Tag Archives: Cake

Zesty Almond Poppy Seed Cake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream

I can’t believe my Tita (Grandma) is 91! She is a pie master and cook extraordinaire. And, she also helped me create my first cookie business when I was about 9 years old. Tita Flory had this adorable little store called Rainbow, which sold smock dresses, baptism baby gowns, first communion dresses and even hand sewn wedding gowns. I had the pleasure of being awesomely dressed with her creations since I was a baby. Here is a picture of a very excited Kitty with her Hello Kitty Piñata. Rocking a smock dress made by grandma.

Kitty

Back in 1989, she opened this little store in zone 10, and since I was enjoying my end of year vacations, I offered to help her out. Mostly sorting hangers, greeting customers and rearranging dresses. Since there was nothing near by to snack on, I thought that would be a great business idea to sell cookies door to door to the sale clerks around my grandma’s store. She said she would help me if I could get the ingredients for her. Called my dad and  I presented my business idea: selling cookies at $1.25 for a bag of 10. I had no idea how the priced worked out with the costs, but dad agreed. Ingredients, check. Kitchen and assistance with the oven, check. Plastic bags (provided by grandma), check.

The next day I went out around the store offering cookie bags. It was a success. We sold out on the first day, and for the next few days I was a busy 9-year-old: I would work (more like hang out) at the store, went to sell the cookies at around 10AM,  and in the afternoons I’d bake. Later on, I’d pay back my dad (in cookies, of course) and ended up having some little money saved up for the holidays. Grandma Flory gave me my first entrepreneur adventure. Not that I did it perfectly (never paid the investors), but in my 9 year old mind, it was the most profitable business ever.

So, about a month ago, when I asked her what cake did she want for her birthday she said “A cake with orange and poppy seeds”. That was all I needed to know, so I went on a search for the best cake I could find. A week before her birthday, I already had it narrowed down to 3 recipes. Then, that Monday, an email came from Corinne Regalos. My KitchenAid was here!

I ordered my KitchenAid mixer a few months back for my birthday in April, but since it was a special order (a beautiful Aqua Sky KitchenAid Artisan 5-Quart Stand Mixer), they had to bring it in for me, meaning I’d have to be very patient and wait 3 months for it to get here. The wait was all worth it, and what better way to break it in than with Tita’s birthday cake. I went to get the mixer, but as I had a couple of meetings lined up, it wasn’t until her birthday that I was able to use it.

I decided on using Martha Stewart’s Orange Almond Cake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream – on her video, she says that this cake can easily be doubled for a wedding cake, so it gave me a very good idea on the flavor it would be. Since I didn’t have orange zest, I replaced it with lime zest, made my own cake flour (see the note at the end of the recipe), and added poppy seeds after the birthday girl’s request. Don’t let the numerous steps scare you. It is an easy cake to make, and I was able to bake it at 10AM, decorated by 4PM and served at 6PM that same day (with a 45 minute drive in between).  I specially love the Swiss Meringue Buttercream as it doesn’t crystalize, making it so much easier and faster to whip the recipe.  The cake was perfect. it was not overly sweet nor heavy, but still had the almond taste you get from wedding cakes. The cake was a success after seeing it fly off the dinning room table… and the most important thing: grandma loved it.

¡Felíz Cumpleaños Tita!

Kitty

Zesty Almond Poppy Seed Cake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Continue reading

Mixed Berries Upside-Down Cake

My little sister just became a Doctor!  Talk about a milestone!

Mixed Berry Upside Down Cake

To celebrate, most of the family got together for a grilling afternoon, which was a lot of fun. I wanted to make a dessert for her, but knowing we were going to be having grilled steaks,I didn’t want a heavy dessert. I didn’t want anything too sweet, either. When I think about grilling, berries or ice cream come to mind as good alternatives and upside-down cakes always look pretty.

I had no problems with this recipe, and I was able to carry it to my brother’s house without a hassle.

Don’t forget the whipped cream! The tartness of the berries with the sweetness of the whipped cream make this a real treat, especially if you drink a good cup of coffee with it.

Congratulations on your achievement, Petra. We’re proud of you!

XOXO

Helga

Mixed Berry Upside Down Cake

Continue reading

Almond Fail Cake

Ever had one of those times where you really want to do something but somehow it just won’t happen? Well, for me it’s been two weeks of just that… when baking. I made granola a few days ago and turned out all clumpy, and in the final stages of baking I stepped away for 5 minutes (I kid you not) and the entire granola had a burnt taste. Then, I’m developing an Foodies’ Original recipe for muffins, and they tasted like the taste of the pan transferred to the muffin bottoms… weird. And yesterday, I attempted to make an Almond Fail Cake and failed miserably.

After weeks of being swamped with work (both from Design as well as from Foodies), I was craving to go back into the kitchen and bake. So after a quick glance on Pinterest, I found a recipe that seemed easy and quick enough to prepare and bake for an afternoon coffee. I got all my ingredients ready, very Mise en Place, preheated my oven and got to work. I whisked the dry ingredients, then added the mixed wet ones, poured the batter into a greased and floured pan, drizzled with almonds and honey, and then into the oven. The kitchen and dining room smelled amazing. Honey on top of cakes is heaven.

Almond Fail Cake

Continue reading

Lime, Yogurt and Olive Oil Cake

A few days ago I bumped into this recipe twice in a day. That had to be a sign from the universe… Right? So, after wrapping up office work, I quickly went into the kitchen and before I knew it I had all the ingredients in place… except the confectioners’ sugar. I had less than a ¼ cup, so I just used regular granulated sugar and the result was still a deliciously sweet-tangy cake. One recommendation if you’re going to follow up the recipe bellow, is to rub the sugar and lime zest together. That will allow the zest to really stick to the sugar and spread its fragrance and flavor.

Kitty

Lime, Yogurt and Olive Oil Cake

Continue reading