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Sunday, July 31, 2011

"Almost" Tortuga Rum Cake

Last year, my brother, Chris, and his family went on a family vacation cruise to the Caribbean.  They brought me back two very interesting things, two things I've heard legend of for many, many year: Tortuga rum cake and Tortuga rum.  The former is FAMOUS, world-wide as a secret, age-old family recipe from the Tortuga Rum Company in the Cayman Islands.  Their rum cake was delicious!  (shhhhh...I ate the mini size in one sitting, it was a generous dessert portion...)  And, their rum cake is make with a special "premium five-year old, oak barrel aged Tortuga Gold Rum," which is NOT available to the public.  Nor is that damn recipe!  :(  Here is a shot of their product, I'm sure you've seen these boxes in fancy culinary stores.

My version on my new cake stand!

I knew I wanted to make rum cake some day with my Tortuga Rum, but needed to do some research and wait for the right time.  I can only bake so much booze-infused goodies...I found this recipe and used 1/2 Tortuga Rum and 1/2 Myers Dark Rum AND added vanilla bean paste into every step.  I only owned Bacardi, and well, I wanted something special for this cake.  Needed to try it first, just to make sure, before I made one for Chris and Katie, my SIL.  I must say, this cake was so moist and rich and yummy and boozy!  All the key essentials to a successful BIWB experience.  

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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Biscotto Dolce Di Ricotta (Sweet Ricotta Cookies)

In the spirit of my quest to become Italian, I made these little babies last weekend.  Aren't they cute?  Please note: use of icing and sprinkles.  I'm beginning to think that all Italian cookies should have this general festiveness about them!

I found this recipe via my favorite Italian cooking blog by Marie, Proud Italian Cook.  This recipe for Biscotto Dolce Di Ricotta is on a website for yet another Italian cook, Laurie, on her blog Dalla Mia Cucina.  If I could run her blog better, I would be able to follow via Blogger, but try as I may, I just haven't broken that code...These ladies have very snazzy blogs which we hope someday to aspire to. 
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Raspberry Liqueur Cupcakes

It's been a long time since my last post.  Most of you know that my oven died a month ago.  Died right after the final batch of Kahlua Man Fudge Cookie Sandwiches...It was a long haul in the decision process and the waiting and hoping for the new stove.  Let's just say, I'm at peace now.  I can bake all I want, and don't have to stop myself while planning out a new recipe only to have those thoughts dashed as, "No, dummy, you don't have an OVEN!"  I hadn't, truthfully, realized until this episode that I was this hooked on baking.  Had no idea it's role in my life fully...

So, just to get this rolling again, I will start with the picture of the finished product...Look at these little beauties! 

I am perfecting my frosting consistency and technique.  I'm just so proud of the presentation, too.  And, I'm putting those 1000+ cupcake cups to good use! :)

Folks really liked these babies.  As my buddy at work, Karl, stated in his email:  "An exquisite balance of texture and flavor all wrapped in a moist and elegant, visually stunning package.  The 'cupcake challenge' of achieving harmony between cake and frosting is orchestrated as beautifully as any Beethoven sonata!"  We all love Karl.  :) 
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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Mint Julep Cupcakes

I want to throw this out there right off the bat: these are my favorite cupcakes that I've made so far.

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My friend Jenn sent me this recipe from The Hostess Blog well over a year ago, and we had grand ideas of throwing a Kentucky Derby party but that hasn't materialized yet (maybe next year!). These looked so darn cute that I seized the opportunity to try out this recipe a couple weeks ago when we were invited to a BBQ with some dear friends I just knew would appreciate the cuteness. I decorated them the very same way they were done on The Hostess Blog : silver cupcake liners to look like traditional silver mint julep cups, bright green sprinkles and straws, and garnished with organic mint springs from my own garden. What a fun twist on a southern summertime classic!
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