Monthly Archives: February 2011

Chocolate. Cherries. Whipped Cream.

I find myself pondering the things in life that I simply could not do without.

Everyday ordinary things that somehow have become integral to my very existence.

Like my iPhone. If I couldn’t check my Twitter every hour you might find me shaking in a corner somewhere in a cold sweat. Or if I just couldn’t play Tap Tap Revenge I’d probably start obsessively drumming three fingers on every and any surface I could get my rhythm deprived hands on.

My camera. Being a self-professed shutter bug I snap photos of lots of pretty things edible or otherwise. If it broke or got stolen one day I’d probably cry. Like ugly-face-desperate-air-gasping-cry.

My laptop. I’ve filled this baby to the brim with photos, music and videos. When people aren’t looking I stroke it and whisper sweet nothings into its air vents. One of these days we’re going to have a disagreement regarding the location of some very important files and I want to put that off for as long as possible.

My hair straightener. Without it my hair get’s poofy and I will not walk through life with poofy hair. I just won’t. I refuse.

Burt’s Bees pomegranate rosemary lip balm. I can’t stand lipstick and it makes kissing my fella far too complicated. This lip balm makes my lips just slightly redder and smooth plus it’s pretty much all natural which is nice.

My fella, of course! You saw that coming right? Who else would laugh at my bad puns, warm up my feet when they’re cold or eat the bits of leftover cake I levelled off the top?

Chocolate.

Cherries.

Whipped cream.

Lucky for me this cake has all three of those last things. Now if it was just filled with iTunes cards I’d be laughing.



Swiss Black Forest Cake

Source: Adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s The Cake Bible.

4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup boiling water
4 eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cake flour (or substitute)

2 1/2 tsp powdered gelatin
1/3 cup water
3 cup whipping cream
3 tbsp granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

1 454g can pitted bing cherries
3 tbsp spiced rum

1 ounce semisweet chocolate, grated or shaved

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Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and position a rack in the center. Butter and flour a 9 inch spring form pan and set it aside.

In a small heavy sauce pan combine the chopped chocolate and water then bring it to a slow boil over low heat, stirring constantly. Remove it from the heat once it thickens to a pudding consistency and stirring leaves temporary lines in the surface. Set it aside and let it cool to room temperature.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer and the whisk attachment beat the eggs and sugar until they triple in volume. Gently but quickly fold in the cake flour half at a time until it’s just incorporated. Next fold in the cooled chocolate mixture.

Pour the batter into the prepared spring form pan and bake it for 25 – 30 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. The top of the cake will rise while baking then lower slightly when it’s done and feel springy to the touch. The sides will also shrink as they pull away from the pan.

Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and allow it to sit for 10 – 15 minutes before releasing the cake from the spring form to cool completely.

While the cake is cooling start on the Super Stabilized Whipped Cream. Refrigerate a large mixing bowl and whisk attachment for at least 15 minutes.

Meanwhile in a small heatproof bowl combine the gelatin and water. Let it soften for about 5 minutes then place the bowl in a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally, until the gelatin is dissolved. Set the gelatin mixture aside and let it reach room temperature before adding it to the whipped cream, about 7 minutes.

In the chilled bowl beat the cream and sugar until traces of beater marks begin to show distinctly on the surface. Add the gelatin mixture in a steady stream while beating constantly then add the vanilla and beat it further until stiff peaks form.

Drain the can of cherries and reserve the syrup. Set aside 12 cherries to top the cake later. With a cake leveller or a long serrated knife level off the top of the cooled Chocolate Génoise Cake and slice it into 2 even layers. In a small bowl combine the reserved cherry syrup and spiced rum then drizzle it evenly over each cake layer.

Place one layer on the cake plate and wrap it snugly with a spring form pan or wax paper collar that is at least 2 1/2 inches high. Reserve 2 1/4 cups of the whipped cream and spread the rest over the bottom cake layer. Poke cherries into the filling then smooth it out with a knife or offset spatula. Top it with the other cake layer and evenly spread about 1 cup of the reserved whipped cream. Scoop the remaining whipped cream into a piping bag fitted with a large star tip and pipe 12 rosettes around the edge of the cake then press the reserved 12 cherries into the middle of each. Sprinkle the top with the chocolate shavings then refrigerate it for at least 4 hours. Unwrap and enjoy!

And The Winner Is…

Stephanie from 52 Kitchen Adventures you are the proud new owner of the prettiest polka dot apron and a $25 Bake It Pretty gift card! Congrats! You are going to have so much fun in the kitchen!

Please email me at hotpolkadot (at) live (dot) com to claim your lovely prizes and give me your mailing address. I’ll ship the apron out as soon as I get that and the Bake It Pretty gift card code will be emailed to you. Yay you!

Sweetheart.

  I thought that on this most auspicious day I would share with you mine and Lee’s favourite poem. Sometimes no matter how hard you try to express your feelings someone has already beaten you to the punch.

A Rhyme of the Dream-Maker Man

Down near the end of a wandering lane,
That runs ’round the cares of a day,
Where Conscience and Memory meet and explain,
… Their quaint little quarrels away.
A misty air-castle sits back in the dusk
Where brownies and hobgoblins dwell
And this is the home
Of a busy old gnome
Who is making up dream-things to sell,
My dear,
The daintiest dreams to sell.

He makes golden dreams of wicked men’s sighs.
He weaves on the thread of a hope
The airiest fancies of pretty brown eyes,
And patterns his work with a trope.
The breath of a rose and the blush of a wish
Boiled down to the ghost of a bliss,
He wraps in a smile
Every once in a while,
And calls it the dream of a kiss,
Dear heart,
The dream of an unborn kiss.

Last night when I walked thro’ the portals of sleep
And came to the weird little den,
I looked in the place where the elf-man should keep
A dream that I buy now and then.
‘Tis only the sweet happy dream of a day–
Yet one that I wish may come true–
But I learned from the elf
That you’d been there yourself
And he’d given my dear dream to you,
Sweetheart,
He’d given our dream to you.

-William Allen White





Strawberry Banana Stuffed French Toast

Makes 6 servings.

Source: My imagination.

250g cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup banana, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup strawberries, hulled and chopped

6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup

2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup Corn Flakes, crushed slightly
French bread, thickly sliced into 6 pieces

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Heat a large skillet on medium high heat.

In a large bowl combine the softened cream cheese, chopped banana and chopped strawberries. Fit a large pastry bag with a large round tip big enough for the chunks of fruit to fit easily through. Scoop the filling into the pastry bag and set it aside.

Place the chopped chocolate in a heat proof bowl. In a small sauce pan combine the cream, sugar and corn syrup then bring it to a boil over medium heat. Once it reaches a boil pour it over the chocolate, let it sit for a few minutes then whisk it until it’s smooth.

In a shallow bowl whisk together the eggs, milk and cinnamon. In another shallow bowl spread out the crushed Corn Flakes. With a sharp knife make a slice in the crust side of the bread almost to the other side. This makes a nice little pocket for your filling. Carefully pipe in the cream cheese filling, but not so much that it spills out the hole or makes a tear in the bread. Coat the bread in the egg mixture then press both sides into the Corn Flakes.

Melt a little butter in the skillet then fry each slice for about 5 minutes turning halfway through to ensure that the French Toast is both cooked and crispy. Serve with the still warm Chocolate Sauce. Enjoy!

Oh Happy Day!

Today is a two fold celebration. Hot Polka Dot turns one and yours truly turns twenty five!

A year ago today I decided it was time to explore this new passion of mine. I opened my recipe box as well as my heart and was met by a flood of wonderful people. A few of you have been around since the humble beginnings of my little pink food blog. You watched me struggle with custard, yell at bread and divulge some tried and true family recipes. Most of you are relatively new to my corner of the internet. Old friends and new friends, I appreciate you all more than I can express. I am so thankful for your lovely comments, sweet emails, and helpful suggestions. Starting this blog was one of the best decisions I have ever made and I am so excited to begin year two!

I thought long and hard about what type of cake to make for this happy occasion. Something that was indicative of my personality and also at home on Hot Polka Dot. As you well know I am in love with lemon. That much is obvious. You may not know that white chocolate is my favourite type of chocolate even though it doesn’t have cocoa and isn’t technically chocolate. Even stranger still is that I actually kind of hate buttercream and instead prefer cream cheese icing. So here we have it. Lemon White Chocolate Whisper Cake. A delightfully light white butter cake with a hint of white chocolate, filled with lemon curd and topped off with sinfully smooth vanilla cream cheese icing. And of course I couldn’t forget the polka dots! That would be silly.

I decided not to be selfish and extend the celebration to all of you! You may not get a slice of this cake, but you do get a chance to win this lovely polka dot apron. It’s got ruffles. It’s got a pocket. It’s got a bow. It’s even got adjustable straps. What more could you ask for? A Hot Polka Dot Mom original made just for you! Many of you were admiring the pink and black one I was wearing in my video and now you can have one of your own! Just think, you could make this adorable polka dot cake while sporting your pretty polka dot apron!

Aaaand…

As if that wasn’t enough, I’ll also throw in a $25 Bake It Pretty gift certificate. You could buy lots of cool goodies like Black Polka Dot Paper Straws, Orange Creamsicle Baker’s Twine and a Cakewich Silicone Baking Mold. And these Dashing Dot Baking Cups even match the apron! The cuteness is almost too much handle!



How to Enter:

   1. Leave a comment here telling me something you’d like to see here on Hot Polka Dot. Maybe a recipe you’d like me to        tackle, a theme day, a new feature, or a giveaway. Anything! I’d love to know!
   2. Follow me on Twitter, tweet the contest (Check out @Hot_Polka_Dot and enter for a chance to win a polka dot apron        and Bake It Pretty gift certificate! http://bit.ly/gUOhOF) and leave another comment here telling me you’ve done so.
   3. Like me on Facebook and leave even another comment here telling me you’ve done so.
   4. Become my friend on Foodbuzz and leave yet another comment here telling me you’ve done so.

Contest Details:

   – If you’re already following me on Twitter, liking me on Facebook, or my friend on Foodbuzz that’s ok! You’re entries still      count!
   – Only a maximum of four entries per person will be permitted in the ways I’ve designated above.
   – Anyone in the world is welcome to enter.
   – The Bake It Pretty gift certificate code will be sent to the winner by email.
   – Upon winning please email me at hotpolkadot (at) live (dot) com to claim your prizes and give me your mailing address      to receive the apron.
   – All emails and addresses will be kept confidential.

Contest Deadline:

The contest will be open through the weekend and be closed on Monday February the 14th at 9pm MST. I will close the comments at this time so make sure to get your entries in soon! The winner will be chosen at random and announced Tuesday morning. Make sure to get in as many extra entries you can for a better chance to win!

This giveaway is closed. Thank you to everyone who entered! See who won here.



Lemon Curd

Source: Martha Stewart’s Lemon Curd.

8 egg yolks
Zest of 2 lemons
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp lemon juice (2 large lemons)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/8 tsp salt
10 tbsp unsalted butter

Note: Reserve four of the egg whites for the White Chocolate Whisper Cake.

You should make the lemon curd first since it needs time to set in the refrigerator.

In a small sauce pan combine the egg yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice and sugar with a whisk. Cook it over medium high heat stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for about 8 – 10 minutes until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon and registers 160 degrees on a thermometer. I used a meat thermometer, hey it works.

Remove the sauce pan from the heat and add the salt and butter, one tbsp at a time and stirring until it’s smooth. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a medium sized bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Make sure the plastic wrap touches the surface of the Lemon Curd so as to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate it for at least an hour before using it to allow it to set.



White Chocolate Whisper Cake

Source: Adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Cake Bible.

6 ounces white chocolate, chopped
4 egg whites
1 cup milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cup cake flour (or substitute)
1 cup 3 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tbsp 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

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Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and position a rack in the center. Butter two 9 inch spring form or cake pans and fit the bottoms with a circle of parchment paper. Butter the lined bottoms and set set aside.

In a double boiler or a heat proof bowl set over barely simmering water melt the white chocolate. Once it’s smooth and melted remove it from the heat.

In a medium bowl lightly mix together the egg whites, 1/4 cup milk and vanilla.

In a large bowl with and electric mixer stir together the cake flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the butter and remaining 3/4 cup milk then mix it in on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Increase the speed to medium to beat it for another 1 1/2 minutes. Add the egg white mixture in thirds beating for about 20 seconds after each addition. Lastly blend in the melted chocolate until it’s incorporated.

Divide the batter in the prepared pans and smooth the tops with a spatula. Bake them for about 25 – 35 minutes and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let the cakes sit in the pans for about 10 minutes before turning them out and letting them cool completely on cooling racks.



Cream Cheese Icing

Source: My family recipe.

2 250g pkg cream cheese, room temperature
2 cup unsalted butter, Room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
6 – 10 cup powdered sugar, sifted
A few drops blue food colouring
A few drops yellow food colouring

Note: You may need to do the recipe in two batches if your mixing bowl isn’t big enough to accommodate that many cups. For those of you who like to take it easy on the icing it would be best to half the recipe.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until it’s light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar then mix until it’s smooth and your desired consistency.

Divide the icing into two potions, one small and one large. In the small bowl fold in the yellow food colouring. In the large bowl fold in the blue food colouring. Refrigerate the icing at least 30 minutes before using it.

Assembling the Cake:

Scoop your yellow icing into a small piping bag fitted with a medium round tip. Scoop a small amount of the blue icing into another small piping bag fitted with a medium round tip.

Level off your cooled cakes with a cake leveller or a long serrated knife. Slice each cake in half so you have 4 even layers. Place the bottom layer on a serving plate and pipe an even line of blue icing around the edge to create a dam to stop the Lemon Curd from spilling out. Spread an even layer of Lemon Curd out to the edge of the icing dam then gently place the next cake layer on top. Repeat these steps for the next two layers then, with the forth layer in place, liberally ice the whole cake in a even layer of the blue icing.

Finish it off by piping pretty polka dots with the yellow icing. Enjoy!