Monday, January 30, 2012

There’s A New Sheriff in Town: Birthday Cake!

This weekend marked the 1st Birthday of a very special young man! One of my best friend’s little boy was anointed the New Sheriff at his birthday party this weekend, and I had the honor of baking his first Birthday Cake!

Cowboy Birthday Cake

Because we had dueling parties over what flavor cake would be best, I made both Vanilla Vanilla AND Chocolate Chocolate!


Then I went straight to decorating! My favorite part! Here is a closer look at some of my wild western details:

Cowboy Birthday Cake-6Cowboy Birthday Cake-4Cowboy Birthday Cake-3Cowboy Birthday Cake-2

Cowboy Birthday Cake-5

And this last photo is thanks to the work of my handy dandy cell phone! If you are a Twitter follower you have already seen this picture and would have had a sneak peek at this cake on Saturday!

Cowboy 1st Birthday

So what do think? Anyone want to head to the rodeo? Yeehaw!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Chocolate Martini Mousse

Happy Friday everyone! I thought I would take this Friday morning and get you excited about your weekend; how about a REAL chocolate martini? This is a super easy, SUPER delicious dessert that you can make for that special someone! Might also be an idea to tuck this recipe away for the big V-Day coming up! I promised I wouldn’t even say the word until February, but if you’re having troubles figuring out what I mean- it’s on February 14th!

Chocolate Mousse Martini

So here are the picture steps to the recipe, the ingredient list is below! Go forth and keep your fingers out of the mixerer!!


Weigh out your three chocolates of choice…


Chop the chocolate starting with the lightest color first…


Once chocolate is chopped, boil the heavy cream and divide evenly among the three chocolates. Let the hot cream sit on top of the chocolate for two minutes and then whisk together (by hand) the chocolate cream sauce until a smooth liquid. Allow the three chocolate mixtures to cool to room temperature and then refrigerate for at least one hour or until ready to serve.


Once the chocolates are cooled and ready to be plated, remove from refrigerator and one by one whisk the mixtures with an electric mixer on high. Whisk until stiff peaks form.

Go ahead and scrape the whipped mixture back into it’s refrigerated bowl while whisking the others. Also in the same manner as chopping, whisk the chocolates in order of the lightest color first. This way you don’t have to use three whisks!

Once finished whipping up the different chocolate mousses, spoon in the martini layers and garnish with any leftover mousse on top! I happened to have a few cherries on hand and thought they also looked the part! Have fun with the decorating, and most importantly, enjoy!

Chocolate Mousse Martini-2


Mousse Martini Ingredients

5oz Semi Sweet Chocolate

4oz Milk Chocolate

3oz White Chocolate

2 Cups Heavy Whipping Cream

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

No Frills, Just Goodness, Oatmeal Raisin Cookies


Sometimes you just have to have comfort food! Sure, it’s nice to have fancy cookies for special occasions once in a while, but there are other times that traditional recipes are what’s best!

Here’s the recipe to my no frills, won’t spread all over your cookie sheet, made in no time, best oatmeal raisin cookies!

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies:

3/4 Cup soft butter

3/4 Cup Packed brown sugar

1/2 Cup Granulated sugar

1 Large Egg

1 1/3 Cup Flour

2 Tbsp water

1 tsp Cinnamon

3/4 Baking soda

2 tsp Vanilla

1 1/2 Cups Raisins

1/2 Cup Walnuts (Chopped)

1/4 Cup Sunflower seeds (toasted)

3 Cups Oats

1) Beat butter until light and fluffy. Add sugars and egg and continue to beat on medium high. The mixture might seem to separate at first, but just scrape down the sides and beat until fluffy again. Add water and vanilla and beat.

2) Add flour, soda, and cinnamon to the top of butter mixture. Fork together until dry ingredients are combined. Now, combine the dry ingredients with the butter mixture on low speed of your mixer. Scrape down sides as needed.

3) Fold in raisins and nuts.

4) Spoon cookies out onto non-stick cookie sheet or onto parchment lined cookie sheet; 9-12 per sheet. Bake at 350 for 8-12 minutes.

5) *** if you wait until the cookies feel firm or develop a golden brown bottom to take them out of the over you will end up with a crispy cookie. I personally prefer a chewy cookie so I tend to  take them out closer to the 8 minutes.

These cookies are perfect with a morning coffee, so go ahead, give them a try!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Happy Birthday Sugar Cookies

As you might have read on Friday, I am currently traveling around Colorado visiting an on slot of friends who have recently moved out here! More excitingly, one of the girls who fall into this relocation category is celebrating her birthday today!

Happy Birthday Shortbread-3

Lauren is the birthday girl and is an awesome girl that I have been fortunate to meet through blogging and triathlon. She has also been a big supporter of my Bertie’s Bakery dream! What better way could I say thank you for your support and happy birthday than to dedicate a baked good to her on her big day!

And what big birthday might she be celebrating this year??

Happy Birthday Shortbread-4

Well, not all ladies like to tell their age, so I wasn’t about to do it for her! Instead, I came up with this question mark strategy! I thought it was super cute, but apparently others thought that she was pregnant! Yikes, maybe  next time I’ll save the question marks for baby showers where the parents don’t yet know the gender of the baby! My bad! Happy Birthday Shortbread-7

Happy Birthday Lauren, I hope you enjoy every last bite! For the rest of my readers, Happy Monday! I am sending you subliminal Monday cookies!

*** If you are interested in birthday (or baby) cookies like these for someone you know, contact me and maybe cookies will show up at your house too!***

Friday, January 20, 2012

Air Plane Shortbread Cookies

♪♪ “I’m leaving on a jet plane, I don’t know when I’ll be back again….”♪♪

Air Plane Shortbread-2

Yup, you heard right, I’m back on the road! This time I’m heading off to Denver, CO to hang out with some of my favorite ladies. And since I’ve been hanging out with royal icing a lot lately, I thought these royal icing flooded cookies were a perfect send off! Here’s a few more pictures up close…

Air Plane Shortbread-3Air Plane Shortbread-4

I have to say, I thought these came out pretty cute and I hope my friend feels the same! One of the girls who I’m visiting just celebrated her little boy’s first birthday and I can’t wait to surprise the little guy with them!

On a totally different note, I thought I would bring up a running injury issue I’ve been dealing with :(  A long story short I was getting A.R.T. treatment all fall on my IT Band/knee before the Philadelphia Marathon (Race Report here if you missed it!). Then, after recovering from the marathon and beginning a regular running routine again I started having the exact same problem in the opposite knee???? Whaaaaaat? How is this possible?

Back to the Doc I go!

Well, here’s the thing… I think someone got a little carried away with the Torture Tools!

Air Plane Shortbread-6

I know the picture isn’t the greatest… cell phone shot. But I think you get the point! Have you ever had A.R.T. therapy before? Did it turnout anything like this? Needless to say, ice has been my new best friend!

That’s all!  Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Chocolate Bird Bath

I have spent the last day or two playing around with royal icing. If you’ve ever worked with Royal icing you know that there is a huge learning curve. You can watch as many demonstrations as you want, but it is when you start making, mixing, thinning, piping, and flooding your own you figures and designs you start to really learn! Today I had some fun with different shapes, and turned out to be a silly and yet really rewarding project!

Bird Bath-18

This is how it all started:

Rename(Birds piped on to parchment paper)

The original plan was to practice creating royal icing decorations on parchment paper and then transfer them on to a fondant or butter cream cake. The only problem is that I really started to like these little guys and and wanted to create something that gave them more character than just sitting them on the side of a cake.

This is what I came up with…

Bird Bath-5Bird Bath-19Bird Bath-21Bird Bath-20

I hope you enjoyed the playfulness of the royal icing… there is plenty more where that came from as I have three more royal icing project coming up over the next week and a half (only these ones involve cookies!)

Do you have any icing design requests? Let me know, and you might just see your idea posted right here on the blog!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Cheese Cake Layered Chocolate Cupcakes

Watch out for this triple threat! Chocolate, Cheese Cake, and Chocolate liqueur, oh and lets not forget… dipped in chocolate ganache! I apologize to those on a New Years resolution to cut back on sweets; I am not on such a resolution :)

Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcakes

Here’s how the story goes of how I managed to put cheesecake inside a chocolate cupcake!


I had originally started off with a new recipe that I had thought up while traveling abroad over Christmas. How could I make a saturated fat and egg free cupcake? There are many reasons I would want to play in the world of recipe alterations; mostly because I would like to offer different options to customers with dietary needs. So onward with the experimentation!

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Whisk together all of the dry ingredients and dig a hole in the sand. I guess I really did have my mind on the beach when creating this recipe!

Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcakes-2

Then I gathered all of the liquid ingredients into a cup with a spout! Please note that the ingredient list says “Boiling Water” please follow that direction. Since there are no eggs in the batch you need the hot water to react with the baking soda to create a rise in the batter! Thanks  :)


I think that the last 4 pictures speak for themselves in “what to do next”.


It was at this stage that I thought that this recipe was missing something. Was this just going to be another batch of chocolate cupcakes? Hmmmm.  Then, with not a lot of searching I found an unopened package of cream cheese in the fridge. I think we can safely say that the idea of an egg and saturated fat free recipe just went out the window…


Basically I made a small batch of cheese cake batter and spooned about 1 tbsp of cheese cake batter into the 1/3 filled cupcake batter and then covered the cheese cake with the rest of the chocolate batter!


They baked up just fine!


Once they finished cooling off, I dipped them in a chocolate ganache… well, actually, I double dipped them in the chocolate.


Anxious to see what it would look like on the inside I cut one open and was pleasantly surprised. I really had no idea what it would turn out like. Next time I might do two layers of cheese cake!


Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcakes

The recipe is below, enjoy!

Chocolate Cupcake Batter

1 1/2 Cups All Purpose flour

3/4 Cups Brown Sugar

1/4 Cups Granulated Sugar

1tsp Baking Soda

1/4tsp Salt

1/3 Cup Vegetable Oil

1 Cup Boiling water

2Tbsp Chocolate Liqueur (optional, but so good!)

1/2tsp Vanilla

1. Whisk all dry ingredients together in bowl and create well large enough for liquid ingredients to be poured into. Gently, while turning the bowl, fold the dry ingredients into the liquid. Continue to fold until all is incorporated.

2. Fill the bottom of cupcake pan with approx. 1/4 batter. Add a heaping tablespoon of cheese cake filling into the cupcake batter and then cover the rest with more chocolate batter. Do not try to stir the batters together.

3. Bake for 25-28 minutes at 350*F.

4. Let cupcakes cool to room temperature before attempting the chocolate dip. A warm cupcake will lead to runny chocolate and a big mess!

Cheese Cake Filling

4oz Cream Cheese

1/4 Cup Confectioners Sugar (sift after measuring)

1/8tsp salt (two good pinches)

1/2tsp vanilla

1 egg

1. Beat all ingredients together in electric mixer on medium until the cream cheese is smooth. Scrape down sides of bowl and beat for another 40 seconds just to be sure!

Chocolate Ganache Topping

3/4cups Semisweet Chocolate

1/2Cup Unsalted Butter

1/4cup Light Corn Syrup

1. Combine all ingredients in a microwave safe container and slowly bring the chocolate and butter to a liquid state. Stir the ingredients every 15 seconds. You could also do this step in a double boiler, but unless I’m making meringue I would honestly rather use the microwave. Just be sure not to burn the chocolate, hence the stiffing every 15 seconds.

2. Hold cupcake upside down and plunge directly into the chocolate goodness. Pull cupcake straight back up and let it drip for a second; make a twisting motion to scoop the cupcake around and back up right. Set the cupcake down on cooling racks.

3. If the chocolate is too runny try two things (in this order). Let the chocolate cool for about 2 minutes at room temperature and try again. If it is still a dripping mess, add a small handful of chocolate chips to the batch and melt them in, this should add a little more density. However, I have never had a problem with this specific ganache recipe for dipping, so do worry and give it a shot!


Monday, January 16, 2012

Chocolate Bottom Toffee


One of my favorite treats to have around the house is toffee! Chocolate bottom toffee to be exact! So I’m going to give you a quick tutorial to make this sweet and salty treat at home for yourself.

First you’re going to melt your butter, brown sugar, and light corn syrup in a sauce pan. I like to whisk the mixture the entire time while waiting for it to boil. Gradually bring it to a SLOW boil. When the little bubbles form and begin to break on the surface, add your baking powder. Continue whisking, and bring the entire mixture to a faster boil.


In total the toffee mixture should be boiling for around 5 minutes. Keep whisking!


When you are complete with the boiling/whisking process pour it out onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper (not wax paper).

If when the mixture hits the parchment paper it spreads rapidly and it is not keeping it’s shape just use a rubber scraper and keep pushing the edges back towards the center. If after 30 seconds to a minute the mixture is still spreading, you haven’t boiled the mixture long enough. No problemo! Just let it cool enough so you can peel it off the parchment paper and drop it back in the sauce pan. Bring it back to a boil and give it another 2 minutes!

Re-pour the toffee; if it sticks you’re golden. Now for the secret ingredient! Salt. Lightly sprinkle the top layer with a flake salt (regular salt will work too, just looks prettier with the flake salt).


Once you are satisfied with the toffee, pop it in the freezer and let it get really crisp! You an see in the picture above the swirls and marbling in the hard toffee! Yum!

The next step is to melt about 1/2 cup of semi sweet chocolate and spread it out to the size (I eyeballed it) an lay your toffee on top. Lightly press the toffee down so it adheres to the chocolate. If you over estimated the size of the toffee as I did, just scrape it away before it cools too hard.

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Back into the freezer it goes to expedite the process. Once the chocolate is hard, peel your parchment paper back to reveal your smooth bottom.IMG_2001

Here I simply put one hand under the chocolate and toffee, and gave the top layer a good pop with my other hand to try to evenly break up the pieces.


That’s all that’s to it! Now eat, or give as a present, it looks pretty in the glass jar.



Toffee Ingredients:

1/4 Cup Light Corn Syrup

1 Cup Brown Sugar

1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter

1tsp Baking Soda

Salt for Sprinkling

Chocolate Bottom:

1/2 Cup Semi Sweet Chocolate

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