Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My Homemade Carrot Cake

A friend and I wanted to bake something neither of us had made before, so we went with a carrot cake. Trusting Paula Deen to have the best recipe, and channeling the South on this 90 degree day, we made a terrific cake!

First we mixed the dry ingredients with the eggs and oil (LOTS of oil)...

Then we mixed in the shaved carrots and chopped pecans...

Separated the batter into two pans and baked the for 40 minutes...

Let them cool...

Made the frosting out of cream cheese and powdered sugar (skipped the butter)...

And went to town on icing the cake...

It turned out so well! It was moist and flavorful and had a great crunch from the nuts. The sweet icing perfectly complements the savory flavors of the cake. Although it looks like it's melting of the plate, I think we did a great job!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Little Doms' Chocolate Platter

{Click Photo To Enlarge}

This chocolate platter from Little Dom's was great. I love being able to try several treats at once! At the top is a brownie covered with caramel and mascarpone whipped cream. Honestly, this may have been the best brownie I've ever had. It was beyond gooey, dense, and flavorful. In the center was a truffle, light and fluffy inside with an crispy outer shell that tasted like M&Ms! To the top right was a white chocolate bark filled with ginger. Below that is a dark chocolate bark with toffee and coffee, which was fantastic. To the left is a stracciatella cannoli which had a lemon flavor.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Cobras & Matadors' Vanilla Custard

Either this is new, or I've been missing out. I've been to Cobras & Matadors so many times but always ordered the churros. This Vanilla Custard was great. It was dense and flavorful thanks to all the vanilla bean inside, yet it wasn't too sweet. It was topped with a thick layer of a milk chocolate shell and whipped cream. They served it with grilled brioche, which wasn't necessary.

Scoops Westside

I love ice cream shops with non-traditional flavors, and thats just what Scoops is! I love their Brown Bread flavor (shown on the top right). I've had this before, and it was just as good as I remembered. It tasted like cereal, has a smooth creamy consistency and crunchy pieces which makes it perfect. I also tried the Hazelnut Tea (top left) which was good, pretty standard hazelnut, and Chocolate Apricot (shown under both scoops) which was dairy free and a little bizarre. I say stick to the Brown Bread, you can't go wrong!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

My Homemade Apple Cake

While I was in the Hamptons this Summer, I came across this adorable Apple Cake Mix. Although I really don't like desserts with hot fruit (like apple pie), I'm a sucker for good packaging, so I bought it. This mix comes with all the dry ingredients ready, and is wrapped in an adorable keepsake kitchen towel.

All I needed to do was add in sliced apples (I threw in some pear too), walnuts, and 2 eggs.

Mix it all together, and pour into a pie pan to cook for 45 min.

The entire house smelled like apples and cinnamon, it was amazing.

After cooling for a few minutes, I added some vanilla custard fro-yo from The Bigg Chill, and went to town. While it has the same flavor as an apple pie, the texture is purely cake-like. That's what makes it so amazing. It soaks up any potential sogginess of the fruit, leaving the apple slices to be a perfect consistency. It's almost like a muffin or coffee cake, but much much better.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Lazy Ox's Rice Pudding

This rice pudding from Lazy Ox Canteen may have been the best one I've ever had. The pudding itself was dense and chunky, and topped with hazelnut crumbs. It was served with whipped cream and a thick and gooey caramel sauce. It was all so good, I could have eaten three.

Mezze's Donut Holes

These desserts from Mezze were both terrific. The strawberries and cream was a great match to these sticky doughy donut holes.

They were filled with an apricot glaze that oozed out of these bit sized treats! They're great, but not a regular item on the menu, so make sure to ask to hear the dessert specials of the day!

Monday, August 15, 2011

My Homemade Pastry Cream Fruit Tart

My friend came over to join me in a baking session, and it turned out we chose to make something that required no baking at all! Using my new Miette cookbook, we chose to make a berry cream tart.

It came out really well, a little soft, but super tasty. It was very simple to make, and I switched up some things which saved a lot of time. I bought the pie crust pre-made at the grocery store, and I used vanilla extract instead of steeping a vanilla bean.

The custard is rich in flavor, the salty graham cracker crust balances out the sweetness, and the berries add the perfect tartness. For a light summery dessert this is amazing!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Porto's Bakery & Café

I went to Porto's in Burbank today, and was not only completely overwhelmed with their elaborate selection of food & baked items, but I was in shock to see how bizarrely cheap everything was! I was extremely impressed with how fresh and flavorful everything was, and will certainly be going here more often. Seriously incredible.

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Chocolate Croissants


Turkey and Swiss Croissant

Blueberry Muffin

Roulade - Almond Cake with Chocolate Mousse and Raspberry Jam

Glazed Coconut Ball

Mango Mousse

Guava Cream Cheese Pastry

The First Piggy Post: Bouchon

This is the first of hopefully many "Piggy Posts", aka, guest blog entries! There is so much to eat and sadly I can't be everywhere at once, so I really appreciate when someone has something special to share.

This edition comes from Laura in NYC who ate at Bouchon Bakery and sent me the following:

This chocolate wonder is great because it's just a bite. The chocolate aftertaste is bittersweet with a sugary delicateness that rests on the palate. The inside has these large chocolate chip morsels so the not so Francophile can feel a little more at home in the US of A. Not overwhelming or gooey. An anytime decadence!

Pair with an iced latte and you've got the perfect afternoon escape!

Thanks Laura!