Confetti Layer Cake and a BOOK GIVEAWAY!

March 11, 2014 at 6:06 pm | Posted in cakes & tortes, layer cakes, sweet things | 50 Comments
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confetti layer cake

Sometimes I just want a piece of birthday cake…even if it’s no one’s birthday.  Know how that is?  I do feel I’m embarrassingly late to the imaginary party with this confetti cake.  I don’t even know if I’ve ever had the Pillsbury version.  And it seems everyone’s made a homemade one but me (till now).  What I thought was some magical secret to the colored bursts of confetti is really just jimmies stirred into cake batter.  A cute book called Sprinkles!, which helps turn all things sparkly or rainbow-colored, showed me that.  My own sprinkles collection borders on the absurd.  Apparently I really needed this book– I’m filing it in the “self-help” section of my bookshelf.

Back to the cake!  The base here is a delicate white cake flavored with almond extract, although it would be also great flavored with lemon, so I included that as an option.  The sprinkles folded into the batter explode in the in oven (not in a dangerous way, I promise!) into little pops of color scattered throughout each slice.  I think any frosting you like with white cake would work well here, so use your favorite.  I made an American-style powdered sugar buttercream with a blob of cream cheese added in to temper the sweetness just a bit.  The sides of the cake are exposed to show off the fun inside, and don’t forget the extra sprinkles on top!

The kind folks at Quirk Books sent me a copy of Sprinkles!,  and now I want to jazz up your baking by sending a copy to one of you.  Just leave me a comment (one per person, please) on this post before 4:00 pm EST on Tuesday, March 18 and I’ll randomly choose a winner from the list.  Be sure your e-mail address is correct so I can contact you if you’re chosen.

***Giveaway Winner Update: I used random.org to generate a random comment number to find the winner. It selected comment 24, so congratulations to Barb T. I’ll be in touch and sending your book soon!***

confetti layer cake

Confetti Layer Cake– makes a 9-inch triple layer cake
adapted from Sprinkles! by Jackie Alpers

Steph’s Note:  Obviously I didn’t bake my cake in 9-inch rounds.  I scaled it back to a third and baked it as a quarter-sheet (adjusting baking time accordingly), which I then cut into three strips and frosted. 

1 1/2 cups milk
9 large egg whites, lightly beaten
1/3 cup applesauce or Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract or lemon extract
4 1/2 cups cake flour, sifted, plus extra for flouring pans
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup rainbow jimmies, plus extra for decoration

4 cups (approximately) your favorite buttercream or cream cheese frosting

-Preheat oven to 350°F. Line three 9-inch round cake pans with parchment circles, grease, then dust with flour.

-In a medium bowl, stir milk, egg whites, applesauce or yogurt and extracts. Into another bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt.

-Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Reduce speed to low; add flour and milk mixtures alternately, starting and ending with the flour. Fold in the 1/2 cup sprinkles.

-Divide batter among pans. Bake until a tester inserted in the centers comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.

-Cool cakes in pans set on wire racks for 5 minutes. Run a knife around the sides of each pan, then invert cakes onto a cutting board. With a serrated knife, carefully cut off the tops and “crusts,” exposing the confetti sprinkles (this is optional).

-Place first layer on a plate. Spread 3/4 cup frosting evenly over top. Repeat with second and third layers, leaving the sides exposed. Decorate the perimeter of the top with the remaining jimmies. Serve, or refrigerate up to 3 days.

Maple-Glazed Meatballs and a BOOK GIVEAWAY!

March 1, 2013 at 5:33 pm | Posted in book review, other savory, savory things | 29 Comments
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maple-galzed meatballs

As a kid, getting breakfast for dinner was a rare and exciting treat.  As an adult, I can do this any darn time I please, but it still hasn’t lost it’s excitement factor.  Clearly I’m not alone in this, because there’s a new book called Breakfast for Dinner by Lindsay Landis and Taylor Hackbarth.  This book has savory takes on pancakes and waffles, lots of egg dishes and even breakfast for dessert, but these Maple-Glazed Meatballs– like breakfast sausage doused in syrup– were what I wanted to try first.

These meatballs are flavorful and moist. Because of their sweetness, I wouldn’t pair these with pasta, but they make a great app or a perfect TV snack.

I want to send a copy of Breakfast for Dinner to one of you!  Just leave me a comment (one per person, please) on this post before 4:00 pm EST on Friday, March 8 and I’ll randomly choose a winner from the list.  Be sure your e-mail address is correct so I can contact you.

***Giveaway Winner Update: I used random.org to generate a random comment number to find the winner. It selected comment 18, so congratulations to AnnaZed. I’ll be sending your book soon!***

Maple-Glazed Meatballs- makes about 24 meatballs
from Breakfast for Dinner by Lindsay Landis and Taylor Hackbarth

Steph’s Note: The original recipe called for ground pork, but I used ground chicken instead.  If you do, too, you may find that you need to add extra tablespoon of so of breadcrumbs and give the mix about a 30 minute rest in the fridge before portioning into meatballs.

for the meatballs:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
 1 small Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, finely diced (about 1 cup)
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound ground pork (or ground chicken)
1 egg
1/2 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon ground fennel
1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

for the glaze:
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1/2 cup apple juice
2 teaspoons cider vinegar

-Line a baking sheet with foil.

-Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion.  Cook until translucent, 7 to 10 minutes.  Stir in apples, ginger and garlic.  Cook 1 to 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and cool.

-In a large bowl, combine pork, egg, breadcrumbs, milk, maple syrup, fennel, red pepper flakes, salt and black pepper.  Add the cooled onion mixture.  Mix with your hands until uniform. Roll by tablespoonfuls into 1-inch balls, or use a small ice cream scoop to portion.  Arrange on prepared sheet.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

-Preheat oven to 400°F.

-For the glaze, whisk together maple syrup, tomato paste, apple juice and vinegar in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool slightly.

-Brush meatballs with half of glaze. Bake 10 minutes. Brush with remaining glaze. Bake 5 to 7 minutes longer or until cooked through (internal temperature of 160°F. Serve warm.

Please note that the publisher, Quirk Books, sent me a copy of this book.
Breakfast for Dinner

The Cookie Dough Lover’s Cookbook GIVEAWAY!

June 1, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Posted in other stuff | 46 Comments
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cookie dough lover's

Every Thursday at the shop, I make ginormous batches of all our cookie doughs.  And I totally eat ginormous amounts of cookie dough, too!  I’d like to say that I do it in the name of quality control, but really it’s a lack of self control.  Cookies-in-the-raw just may be better than baked ones.  I clearly have no problem snacking on raw eggs (although now that I put it that way…), but if you so deprive yourself, then you’ll be happy to see The Cookie Dough Lover’s Cookbook by Lindsay Landis, who also writes the gorgeous food blog Love and Olive Oil.  She has ingeniously concocted an eggless cookie dough that isn’t meant to be baked, but used raw, as an ingredient or an out-of-the-bowl snack.  Now I normally take my dough straight up, but I’m amazed by the diversity of recipes in this book…candy made from cookie dough, cakes, pies, puddings, breakfast stuff (what?!).  And, of course, there is ice cream…ice cream that is calling–no, screaming–my name.  All of this is gorgeously photographed…proof that these things are real and not just in my dreams!

The very kind folks from Quirk Books gave me a copy of this cookbook, and now I want to give one of you a copy, too.  Maybe we can make Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream together next weekend??  What do you say?  Just leave me a comment (one per person, please) on this post before 5:00 pm EST on Thursday, June 7 and I’ll randomly choose a winner from the list.  Be sure your e-mail address is correct so I can contact you!

***Giveaway Winner Update: I used random.org to generate a random comment number to find the winner. It selected comment 11, so congratulations to Tina.  I’ll be sending your book soon!***

Baking with Julia BOOK GIVEAWAY!

January 15, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Posted in other stuff | 55 Comments
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Baking With Julia book cover

Next month, Tuesdays with Dorie is diving full-force into Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan. Have you signed up?  If not having the book is keeping you from getting onboard, then I want to help.  I’m giving away one brand-new copy of Baking with Julia before the group gets going with the first two recipes.

Just leave me a comment (one per person, please) on this post before 5:00 pm EST on Monday, January 23 and I’ll randomly choose a winner from the list.  Be sure your e-mail address is correct so I can contact you!

***Giveaway Winner Update: I used random.org to generate a random comment number to find the winner. It selected comment 32, so congratulations to Emily.  I’ll be sending your book soon!***

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