Thursday, June 16, 2016

Mini Desserts for Indie

It's been a long time since my last post... over a year, actually.
As I'm sure every human on this planet can relate, [my] life has been busy, hectic, and throwing me for a loop sporadically.
It's been so long that the post I'm writing today, that I meant to write ages ago, is about the desserts I did for a dear friend for her baby shower.
Her adorable baby, Indie, is now 8 months old.

Ashley is a pretty amazing person and I've always admired her for as long as I can remember. She is the amazing talent/owner behind Thorn + Sparrow and she has made my beautiful logo you see at the top of my site.
Her mom is also one of my mom's closest friends, and they basically act like the same person when they're together... it's super cute.
For Ashley's baby shower, I had the privilege of making the desserts.
Not only was I beyond excited to make her desserts, but I also had this need to make the most beautiful desserts possible for one of the most beautiful human beings I know.

I know I'm a year late, but thanks Ash for letting me make desserts for your baby shower!! And congrats on having a ridiculously adorable baby girl!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Black Tea Infused Chocolate Cake + Lemon Buttercream

Hello Lovelies!!
With spring just around the corner, I felt a light yet vibrant cake was in order. I also wanted to make something without a recipe… to sort of experiment.
I've had this idea to make a black tea cake for some time now - it might have a little something to do with my missing England and wishing I could move back… so instead I'll just infuse a chocolate cake with black tea. For the frosting, I wanted something light and subtle, that would make you think, "This must be what a sophisticated, English spring tastes like!" (not really, but just go with it anyways) 
So here is my Black Tea Infused Chocolate Cake with Lemon Buttercream!

I know I'm not the first person to ever make a black tea infused chocolate cake, but I am happy to say this recipe is my very own… I didn't follow or reference any other recipes. I'm not boasting, but this is a very exciting thing for me as a baker. And it turned out wonderfully!! 
Ohhhh, the feels…. my heart is pretty stoked.

Recipe time!!
Since I have readers from all over the world, I decided I'm going to convert the measurements for my recipes to the metric system so you don't have to if you decide to make any of my recipes :) hope it helps a bit!

Chocolate Black Tea Cake:
Heat oven to 350 degrees F/180 degrees C or Gas Mark 4

2 cups (300g) all purpose flour 
1 teaspoon (5g) baking soda
1 1/2 cups (338g) granulated/caster sugar
1 cup (115g) cocoa powder
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup (360ml) black tea (make about 5-10 minutes before starting on your cake batter)
1 cup (240ml) vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon (3ml) vanilla extract
a pinch of sea salt

In a medium bowl, combine and mix all the dry ingredients, set aside. In a separate bowl (small/medium size) combine eggs, oil, black tea, and vanilla extract, whisk with a fork (or whisk) until the wet ingredients are completely mixed. Create a bit of a crater in the dry ingredients, pour wet mixture into the dry mixture bowl…. mix together until you have a lovely chocolate/black tea cake batter. Grease your pan (or pans) of choice with either butter, oil, or a spray like Pam - I used a 9x3 springform pan.
Pour your batter into your pan, make sure not to exceed 3/4 full if putting all your batter into one pan. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick/skewer comes out with just a few crumbs (not gooey batter). Let cool completely, then frost away to your hearts content… and try not to eat it all instantly :)

Lemon Buttercream:
8 egg whites
2 cups (450g) granulated/caster sugar
1 1/2 cups (340g) unsalted butter, softened + cubed
2 medium lemons - use 1tbs. + 1tsp. of the [squeezed] lemon juice, save the rest for soaking the cake

In a clean, dry mixer bowl add egg whites and granulated sugar and place over a pot of previously boiled water (meaning, I boiled the water while putting egg whites/sugar in my bowl, then turned the heat down to the lowest setting before placing my bowl on the pot). Whisk the sugar and egg whites gently but constantly until temperature reaches 160 degrees F/71 degrees C, or (if you don't have a candy thermometer) until the egg whites are hot and the sugar is completely dissolved. 
With a whisk attachment of a mixer, whip until the meringue is thick, glossy and the bottom of the bowl is neutral/cool, and not warm to the touch.
Switch to a paddle attachment, and with the mixer on low, add butter cubes one at a time until completely incorporated… at this point, your buttercream will break and curdle and you'll be tempted to think you failed or to just toss it and start over… don't do it!! Just keep mixing, the buttercream will come back together and eventually reach a silky smooth texture. If your buttercream is too runny, refrigerate for about 15 minutes and then continue to mix with a paddle attachment until it comes together.
Zest your lemons and squeeze out all the juice into a bowl. Add the zest and juice to the buttercream and mix on low until it's completely incorporated. 

If any of you try this recipe out, I'd love to know! Commenting below, or post a photo on twitter (@kraeshaew) or instagram (@kylieraecakes) and tag me in the photo!
kylie rae

Friday, February 13, 2015

Unconventional Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate chip cookies. 
They're kind of like the grandfather of baked goods; the glue that holds the entire baked community together.
Sorry… I'm getting way to sappy here.
But, the chocolate chip is one of the staples and I wanted to mess with it a bit.

I personally have been trying to eat extremely clean, and completely dairy free - because I'm lactose intolerant and cheese is SO not worth it anymore.
Sooo, I took a recipe from Ovenly's book: salted chocolate chip cookies (online recipe also on Vogue)
Being the salty/savory lover that I am, this recipe was calling my name.

The cookies I ended up with are healthier (aside from the sugar), but by no means lacking in flavor and awesomeness. I actually had to instruct my fam not to inhale the cookies so I could take photos for the blog… but as soon as the photographing was done, the cookies were basically inhaled.
So, if you're looking for a slightly healthier option to bake when your sweet tooth is screaming at you to feed it goodness, give these cookies a go. You'll thank me later :)

Also, just a little note about me… despite being a certified pastry chef, I mostly bake at home now (since I haven't found my perfect/dream bakery job), which means I'm also always on dish duty. So, in my personal interest of not wanting to do 50 million dishes, I added all my dry ingredients into one bowl, combined them using a fork, then added my wet ingredients and coconut oil. I actually tend to do this a lot (except when a recipe calls for creaming sugar and eggs/butter/oil/etc) and my baked goods tend to come out great every time.

I used almond meal/flour to start off, but ended up having to add a handful (yep… I measured the flour with my hand… I'm oh-so-fancy) of whole wheat pastry flour b/c the middles of the cookies didn't bake properly and the edges were already crispy. If you are gluten-intolerant, try adding a little less coconut oil and almond milk to keep the dough from becoming too wet. Have fun experimenting and playing with the recipe, and who care if you mess it up a bunch of times… the only way to get better is to face your fear of baking and just do it and have fun messing up. 
Soap box ramblings done.

Here's my recipe for my Unconventional Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies:
(adapted from Ovenly)
Heat oven to 350 degrees F/177 degrees C
2 cups almond meal/flour (or any gluten free flour of your preference)
1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. sea salt (I used pink himalayan sea salt, and kind of added a bit more to give it a saltier taste)
1 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
1 cup light brown sugar (high fattening bit)
1/2 cup ex. virgin coconut oil
1/4 cup (or a smidge less) unsweetened almond milk
Sea salt to top the cookies before being baked
optional: Whole wheat pastry flour - a handful or two

Like I said before, if you're going completely gluten free, mix in the coconut oil and milk a little bit at a time. You want the dough to hold a ball shape without leaving a bunch of dough on your hands after making little circles.
Place cookies about 2 inches apart on baking sheet/baking stone. I used my most loved (and heavily used) baking stone since I never need to use grease or parchment paper…so if you have stoneware, you should use it b/c it's fantastic.
Before placing the cookies in the oven to bake, sprinkle the tops with sea salt. 
Bake for 12 - 13 minutes or until the edges are golden.
The book recommends freezing the dough balls for 10 minutes before baking… I didn't do that, and my cookies (once the dough was a little less wet with added flour) retained their shapes nicely. But give the freezing a try and let me know how it goes by commenting on this post.

For all you lovelies out there reading this… I'd love to interact with you all! Leave me comments to let me know if you bake these cookies or if you liked/didn't like this recipe… or if you have any suggestions or recipes you'd like me to try, I'd love to hear from you all! Please leave a comment… and even find me on Instagram: kylieraecakes & Twitter: kraeshaew
I'd love to hear from you all!
Have a wonderfully sweet day!!

ps. also… how stinking cute is my bday present from my best friend?!!! I have a love for owls and foxes, and this plate kills me with it's cuteness! (it's from West Elm if you fall in love with the cuteness and have to get yourself one or more)….

Friday, October 10, 2014

Proper English Scones w/ a Twist

I've been missing my home away from home: York, England.
I had been going to England every year from 2004 to 2011, and loved it so much I decided to do bible college abroad.
Whilst living in York for bible college six years ago, I fell in love with the culture and traditions of the English people. It's been three long years since I've been back, and I've been missing it desperately. So to remedy my reverse homesickness, I decided tea was in order, even though I had to forgo one of the best parts of English scones: clotted cream :( being lactose intolerant is a real pain in the you-know-what sometimes….
I also thought it would be fun to experiment with the recipe and come up with my own English scone vibe.
Without further ado, here's my [slightly twisted] English scones.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, add all your dry ingredients. In a separate bowl add your milk and lemon juice and let it sit for a few minutes, once it looks a little curdled, add the egg and whisk till combined.
Add the softened butter to dry ingredients and mix with a fork (or your hands) until mix resembles a coarse meal.
Add milk mixture and mix until dough combines - looks like a soft dough.

How gorgeous is my ceramic measuring spoons and cup?! My sweet friends gave the little beauts to me for my birthday last week!! Soooo pretty! I love that my friends know me SO well!

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and roll out dough, or pat it out like I did because I'm a hands on type of girl…
Cut out your scones to your preferred size, or cut into triangles for a scone shape similar to those you find at Starbucks.

Place scones on: a greased sheet, parchment lined sheet, or a stone sheet (like I did).
Place in oven for 15 minutes or until they are golden brown.

Don't they look ridiculously scrumptious?!

Serve scones just by themselves or with a bit of jam/jelly (and clotted cream if you're not sadly lactose intolerant like myself), or even coat with a simple glaze… whatever your little heart fancies. 
Pour yourself a cuppa, and enjoy your little bit of English heaven while stuck in ridiculously hot southern California.
Also… how cute is my little elephant?! My best friend gave me the adorable cream pourer (along with other ridiculously adorable gifts) for my birthday last week, and I AM IN LOVE WITH IT!!

The elephant still needs a name, so any suggestions are welcomed! 


Proper English Scones w/ a Twist
(adapted from Basic British Scones)
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup homemade buttermilk (3/4 milk + 1/4 lemon juice)
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup softened butter
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 [scant] teaspoon salt
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
1. Add milk and lemon juice to measuring cup and set aside for a few minutes. 
2. Add all dry ingredients to a medium bowl. Mix a few times to incorporate all ingredients.
3. Add egg to milk, whisk together.
4. Add softened butter and cut in with a fork or your hands.
5. Add milk mix to dry ingredients, mix till combined - looks like a soft dough.
6. Turn dough out onto a floured surface, and knead together a few times.
7. Roll or pat out to about 3/4 inch thickness. Cut with a knife or circle cutter.
8. Place scones onto sheet about 1 inch apart, and place in oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
9. Enjoy however your little heart wants!!

Monday, September 29, 2014

DIY Vanilla Extract

I am crossing an item off my bucket list with this post today.
I finally made vanilla extract. I am shamelessly doing the goal-post, arms-up-in-victory stance right now.
I have wanted to make homemade vanilla extract for a few years now, but kept letting excuses get in the way. But now that I am jobless I have all the time in the world…and I have finally made vanilla extract! I also had a little bout of worry, thinking I might somehow make the worst vanilla extract ever. But as soon as I made the extract, I laughed at myself a little… it literally is so riddikulus-ly (see what I did there… HP fans will get it… hopefully) easy, it seems almost fail-proof. It probably took me 10 minutes to finish making the extract, including taking a few photos for this post.
So, with Christmas basically right around the river bend (I think I'm going through a quote-y phase…), I thought I'd share this super simple recipe that is so multi-versatile for the holiday season.
You can save money by having your own vanilla extract on hand for all the wonderful seasonal baking you'll be doing, or you can make little bottles to give away as presents… there are endless possibilities.

First things first: to make good quality vanilla extract, you need good quality vanilla beans. After quite a bit of research, I chose to use Beanilla, but feel free to choose whichever vanilla beans you like.

To make the vanilla extract, choose a few glass jars to use. I had a jar from Beluga Chocolatier in Germany that seemed the perfect size, & after scouring my house for a bit, found a cute little mason jar.
With my jars differing in sizes, I added 2 extra to the mason jar since it was a bit bigger.
Split the pods lengthwise and scrap out the seeds, add the seeds and pods to their respective jar. For a measuring reference I turned to one of my favorite bloggers (who has already been mentioned in a few previous posts… she's just so great) Joy [the Baker]'s recipe says to use 4 ounces of alcohol per 2 beans/pods. 

Add beans/seeds to their jars and pour your choice of alcohol (vodka, bourbon, or rum) over the beans. I chose to use vodka solely to have a neutral vanilla flavor. Bourbon is supposed to give the vanilla more depth and a bolder flavor, so I might have to make my second batch with bourbon since I'm a fan of strong flavors. You can honestly choose based on your taste preference, or try 3 different batches to see which you like best. There are no rules! 

Once I added the vodka and beans, I gave both jars a good shake and placed them into a dark, cool cupboard. After each week, give them a good shake again to help the ingredients continue to incorporate. Allow the extract to seep for at least 6 weeks before using - if you're going to gift vanilla extract for the holidays, start now or make your extract and label with a "ready to use" date.

The bonus about making your own extract: you can always just add more beans and alcohol as your supply dwindles down, and it basically will last indefinitely. It's a win/win situation from every angle. Go ahead… do the goal-post, arms-up-in-victory stance (I really should figure out the technical term for this position) with me, you know you want to.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

[No Churn] Ice Cream Cake

Okay, this heat has been ridiculous lately… it's basically devil-heat. It's just unnatural.
So, being the baker that I am, I decided an ice cream cake was in order.
Even though I was sweating like a five hundred pound trucker driving through Phoenix, the outcome was worth every second.

Readers: "What if I don't have an ice cream maker, Kylie?"
Me: "I've got you covered… this ice cream is a No Churn ice cream. Meaning you don't need to own an ice cream maker… you just need to have a freezer, which, I am 99% sure, is a standard household appliance."

Okay… cheesy little convo aside, this ice cream recipe really is fantastic because it doesn't require an ice cream maker - which I've heard can be a hassle to use if you have a smaller freezer (I personally have a very slim, narrow freezer…so I know the frustration of having limited space).

The recipe I used for the ice cream comes from Honestly Yum (which she used via Nigella Lawson )
The blog title accurately describes this ice cream… it is SO good.
[I'll put the recipes for the cake and strawberry sauce at the bottom of the post.]

The ice cream does call for rum, but I can assure you that you do not taste the rum at all… it is solely to help prevent your ice cream from crystallizing. 
"Where's all the rum gone?!" …. sorry, my nerd is showing - I couldn't resist a Captain Jack quote.

No Churn Ice Cream:
2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream, chilled
2 tablespoons of rum
1 teaspoon of peppermint extract
12 ounces of chocolate (I used 2 dark choc Ghirardelli bars, and one dark sea salt Lindt bar)

In your mixing bowl (I used my kitchen aid, but if you just have a hand mixer, rock that business like a boss…), add the peppermint, rum, and condensed milk. 
Mix until completely combined.

Add chilled whipping cream, and mix on medium-high until soft peaks form - do not over mix!

Fold your chopped chocolate chunks into the cream base - I chopped the chocolate into varying sizes because I'm so fancy… I am so quote-y today… I apologize.

I lined a spring form pan with cling film and poured the mixture in - I decided to use this method to ensure the ice cream would be the same shape and size as the cake… I like to keep things simple and easy. 
Before putting the ice cream in the freezer, I put more cling film on top of the ice cream (literally lay the cling film on the surface of the ice cream mixture), this helps prevent gross skins from developing…
Freeze for at least 6 hours. I froze mine overnight, and it was slightly firm and soft… like ice cream you buy from the grocery store, perfectly scoop-able before it turns to an icicle after one night in your freezer… seriously, do grocery store freezers have magical powers? 
Hogwarts Freezers!!! 
Sorry… nerdiness is showing again. I'll calm down, I promise.

Once the ice cream was frozen and ready to go (Let it go! Let it gooooo…. can't hold it back anyyyyymorrreee! I am SO sorry… I apparently can't control myself today…) I cut the cake in half, plopped the ice cream in the middle… and voila! An ice cream cake!
But it didn't feel complete… so I decided to make a strawberry sauce to pour over the cake. It was absolutely divine… and yes, I had cake for breakfast. Yes, I will be doing 2 hours (totally worth it) of Zumba after I finish blogging… a girl's gotta do what she's gotta do for the sake of her blog ;)

Doesn't that just look scrumptious!
Try not to drool… it's hard I know, but give it your best….

Advice I want to impart concerning making this ice cream cake: don't do it all at once… sometimes I get way to gung-ho when I start baking and I forget I'm not super-baker. So, bake your cakes off first. While they're baking, remain aware of your time, but prep your ingredients for the ice cream - or you can prep, start ice cream and then do the cakes while the ice cream chills in the freezer… whatever suits your fancy. Once cakes are done and cooling, start on your ice cream - you want to pay full attention to your ice cream… my first batch curdled because I was doing three different things at once. 

Chocolate Coffee Cake:
adapted from Sweetapolita (I seriously adore her cakes… I mean, sprinkles!)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup + 1 tablespoon Unsweetened Cocoa powder (I used Trader Joe's)
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt (I used Pink Himalayan Salt, because it seems fancy)
3 eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups buttermilk (to make buttermilk, I add 1/4 cup of lemon juice to my measuring cup, then pour milk until I hit 1 1/2 cups)
1 cup strong black coffee, hot
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract

In a mixing bowl, add all dry ingredients and mix until completely combined - then create a crater in middle of dry ingredients. In a separate mixing bowl, mix all the wet ingredients until completely combined. Pour wet mix into the crater of the dry ingredients.
Mix together until you have a batter consistency.
Grease three 8-inch round pans (I sprayed Pam) and dust with flour, tapping out excess flour.
Divide batter evenly among pans, gently tap each pan against the counter.
Bake for 20 minutes and rotate pans in oven. Continue to bake until toothpick comes out almost clean, about 12ish minutes - you want a few crumbs attached: crumbs equal perfection in cake-land. I allow my cakes to cool in the pans, leaving them out overnight covered with towels - it's how I've always cooled my cakes, and they're always yummy and moist.

Strawberry Sauce:
(adapted from my brain ;) I kind of winged it this morning….thank you culinary school)
1/4 cup water
A splash of lemon juice
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 1/2 - 3 cups frozen strawberries (don't feel the need to be accurate, a few extras are a-okay)
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cornstarch

Add water, lemon juice, and strawberries to a saucepan over medium heat. Allow to sit for about 1-2 minutes, then stir strawberries. 
Stir often, and once mixture starts to look more liquid-y, add sugar 1/2 cup at a time. 
Stirring frequently, allow sauce to come to a boil. Turn heat down to a simmer. Mash strawberries.
Take sauce off heat.
In a small bowl, add cornstarch. Add 2 teaspoons water, and mix until you get a thick paste. If too thick, add 1/2 teaspoon of water.
Add cornstarch mixture to strawberry sauce, mix in completely. Allow sauce to sit and cool for a bit - about 10 minutes.
Pour over cake… store the rest.
Lick the spoon… I won't judge.

Enjoy this ridiculously delicious cake!
I'm off to Zumba...

Thursday, September 11, 2014

New Beginnings + [New] Etsy Shop!!

Hello lovelies!
I hope you all have had a splendid day.

I have a bit of news for you (I don't want to label one as bad, so I'll say uncomfortable and not my favorite): Yesterday I was let go from my job of almost 6 years. It was absolutely shocking and completely out of left field. Without delving into more reasons and personal feelings about yesterday's events, I am choosing to see this positively. I am choosing to see the good and the endless possibilities ahead. 
I am choosing to trust my Jesus. 

However, I am also a bit of a realist when it comes to this sort of thing. I know I need to somehow provide for myself now that I am jobless (that is still really weird to wrap my brain around).
Oddly enough, I've been wanting to open my Etsy shop again, but felt like I wouldn't have the time to create items to sell. I had even purchased 12 ceramic mugs the day before I was let go, thinking I would just try to create mugs when I could.
Today was weird, not waking up to go to work… so to occupy my mind, I started making a few mugs to put on Etsy. The more I drew, the more excited I became.
Even though it is incredibly frightening to be without steady income now, I finally have the opportunity to do what I've always dreamed of doing: create!
I now have time to dedicate myself to making items to sell on Etsy, and time to start really focusing on this blog as well. 
I'm excited to see what comes of this new adventure in my life!
If you would like to check out my Etsy shop (I would absolutely love it if you did!), here is the link. My shop is called KylieRaeDesigns and over the next few days/weeks, I will be working away to get more items up.
Here are a few photos of the mugs I painted today: