Sunday, June 20, 2010

Cake #15, Cocoa Bread with Stewed Peaches

This cake was a different chocolate had cinnamon and molasses in it which gave it a different chocolate taste. Not my favorite cake but I did like it. I would not have thought to put peaches over it but they went really well.

The cake fresh out of the oven, 6.20.2010.

Peaches stewing with sugar and water, 6.20.2010.

The finished cake, 6.20.2010.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Cake #14, Wacky Cake with 7-Minute Frosting

The cake for this recipe was super simple and kind of fun. This cake was common during WWII when certain items were short due to rationing. It requires an odd way of mixing the ingredients. One well with vanilla extract, one with vinegar and one with vegetable oil.

The 7 Minute Frosting is the first time I've attempted beat egg whites to any stage. For this I was suppose to aim for the soft peak stage and, honestly, I was nervous that I was totally going to screw this up. But as I beat the eggs, sugar and cream of tartar they started to get shiny and thicker. Soft peak it is! And this frosting tastes like fluff except better!

Cake left in the pan for less fuss and covered with frosting.

Monday, June 14, 2010


Yes, addition to All Cakes Considered and the Have the Cake Community I needed to bake more. The most I've baked in a week is 3 different items (pie, cupcakes & cake). The following is what I've done since I started my baking journey.

It started with fudge...fudge my grandmother used to make from the recipe on the Fluff jar. It was very easy and I learned what soft ball stage was, 3.30.2010.

Since the Never Fail Fudge was such a success I decided to try their Nutty Butterscotch Fudge, 4.17.2010. This was heaven!

Next I wanted to try cupcakes and do a trial run for some upcoming birthday cupcakes, 4.24.2010. I found a recipe for a chocolate/chocolate cupcake and made it with Hersey's Special Dark cocoa powder. I also filled each cupcake with Devil's Food Pudding. The cupcakes were really good but not exactly "it".

Next I wanted to see if I could find the recipe for dessert bar that I had at a party. I was successful and made some Seven Layer Magic Bars, 4.30.2010, which truly are magical!

My all time favorite cupcake is a Margarita Cupcake which I was able to find a recipe for. These were awesome, 5.4.2010.

For Mother's Day I made my mom's favorite dessert, Key Lime Pie, 5.7.2010. It was so good!!
I also made a recipe called the Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes, 5.8.2010 and they really were! These were made with dark chocolate and had chocolate ganache in the center.
Earl Grey Cupcakes with a Lemon Buttercream frosting, 5.31.2010. I need to add more tea to the batter and add some to the frosting too next time, otherwise these are really good!

I made this Chocolate Cookie Cake, 6.12.2010, for my boyfriend's birthday and it came out really good. If I made it again I would make the cookie filling closer to the moment when I would actually need it and probably use more milk so that it is more spreadable.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

My previous Have the Cake challenges

In my new found confidence in the kitchen I apparently didn't feel as though one baked good per week was enough...clearly I am rapidly losing what little of my mind that I have I joined a baking community, suggested to me by a friend, called Have the Cake. This community, every month, picks on recipe for a cake, cookier, cracker, pie, bar, biscuit or brownie. Everyone can make it as or put their own spin on it. We have the whole month to complete it and when we are done we post our baking experience on the blog. Each participant gets to pick a recipe for an assigned month. The pick should be something we've never made before.

My first month challenge was April and it was flan. Flan? I am not even sure I've eaten flan before. I know it's a custard like dessert and since I'm not a custard fan I am not super excited about it. I found a recipe for a Creamy Caramel Flan which stated it was a cross between a cheese cake and custard so that sounded perfect for me. I was honestly scared to attempt the caramel but I read a bunch of reviews for this recipe and picked up a few suggestions which saved me. This came out really good and I am over my custard dislike. I would make a flan again and try some other flavors since this seems like a perfect canvas for other flavors.

For May it was Buttermilk Cake and I wanted to do something different than fresh fruit. I found a recipe which called for dates, which I love, called Caramel Upside Down Cake. It was a lot of fun to make but afterward I wished I made one with fresh fruit. I think the dates could have been fresher and I should have used more brown sugar (packed it rather than unpacked) for the caramel top. But it was well liked at the office so I guess it came out good!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Cake #13, Chocolate Pound Cake, of All Cakes Considered

Ah the chocolate series has started in the form of Chocolate Pound Cake. I have never been a huge fan of chocolate cake (shocking huh?!) but this cake turned out to taste a lot like a brownie, which I do love.
This cake produces a metric buttload of chocolatey batter (I think I might be developing a batter addiction)!

Next time I need to trim the cake so that the bottom is even when I release the cake from the pan.

I was pretty pleased how the cake came out of the pan as it was very first time using my bundt pan.

I dusted it with confectioners sugar to make it prettier.

Moist, delicious and more attractive now that the bundt pan has been, win and win!

The June "Have the Cake" challenge!

The June challenge for the Have the Cake community is Strawberry Shortcake .

I highly recommend, if possible, using local fresh strawberries! These were unbelievably tasty!
This biscuits didn't raise as much as they should have...I believe the reason for this was because the recipe called for 3 tablespoons and 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder, and I only put in 3 tablespoons by accident. And also because I clearly can't tell what an inch is and spread out my dough too far making each biscuit too thin. The good thing is that it all still tasted amazing! Oh and there is green course sugar because I didn't have white, heh.
Ahhh the heavenily strawberries tossed with fresh lemon juice and sugar await their destiny!
The whipped cream came out pretty good so I was stupidly happy about that :-)
The finished yumminess!!

So from scratch strawberry shortcake is not that difficult and is so amazing that I can not wait to make it again!

Friday, June 4, 2010


The past two weekends I was in a period of gingerbread. To be perfectly honest I wasn't excited about gingerbread cakes. I had gingerbread frequently, at Christmas time while growing up, in the form of a variety of different shaped cookies. I liked it well enough but it doesn't cause me to swoon. But there are definitely gingerbread fanatics out there and I was hoping to cater to them a little bit with these 2 cakes. My cakes generally go with me, where ever I am headed, on the weekends and/or into work for consumption by my guinea, coworkers. Thankfully I have good friends and coworkers who are willingly accompanying me on this journey as my faithful tasters.

Cake #11, Gingerbread, 5.19.2010, was very good but it didn't excite me. I think it might have been a tiny bit overcooked (not as bad a couple of previous cakes) either that or it runs a little dryish (is that a word?). I did make this twice as it was exceedingly easy and the 2nd one was better cooked yet still didn't wow me. However they both got eaten so it couldn't have been too bad.

Cake #12, ATF Gingerbread, 5.29.2010, has converted me to loving gingerbread. Well not all gingerbread but definitely this gingerbread. It had dark beer and candied ginger in it. I think the candied ginger really made this and it was so moist. It also had frosting (cream cheese ginger frosting) which automatically makes it preferred in my book. I am getting better at baking the cakes but my frosting skills leave a lot to be desired! It may look messy but it made me a true gingerbread convert and I would totally make it again.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

I don't cook...

...or rather I didn't cook. I have never cooked, not really. I have developed and fine-tuned an irrational dislike of all parts of food preparation. If I didn't manage to only date men who liked to cook I think I might have starved to death at some point. I am still wondering, even now, what happened to cause me to do a complete 180 3 months ago. The basic order of this particular change started with 1) reading a review of a cookbook by a friend, 2) buying said cookbook on a whim and 3) reading the opening chapter and getting completely sucked in. The book that started my reinvention is All Cakes Considered by Melissa Grey. I didn't really think I'd bake my way through a cookbook nor did I really think that this cookbook would help quell my dislike of the kitchen. But this book takes you by the hand, spells things out and generally takes the fear of screwing up away...especially because of the fact that the author is very comfortable talking about her own cake mishaps. Of course all this is helped by the fact that I love cake. I mean I really love cake. Now it is June and I am 12 cakes deep into the cookbook.

I should probably also mention I am not a writer but have been toying with the thought of doing a blog since I joined another blog community for baking desserts (see, you can already tell this baking thing has snowballed). This was further reinforced by a friend saying I should write a blog about this I bit the bullet and decided that I would do it. So in order to catch you up (assuming that eventually there might be a "you" out there) on the cakes already baked I'll do as brief of a recap as possible.
Cake #1, The Mancatcher (b/c supposedly you'll catch any man if you make this), Sour Cream Pound Cake, 3.7.2010. This cake is super simple and the glaze is delicious however I overcooked it even though I baked it 10 minutes less than stated. Otherwise I was pleased with my first attempt.
Cake #2, Brown Sugar Pound Cake, 3.13.2010 is an awesome recipe and I still have plans to recake however this one was also overcooked although it was less noticeable with all that yummy cream cheese frosting on it although this is the saddest frosting job I've ever seen...what was I thinking?! In any event I started to get very disappointed because of the overcooking thing and thinking that this was precisely the reason I didn't attempt any type of food prep. However I was encouraged and eventually convinced to buy an oven thermometer which showed that my oven was baking a whopping 25 degrees hotter than the dial said!!

Cake #3, Missy G's Sweet Potato Pound Cake, 3.20.2010 was the best baked cake so far. It wasn't my favorite flavor but it wasn't overcooked either so overall I was very happy.

Cake #4, Key Lime Cake, 3.26.2010 was a big hit that I ended up making a 2nd one. I really enjoyed this recipe but squeezing key limes is a bitch!

Cake #5, Procrastinatin Drunken Monkey Banana Bread, 4.11.2010 was super good even though it fell. It went really well while putting it together especially because I also learned how to plump cherries in rum with fire. The cake looked good when I took it out of the oven. However the banana is deceptive. The cake was not done and I didn't realize this fact until I had tried to remove it from the pan and it started to fall apart and there was a warm layer of an undercooked section. Becaused it wasn't done yet the cake fell. But it was so good I do have a plan to eventually recake this.

Cake #6, The Barefoot Contessa's Sour Cream Coffee Cake, 4.17.2010 was the first of the coffee cake series. Clearly you can tell it fell...undercooked. Telling when a cake is done is not as easy as they make it sound. I did streusel in the cake for the very first time which came out well but I do not think I am a coffee cake type of girl so I'm not hugely excited about recaking...I haven't made up my mind either way.
Cake #7, Argroves Manor Coffee Cake, 4.25.2010, was the 2nd in the coffee cake series and while good probably the uglest cake I've baked so far. It was slightly overdone yet the fruit layer inside helped keep it decently moist. Making the fruit layer on the stovetop was a cool new thing to try and it was delicious to boot!

Cake #7, Miss Saigon's Cinnamon Coffee Cake, 5.2.2010 was the last of the coffee cake series and the best! I am definitely not a coffee cake person but if I had to have it than I think I'd like this one best. I am now a saigon cinnamon (hot ball version of cinnamon) convert!

Cake #9, Dorie Greenspan's Swedish Visiting Cake, 5.8.2010, was by far the simplest cake to make and probably the most fun. Mixing the lemon zest with the sugar was almost a religious experience. It was so much fun to make I made it twice!

Cake #11, Rum Drenched Vanilla Cake, 5.12.2010, was baked in two loaf pans which I am not a fan of...mostly because I am challenged in being able to tell how much to fill the pan (1st time overfilled, oops!) and I have only one pan. There is rum in the batter, in the glaze and it was delicious!!

I think that is enough cake for this post. The next post will be about the gingerbreads and than I'll be caught up. This weekend will be cake #13! Eventually I'll do an update on all the non-cake-a-week items and my Have the Cake April and May challenges.