Carrot muffins with cream cheese frosting

17 Mar

So it’s official. Winter’s over. It hit me today, while I was at the park, playing tag with little kids, sitting on a bench and taking in my surroundings. I was kind of hoping winter would make a comeback sometime this March- it always does. Where I live, winter never leaves us without a fight, one last memoir, a terrible snowstorm. But this year, nothing. It hardly snowed this time. And all I could think of this winter, was back to ten years ago, when it snowed so much that we couldn’t even open the front door of our house. When school had to be closed for days in a row. When people’s cars wouldn’t even budge out of their driveways. It feels like my favourite season doesn’t exist anymore.

Anyways, as much as I’d like to postpone it, spring is here. And you know what reminds me of spring? The flowery cupcake liners on the cupcakes I made a few weeks ago. Aren’t they cute? So what hapenned a couple of weeks ago was that my sister came up to me, disappointed because her fourth grade class had a baking session and she’d missed it because she’d been sick. She handed me the recipe of the carrot cake she was supposed to bake with her class. The recipe was from Joy of Baking (I’m obsessed with that website!). So my sister and I decided to make carrot cupcakes at home. Stephanie from Joy of Baking actually has a carrot cupcake recipe but I used her recipe for carrot cake because that’s the one my sister had a printed out copy of.

So, let’s get started! Here are the recipe and the directions I adapted from the Joy of Baking one. I left out the nuts, so if you want the original unmodified recipe, check out their website!

Ingredients:

Carrot Cake:

3/4 pound (340 grams) raw carrots (2 1/2 cups grated)

2 cups (260 grams) all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

4 large eggs

1 1/2 cups (300 grams) granulated white sugar

1 cup (240 ml) safflower, vegetable or canola oil (or other flavorless oil)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Frosting:

1/4 cup (57 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

8 ounces (227 grams) cream cheese, room temperature

2 cups (230 grams) confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar, sufted

1 teaspoon (4 grams) pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (optional)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place the rack in center of oven.

Peel and finely grate the carrots.

In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and ground cinnamon.

In the bowl of an electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the eggs until frothy (about 1 minute). 

Gradually add the sugar and beat until the batter is thick and light colored (about 3 – 4 minutes). 

Add the oil in a steady stream and then beat in the vanilla extract.

Add the flour mixture and beat just until incorporated. 

Fold in the grated carrots. 

Scoop the batter into a lined cupcake pan and bake for about 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean (you might want to poke a few cupcakes to make sure they’re all done baking). 

Remove the pan from the oven and let the cupcakes cool before you transfer them to a platter.

For the frosting, beat the cream cheese and butter, on low speed using an electric or hand mixer until smooth. Gradually add the sifted powdered sugar and beat, on low speed, until fully incorporated. Beat in the vanilla extract, and lemon zest.

Make sure your cupcakes are completely cooled before you frost them! I frosted mines using a plastic sandwich bag. I basically scooped the icing into the bag, pushed all the icing towards one corner, removed the air from the bag, then zipped it and cut off the corner of the bag where I had pushed all of the frosting. Then I used the bag to pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes. It’s kind of a messy job, but it looks pretty!

And voila! Your cupcakes look beautiful, taste amazing, and you feel pretty accomplished because you made them!

Yeah bro. I made those cupcakes bro.

Le picture time:

According to my brother, the way I frosted the cupcakes makes the icing look like white poop. Haters gonna hate yo.

 Take care and I’ll see you soon my loves!

Banana Bread

5 Mar

Guess who’s back? Back again? Meeeee :D. So I decided to keep the blog, particularly because I’ve been trying out lots of new desserts lately and also because I’ve got tons more I want to try out. So here I am! :D Actually I have a lot of blog posts coming up. I edited so many pictures and now I just need to write the posts. Ahhhh lazinesss…

But I have so many blog posts coming up! So yay for that!

So a couple of months ago, I tried a new recipe for banana bread. I couldn’t really find a recipe for banana cake, but I’m planning on making one soon. The best banana cake I ever had was one I made with my cousin and my brother. All I remember was that we threw random stuff into the mix because we were missing some of the ingredients we needed and bam- we came up with the best banana cake.

Anyways, let’s talk about the banana bread I made recently. I got the recipe from Simply Recipes and it was pretty good, although I did screw it up by mistake and I’ll tell you about that in a bit.

Here’s the recipe I adapted from Simply Recipes. Enjoy my loves!

Ingredients:

  • 3 or 4 ripe bananas, smashed
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 3/4-1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).

The mashed bananas and the butter

Mix the butter with the mashed bananas in a large mixing bowl. Mix in the sugar, egg, and vanilla.

I'm loving the colour contrasts here

Le smexy vanilla swirl

Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix them in. Add the flour and mix.

Pour the mixture into a buttered 4×8 inch loaf pan.

Bake the loaf for around 45-50 minutes or when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The original recipe says to bake the bread for an hour, which seemed like way too long. My loaf turned out very brown with a hard crust and I kept it in the oven for 55 minutes, and I also decreased the temperature to 150°C after 40 minutes. I also love the way the top of the crust cracked. It looks cool! :D

And ta-da! You are done! Seriously, banana bread is one of the easiest things to make. And it tastes pretty good too! :P

To finish off the banana bread, I spread some nutella on top and damn it looked good. The shiny hazelnutty nutella looked great on top of the bread and it tasted… well I’m sure you know how it tasted. Really. Good.

So now, how I screwed up. Well, the original recipe says to use 1 cup of sugar in the loaf, and that you can reduce it to 3/4 if you want to. I didn’t want my cake to be too sweet, so I put a little over 3/4 of a cup which turned out to be a mistake as later I found out I used salted butter in the bread by mistake. The end result was still good, although I wanted my loaf to be a little sweeter. Damn you salted butter :(

Also, I only used 3.5 bananas when I made the bread. I have no idea why I used 3.5, but in my notes here it says I only used that much. Now I’m wondering what prompted me to use that amount, but I think it’s because I wasn’t sure if I should use 3 or 4, so I ended up using 3.5. If I were to make the recipe again, I’d go for 4 bananas.

Time for le pics:

You know you want some.

Take care and I’ll see you soon my loves!

For when you just want some cake…

1 Jan

Hello lovelies!

So this shall probably be my last post for awhile. I’m trying to stay out of the kitchen because I’ve been over eating again. No baking = no blog posts. Oh wells, it’s not like I blog much anyway. I really should write more posts!

Anyways, so today’s post isn’t even about a recipe.

You know how sometimes you’re just craving cake? Craving it so bad that you need it right then? That was me last week. And I wanted cake so bad that it didn’t matter where it came from, or what kind it was. Well it had better have a lot of icing on it, that’s all, I thought to myself. And so, I took out the yellow cake mix and chocolate icing that I had been saving for an emergency like this. I was going to have cake, come hell or hyenas.

And so I baked that cake. I baked it good.

It came out of the oven with a light brown crisp top layer, and a soft, golden, fluffy interior. After the cake cooled I levelled it with a knife, and then spread a thick as hell layer of icing on top. The icing was being kind of annoying because it kept picking up crumbs and ruining the cake, but I finally spread the damn thing on top. Now I usually don’t use the whole package of icing on a cake, but this time I did. In fact, I was aiming for a 50/50 ratio of icing to cake, and I think I got pretty close.

I didn’t garnish the cake with anything. I was out of sprinkles. And coloured sugar. And any sort of chocolate. In fact my baking cupboard was pretty much empty. Thank goodness for the emergency cake mix and icing I was saving. I knew this day would come. Planning for the future, that’s what I do.

Mmmmm that cake was divine. It really hit the spot. That means my hips looked a little wider the next morning.

Whatever, it was damn worth it.

Anyways, I’m really starting to worry about what I’m going to do about this blog, because it really doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. After all, I’m not a baker, I’m just a follower-of-recipes. I don’t make up my own desserts. I just follow recipes I find on other blogs and websites. Also, I never really get time to bake. Not to mention I’m trying to lose weight so I shouldn’t even be having any desserts in the first place.

I think I should take some time and decide whether I want to keep this blog or not. Maybe I could try finding healthier recipes to make? I doubt it I’ll find many. But I’ll definetely try!

Anyways, I’ll see you in a bit my lovelies!

I hope you guys are enjoying your holidays, and Happy New Year! Let’s make 2012 good. :)

Take care and I’ll see you soon!

Oreo Truffles!

17 Dec

Hello my loves! I’m back! I know, it’s been a while. Sorry about that. I’ve been busy with YouTube exams. So I’m gonna try to write this post before I get too lazy again.

So yesterday, I made Oreo truffles. Now don’t kill me, but I’m not a fan of Oreos. I’ll eat them if I have to, but I don’t know, I just don’t find them very tasty. It’s probably because I only like cookies that have chocolate chips in them or are dipped in chocolate. Anyways, I do love Oreo cheesecake- well, any cheesecake. So, when I saw Brown Eyed Baker’s post on Oreo and cream cheese truffles, I knew i had to try them. After all, I would do anything to get my hands on any kind of food with cream cheese in it. Anything.

And the best part about these truffles as that you can make them really quickly, and with only 4 ingredients! Also, they’re worth the effort it takes to smash that cream cheese and crush those Oreo cookies.

The truffles have an amazing texture, with a hard chocolate shell on the outside, and a rich, creamy, dense filling inside. It’s a strong burst of sweet cream cheese- Oreo goodness. Also, because I didn’t grind my Oreos superfine, I haad small, soft cookie pieces inside my truffles, which I actually liked.

Anyways, enough of me blabbering on about good these truffles are. Let’s get started on making them! Here’s the recipe I modified from Michelle, from Brown Eyed Baker.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of Oreos (30 cookies)
  • 1 250 gram package of cream cheese at room temperature
  • 2 cups melting chocolate wafers.
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening or oil.

Directions:

Crush the Oreo cookies (with the cream) in a food processor. I was kinda lazy to take the food processor out, so I put these bad boys in a Ziploc bag, grabbed a rolling-pin, and went all out. Let’s just say those Oreo cookies were wishing they’d never been born.

Mmmmm cream cheeeeeeseeeeee *drool*

Put the Oreo cookies in a large bowl. Add the cream cheese bit by bit. Using a spoon, mix the cream cheese well into the cookie crumbs until you have a mould-able dough. Using a small cookie scoop or spoon, scoop little little balls from the mixture and shape them into proper rounds and place them on a wax paper-lined baking sheet. Once you’re done making the balls, refrigerate them for about 30 minutes until they’re firm.

Don't they look like poop balls? Woops, did I just say that out loud?

In a small bowl, melt the white and milk chocolate melting wafers in 30 second increments until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove the balls from the fridge, a few at a time, so they don’t become soft and aren’t hard to work with. Take one ball and dip it into the chocolate. I used a fork to hold the ball, and using a spoon in my other hand, I drizzled the melted chocolate over it to cover it completely. Place the ball back onto the wax paper using the fork. Using a spoon, drizzle the while chocolate over your truffle.

I know you’re thinking that my truffles have funky designs on them. That’s what happens when you give your noob of a brother some melted white chocolate and an ounce of trust. I’m kidding; the truffles actually look pretty cool, like some kind of abstract art. Not that I would ever tell him that.

 
Once you’re done dipping all the truffles, place them back into the fridge for another 30 minutes.
 

Serve the truffles, or store them in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks- if they last that long! If you’re having guests over, these babies will be gone before long. 

 

 The recipe says you should end up with about 4 dozen truffles. I only ended up making about 20. I think next time I’ll make the truffles much smaller in size. But really, they are so freakin’ good. Anyways, I hope you guys are all getting into the holiday spirit and spending your time off with friends, family, and all the people you love. Speaking of which, what are you doing for the Holidays? Me, I’m just gonna crawl up in bed and watch Friends. Hopefully I can drag my unsocial body out of bed and spend some time with friends and family for a bit. Wow, it took me 3 hours to write this post. Damn you, YouTube, you’ve done it again. Anyways, I should probably stop bugging you now. Take care my loves! Enjoy your holidays, and I hope wherever you are, you’re having an amazing time with wonderful people. See you soon.

Rich fudgy Brownies!!!

17 Nov

Wow it’s snowing outside while I’m writing this post! That’s unusual for November in Mississauga. But hey I’m not complaining. Snow is awesome!

Once, about a decade ago, I prayed to God for a whole month that it would snow on my birthday. And it did. And I thought that it was pretty nice of God to make that happen. I remember feeling really special the entire day, not just because it was my birthday, but because God had listened to me. Because it didn’t snow for weeks before and after my birthday, but it snowed on that one day. I remember waking up that November the 20th, and the first thing I did was run to the window to see if it was snowing, and sure enough, it was. So just a quick shout-out to God for making that happen. Thanks, I really appreciated it.

So I’m sure you’ve figured out what we’re making today by looking at the above picture. Last weekend, I was feeling kind of blah. So I was craving my favourite comfort dessert- brownies. But not just any brownies- I wanted the most rich, fudge-y, dense, chocolate-y-est brownies ever. So I made this recipe I got from the Disney website a few months ago. And let me tell you, these brownies are good. Soft, chewy, chocolate goodness on the inside, with a crispy crust on the top. You can’t have just one. You probably can’t even have just two. And when you’re done eating quite a few, and your stomach takes revenge on you by doing a 360, trust me, it’ll still be worth it. I’m kidding though. You probably won’t be able to eat more than a couple. These brownies are really heavy. I cut mines really small though so I guess it depends on the size you cut them. The original recipe says you can make 16 to 20 from one batch. I was able to cut 30 pieces.

Also, while we’re on the subject of indulging, I’ve been really addicted to the song “It will rain,” by Bruno Mars. It’s one of those really bittersweet songs that you just have to sing aloud to at the top of your lungs while making really weird grabbing-at-the-air motions they usually make in sad music videos.

“Cause there’ll be no sunliiiiiightttt, if I lose you babayyy…
And there’ll be no clear skieeees, if I lose you babayyyy…
And just like the clouds my eyes will do the same. If you walk awaaaaay, everyday it’ll rain raain raaaaain, ai-ai-ain.”

Hmmm now I’m thinking I should do a “Song of the week,” kind of thing. I’ve always wanted to do that. Or like a “Quote of the Week,” or maybe even a “YouTube video/Image of the week.” Yay! Suddenly my blog got a lot more interesting.

As I was saying, this was the perfect song to blast while baking up a batch of these delicious brownies.

Okay enough chit chat. Let’s get down to business… and defeat the huns! Mulan reference haha.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 extra-large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F or 176 degrees C. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan.

Place the chocolate chips and butter into a large microwaveable bowl. Microwave for 1 minute, then remove and whisk until the chocolate chips are completely melted.

When the chocolate is at room temperature (it may be already), whisk in the sugar and then the eggs, one at a time. Add the vanilla and mix well. Make sure you mix especially well when you add the eggs, and make sure to add them one by one. I kind of just dumped them in at all once and probably didn’t stir very well, considering my brownies tasted kind of egg-y.

Fold in the flour and salt until everything’s just combined, and make sure to not over mix.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes or until the brownies are soft set. Don’t try the toothpick test, because it won’t work as the mix will still be a little wet. The amount of time you keep these brownies in the oven is the most crucial part of the whole process. Because I’m obsessed about things being perfectly cooked, I burned these brownies the first time I made them a few months ago. Completely burned them. In fact, they turned out to be rock-hard cookies because I kept them in the oven for almost 50 minutes. Last time, I burned half of them; basically, all the sides and corners. This time I was determined to get it right. And get it right I did. To make sure the brownies turned out perfect, I took them out of the oven after 30 minutes. And then I cut a piece to check out its texture. They looked a bit undercooked, so I put them back in the oven for another 5 minutes. And they were perfect. So I’m guessing 35-40 minutes really is the perfect time to keep these bad boys in the oven. So I cut the brownies and tried not to think about salmonella.

After you take the brownies out of the oven, let them cool to room temperature before cutting them. But waiting is for losers. Dig in. It’s okay.

I love these brownies because although they look crumbly, their texture is so moist and soft. And I hate light, dry brownies. Nonononoo, my friend. That’s what cakes are for. Brownies are supposed to be chewy and fudgy. Not dry. Ew. We shun the dry.

The pictures:

A picture I took with flash. The darkest parts of the brownies are the densest part. You can see how rich and fudgy these brownies are.

Ahhh crumbs crumbs crumbbsss! I'm a sucker for crumbs. They make food look so good. And crumbly. And stuff. Yeah.

Wow, look at the interesting structure I created. I should seriously be an architect.

Anyway, it’s stopped snowing now. It kind of sucks that I didn’t get to go outside and play in the first snowfall and run around like a kid high on candy. Oh well, there’s more snow to come. Lots more. This is Canada after all. Speaking of which, I can’t wait to start making winter-inspired desserts. I’m so excited! I’m also hoping to make my very first gingerbread house soon (I know, it’s about time, eh?).

Anyways, I shall get going now or I’ll be late to class! Take care and I’ll see you soon my loves!

Chocolate Candy Bar Cake

3 Nov

Chunks of rich, dark, chocolate. Sweet and tangy cream cheese icing. Moist, fudge-y cake. No honey, you’re not in heaven. This is for real. Today, we’re going to make the most delicious cake ever.

So last weekend, I was going to make Halloween- themed cupcakes for you guys. Then I found out I was supposed to make a birthday cake for one of my best friends. Obviously, I freaked out. A person’s birthday is the most important day of the year for them. And their birthday cake is one of the most important highlights of their day. It has to be just perfect. Also, the friend whose birthday it was is a baking goddess. She makes cakes with her eyes closed. No way was I going to disgrace her baking talents by handing her something made completely out of a box. This cake had to be perfect. And homemade. But I’d never made a huge birthday cake from scratch before.

So on Friday, I searched for cake recipes for hours. And hours. And didn’t find anything I liked. I didn’t sleep properly on Friday. The first thing I thought of when I woke up in the middle of the night was cake. On Saturday, I did exactly what I did on Friday- search for cake recipes. It was on Saturday night that I found the perfect recipe. Chocolate cake with cream cheese icing. And crushed chocolate candy bar pieces. Damn that’s good.

All of Saturday I freaked out about my cake choice. What if my cakes turn out to be ugly hills? Do my friends like cream cheese frosting? What if the cake looks messy? How will I get the cake to school? Oh my God I’m gonna drop the cake on the bus and everyone is gonna laugh at me. Oh my God the cake’s gonna taste bad and my friends will be so disappointed. Oh my God the cake’s gonna look ugly and no one’s gonna eat it.

I didn’t sleep very well on Saturday.

Sunday morning, when I woke up before the sun did, the first thing on my mind was cake.

You might be wondering why I was freaking out. Normal people don’t freak out that much. After all, you might be thinking, it was just a cake. No need to freak out. You see, I’m not normal. It’s best we clear that up now. It’ll save us lots of time in the future.

Anyways, I gathered up my guts and on Sunday I went and bought the ingredients for the cake.

And I baked that cake.

And surprisingly enough, the two cakes turned out fine. In fact, they turned out more than fine. They looked pretty damn good. They weren’t even hill-ish looking. Well, one was, but when I inverted it onto a plate, it became flat.

While the cakes were cooling, I made the icing. I found the icing a bit hard to make because I don’t have an electric mixer. And also, I probably shouldn’t have used a wire whisk to beat the cream cheese. Let me tell you, it wasn’t fun trying to get all that cream cheese out from the wires of the whisk. Once I got all the cream cheese out, I tried various spoons to mash it up to a smooth consistency. I finally settled on a huge spoon, which I used to mix. I added the rest of the ingredients, finishing with the Cool Whip. Once I had folded in the Cool Whip, I stepped back and paused. Then I took a spoon out of the drawer, and SLOWLY reached over into the bowl. And scooped a little bit of the icing and tried it.

“Mmm.” I said. “This is good. This is really good. Holy shit, this is good.” Then I did a little happy dance. I was ecstatic. I felt like I had cracked some secret code and that I could now join the group of “Super Icing Makers.” Never had my icing turned out this good.

I popped the icing and the cakes into the fridge.

Would you find me any weirder if I told you that I tried the icing about 20 more times that day to see if it was still as good as it was when I made it? Also, I made my entire family try it and give me their feedback. They all liked it. Then I calmed down. Only to try the icing another hour later to still if it was still good. Needless to say, by Sunday night, I felt quick sick. Maybe it was all that icing, maybe it was the butterflies in my tummy.

The next morning, I woke up at 6 am, and yes, the first thing on my mind was cake. I brushed my teeth and rushed downstairs, and yanked the cake and the icing out of the fridge. I tried some icing. Still good. The time had come. I took out a knife to spread the icing. I smeared icing on one cake, and sandwiched the other one on top, then put some more icing over it. I decorated the top with dark chocolate bits, and tried to spell the letter A.

I picked up the cake and carefully placed it in the cake box. Then I stepped backed and marveled at my creation. It looked good. The icing tasted good. The cake itself would probably taste good. But the big question on my mind was, will they like it?

I found out a few hours later. At school, when everyone surrounded the cake asking to dig in, I tried to stall for time by telling them I needed to take some more pictures for my blog. Everyone stood, waiting, with their forks ready. Eventually I gave in and let them hack away at the cake.

Trying to figure out if they liked it or not, I scanned everyone’s faces. I heard muffled “Mmms.” I guessed that was a good thing. I picked up a fork and dug in.

Mmmmm. It was good. Really good.

I almost fainted in surprise. I couldn’t believe I could make something this good! But I did, and if I can, you sure as hell can. Below are the ingredients for the cake. I got the recipe from AllRecipes.com. The original recipe included chopped pecans for the icing, but we all know how I feel about nuts around my cakes.

 Cake Ingredients

  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package devil’s food cake mix
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 (3.5 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 (12 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 4 (1.5 ounce) bars milk chocolate candy, coarsely chopped

 Directions:

 Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease and flour two 8.5 inch pans.

In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, milk, eggs, oil and instant vanilla pudding mix. Beat the mix until it’s blended. Scrape the bowl, and then beat for another 4 minutes on medium speed. I found that the batter for this cake was very dense, due to the added pudding mix. Pour the batter into the prepared pans.

I know I said I didn’t want to make a cake from a cake mix but technically this doesn’t count since we’re not making the cake according to the instructions on the box. Instead, we’re making it a different way. Also, I really wanted to make this cake, even if it did call for cake mix because the cake itself looked just so damn good.

Bake the cakes in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the cakes cool completely before going anywhere near them with the frosting! That shit melts fast.

The first cake I baked turned out awesome. It was flat, just the way it was supposed to be. The second one I baked had a little hill. However, when I inverted it onto a plate, it became flat as well. I was beyond happy. I’m guessing it was the pudding mix in the cakes that make them so dense and mould-able for lack of a better word.

Yay both flat cakes!

To make the frosting, beat the cream cheese with the two sugars in a large bowl until you have a smooth mixture. Fold in the whipped topping and chopped chocolate. I kept my chocolate in the freezer until I was ready to use it. Then I took it out and while it was still in its packaging, I beat it with a rolling pin. However, the chocolate pieces were still a bit large which kind of made it a bit hard to spread the icing onto the cake properly because the icing ended up kind of ripping the top of cake. So I used a spoon to scoop icing onto the cake and then I spread it lightly. Spread the icing between the layers and on the top and sides of the cake. I didn’t frost the sides because the icing was really hard to work with,

And that my friends, is how you make a very good cake.

I really didn't want to show the whole cake, because my icing skills are less than acceptable. Oh well.

Thank you, my lovely readers, for reading this post. You’re awesome.

And Anisa, if you’re reading this, this post is for you. Happy birthday, my gorgeous partner in crime. I love you.

Take care and I’ll see you soon my loves!

Mmmm… Homemade Apple pie

27 Oct IMG_1583edited

So last Sunday I made apple pie for the first time. And it was good. Surprisingly. I’m still shocked. Very shocked.Well I am. I always thought apple pie would be super hard to make, because it tastes so damn good. Surely something that tastes this good can’t be that easy to make, right? Wrong. This pie so easy to make! And trust me, when I say something’s easy, it’s easy.

I love apple pie. Apple pie to me is homey goodness, a perfect flaky and buttery crust on the outside, and juicy, sweet and cinnamon-y apple filling inside. I love how the apples are soft, juicy, and tart, yet have a nice bite to them. It’s funny that I love apple pie and any dessert with apples in it, considering how I can’t stand the thought of cooked fruits.

The only part I hated about making apple pie was waiting for the dough to chill and firm in the fridge. In case you didn’t know, I’m not a very patient person.  Oh, and I also hated waiting till the pie was cooled. Then again, I didn’t wait. I’ll talk more about that in a bit.

So when I decided I wanted to make apple pie last weekend, I told my parents I’d need about 6 apples. That day, we came home with about 100 apples. I’m not kidding. My parents went to the farmer’s market and literally bought a huge basket of apples.

Sadly my apple pie didn’t look like this:

But it still tasted and looked pretty darn good.

Now let’s start making this pie! I got the recipe for my pie crust from Simply Recipes and the recipe for the filling from this video by Pillsbury. And here’s the written version of the Pillsbury recipe.

Pie crust ingredients:

  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling dough
  • 1 cup (2 sticks on 8 ounces butter, very cold, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 6 to 8 tablespoons ice water

Apple filling ingredients:

  • 6 cups thinly sliced, peeled apples (medium sized)
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Directions:

Heat oven to 425°F.

Combine the flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor; pulse to mix. I think I forgot to put sugar in the dough because it ended up being a bit salty. Add the butter and pulse 6 to 8 times, until the mixture resembles coarse meal, with pea size pieces of butter. My food processor broke (everything I need seems to break!) so I had to rub the butter into the flour by hand, like I’ve seen people do in cooking shows. Not fun.

Add the ice water 1 Tbsp at a time, pulsing until the mixture begins to clump together. If you pinch some of the crumbly dough and it holds together, it’s ready. If the dough doesn’t hold together, add a little more water and pulse again. I found that my dough was not crumbly at all by the time I was done adding 6 tablespoons. In fact it seemed fine for rolling right then. Even so, I put it in the fridge to chill for an hour.

Remove the dough from the machine and place it on a clean surface. Shape the dough into 2 disks. Do not over-knead. You should be able to see little bits of butter in the dough. Since I mixed my dough by hand, most of the butter melted into the crust. Oh well. My crust was surprisingly pretty flaky after baked, even though I mixed the butter into the flour with my hands. Well actually it was kind of powdery.

Sprinkle a little flour around the discs. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, and up to 2 days.

While your crust is chilling in the fridge (Get it- chilling? HAHAHA oh God, I kill myself), gently mix filling ingredients in a large bowl.

Okay so I have no idea why these apples are two different colours. I shall blame the lighting.

When your dough is chilled, remove one crust disk from the fridge. Let it sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes so it can soften a bit and make rolling it out easier.

Roll the dough out with a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface to a 12-inch circle; about 1/8 of an inch thick. As you roll out the dough, check if it’s sticking to the surface below. If necessary, add a few sprinkles of flour under the dough to keep it from sticking. Carefully place the dough onto a 9-inch pie plate. This part can get kind of tricky. If you want, gently roll the dough onto your rolling pin and then unroll it over your pie plate. Or if you’re an impatient little maniac, you can always just yank the dough off your counter and smash it onto your pie plate. Not that I would ever do that.

Gently press the dough down so that it lines the bottom and sides of the pie plate. Use a pair of kitchen scissors to trim the dough to within 1/2 inch of the edge of the pie dish.

Spoon the filling into the crust-lined pie plate.

Roll out the second disk of dough, as before. Gently place it onto the top of the filling in the pie. Pinch the top and bottom of the dough rounds firmly together. Trim the excess dough with kitchen shears, leaving a 3/4 inch overhang. Wrap the excess top crust under the edge of the bottom crust, pressing the edges together to seal. You can also make a fluted crust if you want. I learned how to make one from this video on Fine Cooking. Unfortunately, my crust came out pretty un-fluted, probably because I was in a hurry to get the damn thing in the oven. You can also press the edges down with a fork.

Cut a few slits in the top of your pie crust to allow steam to escape while baking.

The recipe says to bake the pie for 40 to 45 minutes or until the apples are tender and the crust is golden brown. I don’t know how I’m supposed to know if the apples are tender since I can’t freaking see them as they’re hiding under the crust, but I took my pie out after 40 minutes and it was done. The lady in the Pillsbury video also used a pie shield so the crust wouldn’t burn. Pshhh. Pie shield my butt. I ain’t using no pie shield. And my pie crust turned out just fine. If you want, you can cover the edge of your crust with 2- to 3-inch wide strips of foil after first 15 to 20 minutes of baking to prevent excessive browning.

Really important tip! Work with really cold butter. You want there to little butter pieces in your pie dough when you roll it out. That will make your pastry really flaky. Or so I’ve been told.

I think next time, I should cut the apples a bit thinner or smaller. Also, I think I could have used more apples. I only used about 5 cups, whereas the recipe said to use 6, but I thought 5 would be enough. And it was. I’m just not how big I want the top of pie my pie to be just yet. Hmmm, I might just put more filling next time. The more the merrier right?

Also, next time I should make sure I remove the whole center of the apple properly, especially the carpels which hold the seeds. My brother got a piece of one while he was eating and thought it was plastic. I checked (my baking reputation was at stake- not that I have a baking reputation, but you know), and it was actually just one of those carpel things which hold the seeds.

Also, next time I’ll make sure- and trust me, this is the second most important tip I have for you today- to wait till the pie is cooled before cutting into it. The recipe says to wait two hours so the juices can soak back into the apples. If you can, wait longer. I sliced the pie literally five minutes after taking it out from the oven and all the juices spilled out, like I’d just cracked open a dam or something. The pie was still good, but when I had a slice the next morning, it was a hundred times better. The juices had thickened into a sweet, cinnamon-y syrup whereas the night before, they were so much more liquid-y.

Mmmmm... Pie juice :D

My favourite part of the pie is the bottom crust, which is soggy from the filling. I love that part because it’s like you’re eating crust and filing at the same time. I don’t evaluate a pie’s crust and it’s filling separately, rather I rate the pie as a whole. And on the whole, this pie was damn good. I’ll definitely be making it soon again. Especially since we have so many freaking apples at home.

Anywhoooos, till next time.

Take care, and I’ll see you soon my loves!

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