Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Zombiecide Inspired Cake

Birthday Cake, Cake, Board Game Cake, Zombie, Zombiecide

I told you I was a cake baking fool this past weekend.  I also made this Zombicide inspired cake for our friend Rob, whose birthday was last Friday.  We love to get together with them and when we aren't camping or climbing-we play board games.  Zombiecide is our newest addiction and so I thought this would be the perfect birthday cake theme.

The cake is red velvet.  The frosting, cream cheese buttercream.  The guy is drawn with candy melts and the ROB is made from sugar sheets.  The little cards are made of gumpaste that I painted with food coloring.  I used the character cards as inspiration for this cake, and I didn't realize when I started how many colors actually make up the card.  I frosted the top and sides of the cake in a blue ombre to reflect the changing colors in the character cards.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

James's 4th Birthday Cake

Spiderman, Spiderman Birthday Cake, Birthday Cake, Tiered Cake, Spider,

The past couple days, I have been a cake baking fool.  Yesterday was my nephew's fourth birthday party and I had a special request for a "really tall spiderman cake."  So that is what I made.  I was inspired by this cake.  The bottom layer is white cake with vanilla buttercream.  The middle layer is chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream and the top layer is actually Rice Krispie treats with chocolate buttercream.  The cakes were covered in fondant and the buildings and spider were both made from black fondant.  Spiderman and the #4 were both piped candy melts.

Spiderman birthday cake, spiderman birthday, spiderman, marvel, comic, chocolate spiderman

Now for the sad part, because it is August here in the midwest, it was like 80 degrees and a million percent humidity spiderman melted.  I had removed spiderman to take separately (because we had a hour long car ride).  However, the spiderman and the four both melted on the way over (even in the air-conditioning).  I actually had three spidermen but they all melted.  Luckily, I had a spiderman figure I could stick on the top, but I was pretty frustrated! 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Paneer Tikka Masala

paneer, Indian food, Tikka Masala, tomato, rice, vegetarian

Remember way back in the day when we made our own paneer?  Well, one of my favorite paneer dishes is paneer tikka masala.  It's rich and creamy, not too spicy but had a boatload of flavor. 

paneer, Indian food, vegetarian

We start by pan frying the paneer to give it a little flavor boost and to firm it up a bit.

cumin, spices, crushing spices, makeshift mortar and pestle, Indian food

This dish has a bunch of spices that need to be ground up.  As you can see, we didn't have a mortar and pestle, but that didn't stop us!

Spice, paprika, prep bowl, Indian food,

This is definitely one of those recipes where you need to have mise en place.  These little prep bowls come in handy, but really any bowl will do.  Sadly, this means washing a lot of dishes.  Trust me, the organization is worth a little extra sink time.

Paneer Tikka Masala 

  • 1 block paneer
  • 3 serrano peppers, diced-remove seeds if concerned about spice
  • 1 quart of diced tomatoes, including the juice
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 3/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • salt to taste

Cut up paneer into cubes of whatever size you find desirable.  In a large pot or Dutch oven, over medium heat, melt butter.  Once butter is melted, toss in the cubed paneer and pan fry until golden brown.  Remove from Dutch oven.

Place the cumin seeds into a small frying pan over medium heat and try toast them until fragrant.  Be careful, they will want to burn.  Remove from heat.  Crush up toasted cumin seeds and garam masala.

Toss the serrano peppers into the Dutch oven.  Allow to fry for a few minutes, then add in the tomatoes and juice.  Bring to a simmer.  Add in spices.  Allow to simmer for about 20 minutes.  Add in cream and allow to simmer for another 10 minutes.  Stir in paneer and allow to heat all the way through.  Remove from heat.  Stir in cilantro.  Serve over rice with fresh naan.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Test Kitchen-Failed Chocolate Cups

Obviously, I have not been crushing it when it comes to baking these past few days.  I had whipped these babies up a few days ago, thinking about what cute little dessert/fruit/ice cream cups these would make.  Plus you get to eat the cup.  No dishes!
It was not to be.  I tried using my silicone baking cups and just regular paper liners, but both cups broke when I went to remove them from the cups.  I probably did not have enough chocolate up the sides of the cups to make them strong enough to withstand peeling off the support.  Nonetheless, they were still tasty crumbled up into my morning yogurt, so not all was lost.
Have any of you had success with chocolate dessert cups?  What was your secret?

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Sunday Funday

Happy Sunday!  Hope everyone is having a wonderful and relaxing weekend.

I am working on my nephew's fourth birthday cake this week.  His request was for a "really tall, like up to the ceiling Spider-Man cake."  

I don't know how close to the ceiling I will get, but I will try for tall.  Sadly, when I was turning this guy out of the pan, he cracked and broke.  

Anyway, here are some fun things I read this week.

This photo shoot with a puppy cracks me up!

I have been meaning to make bacon jam for ages-this recipe by Brown Eyed Baker looks fantastic!

I know it's an older post, but his Whipped Chocolate Buttercream has become my new "go-to" chocolate frosting.  It's fast, easy, and tastes amazing!  I usually make a double batch to cover an 8 inch 2 layer cake.

For those interested in our travel adventures, I have started a new blog called Heather From The Flat.  This week I posted a recap of our trek to Machu Picchu.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

3 Ingredient Coconut Milk Ice Cream

coconut milk, coconut, ice cream, vegan, dairy-free

My mom, sister, and I all like to hang out.  And, in the summer, hanging out would often involve a bowl of ice cream.  The only trouble is, as the years have worn on, regular ice cream doesn't agree with all of us anymore.  So when I learned that you can make ice cream out of coconut milk instead, I was all about it.

Three ingredients.  That is all it takes to make cool, creamy, dairy free ice cream.  There are about a thousand ways you can make this coconut milk ice cream your own.  Add in brown sugar and pineapple for a bit of a piƱa colada flavor.  Or maybe some roasted strawberries are more your style.  No matter which way you churn it, your belly will thank you.

coconut milk, coconut, ice cream, vegan, dairy-free, easy

Coconut Milk Ice Cream

  • 3 cups Coconut Cream (you can use full fat coconut milk if you can't find coconut cream)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a medium sized saucepan over medium heat, stir together 1 1/2 cups coconut cream and granulated sugar until sugar is fully dissolved.  

Remove from heat.  Pour hot sugar/cream mixture into a medium bowl.  Add in remaining coconut cream and vanilla extract.  Refrigerate 4-5 hours or overnight.

The next day, churn according to your ice cream makers directions.  Freeze for 2-3 hours until solid.  Enjoy.

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