Two best friends, baking and blogging across the miles

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Double Trouble Part 2: Chocolate Avocado

Awhile back Lu gave me an either/or challenge but I like both options to much that I decided to try them both. The first, a coconut macaroon cookie came out wonderfully.

The second option was to make something combing both chocolate and avocado. I drooled over chocolate avocado cookies, milkshakes, cakes and truffles. I settled on truffles because I took a clad in Scotland and I haven't made them since I left (the word left just triggered a tear!).

The recipe I used is :

And I hated it. Okay....let me explain.

The recipe calls for way to much powdered sugar. Way more than you could ever combine into the other ingredients. I improvised an added some melted butter. I was able to get most of the sugar worked in. The rest that didn't blend went into the trash.

The usable portion did taste good. I used the truffles as 2 layers in a peanut butter chocolate trifle and received good comments on the "really rich bits of chocolate".

Lu challenged me to make something tropical inspired for my next challenge.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Passion Fruit Challenges

On one of my last days in Boston I went to the Danish Pasty House (the one mentioned in my last post!) and in my state of sadness about leaving I ordered a big slice of their passion fruit cake. And it was the BEST slice of cake I've had in a loonnnng time. There's something about the tartness of the filling that makes it very appealing to me, probably because it's not a taste that I've had much exposure to. Anyways, when I got back home I couldn't stop obsessing about the cake so I decided to try and make my own version.

This recipe for Six-Layer Coconut Cake with Passion Fruit Filling comes from Food&, and it is by far one of the more complex recipes I've tried. There were a lot of ingredients involved and a lot of time periods where I was just waiting (for the cakes to cool, for the filling to firm up, for the frosting to firm up as much waiting!) The other reason this was tricky for me was because it was supposed to have SIX layers, and it was challenging for me to cut through the three original cakes I had made without cutting the layers too thin, because then they would fall apart as I would move them...So as you can see, the six layers were reduced to three because I was much too panicked that I was going to ruin the cake. However, the downside to only having three layers is that each layer was heavier than it was supposed to be, meaning the filling would come out down the sides (!!!)

I'm usually pretty laid back in all aspects of life, but not with my baking. And I was probably the most Type A I've ever been while baking this cake (my family and boyfriend evacuated the kitchen because I was just awful!) I get very bossy and very irked when things don't go my way, and in addition to the layer trouble I also had some challenges with the frosting, which I may have overwhipped because it was a little difficult to spread. But overall, the cake turned out well given all the challenges! I do wish I had made the filling a little sweeter because it was a little more tart than expected, but the cake itself without anything added was soooo delicious, it was moist and soft it's a good recipe to hold onto for other baking challenges.

I added some toasted coconut on top and ta-da! It was well worth the headache.

My next challenge is to make a dessert that is "wet and cold" and dense, like a tres leches cake or something along those lines...Rachel sent me some recipes so I'll decide soon!

2 Baking Challenges...One Post!

So, my banana bread challenge was from Pinterest challenge in May and I gave myself a "wet and cold" challenge for here they are all together all at once, in order to make up for my procrastination!
However, first I wanted to mention some fun baking-related adventures I had in Boston, since they were delicious and fun memories that I would like to preserve and share with others.
If anyone is ever visiting Boston and wants to try a deeeelicious bakery, one great one that I visited was Flour Bakery + Cafe. There are several locations, with the original being in Boston proper and the other in Cambridge, which is the one I visited. My roommate and I had heard great things about their sticky buns so we ventured out one Sunday and were lucky enough to grab some seats and sticky buns! They lived up to the hype and were incredibly messy!
The other place I wanted to mention isn't as popular as Flour because it is in Medford, which is several miles outside of Boston and right down the street from my apartment! The Danish Pastry House was a really cute cafe that I would go to frequently while I was at Tufts, and while their danishes and kringles were always yummy, my favorite thing to get there was their carrot cake:
The decoration is wonderful, which is something about my own baking that I would like to improve on. Their frosting always looks neat and smooth!
Okay, so now for my challenges:
Challenge 1: To make a variation of banana bread
Result 1: I unfortunately forgot to take pictures of the outcome, but I made this banana bread back in April one one of the weekends when we were STILL getting snow! I got the recipe from My Baking Addiction for Rum Coconut Banana Bread (!) and it turned out very well for me. Rachel and I are two rum lovers and the taste of the rum was subtle but still present in the bread. It was a really cool twist on traditional banana bread that gives it a tropical flavor, which was really neat. 
Challenge 2: To make a recipe off of Rachel's Pinterest Board
Result 2: For this challenge I chose to make Cheesecake in Jar, which is one of the challenges I saw Rachel had pinned. This dessert was so simple and truly adorable:
I just realized I must be a fan of My Baking Addiction, because that's where this recipe came from too! I would recommend using smaller mason jars than the ones I did...I'm on a poor girl's budget and had to make do with what I had! Additionally, I like my cheesecake with caramel or fudge...something wet on it. That's just personal preference but I would recommend including that, and also using graham cracker crumbs in the recipe because I think some crunch always makes things better.