First Try with a Pastry Bag

Inspired by my new affiliate Sugarcream’s cute and simple decorating technique, I decided to try my hand at decorating. This was my very first time using a piping bag! Most of them were hilariously disastrous, but a few came out okay! I need much more practice, but I’m happy with the way they came out.

I think I prefer the light and fluffy Hershey’s cake recipe I posted here, but this one was delicious, classic, and unbelievably easy!

Recipe from the Better Homes and Garden Cookbook

Chocolate Cake
Makes 12-16 cake servings, or 24 cupcakes

¾ cup butter
3 eggs
2 cups flour
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
2 cups sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1 ½ cups milk

Allow butter and eggs to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. In a medium bowl stir together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

Preheat oven to 350F. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add sugar, ¼ cup at a time, beating on medium speed until well combined. Scrape sides of bowl; beat 2 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Alternately add flour mixture and milk to butter mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. Beat on medium to high speed for 20 seconds more. Spread into greased pans or lined cupcake pans.

For 8-inch pans and 13x9x2 inch pan, bake for 35-40 minutes; for 9-inch pans bake for 30-35 minutes; for cupcakes bake for 20-25 minutes. Test by inserting a toothpick in the middle; should come out clean. Cool thoroughly and frost with desired icing.

White Mini-Cupcakes!

I just got a new cupcake carrier! My old one was falling apart, so I bought the white Martha Stewart one through Macy’s. After I picked it up from the post office I ran to the store to buy some frosting so I could make simple cupcakes. I don’t have a good beater, so nearly the only frostings I can make on my own are buttercream, which I am kind of tired of!

So I had to use canned frosting. I know, I know! Later this week I am planning on making a good frosting on my own (so that I can carry around cupcakes in my cupcake carrier some more!), but I didn’t want two of the same in one week. The cake itself was very good–thick and tasted a bit like pancakes, but better!

Why do mini-cupcakes taste so much better than regular ones? I don’t love big cupcakes, but little ones are delicious!

Recipe from the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook

White Cake
Makes about 24 cupcakes, 48 mini cupcakes

4 egg whites
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ cup butter or shortening, softened
1 ¾ cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/3 cup buttermilk or sour milk

Allow egg whites to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. In a medium bowl stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

Preheat oven to 350F. In large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar and vanilla; beat until well combined. Add egg whites one at a time, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. Alternatively add flour mixture and buttermilk to butter mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just unti combined.

Line muffin or mini-muffin pan with baking cups; fill ¾ full. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near centers come out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.

I made these last night and by the time I could take pictures (I had to wait for the sun to rise!) there were only a few left of the 24 I made. My husband completely devoured them!

I'm sorry!

Apologies for my slow updates lately. I have final exams this week, so I’ve been very busy! After Thursday I’ll have a full two weeks off before my next semester starts (I do about seven quick six-week semesters a year in order to get ahead), so expect plenty of posts then–I have a lot planned!

Until then, I will leave you with this morning’s lazy breakfast:

Kashi Go Lean Crunch! with fresh strawberries.  You can also spy my tea set in the background.

Salzburg, Austria

When did this turn into a travel blog?  I hope you don’t mind, but I love sharing my photos!

My husband and I took a quick trip to Salzburg, Austria this weekend. We went to Innsbruck during the spring, when I declared Austria my favorite country. Autumn-time Austria lived up to what I’d imagined, and it’s still my favorite place I’ve visited! I have a feeling Switzerland will win me over when I finally make my way there, but right now Austria is at the top of my list.

We went on a small Sound of Music tour, which was so exciting as it’s always been one of my favorite movies! These gardens were featured during the song “Do-Re-Mi.” If you look closely, you can see the outline of the fortress in the distance (to the left); too bad it was so foggy!

This wasn’t the actual von Trapp house, but it was used as theirs in the movie. Again, the fortress is in the distance, this time not as foggy.

The Sixteen Going on Seventeen gazebo!

The dome of the Salzburg Cathedral

I’m not much of a beer drinker, but… When in Rome Austria!

Standard photo of Mozart’s birthplace.

Mozart’s piano

It’s was a lot colder than I expected! I ended up having to buy this scarf, which I didn’t mind since I’ve been wanting a mustard-colored scarf for a while ;)

Hearty Eggs

A few weeks ago I woke up at 3AM craving omelets. So I got up and tried to make one, but in my tired delirium and impaired hand-eye coordination, I ended up with scrambled eggs–the best scrambled eggs I’ve ever had! I recreated them today, afraid that they wouldn’t live up to what I remembered, but they were delicious!

I don’t like eggs much, so I had to add a lot of extras. Eggs tend to make me nauseated, but with extra onions, tomatoes, and bacon I do well. This is definitely the breakfast for those who don’t normally like eggs.

The ingredients are vague and can be altered depending on how much you like each vegetable. I love onions and tomatoes, so I put a lot in mine.

Hearty Eggs
Serves 2-3 people

4 eggs
1 Tbs butter
1 onion, diced
4 strips bacon, cumbled
1 tomato or 8 cherry tomatoes
1 green onion, chopped
cheddar cheese, grated
fresh salt and pepper to taste
sour cream

Prepare bacon, onions, tomatoes, and green onion. Set aside. Whip eggs with a few teaspoons of milk.

Melt butter in skillet. Pour in eggs and cook over medium heat, stirring gently every few minutes. Cook until about 70% through, so that there is quite a bit of moisture still and looks a bit like an incomplete omelet. Sprinkle cheese, vegetables, and bacon in center. Scramble until cooked to the consistency you’d like, stirring in salt and pepper. Serve with sour cream.

Mmm, steam!

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