Apr 24, 2011

Kate By Gayle

Kate in a bag by Gayle's Chocolates

This post is a special thanks to Gayle from Gayle’s Chocolates, a Royal Oak, Michigan chocolate company, who was so kind to send me a sample of her sweet work, and I couldn’t have been more thrilled when I received the package, and got my very own “Kate”! Why Kate? Keep reading…

My 11-year-old daughter’s eyes were as wide as they can get, as she starred at my beautiful chocolate shoe, and I was battling with my mother’s instinct; I just couldn’t say the words “you can have it”, I needed to own it at least until the photo shoot was over, and maybe some time spent in a display for everyone to see : )
No worries, it is now her “Kate”, along with all the bragging rights! I love you baby!

This beautiful chocolate high heel shoe was designed in honor of the British Royal Wedding, and is respectively named "The Kate". It’s made of premium white chocolate, with dark chocolate jewel, and dusted with non-toxic edible pearl and sapphire dust, and it measures 7 inches long and 5-1/2 inches tall. Look how beautifully packaged it is!

I know that in order to provide you with a full review, I should say what it tastes like, but I can’t bring myself to bite into it, it’s to adorable. I can say this though, it’s smells sooooo good, and soooo creamy, I simply know it’s delicious! As soon as I get a replacement for Kate, and I have my eyes set on a few beautiful creations by Gayle, I will update this post, and tell you all about it.

I am so proud to have been invited by a local Michigan company to sample their work, it’s a great honor. Whether you live in Michigan, or not, be sure to visit Gayle’s Chocolates, and surprise your loved one with one of many beautiful creations Gayle makes, or a box of her handmade truffles or chocolates.

Kate by Gayle's Chocolates

Apr 22, 2011

Apple Cake

Apple Cake

There is still no spring in sight, at least here in Michigan; we get a teaser here and there, but the heat is still running, and the birds are still hiding in the trees, confused… Well, at least I managed to get some spring on my table, by making a fruit cake with some spring tone to it. I got the recipe for this cake from my late mother in law, and it’s my husband’s favorite. Happy Easter to all who celebrate this weekend!

Apple Cake
5-6 medium apples (Granny Smith, Pink Lady, Red Rome, McIntosh)
Some ground walnuts to fill the apples
Some vanilla sugar to sprinkle

4 eggs
4 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp oil
4 heaping tbsp flour
2 tsp baking powder

1 1/3 cup milk
3 tbsp sugar
1 fruit pudding powder (cook & serve kind), strawberry or some other kind
4 oz (1 stick) butter or margarine, room temperature

Make the cream first. Mix pudding powder, sugar, and some milk (out of those 1 1/3 cups) until there are no lumps. Boil rest of the milk, reduce heat, and gradually, but quickly add the pudding mixture, stir fast, and cook for a minute until it thickens. It will be very thick. Transfer to a mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap so the skin wouldn’t form on the top. Cool to room temperature, then with a hand mixer, mix in the butter (or margarine) with some powdered sugar ( I have added only about 1 ½ tbsp).

While waiting for pudding to cool, preheat oven to 395° F. Peel, and core apples, and trim them if necessary so they fit nicely in a 9 inch spring form pan. You can use 5 in a circle, or 6 with one in the middle, depending how big the apples are. Fill them with ground walnuts, just as much can fit, don’t over pack, then sprinkle the tops with vanilla sugar. No worries if some walnuts fall into the pan, it’s all good, and it will be baked in for a better cake.

Bake apples for about 15-20 minutes, really depends on which apples you picked; just don’t over bake them, they have some more baking to do when you pour the biscuit mixture over them. So, when they just started softening in the oven (check often), pour the biscuit mixture over them, and do it slowly, making sure you coated each apple. Reduce the heat to 375° F. The biscuit will rise to the height of apples. Bake for about 20 minutes. When it’s nice golden color, check with a toothpick to see if it’s done. Let it cool to room temperature.

When cooled, flip it upside down onto a cake platter, spread the cream evenly over the top, and frost generously with whipped cream. I use powdered whipped cream, because I can control the consistency of it, and I prefer it’s taste over heavy whipping cream. Cool in fridge, and enjoy!

Apr 18, 2011

Blueberry Muffins

Blueberry muffins

Woke up this morning to another round of snow! Yes, it didn’t stick around, however it has managed to ruin my day…well, for a while anyway... I have decided to make something comforting, something simple, something I could enjoy within 30 minutes of mixing it up…and who doesn’t like muffins? Blueberry are my favorite. It was a joy watching them rise in the oven, and a real nice way to start, and improve what was to be a bad day.

Blueberry muffins in a basket

Blueberry Muffins
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 beaten eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup melted butter (no substitutes)
1 tablespoon finely shredded orange peel
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, thawed
Coarse sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease twelve 2-1/2-inch muffin pan cups (obviously, I have used stand alone paper muffin cups). Set aside.
Stir together flour, the 3/4 cup sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Make a well in the center of dry mixture; set aside.

Combine eggs, milk, butter, and orange peel; add all at once to the dry mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy). Fold in blueberries.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each almost full. If desired, sprinkle tops with coarse sugar. Bake in preheated oven 20 minutes or until golden. Cool in muffin cups on wire rack 5 minutes. Remove from muffin cups. Makes 12.

Recipe adapted from Better Homes and Gardens

Apr 9, 2011

Esterhazy Torte

Esterhazy Torte

It’s been a while yet again, but here I am, found some time to make a cake, yeah!!! Couple of weeks ago my kids’ godmother asked me if I ever made Esterhazy Cake. I didn’t until now, and I remembered my dear foodie friend Marija of Palachinka Blog (this links to recipe) did, so I paid her blog a visit, and promised myself I would make it.

Toasted almonds, and vanilla cream sounded heavenly, and I can’t believe I never made this cake before. I was a bit hesitant to commit myself to making 6-7 biscuit layers, but I just bought a pretty large Amish table, so I had no excuse, had plenty of surface to work on.

I was intimidated with making the white cake mirror with raw egg white; don’t really trust the eggs from the grocery store, so I opted for plain powdered sugar with orange juice instead (200g powdered sugar + 5 tbs freshly squeezed lemon/orange juice), and of course it gave me different results, and the cake isn’t as pretty as Marija’s. However, I am pretty sure that my impatience had a lot to do with it as well, as I hurried to make the net, and the whole thing started running down the sides; that was the moment I have instructed everyone to move out of the kitchen/dining area!!!!

All was great though, the next morning, when I finally tasted the darn thing, and decided I have found another favorite! The whole family loved it, and that’s rare, usually someone stays reserved.
Please consider making this cake, it is absolutely scrumptious!!!