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This year, as most years, the guys celebrate their birthday together. It has affectionately come to be known as the “I have a dream weekend” because the guys’ birthday usually falls on or very close to MLK Day. This year was no exception to the celebration.

Here are some of the photos and yes, the cake had a lot of candles on it — 100 to be exact, courtesy of our very patient children who placed and lit each and every one.

Yesterday, we celebrated Tom’s 50th birthday. Usually, the birthday person picks his or her dinner of choice. Tom didn’t disappoint and I could have guessed his choice without even asking him. I have never, ever, seen a guy so happy for a salad. Throw some jerk chicken on top of it and I think he was in heaven.

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It was a simple chocolate bundt cake with a chocolate glaze and one candle….we are waiting for the weekend when our friend Lou comes up (the guys’ birthdays are the same day and they always try to celebrate together over the “I have a dream” weekend. We figure 50 + 50 makes for way more fun and challenge on the cake.

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Since I am usually behind the camera for the birthdays… here’s a change of pace.

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Someone is missing from this picture…..and it isn’t me.

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Tim steps in the for the photobomb…..

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Just in case you didn’t see exactly how delicious this cake looked because you were pondering the single candle….

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Post wish ………..

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The way every birthday celebration should end…

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Tim and I went blueberry picking and I may go again today since one of the blueberry pick-your-own places indicated on FB that today is the last day of picking for the season. We came home with two bags full of blueberries and I made a blueberry muffin cake. The original recipe is from Fine Cooking but I tweaked it just a bit to add a streusel topping, the same as on the blueberry muffins that I make. It definitely took the cake, which was delicious without the topping to a different level.

For those of you that asked, here is the recipe:

Blueberry Muffin Cake (adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine recipe)

Cake:

  • 4 oz. (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly; more for the pan
  • 9 oz. (2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 lb. (2 cups) fresh blueberries

 

Topping:

  • 4 oz. (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 t. cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar

Procedure:

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Butter or spray the bottom and sides of a 9-inch round springform pan.

Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk the butter, milk, eggs, and vanilla. Using a silicone spatula, stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients just until incorporated. Fold in the berries. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it evenly. Tap the pan on the counter once or twice to break any air bubbles.

Mix together the topping ingredients which should make crumbles. Spread the crumbled streusel topping over the cake batter.

Bake until golden-brown and a tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.  The original recipe says the cooking time is 45-55 minutes which is what worked without the streusel. With the streusel topping, add an extra 15-20 minutes, check occasionally until a tester comes out clean.

Cool on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes. Run a paring knife around the edge of the cake and remove the side of the pan. Transfer the cake to a serving plate and serve warm or at room temperature. Ours didn’t make it to the cooling phase. It was steaming still when we removed it from the pan to eat with a cup of tea the other night for dessert.

 

Enjoy.

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The girls in our family of all boys visited this weekend. Since Emily’s third birthday was yesterday (I did get it right, didn’t I? – my family knows I have date issues) and Hailey’s 1st birthday was at the beginning of June, I decided to try to make a Princess cake. I don’t think that it came out too badly, except the poor girl kept trying to pretend she was on a European beach and go topless.

 

 

 

Probably my biggest challenge this week will be to make the type of birthday cake that my oldest requested for his birthday. It’s something that I have not made previously. It’s really not so much the difficulty but rather with the method of execution. He wants molten chocolate or lava cake for his birthday. This requires not one big cake, but rather, individual cakes. Again, not the end of the world except that we will have a company, an extra five people, maybe six, which means that I have to make 10 cakes. Now, you see my challenge. For anyone that is not familiar, lava or molten chocolate cake is a chocolate cake with a creamy or melted center. Not something that you can really make earlier in the day and serve later. It requires a from-the-oven service, not easy to accomplish times 10.

Several of the recipes that I have found (which are all pretty much the same ingredients) indicate that the cakes can be made ahead of time and simply cooked at the time that you are ready to eat.  Sounds easy, right? Well, not for me. Make ahead and then cook or partially prepare and cook later is the kiss of death. The bagels I made the first time promised a do-ahead recipe, which turned into the ugliest looking flat bagels that anyone has ever witnessed. Another time, I tried to pre-make something it was also a disaster. Not something that I want to experience with a houseful of hungry kids dying for cake and certainly not something that I want to blow for one of my boys’ birthdays – after all they only come once a year.

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We were up and out relatively early this morning to gather the boys from their retreat. Then it was a family affair of chores and more chores. We cleaned the front of the house, putting the grill back and straightening up what was left of the stuff from our porch renovation that needed to be put back. Simultaneously, wood was being stacked, grass was being cut and weedwacking was being done (Good thing we have those kids, don’t you think?) I pulled all of my onions, which are now all laid out in trays in the potting shed to dry. I dug potatoes from the garden for dinner, along with more tomatoes.

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I also picked the first of the apples and put together a skillet apple cake from the recipe I found at Baker’s Banter at King Arthur Flour. This was a super simple recipe and got The T’s approval. Served with some vanilla ice cream it was a good dessert.

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Recipe – Apple Skillet Cake (adapted from Baker’s Banter)

Ingredients:

  • 8 small-medium apples, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 1/3 c. brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. salt and 1/4 t. salt
  • 1 1/3 c. all purpose flour
  • 3 T. apple cider
  • 2 t. pumpkin pie spice
  • 2/3 cup warm milk
  • 6 T. melted butter

The Process:

  1. Mix brown sugar, 1/4 t. salt, pumpkin pie spice (KAF used apple pie spice which they sell), cider. Add apples and mix.
  2. In separate bowl combine milk, butter, vanilla and whisk in one egg. To this mixture add the flour, baking powder and remaining salt.
  3. Mix well, pour into greased cast iron skillet.
  4. Add apple slices.
  5. Top with crystallized sugar.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.
  7. Enjoy!

This evening, we had an early dinner, the boys had CCD classes starting tonight and then we were home to finally relax. Now, I am sitting here, relaxing, enjoying the exhaustion that comes with a busy, but productive day.

Here’s the cake…….  

Death by Chocolate

Death by Chocolate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s the gang……

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After dinner out at Tom’s favorite restaurant (the boys’ idea– we braved -12 temperatures for that dinner), we came home, stuffed ourselves with cake and then everyone crashed. It was a good birthday I think.

This weekend we get to celebrate more birthdays – Tom’s best-est friend Lou and he share the same age and the same birthday. We are celebrating with the Zummo family when they come to visit this weekend.

Evilwife on the move

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