Mar 132013
Lemon Cake

Lemon Cake

So today is Neil’s birthday. Happy Birthday NEIL! Now, I thought I loved Lemon, Neil brings it to a whole new level. That was one of the reasons I knew he was perfect. Every year growing up his Mom, on his birthday would make him this Lemon Cake. A few years ago, I asked him what kind of cake he wanted for his birthday and he asked me to make the cake his mom would make for him. I was so nervous, thinking this was some old family recipe, that she has made it so many times she doesn’t really know the recipe it just kind of comes naturally to her. So many thoughts were going through my mind, and then I got the recipe. Relief! Neil’s favorite cake comes from a box with a few additions! I did import these few ingredients when we were home over the holidays just to make sure I had them.




Lemon Cake Recipe

Preheat oven @350 F

1 Lemon Cake Box

1 Box of Lemon Jello (small box)

3/4 Cup of Water

3/4 Cup Wesson Oil

4 Eggs

2 greased 9 inch round cake pans.

1 batch of Lemon Buttercream Frosting

In a bowl place all the ingredients and mix together until all combined. Evenly distribute in cake pans and bake for 30 minutes, until tester comes out clean. Let cool on rack before frosting.

Frost one side of the cake and I then put a layer of Haribo gummies. To some, this may sound a bit much, but Neil has the biggest sweet tooth and it is his Birthday, so I thought I would go overboard on the Sugar.

Layer of Gummies

Layer of Gummies

The add the next cake layer and frost the remainder of the cake. I decorated the top with some Lemon Heads. If you like Lemon and Sugar- then look no further this is the cake for you!



 Posted by at 10:24 am
Mar 132013

Now to go with the super artificial flavored lemon cake, here is some super lemony frosting. I find with the french buttercreams, there are a couple of tricks. 1) you have to let it cool before adding the butter, I don’t always have patiences, but it is key. 2) You really need to whip it for a good 6-8 minutes once butter has been added, it looks soupy and lumpy before it become thicker and smooth. I always am nervous it won’t work out but then I continue to whip and somehow it comes together in the end, just how I wanted it!

3 Eggs

3 Egg Yolks

1 1/2 Cup of Sugar

3/4 Cup of Water

1 Pound of Butter

2 Teaspoons of Lemon Extract

Yellow Food Coloring

In a sauce pan melt the sugar and water stirring occasionally until it reaches 238 F. Remove and pour into a heat proof bowl to stop the cooking.

Sugar and Water Reaching 238

Sugar and Water Reaching 238

While the sugar is cooking, whip the egg yolks and eggs on high until fluffy about 5 minutes.

Whipped Eggs & Yolks

Whipped Eggs & Yolks

Slowly pour in sugar and continue whipping for 5 minutes adding the lemon extract and food coloring. Once the mixture has COOLED completely add the butter in a little at a time. (Cut the butter into little pieces) And continue to whip on high until it is smooth. This could take up to 7 or 8 minutes. And now ready to frost the Lemon Cake!

Lemon Buttercream Frosting

Lemon Buttercream Frosting




Mar 112013

Giants Meringues, I see all the time here and also in Paris. I was kind of surprised with the prevalence with which I see them and I had never seen them in the States. As Easter approaches, I thought it would be fun to make these Giant Meringues and scoop out the center to make a nest then fill with chocolate eggs. These are actually super simple and turned out really cute.

Giant Meringue Nests

Giant Meringue Nests

7 Egg Whites

2 Cups of White Granulated Sugar (Heated in oven in a heat proof dish at 375 for 5 minutes)

1 Teaspoon of Vanilla

1/2 Teaspoon Cream of Tartar

Food Coloring Optional

Mini Chocolate Eggs

In a standing mixer with a whisk attachment whip the egg whites and cream of tartar until frothy then slowly add the warmed sugar and vanilla and whip on high for about 5-7 minutes until holds peaks.

Add this point if you want you can drop a couple drops of food coloring and lightly stir in to give a swirl of color.

Make 1 and 1/2 cup heaps of meringue on top a baking sheet with a silpat. Scoop out the center of the mound to form the nest. This will make about 10 nests. Bake at 230 F for 1.5 hours.

Let cool before adding chocolate eggs to the center. You could use jelly beans too!


 Posted by at 2:18 pm
Feb 072013

I heart Nutella! I love it soo much I can’t keep it in my apartment. Otherwise, I would literally eat it buy the spoonful. I usually reserve my Nutella indulgences to when I am traveling and they have it at breakfast. I revert to excitement I had the first time I had nutella at age 5. But since this is for my birthday, I made an exception and bought some to make Nutellla frosting to go on top of my Bueno Bar Cupcakes.

4 Egg White

1/2 Cup of Sugar

3/4 Cup of Nutella at room temperature so it is soft

2 sticks of Butter

In a double boiler  over medium heat, whisk the egg whites and sugar together until the sugar has completely dissolved. Remove from heat and pour into a mixing bowl with a whisk attachment and whisk until stiff peaks form about 5 minutes. Wait until whites have completely cooled before adding Nutella and Butter. Remove the whisk attachment and use a beater  to whip up the frosting another 3-4 minutes.  Now ready to frost cupcakes!


 Posted by at 12:10 pm
Jan 312013

Now these I am excited about! I make Neil rate my food when I make something new, just because I sometimes can’t taste things well when I have been working on something for a while. All the flavors start to blend together. I was shocked he gave them a 9+! I have never gotten a 10 out of him yet.  He had one last night brought the rest of them into the office this morning and ate another one at 715 am.

Cookie Dough Cupcakes

Cookie Dough Cupcakes

Cookie Dough Cupcake

1 Cup of Brown Sugar

1/3 Cup of White Sugar

6 Tablespoons of Butter

2 Teaspoons of Vanilla

2 Eggs

1/2 Cup of Whole Milk or Buttermilk

1 1/2 Cups of Flour

1 Teaspoon of Baking Powder

Pre Heat Oven 350

In a mixing bowl mix the butter and sugar together for 2-3 minutes until fluffy and add in the eggs and vanilla followed by the milk  on slow. The sift in the flour and baking powder and mix until well combined. Evenly distribute among 12 cupcake wrappers in a muffin tin and bak for 18 minutes until a taster comes out clean.

Cookie Dough

Since eating raw I took out the eggs and replaced with milk as a liquid

1 stick of butter

1/2 Cup of Brown Sugar

1/4 Cup of Sugar

1 Cup of Flour

3 Tablespoons of Milk

2 Teaspoons of Vanilla

1 Cup of Mini Chocolate Chips

In a mixing bowl mix the butter and sugars together and add the milk and vanilla. Mix until combined and then mix in the flour. When well combined slowly mix in the chocolate chips.

Cookie Dough Filling

Cookie Dough Filling


With a spoon take out about a tablespoon of the cupcake from the top and fill with a tablespoon of the cookie dough. Frost with Cookie Dough Frosting








Jan 312013

Sometimes I am not sure what inspires and when I have that bee in my bonnet of an idea, I can’t stop till I try it. Neil and I both love cookie dough, he might a little more than me. I thought perfect, I am going to try and make a cookie dough cupcake, but the frosting will be the key to its success. I made three different versions of frosting and on the third try I nailed it! Neil’s reaction to the frosting, “You wrote this down so you can do it again right?” Occasionally, I make things and in the creative process I forget to write down what I have done! I made a French butter cream frosting. The difference between French butter cream and Italian is egg whites versus egg yolks.

Cookie Dough Frosting

Cookie Dough Frosting

4 Egg Yolks

1 Tablespoon of Vanilla extract

1/3 Cup of Corn Syrup

3/4 Cup of Dark Brown Sugar

2 Tablespoons of Water

1 Cup + 6 tablespoons of Unsalted Butter

3/4 Cup of Mini Chocolate Chips

In a saucepan add the corn syrup, brown sugar, and water using a candy thermometer bring to a 245 stirring occasionally. While the sugar is melting in a mixing bowl with a whisk attachment whip the egg yolk and vanilla until light and fluffy this will take about 5 minutes on high. Once the sugar has reach 245 remove and slowly pour into the whipped egg yolks. Continue whipping the egg yolks as you pour in the the sugar to prevent the yolks from curdling. Whip until well combined another 3-4 minutes. Before adding the butter you want to make sure the sugar has cooled otherwise you will end up with melted butter and a mess. Once the whipped sugar has cooled you can whip in the butter a  few pieces at a time. Once whipped and thickened add the chocolate chips. Now it is ready to top the cupcakes!


Jan 252013

Hazelnut Truffles


There is something about chocolate that is comforting. As snow descended upon London this past weekend, I got it in my head that it was perfect timing to make Truffles. I also prefer Milk Chocolate and Love Nutella so I thought, why not make Hazelnut Truffles.  This was a perfect activity to do as I watched the snow fall. By North East and Midwest standards this would be considered flurries, here a large storm!  Also, that evening I was able to package them up and bring them as a little hostess gift, rest I gave to Neil to bring to his office.

View of snow from our flat

View of snow from our flat


1 Cup of Hazelnut nuts with skins off and roasted for 10 minutes

3/4 Cup of Sugar

1/2 Cup of Water

20 oz of chocolate of Milk Chocolate

1/2 Cup of Cream

4 oz of Butter

14 oz of either Milk Chocoalte, Dark Chocolate, or White Chocolate

In a sauce pan bring sugar and water to a boil until it becomes a light amber color. This will take about 10-12 minutes. On a jellyroll pan spread out hazelnuts over a silpat and pour the melted sugar over the hazelnuts and let set and harden. Once cooled and hardened break off pieces and pulse in a food processor until it breaks up into little crumbs. Set aside.

In a double broiler melt the chocolate, cream, and butter. Once melted and smooth, let cool slightly and then stir in ground hazelnuts. Place in Refrigerator until completely chilled about 2 hours.


Forming Truffles

I used a small Ice Cream Scoop and scooped out balls of chocolate hazelnut goodness and placed on a baking sheet with a silpat underneath. (basically I have multiple silpats in every size and USE THEM ALL THE TIME!) I put them in the freezer for about 1 hour to make them easier to work with.

In a double boiler melt 14 oz of Milk Chocolate or Dark or White or a mixture of all Three! (separately!) Once chocolate is smooth and completely melted place a ball of hazelnut goodness in the chocolate and roll around until all covered and place on a baking with a silpat and let the chocolate harden completely!

ENJOY! Happy Friday I hope you have a good weekend!







Jan 192013

Now to finish the meal, I made Rice Krispies Treats to bring home to their two children. Neither being American, I thought I could share the joy of one of my favorite childhood treats. I also gave some to an American friend of mine here,  sometimes you can’t go wrong with a childhood classic.


Rice Crispy Treat

Rice Crispy Treat

I just used the original recipe from Kellogg’s and added 2 teaspoons of Vanilla extract to the melted marshmallow. I also topped with some sprinkles for a more festive and fun presentation.

Jan 182013
Thomas Keller's Plum Tart

Thomas Keller’s Plum Tart


Finally dessert, I did not go super healthy, but I thought since I served a fruit tart it could go under a very large umbrella of healthy.  This recipe came Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery cookbook. I love his cookbooks, they are beautiful and so educational in how he explains all of his steps. Each of his books I own truly inspire me when I flip through them from time to time.

Pate Sucree- The Crust

2 1/2 Cups of Flour

1/4 Cup + 21/2 Tablespoons of Powdered Sugar

3/4 Cup + 1 Tablespoons of Powdered Sugar

1/4 Cup + 3 Tablespoons of Almond Flour

8 oz. of Unsalted Butter

3 1/2 Tablespoons of Eggs or 56 Grams

In a bowl sift the flour, 1/4 Cup + 1Tablespoon of Powdered Sugar and Almond Flour

In a separate bowl, mix the butter with a paddle attachment and cream together till it has the consistency of mayonnaise. Sift the remaining powdered sugar and mix for 1 minute, until fluffy. Add the dry ingredients in 2 additions, mixing for 15-30 seconds after each or until combined. Scrape down the sides and add the eggs and mix on low speed until just combined 15-30 seconds.

Transfer dough to surface and work it together. Divide the dough into two equal portions and form a 4×6 inch rectangle, about 3/4 inch . Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm about 2 hours, but preferably overnight. Can be frozen up to 1 month.

Almond Cream 

1/2 Cup + 2 Tablespoons of Almond Flour

2 1/2 Teaspoons of Flour

2.5 Ounces of Butter

1/2 Cup + 2 Tablespoons of Powdered Sugar

2 Tablespoons + 2 Teaspoons of Eggs

Sift the almond flour and flour in a bowl and whisk together. In a standing mixing mix the butter until the consistency of mayonnaise and sift in powdered sugar. Beat until fluffy about 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and add the almond mixture and mix on low for 30 seconds. Add the eggs and mix on low until smooth. Out cream into a container and place a piece of plastic wrap on the cream to prevent skin form forming. Refrigerate until cook or up to 4 days. Before using bring to room temperature.

Plum Tart

Pre heat Oven 350 F

5 large plums (about 2 inches in diameter) Cut into 1/8 inch wedges

Place dough between two pieces of parchment paper and roll out dough to be inserted into and 8 by 3/4 inch tart ring. ( I used a 9 inch tart ring) Once rolled to desired size take top layer of parchment paper off and flip the dough inside the tart ring. Now Thomas Keller says to use a pastry bag to pipe in the almond cream, but I skipped that step and evenly spread it inside the tart shell.  Then arrange the plum wedges on top of the cream. You want it to be very full as the fruit shrinks when baking.

Bake for 45 minute until the crust is well browned. Let cool completely before serving.

To finish- I heated 2 Tablespoons of Plum Jelly until in a liquid state and brushed the top of the tart.




 Posted by at 7:54 am
Dec 052012

The first time I had this was on our Honeymoon when we were staying in the Tea Country of Sri Lanka. I thought it was delicious. When out I have sometimes been known to ask how things are made, as I did with this in Sri Lanka. I was totally surprised that it had dates in it. You don’t taste them at all and  it completely blew me away. Upon moving to London, I have found that is a quintessential British Dessert. Having made this a few times and tweaking the recipe here and there I came up with one that I LOVE! It is a perfect dessert as it starts to get colder and the flavors remind me of the holidays.

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Sticky Toffee Pudding

1 Recipe of Citrus Caramel Sauce

Sticky Toffee Pudding Recipe

Preheat the Oven 375 Degrees and Grease  12.5 by 8 Inch baking dish

1 1/2 Cup of pitted Dates Chopped

1 1/4 Cup of Boiling Water

1 Teaspoon of Baking Soda

4 Tablespoons of Butter

3/4 Cup of Light Brown Sugar

3/4 Cup of Dark Brown Sugar

1/4 Teaspoon of ground Cloves

1/2 Teaspoon of Cinnamon

2 Eggs

1 1/2 cup of Flour

1 Teaspoon of Baking Powder

1 Cup of Chopped Toasted Pecans

Take about half of the Citrus Caramel Sauce and spread evenly in the baking dish and place in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. In a separate bowl place the dates, baking soda, and boiling water and let the dates moisten while making the rest of the pudding. In another bowl mix together both sugars and butter until combined about 1-2 minutes and add the eggs, one at a time, with the cloves and cinnamon. Slowly mix in the flour and baking soda. Once all well combined add the date mixture and lastly the toasted chopped Pecans. Remove the baking dish from the freezer and pour in the batter. Bake for about 30 minute.

Heat the remaining Citrus Caramel sauce and our a little over each piece and serve with either whipped cream or Vanilla Ice Cream. Serve warm. It will literally melt in your mouth!