Tuesday, May 24, 2011

That Almond Cake

Thought I'd do a variation of That Chocolate Cake...

Stacey's That Almond Cake Ingredients:

2c sugar, organic
1c unbleached white flour, organic
3/4c whole wheat flour, organic
2 tbs cornstarch
3/4c almond flour
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder

2 eggs, organic
1/2c sesame oil
2 tsp vanilla bean paste
1.5c whole milk (cream top organic)
1/2c boiling water

10x10" cake pan
Parchment paper

First, I preheated the oven to 350F and lined the cake pan with the parchment paper.  Then, I mixed all the dry ingredients together.  I slightly beat the eggs with the oil, and heated the milk with the vanilla in the microwave for about a minute - temp gun said it was about 90F.  I added the wet ingredients (minus the boiling water) into the dry ingredients and mixed.  Once it was mixed, I added the boiling water and stirred until it was combined.  It was really soupy, but I figured I'd just give it a try.  I poured it into the prepared 10x10" cake pan until it was about 3/4" thick from the bottom.  Since this recipe is originally for two 9" round cake pans, I poured the rest of the batter into a glass loaf dish.

I baked the cakes for 18 minutes, then rotated it, then for 15 minutes more, for a total of 33 minutes.  I think the original recipe says 30-35 minutes. The glass dish takes longer to heat up, so it was fine in there for the same amount of time.


 Cut slice

I also opted to make a little Frangelico frosting for something else, and I had extra.  I wasn't being diligent about writing down the ingredients, but it went something like this:

Stacey's Frangelico Frosting Ingredients: 

1+ lb Guittard milk chocolate chips
8 oz boiling whole milk (cream top organic)
Dash of Frangelico (maybe 1/2-1 oz?)
Powdered sugar (to desired consistency)

I poured the milk over the chips and let them melt a bit.  Then I stirred them and chilled the mixture.  Once cooled, I added powdered sugar until desired consistency.  Kind of creamy and melty, I suppose.

Cut slice with a little Frangelico frosting

Monday, May 23, 2011

Photo -> Ink Drawing #1: Picnic

I went out to have a picnic with two of my best friends, Ester and Young out in Napa.  We brought Ester's dog Fergus and I took a picture.


I've started a new hobby of trying to turn my photos into drawings (and maybe paintings someday when I have the time).  Here is my first (and perhaps only) attempt at an ink rendition.


I did pencil first, since I tend to have problems with proportions, then filled in later with ink. You can click on the images for larger versions.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mango Soap

Time for another soaping recipe!  I have so many soaping supplies/ingredients, I decided I can't buy any more soaping stuff until I use it all up.

This recipe was to use my Fresh Mango fragrance oil from Bramble Berry.

Stacey's Soap Recipe #B2 (b for blog) with Fresh Mango scent:
(soapcalc.net results)
Solid Oils
13.44 oz Palm Oil (crisco or shortening)
5.76 oz Coconut Oil (76 deg)
2.56 oz Palm Kernel Oil / Flakes
.64 oz Red Palm Butter
Liquid Oils
8 oz Castor Oil
1.6 oz Olive Oil

12.12 oz distilled water
4.51 oz lye NaOH

1 oz Fresh Mango fragrance oil
Glossy Tray Mold
Old pot used only for soaping

3/17/11 - First I made my lye solution so it would have time to cool.  I always put the lye solution container into some ice water (make sure none of the ice water bath gets into the solution) to help it cool faster.

Then I put all of my solid oils into the pot and melted them over low heat.
Melted...
Once the solid oils were melted, I added the liquid ones...
This time the oils were pretty hot - I didn't keep an eye on them like I should have.  Using my temp gun I determined the oils were 120F when I added the lye solution, which was at 100F.
You can see the cloudy bottom - the lye solution sinks.  Then I used my hand blender to mix the lye solution and oils.
I even took a video of it so you know what it looks like when it's being blended.
Once it got to trace, it was ready to have the fragrance oil added. I also took a video of trace so that you know what it looks like.  Basically, it looks like pudding and when you drag your scraper through it, it leaves a "trace."
Next, I added the Fresh Mango fragrance oil.
After that was all mixed, I poured it into the mold. And then I put it on a cool box top I had so that I could take a picture of it looking like the sun.
Pretty proud of myself.  Not only does it look like pudding, it looks like <i>mango</i> pudding.  The perfect shade of mango on the first try.  It also smells deliciously like mango pudding.  Self-hi-five. Huh, what do you know, I clapped for myself. :)

5/7/11 - It was ready back on April 17th, but I've been a little busy.  In any case, I used my soap stamp on top and cut them into nice little cubes.

Smells great in the shower and has a nice lather.  I think I'd use this recipe again.