Cakes and Rum Balls

I left Ithaca where it was a chilly 10F for California, where countless friends and family members had been bragging about the warm weather.

The second I landed, the weather turned rainy and cold.  It’s been raining for 5 days straight.  I have the worst luck.

So since I’ve been stuck at home, I worked on the never ending report! made a cake (among other things).

Okay really I made 2 cakes.  Both were mistakes.  My brother asked me to make a cake for a party he’s going to.  For some reason I thought his party was on Monday December 20th.  Nope, it’s on Thursday December 23rd.

Clearly a cake made on December 19th would be no good by the 23rd.  So instead, I took one to a party, and another was made for family friends.

Chocolate cake filled with chocolate mousse and frosted with raspberry whipped cream.

I didn’t try it, but I can only imagine it’s good.

Facebook wall confirmed.


Now, you know everyone favorite part of making layer cakes… leveling off the top?

Well I had a lot of leveled off cake tops after making 2 layer cakes.  So instead of stuffing my face, which ordinarily is my favorite thing to do.  I decided to make something exciting.

Chocolate Rum Balls

1 1/2 cups crumbled chocolate cake
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
2 tbsp dark rum
1 tbsp honey
Extra powdered sugar, cocoa powder, or melted chocolate

Combine all ingredients in a bowl.

Any good Guatemalan household has Guatemalan Rum…

Use your hands to form it all into a mass.  Break off pieces and roll into one inch little balls.

Then you can roll them in powdered sugar, cocoa powder or dip them in melted chocolate.  Refrigerate for a few hours and serve!

My brother gave one to my niece; she wasn’t a fan.

Me on the other hand… I’ve eaten about 5 today… Clearly I hated them.

Now I need to figure out what cake to actually make for my brother’s gathering.

In the meantime…



Pear Almond Galette

Last night, I couldn’t sleep.  Around 11pm, after a while of tossing and turning, I decided to just get up and have a glass of wine.  Because really, wine makes life better.

Around midnight, while I sipped on wine and did everything BUT read about the global food system, I decided this was a good time to start baking.  So I made tart dough, since the idea for a pear almond galette had been brewing in my head for a few days.

Galette Dough

adapted from Joy of Baking

1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp sugar
1 stick butter, cold and cut into pieces
about 1/4 cup ice water

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl.  Using a pastry blender or knives or your fingers, blend butter into flour mixture.  Gradually add in ice water and mix using your hands until you get a ball of dough.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours (I refrigerated over night).

Once the dough has chilled, roll it out to about a 12-13 inch circle.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a perfect circle.

Put the rolled out dough, place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, then put it in the refrigerator while you make almond cream (frangipane).

Almond Cream

adapted from Joy of Baking

1/4 cup sugar
3 tbsp butter, softened
1 egg
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 tbsp flour
1/2 cup almond meal (ground almonds)

Using a hand or stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar.  Next, beat in egg and almond extract until smooth and sorta runny.  Blend it one tbsp flour.  Lastly, add almond flour and continue to blend until smooth.

Take the dough out of the fridge and spread the almond cream onto the dough, leaving a inch or two border all around.

Next, take some pears.  I had some raggedy old ones that were on their last leg…

Peel, core and thinly slice.  I used two but I wish I had used three because they definitely would have fit.

Arrange the sliced pears onto the almond cream part of the galette.

See I could have fit 3 pears… Oh well.  Next fold the edges up over the top.  Trim any excess dough.

Take one tablespoon of melted butter and brush it onto the assembled galette.

Then sprinkle it with sugar.

Bake at 375 for 45-55minutes.  (Mine took about 50 minutes but start checking it around 45).

Allow it to cool.  If it’s 28 degrees outside like it is here, putting it next to the window speeds up the process.

Once the galette has cooled

Sprinkle it with powdered sugar and serve with whipped cream or creme anglaise.

Now I just need to figure out who to feed this to…  Shouldn’t be that hard to find a worth recipient, right?

Pumpkins and Leftovers

If there’s one thing I hate, it’s throwing food away.  After Thanksgiving, I was determined to not throw a single thing away.  Not even the meat.  I bought a twenty pound turkey, you better believe I was using every last bit of it.

While I usually don’t eat meat, I would rather eat it than throw it away.   So I make turkey noodle soup, using a sad looking turkey carcass (I’ll spare you the photo), some whole wheat pasta that’s been in the cupboard since August 2009 and a rather boring assortment of vegetables. The result:

Not too exciting… Turkey noodle soup.  But don’t you worry.  I brown-ified it and made it a million times better.

The magic additions?  Lime, sour cream and Goya Adobo seasoning.  Tastes like home.

In addition to a turkey, I also had half a large can of pumpkin puree sitting in the fridge.  No way that’s going in the trash.  2 solutions: Pumpkin Pizza and Pumpkin Biscuits

Pumpkin Pizza was inspired by a Well’s Vegetarian Thanksgiving recipe that someone brought for Thanksgiving.  I made a few changes.

Pumpkin Pizza

inspired by Winter Squash, Onion and Pine Nut Pizza

1 recipe pizza dough (I used Eating Well’s whole wheat pizza dough recipe)
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp dried sage
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp butter or olive oil
1 onion, sliced
about 1/2 cup grated parmesan or asiago cheese
1-2 tbsp pepitas

In a skillet, heat butter or oil (or both), add onions and cook on low heat for about 20 minutes until caramelized and sweet.

Preheat oven to 400F.  Make the pizza dough, shape into whatever pizza dough shape you would like.

In a bowl, mix together pumpkin, sage, nutmeg and salt.  Spread onto pizza dough.  Next layer on caramelized onions and pepitas.  Top with cheese and bake for about 15 minutes or until dough is golden.

Pretty delicious.  Definitely would make it again.

As for the pumpkin biscuits… who doesn’t love a biscuit.

Pumpkin Biscuits

inspired by Eggs on Sunday

1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter, chopped
1/2 cup pumpkin, sage, nutmeg, salt mixture (same as pizza above)
1 tbsp yogurt (or more as needed)

Preheat oven to 450F.  Combine dry ingredients.  Cut butter into the flour mixture, then add the pumpkin mixture.  Using your hands combine to form a ball.  If you need extra moisture, add some yogurt (I used about a tbsp).  Once the dough is sticky but well combined, roll it out.  Using a cup or biscuit cutter, cut into 5 pieces.  Bake for about 9 minutes.

Goes great with turkey noodle soup!

Now that I used up all my canned pumpkin, I just need to find something to do with these sugar pumpkins…

What should I do with these??