Tag Archive for Strawberry

Operation Make a Cake

If you have been reading my blog, you probably know that I consider myself a cookie queen. As for baking cakes by scratch, I am kind of a newbie.

A couple of months ago, I decided it was time to start baking cakes. Operation Make a Cake was in full effect. The KitchenAid was in overdrive and the oven was working overtime. Cakes and cupcakes were popping out of the oven on a nightly basis. There were some good ones and some not so good ones; finally I came across an excellent recipe.strawberry batter

After all of my cake trials and errors, I decided to take on a strawberry cake with strawberry filling. As a cake novice, I was a little nervous, but thought, it is now or never. Of course I made some sample strawberry cupcakes and there were delish! After spending a couple of hours, mixing, baking, filling, frosting, and decorating, I had the perfect strawberry cake….or so I thought.

Something went wrong, majorly wrong! I was mortified! What happened? I was told it was hard and mushy. How could it be both? They were very inconsistent messages, and I was not even able to try it! After some tears, swear words, more tears and questions, I decided that maybe cakes were not for me.blank cake

My husband came to the rescue with hugs and advice. My confidence was back up (kind of), and I was back in the cake baking business. After more researching, mixing, tasting and a few pounds, I found it. The cake looked great and I had a good feeling about it. It tasted so good, I didn’t even regret not frosting it.

Fast forward a couple of months later, one of my family members asked me to make them…you got it, a strawberry cake with strawberry filling. Of course I said I would make it, although I was nervous. With tender loving care and lot of prayer, I made theside of cake strawberry cake. It looked beautiful from the outside, but how was the inside? Would it be moist, light and most of all…unforgetable? My anxiety rose as the cake was being cut. Did it have the same issues as the last strawberry cake? NO WAY!! It was delicious, moist strawberry cake with homemade strawberry filling, with real strawberries, and butter cream frosting. The cake was a hit.

In case you are wondering what the problem was in the first cake, it was the filling. Apparently I did not let it cook down and thicken enough. LESSON LEARNED!mels cake

Am I still nervous about cakes? Sometimes, but I have been learning tons and my confidence is growing.

What makes you nervous about baking?

God Bless You Mrs. Garten

While enjoying our first week of summer vacation, we decided to venture out to the good ol’ public library. Of course I managed to make my way to the cooking section. Completely surrounded by cooking books, I could barely contain myself! :) Immediately I started looking for my favorite food goddess: Ina Garten. Her recipes are to die for! I would give my right arm to be invited to her house in the Hamptons for any meal! (Ok, maybe giving up my arm is a little much, but seriously have you seen her show?!?) I nestled myself in a comfy chair, and was completely hypnotized by her amazing food ideas and pictures. So many recipes to choose from…

Having made homemade strawberry jam with my Mama over spring break, I have been trying to find a unique way to bake with it. I still had a couple jars of it taking up space on the kitchen counter. homemade strawberry jamWhile flipping through the pages of Ina’s cookbook, and trying not to drool, one stood out….Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars. This is a very simple and delicious recipe. They turned out much better than I thought they would. Imagine a ribbon of sweet jam sandwiched between moist peanut butter cookies, topped off with crunchy chopped peanuts. If you love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, you will ADORE these bars! The only thing I will change for next time is to add a little more jam, as per my husband’s request.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

(Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa at Home)pbjbars

Makes 24 bars

½ pound –unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pan

1 ½ cups –sugar

1 teaspoon- pure vanilla extract

2-extra large eggs

2 cups- creamy peanut butter

3 cups- all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pan

1 teaspoon-baking powder

1 ½ teaspoons –kosher saltpbjbars2

1 ½ cups jam

2/3 salted peanuts, coarsely chopped

-Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 X 13 X 2 inch baking pan.

-In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light yellow, about 2 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the vanilla, eggs, and peanut butter and mix until well combined.

-In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the peanut butter mixture. Mix just until combined.

-Spread two thirds of the dough in the prepared pan, using a knife topbjbar4 spread it evenly. Spread the jam evenly over the dough. Drop small globs of the remaining dough evenly over the jam. Don’t worry if all the jam isn’t covered; the dough will spread when it bakes. Sprinkle with the chopped peanuts and bake for 45 minutes, until golden brown. Cool and cut into small squares.