Posts Tagged ‘cake’

Peach Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

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This cake was incredibly easy to make. All liquid ingredients are blended together in one step, then all the dry ingredients are added and blended. (This is contrary to most cakes where you should add ingredients & incorporate them gradually.) In the 3rd step you fold in the (canned, which apparently actually work better than fresh in this cake) peaches & nuts. Then bake. That’s it (besides the also-simple frosting once the cake is cooled). It was just as delicious as it looks!

Some thoughts on baking

The section I’m currently on in All Cakes Considered is spice cakes. I have discovered that, really, spice cakes aren’t my thing. A slice or two are fine, but I much preferred the earlier cakes in the book. Luckily there are only a couple of cakes left in this chapter. And one of those involves chocolate and bananas, and I can totally get behind that! (Plus, my friend Michelle brought that particular cake to a work party and I already know how delicious it is!)

The most recent cake, baked on Sunday, was the Holiday Honey Cake. Another thing I’ve discovered is that I don’t really care for cakes that are predominantly sweetened with honey. There’s an aftertaste that is not appealing to me.

Still, here’s the cake:

Holiday Honey Cake

What else? I don’t like baking cakes where I have to incorporate meringue. Meringue and Houston are tricky bedfellows. Houston is quite humid (that may be an understatement), so getting fluffy egg whites is not always easy. I haven’t been 100% happy with any of the cakes I’ve made using this method, and I think the meringue has a lot to do with it. The cakes have all seemed a little dense and flat.

And, of course, everything’s better with butter – this cake reminded me a bit of banana bread (even though it had no bananas), so I toasted it this morning. Not bad!

Toasted holiday honey cake

The one that started it all

I’ve made a lot of cakes over the past year. And a lot of them were really good. But fancy schmancy as they may have been, I don’t think any of them beat the one that started it all – this recipe for Mexican Chocolate Cake that I randomly found in a Google search.

I searched for Mexican Chocolate cake one day for some reason and bookmarked this cake to make and put it off because I didn’t have an occasion for which to make it. Sometime last spring we had a staff appreciation lunch at work and I dug up this recipe on a whim, not expecting too much. I was stunned by the response I got. Everyone who tried it raved about it. In fact, when about half the cake was gone, our manager took it away so that there would be some left for the other half of the staff the next hour. I had never had such high praise over something I cooked!

Not too long after, I bought All Cakes Considered and started making cakes from that book, which seemed more worthy. And they’re good. Many of them very good. But every once in a while I come back to the Mexican Chocolate Cake. And it blows those cakes away. It is so easy – you make it in a saucepan, so it only dirties two dishes (the saucepan and the baking dish) and it always comes out great. It is THE perfect chocolate cake.

I’m sorry I don’t have pictures to share. This cake never stays around long enough to get its picture taken. It is just that good.

Hats off to Linda Larsen, the About.com guide who originally posted this recipe. You have made my life (and many others’) a little sweeter.

Sunday catch-up

My best intentions went up in smoke as far as blogging goes this past week. It wasn’t until either Wednesday night or Thursday morning that I realized I’d skipped two blogging days. I had every intention of blogging Friday but just never squeezed it in (am I the only one who always wants to say “squoze” instead of “squeezed”?). It was an insane week, and I wasn’t sad to see it end. New adventures start tomorrow, but a blog post about that will have to wait just a bit longer.

So here it is Sunday night, and once again I’m trying to fit everything into one post.

Knitting

I made quite a bit of progress on my Thin Ice shawl. The deadline for this knitalong isn’t until February 15, but I’m not sure I’ll get it finished by then. I’m on around row 100 out of 250+ rows, and, of course, being a shawl, it will only keep growing. It is lovely, though!

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I also made quite a bit of progress on the Tamarind Cowl. I’m actually now only 10 rounds plus bind-off away from being done. I’m still worried it maybe too tight, but we’ll see. The first picture below shows my progress, while the 2nd shows more detail.

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While working on this cowl, I’ve come up with an idea for a hat, inspired by this pattern. I’m eager to finish this, so I can work it up. It could end up a disaster, but I want to try it anyway.

Baking

I’ve been debating whether to continue my cake quest (it’s not meshing with my weight-loss goals real well…), but have decided to carry on, as long as I get at least half the cake out the door the next day. I feel the need to bring cake to work right now anyway.

Today’s cake was Honey Spice Cake with Rum Glaze. I didn’t actually use rum, since I’m bringing it to work and there are some tee-totalers there (plus, you know, I work for the city and don’t want to bring even a tablespoon of rum). Instead of rum for the glaze, I used milk and rum extract. It tasted great! I was a little concerned, because the cake deflated a bit when I took it out of the oven. I was a little wary when I cut into it and then before I tasted it. It clearly was not quite done on the bottom, but it tasted delicious!

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In other baking news, I made chocolate chip cupcakes for breakfast this morning. The recipe is from a Betty Crocker kids’ cookbook that I’ve had for over 10 years. There are 3 recipes in there that make me keep the book, even though my kids are older than the target age now: a brownie recipe, mac and cheese, and these chocolate chip cupcakes. So easy and so delicious!

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Cooking

Last, but not least, let me share tonight’s dinner.

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Broiled scallops, roast fingerling potatoes, and Himalayan red rice. (yeah, 2 starches, what of it?) Delicious and easy!

Sunday Baking

The title of this post is a bit misleading, as I am not baking this Sunday (I did that on Friday this week).I was remiss in posting about baking over the holidays. Today I’m going to share pics of my various baked goods that I’ve neglected to post over the past several weeks.

On Christmas Eve I baked snickerdoodles for Santa. I had actually planned to bake these on the 23rd, I think, but I ran out of time. Or oomph. I almost didn’t bake them on Christmas Eve, either, but I decided at the last moment to do it, even though I was tired and still hadn’t finished crocheting Eli’s monster. The plan was almost ruined when the sink stopped up and we ended up with a massive link under the sink. Fortunately, Jimmy found his hidden handyman skills and was able to fix the sink and we were able to clean up the mess and get on with the baking. The snickerdoodles turned out amazing, too!

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On Christmas morning, I always make a breakfast casserole. If I didn’t make this, my daughter might actually disown me. This is easy and delicious!

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On the 26th, we enjoyed the company of our dear friends, Cathy and David. Of course I had to bake a cake. I got to use my rose-shaped bundt pan for the first time! This cake was Paula Deen’s Sour Cream Almond Pound Cake, continuing my quest to bake everything in the All Cakes Considered cookbook (the next two cakes are from that book, too).

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For New Year’s Eve, which we also spent with Cathy and David, I baked the coffee spice cake. This one was a little dry, but it tasted good. Not one of my favorites, though. Hmmmm….maybe with a mocha glaze…

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Finally, on Friday I wanted to bake and didn’t want to wait until Sunday. I made the Spanish Meringue Cake. This was the most unique cake I’ve made, with meringue baked on top. It was also one of my favorites so far. In fact, I may have to go have another piece now.

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Totoro, Cake, and Muffins

Yarning

I’ve knit/crocheted a lot this week, but I only have one finished product to show for it. But this project is so freakin’ adorable that it makes up for all the unfinished products!

A friend asked for a knit Totoro hat around this time last year, and I never got around to making it. I hope this crocheted version is acceptable to him. If not, I know a few people who will happily take it!

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I’m relatively close to finishing a hat – it’s possible I can finish today, but I may have too much stuff to do. I was worried this hat was working up too small, but I think it will end up being just right. I can’t wait until it’s off the needles so I can really tell! I can’t post pictures of this one until after Christmas, though.

I’ve made a lot of progress on another gift, a scarf. I’m about halfway done, I think. It’s a fast knit, so I’ve been working on the hat instead. I could finish the scarf on our trip to West Texas next week.

Baking

I was so disappointed Wednesday night after work when I was too tired to bake for our party at work on Tuesday. I had planned to make the butter rum cake, but it just didn’t happen. I’m proud of myself, though, for realizing I needed to stop for a breath.

I made up for the lack of baking during the week by baking twice this weekend.

First, last night I baked the Naughty Senator cake out of the All Cakes Considered book, which is a marbled cake – part mint-flavored and part chocolate with a touch of rum. It turned out pretty, but I’m not that impressed with the flavor. I’m a firm believer that there’s no such thing as bad cake, so I’m not complaining. I just probably won’t make this one again.

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Now, the almond poppyseed muffins I made this morning are a different story! As I mentioned in my previous post, I’ve been sort of nonplussed with the Betty Crocker Christmas Cookbook, at least up until last week’s cherry triangles. I’m plugging along, though, and this week’s recipe was the best yet. Truly delicious! And easy!

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I’ve had a couple of requests for the recipe, so here it is:

Almond Poppyseed Muffins

1/2 c sugar
1/3 c vegetable oil
1 egg
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 c sour cream
1/4 c milk
1 1/3 c all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 Tbsp poppy seeds
3 tsp sugar
2 Tbsp sliced almonds

Heat oven to 375 F. Place paper baking cup in 12 muffin cups.

In large bowl, stir 1/2 cup sugar, oil, egg, and almond extract. Add sour cream and milk and beat with a spoon until blended. Stir in flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and poppy seeds until blended. Divide the batter evenly between cups. Sprinkle each muffin with sugar and sliced almonds.

Bake for 14-17 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Serve warm or cool.

It’s a combo post!

This week got away from me, and I found myself with no time to post! Such is my life… So, while I try to keep my posts more thematic, tonight you get a hodge-podge.

First off, Debi asked to see all the yarn I bought recently. I’m happy to oblige! I went yarn shopping with my mom last Saturday and bought some Malabrigo Worsted in Pearl (1 skein to knit a gift and 1 skein to stash), Spud & Chloe Fine in Sidewalk (which was supposed to be for gift-knitting, but I wasn’t happy with the way that project was working up for this specific recipient), and a skein of Schoppel Wolle Zauberball Crazy in blues/greens on impulse to make a scarf they had on display by the register. Sneaky yarnie people!

On Monday I took advantage of Knit Picks’ Cyber Monday sale and bought 2 skeins each of Felici in Aquarium and Rainbow, a skein of Chroma Fingering in Pool Party, and 2 skeins of Gloss DK in Parsley.

THEN on Wednesday I received 2 skeins of Dream in Color Smooshy in Green Lantern as payment for crocheting a scarf for a friend.

Here are pictures of all my goodies!

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Today I made another trip to Sugar Land Yarn Company and bought two skeins of Mirasol Ushya in…hmmmm….I don’t know the color way, but it’s a very dark gray. I’m using this instead of the Spud & Chloe for my friend’s gift.

This week has been a weird crafting week. I started a scarf and the new needles I had bought for this project broke, so I had to wait until I freed up my size 7s before I could continue. Once I did continue, I decided I wasn’t happy with it, so I frogged it. That Spud & Chloe will be much happier as another project! I also started a hat for another gift, but could only knit so far before I had to stop until my Knit Picks order arrived, since I couldn’t find the right size circular needle while out shopping over the weekend. That order arrived yesterday, so I’m back to working on that project.

As I mentioned, I freed up a set of needles. That finished project was my Dancing Batty shawl. It’s lovely! You can’t tell from the picture, but it’s a beautiful shade of blue.

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I started another hat yesterday, but I can’t say too much about it, in case the recipient is reading. I’ll post a picture once it’s gifted.

Last, but not least, tonight I crocheted an ornament for an ornament exchange at the yarn group that meets at the library tomorrow. Nothing special, just a quick and easy ball using scrap yarn.

On the baking front, I baked the Barefoot Contessa’s Sour Cream Coffee Cake for a friend, which I served to some knitting friends Friday night. Today I made Cherry-Almond Triangles from the Betty Crocker Christmas Cookbook. I’ve found the recipes out of here just so-so, so far, but despite my wariness, these actually turned out really good! Jimmy says they taste like marzipan. The bottom crust was just flour, butter, and powdered sugar, but it was so good! Very light and flaky. Here’s a picture, but it doesn’t do the bars justice.

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Until next time! I’m off to try to finish reading Game of Thrones! Only 40 more pages, but I doubt I’ll make it tonight…