Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A surprisingly good Apple Pie

Okay, so, this post isn't about a recipe that I tried (sorry for the disappointment) but I just had a crazy week and I had exams, so yes, I deserve to indulge in a decadent apple pie!

I have to say, this apple pie is to die for. I'm not a big fan of apple pie but this one is the exception. My mom bought it to some homemade bakers and it only lasted two days in our fridge (that's a new record).

It basically consists of a thin layer of apple and a thick layer of cream. It's a-m-a-z-i-n-g! And the cinnamon! Just like Corine Bailey Rae's song:  Summer came like cinnamon, soooo sweet! (We'll pretend it's still summer) 

You can see the little apple bites and the cream. It's 40% apple, 55% cream and 5% custard, cinnamon and pecan.  Good thing I'm an apple maniac. I eat an apple a day (keep the doctor away!) and even tough I prefer eating the apple as a fresh fruit or in salads, I sometimes crave for an apple pie. Not just any pie, this pie. 

What better way to enjoy an apple pie than with a cup of coffee!

Two days ago we celebrated Mexico's Independence Day! VIVA MÉXICO!!! I'm a proud mexican :) I love my country even with its many flaws. 

P.S I'm currently obsessed with Casey Abram's song: Stuck in London (Orchestra People version).        I fell in love with it. You have to hear it <3 It's incredible. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes and a Jewelry Box

The past weekend I went to my hometown to help move my grandma's things. It was a bittersweet feeling, more bitter than sweet. My grandma passed away two months ago and even though I will forever miss her, I'm happy she's finally with my grandpa. Both my grandmother and my grandfather left a great legacy.

They were responsible for creating and supporting a big and loving family. I share more memories with my grandma than with my grandpa (my grandpa died when I was just 8 years old), but still every time I look an old picture of him I get this feeling of infinite love and great pride. I'm proud to be part of this huge family. Let's just say they're pretty awesome. 

One of the things I got from her is this jewelry box, it was a little dusty, so we cleaned it. 

Isn't it gorgeous? I love it! It's now one of my favourite things. 

I immediately filled it with my earrings, necklaces and with two watches that also belonged to my grandma.

 I know have something with me all the time that reminds me of her (I have big hands!)

Now, I have to talk about the cakes, don't I? This time I did some vegan chocolate cupcakes (not completely vegan, I used regular chocolate).  

The frosting consisted of coconut milk and bittersweet chocolate (Ghirardelli).

I used gluten free flour (Bob's Red Mill ), just to try a gluten free recipe. And also, because my boyfriend is gluten sensitive, and he's usually my number one fan.  

Do you know this famous poster of Le chat noir? I got it in Paris :)

This little Chinese cup belonged also to my grandma, it is now part of my cup collection (yes, I collect cups).

This recipe's from  -  Pastry Affair
Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes
Yields 12 cupcakes
Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes 
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar 
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder 
  • 2 teaspoons espresso powder 
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar 
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil 
  • 1 cup water

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Line a cupcake pan with baking cups.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, espresso powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the vanilla extract, vinegar, oil, and water. Using a spatula, mix the batter until smooth.
  3. Divide batter evenly between 12 baking cups (about 3/4 full). Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from baking pan and allow to cool to room temperature.

For the Whipped Chocolate Glaze 
  • 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped (use dairy-free to keep vegan) 
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk (or heavy cream, for non-vegans)

  1. Place chopped chocolate into a mixing bowl. Set aside.
  2. On medium-high heat, bring coconut milk to a boil, stirring occasionally to prevent the milk from scorching. Pour milk over the chocolate, making sure that the milk covers the chocolate. Allow to sit for several minutes before stirring until smooth. Allow frosting to rest on the counter until it cools down and thickens to a pipe-able consistency (anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes).
  3. Beat the frosting for several minutes until it incorporates air and feels lighter. Place frosting in a pastry bag (or plastic bag with the corner cut out) and pipe frosting onto the cooled cupcakes.

Happy Monday!!!
Hope you have an amazing week. Make the best of it. I know I will, especially with all the homework and the exams!

Monday, August 18, 2014

A pink & mint baby shower


This past Saturday was one of the most stressful days I've had in quite a while. I threw a baby shower for my sister and even though I had so much fun preparing for everything (I always think that the anticipation of something is even better than the moment itself), I didn't enjoy the day as much as I wanted to. There were a few setbacks, the first and the most troubling was that the baby shower was intended to be outdoors and an hour before the event, it started to rain. Not a little pretty rain. It poured. And the wind was blowing hard. So yeah, I was freaking out, we didn't know what to do, my boyfriend and I were like crazy trying to get everything out of the car without ruining the decorations. Half and hour before the baby shower started. Somehow we managed to pull everything out :) and the most important thing is that everyone  enjoyed the moment! 

I baked some sugar cookies with royal icing using the recipe from  Glory (Glorious treats), I used a color palette of pink and mint.  I  also made 50 vanilla cupcakes  with american buttercream frosting, also from Glory's,  I used my new cake pop pan to make some chocolate cake pops. The souvenirs from the shower were these cute little baby succulents made by a friend from school. All the decorations were made by me and Pinterest was basically my bible. (Decorations: paper garlands, pom poms, mason jars with flowers, a little car with mints and chocolates, little plastic cups with gummy bears and with chips, peanuts and some little "golos" with chile, etc.)

I'll leave you the Sugar Cookie Recipe from Glory Glorious Treats

Rolled Sugar Cookies
This recipe yields about 30, 2 1/2 inch cookies or 16, 3 1/2 inch cookies
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon good quality vanilla extract ( I used Madagascar vanilla bean paste, you can get it at Michael's). 
Make sure to only put cookies of similar size on each bake sheet.  If you try to bake smaller cookies with larger ones the small ones will be over done before the large ones are baked.
  1. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour and baking powder and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  This should take about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the egg and vanilla and beat another minute or so.
  4. Add the flour mixture slowly.  (Be careful not to add too much at a time or you will have a snowstorm of flour.)
  5. Blend until all of the flour is incorporated and the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
  6. Take the dough out of the bowl and place it on a piece of parchment paper.
  7. Using your hands, knead the dough a few times.
  8. Place the dough in a large plastic (ziplock type) bag and refrigerate for about 2 hours.  If you want to speed up the chilling process, place the bag of dough in the freezer for about 20-30 minutes. Just don’t forget it in the freezer, or it will become to firm to work with (and then you’ll have to wait for it to thaw).
  9. When it’s almost time to remove the dough from the refrigerator (or freezer), preheat oven to 350 degrees (F).
  10. When the dough has chilled and is firm, take out about half of the dough, leaving the rest in the refrigerator (until your ready to work with it)
  11. Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface.  You’ll notice the sticks I have on either side of the dough.  These are paint stir sticks (available for free from the paint department of any hardware store).  There is a product on the market called Perfection sticks, which are sticks that usually come in a set of a couple different thicknesses.  They are designed to help you roll out the dough in a nice even thickness.  Since I don’t own Perfection sticks, I just glued two paint stir sticks together, which makes about the perfect thickness for sugar cookies. (So you need 4 sticks total, since you need a double thick stick for each side of your dough.)  If I want the dough a bit thinner, I just roll out the dough to the thickness of the sticks, then remove the sticks and roll just a bit thinner.
  12. Place a piece of parchment paper on top of the dough.  This helps you roll out the dough without adding additional flour (adding too much flour can make the dough a bit tough, and can create little pockets of flour in the dough that cause bumps to form on your cookies during baking, making it more difficult to decorate later).
  13. Roll out the dough to about 1/3 of an inch thick.
  14. Cut the dough with your choice of cookie cutters.  Try to make the best use of the dough you’ve rolled out.  Every time you re-roll the dough you add a bit more flour, and can create the flour pockets I mentioned that can cause bumps to form in the cookies while baking.
  15. Place cookie shapes on a prepared baking sheet.  I bake my cookies on heavy weight metal baking sheetsDescription:, topped with SilpatDescription: brand silicone liners. SilpatDescription: liners are a bit of an investment, since you’ll probably want to have two (I have four) but they are such a great quality product and last a lifetime.
  16. Place entire baking sheet (with cookies on it) in the freezer or refrigerator for about 3-5 minutes.  Chilling the cookies this way will help ensure they keep their shape while baking.
  17. Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes depending on the size of the cookie.  Bake until they are just barely beginning to take on a golden tone.  They will continue to bake as long as then are on the pan, so don’t let then get too brown.  Cool for just a minute or so on the pan, then carefully remove cookies from the baking sheet and place on a cooling rack.

Royal Icing Recipe
  • 4 Tablespoons Meringue Powder 
  • 4 cups (about 1 pound) powdered sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons warm water (to start, see additional notes below)

  1. Beat all ingredients until stiff peaks form.
  2. *Make sure all bowls and utensils are totally grease-free or your icing will never reach proper consistency.
  3. Spoon some of the thick white icing into individual bowls and add coloring.
  4. Add additional water, about 1 teaspoon at a time until you’ve reached the consistency you need.

The baby has no name - yet. So I encouraged people to write their favorite names on a chalkboard paper roll.

For the pom poms you can check out this  Pom Pom Tutorial it takes time & patience but the outcome is sooo worth it (unfortunately I didn't take close ups to the pom poms but you can see them in the picture with the succulents, [above the last one] ).
And for the paper garlands check out this easy tutorial :)


Thursday, August 7, 2014

Green pistachio cake with honey buttercream

My love for sugary things, especially for cakes, has lead me to this point and to this first post. I'm no expert in baking, I just enjoy it very much and with each cake I bake, with each dessert I'm creating I'm getting better, however, I still have a long way to really learn the art. 

I baked this cake one week ago, before my birthday, I wanted to try this recipe because the only time I've had a pistachio cake I fell in love with it. The cake I had was frosted with a delicious swiss meringue buttercream and I still remember how crunchy the middle icing was. 

With the one I did I decided to split the work in two days, so in one day I did the baking and the other day, the frosting. 

I had some issues with the buttercream, my kitchen was too hot (That day we were at 36°C = 96.8 °F) so you can imagine how messy it got. Still I enjoyed the cake very much, and so did my family, that's why I totally recommend you to jump in to your kitchen and bake this delightful cake.

BTW, I had a little accident with the food coloring gel, so it turned out a luck of the irish kind of green :) 

The recipe I used is from Joanne who from her blog, I can see she's a sweet and charming girl. 

The vase is a belgian antique I found in my house, it belonged to my grandma. 

Pistachio Cake with vanilla and honey buttercream.

Yield: 1 triple layer 8 inch cake.
Serving: 1 slice.


For the cake

  • 1 cup shelled pistachios
  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar

For the buttercream

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/3 heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, soft, cut into small pieces
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp honey

  1. Preheat the oven to 325. Grease and line three 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor (I used a blender), pulse the pistachio meat until it is coarsely chopped. Remve 2 tbsp to a small bowl. Pulse the remaining pistachios until they have almost a powder like consistency. Transfer to a large bowl and whisk together with the all purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter in the stand mixer for 3 minutes. Add in the sugar and vanilla and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add in the egg and mix until just combined.
  4. Turn the mixer to low. Pour 1 1/2 cups ice water into a measuring cup. Add the flour/pistachio mix to the batter in three additions, alternating with the ice water, mixing each time until just combined. Scrape down the bowl and mix on low speed for a few seconds.
  5. In a medium, clean bowl whisk together the egg whites with the cream of tartar until soft peaks form, about 3 - 5 minutes. Fold the egg whites into the batter.
  6. Divide the batter evenly among the cake pans and smooth the tops. Bake for 40 - 45 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool for 20 minutes. Flip the cakes out of the pans, onto the rack ad let cool completely before frosting. Remove parchment paper from the bottoms.
  7. For the buttercream, in a medium heavy saucepan, whisk together the flour and sugar. Add in the milk and cream and cook over medium heat, whisking frequently, until the mixture comes to a boil and then thickens, 10 - 15 minutes. 
  8. Transfer the hot milk mixture to a stand mixer bowl and mix with the paddle attachment on high speed until cool, about 9 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and and add the butter, a few pieces at a time, until it is full incorporated. Increase the speed to medium - high and beat until light and fluffy, a few minutes.
  9. Add in the vanilla and honey and continue mixing until combined. If the frosting is too soft, chill it an mix it again.
  10. To assemble the cake, place one cake layer top side up on a serving platter. Use a long serrated knife to cut the top so that it is flat and even. Spread a little over a cup of frosting on top. Add the next later and, again, trim so that it is flat. Top with another cup of frosting. Add the remaining cake layer and trim the top again. Spread the cake with a very thin layer of frosting for the crumb coating. Put it in the freezer for 10 minutes. Spread the sides and top of the cake with the remaining frosting and decorate as desired.

For the icing I used almond milk instead of regular milk. It probably wasn't a very wise decision, it tasted sweeter so I had to add less honey to the mix. 

Have a great weekend.