{twd} Perfect Party Cake

It was a triple-header: Father’s Day, My Dad’s Birthday, and the First Day of Summer. No excuse was needed to bake Dorie Greenspan’s Perfect Party Cake for this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie.

Because of this grand day, I had helpers bake with me. More specically, my 6- year-old niece Paula and my 4-year-old nephew Diego. Although, Diego has made an appearence here before, we actually baked this cake before the casatiello.

The kids “helped” me dump the ingredients, separate the eggs, and mix everything together. We made the full recipe, but used my 7×3-inch cake pans instead of the 9-inch pans recommended. Other then adjusting the baking time and temperature (decreased the temp and increased the time), we followed the recipe as written.

The cake was a big success. It was light, moist, and the crumb was -dare I say-perfect. It truly is a Perfect Party Cake. In fact, I almost didn’t get a chance to take a picture of a slice because it almost disappeared before I remembered.

Thank you to Paula and Diego–who actually remembered there was lemon zest in the cake–for baking the cake with me.

And thank you to Carol of mix, mix… stir, stir who made the perfect choice this week. If you would like the recipe, please visit her blog or buy Dorie Greenspan’s book: Baking…From My Home to Yours.

I told them to smile and look at the camera; this is what happened.

I told them to smile and look at the camera; this is what happened.

mini-challah rolls

I baked The Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challah for the first time last September. You can see my previous attempt HERE. For a twist on the traditional braid, I decided to make mini-challah rolls.

I made 3 ounce rolls, with each strand weighing 1 ounce. I also added 1/2 cup of diced dried pears and dried cherries to the dough the last two minutes of kneading.

Making half a recipe, I yielded six rolls. Perfect.

I made these as part of The Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challange, a group dedicated to baking our way through Peter Reinhart’s book.

{db}Bakewell Tart

The June Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Jasmine of Confessions of a Cardamom Addict and Annemarie of Ambrosia and Nectar. They chose a Traditional (UK) Bakewell Tart… er… pudding that was inspired by a rich baking history dating back to the 1800′s in England.

I wasn’t going to bake the tart. I just had too much on my plate (metaphorically and literally). After seeing the tarts pop up all over the internet yesterday and seeing how good and delicious they looked, I decided to jump on the baking bandwagon.

Instead of baking one big tart, I baked 12 cupcake-sized tartlets (better to take to work that way) using a muffin pan. I topped the tart with powdered sugar and a mix of blueberries and gooseberries.

All packed-up for work

All packed-up for work

{sms} Double Dark Chocolate Cherry Cookies

This week, the pick for Sweet Melissa Sundays was cookies. More specifically, Double Dark Chocolate Cherry Cookies and because the chocolate is doubled the taste is quadrupled. That’s how food math works, right? And then when you add in the dried sour cherries the flavor inches closer to bliss like a mathematical curve heading towards infinity.

I served the cookies with David Lebovitz’s Milk Chocolate Ice Cream from The Perfect Scoop. David suggests adding cacao nibs or chocolate chips to the ice cream. I took it one-step further and added Scharffen Berger Chocolate-Covered Cacao Nibs.

The food math is now beyond what my brain and tastebuds can handle. By itself, the ice cream is wonderfully creamy. The cacao nibs add a crunchy texture and a bittersweet counterpoint to the sweetness of the milk chocolate. Perfect.

Thank you to Megan of My Baking Adventures, who is probably roasting in Las Vegas today. Hopefully she served the cookies with ice cream too. If you would like the recipe, please visit Megan’s blog or buy the book: The Sweet Melissa Baking Book.

Granola Bread

Mix My Granola contacted me a while back to ask if I would like to sample their product. I love making my own granola, but sometimes run out of my homemade mix and don’t have any for quite awhile. Mix My Granola is a great compromise.

While it’s truly not homemade, you get to make your own mix. You start by choosing your granola base and then can add in your choice of dried fruits, nuts, and other mix-ins. I loved all the organic options.

For my mix, I chose the Organic Granola Base,  Dried Raspberries, Dried Blackberries (I wanted to try them!), Pecans, & Sunflower Seeds.  Mix My Granola sends the granola in a tube with the customized ingredients and nutrition information listed.


I used most of the granola in my usual way of eating it: for breakfast with Greek yogurt and fruit. However, I also used some of it to make delicious Granola Bread from King Arthur Flour’s Whole-Grain Baking Book.  The bread is almost creamy and makes very delicious toasted peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.