Foodie Pen Pals Reveal Day

WE’VE MOVED! Go to www.pinkpolkadotbaker.com to see what we have been working on!

January 2013

This month was my first month participating in Foodie Pen Pals and what fun it was! To be a Foodie Pen Pal there are few rules- check out The Lean Green Bean‘s website for more details!

This month, Crissie from RunCrissieRun sent me an awesome box of goodies, which you can see a picture of above. First, the letter was one of my favorite parts of the box because it told me why Crissie included the items in the box- she was very thoughtful! Next, there was a re-usable bag, which has already gotten a ton of use! I don’t have nearly enough of these bags so I was so happy to receive another! Next, the Sea Salt and Vinegar Popchips…ummm…YUM!!! My husband and I immediately opened these after I took the picture and they were gone within a day! Crissie also sent us a recipe to go with the mason jar of lentils…I’m so excited to try this; I’ve never had lentils before! Finally, there was a delicious smelling bar of lavender soap from a local shop in Crissie’s area. This box was such a wonderful surprise in the middle of a crazy month! I can’t wait to participate again next month!

The Lean Green Bean

Foodie love,
Heather

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Flourless Chocolate Cake

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Finished Cake

Since I made the cake pops for Beryl’s Momtographie class, I had to get them to her and she invited us over for dinner. I, of course, offered to make dessert! I found a recipe on About.com for an Easy Flourless Chocolate Cake with Silky Glaze and decided this may be the perfect dessert.

To make the cake…
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Chop up 6 ounces of chocolate (I used Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate).
Chopped Chocolate

3. Melt the chopped chocolate and 1 stick of unsalted butter (I recommend chopping up the butter into smaller pieces as well) over medium low heat, stirring frequently.
Chocolate and Butter

4. Stir in 3/4 cup of sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and reduce heat to low. Stir constantly for about 1 minute until the sugar starts to dissolve.

5. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in 3 eggs one at a time.
All Mixed

6. Sift 1/2 cup cocoa into the mix. Whisk until the batter is smooth.

7. Pour the batter into a 7-inch tart pan or into a 6-7 inch pan with parchment paper sprayed with cooking spray in the bottom.
Before Oven

8. Bake for approximately 25 minutes, but check at about 22 minutes. You will know the cake is done when the center is just firm to the touch. Do not over bake or the cake will become dry!
Out of Oven

9. Cool the pan on a wire rack for about 15 minutes. While the cake is cooling, make the glaze.

10. Melt 2 ounces of chopped semisweet chocolate and 1 1/2 tablespoons of unsalted butter in the same pan used for the cake. Once melted, remove the pan from the heat and add 1 1/2 teaspoons of milk and 1 1/2 teaspoons of honey. Stir until smooth and glossy and let sit for 3 minutes.

11. When the cake is cooled, flip it onto a plate or cake board (mine broke a bit when I flipped it so be careful). Pour the glaze right in the middle, then use a spatula to move the glaze so it is evenly spread over the cake and running slightly over the edges.
Finished Cake

12. Enjoy!

Everyone seemed to like the cake and my husband, who does not like chocolate that much, had TWO slices! The cake was super moist and seemed almost like a brownie. If you are looking for a delicious flourless cake, this one is a great choice!!

Baking love,
Heather

Gluten-Free Cake Pops

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Finished Cake Pops

Tomorrow I am taking a photography class from my friend, Beryl. Like I mentioned in a previous post, she asked me to make a little something for the participants coming to the class. We settled on the camera cake pops and I decided to make them gluten-free so she could also enjoy in the deliciousness. To make the cake, I used the same recipe as I used for the Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcakes. The recipe for the cake can be found at food.com.

To begin, I gathered all my ingredients. I started by mixing my dry ingredients in the stand mixer.

Dry Ingredients

After the ingredients were mixed well, I added all the wet ingredients one by one, using a spatula to push down any batter stuck to the sides of the bowl.

Wet Ingredients

Then, I poured all the ingredients in my pan that I had prepared by spraying with cooking spray and powdering with gluten-free flour. The cake was in the oven for about 33 minutes, until it came out looking like this:
Finished Cake

I let the cake cool, then followed my normal cake pop procedures! First, I broke up the cake.
Broken Up Cake

Then, I used a gluten-free frosting to mix with the pieces- I only put in about half of the container, since this cake was a bit smaller than what I usually make, and ended up adding about a third of what was left to the mix to make it the right consistency.
Frosting Container

Cake with Frosting

Frosting Jar

I mixed everything up…
Dough Mix

Then molded the batter into cameras!
Cameras on Pan

I put the cameras in the freezer to set and set up my decorating area while I was waiting.
Table Prep

After about 15 minutes, I pulled the cameras out of the freezer and got to work- first with the sticks, then completing the rest of the camera!

Cake Pops with Sticks

Camera Cake Pops

I did find that the consistency of the cake was a bit different than the cake mixes that I normally use and had a tendency to fall apart when I was trying to tap off the excess chocolate. I had a few casualties so, to remedy the situation, I put the cake pops back in the freezer and they were much easier to handle. In the end, I have plenty of super cute camera cake pops for the participants!

Finished Pops

Baking love,
Heather

Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcakes and Cake Decorating Week 3

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Nutella Cupcakes 1

Since I knew we were going to be decorating cupcakes this week in my cake decorating class I was on a hunt for a delicious cupcake recipe. I found a Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcake recipe in 100 Best Cupcake Recipes and decided to give it a try (especially since it sounded like it was just a Nutella cupcake recipe)!

To make the cupcakes you need:
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups Nutella, divided
1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups milk
Chopped hazelnuts (optional)

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare 18 muffin cups with paper or foil liners.
2. Combine first three ingredients in a medium bowl.
3. Beat 1/3 cup Nutella and butter in a large bowl with a stand or electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Beat in sugar until well blended. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Add flour mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling two-thirds full.
4. Bake 20 to 23 minutes or until cupcakes spring back when touched and toothpick comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely on wire racks.
5.Frost tops of cupcakes with remaining Nutella. Sprinkle with hazelnuts.

Nutella Cupakes 3

I had extremely high hopes for these cupcakes, but I have to say I was a little underwhelmed (as was my husband). They didn’t have quite as much flavor as I wanted and they had a very dense consistency. I will most likely continue to search for a great Nutella cupcake recipe!

Now that the cupcakes were made, it was time to decorate! We learned a couple of new “moves” in class and created a mum flower (although they just looking kind of crazy) and how to make flowers on the decorating nail. Once we were actually able to decorate the cupcakes, I decided to “inject” mine with additional Nutella. Unfortunately, the cupcakes were so dense, not much of the Nutella would stay inside. I also found that when I started decorating the cupcakes, if I was just putting a smooth layer of the white frosting on, the tops of the cupcakes would fall apart in the frosting. All of the cupcakes that I didn’t use a “swirl” on had crumbs in the frosting- another reason I wasn’t happy with these cupcakes!

Anyway, I decorated all of my cupcakes using several tips and tricks that I’ve learned during my weeks in class. Good times, but I think I liked decorating the cake better! I’m looking forward to our final class next week when we get to decorate another cake. Then, I’ll be starting the second class where I’ll learn how to make more flowers using things other than just frosting- so looking forward to learning more!

Here are a few pictures of my creations!
Decorated2

Caterpillar

This was my husband’s favorite!

Decorated1

Decorated 3

Baking love!
Heather