Category Archives: Desserts

[I’m dreaming of a white Christmas]: White Wine Cake

myInspiration for holiday baking this year:

Recent trip to Vermont.

Mountains.

Light dusting of snow.

Christmas trees.

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von Trapp Family Lodge, Stowe, VT

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Clearly Vermont left an everlasting impression on me. More about my Vermont trip in an independent ‘travel’ post. It deserves that recognition.

These cakes baked in mini-loaf pans are pretty for holiday gifting. I was able to give individual gifts to both my work teams and some friends. They look and taste awesome!

A note from a co-worker sums it up pretty well, “I wanted to thank you so very much for that lovely little cake that you sent home with us! It was delicious, so light and just sweet enough. And that little pan you put it in I am using for nuts, to put out when I have guests. So very thoughtful.”

For me this cake takes me back to simple, uncomplicated desserts and I relish every bite. The Christmas tree cake topper makes it look so festive!

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Adapted from: Silver Palette Cook Book (cake) and toppers.

White wine cake and Christmas tree toppers

  • Servings: 8 mini loaf pans
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

WHITE WINE CAKE

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup oil
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup confectionery sugar for dusting

CHRISTMAS TREE TOPPERS

  • 1 cup green candy melt
  • 1 cup pretzel sticks
  • crushed candy cane
  • 2 tbsp confectionery sugar (optional)

Directions:

WHITE WINE CAKE

  • Preheat oven to 350 deg F.
  • Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  • Using an electric mixer – beat sugar and eggs together.
  • Once blended add oil + wine + flour mixture + vanilla mix for ~1 minute.
  • Pour the batter into mini-loaf bake dish lined with a parchment paper or round cake pan or cupcake pan.
  • Bake in the oven for ~30 minutes (until toothpick inserted in the center cones out clean).
  • Once the cake is baked and cool – dust with confectionery sugar.

CHRISTMAS TREE TOPPERS

  • While the cake is in the oven – melt the candy melts per directions on the bag.
  • Once melted fill the candy melts in a piping bag.
  • Arrange the pretzel sticks on a plate with foil or parchment paper.
  • Pipe out a “christmas tree” shape — no right or wrong — it will all look pretty!
  • Immediately top with some crushed candy cane pieces.
  • Refrigerate for 10-15 minutes.
  • Dust with confectionery sugar (optional).
  • Carefully, remove the tree and use it as a topper for the delicious white wine cake you just baked!

[Wordless Wednesdays]: Spiced cake pops for Diwali (or Halloween)

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Home-made treats – Halloween colors!
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Perfect treat — Fall spices make them ideal for Diwali or Halloween!

New Orleans: Culinary Experience!

What can I say – NOLA is a foodie’s paradise. I have visited New Orleans three times so far and every time I’m blown away. Love the seafood. Love the bread pudding. Love the beignets. Love. Love. Love.

During one of my trips last year my parents were able to visit NOLA with me. I was busy with work but they explored New Orleans and thoroughly enjoyed their trip! My dad writes to my sister S after the trip that really sums up what New Orleans is all about –

“NOLA visit was great. We stayed at the historic Hotel Monteleone which is in the heart of downtown just a few blocks away from the Mississippi river walk. It is an old French area known as French Quarter. Our hotel was more than hundred years old.
We enjoyed the local Cajun cuisine, the freshly made pralines and the seafood was good. The variety in the food and the serving is amazing. Since this area was also under Spanish control the food variety multiplies.
NOLA downtown is a very lively place with musicians on the streets, Jazz originated here they say, street art and art galleries in old settings, every other shop is a specialty restaurant some even hundred years old. Tourists are on their feet walking around and enjoying. Two days we walked a lot along with them until we were just tired. The street cars are also a century old and well-maintained. We enjoyed the ride.”
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Shrimp in BBQ sauce.
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Blackened Catfish!

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M for Macaron

My love for baking started with cupcakes and continues to evolve with macarons! For July 4th weekend get-together I combined my two favorite flavors raspberry and cheesecake. Traditionally, raspberry jam by itself is used as a macaron filling. I combined some raspberry jam with whipped up cream cheese, butter and scraped vanilla beans. The filling turned out soft, velvety and with a punch of raspberry flavor! Finally, I topped the macarons with some blue sugar sprinkles to keep up with my Forth of July theme. Definitely a crowd-pleaser!

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Raspberry cheesecake macaron.

V loves chocolate. I love raspberries. Voila! Stirred in a spoonful of raspberry jam in the heavenly chocolate ganache (butter, heavy cream and semi-sweet chocolate). It had a mousse-like consistency that pairs so well with the already chocolately-macaron shell. To distinguish the raspberry ones from the ones that only had chocolate ganache I decorated the top with tiny red hearts.

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Chocolate Raspberry Ganache is yumminess to the nth degree!

Adapted from http://www.marthastewart.com.

Orange creamsicle cupcakes with a hint of chocolate!

The combination of orange and chocolate is just heavenly. I’m not a big fan of buttercream frosting so went for fresh cream frosting. It’s delicate, fluffy and has an addictive orange flavor. These minis are simply delish.

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[recipe title=”Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes with a hint of chocolate” servings=”10-15″ time=”40 mins Prep 20 mins Oven 15-20 mins” difficulty=”easy/moderate”]

Ingredients:

  • 1 yellow cake mix (or ingredients per any basic cake recipe except water)
  • orange juice (1 cup + 1/4 cup)
  • orange food color (or red + yellow food color)
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • confectionary sugar (add per taste; ~1/4 cup)
  • mini-chocolate chips
  • chocolate sprinkles

Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 350deg F (or follow instructions per cake mix box).
  • Make the cake batter using any basic cake recipe or using a yellow cake mix EXCEPT substitute water with orange juice (with or without pulp; ~1 cup)
  • Line mini-cupcake pan with liners (regular cupcake pan can also be used).
  • Add spoonfuls of the batter within the liners until 3/4 full. Drop in 4-5 mini-chocolate chips to each cupcake.
  • Bake until when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean (~15-20 mins). Let the cupcakes cool in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.
  • While the cupcakes are baking — start beating the heavy cream, slowly incorporate sugar and leftover orange juice, and food color. The frosting can get a bit runny so incorporate orange juice gradually. Whip until stiff peaks are form. Taste and adjust sugar per taste. Store in the refrigerator until use.
  • Once the cupcakes are completely cooled top a spoonful of the fresh cream frosting on each cupcake and sprinkle with chocolate sprinkles.
  • mytip: The cupcakes can be prepared in advance but the frosting needs to be made fresh and consumed immediately.

[/recipe]