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Daring Baker’s Challenge May 2010: Piece Montée or Croquembouche May 27, 2010

Filed under: Daring Kitchen,Desserts — livelovetobake @ 5:56 am

The May 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Cat of Little Miss Cupcake. Cat challenged everyone to make a piece montée, or croquembouche, based on recipes from Peter Kump’s Baking School in Manhattan and Nick Malgieri.

For this Challenge there were 3 Components


1. Pate a choux (Puff Pastries)

2. Creme Patissiere (Cream Filling)

3. Glaze


To be honest I am not a huge fan of creme puffs.  The puff pastry just does not do anything for me.  I guess as the saying goes though…. it is what is on the inside that counts!  Although for this challenge the outside or puff pastry was the part that would be seen not the inside.  Luckily, the recipe that we had to use for the puff pastries seemed pretty easy and they turned out beautiful!  The hardest part for me was the stirring of the eggs into the batter because it seemed to take Fooooorever.  Well it did not really take forever but my arm definitely got a workout since I was feeling the burn 🙂  The consistency of the inside of the puff pastries required some tweeking.  The first attempt was too custardy for me.  The second attempt was a perfect balance!  Finally, was the assembly and decorating of the croquembouche.  I was a little nervous about how it would turn out but I was sooo thrilled with the results!  Would you like to see some (more…)


Strawberry Lime Buttermilk Cake and ShortCupcakes! May 16, 2010

Filed under: Cakes,Cupcakes,Desserts,Fruit,Have the Cake — livelovetobake @ 5:12 pm

I was extremely excited when I saw this month’s Have the Cake Challenge!  So excited that it seems I have made the recipe three times with different variations!  I love strawberries and decided to change the recipe to strawberries and lime.  The first buttermilk cake I made was simple and delicious on its own.  The next two times I decided to dress it up some!  I thought that the recipe reminded me of a moist strawberry shortcake.  So when I made the cake as a birthday cake for someone at work I decided it needed some whipped cream with it!  Then the last take on the recipe was to make strawberry shortcupcakes 🙂  Both variations tasted amazing!  The best part is that the recipe is very easy to follow and you can make your own buttermilk!



Bake Sale Recipes :) May 9, 2010

Filed under: Breads,Breakfast,Cakes,Desserts — livelovetobake @ 6:27 pm

DC Food Bloggers Bake Sale Table


I cannot believe that I am finally getting around to posting these amazing recipes that I made for the DC Bloggers Bake Sale.  Yikes…I guess these other baking challenges have taken over my time and I am spending more time in the kitchen than in front of my computer!  Without wasting any more time I will get right to the recipes 🙂 



My 1st Have the Cake Post: Mexican Flan with Tequila April 28, 2010

Filed under: Desserts,Have the Cake — livelovetobake @ 7:07 pm

When I recently web surfed into the I became really excited!  I liked the idea of trying a new dessert recipe each month and having the freedom of deciding which variation to make.  Not to mention that I did not need to buy a book in order to be part of the baking group!

So rather than waiting less than a week to join the group.  I decided to jump right in and start baking for the April challenge.  This month’s host was Jen from pieces of me and she chose to do Flan.  I was familiar with flan because I remember my mom making Flan for us.  It was a great challenge because I definitely had wanted to try making it myself.  One of the hardest parts of making flan is the carmelizing of the sugar and making sure that you do not burn your sugar.  Additionally, you have to keep your fingers crossed until the flan is done baking and hope that when you turn it out onto a plate it comes out in one piece.  

My parents were coming into town and I decided to have a mexican themed dinner.  Therefore, I chose to make a Mexican Flan recipe AKA Best ever Flan: Flan al Tequila that I found here   Luckily, since my mom was coming into town I asked her to bring her flan pan that she has used before and it worked out great.  It also helped that I just so happened to have tequila on hand!  Overall, this flan was easy to make and tasted good although I could not taste the tequila.  Surprisingly, my husband enjoyed it enough to go back for seconds and said it reminded him of waffles!  This is a pretty big deal because usually he does not like trying new foods.  Speaking for the rest of us I think we are holding out on this flan getting the Best Ever Flan title 🙂

Mexican Flan with Tequila



Flan Mixture

4 – Eggs

1 tsp – Vanilla Extract

1 – Can (14 oz.) Condensed Milk

1- Can (14oz.) Evaporated Milk

2-4 Big Dashes – Tequila


Carmelized Sugar Topping

1 Cup – Granulated Sugar

1/4 Cup – Water


1) Pre-heat the oven to 350°C .

2) In a saucepan over medium high heat stir the water and sugar together until the sugar dissolves.  Let the sugar mixture heat and resist the urge to constantly stir it.  The color should turn from clear to light brown. Every now and then swirl the mixture so that the color is distributed evenly.


3) When the sugar has carmelized to a light brown color remove from heat and quickly pour into desired baking pan.  Rotate the pan in a circle to ensure that the carmelized sugar is evenly distributed throughout the pan.  Set aside to cool.

4) In a large bowl mix together the condensed and evaporated milks, vanilla extract, eggs, and big dashes of tequila.  Then pour this mixture into the prepared baking pan with the carmelized sugar.


           5) Next, place your baking pan that has the flan into a baking dish (I used a 9 X 13 pyrex dish) and make a water bath with hot water about 1-2 inches high.  Place baking dish with the flan into the preheated oven and bake for about 30-35 minutes.  Check the flan with a knife to see if it is finished.  When the knife comes out clean the flan is done.

6) Remove the flan from the oven and let cool.  Place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

7) Invert the flan onto a plate and admire your baking!



My First Daring Bakers Challenge: Traditional British Pudding April 27, 2010

Filed under: Daring Kitchen,Desserts,Puddings — livelovetobake @ 10:41 pm

The April 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Esther of The Lilac Kitchen. She challenged everyone to make a traditional British pudding using, if possible, a very traditional British ingredient: suet.  Additionally, Esther wanted us to make our puddings using the process of steaming.

Well to be honset this was not what I thought my first daring bakers challenge with the would be about.  Although it did not take me long to realize that this would indeed be quite a challenge for me.  Actually there were many challenges that I stumbled into along the way.  Overall, I am so glad that Esther chose this for my first Daring Baker Challenge because I probably would have never made a Traditional British Pudding on my own in addition to using suet for baking. 

1st challenge ( as many will surely agree)

What is suet and where can I buy it?

Definition of suet:  is raw beef or mutton fat, especially the hard fat found around the loins and kidneys (according to wikipedia)

Hmmm… okay so it is fat.

I learned that in the United States suet can be purchased at a butcher or a grocery store behind the meat counter.  The first time I purchased the suet I was quite relieved when they knew what I was talking about because I had no idea how I was going to try and explain it!  I had visited Whole Foods and it turns out that I was lucky they had it on hand and were able to give me some right then.  I learned by visiting two other times and aksing if they had any suet that it was something that I needed to call ahead about to make sure they put some aside.  Which definately made sense to me because who else would be wanting to buy suet….lesson learned.  The other place that I went to check for suet was our local Pennsylvania Dutch Market.  I went up to the butcher counter and asked if they had suet.  The lady said yes and when she asked how much I was so excited that I just said 3-5 lbs!  I know that it may sound like alot and when I was carrying my 5 lb bag of suet to the car it sure felt like alot.  You see the tricky thing about purchasing suet is that when you render it down to make tallow it does not yield the same amount you started with.   

2nd Challenge

How to render the suet and make tallow?

This is the part that I was really nervous about.  I think it had to do with the fact that I would be working with hot oil and could burn myself.  Although I was also unsure of what everything was supposed to look like during the process and how exactly the rendering was done.  Luckily, this link was posted in our Daring Bakers forum and boy was it a blessing!  I really liked that it had a step by step process with pictures showing how to render the suet into tallow.  After I had my suet and I also ended up purchasing a rice press, I was ready to begin rendering.

3rd Challenge 

 Oh I have made puddings before….but not this kind?! 

I have made two types of puddings in my life.  One being Jello pudding from the box mix.  The other is one of my favorites a chocolate malt pudding from scratch.  After both of those kinds are heated they get put into the refrigerator before you eat them.  So this type of Traditional British Pudding was a new thing to me altogether.  It did not require heating on the stove, never needed refrigeration, and depending on the kind you made was either like a sponge cake or had a crust with soup like contents inside.  Also, the pudding could either be sweet or savory.  I decided to lean towards the sweet side! 

4th Challenge

How should the pudding be covered and how long will it take?

I do own a steamer and I have bought the steamed vegetables in a microwaveable bag.  Love them!  Usually I steam vegetables with the steamer.  I had never used the steamer or the process of steaming to cook something that typically goes into the oven to get baked.   This pudding steaming process worried me quite a bit.  I read that if I did not have my pudding covered properly then water could get in and my pudding could be ruined!  I guess what I forgot to mention is that sometimes the steaming process can take up to 5 hours to cook.  Now maybe you understand my fear a little better……

  My two Traditional British Puddings that I made and the challenges I overcame when making them!