November 27, 2011

Sans Rival cake

This was my first Daring Bakers challenge. I absolutely loved participating! I loved learning about a different culture as well as finding a recipe for a super yummy cake that I had never heard of before!

"Catherine of Munchie Musings was our November Daring Bakers’ host and she challenged us to make a traditional Filipino dessert – the delicious Sans Rival cake!" 

This thing is not for the faint of heart, let me tell you! It is completely full of eggs, butter, and sugar (my favourite combination!) Plus, let's not forget all the nuts that are in and on this baby...

For the challenge we were able to use whatever kind of nuts and flavouring we wanted, although it was noted that cashews and vanilla meringue are the traditional flavours. I used almonds and made chocolate meringue. I also added a crown of fresh raspberries.

I piped a 8 small circles of the chocolate, almond meringue on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and stacked them by layering with chocolate French buttercream and fresh raspberries. I went for the rustic look with my husband's who doesn't like too much frosting.

Sans Rival:

10 large egg whites, room temp

1 cup (240 ml) (225 gm) (8 oz) white granulated sugar

1 teaspoon (5 ml) (3 gm) cream of tartar

¼ cup (60 ml) (20 gm) (2/3 oz) Dutch processed cocoa (optional and not traditional)

2 cups (480 ml) (240 gm) (8½ oz) chopped, toasted cashews

Note: You will need four layers which will mean that you might have to bake in two batches. Be sure to use fresh parchment paper and cooled pans for each batch.

1. Preheat oven to moderate 325°F/160°C/gas mark 3.

2. Line cake pan bottoms with parchment paper and butter and flour the sides really well.

3. In a large clean, dry glass or metal mixing bowl, beat egg whites on medium until foamy (2 mins.). Sprinkle with cream of tartar. Gradually add sugar, a couple of tablespoons at a time, continuing to beat now at high speed until stiff shiny peaks form. (about 7-10 mins.)

4. Fold in nuts, reserving enough to use for decoration.

5. Divide meringue into four equal parts. Spread in pans, evenly to edges. If doing batches, use fresh parchment paper and cooled pans for each batch.

6. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove the meringue from the baking pans while still hot; allow to cool slightly. Peel off the parchment paper while it is still warm, it is difficult to remove sometimes when they have completely cooled.

7. When cool, trim edges so that all 4 meringue layers are uniformly shaped. Set aside.

French Buttercream:
5 large egg yolks, room temperature

1 cup (240 ml) (225 gm) (8 oz) white granulated sugar

1/4 cup (60 ml) water

1¼ cup (300 ml) (2½ sticks) (285 gm) (10 oz) unsalted butter, room temperature

Optional Flavorings: 2 oz (55 gm) unsweetened chocolate, melted, or 1½ teaspoon (7 ½ ml) almond extract, or 1½ teaspoon (7 ½ ml) vanilla extract, or any flavor you like

1. Put the egg yolks in a mixing bowl. Beat at high speed until the yolks have doubled in volume and are a lemon yellow.

2. Put the sugar and water in a heavy pan and cook over medium heat, stirring the sides down only until all the sugar is dissolved and the syrup reaches 235°F/112°C (or thread stage).

3. With the mixer on high, very slowly pour the syrup down the sides of the bowl, until all has been added. Be careful as the very hot syrup could burn you if it splashes from the beaters. Continue beating on high until the mixture is ROOM TEMPERATURE (about 15 mins). Still on high, beat in the soft, room temperature butter a tablespoon at a time. Add flavoring after you beat in the butter. Refrigerate the buttercream for at least an hour, and whip it smooth just before you use it.


Set bottom meringue on cake board with a dab of butter cream to hold it in place. Spread a thin layer of buttercream and then place another meringue on top. Repeat with a thin layer of buttercream, meringue, thin layer of buttercream, meringue, and finally buttercream the top and sides. Decorate with reserved nuts.

Refrigerate until ready to serve. It is easier to cut cold. May freeze.

I had this nice little surprise when I cracked open one of the million eggs in the recipe.

August 19, 2011

Cheddar Bacon Strata

My husband and I are finally into our new house and I've been able to cook in my lovely new kitchen! My old kitchen had 2 feet of counter space (not exaggerating) and was not easy to work in to say the least. Now, I have lots of counter space to make all kinds of yummy stuff.

This morning I was watching an episode of Eat, Shrink, and Be Merry where they made a skinnier version of an amazing-looking quiche and decided to make a strata for breakfast. It turned out really yummy so I wanted to share the recipe...

May 8, 2011


Sorry for the lack of posts! Can't believe how long it's been...

Basically, my kitchen right now sucks (we rent) and I haven't been spending much time in there, but my Hubby and I just bought a house (YAY) and will be moving in July so I promise I'll be back soon!

What's the best part about homeownership?? A DISHWASHER! (Okay maybe not, but it is Top 5!)

October 22, 2010

Spinach "Pesto"

I've never been pesto's biggest fan. In fact, I pretty much hate it on pasta. BUT slap it on some meat and I'm in love. One of my favourite fancy-ish suppers to make includes pesto-stuffed, prosciutto-wrapped chicken breasts. Oh baby. So so so good.

October 17, 2010

Spaghetti Squash "Lasagna"

I wish I could take credit for this brilliant idea, but unfortunately I can't. I didn't really follow a recipe, but the inspiration did come from this recipe.

First, cut open your spaghetti squash...easier said than done, I know!

Scoop out the seeds and gunk. Don't forget to roast them just like pumpkin seeds - set them aside in a bowl of room temperature water for later.

Drizzle with olive oil or spray with PAM and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Bake (flesh side down) at 350°F for 30-40 minutes or 400°F for 15-20 minutes if you're impatient like me. Using a fork, scrape the strands out from stem to stem. Dry the strands really well.

Put some of the strands back into the bottom of the squash "shell" - or a casserole dish - and top with a layer of sauce (a layer of cheese or other veggies like a noodle lasagna would be good too). Continue layering the squash strands and sauce until full. I used homemade meat sauce with ground chicken and chicken sausage, but any tomato sauce will work just fine.

Sprinkle with some shredded Mozzarella and bake at 400°F for another 10-15 minutes until the cheese is nice and brown.

Slice it in half and enjoy! Yummy!

October 14, 2010

How have I never tasted a Whoopie Pie before?!

Oh. My. Gosh! These are delicious. I'm sure any recipe will do...this just happened to be the first one I found, but I'm not a good recipe follower anyway. I used frosting that was leftover from a Thanksgiving carrot cake a few days ago. I almost always use this recipe for frosting.

Sorry for the crappy picture, but I was too busy eating these by the handful (kidding...sorta) to get out my real camera.

Mini Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (I omitted the ginger, but added fresh nutmeg, ground cloves, and allspice)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.For cookies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease or line four baking sheets with parchment paper.

2.Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and salt in medium bowl. Beat butter and sugar in large mixer bowl on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add pumpkin and vanilla extract; beat until smooth. Stir in flour mixture until combined. Drop by heaping measuring teaspoons onto prepared baking sheets. (A total of 72 cookies are needed for the recipe.)

3.Bake for 10 to 13 minutes or until springy to the touch. Cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Add a dollop of frosting to the flat side of a cookie & sandwich with a similar sized cookie.

Inside-Out Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Oh yea...these are sooooo good!

I had some extra Reese's Pieces on hand from a recent trip to Bulk Barn and 15 minutes before my Hubby had to leave for work so I whipped up these delicious cookies and had them mixed, baked, and packed before he was out of the shower. These are FAST and totally customizable! Don't have Reese's Pieces? Add M&Ms or chocolate chips or PB chips or nuts - whatever!

First, cream together the wet ingredients.

Next, add the dry ingredients. Then, stir in the Reese's Pieces.

Bake 'em up and eat more than you're willing to admit ;) I the only one that does that?

Chocolate Reese's Pieces Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar (or all white sugar)
1 cup flour (I used whole wheat)
1/3 cup cocoa
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup Reese's Pieces (I roughly chopped 1/2 of mine & left half whole)

Preheat oven to 350°F line baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.

Beat butter, egg, vanilla, and sugars until smooth. Mix in dry ingredients; stir in Reese's Pieces.

Drop by tablespoon onto baking sheet and bake for 6-8 minutes. Cool and enjoy!

October 8, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcake and Icing!

Stop what you're doing! You need to go make these right now! I used this recipe for the cupcake and made my own frosting.

You can use store-bought refrigerated cookies, but you have to freeze them before you bake them into the cupcake or they will cook. You can also use homemade cupcakes, but I used a mix to test these. Next time I will use homemade.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Frosting (there's a mouthful)
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 Tbsp brown sugar (don't skip it - this is what gives it the cookie dough flavour)
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar
1-2 Tbsp milk (optional)
1/8 cup mini chocolate chips (I used 1 square of unsweetened  chocolate and chopped it up really fine)

Cream together butter and brown sugar. Mix in vanilla. Gradually add powdered sugar until frosting reaches desired consistency.

Frost cooled cake/cupcakes & enjoy!

September 30, 2010

Cream of Potato Bacon Soup

My Dad gave me a grocery bag full of potatoes straight from the garden so I had to rush home and whip up something yummy.

I don't know about you, but Cream of Potato Bacon Soup is one of my favourite things in the whole world. So, so, so good. Total comfort food that is just perfect for a chilly Fall night.

The secret ingredient is nutmeg. If you've never used nutmeg in a potato dish, you're probably thinking I'm nuts, but just wait until you try this!!!

Any recipe that starts like this can not be bad! Oh, did I mention that this recipe is not for those who are watching their weight?!

Note: this is my own recipe so I'd really appreciate credit and a link to my blog if you choose to repost. Thank you :)

Cream of Potato Bacon Soup
1 pound bacon, cut into chunks
1 large onion, diced
3 stalks celery, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
10-12 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" cubes
About 3 cups chicken stock (enough to cover potatoes)
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1. Fry the bacon on medium-high until crispy; set aside. Reserve 1-2 Tbsp of the bacon grease.
2. In a soup pot, saute onion and celery in the reserved bacon grease. Once almost fully cooked, add garlic and cook for another minute.
3. Add potatoes and saute until softened (I microwaved mine for 10 minutes first so it would be super quick, but you can boil them or leave them raw). Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until potatoes are cooked through.
4. Puree soup until it reaches desired thickness (I use an immersion blender).
5. Stir in heavy cream, bacon, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Simmer for another minute or two and enjoy!
My tip for using whole nutmeg is to keep grating it in to the pot until I start to smell it.
Oh yea, if you calculate the nutritional information for this, you're not allowed to tell me :)

September 23, 2010

Homemade Vanilla!

I'm fairly new to the blogging world - writing and reading - boy have my eyes have been opened!

I've always been pretty creative in the kitchen, but there are some things that I just never thought of making homemade like hamburger buns, Pop-Tarts, and vanilla! It's ridiculously easy. You just pour, shake, and wait. Seriously.

Take 1 cup of a pretty good vodka (I just used Absolut because that's what I had) and pour it into a jar.
Split 2 vanilla beans and throw them in the jar. Close the lid and shake it up!
Shake it once a day for a week. Then, once a week for 2-3 months. I put my jar on its side so the beans are totally covered by the vodka.

Then bake up some yummies with your homemade, pure vanilla extract! Or, if you're really generous, you can pour it into some pretty bottles and give it away as gifts. Now is the perfect time to make your vanilla if you want to give it away at Christmas ;)