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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Banana Rum Upside Down Cake

Gobble Gobble
Happy Thanksgiving!  Hope you are all enjoying your day with good food, great company and much love.  How many of you started cooking yesterday?  The day before?  This past weekend?  Over achievers, huh?  Well, you're in good company, cuz I started cooking yesterday.  And, today, I wished I'd cooked more...Only cooking for 3 this year and I wonder what I'd do if that was 20!  :)

I spent last week with my dad and my aunt, two people I love more than words can say.  I found this recipe going through those little bits of note paper that are filled with yummy, old-fashioned recipe goodness from my Aunt Barbara.  She's so wonderful and has the happiest heart of anyone on this planet.  I think her secret is that she drinks coffee all day.  I take a page from her book every time we get to spend some quality time together.

This cake is yummy, inviting, great warmed up, and just plain delicious.  I hope you give it a try!
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Friday, November 11, 2011

Frosting for the Cause


Update: Frosting for the Cause website has been removed.  Please following this link to my
Pink Champagne Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream. 

Today, I'm posting at Frosting for the Cause, an amazing year-long collaboration of bakers who share their baked goods and stories of those touched by breast cancer.  As today's guest baker, I made Pink Champagne Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream and shared a story about Mrs. Evelyn Finch, a very, very special woman in my life.  Please join me over at Frosting for the Cause today!

Frosting for the Cause

The website was created by Paula Kelly-Bourque as an act of love.  Plain and simple.  Her devotion is a true inspiration to me...Here is what it's all about (paraphrased from Paula):

Beginning January 1, 2011, a total of 365 bakers from across Canada and the United States will take turns doing a guest post. Once a day, every day for a year, a new and talented baker will showcase their home-made, hand-decorated cookies, cupcakes and sweets or all kinds and will include their recipes. The guest bakers can also share a personal story about a woman in their life who has had to face this terrible disease head-on.

By signing onto this project each guest baker also commits to donating a batch of their baked goodies to a local Women’s Hospice, local hospital or similar cancer support group.  We also commit to making a personal $25.00 donation to the Canadian or American Cancer Society, or other cancer research organization, to be directed to research projects that are working diligently to find cures specifically for cancers that affect only women.  We, the 365 guest bakers on Frosting for the Cause, will not only raise awareness of all of the cancers that currently affect women, but we will raise a total of $9,125 for research into these diseases.

If you are interested in learning more about this project, please contact Paula at:

Together We Are ♥ Baking ♥ A Difference

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Un Amore Custom Designs!

I just HAVE to share my excitement about what's happening at this very moment!!   I have sent my blue 5 quart Kitchenaid mixer up to Washington for Nicole Dinardo to custom paint.  This isn't just any ol' paint job, this is AMAZING artwork!  I'm so excited and wanted to share her talent and gift with you all.  Truly passionate about her art and craft.  I'm sharing her vision for my baby girl...So, my baby will go from "boy blue" to, well, let's see...
Isn't she lovely?  And, yes, that's copyright protected
 so please respect the art and the artist. 
Original pinup artist's design used only for illustration purposes. 
Finished pinup artwork will be customized by Nicole.
She is going to be SOOOOOOOOOO CUTE!! 

Please venture over to Nick's website or her Facebook page for more of her amazing creations.  She also has a blog if you'd like to see other creations and participate in fun giveaways.  And, she has even more custom designs at her Custom Kitchen Couture webite if you're interested in decals or other cool kitchen items.  For inspiration, check out her, hot-off-the-presses, 2012 Calendar of Un Amore Custom Mixers for a bit more Un Amore Kitchenaid Eye Candy!

I'm truly, truly lucky to be one of her clients for my ~first~ Kitchenaid project.  And, yes, I said ~first~!!
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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Brandied Apple Pie - and Better Crust with Brandy!

Following my experiment with vodka pie crust, I decided to continue exploring these newfound possibilities of turning out perfectly crispy pie crust - with booze!

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This time, the variable was brandy. I used the same base pie crust recipe, from Martha Stewart. I followed these instructions, except that I used brandy where it called for water. The resulting pie crust was a little wetter and doughier (before baking) than the crust I made by substituting vodka for the water. I'm not exactly sure why this is; the alcohol contents were the same (I used E&J brandy, which is 40% alcohol by volume, and Skyy vodka, which is also 40%). I'll have to consult an actual scientist on this one...oh Ellen...
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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Lemon Thumbprint Cookies with Cassis-Laced Raspberry Jam

What is Cassis, or creme de cassis, anyway?  There was no ingredient list on the bottle.  I found this explanation via the web, my new source for all things baking related.  It's made of the juice of blackcurrants*, or in Latin: Ribes nigrum.  Blackcurrants are berries, right?  I'll let you read about all the hoity-toity French pedigree of blackcurrants.  And, yes, it's "blackcurrant" and not "black currant."

I found this recipe looking for cupcake recipes on the FoodNetwork.  Huh?  It's a cookie called Raspberry Lemon Thumbprint Cookies.  From Emeril Lagasse, the "BAM Man."  It called for Chambord or kirsch, neither of which I had.  I didn't want to buy more booze.  This recipe only called for a bit, and driving to the store and purchasing it just wasn't in the cards at 7am on a Saturday morning.  No company, no shower, just me and the cat.  Nuf said.

So, I embraced the Jacqueline mantra: Substitution is Key.  And, then I proceeded with cassis! 
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