Monday, June 29, 2015

Chocolate Congratulations Graduation Cake

So I made this cake for my son Completing High School. This was difficult not because of all the usual teen trials and growing pains, but mostly because the SSI dept. didn't do much in the way of supporting us or our son for the three yrs. He went there. Torture. Manipulation, assuption, deception all under the guise of putting the child first was to say the least degrading  and shameful...hypocrisy runs rapid in the  world where folks are supposed to be leading students toward success. Admid all that, my child has survived and he will recover and thrive under the continued loving care of his father and I and as he said this week when I gave him his certificate "I'm free!"  I'm so happy for him, and extremely proud of his endurance and his successes thru this whole experience! One of my many ways to say I love you is thru cake...
I baked him this cake. It was originally a... 
Mint Chocolate Ganache Devils food Cake from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook.
 
I bought a box Chocolate cake and made it into a mock pound cake . Then I used half of the ganache for the filling by whipping it after it cooled.
Here's the recipe below;

One box dark chocolate cake
4 large eggs
1/3 c. Yogurt
1/3 c. Vegetable oil
1/2 cup instant coffee
1/2 cup parts dark soda

My 10 yr. Old daughter mixed all the ingredients in a large bowl with a hand mixer while I sprayed the springform pan and coated the pan with cocoa.

BAKE: According to box direction..about 30 min. Test doneness with a skewer. Keeping in mind that chocolate cakes don't need to be dry when you remove it from the oven...if some crumbs cling...perfect...just not a liquid for this cake.

Note:
9 inch springform;  I used the bottom insert for cake to sit on.
cocoa for dusting the pan

Ganache pouring & whipped

12 oz. Simi sweet chocolate
1 3/4 c. Heavy cream (about two cups...don't want it too drippy..so I stopped short of 2c.)

1.Heat the heavy cream just to a boil,
2.Then pour in the chocolate. Let the chocolate sit for a few min. Then whisk until the mixture is combined. Set aside while the cake cools.
3.Seperate the ganache about 1 c. Or more for the filling and crumb coating. Whip with the hand mixer until thick and creamy, like chocolate frosting.

4.Once the cake cools torte the cake in half you could pipe a well of the whipped Ganache on the outer edge and then fill with the rest of the Whipped filling. place in the frig. for 10 to 15 min.
5. Place a large piece of parchment on the counter. Place the cake on the plate onto the parchment, pour the ganache over the cake. When the cake is set up(stop dripping) Cleanup the plate with a bench scaper or spatula. Lift the set cake to your stand.
Use the scaper to clean up any access ganache on the parchment! Somehow I still managed to get ganache under the parchment but most of it went back into my bowl for other uses... like flubbing to transport the cake and having to doctor the damage! You know for stuff like that ;)

Note#2 My teen daughter ate a good bit of my chocolate soo I didn't have enough of the simi-sweet chips. So i used a mixture of  plain cocoa and a special dark cocoa to create the simi-sweet chocolate for the ganache. So it's darker than the Martha Stewarts version, and because I used box it is somewhat smaller cake. Still delicious...at least to my crew of discriminating tasters.
Hope get to try this yummy cake...if you would like the link to Martha's original recipe you'll find it here. Martha Stewarts: Mint Devils Food Cake


Monday, May 18, 2015

Monday of Rememberance

I know it's Tuesday? I posted on my Tumblr...but yea I wanted to post my Chocolate Monday thought today in retrospect to a Monday of Rememberance! Everyones lifes isn't always picturesque/ ideal..holidays have a way of putting the spotlight on "reality." If you know what I mean. 
What helped make your Memorial  Monday comforting? Did you take a stroll hand in hand with someone you love, or gather all the fixins you could to welcome family you haven't seen in ...yrs?   What was the highlight that you gleaned to begin or continue to heal and honor your love one (s), who've touched your life while making the country safer for all of us! I hope you can hold on to that good in the days ahead. I personally reflect on many things...mostly what is good in my life. The little nuisances seem so trivial compared to all the sacrifices made to be able to enjoy something as sweet at a meal for two, dessert, peace and quiet if only minutes at a time! Most importantly a stay of safety in the midst of a often times kaotic world! So thank you to all I know and hold dear for all you've done in my life and to all I will never know personally,  who've made those liberties possible! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Luving, Living in the Fast lane?

Howdy! I have been having such a good week! Finding ways to sneak in more quality time with my sons and daughters. My seventeen year old and I are finding a median( my son reminded me of the math term) A grounding has turned into an opportunity to learn more about each others bounderies...oh yea! My eighteen year old is handling not having his phone for a week, better. My fourteen year old is doing better keeping in touch and letting me know his plans ahead of time. Me I've taken myself to Central park for an hour and Bedfords East River Doc!
Monday Started off good then there was That ruff patch with the N, Q AND 7 come to a complete stop, on account of a electric or "technical" problem. Me..scrambling in my head and calling all resources to figure out the quickest way to get from Manhattan to Queens in a NY min. The E...F? I ended up taking the E to Queens Plaza and walked over to 21st and 41st to get the 100...ooops contraction on 21st No biggy I was miraculously 5 min. Later than usual!  Once I arrived at son's school...he offered me a melted hershey kiss that been partially eaten, waiting for me he got ancious? I knew then everything was A. O. K.!  Its Chocolate Monday! It's not always what you know but who you know...The aid at the front desk was on the ready being alerted of my train woes...held on to my son and made sure he'd remembered to get his metro card too!
I have to say living in NYC will challenge your adaptabilty. It's as if, something here says well done on the last 20 challenges yesterday...you've graduated on to the next phase...Let's go!
Another parent I know put it poetically "NY is for living outside...there is always somewhere to go or something to do!" You can't just lay about and relax for extended periods of time because this City is like a very energetic child who only goes to sleep to awake with new ideas and experiences to try...pulling and tugging at your psychy! That's at why most people leave the city...There's even a vacation Campaign " Get Out of The City" to fill you or let you release that tention that builds from always pounding the concrete jungles terrain And bumping and grindIng with swarms and drones of people virtually everywhere.
At any rate hope all is well where you call home...Chocolate makes me check in and take in the best of what is good and perfect about my life... the fact that i have 8 kinda troublesome but still wonderful children and a husband that I've doted on and puts up with a lot of my maddness! well thats as perfect as anything for my mind! What
about you?

Friday, May 8, 2015

Brown Sugar Muffins


oh, Hello there! What did you do this Monday or this week to make your life or the lives around you sweeter? I got to hold the warm hand that is always waiting for mine...twice!
Speaking of warm...so glad we are getting warmer weather. I know I appreciate it more after a brutal winter. This recipe is one of my favorite all year round comfort recipes.
About 15 or more yrs. ago I used to watch Julia Child's religiously on PBS. This recipe was taken and modified from The cooking with Julia Segments. It was shared by Marion Cunningham as Buttermilk Crumb Muffins. I renamed them Brown Sugar Muffins, because I was so amazed the muffins were so delicious with just brown sugar and I didn't alw@ys remember the crumb topping and they were just as good without it.
Recently my son asked mom can we make them with chocolate chips? Music to a chocolate lovers ears, right? They turned out wonderful and taste as good as their chocolaty aroma suggested! bakers demo

BROWN SUGAR MUFFINS
Ingredients:
3 cups flour
2  cups fresh brown sugar
2/3 cups shortening
2 tsp. Double action baking powder
1/2 tsp. Baking soda
1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon (optional)
1/4 tsp. Ground Nutmeg (optional)
1/8 tsp. Ground Cloves (optional)
1 cup butter milk
2 eggs slightly beaten
1 tsp. Vanilla

How to make:
1. Mix flour, brown sugar, and shortening in a large bowl. Crumbling in the shortening with your finger or a pastry knife.
2. Spoon in the Baking soda and powder, salt and all the spices if you want to use any,  into this flour mixture and blend it well.
3. final Step before filling greased muffin tins or baking cups. Mix in wet ingredients to your dry mixture milk, eggs, and vanilla.

4.Add Drizzle tsp. Of chocolate chips on top each muffin. Bake at 350° for 20-25 min. Depending on your oven.  Toothpick test should come out clean. Unless your greedy, greedy wait until these cool a few.mins...yum!
p. s. Marion & Julia making Buttermilk muffins.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Vanilla Cookies

Vanilla cookies? These cookies remind me of the box vanilla cookies used for banana puddin. I found this gem in "Enjoy Magazine." The recipe is so simple... a few ingredients...my favorite! Most cookies have the same prepping  process..mix the dry ingredients in a bowl then ..the wet ingredients in another bowl...combine. 

Odds and ends you'll need;
  • wax paper, parchment or thin cutting board
  • small flat Bottom cup
  • Hand or stand mixer
  • Half cookie sheet
  • heart shaped cookie cutter
  • off set spatula (to pick up cut cookies and place on cookie sheet)

Ingredients;

1 3/4 c. All purpose flour
3/4 c. Unsalted butter
1/2 egg or 24g
1 Tbsp. Milk
1 tsp. Vanilla

1. BEAT: Butter and sugar until light and fluffy! Add the egg, milk and vanilla mix well
2. Gradually add flour to mixture until combined.

3. Take a 1/2 tsp. of the dough and roll it into a ball and place it on a parchment or wax paper, then press down on the ball with the bottom of a cup to flatten. Do thiss with the rest of the dough. Bake at 325° for 10 min. Or until th edoes are light brown.

Note* cookies bake up fast, so watch them because each Oven is different.
Get a timer especially if you are a sidetracked home executive like me.
refrigerate dough to roll or press out to cut them with a cookie cutter.
Last but not least if you want you can bake these a little darker.
Strawberry Butter Cream filling with Ganache