Oven Lovin'

Book Clubbin’: Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Breaking Books

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest TrailCover Me:  The cover is pretty classic and makes even more sense when you read the forward.  The boot is a symbol for many things throughout the book.  Well, at least I looked at it that way.  It seems like the perfect cover for her story.

The new version is based on the movie and splashes Reese Witherspoon on it looking less glamorous than she usually is.  I guess this is a selling point to highlight the fact you can watch the movie too.  I deliberately bought the cover with the boot like I was proving something to myself about wanting to read it for the story it was and not the movie it became.

The Concept: This is Cheryl Strayed’s true story about hiking across the Pacific Trail to heal from her mother’s death.  Yep, that’s it.  Nothing really more.  This is one of those coming of age…

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Pies

Mini Makes a Big Impression

Tia knows I love minis.  Anything where the original version has been shrunk down, I’m a sucker for.  This goes for little Redken shampoos, small Ciroc vodka bottles, and tiny Reese’s Peanut Butter cups.  So when she wanted to surprise me with just a little touch of spoiling, I got my favorite dessert coconut cream pie in a miniature version. coconut cream miniAren’t they adorable?  So easy to pop a whole bite in your mouth.  Or maybe even scarf down three in a sitting.  Don’t judge, it’s my favorite!  The perfect thing about a mini is the ability to splurge without being excessive.  Unless, you eat three.  (Hey…that sounds awfully judgy.)

The next time you’re feeling like you want to pamper yourself without the guilt the next day, try a mini.  It may be the exact thing you wanted.

Oven Lovin'

Sugar Rush!

It’s been so long since the blog had some new eye candy, uh, I mean eye cakery.  Instead of coming up with some witty story about how it was created, I thought it better to let the pictures speak for themselves.  Here are a few things we’ve been up to lately.

Frozen Birthday
Frozen Birthday

xo

pb frosting1

Strawberry Cake
Strawberry Cake

hearts (2)

Peanut Butter Cake

tiffany

Lavendar cake with a berry compote filling.
Lavendar cake with a berry compote filling.
Oven Lovin'

Easy Candy Cane Cookies

In the holiday rush, sometimes it can be overwhelming to think about baking.  The last thing you’re prepared to do is offer something fantastic at a cookie exchange.  How about something that has a homemade WOW factor, but didn’t take all day in the kitchen?  This candy cane cookie is the perfect holiday treat.

I remember my sister making this cookie for every holiday package she put together.  People were amazed with her skill in molding two colors to mirror the holiday candy.  I’m going to show you an easy way to impress your friends just like she did.

First, you need sugar cookie dough.  I made mine from scratch.  You can too.  It’s really not that hard, I promise.  If you decide you don’t have the time, pick up a pre-made dough tube or one of those packets.  To give it that special touch, which makes it different than pre-made mix, mix in a teaspoon or two of peppermint extract.  Then divide the dough into two different bowls.

cane2Take one ball and mix in red food coloring.  I used my Red Velvet mix because I wanted a strong red instead of a pale pink.

cane 2.5

Add enough color until you get your desired effect.  I think mine took about 3-4 teaspoons.

cane3Then tear off some dough from each ball.  I took a quarter of each to make it easier to work with on my counter.  Roll lightly from your palm to fingertips to get each started.  Then mush the two colors next to each other.  (I did it separate at first and it didn’t work as well.)

cane4

Roll the two pieces into one with your hand.  Start in the middle and roll out to increase the length of the dough rope.

cane6Once you have a desired length, cut small portions to make your cane.  Once you have the size, twist the rope to make the candy cane.  You can keep it super easy by leaving it in the stick shape, but I think the curve makes the cookie.

cane5Lay it on the cookie sheet and turn the top for the hook on the cane.  Don’t worry if you mess up or the dough breaks.  Just smooche it back together.  It’s going to spread when it bakes.  And this is supposed to be easy, remember?

cane8

Bake on 350 for about 11 minutes.  (More if you like a crunchy cookie.)  Pull it out of the oven and let it cool.

cane7

All that’s left is to stack them on a plate and amaze your friends.  That’s if you don’t give in to the peppermint wafting in the air.  You might decide to skip the party, make a hot cocoa, and snack on your new holiday treat.

Bars, Quick Breads

Going Bananas

There’s something about bananas which pairs incredibly well with baked goods.  Maybe it’s the moisture it brings to the party or the subtle flavor hinted throughout.  Either way, we can’t wait to share our banana creations with you.

Banana bread
Banana bread
Banana Chocolate Walnut muffins
Banana Chocolate Walnut muffins
banana brownie
Banana Brownie with Brown Butter Frosting
Banara Chocolate Chip Bar
Banana Chocolate Chip Bar
Cakes

Tie Dye Birthday Wishes

For weeks I asked my daughter what kind of cake she wanted for her ninth birthday.  I was ecstatic when she chose our chocolate truffle cake.  Not only because I love giving into my chocoholic cravings as I devour it, but because I know how it’s going to turn out after making it several times.

The weekend before her birthday, she had her bestie over in a pre-party playdate to make tie dye shirts. The swirl of colors inspired her for a new cake idea. She wanted a tie dye cake.  In the same colors as her shirt.  And she wanted the colors IN the cake too.  At first I flinched.  I mentally went through the reasons why it didn’t make sense.  I considered trying to convince her into sticking with the chocolate plan.  But after looking into those wondrous blue eyes glowing with creativity, there was no way I could say no.

The outside was covered in a white whipped cream frosting.  I airbrushed the color to mimic her shirt at her instruction.  She told me what color went where to make sure it was just perfect.

birthday

However, I surprised her with the inside.  The vanilla cake grabbed on to each color.  (Warning: don’t mix the colors once in the pan or you will run the risk of a grayish mess.)  The big reveal didn’t happen until she blew out the candles and we cut into the cake.

tye die inside2

She couldn’t believe it.  She wanted me to take pieces to everyone in the neighborhood so they could her cake.  While I would’ve preferred the colors to be more evenly distributed in the cake, the designer told me she was very happy with her masterpiece.

 

Oven Lovin'

Our New Look

In the last couple weeks, we’ve been unveiling our new look on Facebook.  Our dessert photos have taken on a more professional feel.  Behind the change is a real camera.  What I mean is, we’ve decided to take the plunge and not photograph our desserts with our camera phones anymore.

I used to think the camera didn’t matter.  It was the goods which counted, right?  Uh, that was until I read a blog where they basically said we were kidding ourselves.  So we ponied up for the camera and I have to admit they were right.  The new photos look so much better.

Slowly, but surely, we will be upgrading our look.  We still have some older photos to get through so please don’t wonder why we went back to the old way.  We haven’t.

Here are a few of our new shots that we’re excited to share with you.  Please tell us what you think.

Cranberry White Chocolate Blondie Bar
Cranberry White Chocolate Blondie Bar
Oatmeal Raisin
Oatmeal Raisin
Peanut Butter
Peanut Butter
Snickerdoodle
Snickerdoodle
Lemon
Lemon
Oreo Cheesecake
Oreo Cheesecake
It's chocolate chip cookie time.
It’s chocolate chip cookie time.

 

 

Cakes

Best of Both Worlds

Why wait for your birthday?  It’s time to treat yourself to ice cream and cake.  Here’s a fun way to combine both of your favorites to make a pretty incredible summer-time treat.

Start with making your favorite brownie recipe.  (I know it’s not really cake, but you’ll still be happy in the end.)  I went from scratch, but you could use a box mix to simplify the process.  You could…but it might not be as delish.

ice cream cake

Bake the brownies in a cookie sheet so you have enough space to cut out three 6 inch circles.

ice cream cake 3

Don’t worry about those extra brownie bits.  They’re going to get you through as you wait for this to be ready.

ice cream cake4

Line your 6 inch pans with plastic wrap and dump in your favorite ice cream about 1 inch thick.  This is where you can let your creativity and tastes shine.  You could do coffee ice cream for a mocha cake.  How about cookies ‘n cream for a cold Oreo?  Or even mint chip for the ultimate Thin Mint.  Do this for two layers and put it in the freezer until it sets up.  I stacked them on top of each other in the same cake pan because I’m kinda lazy at times.  I hate washing more than I have to.

ice cream cake5

After the layers are set, start assembling.  Once put together, put back in the freezer to have it set up.  The ice cream melts fast so your movements need to be swift.  Do yourself a favor and plan better than I did.  Let it sit overnight to harden.  This will save you slipping time later.

ice cream cake6

It’s time to whip up some whipped cream frosting and pile it on.  Whipped cream frosting is super easy.   Pour in heavy whipping cream.  I could say a cup, but I usually overdo it.  How can you have too much whipped cream.  So go for two cups.  Add 1/2 cup sugar in your two cups.  Then let it whip slowly and for a longer time period.  This helps from making big bubbles in the frosting which can deflate later.

ice cream cak7

You can spread it with a spoon to give a homemade feel.  Go ahead and eat a couple spoonfuls.  Or pile it up on some fresh strawberries to reward yourself.  Aren’t you glad you made extra?

I decided to smooth it out with an offset spatula like any other cake.  Then I covered the top in chocolate ganache and the leftover brownie my children hadn’t eaten:

ice cream cake8

I can’t tell you how delicious this was.  It’s the perfect combination to meet all your dessert wants.  I could have eaten all the parts separate but it was so much more enjoyable all mixed together.

 

Cakes

A Different Kind of Decorating

Every baker knows the “it” ingredient in decorating is fondant.  It’s smooth surfaces and pristine cuts make the most amazing creations.  Throw in some gum paste, molding chocolate, or marzipan and you have the most realistic visuals in edible form.  While they look beautiful, they lack taste.  Most people make a face when you talk about eating fondant.  This is not the face we want when someone eats a Delish cake.

What’s a baker to do if you don’t decorate in fondant but you want beautiful cakes?  You have to get a little more creative.  We’ve chosen to use delicious things to adorn our cakes.

We use cookies:

The Airborne Toxic Event Baby Shower
The Airborne Toxic Event Baby Shower
1st Birthday Construction
1st Birthday Construction
50th Birthday
50th Birthday

Scrumptious frosting:

Twincess 1st Birthday - Snow White
Twincess 1st Birthday – Snow White
Twincess 1st Birthday - Cinderella
Twincess 1st Birthday – Cinderella

And chocolate:

Bridal Shower
Bridal Shower
Candy Birthday
Candy Birthday

There are lots of ways to give a unique look to your cake without covering it in something your guests will scrape off.  We feel your cake should taste just as good as it looks.  Don’t you agree?

Let us know some of your favorite non-fondant cake designs in the comment section.