Sunday, April 27, 2008

Daring Bakers Challenge- Cheese Cake Pops Ahoy!

Pirates rum pops!

Okay maybe not, but what else would you think of when you have so much delicious rum flavor in such a small treat.

Even Jack sparrow would be satisfied with these treats.

Okay well lets start over then shall we.

Daring Bakers Present the Daring CheeseCake Pop!!!

and the crowd goes wild” wooooooo!

Okay gorgeous people out there this month once again it's daring baker time, and the lovely

Elle from Feeding my Enthusiasms
Deborah from Taste and Tell

brought us the fantastic challenge of cute little cheesecake pops.

Aren't they darling. This month was a nice fun break from the many time consuming rough challenges, and definitely one worth showing off.

The most challenging part for me was dealing with the chocolate coating. Never having made candy before and it seemed a bit temperamental. I did buy the kind from Michaels for candy though instead of doing the recipe one so it would have just the perfect texture with the cheesecake.

First I made the cheesecake. It was a straight forward recipe although mine cooked for about 50 minutes to an hour (much longer then the recipe asked for). I also added to it a very generous amount of rum flavoring. Hmmmm rum cheesecake sooo tasty!

Here is the lovely cheesecake half scooped already.

Then I got tablespoon scoops of cheesecake and rolled them into balls putting them on my nice nonstick mat, and adding the lollypop sticks.

Little Balls

And with lollypop sticks.

Then these I put in the freezer for three hours to get nice and hard.

After getting nice and firm I brought them out for a little swim in some milk chocolate. I added a bit of rum flavoring to the chocolate too. I mean seriously you can't have too much rum flavoring!

I did end up making the first batch with lollypop sticks and took them to work. I found them to be more of a pain then a help. So the second batch I made without the sticks as little bon bons. Those were much easier to eat and to wrap.

Here are my pirate lollypops, full of yummy rum ye mateys!

Here are my cute pirate rum bon bons. Shiver me timbers!

So when making the cheesecake there was some extra batter so I decided to make a few cute heart shaped cheesecakes with the remaining batter. I then doused them in melted milk chocolate, and chopped almond roca finely to put on top. My fiancee almost had a mouthgasm eating them. The almond roca with the cheesecake was amazing.

Very Pretty too. He loved the romantic surprise.


Here is the recipe for those of you who wants it.

Cheesecake Pops

Makes 30 – 40 Pops

5 8-oz. packages cream cheese at room temperature

2 cups sugar

¼ cup all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon salt

5 large eggs

2 egg yolks

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

¼ cup heavy cream

Boiling water as needed

Thirty to forty 8-inch lollipop sticks

1 pound chocolate, finely chopped – you can use all one kind or half and half of dark, milk, or white (Alternately, you can use 1 pound of flavored coatings, also known as summer coating, confectionery coating or wafer chocolate – candy supply stores carry colors, as well as the three kinds of chocolate.)

2 tablespoons vegetable shortening

(Note: White chocolate is harder to use this way, but not impossible)

Assorted decorations such as chopped nuts, colored jimmies, crushed peppermints, mini chocolate chips, sanding sugars, dragees) - Optional

Position oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Set some water to boil.

In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, flour, and salt until smooth. If using a mixer, mix on low speed. Add the whole eggs and the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well (but still at low speed) after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and cream.

Grease a 10-inch cake pan (not a spring form pan), and pour the batter into the cake pan. Place the pan in a larger roasting pan. Fill the roasting pan with the boiling water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Bake until the cheesecake is firm and slightly golden on top, 35 to 45 minutes.

Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and cool to room temperature. Cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and refrigerate until very cold, at least 3 hours or up to overnight.

When the cheesecake is cold and very firm, scoop the cheesecake into 2-ounce balls and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Carefully insert a lollipop stick into each cheesecake ball. Freeze the cheesecake pops, uncovered, until very hard, at least 1 – 2 hours.

When the cheesecake pops are frozen and ready for dipping, prepare the chocolate. In the top of a double boiler, set over simmering water, or in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, heat half the chocolate and half the shortening, stirring often, until chocolate is melted and chocolate and shortening are combined. Stir until completely smooth. Do not heat the chocolate too much or your chocolate will lose it's shine after it has dried. Save the rest of the chocolate and shortening for later dipping, or use another type of chocolate for variety.

Alternately, you can microwave the same amount of chocolate coating pieces on high at 30 second intervals, stirring until smooth.

Quickly dip a frozen cheesecake pop in the melted chocolate, swirling quickly to coat it completely. Shake off any excess into the melted chocolate. If you like, you can now roll the pops quickly in optional decorations. You can also drizzle them with a contrasting color of melted chocolate (dark chocolate drizzled over milk chocolate or white chocolate over dark chocolate, etc.) Place the pop on a clean parchment paper-lined baking sheet to set. Repeat with remaining pops, melting more chocolate and shortening (or confectionery chocolate pieces) as needed.

Refrigerate the pops for up to 24 hours, until ready to serve.

Yar, Here's a bite for ye too.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Little Wonders- Blogging for Babes Challenge

So this month is the March for Babies which is all about the littlest among us, the event is for little creations. Holly at is not only holding this fantastic blog event to spread the word but is also going to be in the march. Check out and donate if you can, learn more here, and most of all spread the word! Also visit our roundup where you can see everyones Awesome creations and vote on your favorite Here (please vote for me)!!

So here is the only requirement. Make something (or many somethings) in miniature or small sizes, and man did I have fun with that.
As any bento loving woman or girl out there we have a fondness for cutesy things and small things so this event was a no brainer.
I present cute miniature single serving strawberry layered star and heart cakes!!!
These babies are adorable enough to win the grinch over, tasty enough to grab the most stalwart stick in the mud, and easy enough that your kid sister could probably do them.

For these cakes I used Dories perfect party cake recipe from the last daring bakers challenge. This time though I used almond extract instead of the lemon, and chopped up a half cup of white chocolate chips really finely which I added to the batter.
Found box full of cute individual sized star shaped foil pans (actually on the box says they are for jello jigglers) that worked perfect for the star cakes. The best part was they were easy to pull off and are only a freaking BUCK!!! I mean seriously super cheap.
The hearts were from a heart pan that I bought around valentines day.
For the heart ones I layered the bottom of the pans with some raw oats, and then poured in the batter. Then topped them with a sprinkling of oats. We've been eating those with no frosting as a breakfast treat for the last few days. They are just the right amount of sweetness.

The stars I sliced each in half putting whipped cream and fresh sliced strawberries as a filling. Re-assembled them and frosted with more whipped topping! YUM ! topped with some strawberries. These babies I brought to our weekly anime night where friends happily engorged on them.

Heart and stars XOXOXOXO hug, kisses, and lots of love!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

March Daring Bakers Challenge- Dories Perfect Cake

This months awesome challenge was hosted by Morven at Food Art and Random Thoughts.
She gave us the awesome recipe for cake. I was very excited because both me and my sweet heart love vanilla, and her cake was the base for what looked like a phenomenal white fluffy layered cake.

Here I have my dry ingredients, eggs, and buttermilk. I loved whisking this and did it all by hand. I'm a bit of an old fashioned girl.
It became this nice thick consistency almost more like pancake batter then normal cake batter.
It tasted good (yes i did taste the batter & no i'm not going to die from it)
I put them in their respective pans to bake.
This is where Sudden Doom occured.
I wanted to do something different and try out my rose pan that I've never used before.
I'd never made a layered cake before but thought it looked like well..... a piece of cake.
I also tried to adjust for our elevation but it didn't work.

The round cake turned out fluffy golden and perfect.

I turned it over on the rack to completely cool. Getting ready to see what my beautiful rose tin and created for me.

Behold the burnt umber rose, also known as Peice of CRAP!
The inside was a beautiful white fluffy cake, and the outside a brown hard burned flower.
poor little ugly duckling.

Things got worse, and I mean waaaaaaaaaaaay worse.
I tried making a whipped cream frosting with a bit of the filling flavoring added.
I was packing up to go out of town the very next day and I knew I wouldn't have time to make the buttercream.
I stirred it too long or maybe it was too warm or maybe it was possessed who knows?
but It turned out seperated and weird colored and wouldn't spread.
I ended up in my messy kitchen in tears worried that the beautiful vanilla cake was done for.

At least I got a chance to use my very cute new cake plate. It's a heart from Kitten my special friend.
Luckily my beloved he tried to make it look ok while i was in being quite morose.
He sliced it and even ate a huge peice.
I tried a bit thinking it would taste as bad as it looks.
Well my friends Dorie knew what she was doing even if I surely didn't because it was possibly the tastiest, fluffiest, moistest white cake I'd ever eaten.

So here is to my ugly duckling which tasted better then a swan.
(lol doesn't that sound a bit creepy)

Here is the recipe for those who wants it
Note: I made mine with no lemon. Everything was vanilla, and the filling was champagne peach and berry jam. With some raspberry jam on top of that too.

Dorie's Perfect Cake Recipe

Courtesy of Dorie Greenspan’s Baking from My Home to Yours (page 250).
Posting date Sunday 30 March.

(sorry I'm still a bit of a blogger "dummy" so don't know how to highlight in red). For those of you who don't read all the comments or don't have Dorie's book, there were a couple of omissions which some diligent Daring Bakers picked up. If these contributed to a "floppity flops" - my sincere apologies. Please note the changes in bold below - one is the reference to a 1/4 cup of lemon juice and the second is in relation to whisking together the egg whites and milk in the 2nd line of making the cake. I've also expanded on the Update on Playing Around.

Introduction from Morven
I wanted to pick something that had potential for putting your personal stamp on. Although this is essentially a white cake I know there are some lemon haters among us so feel free to use your imagination. If you inner chef tells you that you need to make a chocolate layer cake then by all means do so. See Dorie’s words on playing around below for some flavour combination ideas.

Update on playing around. Yes you can do what ever you want with this cake as long as you promise to use the basic cake recipe and the basic butter cream recipe (if you are doing the butter cream that is) . The filling/frosting flavors are completely up to you. If you don't feel like using Dorie's butter cream recipe (flavored as you wish) she says whipped cream will do for the filling and finishing and I say... go for it. If you want to use fondant or something else - it's your cake. Bake a square one, a heart shaped one or any other shape you like but please make it a layer cake.

I can't wait to see what combinations people come up with. You can leave out the lemon, put different flavors of preserves in the middle, leave off the coconut - have some fun with it.

Words from Dorie
Stick a bright-colored Post-it to this page, so you’ll always know where to turn for a just-right cake for any celebration. The original recipe was given to me by my great dear friend Nick Malgieri, of baking fame, and since getting it, I’ve found endless opportunities to make it – you will too. The cake is snow white, with an elegant tight crumb and an easygoing nature: it always bakes up perfectly; it is delicate on the tongue but sturdy in the kitchen – no fussing when it comes to slicing the layers in half or cutting tall, beautiful wedges for serving; and, it tastes just as you’d want a party cake to taste – special. The base recipe is for a cake flavoured with lemon, layered with a little raspberry jam and filled and frosted with a classic (and so simple) pure white lemony hot-meringue buttercream but, because the elements are so fundamental, they lend themselves to variation (see Playing Around), making the cake not just perfect, but also versatile.

For the Cake

2 1/4 cups cake flour (updated 25 March)
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups whole milk or buttermilk (I prefer buttermilk with the lemon)
4 large egg whites
1 ½ cups sugar
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 stick (8 tablespoons or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ teaspoon pure lemon extract

For the Butter cream
1 cup sugar
4 large egg whites
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¼ cup fresh lemon juice (from 2 large lemons)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For Finishing
2/3 cup seedless raspberry preserves stirred vigorously or warmed gently until spreadable
About 1 ½ cups sweetened shredded coconut

Getting Ready
Centre a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9 x 2 inch round cake pans and line the bottom of each pan with a round of buttered parchment or wax paper. Put the pans on a baking sheet.

To Make the Cake
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Whisk together the milk and egg whites in a medium bowl.
Put the sugar and lemon zest in a mixer bowl or another large bowl and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant.
Add the butter and working with the paddle or whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat at medium speed for a full 3 minutes, until the butter and sugar are very light.
Beat in the extract, then add one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed.
Beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated.
Add the rest of the milk and eggs beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients.
Finally, give the batter a good 2- minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and well aerated.
Divide the batter between the two pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cakes are well risen and springy to the touch – a thin knife inserted into the centers should come out clean
Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unfold them and peel off the paper liners.
Invert and cool to room temperature, right side up (the cooled cake layers can be wrapped airtight and stored at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to two months).

To Make the Butter cream
Put the sugar and egg whites in a mixer bowl or another large heatproof bowl, fit the bowl over a plan of simmering water and whisk constantly, keeping the mixture over the heat, until it feels hot to the touch, about 3 minutes.
The sugar should be dissolved, and the mixture will look like shiny marshmallow cream.
Remove the bowl from the heat.
Working with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer, beat the meringue on medium speed until it is cool, about 5 minutes.
Switch to the paddle attachment if you have one, and add the butter a stick at a time, beating until smooth.
Once all the butter is in, beat in the butter cream on medium-high speed until it is thick and very smooth, 6-10 minutes.
During this time the butter cream may curdle or separate – just keep beating and it will come together again.
On medium speed, gradually beat in the lemon juice, waiting until each addition is absorbed before adding more, and then the vanilla.
You should have a shiny smooth, velvety, pristine white butter cream. Press a piece of plastic against the surface of the butter cream and set aside briefly.

To Assemble the Cake
Using a sharp serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion, slice each layer horizontally in half.
Put one layer cut side up on a cardboard cake round or a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment paper.
Spread it with one third of the preserves.
Cover the jam evenly with about one quarter of the butter cream.
Top with another layer, spread with preserves and butter cream and then do the same with a third layer (you’ll have used all the jam and have butter cream leftover).
Place the last layer cut side down on top of the cake and use the remaining butter cream to frost the sides and top.
Press the coconut into the frosting, patting it gently all over the sides and top.

The cake is ready to serve as soon as it is assembled, but I think it’s best to let it sit and set for a couple of hours in a cool room – not the refrigerator. Whether you wait or slice and enjoy it immediately, the cake should be served at room temperature; it loses all its subtlety when it’s cold. Depending on your audience you can serve the cake with just about anything from milk to sweet or bubbly wine.

The cake is best the day it is made, but you can refrigerate it, well covered, for up to two days. Bring it to room temperature before serving. If you want to freeze the cake, slide it into the freezer to set, then wrap it really well – it will keep for up to 2 months in the freezer; defrost it, still wrapped overnight in the refrigerator.

Playing Around
Since lemon is such a friendly flavor, feel free to make changes in the preserves: other red preserves – cherry or strawberry – look especially nice, but you can even use plum or blueberry jam.

Fresh Berry Cake
If you will be serving the cake the day it is made, cover each layer of butter cream with fresh berries – use whole raspberries, sliced or halved strawberries or whole blackberries, and match the preserves to the fruit. You can replace the coconut on top of the cake with a crown of berries, or use both coconut and berries. You can also replace the butter cream between the layers with fairly firmly whipped sweetened cream and then either frost the cake with butter cream (the contrast between the lighter whipped cream and the firmer butter cream is nice) or finish it with more whipped cream. If you use whipped cream, you’ll have to store the cake the in the refrigerator – let it sit for about 20 minutes at room temperature before serving.