Archive for August, 2008

Ma’s Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Mom always used to switch on WBAB when she made this recipe. We would get all the ingredients out on the counter, along with a big bowl and the measuring cups. Mom, Kel and I would decide who was going to measure and who was going to use the electric mixer. Zepplin was on in the background. (Gonna give you my love!!) One by one, the ingredients were dumped into the bowl, mixed at the highest speed possible since it was just soo much cooler to mix it really quickly than it was to wait for it to be mixed. This was just one of those recipes that didn’t call for a certain order in which you added the ingredients. This was one of those recipes where you just mixed it all up until it looked like a sweet brown-specked goop. We poured it into a pan, waited the long 30 minutes which seemed to us unbearable as the smells of the cake emanated from the oven and each minute grew stronger and stronger until (BEEP) we could take it out of the oven and cut it up and then subsequently eat it up. I don’t think it lasted more than a couple days in our house.

I spruced it up a bit this time by adding a Cream Cheese Frosting and a layer of Blackberry jam.

Ma’s Spice Cake:

¾ c. Butter
2-¼ c. Sifted Flour
1 c. Sugar
¾ c. Brown Sugar
2 tbsp. Molasses
3 Eggs
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Salt
¾ tsp. Baking Soda
¾ tsp. Cinnamon
½ tsp. Nutmeg
1 c. Milk

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Cream the butter, sugar and molasses for about 5 minutes. Add the 3 eggs, one at a time, waiting until the mixture is fully incorporated before adding another egg. Then add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in three installments, alternating with the milk. When it’s all mixed, pour it into two 9″ cake pans. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick stuck into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Then make the cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

1 8oz package of Cream Cheese
3 Tbsp Butter
1 tsp. Vanilla
2 c. Confectioners Sugar

Cream the Cream Cheese and Butter until smooth. Then add the vanilla and Sugar until a spreadable consistency is reached.

Layer the cakes however you want, and then ice it up. Make it look pretty, m’kay? I made some roses out of Royal Icing (See Recipe below) and decorated my cake with ’em. They didn’t come out as well as I had hoped, but they look alright for my first try. I went on a little later and saw this woman make buttercream roses and now I feel like a little sad piper. I can’t do that yet, but I hope I can learn how to make roses that fast! She decorates a half sheet cake in under 4 minutes. Geez!

Royal Icing Recipe:

2 Egg Whites
1 tsp Cream of tartar
3 c. Confectioners Sugar
2 tsp Lemon Juice

Whip up those egg whites until you get soft peaks. Add the lemon juice and then gradually add the confectioners sugar until it reaches a stiff consistency. I wanted mine stiff because I was going to be piping with it. You might want to make it a little thinner if you’re going to be writing with it, or creating delicate, intricate details using the icing.

Happy Baking, Folks!

I’ve made it to my goal. I’m 155lbs now. That was the goal that I set for myself at the beginning of the summer. I wanted to lose 15 lbs and I’ve done it. It was a great feeling to step on that scale and see the little needle land on 155. Felt good.

The only thing that would feel better would be switching on WBAB and making a Spicecake with my mom. I miss you.


August 31, 2008 at 3:17 am Leave a comment

The Seventies Never Tasted So Good

When I was little, I noticed that almost everyone’s kitchens as well as the appliances in those kitchens were colored in the same way: Orange, brown and yellow… Maybe a hint of green in there. What was so cool about those colors, huh? Maybe when they faded, they would just look like a desaturated version of themselves, fooling the viewer into thinking that they hadn’t faded at all? Maybe we were into those colors because they were the colors of Orange, Chocolate, Lemon and Lime? I don’t know, either way, I know that these colors bring me back to my childhood, staring at the linoleum tiles and wondering how they get all those colors in one piece of plastic, and how do they get them to stick to the floor anyway? Elmer’s glue? Super glue? Oh, definitly Super glue.

I have to admit, I still own a blender in orange and a hand mixer in brown and ivory. Pret-ty darn classy if you ask me. Here’s my homage to the seventies: cupcakes that taste way better than most of the older kitchens look.

Chamomile Cupcakes with Lemon Honey Glaze

3/4 c. Unsalted Butter, room temp
1 2/3c. Granulated Sugar

2 Large Eggs, room temp

2 c. Flour

2/3c. Whole Wheat Flour

1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder

1/4 tsp Salt
3/4 c. Milk

2 tsp Vanilla Extract

3 tea bags Chamomile Tea

Cream the butter and the Sugar for about 5 minutes, or until it all comes together into a white and fluffy mixture. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing thoroughly with each egg. Beat this mixture at high speed for about 5 minutes. Add the Flour, Whole Wheat Flour, Baking Powder, salt and Chamomile tea, alternating with the Milk, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. This should all come together and look a little bit thicker than normal cake batter. That’s perfectly fine. Whip it up for another 5 minutes and you’re finished. Scoop it into cupcake papers, filling only 1/2 full. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes. While they’re baking, you can make your glaze.

Zest of one Lemon

Juice of one Lemon

1 1/2 tbsp Butter

3 tbsp Honey

1 tsp Vanilla

1 2/3 c. Powdered sugar.

Mix these all together, gradually adding the sugar until it’s at a spreadable consistency. Add food coloring if you’d like. I did. I added yellow to 3/4 of the mixture, and turned the other 1/4 of the mixture orange for little accents.

The cupcakes are finished when they start to turn golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Take ’em out and put them, bottoms down, on parchment paper. Scoop about 1 tsp of the glaze onto each of the cupcakes, fresh out of the oven. The glaze should spread. If it spreads over the sides of the cupcake, don’t worry! You can spread it out manually if you want to make sure that it looks even. Me, I don’t really mind it looking homemade. That’s kinda my aesthetic. Scoop the rest of the icing into a pastry bag with a small round tip on it. Decorate as you please! Place them on the most seventies of plates that you have and enjoy!

I personally LOVE these cupcakes. I love the taste of chamomile and it’s a perfect compliment to the zesty lemon. It’s a soft sweetness instead of a kick you in the face sweetness… Very good! I hope you all try and enjoy them!
Happy Baking, folks.

August 28, 2008 at 3:16 am 1 comment

Chocolate Orange Macks

I have this friend at work named Joe . He is in serious need of a cookie. So I made him these:

These cookies are moist little suckers with a lot of flavor. Orange, chocolate and cinnamon work so very well in this recipe.

Chocolate Orange Macks

1 Orange
3/4c. Butter
1/4c Molasses
1/2c. Brown Sugar
1/2c. Granulated Sugar
2 Large Eggs
1/4c. Cocoa Powder
1 tsp Vanilla
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2c. Cornmeal
2 1/4c. Flour

Cream together the butter, molasses, and sugars until they’re beige colored and fluffy. This should take about 5 minutes on high speed with a hand mixer. I don’t know about all you other blogging folks, but I can’t afford a stand mixer, so my ghetto hand mixer from the 1980’s is my best friend. Once that is creamed, add the eggs and combine completely with the butter mixture. Zest the orange and make sure all those yummy tiny droplets of orange oil get in the bowl! You want as much flavor in this dough as possible. Add the zest, vanilla, cinnamon and cocoa powder next, combining thoroughly before adding anything else. Sift and add the baking soda, cornmeal and flour to the mixture, in 1/2c increments. Once the dough comes together, looking more like a bread dough than a sticky cookie dough, you’re finished. Toss it onto your cutting board and shape it into a log cylinder. Wrap in saran wrap and stick it in the freezer. Now you can make the glaze.

Juice of 1 Orange
1/2c. Powdered Sugar
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1 tbsp. Milk

Combine Orange juice, powdered sugar and cinnamon in a small saucepan. Let it bubble at medium heat and after you can smell the sugar caramelizing, add the milk, stirring vigorously. Let it continue to cook at a lower heat for about another 5 minutes. Take it off of the heat and walk away. Hop on your computer and go to locate your favorite tv show and watch it on your computer since you don’t get cable anymore. You’ll probably put it on Project Runway, since you’re extremely jealous of all the people who get to watch it every week and you’ve been working like crazy so you would’ve missed the show anyway. After you finish the episode, or after about 45 minutes, you can drag yourself into the kitchen and pull the dough out of the freezer.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and get a cookie sheet ready. You don’t need to grease it or anything, just have it out and ready. Cut the dough into thirds and wrap two of the thirds up and put ’em in the freezer. Roll the third you still have out into a smaller log and cut it into 1/4 inch slices. Place it evenly on a cookie sheet. Make ’em nice and round so that they look pretty. Cook for about 12 minutes.

When they come out, let them cool about 10 minutes and then dip the cookies in the glaze and the topping. The first third is dipped in Powdered sugar. The second third, cocoa powder and the last third into chopped Macadamia nuts. Dip the top side of the cookie into the glaze and then into the sugar/cocoa/nuts. Place them on a pretty plate and enjoy.

Serve to your hubby and watch him enjoy. I’ll bring them to work tomorrow and hopefully Joe will be a-okay once he tastes these.

August 26, 2008 at 3:15 am Leave a comment

Butterscotch Chocolate Bulls-eye Cookies

Here’s my belated B-day present to Kel and my get well soon gift to Luke:

These bad boys are not too sweet and oh-so tender. Just designed ’em today, so I hope you enjoy! Also, check out that background right there. Say “Hello” to tropical storm Fae. We’re supposed to get about 30 inches today.

Butterscotch & Chocolate Bulls-Eyes

½ c. Butter
½ c. Sugar
1 Large Egg
2 tbsp Milk
½ tsp Baking Soda
½ c. Cornmeal
1 ½ c. Flour
1 tsp Butterscotch Flavoring

1 ½ tsp Cocoa Powder
1 tsp Milk

1-2 chunks of White Bark Coating, melted.

Cream the butter and sugar together for at least 3 minutes. Next, add the egg and butterscotch flavoring. Blend well! Add, one half of a cup at a time, the flour and the Cornmeal until it’s all blended in. You’ll probably need to switch to a wooden spoon once you have about half of the flour in. Now, take about 1/3 of the dough and move it to another bowl. Add the cocoa powder and milk, knead it in so that it’s smooth and even looking. Some marbles are alright, but I like it better when it looks uniform and chocolatey brown!

Roll out the butterscotch dough onto a floured surface and spread it to about 1 inch thick. Roll the Chocolate dough into a long sausage and place it in the middle of the butterscotch dough. Roll it all up and make a long log. You should see a little bit of the chocolate dough through the ends, but mostly only see butterscotch dough. Roll it up tight and saran wrap it before letting it sit in the chill chest for at least 30 minutes.

Once it’s firm and your oven is properly heated to 350 degrees, unwrap the dough log and place it on a cutting board. This is the point where you step away and let your hubby take over. You see, you’ve been bugging him to help you make cookies as some sort of bonding experience for hours now and he’s finally come to help, after you’ve been impatient and gone ahead and made the dough… So you let him do the easy, and *fun* part. Lucky sunnova… Cut the dough into 1/4 inch slices and place on an ungreased cookiesheet about 1 inch apart. Bake in the oven for about 12 to 15 minutes or until the edges start to look golden brown. Take ‘em outta the oven and let them sit until cool. This is important. You want these cookies to be tender, so don’t over cook them. You have to remember that after the cookies come out of the oven, they will have some carry-over cook time. Let them rest!

While you’re waiting, you can melt some of that White bark coating over a double boiler or in the microwave. You don’t have to add this to the recipe, but I’m trying to use up some of what I bought yesterday to make cake balls. Plus, these cookies are going to a person who got run over by a truck (don’t ask) so he can spare a couple more calories for some crunchy candy goodness right about now! Once the bark is fully melted and the cookies are ready to come off of the pan, dip the bottoms of the cookies in the bark and place them on Parchment paper to harden. Once they’re hardened, enjoy! You’ve made beautiful cookies! Makes about 2 ½ dozen.

My interview went well. I should get a call back in Friday. They seemed pretty impressed with my cooking at home. Hopefully I impressed them enough for them to give me a chance!

August 21, 2008 at 3:14 am Leave a comment

Piping Hot

Today Zach and I traveled for the first time to our local restaurant supply shop. Our goal was to find a Pastry bag with metal tips and instead I found my dream. I love to cook. I love to bake and see smiles on people’s faces when they eat my creations. I love to hear that “UNnghhthhrhhghhhhgg SOOO GOOOFHD” sound from Zach when he has his mouth full of cake and he tries to explain to me how good it tastes, since I won’t eat sweets. I love it.. but I’m two years into art school, seeking a painting degree. Not quite the path that I should be on at this point, I think. The aisles and aisles of cooking supplies and baking sheets and cups and plates and bowls just made me want a bakery more than I’ve ever wanted it. And when I saw the chef’s jackets, I saw the bakery that I will one day own and run, white and brown and pink and clean and sweet and perfect.

When we got home, I jumped into the kitchen and I baked these:

And then Zach did this:

Kinda fun, eh? I thought they looked pretty good for the first time I had ever touched a piping bag!

August 19, 2008 at 8:44 am Leave a comment

Molasses Oatmeal Cookies

These just popped out of the oven smelling oh-so yummy.

Molasses Oatmeal Cookies

½C. Butter
½ C. Brown Sugar
½ C. White Sugar
½ C. Molasses
2 Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 tbsp Cocoa Powder
1/4 tsp salt
½ tsp salt
2 C. Flour
1 c. Oats

Cream the butter and sugars for 10 minutes. Then add molasses, eggs, cinnamon, vanilla and salt. Beat well! Then gradually add flour and cocoa powder until incorporated. Then add Oatmeal. If it feels way too sticky, add some more flour, just not too much. You don’t want it to feel like a bread dough, or anywhere near playdoh. (You know, soft, pliable, salty, smells like kindergarten…)
Put the batter in the chill chest and walk away! Let it chill a little while while you preheat your oven to 350 degrees. When you finally can’t wait anymore or when your husband and kids start chanting “Coo-kees! Coo-kees!” Roll the dough into quarter sized balls and space them out on a cookie sheet. Flatten them slightly and then sprinkle little bits of sugar on top. I find this helps because the cookies themselves aren’t overly sweet, so this gives them something crunchy and sweet on the outside.
Cook ‘em for 12 minutes and then take them out of the oven. Let them cool completely, place them on an oh-so-classy plate decorated with like… diamonds or something. Serve to friends, family, coworkers OR eat them all while catching up on your soap operas. It’s all up to you, baby.

On a side note, I really need to get a new kitchen timer. I have one on my microwave, but it’s just not loud enough now that my bedroom is clear across the apartment from the kitchen. I’ll need to get something louder. Perhaps one of those chicken or cupcake shaped timers that I can just put on timer and carry with me. Otherwise, half of my cookies will become a tiny bit too brown for my taste! Brown is good, ‘cept for when you’re looking for nice delicious golden cookies instead.

August 15, 2008 at 3:12 am Leave a comment