Sunday, June 29, 2008

Honey Bee Cake: The Verdict

Ok, we finally had the chance to try the Honey Bee Cake I made last night. This cake is so good! I made my usual caramel lattes and we had this for breakfast. The cake is very chocolaty, but not too much. The honey flavor is very prominent and interesting. The cake is moist and delicious. I have made cakes from scratch before, and they are always dense and heavy. This one was perfect! Give it a try!

Dinner for 2

So, it was just Paul and I today, we did lots of chores, then we had a nice dinner. We opened up a great bottle of wine we had been a client of Paul's had sent him from delicious. We got 2 porterhouse steaks and cooked them on the was a nice night together just the two of us.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Honey Bee Cake

I saw Nigella Lawson make this cake today, so I had to try it...but Paul is making me go to Home Depot again...thank goodness the neighbors aren't coming over for dinner!

Ok, we got back in time, and I got to make it! It took longer than I wanted, so we didn't get to taste it, but here is my very own Honey Bee is a homemade chocolate cake that has lots of honey in it. Like the bees? I made them with Almond paste. I used slivered almonds for the wings, and painted on the stripes and eyes with the chocolate glaze. I am going to have it with a hot cup of strong espresso in the morning...but licking the bowl...I can tell you it is very chocolaty...yummy!!!

4 ounces semisweet chocolate, broken into pieces
1 1/3 cups soft light brown sugar
2 sticks soft butter
1/2 cup honey
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda (baking soda)
1 tablespoon cocoa
1 cup boiling water

Sticky Honey Glaze:
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup honey
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar

1 ounce yellow marzipan
12 flaked almonds

Special equipment: 9-inch springform tin
Take whatever you need out of the refrigerator so that all ingredients can come to room temperature, and while that's happening, melt the chocolate from the cake part of the ingredients list in a good-sized bowl, either in the microwave or suspended over a pan of simmering water. Set aside to cool slightly.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and butter and line a 9-inch springform tin.

Beat together the sugar and soft butter until airy and creamy, and then add the honey.
Add 1 of the eggs, beating it in with a tablespoon of the flour, and then the other egg with another tablespoon of flour. Fold in the melted chocolate, and then the rest of the flour and baking soda. Add the cocoa pushed through a tea strainer to ensure you have no lumps, and last of all, beat in the boiling water. Mix everything well to make a smooth batter and pour into the prepared tin. Cook for up to 1 1/2 hours, though check the cake after 45 minutes and if it is getting too dark, cover the top lightly with aluminium foil and keep checking every 15 minutes.

Let the cake cool completely in the tin on a rack.

To make the glaze, bring the water and honey to a boil in a saucepan, then turn off the heat and add the finely chopped chocolate, swirling it around to melt in the hot liquid. Leave it for a few minutes, then whisk together. Add the sugar through a sieve and whisk again until smooth.

Choose your plate or stand, and cut out 4 strips of baking paper and form a square outline on the plate. This is so that when you sit the cake on and ice it, the icing will not run out all over the plate. Unclip the tin and set the thoroughly cooled cake on the prepared plate. Pour the glaze over the cold honey bee cake; it might dribble a bit down the edges, but don't worry too much about that. The glaze stays tacky for ages (this is what gives it its lovely melting gooiness) so ice in time for the glaze to harden a little, say at least an hour before you want to serve it. Keep the pan of glaze, (don't wash it up), as you will need it to make the stripes on the bees.

Divide the marzipan into 6 even pieces and shape them into fat, sausage-like bees' bodies, slightly tapered at the ends.

Using a wooden skewer, paint stripes with the sticky honey glaze left in the pan from icing the cake. About 3 stripes look best, and then very carefully attach the flaked almonds at an angle to make the bees' wings, 2 on each one. They might snap as you dig them into the marzipan bodies, so have some spare. I'm afraid to admit, I also like to give them eyes by dipping the point of the skewer in the glaze and thence on the bees: they look more loveable with an expression, which is somehow what the eyes give them, but then this is where the Disney effect comes in. If a more imperial dignity is required, forgo the dotting of the eyes and present this as your Napoleonic Chocolate Cake.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

In My Dreams...

This is so funny...and it makes me laugh everytime I see boy John Mayer looks good with nice arms! The smile on his face looks so great! I can dream, can't I? Haha!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Just remember...

Thanks Natalie know just how I feel. :)

Home Improvements

We are finally painting our house. It has been a huge white box for way too long. Here is the "before".

Stay tuned for the after!

Warm Caramel brownies a bust!

OK, so I made those brownies that I recommended in an earlier post...and they sucked! I think it could be corrected if I actually followed the instructions! Be sure to make the brownies cake-like as instructed....and don't be to eager to stick in the Rollo's...otherwise, the brownies will never set. I would also reduce the amount of brown sugar. I will try them again, but I will play close attention. See I am not perfect...some days just get a bit to ambitious for me...and my husband drags me all over home depot looking for a switch plate, and then I have to rush to get dinner done...good or's just another day in a life made by Marcie.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Tom Ka Soup

So of course I watch Top Chef, and some of the recipes looked so good, so I am on the lookout and will post some of my favorites here. This was the soup that Lisa made (she was kind of bitchy, but I am sure the girl can cook) and all the judges said they wanted a huge bowl of. So, I need to try this one. Not sure what galangal is, but I am sure I can find it. ...but the recipe sounds pretty simple. I'll let u know how it goes!

Tom Ka Soup:
2 stalks lemongrass, smashed
6 kaffir lime leaves
1 pack dried galangal
1/2 cup fish sauce
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup lime juice
1/2 cup simple syrup
2 to 3 cans coconut milk
Tom Ka Soup:
Combine all ingredients except coconut milk in a pot. Boil then reduce heat to medium. Add coconut milk; simmer for 5 minutes, taste and adjust with fish sauce or coconut milk.

Affogato anyone?

Nothing more simple than this...a mug with a scoop of good quality vanilla or even chocolate ice cream. Pour over a hot cup of espresso and you have the Italians call Affogato. Give it it a try, it s like a rich and creamy latte! Yum!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Filled Food table

This is a pic posted to Martha's best party decorations contest this summer by member name "bonjovi". I am always looking for ways to make a buffet look appetizing and filled. This table is great, I love that the food fills the table, the crackers are right on the dish there...this table is a little advanced, but there are a few things I am going to try...I will post my results when I do.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Pretty Desserts!

I just love the way these desserts are presented. I do the dessert shots a lot. I go to the bakery at my local grocery store, and buy the one serving desserts, key lime pie, tiramisu, cheesecake and Tres Leches cake and pile them into shot glasses. People love them. They get a little bite of sweet...and get to try a few. I am going to try a good key lime recipe, I really like how it is layered in this picture. Love the cake stands too...I kind of have a cake stand obsession...we are having our house painted this week, so all my stuff is down off of the shelves, but once I get everything back in it's place, we will talk about cake stands...tags and ribbons are adorable on these, and so easy to do!

Oh and how easy are those mini cupcakes...I usually do those with a slice of strawberry on the top or three little blueberries, but I LOVE the raspberries...gonna try that one, maybe for 4th of July? My get togethers are becoming so far and in between that I have to cram in tons of food just to try them, then I make myself is a vicious cycle!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Great Summer Table Settings

Here is a great summery tablesetting from Martha Stewart. I love using naturals and blues for the summertime.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

I Love it when we're Crusin' together

Paul and I just got back from a week long cruise on the caribbean. We had a fantastic time. We went with our neighbors Heath and Dena and it was great!

Here are a few highlights:

Marcie Recommends: Warm Nutty Caramel Brownies

I had these at a recent Pampered Chef party and they were TO DIE for...a must try, and so easy!!

Warm Nutty Caramel Brownies

1 t. vegetable oil
1 pkg. (12 oz) semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
1 pkg. (18-21 oz) brownie mix (plus ingredients to make cake-like brownies)
3/4 c. packed brown sugar, divided
1 c. salted mixed nuts, divided
5 rolls of Rolos (40 pieces total), divided

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease pan w/ the oil. Combine brownie mix, water, oil, eggs, and 1/4 c. brown sugar. Fold in chocolate chips. Pour batter into bar pan & spread evenly.

2. Chop nuts. Combine half of the nuts and remaining 1/2 c. brown sugar; sprinkle evenly over brownie batter. Bake 20-22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

3. Remove bar pan from oven. Immediately press Rolos evenly into brownie in four rows. Sprinkle remaining nuts over brownies. Serve warm. Serve with ice cream, if desired.


I saw Bobby Flay make these on his Throwdown show and they look so yummy! These will be on my 4th of July Party menu for sure!

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, plus butter for pan
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup light brown muscovado sugar
1/2 cup dark brown muscovado sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons toffee chips
1/2 cup coarsely chopped toasted almonds
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and line a 9 by 9 by 2-inch baking pan with parchment paper, allowing a 2-inch overhang. Butter the lining too.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan; add both sugars and whisk until combined and sugar is melted, about 5 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl and let cool slightly. Whisk in the eggs and vanilla extract until combined. Add the flour and whisk until just incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips, toffee chips and almonds and transfer the mixture to the prepared pan.

Bake for 24 to 27 minutes or until the top cracks slightly and is firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the center comes out with moist pieces clinging to it. Remove to a wire rack and let cool completely. Remove the bars from the pan using the parchment handles, transfer to a cutting board and cut into 2-inch squares.

Backstage at the Martha Show

A few posts ago, I told you that I got the chance to go to a live taping of the Martha show, thanks to my friend Edward. :) The day before the taping, we were taking our exhibits to the studio, and I got to roam around freely on the was so surreal to be in the studio. I watch Martha everyday, and I couldn't believe i was so close to the opportunity to finally meet her...just being there was plenty!

Because it was an empty set, the lights were it is kind of dark, but here is Martha's famous kitchen set. They were dressing it for April Fool's day, so there are all kinds of crazy things on the shelves and stuff.

This is the crafting set, just to the right of the kitchen set. I walked up and opened the drawers, they are all labeled and perfect, just like you see on the show. It was very cool.

Strawberry Whipped Sensation

This blog is really for me to take all of those recipes I see on tv and save them in a place for me to find them again...and maybe you will like them too! I will give it a try and let you know how I like it.

I saw this easy cool whip recipe that looks pretty light and cool for the summer:

Strawberry Whipped Sensation

Prep Time: 20 min
Total Time: 6 hr 20 min
Makes: 12 servings

4 cups fresh strawberries, divided
1 can (14 oz.) EAGLE BRAND® Sweetened Condensed Milk
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tub (8 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed, divided
8 OREO Chocolate Sandwich Cookies, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. butter, melted

LINE 9x5-inch loaf pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides of pan. Mash 2 cups of the strawberries in large bowl. Add condensed milk, juice and 2 cups of the whipped topping; mix well. Pour into prepared pan.
MIX chopped cookies and butter. Spoon over whipped topping mixture. Cover with ends of foil and gently press cookie mixture into whipped topping mixture. Freeze 6 hours or until firm.
INVERT dessert onto serving plate when ready to serve; remove pan and foil. Spread remaining whipped topping onto top and sides of dessert. Slice remaining 2 cups strawberries; arrange over dessert. Store leftovers in freezer.

Apple Tarte Tatin

Found this yummy recipe on Colin Cowie's website. He is pretty fab.

Apple Tarte Tatin with Vanilla Ice Cream

Yield: 8 Servings

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter softened (1 stick)
3 pounds small Pippin apples, halved, cored, and peeled
Shortcrust Pastry or Puff Pastry
Vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
2. Grease a 9-inch oven proof skillet . Sprinkle 1/3 cup of the sugar over bottom. Pack the apples tightly in the pan in an upright fashion. Sprinkle with the remaining sugar. Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the apples.
3. Place the pan over medium heat and cook until the bottom is lightly caramelized, about 20 minutes. Transfer to the oven and bake 10 minutes longer. Remove from oven.
4. Meanwhile, on a lightly floured board, roll out the Puff Pastry to form a 10-inch circle. Top the apples with the pastry, so the edges overhang and the dough settles onto the apples. Trim any excess pastry by pressing the edges with the rolling pin.
5. Return the pan to the oven and bake until the pastry is well-browned, about 20 minutes.
6. To serve, invert the tart onto a serving plate and spoon on the caramel from the pan. Let cool 5 minutes and serve with vanilla ice cream or yogurt.

Note: Tarte Tatin may be made entirely in advance. Refrigerate the finished tart and reheat covered with foil in a 350 degree oven about 15 minutes.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Inspiration is so hard to find....

I am in a funk. Work has really taken it out of me. When you are paid to be creative, it is hard to save a little bit for yourself. I haven't been in the mood to cook, or craft, or have a is making me sad. I just came off of a long run of traveling and event planning, and it has burnt me out. I feel like I am just sitting...staring at the wall, wasting time. I watch a million cooking shows, but nothing is inspiring me.

I just came back from vacation, and I just starting to feel the "it's time to have a party" I am trying to snap out of it...I LOVE to do this, what is wrong? I am just going to try to stay positive. So, my next party will be for 4th of July. Just the neighbors and a few friends. I don't want 20 people here...I want a manageable party that I can have fun at.

Planning my menu now...stay tuned.

Marcie Recommends: Into the Wild

Paul and I watched "Into the Wild" last night. I highly recommend this flick. I is the amazing true story about Christopher McCandless and his journey to Alaska, leaving all possessions and his family behind. I am not an outdoorsy person by any means, and I didn't know if I would like this movie, but it was excellent...I cried a LOT! Check i out! It is good for your soul.