sure the batter is even across the bottom of the pan.  If cooked on low they will cook through so you don’t need to flip them.
  3. I made these the night before and put them in the fridge until the next day.  You can make this all the same day but depending on your filling you will want the crepes completely cooled.
  4. To make the whipped cream, simply whip the cream, add honey and a tough of vanilla and boom. Done.
  5. Begin layering the crepes. I did a layer with whipped cream (just a ring around the outside and a bit in the center), then a layer of thin raspberry.  Traditionally it should be at least 20 layers tall, but I lost count.
  6. I love color so I made the whipped cream bright blue, but you don’t have to do that.

The last cake is a labor. I wanted to do it to test my culinary skills but it has a lot of components, and without a stand mixer, it was a bit of a bear.  So with a stand mixer, this could be a breeze, but if you don’t have one, would not recommend. I also am not going to post this recipe yet because I can definitely improve it, so when that happens, it will be here! For now enjoy some of the pictures!  I can’t wait to develop my decorating skills.

A Slice of Humble Pie with No Fuss Crust

DSC_0065.JPG

Summer? Is that you? It seems like every few weeks I think we are finally taking a turn towards warmer weather, and then it goes back to rainy and gloomy.  But I think we are finally getting that warm weather.  And I am not sure why, but summer means pie.  A week ago up in Maine, my friend had some lemon meringue pie and since then I have had a craving for it.  I finally decided to give into my craving and make it.  I have made it once before and lets just say, it didn’t go to well.  But this time, this time I have conquered! I will admit this is a recipe that is relatively hard but it is definitely worth the time and attention. Give yourself a few hours of patience, put on your favorite playlist, and get ready to make a delicious treat!

Ingredients:

For the filling

  • 6 Tbs corn starch
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice (fresh is best)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 2 Tbsp butter

For the meringue

  • 1 Tbsp corn starch
  • 1/3 cup cold water
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar (or 1 teaspoon white vinegar)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 5 egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the crust

  • 3 graham crackers
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (or butter)

How to:

  1. Begin by making the pie crust.  In a food processor blend the graham crackers, oats, flour, and cinnamon together until the mixture is a course powder (~ a minute) Add in the oil and pulse for another few seconds to incorporate.
  2. Spray a pie plate with nonstick spray and pour in the crumb.  Press down firmly and move the crumb so it reaches all of the edges of the pie plate.
  3. Bake at 375 for 10 minutes until golden and set aside. Drop your oven temp to 325.
  4. For the filling, in a sauce pan combine the cornstarch, water, salt, and sugar. Bring to a boil then reduce to medium heat.  Whisking continuously, let simmer for another minute and the mixture should thicken, once it has, remove from heat.
  5. Beat your egg yolks, and spoon 1 tablespoon of the corn starch mixture to the eggs to temper them.  Once you have used 1/2 of the cornstarch, add the yolks back to cornstarch in the pan and put it back on the stove.  Letting it cook for another minute or two on low heat.
  6. Remove from heat and add in the zest, lemon juice, and butter. Stirring with a rubber spatula to incorporate. Set aside
  7. In a small sauce pan add 1 Tbsp cornstarch and 1/3 cup water.  Bring to a small boil and it will start to thicken, once thick remove from heat.
  8. In a bowl add your egg whites, vanilla, and vinegar (if using cream of tartar mix in with the sugar). Begin to beat on low speed until the mixture is frothy.
  9. Increase speed to medium and once frothy begin to add in the sugar slowly.  Once soft white peaks form, start adding in the water cornstarch mixture spoonful at a time until stiff peaks form.  You can increase to high speed but do not over mix.  (side note, mine never formed “stiff” peaks, but it turned out totally fine)
  10. Now add in your filling to the pie crust and spread evenly.  Then starting with the outer circle add your meringue on top, making sure to get to the edges of the pie.  Once the outer ring is complete, fill in the middle.
  11. Place in the oven and cook for 20 -25 minutes until the meringue is lightly golden brown.
  12. LET COOL COMPLETELY!! like not slightly cooled, all the way to room temperature and maybe a few minutes in the fridge before you slice into it, or your filling will be runny.  I made this mistake because I was impatient, don’t let it happen to you!
  13. Eat and enjoy!

Matcha Cream Dark Chocolate Cups

Lately I have been sucking down matcha lattes left and right, ever since I bought myself a pound of matcha powder I want to get through before I have to move.  But this is the first recipe that I have tried to cook with the powder and I am VERY happy.  These homemade cups are filled with a delicious matcha cream that goes so well with the dark chocolate outer shell.  Pack one of these with your lunches and you are bound to have a great day! If matcha isn’t your thing, I provided an alternative classic filling of peanut butter (equally delicious)! These need very few ingredients but you will be very happy you made them!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 bag Dark chocolate or semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 heaping spoonful matcha powder
  • Alternative filling (1 tablespoon of peanut butter and 1 teaspoon oats)
  • Cupcake liners or wax paper

How to:

  1. In a sauce pan melt the butter and then add in the sweetened condensed milk.
  2. Add the matcha powder and use a whisk to break it up so it is evenly dispersed.
  3. Continue to cook on medium low heat until when you pull a spatula through the mixture you can see the bottom of the pan for a few seconds until it comes back together.  That is how you know it is done. Set aside.
  4. Line your cupcake pan with liners.
  5. Microwave the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl in 30 second intervals. Once it is complete melted. Spread a little on the bottom of each liner.  You can do a thicker layer too, depends on how much you like chocolate and your ideal ratio.
  6. Let cool for a few seconds/place in the fridge to let it harden up.
  7. Scoop in a teaspoon of your filling into the cup and spread into an even layer, trying to keep it from just reaching the sides.  Again it is your choice on the ratio.
  8. Then add another layer of the melted chocolate, spreading so the filling is completely covered and fills in the gap the filling left behind.
  9. Place in the freezer for 10-15 minutes until the chocolate hardens and then transfer into baggies in the fridge.
  10. Enjoy throughout the week!

The Sassy Blonde

You have heard of the slutty brownie right?  Well it is time for you to meet the Sassy Blond(ie).  It is blondie batter sprinkled with chocolate chips over a layer of oreos and ginger snaps.  The blondie dough is great on its own, but it works so well with the ginger and chocolate flavors.  This recipe was made in honor of my favorite sassy blonde, my Little.  She works so hard for one of my favorite causes, Relay for Life, and I thought she needed some treats to get her through 12 hours of inspiration, hope, and the power to fight back.  It was a great day and these Sassy Blondes will make any normal day better!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons molasses (this can be replaced with another cup of brown sugar)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1.5 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 pack oreos
  • 8-10 ginger snap cookies
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

How to:

  1. Begin by whipping the brown sugar and butter together, just for a few minutes.
  2. Then add in your eggs and vanilla and beat until combined.
  3. Slowly add in your flour cup at a time, and the salt and baking powder.  Mix until combined. Gently fold in the chocolate chips.
  4. In a 9×13 glass pan, spray with cooking spray vigorously.  Then lay down a layer of ginger snaps, and then oreos, then scoop the batter on top of the cookies.  The batter is a little thick so it is best to add dollops around the pans and spread those out.. almost like connecting the dots.
  5. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.
  6. Let cool completely before cutting.
DSC_0009
DSC_0013

Dynamic Duo: Wine and Cheese Cupcakes

What goes better than wine and cheese? Not much.  But I am sure when you read wine and cheese cupcakes you were mildly concerned as to where this could be going.  Well here is the short of it, it is a vanilla cupcake filled with fruit and wine compote and a cream cheese frosting.  See how we get the wine and cheese in there?  Although I have been cooking lots lately I haven’t been posting any recipes.  I have been busy prepping for my burger battle and battling the heat in my apartment.  But as I make my return, I needed to post something that will blow your socks off, and this cupcake will do that.  It is coworker approved.  I apologize for not posting lately, but I am back with my most creative recipes yet!

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups of flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 tablespoons butter (for cupcakes)
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 block cream cheese
  • 1/2 stick butter (for frosting)
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 cans peaches (or fresh)
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce
  • 1 peeled apple
  • 8 oz red wine (I used sweet red)

How to:

  1. Begin by preheating your oven to 350.
  2. Cream the room temperature butter with the granulated sugar.  About 2 minutes.
  3. Add each of the eggs, one at a time, and fully incorporated.
  4. Add the vanilla extract, cinnamon, and salt.
  5. Add in the flour a bit at a time, while also adding in the milk.
  6. Line a muffin tin with liners and fill 3/4 of the way up.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes or until slightly golden and has just a little give in the middle. Set aside to cool
  8. For the compote put the peaches (drained), the diced apple, the apple sauce, and the wine in a pan and set on medium high.
  9. Cook continuously until the wine has reduced and the fruit is soft almost mushy.  This takes about 40 minutes so be patient. I also added a pinch of cinnamon to this to bring out the earthy tones of the wine.
  10. For the frosting, beat together the cream cheese and soft butter until well whipped.
  11. In a seperate bowl whip the heavy cream until stiff. Fold this into the cream cheese and butter mixture.
  12. Beat in the cups of sugar 1/2 a cup at a time until desired sweetness is reached (may need more sugar).  Add 1 teaspoon vanilla and you are done!
  13. Assemble once everything has cooled and enjoy!
DSC_0063
DSC_0074

The Golden Dessert

If you know me well you know my favorite show is The Golden Girls.  Filmed in the 80’s this show is just classically funny.  It is my go to show and transcends time.  Although their outfits are a little outdated one thing they did that I wish to continue is that during every trial, problem, or happy moment they always had a cheesecake on hand.  At first I thought “how can four women eat so much cheesecake” and then I thought, why am I not doing this?? This paired with the fact that I had leftover cream cheese that was going bad led to me waking up at 7:30 am on a mission: to make a cheesecake.  I used to think that cheesecake was a hard endeavor, but after this recipe I realized there is nothing to it! It is not difficult to make a beautiful delicious cheesecake with few ingredients!

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz of cream cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 package graham crackers (9 count)
  • 1 pinch cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pecans
  • 2 tablespoons coconut
  • 1/2 a stick of butter

How to:

  1. Begin by grinding up the graham crackers in a food processor or whatever unconventional means you want.
  2. Mix in the coconut, cinnamon, and pecans in.  Then pour in the melted butter.
  3. Lightly spray a 9×9 in glass pan (or use a cheesecake pan if you have one).  Press the crust into the pan.  Making sure it is really packed in there.
  4. Bake the crust for 10-15 minutes until golden.  Let cool
  5. In a large bowl whip the softened cream cheese with the sugar.  Do this until light and fluffy.
  6. Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
  7. Add in the vanilla.  The batter will be loose, pour over the cooled crust.
  8. Bake at 325 for 35-40 minutes until stiff but slightly bouncy and just getting a little more golden.
  9. I made a quick blood orange glaze to go over it but it certainly doesn’t need it.
DSC_0077
DSC_0097
DSC_0105
DSC_0119

Blueberry Tart Infused with Rosemary and Orange

I made this recipe a while ago but have been waiting for a rainy day to post it, and today is that day!

This was a pre-wisdom teeth removal recipe so it combines a nice crunchy puff pastry with succulent blueberry topping that combines sweet, savory, and aromatic flavors.  I like this recipe for a few reasons.  The first being that I love blueberries, especially in the summer, if its blueberry anything I want it.  I also love that this presents new and exciting flavors for the blueberries, sometimes blueberry recipes are just overly sweet and cover up the blueberry flavor, this recipe enhances the blueberries flavors.  And lastly, this recipe, like most of my recipes, is really easy, you can start from frozen and have a delicious recipe dessert in an hour.

Ingredients:

  • 1 sheet Puff Pastry
  • 1/2 cups frozen blueberries
  • 1/4 zest of an orange
  • 1 pinch rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 pinch cinnamon
  • egg wash (1 egg and a splash of water)

How to:

  1. Begin by defrosting your puff pastry if necessary.  And set your oven to the temperature recommended on the box.
  2. In a sauce pan combine your blueberries (either frozen or fresh) with a splash of water and set to medium heat.
  3. Cook the berries so they begin to reduce into a sauce.  After the berries have begun to make a sauce, add in the rosemary, zest, cinnamon and sugar.
  4. While that continues to reduce, begin to make your tart base.  Take the puff pastry and cut it into squares, about 5 inches on wide and 7 long.  Fold the edges 1/2 inch in to give a border. Then brush with egg wash and bake for 7 minutes.
  5. When you remove the puff pastry, push down the center.
  6. You want the berry mixture to have a nice syrup sauce to it, if it is taking to long to thicken up, add a bit 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch to the mix.
  7. Once it is thick, spoon it onto the top of the puff pastry and egg wash the sides of the pastry again.
  8. Bake for another 10-12 minutes until the edges are completely golden.
  9. Add some whipped cream and enjoy!!
DSC_0367
DSC_0377
DSC_0389

The Fake Out: Cookie Dough Edition

I love pintrest, it is great to come up with new and different ideas.  The problem is sometimes people post recipes that don’t actually work when you try to make them.  But as I was scanning pintrest I kept seeing these recipes for “healthy” cookie dough.  In my mind this reads as “too good to be true”, but it kept coming up so I thought I would give it a go.  Well, I must say I was pleasantly surprised.  More than just pleasantly surprised, I was amazed.  It has one special ingredient that I now consider a miracle food. This will satisfy your cookie dough cravings without having you feel guilty about it!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup canned chickpeas
  • 1/2 a banana
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips

How to:

  1. Begin by roasting the drained and washed chickpeas. Lay them flat on a cookie sheet and toast in a 400 oven until they are golden and dry to the touch, about 15 minutes.
  2. Using a food processor or blender, puree the chickpeas. Then add the peanut butter, banana, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt. Pulse to combine.
  3. Fold in the chocolate chip pieces with a spatula.
  4. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before rolling them into balls.
  5. Eat and enjoy the guilt free sweet treat!
  6. Store in the fridge or freezer!
DSC_0038
DSC_0043