Holidays

Red, White, and Blue Velvet Cupcakes (with a White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting)

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I was hoping to have this posted before Flag Day, but it turns out that Flag Day was yesterday (and apparently National Bourbon Day was yesterday, too).   At least this is something that you can make for the upcoming 4th of July holiday.  I made these a little bit ago for a Memorial Day / Birthday celebration.  They’re fun and festive, especially if you put metallic star picks in them!  Very patriotic, and not just here in The States, but everywhere else that has those same colors in their national flag.  Like France, the UK, Puerto Rico, Slovakia — in Canada, you can just make the Red Velvet cupcakes — in Greece just make the blue ones! — and so on.  Maybe you could make some for a UEFA Championship Party (can’t believe the Dutch are almost eliminated).

Red, White, and Blue!

As for the recipe, Red velvet is what people typically think of, but why not Blue velvet cupcakes?  It’s the same principle, just with blue coloring.  Plus, there’s that song about them.  Well, not the cupcakes, but about blue velvet.  Or was it Blue Moon?  But I digress. . . if you were ever wondering about some of the background of the Red Velvet cake, you can find some fascinating information here at Gilt Taste.

I do love a big box of cupcakes

As you can see from one of the pictures, I tried to use one of those cupcake stands made out of cardboard (There was a sale at Jo-Ann’s, so I thought why not?  I can never resist a sale!).  I just could not get that thing together right, AND there were three of us working on it.  Sure I had a couple margaritas, some sangria, and a beer in me by then, but I’m pretty sure my two “assistants” were fairly sober.  That thing was such a hassle it had me sweating like a wh@%& in church, pardon my language.  And of course the first cupcake we put on made the top tier topple over and fall onto several of the other cupcakes.  Alas, if I was only recording the whole ordeal.  Such is life.  Maybe I should just invest in something more sturdy, but then again, I wouldn’t have any interesting stories to tell!

Not a bad stand in a pinch, but i really should invest in something that’s sturdier and better looking.

There’s a small part of me that is always hesitant about using dyes, particularly in cakes.  With frostings and buttercreams, I’m okay with using tints, but I always balk at cakes.  So I probably didn’t use as much color as I could have.  I’ve seen some recipes that called for a whole bottle of coloring, which I did not do, so the color is not as pronounced.  But no worries — if you want more intensity in the colors just use more.  You can get away with using less red since the chemical reaction between the acids (buttermilk and vinegar) and the cocoa are supposed to produce the red color you get in Red Velvet cakes, although it’s very faint.  But I did use more of the blue to make sure it would come out.  And the amount of dye you use may depend on what products you have.  The blue that I used for this is AmeriColor Royal Blue; the red is Wilton’s Red-Red.  Gel pastes are usually what I prefer because it will not affect the recipe ratios as much.  Here’s what you need:

for the cupcakes (one batch makes about 2 dozen; the red batch used 1/2 t. of coloring and the blue used 1 t.):

  • 2 c. all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1/2 c. corn starch
  • 2 T. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 c. buttermilk
  • 2 t. white vinegar
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 c. vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • gel paste coloring (see above)

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line your muffin pan with cupcake papers and set aside.

2.  Sift together the flour, corn starch, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.  In a large measuring cup, combine the buttermilk, white vinegar, and vanilla.  Set aside as well.

3.  In the bowl of a mixer, whisk the oil and sugars until combined on medium speed.  Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix well.  Whisk in the gel paste, scraping down the sides as needed.

4.  Add the flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with 2 additions of the buttermilk mixture.  Scrape down the sides after each addition and whisk well.

5.  Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake liners, filling to about 3/4 full.  Bake for about 20 minutes, rotating once halfway through baking.  Cool cupcakes in the pans set on wire racks.  Frost with the White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting.

Red velvet

for the frosting (this was enough for 4 dozen cupcakes):

  • 3 8-oz. packages of cream cheese
  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter
  • 3 c. confectioners sugar
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 8 oz. white chocolate, chopped.

1.  In the bowl of a mixer using the paddle attachment, beat together the cream cheese and butter on medium for a couple of minutes, until well combined.  Place the white chocolate in a microwave proof bowl.  Microwave in 15 second bunches until melted, stirring after each time.  Allow to cool for about 5 minutes, making sure to keep in a liquid state.

2.  With the mixer on low, gradually add the confectioners sugar and salt.  Mix until smooth.  Add the vanilla and white chocolate and mix for about 1 minute, scraping down the sides.  Use either a small spatula knife or a piping bag to frost the cupcakes.

Notes — I have read that you can use beet juice instead of the red coloring, but I have no idea how much you need and how to adjust the recipes for the change in the amount of liquid. . . I’m not sure about an alternative for the blue, but I do have some ideas if you needed something green 🙂  . . .You should be able to store these in the freezer for a few weeks.  Thaw the frozen cakes in the refrigerator overnight. . . As always when making cakes, make sure your ingredients are at room temperature. . . I’m still bummed I missed National Bourbon Day; been wanting to add some Four Roses bourbon to my collection.  I really need to revisit my Foodie Holiday postings. . . And don’t forget to visit Daisy Cakes and Jereme’s Kitchen on Facebook. . .

Taste of Ann Arbor and Ya’ssoo!

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Happy June and Happy Hazelnut Cake Day!  Alright this may be more appropriate for locals, but some of y’all might be visiting.  Plus it might give some of y’all some incentive to visit us here in SE Michigan (if you need more incentive, Frommer’s just named us as one of the top 20 Best Vacation Destinations!).  But we have a couple of our annual summer events coming up this weekend.  First of all there’s Ya’ssoo — the Greek Festival of Ann Arbor.  It starts today and runs through Sunday so there are lots of chances to head on over.  Here’s a link to the event flyer and here’s the website.  Of course, there’ll be specialty foods (here’s the menu!), concerts, raffles, and tours.  Lot’s of fun and I’ve been craving Saganaki and some Paximathakia (if you don’t know, look it up!).  Ooo, I should post my baklava recipe sometime.

This painting is from the Greek Festival’s website. It depicts an actual scene from the festival with the church in the background.

There is also the 17th Annual Ann Arbor African-American Festival, Saturday, June 2, 9am – 9 pm.  This festival pays tribute to the historic black business district of Ann Arbor.  Now I couldn’t find a website, but I did find an email where you can get more information — clpfestival@gmail.com.  There’ll be music, food, dances, and theatrical performances.  The cost is free and this will take place downtown.

Also this Sunday (June 3) is the Taste of Ann Arbor.  I’m excited and hope to attend this year!  Tasting tickets are $0.50 and it runs from 11am – 5pm.  Games and music will be a part of the festivities, but the food is the main draw!  A lot of my favorites will be there and some places that I’ve been dying to try.  And it’s great that a sample will just cost me 50 cents!  And if you’re interested there’s the Dexter Ann Arbor Run on Sunday; registration ends tonight.  They schedule concurrently with Taste of Ann Arbor; all that food at the finish line is motivation enough for me.  I wonder if runners get some free tasting tickets 🙂  There’s a half marathon, 10k, 5k, and kids’ run.  If the races are still open, you can register online here.

I got this image from “Living in Ann Arbor” on Facebook who, in turn, got this from wherelightstandsstill.blogspot.com

Sure this is short notice, but these are just some of the fun things going on around town this weekend.  They involve eating food, which is something I do everyday!  And they also give you a chance to learn, and play, and maybe run a half marathon.

Roulade Marquis — Gluten-Free!!!

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Here’s something that might be good to make for Memorial Day weekend. I think it’s a great choice for summer picnics and grilling get-togethers because it’s fun and it’s actually cool and refreshing. It helps that this cake is stuffed with whipped cream and raspberries.

What’s a little crack(ing) amongst friends?

I got this recipe from Martha, who got this from chef Michel Roux. The one change that I made is that I replaced the potato flour with coconut flour, mostly because I had the coconut flour. I also didn’t dust the pan with the all-purpose flour but used cocoa instead. Otherwise, everything is the same. Here’s what you need:

  • 1 T. plus 1 1/2 t. butter, room temperature, for baking sheet
  • 1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa, for dusting
  • 3 medium egg yolks
  • 1 3/4 c. confectioners’ sugar, plus more for dusting
  • 4 medium egg whites
  • 1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 T. plus 1 1/2 t. coconut flour
  • 1 c. heavy cream
  • 1 c. raspberry coulis (see note at the end)
  • 1 1/4 cups fresh raspberries

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper; butter the parchment and dust with cocoa. Set aside.

Since I didn’t make this for myself, I couldn’t really cut into it, and take some pics of the pretty slices. But I did get a pic of the last little bit.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat yolks and scant 1 cup confectioners’ sugar in a bowl until ribbons form; set aside. In the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk egg whites until they reach soft peaks; add a scant 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar and continue whisking until stiff peaks form.

3. Whisk in one-third of the yolk mixture into the egg white mixture. Fold in remaining yolk mixture using a metal spoon until it is almost fully incorporated. Sift the 1/2 c. cocoa and coconut flour into bowl. Gently fold with a metal spoon until just combined.

4. Using an offset spatula, spread batter on prepared baking sheet to form a 10 1/2-by-12-inch rectangle, about 5/8 inch thick. Transfer to oven and bake until cake springs back when touched, 8 to 10 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, line a large wire rack with a clean dish towel. Turn cake out onto prepared rack and carefully peel off parchment paper. Let stand 5 minutes to cool.

6. Now in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat heavy cream with remaining 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar until ribbons form. Set aside.

This is what Martha’s looks like. Of course, it’s too pretty for words. I got this from her recipe posting on her website.

7. Carefully transfer cake to a large piece of wax paper. Using a pastry brush, brush 1/4 cup coulis over cake. Using a serrated knife, carefully trim edges from all four sides. With an offset spatula, spread whipped cream over cake, leaving a 5/8-inch border all around. Top with raspberries. Starting from one of the long sides, gently roll up cake, using the wax paper to help you. Transfer cake to refrigerator and let chill 2 to 3 hours.

8. Slice roulade crosswise and serve dusted with confectioners’ sugar and drizzled with coulis.

Notes — Whenever I make roulades / jelly rolls, sometimes (like in this case) I end up cracking them. Most of the time it doesn’t matter because you’ll be putting frosting or whipped cream or whatever on the outside. That can help cover up stuff that’s not ideal. This cracked as well, but you serve it up sliced covered with powdered sugar and raspberry sauce and it’s still fabulous. . . As for the a quick and simple Raspberry Coulis, take a cup of simple syrup, 3 cups of raspberries (I used frozen), and the juice of a lemon. Put everything in a blender and pulse until smooth. Run through a sieve to remove seeds. But you can also check what Martha had listed; there is a link to a coulis recipe on her roulade post.

Chili-Chocolate Truffles

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Hello again everybody!  Sorry for being out of commission for a little bit, but again I’ve been busy trying to keep busy.  Although today, I’m feeling somewhat under the weather and flu-ey, plus my back hurts.  So you know what that means for me — Cheezits and Rum!  But it also means that I won’t be going to the gym (I’m up to lifting 110,425 lbs. now) so I gots me some time to post some fun stuff for y’all!

This is what I made for a little get-together to help celebrate Cinco de Mayo.  You’ll need some cayenne pepper, which is said to have been used by the Mayans and the Aztecs (cultural nugget — yay!).  It has been some time since I made these and I forgot the heat they impart.  I don’t think it’s overwhelming, but it is definitely noticeable.  It won’t hit you at first, but after the chocolate melts away is when you get that kick from the cayenne.

I rolled some in powdered sugar, and yes, I probably could have shaken more of the excess off.

This recipe came from chatelaine.com, and they in turn adapted it from the book A Matter of Taste by Lucy Waverman and James Chatto.  And if y’all remember my chocolate truffles cake, I prefer a more “natural” truffle — one that actually looks like the truffles you dig out of the ground.  That’s why these chocolates are called truffles after all.  Here’s what you need:

  • 10 oz. (280 g) bittersweet chocolate
  • 1/4 c. (50 mL) room temperature butter
  • 1/2 c. (125 mL) whipping cream
  • 1 T. (15 mL) liquid honey
  • 1/2 t. (2 mL) cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 c. (50 mL) cocoa powder

1.  Finely chop chocolate.  Place in a large bowl with the butter.  Pour cream into a small saucepan and set over medium heat.

2.  As soon as cream boils, remove it from the heat and then pour it over the chocolate and butter.  Stir until melted and mixture is smooth.  Stir in honey and cayenne.

3.  Refrigerate until set, about 4 hours.

4.  Line a baking sheet with parchment, foil,  or silpat.  To make truffles, scoop out a small amount of the mixture with a melon baller or a very small ice cream scoop.  Use your hands to shape chocolate into 1-2 inch balls.  Set each ball on a baking sheet.

5.  Place half of cocoa powder in a small bowl.  Place one truffle in the bowl and gently roll to coat with cocoa.  Shake off excess and return to the baking sheet.  Repeat, adding cocoa as needed.  When all are coated, place in a container in single layers separated by wax paper.  Refrigerate.  Will keep for up to 5 days.

Notes — Every time I make truffles I always think that it’s a good idea to always have a bain marie ready.  Most recipes I find involve pouring some scalded cream into some chopped chocolate.  More often than not, the heat from the scalded cream is not enough to melt the chocolate.  That’s where the bain marie comes in to finish the job. . . experiment with different types and amounts of chili and see if there’s anything that you like better. . . Don’t forget to like Jereme’s Kitchen and my bakery Daisy Cakes on Facebook!

Lemon Sour Cream Cake

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Perfect cake for Spring or Summer (or Fall or Winter for that matter)

Since working out / lifting weights is taking up a lot of my time lately, this post is a little tardy. It seems like I’m always either lifting or in recovery mode. I am up to moving almost 83,000 lbs. of weight now (I have no frame of reference if that is good or not). But I digress. . . I made this for Easter which was like months and months ago. Better late than never and all that jazz and whatnot.

Again, continuing on my spotlight on Chef Eve Aronoff, here’s her recipe for a Lemon Sour Cream Cake. This recipe (taken from her cookbook eve: Contemporary Cuisine, Méthode Traditionnelle) is a little bit different from cakes that I usually make. First of all, there’s a higher egg content than I’m used to. Secondly, there’s a higher sugar content than I’m used to. Sure, I could have combined those two sentences into one, but I like numbers.

Anyhoo, the higher egg and sugar content make for a cake that is dense, but at the same time it’s not heavy. And the sugar helps create a nice crispy almost candy-like crust. Now, Eve admits that she is not a pastry chef and writes that this is the only cake that she knows how to make. But it is a very versatile cake that can easily be made into muffins or small loaves. The recipe made two 9-in. cakes for me; it can also make seven 4 1/2-in. cakes or 24 muffins. I did make one change — I happened to have some vanilla beans on hand so I used one of them instead of the vanilla extract, but use what you have. Here’s what you need:

  • I luv the little flecks of vanilla in there. Some might want a more uniform color. If so, use the vanilla extract like in the original recipe.

    3 c. sifted all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/2 lb. salted butter
  • 2 t. vanilla extract
  • 3 c. sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 c. sour cream
  • zest of one lemon
  • 2 1/2 T. lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour the cake pans. Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

2. In the bowl of a large electric mixer, cream the butter. Add vanilla and gradually add the sugar. Beat until fluffy.

3. Add eggs, two at a time, beating until thoroughly incorporated after each addition, and for a couple of minutes after the last addition. Scrape the sides down to keep the ingredients well mixed.

4. On the lowest speed, add half of the dry ingredients, then all of the sour cream and lemon juice and zest. Finish adding the rest of the dry ingredients, again scraping the sides and beating until smooth. Do not overmix or the cake will get tight.

5. Pour into the pans. Level off by rotating the pans briskly back and forth several times. Bake for about 1 hour for an 8-inch cake, 30-45 minutes for a 4 1/2-inch cake, and about 20-30 minutes for 1-cup muffin pans, or until the cake springs back upon touch.

6. Cool cake in the pan for about 15 minutes. Then remove by running a thin knife around the edge of the pan. Invert the cake onto a rack and turn onto another rack to cool completely.

Notes — Eve likes to garnish this with some sliced ripe seasonal fruit, some lemon curd, or some brown sugar cream. . . I made up my own version of a simple brown sugar cream which just involves some vanilla extract, brown sugar, and sour cream. It’s all to taste so no exact measurements here. Just make sure that the brown sugar is dissolved into the sour cream. I use this for things like zucchini bread or carrot cake. . . Don’t forget to like Jereme’s Kitchen or Daisy Cakes on Facebook!

Happy 1st Blogiversary Jereme’s Kitchen

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Just a quick post / announcement — today is my Blogiversary!!! I can’t really believe it’s been one year already.  Hope that I can still try to keep things going!  I will probably make some changes to some things, like adding more things to the blog roll or, adding more links, or adding a resource page or two.

And great news — I’ve finally figured out what to do for my anniversary give-away.  You’ll have to stay tuned tomorrow when I post what it is (I have to actually go out and pick it up).  And it will probably involve Facebook!

And Happy Black Forest Cake Day!

Here are Daisy and Cooper wishing me a Happy Anniversary. As you can tell, they are clearly excited.

March Foodie Holidays

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Here's Daisy and Cooper with this month's holiday announcements!

Happy March everybody!  It’s another big month for foodie holidays — including my 1st blogiversary (can’t believe that it’s been a year already, not that that’s a foodie holiday).  I was thinking about having an anniversary giveaway but I’m not sure yet.  Maybe I’ll post something on Facebook (11 likes so far!  check out the bottom of the side menu)!  More on that later, but check me out on Facebook anyway.  Anyhoo, here’s what we have in store for this month (check out some of these links):   Celery Month, Flour Month, Frozen Food Month, Noodle Month, Nutrition Month, Peanut Month, and Sauce Month.  Now here are some of the special days that we can celebrate in March:

Peanut Butter Lover’s Day, Fruit Compote Day

2  Banana Cream Pie Day

3  Cold Cuts Day, Mulled Wine Day

Poundcake Day

Cheese Doodle Day

6  Frozen Food Day, White Chocolate Cheesecake Day

Crown Roast of Pork Day, Cereal Day

8  Peanut Cluster Day, Agriculture Day

Crabmeat Day

10  Blueberry Popover Day

11  Oatmeal Nut Waffles Day

12  Baked Scallops Day

13  Coconut Torte Day

14  Potato Chip Day

15  Peanut Lovers’ Day, Pears Helene Day

16  Artichoke Heart Day

18  Lacy Oatmeal Cookie Day

19  Poultry Day, Chocolate Caramel Day

20  Ravioli Day

21  French Bread Day

23  Chip and Dip Day, Melba Toast Day

24  Chocolate Covered Raisins Day

25  Lobster Newburg Day

26  Waffle Day (in Sweden), Nougat Day

27  Spanish Paella Day

28  Black Forest Cake Day1st Blogiversary!

29  Lemon Chiffon Cake Day

30  Turkey Neck Soup Day

31  Clams-on-the-Half-Shell Day

I have no idea how these two ended up hugging like this. I could just barf it's so cute.