Thursday, December 17, 2015

Hot Chocolate Mix

Hey all,
So Christmas is just around the corner and I thought, what is one of the things pretty much everyone associates with Christmas? That would be hot chocolate of course.
Now regardless of whether you celebrate Christmas or not, you are sure to love this recipe.
 My sister and I posted this same recipe on our failed blog and out of my lack of time I am using some of the same pictures.
I actually made this mix a few days ago but by now I don't really use a recipe. My mom use-to make this for us when were little and now I make it for my younger siblings. This recipe makes about 6 cups of mix.
 4 cups powdered milk
1 1/4 cups of sugar
1/2 cup of cocoa powder
 Mix everything together in a bowl, you might want to sift the cocoa powder, sometimes it's a bit clumpy. Transfer the mix to and air-tight container. it will keep up to 3-4 months
To drink it put 2-3 Tbsp of the mix in a mug, add hot water and top with whipped cream or marshmallows (maybe both) I like to put a mini candy cane in mine it adds a little festivity, and lets be honest peppermint and hot chocolate are match made in heaven. If you want it richer/creamer you can add a bit of milk or whipping cream this will cool it off a bit as well. Another way is to only add enough hot water to get the mix to dissolve then fill the rest up with warm milk, this takes a little longer to make but is well worth the time! What is your favorite winter time drink? Tell me in the comments below.
Keep it sweet,

I'm Back!

Hey all,

Sorry for the long wait I have had the busiest past 3 weeks, between packing up our house to entertaining guest then traveling to 5 different countries and now trying to get over jet-lag. I just didn't have time to cook/bake a whole lot let alone post about it.
Any-who, enough about that. My family and I along with some close friends went on an amazing trip before we left. I really should say trips because we went to 3 different countries, Vietnam, Cambodia and Phuket Thailand. We had been to Thailand once before a few years ago but its defiantly a place you want to go to more than once.

In Vietnam we stayed 2 nights in Ho Chi Mien City and 1 night in Canto. Both places are cities that have a lot of hustle and bustle and  about a gazillion motorbikes.
The water in both Vietnam and Cambodia is a brown murky color, and it was very hot and humid when we were there so I wouldn't suggest going the middle of the summer.
We spent 4 nights in Seim Reap, Cambodia and saw the Ancient Wats which are ruins of old temples.

We went and saw a floating village in Cambodia, it was amazing to see how some people live in  conditions that we would deem unlivable.
Thailand was beautiful and as I said we had already been to Phuket, but it was still cool to see it again.
With all the traveling we did we were off by 12 hours, so our jet-lag was worse than our usual 9 hour time difference. It kinda feels weird being back in the U.S for the 2nd time this year, and knowing that we wont be going back to Dubai in 3 months will take some getting use-to but I'll adjust eventually. Anyway on a lighter note, I'd love to hear from ya'll so comment below and I will be posting something real soon.
Keep it sweet,

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Cupcake Tips

Hey all,

I know I said I would post some tips so here you go. (sorry it took so long)

Ingredients- As always it's best to have the freshest ingredients you can find, and this goes for all baking/cooking. However it's sometimes hard to find fresh everything. And yes I have to agree with the cook books that having room temperature ingredients is better but most times I forget, (I mean who has time to set the eggs out a half hour before you're going to use them!)

Preparation- Preparing your ingredient and reading over your recipe is essential especially if it's a complicated recipe and/or you haven't made it before. You don't want to get half way through mixing and find out that it has to sit in the fridge for 3 hours. I usually read over the recipe 2-3 times before I start to 1. make sure I have everything and know what I'm doing and 2. See if I want to change or substitute anything.

Pre-heating-  I would suggest pre-heating your oven before you start unless your recipe says other-wise. If you haven't tried the recipe before or it will take a long time to make before it needs to go in the oven, then you could probably turn on the oven sometime in the middle of the process. Just remember to turn it off when you're done.

Mixing- Mixing the dry and wet ingredients separately before you mix everything together is the best way to insure everything is properly distributed. And always make sure the batter is all the way mixed up you don't want to be spooning out the batter and find that some of the flour is still at the bottom of the bowl.

Spooning out the batter- The best way I've found to get the batter in the cupcake tins is to use a ice cream scoop. You know the kind with a really round scoop and the little thing that moves back and forth to get everything out when you squeeze the handle. They look like a bigger version of a cookie scoop. If you still don't know what I'm talking about I pity you because they make baking cupcakes a whole lot faster.

Backing- Now obviously the recipe you use will give an amount of time that you should bake them, however every oven is different so always check your cupcakes before you take the out of the oven.
I test cakes by sticking a thin knife in the middle and pulling it out to see if the cake is done all the way through. With cupcakes I don't like to do that because they are smaller, and usually by lightly touching the top of the cupcake you can tell when they are done (it should feel firm and bounce back slightly when you touch it).

Hope you all enjoyed this post. I'm sorry to say that I probably won't be posting any time soon, we leave at the end of the month and are going on a trip on our way home. I will post as soon as I can and hopefully have some pretty pictures to share!

Keep it sweet,

Monday, November 2, 2015

Lavender Cupcakes

Hey all,

Sorry I haven't posted in a while, things have been a bit hectic this week. We've been selling some things that we can't take back to the U.S, and sadly our kitchen aid mixer was one of them. I did however mange to make one more thing before it was sold...

Lavender cupcakes! I know your probably thinking here's a girl whose first post was about a tiered cake and now lavender cupcakes! I promise you I don't do crazy things all the time, it was kinda a spur of the moment, my mom had some dried lavender and we were in the need for some cupcakes.

I've never really been fond of lavender but I wanted to try something new. I got the recipe out of a cupcake book called The Humming Bird Bakery.  Its a British book so most the measurements are in grams, sorry to those of you who like using cups (myself included).

I think the key point in getting the lavender flavor is to let it soak in the milk over night. But I was impatient and it only set for 5-ish hours, even with that they had a nice lavender flavor.

Lavender cupcakes: makes 12

120 ml milk
3 Tlbs dried lavender flowers
120 g flour
140 g sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
40 g butter
1 egg

Stir lavender and milk together, place in fridge and let sit preferably overnight.
Preheat oven to 170 C (325 F). Mix flour, sugar, butter and baking powder in a mixer until you have a sandy consistency. Strain the lavender infused milk into the flour mixture and beat until combined. Add egg and beat well. Fill cupcake holders 3/4 full and bake for 20-25 min.

Hope you enjoyed this post, due to me not having a mixer any more I probably won't be posting any more recipes. But I'll try and post some baking tips later on.

Keep it sweet,

Friday, October 23, 2015

Chocolate Buttercream Icing

Hey all,

I absolutely adore all things chocolate!! Chocolate ice cream, chocolate coffee, chocolate cake, and especially chocolate icing!!

 I know you're probably like get to the point already, so here it is. I've always had trouble making buttercream icing. Now the icing that's just powder sugar and milk I could make when I was 7, but up until this past year buttercream always gave me a hard time. It was either too soft that it wouldn't hold its shape or so stiff that I couldn't spread it, and other times it was just wrong.

Then I found this recipe. It was amazing!! I used the recipe a few times until I got a feel for the right proportions for how much icing I wanted to make.

The pictures aren't so good because I wasn't making a lot, sorry. To get the best chocolatey flavor use a good coco powder. I use a Dutch coco powder which is the best! However any brand/type of coco powder will work just as well.

When I make the icing now I usually don't measure anything, but I have come up with a recipe for you.

Buttercream Icing: makes about 2 cups
1-cup butter room temperature
3-4 cups powder sugar
1/4 cup coco powder
about 1/4 cup milk
1 pinch of salt

Beat butter until smooth and add coco powder, salt and half of the powered sugar. Mix until smooth scraping the edges of the bowl as needed, add the rest of the powder sugar and a splash of milk. Mix until fully incorporated then beat on medium high speed until fluffy*. Test the thickness and spread-ability of the icing and adjust it to your liking, add more milk to thin it out and more sugar or coco to thicken it.

*this step is what makes the icing, it should almost double in size and be fluffy.

Hope you enjoyed this post, and know that getting buttercream icing right is like riding a bike once you learn how to do it, it's easy-peasy.

Keep it sweet,

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Tiered Cake

Hey all,

I have been wanting to try and make a tiered cake all year, so I finally did it over the summer and I thought would share my experience. I didn't know I would be blogging it at the time so the pictures aren't step by step.

I made two 8-inch round cakes, stacked them with buttercream icing in the middle and gave them a crumb coating. I put the cake in the fridge to harden the icing. 
I have found that taking strips of parchment paper and putting them under that cake a little bit can help keep the stand clean when icing the cake.
I did a buttercream rose design on the sides with a Wliton 1M icing tip. This was the first time I ever tried roses and now I wish I had practiced more.

I took the cake board I was going to use for the next tier, placed it on top of the first cake and traced around it. I didn't measure how far it was from the sides so its not completely centered. I used cake pop sticks to support the 2nd tier. I put the first one in the middle of the out lined circle, took it out, trimmed it and the others then put them all in the cake them like so..

The two 6-inch cakes I did next. This is where I had some trouble, the 2nd of the smaller cakes didn't come out of the pan all the way (note to self remember to always grease the pan!) so I had to even-out the layers with extra icing. That's why it looks a bit rounded. I found that dipping your off-set spatula in water then running it over the icing will smooth it out pretty good. After smoothing out the icing I put the cake in the fridge to set so it would be easier to transfer on to the bigger cake.

Setting the small cake on the bigger one was relatively easy, it probably helps that I didn't need the bottom to look nice. If you aren't going to but a border around 2nd tier then I would suggest to do a crumb coating, transfer on to the other cake and then doing the final layer of icing.

I did little roses with a Wilton 22 tip for the border and then 4 on the sides at the top(does that make sense?) I used a Cake Boss 12 icing tip for the little dots connecting the roses. The easiest way I found to get them in a even sloped line is to put a dot on each side of the roses and then 1 in the middle between 2 of the roses a little lower than the bottom of the roses, then just add more dots to connect the dot in the middle to the dot on the side of the rose.

Although it took me a while get it all finished I was quite proud of my work.
I took a lot of time beforehand researching different ways to do a tiered cake (there defiantly are a lot) and everyone has a way that works for them. YouTube always has great tutorials and Pinterest has great ideas, that's where I got the inspiration for this cake. Hope you enjoyed this post. When did you make you first tiered cake? or when are you thinking of making one? leave your comments below!
Keep it sweet,


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

About Me

Hey all,

I'm a homeschooled freshmen, I love baking and cooking (mostly baking though).  I am currently in the process of moving back to the U.S.A from living over seas, hence the International in the name. I guess I should have started this a while back when I was still "living" internationally, but better late then never.

This will be my 2nd blog, my 1st I ran with my younger sister and it didn't work out so well and by that I mean we haven't posted anything in about a year. I am hopeful that this one will go better seeing that it's about what interest me. I will be posting mostly sweet baking things recipes, tips etc. I'll throw in some food/cooking recipes every now and then. I can't wait to start but I can't promise a post a week or anything for now.

Keep it sweet,