Thursday, January 14, 2010

Rainbow cake

Rainbow cake Recipe:

Yellow Butter Cake Recipe:
3 large egg yolks
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup sifted cake flour
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 tablespoon + 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
pinch salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

Yellow Butter Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C). Spray one 9-inch x 1 1/2 inch (23 x 4 cm) cake pan with Bakers Joy, line bottom with parchment paper, then spray again with Bakers Joy. Set aside.
In a medium bowl lightly combine the egg yolks, 1/8 cup milk, and vanilla extract.
In the bowl of your electric mixer combine the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder and salt) and mix on low speed for about 30 seconds or until blended. Add the butter and remaining 1/2 + 1/8 cup milk. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for about 2 minutes to aerate and develop the cake's structure. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Gradually add the egg mixture, in 3 additions, beating about 30 seconds after each addition to incorporate the egg. Add food coloring of choice here.
Pour batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the surface with an offset spatula. (Pan will be about half full.) Bake 25 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in center.
Place the cake on a wire rack to cool, in its pans, for about 10 minutes. Then invert the cake onto a greased rack. To prevent splitting, re-invert cakes so that tops are right side up. Cool completely before frosting.


Dark Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
Double this recipe for the Rainbow cake
9 oz. dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa)
Note: I use Lindt chocolate- for the best taste, use the best chocolate!
0.5 c. baker's sugar
3 egg whites
0.5 c. unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
pinch of cream of tartar
• Melt chocolate in a double boiler and set aside to cool. Leave pot of simmering water on the stove.
• Place egg whites, cream of tartar, and baker's sugar in a stainless steel bowl and place over the double boiler. Whisk by hand -- rotating the bowl and removing it from the heat, if necessary, to prevent the egg whites from cooking -- until they are warm to the touch.
• Grab the electric mixer again and beat on high until the meringue holds a stiff peak. Add butter and continue to mix.
• Add chocolate and vanilla and mix until combined.

Cream Cheese Frosting (between the layers)

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1.In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Mix in the vanilla, then gradually stir in the confectioners' sugar.


Cut the cake layers to uniform height: I use a Wilton cake cutter to make it even.
Place first layer on wax paper.
Layer with cream cheese.
Place second layer on... repeat until you've used all of your layers.
Use the remaining cream cheese to fill in the cracks on the outside of the cake, so the chocolate buttercream will go on smooth.
Refrigerate cake until it's solid.
Spread Chocolate buttercream on the outside of the cake.
Place candied flowers on cake for decoration- or what ever you'd like.


After spending three New Years' holidays here in Germany, we took a trip to the south. Way south. Bavaria south. And I am so glad that we did. Who knew that Germany could be so diverse? Well, a lot of people actually, but I'm glad to know that I'm one of the lucky ones to have been able to see it first hand!
Driving to our destination we took a small detour to see the famous Neuschwanstein Castle. Burr... being a 40 minute walk uphill with two small children, we were only able to view this lovely Cinderella Esque castle from afar, but it was still a nice view. We had a quick bite to eat, some hot chocolate to warm up and then on to our destination.

The military has special lodging for it's members to get away and relax, and this is just what we did. Visiting the town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, we stayed in the resort Edelweiss. Hello Alps, hello beautiful snow filled valleys, hello Bavaria! W. was in heaven. Not only did our hotel have a pool (that opens at 7am!) it had a hot tub and dining on-site! There was plenty of snow out of doors to make snow angels and for eating. (I'm not sure why, but this is very important to her- the snow must be consumed!)

We were able to meet up with some friends, and on the first full day there J. took advantage of the ski slopes 5 minutes away followed by a hot stone massage and then the best Indian food we've had in Germany. It was a good day.

The next day it was my turn to hit the slopes... unfortunately, they hit me, and after only two hours, I was ready to go home. W. and daddy tackled the lower half of the mountains though and sledded until W. was on the verge of collapse. T. took time to nap the afternoon away with mommy...

Being only an hour away from Munich, we drove over there for some lunch and a little sight-seeing. I have always wanted to go to the Hofbrauhaus and have a beer. I was not disappointed- the food was delicious, and the beers extraordinarily large. Smoking is prohibited, so the place is much cleaner then is has been in previous years, and it is very family friendly. W. enjoyed the pretzels, and T. tried to also... as well as the beer, and coasters and what ever else he could grab.

Driving home we encountered a lot of snow, but we made it safely, and I commend the Germans for keeping the autobahn so clean and clear, it was a wonderful vacation!


So this was an unplanned holiday hop for us. While talking one evening, J. mentioned how he would love to visit the country of Slovenia. Being the sly wife that I am, I went up and looked up flights to Eastern Europe. I thought, great, here is an awesome cheap flight to Slovakia! We booked the trip for three days during J.'s birthday. Later that night as we were getting ready for bed he casually mentioned- did I know that he wanted to go to Slovenia, not Slovakia right?! Hand-slap-to-my-forehead...
Slovakia bound we were, and not knowing what to expect. The communists had control over the area for the past few decades, so we were not expecting anything pretty or extraordinary. I'm glad that we didn't set our sights too high. Arriving at the airport at 8am, we were driven to our hotel/ apartment (the best thing about the trip) where we were let in early to relax. We'd been up since 230 that morning, and were ready for a nap.
Visiting the city, there are not many tourist sights to see- hence the cheap flight there? We visited the cathedral for St. Martin:,_Bratislava and then went to see the castle.
The castle in Bratislava has a very rich history, however, the structure you see today is a reconstruction. After years of conflict in the area, the damage to the castle was too much, so in 1957 a reconstruction project was started- which is still not finished today.
To our luck, there was a nice little Christmas market happening in the main square area. We were able to bide our time looking over the interesting food options and sampling the hot alcoholic beverages.
J. did mention that the Church of St. Elisabeth was one of the bast he'd seen in Europe. I thought that it was pretty, but not the best.
Our trip home was uneventful, and our overall impression of the city was blase at best. Since Slovakia wasn't on either of our travel lists, we were glad to have been able to see it, but most probably won't be going back.


For my 31st birthday I was able to take a trip with a girlfriend and my son to the beautiful country of Ireland. We spent three days and three nights touring the city and surrounding countryside. We were able to get accommodation on Pembroke st, in the Ballsbridge area. A very nice townhouse that had been converted into a small hotel. We were about a mile from St. Stevens Green, and a half mile from the tour bus stop.
Being with out husbands, the first day we decided to hit the shopping district on Grafton St.. This is a pedestrian only area filled with many shops and a large indoor mall. It is located across from Trinity college, so the area was covered in co-eds looking for shopping bargains. We lunched in a small pub off of Grafton st. and enjoyed traditional Irish fare with a couple of pints of Guinness.
The following day we took the Dublin Tourist Bus through the town where we were able to visit the Guinness factory, and see all of the major attractions Dublin has to offer. The Guinness factory is well worth a visit to any beer enthusiast, and even if you don't like beer, it's an interesting place to visit to see how the process works. On our bus tour we were also able to see St. Patricks cathedral, Cathal Brugha Street, Guinness Storehouse - St James's Gate, Abbey Street - Lower O'Connell St, Museum of Modern Art - Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Trinity College Dublin - College Green, Kilmainham Gaol - Old Kilmainham, Nassau Street - Nassau Street, Heuston Rail Station - St. John's Road, National Gallery. - Merrion Square West, Dublin Zoo - Phoenix Park, Government Buildings - Merrion Sq West., Ryan's Victorian Bar - Parkgate Street., St. Stephen's Green - Grafton Street.,National Museum - Collin's Barracks, Tourism Centre - Suffolk Street., Old Jameson Distillery - Smithfield, Temple Bar - Dame Street.,Liffey River Cruise - Bachelor's Walk, Dublin Castle - Cork Hill, Dublin Bus HQ - Upper O'Connell Street, Christchurch / Dvblinia - Christ Church Place. ans the Writers' Museum - Parnell Square North Whew! It was a good thing we were on a bus! Here's a map of Dublin:

Our final day in Dublin, we decided to leave the city and see the surrounding area. There was a tour of county Wicklow with stops at Glendalough and Avoca. This all day tour left Dublin in the morning and drove to the monastic settlement founded by Saint Kevin. Deep within the Wicklow Mountains, surrounded on all sides by steep mountain passes Glendalough the valley of two lakes, is one of the most spectacular locations to visit in Ireland. The ruins of the monastery coupled with the centuries old cemetery made this stop on our tour worth the twisty motion-sickness induced-ride to get there.
Our last stop on the tour was in the town of Avoca to the The Handweaving Mill. The mill is the oldest working woollen mill in Ireland. It is also Ireland's oldest surviving business. Not only do they weave wool there, but they have a terrific little cafeteria that fills the rumble in your belly just in time.
In all, our stay in the Emerald isle was a beautiful delightful one, and I look forward to the opportunity to go back- taking the rest of the family with me!
If you're interested in Ireland, here are a couple of great books to read by Edward Rutherford:
The Princes of Ireland: The Dublin Saga, The Rebels of Ireland: The Dublin Saga
A link to some photos of the place: