Thursday, May 26, 2011

Happy Birthday, Welcome Baby, Cinco de Mayo, Kentucky Derby

Believe it or not...

I baked and I baked good :)
I began with baking a delicious Mexican Chocolate Cake...

Then I used fellow foodblogger Bridezilla Bake's Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting recipe between the layers on the inside.
And Martha's easy peasy chocolate ganache for the outside.
Looks pretty good right?

Well I have to admit this was perhaps one of my most methodical baking attempts I've ever had.

I combed through recipe after recipe online to find just the right ones that theoretically in my mind would go well together as a final piece.

Here is how it went down...

I wisely made the cake layers on Friday evening, so as to allow them more than sufficient time to cool (icing barely warm cake has been a problem for me in the past).

Then Saturday morning, armed with a serrated knife to further layer'fy my cake, I cut each of the two layers in half.

Then whipped up the delicious Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting, adding sugar until just the right consistency for cake spreading.

Since I was really trying to think this one through...and I mean work through every step before I started it...I used the cake pan to cut a disc out of a card board box, which I then began to build my cake upon.

Cake - Icing - Cake - Icing - Cake - Icing - Cake

The serrated knife came into action again and I cut around the outside of the cake to even out the sides

The super easy ganache was cooked and cooled.

With the layered cake on top of large upside turned mixing bowl, on top of a cookie sheet (pretty smart thinking in my opinion)...I poured all the delicious shiny ganache over the top which drizzled down and coated the sides perfectly :)

Having that handy dandy piece of cardboard on the bottom was also genius!  I was able to move the cake around with ease.

Finally, the cake was adorned with its jewels...
Fresh strawberries along the top (which also protected the cake from the foil I was wrapping it in for transportation)

and halved strawberries along the sides.

This delicious cake was special.  Not only because it was an intentional and well thought out baking event...but because it was for my dear friends B&A. 

With it being that time of the year again, B&A were hosting their annual Cinco de Mayo party.  Last year I pleased the crowd with Bridezilla's Mexican Hot Chocolate Brownies.

This year however was extra special.  Not only did the party happen to fall on B's birthday, but it was also the Kentucky Derby and....B&A have just had a Mini Me!!!  Yup, the proud parents were also celebrating their newly acquired parenthood and introducing for the first time their new son :o)

For the party I also made...

White Cupcakes
with sugary white frosting.

The frosting turned out super sugary and still need some work to smooth them out.  However, the kids at the party still loved licking the icing of and I even saw a few of the adults digging in as well.

My almost prefect cake for B&A for the most perfect occasion of celebrations!!

The report from B, the birthday man/new Papa:
By the way, your cake was AMAZING....The filling was out of this world, and the cake was a great texture.

Congrats again little family!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The end of another season...

I am going to stop apologizing for my hiatus from the blog...after all, this is my blog and I can come and go as I please right?!?!

Well just in case any readers I do still have feel that an apology is in order...

here is a puppy face to say "I'm sorry and I'm back for now!"

It's with bittersweet pleasure that I say, another hockey season has come to an end.  This year, much like every other, was fun, competitive and just plain awesome. 

However there were a couple of things that did set this season a part and made it one for the books...
We won the New England District Senior Women's B Hockey Title!

Which meant...

We played at the USA Hockey National Tournament in Detroit, MI!

Planes, trains and automobiles were all considered. Luckily for me, I have 3 friends (Blue Light, Hussy, and Guns) who were all willing to turn the trip into an adventure!!
We've rented a minivan, packed in and headed to MI via Cleveland...
After our one night in Cleveland, I cannot be sure the phrase Cleveland Rocks! holds much truth anymore.  Actually I take that back.  Cleveland Rocks!...but only if you have the right group of crazy VT gals to create the fun and make it last till the wee hours of the morning haha!

Seriously though, I did not get to visit the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame, which I am sure does Rock!...but I did experience some delicious food that for certain could be the saving grace to the phrase Cleveland Rocks! 

Here was my most delicious lunch at Crop Bistro & Bar.

 Homemade Bread with Honey Black Pepper Butter
Hot Balsamic Popcorn
(which I have every intention of replicating at home!)
Its like a savory kettle corn gone 1000% gourmet!

 Kobe Beef Burger with...Foie Gras!
A big ol' melt in your mouth piece of it too!! 
(My apologies to anyone 'against' the consumption of this stuff)

The restaurant was a foodie's paradise with so much more on the menu to offer.  It incidentally was also the best hangover cure ever!

While consuming this delicious meal the sparkle in my eye returned.  I remember saying that this meal might just be the thing that gets me back to the blog...and it has!

Simply put this road trip was the best I have ever been on :o)

Having Guns armed with the super cool Yelp! app, we ate very well on our 5 day excursion.  There was a great breakfast joint, spicy Thai, a Brewpub, smalltown Italian and well...that's all I can remember this late afterwards.  

In case you're interested in more of our trip, here is a video of our journey by none other than my good pal Hussy -

The laughter, conversations, and so many experiences were absolutely freakin' priceless :)

Oh yes and the hockey part of it all was pretty fun too!

All I have to say is...when are we going on the next one ladies?!?!?