recipes

eating this: birthday cake

05.17.12

I volunteered to make my brother’s girlfriends birthday cake this week. In my family, we have and always will eat white on white cakes for every occasion. But she likes yellow cake. With chocolate frosting. And so that’s what I did.

The batter came out super super thick. And then the cake rose pretty high. I was worried. But everything was ok.

With a bread knife, I carefully went for it and really carved off the top of the bottom cake layer. After a frosting disaster from my moms birthday cake, I set up parchment strips under the cake for the frosting process. It only worked ok.

I made the frosting in a food processor and couldn’t believe how easy it was. You throw the ingredients in and press the button and you have frosting. UM WHAT.

Probably my best frosting job ever. This was after removing the parchment and then cleaning up heavily with paper towels. How come everyone else makes it look so easy?

Yellow Layer Cake (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

Yield: Two 9-inch round, 2-inch tall cake layers

4 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour (not self-rising)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon table salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups buttermilk, well-shaken

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans and line with circles of parchment paper, then butter parchment.

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well and scraping down the bowl after each addition. At low speed, beat in buttermilk until just combined (mixture will look curdled). Add flour mixture in three batches, mixing until each addition is just incorporated.

Spread batter evenly in cake pan, then rap pan on counter several times to eliminate air bubbles. (drop it a few times from two inches up. it’s really loud.) Bake until golden and a wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then run a knife around edge of pan. Invert onto rack and discard parchment, then cool completely, about 1 hour.

Instant Fudge Frosting (adapted from where else, Smitten Kitchen)

Makes about 5 cups

6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
4 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar (no need to sift)
3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 tablespoons half-and-half or whole milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse to incorporate, then process until the frosting is smooth.

YES that’s it! Then do whatever you can to make the cake look nice and presentable. This part is what takes me the longest.

 

uncategorized

watching our tree grow

05.16.12

We have this huge fig tree in our front yard that totally died in January. So we took a photo every day since then to see it grow back. AND IT DID! And my boyfriend made a song for it too.

diy

making this: diy ombre vases (from coffee cans)

05.15.12

For our mother’s day brunch, I thought I’d make some small flower vases to incorporate the theme colors and not overwhelm the rest of the table. From the coffee canisters I keep in hoarding bulk, I took three out which I had already spray painted. I’d suggest spray painting prior to painting these because it helps with the texture and it’s ability to have the paint stick.

I chose a peach color. So you need two colors that can work together as light and dark versions. Plus white. Also, I’m lucky enough to have an artist boyfriend with blending brushes, but any thicker clean brush would work as a blender.

I mixed three tones but once the paint was on the can, I decided to darken the darker tones to make more of an impact. Mix three or four colors with different brushes. Then paint one color at a time on each can.

Once I attained the colors I liked, I took my clean brush and started blending, light to dark.

It took a bit of blending to really get it BLENDED, and the darkest color pretty much faded away, which I am fine with. Now fill with water and flowers and admire.

diy / entertaining / holiday / mother's day

mama party!

05.14.12

Throwing our moms a mother’s day brunch turned out perfectly. We went with easy food and a whole lot of pink.

This was the invitation.

After trying to cover the built in behind our dining table with our old deer tapestry, I saw this inspiration from 100 layer cake JUST in the nick of time. With 5 different colored streamers, I cut piece after piece after piece and was able to pretty much disguise that a built in was ever there.

I don’t think this could have looked any more girly.

Making a frittata and baking the bacon was pretty much the least hands on brunch menu ever.

Spreadable butter the easiest way to go Martha Stewart on a ramekin full of butter. (I am obsessed with I Can’t Believe it’s Not Butter with Olive Oil) UM. It’s so good.

And our moms were full and happy.

Oh, and this greeted them when they walked in. We bought this banner at Target but I decided it was just too saturated for me to be comfortable. So I painted over each triangle and made it our own.

And then we pushed that suddenly empty table away and took photos!

OH – want to see that frittata recipe…?

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internet shopping / wish list

wishlist

05.11.12

brass sculpture / flats / clutch / foie gras / photo / framed photo / hamper

Why doesn’t H&M have online shopping?! I want those shoes!!!! Does that photo not make you want to forget you have a life and a job and leave forever? Well it does for me. A remedy could be looking at the framed umbrella photo every morning and keeping that ongoing fantasy alive. Also – the foie gras. It’s almost banned in California. We have 2 months until it’s gone. Considering buying a jar and cooking it while I have the chance.

 

diy

making this: diy ombre napkins

05.10.12

I picked up a cheap 4 pack of white dish towels at Target thinking I could definitely have some new pretty napkins for dinner parties. Since ombre is everywhere right now and I love it every time, I figured this would be a fun project.

While some people might think gigantic dish towels are too big to use as napkins, I think they’re perfect size because the more the napkin, the less the jeans that have to be washed.

I got out the measuring tape, but promptly decided that would be too much of an effort for me. So I winged it.

step one: fill a large bowl you will never be eating from again with scorching hot water. pour in 1/4 cup salt and stir. then pour in however much dye you’d like (i probably went overboard with the amount because it’s a little saturated for my taste)

step two: measure the fabric at every point you want another gradient line and pin, unless you just bought dish towels in which case, they HAVE FOLDS ALREADY! WOO!

step three: dip the fabric up to the highest point you want. keep it in the bowl for 5 minutes.

step four: lift the fabric up to the next point, leave the rest soaking for 1-2 minutes.

step five: lift the fabric again and soak the remainder for 30 seconds-1 minute (times depending on your taste)

step six: remove the fabric from the bowl, run to the sink with it and rinse with cold water until the water coming through is clear.

step seven: when they’re all done, throw them in the dryer so that the dye sets.

*notes: wear rubber gloves. my hands were blue for two days. OOPS.
also, vary the times for desired gradient, mine is super subtle but it could be a lot darker on bottom with harsher color breaks.

SO MANY USES. You could also use it as a tiny little blanket if you’re sleeping outdoors! You could also wrap it around BREAD! Doing that one soon. Will report back.