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Putting it Together – Frost it Upside Down!

Frost it upside down?  What kind of sorcery is this?!  It’s actually a pretty simple and effective technique to get smooth sides and clean edges.  So far in the April series of videos, we’ve created tutorials for creating a Simple, Delicious, Modified Box Cake; Easy and Fresh Strawberry Filling; and Light & Fluffy Swiss Merengue Buttercream.  This is the week that we put it all together and by using the upside down method, we achieve a gorgeous, professional quality, finish.

Before we get into the tools and the video, let me say that as I’m editing these I’m definitely noticing a difference in both me and Ana during the taping.  We’re both just a little more relaxed, Ana is participating (watch her hand, as she grabs some cake scraps and listen her her moans of what I can only assume is ecstasy as she’s eating it behind the camera) and we’re both having a better time overall – Thank goodness – that “deer in the headlights” look had to go!  The editing still needs work, I’m starting to get the hang of it, and will be working to improve the transitions for the May batch of videos, we certainly hope you’re along for the ride!

There are some tools I use every single time I frost a cake (you recognize a lot of them from Rho’s Top Tools for Home Bakers – Part 2, and they’re linked here again for convenience:

Also, as a bonus – if you’re interested in that GINORMOUS serrated knife I show at the beginning of the video, it’s from Fat Daddios.

I hope you enjoy the tutorial!  Please don’t be shy about questions or comments, either here, or on our Facebook page, we love to see your finished products and chat with you about ongoing projects or questions!

 

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Light & Fluffy Swiss Merengue Buttercream

How do I love thee, Swiss Merengue Buttercream?  Swiss Merengue Buttercream (SMBC) is one of my absolute favorite coverings for a cake.  I’ve never been a frosting girl, it’s too sweet to me, and I’m more into salty snacks (hence my undying love and desire for salted caramel, but I digress).

Ana and I whip up some Swiss Merengue Buttercream in the video below, and hopefully show how easy and un-intimidating it is to get this light, silky, not-too-sweet confection to your home kitchens!  Honestly, once most people experience it, they don’t want anything else!  (Which is unfortunate, because American Buttercream has it’s uses, and we’ll explore those later!)

I have some very specific tools and ingredients that I use when making SMBC, and for your convenience, I’m going to link them here:

  1. A great flavoring, like Nielsen-Massey Pure Vanilla Bean Paste.  Granted, in this video, I used Pure Almond Extract, but those gorgeous vanilla beans are just amazing to behold!
  2. A good whisk (This one by Oxo is my favorite, and I have a LOT of whisks)
  3. A high-quality instant-read thermometer (an old-school candy thermometer is also useful, of course I have both!)

Take a look at the video below and give SMBC a try!  If it’s your first time, it’s life-changing!  Be sure to post your questions either here or on Facebook – Share your creations with us, we want to see what you’re doing!

 

Print Recipe
Swiss Merengue Buttercream
Light and Fluffy Swiss Merengue Buttercream - Bake with Rho
Servings
Ingredients
  • 1 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 8 ea. Egg Whites Room Temp!
  • 3 Cup Unsalted Butter Room Temp, cut into chunks
  • 1 Cup Powdered Sugar Sifted
  • 2 TBSP Vanilla Any flavoring works - I used Pure Almond in the video
Servings
Ingredients
  • 1 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 8 ea. Egg Whites Room Temp!
  • 3 Cup Unsalted Butter Room Temp, cut into chunks
  • 1 Cup Powdered Sugar Sifted
  • 2 TBSP Vanilla Any flavoring works - I used Pure Almond in the video
Light and Fluffy Swiss Merengue Buttercream - Bake with Rho
Instructions
  1. Start the water for the double boiler - you want it simmering when you've combined the eggs and sugar.
  2. Separate 8 eggs - Make sure that there are absolutely no yolks in the whites or they won't whip properly.
  3. Add the eggs and the 1 cup of granulated sugar to a heat-proof bowl. Typically, I just use the bowl from my stand mixer. Whisk to combine.
  4. Place over the simmering water, creating a double boiler, and whisk constantly until the temperature of the mixture reaches 160 degrees.
  5. Remove from heat. Put the bowl back on the stand mixer, or pour the mixture into the bowl of the stand mixer, and whip (using the whisk attachment) on high for 7 to 10 minutes. The mixture should be cooled completely and should be at stiff peak consistency. Feel the bowl, if it has any heat at all, it's not done.
    This is how a stiff peak looks!
  6. Switch out the whisk for a paddle attachment and begin to add the butter, one chunk at a time. Keep the mixer on medium speed for this (about #4 on KitchenAid). Remember, this will start looking really ugly. Be patient! it will all come together and start looking more like you would expect after about 2/3 of the butter is added. Scrape down the sides occasionally, but especially at the end!
  7. After all the butter has been added, slowly drizzle in the flavoring. If you get spatter, turn the mixer down to stir. Once the flavoring appears to be incorporated scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  8. Add the powdered sugar and stir until it is mostly incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and slowly begin increasing the speed of the mixer until you're back at medium-high to high (8-10 on a KitchenAid)
  9. I typically beat the frosting on high for about 5 minutes after it's all put together.
Recipe Notes
    • You can save your egg yolks for other things like custards and curds.  I don't make those things enough to make it worth it, but you may!
    • Make sure your butter is truly room temperature - Not too soft!  if it squishes easily then it's probably too warm.  Take a look at the image below.  It should be soft enough to easily leave an impression but not "melty".

This is what room temperature butter should look like!

This is what room temperature butter should look like!

  • This is just enough for a 4 layer, 8" cake if you are covering only in Buttercream and if you use a different filling, such as fruit.  I prefer to make a 1.5 or a double batch.  If I have extra, I freeze it for cake pops or cupcakes later.  Nothing panics me more than the thought of running out of buttercream while frosting a cake!
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Easy and Fresh Strawberry Filling

Fresh strawberry filling is super easy to make and it really adds an amazing flavor to cakes of all kinds – my particular favorite is vanilla cake, and while I’ve been sitting here typing, I had a brainstorm – I’m positive I’m not the first person to ever think of this but hello…  Banana?   Strawberry Banana cake?!  Now my heart is racing…  I need a minute.

Ok, we’ll get back to that strawberry banana idea a bit later, but right now it’s time for part two in our tribute to Matt and Gladys!  Actually, today is their 1 year anniversary, so happy anniversary, dear friends!

I’ll admit, I’m a total snot about cake fillings.  Most of them, especially this strawberry filling, are so easy to make that I just cannot understand why a professional would use anything less.  That’s my own personal preference, and I’m sure I’ll get a ton of feedback explaining the whys and wherefores of using ready-made cake fillings.  The smell alone is enough to make me delirious, I can’t imagine giving up all of the smells the completely invade my house when I’m baking – and that includes the fillings – But enough of me and my bias toward pre-made filling (Dear Lord, don’t even get me started on using jams and preserves for filling, just don’t).

Let’s talk about the video – This, our second video was a little more complicated than the first – We had to film in parts instead of straight through like the first one, so a few more editing skills were required.  I’m starting to get the hang of this iMovie thing though, so each subsequent effort will be better.  I’m still not super comfortable on camera but it does get better and I’m really looking forward to my LIVE sessions on Facebook to help me get even more relaxed.

Don’t forget!  On the 15th I’ll be sending our e-mail subscribers the Shopping List for May and on the 20th, someone will win a $20 Amazon card!  You must be a subscriber to our newsletter and you must also like our Facebook page to be eligible.  Good luck to this month’s entrants and as always the results will be delivered via Facebook LIVE 🙂

As always, the recipe appears below the video – Enjoy!  Don’t forget to share your creations on our Facebook page, and be sure to let us know if you have any questions or ideas for future videos!

 

Print Recipe
Fresh Strawberry Filling
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
  • 1 pound Fresh Strawberries diced (weigh before dicing)
  • 1.5 cup Sugar
  • 2 tbsp Cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp Warm Water
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
  • 1 pound Fresh Strawberries diced (weigh before dicing)
  • 1.5 cup Sugar
  • 2 tbsp Cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp Warm Water
Instructions
  1. Clean, hull, and dice fresh strawberries - transfer immediately to a saucepan.
  2. Add sugar and mix well
  3. Using a potato masher or similar tool, mash the strawberries and sugar together until the sugar is clear.
  4. Mix the cornstarch and water together and then add it to the pan, stirring it in well.
  5. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly until boiling. The mixture should noticeably thicken.
  6. Remove from heat, add to a container, cover it loosely with plastic wrap and let sit for about an hour.
  7. Cover tightly and place in refrigerator overnight to set.
Recipe Notes

Notes

  • Overnight in fridge is best.  If you can't let this rest overnight, make sure it is COLD when you use it.
  • You can replace fresh with frozen strawberries in equal parts.
  • If making more than one batch or if you aren't happy with the thickness of the filling, you can add more cornstarch mixture after the filling reaches a boil.  Always mix equal parts cornstarch and water and start SMALL - 1/2 teaspoon at a time.  What I would do is make another 2 tablespoons and then use a 1/2 teaspoon to add a little at a time until I reached my desired consistency.
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Simple, Delicious Modified Box Cake

In the first video, I demonstrate how to create a simple and delicious modified box cake.  This cake is moist and flavorful and has a great texture.  For those bakers who want a made from scratch taste this is a convenient way to go.  It’s also stackable, so if you’re planning a cake with more than one tier, this cake can withstand doweling and stacking with no problems!

This first video is definitely an example of how much Ana and I don’t know about production!  I was incredibly nervous, of course, but as the day went on we both got much more comfortable.  You’ll definitely see that in the other 4 videos posted in April.  I’m sure we’ve made some mistakes, but we’re in my kitchen, having some fun and hopefully getting you involved along the way!

In this, and in many recipes, I use Neilsen Massey Vanilla Bean Paste.  I’ve found the best place to get it is on Amazon.com and I’ve provided a handy link.  There’s nothing quite like seeing all of those lovely vanilla beans in cakes and frostings!

The recipe is posted directly below the video!  Please get involved by posting your comments, questions and requests for future demos either on this page or on Facebook.  We love to hear from you!

 


Print Recipe
Modified Box Cake
This cake is moist and flavorful and has a great texture. For those bakers who want a made from scratch taste this is a convenient way to go. It's simple and a great jumping off point for new bakers and those who are just starting decorating.
Bake with Rho - Simple, Delicious Modified Box Cake Demo
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings
party servings
Ingredients
  • 1 ea. Boxed Cake Mix I use Duncan Hines
  • 1 cup Flour
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 dash Salt
  • 3 ea. Eggs Use large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1 cup Sour Cream At room temperature
  • 2 tbsp Flavoring I used vanilla bean paste, but you can pair the flavoring to that of the cake mix.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings
party servings
Ingredients
  • 1 ea. Boxed Cake Mix I use Duncan Hines
  • 1 cup Flour
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 dash Salt
  • 3 ea. Eggs Use large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1 cup Sour Cream At room temperature
  • 2 tbsp Flavoring I used vanilla bean paste, but you can pair the flavoring to that of the cake mix.
Bake with Rho - Simple, Delicious Modified Box Cake Demo
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat Oven to 300 Degrees
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer on the stir setting, combine the eggs, water, sour cream and flavoring.
  3. While the liquid ingredients are incorporating, whisk together the cake mix, flour, sugar and salt. (I use a medium sized pyrex bowl.
  4. Turn off the mixer and add the dry ingredients all at once.
  5. Turn the mixer on, using the stir setting until the ingredients are just wet. Scrape the bowl.
  6. Turn the mixer to medium speed (4 on my KitchenAid) for two minutes.
  7. While the batter is mixing, prepare two 8" cake pans, using pan grease or the grease/flour method.
  8. Turn off the mixer and distribute the batter evenly between the two pans.
  9. Place in the oven on the middle rack and bake for 30 minutes.
  10. After 30 minutes, turn the oven up to 325 degrees (do NOT open the door) and bake for an additional 25 - 30 minutes.
  11. Make sure to test for doneness - does the top of the cake spring back? Does a toothpick inserted in the center come out clean? If so, remove the cakes from the oven and set them on a cooling rack for 5 minutes.
  12. After 5 minutes, remove the cakes from the pans and cool.
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Modified Red Velvet Oreo Lava Cakes

Good Morning!  About a week ago, I went live on Facebook to make the So Yummy version of Red Velvet Oreo Lava Cakes.  Things didn’t quite turn out as planned, and I vowed to try again, working on some tweaks to the recipe – This morning I was up bright and early playing in the kitchen, and I have to say, they turned out awesome!

If you had joined us, you know that I had a couple of small issues – I’ve modified the recipe just a bit to account for those issues and I taste tested them this morning before jumping online to let you know.

  1. I forgot the Oreos on the bottoms.  Completely my fault, of course!  I made sure to add them to this batch.
  2. The center wasn’t as gooey as I would have liked – basically, it didn’t ooze like Lava, and well, they are Red Velvet Oreo Lava Cakes, after all.  I made a tweak in the recipe to help with this and to also help with the flavor of the filling, which I thought was too sour.

Forgive the pictures, it was early and I was rushing to get this done for you!  No time for staging this morning!  The original recipe is linked below, if you’re interested in that as well!

Of course, you can always find us playing around, and I’m looking forward to trying out more of these recipes for the first time, live on Facebook!  Stop in, introduce yourself and have some fun with me –

Do you plan to try these at home?   I’d love to hear about your experience – Let me know in the comments!

Print Recipe
Modified Red Velvet Oreo Lava Cakes
These come together pretty quickly and make an impressive dessert!
Modified Red Velvet Oreo Lava Cakes - Bake with Rho
Prep Time 10 Minutes
Cook Time 13 Minutes
Passive Time 30 Minutes
Servings
Lava Cakes
Ingredients
Filling
  • 20 ea. Oreo Cookies
  • 8 oz. Cream Cheese at room temp
  • 2 tbsp Granulated Sugar
Cakes
  • 2 Cup Flour
  • 1 tbsp Cocoa Powder (unsweetened)
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 Cup Melted Butter
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 3/4 Cup Buttermilk
  • 1 tbsp Red Food Coloring
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 ea Egg Yolks
Prep Time 10 Minutes
Cook Time 13 Minutes
Passive Time 30 Minutes
Servings
Lava Cakes
Ingredients
Filling
  • 20 ea. Oreo Cookies
  • 8 oz. Cream Cheese at room temp
  • 2 tbsp Granulated Sugar
Cakes
  • 2 Cup Flour
  • 1 tbsp Cocoa Powder (unsweetened)
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 Cup Melted Butter
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 3/4 Cup Buttermilk
  • 1 tbsp Red Food Coloring
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 ea Egg Yolks
Modified Red Velvet Oreo Lava Cakes - Bake with Rho
Instructions
Make the Filling
  1. Scrape the filling from 20 Oreos and place in a bowl.
  2. Add Cream Cheese and 2 tbsp sugar
  3. Using an electric mixer, set on medium, mix the filling, cream cheese and sugar until well blended. Turn up to high for a few seconds and whip it up until it is smooth and creamy.
  4. Using your preferred method (I use a cookie scoop), drop 1 tbsp dollops of the mixture onto a plate or a cookie sheet. You will have more than 12, I just make them all so that I can select the ones I like best later. The rounder these are, the better
  5. Place the filling balls in the freezer for 30 minutes.
    Modified Red Velvet Oreo Lava Cakes (Filling) - Bake with Rho
Make the Cake Batter
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees
  2. Prepare a cupcake pan by greasing each of the cavities and set aside.
  3. Prepare the dry ingredients by adding the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt to a medium sized bowl (I've found that sifting the first removes the big lumps I tend to see in cocoa powder).
  4. Whisk them together thoroughly - you want to evenly distribute the baking soda and salt.
    Modified Red Velvet Oreo Lava Cakes (dry) - Bake with Rho
  5. Add the wet ingredients to the bowl: sugar, melted butter, buttermilk, food coloring, vanilla extract, apple cider vinegar and egg yolks.
    Modified Red Velvet Oreo Lava Cakes (wet) - Bake with Rho
  6. Whisk together to combine - continue whisking until the batter is smooth, it will be thick.
Assemble the Lava Cakes
  1. Fill the cupcake pan with batter, each cavity should be no more than 3/4 full.
    Modified Red Velvet Oreo Lava Cakes (prepared pans) - Bake with Rho
  2. Pull the filling from the freezer and press one into the center of each.
    Modified Red Velvet Oreo Lava Cakes (filled) - Bake with Rho
  3. Place the Oreo halves on top of each, pressing gently.
    Modified Red Velvet Oreo Lava Cakes (oreos) - Bake with Rho
  4. Bake for 12-14 minutes - test doneness by checking the cake around the Oreo - if it's wet, leave the cakes in the oven for another one to two minutes. When done, pull from oven and set on a wire rack to cool for 2 minutes.
    Modified Red Velvet Oreo Lava Cakes (cooling) - Bake with Rho
Finishing
  1. Flip the pan over and release the lava cakes. If they are baked correctly, they should come right out of the pan. Immediately plate them, sprinkle with powdered sugar, and enjoy!
Recipe Notes
  1. I modified this recipe to make the filling a little sweeter - My personal feeling was that the filling was a little too tangy (almost sour) so I doubled the amount of Oreo centers and added the 2 tbsp. of sugar.
  2. Don't start the cake part of the recipe until your filling has been in the freezer for 30 minutes.  A little longer in the freezer won't hurt, and I believe that pulling them from the freezer too early when we were live, is what prevented them from giving that pretty lava ooze.
  3. So Yummy posted the original version of this, and based on our experiments it turned out great!  Any tweaks I've made are simply to satisfy my own palette and not a reflection on their hard work.
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Rho’s Top Tools for Home Bakers – Part 2

Without further ado, we’ll jump into part two of Top Tools for Home Bakers!  I already gave a list of the bigger tools that are a great start to a home baker’s arsenal, but let’s not forget the smaller items that no home baker should be without!  These items are things I find myself reaching for constantly – some are obvious (measuring cups, anyone?) some maybe not so much!  None of the are super expensive, and certainly won’t break the bank if you’re adding to your collection an item or two at a time.  Of course, if you enter the Shopping List contest every month, you have an excellent chance of scoring a $20 Amazon Gift card to help pay for some of these little goodies!

Scale

Tools for Bakers - Scale

A must-have for scratch recipes!

If you’re planning to up your game at all and want to start trying out some of the great from-scratch recipes that are out there (one of them coming from me in May!), then you definitely need a reliable kitchen scale.  It needs to measure both ounces and grams, and as evidenced in our LIVE session with the Delicious Fudge Brownies & Baileys Facebook LIVE session, it needs to be easy to switch between the two!  I use my kitchen scale all the time for measuring ingredients and for measuring batter when I add it to pans so that I can be sure I’ll have even layers!  I just this second ordered myself this Accuweight Scale from Amazon.com.  Check it out!

Cooking Thermometer

Tools for Bakers - Laser Thermometer

I just ordered one today!

I am not one of those people who can use the “ball stage” method of determining the temperature of candy.  My talents do not lay in dropping a tiny bit of sugar into cold water and deciphering if said sugar turned into a hard, soft, or I don’t even know what other form of “ball”.  Being one who knows my own weaknesses, I knew that a candy thermometer was a must in the kitchen – how else would I ever be able to make amazing treats like salted caramel toffee or Italian merengue buttercream?  I wouldn’t, that’s what.  So I invested less than 20 dollars in a thermometer.  I prefer an instant digital read and I also am jonesing for the laser thermometer that I ordered this very morning!  (yes, it’s been a busy day already!)

Oven Thermometer

Tools for Bakers - Oven Thermometer

Get in my oven!

If you don’t have an oven thermometer, please invest the less than $10 and pick one up.  Oven temperatures vary.  They truly do.  If you’re baking a beautiful, and sometimes pricey (hello pink champagne cake!) cake, you really want to take the best care of that baby as possible!  You only put it in the oven when you need it (otherwise it gets all burned and grungy, don’t ask how I know this!) and it may show you surprising things about your oven’s temperature settings!  Rubbermaid has one for about $6.50, get one now!

 

Baking Hardware

  1. Pyrex Bowls – If you don’t have the 3-piece Pyrex Mixing Bowl set, I want to know why.  Seriously, they are one of the most-used items in my kitchen – I’ve had them for at least 15 years and they’re so versatile and useful I can’t imagine my life without them. As I’m out here on Amazon buying some other goodies, I’m honestly thinking about picking up another set!
  2. Whisk – If you’ve watched me live, you know I loves me a good whisk.  I have several – I even have this ginormous one I bought but have never and probably will never use.  One whisk stands out in the crowded drawer in the kitchen and that is my Oxo 11″ Balloon Whisk.  I love it, I use it constantly, and I want about 10 more.
  3. Measuring Cups and Spoons – I’ve pretty much decided that the “liquids and solids measure differently”, hence the glass measuring cups for liquids and the standard measuring cups for dry is an old wive’s tale of some sort.  I’ve tested this with both liquid and dry ingredients, and I can’t see a difference.  However, I do still like to have both kinds on hand  Now, I “collect” measuring cups and spoons, I have some that are absolutely gorgeous, but not very practical – No matter how many sets I have, I still go back to my stainless steel Oxo measuring cups and spoons.  Of course, for liquids, I have the 1 cup, 2 cup and 4 cup glass versions.  Anchor Hocking has a 3 cup set for less than $15.00!
  4. Spatulas – Silicone spatulas are something that you’ll want to keep on hand and you’ll want plenty of them.  I’m not a huge fan of “spoonulas” – I like my spatulas with crisp edges and of course, I always love the ones with designs on them, like my bunny spatula in honor of my husband!  Of course if you’re not into paying about 8 bucks for a single spatula (it’s a sickness, I tell you!), then look for an option that offers a set of spatulas for less than $10 , like these AreaJD 3-Piece Full Silicone spatulas.

Decorating Hardware

  1. Offset Spatula – a must for getting a great finish on your iced cake!  If you don’t have one already, I recommend getting this set of three.
  2. Bench Scraper – A bench scraper is a must for a perfectly smooth finish!  Make sure you have one that’s completely flat, like this one from Norpro.
  3. Cake Torter – I can’t torte a cake with a knife to save my life.  It’s one of those skills that I’ve promised myself I’ll work to improve, but in the meantime, a cake torter is a lifesaver!  This one from Wilton works just fine and is inexpensively replaceable if it inexplicably breaks, like mine did!
  4. Turntable – The turntable is by far the most expensive item on this tools list, but if you invest in a good one, it provides a smooth turn, sits high enough to be comfortable and will last forever!  I have the Ateco Turntable, but lately I’ve heard wonderful things about the Fat Daddio’s version as well.  You can’t go wrong with either choice!
  5. Disposable Piping Bags – Who wants to clean out re-usable piping bags?  Not this girl!  All that greasy buttercream….  ugh.  I always use disposable bags now, and it’s made my life so much easier!  I keep two sizes on hand, the 12″ and the 16″ – I buy them in boxes of 100 and they last for quite a while – To start off, a box of Ateco 12″ disposable bags costs less than $15 for 100.
  6. Piping Tips – You’ll want some basic piping tips and supplies for borders, simple flowers, and fillings.  A starter kit can be had for $12 and then you can add to your collection as needed.
  7. Cake Pedestal – Do yourself a favor and invest in at least one pretty cake pedestal.  You worked hard on your gorgeous cake or cupcakes or brownies (or whatever delectable things we come up with!) and it deserves to be shown to it’s best advantage!  Don’t throw that beautiful confection on a dinner plate, show it with pride on something equally lovely!  There are great resources for cake pedestals that I use, Homegoods, Marshalls, TJMaxx, and Ross being just a few.  Homegoods especially.  They typically have a great selection at any given time, and they’re much more reasonable than getting them anywhere else.  I won’t divuldge the number of cake pedestals I have, let’s just say it’s extensive and leave it at that, ok?

All in all, I’ve provided you my list of the 20 top tools that I use all. the. time.  Of course, I add to them constantly, and I’m just a sucker for new and interesting things to try (please don’t come and look in my kitchen cupboards), but if you are just starting out or looking to up your game, I highly recommend making sure you have these in your kitchen.

Is there anything here that you don’t have but want?  What’s the one tool you can’t do without?  Share in the comments!

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Shopping List Contest Details – Enter Every Month!

Each month, we here at Bake with Rho want to give away a token of our appreciation to one of the members of our community.  Every month we have a contest to win a $20 gift card from Amazon.com!  I just delivered the very first one and it felt amazing (Congratulations again, Debbie)!  I can’t wait to do it again in April!

Talk on the street is that the contest is a little confusing!  That’s my own fault, friends…  I got so excited about the idea of a contest that I never actually put all the relevant information in on place for you, and I’m going to do that now!  So please accept my apologies, and read on, valued community member!

Before explaining the contest, I need to explain how production for Bake with Rho actually works – You see, we are planning in advance and filming in advance and I know that can get confusing – So I’m going to run through it really quick – Let’s talk about May (which will be the subject of the next contest).

How the Shopping List Contest Works

  1. We start planning the projects for May in February or March.  That means that any new recipes are tested (and tasted, yum!) and that I’ve worked out a basic schedule in my head.  All of the projects for may were finalized in mid-March.
  2. On the 8th of April, Ana will drag her butt over here and we will spend the entire day filming, taking photos and then have a celebratory drink when we’ve finished.
  3. On the 15th of April, I’ll send an e-mail to subscribers with the shopping list for the ingredients for the May project.  (THIS appears to be where it’s most confusing) because it will be called “May Shopping List”.  That’s because I’m giving you the list early so that you can get ready if you like!  Entries are due by 4:00 PM on the 20th of April.  The dates don’t change, only the Months.  So every month month on the 15th a shopping list will be sent and all entries will be due by the 20th.
  4. At about 5 or 5:30 PM on the 20th, I’ll go LIVE on Facebook and announce the winner!
  5. A lovely Bake with Rho Amazon Gift Card will show up in your e-mail by the next day.

Contest Requirements

Of course there are some rules for the contest – I don’t think they’re burdensome, they’re just necessary!

  1. You must Like the Bake with Rho Facebook page.
  2. You must be subscribed to the Bake with Rho Newsletter.  There is a nifty little box you can fill out at the top of the right column of this page.  There is also a Sign-up button on the Bake with Rho Facebook page.  Important:  You will receive an e-mail asking you to confirm that you really want to subscribe.  If you don’t confirm, you won’t get the contest e-mail each month.

    Bake with Rho Contest Sign Up

    Bake with Rho Contest – How to Like and Subscribe

  3. Members of my immediate family are not eligible to win (you’re already winners!).   Honestly, it’s not fair since I may let a little information slip in general conversations.
  4. If you don’t know the answer, guess!  When I review the entries, if no one has guessed at least two projects correctly, I’ll do a random draw of all entries.  If two or more people have correct entries, then I’ll do a draw from those.  Someone is walking away a winner every month, why not you?
  5. While entrants can win multiple times, you can’t be eligible to win twice in a row.  We want to share the love!

If you have trouble seeing e-mail from me, please add me as a “Safe Sender” in your e-mail or check your Junk and mark my message “Not Junk”.  The easiest way to “authorize” mail from me is to simply add “rhonda@bakewithrho.com” to your contacts list.

If you have any questions at all, please let me know by commenting here or on the Facebook page and I’ll answer you as soon as possible!

Good luck, everyone!  I can’t wait for the next round!

 

 

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Rho’s Top Tools for Home Bakers – Part I

Welcome to part one of my Top Tools for Home Bakers!  The right tools for the job are essential for success and often we go a little overboard (I know I do) when stocking up on tools and pretty much anything baking-related!  But if you’re starting out, you can definitely invest in an assortment of tools that should help you finish most baking projects and won’t break the bank!

This is the list of bigger investments – the ones that perhaps you can’t go out and buy all at once – perhaps you need to plan for some of them, I know I did!  But spending wisely in the beginning will save money in the long run, I promise!

Mixer

Stand Mixer or Hand Mixer (or both, if you’re a lunatic like me)

Tools for Bakers - KitchenAid Stand Mixer

Love these beauties!

I think I would die without my mixer. Ok, perhaps that’s a little dramatic, but I can promise you that I would cry real tears if anything were to happen to one of my precious babies. Having a great quality stand mixer is a huge help in doing so many things in the kitchen and they’ve become really affordable in recent years. My recommendation is to get the right mixer for the job – Not everyone needs all the bells and whistles! Trust me, getting a good 5 quart KitchenAid will serve most home bakers just fine!

Tools for Bakers - KitchenAid Hand Mixer

Absolute Workhorse

Of course, if a stand mixer is just out of your price range right now (and we’ve ALL been there), I’d recommend getting the absolute best hand mixer you can afford. Again, I recommend KitchenAid, because they are beasts and last forever! That yellow mixer in my kitchen (you’ll see it in the videos) is about 13 years old and I have never once had a problem with that lovely lady!

8” x 3” Round Cake Pans

If you invest in any baking pans, I would strongly recommend making your first investment in 8” x 3” round pans. Most recipes that you find are written for the 8” pan, and if you get the 3” deep version right off the bat, you’re not going to have to buy them a second time (like this girl) when you realize that you want to get a full 2” tall cake and don’t want to mess with parchment or risk spill-overs.

Tools for Bakers - Magic Line 8x3" Round

So Versatile!

I discuss it in my first video – I prefer Magic Line pans or Fat Daddios. Magic Line is truly my favorite, as they have sharper edges than any of the other pans I’ve found. This is incredibly helpful when covering cakes.   It’s just a personal preference of mine, but believe me, I have about a million pans of all shapes and sizes and the Magic Line are just my favorite. Ok, so I probably don’t have a MILLION pans, but maybe 500,000.

9” x 13” x 2” Cake Pan

Tools for Bakers - Magic Line 9"x13"2" Quarter Sheet

You’ll use it again and again

While you’re at it, get a good quality 9” x 13” x 2” pan as well. This one is a must-have for sheet cakes, and for the home baker, it should be sufficient to start out. At this point, I wouldn’t worry too much about half sheet and full sheet pans. Instead, if I were truly tempted in indulge in another size, I’d invest in a 9” x 9” x 3” pan to go along with the rectangle. This seems to be the pan size that’s preferred for many brownie and bar cookie recipes, although I don’t know why in the name of all that is holy anyone would want to make that few brownies. WHY?

Cookie Sheets

Tools for Bakers - Cookie Sheets

Must. Buy. More.

Ahhhhh….   Cookie Sheets – so versatile, so necessary! I have 4 high-quality, heavy cookie sheets. I just found these on Amazon and I may need to get me some!  They have a lip on them and they are NOT those crazy air-filled ones. Personal preference, but I have never liked those things and my cookies and other goodies don’t bake as I’d expected when I’d tried using them. Just a regular old cookie sheet works – I like a sheet with some heft to it, not the less than stellar version that you get in that “250 pieces of bakeware for $10.00” box, but a more heavy-duty version. They may cost a little more than 4 cents each, but they will last forever and a day and if you use Parchment paper (and really, why wouldn’t you?) they stay close to pristine!

Cooling Racks

Cooling Racks – not terribly exciting but oh so necessary! I remember the days of cooling cakes on a dishtowel on the counter when I was younger – Did anyone else do that? We cooled cookies on paper towels or something similar – we didn’t need any of that “fancy cooling rack” nonsense, not us! Then I got older – I moved out on my own, and a rebel was born – I can remember almost furtively buying them and bringing them home – As the years passed I became proud of my racks! I showed them off – I encouraged others to buy them – I gave them away whispering, “The first one’s free” –

Tools for Bakers - Cooling Racks

Come to mama!

Cooling racks are an important part of the baking process. Allowing the air to flow all around your delicious treats cools them more quickly, but it also prevents them from getting soggy and no one wants a soggy cookie! I have found my version of the perfect cooling rack – it’s a grid, rather than a grill and I have about 10 of them. SO useful –

Look for more of Rho’s Top Tools for Home Bakers later this week!  In the meantime, do you have any favorite “go-to” tools in the kitchen that are regulars in your baking arsenal?

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Delicious Fudge Brownies & Baileys – Facebook LIVE

Friday night, we made some delicious Fudge Brownies & Baileys Live on Facebook in celebration of St. Patricks’s Day!  And they were truly delicious!  If you missed it, you can still head over and view the videos.

This was our very first LIVE session and while it was a little nerve wracking, it was also a lot of fun!  As I mentioned, this wasn’t my recipe, but one I found online when I was considering what I wanted my first live video to be, and I knew I wanted something for St. Patrick’s Day, but I didn’t want something green.

Life, Love and Sugar had this fantastic recipe, and I wanted something that looked like it would have a great taste, but not so complicated that I couldn’t make it (and make it well) on the first try, in front of a live audience.  These brownies fit that bill nicely, and they are packed with flavor.  In fact, they are SO packed with flavor that I just couldn’t eat a whole one in one sitting.  They’re that rich and chocolatey!  If you watched the video you heard me say that I thought 16 brownies from a 9″ pan were too many – I’ll gladly admit that I was completely wrong on that score!  These could have easily been cut in half and still made anyone happy.

I learned a few lessons this first time out

  1. I really miss having Ana around when I’m filming!
  2. Ana doesn’t know how to use Facebook – She’s an admin our our page and well – she was there as “Bake with Rho” most of the time and confused the bejesus out of me!  We may have to take away her admin rights for her own protection!
  3. I have a great group of friends and family!  I mean, I knew that, of course, but seeing people I didn’t expect show up to watch was very encouraging and it meant the world to me – it helped me be less nervous and it gave me someone to talk to.
  4. I have a lot to learn – I watch my friend and mentor Kara do it, and it looks so seamless!  Alas, I now realize that is because she’s done this a zillion times and has figured out how to talk, bake, and watch her computer all at the same time!
  5. It was fun!  I was so nervous, but the bottom line is that I had a great time!  LIVE videos on Facebook are more casual and more of a conversation – I absolutely loved doing it and plan to do it again as often as my schedule allows.

Thank you so much to those of you who watched (LIVE or on replay) and especially to those of you who shared the video and invited others to join!  It means a lot to me that you would help in this way – the key to my success is going to be word of mouth and shares, etc., so every single time you do it, there’s a positive impact for me and I’m more appreciative than you could possibly know!

Just in case you missed it in the comments, check out the Baileys Fudge Brownies recipe that we made.  It’s truly delicious.

 

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Are You Ready to Bake with Rho?!

Well aren’t we just giddy with excitement!  Are you ready to bake with Rho?!  Ana and I are definitely ready to make some kitchen magic happen in the coming weeks!

In the past few weeks, we’ve been working hard to bring you a site that feels like a community.  Our goal is to have a place where you feel comfortable asking questions and sharing your own creations.  We want to keep a casual atmosphere and we’re committing to answering your questions, seeking your feedback and helping this site to evolve over time.

What You Can Expect From Us:

  • Casual, informative videos that teach at least one project a month.
  • Constant improvement – Don’t even think that we don’t know how much we have to learn about the video process!
  • A monthly contest with a $20 Amazon Gift card prize.
  • Answers to your questions – We’ll be checking comments and posts at least twice a day, making sure that you get answers to your questions and aren’t just hanging out there.
  • Respect for your e-mail!  Yes, we have a mailing list and we ask that you join it – No, I can’t see a point where I’ll be sending more than 2 or three mails a month.  I also will never sell your e-mail address, because that’s just tacky!

What We Need From You:

  • Like our Facebook Page and Share posts that you find interesting, fun or informative.
  • Subscribe to our E-mail List and participate in the monthly contest!
  • Share your own creations on our Facebook page, we want to see what you’re doing!
  • Let us know if there’s anything special you want to see, we would love to have you, the community drive the selection of tutorials!
  • Remember that you’re on this adventure with us!  We’re still learning a lot about video and photography – We’re practicing like crazy and each month we’ll be better and better –

Ana and I are so looking forward to getting to know each of you!  Introduce yourself here, or head over to the Facebook page – we want to know who’s on the journey with us!