Homemade “Funfetti” Cake

For those of you who don’t know what Funfetti is: http://www.pillsburybaking.com/products/ProductDetail.aspx?catID=297&prodID=701

Since I needed a good way to use up the sprinkles that were given to me after the  holiday cookie party my friend had about a week ago, I decided to make a Funfetti cake. I used a basic yellow cake/vanilla cake recipe and added the sprinkles typically found in the cake batter-the “crunchy” bigger ones…if you do know Funfetti cakes…you know what I’m talking about…if you don’t know…go to your local grocery store and pick up a box. Now, I would not normally say that Pillsbury makes good products, or that you should make cake from a box, but I see it as the Kraft Mac ‘n Cheese of cake. (Not that I would advise to buy/eat that either) but my point is that it is a cake that I grew up knowing from attending various birthday parties. It’s all about the nostalgia for this overly sugared cake.

Anyway, I made the frosting from scratch as well, and used blue (smaller, sugary) sprinkles to help “dye” it green because it is the holidays after all. Then I frosted and added the final layer of sprinkles. Like I said before, a sugary cake (typically made for kids). Continue reading

August Daring Baker’s Challenge

I think the most challenging thing for me this month was finding time to complete it! Otherwise, the pound cake and  ice cream were pretty simple. It is just a basic recipe for each. The only different (challenging) parts were browning the butter (since I’ve only done it a few times), and freezing the ice cream, since I do not have an ice cream machine (yet!).

Since I made the ice cream (custard) and just let it freeze over night (no stirring involved) and I took it out the next morning and paddled it on the electric mixer for a few minutes to aerate it and help to somewhat melt out the ice crystals that formed. This help make it look more like vanilla ice cream. Before it “churned” it was just yellow and the vanilla bean had all sunk to the bottom of the container. Literally, just frozen custard. After, it was white and the little “dots” of vanilla were disbursed throughout. It was more creamy, and less icy, but still not perfect. I think the smooth, non-icy texture can only be achieved with a real way of churning it while it freezes. Not bad though, for homemade ice cream without any sort of ice cream machine.

The August 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Elissa of 17 and Baking. For the first time, The Daring Bakers partnered with Sugar High Fridays for a co-event and Elissa was the gracious hostess of both. Using the theme of beurre noisette, or browned butter, Elissa chose to challenge Daring Bakers to make a pound cake to be used in either a Baked Alaska or in Ice Cream Petit Fours. The sources for Elissa’s challenge were Gourmet magazine and David Lebovitz’s “The Perfect Scoop”.

I made the petit fours (but did not make/use the chocolate glaze). I think they’re good just as they are!

Continue reading

July Daring Bakers’ Challenge: Swiss swirl ice cream cake!

What is a Swiss Swirl Ice Cream Cake? It is chocolate cake that has whipped cream rolled up inside it (this is where the swirl part comes from) layered on top (though built upside-down!) of ice cream! The challenge included making the cake, whipped cream, ice cream and fudge sauce all from scratch!

The July 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Sunita of Sunita’s world – life and food. Sunita challenged everyone to make an ice-cream filled Swiss roll that’s then used to make a bombe with hot fudge. Her recipe is based on an ice cream cake recipe from Taste of Home.

First of all, many of the recipes in this challenge call for caster sugar, which, according to the DB website, “Caster sugar is finely ground granulated sugar. It can also be found as “superfine sugar”, “fruit sugar” or “quick dissolving sugar”. If you can’t find it, you can make your own by whizzing some regular granulated sugar in the food processor or blender.”

I, of course,  could not find anywhere that sold caster sugar, so I made my own from granulated sugar. I would like to see exactly what caster sugar looks like compared to regular sugar.

Anyway, the cake was pretty easy to make, though I had some trouble removing the parchment paper from the back of it, so I had to do some patchwork, but it all worked out in the end.

The sugar that is used for the whipped cream and the vanilla ice cream (which is really just frozen whipped cream) is vanilla sugar, which (as said in the instructions) is ground sugar and vanilla pod pieces. You can make vanilla sugar anytime by adding scraped vanilla pods (leftover from other recipes) in with granulated sugar. Then you can use that instead of  granulated sugar and vanilla extract in any recipe such as cookies or cake.

I made a half recipe of everything, since I know that I’ll probably be the one eating it all! So, I used half the whipped cream for the filling in the cake and froze the rest for the vanilla ice cream part. It worked out perfectly.

The chocolate ice cream was simple but took much longer to freeze than the vanilla. I think if I make it again, I’ll try whipping it up a bit and then putting it in the freezer since the vanilla was whipped first and then frozen and still worked. It was interesting to make an egg-less ice cream and one that can just be put in the freezer and just stirred every so often rather than using an ice cream machine or some other way of spinning the base. It is a good thing to know in case I ever find myself in need of egg-less ice cream again!

The chocolate fudge sauce that goes in between the ice cream layers (this is not a dessert for someone on a diet!) was also easy to make. Just put all ingredients in the pot and whisk/cook until thick and bubbly.

Altogether, this was a pretty simple challenge, but you really have to be patient and allow for cooling, chilling, and freezing time of all of the components/layers. Since I tasted all of the components individually as I went along, I am sure that it will all be worth it when it is all frozen together! (after 24 hours…) I just tried all of the components frozen together, and they are good. I ended up with more vanilla ice cream than chocolate, but since the cake is chocolate, it ended up being a good balance. Continue reading

one more post for January.

Is it really February as of tomorrow? Where did this month go? I realized that I only posted about 4 times this month, compared to my average of about 6 or 7 a month. I am going to try to bump that number up a bit. I usually post (food) articles that I like to my twitter account, and I got a suggestion a while back about posting the links on here, so I might start doing that. Anyway, I made a Hot Toddy Pudding Cake this weekend.

I didn’t try it, but I was told that it was good. It took a couple of tries to make it because you really need a shallow pan to bake it in. It is kind of like making a souffle, with whipped egg whites and everything. The mixing method is different from any other cake that I’ve made, and it is very low in flour, and there is no leavening agent except the air that is whipped into the egg whites, and I suppose there’s a lot of steam from all of the liquid added to the mix. So, it should be eaten right when it comes out of the oven, which also makes sense, since it is a HOT Toddy Cake. If you try to make this, let me know how yours turned out! Continue reading

I promise it is worth the wait…

I’m sorry for the lack of posting lately. But I have been baking. This post features dessert that I made for the dinner Benjie hosted on Saturday (I’m always there to help and semi co-host.) Anyway, I made vanilla souffles with chocolate sauce. Also, in case those didn’t work out, I made a brown butter pound cake.

The souffles turned out okay, and for those of you who were at the dinner, and didn’t get a chance to try the pound cake the next day, I am sorry you missed out, because that was also good. I promise I will make it for you some time! :)

I had not made a souffle since my second year of pastry school, so I was tempted to try them, especially since I got the ramekins to make them in for my birthday. (Thanks, Mom!) I am so happy they turned out tasting okay, even if they were a little bit crooked (they didn’t rise straight).

The pound cake was a little bit dry, but I’ll admit to over baking them slightly, because I was distracted while they were in the oven, because I was watching Dexter, which, is a really addicting show. I almost went straight to watching it instead of posting this, but I figured you’ve waited long enough for a new post… ;)

Click on the link for the recipes and more pictures.

Continue reading

it’s all about what I have on hand…

okay, so another baking-with-what-I-have-on-hand-post post. This time, I am waiting for a chocolate, chocolate chip bundt cake to come out of the oven. (yes, somehow, I always have some chocolate on-hand.) This recipe is slightly changed from the “Mocha Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake” recipe from Gourmet that I saved. Since I didn’t have instant espresso powder on hand, and I didn’t feel like making icing, this cake isn’t mocha, and it doesn’t have icing. If you look closely at the ingredients, and then at the directions, you will notice the changes I made. I also had regular-sized chocolate chips at home, so that’s what I used.
Here is the full recipe:

so, as you can see, to imitate the cake that I made, you just take out the butter, 1/2 cup of brown sugar, and the espresso powder used to make the icing and the flavor mocha. Also, I just used a whisk, and my (wo)man power to mix all of the ingredients together. I think it turned out okay. There will, of course, be pictures of the cake posted later.

*EDIT* I just added the photos, sorry for the very long delay.*

Four weddings and…a birthday!

This year was full of weddings (and one “wedding”) and of course, my birthday!
First up was Jenessa and Mike’s on July 4th weekend:

lovely summery cake with all of those sunflowers!
After that, in the middle of August was my sister and (now) “sister-in-law” ‘s “wedding” celebration. They didn’t have cake, just some refreshing mint ice cream. I heard it was very minty, and therefore, I did not try any, as I don’t like mint. However, it was a nice party, and it was nice to see my whole family together.
Next was Gur and Hilary’s small wedding, in the middle of October:

a very elegant cake-I just noticed how it matches the decor in the place that the reception was held-nice!

Fourth was recent, in the beginning of November, Adina and Ned’s very Jewish wedding:

they had a lovely wedding (bride’s?) cake and a lovely groom’s cake
and, lastly, my birthday. no big cake, but there was a tasty dessert with my name on it:
the chocolate bites at Farallon. yum!
and I took a picture of what Benjie had, the “caramel apple sundae”:
I had the last bite-it was pretty good!
overall, a great year full of celebrations! next year will also be full of weddings. crazy how life changes from going to all of your friends’/family’s birthday/bar/bat mitzvah parties to all of your friends’ weddings. just shows that we are all growing up!