Apr
11

I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke …

by RedHeadBaker, in: Cakes, Cupcakes

Well, at least my little brother and my family! My brother and sister-in-law are Cherry Coke addicts, as am I! So when I found this recipe I knew I had to make it for his birthday.

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I tweaked it some, though, feeling that it needed to be more cherry-ish. I used Cherry Coke instead of regular Coke – I mean, they are Cherry Coke cupcakes! – and upped the maraschino cherry juice to a couple teaspoons instead of just 1/4 teaspoon. For the cocoa powder I used a combination of regular and dark chocolate. The cake – and maybe this is from the Coke? – was really moist and chocolatey. But I confess it didn’t really taste like Coke. The cherry flavor was noticeable, though. Each cupcake is supposed to get four to five maraschino cherries stuffed into it, but I limited that to two apiece. Four to five just seemed like too many. Next time (and there will definitely be a next time!) I might do three …

The frosting is simply whipped cream, so these are almost like Cherry Coke float cupcakes! I added a couple teaspoons of maraschino cherry juice to the whipping cream as well. It turned a lovely shade of pink, perhaps not terribly manly but nice for spring. And it tasted really good. The bowl and beaters were licked clean! Once frosted, each cake gets a cherry on top, and for extra birthday flair, I sprinkled them with red edible glitter. YUM!

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Jan
28

Happy birthday Rhia!

by RedHeadBaker, in: Cakes, Layer cakes

My friend turned the big 3-0 today! And I had the honor of making her cake. She requested carrot cake with a buttercream frosting. I found a great recipe by Alton Brown (of Good Eats fame) and proceeded to make the cake. But when I took it out of the oven, I realized it was way too small to for the importance of the event! :)

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So I quickly made a second one (luckily I had enough of everything to make it). Admittedly as a four-layer cake it was rather imposing!

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While the second cake cooled I made the vanilla buttercream and planned my decorations. The buttercream is simply butter – lots of butter – confectioner’s sugar, a little heavy whipping cream, and a vanilla bean.

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I decided to pipe carrots onto the cake and reserved some of the buttercream to color orange and green (carrots and leaves). I had a little extra orange and green, so I decorated the bottom edge of the cake as well.

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The end result was pretty impressive, and one of the tallest and heaviest cakes I’ve ever made!

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY RHIA!!

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Jan
27

You didn’t think I would let today pass by …

by RedHeadBaker, in: Cakes, Layer cakes

… without actually making a chocolate cake, did you? However, since it is just the two of us at home, we really don’t need a whole cake (we would eat the whole thing!). So I made half of a chocolate cake recipe (and used dark chocolate cocoa powder) and made two small cakes, one for us and one to share with a friend:

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Instead of just making a chocolate buttercream, I made a chocolate honey ganache, borrowed from another chocolate cake recipe I made over the summer (recipe here – this cake is AMAZING too!).

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I put the cakes on a cooling rack over a cookie sheet and carefully sliced the very tops off, so I’d have a really flat top. And then I poured the ganache over the cakes. The cookie sheet collects the excess (and you can save it for another day, and trust me, you won’t want to waste a drop) and keeps the mess off the counters.

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Once the cakes were completely enrobed, they went into the refrigerator, still on their cooling rack/cookie sheet contraption, for a few hours to chill and allow the ganache to firm up and get a nice shine.

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I can’t wait to dig into this one. Happy Chocolate Cake Day everyone!

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Jan
27

Happy Chocolate Cake Day!

by RedHeadBaker, in: Cakes, Layer cakes

OK, this isn’t an “official” holiday, but it is recognized as a funday. And what’s more fun than chocolate cake. So I urge everyone out there to find some chocolate cake at some point today. Make it if you have the inclination, but just get some CAKE!

To celebrate, here’s a picture of a chocolate cake I made a few years ago, decorated with macadamia nuts and chocolate shavings:

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And here’s one (I believe this was another Jinny birthday cake!) garnished with fresh raspberries and almonds:

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These were early RedHead Bakery cakes so not quite as polished looking, but they still tasted really good! Enjoy Chocolate Cake Day my friends!

Jan
19

We were all thankful there was room for dessert

by RedHeadBaker, in: Cakes, Pies, Tortes and roulades

As often – and happily – happens I am responsible for dessert at family functions. And I admit to using my family as guinea pigs for new recipes.

For Thanksgiving 2008 I really wanted to use the flavors of the season, but didn’t want to make a pumpkin pie. So I made a pumpkin roulade – as seen on Food Network, recipe stored here. Instead of ginger, I made an orange-vanilla bean filling, which was light and complimented the spicy pumpkin cake perfectly.

I also made a double crust, apple-pear-fresh cranberry pie. And cut little leaves out of extra pie dough for special holiday ornamentation. Both were delicious!

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Jan
19

Christmas morning gift

by RedHeadBaker, in: Breakfast baked goods

Who needs presents when you have cinnamon rolls! On Christmas morning, my mom and I made cinnamon rolls from a simple brioche dough (recipe here). Instead of making brioche, we rolled the dough into a long rectangle, smeared it with butter, and covered it with cinnamon sugar.

Then we rolled the dough into a long tube, cut it into 12 rolls. We let them rest in a 9×13 inch pan for about 15 minutes and then baked according to the directions. Oh, and we added the zest of one large navel orange to the dough along with the egg yolks.

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Then we took the juice of the orange and whisked it with confectioners sugar to make a glaze – which was poured over the rolls while they were still warm (but not hot). Mmmmm!!!!!

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Jan
19

Baseball birthday

by RedHeadBaker, in: Cakes, Cupcakes

My father-in-law celebrated his birthday (in 2008) at the Mariner’s game with a group of family and friends. The stadium allows outside food, so I offered to make mini-cupcakes for the event.

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I couldn’t choose between coconut and lemon (can you tell I’m a fan of lemon??!), so I made both …

These are lemon cakes with lemon frosting. And they had a surprise inside: a tiny squirt of raspberry jam!
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The coconut version was ALL coconut: cake, frosting, and topped with more coconut.
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They were all gone by the 7th inning stretch!

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Jan
19

40th anniversary surprise

by RedHeadBaker, in: Cakes, Layer cakes

My first foray into fondant (I admit, I was initially scared of it) coincided with my parent’s 40th wedding anniversary. Not only did I throw them a surprise party with all the local family – and one surprise guest – but I made a small three-tiered wedding cake as well. I knew they’d had sugar bells on their original wedding cake, and was lucky enough to find some at a local cake decorating shop.

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I added small, pearl beads one by one by one all around the seams of each layer.

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Then topped it with a retro-looking cake topper.

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The cake was a yellow cake with lemon zest and juice and covered with a vanilla buttercream . Each tier was a double layer, with seedless raspberry jam between the layers. “Bride and groom” were suitably surprised and the party was a lot of fun. Plus, I got over my fear of fondant! Here’s one more picture, because they turned out so well!

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Jan
19

A personal aside

by RedHeadBaker, in: Personal notes and thoughts

I started my writing “career” when I was very young. One of my first forays into the world of words was actually a cookbook that got me into the Young Authors finals (I think) when I was in maybe first or second grade. It was called The Learn to Cook Book and included recipes like:

    Apple pie (bake at 2 degrees for 1 minute)
    Chicken (cook 80 pounds of chicken at 10 degrees for 9 hours)
    Grapes (wash and eat – YUM!)

I was nothing if not creative! And was lucky enough to get the first draft and the final versions back at my cook book-themed bridal shower (thanks mom for keeping it all those years!).

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Jan
19

Fresh fruit rules

by RedHeadBaker, in: Pies, Tarts

This was the first time I was able to use fresh apricots for my frangipane tart, on a visit to Phoenix in 2005 … and I won’t ever use canned ‘cots again!

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Instead I adapt the tart to whatever fresh fruit is seasonally available (and preferably local, too). The crust is a pate sucree, filled with an almond frangipane, and then “stuffed” with fresh apricots. The tart fruit is tempered with an apricot jam glaze, but still retains that wonderful apricot flavor without being too sweet.

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Recipe can be found here

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