Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Welcome back with White Chocolate Mud Cake

Hey everyone I'm back and I've missed you all. Judging from the new followers and page views regardless to my absence, I'll go out on a limb and say that you've missed me too! I wont go off on a tangent about why I haven't been here but Ill say that I've made many transitions and all for the better. So without any further adieu here is a great, simple celebratory cake to commemorate the occasion. This cake was made in my post hurricane sandy boredom. I also have a habit (good habit) of also finishing what I have on hand before opening new ingredients. There was so much white chocolate sitting in the refrigerator that needed to be used before it went bad. I also had chocolate Italian meringue buttercream already made in the freezer and time to spare. I like to try out new recipes so I searched the web for a white chocolate cake that didn't require too much work. Finally found a recipe named white chocolate mud cake, I had all the ingredients called for so it was perfect. The cake came together quickly, you can just mix everything in the same pot you melt the chocolate in. It takes a bit longer to bake than a regular cake at the lower temp. Its also a dense cake, speaking of dense...this cake possesses my favorite texture for cake. I know some people like light sponges but that is definitely not my thang! I love a buttery, dense(but not heavy), tight crumbed slice of cake with simple buttercream icing. I was never into really extravagant cakes as in my opinion nothing beats a really well made, simple, delicious cake. Another side note on this cake is that it can be flash cooled by sticking it in the freezer right after taking it out the oven (that's what I did), but it honestly taste so much better the next day which makes it a great make ahead dessert. Ok! Enough small talk...on to the recipe. Please note this recipe is in grams. It can be converted to ounces and possibly cups by using an online converter (just google grams to cups).

White Chocolate Mud Cake
makes (1) 9in Cake

300g white chocolate
200g butter
250g milk 
165g granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
60g or (2) large eggs 
100g self rising flour
150g all purpose flour

- Preheat oven to 320 degrees.
- Butter and flour a 9x3in circular cake pan. (or any cake pan that can accommodate the cake)
- Place chocolate, butter, sugar, and eggs in a pot on low to melt.
- While chocolate mix melts, place eggs an vanilla in separate bowl.
- Sift flours together in another bowl.
- When chocolate mix is fully melted, remove from heat, and allow to cool for 15 mins.
- After 15 mins whisk in eggs and vanilla.
- When eggs are incorporated add in flour mix in 3 parts.
- When mixture is smooth, pour into cake pan and place in the oven.
- Bake cake for 60-90mins or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Allow cake to fully cool before frosting. 
- For a similar frosting recipe please go HERE. Just replace the white chocolate with dark or semisweet chocolate.

I really hope that you all enjoy this recipe...also if you are on Instagram come follow me (yvettebakanal) for more food, garden, and KITTY pics.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Brioche Sticky Buns with Homemade Toffee Sauce

Hey see I'm still playing hide and go seek with you? Things have been so hectic that I hardly get the time to write. Don't get it twisted though...I still cook most every day but my hands don't go past the sentence or two attached to the pic I send to facebook to show what I made.  But no more excuses, here is the recipe for the Sticky Buns I made about two weeks ago. These are so soft, buttery, and decadent. I don't like nuts so I opted to use raisins (even though I cant stand those too much either) in the dough. I soaked them that morning for about an hour in a mixture of rum and water. Plain water or juice is fine if you cannot have alcohol. As for the toffee sauce, make it before you roll out your dough. I have extra vanilla bean pods laying around from when I scrape out the pulp. I just threw those into the mixture to boil and give it exceptional vanilla flavor.  These really were a treat for the entire family.
The brioche is a super quick method from the book "Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a day". The bread is mixed up in a few minutes, no kneading or kitchenaid necessary, then chilled in the fridge overnight or up to 5 days. I made my dough the night before I wanted to bake it and let it chillax in the fridge. I must say handling this dough is no easy feat as its on the wet side. I used my silpat, a bench scraper, and a handful of flour to make it a bit easier. This dough is supposed to yield four loaves but it gave me a 10 inch pan of sticky buns and 2 full sized loaves. I left one loaf plain and the other I filled with a crushed almond, cinnamon, butter, rum, and raisin mixture. Everything was just spectacular. I hope you enjoy eating this as much as I did.

Brioche Sticky Buns with Homemade Toffee Sauce
Makes 10 large sticky buns
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup rum
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground clove
pinch of  ground allspice
1/2 cup brown sugar

Toffee Sauce
1 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp brown sugar
4 tbsp dark corn syrup
1 1/2 stick unsalted butter
1 1/3 cup heavy cream
vanilla bean pods, optional

- Place raisins in small bowl to soak in mixture of 1/2 cup rum and 1/2 cup water, set to the side.
- Make toffee sauce first by combining brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, and vanilla if using over medium heat.
- When mixture comes to a boil add in cream and cook over low heat until thickened, about 5 minutes.
- Turn off mixture and place to the side.
- Remove brioche dough from refrigerator and roll out to a large flat square, about 1/3 inch in thickness.
- Combine cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, clove, allspice, and brown sugar. Sprinkle mix over rolled out dough.
- Drain raisins from liquid (reserve liquid) and sprinkle evenly over dough.
- Start to roll dough into cylinder shaped log.
- Cut dough into even rolls
- In a 10 inch pan pour all of the toffee sauce into the bottom and place buns on top of the sauce.
- Let dough rest an hour before placing in a 350 degree oven.
- Bake 35- 40 minutes.
- Unmold immediately and serve.

** Toffee sauce from

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Gone for a bit but hopefully not forgotten...Spiced French Toast

Its been a while.. hasn't it? I still cook everyday but I've been going through some things and writing took a back seat for a moment there. I hope you all can forgive the absence. I'm back with something perfect for the fall. Rich, buttery french toast accented with pumpkin pie spice and hints of rum. I cannot tell you all the failed attempts Ive had with french toast. I managed to take something so simple and ruin it by making it too soggy, or too eggy, to burnt...just wrong! This time I told myself if I messed up that I would throw in my french toast towel indefinitely. With a couple slices of my whole wheat country flax bread I made a few days prior and the "eye of the tiger", I went about one last attempt to prove I was worthy of the french toast badge...wait do the Girl Scouts have that?..I dunno..whatever. I followed Alton Brown's recipe which had rave reviews on the food network website. I noticed that the recipe didn't use any extracts or spices and already knew my taste buds wouldn't find that too appealing so I used some pumpkin pie spice I picked up at Trader Joes the day before in lieu of plain ole cinnamon. I also splashed in some mixed essence, vanilla extract,my favorite Angostura rum, and it was time to rock and roll. One thing I have to note with the recipe is that you may need to increase your custard mix by a third if you're like me using 1 inch thick slices of bread. The recipe overall is really easy and cannot be messed up. It was so nice that I made the recipe again within a few days using some challah bread I baked. I cant tell you all how absolutely delicious this french toast is(thanks to my changes). Just grab a couple slices of day old bread and try this out for yourself. Its perfect for breakfast or brunch and so versatile in that you can top it with anything from apple pie filling to fluffy whipped cream.

Spiced French Toast
serves 4
1 cup half and half
3 eggs
2 tbsp warmed honey(I used 4)
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp mixed essence
1tbsp dark rum (I used Angostura Single Barrel)
(8) 1/2 inch slices of day old country bread, challah, or brioche bread
4 tbsp of unsalted butter

- Preheat oven to 375 degrees
- Place a cooling rack on sheet pan and set to the side.
-Whisk together half and half, eggs, honey, salt, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla, rum, and mixed essence.
- Place slice of bread into mixture and let it soak for 30 seconds on each side. 
- Place soaked slices on bread on cooling rack for 1-2 minutes.
- Place a skillet over medium heat with 1 tbsp of butter.
- When skillet is hot place 2 slices of bread in it and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden.
- After removing from skillet places french toast slices on a heat proof rack in the oven for 5 minutes.
- Remove french toast from oven, serve and enjoy!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Quick Pics from the Pink Room Kitchen

These are some caramel brownies I made the other day, check those lovely grooves filled with caramel goodness!
These are some well recieved red velvet cupcakes that I did for a recent order, and finally heres a picture of a group of zinnias from the garden. These were the second to last group to bloom.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Achiote(Annatto) Oil

Infused oils are nothing new, you can find them in any store or take a few minutes to make your own. The process is simple and you can make virtually any flavor. All you need is a bottle, any oil of your choosing, and the item you want to infuse the oil with. For this post ill just focus on the achiote oil but I also made a garlic rosemary infused olive oil that tasted divine! Achiote also known as annatto and roucou is a plant species native to South America and the Caribbean. Achiote has a taste that can simply be described as unique, It has a mix of sweet and spicy notes to it that goes well in a variety of dishes,The seeds come from a pod that is shaped like a prickly teardrop.
Achiote gives food a reddish to golden hue depending on how much you use and how you make your infusion.Boiling the seeds in water gives you a more reddish concoction and infusing in oil gives your food a golden color in my opinion. I use the water based roucou in my smoked herring primarily to give it the desired red color, the oil is used in almost everything else I cooked. I had my first encounter with achiote in Trinidad a few years ago where my aunt made me a water based liquid infused with the seeds called roucou that can be used to color food just like the oil. Now...don't get confused. Achiote, roucou, and annatto is the same thing, different regions just refer to it differently. Achiote seeds are available in most international food sections of supermarkets or available for order online. For this recipe I'll just give the process without exact measurements because you can make any quantity you want to suit your need.

Achiote Oil
Achiote seeds
Vegetable/Canola Oil

- Measure out ingredients so that for every cup of oil you have 1tbsp achiote seeds.
- Put saucepot over low heat with amount of oil and seeds to be used.
- Cook oil over low heat stirring occasionally.
- When oil reaches a beautiful sunset red/orange color and seeds have darkened you can remove pot from heat.
- After oil has cooled, strain the seeds out and funnel into bottle to be stored in.
- Store at room temp or in refrigerator if concerned about pathogens.

**I had 2.5 cups of achiote oil stored at room temp for just over three weeks with no spoilage. I am no food scientist so keep refrigerated for a 3 week maximum if you have concerns. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Zinnia's from the garden and a furry surprise.

It took all summer but FINALLY the Zinnia's from the fruit smoothie mix came in. This is the first to fully bloom. It reminds me of a blazing august sunset. I cant wait to see the other colors. I also have to note that my peppers have gone into overdrive producing numerous buds which will be tons of peppers by mid to late September...which is perfect for making tasty Caribbean style pepper sauce to use over the winter.

Lastly here is the surprise:
This is from last week.
And this week.
The kitten is named Juma which is Swahili for "friday born". He shakes like he has Parkinson's, so I hardly get a clear shot of him. He is now hopefully the last of four rescued cats.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

New Cupcakes: Caramel Mocha Latte Cupcakes

This will be a next short post. I just wanted to show some ultra delicious cupcakes that I baked up last night. Its an over the top version of the Brown Eyed Baker mocha cupcakes. This recipe is perfect if only for the fact that it makes exactly 12 cupcakes. I must say that I  changed some of the ingredients to suit my personal taste and I also used my own icing. I am sure the original recipe is good as is since it has gotten great reviews all over the web...but I know what I like and bake to suit. To make these extra decadent I made some caramel sauce following a David Lebovitz recipe. I have made his salted caramel before for brownies with success, so I decided to try his other caramel recipe that doesn't need butter. This caramel recipe cooks relatively quick and taste great. Enjoy

Creamy Caramel Sauce
makes 1 1/2 cups
1 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

- In large heavy-duty saucepan, spread the sugar in an even layer and cook over medium to low heat.
- Keep careful watch on the sugar to see when it begins to liquefy.
- Use a heatproof spatula or spoon to gently stir and encourage cooking.
- Stir sugar until it is completely melted and turns a deep amber color.
- Immediately remove from heat and stir in half of the cream and stir vigorously.
- Carefully stir until the sugar is dissolved and then whisk in remaining cream, salt, and vanilla.
- If you get any hard bits just cook over low heat until dissolved and smooth.
- Sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for two weeks.

Garden Pics: Asters

This is just a quick picture to show you all the aster crego mix flowers that have been blooming profusely since the beginning of august. I have enough flowers to cut new ones everyday.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Mixed Drinks: Carnival Breeze.

Who doesn't like a good mixed drink in the summer? Living in the city far away from my favorite beaches in the Caribbean means that I don't have many beach days. Today I just wanted to feel like I was back in Trinidad for carnival surrounded by sweet music, great friends, ridiculous antics, never ending parties, and sunshine. There was only one...well two problems, carnival is almost six months away and I am no mixologist. I did some research on existing drinks around how I wanted mine to look and I got to work. This drink uses the special edition Angostura Single Barrel rum that came out for carnival but any TRINIDAD rum will do. Don't let me hear you using wray and nephew or just wont do!! We also used the famous Angostura bitters in this as well. As soon as I finished mixing I took a towel up to the rooftop and took in some sunshine. Its no beach but it gave me a lil time to reminisce. Mix this this up quick and take a mind trip to the sun and soca.

Carnival Cooler
Makes 1 drink
1 1/2 shots Single Barrel Rum (or other trinidad dark rum)
1 dash Angostura bitters
dash of lime juice
4 shots pineapple orange juice (can use plain orange juice)
Crushed ice
Grenadine Syrup
1 Maraschino cherry
Lime wedge

- Mix rum, bitters, lime juice, and orange pineapple juice together.
- Pour mixture into tall glass over crushed ice.
- Pour grenadine syrup into the glass slowly it will sink to the bottom. DONT MIX.
- Garish with lime wedge and maraschino cherry.
- Serve immediately.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Garden Critters

This what I believe to be an eastern black swallowtail caterpillar that has taken up residence in my curly parsley. I usually would run like hell in the presence of most creepy crawly caterpillars but this one reminds me of the blue caterpillar from Alice in Wonderland. It is going to turn into a beautiful black based butterfly if it sticks around. Ill take an update picture later on in the summer...stay tuned!
This is what it will turn into!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Weekend Baking: Watermelon Cupcakes.

I made these watermelon cupcakes for my girlfriend...she LOVES watermelon! I used mini chocolate chips for the watermelon seeds and I tinted her favorite cream cheese frosting.These were too cute for words and too yummy to last any more than 2 days lol!

Pink Room Garden News: August Edition

Sadly the end of the summer is nearing and I cant stand to think about it. Why does summer feel like the shortest season? Probably because you're just enjoying it too much. Anyways....on to the garden. August is the month that the tomatoes finally decided to come in. They didn't grow to the size I wanted them too and I just think they took entirely too long to ripen, I will not be growing big boys next year. Instead I'll grow some roma tomatoes and maybe some heirloom varieties. I also lost an entire plant to some fungal disease which reduced my expected crop dramatically! Ill do a lil' more research to prevent these problems next year.
The Big Boys
The sunflowers and zinnias I plated in the vacant box by my neighbors window seems to be growing at a greater speed than those planted by my window but I believe I know why. The zinnias and sunflowers over by my neighbor have enough space since they are in their own boxes. The flowers in front my window are cohabiting. I ignore a lot of planting rules...I planted a whole pack of asters and morning glories in a box that's about 2 feet and the morning glories grew up an entire story. I guess it didn't work in my favor for the zinnias. Don't get me wrong they are growing, just slowly.
The zinnias by my neighbor grew so fast!
The sunflowers are almost as tall as her window!
I'm also waiting on my African cayenne, habeneros, and Trinidad hot peppers to come in. So far I've gotten a few peppers from one of my habenero plants.
Habenero pepper.
African Cayenne, its about 4 inches now.
Check out my rosemary from last year...its gotten so robust! Over the winter it looked so scrawny and half dead. I asked some farmers from USQ farmers market for some tips and I was told to change the pot your rosemary is in every year and keep in a sunny spot. I followed these tips in April and even changed the soil it was in....within a month the half dead rosemary started to look better than when I initially bought it.

Finally I harvested some sweet pea flower seeds to use next year. After the flowers drop, a pod starts growing in the same spot. You let the pods turn brown and then you harvest the seeds. You place them in a dry place in an envelope and plant next year spring.

Dried seed pods
Sweet pea seeds