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"Here's the story, of a Bia named Dana.... that's the way she became the Bia Bunch!"

Oh no!!!  My blog has been hijacked!!!  Apparently someone is having a birthday and her friends hog tied me and forced me into using my blog to send her birthday wishes!!!!  This is a group of kick ass people that I knew going against would not be in my best interest, so I succumbed!!

Bia, you know I had absolutely nothing to do with this, as you are aware of the “skinny” on how I feel about ya!!!!  But I value my life enough not to mess with these people, so here ya go……

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Kristy Jackson

Happy Birthday to my fabulously gorgeous friend Dana!!!! When you’re lucky enough to meet somebody so phenomenal in your life it makes it easier to smile through the tough times. They also often lead you to meet other wonderful people! I’m very blessed to have her as a friend and am thankful for that every day ♥

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Diane Cindrich

Happy Birthday Dana… I am so lucky and glad to have someone as special as you in my life. We have so many great memories together. Our trip to Bonita Beach is way up there though. I will always be here for you and hope that things eventually get easier for you. I love you girlie.

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Erin Kelly Jones

Happy Birthday to one of the most beautiful people I know, my Dana!! Girl, you are a one of a kind amazing person and I really don’t know how I went on so long without you! One Birthday Swipe coming your way! Love You!!!

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Amber Weber

tell dana- i hope she has a very wonderful birthday and everytime i go to the zoo and see pink flamingos i always think of her! Happy Birthday!

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Jordan O'Malley

Dana,
Happy Birthday!! You are one of the funniest and sweetest people I know. I hope you have an amazing birthday, you absolutely deserve it!

Love you!
– Jordie

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Ray Conley

Happy Birthday Dana,
You are a very strong good person who should have all her heart wants and needs. All I can think of is sitting out front of Station Square with her smoking and making fun of all the assholes going the wrong way. And all the fun we had at station square over all the years boy do I miss those days.
Ray

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Alicia Andrews Sattler

Dana, We have a lot of great memories together. Seems like we have known each other forever. I guess it has been since the 5th grade. I hope you have a very happy birthday and many more to come. Love ya, Alicia

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Carri Finkbeiner-Rapp

Dear Dana,

Have a Happy Birthday! I can’t wait to hang out with you next week. We don’t get together often enough, and you are such a wonderful person to hang out with. It’s not easy finding a friend who is smart, beautiful, sensitive, strong willed yet unappreciated…. like me! I love you, filth!!!

Carri

GO ARIES BITCHES!!!

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Kristin Durst

Dana was introduced to me from my other friend Dana. My Dana noted what a wonderful person she is and what a great hair stylist she is. I emailed your Dana and she took the time to reply in such a detailed and friendly manner. She was wonderful to talk to in the few times she has cut, styled or done something to my hair. She sent me such a cute message and it was so genuine when my boyfriend and I broke up a few months ago. She has a big heart and is a wonderful person. I hope she has a wonderful birthday!

Kristin D.

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Carol Donovan

Dear Dana, you are one of the greatest people Ive ever met, I wish you the best on you Birthday and everyday and if you were here I would give you a big hug and sing HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU Love ya Carol

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Megan Carney-Tardio

My fondest memory is that I first met her at Carlow college practically the first day!! We have been friends since that!! One thing that I can say is that I truly value our friendship and she is like a sister to me throughout the years and that I will always be there for her!!

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John Sleeping Bear

“OH, BUT I DON’T!!”

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In case anyone is interested in the Cake, well it was a Key Lime coconut cake with a key lime buttercream.  The recipe for the cake can be found here and the buttercream was my kiwi buttercream with key lime juice subbed for the kiwi.

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Denise’s Birthday…must bake cake…what to do?

She’s Irish (update, I was mislead a bit…she isn’t Irish afterall), born the day after St Pat’s and likes Boston Cream Pie, Viola!, Irish twist on a Classic.

No sordid details on this one other than I have always wanted to bake a “Stout” cake and this seemed the time to do it!!!

Ok, 2 sordid details…

  • The batter is so damn good there is almost no need to bake the cake.
  • The scent of simmering stout, butter and cocoa is heaven and the scent of the cake baking is a must experience for yourself!!!!
Stout, Butter and Cocoa Heaven!

Stout, Butter and Cocoa Heaven!

Your typical Boston Cream Pie consists of three components

  • A Butter or Sponge Cake
  • A Dark Rum scented Custard Filling
  • A Chocolate Glaze or Ganache

My version differs only in 2 ways, The Stout Cake replaces the sponge/butter cake and instead of rum, well of course, I used Irish Whiskey.

Pastry Cream

adapted from Boston Cream Pie recipe from Yankee Magazine

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup light cream
  • 1/4cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Irish whiskey

In a saucepan, heat butter, milk, and light cream to just below a boil. While this mixture is cooking, combine sugar, cornstarch, and eggs in a bowl. Whip until ribbons form. When the butter-cream mixture reaches the boiling point, slowly whisk in the sugar-egg mixture and cook to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute. Pour into a bowl and cover the surface with plastic wrap (to prevent it from forming a skin). Chill overnight if possible. When thoroughly chilled, whisk to smooth out and flavor with Irish whiskey.

Ganache

  • 8 oz chopped chocolate bittersweet or semi-sweet
  • 3/4 whipping cream
  • 2 TBS Butter ( I use salted)

Place the chopped chocolate in a medium sized stainless steel bowl. Set aside. Heat the cream and butter in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat ( I often use the microwave for this step, of course using a microwave safe bowl). Bring just to a boil.  Immediately pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Stir with a whisk until smooth.

And now…………

Chocolate Stout Cake

Direct from the KA site using ingredients by weight option.

  • 16 ounces stout or dark beer, such as Guinness
  • 1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 4 1/2 ounces Dutch-process cocoa
  • 17 ounces KA unbleached AP flour  (I used Robin Hood)
  • 1 pound, 12 ounces sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 6 ounces sour cream

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour three 8″ or two 9″ cake pans, and line them with parchment paper circles. Be sure your 9″ pans are at least 2″ deep.  Place the stout and butter in a large, heavy saucepan, and heat until the butter melts. Remove the pan from the heat, and add the cocoa powder.  Whisk until the mixture is smooth. Set aside to cool to room temperature.  Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl; set aside.  In a large mixing bowl, beat together the eggs and sour cream.  Add the stout-cocoa mixture, mixing to combine.  Add the flour mixture and mix together at slow speed. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, and mix again for 1 minute.  Divide the batter equally among the prepared pans.  Bake the layers for 35 minutes for 8″ pans, or 45 to 50 minutes for 9″ pans, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the cakes from the oven and cool on a rack for 10 minutes before turning the cakes out of their pans and returning to the rack to finish cooling completely before assembly.  Being that I was doing 2 layers and my 9″ pans are only 1 3/4″ deep I was lucky enough to get a very nice 6″ round as well from the batter.

The verdicts are in and all seem to be very positive on this one.  I ended up getting a few orders for this one as it sat, but my personal opinion was it would have been multitudes better without the custard filling.  Not that it was a bad addition but this is such a uniquely flavored cake the custard kind of competed a little more than it should have with that uniqueness.  I had one minor issue and that involved my 9″ pans, which aren’t 2″ deep, as suggested…I should have started testing for doneness a little sooner than I did, I think I could have gotten away with only 40 minutes oven time.

From beginning to batter to baked!

From beginning to batter to baked!

This one is most definitely a keeper!   Although a very special occasion kind of cake as if you take a look at the nutrition information on the KA site, you will see this isn’t a cake for the faint of heart!!!!  It’s slightly malty taste and it’s just shy of sweet chocolatey richness is something everyone should try!!!

Cascades of Chocolate...what better finish?

Cascades of Chocolate...what better finish?

And finally here is why I spoke with such authority against the custard version that everyone raved over… my little 6″ gem with a simple powdered sugar glaze.   Hands off this one is all mine!!!!!!!

6stout1

Hands off!

Happy Birthday to you...

Happy Birthday to you...

You all may recall Carol, well she managed to turn “36”  on Jan 28th and of course I did whip up a little something something for her.  Carol and Scott, of course, both LOVE chocolate…truthfully I don’t think they “do” anything but chocolate, save the occasional peanut butter; so I went to my favorite go-to chocolate cake and thought I would top it with some sort of peanut butter icing.  After perusing multitudes of PB icing recipes I settled on this one, from Blondie and Brownie, and boy am I glad I did.  This stuff was peanut butter silk!!!  It came together like a breeze and OMG was it good…imagine the center of a Reese’s cup but light fluffy and… well all I can say is MAKE IT!!!  Now some of you may laugh at this one as you already may know this but I discovered something while making this, kind of a John Eureka moment.  I have always made Swiss Buttercreams the old fashioned way…pot of simmering water, bowl with egg whites and sugar and a hand whisk, well not no mo’!!!!!  It was late, I was tired and I didn’t have the energy to whip that merengue by hand, so enter stage right my handy dandy hand mixer with whisk  attachment in tow.  Yes, the most obvious often eludes us at times.  Now I am not saying I will never make Swiss Buttercream by hand again but now I know there is really no need to do so.

Just before the Peanut Butter addition

Just before the Peanut Butter addition

Ok, this is a quicky post and I am off.  Once again Happy Birthday Carol and you guys enjoy Florida we will see you soon!

Almost Done!

Almost Done!

Done and Dressed

Done and Dressed

First Cut

First Cut

and lastly the innards!!!

and lastly the innards!!!

No, I am not late this time!!!!

Katherine at 89!!!

Katherine at 89!!!

Katherine is a dear woman, whose daughter works in the mall where our store is located.  She comes to visit and always has an opinion to give!!!  She is a bit frail but sharp as a tack and I would never want to cross her, ever!!!   Altho, in truth she is pretty much a pussy cat!!

This year marks her 89th birthday and as always we have a little party for her at work.  Unfortunately she was on vacation visiting her sister when the day came, so we had to delay her celebration till her return.

As is typical, the best laid plans always encounter a snag.  On the day of her party, we had intentions of presenting her with cake and ice cream and a chorus of Happy Birthday around 6ish.  Well one person was busy so it got delayed, then another was busy and again more delay…this trend continued till closing.  But through each attempt, she sat and watched, noting the flurry of activity, then the downfall of it.  Finally after closing, we all gathered and she was brought to our cafe tables.  She sat there lookin’ as non plussed as she could but if a closer look were taken, she was watching us as if saying….

“You fools, if I were in charge of this I would have no idea what you are up to!”  The dear that she is, she gave us our surprise.

Happy Birthday Katherine!!!!

Variation of DB Opera Cake for Katherine

Variation of DB Opera Cake for Katherine

The cake is a variation of the DB Opera cake for May.  The filling is a raspberry buttercream, the mousse on top is blueberry and the cake is sponge, as nuts aren’t good for Katherine.

OK, so this is way past due!!!!! Ryen’s Birthday was weeks ago, June 6th to be exact!!! A friend, Amanda, asked me to do a birthday cake for one of her college friends, a group of them were getting together for a Sex in the City premier weekend and it happened to coincide with Ryen’s birthday. Well, I know nothing about the show as I have never seen one episode but a bit of research and shoes, purses and huge flowers seemed to be the way to go!!!

After a couple days of brainstorming I finally started to bake and assemble the fondant coated components. As per my usual, the part I thought was going to be easy, the purse and the part I feared, the shoe surprised me totally and swapped places. Coating the shoe in fondant took under 30 mins, the purse damn near 2 hours!!!! But then that is my life, never as expected.

Unfortunately, the same happened for the weekend get together. Ryen, a sufferer of lupus, had a flair and was unable to fly in. She had hoped that she would be able to get back to feeling well enough but it just didn’t happen. So in true Sex in the City style, the other girls donned their pumps and celebrated Ryen!! After a night of celebration, the girls returned home for nightcaps, cake and of course a chorus of Happy Birthday Ryen!

Sans Candles but all for You, Ryen!!

Happy Birthday Ryan

Here is a shot of the finished components

before their trip to Amanda’s place.

In progree

And for those of you that need to know, it was a red velvet cake, soaked in a blackberry/raspberry rum sauce (also what is in the martini glass) and covered in a dark chocolate buttercream. The fondant is a marshmallow fondant.