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Last Build Date: Wed, 08 Feb 2017 04:52:50 +0000

 



Pineapple Jerky

Tue, 04 May 2010 06:28:00 +0000

(image) About two weeks ago, I received an e-mail from “Jerky.com”. They were inquiring if I would like to try a sample of gourmet Pineapple Jerky. I of course, immediately said yes. You see, I love-love-love dried fruit!

After reading about “Jerky” and going on their website to view the products I became quite excited for my pineapple to arrive.

On Friday afternoon, my Pineapple Jerky arrived! This was the perfect day because that night I was going to meet up with friends and watch movies. This meant I would have seven taste testers to try the jerky on. I packed the jerky with note cards and a pen so I could take notes.

Now the first thing you notice is that the jerky looks like a REAL slice of pineapple. As I opened the bag, the perfume of FRESH pineapple scent appeared. It smelled amazing!

I cut the rings in half and placed them on plate. Everyone went around and grabbed a piece. Except for “C” who said “…no, no I don’t like pineapple.” We encouraged him to try it anyway. Wouldn’t you know it? He was the first person to go back for seconds! One of the tasters “K” was born and raised in Hawaii. When I asked him what he thought, he answered “…the sweetness and tartness of the pineapple shines through.”

The Pineapple Jerky comes from Maui and contains only TWO ingredients: fresh pineapple and honey. After trying it only once I am hooked and looking forward to ordering more. I bet it would make a fantastic addition to homemade granola or muffin batter!

The company Jerky.com specializes in Beef Jerky and has wide selections of US made beef jerky flavors.
(image)
In addition, Jerky.com is going to give a couple of you free samples of the pineapple jerky! All you have to do is leave a comment and the winners will be selected randomly.

The Winners will be announced on March 6th. Good Luck!



Eggnog Pound Cake with Crystal Rum Glaze

Fri, 01 Jan 2010 02:23:00 +0000

It is New Year's Eve morning and I spending it putting away the Christmas decor. As I take one last look at all the beautiful and thoughtful holiday cards that were mailed to me, nostalgia hits. Memories. Magic. Love.Yes, New Year's Eve is a day of enchantment, glamour, and the possibility of a kiss. There is a wonderful quote by Nora Roberts that seems to capture my sentiments about New Year's Eve, love, romance, and magic. "...Love and magic have a great deal in common. They enrich the soul, delight the heart. And they both take practice."I do believe in magic; magically finding the one, falling in love, and living happily ever after.Then there is my friend G.G. (Yes, he has the same initials as me.) who not only believes in magic but can also, do magic.G.G. enjoys performing magic for entertainment, as an ice breaker when meeting new people, or just to make a stranger smile. He does all the standard magic tricks: making a quarter appear from one's ear, is this your card?, and the disappearing scarf. He has mastered his tricks by practicing, practicing, and then practicing some more.I asked G.G. why he devoted so much time to his hobby. He replied, "...Magic gives me confidence, an openness to meeting new people, and freedom. It has no language barriers. It is a lot like falling love. Except with magic one falls in love with the mystery and illusion of the trick. It is a love composed of learning and secrecy".I find what G. G. said to be true. There is magic in falling love, being open to meeting new people, and so on.For instance, if I had not loved D., I would have never discovered how much fun rock concerts and running down the Indiana Dunes could be.If I had not loved J., I would have never discovered how entertaining drinking beer, peeling peanuts, and watching a baseball game is.If I had not loved R., I would not have had the motivation to finish school and become a healthier person.G.G. ended our conversation by stating that every single person we care for brings a little magic into our lives. That magic being in the form of love, gives us strength, enjoyment, and prepares us for our soul mate.Which brings us back to New Year's Eve ...a night where a single magical kiss at the stroke of midnight can turn into a world wind romance ...or have I had too much eggnog pound cake with crystal rum glaze?Wishing all my friends and readers a magical 2010! Happy New Year!Love, GigiPrint: Eggnog Pound Cake[...]



Buttermilk Pound Cake

Tue, 22 Dec 2009 16:49:00 +0000

(image) The other night I met a young man who was fascinated with super heroes and their “powers“. He asked me what super power I wish I had. My mind quickly went to Super Man and Batman. And just as quickly I answered, “…none”. That was an honest answer at that moment. Superman’s powers did not interest me and Batman’s powers were money and cool gadgets.

Later that night while driving home I found myself still amused by the ideas and interests that occupy a 19-year-old boy’s mind when I remembered the super hero question from earlier. I guess if I could have a superpower, it would be the ability to go back in time.

Oh the heartache, stress, and tears I could have saved myself. For example, I should have told someone …I love you instead of …I hate you. I should have gone to meet K.S. because an amazing job was right around the corner and everything was going to turn out okay. I should have been a better friend to I.C., C. T., and E.P. instead, I was so preoccupied with my own pain that I was unable to see his or her own suffering.

Fortunately, I am surrounded by amazing friends who have astonishing hearts. The bumps in our friendship are now gone and we are back on track to our normal friendships. As for the …I love you, I think, we said too many harsh, mean, and spiteful words between us that we have gone past the point of repair. My heart will always remember your kind words and not the angry ones. For instance, I will always cherish the simple phrase you try live your life by …keep it simple, honest, and love unconditionally. Your words are a wonderful way to live by.

Thank you readers, friends, and family who continuously support, encourage, and love me unconditionally. I appreciate all that YOU do for me throughout the year. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Love,
Gigi

Print:Buttermilk Pound Cake



Fresh Pineapple Cake

Sat, 21 Nov 2009 06:08:00 +0000

(image) Most of the things in my life are analyzed, researched, and all consequences are weighed. Because of this quirk I am extremely neat and organized (I think this is why I enjoy baking so much) person. Also, I am usually a leader rather than a follower. Except when it comes to my personal life.

...Ah, the part of my life that is riddled with weaknesses. If you know me you're probably saying "...What??!! You're not weak." But I am. You see, I have never told another person that I loved them even when I did.

For instance, one person in particular told me he loved me only after knowing me for a couple weeks. In response to his declaration of love, I said "...how can you love me when you know so little about me?" (It would have been an incredibly romantic moment except for the fact that I ruined it be questioning his love for me.) In turn he responded with "What I know about you so far I love..."

My question to you is "...What is real/true love? And what does it feel like?" Is there a magical moment when true love smacks you in face and you realize ...holy crap I'm in love? Now that I have divulged all my insecurities the one thing I am confident about is how delicious and incredibly easy this pineapple crumb cake is.

It's a beautiful and tasty coffee cake to serve to holiday visitors. Also, it freezes well and the flavors of the cake intensify amazingly well after a day. Just dust the cake with a touch of powdered sugar before serving to make it a true coffee crumb cake.

Print: Pineapple Crumb Cake



Basic Pumpkin Bread

Fri, 13 Nov 2009 08:00:00 +0000

(image) Do you believe in the magic of the holidays? I have always enjoyed Christmas probably more than I should, but this holiday season seems a little extra special for me. I don't know why?

Everything feels simpler. Less dramatic, complicated, and time consuming. Slowly things are starting to fall into place one by one.

And speaking of simple, this cake could not be any less dramatic, effortless, or elaborate. I found the recipe in Gelson's weekly flyer. The recipe is so easy to put together that you'll cry ...tears of happiness that is.

It has a delightfully bold pumpkin taste. I think walnuts, dark chocolate chunks, cranberries, or even a nice white chocolate glaze would make this lovely cake extra special.

The recipe doesn't call for any add-ins but I think the batter would hold up well to one or two additions of your choice. This is a wonderful base for any pumpkin bread lovers!


Print recipe: Basic Pumpkin Bread



Giant Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

Fri, 06 Nov 2009 17:07:00 +0000

(image) Dear Readers:

First, I want to say that I am sorry for not posting on a regular basis this year. It has been an emotionally filled roller coaster year. For every single great moment that has occurred this year there has been an equally devastating one to match it. On bright side, as I type this post I can feel the shift of sadness leaving my life and love coming towards me.

In June, I graduated from school (magna cum laude). Then in late August, I took a job that I was unsure of, but I am thoroughly enjoying it. I have met the most wonderful people at work ...F & J. And lastly, I learned a life lesson (the hard way). I learned, that some people are cruel, mean, and vindictive. I learned that I cannot "love away" their meanness no matter how hard I try to. There is a lot more to tell, but I want to focus on the positive and wonderful things in my life.

And speaking of amazing things, these cookies are just that. Who could turn down a giant, buttery, chewy, cookie packed full cranberries, coconut, nuts, chocolate and good for you oatmeal? Not I.

Also, here are some FYI tips. I used a 4 ounce scooper and only placed 6 cookies per pan. I then placed the pans with dough in the fridge to chill for 15 minutes before baking. I do this to ensure that they don't over-spread. Add an extra minute or two to the baking time. These are really giant cookies. One cookie per person is more than enough.

Print Recipe: Giant Cranberry...



Blackberries Ricotta Muffins

Fri, 23 Oct 2009 04:12:00 +0000

(image) Dear R.C.S.,

"When we two parted
In silence and tears,
Half broken-hearted
To sever the years,
Pale grew thy cheek and cold,
Colder, thy kiss;
Truly that hour foretold
Sorrow to this.

The dew of the morning
Sunk, chill on my brow,
It felt like the warning
Of what I feel now.
Thy vows are all broken,
And light is thy fame;
I hear thy name spoken,
And share in its shame.

They name thee before me,
A knell to mine ear;

A shudder comes o'er me...
Why wert thou so dear?
They know not I knew thee,
Who knew thee too well..
Long, long shall I rue thee,
Too deeply to tell.

In secret we met
In silence I grieve
That thy heart could forget,
Thy spirit deceive.
If I should meet thee
After long years,
How should I greet thee?
With silence and tears."

Print: Blackberry Ricotta Muffins



Pom Iced Coffee

Tue, 22 Sep 2009 08:20:00 +0000

(image) (image)

Oh, those wonderful people over at POM Wonderful sent me care package of POM iced coffee. They sure know how to make me swoon.

I even purchased to-go coffee cups and lids just so I could see if it matched up to coffee house drinks and the experience. And it does.

The POM people have extracted all the wonderful antioxidants from pomegranates and added it to Rainforest Alliance Certified Arabica beans. The Arabica beans pair well with the chocolate and pomegranate extract. The end result is wonderfully rich and creamy iced coffee.

The coffee contains rBST growth hormone free milk, organic sugar, and is free of preservatives. It's a tasty and healthy way to get your morning buzz.



Banana Streusel Snack Cake and friends...

Wed, 26 Aug 2009 07:33:00 +0000

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy defines friendship as "...as distinctively personal relationship that is grounded in a concern on the part of each friend for the welfare of the other, for the other's sake, and that involves some degree of intimacy." The concept of comradeship has been on my mind for numerous months now. I have finally concluded that a wonderful friendship contains mutual caring, intimacy, and shared interests. For me, mutual caring is the method that I use to say: “I love you”. While, I may not have the courage to tell one in person I try to make sure that the people I care about can feel it. I persistently try to give without ever expecting anything in return. Only when we offer without expectations can one truly enjoy the gift of honest camaraderie. With certain people, friendship is instantaneously, like my friend K, E, and S. With You, I wanted to be your friend immediately. I found delight in the way you titled your head to the left with a crooked smile and giggled at my dumb jokes. That is why “I loved you”, but you also inspired me with your joys, successes, frustrations, and failures. I want to jump for joy when you are feeling bliss and hold your hand when you are sorrowful. Because I believe when life is disheartening and we can only feel our own misery is when our true friends come to our aid without asking. Furthermore, it is during the arduous times that an intimacy develops between friends. You shared with me the difficulties of your life. My heart broke when you said all you wanted was “unconditional love”. Like a good ally, I promised you exactly that ...unconditional love. I am sorry that I failed you. In the beginning of our friendship, I truly believed I was strong enough to weather any storms you had. I wanted to be your life preserver the way K, E, and S had been for me. You asked me not to let you go; but I did. Forgive me, for I was weak and let others influence me about you and I …regret it. I will continue to believe in your ideas because you have promise and that is a beautiful quality in a friend. I will always remember lovingly how much you smiled when you talked about your dreams and aspirations. When you spoke, your eyes gleamed with happiness, as is if they could no longer contain the joy and pride you felt. I wish I could have captured that moment. In addition, I should have disclosed to you that not only do we share a zeal for cooking; but also that we have the same family structure and up bringing. However, I was too scared to tell you. It is for those reasons that I do understand where you are coming from even if I cannot admit it aloud to myself. In any case, I know you are strong enough and capable of overcoming any adversary because you are trained to do so. For I know that you have moved on, but I wanted you to know that you were right about everything concerning true friendship. Finally, I baked this banana cake with you in mind. It is rich, buttery, and travels well. Should it need to trek many, many, many miles from here. It would be my pleasure to ship this cake anywhere ...just for you. PRINT: BANANA SNACK CAKE [...]



Fresh Apple Cake

Tue, 28 Jul 2009 07:00:00 +0000

I was born and raised in the Midwest and try to live my life by showing appreciation for the simple things like: good food, health, love of family, and friends. And maybe it's those Midwestern values that draw me towards blue collar pastries. For example, my father worked the steel mills of East Chicago until he retired. Our family was never one for fancy cakes and such. My favorite childhood memories involve cold winter mornings, hot cups of coffee, and splendid coffee cakes. I can still remember my mom telling me to add more milk to my coffee because it was too dark. I still enjoy coffee cake to this day, but the portions are smaller and occur less frequently. I recently baked this lovely cake that is spiked with fresh apples, dark raisins, and walnuts. It's incredibly moist, hearty, and fills one's kitchen with a wonderful autumnal scent. It is a magnificent cake to start the morning off with, whether one drinks coffee or not. Print recipe: Fresh Apple Cake One Year Ago: No Bake Mini Cheesecakes [...]



Chai Cake with Honey-Ginger Cream

Tue, 21 Apr 2009 05:32:00 +0000

(image) For April’s installment of the Cake Slice, the bakers voted for a tea based cake. Chai tea was the cake’s main flavor components. Chai tea literally translates to “spiced tea”; some of the spices found in chai tea can be pepper, cardamom, and cinnamon. A common practice is to mix the tea with milk to make lattes. That is exactly what the recipe instructed to do.

The chai tea bags steeped in warm milk, were cooled and then used in the cake mix. The tea tinted the cake to a lovely mushroom color. The recipe also called for more cinnamon and cardamom, which added pleasant warmth to the cake. The cake itself was light and airy, very much like a chiffon. Keeping with chai tradition, honey sweetens the cake's icing.

The recipe took a conventional cream cheese icing and added more “chai” flavors to it. To start, it called for honey as a sweetener. Make sure to use a very liquid honey to ensure that one gets an icing that will drizzle down the sides of the cake. I do not believe the honey I used had the fluidity called for in the recipe. I say this because I did not achieve the "icicle effect" on the sides of my cake, as the recipe stated I would.

Next, the recipe asked for fresh grated ginger. I did not have any fresh ginger, but I used dried ginger and the icing seemed unaffected. In the end, the exotic flavors in the cake and icing made this a wonderful cake. Definitely worthy of a second bake.

Print Recipe: Chai Cake with Honey-Ginger Cream
One Year Ago: Cherry Topped Cheesecake



Banana Bundt Cake

Wed, 08 Apr 2009 18:39:00 +0000

(image) As you may have already guessed by reading this blog; is that I love to bake. Yet, I never share the really simple recipes that my family and friends love.

For example, this bundt cake is utterly moist and full of banana flavor. It will last forever in the fridge without drying out. I love it warm with a glass of soy milk or cold with a cup of hot coffee.

Despite how much I heart bundt cakes, I have only posted one bundt cake recipe so far. Shame on me. Especially since they always bring a smile to my face.

Every single time I bake a bundt cake I think about my mom and a particular scene from "My Big Fat Greek Wedding". My mom loves-loves bundt cakes. To her a bundt cake is "real cake". No fancy icings to hide a bland, dry, and over priced cake. I guess you can say, bundt cakes are the "salt of the earth" cakes.

For me, bundt cake recipes are reliable, honestly delicious, large enough to share and show kindness with a slice. Just like my mom's love.

Print Recipe: Banana Bundt Cake
One Year Ago:Fruit Financiers



Got Pom Martini?

Fri, 03 Apr 2009 18:15:00 +0000

(image)
Whoa! Where have I been? Geez, time flies when you're planting a garden, pruning roses, and making pomegranate martinis.

A long-long time ago, I received a box of pomegranate juice from the makers of POM Wonderful. They sent me eight bottles of POM juice! Well, knowing my friends and myself, I knew that martinis were in order.

The only problem was that I had to wait until Spring Break and it officially starts tonight! Of course, I had to make a sample martini (or two) to make sure it was up to par. (OH MA GAH!)

Not only does the martini taste exquisite, but the pomegranate juice is loaded with antioxidants.

The makers of POM Wonderful included a pamphlet that listed the health benefits of drinking POM Juice. Some of the advantages include: improved cardiovascular health, prostate health, erectile function, and antioxidant potency. Who knew a little juice could do so much?

The POM Wonderful site has a huge selection of recipes to choose from. They have everything from appetizers to drinks. *Remember to drink responsibly.

Print: Pomegranate Martini
One Year Ago: Orange Scented Scones



Triple Lemon Chiffon Cake

Fri, 20 Mar 2009 16:02:00 +0000

(image) Did you know that March 28th is National Lemon Day? This would be the perfect cake to celebrate the day with. The Cake Slice bakers voted to bake Triple Lemon Chiffon Cake from Sky High: Irresistible Triple Layer Cakes by Alisa Huntsman And Peter Wynne.

I cannot believe how easy this cake came together. The curd? Easy peasy. The cake? One, Two, three ...done. The whipped cream icing? Piece of cake.

The only modification I made to the recipe was to add a little agar-agar to the whipped cream. I don't know about you, but I am a slow at frosting cakes. The agar-agar would be the equivalent of adding a little gelatin the whipped cream. This is just my way of insuring that the whipped cream doesn't melt or slide off the cake before I can snap a photo.

If you would like to see more lemonicious cakes then visit The Cake Slice Bakers here.

Awe, ...I didn't know you guys loved ballerinas as much as I do. This is where I bought them ...here.


Print Recipe: Triple Lemon Chiffon Cake
One Year Ago: Apple Raisin Muffins



Banana Espresso Chocolate Chip Muffins

Fri, 06 Mar 2009 21:01:00 +0000

(image) I just wanted to say "thank you" to everyone who left a comment for the Pineapple Jerky giveaway. And now for the moment everyone has been waiting for. The winner is ...Jenn from a "A Day in the Life..." !

I used Random (dot) Org to generate the winning number. Jenn when you have time, shoot me an e-mail so you can collect your Pineapple Jerky.

I can see you looking at the muffins. I know you're thinking "...banana muffins? Been there done that." Yes, that maybe true; but have you had banana muffins with espresso?

At first, I was unsure at how well the banana and espresso would pair together. I finally gave in to my curiosity and made the muffins. The espresso adds a nice element to the muffins. Personally, I think the espresso made the brown sugar and chocolate more pronounced in the muffins. [Which made the muffins special for me.]

I really enjoyed my squat little muffins. In case you're wondering go ahead and divide the batter evenly without fear of "overflow". These little guys don't rise too high. The recipe is from the book titled "Baked" by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. [Great book by the way!]

PRINT RECIPE: BANANA ESPRESSO...
ONE YEAR AGO: BANANA DULCE DE LECHE CAKE



Southern Coconut Cake

Fri, 20 Feb 2009 08:00:00 +0000

(image) As you know, The Cake Slice bakers have been baking our way through Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes by Alisa Huntsman and Peter Wynne. This month the group voted for Southern Coconut Cake.

I just adore coconut cakes but I find that not to many people like coconut. I believe this cake would convert any non-coconut believers. The cake had a tight tender crumb with a coconut essence. And the icing?

Cream cheese icing is a favorite for many. I have to tell you that this version will be my "go to" icing from now on. I will use it on coconut, carrot, banana, and hummingbird bird cakes. The icing has the cream cheese flavor we all love but adding "meringue" lightens the icing to an indescribable level.

Unfortunately, I am unable to show you the layers because I sold the cake! I don't think the buyer would have been happy if I cut out a slice. If you would like to see more triple layer coconut cakes then head on over to The Cake Slice. You won't be disappointed. Until next time ...Happy baking!

Print Recipe: Southern Coconut Cake
One Year Ago: Mini Chocolate Raspberry Turnovers



Chocolate Cake Layers...

Sun, 15 Feb 2009 20:46:00 +0000

(image) I just wanted to let you know that yes, you can survive on chocolate cake alone. [If it's good chocolate cake.]

I had wanted to post this cake last week but time just got away from me. Most of it has been spent trying to write an introduction speech about myself.

I think it's funny that I can't do this simple task. Maybe I should just take excerpts from my blog and call it a day. Right?

I find this task so daunting. I mean, I write about myself here all the time. Yet, if you remove the "cake" part; I find myself at a loss for words.

Last night I stayed up until 4:00am trying to write the speech. All I have to show for the all-nighter is a batch of cupcakes and a pile of crumpled up index cards.

Okay, I still don't have a speech but I do have a slice of kick-*ss chocolate cake left. The cake is moist and intensely chocolate. The icing is silky, luxurious, and divine. For the cake I used Valrhona cocoa and for the icing I used Valrhona chocolate buttons for melting. Trust me, use good chocolate for the recipe it makes a world of difference.

Print The Recipe: Sour Cream Chocolate
One Year Ago: Chambord Cupcakes



Tall Blueberry Muffins

Wed, 04 Feb 2009 08:00:00 +0000

(image) I have this "thing" with blueberry muffins. I am always on the look out for the perfect recipe that will yield me muffins with high domes.

To be honest, I have baked a lot of blueberry muffin failures. I would say almost all of them tasted just fine. They just lacked the "dome" or the "height" I so desperately craved. This is one of the main reasons I hardly ever post muffins here.

I don't know, I just think the dome (or muffin top) makes the muffin taste better. Sounds crazy huh? This quirk (okay, obsession) of mine sometimes takes over my baking.

For example, I refuse to hand out a misshapen cookie, a lopsided cupcake, or a brownie that is not 2x2. Yes, I bust out the ruler for all bar cookies ...but I digress.

I have finally figured out a way to have "tall" gorgeous muffins without having to pray and beg the baking gods for a "dome". What is my secret?

Sky-high muffin wrappers from Europe! I love these wrappers! I am so glad that my friend K. keeps me knee-deep in these beautiful liners. Whenever I feel like muffin I just bake them in one of the wrappers she has sent.

I think the muffin cases help my baking eccentricities (neurosis) relax a bit. On the bright side, if you receive cookies or brownies from me you'll be able to take comfort in the fact that each one is identical. I promise.

Print This Recipe: BLUEBERRY MUFFINS



Lemon Poppy Seed Sugar Cookies

Wed, 28 Jan 2009 20:37:00 +0000

(image) I have been a naughty baker. I wanted to bake. Really ...I did.

The other night, a friend called and asked if I had anything chocolaty in my freezer or fridge. After I said "no" an extreme wave of guilt and neglect washed over me. That's the worst feeling for an avid baker/gift giver. Unfortunately, my oven was cold and bare.

The truth is, I started speed walking/jogging with a friend. We do a minimum of 21 miles a week. This is double the miles I was accustomed to. We started this little endeavor about 5 weeks ago. I am truly enjoying the extra miles added to my week. The only downside is that it leaves little time for mindless snacking.

Therefore, I have been baking less frequently. Trust me, I have tons of recipes bookmarked/highlighted/printed ...just waiting to get made. I finally, got around to one of the said recipes.

Over the holidays, I checked out several baking books from the library. One of the books was Baking Illustrated from the editors of Cook's Illustrated. In the "cookie" section of the book was a recipe for lemon poppy seed cookies.

The cookies have the traditional soft sugar element you would expect. The twist is the light lemon essence accompanied with the poppy seeds. One thing I noticed with the first batch that went into the oven is that they spread and became misshapen. That's a big "no-no" here. I quickly fixed that by placing the cookies in the freezer for 10 minutes before baking. After that, they were perfect circles.

Print: LEMON POPPY SEED SUGAR COOKIES



Banana Cake with Praline Filling and White Chocolate Ganache

Tue, 20 Jan 2009 08:00:00 +0000

(image) It's that time again where The Cake Slice bakers are baking up layers and layers of cake from Sky High:Irresistible Triple Layer Cakes by Alsia Huntsman and Peter Wynne.

I wanted to rename this post ...the cake that should had never been baked!

The cake itself was a breeze to put together. It baked up beautifully. The batter was splendid. The couple of crumbs of cake I snagged were heavenly. Next, I had to make candied pecans.

I managed to make them without the need of burn lotions or a fire extinguisher. Super awesome!

Then I had to make a white chocolate ganache. The first time it "curdled" and no matter how long I whipped it never came together. Attempt number two, yielded a whipped cream with shards of white chocolate mixed in. This is where I started to lose my mojo.

For the third attempt, I decided to heat all the cream and then pour it over the chocolate. I whisked the ganache until it was smooth and glossy. When the ganache cooled I whipped it up. And it came together like a dream. Oh, wait I forgot to add vanilla! I hurry over to the cabinet and grab caramel extract! DOH!

Hence the beige icing. I dip a spoon into the ganache and surprisingly it's quite delish. So, I go about icing my cake and adding decorative pecans on top. I look at my little cake and say "...awe your cute!".

I immediately call my friend Izzie and ask her if she and her husband would like to have coffee and dessert with me. She says yes! I turn around and assemble the cake box I bought earlier in the week. I then grab the cake and proceed to walk it over to the box when I hear ...splat!

That was my mojo saying "...peace out Gigi! And by the way, your cake is on the floor." Yes, the cake fell to its death on the floor ...face down.

If you would like to know what all components of this cake tasted like together then head on over to The Cake Slice. Where you'll find dozens and dozens of beautifully baked up triple layer cakes.

Print: Banana Cake with Praline Filling and White Chocolate Ganache
One Year Ago: Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting



Fresh Cranberry Orange Bread

Tue, 06 Jan 2009 01:36:00 +0000

(image) Right before Thanksgiving I managed to grab a couple extra bags of fresh cranberries. I knew that I was not going to be able to use them right away. Instead, I washed and dried them.

Then, I placed them on a cookie sheet spreading them out to ensure that most of the berries were not touching. Next, I placed the cookie sheet with the cranberries in the freezer. Once they were frozen I packaged them into 1 cup portions.

The other day I found a recipe tucked away in drawer that I had wanted to make over the holidays. It was a cranberry orange quick bread recipe from Sunset. I believe the original recipe called for dried cranberries.

I just could not resist using the frozen cranberries I had in the freezer. I thought about defrosting them ...for about a second and decided it was not necessary (the frozen berries did not affect the outcome of the bread).

I know cranberries are now out of season, but I see bags of them in the freezer aisle all the the time. So, if you're feeling a little nostalgic about the holidays then by all means pick up some frozen cranberries.

This quick bread recipe will not disappoint. It's buttery, moist, and tart. The Grand Marnier glaze on top is divine. The recipe said that it yields 2 loaves but I managed to get 3 good size loaves. Just remember that as you divide the batter amongst the pans.

Print This Recipe

One Year Ago: Kugelhopf



A Million People And A Valley of Winnebagos...

Thu, 01 Jan 2009 02:08:00 +0000

Dressed to kill? ...Check.Music ready?...Check.Pink champagne on ice? ...Check.Dessert? ...Holla petit fours!The perfect dessert for a New Year's Eve party. One bite ...done. I thought about this for a long time. Seriously, many sleepless nights here. Okay, not many sleepless nights, but at least one.At first I thought about a cookie, but a cookie is just not going to cut it. I wanted "wow" factor as well as taste. I also wanted a dessert that everyone could pick up with their hands and not worry about forks or spoons. I want my guests to eat, drink, and move around freely.I want people to mingle ...mingle! After all, about a million people will be coming over. Oh ...did I forget to mention that I live on the parade route for the world famous Tournament of Roses Parade?Yes, every year hundreds of winnebagos and their owners surround my neighborhood along with the thousands of people that come to view the parade on New Years Day. On New Years Eve, Colorado Blvd. resembles Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Fun times.So, I made petit fours because they're tiny and the recipe yields a lot. After all, I am having like thousands of people over. Thank god the City of Pasadena dropped off four port-a-potties on my corner.There you have it, my New Years Eve plans. And if you happen to be in the area ...holla at me! I'll be the one handing out pink champagne and pink petit fours. Happy New Year!Classic White Cakeby Nick Malgieri2 cups of all purpose flour2 teaspoons of baking powder1/4 teaspoon of salt12 tablespoons of softened butter1 and 1/2 cups of sugar2 teaspoons of vanilla extract6 large egg whites3/4 cup of milkPreheat the oven to 350F degrees. Grease a 12x18x1-inch pan with butter and line with parchment paper. Set aside.Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl; set aside. In a small bowl mix together the egg whites and milk; set aside.In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted the paddle cream the butter and the sugar until light fluffy. Add vanilla extract.With the mixer on low, add one fourth of the flour. Add one third of the milk/egg mixture. Add one fourth of the flour and so on. Making sure to end with the flour.Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes checking with a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.Cool cake layers in the pan for 5 minutes before un-molding and finish cooling on a wire rack.White Chocolate Ganache12 ounces of good white chocolate1/2 cup of heavy creamPlace chocolate in a heat proof bowl; set aside. Heat cream to a simmer and pour over chocolate. Let the cream sit over the chocolate for about a minute then stir until smooth and glossy.Let the ganache cool for about 2 hours. Then with a hand mixer beat ganache until light and fluffy. Use immediately.Pourable Fondant2/3 cup of corn syrup2/3 cup of hot water7 cups of powdered sugar6 drops of lemon (I used a raspberry liquor)Food coloringWhisk the corn syrup and hot water until dissolved, then whisk in the sugar until smooth. Stir in extract. Working quickly fondant into smaller bowls if coloring different colors. if not leave in bowl and dye desired shade.I made two batches of the white cake. Spread the ganache over the entire bottom layer making sure to spread evenly. Then place second layer on top, making sure align evenly. Cover cake with plastic and place in fridge over night or four about 4-6 hours.I then placed cake in freezer for about an hour before trimming the edges. I then trimmed the edges of the cake. Next, grab a ruler and [...]



Pear Wafers

Fri, 26 Dec 2008 08:00:00 +0000

(image) Oh yes, it's that time of year again. You know, the last meal before we impose starvation on ourselves. That's right, I am ranting about New Year's Eve and the "resolutions" the new year brings.

This year, I vow to "lose".....all the toxic people from my life. My good friend "K" and "C" know exactly of whom I speak of. And I plan on "losing" this toxic person in style.

I am thinking of having a glamorous New Year's Eve party with endless glasses champagne and fabulous eats. I will toast the New Year to being "toxic free."

I am pondering ...traditional champagne for our aperitifs and rose champagne for desserts. Which means a cheese platter with homemade crackers is order. These lovely pear wafers aren't exactly "crackers" but they add the "glamor" I am looking for.

The crisp pear wafers are stunning on there own and with a little blue cheese on top they are divine. The best part about the wafers is that they require hardly any effort.

As I look forward to the New Year, I hope it will bring me one year closer to finishing school, one year closer to moving home, one year closer to meeting "K", and one year closer to everything that life has to offer.

Happy New Year dear friends!!! May the New Year bring you closer to the "goals" you are working towards.

Pear Wafers
Donna Hay Issue 39

440 grams granulated sugar
2 sensation pears thinly sliced

Preheat the oven to 320F degrees. Place the sugar on a plate and press the pear slices into the sugar. Place the sugar sliced pears on baking trays lined with parchment paper. Bake for 15 minutes and turn the pears over and bake for another 15 minutes. Cool on wire racks until crisp.

Makes 12 pear slices



Chocolate Hazelnut Nutcracker Cake and a winner...

Sat, 20 Dec 2008 08:00:00 +0000

First, I want to announce the winner of the Megan Hearts Baking book. I used "random integer" and ta-dah...Jodie ( Beansy Loves Cake) said... Fun! My daughter is only 2, but loves helping in the kitchen. What a fun book! December 15, 2008 7:30 AMJodie when you a get a moment please send your address to gigicakes at gmail dot com (gigicakes@gmail.com) and will mail your book ASAP!Now, onto the cake. This is the third cake that The Cake Slice Bakers have baked as a group. This month we chose Chocolate Hazelnut Nutcracker Cake with a rum syrup.The cake had very little flour in it. We had to grind hazelnuts to a "meal" consistency. Then we "shaved" unsweetened chocolate into the "flour" part of the cake. The cake turned out light and fluffy. After the cake cooled we brushed the tops of the cake with a rum simple syrup. (YUM) The cake was iced in a Chantilly Cream ( OMG this is the best stuff on Earth).Since most of The Cake Slicers said the cake tasted the best the second and third day, I added a little agar-agar to the whipped cream in order to keep it from weeping. I really enjoyed this cake a lot. I called a couple of neighbors over and I served it with espresso. I can't wait to see what next month's cake will be!Thank you for typing the recipe Katie!Chocolate Hazelnut Nutcracker CakeMakes one 9inch triple layer cakeIngredients – for the cake layers1 cup skinned hazelnuts (about 4 ounces)10 whole graham crackers (5½ ounces), broken into pieces1¼ cups sugar2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely grated10 eggs, separated¼ cup vegetable oil1 tsp vanilla extract½ cup all purpose flour1½ tsp pumpkin pie spice1 tsp baking powderDark chocolate curls for decorationMethod – for the cake layers1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of 3 9inch cake tins. Line the base with parchment paper and dust the sides with flour, tap out any excess.2. Spread the nuts onto a baking tray and toast for 10-12 minutes until lightly browned. Leave to cool completely. Increase the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.3. In a food processor, grind the graham crackers to crumbs. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Add the toasted nuts to the processor (no need to wash) and add ¼ cup of sugar. Pulse until the nuts are finely ground, but do not blitz too much or else it will form a paste. Add the nuts, graham cracker crumbs and grated chocolate together in the bowl and mix.4. In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks and ½ cup of sugar using an electric mixer until well blended. Add the oil and vanilla slowly, beating until ribbons begin to form on the surface of the mixture. Then, fold in the chocolate nut crumbs.5. Place the egg whites in a clean bowl and beat until thick and foamy. Gradually add the remaining ½ cup of sugar, continuing to beat until the whites form stiff peaks. Fold a third of the egg whites into the yolk mixture and mix well to slacken the mix. Sift over the flour, spice and baking powder and fold in. Gently fold in the rest of the egg whites until no streaks remain but do not over mix.6. Divide the batter between the three pans and bake for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the layers cool in the pans for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire wrack to cool completely.7. To assemble the cake, place a layer on a cake stand, flat side up. Sprinkle it with a third of the rum syrup and let it all soak in for 1-2 minutes. Spread ¾ cup of crème Chantilly over the[...]



Megan Hearts : Baking

Sat, 13 Dec 2008 05:53:00 +0000

(image) Not too long ago, the authors (Kathryn Fore & Kimberly Fate) of the "Megan Hearts" books sent me a copy of their new book Megan Hearts Baking. It is a lovely book that inspires young girls to learn confidence and new hobbies. Megan's newest adventure in the book is baking.

"Megan Hearts" is the main character in the book and she is just adorable. She has been invited to a birthday party and has been asked to bring her favorite homemade dessert to share.

In the book Megan learns from her mom important baking skills. For example, starting with a clean kitchen, having all the necessary ingredients, measuring properly (even a little math is included) and patience.

This book would be a fantastic gift for any little girl. In honor of such a wonderful book that promotes hobbies, creativity, and a little math. I have baked the red velvet cupcakes that were featured in the book.

The cupcakes were a smash! If you are interested in the book or the recipe you can leave me a comment. That's right, the authors have been kind enough to send me a copy to give away.

(image) I will announce the winner of the book next Friday (December 19, 2008) and will promptly send it out to the winner. (Hopefully in time for Christmas.)

If you must have the book now ...you can purchase one at Megan's Hearts Family or from Amazon.