Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Happy Birthday Pumpkin Cake with Ganache

For my sister's birthday, I made her this pumpkin layer cake
along with some delicious Pumpkin White Chocolate Fudge
that I previously posted about.  You can check it out HERE.
This cake has a cream cheese and whipped cream filling
with a semi-sweet chocolate ganache  poured over
and was delicious! If you are a bittersweet
chocolate lover feel free to use that! 
Here is the recipe:
Pumpkin Cake with Ganache Icing
Cake and Filling Ingredients:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 of an 8 oz. pkg cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
Note:  I made this cake recipe twice to get a total of 4 cake layers.

Ganache Ingredients:
2 - 4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate bars (I use Ghiradelli)
1 cup heavy cream
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Grease bottoms of two 8 inch round cake pans.  Line bottoms with parchment paper.  Grease sides of pans and lightly flour.  In one bowl, combine flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, and salt.  In a second mixing bowl, beat eggs and sugar with mixer until thickened - about 5 minutes.  Add pumpkin and beat until combined. Add flour mixture and beat just until combined. Spread cake batter evenly into prepared pans.  Bake 16 to 18 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Cool on rack for 10 minutes, then turn out keeping tops up, and cool completely.
For filling:
Chill your mixing bowl then beat whipping cream to soft peaks.  Set aside.  In a second mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth.  Add and beat in confectioner's sugar.  Carefully fold in the whipped cream.
To assemble cake layers:
Place one cake layer on a cardboard cake round (I used an 8 inch so the ganache would pour down the sides).  Spread cream cheese mixture over bottom cake layer and continue with other layers.  Carefully place on a wire rack sitting on top of a sheet pan.
For ganache:
Finely chop the semi-sweet chocolate bar and place in a bowl set on top of a double boiler (a sauce pan with an inch of simmering water is fine).  As the chocolate begins to melt, pour in the heavy cream.  Let sit as it warms and melt.  Stir until completely combined and is a shiny smooth consistency.
To complete assembly:
Pour warm ganache over cake starting on the top, letting it smooth out and drip down the sides.  Do not go back over the top or it will not stay smooth.  Working quickly, it helps to use a spoon to help spread the ganache on the sides covering any cake still showing.  The trick is to complete the pour while the ganache is still warm.  It will begin setting up quickly so work fast! :)
Let cake sit to firm up before carefully moving to a serving platter.  I do not like to put the ganache in the frig so its best to assemble the day it is eaten (because of the cream cheese filling).
Enjoy and thank you for visiting!
I will be joining the linky party at: 


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Birthday Pumpkin White Chocolate Fudge

My sister recently had a birthday. She is a lover of anything pumpkin.
Growing up, she often requested a pumpkin pie as her birthday cake.
Yep! Candles on a pumpkin pie!

I came across a recipe for Pumpkin Pie Fudge on
 Mountain Breaths blog and decided to include it along
side the Pumpkin Cream Cheese Ganache
layered cake I made for her birthday cake. 
It was equally delicious!
Visit again for a future post for that recipe!

The fudge recipe is fairly simple with the first six ingredients
being cooked stove-top to soft-ball stage then the white
chocolate chips, vanilla, and marshmallow creme stirred in.
No waiting for butter to soften.  I always like that!

I used an 8" square baking pan instead of the original
listed 9x13 in order to get the height of the fudge I preferred.
I also left out the nuts because I have family members who cannot eat them.

I used some of the finished fudge as party favors at the place settings

with other fudge placed on a candlewick depression glass
plate sitting on the tabletop.

The next day, I placed the remaining fudge in candy
wrappers and delivered them to a dear neighbor.

Autumn to me is all about seeing how many different pumpkin
items I can make - some new recipes and some old favorites.

This Pumpkin White Chocolate Fudge is a nice surprise for
guests and incredibly delicious! 
Here is the recipe:

Pumpkin White Chocolate Fudge
(Makes about 3 lbs.)
2 cups white sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks)
5 oz. can evaporated milk
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
2 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
2 cups white chocolate chips
1-7oz jar marshmallow cream
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla 
Line a 9x13 inch baking pan (I used an 8x8!) with foil or parchment paper, leaving some hanging over the side for easy removal. Combine the white sugar, brown sugar, evaporated milk, pumpkin, butter and pumpkin pie spice in a mediums saucepan. Bring to a full rolling boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil, stirring constantly, for 10-12 minutes or until candy thermometer reaches 234 degrees to 240 degrees. Quickly stir in the white chocolate chips, marshmallow cream, pecans and vanilla. Stir vigorously for 1 minute or until the white chocolate chips are melted.  Immediately pour into the prepared pan. Let stand on wire rack for 2 hours or until cooled. Refrigerator tightly covered overnight. Cut into 1 inch pieces. Best stored in refrigerator.
(Note:  If you don't want specks of white chocolate showing, melt the white chocolate chips in the hot sugar mixture first before adding the marshmallow creme.)
There is still time to give this seasonal fudge a try before
the holidays are upon us.  I hope you do!
Thank you for visiting my blog!
This week I will be joining  



Monday, October 14, 2013

Munich's Oktoberfest 2013

I'm just back from Oktoberfest 2013
just about over my jet lag!

I joined my youngest daughter in Munich, Germany.
She has been living there for the past year and
insisted that my visit coincide with their Oktoberfest.
Oktoberfest is the World's largest fair held in
Munich, Bavaria, Germany. (Bavaria is it's region.)
It's a16-day festival beginning late in September and ending
usually the first Sunday in October.
The first Oktoberfest was held in 1810 to commemorate
the wedding of Crowned Prince Ludwig (later King) and Princess Therese.
By 1960, it became the World's largest festival. 
Germans wear their traditional clothing of Dirndls and Lederhosen.

Women can wear either a dirndl or lederhosen but the men, obviously,
just wear the lederhosen like the above picture shows.
More than 6 million
people from around the world attend Oktoberfest.
I was one of the 6 million this year!

The festival is much like our fair complete with Ferris wheel and other rides.
The focus of Oktoberfest is the beer and their breweries -- and hours of beer drinking!
Each beer brewery has a "Biergarten" and
sets up a "tent" on the premise.
These tents are taken down and set up every year!

The breweries also have a team of horses carrying keg/barrels of their beer.

The barrels are gorgeous with their fresh flowers.
We first went inside Hacker Festzelt.

It was the first tent I had gone into and I was in awe
at the size, the beauty, as well as the number of people inside!
We couldn't easily find a place at a table so we
decided to try another tent.

We then went into Augustiner Bräu.

It was equally as beautiful and equally as crowded!
My German-speaking daughter asked occupants at a table if they
 could fit us in and they made room for us!  Yay!

We immediately bought a large pretzel from a cute
"pretzel gal" in her dirndl dress. 
Then we ordered a "mass" of beer - to share.
I was amazed that the servers could hold so many masses of beer.
Her left thumb and fingers were holding the handles to each of the
bottom six and the seventh was just sitting on top!
She made it look effortless!
A mass glass holds 1 liter of beer and is the only size available.
An interesting note on the "Oktoberfest Beer" is that the beer is brewed
specifically for Oktoberfest and must contain a minimum of 6% alcohol.
(A higher alcohol content then in their normally brewed beer.)
It must also be brewed within the city limits of Munich.

Needless to say it is a lively crowd who often arrive and stay at their
tables from 10:30 in the morning until 10:30 at night listening
to the live music, eating, and drinking!
Eins, zwei, drei, Gsuffa!
(One, Two, Three, Drink!)
Food is served all day long...
and can be ordered table-side inside...
(Chicken, red cabbage, and a boiled potato!)
and outside...
 (Sausages and the like!)

and sweets for the sweet tooth!

I was content sharing my mass of beer and pretzel with my daughter.

Another Oktoberfest tradition is buying your sweetie a
decorated gingerbread cookie heart necklace called a Lebkuchenherz.
(Lebkuchen = gingerbread  Herz = heart)

My daughter bought me one that actually means "sweetie"
and I wore it around my neck like a necklace.
Many of them were humorous and endearing like "little mouse".

These gingerbread hearts can also be found again
during the Christmas holidays.

What a fun day to be remembered...

"Until we meet again!"
The next day we were off to visit friends in The Netherlands... Tchus!
Thank you for visiting my blog!
This week I will be joining
The Tablescaper's Oh! The PLACES I've Been!


Saturday, October 12, 2013

Chef's Garden at Hotel Del

Before the weather turns and we are still in season her in So Cal,
I wanted to share with you what I found during a recent walk
with a friend through the Hotel Del (Coronado).

Source: Hotel Del Coronado Images
We came across the hotel's Chef's Garden.

Strawberries, Purple Sage, Spearmint, Chocolate Mint...

 As this sign reads, one can return at 3 pm and be part
of the Chef's harvest as he prepares for that night's menu!
How cool is that?  Unfortunately, I couldn't stay for that
afternoon's harvest but what an awesome thing for them to do!

Just sharing... Thanks for visiting!



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