Notice my contact info to the right, if you want to contact me with any questions. I would also like to say that I do attempt to give credit where credit is due. I do not make any claims to cakes in my blog except the ones in my slideshow. If I show a cake I will try to post some type of identifer with it, however, if I don't know who posted the cake it is impossible for me to do that. I am only using the cake to illustrate a specific technique.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Dulce Leche (Caramel Topping)

I tried this recipe.  It was submitted to the Food Network by Alton Brown.  It is the bomb.  It can be used on ice cream, cake, or eaten right off a spoon (not recommended though it's not good for the hips). 

Dulce Leche (Caramel Topping)

1 quart whole milk
12 ounces sugar, approximately 1 1/2 cups
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Combine the milk, sugar, vanilla bean and seeds in a large, 4-quart saucepan and place over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved. Once the sugar has dissolved, add the baking soda and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to low and cook uncovered at a bare simmer. Stir occasionally, but do not re-incorporate the foam that appears on the top of the mixture. Continue to cook for 1 hour. Remove the vanilla bean after 1 hour and continue to cook until the mixture is a dark caramel color and has reduced to about 1 cup, approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer. Store in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to a month.
Another trick to making caramel topping is to boil a can of Carnation sweetened condensed milk completely submerged in water for 2 hours.  Make sure the can stays completely covered with water for the whole 2 hours.  After 2 hours remove the pan from heat and set aside to cool completely. 

Will keep in the unopened can for quite some time, once open though it usually disappears pretty fast.  If you use a lot of caramel topping, you can always do multiple cans and keep them stored in your pantry.


Chocolate Guide
The percentages listed on a chocolate bar represent the amount of cocoa butter and cacao solids by weight. The rest is largely sugar. Depending on the quality of the bar, there might be other additives present, like vanillin or lecithin, but they generally total less than one percent. Milk chocolate must have a certain percentage (12% minimum) of either powdered or condensed milk added as well.
Chocolate comes in the following levels of sweetness, from least to most added sugar:

  • Unsweetened chocolate (which is exactly what it sounds like; it's also sometimes called baking chocolate).
  • Dark
  • Bittersweet
  • Semisweet
  • Milk Chocolate
White chocolate is made from cocoa butter, without any cocoa solids, so it's technically not chocolate at all.
Cocoa, which is key to the distinctive chocolate taste in baked goods and candies, comes in two styles: Natural (non-alkalized), and Dutch-processed (alkalized). These should not be confused with the instant sweetened versions intended for hot chocolate.
Cocoa powders are primarily used for baking, but make top-notch hot drinks when mixed with sugar to balance their bitter taste. Natural cocoas, like Hershey's or Ghirardelli, tend to be lighter in color than Dutch-processed varieties like Droste. Which is "better" on the taste front? Some bakers prefer the direct chocolate flavor of natural cocoa, while others vote for the mellowness of Dutch.
However, when using chemical leaveners (baking powder or soda), make sure to use the type of cocoa called for in the recipe. Natural cocoas are acidic enough to activate the baking soda in cakes and cookies; alkaline Dutch cocoas should be used in recipes that rely solely on baking powder for their lift.
Keep chocolate wrapped well, in a cool, dry place (not the fridge). Milk chocolate keeps for up to a year; dark for even longer. If the chocolate develops white dots or streaks on the outside, that's called "bloom." It means the cocoa butter has become un-emulsified (separated), but it's still perfectly safe to eat.

How to make Homemade Piping Gel

This is not my recipe, and I never found who wrote it.  So I would like to thank whoever submitted it.  Since they posted it to the internet, I don't think they would mind if I share it.

2 envelopes (2 tablespoons) unflavored gelatin
2 tablespoons cold water
2 cups light Karo syrup, or light corn syrup
Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water in a small saucepan and let set for about 5 minutes. Heat on low until the gelatin has become clear/dissolved - DO NOT BOIL. Add the syrup and heat thoroughly. Cool and store, refrigerated, for up to 2 months.
TO COLOR: Add coloring paste/gel or food coloring drops to get desired color.
TO USE: Put in icing bag or plastic squeeze bottle and decorate.

Posters review:
1. Worked well for the whipped cream
2. Took color nicely!
3. Tried to pipe with it but all my letters just bled into itself.
4. Look like it would work for a pool or lake on a cake.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Pistachio Cake...YUM!

My daughter, for whatever reason, recently told me that she wanted me to fix her a Pistachio Cake.

This is not a cake that I had in my arsenal of recipes, so I had to do a quick search on the internet.  I found a few but the one I finally chose was rated four and a half stars out of five stars.  If you would like to try this recipe you can find it at .  It looks delish, and I can't wait to try it.  If you decide to give it a try too, let me know how it worked out for you.  I may choose to tweek it slightly, but for the most part I will probably stick to the original recipe as much as possible.

There is one concern with this cake, however, I did read that the cake will sometime collapse.  I need to exam the recipe a little more closely to see if I can remedy this problem.  I'll keep you posted.