Saturday, August 28, 2010

Book Club

So.... I love to read. I've always loved to read. I can't remember not reading whenever I had free time. But, since I started teaching, I have trouble making time for it during the school year. So, in an effort to fit in some much needed stress relief in the upcoming school year, I am making a commitment to read some books just for pleasure. And there is nothing about books that is more fun than talking about them with other people who've read them. So, here's the plan:

I'm going to post a book title on the first of each month. Then, I'm going to get a copy of the book and read it. On the 28th of the month, I'm going to post a review / list of questions about the book. If you want to join the book club, all you need to do is
1) Log on and check out what book we're going to read
2) Read the book
3) Email your thoughts / responses to the questions to me at any time before the first of the following month.

I'll post your thoughts as I get them, so that everybody in the club can read what everybody else thinks. I'm happy to take suggestions on books or formats. Just email them to me.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Birthday Cake!

The best thing about getting another year older is, without a doubt, an excuse to make and eat birthday cake. So this year, like many others, I trawled the web for the best-looking cakes I could find. I came across this one which was made for Julia Childs's 85th birthday.
So I made it! TA - DAAAAA!!!!

The Extra-Medium Dude helped me out. He stirred and taste-tested everything. It's 4 layers of chocolate almond cake with chocolate raspberry mousse between the layers and it's covered with chocolate ganache with almonds and a milk chocolate lattice forming the finishing touches.

After taste-testing, the Extra-Medium Dude declared it the best cake he ever had or would ever have.

Happy birthday to me!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

I DID Dare to Bake

So.... I know it's been forever, but I did do the Daring Baker Challenge for July. I even took pictures!
The July 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Sunita of Sunita’s world – life and food. Sunita challenged everyone to make an ice-cream filled Swiss roll that’s then used to make a bombe with hot fudge. Her recipe is based on an ice cream cake recipe from Taste of Home.

I was staying with my mom for a week when I made this cake, and that was kind of fun, because I had a humongous kitchen to play in and plenty of freezer space. I'm not at all sure how I would've pulled it off in my itty-bitty kitchen at home. I also had three extra willing taste testers as I finished each layer.

So, to create this ridiculously decadent dessert, I made two Swiss Rolls (for those of you who grew up with Hostess products, think giant Ding Dongs), sliced them and then made a layer of vanilla ice cream, a layer of fudge sauce and a layer of chocolate ice cream. I think if I had it to do over again, I would double the ice cream recipes. The center of my cake didn't quite even out, so the picture of the slice looks a little funny. But I can't imagine doing this one again.

Many thanks to my friend Elizabeth, who had a barbecue, where I brought this cake to be devoured. I'm sure if I did manage to make it in my tiny kitchen, I would have to eat almost the whole thing. This way, I just had a piece.

And the best thing about this challenge was a friend of mine who was at the barbecue. As soon as she tried the ice cream cake, she said, "Gretel, will you marry me???" Now that's cake.