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.

The Pucker and The Kiss

This weekend brought on an impromptu trip to one of my favorite wineries, Plymouth Bay Wines.  They have some of my favorite stuff, but two cranberry wines they have they playfully nickname the “pucker” and the “kiss”.  After having some of these I was inspired to make a little drink recipe of my own.  This is the perfect drink for the summer as it is light, refreshing, and sweet.  It will also definitely make you pucker!  You can add some adult liquid to this and make a delicious cocktail!  Try this lime spritz with pineapple sage simple sugar!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup sugar (for a sweeter syrup use a whole cup)
  • 3-5 leaves of pineapple sage (fresh is best)
  • 1 fresh basil leaf
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • plain or raspberry lime seltzer

How to:

  1. In a pan, mix the sugar and water together and add in the herbs.  Set to medium heat and bring to a low simmer
  2. Let simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring to fully incorporate the sugar.
  3. Juice 1 lime, I like a lot of pulp, but if you don’t, strain your juice.
  4. In a glass add in 4 ice cubes, 2.5 tablespoons of lime juice. Then add in 2 tablespoons of simple sugar. Pour the seltzer over the top until full.
  5. Garnish with a lime wedge and enjoy!

No Knead to be Nervous

Ever since I watched Cooked I have been on a journey of making my own bread.  I have had several successes and also several complete failures.  Turns out bread making wasn’t as simple as I expected.  Well, that’s until today.  I have been reading a lot about no knead bread and for a long time I just didn’t buy it.  How could you not need to knead it (see what I did there?).  But since returning from my trip I  was dying for some fresh bread, and I decided to try this new technique, what did I have to lose? Well damn, I am impressed.  This recipe was super simple, 4 ingredients, and although it takes some time, you can be doing 100 other things while you wait.  Seriously, if you want fresh bread but are nervous to try, start with this recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 3 Cups all purpose flour (plus more for dusting)
  • 2-3 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry active yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • flavorings (rosemary, garlic, anything) optional

How to:

  1. In a large bowl mix the flour, yeast, and salt together.
  2. Slowly add in the water and incorporate gently using a wooden spoon.  It should turn into a cohesive ball but shredded and shagged.
  3. Tightly cover with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature for 8-24 hours.  I was going to make them after 8 hrs, but ran out of time so I put it in the fridge overnight.
  4. After the time is up, preheat your oven to 450.
  5. Place the dough on a well floured surface and with floured hands form into a ball. Then break into 6 pieces and gently form them into balls as well. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes.
  6. Using a dutch oven or a roasting pan, place it in the oven to preheat for the 30 minutes the bread is resting.
  7. You can place parchment paper in the bottom if you are worried about it sticking, but I didn’t have a problem.
  8. Once 30 minutes are up, with floured hands place the rolls in the pan.  If you are using a roasting pan, cover with tinfoil, if you are using a dutch oven, put on the top.
  9. Bake for 25-30 minutes covered. Then for 7-15 minutes uncovered until deliciously golden brown.
  10. Try to exhibit restraint in eating all of these at once.
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Let’s Drink to Health

Now that summer is approaching it is all the more important to stay hydrated, and for me I often find trying to remember to drink is a chore.  That is unless I find what I am drinking delicious and can’t wait to drink it all down. So I am sharing with you some of my favorite hydration recipes.  These range in sure content so be aware of that before you drink but all can be modified to meet your specific needs!

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Okay up first:

Iced Chai

This Starbucks stable is a spicy creamy combination of goodness.  It is my go to drink if I am not in the mood for a coffee in the morning but still want something creamy and spicy.  You can make an at home version for less than a $1 and skip the line!

  • Fill a mug with 1/2 boiling water and add in your chai tea bag (any brand) add in dash of cinnamon, 3 cloves, and a pinch of ginger.  Let steep for 10-15 minutes.  If you want to drink right away, add in a few ice cubes or place in the fridge for a few minutes to cool it down.  Once it is room temperature or colder, pour over ice and add in your dairy product.  What I do is add in sweetened condensed milk.  It adds the sweetness and creaminess all in one.

Cold Brew Green Tea with Mojito Mint and Ginger

The reason I love cold brew is I can make it the night before and then just grab it and go as I head out in the morning.  This recipe is refreshing without having overbearing flavors.  No sugar needed because your palate is completely satisfied with the green tea, mint, and ginger.  Make this tonight to enjoy tomorrow!

  • In a water bottle (see blue bottle above) or mason jar.  Add a green tea bag, fill with water and place in the fridge overnight. In the morning add in a pinch of ginger powder and a few pieces of mojito mint.  Bring with you on your day and enjoy.

Pineapple Sage Lemonade

I made an impulse buy at the nursery to get some pineapple sage.  I just couldn’t resist this fun little plant that smells just like pineapple!  I love infused lemonades anywhere from mint to strawberry you just cant go wrong.  And the same is true for this pineapple sage lemonade. This will be your go to summer classic, feel free to add some spirits to it and make yourself a nice grown up cocktail

  • This one is simple, use your favorite lemonade base, whether it is powder or fresh.  Then add in chopped pineapple sage and let it steep for an hour before drinking.  Garnish with lemon.

Citrus Water

This is the most simple recipe but it is perfect in its simplicity.  If you find drinking water a chore like I do, this is the recipe for you, it shakes it up just enough that you aren’t bored, but it doesn’t take a long time to make.

  • Slice up orange and lemon and add to water. Drink the water.

Sweet and Sour Radish Pickles

I am a BIG pickle person.  Whenever I order a sandwich I say “put on a disgusting amount of pickles” and everyone usually delivers.  But I have never really explored pickles out of the dill cucumber range, but that is no longer! This recipe is for sweet and sour radish and carrot pickles with cilantro and peppers.  This is perfect for tacos or as a salad topper.  This recipe is also extremely easy and can last in your fridge for a few weeks!

Ingredients:

  • 4 radishes
  • 1/2 carrot
  • 1 handful chopped fresh cilantro (dried if you cant find fresh)
  • 1/4 green pepper (or if you want it hot, jalapenos)
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

How to:

  1. Using a mandolin or very good knife skills, slice the radishes and carrots very thin. Chop up the peppers, this doesn’t have to be very fine, just big chunks.
  2. Place in a wide mouth mason jar.  Place the garlic and cilantro on top.
  3. In a sauce pan, heat the vinegar and sugar together until a soft boil starts.
  4. Remove from heat, and pour over the vegetables, making sure everything is covered in the brine.
  5. Place in the fridge. Let sit at least a day before eating, lasts 2-3 weeks, but probably not because you are going to eat it up!

Orange Dream Cake

I love Birthdays, you get to celebrate their life, but also you have an excuse to eat cake.  It seems like one of the best holidays around.  Well yesterday was my Little’s birthday (who gets quite a few recipe shout outs) and also the first day of spring! Not that you could tell over here in New England with several inches of snow.  But regardless this is a spring inspired birthday cake.  It is an orange vanilla cake, with a whipped cream filling, and an orange cream cheese butter cream frosting.   This was family tested and approved!  Nothing beats a fresh cake, and this one is pretty easy, so give it a go!

Ingredients:

For the Cake:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used soy milk and it turned out fine)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice

For the icing and filling:

  • 3/4 cup whipping cream
  • 1 package cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1.5 -2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

How to:

  1. For the cake, begin by creaming the butter and sugar together.
  2. Then beat two eggs and fold into the butter mixture, you can pulse a little bit with the hand beater.
  3. Using a spatula, fold in the flour and baking powder.
  4. Add the milk, vanilla, orange zest and juice, gentle fold in until completely combined.
  5. Pour into a well greased baking dish, I used a 8×8 square glass pan
  6. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until a knife can be inserted and removed clean.
  7. Let cool completely. Now onto the sweet stuff
  8. The whipped cream is made by just whipping the cream, and once stiff peaks have formed, add in 1/2 cup sugar (or more or less depending on how sweet you like things).
  9. For the icing, beat together the butter and cream cheese both at room temp. Once whipped, slowly add in the powdered sugar 1/2 a cup at a time.  Also add in the zest and vanilla.  Add sugar until you have reached the desired sweetness level.  I died some pink to use as decoration.
  10. Once the cake is cooled, use a serrated knife to slice through the middle of it (hamburger way), gently take off the top and spread an even coat of whipped cream.  At least 1/2 inch thick.
  11. Replace the top and gently spread the icing around coating, I like a generous layer of frosting, but it is your choice!
  12. Slice and serve, refrigerate if anything remains!

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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.
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Bite Me: Healthy Coconut Truffles

I have had an aggressive sweet tooth over the past couple of days, and with spring break being a week away, that really isn’t such a good thing.  But I these past few weeks have also been especially stressful and jam packed so I am not willing to cut out sugar and be an angry person through all of my meetings.  That is where this perfect bite sized treat comes into play.  It is like a almond joy, but elevated and free from all the additives.  Make these and bring on your busy weeks!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon coffee grouds
  • 1 dash vanilla
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate/ semi sweet chocolate chips
  • course or table salt

How to:

  1. In a food processor blend the coffee grounds and coconut until it turns into a finer powder.  About 10 pulses.
  2. Then add into a bowl, and add in the coconut oil, honey, and vanilla.
  3. Stir with a spatula into a paste. Roll/ form into balls (I made bite sized but they could be bigger) and place on a waxed paper lined tray and place in the fridge for 10 minutes.
  4. After 10 minutes these balls will be firm. In a microwave safe bowl, melt the chocolate chips in 30 second intervals stirring in between each one.
  5. Dip your balls into the chocolate and coat in chocolate. If you want less chocolate, just drizzle it on top. Sprinkle a bit of salt on top and place back into the fridge to set the chocolate. Store in the fridge and you are good to go!
  6. Better than a candy bar and you definitely don’t have to feel bad about these!