Tag: cake

large cupcake

Why Not Carrot Cupcakes?

Ever been at a meeting and had those oily and predictable muffins offered as a snack? Ever wished it was cake? I have. Sadly, no slices of cake are offered up at meetings that I go to … so the other day I decided to make cupcakes for my table group. They LOOK like muffins. They have veggies. Everyone’s happy. 

Generally I decide what I’m baking for a meeting in the morning … and this is not always a good thing, since I don’t have a lot of time. I had seen some kickin’ carrot cupcakes on Insta a while back and of course I didn’t bookmark them – who does that? – so I took a quick look online for a simple carrot cake cupcake that can be made in less than an hour. I found a promising one on the Food and Wine Network website. (And with lots of stars! Very important.) Extra bonus, I loved the title: Take 5 Carrot Cupcakes. I got busy.  

Ya Ya … lots more happened, but who has time to take photos when you still have to get ready for work? So … yada yada yada … and then time to make my favourite cream cheese icing recipe. The honey, lemon juice and zest combo make it SPECTACULAR. Really you must make this. 

icing recipe
I think that this is from the LCBO Food & Drink magazine. I recognize the font. (Interesting coincidence that both of these recipes are associated with alcohol.)

Of course any good icing requires a bit of sugar.

icing sugar
I enjoy sifting. And I LOVE parchment paper. It’s my kitchen bff.

 In no time at all you’ve got a decent table snack. 

carrot cupcakes
Normally I’d put a few candied pecans on the top or some extra lime zest, but I was in a hurry …

Since I doubled the recipe (so I’d be sure I’d have enough), I was able to bake up a few extras for the fam me. So glad. 

large cupcake
I often use ramekins when I have extra batter. Very handy indeed.

 

 

cake

OOH LA LA … Jamie’s Hummingbird Cake

I have always wanted to make this cake from Jamie’s Comfort Food. It looks SO delicious in the book … and wouldn’t you think that anyway, with a name like Hummingbird Cake? Just look at it!! Mmmmmmm…

I have a rule when I try a new recipe, that I have to do it exactly as is … if I change anything right away, how will I know if it was supposed to be like that or if my changes made a difference? I mean really? I follow the recipe and make notes in the margin afterwards … and then NEXT TIME I make changes (add salt, reduce the oil, try it with pecans … that kind of thing). With this rule in mind, I bought the ACTUAL ingredients listed in the recipe even though they are not what I’d use generally. For example, who buys self-rising flour and superfine sugar? Expensive!! 

flour and sugar
Seems like an unnecessary expense. Tell me why it’s important to use either of these!

I also wondered about why I was buying chunks of pineapple when it asked me to chop up the chunks … I WANTED to buy crushed pineapple, but I couldn’t bring myself to break my rule. So I drained it, saved the juice and froze it in ice cube trays for smoothies (a trick I learned in the days of baby food), and chopped.

Note: chopping pineapple into little bits is not easy. I did a poor job of it. Lost patience. No one seemed to mind the uneven and large gobs of pineapple in the cake though…

Everything else in the recipe seemed normal … That is until the first sentence where I had to grease two 9″ springform pans? WTF? Who has 2 springform pans the same size? I’ve got a 6″, 9″, 10″ and a couple of those wee baby ones for cute little “cheesecakes for two” (that I’ve never used), but not 2 big ones of the same size! So I used regular 9″ pans … and I have to say, I bet the cakes would have turned out better if I’d used springform. 

I got crackin’ and made the cake – loved the fact that it uses 4 ripe bananas! I can’t tell you how often I’m trying to use up bananas. Why do I buy so freaking many of them?? MUST. STOP. BUYING. BANANAS.

The batter looked pretty good – I was a bit nervous about the 1 cup of olive oil. Seems like it would weigh that sucker down. And you know what? I wasn’t really wrong … Jamie says things in the recipe about the cakes being “sponges”. I don’t know about that!! If so, they were sponges saturated with oil and pineapple and banana!!

The candied pecans didn’t work out for me AT ALL. He said to put in 1/2 cup of superfine sugar and a splash of water. WTF is a splash? Beside that it said that I should watch the video. I really should have taken it as a sign. In the end I worked away at the candied nuts and finally just did them the way I normally do … and they were just fine. His method was BONKERS.

Even though the cake was far heavier than the Hummingbird title would suggest – leading me to fret that it would be less than good – it turned out to be quite tasty freaking awesome! Why? Well, the icing was THE BOMB! Omg cream cheese icing is sooooo good with a squeeze of lime and some lime zest! Why haven’t I discovered that until now?? I think the icing saved it. 

I WILL make it again. Enough people loved it! But next time I will have two springform pans, go with crushed pineapple, and do the nuts my way. But it’s a keeper.

Check it out here.

slice of cake
Ok, so I’m not a pro photographer like all of the foodies out there…

 

 

Let Them Eat Cake

Friday night I picked up the girls after they had been earning a few community service hours. They’d been helping to set up for a fundraiser for Jamaican Self Help (an organization near and dear to my heart).  While there I spied the bake table that my mom had told me about earlier in the month (“Do you think you could bake anything?”). So I went home and made 1 1/2 dozen giant peanut butter cookies, wrapped them and priced them for the sale. Done. And I ate one.

Saturday I went to the sale (to drop off the cookies and spend some money), then dropped in to my favourite antique store on the way home. Picked up a lovely cake plate and cover for $12 (steel is a bitch – it took a long time to take a pic that didn’t reveal me in my pjs in too much detail). I also found two small carbon steel pans for Paul and I ($20 each, which may be a great deal but the jury is still out). A while ago I read an article outlining the horrors of cooking with a non-stick (aka coated) pan … it’s a miracle I’m still alive, according to the article. So I watched a couple of vids on You Tube and have decided that I need to make the switch so that I live longer and stop poisoning my children. According to an informative Cook’s vid, the best one is Matfer Bourgeat. It’s approx a 12″ pan, and with shipping and tax would be about $100, so I thought the wee ones for $20 were decent. They have an 8 on the handle which refers to something that only other people know. (It’s got a 4″ diameter base and flares to 6 1/2″, so you can stop thinking those thoughts…)  Can’t wait to make an omelette in mine and see how much oil I have to add so that scrambled eggs won’t stick it does.

Made my fav layered chocolate cake Saturday evening. It’s my Uncle Ian’s 80th sometime soon and we’re having dinner with him tomorrow, so OF COURSE we need a traditional birthday cake! My recipe was given to me from a fav secretary approx 20 years ago. It’s “Bid’s Chocolate Cake” but I changed the recipe to “Super Chocolate Cake” after I gave it to several people and they were “uh, who’s Bid?”. In my head I think Bid is short for Sheryl or Sheila but that makes no sense. I have had too much wine though, so whatever. ANYHOW, it’s been the “go to” birthday cake since that time (you can tell by the condition of the recipe card). The best thing about this cake is that it’s always moist and rich and it’s made with super basic ingredients. Butter, sugar, eggs, dutch cocoa, flour, water, baking soda, baking powder, salt. That’s it. It gets better the 2nd day too. Not kidding. Probably even better on day 3 but haven’t had the chance to find that out. (Go ahead, roll your eyes.)

Dana, my CYW and fellow blogger who won’t actually turn her blog on, has told me to get a fancy recipe widget that will make a recipe card that you can print from. OMG I got freaked out after the first paragraph. So forget it. If you really want the recipe, leave me a comment and I’ll happily add it to the post.

Once the cake was baked I decided to utilize the heat of the oven and make some granola, since I’m out and I can also give some to Uncle Ian as a gift. (Seriously, what do you give an 80 year old?) It’s a fab recipe given to me by my good friend Deborah. I wrote about it on another blog post. Go make it! So crunchy and yummy and healthy-ish:

Finally, made the icing, sliced the cake into 4 layers, iced it and TA DA! What a beauty.

And… delicious.