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He Who Shall Not Be Named Ruins A Day That I Don’t Feel Like Talking About (I Made Cake)

6 Oct

But not birthday cake. Apparently that would be sad. And I am not one to be sad

This isn’t sad. Neither is this. Nope.

Nope. 

Yeah, so… it’s early October, which can only mean two things: the Fall TV season has started, and my birthday is nigh (as in, today. bleh). And that first thing also apparently means another thing. Ugh:

THE HELL? Who let you back in to ruin my life? I knew it. I felt it. The air was heavy with the scent of apples and terror; there was to be some (*shudder*) Stamos in my doomed future. Just the name, the name alone is upsetting. Jimmy is now well-trained enough to change the channel as soon as he hears either “John Sta-” (changed) or “Uncle Je”-(switched). But seriously, things have been lame lately. I, like many humans, have a tendency to want to cry uncontrollably around my birthday and I sort of don’t know why. It’s not really so much because I feel old– as I drunkenly found out last Saturday night, I can still climb a chain-link fence like a boss (though I also went to bed around 9:30 that night. “Bed” being the F train, but still, I would have been out cold if I had not been roused at my actual stop by my trusted companion). It’s more because I find the passage of time and all that comes with it to be almost too much to handle. So much is different this year, so much that I always thought would be the same– people I thought I’d know forever that I had to let go of, ideas about myself that I’ve had to change, velvet scrunchies becoming popular again. These things can do irreversible damage to one’s psyche. Permission to sleep this year off and come back for the little 3-0? Granted? Yes?

While you ponder, let’s talk about cake. Or, more accurately, Things That Are Greater Than Or Equal To Cake But Are Shaped Like Cake. Guys I didn’t know what to call this monstrosity. WTF Cake seemed like it was probably taken, I’m So So Sad Cake seems too on-the-nose, and Chocolate Chip Cookie/Peanut Butter Cheesecake/Dark Chocolate Brownie Cake with Peanut Butter Ganache seemed… lengthy. So bear with the title.

Not Birthday Cake, Because Apparently Baking Your Own Is Sad

For the Chocolate Chip Cookie layer

1 cup of all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon of salt

1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder

1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup of butter (I recommend browning it first: set in a saucepan over medium heat, allow to melt and then brown until you start to see little buttery bits and it smells nutty)

1 cup of brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon of vanilla

1/2 cup of chocolate chips or chunks

Coarse sea salt for sprinkling, optional

For the Peanut Butter Cheesecake layer

1 8oz package of cream cheese, softened

3/4 cup of confectioner’s sugar

1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons of creamy peanut butter

6 tablespoons of half-and-half

3 to 4 mini peanut butter cups, chopped (yeaaahhhh)

For the Brownie Layer (adapted from Smitten Kitchen, also first post on this blog!)

3/4 cup of cocoa powder

1 cup of white sugar

10 tablespoons of butter, softened 

1/4 teaspoon of salt

2 eggs

1/2 cup of flour

Yeah. This is a lot. Shibow never said this would be easy, just that it would be worth it, and NOT SAD AT ALL. Let’s WORK. 

For the cookie layer, preheat oven to 350°F and generously butter an 8×8 round cake pan. Combine all ingredients except coarse salt until batter forms. Gently fold in chocolate chips until distributed evenly. Spread batter in pan, evening out the top with a rubber spatula, then bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top is set and the sides have browned. Sprinkle sea salt on top if using, then let cool in pan for 10 minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool completely. 

GIANT. COOKIE. 

GIANT. COOKIE. 

Let’s work on our brownie layer next, since the oven is already on and we’re the kind of people who want our cake, want it now, and are slightly, disturbingly obsessive about the goals we make when the goals we make are cake-related. Preheat the oven to 325°F this time, and wash out that large bowl you used for the cookie layer, because you’re gonna need it again (fancy rich folks, sure, use another large bowl, whatever, not even bitter at all about it, kudos for making all those good life choices). Cover the bottom and sides of an 8×8 round cake pan with foil. Combine cocoa powder, butter, sugar and salt in bowl and sift together until lightly mixed. Heat in microwave for up to a couple of minutes, stopping every 30 seconds to stir everything together (alternatively, you can set this over a simmering pot of water as long as you’re not accident prone, which is to say, as long as you’re not me). You can stop when it’s warm but not hot and appears grainy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, with a wooden spoon, until mixture takes on a nice sheen. Stir in flour and beat vigorously until you’ve got yourself a gorgeous batter. Send into the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until the top is set and a cake tester comes out with just a few delectable crumbs on it (that you will not immediately lick, for you have manners and know the dangers of Licking Hot Things. It’s late guys. I’m well aware of how accidentally dirty this whole post is, and IDC). Let cool completely before removing from foil and pan.

If you’re not totally done with me yet, let’s work on our cheesecake middle (also what I call my torso, waka-waka?). Beat cream cheese with electric mixer on high until fluffy, then gradually add in sugar until combined. Mix in peanut butter, then slowly add in half-and-half until the mixture is creamy and totally smooth. Gently fold in chopped peanut butter cups and spread into a generously buttered, foil-lined 8×8 cake pan (yes, of course I recommend using the same pan over again thrice. Not the same foil though. We’re not animals). Freeze until completely solid, at least an hour. Remove and sandwich between your giant cookie and giant brownie. Refrigerate while making your ganache. 

Just some previews. idk. The paper towel? I knew this was going to be messy and I wanted napkins nearby, but I figured it would just make sense to have them under the cake, so I could just rip some paper towels off the actual cake to save time. I'm joking. No I'm not. I am. (I'm not)

Just some previews. idk. The paper towel? I knew this was going to be messy and I wanted napkins nearby, but I figured it would just make sense to have them under the cake, so I could just rip some paper towels off the actual cake to save time. I’m joking. No I’m not. I am. (I’m not)

Peanut Butter Ganache

2/3 cup of heavy cream

6 ounces of dark chocolate, chopped

2 tablespoons of smooth peanut butter

Set chocolate aside in a heatproof bowl. Heat heavy cream in a small saucepan until simmering but not boiling. Pour cream over chocolate and let sit for one minute before stirring. Continue to stir until chocolate has melted and mixture is shiny. Stir in peanut butter until melted, then immediately pour this glorious nectar over your cake, letting it spill over the sides like the beautiful disaster it is. Refrigerate until ganache has set.

Top with more peanut butter cups if you like (you like). 

Top with more peanut butter cups if you like (you like). 

IT'S SO SHINY

IT’S SO SHINY

Uhhhh…. I know. I’m crazy. This is madness. It’s pure madness. But I needed it, dammit. I needed that glorious, messy, indulgent, unbelievably unhealthy madness.

Pretty much my view for the past couple days, because I love this cake and I am a shut-in.

Pretty much my view for the past couple days, because I love this cake and I am a shut-in.

Oh and other people had this cake and were able to confirm that it was completely not sad but, instead, positively OMG. 

So? Well. Currently I am sippin’ on some serious Courvosier, eating some Not Birthday (and Not Sad) Cake, and listening to Biggie, throwing my hands in the air, because I’mz a true player. Only two of those things are true, and it’s the thing about eating cake and listening to Biggie, because BIGGIE, and also because I have often spoken about how broke I am due to circumstance, the economy and some Star Wars-related purchases I recently made. I guess there are worse ways to spend one’s… regular old Tuesday. Baby. BABAYYYYY.   

 

“You’d Pass For 18 If You Didn’t Have Such Sad Eyes” (Let’s Take That In With Some Goat Cheese Cake)

11 Jun
doublerainbow

IT’S A DOUBLE RAINBOW!! Captured in Colorado, where marijuana is legal. I can only imagine how many weed-addled brains exploded at the sight of this.

The quoted line in today’s title is probably the truest statement that has ever been spoken about me. If I ever become super famous (LOLOLOL) and decide to punish the world with my memoirs, that will be the title. Unless I’m like 100 by then, in which case it will probably not make sense. Unless I look amazing for 100, which is entirely possible since I’ve seen Interstellar and could totally become an astronaut that stays crazy young by living in a bookcase (to answer your question, indeed I did fall asleep several times during this film).

This has been a trying time for ol’ Shibow. I did finally manage to stop my big brown baby whining and go on an actual vacation, to a couple of cities in Colorado and to Austin, Texas. Both destinations were as hot as I imagine Hell will be (notice I say will since I’m banking on it as a final destination), which I guess led me to believe that I would be able to sweat out my depression in the sauna that is a good chunk of this country. This combined with eating my feelings in breakfast tacos and barbecue seemed like a good plan for the week I was there, and proved successful until my extremely tanned feet landed back on New York soil asphalt. And then I just wanted to do an about-face and hop on another plane away from my troubles. Are there any travel-related companies that need an anxious Indian woman with decent writing skills and a tendency to cry at the drop of a hat for…anything? I also make a pretty mean cheesecake. Eh? EASY SELL if you ask me!

Yeah… let’s just talk more about that cheesecake. The grammarian in me was unsure of whether this should be called a “goat cheesecake,” (makes one think of a goat-flavored dessert, or a goat-shaped one, no?) a “goat cheese cheesecake” (redundant) or a “goat cheese cake” (looks very weird, but…whatevs). I decided to go with the latter because, as I said, WHATEVS. It’s a cheesecake made with goat cheese, homies.

Goat Cheese Cake (makes one 9-inch round cake)

(adapted from Bon Apetit)

butter for greasing pan

3/4 cup of sugar, plus more for sprinkling in pan

12 ounces of softened goat cheese

1 teaspoon of lemon zest

1 teaspoon of lemon juice

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

6 large eggs, separated

3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour

raspberries or berry of choice, for garnish

 

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Preheat your oven to 350ºF, and butter/sugar a 9-inch springform pan. In a large bowl, beat sugar, goat cheese, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla with an electric mixer on medium until the mixture is smooth, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add in egg yolks, two at a time, scraping the bowl down with a rubber spatula frequently.  With mixer on low speed, add in flour just until blended.

In a separate, clean medium-sized bowl, beat egg whites on high speed until peaks form, about 2 to 3 minutes. Note that everything you are using must be absolutely clean and dry in order for egg whites to whip properly, as they’re very temperamental (you also need to make sure the room you’re working in never gets too hot).

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Gently fold 1/4 of the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture just until blended, then fold the rest of the whites in. Do not overmix.

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Pour batter into pan and tap pan against counter to get rid of any air bubbles. Bake until the middle jiggles a bit but the sides of the cake are set. Let cool completely in pan.

Once cooled, run a knife around the sides of the pan and release cake from springform pan. Decorate with berries as you wish.

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Full disclosure: this cake was made for Mother’s Day, a month ago (my bad…), because mama loves cheesecake but also loves being healthy, and while I wouldn’t exactly call this vitamin cake, it’s considerably lighter than the regular stuff.

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So, does “considerably lighter” mean “considerably grosser?” Absolutely NOT. I honestly thought I would miss the crust, but then I realized what a pain in the ass it can be to make cheesecake crusts sometimes. Also, no one who ate this cake even noticed it was crustless. It had the creamy, tangy taste of regular cheesecake but wasn’t nearly as heavy, meaning everyone felt comfortable going for second (um, third in some cases) slices. Take it from your sad-eyed Aunty Shibow, folks: this is the perfect summer cheesecake.

This Blog Celebrates A Birthday…And So Does The Man Who Dislikes It!

3 Apr

This blog is FOUR guys! That means we’re [probably] potty trained and [probably] tying our own shoelaces, unless you were one of those cool kids with velcro straps on your TMNT kicks. Whatever. Not jelly. Anyway, thank you all, as always, for keeping this blog, and me, going. Your support is everything.

Ok. Let’s talk about Easter desserts. Specifically, let’s talk about macabre Easter desserts.

Whilst searching the ‘nets for some inspiration, I came across a few pretty dark-sounding sweets. Let’s list them, yes?

1. Empty Tombs. Which, as I remarked to a friend of mine the other day, is probably a step up from “Tombs Filled With Sleeping Jesuses,” but is still not something I could see myself enjoying.

2. Chocolate Crosses. Again, not totally sold on the whole “eat a symbol of suffering while feeling really good about the sugar you’re imbibing” thing. I dunno.

3. Judas Cookies. To be fair, my friend Jeremy had the idea for Judas Cookies, which I suggested should be topped with chocolate Judas kisses, and then we had to stop before all the Catholics we both know (and some we don’t) came after us with Super Soakers full of holy water. (There’s mad blasphemy all up in that sentence, isn’t there?) My mother alone could form a very, very formidable army of such soldiers.

4. Bonkers Easter Cake. WHO WOULD COMMIT SUCH AN ATROCITY?!

So, I decided to go for something a little bit more classic. Ok, fine, full disclosure: this post is going up a couple of days before Easter, so y’all know I didn’t really make this for Easter. This was actually a birthday cake for my dad, who normally hates, in no particular order: cakes, blogs, things that are made from scratch, things that are made from scratch and then blogged about, cakes that are blogged about, and his child blogging about cakes she made from scratch.

He will very likely end me if he finds out this picture is on the internet, but seriously people: check out that swagger. Dude is holding an infant and cutting a cake like it's NBD. I'd have trouble doing one of those things with total confidence.

Dad will very likely end me if he finds out this picture is on the internet, but seriously people: check out that swagger. Dude is holding an infant and cutting a cake like it’s NBD. I’d have trouble doing one of those things with total confidence.

A lot of people have asked me how it feels to have my dad not like my blog. Those same lot of people are always shocked to hear me say that I think it’s HILARIOUS. He’s such a grump over the most random issues (see: cake-making, also the clothing choices of complete strangers and when people lose on Wheel of Fortune) that it starts to get very amusing after a while. He’s also my dad, the guy who– no questions asked– came over to my apartment a few years ago when I was living alone in order to kill a giant waterbug for me– which I originally claimed was a bat, it was that large– because I was too scared and squeamish to do so myself. He’s the guy who drove over to my apartment last week to pick up my boyfriend and me after our apartment became uninhabitable for a few days (remember that awful varnish smell I mentioned?), and then left us with to-go breakfast sandwiches when it was time for us to head home. He’s the guy who happily secured tickets for five brown people who inexplicably wanted to see Tom Jones in concert in Atlantic City in the mid-1990s, and I am still weirdly proud that it was the first live show I’d ever attended. So, despite the fact that you may very well never read this, I thank you Papa K, for making life funnier, more stressful/less stressful, and safer from disgusting insects/life’s other random villains.

Still, like I said, the man does not normally enjoy cake. BUT! There is an exception, friends, and it is an exception so simple and yet so profound, that even I in my all-powerful wisdom (LOL) could never have guessed it: carrot cake. Regular old carrot cake. Well. Not so regular, and not old at all, but it is more classic than the one I’ve made before. Let’s do this.

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Very lightly adapted from The Betty Crocker Cookbook

Carrot cake (makes one 9-inch round two layer cake)

For the cake

1 cup of brown sugar

1 stick of butter, browned (melt until butter darkens, brown bits begin to form in the butter and it takes on a nutty smell)

1/4 cup of vegetable oil

3 eggs

2 cups of all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons of cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon of salt–unless butter is salted, then omit

1 teaspoon of baking soda

1 teaspoon of baking powder

1 teaspoon of vanilla

1 cup of raisins

1 cup of pineapple puree, or one cup of pineapple chunks in juice

4 cups of shredded carrots (about 4-5 medium)

For the frosting

8-ounce package of cream cheese, softened

3 tablespoons of butter, softened

2 teaspoons of milk

1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar

1 teaspoon of vanilla

To start, preheat your oven to 350ºF. Generously butter and flour two 9-inch round cake pans and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat together butter, oil and sugar on medium speed until fully blended. Add in eggs, one at a time, until completely mixed. In a separate smaller bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon, salt (if using), baking powder and baking soda, then add in vanilla.

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Gradually add flour mixture to wet mixture, with mixer on low to medium speed, until batter is fully mixed. Fold in raisins first, then pineapple, then carrots, until evenly distributed throughout batter.

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Divide batter between pans and bake for 30 to 35 mins, until a cake tester inserted into the middle of cake comes out clean. Allow cakes to cool in pans for 10 minutes before inverting onto cooling rack to cool completely, about 1 hour.

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To make frosting, beat cream cheese and butter together with a mixer on high speed until blended. Add in milk, a little at a time, then gradually beat in sugar and vanilla until mixed. Note that this recipe will produce a cream cheese frosting that is on the tangier side, because no one in my family likes it to be terribly sweet. If you prefer yours on the sweeter side, add in about 1-2 more cups, a little at a time, tasting as you go until you reach your preferred level of sugar shock. Frost the top of one cake round, then top with second cake round and frost. Decorate how you wish and serve.

Sort of an inside joke-y cake topping, but I went for a vaguely Indian color scheme. Also was pressed for time :(

Sort of an inside joke-y cake topping, but I went for a vaguely Indian color scheme. Also was pressed for time 😦

Thoughts? I’m weirdly surprised at how well this went over with everyone. My dad being my dad, he did question why I’d spend the time baking something that seemed complicated to him from scratch…until he tasted it. In fact, everyone was really happy with the cake, from the tangy frosting to the rich, not-too-sweet actual cake. I was pretty damned shocked to hear that my parents, who aren’t really big sugar fiends (yes, I know, I also suspect I was adopted) polished off the rest of this cake a couple of days after dad’s birthday. You never cease to surprise me, Pops.

My Cup Runneth Over With Molten Cake Stuff, My Phone Runneth Over With Pure Nonsense

9 Mar

I am a special case of something special sometimes. Normally I’m on here either complaining about the weather or putting hexes on Stamos, but today I thought I’d do something a little differently, a bit more masochistic, and basically embarrass myself for your amusement and/or case study. Behold.

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The above is a snapshot of a text I sent the other day to my boyfriend, who decided to make plans to be out the ONE NIGHT I FIND A DAMNED RAT IN THE APARTMENT. Superhero that I am, I promptly screamed, grabbed a bag of Oreos, and holed up in the bedroom. Before you ask, no, I did not desperately grab the Oreos as a means of sustenance because there was nothing else in sight. I had a choice between Oreos and a bag of grapes and I made the obvious decision to stress-eat delicious sandwich cookies whilst texting out rat emojis like a madwoman. I fully own all of this.

Those of you with souls might be wondering what happened to the rodent. Well… WHO CARES YOU GUYS?! Ok, fine, it’s gone. Jimmy insists it was probably so terrified of the giant brown baby scampering away from it that it ran BACK into the hole in the radiator. BACK?! HOLE?! He said this as if it were the most common occurrence ever. “Oh, yeah, sometimes baby mice (yes, fine, it was just a baby mouse, BUT STILL WTF MOUSE GUYS) live in the heating vents. He probably went back into his little home once he realized that I’m a neat freak and you eat everything in sight, so no crumbs for the little guy.” Home?! Little guy?! What is this magnanimous nonsense? Why is he talking as if this were the most normal thing in the world? Is it? Fellow city dwellers, do ya’ll just have a band of merry mice parading through your radiators, eventually popping out in the hopes that you don’t use plates when you eat things? Be on alert, guys. This could get real.

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This second series is from a couple of mornings ago, when I was stuck on a stalled F train for half an hour and had basically completely cracked. Note the two-word response from my poor, perpetually concerned boyfriend. I know I wrote like three paragraphs about the rat thing and can only share a couple of sentences on this but, a. that’s basically as much as I am willing to talk about with this text bonanza, because I am still sort of silently crying to myself because some variation of this happens every.damned.day. on my commute and, b. this is all already enough for your dissertation. Get that degree, homie. Go forth and prosper.

So, texts like those are pretty common for Jimmy. In the beginning of our relationship, he frantically answered almost every one pretty quickly, but now he knows to just allow me some private time to cry to power ballads and self-medicate with chocolate. Also, while I was typing that paragraph, he decided, on a whim, to run downstairs to check on an elderly woman who lives directly below us, since our building has been doing renovations in some black hole none of us can find, and said renovations involve noxious fumes. He did not know this woman previous to this visit, he was just concerned about a complete stranger. That complete stranger could have been a serial killer, or an MTA Fat Cat! What a guy. A guy like that? A guy like that deserves cake. His own personal cake.

Molten Dulce de Leche Cake (makes two individual cakes)

(adapted from Bon Appetit)

4 teaspoons of all purpose flour

1/2 cup of dulce de leche, store-bought or homemade (see below for one recipe)

1 egg, beaten

1 egg yolk

For dulce de leche, preheat your oven to 425ºF, and pour one 14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk into a small baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil and place dish in a larger dish. Fill the larger dish with water until water comes halfway up the sides of the smaller dish. Place in oven and cook for one hour, or until the milk is a deep brown color. Remove from the oven, whisk lightly, and then allow to cool slightly. Transfer to a heatproof jar or container and cover tightly. Refrigerate if not using immediately. This recipe will make one cup.

Highly recommend using any leftover dulce de leche on ice cream, in sandwiches, or on any utensil you can reach. Don't judge.

Highly recommend using any leftover dulce de leche on ice cream, in sandwiches, or on any utensil you can reach. Don’t judge.

For your cakes preheat oven to 425ºF and generously butter and flour two 4-ounce ramekins and set aside on a rimmed baking sheet. Using a mixer on medium speed, beat egg and egg yolk together until doubled in volume and the eggs begin to ribbon. Add in dulce de leche until completely blended, then add in flour one teaspoon at a time.

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Divide mixture between ramekins.

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Place ramekins on baking sheet in the oven and bake for 12 to 14 minutes, until cakes have risen and are golden brown. You can either run a knife around the edges of the ramekins and invert onto plates, or simply serve them in their ramekins (which is what I did), but definitely serve them warm.

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You’ll notice that the cakes are accompanied by a glorious-looking milkshake. I would provide the recipe, but it’s basically equal parts vanilla ice cream, milk and bourbon. Yes, I said equal parts. No, I don’t remember much of the rest of the night.

SONY DSCSo, um, yeah. Yeah. YES. YES these were absolutely perfect. They were better than I ever could have hoped they would be. Absolute perfection straight from the oven. Make these for anyone who tolerates your complicated, panicky, strange self with nothing but love, and make them immediately.

Sorry For My Face. It’s Just My Face. Here’s Some Cake. There’s Booze In It.

24 Nov

So it has come to my attention that I have a condition that needs addressing. No, it’s not my asthma, which I’ve had and unfortunately known about since I’ve been able to retain memory, though that’s decided to rear its ugly, suffocating head this weekend as well. It’s an affliction that seems to be incurable, unless I suddenly come into a significant sum of money and develop a desire to make nice with a cosmetic surgeon.
I have Bitchy Resting Face.

Ok, I’m messing with you guys. I totally knew I had BRF. I’m not a complete moron! It has, however, come up more frequently in recent days, which either means that a. I’ve gotten bitchier-looking as I’ve aged, or b. more people have been talking to me and have felt comfortable telling me I’m scary, which is probably impossible if I’m that scary, so it’s probably a. My bad, guys. I’m trying out a new eyeliner?

How I've been nursing the pain

How I’ve been nursing the pain

The brave few in life who have dared approach me fall into the category of My Boyfriend (there’s, uh, one person in that group) and Nice People Who Have Told Me My I Dropped My Cell Phone (there are a LOT of people in this group. The most recent is a dude who informed me of the dropped device, handed it back to me, proceeded to start a conversation with me, then proceeded to promptly end that conversation once he saw what he was dealing with. And I smiled, too!). Sometimes, I even try to make pleasant conversation with other people, and it fails. Yesterday I attempted to joke around with the nurse who was treating me (for the asthma, not my face, though that’s probably kind of an untapped market, no?) and she just… left? Then, whilst picking up my prednisone at Duane Reade, I decided to load up on Halloween Kit-Kats that were still on clearance (32 cents each!) and tried to be all self-deprecating with the pharmacist, who was NOT having it. I mean, you’re not really supposed to mix chocolate and asthma– why did you bestow this illness upon me, Baby Jesus?!– so maybe she was just being judgmental, but still. It’s totally my face.

How do you all deal with these problems, dear readers? It’s very difficult to make friends as an adult, that is a fact. It’s even harder when you’re workin’ with what I’m workin’ with. I’ve decided to try and push through it the healthiest way I know how: drowning my sorrows in booze. And booze-soaked cake. Also it’s almost Thanksgiving, and you all know I like this holiday a little bit, so we’re recipe testing. Also booze. For the soul. Maple Bourbon Banana Pudding Cake, anyone? Try saying THAT while you’re buzzed, amirite?*

Maple Bourbon Banana Pudding Cake 

adapted from Food & Wine

6 tablespoons of unsalted butter

1/4 cup of brown sugar

1 overripe mashed banana

1 large egg

1 cup of milk, room temperature

1 cup of all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon of baking powder

Big pinch of salt

3/4 cup of pure maple syrup

1/4 cup of brown sugar

3 tablespoons of bourbon

1/4 cup chopped pecans, optional

1/4 cup of chocolate chips, optional

Ice cream, for serving, optional, highly recommended though

Preheat your oven to 375ºF.  In the microwave, melt butter in a deep 2-quart baking dish. Stir in sugar and banana until combined, then whisk in egg and milk. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt, then stir into baking dish until everything is mixed fully.

This is a dangerous mixture, btw. You'll be curious and will want to sip from this. Do not. It is the drink of the Devil.

This is a dangerous mixture, btw. You’ll be curious and will want to sip from this. Do not. It is the drink of the Devil.

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In a microwave-safe cup or in a saucepan (you can do this in the microwave, high power for one minute, or on a stovetop, medium heat until hot), heat maple syrup, 1/4 cup of brown sugar and 1/2 cup of hot water. Add in bourbon, then drizzle over the batter (it will seep to the bottom, and it will be glorious, just you wait). Don’t stir it.  Scatter pecans and chocolate chips on top, if using.

Set the dish on a baking sheet, then bake for at least 40 minutes (mine took closer to 50), until the top is golden. Let it cool for 5 minutes, then serve with ice cream if desired.

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So, my feelings? Um, they’re mostly feelings of drunken happiness. More happiness than drunkenness, but there’s a significant amount of the latter in there, I think because I was sipping bourbon while this was baking. Why, I cannot tell you. Inspiration? Maybe I thought it would go well with asthma meds? That’s totally safe, right?

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I mean, it may not look like much, but this thing packs a punch. It’s basically a cake-y top with a lovely, syrupy, lightly-bourbon-kissed pudding nestled underneath. If you’re trying to stretch your stomach in time for Turkey Day (um, I am) while inspiring your taste buds with fall favorites, this is the pudding cake for you. Oh, also, be over 21. There. A recipe AND a PSA. You’re welcome, America!

*Ya’ll know I’m kidding right? That’s super unhealthy. Pick up a journal, have some tea and have a good cry. Then call me in the morning. It’s better on the phone, you won’t have my bitchface to look at. Oh also I’m a little tipsy from, uh, recipe testing. 

Sorry For My Face. It’s Just My Face. Here’s Some Cake. There’s Booze In It.

24 Nov

So it has come to my attention that I have a condition that needs addressing. No, it’s not my asthma, which I’ve had and unfortunately known about since I’ve been able to retain memory, though that’s decided to rear its ugly, suffocating head this weekend as well. It’s an affliction that seems to be incurable, unless I suddenly come into a significant sum of money and develop a desire to make nice with a cosmetic surgeon.

I have Bitchy Resting Face.

Ok, I’m messing with you guys. I totally knew I had BRF. I’m not a complete moron! It has, however, come up more frequently in recent days, which either means that a. I’ve gotten bitchier-looking as I’ve aged, or b. more people have been talking to me and have felt comfortable telling me I’m scary, which is probably impossible if I’m that scary, so it’s probably a. My bad, guys. I’m trying out a new eyeliner?

How I've been nursing the pain

How I’ve been nursing the pain. Oh, also, it’s in the cake. Yeah. #relevance

The brave few in life who have dared approach me fall into the category of My Boyfriend (there’s, uh, one person in that group) and Nice People Who Have Told Me My I Dropped My Cell Phone (there are a LOT of people in this group. The most recent is a dude who informed me of the dropped device, handed it back to me, proceeded to start a conversation with me, then proceeded to promptly end that conversation once he saw what he was dealing with. And I smiled, too!). Sometimes, I even try to make pleasant conversation with other people, and it fails. Yesterday I attempted to joke around with the nurse who was treating me (for the asthma, not my face, though that’s probably kind of an untapped market, no?) and she just… left? Then, whilst picking up my prednisone at Duane Reade, I decided to load up on Halloween Kit-Kats that were still on clearance (32 cents each!) and tried to be all self-deprecating with the pharmacist, who was NOT having it. I mean, you’re not really supposed to mix chocolate and asthma– why did you bestow this illness upon me, Baby Jesus?!– so maybe she was just being judgmental, but still. It’s totally my face.

How do you all deal with these problems, dear readers? It’s very difficult to make friends as an adult, that is a fact. It’s even harder when you’re workin’ with what I’m workin’ with. I’ve decided to try and push through it the healthiest way I know how: drowning my sorrows in booze. And booze-soaked cake. Also it’s almost Thanksgiving, and you all know I like this holiday a little bit, so we’re recipe testing. Also booze. For the soul. Maple Bourbon Banana Pudding Cake, anyone? Try saying THAT while you’re buzzed, amirite?*

Maple Bourbon Banana Pudding Cake 

adapted from Food & Wine

6 tablespoons of unsalted butter

1/4 cup of brown sugar

1 overripe mashed banana

1 large egg

1 cup of milk, room temperature

1 cup of all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon of baking powder

Big pinch of salt

3/4 cup of pure maple syrup

1/4 cup of brown sugar

3 tablespoons of bourbon

1/4 cup chopped pecans, optional

1/4 cup of chocolate chips, optional

Ice cream, for serving, optional, highly recommended though

Preheat your oven to 375ºF.  In the microwave, melt butter in a deep 2-quart baking dish. Stir in sugar and banana until combined, then whisk in egg and milk. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt, then stir into baking dish until everything is mixed fully.

This is a dangerous mixture, btw. You'll be curious and will want to sip from this. Do not. It is the drink of the Devil.

This is a dangerous mixture, btw. You’ll be curious and will want to sip from this. Do not. It is the drink of the Devil.

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In a microwave-safe cup or in a saucepan (you can do this in the microwave, high power for one minute, or on a stovetop, medium heat until hot), heat maple syrup, 1/4 cup of brown sugar and 1/2 cup of hot water. Add in bourbon, then drizzle over the batter (it will seep to the bottom, and it will be glorious, just you wait). Don’t stir it.  Scatter pecans and chocolate chips on top, if using.

Set the dish on a baking sheet, then bake for at least 40 minutes (mine took closer to 50), until the top is golden. Let it cool for 5 minutes, then serve with ice cream if desired.

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So, my feelings? Um, they’re mostly feelings of drunken happiness. More happiness than drunkenness, but there’s a significant amount of the latter in there, I think because I was sipping bourbon while this was baking. Why, I cannot tell you. Inspiration? Maybe I thought it would go well with asthma meds? That’s totally safe, right?

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I mean, it may not look like much, but this thing packs a punch. It’s basically a cake-y top with a lovely, syrupy, lightly-bourbon-kissed pudding nestled underneath. If you’re trying to stretch your stomach in time for Turkey Day (um, I am) while inspiring your taste buds with fall favorites, this is the pudding cake for you. Oh, also, be over 21. There. A recipe AND a PSA. You’re welcome, America!

*Ya’ll know I’m kidding right? That’s super unhealthy. Pick up a journal, have some tea and have a good cry. Then call me in the morning. It’s better on the phone, you won’t have my bitchface to look at. Oh also I’m a little tipsy from, uh, recipe testing. 

Twenty Eight And Still Miraculously Kicking. And Screaming. And Baking.

21 Oct

Lots of older people shake their heads wistfully, smile and gently say, “Well, it’s all downhill from here!” once I tell them that I’ve just turned twenty eight. I know it’s a joke, but I’ve heard it enough times in the past two weeks to be suspicious. Really, ya’ll? It can’t be that bad. Look at George Clooney! Hell, look at Flavor Flav! Flavor Flav has the best life ever.

Truthfully, there have been some sad times recently– too many sad times, to be honest– but, fortunately, also some very, very happy times. I’ve spent the past month or so struggling to weigh the great stuff against the horrible, and I realized that I have always had a serious negative bias. Are you shocked? That’s shocking, right? I’m trying as hard as I can to get rid of it, or, at least, shrink it to the point where you’re all giving me the shady side-eye and wondering what I’m on.

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One of those great things…

So that’s what I plan to do with this new year: be a little bit more positive. If you know me, you are laughing hysterically, given that I seem to have the unfortunate ability to turn even the greatest news (only when it comes to me, of course) into a complete nightmare. I assure you, I am changing. Slowly, very slowly, but I am trying. Even the negative events of late have put things into perspective, which is very necessary, given my tendency to sweat/cry/shake/cry/cry the small stuff. Here’s what I’ve realized: there isn’t time. There isn’t time to worry about my frizzy hair, or the almond milk I forgot to pick up, or the completely fixable minor work mistake I made. There isn’t time. And yes, I’ll still beat myself up over ridiculous situations from time to time, but now I’m also going to try to take as much time as possible to just be thankful.

First thing I’m thankful for? The invention of cake. Specifically, Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake. Yeeee-up.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake (makes one 3 layer 8-inch cake)

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

For the cake

2 cups of all-purpose flour

2 cups of sugar

3/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder

2 teaspoons of baking soda

1 teaspoon of salt

1 cup of vegetable or canola oil

1 cup of sour cream

1 1/2 cups of water

2 tablespoons of white vinegar

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract or coffee liquer (I used the latter…awesome)

2 large eggs

For the peanut butter frosting

10 ounces of cream cheese or Neufchatel cheese, softened

2 tablespoons of butter

3 cups of powdered sugar

2/3 cup of smooth peanut butter

For the peanut butter chocolate glaze

8 ounces of semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

3 tablespoons of smooth peanut butter

2 tablespoons of light corn syrup

1/2 cup of heavy cream

So, as you can see from the above, this cake is a little bit of work. But, as you can also see… it’s a chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting AND freaking peanut butter chocolate ganache. So, you know, worth the couple of hours of fun.

To start, preheat your oven to 350ºF and butter and flour (confession: I use cocoa powder instead of flour because I’m wild like that) three eight-inch round cake pans. You can also line the bottoms with parchment paper, but since I didn’t have any I was able to get away with a generous buttering/powder dusting. Set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt until totally combined. Stir in sour cream and vegetable oil and whisk until fully mixed. Stir in water, then blend in vinegar and vanilla. Lastly, beat in your two eggs until completely mixed in and batter is formed. Yes folks, one bowl. Be still my lazy heart. Divide batter among your pans and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a cake tester comes out with just a few stray crumbs on it. Let cool in pans for 15-20 minutes, then invert onto cake racks. I’m going to second Deb from Smitten Kitchen in saying that these cakes are very, very soft. If you plan on frosting them (and don’t think twice about it, you plan on frosting them), it’s a good idea to wrap these cakes tightly in plastic wrap and freeze them for at least half an hour. It will firm them up and make them much easier to work with.

To make your frosting, beat cream cheese and butter together in a large bowl, with a hand mixer or stand mixer on high speed, until fluffy. Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula from time to time. Beat until completely combined, 2 to 3 minutes, then add in peanut butter and mix until smooth.

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To frost, unwrap a cake layer and place on a cake stand/paper plate (I’m poor, guys). Top with a generous amount of frosting, then place another layer on top and repeat. Top with third layer, then frost top and sides. It’s easiest to frost the sides by doing a light “crumb coating,” where a thin layer of frosting is spread along the sides and top of the cake as a base. Then you can continue with more frosting layered on top of this base.

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Lastly, we’re going to work on our chocolate peanut butter ganache. In a double boiler or in a bowl set over a pot of simmering water, combine your chocolate, peanut butter and corn syrup. Heat while stirring often, until the mixture is smooth.

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Remove from heat, then whisk in heavy cream. Beat until smooth, then pour evenly over cake, like so:

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Make sure to cover the entire top of the cake, then basically just wait for the goodness to drip down the sides. You can smooth the top with a rubber spatula, if you’d like, but I chose to keep things pretty rustic, because, um, I’m rustic and this was my birthday cake?

Refrigerate the cake, uncovered, until the ganache is firm.

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Ohhhhh. Yeah.

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So this cake was terrible. I mean it obviously was, right? After all of that work, and those weird ingredients no one ever puts together, how could this have been anything but a disaster?

Guys, I’ve eaten my weight in this cake. I should be embarrassed. “Should be” are the key words there, folks. Everyone who has had a piece of this cake has expressed nothing but wonder. It certainly rivals last year’s S’mores Cake and WILL be making repeat appearances in my life.

(One more for good measure)

(One more for good measure)

 

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