Monday, August 06, 2012

Cake Continued

If you can recall, I talked about my cake adventure and the cratered center a couple of weeks ago.  Boxed cakes were my go to before this, so when it came to making cakes from scratch, I definitely had big hurdles to jump over. The biggest one of them all was the sinking center.

A few days ago, I tried my hand again at making a level cake, this time, with a teeny bit of help.  I used a Bake Even strip from Wilton with a good vanilla cake recipe from Alice Currah.  I started out feeling a little bit intimidated because of the last experience, but pretty soon, I was back to the old Queen of my kitchen self.  After mixing up the batter, I filled my 8-inch pan wrapped snugly with the Bake Even strip and popped it into the oven, then proceeded to bring in a couple of sofa cushions and set them down next to the oven window.  I was not going to take my eyes off this baby.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Science Fiction?

Play with my food?  Why, yes please!

As a new blogger, I follow a tonne of (mostly food) blogs out there in the big world and am constantly learning new things.  One such thing is "Spherification."  Yes, when I typed it out, Blogger gave me the red squiggly line because even IT didn't recognize the word.  What is Spherification, you ask?  (Or not, maybe you already know.)  Well, according to Wikipedia, it is the culinary process of shaping a liquid into spheres, which visually and textually resembles caviar!!!  (Ok, Wiki didn't use exclamation marks, I added those in.) When I first looked it up, I had to read that line a couple of times, because I did not trust my eyes.  I had not ever heard of this before, although thinking back now, I actually had some of these "spheres" in an ice cream dessert once a few months back.  Absolutely enjoyed my dessert and had no idea that I was consuming tiny, round works of molecular gastronomy.  Take a look at this video of the actual process!

Spherification of apple juice.  Can you not taste it
now?  Imagine those perfect little "caviar" pearls
bursting in your mouth with different fruit flavours.
Now, I don't know where you come from, but where I live, it isn't so easy to get your hands on the required materials to perform this magic trick.  Oh yes, It's a Kind of Magic.  Please allow me to take you behind the curtains and show you that there is actually an easier, chemical-free method to achieve the same illusion.  Behold the wizard - Heather Baird, who is behind the blog "Sprinkle Bakes."  Heather taught her readers how to get around the challenge with molecular gastronomy in this posting by using simple ingredients you find in almost any pantry.  She also included a video on the process and it's been set to music.  Trust me, you are going to feel like you are watching a Broadway production with the timing of the music.  Check it out here and see for yourself!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sweet or Savoury? Both!

For quite some time now, I have been looking for a good sweet egg bread recipe.  The kind of sweet egg bread that I grew up eating so I am particularly picky about finding the right one.  This holy grail of sweet egg bread in my memory is dense, moist and chewy with a firm but light crust.  The taste reminds me of an eggy milkshake.  It sounds gross, but that's the best way to describe the creamy, sweet egg aroma.  A simple search on Google reveals bushels upon bushels of recipes on the interwebs... nice, I suppose.  However, since I cannot test them all, I sort of use the pictures as an indication of how close the recipes are to the bread I remember from my childhood.  Sad to say, I have not found "the one" yet.  There were some very good contenders, but no jackpot.

This afternoon, during my usual trawling on the net for a recipe to try, I found one that peaked my interest.  This recipe reminds me of a challah bread.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Who you calling a T bag?

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I am a tea fiend.  Every day, I have tea in some way, shape or form.  I drink it, I smell it in a candle, I put it on my face and I eat it in a cake...

A few cupcakes were even stuffed
with black cherry jelly!
The first time I made tea cupcakes, I went with the Earl Grey tea.  Although the flavours were wonderful, the cakes were a bit dry, because I did not follow the recipe to a T. (Pun intended!)  This time around, I used my favourite tea (for now, it changes every couple of months or so) from a local tea company.  It is called Cherry Rose Sencha.  Although the tea has a mild taste, the aroma of cherry and rose carry you to a Japanese garden that you did not know existed in your mind.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Happy Ever After

This past weekend was one filled with happily ever afters, and by that I mean weddings.  I had the privilege of attending one of them and after seeing the cakes (yes, there were multiple cakes!) I was inspired to make more regular sized cakes.  Shhh... don't tell my cupcakes.

Before attending the wedding though, I had the opportunity to try my hand at making a cake.  You read that right, I had not actually made a regular sized cake prior to this, ever.  As a novice baker, I believe that in order to consider myself a proper baker, I need to be able to produce a "cake" cake successfully with relatively little to no stress every time.

Since cakes are pretty much just larger versions of cupcakes, I decided that I would just put the cupcake batter in a 8x3 round pan and bake for double the amount of time.  Needless to say, that did not turn out as I expected.  As a matter of fact, I eventually ran out of eggs after the third failed attempt.  When I finally got my hands on a fresh batch of eggs, I came to my senses and consulted a proper cake recipe.  After some digging around, I settled on a basic egg-y vanilla cake from Alice Currah, a food blogger.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Calling All Guinea Pigs!

The heat wave last week prevented a test recipe from becoming my reality, so as soon as the thermostat dipped below 20 degrees celsius the other day, I whipped out the chili oil, bacon and sea salt, and got busy!

I have seen lots of recipes calling for chili and chocolate, or bacon and chocolate, but I must say that I have not really come across one that called for all of them together except for this place (a rather original business concept).  I don't dare say that I'm among the first ones to ever think of doing this, but I am positive that I am the first baker to do this, that I know of, in my kitchen. (For you, D$!)

The inspiration for this actually came from the night I attended a friend's house warming party.  She had some bacon chocolate chip cookies sitting around and the thought of eating chocolate and bacon together puzzled me... until I tried it.  The saltiness of the bacon and the chalky, sweet chocolate played twister in my mouth.  Suddenly I saw a rainbow coloured piglet flying through Willy Wonka's factory... oh sorry, that was a dream I had last night, never mind.  Anyway, the flavours worked so well together that I decided I had to work them into a cupcake.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

What hubby wants, hubby gets! (If he behaves...)

With a name like "Once upon a Cakery", one would think that my blog has more to do with sweets than savoury.  Well, I try to be unpredictable, so here it is, barbecue pork back ribs!

The Grumpster (that would be hubby) has always said that the barbecue grill makes anything taste good and that everything should be cooked that way.  I, for one, prefer my old fashioned oven/stove top cooking methods, but since I'm feeling a little bit guilty these days (for reasons I shall leave out of the interwebs!), I decided this morning that I would give him what he wants.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

π? Anyone?

My husband has a bit of a sweet tooth, which is a blessing for me because if I ate everything I made, I think I would probably be as big as the moon.  After lunch the other day, I asked hubby what he would like for dessert after dinner.  Before he replied though, I said, "maybe some chocolate bacon cupcakes with sea salt sprinkles?"  I already had the picture of fully decorated cakes in my head all sitting prettily on my new cake pedestal when he answered, "seriously, cupcakes in this kind of weather?  Give me a break... (with some eye rolling)"


Monday, July 09, 2012

Hot in the city!

After a rainy June, this 30-some degree weather is definitely a welcoming change.  After getting baked in the sun on Saturday afternoon, I decided that I shouldn't hog all this heat.  So I stuck some dough into the oven and baked me up some chocolate chip cookies!

Until about a couple of weeks ago, I had never heard of the demerara sugar.  I always thought that store bought brown sugar = cane sugar.  Ooops!  I have always liked the caramelly taste of the brown sugar over the plain white sugar, so I just about never follow my recipes exactly when sugar is called for.  And now I have the demerara to play with!

Saturday, July 07, 2012

The Inaugural Post

There's no better time than the present!
My expression when
I realized that there's
no more time to waste!

I could not agree more.  My dear friend, Tash, has been gently nudging me to start a blog because I would talk her ear off every time I try a new recipe.  Not that Tash didn't enjoy our discussions on perfect pairings over some sencha tea, or my late night texts to her wondering if I've really got what it takes to be a "Sweet Genius" (insert FoodTV Network credit here!).

It took me some time to make the move and start this blog, because I needed to find the perfect day to publish my inaugural post.  Funny thing we do as humans; we wait and wait for the right time to do something, meanwhile losing out on all kinds of opportunities to begin experiencing those new adventures.  Anyway, one night while I sat here in a small town where my husband volunteers as a pilot, listening to Freddie Mercury belting out my favourite tunes, I decided that there really was no better time than the present!  I really didn't feel like wasting another second and the Once Upon a Cakery blog was born.

Ps. I would like to dedicate this first post to my friend, Tash.