Celebrating my 70th TWD with Perfect Party Cake

I’m a little late to the TWD party this week, my apologies. We’ve recently added a new family member and this little bundle of energy has taken up all of my free time.  We are first time dog owners so this has been quite the experience for us both as we’re in a constant state of extreme worry and extreme joy over her.  It’s been so great.  Also, our three cats are responding better than we could have ever hoped.

Our new Great Dane puppy.  My boyfriend named her “Kinder”, like the kinder  in “kindergarten”.  It means “child” in German.

Kinder

Kinder

Kinder

Kinder

Now, on to the cake.  :)

I usually make mention whenever I hit a “milestone” on my blog. This time, it’s my 70th Tuesday with Dorie recipe (which is not how many week’s I’ve been participating with the group, although it’s close, but how many of the TWD selections I’ve made so far). I couldn’t think of a better choice to ring in my 70th with than this Perfect Party Cake. So thank you Carol of mix, mix… stir, stir for choosing it.

Perfect Party Cake

This is a white layer cake flavored with lemon and raspberry, with a swiss meringue buttercream and a sprinkling of shredded coconut.

The cakes baked up really nice.  I’d never made a swiss meringue buttercream before where you heat egg whites first and then whip up a beautiful frosting with three sticks of butter (yikes!), but everything went smoothly.  The raspberry filling was no more than warming up some raspberry jam.

I think I’ve finally conquered my fear of layer cakes. I didn’t have any problems with this recipe at all. My layers weren’t as uniform as I would have liked maybe, but I also kind of cut my cakes in half with reckless abandon so I guess I couldn’t expect that.  It was easy to cut and serve, although at times the jam in the layers made it a little slippery.

Perfect Party Cake

This cake is definitely perfect for a party.  I had a thought while I was tasting it that it would be a good wedding cake too, maybe minus the coconut.  I shared it with our neighbors who also really liked it.  I don’t think you can go wrong here and it seems like a versatile cake where you could easily change up flavors and it would still turn out great.

Thank you Carol for choosing Perfect Party Cake on pages250-252 of Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From my home to yours. Please check out the book or stop by Carol’s Blog for the recipe. Next week, the TWD logo contest winner Lisa of Surviving Oz chose Tribute to Katherine Hepburn Brownies on pages 96-97.

July 5, 2009. Tags: , , , , . Cakes, Lemon, Raspberries, TWD. 15 comments.

TFF: Raspberry Soufflé

Raspberry Soufflé

I had never been that interested in making a soufflé. I guess I’ve always equated it with stress from lingering memories of my Mom attempting soufflé when I was growing up. It was such a big deal to “stay away from the oven and be quiet!” like any sort of noise above the decibel level of a whisper would find it’s way into the oven and punch the soufflé’s lights out. From what I can remember, most of my Mom’s attempts started with a lot worry and ended with an “awww, shit!”. Not my kind of thing.

Lately though, I’ve gotten to the point where I’m beginning to naturally branch outside of my normal baking zone. Things that didn’t appeal to me before are suddenly standing out to me in different ways. I crave stuff I didn’t even think I liked and I find I give second chances to things I’ve tried in the past and wasn’t crazy about. So when I had some leftover raspberries to use, I got to looking around and stumbled on this Raspberry Soufflé. My first instinct was to pass it over, and I did do just that… but then I came back to it for a second look.

raspberry puree

Soufflés are pretty interesting actually, I’ll share what I’ve learned. The word soufflé translates from French to basically meaning “puffed up” in English. There’s only two main components: Egg white foam that expands to give height and a base (like a sauce, puree, etc) that provides all of the flavor. The traditional baking dish is a small round dish like a ramekin. The ramekin is buttered and prepped with a dry ingredient (sugar in this case) to give the soufflé something to “climb up” on it’s rise to the top. Pretty cool.

ramekin with sugar

Even though this was my first experience, I didn’t seem to have any problems with this recipe. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw that my soufflés had browned and risen nicely. But that didn’t last too long, once out of the oven I had to photograph them fast as I could visibly see them deflating with each picture that I took. This is, of course, a serve and eat immediately type of dessert. Fine by me!

The raspberry flavor was pronounced, overall the dish wasn’t too sweet and I liked how the top of the soufflé was a totally different texture and color than the inside. The top was like the crust of a cake while the inside was purplish and gooey, but airy at the same time. I’m glad I ventured into this kind of baking territory and want to try another one again soon, maybe savory next time.

On another note… I’m curious, how many of you do this with your eggs?

Eggs

Do you take your eggs from all over the place in the carton when you’re baking like I do? Or do you take them out in some kind of order?

Tyler Florence’s Raspberry Soufflé
Show: Food 911 Episode: Fallen Souffle in Topanga CA
4/5 stars from foodnetwork reviews
Cook Time: 40 min Level: Intermediate Yield: 4 servings

1 tablespoon unsalted butter plus more for greasing
3/4 cup granulated sugar plus more for dusting molds
1 pint pureed raspberries
4 eggs, separated
Pinch cream of tartar
Powdered sugar, for dusting
Directions Here!

Raspberry Soufflés are my sixth post for Tyler Florence Fridays, a group with the freedom to make any recipe of Tyler’s that they choose and then share their experiences every Friday.

February 19, 2009. Tags: , , , . Eggs, Raspberries, Soufflé, Tyler Florence. 21 comments.

TFF: Truffle Tarts and Raspberries

 truffletart1

My blog name has always driven a lot of traffic to my site from people searching for “something sweet to say”.  I see variations of that search all the time in my stats, with a surge recently since Valentine’s Day is right upon us.

So sometimes I like to think about what I could offer up in terms of advice.

It’s hard to come up with stuff but I did come up with one thing sweet to say… how about “I made you something!”.

Like these Truffle Tarts with Raspberries. 

truffletart3

That’s pretty sweet. You can’t go wrong with that in my opinion. :P

An Oreo cookie crust houses a bittersweet chocolate filling with a raspberry hidden inside and more served on top for garnish. It’s small, it’s rich, it’s chocolate, it’s raspberry… it’s seriously good.  

truffletart2

Whether or not you love or hate Valentine’s Day, I hope you have a good one. This year, the boyfriend and I have decided to forgo our usual expensive dinner out at our favorite local restaurant and stay home and cook for each other instead. We also decided no cards, candy, flowers or gifts. We’ve had a lot of unexpected expenses come up recently from a sick cat’s huge vet bill to car repairs to an HD Tivo deal we couldn’t pass up to my $500 trip to the dentist Tuesday. We decided not to add more to the debt pile trying to show “I love you”. Just saying it is sweet enough.

Happy Birthday Katie and Sharon! I love both of you Valentine’s babies so much!

Tyler Florence’s Truffle Tarts with Raspberries
Show: How To Boil Water Episode: How Sweet It Is
Rated 4 out of 5 stars from 33 Foodnetwork.com reviews

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups fine chocolate wafer crumbs (from Oreo cookies or chocolate wafers)
6 tablespoons melted butter
1 recipe Dark Chocolate Truffles, recipe follows, whipped but not shaped into balls
6 fresh raspberries, plus extra for serving

Dark Chocolate Truffles:
1/2 cup heavy cream
8 ounces good-quality (70 percent) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Click here for directions

Truffle Tarts with Raspberries are my fifth post for Tyler Florence Fridays, a group with the freedom to make any recipe of Tyler’s that they choose and then share their experiences every Friday.

February 13, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , . Chocolate, Raspberries, Tart, Tyler Florence. 16 comments.

Use it or lose it… (and my 40th TWD)

IMG_9993

“Use it or lose it” may just be one of my favorite phrases right now. It’s the reason I’m currently on vacation instead of at work. It’s great to find out you still have a week’s worth of time off in the last month of the year. It makes things seem more do-able. Like I actually have time to Christmas shop, time to veg out during Netflix instant viewing, and time to make some cookies.

Here we have Linzer Sables. They are a tiny spiced cookie sandwich with a layer of jam in the middle and a powdered sugar dusting on top.

There are tons of flavor combinations you could decide on for these. Since the dough is made with ground nuts you could choose one or more different nuts to use. The jam in the middle leaves you open to almost any flavor of jam you could find. I chose to use almonds as my base with a raspberry jam for the filling.

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These dough was pretty easy to roll out between two sheets of plastic wrap. I let the dough chill overnight for the first batch and two days for the second batch.

There are specific cookie cutters made just for these types of cookies. See here and here for examples. I just used a cutter that I already owned and a Wilton tip to cut out the hole in the middle.

I liked the taste of these. The spices in the cookie really come through and I liked the raspberry jam a lot with them. They were crispy, not really soft. I’m actually not sure I’d make these again, although I’m glad I gave them a try.

IMG_9970

Linzer Sables were chosen for Tuesdays with Dorie for the week of December 2nd by Dennis of Living the Life. The recipe can be found on Living the Life here. This was my 40th TWD recipe. I’m proud of myself for sticking with something this long. :)

More cookies coming your way as soon as I can tear myself away from CSI Season 9 on Netflix.
Grandma’s All Occasion Sugar Cookies
Buttery Jam Cookies

December 9, 2008. Tags: , , , , . almond, Cookies, Raspberries, TWD. 5 comments.

Chocolate-Banded Ice Cream Torte – TWD

chocolate banded ice cream torte

I have to admit when I first looked at the recipe for this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie pick, Chocolate-Banded Ice Cream Torte, I was kind of concerned because there was a lot of waiting going on. Usually, I’m totally not into making desserts that have multi steps or wait times in between each step for chilling, resting, what have you. Yes, I know that “good things come to those who wait” but I can get quite an impatient streak sometimes. I also wondered how I was going to be able to fit this one in with my schedule getting crazier lately. Massive overtime pushes at work are in full swing and just my day to day life is filling up with more and more to get done. Whenever I do actually have a minute to myself now, there’s this general laziness that washes over me and keeps me glued to the couch. Good times. :) But I couldn’t let any of that or a few little 30 minute chilling periods get in the way of me making the torte that Amy of Food, Family, and Fun chose for all 250 TWDers to try this week. I had to see how it turned out.

I used a 9 inch springform pan and got scared it was way too big while I was putting the torte together. It didn’t seem like it would have any height at all or my layers would be invisible or something.  Well, I was right because the torte came out pretty thin, to my dismay, but at least you could still differentiate the layers. It didn’t turn out as picture perfect as Dorie’s, in some places there was kind of a psychedelic wave to the center chocolate layer.  Far out, man. :P

chocolate banded ice cream torte

I stuck to the recipe as written and used raspberries mixed with Breyer’s Vanilla Bean ice cream. Making the ganache was my favorite part. It’s kind of funny to me that I like making things like ganaches and pastry cream so much now. I think it probably has something to do with all the whisking.

Anyway, this recipe definitely wins the “destroyed my kitchen” award. I had eggs, chocolate, and raspberry ice cream all over every counter and the floor… and a sink full of dishes.

chocolate banded ice cream torte

I liked this. It was good for what it was… 5 layers made up of chocolate and ice cream. The torte would be great with so many different ice cream flavors and you could dress this up or down depending on who you were making it for. This is a super easy recipe, it’s not hard to do at all. My advice would be to use the right sized pan, allow yourself plenty of time and stick to the minimum freezing suggestions. Actually, freezing the torte a little longer in between each step would maybe be a good idea. It melts pretty fast after cutting, as you can see in my pics, so keep that in mind and serve immediately.

Make sure you stop by to see Amy’s Chocolate-Banded Ice Cream Torte and the recipe at Food, Family, and Fun. Then head on over to the TWD site to see how everyone else did this week.

For next Tuesday, Stefany of Proceed with Caution has chosen Chunky Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Chocolate Chipsters.

August 26, 2008. Tags: , , . Chocolate, Ice Cream, Raspberries, Torte, TWD. 14 comments.

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