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).
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.
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!
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.
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. . .
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.
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 — firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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:
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!
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!
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:
2 Banana Cream Pie Day
3 Cold Cuts Day, Mulled Wine Day
6 Frozen Food Day, White Chocolate Cheesecake Day
8 Peanut Cluster Day, Agriculture Day
10 Blueberry Popover Day
12 Baked Scallops Day
13 Coconut Torte Day
15 Peanut Lovers’ Day, Pears Helene Day
16 Artichoke Heart 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 Day, 1st Blogiversary!
29 Lemon Chiffon Cake Day
Today is Paczki Day! While other folks may be celebrating Mardi Gras or Carnivale, here in the Midwest we have Paczki Day. Well, it might not be particular to the Midwest, because if you live anywhere with a large Polish population, you probably know about Paczkis. But here in SE Michigan, we can’t get enough. According to AnnArbor.com, we here are crazy about paczkis and lead the nation in Google searches about Paczki Day. Personally, I never even heard of a paczki until I started living in Michigan. And thanks to the large Polish population in Hamtramck, MI (which is a city within Detroit), I am hooked!
But, let me back up a little bit. Some of y’all might not know what a Paczki is. First of all, it’s pronounced POONCH-key or PUNCH-key. These are Polish jelly-filled donuts which are traditionally served the day before Lent, which is the 40 days of sacrifice and penance before Easter. They came about as a way to use up all the lard, butter, sugar, and eggs in the pantry, because if you do celebrate Lent, you won’t be using any of those ingredients for the next 5 1/2 weeks. So, much like Mardi Gras, paczkis are one last indulgence before 40 days of fasting.
In the Ann Arbor / Ypsilanti area, probably all over Michigan, you can find local big box grocery stores stocked with them. I even found them as early as the first week of February. At places like these, you can find fillings like strawberry, lemon, or custard, but you probably won’t find the traditional flavors like prune or rosehip. Prune you’re more likely to find, but you have to work to find rosehip. Again, if you don’t know, rosehips are the fruit of the rose. When you leave the rose on the bush (particularly Rugosa roses) and allow it to wither, what eventually develops is a rosehip. They kinda look like those tiny tomatoes you find at the grocery, but on a rose bush. And in case you were wondering, they are very, very, very high in vitamin C.
There are several places around here where you can find some paczkis. All the big grocery stores have them — Kroger, Meijer, and Busch’s — and some other specialty establishments like Plum Market and the renowned Zingerman’s. Normally, I go to Copernicus Deli (where you can find some rosehip), but this year I got my first sampling of the goods from Ypsilanti’s Dom Bakeries. They were already my favorite donut shop in town (their apple fritters are ridiculously good!), but I never thought to stop in for some paczkis. But I’ll be heading to Copernicus this morning anyway to get some rose ones due to a special request from a Michigan ex-pat down in Key West.
So, if you have a Polish neighborhood in town, be sure to go on a hunt for paczkis today. Better yet, make a trip down to Hamtramck, MI and participate in the festivities throughout the day (I really should work for the Michigan tourist board). Don’t deprive yourself of this yearly event of sweet, deep-fried culture. And be sure to visit me on Facebook — I’m up to 7 likes now!
So this is a little late, and I apologize. As I said in my last post, I’ve been having issues with the editing software on here. I did a little adjusting of the settings here and there and I think I’m set.
No pictures of Daisy or Cooper this time. But since Groundhog Day is February 2, I did include some pics from Punxsutawney, PA. We made a stop there on the way moving from Maine back to Michigan. It was a little bit out of the way (well a lot out of the way, and it was especially difficult driving a moving truck on those twisty mountain roads), but I couldn’t resist meeting the famous groundhog!
In addition to Groundhog Day, we celebrate National Cherry Month, National Grapefruit Month, National Hot Breakfast Month, National Macadamia Nut Month, and National Snack Food Month. Plus we get National Pancake Week during the last week of the month! Here are some of the fun holidays (along with some links, as always) we have this month:
1 – Baked Alaska Day
3 – Carrot Cake Day
4 – Stuffed Mushroom Day
8 – Molasses Bar Day
9 – Bagels and Lox Day
11 – Peppermint Patty Day
12 – Plum Pudding Day
13 – Tortellini Day
14 – Cream-filled Chocolates Day, Valentine’s Day
15 – Gumdrop Day
16 – Almond Day
17 – Indian Pudding Day
19 – Chocolate Mint Day
20 – Cherry Pie Day
21 – Sticky Bun Day
22 – Cook a Sweet Potato Day, Margarita Day
23 – Banana Bread Day
24 – Tortilla Chip Day
25 – Chocolate-Covered Peanuts Day, Clam Chowder Day
26 – World Pistachio Day
27 – Strawberry Day, Kahlua Day!