“Where Flowers Bloom So Does Hope”

“Where Flowers Bloom So Does Hope”

“Where flowers bloom so does hope.” – Lady Bird Johnson

Inspired by Lady Bird’s quote to bake and decorate a cake with beautiful, edible flowers. I’m pairing it with an 80s, vintage Susan Apple floral dress. Fun and spontaneous!Matching Floral Dress & Floral Cake

Now that we are spending more time at home . . . we have an opportunity for things that we never got around to doing. For me, I am sorting through some the Susan Apple, Inc’s archives. Rediscovering photos, documents and dresses of an apparel business that I founded in my college dorm room. It is almost as fun as reuniting with old friends!

Discovering this Susan Apple floral dress gave me an idea to bake a cake to pair with it. So here is the original 80s dress . . .Floral Dress

“Where flowers bloom so does hope.”

And here is the recipe . . .

Floral Cake

A moist 3-layer cake iced with fluffy, white frosting and decorated with a variety of bright, edible flowers.

Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 6 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Fluffy White Frosting: 4 1/2 cups sugar, 1 cup sugar, 6 tablespoons corn syrup, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 6 egg whites (rom temperature), 1/2 teaspoon tartar, 1/3 cup confectioners' sugar, and 1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.

    Grease and line with parchment paper three 3" X 8" round cake pans. Set aside.

  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.

  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. With the machine on low, gradually add the sugar, beat for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

  4. Add the vanilla to the milk, stir to combine. Set aside.

  5. Mixing on low speed, add the dry ingredients and wet ingredients, alternating with the dry and wet ingredients, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.

  6. Divide the batter among the three pans.

  7. Bake in the middle rack for 25-30 minutes or a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

  8. Cool the cakes in the pans, set on wire racks for 5 to 10 minutes. Turn out onto wire racks and cool completely.

  9. Assembling the cake: Place one cake layer on an 8" round cake board, spread with one fourth of the frosting. Add the second layer, spread with another fourth of the frosting, add the last cake layer, spread one fourth of the frosting on the sides of the cake, add the last fourth of the frosting to the top of the cake. With an off-set spatula make swirls in the frosting.

    Slide a large spatula under the cake and cake board, lift it up and transfer it to a cake stand or large platter.

Frosting directions: In a heavy bottom saucepan, mix the sugar, water, corn syrup, and salt. Cook until mixture reaches 238ºF. on a candy thermometer. Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a wire whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until frothy, add the cream of tartar and continue beating until the egg whites are stiff but not dry. Continue beating, slowly adding the cooked sugar mixture until the frosting is thick and creamy, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the confectioners' sugar and vanilla, blend together.

Enjoy A Slice Of Heaven

Enjoy A Slice Of Heaven

Enjoy a slice of heaven . . . here’s a slice of chocolate cream pie and the recipe for you!

For years, I have been searching for just the right combination of ingredients . . .

  • cornstarch or flour ?
  • milk or half & half ?
  • semi sweet or bittersweet chocolate ? 

Testing and tweaking . . . the chocolate cream pie recipe is ready . . . bake one today . . . enjoy a slice of heaven!

Chocolate Cream Pie

This rich, velvety, chocolate cream pie is topped with sweetened whipped cream. It is out of this world.

*A short cut for this recipe is a store-bought pie crust.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings 8 slices

Ingredients

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 pints half & half
  • 8 oz. semi sweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 blind-baked pie shell

Whipped cream topping: 1 pint heavy cream, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, 2 teaspoons vanilla In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the cream and sugar together on medium-high until the soft peaks form. Add the vanilla and blend.

1 good-quality chocolate bar: With a vegetable peeler, gently peel the chocolate, creating curls.

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg yolks with about 1/4 cup of the sugar. Set aside.

  2. In a heavy-bottom saucepan set over medium heat, add 1 pint of the half & half, the remaining sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and salt. Whisk until the mixture is smooth. Add the remaining pint of half & half, whisking constantly until the pudding begins to steam.

  3. Add the chopped chocolate and continue stirring until the mixture comes to a boil and is very thick, about 8 to 10 minutes.

  4. Reduce heat, about one cup of the hot mixture to the egg yolk mixture, return to the chocolate pudding and continue cooking and whisking vigorously, about 1 minute.

  5. Remove form heat, stir in the butter and vanilla.

    Pour into the prepared pie shell. Cool. Cover with plastic wrap. Chill for a couple of hours.

  6. Spread the prepared whipped cream onto the pie. Decorate with chocolate curls.

    Serve chilled.

Pairing A Cake With A Dress

Pairing A Cake With A Dress

Pairing a cake with a dress . . . a Chocolate Polka Dot Cake paired with a black polka dot linen dress is my favorite!

Inspired by the famous Black And White Cake of Amy’s Bread, a New York institution. . . 

I am baking a cake and pairing it with my new Susan Apple black polka dot linen dress. It’s a classic!

Frosting Tips:

  • The eggs should be cold when separating the egg yolks from the egg whites – the yolks will not break so easily!
  • The egg whites should be room temperature before beating – creates more volume!

Happy Baking!

Chocolate Polka Dot Cake

The color contrast between the chocolate cake and the snowy white frosting is striking. And the chocolate chips add a whimsical touch!

Prep Time 3 hours
Cook Time 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cups shortening
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 6 large eggs
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/3 cups cocoa
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

    Line 3 3" round cake pans with parchment paper and lightly grease. Set aside.

  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together until fluffy the shortening, sugar and eggs.

  3. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

  4. On a low speed, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, mix in the dry and wet ingredients.

  5. Pour into the prepared pans. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

  6. Cool on wire racks for 20 to 30 minutes. Invert onto wire racks and cool completely.

  7. Spread the frosting between the layers, on the sides and the top of the cake.

Fluffy White Icing: 4 1/2 cups sugar, 1 cup water, 6 tablespoons corn syrup, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 6 egg whites, 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar, 1/3 cup confectioners sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla.

  1. Frosting directions:

    In a heavy-bottom saucepan, mix the sugar, water, corn syrup and salt. Cook until mixture reaches a soft ball stage, 238ºF on a candy thermometer.

    In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a wire whisk, beat the egg whites until frothy, add the cream of tartar and continue beating until the are stiff but not dry. Continue beating, slowly add the sugar mixture, beat until the icing is creamy, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the confectioners sugar and vanilla, blend together.

 

Fashion:

*Sponsor free . . . this is for YOU!

Thank you,

Susan Apple

Five Secrets To Down-Home And Fluffy Biscuits

Five Secrets To Down-Home And Fluffy Biscuits

Over the years, I have collected dozens of hand-written biscuit recipes and tried all of them. This is how I came up with the five secrets to down-home and fluffy biscuits. They are truly easy to make and should be mastered by all great cooks!

Five secrets to down-home and fluffy biscuits:

  1. White Lily flour is milled from 100% soft winter wheat. It contains less protein than standard flour. So the biscuits are fluffier!
  2. Handle the dough as little as possible, knead for 30 seconds.
  3. When cutting the biscuits, cut straight down. No twisting!
  4. Be sure the oven is fully preheated to 450ºF before baking the biscuits. An oven thermometer is a good idea to check the temperature.
  5. Do not over bake the biscuits! Set the timer for 10 minutes, check and watch carefully.Five Secrets To Down-Home And Fluffy Biscuits

Equipment:

Happy Baking!

*Sponsor free – this is for you!

Classic Buttermilk Biscuits

Classic buttermilk biscuits are delicious with breakfast, lunch or dinner. Once the basic biscuit recipe is mastered, there is no end to what can be done with the biscuit dough. Chives, poppy seeds, cheddar cheese and fresh rosemary give them a whole new flavor.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Servings 12 biscuits

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup cold shortening, chilled and cut into pieces
  • 3/4 - 1 cup buttermilk

Melted butter for brushing on top of the baked biscuits.

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450ºF.

  2. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

  3. Using your finger tips or a pastry blender, cut in the shortening until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

  4. Slowly pour in enough buttermilk to make a slightly sticky dough, stirring all the while.

  5. Turn out onto a floured surface. Knead lightly for just 30 seconds to mix thoroughly. Be careful not to overwork the dough.

  6. Roll or pat the dough to a 1" thickness. Cut with a biscuit cutter. Cut straight down and pull the cutter straight from the dough. Do not twist!

    Place the biscuits on an ungreased baking sheet. Leave a little space between them. For fluffier biscuits place close together.

    Gather the leftover dough, gently pinch together and cut one or two more biscuit.

  7. Bake in preheated oven for 12 tp 15 minutes. Bake until puffed and lightly browned. Starting at 10 minutes, check for doneness.

  8. Brush with melted butter and serve at once!

Happy National Cheesecake Day!

Happy National Cheesecake Day!

Happy National Cheesecake day! Baking the perfect cheesecake to celebrate the day . . . join me!

Best Tips for baking the perfect cheesecake:

  1. Cream cheese and eggs should be room temperature.
  2. Use a springform pan.
  3. Don’t over mix the batter and beat on a low speed.
  4. Sour cream adds a creamy texture
  5. Lemon zest adds a citrus flavor.
  6. A little flour thickens the batter.
  7. No opening the door to peak at the cheesecake!
  8. Don’t over bake the cake.
  9. Gradually cool the cheesecake.
  10. Chill for 8 hours or overnight before serving.

Cheesecake

A generous dose of lemon adds a lively flavor to this classic dessert.

Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 8-ounce cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 8-ounce sour cream, room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 2 large egg yolks, room temperature, lightly beaten

Crust: 1 cup graham cracker crumbs, 1/2 cup sugar and 1 stick(1/2 cup) butter

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375Fº.

  2. Pulse the graham crackers in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add sugar and butter, blend together.

    Line a springform pan with the crumb mixture on bottom and sides. Set aside.

  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, place the cream cheese, sugar, sour cream, flour, lemon juice, lemon zest. vanilla and salt. Beat on medium speed until combined and well blended, about 2 minutes.

  4. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

  5. Add the eggs and egg yolks one at a time, beating on medium speed until well combined. Occasionally, scraping down the sides of the bowl.

  6. Pour into the prepared crust.

  7. *Be sure to put a pan on the rack under the cheesecake to catch any butter that seeps out of the springform pan.

    Bake for 10 minutes at 375Fº. Reduce the heat to 325Fº. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Turn off the oven. Leave the cake in the oven to cool for 2 hours. Remove the pan from the oven, place on a wire rack and cool completely.

  8. Cover the pan with plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight.

  9. To serve:

    Remove the collar of the springform pan.

    Place the cheesecake on a cake stand or serving plate.

    Slice and serve with cherry or blueberry pie filling.

Have A Berry Sweet Day

Have A Berry Sweet Day

Have a berry sweet day . . . make a classic American dessert . . . Strawberry Shortcake!

During my childhood, we waited with great anticipation for summer. It was the season of laughter and long visits on our front porch. We spent long days in the garden growing radishes, corn and tomatoes. Among the fresh berries of the season, Louisiana strawberries were our favorite.

With the season’s abundance of juicy strawberries, we made strawberry shortcakes. They were served on our front porch and enjoyed by all. Pure happiness!

Recreating my favorite summer and classic American dessert . . . A Classic American dessert

Tips:

  • About one hour prior to serving, toss the hulled, sliced strawberries with the sugar. Set aside at room temperature.
  • When zesting the lemon, remove only the outer, colored layer of the peel, avoiding the bitter white pith underneath.

Equipment:

Strawberry Shortcake

Summer strawberries add sweetness to this classic American dessert. Make these in individual servings or one large shortcake for an impressive presentation. Either way, juicy strawberries ladled over warm shortcakes and topped with whipped cream will be devoured by all!

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 6 people

Ingredients

  • 3 - 4 cups fresh strawberries
  • 3 whole strawberries for garnish
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup whole milk, chilled
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

Whipped Cream topping: Whip 2 cups heavy cream and 1/2 cup sugar until the mixture is thick and creamy.

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375Fº.

    Line an 8" cake pan with parchment paper. Lightly grease. Set aside.

  2. Make the topping: About an hour before serving this dessert, hull and slice the strawberries. In a mixing bowl, toss the strawberries and sugar together. Set aside.

  3. Make the shortcake: In a bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

  4. Cut in the butter with pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Set aside.

  5. In a separate bowl, mix the milk, egg, vanilla and zest.

  6. Make a well in the dry ingredients. Add the milk mixture all at once. Mix it lightly and quickly with a spatula. When the dough begins to hold together, turn onto a lightly floured surface, knead lightly. Pat into 2 thin rounds about 8" in across. Place in the prepared pan. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of sugar.

  7. Bake until lightly browned, about 20 to 25 minutes.

    Remove from the oven. Cool on wire rack about 10 minutes. Turn out of the pan. Cool another 10 minutes.

  8. Serving: Split the shortcake in half. Place the bottom half on a cake stand, spoon the prepared strawberries on each layer.

    Top with whip cream. Garnish with reserved strawberries.

    Cut into wedges and serve!