Promote your blog here; Blog Party #3!!

Hey Everyone! Join in on this Blog Party… It’s a great way to meet new bloggers and discover their amazing blogs and an opportunity to spread the word about your own!

Bernadine’s Bakery

Hello everybody! I recently got back into blogging so I thought what better way to promote this blog and help others than a blog party?

Here are the rules:

1. Choose any one of your favorite blog posts from your own blog, all kinds of posts are welcome. (Anything inappropriate will be removed). You can share up to three links each day, but it’s best to wait some time between each one.

2. Paste your link in the comment section of this post and tell a little bit about yourself and/or your blog.

3. REBLOG this post to let everyone know!!

4. Now grab a fuzzy blanket and get ready to read more blogs and meet new bloggers!!

This blog party will run from today until Friday at 12:00 am EST. I look forward to reading all your comments and meeting new blogs! Have fun and be sure to follow…

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Slow Cooker Sunday: Pumpkin Cheesecake

I am sneaking in one more pumpkin recipe this season before the Holidays take over… A Slow Cooker Pumpkin Cheesecake. This is actually the third cheesecake I’ve made in my slow cooker. Earlier this year I shared with you a Chocolate Chip Cheesecake and a Sour Cream Cheesecake. Out of the three, this one is my favorite. What can I say… I am a fan of Pumpkin. I actually adapted this recipe for a slow cooker as the original one called for it to be made in a pressure cooker. While I do own one, only because it was my parents, I am a bit fearful of using it. I remember my mom always using it to make beans. She preferred using dry beans over can ones to make habichuelas guisada (stewed beans) so she would use the pressure cooker to soften them up before making them in the stew… YUM! Maybe one day I will work up the courage to using it, but, for now, it is perfectly situated on the back of a shelf in my cabinet.

I began by making the crust. In my food processor I pulsed graham crackers into crumbs. I transferred the crumbs to a medium bowl and added in melted butter, cinnamon and sugar and mixed it together until it was well combined. I then pressed the crumbs into the bottom and slightly up the sides of a 6-inch springform pan that I sprayed with cooking spray.

Next, I made the filling. I beat cream cheese and butter together until smooth and then added in pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, flour, and whipping cream and continued beating until it was well blended. Finally, I added in the eggs and vanilla extract and beat it until just combined. I then poured this into the prepared crust.

I placed a rack in the insert of my slow cooker and then filled it with a 1/2-inch of water (about 2 cups for my 6qt. slow cooker) and then placed the pan on top of the rack. I covered it and cooked it on high for 2 hours. The center should still be a bit wobbly and the rest of the cheesecake set. You don’t want to overbake it. After the 2 hours, I turned off my slow cooker and left it covered so the cheesecake could cool. After the hour, I removed the pan and transferred it to a wire rack so it could cool completely.

After refrigerating it overnight, the following day I enjoyed a slice!

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Cheesecake

Ingredients:

Crust:

3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (from 7 graham crackers)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon sugar

Filling:

2 8oz. packages cream cheese, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup canned pumpkin

1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Spray a 6-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Place a rack inside the insert of your slow cooker and fill with a 1/2 inch of water (about 2 cups for a 6qt. slow cooker).

In a medium bowl mix the graham crack crumbs, melted butter, cinnamon and sugar. Press the crumbs in the bottom and slightly up the sides of the springform pan.

Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add in the pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, flour and whipping cream and continue beating until well blended. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until just combined. Pour into the prepared crust.

Place the pan onto the rack inside of the slow cooker, cover and cook on high for 2 hours. Turn the slow cooker off and keeping the lid on, let the cheesecake cool in the slow cooker for an hour. After the hour, remove the cheesecake and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Refrigerate for at least four before serving.

Recipe adapted from Dear Crissy

Baked Apple Cider Donuts

I remember that the only time I was able to get Apple Cider Donuts was when I would go apple picking in upstate NY. I used to look forward to that 2-hour car trip, not only for the apples, but because I knew on the 2+ – hour (thanks to the inevitable traffic) car ride home I would be enjoying some freshly made warm donuts. Nowadays, it seems like you can get Apple Cider Donuts just about anywhere. Practically every apple orchard and farm I have visited sells them. Thankfully there are two places not terribly far from me that sell them year-round and both are quite delicious. There are some other places that sell them and they are, well, to be kind, I will say not so delicious.

While the Apple Cider Donuts I have had are deep-fried, I have attempted to make my own baked Apple Cider Donuts at home and until recently haven’t been that successful. The recipes I tried usually involved reducing the apple cider and I am not sure if I wasn’t reducing it enough or what, but, they were always a fail. Recently though I came across a recipe that didn’t involve reducing the apple cider and included olive oil that produced a delicious donut that actually stayed fresh & moist for a few days – thanks to said olive oil. I wouldn’t say that these are a perfect substitution to the delicious ones I get upstate, but, they are pretty close.

If you are looking for something bite-sized so you don’t feel as guilty (granted, they are fried though!), check out these Apple Cider Fritters I posted last year.

Baked Apple Cider Donuts

  • Servings: 18-21 Donuts
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Ingredients:

3 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon*

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg*

1/8 teaspoon ground allspice*

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup apple cider

3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

3 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

 

Topping:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1/2 cup sugar**

2 tablespoons cinnamon**

 

*If you have apple spice, use 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon & 1 teaspoon of apple pie spice and omit the nutmeg & allspice.

**If you have cinnamon sugar you can use that in place of mixing together cinnamon & sugar

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray donut pans with baking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, spices, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a second large bowl whisk together the sugar, apple cider, olive oil, applesauce, vanilla and eggs. Once well combined, add in the flour mixture and stir to combine.

Transfer the batter to the prepared donut pan, filling each cavity three-quarters full.

Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a cake tester inserted comes out clean.

Let the donuts cool for a few minutes in the pan and then invert onto a wire rack.

In a small bowl whisk together the sugar & cinnamon. Brush each donut with the melted butter and the sprinkle the cinnamon sugar on to the donut.

Store the donuts in an air tight container.

Recipe from Inspired By Charm

Slow Cooker Sunday: Maple Cinnamon Pear-Applesauce

I have an abundance of apples from my recent apple picking outing and while I have been enjoying eating them, I decided to use some of them to make a homemade pear-applesauce. Making homemade applesauce is quicker and easier than you may think. And healthier since you can control the level of sweetness. You could also customize the flavors by adding in different fruits (i.e. peaches, mangoes, cranberries) or different spices.

I began by peeling, coring and chopping 2 lbs. each apples (I used red delicious and granny smith) and pears (I used Bartlett). I added the apples along with pure maple syrup, vanilla extract, a cinnamon stick, lemon juice and water to the inset of a slow cooker.

I set it took on low for 4 hours and was left with apples and pears that were perfectly tender for the next step.

I removed the cinnamon stick and using a slotted spoon transferred the apples and pears to the bowl of a food processor. To prevent the sauce from becoming too watery I didn’t add too much of the juices. I then pulsed the mixture to my desired consistency, making sure no large apple or pear chunks remained.

I transferred the pear-applesauce to a container to let it cool and then covered and refrigerated it.

 

Slow Cooker Maple Cinnamon Pear-Applesauce

Ingredients:

2 pounds apples, peeled, cored and chopped

2 pounds pears, peeled, cored and chopped

3/4 cup pure maple syrup

3/4 cup water

Juice from 1 lemon

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:

Combine all of the ingredients in a slow cooker (at least 6 quarts) and stir to combine. Cover and cook on low until the apples and pears are tender, about 4 hours.

Remove the cinnamon stick and transfer the mixture to a food processor or blender and pulse until desired consistency. You could also transfer to a large bowl and mash with a potato masher for a chunkier sauce.

Let cool and then transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate.

Recipe from Real Simple

If you would prefer to make this on the stove, increase the water amount to a cup and combine all of the ingredients in large pot and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the apples are tender, about 25 minutes.

For both versions (slow cooker or stove top) you could substitute apple juice for the water.

 

 

 

 

Sugar Skull Cake

Feliz Dia De Los Muertos! Today is the final day of the three-day celebration to remember and honor loved ones who have died. If you want a little more info on the holiday check out my Dia De Los Muertos Cupcakes blog post. In celebration of the day I am sharing with you a Sugar Skull Cake. Sugar Skulls, or Calaveras, are often used to decorate the ofrendas (offerings) & gravestones during the three-day celebration. They got their name because they are traditionally made of clay molded sugar and then decorated with colorful adornments. The sugar skull I created definitely has sugar in it, but, not molded sugar. I opted to make a chocolate cake, frosted it with buttercream frosting and then decorated it with fondant and confetti sprinkles.

To begin, using the same skeleton pan I used to make my Mummy Cake, I baked a chocolate cake – I used a box cake mix. After letting the cake cool I covered it in plastic wrap and refrigerated it overnight.

The next day, I made a batch of Brenda’s Bakery Buttercream – also the same frosting I used for the Mummy Cake. After removing the cake from the refrigerator, I used a large circle cookie cutter to cut out larger eyes for the skull. I used the cookie cutter to make an indentation in the cake and then used a butterknife to carve out the eyes.

Next, I crumb coated the cake and placed it back in the refrigerator so the frosting could set, about a half hour.

After 30 minutes I finished frosting the cake. I added a little extra frosting in the cheek area so the skull would have a more defined look. I then placed it back in the refrigerator so the frosting could firm up.

Once the frosting was firm, I removed the cake from the refrigerator and attempted to smooth the spatula swipe marks by laying a piece of paper towel on sections of the cake and then gently rubbed the sections with my fingers. This worked for the most part, except I then had the imprint of the paper towel on my cake.

Then, the fun part began. I brought my skull to life using fondant & sprinkles. Luckily, I had left-over fondant from the Trolls Cake I made last year. Don’t worry, the fondant was un-opened and still good. Using black fondant and the same round cookie cutter I used to widen the eyes I cut out eye sockets. For the mouth, I actually had a band aid cookie cutter from a Doc McStuffins themed cake I made last year that was the perfect size. You could easily cut out a rectangle using black fondant though. For the nose socket, I cut out a pink heat and then placed it on the cake upside down. And for the rest of the cake I used daisy cutters to cut out different sizes to decorate around the cake along with confetti sprinkles. This was probably one of the simplest cakes I decorated (I feel like I say that about a lot of cakes these days!)

For a more detailed instruction on creating your own Sugar Skull cake check out The Cake Girls

 

Pumpkin Spice Madeleines

One day while brainstorming for pumpkin dessert ideas I thought to myself that Pumpkin Spice Madeleines would be a nice treat. Then a few days later while I was at Starbucks ordering my usual Venti Black Tea Lemonade Sweetened guess what I saw next to the register… Pumpkin Spice Madeleines. I didn’t purchase them as I am partial to their regular madeleines and since I was planning on making a version myself I didn’t want their flavor to cloud my judgment as to how mine should taste.

Originally I was planning on tweaking the recipe I used for Vanilla Madeleines to make a Pumpkin Spice version, but then I came across a recipe that required less ingredients and less time. Both are always a plus. Although I did have my doubts. Especially since the ingredient list did differ greatly in the basics – the amount of eggs, oil vs. butter, the amount of flour and so forth. Thankfully those doubts were futile, these madeleines were a hit! An 8 year old who initially make a yucky face when I told her what they were enjoyed them. And the day after I made them I got a request for more. And I recently made a third batch. So, what do they taste like? Well, I’ll say this, if you like pumpkin bread you’ll love these madeleines. They are made with actual pumpkin purée as well as the spices that make up the notorious pumpkin spice flavor – cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves.

Pumpkin Spice Madeleines

  • Servings: 24 Madeleines
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Ingredients:

3/4 cup pumpkin purée

2 eggs

3/4 cups sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ginger

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon cloves

Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray your Madeleine pans with cooking spray or grease with butter or oil.

In a large bowl, use a hand mixer to beat together the pumpkin, eggs, sugar and oil until smooth. In a medium bowl combine the remaining dry ingredients, except for the confectioners’ sugar, and whisk together.

With the mixer on low speed add half of the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Add the remaining flour mixture and mix until smooth.

Spoon a tablespoonful of the batter into each cavity of the madeleine pan. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until they are puffed up and a cake tester inserted into the middle of one comes out clean. Let cool for a few minutes in the pan and the transfer to a wire rack to cool completely and then dust with confectioners’ sugar.

*If you only have 1 madeleine pan wipe it clean after the first batch and then re-grease it before filling the cavities with the remaining batter.

Recipe from The Yellow Table

Mummy Cake

Are you looking for an easy Halloween cake to make? Well, this Mummy Cake might be the one. It’s simple, doesn’t take a lot of time and you don’t need any fancy cake decorating skills to make it. I got the idea and directions from The Cake Girls. They have an online shop with a bunch of cool baking supplies, recipes and step-by-step tutorials with detailed pictures. I first came across their website on a blog I follow, The Cake Blog. A blog that has an array of wonderful recipes and cake decorating ideas and instructions from various bakers and cake designers.

I purchased a skull pan from The Cake Girls website to create the mummy. Now, if you are a good cake carver you could simply bake a box cake mix (or your favorite cake recipe) in a 9×13 inch pan and then carve out the shape of a skull. Or, if you already own one here’s a new idea to put it to good use. I own quite a few shaped pans that I’ve only used once, but I won’t part with them just in case.

   

To begin, I sprayed the cake pan with baking spray and then poured my cake batter (I used a box cake mix) into the pan. I placed the pan on a baking sheet and baked it in a 350 F preheated oven until a cake tester inserted in the middle came out clean. I let the cake cool in the pan for a few minutes and then inverted it onto a cake board to cool completely. Don’t worry if your cake has a small dome on it and doesn’t lay completely flat. You will be able to hide this minor imperfection with the frosting design. Once the cake was cool I lightly wrapped it in plastic wrap and placed it in the freezer overnight. Having the cake cold makes frosting it much easier. This was my first time freezing a cake and while I know bakeries and a lot of home bakers do it all the time I have always been apprehensive to do so because I fear the cake will end up having a weird taste/aftertaste once it defrosts. But, I am happy to say that this was not the case.

Before removing my cake from the freezer I made the frosting. I decided to make the frosting that was recommended on The Cake Girls website, Brenda’s Bakery Buttercream. It involves using butter and Crisco, which I am sure some people will frown at, but, when I took the Wilton Decorating Classes a few years ago there go-to frosting recipe included Crisco and I recall it tasting great and holding its shape well when it came to decorating. Something else new I tried… Using chocolate frosting (store bought) to make black frosting. I recently read that making black and red frosting is easier to create when starting with chocolate frosting. I can attest that that is the case for black frosting, but, will have to test the theory for red frosting. Perhaps with a Christmas themed cake. Oh, one other thing I tried, Wilton’s new Color Right Performance Food Coloring, for some reason I thought it was only for chocolate (don’t ask me why) but after doing a little research I learned it can be used on frosting. I believe I saw a video on Instagram of someone using it and that prompted me to find out more about it. I must say, I definitely liked the dropper bottles a lot more than their usual gel color containers. I always seem to get the gel on my hands and they get all clumpy and what not after being opened. I think the dropper bottles are the way to go. They are also supposed to be more concentrated so you can get the color you want a lot quicker and can easily mix the colors to get different hues.

Okay, so once my frostings were ready it was time to get to work. I started by applying a thin coat of white frosting on the skull leaving the eye socket area uniced. I iced the socket area and the sides of the cake in that area with the black frosting. At this point I placed the cake in the fridge for a few minutes because I found that the black frosting wasn’t smooth as I was getting a lot of crumbs mixed into it. While the cake was in the refrigerator I prepped two piping bags with two different tips, Ateco #128 (an XL rose decorating tip) and # 45 (a flat decorating tip), and filled each with the white frosting. Also, I prepped the eyeballs for the cake. I purchased Styrofoam eyeballs from my local craft store and using a sharp knife sliced them in half so they would sit flat on the cake.

 

Once the cake had chilled for a bit I added more black frosting to the cake and was able to smooth the icing.

Now it was time to decorate…Starting with the larger tip, I began piping stripes of icing across the cake. Not just merely on top of the cake, but on the sides as well. I covered up some of the black icing, but, left enough of a gap to place the eyeballs. I kept piping until the cake was covered. Don’t worry about minor imperfections or the frosting not laying completely flat, you can cover up anything and everything with the next step.

Once the cake had been covered in the large stripes, I used the smaller tip to fill in any gaps and to give the cake more definition. To give it a more ragged look, I started these smaller stripes from different points on the cake, not just edge to edge. I also added some pieces to the sides of the cake on the cake board as well. And finally, I placed the eyeballs on the cake. I covered the back of them with the black frosting before placing them on the cake so there wouldn’t be the chance of any small Styrofoam pieces getting stuck to the cake and accidentally eaten. What’s really nice about this cake is that there is no right way or wrong way to decorate it. You could go crazy with adding the stripes to give it a real ragged look, or keep it clean and simple with the stripes. Either way, your cake will look perfect.