Caprese Sandwiches on Homemade Bread!

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Last weekend we stumbled across a delightful bakery/cafe called the South End Buttery. I saw the word buttery in the distance and knew I had to see what was up. We loved the design of the place and all the treats looked great. I was starving and grabbed a simple caprese sandwich without really expecting much…but it was so delicious! It made me think about how much good ingredients can make a difference in certain dishes. When it’s composed of just four things, quality ingredients make it shine. This is a sandwich that’s pretty hard to mess up, so I could tell they must be using good stuff. The bread was just perfect and I loved how they used a whole skinny baguette – easier to eat and cute! So, I decided then and there that I would attempt to make my own homemade baguettes. Eek! That’s something that has always scared me. Anything with yeast has kind of always scared me. I’ll post most about the actual bread making later, since this is sandwich week. But, spoiler alert: it was a success! The homemade bread and fresh basil made this simple classic even better. And perfect for an evening dinner in the park!

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anim_da234c51-9c42-9414-1536-68a25ee4807dSimple as 1…2…3

Coconut Cream Ombre Rosette Cake

DSC_3996File this one under Mom’s Corner! I had basically nothing to do with this one other than the fact that it was made for my sister’s and my birthday. Oh, and I’m pretty sure I stirred the coconut cream for like 10 minutes straight! Ha, I can weasel my way into any accomplishment. But really, it’s pretty amazing that my mom took the time to make this because we had just finished making 200 cupcakes for a wedding two days before. It was super fun and I’ll probably post more on it later, but also kind of tortuous because I didn’t get to try one of the coconut cream cupcakes that everyone, and especially my brother, kept raving about. I missed out on the cupcake tasting and we had no extras. I tried each components separately and knew they were delicious, but mom said that wasn’t enough (yay!). She recreated the cupcakes into this beautiful, pink, girly masterpiece. Seriously, thank goodness she did. It really lived up to the hype. Luckily, she had been wanting to attempt an ombre rosette cake for a while – I think it turned out so cute (and the cut slices look like hearts)! The recipes she uses are down below. I included her notes for high altitude bakers since it has worked so well for her! It’s her go-to, especially for cupcakes.

Thanks mom for the beautiful cake and for always giving us such special birthdays!! DSC_3991 DSC_3994DSC_3999 DSC_4002 DSC_4017

Chocolate Cake

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa sifted
1 cup hot water
1 cup buttermilk (add 1 extra tablespoon for high altitude)
2 cups sugar  (remove one tablespoon for high altitude)
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil (add 1 extra tablespoon for high altitude)
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour (add 1 extra tablespoon for high altitude)
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup heavy cream

Add the sifted cocoa powder to a medium sized bowl and pour in the cup of hot liquid. Whisk until completely dissolved. Next add the buttermilk to cool down the mixture, then add the sugar and whisk until all is combined. Add the eggs, oil and vanilla and mix again.

In a small bowl, stir flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk this into the wet mixture until you no longer see any lumps. Stir in heavy cream until evenly mixed in. Divide into two cake pans and bake at 350 degrees F (375 for high altitude) for about 30 minutes or until done. Let cool and chill in fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Coconut Cream (Makes about 2 cups)

1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup Coconut milk
1 cup Milk
1 1/2 Tbsp of corn starch
1/2-1 cup of toasted coconut

Mix all ingredients, except toasted coconut, together and mix well.  Cook all ingredients together over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it begins to boil and thicken. Add the toasted coconut, if using, after the pudding has cooled.

Coconut Frosting

1 cup butter, at room temperature
8 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 tsp coconut extract

Beat the butter and half the confectioners’ sugar until smooth; add half the coconut milk, then the rest, and the extract, and the rest of the confectioners’ sugar, beating until you have a spreadable frosting. Cool completely before frosting.

Assembly

Spread coconut cream on top of the bottom layer (For an extra touch, add a small layer of chocolate buttercream too). Place the second cake on top of the coconut cream. Frost entire cake with coconut frosting.

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Cookbook Challenge – Peach Cake Dippers

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The thing I have been loving most about this cookbook/magazine challenge is trying new things that I never pick when I’m exclusively googling. I’m realizing how much I stay inside the (recipe) box when I google as I go. Flipping through books and magazines has opened my eyes to lots of ideas that I wouldn’t have thought of on my own. Now, this recipe isn’t so out there. I’ve made a couple of fruity cake/bread type desserts on the blog already. I was slightly surprised by how much I needed to make this though because I’m not usually drawn to cinnamon topped desserts (ugh, another weird, unreasonable food preference). In fact, when I took my first sneaky sample I seriously considered leaving out the cinnamon topping because I already liked the taste so much. I talked myself into sticking with the recipe though and am really glad I did. It’s so much tastier with cinnamon!

By the way, the recipe is for a full sized bundt cake, but sadly I don’t have a bundt pan at the moment. It’s ok though – I love when I have a reason to use this cute pan that reminds me of mini sand castles! The peaches and cream bundt recipe can be found here. I halved the recipe, which gave me enough for 30 mini cakes and one mini loaf. Dipping them in whipped topping was really fun and I think would be great for a party! It’s kind of like fondu. You gotta give these a try. They are incredibly light and moist with a nice hint of peach. The cinnamon and whipped topping is a must – it makes it takes like peach pie…in cake form! Yum!

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InstaBeps :: Puppies, Cookies, Repeat

20130224-230519.jpgThe past couple weeks truly have been all about puppies and cookies. I certainly can’t complain! Despite that, it’s somehow managed to also be an incredibly stressful couple of weeks. One day in particular was so hectic that it literally made me sick. Ugh! I think things will be getting back to normal very soon though! I know that I tend to post a lot of puppy pictures on here…I don’t even have a puppy of my own, unfortunately! I usually walk just a few dogs during the week for some extra cash and for fun.  I helped someone out for a few days recently and met sooo many dogs. This explains why there might be a bit of a puppy overload here for tonight. I’m guessing you all won’t mind that too much. I also ate/bought an inexcusable number of cookies. Some I made, some were gifts, and some were just on sale, but very few were shared. Oops.

PS I’m stealing the ‘Insta-name’ title from a post I saw from Sincerly Jules! I thought it was too cute not to. 20130224-230710.jpg

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I don’t think I’ll get used to stumbling across this view. A pretty wonderful Valentines afternoon. 20130224-230840.jpg

Took me a while to fashion a vase. I was so surprised and excited to receive these pretty roses! 20130224-230905.jpg

I could have posted way more cookies pictures…I’ll stick with this one to reduce embarrassment. 20130224-230919.jpg

Awesome guy! 20130224-230928.jpg

Clam chowder cravings are pretty easily satisfied around here. 20130224-230940.jpg

Weekend hair projects…20130224-231134.jpgI nearly let these strawberries go bad! Turned them into a delicious quick bread.

Copycat :: Starbucks Iced Lemon Cake

DSC_1538The fact that this is my second Starbucks copycat post is a total accident! I was in the mood to bake a cake, but realized I don’t actually have a cake pan! What the?! Instead, I thought about what I already had in the kitchen and an image of the Starbucks Iced Lemon Pound Cake popped into my head. I started searching for some copycat recipes and found that the secret seems to be lemon extract. I really didn’t want to make another trip to the store to find it and figured I would just make due without it. BUT then I dug around in my baking cabinet and remembered that I DO have some. Turns out I had to go to the store to get eggs anyway. Womp, womp, womp. I used this recipe and it tastes really great! I actually haven’t had the loaf from Starbucks in a really long time, but it does seem to taste the way I remember it! Now I need to think of some ways to use the orange and lime oils that I have too!

DSC_1542Somehow I turned this really simple project into a huge mess

DSC_1549Mine sunk a bit. Whatev!

DSC_1550Oh yeah, one handed shot of me pouring the glue, er I mean glaze on.

DSC_1581Lemony goodness.

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