This Week Ends on a Tired Note

I scroll past the cute, tired puppy and kitten memes every day and, most of the time, just think “how cute”. This week however, these adorable, exhausted little faces really resonated.  Everything’s been so hectic that I haven’t had time to even check in here.  or1d2j

Okay, that’s the last puppy or kitten meme for today.

Now on to business.  The reason I am so “doggone” tired and “weak as a kitten” is I’ve just been busy.  With Valentine’s Day, birthdays and weddings, the cookies, cupcakes and cakes are literally keeping me up at night.

But the end is in sight.  Today I just have to fill, stack, crumb coat and decorate a 2 tier wedding cake and a 1/2 sheet groom’s cake.  Piece of cake, right?  Let’s hope so.

But I do want to share with you the coconut pastry cream filling I am using for the groom’s cake today.

I know some people think pastry creams are difficult and time consuming, but, in all honesty, this recipe is almost idiot proof (I say almost, because if you follow a few simple rules, well one rule actually, it is simple—-PAY ATTENTION–It’s that simple)

As with all of my other recipes, quality ingredients are the key.  Pastry cream only has 6 simple ingredients that most of us have all the time anyway, so if you want to take your chocolate layer cake for dessert tonight to another level, fill the layers with this delicious pastry cream.

Just like making a pudding, pastry cream uses cornstarch and egg yolks to thicken; add in a  little sugar, vanilla and butter, and in less than 30 minutes, you’ve turned whole milk into a silky, slightly sweet treat.


Your sugar is going to be divided between your milk mixture and you egg yolks.  Unlike pudding recipes, you won’t cook you cornstarch with the milk.

Whisk you egg yolks and 105 grams sugar until creamy, then whisk in your cornstarch.

Cook milk and the other 120 grams of sugar on medium high heat until it boils.

Temper the yolk mixture with 1/2 of the boiling milk.  This is very important–if you don’t do this step, you will have scrambled eggs.

From there you pour the tempered egg mixture back into the pan and cook until it thickens.  Just remember to stir it constantly so you don’t have burnt pastry cream.

For this batch I add in 2 cups of flaked coconut and used it to fill a vanilla bean cake.

Like I said, super simple and I guarantee that you family will think you spent hours.

After 7 dozen Valentine’s Day sugar cookies, a birthday cake, a wedding cake and groom’s cake, I am definitely ready for some down time, but even ending the week on a tired note, I am excited for what the next one will bring.

Vanilla Pastry Cream

Printer friendly version here:  Pastry Cream


1000 ml whole milk

225 gr. sugar

75 gr. cornstarch

10 egg yolks

60 gr. butter

Seeds of 1 vanilla bean or 10 ml. vanilla extract


Whisk egg yolks and 105gr. sugar in bowl until pale.  Whisk in cornstarch.

Bring milk and 120gr. sugar to a boil in heavy bottomed saucepan.

Temper your egg mixture by pouring 1/2 the boiling milk into eggs while whisking.  Pour back into sauce pan and bring to boil, stirring constantly.

Pour into bowl, mix in butter and vanilla.  Cover top of pastry cream with cling wrap, pressing it down onto the top to keep skin from forming.

Place bowl in ice bath the cool, then refrigerate until ready to use.

Super Easy Dip for Super Bowl Parties

Yuck Dip

Many, many moons ago, I lived in a tiny apartment with my 2 small girls, in a small Kansas town.  As happens when you have kids, you get to be friends with the other moms because…well, let’s face it, misery loves company; and who better to commiserate with a mom of 2 small kids than others in the same situation.  So, while listening for the tell tell sounds of mischief and refereeing squabbles between toddlers, us moms discussed every possible topic, more often than not it involved food.

One of these moms was Deb and she introduced me to “yuck” dip.  Yep, that’s what it is called; and very appropriately named because it looks, well, yucky.  But don’t let the name or appearance fool you, this dip is super yummy and almost too easy.

Now I don’t use many “pre-made” products when I bake.  My tag line is actually “No Boxes, No Mixes, No Tubs”.  But when something that is tasty and easy, I can get behind using jarred salsa.


That’s right, your eyes do not decide you.  This amazingly tasty dip is only 5 ingredients (most of which individually I won’t eat).

You will need:

1 jar of chunky salsa (if you prefer to make salsa from scratch, that is wonderful and you are my hero)

1 small can of chopped ripe olives

Lime juice (fresh or bottled doesn’t matter)

Garlic powder (I actually had to buy some because it is not something I will use in any other recipe)

And 5-6 scallions, chopped up.

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That’s it.  Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and stir.  You can adjust the heat with a hot salsa or even put chopped jalapeño if you want, but I am a real wimp when it comes to spice, so mild for me.

A bag if restaurant style corn chips and you are ready for the game (Go Pats).