Saturday, August 31, 2013

mile-high chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream

This cake popped up on the Baked Sunday Morning schedule just as I was planning my baby's third birthday. Seemed like a perfect occasion to make a six layer chocolate cake filled with an Italian meringue vanilla buttercream and topped with a chocolate glaze.

The last time I had made the standard Baked chocolate cake, my layers felt really delicate and had sunk a little in the middle. So I was really dreading splitting each one in half to make the six layers required for this cake. I had good luck this time around, and my layers baked up nice and flat, and felt sturdier than I remembered. I left them to cool on the counter overnight before slicing them the next day.

I have made the standard Baked roux based buttercream quite a few times recently (coffee one, and caramel one, just this month) and was ready for a change, so I was happy to see that this cake called for a different buttercream. I have not made Italian meringue buttercream very often, but it came together very nicely. A good thing too, cause I made finished this cake at the very last minute. No way I would have had time to make a different frosting for it! I did finish the buttercream by beating it with the paddle attachment of my kitchenaid, just to make sure it was nice and smooth.

I didn't have much time to let the glaze cool, so it wasn't as thick as it should have been, but it still worked out in the end. I did have a lot of glaze left over though, probably because it was too thin to stay on the cake as it should have.

I topped the cake with a little Peppa Pig and a little heart banner spelling out my kid's name. I don't have much experience making fondant figurines, but I'm having a blast giving it my best shot! And the birthday girl actually recognized the character, so mission accomplished!

Everyone loved this cake and the Italian buttercream. The leftovers were thoroughly enjoyed by my coworkers and didn't last long!

 For the recipe, click on through to the Baked Sunday Morning blog.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

lime tarragon cookies with white chocolate lime topping

I loved these cookies! And I totally wasn't going to make them, because when I first spotted them on the Baked Sunday Mornings schedule, I thought they were slice and bake cookies, and I just have no patience for that. (And I don't think I like slice and bake cookies.) But a couple of weeks back, I saw these cookies featured on the National Baking Society blog and was super happy to see that they were in fact drop cookies. And it's totally possible to simplify the baking process of drop cookies, so I did just that.

This cookie is kinda reminiscent of a shortbread but not really. It's not a sugar cookie. It's not chewy or crisp or crumbly. It's just different. The ingredients include butter, confectioner's sugar, light brown sugar, salt, tarragon, lime zest, lime juice and flour. They are topped with melted white chocolate.

I chose to bake the cookie dough in a parchment lined 8 in by 8 in baking pan. I baked it for about 30 minutes, if not 40, until the edges were starting to turn golden and the cookies appeared set.

After letting the cookies cool, I cut them into squares and drizzled melted chocolate all over them.

It's a good thing I gave most of these away, as it was way too easy to keep going back to the kitchen to pop just another square in my mouth. I really enjoyed the flavor, the texture of these. I think I might have preferred them without the white chocolate drizzle, but they were still delicious with it. They came together really quickly, and disappeared just as fast.

For the recipe, click on through to the Baked Sunday Mornings site and see how the other bakers liked this recipe!