Chocolate Cake = The Pirate Mistress Burlesque Cake

I am late for Fiesta Friday! But I am joining the party! The party is hosted by Prudy at (Drum roll, please.) http://butterbasilandbreadcrumbs.com/ and Angie at http://thenovicegardener.wordpress.com so link up and enjoy the feasting and share the fun from all over the world.

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Day 4: Preparations are ramping up for the Second Annual Potluck Everybody Cooks! on Saturday. The Framily is getting together for an international food share. Today the lovely Alicia is joining me to teach me about cake baking. (A lesson I could really use.)  This three tiered chocolate cake recipe looks rich and unbelievable.  Chocolate Cake is an American favorite recipe and a staple at any party.  This one uses buttermilk. Alicia found this gem on Good Housekeeping’s site.  This Chocolate cake recipe first appeared in 1927 and continues to be used since – “countless” times.  This is an updated version using both cocoa powder and semisweet chocolate in the frosting.

During the ingredient-shopping spree, Alicia chose to use Ghirardelli semisweet for the frosting chocolate. (My suggestion) We went to several stores to accomplish our mad design.  It’s a birthday cake for someone who is a devotee of the Burlesque, which is seeing an upsurge in the entertainment world (Who knew?) So will there be sparkles and glitter? You betcha’.  The frosting has a more intense flavor because of the addition of the semisweet chocolate to the frosting recipe. But when combined with this fluffy light cake, seriously, this is a chocolate cake for a celebration.

Here it is, adapted from Good Housekeeping online:

“The Best Chocolate Layer Cake You’ll Ever Have” Or how to make a chocolate cake that is scrumptious and sexy!

Adapted July 25, 2014

Serves: 16
Total Time: 1 hr 15 min

Sifted Dry Ingredients for Triple Layer Chocolate Cake © CKatt

Sifted Dry Ingredients for Triple Layer Chocolate Cake © CKatt

Ingredients:
3 Cake Layers

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 ½ teaspoon(s) baking soda
¼ teaspoon(s) salt

3/4 cup (1 ½ sticks) butter or margarine, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar

Brown & White Sugars Creamed with Butter © CKatt

Brown & White Sugars Creamed with Butter © CKatt


3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk

Alicia combines the Chocolate Cake Ingrdients © CKatt

Alicia combines the Chocolate Cake Ingredients © CKatt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luscious Chocolate Cake Batter © CKatt

Luscious Chocolate Cake Batter © CKatt

 

 

Frosting
1/3 cup boiling water
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
12 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled

The Method

(Watch Alicia make this cake and document steps. That’d be me.)
Prepare cake layers: Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease three 8-in. round cake pans. Line bottoms with waxed paper; grease paper. Dust pans with flour.” My contribution.
On another sheet of waxed paper, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, with mixer at low speed, beat butter and brown sugar together with granulated sugar until blended. Increase speed to high; beat 5 minutes or until pale and fluffy, occasionally scraping bowl with rubber spatula.

Reduce speed to medium-low to add eggs – 1 at a time, beat well with each addition. Add vanilla beat until blended. Next add the flour mixture alternately with buttermilk, “beginning and ending with flour mixture; beat just until batter is smooth. Occasionally scrape bowl with rubber spatula to incorporate.”

Spoon batter evenly among prepared pans. Bake with staggered pans on 2 oven racks. place 2 pans on upper rack and 1 on the lower rack. The result: top pans are not directly above bottom one. Bake 22 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. (Set your timer, friends.)

Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. (Without the wire racks this takes longer. Be patient.) With small knife, loosen layers from sides of pans; invert onto wire racks. Carefully remove and discard waxed paper; cool completely, about 45 minutes. “If you like, wrap layers well and store at room temperature up to 1 day or freeze up to 1 month. Bring to room temperature before frosting cake.”

Meanwhile, prepare frosting: In small bowl, combine cocoa and boiling water, stirring until smooth. In large bowl, mix at medium-high speed butter and confectioners’ sugar about 5 minutes or until fluffy.  Melt the semi-sweet chocolate in a bain marie or double boiler.

Cocoa mixed with boiling water © CKatt

Cocoa mixed with boiling water © CKatt

 

Reduce speed to medium-low. Then add melted chocolate, then cocoa mixture, beat until smooth – occasionally scraping bowl with rubber spatula. “If frosting is too runny, refrigerate until just stiff enough to spread.”

Alicia melts the chocolate for the frosting © CKatt

Alicia melts the chocolate for the frosting © CKatt

melting the chocolate in a bain Marie

Ghiradelli Semi-Sweet chocolate © CKatt

The question that comes to mind while watching Alicia make this chocolate cake recipe is: Is there ever enough chocolate?    

 

 

 

Obviously, the answer is, There is never enough chocolate.       

Whipped Chocolate Frosting © CKatt

Whipped Chocolate Frosting © CKatt

 

When Alicia finished whipping the frosting together, she dutifully thrust a beater full of chocolate frosting at me and said “Here”

“What?” I replied.

“Eat this,” she laughed.

I laughed and tasted a bit of frosting with my finger, “Boy that’s strong,” I remarked, “Do we need to sweeten that up?”

Alicia’s answer was a definitive “No. It’ll work.

How to put the cake together:

The Chocolate Cake Is Baked © CKatt

The Chocolate Cake Is Baked © CKatt

(Remember the directions to flour the pans! Then they will come out more easily. That’d be me who missed that important point.)

 

Chocolate Cake © CKatt

Chocolate Cake © CKatt

“Place 1 cake layer bottom side up on cake plate; spread with 1/3 cup frosting. Top with second layer, bottom side up; spread with 1/3 cup frosting.

Frosting the Triple Layer Chocolate Cake © CKatt

Frosting the Triple Layer Chocolate Cake © CKatt

 

Place remaining layer bottom side up on top. Spread remaining frosting over sides and top of cake.”

© CKatt

© CKatt

 

 

Alicia used toothpicks to keep the layers from slipping.

 

© CKatt

© CKatt

Next Steps:

Alicia did a beautiful job and used such a delicate touch to frost this cake.

 

Alicia Frosting the Chocolate Cake © CKatt

Alicia Frosting the Chocolate Cake © CKatt

 

♦ Oh wait, the cake had to be decorated. This is where we diverged from the norm. Yes, Alicia bought fancy stuff to put the ribbons along the bottom of the cake, while I tore black fondant into a costume for a half of a doll. (Huh?) Fondant is a little tricky, but you can cut it into decorative shapes. Let me say that this is a surprise cake for a birthday. It was an opportunity to be creative.

The wedding doll parts and the edible fondant were available at the craft store in cakes – aisle 3 – where the cake becomes the wedding dress.  Sparkles and icing gel found at the local grocery were added.  This was one step beyond.  I created “ The Pirate Mistress” – sort of a romance cake gone burlesque.

Alicia approved the ideas, as I dressed the doll for her part in the cake. E-hem, Seeing is believing! The doll was the star of the cake.

The Result:

The Pirate Mistress of Burlesque

Finished Chocolate Cake "The Pirate Mistress" © CKatt

Finished Chocolate Cake “The Pirate Mistress” © CKatt

All in Good Fun!

Posted in Art and Architecture, Cake, Desserts, Slow food and art in the kitchen | Tagged , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

A Walk Around Lake of the Isles = Minneapolis Lakes & Summer in the Northland

This week I have read many recipes from the contributors to Fiesta Friday looking for some inspiration for the menu for this summers Pot Luck – Everybody Cooks.  There may be less people this year.  Sadly my dear friend Alan has moved away to Portland, Oregon. He is always a great addition to any get together because he is a story teller and all around fun person.

The recipes that are shared on Fiesta Friday are a source of ideas for cooking that are endless fun and a challenge.  Once the event happens, I’ll write up the menu and recipes.

Presently my head is swirling with recipes…

In the mean time, these photos I share with you of my walks around Lake of the Isles, in the heart of Minneapolis. It is one of four lakes next to each other in the city. I made a photo essay for fun. Here are just a few photos of what I found on my walks in June. Also enjoy a bonus Cherry Blossom Honey cocktail story below.

Map of the Lakes 2014

Map of the Lake of Minneapolis – Retrieved from Google Maps 7-18-14

From Peaceful early morning walks, I bring you some views of Lake of the Isles  and a skyline of Minneapolis.

Water Lily Pads © CKatt

Water Lily Pads © CKatt

Lake of the isles Cherry Blossoms © CKatt

Lake of the isles Cherry Blossoms © CKatt

Cherry Blossoms Lake of The Isles © CKatt

Cherry Blossoms Lake of The Isles © CKatt

Sunbathing Turtle Lake of the Isles © CKatt

Sunbathing Turtle Lake of the Isles © CKatt

Unknown Yellow Bird © CKatt

Unknown Yellow Bird © CKatt

Early Morning Minneapolis Skyline from Lake of the Isles © CKatt

Early Morning Minneapolis Skyline from Lake of the Isles © CKatt

 

Canadian Geese with Nest of Goslings © CKatt

Canadian Geese with Nest of Goslings © CKatt

Now to drop by Fiesta Friday and see what is on the menu this week! Tomorrow will be Farmers’ Market Day! Enjoy your weekend!  Bonus recipe from an early post of mine

Bees in Tokyo = Cherry Blossom Honey and Cocktails Recipe

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Rainy Day Strawberry Jam = Quick Recipe

Fresh Strawberries for jam CKatt July 11-14

Fresh Strawberries for jam CKatt July 11-14

Strawberry Magic Days – It’s strawberry time in the Northland. Here is a recipe for Quick Strawberry Jam.

At the Farmers’ Market, there was a young Hmong family selling beautiful strawberries last weekend. There were quarts of them for $5.00. Not “home grown” strawberries, in the usual sense, they were imported from across the border, from Wisconsin. But these strawberries were small, uniform, old-fashioned strawberries. This may be the only time of year when these babies can be found. Yes, strawberries can be found in supermarkets, but the large woody strawberries that are sold in such places, with white insides, do not a real strawberry make. (IMHO)

Contemplating what to do with them, I decided against another cake or strawberry rhubarb deep-dish pie. (Oh my!) A friend suggested eating them with yogurt, which I generally like to do, but using a whole quart, well, you can see the problem.

When I turned to the Internet for ideas, I found Martha Stewart, goddess of all things domestic, had a simple recipe for strawberry jam. Here’s a link to the Quick Strawberry Jam Recipe. http://www.marthastewart.com/335256/quick-strawberry-jam?czone=food%2Fspring-produce&gallery=275333&slide=335256&center=1009726 Retrieved July 11, 2014. Check it out. Thank you, Martha!

Ingredients

1 quart of hulled* strawberries

½ cup of sugar

The Kitchen Supervisor CKatt July 11, 2014

The Kitchen Supervisor CKatt July 11, 2014

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Makes 1½ cups of Strawberry Jam

The Method

Martha Stewart’s instructions use a food processor – coarse chop strawberries. Don’t own one of these.

Me, well, these were perfect, small sized strawberries. I hulled them. Then added ½ cup of sugar and the 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Transferred to large skillet and cooked on a medium high heat for 10 plus minutes until the juice bubbled and thickened. Poured into a glass jar and left to cool. Note: Midway through the cooking process, use a fork to gently mash the softened berries into a more jam-my consistency. I left some whole.

Strawberry Jam - Hot Off the Stove, CKatt July 11-2014

Strawberry Jam – Hot Off the Stove, CKatt July 11-2014

Martha recommends serving it on toast with cottage cheese. Sounds good to me.  It is good!

WASA Brod with Cottage Cheese and Homemade Strawberry Jam. CKatt July 11, 2014

WASA Brod with Cottage Cheese and Homemade Strawberry Jam. CKatt July 11, 2014

Today’s homemade strawberry jam recipe is for Fiesta Friday over at the Novice Gardner’s blog. Join the party! Click on the Fiesta Friday Badge and read all the fabulous recipes.

This recipe was so easy to make…even I did it without a disaster.

Strawberry Jam  - Look at those berries. CKatt July 11, 2014

Strawberry Jam – Look at those berries. CKatt July 11, 2014

If you are wondering why I bothered to put a definition to the word hulled, I have run into this word in recipes and just found it such an odd word.  Ships and boats have hulls, right? (Oh, forgive me. I am a language geek.)

Remember, most of my knowledge about cooking is limited to books and friends’ instructions?  Of course, add the kind people who contribute inspired recipes online.

* http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Hulled Retrieved July 11, 2014,

hull  (hl)

  1. The dry outer covering of a fruit, seed, or nut; a husk.
  2. The enlarged calyx of a fruit, such as a strawberry, that is usually green and easily detached.

tr.v. hulled, hull·ing, hulls

To remove the hulls of (fruit or seeds).

Middle English hulle, husk, from Old English hulu; see kel-1 in Indo-European roots.]

 

Posted in Farmer's Markets, Slow food and art in the kitchen, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Do you remember the Shire, Mr Frodo?

kunstkitchen:

Applauding the artistry and pure creativity – Fun is fun! From the Just Nice Stuff blog.

Originally posted on Just nice stuff.:

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My boyfriend and I share an unhealthy obsession with Lord of the Rings, so it seemed the perfect theme to apply to his 20th birthday cake. I opted for a Hobbit Hole design and whilst I had plenty of ambitious ideas, I couldn’t help thinking (ever the optimist) that the end result was likely to resemble Mordor or, worse, a demolition site as opposed to a rolling grass mound complete with plant pots and carved wooden doors…

This said, I surprised myself with the result and the reception it received wasn’t too bad either (lets just say had this been Bilbo’s house, he would’ve been made homeless within an hour of its reveal). In other words, if you want guaranteed compliments, provide people with ganache, chocolate cake, buttercream, sugarpaste and nerdy cake aesthetics- it’s a winning combination.

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Waffles in Sweden = Väfflor + Waffle Recipes & Views of Malmo’s Turning Torso

I had breakfast at the Original Pancake House in Edina Minnesota for the first time a few days ago. My friend Jo has just retired from a long and successful teaching career.  We worked together and I subbed for her last year in her Social Studies Classes. We always have a lot to talk about. As it happened, at the pancake house, there are so many choices. When I saw the Swedish Pancakes with Lingonberries and sour cream, I had to try some. They were very good pancakes. Shaped like large thin free form crepes, they were light and melted in my mouth. Waffles were another option, which brought up my experience with eating waffles in Sweden, which is a most beautiful country to see.

My dear friends Vivi-Anne and her husband, Sjoerd live in southern Sweden. We became friends many years ago in Friesland, The Netherlands where we studied Dutch together.

We met on the first day of school in class. After class, she showed me her classic Volvo Amazon car. Well, you could have knocked me over with a feather when I saw it. I grew-up with classic car lovers in my family. I admire a good classic car. Vivi-Anne and I are friends to this day.

My first trip to Sweden was a magical and fascinating trip. I took many photos and enjoyed seeing many parts of southern and Western Sweden. On one of the outings, we went to what we might call a waffle house. In Swedish, the place was called Vafflor. There I had a waffle with Cloudberry jam. This was a completely charming place nestled into a little hillside. There were lovely wooden floors, simple tables and great heart-shaped waffles. I was seated inside right under the ‘OR’ with a view of the gardens.

Waffle House in Sweden © CKatt

Waffle House in Sweden © CKatt

The gravel path you see wound around above and to the left where tables and chairs were set up in nooks of the garden for people to eat out-of-doors. (I imagined the wait staff running up and down the stairs and paths on a summery day!)

Waffle House © CKatt

Waffle House © CKatt

http://www.visitsweden.com/sweden/Things-to-do/Swedish-Lifestyle/Swedish-traditions/Waffles-Day/ Retrieved July 2, 2014. This is a link to a Swedish waffle recipe and more about Sweden: The land of cream and butter cooking.

 Here’s a traditional Recipe from “The Best of Swedish Cooking and Baking” By Marianne Grönwall van der Tuuk; Rand McNally & Company; 1969

Swedish Crisp Cream Waffles Recipe

Makes about 8 waffles

Ingredients

1¾ cups heavy cream

1½ cups sifted cake flour

½ cup ice water

3 tablespoons melted butter or margarine

1 teaspoon vanilla

½ teaspoon salt

♥ ♥ 

The Method

Beat the cream until stiff. Sift in flour; add ice water, blend well. Fold in Melted butter, vanilla and salt.

Bake in preheated waffle maker on medium heat. Use about ½ cup of batter for each batch and bake until golden brown.

If waffle iron has not been used for a long time, brush it with melted shortening; otherwise this is not necessary. NOTE: Other recipes say to brush the waffle iron with butter or combination of butter and canola oil.

Serve immediately sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon, or with jam.  ♥ Note: Also can be served with sour cream or creme fraiche, caviar and small shrimp. (Now y’er talkin’.)

turning Tower-R1-023-10

Turning Tower Malmo Sweden © CKatt

Turning Tower Malmo Sweden © CKatt

Visit To Malmo Sweden

Later during my visit, Vivi- Anne and her two children took me to Malmo city where I took some photos of the “The Turning Torso”. http://www.turningtorso.se/ Retrieved July 2, 2014.

Tuming Tor 2-R1-021-9

Turning Tower Malmo Sweden © CKatt

 

Its architectural concept and completed building were pretty amazing to see! At the time I visited, I learned there was trouble with leaks, but hey, it was truly amazing. “The Twisting Torso” another name it is known by, is touted as the highest building in Scandinavia.

The area around the tower is built along a canal. I was so taken with the architecture of the area. (Why don’t I live here? I thought.) The photos were taken with a film camera and Fuji film, which always goes to the blue spectrum.

turing tor infinity-R1-019-8

Turning Tower Infinity Pool View Malmo Sweden © CKatt

Turning Tower Infinity Pool View Malmo Sweden © CKatt

Houses on the canal across from the Turning Tower

Houses on the canal across from the Turning Tower © CKatt

Houses on the canal across from the Turning Tower © CKatt

Houses on the canal across from the Turning Tower © CKatt

The family © CKatt

The family © CKatt

The children were so frightened by the tower’s height. They suffered a kind of panic thinking it was going to fall down. No reassurance from me would take away their fears. Their life in the country away from any big cities with tall buildings had not prepared them for the view.  Well, understandably this particularly tall building kind of gives the sense of reverse vertigo.

It still is magnificent. You can rent an apartment there. $$$$

 

 

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