“Finally” Cake – Alternatively, From-Scratch Yellow Cake

“Don’t eat that, I need to take a picture of it first.”

“Don’t take a picture of it – it’s too small!  It’s cold and you made it days ago!”

This is how the conversation went back-and-forth between my husband and I regarding this last, solitary sliver of cake.  Of course, he just wanted to hurry up and eat it, but the thing is, I didn’t know I would want to blog about it when I made it.  In fact, I imagined that it would very likely be a flop, or at best, unequivocally “meh.”

Boy, was I surprised.

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Beatty’s Chocolate Cake by Ina Garten

Two beans, both alike in dignity,
In American kitchen, where we lay our scene,
Despite ancient grudge inspire a new recipe,
Where chocolate dessert meets morning caffeine.

Sorry to wax Shakespearean, but this cake has me feeling poetic.  Let me state for the record that I hate coffee-flavored desserts and that, despite identifying as a slight coffee snob, the same goes for cold coffees.  Tiramisu, frappucinos, coffee ice cream – all a big “nope” in my book.

Apparently though, the use of coffee in chocolate desserts can enhance the flavor of the chocolate, without imparting much of a coffee taste.

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Oreo Cupcakes

Someone stop me.  I find about three new recipes every single day that I seriously want to try.  I started a binder of these recipes.  And it’s a big binder.  And it’s 90% sweets.

Not the best idea for a dieter who has currently “plateaued.”  These lovelies are for a bake sale though, so it’s for a good cause (#pedestal).  Also, it’s Valentine’s Day.

I have a bucket of “excuses to bake” tucked away under my desk here. Continue reading

Social Baking: Vanilla Bean Cupcakes and Heart-Shaped Donuts

vanilla-cupcakeI have been cooking up a storm for social events lately!  A lot of experimentation led me to discover some new techniques along the way.  I worked with vanilla beans for the first time ever by baking Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Buttercream for a work shower.  Isn’t “Vanilla Bean Buttercream” so fun to say?  Even more fun to eat!  Later, I made donuts, also for the first time – Heart-Shaped Cake Donuts to be exact – for a bake sale.  Let’s dive in first with the real stunner ingredient here:  the peachy-keen vanilla bean… Continue reading

Alton Brown’s Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie

Alton Chewy Cookie MainThe perfect chocolate chip cookie is different for everyone. Crispy, thin, chewy, fluffy, cakey – baked with browned butter or sprinkled with sea salt. . . so many possibilities! As for me, I have tried so many different recipes over the years that I am bound to accidentally repeat one eventually. They always fall short of my definition of perfection, so I never seem to bake the same one twice (intentionally anyway).

I finally got around to making Alton Brown’s famous cookie, “The Chewy.” Continue reading

Danish Wedding Cookies

DW Cookies 2About a year or so ago – or has it been two years? Time flies when you’re having fun I guess. . . or is that just getting older?  Anyway, at some point in the storied past of Luci, there was once a craving for a certain cookie in a pink box. Luci sought high and low, but to no avail. The already endangered cookie, seemed quite possibly finally extinct.

So what’s an adventurous girl with a craving to do but bake them herself. . . . Continue reading