Chocolate Heart Cake with Ganache

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Happy Valentine’s Day, friends! It sure is a cold one here in the Northeast! All the better for snuggling, I suppose. ūüôā

Today I bring you a heart-shaped chocolate cake topped with thick fudgy ganache and raspberries. Pinterest takes all the credit here. This cake is created by pouring batter into one 8 inch square pan  and one 8 inch round pan then baking and slicing the round cake in half. See below.

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I used this oldie but goodie chocolate cake recipe which originates from Annie’s Eats. I then slathered on thick fudgy ganache (made using this recipe). Top with raspberries (little kid fingers are especially helpful here) and enjoy!

Wishing you lots of love and chocolate on this cold Valentine’s Day!

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Cake Catch Up

Here are two cakes I made that I never posted. (I blocked out the names on the cakes, per usual.)

Cowgirl Boot Birthday Cake

First is a boot birthday cake for a cowgirl birthday party.  Our little cowgirl was thrilled with it! My inspiration was the cake found here on Larson Lingo blog.

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Strawberry First Birthday Cake

And here is a cake for a strawberry themed¬†first birthday party.¬†¬† I love the pink, green, and red color combo. The frosting was made with fresh berries–pretty and delicious!

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Pumpkin Cupcakes

 

 

Pumpkin cupcakes! Perfect for Halloween and Thanksgiving. Hope everyone is enjoying this wonderful season!

Pumpkin Cupcakes recipe found here: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2008/11/pumpkin-cupcakes/

P.S. I hope One-Pie never changes their can label. I love the nostalgia it evokes and choose it over Libby’s every time because of it!

Cake with Fresh Lemon Curd Filling

My dad is a really wonderful guy. He is gregarious, helpful, and fun-loving.¬†¬†He enjoys cold beer, shrimp cocktail, and hot dogs.¬†He is easy to please and maybe that’s why I love making¬†his birthday cake¬†each year!¬† (Check out the¬†Root Beer Iced Vanilla Cake¬†I made in¬†2008¬†and the Boston Cream Pie I made in 2009.)

In addition to Boston Cream Pie, his other favorite dessert is Lemon Meringue Pie. For his birthday this year I wanted to make cake (not pie) so I translated his love for lemon into a cake filled with fresh lemon curd!

A trick I learned at Flour Bakery (while I was a recipe-testing intern) is called the “dam.” Whenever ¬†you fill a cake with something other than frosting (in this case lemon curd) you should pipe a circle of frosting (a “dam”) around the edge of the cake¬†so that the filling does not ooze out. Check it out:

You pipe the “dam” first, and then spoon the lemon curd within its border. You then place the¬†second¬†cake layer on top and you are ready to frost!

Cake with Fresh Lemon Curd Filling:

(I prepared the lemon curd the evening before I assembled the cake.)

Lemon Curd:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 water
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 4 large egg yolks

Over medium heat, in a non-reactive saucepan, combine the butter, sugar, water, lemon juice, lemon rind, cream of tartar, and egg yolks. Stir briefly using a wooden spoon then whisk continuously for several (approximately 8) minutes until thickened. Strain through a fine sieve. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap touching the curd. Refrigerate until firm.

Cake:

I used this brown sugar cake recipe.

Frosting:

I used (of course) cream cheese frosting to complement the lemon curd filling.

Happy Birthday Dad!!!

 

More Soft and Poofy Sugar Cookies with Frosting

My sister-in-law made a special request for Annie’s Eats Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies and I obliged without hesitation. She loved them so much when I made them the first time!

These cookies are¬†a dessert that both kids and adults seem to really enjoy. I love how theycan be as bright and colorful as you’d like to make them as opposed to plain old chocolate chip or oatmeal cookies.¬†I¬†like savoring one along side a cup of tea or a glass of milk.

Making them is easy. The dough can be made ahead of time so that you can simply bake them off when you need them. The frosting can be whipped together quickly.

Find the recipe here.

I hope you are enjoying an extra day off this weekend!

 

Coconut Cupcakes with Easter Eggs and Chicks

I made these really cute coconut cupcakes for Easter! I was very happy with how they looked on the table and very sad when I took a bite and realized I over baked them a bit. I will pay very close attention next time!

I made a simple white frosting (butter + confectioners’ sugar +vanilla + almond extract) then tinted it pale green. I piled it onto the cupcakes using an offset spatula then sprinkled each cupcake with green coconut. (To make colored coconut just add coconut and a few drops of food coloring to a zip loc bag and shake, shake, shake!) The little “eggs” are speckled peanut butter M&Ms and worked really well on top of the green coconut. The chicks are (of course) Peeps!

Voila! Cute Easter cupcakes that will add flare to your holiday dessert table!

While we are on the subject of cute Easter cupcakes, check out these little flower pot cupcakes my sister-in-law baked. Aren’t they precious?!

Adorable Flowerpot Cupcakes with Lollipops made by my sister-in-law

Coconut Cupcakes:

  • 3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 extra-large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 7¬†ounces sweetened, shredded coconut (for IN the batter) + 7 ounces sweetened, shredded coconut¬† (for on TOP of the cupcakes)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In 3 parts, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix until just combined. Fold in 7 ounces of coconut.

Line a muffin pan with paper liners. Fill each liner to the top with batter. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove to a baking rack and cool completely.

Recipe by Ina Garten/Barefoot Contessa found here on foodnetwork.com.

Soft and Poofy Sugar Cookies (with Frosting)

Like Annie from Annie’s Eats, my husband LOVES those poofy soft sugar cookies from the grocery store. (And who am I kidding? So do I!) I decided to give these a go. As Annie says, they are buttery, pillowy, and delicious. The frosting is perfect and they make a lovely presentation.

I decorated with purple frosting and silver sprinkles.¬†What’s fun about these cookies is you can use any color frosting and sprinkles to match your festivities.¬†They are perfect “party cookies.”

It’s important to keep an eye on these cookies as they bake, though, because just a second too long and they easily become a bit dry. I’ve always struggled with determining when a cookie is done. There is the afterbake to account for and¬†each¬†dough is so different.¬†Furthermore, the desired texture for¬†different¬†cookie recipes varies dramatically–crispy, chewy, pillowy, soft. As I’ve said before, I will just have to keep baking cookies over and over until I’ve figured it out. Not a bad problem to have, do you think?

Check out the recipe at Annies Eats. Bake them and let me know what you think.

P.S. Remember the last time I used the silver sprinkles? It was for these mini chocolate halloween cupcakes with silver frosting!