Winter Forest Cake

Winter Forest Cake – Candy Coated Culinista

A four layered cake that is a wonderful addition to the Christmas and holiday season gatherings.

Yield/Serving: 4 – 6” cakes
Prep Time: 45 min.
Cook Time: 35-45 min. per cake
Difficulty level is: Medium

Ingredients
Vanilla Cake

• ¾ cups unsalted butter, softened
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• Egg whites from 5 large eggs
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
• 1 1/8 tsp baking powder
• ¼ tsp baking soda
• ¼ tsp sea salt
• ¾ cups 2% milk
Gingerbread Cake
• 1 1/8 cups all purpose flour
• 1/3 cup packed golden brown sugar
• 1 1/8 tsp ground ginger
• ¾ tsp baking soda
• ½ tsp five spice
• ½ tsp ground clove
• ½ tsp ground nutmeg
• ¾ tsp cinnamon
• 1 large egg beaten
• 1/3 cup canola oil
• 2 tbsp fancy molasses
• 1/3 cups hot water
Funfetti Cake
• 4 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 1/3 cup granulated sugar
• 1 large egg white
• 2/3 cups all purpose flour
• 1 tsp baking powder
• ¼ tsp sea salt
• 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp 2% milk
• 1 ½ tbsp blue sprinkles
• 1 ½ tbsp. white sprinkles
Simple Syrup
• 4 tbsp water
• 4 tbsp granulated sugar
Frosting
• 1 ½ cups butter, at room temperature
• 2 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
• 3 tbsp milk, more if needed
• Blue food colouring
Decorations
• Pocky, chocolate covered flavour (red box)
• Teal melting chocolates
• Blue melting chocolates
• White melting chocolates
• Snowflake sprinkles
• Blue sprinkles
• Blue, silver & white non-pareils
• Blue sanding sugar

Assembly
Vanilla Cake

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Trace out the pan using parchment paper and place in the bottom of two pans.
3. Spray pan with non-stick spray and set aside.
4. Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment beat butter and sugar until fluffy.
5. Add in egg whites and vanilla and continue to beat until incorporated.
6. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
7. Pour into butter mixture alternating between milk and flour mixture three times.
8. Pour into two pans, smooth tops and slam pans on the counter top to release air bubble and ensure an even bake.
9. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a cake tester inserted comes out clean.
10. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes and turn out onto cooling rack and remove parchment paper.
11. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
Gingerbread Cake
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Trace out the pan using parchment paper and place in the bottom of two pans.
3. Spray pan with non-stick spray and set aside.
4. Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment beat flour, brown sugar, ginger, baking soda, five spice, clove, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt.
5. Whisk in eggs, oil and molasses.
6. Slowly add in water until just combined.
7. Pour into one pan and smooth smooth tops and slam pans on the counter top to release air bubble and ensure an even bake.
8. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a cake tester inserted comes out clean.
9. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes and turn out onto cooling rack and remove parchment paper.
10. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
Funfetti Cake
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Trace out the pan using parchment paper and place in the bottom of one pan.
3. Spray pan with non-stick spray and set aside.
4. Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment beat butter and sugar until fluffy.
5. Add in egg white and vanilla and continue to beat until incorporated.
6. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
7. Pour into butter mixture until just combined and then add milk and mix.
8. Fold in sprinkles by hand.
9. Pour batter into one pan and bake for 30 to 45 minutes or until a cake tester inserted comes out clean.
10. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes and turn out onto cooling rack and remove parchment paper.
11. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
Buttercream Frosting
1. Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat butter until fluffy.
2. Add confectioner’s sugar and milk and finally food colouring and combine until well incorporated.
Tree Decorations
1. Place wax paper on a cookie tray and set aside.
2. In the meantime melt various coloured molding chocolates in microwave safe bowls melting each colour separately in 30 second intervals in the microwave until melted.
3. Once chocolate has slightly cooled pour in a piping bag.
4. Place Pocky sticks onto wax paper and pipe trees out and place decorations on top and then place in the fridge to set up.
Layered Cake Assembly
1. Use a serrated knife, trim tops and even out if necessary to level out the cakes.
2. Apply simple syrup to each layer of the cake and let absorb.
3. Smear a little frosting on the silver disc so cake doesn’t move.
4. Place first vanilla layer on the bottom layer and spread some buttercream frosting over top.
5. Then place funfetti layer over and spread buttercream frosting over top.
6. Place gingerbread layer over and spread buttercream frosting over top.
7. Top with final layer of vanilla cake and spread buttercream frosting over top and sides.
8. Place in fridge to let the crumb coat firm up some.
9. When crumb coat is firm using an offset spatula frost the cake.
10. Apply sanding sugar to the cake.
11. Remove trees from the fridge and place in the top of the cake from the middle going back.
12. Add the snowflake decorations.
13. Place bake in fridge to firm up.
14. Remove from fridge 30 minutes to an hour before serving.
15. Serve and enjoy.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This was my first cake at 4 layers and I was so happy with how it turned out. I will say one more layer would require wooden dowels placed inside the cake no matter the size of the cake. I spent a lot of time insuring my crumb coat firmed up and applying the final coat properly. If found applying the sanding sugar a little tricky; but for my first attempt I get the hang of it eventually. Cutting into the cake and seeing perfect layers with frosting in between was a wonderful treat. The cake was moist with three different flavoured cakes there is something here for anyone.

Winter Forest Cake – Candy Coated Culinista

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Christmas Dinner: Showstopper Dessert – Buche de Noel (Yule log)

Christmas Dinner: Showstopper Dessert – Buche de Noel (Yule log) – Candy Coated Culinista

Wow your Christmas dinner guests with this showstopper of a dessert.

Yield/Serving: 12-14
Prep Time: 30 min.
Cook Time: 10 min.
Difficulty level is: Medium, time consuming when decorating if this is your first time decorating

Ingredients
Sponge

• 4 large free–range eggs
• ½ cup confectioners’ sugar , plus extra for dusting
• ½ cup self-raising flour
• 2 tablespoons quality unsweetened cocoa powder
• 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
• 2 tablespoons sugar
Filling
• 8oz tin of sweetened chestnut purée
• 1 pinch ground cinnamon
• ¾ cup + 5 tsp heavy cream
• 1 tbsp liquid honey
• 1 Crunchie bar, or 1 ½ oz honey comb
Buttercream
• 5 oz quality dark chocolate (70%)
• 11 tbsp unsalted butter , (at room temperature)
• 1 heaping cup icing sugar

Assembly
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. For the sponge, line a 12” x 10” baking sheet with parchment paper.
3. Separate the eggs.
4. Using an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks with a pinch of sea salt.
5. Gradually whisk in the icing sugar, then, one-by-one, whisk in the egg yolks until really pale and light.
6. Sift in the flour and cocoa powder, add the vanilla bean paste, then fold everything together with a large metal spoon so you keep in as much air as possible.
7. Spoon the mixture into the lined baking sheet, gently and evenly spread it out, then bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until just cooked through and springy to the touch.
8. Place a large sheet of parchment paper (18” x 12”) on a flat surface and evenly sprinkle over the sugar from a height.
9. While it’s still hot and flexible, turn the sponge out on to the paper.
10. Peel off and discard the baked piece of parchment paper
11. With one of the longest sides in front of you, fold up the excess paper, then roll up the sponge with the paper inside (as it cools, this will set the shape but prevent the sponge from cracking).
12. Leave to cool.
13. For the filling, mix the chestnut purée and cinnamon together.
14. In a separate bowl, whisk the cream to soft peaks, then fold in the honey.
15. To assemble, unroll the sponge so it’s flat, removing the paper.
16. Spread all over with the chestnut purée, followed by the cream, then smash and sprinkle over the Crunchie bar or honeycomb.
17. Re-roll and pop into the fridge.
18. Meanwhile, make your buttercream.
19. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, then remove and leave to cool.
20. Beat the butter in an electric mixer until pale, then, with the mixer still running, gradually add the confectioners’ sugar and cooled melted chocolate.
21. Take the log out of the fridge, chop off a quarter at an angle – that’s the branch – and position it on your serving board like in the picture, using a splodge of buttercream to keep it in place.
22. Evenly cover the whole log with buttercream, then use a fork to decorate it.
23. Dust with extra confectioners’ sugar and a pinch of sea salt, shaved chocolate, sprinkles, plastic Bambi figures, whatever you like – go to town!

Tips
• Just have fun and don’t worry about the time.
• Make honey comb from scratch or use a crunchie bar. Jamie has a honeycomb recipe also which I haven’t included in this post.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I used Jamie’s recipe for the Yule log portion; but then I felt like I wanted to add a Christmas winter scene and went my own way on the topping (White chocolate hand-decorated bark) and adding the snow laden houses and tree cakes. I have been running ideas and concepts for this yule log through my head for a couple weeks now and I wanted to at least have a non-chocolate top, so I could have some if I wanted. I have officially made the best thing visually baking wise and I’m smiling ear to ear as I type this. I could almost cry at how happy I am with how this turned out; however weird that sounds. I feel like all of a sudden I have hit a next gear in my baking. I got to practice some techniques and enjoy my most favourite holiday. This is going to my God-Kids and their family for Christmas Eve tomorrow when I see them at church. I hope this makes up for the Elf on the Shelf sugar cookies they didn’t get; but saw on my blog and further questioned me as to “where are ours” and “can you make us some too”. I was pleasantly surprised with the flavor of the Buche de Noel. I had the most terrible time finding chestnuts, and I had to go the route of water chestnuts and puree them myself. I’m not entirely sure if that’s the exact same taste; but I enjoyed it and I absolutely hate water chestnuts or so I thought. It will be very interesting to see if the God-kids like that or next time I need to put jam in instead. The water chestnuts added a crunch as the honeycomb melted into the whipping cream. I found the instructions a little hard to grasp when it came to the assembly of the log; but I had an idea and it worked out well as I made that failure cake roll a few months back. The amount of batter in the recipe I think wouldn’t have filled the pan size listed, as it didn’t for me. Other than that this is a wonderful end to a Christmas dinner with the family or with friends and it can be put in the fridge, so you don’t have to be baking this on Christmas day. I showed a few friends and they were thoroughly impressed as was I.

***Update. this was a smash with the God-Kids and the parents. I didn’t have to worry about the chestnuts and the flavour at all. The kids loved the crunch and ate away. They even ate the decorative fondant holly’s and poinsettias. A total winner all around and I was told if this is my Christmas present every year I will be more than happy. Will do. I think “Auntie” will be providing Christmas dinner dessert going forward.

Merry Chistmas

Christmas Dinner: Showstopper Dessert – Buche de Noel (Yule log) – Candy Coated Culinista

Christmas Dinner: Showstopper Dessert – Buche de Noel (Yule log) – Candy Coated Culinista

Turkey Stock

Turkey Stock – Candy Coated Culinista

Another great make ahead Thanksgiving or Christmas recipe that can be used in stuffing, gravy and day after soup.

Yield/Serving: 1 litre
Prep Time: 15 min.
Cook Time: 4 hours, plus
Difficulty level is: Easy, time consuming

Slightly altered from No Crumb Left

Ingredients
• 6-8 turkey pieces; combo of wings and drumsticks
• 10 cups of water
• 1 large onion. Sliced into rings
• 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
• 2 celery sticks, chopped
• Fresh parsley, handful
• Fresh chives, handful
• Fresh thyme, handful

Assembly
1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
2. Place turkey pieces into a roasting pan and bake for 60 minutes. (Just ensure all sides of the turkey are a golden brown)
3. Check every 30 minutes and flip.
4. Meanwhile using a large stock pot add ten cups of water and bring to a boil over high heat.
5. Once turkey is done, tear apart the wings and place all the turkey pieces along with the vegetable into the stock pot.
6. Scrape the brown bits from the roasting pan with a wooden spoon and add to the stock pot. (If it hasn’t all deglazed; just turn on the burner and add some water and let boil and scrap the turkey pieces off)
7. Gently simmer over low heat for 4 hours. The stock will reduce down.
8. Let cool and pour into jars and chill.

Tips
• Use the leftover turkey for whatever you like. I saved the drum sticks for dinner as they remained whole and the turkey wings were put in a quick turkey soup with the rest of the veg.
• You can also freeze this stock.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
Not going to lie here this is a lot of work for stock; but then there are no preservatives, sodium or salt and chemicals. So start this in the morning and go about your day in the house and let this reduce while you’re doing chores and other baking. There is no salt in this recipe so it won’t be as flavourful as you expect; but it’s best to salt whatever dish you put this into after the fact.

Savoury Holiday Sweet Potato Casserole

Savoury Holiday Sweet Potato Casserole - Candy Coated Culinista

Savoury Holiday Sweet Potato Casserole – Candy Coated Culinista

Is there such a thing as too savoury…I sure think so. I made this recipe well before Thanksgiving thinking this sounds like an amazing unique dish too bad you can really only stomach it around the holidays or at least only I can.

Yield/Serving: 8-10
Prep Time: 30 min.
Cook Time: 30 min.
Difficulty level is: Medium

Ingredients
• 4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into pieces
• 6 slices bacon
• ½ cup golden brown sugar
• 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
• 1 cup walnuts, chopped
• ½ cup butter, melted
• ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
• 1/8 tsp black pepper
• 1/8 tsp nutmeg
• 1/8 tsp cloves
• 1/8 tsp ginger
• 1/8 tsp cinnamon
• 2 tsp sea salt
• 1 spring rosemary, diced
• 1 stem of basil, diced
• ¼ cup 2% milk
• 2 eggs, lightly beaten
• Pecans, to decorate
• Bacon, to decorate
• Rosemary, to decorate

Assembly
1. Fill a large pot with water and boil sweet potatoes until tender.
2. Using a large frying pan, fry bacon slices and place on a paper towel and let absorb.
3. Chop bacon (leave some bacon behind to decorate if desired) and place in a large bowl along with brown sugar, flour, walnuts, butter, cayenne pepper, black pepper, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, sea salt, rosemary, basil and combine with a whisk.
4. Preheat oven to 350°F.
5. Mash the sweet potatoes and add in the milk, eggs and sugar and spice mixture and stir until well incorporated.
6. Pour sweet potato into a casserole dish and decorate with pecans along the sides and add bacon bits along with more rosemary in the centre.
7. Bake for 30 minutes and serve.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
Like eating a very savoury sweet potato pie; the crunch from the nuts and the touch of saltiness from the bacon had me wanting more, the spices though probably a tad too much had me running away and I have altered the recipe accordingly for next time. I’m more of a hint of spices not an overwhelming amount. For awhile I didn’t even remember there was cayenne pepper in it until the slow burn crept up and then that was it I’m was done. This recipe smelt amazing from beginning to end, yet after 5 or so bites I just thought I think this is too savoury. Much like Pumpkin Spice Lattes in autumn and fruit cake or eggnog at Christmas some things are better only eaten at certain times of the year; because you well just don’t enjoy it as much any other time of the year. There is this novelty factor in a way and this is why I’ll be making this for either one of these holidays for dinner and no other time in the year ever.

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