Category Archives: Uncategorized

Me

It’s time for a little fall clean-up, some new bio pics and blog photos.  I rarely post any pictures of myself but here I am!  Me.

Renee

Many thanks to Anne Bedard from annebedardphotography.com for shooting me just as I am.  Pretty casual, trying to live each day with intention, authentic me.  I save all the fluff for cakes, with me, what you see is pretty much what you get.

Renee

While we are here, I do so appreciate all of your blog, Facebook and Instagram support.  I love your comments, emails, questions and blog love.  It does mean a great deal to me and let’s me know that someone hears me and might just love frosting as much as I do.

There are lots of new things in the works.  Articles, guest posts and such.  I’m happy you’re on this journey with me.

Renee 19Why the pictures of the shoes you ask?  Look very closely.  They’re covered in flour.  Pretty fitting I think!

Enjoy the rest of the week-end everyone!

Renee

xo

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{Beat The Heat} Bourbon Molasses Ice Cream Pie

My earliest memories of baking involve rolling endless amounts of Molasses Cookies with my mom.  Standing on a chair beside her, we rolled trays and trays and dipped them in sugar.  Years later, when I opened my first bake shop, that was the first item to go on the menu, and it’s still on there to this day.   Large, bakery style Molasses Cookies also make the very best s’mores.

Its something about the slightly bitter, intensely sweet, robust flavour that seems to go so well in baked goods .

molassespie

This week-end we had company over for an afternoon barbecue.  We are in the throes of an extreme heat warning, so we decided that the best place to be was right beside the pool.  If you’ve been following me for a while, you know my go-to desserts are generally make ahead items that allow me to spend more time with my guests than in the kitchen.

I decided a grown up, {Beat The Heat} Bourbon Molasses Ice Cream Pie was just the ticket.

molassespie

 

It’s a simple, throw together dessert that’s big on flavour.  Have I mentioned that no ice cream maker is required?  A creamy, Bourbon Molasses Ice Cream is piled high into a gingersnap crust and left overnight to chill in the freezer.  Just before serving, beautiful dollops of whipped topping and premium dark chocolate shavings are added.

It’s a cool summer treat, with all of the excitement and nostalgia ice cream brings, and a boozy adult kick.

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Molasses is often mistaken as a cool weather ingredient.  But you would be very surprised at the sweet, caramel flavour that this ice cream has.  The generous splash of bourbon just simply puts this over the top.  We were all completely over the moon with this flavour combination and the creamy texture is outstanding!

molassespie

 

Summer is here, and it’s time to combine cool friends and boozy frozen treats for the perfect duo.

Stay cool everyone,

Renee

xo

molassespie

{Beat The Heat} Bourbon Molasses Ice Cream Pie

  • 1 1/2 c fine gingersnap crumbs (about 20 cookies pulsed in a food processor)
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp Fancy molasses, divided
  • 1/4 cup bourbon (optional)
  • dark chocolate shavings, for garnish
  • 2 cups whipped topping, for serving

Preheat oven to 350°

1.   Combine gingersnap crumbs and melted butter in a small bowl to combine. Press the crumbs into the bottom and 1″ up the sides of an 8″ springform pan or pie dish.  Bake for 8 minutes and allow to cool.

2.  Whip the heavy cream in a large bowl until soft peaks form.  Set aside.   In another bowl, mix the sweetened condensed milk and 1/2 cup of molasses.  Fold into the whipped cream.  Stir in the bourbon.   Spread into the cooled pie shell.  Take the remaining 1 tbsp of molasses and marble it throughout the top of the cream filling.  Chill for at least 6 hours or overnight.  Top with whipped topping and chocolate shavings just before serving.

 

 

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Salted Caramel Pumpkin Ice Cream Cake

I think there’s some kind of unwritten rule somewhere that ice cream treats are not to be consumed in the fall and winter.  I’m pretty sure it’s in the same category as wearing white pants after Labour Day.

pumpkincake1Why not eat ice cream all winter long?  I’m sure I came up with the perfect cold weather flavour.  This sky-high Salted Caramel Pumpkin Ice Cream Cake screams fall.  You know what happens when I scream and you scream…. well, you get the idea.

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This is 7 layers of caramel and pumpkin spice goodness.  I’ve already introduced you to my most loved Brown Butter Pumpkin Cake which is featured again here.  Layered along with some premium store-bought Caramel Praline Ice Cream and topped off with Brown Sugar Whipped Cream and the most amazing Salted Caramel Sauce.   I made a small 6 inch cake, which many of you know is my favourite size.  It served 10 of us with 3 generous slices left over.

Aside from baking the cake, this really is fairly simple and quick to throw together.  It’s the freezing in between that takes the most amount of time.  I had some pumpkin layers already baked ahead so this was literally minutes to assemble.  I left it overnight and then iced with the whipped cream the next day.

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It really couldn’t be any prettier.   I think it deserves its spot on any Thanksgiving table or fall and winter celebration for that matter.  We need not be fair weather ice cream eaters right?

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Chime in:  Are you a seasonal ice cream eater?  Can you think of an ultimate winter or fall ice cream cake flavour combination?

Happy fall everyone,

Renee

Brown Butter Pumpkin Layer Cake

*adapted from finecooking.com

* grease and flour two 6 x 3 inch cake pans, set oven temp to 350 degrees

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  •  2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  •  1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
  •  1-1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  •  1 tsp. ground ginger
  •  3/4 tsp. kosher salt
  •  1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
  •  2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  •  2 large eggs, room temperature
  •  1/3 cup buttermilk. room temperature

1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, swirling the pan occasionally (butter will begin to foam a bit) until the butter turns a nutty golden-brown, about 4 minutes.  Let cool while preparing other ingredients.

2.  In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, salt,nutmeg and cloves.  In a large bowl, whisk 1-1/2 cups of the pumpkin purée with the granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and buttermilk until well blended.   Stir in the flour mixture just until combined. Gently whisk in the brown butter until completely incorporated. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.

3.  Bake the cakes until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Turn the cakes out onto racks, remove the pan bottoms or parchment, and cool completely.

Brown Sugar Whipped Cream

  • 2 cups cold heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

1.   In a medium bowl whip the cream until soft peaks form.  Add in brown sugar and cinnamon and mix well.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

 

Easy Salted Caramel

*Cooking  Channel TV

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp sea salt

1.  In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and water over medium-low heat and stir until the sugar dissolves.  Increase the heat to medium- high and bring to a boil, without stirring.  Use a wet pastry brush to wash down any sugar crystals on the side of the pan if you need to.  Boil until the syrup is a deep amber color, about 7 minutes.

2  Remove mixture from the heat and very carefully whisk in the heavy cream. The mixture will bubble a lot but keep mixing. Stir in the unsalted butter, and salt. Bring back to the stove on low heat and stir until you have a smooth sauce.  Allow the caramel to cool.   The salted caramel sauce will keep in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks. Reheat before serving.

Cake Assembly:

1 litre of premium Caramel Praline Ice Cream- allow it to soften slightly

1.  After cakes have cooled layer each cake into two layers (you should have four layers total). 

2.  Place a cake layer on the bottom of a 6 inch springform pan.  Cover with a layer (approx 1 1/2 cups) of ice cream, using a piece of saran on top to evenly distribute the layer with your hands.  Add another cake layer and ice cream layer.  I did this with two springform pans. Three layers in one and four layers in the other.  Freeze both pans for at least six hours.  Remove from both springform pans and place all the layers together to complete the seven layers on a cake board or plate.  Rewrap the whole cake with saran and freeze overnight.

3.  Remove the cake from the freezer and use the Brown Sugar Whipped Cream to ice the entire cake.  Cover the top with the Salted Caramel.  Return the whole cake to the freezer until needed.  The cake should sit at room temperature for a few minutes before serving (to soften the cake slightly but not long enough to melt the ice cream).

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Cake, Ice Cream, Uncategorized

Individual Baklavas with Ice Cream

Our family is so fortunate to live in a community with a thriving Farmers Market.  It’s open all year round and you can’t beat the selection of fresh produce, pastries, meats and dairy.  There’s also a great selection of locally produced honey.

baklavahoneyyyyyy

I’ve been buying it for a few years now.  It’s such a treat in the summer when I use it for macerating strawberries.  Just thinking about it makes me yearn for warmer days.

This week-end, I picked a dessert that was seriously the bee’s knee’s of all this honey business.  Baklava has long since been a favourite of mine but I’ve never attempted it because I don’t usually like working with Phyllo dough.

baklavasd by sd

I can’t believe all of the Baklava time that I’ve wasted….

Slightly warm with just a spoonful of ice cream, it’s absolutely delectable.

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I wanted just enough servings for dinner and no more.  A sweet little treat for my busy bee’s at home.  It’s a little sticky, a little buttery and oh so nutty.  And it has just a whisper of orange flavour.

Is that enough adjectives for you?

baklavaeaten

Although a little prep is needed, it really is so simple to put together.  And the presentation is mouth-watering.

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I simply cut the Phyllo with a round cookie cutter that fit perfectly in each cavity of my mini cheesecake pan.  Then I layered and layered until my heart was content.  Do take the time to butter each layer.  It’s so worth the extra effort!

Individual Baklava’s

  • Pkg of Phyllo sheets- thawed
  • 3/4 c finely chopped nuts- I used pecan and walnut
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • generous pinch of cloves
  • 2/3 c water
  • 2/3 c sugar
  • 1/2 c honey
  • 1/2 tsp orange zest
  • 1 tbsp. orange juice
  • 1/4 c melted unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 325°

If using a mini cheesecake pan or muffin tin, find a cookie cutter that is the same width as the cavity.

1.  Combine the nuts, cinnamon and cloves in a small bowl.  Set aside.

2.    Unroll the Phyllo sheets (keeping them all together) and cover the top half with saran and a damp cloth.  Use the cookie cutter to cut out the circles through the stack of sheets on the bottom half.  These can also be covered with saran and a damp cloth until needed.

2.  Butter the bottom of the pan and then start layering.  I used 6 circles on the bottom layer, brushing each with a smidge of butter before putting in the pan.  Then, a layer of nuts, about a tsp per cavity.  Next 2 more layers of Phyllo circles on each with a layer of nuts.  Continue layering, 2 Pyllo circles, a layer of nuts, 2 Phyllo circles, a layer of nuts.   Finish off with 6 Phyllo circles for the top layer.  Using the tip of a knife poke slits through each Baklava to allow the syrup to soak through (you will pour this on when they are out of the oven).  Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the top layer is golden.

3.  While pastry is in the oven, start syrup.  In a small pan combine the water, sugar, orange zest, orange juice and honey.  Bring to a boil.  Turn heat to low and simmer for about 8-10 minutes.

4.  Pour the hot syrup over each Baklava once they come out of the oven.  Spoon a generous amount over each Baklava, almost up to the top layer.  This will soak through the holes in the top of your pastry.  Allow Baklava’s to cool slightly.  Serve warm or cool with a spoonful of ice cream.  Store leftovers covered at room temperature.

 

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Pomegranate Jelly

I know in the last few years I’ve shared with you some of my favourite things:
1. Chocolate ~ of any kind.
2. Beautiful Cupcakes.
3. Frosting.

Add to that list my undying adoration for the pomegranate. It’s such a gorgeous deep crimson fruit that’s full of vitamin C and antioxidants.

I eat one a day, and soon the season will be over around here and my daily treat will be scarce. I thought I needed to bottle up some of that sweet tart juicy pom love so I made a jelly.

It was just the prettiest darn jelly I have ever seen.

pom3

As a treat after dinner I made some easy butter puff pastry nests with mascarpone whip piped around the top and a dollop of jelly in the middle. So darn good. A light dessert that’s like a little bite of spring.

pom1

No word of a lie, if the world was crumbling around me I would not move an inch until I had licked the mascarpone whip bowl clean. It’s that delicious.  It’s the same whip that I used here only with mascarpone cheese.

Make extra and dip it with some fruit.  Or just selfishly eat it with a spoon like I did.

pom4

I read a few recipes and combined them for my own.   The grated orange peel gives this jelly an amazing flavour that can be used for both sweet and savoury dishes.

Enjoy,

Pomegranate Jelly

*this made eleven 8 oz jars

  • 5 cups fresh pomegranate juice – you can use POM juice too for less mess
  • 7  cups white sugar
  • zest of one orange
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 packages of liquid pectin

1.   Combine pomegranate juice, butter, zest and sugar in a large saucepan. Bring to boil over high heat and add liquid pectin. Bring back to a full boil, and boil  exactly 1 minute. Remove from heat and skim off foam, if any.

2.  Ladle into hot, sterilized jars to within about 1/2 inch of the top.   Seal with lids (that have been sitting in some hot water) and rings.   Leave the jars to rest on the counter for 24 hours.

** the puff pastry nests are store bought pastry that I cut with a round cutter.

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Filed under Breakfast, Extra Special, Sauces and Syrups, Uncategorized

Glazed Yeast Doughnuts

There are few desserts that I can eat 7 or 8 of in one sitting.

Seven cupcakes?  I’d do my best, but nah…

Eight scoops of ice cream?  Nope…

Seven pieces of pie?  No way!!

Seven or eight warm homemade glazed doughnuts?

*Gulp*  Ten.  Easily.

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No kidding.  These are a sweet, light, fluffy, circle of joy.  Warm out of the fryer and then dipped in a vanilla or chocolate glaze.    Gets me every time.    I make a large batch for the family to enjoy and then immediately box up the rest to give away.  You can’t keep this stuff just lying around.

It’s lethal.

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This is a perfect Sunday morning activity to do with the whole family.   We fried some with holes and some without.  No filling needed.

We dipped.

We double dipped.

We, errr… triple dipped too.

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See the pink ones below?  Just a dab of coloured gel in the your glaze.  Easy peasy.

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Do you share my love of the doughnut?  I can’t wait to hear about it!!

Glazed Yeast Doughnut

  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 pkg (8 grams) – instant yeast, quick rise
  •  3 tbsp honey (I use creamed honey)
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole milk, heated to 115 degrees
  • 3 egg yolks
  • enough oil for frying

1.  Mix cake flour, salt, yeast, honey and shortening in a large bowl.   Slowly add the milk and vanilla and stir to combine.  Add one cup of the all-purpose flour and the egg yolks.  Add another cup of all-purpose flour and mix just until combined.  The dough will be sticky.  Dump the dough onto a counter and knead for 8 minutes adding just enough flour to allow you to knead without it sticking to the counter (add as little as possible).    The dough ball will be very soft and moist.

2.  Place the dough back in the bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least one hour (overnight is good too!!).

3.  Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface (to about 1/2″ thickness).  Cut out with a doughnut cutter or use a biscuit cutter.  I used a 2″ biscuit cutter and an icing tip for the hole.

4.  Let doughnuts rise on a flour dusted parchment lined baking sheet (cover them up with a towel!).  Once doubled in size (about 1/2 an hour), they are ready to fry in oil heated to 350 degrees!  Fry on each side for approx.     1 1/2 minutes per side.  No more!  Drain on a wire rack over a baking sheet.

Glaze while still warm.

Vanilla Glaze

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2-4 tbsp warm milk – just enough to make the glaze pouring consistency

1.  Mix all ingredients in a bowl and dip the warm doughnuts in.

*for the chocolate, I used the same glaze above but added 3-4 tbsp of dark cocoa powder

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Filed under Breakfast, Scones and Breads, Uncategorized

Ina’s Classic Coconut Cake

To say that I”m a chocolate cake fanatic is an extreme understatement.  For some reason, I’m just drawn to rich dark desserts that ooze with chocolate and the like.  Vanilla just isn’t my thing.   I’m not sure why, I love the smell and I do like the taste (really, of any dessert), but if I had my druthers I would bake something chocolatey.

Not so today, I just got it in my head that I needed a bright and cheery dessert for a New Years Day dinner at my sister in-laws.   And I had coconut on the brain.  Now, I’m not a huge coconut fan, unless they are in these snacking favourites, but I just needed to make something…well…different.  So the search began for a fantastic Coconut Cake, something coconutty but not too sweet.  A look through some of my favourite cookbooks and I quickly settled on Ina Garten’s Coconut Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting.

I made just a small 6 inch version as a test batch and then an 8 inch contour version for the dinner.  I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.  I must say that it’s pretty darn good and will be on my ‘make again’ list.  This is a fairly dense cake and the icing compliments it so well.  I do love a good cream cheese icing every now and then.

I needed to glam it up a bit with the pineapple flower.  These are so easy to make and look stunning on desserts.

It doesn’t take long before the cake is gone… and oddly enough, there are only two of us in the house at the moment, the baker and the photographer.  You know what that means…we had cake for lunch!

Thank you for all of your support in 2011.  I can’t say how much your comments and feedback mean to me.  I have so enjoyed this year of blogging and meeting new blogging and baker friends alike.  I get my inspiration from so many of you!  We sure have whipped up some sweet things on this journey.  Lets see what 2012 has to bring!

Renee

Coconut Cake

*recipe adapted from Ina Garten’s Coconut Cake Recipe

  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 4 ounces sweetened shredded coconut

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1 pound confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 6 ounces sweetened shredded coconut

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 2 (9-inch) round cake pans, then line them parchment paper.

1.   In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.   Set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until light yellow and fluffy. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl once during mixing. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well.

2.  With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the batter in 3 parts, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Fold in the 4 ounces of coconut with a rubber spatula.

3.  Pour the batter evenly into the 2 pans and smooth the top with a knife. Bake in the center of the oven for appox 4o minutes,  until the tops are browned and a cake tester comes out clean. Cool on a baking rack for 10 minutes, then turn the cakes out onto a baking rack to finish cooling.

4.  For the frosting, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and almond extract on low speed. Add the confectioners’ sugar and mix until just smooth (don’t whip!).

5.  To assemble, place 1 layer on a flat serving plate, top side down, and spread with frosting. Place the second layer on top, top side up, and frost the top and sides. To decorate the cake, sprinkle the top with coconut and lightly press more coconut onto the sides. Serve at room temperature.

Garnish with a pineapple flower.

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