Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Strawberry Shortcake on a Skillet?

Last summer I took on a job teaching a summer camp where I, along with 2 other Culinary Coaches, taught kids how to cook. The company is called Kitchen Kid. It is pretty much the funnest job I have ever had. During the school year the owner also runs after school programs at several schools around the LA area. Since I was student teaching I didn't have a chance to teach but she has given me the opportunity to write the curriculum for the classes. My lessons plans revolve around a "secret ingredient" usually some kind of produce that is in season. I have written lessons on apples, squash, cucumbers, peppers, etc. This week she asked me to write a lesson plan on strawberries. For each lesson plan I have to come up with a recipe that the kids can make in the classroom. Each coach has a portable stove top but no oven. Being a baker this has forced me to try to stretch my imagination. Each recipe has to be either nonbake or able to be made using a skillet.
The first recipe that came to mind for strawberries was of course strawberry shortcake. Is it possible to make it using only a skillet? Believe it or not, YES! It is possible and I have done it! Not only did it work it was also delicious! The outside of the biscuit was nice and crisp while the inside was light and fluffy. A wonderful contrast with the strawberries and vanilla bean whipped cream.

I used the scone recipe from Joy of Baking but instead of putting them in the oven I heated a skillet on medium to medium low heat. I cooked each side of scones for about 2 1/2 minutes then had to flip a couple more times to make sure they weren't burning but were also cooked all the way through. Each one took about 6-7 minutes or so. I tried the first one by melting butter in the pan, not a good idea. Just use a dry pan. You could dip the scones in cinnamon sugar before putting them in the pan to give them a sweeter crust.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Polka Dot Birthday

She LIVES! I know, it has been almost a year since I have posted anything on here! School honestly took over my life. But now that I have graduated and am currently somewhat unemployed I have found a little time to bake again. I have definitely missed it.

Yesterday was my friend Ariane's birthday. I love this girl and so I figured I'd throw a little party together for her. This little party didn't end up being so little. It turned out perfect! Lots of friends and good food. I made hamburger and hotdog buns, cookies, and a cake to celebrate. This cake is a new favorite of mine. Ariane asked for either a confetti cake or the traditional yellow with chocolate frosting. I decided it had been too long since I had had a real good yellow and chocolate cake so that is what I chose. I like to make my cakes tall so I used a recipe from Sky High: Irrestible Triple-Layer Cakes by Alisa Huntsman and Peter Wynne. The cake was almost as moist as I had hoped and wasn't quite as yellow as I remember yellow cake being. But it was still tasty enough for me to indulge in 2 slices... yeah I know, that is just how I roll. Next time, however, I think I will try this recipe from Smitten Kitchen. Supposedly it is the best! The frosting on this cake, however, was pretty much delectable and SO easy! It is a must try!

Sorry for the not-so-fabulous photo. I have
gotten out of habit of setting up photo shoots
for my food and had to take it with my iphone.

Vanilla Buttermilk Cake with Chocolate Fudge Frosting

Makes an 8-inch triple-layer cake; serves 12 to 16 or makes a 6-inch triple layer cake with leftover

4 whole eggs

2 egg yolks

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups buttermilk

3 cups cake flour

2 cups sugar

4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottoms and sides of three 8-inch or 6-inch round cake pans or spray to coat with vegetable oil. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment or waxed paper and grease the paper.

Put the eggs and yolks in a medium mixing bowl, add the vanilla and 1/4 cup of the buttermilk. Whisk to blend well.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large mixer bowl; whisk to blend. Add the butter and the remaining 1 cup buttermilk to these dry ingredients and with the mixer on low, blend together. Raise the mixer speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

Add the egg mixture in 3 additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl and mixing only until thoroughly incorporated. Divide the batter among the 3 prepared pans.

Bake the cake layers for 28 to 32 minutes for the 8-inch cake pans, or 25-30 minutes for the 6-inch cake pans, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan. Let the layers cool in the pans for 10 minutes; then carefully turn out onto wire racks, peel off the paper liners, and let cool completely.

To assemble the cake, place one layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or serving plate. Spread 3/4 cup of the fudge frosting over the layer right to the edge. Repeat with the next layer. Place the last layer on top and use all but 3/4 cup of the frosting to cover the top and sides of the cake. (If using 6-inch cake pans, you’ll have quite a bit of leftover frosting.) Place the remaining 3/4 cup frosting in a pastry bag with a medium star tube and pipe a shell border around the top and bottom edges of the cake.

Chocolate Fudge Frosting

6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled

4 cups confectioners’ sugar (no need to sift)

3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature

6 tablespoons half-and-half

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Source: adapted from Sky High: Irrestible Triple-Layer Cakes by Alisa Huntsman and Peter Wynne

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Maple and Brown Sugar Granola... Bread

So Dustin has this new obsession with Granola. Every morning without fail he will wake up and pour himself a bowl of maple brown sugar granola. We were buying it and going through a box in a week but then discovered it is so much cheaper and tastier if I just make it myself.
I have been using Alton Brown's recipe, because I love him, but with a few alterations to fit our liking. Try it! You will not be disappointed. :)

Ok, so the bread... I was seriously putting off doing my homework and decided that I owe it to myself to make a nice tasty loaf of bread. I didn't want to make just my same standard so I looked through the bookmarked bread recipes I have been wanting to try. Nothing sounded better to me than Better Baking's Maple Granola bread. I also knew Dustin would love it!

With 1 1/2 cups of granola baked in... WOW! You cannot go wrong with this one!! If you don't have time to make the granola try Cascadian Farm's Maple Brown Sugar Granola. It is almost as good as homemade.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Gone NUTS!

My most recent concoction... Rich and moist chocolate cupcakes filled with fluffy peanut butter filling and topped with chocolate ganache. To DIE for! I may need to go run a few laps around the gym after these babies, they are addicting!

Monday, April 12, 2010

My new found love!

So didn't know what I was missing in my life until I discovered Indian food when moving to L.A.

Dustin and I have a new favorite cheap Indian restaurant by our house that we frequent quite often. They serve the most amazing naan there. Being the breadaholic that I am I thought I would try to make it myself. Result... amazing! So soft and perfect for dipping into the chicken cashew curry I made to accompany it. If you don't believe that you can make your own naan I dare you to try! You will be surprised with the amazingness that comes out of your kitchen. :0)

Garlic Naan
Adapted from All Recipes


1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1/4 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 egg, beaten
2 teaspoons salt
4 1/2 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons minced garlic (optional)
1/4 cup butter, melted


  1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand about 10 minutes, until frothy. Stir in sugar, milk, egg, salt, and enough flour to make a soft dough. Knead for 6 to 8 minutes on a lightly floured surface, or until smooth. Place dough in a well oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and set aside to rise. Let it rise 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in volume.
  2. Punch down dough, and knead in garlic. Pinch off small handfuls of dough about the size of a golf ball. Roll into balls, and place on a tray. Cover with a towel, and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
  3. During the second rising, preheat grill to high heat.
  4. At grill side, roll one ball of dough out into a thin circle. Lightly oil grill. Place dough on grill, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until puffy and lightly browned. Brush uncooked side with butter, and turn over. Brush cooked side with butter, and cook until browned, another 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from grill, and continue the process until all the naan has been prepared.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Cake Pops!

Fun to make, even more fun to eat!

Learn how to make them at Bakerella

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Too tired to think of a creative title...

I signed up to do a charity auction a few weeks ago and decided to auction off cakes since I don't own anything anyone would really want. :)
Anyway, despite my crazy school schedule I decided to make two different cakes. I didn't really know what I was doing when I started but just went with it. I would suggest not ever doing that. I ended up making 3 types of frosting and 2 different fillings and one extra cake (which I was ok with :)
Here is what I came up with:

Dark chocolate cake, peanut butter filling, buttercream chocolate frosting

Dark chocolate cake, whipped chocolate ganache filling, French buttercream chocolate frosting (my preference).

I am happy with how they turned out but I think I would have saved myself some time if I had planned a little more ahead. Below you will find the recipes I used. The peanut butter frosting is to die for and I usually don't care for peanut butter in my desserts.

Deep Dark Chocolate Cake (Hershey's)
2 cups granulated sugar
1 & 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa
1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake rounds or one 13×9×2-inch baking pan.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the first six ingredients (sugar through salt); add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin); pour into prepared pan(s) and bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes our clean. If baking cake rounds, allow rounds to cool slightly before turning out onto wire racks to cool completely. If using rectangular baking pan, allow cake to cool completely before icing.

Peanut Butter Frosting
Alton Brown

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
3 tablespoons milk, or as needed
2 cups confectioners' sugar

Place the butter and peanut butter into a medium bowl, and beat with an electric mixer. Gradually mix in the sugar, and when it starts to get thick, incorporate milk one tablespoon at a time until all of the sugar is mixed in and the frosting is thick and spreadable. Beat for at least 3 minutes for it to get good and fluffy.