Grandbaby Cakes Cookbook Review

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Reading the introduction of this cookbook takes me back to my own memories of my grandmother baking. She hardly ever used a recipe from a book and truly baked from her heart and soul. Every single thing she made was made out of pure love. The look on her face when you would bite into one of her cookies was priceless- a smile from ear to ear with each bite. I miss her a lot. Last week marked the one-year anniversary of her passing and not a day goes by that I don’t think about her. Reading this also makes me reflect on the grandmother I want to be one day. I hope to make plenty of memories- especially food memories with my future grandchildren.

Grandbaby Cakes is a heart warming cookbook with recipes that reflect the upbringing and culture of author Jocelyn Adams. “Vintage Recipes, Fresh Twists, Soulful Memories” the tagline to Adam’s website, Grandbaby Cakes. (A big thank you to Agate Publishing for generously sending me this book in exchange for an honest review)

The beginning of this cookbook takes us to a guideline on how to use the book, baking rules, ingredients, best baking tools, and words of advice.

The chapters are divided into the following:

  • Pound Cakes
  • Layer Cakes
  • Sheet Cakes
  • Baby Cakes
  • Celebration Cakes
  • Seasons and Holidays

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Ultimate Birthday Cake
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German Chocolate Pound Cake
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Blueberry Pan Cakelettes
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Cookies & Cream Gooey Cake
Recipes are fairly simple to follow and each one is classified according to difficulty. Grandbaby Cakes require the least amount of effort and time. Mama Cakes are intermediate-level cakes that require a little more time. Big Mama Cakes are the most advanced recipes and have more steps and possibly additional equipment.

Ingredients are listed in order of use and majority of the ingredients are basic and can be found at your local grocery store. Instructions are simple to follow and I did not have any issues recreating the recipe that I tested out.

Some on my to-do list:

  • Cinnamon Roll Pound Cake
  • German Chocolate Pound Cake
  • Snickerdoodle Gooey Cake
  • Cookies and Cream Gooey Cake
  • Blueberry Pan-Cakelettes
  • Smore Lava Cakes
  • Ultimate Birthday Cake
  • Snickers Cake
  • Coffee-Toffee Pumpkin Cupcakes

I just could not stop drooling at the Mississippi Mudslide Cake, which features moist chocolate cake with layers of ganache, kahlua whipped cream and Oreos. I recreated this beauty for a recent family celebration and not one crumb was left behind! I will most definitely be making it again. This cake was classified as “Big Mama Cake” difficulty however I personally found it quite easy to make. See below for pictures and recipe!

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Mississippi Mudslide Cake
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Looks a little lopsided but I promise it was not in reality! 

Mississippi Mudslide Cake

Difficulty Level: Big Mama Cake (see above for definition)

Ingredients

Cake

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup hot water
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Kahula Whipped Cream

  • 2 cups heavy cream, cold
  • ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Baileys Irish Cream liqueur
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon cornstarch

Ganache

  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup heavy cream, room temperature

Assembly

1-cup roughly chopped chocolate cream-filled sandwiches cookies, such as Oreos, divided.

Directions

For the Cake:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F. Liberally prepare 3 9-inch round pans with the nonstick method of your choice. (Melissa’s Note: I don’t own 3 9 inch round pans- I used one and cut the cake in half. This required longer baking time and regular toothpick pokes to ensure it was cooked)
  2. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add the granulated sugar and eggs and beat on high speed for 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, combine the hot water, cocoa powder, instant coffee, and salt. Add this to your mixer.
  4. Turn your mixer down to its lowest speed and slowly add the flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Add the oil, buttermilk, and vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix until just combined. Be careful not to over mix. The batter will be somewhat thin, but this is normal. Do one final swirl of the batter to make sure the oil does not separate.
  5. Evenly pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 22 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a later comes out clean.
  6. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack. Let cool to room temperature. Lightly cover the cakes with foil or plastic wrap so they do not dry out.

For the Kahlua Whipped Cream:

  1. Clean your stand mixer bowl and whisk attachment. Place them in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to get them nice and cold.
  2. Remove the bowl and whisk attachment from the refrigerator. Add the heavy cream and whip on high speed until soft peaks begin to form.
  3. Reduce your mixer speed to medium and slowly add the confectioners’ sugar, Irish cream, Kahlua, cocoa powder, and cornstarch. Once everything is fully incorporated, turn your mixer speed back to high and continue to whip until stiff peaks form. Transfer to the refrigerator until it is time to assemble the cake.

For the Ganache

  1. In a medium microwave-safe bowl, combine the chocolate chips and heavy cream. Microwave on high for 15 seconds at a time, whisking together after each heating interval. Once the chocolate has melted into a shiny, smooth sauce (this takes about 30 to 45 seconds), transfer to the refrigerator for 15 minutes to cool.

To Assemble

  1. Once the layers are completely cooled, place 1 layer on a serving plate. Spread just the top of the layer with 1/3 of the whipped cream. Drizzle 1/3 of the cooled ganache over the whipped cream. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the ground cookies. Add the second layer and spread with another 1/3 of the whipped cream. Drizzle another 1/3 of the cooled ganache over the whipped cream. Sprinkle with another 1/3 of the ground cookies. Add the final layer, bottom-side up, and spread with the remaining whipped cream. Spread the whipped cream on the tip of the cake. Do not frost the side of the cake. Drizzle with the remaining ganache. Sprinkle with the remaining ground cookies. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Melissa’s Note: I added sprinkles to make it festive and of course for my toddler who is obsessed with them.

I am in love with this cookbook and it will most definitely become a go-to cookbook for special occasion cakes and more!

 

I received a copy of Grandbaby Cakes from Agate Publishing in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions in this blog post are 100% my own.

Bobbette & Belle Cookbook Review

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I am absolutely dessert obsessed. When this gorgeous cookbook arrived at my doorstep, (Thank you Penguin Random House for generously sending it over in exchange for a review!) I was absolutely thrilled! Needless to say I had it all tabbed up with my favourites within minutes.

French-inspired pastry shop Bobbette & Belle based in Toronto, Ontario released this beauty late last year. This cookbook features a collection of over 100 recipes and variations of desserts all of which they sell in their pastry shop. While I have not had the opportunity to visit the shop (new mom problems), they have a line of treats they sell at The Bay Eaton Centre. Whenever I feel sorry for myself I will purchase a pack of their Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies. They definitely aren’t cheap so I consider it an absolute treat and let me tell you….they are soooo worth the price. I was head over heels when I discovered this cookie recipe was revealed in the cookbook and yes they do taste almost the same!

The beginning of the book takes us to the Bobbette & Belle Story, essential tools and ingredients, general baking tips, tips for specific pastries and alternative baking & dietary restrictions. The sections are brief and not overwhelming (thank you!)

Chapters are divided into the following:

  • Classic Cookies and Bars
  • Cupcakes
  • Layer Cakes
  • Loaves, Scones, Bundts and Tortes
  • Crumbles, Tarts and Pies
  • French Macarons
  • Chilled Crème Desserts
  • Confections and Sweets
  • Buttercreams, Frostings, and Fillings

Also included at the end: A source guide, conversion chart and a cross-referenced index.

The Recipes

Recipes are fairly easy to follow. Ingredients are listed in order of use and each recipe begins with a story, which I love. Ingredients are basic and most can be found at your local grocery store. All recipes have little tips at the bottom to help you through your baking. Hands on and total time are not included in the recipes however you will find the amount each recipe yields. The photography is GORGEOUS and each recipe has a picture.

Some of the recipes I have tabbed up:

  • Double Chocolate Fleur De Sel Cookies
  • Shortbread Cookies
  • Amaretti Cookies
  • Death by Chocolate Brownies
  • Pecan Caramel Churchill Squares
  • Cinnamon Pinwheels
  • Double Chocolate Cupcakes
  • Dark Chocolate Brownie Fudge Cake
  • Chocolate Hazelnut Gianduja Cake
  • “No Raisin” Carrot Cake (and may I add no pineapple too! Yay!)
  • Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake
  • Blueberry Scones
  • Sharp Cheddar and Chive Scones
  • Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread
  • Apple Crumble
  • Apple Galettes
  • Salted Caramel Tart with Dark Chocolate Glaze

I managed to recreate the Amaretti Cookies as well as the Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies. I didn’t have much success with the Amaretti and I am reluctant to blame the recipe for being poorly written until I reattempt it. I would like to give it the benefit of the doubt and hope that I made an error somewhere along the way! The Chocolate Chip Cookies are amazing and I have made 3 batches of them with pure success every time! Find the recipe and pictures below.

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Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes 24 Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature but not soft
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup loosely packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups large-flake rolled oats
  • ¾ cup dark chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Put oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat just to combine.
  4. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the creamed butter mixture, mixing until just combined and scraping down the sides of the bowl at least once. Add the oats and chocolate chips and mix until fully incorporated.
  5. Spoon 12 heaping tablespoons of cookie dough onto each lined baking sheet, leaving ample space between them.
  6. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes or until the cookies are light golden brown on the bottom. For even baking, rotate the sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through. Allow the cookies to cool slightly on the baking sheets before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Bobbette & Belle Tip: This recipe is particularly sensitive to the temperature of the butter. It needs to be room temperature but not too soft. If your kitchen is warm, use the butter before it reaches room temperature.

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Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Overall I am in love with this cookbook and it is most definitely one that I will be baking from often!

A big thank you to Penguin Random House for sending me this cookbook in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions in this blog post are 100% my own.

Chickpea Pasta!

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photo taken from choosechickapea.com

I have recently fallen in love with this pasta and just had to let the world know my latest obsession so here is my quickie review!

This pasta is made of only 2 ingredients: Organic chickpea flour and Organic red lentil flour. Each 227g box contains a significant amount of folate (Hello pregnant mamas..so good for you!) Iron, zinc, vitamin B5, and magnesium are a few others that make it big. No artificial flavours, colours or added sugar…literally just 2 ingredients.

I first discovered this pasta at my local Longos and knew I just had to try it! I have tried all kinds of pasta and my family currently eats spelt, whole wheat and Catelli Greens. Being of Italian decent I just can’t get pasta out of my diet. I have tried on numerous occasions to eliminate it, eat less of it, and pretend I don’t like it anymore and I have to face reality that it’s just not going to happen.

At $5.99 a box for 227g I would not recommend using it at your next dinner party but in my opinion it is a small price for huge nutritional rewards for you and your family. All it really means is you can stop buying a bunch of .99 cent pasta bags and splurge a bit on a quality box of Chickpea Pasta once in a while. I have to confess that I bought a couple boxes and have almost entirely replaced my pasta stash.

How does it taste?

Hmm…good question. It definitely doesn’t taste like normal pasta. It tastes like a mix of bean, whole wheat and spelt. I have made it with my homemade tomato sauce and it is perfection! (see pic below)

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Chickapea Pasta Spirals with my homemade tomato sauce

The best part of this product? Created by a Canadian Mama. I love supporting Canadian anything.

The pasta comes in 3 varieties: spirals, penne, and shells. You can purchase it online or check out their website to find your local grocery store that carries it.  If you sign up for their newsletter you will receive 15% off your first order. You better believe I am taking advantage of that!

All thoughts and opinions in this blog post are 100% my own. I purchased Chickapea Pasta from my local Longos at $5.99/box. I have never seen it on sale, but just deal with it and buy it already! 😉

Food Bloggers of Canada Featured Member!

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Hi all!

I am super thrilled to be a featured member on the Food Bloggers of Canada website! If you haven’t had a chance to check out my interview with FBC you may do so here:

http://www.foodbloggersofcanada.com/2016/08/fbc-featured-member-books-love-and-lattes/#comment-154906

For those of your who are unfamiliar with FBC, check out their website at foodbloggersofcanada.com. I have been a proud member for a couple months now. When I first started to blog, I really didn’t know where to start and what to do. I knew I wanted to write about cookbooks and food as it was my passion so I turned to FBC for help. They provide a network of other food writers throughout Canada and much inspiration may I add for creating my own blog.  They also have a ton of resources for food bloggers like myself.

A huge thank you to FBC for this wonderful feature!

Much love! Xo