Thursday, August 13, 2009

I've Moved!!!

I've moved over to a new blog, so head on over to Cinnamon and Vanilla to check it out!!!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Nom nom good!

Help a girl out!

My food photography skills are severly lacking. I would love love love any help and/or advice anyone could give me. I'm tired of working so hard on what I make to only have redonculous photos.

Much love!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

TWD - Vanilla Ice Cream

For this week's Tuesdays with Dorie, we're all screaming for ice cream! Lynne at Cafe Lynnylu chose this week's recipe...Dorie's vanilla ice cream. After chocolate my next favorite food is ice cream, but I've never tackled making it myself so I had to give this one a shot. It definitely does not disappoint! I recently purchased a countertop ice cream maker, & I've discovered that I'm going to have to be very's way too easy to whip up a batch of homemade ice cream with that puppy. My thighs are getting bigger just thinking about it!

The recipe was actually very simple to follow. I was a little scared about the whole custard making thing, but I didn't have a problem. (Thank goodness!) I did make a little addition as per Dorie's instructions...I added some cinnamon to the mix. I mean really who can resist cinnamon ice cream?! Not this girl! I had to stop myself from eating it all directly out of the ice cream maker because it was delicious. It's now hardening in the freezer, & I can't wait for it to be ready!

Getting ready to go into the freezer. (Before I annihilated half of it!)

Look at those gorgeous cinnamon specs!!

Head on over to Lynne's blog for the recipe & her awesome pictures. Also be sure to check out the rest of the TWD blogroll for everyone's delicious ice cream creations!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

TWD Rewind - Tribute to Katherine Hepburn Brownies

I wasn't able to participate in TWD last week, but I really wanted to try these brownies so I decided to make them this week. Lisa of Surviving Oz designed a fabulous new logo for TWD, so she got the priviledge of choosing the recipe & posting it on her blog. Congrats!

This recipe was so amazingly simple to put together, & I got so lucky to have them turn out perfectly after the recommended baking time. (That's a first for me!) Of course they tasted wonderful...the perfect combo of gooey chocolateness. (Oh yes, I said chocolateness!) I think that this will probably be my go-to brownie recipe from now on!

See my little tester divot? Perfectly baked!!

Still warm...these two didn't survive long after this photo was taken.
Check out Lisa's blog for this recipe! Also head over to the TWD blogroll & visit Denise at Chez Us for this week's recipe...Brioche Plum Tart!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Summer Slacker

I will be the first to admit that I have been an extreme baking/blogging slacker this summer. I've recently moved & may be doing so again very soon, & this summer has been the busiest one I can remember. I should have a TWD post for my lovely readers tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

TWD - Cinnamon Squares

Another Tuesday, another yummy treat! This week Tracey of Tracey's Culinary Adventures chose Cinnamon Squares. Cinnamon you say? Oh how I love cinnamon! Every week I fall in love with what we make, & this was no exception. Cinnamon & chocolate in one dessert...I'm in! The layer of cinnamon, sugar, espresso & chocolate in the middle of these squares is so perfect. Plus the cake is moist & delicious. I had to bake mine about 15 minutes longer than the recipe called for, but I covered it with a foil tent for the extra time so it didn't dry out at all. The only issue I had was that I didn't have enough chocolate to do the frosting. (That's what I get for assuming I had enough. You know what they say when you assume...) I had enough to cover a little piece of it just so I could try it. The rest will just have to be gobbled up plain, but I'm sure that won't be an issue!!

Check out Tracey's blog for the recipe, & the TWD blogroll to see how everything turned out!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

TWD - Chipster-Topped Brownies

This week Beth of Supplicious chose Chipster-Topped Brownies for the TWD selection. I've been making chocolate chip cookie brownie cupcakes for a while now, but I was super excited to try Dorie's recipe. I never would have thought that the combination of the two would be any good, but it is actually one of the best things I've ever tasted. We had a big cookout last night, so I figured that would be the perfect occasion for these beauts.

This recipe went together so well, & I didn't have any problem with the cookie dough sinking into the brownie mixture. I popped it in the oven, 55 minutes letter the tester came out exactly like it was supposed to, & everything looked great. I left them to cool for several hours & then turned them out to cut into bars. That's where it all went to bad...I cut the first row & everything looked great, but after I cut the next row the entire middle oozed out. They weren't done...not at all. The middle was still completely raw & uncooked, so I had to trash the whole thing. Needless to say I was absolutely disappointed, but I think I will definitely give this recipe another try in the future.

I did manage to snap a pic while everything was still in the pan & looking oh so delicious. Ahh if only...

Check out the TWD blogroll to see everyone's brownies that actually turned out wonderfully, & take a peek at Beth's blog for the recipe!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

TWD - Fresh Mango Bread

Ahhhh finallly back into the swing of TWD! Things have been so busy lately. This week's selection (Fresh Mango Bread) came from Kelly of Baking with the Boys. I was worried that I was going to have trouble finding mangos at my local grocery store, but I was in luck...they had a pretty good selection for once! This bread was so quick & easy to put together, & it smelled so good baking in the oven.

The only tweak I did on this recipe was leaving the raisins out...I absolutely hate cooked raisins. I love the spice in this cake, & the mango flavor. The middle sunk in a little bit so I was concerned that it was undercooked, but it was actually just right.

I will definitely be making this again!

(Forgive the horrible photo this camera battery is still dead because I can't find the damn charger. Ugh!)

Check out Kelly's blog for the recipe & the TWD blogroll for everyone's bread!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Cupcake Love

Oh my gosh!! I completely forgot to do a post from my trip to Dallas a couple of weeks ago. The trip was great, & I had an amazing time but what I really wanted to write about are the Sprinkles cupcakes I got while I was there. OH. MY. GOSH. I'm glad we don't have a Sprinkles anywhere near here because I would be there every single day! I got a box of 4 & there wasn't a single flavor that I got that I didn't like. They were all so amazing, but I have to say that the cinnamon sugar was by far my favorite. It was so moist & yummy & amazing! Needless to say...I'm in love.

Clockwise from top left: Strawberry, Dark Chocolate, Cinnamon Sugar, Pumpkin

Hello My Name is Ashley & I'm a Slacker

I hate to admit this, but I have been a complete & total lazy ass this past week. I procrastinated so much that I never got around to making the amazing tiramisu cake for TWD. I promise I'll be back next week...I'm so excited about this month's recipes!

Check out the TWD blogroll for everyone's gorgeous cakes, & Megan's blog at My Baking Adventures for the recipe!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Lazy Sunday Love

Today is such a lazy Sunday for me...I woke up a little before 10 this morning & then took a 3 hour nap. I love lazy Sundays!!! I was sitting here looking through the pictures on my computer & realized that I hadn't posted a couple of things, so I thought I would take the time to do it now.

Let me start off by saying that I adore making iced sugar cookies. It's such a tedious time consuming task, but I absolutely love doing it. I bought the Wilton set of cookie cutters for Easter, & here's what I came up with...

Aren't they so cute & colorful?! They were yummy too!

Last weekend I had the pleasure of making a faux wedding cake for a friend's wedding. They had a ton of cake already made for them, but wanted a fake traditional wedding cake for pictures & such. I've made foam cakes before, but this was my very first attempt at a fondant covered cake so needless to say I was completely nervous. It turned out really cute though, so I couldn't be happier. Plus the bride & groom loved it! There was even a little section of real cake in the back, so they could do the cutting of the cake.

That's really all I wanted to share. Check back on Tuesday for my TWD post!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

TWD - Chocolate Cream Tart (Minus Pictures)

Woot woot! I'm finally back in the swing of all things TWD. This week Kim of Scrumptious Photography chose Dorie's Chocolate Cream Tart. As we all know, chocolate is a food group for me, so I love love love this tart! So creamy & chocolaty & delicious! I chose a really nice bittersweet chocolate for this recipe because I figure either go big or go home. I had a hard time not eating the chocolate cream all by itself. (Okay so I ate a little, but shhhhh.)

Sadly I'm a ditz & failed to realize that my camera battery was dead until it was too late. No pictures for me this go round. Boo. :-(

Hop on over to the TWD blogroll for everyone else's drool-inducing pictures, & check out Kim's blog for the recipe!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


I spent my entire weekend on a mini vacay, so no TWD this week either. I'll be back in full swing next week!!!

Monday, April 13, 2009


No TWD for me this time around. I have been absolutely positively swamped!!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

TWD - Banana Cream Pie

I made a pie! I made a freaking pie! I have never in my short baking career attempted a pie...they scare the pee out of me. But this week's Tuesdays with Dorie selection was chosen by Amy of Sing for your Supper, & she chose Banana Cream Pie. Eek! I knew that I had to at least attempt it or I wouldn't be happy. It actually worked out great...I'm so proud of myself! It wasn't at all difficult to make, & the end result was oh so yummy. I love the addition of cinnamon & nutmeg in this; it's just delicious. Another winner!!

Check out Amy's blog for the recipe, & the TWD blogroll for everyone else's beautiful pies!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

TWD - Coconut Butter Thins

This week's TWD recipe was chosen by Jayne of The Barefoot Kitchen Witch. She chose Coconut Butter Thins, & I must say these cookies are delicious. I love shortbreads & butter cookies, so this one was right up my alley. I decided to take these with me to work to share with everyone, & I think I've lost count of how many I actually ate today. Oh well...totally worth it!

Check out Jayne's blog for the recipe, & the TWD blogroll for everyone else's cookies!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

TWD - Blueberry Crumb Cake

I am so so so so SO excited to be a member of Tuesdays with Dorie!! I have been following this fabulous group of bloggers for quite a while now, & last week they opened membership for one day only. I jumped at the chance, so this is my first TWD entry! Woot!!

Sihan of Befuddlement chose Dorie's Blueberry Crumb Cake as this week's recipe. I'm a huge fan of all things blueberry, so I was super excited that this got to be my first TWD recipe. It was so easy to put together & turned out beautifully. A lot of people seemed to have problems with a pool of butter in the middle of the cake, & I did too. Not a problem though...just a little extra dab of butter goodness for whoever got the middle piece. (Which was me...oh yeah!) Mom, Dad, & I all had a piece last night for dessert, & the rest went with Mom to work today.

Check out the TWD blogroll for everyone else's creations, & Sihan's blog for the recipe!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Grab Bag of Goodies

I'm totally kissing ass to make up for my complete lack of blogging lately, so you babies get two posts in one night! Ohhh you lucky little darlings!! I've been busy like whoa lately, & I wanted to post a few pics of what I've been up to.

I had a ton of chocolate chip cookie dough left after making the cupcake of the month, so I baked them up. Mmmmm!!

My best friend's husband is in the Air Force & is about to deploy, so she had me make this cake for his going away party.

Piggy sugar cookies for my sister. Who doesn't love little pink pigs?!

Baby shower cake...I love the brown & blue combo.

Ashley's Monthly Bake Sale - March

Hello loves!! I know...I've been a bad little blogger. I sowwy! So let me just start off by saying that March's cupcake of the month was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! And just what were these amazing cupcakes, you ask? Chocolate Chip Cookie & Brownie cupcakes. That's right...a brownie topped with a chocolate chip cookie topped with a little kiss of buttercream frosting. I found this recipe at 52 Cupcakes one day & had a brilliant idea to make them my C.o.t.M. They were super easy to make & so so so yummy! Everyone at work raved about them. My mom's boss has already put in an order for 2 dozen for Easter, & my coworkers husband came to the office to tell me how much he loved them. There's nothing better than having people love what I bake!

Not the best picture, but just look at that moist browniness!!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Fruits of my Labor

To say I had a busy weekend was an understatement. I baked 2 blueberry bundt cakes, a triple layer carrot cake, & 75 cupcakes. My oven & KitchenAid mixer worked a lot of overtime. The blueberry bundts & carrot cake were for a birthday, & the cupcakes were for a wedding shower. We all know how much I adore cupcakes, so those were a blast for me to make. Oh & the best part...I used PNCs for the first time!! (PNC=Party Nut Cups for those non-bakers) I will never use a regular cupcake pan & wrapper again. I loved the look of the cupcakes in the cute!

Triple-layer carrot can't see the little design on the side.

Half of the cupcakes. I made strawberry, vanilla & chocolate.

A shower tower! (I totally just made that up!)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Busy Busy!

Things have been so insanely busy lately that I haven't had time to bake. I should be against the law to not have time to bake! I promise I'll more than make up for it this weekend!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Lovey-Dovey Mushy Crap Day

Yes that really is my opinion of Valentine's Day...just in case you were wondering. I did buy myself a present today...a brand new digital camera! Woot!! I got a Canon Powershot SD790 IS. Way better than the old camera that I had, so I'm looking forward to much better baked goodie pictures.

Our 10 week old puppy, Lucy, got to be my first subject. (The other dogs refuse to have their pictures taken. The little one hasn't figured it out yet.)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Ashley's Monthly Bake Sale - February

Ahh February...that means it's time for Valentine's Day. Bleh! Okay maybe not bleh, but still...I'm not a fan. I figured February's cupcake selection required something red, & the first thing that popped into my head was red velvet. Oh yes, Red sexy, silky cake. I do love you so. Now I do love just about anything that's considered a dessert, but let me just tell you that red velvet cake holds a special place in my heart. In my quest for the perfect red velvet recipe, I sorted through many, & I do mean many, different recipes. I finally found one that I thought I should give a try, & I wasn't disappointed. You should really head over to The Repressed Pastry Chef & try out her red velvet & cream cheese icing recipes. So yummy!! The girls at work are going to love these tomorrow!
(Please forgive the rather shiteous quality of my photos. My memory card is full, & I'm in serious need of a new camera, so these were taken with my cell phone.)

Just to show you the fabulous redness!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Operation Baking GALS - Round 6

I'm so so so glad things have calmed down enough for me to be able to participate in round 6 of Operation Baking GALS! I love baking for someone that I know will truly appreciate it. I picked Team KelseyKakes for this round, & we're baking for Bryan Tull who is a broadcast journalist in the Army Reserves. Since these fine folks are the ones that keep us informed on the things going on in Iraq, I decided to bake a couple different kinds of cookies.

I knew I wanted to bake some good ol' oatmeal cookies because those are always so comforting to me. I'm also a huge fan of Tuesdays with Dorie. This group of bloggers is working their way through the recipes in Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours. I following their weekly baking adventures, & I'm totally envious. I wish I had the time to be able to join them, but it's just not in the cards right now. A couple of weeks ago I finally got myself a copy of this amazing cookbook & instantly fell in love with the recipe for World Peace cookies. I needed an excuse to make them, & this was it! As it turns out the TWD group made these last week, so I had a chance to check out everyone's cookies & figure out some of the problems they had.

These cookies are soooo good! I almost didn't want to pack them up & send them away. I guess now I just need to make some for myself! By far my favorite cookie ever!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Just a Tease

A little taste of what I threw together tonight...

I don't think I'll ever make another rose out of regular old buttercream ever again. I absolutely love making these fondant roses! These were made with just plain white fondant & painted with pink Pearl Dust. I love the sparkle!!!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Calm Before The Storm

First of all, I can't believe it's February already! This year is going to fly by. I'm mentally preparing myself for a crazy busy month of cake making. I have 2 cake orders for this Tuesday, & then after that I have something to make every weekend. We've got a baby shower cake, a wedding cake, & a 3rd birthday cake & cookies. They're all going to be completely different, & I'm so excited about each & every one. I've also got Round 6 of Operation Baking Gals before Valentine's Day. I haven't picked a team yet, but I plan on making an extra special care package this go-round.

Stay's going to be a great month!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Ashley's Monthly Bake Sale - January

My monthly bake sales have become something I really look forward to. I've been fortunate to find some recipes that have been real homeruns. January's recipe is one of those. I adore Ina Garten, & I had previously used her Outrageous Brownie recipe for one of my bake sales. I had remembered watching an episode of Barefoot Contessa where she made coconut cupcakes that were gorgeous. Now let me tell you right off the bat that I hate coconut...I hate the flavor & I hate the texture. Buuuut the girls at work all said that they love the stuff, so I wanted to make a coconut cupcake for them & went right away to Ina's recipe. In true Ina fashion, it did not disappoint. I love, love, love these cupcakes! Me, little Miss "I hate coconut," thought they were sooooo good! All my girls loved them too. They don't look nearly as beautiful as Ina's did, but the taste completely makes up for it.

Ina Garten's Coconut Cupcakes

3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
5 extra-large eggs at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk
14 ounces sweetened, shredded coconut
For the frosting:
1 pound cream cheese at room temperature
3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 1/2 pounds confectioners' sugar, sifted
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well.
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In 3 parts, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix until just combined. Fold in 7 ounces of coconut.
Line a muffin pan with paper liners. Fill each liner to the top with batter. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove to a baking rack and cool completely.
Meanwhile, make the frosting. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, on low speed, cream together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla and almond extracts. Add the confectioners' sugar and mix until smooth.
Frost the cupcakes and sprinkle with the remaining coconut.
Makes about 2 dozen.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Amano is Amazing!

That's right, folks, two chocolate posts in a row! I told you I love the stuff!! I wrote a post a while ago about the opportunity I had to sample Amano chocolate & how much I loved it. Loved it! Art Pollard from Amano Chocolate gave a few of BlakeMakes' Sooper Heros a chance to try his new Jembrana chocolate. This chocolate comes from the Jembrana region of Bali, Indonesia, & in true Amano style it is amazing! Out of all kinds of chocolate, dark is by far my favorite, & Amano makes quite possibly the best I've ever tasted. This little beauty of a bar is in my desk drawer at work, & I have to have a little square every day!

Art, you've outdone yourself again! Thank you so much for letting us taste your amazing chocolate! Thanks as always to Blake of BlakeMakes!!

Chocolate Cake Yumminess!!

I feel I should start this post by saying that I love should be a food group all it's own! Back in October I was lucky enough to be graced with the chance to try a chocolate cake mix that is Peanut/Egg/Dairy/Nut Free made by Cherrybrook Kitchen. We were also given chocolate frosting that is Peanut/Egg/Dairy/Nut Free, & it's also Vegan. Now I know you're thinking "Ick!", but let me just tell you this stuff is fabulous! It's so great for anyone with food allergies! I have a younger cousin with several different food allergies, & Cherrybrook Kitchen's products would be perfect for her. I highly recommend trying any of these products if you ever get the chance...the cupcakes that I made were soooo yummy! They certainly satisfied my chocolate craving!

I love the's so cute!

Just out of the oven.

Notice there are 2 missing...Mom & I couldn't help but dig in right away!

Thanks a million to BlakeBakes & Cherrybrook Kitchen!!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Baby Cakes & Mishaps

Oh look...another day, another post! I'm doing better I tell ya!

Back at the beginning of last year, I had the pleasure of making a wedding shower cake for my cousin, Tosha. She & her husband are now expecting a baby girl in a couple of weeks, & her sister asked me to make the cake the baby shower. There's no way I was going to say no! I had never tried a multi-tiered cake before, so I really wanted to try one for this cake. I was given a couple of the napkins to be used at the shower for inspiration, & this is what I came up with...

Now this is what the cake looked like this morning before we left the house. When we got to the shower...not so much. The fondant decorations had started to droop & pull down the buttercream icing with them. It didn't look horrible, but it wasn't that great either. I didn't want to give her a crappy looking cake. Everyone said how much they liked it, though, & it did taste really good...I can't complain too much, I suppose.

So I have a question to all of you seasoned cake much internal support should go into a cake like this? It's a 8" on top of a 10", & there are 4 rather small wooden dowels in the middle of bottom tier. Help a girl out!

Anyway, that's my dilemma for the day. I've got a couple of Blake Makes posts coming up so stay tuned!!!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Christmas Cookies Rock My Socks

Hello my lovelies!! I am so completely behind on posting that I figure I'll just start at Christmas & work my way forward. (Why Christmas, you ask? Because I love Christmas!!) This year I made it my personal mission to make some super freaking cute Christmas cookies. Since I'm absolutely in love with the book Cookie Craft, I decided to use the cookies in the book as inspiration. I made a double batch of the sugar cookie recipe in the book & a single batch of the gingerbread recipe, & let me just tell you I had cookies everywhere! I can honestly say that I spent 3 solid hours at the kitchen table decorating cookies, but I loved every minute of it. These little beauties went to my office Christmas party with me, & everyone fell in love with them.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Happy 2009!

Happy New Year!!!

I have severely neglected my poor little blog, so one of my new years resolutions is to update this thing A LOT more often! It's been so long since I've posted any of my work that I'll probably spend the next month or so catching up on some of my favorites. The holidays were very busy for me, so I've got a lot to show off!

I hope 2009 is an amazing year for everyone!