For the Love of Olive Oil

Ever since I began watching cooking shows, it seems like olive oil, or EVOO, as one Food Network star puts it, is one of the most essential cooking ingredients one could have in their kitchen.

I suppose I can attest to that.  Many times have I reached for that bottle of EVOO in most if not all my dishes.  Well, not for fried chicken, of course.  For that I reach for my corn oil.  :)

However, I have not used olive oil in my baked goods until last week.   I had heard of olive oil cake, in passing, but never thought of actually making it myself.  That is, until I happened upon it while dining at Tender Greens.  While waiting to pay for lunch, I was standing in front of the desserts/baked good section.   I love to look at these little dessert set-ups.  They give me great ideas for potential baked goods to create myself and I was not disappointed!

As I scoped out their desserts,  my eyes fell upon a cute little cake.  I figured it to be an orange cake and I was half right.  It was a darling little Orange Olive Oil Cake.  And at that moment, I was inspired!  I turned to the husband and told him that I HAD to make an olive oil cake this week!

So, I looked up a couple different recipes and decided to turn to my all-time favorite blog, Smitten Kitchen.  I didn’t use blood oranges, since I only had navel oranges.  But next time.  Yes.  Next time.

The cake was moist and the just right combination of olive oil and orange.  I was a bit worried that the olive oil flavor would be too strong and dominate, but the orange held its own.  I also sprinkled sugar on top for a nice crunchy top.  :)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Orange zest.  Sugar.  Beautiful combination.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Real orange segments.  Buttermilk.  Fresh squeezed orange juice.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Whisk and stir it all together now!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Don’t you love the crackly sugar top?  Makes every bite delicious.   I was supposed to make an orange compote to serve on top, but I forgot.  But even without, this cake was a huge hit!  Slightly warmed for a moist and amazing treat.

I think I shall try to make this again, but with grapefruit!  Or blood oranges, like the recipe originally called for.   Can’t wait!  I’ll be sure to post about it if I ever do.

Hope you all had a wonderful President’s Day weekend!  Many many more posts to come.  :)

Oatmeal, Peanut Butter, Espresso, Chocolate, Honey & Almonds!

I think I have started, stopped, restarted, and restopped, and restarteded this post so many times.  Instead of trying to write a fun intro.. I’m going to just dive in!  Ready?!

First off, we have a Oatmeal Cookie Sandwich with Peanut Butter Filling.

P1220669P1220671

When you mix together flour, spices, and oatmeal plus some nicely chopped up pecans.. do you know what you get?  Lemme tell you.  You get amazing amazing oatmeal cookies!  Oh, and you mustn’t forget the sugar and butter too.  All whipped up nice and fluffy.

And if you look closely in that first picture, do you catch a glimpse of yet another wonderful present from the husband?  Yes, it is a rabbit whisk!  Cute right?  :)

P1220676P1220680

Yummy!  They were wonderfully soft and chewy.  They didn’t turn out as flat as I hoped.   I wanted them to be flatter so that they wouldn’t be humongous when I filled them.   But seeing how fast they disappeared… I guess it really didn’t matter.

P1230688 P1230692Beautiful, right?!  My coworkers INHALED them.  I bring them baked goods every week.  Some are hits and some are miserable misses.  But these cookies are still raved about today!   I made these cookies 2 weeks ago!  I rarely bake the same things twice, but this one, this one I must.  Otherwise… I fear retribution from the coworkers. hahaha.

Next, we have Espresso Chocolate Shortbread Cookies.

I guess I take back what I just wrote earlier about not baking the same things twice.  I did indeed bake this before.  But thinking back I do not believe I actually posted it.  And looking back through my archives… I do believe I am correct.

This is a delicious rich buttery cookie.  I don’t really eat shortbread cookies all that often.  I realize that this is a big mistake.  They are crisp and yet melt in your mouth.  The lovely marriage of espresso and bittersweet chocolate.  You would think that this cookie, being chock full of chocolate-y bits, would be very sweet.  However, since I used bittersweet chocolate, it was just the right intensity of dark cocoa flavor.  :)

P1230681

And did you know that this cookie is actually kinda fun to make.  But I suppose if you’re really anal about like having really straight lines.. this might be more fun?  Less fun?  After chilling the dough inside a gallon-sized ziploc bag, I used my cutting board to cut my cookies.  If you look closely, you can see the little rectangles I cut.  They were somewhat straight… I really don’t care that much, as you can see.  haha.

P1230687

P1230693

They go quite well with coffee.  Or milk.  Or chocolate milk!  Yum.  Chocolate soy milkkkkk.  :)

Okay, last but not least, I also made Honey Bee Cake.

Yes. I did make all three of these in the same week.  In 2 days to be exact.  Yes, I do have a life outside of baking.  No, I do not get enough sleep.  :)

This pretty little cake was from the afore-posted about cake cookbook.  I love it!  I have already bookmarked three other cakes I want to make.  Maybe I shall try to make one every week!  hehe.  I do love cakes.

P1230701 P1230707

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See the super cute rubber spatula?  It was a gift from my coworker.  It pretty much describes my most favorite three things to do.  :)  Melting butter is always a good sign.  As is including honey in baked goods.

P1230711

This is the resulting glaze comprised of honey, butter, and brown sugar.  Yes, this beauty will be drizzled all over the cake!

P1230716P1230722

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You have to poke holes to help the honey glaze seep in.  Seep in.  SEEP! But no worries, we will cover up these unfortunate looking, but very necessarily, holes with…

P1230729

ALMONDS!  Toasted almonds.  And then drizzle even more glaze on top!  Bake a few more minutes for the just the right type of crunch…

P1230726

AMAZING!  I wish I had taken off the springform pan while taking this picture.  Then you could see just how beautiful this cake is.  Oh well.  Next time.  And I also wished I used MORE almonds.  The almond to cake ratio was not to my liking.  But since this cake was so cute and so delicious (my coworkers are also raving about this one!), I think I will end up using twice as many almonds.  Just to be safe.  :)

Whew.  I am finally done!  This was a really long post.  Took a long time to write it.  Thanks again to the husband for the lovely pictures!  Enjoy!🙂

Happy Birthday to Me!

Maybe that sounded a bit self-absorbed.

As much as I love celebrating birthdays, and even my own, I actually don’t like being the center of attention when it is my birthday.  Which seems contradictory.

Contradictory like how I like making birthday cakes, but dislike being sung to when it’s time to eat my own.

Strange, huh?  Oh well.  I love a good party, but find it awkward being in the limelight.

Anyhow, what you really want to know about is the cake that I baked for my birthday.

I know I know.  My birthday should be the day that I shouldn’t have to bake a cake.  But, the husband got me the cutest cake cookbook ever for, well, my birthday!  I knew that I had to bake something out of that book and I figured my birthday was a good enough excuse to do so.

Earlier this week I saw a sale for blackberries.  I decided to buy a couple boxes to make blackberry jam.  Not that I really eat jam, but I thought that instead of hiding my fruit inside a baked good, I’d let the fruit itself shine.  But then I saw a recipe for jam cake.. and that original idea went out of the window.  :)

P1160565P1160568

I don’t particularly like the taste of blackberries.  I find them a bit sour.  But in a jam (with lots of sugar, of course), they taste just wonderful!

Oh yes, I should tell you what I made.  Blackberry Jam Cake with Caramel Chocolate Ganache.

Doesn’t that sound wonderful?  :)

First off!  Making Caramel Chocolate GanacheP1170579P1170584.

Warm buttery caramel poured over semi-sweet chocolate chips = Amazing ganache.  Lemme tell you.  The kitchen smelled wonderful.  Beautiful glossy and rich ganache.  I could probably eat it drizzled over everything.  :)

P1170614P1170617

Aren’t those layers wonderful?  I’ve started to notice this 3-layer cake trend.  Or maybe it was always there and I was just oblivious.  I only have 2 8-inch pans.  And then I decide to bake a beautiful cake that is… 3 layers.  This always causes me to shake my fist that I still haven’t gone and gotten that darn 3rd 8-inch cake pan.  SIGH.   But anyways, that’s my pretty blackberry jam cake with ganache fillings.  I was supposed to also put toasted almonds inbetween…but I forgot.  :(

P1180635

Beautiful, right?  Gah.  I painstakingly put every toasted almond on there.  hahaha.  I didn’t want to just like mash/throw the almonds on there.  Yeah, I can be particular like that.  My first batch of almonds burned too.  But that’s okay.  The husband likes to eat burnt things (including my burnt baked goods).

It was a beautiful cake that tasted amazing as well.

And if you were wondering… no one sang happy birthday to me.  :)

Just the way I like it.

Give Me S’More Brownies, Please!

Those are the words I long to hear.  People asking for more and thereby relieving me from having to deal with leftovers!  The husband claims that he likes to eat my desserts…but more often than naught, they are left to rot in the fridge and on the dining table.

But thankfully, these brownies were somewhat of a hit.  Only left with 1/3 of a pan out of the original 2 full 9×13 pans.  I suppose that’s as good as it gets when I’m dealing with health-conscious (well, somewhat) co-workers and friends and the like.  I tell myself not to bake so much… but then again I don’t ever listen to anyone. 🙂

These brownies are chock full of CHOCOLATE.  Yes.  Lots and lots of chocolate, oh and butter.  And some sugar.  Yes yes.  And gingersnap cookies (I didn’t have any graham crackers, but everyone knows that gingersnap cookies are better anyhow).  And topped with lots of delectable mini marshmallows.  Delicious!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Apparently, there is a cult-like love for brownie edges.  But lemme tell you something.  These brownies, you need to get at the very center of the whole pan.  Because in the middle, my friends, is where you find the most fudgy decadent chocolatey brownies.  Yup.  Moist and dense.  You seriously need a glass of milk to get a giant mouthful down.  Well, unless you are ladylike and take little nibbles.  With bursts of sharp ginger and the softness of  marshmallows to round it all off. 🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I’m not a huge fan of brownies, but I would ask for s’more of these! (Yeah yeah.  The husband’s punny-ness is rubbing off on me!)

Let’s Try This Again…

Hello my friends!

I am quite ashamed that I haven’t blogged in half a year!  My bad!  I didn’t think I’d be so dang busy.  haha.  And to tell you the truth.. though I still bake at least once a week.. my new love is COOKING!

GASP!   I know, right?!  How could I?!  But it is what it is.

Now that I actually have someone to cook for (my VERY lucky husband), my first thoughts tend to drift to new and exciting ways to cook chicken and mussels and vegetables and stews and pork chops!  YUM.  My mind is drooling right now… just thinking about it.  Having perfected my fried chicken recipe, I am moving onto cooking more seafood.  Mussels, clams, fish, and the like.

But, as much as I love cooking.. my baking pantry is still well-stocked and overflowing, to be honest.  I still get excited when I see new recipes on my favorite blogs and now that I’ve got TWO new baking cookbooks… I expect many new baked goods to come out of my trusty oven.  And since it’s quite cold in my apartment, baking will not be such a horrifying experience as it was over the summer… SHUDDER.

But yes!  As my reentry into the blogging world.. let me regale you with some of the deliciousness we have made in the past several months! 🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

These are only but a few of the many yummy things I’ve made.  And as much as I’d like to claim credit for these beautiful photos… they really go to the husband.  Aren’t they such beautiful shots?!  Hopefully he will contribute more in the future.  hehe.  Here’s to hoping that I shall be more consistent in the new year!

Enjoy and Happy New Year! 🙂

Cute (and Delicious) Ways to Stay Cool

Remember when I was complaining how awful it is to bake in the valley?

WELL!

I have found a delicious (and non-miserable) way to create yummy treats without melting to death.  :)  Not to mention, they make me incredibly nostalgic.  Just like watching Mighty Morphing Power Rangers… blast from the past!

You know what I’m talking about, right?  Two cool (and I mean it literally) desserts that we have all enjoyed as children: JELLO & POPSICLES!  :)

Shattered Glass Jello Bundt Cake and Fruit Popsicles have been my new favorite snacks to stay cool in this horrendous heat.  :)

Care to see more?  Wait?  What am I talking about?! Of course you do!

Shattered Glass Jello Bundt Cake.  Now, what exactly is that?  See below!

I love that you can use any container really to make Jello.  My handy dandy Pyrex containers.  My super cute Aladdin tupperwares.

Did I mention that I made this treat for a 4th of July BBQ?  Explains the red, white, and blue.   White?  Not white jello.  Something even better!  Condensed milk!  :D

Next, I cubed up the strawberry and blue raspberry jello.  Tossed them into a bundt pan and poured in all that condensed milk goodness!

Let it set overnight.  Then had this beautiful treat after some hamburgers and corn-on-the-cob!  :)

Amazing!

I also made some 5 layer jello too.  Used the same flavors + condensed milk goodness.  Took a little more time than the bundt cake, but equally delicious!

Sorry it’s a bit blurry.  Was too involved in a game of Taboo to notice the poor picture quality!

You know.  I was going to post about my fruit popsicles… but I might leave that for next time.  :)  And since I’m making it such a priority to stay on top of my blogging, I assure you that it will be up soon!

In the meantime, stay cool, my friends.  Make some jello!  Eat some jello!  :)

Baking = Suffering in the Valley

I have to admit it.

I totally hate baking during the summer in the valley!  AHH!

It is so hot.  Even though I started baking at 10am, I was pouring sweat as I mixed the batter.  It’s totally misery, I tell you!

Haha.  Okay.  No more complaining.  I am still very happy though, when my baked goods come out of the oven.  Especially with these wonderful Apple Cinnamon Swirl Cupcakes!  They are packed full of apples, cinnamon, butter, and sugar.  What is there not to love?!

Not to mention, that it has a scrumptious streudel-like topping and is soft and chewy on in the inside.  :)  A perfect crunch with tons of flavor.

I made these cupcakes for a friend’s birthday.  So of course, I had to spruce them up a bit.  What do I mean by that?  Keep on scrolling and you shall see!

Pretty cupcake liners!  :)

Lots of apples… and did I mention BUTTER & cinnamon sugar?!

yum yum!

Delicious, right?!  Remember I mentioned the perfect crunch?  Say thanks to the butter + cinnamon sugar!  :)

And look at how cute I packaged them!  hehe.

Isn’t it so cute?!  I LOVE the stickers.  hehe.  My friends made them for my bridal shower gift.   What is The Happy Whisk, you ask?  Well!  If I were ever to start a bakery, that’s what I’d name it.  Cute, yeah?

Wouldn’t you love to receive a box as cute as that?!  Love it.

Maybe baking in the heat wasn’t as bad as I thought.  :)

Stay tuned.  More to come!