Sunday, June 27, 2010

June 2010 Daring Bakers Challenge- Chocolate Pavlova

The June 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Dawn of Doable and Delicious. Dawn challenged the Daring Bakers’ to make Chocolate Pavlovas and Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse. The challenge recipe is based on a recipe from the book Chocolate Epiphany by Francois Payard. The recipe is comprised of three parts, four if you include the crème anglaise. We were required to make the chocolate pavlovas, the mascarpone mousse and the mascarpone cream (which includes the crème anglaise).

 What a treat the Daring Baker’s Challenge was this month!! Pavlova is a  meringue based dessert named after Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova. I cannot imagine what a compliment it must have been to have something so indulgent named after you. Albeit cruel, since a professional ballerina would probably never touch something so indulgent since it would alter the size of her  little dancer waist. But, a compliment nonetheless.

This spectacular indulgence is not for the faint of heart. Nor is it a dessert that can be compiled at a moments notice. I made the components of this dessert over 2 days. Lots of steps in this one! The pavlova is constructed of chocolate meringue wafers, layered with chocolate orange marscapone mousse and crème anglaise filled marscapone cream. The top layer is a white chocolate butterscotch mousse drizzled with a bit more crème anglaise.  At first, I had decided I wanted to construct these pavlova in swirled meringue cups. I had seen on another blog of a very talented lady that had made these beautiful swirled strawberry pavlova. Oh, they were beautiful. But it did not take long to realize that the pink swirled meringue and the chocolate swirled meringue did not create the same effect. Well, see for yourself…..

Ok, enough said. So you see why I opted for meringue sheets rather than swirls. Great concept for any other colored meringue except for brown.

I also made a vanilla/white chocolate version.


These pavlova are vanilla meringue squares with the white chocolate butterscotch mousse and marscapone cream drizzled over the top. Both are very nice variations. I do believe for a dinner party I would recommend to make the smaller squares like on the vanilla version. They are an individual serving size. The chocolate version would require slicing, which is somewhat of a challenge to create beautiful slices from delicate crisp meringue. But it can be done!  Oh, and it should be noted that once constructed, this should be eaten the same day (within several hours). This is a dessert that does not keep well. So make it, and it eat it all!! Enjoy!

Chocolate Pavlova with Chocolate Orange Marscapone Mousse and Marscapone Cream Drizzle

Recipe 1: Chocolate Meringue (for the chocolate Pavlova):
3 large egg whites
½ cup plus 1 tbsp (110 grams) white granulated sugar
¼ cup (30 grams) confectioner’s (icing) sugar
1/3 cup (30 grams) cocoa powder
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 200º F (95º C) degrees. Line two baking sheets with silpat or parchment and set aside.
Put the egg whites in a bowl and whip until soft peaks form. Increase speed to high and gradually add granulated sugar about 1 tbsp at a time until stiff peaks form. (The whites should be firm but moist.) Sift the confectioner’s sugar and cocoa powder over the egg whites and fold the dry ingredients into the white. (This looks like it will not happen. Fold gently and it will eventually come together.) Fill a pastry bag with the meringue. Pipe the meringue into whatever shapes you desire. Bake for 2-3 hours until the meringues become dry and crisp. Cool and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

For the vanilla pavlova, use 1/3 c extra powdered sugar and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract.

Recipe 2: Chocolate Orange Mascarpone Mousse (for the top of the Pavlova base):
1 ½ cups (355 mls) heavy cream (cream with a milk fat content of between 36 and 40 percent)
grated zest of 1 average sized lemon
9 ounces (255 grams) 72% chocolate, chopped
1 2/3 cups (390 mls) mascarpone
pinch of nutmeg
2 tbsp (30 mls) Grand Marnier (or orange juice)
Put ½ cup (120 mls) of the heavy cream and the lemon zest in a saucepan over medium high heat. Once warm, add the chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and let sit at room temperature until cool.
Place the mascarpone, the remaining cup of cream and nutmeg in a bowl. Whip on low for a minute until the mascarpone is loose. Add the Grand Marnier and whip on medium speed until it holds soft peaks. (DO NOT OVERBEAT AS THE MASCARPONE WILL BREAK.)
Mix about ¼ of the mascarpone mixture into the chocolate to lighten. Fold in the remaining mascarpone until well incorporated. Fill a pastry bag with the mousse. Again, you could just free form mousse on top of the pavlova.

For white chocolate butterscotch mousse: substitute 9 oz white chocolate for the dark chocolate. Substitute butterscotch liquor for the orange liquor.

Recipe 3: Mascarpone Cream (for drizzling):
1 recipe crème anglaise-recipe follows
½ cup (120 mls) mascarpone
2 tbsp (30 mls) Sambucca (optional)
½ cup (120 mls) heavy cream
  1. Prepare the crème anglaise. Slowly whisk in the mascarpone and the Sambucca and let the mixture cool. Put the cream in a bowl and beat with electric mixer until very soft peaks are formed. Fold the cream into the mascarpone mixture.
Recipe 4: Crème Anglaise (a component of the Mascarpone Cream above):
1 cup (235 mls) whole milk
1 cup (235 mls) heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split or 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
6 large egg yolks
6 tbsp (75 grams) sugar
  1. In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until the mixture turns pale yellow.
  2. Combine the milk, cream and vanilla in a saucepan over medium high heat, bringing the mixture to a boil. Take off the heat. 
  3. Pour about ½ cup of the hot liquid into the yolk mixture, whisking constantly to keep from making scrambled eggs. Pour the yolk mixture into the pan with the remaining cream mixture and put the heat back on medium. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture thickens enough to lightly coat the back of a wooden spoon. DO NOT OVERCOOK.
  4. Remove the mixture from the heat and strain it through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl. Cover and refrigerate until the mixture is thoroughly chilled, about 2 hours or overnight.
Pipe the mousse onto the pavlovas and drizzle with the mascarpone cream over the top. Dust with confectioner’s sugar and fresh fruit if desired.I opted to continue the stacks for a multi-level pavlova.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Winner is....

Wow! Y'all have got some great things picked out to use this $60 gift certificate on!! My wish list has just grown looking at all  your wish lists! Well, I have a winner. I used to pick. Here's the results

#133 was KentuckyCooking

Kentucky Cooking wrote: "I would like to get either the Kaiser Classic 15" Crossini French Fry Sheet and Nordicware Kitchenware 16" Baking Mat, or the Cuisinox 17.6" Mandoline with Blades. I'm torn!"

Now you have to make that decision. And a tough decision it is!!
 KentuckyCooking, I will be emailing you shortly to get your information to pass along to CSN.

Thanks so much to everyone that entered my giveaway!! 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

5T Cake

Five Years ago today, I got to meet my little Princess Runwild. It is quite an emotional greeting when you've carried this little person for 9 months. Everyone tries to tell you this, but you never realize until you experience it for yourself.... it really is the most perfect gift. An everyday miracle! I can remember my husband and I just going around for months (after having our first baby) thinking, this is absolutely miraculous and people are just walking around living their life as normal and we've just witnessed a real live miracle!! I guess people just get accustom to births, but it really is amazing. If you've ever had a baby, you know what I'm talking about..
Anyways. So little Runwild is 5 today or as she likes to say "5T", because that's what size her clothes are :)
Poor baby Runwilder did not get a homemade birthday cake this year. Her birthday was 3 days ago. She turned 2. Unfortunately, she had to settle for a store-bought cake. As fate would have it, one of those little darling Runwild Princesses decided to lick on some object that was bathed in strep. So, I've been battling it for the last several days. The girls actually fared much better than I have. Strep is much worse on adults, in my opinion. I thought I was home free on the sickness. I would snuggle the girls, but they had to point their little baby breath away from my face. Just as I thought I was in the clear, that little Runwilder sneezed right in my face. Its been downhill from there. But, we have  finally made a recovery and it was very important to my little 5T Runwild that I make her a cake today. She's the only 5T kid I know that appreciates cake as much as I do. She couldn't decide whether she wanted chocolate or white icing. So I did a little of both. I used the little princess decorations from the cake featured at the birthday party for the princesses.. This saved me from having to come up with a better plan. We'll call it being green and recycling (as opposed to lazy and unartistic). The cake itself was very good. Classic White Cake, with both chocolate and vanilla butter cream. There should be more dual icings on all cakes. Who made up the rule that you had to choose just one anyways?!?! No complaints out of my newly aged princesses. Enjoy!

"5T Cake"

1 cup milk, room temperature
6 egg whites
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter (6 oz), softened
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Grease two 9 inch cake pans with vegetable shortening, line the bottom with parchment paper, grease the parchment paper and flour the pans.
Combine milk, eggs whites and extracts in a small bowl with a fork. Set aside.
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in an electric mixer and mix at slow speed with a paddle attachment. Add butter. Continue beating at slow speed until mixture looks like wet sand (If you’re doing this by hand, sift the dry ingredients together and rub in butter).
Add all but 1/2 cup of milk mixture and beat at medium speed for 1 1/2 minutes. Add remaining milk mixture and beat for an additional 30 seconds, scraping the sides of the bowl if necessary. Do not overmix.
Divide batter evenly between prepared pans and gently shake to smooth batter. Bake 30-35 minutes, until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Let cakes cool in the pans for 15 minutes then invert onto racks to cool completely before frosting. Unfrosted cakes can be frozen for 1-2 weeks.

Sharon's Chocolate Crusting Buttercream:
recipe from here:

2.5 cups butter
2.5 cups shortening
Splash of vanilla
Dump in cocoa and mix all of the above till very dark brown (I do not measure it)
5 pounds powdered sugar streamed in
Coffee creamer liquid, as needed
Good at room temp for several days to weeks. Fridge or freeze also.
Sharon's Crusting Buttercream:

5 generous cups Sweetex shortening, or other brand of hi ratio shortening
5 pounds powdered sugar
4 TBS vanilla extract (or substitute your flavoring of choice in the appropriate amount)
11-12 TBS hot coffee creamer liquid 

Cream the shortening , flavorings, and hot liquid with paddle attachment until well combined and creamy. Then stream in first 3 pounds of powdered sugar with mixer running at speed one. When incorporated somewhat, stop and scrape down sides of bowl well. Stream in last 2 pounds of powdered sugar at speed one. When incorporated, turn the mixer up to speed 6 and let it beat for 5-7 minutes until very smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl very frequently while the mixer is going at speed 6. The goal is to get all of the icing down into the belly of the bowl and fill the bowl from side to side with no air gaps around the walls, as well as covering the paddle up to the springs. If the icing is making a sucking or "kissing" noise after all the sugar is in, add just a few drops more of liquid, while scraping down the sides,with the mixer running, until that stops. You should create a bowl full of icing side to side, where the paddle is completely submerged and beating in a vacuum under the icing. 5-7 minutes at speed 6 and you should have a smooth as silk and nearly airless icing. Cool before using. Keeps at room temp for weeks or fridge/freeze indefinitely

 Happy '5T' Birthday!!

 Don't forget to enter my GIVEAWAY for a $60 CSN Gift Certificate. Ends 6/25

Friday, June 18, 2010

Happy Anniversary Mr. Sweets!

It is quite a rare ocassion that I make a post without a recipe. This is one of those rare ocassions.
This post is for my husband, Mr. Sweets:

 So, apparently it has been brought to my attention that I have been neglecting my wonderful Mr. Sweets on the blog. He made it very clear that he needed a little attention/press on the blog. Oh, men…aren’t they all the same. But, to give credit where credit is due, I do in fact have a very sweet and wonderful husband. 10 years ago from yesterday, we were married. And boy has he had to put up with a lot out of me over 10 years. Mother Maxine always takes his side (on any discussion), because in her words “He is my favorite son-in-law (albeit her only one). He did in fact take you off my hands with a no return policy.” I get it from all sides, as you can see.  Yes, he did have to endure my younger days. The days in which he swore on many occasions, that I was not his wife, but Bobby, his little frat brother. So, I was a bit messy. Well, as the years have gone by. I have changed a bit. I suppose now he prefers to call me obsessive compulsive (sometimes). Or on trips, “The Trip Nazi.” I’m not sure which is better. Its ok I just let him have his fun. Do I have anything negative to say about Mr. Sweets? Absolutely not…that’s just not my style. But, I do know the multitude of objects that could be cleaned with his toothbrush. Oh, relax, I’m just kidding….sort of :)

Seriously, to celebrate my 10 year anniversary to Mr. Sweets, I’ll include some pictures. Then I’ll show you the fabulous 10 year anniversary gift he MADE (yes girls, that’s right, MADE!) me in an attempt to gain a little exposure on the Sinful Southern Sweets blog. Enjoy my little trip down memory lane!

 Before we were married, oh we were but mere babes!

Holding our first nephew.
 Oh, Mr. Sweets! Is that lipstick you're wearing? Teehee

Oooolala! Oh Mr. Sweets, is it true that you threw your back out on your honeymoon? Oh, that's right, it is true. (going to hide my toothbrush now, just in case he decides to take revenge:)
Loving his little Princess Runwild. Oh how he adores his princesses!

And my anniversary gift:

A sweet card. And literally sweet it was.

Look how he used all sorts of candy to make the words of his message. 

Can you see how huge it is? Look here it is next to little Runwilder.

Its nearly as tall as she is! And wasn't that romantic of him to mention my "Mounds, Whoppers and Whatchamacalits" at the end. Though he is sweet, he is still a man! But, seriously, how could a fella’ go wrong with a gift like that!! 

Mr. Sweets thank you for  being you. For holding my hand through the sad times as we’ve laid family to rest, the happy times as we’ve watched friends get married and the joyous times as we’ve watched two little miracles emerge from God’s workshop.  In the words of Jimmy Buffett, "Some of its magic, some its tragic, but I've had a good life along the way.” Though, perhaps, “good” is a bit of an understatement.
Thanks for 10 wonderful years!!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Giveaway Time!

The nice folks over at CSN have been kind enough to offer me a $60 gift certificate to giveaway to one of you Sinful Southern Sweets followers! I was looking though some of their sites. And they have a huge selection. Everything from beds

to rugs

and everything in between. I'm certain you could find something to spend that $60 on.

So, you wanna win this $60 gift certificate??Well, here's your chance!
Please leave separate comments for each entry. To enter:
1)You must be a follower of Sinful Southern Sweets-1 entry
2) Go to the CSN website and tell me what you think you'd spend your $60 on.-1 entry
3) Follow me on Twitter-1 entry
4) Blog about my giveaway-5 entries

Giveaway will end at midnight on June 25th. Winner will be chosen via and announced on June 26th. Good Luck!!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Strawberry Stuffed French Toast

I had the fabulous opportunity again this month to be part of the test kitchen for They asked me to tryout a Pig Tail Food Flipper. If you've never heard of these, they're grilling tools.  They barely pierce the exterior of your food. So, you're not losing all the great juices from your meat.

Well, since I lean a bit more on the sweet side of life, I decided to stray from the flipper's most common use, on the grill. So, what did I make? I decided to make Strawberry French Toast and try to use the Pigtail Flipper.Honestly, I really wasn't sure it would work. Oh, but it did!! Here it is in action:

That little pigtail flipper would make a perfect Father's Day gift. In fact it would be great for any cook, whether they enjoy cooking inside or out. This particular set includes 2 flippers, one small, one large. I'm afraid my set may come up missing when my husband finds them:) I believe most men would do that whole manly grunt thing over these utensils.
Now, on to the french toast. Well...what can I say.....its sinful. I made this recipe up, in an effort to use up some ingredients I had on hand. Here's what you need:
For the filling:

I realize strawberry ice cream topping may not be a typical ingredient to be discovered in stuffed french toast, but it should be!
And for the french toast:

The recipe has a nice blend of creaminess from the cheeses and the perfect touch of sweetness from the ice cream topping. Cooked up in traditional french-toast style, its perfect anytime of day. My little Runwild Princesses loved it. Of course, how could they not, especially when topped off with an extra gallon of strawberry ice cream topping. Oh, relax. It's got fruit in it....I could have used chocolate:) Enjoy!
P.S. Be on the lookout for a giveaway in the next day or so!!

Strawberry Stuffed French Toast
8oz Ricotta Cheese
8 oz Cream Cheese
1 jar strawberry ice cream topping
2 Tbsp powdered sugar (optional)
1 loaf sour dough bread, sliced thick
3 eggs
½ cup milk
1 tsp cinnamon sugar mixture
½ stick butter
fresh strawberries for topping (optional)

Combine ricotta and cream cheese until smooth. Add ¼ cup ice cream topping. Add 2 Tbsp powdered sugar(if desired). Set aside. Mix together in a small bowl, the cinnamon/sugar, milk, and eggs. Set aside. Spread each slice of bread with about 3-4 Tbsp of the strawberry cheese mixture. Press two slices together (strawberry filling facing each other)to form a sandwich. Dip the entire sandwich, quickly, into the milk and egg mixture. Heat half the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until melted. Carefully, add the French toast. Cook until lightly brown on each side, about 3-5 minutes. Remove to plate and let cool slightly. If desired, you may top the French toast with more strawberry ice cream topping and powdered sugar.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Coca Cola Cake-The Perfect Funeral Food

Now, the subject matter of this post may seem a bit morbid, but unfortunately funerals are a fact of life. Now don't rush away, the end result (the recipe) is totally worth waiting around for! 

Its no secret that here in the Southern region of the US we do a lot of things differently. Funerals are certainly no exception."During the 19th century, Southern funerals were major social events. Because plantations were so spread out, in the event of a death, the family contacted four friends, each of them contacted four friends, and so on. When the guests arrived, they were served cake and hot West Indian rum punch. After the funeral service, the mourners followed the coffin to the place of burial with sometimes as many as 500 people on horseback.(Source)
Now, we have evolved a bit. Obviously, we don't do the horseback funerals. But, we do still practice some common courtesies.... such as pulling over on the side of the road for a funeral procession to pass, to respect the loss of a loved one. It doesn't matter who the deceased person was or what occupation they incurred. If you see a funeral procession, you pull over! Also, we still believe in sending condolence cards to let those who've lost know they are in our prayers. When my Daddy passed away, we requested private services and just wanted time to grieve alone as a family. But the condolence cards I received probably meant more to me than anything that anyone could have brought or done. And, most importantly, we still believe in feeding the families who have lost a loved one. This is the most important part of caring for the grieving family.
There is a book out called "Being Dead Is No Excuse: The Official Southern Ladies Guide To Hosting the Perfect Funeral" by Gayden Melcalfe and Charlotte Hays. This is a hilarious book, despite its subject matter, detailing the ins and outs of a proper Southern funerals. Now I will warn you, it is completely outside the realm of being politically correct. Here is a statement from Amazon describing the different religious outlooks on the funeral food: "Metcalfe and Hays report that while there is no theological animosity between Episcopalians and Methodists, the culinary rivalry is cutthroat: "Episcopalians are snooty because they spurn cake mixes and canned goods, without which there would be no such thing as Methodist cuisine." But everybody has to look down on somebody, they observe, so for Methodists, there are the Baptists, who put "little bitty marshmallows" on their congealed salads." Ok, in other regions, there may be people gasping at this, but down here, we all make jokes among the Baptists, Methodists and Episcopalians. No harm, its all in fun. For instance, all the Methodists joke that we get out of church 15 minutes early so we can beat the Baptists to the restaurants on Sunday. And of course all Baptists and Methodists want to be Episcopalian so they can drink like a fish:)

All kidding aside, no matter the religion, we do take time to respect those that are hurting. If we don't know what to say during a time when someone is hurting....we just try to make enough food so everyone's mouths will be full. No room, nor need for words:) The comfort food provided may either be filled with a cream of ______(you fill in the blank..chicken, mushroom, celery), mayonnaise, or sugar. If you are being showered with food (also known as love around these parts) by a congregation of elderly women (or me) you most likely will end up with a kitchen full of sweets. My brother was asking not long ago, after the loss of my sister in law's grandfather, why they (little old ladies) always bring sugar filled food. No real food. I told him I thought they were just thinking sweet food=sweet thoughts. It does to me!
So, recently, after the loss of a grandmother belonging to a close friend of my husband, I baked up one of the most perfect Southern funeral cakes around. A Coca Cola Cake. This moist chocolate cake with a cooked icing can baked in a disposable pan. That way the family does not have to worry about returning a pan. Though I hear it’s a bit taboo to take food in a disposable pan (it should be in your best bakeware), I do not so much agree. I think the food is what is important, not the baking dish. Anyways, you will want to make this cake for every occasion possible. It is a southern staple, that is often forgotten. It is certain to bring sweet thoughts, no matter the occasion. Enjoy!


Coca-Cola Cake 

Recipe from Southern Living-Aug.'02


  • 1  cup  Coca-Cola
  • 1/2  cup  buttermilk
  • 1  cup  butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 3/4  cups  sugar
  • 2  large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2  teaspoons  vanilla extract
  • 2  cups  all-purpose flour
  • 1/4  cup  cocoa
  • 1  teaspoon  baking soda
  • 1 1/2  cups  miniature marshmallows
  • Coca-Cola Frosting
  • Garnish: 3/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted


Combine Coca-Cola and buttermilk; set aside.
Beat butter at low speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar; beat until blended. Add egg and vanilla; beat at low speed until blended.
Combine flour, cocoa, and soda. Add to butter mixture alternately with cola mixture; begin and end with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended.
Stir in marshmallows. Pour batter into a greased and floured 13- x 9-inch pan. Bake at 350° for 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from oven; cool 10 minutes. Pour Coca-Cola Frosting over warm cake; garnish, if desired.
Note: Don't make the frosting ahead--you need to pour it over the cake shortly after baking.

Coca-Cola Frosting


  • 1/2  cup  butter or margarine
  • 1/3  cup  Coca-Cola
  • 3  tablespoons  cocoa
  • 1  (16-ounce) package powdered sugar
  • 1  tablespoon  vanilla extract


Bring first 3 ingredients to a boil in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring until butter melts. Remove from heat; whisk in sugar and vanilla.