Taking a Break from Baking

I’m currently taking a big long break from baking – my son has started day care of Fridays and I will be using the time for myself.

I just started the South Beach diet and you can follow me on my new blog:
http://sidsquestforskinny.wordpress.com/

I might be back – I might not.

Also, I started a cupcake business in Jerusalem – you can find it here:

http://www.cupcakecaterers.com

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Tiramisu for Shavuot

Shavuot is the official cheesecake holiday in Israel.  This is one of my favorite holidays here.  The diary foods taste so much better in Israel – compared to everywhere I’ve been.  My husbands family is Italian and this recipe is a big hit with them.  I love Tiramisu – and will order it at every restaurant that serves it.  I have not found one that is my favorite yet.

I like to make Tiramisu for Shavuot.  I usually put Kahlua in it.  This year, since there were new mothers and lots of kids coming to the traditional dairy meal at my in-laws, I decided to make it a virgin-Tiramisu.

The Tiramisu recipe is from a Cooking Light magazine I had years ago and have adjusted it over the years.

Tiramisu - Italian for Pick Me Up

Homemade Tiramisu - means PICK ME UP in Italian

Tiramisu (Altered recipe From Cooking Light)

1 package of Lady Fingers

Creamy Mixture:

2/3 Cup Powdered Sugar

1 cup cream cheese (80z – block)

2 cups whipping cream (2 small boxes)

Egg White Mixture:

1/2 cup white sugar

1/4 cup water

3 egg whites

Coffee Mixture:

1 cup hot water

2 Tlbs. sugar

2 Tlbs. instant coffee

1/4 cup Kahlua (optional)

Beat whipping cream, set aside.

Combine powdered sugar & cream cheese in mixer – beat on high speed.  Fold in 1 cup of whipped cream.

In a double boiler, combine white sugar, water & egg whites.  Beat on high until stiff peaks form (about 5 min).  Stir 1/4 cup into cheesy mixture – then gently fold in the rest.

In a shallow glass dish, combine hot water, sugar, instant coffee & Kahlua – stir to dissolve sugar.

Quickly dip lady fingers into coffee and arrange one layer in serving dish. Pour 1/2 the creamy mixture over lady fingers and repeat for second layer.  Spread remaining whipped cream over top and dust with cocoa powder or shaved chocolate.

Place into freezer and freeze for at least 3 hours.  Remove from freezer 30 minutes before you want to eat it.

Tip: I cut the lady fingers in half and made individual servings.  This was a great way to serve a bunch of people without having to cut pieces.  Everyone loved it!

Fondant Covered Train Cupcakes

Fondant Covered Train Cupcakes

Fondant Covered Train Cupcakes

When it came time to put something small together for Little A’s daycare, I didn’t have enough fondant leftover to make another cake, but I still wanted to use up what I colored.

He loved his Train Cake – so I went with the same theme.  I made these dairy-free chocolate cupcakes (adapted from Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Chocolate Cake) for my son’s birthday party at his small daycare. They only have 5 kids there – so I made 5 little train cars and added 4 extra cupcakes so the family of the daycare provider could have some.

They absolutely loved them. This was my first attempt at covering cupcakes with fondant – I don’t know what I was afraid of – it wasn’t so bad. I used a large glass that was the same size of the cupcakes to cut out the fondant circles. Then I used the leftover fondant from his train cake to decorate it. I spread a thin layer of chocolate genache frosting (chocolate melted with non-dairy cream) over the cupcakes then placed the fondant on top of that. Next time I will smooth out the frosting better, and roll the fondant a little more thicker – as bumps were noticeable and when I tried to smooth them out there was some tearing of the fondant.

They were fun to make and I plan to decorate more cupcakes with fondant in the future!

Train Cake w/Fondant

This is my second attempt at making a cake using fondant.

Train Cake using Fondant

I am starting to really like it, however I still struggle with rolling it out to cover the cake – I can’t seem to make it even and round.  I also almost always have rolled it too thin (due to a fear of not having enough for the rest of the cake design).

I made this cake for Little A – who just turned 3.  He is fascinated with trains at the moment so when I was getting his party plans together – I knew I had to find a simple design for a train cake.

I was pressed for time, so I used a devils food cake mix for the base and made some chocolate butter cream frosting.

I first cut out the mountains and then the trees and clouds.

For the trees I used a large flower cookie cutter and for the clouds I used a medium flower cookie cutter and pulled it sideways so they looked more like clouds.

Then I created the train tracks using the black fondant – which came out a little gray.

Then I created each train and added tiny wheels and lights.

I used the leftover red fondant to create some flowers & fruit in the trees.

I printed out some railroad signs and stuck them to toothpicks with some glue.

The clouds and trees covered most of my mistakes that I made due to rolling the fondant a little to thin.  No one noticed!

Best of all, my son absolutely loved his train cake!

I also made some mini whoopie pies and some sugar cookies to match the train party theme.

Whoopie Pies & Train Cookies

Chocolate Whoopie Pies with chocolate genache frosting & Train Sugar Cookies

Purim Baking

This week we are celebrating Purim – and as tradition we hand out sweet baskets (kinda like Christians get at Easter). Some people purchase candy and pre-packed baskets – but I like to bake home made goodies. This year the kids really got into helping with decorating the boxes/baskets and helping with the food prep. We made yummy treats – Chocolate Crinkles, Peanut Butter Balls – dipped in chocolate (or Buckeyes), date/chocolate oatmeal bars & mini whoopie pies. We had lots of fun.

Mini Whoopie Pies (click for recipe) – non dairy

Buckeyes – dairy

Chocolate Crinkles – dairy

Date/Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bars – non-dairy

I’ll post the recipes for the rest of the cookies separately.

Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Genache Frosting

vanilla cupcakes & chocolate genache frosting

Vanilla Cupcakes & Chocolate Genache Frosting

I held onto this recipe for vanilla cupcakes when I saw an old Martha Stewart episode with the New York Cupcake shop – Billy’s Cupcake owner Billy Reece. They looked amazing – and once I choose to make vanilla cupcakes – I knew this would be the recipe to go to.

The segment from the show when he show’s how to make the cupcakes is on the page with the recipe – it’s a good tutorial for someone that is looking for guidelines!

From Billy’s Cupcakes (on www.marthastewart.com)

Vanilla Cupcakes

Makes about 30 cupcakes

  • 1 3/4 cups cake flour, not self-rising
  • 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt; mix on low speed until combined. Add butter, mixing until just coated with flour.
  2. In a large glass measuring cup, whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla. With mixer on medium speed, add wet ingredients in 3 parts, scraping down sides of bowl before each addition; beat until ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat.
  3. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling about 2/3 full. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 17 to 20 minutes.
  4. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat process with remaining batter. Once cupcakes have cooled, use a small offset spatula to frost tops of each cupcake. Decorate with sprinkles, if desired. Serve at room temperature.

The changes that I made to make them non-dairy was to substitute the butter with shortening and the milk with non-dairy creamer diluted to milk consistency.

vanilla cupcakes

Vanilla Cupcakes - cooling and waiting to be frosted

The cup cakes themselves were pretty good – a moist yellow cupcake – with potential to be my favorite yellow cupcake recipe!  I wasn’t sure why they are considered vanilla cupcakes – there is only one teaspoon in the batter – I will put more next time for more flavor.

For the frosting – I made some genache with some dark chocolate (250 gr) and non-dairy whipped cream (about 1/2 cup) – let it cool then whipped it.  It needed to be a little more sweet, so I added about 1/4 cup of powdered sugar.

It was still too strong – more like a truffle.  I would add some cream cheese or fold in some whipped cream next time – so it’s creamier.

All in all – it was a good recipe and good combination of moist yellow cupcakes and chocolate frosting.

vanilla cupcakes

Big A enjoying the batter

Whole Wheat Waffles

Technically I didn’t turn my oven on to make these – but there is a batter and some cooking going into it, so I’m slipping this recipe in as our weekly baking project.

IMG_3055

I’m not really into jewelry, so when my son was born my husband asked me if I wanted jewelry as a gift – I said no thanks.  I had my eyes set on a waffle maker!  It’s just one of those things that I wouldn’t buy for myself.  I usually make waffles on Saturday mornings for brunch, then freeze the leftovers for quick breakfasts during the week.

I had seen the Krups Belgian one in my baking supply store – and tipped him off.  I was thrilled to finally have one!  At first I made our waffles using the Aunt Jemima mix but they are dairy and as soon as Little A was old enough to eat waffles I searched for a non-dairy alternative.  I found this basic whole wheat waffle recipe online a few years ago and made a few changes.

Whole Wheat Waffles

1 cup all purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 Tablespoon sugar

1 Tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups milk

1/3 cup oil

2 eggs

combine everything in a bowl and let sit for a few minutes.  warm up the waffle maker and enjoy!

(instead of milk – I diluted some non-dairy creamer to milk consistency)

Ideas for additions to waffles to make them even yummier; choose from one of the following or combine them:

1 very ripe mashed banana

1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

1/4 cup chocolate chips

1/4 cup blueberries

1/4 cup  strawberries

I’ve tried all these add-ins and really love the walnuts and bananas together.  (Little A eats his waffles without any add-in’s).

Last year for Little A’s 2nd birthday, I made a waffle party and put out a table of waffle toppings including maple syrup, strawberry syrup, chocolate sauce, whipped cream, chopped nuts & fresh fruit.  It was a big hit!