Wednesday, April 12, 2006

To This Cake I Say, "I Do"

sour cream coffee cake

I made a coffee cake yesterday and it came out pretty freaking good. So good in fact that I have been carrying it around with me for the last two days. I left a chunk of it at work; so now I have maybe one sizable serving left to carry around.

sour cream coffee cake

(I am currently writing in the new coffee shop near my house, and under the blaring big band music I can hear two women bitching about their lives in French, and it makes me happy. I miss traveling.) (Update: they are really getting into it; they have begun to bang the table with their plastic water cups. Excellent.)

sour cream coffee cake

I half and halfed this coffee cake: half whole wheat pastry flour (which I now keep in the freezer so it won't spoil so quickly) and half cake flour. Half pureed raw sugar and half bakers sugar.

sour cream coffee cake

This came out pretty well as you can't really discern a different texture; the cake is still tender and fine, moist and flavorful. There is a hint of something more substantial--the taste is a little bit heavier, only in that it tastes substantial. With all cake flour and white sugar the coffee cake can taste really sweet and almost like it is just fluff...if that makes sense. This cake isn't gritty or weighed down like a cake made with 100% whole wheat pastry flour can be. It just has...a hint of a little more earthiness, I guess. Pretty damn good.

sour cream coffee cake

You put a layer of thinly sliced apples in the middle along with some cinnamon/sugar/ground walnuts. It is fabulous.

sour cream coffee cake

I can't stress enough that this cake is so damn tasty yet it isn't killing me with sweetness. If I could marry a cake, this might be The One.

sour cream coffee cake

April 11, 2006
Occasion: Potluck meeting with the doulas (lucky doulas!)
Name of cake: Sour Cream Coffee Cake
Constituents: Sour cream coffee cake; a layer of thinly sliced apples and stuff in the middle

sour cream coffee cake

Friday, April 07, 2006

A Picture Post For You

I have to say that lately the Fred Meyer has been sucking in the baking ingredients department. My new favorite grocery store, aside from the New Seasons, is the QFC. I almost like them a little more, only because they are open 24 hours. I love a 24 hour grocery store; it can save my baking reputation when I am baking in the middle of the night (which happens often). The QFC saves my butt and even better, they have exactly what I need when I run out of bittersweet chocolate, organic sour cream, cake flour, or cane sugar. Hooray!

cupcakes batches 1 and 2

April 6, 2006
Occasion: schmoozin with the doulas
Name of (cup)cake: chocolate cupcakes with frozen frostings
Constituents: chocolate butter cupcakes with defrosted vanilla buttercream, or chai chocolate buttercream, or chestnut cloud cream

Told in picture book form for the illiterate.

always date your baking powder
first off, a public service announcement. you gotta date your baking powder. not only will he pay for all the fancy dinners, but he rises to any occasion, if you know what i mean. but careful, he expires pretty quickly.

time to get my bake on
time to get my bake on. wow. i did some shameless product placement in this photo.

experimenting with sugar
i'm trying to find an alternative to white sugar. RLB uses milled cane sugar; this is pretty close enough, i think.

whirl, my friend
however, the grains are GIGANTIC. gotta process them down into a very fine grained sugar. better for baking. using the food processor.

raw sugar: before and after
the food processor sucked ass. i found my roommate's coffee grinder and it worked almost TOO well--the white bowl is the ground sugar and it is almost powdered. hoo-wee!

defrosting the butter
defrosting the butter. i always keep about 2 boxes of butter handy in the freezer. butter freezes beautifully, unlike some things...

just cocoa powder and water
this is just water and cocoa powder, but it looks yummmy, doesn't it?

(blah, blah, blah, you do some mixing, blah, blah, blah, you put the batter in the pan, you bake it, you take them out...)

chocolate cupcakes, batch 1
then you let the little suckers cool. do you see the little speckles? is that because not all the sugar was dissolved in the batter before baking? Should i have cake anxiety? of course.

chocolate cupcakes, batch 2
batch 2: made four hours later with cold, stiff, refrigerated batter. no speckles this time! what does this mean??

chocolate cupcake, batch one
the little stubby cupcake was ready for his vanilla frosting

frosted cupcakes
little stubby was joined by five of his friends...and an outsider: mr chai chocolate buttercream cupcake. mr chai chocolate buttercream cupcake was quickly rejected by stubby and his posse, mainly because mr chai chocolate buttercream cupcake's chai chocolate buttercream hat was badly put on. probably because the buttercream that made up his hat defrosted all thick and sticky and no one had an electric beater to whip it back into submission. mr chai chocolate buttercream cupcake disappeared shortly after this photo was taken.

curdled!  part one
so the chestnut whipped cream ("cloud cream") once defrosted, had curdled. note to self: whipping cream doesn't freeze beautifully.

i decided to gently reheat the chestnut cream and let the solids melt back into the liquids, which it did, really nicely. i stuck the whole thing in the refrigerator to cool the cream down and thicken it up, hopefully enough to still use to frost the cupcakes. so when i checked back later, the cream was thick but still runny. so i decided to try and whip it with a fork. and guess what happened?

curdled! again!
curdled again!>

reheated, again.

and scene
so i decided EVERYBODY is getting frosted in vanilla buttercream

the little stubby cupcakes were dense, moist, and tender. the buttercream kicked ass: creamy, bourbon, vanilla goodness.

nice contrast
the doulas loved them, i loved them--hooray for stubbycakes!

are your teeth hurting from all the sugar? then here, look at this:

and now for some color
VEGETABLES! you can stop going into insulin shock now.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Secrets Revealed!

its not that i'm naturally good at this baking thing. i just follow directions well.

click on photo to enlarge

Monday, April 03, 2006

Ode To The Samoa

Samoa Cupcakes by Chockylit. Yummy yum yum yum.

Yes, like the girl scout cookie. And you know how much I love those.
ode to the samoa

Saturday, April 01, 2006

In Which I Throw My Healthy Desires Out With The Bathwater (A Post For Joelf)

Yesterday I went on a little binge.

oh hell yeah
yeah there's 2 scoops of ice cream and some caramel sauce under that stuff

About three hours after that mess, I went out with The Jellos. We decided to go the The Gypsy. There seems to be about three different types of people who will patronize The Gypsy: the barely 21 year olds looking for a good time, the 30 to 40 somethings who want to believe they can still have a good time like they used to in their 20's, and the single 30 to 40 year old men looking for a good time with those barely 21 year olds.

I guess we'd fall into the middle category, even though I'm sure Cookie would heartily disagree. She'd say we were the only normal people in the building.

Of course, once you see what we ordered to drink, you'll see that we really did fit in with the 30 somethings looking to relive their glory days:

bowl o' goodness
this is just to get you ready...

Yes, we ordered a freaking fishbowl of alcohol, juice, and what-have-you.

pretending we're barely 21
its all downhill from here

After finishing off this tribute to Forever 21, Cookie and I ordered a round of individually-portioned drinks, like the big girls.

I don't know, maybe it was because she and I are turning 33 this year, maybe because the dreary winters have gotten to us, maybe because we are still secretly the lushes we were in undergrad, who knows. But it was fun. And no one threw up, or had a hysterical fit, or lost their wallet, clothes, or dignity. So, all in all, not so bad.

And if you don't count my stuffy nose and itchy eyes, I feel fine today!