Archive | February, 2011

happy red velvet birthday!

24 Feb

There’s always a red velvet cake in February – somewhere around the 22nd, my mom’s birthday.

Red velvet is her favorite, so I’m always ready to whip one up this time of year – plus I feel like red velvet is the perfect cure for late winter exhaustion. It’s bright and cheery, but resembles the weather with the snowy white frosting. (PS – Frosting video blog to come in the next week or so! 🙂

Much like I’ve said in the past, I’m not so great at repeating recipes. I mean my oatberries are always a success, as well as my graham cracker cake, but when it comes to red velvet, I’m always reading about high rated recipes on twitter or in food emails and I came across this post. The only change I made here was I only used a little more than 1 ounce of food coloring (I actually like the look of a brighter cake anyways), but I think I may have waited a little too long to add the vinegar/baking soda to the rest of the ingredients because I didn’t feel like my cake was very fluffy.

I loved the discussion about the addition of more cocoa in a red velvet and actually my brother and my dad commented on the chocolate taste versus any other red velvet, which I thought was interesting. Personally I thought the cake was a little dry, but that may have been due to the ratio of frosting to cake (I used fat free cream cheese upon my mom’s request and I think it thinned my frosting), or potentially because I was getting sick and my taste buds weren’t up to par.

Either was it was a cute little birthday cake and everyone enjoyed it – my favorite part of a red velvet is the inside picture 🙂

I also continued the red velvet theme with my present to my mom – I’ve been searching EVERYWHERE for this wine for her, almost for a year and I finally found it!

Happy Birthday Mom!

 

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Christmas in February

23 Feb

If you’ve been reading this, you know I love making cakes and wish I could do it more often – but cookies have been taking over lately. So when the restaurant where I work decided that we were getting to have a holiday party (in February – better late than never!) I jumped on the chance to make a cake. I’m always looking to impress everyone and since I don’t think I’ve ever made my co-workers cake, I decided to make my favorite graham cracker cake recipe, filled with chocolate pudding, chocolate covered marshmallows and a twist on my favorite buttercream frosting – I added in a package of hot chocolate mix.

So in addition to baking my favorite cake, I also used this opportunity to shoot my first segment for my video blog – Sweet Talk Live

So that takes care of how I made the cake 🙂 Let me know how you like the segment! There will be new ones almost every week.

Now for the inside, as I said, I grabbed a box of pudding and a bag of marshmallows and threw them inside, and then my frosting is my favorite buttercream “spiked” with hot chocolate mix – so delicious.

 

I hope everyone loved the cake, I think they did, and I will definitely revisit this combination in the future.

 

Merry Christmas Westwood! 🙂

 

 

Countless Cookies

6 Feb

So I’ve been slacking a little bit here, but I have been baking about a million cookies lately, so let me tell you about them!

It all started a week or so ago when my mom reminded me that she was going to “hire” me to bake for her winter quilt retreat. At first she thought I might not have time and seriously said she would order them from the hotel – needless to say I told her she was absolutely not allowed to do that! So I started baking.

I began with this recipe, but I knew I wouldn’t have enough flour to finish the recipe, plus I was worried the batch wouldn’t be enough for the amount of people at her retreat, so I swapped half of the all-purpose flour for whole wheat flour. Well I was wrong, I actually had flour leftover, so I decided to try out a different chocolate chip cookie recipe with the rest of my flour (and chocolate chips), and of course bring them to Westwood. The two cookies could not have looked more different.

Cookie #1 (retreat cookie with whole wheat flour, not the oatmeal)

Cookie #2 – (Westwood’s crunchier, butterier cookie)

At first taste, my parents preferred the crunchy-Westwood cookies, but at work I literally had a co-worker throw out the outside of one of them (i yelled at her), but they were all eaten so I think they were delish! The batter was fabulous. But, in a twist of events, my mom brought a leftover cookie from the retreat and I fell in love with the whole wheat combo, like super yum! So I adapted the recipe again with whole wheat and a few spoonfuls of cocoa powder, which resulted in these cookie “cubes” which I divided in bags labeled “middles” & “ends” for my work-people, they’re silly.

They were also completely consumed, so they must’ve been good 🙂

Now, that is not the end of this post! There are 3 most things for me to add-in. First, to finish off the retreat recipes, I supplemented the whole wheaties with a boxed brownie, I know, someday I’ll find a good recipe, but it hasn’t happened yet! And also a Crisco oatmeal raisin cookie (ran out of butter- and didn’t use walnuts), which my mom said everyone loved too – hooray! I love making people happy, duh. that’s the point of baking!

And one more recipe, which really took the cake, or cookie 🙂 And that was last Thursday at my weekly girls dinner. After I sucked up in the lasagna-making process, I had to redeem myself – which only meant one thing… cookies. So my girls wanted oatmeal chocolate chip peanut butter cookies. So I grabbed the bag of milk chocolate chips and read the oatmeal recipe. I swapped some whole wheat flour in and added in milk and semi-sweet chips and busted out some quick, delicious batter – then I made my friends get involved. As you probably know, I don’t like to deal with peanut butter, I may or may not be allergic, anyways, I don’t touch it. So I told the girls to dollop peanut butter spoonfuls into each cookie batter ball. They had a blast:

Ok, so that was a fun, interactive cookie making experience (if you have kids – let them help with this! and you can use almond butter, nutella or anything else that is thick enough to stay globby!). And what we ended up with was a peanut-butterless delicious cookie for me and to quote Elizabeth, Steph & Kelly, one of the best cookies they’ve ever eaten in the peanut butter filled oaties -thank goodness I redeemed myself from the lasagna disaster! Ahh! I hope you loved all the cookies – let me know if you make great swaps and additions – good luck!!!

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