Posts Tagged ‘snow’

Snowflake Coconut Cake with Maple Snow Cream

Sunday, February 14th, 2010

What to make when you’ve been snowed in for days? Snow cake, of course! When I proposed baking a cake the boy first suggested chocolate. I talked him into a “snow” cake instead, a.k.a. coconut.

We used Ina Garten’s coconut cake recipe, though I used unsweetened coconut instead of the sweetened she calls for. Really, this cake is sweet enough. It’s a dense cake, but flavorful and stays moist for several days, which is important when you’re making a cake for just three of you. (Though we did take some to share on a snow-day playdate.)

Instead of Ina’s cream cheese frosting, I used Smitten Kitchen’s Swiss meringue buttercream.

This is the frosting I used on the boy’s 3rd birthday cake this past summer, and it was an all around favorite — not sickly sweet, easy to make, and it held up on a humid August day — what more could you ask for? It does use quite a lot of butter … fortunately I stocked up before the blizzard, but we still needed to restock when the husband went out for a between-storm grocery run.

frosting the cake

After frosting, we took a snowflake stencil, cut out of wax paper, and laid it gently over the top. We sprinkled a heavy layer of dried coconut (unsweetened, again) over the openings, then removed the stencil to reveal our snowflake. I had tried to talk the boy into dying the frosting light blue so the snowflake would show up better, but he insisted that a snow cake had to be white. (Duh.) I think he was right though, as it turned out just lovely. Don’t you think?

(You could easily adapt this to make a Valentine’s cake by tinting the coconut pink and making a heart shape on top.)

You can’t have cake without ice cream, and I’d had snow cream on the mind ever since reading this article in the Washington Post. When I was a kid, the only thing we ever made with snow was orange juice-topped sno cones, not particularly creative. I remember wanting to make maple syrup candy, a la Little House on the Prairie, but I don’t think we ever did. So naturally I took advantage of the 30-some inches of fluffy white snow in our backyard to make maple snow cream — delicious and equally enchanting to kids and parents alike. (Well, this parent at least!)

Recipe: Maple Snow Cream

Ingredients:

  • 1 bowl full of clean, white snow
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

Instructions: Heat cream in a small sauce pan over low heat. When warm, whisk in the maple syrup. Remove from heat and let cool. Gather snow. Pour cooled maple cream over snow, stirring to combine and break up any chunks that form. Enjoy immediately! Makes 4 servings.

What are you baking for – or with — your Valentine? It turns out I’m not the only one with home-baked Valentines on the mind — Kelsey of The Naptime Chef and Jennifer of Savor the Thyme are hosting a “Food is Love” challenge. Hop over to either of their blogs for the details; enter by Tuesday, February 16, and you could win a prize from Scharffen Berger chocolates. Happy Valentine’s Day to you & your foodie families!

Southern Comfort at Evening Star Cafe

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

We may live in (Northern) Virginia, but aside from my occasional, tongue-in-cheek “y’all,” we haven’t adopted too many Southern mannerisms. But every once in a while, you just get a craving for something artery-clogging, particularly on a cold, snowy January day. Rather than channeling Paula Deen and deep-frying something at home, we opted to head out to one of our neighborhood restaurants, Evening Star Cafe. I was eager to try their new Saturday breakfast dishes — the fried chicken and waffle, to be precise. Though I will admit it was a tough decision between that and the biscuits and gravy, something I learned to love when visiting my grandparents in Florida many years ago. (The trip that ended my vegetarian phase, coincidentally … just couldn’t resist Grandmom’s daily bacon.)

Despite its casual neighborhood restaurant vibe in the kid-filled neighborhood of Del Ray, Alexandria, Evening Star doesn’t have a kids’ menu. On past brunch/lunch visits, we’ve been offered choices like chicken tenders and pasta off the secret menu, and I’ve even seen patio patrons order hot dogs for their dogs. (It was one of the pooches’ birthday, their owner explained. I can only assume they topped off their meal with puppy pops from the Dairy Godmother.) Anyway, I was able to order a plain waffle and scrambled egg for the boy today, which worked out perfectly. The husband had the huevos rancheros, a colorful and flavorful dish, artfully arranged and kicked up with another Southern nod, Andouille sausage.

Back to my meal, I never really understood the appeal of fried chicken and waffles — chicken for breakfast? — but I have to say I get it now. A touch of sweet honey butter on succulent, savory chicken wrapped in the warm carb embrace of a waffle, it really is perfection.  When I was pregnant with the boy, I had a freak KFC craving one night. I regretted indulging the craving for days after… now that I’m pregnant again, it’s nice to have such a delightful alternative should the fried chicken craving strike again. (And to assuage any guilt over the calorie-heavy meal, Evening Star uses local and organic ingredients “whenever possible,” according to their website.)

Evening Star is open for brunch from 10am-3pm on Saturday and Sunday. The fried chicken and waffle is only available on Saturday, while Sunday has the more traditional eggs benedict, French toast, etc.
2000 Mt Vernon Avenue
Alexandria, VA 22301-1310
703.549.5051