Saturday, October 11, 2014

Dem Bones

This cake was a commission for a teenager's birthday. I don't think it was part of a larger pirate-themed party, but you could certainly adapt it for that use.

I found a template online and used the transfer technique I learned in my Building Buttercream Skills class to decorate it. I thought it turned out really nice and I heard that the birthday boy loved it!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Flag Cake (Blueberries and Cherries)

The Fourth of July Flag Cake was a little different this year since I used buttercream frosting and cherries instead of whipped cream (or Cool Whip) and strawberries. There was no substitute for the blueberries. I also gave it the right number of red and white stripes, which came out crooked even though I made hash marks. Maybe we'll try it again next year.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Building Buttercream Skills, Class Four (Final Project)

I chose to make ribbon roses for my final project cake. We learned leaves in an earlier class (which are harder than you think!) so I put a few near the roses to give the cake a more "bakery" look. I also practiced my lettering skills and wrote an early birthday greeting on the cake.

Overall, it was a fun class and it made me more confident in using a decorating bag and frosting tips. I will definitely be experimenting with the techniques I learned in this course!

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Building Buttercream Skills, Class Three

We could being in any treat for the third class so I made oversized oatmeal cookies. I figured if Little Debbie could add frosting to her cookies (technically creme filling) so could I!

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Building Buttercream Skills, Class Two

In the second class, we learned how to torte, fill and frost a cake. I chose strawberry jam to go inside my yellow cake. The cake was a sugar bomb since the Wilton recipe for buttercream icing is so sweet!

Monday, October 06, 2014

Chocolate Roses

I took the skills I learned in class and applied them in the real world. Here are Perfectly Chocolate Cupcakes with Perfectly Chocolate Frosting all dressed up and ready to impress.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Building Buttercream Skills, Class One

I took the first course of the Wilton Method of Cake Decorating, which is called Building Buttercream Skills at my local Michaels store. The course consisted of four two-hour classes over four weeks. At the first class, we brought plain cupcakes, which we decorated with the skills we learned that day. I chose roses, swirls and stars, which were pretty basic, but also just pretty.

The cupcakes came from my freezer since I only had to bring in a few. The smaller cupcakes are champagne and the larger ones are chocolate. Unfortunately, these were frosted with the Wilton canned frosting, which tasted really awful. 

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon (Buttercream?) Frosting

I made these cupcakes in honor of a friend's birthday. But, umm, this was back in June so I don't remember what recipe I used. I think it was from a cupcake cookbook I own.

They were delicious! The cake was kind of heavy, but packed a lemony punch. The frosting had a sweet-tart quality. I added a little yellow food-coloring to the frosting to make them more appealing.

If I remember what recipe I used, I'll update this post to include it. Sorry for the incomplete post!

Friday, October 03, 2014

Bunny Baking

I was ambitious this Easter and made a bunny cake, Easter egg cupcakes and assorted Easter-shaped cut-out cookies.

I left the bow tie coconut free. Need help assembling your own bunny cake? Click here for video instructions!

My tia gave me some Easter egg cupcake tins that she bought at a garage sale. This was the first time I used them, and they were cute so I might make them again next year. 

Usually cut-out cookies require frosting and decorating, which I've complained about before. I didn't think I could enlist frosters and decorators like I can at Christmas so I sprinkled them with assorted colored sugar before I popped them in the oven. The decorating was complete as soon as they came off of the baking sheet. And they were still pretty and tasty!

Thursday, October 02, 2014

French Toast

Way back when I made my last baking post about white bread, I used that bread to make French toast. There's really no recipe to put here, but I'll describe it with pictures.

I sliced the bread about an inch thick, dipped it in a mixture of egg, milk and vanilla and grilled it in a little butter. 

I made a filling with cream cheese, cinnamon and powdered sugar. The end result was something between grilled cheese and stuffed French toast. 

I highly recommend using home-baked bread for French toast whenever possible. It is so good!

Wednesday, October 01, 2014


In honor of my birthday month, I've decided to try to update this blog every day until I'm up-to-date on my posts. Most of the backlogged photos are baking-related (as seen on Instagram!) With any luck, I'll post a picture of my birthday cake by Halloween...

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Easy Reader (Listener)

I got through another 10 pretty quickly since the Narnia books are a quick listen. Doing a lot of baking and mindless work helped too. I promise to post the baking updates before I listen to another 10 audiobooks!

1: The Magician's Nephew
  C.S. Lewis

2: The Horse and His Boy
  C.S. Lewis

3: The Light Between Oceans
  M.L. Stedman

4: Mastering the Art of French Eating
  Ann Mah

5: The Sweet Potato Queens' Book of Love
  Jill Conner Browne

6: The Ocean at the End of the Lane
  Neil Gaiman

7: The Maze Runner
  James Dashner

8: Supreme Commander
  Seymour Morris

9: The Last Battle
  C.S. Lewis

10: The Master
  Colm Toibin

Friday, August 22, 2014


I have lots of baking updates to make, but a new list of 10 audio-books is easier to post. Most of these are available on either Overdrive or Hoopla, the new free digital service from the library. 

1: The Tilted World
  Tom Franklin and Mary Ann Fennelly

2: Eleanor & Park
  Rainbow Rowell

3: Born on a Blue Day
  Daniel Tammet

4: The Yellow Birds
  Kevin Powers

5: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
  Mary Ann Shaffer

6: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
  C.S. Lewis

7: Prince Caspian
  C.S. Lewis

8: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
  C.S. Lewis

9: The Silver Chair
  C.S. Lewis

10: The Red Badge of Courage
  Stephen Crane

Monday, June 23, 2014

White Bread

More savory baking! These cute little loafs of white bread are "basic" but very delicious. The bread was much denser than your standard bagged loafs but not chewy or dry. The bread was best when it was still warm and fresh out of the oven, but it was also great the next day as french toast (post coming soon!) and as sandwich bread.

I used the recipe that came in my KitchenAid booklet (also found here,) which was easy to follow. I probably should have made this bread first instead of starting with French bread last year since it was simpler. 

Easy to slice

Ready to eat!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Flour Tortillas

I've helped my grandmother make flour tortillas before, but I had never made them by myself. Below are pictures from my first attempt to make them from scratch on the comal I received as a Christmas present.   

This recipe seemed reasonably close to my grandmother's (which isn't measured). More importantly, the picture  LOOKED right.

Store-bought or restaurant flour tortillas are often pale imitators of their homemade counterparts. Real flour tortillas should have dark char marks where they came in contact with the cooking surface.

The prettiest one!

Saturday, June 07, 2014

It's Like Cup-a-Soup but with Pictures!

I'm trying to keep this blog relatively up to date, but if you want more frequent updates on my baking and other adventures, please check out my Instagram feed. I've added a badge under the "About Me" section on the right. It's really easy to find me though since it's also called Deitri.
Or just click the badge in this post!


Thursday, April 24, 2014

... with Books!

Another list of 10. Three of these audio-books were for a book club. Shh... don't tell the other members I didn't READ the books.

1: The Wind in the Willows
  Kenneth Grahame

2: The Dead and the Gone
  Susan Beth Pfeffer

3: The Hound of the Baskervilles
  Arthur Conan Doyle

4: The Age of Miracles
  Karen Thompson Walker

5: How to Retire the Cheapskate Way.
  Jeff Yeager

6. How to Be a Pirate
  Cressida Cowell

7: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
  Rebecca Skloot

8: Perfect Health Diet
  Paul Jaminet

9: The Book of Air and Shadows
  Michael Gruber

10: Princesses Behaving Badly
  Linda Rodriguez McRobbie

Monday, April 07, 2014

Indoor S'mores

I had some graham crackers that I wanted to use up and found this recipe for Simple S'mores. I stuck pretty close to the recipe but skipped spreading the melted chocolate across the crackers since I thought it was unnecessary and would make them more s'more-like to leave the chips whole but soft. I also broiled the marshmallows until they were very puffy and brown.

I tried them both open-faced and smooshed together like a sandwich and would recommend the sandwich. Also, I lined a jellyroll pan with nonstick aluminum foil to make clean-up easier and to catch the marshmallows that fell off the s'mores. I love caramelized marshmallows!

Sunday, March 30, 2014


My eldest nephew's Valentine's Day birthday cake. This year his little brother helped me put some heart-shaped sprinkles on both the main cake and the cupcakes. I thought the fresh strawberries would give it a bakery look. 

As usual, the cake was Double Fudge Chocolate Cake with raisin-size pieces of dried strawberries. The frosting is Mrs. Milman's Chocolate Frosting. The cupcakes don't have any dried strawberry pieces for the crazy few guests who don't like that delicious combination.

The center of the two-layer cake (not pictured) was diced fresh strawberries in a strawberry glaze. I've been looking for a homemade strawberry glaze recipe for years, and it only occurred to me to look for one in a strawberry pie recipe this year. It was sweet and delicious, and I'll never use store-bought glaze again!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Rice Krispies Treats

Everyone and their mother can make Rice Krispies Treats. But since I've been complimented more than once on mine, I thought I'd do a post about them.

I always use mini-marshmallows since they melt faster than regular ones. It's very important to completely melt the marshmallows - make sure there are no lumps!

I add the Rice Krispies to the melted marshmallows slowly - by the cupful if possible. It's easier if you can have someone else add them while you stir the marshmallow mixture. You should stir the mixture very well - there shouldn't be blobs of marshmallows left before you pour it into the pan.

Instead of cooking spray, I butter the pan with A LOT of butter. Once I pour the mixture into the pan, I lightly butter my hands and press the mixture into the pan with bare hands. Once it's pressed,into shape, I flip the entire thing and press it again. This makes them both more buttery and prettier.

Sorry if these "tips" seem obvious, but I've found that small details in preparation can make a huge difference in the final product.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Winners and Losers

My choices are in CAPS. Feel free to crib my picks.
(Note: Edited)

Christian Bale (American Hustle)
Bruce Dern (Nebraska)
Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street)
CHIWETEL EJIOFOR (12 Years a Slave)
Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)

It was hard to watch so it must have been even harder to act. 

Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips)
Bradley Cooper (American Hustle)
Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave)
Jonah Hill (The Wolf of Wall Street)
JARED LETO (Dallas Buyers Club)

He was very convincing as Rayon and damn could he walk in some heels!

Amy Adams (American Hustle)
Sandra Bullock (Gravity)
Judi Dench (Philomena)
Meryl Streep (August: Osage County)

Just going with the front runner since I didn't see the movie.

Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine)
Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle)
LUPITA NYONG'O (12 Years a Slave)
Julia Roberts (August: Osage County)
June Squibb (Nebraska)

I really liked June Squibb, but Lupita Nyong'o is a fresh face and had a challenging role that she did very well.

The Croods
Despicable Me 2
Ernest & Celestine
The Wind Rises

Let it go, Academy. Let it go.

American Hustle
12 Years a Slave

It's got great in the title so it has to win. 

The Grandmaster (Philippe Le Sourd)
GRAVITY (Emmanuel Lubezki)
Inside Llewyn Davis (Bruno Delbonnel)
Nebraska (Phedon Papamichael)
Prisoners (Roger A. Deakins)

I believed Sandra Bullock was lost in space.

AMERICAN HUSTLE (Michael Wilkinson)
The Grandmaster (William Chang Suk Ping)
The Great Gatsby (Catherine Martin)
The Invisible Woman (Michael O'Connor)
12 Years a Slave (Patricia Norris)

Lots of white fabric was put to good use in that movie. 

The Act of Killing
Cutie and the Boxer
Dirty Wars
The Square

The backup singers' lament. 

CaveDigger (Jeffrey Karoff)
Facing Fear (Jason Cohen)
Karama Has No Walls (Sara Ishaq)
The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life (Malcolm Clarke, Nicholas Reed)
PRISON TERMINAL: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall (Edgar Barens)

I didn't research this category. 

American Hustle (Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers, Alan Baumgarten)
Captain Phillips (Christopher Rouse)
Dallas Buyers Club (John Mac McMurphy, Martin Pensa)
GRAVITY (Alfonso Cuarón, Mark Sanger)
12 Years a Slave (Joe Walker)

The Broken Circle Breakdown, Belgium
The Great Beauty, Italy
The Hunt, Denmark
The Missing Picture, Cambodia
OMAR, Palestine

DALLAS BUYERS CLUB, (Adruitha Lee, Robin Mathews)
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa (Stephen Prouty)
The Lone Ranger (Joel Harlow, Gloria Pasqua-Casny)

Hard to believe American Hustle wasn't nominated in this category!

The Book Thief (John Williams)
Gravity (Steven Price)
HER (William Butler, Owen Pallett)
Philomena (Alexandre Desplat)
Saving Mr. Banks (Thomas Newman)

Happy from Despicable Me 2
The Moon Song from Her
Ordinary Love from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

Get a Horse!
Mr. Hublot

My littlest nephew likes this story.

Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn’t Me)
Avant Que De Tout Perdre (Just before Losing Everything)
The Voorman Problem

All Is Lost
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Lone Survivor

Water and gunfire are probably hard to sound edit.

Captain Phillips
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Lone Survivor

Movie about a musician. Seems like a logical choice. 

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Iron Man 3
The Lone Ranger
Star Trek Into Darkness

In space, no one can see your green screen. 

Before Midnight (Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke)
Captain Phillips (Billy Ray)
Philomena (Steve Coogan, Jeff Pope)
12 YEARS A SLAVE (John Ridley)
The Wolf of Wall Street (Terence Winter)

True stories must be hard to adapt. (I tossed a figurative coin)

American Hustle (Eric Warren Singer, David O. Russell)
Blue Jasmine (Woody Allen)
Dallas Buyers Club (Craig Borten, Melisa Wallack)
HER (Spike Jonze)
Nebraska (Bob Nelson)

I'm sure the guy in a "real relationship" with his OS is mad he didn't write this screenplay. Or did he?

American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club
The Wolf of Wall Street

Tough choice but I think the most serious picture will win.

American Hustle (David O. Russell)
GRAVITY (Alfonso Cuarón)
Nebraska (Alexander Payne)
12 Years a Slave (Steve McQueen)
The Wolf of Wall Street (Martin Scorsese)

Did any other director thank their mom in the credits?

Good luck to the winners!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Sour Cream Cornbread

I made a lot of chili on Super Bowl Sunday (about 10 quarts.) I froze most of it, but I made this delicious Sour Cream Cornbread to go with the few bowls we ate that night. Sure, I could have just bought a box of Jiffy and called it a day, but I thought I'd try to find a recipe that would be moist but still have a good crumb. The bread had a great texture and did not dry out for a few days. I will definitely make more as I defrost and eat the chili.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Thanksgiving Treats

I've fallen a bit behind on my posts. Hey! Remember Thanksgiving? It's my favorite holiday and not just because of the four desserts we served this year. The goodies are pictured below.

From left to right: apple pie with a crumb topping, pumpkin roll, cheesecake topped with pomegranate arils, and pumpkin pie. I made the apple pie and the cheesecake.

We have a "family" recipe for cheesecake, but I wanted to try a recipe that used a springform pan since I bought one ages ago but have never used it. After reading a few recipes, I chose the Classic Cheesecake recipe because I liked the inclusion of sour cream in both the main cheesecake and the topping. It produced a silky smooth texture in the dense dessert and gave the topping the right amount of tang for a nice contrast. I believe I followed the recipe, but I might have omitted the orange zest (sorry, it's been a while.)

The apple pie recipe came from my King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion. I'm not sure I'm satisfied with the crumb or streusel topping so I might try a different version next time.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Ten More Listens

Another list of 10 audio-books completed. I've actually listened to more books than those listed, but I decided not to include audio-books if I've read the printed edition. By the way, I'm open to suggestions if there is a book I should read.

1: Naked
  David Sedaris

2: Lean In
  Sheryl Sandberg

3: Zealot
  Reza Aslan

4: Salt Sugar Fat
  Michael Moss

5: Mother, Wife, Sister, Human, Warrior, Falcon, Yardstick, Turban, Cabbage.
  Rob Delaney

6: Fortunately, the Milk
  Neil Gaiman

7: Life As We Knew It
  Susan Beth Pfeffer

8: Becoming Mr. October
  Reggie Jackson

9: David and Goliath
  Malcolm Gladwell

10: Founding Mothers
  Cokie Roberts