31 January 2010

Recipe of the Week!!


These cupcakes are so easy and sooo amazing, plus they look really cute too!  I got these from The Hummingbird Bakery cookbook, which is a posh little bakery in London.

1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powed
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
3 T unsalted butter, room temp
1/2 cup milk (I always use skim)
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Place dry ingredients in stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment (or in bowl if using hand held mixer).  Mix in butter.  Add 1/2 of the milk slowly and beat just until incorporated.
In a seperate bowl whisk together the remaining milk, egg, and vanilla extract.  Pour into the flour mixture and continue beating until just incorporated, do not overmix!!
Spoon batter into paper lined muffin tins (makes 12 cupcakes).  Bake 20-25 mins or until golden brown on top.  Let cupcakes cool on a drying rack out of the tin.

"Hot Fudge" topping:
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup heavy cream

Place chocolate chips into a bowl.  Heat heavy cream on stove until it simmers.  Pour evenly over the chocolate chips and let it stand 1 min, then stir until it is all mixed.  If it appears to thin, keep stirring and it will thicken.  Dip tops of cucakes into topping and swirl to cover the tops. 
Garnish with whip cream, almond shavings, and a cherry!

Happy Baking!!

28 January 2010

I like to cook, but I don't know how?

Do you love to cook, but you really don't know how?!  Well the first thing you need to do is find the perfect cookbook!  My first cookbook was Cooking Light Complete Cookbook.

It is $37 at Barnes n Noble, or only $23 on amazon.com.  This is the perfect beginners cookbook, because it is not just a cookbook!  It comes with information on what cookware to buy, what veggies are in season when, how to perform different techniques (ie. braising, roasting, marinating, etc), and how to plan for a party (complete with menus)!!!  It is conventiently seperated into 14 tabbed sections so you can easily search for that perfect appetizer or chicken dish fast!  Also, it comes with nutrition values for every meal, multiple pictures, and how long it takes to make.  I could ramble on and on about this cookbook, but I won't... Just buy it and you won't be sorry!

If you know of any other great cookbooks, let me know! I'm trying to find another good one, but, being the indecisive person I am, I take forever to decide what to buy!

Happy Baking!

I'm a morning person?!

I took the most AMAZING workout class this morning at Gold's Gym called BodyPump.  Now, ask anyone and they will tell you I am NOT a morning person.  When home, my parents know not to talk to me in the morning until I have had at least one cup of coffee.  BUT, today I decided to get up a go lift weights.. possibly to work off the scones I have been eating since tuesday... possibly I have just gone crazy... but it was AWESOME.  The music was upbeat, all the people in the class were nice, but the best part was the instructor. She would scream and push you and I have no doubt that i will start losing weight faster than ever before.  I may just become a morning person afterall... maybe.. Mom, don't get your hopes up!

Body Pump Class Above

So, today I want to write about excercise and continue on yesterdays New Year, New You.  IF you want to lose weight you have to work out... a lot.  Anna (aka god) told me to get 4-5 days cardio/week (30-45min sessions) and 2-3 days strength training (ie weights, like my new fav BodyPump class).  But lets be realistic here... by the time you are done with work/school/whatever you are tired! But the more you start working out, the easier it gets, I PROMISE!  

So start slow, maybe 2 days a week and 1 day of weight lifting.  If you can afford a gym membership, get one.  But find a gym that is 1) close to your home and 2) a fit for YOU.  For me, Gold's Gym is perfect.  They have a cardio movie theater, tvs on ALL the machines.  And they yell at you in classes, which i respond to.  If you can't afford a gym, research online to find running trails and parks in your area! Grab an ipod and some tennis shoes and hit the pavement!  If you need tips on how to do strength training at home without buying weights, leave a comment and I will help you!

One piece of advice- if you decide to do morning weight lifting (like before work) and you like to have a big breakfast, eat it at least one hour before working out, if you don't I swear you may vomit.  If you don't like a big breakfat, grab an energy bar... but you MUST eat something or you will fade... fast.

So, for this weekend your new goal is to find a gym, find a workout program, and commit to it!

Happy Running!

27 January 2010

I can have my cake and eat it too?

Every New Year, hundreds of thousands of people make a resolution to lose weight with the thought "New Year, New You".  A poll done by Emax Health showed that over 78% of people will NOT meet their goals.  Well Southern Cake Girl thinks that is just ridiculous

When trying to lose weight, there are certain things you need to know before you can begin.  First off, fad diets go out of style for a reason... anyone know someone doing the Atkins diet these days???? Me either.  When I started losing weight, I went to a nutritionist, best money spent. period.  She started off telling me about portion control and how to count calories efficiently...  If you are trying to lose weight, this is the way to go.  Many gyms have nutritionists on staff that offer services at VERY cheap prices.  If you are in Huntsville, the Wellness Center offers them to members and non-members at prices like $12/ 30mins... good deal, right?  In Birmingham, The Fitness Center, Gold's Gym, and Anytime Fitness in Hoover offer nutrition counseling.

Now, DO NOT be one of those people who try to lose weight and fail, because you can do it!  I am going to give nutrition advice on my blog often.  I have learned all about nutrition, and if I wasn't going to be a doctor, this is probably what I would do.  First piece of advice, find what you can't live without! When I first went to see Anna (my nutritionist aka God), I told her that there is NO way I would ever be able to stick to a diet without being able to eat chocolate every single day... Her response, "No Problem!".  Anna introduced me to the best stuff ever invented, Skinny Cow Ice Cream!  All the ice cream bars are less than 150 calories, and let me tell you, they don't taste diet!  My diet: ice cream sandwiches... take that fad diets!  SO, find that one thing, that one vice you can't live without and don't take it out of your diet! If you need help finding a low cal version of your vice, make a comment and I will help you!

More advice to come soon!

Happy... baking seems inappropriate here, so... Happy weight loss!

26 January 2010

Scones and Stupidity

Ask any of my friends and they will tell you that stupid decisions are something I am good at.  Stupid boys, Stupid gossip, Stupid roommates... you get the picture.  After gaining weight last year, I have slowly been losing it (down 13 pounds, yayy!)... However, it seems that I have decided to halt that apparent weight loss.  Stupidity now resides on Tuesday nights, for I have decided to make Tuesdays, "Try it Tuesday".  Every Tuesday I will try a new recipe, and share my successes and inevitable failures with you.  SO, all my friends out there for the love of god PLEASE come to my apartment on wednesdays and take away all the sweets I have made so I can LOSE this weight!

Week #1: Maple Oatmeal Scones... YUMMMM!!!

This is a recipe I got off Barefoot Contessa (aka Ina Garten).  I LOVE everything she makes on that show, so if you haven't seen it, you should!  The prep is only 10 minutes (total time 35mins).  It is the perfect recipe for a brunch party or just breakfast on the weekend with the family!

3.5 cups of all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup quick cook oatmeal oats
2 T baking powder (note: T=tablespoon, tsp=teaspoon)
2T granulated sugar
2 tsp salt
1 lb (4 sticks) unsalted butter (cold and cut up into SMALL pieces)

1/2 cup cold buttermilk
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
4 extra large eggs, beaten
Egg Wash: 1 egg, 1 T water or cream mixed

1.) Preheat oven to 400
2.) Attach paddle to your KitchenAid mixer.  In bowl combine the flours, oatmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  On the lowest speed, slowly add the butter pieces.  Mix until small peas form throughout the mix.
3.) Combine the buttermilk, eggs, and maple syrup.  Add to the mix, and mix just until blended.  Dough will be sticky.
4.) Place dough on a WELL floured surface.  Roll out the dough to 3/4-1 inch thick.  Cut out scones with a cookie cutter or into whatever shape you want.  Place scones on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
5.) Brush tops of dough with the egg wash.  Bake for 20-25 mins, until tops are crisp and insides are done.

Make Glaze by combining 1.25 cups powdered sugar, 1/2 cup maple syrup, and 1 tsp vanilla extract.  After the scones have cooled for 5mins, drizzle glaze on the scones and serve!  For extra garnish, place oats on top of glaze!

My finished product! SOO good!

Happy Baking!!!

25 January 2010

Strawberry Blisss

Happy Monday everyone!! Not a monday person?? Well for southern cake girl, monday is funday (as they used to call it in my elementary school gym class).  On monday's I will post a new cake recipe to try out and help you through the work week!  This week I'm starting with my FAV cake!

Do you love strawberry ice cream as much as my Dad does?!  Well then you will LOVE this strawberry cake recipe. It is the most amazing strawberry cake EVER (which is why I call it Strawberry bliss).

Strawberry Bliss
2 cups white sugar
1 3oz package of strawberry flavored gelatin
1 cup butter softend (ie at ROOM TEMP)
4 eggs (also at room temp!)
2 3/4 cups of sifted cake flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup 2% milk (also at room temp!)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup strawberry puree from frozen, sweetened strawberries

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease (with butter) and flour 2 8inch round cake pans (you can use 9inch cake pans if needed).
2.  Cream butter and sugar in your KitchenAid mixer until very creamy.  Add strawberry flavored gelatin, and beat until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs ONE at a time (make sure you mix well after each).  In a seperate small bowl, combine flour and baking powder.  Add flour mixture and milk to batter, alternating by beginning and ending with flour.  Add vanilla and strawberry puree.
3.  Divide the batter between the two pans.
4.  Bake 25-30 mins, or until small knife inserted into center comes out clean.  Allow cakes to cool in their pans for 10-15mins.  Then remove and cool COMPLETELY on cooling racks before icing the cake.

Tips for this cake! 
1.  When I say ingredients need to be at room temp, I mean they need to be at room temp, especially the butter.  It's very hard to cream cold butter. 
2.  This cake is veryyy moist.  It is really hard to ice this cake without getting a TON of crumbs in your icing, especially if you are a cake decorating novice.  So make sure it has cooled off completely before attempting.
3.  Since this cake is very moist, you can make it into three layers (ie pour into 3 8inch pans) to make it easier to handle.
4.  If you are using a stand mixer (like KitchenAid), make sure you scrape down the sides of the bowl often during the mixing process.

Happy baking!!

24 January 2010

Welcome to Southern Cake Girl!

Setting up a new blog can become quite a task!! I am so excited to be sharing my love for baking with others.  Please comment on my posts and help share ideas and great recipes!!

So far my decorating/baking is more limited because of class/work etc.  BUT, I am determined to master cake decorating!  For all those cake enthusiasts out there, you are probably obsessed with shows such as Amazing Wedding Cakes (my personal fav) and Cake Boss.  These shows have become my inspiration for decorating!  After many flopped recipes and icing catastrophes, however, I decided a tip of the week is absolutely essential for the novice baker! 

Tip #1: You MUST own a good mixer... I am not talking about hand held ones.  My first icing catastrophe occured when I used a hand held mixer.. trust me folks, it just doesn't work.  Your icing will not be fluffy like it should be.  And, more importantly, it won't be mixed thoroughly.  Trust me no one wants to bite into a cake and eat a chunk of butter.  SO, I highly recommend the KitchenAid mixer.  I know, I know, it is REALLY expensive... but soo worth it!  I found a great deal at hhgregg.com, and it came with a year long subscription to Food and Wine Magazine, but Amazon.com normally has good deals also.  If you do not want a KitchenAid, the older Sunbeams are good (aka ones from the 50s etc).  I have heard the new Sunbeams are awful!

That's it for the tip of the week! Pictures of my baking adventures to come soon!

Happy Baking!