December 30, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

I didn't really talk much about this in my last post, so I'll do that now. I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. I know I did. I so enjoy just sitting around with my family and friends, playing games, eating delicious food, and talking. It's just the best. I'm sad it has to end, but I'm looking forward to what the new year has to bring. Speaking of the new year, I'm making New Year cookies tomorrow, and I'll have pictures of those asap. Well, hopefully I'll have pictures of those. If they turn out horribly (I'm still working on my cookie decorating say the least), there may not be pictures. Or maybe I'll show you just how bad they look so you can see the progress I make as I keep practicing.

Here's what I have to show you today. I had a couple of orders from sweet friends and friends of the family on Christmas Eve. One was for Red Velvet Cake and the other was for Carrot Cake Cupcakes. Since these were orders, I obviously couldn't cut into them to show you the inside...but you get the picture :) So, here are my creations!

Red Velvet Cake

Carrot Cake Cupcakes 

December 27, 2011

4th Annual Dessert Fest

I love home. Home is so good.

I love sitting by the fire and Christmas tree. I love hanging out with my family and friends. I love having NO school work to do. I love having no stress. I love not missing home...because I'm there. I love relaxing and just doing whatever I feel like doing whenever I feel like doing it.

However, I'll have to meet reality again in a couple of weeks, and I'm already dreading it.

BUT. And this is a big "but". Passion 2012 is LESS THAN A WEEK AWAY! I can't even begin to describe my excitement. The Passion movement brings such joy and, well, passion to my life. Passion City Church has been such a blessing to me. My family got to enjoy their Christmas Eve service, and it was just as good as I had expected. Needless to say, it made me even more excited for the 4 days I'll be spending in Atlanta next week.

Anyway, I'll start talking about food now. Every year, my friends and I have a mini progressive dinner to celebrate Christmas together. This year was the 4th one, and it was just as fun as always. My house was the dessert house (shocker, eh?), and though I don't have pictures of everything I made, I do have a couple. Here we go...


Gingerbread Cookies

Aaaaand here are all of my friends...some of my favorite people ever, and some of the greatest blessings God has given me. 

December 15, 2011

Red Velvet Cheesecake

Hello from Gatlinburg, Tennessee! 

I'm sitting in a room FILLED with my best friends right now...eating food...watching Pride and Prejudice. What could be better? We got to Gatlinburg yesterday afternoon, walked around town some, and then drove a couple more miles to our 15 person mountain cabin. This place is BEAUTIFUL. We've just been relaxing and spending time together, which I really love since I don't get to see these people too often! And, of course, I miss them dearly. 

Anyway, I'm a little behind on my blogging. Instead of seeing pictures of the food I made for this trip (Oreo Balls, Peanut Butter Chocolate Sqaures, and Yellow Cake Mix Cookies), this blog post will be about a dessert I made a few days ago...Red Velvet Cheesecake. I'm not gonna's good. Really good. I feel like I say that a lot, but it's so true this time. It does take a pretty good while to put it together, but it's totally worth it. If you find yourself in a baking mood, I would recommend trying this! 

Red Velvet Cheesecake 

Red Velvet Cheesecake 

Red Velvet Cake
2 1/2 cups cake flour, sifted
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 tsp red gel-paste food color
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp distilled white vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Whisk together cake flour, cocoa, and salt.

With an electric mixer on med-high speed, whisk together sugar and oil until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Mix in food color and vanilla.

Reduce speed to low. add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk, and whisk well after each. Stir together the baking soda and vinegar in a small bowl (it will foam), add mixture to the batter and mix on medium speed for 10 seconds.

Line two 9 inch spring form pans with parchment paper. Divide the batter equally between the two pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean. Transfer pans to a wire rack. Allow to cool before removing the cake from the pan. Allow to cool completely before assembling with the cheesecake.

White Chocolate Cheesecake
2 oz white chocolate, chopped
16 oz cream cheese, at room temperature ( 2 packages)
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp sugar
1 tbsp flour
2 eggs at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Melt the white chocolate and set aside to cool slightly.

In a large bowl, using an electronic mixer, mix the cream cheese on low speed until creamy. add the sugar and mix slowly until smooth. on low speed, mix in the flour. turn off the mixer and scrape down the bowl and beater with a rubber spatula. Add one egg at a time and mix until smooth. scrape down again. mix in the vanilla and cream until the mixture is smooth. Using a large spoon, stir in the melted white chocolate until incorporated.

Pour the batter into a parchment paper lined 9 inch spring form pan. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the center is set when you shake the pan slightly. Allow to cool before removing from the spring form pan. Allow to cool completely before assembling with the red velvet cake.

Cream Cheese Frosting
24 oz cream cheese (3 packages), at room temperature
3 sticks of butter, at room temperature
3 tsp vanilla
3 cups of powdered sugar, plus more to taste

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electronic mixer until well combined. Add more powdered sugar to taste, if a more sweet frosting is preferred. Use immediately to frost the cake.

After assembling the cake, allow it to rest in the fridge over night, before serving. Serve immediately after taking it out of the fridge.

-If you have time, you can do a crumb coat on both round cakes. There's enough icing to do it, and it makes icing the final product WAY easier. It keeps little red pieces from being all over the cake. If you don't know what a crumb coat is, I'll explain...
Just put a thin layer of icing all over each cake. Then, cover them in plastic wrap and aluminum foil (or put them in an airtight container) and freeze them for a bit. Once the icing is hard, take them out of the freezer and assemble the final product (cheesecake included). 
-Remember to put a layer of icing between the cake and cheesecake. This keeps the three layers from falling apart when you cut a slice.