Friday, February 26, 2010

The Space Cake

This is going to take a lot of frosting to fix!!

For this stellar 9th birthday, I created planets with marshmellows and food coloring.

Crazy space hair.
Fun food and wall art. Thanks JT! You are the bomb!
Happy Birthday space girl MT.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Pizza Goddess- What have you done?

My lunch today! I am on a pizza roll. I have two more crusts in the fridge..a new recipe from Wolfgang Puck. Pizza- a total taste experience with ease.
This is a good recipe for dough from Bon Appetit:
  • 3/4 cup warm water (105°F to 115°F)
  • 1 envelope active dry yeast

  • 2 cups (or more) all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

HCB The Coconut Contenders

Meet our two contenders:

Diner Desserts Blue Ribbon Coconut Cake
Rose's Manhattan Coconut Cake
Diner Desserts Blue Ribbon Coconut

In this corner weighing in with 19 different recipes tried
10 fantastic successes
7 very good desserts
2 flops
The directions to this cake are easy to follow and very basic. Whisk your dry ingredients and whisk your wet, then add together. You follow this by making some soft peaks of your eggs and fold that in.

The cakes came out of the pans perfectly and pulled away from the sides when they were done.

More egg whites!!! I have never separated so many eggs in my life as I have since becoming a Heavenly Cake Baker. I was always taught to do it with your hands but after a few dozen--I am considering an egg tool!

The frosting proved to be a challenge for me. In fact, I believe I have acquired a slight fear of anything that says "heat to such and such degrees". You will see why with the other cake too! This frosting beats and cooks at the same time. It never got the temperature so I was impatient and stopped. Bad mistake-grainy icing!

My first success with a four layer cake not looking like the Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Even though the icing was grainy it was really a perfect texture and color.

Being inspired by HCB Jill, I I rolled some raspberries in some homemade lime sugar and decorated (and pretended) like I was a pastry chef!

The cake was easy, not time consuming, wonderful crumb, and coconutty.

Reviews of the Blue Ribbon Coconut Cake
Joel- "This is wonderful and I don't even like cake! Definitely in my top three favorites with Earthquake cake and that orange thing."
Toni- "The cake part is so yummy. Tasty tasty! I made that!!"
Rene- "It tastes just like one of those zinger things."
Toni- "It is exactly like a Hostess Raspberry Zinger! I love those things!"

Rose's Manhattan Coconut Cake with Silk Meringue Buttercream
In this corner weighing in with 9 different recipes tried
1 favorite cake- Chocolate Tweed
3 Beautiful but dry cakes
2 very good desserts
3 flops
Now, keeping in mind that I have only truly had what I consider 1 "successful" cake so far- I have been very careful about reading, rereading and am following this time to a tee. I start by getting my butter to the perfect temperature.

I measure and separate my eggs, by hand of course. Noticing upon rereading that I only need 5 of the egg yolks and not all 6.

While the cakes bake in their protective cake strips, I made the silk meringue buttercream. Which has three parts: creme anglaise, Italian meringue and the final buttercream.

I mix in the vanilla and coconut extract and cooled as directed. The hardest part was getting it to the correct temperature without it boiling.

I did forget my cake strips! So the edges were a tad dark but the crumb looks wonderful.

I mix my egg whites and get my sugar syrup ready to pour in.

Oh, it is looking so beautiful!! I immediately transfer to the glass measuring cup-as directed.

But to my horror-it starts to harden while I am pouring it in my egg whites!!! But wait, she says I can soften it to a pouring consistency in the micro for a few seconds. This creates a layer of sugar cement on my glass measuring cup! That's okay, I will try again! It is only water and sugar, right?

Well, this was the second attempt and it didn't work either! Definitely not pouring consistency!
So, my meringue buttercream will be without the sugar syrup part!

Now, as I am mixing I want to start shedding tears! Curdled! But says "if curdled instead of smooth, it is too cold". So I get out my temp gadget and see that it is too cold. The problem is that it is winter and the whole apartment is cold! It is at room temp..and still too cold.
So, I suspend it over warm water for what seemed like forever because I didn't want to ruin it and get it too hot.

The buttercream was beautiful and tasty-even if it caused me to have 3 new grey hairs!

I think this a beautiful cake..dry (but not crumbly like the others) and lovely.

Reviews of the Manhattan Coconut Cake:
Elizabeth- "The frosting was indescribably good! Good is such an understatement. It was indescribable!"
Charlie- "Frosting is truly silky smooth. The best ever. Perfect balance of coconut flavor."
Joel- "This frosting is not for the faint of stomach! WOW!"
Toni- " Enjoy because I am never making it again! Except maybe the frosting, I have never had such amazing frosting!"

Friday, February 19, 2010

Featured Baker!!!

*: Last Cake, Next Cake
Wow! What an exciting day..After doing a jig and yelling at the top of my lungs. My husband came running and we danced together while singing Featured Baker Featured Baker. Thanks Marie for choosing me!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Pizza Goddess Arrives

Imagine the greatest pizza ever. With your favorite toppings:
  • artichoke hearts
  • bacon
  • grilled chicken
  • fresh basil
  • oven roasted red peppers
  • fresh spinach
  • olives
  • mushrooms
  • fresh mozzarella
  • fresh asiagio and parmesan

And then combine that pizza with a personal tutorial from a "Goddess". A first grade teacher who teaches at school and then comes to our home to teach us how to cook. This amazing woman:
  • Patient
  • Loving
  • Kind
  • Thoughtful
  • Willing
  • Funny
  • Insightful
  • Understanding
  • Trusting
  • Teacher Extraordinaire
  • Friend
We Love You Pizza Goddess!!! Thanks for a wonderful Saturday.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Ramekin Ramekin How I Love Thee...

I have come to a huge "Aha" in the kitchen. I love anything that bakes or is served in a ramekin-unless it is fish of course. I made Chocolate Pots de Creme for Valentines day and feel in love with anything creamy smooth and wonderful. The recipe I used for the Pots de Creme came from Cooks Illustrated on line. Thanks Amber, again for such a wonderful B-day present. (They do have a free 14 day trail if you are interested in finding the best recipes in the world.)
I also found a Creme Brulee recipe that I would love to try. Oh, and I made tapioca! mmm. But the greatest happening in this epiphany was the creation of a fantastic recipe. I have made rice pudding for years and always use the same recipe. Which in my opinion is the bomb, Lion House Recipes. Next to it in my cookbook I have hand written a recipe for a Mexican Rice Pudding. Over the years I have added this and changed that. Yesterday, I made the most mouth watering life changing concoction.
I thought it only fair to share my recipe to my foodie friends and hope you have the success I had with it. Amber, I was going to save you some but it called to me this morning for breakfast!

Life Changing Rice Pudding from Toni Taylor

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/8 tea lime oil
  • 1 cinn stick
  • 1/8 tea sea salt
Combine and simmer covered 5 minutes
  • 1/2 cup Basmati rice
Add and simmer on low, covered, 20-25 minutes until no liquid
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk
  • 2/3 cup cream
  • 6 Tb sugar
Add to rice and cook until thick 10-12 minutes. Stir continuously. Remove cinn.
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 tea almond extract
Whisk. Add some hot rice to egg and whisk some more. Add egg to rice mixture

Sunday, February 14, 2010

HCB Double Chocolate Valentine

Prep Work
Finding raspberries proved challenging but we finally hunted some down. The snow has really wiped our supermarkets supplies out. My mother and I went to the store and just laughed. So many people preparing for the "big snow". Shelves emptied and still, now, trucks not delivering the normal fare. My life for cilantro!!
Meet me in my kitchen
I always wear an apron. They are one of my favorite things. I am very messy in the kitchen and need lots of help keeping clean.
We love having food challenges! Here we are smelling our choices for baking chocolate. Nestle vs. gourmet dutch that I had shipped from Utah. The Dutch processed was darker and had the most wonderful aroma. This picture was right before my sous chef breathed and spread cocoa all over the table! What fun..she said, "I hope you got that!"
In my kitchen, I make do. I use what I have or go without. Here, I am perfecting the art of making my own cake strips.
First you need three strips of tin foil.
Then place folded wet paper towel in the center and fold!
Wrap around your pan.
And there you have cake strips. Or you could purchase them..but why?

I can not express the amazing difference this little bit of insulation makes. My cakes are no longer funky looking or bulbous. Cake Strips!!!
In my kitchen, the baby monitor calls the shots. If it speaks to kitchen playtime is over! Luckily, it usually says the most wonderful things-like mommy, mommy, I need some hugs....mommy.
After baking the cake I spread the runny chocolate over the top and then flip it onto a flat plate. It comes out beautifully! Then I cover the other side with holes that are not as large! And do the same thing. More chocolate.
Oops, in my kitchen I always have at least one mishap and here it is. I forgot to cover my plate with Saran wrap and it stuck!!! Well, I am going to cover it with berries anyhow.
I glazed with red raspberry preserves because I didn't have the red current jam. I heated the jam and then pushed it through a fine mess sieve. I had so much fun painting those wonderful berries.
Look at all that snow!!! The raspberries were excellent. Not so the cake- dry and crumbly! So disappointing. I will add that I did use Saran Wrap to cover the chocolate while waiting.
In my kitchen, everything becomes an after school snack! Yummy. I made little mini muffins with some of the extra batter..they didn't come out of the pans soooo we had mini muffin tops!!

Happy Valentines Day, Friends.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Salt Clay Rolls

Today we wanted to make salt clay. I have the
greatest recipe.

Salt Clay
1/2 cup salt
1 cup flour
1 cup water
1 Tb oil
1 Tb cream of tarter
Cook until thick

After making blue hot dogs in pink buns, pies, and cakes.
We wanted something real!

So we pulled out all the orange roll recipe ingredients.

Put in lots of zest!

And lots of butter...

Now the part that I always fail at-Baking!
I called the bread master-Amber.
She gave me the courage and support I needed.
Not to mention a recipe for frosting.

1 stick margarine
4 Tb cream cheese
1/2 lb powdered sugar
1/2 tea vanilla
1/2 tea OJ

And finally..a success of amazing magnitude.

Look Amber! They are done in the middle..