Today is my birthday! And hopefully it’ll include a little of what my very first birthday involved; this:
Tag Archives: Cake
Hello friends! Don’t miss my post over at Yumm.com today on tips for making fluffy cakes. One time I baked a cake that turned out like a brick. It was embarrassing. Don’t let that happen to you.
Here’s a nice story for you. Last Saturday night, The BF and I had ourselves a nice little date night. One might think that a twenty-COUGH-year old and a thirty-COUGH-year old wouldn’t have to plan Saturday nights out, but when your nice squishy couch and a cheap bottle of wine and Mad Men reruns and old sweatpants are calling your name, you really have to push yourself to leave the house. But leave the house we did. We sat at a bar, we had some drinks, we laughed, we spent money neither of us has… but all the while I was distracted. Seriously distracted.
I wanted some cake. Guys, when a cake craving takes over my body, I can’t help it. It’s all I think about. It’s all I can talk about. “Should I get some cake?” I said out loud, eying a perfectly frosted white cake on the counter of the bar. But something told me I didn’t want that cake. How old was it? Was it pure white cake in the middle? Would it cost $10 a slice? Would I be disappointed that I wasted the calories (and, more importantly, the craving) on something mediocre?
I turned away. I finished my drink. We went home.
And then I baked my own cake.
Who cares if it was 2AM and I was out of butter? I found a simple recipe for one bowl quick chocolate cake, I whipped that sucker up, cooled it over the AC unit, dumped the still-warm cakes on a plate, poured a cocoa-powder-powdered-sugar-water glaze over the top of the heap, and set it in front of The BF… with two forks. We turned on Mad Men reruns, I changed into old sweats, and it was heaven. Why we ever leave the house, I’ll never know.
On the menu:
One-Bowl Chocolate Cake
Serves 2 (just kidding… serves 12)
2 cups white sugar
1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup milk*
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 9-inch round baking pans.
In a large bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients. Add remaining ingredients and mix with an electric mixer for 2 minutes. Split the batter between the 2 pans and bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp milk (you might need more depending on the consistency of the glaze that you like)
Mix together all ingredients in a bowl. Pour over the cake. Eat like it’s going out of style.
*In the interest of full disclosure… I ran out of milk. I mixed together half a cup of heavy cream and half a cup of water and called it milk. Blame the three G&T’s I had before I baked this.
When trying to come up with a dessert for last weekend’s dinner, I kept thinking that by the time the meat was gone I hoped everyone would be full. But I also wanted to cap off the evening with something really special… and frankly, kids, I don’t know how to not do comfort food. So while my guests may or may not have dozed off in their chairs after the meal was over (is there a greater compliment?) and their pants may have been a little tight, I think this cake was the right decision.
On the menu:
Pineapple carrot cake with whipped cream cheese frosting
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs. room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 salt
1 pound carrots, grated
3/4 cup fresh pineapple, diced
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 8-inch round cake pans.
Beat together sugar, oil, and eggs until the mixture is a light yellow color. Beat in the vanilla. In another bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until incorporated. Fold in the carrots and the pineapple and mix well. Divide the batter up equally into the 2 pans. Bake for 55 – 60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cakes cool in the pans on a wire rack.
1 8-oz. package of cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp corn starch
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup heavy whipping cream
Place a metal bowl and beaters from an electric mixer into the freezer for 30 minutes. In the pre-frozen bowl with pre-frozen beaters, beat the whipping cream until soft peaks form.
In a separate bowl, beat together cream cheese, sugar, corn starch, salt, and vanilla extract. Fold in the whipped cream.
I won’t bore you with the mundane details of my personal life (of which most of you are probably privy to anyway) but I am in between jobs at the moment. Literally just the moment, but I’m smack in the middle of three days of unemployed bliss. Until I start my new job on Thursday, I’m trying to be slightly more productive than watching television and packing the occasional box for my apartment move in 2 1/2 weeks. Did I mention BIG things are happening in my life?
So today I decided to take a break from TV and napping to bake this gorgeous cake I found on Figs, Bay and Wine. The afternoon seemed like the perfect time to take advantage of the natural light that makes my photos their prettiest.
On the menu:
Blueberry plum cake
Adapted from the wild bramble cake on Figs, Bay and Wine
4 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup whole milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
Zest of one lemon (I realized mid-recipe that I forgot the lemon, so I substituted 1 tsp lemon extract)
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries (feel free to substitute raspberries, blackberries, etc here)
2 small plums, skin on, pitted and sliced to 1/4 inch thick
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-inch springform pan. Shake out any excess flour.
Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat until the butter is completely melted and starts to froth. WATCH THE BUTTER CLOSELY. Once the small white particles start to turn a light brown and the mixture smells nutty, turn off the heat and remove the pan from the stove. Let the butter cool for at least 15 minutes before you continue with the next step in the recipe. I used this time to prep the fruit!
Sift together flour, salt, and baking powder. In a separate bowl, blend together eggs and sugar with an electric mixer for around 3 minutes or until the mixture is thickened a bit and light colored. Add brown butter, olive oil, milk, vanilla, and zest until completely blended.
Fold liquid mixture into flour mixture JUST until moistened and combined. Do not overmix. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes.
Fold in blueberries. Pour into springform pan, spread with a spatula so the batter fills the pan, and top with slices of plum. You may have to press down a bit on the plum slices so they’re not just chillin’ on top of the batter.
Bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean and the top of the cake is browned. Let cool in the springform pan for 10 minutes. Remove the springform and let cool completely.
*Note: I know this is a “cake” and it has “sugar” in it, but how lovely would this be served at a brunch with some freshly whipped cream served alongside baked eggs? Lovely indeed, I think.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m never really one to be on top of the newest and most exciting places. I view this blog as more of a way to bring you along on my journey of discovering “new to me” places and hopefully inspiring you to go or stay away from some of the thousands of restaurants in New York. So when the BF told me he had heard about a new bar located in Kaufman Astoria Studios (the film studio where Sesame Street and The Cosby Show film/filmed at), I figured he had stumbled upon an old article. Turns out the place has only been opened for 2 months. So… ahem… you heard it here first.
The Astor Room 34-12 36th St, Astoria, Queens. You enter the restaurant down a marble staircase, surrounding by gold-framed mirrors and peacock wallpaper. Enter to the left and a piano greets you, followed by a dark mahogany bar and a feeling that you’ve stepped back in time. The bar just reopened but in its hey day in the 1930s, it was frequented by silent movie stars that were filming at Kaufman Astoria Studios. The menu is a throwback, too, with dishes like Dover sole, lobster thermidor, and short rib stroganoff.
On the menu:
Crispy fried calamari over roasted tomato paste with green pepper shavings
Double cut coca-cola porkchop
Smoked seven layer chocolate cake
Verdict: It’s aces! It’s keen! It’s swell! (I had to Google “1930’s slang”… in the interest of full disclosure, you know). This place is awesome. The food was SO well done; the pork chop was juicy but crisp and sweet, the spaghetti smooth and buttery, and the seven layer cake sprinkled with gold. Yes, gold. Edible gold. Old world luxury and glamour at its finest, gals and pals. I also have to give props to the amazing staff. I read many reviews of The Astor Room that criticized the service, but I could not have been more impressed. Our wine glasses were never empty, an empty plate never sat on the table for more than two minutes, and on our way out the maitre’d asked if we needed umbrellas to battle the rain. We were never smothered, always taken care of. Loooove love love this place.