Saturday, September 29, 2012

Coffee and Donuts Cake

Cake Layers:

 3 ounces fine-quality semisweet chocolate such as Callebaut
 1 1/2 cups hot brewed coffee
 3 cups sugar
 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
 2 teaspoons baking soda
 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
 3 large eggs
 3/4 cup vegetable oil
 1 1/2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
 3/4 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 300°F.  Grease pans with shortening. Line bottoms with rounds of parchment paper and  grease paper.
Finely chop chocolate and in a bowl combine with hot coffee. Let mixture stand, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
Into a large bowl sift together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another large bowl with an electric mixer beat eggs until thickened slightly and lemon colored (about 3 minutes with a standing mixer or 5 minutes with a hand-held mixer). Slowly add oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and melted chocolate mixture to eggs, beating until combined well. Add sugar mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined well. Divide batter between 2- 10” pans or 3- 9” pans and bake in middle of oven until a tester inserted in center comes out clean, approx 50 minutes to 1 hour.
Cool layers completely in pans on racks. Run a thin knife around edges of pans and invert layers onto racks. Carefully remove wax paper and cool layers completely. Cake layers may be made 1 day ahead and kept, wrapped well in plastic wrap, at room temperature.

Coffee Buttercream

 1 cup sugar
 1/3 cup water
 2 large eggs
 3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) unsalted butter, softened
 3 tablespoons instant espresso powder dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water

In a small heavy saucepan set over medium heat, dissolve the sugar in the water. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly.  Continue to cook until it registers 240°F on a candy thermometer.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs until they are frothy. While mixer is running, add the sugar syrup in a thin stream, carefully tempering the syrup into the eggs without cooking them.  Beat until it is cool. Change to the paddle attachment and add the softened butter, 1 tablespoon at a time.  Add the espresso mixture, and beat until it is light and fluffy.

Mini Cake Donuts (3 dozen)

 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
 3/4 cups sugar
 2 teaspoon baking powder
 1/4 teaspoon salt
 1 large egg
 1/2 cup milk
 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
 1/2 cup melted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a bowl, mix flour, 3/4 cup sugar, baking powder and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat milk , egg and vanilla together.  Add flour mixture to egg mixture and beat on low speed to combine.  Stop mixer and pour melted butter over dough.  Mix again until just incorporated. Transfer batter to a piping bag and pipe into the cavities of a donut baking pan.

Bake for 10 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.   

Chocolate Glaze for Donuts

2/3 cup heavy cream
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate finely chopped
1 tbsp. light corn syrup

Nonpariels or sanding sugar

Place cream in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook until very hot but not boiling.  Place chocolate and corn syrup in a small bowl then pour hot cream over mixture and stir until smooth.
Quickly dip cooled donut tops into glaze and allow the excess to drizzle back into the bowl.  Sprinkle with sugar or nonpareils. Allow glazed donuts to dry, about 40 minutes to 1 hour.  Chocolate glaze will darken in color as it cools.


Espresso powder for sprinkling
Decorative large crystal sugar for sprinkling

Frost and stack cake layers.  Press unglazed side of donut gently into the side of the cake.  Repeat with entire batch of 3 dozen donuts.  Sprinkle top of cake with espresso powder and decorative sugar.  Extra donuts can be used to garnish the top of the cake.

Recipe and Images via Sprinkle Bakes

Friday, September 28, 2012

Pink Margarita

1 1/2 oz. tequila
1/4 oz. Campari
1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz. honey

Add all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Pour into a tumbler. Serve on the rocks and garnish with a lemon slice and mint leaf.

SOURCE: James Stuart, Parea, New York City

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Giorgio Armani Privé Couture Fall 2012

The undisputed king of trousers shows the world what made him famous...his evening inspired collection features fluid dresses, feminine trousers, and pointy toed shoes.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Style Icon - Tony Duquette

Tony Duquette, considered by many an American design icon, was discovered by Elsie de Wolfe in 1941.  Known for his exuberant and colorful style, his designs are still available through Baker Furniture.

The Tony Duquette Collection from Baker...


Considered one of Duquette's most inspired works, the Biomorphic Console was originally designed for the Charles and Palmer Ducommun Bel Air residence in the 1960s. Impeccably recreated by Baker, the console is cast in resin in three separate pieces, then fabricated together to produce its undulating form, which is finished in Silver Gilt or Gold Leaf. The crystal clear glass top, although anchored in place, gives the illusion that it is just barely perching on top of the base. Circa 1965.





Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Sweet and Salty Cake


     3/4 cup cocoa powder
     2/3 cup sour cream
     2 2/3 cups cups all-purpose flour
     2 teaspoons baking powder
     1 teaspoon baking soda
     1/2 teaspoon salt
     3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
     1/2 cup vegetable shortening
     1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
     1 cup dark brown sugar
     3 large eggs
     1 tablespoon pure vanilla
     1/2 cup Caramel with Salt
     Whipped Caramel Ganache Icing
      Fleur de sel, for garnish


   1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter three 8-by-2-inch round cake pans. Line each pan with a parchment paper round, butter parchment paper and flour; set aside.
   2. In a large bowl, whisk together cocoa, 1 1/4 cups hot water, and sour cream; set aside to cool, about 10 minutes.
   3. In another large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
   4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and shortening together until smooth and it appears to create strings inside the bowl, about 7 minutes. Add both sugars and continue beating until light and fluffy, about 7 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until well incorporated. Add vanilla, scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, and mix again for 30 seconds. Add flour mixture alternating with cocoa mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
   5. Divide batter evenly among the three prepared pans. Bake until cake is just firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 18 to 24 minutes. Let cool completely.
   6. Using a serrated knife, trim tops of cakes to make level. Place four strips of parchment paper around perimeter of a serving plate or lazy Susan. Place the first layer on the cake plate. Using about 1/4 cup of the caramel, spread a thin layer on the cake, allowing some of the caramel to soak into the cake. Follow the caramel layer with a layer of about 1 cup of the ganache icing. Place the second layer on top and repeat process with another layer of caramel followed by a layer of ganache icing. Place the remaining layer on top of the second layer bottom side up. Spread entire cake with remaining ganache icing. Sprinkle with fleur de sel.

Recipe via Martha Stewart Living

Monday, September 24, 2012

Million Dollar Property Monday

Villa Spelman located in Florence, Italy is only a few minutes from the city's center and 900 mts from Ponte Vecchio.  On the market for $17,679,000 USD, this property has 8 bedrooms, 7 baths, and is over 10,000 sq. ft.  Perfect for those who want the grandeur and tranquility of a villa and the proximity of Florence.

You can view Sotheby's listing here -

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Brewed Mary: Beer Bloody Mary

1 cup tomato juice
1 cup IPA beer
1/2 tsp celery salt
1/2 tsp sriracha
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp brine for a jar of spanish olive
1/4 tsp cream style horseradish
1 tbs lime juice (about 1 medium lime)
1 tsp lemon juice (about 1/2 medium lemon)
1/2 tsp black pepper
Optional garnish:
celery stalk, olives

Rim glasses with celery salt. Add all ingredients to a shaker half full of ice, swirl to combine. Strain into prepared glasses, garnish if desired.

Makes 2

Recipe and Image via The Beeroness

Bacon-Wrapped Artichokes

Canola oil, for frying
2 14-oz. jars artichoke hearts
8 slices bacon, halved crosswise
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 tbsp. ground black pepper

Pour oil to a depth of 2″ in a 6-qt. Dutch oven; heat over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer reads 350°. Place each artichoke heart on one end of a bacon slice, sprinkle with some of the Parmesan and pepper, and roll up; secure with a toothpick. Fry until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Drain.

Recipe and Image via Saveur


4 cups plain yogurt, whole milk or low-fat
2 hothouse cucumbers, unpeeled and seeded
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic (2 cloves)
1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place the yogurt in a cheesecloth-lined sieve and set it over a bowl. Grate the cucumber and toss it with 2 tablespoons salt; place it in another sieve and set it over another bowl. Place both bowls in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours so the yogurt and cucumber can drain.

Transfer the thickened yogurt to a large bowl. Squeeze as much liquid from the cucumbers as you can and add the cucumbers to the yogurt. Mix in the sour cream, vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, dill, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper. You can serve it immediately, but I prefer to allow the tzatziki to sit in the refrigerator for a few hours for the flavors to blend.

Recipe and Image via Barefoot Contessa

Friday, September 21, 2012

Creamy Pineapple Cocktail

1½ oz. Bacardi
¾ oz. Perfect Purée Carmelized Pineapple Concentrate
½ oz. lemon juice
½ oz. agave nectar
½ oz. pineapple juice
Garnish: grilled pineapple wedge.

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously and strain contents into glass or flash blend in a blender. Garnish with a grilled pineapple wedge.

Source: Kim Haasarud, Liquid Architecture for Omni Hotels

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Brown Derby Cobb Salad

½ head iceberg lettuce, cored and shredded
½ head romaine lettuce, chopped
½ bunch watercress, some of the stems trimmed, chopped
2 oz. blue cheese, preferably Roquefort, crumbled
6 strips cooked bacon, roughly chopped
3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and cut into ½" cubes
2 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and cut into ½" cubes
1 boneless skinless chicken breast, cooked and cut into ½" cubes
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and cut into ½" cubes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tbsp. minced chives

¾ cup canola oil
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
¾ tsp. dry mustard
½ tsp. Worcestershire
¼ tsp. sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Make the dressing: Combine the canola oil, olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, Worcestershire, sugar, and garlic in a blender. Purée the ingredients to make a smooth dressing and season with salt and pepper. Set the dressing aside (or refrigerate, covered, for up to 1 week).

2. Make the salad: On a large platter, combine the iceberg and romaine lettuces along with the watercress. Arrange the blue cheese, bacon, eggs, tomatoes, chicken, and avocado on top of the greens in neat rows. To serve, drizzle salad with dressing, season with salt and pepper, and top with chives. Alternatively, toss everything together in a bowl.

Recipe and Image via Saveur