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Ultimate Cake

Ultimate Cake

5 of 5 stars Bake your cake and eat it too! February 10, 2003

Barbara Maher is an award-winning cookbook author who was born in Germany and brought up in England. She is fluent in German, French and Italian which allows her to conduct extensive research in a wide range of international cookbooks dating back to the fifteenth century. This is an amazing cookbook because it also includes a wide variety of cakes that you might not have heard of in an English/American cookbook.

This book is a collection of the world's finest cakes. There are such divine cakes in this cookbook, you will be seduced by lavishness. Not only are there full-color pictures displaying a bakeryful of tempting tastes, there are more than 100 recipes for cakes and desserts for every occasion. If you are looking for a light, airy treat for an afternoon snack you might choose lacy Florentines.

If you are new to making some of the cakes, there are easy-to-follow photographic sequences that demonstrate every essential baking and decorating technique. Whether you want to know how to pipe rosettes or sugar-frost flowers, it is all explained in pictures.

You can find recipes for: Luxury Layer Cakes, Chocolate Cakes, Cheesecakes, Flans & Tarts, Meringues, Fruit & Nut Cakes, Pastries & Cookies, Wedding Cakes, Children's Party Cakes, Butter Cakes, Sponge Cakes, Nut & Seed Cakes.

There are easy-to-follow instructions for:

Icings & Other Finishes
Piping Methods
Decorating with Chocolate
Cake Decorations
Fruit Preparations
Fillings, Icings & Toppings

There is an entire section on key ingredients and equipment used in cake making. This is the section where you can see all the basic skills required for baking. Basic ingredients are pictured. There are also "enriching" ingredients. The "bakeware" section is helpful because at times you can read "Balmoral pan" and have no idea what that is. I had never seen one myself.

I liked the "variations" on the butter Cakes recipe. You can chose to make a simple butter cake or turn it into a chocolate marble pound cake, a mixed spice pound cake or a fresh apricot pound cake which actually looks the best with icing dripping all over it.

I had never thought of using green grapes to decorate a cake. It is such a fresh beautiful idea. How about fresh cherries, mint leaves and chocolate curls?

Some of the delicious recipes include:

Fruit & Spice Cakes - could make a beautiful Christmas Gift that would not be soon forgotten. Chocolate Eclairs, Buche de Noel and Italian Easter Cake look divine.

Delicious Yummy Cakes that you will definitely want to make!

~The Rebecca Review


Baking Supplies



Healthy Multigrain Bread, August 2, 2006

If you love making your own bread at home in the bread machine or by hand, this 10-Grain Baking Blend is bound to impress. You can add a few tablespoons to your bread recipes to add to the nutritional value.

Ingredients: Organic wheat flakes, organic cracked wheat, white wheat bran, wheat germ, organic rye flakes, organic yellow cornmeal, organic whole grain barley flakes, organic whole grain quinoa, organic thick oat flakes, low-fat soy flour, short brown rice, organic hulled millet and brown flaxseed.

I used this tonight and the results were impressive. My husband couldn't wait to get a slice of bread.

Other ingredients you might want to look for include: instant yeast, all-purpose flour, mild molasses, wheat germ, thick rolled oats, yellow cornmeal and pumpernickel flour.

By making bread at home, you can have hot bread from the oven in no time and everyone is happy. There is a definite comfort factor when making breads at home. With this 10-Grain Baking Blend, you can create many new recipes that will enhance your family's health.

You could add this to pancakes, scones, homemade granola, muffins, cookies and an entire list of baked goods.

~The Rebecca Review





Unique Find, August 1, 2006

Many people have peanut or nut allergies and eating pumpkin seeds may be a good alternative and delicious solution. These are also a good substitute for almond or hazelnut praline in your chocolate truffle or candy recipes. You can add these to bread dough, trail mix, chocolate chip cookie dough or even scones and muffin batters.

Ingredients: Sugar, pumpkin seeds, spice, salt and caramel color.

The taste is similar to a pumpkin pie spice, with cinnamon as the featured spice element. If you plan on sharing these or baking, you may want to order two bags.

~The Rebecca Review



SAF Instant Yeast


A Reliable Product - Makes delicious breads..., August 2, 2006

If you love using your bread machine and want a reliable yeast that does not need to be proofed (can't remember the last time I did that), then this yeast will make your life much easier. While this is not a rapid yeast, the bread does seem to rise more quickly than with packets of yeast from the grocery store. This saves time and gives you an empowered feeling instead of the "Is this going to rise or not?" feeling.

The yeast can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer and is very convenient to use. Unlike the yeast cakes, you don't have to worry about mixing it with water or milk. You just measure it into the bread machine.

Here is the recipe I love making for Focaccia bread. It turns out wonderful and you can start it in the bread machine or make it by hand. We serve this in slices or squares topped with butter and fresh rosemary or an herbed cream cheese. Perfect with homemade soup in the winter.

Focaccia for the Bread Machine (start in machine, finish by hand)

2 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons Saf instant yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons freshly crushed sea salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 cups all-purpose flour (the Baker's Catalogue sells an amazing flour)

Measure the water, yeast, sugar, salt, olive oil and flour into the bread pan. Program for white bread, dough cycle and large loaf. After the dough has been kneaded, you can put it in a large stainless bowl and cover the dough with a damp cloth. I normally forget it is in there and catch it just before it is about to rise over the top of the pan, so it still works, either way. You could also use half the ingredients for just one loaf if you want to let it rise in the bread machine

Let it rise until double in a warm place. My secret it to turn the oven on and then almost immediately off (just leave it on until you feel some heat on your hand) and this seems to create a "just warm enough" environment for bread to rise. Punch down and divide into thirds. Roll out two squares and one elongated loaf. This works well on the regular size cookie sheets. If you have a larger cookie sheet, you can roll the dough into two 8-inch squares.

Make deep indents with the end of the rolling pin handle at regular intervals. Then brush with olive oil. Let the bread rise until almost doubled.

Either sprinkle with sea salt or sprinkle with dried or fresh rosemary and sea salt. You can also top the dough with tomato slices, onion slices and sliced and pitted Kalamata olives before baking.

Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.

After the bread cools, it will slice easily and it freezes very well. I normally slice two loaves and cut one into squares for sandwiches.

To make an Herbed Cream Cheese: Blend together 1/3 cup butter, 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, 2 teaspoons dried parsley, 2 teaspoons dried rosemary and 1 teaspoon dried thyme.

The idea for this bread came to me after visiting a sandwich shop at a garden center in Seattle. After arriving home from visiting my grandmother, I knew I had to try to make the cream cheese and the bread because they were perfect to serve with homemade soup.

This bread has a lot of possibilities so you can vary the toppings to suit the types of soups you are serving.

The Instant yeast always works and with a bread machine, you end up feeling like a professional baker. The results are sure to impress. The bread always has a "fresh from the bakery" taste unlike the taste of breads made with packets of yeast.

~The Rebecca Review


Raspberry Snaps


Buttery Raspberry Goodness, July 20, 2006

Delicate and crunchy buttery shortbread cookies have been rolled in raspberry flavored confectioners' sugar. You might want to buy two tins because these will be gone in a "snap."

Otherwise, they do sort of snap as you bite into them and they have an intriguing crunchy textures that is also buttery and especially delicious. Perfect for tea parties, as a gift or to savor as a personal indulgence.

Ingredients: flour, cornstarch, powdered sugar, butter, margarine, vanilla, salt and raspberry juice.

The high-quality tin makes this very gourmet and the raspberry cookies would go very well with a raspberry tea.

~The Rebecca Review





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