Browsing the archives for the cake tag.

Classic Tiramisu and A Purple Birthday Cake


Last year, during my self-inflicted bake-a-pie-a-week challenge, I vowed to bake a cake a week in 2010. As soon as I did my friend Gill said she wanted to make Tiramisu! I loooooove Tiramisu, but I’ve never tried to make it before. She held out until March, then came over with all the ingredients and this recipe.

Cake #13 – Classic Tiramisu
6 eggs
1-1/4 cups white sugar
1-1/4 cups mascarpone cheese
1-3/4 cups heavy whipping cream
2 (12 oz) packages ladyfingers
1/3 cup coffee flavored liqueur


Gill broke up ladyfingers to lay in the bottom and coated them in Kahlua while I mixed the egg yolks and sugar over a double boiler (10 minutes or so). Then I whipped them till they were yellowy and thick. The mascarpone gets added to the whipped yolks and separately, Mr Kitchen Aid whipped the cream till it was perfect and that was very carefully folded into the mascarpone/whipped yolk mix.


Then, we put it all together. Half the cream filling goes on top of the layer of Kahula-soaked ladyfingers, then more ladyfingers are broken and laid on top and also soaked in Kahula. Then the rest of the filling of course. We were going to cover the top of it in chocolate curls but all that cream seemed a little scary calorie-wise, so we just sprinkled some cocoa over it instead. We put it in the fridge, for much less time than we should have I’m sure, and it was amazing. It didn’t hold it’s shape as much as I would have liked but it was so good it didn’t matter. Also pictured is a mug with four ladyfingers soaking in milk, to be crunched up and eaten ‘once they’re soft enough’. Even just writing that is grossing me out, thoughts? Do you put things in milk till they’re all mushy?


As you can imagine, with three wee ones under 10 I have read a whole lot of bedtime stories. Usually, there are a few that stick and have to be read over and over and over (and over) again. Elliot Bakes a Cake (An Elliot Moose Story) is one of them. The recipe that Elliot uses in this book is included at the end. Naturally, I’ve been asked to make it for ages, so when I needed a simple cake for wee one #3’s first birthday party I thought of it.


It was a great recipe for the kids to make themselves. They started out with a ceramic bowl and a wooden spoon (as they had in the story) but once it was time to blend in the milk they turned to the trusty Kitchen Aid, which is usually hands off.


As expected, it mixed until smooth and the layers came out beautifully. We whipped up some purple frosting for it, too! We took it to my Grandmother’s for Sunday supper and birthday presents. It was plain enough for a one year old, but it held it’s own with coffee. I made this again and again after as bases for cakes where the topping was key. Officially, it’s called A Very Special Cake in the book, and it was Cake #13 in Cake Year!


Etsy Shopping and Another Birthday

Crafty, Domestic

I was so annoyed when ripping out Lindsay’s sock last week I had to snap a pic and go over it again. Obviously there is no give in a tightly (or even just not loosely) knit intarsia sock, but I honestly didn’t think I’d have to knit as loosely as I now know I do. I will not make the same mistake twice. Such a painful lesson to learn, I was honestly enjoying knitting polka dots. So I’ve cast on again and have made as much progress as the first photo I posted, without polka dots just the cuff.

In news as great as the sock is painful, my order from Rainbow Fabrics arrived! I got seven fat quarter packs, and eight half yards all in different fabrics. I am so excited! I think how well I do any given craft is directly proportionate to how cute the supplies are. I did recently get a bunch of new yarn and it has almost all been delegated to projects already, but I really wanted to play with my sewing machine. I also picked up some really, really cute cotton flannel to make diapers with but it’s not here yet. We’ll get into that when I have a phottie. For now I’m going to make some pouches as loot bags for our Easter stitch n bitch from two of the fat quarter packs, and I have two dresses in mind for wee ones #2 and #3. I have to catch up on the March and April birthdays and then there isn’t as much going on during the summer so I’ll hopefully have a chance to sew them up, but the pouches will be done for Easter.

It feels like we’ve had a birthday almost every weekend lately. Lindsay’s fete here was on Saturday, and then we celebrated Romi‘s on Tuesday! The kids and I did up the window and made a 3 layer birthday cake in her honor. The top two layers were vanilla with chocolate frosting, the bottom was chocolate with vanilla frosting.


I also made bite size brownies, but I’ve started making them with Becel instead of butter, because this is getting out of hand. They’re very soft and chewy on the inside with just a wee bit of a crust. I modified the brownie recipe I’ve been making for years and years and just baked them in my silicone mini tart tray. They’re great on their own, and I think they’d make a really naughty (and equally delicious) addition to a trifle for a kids party. Cut into quarters, they’d also be amazing in a milkshake. πŸ˜›


One Anniversary and Back to Back Birthdays

Crafty, Domestic

My parents celebrated their 30th anniversary a few weeks ago, I had a few silly ideas for the pearl anniversary that involved patterns with lots of ‘purls’ in them but nothing seemed quite right. If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time you know how much I love knitting creatures and toys so I just went with knitting pearls, 30 of them!

I didn’t intend for either of them to actually wear them, I assumed they’d put them where ever they put all the other random knitted stuff they have from me. I’ve been told that when held up and dangling, this looks like a string of garlic. As far as I know my folks don’t believe in vampires…

On to the recap portion of this recap post, so much has happened – both crafty and otherwise – since my Valentines Day Rewind post a few weeks ago. First, we had a (sort of) surprise party for our dear friend Andrew, then another birthday party for our dear friend Talea, and then I finally gave birth to wee one #3 and we had a little welcome to the world party for her. Many, many things were knitted, and many, many things were baked (and cooked) since then.

A bunch of my friends are turning 29 this year, myself included, and Andrew was the first. So we started planning his fete as a surprise – which isn’t how it ended up at all, unless you ask wee one #2, she’s certain he had no idea. She hid under the dining room table and jumped out at him yelling ‘suuuuuurprise!!’ πŸ˜›

Food themes for tonight (aside from 102 Warhead sour candies) were cheese and chocolate – two of our favorite things as a collective. The cheddar crackers are from a recipe my Dad and I put together last summer with not much else to do one afternoon. Every time I make them they’re a little different, sometimes I switch up the cheese, sometimes I add onion or chives. This version is made with cheddar and has diced onions. The cheese souffles were also made with cheddar, and borderlined just enough on being quiche-like that both those who love and hate quiche loved these babies.


The actual surprise of the evening was the cake Gill had made for him. We Photoshopped Andrew’s head on to Burt Reynolds’ very naked body (very naked body on a bear skin rug!), and had that put on an ice cream cake. To keep him from discovering, or even asking about his cake, we made a decoy. Wee one #2 and I made a banana chocolate chip cake and she painstakingly put on each of these chocolate chips herself, one at a time.


This week’s pie of the week was a tray of chocolate cinnamon tarts. My resident pie fanatic assured me that as mini pies, tarts count! The crust is my usual pie crust, minus 1/4 cup of flour for 1/4 cup of cocoa and a bit of milk instead of water. The filling is essentially scratch chocolate pudding with 1 tsp of cinnamon, topped with fresh whipped cream and a chocolate chip, naturally! Wee one #1 crushed some Oreos for me so we could make Oreo fudge. Fudge used to be such a mystery to me and now I can hardly believe how simple it is to make!


On to his gift, his gloriously unfinished gift! I’m knitting him up a pair of Skull Socks of Fury from Hello Yarn! I made him the Pirate Mittens from the same site for Christmas, so I’m keeping with the theme. The pattern in these socks is pretty simple to follow, it’s just the time consuming factor of knitting socks for men and their giant feet. πŸ˜›

I love how big the skull is on this little guy, clearly he has an overactive brain.

So now, fast forward one week, I’d been having contractions here and there and it was making it tricky for even me to get things done. Talea’s 26th birthday landed on the Saturday, the day *after* my official due date with wee one #3. I had so many fun ideas for her birthday party, and I wont list all the neat things I didn’t do this year because I’ll just do them next year when she’s 27! πŸ˜›

I did manage to get some fun things done for her birthday fete though! Talea is my pie fanatic, the reason I vowed to make a pie a week for at least a year (this week’s potato/cheese/chive pie was week 13), and she is my one and only sock knitting protege. So really, it wouldn’t make sense to not use the themes of sock knitting and pie. Naturally, from one sock knitter to another, my first thought was to make heaps of teeny tiny socks and litter the table with them.


This actually lead to knitting baby socks, (which consumed the rest of my week – more on that later), so I casted on again to make really, really wee socks and left them partly unfinished with toothpicks in them as wee double pointed needles! I also knit up a chocolate-raspberry tart for her! My husband machine thought the wee socks and ‘needles’ were cute but they needed a knitting basket for the wee balls of yarn they were being knitted from so he made me some origami boxes!

The wee ones wanted to get in on the crafting action, of course, so they made some tissue paper flowers for her! Her fiancee totally showed them up by having 26 red roses delivered here that night to surprise her! Ha!

I’m not posting photos of this week’s pie because it was sort of blah and I’m not happy with the crust. I cut balloons out of the crust, but it just wasn’t what I was aiming for. It was yummy though – Potato Cheese and Chive! I will post a photo of the birthday gal’s treats! I got her Lorna’s Laces sock yarn and Gill and Andrew got her a huge goblet and a bottle of her fave wine. What I loved most about this gathering was how quickly the addition of a few hanks of yarn turned it into a yarn winding party!

At Talea’s birthday fete I had two pretty serious contractions, enough to make me think that wee one #3 may actually join us that weekend – I wasn’t far off. I spent the rest of the weekend knitting wee socks for her, keeping my fingers crossed that she was a girl as the tech had said she was (the husband machine and I were having a really hard time coming up with a boy name), and hoping to meet her soon. Monday night (one week ago tonight) she was born…here she is:

And here is one of the many pairs of socks I made for her last weekend while we were all waiting for her to be ready to come out!

I’ll leave you to chew on that for now and post again about the Welcome to the World gathering we had on Friday…with the most delicious pie there ever was.


Chinese New Year Fete

Crafty, Domestic

This was the first year I hosted a Chinese New Year party, and while there were a few ideas I didn’t get to bring to life, I did do a lot of them and we all had a great time with it. The general idea going in to this was to incorporate some of the traditions of our Asian friends’ families, with a very May-style twist on them.

First, the menu. I roasted a whole chicken (for family unity), made peanut-broccoli chow mein noodles (for long life), Nigella Lawson’s clementine cake, Martha Stewart’s fortune cookies, and the standard chocolate bunt cake. This week’s pie was chicken-free chicken pot pie!

Nothing special about the chicken or the noodles or even the chickenless chicken pie (two veggie friends really love chicken pot pie, so, sans chicken, it’s a serious hit!). The cake and the cookies however, were a lot more interesting than I thought they’d be.

I have loved Nigella Lawson for years and I’m always into testing out her weirder recipes, though when I went looking for a recipe for some kind of desserty thing made from small citrus fruit I had no idea what I was looking for. I was reading Smitten Kitchen a couple of weeks ago and there it was, a clementine cake! The recipe seemed so very odd to me though, you boil the clementines for 2 hours and then mash them all up, rinds and all?! Also, the whole thing is essentially held together with just ground almonds and eggs – no flour at all. It was fantastic, and honestly, it was really refreshing.

Smitten Kitchen says ‘It is ridiculously moist, not bitter and surprisingly popular at a dinner party. You know, until you tell people they’re eating a cake of boiled rinds.’ Not surprisingly, my friends didn’t seem to care in the least and a few had seconds.

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