Tag Archives: strawberries

January Cake

15 Jan

Today’s recipe is a two layered naked cake topped with sugared fruit and nuts. I called it January cake simply because it was made in January.It’s a white butter cake with minimal icing so it’s a light(ish), dessert great for after a holiday season of decadent eating and drinking.

This butter cake recipe is adapted from my favourite baking website, Joy of Baking. I added the strawberries and cut down on the sugar a bit. The recipe makes two 8 inch diameter cakes. However, I made 2, 4 inch diameter cakes and so I had excess batter.

WHAT YOU NEED 

Cake

1) 2 eggs, separated- Allow the whites to come to room temperature. 

2) 1 1/3 cups of flour

3) 1 cup granulated sugar divided into 3/4 cup and 1/4 cup.

4) 1/2 cup butter

5) 1/2 cup of milk

6) 2 tsp baking powder

7) 1/8 tsp cream of tartar

8) 1 tsp vanilla extract 

9) Strawberries  (about 1/4 cup chopped)

Toppings

1)Assorted fruits- I used strawberries but you can use any berries you like.

2)Assorted nuts- I used almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts. 

3)Granulated white sugar- about 1 cup.

Frosting

1) 1 cup confectioners sugar

2) 1/4 cup butter 

3) 1 tsp vanilla extract 

4) 1 tablespoon of milk

5) Food colouring of choice

Ingredients 

Ingredients 

Topping ingredients 


Frosting ingredients 


WHAT TO DO 

Cake

1) Beat butter until soft then add 3/4 cup of sugar and beat until fluffy. Add egg yolks and vanilla extract and beat well.

2) Keeping mixer on low speed, add flour and milk alternately beginning with flour. Add chopped strawberries and mix in gently with a spatula.Set batter off to the side.

Batter with strawberries 


3) In a clean bowl, beat egg whites until foamy.

4) Add cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form.

Soft peaks

5) Add 1/4 cup of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.

Stiff peaks


6) Fold meringue mixture into batter careful not to deflate the meringue. 

Batter


7) Pour into baking tins and bake at 350 F until done.

Batter in tin


Baked cake


Toppings

1)Mix about 1/2 cup of sugar with a small amount of water until a thick syrup forms.

Syrup



2) Dip strawberries and nuts into syrup and allow to partially dry then roll into remaining sugar.

Sugared fruits

3) Set out to dry at room temperature. 

Frosting

1) Beat butter until smooth and creamy.

2) On low speed add the confectioners sugar.

3) On high speed add milk and beat until frosting is light and fluffy.

4) Add food colouring  (I added WAY too much).

Assembly

I intended initially to make a 3 layered cake but due to the narrow diameter , it wasn’t structurally sound,  Depending on the size of your cake you can do however many layers you wish.

1) Level the cakes using a sharp knife or cake leveler. 

2) Place a dot of frosting on a sturdy icing surface and put first layer of cake down.

3) Place a dollop of frosting on top of cake and using a knife spread it out. 

One layer


4) Place second layer on top and cover top with icing allowing some to spill over the edge.

Two layers


5) Place in refrigerator and allow everything to firm up for about 15 minutes. 

6) Add a bit more frosting on top and spread it with a straight edged tool (palette knife ) until there is a light layer of frosting around the cake.Think of just doing a crumb coat layer of frosting.

7) Add toppings and  you’re done.

January cake


This cake was delicious. The butter cake is light but somehow still dense. Not like a sponge cake at all which is how I thought it might be at first. The sugared fruits and nuts add a whimsical flair. The icing was sweet and buttery but not overwhelming because there wasn’t much of it.

This is great to have as a teatime dessert or a brunch dessert or really anytime. 

Have an awesome day.

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Sunny Summer Sweet Salad Pizza

7 Aug

Hello and happy Sunday

It’s proper summer right now meaning days are hotter than ever . The thought of summer time always evokes pinterest worthy visions in my mind…. fresh bright fun food, eaten by a poolside or hanging out on your deck, firepit on, citronella candles ablaze, everyone relaxed and laughing….ah yes, summer. 

Well this isn’t my reality, I live in a small apartment with a smaller balcony, no deck or firepit and I’m never relaxed. But I do have a citronella candle so I get one pinterest point there.

Anyhow, while perusing pinterest a few days ago looking for some meal inspiration I came across a delicious looking salad which in addition to the regular greens contained strawberries and was topped with balsamic vinegar. I am a super fan of mixing different tastes together e.g. sweet and salty and this made me excited. I decided to make this into a pizza because I always associate pizza with summer. This recipe takes a fresh summer salad and tosses it onto a crust.

Let us begin…

This salad pizza is made using watercress, strawberries and blue cheese as the main ingredients but really your imagination is your only limit to the toppings you use. You can use kale, arugula, add almonds or walnuts, swap the strawberries with blueberries etc.

WHAT YOU NEED 

1) Pita bread- I chose this for my crust because I think it adds to the overall aesthetic of the pizza, also pita bread is typically much cheaper than premade pizza crust and way less work than making your own. The ones I got are small and whole wheat .

Pile of pita bread

2) Watercress (rocket lettuce) 

3) Blue cheese crumbles

4) Fresh strawberries -the quintessential summer fruit

5) Greek yogurt

6) Honey

7) Extra virgin olive oil

8) Mint leaves

Strawberries,  blue cheese crumbles, watercress, Greek yogurt and mint leaves.

WHAT TO DO

1) Coat the pita bread with olive oil making sure to get the edges, this makes it crisp up nicely without getting burnt.

2) Place the watercress on top of the oiled up pita.

Watercress on top of pita

3) Add sliced strawberries (I used one medium sized one)

Sliced strawberries added

4) Sprinkle blue cheese on .

Sprinkled on blue cheese crumbles

5) Bake on oven until the cheese has melted and the pita looks browned.

6) Add Greek yogurt in small dollops over pizza.

7)Tear the mint leaves and add on top. ( I also put on a few more pieces of watercress and strawberry slices for a combination of textures.)

8) Drizzle honey across the top of the pizza.

Yogurt and honey added on top

So if I make something and post about it, it’s expected that I say it tastes “Oh so good!” . But, let me tell you. This. Tastes. Soooo. Good. The truth is that I was winging it most of the time. I didn’t know how these things would work out all mixed together. However,  it worked. It worked well. The strawberries are tart, the yogurt adds creamy surprising texture, the blue cheese pops and the mint is refreshing.  All of that on the background of the crispy pita and watercress made this delightful. This is a great as an appetizer or personal pizza.

I hope you try this and enjoy it. Have an awesome day!

Last Splash(Watermelon Slush)

5 Oct

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“Ah been drankin’ wata mellun”
Hey…
So summer is officially over

ACTUALLY……..
For those in temperate climates (Northern hemisphere) summer is over. For those in temperate Southern climates its now coming and for those in the tropics well there are generally 2 seasons: rainy and dry but we do experience milder versions of weather patterns depending on which side of the equator we lie.

But I digress….

I’m really here to talk about the quintessential summer friut of 2014…..the watermelon!

I don’t know if to attribute it to the (?in)famous line in Beyoncé’s monster hit “Drunk in Love” or this just happened to be the year everyone jumped on the watermelon bandwagon but this fruit was large and in charge in 2014.

It made its way into everything from fresh fruit salads to salsas for grilled meats to alcoholic beverages.
It could be found in fashion too, I’ve seen watermelon bags (shaped like a semicircular slice of the fruit), tees with watermelon prints and of course featured in Mz Katy Perry’s “How we do” music vid (LOOOVE that song)

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Watermelon print tee

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m well aware that the watermelon has been a popular fruit and had an impact on fashion for a loooong time. However as far as popular culture goes every year a few food items get seriously hyped up and enjoys (or endures) its 15 minutes of fame.
Examples include:
1)Pomegranate circa 2009/2010 (and it’s still going,pomegranate flavoured stuff is always more expensive)

2) Kale circa 2012/2013

My prediction for 2014/2015 is coconut and more importantly coconut water! Mark my words you heard it first right here.

Again, I digress….

imageThe Watermelon

A WORD ON WATERMELON
According to Wikipedia(everyone’s ultimate reference source whether or not we admit it) watermelon is the name given to both the plant and it’s fruit(which is what we are actually talking about here). It is believed to have originated in Southern Africa. They contain little sugar, lots of water and lycopene which is associated with cardiovascular health… blah blah blah take home message: it’s good for you!

MY THOUGHTS ON WATERMELON
As a young child I was given watermelon as well as many other fruits to eat (my mother tried, I have only myself to blame for any bad eating habits I now foster). I hated it.

As a teeneager, while trying to develop healthy eating habits I tried watermelon. I hated it.

As an adult, on numerous occasions, while trying to be healthy and frugal I tried watermelon. I.HATED. IT

I’m not sure I left any clues to suggest this but don’t like watermelon. At all.
It’s watery as the name implies and tastes like Styrofoam (what I imagine it must taste like). It has too many seeds and even though its so watery, when the juice dries it gets über sticky. Bleh!

However, not wanting to be left out of this watermelon craze I decided to give this fruit another chance.

The thing about watermelon that really does appeal to me is bang for your buck. Watermelon is cheap. I can get an entire cannonball sized one for what 3 apples or 1 nectarine costs. And I will get a lot more servings of a fruit that is pretty much as healthy as they come.

So I gave the wretched fruit another try. I was inspired by the thousands of pins and posts and magazine articles glorifying this fruit. What I did realize is that hardly anyone was eating it plain. They were adding it to stuff, adding stuff to it etc (you get the idea)
That was the key. Sure I couldn’t tolerate the thought of putting a chunk of the pink fleshy fruit to my lips by itself but what if…. what if I jazzed it up a little… and that I did.

So here is the actual post(lol)

WATERMELON STRAWBERRY SLUSH

WHAT YOU NEED:
1) A watermelon(whole or sliced)- the amount you use depends on how much of this you make.

2) Strawberries(frozen)either use actual frozen strawberries (I did, they’re cheaper) or get fresh ones and pop them in the freezer.

3)Lemon/Lime juicefrom a bottle or fresh

WHAT TO DO

1) Cut the watermelon into small cubes (the exact size is entirely up to you)

2) Slice the frozen strawberries up

3) Place both fruits in a bowl or jar or glass and pour a dash or 2 of lemon juice over it (again this depends on how much you make and how acid you like things)

4) Stir the ingredients together allowing the watermelon to get partially crushed. It’s okay if the strawberries get a bit crushed too.

5) Serve with a spoon

PEARLS (a-hem ..seeds)
i)You can add strawberry flavored beverage mix e.g tang,Kool aid to amp up the strawberry factor.

ii) Add Sprite/7-Up or plain soda water(only a couple dashes) to give some fizz.

iii) Blend with said sprite etc to make it into a drink.

This is a great little snack on a hot day or alternative to ice cream for dessert. It’s affordable, simple, versatile and easy. Oh and I actually liked it! Cheers to that!

ADDENDUM

Other food Trends(these are my personal observations, no scientific evidence was used)

Red Velvet anything –2011-present.

Key Lime flavored anything– this is currently becoming a trend.

Bacon- circa 2012. This is when everyone’s favourite breakfast item meandered into pop culture and is now commonly seen on shirts, in jewelry, internet memes….etc.

Quinoa-circa 2013 to present. This one makes me chuckle.My sister did NOT get on this gravy train. She is so anti this gluten free wonder(she thinks it’s obnoxious). I personally like it, a healthy alternative to cous cous but I cannot even mutter the wprd in my sister’s presence.

Pops- circa 2011 to present. Cake pops, applepie pops, marshmallow pops…. basically any dessert or food item in general on a stick (except corndogs). We have Bakerella ( the talented, brilliant inventor of cake pops) to thank for this.

Now I’m done. Have an awesome day!

Chocolate covered Strawberries

8 Aug

Hello there everyone,

There was a time not too long ago when I thought something as decadent as chocolate dipped strawberries was a treat I’d only get to enjoy at a posh party or an upscale restaurant. Now, I have no idea why.

Chocolate dipped strawberries, are delicious, elegant and above all,simple to make . It’s that little dessert that everyone will be impressed with and want to try and they simply won’t believe you when you tell them: ” No I didn’t hire a gourmet chef, I swear I did it myself! (blush)”

Today I am sharing my strawberries dipped in pink chocolate (ooh la la) which equates to pink candy melts. However, I’ve done this with milk chocolate,dark chocolate and white chocolate all with equally tantalizing results.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • Fresh strawberries– the frozen ones won’t work
  • Pink candy melts– these can be substituted with any other colour candy melts or simply milk,dark or white chocolate chips or pieces.
  • Sprinkles(optional)
  • Wax/Parchment paper– for cooling

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I like the strawberries ripe but not too ripe. That way you get that juiciness and sweetness but not to the point where it will interfere with the integrity of the chocolate.

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Pink candy melts by Wilton

A short note on candy meltsI’m sure most persons are by now familiar with this product but for anyone who doesn’t know, candy melts are essentially coloured white chocolate discs that are vanilla flavoured. They come in a myriad of colours and are used famously in decorating cakepops but may be used just about anywhere you use chocolate chips.

WHAT YOU DO:

1) Wash and thoroughly dry strawberries and lay them out on a flat surface.- This is very important as chocolate is extremely temperamental and even a wisp of moisture can make it seize up.

2) Make sure your hands are clean and dry for the sake of the chocolate/candy melts

3) Pour out the appropriate amount of chocolate/candy melts into a clean,dry microwaveable container- Of course the amount used depends on how many strawberries you’re dipping,how large they are etc. I do advise using small amounts at a time as you don’t want to have to deal with wasted melted chocolate.

4) Melt the chocolate in30 second bursts on low setting, checking and stirring each time to see the consistency. If it looks like it’s underdone give it another 15-30 seconds. If it seems overdone add some vegetable oil a bit at a time to get it smooth.

5) Now that your chocolate has melted let the fun begin, hold the fruit by it’s leaves and dip it into the chocolate and give it a little swirl. Use a spoon to help spread the chocolate around and place on drying sheet.

  • Once finished with the bowl, wash it ASAP while the chocolate is still soft. If it does end up being too hard then give it a few seconds in the microwave to soften it up.

6) Add sprinkles,coloured sugar,or edible glitter etc for that extra touch. Let them cool and harden on parchment/wax paper.

7) Serve and enjoy!

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Placing them in cupcake cases makes them easy to serve.

You can chocolate dip lots of other fruits: apples,banana,orange slices as well as other snacks for example marshmallows and pretzels for a gourmet treat at a home made price!

Have an awesome day!

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