Sally’s Baking Addiction: August, 2019 Challenge: Lemon🍋 and Blueberry Vertical Cake👩🏻‍🍳

IMG_8760

This August Sally presented us with a rather unique challenge. A vertical cake, where the layers are standing on end, instead of horizontal.  I had never heard of such a thing, much less attempted such a creation.

This challenge was more about the process than the end product, which is great because my cake was not one of my best looking 😂

IMG_8790

See what I mean?

But let me tell you how to make it, and then you can fix my mistakes!!

Ultimately, this is a roll cake. I have blogged about these before here, and I am forturnate in that I am comfortable making this type of sponge cake (it did make this an easier challenge for me).

The first thing was to make sure this cake will come out of the pan! A full sheet pan needs to be greased, parchment paper added, greased again and finally, a layer of flour was sifted over everything.

IMG_8711

The next critical step was to make sure there was plenty of volume in the eggs (which is the only leveling in this cake).

IMG_8712

The eggs were whipped until light and voluminous.

IMG_8718

Sugar, oil and vanilla were mixed in

IMG_8716 copy

Then the flour, salt and baking powder was sifted over the mixture and, gently folded in, to maintain the air in the batter.

IMG_8721

 

IMG_8722

The batter was added to the pan, spread out and the air bubbles tapped out by gently banging the pan on the counter.

It is important to have the next step prepared before the cake is done baking. The cake bakes for ~ 12 minutes in a 350 F oven. It must be turned out onto a towel or parchment paper that has been generously dusted with confection sugar.

IMG_8726

The warm cake was turned out onto the dusted surface and immediately rolled up to cool

IMG_8728

The second element that had to be made in advance, so it had time to cool completely, was the blueberry sauce.

This is straight forward in that the blueberries, sugar, and lemon are cooked for a few minutes, then a cornstarch slurry was added to thicken the sauce

IMG_8735

This, along with the rolled cake, are left in the fridge to set up overnight

The next day, both were left out on the counter to come to room temp, while the whipped cream was made. 1 and 1/2 cup of heavy cream was whipped with some sugar and vanilla. Then the  blueberry sauce was gently folded in

IMG_8754

 

 

IMG_8755

I didn’t want the filling to be completely mixed together, so I left it swirled

IMG_8756

The sheet cake had to be unrolled and cut into three equallish pieces!

IMG_8757

The blueberry whipped cream was spread over the slices

IMG_8759

And now it is time to get this cake vertical! The first strip is rolled and aligned with the bottom of the next strip, and the rolling continues. Of course Sally has a great video showing how to do this!

IMG_8760

After the last strip was lined up and all three strips were connected, the cake is set on end

IMG_8761

And placed on a stand, which has to be refrigerated to set before it can be frosted

IMG_8762

The view from the top

IMG_8779

You can see that this is not perfectly round, to say the least,😂

The final step is to make the cream cheese frosting 😋

IMG_8781

I struggled to get this to be smooth, when I frosted it. I colored some of the frosting yellow, since the frosting and cake had lemon in them, and piled some blueberries on top

Oh well! It tasted much better than it looked!

8792

And yes, the layers were vertical!!

Untitled

 

IMG_8799

The best part of this was the cake! I really liked how easy it was to mix and bake. It rolled beautifully and had a delicious lemon flavor. The frosting was tasty too😍 I was less in love with the filling but that may be due to the fact that I am not a whipped cream lover😉

 

I am hoping to get the September challenge done in the first half of the month, as we will be traveling the second half and into October💕

 

Sally’s Baking Addiction: June, 2019 Challenge: Angel Food Cake😇

IMG_7153

Yum, Angel food cake 🍰! This is one of my favorites😋

I admit that I have made many angel food cakes in the past. In fact, this time last year, I was working on a gluten free version for a yoga retreat that I was catering. Still, I was excited to bake this one for the June challenge

If you haven’t tried this yet, I definitely encourage you to give Sally’s version a go!. She has a helpful video as well. There are only 6 ingredients needed for this creation.

All the leavening for this cake will come from the whipped egg whites, so you need to start by separating 12 eggs

IMG_7108

It’s very important that no yolk get into the whites, or they will not whip up properly

Set the egg whites aside to come to room temperature, as cold egg whites will not achieve the proper volume for this cake.

 

This cake is exceptionally light, so regular granulated sugar is too heavy for the batter. I used to just buy super fine sugar at the grocery store, but couldn’t find any😳 Sally has that covered however, as she recommends grinding granulated sugar in a food processor. So, I placed 1 and 3/4 cups of granulated sugar in my processor and let it run until the sugar was a fine consistency.

IMG_7109

Check out the sugar “smoke” coming out of the machine 😂

1 cup of the (now) fine sugar was removed and set aside, while 1 cup + 2 Tablespoons of cake flour and 1/4 teaspoon of salt was added to the remaining sugar, and pulsed to combine

IMG_7110

This is now the dry ingredients that will be added to the whipped egg whites

Now it’s time to beat the egg whites. But, before I added the whites to the mixing bowl, I used a trick that we were taught in culinary school. Egg whites are extremely sensitive to fat, meaning if ANY fat is present in the mixing bowl, they will not whip up.

This is why there can be no yolk in the whites to begin with, and why I always use an acid in my mixing bowl.

IMG_7112

take a cut lemon and rub it all over the interior of the mixing bowl. Do not juice the lemon and don’t worry about any pulp that is left in the bowl

 

The lemon does not flavor the whites, but the acid will help the whites to climb the bowl as the air is incorporated. Cream of Tartar is added to stabilize the whites as well.

IMG_7113

start the whites and cream of tartar on slow, until bubbles begin to form

Once the whites begin to take on some volume, add the reserved cup of sugar, slowly!

IMG_7116

Do not over whip! The whites need to be at soft peaks, not stiff! This is not a merengue.

IMG_7117

Continue until the whites form a gentle peak, in the above picture you can see how the whites hold shape but the tip curls over.

IMG_7118

IMG_7120

Now that the whites are whipped, the vanilla is added and quickly mixed in. Next the dry ingredients need to be added, in three additions, and folded (carefully) after each addition.

Remember, you don’t want to knock all the air out of the whites!

IMG_7121

1/3 of the dry mix is sifted over the whites, and folded in

After all the dry ingredients are incorporated, it is time to add the batter to the UNGREASED tube pan. If you grease the sides, the batter will not rise up!!!😲

IMG_7122

IMG_7123

Into a 325F oven for about 45 minutes and bake until a toothpick comes out clean

IMG_7124

Immediately invert the hot cake and allow it to cool for about 3 hours, this will prevent the light cake from collapsing on itself

IMG_7125

Run a knife around the outside of the pan and the inner tube to release the cake. I also run the knife across the bottom of the pan

IMG_7146

The cake is great as is! However, I like to add a lemon glaze and some fresh berries 😉

IMG_7148

Then we chow down!

 

IMG_7162

 

IMG_7164

 

IMG_7158

 

IMG_7155

Another awesome Sally challenge😇

Next month will be Sally’s 30th Challenge!! I am excited to say that I have participated in all of them so far 🌟 Looking forward to the next one!

 

Sally’s Baking Addiction: March, 2018 Challenge: The Naked Cake 🎂

 

IMG_6072

Have you heard of naked, or semi naked cakes? 🍰 I am going to be very honest, I am not a fan of this style of cake decorating. It drives my crazy to leave the cake unfinished. I don’t find it “chic” or stylish to see the sides of the cake, must be the control freak in me!

But, that is the point of a challenge, is it not? So, I sucked it up and went for it. Aside from the instructions to not frost the sides, we were free to choose any type of cake and frosting combo we desired. I knew I would be in Seattle the week before our son’s 22nd birthday. So, the choice was easy! Ryan loves funfetti cake with vanilla icing, and has a ginormous sweet tooth.

Sally’s funfetti cake recipe is straight forward, and I was happy that it did not come from a box! It is basically a vanilla butter cake with sprinkles, and came together easily.

IMG_6040

Then the sprinkles were folded into the mix

IMG_6041

This batter is quite dense and thick. I decided to split this into two, 6 inch baking rounds, with the intent of splitting each to create four layers. It took awhile longer to bake than the times listed in her recipe, as she called for 9 inch pans.

And yes, I did weigh the batter so I could divide it exactly into the two pans (control freak remember, 😜). I let the cakes cool, wrapped them up to be frosted (or not frosted!) the next day.

IMG_6045

I was happy with the look of the funfetti cakes. They look just like the box mix

I made Sally’s vanilla frosting, just as she directed, and started icing, sort of..

This Was Killing Me!!! How can this be a finished cake 😫

I had a small amount of frosting left over and we were allowed to decorate the top. I dyed that remaining frosting blue, and I had no idea what to do with it. So, I put the cake in the fridge and walked away!

I needed a time out! I was making a birthday dinner for my son, daughter and her boyfriend, where the cake was the dessert. I went to Costco and bought some sandals. I went to Soma and bought two new bras (TMI 😂). Then I went to Safeway for some inspiration for this cake!

Since there is an abundance of Easter candy in every grocery store since February 15th, I bought mini robin’s eggs and mini M&Ms. If I cant frost it, then I am going to cover as much as I can with candy 🍭 🍬

IMG_6056

IMG_6057

I felt a little better, but was still thinking that this is the ugliest cake I have ever made!

Ryan chose those sparkler candles for his cake and I was ready to light this sucker on fire 🔥 🔥 🔥

IMG_6079

The funny thing is that the kids loved it!

IMG_6072

IMG_6082

I will admit that I was happy with how even all four layers were and the amount of icing was equal in each layer. See? I have symmetry issues 😉

IMG_6081

Even big sis liked it

All in all, it worked out well! I met the challenge, mostly, and Ryan loved his sugar bomb cake 🎂

IMG_6080

I hope April’s challenge will let me finish completely! 😳

Sally’s Baking Addiction: February, 2018 Challenge: Cake Pops!

IMG_4896

I now have to include the year in the title of my baking challenge posts because I have completed one full cycle of Sally’s monthly tasks! I am kinda proud of that fact. Sally launched her Baking Challenge in February of 2017, and I have managed to complete all 12, so far! It has been tricky to stay on track over the last 12 months as we have travelled, bought a new home and have had some really busy months. But I have persevered, and managed to not gain 10 extra pounds 🙂

This month’s challenge was not too tough as Sally set cake pops as the perfect Valentine’s Day treat for us to create. My plan was to omit the stick and go with cake pop truffles. I felt this would be easier, and slightly more professional, for my hubby and his coworkers to pop into their mouths, as opposed to sitting in a client meeting eating cake on a popsicle stick!

Sally’s chocolate cake and chocolate icing were scrumptious, and so simple!

The first step was to bake the cake, which I did a day ahead. This was cooled and crumbled into a bowl of Sally’s chocolate icing.

IMG_4165

The mixture was rolled into balls and refrigerated overnight.

IMG_4169

At this point you can insert the stick, but I skipped that! I made rather small truffles and had a yield of 65 balls to be dipped into melted chocolate.

I happen to have milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate and red chocolate melting discs at my home. Yes, I have too much chocolate on hand at all times!

IMG_4880

I also have way too many candy decorations! So, my daughter came over to make and decorate truffles with me, and make some candy apples for her boyfriend for Valentine’s Day.

IMG_4881

We made quite the mess, but so worth it!

IMG_4882

We had a blast dipping and decorating these little guys.

IMG_4894

 

IMG_4899

They were also delicious! I was impressed that they were not dry inside-as I have purchased cake pops from bakeries before that required a full glass of water in order to choke them down.

IMG_4898

Another great Sally creation! If you can’t tell, I am a fan of her recipes!

They are all simple, delicious and accessible for any level of baking skills you may possess!

I hope to keep baking with her through 2018!

 

SaveSave

King Cake for Mardi Gras!

IMG_4730

This is my first King Cake. I don’t know why, but I had it in my head that a King Cake was complicated and took days to make. One of my good friends from culinary school, Jen, makes one every year and has a condo in Phoenix. This is my first February in Tucson, so we decided to get together and make King Cakes at her place.

The recipe is straight forward and the dough comes together quite easily. Here is the problem. Phoenix is 2 hours from Tucson, so we decided I would mix my dough, at my house, and then drive to Phoenix while the dough was rising. Jen would make her dough and then we could stagger the baking times in her oven. Makes sense, right? The dough should take an hour to rise before I needed to move to the filling stage. But the drive is 2 hours, remember?

So, I started at 8am and had the windows down until I hit the freeway. At that point I put the air conditioner on and trained the vents to directly hit the dough container. That worked well for about an hour, and my feet were frozen! At that point I turned off the air and let the dough finish doubling for the last 45 minutes of the drive.

It looked pretty good when I got there.

It had doubled and was ready to be rolled out into a 14in X 18in rectangle. The filling, which is cinnamon, butter and sugar was spread out leaving an inch border.

This is basically just a big cinnamon roll! I rolled it up, length wise into a cylinder, and sealed the edges to make the wreath.

IMG_4710

This is left to rise for another 30 minutes

Then into the oven and 25 minutes later, I had my first King Cake.

IMG_4124

Looks good from this side!

IMG_4125

But over here, it looks like I forgot to put it seam side down on the baking sheet!

 

A simple icing of powdered sugar, milk, vanilla and melted butter was whisked up. The important part is getting the colored sugars applied before the icing sets. So, I had to work with a little urgency.

IMG_4716

How cute is Jen’s spatula! She loves those little baking implements!

I tried to apply the three, traditional colors in equal amounts.

IMG_4126

IMG_4721

I said I tried to have equal amounts, not that I succeeded in doing so!

While we waited for the icing to set, Jen gave me a taste of the Nutella Babka she made using Sally’s Baking Addiction Recipe.

IMG_4740

Seriously, is this artwork or a quick bread! It was delicious and beautiful!

Now, the time of the big reveal!

IMG_4130

I love the swirl!

 

IMG_4730

And the taste! Of course I had to have mine with a cup of coffee 🙂

IMG_4139

Macarons copy

I was pretty happy with the result and the recipe was really simple. Not sure if it is a traditional King Cake, but I do recommend this recipe for a quick way to partake in the Mardi Gras season.

If you would like to see more creations from my friend, you can find Jen on Instagram.

SaveSave

Sally’s Baking Addiction, October Challenge, Pumpkin Roll Cake

IMG_3577

This month Sally challenged us to make a pumpkin roll cake. We had a roll cake challenge back in May. At that time I talked about how my roll cakes always crack and I have to cover it up with icing or flowers or some type of decoration.

IMG_1589

This time I thought I would really challenge myself and put a pattern in my pumpkin sponge cake. I saw this, for the first time, on The Great British Baking Show. Since this was a pumpkin sponge I wanted a pumpkin patch pattern but couldn’t find anything I liked or could put on the cake, so I made my own template using stickers from a craft store. Sally recommends a 10 inch x 15 inch jelly roll pan, so I made my template that size. I cut a paper to the same size and measured to find the exact center. I knew I would be rolling the cake from the short side so made my pattern such that it would repeat in that direction. I also knew that the edges would most likely be trimmed away so I left a good sized border along both sides. I used a pencil to draw in, roughly, where the vines would connect the pumpkins.

IMG_3547

I then layer a parchment paper over the template, securing it with tape, so I would be able to pipe the batter onto the parchment.

IMG_3549

Now I needed to mix up a cake batter that would be denser than the pumpkin sponge so that the pattern would not mix into the cake batter and disappear. I used this mixture:

50g butter, room temperature

50g powdered sugar (or icing sugar)

50g egg whites

50g flour, all purpose

IMG_3550

Using a hand mixer, combine the sugar and butter until smooth, then add the egg whites and finally the flour and stir to make a strong paste. You want this pretty thick, you need to be able to pipe it but still want it to hold a firm shape. I needed two colors, orange and leaf green.

IMG_3552

I used gel food colors and a number 1 piping tip to make the pumpkins

IMG_3553

Another portion was colored green, and using a number 3 tip, I piped the vines.

 

This went into the freezer for, at least 30 minutes, while I prepared the Pumpkin sponge cake as per Sally’s recipe. Once the mixture was ready I had to remove the template from the pan and replace the frozen pattern. Then I spread the pumpkin batter, carefully, over the design.

IMG_3558

IMG_3564

IMG_3567

Sally’s recipe stated that the baking time would be ~17 minutes, but mine was done in 10 minutes. It is important to not over bake the cake or it will crack when it is rolled (I should know, this is my big problem with roll cakes!). I had to flip my cake twice when it was done. The first time I turned the cake out onto a sheet pan covered with powdered sugar and removed the parchment paper-carefully, so the design would stay intact.

IMG_3571

The prepared pan

IMG_3570

The cake after I removed the paper. It worked!

To my surprise the patten was intact! From here I followed Sally’s instructions and flipped the cake onto a tea towel that had been generously sprinkled with more powdered sugar. Now the pattern side was down and I could roll the cake up, while it was still warm, to allow it to cool in the final shape. I was so busy doing all this while the cake was still warm that I did not get a picture of it this time. Here is what the process looked like from May, when I did the last roll cake.

 

The rolled cake needs to chill for about 2 hours in the refrigerator before adding the filling.

The cream cheese icing was also from Sally’s recipe. I did make one small change and added 30g of finely chopped crystallized ginger for some extra flavor and texture.

IMG_3574

IMG_3575

IMG_3576

The cake is unrolled, the filling spread out leaving a 1/2 inch border, then tightly rolled back up

This was the first time that my cake did not crack! And, the pattern is pretty good. There is some powdered sugar still on the cake, but that does disappear after a little time has passed.

IMG_3577

The cake and filling are delicious! Sally has another winner recipe on her hands!

IMG_3585

IMG_3589

IMG_3592

IMG_3598

IMG_3604

IMG_3609

I had fun working this out and challenging myself a little bit. It is a great cake for Halloween and I am really looking forward to what Sally comes up with next month!

 

 

SaveSave

Sally’s Baking Addiction, September Challenge: Sunflower cupcakes

IMG_3508

I made sunflower cupcakes for the first time a couple years ago, in culinary school. The are so sweet and adorable! I was excited to see that Sally had chosen these for the September challenge because I had been looking for a reason to make them again. This time I combined the two versions of the recipes that I had to, hopefully, put together the best part of each process.

I started by baking spice cupcakes from Sally’s recipes. After baking and cooling the cupcakes, I made the vanilla frosting recipe that she recommended for the piping of the sunflower pedals and leaves. I colored one small batch leaf green, and the larger portion lemon yellow, using gel colors in order to maintain the overall consistency of the frosting. I always save some white portion of the frosting, just in case I need more of one color later on. My original recipe called for Oreo cookies for the center of the flower and red candies, which could be made into lady bugs. Sally used frosting and chocolate sprinkles to make her center (you can see how she did it and how she piped the flower pedals in the video embedded in the vanilla frosting link from above).

I took a short cut with the lady bugs by purchasing black gel icing. This worked ok, but royal icing is really better. I should have taken the time to make some, next time I will!

IMG_3481

I pulled everything together and loaded up two disposable piping bags, each with a #352 leaf tip.

352

 

 

The first step was to lightly frost the top of the cupcakes to provide a base for the Oreo to sit, and for the pedals to have something to adhere to.

 

IMG_3485

There are two options for the Oreo. You can use a whole cookie which will make a tall sunflower with a fair amount of icing or you can split the cookie to make a shorter flower. I made some of each just for variety.

IMG_3486

A whole cookie from the side,

IMG_3487

And from the top view

IMG_3488

From here I just added some leaves in various spots to fill in the flower. I used the black gel icing to draw a line and spots on the red candies to create the bugs.

IMG_3491

IMG_3489

IMG_3505

IMG_3494

IMG_3495

It appears to be quite the infestation! The finished cupcakes will stay fresh in the fridge for up to five days, according to Sally’s recipe.

IMG_3502

IMG_3504

IMG_3503

IMG_3508

IMG_3506

IMG_3509

IMG_3505

These were really simple to make. Once you get the hang of the piping tip it goes quite fast. Perfect for a fall dessert table, especially for the kids. I have a feeling Sally’s next challenge may have something to do with pumpkin! Cant wait 🙂