Thursday, February 7, 2019

Moist Banana Cake

This is a super flavorful moist banana cake with cream cheese frosting.  It's great for a potluck.  This recipe uses a cake mix which makes it super easy to put together. 

Moist Banana Cake

Preheat oven 350 degrees

1 box Betty Crocker Moist French Vanilla Cake Mix
3 eggs (room temperature)
1 cup milk (room temperature)
1/3 cup oil
1 tsp. baking soda
3 ripe bananas (Smashed)
2 tsp. banana extract

Mix all the ingredients in a stand mixer for minimum of 5 minutes.  You want a creamy smooth batter. 

Grease and flour pan.  Pour in a 9x13 pan or 10x12 disposable aluminum sheet pan.

Bake for 35 minutes, insert tooth pick to test for doneness.   If top is not firm but giggly, continuing baking until you can press top and its firm. 

Cool cake completely before frosting.  Once frosted, lightly cover with cling wrap and put in fridge.  The cake gets super moist if kept in fridge over night, if you can wait that long.  Store cake in fridge. 


1 cream cheese 8 ounces ( room temperature)
2 1/2 cups powder sugar
1 tsp banana extract

Whip until smooth and creamy and spread with off set spatula on top of cool cake.  Enjoy!

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Christmas 2018

My daughter and I were able to make a Gingerbread House this year.  It's not always easy to find the time during a busy holiday season, but we did and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.  

As you can see we love white.  We love that winter wonderland feeling.  

Friday, June 1, 2018

Chocolate and Vanilla Cupcakes for Nonna Maria

Happy Birthday to a Special Nonna.  Only special cupcakes will do.

Dark Chocolate Oreo Cookie Cupcakes
Birthday Confetti
Moist Vanilla Cookies and Creme
Vanilla Cannolli Cupcakes

Chocolate and Vanilla cupcakes are so versatile.  It's endless what flavors you can come up with a good base recipe.  These are my two favorite recipes.  The chocolate cake is 100% from scratch and the vanilla cake uses a cake mix and scratch ingredients to get the perfect vanilla cupcake. 

My favorite chocolate cupcake recipe.

Rich Chocolate Cupcake
Preheat Oven 335-350 degrees, line cupcake tins with paper

Wet Ingredients
1 3/4 very hot strong coffee
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
2 cups sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter

2 large beaten eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Put all wet ingredients in a sauce pot and heat until very hot and sugar, chocolate and butter are all smooth and dissolved. This is crucial that all ingredients are thoroughly dissolved and cohesive.  

Cool slightly and put into a mixing bowl with whisk attachement.  Turn on mixer on low speed and add beaten eggs, vanilla and continue to beat.  You want the mixer moving so as to not cook the eggs while in warm wet ingredients.  

Dry Ingredients:
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
pinch salt

sift these ingredients and add slowly to mixer, beat until well incorporated.  

This is a runny batter.  Line your cupcake tins with paper liners and fill 3/4 full.  Bake at 335-350 degrees check in 15 minutes for doness.  Depending on your oven it can take much longer than 15 minutes.  Cupcake should spring back one touched on top.  If using a larger muffin size cupcake it will take longer.  

Once they are cooled I like to fill mine with American Buttercream and top with a spoonful of ganache.  They are super moist and delicious.  

American Buttercream

4 sticks soft room temperature butter, unsalted
8 cups confectioners sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 T. heavy cream

With whip attachment beat butter until light and fluffy, add vanilla and slowly add powder sugar and cream in intervals.  Then whip until everything is creamy and light.  Turn your mixer to lowest setting and beat for another 3 minutes to take out some of the air from buttercream. This will give you a smoother buttercream.  You can easily half this recipe.

1 cup semi sweet chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 T. strong coffee
1 T. unsalted butter
pinch salt

In a sauce pot heat cream, coffee and butter to a very warm temperature. Butter should be melted.  Add chocolate and let sit for 5 minutes.  Mix with a whisk or spoon and stir until melted and smooth.

Vanilla Cupcake
preheat oven to 350 degrees

1 vanilla or yellow cake mix
4 eggs
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup oil
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract

In a stand mixer add all ingredients and beat for at least 5 minutes until smooth and incorporated. 
Fill prepared cupcake tins that are lined with paper to about 3/4 full.  Check cupcakes in 15-20 minutes for doneness.  They are done when touch they spring back.  You might have to adjust time.  Everyone's oven cooks slightly different.  

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Celebrating Alivia's First Birthday Bash!!!!!

Alivia had an Alice in Wonderland Party Theme
I made Alivia an Alice in Wonderland Cake.  

Made her a buttercream cake to smash!!!!

She enjoyed every minute!

Had a great time celebrating my Great Niece Alivia Alexandria Rose.  She turned one on April 5, 2018.  She is such a sweet little girl.  Her personality is angelic and she loves everyone.  She is such a happy child.  Her smile melts my heart.  Happy Birthday Angel Girl.  Your my baby cakes.  Love you so much!!!!!!  We had a tough past year in the family and you made  the pain and hurt go away.
Made gum paste cake topper

My daughter made gum paste clocks and keyhole
Edible Gum Paste Skeleton Keys

Edible Lace for Cake

Made mini cheese cakes for party

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Greek Cinnamon Paximadia

Recipes is for Cookie in the middle.  Looks like a biscotti

Found this wonderful recipe on Good Housekeeping, no less.  Its a Greek traditional cookie.  It's our version of Greek Biscotti.  Lots of Cinnamon!!!! Love these.  Taste just like Yiayia's.  Only thing I did different was not use shortening.  I use butter instead.  I never use shortening.  

Greek Cinnamon Paximadia
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Recipe source: Good Housekeeping

1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. shortening
1 1/2 c. sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
4 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
In large bowl with mixer at low speed, beat margarine or butter, shortening, and 1 cup sugar until blended. Increase speed to high; beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. At low speed, add eggs, 1 at a time, and vanilla, and beat until well mixed.  
Gradually add baking powder, baking soda, and 3 cups flour and beat until well blended. With wooden spoon, stir in remaining 1 cup flour until soft dough forms. If necessary, add additional flour (up to 1/2 cup) until dough is easy to handle.  
Divide dough into 4 equal pieces. On lightly floured surface, shape each piece of dough into an 8-inch-long log. Place 2 logs, about 4 inches apart, on each of 2 ungreased large cookie sheets. Flatten each log to 2 1/2 inches wide.
Place cookie sheets on 2 oven racks and bake logs 20 minutes or until lightly browned and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, rotating cookie sheets between upper and lower racks halfway through baking. In pie plate, mix cinnamon with remaining 1/2 cup sugar.
Remove cookie sheets from oven. Transfer hot loaves (during baking, logs will spread and become loaves) to cutting board; with serrated knife, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Coat slices with cinnamon sugar.
Return slices, cut side down, to same cookie sheets. Bake slices 15 minutes. Turn slices over and return to oven, rotating cookie sheets between upper and lower racks, and bake 15 minutes longer or until golden. Remove cookies to wire racks to cool.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Bocconotti Mini Italian Cookie Tarts

These cookies are the ones that look like mini pies.
I also filled some with apricot and orange marmalade.

Bocconotti means tiny bites in Italian and is traditionally served during Christmas.  This recipe is made in many regions of Italy and traditionally are filled with jams, ricotta cheese or almond chocolate fillings.  You can cover tops of mini pies with dough or leave open top.

This Recipe is Chocolate Filling
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Pastry Dough:
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 whole egg
2 egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Grated zest of 1 lemon (optional)
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into slices

1 cup sliced almonds
½ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 ounces mini chocolate chips
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Plus another 1/3 cup of mini chocolate chips for topping

Dust with powder sugar

To make the pastry dough:
In a food processor combine all dough ingredients process until dough comes together in a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate.  Make filling.

To make the filling:
Put the almonds in a food processor and grind them until finely chopped.
Add the sugar, cocoa powder, chocolate, and cinnamon. Process until finely chopped and mixed well.

In a bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
Fold the almond mixture into the beaten egg whites, in 3 increments.
When the mixture is well combined, fold in the vanilla.

To form and bake the Bocconotti:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
You will need 36 individual mini tart molds that are approximately 1-1/2 inches wide.  I used a Wilton mini muffin pan. 

Take a walnut size amount of dough and roll it into a ball.  Use your fingers and press down into the mini muffin form to form a shell.  Form and press to form a mini pie in each mini muffin form.  Trim the excess off the top and clean edge of each tart. Place a teaspoon of filling in each tart shell and sprinkle with extra mini chocolate chips.  Place all the filled tarts on a sheet pan and bake for 12-15 minutes bake until lightly golden.

Remove from oven and cool tarts on wire rack. When cool, remove the tarts from the molds.  Dust with confectioners' sugar.  Can be stored in airtight container for a few days. Great with cup of espresso coffee!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Blue Berry Pie

    This was delicious and the recipe is from one of my favorite TV Chefs Alton Brown.  I used a basic pie crust recipe.  It is awesome.  

    Blue Berry Pie
    4 cups blueberries
    1/2 cups sugar
    1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
    5 tablespoons Tapioca Flour
    1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
    1 teaspoon orange zest
    2 (9-inch) store-bought pie doughs or( homemade)
    1 egg yolk whisked with 1 teaspoon water
                             Wash the berries and pat dry. Mash up half of the blueberries
                             in a small bowl.
    In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, salt and tapioca flour. Add the mashed blueberries, orange juice and orange zest and stir to combine. Let the mixture sit for 15 minutes. Fold in the whole berries.

    Line a 9-inch pie plate with aluminum foil. Place the blueberry mixture into the foil and place in the freezer until solid, approximately 6 to 8 hours.

    Once the filling is frozen, remove from the aluminum foil and wrap in plastic wrap and store in a freezer bag for up to 3 months
           TO BAKE
    Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

    Unroll first piece of dough and place into a 9-inch pie pan, making sure the dough reaches to the lip of the pie pan. Trim excess, if necessary. Prick the bottom and sides with a fork.

    Remove the frozen pie filling from the freezer and place into the prepared dough in the pan. Lightly brush the edge of the crust with the egg yolk.
    either use a full top crust or a lattice crust... seal edges

    Place on the bottom rack of the oven and bake for about 1 hour 15 minutes. The pie should be bubbling lightly around the edges. If the lattice is not browned enough in the center, place under the broiler for 1 to 2 minutes.

    Place the pie on a rack and allow to cool to room temperature before serving, approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

    Never Fail Pie Crust

    3 cups flour
    1 tsp. salt
    1 T. sugar
    1 1/4 cups soft butter
    1 egg
    1/3 cold water
    1 T. Vodka

    In a food processor, add flour, sugar, salt and pulse to combine.  Add soft butter, egg and pulse to a meal.  Combine vodka with water.  Turn on processor add liquids in a steady stream to form a ball.  Remove from machine.  Flatten into 2 disks wrapped in clear wrap.  Place in fridge for one hour.  Roll out on floured board to desired size.  I usually egg wash my pie crust after I add slits to top of dough and sprinkle with demerra sugar.

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