The Ultimate Lemon Brownie Recipe! Father Approved!

June 28, 2015 - Leave a Response

   The Ultimate Lemon Brownie with Lemon Glaze

‘Made these for a weekend and I have never been the same!

I can’t wait to make these easy, zesty brownies once again!

My sisters went bananas over the taste of these fine treats

My mother was struck silent as brownies knocked her off her feet!

My father was the happiest, the happiest because

He always gets his very own creating quite the buzz…

From mother as she always jokes how Daddy loves his sweets

But on Father’s Day or any day, this brownie can’t be beat!!

Zesty and easy, and they taste so high end!!!

Zesty and easy, and they taste so high end!!!

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Egg Nog Snickerdoodles and Spiced Up Ginger Snaps!

March 6, 2015 - Leave a Response

Greetings Readers!

So, here it is … the moment you’ve been waiting for … and the winner is … Me!

That’s right. My husband and I decided to have a cookie baking contest way back when. Christmas 2013 to be exact and if you are new to Layers Upon Layers or are becoming reacquainted, an explanation for this site can be found in the About Me section of this blog. Meanwhile, I have been busy with pursuits here and there with acting and busy with life in general, but I still love to bake when I actually do get chance to do so. The last item that I baked, actually,  was a scrumptious chocolate cookie pie. Today, however, I am revealing the winning cookie of the cookie contest. Before proceeding, here was how the winning cookie was selected.

Now, my husband is quite competitive at times; yes, even in a cookie baking contest! I was somewhat surprised that he wanted to take on the challenge, especially since he is a far better cook than baker, but then again, it makes sense that baking would elicit such a strong competitive response from my him … Challenge, challenge, challenge! No, my husband did not back down from this challenge, but the family voted on my Egg Nog Snickerdoodle cookies as the winner!

And the Winner is ... Egg Nog Snickeroodles!

And the Winner is … Egg Nog Snickeroodles!

Especially in this photo, appearance was not award winning mostly because the icing had not yet hardened and, well ... I was mostly going for taste, and not to mention the batter, to my surprise, was a crumbly inconsistent consistence that I was not use to working with.

Especially in this photo, appearance was not award winning mostly because the icing had not yet hardened and, well … I was mostly going for taste, and not to mention the batter, to my surprise, was a crumbly inconsistent consistence that I was not use to working with.

Now it is certainly worth mentioning that not only did my Egg Nog Snickerdoodles get a round of applause, and oohs and ahhs for taste; my Spiced Up Ginger Snaps made an amazing appearance and received many “ahhs” for taste, especially from the adults, as the spice-factor was quite unique in this otherwise traditional cookie favorite, that my father simply adores!

Now, you might be wondering why I have no photos of my husband’s cookies. I normally would have taken photos of his creative treats, but I completely forgot to do so ( ‘Sorry sweet husband ). I can tell you, however, that his second place Butter Lemon Almond Sugar cookies, were superb; a bit heavy on the buttery side, but they definitely received my vote for best taste, although tied with my Spiced Up Ginger Snaps.

A Spicy Ginger Snap Closeup!

A Spicy Ginger Snap Closeup!

Marching, Marching, Marching ...!

Marching, Marching, Marching …!

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SPICY!

As for my husband’s second cookie, his rolled fig cookies were deliciously wholesome and fitting for the holiday season, but something told me that they would not get the kid’s vote and I was going for the votes, so pleasing everyone’s taste buds with nostalgic holiday flavors and sensational sentiments was my strategy. Thus, with a tallied vote, Egg Nog Snickerdoodles won the show!

Egg Nog Snickerdoodles

Creamy and shimmery

like icing on a cake

or a blanketed lake

without a clue what’s inside,

but there is nothing to hide,

this rounded shape we’re caught up in

and never wanting to leave

until we get the tell tail sign

that what is true is what we believe

 and what we believe is nothing more

than the taste of a holiday tradition

in the shape of a circular cycle of truth.

It is what we believe to be a winner of all.

Standing tall and gaining the likes of memories grand

of childhood and adulthood;

It has been around for centuries

and it’s plain to see that Eggnog’s still the best!

                                          — Linda Ghostwriter

 Until next blog post, plan a cookie baking contest to spice up YOUR holidays… Like for the spring holidays, which are fast approaching!

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For Joseph’s Sake … Mini Coconut Cake!

June 26, 2014 - Leave a Response

Hello viewers!

This is a cake my brother in law has been complimenting me on for quite a while, so I finally made him a personalized mini coconut cake for the family holiday get together! … Yes,  I did say HOLIDAY get together; so, yes it has been awhile since I’ve posted, but here  ’tis!

For goodness sake Joseph … Enjoy your cake! :)

More to come! My husband and I had a cookie baking contest and guess who won! … Stay Tuned!

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Banana Bread Comfort!

May 12, 2014 - Leave a Response

Greetings banana bread fans! … And even if you aren’t, who can deny the comfort of banana bread?

It’s something so good and wholesome about banana bread that makes you feel “comforted”! I love banana bread with a glass of cold milk, and banana bread WITH nuts is a must for me. It’s something about the nuts that just makes banana bread the wholesome character that it is! Here’s to banana bread WITH nuts, and to those who love baking this traditional, wholesome, comfort-food delight!

Oh, I also baked this for Thanksgiving 2013, in addition to the pumpkin bread pudding and pumpkin pie!

Cheers!

Linda

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Pumpkin Bread Pudding and a Pumpkin Pie!

May 12, 2014 - Leave a Response

Greetings!

Okay, so in addition to the pecan pie that I baked for Thanksiving 2013, I made a Pumpkin bread pudding that was quite mild in terms of sweetness. It had a subtle taste of liqueur, thanks to Tuaca; a sweet tasting brandy-based wine that is great for desserts! I don’t recall the recipe that I used, but I would be glad to look it up for you if you would like to know. I also made a pumpkin pie; it too was my first and the crust was fantastic. I thought of my grandma as I often do when baking. We all miss her, but I feel her presence when baking, and I love her “Old School” approach to baking treasures like, lemon meringue pie, chocolate eclairs, sweet potato, pumpkin pie, and 7-UP cake. You just can’t beat the experience of elders when it comes to baking holiday favorites like pumpkin pie, and a homemade crust is a must!

I will say that the photo doesn’t do my pumpkin bread pudding must justice, but if you are a fan of bread pudding like I, you too will find this pudding to be a holiday favorite.

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… Rest in peace Grandma… We all miss you!

Linda

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Thanksgiving Pecan Pie!

May 12, 2014 - Leave a Response

Greetings! Well, life may have taken a few twist and turns, but thankfully my love for baking never stopped along the way, so here’s what I made for Thanksgiving 2013. It’s Pecan Pie! My first … enjoy!

Pecan Pie is no lie.

It’s fun to bake, the buttery taste

Don’t waste … one drop

The sticky sweet, richness

Just won’t stop, until

Pop! … I think a seam just burst,

But what’s worse than hearing

The words, ” ‘Last piece!”

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Fourth of July Flag Cake – Coconut Version

July 4, 2012 - Leave a Response

******I’m Thinking of Elissa and Red, White, and Blue song; and photos of my Coconut Fourth of July Flag cake are posted below ******

I couldn’t wait to post photos of this delightfully, fun cake that I made! I’ve posted photos below after the I’m Thinking of Elissa ( and Red, White, and Blue ) song; but briefly, let me tell you that I came across this gem of a baker when looking for a cake idea, a couple of summers past. Elissa Bernstein’s 17 and baking  blog is such joyful eye candy, as her passion for baking surely shines through in her photos and within her writing.  She is an amazingly creative baker. Her exquisite, passionate baking artistry and presentation, as well as her creative choice of flavor combinations will make your mouth water; and it’s never a surprise that when viewing her blog, you might find yourself  saying something like, “You know, I never would have thought in a million years, to put  basil, lime, semifreddo and watermelon sorbet  together in a bar; but come to think of it, it’s just the perfect fit!”

Moving on to cake, Elissa’s Bernstein’s Fourth of July Flag cake really impressed me!  When scouring over the recipe and instructions, I said to myself, “What a beautiful, patriotic cake and how did she get the inside to look like the American flag?” Well, step by step cake instructions may be found on her blog, but to view her demonstration of how to make this fun cake, tune into the video recording of  Elissa on the New Day Northwest morning show. Also, on the video, you will get a brief camera shot of Elissa’s father who is known to be the originator of this extraordinary cake idea. “Genius” in my book of cake creators!

Anyway,  it’s  just 1 day away from Fourth of July 2012, and I wrote a song, and wouldn’t you know it … I’ve also got photos of my very own version of  Fourth of July Flag Cake that I am excited to share. My song  entitled I’m Thinking of Elissa is printed below, and after it are my personal photos and recap of my experience with baking my Coconut 4th of July Flag cake, but first … I’m thinking of Elissa …

I’m Thinking of Elissa  ( and Red, White, and Blue )

I’m thinking of Elissa.

Elissa likes to bake.

Elissa likes photography.

Elissa likes her cake.

I’m thinking of Elissa.

‘A tidbit just for you …

Writing is a another thing,

Elissa likes to do.

Now on one scorching, hot July,

I’m wondering what to bake.

I seek and find a recipe for

Independence Cake!

Have you ever seen this cake before?

Amazing! You will see …

A sheer delight, and slice of genius

Creativity!

So, go ahead, and bake it,

Slice it … See what is inside.

See stars and stripes forever,

Deliciously, collide!

I’m thinking of Elissa.

Elissa likes to bake.

Elissa likes photography.

Elissa likes her cake.

I’m thinking of Elissa.

‘A tidbit just for you …

Writing is a another thing,

Elissa likes to do.

What greater way to spend

a fun and patriotic day,

Than to spend it baking cake

So everyone can hear you say,

“This tantalizing, classy, piece of

Red and white and blue,

Is sure to put a smile on every

U.S heart that’s true …

And I’m proud to be an American.

I hope that you are too!

( Happy Fourth! )

           Written by: Linda Ghostwriter

         *****Photos of my Coconut Fourth of July Flag cake below ******

When I decided to bake this cake, I envisoned it covered in coconut, and so it was. I loved making this cake. Like fireworks waiting to go off, I anticipated the day of celebrated flag and patriotic pride. Cake and country was clearly on my mind, and decked in coconut … Here is how it turned out!

My version of Fourth of July Flag Cake - (decked with red, white, and blue coconut ) A side -view!

My version of Fourth of July Flag Cake – (decked with red, white, and blue coconut ) A side -view!

Salute to sweetness! Coconut - infused frosting between layers of red, white, and blue cake! Almost all of the 51 stars fit, but I ran out of room on star #48.

Salute to sweetness! Coconut – infused frosting between layers of red, white, and blue cake! Almost all of the 51 stars fit, but I ran out of room on star #48.

Another inside view!

A slice of independence never tasted so good!

A slice of independence never tasted so good!

More independence!

More independence!

Cake Recap:

The cake was baked on July 3rd and decorated on the 4th. The taste and texture was unbelievably smooth, not dry. I was a bit worried that with the large amount of food coloring used, the cake would taste dry or have an aftertaste, but that was not the case. Just the opposite happened, and I was not at all prepared for the sophisticated taste brought forth from this cake! After taking my first bite, and my husband taking his, I muttered in awe, “This is good cake … (and yes, I actually said that)… I don’t know how it turned out so well, but I did it … and this is actually a fantastic little fancy tasting cake.”

When making this cake, the anticipation mounts because you can only guess what the inside will look like when you cut it, and that is all you think about as the count down to that monumental 4th of July moment draws near, and that first slice takes place, and you are stunned and can’t seem to get your mouth to close because the blue is where it is supposed to be, and the red stripes are lined up just right (or almost just right), and after your mouth closes, and your eyes come down to size; you sigh a big sigh, and  smile.

Lessons learned were: 1. Use a non-serrated knife so that the cake cuts clean. When using a serrated knife, the crumbs from the red cake will spread to the white cake, and the same for blue! It was not my original intention to cut the cake using a serrated knife. It just so happened that the serrated knife was closest to the cake when it came time to cut it. The serrated knife was used earlier to slice the colored cake layers. 2. Food coloring tends to fade and bleed on a hot 4th of July day (or night). The blue food coloring used in the cake turned slightly green, and the red coconut; which I colored myself, using food coloring, began to bleed onto the white coconut; making a small portion of  the white coconut, light pink. This was hardly noticeable at first, but with time, it is possible that the color change will get worse. 3. The next time, I will start with a red coconut – filled stripe on the bottom of the cake instead of starting out with a white one. The white stripe on the bottom doesn’t create a border like the red one does. 4. I used cream cheese frosting to pipe on the stars…MISTAKE! Royal icing will form and hold a star shape better than cream cheese frosting, especially on a hot summer day!

Last and final words about the cake! It was challenging, fun and exciting! My idea to decorate the outer portion with colored coconut, went beautifully and just as I planned and envisioned it would go; but the coconut stripes will be much straighter, the next time. To color the coconut, I used the Ziplock bag method where the coconut goes in the bag with a few drops of food coloring. You just shake as much as you need to, in order to coat the coconut. You also use your fingers to squish the coconut through the bag to break up any coconut clumps that may form.

Special thanks to Elissa for her dedication to baking, blogging, and photography while far from home and busy with school in Boston. Also, special thanks to Elissa’s dad for the inspiring cake idea . I am still anticipating making the frozen Watermelon Basil-Lime bars sometime, too! … Yum!

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“Pure Coconut Bliss” Cake … with a Cherry on Top

May 21, 2012 - One Response
Coconut Bliss Cake ( side view ) with a reindeer's nose ( a cherry ) on top !

Coconut Bliss Cake ( side view ) with a reindeer’s nose ( a cherry ) on top !

"Coconut Bliss" Cake

Coconut Cake with a cherry on top! ( Two cherries actually )

“Pure Coconut Bliss” Cake … with a Cherry on Top

 What’s to know about a coconut cake?

One bite and you will say,

I think I know what it’s like to taste

the taste of a wintry day.

 White fluffy flakes, lay atop cakes

stacked 3 or 4 times high …

Such beauty is this … what pure southern bliss!

Oh, who can resist? …

 Not I!

  Coconut Bliss can kiss away

a dismal day,

and how beautifully

 her almonds lay,

and pecans fall upon graceful slopes

of endless, pure vanilla;

 And how coveted is her resting space,

with glory and honor, she’ll take her place,

and all eyes will meet her elegant grace …

 As front and center she stands;

And at the table she’ll be

in her own remote land,

far from crumpets and tea;

far from strawberry flan,

  And far from the cream puff,

and far from the tart …

( They’re all far away, on a plain dessert cart ) …

She’s a true southern belle

and a true work of art,

   and you’ll fall for her heart

 and that bright cherry too;

just like that swift, Christmasy reindeer

who flew,

and guided a sleigh from

New York to Peru.

 Like a nose, cherries glow; against coconut snow,

as unified tones of  low ahhs and low ohhs

surround every nook of each house and each home,

for a sight such as this …

 “Pure Coconut Bliss” …

( with a cherry on top )

      Written by: Linda Ghostwriter

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Tiramisu Charlotte Cake

March 30, 2012 - 2 Responses

                      Tiramisu Charlotte Cake

Tiramisu Charlotte Cake … what a fun cake to make.

The wonder and surprise is that there is no cake to bake.

Charlotte? She’s just tiramisu in a fancy, fun design.

Her border’s made of sweet Savoiardi, each falls in perfect line,

Supporting layers of Italian bliss as berries rest atop …

The secure embrace of a licorice lace to spare each cherished drop,

Of her tiramisu, but I’m warning you …

With one taste, you’ll never stop!

Written by Linda Ghostwriter

 Further words from me about Tiramisu Charlotte “Cake” … Oh, and more photos are below! …

If you love Tiramisu or Tiramisu Trifle, you will like a good Tiramisu Charlotte cake. It has the same ingredients as Tiramisu, but as you can see, with the ladyfingers standing upright and around the layers, it looks more like a cake.

My husband makes his Tiramisu with just a little bit more liquor and with a stronger dose of espresso. For a pleasantly strong flavor from the coffee, a perfectly sweetened filling, and light and fluffy taste and texture, I hand it to him. He wins the prize. On the other hand, for a subtle sweet taste PLUS a wow – factor presentation, my Tiramisu takes the cake!

Here are a few photos of the Tiramisu Charlotte Cake I made for my in-laws in October. Inspired by a video tutorial by Dezzertzhouse, I made my own version by dipping ladyfingers in a single coating of my homemade chocolate ganache, adding strawberries, then shoestring licorice to tie it altogether. Adding strawberries is not a new invention when it comes to decorating a Tiramisu Charlotte cake, but I chose to add the berries for the bright contrast of colors and for a bit of a WOW effect. The WOW effect worked; my in-laws were wow-ed, my mother- in- law took pictures and had many flattering compliments to pay, and my father-in-law was ready to “sign me up”.

Of course, for your version, you may add what you like. You may want to add strawberries, kiwi, cinnamon sticks … the ideas are endless, but you have to ask yourself, “Does it compliment the cake?”, and “Will it appeal to the person for whom I am making this cake?” These are just a few cozy suggestions from me to you! … Now, Go! Bake! Enjoy!

                                                                                     Just a slice!

A view from above!A view from above!

A refrigerator view!A refrigerator view!

Another refrigerator view!Another refrigerator view!

Sitting in a cake ring, waiting for strawberries!Sitting in a cake ring, waiting for strawberries!

My first Tiramisu Charlotte Cake ... done!My first Tiramisu Charlotte Cake … done!

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The Mystery of His Tiramisu, and “Testa Dura!”

January 11, 2012 - 5 Responses

Tiramisu in a trifle bowl!

He made all the ingredients for the Tiramisu, and I assembled it into my trifle bowl! We both made the lady fingers! … After my little introduction below, read on to find out how I solved the “Mystery of His Tiramisu!” in my poem entitled, The Mystery of His Tiramisu, and “Testa Dura!”

 My husband and I made our own lady fingers for Tiramisu, and this was our first time making them. They tasted better than the packaged lady fingers we normally get from the International section of our local grocery store, and when it came to assembling the Tiramisu in my new trifle bowl; they looked magnificent, and fit beautifully.

Indeed, I was all excited about using my trifle bowl again, as this was only the second time using it.  My job besides helping make the lady fingers, was to assemble my husband’s tiramisu ingredients into the bowl; but as often as I have seen him make this famous Italian delight, there seemed to remain this mystery surrounding my husband’s tiramisu; especially the one he made for a family day- after -Christmas dinner, just last year…

The Mystery of His Tiramisu, and “Testa Dura!”

 His Tiramisu was quite a big hit,

At Mom- in – laws place, it was just the right fit.

What’s my husband’s secret?

I’ve yet to know it,

But that’s the mystery of his Tiramisu.

I know that the cream’s made with eggs whipped so light,

With the essence of zest (or is it juice or extract?)

Oh, why is husband so tight,

When sharing his secret Italian delight?

Oh, the mystery of his Tiramisu!

It’s not like I can’t find what’s in it …alright?

Tiramisu’s been around since the first Roman fight,

But, “It’s in the technique” (which is banned from all sight).

It’s the mystery of his Tiramisu!

Now, his mother’s Ricotta Cake is sent from above,

And her lemon squares and pound cake is touched by her love.

For, they make your mouth happy and heart filled with cheer,

Then you’re blue ‘cause it’s time for the year to draw near,

And all the indulgence of sweet tastes you’ve known,

Must cease because new resolutions have grown,

They’ve grown and they say, “Leave those sweet treats alone!”

So, you leave them alone … yes, alone.

And still his secret’s unknown; but, I know this for sure,

*Fingers are made from ingredients of 4,

And as always, there’s room for just 1 or 2 more,

But what’s the mystery of his TIRAMISU?

Yes, we made our own fingers, and what’s worth a shout,

Is homemade ingredients …that’s what it’s about!

That’s the secret to fingers, but Tiramisu?

Perhaps it’s not meant for revealing to you,

Or to me, but you see … I really want to …

To undo this mystery of Tiramisu!

 I do … I really do.

 So, why hide “the technique”? … For, I’m bound to find out!

“Why hide it?” I say with my prettiest pout.

“I’ve seen you cook, I’ve seen you bake; and you’ve never kept shy,

 Of my probing and prodding and questions of why…

  So, why husband …why?”

“Well, the truth is no secret, now would you agree …

 The truth is we’re happiest, sharing, you see?”

 “Oh yes, dearest husband; of course, I agree…

  I love sharing with you, and you sharing with me!”

“Then, to find out the secret, you have to get up!”

“In wee hours of morning?”

“That’s right, Buttercup…

Tiramisu’s made in morning, that’s when it’s made best,

Then it sits, and it waits; and it takes time to rest,

And as always, in morning; wake up, and you’ll see,

That there’s really no secrets between you and me.

Just time, and that time is just ticking away,

With each dying minute, and each dying day.”

“Is that really the secret to solving this case? …

Wee hours of morning; wake up, and make haste;

Or miss out on learning the secret you do,

When making your mystery tiramisu? ”

 “That is right, my dear wifey, I’ve said it befor-a”

“Then, there’s no more to say; so, to me …*‘Testa Dura!”

                                                                   Written by Linda Ghostwriter

  * Fingers refers to Savoiardi or what is also known as Lady Fingers; a spongy Italian biscuit.

  *“Testa Dura” is Italian for hard-headed, stupid, or stubborn.

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Side view: Tiramisu in a trifle bowl!

Side view: I assembled it; he put all the ingredients together! We both made the lady fingers!

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