Monday, August 25, 2014

Hawaiian Applique Inspires PineApple Coconut Cake

I will be teaching a Hawaiian Applique by Machine Class at Rock Paper Scissors in Momtclair, NJ October 9th 2014. I spent parts of the weekend making samples for the store to display and use to promote the class. I really enjoyed the process of updating the well known classic technique to something a bit more modern and faster.

Hawaiian Applique traditionally is two pieces of fabric where one is applied to the other, either using hand applique or reverse applique. In my class, we use freezer paper and glue to create the Hawaiian motif and make the piece to be applied down on the background. How my class differs is that we use the sewing machine, invisible thread and tiny electronic stitches to finish the edges.

I love Hawaiian Applique because it brings me back to my childhood. Do you remember taking a sheet of paper and folding it several times, then cutting out designs that would make snowflakes? This technique is very similar to those school kid snowflakes we all made and loved. Instead of construction paper, we use freezer paper which has a waxy coating on it that will stick to washed fabric when heated with an iron.

On Friday, I finished one Hawaiian block, and two others on Saturday and Sunday.

Suddenly I discovered I was craving something tropical with pineapple and coconut. I baked a delicious Pineapple Coconut bundt cake in my new Bavarian Bundt Cake pan from Nordic ware. The pan is made of heavy non stick aluminum and is decorated with a beautiful swirl pattern that resembles some of my quilting designs. I was excited to try it out for the first time.

Here are the ingredients:
1 yellow cake mix
1 box coconut cream pudding mix (use lemon or vanilla if you can't find coconut cream flavor)
3/4 cup of egg whites OR 3 whole eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 can crushed pineapple with juice
1 TBSP Coconut Extract
1/2 TBSP RUM extract
1 cup of shredded coconut (sweetened is what I used)
baking spray (the kind with the flour in it)

Here is how you make the cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prep your bundt pan by spraying with non stick spray. Brush the sprayed pan to ensure all nooks and crevices are evenly coated on the inside, including the middle tube.

In a large mixing bowl combine all ingredients except the coconut and beat until moistened on low. Turn mixer speed up to medium high and beat batter for 3-4 minutes until fluffy. Add 1 cup of coconut and continue to beat until well incorporated, scraping bowl,and beaters as needed.

Pour your batter into the prepared pan, ensuring it is evenly distributed and no more than 2/3 full. Make cupcakes if your pan doesn't hold all the batter. (Note: These cupcakes bake for 20 minutes) Place a towel on the counter and tap the pan to ensure all air bubbles escape and all crevices and designs are filled in. Pop into the preheated oven and bake for 52-55 minutes. The cake is done when a tested inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool the cake on a cooling rack for 30 minutes. Once cooled, invert onto serving platter.

Optionally, you can add a coconut glaze. While the cake stands on its own without the glaze, I think the coconut glaze makes it exceptional. To make the glaze combine in a small bowl
1 TSP Coconut milk (I used unsweetened)
1 TSP Coconut extract
1 cup powdered sugar

Whisk together until smooth. You may need to adjust the amount of sugar to get the right consistency. Drizzle over the cake as desired and sprinkle the cake with additional coconut flakes while glaze is still wet and it will stick to the top and sides of the cake. It really is as yummy as it looks. Moist, sweet, with pineapple chunks to please your palate.

#PineappleCoconutCake #HawaiianApplique #HawaiianBundtCake #BavarianBundtpan

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

FlufferNutter Bundt Cake

After the success of the Kahlau Cake last weekend, I set out today to bake something flavorful and unique, without a recipe. When I am quilting, I am a big fan of using cake mixes so I can pull the cake together quickly and get back to quilting while it bakes.

I had spent Saturday and Sunday at my BFF's home, with her sisters, daughter and nieces. When I got home, I had a good laugh, because my significant other told me I had too much peanut butter in the house! I am not a big PB eater, but he loves it and I always make sure we have plenty on hand, especially when I am gone, because I know he can fix himself a PB sandwich (he doesn't really cook).

So I set out to make a peanut butter cake and I couldn't find a recipe for one so I got creative with what I had on hand.

1 yellow butter cake mix (I used Shoprite brand)
1 stick of unsalted butter at room temperature
2 TBSP of vanilla extract
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
3 whole eggs
2/3 cup water
1 cup Hershey peanut butter bits (approximately half a bag, the other half will be used in the topping.)

Mix above ingredients in a stand mixer except PB chips and beat for 4 minutes until smooth. Be sure to scrap down the beaters and sides often, as the peanut butter is sticky and will not blend completely unless you stop and scrape often. After batter is blended, manually stir in PB chips until well coated.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare your bundt pan with either non-stick baking spray (the kind that has the flour in it) or with butter and flour. Use a small pastry brush to ensure all sides are evenly coated with the non-stick treatment.

Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan. It will be thick. Using a spatula, push the batter to the edges of the pan to ensure the cake will rise evenly. Tap the filled cake pan on the counter (use a towel to protect your counter) several times to release any air bubbles and ensure the pan is filled into the crevices or design of your pan. Pop it into the oven and bake for 45-50 minutes at 350 degrees. Cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Cool the cake in pan for 25 minutes on a rack. Invert onto serving platter and allow to cool for an additional hour.

Melt the other 1 cup peanut butter bits in the microwave in a microwave safe dish. Blend in 1/4 cup cream and whisk together until smooth and creamy. Spread over top of cooled cake. If desired, use a spoon to drop marshallow fluff to the top, allowing gravity to drizzle the dollops of fluff down the sides.

Cake should be stored covered and refrigerated in warmer weather.

I LOVE BIG BUNDTS! Chocolate Kahlua is the flavor of the day.

I never realized how much I would enjoy baking. Until recently I never really considered myself much of a baker, but a couple if months ago, I set out to improve my baking skills.

I have to tell you that I am now a very good baker and I enjoy trying new recipes and combinations of ingredients to bake these culinary delights. I decided that I would invest in a couple of new cookbooks, specifically those dedicated to BUNDT Cakes. As of this writing, I own 6 different shaped bundt pans, and four bundt cook books.

Bundts are easy. Bundt are beautiful. Bundts are as diverse as one's own imagination and your pantry.

Today I made a Chocolate Kahlua Bundt AND a Spring Velvet Swirl Bundt cake. The first was supposed to be a Chocolate Amaretto cake, but I didn't have Amaretto like I thought when I started. So, I substituted Kahlua for the Amaretto. It's just come out of the oven along with some cupcakes that I made because there was so much batter. They are cooling on the baking rack as I write this. Well, except for one which I ate still warm to make sure they were edible...wink, wink...

Here is the recipe for you to try:
1 devils food cake mix
1 pint of fat free ricotta cheese
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp extract (I used Raspberry but rum or vanilla flavors would work well)
1/4 cup Kahlua liquor
3 eggs
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup oil

In a mixing bowl, put dry cake mix, eggs, sugar, extract, water, oil and mix on medium low until ingredients are combined. Add in the ricotta cheese and Kahlua and blend on medium high until the batter is smooth, 3-4 minutes should do it. Scrape sides of bowl as needed to ensure a smooth batter.

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees F and prepare your bundt cake pan with baking spray. Alternatively, you can butter and flour (or use powdered cocoa) to dust the pan to prevent sticking. I like the PAM baking spray. Brush the sides of the pan to ensure the the sides and center tube and crevices are all well and evenly coated. If using flour or cocoa powder invert over your sink and tap gently to dislodge any excess.

Pour the prepared batter into your bundt pan. Using a spatula, smooth the top of the cake batter to the edges/sides of the pan. This will help the cake rise properly. Place a towel on the countertop and gently knock the entire pan on the counter several times to release any air bubbles and ensure the pattern on your bundt pan will be filled. Do not fill the bundt pan more than 3/4 full. If you have leftover batter, spoon it into cupcake forms and bake along side the cake for 18-20 minutes. I needed to do this because the rose bundt cake pan is a medium sized pan and there was too much batter for this pan.

Place into a preheated 350 degree oven and bake for 50 minutes. Cake is done when a toothpick tester comes out clean. Cool in pan on top of baking rack for 30 minutes or so. Once mostly cooled, invert onto serving platter and allow to cool completely for another hour.

Optional glaze ingredients: 1 shot glass of Kahlua liquor
Sugar (you can use 1/4 cup granulated or 1 cup powdered)
2 TBSP butter

To make the glaze: Melt the butter in a small saucepan on low. Add the Kahlua and sugar and whisk until well blended. Boil on low for approximately 5 minutes, watching to ensure it doesn't burn. Remove from heat. Allow to cool 15 minutes. Poke small holes into top of cake with a toothpick and then spoon and drizzle over cooled cake. Don't forget to drizzle some on top of the cupcakes...

I took this cake to my friend's house last weekend and it was a big hit. It didn't last very long...

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Spinach Chicken and Hash Brown Bake

5 frozen Chicken breasts
16 oz (approximately 2 cups) shredded hash browns, frozen
1/2 bag frozen spinach leaves
1 can cream of chicken soup
3/4 cup milk
Italian Seasoning
freshly ground Pepper
2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard
6 oz of shredded cheese. I used mozzarella cheese.

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large baking dish sprayed with non stick cooking spray, place the frozen chicken breasts, arranging them so they don't overlap.

In a large bowl, mix the soup, milk, mustard and seasonings, blending well. Toss in the shredded potatoes and spinach and toss to coat. Spread this mixture over the top of the chicken. Sprinkle the cheese over the entire casserole. Cover with foil and bake for 60 minutes at 350 degrees F, or until bubbly.

After 1 hour, uncover dish by removing foil. Place back in over for 10 minutes to brown top of food.

Makes 5 servings. Enjoy!

#spinach #chicken #hashbrowns #WhatsForDinner

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Cherry Vanilla Delight and Cooking with Silicone Bakeware

My quest continues to expand my baking skills. A couple of weeks ago, I ordered some very inexpensive silicone bakeware from Amazon. After the success of the the Blueberry Yogurt Cake using the silicone swirl pan, I decided to try the bigger silicone pan today. I had two large bunches of fresh bing cherries and I thought, mmmmm, the cherries might make a nice cake.

For this cake I used the following ingredients, my purple silicone 12 cup cake pan and a stand mixer.


1 Classic White Cake Mix
3/4 cup egg whites
1 - 3.41 oz box Royal Instant Greek Yogurt Pudding Mix - Cherry Flavor
1 cup plain Greek Yogurt
1 cup water
2 tsp white vanilla extract
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 cups fresh pitted and chopped cherries
Baking spray with flour to coat pan

Pit and chop washed cherries, set aside. Pre heat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare baking pan with baking spray and use brush to ensure all inside surfaces of the bundt pan are coated evenly. Alternatively you can coat your baking pan with butter or shortening and then add flour and tap out extra if you don't have the baking spray. I prefer the baking spray, seems to be lower in calories and fat and its just easier for me!

In a mixer, add white cake mix, egg whites, water, oil, vanilla extract, pudding mix and blend on medium high for 3 minutes until smooth. Gently crush cherries slightly to extract some of their juices. Stir into batter gently by hand to coat.

Pour into prepared cake pan, turning pan to ensure batter is distributed evenly. Place a towel on the counter and gently tap pan several times on counter to ensure pan crevices are filled and air bubbles are released. This will prevent air bubbles in your cake.

Place in pre heated oven and bake for 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Because I was using a silicone pan, I actually needed to extend the baking time to 72 minutes at 350 degrees. This was a bit of a surprise, but it seems that silicone bakeware cooks the cake slower and therefore one needs to adjust the baking time accordingly. I know adding pudding mix to the cake batter increases the overall baking time also. After 50 minutes of baking, I would suggest checking for doneness in increments of 5 minutes until the cake is fully baked to your liking.

Place pan on cooling arch and cool for 30 minutes in pan. Invert serving platter on top of pan and turn over releasing the cake from pan. Tap sides if needed to release cake.

Continue to cool pan on platter on cooling rack for 90 minutes. If desired, sprinkle with powdered sugar. I like to sift mine through a small sieve/strainer to avoid sugar lumps.
This cake is delicious served with cherry vanilla ice cream, whipped cream and more fresh cherries.

I recommend covering and storing in the refigerator if there are leftovers.

Makes 12 servings.

Friday, August 8, 2014

One Pot Taco Pasta

I was up extra early today, wanting to try and finish two quilts before dinner. With that goal in kind, i needed to figure out something for dinner that was healthy, quick and easy with ingredients I had on hand.

1 lb extra lean ground beef
1 onion, peeled and chopped medium dice
3 cloves of garlic, pressed
1 16 oz packaged dried elbow macaroni
1 bottle Heinz chili sauce
1 small can tomato sauce
1 jar salsa
1 can sliced olives
1 can kernel corn
1 can black beans
1 TBSP dried cilantro or 2 TBSP fresh chopped cilantro
2 tsp of cumin powder
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 cups Mexican blend shredded cheese

Optional: 1/2 cup low fat sour cream for garnish

Brown meat, onion and garlic in stock pot until meat is brown and onion tender about 5-7 minutes.
add cilantro, cumin, salt and pepper, chili and tomato sauces, salsa and the olives, corn, beans including the packing liquids in each can. Blend well and then mix in 16 oz or two cups of uncooked elbow macaroni. Bring to a gentle simmer, cover and cook over medium low heat for 20 minutes or until the pasta is al dente, stirring once or twice to ensure it's not sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Stir in the cheese, blending well, recover and simmer on low 4-5 minutes. Serve in a wide bowl with a generous dollop of sour cream, if desired. The sour cream really makes the dish creamy and extra delicious.

Makes 8-10 healthy servings. Refrigerate leftovers. Can be reheated in microwave easily.

The dinner was delicious, easy to make, no waste and Mike liked it so much he had a huge second helping!

#TacoBake #PastaDish #OnePotSupper

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Peachy Keen Cake

I went to visit my parents in Virginia for a few days and just returned late last evening. While I was there I baked a cake for them and their friends, something they don't get normally at the retirement home. Home made, fresh baked cake!

Mom had a big jar of spicy peaches, so we used the juice and pears in the cake and some of the leftover juice in the glaze.

1 box butter yellow cake mix
1 cup of peach juice from the canned peaches
1 cup diced peaches
3 eggs
1 stick of softened butter (I used unsalted variety)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice

Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Dump all ingredients into a bowl and mix on high for 3.5 minutes until well blended, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Spray your bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray and dust with flour. Use a small paint brush to ensure the entire inside of the pan is well coated evenly.

Pour the prepared batter into the cake pan and place in the middle of the oven. Bake at 350 degrees for 42-50 minutes until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool on a cake rack for 15-20 minutes in the pan. Invert into the serving pan and allow to cool completely for,at least 60-90 minutes.

While the cake is cooling, Prepare the glaze, by combining 1/4 cup of the leftover peach juice with powdered sugar and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract. I used about 1.5 cups of sugar. Blend until thick and smooth. Place in refrigerator while the cake cools.

Before serving, drizzle the icing glaze over the cake. You can optionally add some chopped pecans and a peach slice to the plate as you serve it.

The folks at the party loved the cake and thought it tasted delicious. There were no leftovers!

Lemon Blueberrry Swirl Bundt

Today's recipe is my own variation to a recipe I found on Pinterest. I had ordered a couple of new silicone bundt cake pans and I wanted to see how well I could bake using the Heritage Swirl pan.

The ingredients included
1 box yellow cake mix
1 box Royal blueberry yogurt pudding mix
3 whole eggs
1/2 cup of water
1 pint fresh blueberries
2 TBSP lemon extract
1 cup Greek yogurt (I used plain but you could use vanilla flavored)
1/3 cup canola oil
1 large fresh lemon, juice and zest
Optional: Powdered sugar

Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare bundt pan with cooking spray and flour.

Rinse and sort the blueberries, removing any stems. Place in a small sauce pan with 1/2 cup water. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook on low for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Wash and dry the whole lemon. Use a zest ear to scrape the zest off the peel before juicing the lemon. After you have the zest, slice the lemon in half and juice the lemon to add to the mix. Be sure to remove the seeds before adding to the batter.

Meanwhile, add the cake mix, pudding mix, yogurt, oil, eggs, extract, lemon juice and zest to the batter bowl. Drain the blueberries catching the cooking water into a measuring cup. If necessary, bring the blueberry water level up to 1 full cup. Add to the cake batter. Blend on medium high speed for 3 1/2 to 4 minutes until well blended, scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl as needed with a rubber spatula. After mixing, gently stir in the whole drained blueberries just until coated and blended into the batter.

Pour the mixture into the prepared bundt pan and bake for 50 minutes until the cake is golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. You may need to cook more or less, depending on your pan and oven.

Cool cake in pan for 20-30 minutes. Invert onto serving plate, and allow to cool completely. Dust lightly with powdered sugar and serve with fresh blueberries and whipped cream garnish!

Serves 8-10.

#LemonBlueberryCake #BlueberryBundt #YogurtCakeRecipe