Saturday, June 22, 2013

Sand castle cake

Well my little man is celebrating his 6th birthday so it was time to get a little crazy in the kitchen and make him a truly awesome cake. Since we decided on a pool party a sand castle cake seemed very fitting along with ice cream cone cupcakes. This is definitely not a small cake, I made a triple batch of vanilla cake (vegan cupcakes take over the world) to make the tiers of the sand castle. There was some extra cake left over after I cut out the 2 smaller circles, but still a lot of cake. Once it was fully assembled it was also very tall so I really just have to leave it sit out on the tray which is why I made it pretty last minute.

I made a 8-inch round cake and a 9 by 13-inch cake as this was what I had on hand (the directions actually suggested a 9-inch square be made to cut the smaller circles out of. Once both cakes were baked and had cooled I cut out the 2 smaller circles, one 3 1/2-inches and one 5 1/2-inches. Once all the layers were cut out it was time to make some vanilla buttercream frosting (vegan cupcakes take over the world) to put the cakes together. After the cakes were frosted and stacked it was time to put graham cracker crumbs on top of the frosting as the sand. Then I put the ice cream cone cupcakes on the cake, I used toothpicks to hold them steady on the cake (you don't have to bake cupcakes in them, they probably wouldn't need to be steadied with toothpicks if they weren't cupcakes). Then I topped the ice cream cones with sugar cones to finish the towers of the sand castle. Now I put 2 full height graham cracker sticks on the front of the cake as the doors and then put half height graham cracker sticks around the rest of the 3 tiers and then put some more graham cracker crumbs on top of the cake to make sure all the frosting was covered up. After I added all the candles I showed my son his cake and he told me it was the best cake ever. I am so very happy that he really loves his birthday cake.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Banana Split Cupcakes AND Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

Banana Split Cupcakes AND Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

Today was trial run day for the little man's birthday party next weekend. I did actually forget to add the bananas to the cupcake batter, but then I thought why not add the bananas to the chocolate fudge frosting then which sounds pretty amazing to me. I have to admit I haven't made these cupcakes in a few years, I think the last time I made these was for the little man's 3rd birthday and this is now his 6th birthday. They were a hit then and I hope they will be a hit here in our new area with his new friends.

Now on to how I made pans for the ice cream cones so they wouldn't tip over in the oven, or more likely getting in and out of the oven. Yes, I am clumsy. I took an aluminum foil baking pan that was about 9 x 13 and I cut 12 holes into the pan using a pair of scissors. I cut one line all the way across and then cut another to make an x, then repeated to make a total of 4 cuts all the way across (or 8 points from the middle). Once I did that I folded each piece back to make a circle (no, not the roundest circle but round enough to accomodate my ice cream cones). 

Here you can see how I placed the ice cream cones in the pan and placed the pan on a cookie sheet to make it easier to get in and out of the oven. It worked like a charm, but I did find I didn't fill the ice cream cones high enough to get the effect I was hoping for. I guess we can say that is why I like to do a trial run. Next time I will leave a gap about the same as I like to leave with regular cupcakes, this time I went a little shallow so I would not have them overflowing out of the ice cream cones and all over the cookie sheet or possibly even my new oven. I got 1 dozen ice cream cones and 3 jumbo cupcakes out of a single cupcake recipe, I would guess if I had added the banana and filled them a little more I still would have gotten the same number of cupcakes out of a single cupcake recipe. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Doubles (Trinidad and Tobago street food)

The joy of a new cookbook is one we know well in this house. I recently got "Caribbean Vegan" and the Trinidadian Doubles were my the first dish I decided to make out of the newest addition to my cookbook collection. This dish was very yummy and very filling, my husband and I both had leftovers for lunch today and we still have enough left for another lunch. 

The dish consists of Bara, a fried bread that isn't too difficult to make. I can say that because I actually didn't even burn myself once and the bread came out good on the first try, these are not normal things for me to have happen. The filling has chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans) and onions and garlic along with some spices to make a nice stew-like filling. 

I also made one of the Spanish Rice recipes in the cookbook as a side dish but that was not necessary as the doubles were so filling on their own. The spanish rice had spinach and onion in it and was also rather tasty. My husband said the doubles were definitely one to repeat, that is high praise in this house.

Below is a picture of the bara without the filling on top. 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Strawberry Scones

This morning I whipped up some fresh strawberry scones for breakfast. I can't resist a good sale on strawberries and I have been craving scones lately so I thought I would give scones a try this weekend. I am happy to report that they weren't too difficult to make and they were very delicious to eat.

Of course I did make a few adjustments to the recipe. I substituted my Earth Balance for butter and coconut milk for the light cream. Since I was substituting the coconut milk for light cream instead of heavy cream I didn't refrigerate it and separate it as one would do for heavy cream, I just grabbed the can from the cupboard and shook it up and poured the desired amount into a measuring cup.

The recipe made 8 scones so we are having leftovers for breakfast tomorrow.   

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

It's a Birthday! Vanilla Cake with Strawberry Cream Frosting

The other day was my birthday and well what else would someone who loves to bake do for their own birthday cake... I spotted a picture of a cake that I just knew I had to have and I made it for myself. I adore strawberries, they are one of my favorite things in the world so of course I love to have a lot of strawberries with my birthday cake and this year there was no exception. I made a four layer cake with strawberry preserves and strawberries between every layer (there was also frosting between the layers, but for me that isn't the important part). 

This vanilla cake was covered in a strawberry cream cheese frosting, it was supposed to be whipped but I had a little trouble with that. Yes, even those of us who have been baking for ages still have our mishaps in the kitchen. 

To make this cake dairy-free I substituted Toffuti cream cheese, Toffuti sour cream, Earth's Balance (for the butter), and coconut milk for the heavy whipping cream (I forgot and shook the can though, you are supposed to chill it and then take the top layer of the coconut milk... the heavy cream layer). Even though the frosting was drippy it was still really good and it made for a beautiful cake, and of course truly delicious (that is the most important part in our house).

We were very happy to have some good friends join us for cake and a bottle of wine, from Cupcake Vineyards of course because what else would a baker pick for her birthday wine. 

The cake recipe is available online at Perry's Plate and includes how to make it as the round like I did or a small sheet style cake (3 layers).

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Bacon-and-Egg Muffins (Dairy-Free)

This morning for breakfast I made these bacon-and-egg muffins that I saw in the new Better Homes and Gardens magazine (don't worry the recipe is also available online and I put in a link to it just above). These muffins are really tasty, especially with some maple syrup on the side. They do take a bit of effort to make, but given you make 12 muffins at once it's not bad. We have enough leftovers for two more breakfasts, helps to not have to do much more than warm something up in order to have a nice weekday breakfast. I do highly recommend making these and if you have the magazine check it out because there were three more yummy looking breakfasts in there too, of course I do plan to make the other three in the coming weeks so I will let you know how they turn out as well.

The only substitutions I made was using soy milk in place of milk and using a cheddar cheese substitute (I would probably add more next time or try using a different cheese substitute as the rice cheese really wasn't able to be tasted). 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Lemon Streusel Muffins (gluten-free, dairy-free)

Today was an exciting day for me, and many others with restrictive diets in the area we live. Sprouts finally opened, well actually it opened yesterday but I made it to the store today... twice to be specific. I was impressed enough that I took the boys after dinner tonight so they could see it as well. We even ran into a friend of ours who also has a restrictive diet, he was equally excited to hear Sprouts had finally opened. I had been looking forward to this store for a really long time, it seems like it has been about 2 years since it was first announced but that could just be my anticipation clouding my judgement. Anyhow, let me stop going on and on about this and tell you it was worth the wait. They have lots of dairy-free products. 

I spotted these muffins among the many yummy looking dairy-free (yes they are also gluten-free) items and just had to try them, lets hope they are as good as my lemon almond bling muffins. I am really looking forward to breakfast tomorrow and I am also really looking forward to trying many more of the enticing items they had.