Adventures in Baking

As promised in this thread, here is how I’ve been spending time in the kitchen. Just in case there is ACTUALLY anyone out there paying attention to my mundane little activities.

-I made a raspberry vanilla cake for my last day at work. I assume it turned out nicely, because when I got to it on the buffet, it was gone!! My first try with cake flour, and the fluffiness of the cake was very nice. But the cake seemed to not rise normally?? And the batter was rather thick. But when I tasted some of the pieces from what I had leveled off, it was very good. The frosting was pretty much a basic buttercream with some raspberry preserves beaten in and then colored a little more pink. I put some fruit on top for looks.

-Vanilla berry pie for a cookout. I made this one up from my head. I made a cookie crust, which I actually liked the taste of better than regular pie crust, then I filled it with vanilla filling, similar to instant pudding. Then I covered it with chopped raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries. Then I made homeade whipped cream and covered it. I think I beat the cream a little too long because it looked a little too thick. But it tasted very good and everyone liked it. Needs some practice though.

-Key lime pie. Not good… not good at all. Used regular pie crust. DIscovered, I suck at pie crust. As I was rolling it out, my husband looked at me funny and asked why I didn’t buy the premade crusts. Duh. Though I guess that doesn’t give me much practice. Anyway, after rolling it out and trying to get it into the pie plate in one piece about a dozen times, I gave up and just tried to smoosh it in. Which turned out badly because when I baked the crust it cracked into a bunch of different pieces. Yikes. I made the filling, which was kinda fun because I got to juice a billion limes. :smiley: But the recipe I used for the filling called for eggs. So I filled the pie and baked it and then covered it with whipped cream and chilled it and then we cut into it and it tastes like… eggs. Egg pie with a tiny hint of lime. Ick. It sat in the fridge for a week before I tossed it.

-Sugar cookies. Easy, of course. No problems. But I was making them to build tiny little wedding-cake shaped cookies. So I had three different sized rounds, and I glued them together with fosting and did some pretty decorations. I finished and stepped back and realized they didnt resemble wedding cakes, they looked like giant lopsided cookie mounds. Oh well.

-Applesauce cake. Yummy yummy yummy. I skipped the frosting and made a raisin syrup/glaze kind of thing which turned out really really good. Sticky, but good.

I’ve been out of town lately so that’s all I’ve had time for.
Next up:
Cranberry bread, which I’ve made before and turned out quite nicely. I’m going to try bread flour this time though.
Coffee cake. Never made it, actually.
Cinnamon buns. I just want to try the whole spiral dough thing and see how it works. :slight_smile:

Any suggestions?

Alton Brown made COCONUT CAKE tonight.


I make this Frozen Key Lime Pie frequently, and it always turns out well, and disappears quickly at parties, and no one has died or gotten ill from the eggs (an overblown danger…I’ll post a cite when I locate it).

Keep being creative and adventurous…I’m always too chicken about wasting food to try things that aren’t tried-and-true recipes.

For those of us raised on cake mixes, homemade cake is often a shock at first. Ok, maybe not a SHOCK, but it’s different. It’s usually more dense and a little less moist. Maybe that’s what you experienced with your raspberry vanilla cake?

As far as key lime pie goes, I’ve never seen one that doesn’t contain eggs, so you’re OK there. But it shouldn’t taste like eggs. Maybe try a different recipe?

And oh yeah, before I forget, you need to be sending samples of everything you make over this way. Otherwise, how are we to believe you?!? :smiley:

:smiley: Doper bake sale. :smiley:

I’ve read a little about it also. But, I still use pasteurized egg product for recipes with uncooked egg, just to be safe.

My husband loves coconut and is always asking me to add it to cakes, pies, cookies… I personally can’t stand the texture of it. It feels likes chewy string in my mouth. And the flavor itself isn’t so great either to me. But, I am willing to experiment with coconut too!

Here’s an excellent recipe for Cinnamon Rolls if you don’t already have one.
This past weekend I made Blueberry Dump Cake and it was delicious with vanilla ice cream. An interesting little recipe. I followed the advice of some of the reviewers and put slices of unmelted butter all over the top and baked a bit longer than it said.

Your raspberry vanilla cake sounds good- do you have a recipe handy? I wouldn’t want you to write one out, but if you already have one on the computer, I’d take it.

Oh, man. I love baking. I used to work at a place staffed entirely with a large number of women (and one guy who had a weekly Adventures in Breadmaking experiment which ranged from amazing to debacle), so I could hobby-bake to my heart’s conent and take it in to share. Instant popularity and Adventures in Baking without having to absorb all the calories myself. :slight_smile:

The vanilla berry pie sounds yummy, but I wouldn’t chop the berries. I imagine it would be nicer with whole, fresh berries tossed in vanilla sugar and topped with fresh whipped cream, again with a splash of vanilla.

Re: pie crust. My favorite, bar none, favorite cooking task is making pie crust. It’s a completely zen and happy thing for me. I make a fabulous pie crust, I say that completely without shame. Apparently there are two tricks: keep it as cold as possible, and therefore make it very quickly, with as little handling as possible. So it should really be a pretty simple process. The more you handle it, warming it in your hands and kneading it, the more gluten you create and the tougher the crust. If you have a stand mixer or food processor it makes this much easier.
I personally prefer the shortening style, old fashioned pie crust over the flaky, butter kind. Good thing, since it’s a lot less work. Anyway, I just approximate the basic Crisco recipe but for a cream style or berry dessert pie I’d add some white sugar and vanilla, for apple maybe cinnamon and brown sugar or cheddar cheese. Savory pie crust might have a bit more salt and some asiago cheese or something. Having a marble rolling pin and storing it in the freezer is a great help in making a good crust.
Anyway, just run it all through the machine with the flour, butter-flavored crisco, salt, sugar, then the water with the vanilla in it, as cold as possible. Heavily flour a cutting board or countertop, separate the dough in half, and with as few motions as possible, roll out the dough. Roll a couple times, flip and turn, roll, flip and turn, roll. Keep turning the dough so you get an evenly growing flat. It took some practice, and I usually still have to patch the edges a bit here and there, but am rarely very off at all anymore. If you’re quick and the dough is still pretty cold, you can move it and shift it around without too much risk of it breaking on you while you’re arranging it in the pan.
One thing I love with home made crust, is having a bit left over to use to decorate the top. I baked a strawberry pie last week and used a knife to cut in a strawberry shape as a steam vent, then used the little scraps of left-over dough to make the leaves on top of the berry. It was pretty cute.

I tried a yeast cinnamon bun recipe last winter, and boy were they amazing. I’d save this one for a snow day and make hot chocolate with whole milk and good, dark chocolate while you’re at it! :slight_smile:

One of my other favorites is gingerbread. I’ve got a 100+ year old recipe that’s something really special.