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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Snap Thursday: Fall foliage

Fall is always a short season here. The trees seem to change color so fast and in a few weeks, it's gone. Not wanting to miss the photographic opportunity, I went for a walk yesterday. It was a really nice day, sunny and 70 degrees, and there are plenty of fall leaves to photography :).

To join Snap Thursday: Post your photograph on your blog on Thursdays and leave your link in the comment section of my Snap Thursday post. Please also link back to my site. Click here to get your widget.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Last Cake, Next Cake

We have quite a bit of participation this week, which always makes me happy. Sorry, I'm having a bit of a writer's block moment and can't think of anything to write in the intro.

Anyway, here are the roundups!

Jane was not really excited about upside down cakes but she was glad she made it anyway. I like Jane's rant about the difficulty of finding full fat yogurt. It reminds me of my own frustration, :). "The cake called for full fat yogurt and I had no idea how difficult it is to find full fat yogurt. Every type of yogurt in the grocery store is non fat or fat free or low fat." The cake itself was delicious but received mixed reviews. "One of my friends really didn't like it but some of my other friends said that they really did."

Melissa baked this cake in her newly purchased Pineapple Pan from Nordic Ware. Her family are big fans of upside down and fruity cakes, so she guaranteed the new pan will get a lot of use. Using fresh pineapples and coring it herself (unlike some of us who used canned or already-cored pineapple), Melissa's only complaints is that the cake part was too small. Even so, the cake was a big hit. "The tangy, lime caramel sauce cooked nicely into the fresh pineapple and cherry and created crunchy toffee like bits on the edges."

Hanaa's been absent for a while and now she's back with a catch-up cake: Apple Cinnamon Crumb Coffee Cake. She used a combination of Honey Crisp and Mccintosh apples from her own apple tree. The cake was a hit. "I loved the different flavors and textures that this cake offers. The cake is buttery, tender and moist. The filling has a great apple and cinnamon flavor and the topping is nutty and crunchy which was a wonderful contrast."

Our FEATURED BAKER this week is Lola, who creatively used papaya for this cake because her honey does not like pineapple. She baked this cake in a 6 inch cake pan and made the caramel with lime juice instead of pineapple juice. This cake also marked the launching of her new Breville counter top oven. More creativity, as she sprinkled pomegranates on top of the cake, adding "a nice crunch. The cake is an easy recipe and could be used for any number of fruit on the bottom (really the top) cakes.  Not my best endeavor, but tasty."
A shout-out to Lois for posting the link to her Pineapple Cake. She wasn't feeling well so she missed out on baking this weekend.

Next week is FREE CHOICE and the week after is the Angel Food Cake. This is the 1st cake in the sponge cake chapter and is a base recipe. It gives you the formula using 1 egg white. If you are going to use a full size angel food pan, then you need to multiple it by 16 (16 egg whites). The recipe has the optional flavoring of grated unsweetened chocolate (which would make it similar to the Chocolate Tweed Angel Food Cake) but you can really use any flavoring you want. Lemon, orange, peppermint, coconut, to name a few. The possibilities are endless. I'm looking forward to see what everyone come up with.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Roasted Delicata Squash Salad

I love Heidi Swanson's 101 Cookbooks. I love everything about it, the website design, Heidi's writing, the awesome photos, and her premise of healthy and natural foods. 

One of her recipes that caught my attention is this Roasted Delicata Squash Salad. I have to admit that she got me at "delicata squash." I was like "what is that?" I love squash and thought myself familiar with all of them but not this one.

So my next trip to the grocery store, I was on the look out for this squash. And found them. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

HCB: Individual Pineapple Upside Down Cake

I haven't baked for two weeks. Last Sunday, after coming back from one of our little road trips, the first thing I did when I got home was to bake this cake.

It felt so good to bake. I didn't realize how much I would miss it! :)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Snap Thursday: Bokehlicious

According to Wikipedia, bokeh is "the blur, or the aesthetic quality of blur, or the way the lens renders out of focus points of lights."
My favorite bokeh pictures are flower pictures by Melissa Richards on Flickr (here and here). I would love to know how she does it (and if you ever figured out let me know :)).

So, at one of our favorite restaurants a couple of weeks ago, we happen to sit by the window, and I thought it's time to experiment. No flowers in sight and my bokeh are colorful but I like it :).
To join Snap Thursday: Post your photograph on your blog on Thursdays and leave your link in the comment section of my Snap Thursday post. Please also link back to my site. Click here to get your widget.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Last Cake, Next Cake

We have a lot of participation this week. I suppose it's true what someone (was it you Marie?) said a few months ago - that participation would increase as the weather gets cooler. At least around these parts it is cooler now. I now have to say goodbye to my summer sandals and resort to wearing stockings, socks, and boots. Nothing wrong with those except I love sandals!

Anyway, I digress :). Here are this week's roundup:

Lois baked the most beautiful cheesecake. Her crust is so thin and even and the cheesecake brown evenly. She splurged on the expensive Philly cream cheese and it paid off. "M first reaction was that it tastes like Christmas - I guess that's what ginger means to me. The texture is light and fluffy. It's very good but not the best cheesecake I've ever made. I would fix it again for someone who loved ginger."

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Visiting Mount Evans - part two

This is part two of our Mount Evans trip.

The sign to Mount Evans with Echo Lake in the background.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Visiting Mount Evans - part one

We drove up to Mt. Evans last weekend. It took us a couple hours to get there from Denver and it was a really fun and scenic drive.

I learned a couple of things during this trip. First, Mt. Evans is one of the 53 Colorado 14er. At 14,265 feet, it is the highest paved auto road in North America. Second, nearby Mt. Evans lived the oldest single living organism known, up to 5,000 years. And it's a tree! A pine tree called Bristlecone Pines. They looked very different than any other pine trees I've seen. Gnarly and short and reminds me of trees in movies, when they come alive and try to grab you, :). Two movies came to mind: Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter.

Mt. Evans is also #1 on Trip Advisor's list of 112 Things to Do in Denver.
Mountains here we come!!!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

HCB: Ginger Cheesecake with Gingerbread Crust

The good thing about cheesecakes is that they are easy to make. The bad thing about them is that usually I don't like them. I I've made 3 cheesecakes from Rose's Heavenly Cakes and I like all of them. So I was curious about this one.

The cheesecake is pretty easy to put together, especially when you make 1/6 recipe.

I skipped out on the gingerbread cookies. I made it last year and did not like it at all. Way to much molasses taste. The cookies actually ended up in the trash. Sad. But no one would eat them.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Snap Thursday: Pine tree branch, dreamy and antique

I'm on a roll. I have 4-5 different pictures that I like and it was hard to decide on which one to share first. So here it is: pine treee branch.
I thought they looked interesting enough to shoot. I love how they're protruding above the gate and the white gate with all the greenery looks nice. Then I decided to post process them differently. The 1st one is sorta dreamy and the 2nd one is antique-looking, like an old photo.

To join Snap Thursday: Post your photograph on your blog on Thursdays and leave your link in the comment section of my Snap Thursday post. Please also link back to my site. Click here to get your widget.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Last Cake, Next Cake

The HCBer had some adventure this week with these rosebuds. We have ganache sinking to the bottom of the pan, ganache not sinking at all, cake sticking, ganache sinking perfectly, cake un-mold perfectly. But even with all these issues and differences, we all agree on one thing - the most important thing. That is, the cake is easy to make and chocolatey.

Jane made this back in June when her oven was broken. She baked the cake in a friend's house. She liked the cake because they are quick and easy and made the house smells heavenly. As a catch up, Jane was going to make the Caramelized Pineapple Pudding cake but it didn't happen. She made the brioche and the creme anglaise two weeks ago, soak them in the fridge, and forgot about them. Sadly, they ended up in the trash. Determined to make the pudding (and to use the pineapple that's been sitting on the pantry), she went to a local bakery to get brioche. Sadly again, they ran out of brioche. So Jane made the Gold Ingots instead. Pressed for time, she made the ingots in 20 minutes. They turned out perfect, with her roommate exclaiming "oh my gosh, these are amazing."

Saturday, September 10, 2011

HCB: Deep Chocolate Rosebuds

When you read a recipe, it sorta helps when you actually read it, instead of reading the title and a part of the instruction and then filling in the blanks yourself.

I blame this to tiredness. I didn't sleep well last night. Yet I woke up early, had breakfast, then proceeded to make this cake.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Snap Thursday: Path

I am liking BW picture more and more. This is taken when I went for a walk last week. The BW version looks much nicer than the color version.
Click here to see the color version
To join Snap Thursday: Post your photograph on your blog on Thursdays and leave your link in the comment section of my Snap Thursday post. Please also link back to my site. Click here to get your widget.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Last Cake, Next Cake

This is an amazing FREE CHOICE week. We have a lot of participation and among 8 cakes that were made (9 including mine), there were no repetition. Each and every one of you made something different. The geek in me thinks that is COOL :).

Lola made the Chocolate Tomato Cake with Mystery Ganache for her grandson's graduation from middle school. "Those teenage kids gobbled this down without a moment of wondering what the mystery ingredient was." It sounds like Lola had a lot of fun baking this cake, "it is an easy cake to prepare and bakes up beautifully." She didn't have quite enough Pirouettes sticks to place around the cake the way it is in the book, but no problem, as she made up by artistically left out gaps around the cake. Completing the look, she topped the sticks with piping gel.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Taste of Colorado

We went to A Taste of Colorado yesterday on Labor Day, located in the beautiful Civic Center Park/Capitol Hill area. It was really fun. The weather was nice and there were hundreds of people.
Our ride

Sunday, September 4, 2011

HCB Free Choice: Whipped Cream Cake

It took me 25 tries, but I finally got this shot
This is another RHC cakes that I have made before but forgot to take pictures. Part of me wanted to kick myself for forgetting but the other part is glad that I had to redo the cake, because now I can try to take the photo like the one in the book.

The photo of this cake is one of my favorites in the book. I love the simplicity of it, and love the rain of powdered sugar coming down on the cake.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Snap Thursday: Clouds and a Link-y Party Invitation

This Snap Thursday post is extra special because today I'm launching a Snap Thursday Link-y Party Invitation to everyone. To join is very easy.
Post your photography post on your blog on Thursdays and leave your link in the comment section of my Snap Thursday post. Please also link back to my site.

It goes without saying but I'm saying it anyway. Please post only photos that belong to you and keep it clean (no nudity or gory stuff).

And here is my Snap Thursday photo. A cloud formation that I like. I thought to photograph it and I really like the result.