Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Long time, no post!

I know it has been quite some time since I last posted. I did take a mini baking break this spring when the weather starting to perk up, however I do have two new favorite EASY recipes from Anne Thornton. Unfortunately I don't have pictures, but they both were fabulous!

I made the Nutella Banana Brioche Bread Pudding for Mother's Day. My mother of course made way too much food, so I had plenty left over. This is extremely rich, but delicious with fresh whipped cream. I couldn't find a Brioche bread, so I used Challah bread from Panera and that worked out just fine.

My second new favorite recipe is Anne Thornton's Gooey Chocolate Pudding Cake. My mother makes a very similar cake, but I like this one better! It is extremely easy to make, and chances are you already have all the ingredients in the kitchen. It's a great recipe to have when you are invited somewhere last minute or have unexpected guests.

However, I highly recommend using King Arthur's Double Dutch Cocoa. It really makes a huge difference (and the brownie recipe on the package is to die for). The final result is similar to a molten lava cake, but already kind of mushed up.

You can make it ahead of time and then stick it inthe oven for a few minutes to warm it up prior to serving it. Most recently I served it with Ben & Jerry's Peppermint Pattie ice cream and it was the perfect companion!

I also I had my first try at French Macarons, they came out...OK. Not perfect, but not bad for a first try. It was also ridiculously humid the day I tried making them, not a good idea when working with egg whites. I filled them with a homemade lemon curd or strawberry buttercream.

I had plenty of fillings left over. So, why not make cupcakes!! I made a basic vanilla cupcake, but added lemon zest and my new favorite ingredient, Fiori di Sicilia. Then, I filled the cupcakes with the lemon curd and topped them with the remaining strawberry buttercream. YUM!

<a href="" title="Macarons and Lemon Strawberry Mini Cupcakes 3 by slporter84, on Flickr"><img src="" width="500" height="334" alt="Macarons and Lemon Strawberry Mini Cupcakes 3"></a>

<a href="" title="Macarons and Lemon Strawberry Mini Cupcakes 5 by slporter84, on Flickr"><img src="" width="334" height="500" alt="Macarons and Lemon Strawberry Mini Cupcakes 5"></a>

<a href="" title="Macarons and Lemon Strawberry Mini Cupcakes 13 by slporter84, on Flickr"><img src="" width="334" height="500" alt="Macarons and Lemon Strawberry Mini Cupcakes 13"></a>

Monday, February 21, 2011

January Birthday's Continued...

I promised there was more coming! Here we go...

First up are cupcakes that Jeff's grandmother had me make for her good friend's birthday. It was going to be quite a crowd, so a couple batches were in order. I made a lemon cupcake, filled with blueberry cream, and topped with lemon icing. I was trying to channel our wedding cake! I was on my own for the photo of this one, so please excuse the photography...


This was also when I first made the peanut butter cupcakes, and now I can't stop making them. For this batch, I used melted Hershey kisses for the frosting flavor...yum!


Rounding up the January birthday's was Trey's 1st birthday! For this occasion, I made the peanut butter cupcakes again, and also red velvet cupcakes. The vintage themed decorations are from Etsy.





And one last very own stickers and pink boxes!


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Happy Valentines Day

I know it's been a while since I have last posted, but don't worry, I've been busy! This past month has been filled with so many wonderful things, from Trey's first birthday to my good friend's wedding. I have lots and lots to post, but unfortunately most of the pictures are on Jeff's computer. I happen to be sitting at a Panera in Waltham killing time before a meeting.

So, here is a quick post of Jeff's Valentine's day present. I first made these peanut butter cupcakes about a month ago when Jeff's Gram asked me to bake for her friend's birthday. They were a huge hit, and are now one of my staples. The cupcake recipe itself is from my trusty Primrose Bakery book, and the frosting I made myself using a Swiss meringue base.

These also mark a special occasion, as it is my first try with fondant! My hands are still red....

Peanut Butterscotch w/ Chocolate Swiss Buttercream

Peanut Butterscotch w/ Chocolate Swiss Buttercream

Peanut Butterscotch w/ Chocolate Swiss Buttercream

Peanut Butterscotch w/ Chocolate Swiss Buttercream

Peanut Butterscotch w/ Chocolate Swiss Buttercream

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Birthdays and Snow Days

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a great holiday. We had such a wonderful Christmas, complete with snow the day after. I was also given a plethora of cupcake supplies, so that means I guess I will just have to bake!

Birthdays, Part I

January is an extremely busy birthday month for me, in all there are 9 friends and family members with birthdays this month! My best friend Keri's birthday was this past Friday, so of course I had to make her cupcakes. I had mascarpone cheese in the fridge that I had used for a Giada receipe the night before, and a new cookbook I got for Christmas had a receipe that called for it in the frosting.

This cupcake had interesting ingredients that also involved a trip to Whole Foods for creme fraiche. The result was a lemony light cupcake topped with an almond laced mascarpone buttercream. Yum!

Almond Marscapone 3

Almond Marscapone 5

Almond Marscapone 6

Snow Day

On Wednesday, Rhode Island was hit with a major snow storm, and there was no way I was even getting my car out of the driveway. We measured 19" in the yard here. Jeff and I took a walk through the woods, and he took a few beautiful photos. Don't forget to check them out on his blog!

So seeing that we burned so many calories on our walk, and we couldn't drive anywhere, why not make  cupcakes! These were nothing too fancy, a chocolate cupcake with vanilla buttercream, but of course they were tasty!

Snow Day (2)

Snow Day (3)

Snow Day (1)

Stay tuned as the birthdays continue this month!!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Candyland Cheesecake, NYC and Porter Christmas Cookie Extravaganza 2010

The Kitchen Aid mixer on Country Way has certainly been getting a workout lately. A lot has been going on this week, including a Candyland Cheesecake, a trip to NYC, and the first annual Porter Christmas Cookie Extravaganza. So seeing that there is so much to get to, I'll stop chattering and get to the point.

Candyland Chocolate Cheesecake

So my new favorite show is Dessert First with Anne Thornton on the Food Network. I think the name explains it all. Anyways, a couple weeks ago she made this absolutely stunning Chocolate Peppermint Ice Cream Cake.  The candy brittle on the top was so beautiful, and had that whole Candyland look that I love (hence the spice drop garland in the earlier post). We had a resident party at work coming up, and there was my excuse to make it.

Instead of the ice cream cake recipe, I made a chocolate peppermint cheesecake instead. It would definitely be easier to transport, and we had no room in the freezer. Making the candy brittle was much easier than I expected. You definitely need to have a candy thermometer, and I did find that it set very quickly. If you have a volunteer to help you put the candy on, I think it would be easier. Most of the spice drops fell off, but I used a bit of melted white chocolate to glue them back on. Check it out!

Candyland Cheesecake 2

Candyland Cheesecake 3 

Trip to NYC

In a previous life, I think I was a New Yorker. Last Thursday my aunt, Andrea, and I went to the city for the day. It was the perfect pre-Christmas day! We were pretty much Will Ferrel in Elf when he first gets into the city...picture the scene when he is running through the revolving door screaming at the top of his lungs. That was us. Here are a few of my favorite shots....

Henri Bendel & Candy??? Happiness overload!

Shamelessly taking pictures in Dean & Deluca.


We took a break for cappuccino and chocolate at Café Charbonne in Saks 5th Ave.

The lights at night were absolutely gorgeous!


This picture doesn't even do Saks justice...


And a picture in front of the tree...

Porter Christmas Cookie Extravaganza 2010

Every year, Jeff's mom makes dozens and dozens of cookies to give to friends, families, and neighbors. This year we decided to make it a family affair, and Jeff's sister, Kristen, came down and we made it a full fledged Porter Cookie Extravaganza. We even had two mixers going! Below are some of the classic Porter cookie standards, made by Jeff's mom, and I also added my touch to the tradition and made Cranberry Orange Cupcakes!

Trying out a new thumbprint cookie recipe...they were a hit!
Thumbprint Cookies

Mrs. Porter's Infamous Peanut Butter Blossoms
Peanut Butter Blossoms

The making of the mint brownies...
Mint Choc Brownie

Me showing Kristen how to dip the cake pops. I'm rockin' quite the outfit and hair-do!
Steph & KP

Last but not least were my Cranberry Orange Cupcakes. These are the perfect Christmas cupcake! The recipe is from the Primrose Bakery in the UK. The combination of cranberry, orange, and cinnamon is the perfect winter treat. They are topped with an orange cream cheese frosting, and a sugared cranberry for decoration. I also played around with a few different liners and toppers too.

Orange Frosting

Cranberry Orange Cupcakes 3

Cranberry Orange Cupcakes 6

Cranberry Orange Cupcakes 1

So as the holiday baking season comes to a close, I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and an even better 2011!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Peppermint Meringues & Buttercream Roses

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! Below is my favorite part...the leftover sandwich!

thanksgiving sammy (1)

thanksgiving sammy (2)

So if you know me at all, you know I am completely obsessed with Christmas. I've been listening to Christmas music since the first week of November, I already have the majority of my shopping done and wrapped, and Jeff and I had the house decorated the day before Thanksgiving. I think I may have scared people.

Last Christmas, I picked up a copy of Martha Stewart Living. It was dangerous. I love wrapping gifts almost as much as baking, and I got the bright idea from Martha that I should make all of my own gift tags using her paper cutters from Michaels. And as always when I do a craft, $50 dollars and 4 hours later it was a disaster and a mess. Thanks Martha.

This year, I stupidly picked up the Christmas issue again. Apparently Martha thought it was a GREAT idea to string spice drops on a needle and thread. In a previous life, I think I lived in Sugar Plum Land, so anything that would help transport me to that world always gets me. $3 dollars and an hour later I was up to my elbows in stickiness and annoyed. Thanks again Martha.

Anyways, the point I am trying to get to is that good did come out of this year's Christmas issue. On the back, there was a recipe for peppermint meringues with a chocolate ganache. They looked so beautiful!!! One evening later, success! The recipe is on the very last page of December's issue, however it is almost identical to the Peppermint Meringues with Chocolate Filling recipe on her website.

Check out the link below, and also my new fancy watermark Jeff made me! Don't forget to check out what he's been up to at Jeff Porter Design !

peppermint meringues (7)

peppermint meringues (6)

peppermint meringues (2)

Next up, buttercream roses. I've been watching videos on YouTube on how to make them for the past few weeks. The equipment needed to make them was cheap, so I finally got up the courage to give them a shot.

A co-worker's birthday was today, so I figured it was the perfect opportunity to give them a shot. Even if they didn't come out perfect, the 5 others that I work with never complain about being my guinea pigs.

I made my usual chocolate sour cream cupcakes from cupcakes! cookbook. These always taste absolutely amazing but for the life of me, they sink in the middle and separate from the liner every time. But, I have an easy fix for that...coring them and filling the center with ganache. Heh heh.

I made a Swiss buttercream (warm 3 egg whites and 3/4 cup sugar in a double boiler until the sugar has dissolved, whip to a stiff peak in the stand mixer, then add in 2, yes 2, sticks of butter one tablespoon at a time, then add vanilla extract) so the frosting would have stability.

I started by trying to pipe the frosting on the cupcakes with a purple swirl like in the meringues. That didn't work out, the color didn't take to the frosting like it did to the meringue, and it looked like a streaky mess. So I scraped the frosting off and tried tinting the whole batch of frosting purple. For some reason it wouldn't take, so hence the dull shade of purple.

I covered up the mess the best I could by smoothing a layer of frosting on the cupcake. Next up....the roses...palms I go...

Buttercream Roses 5

The end result, not to bad. The hardest part was trying to transfer the rose to the cupcake. I need to work on my aim! But here they are, in all their depressing gray-purple glory. Not too shabby for a first try if you ask me!

Buttercream Roses 1

Buttercream Roses 2

Buttercream Roses 4

Friday, November 12, 2010

Yesterday was a busy day...

First off, I am SO EXCITED to be featured on the Bake it Pretty blog!! Check out the link: !!!

Now down to business. The OLQM bazaar was the perfect excuse to try some of the cupcakes I've been eying but also not have them lying around the house. So, 10 hours, 8 sticks of butter, 2 bags of powdered sugar, and a dozen eggs are the results!

I started with Neapolitan cupcakes. The link is here:

Unfortunately, I neglected to notice that each batter makes 12 cupcakes, not both batters combined, so the result was jumbo, not so pretty cupcakes. I decided to try making them again later because I wasn't happy with the results, but I will show you how that turned out later.

I didn't use the frosting recipe from the link above, I tried something different. I'm so disappointed with the results! I wanted to top them with a strawberry buttercream that was made with fresh strawberries. It tastes great but looks a little funky. But, here is the final product. Not exactly the prettiest, but they are tasty!

Neapolitan  (1)

Waffle Cone (4)

Next up was the peanut butter truffle cupcakes. I actually just doubled the chocolate batter recipe from the Neapolitan cupcakes to make life a little bit easier. I made the truffles the night before and kept them frozen. They taste like Reese's Pieces!

I made the icing off the top of my head, with cream cheese, about a 1/2 a cup of peanut butter, a little vanilla extract, 3 or so cups of powdered sugar, and a few splashes of whipping cream. It tastes like the frosting on the peanut better cheesecake from Cheesecake Factory.

Peanut Butter Truffle (3)

Truffle recipe:

6 oz. white chocolate, chopped
¼ cup creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

Place white chocolate in medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on medium just until chocolate is soft; stir until smooth. Whisk in ¼ cup peanut butter until smooth.
Refrigerate 20 to 30 minutes or until firm. Using 1 tablespoon each, roll chocolate mixture into 12 (1-inch) balls; place on waxed paper-lined plate. Roll each ball in cocoa powder to coat completely. Freeze on lined plate 1 to 3 hours or until frozen solid. (Truffles can be frozen overnight.)After filling the cupcakes in the liners, drop the frozen truffle into the center.

Now it's on to cupcake #3. Apple cider cupcakes. I came across this recipe when I was looking for a fun fall cupcake.

I was a little weirded out about using unpasteurized cider, but I figure they wouldn't sell it if it was that bad, and it can't be any worse than licking brownie batter from the bowl.

The first step included boiling down the cider so the flavor is more concentrated. This took FOREVER. And then I had to wait for it to cool. Next time, I'm doing this way ahead of time. Also, when you are boiling down the cider for the frosting, keep an eye on it. I let it go on it's own for a while and came back to a sticky burnt mess.

These definitely scream FALL! I added a little more flour to the recipe, and I think next time I will cut down on the clove and use a little bit of nutmeg.

Apple Cider (1)

Apple Cider Cupcakes Recipe

Finally, it's time for some cake pops. I made these with Fufetti cake and frosting- the Betty Crocker kind with the rainbow bits in the frosting. Pillsbury cheaps out on their frosting and just gives you vanilla frosting with a packet of sprinkles. LAME.

OLQM Cake Pops (4)

OLQM Cake Pops (1)

OK, I debated posting this picture for three reasons:

1. It might give my mother in law a heart attack.
2. You may lose faith in me.
3. It may prove to my mother than I am useless in the kitchen after all.

But, when Jeff fell on the floor laughing when I opened the oven door and the smoke alarm started going off, it might give everyone a good laugh.

Remember how I said I was going to make the Neapolitan Cupcakes a second time? That didn't work out so well. So here it goes, and I would like to call this work of art..."Don't forget the baking soda."

DISCLAIMER: Mom P- I PROMISE this oven is now 100% back to normal.

Don't forget the baking soda

Oven Disaster (1)

I hope you all had a good laugh about that one. If you haven't already, make sure to check out my husband's photo blog here: Jeff Porter Design . If it wasn't for him, my stuff wouldn't look half as good!