Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Pumpkin Coffee Cake Muffins

I know this is a little late to the pumpkin party. But it’s okay. Because you love pumpkin.
Just like I love coffee cake. Oh, yeah.

I love anything with streusel topping and cinnamon. Streusel makes everything better. 

These lovely muffins are going to be great for all those Black Friday midnight shoppers! Pumpkin is high in fiber, potassium rich, and an excellent source of vitamins. So these little babies will get you moving and keep you going! 

And now on to the recipe!

I kinda blog-stalk a lot of people. It’s a sort of addiction. I get an idea for a new cake and Google. I also tend to base my clicking on Google Images. (You eat with your eyes first!) I got this recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction. Sally has been part of the food blog scene for a while. I’m sure if you have ever tried to research a new recipe, you have come across her gorgeous photos and recipes.

I modified her recipe a bit based on what I had available. I used light brown sugar and substituted molasses for the maple syrup. (It’s way too expensive to buy real maple around here.) I also ignored the glaze on the recipe and made my own.

I always have frosting in my freezer. I have yet to master the correct yield for a batch of cupcakes and frosting. I keep adding to my stash because they make great quick fillings for macarons. I pulled out about a cup of cream cheese frosting, added a bit of half and half to thin it and a teaspoon of cinnamon.

These are actually egg-less and super easy to translate into a vegan muffin by using dairy free milk and margarine in the streusel.

See? I can make healthy eats too. Just don’t eat half a dozen. Like I can.

Happy Pumpkin-ing!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Chocolate Toffee Crunch Cake

I wanted to bake today. I know I’ve been slacking on the whole bake-n-blog scene. I needed to try something new (but I didn’t want to go to the store for any ingredients).

My pantry isn’t super stocked at this time. I have the basics and cocoa. So chocolate cake it is.

But of course I don’t want just plain chocolate cake… I wanted toffee chocolate cake.

So this cake is mostly an oops. I was hoping for it to turn out more like an upside down cake with the gooey caramel top once it was flipped.

As you can see, it didn’t really turn out that way.

However, this cake was way too tasty to waste. Those little crunchy bits of toffee on top are better than Heath bar pieces.

This cake is delicious when served with some ice cream or (if you’re lucky) crème anglaise

And for the cheap (or lazy) fans, if you really want to try it with crème anglaise but don’t want work for it, melt some ice cream. I’m told it’s not an exact replacement, but it works for me.

You definitely need to make this. On my next attempt I might mix some honey or corn syrup with the caramel. I know the juices that are in the fruit on an upside down cake have to play some role on the actual caramel. I imagine that using some sort of liquid sugar with the brown sugar will help keep the sugar from crystallizing so much.

Chocolate Toffee Crunch Cake

(recipe loosely based on Martha Stewart cake)

1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 cup cold water
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In an 8 in baking pan (square or round), combine melted butter and brown sugar. Spread evenly on bottom of pan and set aside.
3. In medium mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients with a whisk. Add all wet ingredients at once and combine.
4. Carefully pour over the brown sugar mixture and spread evenly.
5. Bake 30-35 minutes or until done. Remove from heat and allow to cool in pan 8-10 minutes.
6. Invert onto cake plate, but leave the pan on the cake until it releases.
7. Remove pan and panic (or cry if that’s your thing). Pause. Try to come up with a plan. Grab a spoon or firm plastic pastry scraper and use it to scrape all the great gooey cake and crispy toffee bits onto the top of your cake.
8. Cut into 9 pieces and serve warm or at room temperature.

I always have a fan club. Sometimes it’s my friends and taste-testers. Sometimes it’s the strange people I call family. Most of the time, it’s just one of the kids…

Best Oops Cake Ever,


Monday, August 19, 2013

Funfetti Revisted

Occasionally in your life, you come to the realization that work sucks. 

Not just the usual “I hate my job” sucks, but the deep down, this-job-is-stealing-my-soul-and-feeding-it-to-the-bears sucks. My Zoo career was getting there (kind of literally since I made bear food…), but I got out before too much damage was done.

I cared too much. I had too much pride in my job, in my product, that I couldn’t separate my expectations of myself from what I expected of others. My inability to deal was causing major problems between our crew and within myself.

Luckily, I had some great co-workers at the Zoo (hello MR!). One co-worker gave me some great advice back in the day. She probably only prolonged my inevitable Zoo career downfall, but at the time, her advice saved my sanity.

When I found out she was also saying good bye to the Zoo, I knew I needed to make her something. (I don’t care what you say—food always makes the perfect gift!)

I resorted to another adage a friend of mine once gave me:

“When in doubt, Add SPRINKLES!”

I know... I’ve made Funfetti cupcakes before. But I’ve not made these cupcakes:

My go-to vanilla cake with a cup of rainbow jimmies baked right in. Covered with vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream and every sprinkle I had in the house, these little treats satisfy every craving. 

And yes, I have a sprinkle addiction. And no, it’s not my fault. I just really like to have some sprinkle options available anytime I bake. 

And it’s really not my fault that I only use the pink sprinkles at Valentine's or that sometimes sprinkles come in humongous jars. I like variety.

And sprinkles.

 Trust me. Everything’s better with sprinkles.
Oh, and that excellent advice I received… I still use it today. ;-)