Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Birthday Cake, Do the Birthday Cake!

Did you know Taylor's a photographer? I did not! But thanks to him I have some wonderful pictures to post that do a beautiful job of depicting the process of making one of the best birthday cakes EVER. You think I'm joking? See for yourself!

I saw this one on the Food Network and made up my mind almost instantly that it would be this year's birthday cake. A cheesecake nestled in the middle of three layers of chocolate cake, you try and pass that one up. And so, because such a project should not be tackled by one alone, Taylor and I spent the afternoon assembling an absolutely gorgeous cake. I won't put you through all the details of mixing and baking layers, but the assembly is something to see, at least I think so. Especially since Taylor's amazing photographs (note his use of natural light!) capture it so well!


And I got excited about three layer cakes! I know it's supposed to be quality over quantity, but when you hit both it's incredibly hard to beat. The best part is between each of those delicious layers of cake is a cushion of fudge frosting. Just to make sure you don't get out of this one without a heart attack. Once you wrap that stack of joy in one of the fluffiest chocolate frostings you could possibly hope to taste, it looks a little something like this...


But don't you dare stop there! Chocolate curls are a must. Presentation is one of my favorite things about any type of baking of cooking endeavor, and thank goodness I had someone to help me make this cake perfect. Not only does Taylor take fabulous pictures, but he's also an expert chocolate curler. Or at least if he wasn't, he is now!


The first is Taylor making chocolate curls, which is so much easier than you could guess. We used a dark chocolate Hershey's bar, but really any chunk of chocolate will do just fine. The easiest way I've found to make them is take a peeler and just run it along your chocolate bar, thin sides for thin curls and thick sides for thick ones. Obviously the side of a Hershey's bar is fairly thin, but I think the chocolate curls Taylor made were perfect, don't they look pretty in that photo?

So after we finished distributing those on the top and sides we decided we were finished because 1, if we added anything more it would probably be lethal and 2, we ran out of recipe. In the end, it turned out like this...


We cut into it at the party and I think it was a hit, I know I thought it was delicious! It's a fairly easy recipe, it just takes a few hours. If you're interested, I found it by searching "Junior's Cheesecake" on, it's actually a recipe from Junior's restaurant in New York City, famous for their cheesecakes. The recipe says to make everything well ahead of time and freeze/refrigerate the layers for periods of time before assembly, but we ignored that and were just fine. I would however recommend that you take care to serve the cake cold, warm cheesecake, even if it's only a fourth of the product, is not the best of all ideas...


Monday, December 29, 2008

Pecan Pie and ...Brownies?

Fortunately I spent quite some time in the kitchen today, it seemed pretty sad that I have started this blog and had so far failed to actually make mention of a specific recipe. Better yet, (for me at least, maybe not for you) each endeavor was a success!

I'm not very fond of recipes that call for pre-baked, store bought pie crusts. Where is the fun in that? "Yes, I made this pie for you. Homemade? Well, the pecan filling was all me, but you'll have to thank the darling elves at Nabisco for the flaky bits around it." Not my style. Besides, one of the most charming things to make is pastry dough. I wouldn't say cutting in butter is exciting by any means, but something about the rustic simplicity of a rolled out pie crust is just gorgeous. The smooth, flour dusted, golden brown surface and somewhat unevenly folded edges of a homemade crust has so ridiculously much more appeal than the shrink-wrapped and sticker labeled crap in Meijer's baking aisle. I took a picture and was disapointed in my digital camera's complete failure at capturing the charm of it all. I suppose I'll post it anyway, but you'll have to promise me you'll roll out one of these yourself!


And that was perhaps my favorite part. I must admit, I don't care for pecan pie. Were it the last sugar filled substance on Earth, I'm sure I would happily serve myself a slice, but I would never choose to eat pecan pie over other desserts. The pie is a gift, however, to someone who claims it is their favorite, so I happily set out to provide an indulgence. In the end I can only assume it was a success. Because it's a pie present, I wouldn't dare cut into it, and probably wouldn't care to try a bite anyway, but I think it's pretty and that's good enough for me!


Later this evening, without really trying, I definitely satisfied my own sweet tooth by much more interesting means. A pan of brownies was requested and, because I simply cannot bake anything in the standard way, set out to find an interesting brownie recipe. Taylor gave me a baking book for Christmas that if I didn't adore already, I've certainly fallen in love with now! What the book calls "Brownie Fantasy Bars" won me over for good. Where my mom would've chosen a brownie box mix, I embarked on a two batter recipe that was well worth the work. I'm not sure I would even call them brownies really... but whatever they are, they are AWESOME. The first batter was basically a thick chocolate brownie batter, with cheerios, miniature marshmellows, chocolate chips, raisins, dates, crushed oreos, and chopped pecans mixed in. Sound like a lot? It is. But that is topped by a batter the recipe referred to as a "caramel batter" that is swirled in. As if that's not enough, when the whole pan of batter is done baking, chocolate and butterscotch chips are melted on top as a frosting type garnish that makes you realize that if you eat any of this you will probably instantly have a heart attack. Oh well! I have to admit, I cheated on the taste testing... it's supposed to chill for at least two hours, but if you cut into this monster of a "brownie" when it's just out of the oven, it's a melty gooey goodness that taste so delicious it's worth ruining the bar aspect.


I suppose I should take more pictures along the way, I'll have to do that next time. In a few days I'm planning on making a four layer cake, my birthday cake, and since Taylor will be lending a hand I'll have to make sure we do that. I might even have to post a few recipes on here, in case somebody decides they'd like to make them, too. Especially this darned brownie recipe, if you're mouth isn't watering by now you're completely nuts.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Really, the Beginning

So thanks to Taylor, my absolutely fantastic boyfriend who set this up for me and wrote the introduction in my last post, I think I'm a blogger now. For the most part, Taylor is spot on. I hope my little kitchen "adventures" are inspiring, if you haven't discovered how enjoyable it can be to bake, you're surely missing out. Most of all, however, this blog is merely a means by which for me to document my kitchen experiences, lay out all my work in front of me. Hopefully you enjoy the project descriptions I plan to post here, sooner or later at least, I'll try to keep it interesting :).

Friday, December 26, 2008

First Post!

Hello. I am Molly. I bake things! Yay.


Truth is, I'm really Taylor. I'm Molly's number one reason to bake things!

Expect to read about my various excursions into the world of culinary arts, more specifically those involving large amounts of chocolate and peanut butter. I hope that this can be a place for people to potentially read about the various recipes that I experiment with in my free time and hopefully allow them to come up with some ideas of their own. =]

Here is a picture!